Trauma-Giving and the Great Delusion

My social media feed has blown up in the last few days with all sorts of anti-Thanksgiving, anti -holiday,  anti-white colonialism, trauma triggering, day of grief and every other thing in between.  Yeah, it’s a terrible capitalist funnel of a holiday based on a the bunch of lies written into a colonizer’s mythology that  perpetuated some really horrible things against humanity…  hundreds  of years later, millions of lives exploited and lands ravaged we still press on and argue about this  fictional event that tries to create an air of humanity and cooperation that never really existed. 

At the time of this so called feast the story speaks of  coming together to honor the shared hope of cooperation. In reality the early years of people  coming to this country was pretty dire.  Disease. Death. Starvation. Lack of resources to know how navigate the climate and environment. Couldn’t  leave. Fear. Lots of fear.  God really wasn’t helping them much. This isn’t an excuse for  colonization it does point to the fact that people do desperate  things to survive… And like most historical story telling of  events of this sort, it is more about a moral teaching ( they were Christians). The written history of the event was probably made up to give  some lightness  to the  terrible condition of living  at that time and like lies do this myth rolled forward  like a drunken snowball and crushed truth until it crashed into reality and fell apart.

So fast forward and this National Holiday is now a poster child for everything we can hate and fight about as this country tries to find its way and identity…. again….

My feelings on this are if it’s really that horrible let’s stop doing it. I’m  all for simple affective action.

Of course nothing is simple when it comes to human beings. Humans hate change even if it is for a good reason. We seem to fight tooth and nail for traditions we know are exploiting , racist  and such. All in the name of “identity”  Some people can’t think it through or the media poisons reason with fear. Power and politics get involved… and from there it rolls into the dark crevasses  of stupidity and violence.

Then there is the years and years of trauma that need to be reconciled and acknowledged. The perpetrators need to be vilified. Reparations need to be made. Reconciliation  will take years and many generations to heal…  It needs to be done. It will take awhile with a lot of being real and dropping the denial.

Let’s  start some place…. like realizing  we are  not  the story we have been told. We are not the history that has defined us.  We can start today and use it to make a better/different world for everyone.  We each have the capacity to make changes that are part of solutions no matter how great or small they are

Be kind. Be grateful. Nothing is guaranteed for anyone. We can spend our time beating up the choices of the past or being traumatized  by the consequences that are fouling the future. The other way is to live each moment in service to making the changes needed for a better world.

Today with climate changes, population, depleted resources etc…. the road ahead is paved with migration and the diaspora of people to new places for resources and survival. If the past serves as a lesson then we can figure out how to do it differently… creating a real story of hope, cooperation and humanitarianism.

Happy Reconciliation in Action Day. May we all be graced.

Entering the Dark

Up here now in New Hampshire the day ends at 5pm. With a darkness that lengthens the night and puts frost on everything when the Sun returns at dawn. The leaves have fallen except for the oak and beech trees.  The dry yellow grasses and weeds are dressed in tiny crystals of of frozen water that melt with the warmth and light.

All these familiar New England things are the gate keepers to the long nights and wintery days. The air fills with the scent of snow and the mountains  in the notch are covered in whitness. Rime ice forms with the wind on tree branches….  The world drops into a monochromatic slumber of plans for the Spring. Archaic dreams that seep up from the subconscious and haunt the idleness on cold nights. The mind wrestling with regrets  and unfinished novels to be written.

Or…. the renewed passion to start projects and finish that pile of books on the night stand. Wrapped in woolen fabrics that insulate the chill while sipping warm beverages. Cloistered in the cozy places with a view framing the day light passing.

We enter the dark. The deep long shadows of a Sun passing far south on it’s annual journey. The incremental  ticking of time in ratios of light and dark. That alter the cadences of our minds and slows our bodies. Slipping into the in-between that ceremonially has been the place where seeds of ideas are fed the fears of inaction and uncertainty along with inflated potentials to become something…. anything…. in an effort to keep faith in the returning Sun and not be devoured by the night.


The howl is deafening. These winds of change barrel over The dried river beds. Raising dust on fields and blotting out the Sun. No rains come. The particles settle again waiting for the next gust. This dust becomes the equalizer. Everything is covered with it. Everything is colored by it. Browns and orchres. Turning gray with the grime and oils from cities. Dulling the colors of humanity. The poor wash their clothes and the rich play in paradise. Governments argue budgets and timelines…. Earth creaks and stretches. These winds of change blow.

The Smell of Leaves

The sun radiates through the near naked branches warming the wet left from the early  morning rain. I walk along listening  to the sound of my boots as they scrap and crush yellows and reds into the gray gravel of the path. Releasing the sweet decaying scent of leaves dying.

This earth perfume stimulates the memories stored of this fragile sweet time of fiery colors and wool sweaters. The olfactory notes of the season bring forward my awareness of life and death. The cycles of light and dark and the memories of places visited.

The fragrances of oak, maples, birch, poplars, and beech… every year a different batch and measurement of each to fit the experiences that lingered all year with the sun as it now travels south and the snows are soon to come.

The cold will clean the pallette. And these scents and memories will fall back into the dreams and winter sleeping deep in tree roots and the buds waiting for Spring. My boots will crush snow and leave tracks that will vanish into the earth.

Painting a Goat….

This is a bit of a meader through my inner dialogue about this image I and painting. It started as an Instagram post. I though I share it here so I could add more to the ideas that are coming up around this.

Thoughts about this painting…. If Ba’al represents the regional God/diety of storms and rain and the God of the Bible represents all that created the world then it starts to separate and segregated the needs and access to divine intervention and relevancy in these relationships. We can look at it like weather and climate. Each in relation to the other.. So the storms of certain areas are a direct experience  of those who live their and what drives that weather might not be anywhere near them. Shifts and changes would have consequences. And if your perspective was only channeled through the immediate circumstances then something like a climate would be mysterious and unimaginable.

If your people pray to the rain God and it doesn’t come then it could seem a failing to appease the diety. Then there would begin a recipe for taboos, rituals, and  ultimately dysfunctional fall out of those things…. and conversely if all you knew was the bigger patterns of climate you might be disconnected from the traumas of weather and it conditions that affect people, places and things.  

In this image I’m painting there is the simple chemistry of water and the sun. Two parts of what generates weather. The sun heats the surfaces of the planet creating convection and movement … wayer droplets rise into the sky and drift as clouds…. all this becomes  the jet stream( I have radically simplified this process here because  this is IG)…. as the droplets get heavier, temperature and such they fall to the earth…. for thousands  of years people have give these phenomena names and called them Divine beings…

This painting start as just painting a goat and it has opened an box of connections, archetypes,  and trying to bring together something ancient with the struggles we are facing today. I choose make this image feel like the alchemical manuals of the 17th century….that weird mix of God, and mysterious, curiosity, and to have that feeling of being a religious icon. As humans we has always clashed in these places…. and we are doing again. As these edges rub together and fray apart the fibers of beliefs and dogma then we might find away out of this.

Thoughts About Art….

Strange Plants From Dreams

Art should be in many ways,  about documenting a period of time. A reflection of the society’s struggles and triumphs. The individual seeking of identity within a certain period of time. Art is that complex, multi-disciplined  many armed tribe of creatures welding materials to define the angst through the architecture of a place and its people. It suffers the peculiarities of the artist’s personal lens who creates it and it is often the historical misunderstanding of real events after the artists are long gone and can’t defend their intent. Perspectives are like beliefs emotionally charged and defined by the sanity, woundedness, and vision of the believer. Perspectives feed on power and myth…. and with the right dosing become the stories that a are told through time.

I started a series of photographs called “What Remains”. It was a way to look as things that have weathered and endured. I photographed dried dead fish as I walked a long the Gulf Coast, drift wood, bones, the skeletons of buildings,  Petroglyths,  broken glass, etc…. Each image seemed to sit in the present silence of it’s subject. We become the witness in the voyeuristic myth of what it could be…. we make up a story to fill in the gaps…. sometimes we want a meaning that is sensible…. reasonable for what is left.

Humans have a tendency to want to see the ancient as sacred even if what we see today is the scattered dismantling of an entire group of of people by the violence of war.  Then there is that romanticism with the exotic a long with comparison to completely different peoples and beliefs….. All very messy and not very good for sorting things out.

While thinking about all these larger philosophical ideas and rhythms I am still looking to find a deeper meaning in my own work. Something  that will remain and have hopefully a meaning that carries it  beyond what any contemporary perspectives and power seeking.


I had a teacher at the Arts high school I went to in New Haven Connecticut. She taught the painting class I was in and at the end of the semester she wrote in my critique, “… that I seemed most myself when painting…” I felt that to be one of the truest insights anyone had offered me up to that time. She saw me. She saw what painting did in me.

Painting is pure joy. It is the thing that matters. It is the deep dialogue I have with pigments, lines and the flat surface in front of me. It is where I meet the Divine. We wrestle and debate negotiating the composition and visual impact. We create the dynamics that draw the eye across the plane and hold it there…. to wander into deeper perspectives of a self and cosmic explorations. Feeling the movement and tasting the colors. Hearing the murmuring….mantras…. the tiny connections and random associations that speak to each cell in the body…

When We Came….

It was religion and oppression, starvation, along with the greed for riches that started the mass migrations that would eventually displace millions of indigenous people all over the continents of North and South America. We of European blood came in waves of time each group seeking a better life some where else…. risking life, family and all that was left of dignity and self. To come here. To sail on ships, arrive and shuffled like cattle through the process of immigration. Forced name changes. Learning a new language. Working in inhuman conditions…. following that dream of a new life. A new beginning.

The strength to migrate is not easily decided by those in dire conditions and circumstances. It is a will to live… a deep and profound desire to find a way passed the pain of living in ways unimaginable. It is the spark of hope…. and maybe the God’s of Chance throwing you a good roll of the dice.

So many never make it. They become the dust and mud of dreams forgotten as they are trampled under the feet if others. The memories in stories left in the communities that made it or stayed put. Migration is made up of people who willed against Gods , governments , bleek odds and the dare to risk the things known against the unknown. They looked a death and said, ” Try me….”

We are facing a worldwide shift in peoples. The world’s boundaries are becoming less meaningful as resources, climate and governments fail. Every time this has happened in the past people moved carrying all they could manage. They left all they knew for anything that could give them a sense of safety and sustainability. Human displacement as well wars over water and land historically have been part of this process. Over time we develop these ideas of ownership when in fact it is a delusion. We own nothing but the person we are. Stuff comes and goes. Impermanence. Change. Sometimes in a life or not till many generations have tilled the soiled built the roads, squatted in the resources rich places. Long enough to forget the ancestors that came before.

It is this forgetting that makes us build futile walls against the inevitable migration of people with their things into places that provide hope for humanity.


Geopolitically we are still building walls to separate people, land and resources. The out dated truth of this is becoming more and more apparent. The climate issues haven’t sunk in or the reality of what is to come is so big and incomprehensible that denying it is the only way to manage it. Watching the brutal deportation of Hatians back to Haiti after years of natural disasters and poor humanitarian response is heart breaking. There is an obserdity to it…. it’s a farce…. We claim the rights to exploite countries for resources while doing the absolute minimum to make efforts to share that wealth in meaningful ways. The slow pace of dealing with the earth changes is painful as the most vulnerable in the world suffer. When your country completely collapses where do you go? If you have no water, food, shelter or resources where do you go?

This part of the climate change issue has never been addressed in any meaningfulway. Every country has kicked this can of chaos and humanitarian suffering down the road. Hoping to hand it off to another generation or insulated themselves with military spending and walls of various kinds.

Life on this planet is designed to migration. For millions of years mammals have traveled with the seasons and resources. As the earth changed the patterns of these migratory routes shifted. Some species were better at these adaptation others. Some became better at seasonal extremes and stayed put. And some just could not get it together and went extinct.

Whether it is man made or natural, mass migration needs to be part of any long term solutions developed for how we deal with resources, infrastructure and economic solvency. From now into the future. If we don’t address this, the scenes we see unfolding under a bridge in Texas and elsewhere will be the reality. Huge gatherings of people willing to try anything to elevate their lives out of suffering and death.

People will migrate towards food, water and some kind of safe place to live. This is the great undoing and a restructuring of countries, infrastructures, governing, economies, resources etc … To not see this or take action seems the willful decision to let the suffering unfold and see what remains.


We seem to be in the careening drunken throws of what reality is. The “reality is whatever you believe or make up” crowd has twisted reason, smashed all common sense and has thrown wrenches into everything. All the while claiming they are the wizards of truth and justice. They can fix this. Some hail their nail messiah savior as the medicine and their earth born charlatans as holy wisdom keepers. Their delusion bus is traveling so fast no one can really see the scenery…. the tour guides drone on and on about how wonderful it all is….. black smoke billows out the back and the driver is drunk…. the bus creaks and groans…. but don’t pay attention to that. It’s all great. Just wrap it in a flag.

I read every morning the covid stats from the New York Times. Then I read the latest quagmires stagnating in Washington DC. Then climate stuff…. People are still dying of covid. The infrastructure in this country is collapsing. The climate is continuing to evolve towards dire conditions everywhere. It’s the great unraveling. The evolutionary entropy that inevitability comes as order falls in to chaos.

I’m optimistic enough to think we will get through this. I also have a strong fight in me to see this through. How we get through this will depend on the sacrifices and adaptive measures we take now.

Entropy is not predictable yet it does move towards order. We can direct ourselves towards that order by the actions and policies we put in place. It’s also going to require thinking with a wider and long term lens. It can no longer be about sustainability it must be about cathartic systematic change. Changes so radical that we are no longer the same.

Some of the biggest issues are migration/immigration, water, agriculture/food, housing, economic solvency…. and infrastructure. We all need to be finding our places in these areas and developing local and world solutions.

This is as much a spiritual awakening as it is a practical one.

The deep healing is this.