Friday, September 28, 2012

Lacking Pretense ...

"Some lose all mind and become soul, insane.
Some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual.
Some lose both and become accepted.”

~Charles Bukowski

Listening to my favorite 70's era tunes on my Spotify playlist right now.  Think that's why I love this music so much:  it's completely lacking in pretense.  "Don't Fear the Reaper" ... Blue Oyster Cult.  Love this song!  Hmmm ... Death has no pretense.  He employs no guise or means of deceit ... Death is perhaps the one truth we all share?  I happened to write a poem about dealing with the loss of a loved one the other day.  It's titled "Empty Chair."  Perhaps I'll share it with you here one day ... Me, I'm perfectly at ease with Death.  As I've said before, Death and Isabelle are old friends.  There are many types of death to my way of thinking and I suppose that's fitting, seeing as there are conversely many types of love.  It's all about balance, is it not?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Stolen Child ...

A dear friend of mine reminded me of the soothing, soulful writings of the poetic W. B. Yeats today.  Nobel Prize Winner, poet, playwright, painter and politician, but first and foremost an Irishman with fiery passion and heart. Here is one of my favorites by this talented artist.  Followed by a musical renditon of the same by the talented Lorenna McKennitt.  Enjoy ...

"Moonlight Reflections"
@Copyrighted Photograph.  All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.

The Stolen Child

by W. B. Yeats

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed:
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.

(Poem courtesy of

Song:  "Stolen Child", By Loreena McKennitt

God Bless and keep the man who picks me up when the little child in me falls completely apart once again.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Think Happy Thoughts ...

Think happy thoughts; they give you wings?

"Water Wings"
@Copyrighted Photograph. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.

(Open Ocean photograph. Over a dozen of these "spinner" dolphins were dancing alongside our sailboat as we flew through the water.  I'm not great at photographing things in motion, but somehow I managed to zoom in and get a semi-closeup of this guy.  Quite an amazing, not to mention uplifting, sight to behold.)

A friend of mine shared this quote today.  I found it to be rather poignant ...

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds
on the heel that has crushed it.”
~ Mark Twain

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Late Night Pondering?


Love and Hate … two seemingly polar ends of the spectrum for human expression of innermost feelings? Sitting here today, I have to wonder which is the easier of the two feelings to manifest given our “human condition” … Does the answer depend upon the individual person?  And is the answer merely a matter of effort, instinct or both?   That is to say, are we humans inherently selfish by nature or is this selfishness learned?  Sitting here today, I am inclined to think that selfishness is a predisposition acquired by most when we incarnate … take on flesh. Then the extent to which we are influenced by to act upon this “selfishness” of the human condition depends upon the current state of an individual’s spiritual evolution of their immortal soul. If you accept the latter as a truth, then does a predisposition toward selfishness make Hate the easier emotion to manifest? Does one have to work through the inclination towards selfishness, and hence Hate, in order to get to Love? And if this is the case, isn’t the relationship between Love and Hate rather circular in nature than purely linear and polarizing? Love and Hate sitting side by side … but a stones-throw away from one another, intimately interwoven by varying degrees along the circular path of their union with the greatest intensity of repulsion being the point of their closest meeting? And if you accept this circular relationship between Love and Hate, does it then take a truly enlightened --or innocent soul-- in order to be able to bridge this shortest distance of maximum repulsion while the rest of us must take the longer circuitous route? Love and Hate:  the intimate nature of our human duality?
9/25/2012 ... I wonder are there ever instances where anger is a useful emotion????? Many of my therapists seem to think that anger can be a useful emotion and of course they add that anger is an emotion I need to "learn how to express", but to my way of thinking these therapists only look at half of the equation.  They aren't considering the spiritual aspects of anger, I think.
... Then again, anger when internalized --as opposed to externally expressed-- raw and freshly processed, and of sufficient intensity, seems to be capable of opening up the tighty locked, and long-forgotten, closed doors of the mind?

Friday, September 21, 2012

"It's NOT Fair!" ...

“Stop & Stare” … A Song By One Republic … “Fair ain’t what you really need” One of the lines from the song.  How many times do hear children say “That’s not fair!” And how do you reply to this emotionally charged expletive?  Or rather, I should say, what’s the first thought that goes through your mind.  I mean, if you’re being honest. You want to say, “Hey, kid, Life is anything but fair so get used to it!” But how cruel and heartless is that?  That life is not fair is a truth they will come to know on their own, eventually, but how soon do you want or really need to let them in on it? Isn’t it funny the lengths we often go to in order to shield our children from the sometimes cruel realities of this world. Knowing all the while -- if we are being honest with ourselves and them—that at some point we have to let our children in on some of the less pleasant “truths” of our world in order prepare them to face the world on their own someday and actually survive. The trick is to enlighten them in subtle, simple ways that they can come understand gradually, while processing a given truth within the scope of their limited experience, right?

Isn’t it funny --albiet a sad kind of funny ... sometimes you have to laugh just to keep from crying-- how so much of what is going on the world today is worthy of that simple, innocent childhood response: “That’s not fair!” It’s not fair that an innocent man, an ambassador of goodwill, working to forge meaningful political and economic relationships with a “neighboring” country should be dragged from the embassy where he worked. That he should be brutally tortured, sodomized and dragged through the streets before finally surrendering to his death. It’s not fair that an analyst working at the same embassy and two Navy Seals, staying at an adjacent safe house who responded with intent to help fend off the embassy attack, also lost their lives in this brutal attack. It’s insane –forget FAIR!-- to think that four human lives were needlessly taken in retaliation for a perceived insult delivered via a supposed internet video created by a misguided American who does not speak for our country as a whole. It’s not fair –not to mention unconscionable-- that our fellow inhabitants of this rapidly spinning Blue Planet think that it is not only okay to take human lives because of perceived insults due the nature of our different religious and political beliefs, but that they actually believe that doing so is the will of God our Creator?! It’s not fair that millions of Americans can’t find work and have stopped looking. It’s not fair that we live in a world where the cost to put a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our bodies and gas in our cars is sky rocketing out of control with no clear meaningful economic relief in sight. It’s not fair that our nation is so divided along religious and political party lines that we seem to have lost the ability to carry on any meaningful civilized discussions toward the end of alleviating the REAL problems facing our nation as a whole. It’s not fair that religious people judge and condemn others in the name of their religion. It’s not fair that an injured soldier who bravely served his/her country returns home to face nearly insurmountable struggles with insufficient aid and nearly laughable compensation from our government. It’s not fair that the nuclear option is returning to the forefront of conceivable realities for our lifetime, with a now nuclear North Korea and an Iran on the cusp of becoming a nuclear power … especially in light of the escalating hostilities from Middle East towards Americans and the United States. It’s not fair ….

It’s not fair, but the meaningful question here is what are you going to do about it? Taken as a whole, I agree, it ALL is rather overwhelming. So just pick one … one thing that you are going to do, yourself, today to help make the world a better place … to share with our children that, yes, sometimes life isn’t fair, but in those instances you can still have a voice and act to impact change towards a greater end. I think we teach our children best by example, by our actions … not by the easy way out of “do as I say, not as I do.” Our children are watching: what will they learn from us as parents, citizens, members of houses of worship … political parties, communities?

Perhaps you can pray with your children for those who have needlessly lost their lives in terror attacks. Pray for the misguided souls that are being used by politically motivated extremist religious leaders to take innocent lives. Perhaps you will find the courage to speak out against the misguided that act in hate or violence in the name of your religion. Perhaps you will swallow your pride and forgive your neighbor when they insult you for your differing opinion on religious or political matters. Perhaps you will be an informed citizen that actually makes it to the polls on Election day 2012 in order to cast a legitimate vote with the hope of stopping –and ultimately reversing-- the rapidly declining state of our country. Perhaps you will help a friend network and find a job … Make a donation to your local food bank. The opportunities to truly make a difference and impact change are endless. Don’t give up hope … Don’t just bicker and complain: ACT. Our children are watching: what will they learn from us as parents, citizens, members of houses of worship … political parties, communities? Perhaps the most powerful legacy we leave our children is our meaningful action in the face of adversity.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tempting Fate?

"Tempting Fate" a.k.a. "Against the Wall"
 @Copyrighted Photograph 2012.  All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.

Climbing amongst these rocks ... unexpectedly, unprepared.  I had seen something splashing in the water while I was driving by and simply had to stop to see what it was.  I was wearing a 3 inch slip-on wedge shoe, at the time.  I hadn't wanted to slip my sandles off because the rocks had lots of sharp edges and I was afraid I'd cut up my feet.  Waves were pounding into the rock-lined shore as I raced along the rocks at full-speed trying to keep up with the sea turtles and seal I had seen frolicking in the ocean waters.  I probably should have fallen --being the clutz I can be-- but I didn't. Probably should have been swept off the rocks by a stray wave too, but somehow I wasn't.  Angels watching over me? Looking at this photograph painting now, I am sure that you've noticed the horizon isn't level?  Thought about fixing it with a one degree rotation, cropping and painting in the gapped edges of sky left at the top --know this because I am doing just such for another version-- but for the purposes of this post ... the skewed sky slanting toward the shore adds weight to the watery waves crashing into the shore, I think.  And perhaps the slanted sky helps to evoke the "madness" of the tempest stirred when one brave soul dares to tempt fate, thereby adding creedence to the title?

... And given my penchant for being mysterious and hiding, I've hidden my name in here somewhere.  Care to find it?

9/16/2012  Reading back over this ... this photo and its accompanying tale seem a fitting metaphor for my life.  Maybe it's time to slip my sandles off and *@&!* the feet?  Maybe getting swept away wouldn't be so bad after all ... Lord knows I've endured my fair share of falling.

Song:  "Strangers", Cover By Wye Oak (The Kinks)    ... AV Club Undercover Project
(check this video out:  the drummer in here is playing both the drums and the keyboard at the same time.  Talk about talent?!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rigteousness belongs to the Creator ALONE ...

He gave them free-will, resulting in a glorious array of diversity which has woven a magnificent tapestry of life on this rapidly spinning Blue Planet, but they fail to see and accept this diversity for the gift that it truly is.  Instead look what they do with this most generous gift of free-will ... Their pride and self-centered way of viewing the world around them consumes them.  They bicker and argue over trivialities –for they cannot see beyond this here, this now.  They do this all in the name of a false sense of righteousness which they believe affords them the right to judge, condemn and ultimately control others in an effort to align others in the world around them with their narrow-minded way of thinking.  But perhaps the greatest affront of all comes from those who claim that their judgment and resultant actions are the will of the Creator.  Those who act in violence using His name are the greatest affront to His gift of all.  How much longer do you suppose He will leave these humans to act in violence using His name? Righteousness belongs to the Creator and to Him alone.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Judgment Should Be a FOUR-Letter Word ...

Sometimes I forget that just because I am about Peace, Love and Understanding (Non- Judgment) that doesn’t mean that others in this world are coming at me from the same angle. Just because I choose not to judge others does not mean that they won’t judge me in return. Sometimes those wake-up calls catch me off-guard and maybe that makes them hurt all the more?

Sadly if I had to name the one thing that is WRONG with world today, I would have to say that it was unequivocally: JUDGMENT. In my eyes judgment is at the root of all that ails us in our personal lives, families, communities, cities, states … nations. To my way of thinking judgment lies at the root all evil: materialism, racism, chauvinism, favoritism … to name a top few. Judgment is perhaps at the core of our human nature, but in order to evolve on a spiritual level we must overcome judgment and begin to move beyond.

Most days I have a dreamer's hope for the world, but on days like today I look at the world and see a world slowly strangling itself and it grieves me greatly …

“Scales of Disillusionment”

Coldness of metal rests hungrily beneath icy feet.
Twirling fan above
warbles in a feigned breath of lifeless air.
Intermittent slicing splinters superficial light.
Disillusionment yields a limited sight.
Close my eyes to wonder if I’m still here?
Is anybody else awake out there?
Too tired to even sigh … Breath won’t come?
Fuzzy mind’s now incapable of pondering why.
Weight of the world once seemed to balance
My scale, but day’s growing longer now.
Slowly slipping into the inevitable pale.
Wisdom of ageless sages can’t prevail.

@Isabelle Black Smith. 2012.

I have often said that “I think perhaps our truth is that we live in black and white
while dreaming in color.” ~Isabelle Black Smith

Song: "Sensible Heart", By City & Colour

7/28/2015  I have been reflecting on the concept of judgment as outlined above and it now occurs to me that a necessary distinction should be made between "judgment" and  the notion of "assessment."  To my way of thinking assessment is at times required in order to make subsequent decisions from an informed position.  Take for expample the election process.  It is entirely reasonable, if not a useful necessity, for a voter/constituent to assess the record of a candidate before casting his/her vote for or against said candidate in an election.  The latter assessment helps to ensure "accountability" in government.  Similarly, assessment of one's immediate surroundings, at any given point in time, can help to minimize risk of serious harm or injury.  And there are likely countless other examples.  So how might one quantify the distinction between and assessment vs. outright judgment?  Perhaps, merely that the former produces a useful byproduct while the latter does not?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Thoughts while lying on a beach in paradise ...

Photo Taken By ME : )
@Copyrighted Photograph 2012, Isabelle Black Smith.  Limit CCL* use permited.
[*photo may be used under creative commons license for non-profit, with credit to Isabelle Black Smith and this website]
"Mind over matter, but the spirit has wings!" 
~Isabelle Black Smith
... Thoughts after writing this post:  Lie vs. Lay?  Irregular verbs, transitive verbs and conjugating ... Oh my?!  Did I get it right?????  Being an engineer: grammar was never one of my strong subjects.  The English language --with respect to grammar-- did, however, begin to make a bit more sense to me after learning a foreign language.  But I do love words and word weaving, so this has led me to strive for accuracy in my writing whenever possible.  My high school English teacher would be proud of me?? ... Think I had it right with my first pass "lying" vs. "laying". Not that I would've minded laying on a beach in paradise ;)