A little daily meditation is good for the body, mind, and emotions.
Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt
A little daily meditation is good for the body, mind, and emotions.
Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt
Once upon a time there was a woman, a beautiful woman, filled with life and vigor. She sat for a sculptor who tried to copy her in marble with his chisels. Unfortunately, the sculpture was just a manipulation of her true image. The sculptor could not capture her essence. A few thousand years later, a photographer took a picture of the sculpture which became yet another manipulation of the true woman. Finally, today a bored computer nerd decided she wanted to mess around with Photoshop to pixelize the photo and manipulate the poor woman once again. And on it goes. Who knows what someone might do with this image?
I’m sure you know what happens to a document when you copy it, and then copy the copy, and then copy the copy of the first copy. Do that long enough and eventually you cannot see what was on the original document. But the question is, does the original copy cease to exist? No.
The same is true for the woman. She still exists somewhere in time and space. Well, maybe not the flesh-and-blood woman, but the ideal of that woman, the perfect form of Woman.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato called this the Theory of Forms. He postulated that there is a spiritual realm that contains the blueprints of everything manifested in the physical realm. That vase, that music, that cat, those people, that government, that social relationship—everything— has a perfect and pure template in that realm. The world of forms“…is a philosophical theory, concept, or world-view … that the physical world is not as real or true as timeless, absolute, unchangeable ideas. According to this theory, ideas in this sense, often capitalized and translated as ‘Ideas’ or ‘Forms’, are the non-physical essences of all things, of which objects and matter in the physical world are merely imitations.” (Wikipedia)
Do scholars and philosophers still believe this explanation of how the universe turns? Not so much anymore. This classical worldview was one of the underpinnings of western civilization for centuries, at least that was what the Jesuits taught us in Philosophy 101.
So I sat down to screw around on a computer and make a pretty picture, and I ended up visiting with Plato one more time and letting him bend my mind.
If you would like to view a short, expedient explanation of this bit of Platonic philosophy and a very practical application of it, take a look here:
Image: “A Manipulated Woman” in Photoshop, LJGloyd 2019
Kintsugi is the Japanese technique of taking broken ceramic pottery and mending it with precious metals such as liquid gold. The idea behind this is that there is beauty even in imperfection.
Upon waking one morning this week, an image immediately popped into my mind’s eye: A shattered heart made of stone fused back together with fine gold.
How often are many of us in that state where we feel emotionally cold, even frozen, unable to open our hearts. Then something comes along to shatter it. We feel like we cannot be put back together. Yet, slowly, if we allow it, Grace fills our hearts with light and love, and we slowly come back together.
I wanted to draw this image with pencils, but I did not feel that my drawing skills were perfected enough (ironic, huh?) so I fell back to my photoshopping skills and rendered this digitally created image.
This is exactly what I saw.
ljgloyd (c) 2018
PS: If you are wondering where my Inktober drawings went, I took them down. I realized that I just don’t have the time to make them nor the skill to want them to be shown. Thanks for the positive comments, though.
As a creative, I like to repackage reality and present it in new and hopefully interesting ways. I do this mostly with words, but sometimes I do it with image. Here is a photo of some crystals hanging from my car’s rear-view mirror, slightly enhanced with Photoshop to make it a little more “more,” if you get my meaning.
“Hanging Crystals”, manipulated original photograph.
LJGloyd (c) 2017
The first short story I ever posted for public consumption came about when I took a turn down a rabbit hole at the Soul Food Cafe. The story was the response to a prompt about overcoming writing blocks. In my story I have a close encounter with my vexing inner critic (long-since banished) in a virtual and fantastical writer’s retreat called Riversleigh Manor. Here is a repost of that story.
My room in Riversleigh Manor is comfortable. It has hardwood floors and a bright berber carpet, recessed bookshelves filled with all my favorite history and art books, fine literature, and religious and philosophical treatises of all sorts. A map of Riversleigh hangs on wall, and I am delighted to discover all the cozy places I could hole up and work. Though the room is furnished with only the most basic pieces—bed, writing table, reading chair, and chest of drawers—there is one item that seems out of place. On the wall over the chest of drawers, hangs a large silver framed mirror with inlaid amber around the glass. Its luxury contrasts the utility of the rest of the room.
I unpacked my sparse belongings—a change of clothes, a few special books, some toiletries, my writing and art supplies. I slid open the French doors and stepped out onto the balcony. I gazed at the valley below and saw the River ribbon its way towards the sea. In the distance I could see the mouth of the River, a vast delta spreading out like a large green lotus, spilling into the Bay.
As I leaned on the railing and tried to compose a poem in my head about the River, I heard a banging sound from my room. I rushed back in and saw the mirror over the chest rising and falling against the wall. As I grabbed the mirror to keep it from shattering, a glow emanated from it, filling the room with a orange-yellow light. I had been warned that Riversleigh was a place of unusual happenings so I wasn’t afraid or even surprised.
Holding the mirror firmly in place, I looked into it and saw it filling with a wall of fire. The flames writhed and shimmered but cast no heat. In the depths of the flames, I could see a dark speck grow larger and rush towards me. It grew into the figure of a woman. Just as the figure filled the entire mirror, a large pop sounded and I released the mirror and fell back on my bed, covering my eyes against a bright blast of light.
Silence enveloped the room and after a moment, I opened my eyes. “Oh, no, not YOU!”
“Well, hey there, Sugar!”
“What are YOU doing here?”
“What? Can’t a friend drop by and say hello?”
“Yeah, right, like WE’RE friends,” I said as I pulled myself off the bed. Standing in front of the mirror was Arvilla. Tall, platinum blonde and gorgeous, she was dressed in a pin-striped business suit, pearls, and stiletto heels.
“That’s a different look. And what’s with the flaming entrance? That’s over-the-top, even for you!”
“What can I say, Sugar, it’s the twenty-first century and I’ve got to keep with the program.”
“Like I care. You didn’t answer my question—what are you doing here?”
“I heard you were taking a little vacation and I just wanted to stop by to see if I could be of some assistance.” Arvilla strolled across the room, grimacing at the furniture. She plopped herself on the chair and put her feet on my writing desk. She picked up my journal and began thumbing through it.
“I most certainly do NOT need anything from you.” I started picking up my clothes that had fallen to the floor.
“You only brought one set of clothes and no underwear—now that’s rustic, darlin’.”
She was right. How could I have forgotten underwear? “Um, I’ll pick some up at the Gypsy Camp. They have everything anyone would want.”
“Oh, yes, Gypsy underwear. How Bohemian of you. Dressing the part of a writer? You might as well, honey, because that’s as close to being a writer as you’ll ever be.”
“Just who do you think—!”
She opened my journal. “Oh, looky here…..’I strive to transform reality through my words and images.’” Now, ain’t that a hoot and a holler.”
I rushed over to the table and grabbed the journal out of her hands. “Arvilla, get out! I came ten thousand miles to get away from you. You are NOT going to spoil this for me.”
There was a knock on the door. Glaring at Arvilla, I stomped to the door and yanked it open. Standing there was the Riversleigh Manor concierge backed by two beefy security officers, unsmiling in their black shades.
“Madam, I understand that you have a visitor. As you know, Inner Critics are not welcome on the premises.”
I’m not here a day and she’s gotten me in trouble already. “Yes, sir, you’re quite right, I understand. My ‘guest’ was just leaving.” I turned to Arvilla.
With a sigh, Arvilla dropped her feet to the floor and stood up. “Oh, alright! Don’t have a hissy fit. You’re just not much fun anymore, are ya, Sugar.”
I pointed toward the mirror. “Go!”
“I can’t get out that way. Where do you think we are? In a Harry Potter movie?”
The room began to vibrate and Arvilla spread her arms out to her sides. “Just wait until you have forty-three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing that you need me to edit. You’ll come a-runnin’.”
The room filled with intense yellow light and I could see Arvilla’s arms morph into enormous bird’s wings. With a harpy’s shriek, Arvilla began flapping them. She bounded through the French doors and off the balcony. I rushed to the railing and saw Arvilla gliding up the river valley towards the mountains. Looking over her shoulder, she yelled “I’ll be baaaaack……”
“And I’ll be ready for you,” I muttered as I slammed the doors shut.
ljgloyd, originally published 2006
Lgloyd, “The Adversary, original digital montage, 2006
I am too much of a skeptic to believe in such things as astrology, but I cannot help being pleased at the ascribed characteristics of people born in “dog years”. Dogs are loyal and trustworthy. They are persistent and stubborn. You could even say dogs have a type of integrity. For the most part, you can trust a dog.
Yes, dogs are good people. I can deal with that.
ljg (c) 2017
To accomplish this, I have assembled individuals and resources in a partnership. My partners in this program include my Western medical doctor, a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine who is also my herbalist and nutritionist, my yoga instructor, my pastor, my spiritual director who has a background in counseling, a work-related wellness coach who leads a group of us in weekly guided meditation, and several supportive friends and colleagues.
In addition to these individuals, I access the writings and videos of other experts in these areas, and, most importantly, I draw on the wisdom of the ancient Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
These partners in this program never interact with each other. They are separate entities that I dovetail into a working whole.
Picture, if you will, a wagon wheel with me at the center and these individuals and resources as spokes in that wheel. The rim of the wheel is the Divine Spirit which for me through my faith tradition is Jesus. Without this rim, the wheel will not roll. I am convinced that without his presence and guidance this program will not work and this partnership would fall apart.
It has not always been easy, and there have been some setbacks, but I will keep this wheel rolling as long as I possibly can.
Mandala image created in Photoshop and Illustrator. I believe the calligraphy means “wellness”.