A River Runs Through It

Art Quilt By Anne Copeland, Painted, Collaged and Machine Quilted

It was a warm summer day and my mother and I were up in the mountains of New Mexico, in a place called Ruidoso, which today is a big tourist place. But in those days, it was just a quiet little burg, and we went to stay in a cabin there owned by someone we knew. I remember one of the few times when my mother was actually glad to share some moments of peace with me. I am not sure my brother was born yet, but I don’t think so; I think my father was overseas still, one of the many times he would be sent there as he was in the Army then.

I intentionally did not paint my mother’s face or mine; I just wanted to capture a moment in my memory when faces were not important. I knew she was my mother, and as we sat there with our feet dangling in the water, there was nothing else that needed to be done or said. It was a moment shared, and one I was able to remember through my life. Such moments would be gone forever when my father returned. Our father did take us places for dinner or Sunday rides, or sometimes to see a movie, but the time would never again be like this one.

Life is short, often too short, and I think perhaps this was the one moment in time I will always remember as the time I treasure. I am not sure what happened in my family, but it was as though the whole world changed overnight once my father came back, this time perhaps from Korea. I hold onto that image in my mind, and I often wish I could remember the wonderful scent of those pine trees, and the way the breeze blew. But all I have now is the memory of a life, and the way a river runs through it.


Death – Just What is It Really?

Death Journal Quilt – 8-1/2 x 11″ by Anne Copeland. Reverse Applique and Painting with Hand Stitching.

I read somewhere on the Internet today that Johnny Lang, a well-known and talented musician, had presumably committed suicide. He was not very old, and it got me to thinking about this thing we call death.

Actually, I am doing some wonderful studies (I am in my second year) with this school out of England, The Silent Eye Mystery School. You can look it up, and the studies are by correspondence and special events that take place in the U.K. for those who are able to attend them. The people who founded this amazing school are Steve Tanham, Sue Vincent, and Stuart France. They are all well-published authors with many books out. In a short time, I believe that Steve Tanham will be giving a talk on that very subject. I won’t write more about it because if you are interested in knowing more about the school and what they teach, you can look them up on Facebook, and many other areas of the Internet. All I can say is that it has majorly changed my life and the way I think about life and death, spirituality and many other things in general.

When I was growing up, the challenges I faced were overwhelming, especially as a child, and death then seemed like a friend. For me in my youth, it seemed like a way to go to sleep and be in peace, safe from everything that might hurt me any further. I was ten years young the first time I became serious about it and tried to end it. luckily unsuccessfully. I think a lot of folks have thought about it like this.

The reality of death is that we really don’t know what it is or what it means. We have many ideas about it, and for most of us, it seems very permanent. Some believe we will end up in another place which some call Heaven, and perhaps others call Nirvana but that is something that people can hope is truth. Still others believe that we go to a place called Purgatory, between Heaven and Hell whatever we choose to think those places are. It is not my intention to insult anyone with what I am writing about here. I am simply exploring the ideas that exist and I hope that everyone will remain open-minded.

The day my own mother died, I did not know it, but I was out working in my tiny garden. There was a statue there of an angel, and suddenly for no reason, it fell on me, hurting me badly, and I lay there wondering what was going on. And likewise, the day my dad died, I also did not know it, but I fell three times and each time hurt myself badly. Once I stepped out my front door of my mobile home, not remembering my porch was being worked on and there were no steps at the front door, so I fell down. Later I would learn that while my dad was in a nursing home, and had to get up in the night. He fell down more than once also, breaking his hip. He laid there for hours, and when they finally came to get him, they decided just to keep him sedated solidly until he eventually just went to that final sleep.

So I guess in the end, I have no more answers than when I started this column. I guess it inspired this art piece above as I tried to come up with something that made sense. Some deaths seem to come from “natural causes,” while others might come from some form of violence, But is that death itself, or what signals that state? I will be interested to know what others think about death, if they do, and I hope that anyone who writes will be respectful and realize that we all have different ideas, and none of us really know fully what death means. It seems to be something permanent, for I have not known anyone to return again once they really leave, but is that really the end of everything? Thank you all very kindly.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Dachau Holocaust Memorial

Before you mistakenly think that I am a Jew, I am not. I believe that we are all sacred on this earth, and we were put here for a purpose, so we all belong here – be you Chinese, Mexican, Black, Indian (East or West), Muslim, or any other race of people or culture, regardless of what God or spiritual belief you follow, regardless of your political beliefs, or any of those other things we associate with human beings. We are ALL sacred, and none of us would be here if we were not meant to be, along with all the types of creatures and growing plants, right down to the smallest grain of sand. Our greatest challenge today is to accept all the people in this world as being essential for the survival of the world and the universe. Together, we can accomplish so much, but as long as we keep considering that any particular group, any creatures, any plant or grain of sand, we will be continuing to tear down what was given to us as the greatest gift.

Holocaust Memorial

Let us not be separated by barbed wires, by men and women with guns, or other instruments of torture. Let us look to see the beauty in all the individuals and the creatures, the plants, and the smallest grains of sand, and work together to help this universe to continue to live. Every time we harm another human being, be it physical or with our words, we harm our own selves because we lose more of our souls until there is nothing left to show that we were once human. Take a moment out of your day to say a prayer for all of the humans, the creatures, the plants and the grains of sand and how thankful we all are that we have been given this beautiful diversity. Thank you one and all.

Lord of the Deep: Web of Light

My study of this wonderful course about the universe and all that is within and outside of it has brought an amazing and significant understanding of how this universe has been gifted to all of us, regardless of our countries, our belief systems, our cultures or the color of our skins, and to all the creatures on this earth, and all the magnificent plants, down to the smallest grain of sand. We can change the darkness in this world, but we will never achieve it with dark thoughts of others or of anything that exists in our universe. This universe and all that exists is sacred, and we are all a part of the One. Divided in purpose and respect, we can accomplish nothing, but when the heart and mind of the many are joined, we will be what we are meant to be. Thank you one and all for sharing this experience.

The Silent Eye

This morning, the Companions attending the Lord of the Deep workshop, and Companions of The Silent Eye around the world, will join together in a shared meditation. This will take the form of a guided visualisation.. a journey in imagination. We invite you to join with us for a few moments, opening that portal in the heart and mind through which all may pass, that together we may weave a Web of Light.

At this time, when our word is in turmoil, when the bounty of our planet is being stretched beyond endurance and so many of its creatures face extinction, let us add our voice to the Web that is being woven by Seekers of Light of many paths and traditions, all around the earth.

Alone, we can do little, but when hearts come together to work in harmony, we can change the world, even if it is only…

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The Simple (?) Life of a Pencil

It’s just a simple pencil . . .

Have you ever thought about how buying a simple pencil does for you? Obviously it is something you can use to write with, or perhaps do math or other things with. But is that the whole story?

Let’s think about how a pencil is made. OK, we know it has lead, wood, a metal ring that holds a rubber eraser. So what?

Let’s start with the lead. Galena, also called lead sulfite, comes from underground mines all over the world. The lead ore seams are blasted out of the ground and then brought to the surface for refining. How many people do you suppose are employed for this purpose, and then what about the means to refine it?

Lead ores are mined at a rate close to 5 million tons a year and the world market for refined lead stands at about US $15 billion. While lead has a high economic value, it is economical to produce. As with all metals, there are two main production routes: Primary production from mined lead ore is the original source of all lead, but secondary production, where it can be recovered from recycled products or from residues arising from the production process is of enormous importance. How many people do you suppose are employed for this purpose?

While it has a high economic value, lead is relatively economical to produce. As with all metals, there are two main production routes. Primary production from mined lead ore is of course the original source of all lead, but secondary production, where it is recovered from recycled products or from residues arising from the production process is of enormous importance.

Lead ores are mined at a rate close to 5 million tons a year and the world market for refined lead stands at about US $15 billion.

Secondary lead production now accounts for more than half of all lead produced throughout the world. More than 80% of lead in the U.S. comes from secondary production. And how many people do you suppose are employed by this process? Don’t forget the drivers of trucks and perhaps ships used to transport the lead.

So without giving away all the really cool facts involved in the production of a simple pencil, I am certain that if you find any of this interesting, you will do some research into the wood, the painting, the metal used for holding the eraser, and the eraser itself. That is an incredible number of people employed that YOU enable by buying a simple five or ten cent pencil!

There are so many things in this world that we all take for granted as being simple products, that we have no clue how many people we enable to be employed every time we buy a simple product. Think of how many products you believe are very simple things, and what must go into bringing them to you and how many people you help every time you buy one of those things. Thank you to the many people of this world.

The Healing

Anne’s Artistic Honda Civic 1997

There are several specific things that you can do in this life to help yourself heal from trauma or other things that happen to us in this life. 1) Pray about it, thanking your God or Spiritual Being for the experience. 2) Meditate about it, understanding that life’s challenges are important for us because without them, we could never learn compassion for others. We would also not have such a meaningful journey in life because it is the challenges that help us to appreciate the beauty that exists in the world. A life that is totally flat and without challenges is like living in a land without valleys and mountains. 3) Create, create, create. No matter how bad I might feel at any given time, creating is always something that gives me a true sense of magic, spirituality and gratitude for this life with which I have been gifted.

Doesn’t this car make you feel happy?

Creativity comes from the innermost part of our souls, whether we are dancing with joy or our eyes have cried forth many tears.

Anne’s Car, Driver’s Side

Life is so short, and I think one of the reasons we are here is to work on “getting it right.” That means that we come to terms with where we are, who we are, and what we choose to do with our lives. You can take whatever you do in this life, from being a cook in a fast food shop to being an airline pilot and everything in between. If you are a cook, know that you are doing it because you are comfortable with it, and become the best cook you can possibly be. If you are working as a cook and are not happy, what do you need to do in order to change that? It isn’t just a matter of going out and finding another job. You need to figure out who you are and what you really want to do in this life.

Anne’s Car Roof

I’ve never been wealthy; far from it. I have worked hard all my life for a little. But the whole time I ever worked once I grew up was spent doing things I wanted to do, things I believed in most sincerely, which was about serving others in ways that might make a difference in their lives, and doing things that I loved so much that I looked forward to going to every day. Money was always secondary for me to providing services to others, especially anyone with physical, developmental, emotional or other challenges.

At the end of the Vietnam War, my younger brother returned 100% physically and mentally challenged. It gave me the heart to help others the rest of my life who have had any kind of challenges. I don’t regret a single second of my work with others. It has been as satisfying as watching one of my most gorgeous flowers come into bloom.

Anne’s Car – Imagine That!

It has been a good journey. I am not saying it has not been a challenge, but isn’t anything worth doing a challenge? And you know, when we change, an interesting phenomena takes place. Other people do too. When this 22-year old car (as of 2018) was still in its original form, people treated me as if I should get out of their way and get off the road. The transformation was amazing. People on the freeways and roads gave me the peace sign or thumbs up or high fives. And when I stopped in a parking lot, people came up to me and wanted to take photos, and wanted to know the story of the car. And I made a LOT of friends over the years that way.

Make someone or a bunch of people happy today. Sometimes it can be as simple as smiling at them and saying “Hello,” or you could do a random act of kindness such as going into an old people’s home and taking a bouquet for the people who live there. Or you could thank a police person, fire person, nurse or doctor for doing what they do. True, it is what they have chosen to do, but many times they work when we are asleep or having a holiday, and they sometimes risk their own lives to do it. Creativity doesn’t have a specific face.

What’s the Point?

The Point by Harry Nilsson (courtesy Youtube.com)

How many of you remember this absolutely delightful and magical story from the early 70’s? I loved it since the beginning and have listened to it over and over and over again. What might it be that makes it so appealing? Well, that would be aside from so many delightful aspects of the story of a little boy, Oblio, born with a round head when everyone else in his village had pointed heads. Can you imagine such a dreadful thing?

Although his mom and dad loved him very much, they felt sorry for him, so his mom made him a cap with a point in it so that he too could have a point and be accepted by the other villagers. He did have a wonderful little dog though, and his dog’s name was Arrow. Now, like most dogs (and other creatures), Arrow was His Owner’s best friend, and they played all the time happily together. Arrow did not care if Oblio had a point or not.

Oblio and Arrow are best friends for life.

As you can imagine, eventually trouble follows the one little guy who is different from all the other folks, because he has no point. And so of course, an evil Count comes to dislike Oblio because Oblio won a game of Triangles that was only meant for those with points, and the Count’s son just happened to be one of those. Don’t you just feel the chill of what is about to happen?

That’s right – Oblio and Arrow are banished by the Evil Count because, well just because, to the Pointless Forest, the dreaded place where no Point person had ever gone. But sturdy little boy that Oblio is, he and Arrow set off on a journey with a good amount of bravery, or perhaps some kind of adventure to the Pointless Forest. Along the way he meets many characters in the Pointless forest, and one of them is Rockman, who gives him a good life lesson.

Oblio meets The Rockman

Well, there you have it. Oblio and Arrow have a long and exciting adventure with lots of amazing creatures and things in the Pointless Forest, none who have points. He returns to his village and is happily greeted by all the people with points, or so it seems. And he tells all the people with points how everything in the Pointless Forest DID have a point. They all cheer because somehow they all knew that even though they could not see it, that it did exist. Oblio had a point all along! Well, I have to save the rest of this wonderful story for you if you don’t already know it, and so I will leave you with this thought. Even if you have no verifiable proof that something exists does not mean that it doesn’t. Arrow always just knew this.