Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finding Zen in the Diner ~ by Jeanne Fry

Finding Zen in the Diner
Who would have expected to stumble upon a spiritual moment in this busy lunchtime diner? On the quest to find a renovated mill, now turned Art Gallery, frustration was building as we drove in circles thinking surely the next turn would be the one that brought us to our destination. After an hour of this endless spiral pattern we decided to stop at a little diner in the downtown that was packed for the Friday lunch hour.

Almost all of the tables were filled and we were led immediately to a tiny two-seater booth in the back near the kitchen. Our waitress quickly came to greet us in a warm southern fashion and was soon off to get our iced teas and put in our order.

Now that we were waiting for our drinks and trying yet again to decipher the directions that were given to us for the old mill, I started absorbing in the activity that surrounded me. There were frosted white Plexiglas dividers between the booths adorned with small Santa Claus cling-ons that were so faded that I’m sure that they were saved year after year. Pictures of old muscle cars in plastic frames hung on the walls, and some kind of trophies lined the back counter.

Our waitress returned with the tea, smiling and laughing, and preceded to tell us that she has just received the best Christmas present she had ever gotten from a customer…a fur coat. She was so excited and proud as she told us it was a $200 coat and that all of the other waitresses wanted it for themselves. She pointed it out for us to see, lying over the back counter. From where I sat, it didn’t look like an extremely expensive coat, but it certainly made her day, and that’s all that mattered. She left us to our tea and raced off to another customer.

I started to scan the room, taking in the hustle and bustle of the lunchtime crowd. This diner was a melting pot for the city: business men in suits, middle-aged women taking a break from holiday shopping, eclectic looking twenty-somethings that were surely rising artists, construction workers, and old couples who made this stop a routine in their lives. Conversations were loud and excited and ranged from local politics to busy traffic, business to creative arts, and the economy to shopping lists. Back in the kitchen you heard the hurried clatter of dishes and laughter about stories from the night before, and that one waitress that endlessly went on about the fact that they were out of cornbread and it was only 11:30.

The activity was overwhelming, causing me to just silently sit and ponder over this diner that was probably filled with a hundred people. But instead of feeling lost in a sea of faces, it felt like a really large family get-together. My gaze kept wandering over to a man sitting at the counter, dressed in a uniform that looked like the ones that auto parts dealers wear. He was sitting alone, well, as alone as you could be here in this restaurant, and had just been served his food. His head was bowed, hands in lap, and he was praying before his meal. Slowly he prepared to eat. He seasoned his food with the small set of salt and pepper shakers ever so gingerly and rearranged his food on his plate making sure that each thing was exactly where he wanted it. He slowly cut pieces of his food and slid them into piles on his plate and laid his silverware out with the utmost care. He was seemingly unaware of the intense action that surrounded him, as if he was in his own world entirely. Watching the graceful slowness of his movements reminded me of watching a Japanese Tea Ceremony, peaceful and serene. Each bite that he took was purposeful and he chewed slowly and methodically, laying his fork down between each bite.

This man was perfectly content and purely living in the moment. He didn’t feel the need to read the newspaper while he ate or chat with the neighboring customer; instead he gave his food his focused attention.

He was Zen in the middle of chaos, and while most others were unaware of his very existence, I was aware, and thought to myself “Namaste. Whatever your appearance, I see and greet the soul in you”.

Diner culture has always intrigued me. More times than not, I choose to seek out these local spots to eat at, shunning away the fast food joints or high priced chains. There’s something special about these historic eateries.

Many have asked what my attraction is to ‘Diner Culture’, and I guess after consideration I would have to say that is makes me feel like I am close to home. I treasure the sense of diversity that can be found here, diversity much different than in other public places. In the diner you can find a conglomeration of cultures without pretense, so natural, defenses down and full of the integrity of humanness. Intrigued by watching how we as human beings interact with one another, studying character, and how we all intermingle and find a peace with others and ourselves is one of my passions.

(c) Copyright Jeanne Fry 2008

The Shaman Tree ~ Painting and Poetry by Jeanne Fry

The Shaman Tree…ominous and wise…stands stately in the ground

Rooted in the soils of balance…touching the heavens of the Divine.

Within its aging body, by synchronized design,

It is a seat for Earth’s children.

An embrace, comforting and warm,

A place of peace.

Heavy heart and anxiousness lead me to the Tree

In search of clarity …of confirmation.

My approach is with reverence,

Each step becoming slower,

Each movement with full consciousness.

The gentle breeze dances about me, welcoming me back home.

Respectfully I kneel.

At this moment

The only thing in existence is my connection -

My connection with the Shaman Tree,

A representative of the Earth… the Universal Mother and

My connection with the Divine…of Faith everlasting

I express my concerns,

My hopes and my fears,

Endearingly resting my hand on the bough

Allowing myself to FEEL the emotions

I’ve held onto so tightly And release.

I am reminded of the simplicity in the circle of life…the simplicity of everything that IS.

As I pull my hand away, resting it within the other

I see the gift, different each time

A luxurious petal…Smooth green leaf…A smidgen of bark…

To add to my Mask.

A Mask Of Understanding and Growth

A new perspective to view the world with

With complete gratitude I step away-Refreshed to re-enter the busy world

With a higher understanding, yet more to share

New additions to the mask I wear…Not to hide behind the veil…But to reveal

The journey of life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Time-Rider...Poem by Jeanne Fry

A surreal moment

Those  minutes before you drift into slumber

Running your day through your mind

Musing on  tomorrow.

My favorite time

While resting my head upon the pillow

Creating what Could be

In the moments of a new day.

Closing my eyes and seeing something beautiful

Waiting for me

Just beyond the blurry visions of haze and riddles.

The Time-rider and Storyteller race throughout the night

To deliver me my dawn of a new day.

(c) Copyright Jeanne Fry 2011

Prints of my original painting, Running with the Moon, are available in my Fine Art America shop here Running with the Moon on Fine Art America


Friday, January 21, 2011

Sacred Box for Sage, Sweetgrass, or Special Treasures

I have collected and been gifted many sacred pieces over the years, from different cultures and religions. My collection is large, old Native American beadwork, Rosary beads from around the world, Statuary of Deities and I am forever looking for little places to keep them safe and treasured.
I have started to create Sacred Boxes and Shrines for this purpose, initially for me personally, but will now offer them to others.
I was always needing a place to store my Sage and Sweetgrass, and never felt like keeping them in a pouch in a drawer was sufficient. So I started making special boxes to keep them in.
This is one that I just finished and will post on the website later this evening.

This box is not available any longer, but you can check to see our available artwork in our Artfire Studio here Conscious Art Studios on Artfire

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Extracting the Raw ~ Awake

The second painting in my series of Extracting the Raw is "Awake".  Awake is my recollection of becoming conscious again in my hospital room, of people there for me. In some ways I recognized them.  They were familiar, but seemed different. Now I was a part of something else..a statistic, a number, a case file.  I felt so much was missing, literally and figuratively, and a sense of loss of my "clan".

I think it was then that I brought "Lizard Medicine" into my world, the ability to lose something and still survive. (Lizard can lose his tail if needed to in order to survive, retreat, and go through the process of re-growing his tail). I of course do not have the ability to regrow my amputation, but instead filled the gap with something else.....Spirit.

The Long Corridor ~ First Painting in the Extracting the Raw Series

Extracting the Raw ~ A Woman's Journey from Pain to Promise

The first painting created for the series is called the Long Corridor. It is a memory I carry from the age of 4, with the fear and anticipation of being taken to the Operating Room for my amputation surgery. The waves of water that carry me there are the emotions that I held, but did not share with any other person.

Childhood is left behind those doors, for when I emerge, the challenges that lie ahead require a more serious spirit.

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