Feline Focus

Feline Focus
My latest puma, July 2016


Beloved companion to Sarah, Nov 2015

Window To The Soul

Window To The Soul
Watercolour Horse, June 2015

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties
Watercolour Lionesses, Nov 2012


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

Groucho Marx

Snow Stalker

Snow Stalker
Another snow leopard - my latest watercolour offering - July 2013

29 January 2017

Puppies In The Brain

Can you believe it?  I just spent nearly two hours this morning, composing what was meant to be a quick, simple blog post, which turned into a long, arduous, complicated, f*cking Greek odyssey.  And all because I had an idea - one that took no account of the fact that my brain can’t cope with what my mind thinks it can.  Talk about being out of synch with yourself.

I had decided that it’s like my brain is full of ants, and then I realised that no, it’s not.  Ants, whilst they may look like they’re running around without any clear idea of what they’re doing, actually do all have a specific purpose.  This is not what it looks like in my head.  

What my brain is full of is puppies - lots and lots of overexcited puppies on stimulants.  They can’t be still (even when they’re asleep, they still twitch and squirm about), they can’t decide what they want to do, and they don’t all do the same thing at the same time - so some of them want to sleep, some want to play, and some of them want to feed.  Sounds exactly like the state of my brain.  And there’s no-one in charge to tell them what to do, other than their mother, who they ignore anyway 'cos they're like that.

Here’s the irony - I managed to complete a drawing yesterday, which is now ready for me to paint; I half-finished another drawing, which simply requires completing; I also completed a draft copy of an actual post that just requires editing; and then there is another post that either needs tidying up or scrapping, along with about two other ideas for posts that I’ve had in the last couple of days; plus there’s my rekindling of my interest in food, and yoga (aka obsessions/special interests, which of course now requires more time trawling on the internet, whilst it begins to dawn on me that my brain and the internet are seemingly incompatible when it comes to searching for information).  

So, lots to keep me occupied, you’d think; plus, I was already starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by all of that, when my mind was erratically randomly ruminating on it this morning.  What better way to deal with it than to shove in another idea for something else to add to my burden.

Yes!!  That’s it!!  That’s the way to simplify all of this - add more!!!???  What is wrong with my mind?  I seriously wonder whether I was dropped on my head when I was a child.  

Either that, or it’s actually a cunning plan to avoid having to deal with any of those other things because my interest is now on the wane (thank you adhd); or because I’m now overwhelmed and overstimulated with all of that stuff, can’t focus on any of it, or make a decision about which to do first, and my mind is trying to save me from a meltdown by abandoning the whole lot; or it’s because I’ve found a reason to come on here (food obsession), and that’s actually what I really want to do.  Or perhaps it’s all of them.    

But, for some reason, we either don’t recognise any of that, or we just can’t say it, possibly because we still haven’t accepted that it’s true.  My brain can’t cope with what my mind insists on throwing at it.  

And the bright idea that I had?  I have a daily meditation book (which includes random quotes), along with pages of quotes I’ve copied from other sources, and I thought that it would be a nice idea to share one every day.  

Except that, of course, I had to write a bit about why I was doing it; and then I had to also take a photograph (do you know how long it takes for me to compose a photo?); and then I had to decide whether to write it up in Pages to save a copy on my computer, or simply compose it on my Blogger page; and then it wasn’t quite right; and then I worried about what I’d do when I ran out of quotes (‘cos my book only lasts for a year); and then…, and then…, and then…  

After all of that, I decided against it, because I finally realised that, once again, I was trying to force myself to do something that I can’t do - discipline myself to doing one creative thing every day.  But I’ll fail before I even begin - not because I don’t want to do it, but because my brain just will not function the way I keep on insisting it ‘should’.  In my mind it seems so bloody easy and simple: how hard can it be to just copy a few words out of a book, and stick them on a blog?  Let me count the ways…

Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) takes me longer to do than I anticipate.  I have absolutely no sense of time, nor of the slowness with which I operate (and yet my thoughts race around my mind like Formula One racing cars).  

So the idea that this would be just a quick little thing I could do which would take up hardly any time at all, and wouldn’t encroach on any other writing or art I wanted to do, is frankly the workings of a seriously delusional mind, and a decidedly wonky brain.  You might as well just replace it with a lump of Swiss cheese, there are so many holes in it… to match the ones in my logic.

Well anyway, there we go.  I did finally get a post written, though not the one I’d planned (“the best laid plans of mice and men…”, as they say in Scotland.  Or something like that, before it’s translated into the English).  Enough!!

I think my puppies might be asleep now, thank Dog.  

Ĺšanti - may your mind and your brain be as One.

07 January 2017


BOOK - DADDY-LONG-LEGS by Jean Webster

“It isn’t the great big pleasures that count the most; it’s making a great deal out of the little ones - I’ve discovered the true secret of happiness, Daddy, and that is to live in the now.  Not to be forever regretting the past, or anticipating the future; but to get the most that you can out of this very instant…  
Most people don’t live; they just race.  They are trying to reach some goal far away on the horizon, and in the heat of the going they get so breathless and panting that they lose all sight of the beautiful, tranquil country they are passing through; and then the first thing they know, they are old and worn out, and it doesn’t make any difference whether they’ve reached the goal or not.  I’ve decided to sit down by the way and pile up a lot of little happinesses, even if I never become a Great Author.”

Yet another remarkably prescient quote, from a book published in 1912.  Imagine that - people back then, in what we would consider to be the dark, distant past, having the same thoughts, feelings, struggles, and experiences that we do today.  

I always find it amazing when I discover things like this that connect me to our ancestors (even if it’s only temporary and fleeting, which it always is for me), that prove that nothing that is happening today is new, and that show that the same solutions to the problems of living are as relevant today as they were a hundred years ago.  And that they are, in essence, simple (not necessarily easy, but still simple).  

“Mindfulness”, and “living in the moment” are not new concepts (one of the principles our AA programme is centred around is the idea that we can only live one day at a time, and that was formulated in the 1930s).  It’s just that people now have found a way to complicate even more what is a simple thing in order to be able to write whole books about it, and produce other marketable merchandise, in order to make a profit from it.  Which I find sad.  And, after all, who would buy a book about living in the now if it only contained one quote on one page?  

There are so many nuggets of truth to be found in novels, and children’s books in particular, that don’t come with complicated instructions, or plots (which I cannot follow for the life of me - and Lord have I tried).  Which is why I love children’s literature - especially the older stuff that wasn’t influenced so much by what now seem to be the predominant driving forces of marketing and profit.

Times past may not have been any simpler than they are now, but there is much to be said for returning to a simple code of living - which starts with living in the day and the moment.  It’s something I suddenly realised I had forgotten about, except as an abstract concept which I knew I should really be trying to practise, but which, because of its intrinsic difficulty, I struggle to persist with.  

But, after all, this is where the Essence of all life resides, where the connection made with my Higher Power (which I call God) takes place, and where I receive all the power I need to deal with what is in front of me to do today - not in the future, or the past, which are places which now exist solely in my mind, and are therefore no longer ‘real’ (in the sense that they are not part of my reality today, not in the exact form which they manifested back then).

And it is true that I only ever feel peace when I’m in the present - which explains why it is such a rare and fleeting thing, since I am so rarely here in the moment.  All the more reason to practice it, methinks.

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
An experiment in watercolour and gouache

Quotes Quota

"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin.

"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name, but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million - worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it - an call it what tha' likes. Eh! lad, lad - what's names to th' Joy Maker."

From 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Copied from photograph of the same name by Roberto Dutesco

Quotes Quota

"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way."
The Dalai Lama

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."

Malcolm X

On The Prowl

On The Prowl
Watercolour tiger

Quotes Quota

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step."

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

C S Lewis