Friday, May 12, 2017

Life After Life: About a Book

                                                                                       A book appeared in my living room
abstract acrylic painting about rebirth and inspiration, and the book, "The Tools"
In To Time, 24x24 c Mhornbuckle 2017
last winter, before the new year, when I was ready to call it quits after a challenging year.  Its title piqued my curiosity, and I picked up “The Tools”.  In any stuck place in the past, I had always wondered about the nature of “flow", how it works,  and how to get back into it. Why it comes and goes is not obvious to me, and I had always wanted to know how to make it come again! Was it a conscious act of will, was there some ritual I could perform, what? I was running out of time to just wait, I thought!

The subtitle, Five Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower, and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion, compelled me to start reading. A few days later, at a 1st birthday for a friend’s wife (born in Thailand, she had no idea of her age, date of birth, no birth certificate, thus her “first birthday”), I saw a small work on paper (see 2011 works on paper on my website) I had given them as a wedding present the year before, admired its quiet beauty, and thought to myself, there’s a direction I’ve not explored.  Forward motion from my stuck place became possible.

a painting expressing the buddhist contempt of impermanence
Annica (Impermanence). 24x24 c MHornbuckle2017
The author, Phil Stutz, calls his work spiritual psychology. As a psychotherapist, he developed the approach to help his clients not just to understand the obstacles to their moving forward, but to enable them to overcome them and move forward. The “tools" required work, putting them in to practice. And now I could see the path back to “Flow”, and began to work, on the “Tools”, and on painting.

 Knowing already to just start somewhere, anywhere, and allow the concepts to formulate themselves in process, I sanded off a painting from 2011 and began.  Three or four paintings later, so grateful to be unstuck, the process invited the series name “Offerings to the Gods”.  The painting titles in sequence pretty much describe a path from last year’s work to now, as I painted almost daily for the next three months.  I am indebted to the little 2013 NYTimes bestseller that presented itself to me just when I needed it, the kind of cosmic intervention that has informed some of the best things about this life I’ve led as an artist.

Nebulae  24x24 c Hornbuckle 2017
The Santa Fe show season has begun, and I’ve been there (except for the one with 8” snow) three times, joyfully passing along my gifts from “The Tools", the paintings resulting from reconnecting with the Universal Spirit. If you were here, I’d pass the book along to you! but I hope I am doing that now...

As for the mystery, I'll be exploring that for the rest of my last chapter I hope!

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