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None of Your Business!

If you hang around the circles I hang around, sooner or later you are going to hear the phrase, “Your life is none of your business.” There are many variations, like; “What happens to you is none of your business,” “What other people think of you is none of your business,” “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” That last one may not quite fit, but you get the idea. This is one of the annoying sayings that are deliberately obtuse. What is that supposed to mean? I finally gained some insight.
It’s really a variation on my last post. I didn’t realize that until just now. I guess I’ll just have to scrap this post and write about something else. Except this is kind of the point. If this is the post I’m writing, who am I to question its validity? The author? Well, no actually I’m not. If I’m getting this lesson over and over, then that’s the lesson I’m supposed to be getting. My friend Nate explained it to me; “If I’m doing my best and I’m not doing anything wrong and shit is still happening to me, then that shit is supposed to be happening to me.”
To me this means that if I’m not doing my best or I’m am doing something wrong, and shit is happening to me that I don’t like, I should clean up my act. That’s all I can do: Do the best I can and not do anything I’m not supposed to be doing. This will alleviate most of the problems I experience. If there is still shit happening to me after I have ceased to misbehave, then there are other lessons to learn.

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The Only Path to Serenity

It is often said “Do your best and leave the results up to God.” This axiom can be found in multiple disciplines: I have heard it in the Tao te Ching verse 9 (written by Lao Tsu, in ancient China; his text is the foundation of Taoism, a spiritual philosophy of world influence), and in the immortal Bhagivad Gita. This is a difficult principle to understand, but doing it without understanding is actually the first step of doing it. What I mean is, as I struggle to understand it, I was doing it in some aspects of my life. I’ve written in the past about my struggling business, but I keep doing my business even though I seem to be unable to control my success or lack there of. My devotion to God is part of my work, so it doesn’t matter if it makes me any money or not. This is what I tell myself to keep me from quitting.
Today, I decided to look for some Shanti calligraphy on Google to aid me in a new design I’m thinking of doing. My search was actually “Om Shanti Calligraphy” Well, to my surprise, there on the first page was my own design!

Without trying to get the number one page spot on Google, I just did my best. God took care of the rest. Sometimes we get little displays of blessings in our lives to keep us going!

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All You Need is Love

Hi guys! I’ve decided to take my blog in a new direction. Although I’m sure you are all fascinated by my meanderings about my blind stumbling through the oddities of the print business, it occurs to me that we all might be better served if I write about: 1. something I have experience in, 2. something that’s interesting, and possibly 3. something that might benefit us by talking about.
My life and my art have centered on spiritual matters for years, so even if I’m not an enlightened master, I may be able to pass on some bits of information that could be passably entertaining to some. My other areas of interest in art like dinosaurs and myriad other subjects usually get enough research by me when I’m working on the piece to at least make a blog post about.
The first post on these lines will of course be something I’ve already talked about (repetitive and contradictory!) My spiritual outlook can be summed up thusly:

“I am the Blue Dragon. I serve the Blue Light; whose physical manifestation is the Universe: the One Voice, the Eternal Word, the Infinite Sound. All things are revealed by the Light. All shadows are created by the Light. Love is the Way of the Light. Either one serves Love or one opposes Love. One cannot claim to serve Love through hate. Anger and fear are the absence of Love. Love is omnipresent. There is nowhere it is not. It does not shirk; it does not hide. To be unable to feel its presence is delusion. It is we who turn away from the Light. It is constant and never abandons us. It is The Energy; The Force; The Power. The Source of all. Love is indiscriminate. Love is not concerned with what name it is called, or what rituals it is worshiped by. Love does not favor one over another. Love does not punish. Love wants you to be happy and healthy. For this to happen you must conform to Love. Love cannot be ruled by you. You are a manifestation of Love. There is no intermediary.”

This is not to say that I believe that I am literally a dragon or even believe in the existence of dragons. I was born on the year of the dragon, and in Eastern philosophy the dragon is a symbol of enlightenment. The dragon is just a metaphor. Try not to get caught up in particulars. Find the general theme. The theme here is Love.
What I mean is that God is not angry or hateful or punishing. You can’t worship God by being that way. If you can accept this principle, everything else will fall into place. Many religions have been corrupted by men to say that God hates, but this is simply not true. This belief is brought about by our own short sightedness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human and I become angry and declare that I hate things, but I know this does not bring me closer to God. It separates me from god via my clouded perception.

Try to connect to Love in everyway you can. Listen to music that has a healthy view of Love. (Jealousy and other negative emotions connected by our culture to love are natural to have but they are not Love.) Know that we are all struggling through our daily lives and when we wrong each other it is usually out of the pain of our struggles than any vindictiveness on our part. In this way we can forgive each other as we need to be forgiven for out missteps (sound familiar?)
Finally a word about various faiths. The word Allah means “God of Abraham” which is a Judeo/Christian epithet for God. Krishna is known as the “Lord of Love” as is Jesus. Just as many cultures have different words for “hat”, and different ways to have weddings, so there are many ways to worship God. Religions that say otherwise were designed to say that by their leaders because these leaders want to be the leaders of everyone. It doesn’t nullify the whole religion, just the part that says they are the only way.
Remember, when Jesus says, “I am the way and the Light and the Truth” he is speaking as God. He is not saying Kali is not the way, he is saying that heaven can only be found through God. Whether you worship God as Kali or Jesus or something else is up to you.

Ok, now time for my shameless plug: I am so enamored of the Blue Dragon that I have painted many of them. (What the dragon says is absolutely true, even if he is fiction.) You can get any print of my blue dragons and you can have the blue dragon quote included with them if you want.

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Salon’s Woman Problem

I love Salon. That’s why I have this blog here. (Not because of Julie & Julia, that’s for sure!) But every once in while, they do something silly. Lately, it’s been a string of articles with the words “Woman Problem” in the title. The latest is about the Oscars. Are you kidding me? The Oscars have a female catagory for every male catagory. True the majority of writers and directors are men, but that’s the industry (and society) that the Oscars exist within, not the Oscars fault. I get the feeling that some editor read something in Google Anatytics that made them think that the phrase “Woman Problem” would get them more eyeballs. That is the kind of thinking that made Huffpo the load of crap it is today.

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Questions. Answers?

In a continuation of yesterdays post, I thought some further explanitory information might be in order. Why am I compelled to start a spiritual project of this nature at this time? What is the ultimate goal of the project? Why do I think anyone would be interested in such a project? What makes me think I’m qualified to dissimanate my thoughts and feelings on this subject?
Why am I compelled to start a spiritual project of this nature at this time?
I am always looking for the next thing that I should put out in the world. I need to: A. make a living, and B. fulfill  my self as a human. Not necisarrily in that order. Ideally, I’d like to be able to do both at the same time, such as with painting whether it’s greeting cards, saint’s portraits, or story illustrations. This project may never turn into something that could pay the rent, but much of my work is spiritual in nature, and it occurs to me that it’s mostly allagorical, and that I might be able to better comunicate a more straightforward message. Plus as I haven’t tried this approach, I will hopefully cover some new ground artistically. These reasons are practical but they seem to need to take a backseat to a greater reason in a project in which the primary focus is spirituallity. Spirituallity is of paramount importance to me which is why so much of my work embraces it. I find in life I must devote myself to being a spiritual being, and yet allow myself to live in this material world. This feels like the right next step.
 Let me add something at this point. Recently, while trying to figure out a way to make my prints more special, I decided that if I said a blessing over them, they might bring their receipients more comfort, and, I admit it, they might sell better. It occured to me further that if someone with spriritual credentials were to do the blessing, it might be more legitimate, or seem so to my potential buyers. It was at this point I remembered that some of my friends had become ministers to perform marriages through an online website. I realised at this point that I could go through this procedure, and gain spiritual credentials; thus making my blessings more legitimate. As always, just investigating something online, means actually doing it. So I did, and now I’m a licenced minister. That was a while ago, and I’ve felt; much like Jonah, that it was now my duty to pursue a more spiritual vocation.
What is the ultimate goal of the project?
As I said I’d like to turn it into a book or some kind of project that could lead to publication. I’m not trying to convert anyone, or become a religeous leader, or get a religious following. I think my spiritual thoughts are possitve and will have a possitive effect on anyone who chooses to expose themselves to them. Spoiler alert: I believe God is Love and that we should act accordingly.
Why do I think anyone would be interested in such a project?
Maybe no one will. This is going to be a long term project that is partly going to be about not trying to get people to like it. I always want people to like my work, but I live with my mom & have a part time job because I can’t support myself with my work. I’m sure I need more professional promotion, but I also need to stop trying to do what I think people will like, and do what I think needs to be done. Of course, in a week, I will be saying “maybe this should be more approachable because part of an artists job is to connect with people. This is how it is for now.
What makes me think I’m qualified to dissimanate my thoughts and feelings on this subject?
We are all spiritual beings. My experiences will either show people what works or show people what doesn’t work; either way it should help. I hope.

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Where’s the girl?” whispered Yendor to the dog. The beast alternately growled and listened. Yendor kept his sword out, in case the creature reverted to attack mode. In answer to the question, the beast growled, rotated his head and looked over its shoulder. After a glance at Yendor it loped off in the direction it had previously been blocking. It sniffed and growled and drooled, taking turns and changing the pitch of his growl for no reason that Yendor could determine. They came to a door and the beast pawed the door once and growled at Yendor, more menacing than before.
Yendor pushed at the door, but it was locked. Eyeing the creature, Yendor decided to sheath his weapon. The door was of heavy wood. It smelled as if it had mildewed long ago but the spores had dried and become dust. The grain was rough and warped but smooth. There was a metal plate with a keyhole on the right side of the door at about waist level. The keyhole was not quite large enough for Yendor to stick his index finger in it.
“Where’s the key, Beast?” The name wasn’t very creative but Yendor wasn’t planning on getting too attached to the awful creature. Surprisingly, the question stopped the continual growl and the beast stared at Yendor, uncomprehendingly. Yendor got himself eyelevel with the keyhole, wondering when his brain had actually transferred his ability to sense his surroundings with the blue light to his physical eyes. He had spent much of the time up until meeting the beast with his eyes closed, sensing his way along.
The hole allowed some breezeless scent to waft through, but Yendor could see nothing. If he couldn’t fit his finger in the hole, his dagger probably wouldn’t fit either. He pulled it from his boot and tried it just in case. He had learned the hard way that thinking something won’t work shouldn’t prevent you from trying it anyway. This time; however, his prediction had been accurate. He thought that if the beast collar had a buckle that he might be able to pick the lock with its clasp. The trick would be to get the collar off the thing. They weren’t exactly friends. It was a plain, worn leather collar to which the remnants of the chain were attached.
Yendor decided to distract the hound with the dagger to try to get at the collar. Apparently, the glowing red eyes could see just fine in the lightless keep, and his snarling, growling, drooling disposition gave way to a fascination that Yendor had not seen previously in the beast. Yendor realized the beast was becoming hypnotized, and began to talk soothingly to the animal; “You are such a good, ugly damned beast aren’t you? Yes you are. It’s time for the spawn of all demons to go nighty-nite, isn’t it? Yes it is. You are one ugly, stinking, drooling little puppy dog aren’t you? Soo sleepy, yesss. Nighty-nite.” and with that, the beast lay down and began to snore droolingly on the floor.
Yendor had to heft the enormous, lolling head of the beast to get at the clasp, and managed to get a viscous, smear of demonic dog saliva on his arm and forearm and hand and it threatened to consume him completely before he managed to wipe away the stinking, steaming, chunk filled, sticky fluid with a handkerchief that would probably disintegrate from absorbing the thick liquid. When he finally was able to turn his attention to the collar, he saw immediately the clasp was far too small to have any effect on the oversize lock. As Yendor tosses away the useless collar, he saw out of the corner of his eye an irregularity in the shape of the collar that he hadn’t noticed previously. He picked it up off the floor and realized it had a small pocket near the buckle. He opened the simple snap to find a heavy iron key inside. Compared to the chain on the collar, the key was hardly noticeable at all. As he slid the key easily inside the lock, Yendor understood how the dog had known to come straight to this door. He was literally linked to it. As Yendor threw the lock and pushed open the door he hoped it didn’t turn out to be just a store room of demonic dog food.

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Spring leaf Tanner’s Journal; Beltaine, half moon eve. Sundown.
 Autumn leaf Rosequartz had us fall back this afternoon. The dragon’s claim they don’t need our help, but I fear if we didn’t stand with them, they might annihilate us all. Of course, the advance attack claims that we help out of fear, which is only partially the case. These dragons are not the aggressors in this conflict. The advance attack started this war. They’re the ones acting out of fear. They think the dragons are evil. That they feed on humans, that they steel our treasure and want our women. I don’t know why they think such foolish things, but they spread their fear and their ranks swell. Their initial attack on the dragons was a huge success. The dragons never saw it coming. They pay no attention to mankind in general so they had no idea that the attack was being planned and coordinated across several towns for months before it happened. It’s hard to believe they didn’t see it coming because they’re so smart. When they do decide to pay attention to men, they can get in our heads and find out what we’re thinking. They can predict our moves like chess masters. They live for generations. They can control the elements. No wonder people are afraid of them.

One of the enemies’ officers; Eagle rank Incarnate says the dragons want to enslave mankind. He uses people’s fear of dragons to get them to give him ultimate authority over them. They give it gladly. Before the war, the dragons used to blacken the sky with their numbers. Just one of them can be the size of hill, so when they flock together in the autumn sky by the thousands, it can be a sight to see.
My father raised me to respect them. He called them the wise ones. There was a family of them in the caves in the cliffs near the village where we lived when I was growing up. He taught me to listen for them. Some nights when I couldn’t sleep, I would tune in and listen as the father dragon; Chiva he was called, would tell his fledgling Uddin the secret history of the world. I would fall asleep and dream of ancient days.
I’ll never forget seeing them launch from their Cliffside lair one Samhain afternoon. Chiva’s hide caught the setting sun as he soared above the height of the cliff and his shimmering, bronze scales seemed to burst into flames as his majestic muscles rippled beneath the eerie armor. They flapped their wings in unison, and moved as if they were a single creature. I doubt they even noticed me; earthbound gathering firewood for the coming winter.
That was years ago. Before you started hearing tales about the abduction of children, the burned villages, desecration of the holy sites. I knew the stories had to false. Dragons were just about the opposite of the things they were made out to be. But why? Who would stand to gain from such fear mongering? I visited one of the holy sites that had been destroyed. It had been the hill where Vlad the reformer had made a peace in the olden days. There had been a war to ravage all of Phan Tao Sea. Vladimir Potemkin had brought the leaders together to broker a truce, ending an eighty year blood bath. They had erected a shrine on the hill, and Vlad had been canonized as a saint. It was said that peace would last as long as that shrine stood. It cast shade on that hill for 500 years until its destruction at the hands of the dragons.

There had been a statue of Vlad and the leaders involved in the truce, wearing their old time garments. There were fountains and gardens, even a giant sundial to mark the endless peace that had ensued due to the event marked on that location. The whole of it had been ravaged. It had been burned and torn asunder with a vengeance. The perpetrators of this crime had taken special care to wreck each element of the place beyond repair. The statues had been defaced to look like demons; a lamb had been skewered upon the sundial. There had been a terrible fire. The dragons had left their claw marks upon the marble works that adorned the hillside.
I examined the whole scene, and didn’t like what I saw. First of all, why would the dragons do such a thing? Why would they take such care to desecrate the statues with such detail? Dragons are not craftsmen. They didn’t have the skills to rework a statue to change its appearance from one thing to another. Such an idea would never occur to a dragon. Also, the marble had not been damage be the fire beyond superficial scorch marks. Dragonfire produced such heat that it melted rock. This fire hadn’t even damaged the sandstone trim in the garden. The claw marks didn’t look organic. They were symmetrical. They had been produced by some mechanical device meant to look like dragon claw marks. This could only mean one thing. The whole thing had been done by humans and blamed on the dragons. But again; why? I couldn’t figure out what reason there could be. And, what human would so desecrate such a holy place? It was Holy to all humans; it wasn’t one faction that had victory over another at that site. Who hated dragons so much that they would want to manufacture a reason to go to war with them? And why choose this site to destroy? And what sort of person could take such joy in utterly destroying so holy a site?
It turned out that these were the very questions that would keep anyone from believing that a human or group of humans could perpetrate such an act. Furthermore; the argument would continue, with the other dragon crimes that had taken place, so many people would have to be in on it that there would be no way that it could be kept secret. People did not want to think that humans had done this. It had to be dragons and there was something seditious about suggesting otherwise.
The enemy was human, and I bet that he was leading the advance attack. I wanted to find out who. I wanted to find out why. And I wanted to clear the dragon’s names.