Monday, October 31, 2011

Time Off

~ See you next week... got to run.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Waking up to inspiring words is nice, very nice. Since I have started to share living with a disease, you all keep sharing with me. It's great! I wake up, read e-mails and Facebook while drinking coffee. A few days go by that “you” do not share something amazing with me: poems, stories, painting, inspirational words...keep them coming, I need them.

Remarkable ~ the spirit of a servant's heart and strength of a fighter lives so strong in many of you.

This week I ran further than I ever had: 13.6 miles in 2hrs. On November 13 I will run my first half marathon. Honestly, I question my for myself, run to inspire, run to raise money, run away from my fears, run towards a new life?

The one absolute that I have learned this year is living life with “purpose and effort” is good medicine.

“And this I share with you

For when you feel hopeless and alone

Out of the darkness

You shall surely find a guiding light 

That crosses your path to lift you up

If only you have faith 

And you will learn your most valuable lessons.

And I know that one day we will all learn these lessons

Because we are human with human bodies

That will ultimately fail us

The important thing is 
By the Grace of God

We will have lived a life of love and friendships

And then we will know the true meaning of life

Not just recite it -

Love IS all that really matters in the end.”

~ Patti Lellock

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Essential Nature

4am, Sunday morning and I am up struggling with thoughts about “what is my essential nature?”  Things I think about before coffee?

Recently discovered that a new group of Gnostic texts exist. The writings are Apocalypses text. Simply put if your are familiar with the book of Revelations, the last book of the New Testament, it was when Roman Emperor Constantine and his team were organizing the first bible back in 300 A.D. They had a collection of at least eight books to pull from before choosing the “Revelation of John” to be the last book in the bible, the only book to represent the rapture.

Finding these new (very old) Apocalyptic literatures is exciting for me.  20 years ago when I first stumbled onto the Gnostic Gospels, they opened up a new world of thinking for me; a new way of seeing the world.  “Stumbled” is exactly what happened to me. I actually stumbled into a lady who was reading the Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels. The universe has a way of smacking you into the right direction.

These lost Gospels represent a discovery of a different perspective on how to see the world.  In studying the different texts, I did not care if they were historical truth or divine word.  I was entranced by the idea that different perspectives helped to shape early Christian thoughts.

Nearly all of these books have been discounted by the organized religions of today. For me, I could care less about the arguments that churches have with one another about what is divine and what is false teaching. I like perspective, different viewpoints and I am completely ok with the idea that these books may have been written by the journalistic fringe hoping to shape a new world.

Zen asks you to see with essential clarity.  Not to be obscured by delusions of duality. Basically we, you, I, all of us including God, the universe and the computer screen that you are reading from are all made of the same essential nature.  No duality, just one big “I”. That is essential nature.

The lost Gospels (apocrypha writing) professes to be the narrative of Jesus and his teaching on the nature of God, the essential nature of us.

What you find out is that if you study Zen, the teachings of Jesus becomes clearer. And If you study the teachings of Jesus, the practice of Zen becomes clearer. One coin, two sides, no matter how many times you flip this coin it will always come up essential nature.

This is where it becomes problematic for me; glimpsing essential nature is not a straightforward path, few get to see it.  History has given us the stories of the prophets, mystics and enlightened who have touched this flickering light of essential nature, only to have a brief moment of this truth. From this brief experience they are to walk a lifetime of deep compassion and wisdom, spreading the “word” for the lack of a better example to all of us, the sheep.

What has me up now at 5am is why is this so hard for all of us to experience if it’s our essential nature? Why so many sheep and so few shepherds?

Turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down....if that means something to you then there is a good chance that you have grasped onto that flickering light of essential nature, so will you please explain it to me.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Digital Karma ~ Pirated by Thieves

Nietzsche “No price is too high to pay the privilege of owning yourself.”

You must own your digital karma.  Yesterday, yet again, our work was pirated. 

The sad part is that we love sharing our work. Just give us credit, truly that is all we ask. The distribution of our work has provided a very nice way of life for our family.

Our working philosophy is “Open Hand”. 

We embrace creative commons, even though we use it selectively now due to abuse. We release printing rights and at times copyrights to our clients. We choose to release the rights and educate our clients on all the different resources the digital marketplace has to offer.

We stay away from most conventional marketing and advertising. Choosing to build our business on daily blogging and building relationships with you, the reader.

This is not the first time that we have been ripped off by the digital culture, it has happened many times. It is becoming more and more frequent in the last couple of years.

That is why when our work is pirated by thieves it is the same as having someone break into your home and steal your stuff. 

The digital culture is the bricks that we build our business and life on. To be clear, many great things have happened for us because of the digital culture and our commitment to our open-hand philosophy.  We can no longer tolerate the thieving of our work.  We will call you out.

Deep bows of gratitude to those who have supported and shared our work ethically.  If our blogs, photos or writing resonates with you, please share it.  The sharing of our work is the foundation to how we sustain our business.

If you would like to use any of our work publicly or commercially please contact us by e-mail. Good chance we will say yes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art and Disease

It always amazes me that art funding is the first thing to get cut in the school and government budget.  When money is needed in a hurry for any cause, the first thing they do is to call in the artist.

It always amazes me how distant we are to disease. We collectively understand sickness and illness, those are the ailments that you see on TV whereupon commercials are trying sell you a pill. If a pill can fix your ill health, most of the time food, exercise and simple life changes on your part can as well.

You never see commercials on TV for incurable diseases trying to sell you a pill. You don't see commercials for a Cancer pill and the same with Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington's Disease or Parkinson's.

Incurable diseases are not marketable. They are not product driven illnesses, the bottom line is not profitable nor does the bottom line extend quality of life.

We universally care about people with incurable diseases; we do fundraisers of all types to help accumulate money for research.  We put on concerts, we sell paintings, we bake bread, we run far to help raise awareness for incurable diseases.

It's hard to ask you to give to my mission, as there are a lot of good causes out there. They are all of equal importance. 

Even so, I will ask.  Please go to this page (HERE) and read about what I am asking. If you can support me, thank you.

That is why it's up to the to artists to entertain us and to bring humanity to the cause: it's hard to dig deep if you're not raised up.

Arts only purpose is to serve.
In times of war send the musicians in first.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


Current Reading: Sitting with Koans by John Loori
Current Music: Reality Tour by David Bowie
Mood: Need to go fast
Sounds: Dishwasher
Smells: Coffee & eggs
Temperature: 47 degrees  
Thoughts: I’m a guy, sitting on a cushion for long periods of time doing nothing come natural to me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Take Action

Sometimes I forget, yet I can never get used to this sensation. Six years I have lived with this; a second shadow present in the light and alive in the dark. A new normal should arise after six years of living with the symptoms of Devic's Disease, yet it has not and I'm not sure why. Time heals all wounds despite this ever-present sensation, a second shadow pressing down on me. Today I am healthier, stronger, smarter and more grateful, however I can never get used to this sensation.

Tuesday afternoon I ran into the forest with no goals. To breathe and smile was the only expectation I placed on myself. The trail was dry and soft, the air was sweet and fragrant, the sky blue and still. The sights were magical; colors blossomed around every corner while wildflowers and fallen leaves of multicolored rainbows lined the trails. BREATHTAKING.

Earlier Tuesday morning I asked for help on how to organize raising money for NMO (the short name for Devic’s disease). The idea is simple: I will use running as my tool to promote charitable donations to NMO research. The response I received from this Facebook request was overwhelming, my inbox started to fill up instantly. I was taken aback by the immediate influx of help. Grateful is to small of a word to convey my thanks, nonetheless it's the word that I will use. Deep bows of gratitude to all of you. You have changed my life.

I can do this. I can push myself further to show others that you can live a healthy life with an incurable disease.

After I complete my first race I wrote down these words:
“I ran for those who could no longer run, walk or even move much. I ran for those who live with this disease in different stages of progression to show that it could be done. That you could do this...or walk, or jog around the block. In disease, as in life, it's hard to heal the mind if you do not heal the body first.”
I ran fueled by you, the reader, the responders, to my request and it felt good to know where the energy was coming from. Then it happened.

In Zen the word “Kensho” literally means seeing one’s nature, one’s true self. I had this peak experience while running. In a brief subtle moment I knew that I was doing the right thing with my life. I am moving in the right direction. I experientially felt the connection to you, the energy, the flow moving between us all. It may sound silly, but to me it was a significant insight of oneness with all. A transpersonal state of interconnectedness; I felt light and motionless as I ran forward. I smiled, I giggled, my eyes became teary and I knew this was a truth. I experientially felt this to be true. It was short lived, 2 minutes or less and it was subtle and magical...and then it passed.

It was heavenly yet nothing special. I did nothing to bring on this state. It felt magnificent to know that I am moving in the right direction.

Sometimes I forget, yet I can never get used to this sensation. Those words run deep for me. The journey of living with a disease is a mystical bugger of an un-natural world.

I often wonder if I can run further due to the fact that my leg are numb. Maybe I can not feel the pain or the tiredness that comes from running. Maybe that is my gift; to be able to do something I would have otherwise never attempted.

In the winter of this year I walked with a cane. In autumn I ran 10.7 miles for the first time in my life. It felt good. I came out of the woods knowing that I could have gone further. Today as I write this there is no soreness or discomfort in my legs (or body) at all.

November 13th I will run a 22k (1/2 marathon) trail race in the woods of North Park in Pittsburgh PA.

I will be asking for and raising money for Neuromyelitis Optica (the long name for Devic’s disease). Please join me on this journey.

Epilogue (I hope to be ending many posts with the below statement)

I never wanted to talk about my illness. Still don’t. I do not want to be a person whose life is defined by the diagnosis of a disease. I want to talk about the lessons learned from living with the disease. These are no lessons or medical advice or tips or tricks to wellness, nor are these suggestions on how to handle side effects from medicine. These are lessons about putting in the effort.

My goal is to help others lead a life filled with health, creativity and simplicity infused with the “heart of a servant” and the “strength of a fighter”. And that takes practice.

I invite you to join me in this journey. Please pass this along if it inspired you. Facebook this, Tweet this, e-mail this to friends and family struggling with these diseases.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Photo of the Week

This photography is licensed under a creative commons licensing: Please feel free to use and distribute it accordance with the licensing

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Portrait of a Kind Man

To learn about this man go (HERE) to meet him (& me) on October 14th go (HERE). I will be giving a testimonial of my time spent with him.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Empty Space

This photo has been sitting in my computer for too long now. I thought there would be a story to go with this image but there isn't. That was my answer.

If I was a painter this is what I would paint. Empty space, it appeals to me. The dream-like state that you have in a empty space is like no other sensation.

When you think about it, why does an empty space have an emotional lure to us at all?

I wish to compose art that can create an atmosphere that will hold attention but still give you, the viewer, the decision of where it goes.

This is what I want from art in my own life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Street Photography

Tom Dinnning has written a post that I wanted to share with you. Title "S is for Simplicity: How Simplicity Will Improve Your Photography"....

You can see more of Tom's work on "Light Stalking Blog"

Street photography is evolving into a passion for me. Tom's perspective is spot on, thanks for sharing your work mate!