Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Great wisdom! and very old too…

It’s too beautiful to let it unnoticed!

I know lots of people are kind of suspicious about self improvement and such… And, it is true that, like in any other field of activity, lots of  self improvment stuff is repetitive etc.  But this aphorisme cited by Deepak Chopra (one of my prefered authors in the field of, let’s say, self improvment – a label, no more ) is too beautiful and too important (and surprisingly old!) to let it pass unnoticed:

The Vedic sear says:

«I do not worry about the past and I’m not fearful of the future because my life is supremely concentrated in the present and the right response comes to me to every situation as it occurs.»

Wow! If you understand (with your heart & brain, in that order) only this in your life and still you can have a happy life!

(The watercolor sketch is just for the color… no big deal…)  DAnu

May 22, 2010 Posted by | Art, Danu's Paintings, drawing, God in our life, life, nature, painting | , , , | 3 Comments

God, Haiti, and the Americans. Observations.

Kev ponders buying drugs whose side effects may include DEATH!!!

What has become a grim fascination for us, is the terrible catastrophe in Haiti, seen through American eyes. I wanted to do a small stand alone piece to address this in the midst of our travelogue.  CNN’s coverage is extremely timely, in-depth, if not a little repetitive. The American networks also have a curious habit of cutting to ads not only relentlessly often, but also just prior to returning to the Larry King show for him to peer over his spectacles and simply say, “Good night.” Can’t the ads wait until he’s said good night? Or is it so they can cut to yet another load of ads?  Other fascinations include the amount of ads offering drugs, whilst calmly saying WARNING! Side effects may include DEATH!  To be fair, there is also a swathe of ads for lawyers, urging us to call 1-800 BAD DRUG, so I suppose it’s equal opportunity. In fact, on American TV, there seem to be cures for diseases I’ve never heard of. There are also many ads for Churches, which just borderline on the offensive to me, springboarding off the Haiti tragedy to aid recruitment, but perhaps that’s a cultural thing. As a Brit, I am stunned at the sheer number of clearly wealthy churches here in the Bible Belt, all with full car parks. Lil’ old English vicars would (dare I say it?) sell their soul for these buildings and congregations!

This brings me to the thorny issue of God. No-one in the Haiti television coverage has a bad word to say about the guy.  A woman saved after being trapped in a void in a collapsed market thinks she’s alive because of God. No, missus, you’re alive because of an Icelandic rescue team. You wanna talk to God about dropping the building on yo’ ass. This is the same God who saw fit to destroy the prison and spare all but 4 of the 4,500 inmates, who are now amongst the homeless and innocent. Nice one, God – suffer the little children and all that. I suppose it was too much to ask that you direct the epicentre over the terrorist camp in the Yemen? …what?  Have faith? Yeah.

Don’t get me wrong, I am full of admiration for people who use their faith to give them strength to go down there and help those people, not just after the quake, but the tireless work they do in the orphanages, etc for many years before. I truly admire and applaud them. But I would seriously want to have a strong word with a God that has heaped such misery time after time on this battered nation of Haiti. They crawl out, over the dead bodies of their Mothers and children, and they thank him.  I will never, ever understand this. 

I also want to address the use of emotive music on CNN.  This seems to be a very American thing to do. They come dangerously close to turning international catastrophe into The Bold and the Beautiful.  News is information. It is not entertainment.  If it was meant to be entertainment, the BBC News would have put “Drive” by The Cars as the musical backdrop to Michael Buerk’s stunning report on the Ethiopian famine, instead of waiting for the Live Aid concert to do so. I just feel that in their desire to ‘wring the emotion” out of this story, they cross the line, and leave me feeling a little uncomfortable, but once again, I guess it’s a cultural thing.

Watching the news tonight, I was shocked to see a number of Haitians complaining that the biscuits being handed out were ‘out of date’, unhelpfully shouting this at the crowd, causing them to drop the biscuits and the UN truck to leave. I had a series of conflicting emotions. Firstly, if  I’d been stuck in rubble for 72 hours with no food and water, I’d eat a scabby dog, and secondly, how about  a little bit of gratitude for the people who brought the biscuits to you? But perhaps, on reflection it just shows just what an  uneducated underclass form a large part of the population, and just how much work will be needed there to really rebuild and re-educate that poor country from the ground up.  If it’s not a majority, then the loudmouthed bullying minority need to be silenced by the UN forces so that the poor and the weak get the food they need.

I want to say a word about President Obama also. When he came out to address the people following the Earthquake. Miki and I were stunned at his eloquence, passion and determination. Seemingly speaking with no notes, he was strong, decisive and clear. What a great leader you have.

Now, on a daily basis, we have found (something I already knew but wanted Miki to experience) that Americans are friendly, outgoing and genuine. It is a pleasure to walk into a restaurant, or an IHOP and interact with people who have a smile on their face. This skill in the service industry is sadly lacking in Spain, and to a lesser extent in the UK. I also have two burning questions:

Can you, or can you not, turn right on a red light in the U.S.A?????

And who the hell would christen anybody Wolf Blitzer???

Kev Moore

January 16, 2010 Posted by | culture, death, education, events, God in our life, life, religion | , , , , | 8 Comments

Sharing a link

I was sent this link and found it very interesting so I hope you guys do too..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA

May 11, 2009 Posted by | God in our life, life, love | 1 Comment

Happy Earth Day!

Hello everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since I first drew my “Butterfly Flower” in honor of Mother Earth. The original idea behind it was based on the “butterfly effect” and Chaos Theory, the idea that one butterfly could eventually have a far-reaching ripple effect on subsequent historic events. The flower is my representation of the Flower of Life, a sacred geometric shape found in all major religions of the world. I want everyone to know that each and every one of us, through our loving creative thoughts, has the power to create the vibrations that will heal our planet.

Cafe Crem is the place where I feel most connected with this world. The creative interaction here from friends all over the planet feels strong, and always warms my heart.

Thank you, everyone, and have a beautiful day, in honor of our Earth!
Peace and love,
Shelley

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Art, drawing, friends, God in our life, life, love, Shelley's Creations | , , , , | 7 Comments

View from a mountain top

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I walked through pouring rain through a Scottish forest and up a small mountain (you might call it a hill but my legs said it was a mountain). I stood against winds that nearly tipped me over. I gazed through mist and rain at the view of the Solway Firth, obscured and stormy. And then, having gone up, I needed to go down again. The bit I hate the most; I get occasional attacks of vertigo.

As we started our trek back off the mountain, we saw in the valley below us a sight that you can just make out in the photo above: a rainbow.

For me, the rainbow is a symbol as well as a scientific phenomenon. To me it means the storms are breaking and the promise of sunshine ahead has appeared. I had a bit of a shiver when I saw this one, as if it had personal meaning for me.

This winter has been an awful one for me; I’ve struggled with depression, mild paranoia, anxiety and a host of other delights. The winter is over but the causes of the issues remain and while I know that if I keep busy and focus on other things I can keep ahead of it, even so, the issues still remain, patiently waiting for me.

After we came back from Scotland, we went to stay with one of my oldest friends in north Yorkshire. A great time was had by all, but certain things came out of the visit, that I believe presage enormous changes for me. I’m hesistant to give details, partly because details are still scanty, but if I say that I had a strong feeling throughout of history being made. Maybe only my own history and maybe also hers, but even so, in a quiet way, something momentous took place.

I especially wanted to report it here first, because Cafe Crem is extremely important to me, and you guys have all been great. I will report more as time goes on but I can simply say that for me that Scottish rainbow is a sign that some of my storms are breaking and sunshine is beginning to appear.

April 12, 2009 Posted by | Easter, God in our life, life, nature, personal, photo, Viv's Art, writing | , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

A new proverb

vivs-drawings-and-paintings-030

 

“There’s nothing wiser than a sleeping cat!”

I came out with this gem last night; not at all sure where it came from but it has a certain ring of truth about it.

The two little sketches above are of two of my cats. The one on the left is Robin, my white and black ex-tom, and the one on the right is Clara, my dark tortoiseshell queen. Clara was a cat we rescued and while I loved her dearly, I didn’t mourn her when she died, two years ago. She suffered, we are sure now, from feline dementia and while she lived to a grand age of 16, she was not “all there” for many of the 8 years she lived with us. She did however have a great gift that continued despite her mental decline; she could make any guest feel special and privileged. She would approach someone sitting in our home and be so sweet and friendly that it put people at their ease, unlike my beloved Watson who various of our friends and relations were frankly terrified of. If Clara came and sat on your knee, you felt like a small furry angel had descended on you; if Watson sat on you, you didn’t move a muscle in case he turned into a tiger and ate you all up.

But I had a bond with Watson that I never had with Clara. We knew each other, warts and all. Watson sat with me through some of the hardest times in my life, a few feet away so as not to intrude on my pain, but close enough so I knew he was there. I sat up with both of them as they lay dying. Watson passed while I slept next to him, dozing off exhausted. Clara kept me by her side until the last moment, when, uncharacteristically, she bit me. I think I was the first and last person she had ever bitten.

I have no idea where this post came from or where it goes or what it means, if anything, other than I miss my cat still.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | animals, death, drawing, God in our life, life, love, personal, Proverbs and Sayings, random, Viv's Art, writing | , , , | 1 Comment

Test to Destruction

Test to destruction

 

My mascara has not run,

But it seems to have gone.

I like to put things

Through their paces:

Test to destruction.

My heart has not broken

But it seems to have cracked.

I like to put things

Through their paces:

Test to destruction.

My faith is not destroyed,

But it’s certainly frayed.

I like to put things

Through their paces:

Test to destruction.

My God is not tarnished,

But he seems to have vanished.

I like to put things

Through their paces:

Test to destruction.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Cafe Literati, God in our life, life, literature, love, personal, poetry, psychology, religion, Viv's Poetry, women, writing | , , , | 8 Comments

Heyokah Blues

“When everyone thinks something is good, it becomes evil”- Lao Tzu, Chinese sage, fourth century BC

Lest anyone think I am being pretentious quoting Lao Tzu, I should explain I found this quote at the start of what I hope will be a very enjoyable pulp fiction read, Kingdom by Tom Martin. I read the first few pages last night before succumbing to tiredness and conking out.

The recent discussions on the various comment threads, and also Psychscribe’s very moving essay this morning have brought me to try and explore both my disconnectness and quite why this is actually a very valuable function in this world.

I’ve been involved in certain aspects of Native American spirituality now for many years, but not as a plastic Indian, rather as someone seeking to make sense of the now through the eyes and the understanding of another culture. One of the aspects that struck me the most forcibly is the role of the heyokah in NA culture. There isn’t an easy or concise way to explain what the heyokah actually is; you can call them sacred clowns or fools for god, or jokers or tricksters and they are all that. Sometimes they are described as people who do everything backwards, upside down, the wrong way round, inside out. I must say here this is NOT by personal choice. A heyokah is CALLED; sometimes they are called by the Thunderbeings. Those who are struck by lightning and survive often become heyokah. My friend Alice, half Cherokee, half Blackfoot and all medicine woman has a cousin who is heyokah. She tells me he’s a pain in the ass; he eats with his back to everyone at table, laughs when everyone cries, cries when everyone laughs, dresses in light clothes when there’s snow on the ground, and complains of being cold when there’s a heat wave. She also tells me he cannot help this; he would like to stop but cannot. It is how he is and mostly this is tolerated and often even revered. They see him a someone touched by a kind of divine madness and his acts and speech are viewed as messages from God. The interpretation of the messages is often difficult, but in their culture the heyokah is valued and important. I shall leave you to try and understand why for yourself.

My trouble is that in certain senses, I was born Heyokah in a culture where this is not welcome. The heyokah is often apart from the society in certain ways; they are sometimes shamans, often some of the most powerful and feared medicine people. Here, in the West, people like me are not welcome. We’re seen as partypoopers, oddballs, weirdos, mavericks, individualists, lone wolves and above all, a threat. I’m the one that says, “Hey, the Emperor is wearing NO clothes and boy, does he have a tiny todger!” I’m the one who gets the giggles during solemn moments, or laughs out loud at funerals.  I’m the one who cries when a small bird dies on the road as I walk to work. I’m the one who won’t dance at parties and then embarasses everyone by dancing under the new moon on the way home from work. I’m the one who you dread meeting when you’re with your new boyfriend because you know there’s a risk I will say or do something that’ll make you cringe.

And I can’t help it. Foot-in-mouth disease? Incurable case here, guys.  There’s no hope for this one.

The thing is, I’ve begun to realise that the role of people like me, even where the concept of the heyokah is shunned and reviled, is essential for a society to remain whole and healthy. Lao Tzu doesn’t mean that something everyone believes to be good becomes evil instantaneously; becoming is a long process. If you do not have a few arbiters who retain independent thought and are able to stand clear of popular opinion, then there can be no true freedom. If you let yourself think about the Third Reich and how everyone allowed themselves to believe it was good, then the role of the heyokah becomes clear.

We stand as guardians of something none of us truly understand, but we stand nonetheless, and stand firm even when the personal costs of loneliness and isolation and even hatred from the community seem overwhelming. We stand because that is who we are and we can do no other than what we do.

That’s why I’m blue, I guess.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | Cafe Literati, culture, death, friends, God in our life, humor, life, love, personal, psychology, random, Viv's Short Stories, women, writing | , , , , , | 24 Comments

Mud and tears

Mud and tears

 

After the snow: the rain.

After the rain: the flood.

After the flood: the mud.

Snow imprisons me

And I dread the thaw:

Tears, anger and the mud.

What a mess!

But the black Nile silt

Laid thick across the plain

Made Egypt once

An Empire’s breadbasket.

Let then the ice melt:

Welcome the dancing torrents

And await the healing mud.

by Viv

February 2, 2009 Posted by | Cafe Literati, death, God in our life, health, life, literature, nature, personal, poetry, psychology, religion, Viv's Poetry, women, writing | , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Night Shift

Alongside the current themes of life, death and what we leave behind, I thought I would post this poem.

I’ve sat with the dying a good numberof times, both animal and human, and it’s a very moving experience. One friend (who was also a client when I did feet) I saw every day until about five days before he passed, and when my stepfather-in-law was dying last March, we took turns to sit with him.

The strangest time of all is during the night, especially after about 2am. The world is a very different place at that time. It’s also shown statistically that more people pass away at night than during the day, and more babies are born. It also goes without saying that generally dying animals pass away during the night too. I do not know why.

Night Shift

(for those who wait with the dying)

 

 

I want to hold back Death:

Impossible of course,

But every time I try,

Standing in the way,

Arms outstretched

                            As if to halt

A bolting horse,

It passes through

As if I, not it,

Were insubstantial mist.

And I feel a touch

Across my face

Of trailing cobwebs

Or frosted feathers

Stiff with ice.

by Viv

 

January 26, 2009 Posted by | animals, Cafe Literati, death, family, friends, God in our life, health, life, love, personal, religion, Viv's Poetry, writing | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments