Sunday, May 31, 2009


Yikes!   Its been almost five days since I posted a blog.   Wow.   Well, in case you were worried about me-- I am still alive and kicking!

Kicking and Tweeting.

I have been experimenting with the exciting new phenomenon of Twitter.   I have also been exploring a host of new social media and networking sites and tools.  Oh my... the world is an exciting place these days folks.   The power and potential behind these new medias is phenomenal.   I see it through the lense of how these tools can help out the 1Mandala project and I am excited for us.  I am excited for Humanity!

The essence of these new technologies is greater interconnection and collaborative potential.  I hope to write about each one seperately in the next few days.   

Twitter is like blogging but... you can only use 140 characters.  This means people are forced to succintify their message, links, thoughts, and doings into key words.   Messages can also be easily and quickly posted.   You subscribe to the flow of people you want to hear from.   Ideas and websites and YouTube videos now flow back and forth faster then ever.  The flow of Tweets thus becomes the evolving flow of consciousness of the internet.  You can actually see in real time this phenomenon!

I am using Twitter as a way to share new peace portraits as they come in.  Check out my account and subscribe.  Get a Twitter account if you don't have one-- just at least so you know what all the buzz is about.

As Stephen Fry put it in a recent blog entry: “I love how Twitter confirms my all too often assaulted belief that most humans are kind, curious, knowledgeable, tolerant and funny. The absurd constraints of the 140-character tweet seem oddly to bring out the best in wit, insight and observation.”

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I have been doing an interview for a Romanian spiritual magazine and Humanity's Team Global.    The journalist's response to one of my written answers was quite dramatic.  It encouraged me to revisit my answer and refine it a little more.   Here it is:

HT: How’s the project financially supported?

I often am asked how I fund the my journey and the 1Mandala project.  The question is  challenging to answer.   It often comes from a certain way of seeing the world and money: First you get money, then you do what you want.  This is fundamentally  different from how I see it.  

In fact it is the opposite! 

My understanding is that first do what you want to do.  Then, money connections, things and relationships arrive that help you create your vision and fulfill your intention.  

I have no savings or source of income.   Ironically, given my lifestyle equipment and project, many people who meet me often think that I am independently wealthy!  

I laugh with a big smile at this.  

If I can share anything with the people that I meet, it is that money is the last thing that you need.  Literally.  Do first want you want, then the money comes and the way becomes clear.   That's it.  No need to strive, suffer and toil for money.  That's just a sign your going about it backwards!

Of course, it is easy to simply speak such words.   However, I feel I can write them because I've been living their truth.  I have had no money or source of income or any job since September.   Nothing!  For three months I had less than 100 euros.  Yet, biking for several months through the European Winter my "needs"  were abundantly met through the expensive countries of Belgium, Holland and Germany.  

Now in the green and warm May of Berlin, I occasionally stop and marvel that I am still alive and that I did not freeze in a Dutch ditch!

Despite absolutely zero financial security, somehow I have never been happier, healthier, better equipped, more loving and more loved than ever.   I've also never eaten better, been able to give more and have never had more fun!   

Not to mention the 1Mandala project is flourishing in 8 languages with a team of people working around the world and I am living my dream making art at  a studio in the most thriving artistic district of Berlin, if not Germany, if not the world.


 All I can do is shake my head!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I once had a musician friend who would strum a chord on his guitar and sing a long and melancholically the word "Reeellaaaaationships!"

The thought makes me smile. Relationships make me smile! I've been thinking about Relationsnips lately. Why not write out my thoughts? I share my stuffed animal animations! Why not these ponderings?

In the last two years, I have felt like a submerged swimmer who, after being swept along under the dark water for the longest time, has finally broke the surface. At last I can look about and see the river that has been taking me along.

I look about with understanding. With consciousness. And most of all, with these two things, I can now choose.

Ah... the River: There are sooo many societal, religious and cultural currents that sweep us into relationships. It is natural. We all have our river. But it is also all too often unconscious. These currents-- religious traditions, cultural moores, family patterns, government tax benefits, financial expediency-- they all sweep us into the arms of others. I remember a psych 1000 class where the prof asked the class the single biggest determinate of your next partner. After many failed class answers, he said: "The place where you come from".

Its true. 

All these currents are unconscious, and have little to do with conscious intention. They are all natural parts of the process of who you meet and what happens. For me there has been little conscious intention involved in process of relationships. For years, I was swept with the flow and was just happy to find someone else who liked me!  Then the current would sweep us away. Coming from a great family background I am blessed with the stability and relationship skills to make a relationship work and last. Years would go by.

The relationships were all hands down great experiences. The major ones all could have lasted for many years more. For many people they do. The currents of culture and society and finance are so strong. Its sooo much easier to go with these currents than break with them.

In the last year something has happened though. I've broke the surface on the current. The flow still swirls around me of course. It always will. But its a whole different river when you're aware of what's going on. You can work with the currents to choose with intention. You can choose what you want to experience.Its so beautiful!

No longer must I strive and struggle to meet people. I put out my intentions. Then the current current sweeps me there. Now, people quite literally walk into my life. They sit down on the bus seat beside me. They appear like angels at just the right moment. Its a subtle but profound difference.

It doesn't mean the relationships that evolve are easy. Often they are frought with emotion and challenge. Yet, because of the intention involved,  a new meaning is added to the joy and... most significantly, to the pain. When you know that you have consciously choosen your pain you know it is something to work through and to experience.   Or, of course, you can choose to experience it no more.

With this underlying consciousness to my relationships, I embrace all that comes-- not hesitantly as before. I throw myself into with all my heart. So much better. My moments are so much richer and there are no regrets. Pain... bring it on! What am I learning here? Joy... thank you! Let me share it!   Its sounds sillily simple, but I tell my lovers how I feel-- I don't hold back the good things and the bad things.   I express, live, and love it.

And boy, is ever more fun, rewarding and great for artistic expression and production!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Epic Journey

This morning I woke up early to make a meeting that I never made.   With time on my hands a spontaneous inspiration hit:   Let's get my best photos from my journey up on an online gallery.

Here I am in Berlin.   Soooo many adventures have befallen me on my journey across the continents to get here.   I have put together my favorite photos in a Facebook Album.

This morning going through my albums a flood of memories came over me--- alone in the vast mountain scape of BC, the steamy forests of West Virgina, bustling Times Square in New York City, wandering around the Capitol Building in Washington, the soaring heights of Salisbury Cathedral, camping near Stonehenge, walking through crop cirlces, dazzling romantic walks through Wales, Ancient stones, hills and castles.   

On to France by Ferry, Eating gifted seafood as the moon rose over my French beach campsite, playing my flute to wild deers and horses, being taken in by monks in Belgium, crazy romance in Brussels, making a mural in the heart of Amsterdam, staying with a family of ten in Holland, eating cheese in Gouda, Holland, huddling in my tent in wet, dark windy, lonely forest, seeing storks in Germany, being gifted a meal by an East German Grandmother as her first foreign guest since 1946.   And then of course, cycling into Berlin, making mandalas with Berlin school children and working on my new paintings here in this fabulous city.

Wow.   That was fun!   Five countries, four languages, and countless new friends later... that was 8 months well spent!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Making Mandalas with Kids in Berlin!

Today I worked for the second day with two classes at a public school in Berlin. The classes and I explored symboles, geometry, and the making of personal mandalas. The kids loved it. They ate it up and created the most beautiful and elaborate geometrical and colourful patterns. It was so nice to connect with these kids and to share art that transcends the language and culture. More tomorrow!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rise Up.


I want to share this sketch on another painting in the Simple Series.  Its an apropos balance to my last entry. 

On my trip I've often felt this way--  soaring joy at the dazzling beauty around me. 

The feeling of this picture captures two things:  One, intense grattitude for every detail and beautiful blessing of the moment around me.   Second, personal satisfaction at having brought myself to the mountain top moment through my intentions, choices, perseverance and determination.  

The exultant man on the mountaintop is raises his arms to the deep blue sky.    In the valley below, as in his soul,  echoe "Thank You" and "Yeaaaahh baby!" at the same time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Loneliness is a Long Word

Yikes.   I've been feeling a little lonely lately.  

Coming back last night in the rain, the chill and darkness of the night seemed to cut right to my soul.  I've spent some lonely and dark nights in my tent over the Winter.   Yet somehow, the feeling wasn't quite as overwhelming.  Though this night I came home to a warm apartment and Marion's friendly, whom I am staying with, I was never the less overcome.   It was a jagged desperate feeling that I can only describe as loneliness-- a longing stronger than my many lone weeks on the road.

An open air concert had caught my ear on the way back to the apartment.  It was a bustling gathering wedged between abandoned concrete buildings scrawled over with graffiti.    The courtyard was filled with dark sillouettes, fires burnining in rusty oil drums and the melancholic twang of the singer's voice.   Wow.  Berlin's thriving underground music scene at its best.  The music was fantastic-- a kalediscope of beats and strange noises and improvised lyrics-- yet as tight as you can get.   I stood alone in the sea of undulating folk.  The music jarring emotion of the music resonated deeply with me.  Dreadlocks bounced, funky 70's hippsters grooved and groups of friends and couples conversed and danced. 

 My only companion was my bike that I cautiously kept within sight.     I felt as an island in an ocean.

 I think it has something to do with being in Berlin-- its a big city: I ain't in the country side no more.

 The sheer quantity of people swirling about makes one more conscious of one's aloneness.   It doesn't help that where I am working in Kreuzburg, there are so many funky cool people.   Its not that I don't have friends here.   I seem to have an abundance for the short time that I have been here.  Yet, I long to meet all these cool and beautiful and funky people that dance about me on their way down the street.  Surely they must all be doing and thinking the most interesting things.

I miss my friends too.  

Berlin is also such a cool city.   l wish I could share it all with a good friend or two.  If only I could teleport my friends here.  There are so many cafes and galleries and restaurants and concerts to check out.   Its all but summer now too and the weather is glorious. 

I wish I could express and share the wonderfullnes!  I think this is actually a big thing.  I have so much joy and love welling up in my soul these days.  I long to share it.

And so.... I feel a little lonely.

Time to do some art.

Mandalas in the Kreutzburg Market

Mandalas in the Kreutburg Market:  Lost in the many.

The Paintings Progress

Me working in Kreutzburg on my series of paintings.   That's my trusty bike, as usual, hanging out with me in the court yard of the studio.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Poem on a Berlin Bench

I discovered this poem on a park bench yesterday.   It struck me as a beautiful statement of being.   My friend Brenda insightfully commented:

"Even in a train station, you can find peace of mind if you don't think about where you've just come from, or where your next train is going, but just about being there. Present in the moment. It sounds like that's what Berlin challenges you to be."


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Simple Series Begins

Its been a dream of mine to do art in Berlin. 

 I am in Berlin.  I am doing art.   I am living my dream!

Every day as I walk down the street I look about myself with a certain surreal bliss.   This is what it is all about folks!

I am doing a series of paintings in my Simple Style.  Here is one the sketches for a painting I am now working on.   

I have been gifted a space in a studio in Kreuberg with a veteran Berlin sculptor.  A friend last night commented that people look months for places like what I have found.   Somehow I was gifted this on my third day in Berlin!

Otto, the kind german sculptor who so spontaneously offered to help me out, took me out for coffee yesterday.   We are getting to know each other now as I come by each day to work on my paintings.  What a FUNKY neighbourhoud!   

Another friend commented that I couldn't have found a better place in all Berlin, if not Germany to work from.  Its this crazy culturally diverse area of Berlin that is filled with artists and creative folks.  The coolest cafes abound.   Micro art and design business are scattered about.  Hipsters and artists lounge in cafes toting their macbooks.   Languages flow like water from everyone.   It reminds of the jazzy district I worked from in Brooklyn last Fall.  But... times five!  Its what you would call "THRIVING".

Ok... just typing this I am getting excited.   Time to set off to "work"!


Monday, May 11, 2009


Ok... this is really, really a silly movie.  In fact, it is so silly and simple it could ruin my reputation as a professional artist!  Yet, sometimes you just gotta have fun!

I was about to go for a walk when I noticed that Constanze had left her stuffed animals sitting out beside a tree.  Constanze is the very creative nine year old of the family I have been staying with in Prinzlauenberg, Berlin.  I had been sharing some of my other movies with her that day and in that way an idea for a little movie animation easily hit me.

   I started to play around with her toys and my camera. I felt like I was nine again for a moment!   This little movie is the result.  

If you happen to be a gallery owner considering my work, please disregard this movie!

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Am on My Way.

I wrote this entry back in Oosterhout Holland while visiting my lover Abby. It was a plain old day in a plain old neighbourhood. After writing it I felt embarrassed-- it seemed almost too proposterosly good to be true. Could I really have felt what I had felt? I didn't want to offend my sensible readers with perhaps prematurely extolled joy. Perhaps, I had just had a really good coffee that morning! Perhaps it was a lucky moment. However, I am happy to report that the feeling of existential satisfaction that I report below, has now become my daily, moment by moment, experience. Really. Its a fantastic place to be. In fact, as I allude to below, I am discovering that its the natural place to be. Living life doing what we want to and love to do, is, beleive it or not Ladies and Gentlemen, is what we are meant to do!


This morning, on my way to do some mundane grocery shopping here in Oosterhout, a profound feeling overcame me.

I am on My Way.   

As the sun rose above the horizon and the sky blazed organge, it struck me that I feel crystal clear about where I am in my life right now.  As, in, I have no doubts, no worries, no misgivings, no anxieties.  Nothing.   Not only this, but I have a profound sense that I am doing what I need and should and am destined to be doing.   Joseph Cambell called it "Following your bliss".  My friend Yorlene calls it "Following your heart".   My friend Greg calls it "In the Zone".

Its hardly a feeling bereft of emotion.  

I am feeling joy, sadness, and even thinking about my work and whether to buy cilantro or parsely.  Yet, deep down, beneath the thoughts, beneath the feelings, all is clear.   Its sounds so simple, so basic, even cheesy! 

But have I ever felt this way?   In my whole life?   I don't think I have-- never as fundamentally clear as this.   There has always been something on my mind or heart that I wasn't sure about.   Maybe, I hadn't applied for a grant, a relationship wasn't right, I wasn't being honest about something to myself or a friend, I wasn't doing what I knew I should be, etc.

I am on my way.

This is what it means to be human.   This is the space we are all meant to be in.   This is when, as Tim Freke says, "Life becomes the Joyful celebration it was meant to be".

Standing there in a plain old residential neighbourhood, the feeling was overwhelming.   

Light on my feet, I skipped to the store beaming a smile to everyone I met.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Survival is Overrated

A few days ago, I was having coffee with a new friend here in Berlin. 

 She had been sharing how she was reticent to lent go of her job and follow her heart.   Her job was superficially fantastic.  She works at a university who's name you would all recognize.  Yet she disliked her work so much that it had slowly but surely made her sick.   Indeed, she had been on medical leave for the last two weeks.  She described it as a 'survival' job-- the type of job that you do to pay the bills, sustain a life style and accumulate the trappings of success and accomplishment.  

But is life really about just surviving?  Is there more to it than just covering the bills and the rent so you can maintain a socially sanctioned life and comfortable standard of living?

I had been sharing how I had left behind my survival situation in Smithers BC and embraced the calling of my heart.   I left a magnificent log house on five acres that was the envy of all, yet in which I found no comfort.   I shared how I have never been healthier, happier and more loving and creative.   Even the really tough moments-- there have been some-- are underlayed by profound sense of being on the right path.   I had also been sharing stories of this crazy river of abundance that has been flowing my way.

When it came time to pay the bill she generously offered to pay for my coffee.   I looked in my wallet-- I had but 4 euros left.  

I smiled.   

I explained that I wanted to make an existential statement.    I insisted on paying for my coffee-- explaining with a genuine smile that this was my last few coins in the whole world that I was putting on the table.

Now, if I had really been courageous, I would have also paid for her coffee, and this story would be a lot better!   Alas, as my last entry describes, full-out courage is not something that comes to me easily.  :-(

Breakfast concluded and I headed back to the family I was staying with.   There, waiting for me was a 50 Euro bill-- an advance on a painting payment!   Then, I checked my e-mail, and I was shocked to see a friend had found a place on a geological research crew with Pottsdam university.  Not only would I get a ride out to the beautiful mountain area near Dresden, but I would get paid 100 euros for one day of work!   I don't know about you, but 100 euros is a small fortune for me!   I've prospered for a month on less than this!

If this wasn't enough, the next day I did a presentation to a group of Humanity's Team folks in Berlin.   I explained my project and told some stories-- I didn't ask or even consider asking for anything.  At the end of the afternoon, I was blown away when the folks came up to me and just started handing me bills and giving me the most blessed hugs!

So now, my wallet is full of cash.   

Its pretty crazy.   Most crazy however was the way I smiled and felt at ease when I paid for my coffee.    I have spent my last euro before but it was with anxiety and trepidation.   This time there was nothing but the smile.

I think I may just have conquered a fear!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Thanks Vaughn for taking this picture!  This is me at the start of my journey holding the book:  Courage:  The Art of Living Dangerously.  By Osho. Thanks Amie for the lend!

When I began my journey I did so with a book entitled "Courage" in my pocket.   People have called me courageous on my journey.   Just yesterday it happened again in fact.   Yet, despite having read the book cover to cover and having made it all the way here, it is the least of my virtues.   

Comfortable places have been so difficult to leave!  When the daunting unknown lies ahead I have clung to the comfortable known.   Often it hasn't been I who really decided to leave but the winds of change kicking me in the ass!   It has taken me months longer than it should have to get here to Berlin.  Indeed I have hesitantly dotted on the outskirts of the city gathering the courage to head in.

Many friends reading this will smile knowlingly as the read this and remember the extra day of two or three it took me to leave.    Its rather embarrassing actually.  I am so glad no one has seen any of my countless moments of anxiety as I hesitated on turning down some unknown road.

Yet, in facing and struggling against my own cowardliness I have come to discover something particular.

It doesn't really matter.

So its taken me a long time to get here.  Yet, there is a fundamental synchronicity that has underlied the timing of my journey's twists and turns and junctures and connections and "delays".  Often seconds would have deterred me from an astounding meeting or connection.  Despite being plagued with feelings of lateness and an urge to rush choices, my stops and goes have had a chronological life all of their own.  I must be honest with myself.  Even if I had really wanted to, I could not really have left earlier or sped things up.   So doing would have forgoed the poetic conclusions of my stays.  

And really, what does it matter than I have arrived in April and not in January?   The months in between have been so JAM PACKED with fantastically beautiful experiences.  I'd be a fool to regret any of them.  I would be a fool to exchange them for a more rushed and hectic pace.   An absolute fool.   

That said, here I am.  I am in the perfect time and place.  This moment itself is a fabulously intricate creation of so many encounters and connections.   How could it be any different?  I cannot make a bad decision or choice!  

With this in mind, with my arsenal of great moments behind me, courage becomes so much easier.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Love Spoon

I've been meaning to post this for almost a month now.

There is an ancient Welsh tradition that I learned in my journey through England.   When a Welsh warrior would go off to battle or on a long journey, he would carve his beloved a spoon.  The wooden spoon would be a gift to remember their love despite the distance.   

I was the blessed recipient of one such Welsch spoon.  

It was an impractical tourist version, but I insisted on traveling, cooking and and eating with this spoon nonetheless.  It wasn't the most practical spoon, but I was awed by what a fabulous gift it made.   I would think of my lover as I prepared and ate my meals.   I happen to beleive that the intention that you make and eat a meal with imbue it with a certain positive or negative energy.

What better intention to imbue a meal with than love?

Walking with my Welsch lover back in December I came across a twisted piece of oak in the forest.  Departing on my bike I took it with me.   For the last few months, here and there, I have been working on this spoon.   In so doing, I have discovered yet another beautiful element to this tradition.  

The steady act of carving a spoon is tremendously meditative.   Wood is an organic material that you must lovingly whittle into its destined form.   The particular branch that I used had grainy twists and turns that I was compelled to follow.  It certainly didn't seem like it would make a spoon.  Yet, it emerged with a beautiful character all its own.   After three months of consistent work it was finally done.   Before I sent it off  I tested it out, I was blown away by how cool it was!  I even contemplated for a brief moment keeping it for myself!

Going with the wood's unlikely twists and turns to discover something uniquely beautiful struck me as dazzling metaphor for the relationship I shared with my lover.  Our relationship was characterized by going with the flow or moments that we found ourselves in.  It was on intense moment after then other. We went with our moments wherever they took us.  And they took us to dazzlingly beautiful places.

As she stirrs her coffee each morning with this , it is my hope that she remembers, not I, but the spirit of our love.  Each moment with another is a gift.  Don't let the future or past darken it.   Be there.   Go with the flow of the moment's grain.  Sculpt something beautiful.  Love.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"How are you Making the World a Better Place?"

Walking down the streets of Berlin today a woman intercepted my path:  "You've got something in ear that's blocking you from reality!"   I smiled and stopped and took out my headphones.   She bekoned me over to her table adorned with pamphlets with strange pictures of the world and reorganized world order.

She launched immediately into her spiel.   I listened as best I could.   She spoke of the need for a new world order, mag rail lines connecting all the world and new global currency.  People are living in their routines and are not making the changes and the actions the world needs to be better.  She wanted me to buy a DVD or make a donation.

"What are you doing to make the world a better place?" was her question to me.

I laughed:   "Do you really want to know?"

Alas her question was more rhetorical than anything else.  I sensed a myriad of non-rational motivations in her cling to the ideas of her organization and her frantic attempts to undermine everything I had to say.   

"Why are you cycling around the world?  World Unity?  Peace Portraits?   Oneness... what is the heck is that?"

It was a terse exchange despite my best efforts.   It reminded me of some sort of Christian conversion booth.   But, what a gift to be challenged on my first principles.   Its a while since I have been so challenged and relentlessly questioned on my personal philosophy

So what am I doing to make the world a better place?   What a great challenge to put this into words!  Let me try again...

First, I don't think you can make the world any better place than you have made yourself.   Second, I believe that the world is made better by your moment to moment interactions and relationships with people.   Third, I believe that the concept of Oneness is fundamental to transcending the injustice, oppression and ecological imbalance that challenge our world.  

My life and work thus take a day to day, moment to moment approach.  First, I strive to furthering my health and happiness.  Second I strive for clear and loving relationships with others.  And finally, my work and art are an ongoing reflection on my oneness with the world.

How's that?

Would you like a pamphlet? 

Perhaps you would like to purchase my DVD?