All posts by Yuko

Creative Self Exploration – Part Two: You, The Temple.

Important Notice:

I just had an inspiration today.
For Part 3, we will be using what we discover in Part 2, to create an abstract painting/drawing.
Please prepare a sheet of paper and something to paint with, such as, crayons, pastels, paints – preferably 3 to 5 different colors and/or textures/materials. At minimum, one graphite pencil/ a charcoal block for example – something to easily draw in varying textures/tones with – and a found material like cardboard, newspaper, etc – will do.
You have several weeks to prepare, needn’t be fancy, but if possible choose something you feel drawn to/comfortable with.
– February 18, 2024, edited on Feb 20, ’24.

What’s this about? INTRODUCTION
Just found this out? I recommend you start from PART ONE

Week 8: Your Ears: Soundness of Your Visions

February 24, 2024

‘soundness’ synonyms include:
integrity, strength, truth.
– thesaurus.com

Welcome back to this weekly, year-long experiment meant to be fun and hopefully also, inspirational.
Suggesting, most of all, you being the fondest inspiration to yourself.
It has already been a great lesson for me.

This week, we are focusing on our ears.
As stated last week, this exercise is designed to include all living biological humans. If your hearing is impaired, please substitute with the part of your body that functions closest to sensing the sound/vibration/frequency.

Find a place reasonably quiet where you can be alone for a while.
Giving your ears soft, permissive attention, allow them to recollect what they heard/experienced up to this point.
What do they remember, and how do they make you feel?

Perhaps it’s a swing at a park resonated so right it unlocked the treasure chest in your subconscious.
You may remember shifting colors of the sky on one special day with your ears like a concerto.
Or, you find your ears reliving the feel of squeaky sand revived just last week with your feet.

Please be nonjudgmental and allow what they – your ears – want to recall, surface.
They – memories/recollections – may trigger optimism or pessimism. While not to recommend anyone staying sad, both are valuable information about your truth/self. That is what I mean by “nonjudgmental”.

Furthermore, this is not an exercise to get comfy in mere sentimentalism. What is suggested here is that you tap into you as the…

Your body is The Ultimate Supercomputer, fueled by a bottomless supply of Purest Love.

Please make sure to take notes of significant finds. As mentioned at the top, you will need the info for the upcoming Part Three /in several weeks.

Wishing you a fab week listening to your ears ;)

Week 7: Your Feet: The Miles You Walked

February 17, 2024

Welcome to the Part Two of Creative Self Exploration, a year-long experiment/adventure, where I play it by my intuitive ear and post weekly themes every Saturday JST.
In Part Two, we will focus on our physicality, our body, the temple we inhabit.

I’d like to start off by focusing on our feet.
On many miles we walked, on times we stood still whether in awe or aghast. They are the foundation of our existence.

Important Note:
If you do not stand on your feet for variety of reasons, please focus instead, on the foundation of your mobility, such as the palm of your hands that steer your wheelchair. If you have no mobility then where your body contacts the ground. In other words, this exercise does not intend to exclude you whatever your circumstance may be. I don’t say this to be politically correct neither. What I mean, which, I believe, applies to everyone, is…

Your physique is Your Temple, wherever you’ve been, however you are.

Please take an undisturbed moment and give your feet a gentle, open attention.
Kindly let your feet recollect memories of the places they walked/stood upon.
Any time/place(s) in particular that stand out, if so, in what way(s)?

Feel any sensations as you let your feet remember?
Feelings, emotions, memories … visions, thoughts, scent/taste/sound?
What are your favorites, do you wish to revisit the places/experiences?

Any ripple effects, chain reactions, of recollections?
What do they mean to you, then and now?

Please give enough moments this week, ask questions like these
and allow the answers to surface from within you.

You can write, draw, record in whatever the method you feel drawn to.
I do recommend you take notes, treat those snippets like gold nuggets.
And you, a gold mine.

Have fun!!

The Art of Stealing Moments.

Happy New Year, Dear Visitor!!

A sea gull landing on water.
A mug cup and a pair of tennis shoes on beach sand ripples with foot prints.
Rubber stamp prints on the wall.

Pink Cloud Moment:

Zen and the Art of getting comfy for a sec, even if in the eye of the raging storm.

A cloud at sunset.
A large mug cup on sand at sea shore at sunset.

Life is difficult.
– M Scott Peck “The Road Less Traveled”

To steal a moment, to snuggle up comfy in the eye of the storm*, I must not deny that there is a storm.
Paradoxically, I found it true, I escape by not running.
What if then, the storm so severe you almost have to look away, at least partially?
I found it effective then, to not deny my such denial.

To get comfy, as in, tranquil. I found it necessary that I not battle with the reality of my day.
Stolen moments like that, open up a channel where Inspiration flows, giving life a meaning, regardless, despite.

“Needless to say but on internet, playing safe is preferable: This is an analogy. In case of an actual storm, escape to a safe place first.

Photos from top (photographed date month year @ hour:minute:second):
A Water Bird (08Feb18 time recorded inaccurate)
Cafe Footprints (31Dec23 @ 15:43:30)
Dra Gondola (15Jan24 @ 15:55:55)
A Perfect Cloud (01Jan24 @ 16:24:32)
Cafe Perfect (01Jan24 @ 16:21:10)

The print “Dra Gondola” was inspired by a story I read as a child “Tears in the Dragon’s Eyes” (Hirosuke Hamada, 1941, the title translated literally by myself).

Wishing you a year filled with countless Pink Cloud Moments, rain or shine.

Creative Self Exploration – Part One: Your Clean Slate

What’s this about? INTRODUCTION
Just got here? Scroll to the bottom and start with WEEK ONE.

Week 6: Conclude, Shall We?

February 10, 2024

The last week of Part One, here we go!!

Bring one furniture from where you live, into your Hakoniwa.
Place it where and how you feel is right.
Imagine yourself sitting/leaning on /standing by the furniture.
What do you see? How do you feel?

How is the furniture placed in relation to the object from Week 1?
How does it relate to your surroundings, imagined in Week 2-5?
What do they tell you about yourself, your life – thoughts, feelings, memories?
Correlations, symbols, wisdom from yourself?

(You can either imagine yourself there, or imagine looking at you being there from where you actually are.)

Now, please do be open, as in accepting, to the way you feel, being there in your space.

Let me share with you how I have done it so far, for the purpose of conveying what I mean by all this.

“I am in my loft on a folded futon. My Week 1 object, a sequined silver dress’ positioned a few meters away nearly out of my peripheral vision. I sit facing a very large rabbit in distance with its gaze fixed in my direction, I see it through the wall with no windows. I feel on my back warmth from the very sunny beach, the light from which sparkling on the sequins of the dress.

“As I imagined, an awareness surfaced, about its significance in relation to my current life, what this rabbit symbolizes to me.
With this awareness alone the rabbit shrunk in size, to the point I can no longer see its expression, and sensed myself turning away towards the beach.”

See how this exercise can be of benefit – for instance, to increase one’s self-knowledge and internal freedom…?

More than anything tho, please, if you may, marvel at what you created in last five weeks.
That’s your garden, your room, your space you assembled together into imaginative reality.

Your Creative Potential: Limitless.

Join me in Part Two starting next Saturday, til then!!

Week 5: Lastly, Skyward.

February 03, 2024

Let’s turn our attention to what is above us.
Imagine, standing in your space//garden/loft, and looking up skyward.
What do you see there, the structure over you, and the space above it?

Do you have a roof, shade, awning?
See stars through your skylight, or solid ceiling above you blocking the sun?
How starlit is the night, how bright the sunshine?
Do you feel the warmth, the chill, or is it scorching and you feel it even through the roofing?
If it’s a garden, is it fully open or part covered, if so with what type of structure, made of what materials?

How is the light, the sound, the atmosphere – anything falling? Flying?
How does it feel to be beneath it?

Imagination tells you a story you star in.

As always, please take your time and listen to your answers arise from within you
– for your attention to yourself is a gift of generosity, and you, the main character of an unfolding story.

Have a beautiful week!!

Week 4: Inside, Looking Out.

January 27, 2024

Imagine standing in your space – garden, loft – and looking over the fences, through the windows – what you envisioned in Week 2.
Look around, all directions.
What do you see?

Do you see tall buildings, or giraffes? How close to your space, are they….friendly?
Dense or spacious? Busy or tranquil? What’s the overall feel, the vibe, of what surrounds your space?

Do you hear anything?
Traffic, waves, dinosaurs…

Which view / element do you like the most, and the least?

Again, please don’t judge your answers even when they are “impractical”, because….

You are the one you will spend
the entirety of your life with.

…and every time you embrace the ideas as they surface from within you, the Creative Energy would, with equal eagerness flow through and circulate around you.

I hope you are having a swell time with this exercise / experiment.
See you in a week!!

Week 3: Ask Your Soles

January 20, 2024

How is the ground / floor?
What is it made of / from, and how does it feel to the soles of your feet?

Grassy, sandy, packed dirt. Hardwood, or carpeted? What kind of carpet, how fine is the sand?
And how do your soles feel, standing on them?
Wood panels squeak? How tall are the grasses? Any inhabitants, birds, insects or a snake?

Suspend Your Logic &
Imagine.

Please remember this: you don’t have to make sense.
You can have a hummingbird hovering above footprints of a polar bear.

Imagine walking around your space, barefoot.
Is it evenly comfortable?

As always,
please take your time and let your answers surface.
…and Have Fun!!

Week 2: Embrace, Enfold.

January 13, 2024

embrace:
to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.
– dictionary.com

Because ‘You’ happens only once in the history of the Universe

Continuing from the Week 1:

What feels right to enclose your garden / loft with;
walls, fences, the height, density, spaciousness?

Again, please take your time letting your answers surface.

Do you want to build a tall continuous wall, a barbed-wire fence?
Or leave one particular side open?
What about windows, balconies, gates…

If you sense any feelings attached to your answer – please take notes.
No need to know / figure out why you want it/feel that way. Not the purpose of this week’s theme anyways.

As you may be well aware: there’s no right or wrong however you want it. But I do wish you embrace your answers and have fun with all this.

You may draw a picture or describe in words. Or just keep your visions in your mind.
Do as you please; it’s your Hakoniwa!

See you in a week :)

Week 1: Let’s Hakoniwa*!!

January 06, 2024

*Hakoniwa is a Japanese word for sand box garden / therapy.

Imagine a garden or a large room like a loft. Think of it as a blank canvas.
If you are to plant/place just one item, what would that be?

Examples:
– A vintage kettle you didn’t buy that you still think about after decades.
– A park bench you used to sit on at lunch time while working in a office nearby.

This is not “resolution”, nor “to do list” for this year.
Nor about striving-planning-achieveing thing.
It is about letting ideas surface from within you. I am suggesting you catch them ideas when they do. And take notes.

Please spend enough time this week, asking yourself this. In other words, I recommend you do not rush.

It’s best not to analyze nor criticize – which may be a bit of a challenge.
In that case, if it does not feel too much, take a note about your criticism/hesitancy, etc. Not to overcome them but just to gather information.

If you really can’t think of anything, that is alright too.
Sometimes it’s more important that you ask/ed.

See you next week!!

In your imagination
you get to pick whatever you fancy.

Photo A Day, November 2023

This is an experiment with “progressive” style posting: relying completely-clumsily on my hunch and letting the story unfold.
Photos are taken / edited / mostly posted on the day.
Photo title-caption is in image URL / embeds.
You are invited to tag along (and let Your story unfold), also to leave comments.

A bird nest on a bed of yellow ginkgo leaves.
Moon rise over sea horizon captured in bold geometry,
Clouds, sun ray shone through with two gulls in flight.
Surface of a forming wave at dusk.
Ginkgo leaves, a holly blossom, a shell and a sea-worn roof tile,
Ginko leaves in the sun and wind.
A kite eagle in part cloudy blue sky.
Abstract line drawing of a flower petal in detail.
Sea shells, a salt-worn leaf on sand ripples in mid day sun.
Daisy lit up by the mid day sun light.
A white feather, a white shell arranged with a smart phone out of service.
Blue sky, ginkgo leaves and a white cloud.
A pair of worn tennis shoes, a red leaf, a mug cup on beach sand.
Abstract traces of city lights in monochrome.
A mug cup, a fine branch, a person's foot on beach sand.
Preparing a holiday wreath with an origami rabbit and a crane.
A dragon fly perched on a person's hand.
Sea-worn shells, rocks, leaves and a pair of worn-out paint brushes.
Abstract art work lit with filtered lighting in studio.
A dog toy tennis ball and a rusted mini shovel on a large rock.
Japanese Aster blossoms.
Ocean wave with sunlight reflections.
Silver grasses and golden rod blossoms in afternoon sun light.

A driftwood at a sea shore.
Journal books, a sea shell, a cell phone.
Sea surface with sunlight reflections.
A white lily in bloom.
2 birds soaring in blue sky.
A small canvas purse and a broken sea shell on a chair-shaped driftwood on the beach.

Afterword

As noted in the beginning of this post, I spent my month of November 2023 posting one photo a day. While searching for the image I focused only on what feels right within. To the sea or make a tea; each step of the way I consciously consulted with my innermost self.

Inspiration is a whisper and my thoughts oft in doubting of it. The pressure to “get a shot” daily was an exciting challenge I gave myself, also was laced with creative tension.

Throughout the month Creativity wove a continuous tale mostly of personal significance. Images ‘coincided’ over and again in ways I could no way have coordinated*. The tale unfolded guided me to the greater degree of trust in Benevolent Unseen.

Collaborating with The Creativity Itself has been my greatest ambition since long. Spent decades up to this date, clearing from within myself what counters my such aim, I’d like to think now the battle is over in most part. I noticed however, during the month’s experiment the fear, a certain kind of nervousness, was still present. It’s an impulse to hesitate, to recoil from the Dynamic Creative Current, although no longer a paralyzing dread**.

But that is alright, for I’ve come to suspect, it is the tension, in longing for and fearing of Creativity I find what compels me to dare, to make my minuscule version of The Ultimate Beauty.

*I decided against giving examples, for too often what’s awe-striking in this manner is so very personal, and detailing it becomes like explaining a joke. Instead, I will let you, the visiter, experience something if it’s there for you.
**When I talk about “creative block”, basically this is what I am talking about.

History:
Published on 03Nov23 at 09:11
Turned private on 03Nov23 at 13:25
Gone public / published again on 10Nov23
Added “Afterword” on 05Dec23 at 21:27

Present.

A red spider lily blossom in a cupped hand.
A red spider lily bud in close detail.

A red spider lily petals in detail.
A forming wave.

a strange moment
an overpowering stillness
shot through with the scent of the sea

the silence so complete, it had
given up its secret

time and again

Listen

A drift wood and a dried spider lily blossom.

Photos are of red spider lilies 2023, the ocean pic is from 2 yrs ago.

Text: from Kem Nunn “Tapping the Source”.
 A poem constructed with lines from the last page of the story (multiple offenses: I’ve been messing with other people’s work).

I am in the process of writing a follow up post about my take on how to (effortlessly) be present, to find a sanctuary in the moment

This post began its process on September 22, 2023 at 18:51.
A poem written on October 11, 2023 at 14:18 JST.

August (Alone with Waves)

A forming wave and clouds.

Things I learned this summer:

1

Basically I am swimming in a translucent sculpture of ever-shifting Perfection.

Sea shells in a palm by sea shore at sunset.
Hamagou blossoms on a beach at sunset.
An artwork in progress in morning light.

2

I realized I am painting waves!!*

Abstract line drawing details.

3

…and guess what? Shells are, too!!!

Sea shells and other beach finds in detail.
Abstract line drawing close details.

4

Present is the present with no strings attached.

Picnic tote on a sunny beach.
A faint rainbow in summer sky.
Hamagou blossoms, a picnic tote and the sea shore.

5

Ocean humbles me but humility sets me free.**

Sky reflected on sand at sea shore.

All images were photographed in August 2023.

*The artwork in progress (photo 4, 5, 7 from top) is an abstract interpretation of a flower petal. How so in one post from 2019.11.27: Process is the Destination!!

**Please allow me to specify what I mean by “humility” here.
I am not coming from stereo-typical Japanese “politely lowering oneself is a virtue” presentation (as in, nationalism-based virtue signaling, say). This is an art website and I work within myself to write as a creative.
Ocean is bigger than me. My silly pride as a skilled, long time swimmer had gotten shattered numerous times against the sheer force of the Ocean. Surprisingly though, such surrendering to Majestic did not defeat me but has been having the opposite effect on me: it permits me to release the dynamic/energetic/unapologetic side of me. As if the Ocean itself tempts me to become more. “Be more. You won’t scare me away.”
I wrote about one of the times when I got my ass handed: 2020.12.30 – New Moon in Virgo (An inflatable buoy tied to my waist since.)

Edits:
12Sep23 – added the “**” paragraph about humility.
14Sep23 – minor corrections.
27Sep23 – minor addition.

Artwork in progress with ocean surface.
2019.06.22 – Sea/She

Desert Sensibility

Day break at California desert.
Rising sun and the photographer reflections on a car window
A black car parked roadside overlooking ocean.
A silver car parked with mountains, clouds and concrete factory in background.

Stirring, white light, the desert sun of California, the sand beneath the asphalt.
I remember how it shone evenly, on beauty, bizarro, and every wound concealed.

Palm trees in the sun.
Classic buildings of Down Town Los Angeles.
Open Field somewhere along Interstate Five, Central California.
A small church with a lit cross at sunrise.

Photos: 2006-2012. Images from different times, new edits. I am not of Christian faith in case you wonder, but I do like the symbol.

Thinking of you California.

Published on March 22, 2023 at 2:23am JST, unpublished 2 minutes later (I had my moments), re-published at 3:22am. Today is New Moon in Aries at 2:23am JST, also the Astrological New Year, the official start of the Spring.

Ume Sentiment

Ume = Japanese Apricot / Plum. Pictured in photo #1 and #3.

Image of sea shore at sunset layered over Japanese apricot blossoms and hand writing.

“Demure, delicate, their fragrance so faint, their buds mature during the coldest time of the year, petals push open against late winter chill.
Soft yet Strong, they flower to signal the end of the Winter, and quietly retreat as Spring triumphs and flourishes in magnificent varieties of shapes and shades.”

Abstract line drawing of a lily petal layered over hand written letters.
Image of sunset sea horizon layered over Japanese apricot blossoms and hand written letters.

The middle photo is a casual iPhone snap of the piece “Spider Lily Red – Flare 2” I’ve been working on, taken on February 28, 2023 at 16:29. Turned it into monochrome and part soft/off-focused to simulate a hand-held blur using Lightroom phone app, then applied vsco A5 filter, then, taken into Photoshop on computer and layered with a ocean/gull pic and the scribbles I’ve been using for sometime. In short, over processed some. It’s an experiment.

What I think is so wonderful about subtlety is that, it brings out a hunter, a seeker in a person, the opposite of things that explain themselves so loud they put you in a position of a mere consumer. If creativity is about connecting dots in new ways, it then naturally asks you to be the initiator.
Initiate, but not overbear. Intend, yet keep it open-ended. Candid, without making it all about me. I think about all this while remembering the fortunate times when I found myself encased in an elegantly subtle Ume scent cloud*.

Decorative text in the middle:
I have audacity to quote (in fancy font!) my own post from May 2021 called “Subtle. Sincere.”.

References:
Link to all the posts about the project “Spider Lily Red” since 2012.Or,
its creative process in one post: “Process Is The Destination!!”.

*Ume scent travels on breeze, like a cloud, you’d be hit with it even when you are away from the actual Ume tree(s).

Published on March 11, 2023 at 22:06 JST.
Edits:
Added the “*” (no that’s not a face) on March 12, 2023 at 16:13 JST.