Monday, December 21, 2015

I humbly accept

Asthma ain't fun! Watching my son struggle for breath is excruciating. I'm painstakingly reminded how our bodies are helpless and susceptible to all sorts of physical maladies. It is the spirit that is resilient and the mind that is determined.

He tosses... turns... coughs... repeat. Fighting for a single comfortable breath. I'm sitting here taking for granted the ease at which I effortlessly inhale and exhale. My mind is free to wander off to far away places unencumbered. While he is shackled to only thoughts of breathing.

This is the time I contemplate life.  Choices. Paths. Direction. ....guilt...
My relationship with my son has evolved into a dance of sorts. Back and forth debates. Mental jousting. As he develops into a young man, I feel the responsibility of helping him grow in character. Love. Patience. Kindness. Respect. Generosity. Responsibility. Ownership. Confidence. Resolve.

These lessons can come from me in an aggressive manner, as if seizing the moment requires a stern hand. Wave can feel under attack by me. I dismiss the very attributes of the character traits I'm trying to employ. Gentleness is my lack.
Looking at him helplessly struggle for air,  the only thing I want to do is embrace my baby and give him the very breath in my lungs.

Over the last 8 years I have made marked changes in my approach to "handling things." I used to be quieter, non-abrasive, non-confrontational, willing to let others opinions take the floor. Life can change you. In my frustration of feeling my perspective was always ignored or belittled, I was told repeatedly.... "the sqeaky wheel gets the grease." I took that to heart, but it has taken on a life of its own, where now, I embody a clanging gong.... wordy, loud, forceful aggressive, not willing to let others over talk me....or out wit me.

My confession: as I watch my son struggle for air, I feel guilty for all the times I aggressively tried to change him. He is truly a sweet soul.... and I'm left here wondering just how damaging my aggression is to his overall well being. 
The lesson here is for me.  To return to my true self... to nurture, listen, love, gently guide, be open, welcome differences, be humble and allow others to just be and be ok with that. My opinion is not the only or best in the room. I can stand to learn a thing or two from someone else's struggle. It's not all about the "wisdom" I'm trying to impart all the time. True wisdom is seen over time in action. Consistency. Speaking volumes visually without words. I miss that part of me. I'm reconnecting.
I lost sight of how truly powerful transformation is through humility.

I love you my son,  be well. Continue to teach me. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Great Equalizer

The Great Equalizer
              I awoke from a dream with a pulsating headache. Typically, it takes some real effort to recall the details of my dreams unless I wake up from a half-sleep-half-wake cycle. Most times it doesn’t matter what the details were as long as I can capture the essence of what the dream was about. There seems to have inherent in dreaming a message that is trying to transcend from the sleep world into the conscious world. Especially when I am exposed to a challenge or problem to transverse in the conscious space, my dream life works to find viable solutions. Such was the case last night. I awoke with an epiphany.
              My headache is indicative of ‘a lot on my mind’. By process of elimination I am able to dissect its cause. It is definitely related to thinking. Although I keep a busy schedule, I get ample sleep. I also have not been debaucherously frolicking about in the arts of drinking and smoking.  My nourishment has been adequate and I am well hydrated. I can honestly say I am of sound mind and body. So, the culprit lies with the heavy conceptual thinking I have been habitually engaging in over the course of several weeks. My brain is full and tired, if that is even such a feat.
              You’ve heard it said that “everything happens for a reason.” Before I get into my epiphany, let me entertain the journey of my current barrage of seemingly random activities. As I embark on obtaining my teaching certification, there are several prerequisites I must accomplish in order to move on to the next level of coursework. One requirement that needs satisfying is a comprehension test – The PRAXIS. The PRAXIS is a series of tests that gauge a level of basic competencies. It is used as a foundational assessment of reading, writing and arithmetic. I took the initial three-part test and passed two sections. I failed the math portion. In order to progress through my program of study I will need to retake the math portion and pass it. My solution to this quandary is to take on a tutor. I meet with a live person twice a week to help me navigate through the world of ‘simple’ math. I also take on the role of self-learner and visit the KHAN Academy website for easy to understand math tutorials. I’m becoming more and more confident in my ability to absorb some of this math ‘stuff’.
Being a visual learner all my life, I have adopted ways in which to problem solve through images and pictures. My mind works more with concepts as opposed to linear thinking. That is why I have trouble with timelines and incremental thinking. Unfortunately, I have developed some crippling habits along the way. I never really understood the process of math. In my younger years I classified myself as having a ‘math phobia’. I no longer subscribe to that notion. I now have an intense awe and respect for math. This understanding did not come by way of me finally figuring out how to do math, but rather through listening and watching those who have a passion and love for the discipline in the same way I have for art.
Which now brings me to the topic of language. Math is its own language. Art is its own language. Language is its own language!
Language [lang-gwij] noun
1.      a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. (
People use language to connect to each other and the world around them.  I have been gaining new appreciations for different types of languages that go beyond linguistics. The sciences have many intriguing sects: Chemistry, Botany, Physics, Biology, Psychology….the list goes on and on. Even what use to be my arch nemesis – Mathematics. There are specialists in every field who eat, drink and sleep the language of their chosen discipline. They all have a piece of the puzzle. Humanity is an array of different creations, all with their own way of absorbing and transmitting their existence.
              Back to math. I love listening to a mathematician describe the world through numbers and equations. It’s like a scene in the movie the Matrix where Neo was finally enlightened and possessed the ability to see the world through the lens of binary code. For the people that speak that language, that must look simply breathtaking. For people like me who gravitate towards the language of art, I prefer my lenses to be the color pink! However, whatever the language it seems to me we are all trying to describe the same things and some of those things are big invisible stuff like Hope, Patience, Faith, Kindness, Charity, Love or even God.
              In an intense series of inquiry and contemplation with my best friend Freedom, we have embarked on the quest of answering the bigger questions of humanity about the necessity or abandonment of the concept of religion. That’s a lot of words to capture the thought, ‘What or who guides our lives?” That question is loaded and can go in a million different directions, so for brevity I will omit our commentary.
What is important to note is that the series of conversations were occupying the reserves of my mental space. I bring it up to come full circle on my dream of last night and the epiphany surrendered.
              In one of my math tutoring sessions we were going over the basic functions of converting percent to decimal to fractions and back. I admit it was a challenge to swiftly execute the conversions. Lots of numbers and their visual symbols were swirling in my head, hence the headache. Upon retiring for bed after a long session with Freedom about the existence of ‘God’ and what man ‘needs’ to guide his life, I was mentally exhausted. I must have still had some residual math problem solving kicking around in my head that needed resolution, because during my sleeping hours I dreamed of numbers. These numbers were all jumbled in a pile reminiscent of fall foliage raked into a big pile. The pile of arithmetic symbols began to swirl around in a typhoon fashion. Then they began to group themselves. Numbers and symbols began to gravitate towards one another grouping in specific and comfortable ways. 5+2=7. The geometry symbols came together and formed a 3, 4, 5 triangle forming a Pythagorean triple. More groupings took place, but the most outstanding of them all were the fractions.
              The fractions were frantically jostling about trying to find their place above and below the line. Lots of bumping and shoving and claiming positions happened with the excitability and frequency of a chemical reaction. But, suddenly as if in a synchronized swimming dance, they effortlessly found their familiar configuration of ‘the common denominator’.  All the fractions lined up in order with all the base numbers the same. THAT was the epiphany! The hyper activity of the images, thoughts beliefs, doctrines, philosophies, charts, graphs, figures, books, numbers and symbols swimming around in my head were magnetized and began grouping together. Common associations formed; Chaos turned to organized chaos turned to minimalist simplicity. All the languages markedly proclaimed the same sentiment. All cultures with their variables of content merged to form humanity. All divisions were solved and remainders described.  All choices were balanced against the same parameter. All the questions of creation, God, religion and text culminated into one simple answer. A common denominator formed.

Here is my final equation on the matter: God = Love.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Art Opening - AWESOME evening!

Last night's Veterans Art Show was a huge success! The other veteran's artwork was deep and insightful. Their words were moving and brought tears to many eyes. It is an honor to be part of such a high caliber group. I look forward to many more shows with the Veterans Art Foundation.
Thank you to all my friends and family who came out to support this event or to those who sent an encouraging word. I truly appreciate the love! It motivates me to get back into the studio!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Veterans Show!

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT!!! My art opening is tonight! It's a big one! It features five of my most recent work and the other artists are all veterans! It's a great opportunity for me. I'm very excited about it. The gallery is at 100 Pearl Street, Downtown Hartford. From 4-7pm. Please come out and support my efforts in the arts. Thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Veterans Art Show!

For ALL the people who frequently ask when am I showing my artwork...HERE'S THE SHOW TO GO TO!!!
Five pieces of my most thought provoking artwork to date is being featured in a Veterans Show.
The pieces submitted reflect how my Year of Silence influenced my current body of work. Such topics as social injustice, denied freedom and historical honor grace my canvas and ignite social commentary. Seeing the pieces in person is electrifying.

I was also selected as one of the veteran artists to speak about their selected artwork at the Fundraising Reception on June 10, 2015. (4:30pm-7:00pm)

The Greater Hartford Art Council in partnership with the Veterans Art Foundation are featuring veteran artists in an art exhibition from May 18 to July 17, 2015. 

The GHAC is one of the most prominent arts organizations in our State. The Opening Reception is on May 28th from 5-7pm and the Fundraising Reception is on June 10 from 4:30pm-7:00pm. The June 10th fundraiser will feature 2 veteran speakers (one of which is Michelle Thomas) and veteran musicians.

We encourage you to attend both receptions as supporters of the GHAC, the Veterans Art Foundation a.d the veteran artists. GHAC would like you to meet and greet the artists featured in the exhibition.

Art Space - Corporate Building
100 Pearl Street
Hartford CT

Exhibit runs from:
May 18 – July 17, 2015
Opening Reception:
Thursday, May 28, 2015 

Fundraiser Reception
Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Please come out to both receptions and support my endeavors in the arts!
Thank you.

Blood on the Leaves - Michelle Thomas

The current juried show at the West Hartford Art League is showcasing some beautiful artwork from the New England area.

One of my recent pieces is in the show, entitled "Blood on the Leaves" (Michelle Thomas). The subject matter of my new series of work deals with honoring the unknown or forgotten lives of African Americans lynched in this country. It stems from the united energy protesters in current times display while holding signs that say, "black lives matter".

Please go down to the gallery and check out the show and see my piece in person. It's raw and thought provoking yet the treatment of the subject matter is handled delicately.

CT+6, April 23 - May 31, 2015.


Gallery Hours:
Thursday-Sunday: 1-4 pm

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The mission of peace...

     It's so easy to feel and embrace peace in the early morning. All is quiet. Most are sleep. Less activity going on. The early morning is peaceful. Serene.
It refreshes the soul and gives life to the body. My mind is clear and ready to embark on my day.
     Keeping that peace throughout the day is my goal. As of late, with two teenagers to guide, I find myself losing patience which leads to frustration. I must remember to look beyond whatever the current challenge and set my sights on the bigger picture. Give love and grace.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Unlearn Learned History

The Destruction of Black Civilization - Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. To 2000 A.D. By Chancellor Williams
This is the newest book on the reading list and follows the enlightened reading experience of The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson.

     I'm only in the Preview portion of the book where Williams spells out his inquiry and methods into the research of African history, specific to the fall of Black people.  Immediately you get a sense of the author. The book reads very conversational and candid. Williams is thorough and methodically captures the details of a lost history. I'm hooked within the first few pages!
     I am sure this book will flesh out old theories and abolish certain lies taught in the Western world.
     The hunger for knowledge will be satisfied.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Drop of Water

     Nature is the best place to quiet ones mind and get back to our true essence. The man made world is a harsh and crude place. Man surrounds himself with all kinds of activities that feed his flesh, leaving the mind and spirit to wither.
     Sometimes getting back to purity requires recognizing purity and staying in touch with things that are pure. My proximity to what taints my soul is too close. If one is not watchful and you surround your senses with the negativity man spews, he can creep in causing you to believe his lies.
     If I am an ink droplet and I fall into an ink well, I become even more saturated with ink. But if I am that same ink droplet that falls into a clear pond, I do not contaminate the pond but rather the pond in its vast pure-ness over powers me and diffuses my statin until you can not recognize me from the pure. I become purified.
     My spirit craves a return to its original pure creation.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Up All Night

     When the body and mind are not in sync it feels torturous. I know my body could use the rest but my mind will not shut off. My mind could use the rest but my body is fidgety. Random thoughts and images of conversations never to be had. Opinions never to be voiced. Should have, could have, would haves fill space time uselessly. All the activity of an inactive person. So why allow the mind to wander to such empty places?

     There seems to be no choice. Something I am plagued with since a little girl. Split personalities. I have multiple characters living in my head. They have been there long before I can remember when they emerged. But they are there. Undoubtedly there. They take over when "i" am not performing to their liking, filling my head with chatter to steer me of course, onto some superficial plane of nothingness.

     Then came a break through where they seemed to merge. A necessary person entered my life and showered me the path to myself. On this journey I became intimate with the artist within. My own voice was being heard not in an auditory way but silently and even stronger than the many. My artwork became personal and raw. I reached deep into the recesses of my past, lived in the moment and foresaw the future all on the same surface. Maybe they fell silent because they were in awe. The statements on canvas were so full there was no room for another voice. Or maybe they knew to just sit and wait....

     I mistakenly thought we all became one. I was right to be mislead. Since there were no longer multiple voices and personalities vying for center stage, I was fooled to believe they melded together with in me and WITH me. I only heard one voice own. Finally united. One person. One voice. Freedom.

     However, the truth is I was fooled. There are two of us. Me and them! They silently watched as I arrogantly thought my thoughts were my own. Man's folly is his arrogance. I became confident that I was in control. I think, debate, analyze, think some more...analyze some more. I thought my way back to inactivity. That is their in! This carnal mind/body duel is a trap. I was never in control. I am a mere prisoner of this mind and body. My true freedom is outside of myself.

     I reason within myself....and herein lies the problem! Thinking too much about thinking. Action is needed! Art is needed!
I'm allowing space and time to be filled with useless chatter! They win when I am stagnant. Sensing my weakness they surface and engage in a hostile take over. They fill my mind with all my flaws, misgivings, failures and shortcomings allowing in the judgement of others. They are the masters of replaying negative tapes of lies.

     My art is the key. And when I say "art", I mean all avenues of expression. (Visual art, music, writing, poetry and the like) That is where true freedom lies.
When I am active in creation there is no sound. No voice. No chatter. No one.
The most powerful place to reside is where you lose yourself. Submission to the universe is where real oneness exists.

I am writing.

Monday, May 11, 2015

20-Artistic Expressions-Verbal Slap-Poets prproj

This episode of Artistic Expressions is HOT! The poets of Verbal Slap turn up the heat!! Michelle Thomas delivers a comfortable interview leaving you wanting more. Please watch. Remember to support the arts and your local artists!

Friday, March 13, 2015

15-Artistic Expressions-Tangsauce

Be inspired as Michelle Thomas interviews TangSauce & The Optimistics.  They bring an array of talent, skill and entertainment. This upcoming group offers a dynamic spark of energy with  effortless synergy. Enjoy this episode of Artistic Expressions! 

Remember to always support the Arts and you local artists!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

13-Artistic Expressions-Aariyan Googe-021315

Michelle Thomas interviews Aariyan Googe on Artistic Expressions.
Watch as self taught photographer Aariyan Googe shares her secrets behind the camera! This light spirited deep soul gives her gift of capturing life. Enjoy looking at the world through her lens.
Remember to always support the Arts and your local artists.

Friday, January 2, 2015

11-Artistic Expressions-Chef Jay

Michelle Thomas interviews Chef Jay Lewis!!! A DELICIOUS episode!

Watch Artistic Expressions and learn about how Chef Jay's is a master in the culinary field and talks about his newly published cookbook: "The Gentlemen's Cookbook", where he cooks up not only tantalizing recipes but also manly advice on being a true gentleman.