Important Update...

Visit: Your Spirit Rocks! on Facebook . Our vendors booth is appearing periodically at our local Farmer's Market(s) due to Covid19

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Search for Serenity

 My hikes with Sam (not his real name) have been educational. Sam is a NEW friend who I have known for a long time. This means that I've seen the guy around for about thirty years and am just now getting to know him a little better. We have made it a point to go for a walk on Wednesday mornings around eleven. He is pretty close to my age ( now in our 70's ) and will only go as far as is comfortable. The last time we met we walked over five miles. It was surprising that we covered that distance. Recounting mutual tales from the past has provided us with many stories to fill the time. It has been refreshing to talk and listen without that annoying sense of time urgency that has been the hallmark of this modern age.

Sam grew up in San Francisco and relocated to the Napa Valley like me. We have both appreciated the good fortune of living in such lush cultural environments as are both places. We spoke of meditation and other topics that support an inward journey. It seems that the older we get, the less certain of what is happening in the world around us. More importantly, the necessity of finding solace in activities that require focus, reflection, and an appreciation of beauty that surrounds us.

 Initially, the usual topics came up... Covid, Racism, Climate Control, Fires, Floods, Freezing temperatures, and the like, and of course Trump. It seems we cannot get enough of what we never really wanted in the first place! (Where have we heard that before ?) In an era of seeming transparency, people have become overly concerned and more mortally guarded than (seemingly) ever before.

I am so grateful that I grew up in a much more innocent time. Our freedom will probably never be matched like what we both had experienced in the sixties. Perhaps what has stood out is how blessed we were to experience an idealized form of Eden. Even if it eventually devolved into chaos.

Below is a picture that was taken on our hike. The rock below the first picture is one that sits on my window sill atop a brass holder that resembles seaweed. It was taken early in the morning, showing the glow that has been the distinguishing feature of all the rock that I paint.






Monday, February 15, 2021

Astonishing output

 Today is the day after Valentine's Day and I am happy to say that I did receive a nice valentine from a close friend. Even though it was misty and overcast at the Sebastopol Farmer's Market, it was still a pleasant day, and getting out of bed in the morning wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. The week before was quite fruitful, so it was thought best to return...despite any forecast to the contrary.

Quite a while ago, a video was made of a wizard-like creature that was painted with both fluorescent and phosphorescent paint. It was painted on a small canvas purchased at the Dollar store. Then it was made into a video shot on the IPhone™ The video featured different lighting effects made using a small UV flashlight. Even a strobe effect was featured that really made the various views exciting.

The final step was to make a Lifeprint™ Hyperphoto that would activate the small printout when held up to my iPhone. The "Hyperphoto" triggers a link that will animate the still printout of the image. What can I say? what was produced still blows my mind. Watch the video below








Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A Calm before the Storm

 It is Tuesday afternoon, January 26th, 2021 at 1:12pm Here is the situation as it stands now. We are currently in a holding pattern as we have been alerted that Flash Floods may be occurring this evening, which gives us yet one more reason to shelter in place. The sun was out this morning, so I rode my bike to Ace Hardware™ to purchase some bungee cords to "Batten down the Hatches" so to speak. Last week we had a terrific wind storm that blew the tarp off of my sun deck. I am hoping that the same thing does not occur again tonight. Sometimes I think that all we need in an emergency are duct tape, bungee cords, tarps, and a staple gun. Hey, that's not a bad start. This morning, it seemed that the whole neighborhood was doing something in preparation for this big event ( ...like we haven't had enough big events as of late? ) Besides dumping the Trumpmeister, we have had major fires, rampant racial injustice, insurrection, viruses, climate catastrophes throughout the world, and so it goes.

Yesterday, I got a shot to protect myself from getting a virus. No, not Covid 19, but Shingles. I had a horrible bout with this nasty condition last year. Waiting until January to have this done was a good idea. My new insurance policy which now covers these shots with a co-pay, cost me 40. as opposed to 165. which is what they would've cost me had I not switched. However, I cannot get a Covid 19 shot until after two weeks have passed. No biggie... ain't going nowhere except to Grocery Outlet to stock up on food.

Sleep patterns have not been consistent. I purchased an app for my iPhone called, "Synctuition". It's pretty good. Initially, I was convinced that it was a Russian brain-washing program designed to overwrite my core beliefs but have come to trust the 3D sound effects and the binaural beats that are designed to lull my mind into a perfect Gamma or Theta state. It also uses affirmations to reprogram the usual cynical frame of mind I resort to when getting too lonely, tired, angry, or most especially hungry ( or at times... horny ). 

When things get stale around here, I break out the paints and put on some good music to breathe life into this one-bedroom apartment. Limiting the coffee intake has served to keep things stable for the most part. Exercise is what challenges the schedule lately. Riding the ten-speed around the perimeter of town has sufficed for now. I do miss the hikes to Coyote Peak at Bothe State Park though. I was told by ranger Jessica that the trails should be partially back open in the Spring ( trusting that there will not be much erosion resulting from the Glass fire last Fall ). 

We cannot expect any sort of "New Normal" type stability to ramp up on such short notice these first few weeks of January. Time takes time.

That being said ...it's time for a nap.

This Week's Rock is a double-sided bedside piece designed to bring about restful serenity. Four views, same rock under different lighting ( blacklight, no light, and normal light )






Saturday, January 9, 2021

Old Hat?

Some years ago, at the height of the Movie Ratatouille's popularity, I produced something that I thought would be of value to both the Pixar and the Disney team. After much angst and preparation, I was able to secure an appointment with a marketing director at Disney, and drove to LA to meet them. To do this, was to show them this thing I had created which I thought would be a fabulous gift for anyone who enjoyed the overall theme of the movie.

 At the time, the movie had already peaked, and since the Remy™ character wasn’t going to be "evergreen," more promotional ventures wouldn’t be viable. ( as it was explained, characters like Mickey Mouse™ and Donald Duck™  were iconic, and therefore long-lasting )

    When the film came out in 2007, I had been working at the Culinary Institute of America as a Concierge. Students there are required to wear clean, disposable chef’s toques in the kitchen during class time ...not just for identification but for sanitation purposes. When I wasn’t busy assisting tourists who came to visit the school, some time was spent sketching out ideas for fun. That's when I began working on a new chef's hat. Having seen the movie, the very idea of having a rat inside a chef’s toque was amusing. Finally, I figured out a way to imprint the shadow of  Remy™  the hair-pulling rat on the interior of a toque.






Some of the staff at the Culinary Institute encouraged me to build on this idea, which I did to the point of annoyance.
   
    Finally, when an opportunity to meet Celebrity Chef Thomas Keller became available I quickly provide him with one of my prototypes in appreciation for his advisory contribution to the movie, and to perhaps endorse this as a potential product. Needless to say, it didn't fly, but at least I got a chance to further my creativity.










Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Grateful

Today I am grateful for the life that has been given me. I’ve done nothing to deserve such a gift. Thanking God each day for my sobriety has kept me on the right track. It has not been an easy road to be thankful for all the misfortunate experiences over the years. Today has afforded me a different perspective in this regard. 

Seeking Gratitude has been a major key to spiritual renewal. Resenting others (including myself) has sabotaged all types of human relations because of this. Not surrendering the ego and the shame state can render paralysis, and thus making one unavailable for growth. "The degree to which we discount ourselves is the degree to which we can damage others" *. The way out is through, and a way out of this particular state is to become other-oriented by "paying it forward" as my niece has reminded me through her abundant generosity. 

It's baby steps for now, but this simple (and no one said easy) strategy is beginning to allow emotional growth once again.

* Roberta Meyer- "Listen to the Heart" ©1989 Warner Books ISBN 0-446-51432-2 Creating intimate families through the power of unconditional love. 


Creative Communication Experiences (CCE)
Staff with the birthday boy, March 1979


Some of the same happy group in later years




Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Rocks that connect with people

  Recently, I had a talk with my sister Rita on FaceTime. We were discussing what value the gift of a rock could be for someone. Other than the usual ideas (i.e. a bookmarker, a doorstop, a reminder or meditation device, a talisman, or even what some may call a "worry stone") she suggested it may be just what a child would need on their first day of school to reduce what is called "Connection anxiety." That feeling a child may have when mom is not there. This idea brought back something that I have mentioned to the parents of young children. This is the perfect gift for kids who are scared of the dark, or who just need something to remind them that their mom is there. 

The rocks I paint are phosphorescent and fluorescent for that very reason. A keychain blacklight is supplied with each purchase in order to activate the lumens that show off bright dayglow colors when the beam is aimed at the rock and beautiful glowing colors when the blacklight is turned off.

  I vaguely remember as a kid, taking a rock or perhaps a toy to bed to comfort me. This along with a flashlight to read a comic under the covers until I was told that it was "Lights out". Invariably, there would be stuffed animals and other items that served to launch me into lovely childhood dreams.

 Having a rock as an heirloom is another way in which a physical object can hold fond memories for a loved one. Connection anxiety can be relieved by having these rocks with us long into our adulthood. Abandonment can be a life-long trauma. The story below is a testimony to this.

  A few years ago I was told a story about a ten-year-old kid whose parents had shipped him off to a boarding school when he was only in the fourth grade. The father and mother traveled together and couldn't give the child the time or attention necessary for a wholesome upbringing. Kids usually stayed on campus most weekends and would get to come home on holidays if lucky. That, being traumatic enough, only worsened for this particular boy during the holidays. A homecoming event was not in the future for him.

  One Christmas break, when all the parents came to take their kids back home, this little boy was left sitting on the dormitory stairway as the cars were leaving. Finally, after a long wait, a large black limousine drove up to the doorway and parked. Out of it jumped an enthusiastic woman with her arms outstretched, as the driver of the limo proceeded to unload a few wrapped boxes from the trunk. The boy smiled sheepishly, and gingerly embraced this woman who was obviously his mother with the chauffeur remaining on standby, for what lasted perhaps five minutes. The boy opened his gifts as mommy gave him one last kiss and then drove off. The boy sat there bewildered and lost.

  The above story is not a fond memory that the giving of many gifts would be meant to foster. Every kid usually wants a bike or Game-boy to keep them occupied. I am not suggesting that these aren't the stuff of a ten-year-olds dream. The connection we feel with our loved ones is what is most important. Having that feeling of being loved and cared about is what every human being wants to some degree. That is... to receive, and in turn, give to another 

 Small Hand-painted rocks are meant to be gifted as treasures, with every good memory from the past holding its rightful place. It's a simple gift that could mean a lot.

The Rock below is this week's "Rock of the Month."




Monday, November 16, 2020

Returning to the Source

 It's been over a week or so since I have returned to the coast. It is there that one finds peace and tranquility walking along the shore. Usually, I spend time there reflecting and collecting the source of Your Spirit Rocks™ these are the smooth, flat, symmetrical, rounded, undimpled,blemish-free stones that are transformed into beautiful talismans and art pieces that become heirlooms and the gifts that keep on giving. They are held in my hand, felt for portability.


Above are the sizes which will work. No two rocks are really the same, neither is the painting that goes on them. The type of paint materials used are proprietary information, although most can be found in craft stores like Michaels™. Other adornments and devices are found online.

Being my tenth year in business, my portfolio of rocks can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of the page to the right column on this blog and visiting previous dates. Sometimes, however, the image will portray something other than the "Rock of the Week" but usually will have some relevant information as to what was recently implemented.
Again, if you wish more information, I will be happy to communicate with you via email, if you place a comment in the Guestbook. 

           Thank you for visiting, "Your Spirit Rocks!"

            Here is this weeks Video:








            


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Decoupage on Rocks for that special gift

 Hi there, If it's a simple, crisp, and clear image of a pet or a loved one, I can transfer it to a flat painted rock which is then decorated and adorned as an heirloom, to be passed on to the next generation. Each rock is UV clear-coated after being painted with a quality brand acrylic that resists color fading. The technique is decoupage, using a single image. Sign the guestbook on this site if you would like to contact me about having one made for you or your loved one. An image can be sent either as a .jpg  or .tiff file









 



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Approaching Gratitude Month

As much as I have enjoyed Halloween both as a kid, and as an adult, I am beginning to realize that it will not be the same Hallmark Holiday that it has been in the past. Not saying it should be discontinued, far from it. Halloween is celebrated as the "Eve of all Hallows" where the next day is commonly known as "All souls day" or "Day of the dead" in places like Mexico. This is a time where we remember those who have passed on to the other side, and it is also a time of deep reflection.

As we approach the last two months of the year, obvious events will prove to be revealing... depending on, (and in spite) of how their outcomes will determine our progress forward. Thankfully, we will also be celebrating Thanksgiving day later on to express our gratitude for all things to be grateful for; and a list of these things would be a useful way to frame our state of mind.

2020 will probably go down as the most challenging year we have faced as a community, state, nation, and planet as a whole. As significant as Nov. 3rd may be in the reckoning of our future, rest assured that if you maintain a semblance of sanity with regard to any or all of the present harrowing issues, you will be of a cherished minority. 

The Rock pendant showcased below is a simple design that is intended to symbolize the "Journey within"... which is one that I hope we all take as we reflect on some of the more valuable things that have come to reveal themselves to us this year.