Hands down the biggest influence in my life was my teacher Ron Spickett. I took drawing and painting from him in my 3rd and 4th years of university. He became my biggest champion in art and in life. When he was ordained a zen buddhist monk in the ’90’s he took the name Gyō-zō.

In the buddhist tradition a dharma name is given to a student by their teacher. It is designed to help connect the student with their inner, true nature, awakening their divine blueprint, a reminder of their spiritual commitment.
Gyozo gave me the dharma name Okori –  

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december 2021

Solstice Shadows     and      Buried  Buddha  2021   Calgary   AB

The end of December – already – again! Solstice has come and gone – Christmas is finito and a new year is upon us – a new year! another one – big sigh!
I don’t know about you but it doesn’t really feel like a ‘new’ year to me, it just feels like more of the same, fear and uncertainty, endless restrictions, not very conducive to celebration sadly

There are many words one could use to describe 2021, but remarkable keeps coming up when I reflect back – definitely another stand out year, another one that will not be easily forgotten, on so many levels, in so many ways.

Of the many things I still see happening all around me, is everyone looking for balance, for equilibrium, for new footing in a world being created anew – I see us continuing to go through a complete re – imagining of everything, fundamentally re-evaluating what we’re doing with our lives, what we’re living for, where and how we are living, who we’re living with, what we can no longer tolerate, what we want change, what we want to experience – BIG stuff – monumental really.

COVID has certainly given us pause, paved the way, cleared space in our lives for us to dive deep into these questions, to shed the skin, the cocoon, the shell – the no longer necessary, the toxic, the falsities and those that perpetrate them, basically  eliminating the soul sucking aspects of our lives. In many ways it has been brutal, unforgiving, seemingly relentless. We are weary.

One of the practices that has helped me to navigate these questions as well as having kept me sane during this entire ordeal, is waking up every morning at 6a for the last 94 weeks – 21 months, logging into ‘call to calm’ meditations and monologues with Panache Desai. Every morning he reminds us of what’s real and what’s important, remaining calm in the midst of anything. This daily practice, of returning to a peaceful state of being and maintaining residency there no matter the mayhem going on, has been so helpful to me in the face of the challenges of the last 656 days.

What has kept you from succumbing to the dark side during these seemingly dark days? What has been your greatest challenge? Biggest fear? Aha moment? What do you know now that you didn’t know before? What has come to ‘light”? How has it altered your life? Your internal landscape? How can it help you going forward?

There is so much more to say about 2021, and even more to speculate about for 2022 – future blogs.
Until then here’s to 2022 and all the surprises it’s likely to bring.
Adieu 2021 and everything we learned from you this last year.
May it help us to navigate the uncertainty that undoubtedly continues to lie ahead for us, from a place of peace and perspective, love and compassion.

I have an ear worm going on in my head as I finish writing this, a Beatles song…
An eternal message appropriate for the season of light and love.

‘All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love,love
Love is all you really need…. ’

As always thanks for showing up and showing interest. The best of everything always, in all ways

Peace, peace and more peace

December 2021

November 20th 2021

I find myself in an unfamiliar place – although I have visited here on occasion it remains foreign somehow
I thought my life was heading full speed ahead in one direction only to be halted, paused quite unexpectedly in such a way that I find myself strangely idle –
and this is an unfamiliar place –
It’s not like I don’t have anything to do, I can’t even imagine that, it’s just that there isn’t anything that needs doing, seriously nothing – all the considerable household chores and obligatory duties on my to do list have been successfully crossed off –

As unexpected as this time/space opening is, it is welcome, I am grateful. It gives me permission to rest, to disengage and to disappear into the studio to do a deep dive on a piece that has been in limbo for months.

Life it turns out, is an exercise in making choices, letting go, moving on –
strings of days and decades – mapped in our memories, they become reference points for caution or optimism,
a guide – dots on the map of our journey moving through this world –
And so I begin work on some preliminary sketches about the choices we make and where those choices take us in our lives –

I start with today – the same date 21 years ago that I returned to Calgary to live – and move through my timeline to follow the choices that paved the road that took me to where I am today –
on a voyage of discovery and revelation led by a curious mind and an open heart –

Where does your today take you on your timeline? What has been your journey?
What do your choices reveal about you? About your life?
About where you’ve been ? Where you are going?

Here’s to deep diving

11/20/ 2021