Soul Food for May 3rd 2013

Happy Soul Food Friday! 

I was sitting there at the bar staring at my drink when a large, trouble-making biker steps up next to me, grabs my drink and gulps it down in one swig.
“Well, whatcha’ gonna do about it?” He says menacingly, as I burst into tears.
“This is the worst day of my life,” I say.
“I’m a complete failure. I was late to a meeting, and my boss fired me.
When I went to the parking lot, I found my car had been stolen, and I don’t have any insurance.
I left my wallet in the cab I took home.
I found my wife with another man… and then my dog bit me.
So I came to this bar to work up the courage to put an end to it all…..
I buy a drink, I drop a cyanide capsule in, and I sit here watching the poison dissolve………and then you show up and drink the whole damn thing!
…..But hell, enough about me, how’s your day going”?

 This week:

“When words fail… music speaks”

Celebrating Life:

This last weekend, we had a memorial camp in tribute to the life, love and legacy of one of our martial arts mentors, Sensei Robert “Lucky” Leong who passed away on New Year’s day at the age of 89. Sensei Leong was a treasure who modeled  authentic leadership and worked ceaselessly to bring out the best in everyone. Let’s not mistake kindness for weakness, and remember that luck is when preparation meets opportunity- which means we can create our own luck!


In celebrating his life, words alone could not capture his spirit so I used the power of music to get a little bit closer to expressing  what was in my heart. If you know James Taylor’s Fire and Rain then you know the song. If not there is a link to it below.

We love you Sensei Leong!

Sensei Leong Tribute- Fire and Rain 2013

This New Year’s morning,

They let me know you were gone,
Sensei that fateful day put an end to you.
I sat up this morning and I borrowed this song,
Music’s my deepest way to remember you
You brought fire and you brought rain
You took heat, that, I thought would never end
You were lonely but, you grew to find some friends,
And I always thought that I’d see you again

When you look down upon me, Sensei
I’m gonna try to make a stand,
Wait, try & impossible are for another day
Your body’s ached and your time was at hand
Yet you over-rode it, almost every way

Oh, I’ve shared fire and you shared rain
You gave heat and yelled,

Like I thought would never end
Our best interest was your only best intend
And I always welcomed seeing you again..

Been walking my mind to that real fun time,

when you smile lit up like the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it can turn your head around
Well spent time on the telephone line talking about things to come.,tai chi, wellness ki and martial artists on the ground

OH, You stoked fire and you poured rain
You made sunny days that I prayed would never end
You were lonely but your students were your friend
And I hope to serve you Sensei, one more time again, now

Want to serve you one more time again
There’s so many things coming our way this time around, now
Want to thank you, once again, Sensei Leong, now…

Art is never finished, only abandoned.
– Leonardo da Vinci

Celebrating Kindness with the Kindness Vest:

If you haven’t seen it already, this will touch your heart!

Speaking of Music, this is a nice rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which has special meaning for many of us…

Celebrating Art:

The importance of Art in our community and society-Mission Fed ArtWalk 2013 

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody  has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”— Jonathan Swift  

Mission Federal ArtWalk 2013: The Power and Importance of Supporting Art in our Community

In the past week, I was afforded the privilege of addressing the attendees at the VIP Reception for ArtWalk.  Here is a synthesis of my remarks for those of us who are committed to art as a critical element in our community and society…

If you pull out a dollar and I pull out a dollar, and we exchange dollars, we are at the same place we started. But if you share the power of a meaningful idea and I share the power of an inspiring idea we are both far richer in the bargain. This is the power of art- to help us experience and exchange ideas of the most profound kind. At the risk of bad humor, I call this “Show me the Monet”. I know, I know, “I-Ma tisse.” What can I say…

Seriously though, we so often go through our days in a form of automaton-like social hypnosis with habituated actions and reactions to life. Red or White? Fries or Salad? Math and Science or Art? Compound this with our language reinforcing stereotypes, with pejorative phrases like “starving” artists and it gets worse by the second.

In this age of science, art and artists are poorly understood! Recently, I heard a report suggesting that art education did nothing to improve math and science scores. Math and science scores? Teaching art to improve math and science is missing the whole point! We need art in schools not to improve math and science scores, but to foster creativity, innovation, expression, individuation and a host of other dimensions of the human experience that are being left by the wayside in our often well-intentioned but myopic and black and white attempts to advance society.

Our world desperately needs more artists and more color. Last Monday was Earth Day, when among other things to preserve and protect our planet, we ‘plant trees’ as an antidote to deforestation and climate change issues. Today I suggest we ‘bud artists’ as an antidote to a the ‘de-naturalization’ and internal climate change issues bereft in modern civilization- alienation, isolation, depression- that left unchecked lead to a world gone mad. Artists “starve” so we can be full. They take the road less traveled and stay the course of asking the fundamental human questions:

Who am I?
Why am I here?
What do I really want?

While we pay our bills and dues, artists pay ATTENTION. They see things differently. They express ideas that transcend words. Today more than ever we need art “walks” instead of science “runs”. We need to slow down, pay attention, be mindful, connect, feel, be…

A great artist is always before his time or behind it. 
~ George Edward Moore

There are three things that artists of life bring to bear:

Intention: Evoking Spirit. As DaVinci said, “Where there is no spirit, there is no art”
Attention: Seeking and seeing things differently. Discovery is seeing with a new pair of eyes.
Attitude: Addressing matters of the heart and getting us to feel more fully.

In a world hell bent on IQ, and if we are lucky EQ, artists color our world with CQ- Cultural Intelligence.

I am not just speaking of geographic and ethnic forms of knowing how low to bow, which fork to use, or how close to stand based on regional differences, but that cultural intelligence that informs and energizes our culture and climate in our communities, our cities and our organizations.  We all feel the energy of an organization’s culture whether it is cold and impersonal or positive, humanizing and energizing. We ARE indeed judged by the company we keep…

To manifest our destiny in San Diego and live up to our moniker of “America’s Finest City” we critically need that art and culture piece.

You get it.

Now we need the rest of our respective communities to get it.

From my perspective, art education in the schools is more mission critical than ever. We need to support art, teach art, be artists of life in our own right.

What is your medium?
Do you express energy and evoke inspiration?
There is only one you- all others are taken.
Pay attention. It is the currency of influence.
Set intention. It is a powerful force of good.
Ensure your attitude is infectious, worth catching and goes viral.

On behalf of artists everywhere and Mission Fed Artwalk 2013 thank you.

Here’s to the masterpiece that is YOU!



“I don’t paint things. 
I only paint the difference between things.”
– Henri Matisse


Feeling Wistful?

Here is wisteria at its best capturing the Japanese aesthetic of Isagi Yoku- pure clean spirit…

Click here!

They grow up so fast!


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