I write this blog for myself to clarify ideas and to make commitments and to grow. I don’t think I am having any profound impact on anyone else , but it is a good exercise none the less.

Blogging is similar to the morning pages that I write by long hand each morning.

Julia Cameron got this idea and it is a powerful tool thousands of people do each morning to help spark their day . Writing long hand is not something we do on a regular basis anymore and it isn’t even something people did when she first wrote the book “‘Vein of Gold.” We had computers back then but they were not as pervasive as now.

The act of physically writing down your thoughts with a pen on paper somehow makes your real self come through. You are less likely to have that experience using a key board. It is a spiritual practice because it engages your deeper self . There is nowhere to hide from yourself when you incorporate long hand.

Just this very morning , I found myself ruminating on what anyone does anything for .

I get pretty philosophical about work because I have to or I forget why I’m doing it. I get distracted from the big picture and before you know it things get small again .

But the reality is nothing is small. Every single thing we do is important. Every word I write, every second I spend with someone, every single breath I take is important.

This blog is important, washing the dishes is important. Nothing is not important. Everything has meaning. You don’t just live and die and that is it like it is no big deal.

But I forget that all the time and when I do everything seems dull and small and meaningless and then I feel anxiety and then I watch stupid movies on the computer to stop the anxiety.

I don’t know why I forget so fast but thats how it is. That is why the morning pages are great for connecting back to the focus of life.

It is like when I went to the doctor . I was very anxious about the procedure I was a about to have and started to hyperventilate. The nurse said to look straight ahead and not look down, then I would not be dizzy and pass out.

That what the morning pages are. They are just looking straight ahead.

Working through it

I’m doing a Vein of Gold cluster group with two other friends . We usually have more people in a group like this but this time it is a small group. Small groups mean one thing, no place to hide. If you say you are going to do a project and then don’t , well let’s just say there is a lot of pressure to do it.

We get together and get all excited and committed about doing all these creative projects but push comes to shove, Monday morning comes pretty fast and you better actually do it.

That is the blessing of doing any Vein of Gold. The deadline may be self imposed but it is better than no deadline. People will procrastinate till they die if you don’t have a dead line.

You could literally die before you do your plans. You might think so what but in reality , dreams are given to you and are sort of marching orders. You better do them.

So here is a promise I made to my Vein of Gold group. I promised to get that book started about ceremonies that I have been thinking about for 15 years and here is the first page.

The Little Book of Ceremonies By Sharika Roland

When I turned 50, it was a surprisingly hard birthday. I found myself feeling like I had accomplished nothing in my life yet and time was not only slipping away but it seemed to be too late to do anything significant. It was as if I wasn’t paying attention and suddenly time was up .. This was depressing and so emotional for me that then and there I made my mind up not to let others experience the same fate. The idea to do a ceremony for something not usually ceremonied, seemed like a possible way to make a big impression on the recipient Other cultures have ceremonies but not so much in America.

My brother turned 50 just a year later and so I wrote a ceremony for him . The general response was fear that this would be so uncomfortable tor everyone that nobody would want to do it. But thats not how it turned out.
I wanted it to be a physical thing that our family did for him. So we found a trail going through the woods and everyone in our family came out on the cold January afternoon and we all walked the trail with him. Beforehand we had each brought something from his past that he could reminisce about along the way. We have six kids in our family so each sibling wrote him a letter that he read as he found each object. This whole thing took a good hour to get through all the stops , so when we got to the end of the trail it was totally dark and we still had to go back. We packed in candles and the procession back was quite lovely and almost enchanting with the bobbing lights parading down the hill.
After we finished up we all felt close and we were aware of how precious a life is and how it deserves at least once to have an elaborate production to mark your time here.

Once I had done the first one, I could not bear any other close friend not getting the same treatment so I started making more up.
This book is about the ones we actually did perform .
I hope this idea catches on so that everyone can have one special day to reflect on their relationships with family and friends and find creative ways to express love to them that not only benefits the receiver but also the giver. Giving a ceremony is tremendously satisfying and makes you appreciate the receiver in a new way.

Shark Poems

Poems are like fishing lines the go deep into the sea

Sometimes they hook a whale and you go flying out of the boat

or else it’s a shark and the poem comes up on the boat and eats you

Those are the kind I like. Its not so bad getting eaten alive

Its like a way to jump start your day.

If you get eaten alive by shark poems, then everything will be different after that.

Your heart will be nice and tender all the bad things will be chomped out


I was thinking about this last painting I just finished. Valentine was painted not so much as an eye catcher for a window in a gallery, but from a deep place in my heart. Valentine is a culmination of every belief I have about my place in life as an artist. I painted dozens of faces till I found the one you see here. This face is resolved and content with her life. It is sort of a Valentine to myself that what I have done is worthwhile .

I have come to appreciate the simplicity and ordinary subjects I ponder as worthy of contemplation. Sometimes the simplest things can convey the deepest meaning. A glance from someone you care about can say something that sticks to you and permeates your life. Hopefully it is a glance speaking acceptance and love. The smallest things can have a big impact on how you perceive the world.

This Valentine painting is just that to me. If it is that to me, I hope it is that to the person who ends up owning her. The abundant rose theme is one I have used before but it means the same thing. Find the roses as life and beauty and joy.

The red chair is one from my past in particular but I am sure everyone has a special reminder of a good place in your life, and chairs in my paintings are also a nod to being grounded. The colored dashes swirling around are there to show breath and movement as nothing in life stays the same.

This is not just a pretty painting if you look a little harder. Every stroke of paint an artist puts down comes from somewhere important and it is worth investigating so you can see the work deeper. Happy Valentines Day !