At The End Of The Day

ATEOTD 2019

At The End Of The Day

“At the end of the day” is a phrase that, in current parlance, refers to what is left after everything that really does not matter is removed from consideration. The phrase is overused, but there is still some untapped wisdom to be found here if you apply the logic contained in this phrase to your life. In other words, ask yourself, what is left of your life after you remove everything that really does not matter?

Not to oversimplify, but it could be said that what you do with your life is defined by how you spend your time. Consider the phrase, “spend your time”. It is one that we thoughtlessly toss around so much that we rarely stop and think about how meaningful it really is. The word “spend” is of particular importance here. We can bring it into sharper focus if we change the word “time” to “money”. It then becomes “spend your money”, a phrase we all understand.

We are always aware of roughly how much money we have, and we adjust our activities to match our resources. We are careful what we do with our money because we know it is in limited supply and we don’t want to waste it or do something stupid with it. We fuss and fidget and plan how we are going to spend our money. Before we spend money, we usually pause and ask ourselves, “Do I really want to spend my money on this?” After we spend our money, we want to “have something to show for it”.

Should we treat the gift of time any differently?

We tend to be more thoughtless and careless about how we “spend” time. This is a strange phenomenon because time is really the most precious commodity. It is possible to make or borrow more money once you have spent what you have, but there is no way to make or borrow more time. To make matters worse, there is no way to know how much time is left in your “account”.

Once we have “spent” our time it is gone forever. While we give careful consideration to how we spend our money, we waste away the seconds of our life engaged in mindless activities, pursuing meaningless goals, worrying about things we cannot change, and being angry about things that are unimportant.

Photographer Robert Polidori once said, “A good picture asks certain questions and answers only some”. In “At The End Of The Day” I explored some questions about being more mindful of how I spend my time.

I realize that we are powerless to be conscious of every second of every day. We would drive ourselves crazy if we tried to squeeze every drop of potential out of every second, or if with every tick of the clock we panicked because another second had passed from our lives. What we can do, I think, is stop every now and then to remind ourselves of the wonderful gift of time that we have been given and to make sure we are spending it wisely.

I have learned that the best way to stay on course while navigating unfamiliar terrain is to stop occasionally and determine exactly where I am in relation to where I want to be. If I find I have wandered off course, I forgive myself for being fallible, and realign my course with my intended goal. I try to apply this principle to my life, as well. It is helpful for me to frequently take a look at my life and determine where I am in relation to where I want to be. For me, it is fitting to do this “At the End Of The Day”.

Image and Text © Jim Golaszewski 2019

“It gets late early out here”
Yogi Berra

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A Dream Before Waking

A Dream Before Waking

The painting was inspired by “that flying dream” that everyone has at one time or another.  In the painting the sun is just starting to rise, awakening the slumbering dreamer…. or maybe the sun is setting, allowing the dream to continue.

The painting it while thinking about dreams, the kind that you have while you sleep and the kind that you have while you are awake.

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali

 

 

Dance of the Angels

Dance of the Angels 31 X 18 Acrylic Mixed Media on panel

 

Dance of the Angels

Without the Darkness

We would never see

Angels dance

Among the

Stars

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

31 X 18 Acrylic Mixed Media on panel

 

For the science-curious among us, here is some information from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):

“The Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are the result of electrons colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. (Protons cause faint and diffuse aurora, usually not easily visible to the human eye.) The electrons are energized through acceleration processes in the downwind tail (night side) of the magnetosphere and at lower altitudes along auroral field lines. The accelerated electrons follow the magnetic field of Earth down to the Polar Regions where they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules in Earth’s upper atmosphere. In these collisions, the electrons transfer their energy to the atmosphere thus exciting the atoms and molecules to higher energy states. When they relax back down to lower energy states, they release their energy in the form of light. This is similar to how a neon light works. The aurora typically forms 80 to 500 km above Earth’s surface.

Earth’s magnetic field guides the electrons such that the aurora forms two ovals approximately centered at the magnetic poles. During major geomagnetic storms these ovals expand away from the poles such that aurora can be seen over most of the United States. Aurora comes in several different shapes. Often the auroral forms are made of many tall rays that look much like a curtain made of folds of cloth. During the evening, these rays can form arcs that stretch from horizon to horizon. Late in the evening, near midnight, the arcs often begin to twist and sway, just as if a wind were blowing on the curtains of light. At some point, the arcs may expand to fill the whole sky, moving rapidly and becoming very bright. This is the peak of what is called an auroral substorm.

Then in the early morning the auroral forms can take on a more cloud-like appearance. These diffuse patches often blink on and off repeatedly for hours, then they disappear as the sun rises in the east. The best place to observe the aurora is under an oval shaped region between the north and south latitudes of about 60 and 75 degrees. At these polar latitudes, the aurora can be observed more than half of the nights of a given year.

When space weather activity increases and more frequent and larger storms and substorms occur, the aurora extends equatorward. During large events, the aurora can be observed as far south as the US, Europe, and Asia. During very large events, the aurora can be observed even farther from the poles. Of course, to observe the aurora, the skies must be clear and free of clouds. It must also be dark so during the summer months at auroral latitudes, the midnight sun prevents auroral observations.”

This Is Why We Are Here (a morning meditation)

This Is Why We Are Here, A Morning Meditation

This Is Why We Are Here (A Morning Meditation)

Why are we here, what is our purpose?

A question as old as sentience.

Maybe science has an answer. Among other things, Quantum Theory proposes that the universe consists of possibilities – possible realities.  According to the theory, things don’t become real until they are observed or measured.  The very act of observing them changes them – solidifying them from the infinite to the finite, from what could be into what is.   In other words, before they are observed they are just random possibilities, possible realities.

Some have even proposed that your attitude, your outlook and expectations, can actually change the reality that is created.

The thing that fascinates me about all this, if it is true, is that the Universe needs us to in order to complete the creation process.  Like paint that is still in the tube, the universe is nothing but raw material until we make it real. Maybe our role in the universe is simply to appreciate its beauty, and to be grateful.

I was thinking about this concept one recent morning when I was tending to our horses while a beautiful sunrise made the cold winter air more bearable. This painting was inspired on that morning.

Thank you to Tristan Greene for an article he wrote that was published in Science Magazine. He provided the inspirational seeds that sprouted in my mind when they were properly fertilized with horse manure.

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski

Child of The Universe

child of the universe 18 x 24 2019

Child of The Universe 

Time passes.   Things and people come and go.  The sun rises and sets.  Days pass, each different than the one before.  We know this.  Yet we try to hold on, to make time stop.  We want this moment to linger.  We fear change, and resist it at every opportunity.

However, would we have this moment if we had held on to the last?   Would we be “here” if we somehow managed to stay where we were?  In fact, would that not be a prison – being trapped in place and time?   Would we be “here and now” if we never left “there and then”?   Maybe, like a mother bird pushing a baby out of the nest so it learns that it can fly and it does not have to be earth bound,  we are pushed relentlessly forward by time so that we learn that we are children of the universe, and our spirits are destined for eternity.

In “Child of the Universe”, I use the imagery of a hawk soaring over a well maintained old barn to express these thoughts.

 

Image and text © 2019 James Golaszewski all rights reserved

They Who Dream By Day

 

 

They Who Dream By Day

I consider myself to be a dreamer, and I find myself drawn to others of like mind. To many, the label “dreamer” is considered to be an insult, meaning that one makes unachievable and fanciful plans that fly in the face of “reality” at the expense of using their time and energy on more practical pursuits.

In this context, “reality” is used as another word for limitations. I am not trying to say there are no limitations, because clearly there are. Rather, I think the limits we perceive are not where we think they are, they are mirages of barriers that may be somewhere over the horizon. Limitations need to be challenged. Barriers must be tested.

Like most things, dreams come in various sizes and shapes. Some dream of solving the problems and puzzles that confront humanity, while some dream of simpler things that are more personal. While I appreciate the big dreamers and am grateful for the fruits of their pursuits, I feel more of a kinship with the “day dreamers”.

I remember a study I learned of in Psych 101. As I recall, in this study there were two sets of subjects. They subjected both groups to an increasing level of pain, supplied by an electric shock. They were instructed to continuously rate their level of pain. One group had a big red button in front of them. This group was told that they could press the button at any time and the pain would stop. The other group had no button and was told they had no control over the pain. Both groups received identical electric shocks, which gradually increased in severity. The group that thought they could make the pain stop whenever they chose to rated their level of pain as being significantly less than that reported by the group that thought they had no control.

I think our dreams serve the same purpose as that red button, they offer a way out.

Whether or not we push the button is up to us. It takes courage to dream. In addition to exposing yourself to ridicule and sideways glances, many fear that allowing yourself to dream can expose you to regrets if the dreams go unfulfilled. What true dreamers know, however, is to just have the dream is liberating. The pursuit of the dream may never be necessary. It is only required that the dreamer intends to pursue the dream “someday”. The mere existence of the dream has a healing effect on the life of the dreamer. It is the concept of the dream that can keep us alive.

“They Who Dream By Day” was inspired by something I saw while on patrol one day.  I stumbled upon a scene very similar to what is depicted in this painting. There was an old and neglected sailboat on a rusted trailer parked next to a dilapidated barn; weeds and grass were growing around and through the trailer and boat. The boat was in a condition of general disrepair. Birds and critters of all descriptions had set up housekeeping in the boat. It was a veritable “Barnyard Ark”. It was obvious that the boat had not been moved or received any attention for quite some time.

I wondered what circumstances caused this vessel, clearly intended for the freedom of open water, to be abandoned next to a barn in the middle of an ocean of corn and soybeans. I imagined it must have been placed there by a fellow dreamer, one that intended to repair it and use it someday as a gateway to maritime adventure.

I hoped that the dream was still alive.

In many ways the actual creation of this painting reflects the challenges and struggles that confront dreamers.  When I started I had the inspiration (dream), but the composition and technical details regarding the creation process were unresolved.  Usually I will work out all or most of these details before I start.  In this instance, I wanted so badly to express this idea that I started it before I knew exactly how I was going to proceed.  This created the risk that I was going to waste time, energy, and expensive materials.

I knew that if I waited to have all of the answers before I asked the questions, I would never begin.  Consequently, this piece was very challenging to complete and I nearly abandoned it in progress several times – the artistic equivalent of parking it next to the barn and letting the weeds consume it…

In the end, it turned out exactly as I had envisioned it.

I was going to title it “Someday”, but in the end I decided to base the title on a quote that I love from “Eleonora”, a short story by Edgar Allen Poe.

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity; and thrill; in waking; to find they have been upon the verge of the great secret.”

Happy New Year, and dream big in 2019.

Image and text © 2018 James Golaszewski