Tuesday, 12 February 2019

St David’s Day Parade

Calling all Buddhists – and people of every faith.
Please join members of the Interfaith Council for Wales at the St David’s Day Parade.

Walking alongside our community
Cyd-gerdded gyda’n cymuned

St David’s Day Parade
Gorymdaith Gŵyl Dewi

March 1st
Mawrth 1af

Assemble/ymgynull: 11:30am/yb

King Edward VII Avenue/ Rhodfa Brenin Edward VII

Begins/dechrau: 12:30


Tangling in 2019

Last year I joined the Its’s a String Thing community and created a tile for most of Adele Bruno’s weekly challenges hosted on her site Tickled to Tangle. It was fun. here is one of my favourites for that year. They are posted on Instagram.
I enjoyed learning new tangles and being stretched by working within the parameters of the challenge. I am grateful to Adele for her commitment to posting weekly challenges, and impressed with her skill in combining tangles and a string that can evoke such beautiful and inspiring tiles from the contributors.
This year I am not going to contribute to the challenge every week. I’ll continue to check in and see which tangles are included, and also to view everyone’s contributions for ongoing inspiration, but I am going to play with tangling in a different way this year.
I started by making an analysis of all the tangles I have learned, from multiple sources, for which I have noted the step-outs – 433 so far. I do not record the step-outs for every new tangle that I come across because some are so similar to ones I already know – perhaps with just an extra line, a spiral detail, or an aura, or so on. It was noticing this that made me understand that new tangles arise from playing with known tangles. I can do that!
From my analysis I have identified some personal categories:

  • tangles that grow and/or are random
  • tangles with a spiral element
  • ribbons and borders
  • motifs
  • grid tangles
  • striping
  • radiating
  • overlapping
  • optical illusions 
There are many tangles that fall into two or more categories. For example, border tangles often work just as well in a grid, and vice versa; radiating, overlapping and motif tangles can be combined or changed by putting them in a grid or a border structure, or letting them grow. The point of doing this analysis was to develop my artwork and move beyond the domination of step-outs. I had needed that guidance and stage in my process, but now I am ready to stretch in another way.

This is my analysis of the elements of border patterns:

I was surprised at how few basic elements there were. I may not create this type of analysis for each category, but I hope to create an exercise for each. I have completed the first one so far, a border tangles exercise:
It was great fun to create. I’m working on a second exercise based on motifs at the moment. It will take a while, but I’ll post it when I’m finished. Bye for now!

Friday, 8 February 2019

Happy New Years! Running ahead.

As a follower of Tibetan Buddhism I get two new years - the Western January 1st, and Losar. This week has been Losar which we’ve celebrated over three days, the 5th, 6th, and 7th February.

Having a second new year is quite useful for having a look at how the resolutions are going. I have been working on my weight and fitness levels - not exactly new year resolutions, but an ongoing process. I can highly recommend the NHS Couch to 5K programme. It is organised over a 9 week period with 3 runs a week. It starts very gently with the longest run in a session being 1 minute, alternating with walking. There is always a 5 minute warm-up walk at the beginning and the same length warm-down walk at the end, but they do not include that in reckoning the progress of the activity. The actual activity period that progresses running ability is 20 - 25 minutes.

I started Couch to 5K before Christmas on a small trampoline. I was a bit nervous of my knee, having suffered an injury previously and felt it would be gentler on a trampoline. This went well and I got up to 25 minutes of continuous running. I was aware that running on a trampoline was not the same as running out and about, however, and decided to take my newly-acquired stamina out to Heath Park. So I started Couch to 5K again in the new year. There have been ups and downs, and my knee did play up for a while, but today I ran the first run of week 4 of the programme. The session for today (in minutes) was run 3 / walk 1½ / run 5 / walk 2½ / run 3 / walk 1½ / run 5.  This means that today was the first time that a ran for longer than I walked: 16 minutes running and 8 minutes walking.

16 MINUTES RUNNING!! How did that happen!

I don’t think I have run for that long ... possibly ever! Certainly not since a teenager. I know its not much in terms of real athletes or marathon runners, but for an almost-pensioner who’s just started jogging, it feels like a real achievement.

I have to do this same run twice more and then next week the schedule goes weird. The runs are all different lengths, ending with a non-stop 20 minute run in the third session. Will I really be ready for that by next week? I don’t know, but there is no rush. I’m perfectly happy to repeat weeks until I feel ready to move on. It is exciting!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Interfaith Council for Wales - Walking Alongside our Communities

Last week was Interfaith Week. It has also been the centenary of the end of WW1 (more on this in a separate post). So it has been a busy time for me.

Addressing the audience at the Pierhead Building

Yesterday the Interfaith Council for Wales held an event. I am Chair of this Council at the moment, so I was very involved in it. It was a most joyful afternoon. I opened the event with a short speech:

"The ICW seeks to bring together in harmony people of different religions.
We celebrate our commonalities, and respect our differences.
We honour others' commitment to their religion, whilst holding integrity to our own style and form of practice.
This spirit of friendship and tolerance, is as important today as it has been in any other point in history.

In this spirit of friendship, I am delighted to welcome you to this Interfaith Council of Wales event - Walking Alongside Our Communities.

Croeso i'r digwyddiad Cyngor Rhyng Ffydd Cymru yma - Cerdded Gyda'n Cymuned.

On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank the police who are helping us today; Pered Owen-Griffiths and Julie Jones for their organisation of the event, and Andrea Adams and her team from the Welsh Assembly Government for their sponsorship and assistance in creating this interesting afternoon of interfaith activities.

So now we begin with the first activity of the afternoon. Julie Jones, vice chair of the Interfaith Council, will give a presentation about how people of different faiths came together in friendship and respect during the WW1 - Learning to Change."

Julie’s presentation was excellent and most thought-provoking.
Then the Welsh Government Minister and Leader of the House, Julie James, addressed the gathering.

This was the end of the first part of the event. We reconvened a little later at the United Reformed Synagogue, the first venue on our ‘Walking Alongside our Communities’ pilgrimage. At each of the four venues we received a short talk. The police accompanied us and saw us safely across roads. The Interfaith Council provided lamps, although it was quite a bright afternoon and they were not really needed. After the synagogue we walked to The Cardiff Buddhist Centre (a Triratna Centre), then on to Eglwys y Crwys Presbyterian Chapel, and finally to the Dar Ul-Isra Mosque. Here we had faith ‘speed dating’ and a meal. I will post photographs of the walk when I receive some from my colleagues.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Inktober Zentangles – 28 to 31

October Inktober is over – and it’s been a great experience. I’ve really enjoyed drawing every day. I’ve enjoyed the simplicity of a single pattern executed with a pen and shaded with a pencil. Having said that, I am looking forward to adding a little colour to my next tile.
The Inktober experience has been valuable in honing the quality of my line, slowing me down, and enabling me to explore the possibilities of a single pattern at a time. If my life allows it, I will certainly get involved again next year. As another trip to Bhutan is planned for October/November 2019, however, I may have to miss a year or only take part for some of it.
28 – Oybay

29 – Wud

30 – Frunky

31 – Cruffle

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Battlecry of Freedom – joy and thanks for my favourite slogans

I love all of the slogans of Mind Training. I believe it is an extraordinary and liberating teaching.  I do, however, have two favourite slogans.

The first favourite is: Always be joyful – slogan 21.

There are many studies that have shown that if we smile, we do feel happier. It can be discovered, quite quickly, that if meditation is practised  regularly and consistently, joy arises spontaneously in the mind. Practice develops a sort of background happiness and joy.

Joy naturally arises from trusting beginningless awakened mind.
Joy naturally arises from letting go of self-centred protectiveness and having
a more expansive view. Awakening is joyful.

The mind does not need to be unseated from riding joy when mistakes are made or difficulties occur. If there is great sadness, it arises in the moment
and does not need to disturb the background potential of contentment.
When sadness dissolves, then joy is present again.

I am delighted that Pema Chödron used this slogan for the title of her book on the slogans of Mind Training.
A Celtic knot style horse motif I designed for use in the book.

My second favourite is the final slogan: Do not wish for thanks – slogan 59.

It makes me smile every time I read this one. So often we feel cheated if we do not receive a thank you  such as when you have politely waited to let another car go ahead of you and the driver doesn’t even acknowledge it. Do you ever feel ‘Where’s my thank you!?’ and perhaps even regret letting them go first just a little bit. I know I have done this, and immediately this slogan is there, reminding me to be a practitioner and get over myself. 

I also really like Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s wording of this slogan: Don’t expect applause. 

Mind training is the greatest opportunity it is possible to be given in life.
Mind training is the path to awakening – to realise non-duality, to dwell in rigpa. Practitioners should not ask to be congratulated and thanked for training their minds.

If it is felt that thanks and applause are deserved, then there is still a lot of work to be done. Such an attitude is not awakened view, but rather, is somewhat ridiculous.

The practitioner may feel slightly embarrassed if they notice that they would actually quite like a standing ovation. Wryly recognise the wish for approval and appreciation,
smile at the recognition – and return to practice.

The reward of practice is the capacity for more practice.
Ultimately the reward of more practice is awakening.

Extracts from Battlecry of Freedom by Ngakma Nor’dzin, Part II – the slogans;to be published by Aro Books worldwide in 2019.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Inktober Zentangles – 23 to 27

Here are my tiles for October 23rd to October 27th.

23 – Ixorus 

24 – Patience

25 – Sand swirl

26 – Q-belle

27 – Cross-ur-heart
Only four more tiles to go to complete the Inktober Zentangle challenge. I am pasting the tiles into a book, and am a little behind with this aspect of the project, but it will be a nice to have them all displayed there.