Monthly Archives: August 2013

I May Have Been Naughty but I Have a Good Heart

My painting of Meher Baba

My painting of Meher Baba

(Published in Ascent Aspirations)

Serious Eyes

There is a small baby
Behind everything

If you look carefully
You will see
Her serious eyes

And the selfless gesture
The chubby fist
Offering you her rattle

You must see through the surface of things
Or she will go unnoticed



Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Invocation:

“Towards the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty, the only being, united with all the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the master, the spirit of guidance.”


Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Prescribed Daily Mantra:
“My thoughtful self: Reproach no one. Bear malice towards no one. Hold a grudge against no one. Be wise, tolerant, considerate, polite, and kind to all.”


This is another re-instated blog post from those which mysteriously and suddenly went missing. There were over a hundred posts in all dating from April Fool’s Day, 2013, and as I have occasionally mentioned, the vast bulk of them were wiped out by some apparently malicious entity who got access to the inner workings of my website. And as I have promised, I am gradually (and laboriously) reintroducing them, from back-up files. This is one in a series of those. Also, I should add, this whole debacle explains the gaps you will see in the Archives section. I generally choose which to put back, by those which a new blog post makes reference to. Or as in today when I want to direct a new friend to something I referred to in a letter, but I go to find the post is missing. So, that’s one kick in the butt I use to make sure I keep reposting until I have caught up. And this one is from August 5, 2013.

Gentle Readers,
My how quickly another Monday rolls around! I do hope it wasn’t rash of me to promise a new post every Monday.* But today’s isn’t a problem, as I am merely relating an auto-biographical story, and so it’s under control. That’s my story anyway and I am sticking to it!

So, where were we? I had introduced my beloved friend and art teacher the Venezuelan painter Daniel Casimiro. But up to then I had been focusing on pencil drawings of women’s faces. Don’t know why women’s faces, except that was something I liked to contemplate. Maybe because women, when they have a good heart, tend to show it more, and old obtuse Eric needs all the trappings he can get else it go unrecognized.

But it was time to switch to painting. And, apparently, time to switch to a man’s face. And that man would be the Parsi mystic, Meher Baba.

If you want to know more about me and Meher Baba, I suggest reading the “About” button above, which undertakes to explain my connection. But given an intense connection it should be seen as natural that I would want to paint Meher Baba. Y para precisar, paint his face. Especially since I was captivated by a look Baba had in an old photograph. He had a hand to his face in the proverbial gesture which means, “Now whatever can I do about that?” I fancied that was Baba’s attitude toward me, a person who has been known to take personal solace in Jesus’ famous forgiveness of the prostitute “for she has loved much.” You will laugh but I also fancied myself Maria in the Sound of Music song which went, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”

Translation: I may have been naughty but I have a good heart.

So step by step I did the painting. It was difficult because the whole thing was to be extrapolated from a photo in an old magazine which was scarcely four by five inches in size and with two men in the picture. Under Dani’s supervision, first I did a pencil drawing, about 16 inches by 20 or so. Then divided that up in a grid, and drew a penciled outline representation of that on a canvas about three feet square. I know it sounds cheaty wheaties but apparently it’s an acceptable crutch for beginners. And actually it only just gets you started with a proportional face etc and then you are on your own!

It gets tricky soon when you have to fill in the painting with three dimensional touches. You know, detail. And I didn’t make it through to the end with that. Because again, fate intervened.

I was visiting an old friend in Santa Barbara California and his wife. Their guest room had a book written by a friend of theirs, cierto Daniel Ladinsky, whom they knew from a Meher Baba ashram in India. This book of poetry was derived from the work of many “saints” (e. g. Rumi, Meister Eckhart, Santa Teresa, Mirabai) and such and was called Love Poems from God. It’s an inspirational book. And doubly so for me because it was the inspiration for my sudden compulsion to write poetry. Perhaps amusingly it was so ‘inspirational” mostly because it gave me permission. I said to myself. Hey so this is poetry too! I could write like this! (One of these earliest poems is the one above)

And so I was writing an average of five poems a day! Who had time for painting? Who had patience with learning a whole new art form since I’d been writing poetry since I was six? Well, twelve.

So poor painting had to go hang (unfinished on the wall). But here it (above) is, fortunately somewhat not showing the differences in detail (it’s interesting I have found, how different and even better a reproduction of a painting may look)

And that was seven years ago. Six thousand “poems” ago. Maybe most are just “finger exercises,” but I do hear the pianists need those.

Well so that’s how I got to be a poet in Guatemala.

I don’t know what we’ll talk about next week. I suspect it will get played by ear. Using the royal we of course, but anytime any of you gentle folk want to chime in with comments, or emails I would like a dialog that really was a “we” thing. Yes even as the French say, a “oui” thing.

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*This is as I said a reprint of a post that was vandalized and it is posted today to keep working on replenishing my archives. So, this is being written (and a little rewritten) three years later. And yes from that vantage point (as regular followers will have noticed) I have since decided I cannot keep myself to that schedule. You see, it’s not like most blogs, which give a short update on their theme. No, my posts seem to have taken on a life of their own, and a form in which for instance there are about a thousand words. And it takes a lot of work to do an essay of that length. Even just for the copyediting. Hence my retarded (as it were, ojala–God willing in Spanish) schedule.