Tag Archives: fate

The Rules Are Cut and Dried




Arden Again

(Published in Ascent Aspirations)

The Rules Are Cut and Dried

–To Arden

These are the rules:
A found penny is lucky heads up
Two found pennies together doesn’t matter
Any nickel or dime or better
Doesn’t matter

The rules are cut and dried
But I conceive a primitive
Experiment in power: For instance
If I turn a tails penny over to heads
For someone else to find

That makes now
Heads in charge
And so my hypothesis
Being that one has the power
To create luck for someone else

You may say
“But you will never know the result
And so it’s a worthless experiment”
To which my reply:
Au contraire mon frère

(Establishing a tone of camaraderie)
I already know
The rules are cut and dried
Happiness is the given
You work backwards from there


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.”


Gentle Readers,

Well here it is again (or was when I started this post) November 7, Arden’s birthday (Arden is the lady who died a bunch of blog posts ago and to whom was dedicated some posts,* most recently:


Earlier arden posts (where since she was a still living and private scorpio, I had called her “Eve”:



It’s an interesting situation why she has always stuck so much with me for 18 years after we stopped being together.

As I wrote in previous posts, she was an atheist (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and well, in my opinion I was a lot more tolerant of her atheism than she was of my religion.** I even laughed at one of the buttons she had on her refrigerator door, which said, “Jesus is coming! Look busy!”

I surely do, and any self respecting Jesus would also have a sense of humor, and be secure enough in our beliefs not to feel threatened by somebody else thinking differently.

Of course in retrospect I was at fault as well. And I thought I was being so generous and ecumenical when I told her (to her face) that I didn’t believe she was really an atheist because I had never seen a more generous heart and of such is the kingdom of God.

But thereby I was depriving her of the respect that should be given to someone’s estimation of themselves.  I as much as said, what do you know? You are not really an atheist!

It sure is funny how one time one can be so cock sure of something and then later look back and slap your head aghast at having missed something so obvious. Along similar lines there is the Hazrat Inayat Khan story of a lady who often hurt people’s feelings with accusations, justifying that by saying, “I only tell the truth.” I can’t be sure of the exact wording of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s comment on that, but the gist was, it was in violation of a far greater truth, that of the human heart being the shrine of God, and woe to one who would visit hurt upon that.**

I am traveling now to California to visit family and old friends, and I wish to focus on that, so I will cut this post short (and yes, a day late both for a post being overdue, and Arden’s birthday having been ten days ago (November 7).

God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*Posts which I have written because she has been so pivotal in my life. As well as gratitude for her generous heart, and as you might surmise from what I have written above, a source for much Sufi-ish speculation, about my gratitude to her, which I think is among the top three of my idea of the most  important virtues. Para precisar, along with gratitude, avoiding hypocrisy, and (agreeing with Inayat Khan), patience (for how one’s fate is often determined by an apparent God’s plan for a string of falling dominoes, at least in my case, some of the latest being occasioned by my affair with Arden. Which has led directly to my moving to Guatemala, thus enabling a retirement devoted to my Sufi poetry and ancillary contemplation.

**As an example, once she told me “I don’t ever want to hear about your religion!” To which I relied that to make sure of what she meant, I said, “In other words you want never to hear me speak of that without which I might want to Kill myself? (This in the spirit of this quote from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina:

“…life was impossible like that, and that he must either
interpret life so that it would not present itself to him
as the evil jest of some devil, or shoot himself.”

***FYI here I am not referring to hell, unless by hell it’s meant unhappiness. An unhappiness which comes perforce from trying to be what one is not. By that I mean deep down we are all manifestations of a loving God, and to act otherwise must set up a civil war in one’s heart. Hardly a state of happiness.

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.

A Refreshing Kick in the Butt

My drawing of the Virgin Mary

My drawing of the Virgin Mary

New PR–214
God Is Studying Art
(to Daniel)

I wonder if you could do a talking poem blues
The same perhaps
Without the guitar
But what I’ve got in mind
Should definitely be called the blues but art

You see I was lying in bed
In the middle of the night and
Some muse woke me up to an idea
That this is all just like writing a story:
Every day is an overlay

Every home is a poem
But the next “word” is a sun rise
Because you saw that yesterday
Just like a poet has seen a rose before
And so when the new sun arose

Basically you painted it
And every day on top of every day
It’s like oil painting:
One touch over another with darker contrasts
(Hence the blues)

To make it seem more real more
Three dimensional, as is de rigueur
In this painting of the world
But Dani my art restorer friend
Tells me that he traces underneath the previous

Versions of God
Knows what the artist or us
(In this case)
Was trying to say but every day is subtly new
Something you wrote out of yesterday

And the rest of your back story’s foreshadowings
But this is God’s story too because
(Didn’t you know?)
God is studying art:
We are his poem and He is painting our music

And it wasn’t really our sunrise
It belonged to a wiser owl than thou
And if
(Up to now)
We’ve been fooled

It’s because God’s got one heaven
Of an imagination
And all this is His bedtime story
And He’s sticking to it until you wise (and wake) up:
That’s what education means


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.”


Gentle Readers,

This is another reinstallation of a lost post (for apparently an act of vandalism) from 2013, the current series of which is biographical, detailing how I ended up living in Guatemala, and devoting myself to metaphysical poetry.*

Okay, so we’ll continue from the last post with my art teacher friend, Daniel, or Dani, depende de tu capricho (as per your whim). The opening poem from the last post was dedicated to him. As was today’s.

Dani is a sweetheart. Charismatic for the sweetness of his smile, but none the less a refreshing kick in the butt for a budding would-be artist. Dani needed money and I like being a patron of the arts. Not to mention my giant lead-up to this moment in which I was ripe for an art experiment. So I hired Dani, the expert artist, to give me art lessons.

There are two parallel tracks here (as befits a trainload of fate). The first is my friendship with Dani, which was as I mentioned last time, slow to develop, since we didn’t speak the same language. But I have always prided myself on my ability to learn languages.** Not to mention it was driving me nuts not being able to communicate.

For instance, I got invited to a party but it was an all Spanish thing. It was so frustrating to see one after another of the party people telling apparently hilarious stories with everyone taking turns laughing on the floor.

And of course Dani is Guatemala’s answer to Jean-Louis Barrault (the nonpareil actor, director, and mime)***And so even if you don’t quite get the punch line, Dani still has you on the floor. But what with all this pressure, pretty soon Dani and I could communicate to the point of meaningful conversation. Of course that was more important later when we were talking about my poetry. But here we are still in my art phase of exploration.

But the second fate track is my “self-actualization”**** process, first with art, though soon segueing to poetry.

But Dani got me started in the art part.

Even before, during my much earlier adventures stateside with the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book,***** I had been mostly fascinated by faces, especially women’s. Most especially, for some reason, the Virgin Mary (See above for the drawing I did of her after Dani’s art lessons. (I sold it for $150 dollars–I guess that makes me a professional artist!)******

So of course that was one of my art projects. In Antigua was a wonderful little library that allowed gringos to check out books, including art books. And when I found a reproduction of a 400 year old painting of Mary by Alonso Cano, well I just had to draw it.

And speaking of drawing, I fear reader overload and so I’ll be drawing to a close here and we’ll get next time into the painting part of my road.
God be with you,
Eric Halliwell

*As in these posts:

**For instance, when I was 17, I wrote this poem in French for my girlfriend on the occasion of giving her flowers:
Ce sont de moi quelques fleurs
Qui expriment pour toi mon amour.
Les fleurs, elles sont mortes dans des heures
Mais ton memoire vit joujours
Dans mon Coeur.

Rough translation:

Here’s some flowers from me
That express my love for you.
The flowers die within hours but
Your memory lives always
In my heart

*** For info about this incredible artist of the theater, see http://www.biography.com/people/jean-louis-barrault-9199946#theatrical-and-film-career
I have a DVD of his classic Les Enfants du Paradis, (children of Paradise) practically my favorite film.

****See Maslow from last post, and this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-actualization

*****Which I highly recommend to any who would love to do drawing but who feel hopelessly incompetent. It worked for me (and all her students. You should see the before and afters in her book which is an easy to follow set of art lessons, from basic to more advanced, with great kick in the pants explanations which inspire you to believe in her method, soon reinforced by wonderful results. You can order it from amazon (I’ve mixed feelings about amazon but they are so damned convenient!):

******This is a Sufi blog, and so I will mention a Sufi-oriented aside. I have heard that the Sufis particularly in Anatolia (Turkey), have always had a pronounced interest in Jesus’ mother, as an object of reverence. People often forget that to the Muslims, Jesus too was a prophet and as such, coequal with Mohammed.