Saturday, October 27, 2012

Doodling the Dead

Face Up * The Art of Recognition • "Doodling the Dead #9" by Dar Freeland"
images & text © 2012 Dar Freeland | all rights reserved

In the passing of our loved ones, we eventually celebrate the life they had woven, the joy they had brought, and we dance in the memory of their humor, their love and even their failings. How is it that we wait until one is gone, before we learn to forgive? Is it easier without a body to relate to? Are we so afraid to lose their love in the relating, that we'd rather wait to find healing, until they are not there?

Does forgiveness know the difference? 

Do we sit and talk to the departed, as if they are still there? Why didn't we say those things when they occupied their body? Because they had a mouth to talk back? Because they had an opinion that we don't think they have now - just without a voice that speaks out loud? 

Sometimes the ONLY thing that remains after our loved ones have dropped their body, is their opinion.

Likewise - in metaphor, what in our lives now are asking to be shed? Which old patterns, beliefs, ways of being, or points of view are presenting themselves to be released? Are our issues, dramas, perceived pains and inner stories really worth hanging onto? In doodling the dead...the "dead" could perhaps be our "departed loved one"...the old way of doing things

Sometimes shedding asks to happen, even when we don't like it.

Forgiveness, acceptance and allowance and mostly integrity - are all the tools we need to engage with our loved ones while they are alive, in the most peaceful way. What if we cultivated these traits in order to share a more rich, juicy and loving relationship with those around us now, rather than playing it safe and waiting until they are gone?

-- dar freeland

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Face Up • The Art of Recognition • "Gone Back Home" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 1994 - 2012 dar freeland | all rights reserved

A treasure knows its true value, even when buried below the sand of the seabed floor.

A treasure’s value doesn’t ever diminish. To remember itself, it may still look up from beneath the sand and see beautiful coral groves and everything above – dancing within the current. It can see colored fish darting and bobbing, even though it is buried beneath the sand, and the enormous weight of water and years crush down upon it. It can still look up - and even beyond - the tangle of new growing coral, the enormous beauty of the color swept fish – discovering and exploring their own new world.

Treasure knows it is still beautiful and valuable – even though obscured from the view of any onlooker.

The treasure can look even beyond the chaos and see sunlight piercing through the water - peering down at it with a nod. The rays remind of a life that once was, that waits again for the day that the treasure and the sun will one day meet again. A treasure’s value will be known again – if only in a different world, one that lives a different life above the waves, than what the treasure once knew.

The silent weight of the sea brushes over the treasure. She weeps at its caress, knowing it seeks only to remind her she is still alive, still valuable – simply unseen for now.

The treasure notices that she sailed too soon, and she fell by God’s design in an angry sea – and sank to the depths. She learned no matter how much her value remained (value being an illusion in the grand design, a story made of nothing) that it alone could not lift her back to the surface to meet again with the sun.

Within her cloud of illusion, she forgot how to rise.

No one came for her, and she was forgotten. So she spent her days peering through the sand, watching the beautiful colors of life swim by, and sending love to the world by winking at the sun through the rays that reach through the ocean. The Sun's love reminded. She will never again forget her value, or how her love sparkled to those who knew her above water – when she could touch the sky.

As every true treasure knows – its value is in what it gives, in what it has given…a bell that cannot be un-rung.

A treasure is not any less valuable, because it rests, obscured, at the bottom of the sea. It does not give any less with an ocean sitting upon it. The gifts journey through more layers to reach the sun, but they are given none-the-less.

Treasure is only obscured from the sight of those who would assign it a meaning.

Treasure becomes something to someone else, only when it is observed. Yet to itself, it is always itself, and knows it with absolute certainty.

There are days she will weep at her yearning to touch others, and give her value, what she truly holds inside of her. Even knowing her truth, she still has moments when not sharing and connecting will frustrate. Eventually she will observe her own weeping and yearning - once tired of it, and shrug.

She’ll be discovered again one day, and her love will sparkle in the warmth and connection with the sun. She will then recall, that she was never disconnected at all.

--dar freeland

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ants and Cracks

Face Up • The Art of Recognition • "Ants & Cracks" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 1994 - 2012 dar freeland | all rights reserved

When we walk through our house, (not yet our home) what is our focus? Is it the ants swarming our food, or the cracks in the walls that threaten in a whisper…”I will fall down around your head one day…” – is this our focus?

Today, on a day designated to celebrate love – can we focus instead on the beautiful blooms in the garden – the voice of spring itself bursting forth in the yard, despite dismal attempts at caretaking with impossible schedules to achieve? Can we look upon each other with loving eyes for the blessings of the things we admire and respect about one another – just as we look with loving anticipation at a pair of old ducks looking to roost in the pond?

Today, can we be as grateful for the roof over our heads, when looking out upon those without one. Can we focus instead on the gift of freedom to choose our new destiny, when looking out upon those who do not have a choice? Can we remember why we fell in love in the first place, what brought us to share our lives together? Can we remember the bigness of who we are, instead of grasping at our smallness, and weakness – in our vain attempt to justify why we want to give up and have it be “easier”? A house takes tending, a heart takes tending, a love takes tending.

The relating part of relationship isn’t always easy. For some, it is worth it.

Can I see, that all of this is my story told to me by a house? Will we walk away from the ants and cracks? Will we make a house, our home?

--dar freeland

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Face Up • The Art of Recognition • "Taken Back" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 1994 - 2012 dar freeland | all rights reserved

Ever feel that sense of aggravation, stress or despair when you are struggling against a piece of clothing that simply will not come off?

Has the life of the past taken on this meaning for you?

For some, it feels like the old skin will never shed, despite the most dedicated efforts. A snake will hibernate, feel vulnerable, rub and writhe against immoveable objects to release his old skin. Is that what we are doing? The immoveable objects will help us in moving the old within us – if we use it properly.

Do we grasp old skin unconsciously not wanting to let go of the familiar? Even when it is painful, are the unknown possibilities standing before us bringing up more fear, followed by paralysis? Do we justify that it may be best to keep the old skin because at least we know what to expect?

What beautiful new butterfly is inside of the chrysalis waiting to come forth?

Whether a snake, a butterfly or an old turtleneck sweater – peeling off the old to allow the new to emerge is the task at hand, the path before us. We can choose to thank those objects that will not move, shift or transform – and move ahead anyway.

It is our blessing to leave the old skin behind.

--dar freeland

Monday, December 19, 2011

Time - Out

Face Up • The Art of Recognition • "Time - Out" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 2006 - 2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

When it's time for me to stay, nothing can make me go. When it's time for me to go, nothing can make me stay.

- - Buddhist Saying

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fudge Days

Face Up Blahg • "Who's Happier" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 2006 - 2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

Some days are just fudge days. All of the tools we learn, the knowledge, the wisdom of the ages....doesn't help us cope with what unfolds before us. We handle what we are served with grace to the best of our ability, then review, consider and make adjustments so we evolve to another level of our creation the next time.

Surrender. Some days are just fudge days.

--dar freeland

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Battering Ram

"After Soooo Long" acrylic on canvas | by Dar Freeland
images and text © 2000 - 2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

What could be possible if we approached our inter-relating from a totally accountable perspective - setting aside our justifications (victim stories), pride & finger pointing? It is counter-intuitive to the ego, but consider, what if instead of accusing one "out there" for our unhappiness and constructing a story we lay into cement to justify the blame imposed on another - what if we could see it differently?

Assuming the observer chose to turn his blame of another person off for a second, and look back at it possible that the observer himself has created the fertile soil for the other person to feel unsafe? It doesn't feel like a place to be emotionally present and loving. Don't we see this in all relating that is derailed with conflict?

May the observer have been the one, blinded by his own pain (and human fallibility) that struck out destructively at another with such ferocity - that a person might never choose to approach the observer again with an open heart? So everyone acts numb. What right then would the observer have, to complain that another is not as warm or loving - when it is they who created the threatening environment?

Could the other person who has been holding back, stop and honor the admission with respect?

Is it possible the observer caused, with rage or destructive behavior the unstable ground the two now walk upon? Could the observer be the one who owes amends, and who needs to earn that person's trust again?

Who is the observer, and who is the other person?

And to make it juicier, how much power would the Self realize, if it chose to take responsibility for having helped to create an unsafe environment in the first place? Of course it takes two to create the dance of chaos while relating - but how empowered could we all really be once realizing that "if I helped to create it, I could take steps to amend it?" Victim story - vaporized.

If true, how powerful may it be for the observer to ask forgiveness, say, “I’m sorry, work to earn back trust? Instead of weaving justifications created from the fabrication of a victim story... then could the observer admit to a loved one, that, "I am human, I messed up and I want to earn your trust back?"

Nothing in this text suggests that a person tolerate abuse of any kind, verbal or otherwise, and that the utmost in self-care and personal responsibility is to cradle ourselves with love, and protect ourselves from those who would wish or cause us harm.

Stepping forward could the humility, coupled with the reclaiming of a sense of power in a situation - then be a foundation for building a new, more strengthened and empowered way of relating? Could another person then feel safe in being 100% open?

If one would approach an impasse with self-love, expressed with integrity and personal responsibility towards a person who may just have built a wall around their heart to protect themselves, then how could our love and mutual respect grow from that perspective?

Perhaps, even the other person's ego will step back, in the light of re-discovering the seductive yet accurate power of accountability, and would take the risk to admit how they too contributed to any breakdown or suppressed feelings of love.

What re-invention is possible from this expressed and empowered blank slate?

-- dar freeland

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Art of Ever-evolving Communication Skills

"Toolbox" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 2000 - 2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

What do we do when a person close to us just doesn’t “get it”? This includes the self to others, not just a “victim” perspective of what “others are doing to me….” When conflict arises, do we immediately get angry, personalize, feel victimized by or fall into the cesspool of blame in order to gain back control or feel bulletproof from a perceived attack?

One question to ask the self: “Is this about me at all?”

Might we consider that another’s pain one day, has nothing at all to do with us? Could it be, that it is just a challenging moment, between a person and the world however he sees it? If coming from love, can we see that the only necessary response may be “I understand, and just trust, it will get better…”

Could we also consider that perhaps what one needs from a loved one, is a skill that he/she has not yet been taught? Perhaps, he/she hasn’t had the need to learn it before now. Maybe if they/or I, had the tool, had learned how to use it we’d be more than willing to use that tool with a loving intent to bring comfort to those painful moments, instead of grasping and waving around the only tools available to us in the toolbox….

To illustrate, how does one to expect to receive the compassion he needs from those close, when compassion is not one of the tools in their toolbox? The ability to have compassion simply isn’t there. How does one expect to have stresses met with calming and neutral reassurance, when emotions and drama were the lifeblood hook of prior relationships, and one has learned to respond with “shields up, load blame, fire….” If one has never been taught, or had the need to learn – how could one reach for that tool of reassurance and use it, when it isn’t even in the box?

And really, wouldn’t we use it if we had it and knew how?

Not possessing the tool or knowing how to use it does not excuse one from being civil, especially in those difficult moments. Basic human respect is built into us, and eroded away by years of self-protection in an uncivilized family, community, country, planet….still, it is our birthright to know how to respect another, and willful misconduct if we don’t. We are seeded to have choice for it to be different.

Our potential to be kind first, will dictate how a person will react - even under the worst moments. That respect and yearning to give and receive true love is hard-wired into us, even though we may be out of practice due to environment, challenging childhoods, hateful adults, mindless behavior….

It is said that the true strength of a relationship is tested when things are challenging, not when things are fun or moving forward with ease. So we all have the personal responsibility to grow our toolbox…to fill it to overflowing with tools that empower, not break down – that say I’m sorry, not “you said…” We can stock our toolbox with tools that are driven by kindness first and join together to find solutions as team, not use the blunt force trauma of blame – and to replace hate, with love, love, love.

Our truest wealth lives here, in this understanding. Time to clean out our toolbox.

--dar freeland

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Illusion of Illusions

"Boomerang" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 2004 - 2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

A devastating moment is here to do to itself what I think it is doing to me. It longs to be reborn to the positive truth it intended to be. Love asks to be seen. We cloud its perfection with self-authored stories and illusions to support being right, winning or crippling a perceived attack we have decided is coming our way.

I am the author of my own tragedies, comedies, dramas and decisions about "how it is" - and once I get that truth, no healing is out of my reach. I am what I say, what I think, what I declare, what I believe - these are all the tools to craft what is.

What meaning do I assign to a thing, what role do I play in my own movie and how may I rewrite it now to better serve what I say I really want?

This is how it can be, to be truly free.

--dar freeland

Friday, May 13, 2011

Road Rage of Life

"Getting To Know You" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 2007-2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

Who is at the wheel fighting for control right now – is it my Highest Self or my Ego self?

It is valuable to check in on this regularly. Resentment leaves clues, big obvious ones. It is usually bolstered by a firm story, and perpetuated by a string of negative emotions designed by the Ego to keep itself inflamed and justified to be in power.

We can tell we're not in our Highest place, if we are treading in a pool of resentment, fear, anger or attack...

We are all born with an Ego, and it’s our responsibility to feed and care for it with love.

The Ego thinks its only function is to protect us, and it will take us to the mat trying to do so.

Our Higher Self however – knows better, creates stronger and naturally loves with more compassion and fervor than any illusion that Ego may portray.

So, how to dethrone the Ego? It isn't with more anger...that is the Ego mirroring itself. We take back the wheel with love and compassionate action. We intercept ourselves, hold our tongues and look more closely to bust our own story. Then we move into trust and faith that our answers will come.

The first step is to recognize or admit what is happening, who is driving? Then accept it is happening, because stuff happens. What we choose to do with it is our way to peaceful co-existence with the Ego. How we perceive and spin a thing in our head, tells us – through the blessing of our feelings – who is driving.

It us up to us to empower and allow our Higher Self to take back the wheel.

Because life is a wheel.

It will always come back to our starting point.

--dar freeland

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In The Spirit Of Gratitude

"Family Album" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 1997-2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

How does one sift out all of the extraneous dramas of the holidays and just get down to what is important - that love is bigger than all the smallness that we could muster up for a psychologically dramatic impact? Are we so habitually bored as a species that we can’t make it through one day without letting our whole life history mess up 24 hours together? Why do we so often find ourselves operating with our loved ones before the meal, eating and/or spitting out all of our emotional leftovers?

How do we laser in our focus on what really matters, which is to honor and respect another person - even relatives? Oooooooo. Yes, we are different and that is what makes life juicy, exciting and an ever-evolving challenge. Our differences are our gifts and lessons - our Life School, so why do we choose to misbehave or ditch school entirely? We all know THAT isn’t going to work. Being truant from our relationships only puts distance between our bodies and our stuff - it doesn’t HEAL anything. The old saying still goes, wherever you go, there you are. Our history, feelings, and life stories are locked in our inner library so no matter what the location - they will emerge, with others posing as the mirrors of our family or **gasp** our family itself.

We may not love all the behavior around us - but aren’t we grown up enough now to allow “behavioral” moments to be just moments? Even a lifetime collection of words and deeds does not make a person fixed. The opportunity to become new each moment exists as a choice within us all, so no one can be assigned as “this is who you are….” That determination is for a person and their maker to decide, a private matter that is none of our business. Heal thyself. Is it possible that we focus so much on guarding our hearts, and consequently forget to open them?

Is anyone up for charging ahead and being fearless about love?

So what kind of holiday would WE create, if we truly got it and believed that we were the one creating it? At the least, how will we participate and contribute to a meaningful, thankful, joyful, juicy, playful and empowering time together?

Even in the face of no evidence, LOVE ANYWAY.

--dar freeland

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Inner Mandala

"Mons Philosophorum" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 1997-2011 dar freeland | all rights reserved

A measure of one’s strength, is to know one can stand in the face of no evidence - and remain the observer despite a crazy environment. He can maintain calm in a sea of chaos - stay intact, when everything nearby is imploding.

One can smile at the wonder of it all.

When one refuses to collapse into those around him, he demonstrates an inner mandala, a self-righting machine. He notices and experiences a network of self unity, certainty and commitment. This inner-empowerment cradles a knowing heart through the deepest challenges and the darkest of nights the soul will face.

And one will smile at the wonder of it.

A healthy person will deconstruct at his own pace - the things about himself that no longer serve him. Remaining at peace, and with grace - through a disciplined mind while letting go, is the greatest spiritual muscle one will ever test.

And the Universe will smile at the wonder of it.

--dar freeland

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Bottom Line

When distilled down to it's most finite, all anyone wants, is to know they are loved.

Free. Easy.


--dar freeland

Sunday, August 29, 2010


"Mirror Mirror" by Dar Freeland
images & text © 1997-2011 Dar Freeland | all rights reserved

How much of our perceptions of the world, our inner thinking, beliefs and self-proclaimed truisms are evident - available for us to see - outside of ourselves? How many of us pay attention to the synchronicities and metaphors presented to us in the gallery of life?

If the Universe had a canvas, (which it does) like an artist (which it is) - would it draw each of us a personal painting of what it sees? (it does every minute).

Would we buy it?

What if we removed ourselves from our cyclical thinking, our patterned behavior, and our “that’s just the way it is” way of seeing things? What possibilities may be served up for us to learn? Can we give up our need to be in charge for long enough to learn anything? Are we all so wounded from the control of our historical baggage - that we will spend the remainder of our lives in the illusion that we can “avoid being controlled” - and therefore remain in a state of habitual calculation?

Do we truly believe that calculating anything, gives us any sort of real power?

We are “controlled” by nothing other than our own willingness to comply - our own giving up of our personal freedoms, diminishing our own muscle we call choice. Are we so convinced that because the world tries to tell us what to do (from its position of perceived superiority) and how it is (from it’s limited self-serving perspective) - that something “out there” is so much clearer about our own truth and inner strength than are we are? How much absolute and genuine control over our own destiny could we realize we have, simply by engaging fully with our own power - through the actions of becoming habitually conscious, discerning, open to exploration and utilizing the infinite resources available to us in a field of unlimited possibilities?

Who is really driving our destiny?

True power comes from surrender…and no, that doesn’t mean “giving up” - it means “letting go”. It means learning how to flow in the waters of life, sometimes the within rapids and if we are blessed and choose to create it as such - bobbing along the adventure in the joyous “brand new every moment” discovery of what is next…the inner tube on the lazy river.

Sometimes we get to lay in the stillness of no movement at all, and look up at the sky, a perfect opportunity for gratitude. Sometimes it rains, and we protect ourselves. Sometimes the sun drizzles its golden rays upon us and tickles our spine until we laugh out loud. This life becomes an adventure within which to invent, explore, create, savor and share.

If we didn’t control life, could we still love it?

Would we really choose to live our entire lives in the literal, mundane, “this is how life demonstrates itself therefore, that’s how I will roll” sort of thinking? How boring would life become if we were convinced that our “my way or the highway” decision about how it will turn out was the exact way it is and will be? If we were aware of it, how much precious life energy would we devote to an endless existence of reruns, the same commercial over and over, one step after the next predictable step. What if we are in charge of this too? Is this what we would choose, if we knew we had a choice?

The soul cringes.

On the other hand, a life lived fearless, without judgment or shoulds - discovered, explored and allowed to unfold…the gift that it beholds could be greater than anything we may have calculated for ourselves. What makes us believe we are so much smarter than the gifts the Universe would compose for us? What if we lived our own personal myth - exactly as it unfolds - if we embraced the metaphors and saw our own truths beneath? How powerful a tool would a metaphor be if we unmasked it?

What would we see…if we were fearless enough to look?

So do we choose the opportunity to decipher the metaphors presented to us at each moment, to look into the mirror at our own personal work on this canvas called life? It is our opportunity to choose between living with our historical self (hauling around our baggage) or live each moment anew.

Can we take our (metaphoric) hints and giggle in the mirror while we create our own personal works of art called “self” - our lives from the pallet of infinite possibility? Do we want to live in baggage claim at the airport, or do we choose to live in the gallery of life?

--dar freeland