On a personal website I have, I keep an Art & Creativity page. Each month or so I feature an additional artist and a piece of work by them, or a demonstration of creativity by someone. I just placed the following - I think you will find the photo to be quite inspiring, as well as the linked sites and pieces:

Bennett Barthelemy who I have spent some time with surfing, sipping tea and coffee, and hanging out with at his parents toy store in Ojai, is another special artist. His media are mainly photography, photojournalism, and writing. However, I’d say that his life and lifestyle are also his media and his art. Bennett feels certain callings strongly and intensely – artistic, humanitarian, and adventurous. How he moves about the planet for work and how he moves about his daily life, reflects his ethics, his thinking and feelings about what is important, and his artistic sensibilities.

I paste here a bio blurb that he has written, as well his statement about the subject/object of the striking photo that I also insert below. His blog and his otherwise dispersed articles are worth reading. It was difficult to choose just one photo from his varied gallery. This image that I settled on expresses so much about nature, light and shadow, human attention, and about man/woman, woman in this instance, finding meaning and deep physical engagement within the home world.

A simple act – pushing a button – I capture, confine details to a limiting space. A collector of lost seconds. I have a strange relationship with the concept of time – yearning to be wholly present and aware to exist within, to capture, the eternally unfolding moment. Yet much of my life is casting backwards, reawakening lost dreams, reinventing new ones. Caught between worlds and continents, cliff and sky. I exist within the space of a muscle twitch, a furtive glance and a passing thought – forever chasing the fading light.

Molly is just 22 but has been training and climbing with some of the most accomplished and strongest climbers in the world like Lynn Hill and Justin Sjong. This is the third ascent and first female ascent of a difficult 5.13 climb in Colorado. facebook.com/mollymitchellclimber.

instagram @bennettb  website bennettbarthelemy.blogspot.com stock represented at www.tandemstock.com

Views: 579

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The following is a blog post I just made - some comments on a book and author that really grabbed me:

Tigerman – book review

Tigerman that I just completed is an extraordinary novel. Early-on in reading, it occurred to me how post-modernly disorienting, and then eventually reorienting, the book is. These orientation-shiftings are potential evocateurs within the reader of uncertainty, ambivalence, suspension of knowing reality, affective angst, and humor. Inner and outer smiles and minor mouth-gaping is what I can report most on. I thought, ‘What a mind, what heart, what worldly and psycho-social knowledge, what free-form literary deftness he has.’

Nick Harkaway has created a unique flowing, surging, curving and recurving, awe-infusing, perturbational vehicle of reality and fantasy through this book, by which I was carried, oft hanging a bit awkwardly, in the fresh and creative narrative of how life-things are and how they may be. Weird, in a good way.

In his characters and circumstances he stories raw and sometimes dangerous individual and collective impulses, advanced and regressive moral sentiments, and capacities of higher and lower intellect. In ‘integral theory’ terms, he covers a lot of AQAL territory.

Because of the sometimes almost cacophonous exposure to seemingly unconventional events and reactions, the reading could evoke momentarily a judgement of Harkaway perhaps capitalizing on post-modern’s tattering of our conventional rationality, mainly for effect, not for reality. Yet I also had the sense or suspicion throughout this startling fiction that valued meaning would all come together in a believable integration of how life might actually transpire.

I believe that through so much highlighting of the human world’s shadowy and disruptive proclivities, and material nature’s as well, Tigerman was accomplishing an intelligent, higher-tier manner of integration. Integration gradually did occur for me bridging the larger arcs of the story. Of course there was much dramatic tension as subplots and curious threads hung in the unknown before being coherently connected. Integration was achieved within the author’s large and bold understanding, and not primarily by typical, facile, feel-good plot wrappings.

The coming togethers were very satisfactory for me. One sign of my being satisfied was in my feeling at all points of the story that the protagonist Sergeant Lester Ferris was embodying and acting in relative clarity and integrity, despite his wounds, befuddled confusions, ambivalences, and dilemmas. When alternatives were unacceptable, he was willing to shake loose of his uncertainty and worries and take a stand, take action. He was heroic.

To get a sense of the captivating storyline, and not merely my not-so-compelling abstract interpretings, check out his website synopsis, reviews and interviews, and a short video where he answers some questions about his process. I think you’ll like him. Below are links.

Before I leave you to his words, I want to add that if you imagine yourself writing a novel, and you haven’t found a committed groove already, you might find from him, as successful exemplar, more inner freedom to tell your lively tales. This is a fascinating, wild, comedic, and intelligent (at a relatively young age) writer.

You have probably gotten already that I have been literarily smitten by Nick Harkaway. Would that my riffing here did his work justice.

I like the amusing linearly non-linear layout of:


And his books – click on each one for some fun references:


An interview, among various, about his second book:


A video interview – scroll down a little:


One Tigerman review:


**But then, he says, the world isn’t real in the way literature so often defines it, “the sort of new puritan dogma that almost says you report only the prosaic, that you can’t dress it up, you can’t do burlesque, I find very strange. Literally this morning I was sitting in the cafe across the road and it transpires that the waitress working there was a Hungarian police officer for 11 years, and suddenly I’m talking to her about what it’s like being a Hungarian police officer.

“Now, the stuff she’s describing is completely off the chart in terms of crazy. Of course it is, because police officers everywhere experience the completely bizarre all the time. So, does that mean I can’t put that in a book even though it’s true? No, that’s ridiculous. The addiction to the illusion of reality, the broadest, flattest reality, I think, is harmful and I think it’s tedious.”

Tedious is the last word you could use to describe his own writing – or conversation. He tops his intellect in a circus ringmaster’s hat. But for all the entertainment to be had from the reading, the serious stuff is in there. Ask him about the genesis of Tigerman and he begins to talk about the (real) island of Diego Garcia, a UK territory in the Indian Ocean on which two rendition flights landed in 2002. (Last month, after years in which rendition claims about Diego Garcia had been disputed by the UK government, claims emerged the Americans ran a “black” jail on the island.)

“My wife runs the charity Reprieve and so rendition, droning and capital punishment are very much the topics of our dinner table because of that. And then I had this stuff going on with this notion of a paternal relationship because my wife was pregnant.”**
Tigerman - hey in case you want to read NPR's quick review:


Listen to the Story
All Things Considered 2 min 36 sec
by Nick Harkaway

Hardcover, 337 pages purchase
mysteries, thrillers & crime
More on this book:
NPR reviews, interviews and more
How do you know when a book has hooked you? When it really gets you in the guts and won't let go?

When you can't stop telling people about it. When you catch yourself inserting the title of the book into conversations where it has no place, breathlessly insisting to all your friends and relations that they need to read this book right now, and waving it around on elevators and hoping that someone asks you about it.

Or trying desperately to explain to the old lady on your train (who sweetly explains that she only reads books where nice things happen, or about people on journeys to find Jesus) exactly why it's so good even though there's witchcraft in it, and hand grenades, murdered dogs, complicated geopolitics, and plenty of bad people who have very little concern for Jesus at all. You know that you've gone off the deep end of love and addiction when you just kind of want to shake the old lady and say, "Just shut up and read the thing, grandma. Trust me. I do this for a living."

This was how I felt while reading Nick Harkaway's new book, Tigerman. It's not just good, it's shake-a-granny good. The kind of good that makes you wonder why every book isn't this smart and joyous and beautiful and heartbreaking; that makes you a little bit pissed off that you ever gave away bits of your life to reading worse books, and sad that so many trees get wasted on authors with less grace, less surety, less confidence than this man who can throw comic books, video games, post-colonial guilt, the longing ache of the childless, murder, tea drinking and mystical tigers all together in a big hat, shake it vigorously, and draw from the resultant, jumbled mess something so beautiful.

Tigerman is the story of Sergeant Lester Ferris — an aging soldier who has seen too many wars in too many places and is now running out the clock on his retirement as the brevet-consul of the doomed island of Mancreu. Due to some past ecological shenanigans, Mancreu now occasionally belches clouds of toxic waste, and is thus due to be cleansed any day now by fire and high explosives, courtesy of a panicked international community.

In the meantime, though, Mancreu exists in a sort of legal limbo. No one wants it, so no one is in control. And in its anarchy, Mancreu has become home to the sorts of characters who seek out lawless places. The bay has filled up with the Black Fleet — a motley collection of listening posts, gun boats, illicit hospital ships, drug labs, torture centers and money laundries — and the bars with journalists and spies. All of which is just fine by Lester, because as the sole remaining representative of the U.K. government's former colonial apparatus, he has been ordered very clearly to not care about any of it. To turn a blind eye. Just mark time.

It's not just good, it's shake-a-granny good.
But there is this kidnapped dog, you see? And a load of fish that has gone missing. And there is this boy — a smart, capable street kid, possibly orphaned, thoroughly obsessed with comic books, whose understanding of English has been cobbled together from super hero stories, stolen DVDs and video games. He is Lester's friend and companion, who gauges everything by levels of awesome; who convinces Lester, at a certain point, to become a super hero called Tigerman because Lester-as-Lester is just some old fart, incapable of action, but Lester-as-Tigerman could be awesome. Could be "full of win."

And Lester goes along with it because he loves the boy, worries over the boy, saves the boy once, early in the story, and then must keep saving him as things spiral downward on Mancreu — because he is a boy who deserves a hero. Lester wonders what will happen to him once the final order for evacuation comes. As a man with no family — no wife, no children of his own — he wonders if this boy might be his last, best chance at having a son.

Tigerman starts light. Harkaway builds a scoundrel's Eden on Mancreu, a slightly shabby island microcosm of all man's petty lusts and foibles, which will be immediately recognizable and comforting to anyone who has ever dreamed of packing up and scampering away to a tropical island, running a little weed, maybe falling in love. And when the hammer falls (which it inevitably must do), the reader can see it coming from a mile off; can dread the approach of real evil to this place which, in hindsight, appears almost built for evil to ruin, and know that things are going to go badly for everyone and worst for those with love to lose.

But for all the strangeness that lives in Tigerman, Harkaway never loses his grip. His boy is always a boy and his old soldier is always an old soldier — even when he is Tigerman. And the dangers of a world coming to pieces are made truly dangerous, because Harkaway understands as instinctively as the boy does that a hero's great deeds are only great in comparison to the risks he takes, and that sometimes, no matter how full of win you might be, small victories are the only ones you get.

Jason Sheehan is an ex-chef, a former restaurant critic and the current food editor of Philadelphia magazine. But when no one is looking, he spends his time writing books about spaceships, aliens, giant robots and ray guns. Tales From the Radiation Age is his newest book.

So, I am momentarily on the trail of fleshing out an image and story and interior ambiance about author Nick Harkaway for myself. There is apparently some numinosity that seems to draw me further.

Of course I discover early-on that he is a son of writer John Le Carre. That is not nothing.

Part of what I have sensed about his higher-tier ethical, cognitive, and self development becomes confirmed and more explicit in the below interview. Harkaway in rather nuanced ways talks about good and evil and how they show up in people and in his characters.

Technology is another topic spoken about in sophisticated ways, partly as it relates to ethics and even ontological assumptions.


Ambo Suno said:

The following is a blog post I just made - some comments on a book and author that really grabbed me:

Tigerman – book review

Hey t - here's another of my website blurbs - you may be familiar with the artist:

Here below is some rich personal creativity of a different sort. There are a number of things I like about this musical expression that I’ve chosen to highlight, now, and that Bruce Alderman has been gracious enough to share here. [I must say as an aside that I feel appreciation for the generosity of all artist/crafts-people that share their work, and particularly those who have been willing to share here on this strange hybrid psychospiritual-plus website.] I want to make a few introductory comments about the academic side of Bruce before I present his music and slide show.

Bruce and I share some overlapping histories, from philosopher Krishnamurti, to travel in India and Asia, to fascination with the topic and the word “Integral” for conveying something particularly coherent and important about life. He has distinguished himself by taking each of these points of commonality quite far, as a past teacher at a Krishnamurti school in India, as a current teacher at John F Kennedy University, and as a host to various integral cyber-communities, including one that I cite on the Resources page, Integral Post-metaphysical Spirituality. He moderates a lively facebook version of this same forum. He will be a presenter again at this year’s Integral Theory Conference at Sonoma State University, California. I admire how deeply conversant Bruce is about very contemporary philosophical, spiritual, and consciousness issues.

Indigenous flute music can be haunting and as you may have noticed can induce subtle shifts in states within us listeners. Lay this sound into the background or foreground of striking and perhaps haunting images, and your breathing may shift, muscular holdings may release, and mood may ease. This is of course true of some other music, art and creativity, but it seems to me that the indigenous flutes, even among their substantial variations, seem to insert themselves uniquely into the listening brain. I have enjoyed several of Bruce’s slideshows over the years.

Bruce declares clearly, "I'm very much an amateur and do not understand music theory", and, "I mention this to say that I do not consider myself in any way a 'musician' -- just a person who enjoys playing and making music as a way to relax, express emotional and imaginal ideas, etc." - could have fooled me. He started playing with an ocarina while living in Sedona, Arizona, and has since taken on a wide variety of Indonesian, Asian, and Native American flutes - he has even engaged with an Irish tin whistle [I smile]. Bruce has also had occasion to play a number of different Asian Drums.

Music probably didn't spring from his life as an adult, like spontaneous combustion. He played trombone in a band as a child and later held a bass guitar spot in a rock band. All of this childhood musical play is something I feel a wee bit envious of - probably such a rich experience to be a musical part in a larger musical whole.

In the musical selection embedded below, he is playing an Indonesian flute - "the suling slendro, most often heard in Javanese gamelan music."

I'll end with a quote that reflects a big part of what I like about Bruce's avocation. Music seems to be a rather organic process for him, and my guess is that it is a line of personal development that helps to balance him out in a busy life as parent, husband, professional teacher, truth-seeker, activist of sorts, and all the rest. Music creation probably speaks to inner yearnings. It may be another facet of an Integral Life Practice.

"I'm realizing I haven't said much directly about my process for these songs. I have run, recently, into a bit of a dry spell, musically, but usually I know that a song is coming before I know what it is. I used to feel the same way with poetry: a sense of some burgeoning inside, some still-unclear but insistent stirring and pushing. I often will take a walk to clear my mind and allow whatever it is to come through. For music, a song will either start when a thread of flute melody comes to mind, or when I have an idea for a tonal atmosphere. I then build the background music around the flute melody, or I create the background and then spontaneously play along with it until I find some phrases and melodies I like. When I lived on Bali, I used to hear, during certain festivals, a chorus of flute players as they marched down the street, and the sound of all those flutes playing somewhat wildly or chaotically together haunted me. So, when I create music now, I often will make layers of multiple, slightly staggered flute parts to capture some of that sound. One of my musical heroes is Stephan Micus, who makes a similar kind of music, but usually without the help of the synthesizers that I use. I did not set out to imitate him; rather, I discovered him after I had started doing this and found that he was doing it already, and doing it much better.

To share my music with people, I usually put together slide shows of found photos, as you've seen. I often don't know what a song will be called until it is finished; I listen to it and see what images come to mind, and then I find a title and some photos to flesh out that image."

. . .

Thank you for featuring Balder in your blog. It gives me another opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation for him in all of his multifarious avenues of expression.

Hear Here!

theurj said:

Thank you for featuring Balder in your blog. It gives me another opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation for him in all of his multifarious avenues of expression.

Ambo, I saw this video and thought of you.  Not sure if you've seen it yet.

Bruce, no, I hadn't. It's great!

I think of it as Rodney Mullen gone artsy, in a beautiful way.

Rodney Mullen was the innovator of many of these moves a few decades ago. This art and this artist does Rodney justice, and more.


I'm going to post this on Integrallife. Thanks!

Balder said:

Ambo, I saw this video and thought of you.  Not sure if you've seen it yet.

Hi t and others - here is a blurb I just put together for the website:

Tibetan Fabric Thangkas by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo

If you can remember back to your young days when you were captured, in a sense, by the cultural stories and formats of your country, neighborhood, and family, you may recall the surprise and something like awe as you discovered that other people and cultures are so different from how you thought things must be everywhere. Maybe when we saw people wearing extraordinary-to-us clothing, saw our first foreign film that engaged us deeply, or realized from National Geographic photos that those stacked neck-stretching rings around an indigenous tribe-member's collar, in a society far away, were not a trick or a punishment, that may be when we started to become more world- centric.

Standards of beauty and refinement for people’s faces, bodies, homes, food, music, courtships, values, and much more, vary, are relative, are contextual, depend on the situation. That insight can be a mighty growth-inviting blow to the mind, heart, and future behavior of anyone on this journey of life.

It is partly for this reason that I so enjoy my engagement with this artist and artwork by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo.

Leslie and I both do volunteering for the same non-profit hospice organization and that is how we met. She has been readily willing to share with me and others glimpses of her work and the unexpectedly dynamic path that her life has taken.

Leslie lived in Tibetan community for almost nine years. Tibetan society, tradition, religion, and spiritual philosophy is deep and textured, with features unique to that geo- cultural address. Certainly there are commonalities with all other human life around the globe and of course some variations over time and place of what has been called Tibet, but what comes foreground for me is how the art of Tibetan thangka painting is correspondingly deep and textured.

Rinchen-Wongmo invited me into her lovely studio at Channel Islands Harbor, California and showed me some sense of her process, a gallery of masterpieces, and small windows into how she moves through her life. I will insert here below a photo from her digital gallery of one of her classical renderings.

The subject is Guru Rimpoche of 8th century Tibet, or Padmasambhava as he was known in India before carrying the Buddhist teachings with him to the high Northland. Leslie tells me that there are very interesting stories told about him of dispelling and taming demons and spirits so that indigenous natives could begin to learn of the higher perspectives made available through him.

After an intense four-year old-world internship with a master in Dharamsala India, which is where the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist refugees fled following the Chinese invasion of Tibet, she stayed on and continued with her never-anticipated passion for the ancient craft and its strange alluring locale. “I fell in love with it.”

It was regarded as highly out of the ordinary that a western non-native would be taken into the school-circle. I am imagining that the teacher surely felt something worthy in this passing traveler who became suddenly enchanted by the beauty and the generation- upon-generation spiritual tradition given visual voice through silk and horsehair and native material.

From her website, “Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo is a contemporary American textile artist, teacher, and caretaker of a sacred Tibetan tradition.

In her fabric thangkas, the sacred Buddhist images of Tibetan thangka paintings are rendered in vivid mosaics of silk. Intricately layered and hand-stitched, these brilliantly colored works of Tibetan appliqué art inspire the heart and fascinate the eye.

We invite you to discover the beauty of this little-known Buddhist art form by exploring these pages.”

I will leave it to the reader to click on the link to her Threads Of Awakening website, to peruse the digital gallery, to check out the short video clips, and to read of this unusual and demanding textile art. It would be too much to explain the elegant particulars of pieces stitched together to form elaborate wholes, all while inviting opportunity for meditation in action.

I do want to mention something that I would never have expected. The silk threads and fabrics used throughout her Buddhist thangkas are produced by Muslim weavers in the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi who have been supplying the Tibetan monasteries for generations. Leslie wrapped, in illustration for me, silk thread over three strands of horsehair, using a foot-treadle sewing machine. The resultant cord had a dimension, a flexibility, and suggestively a very strong feel about it. Leslie stitches many such cords or piping to pieces of silk fabric in order to create the outlines and contours of her figures.

Rinchen-Wongmo has been honored by art and Buddhist communities in showings and awards. She was a person explored in the “Focus On The Masters” series about which a documentary is now in progress. Another documentary about her is available on her website. Leslie is a fine teacher and that immediately comes across in several locations on her Threads Of Awakening site. Those moved by the fineness of art and craft or those touched by the Buddhist values and meaning can commission or buy her work. Others can also learn more of this very non-ordinary art through classes with her.

I’ll end by saying that the Dalai Lama suggested to her that she take her skills beyond traditional Tibetan iconography and use it to convey spirit throughout and in the language of other cultures and spiritual traditions.

In that vein, I insert below a poignant-to-me applique of an everyday lay sort. You may notice that Leslie has taken an ordinary Tibetan living scene from photo and three- dimensionally and texturedly popped mother and child foreground. Ahh.

Ambo, this is excellent -- such a warm and inviting introduction to her beautiful artwork.  Your sympathetic framing of her work, and your offering of it on your website, are gifts to all of us.

Thanks Bruce!

Is it possible for you to make a minor edit for me? 1st P, 6th line down, could you insert an apostrophe so it reads "member's collar"?

Balder said:

Ambo, this is excellent -- such a warm and inviting introduction to her beautiful artwork.  Your sympathetic framing of her work, and your offering of it on your website, are gifts to all of us.

Done!  :-)

Reply to Discussion


What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

Notice to Visitors

At the moment, this site is at full membership capacity and we are not admitting new members.  We are still getting new membership applications, however, so I am considering upgrading to the next level, which will allow for more members to join.  In the meantime, all discussions are open for viewing and we hope you will read and enjoy the content here.

© 2020   Created by Balder.   Powered by

Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service