Thinking a lot lately about omnipresence of mind...

I get stuck in a loop thinking about the nature of everything being connected, that there's no real separation between anything... it's all one expression of one eternal moment, and yet perceptively all separated at the same time. Possibly predestined, and possibly ever changing. All of thought, existence, matter, non-matter, coexisting, flowing, and folding in on itself. 

Then I read a quote “In the light of eternity, none of this really matters."

When asked where Steven Colbert get's his fearlessness in comedy, he said his mother used to say this to him. I wondered what it meant, and started focussing on the words "light of eternity" and imagination took me to a place I'd been to when I almost died many years ago during a Mezateco ceremony in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. (recalled in my audio book The Silver Thread)

That other place beyond, is really impossible to describe in words. Sort of like everywhere and all time, all light, all energy, and all color... all at the same time. Sort of like a plasmotic life-force encompassing all. Sort of like what I'd imagine the "light of eternity" might be.

Everything being and not-being while swirling in on itself in some transcendent, mysterious, fulfilling, mystic vortex.

"Vortex 2" ~ Late Night Abstract Composition: motion + sound © 2015 Skip Hunt

What exactly makes you happy & gives you ultimate joy?

Happy-Happy, Joy-Joy

Dandy Lion ~ Kanopolis State Park, Kansas © 2014 Skip Hunt

Dandy Lion ~ Kanopolis State Park, Kansas © 2014 Skip Hunt

Keep trying to answer of what makes me happy. I know when I feel happy, but it's always fleeting moments. Rarely is that feeling sustained very long. I'm not even sure if that's really what happiness is. 

When it happens, all thoughts of the past and future fade away. There's only the moment and all seems like it couldn't be better. If music is playing, I'll sing along as loud as I can. I'll even laugh out loud at how absurd it is that I should be allowed to feel that happy without having done anything to deserve it. Then, my eyes will water a bit once it hit's the plane of joy. From there, I'll coast back down to an average plane, still high on the memory of how it felt. 

And, as great as that feels... I'm not sure if I'd want to live like that all the time. Would you? I think eventually, it'd just become the norm. Without any bad times to compare it to, you wouldn't know how great that feeling is. 

So, I'm wondering if perhaps the peak of emotion that most associate with happiness, is really just joy. And, the pursuit of happiness... is actually more important than any one moment, or material thing you associate with happiness? 

Hmmm... I wonder....

Caught in a Landslide, No Escape from Reality

Sell Art Online

Made this image recently in Oxkutzcab, Mexico. But, it looks so familiar for some reason. I don't recall ever being in that place before, and it's not likely a bus connection city I would have passed through in the past. 

Yet, I have a vivid memory of being there before and making an image of it in 35mm. The memory is that there wasn't enough light, but tried to get it anyway. So strange to have the sensation of memory regarding a place you're fairly certain you've never been before. 

Wondering if maybe the same facade exists somewhere else, in some other city? I want to say the memory has me somewhere in Guatemala. Anyone recognize this clock facade and know somewhere else it's possibly copied?

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Freedom from Conspicuous Consumption

Quemado ~ San Luis Potosi, Mexico © 2013 Skip Hunt

Quemado ~ San Luis Potosi, Mexico © 2013 Skip Hunt

Although I'm sometimes as guilty as anyone else when it comes to falling prey to the evils and distractions of consumer culture, I do abhor conspicuous consumption and consciously work at trying to to acquire anything I don't need. So much of Western culture is poisoned by the obsession to consume. We were even told by good ol' George Bush, that shopping was a way to fight against terrorism. 

That's not to say I don't enjoy gadgets and toys as much as anyone, but I've been trying to squash the obsession to consume things I don't really need as much as I can. And, it's one of the huge benefits I get from going to the desert in Mexico, renting a simple adobe room with nothing more than a light bulb, a bed, and shelter from the elements. 

A strange thing happens when you cut yourself off like that. At first, you feel like you've made a terrible error and wonder what you could have been thinking. Then, surprisingly within just a few days you start to realize those cravings and desires for "stuff" start to melt away and you actually feel more free, relieved, at peace, and happy.

Some of those who know me have accused my desire to live frugally and efficiently as some sign of being "cheap". Instead, it's really about my attempting to maximize my limited resources, as well as distance myself from the popular compulsion to throw things away that still have plenty of use left, and mindlessly buy more stuff. 

I've learned the closer you can get to cutting off the perpetual desire to consume, the happier and healthier you feel. Without all that distracting desire to consume clouding your mind, you start to experience what's around you more fully as well. 

 

Valerian? Chocolate with Chili? Mescalito?

Wonder what it was that sent me?

Eye Witness © 2013 Skip Hunt

Took some Valerian the night before last and last night as well... right before going to bed. Last night I took it after eating some Valentine chili-laced dark chocolate. 

Oh WOW. 

I had such amazingly vivid dreams. The sort that make you forget it's a dream until you wake up. In the last dream sequence, I was in the military. It was in the middle of the night or very early morning. The lights came on for some unknown reason. 

We were getting up or waiting for the lights to turn back off so that we could go back to sleep, when some sirens started to blare. An officer came rushing in and pointed to me and a small group of other soldiers to get suited up. He said this wasn't a drill.

I started to panic and was struggling to get all my gear on. My mind went blank and I was trying to remember my training. It was all I could do to get my clothes on in the right order. I heard some planes and choppers overhead. Some explosions could be heard and I couldn't tell if they were from grenades or coming from the sky. 

Just kept telling myself not to panic... "Remember your training. Don't panic. If you panic, you're dead." Only, I couldn't remember what I was supposed to do at all. Just that I was heading out into the dark with a gun, a heavy pack and some explosives. Someone was going to be shooting at me, and it was my job to not get shot and try to shoot back. I'd never actually shot anyone before.

All suited up,  we made for the door as another chopper was hovering overhead. I didn't know if it was one of ours or theirs. Another explosion, then I woke up. 

So glad that was a dream... and even more glad that's not my job. Much respect to those who do that kind of job under that level of pressure and can keep a focussed enough head to remember their training. I'm afraid, when push came to shove... I was sadly about to lose it. 

Was it the Valentine chocolate bar that had chili mixed in? Maybe that was the key catalyst that sent me into an alternate reality. Or, perhaps there's still a hint of Mescalito's desert residue still flowing about my brain chemistry.

Whatever it was.. think I'll skip the Valerian tonight. ;)

Why do you do the things you do?

Do you ever wonder why it is you do what you do? Are you making the thoughts that cause you to act, or are the thoughts just appearing from somewhere within the ether and you're simply following along? 

"Cry Baby" ~ LithoFusion Collection © 2012 Skip Hunt

I recently decided to buy a plane ticket to Mexico and will be on my way there very soon. I've since come up with reasons I decided to go and have also forged a catchy theme for the trip called The CHUPACABRA Tour that makes sense given the area I'm going with relation to where the story took place.

However, when I think of the moment I pulled the trigger and bought that plane ticket there wasn't any plan, or theme. It was almost as if I really had nothing to do with it at all. That sounds a bit nutty I'm sure, but if you think about the moment thoughts appear, do you really feel like you are making that thought? Is the thought forming on its own, or appearing from somewhere else?

There are those who'll claim we're all part of the bigger plan of a supreme being. If that's true, how much control do we really have in our lives? 

It all gets difficult when you start thinking about what we really are and such. I feel I'm more than a biological machine with an organic computer calculating probabilities, but I'm not certain that whatever it is that I am… if it's actually running the controls. 

Sometimes I wonder if everything is really some giant elaborate illusion and the only reason any of this appears to be real is simply because the alternative is that it is not. Or, perhaps everything "is" and "is not" at the same time? 

The very next time a thought forms that causes you to react or act in some way or another, see if you can absolutely tell whether you made that thought or if it simply came to be and you're just along for the ride.

I'm going to think about that too as I revisit the recorded audio book I recently made called CHUPACABRA. It's a true story that happened over 13 years ago, but I'd like to think about what drove me so close to the brink of death over something as unimportant as writing a screenplay in Mexico. I still don't know what got into me back then and hope being there again will expose some of the mystery.

Skip Hunt
Austin, Texas

Interfere or Leave Fate Well Alone?

Sometimes I'll have a blurry memory of someone I used to know many years ago. It's almost always a delightful memory that causes me to wonder how and when this perfectly magnificent friendship just faded away. How could I have allowed it? Was there something that happened that I'm just forgetting? Was the friendship not as strong as my memory recalls? Or, was it just a natural course of fate... the current just carried you this way in the river's fork & your friend was carried the other way. You're powerless to the whims of fate.

"Yin Yang" © 2012 Skip Hunt

"Yin Yang" © 2012 Skip Hunt

All of the friends I made in college are now vague memories & almost all of the friends I made in the military have evaporated in time as well. I can still remember the most fresh casualties to the passage of time & can sense more falling away very soon.

What I'm not quite sure about is whether we should do something about it, or just let these relationships pass into the ether as they must... Or should we fight to cling & preserve them against all odds? I'm mostly inclined to hum along with "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" but often I wonder... if we even have a choice in the matter.

Skip Hunt
Austin, Texas

Just my imagination once again...

Celebrated a birthday recently, and was out looking for symbolic and fun "toys" as my wife and I perused a local Barnes and Noble bookstore. There wasn't anything I was looking for in particular and asked if I could present my birthday present wishes after I get back from traveling in Mexico soon. Figured there'd be some cool new compact cameras announced soon, and then there's that sexy iPhone 5 rumored to be coming out soon as well. 

Still, in order to fulfill my inner child's wish for a birthday treat, I did my best to find something in the funky B&N gift bins. I keep to myself most of the time, travel alone and don't really have the cultivated network of friends that most people seem to have, so my sweet wife does her best to make up for the fact I'm basically a loner. ;)

There wasn't really anything that was catching my eye except for a box of "competition" yo-yos with instruction booklet. One of the yo-yos has a light that fires up when the yo-yo is in action, and the other yo-yo is a plain, wooden one for doing tricks. Seemed perfect. 

Then, I noticed some Tarot cards. Most of them seemed really over-priced for what they are. The artwork on Tarots has always intrigued me for some reason, so I looked at all of them until my wife found a purple box that had nicely designed cards and included a booklet as well. Reasonably-priced too so I decided this would appease the inner birthday child sufficiently.

"The Magician" © 2012 Skip Hunt

When we got home I broke into the yo-yo box first and dazzled our cats with the one that lit up as it spun. A few drops later and I was ready to bust into that box of Tarot cards. I really don't know anything at all about Tarot cards... only that they looked sorta cool and thought they'd be fun to play with at some point.

The booklet explained how you shouldn't let other's handle your cards too much and that there was some sort of "bonding period" where some put their cards in purple or black silk bags and sleep with them under their pillow. We couldn't scare up a silk bag, but my wife grabbed a silk scarf to wrap them up in. This was all part of pretending to be a goofy child again, so I followed the instructions and put them under my pillow to begin the bonding process.

I had pretty much forgotten they were under my pillow until yesterday morning and through the night I kept waking up with the most bizarre dreams. There wasn't anything unusual I'd eaten and there wasn't any other change out of the ordinary to account for these extremely vivid dreams that were so powerful they were waking me up. For three nights it's gone on like this.

When I was making the bed I felt something odd under my pillow and remembered the silk-wrapped Tarot cards underneath and realized it was the night I put them under my pillow that the dreams started. Now, these aren't your run-of-the-mill intense dreams. These had a very strange feeling as if I was watching someone else's dreams. I don't know how to describe it any other way than they simply didn't feel like anything I would normally dream about and the people in these dreams... well, it all just felt like it was part of someone else's psychic experience.

The only close approximation to what they felt like happened to me around this time last year when I was in the sacred Wirikuta desert region of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I wrote a blog post about it called Transported from Quemado

What's interesting is that I'm leaving for Mexico once again and plan on returning to that very place to check up on the stone peace sign I started in 2009. Although I try to travel as light as possible, I'm thinking maybe I'll take these Tarot cards to that same place in the desert... just to see what happens.

I wonder if there's anything to the Tarot or strange sacred places? Or, if it's just my imagination, once again... runnin' away with me?

Skip Hunt
Austin, Texas

From where does this resonate?

From Memory and/or Somewhere Unspeakable

"Redrum" ~ Spicewood, Texas © 2012 Skip Hunt

"Redrum" ~ Spicewood, Texas © 2012 Skip Hunt

I like to drop a bunch of extra images that aren't a part of any other collection into a miscellaneous folder and look through every now and then with fresh eyes. It's always easier to "see" the images once more water has run under the bridge and the memories aren't as fresh.

Saw this one last night and thought, "That one looks sorta nice, and I'm enjoying lingering with it as well. Might be something there. "

This one isn't a nice landscape or something more defined, but something about this composition really resonates personally for me.

I wonder if that comes more from some vaguely connected personal memory of this time an place when the image was made? Or, is this resonating purely from the juxtaposition of color, texture & line?

"Redrum" ~ Spicewood, TX © 2012 Skip Hunt

If You Wonder How it REALLY Looked

I'm often asked how much processing I do to images for presentation. Truth is, I don't usually present anything until I've added something more to it in editing to not match what was actually there, but to hopefully get close to matching my memory of the place and what stood out for me. 

However, some images just require you happen to be at the right place at the right time... and remember to make an image that's hopefully framed pleasantly and in focus. This is a video clip straight out of the camera with nothing added. The still looks pretty much like this as well. 

"Fin de Samana" ~ Santa Marta, Colombia © 2012 Skip Hunt

"Fin de Samana" ~ Santa Marta, Colombia © 2012 Skip Hunt

If you enjoy colorful travel photography, you might very well enjoy having a look at my Colombia 2012 photo book or the collection of black and white images called "The Fine Colombian" in this slideshow  and the photo book

© 2012 Skip Hunt + kaleidoscopeofcolor.com

Do You See/Hear What I Do?

The other day I was talking to someone about how it's hard to discern what good sound is for different people. I said that his 28 year old eardrums are likely in better condition than my much abused 48 year old ears and that likely we aren't hearing the same frequencies when we listen to music. 

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So strange how memory can prevent you from "seeing" your images

I'm wondering if others can relate to how difficult it can be to tell when a travel image is acceptable or not. 

For me at least, at first there's a personal connection to the memory of the moment you made the image that initially colors your opinion of it. Then, after the trip has concluded there's the already fading memory of the journey as a whole coloring your opinion of all the images you made. And, eventually... when you're already starting to think about your next excursion and you've looked at all of your images so much that some of them you can't bare to look at anymore... only then do the gems start to reveal themselves to you. 

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Do people realize high fructose corn syrup is poison?

The other day I was listening to Alec Baldwin's excellent podcast interview with Dr. Robert Lustig on Here's The Thing. I've heard the claims about how poisonous processed sugar is for years and have suspected that the human brain reacts to these extremely processed sugars in much the same way it responds to other substances like heroin and cocaine. 

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Imagination: Real as Real

When I was riding my bike the other day, I was thinking about alternate realities and perhaps what's "real".  What if the little imaginary scenes and nightly dreams you have are just as real and valid and what you perceive to be "real"... only, they're existence lifespan is shorter, ie. a small universe that is your dream is born, lives, and dies in the course of a good night's sleep.
~ Skip Hunt

VISAGE © 2012 Skip Hunt + from the 
LithoFusion Collection