Be in This Place

OH NO, NOT THIS AGAIN

New Brunswick readers may recall the 2008 New Brunswick brand “Be…in this place”. As much misunderstood as it was despised, the tagline was soon replaced.

Created by a “from away” who understood why one would leave a big-city life behind to move to Atlantic Canada, “Be…in this place” promised the deep-seated sigh of contentment longed for by so many.

My latest series of paintings is my interpretation of the powerful yet misunderstood invitation New Brunswick was extending to the world.

BE?

Discontent, a general sense of unease, is often the result of disconnection from a peace we all possess deep within. This peace could be called “be-ing”. The concept of “being” is difficult to express with language, so for centuries, great teachers have led others there through the senses. Using our senses to tune in to our present surroundings can draw us toward this deeper foundational reality of existence.

THE “BE IN THIS PLACE” SERIES

Each painting in this series is an attempt to depict another element of the beauty of…well…this place — in the little things, in the big things. All are accompanied by a simple verse, presenting a common unease, a problem or story many of us hold in our mind. Sense awareness of surroundings pulls the narrator out of thought, into the internal place where all is right — the inner sense of being — and is brought to wholeness once again.

SUNNY DAYS THAT I THOUGHT WOULD NEVER END

Children swimming by a wharf with boats in the background.
Sunny Days That I Thought Would Never End, 2021, oil on canvas, 61 x 121.9 cm, 24 x 48 in
When I think something's missing, and feel I need more,
I head down my street to visit the shore.
Gentle breezes nudge sailboats, smiles soften my face.
So charming...I see clearer now...here, in this place.

STILL NOT THERE?

I get it, being is a difficult concept. Try this…

We can look for happiness outside of ourselves, or within. Most of us begin our search outside, in worldly happiness and well-being — in our life partner, our career and achievements, our travels, our lifestyle, a better diet, a better body. We can spend our entire life seeking happiness where it does not exist. We can become caught in this, enslaved, forever seeking something more.

If we are lucky, we reach a point where we begin to look inward.

Noticing the beauty all around us, here, where we are, right now, can lead us to uncover the place we’ve been searching for, the place of true and lasting happiness.

For instance, across one of the roads in the town where I live lies a series of power lines where a flock of birds like to congregate.  They look so peaceful, not rushing around, as I often am as I drive under them.  They gather, in community.  They rest.  They are present, not looking for more or less than what is right now.  As I notice this, they teach me.

Flock of birds on a wire in front of blue clouded sky.
The Watch Over Fox Farm, 2020, oil on canvas, 38.1 x 76.2 cm, 15 x 30 in
Body aching and weary, I make my way home.
Looking up I am reminded, we are never alone.
We are all part of this world, spinning in space.
We are one, each part of the whole.  We are here, in this place.

See more works in the Be in This Place series here.

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