There's no better celebration of any season than the decorated tree adorned with the rich symbolism of nature—my ritual to inform and inspire you in the journey called life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

keys of life

THIS  HAS  BEEN  a weekend for soul-searching. I have had a lot going in my life the past few years and it's good to take some time for quiet contemplation. Sometimes life forces you to do such a thing. It's far too easy to get distracted by all the stuff of everyday life, which makes one forget to attend to the stuff of life that really matters—what's inside. It's scary to be alone with yourself sometimes, but a more meditative approach to life seems to always help me find direction. The older I get, the easier it is to find this kind of silence it seems. Maybe I've had enough practice. Maybe it's like riding a bike. Or finding a key to turn:

THE  INCREDIBLY  beautiful keys in the photo (above) were found at a crafts supply store several months ago (part of the aptly-named idea-ology line by Tim Holtz (a new discovery of amazing products). Being constantly on the lookout for new ways to express the decorated tree, I thought they would make beautiful ornaments by themselves or in some sort of wire construction—like an ornament I bought years ago which encased an old key within a crudely-made wire "globe." (I need to find it!). Although that's how these keys are marketed, they're not the usual scrapbooker fare. They have a heft and construction just like real keys. I loved them for the "engraved" words that associate with beautifully rendered shapes from the past. Who knows what they will become from here. I guess that's the point.

IN  THINKING  about how to use these keys (both literally and figuratively), I associated them with a book that my cousin Angela found at an antique store a few years ago and shared with me. I loved it so much that I searched for one and found a copy of my own on Ebay. The book (literary essay) is titled As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and was first published in 1902. I had never heard of it before, but it is one of those timeless jewels that you'll want to read and re-read (my copy is hand-sized and only 76 pages). You can read a copy online, but I'm a bit old-fashioned and like to have a book to hold in my hand—especially the beautiful copy I found.

A PHILOSOPHY  like James Allen's became possible when liberal Protestantism discarded the stern dogma that man is sinful by nature, substituting instead an optimistic belief in man's innate goodness and divine rationality. This reversal of doctrine was one of the great revolutions of the 19th Century. It was a move toward a reconciliation of science and religion, which is still in hot debate even today. As A Man Thinketh was Allen's second book of nineteen he wrote and was his most concise and eloquent work that best embodied his thought. The book opens with this statement:
Mind is the Master-power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:—
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.
TO  GIVE a broader idea of the infinitely quotable Mr. Allen, I have found quotes from him that pertain to the words on the seven keys in the photo above:

MEMORY: We clothe events with the drapery of our own thoughts. . . .

LOVE: And you . . . will realize the Vision (not the idle wish) of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or a mixture of both, for you will gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love.

SECRET: And herein lies the secret of true power. Learn, by constant practice, how to husband your resources, and concentrate them, at any moment, upon a given point.

DREAMS: The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

LIFE: Our life is what our thoughts make it. A man will find that as he alters his thoughts toward things and other people, things and other people will alter towards him.

HEART: The vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart — this you will build your life by, this you will become.

JOURNEY: Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal. You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.

WORD KEYS | (Top) These seven "word keys" from the Tim Holtz idea-ology line were a great find at Michaels craft store. The keys are displayed on the beautiful "leopard spot" marbleized endpapers binding my copy of James Allen's 1902 literary tome As a Man Thinketh.

LITERARY CLASSIC | (Middle and bottom) My vintage copy of As a Man Thinketh was found on Ebay and is exquisitely bound in green silk cloth back and corners with "leopard spot" marbleized endpapers with handset type inside—a beautiful addition to my treasured books. Published in 1908 by The Progress Company, Chicago.

photography and styling by Darryl Moland 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Darryl
    Found your blog via Chickory - it's wonderful! I love all the birds and trees you feature, and I've managed to track down a copy of Jeffrey Fisher's delightful book you have shown here.
    Great to find such a fantastic blog, and I'm looking forward to reading more!
    Love the keys too.
    Best wishes