Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Painting & Thieves

If you stop by here regularly you'll know I haven't posted any new art for a while. Life has somehow intervened to give me lots of time to digest and percolate. Here's a new piece 12"x24" and you can see I continue to be in love with old sewing pattern pieces.

Nothing to do with the painting but this morning I was thinking about a lovely oil blend called "Thieves Oil" and the story that goes with it. This all came to me courtesy of "Everyone is Vegan" when we uncovered some mold during reno work in our new home. The mold was not toxic and was dry but still I discovered this beautiful oil that you can use in many ways.

The story goes that during the plague thieves went about stealing from the dead and dying. They covered their faces with clothes steeped in an herbal solution. When they were caught they were offered amnesty (perhaps they might have been able to keep a limb or two??) in return for the secret of why they didn't get infected with the plague. The resulting formula is "Thieves oil", a blend of cloves, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary. I found a bottle made by someone on the island here but I know Young Living sells it as well or you could blend it yourself. It is purported to kill mold and mildew, bed bugs, can be used internally to tame intestinal critters and it smells wonderful, a little like Christmas. I have actually used it in some raw treats and it tastes divine.

But all this thinking about thieves made me ask myself, "what thieves do I harbour?" What thieves steal my equanimity, my kindness, my energy. If in fact our natural state is that of Buddha nature what thief has stolen mine? Do you think I should phone the local authorities? Excuse me officer, I just realized my Buddha Nature is missing. I've looked all over the house and it is definitely not on the premises. Not such a good idea? Perhaps I should just begin the search myself.

When I take a little look for what might steal my equanimity, I see my busy mind whizzing by, looking to the future, thinking of all the things I need to do. My worrying mind tags along with any number of crazy suggestions of things that I should be concerning myself with. The mind running after an endless stream of thoughts, a thief by any description.

And my kindness which thief ran away with that in hand? I think that kindness is stolen by grumpiness, by self obsession, by seeing me as the centre of the universe as opposed to looking outward into the landscape of "how can I be helpful?" how can I contribute to someone's happiness today? Forming up a little band of thieves with our self centredness, is envy and greed. Robbers to be sure.

And my right effort, that momentum and energy that helps me attend to what needs to be done; which thief ran away with that in his pocket. I know I can spot this trickster running down the road. Doubt keeps me from my work. Doubt runs off with the joy and energy generated by doing the next thing that needs to be done. Catch him quick before he causes to much trouble.

Now I know there are a few more thieves in the neighbourhood. Perhaps you have seen them at your place? Perhaps you have heard them snuffling around in dark corners or fleeing in the night? And if you see them, you can taunt them, by telling them I have their oil.


  1. So great to have you back! Yes, I had a home invasion a while back. Took my Three Jewels and the makings of my new refuge. I'm devastated because, of course, I didn't have them engraved with my identity and the police officers said even if they caught the thieves and retrieved the goods, I couldn't prove ownership of the Three Jewels!

    So I'm starting a suport group for Lost Jewels... care to join? ;-)

  2. Yes, yes, I'm in. My jewels go missing from time to time and my 3rd jewel is the one I have the hardest time keeping track of. And I have a hard time describing it, so can't even report it missing, although I sometimes whine about it's absence. Engraving of the jewels, hmm, intriguing!

  3. Welcome back indeed! And with humor as well! :)

    "I just realized my Buddha Nature is missing." I know the feeling. I checked my compass again, gave it a few taps and it pointed in the direction of the Heart. So I followed the path to the Heart and guess who was there :) Imagine that. Buddha always has your Heart - can't be stolen... But I'll take some of that 'Thieves Oil' for the robbers on the road who would try... :)

  4. yesterday anxiety came to call, attempting to steal my equanimity...I caught her in the midst of the crime and patiently convinced her to let go...not an easy task as she had quite a grip and did everything in her power to pull me off balance...and she did for a while...but with compassion she eventually released my heart and back I tipped to center. Next time I will slick on some Thieves Oil and see if that allows her to slide away with a bit more dignity (and softer hands)

  5. MeANderi -, yes the heart, that's the place isn't it, the centre of it all, really. I've heard it referred to as the heart/mind, in Tibetan I think.

    Laura - Patience, a good antidote to anxiety. "but with compassion she eventually released my heart " I love this.

  6. Hello! I'm not sure exactly how I found myself here, but so glad I am! I'm a Buddhist practitioner of many years, as well as creator--my practice spilling over into my crafts in many ways now and feeling comfortable with that voice. Your art work is exquisitely beautiful, thoughtful and heartfelt. Happy Day :o)

  7. Hi Tracy. Nice that you found your way here. See that you live in Norway. We often think that the little peninsula that we live on looks like a fjord in Norway (we were there about 30 yrs ago!)

  8. ha! my first comment just disappeared into cyberspace, and, believe it or not, a thief almost stole my equanimity!!

    what i wrote was that i'm pretty sure they're not thieves, but rather a bunch of individuals who happen (apparently) to hang out in my neighborhood a lot and i am determined at times to just hand the loot over to them. although after this near encounter, i've decided that maybe they are thieves after all. ; )

    thank you for the info about the thieves oil - very happy to know about that!