Follow daily progress on a 30 day personal challenge to stretch out of my comfort zone and cultivate creative passion into a sustainable life.  

DAY 2 Explore


Woke up this morning at 6:30AM to a sunrise that lit up the ocean.  No difficulty getting up,  felt rested and alert. Stayed in bed until 7:00AM dozing peacefully.  

☛  Voice Work

The voice work is more difficult then anticipated, every time.  Had a hard time finding a good story this morning which ate up a lot of time.  Read Mark Twain's Advice to Little Girls.

Advice to Little Girls by Mark Twain, Read by Cliff Kuhn-Lloyd

                   Mark Twain

                   Mark Twain

☛  Improvement  

I get lost looking for parts of something, finding a perfect image or word. I spend more time searching for this then I do on whatever it’s for. Becoming more aware of this and limiting the time I give to it will help more in depth work get accomplished.

-Having a hard time staying on task. Not kicking as much ass as yesterday. 

-Going to be good to write down what I did do. 

-Ended up getting back into the swing tonight.  

☛  Music 

Has been tough so far.  With music I feel a different kind of pressure than I do with photography or with writing.  My guess is that it's because music is what I’ve put the most weight on and identified myself with. 'If my music is bad than I must be be failing as a person because that's what I’ve directed the majority of my focus on for years.'  Many times, in the moment, I go after an idea and afterward think it’s garbage.  It can feel superficial, disposable, void of the integrity and beauty I feel inside.  Odd because that’s what turns me off most about the majority of music around me.  Sometimes it feels like I've written a song for someone else.  I’ll finish a piece and think, I’d never listen to this type of music.  Why did I make it? There’s a lot of thoughts rolling around in here concerning music and creative relationship.  Some other time.

Tomorrow:  Start again.  

☛  Nature & Journey

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Met this guy on my way to the mysterious house in the woods and "Double Ocean Island."


     to the end of the conservation trail on bike. The forest is intensely lush and varied.  Rises, valleys, dips, hills, nooks and hideaways.  The moss and lichen is of a different world.  It covers all with a thickness I’ve seen only once or twice before.  All different types spill over the rocks resurfacing their curves.  Others stand upright in pale brittle shoots like miniature pines.  It’s the type of landscape you might imagine fairies inhabit, a place where knights met their foes and brutal forgotten beasts.  Far down the road there are signs for private property, end of public land.  The conservation road continues through two massive stone pillars to an unseen private residence.  On top of one of the pillars is a black antique telephone with a pair of spectacles resting on it.  Who lives here?

      I pick up the bike and walk off the trail into the woods towards the ocean.  Underneath me is moss so thick it feels like my feet are landing on five inches of sponge.   At the ocean, I tuck the bike behind some rocks and head up the ledge.  This is farther than I’ve been down the coast and the sea feels calmer today. Yesterday and the day before, I thought I might be swept off the ledge by enormous waves that surged towards me unexpectedly, pouring in around me up to my knees.  The voice in my head says “Never turn your back to the ocean.”  While taking photographs I constantly glance up, scanning the horizon for larger rogue waves.  I continue towards the point.  Tendrils of the ocean reach between the rocks creating chasms, at one point I’m forced up into the forest.  Here the moss feels like no one has ever even looked at it.  It looks and feels prehistoric, like a miniature world and is even denser than what cushioned me 30 minutes back.  Ahead of me I can see the light in the tops of the pines, the clearing where the mysterious house must be.  

    As I get closer I can see fences running the whole perimeter.  It’s buried deep in the woods, remote at the far point of dense private land and still completely fenced.  Keeping low I make it back to the ocean ledge and work my way further towards the point.  Above me is a lookout.  A stone balcony from the house, a tall mast buried in it, overlooking the sea.  I climb down lower on the ledge and finally arrive at the point.  I’m met by the setting sun and and two immense bodies of ocean on either side of an island that has a bridge of sand and rocks connecting it to where I’m standing.  Low tide and the bridge is shrinking fast.  Another day.  



☛  Poetry

All of it

Silken wings lift and pull the air

Yellow eyes

Blue on Blue

White tails of cloud streaked pink

Close above the emerald chasm



The sea is calm today

White bleached claws and wood

Stowed in sheaths of rock

Flecked with quartz



Sun catchers signaling back






Against the cacophony

Under silken hair

Eyes green grey blue

The light flickers

A candle is brought to the front

All that is visible of the fire


White hot and gold

Searing like cold cold

Ice against your eyelid

Burning like a moment without thought

An unconscious



In and out

No decision





☛  Cliff's Notes




Came across a site called Brain Pickings today.  Not sure how I stumbled on it but landed on an interesting article on artist Louise Bourgeois and her thoughts on art and life.  I was trying to find an article somehow related to self reliance on the site and instead found this article on Thich Nhat Hanh and how to love.  One of the other focus topics I’m working on along with self reliance, is being more loving.  

    There was a lot of interesting content in this article, especially Hanh’s first quote “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.”  One of those sit on it and think it through concepts.  Conveniently the author Maria Popova goes on to provide further quotes and discuss ideas that make this quote more immediately palpable.   The basic concept is to know yourself first.  If you don’t understand and love yourself you won’t be able to love someone else with your full capacity.  

A familiar concept and interesting to understand it through the words of a man who’s devoted his existence to love and peace.  

    Popova also touches on the fact that Hanh uses elemental language and that it’s important to leave Western judgement to the side in order to understand and take the concepts of love and loving at face value.  I found this interesting because this judgement affects me reading and in life.  I can take a basic truth of mine or another’s and often especially because of its simplicity, consider it naive, even false or not enough of an explanation.  I mentally grasp the concept but I’m not feeling it in that moment or understanding it as a reality.

    I also liked this quote from Hanh "When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love.”  That makes a lot of sense to me right now, especially with what I’m doing this month.  Hanh also talks about understanding your partner and addressing not only their momentary discomfort but more specifically the root of their trouble.   Help them heal.  He also talks about a lack of separateness.  Once we see others with the same understanding of love and compassion that we come to see ourselves with, there ceases to be separation.   He speaks of how there is no I and you in true love, no boundaries, you are the same person.  Their suffering is your suffering and their joy is your joy.  Thich Nhat Hanh says that we are all made out of stars, which I like a lot.  

one more QUOTE to sit with.  

“The more you understand, the more you love; the more you love, the more you understand."


☛  Contests & Submissions

I submitted some photos to a free contest this afternoon. There's cash prizes and it's open to anyone with photos taken in the New England area.  See specs below.  Submit up to 5 photos.  Just do it.

☛  What Did I Do Today


-Morning Ritual

-Recorded Mark Twain's Advice to Little Girls

-Wrote and recorded music

-Researched photography income

-Submitted 5 photgraphs to Yankee photography competition

-Listened to Terri Gross interview Oliver Sacks who I like listening to 

-Had lunch with the chipmunk again

-Biked to a new part of the conservation trail and the ocean

-Found a beautiful point and a mysterious house

-Appreciated the nature around me

-Took risks jumping, climbing and being visible

-Shot footage for a quick video

-Spent some time photographing

-Had a positive interaction with a local on my way back

-Did a mess of pull ups 

-Read thoughts on art and integrity from Louise Bourgeois 

-Read an article by Maria Popova on Thich Nhat Hanh about learning to love more

-Wrote out thoughts on the article

-Discovered the garage full of tools to use

-Listened to a bunch of Ted Talks, some pretty good some didn't reach me as much

-Edited video footage shot earlier today

-Posted to the blog

-Read an inspiring nature article

-Time: 2:39AM.  Thanks and goodnight.