Tuesday, December 25, 2007


It's Christmas, and here we are, still at war. Many of us didn't want it, didn't believe it was right, and would like to see it come to an end. Many times in life, we have to ask ourselves what we as individuals can do when things around us seem to be wrong in so many ways. What can one person do? We feel helpless and ineffectual.

I meditated, and asked how to promote peace. This was the answer that came.

Be peaceful.
Think peacefully, speak peacefully, act peacefully, respond peacefully, relate to others
If anger should arise, use the energy of the anger to accomplish peaceful ends, to bring
about the best for all concerned.
Peace begins in one's own heart, and if it isn't there, it won't be in your life, nor can you
pass it on to others.
If you want to promote peace in the world, it must begin with you, in your own heart, in
your own life.

Here is a poem on the same subject from my book, "The White Tree."


No matter what appears
Around us in the world
Peace is the answer
Individual peace

Peace in our thoughts
Our minds
Our hearts
Our actions
Can change the world
Nothing else can

There is no way to peace
Peace is the way

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Poem from "The White Tree"


The world is full of possibilities
That grow empty in the choosing
Between this and that

Should I pay attention
To opinion and dispute
Swirling about me
Or listen to my own thoughts
In quiet moments

Should I pay attention
To world events and political scandals
Or listen to the liquid notes
Of the mockingbird
Singing in my neighbor's tree

What shall I value most
Things I've worked for
Things I own
Things I've created
Or the natural world
Beauty I cannot own
Except by experiencing it
Loving it

Whatever is valuable to me or to you
Won't matter if we let the earth die
Isn't this the gift to treasure
This lovely planet
That we fail to honor

Troy Parker Farr

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's Boring to Be Bored

Lately, several people have told me they are bored. That set me thinking. Why am I never bored? After pondering about it, I thought of several possible reasons. First, there are so many things that interest me, things I want to learn about, or do, or create, that whenever there is time in which nothing is required of me, there is always something I want to do.

Second, there is no idea in my mind that somebody, or something, will come along to entertain me, or save me, or fix me in any way. I am responsible to myself for myself. Of course, I didn't believe this when I was young--it was sort of forced on me by life. Back then, things I wanted to happen weren't happening, so I had to learn to find my way by myself, which leads into the third thought.

In looking for answers on my own, I eventually discovered that Abraham Lincoln was right when he said, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." But I must admit that when I first read this, I snorted in disbelief. Easy for him to say! Then, as time went on, I found that doing things I love to do, spending time with people I feel comfortable with, and treating people the way I'd like to be treated, gave me a feeling of satisfaction and joy. I saw that happiness is not something you can hunt for like a pot of gold, or a hidden gem; it's a by-product of how you are living and thinking.

I hope every person reading this, who feels bored, will be able to find something they are interested in, something to do, or see, or become involved in, something that doesn't depend on some other person doing it with you or for you. That doesn't mean other people can't be involved, but that the idea must come from within you, that you really love doing it, and that you can do it on your own. Try it! You might be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Constantly Disappointing George Bush

Who but George Bush could use the news that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 as a reason to continue the same policy toward them, and see no reason to change anything because they may decide to make nuclear weapons in the future? Wouldn't it be prudent to talk? To find out if there are areas of mutual interest?

Bush's attitude is like that of a father who wants to punish a child for something he did wrong, and when he finds out he didn't do it, punishes him anyway because maybe he will do it sometime in the future. This is neither rational nor fair. Its not even like a grown-up.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Snow Storms I have Loved

The current snow storms remind me of the magic I found in the snow storms of my childhood in Illinois. Sometimes, my brothers and I would go to bed in a leafless, cold, gray world, and awaken in the morning to a white wonderland. It would be quiet in comparison to ordinary days, because the snow on the streets muffled the sounds of cars going by, and the whole world looked clean and beautiful.

I suppose the grown-ups had more practical things to think about in relation to the snow, but to me, as a child, it was magic.

My brothers and I would get bundled up and go outside, as soon as breakfast was over, and start creating things in the snow. There was no limit to our imaginations. The snow was like a clean new slate. You could make anything of it that came to your mind. Wonderful!

Years later, when I was grown and had a couple of kids, I was staying at my mother's house in Illinois, and was depressed because of the break-up of my marriage. It was almost Christmas. The leaves had turned and dropped off the trees, but still there was no snow. The Christmas decorations that began to appear everywhere only made me feel more sad.

A couple of days before Christmas, I spent the evening wrapping things I hoped would make Christmas fun for the kids and for my mother, but I felt like a fish out of water. No more husband. No more home. What would happen to me? And to the kids? I wanted to be cheerful and full of the Christmas spirit, but when I went to bed that night alone, I felt very low.

Next morning, I awoke early. It was unusually quiet. Sounds outside seemed muted and the world seemed to be in a hush. It stirred my memory. I jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. Snow! Everything had changed into a scene of white beauty. Having been living in the southwest, I had almost forgotten how snow could transform the ordinary world.

The kids were still sleeping soundly, so I quickly got dressed, bundled up in coat, scarf, cap, mittens, boots and went outside.

The snow had fallen softly, so that it had piled itself on every branch and twig, every fence and fencepost, on the stairs, the railings, the roofs, the birdbath, and the garden bench. As I walked around through the snow, under the trees, looking at everything, savoring the beauty, a feeling of safety and peace suddenly came over me. It seemed to enfold me in a comforting warmth that told me I would be OK. I didn't know how, exactly, but I knew I would be. I felt as if I were a part of something much larger than myself, and that that something had my best interests at heart.

I can't explain that experience, but I was OK. True, I had many up and downs through the years, but basically, I always was OK.

Now, I no longer live where the snow falls, but when it falls in other places, I remember again the assurance that the beauty of new snow brought me one December day long ago in Illinois.

Friday, November 30, 2007


One looks for the answer
But what is the question
If one found an answer today
Would it be the answer tomorrow
Or does each day
Each hour
Each moment
Have its own question
And its own answer

If one is asking
To know the meaning of life
One can only find out
By living it
One moment at a time
By being aware
And by letting each moment
Be sufficient unto itself

Troy Parker Farr
(from "The White Tree")

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Writing, Art, and Music

I always write, no matter what, but have had a hard time getting around to music and art. Writing is easier because it can be done almost anytime or anywhere. It doesn't make any noise; it doesn't offend anybody; it only requires something to write with, something to write on, and something you want to say. Nobody knows what you're writing about. It could be anything from a grocery list to a lurid novel.

But music does make noise, which gives one pause if there are others nearby to hear, especially if they happen to be musicians. The sounds you make while learning something can range from beautiful to auditory hell.

Other arts, such as painting, have the disadvantage of requiring all sorts of tools, supplies, and preparations which take lots of room and time. There are many unspontaneous things that have to be done before the spontaneity of creation begins.

For some time now, I have stuck to the ease and privacy of expressing myself in writing, but the urge to paint again is nipping at my heels. There are paintings I want to do that I can see in my mind's eye. They just won't let me alone. So I've been getting my studio ready to paint in.

One of the things that helped me get started was a wonderful blog I ran across: The Sixty Minute Artist. It is by Jerry Lebo, an excellent artist who has a full-time job doing something other than art, which helps in feeding his family, but makes it hard for him to find time to get into his studio to paint. So he challenged himself to spend at least 60 minutes a day painting, and started his blog as a means of letting others in on what he was doing, in the hope they might find it helpful. Judging by my own reaction, and by the comments I see on his blogs, they are very helpful indeed.

Each of his informative blogs covers a different subject, such as stretching a canvas, making low-cost frames, color strategy, etc. He illustrates with his own delightful paintings, or with photos for "how-to" blogs. Check him out at http://sixtyminuteartist.blogspot.com/.

I wait with anticipation for them to show up in my e-mail, and am disappointed when I don't see anything there. Thank you, Jerry Lebo, for a great blog and a big push forward for all of us who have thought we were too busy to paint.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Insanity of War


Wars are begun by those too old to fight
Who find reasons among themselves for war
Reasons not unlike those
For waging previous wars
The same but on a large scale
With more at risk

To repeat actions that have failed
Expecting better results
Defines insanity

Wars are begun by those too old to fight
But they don't pay the real price of their war
They extract that price
From those too young to die
The full price
All they have
Their lives

And when that price is paid
What is there to show for it
But blood in the dust of some foreign land

This is insanity

Troy Parker Farr

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Impeachment is a Remedy, Not a Punishment

Impeachment is a tool given to us by the founders of our country with which to stop imperial ambitions of presidents who believe that the executive branch deserves more power than the legislative or judicial branches of our government. Even though impeachment may fall on an individual president or vice-president in a form that seems like a punishment, the real purpose is to stop their actions, preserve our democracy, and maintain the balance of power between the three branches of government.

It should not be seen as vengeful, but as a necessary remedy when presidents overstep the bounds of their presidencies. Otherwise, the actions of imperially minded presidents and/or vice-presidents, will serve as precedent to future occupiers of the White House, who may like wielding this unchecked power.

Impeachment is the only tool we have to prevent the office of the presidency, or any other office, from growing more powerful than it was meant to be. It is what keeps the people from being helpless in the face of tyranny or despotism. This growth of power comes about so slowly that people at first do not notice, but finally, when more and more rights and liberties are lost, they begin to look for a way to redress their grievances.

Impeachment is for stopping serious abuses of power. Impeachment is a tool, and it is the one given to us by the constitution. It is our responsibility as citizens to demand that our representatives in congress take action on our behalf when impeachment has become an appropriate remedy to use.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cheney and the Truth

Why should we believe Vice-President Cheney's opinions about Iran? Or about anything else? Isn't he the man I heard endlessly droning on about "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq long after the rest of us knew there weren't any? His repetitive comments helped get us into the war in Iraq. Are we going to sit back and let his comments do the same thing in Iran?
In my opinion, this is absolute madness. We have become like a nation of sheep. Why don't we wake up?


Friday, October 19, 2007

Poem from "The White Tree"


I have learned
That nothing you think you know
Nothing you believe
Means anything
Unless you can live it

Does a tree bear fruit in winter
Or an axe chop wood
Leaning against the wall?


Thursday, October 4, 2007

What Happened to the News?

The "news" is seldom news anymore. It is more likely to be someone's opinion of what is happening. Sometimes it is an interpretation, as when a newscaster tells you what someone is saying, while in the background you see that person's lips moving, saying things you can't hear for yourself. Sometimes it devolves into a discussion between people not necessarily qualified to be authorities on what they are discussing, thus producing in-depth studies of shallow thoughts. I would just like to see and hear the news, and make up my own mind as to what it means.