The Trickster 30"x46"
acrylic on canvas

Praise Ha!!
The Trickster
Laughing Buddha

The Best Medicine
Coyote Medicine

Who teaches us to laugh
at our selves
and our selves in each other
at life
at what it has done to us
and what we have done to it

and right there when the laugh has us
Praise Ha!
The Trickster
Laughing Buddha
The Best Medicine
Coyote Medicine
who feeds us the bitter pill that heals
who feeds us the truth that we could not otherwise hear

Praise Ha!
who takes us beyond the limits of polite society
beyond shame and fear
beyond good and evil
far out
freaking far out
beyond the beyond
into the wide open ocean
into the divine comedy

Praise ha!
That we may get through it all with a laugh.
One of the first lessons I learned from my son came when he was only a few days old. He would laugh and giggle all the time. He regularly laughed in his sleep. I couldn't believe how wonderful and mysterious it was. He couldn't talk, he didn't know much of anything about this world, but he laughed and laughed, and in his laughing he showed me that if you can see it all in just the right light, this life is funny and delightful to the core... What a gift.

This painting is my prayer, my sacrifice, my labor of love, my offering of gratitude and praise to the tricksters of all time. So many of them suffer behind their antics. They bring us the blessings of "yes," even as they fight back the demons of their own darkness and depression. Most tricksters are comedians, but not all comedians are tricksters. The tricksters help us get over ourselves. They take us beyond the conventions of culture and belief and clear space for more authentic encounters with the full range of what life is and can be. Like this painting, they show us that things are not as they appear, and that what things appear to be has much to do with how you look at them... (click here for more).
The luminous fabric of the universe is layered and translucent. In a moment of recognition the pattern comes together and revelation arises like a laugh, but only to recede all too soon into the familiar surfaces of ordinary experience. A wise crack lets the light in again. There are so many tricksters. No one could possibly name or paint them all (forgive me for the endless essential omissions), but I hope this vision inspires you to consider your own venerable tricksters, and to hold them close, that they may inspire the one inside of you.

I remember one late night, three or four in the morning, when I was about 15 years old. My father was shaving his beard, shirtless but wearing a ski hat that was made to look like a playful coyote with a long muzzle and shiny black nose. He was telling hilarious stories and making me laugh and laugh in the otherwise mysterious quiet of the night. These moments make tracks. Truly, words can't possibly express my gratitude for all those great spirits who have made me laugh and taught me to see and seek humor in life. Above all, I thank my wife, Deborah, for helping me to appreciate this precious gift.

I have long believed that the road of self discovery and self actualization ultimately leads to a jolly disposition and lots of laughter. Let our elders and the elders we become, be anointed by the spark and sacred sound of la'Ha!
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