Doggedness: The Art of Persistence


by Robin Sierra
Published in Science of Mind Magazine

Paintings by Jeanie Tomaneck, sketch by Robin Sierra

Jeanie Tomaneck paintingMy first glimpse of the volcano was from out at sea, orange glowing against the black night sky, the shore of the ocean on fire. The following day I went to where Kilauea met the ocean. Fire spilled into water, together hissing and churning while white clouds of steam boiled into the air.

Kilauea is a volcano on the island of Hawaii that has been steadily erupting for the past thirteen years. The lava moves so slowly that I was able to stand right at its leading edge, as close as the intense heat would allow. This creeping pace is deceptive. Nothing stands in its way, not stop signs, not trees, not whole towns. During one siege when the lava was threatening to destroy homes, the U.S. Army tried to divert it, with dubious success, by dropping 600 pound bombs in its path. Diversion is the best they can do. Nothing stops the lava from reaching its destination.

I was impressed. I wanted to be like that, unstoppable. (more…)

Art Grows Your Soul

Go into the arts. I am not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living.  They are a very human way of making life more bearable.

Painting - Blue Dream by Robin Sierra

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Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.

Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell Stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.

Do it as well as you possibly can.  You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

Kurt Vonnegut

Thresholds: Facing Our Fears

Print - Portal by Robin Sierra

Art by Robin Sierra

I am intrigued by mysterious doorways, those where we can see only a glimpse of what lies behind or maybe we cannot see anything at all through the portal, only darkness….the mysterious unknown.

When we are at a significant juncture or crossroads, where life is calling us to transform ourselves in a profound way, there is most often a tendency to pause at the threshold with caution before we consider stepping through. And we may choose to not step through at all because the unknown is quite often frightening to us. Change is frightening for humans and we usually make ‘sea changes’ only when we are forced or pushed into them by life itself.

It is at this threshold or edge where we pause and fearfully tremble while we contemplate whether to step through or not. And rightfully so. (more…)

Eccentrics in Training: Living Creatively

Photo by Allison Stock

Words and Paintings by Robin Sierra

Florence Foster Jenkins sang wildly out of tune, but it did not stop her from becoming an opera diva. Nor did it prevent people from flocking to her turn-of-the-century performances, including private recitals at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City for which she designed ornate costumes, at least three for every performance, including the Angel of Inspiration, resplendent with full feathered wings.

Her lack of talent combined with her enthusiasm and extravagance was her glory. Tickets for her recitals were harder to come by than “a box at the Met on Caruso night,” as David Weeks describes in his book, Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness. Her operatic career culminated in selling out Carnegie Hall at the age of 76. She died a month later.

Jenkins wrote her own epitaph: “Some people say I cannot sing, but no one can say I did not sing.” (more…)