Health: An Imperative

Do you have a healthy view of the word “healthy”?  I don’t. 

Typically when I think of a “healthy” option, a “healthy” state of mind, or a “healthy” balance, I am aware of health’s virtues but also the boredom associated with it all.  From flavorless foods to unexciting and unmotivating routines, “health” itself seems more like a lay-up than a slam dunk.  If healthiness means playing it safe, sticking to the instructions…punting on 4th and 1, I’m not sure I want it.  When I read “no added flavors”, I’m thinking what you’re thinking: “well, that’s too bad.”

That is, until I discovered something.

Imagine someone growing up their entire life believing something untrue.  Imagine that the picture painted for you about some aspect of your life, or the life of another, is entirely wrong.  Large or small, it might be a topic or even a person that has been ruined for you–from God to gardening.  Because of someone else’s own unhealthy view, you’ve tasted an entirely wrong flavor, and you’re convinced it’s not for you.  Even worse: you’ve tasted something very close to the real thing, but that main ingredient was missing, so now you’re certain you’ve been there, tried that, and all the while you never did.  Herein lies the imperative of health, and we’ve got to pursue it.

The dictionary defines health in one case in the negative: as something “not stricken with disease”.  Disease may seem far from you, but are you sure you’re living with the whole story–the healthy version (of you, of them, of her or him)?  We love stories where healing takes place, where the truth of a matter is allowed to come forth, when the unaware become aware.  That is real health, and my passion for it is altogether renewed.

Person of the Week: Luca Iaconi-Stewart, Architect of the Unimaginable

Over the past five years, Luca Iaconi-Stewart has built an insanely detailed model of a Boeing-777 airplane, entirely out of manila folders. In an interview with Wired Magazine, he stated he even dropped out of school to concentrate on building it. The aircraft is built from 1:60 scale detailed diagram of an Air India 777-300 ER plane, printed and cut by hand.

All images below copyright Luca Iaconi-Stewart


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The Secret of Life

“The secret of life is pursuing one thing.”

– Curly, City Slickers, 1991

The artist below, Leonard Knight, is that rare kind of individual who pursued one thing–that is, one project–for most of his life. Upon meeting him, one can’t help but sense a joy that resolutely proves Curly’s statement. Mr. Knight built his beloved “Salvation Mountain” near the Salton Sea in Slab City, California over several decades in the desert, using hay and adobe clay mixed with paint and other materials brought from visitors near and far.

While Leonard no longer resides on the property, I had the good fortune of meeting him at his mountain with a few friends in 2008. He greeted us the same way he greeted all of his guests: with utter joy in what he had made, and for whom he made it. Out of the countless people who went out to see Salvation Mountain over the years, one of them became the subject of the true story “Into The Wild”, resulting in a film which allowed Leonard to play himself. In the film, you’ll get to meet Leonard just the way he ought to be remembered. God bless him, I believe he now lives in the care of a home near Palm Springs.


Person of the Week: Leonard Knight, Visual Artist / Desert Deacon

Leonard Knight

Photo by Angela Carone


Salvation Mountain


Salvation Mtn Leonard Knight 2069794476_1c01ed3228_o 2069794302_cd5a2329ab_o

Leonard shows the group (Mike Jones, Haley, Mat K) how he mixes adobe & hay together, then punches the clay to make his “flower” shape.


Cost Escalation

I am mindful this week of the high price of delayed actions.

It seems that damage doesn’t just add up, it multiplies. I recently read an inspection report of a Lincoln Heights home suffering from decades of neglect. It was overwhelming.  I can only imagine how comparatively little it would’ve cost, in time and money, for a watchful owner to tend to a leak here or a patch there.  A small leak becomes an entire section of water damaged floor.

Much good may come from seizing the moment, so may I not let the manageable multiply to the unmanageable.  In what ways are we waiting to care for something in need of attention?  What is the cost of each week of waiting?


Person of the Week:  Daniel Shea, Visual Artist

A favorite image of mine:


From the series: Daylight, 40″ x 50″, 2012

From the series: Coal Work


Slurry, 2007



Coal Pile, 2007


Daniel Shea

Gavin Power Plant Ash Pond, 2010

The Year of Limits

“Immaturity can last a lifetime.”
-Robert Half

2014 is to be my year of limits.

With a seemingly infinite number of options available, from types of peanut butter to career pathways, it is crippling to make a decision where no limits exist.  My heroes have gradually become those who think little of heroism–the farmers and stewards of the world, doing the humble work required daily to give their plots of land the best chance to bear fruit.  My own father comes to mind, and his lifelong example speaks louder to me than ever.

I aspire to this mindset not only this year, but in years to come. It is not within my power to sew and reap limitlessly, but working within boundaries–like a farmer–I have the chance to experience the joy of actual freedom: the freedom of growth within limits. A piano has 88 keys, a blank page has four corners, and yet infinity is offered within each.

More than ever, I’m mindful of the proverbs that warn against chasing fanciful notions, favoring instead the sure-footedness and peace that comes from working steadily without distraction. Of course, manning your post will entail leaving it occasionally for good reason. It’s part of the job.


Person of the Week: Noriko Ambe, Visual Artist

click images for more info

Noriko Ambe

A Piece of Flat Flobe Vol.23 | Cut Yupo, glue, 2011 | 5 15/16″ x 4 3/8″ x 1 15/16″

Photo by Mareo Suemasa

Noriko Ambe

Flat Globe “Atlas” | Cuts on an atlas book, 2006 | 19 3/4″ x 25 3/4″ x 1″

Photo by Masa Noguchi

A Thousand of Self (detail) | Cuts on a book of “1000 on 42nd Street” by Neil Selkirk, 2007 | 9 1/8″ x 14 3/4″ x 5/8″