The Wisdom of Georgia O’Keeffe



“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing–and keeping the unknown always beyond you.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“Where I was born and where and how I have lived is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I think it’s so foolish for people to want to be happy. Happy is so momentary–you’re happy for an instant and then you start thinking again. Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“To create one’s world in any of the arts takes courage.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I can’t live where I want to, I can’t go where I want to go, I can’t do what I want to, I can’t even say what I want to. I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“To create one’s own world takes courage.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I decided to accept as true my own thinking.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“It’s not enough to be nice in life. You’ve got to have nerve.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“Someone else’s vision will never be as good as your own vision of your self. Live and die with it ’cause in the end it’s all you have. Lose it and you lose yourself and everything else. I should have listened to myself.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“The unexplainable thing in nature that makes me feel the world is big fat beyond my understanding – to understand maybe by trying to put it into form. To find the feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe, Some Memories of Drawings


“Anyone with any degree of mental toughness ought to be able to exist without the things they like most for a few months at least.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“You paint from your subject, not what you see…I rarely paint anything I don’t know very well. It was surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“I do not like the idea of happyness — it is too momentary — I would say that I was always busy and interested in something — interest has more meaning to me than the idea of happyness.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe


“It is only by selection, by elimination, and by emphasis that we get at the real meaning of things.”

― Georgia O’Keeffe



In this season of GIVING, I pause to reflect upon the meaning of the word which has now come to be associated with presents tied with a bow, things, stuff. And then there’s the comparison of who gives the biggest and the best gifts, leaving those with less deep pockets feeling inadequate or lesser than.

Giving comes in many forms: there’s the giving of one’s time; there’s the giving of support to a friend or family member in need; there’s the giving of love; the giving of caring, all things that are free, all gifts that come from the heart and are remembered (hopefully) long after other gifts of stuff have been laid aside and forgotten.

I always value the gift of caring most of all. In our consumer culture we’ve come to associate material stuff over the invisible gifts from the heart. It’s not about what something costs that gives it value. It’s about the giving of oneself and the valuing of one another that matters.

Happy holiday!

~~Paulette Frankl


‘Tis the Season


The holidays are always a sensitive time for everyone: hyped to the max with commercialism, criss-crossed with meaningful moments of poignant beauty, and an over-abundance of food … or lack thereof, added to which are the difficulties of winter weather, stress, bank-breaking expense, crowds and way too much traffic. Add to that the element of family reunions. It’s a perfect storm!

The warm fuzzy sentiment that surrounds the holidays is something we all hope will manifest in the reality of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s rarely a match. Too often tempers are hair-trigger, and people either check out, lash out, melt down or bag up their feelings altogether. “Peace on earth good will toward men” too often ends with arguments and blame in the family circle. Families and holidays are not always the joy they’re knocked up to be.

So how can this situation be remedied? Well, one good way is knowing how to remain grounded and fight fair, keeping in mind that the people involved are (hopefully) not hardened criminals but members of your FAMILY, and that it’s more important to salvage the family bond than to emerge triumphant in order to have the last word. We teach others how to treat us or allow their offenses to happen to us. So, to that end, here are some good ways to fight fair. I learned them back in the ’70s when I went through many workshops of personal growth at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. In the heat of the moment, I usually forget to employ them, but when I do use them they always serve me well.

1/ Anger must be expressed otherwise it festers and comes out later as dis-ease. I find the best way to express my anger is to write it out on paper, every last bit of it, then mindfully (and safely) burn the paper as a symbol of “letting go.” If you have a trusted saint of a friend, you can also talk his or her ear off to dissipate your anger. But I find writing to be more satisfying for you can divulge all your hateful secrets onto the paper which will then turn to ash. And remember, at the core of anger is HURT. Address the hurt.

2/ If you find yourself in a situation of blame, say to the person “Here’s what I hear you saying; here’s how I interpret what you’re saying; and here’s how I feel about what you’re saying.”

3/ Then do a role reversal wherein each person takes on the role of the other and fights like hell in defense of that point of view. This is incredibly revealing of what you each do and don’t know about one another. It fosters empathy and compassion which is always a good thing.

3/ Lastly, at the end of a long blame-a-rama, substitute the word “you” with the word “I”. This throws the whole attack into a different light.

I share these tools of navigating anger because it’s obvious we are experiencing very dark times filled with violence, anger and lack of compassion. At our core, all people the world over want the same thing: to be respected, understood and loved. These simple tools are a big step forward toward that end.


‘Tis the season …

~~Paulette Frankl







Bombings! Mass shootings! Bloody massacres run amok! The news is full of it. I can’t bear to look. I can’t look away. Compelling horror! Heartbreaking pain! Will this nightmare never end? How can I awaken from it?


“Who ARE you?” I ask.

“What do you WANT of me?” I beseech.

“Why this awfulness to all that is held dear?”

“Why NOW?”


“I am the Extreme Dark Side of your soul” is the reply I get. “I am all that you find repugnant, unacceptable, and therefore refuse to acknowledge or admit or notice; I am the collective of all that is disenfranchised, cast aside as not worthy of your attention, or of your image of yourself. I am a magnet for all those who suffer at your hands. Even your media shuns me. Did you think that if you just didn’t pay attention that I would go away? I will not go away for I am a part of you. I am that which you alienate and shut out. Now I am angry. I am armed. And I seek revenge!

“You have denied me your sentiments, your empathy, your care, your media attention and your compassion for decades; so now I have come of age with no feelings for you or for anything or anyone you value. The western world doesn’t care about me, and I no longer care about the western world.

“Ever since the US invaded Iraq in the name of “Liberation” the ensuing chaos has effected everyone’s lives. You broke us at our core. You brought down our leader, you dispersed our army, you destroyed our history preserved in our museums – you tore apart the Fertile Crescent, the birthplace of civilization! You show us no respect, yet you expect us to respect YOU!

“We are a proud patriarchal culture. We have strong rules and strong roles. This invasion and long war has been devastating, especially for the men. Those who survived the bombings and constant shootings and drone attacks find themselves unable to adapt to the necessary changes demanded of them. Our women also feel at a cultural loss, wanting western rights they never had before, our children now want to adapt to western ways. We have no money, no jobs, no place to live, no structure, no role-models. Our culture has been decimated. Civil war broke us, along with the loss of our homes, government, army and infra-structure. You broke us, but you didn’t help to rebuild what you broke. We hate you for that!

“I hate what you stand for: your rapacious greed, your crass consumer mentality, your lack of respect and compassion for those who are different, who think different, who have different ways, and to whom the worship of a different God is everything. I will make my hatred felt. I am anger and pain and suffering personified … and glorified! I have nothing to lose, for I care for nothing and no one except the purity and glory of the Islamic state. I feel NOTHING for western culture. By your sentimental standards, I have no heart, no soul. I crave only revenge and power. And I will have it at any cost.

“I, your Extreme Dark Shadow, have been weaned and trained by the BEST: your violent video games where killing and explosions are viewed as sport and entertainment. Violent films imprinted on my innocent mind and the minds of my children. The random violence of your drone attacks upon entire families, sacred ceremonies, weddings, sites of worship, hospitals, with generations killed and maimed. Violence and death is now a way of life for all those around me. I am re-born of violence: YOUR violence upon me and my people. I have been stripped of everything but violence, revenge and pride. Violence is my mantra. Suffering fuels me. Martyrdom is Godliness. I am unstoppable because I have been reduced to my creed, and belief system. The more you kill me the more I multiply. You destroyed our land, our homes and our culture, all that we held sacred. Now we will ruin you and yours! We will take over your news, we will dominate your TV and the headlines of your media. We will be in your FACE!

“Actually, there are some things about our two cultures that are not that different: war makes your economy richer. You sell arms to any and everybody. We get your weapons and use your weapons to kill YOU! You see? It’s all the same win/win mentality. We each benefit! We are also the same in that we both seek power and world domination. You call it Democracy, which is just another word for oil. Everyone knows that. We call it the Islamic State.

“While you were preoccupied with the numbers on Wall Street, my numbers grew daily from all the people of the world upon whom you have imposed a life of suffering and exploitation. From out of the devastation arises a new entity: that of ISIS!. If you want to put a face on it you have only to look in the mirror! I am the Extreme Dark Side of your soul. I am all that you refuse to see or acknowledge or own. I am the Dark fruit of your actions to conquer and destroy. I am the truth that hides behind your hypocrisy of images and lies. You expect my values to change while yours remain the same? It doesn’t work like that. My values will not change until your values change for we are locked in a chain link.”

***                                                      ***                                                      ***

In searching for answers to my questions, I got a little closer to what is going on here, and to the realization that this is a complex situation that calls for deep understanding and a great sense of humanity, for the pain and bloodshed from it is Real and it touches us all at our core.


~~Paulette Frankl


Troubled Times


Gosh, with the news being so hard to take about Syrian refugees, ISIS, governments going broke, climate change having passed the tipping point, pre-election machismo issuing from both sexes, and the Pope’s visit — all compelling stuff, all in-my-face, it’s hard to focus or know where to turn, or what to do.

Well, the Pope is a breath of fresh air in these troubled times: a reminder that kindness and compassion is also a Force to be reckoned with, and a feel of what it’s like to be in the presence of someone (albeit only viewed on TV) who harbors no enemies within. Here is this man, so good, fine and kind, so all embracing at a time when our own politicians are honing themselves to be leaner and meaner, with bigger threats and bigger weapons to instill greater fear and devastation. It certainly is a time of extremes!

How does one deal with so much conflicting input in these times when too much information scatters any resolve? It’s hard to find one’s center. I find that the only thing that works for me is to remain grounded, in touch with nature, in good relationship with my cat and my loved ones, to extend compassion where and when I can and to focus on my own life and work, knowing that it has a ripple effect on everything and every one around me. I can’t solve the overall problems of this world, but I can make a difference in my own little world, and I can make an effort to reduce the size of my footprint on this earth by recycling everything, not wasting water, speaking out against local injustice, signing those petitions and calling my politicians to save the lions, whales, oceans, rivers, national parks, air, migrating birds, monarch butterflies and the valiant bees who soldier along in an  environment so poisoned with pesticides that it kills them by the millions, and without whom nothing would pollinate or reproduce.

This culture thrives on people being fearful, insecure, and out of balance all the time. It thrives on a public relying on the craven focus to buy more, more, more of any and everything to feel beautiful, sexy and cool, in order to a maintain a sense of bloated ego and vanity. Granted, shopping is a quick-fix form of therapy (and I’m certainly not immune to it’s siren call) but it’s an addiction that plumes and is accumulative. It’s ultimately a destructive bad habit from which only business profits.

There is much talk in the news about illegal immigrants these days. Has anyone forgotten, this culture is based on immigrants! Has everyone forgotten: we are ALL immigrants on this land! We are all visitors here, bad mannered tourists who have no respect for their native hosts or the land they revere? This land originally belonged to the Native Americans – who, by the way, lived for 2,000 years in harmony with nature! We allocate them to reservations, the equivalent of ghettos, so we don’t have to be reminded of how impoverished they have become or of our guilt at how we treated and continue to treat them. We took their land without asking, then genocided them, decimated their culture, their language, separated children from their families, put them in white man’s boarding schools where their hair was cut, where they were forbidden to practice their spirituality or speak in their native tongue, where they didn’t understand the language, where everything was alien to their native ways, and where electric shock treatment was the punishment of choice for anyone who dared to rebel!!! Those were the lucky ones who survived the white man’s terror of slamming babies against walls and raping and massacreing the women by sticking it to them with machettes  and enslaving the men after burning their teepees, hogans and wickiups and slaughtering their animals. The treatment we imposed upon our native people was no better than ISIS today! In fact, we could be their role model and teach them a thing or two. It’s time to consider the hypocrisy of our history before blowing off more “holier than thou” B.S. in presidential debates!

The Pope’s visit and the extraordinary security necessary to keep him safe from our murderous mentality is a measuring stick of how far we’ve de-evolved as a culture. Man is capable of extraordinary greatness; man is also capable of evil so heinous as to be beyond description. How we live our lives is a CHOICE, one we all must make in order to make this world — which is not just about humans and The Fortune 500 Companies – a more livable and sustainable place for ALL forms of life. We broke it. Now it’s up to us to fix it!

~~Paulette Frankl 9/25/15

The Republican debate and values


I watched the republican debate on September 16th, and here’s what I learned from it:

  • Belittling another candidate does not make you BIG.
  • Just because you say it does not make it True.
  • War is never the way to create peace. There’s only as much peace as there are peaceful people. (I think the Dalai Lama said that.)
  • If we continue to trash the environment: the air we breathe, the earth we depend on for food, resources, the water that is life giving to all forms of life itself, it doesn’t matter how many jobs we create for there will be no life! It’s not about the money, Stupid!
  • The control of a man’s body is not decided by women; why should a woman’s body be controlled by men?
  • The quickest way for America to have world domination is to give everyone on earth an American passport! Then all immigrants would automatically be legal.
  • The War on Drugs doesn’t work as evidenced by the last 50 years. Face it: It’s really about the untaxable income from the illegal sale of drugs that is the issue. (Which is hypocritical because huge corporations and gadzillionaires don’t pay taxes for their gross fortunes either.) The misuse of drugs is another matter altogether which stems from the fact that ours in a culture of addictions, drugs being just one of them: how about caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sex, greed, and power! Our economy thrives on addiction. It is the foundation of consumerism. A well-balanced person doesn’t have rapacious cravings for more, more, more.
  • Honoring and respecting the dignity of each person and learning to articulate our differences will do more for world peace than all the bombs, nukes, and drones combined. We are the ONLY species who kills our own kind and destroys the planet for greed and power, and what’s more, doesn’t notice or care.
  • Everything can be said to be infectious: pain, hate, and fear breeds more pain, hate and fear, whereas, respect and caring and dare I say love breeds betterment every time.
  • Jeb Bush said in the debate that his brother George W. “kept us safe.” Are you kidding me??? Jeb may have his head in the sand or lost his memory from smoking pot, but nothing could be farther from the truth! George W. brought us 9/11 – which from the footage that I’ve seen gives every indication of being an “inside job” but regardless of that, was certainly a ploy contrived to bomb bomb bomb Iraq from which Halliburton –a Bush crony– profited greatly. All our weapons inspectors verified that there were NO WEAPONS of mass destruction! The American people were flat out lied to by the Bush administration because without 9/11 they never would have allowed this war. George W. did absolutely NOTHING when he got word of the bombings of the Twin Towers for a full 45 minutes after the call, in spite of the fact that the US military is ready to take action within a moment’s notice. This was an unnecessary war which greatly depleted our economy not to mention destroyed thousands upon thousands of lives – millions if you include Iraqui lives. The only reason that border control is in the forefront at all is because “W.” did NOTHING to secure the borders after 9/11. “W.” was the problem not the solution to anything! Then he brought us the economic downfall of 2008 with its world wide repercussions that are still reverberating today. And don’t forget Hurricane Katrina and the travesty of FEMA with “W’s” Arabian horse crony Michael Brown, appointed to head the organization, who made matters worse not better. What the hell kind of track record of “Keeping America safe” is that??? “W.” gave us the Patriot Act whereby our government spies on its own citizens and covers up such actions.

As a voter, I want a leader who is forthright, a person of deep humanity and caring for the citizens of this country in all walks of life, and the world at large, not just more money for the rich made from the backs of the poor; I want a person who cares about the environment, climate change, who is a steward of the earth not a plunderer for personal gain. I want someone who treats women as vital to life, as equal in the work place, with fair and equal wages, good job opportunities, free healthcare for all, and affordable education; someone who values the stewardship of nature, national parks, forests, rivers, oceans, wild horses, wild burros and the bees.

America is nothing if not competitive. It always wants to be #1. Well then, let us lead the world in solar, wind and wave energy; let us restore our vast amount of plastic waste into oil; let us lead in getting off fossil fuels; let us lead in diplomacy, in higher consciousness, deeper understanding and caring. Let us obliterate starvation. Let us change our values from rapacious greed and terrible inequity and poverty to working together so that everyone might enjoy basic creature comforts, and economic success. Let us work toward obliterating disease and lead a healthier life style. These things are doable, but it takes a united effort and saying “NO” to the old ways that don’t work. Let education include expanding awareness and valuing creativity. We are all a part of a grand chain link. It’s not about them and us. We ALL are US!

Follow up on You Are the Sky … and Making Hell Homey


I have been asked to elaborate more on the post You Are The Sky, in which I write about the metaphor of the sky being consciousness and clouds being emotions that are sometimes so dense that we feel lost in them and can’t see beyond them, and an airplane being awareness that passes through the clouds back into clarity.

It has been my experience that the best way to pass through the density of overwhelming emotion when I feel lost in the process is to hold strong to the vision or outcome of where I want to be or of what I want the end result to be, and to hold that resonance thus creating that result to happen. This takes some practice, but it is the foundation of manifestation. In short, try not to freak out for everything is always in flux and this too shall pass. Hang in there!

Another good way to take charge of the situation is to pretend to view it from another perspective, like view it as a comedy. The point is not to get stuck in the unknown.

At one point in my life I was going through a hellacious time where bad things were happening so often that I decided, if I was going to find myself in this hell so often I’d best make hell homey. So I imagined carving out a place for myself in hell with a rocking chair, a small table with flowers and a pot of tea, and a cat for company. Just the act of taking imaginary charge like that changed everything!

~~Paulette Frankl 9/14/15

I offer these posts to help others as my experiences have helped me. Take strength from them but please don’t plagiarize or rip me off. If you quote from them, please credit the source. Thank you!



When you feel that you don’t know what’s happening, you can’t see beyond your own nose, will you be stuck like this forever … remember, everything is in flux. I like the metaphor of: You Are the Sky. There are clouds in the sky, they are always moving, always changing shape. There is an airplane in the sky. It passes through a dense mass of clouds. There may be lightning. There is no visibility at all. Then the plane emerges once again into a clear sky. You are the sky. Your emotions are the passing clouds. Your awareness is the airplane passing through dense, intense moments, then emerging once again into clarity. Everything is in flux, always and evermore. Buckle up and experience the ride.

~~Paulette Frankl 9/14/15

The image of consciousness as sky is, if I recall correctly, a Zen image.