READ IT - The Seat of the Soul

Title : Seat of the Soul
Author : Gary Zukav
Format : audiobook 
Summary : With the same extraordinary skill that he used to demystify scientific abstraction and the new physics, Gary Zukay, the award-winning author of The Dancing Wu Li Masters, here takes us on a brilliant and penetrating exploration of the new phase of evolution we have now entered.
With lucidity and elegance, Zukav explains that we are evolving from a species that pursues power based upon the perceptions of the five senses -- external power -- into a species that pursues authentic power -- power that is based upon the perceptions and values of the spirit. He shows how the pursuit of external power has produced our survival-of-the-fittest understanding of evolution, generated conflict between lovers, communities, and superpowers, and brought us to the edge of destruction.
Using his scientist's eye and philosopher's heart, Zukav shows how infusing the activities of life with reverence, compassion, and trust makes them come alive with meaning and purpose. He illustrates how the emerging values of the spirit are changing marriages into spiritual partnerships, psychology into spiritual psychology, and transforming our everyday lives. The Seat of the Soul describes the remarkable journey to the spirit that each of us is on.

Why this book ? : Jay-Z, a person who's work and experience I admire, named this book as one of two books that he absolutely lives his life by. So I had to check it out. 

My Review : Wow! Mind blown. There's a lot of info in this book. I had to listen to it twice as you really need to pay attention otherwise you get a little lost. I'm going to have to buy the hard copy at some point and go back to it on a regular basis and listen to the audiobook again. I found a lot of interesting insights and point of views and new definitions for words like "authentic power", "external power", "multi sensory beings", "soul", "karma", etc. As someone who started figure things out on my own when it comes to spirituality in general, this book backs up many of my own insights and brought light into many areas I hadn't even begun to explore. As far as I'm concerned, for those who are ready to explore within, this it's a must read. It's eye opening and makes me want to find out more, keep exploring and keep growing. 

Here's a sample of some of the quotes I like from this book:  

  • "Hatred of evil does not diminish evil, it increases it."
  • "An evil person can be arrested, but can evil be arrested? An evil group can be emprisoned, but can evil be imprisoned? A compassionate heart is more effective against evil than an army. An army can engage another army, but it canot engage evil. A compassionate heart can engage evil directly - it can bring Light where there was no Light"
  • "Temptation is the Universe’s compassionate way of allowing you to run through what would be a harmful negative karmic dynamic if you were to allow it to become physically manifest."
  • you can't study life with dead people.
  • "complaining is a form of manipulation"
  • "When you forgive you release critical judgment of yourself as well as of others. You lighten up. You do not cling to negative experiences that resulted from decisions that you made while you were learning. That is regret. Regret is the double negativity of clinging to negativity. You lose power when you regret"
  • To heal violence there must be love

Taichi Arch

MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Old Port of Montreal
After my lunch on a park outside overlooking the expo 67 buildings, I decided to draw was right in front of me: An abstract sculpture sitting on the grass as a part of a series of sculptures in that area. I found out later on that they are the creation of Ju Ming, and this particular one is called Taichi Arch. Ming decided to take on T'ai chi as recommended to him by a mentor in order to develop his physical and mental discipline. This inspired him to create sculptures inspired by T'ai chi, which brought him international success.

There were people walking, running, biking around, or siting on the grass having lunch. One runner took a break to do some yoga moves on the grass and did a head stand, went back on his feet and continued running. Nobody really seemed to notice the sculptures except for one little boy who ran to it to investigate it. He went around it and under it. He seemed happy to be able to interact with it and ran to his mom and told her "C'est une maison!" (It's a house! in French). It's interesting to see how kids pay more attention to these things.

As a was finishing my sketch, a seagull landed on top of the sculpture and barely moved. I think he might have wanted me to draw him too. So I did. It was a great way to add a bit of life to my drawing.
MJ SKETCHBOOK | Urban Sketching - Old Port of Montreal

Medium : Walls Notebook
Tool : Black Pilot Fineliner

The Old Port of Montreal

I just came back from a little trip to Montreal and during my stay I had the opportunity to do a bit of urban sketching on a nice sunny day at the Old Port. I decided to use my Walls Notebook. This first sketch was made while overlooking the water between King-Edward Dock and Jacques Cartier Dock. It's a very pretty site and it's nice to see the activity in the area. The large boat on the right was taking people in for a little tour. The ledge in the background of the notebook was perfect because I was sitting behind the handrail and had that exact point of view.  I used a pilot fineliner for my sketch. 


Newton was so happy to walk around the parking lot, smelling flowers while we waiting for our car to be serviced this week. They did smell good. 

TV sketching

As I was going through an old sketchbook, I came across these sketches I made while watching TV last year. We were watching Giuliana & Bill and later on Undercover Boss Canada and I decided to sketch while watching. Not an easy thing to do, but it was fun. Now I don't really have time for TV, but it's definitely something to keep in mind as something to do to practice drawing people fast. At first I  wasn't sure this constitute urban sketching, but it does follow the principles...


Newton turned 5 months this week. He's now 12lbs, which is a lot more than the standard weight for the breed. I didn't realize it until we met a 1 year old Iggy, about half the size of Newton! No wonder people mistake him for a Whippet, and he's still growing strong. 

urban sketching in the Walls Notebook

I attempted do draw one of the parks along Wellington Street downtown Ottawa during one of my walks with Newton a couple days ago. He was not feeling staying put that day, so I did a quick sketch with a pen and added the leaves and grass in green later on. I decided to draw in my walls notebook to do this sketch. I might try this again. It's interesting to have different backgrounds and it's also a good way to actually use the book. 


Newton Italian greyhound puppy
Newton Italian greyhound puppy

Newton did not take to kindly of the unusually cold weather last week. He did seem to like to be wrapped in his blanket with his shirt on however. He's still growing and his shirt is starting to be a little too small for him. He did seem to like catching some sun rays on the sofa with me over the weekend though. 

road trip sketching

My absolute favorite way to travel to Toronto from Ottawa is flying via Porter. My least favorite way is by car. It's so long and boring. But sometimes, driving is the best option. In this case, to keep my mind occupied, I tend to doodle (if I'm the passenger of course). On our last two trips to Toronto I started to "draw what I hear on the radio". It makes the ride a little more enjoyable. I think I just stated a new trend (at least for me) : Road Trip Sketching :) 

TGIM sketchnote 15

This week's TGIM made me a little teary eyes. It's very moving and inspiring to see the results of such dedication and hard work. The cycle has been broken. By doing this ET has not only open the door for his family but for many others who like myself who are able to benefit from the TGIMs and break cycles of our own. Who knows how many boys will now be able to have a great relationship with their dads as a result of this and also do great things in their lives. This is truly a beautiful thing.  

jar challenge update 5

The jars don't lie. There wasn't much traditional drawings during the month of May. I've been working on other projects, but I still want to fill up two jars by the end of the year. We're already halfway through! So many more things I want to do. But I'll follow ET's suggestion, and just shut up and work :) 

ANIMAL CONNECTION 020 : The old lady and her cat

I found out about a series of photos of this old lady, Misao, and her cat, Fukumaru that are truly adorable. They are the work of photographer Miyoko Ihara  who followed them for 13 years and created a photobook of their friendship. According to an article on BuzzFeed, the cat was found abandoned in a shed and they've been inseparable since. 

TGIM sketchnote 14

This week's TGIM tip is "Work while you're at work". It's not always easy, especially with so many distractions all around all the time, but it's simple. It's really a question of discipline. That's something I can work on. I'm not at the Ray Lewis level yet, but I'm working on it. One of the main thing I did this year to get there was to cancel cable TV (no more reality shows for me). It helped.  Now I have to be careful while browsing the internet. That can also take a lot of time away from doing actual work.

Check out the TGIM video. The preview of the audiobook at the end is intense. I'm looking forward to hear it. 


Newton Italian Greyhound Puppy

One of the highlights this week for Newton was our walk along the Ottawa River Pathway. It's a nice feature of the city and it's nice to be able to walk along the river and see nature so close to the city, where he gets to meet other dogs and bark at some birds on the river. 

Ottawa River Pathway
Newton Italian Greyhound Puppy Loons

READ IT - Thank You and You're Welcome

Title : Thank You and You're Welcome
Author : Kanye West and J. Sakiya Sandifer
Format : book 
Summary : Kanye West teams up with co-author J Sakiya Sandifer to make his literary debut, an entertaining volume of 'Kanye-isms' -- the creative, humorous, and insightful philosophies and anecdotes used in creating his path to success. It captures the same wit, playful irony, and piercing insight found abundant in his lyrics. In this book Kanye delivers his personal message uncensored, without any five-second delay or media distortion. "My book is a guide to creating then celebrating your moment!" says Kanye.

Why this book ? : This book was a gift from Kanye West. It was given to people who attended his concert in Montreal, years ago, at the end of his amazing show (Best concert I've been to thus far). It felt like receiving a surprise parting gift on our way out. I had a great time and and I'm happy I was able to get it. (I hope to be able to go see him in concert again soon too. It's been too long.) 

My Review : This is a great little coffee book of inspirational quotes and life philosophies according to Kanye. I remember him saying on a interview that he doesn't like reading too much and prefers the short and to-the-point kinds of books, which is what he created with Sandifer. To me it's a great book to have lying around so that you can quickly read a random page from time to time and reflect on it. It's also interesting to be able get a glimpse into the mind of such a successful, creative and inspirational artist. A lot of what he says make sense and is very positive. With each quote, there's also a little paragraph explaining what he means. 

Here's a sample of some of the quotes I like from this book:  

  • "Get used to getting used" 
  • "Never justify your behaviour with the wrongs of others" 
  • "Never complain without offering a solution" 
  • "Would you believe in what you believe in if you were the only one who believed in it?"
  • "Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react"
  • "Think it. Say it. Do it" 
  • "Know your worth" 
With his new album coming up, I wonder if he's going to do this again. That would be neat.