Sketches By Mary Bruce Cobb
with essays by her friends
in her perceptive sketches, Kentucky treasure and acclaimed portrait artist Mary
Cobb takes us on a journey through the spaces where people wait; patients
in doctors offices and cancer wards, travelers in terminals and stations,
the homeless in shelters. She leads us from where we wait to where our
waiting becomes pure presence or being. She shows us that we should not
succumb to waiting for outcomes, but should instead use these opportunities to
transform that time into being in the joyful present where we truly dwell.
are some of her friends, many of whom have also faced great trials in health and
in words complement what Mary has drawn, and further invite us to consider how
intimately joined are Waiting and Being.
each of us is unique is probably why I find drawing and painting the human form
a constant challenge. Searching for that spirit within is what its all
about for mewhether best expressed through the tilt of the head, the curve of a
wrist or through an expression in the eyes.
many years I have kept a sketch pad and pen, or charcoal, in a separate purse,
just in case something or someone of interest might appeal to me, to draw as I
pass the time, in doctors offices, airports and bus stations, places where I
seem to be spending more of my time, waiting for my number to be called.
occurred to me these were ideal opportunities to people watchopportunities for
a moment in time to be captured, to be revealedbefore he, she or they became
conscious of being watched. If I feel that anyone is puzzled by my staring, or
made uncomfortable by my intrusion, I wave a hand, turn the sketch toward them,
and share what I am doing.
at the airport, I saw a toddler who had fallen sound asleep in his chair. I
asked the father if I could sketch his son. He acquiesced, with one caveat:
Dont wake him up. After 15 minutes, simultaneously, I finished, the child
woke up, and the announcement came over the PA system. Time to get in
Trying to convey what seems to be special about a
personit takes awhile to see what I want to record. But in these sketches I
look for what speaks to me, when I am not making an effort to get a likeness,
and am led by JOY. Its so satisfying for me, and takes me into a another kind
of world." - Mary Cobb
drawings and thoughts of Mary Cobb, surrounded by the contributions of
friendsare meant to be an offering of our transmissionsof some of what we have
to pass on.
Each of us has
endured trials of loss and great illnessthat of our own and those near to us.
It is our hope that our observations and reflections will be of some help.
By Mary Bruce Cobb
Waiting at the Hospital 9
Waiting in the Darkness
for the Light 15 By Anne Ogden
Waiting Rooms 23
On Waiting 39
Waiting in Line 49
Waiting Traveling 55
The Meaning of the
By Al Shands
Waiting to Arrive 73
Waiting At the Destination
and in lobbies for Meetings 79
Waiting for Whatever 87
for a fish
during jury duty
at a parade
for a friend
to see how
the book comes out
to finish the row, knitting 95
The Way of Women and
By Georgine Buckwalter
Waiting and Being Homeless
Waiting at St. Johns is a being 111
By Sue Speed
was worth the Wait 119
Here is my Wait 122
By Sarah McNeal Few
In Attendance 137
By Gray Henry
Waiting and Being
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Nonduality Hits the Fan
make a few scathing comments about the generic quality of nonduality. Truth be
told, more than a few. I began writing for The Nondual Highlights as my husband
Bob lived out the last five years of his life. I cut my teeth as an essayist
under the kind patronage of Jerry Katz. He even created a link for me called
Nonduality and Cancer.
Bobs death, due to multiple myeloma was a long
and harrowing one. Deprived of the ability to make red blood cells, he was
entirely dependent on packed platelets in order to live. Finally the day came
when his doctor and nurse called us in and said, Time to quit. Within a few
weeks he was dead.
I kept writing.
Today after Tai Chi, I was
speaking with one of the therapists on the staff at Cancer Wellness. I told her
about the day I was out walking when a neighbor rolled down the window of his
truck and said,Hows it going? Bob was doing downhill in a hurry and I was a
walking basket case. My reply involved the F word. The therapist said,
There are times when that is appropriate.Yep. It was a release valve on an
My writing rips the facade off of most everything; I
am just wired that way. You will never find me wandering in The Platitude
Playground of Philosophy. Uh uh. No bleeping way. I have buried two family
members and have the T-shirts to prove it. And 2 books as well.
my book, Life With A Hole In It, will be required reading for anyone enrolled in
Life 101. It is a graphic account of how I managed to be a caregiver twice in
one lifetime and retain my sanity.
Admittedly I lost some key ingredients
for a normal social life. I enjoy being alone and have a passion to communicate
via the written word. Sometimes I even speak it.
I have a real
sense that Bob and Laurie, my husband and daughter, are still with me. Some
report seeing angels around me. Apparently they think I am worth protecting for
I am told repeatedly how safe I am. But the fear in my gut is alive and well. No
mealy-mouthed nondualist-spouting phraseologist can take it from me. I earned
it. And not only that, love is alive as well.
I have no real idea why I
am pounding this essay out. Maybe it has something to do with Jeff Foster
writing about his friends messy death.
Jeff comments: 'This was the
kind of love they don't teach in books. This wasn't the conceptual love of the
mind, not the fluffy happy love that comes and goes and depends on things going
'my way', but an unconditional love, a blood and shit and piss love, a fierce
and unyielding grace without a name, indestructible, forever renewing itself in
the furnace of presence, blowing anything unreal before it to smithereens. This
was his final guru, whose lessons were brutal and unexpected, but ultimately
pointed to nothing less than freedom.'
I just want to give a shout-out to
the caregivers formerly known as people who have become angels unaware. Bob
always called me Angel. Now I know why. Not because I deserve it, but because
he, one of the kindest men on earth, found me worthy of his love. I live to
continue that legacy. And so it goes. The playground of earth is where we find
ourselves. Let us be kind to each other on the seesaw, the jungle gym and the
swing set. Namaste. Im gonna go watch TV.