- In December 2014 I read a book which helped to crystalise an idea which had been bubbling away under the surface for quite some time. The following extract from the book comes from the page which was quickly turned over at the corner for me to re-read and carefully contemplate further.
“Shugyo, which means “practice”, comes from the word shugendo, or the “ascetic path to realisation”, and describes spiritual exercise or training. It can take any form, just as long as deeply focused discipline is present and ki energy is developed.
My chosen form of practice was to hikke up Mount Takao each day and, once at the top, play shakuhachi for six hours then hike back down again. My aspirations weren’t so lofty as to become an “awakened one” but simply to increase my physical strength vastly improve my musical skills develop ki, and learn more about discipline.
extract from Blowing Zen by Ray Brooks
Sadly, my self imposed shugyo of writing and illustrating a haiku for 365 days does not stretch me as much as I would like artistically and not at all in a physical sense….however I have sought the balance between what is realistically achievable in relation to my present situation and commitments, and something which will prove to be enough of a challenge, and not a walk in the park.
I had already decided earlier in 2014 that I wanted to start directing my art practice towards wildlife and nature, somehow finding a way to continue earning a living but also be able to raise money for various charities. The passage in the book pulled these things together and I decided that the fast approaching date of January the 1st 2015 provided the perfect opportunity to start Project Haiku. Within the first 48 hours of launching the project I managed to sell 50 haikus in advance of being created. Each haiku costs £10, of which £2 from each sale will be donated to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
I plan to hold an exhibition of all 365 drawings in January 2016. If you would like to reserve a haiku then please drop me an email. Haikus with a January date will be sent out in December (and copies displayed at the exhibition). All other haikus bought will be sent out on the 20th of January 2016.