Posted in General Interest

In Memoriam, Contributor Ester Karen Aida

In the Jewish tradition, our first words on hearing of the death of someone are usually Baruch Dayan Ha’Emet, Blessed is the True Judge. It reminds us that we may not know why, but our friend has been taken. We give up our questions to a higher power.

Today, I learned that a friend here in Jerusalem from the creative-activist communities, Ester Karen Aida, passed away. Her funeral will be this evening, as I write this. In 2018, I published some of her poems on my blog, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play. Karen, as I knew her, contributed to The BeZine starting in 2021, when I invited her to send her words and art to us. Her most recent contributions were in this summer’s Waging Peace issue—an important theme in her activist and creative work. Her writing and artwork added strength, beauty, and compassion to each issue in which it appeared.

Psalm 24
Ester Karen Aida ©2022

I first met Karen some years ago at a reading in an art gallery in Jerusalem, which had been organized by our mutual friend, Lonnie Monka. She was in a wheelchair, but active, engaged, and cheerful. We spoke, finding common ground in our creative work and activism. We both had trained in Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication (NVC) techniques. And we became friends from that conversation.

We would see each other mostly at poetry events. We kept up in email and on Facebook. She was making progress with her ongoing health issues, from wheelchair to walker to cane. I gave her rides home from some of these events, after she moved to a neighborhood near mine. She supported peace in the region here with words and deeds, helped individuals in need, and encouraged NVC training. She also supported accompanying and traditional health practices (aka alternative) to work alongside of Western medicine.

Woman in a Field of Marigolds
Ester Karen Aida ©2022

She was a dynamic, compassionate, and strong woman. She leaves grieving family, friends, colleagues. I am still in a bit of shock at the news. Not long from now, I will get ready to attend her funeral, drive across Jerusalem, and join the mourners.

In our Jewish tradition, the family will sit Shiva for 7 days. It is customary to sit with these mourners and listen to their sorrow and their memories as they process the loss. The stories they tell preserve their memory in our hearts. May it be so for all who knew and loved Karen, that her memory be for a blessing.

Children’s Community Garden, Arnona, Jerusalem
(Pastel on brown paper grocery bag)
Ester Karen Aida @2022

Those who visit to comfort the mourners say, when we leave: Ha’makom yenahem etkhem betokh she’ar avelei Tziyonvi’Yerushalayim, In this place may G-d console you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

—Michael, Jerusalem, 11 August 14:36


See Ester Karen Aida’s work in The BeZine.


Featured image at top of the post: Pines, Pencil on Paper, Ester Karen Aida ©2021


Words ©2022 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


Posted in Contributing Writer, Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Mindful Drawing to Me

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the work of Paula Kuitenbrouwer

Many of us know what mindfulness is, but what is mindfully drawing? How can a beginner start with mindfully drawing?

In ‘The Zen of Seeing, seeing/drawing as meditation’, Frederick Franck describes drawing as ‘The Way of Seeing’, as a way of meditation, a way of getting into intimate touch with the visible world around us, and through it…with ourselves’.

That is how I view mindfully drawing too. But there is more. In ‘The Zen of Seeing’, Franck is not concerned about the end product. I am, but I don’t feel this concern is impeding my drawing meditation. I carefully prepare my drawing session by laying out all the tools. I think long about what I want, and I pay attention to the composition. I also do research, because I like to know what I am drawing. When I draw a bird, I study that bird in real as well as with the helps of books. When I draw a flower, I have it seen in nature or it is right before me on my table. I read about the flower, and I like to study and know its Latin name. The same counts for bugs: I do not draw any bug I haven’t seen or studied. I need a connection of seeing and knowing my object. Only then I can picture my object in a habitat, a scene, and give it a proper background and let my drawing tell a (short) story that is accurate.

Click on the drawing to see it enlarged.

Mindfully drawing is an active meditation. It keeps my hands busy but it brings a calm mind. That is because when I draw, I open my eye and my inward eye. My eyes study the objects and my emerging drawing. I am never hurried. Ask me anything during my blissful moments of mindfully drawing and you will get a peaceful and kind answer.

Click on this photograph to see the drawing in progress.

My portfolio of mindful drawings is HERE.

Here are some of my fine arts drawings made into cards.

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– Paula Kuitenbrouwer

© 2013, essay, artwork and photographs, Paula Kuitenbrouwer, All rights reserved

birdcardsPAULA KUITENBROUWER ~ is a Dutch nature artist living The Netherlands and sharing her work with us on her blog, Mindful Drawing and on her website.   In addition to art, Paula’s main interest is philosophy. She studied at the University of Utrecht and Amsterdam. She has lived in Eastern Europe and in Asia. Paula says that in Korea, “my family lived next to a Buddhist temple. In the early morning we would hear the monks chanting. During my hours of sauntering with my daughter through the beautiful temple gardens, I felt a blissful happiness that I try to capture in my drawings.” Paula sometimes teaches children’s art classes. She lives with her husband and daughter and close to her father. She has designed some special cards and gifts for Father’s Day HERE.

Posted in Art

Almost daily, Gretchen Del Rio takes our breath away with her mystical watercolors. Here: a lovely painting of Quan Yin, Goddess of Compassion, which Gretchen just recently added to her “Angels and Goddesses” collection. Jamie

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

Goddess of compassion.

purchase this painting

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