||In 1966 and ‘67 Rashani studied with one of Corita’s students, Sister Monica Julie, at Notre
Dame High School in Belmont, California. Her passion for calligraphy and collage was ignited
that year and has been expressing itself unstoppably ever since.
For the past forty-four years, Rashani has explored, and been transformed by, the alchemy
of images, words and color, this ineffable trinity which became her main “practice.” In 1984
she went to visit Corita, to thank her for being such a profound influence in her life. Corita
looked quietly and carefully at Rashani’s portfolio and after about twenty-five minutes
without saying a word, she simply nodded her head and smiled. “YES,” she whispered,
“One day the world will be touched by your gifts.”
in early 2011 my right thumb was broken and i was no longer able to do hand-lettering, which had
been my spontaneous font since 1966. mysteriously motivated by this "uninvited guest" – a ban-
daged, swollen thumb – i began playing with other fonts. for years i'd been reluctant to create
"computer art" and lo & behold there i was unintentionally over the edge, happily immersed in be-
ginner's mind, enjoying the challenge and novelty, and once again relinquishing another piece
of my whittled-away-by-life identity.
also, since then, i've created more than fifty small altar decks with quotations by many wonderful
mentors, poets, mystics, song writers, teachers and friends.
several of these most recently printed cards are also available as 8 1/2 x 11 signed prints:
several were also included in three of the six books i published in 2009: Beyond Brokenness,
Welcome to The Feast and
Is The Bowl Empty or Is It Filled with Moonlight? ..... one of the
collages was designed in 2001, most of the others in 2003 and a few are more recent.
(CLICK TO BOOKSBYRASHANI.COM)
collage continues to be a fascinating art form. whether singing, reciting poetry, landscaping a
garden, building stone walls or houses, sitting in satsang with an individual or a group, mending a
broken pipe, or designing a collage, the sense of a separate self often vanishes completely and
there is simply boundless creativity – raw, primordial energy – ceaselessly flowing. with wonder
and openness, something – as opposed to someone – observes this unstoppable river/aliveness/life
force/shakti with curiosity and awe. naked awareness meeting itself again and again~
the true collage is my home,
"kipukamaluhia," a sixteen acre sanctuary that i have co-created with
hundreds of friends, retreatants and wwoofers during the last nine years: a three dimensional, edible,
ever-changing collage/mandala ~ living, breathing, dancing with endless textures, vibrant and subtle
colors and sounds, luminous energy and spaciousness and with a stillness and silence unlike any
other place i've ever lived; ceaselessly offering the dharma, moment by moment~day and night.
(CLICK TO RETREAT CENTER)
having lived in a remote, rural part of hawaiʻi for the past twenty years i have feasted on and have
been blessed daily by a more raw and wild kind of beauty than my senses became accustomed to
while living in europe for twenty-two years and in california & new england for seventeen. looking at
these collages, all of which were created in hawaiʻi, it is apparent that the "spirit of place"
inter-penetrates the creative process. seeing these designs today i sense the numinous black tones
of pahoehoe and aʻa lava, which are a prevalent part of this island, the endless varieties of greens
and blues which touch my vision every day, the rich earth tones and golds that appear after dawn as
the sun spills its light over the nearby fields, the yellows and lavender of the towering jacarandas that
bloom every spring, the indescribable colors of bromeliads, plumeria, wild orchids, and
the ochre and soft white of pueo wings as they circle above the gardens at dusk, the bright reds of
anthurium, torch ginger and
heliconia, the reds, oranges and other deep colors that merge and
morph in the flowing lava, the white of winter crocuses and irises and the hawaiian hibiscus with their
slender brilliant tongues of fire, the subtle hues that are ever-changing in the ocean and sky, which
now live and breathe within, through and as "rashani."
though i can never know a place truly, only my perception of it, the inseparability of subject and
object is experienced in the aliveness of presence as "i" disappear into each unfolding moment.
creativity is a continuous self-emptying experience through which the state of wishlessness is
mysteriously born. (in other words, nothing needs to be any different than it is. there is nothing to
seek or find, nothing lacking, nothing to regret, resist or avoid...) there is no findable "artist"
a collage. there is simply per- ceiving and collaging occurring.
year after year, countless times, my eyes have stared at a blank piece of paper, having no idea what
was about to be created. this venturing into the unknown, time and (timeless) time again, is a total
surrender into/with the Great Mystery. the convergence of the non conceptual, expressed through
abstract images of colored paper, and the conceptual, expressed through words, is a paradox which has fascinated me since i was a young girl.
my first collages with words were created when I was fourteen years old. something impossible to
describe was ignited while looking at/disappearing into the wonderfully wild collages of yanko
a friend of my parents, and the silkscreen prints of sister corita, who later became known as corita
kent. a simple meeting of pure stillness and active inquiry was silently and colorfully transmitted through these particular expressions of beauty.
within days of this "catching fire" i began cutting and tearing origami paper and writing poems across
layers of color, mesmerized by the subtle textures and how translucent some papers were and how
others appeared opaque. little did i know that i was about to enter into a life-long love affair with
images and words! something beyond comprehension guided my quiet hands to bring together the
written word, which is often attempting to express that which can never be expressed, and colorful
shapes which have no intrinsic meaning at all. it was the year after my nineteen-year-old brother died
and i entered into this fertile sanctum of the unknown – at first grief-stricken and later with ease and
fascination – while the stories of life-as-i-had-once-known-it continued to dissolve.
from this place of not knowing, effortless action occurs, co-arises with all that is, and "we" become
nothing more than an instrument through which creativity and aliveness happens, allowing us to
remember, through direct experience, the undeniable interdependence of formlessness and form.
with deep-abiding gratitude to those whose words are included on these cards, to the unknowable
Muse, whose unrelenting kiss moves through my hands like wind and water and sometimes like fire,
passionate thanks to lili townsend and two anonymous donors, whose generosity made it possible
for many of these designs to be printed and to you, innumerable appreciative patrons throughout the
world, who have purchased my cards for the past twenty-two years. without your ongoing support
i would not have been able to devote my life to what I most love!
Wu said to Wei,
“there’s a natural
a non-way of sorts
in which love
not to us
without effort or action
as finely focused
as a scalpel’s
as a cocoon’s dying
into a butterfly
bright silk lining
on a simple
and wondrously wild
as an impecunious mystic
winning the lottery
bought a ticket.
from silence into song
through song back
other times tenderly.
It has no preferences
IT simply knows
the way moonlight
like a single tear
from shiva’s eye
the rudraksha beads
to be touched
by the devotee’s
Wei reminded Wu,
the singing bowl
of particles may cease
but since energy
can not be created
it simply changes
into a different form.”
whispered the wind,
“the delicate scent
of ylang ylang
permeates the entire garden
and one small candle
can fill a darkened room~
we “do” without doing
there is nothing to do
and nothing not to do~
not ‘doing’ something
and not ‘not doing’ anything
we can never know it
we can only BE it.
there’s an innocent
ancient as a song line
like ground water
beneath a barren desert.
the endless helix
and all beings.
love is the greatest
for the conceptual mind~
and in its mystery
we are destined to find
more than we ever imagined
and less than we ever feared.