And… the FEAR sets in!

Which, oddly, is a good thing!!!

As I mentioned the last time we were together, I did a thing.

A thing I very much wanted to do.

A thing which, having done it, is terrifying on so many levels…

And, yes, we’re talking about the thing with passport numbers and plastic money.

Ironically, I’m not at all surprised to have fear show up! It happens a lot when we give ourselves permission to want what we want, even though – on several levels – wanting whatever it is may not seem to make much sense.

Which means – drum roll, please – it’s Medicine Basket time!

In order to follow along, you’re going to need a few details…

I, of the 6 knee surgeries in 9 years, am going to France this summer! The boonies, if you will, of France. The part where they like their centuries-old buildings the way they were built! The part you can’t get a direct flight to from the ATL!

And, ironically, that’s the – mentally – easy part!

Then there’s the I don’t speak the language part! (And a memory of the airport in Paris – the big, old, strung all over the place one – that has taken up residence in the box in my brain labeled Nope! Not again!)

Oh, and the minor bit about learning things which are, at the very least, not the way we’ve always done them.

And, yet, I am intending this trip with all my heart.

How???

Well, with filters and metaphors and a text message to my youngest granddaughter!

You see, she has a thing on her phone which she said, while we were together for Thanksgiving, was helping her learn French. And this young woman loves to explain things! So, clearly, Grammy needs a thing-on-my-phone lesson!

Then, a bit of good old-fashioned red ink for the filter which insists that anything this scary is utterly unsafe. It now reads:

Fear is sometimes just a signal that it’s time to learn new things.

With a bit of button pushing, I’ve already discovered that there’s at least one way to get where I want to be without the scary airport in Paris!

Then, a good sorting of my metaphorical Medicine Basket. (The actual one is full of stick weaving at the moment!)

What goes in is a bottle of courage oil. A few old-fashioned medals for Saints. Ancestors, oddly. Seriously brave women. Then, the really cool red boots in the photo, which help sort both the mobility concern and a few others about who we are and how many of us have actually always done it!

Winner-winner-sushi dinner! as you’ve no doubt guessed! (Chicken being a non-starter with Tay at the table!)

There’s more, of course. Including a clever intention for an indoor walk on this cold, cloudy day!

For now, though, a question… for you!

What’s holding YOU back from your dreams???

Now, the spoiler alert. There’s a new quiz coming, and some cool videos full of goodies for your medicine basket. At the moment they exist metaphorically.

AND inside me… which means I can share them with you now! The low-tech way!

So, if this adventure saga makes your heart beat a bit faster… if it blows the dust off any of your dreams, let’s talk. My gift to you. And, some options which already exist for next steps. For tools for your medicine basket! We’ve got this! Hurry, though… the calendar elves are starting to feel swamped!

ps… nope! It’s not your imagination! The very cool red leather boots go really well with socks covered in prayer dots!

pps… look fabulously unique, stay warm, and help send an artist to France! There’s a special sale going on at FierceArtWithHeart !

Our Lady of Fierce Intention!

Once again, I seem to be the work-in-progress on this Wednesday!

And, yes, I’m hearth tending in the Red Thread Cafe, which I love doing. The art and the community are glorious.

Then there’s the whole notion of #Inquiry which is one of my favorite things. And it was my task, as hearth tender, to pose an inquiry for the community this day.

We’ll get to that, in a bit.

First, though, some – you guessed it! – context.

And, yes, Grandmother Moon has been whispering in my ear. (I love it when she does that!)

So, last night I officially signed up for a really big adventure, coming up this summer. The whole on-line form, passport number, and plastic money thing.

It wasn’t a snap decision. I’ve been dreaming and planning for this for months now. The only thing that’s changed is that it’s a big step closer to official.

Part of that dreaming and planning has had a lot to do with how I see the work I do in the world.

I won’t bore you with all the details and history.

Instead, I’ll share a really helpful inquiry I’ve been hanging with as part of the make-it-real adventure.

An inquiry from my genius friend who helps with everything from which button to push on my laptop to make xyz happen, to really big questions. Like:

Who are the people you feel most called to work with? The ones who are most aligned, for you?

The answer, which appeared in my awareness about 4:00am, a couple of days ago, was:

Women who are okay with wanting what they want!

That felt really true… and in need of just a smidge of editing:

Women – and a few very brave men – who have given themselves permission to want what they want, and go for it!

All of which goes hand in hand with the practice of Intention!

And that Intention has already turned into a whole list of related thoughts and next steps.

The externalizing work – the getting the new language and options out in the world – is in progress. (It’s Wednesday, after all!)

The cool thing, though, is that I’ve already made space for a few more travelers on an intentional path from here to where they’ve given themselves permission to want to be!

(Even if that’s not the way we learned it!)

The very next right thing is even more helping my granddaughters learn differently!!!

ps… the image at the top could be an ancestor! Technically, she’s a basically life sized bust of a woman I’ve christened Our Lady of Fierce Intention who followed me home a few months ago. And, as it happens, I’ve recently discovered several actual ancestors who might have looked a lot like her. Her message, in the moment, is “eyes on the path”!

pps… since I’m in the start-right-where-you-are mode, let me know if you’d like to chat! The calendar elves will gladly hook you up with 45 minutes as a gift from Our Lady of Fierce Intention, and me! A scrap of red thread and a cuppa would be great! For now, Anointing and Awakening the Open Heart!

(Relative) Reality Therapy

I woke, on Saturday morning, to noises coming from the other side of the house.

Plumbing noises.

The kind you don’t want to hear.

I rolled over and tried to ignore those noises. Then I realized that I needed to pee.

Turns out the noises weren’t just coming from the other side of the house. They issued forth from “my” bathroom, too.

Ominous, non-flushing kinds of noises.

So much for sleeping! Investigation was definitely in order.

The Legendary Husband, being less of a mystery novel fan than I, had no clues, despite the high tech portal to the universe in front of his face.

Button pushing was in order.

Rumors of a water main break nearby. No details about when it might be – you know – fixed.

Local tv “news” obsessed with weather and traffic. (On a sunny Saturday morning!) Reports on restaurants having inspection challenges. Something about early MardiGras nearby.

I was aggravated.

No. I take that back. I was pissed.

And, then, the elephant in the news room appeared.

Video of the needless death of Tyree Nichols at the hands of police officers.

Video I haven’t yet watched.

Not because I’m not devastated, but because I am. And I’m overloaded with that these days.

The Atlanta area protests are thus far non-violent. Blessedly.

And, the world is bigger than Atlanta.

The world is also bigger than my local plumbing problems, which are pretty privileged problems when viewed through a global lens.

That’s when the perspective shift happened!

With more than a bit of help from Joan Baez. (It works for me!)

A rendition of The President Sang Amazing Grace let my tears be more for the world than for myself.

And, a few minutes later, God is God.

Sound scary? I get it. And it’s not the only message for this moment, but it’s one that just might be helpful!

After that, I was ready to move on to a bit of coaching for a new artist.

Phoebe’s eye meds. Read that, an occasion for t-r-e-a-t-s. (Newfs really do have big vocabularies!)

And back to the new generation of Grandmother Moon in progress. My own Divine Feminine image. Portable!

A combination of process and perspective which help me go on.

I’m pretty sure the more of us there are on board, the better the grace works for everybody!

ps… why the Joan Baez vibe/obsession??? Assumed it was nostalgia for peace & justice summer camp days in the midst of our current context. Turns out, there’s more! Like the art! And something singer/activist Patti Smith said when presenting Joan with an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience award… “If the 16th century had Joan of Arc, we have Joan Baez.” May we have ears to hear!

pps… searching for some new tools for your medicine basket? I can help! Step one: ask the calendar elves to find you 45 minutes to chat. My gift. Red thread and a cuppa could be handy!

Mixed Metaphor Alert!!!

…Or, when shoulding on yourself quits working!

Which is a whole lot like time for the Medicine Basket!

Let’s start with the #work-still-in-progress painting, above. It may feel familiar.

It’s an opinionated project, so far! The working title is Laying it Down…

It as in beliefs which aren’t empowering. And, even in the only begun stage, it’s a great reminder which I’m really glad I had standing by for this last week!

Here’s the thing… we’re not just talking about head-beliefs!

Body and heart beliefs matter, too!

And a whole bunch of mine – all kinds – seem to have gotten riled up since my trip with Luther to the Rainbow Bridge.

As in: I should be able to handle this!

Yesterday’s trip to physical therapy was an intentional exercise in laying a whole bunch of those beliefs down.

We began with some adjustments and instructions for my new strength trainer… aka: rollator walker.

Gulp!!!

It’s not that the mobility thing is suddenly worse, though it’s been a challenge for a while.

Instead, I suddenly need it to be a whole lot better. Less scary. More reliable. (Details, eventually…)

And that kind of need involves a boatload of believing that it can change!

And that involves laying down whatever shoulda-coulda-woulda junk is taking up space where hope could live in my Medicine Basket.

So, a learner’s permit from my friend, the PT!

And, then, some time known as soothing.

Specifically, Craniosacral Therapy.

I can’t explain it… except that it shifts things. (And it’s pretty relaxing!)

Then, home to the place known as the real world.

Chair. Lunch. Really, really dark chocolate. Meetings. The adventurous kind.

You know… out of the box! Most of them having to do with what comes after the laying it down bit.

A good conversation with my kid… the birthday dude.

Then, the apparently misguided notion that I was ready to sleep.

I tried! In fact, I tried until about 2:30 am.

And then, the magic chair. Book. Weighted blanket. And, eventually, sleep.

Complete with dreams about cats! (Go ahead and be surprised… that really doesn’t happen much around here!)

Except that I discovered, while swinging from the branches of my family tree a couple of days ago, a new Great Aunt, many, many generations back. Another of the handful of related Saints nobody ever mentioned. Here’s my favorite photo:

Yep! The Patron Saint of Cats is my Aunt Gertrude! My sister is very excited!!!

Here’s what else I know about Aunt Gert so far… She was born in what is now Belgium, in 626 CE. Like other women in her prominent family, she chose – with her mother’s help – to escape an arranged marriage of the politically and financially beneficial sort, and establish a monastery for women dedicated to living their faith and helping people.

And that tells me that she was also a fan of laying down beliefs which were not empowering!

And it also suggests that some of my tendencies in the same direction just might come from a long line of women who found hope in choosing to fill their Medicine Baskets with tools for change.

At least, that’s what I heard when I woke!

ps… bizarre question! Would you help me with my soul homework??? If yes, please respond to the questions below in the comments or by email… suesvoice@gmail.com Sending huge thanks in advance!!!

Assuming that YOU are ready for some help with your big dreams – your soul homework – Which of these gift-steps feels LEAST terrifying to you??? (Extra thanks for a note about what feels best about your choice!)

  1. An ah-hah, now I know more-type quiz
  2. An on-demand video adventure in perspective shifting
  3. Something I can read, on my own time
  4. Staying stuck

Out of my closet…

Truth: I’m dragging a bit.

Being there for Luther as he made his transition last week was exhausting in the way that holding it together when you are needed so often is.

And, I’m grateful. For choices. And love. And blessed travelers along the way. And – frankly – sleep.

Morning comes, though, as morning does.

Wrapped in my paint-splattered flannel sheet with my favorite new cuppa beside me, I took a deep breath and dove into my email.

There, I discovered that today is the 50th anniversary of the original Roe v Wade decision, making abortion access legal in the USA.

The folks who wanted me to remember that were, blessedly, the kind who are hoping I’ll do some reminding of my own, as part of a huge effort to make it so, again.

If you’ve been reading along for more than a week or two, you already know what I think.

It was clearly time to liberate this fabulous new t-shirt from my closet, and start mattering.

Petitions, and emails, and prayers, oh my!

If, by chance, you’re new in these parts, here’s the best thing I know on the subject of abortion:

Abortion is a tragedy. It should be legal. It should be safe. It should be a whole lot rarer than it is.

– Matt Santos, candidate for President, The West Wing, season 7

Making abortion care illegal has never been, and will never be, the answer.

The practical steps to a whole lot rarer are obvious… and expensive. Here are a few from my list:

  • Help, for families who need it, with housing and nutrition
  • Universal healthcare
  • Affordable college
  • High quality day-care and universal Pre-K
  • Protection of voting rights and access
  • Real prosecution of rape, incest, and domestic violence offenders

Then there’s the hard part…

We need to claim – and live – the radical notion that all people matter. That all people have human rights. And one of those rights is to bodily sovereignty.

Or, to put it plainly, women are not livestock!

And I have, as you probably know, 2 very real granddaughters trying to grow up in this country!

So, a meeting, having to do with the Divine Feminine. A bit more painting. (Sirius, the dog star! And the Hebrew word for remember, which also means remind.)

And some more mattering.

Because, when you get right down to it, what else is there?

ps… looking for YOUR SuperPower Path (which probably leads to even more mattering!)? Click HERE for an adventure, as my gift to you!

pps… how about a Valentine’s Day gift for yourself??? I have fabulous suggestions, at special discounts. Stunning, warm, cozy, and unique! FierceArtWithHeart.

I chose!

Today, I stayed late in the bed. (Well, later than usual!)

Snuggled under the new weighted blanket, which really does seem to help with the sleeping!

Choosing to take care of me.

Tea, later. Time for reading, both fascinating and helpful!

Phone off. And, yes, Joan Baez singing in the background.

Compassion essential oil in the diffuser.

Deeply nourishing comfort food. And some really, really dark chocolate.

Then – you guessed it – dots.

Lots and lots and lots of dots!!!

My #work-in-progress buddy kindly agreed to help.

Call them prayer dots or dots of intention. Call them painting or meditating. Call them a strategy for soothing. Call them whatever works for you.

In my case, they are all of that, plus a fair helping of trauma healing. The place where healing meets neuroplasticity meets art. And a medicine basket essential!

On this day, the dots were tied to my three claimed words for 2023.

Courage. Purpose. Perseverance.

All three primary processing patterns working together by choice. And the dots helped.

You see, yesterday was a very hard day.

It was time for the biggest of the big Studio Angels, Luther, to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

I’m not really up to all the details. Technically, we might say something along the lines of rapid onset dementia.

The part that matters is that he suddenly became confused and lost and scared.

And I promised him, a long time ago, that he didn’t have to feel that way ever again.

I am beyond grateful for our wise and compassionate support system. For the help in setting him free.

Not surprisingly, he is teaching me, still. Predictably, with a question…

What would it take for me to give myself permission to take a whole day for what I need??? No shame. No blame. No guilt. Just love.

And support for my intention…

Courage. Purpose. Perseverance.

I know we’ve talked about words for 2023 before. I don’t know what yours might be, if you’ve claimed some.

What I do know is this…

Moving in the direction of those words – being empowered by them – is going to mean giving ourselves permission to choose what our spirits need. No shame. No blame. No guilt. Just love.

And, just in case you need a reminder now and then, here’s one… from my heart, and Luther’s, to yours.

ps… our wee Studio Angel, Phoebe, is resting and adjusting. Prayers welcome!

pps… we’ll talk more about Purpose soon!

Context… today. Especially!

Sleep came hard last night, which is a story for another day fast approaching.

Eventually I made it to my chair (aka Grammy’s throne!) with my cup of hot water and lemon, as is my habit.

The first job was, as it generally is, sorting dreams from calendar issues.

I was helped along by a question from my magical friend known to most of us as SARK. It began with a statement:

Sundays are about filling your cup so you can love others with the overflow.

Then, the punchline… (Susan’s as fond of questions as I am!)

How are you filling your cup today?

I’m curious, too… what would you say???

My response went a lot like this:

Joan Baez. Shiloh Sophia. Paint.

Now, realistically, my response is a whole lot like that on as many days as I can manage! (And I really don’t think we can over-do the filling our cups and loving others with the overflow bit.)

This, however, is not every day in my world. You see, if you happen to have spent a bunch of years as a preacher-type, as I have, THIS is the day we remember Dr. King – federal holidays, aside.

I also suspect that it’s a day which has gotten more than a few of us in trouble with the Things We Don’t Discuss crowd.

Note: sermons or posts or paintings with titles along the lines of Isaiah and Martin and Gary may not play where you hang out – especially if you suggest boycotting KKK marches – though those creations matter, anyway!

Which is, in some senses, one of the things we were talking about in Shiloh Sophia’s gathering around the Wheel of the Year…Celestial Cycles and Natural Rhythms.

You see, both of these calendar issues have a whole lot to do with language and power and who gets to decide who gets to decide. (Also re-wilding gardens!)

Realistically, they also have to do with something pretty close to throwing the baby out with the bath water! Which is to say, categorically discarding a whole lot of useful, empowering stuff because it grew out of contexts from which we haven’t yet finished learning.

Now, if you’re still reading, please add in or substitute whatever examples work for you.

Here’s something pretty close to the bottom line for me.

We ALL matter. The world we call home matters. Relationships grounded in justice matter. Our intentions matter. And, we are able to choose!

So, out of all of this, in the context of all my world… some overflowing love for you.

The Matrica Bear, in the photo above, says she’s done, for now. With the paint part. (Even though the rest of the painting still needs some help!) It’s time for her to sleep in the fertile darkness, as the Celtic myths go, so that she can emerge in Spring, into the clear light of knowing. May it be so for each of us who are willing.

And, then, Joan…

I know. We’ve done this not to long ago, but she once sang this song for Dr. King and has now graciously agreed to sing it for us!

May whatever touches you here, overflow with love for yourself and others.

And, if you live in the part of the world where the light is now and the darkness is still to come… well, I trust you to knead this into what nurtures you, just as you are!

ps… somedays it takes a tribe to make a blog post and this is one of those! Huge thanks, Joan, Dina, Susan, Shiloh, Jonathan, Lavender Grace and Trish! (Also, Isaiah and Martin and Gary!)

pps… if you haven’t clicked the admittedly annoying pop-up thing to join my mailing list yet, I really hope you will! There’s lots of cool new stuff coming and I don’t want you to miss out! (After you click the first right thing, the elves will send you another right thing to click, too… it matters!) And, just in case you joined a while back and haven’t been getting these posts, I’m hoping you’ll give it another try. The “other” elves still need a bit of training!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach

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