A Matter of Focus… and Vision

The rain has stopped and the temperature is falling fast.

The big dogs are dozing; sleeping off their fine dining experience for the day.

My prep email for a rapidly approaching Intentional Creativity ® workshop is written, and edited, and edited some more. (I’m going with done!)

I’ve shaken off last night’s hissy fit, prompted when a certain online shopping service’s designated delivery folks sent me a message saying that delivery was refused on my long awaited giant whiteboard.


After some rather loud “intentional” phone calls, my package seems to have been located and, rather than returning it so I could re-order it and wait 8 days or more for another, there is at least hope that it will appear Sunday or Monday.

No, the world won’t end if it doesn’t. It’s just that I’ve worked so hard to figure out the logistics of one of the big things I’m trying to accomplish and I was all set to test it out Monday.

For now, a front row seat, feet up, for the Saturday night Iron Chef mini-marathon. At this moment, the secret ingredient is sausage. Sounds good to me… as long as I know where it came from! Am also very glad that I’m not one of the sous chefs busy burning things.

Underneath all this “normal” life stuff, rather like drips on the first layers of a painting, a post from one of my paint sisters is muttering.

The inquiry, or perhaps journal prompt, went along the lines of whether we readers might have “left anything undone” in 2019 and had we, perhaps, made a list of those things, in the service of letting them go.

I will admit that my pulse picked up a bit of speed at that question.

I mean, Duh!!!

Both my faith tradition and my experience remind me that we leave things we wanted to do undone.

Sometimes because we’re stuck, or afraid. Sometimes because other things arise that feel more urgent. Sometimes because some of our intentions seem beyond our current abilities.

If you’re at all like me, the list of things you haven’t done is likely to be “posted” right in front of your face, like really bad wallpaper.

So big and loud and overwhelming that you can’t see through or around or even under it to the things you did get done.

Or maybe it seems more like having new glasses. The kind with the lenses called transitional, which is contemporary code for incognito bifocals.

I have a recent pair of those I’m still trying to adjust to. Between tipping my head forward and backward, juggling my glasses, and fiddling with the angles of the monitors on my various toys, I seem to feel more aware of what’s not working than what is.

It’s also true that I’m a life long list maker!

So, for this moment, wondering how I might reframe such a question if I were to ask my girls, and with deep love and respect for those who do it differently, I’m making a list of things I have gotten done. (Or made progress on…)

And I’m listening to that list for what might be there for me to learn.

What does it suggest about 2020?

Just in case you’re now busy with such a list of your own, starting – of course – wherever it works for you, I’ll just share the first thing I noticed, pondering all of this.

I took on too much in 2019.

So, while I’m not likely to ever have 20:20 vision, I’m hoping to focus more on where I’d like to be a year from now, rather than on all the marvelous, shiny things I could, hypothetically, manage to squish into next week, preferably (gulp!) without disappointing anyone.

I suspect it will take some practice…

Companions on the road welcome!!!

ps… The glimpse of art, today, which will eventually become TreeWoman 2, was blessed last night with bright teal prayer dots for the healing and new growth of rain across Australia and wherever else it is needed.


What do you see? What do you hear?

Dear Hearts, according to the calendar most commonly accepted in much of the world, today is New Year’s Day. In my world, it’s also Work-in-Progress Wednesday, which somehow feels appropriate! And a day for the Studio Angels to recover from all the very noisy celebrating in our neighborhood last night!

Here’s what seems real.

My Tree Woman emails are out, with much prayer and huge help from a patient paint sister. That’s one big step forward for 2020! (And a hint in the photo, above!)

There’s a soup pot on the stove. Bird broth. Pulled pork and boar salami. (Really!) Brussels sprouts and arugula. Lots of aromatics. Gorgeous mushrooms.

It’s not hog jowls and collard greens, but it works for us.

IMG_6564The bones of my MotherBoard space now exist in this dimension! This, too, is a huge step forward for 2020 and will make more sense as time goes on. (Really big whiteboard due Friday!)

And, quite probably prompted by an avalanche of emails beating the drums for a major (US) election fundraising deadline, I have been casting about for something to say in this moment. Only one thing made sense.

Please hear, now, the words of the prophet known as The Dangerous Old Woman, probably not for the first time, with ears of this moment.

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.

Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.

In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.

We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

By Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves and Untie the Strong Woman.

Holding Light for the New Year, Sue and Phoebe and Luther



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