Creation Happens!!!

Okay… more true confessions! I forgot today was Wednesday. Well, not exactly. I remembered my first telephone appointment with my ortho guy and actually managed to make my end of that work.

(Shoulder will survive until getting an MRI is safer!)

I made it to a couple of Zoom meetings.

I worked more on my marvelous, miraculous biz-ness plan… which reminded me that I needed to check in with my much-less-wee artists. I had a favor to ask.

Could I, I wondered, borrow back their Super Power self-portraits from Thanksgiving, 2018? Not the whole canvases. Just photos.

Good news! I can!!!

I’ve been thinking about Super Powers again, lately. Seems like we could all use a few new ones. Or, perhaps, we need to blow the dust of some we haven’t seen for a while. There will be more on this coming soon. For now, a blast from a great moment with our girls, which would probably look different if I could figure out how the updated website works!

“Big Scary Glazes were conquered by all!

Kitty Max, the resident Studio Angel showed up to help.

And we have two new generations of enthusiastic experts in the fine art of prayer dots. We made dots for the victims of the fires in California. And dots for a little girl living with leukemia. And dots for people who have lost beloved pets.

We made dots for people who don’t have enough to eat. And silent, personal dots. And dots for a soccer tournament. We also made dots for a few things that, given our proximity to Washington, D.C., should probably remain nameless.

I made dots for the wonder of super-girls rapidly turning into thoughtful young women, embracing new ways of expressing themselves and being part of the world community”.

May there be lots more of that in this moment!

Which Direction Will You Choose?

According to the Enneagram personality type gurus, with whom I’ve been hanging out for just over 20 years, there are 9 personality types. I am among the 4’s, commonly know as artists or romantics.

One of the most helpful things I learned in Enneagram-land is the notion that we humans have two primary motivations for our behavior… or choices, if you prefer.

The first motivation is fear. Anxiety. We, being fairly clever sorts, tend to move away from things that scare us.

The second motivation is love. Passion. Enthusiasm. And, as you’re no doubt hoping, we tend to move toward those experiences. And people. (Also, dogs, but that’s a story for a different day.)

’tis the season, as the old saying goes.

Our current context feels overflowing, at least to me, with scary things. The Covid virus is obvious. Suggestions that drinking chemical disinfectants might solve all our problems. (Not! No way! No time! No how!) Masks, gloves, huge changes in schedules and habits we at least assumed were working before. I’ll give you a break on the rant about political groups filling my email with blatant attempts to get me to act out of fear… read this, send money.

This weekend, though, I spent hours in a group of women tapping into love, joy, enthusiasm and it was soooooooo much more helpful!!!

Intentional Creativity® types, focused on how to share the best of what we’re learning with the world. We worked on ideas for virtual workshops and even on (gulp!) business plans.

Business plans with color and images and reflections of the things that matter most in our lives. And while we worked, my girls kept appearing in my head. At one point, I even opened up my text messages to be amazed, all over again, by the photos of their recent artwork and the grins on their mini-artist faces.

And then the question found me, as all the really good questions have a habit of doing.

Which journey do I /You /We want our littles to see manifesting in our lives?

Okay… that’s not phrased very poetically. And I’m not saying it will be easy. We’ve all learned way too much about the other journey… the one away from fear.

We’re shaming and blaming ourselves for uncertainty in a time we’ve never known before, for comfort eating, for laughing and crying (which-btw-relieve stress, physiologically) and wanting to hide in our beds, preferably with flannel sheets, art quilts, and teddy bears.

I was tempted, too. Instead, just for a while, I made neat in the studio. I cleaned the screen on my magical transporting machine, aka laptop! I even got out my watercolors from Italy (!) and played along the path to the future.

I moved in the direction of love, passion, and enthusiasm, which, as you’ve probably remembered by now, means something pretty close to filled with God in Greek, because I get to choose.

Tomorrow will bring more choices. Sheltering in place some more. Finding a pattern for making masks. Sharing pantomime hugs with my neighbor when I’m out watering the itty bitty veg and herbs, along with flowers for the bees and butterflies, sprouting in the garden.

And planning new ways to share the wonders of creativity in the world we have.

Stay tuned for virtual workshops and for stories about paintings. Their moments in time and their symbols and codes…

The littles are watching!

 

 

I wanna shop!!!

Okay… self-disclosure alert!

Rumor has it that, when I was a small child (who talked very early!), I had to be carried from a grocery store, screaming, “I wanna shop!!!” at the top of my tiny lungs. It’s remotely possible that there was a diaper incident involved.

It’s worth noting that I’ve never told this story before and those who might have been able to confirm or deny are safe in the place beyond the need for compassionate distancing.

But, really, lots of you have asked what I’m buying and where and why in this particular context.

So… liability disclaimer! I’m a grandmother who used to be a nurse who grew up in an environmentally sensitive summer camp program. I’m also an author, artist, activist, coach, and teacher of things having to do with images and their power for change.

Translation – I’m a picky omnivore who chooses sustainably raised, preferably local foods, grows herbs, veg, and grapes in the space formerly known as our front lawn, and practices the magical arts of homemade bone broth.

I also have an unfortunate history of waaaaaaayyyy too many cases of bronchitis and pneumonia so I am not the primary procurer of things in my family just now. All of which suggests that we, like you, are learning new things. And we’ll continue to practice those new things whether the governor of Georgia wises up or not.

Okay, I’m over that for the moment! And, while we’re getting over things, let’s just recognize that all of our choices have ethical and political implications and there are not, in this moment, many perfect choices.

Hence, the number of things delivered to our house!

First on that list is what I’ve termed sanity food, which is also not inherently objectionable to my holistically inclined physician.

  • Really, really dark chocolate. 80% cacao or better. Preferably organic, fair trade, etc. I’m not the only one with this opinion and it’s getting harder to find. It’s really high in antioxidants and, the higher the percentage of cacao, the lower the sugar. It also supports serotonin levels which helps reduce stress. Greene & Black’s is one good option.
  • Pistachio nuts. Organic. Roasted. Sea salt. In the shell. Eating them takes longer and is a cross-lateral brain movement which reduces stress, as does – for me – the salty, crunchy thing.

Next, proteins.

  • Veg/vegan friends may skip down a ways. My friend, Rusty, and all the gang at Pine Street Market and its branch office, Chop Shop ship, deliver locally, and offer safely distanced on-site pick up in Avondale. Most importantly, they make (and ship) REAL bone broth, healing for body & soul.
  • For veg, eggs, dairy, etc., with or without said proteins, shipped, check White Oak Pastures. Also my friend Chad at Carlton Farm whose wonderful folks will deliver to your home in the Atlanta area. Check where you are.

Then, the rest of the stuff.

  • You’re on your own for t.p. Sorry!
  • Hands raw from washing??? Good olive or coconut oil for hand lotion works wonders and is naturally anti-microbial! Add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to a batch if you like the relaxing scent.
  • Then, colloidal silver solution in a mister. It’s a safe, effective anti-microbial. I spritz my face (eyes open) a couple of times a day and whenever I’m feeling – you know – inadequately distanced. Do your research. I like Argentyn 23.
  • Tea tree oil soap for face, bath, hair, you name it. It’s anti-microbial, safe, and, with the oils in the soap, not drying.

And, a bit of borderline meddlin’.

  • Capsules known as Recovery Tonic from True Botanica. These help with stress and adrenal recovery, should you happen to believe in such things. My doc and I do.
  • Ditto, tiny, sweet pellets of something called Aurum Hypericum Stibium from Uriel. Homepathic remedy for “headaches” which translates, I’m told, into anxiety.
  • Vitamins D3 & K2. I get an immune boosting combo by Life Extension. Follow directions with fat soluble vitamins!
  • 5-HTP, a building block of serotonin. (Are you sensing a trend?) I like Natrol’s version which claims that it Promotes a Calm & Relaxed Mood. Again, directions!
  • A coloring book wouldn’t hurt!!! Or new, uplifting art!

Again, do your research and check with your doc. These are NOT things I learned in nursing school!

Speaking of nursing school, doing what we can to take care of ourselves and those we love, body, mind, and spirit, is the best way to support millions of front line folks taking care of those who are ill.

I am totally aware of the privilege involved in making a list like this. Bill and I do, in this moment, have choices about what we eat. I also remember buying food for a growing boy when my grocery list included 5/$1.00 generic mac & cheese and 99 cent frozen pizza. Those of us fortunate enough to have choices in this moment can also choose to give so others have real food. If you want some suggestions, just ask!

For now, keep sticking with you and yours!

 

 

I Skipped Iron Chef!

If you’ve been hanging around for any length of time, you know that I often spend Saturday evenings watching Iron Chef America. Tonight, I got my fix at 6 and 7pm and then I fixed my supper and changed the channel.

Channel 9, in my case. WGCL which is a CBS station in Atlanta. One World TOGETHER at Home… a celebration of first responders and the countless others working to keep us all safe and fed and sheltered in these days.

This show was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and my personal late night guy, Stephen Colbert. That, all by itself, is something of a miracle.

Organized, in large part, by Lady GaGa, the big name types assembled to call attention to the $50 million dollars raised for the World Health Organization’s efforts to to curb the Covid virus pandemic and to shed light on first responders.

Now, I know many of us have differing opinions on some of the entities making headlines in these days. I suspect many of the folks who gave of their time and talent and resources to pull off television like this, with everybody performing, seemingly on one stage while sheltering at home, have differing opinions as well.

Yet, for a few moments in time, those differences were put aside to bring us together as one world, at home.

One of my personal stars was only there inside me. You may have heard me mention him before. Dr. H. Stephen Glenn was the force behind a program called Developing Capable People which changed my life, especially as a young, single mom, and went on to change the lives of the countless people I’ve shared the work with over more than 30 years of leading DCP groups.

Here’s the punch line…

There’s no such thing as failure. Only experience to be learned from. 

I’ve been thinking about that a lot in these days. And I’ve realized that there’s one thing I’ve learned that Steve didn’t have a chance to learn in the same way because he passed on before he could experience it the way we are just now.

Yes…

There’s no such thing as failure. Only experience to be learned from. 

But that assumes the ability and willingness to learn.

I’ll let you do whatever math on that works for you, because just now a physician from New York City said, with tears in her eyes, that yes, she had heard New Yorkers singing from their stoops and balconies every evening in thanks for health care workers. And then, asked what she would say in response, the doctor replied that she wanted everyone to know, “If you can’t hold your mom’s hand, I’m there to hold your mom’s hand.”

Right after that, a young woman I didn’t know before, a singer named Lizzo, belted out a fabulous version of a song I love  by the legendary Sam Cooke.  The name of that song is, A Change is Gonna Come. 

And that, I think, is the prayer of this moment for almost all of us, including Michele Obama and Laura Bush who joined forces to speak out for getting through the crisis together.

Right now, I’m going to go find another box of Kleenex and watch some more. And while I watch, I’ll be giving thanks for all of those willing to learn who came together to speak and sing and give for all of us together. And I’ll be praying. For me and mine. For you and yours. And for all the “thems and theirs” who share this planet with us and those we know.

May we stay at home together, and be safe, and willing to learn. And may the change we so need come soon. Amen. Amen. Selah.

ps… A charming pink young lady named Abby Cadabby (who’s new to Sesame Street since Dave’s days with “Bernie and Ert”) says that when we have feelings about all the changes, “It helps to give yourself a hug.” Thanks, Abby! And thank you, Lady GaGa!

pps… Abracadabra can be translated, I will create from the word. Let this be our prayer. (Veg and herb seeds, freshly planted, work, too! And paint brushes!!!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Sacred Space

A dear friend told me today that she was having a Marie Kondo tidiness moment during this inside-out (Or is that outside-in?) time we’re in.

I hear that!

I wish I was doing more than listening. Actually, I have been. Homework, to be exact. Lots of it! Making it. Taking pictures of it. Fixing it. Losing it. Finding it again. Dreaming it. Swearing at my laptop on behalf of it.

Part of me feels something approaching fulfilled.

Part of me wants very much to set the studio right. Not just neater. Weeded in the way that fills the recycling bin and puts homeless things on the curb with Free signs.

I want to dust baseboards. Really! Besides, the pollen already has me sneezing so there’s not much to lose!

I want ALL the paintbrushes clean. Not just the ones I use the most. Not most of them. Every. Last. One. And, when the new paint arrives tomorrow, I want a place to put it, all lined up according to my quirky system of which favorite colors go with which.

When all is said and done, I want Sacred Space.

I want room for new-ness.

Even deeper than that, I want healing. Me. You. Mine. Yours. Ours.

And “they’re” all ours in the ways that matter.

Some of the work is begun. The floors are splashed with creativity. The walls are dotted with prayers. Images my girls helped make rest here and there. And, close inspection is likely to find some Studio Angel fluff in the hard to reach corners.

The studio has become even more my sanctuary in these days. Paintings are asking for hearts and prayer dots and tears on their cheeks. Or, perhaps, they are offering to hold them for me.

And, when you get right down to it, all that homework which has been messing up the studio has been creating sacred space inside me where I can share it even in these days of Compassionate Distancing.

Art actually may save the world!

ps… I just pushed the magic button, dispatching all the homework, probably to California. Watch for updates… Maude, the Storytelling Ape is hatching new possibilities!!! (And she told me her name!) Blessings…

pps… Many, many thanks to Leisa, Natalie, Molly, Cherie, Hobby, all the brilliant Musea gang, everybody else, and the Legendary husband!!! It takes a village to finish Motherboard!

 

There’s a Hymnbook in My Head

There is, indeed, a hymnbook in my head. It’s an odd, patchy old thing covered in bits of dark green and faded burgundy and a bright lapis-ish blue with purple around the edges.

It doesn’t get much use these days for I can usually summon the words and tunes I need on demand, rather like YouTube music videos. I’ve been thumbing through it for several days, now, searching for an Easter hymn that feels real in these days of Compassionate Distancing and lunatic autocrats. Days when I’m missing my girls hunting eggs. Days when something ancient, deep inside me, wants desperately to smear lamb’s blood on our door frame.

Last night — well, actually very early this morning — my hymn found me. Perhaps you know it too. It begins like this:

God of grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power;
crown thine ancient church’s story;
bring her bud to glorious flower,
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil round us
scorn the Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us
free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

The triumphant organ music is missing. Oh, I could summon it if I chose, but it doesn’t feel right, somehow. This year, my hymn is sung a’cappella, probably with the help of cell phones and some sort of mystical space/time editing I don’t need to figure out in order to hear the music in my heart. And the singing goes on:

Cure your children’s warring madness;
bend our pride to your control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal.

Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of your salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving you whom we adore,
serving you whom we adore.

I’ve known this hymn for ages. I needed to know, in this moment, its writer and its context. Here’s what I learned…

Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote these words in 1930 for the dedication of the Riverside Church in New York City. In the middle of the Great Depression, between two World Wars, “Fosdick was a champion of the social gospel, a movement that recognized the plight of the poor, especially in the urban Northeast during the Industrial Revolution.”

In an article on the history of the hymn, a professor of sacred music named Dr. Hawn goes on to say that, “Under Fosdick’s leadership Riverside Church was interdenominational, interracial, without a creed, and, astonishingly for Baptists, required no specific mode of baptism. At the center of Fosdick’s ministry was urban social ministry.”

All of which sheds light on the reason that it is this hymn which found me now.

In this moment, I must close my hymnbook and go back to my homework, some of which includes a thing called Sacred Scribing. Ideally, I would have done it before, but it somehow seems appropriate to this day. Perhaps I’ll scribe “my” hymn.

First, though, the blessings of this season be with you and yours.

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May you know grace and glory, wisdom and courage, in your own way and may we, each of us who are paying attention, do what we can so that as many of us as humanly possible might be passed over.

Amen. Amen. Selah.

 

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher