(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.


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!


Welcome back to work-in-progress Wednesday.

In this case, a bit more work than usual!

You see, this is one of those times when the Muse is in charge and I’m just holding the brush!

If you’ve been reading along, you may recognize the first layers of #Matrica which has been on my easel since just before the first of the year.

I had a plan.

She had another.

Which is probably just as well, since my world seems to have other plans, too.

Here’s the Readers’ Digest version…

I’m sorting a lot of things just now, needing to make a decision. It’s a decision I’ve needed to make before and it doesn’t get easier.

What is different is that I am.

I’ve learned new things. And walked new paths.

I’ve added some new (or, perhaps, old!) beliefs to my Medicine Basket.

And – surprise! – the context keeps changing, too!

So, I wasn’t all that surprised when a bear insisted on appearing on my canvas.

My dear friend/shima, Maria Yraceburu, told me, a year or so ago, that I am bear clan.

Like so many things in my current world, this is not something we covered in nursing school or seminary!

There’s a lot of info online about animal guides and such. Here’s some of what feels important to me just now:

On a spiritual level, the bear represents the courage to evolve and the ability to be open-minded. In addition, the bear reminds us to trust our instincts and to be protective of our faith…. they also carry the message of the need to retreat so we can recharge, and reminders to be gentle.

Painting the bear has been a whole other adventure!

The photo at the top is where we were shortly before I headed for bed last night. And, yes, she looked a bit like a cross between an otter and a small show dog!

This next pic is from this morning’s first step in editing, also known as the hard part!

The actual decision that some of what has appeared must disappear to make space for new-ness…

Then, a whole lot of experimenting. And squinting. And some phone calls. And some tears.

Here’s where we are, now…

The phase that feels like hope, despite the hours of changes and layers of paint and a chorus or two of, what was I thinking?

Those same hours held some tears and some hard conversations – mostly the internal kind.

And, frankly, nothing has gotten easier!

Except a reminder of the belief that’s under all the other beliefs that hang out in my medicine basket, amidst the brushes and glazes and dreams and a six petaled rose.

There’s more work to do, though she looks a whole lot more like a bear now, and there is wise kindness in her eyes.

I’m hoping we’ll sleep.

ps… need a bit of sorting and stocking help with your medicine basket? Even if you’re not the painting type… I can help! Just let the calendar elves hook you up with 45 minutes, as my gift to you, and we’ll see what next step appears!

pps… she’s going to need a name! Ideas???

When Sunday comes on Friday!

This has never happened before, dear hearts, but it’s time!

Wearing my able to choose tank top, along with some more winter-ish layers, I am officially doing Sunday’s blog post today and – gasp! – taking Sunday off!

It has a lot to do with irony.

For many of us, this day – known as Epiphany – marks the day the weary Magi arrived at the stable where Mary and Joseph were sheltering with the new-born baby Jesus because, as the old story goes, there was no room for them at the inn. (Which, if you’ll recall, had a lot to do with politics…)

Thus, as I learned it, there were also angels and shepherds, a donkey, and some sheep and cattle, milling about, along with – at least at our house – a sheep herding dog called a Puli who came from Hungary. (Little black fuzzy guy in the photo!)

Much of that story has to do with being led by light.

Today is also the Orthodox Christmas Eve in Ukraine, where I can only imagine some more light would be welcome.

And, in what feels like really bad management by somebody’s calendar elves, it is the second anniversary of the January 6 insurrection in America.

The irony doesn’t end there, though, for the US House of Representatives is still in the midst of the seemingly endless attempt to elect a Speaker of the House.

Add to that, a flare on the personal orthopedic pain front, and I’ve needed some dots. Well, lots of dots.

And yes, my #Matrica painting volunteered again.

As the blatant jockeying for power and votes went on, I began again with dots for hope.

Then, justice.

And, then, another shift, on CNN and inside me.

You see, we took a break from the so-called election to “attend” a White House ceremony in which 14 people were awarded Presidential Citizens Awards on the 1/6 anniversary.

Several of those awards were given posthumously and accepted by tearful family members. Others were given to current and former officers involved in defending the US Capitol. Still others went to folks like election workers in several states, involved in upholding actual voting results. (Yay, Georgia!)

Here’s the thing I noticed most. Amidst all the pomp and ceremony, there were tears and hugs and even jokes. And, in the middle of all the very human feelings, was a guy known as POTUS… Joe Biden.

And, somewhere along the line, in the midst of the blatantly ironic contrast between all the then and now news, my prayer dots shifted again.


As you know I have a thing for questions, so you won’t be real surprised that, about that time, I realized that all of the traditions and news and dots and prayers were about questions.

On the surface, those things are What? and How? questions.

What happens, though, if we shift the question, and ask, Why?

For me, the answer – loud and clear – is Love.

And, yes, that raises a whole flock of other questions… the hardest of them, I suspect, being Whom?

Now, I’m a whole long way from being good at this – yet – but I’m going to stay on the road of living as though the answer to Whom? is All of us!

It’s not easy, but I’ve got an epically good teacher! And a couple of really good reasons!

That’s why I’m declaring this weekend to be time for nurturing my Spirit!

You could join me…

ps… curious about the triangles and dots? A favorite liberated version of an old quilt pattern called flying geese. Mine are Wild Flying Geese with intentional Celtic overtones of the Holy Spirit!

pps… questions about your path? I can help! Just click and the calendar elves will hook you up with 45 minutes as my gift. (It’s going to take a lot of us!)

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