Muse mischief is afoot!

Saturday. 5am. The Muse, aka Grandmother Moon, decided it was time to play! Not unwelcome… just a wee bit off on the optimal timing scale!

I managed to float with the plotting and planning until about 7am. Then, paper and pencil were required. And…. drum roll, please… we have a plan!

I know… you’ve seen this view before. I’ve been pondering what finished might look like for several days and now I know.

Well, not really! What I actually know is what the next couple of steps are. And a feeling about where we’re heading. And why.

Which is really big progress!

To be honest, I wasn’t really planning such a big change.

We’ve been through a lot… Grandmother Moon, The Muse, this canvas and I. This is where we were, back in November when I was busy with the whole oral surgery adventure which led to the last big change…

And a quote from a blog post back then…

What I know for sure is that I feel better. (Well, not my jaw, so much, but ME!) And, I’m kind of glad that the canvas needs more work, though I have no idea where we’re headed. And some big news… a week or so ago, it occurred to me that I was become-ing a Medicine Painter. Not just doing, but being. Then, while I was slinging paint and tears all over the place, I realized that I have also become my own Medicine Basket!

All of which felt like a whole lot of learning! And, there is still more learning going on…

It seems, now, that in order for this work to become my Constellation of Being, we’re going to have to work on less before we get to more!

And, yes… a good bit of white paint will be involved!

You know that old saying about anxiety and excitement feeling pretty much the same, neurologically?

Well, it’s true! (At least for me…) And the next part of the thought is that we use one of my favorite notions – CONTEXT – to decide what to call what we’re feeling!

I’m going with excitement!

Right after I start a load of laundry and finish my tea!

Fast forward to…

Art is not for the weak of heart! It is for those who love learning. And become-ing!

ps… even more become-ing has happened! Here’s where we are nowall 48×60 inches of it!

pps… look again, please, at the purple canvas. Do you see her? I just did… Oh, Holy Wow!!!

ppps… stay tuned! And, if you’re feeling the need for a safe perspective shift, come check out FierceArtWithHeart! From mugs to leggings to museum quality prints to original art, and more… Daphne’s got you!

A day of mixed metaphors…

True confession…. Valentine’s Day has always been a challenge for me.

I liked making cards with hearts. I didn’t like the elementary school tradition of giving them out in classrooms. There were always the heartbroken kids who either didn’t get as many cards in the paper bag taped to their desk, or didn’t have any cards to give.

We moved a lot in those years and I was the new kid often enough that, early on, I worried about those who felt left out.

There were times when I was a teen that I would have sworn that Valentine’s Day was a good excuse for boys to pressure girls into proving their love.

As a young single mom, there were a couple of years when I skimped on real food to have treats to share with Dave’s pre-school class.

Years later, after the Legendary Husband came along, we developed the tradition of actually asking each other what we wanted to do, and when, to mark the tradition which often coincided with church calendar issues, as it does this year.

One of the more recent surprises, for me at least, has been learning the old stories of St. Valentine. Go ahead and google it, if you’re curious. Let’s just say that there are lots of stories that seem to have a great deal to do with who was writing them and why.

I opted, last night, for a new-fangled riff on tradition by hanging with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin at an online event known as Galentine’s Day, a fundraiser for the environment. It consisted of live table readings from Grace and Frankie.

There were, however, technical difficulties, so I wandered back to the land of Madam Secretary. It’s less of a nail-biter than the actual news! And, I’ve done some new noticing lately.

M Sec is a filters thing!

Elizabeth McCord has become something of a role model for me.

(For a bit of context, let me just say that my inner-teen remembers the days when a woman wasn’t guaranteed the right to open a checking account without a husband’s signature.)

Then there’s Bess. An extremely capable woman with a tremendous amount of responsibility. She speaks her mind, even when she’s up to her eyebrows in power struggles and assertive egos. Even when her voice shakes!

She’s a whole person with a challenging history, huge hope, and a passion for the experiment called democracy.

She does her best to live what she values. Love. Justice. Freedom. Voice. Choice. Sovereignty.

And, from what I’ve learned recently, had she lived in Salem in the late 1600’s, she might well have been hanged as a witch, along with two of my great aunts!

Now, you, wise reader, may be wondering how all this fits with Valentine’s Day. I have two answers.

Love should be about power for, rather than power over.

And, one of the things love is about – at least in our home – is an actual conversation like this:

The Legendary Husband, a couple days ago… “What would you like to do for Valentine’s Day?”

Me... “Honestly, I’d like to move it to May, when Origins is complete and the weather is good enough to eat on our favorite sidewalk!”

Blessedly, it works for us!

For now, though… fingerprint dots. For love and voice and choice. For my kids, who walked their beloved dog, Hazel, to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. For healing friends.

The dots start out looking like the blob on the paint tray, above. And wind up helping me create a reality filled with hope, on canvas, and in the world.

Which feels a lot like love! At least according to the lovely fingerprint being known as What the World Needs Now.

ps… just between us, she represents the kind of role model many, many of my ancestors were, too!

pps… she’s also available for adoption! The original!!! And there’s a sale at FierceArtWithHeart! Just enter the code HIPPO at checkout for any item over $45. And hurry! The discount expires at midnight EST on Sunday, 2/18.

Trees and beasts and brushes… oh, my!

Just between us, my head and my heart are spinning with the learning. And with the (figurative) leaping!

It might be helpful, dear heart, to imagine this missive as a word-quilt, patched together out of bits and pieces longing to be comfort.

Let’s start with the photo…

A journal prompt for my Temple painting adventure suggested that we go out into our neighborhoods and notice a tree which called to us. A connecting with our root system sort of thing…

As you may recall, I spent Wednesday in a deeply familiar neighborhood known as the Columbia Theological Seminary campus, surrounded by deep, deep roots, some very welcome newness, and considerable practice extrovert-ing!

Just as I was heading home, I encountered this tree. This tree I’ve undoubtedly passed hundreds of times and never really noticed. It was too dark at that point, for good photos, so I went back today.

What you’re seeing, above, is what I suspect virtually everybody sees as they come out of the parking lot behind the library, headed for whatever’s next on their list. I, however, glimpsed it from another perspective… from the side street, headed up the hill.

What I caught, out of the corner of my eye, was this…

And the first thing that popped into my artist brain was hippo! As in, hippopotamus!!!

Do you see her???

I hurried home and – because I’ve spent some time hanging with an indigenous mama named Maria – I looked up hippo spirit animal. Here’s what I read…

The Hippopotamus Spirit brings wisdom, healing, and imagination, and links the human world to the Divine. Your Spirit Hippopotamus can help you eliminate and clarify negative emotions and aid you in finding your true path.

Really! And trust me when I tell you, that was a message I was happy to receive… non-canonical though it may be.

You see, my new adventure, known as Oh, I See… Consciously! began on Thursday.

A great group of curious, adventurous people. New notions of – you know – Filters!

And, by the time we finished day one, a bit more possibility… a bit more wisdom, healing, and imagination set free in the world!

Then, I went back to the easel!

This #work-in-progress has chosen an official title… Guardians of Fierce Compassion… then, now, always!

Just between us, the painting has been slow going. Probably because there’s a whole lot going on!

Also, because I’m simultaneously creating and claiming myself. And my path.

Canvas. Brush. Paint. Inspiration. Courage… Newness!

(And, yes, the bear will be back before too long… she’s a Guardian, too!)

For now, a bit more time with my journal and Joan Baez!

And a question… What might the hippo be whispering to you??? Really!

It’s easy to leave a comment, below… or email me! suesvoice@gmail.com

ps… CTS has been here, in Decatur for very nearly 100 years. Don’t you just hope that tree’s been there, growing in wisdom, healing, and imagination, all that time?

pps… need some art to inspire you? There’s lots at FierceArtWithHeart… and a special offer. Just use the code HIPPO at checkout to save 15% on all items over $45! (Why $45??? So leggings are included, too!) And hurry. This offer expires on Sunday, 2/18 at midnight EST!

Do you remember Saturday mornings???

Yucky cold cereal… the kind that made the milk look like melted crayons.

Cartoons. Specifically, battles with my sister over what to watch. (We had very different tastes!)

Rocky and Bullwinkle was among my favorites. And I loved the idea of the WABAC – read that wayback – machine. You know… setting the machine to some historical time and place and poof! Mr. Peabody and Sherman were somewhere else.

There were times, in those years, when I thought that would be a really cool machine to have.

I’ve had similar thoughts, lately!

My trip to France last summer was a whole lot like the WABAC machine. And, now I know more!

Today was a whole lot like that, too. A reunion sort of event down the road at Columbia Theological Seminary… my alma mater – a couple of times – and the place where the Legendary Husband and I met!

Let’s just say that many things have changed!

Blessedly, the red giraffe is still on duty.

The one off to the right side of the stained glass window in the chapel I know best, even though – back then – we didn’t do images.

In fact, images are still pretty rare around there. (I’m working on it!)

The music, however, has gotten considerably more fun. And diverse! Kind of like what happens when the WABAC machine is also the future!

And, yes, there was a bit of preachin’ involved!

Anna Carter-Florence was telling the story of Abraham and Sarah on their trip from Ur to Canaan. It was a very, very long trip with a rest stop of twenty years or so along the way.

And then she said something that surprised me! The notion that part of what slowed the travelers down might have been old certitudes that wouldn’t fit in the bags they packed for the trip to a new place.

Did you catch it?

It’s a Filters story!!!

And I suspect that you might relate to the notion of things which seem certain turning out to be simply excess baggage that we really can lay down!

There’s still time to join the party, just in case you could use some company on the road from…

If only… to I AM!

We start tomorrow, though, so you’ll want to hurry and check this out!

There was one more thing that popped into my mind while I was hanging in the WABAC machine today…

A bit of the 90th Psalm, which I learned when I was in Hungary in 1989, shortly before the Eastern Block fell…

The work of our hands, establish Thou it.

That takes a bit of layin’ it down, too! And we’ve got this!

ps… we’re making progress, the painting you see a bit of at the top, and I. And they have a name… Guardians of Fierce Compassion… then, now, always!

Many notions of poetry… and inspiration!

Wedged over in the bottom corner of my most recent Apothecary painting, there is a small collection of books.

Books are vessels for words which mean they really do belong in this vision, beside the medicine basket, the alabaster jar, and the beloved stock pot you can’t quite see!

It’s kind of an exercise in seeing with new eyes!

My message, this evening, is a lot like that, too!

New eyes for you, perhaps. New eyes for me, assuredly!

It’s a poem I wrote as part of the Red Madonna journey for 2023 – 24. And I’m really grateful to Dr. Havi Brysk Mandell for sharing this process, which was new to me. (More on that to follow…)

I’m going to ask you to read my poem, first. Then, I’ll tell you how we got there! Deal???

I call upon my strongest children to aid those in need.
There are warring opposites trying to find a way to be together in peace. To obtain that treasure, you will need courage, trust, and faith.
I hear your innermost thoughts, feelings, and prayers. Tell me even that which you are frightened to admit to yourself, and know that I will never judge you. For now, beloved, it is rest time. Receive my message of comfort and peace, now.

My peace be with you now, my child. The energy of Caterpillar appears, heralding a time of transformation and opportunity. Perhaps your journey has made you tired just before reaching the proverbial finish line. A part of us, hidden in the vast expansiveness of space, wants to sabotage our progress. Come to rest again in the sanctuary and safety of your soul and be at peace. If you also keep reminding yourself to be flexible, you will be amazed by how well things play out for you. Surrender to the Fool’s Embrace, allowing the truth to envelop you in love and compassion.

Surrender to this truth and know that you are getting a passport to bliss, even when it feels that you are being consumed by the fire of the Beloved. Can you keep your heart open to what is coming towards you, without surrendering your experience of this moment by becoming too future-oriented? Those legs will become remarkably power-full in time, but the process of growth and maturity has to take place, and that requires some wobbly first attempts. It is so much more wonderful to imagine there is something yet to find. As unlikely as it may seem, the invisible help from the universe is often more power-full than the physical efforts of a thousand [humans]. Perhaps we have conditioned ourselves to believe that getting what we want is for others, not us. This oracle comes to you because you have become swept up in thinking things through!

– slb, Feb 3, 2024®

So… before I tell you how this works, I have a question. How does it feel???

It feels exciting and encouraging to me! And intriguing!!!

It kind of feels like a prize for staying on the path! You see, the directions for this adventure involved pulling 7 cards from each of 3 Oracle Card decks. Then, the 1st sentence of the 1st card becomes the 1st sentence of the first stanza of the poem. The 2nd sentence of the 2nd card, same deck, is next, and so on until all 21 cards are arranged into 3 stanzas, as you see.

Now, if you’re wondering if, perhaps, I’ve lost my to-do list, the answer is decidedly not!

You see, even though Havi didn’t explain it this way, this exercise is totally an experience of what I call Filters! What gets into our consciousness from the onslaught of our context? (Even when the WordPress elves won’t arrange it quite the way I told them too!) What catches our attention in the arrangement of the thoughts? What help do we find that we might have missed had we not taken time to explore?

And, no… I didn’t exactly learn this in Seminary… which is a conversation for a different day!

For today, though, an invitation… to another encounter with Filters! And you need to hurry… we start Thursday, and we’d love to have you join us! Just click here for all the info…

ps… the top photo is, indeed, a close-up of Apothecary, aka Revelation! The Hebrew word on the “raised” hand says, “Here I am!” (I’m just sayin’!)

pps.. the card decks I used, in order of the stanzas are Mother Mary Oracle Cards, The Shaman’s Dream , and Sacred Rebels Oracles.

ppps… nope! You don’t need any experience as a painter to join the adventure! Here’s a glimpse of my first-ever painting… other than walls with rollers! We’ve got this!

Grammy’s gone dot-y!

The paint kind!!!

And it feels like a really good time for this…

As you’ve no doubt noticed, this world needs people like us. And – maybe, just maybe – it’s starting to notice!

In fact, I learned a new word this morning. Well, not a new word, but a current appropriation of a the word, influence.

Yep… influencer! Right there on the news… which is part of the thing called context!

Let’s just say that the conversation went from Taylor Swift to Stanley cups. (The beverage kind… not the hockey kind!)

What they were really talking about, though, was women changing conversations!

Now, the people around me are much happier when I don’t sing. And the possibility of lead exposure in the fad-ish drinking cups was enough to convince me that I don’t even need to ponder wanting one of those.

I want to make art!

Not, mind you, the kind that’s cool because it matches the fad couch of the moment.

The kind that helps me grow while I make it!

Grow, enough, in fact, that I have major things to share. One of those things that’s blooming in me is all the things prayer dots – or dots of hope – can do, intentionally.

And, yes… my Guardian painting is still chatting away! She’s insistent, this one.

Dot-flowers. Voice…. Choice…. Sovereignty. (The personal kind of sovereignty for. Not over.)

Dot-hair. Hope! Not just in general… but brave, real-world hopes! The kind with hearts and hands and feet! (Which is next on the list!)

Then, there’s the volunteer bear, you glimpsed as we began! A mama-bear with lots of practice at loving courage!!!

And, just between us… there’s a whole lot of claiming my shifting filters goin’ on!

The point of this adventure, on the Origins journey, was – in my understanding – to claim my role as a Guardian in the garden we know as this world. Color. Vines. Flowers. Something that represents me… The Fiercely Compassionate Rebel (!) Grandmother.

What I didn’t see coming was the presence of my Guardian. The Divine Feminine of my understanding. Teaching me and guarding me in this world, now!

And, en-couraging me to show others the way!

Frankly, sharing this journey is kind of scary. And, it is also a huge part of my way of being – if you’ll pardon the pop culture jargon – an influencer!

So… here’s the question!

What might being an influencer look like in your world???

Really!!!

That’s exactly what we’ll be working on in…

Oh, I See… Consciously! The path from “If only…” to “I am!”

We start soon! (And there will be painting!)

And there’s still a seat for you! So, grab a cuppa, take a deep breath, and click HERE to learn more!!!

I’m headed back to my easel, creaking knees and cranky wrist, full of curiosity… and an open heart!

ps… one more thing I learned on MSNBC this morning! A poem!!!

That’s My Heart Right There 

We used to say,
That’s my heart right there. As if to say,
Don’t mess with her right there.
As if, don’t even play,
That’s a part of me right there.
In other words, okay okay,
That’s the start of me right there.
As if, come that day,
That’s the end of me right there.
As if, push come to shove,
I would fend for her right there.
As if, come what may,
I would lie for her right there.
As if, come love to pay,
I would die for that right there.

-Willie Perdomo

pps… this poem comes from the new book, This is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets, by Kwame Alexander. I bought my copy this morning!

Treasure from the Scary Place!

Yep! The basement!!! With huge thanks to the Legendary Husband for undertaking the expedition on my behalf!

The goal???

A square canvas. At least 36×36″. New and shiny. Or, stuck somewhere between begun and finished.

He was successful! There were actually two neglected candidates waiting to be noticed.

The photo, above, is the middle section of the 48″ square winner. (Read that… lots of underlayers ready to play!)

Frankly, we have a big job ahead of us, Guardian and I. And, yes… this is my third beginning on this journey!

It’s not that I messed up along the way. It’s more that this one wants to be very different from much of the work I’ve done before. And, just between us, my paint brush has struggled a bit with the notion of different! As in, scary!

Progress is among us, though! (Here’s an up-close view of where I was after I sat and stared at it for a couple of hours and then actually – you know – picked up a brush! And a squirt bottle!)

Intentionally claiming my promise to create!

The part I’m still experimenting with is the notion that much of what I’m painting and loving will eventually disappear under marks that I can only describe as intentionally abstract!

The real challenge is that I can’t see it in my head!

Well, that feels like the real challenge! It’s actually just the way my brain works.

The other challenge is realizing how much this one means to me.

It’s all about what I would call my Promise. My work in the world. The world my granddaughters – and all our Littles – will inherit.

I have words for that. No problem! And, yes… this is a Filter thing!

And that, dear heart, is the key to unsticking stuck stuff, which is one of my most favorite things!

I’ve had some good teachers along the way… so it’s no accident that I’m typing these words to share with you, just before I head to bed… I’m talking to myself!

We do not become healers. We came as healers. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become storytellers.
We came as carriers of the stories
we and our ancestors actually lived. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become artists. We came as artists. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become writers… dancers.. musicians… helpers… peacemakers. We came as such. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not learn to love in this sense. We came as Love. We are Love. Some of us are still catching up to who we truly are.

– Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The trick is venturing out to live as we truly are!

And that, my friend, involves laying down all the stuff that’s been holding us back!

Limiting beliefs. Other people’s shoulds and oughts. The power of shame and blame. Fear of fear. (Really!)

And laying that stuff down takes learning new things… preferably in community! It takes seeing deep. Consciously!

Now is the time!

Well, it’s probably well past time for some of us. It IS the time we have! So, take a deep breath, please. And click this link…

…to learn more!

I know! It might feel scary. Here’s what’s even scarier… not taking a chance on you!

How do I know? Well, I’ve been taking a chance on me and learning to help people just like you do the same for over 30 years, now. And right there, in the place you’ll be when you click the big link, I’ve added a few details about my journey… about the things in my medicine basket, just in case you’re wondering. We’ve got this!

So check what’s happened on my canvas since I began painting and writing on Saturday afternoon. It’s really the visible artifact of what’s happening inside me! And the word for that is HOPE!

Aren’t you done with, “If only…”???

Join us. Soon! We begin on February 8th…

Gnostic Judeo-Christian Mystic Medicine Woman walking the Way of Love (aka, The Fiercely Compassionate Rebel Grandmother, For Rent)

ps… huge thanks to my Intentionally Conscious buddy, Natalie Moyes, for helping sort glazes!

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