MIKE and the CASHMERE SOCK

For real! You see, I am – predictably – learning another new thing. We’ll get to that in a bit. For now, though, Grandmother Moon has been whispering again.

This time it took me a while to interpret the message. And then, I knew!

HAROLD and the PURPLE CRAYON! The kids’ book, published in 1955. I’m not sure when Harold and I met. It certainly wasn’t when I was the age Crockett Johnson was probably imagining, wrapped in foot-y pj’s and listening to a bed time story. (Possibly because Mom didn’t know Harold when she was a kid!)

As Grandmother Moon tends to have very helpful messages, it was research time! And this one came with pictures!!! If you haven’t met Harold, or hung out with him in ages, I’m not going to blow the whole story line now.

Just imagine a little bald dude who goes on adventures and uses his purple crayon to create solutions to challenges.

And, yes… if Intentional Creativity® comes to mind, I’m right there with you! We’re in a bit of a transition time just now. Big things finishing. New big things starting. One of those things, for me, grew out of the ongoing saga of a painting I call Revelation! (aka Apothecary, 2023)

It is all the things I most love to teach on a 40×30″ canvas! It’s on the way to becoming a book. And, it’s a big part of what inspired me learn to record audio books.

Saturday was my first live workshop. (I’d be a bit behind if I believed in such things, but I’m sticking with perfect timing for me!)

There are plenty of tech things that still need sorting and I’ve asked for help. (Also some furniture things, but that part is easy!)

One of the things that I did understand from the set-up recordings is that the special sock-muffler that came with the mic is, literally, a cashmere blend… probably because I relate to cashmere much better than I would to some kind of faux poly toxic sort of invention.

Here’s the thing that makes me grin. Having claimed the connection between MIKE and the CASHMERE SOCK and the crayon-wielding kid named Harold, I showed up for my first chance to pretend-record totally ready, inside.

And, it went great!

It was also pretty emotional for me. The kind of emotional that happens when we show up real and do something that matters. A big leap, if you will, on the road to the place Frederick Buechner described as where our great joy and the world’s deep longing meet.

And, I have an even clearer idea of how to help people like us – people who relate to the notion that mattering matters – consciously use their Filters and some paint and an interesting navigational tool to claim that place and map out their personal journey from here to there!

And, who knows? Cashmere socks might be handy! (At least the symbolic ones…) For this moment, Mike is excited about the next steps. There’s another practice workshop coming!

First, though, I’m going to take advantage of all the work I did sorting bookshelves and go put the copy of HAROLD and the PURPLE CRAYON, which magically appeared in my driveway, on that shelf where Buechner and some more of my heroes hang out!

Then, more paint… and tree branches!

ps… it’s going to be a bit before I get a group together to do the paint and journey mapping magic but it works 1:1 too! In person or virtual. Your dream. Your timeline. Me and my medicine basket. Let’s talk! 30 min. My gift. The calendar elves will be thrilled to hook you up!

pps… curious about what’s behind the stuff in my medicine basket? Here’s some more info…

Circuit Overload… or, sometimes too much wants in!

And, sometimes seems to be now!

It turns out that physical therapy, primary election returns, and the finale’ of The Voice are a whole lot of neurological input in one day. Add staring at a painting for next right things and it’s like a riot in the land of neuro-linguistic programming.

Translation… all the parts of my brain are shouting for attention at once!

And, yes… it’s pretty exhausting.

It’s also a really helpful reminder of the thing I call Filters! The short version is that there’s a whole lot getting in and not too much being set aside or saved for later.

And, I’m guessing this may feel familiar to you, too!

The cool thing is being conscious in the middle of it all. No shoulda-woulda-coulda going on. Just gratitude for my sense of partnership with my filters. And confidence in the fact that they CAN be edited!

So, with all due respect to the experts, I just did a bit of editing on the fly. In my world, neuro-linguistic programming just became neuro-linguistic processing. And, already it feels more manageable. More me. And less other! And that, dear friend, comes with more choices!!!

And that made space for my inner Fiercely Compassionate Rebel Grandmother to take 3 big, deep breaths and intentionally re-claim choice, voice, and sovereignty… even in the midst of what feels like chaos.

Which might have a bit to do with the fact that we re-hung my painting of those very things! Officially, this is Constellation of Being, now high enough that viewers need to look up to take her all in!

I know… the High Museum probably isn’t going to try talk me out of this huge canvas. And that’s okay! They – or WE – represent my greatest hopes for myself and our world.

Which brings me to one of my favorite questions!

If you know the answer, I’d love to hear it. You can leave a comment, below, or email me. suesvoice@gmail.com

If you’re still trying to put your answer into words… to claim it… to take steps from here to there… let’s take a step together and talk! I have a medicine basket full of tools to help you do those very things! 30 min. My gift. Just click and the calendar elves will make it so!

For now… paint! It is time for claiming courage in my world! Love for you to join me!

ps… that whole thing about raising the painting? “Research from neuroscientist Fred Previc shows that when we look above the horizon, it activates areas of our brains that are usually engaged during meditation, dreaming, [spiritual] experiences, and creative activities”!!!

Memory Lane… the path to our Littles’ futures!

On Friday, some of us took note of the fact that it was the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. One of those someones was President Biden who is enough older than I am to remember the actual decision, which was litigated by Thurgood Marshall.

I was busy sorting bookshelves and catching scraps of MSNBC when he began to speak to an NAACP gathering and the way-back machine inside me kicked in.

What I remember is being a 6th grader in 1970, when Florida began to enforce mandatory school busing. Private and parochial schools sprouted from nowhere. My parents argued… Dad yelling and Mom crying. Dad won.

On the first day of the enforced desegregation, I boarded a school bus and headed across the bridge to Palmetto, while protesting parents literally threw rocks at the buses. I was terrified… of the parents with rocks!

I liked my new school. I especially liked my science teacher. (Lunch… well, not so much, but that was nothing new!)

And, yes… I cried as I listened to Biden remind us that “we learn better when we learn together!”

And, I cried again, this morning, as I listened to Joe Biden address the peaceful graduates of Morehouse College, just down the road, and was reminded of many things, including one of my favorite Dave-isms. (If you’re new around here, Dave-isms are cool things my kid said when he was still sorting the whole language thing!)

First, though – CONTEXT – it was a Sunday morning, back in the early ’80’s. Dave (who was about four years old at the time) and I had been to church. Afterwards we headed to my folks’ house for lunch.

My dad asked Dave how church was, and got an answer that’s followed me through all my seminary and church adventures:

Mr. Wolf looked sad and spoke down the Word.

And, yes… that’s pretty much what I heard Joe Biden do this morning, in a very different context.

The world doesn’t work for everybody, yet. We’ve got a long way to go. Sparkly sneakers and mugging for cameras, while whining about being picked on, just isn’t going to get it!

All this on the day many of us remember as Pentecost Sunday. Which, as the story goes, was the day the work began anew.

All this just three days after the Legendary Husband and I got decorated with some stickers! Cool additions to the Good Trouble button I wear everywhere!

We must persist! Equal access. Equal resources. Fair pay for the professionals we call teachers.

And, while I’m meddlin’, NO GUNS IN SCHOOLS!

And no book bans. No shaming kids for the constellation of people they call family. No monitoring the moon cycles of athletes. No limiting the human rights of… well, anyone!

If you’ve been reading along for a bit, you may have guessed what comes next… the words of one of my greatest teachers, Dr. H. Stephen Glenn, PhD.

If a teenaged child has 5 adults who will listen to them, take them seriously, and not shame them or blame them for their questions, that child is practically immune from ever attempting suicide.

Let’s do that! Me. You. Everybody we can get on board. One of those five people for as many kids as we can be!

The rest – as the old saying goes – is details!

ps… now, I’m going to go deal with some of my own junk, and ask the Guardian Angel, who is appearing bit by bit on my canvas, to hold some prayer dots. Dots for Hope. And, Sanity!

pps… just in case you have big work that’s calling to you, let’s talk! I’ve got a power-full path from here to there and a map that makes the journey a whole lot clearer! The calendar elves will be glad to hook you up with 30 min. My gift. We do have a long way to go! (Red Thread helps!)

Metaphors in Several Dimensions… or, what you are seeking is already there!

Right in the midst of all the hard stuff!

Here’s the context for what’s ahead… Tuesday was a challenge. For me, for sure. And, quite probably, for my physical therapist. You see, my body has not been following the rules either of us learned in school. Let’s just say that we mashed on things that hurt and then I came home and slept, which is – quite probably – what I was seeking!

Late lunch, then back to the aftermath of Sunday’s Furniture Yahtzee game. I’ve arrived at the phase of figuring which books go where, based on which ones I love and need to reach the most! And there were surprises along the way!

The photo at the top is a glimpse of my favorite surprise! It appeared in an old mixed media notebook… an undated gift from my younger granddaughter, back in her budding portrait artist phase! (We have a deal about sharing art, so this is her drawing of me in the corner of a page with all the fam represented… and neatly labeled.)

Fast forward through more sorting, recycling, dinner from Noodle, and the Westminster Kennel Club show, night two, which is always an old days – good times I remember sort of event for me.

Congrats to the gorgeous miniature poodle who took home all the hardware. And to her thrilled handler.

And, yes, my heart would have made a different choice.

Just about then, though, the Muses – read that the paintings! – got chatty!

Apparently they had overheard the writing prompt I posted for my Red Madonna sisters on Medicine Basket Monday. Step 1 involved writing a question in our journals about what comes next with that painting process. Naming a place where we felt stuck… This was mine:

Having claimed the question, step two… With your heart, hand the pen to your canvas and see what comes to you. If you’re new at this, you may feel silly. I used to, too. And it really helps!

You guessed it! My canvas – which, at that point in time, was utterly blank – was ready to respond! Here’s what I heard…

So! Here’s that canvas as it was, waiting for me.

I’ve been staring at it for a couple of hours, now, and I’m starting to see more. To hear possibilities. The next right thing on the list, though, is voting. The actual kind!

Right after I explain that we made two trips to the Rainbow Bridge in 2023, with the last of our our Newfie rescue dogs. Luther in January. Phoebe just about exactly a year ago. I imagine I’ll miss them – all of them – forever.

For this moment, though, they are whispering, along with the paintings. And suggesting, rather pointedly, that the world still needs rescuing and there really are things I can do to help.

If you listen close, they might be whispering to you, too!

ps… maybe the message is that Guardian Angels are all around us, if we make space for them!

pps… whether you have a painting in progress or not, asking yourself where you feel stuck and listening deep, pen in hand, can be a pretty big door toward unsticking stuck stuff, which is one of my very favorite things!

Doesn’t everybody play Furniture Yahtzee for Mother’s Day???

Let’s start with me admitting that the Legendary Husband would probably prefer that we didn’t play Furniture Yahtzee for Mother’s Day. (Possibly, for any day!)

But… I had a dream! A dream that involved the logistics of setting up a room where I can record audio books! (I’m learning!!!) And you know how it goes… if you move this you have to move that and then about three other thats after that that!

A cool side effect of all the moving is that it gives head space for The Muse to consult on the plan for which painting journey comes next! (The options are hopping up and down, doing the Me! Me! thing!)

The answer I received is Painting as Ritual! (Stay tuned!)

For this moment… Miss Piggy! She followed me home a couple decades ago (really!) from a local vintage and collectible shop. And, eventually, she wound up next to the guest bed in the distant land also known as our basement, where my knees do not like to go!

Then I saw this comment about Miss Piggy on Facebook on Saturday… Personal style begins and ends with loving who you are. Although she is a handful, she is dead on with loving who you are. Take it from her, nothing else is possible without being confident in yourself first. (Source unknown.)

And I laughed and I cried and I thought of all those who came before me who dealt with the same challenges in so many tragic ways… and of those who are coming after me who have a whole different world of dealing with whatever their own challenges might be in the midst of cyber space.

So, I re-claimed Miss Piggy from the basement! She’s a lamp, yes. She’s also an Intention, as in Intentional Creativity® She is my statement that I am claiming loving who I am!

You see, the thing I want most of all is for my grand-teens to love who they are and be confident in themselves!

I also want world peace and human rights and a sustainable planet. And all I know is to start right where I am! So, for today, some pictures of before… flesh, blood, and choice.

And, the more I learn about the humans who came before me, the more I realize that the story – really any story – is almost always bigger than the way we learned it. And, now, I have made intentional space for stories of the Divine Feminine, right beside the Divine Masculine.

El and Ashera… the place where all my other stories begin. And my hope for the stories we are writing.

ps… what might Miss Piggy be asking you to claim? Often, at least mental basement searching is involved. I can help! The calendar elves are working today and they’ll help you find 30 min. My gift. Well, mine & Miss Piggy’s!

…with a big gold bow!!!

Back in the day, I did a whole lot of training in Ericksonian hypnotherapy. We did a lot of re-framing which is a bit like the kind of framing I’ve learned in the land of Intentional Creativity®

As I recall, re-framing could be done in 12 steps. Or 6 steps. Or 1 step. And the number of steps had a whole lot to do with context. (Yep! Many, many things have a whole lot to do with context!)

The whole purpose of re-framing is to help someone who’s struggling to lay down the limiting beliefs that are holding them back.

My favorite days were the kind where I fished about in my mental medicine basket and came up with what I thought of as a 1 step re-frame with a big gold bow!

A really helpful link in a coaching conversation. A sentence in a sermon that makes a whole lot more room for hope. An utterly new question.

These days, I use paint for re-frames, too. And, much like the hypnosis tool, the paintings have steps. Often 13 steps! And, yes… the ones I love the best are the ones that shift the most stuff and open up my world.

Sometimes it happens in an instant. Sometimes I stare at them for years before I hear the message… often because I have changed! And because the context changes!!! It really is a lot like making soup!

Here’s my current ah-hah…

I have just read Dr. Estes’ story The Handless Maiden in Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Even the title was hard for me! You see, for the last 36 years, the words hand and power have been joined in my mind – and heart. (As much as I struggled, I did learn a few things from my Hebrew grammar professor… though it’s possible Jim meant – or said! – Aramaic instead of Hebrew on this one!) And you, dear reader, see where this is heading!

I’m not going to blow Dr. E’s story for you. Instead, I’m going to add another story to our conversation.

The Legend of the Red Thread! It’s ageless and varies from culture to culture. This is the part engraved on my heart… Long before we were born, we were connected, by the Red Thread, to those who would matter in our lives.

Now, you probably noticed, if you’ve been reading along, that we’ve been busy re-hanging paintings around here. The photo at the top is the actual, real-deal view from my favorite chair, as I write these words. And, yes, it is still a #workinprogress! (Like, recycling day being tomorrow…) Here’s the one that’s talking to me now… up close.

I painted this, 3 years or so ago, as part of my certification journey as a Red Thread Guide. And, yes… it came to me in a dream. A dream that was quite clear about process and details. So clear that I painted what I dreamed, even though it made me uncomfortable.

And, now, amidst a deluge of MSNBC, I have a new question…

Is it possible that – maybe, just maybe – it is our Red Thread that gives us our power? And lets us share our power with others???

The tears rolling down my cheeks are a pretty good sign that this might be one of those big gold bow moments. And I offer it to you…

Experiment with it, if you like. Lean into whether this perception might be a good addition to your personal medicine basket.

I’m headed off to my easel. I’d bet on red paint being involved!

ps… are you feeling the call??? There’s still time to join the 2024 Red Madonna Celebratrix journey! (And there’s a special bonus livestream this Friday with Shiloh Sophia & paint!!!) Last night, I added a new Red Thread to the collection on my left wrist – just for you! Check it out here!

pps… one of my very favorite things to do with my big gold bow skills is to help people just like you on the road to the place Frederick Buechner said we are called… the place where our deep joy and the world’s deep longing meet. And I’ve made space for two new really ready individual adventurers! Just ask the calendar elves to hook you up with half an hour. My gift. Let’s take the next step for you!

The day I DIDN’T buy a bookcase…

And, yes! That’s not a sentence I remember needing ever before!

I think it was the paintings’ fault! Not simply because bookshelves take up space where art could hang – and we’re kind of short on that – but also because I seem to be ready to let go of some things I no longer need.

Gasp! Some of those things are books. You know the kind… tempting but not really helping, like a whole lot of pasta cookbooks. And desserts. And trendy ideas for getting rich quick. And some old therapy ideas in way smaller boxes than I can handle these days.

The regular books, however, are not the whole problem. There are also spiral notebooks which are probably actually multiplying in the dark. (Well… it feels like it!) Like everything I’ve written down or doodled since long before 2017, when I began my Intentional Creativity® adventures. Big, bulky, no labels on the wire bindings. More security than actual help, some of them.

I’ve managed to weed out about half of those. Saved what I needed. Pulled out all the used pages I didn’t, for recycling. Saved a bunch of blank pages to share with a couple of twins who just turned eight. And – gulp – made space. You see, this weekend brought some power-full turning points.

Then, kind of as a reward for all the weeding… graduation from the Origins program I’ve been absorbed by for nearly a year. No protests. No arrests. Just a bunch of amazing women celebrating new ways to create a world that works better for everybody. (We have a 501 year plan!)

And a bit of conscious breathing as the next right things begin. Celebratrix and Animystica. There are only two things I know for sure… there will be new things to learn… and I need space!

Well, actually, there’s one more thing I know… what we’re doing is a big part of creating the world our Littles will inherit.

And that, dear heart, will keep me putting one foot in front of the other. I did some math today and realized that one of my grand-teens will be choosing colleges in a couple years and both of them will able to vote in the 2028 US Presidential election. IF there is one!!!

So… this is Guardians of Fierce Compassion… Then. Now. Always. They’re pretty much in charge in my world!

And they’re totally agreed that this is the map! As above… so below!

Tomorrow I’ll start re-arranging the same old bookshelves with what I need most – NOW – in the easiest places to reach, perhaps with a bit of help from the Feng Shui elves! You see, I’m clearer on where I want to be. And clearer about what I’m willing to claim in order to get closer.

Paintings and crystals and treasured gifts can be intentions!

And space can be an intention, too!!! Especially space that holds a prayer. This is mine…

Holy Mother, hear my prayer. Teach me and hold me in your strength. May I, too, be chosen, safe, and loved, along with ALL your children. Amen. Amen. Selah.

ps… if you have a dream, too, and are ready to explore some power-full tools for living into it, let’s talk! I have space for a couple of individual dreamers and a new group coming soon! 30 min. My gift. The calendar elves will be delighted to hook you up!

pps… the adventure known as Red Madonna is off to the kind of start that feels filled with both comfort and newness. And, there’s still time to join us!!! Fix yourself a cuppa, put your feet up, and listen deep. You may just hear what you’re longing for! (No painting experience needed! I promise!!!) And there’s a pop-up painting session with Shiloh on Friday!!!

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