Embody-ing Me!

Just between us, I’ve been trying – for a lot of years now – to pretend that my body’s main job is to carry my heart and mind around the world, while I accomplish the things they put on my list.

In addition to being a fairly lumpy sentence, that theory doesn’t work real well in practice, either.

Yesterday was a good day for reflecting on such things!

It turns out that my body has a really, really good memory.

My knees, of course, remember their various encounters with scalpels and bone saws. Also an unfortunate adventure with one of those huge exercise balls and the floor.

My ribs remember breaking sounds and the resulting huge resistance to moving.

All of me remembers being in labor, 44 years ago. Well, not consciously. The seizures kind of messed with the conscious part.

And all of those memories went with me to physical therapy!

It was cold and wet and there were several voices in my head suggesting that I could just skip that particular event on my calendar.

And then there was my right hand, insisting that we go. Dry needles and all.

You see, my right hand – being mostly in charge of painting – has been really busy lately, helping the rest of me learn and sort and claim new things.

Here’s the big news…

It seems that there are insights which are easier to find if we be our way to them, instead of trying to just think our way there.

And, bringing visions into being works really well for me!

Here’s an example…

My first Legend painting.

She was my third-ever painting and I was terrified. Mostly because I had been well schooled in the notion that…

WE don’t do symbols. Other people do, but we are not like them.

But, it turns out that WE can learn, if we’re willing to lay down limiting beliefs like that one!

It helps if we allow ourselves to experiment with allowing our inspire – ations to be included. I didn’t know it then, but this was the early days of my bringing my commitment to voice and choice into form.

And, as I sat gazing about for inspiration, I found myself focusing on her right hand – which some might say is a symbol of power – reminding me that taking a night off to rest my hand was likely to be a good embodied investment!

Which isn’t bad for a six year old painting, teaching me still! And she has another job, these days!

Waving at you! And whispering…

Hi! Come closer. Find YOUR North Star. Claim your vision. See what’s possible!

It’s Alchemy. And we start soon! Click HERE for all the info…

For tonight… huge gratitude for the baby boy who withstood all those challenges with me years ago and inspires me, still!

ps… yep! Often, we really do need to DO something different in order to claim our new paths. To keep our promises. So, click the thing and listen deep. We could all use some alchemy!

What do YOU dream???

Really!

Not so much the dinner-too-late dreams. Or the too-much-news dreams.

I’m asking about the ones that leave you taking really deep breaths and brushing away a tear or two and braving the cold and even the fear to – well – do something!

I’ve been having a lot of those dreams lately. And, yes, Grandmother Moon, who graciously agreed to have the photo you know stand by for just a bit, is the leader of my personal Dream Team, hanging there on the wall next to my pillow.

The photo at the top, though, is her heart.

And, yes… it’s nearly the same size, on the canvas, as her head, which works way better in the land of Intentional Creativity® than it would have in some of the places I used to hang out!

The prayer dots are, of course, for love. All the kinds our world needs so desperately. Now.

And the red thread reminds me of just how connected we all are to those who will matter on our journeys. Those who walk with us, as well as those who came before us and those who will come after us. Like this one:

Yep! This is the wee one who shifted my whole perception of the universe… who helped me see through Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother eyes!

When we get right down to real, my dreams are about my girls. About the world they are trying to navigate. The world their own possible littles will inherit.

And, then, the morning comes. I convince my knees to put my feet on the floor and I get up and set out on my part of the path.

The path to the place where I feel called. The place Frederick Buechner described as…

One of the biggest things has been realizing – and claiming – the amazing truth that part of my calling is to help others find – and claim – their way along that path!

And NOW is the time to start! Or to take the next steps!

So, I’m doing it. And you’re invited…

(Yep… it’s safe, even though it’s red!)

ps… already claimed your dream? Great! Path not quite clear??? Obstacles between here and there??? This is for you, too! (And a whole lot more effective than 47 choruses of Somewhere, over the rainbow…)

pps… we start soon! With laying it down in a small, intentionally safe group. In a world full of things we can’t change, there really are big things that we can! So, take a deep breath… and tug! We’ve got this!!!

Of paint drips and big ah-hah’s!

We had dogs when I was a kid. Lots of them.

Eventually, a couple of cats. Occasional fish. For a bit, even a few adopted science fair chameleons.

We did NOT have small rodents. No white mice. No gerbils. No guinea pigs. No hamsters. (Mom was not remotely a fan!)

I was pretty much okay with that, being very much a dog person, myself. With all of our moving, the dogs were friends who moved with us… my sense of consistency in those days of pre-abstract thought and very little choice.

There was a time, though, when I was tempted by hamsters. Not the actual hamsters, so much, as those cool hollow spherical gizmos… like cages that moved across the floor as the wee beasties ran around inside them.

nb… these gizmos may not have been a good idea as google suggests they no longer exist!

These days, I’m more tempted by actual freedom. By choosing voice!

And by new experiences of alchemy!

Now, alchemy is not a word we studied in nursing school or seminary. Or, at the very least, not one that made it through my filters in those days of trying to survive.

These are different times. And I am making room in my medicine basket for new learning.

Much of that learning involves canvas and paint. It also involves showing up. Not only for the doing, but for the sorting and claiming. For the dreaming.

The opinionated being, above, is still a #work-in-progress and there’s a bit of editing going on behind the scenes before she’s ready for a big visual reveal.

She, by the way, is the emerging image from the medicine painting journey known as Temple… the Artist Erotic. She is/we are speaking… and getting ready for Oh! I See…

Finally, I am whole!

I have lived from my neck up most of my days.

Feeling safe.

Avoiding pain.

Afraid of motion.

There are many reasons… all of them true.

And never enough.

I declare myself free!

All of me!!!

And worthy of pleasure.

Of joy.

Of being a whole and divinely created Fiercely Compassionate Rebel Grandmother!®

And, she has a friend… a medicine painting sister on the journey!

The Alchemist… who wants to meet you!!!

Actually… she wants you to create your version of her!

First, though… a bit of a vocabulary lesson! Full disclosure – I began with a google search, wound up in a “place” called Udemy, and did a bit of my own editing:

Spiritual Alchemy… the act of inner transformation. It is healing and freeing the inner parts of ourselves longing for change. By transforming these parts of us, we are led to inner liberation, the freedom from our fears, from beliefs that no longer serve us, and from other self-limiting perspectives and patterns.

Intrigued about the journey with the Alchemist??? CLICK HERE! for all the information on Oh! I See… Consciously!!! Let your soul explore. Ask your questions. (The calendar elves are on it!) And take a chance on “I am!”

ps… just in case a bit of translation about supplies is helpful, here’s a good start! We’ve got this!

pps… fab smoked salmon and Madam Secretary (Season 5, episode 11) for lunch. Swore a blue streak at border issues and detaining children and getting rich letting it happen. Then, I picked my brush back up and and reminded myself why, as Mama Caron taught us, I matter. And you matter. And we matter. And mattering matters. And none of us have to matter alone! That’s why you’re invited to make this big step beyond If only!!! (Click the utterly empowering link and take a chance on knowing more! Please!!!)

Have you ever met a Merm-a-tee???

Well, I hadn’t either… until she appeared on my canvas, way back in 2018. Part Mermaid and part Manatee!

I was a very new artist in those days, only just learning to listen deep. (And how to wash paint brushes!)

Officially, she is The Muse. And she is teaching me, still. Teaching me, mostly, about seeing. (And about new uses for my adventures in the way back world of Greek School, aka Seminary’s baptism by fire!)

Let’s fast-forward to this moment and a close-up glimpse of my “finished” friend.

The Greek words painted near her eyes represent three kinds of seeing. The one below the eye on your right is blepo which means to pay attention… to be possessed of sight or have the power of seeing. It can also be translated as, Behold!

The top one on your left is orao which has to do with watching and guarding. To be vigilant and conscious.

And the one on the left, beside her nose, is a form of gnosis which is about coming to know or recognize or understand.

I will confess to having been really lost, those early days in Greek School. The light came on when I realized that the word blepo was familiar to me from fancy medical names I had learned for eye surgery procedures. And, miraculously, there was hope!

The whole vision thing has been much on my mind again, lately. Literally.

I got new glasses – lenses and frames – in June, just before I left for France. I didn’t want to miss anything!

I spend a lot of time taking them off and putting them on… trying to shift from laptop to phone to canvas to actual people I love. Which does, indeed, mean that it’s time for a new eye doc… right after the knee x-rays!

Kind of surprisingly, with all the things going on in this world, I keep dreaming about glasses! (Possibly because The Muse hangs on the wall at the foot of our bed… and she seems more insistent than usual!)

It feels like part of her urgency has to do with the news. And remembering. Especially Dr. King, whom I suspect is dreaming still.

There’s another part of her urgency, though, which feels like a call to me. To be open to seeing.

Here’s a bit of a story from last night…

It was back in the time I was painting The Muse and my glasses from those days needed a bit of a fit adjustment. (And some paint removal!)

There was a woman there – probably about 10 years older than I was – trying to pick out frames, which is difficult if you can’t see without glasses. She was debating between two choices.

Eventually, she asked if she could ask me a question, which went a lot like this:

Were the ones she liked best “too much” with color in the tortoise-shell frames? And, did I think she could wear them to church?

After confessing to being an artist, I wondered with her about what possible problem Creator could have with our being able to see AND liking our glasses!

Which, when you get right down to it, is actually a Filters issue!

And that, dear heart, is a whole other way to see!

Which brings us to a whole new adventure!

YES, you’re invited!!! Think of it as vision. As a living map from where you are to where you dream of being… And, before you cave to not ready or too busy or very scary, take a deep breath, please. And CLICK HERE for all the info! It’s a whole lot like glasses you can see out of and love!!!

ps… hurry!!! Our inspirational adventure starts soon and we’re keeping the group small!

pps… questions??? Click the link above and it will lead you to the calendar elves who would be delighted to hook you up with time for – well – questions! (We love questions!!!)

Craving Comfort!

Let’s talk about comfort. Really!!!

Some of us grew up thinking it was one of those words. Words bright, go-getter people on a mission didn’t have time for.

You know…

Get out of your comfort zone!

Don’t get too comfortable!

The comfort zone is the great enemy of courage and confidence” -Brian Tracy

And my personal least-favorite…

Comfortable shoes are for wimps!

As it turns out, comfort is not an either/or issue. It’s both/and!

Here’s my best understanding of the bottom line:

We need to have experienced enough trust in our comfortable places to venture out into more risky ones.

I’m kind of standing with one foot on each side of that line.

New ideas. New things to try. New needs clamoring to be recognized.

Okay, maybe the needs aren’t really so new. Just louder!

So, yes to comfortable chairs. And shoes, when I put any on!

And, yes to putting the things I love and need most in the places most comfortable for me to reach… which does, in fact, resemble what I might once have called closet cleaning.

Yes to dots of prayer and intention.

Yes to listening – on many levels – to what feels real.

And yes to some powerful stories which connect me to both my deep past and my envisioned future.

And yes to my new favorite comfort snack to help me stay on the road when I need a boost.

It’s easy!

About a pound of organic walnut halves and pieces.

About 1/2 a pound of dried cranberries… as chemical-free as possible.

A good pinch or two of a natural flakey sea salt… like Maldon.

Mix in a suitable container and stash in the fridge. A small handful during that afternoon slump time will power the next right thing, without counterproductive guilt trips.

The Big Why? helps, too!

YOUR Big Why?

Still sorting that one out???

This will help!

And, for me, in this moment, a bit of chair hanging. (Grandmother Moon got chatty early this morning!)

What feels like brave, empowering comfort for you?

ps… quilts help, too!

Ummmm…. Duh!!!

And a new painting adventure begins!

One with a name which might be a bit of a surprise…

Temple… The Artist Erotic, led by Curate Shiloh Sophia McCloud and Dr. Havi Brysk Mandell and a host of other folks with answers and cameras and music and tech skills.

Imagine for this moment that you’re heading out for 3 weeks in your favorite fantasy destination with just one tiny personal item, only to end up staying for 3 months… which is to say that this Temple journey is growing by the moment!

And, as you’ve probably heard me mention, the paintings for Red Madonna and Origins and Guardian are already filling up my studio and my dreams. Grandmother Moon even whispered that we might have enough going on!

I could have delayed Temple for a while. In fact, I was going to. And then it turned into a 90 day opportunity to focus on what my body needs, which all of me needs!

(My ortho guy and my physical therapists are thrilled!)

So… Temple. Now.

We began on Thursday. (Well, technically!) Music. Dancing, even! Red Thread. And a shiny graphic map of our fledgling journey which insisted on being combined, in my heart, with another image that very much guides me… and turned out looking like this on page one of my repurposed journal with the intentional cover art…

Then, much to my delight, a question! (I love questions!!!)

What are you present to, now?

And the flood gates opened, after a whole lot of holding back pain and mobility challenges and – since we’re being real – fear. Fear of not being strong enough to walk the walk.

Here’s most of what I wrote in response, on page two, with my favorite red pen.

I am present to pain. To hope. To promise. MY promise.

I am present to opening myself to this journey.

I am present to how much my body needs and deserves my Fierce Compassion.

Ummmm… mike drop!!!!! And my red pen had more to say…

I open myself to this journey by becoming “one of those five people” for my body! I listen to my body. I take my body seriously. I do not shame or blame my body for its questions. I treat my body with the loving perspective of a Fiercely Compassionate Rebel Grandmother!

To which my obvious response was, indeed, Ummmm… Duh!

And, my next, internal, response – not surprisingly – was a wee story from the way-back machine.

Once upon a time, quite a while ago, deep in the land of Ericksonian Hypnotherapy training, a new friend commented that I was, “really into power”.

I was shocked and aghast... until I realized that, while I’m not much into power OVER, I am, indeed, quite into power FOR!

Trust me when I tell you that, even three days in, this journey is all about that!

And, it’s also about my Big Why!

About helping others – people just like you – to claim the place where their deep joy and the world’s deep longing meet. In this world. Even now.

Okay… Especially NOW!!!

And, then, helping to map out the path from your here to your there, in ways that are as deep and true and empowering for you as mine are for me.

Here’s the big news… it’s almost time for Oh, I See… Consciously! to begin. And you’re going to be invited! There’s some calendar stuff to sort, and I’m on it.

For this moment… perhaps you’d care to muse on this…

And start pondering what you are present to!

Details very soon!

ps… Oh, I See… Consciously! is intentionally designed to be really, really flexible and accessible, including an alchemical painting process! The world needs you!

pps… want more info even before it’s all techy-neat and colorful??? The calendar elves will be thrilled to hook you up with 45 min. My gift. We’ll see what feels like a good fit for you. Small group and individual options will be available for determined dreamers!

ppps… the intentional cover art on my repurposed journal??? Names! Grandmothers and granddaughters. Mine. In my hand. Which is a lot like em-power-ment!

Choosing Wonder!

Welcome to the Fireside of the Dangerous Old Women, as we bid farewell to 2023 and call in 2024. You’re a specially invited guest to the regular Crone Moon meeting of my Red Madonna sisters, walking the journey called Tree of Life.  Dr. E. and I are so glad you’re here!!!

Settle into this moment of reflecting with hope and comfort. We are, each in our own ways and whatever we’re feeling, still standing and still dancing.

For me, I enter the unknown with a medicine basket full of new perceptions and stories. With a heart full of my girls laughing and leaping ocean waves. With huge new clarity around my Big Why!

And there is still more that I bring. A kneecap sliding out of place way more than it used to. A rather urgent need for a visit with an eye doctor. Some lingering fears from an autumn of trauma triggers.

And, blessedly, a new vision of what Fierce Compassion looks like for my journey. And a fresh supply of index cards! (It’s a whole new year!)

Here’s one that surprised me, amidst the storm of fireworks I’d rather hadn’t been going on all around me on New Year’s Eve.

Nope! It doesn’t look like much. It probably doesn’t even make much sense to you. For me, though, it’s the Muse whispering the next pieces of my Guardian painting for Origins. Scribbles and scratching even I wouldn’t have understood before this particular moment.

And that, in my mind, is a wonder!

It’s also a reminder that, when we open ourselves, we often hear things we had no space for until, well… until we did. And that led me to my Shaman’s Dream oracle deck! Let’s listen…

Woodwives… adaptability, strong roots, growth!

The Woodwives dance into your dreams as a reminder to be grounded no matter what life offers you. You need to know who you are, what you’ll tolerate, what you’ve learned to date, and what boundaries to set so you feel good about yourself. Life is going to offer you something extraordinary now, and, in order to learn and receive its blessings, you must remember that being grounded gives you more freedom, not less.

You have everything you need; you have all it takes to do this right now. If you also keep reminding yourself to be flexible, you will be amazed by how well things play out for you. The Woodwives are both wisdom keepers and students of the new world, as these forest spirits have an uncanny ability to adapt to changing circumstances and always find the perfect way to grow and expand. They represent what you already know how to do.

Learn. Be in beginners’ mind. Let go of your rigid notions of how things “should” be, and be present to what is right now, unencumbered by your projections. Is there a storm brewing because things need to change? No worries – nothing can uproot you now, and it will pass, and you will dance with nature and move with it all.

Perhaps you’ve being given an opportunity to take a chance on something new, and you’re not sure how far you can go without losing your footing. Have no fear, for when you remember your roots – your integrity, your authentic self – you can stretch yourself beyond the invisible line you drew. Go for it. You will be so glad you did.

And, in case you’re wondering, this is the card which found me after much shuffling and passing them through my hands.

And, some of it feels like a stretch for me.

And, isn’t that the point???

So… we’re going to try something new, here in this moment of consciousness, around the fireside of the Dangerous Old Women.

I’m inviting you to open your eyes and your heart to your inner Oracle. Start this year with the intention of noticing and wondering. Of finding your message. At your easel. In your journal or a favorite book. In a dream. Even on a bumper sticker! Open yourself to the wisdom around you. And, if you feel led, share what you discover, here, in this circle. Your voice helps all of us on this journey!

Blessed be!!!

ps… you can reply, below. Or, email me at suesvoice@gmail.com

pps… have you ever imagined there could be a moment when all the wandering and learning and sorting and choosing and scaring yourself silly could come together with your Big Work? There can be and I can help! Details to follow… soon. Unless you’re really, really ready now! Just ask the calendar elves to hook you up with 45 min. My gift. You tell me where you are and what you hope for. I’ll share some possibilities. It really can be your moment!

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