Grammy said a swear!

You probably know that I have a thing for The West Wing. In the final season, when characters Matt Santos and Arnie Vinick are running a close election for the post-Bartlet Presidency, the time comes, as it inevitably does, for the debate between the candidates for Vice President.

Matt Santos watches, with his family, as his running mate, Leo McGarry, tackles a hard question about health care. (Imagine that!)

As Leo concludes his really effective response, Matt blurts, “Damn straight!”

His wide-eyed small daughter, Myranda, chimes in with, “Daddy said a swear!”

Well, Grammy has needed more than a few swears in the last few days.

You probably don’t have to guess very hard to figure out my position on the Impeachment trial which just concluded. And you may have other views.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work. IF everybody plays with good faith.

That doesn’t feel to me like the truth in this moment, which brings another memory to mind.

I was a 16 year old summer camp counselor, sitting on the back deck of the dining hall, listening to our director’s transistor radio (Really!) while Richard Nixon resigned.

I had no box in my head, at that point in my journey, for Republicans of bad faith. We didn’t talk about even the possibility of such things in my family.

And, yes, I’ve learned a few other things since then. And I know that, if you’ve been hanging around a while, you’ve heard me tell this story before.

I didn’t know it then, but I started learning something else that day, as well.

Jean, our Camp Director, turned off the radio as the news ended and invited us to join her in song.

Kumbayah.

If you like, you can click the button below, and join me. But, first, the thing I’m learning these days. The thing Jean lived but didn’t tell me, overtly, about. It’s this question:

What are we teaching our children by what we do?

In a few minutes, I’ll turn off CNN (probably) and switch to Iron Chef America while I warm up some leftover wings for supper. And remind you that there are lots of paintings with hearts hoping to find families in my Etsy shop. The sale goes on through the 15th for pieces in the section marked Hearts. The magic, secret code is HAVEAHEART

Which isn’t a bad place to be while we sing.

ps… Happy Valentine’s Day. We’re making those awesome little chocolate things next week. Recipe to follow!

pss… And, yes, Myranda, I put a quarter in my abundance bowl!

Wednesday, 2/10/21

Wednesday is usually a blog day at my house. Never before, though, has it been a day which also included being riveted to CNN‘s coverage of, “The 2nd Trump Impeachment Trial” and painting a canvas flag which will soon be covered in prayer dots.

A friend of mine asked me why I was watching when I already know what I think.

It’s a good question.

My answer – at least the primary one – is just this: One day, my girls, who live closer than I might choose to D.C., might ask me what I think about all of the news. I need to know as much as I can so I can answer their questions if they come.

And so I watch, spattered in paint, big dogs sleeping peacefully at my feet, because prayer is what I have to give. And new images for old.

You see, I’ve been other places before. I’ve been a survivor of domestic violence. I’ve helped surgeons sew injured, battered people back together. I’ve walked with people through trauma therapy. I’ve prayed for and with people burying loved ones. And I’ve stood on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, feeling awed and safe.

And one more thing. I’ve voted. In Georgia, among other places. I’ve voted, knowing that my own Gramma Elsie was 31 years old before she had the right to vote and that I was 7 years old by the time voting rights were “guaranteed” for my brothers and sisters of color.

I grew up learning that Betsy Ross made the first version of the flag we know as the Stars & Stripes. Today, it doesn’t matter so much to me whether that’s fact or legend. Today I have been designing my own flag-inspired image as the trial evidence goes on.

I haven’t gotten far enough so that you can see how much of a challenge it’s been. (The stripes were harder than I planned!)

Here’s what I do know. You don’t get to do what the video footage shows people doing with such glee.

The therapist who lives on inside me suspects that not watching might be wiser. The preacher and grandmother and artist who share space with her need to know how to not wind up here again.

For now, the Impeachment Managers are showing security footage of insurrectionists hunting the Speaker of the House, and the first coat of paint is dry, and my brush is calling.

I’m pretty sure this is how we persist.

Tea with Many Muses…

I huddled late in a heap of bright golden flannel sheets and one of my favorite quilts, glad – I will admit – for the lack of crispy white stuff in the garden.

The paintings surrounding the room seemed to know I needed a blog post for they were whispering inspiration, as they are known to do.

A bit of this. A line of that. A scrap of something else, until I realized that my consciousness was busy quilting.

The voice of Anne Lamott, assuring her Sunday School kids (and the rest of us, I suspect!) that they are chosen, safe, and loved.

And from Shiloh Sophia McCloud… There are places between places where the true mind and the true heart connect. This is the only place from which to make choices.

My favorite from my Farm Gramma, Elsie: Doesn’t that just wonder you?

Don’t forget that “No” is a really, really complete sentence. – Dita Manelli

The skill of intuitive listening is powerful because in truth you are accessing your divine intelligence channel. – Julie Steelman

A problem cannot be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it. – Albert Einstein

Run my dear from anyone and anything that does not strengthen your precious budding wings. – Hafiz

The words of the prophet, H. Stephen Glenn, which you’ve heard from me before… “If a teenaged child has 5 adults who will listen to them, take them seriously, and not shame or blame them for their questions, that child is practically immune from ever committing suicide.”

And, from Sam Bennett, a fabulous quote that begins… I CAN DO IT. I WILL DO IT. WITH INFINITE COMPASSION FOR MYSELF AND OTHERS… and ends a while later with… I AGREE TO GRACIOUSLY ACCEPT SUCCESS, LOVE, HEALTH, PROSPERITY AND OVERALL WELL BEING FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF ALL CONCERNED.

Then, some slightly dusty words of mine… Many things are true. They don’t always get along so well. I’m OK with that. Complexity is what there is. This is true. Trying to hate it all away will never work. You may say that I’m a dreamer. This is true. A dreamer, dreaming still. This is also true.

And, with thanks to Dr. Kayleen Asbo, the one that is changing my world with words of Yeshua/Jesus, from the extra-canonical Gospel of Thomas: And if you make… an image in the place of an image, then you will enter the Kingdom!

I can’t wait to find out what your consciousness makes!

ps… The lovely lady at the top is the original Muse in my world. She whispers a lot! Today, she’s inviting you to check out the fun at the Valentine’s Day special in our Etsy shop. (Hint… discounts are in the Hearts section and the magic coupon code is HAVEAHEART

pss… I encountered several of these quotes in the amazing book, OUTRAGEOUS OPENNESS… Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver.

What We CAN Do!

It’s a hard time to be a person who believes in justice, and feeding people, and re-uniting families torn apart by walls and cages.

It’s hard to be a grandmother who so deeply wants to hug her kids.

And it is undoubtedly even harder to have lost loved ones and jobs and hope to a global pandemic that was desperately mishandled by a person formerly known as the leader of the free world.

Yes. I’m pissed. And heart broken. And, just between us, frightened.

I’m also determined. And inspired.

So, today, we sent some food and some grocery money to a young woman I care about who got caught in the midst of the Covid crisis in a place where she can take classes online, but not fix dinner online. (And, yes, there was bone broth in the bag!)

I knit, and Bill delivered, about 20 prayer scarves to a program for homeless people. The groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, so I’m still knitting.

We voted. And contributed. And encouraged. And, yes, the signs are still in the garden!

Last night I sent an email thanking a neighboring Congressional Representative who has hired a body guard in order to live more or less safely in what is essentially my neighborhood and do her sworn work in Congress. And, no, she’s not blonde.

Sometime this week, the solar panels for our roof should be delivered. I figure we’ll have learned how it all works by the time there’s useful sunshine again.

(And, just in case you need a roof, too, did you know that if you put a metal roof on top of your shingle roof, they don’t have to tear the old toxic stuff off and dump it in a landfill?)

If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you’ve known me long enough to realize I’m not bragging, or telling you what to do. I just believe, with all my heart, that there are things we can do even when it doesn’t feel like it and, if we all do some of them, we’ll get to a world that works better for all of us sooner.

For this moment, though, there are hungry, hungry Newfoundlands drooling on my feet and some serious moving-on-from-planning-and-into- actually-doing ways to work with me on your dreams.

Visioning. Coaching. Painting. Leading.

It’s going to take a whole bunch of us! I’ll keep you posted…

ps… Please join me in being thankful for a guy named Claude who used to feed my kid when I was a broke single mom/Seminary student. He’s at the top of my Black History Month list!

pps… Which has more juice for you right now… personal or professional visions? (Leave a comment, email me, text, respond to this post, whatever works!) suesvoice@gmail.com

The power of images, words, and grandparents!

First… some imagination on your part! An extremely cool playhouse, please, with a sparkly blonde girl peering out the front window. Got it?

Then, these words from my dear friend, Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, aka SARK, reprinted with permission…

Dearest dear dearling Sue,

Here I am at age 10, in Minneapolis Minnesota, in the tiny playhouse my grandfather (Boppa) had built for me. It had sliding glass windows, a linoleum floor and electricity, along with my dream of a “dutch door” where I could open the top door and peer out. I had described my dream of a tiny house to my Boppa.

On a sunny summer day in June, I stood on the front lawn with my best friend Missy, as a flatbed trailer drove slowly past my house, with a tiny house on the back! I started positively vibrating with excitement that it could be what I had dreamed about for so long- and it WAS.

Boppa mentored me in the best way-  he believed in me and my creativity and let me know it, and I felt sheltered by his view. That shelter helped immensely as I was being molested at home, and this tiny playhouse became my refuge and creative retreat from those horrifying abuses.

I’m wearing glasses because I developed a visual impairment due to the stress of this incest in our family. Much later on, my eyesight healed as I did. This creative refuge and my Boppa’s belief in me also resulted in my writing my first book at age 10: Mice From Mars.

It was a thinly disguised abuse story about a mouse that comes to earth and is horrified by the kind of humans he finds, and returns to Mars. I like to say that the art in it is not too different from the art I create now 😉

Boppa also mentored me by asking me to be a “family reporter” on vacations and to write what I saw and experienced, and then perform it for he and my grandmother when I got home. This resulted in my being able to begin to speak, write and teach my creations.

Much later in my life, I went on to create all my bestselling books and art, and teach & mentor around the world. You might know that my name, Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, stands for SARK, and in this tiny house were the beginnings of SARK, even though I didn’t find out about that miracle until many years later. Who believed in you at a younger age, or believes in you now?  How have you been mentored or guided in your life?  , 

p.s. I’m reopening my small, private one to one Magical Mentoring program soon.
You can receive more information by signing up at this link.This particular offering is at a significant investment with significant results.

   You are seen, You are known, You are loved. 
 

ps… We never know when we might have the opportunity to be a mentor for others!

pps… Susan helped my book be better!

An adventure that may, indeed, make me late for dinner!

Yes, the rumor is true. I have a thing for words. Big ones. Little ones. Private ones. National and global ones. I like them in English. In Greek and Hebrew. A few of them in Latin.

My traveling vocabulary is, admittedly, pretty small. I can introduce myself, order dinner, and ask for the bathroom in Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, and (more or less) in French.

Some of my favorites are very old words living, as it were, into new layers of meaning.

The word for the moment is Ritual. And, yes, it’s Shiloh Sophia’s “fault”! You see, there’s a new painting about to start. The journey has already begun!

I started by washing all the paintbrushes in my studio. This is a really big statement of intention! Next came journals. The one for writings and notes and reminders. The one for art journaling. Both all labeled and shiny.

Then, I started watching videos. And writing. Here’s a question that keeps following me around and appearing in my dreams:

What called me to this circle?

The first answer, which is already written in my journal, is sabbatical. I have been blessed by intense certification journeys through Color of Woman and Motherboard, one right after the other. So much new-ness. Now I need me-ness.

I am claiming this need, despite the fact that my tradition is skeptical at best about ritual. Especially those that are visual or kinesthetic. I’m here to roll around in Ritual, body, mind, and soul. And learn!

Which leads us to the photo.

One canvas. Size huge. (48×60″!) Blessedly, it was already warming up in the basement, bought with anticipation during a major sale.

A bit of, dare I say, holy water, carefully carried home from Italy.

Thirteen intentionally invisible circles, “drawn” on, if you will, with a clean paintbrush and that very water, holding space for the 13-moon journey, just beginning.

And an unexpected volunteer from my closet!

Each of us was invited, as we begin, to consider having a special shawl or scarf to wear when doing the writing and reflecting rituals along the way.

This invitation, kind of surprisingly, was a bit of a challenge for me. The fuzzy, handmade shawl our fearless leader was wearing in the video was lovely. It was also a decidedly impractical choice for one who lives in Georgia where some of those 13 moons will predictably be hot and then some.

I have a scarf I love, scattered with red roses. A stunning gift from a dear paint sister when we were in Italy. I don’t know if The Velveteen Rabbit has been translated into Italian but this particular option seemed concerned about getting quite as “loved” as seems likely on such an adventure.

At about that point in the pondering process, another need appeared. My right knee, which has been cranky of late, reminded me rather loudly that I really need a way to carry my cell phone around, just in case I need help.

For a person who lives in leggings and paint shirts, and is quite particular about being, in the words of Winnie the Pooh, just right when it comes to temperature, this presents a bit of a challenge.

Que inspiration! My collection of denim jackets was calling to me. You already know which one volunteered.

Easily washable. Perfectly sized pockets. Willing to bid the sleeves farewell. Great lapels for pinning things. Literally made of Red Thread. Excited about the possibility of being spattered with paint. It feels so right, I had to take it off for the photo shoot!

I have no idea what comes next. Except that I will be changed.

And the hope that, if I am able to be changed, the enormous challenges of our world are also able to be changed. So be it.

ps… The Ritual journey has already begun BUT there is still time to join in. Just click here for more information!

pss… Thanks to Bilbo Baggins for the reminder about adventures!

When Life Calls for New Strategies

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably noticed that some of your go-to coping strategies haven’t quite been up to life in our world just lately. And, if you’ve been hanging around for a bit, you probably know that one of my coping strategies is the alchemy involved in transforming a variety of grass-fed bones and some veg and herbs into the elixir of life known as bone broth.

Just between us, that hasn’t worked so well at our house lately.

The change started sometime last fall with a dead stove and the advent of a new, sexy, gas model. There was a bit of drama with the installation process. Now, though, it presides over our small but welcoming kitchen rather like a mythological goddess named Hestia. And it does a great many things very well.

There’s just one problem.

I, who grew up with electric stoves, have not been able to convince myself to put a pot of broth on there and leave it simmering gently overnight, as is my habit, while – you know – sleeping.

Then, as part of our New Year ritual, Bill and I cleaned out both freezers. No matter how I sorted and arranged, we were very nearly out of the magic comfort potion.

Then, I had an idea! You see, we also own an InstantPot which, in my opinion, doesn’t hold anywhere near a batch of broth. BUT I realized I could make broth in two steps. I was inspired and excited.

Then, at least where I live, the world went tilt. Tragic Covid statistics. Insurrections. Fear. Massive questions. And I went from inspired and excited to afraid and more than a bit angry. These are not the ideal mental states for creativity!

Today, though, that changed. Well, not all today. I think I just hit the tipping point of reclaiming my world even in the midst of all the external reality.

So, surrounded by the heavenly scent of Bird Broth, as I type these words, I have entered the recovery phase of 2021.

I used the InstantPot to do a good batch of bones and the water that would fit. It’s cooling now and will spend the night in the fridge. Then, tomorrow, I’ll transfer it to my prized enormous stock pot – the one with the little faucet so you don’t have to pick it up full – add all the veg and herbs and secret ingredients, along with several gallons more water, and do about 8 more hours of simmering when I can check on it as often as my inner Girl Scout requires.

I am comforted by even the process of comfort soup.

This is, by the way, a fine example of editing our strategies which is part of my new individual coaching program and quite possibly a free standing workshop in the near future. Though, with Zoom, everybody will have to be in charge of their own aromatherapy!

Oh, and just in case you wondered, a bit of Sister Act in the midst of all the CNN is not a bad thing!

ps… In case you might have some strategies that could use a bit of editing, just email me. suesvoice@gmail.com I’d be honored to ponder the possibilities with you!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity® Color of Woman Teacher