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!

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