46 years ago, today…

Or, perspective really is everything!!!

You know all the fairy tales full of happily ever after? Well, that was not my early experience!

There I was, in the church where I grew up, dressed like a doll on a cake and staring down the aisle at a whole lot of folks I knew. And one I had promised to marry.

The music started, as the music does in those events.

And so did my first panic attack!

I shook from head to toe. My heart raced. I couldn’t breathe. It took every muscle in my body to do what I was expected to do and put one foot in front of the other.

In those days I had not discovered the wonders of neuro-linguistic programming. If I had, I might have realized that – primary kinesthetic processor that I am – every cell in my body was screaming, NO!!!

A whole lot of things would have been different, had I listened.

And yet, I’m glad I didn’t.

Because, if I had, I wouldn’t be who I am, now. I wouldn’t have the amazing, wonderful family I have.

I wouldn’t have learned a whole lot of things that are now helping me help others on their paths.

Just between us, I used to dread this day. This reminder.

And then, somewhere along the way, I noticed that I had quit noticing it, and that was a relief in many ways.

This year is different.

This year I’ve spent the day making room for the things I’m learning. Room in my heart and mind. Room in my calendar. And room in my house.

Our house. And the Legendary Husband has been there every step of the way!

We’ve forged ahead in the wrestling match with the Closet Monsters. The laundry machines are doing what they do. There will be really good ribs for dinner. And fresh Black Mission figs! And there is paint drying after a circle of Red Madonna sisters met for some deep sharing and support.

As I listened to their stories, I was reminded that life is not about what everybody thinks you should be and do. It’s not about getting it all right the first time. It’s not about never making choices which don’t turn out the way we imagined.

Instead, it’s about putting one foot in front of the other. It’s about asking to be witnessed when we need to be. It’s about not trying to fix everything all by ourselves.

And, it’s about celebrating the people and the beliefs and the practices that help us do those things.

One day at a time.

So be it… for me and for you and for all of us…

ps… the art at the top is from yesterday’s Flower Power Intentional Creativity® adventure! As intentions go, it works for me! If you have some intentions that matter to you, I’d like to help! Just let the calendar elves hook you up with 45 minutes. My gift. I’ve got great ideas for next steps!

pps… If you happen to have any figs handy, here’s a great thing to do with them! Rinse them very gently and wipe even more gently with a paper towel. Trim off the stem and slice them in half. Let them sit for a bit, drizzled with really, really good Balsamic vinegar. The sticky kind! Then, sprinkle them with cracked red or black pepper corns and freshly crumbled flaky sea salt. Enjoy!

Being sparks of light in the darkness…

You know… the whole indictment thing has been feeling far too familiar for comfort. And that got a whole lot more true when it went big in my neighborhood!

I confess to being glued to the news, gnawing – figuratively – at my nails. At least when the power is on!

Between the big trees down and the construction next door, many things feel if-y these days.

Or maybe it’s more like things feel if-y all the time and it’s just more in my face these days.

For this moment, I’m going to skip over most of the headlines on the assumption that you know what you have space for.

I do have a neighborhood story to share. Along with the usual bit of art-in-progress. And, eventually, some music!

First, a bit of context.

Georgia did a re-districting thing a year or so ago.

The Legendary Husband and I used to live and vote in the GA-04 Congressional district, represented by Hank Johnson. I relate to Hank. And to his wife, Mereda Davis Johnson, who is one of our county commissioners. Let’s just say that big hearts and Oakhurst roots run deep.

These days, though, we live in the GA-05 district with Nikema Williams as our representative. And yes, she now holds what used to be Congressman John Lewis’s seat in the US House.

I’d been hoping Ms. Williams would pop by MSNBC for a wee chat and she didn’t disappoint!

Please hear me say that what I’m about to share is what I heard and scribbled fast as she spoke. What made it through my filters, if you will…

She was speaking of the legacy of John Lewis and all she had learned from him. Then she said:

This is our civil rights moment. Our civil rights movement. If you’ve ever wondered what you would have done in the 1960’s, this is our turn!

And here’s the thing… I have wondered!

I am old enough to remember some of the big events and not old enough to have been a part of acting in those moments.

I vividly remember when Dr. King was killed. We lived in a Chicago suburb. Our school field trip to the Museum of Science & Industry was cancelled. There were National Guard troops camped on the museum grounds, trying to deal with the riots.

A month later, Bobby Kennedy was killed.

Despite my deep Republican roots, I knew, at the age of 10, that the world was somehow changing.

Then, as I grew up nurtured in the embrace of an amazing summer camp community, my role models were guitar playing, peace & justice ballad singing, slightly-less-young women.

If you’ve been around a while, you already know that it was my job to know all the words to all the songs from one summer to the next. And, yes, I know them all, still.

And tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to Rep. Williams saying that NOW it’s our turn.

Which begs the question…

What will we do with OUR time, now???

I’m asking. Really!

And, I’m also offering to help.

I started with Joan Baez. (Surprise!)

Then, my Filters videos-in-progress started editing themselves in my head. (More news to follow!)

You see, Nikema Williams’ question is really close to the notion I love from Frederick Buechner. It goes something like this:

The place where we are called is where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

And, yes… that’s why I’m making Filters videos. So that I can help more of you claim that place in your world. And figure out how to get from here to there!

This is our moment! And Joan left this in my Medicine Basket!

ps… Curious??? Great! That’s the best state for learning new things… Ready??? 45 min. My gift. The calendar elves are ready!

pps… the layers of Legend 2023 go on… Spaces are now open for the Intentional Creativity® teacher training known as Color of Woman 2023! Click to learn more!!! (I’d hurry!)

The INNER kind of Furniture Yahtzee!

Yes, perceptive reader… the game goes on!

The big green bookcase into the studio, ready for art supplies!

The rolling metal bookcase into our room. (It’s not really attractive but it’s handy and easy to move!)

The Noah-table beside the bed. At least for now. (It’s a long story…)

Lots of the kind of dusting that doesn’t happen except when big things get moved.

It’s not that we’re bored… just the opposite!

Instead – for me, at least – it’s a reflection of the Soul Yahtzee adventure going on inside me!

And it is, indeed, all happening in context.

When I’m doing the thing known as Filters, context gets symbolized as right angle brackets in the top left and bottom right of the drawing. (Hand signals work, too… in Zoom meetings!)

Most of Thursday and Friday turned into about a dozen pages of sketches and arrows and exclamation points, all having to do with setting the filters loose in the world. (Stay tuned…)

Then, Saturday morning, I fixed a cup of tea and flipped on the news to find myself in the midst of a flashback.

Charlottesville, Virginia. Six years ago. The tragic, deadly Unite the Right rally.

My kids are UVA grads. Charlottesville is among the homes in my heart.

One thing led, as it often does, to a whole lot of others. White supremacy. Politics. Madam Secretary. The Department of Justice. Human rights. Arranged marriages. Global warming. Fair elections. And, kind of surprisingly, poets, with the notion of the American Experiment.

Experiment!

(Time out for massive mental weaving… and many more pages of scribbling!)

Which brings us to the art you see, above… the bottom left bit of my recent painting, Revelation!

And the assumption that Walter Brueggemann will be okay with my including artists among his notion of poets!

If you squint a bit you’ll see the book, Finally Comes the Poet, there among the ones that have changed – and are changing, still – my view of the universe.

Here’s the punch line…

I want the experiment to work!

I want to live like all people were created equal. (They were!)

I want power for rather than power over.

And, while we’re at it, I’d really, really like a healing planet, too!

And, yes… I have 2 granddaughters growing up in this world, so I’m all in!

Since I have one vote and limited funds, that seems to mean proclaiming. Teaching. Sharing. Caring out loud in the best way I can.

And that means helping people just like you to do the same. Your way!

Fortunately, I’ve been filling up my medicine basket with a lifetime of good stuff and I have a new way to share the options coming just as soon as my inner poet and artist sign off. (Like, by Wednesday!)

If you’ve read this far, you have a bit of the puzzle, too. We’ll start with the questions… for YOU!

What inspires and empowers ME?

How do I most long to MATTER?

What do I need to be READY?

Wait! Go get something that makes marks and write these out with your very own hand. And leave space for the answers to come!

Then, take a deep breath. Listen to the poetry and art whispering to you. And show up again Wednesday!

ps… can’t wait??? The calendar elves will hook you up. 45 min. My gift. You bring your answers and a bit of red thread if it’s handy!

pps… the Hebrew word I added to the palm of the hand in the painting means here I am. I’m just sayin’!

ppps… if you haven’t read it already, my Grandmothers Are In Charge Of Hope is a really good intro! (It’s in the painting, too, but you need better eyes than mine!)

“Never be afraid…

to be hit by an apple!” (Andrew Johnstone)

First, please hear me declare that I am not behind on my Legend painting journey. I am exactly where I need to be, even though others are considerably further along the way!

(Which could be a consciousness thing…)

Then, a bit of orientation for those of you who are not quite sure where this is heading!

Legend has been an annual Intentional Creativity® adventure for years. This is my fifth time on the wild ride that tends to call many things into question. (Possibly even gravity!)

Or, as our amazing leader, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, would say… It’s a place for hanging with catalysts and instigators! Like Shiloh, herself, and so many of our IC® ancestors, and this year’s bonus leader, artist and astronomer, Andrew Johnstone!

That hanging out place is why I keep showing up – investing time and money and energy – in a place where I’m actually choosing, metaphorically, to be hit on the head by an apple.

I have long loved questions more than answers!

Harry Potter, if you’ll recall, played riddle games. And – auditory/digital processor that I am – I can still hear with my teenaged ears, Gollum taunting Bilbo Baggins with questionssss… Then there were the stories about the Riddle of the Sphinx…

In this moment, though, it’s all about allowing ourselves to wonder and learn new things. Since we need a place to start, we’re wondering about creation and consciousness. Really!

Because embodied wondering is even more fun… we’re wondering with paint. And, in my case, Joan Baez!!!

So, going with heavy body paints for this adventure (Think toothpaste!) I squeezed some magic on my reused sushi container palette and pushed the buttons which reliably summon Ms. Baez into my space. Wow, was I in for a surprise!

Painting the beginning surrounded by the amazing percussion of Darling Corey was light years beyond my imagining. (Keep reading for now, if you would. The music video is, indeed, below!)

Here’s the thing…

I literally wound up dancing at my canvas.

Slinging paint and swinging hips. Tears on my cheeks and no pain in my knees. Or shoulders. Or awareness.

Really!!!

And then I heard another voice… startling at first. And, then… duh! The voice of C. S. Lewis’ Puddleglum, speaking to the Dark Queen…

“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things — trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”

C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair, The Chronicles of Narnia

All of which leaves me with a few questions for you, if I may…

Think of something you’ve created… What does it feel like?

What do you long to create next?

What does the world need as it becomes more conscious?

Really! I want to know. (Leave a comment below, or email me! suesvoice@gmail.com )

Even if there’s a voice inside you, shouting that you are not creative… you are!

And I’d love to help!

So, hang for a few with Joan and the gang. And then, if you’re even hoping you’re ready, consider letting the calendar elves hook you up with 45 minutes. My gift. Lots of possibilities.

ps… yes! You might actually have squinted just right and noticed a 6-petal rose in the middle of my painting! More to come about that!

pps… if you’re on the blog list, watch for an email on Friday with big news from FierceArtWithHeart! Those elves have been busy, too! (If you’re not on the list yet, or you haven’t been getting emails lately, now would be great!)

New batteries for the magic wand!

Heresy alert!!!

I have come to the conclusion that the only thing scarier than change is NO change!

Yep… I know. That’s not the way many of us learned it.

And, just between us, this is a pretty big topic at our house.

Let’s just say that the Legendary Husband and I have differing notions of same and different!

He has strong same strategies for food. And seemingly random patterns of time. (Except for Saturday nights… and Dragon Con!)

My journey feels different. At least to me.

It’s kind of an internal/external dynamic.

When I’m processing internal stuff – often on a non-conscious level – my powers of avoiding change kick in. I just don’t have the energy for external newness.

Then, when an inner ah-hah comes, I often need external change to support my new perceptions and goals and visions.

And, if I were to come totally clean, I’m pretty sure we both consider each other as oddly random. (Which is an issue for another day!)

For today, it’s memory lane time. Specifically, Eckerd College in about 1986 for one of my favorite quotes of all time:

In order to learn we must be willing to be changed.

I hear you! It does feel scary at first glance.

And yes, if it were my voice in these days, my inner red ink persona might go with:

In order to learn we must make space for change to find us.

Let’s just say that I did and I am. Which seems to take lots less energy than resisting does!

And, yes… it takes practice!

Here’s my best tip…

Carrot is easier than stick!

And company helps!

Which reminds me of a scene from The West Wing.

I’ve been down the Change hole a lot! And I have a whole Medicine Basket full of ways to make it work!

It’s going to take a whole lot of us to squeeze hope out of the world in this moment. If you could use a Fiercely Compassionate Rebel Grandmother who’s been there before, let’s talk! 45 min. My gift. Just summon the calendar elves to find you some time!

And, just in case you’re feeling skeptical… the very writing of these words, in this moment, made space for the next steps on my path to appear!!! With apologies to the exclamation point conservation fairy, it’s really exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ps… did you notice all those triangles on Grandmother Moon’s head? That’s our secret code for change!

pps… ready for a safe mini-step forward??? How about Super Power Leggings??? Five size ranges and they travel great! Intention really does matter!!! Buy two pairs – any size – any design, and save with code BUY 2 – SAVE $8

Surprise! I like choosing… aka, Legend, part next.

Okay, maybe not so much a surprise, if you’ve been reading along for a bit.

And, true!

It happened like this…

Grandmother Moon has been doing her job, whispering in my ear.

And, yes… she’s whispering about paint.

Sadly, the actual world hasn’t been listening.

Instead, my local universe is obsessed with sewer pipes. Specifically, putting new ones in the pocket park next to our yard.

Imagine the entire percussion section of the least inspired band ever invading all your senses…

Seriously!

The noise is bad enough. The shaking house is even more unsettling. Not just the floors, but dishes in the cupboards and paintings on the walls.

Even the Legendary Husband is rattled. And he has superhuman powers of not noticing!

Still… it was time to paint.

Grandmother Moon had a suggestion.

Do what works!

So, a search through some old paint supplies. Blessedly, something known as a pouncing brush remained from a long ago experiment with painting furniture.

Instead of stroking the paint on the canvas, this tool, with its drum-like end, is for tapping the paint on the canvas. Think woodpecker!

With a bit of practice, I actually managed to tap in time with the construction symphony!

Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much yet. And, it’s on the way!

Eventual art, even in the midst of sensory chaos.

Which is, I suspect, the way most art happens… when making it matters more to the spirit than hiding does.

So, hope… hope… hope… hope… hope…

And trust… trust… trust… trust… trust…

Along with some a-bun-dance… a-bun-dance… a-bun-dance…

And even ov-er-com-ing!

Curious???

Stay tuned!

For now, the teeth-rattling pounding has stopped and I feel a nap coming on, while the paint dries!

ps… my inner camera-phobe survived a video interview today! Subject… a recent book! turning point is about exactly that – amazing women sharing huge turning points in their lives! It is em-power-ing reading. Pun intended! (The cover art is mine, as well!) Get yours here!

Perspective Issues!

It’s Legend time again, in one of the lands where I live.

Well, technically, Legend time is coming to a close for this year, while I am just beginning.

Beginning, that is, after a trip to places where legends run deep in the land and in my heart.

So, I am not, as I might once have supposed, behind. I am more ready!

And the painting I began today will be utterly different because I am.

First, a re-purposed canvas. It began in the night sky and got somehow derailed by other adventures. And it feels like the perfect volunteer for this journey!

Then, two colors. One has appeared. Turquoise. Voice chakra. Truth, some would say. A portal of Grace.

Then, soon, the green which carries the energy of Compassion in my world.

And, as you might suspect, a question…

What story have I been telling myself about myself?

I’ll let you know when the answer appears!

For now, me in my imaginary Writing Cave, complete with flickering candlelight and one of my favorite paint shirts.

A different me than the one who began her first Legend painting early in 2018. And that is a huge part of the magic!

That’s where the notion of perspective comes in!

The painting at the top is a messy middle phase of that first Legend journey. My third Intentional Creativity® painting. And my first attempt at a non-chalkboard face.

It was quite the adventure! Especially for the photo-avoidant kid who still hangs out deep inside me.

And the stakes felt really huge.

You see, finishing that first Legend painting was part of the acceptance process for Color of Woman. And, against all odds, I really, really wanted to make that journey even though it felt utterly outside my notions of me.

And so, I broke one of the rules I was raised with.

I did a thing we didn’t do!

And I am still finding a whole lot more of me!

Clearly there are more adventures to be had. Possibly without the Pepto pink paint!

And a question… what adventures might you be pondering? And how might the treasures in my Medicine Basket be helpful??? (The world needs a whole lot of us and the calendar elves will be delighted to hook you up with 45 minutes. My gift. Bring your dreams!)

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