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!!!

Healing Whole Me!

Long before I began to paint, I taught myself to quilt in the liberated fashion of Gwen Marston.

Clearly, my consciousness is quilting, still! Bits of this and cherished scraps of that…

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were all big days for beginnings.

Painting on Saturday and Sunday. Some new Medicine Basket magic on Monday. And all of that hatching inside me in a manner totally without neat edges!

What you’re looking at, above, will one day – about a year from now – become a painting of my Guardian Angel. And, yes… there’s a whole lot more work to be done!

The first thing my future Angel whispered to me was that it’s okay that painting and tending the livestream chat all at once is hard. At least it is for me! So, I haven’t made quite as much progress as some of the others on this path… and I will!

There will be a Celebratrix involved in this paint journey, too… soon!

In a way, the auditory-digital processing part of me pretty much took charge during all the live adventures. And got really excited about some music from COPPER WIMMIN.

Here’s what I scribbled down from one of their songs…

  • What would you have me hear?
  • What would you have me feel?
  • Where would you have me go?
  • What would you have me do?
  • What would you have me say?

And the closing line was: Beloved, let your will be done through me.

Well… that certainly made the inquiries for my very first Medicine Basket Monday journal prompts obvious! A huge relief as I really needed to sleep! My auditory-digital processing Muse did not, however, get the message!

There was a poem in my dreams. One I couldn’t quite catch consciously.

There was also a song. One I’d loved for ages, and couldn’t quite place. Research was in order. It took a bit. My first assumption was James Taylor’s Lullaby album. Not so much! As I hummed along, though, more of the lyrics began to come back to me. Finally I had enough of them to get a hit somewhere in web land.

Get this… what popped up was one of my blogs from 2018, when I was just setting out on Color of Woman! Singer, songwriter, and old camp buddy, Jim Morgan! This is a song he taught a bunch of teens and adults who loved them… Imagine this in the voice of the Divine, please, if that works for you… 

Ooo, child don’t you walk away telling me it’s nothing at all when I can see those tears swimming in your eyes, sayin’ your self-confidence has had a great fall. It’s just natural to want to hide when you’re feelin’ that you just don’t belong. Why don’t you crawl up here and sit by my side ’cause when you’re sad I want to sing you this song. ‘Cause you’re alright, you’re alright, you’re alright, you’re just as fine as you can be. And you can stay right here as long as you like ’cause you’re alright by me.

Which sure felt like my heart’s answer to the first few of those questions from COPPER WIMMIN!

And, there was more! You see, the blog post right before the blog post with Jim Morgan’s song had a poem in it. A poem from Alice Walker. And that poem had the rest of the answers I was trying to receive!

It took a bit of hunting through the bookshelves to put my hand on Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, a book illustrated, I might add, by Shiloh Sophia McCloud!

The poem – CALLING ALL GRAND MOTHERS – begins on page 30.

We have to live
differently

or we
will die
in the same

old ways.

Therefore
I call on all Grand Mothers
everywhere
on the planet

to rise
and take your place
in the leadership
of the world

Come out
of the kitchen
out of the
fields

out of the
beauty parlors
out of the
television

Step forward
& assume
the role
for which
you were

created:
To lead humanity
to health, happiness
& sanity.

I call on
all the
Grand Mothers
of Earth
& every person
who possesses
the Grand Mother

spirit
of respect for
life
&
protection of
the young

to rise
& lead.

The life of
our species
depends
on it.

& I call on all men
of Earth
to gracefully
and
gratefully

stand aside
& let them
(let us)
do so.

******************************************

There it was… a massive reminder of my own answers to where I will go and what I will do and say. All with the help of old and new friends, a Guardian Angel who lives already in my soul, and my willingness to dive into even more healing of whole me.

What do you hear???

And, now – with help from the Legendary Husband – is Jim Morgan’s song… there’s more!

ps… my wise, gifted physical therapist is exited about all the things shifting with the whole person healing! It’s time to paint on!!!

pps… curious? There’s still time to set out on the journey known as Red Madonna. For more information and to register, go to: https://musea.org/red-madonna-celebratrix/ (And, no… you don’t even need to know how to wash paint brushes to start!!!)

Imaginary friends are real, too!

My first “imaginary friend” was a doll named Poor Pitiful Pearl.

Seriously! She was designed by the same guy who created Shrek and they look alike! Pearl was my very first Christmas present, when I was 10 months old.

These days, Pearl is the librarian in charge of wisdom writings.

Betsy and Tacy came along next. Fictional characters from Minnesota, they had been friends of my Mom’s before I was born. They were 5 years old – just like me – when I first met them.

These days, though, I paint my imaginary friends! The half fun – full serious kind! And there’s paint flying every which way at the moment. Two amazing teachers. Two paintings. Unfolding simultaneously, in the land of livestream. And we’ll have to wait 13 moons before they finish revealing themselves… one a Celebratrix and the other our Guardian Angel.

I’m reminded of the old song… Goin’ on a Squeegie Hunt… gonna catch a big one!

You may know the next line… I’m not afraid!!!

And, I’m not afraid. Even though there will be two big ones to catch. What I am is lit up. Energized. Inspired. In all the best ways!

The magic began to come together a couple nights ago, when we were getting ready to paint. I’d overdosed on news and the already-painted paintings were feeling chatty.

I woke with lines from a book in my head. Well, not lines, exactly. More like two particular voices having a conversation I knew was important but couldn’t quite grasp.

Research was in order!

I knew which book to start with. Kathleen McGowan’s The Poet Prince. It’s one of the permanent residents beside the bed. In fact, I’d been reading it before I fell asleep. For maybe the 10th time… (I’ve lost count!) And it’s full of almost imaginary friends.

In this case, an ancient teacher named Destino, speaking with a wise young woman named Petra, both of them dedicated to preserving deep wisdom in a world which has often been – shall we say – less than receptive.

It took Pearl and me several tries and a chat with the author to find the passage whispering in my head.

And, yes… I’m hoping you’re curious!

Enter, my dear,” (said Destino). “And stop worrying about me. I knew this was coming and I welcome it.” Petra smiled at him in the semidarkness. Of course he knew. “But what do you welcome…?” Destino opened his eyes slowly. “I welcome the opportunity. I welcome the tests. I welcome the teachings that can and will come from it all. Vittoria is playing a role, the role of the adversary, the role of the challenger…”

The Poet Prince p. 154-55.

You, wise one, have already figured out what all these puzzle pieces have in common. Say it with me, please…

Context!

The underlying issue in the book and in our world is hunger for power. Absolute power. Hunger so deep that one is willing to trade all sense of ethics and reality and history in order to obtain it.

And, speaking only for myself, I still have things to learn from wisdom like Destino shares. I’m fairly certain, though, that re-framing the current ravenous for power situation in our world as an opportunity to learn will cut down on the anger and energy I’m wasting swearing at the news.

In fact, it already is! So, I’m off to open myself to the Guardian Angel whom I have no doubt will appear on my canvas. And the Celebratrix. Once I – you know – make space for them.

(And re-check my voter registration!)

ps… my guardian angel #wip wants you to know that the name she chose is Daphne Pearl!

pps… my author-cousin, Kathleen McGowan, would love for you to know that Destino’s name comes from the root word which means both destiny and destination!

ppps… kind of surprisingly, I spent the end of last week inspired to paint some angels on my own. They’re in the style of a southern folk/outsider artist who signs his work Flack and I began collecting them long before I dreamed I could paint. Apparently, I have listened to them long enough to finally pick up my brush! This first one says she’s done!

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