Time Travel… Past & Future!

Are you ready for an adventure?

We’re going time traveling! (Never mind, for a moment, notions of physics and philosophy which suggest that past, present, and future are all present now and now is what there is.)

We’ll begin with a quote from a book that is an old friend of mine:

A man and wife are one person in law; the wife loses all her rights as a single woman, and her existence is entirely absorbed in that of her husband. He is civilly responsible for her acts, she lives under his protection or cover, and her condition is called coverture.

A woman’s body belongs to her husband; she is in his custody, and he can enforce his right by a writ of habeas corpus.

What was her personal property before marriage, such as money in hand, money at the bank, jewels, household goods, clothes, etc., becomes absolutely her husband’s, and he may assign or dispose of them at his pleasure whether he and his wife live together or not.

A wife’s chattels real (i.e., estates) become her husband’s.

Neither the Courts of Common law nor Equity have any direct power to oblige a man to support his wife…

The legal custody of children belongs to the father. During the life-time of a sane father, the mother has no rights over her children, except limited power over infants, and the father may take them from her and dispose of them as he sees fit.

A married woman cannot sue or be sued for contracts — nor can she enter into contracts except as an agent of her husband; that is to say, her word alone is not binding in law…

A husband and wife cannot be found guilty of conspiracy, as that offence cannot be committed unless there are two persons.

Which, depending on where you are and how you got there, may explain a lot!

Now, a couple of questions.

What did you notice as you read? What did you wonder?

I’m betting that one of the things you’re wondering about is the source of this quote. I learned it from Carolyn Heilbrun’s magnificent book, Writing A Woman’s Life. The quote itself is from a pamphlet, Married Women and the Law by Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon in the USA, 1854.

It’s true that many of us are in a different place, today.

But, just in case you think we haven’t quite made it to the world we’d like our granddaughters to grow up in… or our grandsons, for that matter… what, then, do we do?

According to Professor Heilbrun, we need to “write” new stories about women’s lives.

Thus, we’re traveling toward the Future which is, in language and people I’m only beginning to know, already possible.

In fact, I have a flock of new friends working together on moving toward what our fearless leader, Julie Steelman, refers to as Financial Sovereignty. And, yes, I’m in a new class! It’s called Blossom and Roar.

We’ve only just begun and yet the connections and ironies are firing in my head a mile a minute.

I’m learning to ask different questions about money than the ones history has deposited deep within the consciousness of many women, even women of privilege, who grew up in families who lived in the days when  Bodichon was painting a word picture of life in the USA.

I’m learning new definitions for corporate financial buzz words that never really worked for me.

And, I’m stunned, in light of recent media attention on child sexual abuse and trafficking, by the materialization of the movie, Pretty Woman, somewhere in my cable TV universe last night, while I was busy pondering these words. Suddenly, a film I’ve appreciated for years, mostly for the journey and also for the final line, feels profoundly more important in the sense of things that need to be conscious.

So why all this today?

Well, because I have two granddaughters growing up in this world. Because it matters. And because the way to change things is to gather together and talk about them and allow them to be conscious. And to set aside any  notions we might be harboring that it’s just too hard or we don’t get it.

And to vote. (Painting helps, too!)

I’ll admit that these thoughts are a bit babbly and not fully processed at the moment, rather like the glimpse of my CODEX painting, above, but thanks for being here anyway! And, for this moment, a slightly edited reminder from my hypnosis training:

Take a deep breath. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Shake off the journeys, keeping only what’s helpful. Come back to where you are and be with you!






It’s Work in Progress Wednesday!

It’s a tradition, in the land of Intentional Creativity, that Wednesdays are Work in Progress (WIP) days. It’s a day for posting pictures of what we of artists are working on, along with reflections and, sometimes, puzzles.

As one of my paint sisters observed, not too long ago, “I am my work in progress”.

Wow, am I feeling that!

It seems to be the season around here for all kinds of puzzles.

How to get back to something resembling “normal” after my fall and Luther’s recovery from surgery.

How to re-claim the self-nurturing and care that kind of fell by the wayside during those weeks.

How to re-claim the strength lost in day after day of being still and trying, at some level of consciousness, to hold the peace. (And the pieces together!) It’s rather like having been sick in bed and discovering that it doesn’t take long to lose strength and energy formerly taken for granted.

How to adapt to the likelihood that “normal” is about to get different, again, and will predictably involve some changes.

That’s where my CODEX painting comes in. Nicknamed Grandmother Moon, she chose for her symbol of consciousness, at the end of Moon 8, the series of golden triangles which seem to be springing from her forehead.

The golden triangles have been showing up since my very first painting. They don’t appear everywhere, though they seem to show up in times of change which makes sense as the Greek letter delta, which is in the form of a triangle, is common in math and science as a symbol for change. Or, in my case, as a willingness to be changed.

Grandmother Moon also insisted on a winged visionary eye stitched with the legendary red thread which people have believed, throughout time, connects us, perhaps with people we were destined to know, rather like the web of life which forms our world.

IMG_5316As for me, I’m tending. The garden this morning. Paint drips a bit later. Me, as often as possible. A combination of intention and attention. Which is, when you think about it, not a bad way to deal with change. (Just in case you might have some, too!)

ps… While I was tending and taking pics in the garden this morning, our new neighbor, the falcon, swooped low and flew right past me. Breathtaking! And the symbolism is a wonder, too. Victory. Success. Rising above challenging structures. Wisdom. Vision. Protection. Must be a friend of Grandmother Moon!!!






Lunch Menu: Celebration & Comfort!

Yesterday, a dear friend came to remove Luther’s sutures after his eye surgery, and to paint for a bit. (We’re working on our CODEX paintings. Moon 7.)

I fixed lunch. The intention… celebration and comfort for body, mind, and spirit.

The menu tended in the direction of rustic elegance.

First, soup. I began with a quart of homemade broth. In this case, grass-fed, local beef broth, FodMap diet style which means no onions, no garlic, and limits on certain veg.

You can begin with whatever you have and trust, avoiding, I sincerely hope, the stuff in cans. Veg broth, chicken, pork, even seafood broth all work nicely! Or, for super simple, organic freeze dried mushrooms soaked in hot water until the color of strong tea and drained well through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. (Not FodMap.) Use resulting broth then save mushrooms to add to soup.

After thawing the broth overnight in the fridge, I steeped it, partially covered, for a couple of hours, simmering gently, rather like tea, with 4 or 5 organic star anise pods, an organic cinnamon stick, about 1/3 of a warm but not hot dried pepper, 2 fresh bay leaves, and a small bundle of thyme and rosemary from the garden. This left me with a broth tending in the direction of Asian flavors.

About half a shot of cognac would not be amiss during the simmering process.

About an hour before lunch, I finely chopped a small organic fennel bulb and the stems of a bundle of organic Italian (flat leaf) parsley and added them to the steaming broth.

Meanwhile I heated some previously cooked organic brown rice in the oven. Brown rice ramen noodles work well, too, but we were out.

Then, back outside, just before serving, for the first batch of organic arugula from the garden. A quick rinse and a fine chop later, it was time to dish up the soup, after a moment to scoop all the herbs and spices out of the pot.

Brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Chopped, raw arugula on top of that. Broth, with added fennel and parsley, ladled generously over all.

Season to taste with good natural sea salt, freshly ground mixed pepper corns, and a gentle drizzle of organic garlic olive oil which works even for most FodMap friends.

I served the soup with sides of perfectly ripe organic avocado, topped with a smidge of fruity Italian olive oil, and salt & pepper, along with some organic local sourdough crackers. Nuts would add some extra protein.

You can do the same thing with the ingredients you love, enhanced but not buried by the flavors that work for you and whatever’s great in the garden. Or farmers market.

IMG_5299Yes, it’s easier if you happen to have a freezer full of really good broth. And it took a bit of clock time, but very little effort, to fix. Check locally and online for high quality broth which you can find in shelf stable boxes or, especially in the case of seafood broth, frozen and delivered to your door. Yum!

Or, if you happen to have an InstantPot, learn a super simple broth process soon. You’ll be several steps closer to your version of comfort, healing, celebration… whatever you’re hoping for from lunch.

No dessert needed, especially if you have time to paint!

My wish for you this day is inspiration…


Big Dogs Snoring and Tony Bourdain!

If I knew anything at all about digital music or how such a miracle comes to be, I think I could create the world’s greatest meditation recording.

It’s playing now, in the live version, as I write.

Yes, you guessed it! A trio of big dogs snoring gently in a unique chorus of peace.

(If you had a digital version, you might not still be freaked out from the big event of the evening in which the bass member of the trio urped his dinner all over the blessed rubber mat on the floor in the place formerly known as the breakfast room  and the resulting yuck involved in solving that problem!)

Please keep reading… it will get better, soon!

After all was clean again, I repaired to the magical chair, always willing to adjust to whatever my knees and back desire in the moment, and, deciding on a brief vacation after a major meeting with my new friend Barry at digital arts printing, summoned Netflix where I encountered Parts Unknown and the late Anthony Bourdain, mid-episode, in the Republic of Georgia.

I was intrigued.

Let me admit, before I go on, that my grasp of contemporary world geography is nowhere near adequate and I missed all of the 1980’s as a single mom earning four college degrees. Then, I spent the 1990’s enmeshed in church politics so it’s safe to say that I am in need of a bit more learning on many of these matters.

Tony, as was so often true, was glad to oblige.

Beyond quite the soliloquy on homemade hootch and something to do with chicken baked in a pumpkin, much of the conversation had to do with Georgia’s precarious geographical position, essentially between Europe and the former Soviet Union. Here’s the sentence that hooked me.

We wake up every morning and find out where we live. 

This I understood, for I heard the same stories when I was in Hungary, just before the former eastern bloc fell. I was, naively, I suppose, mind boggled by the notion of waking up to find out who had taken control of your country overnight.

Now, if you’ll pretend for a moment that it’s time for a commercial break, I will take you with me to the land of Shiloh Sophia and Intentional Creativity where we are painting about consciousness. We’re pretty much always painting about consciousness but it’s been particularly intense for me, having two CODEX paintings in process at once.

Basically, that means we’re painting about thinking about thinking. And, in the moment, we are allowing any of the things that may have been non-conscious historically, to become conscious if that is safe and helpful at this time.

We’re not really talking about consciousness in the sense of above or below but, if you want to paint it you have to have some way to represent the whole thing visually. The picture above, which you’ve seen other bits of before, is essentially an image of those things that are safe and helpful (though sometimes a bit unsettling) “rising” into awareness.

Now, let us return from our commercial break to Tony and the Republic of Georgia.

First, the big flash for me. (It’s ok if you’re ahead of me here. We all learn when we’re ready.)

You don’t have to live in the former Soviet bloc, or in a tiny country between Europe and Russia and parts of the Middle East to wonder who will be in charge when you wake up in the morning.

It’s just as true in the United States of America.

The thing that really blew my mind was the hopefulness of my new TV friends in the Republic of Georgia.

We’re hopeful, I heard most of them say. What else can we be if we want a better future? 

And, somehow, because of the place where inviting new consciousness meets embodied memories of eating and drinking and dancing with old friends in Hungary, I suspect I will be more hopeful, as well.

And busy making prayer dots. Wearing, I might add, my Fiercely Compassionate Grandmother tee-shirt! My girls are growing up in this country!

For now, warming a bowl of really good soup and wondering where Tony is headed next.

PS… Just in case you’re curious, where Tony went next was Senegal, where a native leader said: This world is going to be a better place when more cultures are actually given a chance to be put at the table. And, after a few bites of lamb, Tony responded, Democracy, as it happens, requires regular maintenance, diligence, and a willingness to stand up. RIP, Tony.

WIP Wednesday… this week!

In the land of Intentional Creativity, Wednesdays are Work-in-Progress days. A time to reflect on where we are and, often, to share a glimpse with the community.

In the land of Sue, Wednesdays are also blog days.

I have this apparently bizarre notion that I will leave space in my calendar so that getting a blog done doesn’t wind up feeling rushed or exhausting.

Sometimes it works!

Sometimes, though, Wednesdays come after rather intense Tuesdays.

Yesterday’s Tuesday was great in the sense of good friends and lots of painting. And hours of leaping the studio angels! I got pretty tired in a good way, but tired all the same.

This morning, when I noticed all three dogs laying in the hallway, I decided to wander through the studio to the kitchen in search of one of my favorite sunny yellow mugs with lemon and hot water.

(I hate to admit it, but I’m sleeping lots better since I’ve backed way off the tea again!)

The face in the painting pictured above was basically the last thing I saw last night and the first thing I saw this morning. Fortunately, the light was good for getting some photos just then.

I often see something new when I look at my work through the eye of my camera.

This time, I realized that I had been dreaming about her.

Some of you will recognize her as my Codex painting, moon 7-9. For the rest of you, she’s almost 7 moons finished in a 13 moon journey with a world-wide group of artists. The tricky part???

We have no idea what comes next or where the paint journey is going. (Though I suspect the inner journey won’t actually end!)

Here’s what I can tell you. The face you see represents the inner Observer we all have but aren’t necessarily well acquainted with. Her job is to give us a place outside our old stories and immediate experience from which to watch what’s unfolding. Rather, as I’ve always imagined, like an owl in a tree. To notice and wonder and, perhaps, to learn new and helpful things for understanding where we are and envisioning where we want to be.

From the unknown consciousness where myth and imagination live, through what we were taught to be, often in order to exist, in whatever enmeshed systems we encountered, to the personas we became, to the crafted, or curated, beings still developing from our experiences and intentional choices, our Observer helps us to see more clearly and choose according to our deepest, and ever-shifting, awareness.

I met my Observer 20 or so years ago in my hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming journey.

Now, with the brilliant help of Shiloh Sophia, Jonathan McCloud, and the Intentional Creativity community, it feels as though she has moved from high in the tree to deep inside me. It’s amazing!

Last night, she surprised me yet again with her insistence on the bright yellow drips of paint that surround her.

What do they mean? I’m not totally sure yet but it feels like it has something to do with busting out of the box! (And something this Grammy needs to spend some time contemplating!)

For this moment, while my friends, imaginary and real, are hopping up and down to join the conversation, Sarah would like you to know that she was very, very cooperative for her chiropractic treatment today and that Luther made it back into the library to hang with Maren, our new dog Auntie. Phoebe, of course, showed up too, hoping for treats even though she didn’t have to twist and pop.

I, on the other hand, had the odd sense while we were working that a portion of my Observer’s wisdom lives in these three dogs. (This is not official teaching… just truth.)

For now, we all took a vote and decided that a nap was in order. Sarah’s taking hers in the bathtub!




To paraphrase, once again, my Color of Woman teacher and Cosmic Cowgirl sister, Shiloh Sophia McCloud, we don’t have to have all our ducks in a row. Or all our stuff in a pile. Or even be all healed, to make a difference. We just have to be enough.

In the case of new Color of Woman teachers and Red Thread sisters, healed enough to call the circle.

I’m counting on that pretty heavily just now. It’s almost 10:00 pm and “time to start” this blog post.

We’ve had a bit of a veterinary emergency unfolding here and I’m “behind” on a whole bunch of things. (Like the very early stages of my CODEX picture.)

Or I would be behind if we believed in that!

Instead, I’ve spent last night and today reliving my six weeks in Intensive Care, back in the dark ages of nursing school.

Phoebe, as the old camp story goes, is fine. Well, I’m increasingly sure she’s going to be.

Bill will get off the plane tomorrow night and bring home awesome chicken wings from our friends at The Corner Pub, who may feel behind on a few other things but will, predictably, have dinner ready.

The dog laundry is done. The people laundry will get there.

I even admitted to a friend today that the thing I needed most in the moment was a pound of raw chicken hearts, known around here as God’s little pill pockets, and let her go get them for me.

The painting circle has been called for tomorrow. I imagine there will be even more dots than usual.

For tonight, though, I am calling the healed enough circle. And I’m counting on you to call some more folks, too. As many as we can find.

Healed enough to get through the day. To reach out to somebody who desperately needs chicken hearts. To give away a paintbrush. Or vote. Or plant collard greens. (Which is another of those things I’d be behind on if I believed in that.)

For now, though, the ailing pup needs a walk and “somebody” needs to shove dishes in the dishwasher. I am healed enough for that.

Though, if the batteries hold out in the flashlight, that would be good!

Will you join us?

It’s how the world gets better!

The miracle happened!!!

Friday night, I slept!

Perhaps, my chatty, opinionated paintings organized a field trip and went to the beach. Or the mountains.

Or, perhaps, I was just pretty tired. (Truth.)

In any event, I slept and dreamed the sort of dreams that don’t compel me to get up and write or paint or watch paint videos long before the birdies sing.

Mostly, I dreamed about vision. The kind I’m gaining as I go deeper and deeper into Intentional Creativity.

(Which is a pretty big thing for someone who hasn’t routinely “seen the pictures”!)

And the kind that’s more about intuition than it is actual eyesight.

Which may have had a lot to do with Luther’s visit from our dear friend the vet yesterday.

IMG_2811-2-1300x975Luther, it seems, is not seeing so well as he was before, and he didn’t see all that terribly well back then.

Which was, for me, a bit of a blast from the past.

My grandmother noticing, the year I was in 5th grade, that I squinted at books and sat very close to the television.

A teacher concurring but reluctant to speak out lest she be, you know, wrong.

Stepping out of the eye doctor’s office with my first pair of glasses, and realizing, as many of you have probably also done, that I could see actual, individual leaves on trees.

Which seemed quite a miracle!

Sadly, dogs aren’t so known for wearing glasses. And, if he had some, Luther might well eat them.

So, research.

It’s a bigger question with this giant breed guy than one might imagine. We’re going to need a veterinary ophthalmologist who is pretty open-minded as to process.

Luther has been through a lot of trauma and I am, it seems, his transitional object.

Rather like Old Bernard.

Old Bernard was Dave’s beloved, and essential, stuffed St. Bernard puppy, complete with crushed pecan shell legs which I spent a fair amount of time suturing up over the years.

Old Bernard got us through many of the tribulations of a small child with a student/working single mom. Daycare. Doctors’ visits. Mom’s exams in nursing school. You get the idea.

And I am, it seems, Luther’s Old Bernard.

We’ve tried stuffed animals. He consumes them.

So, we need a specialty vet in an office as small and calm as possible. A lavender oil diffuser would not be out of order! A little Wholetones music!

And we need a vet who will let me participate.

Did I mention that Luther weighs about 130 pounds?

And definitely sorts for same?

It’s likely that much of the conversation will focus around protecting Luther’s considerably stronger vision in his right eye.

We’ve lived with a blind rescue dog before but wee, Bischon-esque Albert weighed about 18 pounds.

This is a whole different world!

Honestly, I wouldn’t be too surprised to find Luther and Albert and Old Bernard romping around in my dreams tonight.

Until then, I have more prayer dots to make.

Tomorrow, sushi and dumplings at Noodle in Decatur. A fabulous local, pasture raised chicken headed for the Instant Pot. And a huge tray of roasted veg. Maybe two trays. It’s a great way to make easy, real meals on busy days as the week goes on.

Oh, and CODEX (my new painting class which is, perhaps, more of a thinking class) starts tomorrow!

Deep breaths… in and out and in and …

Oh, and the art for today… signs are everywhere, if only we’re willing to see. Even in my bathroom! Complete with a lovely angel from the Southern US folk art wizard, Flack.

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