Don’t Try This At Home!

You, being both brilliant and compassionate, would never let your 4-footed friend do this! In addition to being tons of fun for dogs, it’s dangerous. (Feel free to email me if you need more information.)

For now, though, just let yourself concentrate on what this might feel like. It’s always reminded me of my very limited experience riding a roller coaster. Exhilarating, to be sure. Also pretty much guaranteed to remind you of a whole lot coming at you, very quickly.

I used to feel just like my canine buddy when I was sitting in a seminary classroom with the amazingly intense biblical scholar, Walter Brueggemann, on a roll. One specific day I remember feeling exactly like this was during a class on Imagination. Ears – well, hair – flying everywhere. Huge grin on my face. And tears in my eyes.

For now, though, let’s go with learning a whole lot of great stuff, at what feels like at least 65 miles an hour. That’s kind of where I am at the moment.

It’s not so much the new perspectives I’m immersed in, though they’re huge.

Instead, it’s more the sensation of the new connections going on inside my heart-brain.

My Legend painting is in a bit of an awkward phase just now and declined to pose for this post. She did give me permission to tell you that, after considerable pondering, she has chosen a title. Tending the Hearth of the World. I’m supposed to say that this will be clearer after a few more days of painting. Probably by Wednesday!

Then there’s the whole notion of something called MetaCognitive Drawing as a tool for massive growth and change work.

The simplest explanation is thinking about thinking while moving a pen. The color is up to you! And you can count on more stories about the magical outcome of such drawings in the weeks to come…

For the moment, though, let’s talk about bridges.

Bridges between a perceived present state and a desired future state. Or, to boil it down, between what feels hard in the moment and what would be better in the future if it didn’t feel hard anymore.

It’s as if some very wise part of us already knows that, if we can find the bridge, we can make the journey to a more spacious sense of life.

I’ve been drawing bridges lately. But, rather like my Legend painting, they’re feeling a bit new and tender for being published just yet.

For today, I have a bridge photo.

IMG_4113-2That’s me. And that’s Shiloh Sophia McCloud, next to me, on the very first day I met her in person, on my very first day in Italy. In retrospect, that bridge we’re standing on feels prophetic to me because Shiloh is, among a great many other magical things,  “coincidentally” the leader of the MetaCognitive Drawing band.

And, not so very far away from that bridge is the courtyard in which Michelangelo carved his magnificent David. I am utterly awed by his work.

I’m even more awed by a quote attributed to the sculptor…

I am still learning. 

Even when our ears are blowing in the wind and our eyes are filled with tears. Or, perhaps, especially!

And one of the things I’m learning is that drawing can be a powerful bridge between the present and our desired future.

So be it for me and for you and, at least to the extent that I get to choose, for all the world. We’ll play, soon!


My Ericksonian hypnotherapy buddies are fond of a magic trick called reframing.

It comes, like roses and chocolate, in several varieties.

We started, as I recall, by learning the pattern for a 12-step reframe, which, as you can probably imagine, required a couple of cheat sheets.

Then, we went on to the 6-step reframe, causing lots of us to wonder why we didn’t start there in the first place. Clearly, we weren’t ready until we were!

Then, the plot thickened even more. You guessed it… a 1-step reframe!

All those memories bring to mind the Harry Potter books in which wizarding school started with a trip to buy a wand.

These days, my wand is mostly a paint brush. Or a Sharpie marker. And I am totally still learning!

Today, though, many of the things I’ve learned through the years came together in an instant, including the meaning of abracadabra, which is something very close to I will create as I speak, leaving me simultaneously laughing and crying so hard that choking was not out of the question.

I was sitting in a Zoom meeting with a bunch of very cool creative women spending a chunk of our Saturday pondering the business of being artists. Our fearless leader was the comically wise Sam Bennett with her ever-so-capable side kick, Veronica.

In theory, we were wrapping up a journey we began sometime last fall. Wrapping up in the sense that finishing something so often means beginning new things.

Sam was sharing a list of 15 things she’s come to depend on in her journey. I was scribbling really fast with my magic hot pink Sharpie so what you’re about to read is what I heard, though not necessarily exactly what Sam said.

Experimenting with failure and not knowing IS the life of the scientist, explorer, artist and queen!

Que the 1-step reframe!

You see, one of the other things on my list today, after the private painting/dog petting session was finished, while the laundry machines were doing what laundry machines do, and the oven was making left-over frittata new again, was the eminent demise of a batch of GoDaddy domain names!

And no one home to help!

Dealing with such an event, as you’ve probably realized, has not historically been in my comfort zone. But, tonight I had a couple of sketch book pages covered in scribbles from the Zoom meeting and the one all highlighted in yellow was… yep…

Experimenting with failure and not knowing IS the life of the scientist, explorer, artist and queen!

I’m hoping Sam will understand if I add grandmother to the list. (Not so sure about the queen part. Must be learning for another day…)

So, re-framed, I just did it.

Loving names as I do, it was quite the project, and I did avail myself of the option to phone a friend for moral support! It feels like a bit of a miracle that, in this moment, I am left with a collection of things I intentionally chose a-new instead of a whole bunch of maybes from the past that were costing me money.

Yes, it was a little scary. And there is one question remaining for another day when I’ve collected a bit more information.

But, just in case you missed it… I did it!

There are no Oscars or Westminster trophies or Nobel prizes for such an accomplishment but, you know, I don’t need any.

That, by the way, is how you recognize that the 1-step reframe flew, instead of falling flat on the floor as sometimes happens.

And, just between us, magic events like this don’t really happen in one step. They happen, like the evolving lights in my studio, with a whole lot of noticing what doesn’t work and a big dose of imagining it might be different, followed by as much research as it takes, a handy friend, a couple of do-overs, and eventually light!

Some of you–maybe lots of you– are muttering about now, thinking the light is for others but not for you.

Take a deep breath and please hear me, in all truth, assuring you that even if you’re not a queen or a grandmother or a scientist, you are, in fact, an explorer. I know that because you’re still reading! And there is an artist lurking inside you, even if you haven’t made friends with her yet.

Take another deep breath and let it a…l…l… out gently. We’ll come back to this another day.

For now, though, a bit of attention for the laundry machines and time for me to paint.

Oh, and a gift for you, the explorer if you’re feeling even a tiny bit brave. It just might be the magic reframe you’re longing for. But you’ll have to click here to find out!

ps… That gift is, in an odd way, related to the photo of the flag that flies on our front porch every day. It seemed extra-important on this particular 3-day weekend!


When the painting writes, too…

Mythic Musings on the Journey Known as Codex

I was raised, as a child and as a theologian, in worlds devoid of images. Images were for others and “we” were not like them.

Words were my first art form. Useful. Approved. Occasionally even eloquent.

Quilts came next. The liberated sort, full of wild colors and wonky lines that began teaching me to trust my eyes.

Bone broth came after that. A huge container. The very best ingredients. Energy. Time. Lots of time. A new kind of embodiment.

Then, in my wandering, I tumbled into Intentional Creativity ®… and eventually into the arms of Grandmother Moon, the in progress nickname for my most surprising journey, Codex.

The path has been both Wilderness and Promised Land. Sometimes in the same moment.

One day, just as we were about to begin, Shiloh asked me what kind of images graced the hallowed halls of the seminary I attended. I was shocked to hear myself reply, “Old, dead, highly educated white men.”

It was true. (A bit less so now, but that’s a story for another day.)

When I look at the painting now titled The Co-Creative Soul, I see a quilt, for I have picked through generations of scraps, like baby dresses and old aprons, and added the words of my own code: Word, Remember (which also means Remind!), Create, and Steadfast Love, all a bit mysterious, in the Hebrew.

Grandmother Moon, who appeared first, needed her partner, Grandfather Sun. She needed a visionary eye and a huge heart and a red thread.

Symbols appeared and disappeared again, leaving their energy and allowing for change.

Finally, in these last few days, I –  and perhaps you, as well – appeared in the gaping empty space at the bottom of the canvas.

Hands, which are also power in Hebrew, raised in thanksgiving and praise for the eye of my soul, which has been waiting to be recognized for so long.

I have painted an understanding of Co-Creation!

And then, written on the back of my discoveries, another scrap collected from the recent musings of Shiloh Sophia, during the days of the fires.

My work in the world is to wake the sleepers to degree that they are ready to wake. Period. The way I do that is through Intentional Creativity. Full Stop. Full Start. 

There is a bit of tending to do yet, and some rainy teal prayer drops to make for souls in California, but today I take this new expression of a very old, very big calling as language for my work, too. And my heart is changed. Again.

(slb  10/29/19)

Amen. Amen. Selah.


From Ghoulies & Ghosties..

and long leggetie beasties and things that go BUMP! in the night, good Lord deliver us!

Let me start by saying that I am allergic to bee stings. (Wasps, too, for that matter. Yellow jackets.  Ants. The whole nine yards.) The Epi-pen carrying kind of allergic.

And, for many, many years, I was very, very afraid of the whole crowd known to my biology teacher as Hymenoptera. 

Then, I became a gardener. I began to be very concerned about the growing global crisis of rapidly dying colonies of bees.

I read Braiding Sweetgrass (recently) and The Secret Life of Bees (about six times!) and, slowly, I’ve begun to have a much more vivid appreciation for the pollinators among us.

(Honestly, I haven’t quite worked it out with fire ants, just yet.)

Today, though, I had a close encounter. I was out in the garden, trimming back some rogue grape vines which were attempting to take over the porch and picking some cherry tomatoes.

A bee came to visit me. As instructed by Sue Monk Kidd, I sent her love. I actually thanked her for her presence in my garden and all her hard work.

And then, as she buzzed back to where I’m allowing some of the arugula to bloom, and hopefully re-seed, I took three slow breaths, inhaling deeply of the scent peculiar to tomatoes on a hot summer morning, and went to greet Auntie Maren who is the official chiropractor for the studio angels.

I’m glad to know the ancient Scottish blessing about ghoulies and ghosties. It seems that they abound, in many forms, in our world these days.

I would imagine it has always been so. And there are, indeed, a few lurking in my world just now.

And yet, the one thing I know for sure is that fear is rarely our most effective way to meet them.

Thus, the question for today, courtesy of the wise and ever-amazing Shiloh Sophia McCloud comes from a Zoom meeting yesterday about what I’m learning to call metacognitive drawing, which is kind of like changing things by drawing while thinking about thinking. (Stay tuned!)

What, I’m wondering, are the next steps in allowing creativity to bloom in my life? 

If you don’t have a question of your own for today, I’m happy to lend you mine!

PS… the art today is a snipet from Honey in Your Heart, coming soon to Sue’s Shop!




Some words from a wise friend and a demo painting…

Yesterday I led a workshop called Holy Polka Dots for some students at Columbia Theological Seminary. Our topic was an introduction to the practice known in Intentional Creativity land as praying in dots.

We began with this poem, from the book, Tea with the Midnight Muse from the very gifted artist and poet, Shiloh Sophia McCloud.

Just Dare

Dare to re-invent yourself
when you don’t know what that looks like yet.

Dare to dream bigger than
you feel comfortable dreaming.

Dare to love unreasonably,
even if you have been hurt.

Dare to practice radical self-love
even when you aren’t sure how.

Dare to practice big compassionate love
for others, even those you don’t know.

Dare to say yes to your own self
when family or friends don’t understand anymore.

Dare to not let fear get in your way,
and when it does, dare to keep moving.

Dare to be the most you that you can be
while accepting yourself right as you are.

Dare to discover what beautiful means,
to you and only you.

Dare to call yourself an artist, a poet,
a dreamer, a thinker, a revolutionary.

Dare to take passionate action
so that your fire will be lit within you.

Dare to take risks that make you feel hopeful
when you don’t know how it will all work.

Dare be a colorful being, and dance alone.
Dare to live. Dare to love. Dare to laugh.

Dare to not get it right. Dare to get back up.
Dare to live in amazing grace.


The group was so touched by the reading, and I with them, that I just had to share it with you, today.

I, literally, dared to get back up yesterday after a fall on the steps, re-loading the car after the workshop. I’m sore and bruised but, as far as I can tell, basically intact. (Nothing making creepy noises!)

The getting up was hard. And I’m grateful for two friends helping. The biggest thing I noticed, though, was that I had to figure out how to do it. And believe that I could, even though none of it made much sense. That felt like amazing grace. (Even though it hurt!) And something to share with our beloveds.

Here’s one more thing to share.

What will you dare???

The Muse Took a Night Off!

The lovely lady in the portrait called The Eyes of the Muse spends most of her time hanging out on the wall in our room, keeping me up nights!

She’s in charge of dreams and brilliant solutions to painting challenges and workshop designs. Even blog posts. She’s hopeful and encouraging. The flip side, in a sense, of her harsher, but well intended, alter ego, the Critic.

With considerable help from my  Intentional Creativity teacher, Maestra Shiloh Sophia, and the very wise Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, the three of us have developed a relationship that works pretty well.

The Critic, who exhausted herself in my earlier years, spends most of her time in retirement. She likes Arizona where her allergies bother her less and she has no need for boots she considers to be too Ugg-ly for words.

The Muse and I send her postcards, assuring her that we’re making lovely progress here, even despite recent torrential rain and soggy basements, and that extending her vacation is absolutely no problem for us.

Lately, though, we’ve been working overtime again.

The Muse, whom I suspect may be from Australia given the hours she keeps, has a tendency to lure me out of my comfy nest of flannel sheets and handmade quilts in the wee small hours of the morning with her latest fabulous notions about the next right thing.

In a blessedly frustrating sort of way, she’s generally right and apparently concerned that I won’t remember her genius suggestions until, you know, the sun comes up at least.

She’s been feeling especially creative this week and we’ve gotten a whole lot of cool things done.

Sleeping has not been one of those things.

Last night, though, she took the night off.

I slept for 12 hours, almost straight through! I’m not sure how she convinced the dogs to cooperate with this plan, but I’m grateful anyway.

And when I brought my first cup of tea, in my favorite sunny yellow mug, into the family room where my magical chair now resides, and looked at the commission painting I’m in the midst of, I heard her whispering in my ear.

The right one, if you’re curious.

And the next step is now clear. The big field in the upper left of this farm-scape needs fixing and I know where to start.

It’s worth noting that I managed both sleep and inspiration in the same night!

Realistically, we’re going to need another step or four after this right thing, but life — and art — are often that way.

In this moment, though, it is a sunny and miraculous 68 degrees in Atlanta and Bill and I are headed out to our back deck for lunch. The dogs can come, too, and we won’t have to wait for a table.

Later, fixing the farm field, and a bit of editing while the paint dries. Yummy soup for dinner. New calendar pages to set up. Perhaps even more sleep.

Tomorrow, plumbers. Again.

In the meantime, if you click either the link where it says The Eyes of the Muse, above, or the one just below, you will be magically transported to the land of FineArtAmerica where many of my paintings are available in everything from cell phone covers to shower curtains to, well, paintings. Love to have you visit! (The cell phone covers are really cool. Even the Critic approves!) Just click on any image that calls to you and the elves will pop up a list of all the options. It’s a miracle!



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!

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