Second Hand Wisdom

Dear Ones,

It occurred to me, several years back, that second hand wisdom is a bit harder to hold on to than the Life is for Learning kind.

Recently, I realized that sometimes they bump into each other in particular moments. Now, I think, is one of those times.

And, I suspect I’m about to butt in. So be it. I’ve traveled far enough in my journey to take the flack.

In the words of Michael Pollan, Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Recycle. But, better yet, buy less stuff that comes encased in junk.

Register to vote. Yes, you. Now. Even if it means going online and wrestling with abysmal government websites. This is how we win! (And my girls are counting on you.) If you happen to live in Georgia, you have just less than 30 days. Now would be really good.

Pick up a paint brush. Or a wild purple Sharpie marker. Or, what the heck, some strawberry jam. Draw. Paint. Smear it around. Make big shoulder motions. Laugh when it gets on your clothes. Make loose, swirly, integrating motions. Good comes from adventures like this.

Go do something for somebody else.

You are healed enough. Really!

And make room for the possibility that you can do something for you, too.

Yes, you’re going to have to grapple with fear.

Newness is always that way.

What has been, can be changed.


For you and for those you love and for those on the far corners of the planet who long for peace as much as you do.

How do I know?

Not simply because I remember Simon and Garfunkel from back in Central Park in the dark ages when I was a kid, though that helps.

Rather, because I have known a lot of change. Have longed for a lot of change. And have ventured into a lot of darkness to find change.

As the old song goes, it’s a lot about vision.

The kind that looks beyond the places we’ve always been and into the options for the future.

Yes, the journey is scary.

But it’s better than staying stuck. Better than giving into the machine. Better than setting down our paintbrushes.

Does it matter?

Do you matter?


You just have to show up.

And, just between us, I’m counting on you.

So, as I mentioned, are my girls.

And the rest of the people on the planet with us.

Luther, for one, will be glad you jumped on board. He comes from a long line of fiercely compassionate peacemakers. And is more than willing to adopt you!








Does Anybody Really Know?

With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, does anybody really know what time it is?

We certainly don’t at our house.

The dogs are not amused at the revisions to their fine dining schedule on this time change weekend in the US.

Three hungry Newfoundlands who suspect the ones with thumbs have forgotten them are quite the force of nature!

They remind me of Dave when he was in middle school. My perpetually late son somehow got fascinated with Stephen Hawking and spent a great deal of energy trying to convince me that time was just a theory for controlling people and had nothing to do with reality.

Especially when it had to do with the time school started.

(Don’t tell Dave, but I’m not entirely sure he was wrong!)

I can’t help but wonder what impulse to control the natural world caused us to think adjusting the time twice a year was a good idea. (Or not, if you happen to live in places like Arizona and parts of Indiana!)

Bill, who lives in a random “time zone” of his own, is probably wishing that the mythical extra hour of sleep had really happened. Fortunately, he’s really good at changing the multitude of digital clocks that surround us. (Me, not so much!)

I have noticed, this fall, since I turned my chair to face the big garden window, how much more aware of the shortening of the days I’ve been than in previous years.

And, as a person who grew up mainly in Florida, I’ve long been a fan of bright, golden sun light.

Lately, though, I’ve been learning some new things.

I’ve been learning about light and dark.

My learning began, in a new conscious sort of way, about a year ago as I listened to friends and scholars reflect on the Jungian notion of light and shadow in light of our recent American experience.

We might say that this moment in history is bringing us face to face with our shadow, which always has the potential to teach us things we need to know.

Then, this past August, I embarked on a virtual Black Madonna Pilgrimage.

My painting, Our Lady of Fierce Compassion, is complete. (Stay tuned!)

I’ve learned how to buy paint. I’ve learned about brushes, and glazes, and how to fix canvases for hanging.

I’ve learned to chant in Latin, which makes three languages for me now, when you add that to English and Chinese. Hebrew, too, I suppose, depending on your understanding of “chant”.

Then there’s been dark. And light.

Along with spirituality and physics, which are not nearly as different as I used to imagine.

Which is rather a lot for someone who learned absolutely nothing and got B’s in high school physics, mostly based on the fact that I wore a skirt to school now and then. (That’s a problem for a different day!)

For this moment, I’m reading Stephanie Georgieff”s fine book, The Black Madonna…mysterious soul companion and learning more about dark and light.

Here’s my favorite quote so far:

I find it fascinating that the Black Madonnas combine both darkness and large hands. For me it is as if they are saying, get to work and do something, plant the seeds for the future.

If, in this moment, you’re even pondering some new questions, this time, today, is totally worthwhile.

And, if you’re just trying to figure out when to get up in the morning, some (paraphrased) advice from the brilliant artist and author, SARK… just be where you are, whatever time it is!





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