To Love One Another. Fearlessly. Fiercely. Freely.

Mixed media on water colour paper – 5 x 7″

I am finding these times disturbing. The uncertainty and dismay hang around in the back of my mind like drunken party guests who refuse to leave. There’s no talking reason to them. No interrupting their disruptive nature with quiet, measured words of calm reassurance that it will all be okay. If they just go home to bed everything will look better in the morning. Going home to bed is the last thing they want to do! They want to party like there’s no tomorrow.

I think the disruptive partying going on in my head these past few weeks kind of believes there might be no tomorrow.

It’s okay. I haven’t resorted to drinking too much. Except… my drink of choice is ‘The News’. I circle back to it again and again throughout the day as if just one more drink will make it all come clear. Will make it all go away.

I’m a little drunk on disbelief right now. It hasn’t all gone away.

And so, I head to the studio because, whenever I am feeling disgruntled or unfocused, time in the studio pulls me out of disbelief, dismay and uncertainty. It brings me back.

To myself. To the moment. To beauty.

It is where I desire most to be present.

Years ago, when I was in the beginning days of healing from a relationship that almost killed me, I often caught myself saying to myself, “I can’t believe he…” “I can’t believe I…”

I had to stop myself from saying, “I can’t believe…”

The “I can’t believe” was a crutch. It was a mindblock that was keeping me trapped in despair and anxiety. It was a cop-out phrase that held me captive to its disenfranchising nature. Saying, “I can’t believe” meant I didn’t have to face reality and most importantly, The Truth.

And to heal, I had to face the truth and deal with that. Not the make believe.

In these times, I often hear people saying, “Can you believe this is happening?”

My response has become, “I have to.”

Playing the game of make believe, buying into disbelief, is too dangerous.

But what can I dooooo? the voice of fear and disbelief cries out within.

Today, on someone’s IG feed I saw a meme that made me wonder…

It read:

“I’m not sure if I should wear a mask, buy a gun or a generator.”

Someone recommended the generator and gave them advice on what type of guns to buy.

That buying a mask was not mentioned astounds me (I have many and wear them diligently). But, the reality is that for some, not wearing one is the option of their choice.

That buying a gun was considered an option to resolve the uncertainty of these times also astounded me. But, the reality is that for some, it is.

And as to the generator? Well, power goes out so why not?

Except, I think the generator option might be based on something more insidious than a storm downing power lines.

And I look out of my window at the river flowing by, the last leaves of autumn clinging to the almost bare limbs of the trees that line the riverbank. I watch a squirrel race along the fence line and take a flying leap onto the bird feeder trying desperately to grab the last seeds as they fall.

A few cars pass over the bridge. A flock of geese fly by. Beaumont the Sheepadoodle lies under my desk and watches it all.

And I breathe and remind myself that I must trust.

Trust in this moment. Trust in the universe. Trust in myself and this beautiful world around me.

And I breathe again.

I struggle to understand those who think mask-wearing fits in the same box as buying a gun because… I can’t believe people believe a gun will keep them safe.

Fact is. Some people do.

It is my disbelief that is my problem.

And the only way to resolve my problem is to allow compassion to be my guide.

The path to peace of mind is found in the very things I believe to be essential to create a more kind and loving world – Tolerance. Empathy. Respect. Compassion. Fairness. Equality. Acceptance. Truth. Trust. Love.

Not just for those who think like me or look like me or act like me. For everyone.

It’s hard to live in that space when I’m judging, criticizing, condemning the spaces I can’t believe are also present.

They are all present in the here and now. And it is here, in the here and now, that I must find my peace of mind, my understanding, my compassion and my joy.

And so, I go for a walk in nature. I dance in my studio and spill paint everywhere. I read and write and watch the river flow by and I breathe. Deeply. Filling my body, mind and spirit with life-giving oxygen.

I do the things I know work for me and trust that in so doing, I am adding a little bit of joy and beauty into the world around me. Beauty that will create peace of mind and heart within and all around me. Beauty that will remind everyone I encounter on my path of the power of Love to bring us closer together. To create bridges of understanding, tolerance, unity, dignity, fairness, joy…

And, held captive within is powerful embrace, to remind each of us of our human capacity to Love one another. Fearlessly. Fiercely. Freely.

Namaste.

Flight of Autumn Fancy

There is something inexplicably provocative about a Chinook darkened sky stretched across the western horizon pushing up against the sun rising in a clear blue sky to the east.

There is something beguiling about trees standing naked, limbs exposed, their branches bare of autumn splendour. Their sun-cast bodies create a filigree of negative space that fills the gap between the sky above and the earth below.

The forest floor is covered in dry and brittle leaves now. Slowly, they are turning back into themselves in a never-ending cycle of life flowing into death only to be reborn again in distant days yet to come. Once summer’s shade, they lay quietly fading from gold and rust to dank brown and black. Nature’s compost in the making. Their dying bodies will protect the roots from winter’s harsh breath. Their decay will nurture the soil in anticipation of a future spring.

I walked in the woods this morning.

I listened to the wind and the trees and the birds. The hum of traffic not far in the distance. The sound of the leaves rustling. The grasses hissing as I passed through their expansive nature.

And beauty wrapped me up in all its glorious sights and sounds, textures and smells.

And Nature whispered, “Come dance with me.”

And I danced.

Namaste

____________________________________________________________

Flight of Autumn Fancy

By Louise Gallagher

And the wind blew
and the leaves flew
and the trees stood tall,
naked limbs stretched out wide
to touch the sky.
And Nature whispered,
“Come dance with me.”
And the trees swayed
and the wind blew
and the sky soared
and autumn’s golden light
wrapped the world in beauty.

Forgive And Grow. Forgive and Grow.

We are, once again in the season of the long shadows. The sun’s light dims and shadows reach far across the earth like a memory that will not die in yesterday.

“How do you forget the awful things someone did to you?” a friend asked me awhile ago.

“I don’t strive to forget,” I replied. “I seek to forgive.”

When we forgive someone, or ourselves, it is not that we are saying the deeds that hurt us do not matter, or that it was right for those things to happen, or that the other is not accountable for what they have done.

Forgiveness isn’t about righting wrongs. It’s about accepting the wrong happened and letting go of the pain of reliving the wrongs day after day after day. In letting go, we become freed of the past. Freed of the past, we are free to walk in the light of today savouring its beauty, wonder and awe without carrying the burden of the past into our tomorrows.

To forget we must be able to wipe the slate of time and our memory banks clean. I’ve never found the magic wand that will do that.

What I have found is the power of forgiveness to take out ‘the sting’ of remembering. Just as when stung by a wasp, it’s critical to take out the stinger so that you can heal more quickly, removing the stinger from the past frees you to embrace this moment without the pain and trauma of what was in the there and then casting long shadows over your journey in the here and now.

Forgiveness takes conscious practice.

I remember when I was in the depths of healing from a relationship gone really, really bad, well-meaning people told me that to heal I needed to write a list of all the awful things he’d done so that I would remember how awful he was.

I didn’t need reminders of how awful those days were. The evidence was all around me. His transgressions were many. My brokenness profound.

I was not powerful enough to make him change or even be accountable for what he’d done. I could be accountable for my role in the debacle and aftermath of that relationship. I could make amends in my life. To do that, I needed to focus on sifting through my brokenness to find myself in peace, joy, harmony, love.

And it all began with forgiveness.

Forgiveness was my path to setting myself free of him. It meant, whenever a thought of what he’d done and what had happened arose in my mind, I repeated to myself the simple phrase, “I forgive you.”

No listing of the countless ways he’d ‘wronged’ me. No remembering of all that had happened. I did not need to recite the litany of his sins. Recitation wouldn’t change them. Repeating “I forgive you,” could and did change me.

“I forgive you” had nothing to do with him. It was all about me. And after almost five tumultuous and devastating years of his abuse, I deserved and needed to make my life all about me.

It also meant I had to forgive myself. To write a litany of all my sins in those first heady months of healing, to force myself into ‘the remembering’ of all I’d done to cause pain to those I love would also have forced me to relive the trauma. And in those early days of healing, I was not strong enough to withstand my desire to whip myself with the lashes of all my transgressions.

I had to rest beneath the soothing blanket of being free of his abuse, until the cold, harsh winds of the self-destructive voices inside my head that wanted to ensure I never forgot how much pain I had caused in the lives of so many, abated.

Just as every spring’s arrival awakens new life, forgiveness awakens gratitude for the beautiful dawning of each new day.

In gratitude, there is no need to remember, there is only the call to forgive and grow. In gratitude. Joy. Beauty. Harmony. Love.

Forgive and grow.

And slowly, like snow melting under spring’s lengthening days, memory will release its hold on dark days and cold nights. As shadows shorten and the sun’s warmth awakens the earth, buds will once again appear and beauty will grow brighter day by day by day.

ThE Incantations

“Whispered into the holy night, her prayers were an incantation awakening sacred joy and delight.” Pgs 51 & 52 My Mother’s Prayer altered book journal

My father was a curious man. He read voraciously and always replied to questions such as, ‘How do you spell ___________?” or “What’s does _________mean?” with the response, “Go look it up in the dictionary.”

Of course, I’d try to find a ‘smart alecky’ answer like, “If I don’t know how to spell it how can I look it up?

It never phased him. He’d make me think about the spelling, what I thought it was, and work from there.

Question about the meaning of life, or things or processes were always answered with, “Go look it up in the Encyclopedia Britannica.”

The EB was the fount of all knowledge when I was growing up. If it wasn’t in the Encyclopedia, it wasn’t worth knowing.

Because French was my mother’s native tongue, I seldom asked her those kinds of questions. For her, I reserved my curiosity about God.

“Why would God place a sin on an unborn child? Aren’t we born perfect and whole in God’s image?”

“Why do dead people have to wait it out in Purgatory for prayers of the living to release them? Doesn’t God forgive all sin? Isn’t that why Jesus died?”

To my mother, my constant questioning of God was an assault on her faith and her being.

I didn’t intend it to be but, because so much of what I learned about God as a child was fear-based, I wanted answers so I wouldn’t feel so afraid.

I didn’t like feeling afraid, especially if the adults around me didn’t have ways to assuage my fear.

And I definitely didn’t like the anxiety of waiting for ‘the Hand of God’ to come crashing down from the heaven’s above and knock some sense into me. Which is something my mother often wished for, at least that’s how I translated her entreaties that I ‘be like the others’ (my 3 older siblings) and stop disobeying her constantly.

“God knows everything,” my mother would say. “He sees you and hears you and he is angry at you for being so bad.”

And she would cry and wonder out loud what she had done to deserve such a difficult child as me.

After years of therapy and inner child work and personal development courses and journalling and a host of other practices to make sense of the mess I felt was ‘me’ inside, I understand how my mother and I walked on such unsteady ground.

How could she keep me safe from the world if I was constantly putting my eternal soul in danger by questioning God’s will?

How could she have peace if I was constantly searching for answers to the things she did not want to speak of?

Namaste

______________________________________

One of the gifts of art journalling is its invitation to experiment. With products, process, perspective…

Awhile ago, I watched a video on using Vaseline with alcohol inks. I wasn’t using Alcohol Inks on this page but was curious what would happen if I used it with acrylic inks.

Magic.

The vaseline acts as a resist so that when I spray onto the page, where ever I’ve applied the vaseline, the ink doesn’t adhere. When the ink is dry, wipe it off and voilá! (Ok. The wiping off takes patience but it’s well worth it!)

The lighter spaces, including within the dark image on the left which was the photo on the page I was working on, remain untouched by the ink.

For me, this page speaks to the mystery of my mother’s faith, of life, of relationships, of the universe.

I see the scrolly piece at the bottom as the filigree frame that separated the penitent from the priest in the confessional.

The lone figure walking towards the lit area of the image on the left is me, searching for answers while staying true to myself — which was not always easy when my path took me far from the Catholicism of my mother’s way.

And the entreaty to, “Be. Here. Now.” is the reminder that the past is not alive in this moment, nor is the future.

Life lives in the now. It is here where the mystery flows with grace into the mystical nature of life, creating magic and wonder in my life today.

Now is where Life happens.

Celebrate it. Cherish it. Create beauty within it.

.

There Are No Accidents In The Human Heart

There Is No ‘Us And Them’. – two page spread in altered book art journal, My Mother’s Prayers

My mother was devoutly Catholic. She was also very superstitious.

Though putting shoes on a table isn’t particularly hygienic at the best of times (like if they’re new) for my mother, it was cause for panic. It was a harbinger of impending death.

Stir with a knife. Stir up strife.

Black cat on your path. Look out!

We used to tease her a lot about her superstitions. Here response was to pray for us with another Hail Mary.

And, though her faith was firmly embedded in Catholicism, her roots were grounded in the land of her birth and the Hinduism of Southern India.

In my parent’s home, the Crucifix along with statues of Mother Mary and Jesus Christ dominated. But there was always a place for Shiva and Brahma. And, because my father liked to stir things up, there was always a Buddha or two sitting on a shelf high above our heads. As a little girl, I loved to rub the Buddha’s belly. No matter how high the Buddha sat, I’d climb up on a chair or reach up on my tiptoes and rub away. My mother told me it would bring me good luck.

I still have a Buddha on a shelf in my kitchen along with a statue of Shiva and an elephant with its trunk upturned (its good luck). The crucifix my mother carried around the world with her since leaving India decades ago, sits on the mantel in my studio and yesterday, I carefully placed the figurines of Jesus and Mary that sat on her bedside throughout her life on the side table by the sofa. A tiny Laughing Buddha stands with them.

My parents taught my siblings and me to listen and see and feel and know and honour everyone. Not by the labels of society, but by their hearts. They taught us that there is room for everyone at the table no matter where they came from, where they were going, or what they brought to the table.

If Buddha and Christ could stand side by side on a counter, why couldn’t we sit side by side at a table?

Yesterday, after finishing rearranging and organizing my studio, I delved back into the altered book journal I’ve been creating in honour of my mother. “My Mother’s Prayers”.

It is not an accident that the left side of the page has a prayer card of Mother Mary. Just as it is not an accident that Brahma graces the right side of the page tucked beneath the purple flowers I painted in remembrance of my mother.

As my parents taught me; There is no ‘Us and Them’. We are not our faith, or colour of our skin or land of our birth. We are our hearts and there are no accidents in the human heart. There is only Love.

Namaste.

TO Fall With Grace

As delicate as an apology
exhaled into the hope
of being embraced in forgiveness,
Autumn leaves fall, without regret, 
into the promise
of memory's grace.

I took the photo this morning on my walk with Beaumont. As I sauntered further along the path through the grasses and into the trees, the line, “as delicate as a breath” wrote itself in my mind.

I wondered if I’d remember it by the time I got home.

As soon as I opened the photo, it flowed up and out of my body, through my fingertips, onto the keyboard and then the screen.

Without trying to hold on to them, or make sense of their meaning, or force them into order, I let more words follow.

And I smile. Because without even realizing it, ‘breath’ was transformed to ‘apology’.

The words (and the change of breath to apology) may seem random. Unconnected to this moment right now, but I know they’re not.

I often think there’s an equation for life’s journey. It’s not as simple as A (what we do) + B (what the world does) = C (the value of a life well-lived)

It’s more like,

[A + (Time/Events/Reactions/Unfinished business/Messy places/Wounds and Warts) + (Self-Awareness) + Self-Acceptance]

divided by

Temperment + Environment + Life Skills + Life Lessons + Life adaptations

equals

the beauty experienced in all the moments adding up to a life well lived

Which is really just my very complicated way of saying, Life is messy. Humans are messier. Messes are inevitable. It’s our responsibility to clean up our own messes.

Which is why I had to apologize to my beloved last night for something I’d said that was not delivered with grace or kindness.

And here’s the messy part…

I’d really like to justify my actions with all sorts of caveats like, “But… you said/you did/you were…”

Fact is, regardless of what another person does, I am 100% accountable for my words and actions (thoughts too).

When I am out of line, it is not because of another person crossing the line. No matter how much I’d like to make them the problem, when I respond without integrity, I have crossed my own line of how to live my life. And making someone else’s stuff a reason for my bad behaviour is an excuse to not be accountable.

Ha. Says the critter. But you were in your rights…. You felt….. They did…

Yada. Yada. Yada.

And while all that may be true (the stories we tell on others are often a way to not have to tell the truth on ourselves) I am still and always… you guessed it… 100% responsible for how I respond.

No matter how heated the moment, or how hurt I am, or upset, or confused, or angry, or whatever else I may be feeling, I am 100% accountable for how I respond. And no matter how I’m feeling, I never have the right to be unkind or cruel or mean or dismissive of another or disrespectful or anything that would make another feel small or less than or dispirited or that we are not both fellow travellers worthy of respect and kindness on this messy journey of life.

I acted out of line last night.

This morning, nature beckoned me to fall with grace into the moment. Embraced in the beauty of my messy human nature, the sun shone bright, the trees whispered and the grasses swayed in harmony. And as I breathed into the delicate nature of the morning, I felt myself falling effortlessly into the beautiful messy of life flowing all around, lifted up by the beautiful grace of Love.

Her Prayers Were Her way.

No matter the season, prayers dispel the darkness and open our hearts to Love. — Two page spread in altered book art journal, My Mother’s Prayers

I am an experiential learner. I love to try new things. To combine different processes. To learn and challenge what I think I know by expanding upon the things I learn along the way.

I don’t follow instructions well. I don’t walk trodden paths with comfort.

Creating the altered book journal, “My Mother’s Prayers” has been a gift and a learning experience.

When I began, I thought I’d just be using my mother’s prayer cards as emphemera on each page. I wanted to honour her and to somehow enshrine her cards in a way that would preserve them, and perhaps enlighten me as to her true nature.

I have been blessed.

The cards and the process has become so much more than just a ‘task’ or an art project.

It’s become enlightening, nourishing and healing.

I always balked when my mother said she’d pray for me. I thought her prayers were a judgement of me. I thought she was praying for me constantly because she thought I was a horrible human being, an awful daughter, sister, mother, person.

The ‘art corner’ at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge

In working with her prayer cards, in allowing myself to be present to the images, their messages and to the process of creating each page with a loving heart, I am discovering a new perspective.

Her prayers weren’t a condemnation of me. They were the only way she knew how to express her love.

It’s one of the many things I love about the creative process. An idea sparks something and from that ‘something’, new awareness, insights, understanding blossom as I deepen into being present within and with whatever is unfolding.

In this case, I feel a deep, soulful shift within. No longer do I experience her prayers as a condemnation of my human condition, I am being gifted the experience of hearing them as her way of saying “I love you and want always the best for you.”

There was a deep gulf of misunderstanding between my mother and me. One of the things she often said to me was, “Why can’t you be more like the others? [my brother and sisters] Why do you have to do it your way?”

She struggled with my experiential learning essence. She feared for me constantly because I love to push limits. To test boundaries. To challenge what is in search of what is possible.

For me, it is just my way. To my mother, I was always in danger. And mothers are hardwired to keep their children safe. I realize now how often she must have felt helpless – she couldn’t keep me safe if I was constantly putting myself in danger.

My mother’s way was scary to me. I didn’t want to walk her path. And in being so vocal and I admit, obnoxious about not wanting ‘her way’, I wasn’t able to give her what she wanted most — peace to walk the path she was on, trying to keep her family safe by engaging God with every step. She wanted to live deeply embedded in her faith. I didn’t want any of that!

And I smile.

In retrospect, (though I thought I was being pretty random) I realize that it is no accident that the book I chose to use for this altered art book journal is called, “Contentment: A guide to finding the path to peace of heart..” The closing quote is from Henry David Thoreau, “Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

Most of my life I kept fishing for my mother to tell me she loved me — My way.

In creating this journal with her prayer cards, by being present to their beauty and their gifts, I am discovering my mother always loved me the best way she knew how — Through her prayers.

What a beautiful gift.

Namaste.

Time. Unplugged. Unpressured. Unstructured.

There is something sublimely magical about time spent in the mountains.

Time. Unplugged. Unpressured. Unstructured.

So rare in these days of constant connection. So challenging to attain in these times of pandemic and environmental disasters and political discourse straying far from the peaceful way.

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge from the far side of the lake

I am back from my sojourn in the mountains. Back from time spent savouring unmapped moments along the shore of Bow Lake and Num-Ti-Jah lodge.

I am back but I carry with me those days of breathing clear mountain air and hearing nothing but nature calling me to slip into reverie beside her running streams.

I carry those moments with me and still I struggle to hold onto the untrammeled path, the silence and the space to simply be present to whatever is unfolding in this moment right now filling my heart and mind and body with its beauty and possibilities.

I struggle and in my struggle am reminded to let go.

To let go of ordering time and managing my thoughts into what I want to be present.

I let go and remember the glacier high above the lakeshore, spanning the gap between two mountains. It has lain there throughout time watching in majestic silence life unravelling and passing by. It has been witness to the travels of Indigenous peoples who called these mountains home long before the first settlers arrived. It has lain unphased through the wars and pestilence befalling humankind and held space beneath clear blue skies turning dark.

I spent an afternoon painting by a window of the lodge. This is what I saw. Watercolour on watercolour paper – 7 x 6″

The glacier is smaller now. Receding. Drawing back. Releasing its ice cold waters to the streams and rivers flowing steadily down the mountainside. And still, it lays in silent majesty, watching, bearing witness, baring its bones, revealing the land beneath its icy blanket.

I close my eyes and breathe deeply. My pulse quietens, my heart slows down, my mind and body meld together. I become the peace I seek. I become the quiet.

And I wonder. Does the glacier love the mountains holding it against the sky? Does the sky give thanks for the glacier’s icy ways? Does the waterfall give thanks for the water?

I think it is so.

And I give thanks. For this day. For the time by Bow Lake. For the quiet along the trails and the moments shared with friends around a dinner table. For the beauty of this moment right now and above all, I give thanks for the love that fills my life.

Here I am, I whisper to the sky and the trees outside my window and the river flowing by. Here I am. Thank you for this day. Thank you for these blessings that make my life so beautiful and rich and oh so full of love.

Namaste.

_________________

As a side note — it was easy to keep social distance as the lodge is closed for the season — it’s gracious and generous owner, a dear friend, chose not to open it under Covid’s risks. It gave him an opportunity to keep a small staff onsite to do maintenance work.

It also meant, he occassionally invited a few friends up to spend time with him in the beauty of his home away from home.

What a beautiful gift of time and space. Thank you TW!

Doing. Alchemy. Faith.

One of the gifts of art journalling (and there are many) is how it offers up ample opportunity to explore your creative nature without judgement interfering with your discovery.

Ok. Let me reframe that. It offers up ample opportunity to see where judgement interferes with your discovery. In the process, you get to choose to explore your discovery of its limitations, or not.

This two-page spread began differently. It was going to be a simple, uncluttered background of flowers. I was working it. I mean workin’ it hard. I had a vision. An outcome. A goal. I was going to make it so.

And then, it became a reflection of what I wanted it to become, not the flow of what it was becoming. That’s when judgement stepped in and decided I wasn’t working hard enough.

So I dug in. Worked it some more until eventually, all my ‘hard’ work became a really big messy, cluttered ‘ YUCK!’

I painted over the whole thing with a thin layer of white paint thinking I’d just ‘start again’.

And then, I went for a walk and found the yellow flowers that appear on the page growing wild amidst a grove of poplars by the river.

I picked a few and kept smelling and admiring them as I walked home with Beaumont, the Sheepadoodle.

Their smell was redolent of children playing in fields of wildflowers dancing in the sun. Their colour felt like I was bathing in liquid forest.

They were calling for me to preserve them so, I hauled out my flower press and la voilá! They became the focal point of my page.

They also became the path through which I found harmony and flow within my creative exploration.

See, it would have been easy to give into my internal critics yammering about how bad the page was and just give up by painting over it entirely.

The critter would have been happier. It likes ‘the win’.

But the still quiet voice of knowing and grace would have been saddened by my ‘giving up’. It would not have criticized me, the still quiet voice of knowing and grace doesn’t criticize. It only presents me with opportunities to grow through myself. To discover new and more gentle ways of being me.

The words for this page were always floating on the periphery. They were always about a garden of prayers, but it wasn’t until I took the photo and decided not to write them on the page and instead worked in Photoshop that they gained clarity.

The lesson being… Creative expression is one part the doing, one part alchemy and one part faith.

Doing. Alchemy. Faith.

Just like my mother’s prayers.

as Soft As A Petal Falling

Altered Book Art Journal page — “My Mother’s Prayers” – ‘Soft as Petals’ “As soft as an angel’s kiss, her prayers fell like petals from the heaven’s above blessing everyone on earth.”

For the past three days I’ve been working on a video of my creative process. I filmed myself working on another page from the altered book journal I’ve been creating of my mother’s prayer cards, and have been editing and editing and editing…

It is a good stretch for my brain and a good reminder of how the creative process is not just founded in ‘art-making’, it is everywhere! I have to keep reminding myself that creating a video is in and of itself a creative process. Rather than thinking it’s taking me away from time in the studio, I am focussing on the value of learning new things and how it is expanding my capacity to evolve into new forms of creative expression!

The other day, after commenting on my Mother’s Prayer Cards art journal, someone asked if I was okay. “You seem to be grieving so deeply,” they said. “Are you okay?”

I appreciated their question and concern. It felt very loving.

The fact is, I told them in response, I feel great. Creating this journal of mom’s prayer cards, immersing myself in an exploration of the power of prayer and memory has been a very healing, loving journey. It has expanded my compassion for my relationship with my mother and deepened my knowing of her love. It has also given me an opportunity to heal some of the broken places of our relationship.

In the eulogy I gave for mom at her celebration of life, I wrote, “Being the youngest, I wanted to be the rebel. In fact, for a large portion of my life, I wanted to be anything but like my mother. I am so grateful that through her prayers, I have become more like her than anyone else I ever thought I wanted to be. As I sat with her in the quiet of the night over the final week of her life and prayed with her and sang to her and read to her, I realized that the gift my mother gave me was and is the one I cherish most in my life today – an unwavering belief in the transformational power of Love. “

Kindness was my mother’s North Star. No matter how unkindly I responded to her when she told me she was praying for me, she never responded in kind, she only responded in kindness.

Life is a journey. It isn’t about how fast we go on the road of life nor how long we’re on the road. It’s about how much kindness we invest into each step along our way. It’s about how much we joy we instill in each day and how deeply we fall into Love with everyone and everything on our path.

My mother would have been 98 today. In her life and in her passing, I have found myself growing deeper and deeper into Love through her prayers that continue to be a constant on my path. Thanks mom! Happy Birthday!

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About this altered book art journal page:

I started this spread knowing what the words were. They had appeared while I was in meditation before starting the page and were my guide as I created. “As soft as an angel’s kiss, her prayers fell like petals from the heaven’s above blessing everyone on earth.”