Where The Wild Things Fly

From the 2 page spread for No. 7 & 8 of 20 Attitudes and Actions to Help You Live the Life of Your Dreams.

7.       Let courage draw you to the edge and passion lift you up
8.       Close your eyes, imagine the feeling of flight – repeat often

Mother Nature is the most amazing partner. When we invite her to be our mentor, our guide, our co-creator of possibilities, miracles and magic happen all around.

Thanks to Mother Nature and a Bald Eagle yesterday, I played in the field of possibilities of my Learning to Fly list of Attitudes and Actions – and was rewarded with miracles, magic and a whole lot of laughter!

In my studio, I spent much of the afternoon into the evening working on the spread for No. 7 & 8 of my 20 Attitudes and Actions.

  1. Let courage draw you to the edge and passion lift you up
  2. Close your eyes, imagine the feeling of flight – repeat often

Just before taking Beaumont the Sheepadoodle for his late afternoon walk, I made a spaghetti sauce so dinner would be easy. C.C. is engrossed in the hockey season as the teams near making it to the Playoffs. Or not, as the case seems to be he tells me for the Flames, our hometown team.

I was engrossed in creativity. Both, working on items on my list as well as creating in my art journal.

Win/win when dinner is easy and relatively ‘mess-less’. I tell you all that because, it all plays into the miracles and magic of the evening. As we sat at the island eating and chatting, C.C. looked out the window and said, “There’s a Bald Eagle sitting in one of the trees.”

I was so excited, I immediately jumped up from the table, grabbed my phone and raced out onto the deck.

The eagle from our deck.

He was quite a ways away, and there were lots of branches blocking my view.

But I soooo wanted to catch him in his moment of taking flight.

So I waited. And waited. But he seemed quite content sitting on his branch. Have you ever tried to outwait a Bald Eagle? It ain’t easy.

Over dinner, I kept darting out onto the deck to see if I could capture him. After we’d tidied up, I went downstairs to my studio and decided, ‘what the heck’. If the eagle’s still there, I am going to outwait him.

Without bothering to put shoes or coat on, I dashed out the French doors of my studio, onto the back lawn and raced along the fence-line until I was relatively close to the eagle’s perch.

Did I mention we’ve had snow the last couple of days? While most of it is gone the backyard is either covered in snow or wet and soggy. I was wearing Birkenstocks. At least I had socks on! (I know. Such an elegant look. Right?)

Anyways. I waited. And waited some more. And then…. it happened….

You’ll have to watch the short (40sec) video of what happened to find out! It’s at the bottom of this post.

I know. Such a tease.

But I am so very grateful for Mother Nature’s gift of flight.

Absolutely divine!

Oh. And btw… The laughter part of the miracles and magic, that’s at the end of the video. you’ll see. 🙂 C.C. howled when I showed it to him. I hope you do too!

Flight of the Bald Eagle.

Joy Does Not Sleep

Joy does not sleep while you muddle through your days. It dances always in the hope that you will awaken to its light.

The inspiration for this page came from a comment a lovely soulful woman, a fellow artist, made about one of my pieces and how it opened a door to healing and connection and joy.

On this day of the second year since my mother’s passing, I am reminded of how a friend described her feelings when in her 50’s both her parents passed away — “Since ‘becoming orphaned’ as she put it, I am all alone”. I wanted to create something that took away the sting of that idea of ‘being orphaned’ and connected me to the joy that is always dancing within and all around me.

In a comment yesterday, MSJaDeli of TaoTalk, shared a story from the Zhuang Zi. “Someone dies and an old man in his tent starts banging on his tin plate in grief. This is the wise man who is supposed to be above it all. The banging begins to bother others who go to check on him. They ask the old man, hey aren’t you the wise man, how much longer are you going to bang on that pan. The old man says I feel it as long as I need to feel it and when I don’t feel it anymore I’ll stop banging on the pan.”

I am known amongst some of my friends as a really good pot-banger. (The ‘good’ is my word, btw. Not necessarily theirs.) On backcountry ski trips, I was inevitably the first one up. As the first one up I would restoke the fire in the hut and put on coffee as well as start breakfast. As these were backcountry huts there was no electricity or running water. My least favourite task was going out to haul in water so… if the big water container was empty, to ensure there was coffee, I had to wake someone up — which meant I’d walk around singing at the top of my lungs, banging on a pot with a big metal spoon — I didn’t say it was a good practice. Just that I was good at it! 🙂 I know. Not my finest moment. Though we inevitably would get off to a nice early start because of my ‘joyful’ pot banging.

MSJ’s sharing of that story reminded me of those days and how much joy I felt being with good friends, far from the maddening crowds, surrounded by soaring peaks and still mountain air and sprawling valleys leading up to wide open slopes of untouched powder.

Glorious!

I am so blessed.

I bang on my keyboard letting words spill out, letting my emotions flow wild and gloriously free. I bang with my paintbrushes, hauling paint pots onto my worktable, tossing colour and texture onto the canvas with joyful abandon, transporting myself far from the maddening crowds into the sacred fields of creative expression.

I dance with the muse and joy lifts me up reminding me always — I am never alone. I am always connected to the divine essence of life in all its sprawling beauty unfurling.

In my studio, I know with great certainty, I am connected to the all that makes this life so beautifully exquisite and precious.

Namaste

Last night, as I sat in the glow of the lights on the Christmas tree, I felt the overwhelming sadness of missing those we cannot be near this Christmas.

“Buck up, Louise,” my inner critic said in a jolly voice. “It’s not that bad. At least it looks like it will be a white Christmas.”

“Small consolation,” I hiss back. “We’ll be all alone. Nobody in our home when Christmas dinner calls us to the table.”

I’m never sure why I feel the need to speak in rhymes to my inner critic (badly I might add) Perhaps it is to disarm him.

“Nope,” the critic says. “It’s to distract yourself. You don’t know how to handle feeling sad, so you avoid it.”

Seriously? You sound like my mother.

Oh, not the one I spent my life trying to understand. That mother took her last breath in February. A sweet, tiny, sparrow-like woman whose arthritic fingers floated up to touch the faces of her daughters and granddaughters who had gathered around her bed to say good-bye.

We could do that still, in late February. Gather with those we love to say farewell. Sit in a circle around her bed, close together, heads bowed, holding each other’s hands, as we said a prayer for this, the final leg of her journey.  

That mother, who bid her farewells in February was often a mystery to me. Full of contradictions and insecurities. I sometimes, unkindly, called her needy.

 This one, the one who comes to visit me now from someplace on the other side, is full of understanding and wisdom. She laughs and drinks martinis and wears too much perfume and too much jewellery. She doesn’t seem to care. She’s having the time of her life in the afterlife she says.

In her aura, I no longer yearn for the mother of my dreams. I simply yearn for her to keep visiting.

And then I realize he is. Her. My inner critic is my mother’s voice. But this time, she’s not visiting me while I’m in the bath, as is her custom. She’s here, beside the Christmas tree where I sit feeling the melancholy of the hour before midnight and the sadness of this season of joy that will be spent alone.  

My mother loved Christmas. She would spend hours decorating, baking, gift-buying and wrapping. From the man at the counter of the store where she normally shopped, to the woman who cut her hair, to the son of the son of the woman who cut her hair. My mother gave to everyone.

It was her way.

The gifts under our tree this year are sparse. Most were ordered online and sent directly to their recipients to avoid physical contact.

And my mother’s voice breaks into my reverie.

“It’s still Christmas Louise. A time to join the triumph of the skies and proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem.”

“Since when do you quote Christmas carols?” I ask this unseen presence who sounds like my mother’s voice but doesn’t speak like her at all.

“Since you keep slipping into melancholy instead of Christmas cheer,” my mother’s voice says. “You love Christmas carols. Remember when your girls were little and you’d organize a carolling party and all your friends would come and you would wander the neighbourhood singing at the top of your lungs?”

And I smile and remember. Yes. That was such a good time. Full of laughter and friendship and children’s voices giggling while we parents struggled to carry a tune that nobody cared about anyway. It was the feeling of being together, of being connected that made it all so special.

And I sigh.

“We don’t have those connections this year, mum,” I say to this woman whom I cannot see but whose presence feels so real to me.

“True,” she says. “But it doesn’t mean those days are gone forever. And it definitely doesn’t mean those feelings of connection and belonging aren’t still alive. You just have to work harder to feel them. Use your creativity Louise. You’re good at that.”

And I smile in the silent night. My mother’s voice drifts away and I sit and watch the Christmas lights glow with the promise of a most Holy Night.

Christmas this year can’t be like Christmases past.

But it can still be full of those feelings and sensations I love so much. Of being connected. Immersed in love and joy. Of being part of something magical and mysterious and miraculous.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

Quietly, I turn off the Christmas tree lights. Let Beaumont out for one last romp in the now snow covered earth and then climb into bed beside my beloved who is already fast asleep.

I close my eyes and say a prayer of gratitude. For my beloved sleeping beside me. For my mother who visits me now so I can know peace. For this life I live that is so full of joy and for all those who make it a beautiful tapestry of family and friendship woven together with Love.

We may not be gathered around a crowded Christmas table laden with the food we all prepared, but we will be gathered together in our hearts. And in our hearts, there is only room for one thing. Love.

Always and forever.

Radical Acts of Self-Love

Writing and painting are, for me, radical acts of self-love. It is my way of saying to myself, I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I honour you. And, I accept you in all your beautiful, flawed human ways.

And… because I want to celebrate all my beautiful, flawed human ways, I want my creative expressions be a reflection of all the delight and beauty, wonder and awe I see in the world around me, in its darkness and its light.

Some days, especially if I am spending too much time reading news reports and focusing on ‘the dark’ during these long nights of December where we wait for the light to return (here in the Northern Hemisphere), I risk feelings of apathy and helplessness overshadowing my heart’s desire for harmony and joy.

In those dark waters, I can forget all the Love and light in my life as I flounder on the edges of ‘the darkness’.

The darkness can be oh so beguiling.

But the darkness is not the place for me.

And so, I must consciously choose a radical act of self-love. And that’s where creativity, nature walks, dancing, meditating are so important. They are radical acts of self-love that create cracks in the darkness so the light can illuminate your path home to your heart.

Recently, as Covid news kept getting darker and even more restrictive social-distancing orders were coming into play to stop its spread, I felt myself leaning too far over the edge of darkness into that place where the light falls soundlessly away into an abyss of gloom.

I had to bring myself back into the light.

One of my favourite paths back to the light is through creative expression. In this case, creating ‘many somethings’ of a small nature. Somethings which, through both size and repetition, draws my thinking from my head deep down into my belly. To that place where the expansiveness of life flows freely in the deep, rich roots of my creativity.

The stars have a way of aligning when I need help seeing the light.

Last week, I received a letter telling me that I have been accepted to show at the Vale’s GreenHouse Cultivation of Art Show and Sale next June. I had been accepted this year but Covid dictated I not attend.

Being part of this show has long been on my bucket list so the news felt like a crack where the light could shine through. What a lovely blessing.

With art shows, I like to have something to give away. My favourite – bookmarks.

They’re small. Useful. And, when created with heart, can be beautiful.

Which made them perfect for my ‘get out of the darkness of your head thinking’ activity.

And it worked.

I spent a day painting bookmarks and found myself falling into the vastness of time free of worries of ‘what the future will bring’ or checking news reports in between surfing social media feeds.

In the liminal space of heartfelt creative expression, I found myself once again breathing joyfully into the depths of peace, tranquility and calm that reside at the core of my human nature. I found my way home to my heart.

The nights are long as our planet continues its orbit around the sun. And the news is grim around the world as Covid pushes deeper into the fabric of our lives.

Yet, even in the darkness, there is light. We only have to open our hearts and breathe deeply into the beauty of our human essence to see Love illuminating our path home to our hearts, no matter how dark the world around us or long and winding the road.

____________________________________

Christmas is fast approaching and if you have been considering a #ShePersisted 2021 desk calendar as a gift, I only have a few left in stock.

Between now and Christmas, with every calendar purchased, I shall be including a hand-painted bookmark.

Calendars available on my DareBoldlyArt Etsy Shop

Welcome, The Season Of Joy.

And so we gathered beneath the mighty fir that stands sentinel in our yard. The one where Siddartha sits all year round welcoming everyone to our home.

We stood beneath its sweeping branches that cast welcome shadows on a hot summer day, its deep green branches a welcome respite from the black and grey and white of a prairie winter.

Outdoor gatherings are fun!

We gathered together as families do and laughed and told stories on one another and shared a mug of hot mulled wine and feasted on seasonal delights. We toasted one another and those who could not be with us this year, either because of time and space or because they are gone from these earthly realms forever.

We raised our mugs to Christmases past spent indoors decorating or gathering around a table laden with holiday fare. And together, toasted this year that has challenged each of us to find more creative ways to spend time together. Ways that nurture our well-being yet do not risk our health.

Bundled up against a winter chill, we festooned the fir with stars and bells and homemade decorations and did our best to keep our distance. No hugs. No kisses on cheeks. No sharing of bites of this or that.

It was a different kind of way to welcome in the holiday season, yet, as in all the years past, smiles and laughter filled the air spinning a magical web with the essence of this time of year.

Family and friends gathering together to build memories and share what makes life rich and beautiful.

Connection. Belonging. Joy in one another’s presence. The reminder we do not walk alone. We are all in this together. And, above all, Love.

We decorated the fir tree outside our door yesterday. And the beauty of this special time of year slipped into our hearts and made itself at home for the season.

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.

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.

Promises. Promises. Promises.

Promises. Promises. Promises. Mixed media on canvas. 40 x 40″

When my beloved arrived home from his golfgame and saw the painting I was working on, he asked, “What kind of flowers are those?”

“I think they’re daisies,” I replied.

“Oh,” he said. “To me they look like dandelion puffs about to take flight.

It’s all in our perspective.

The original painting. Getting ready to pry off the letters.

The painting above is painted on top of an old painting that used to hang in our living room. Originally, it was reds and darks and golds. A many-layered thing, a reflection of the word that formed my intention for that year (2014) encompassed in the words I’d affixed to it – “At Onement”.

On Monday, I sliced and peeled off the letters. Sanded down what remained and then painted over the original to create a background of yellows and greens.

Yesterday, I dove in.

The outcome is not at all what I had envisioned. Yet, in the end, it doesn’t matter. The outcome pleases me.

The title, however, surprises me. Promises. Promises. Promises.

Where did that come from?

And memory immediately opens me up to thoughts of the past.

I remember as a child not trusting my father’s promises. He’d say we were going to do something. Go somewhere. And his promises seldom came to be.

I know now, my father never meant to make promises and then break them. He was mostly only repeating behaviours he’d learned when he was a young boy and struggling to make sense of a chaotic world. When he was nine, his parents divorced and shipped him off from London, England to boarding school in the wilds of the Saskatchewan prairies. A long and lonely journey for a 9-year-old boy to take on his own.

I don’t know what messages my father took as his ‘truth’ when all of that transpired. I do know that the disappointments and broken promises of his young life carried through into his adulthood.

He had a temper he often expressed with angry words and he made promises he seldom kept.

I loved him anyway. Because, in spite of, or perhaps because of, his flaws, he was very, very human. And I knew, no matter what, he loved me. He just struggled to express Love through all the layers of pain and regret and anger that clouded his vision of the world.

Which is why the title of this painting makes sense.

Work in progress… I want to quit.

As I worked on it, I had many moments where I thought… ‘this is going nowhere’… ‘Ugh. Quit now while you’re ahead.’ ‘What on earth were you thinking?’ ‘Give it up. You’re not an artist.’

Despite the critter chatter messing with my head, I kept going.

My father taught me that. Do not give up. “I promise you,” he’d say. “There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Never stop looking. Never stop believing. And even if you never find the pot of gold, look at all the beauty you’ll discover along the way.”

My father may have messed up on keeping his promises, but he never messed up on seeing beauty in this world. And he always believed in our humanity. No matter who you were. Your story. Faith. Colour. Title. He always accepted human beings as just that. Human beings. Beautiful. Magnificent. Flawed and Flawless.

He saw the magnificence of our humanity and he always promised a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

I didn’t find a pot of gold as I painted yesterday. I did find joy. Peace. Contentment and the beauty of being immersed in the creative process.

And in that richness, a promise my father made me long ago came true.

“If you do what you love with all your heart, I promise you, you’ll be richer for the experience.”

He was right.

Namaste

Falling Deeper And Deeper Into Love

I spent the afternoon in the studio yesterday creating two small paintings.

I had only one purpose in mind. – To immerse myself in the creative process.

When I began, I didn’t know what I was going to create. I knew I wanted to work on canvas and found 2 8″ x 8″ canvas in my supply room. And that was as much as I knew…

It is perhaps one of the greatest joys of painting for me – tosurrender my thinking to the process of letting appear what is calling to become visible that I cannot see.

To release my ‘thinking mind’ to my body’s knowing that this moment is where beauty, truth, and creativity dance together in balance and harmony.

It is meditative. Soul-enriching. Fulfilling. Peace-inducing.

It is bliss.

To begin, I loosen myself up by dancing. Wild. Slow. Sensual. Fluid. Dance.

Keeping my mind free of ‘thought’, I listen to my body and ask it, “What are you feeling?”

Yesterday, the answer was loud and clear. Connected. Mystical. Whimsical.

Feeling in my body, being present within the moment, hearing the emotions calling for expression, I began to play and paint.

With colour. Texture. Shape. Form. Light. Letting my body be my guide. Letting my emotions flow. Letting my intuition be my muse.

I am so blessed.

Dancing in my studio. Swirling colour onto a canvas. I feel. Everything. And in that everything there is beauty. There is calm. There is LIFE.

I painted in the studio yesterday. In the dance, I found myself falling deeper and deeper into Love with all of Life.

Namaste.

In Between, There Is Magic

Page 8 – 2 page spread on watercolour paper. Acrylic and acrylic inks. — The Sheltered Wonder Art Journal

A cat misses noticing a bird because it is watching up in the trees instead of down on the ground.

The bird walks freely, oblivious to the cat because it is down in the grasses searching for worms.

I am fascinated by the flights of fancy that percolate up when I am immersed in the magic of the creative journey.

Yesterday, I didn’t get to my art table until late in the afternoon. Earlier in the day, I had sat down at my computer to write a short story. It’s a piece of homework I needed (wanted) to get done for a writer’s circle. I thought it would be ‘short’ – like a thousand words short. 3,000 words later my first draft is done.

The story came unbidden. I put my fingertips to the keyboard, closed my eyes, took a deep cleansing breath and began to type. The words began to flow and kept on flowing. Magically. Effortlessly. Inspired by being willing to close my eyes and trust in the process. It’s what always happens when I let go of looking for the words and simply let them come through me from the Universe’s rich vault of stories always in the making.

And my soul revels in the mystery and my heart feels all pumped up with joy.

When I finished, it was already early evening. Too late to start a new page for my art journal, I told myself. Is that the new series I’m watching on Netflix calling my name?

I glanced at the screen of my laptop. It sat silently in front of me, the little N icon staring back. Capitulate, it urged. You know you want to.

Yes, I do.

At least the little part of my mind that likes to take the easy path to nowhere wants to.

The wise woman within, the one who knows how fulilling and joyful I feel when I am creating. She knows what I need most.

I shut the lid of my laptop. Get up from my desk. Tell C.C., my beloved he is on his own for dinner (there’s a stew I took out of the freezer thawing in the fridge) and went down to my studio.

Outside, the rain poured down. The glass of the french doors were streaked in rivulets of water. Each one seemed to hold a prism of green light filled with shimmery, wavy images of the leaves on the trees outside dancing on the glass. It was cool in the studio. I put the fire on, turned on lots of lights, my painting playlist, began to move my body to the music and bid the muse have her way with me.

I had no idea what I would be creating for this spread in the journal. I needed her intercessions. I needed to trust she would flow freely.

I pulled out a file of things I hadn’t looked at in a long time. There were stencils I’d made for my She Persisted series. Drawings and cut-outs I’d created and saved (for a rainy day) and found a cat and a bird I’d drawn some time ago stuck between two sheets of wax paper.

What if…

It was all the invitation the muse needed to have her way with me.

I am grateful.

The muse is always flowing freely. It is up to me to heed her enticements. She doesn’t discriminate. If I am too distracted by life and my little mind worries that keep running me around in circles, I will miss her visit. She doesn’t judge. She just continues to flow freely, seeking other more responsive lives in which to float down and share her magic.

One thing about the muse, no matter how distracted I am, as long as I am open to her entreaties to create, she will visit me again.

Yesterday, she did not leave until I felt satiated and the magic of the page was revealed.

It is one of the aspects of diving into the mystery of my Sheltered Wonder Art Journal that has so inspired me to keep creating.

I never know what is going to appear on the page. Until it does.

Like magic.

You don’t see it happening. And then it does.

Namaste.