Two Haiku

Written sitting at my desk this morning as I watched the sky shift from dark to light.
Mixed media on canvas paper. 7 x 10″

I enjoy putting words to my paintings. Yesterday, when I had finished this one, my beloved asked me, “What kind of berries are those?”

Red, I replied.

And thus…. a haiku was born.

This morning, as I sat at my desk and watched the night sky fade into reds and rose and blue, I snapped the first photo.

And another haiku was born.

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I am fascinated by the haiku form — both by its endurance through so many centuries and its compactness inviting the author/reader to say something about nature and life in so few words — the form is precise – three lines with a syllable count of 5 / 7 / 5 to equal 17 syllables in total.

From the website, Poets.org“the philosophy of haiku has been preserved: the focus on a brief moment in time; a use of provocative, colorful images; an ability to be read in one breath; and a sense of sudden enlightenment.”

It’s a great form to test and stretch your creative muscles.

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The painting of the berries was an experiment with watercolours, acrylic ink, spray ink and Inktense watercolour pencils.

If I Could…

Mixed media – 7 x 10″ on mixed media paper. (Collage, stamps, inks, acrylic paint and love)
 
 
 If I Could Give You My Heart
 ©2021 Louise Gallagher
  
 If I could 
 I would give you my words
 plump and full of
 promises
 dancing in the ecstasy
 of never having to leave
 you 
 without words
  
 If I could 
 I would paint you the sunrise
 bold and fiery
 colours streaking across the sky
 full of morning delight
 threaded with gold
 melting like butter
 upon a piece of warm buttered toast
  
 If I could 
 I would sing you a song of sunset
 full of sun-bathed mountains
 stretched out across the horizon
 like a dragon 
 sleeping
 at the edge of the world
 where sky tumbles into the sea
 and the moon rises high
 and pulls the night up into a sky
 full of stars falling like snow
 melting your dreams awake
  
 If I could
 give you my heart
 would you listen
 deep
 to the beat of its silence
 echoing throughout the vastness 
 of time wooing your fear
 of falling
 asleep
 like a lullaby
 spun into a cradle of love
 that can never break
  
 If I could 
 give you my heart
 would you listen
 deep? 

Yesterday, I entered my studio without any clear idea of what I wanted/needed to create or without having heard what the muse was whispering into creation.

I opened my art journal to a blank page. Threw down some colour and text and lines. And took a breath.

A deep one.

I closed my eyes, let my conscious mind sink down, down, into the crucible of my belly, into the font of where creativity rises up to inspire, cajole, exhort me into being wildly, joyfully present to all that is present where ever I’m at.

And that’s when I felt the murmurings.

Of words. Of song. Of flowers and trees and birds and life flowing.

I started to draw and paint and when I was finished, she appeared.

I told C.C. “She’s my Frida Kahlo meets Marie Antoinette.” He laughed and asked, “Where’s the cake?”

“Her cake is the words she spins into stories the flowers breathe in,” I replied. (I might even have been a little flippant. But the muse didn’t care…)

And thus, the words appeared… Her words grew into the stories flowers told to chase away grey skies and cloudy days.

_________

This morning, when I sat down at my desk, I didn’t know what I was going to write.

I closed my eyes, took in a breath and watched it sink with my conscious mind floating on air down, down, down into the crucible of my belly. The busy places in my heart grew still. The stuck places melted… and that’s when I felt the murmurings.

Of words dancing and sunrises melting and hearts listening deeply and breaking open to love.

And the words guided my heart into creative expression.

Namaste

No. Never. No More. (#ShePersisted Series)

No 60 (something) in #ShePersisted Series – mixed media on watercolour paper.

I hadn’t realized how long it has been since I last created a painting for my #ShePersisted series.

I thought I was done. Finished. Had enough.

The muse had other ideas.

I listened. Because… as No. 57 (or is it 60?) says…

No. 60 #ShePersisted Series

They said, you’ve come a long way baby.
Be happy.

She said, there’s still a long way to go.
I’ll be happy when dignity and justice, equality and love
are the way for all humanity.

And here’s how I know how long it’s been since I created No. 60… (which I think is actually No 57 because I seem to have skipped a number here and there in the process – I really need to go back to elementary school and take arithmetic!)

To figure out the No. for this latest painting, I had to go back into my FB feed and check it out.

No. 60 was created in March — of 2019.

And yet, now, more than ever, ensuring every voice is heard, everyone is counted is as important today as its ever been.

We need to do better.

As a human race. As a society. As a collective. As individuals.

We need to do better.

We must.

We can.

Let’s do it.

_________________________________________

PS – I also have to do better at updating my website where all the paintings for the series are displayed. Apparently, I’m still at No. 52.

And another PS… I have had a couple of inquiries about a calendar for the series. For the past two years I have created a small desktop flip calendar with 12 of the paintings.

I’m in the midst of creating a new edition for 2021 with availability by November 30. Just in time for the season of giving!

If you’re interested in possibly getting one, (they’re about $18 +shipping) I’d love to know – especially if you have a ‘fav’ you think should be included. The series (up to #52 but I promise to get the rest uploaded today! 🙂 ) can be viewed HERE. Send me an email or leave a comment.

Thanks!

This was the 2020 version (which was the same as the 2019). 2021 will be 12 different paintings with corresponding messages.

A Book of Hope

I lost my mind yesterday.

Ok. So not literally. But, for awhile, I was so totally immersed in creativity, I forgot to ‘think’ and settled into the state of ‘being’. with the effortless grace that comes from being Wholly Alive. Present. Connected. At One.

And in the wholeness of being, anxiety, fear, stress, worry, did not stand a chance. They drifted away as fluidly as a leaf floating on the river passing by my studio doors.

I was at One. In the PHLOW as my friend John calls it.

Power  (I also like to think of this one as Presence)
Harmony
Love
Order
Wisdom

In that place, there was no need to push worrisome thoughts away. They were just like that leaf floating by. There was no need to fixate on outcomes – of world events happening right now, or of what was transpiring on the worktable in front of me.

In that moment, all of it and none of it was present with and within me. In that moment I was one with the world outside my studio doors and the world within me.

In that moment, all was in harmony, unfolding just as it was. I was not in charge of the world’s destiny. I was responsible for living mine. Fully. Completely. Wholly.

It was all flowing with grace to the rhythm of the moment flowing past. Dancing joyfully in the circle of Love that surrounds and sustains me. Singing, wild and free to the song of life.

In that moment flowing seamlessly into the next, what mattered most was what I experienced in that moment.

Joy. Gratitude. Acceptance. Appreciation. Love. Peace. Harmony…

There is a song from the late 60s that my brother used to play again and again on my dad’s tape recorder. “Master Jack” by Four Jacks and a Jill.

It has popped into my mind several times the past few days. The lyrics for the first verse and chorus seem apropos to these times in which we live,

It’s a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack / You taught me all I know and I’ll never look back / It’s a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack

You took a colored ribbon from out of the sky / And taught me how to use it as the years went by / To tie up all your problems and make them look neat / And then to sell them to the people in the street.

It’s a strange strange world we live in Master Jack.”

It is a strange strange world we live in.

As it was in 1968 when that song was released, it’s also a big, beautiful, miraculous and magical world full of wonderfully inspired moments that fill me with awe and possibilities for better, for change, for love to grow in the hearts of all humankind. Moments that give me great HOPE.

I am leaning deeper into HOPE today. Allowing the flow to draw me into the mystery, the beauty, the wonder of every moment.

_________________________

About A Book of Hope

Yesterday, I finished the little booklet I started working on the day before. A Book of Hope.

The images above are all from that book. The one below are the pages I shard yesterday.

It is small — 2.5 x 4″. 4 x 4 page spreads16 pages.

Each 4 page spread tells a story of HOPE.

Hope is a flower basking in the sun sharing its beauty with everyone.

Hope is the waves crashing [into your dreams] daring you to awaken and set sail towards your dreams.

Hope is a birdsong calling you to spread your wings and fly wild and free.

Hope is the wind whispering to the wildness within to dance like no one is watching.

As I created I wasn’t thinking about ‘the page’, I let my intuition {and the muse] guide me. I let my senses lead me deeper and deeper into the PHLOW.

__________________________________

And…. here’s Master Jack by Four Jacks and A Jill.

Leaning Into Hope

I am not good with surprises. I like to know. Before things happen. This trait is so deeply ingrained that I generally read the ending of books first. Even non-fiction.

Some of it’s possibly because I can be somewhat competitive. Ok. Highly.

I like to think I can figure out the ending of movies and books before they happen. Hence why I read the ending of books first. Somehow, my brain thinks that if I know the outcome I can go back to the beginning and focus on the story without having to spend time trying to figure out where it’s all going before I get there.

I didn’t say it was a rational thinking pattern. It’s just the one I’ve adapted to for most of my life.

Yeah. I know. But… My thinking pattern does have its benefits.

Seriously. It does.

I am an observer by nature. I love to watch both the world around me and how people move through it. And, I love to watch myself as I journey through any given set of circumstances or events to bear witness to ‘my process’. My state of mind. My attitude. My blindspots. My weaknesses and strengths.

And here’s what I’ve noticed about my mental state in the past while.

I’m on edge.

I’m not focused.

I have a tendency to start one thing and then another and then another only to discover I have 3 or 4 things ‘in process’ and nothing finished.

I also immerse myself in mundane tasks (and complete them), which is great except, there’s no pattern to how or what I’m tackling.

For example. On Monday I cleaned out all my flowerpots. I’d started the process a couple of weeks ago when the forecast was for snow the next day. After cleaning out the six pots that line the front walkway, my hands were frozen as was the earth surrounding the roots of the plants so eventually I stopped. As an aside, it took about half an hour for my hands to warm up once I stopped digging in the ice cold dirt.

Did I mention I’m also stubborn? Yeah well. It’s possibly true.

Anyway.

As Monday was unseasonably warm, I decided it was as good a time as any to finish the unpotting job. ‘The job’ included wheeling the giant green compost bin down the hill at the side of our house to the bottom deck to give me easier access. After emptying all the pots on the lower deck, I positioned the bin on the grass so I could then go out on the main deck above it and throw all the dead plants off the deck into the bin.

Worked like a charm.

Except… I then had to wheel a now completely full bin up the hill and back into the garage until pick-up next week.

Which wouldn’t have been too bad except for the fact I’d just spent two days flat on my back with Sciatica.

Yeah. Well. I did say I was stubborn….

I spent most of the rest of that day flat on my back again.

But the pots are all winter ready!

See what I mean though? I’m doing things without being fully present.

Granted, I could have asked C.C. for help but… remember that competitive streak thing? Mix it with a dollop of stubborn and I am convinced I can do it myself. Thank you very much.

Which brings me back to my state of mind.

Yesterday, after cleaning the oven (it really needed it and my sister was cleaning hers so…) Anyway. Clean oven makes for a clean mind. Or something…

I went into the studio and began to work.

See what I mean? This piece is not particularly pleasing nor a good reflection of my artistic nature. But I want to keep it real so sharing my failures is important. this piece reflects the disquiet and lack of focus that consumed me when I sat down at my studio table.

The first piece left me feeling very dissatisfied.

I could feel my nerve endings, zapping one another, seeking contact.

I could feel my thoughts skittering about my mind like a fly trapped in a bottle. Ever notice how they seem to fly in squares. Weird. Right?

Never mind.

Back to my story.

So. Knowing I was unsettled and unfocused, I decided to work small.

I decided to create a mini art journal and call it, “Hope is…”

I can’t tell you why this idea popped into my mind other than to say that the muse is my ally. In times of distress, she tends to gather my thoughts and target them on an idea she knows will help me focus.

Working small helps me focus. Working on something inspirational, does too. It soothes my troubled mind and eases the strain in my heart and reminds me that trying to know the future is like trying to control how fast the river flows outside my window.

Now is the only moment I have to be present.

Now is the place and time to invest my best.

Now is where I find myself at peace. In harmony. Full of gratitude, leaning deeply into… HOPE.

What about you?

What do you do to bring peace of mind into your state of being?

How do you settle yourself in the present?

___________________________

Bonus! The muse also offered up four more quotes for my Hope Is… journal. That’s what I’m going to focus on today.

Thank you universe for your beauty. Your gifts. Your everything!

And as to the world out there. I am of much better service to the ALL when I am All Present in the Now.

Namaste.

My Mother’s Prayers. (Video flip-through)

Front and back cover of altered book art journal — My Mother’s Prayers

It is done. This journal I began several months ago with my mother’s prayer cards. It is done.

When I began my intention was to honour my mother’s life journey through using her prayer cards as a collage element on each page in the journal. I wasn’t thinking about healing. Or growth. Or change.

I was focused on diving into the creative field of creating an altered book art journal with her cards.

And then… Transformation beckoned.

Which makes sense, given that the premise of an altered book art journal is using an existing book to transform it into something else.

Don’t you love how art mirrors life and how when we open up to creative expression, life awakens in all its magnificent hues like a crystal prism hanging in a window refracting and reflecting rainbow shards of sunlight?

Through working on this journal, I have found myself falling with grace into all the colours of my human emotions. Grief. Joy. Sorrow. Gratitude, Regret. Compassion. Denial. Appreciation. Sadness. Joy. Anger. Love…

As I’ve written on one of the pages, “There are no mistakes in the human heart. There is only Love.”

In the end, and in the beginning… there is only Love.

There are no mistakes in my life. No paths not taken I wished I had. No roads wandered I wish I hadn’t.

Every path, every road, every step and word and gesture and action and encounter have all added up to create this space in which I live today. Breathing deeply of the divine nature of life.

It is here I find myself floating on a sea of gratitude, waves of joy and love and friendship and laughter and harmony and grace washing over me as I bathe in the waters of sacred communion with Life.

And so I say the prayer that stirs my soul and fills my heart with gratitude. “Thank you.”

__________________________________________

For the past two days I have been working on a flip through video of the book.

On each page I share the words that are most evocative of that page.

I am pleased. The book has turned out better than I imagined (Yes Jane. I’ll say it. “I did a good job!” 🙂 )

But, more than how the book has turned out, I am so very, very grateful for having taken this journey. I began without expectation of an outcome. I end with gratitude for the transformation that has appeared on my path through stepping into the creative exploration of My Mothers Prayers.

A note on the cover — my mother loved baubles and bling. She always wore sparkly things. On her fingers. Around her neck. In her hair. On her wrists. The original cover was orange – not one of my mother’s favourite colours. I painted it purple, covered that with gold spray paint and sprinkled gold dust over the entire thing. The jewelled pieces were my mother’s earrings and on the back, the embroidered bird is from excess fabric from the skirt I wore when C.C. and I were married. Made of hand-embroidered silk from India, I felt it would bring my mother to our wedding as she was too frail to attend. Underneath the bird is one of my mother’s prayer cards.

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.

.

In The Garden Of Her Prayers

Her prayers became a garden. “My Mother’s Prayers” altered book art journal. Pgs 49 & 50

I remember as a young girl my mother admonishing me after one of the squabbles my middle sister and I often had. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” It was one of her favourite sayings.

My mother kept her silence. A lot.

I used to think her silence hurt her. Filled with all the not-nice things she wouldn’t say, her silence constantly grated against her peace of mind.

As I work in this journal and come to its last pages, I recognize the limitations of that belief. As I paint and meditate on the pages. As I collage a prayer card on the page and allow the words to divine their way into being known, the awareness grows that her prayers were her way of transforming her silences, her secrets, her worries and fears and anger and tears into hope and love and above all kindness.

As a child, I never liked that adage of my mothers.

It was my inability to not be silent that frustrated my mother the most. Particularly, as my speaking out often came in the form of questions about things she never wanted to discuss.

“Let bygones be bygones,” she’d say.

“Stop making trouble Louise. It was long ago. It doesn’t matter today what happened then.”

“Don’t be mean. Be quiet.”

I never meant to be mean, but to explain to my mother the source of my angst or questions required speaking of the things she did not wish to speak of, at least not with me.

Which is one of the gifts of this journal journey.

There was a time when I thought that my mother just wanted to avoid talking about everything and anything that did not please her or paint her in good light with the saints to whom she whispered her prayers. And while she did like to ‘look good’ and spent a great deal of energy worrying about what others thought, it was her right to choose what she did or did not speak of.

In my constant questing for answers, and her desire to not speak of things for which she knew her answers would not be enough for me, there was no safe container for either of us to find our way through the turmoil of the past together.

In all probability, my mother did speak of the unspeakables she carried deep within her heart and mind. It’s just, the only one she trusted with her thoughts and feelings, fears and doubts, anguish and anxiety, was her God.

My mother, like me, was never perfect.

She was kind. Caring. Generous. Shy. Quiet. Creative. Loyal. Steadfast.

And above all, she was a woman of great faith.

A woman who wanted the best for others. And even when she didn’t know how to give it, or how to speak the words, she never doubted that her faith was enough. In her steadfastness, in her constant prayers, I was free to grow fierce and loving. Strong. Wild. Free.

As this page says, “Her prayers became a garden where Love grew stronger in the memories of those she left behind.”

Namaste.

Lessons From The Creative Field

Watercolour and ink on eco-dyed cotton

If you look closely at the painting above you will see it is mostly painted on cloth.

I was having fun playing with the eco-dyed cotton I created last week.

The completed 2 page spread in handmade art journal from scrap papers

And here’s the deal. ‘Fun’ is the operative word. I was not trying to make art. I wasn’t trying to create something ‘perfect’. I was simply having fun exploring what happens if…

This is the backside of the first image and the following page.

That’s art journalling. Exploring the what if’s of what happens when you let go of needing a purpose or destination to whatever you’re doing and just let yourself fall into the pure joy of self-expression that has no agenda, no intended outcome, no purpose other than to explore your creative essence.

Front cover of handmade art journal from scrap papers and collaged leaves and flowers

Life is the art of living fearlessly in the beauty of this present moment.

‘Making art’ is just a means to access the creative core that resides in each of us through whatever medium we choose to employ.

For me, those mediums include paint, paper, (fabric too!) dried flowers and leaves (as in the cover of the handmade journal I created out of scrap papers.

Back page – includes dried flowers and leaves

My mediums also include the words I write, food I create, table settings, and a host of other everyday things I use to create beauty in my world. It’s all creative expression. My way.

Your creative expression will be different. It is a reflection of you. Your inner and outer world. Your experiences, preferences, likes and dislikes. But make no mistake, whatever you are doing, it is a creative expression of YOU! And because it is a reflection of you, it is, by its very nature, beautiful. You are beautiful just the way you are.

Make it Beautiful is both my motto and achilles heel. I struggle to keep in mind that sometimes my self-expressions aren’t so much ‘beautiful’ as much as one big beautiful mess.

Different sizes, shapes and quality of papers all stitched together.

Like this handcrafted journal I created at the beginning of August and continue to sporadically work on. It was an invitation from an online forum/art group I belong to, “Get Messy Art“.

Its pages are all bits and pieces of scrap paper. Different sizes, textures, colours, heaviness. The beauty of it is its ‘mess’.

And… confession… I struggle with the ‘mess’ of it all. I struggle to let go of my judgement of what is beautiful . I want to create pretty pictures. Not beautiful messes.

Which is why I’m sharing it here. To find the beauty in all of it… The places I judge as the good, the bad and the ugly.

It’s my invitation to ‘loosen up’. To give me the freedom of letting my not so ‘pretty’ parts show too. To quieten that voice within that likes to hiss in my ear, “What will ‘the neighbours’ think?” Or, one of the critter’s favourites, “They’ll laugh at you and not take you seriously.”

This is the two page spread after the image I shared yesterday

And that’s why art journalling is so powerful. It not only gives me a medium to express myself through words and art, it allows me to dive into those spaces within where I find myself hiding out from being ‘real’.

Being real to me is more than just ‘being authentic’. It means I allow myself to be vulnerable in my beauty and my beast nature. I allow all of me, warts and wounds and wisdom to be seen – because as this art journal so beautifully expresses for me, we are not just ‘the good’, we’re also the pieces of ourselves we want to hide. The scraps and broken places where we fear that if others saw them, they’d laugh at us, or mock us, or shun us.

A page in process — I wonder what will happen if….

We are all of who we are — not just the pretty parts we like to show off, but the dark spaces too.

Like the moon needs the sun’s glow to be seen in the dark, we need our darkness to let our true, inner beauty radiate.

That’s what art journalling has taught me. Again and again. To be grateful for the joy and the pain, the ease of passage and the turbulent seas. To be grateful and to express myself in every way my heart desires.

Oh. And to let my judgements go and simply Have Fun!

Namaste.

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!

___________________________

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.”