The Song of Your Heart is Always Brave

Spread 6 – left hand page – Listen to Your Heart – The song of your heart is always brave.

Have you ever noticed how, when fear awakens, so do the voices in your head?

That’s my experience. As I get closer to doing something I’ve been avoiding or putting off, or doing something that’s new and/or different or requires me to step outside my comfort zone, or at least the lizard brain’s comfort zone, the cacophony of sound emanating from the dark recesses of my grey matter get louder and louder.

Intoxicated with the lizard brain’s negative feedback, I begin to tell myself it’s right. I shouldn’t… – Do whatever it is I’m attempting. Step outside my comfort zone. Talk to someone I think could really give me guidance on a project [as in, ask for help]. Submit my work to a magazine. Create that Art Journalling 101 course…

Working in my “Learning to Fly” art journal has been an awakening and an inspiration to keep on going, keep on digging in, keep on stepping out, reaching beyond my comfort zone, looking at all the things (lies) I tell myself I risk losing if I do… x, y, z.

it’s also been a great wake-up call.

As in, the only thinking that’s stinking around here is mine!

And I smile as I type that. I might sound like I’m being hard on myself – it’s actually a loving form of tough love – I’m being real and honest with my fears — as I wrote on Spread No. 6 of the journal – “Fear is the voice of doubt and confusion that would have you believe you don’t deserve to live your dreams.”

I also think I’m suffering from Covid-brain Weary Syndrome.

You know, the falling into lazy patterns of thinking without even realizing I’ve been doing it.

No one can deny, this has been a long year. And there is still more to come before we can step out of our front doors and into the world without fearing this invisible microbe’s attack. As the world has hunkered down, so too have I in some ways.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been very creative and given birth to lots of creative expressions. The challenge is, I’ve not done much with my body of work. I’ve just kind of floated from project to project like a sleep-walker drifting through the silence of the night.

To wake myself up I have to get out of my feelings and into my body, my whole body, where I know, beyond doubt deep, deep within my entire being, that I am more powerful than I could ever imagine, more creative than I could ever express and more fearless than I could ever envision.

We all are.

More than we imagine.

Think about it. Our imaginings take place in our minds. Our minds are constructs of our habitual thoughts.

If our thoughts are limiting, so too will be our expressions of ourselves.

Living under the thrall of Covid has limited all our lives in so many ways, it makes sense that some of our thoughts could evolve into more limiting than freeing.

Which is also why birds appear throughout my Learning to Fly journal.

I don’t know where they’re leading, I don’t know where this journal is going (it’s all part of the adventure) what I do know is… if I do nothing, nothing will happen other than what already is. I must follow the flight of the birds where ever they lead. They carry my dreams.

To pursue my vision of creating inspiring and compelling work that ignites the creativity and passion in others, I must pursue pathways to getting my work out there.

And so… the adventure continues.

Going back to my 20 Attitudes and Actions to live the life of my dreams, today I commit to working on No.s 9 and 10.

What about you? What do you commit to doing today to move you one step closer to a dream you want to transform into your reality?

I hope you share your thoughts. I’d love to be your accountability buddy!

_________________

No. 6 – Attitudes and Actions — “Don’t let fear muddle-up your thinking. Even when you think you can’t, tell yourself you can. – Listen to your heart.”

Spirit of the Wolf Clan

 The Spirit of the Wolf Clan  ©2021 Louise Gallagher
 
 spirit of the wolf clan
 running through my veins
 Fierce. Loyal. Fearless.
 streams of wildness
 flowing
 endlessly
 through the vast unknowing
 of the mysteries
 of life
 endlessly
 flowing
 through the untamed fires
 of my heart
 burning away 
 all resistance
 to run
 Wild. Bold. Free. 

The moon. The moon. Oh galaxy of night dreams…

Okay. So that line just wrote itself out when I started to type. It’s kind of a prequel to Spirit Wolf Clan.

It all started with a prompt I read yesterday on Goff Jame’s blog. I followed its thread and landed at Eugi’s Causerie where I found the prompt with instrustions to:

Go where the prompt leads you and publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be any variation of the prompt and/or image. Please keep it family friendly. Prompts close 7 days from the close of my post.

The Spirit of the Wolf Clan is where the prompt took me – first to the poetry, then to the artwork.

All of its creative expression inspired by a prompt to write something, anything, about this month’s Wolf Moon.

Someone asked me yesterday how it is that I just seem to keep creating. How does it happen, they asked.

I don’t really have an answer as much as a sense of memory beyond this known world… A feeling of being open to the whispers of all of life flowing around me and feeling that presence stirring the creative forces deep within the crucible of my belly.

Once stirred, the forces start bubbling up in a wild dancing concoction of words and images weeping through every pore of my body, yearning to get out.

So I let them out.

Perhaps, told my friend, it is that I listen to the whispers and do not censor myself. I don’t criticize, condemn or judge my work-in-process nor in its relative completed state (relative because… well there’s always word for one more brushstroke or one more edit out of a word). I look at it through loving eyes and ask, “What are you here for me to embrace? What windows into my creative nature are you seeking to be opened?”

See, I believe that whenever we say something like, “I”m not very creative,” it’s actually our yearning to experience our creative nature calling out.

We can see through the window, we sense creativity — how would we recognize what we judge to be its absence if we didn’t? — but we’ve never opened the window to let the essence of its nature flow in and out and all around us.

Yesterday, I read a prompt. It stirred the creative forces deep within my belly. I looked through the window of my soul, deep into their depths and opened the window.

… and the spirit of the wolf clan flowed free.

Namaste

___________

Do pop over to Goff Jame’s place and open the window to his creative force. And once you’ve sated your senses there pop over to Eugi’s Causerie and immerse yourself in all the poetry and sights of the Wolf Moon.

January Flowers

Here on the prairies at the eastern foot of the Canadian Rockies, January days are full of harsh winter light in a cloudless blue sky.

The land is grey on black on white. Leafless trees stand stark. Barren gardens lie silently waiting for spring beneath a blanket of snow. Prairie grasses rustle dry and brittle in the crisp winter air.

It is there, amidst the frozen landscape lying dormant beneath a January sun, I paint, my palette loaded with all the colours of the rainbow.

Playing with colour distracts my mind from world events and disheartening news of death counts and violence, changes in governments and travel restrictions and weather-forecasters’ foreboding messages of a Polar Vortex about to descend.

It is there, on the palette, I am reminded that my power lies not in my ability to change the whole world but to create beauty in my own. In that act of creation, I set in motion a ripple of beauty flowing within me and out into the world all around me.

It is there I remember that the power of art to awaken nascent possibilities for humanity to find peace, love, joy, together, is not transitory. It is always present.

To awaken it, to be present within and to it, I must keep my attention on the things I want to grow stronger in my life.

Let my attention be on creating joy, love, harmony.

Let my attention be on sharing peace and love with all the world around me.

Namaste

___________________________

I have been feeling unsettled. Discordant notes of anxiety burble up into my consciousness, creating ripples of unease within my peace of mind.

Much of my unease is initiated because I keep returning to newsfeeds that do little to create confidence in humankind’s ability to create better. I tell myself I must stop only to catch myself awhile later falling down the rabbit hole of yet another story about some political, environmental, economic or pandemic related story dragging me into the darkness.

I turn away, come back to the palette and begin again.

Practice they say makes perfect.

I am feeling very practiced at dragging myself out of the darkness, though I am getting tired of the dance!

Yesterday, I desperately needed the distraction of working on small things to help bring myself back into the present moment unfolding right in front of me.

I am grateful for my art practice. Grateful for my beautiful studio where I can find my balance again amidst the noise of the world around me.

How do you find your balance? What do you do to distract yourself from the world ‘out there’ so that you can find peace, harmony and joy within?

How to start again.

Recently, Lisa Winkler, a beautiful human being, writer and author of the Lisa K Winkler blog, wrote to ask me if I had any ideas on how to get started again after taking a long hiatus from blogging. “How do you do it?” she asked – blog everyday.

Habit. Mostly.

Though in March 2007 when I first began my daily blog thanks to the encouragement of fellow writer and friend, Mark Kolke of Musings and other writings, it took a lot of discipline and commitment to set the habit in place.

Even when I only take a couple of weeks off, as I tend to do in the summer, I struggle to find my way back into my routine.

There are two ways that work best for me —

One is the first imperative — and that is I meditate before I write. I will often carry a question into my meditation — like, ‘what am I grateful for this morning?’ or ‘what is on my heart?’ I also often awake with an ‘idea’ in my head. I have learned not to push it away but to invite it to simmer and percolate so that when I sit down at my keyboard, it is willing to become visible through my writing.

The other is to write to a photo I took of the world around me or a piece of art I’ve created.

I write first thing in the morning so I don’t get distracted by my day. My photos are mostly taken on my walks with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle so they are nearly always about nature.

And then…. on those mornings where no thoughts arise as I sit down to write, I begin with the sentence… I have no idea what I’m going to write about today.

From there I just write whatever pops into my head about ‘having no idea what I’m going to write about’ until… as it inevitably does, the words morph into something from my heart. And then, when I’m done, I go back and delete the first few sentences/paragraphs – the one’s about not knowing what I’m going to write about. 🙂

Sometimes, when I’m stuck, I’ll simply write about what I’m seeing. As an example, when I was responding to Lisa’s email, I wrote what I was seeing outside my window in front of my desk and right beside me:

Right now, there is a chickadee hopping around on the bare branches of the bush outside my window. I watch his joyful hops and feel my heart skip joyfully in harmony with his antics. The sky is grey. Beaumont lies at my feet, every so often nudging my knee with his head as if to say, “It’s time to get going.” I keep waiting for it to get brighter outside but I think it’s a losing battle. The sky is overcast, December grey. It’s time for me to go for my walk.

In 2007, when I first decided to get into the habit of daily blogging, I wrote a Commitment Letter to myself and posted it by my computer as a reminder and prompt for my writing.

I commit to writing a post a day.
I commit to being okay with writing 'bad'.
I commit to not letting judgement of the worthiness of my words stand in my way. 
I commit to being present to the page and whatever unfolds.

And then… I just let myself ‘write bad’ to get to ‘the good’ without fearing my inner critics yammerings.

In the beginning, I probably spent as much time editing as I did writing the first draft of my posts. Over the years, editing has faded by the wayside. As I became more trusting of ‘free-fall writing” – which is how I tend to write on my blog, I became more trusting of the ‘wise inner knowing’ within my heart and body – not my head. It means, inviting the critic (that critical voice of doubt and worry who sits on my left shoulder) to take a nap. This is why I avoid editing as I write – Editing invites both ‘the critic’ and my thinking brain into my process, interfering with ‘the flow’.

Writing everyday has become part of my life. It centers me, calms me and opens me up to the wonder and awe of the world around and within me, and, it connects me to the world ‘out there’. To you who visit and spend time with me here or on my social media feeds.

Writing every day is my contribution to creating better in the world around me, because, my commitment to myself is that, no matter what is going on, when I sit down to write, I must find the value in the darkness and share the light, the beauty and wonder and possibility I see.

By sharing light, I raise my own spirits. It helps me fee like I am living my life purpose “to touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free to dance in a world of love, joy and harmony.”

Thank you for being part of my purpose and for making my world so joyful and bright. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Namaste.

________________________________________________________________________

On another note, I was invited to participate in an online holiday auction “A Fresh Start – Gifts for the Holiday Season presented by Fiera Capital” on behalf of Fresh Start Recovery Centre. Fresh Start has been helping people impacted by the disease of addiction to recover and reuniting families for 28 years.

The invitation reads, “Your gift creates impact! Life is the most precious gift you can give … the next is hope. You give hope for a second life to someone struggling with addiction, to a mother worried about her son, to a child getting a father back, to spouses reuniting or a grandmother reconnecting with an absent grandchild. These are gifts you make possible. Consider giving these gifts of hope and healed lives.” 

If you are looking for a beautiful, unique gift that also does good in the world and can help change lives, please check out the A Fresh Start Auction for Holiday Season Gifts presented by Fiera Capital. Click HERE to go to the website.

(I had trouble getting my submission together so it won’t be on the site until later today. The painting above is one of the three I submitted)

The auction ends at 8pm on Thursday, Dec 17th.

Love Is Always Present

There are moments when I forget these times. Moments when the reality of stay-at-home orders and masks and climbing case counts and even more sobering death tolls do not invade my peace of mind. And though those times feel fleeting, their presence warms me like my 5-month-old granddaughter’s smile or my grandson’s laughing insistence, I “look at this, YiaYa” when we visit on Facetime.

I cherish those moments of forgetfulness. They are precious.

Finding grace in a hurting world can feel hard. Yet, finding grace is essential if we are to lessen the load of worry, fear, sadness and angst that seems to engulf every conversation, in the real and virtual world.

“I’m not sleeping,” is a reality expressed by many.

“Stay safe,” has replaced ‘have a good day.’

“I am so sorry for your loss,” has become a too frequent salutation.

And so, to ease my mind and heart, to bring me back to grace and gratitude, I go into my studio and immerse myself in the creative process. It is there that I find myself breathing deeply into the expansiveness of the moment. It is there that I find myself coming home to my heart.

It isn’t that I no longer care about the state of the world. I care deeply. But, as I do not want my ripple to be felt in waves of worry and angst, I commit myself to doing everything I can to ensure my ripple flows out in calm undulations of loving-kindness.

Peace of mind comes with accepting that, though there is little I can do physically about all that is happening in the big, wide world beyond my studio doors, there is much I can do, must do, to tend to my heart and nourish my circle of influence.

Immersed in creative expression, my heart and I have the courage to bear witness to all that is present in our world today, without expectation it is anything else than what it is. Absorbed by the muse calling me to express my heart through words and images, no matter what is happening in the world out there, inside me, I embrace reality. In Love.

In Love, all things seem less daunting or frightening. All things are possible.

For awhile, it seemed like Christmas would allow for in-house gatherings, albeit small, but at least some. But, the onslaught of the viruses incursions into homes across the province has dictated no in-house visits with anyone other than those who currently live in the home.

Facing a Christmas without family and friends has felt like a daunting prospect to me. I have struggled with finding a way to create a sense of connection, to share my love and joy in the presence of those I love even when we are not gathered around a table.

And so, I asked the angels to help me find a way to still create wonder and magic around a dinner table that will be missing so many hearts and faces.

And that’s where the angel placecards I’ve been creating come in.

Each angel will bear the name of someone who would have gathered around our table if times permitted. Each angel will be a messenger of love.

Immersed in their creation, I forget about ‘loss’ and those I miss and find myself in the beautiful, healing spaciousness of grace and gratitude. As I paint and doll up each angel, without conscious thought my mind and body focus on all that I have and all those who make my life so rich and beautiful.

And ‘the missing’ eases its grip and falls away.

Whatever your celebration, may we all find ways to ease ‘the missing’ this holiday season.

May we all find peace of mind and ease of heart no matter how dark the skies or few the faces around the table or painful the memories of Christmases past.

May we all know Love is always present. Where ever we are. Whomever we’re with. Whomever is missing.

And may the angels always kiss your heart with wings of grace, love, beauty and joy.

Namaste

__________________________

About the angels:

I painted 14 x 11″ sheets of Yupo paper with alcohol inks. Cut each sheet in quarters and with a stencil I drew and cut out of a sheet of computer paper, I traced the angel onto the back of each painted yupo sheet and cut them out. I painted their faces with acrylic pens and glued on glitter and glitz with a glue gun. The halos are thin wire covered in ribbon.

Creative By Nature

This sheet will eventually become a ‘birthday booklet’ for a friend

Because creating a video is a very intense (read ‘exhausting’) process for me, I like to take a day in the studio to just ‘play’.

Yesterday, I rewatched part of the courseware from the Laura Horn Art course I’ve been savouring my way through and decided I’d create some botanicals.

Ah yes. You know that saying about how we make plans and God laughs?

Well someone was surely laughing as I lay down watercolour onto the page.

It became one big mess.

“What’s there to lose,” I asked myself, “if I throw some acrylic white ink on top of the areas that are really yucky? If I don’t like it I can cut the sheet into squares that eventually can be collaged into other work.”

Even that didn’t help calm the mess before me.

First monoprint over ‘The Big Mess’

So, I decided to do some monoprinting on top to ‘assist’ in the page’s development. Whether I’d keep it as one piece or cut it up was still a big unknown.

And then, I pulled the first monoprint and the muse within whispered, “Keep going.”

So I did.

I didn’t know I was making a little booklet that would become a birthday card for someone special. Written on it are the XX number of ways they make the world a better place. (X = their number of years on this planet)

Words are my love language. One of the ways I love to share words is to celebrate the people around me.

As an example, recently a young friend, my honourary daughter whom, because she is much taller than both my daughters, I call my TaDa (tall daughter — I’m her ShoMo (Short mom) 🙂 For her 35th birthday, I committed to write a song for her every day for 35 days – believe me, they’re not great but I record them and send them to her and they make her laugh (I think). They’re all very silly. (PS — I am not a songwriter)

Finished booklet – writing blanked out

Anyway, back to this card – It began as a 27.9 x 38.1 cm (11 x 15 in) piece of 300gm (140lb) watercolour paper. Its finished size is (approx) 10 x 14.5 cm (3.75 x 5.5 in) 8 pages including front and back cover.

Filling it with words, specifically, the X number of ways this friend makes a difference in the world, and my life, was pure joy. I got to spend an afternoon creating in the studio, and a couple of hours thinking about my friend and the ways they make a difference. Time well spent that felt absolutely delightful.

And here’s the thing.

I’ve never created a card like this before. Had no ‘thought’ of doing it. It just appeared.

I didn’t know this was what I would be creating when I sat down at my studio table yesterday to ‘play’.

I didn’t know the muse would whisper her sweet delicacies about giving a gift of art and words to someone very dear to me.

And, I had no idea how much joy I would experience in the process.

Front and back cover — words blanked out

And that’s the point. We do not know what we do not know until… we allow ourselves to get present where ever we’re at with whatever is happening.

For me, that meant making some ‘bad’ art to get to something I love. It meant being willing to ‘keep going’ even when I felt like throwing my hands up in the air and screaming at the muse, “This is crap! I’m going to go watch something vapid and forgettable on Netflix.)

It meant risking myself to the unknown.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned about being in the studio is that somewhere within me is this place where, inevitably, I want to quit. The critter loves to jump in at that point and tell me how non-creative I am, how bad I am at ‘this art thing’. He wants me to stop making a fool of myself pretending to be something I’m not.

I would be lying if I said there aren’t days I desperately want to listen to him. I mean seriously? I’m no Picasso or Monet. I’ll never make a living doing this…. yada. yada. yada.

In those moments, when the critter is ranting and I am leaning into his assertions of my limitations, the voice of wise knowing within me has to be very persistent in her exhortations to ‘keep going’.

In the keeping going, she reminds me there is no judgement. No comparison. No criticism. No capitulation. There is only the will to ‘keep going’.

I’m grateful I heeded her wisdom yesterday, and everyday.

In the act of being willing to ‘keep going’, to keep exploring whatever is happening, magic unfolds its wings and joy expands on streaming ribbons of fancy dancing in the air. It is always there that I find myself breathing deeply into the gratitude of being creative by nature.

Namaste.

Mystery. Magic. Musings.

Eco-dyed 100% cotton

I love to experiment, to explore, to experience the mystery of what is possible when I let the ‘what ifs’ of attempting new things be my guide.

What if I add this rusty old nail to a vat of plants in water? What if I include it in a piece of cloth I’m rolling up that has been decorated with leaves?

What if...

I have been exploring the amazing world of eco-dyeing.

According to one website I checked out, eco-dyeing is, “…a contemporary application of the traditions of natural dyeing. In eco printing or dyeing, plants are enclosed in textiles or paper, bundled by winding over rods or stacked in layers and then steamed or immersed in hot water to extract the pigments and produce a print made with plant dyes.” (Source)

For me, it’s a whole lot of possibility steamed up in a pot of mystery and magic giving rise to retrospective musings of what I’ve learned, experienced, witnessed, observed…

Did I also mention its messy? It’s that too. But so much fun the mess becomes inconsequential.

Jar of cloths ready for the sun

I started the process of dyeing these cloths earlier in the week. I laid out my plants and ephemera on the cotton, rolled and tied them up, placed them in a jar to soak in a mixture of iron water and then, put them into the sun.

Sun-dyed only.

The cloth to the left was sun-dyed only. The other two were sun dyed and steamed on the stove for a couple of hours. The only reason the first cloth wasn’t steamed is that I was curious (and impatient) to see how the process went and unrolled it when I brought the jar inside. That’s when I decided steaming was the next step.

Sun-dyed and steam-bathed

And that’s the beauty of any creative process. It puts a spotlight on the traits we possess that can sometimes trip us up.

Take my impatience for example. My beloved likes to tease me by calling my impatience ‘legendary’. I didn’t think of myself as impatient until I reflected on what ‘inspired’ me to unravel the whole role of the first cloth to check it out. If I’d tested it by unrolling just a smidgen of a corner, I’d have seen it needed steaming for a darker imprint.

That said, I like the juxtaposition of the heavily printed versus lightly printed piece of fabric.

Sun-dyed and steam bathed

Now, here’s the big question – what will I do with these pieces?

I don’t know is the honest answer. The answer to make me look a little less unstructured is, “I can use them as journal covers. I can collage them into a page. I’m sure there’s other things I can do too!”

And that is where the fun comes in.

I don’t know what I want to do with the fabrics. I do know I love the mystery and the science of eco-dyeing. I love the experience of learning something new and the way it challenges me to keep learning more.

So… I’ll keep experimenting with it just for the fun of the exploration.

And that is one of the lessons this foray into eco-dyeing has really put into the spotlight for me.

It isn’t about the ‘why’ or the outcome. It’s all about the journey. About how much joy, laughter, curiosity, inner-knowing and a wealth of other aspects of creative expression that naturally arise from the exploration of what I know, and what I don’t know about myself and the world around me.

And, as I am learning as I explore this new medium, what I don’t know is greater than what I think I know. What a wonderful mystery to explore!

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.

We Are All Connected

“We are all connected.” 2 page spread in Sheltered Wonder art journal – pages 24 – 25

When I sat down to create this page, bees and flowers were not in my focus. The page itself had started with a piece of collaged paper that came from Tamara’s work surface when she was here painting outside with me for the afternoon.

She’d scraped some paint off of her canvas, cleaned the scraping tool off on the paper covering her work table and exclaimed, “You should collage this into your next piece. The colours are so cool and look at that pattern!”

The beginning with the piece of paper collaged onto my page and gold gesso applied as an underpainting.

Why not, I replied. And promptly applied some medium to the middle of my just beginning next spread and affixed the paper.

The question then became… Where to from here?

It was all about experimenting with backgrounds and materials to see what happened when…

I worked on it a bit that day and then continued with it the next day. Again, letting the page itself guide me with whatever secret/story it was bringing to light.

I added background textures. Painted over places that didn’t ‘feel’ right. Kept delving into the background story.

Gold makes me think of bees and honey. I underpainted honeycomb shapes with pastels and painted a flower.

Hmmm… if there are honeycombs maybe there need to be bumblebees.

Part of what I’m enjoying most in creating the “Sheltered Wonder” art journal is the opportunity to experiment with supplies and materials I haven’t used in awhile.

Somewhere in my stash of stencils I knew I had a bumblebee. I dug through the box where I store them and found it. Perfect. Suddenly, two bumblebees appeared on the page surrounding the flower.

All things in nature are connected through an intricate web of delicate interdependency. Flowers rely on bees to pollinate them. Bees need nectar from flowers to create honey.

Flowers create beauty in our world. Honey nourishes.

Yet, we humans often forget the interdependent nature of all things on this planet. Including us. We strive for independence as if that is the gold ring of success. Even when our success doesn’t happen in isolation. It is always in connection with the people and things we employ to create whatever we have succeeded in doing.

Like art-making.

This piece began with a suggestion from a friend. From there, it evolved into what it became because of all the products I used that someone, somewhere developed and created. It also helped that the muse was flowing freely and I was open to her whispers.

We are all connected, interconnected and interdependent. As John Dunne wrote long ago, “No man is an island.” We are one world. One people. One planet. We need each other. As the African word ‘Ubuntu’ so aptly describes, “I am because we are.”

In Covid’s presence, I have felt the wave of interconnectedness as country after country worked to flatten the curve of this virus’ onslaught.

In the midst of shelter in place orders, people rose up to share their many gifts. From music shared on balconies and driveways, to art ‘zoom-in’ s happening online, to poetry readings and cooking classes, and hundreds of other ways people found to connect, we the people of this planet have risen to the challenge and found ways to make ‘shelter in place’ feel less alone and frightening.

As the world ‘opens up’ again and shelter in place becomes less prevalent, may we all remember the beauty of this time where together, we created a planet where the best of our humanity connected us in ways we never imagined possible.

Namaste.

On Mornings Like These

The wind picked up the seed and said, “You don’t belong stuck in the ground. Come fly with me and I will show you the wonders of the world.”

The seed planted itself back into the ground and said, “I grow best where I am planted. This is where I belong.”

Sometimes, okay most times, when I create I don’t have a ‘destination’. I simply feel the calling of something wanting to be expressed, and I go with the flow of expression until what was yearning to be brought into the world takes form in the light of creativity unleashed.

Regardless of my beginning intention, by the time I’ve drained the story of a piece, the words to express whatever has been called into creation appear. Without thought. Without effort. Without planning.

Oh sure, sometimes, (ok most times — I am a bit of a control freak, aka perfectionist at heart…) I work them out to be more poetic, to have better ‘flow’, but the original thought that was germinated throughout the creative process is always there. Planted firmly in the fertile soils of soulful creative expression.

I am grateful for the soft moments where light filters through the cracks. The gentle breezes that lift my imagination and carry me into story-lands that can only exist when I let go of thinking I know life and all its mysteries.

I am grateful for snow-filled, wintery mornings. The soft sibilant, barely audible hiss of traffic on the bridge outside my window. The sweet early morning quiet of dawn’s slow light edging into the dark.

I am grateful for moments like these and all the mysteries and wonders that flow so freely throughout my world.