Words Matter

Tenth 2-page spread in the Sheltered Wonder Art Journal – I used torn pages from a dictionary for the collage elements. Watercolours, acrylic ink and acrylic paints and ironed the iimages on once completed using Jonathon Talbot’s collage technique.

When I learned I was pregnant with my first daughter, I was told I had to go to bed for the first three months.

Oh no! Whatever will you do? friends asked. This is awful.

I had to make a choice. Think of this enforced bed rest as awful, or choose to see it as a gift of life.

I chose gift of life.

Every day, I wrote in my journal about what a gift it was to have such splendid solitude alone, getting to know and love on “Baby Balthazar”, as we called her in utero. I filled each moment with loving thoughts of my unborn child so that she would know deep within her soul how wanted, loved and special she was.

These exceptional days of Covid are also such a ‘splended solitude’, if you choose to see it as such. You can use words that speak of your frustration and angst. Or words that speak of possibility, gratitude, hope.

The frustration and angst may still be there, but they wane in the light of words that illuminate your path with joy and love.

My eldest daughter turns 34 in June. She is expecting my second grandchild, a daughter.

No matter the circumstances of Covid, the words I use to describe her imminent birth are filled with all the love and hope I hold for her arrival and her life.

I wouldn’t want her to know anything else.

Life can be hard. To handle the hard times, she will need to believe in magic, wonder, awe, so that she will have the words entwined deep within her psyche that draw out her courage and love so that she can see and speak of the beauty in her life, no matter the times.

Choose your words wisely. Make them lift you up. Fill you up. Enlighten you. With joy. Laughter. Gratitude. Abundance. Possibility.

Make your words be the expression of all the wonder, awe and beauty you see in the world around you.

Let your words shine bright so that the darkness has no hope of dampening your light and holding your spirit down.


How to get anywhere: Start from where you’re at.

So often we look for the path by thinking we need to know it well before we step on it. We need to get more experience, learn more tricks of the trade, gather up more ideas, investigate more possibilities.

Fact is, the best way to get anywhere is to begin from where you’re at, and keep moving.

But, what if I don’t know where I want to go? you ask.

Start from where you are by asking yourself (and writing the answers down) the follow 3 questions:

  1. What brings me joy?
    • Write a list of all the things you can think of that bring you joy. It doesn’t matter how short or long your list, you need to have at least one thing on it that brings you joy. And, if you can’t think of anything, make finding what brings you joy a priority. Watching the sunrise. Sunsets. Walking in the park. Being with my friends. Running. Skiing. Writing. Volunteering at the animal shelter. Soaking in a bath. Playing my guitar. Taking photographs. Listening to music…
  2. If anything were possible in my life what would I be doing?
    • Write a list of all the things you think you might want to be doing. Write a novel. Sail the Pacific. Work for a humanitarian cause. Be an actor on stage. Find a cure for a mysterious disease. Adopt a child. Adopt a dog….
  3. What’s holding me back from starting on a path to doing at least one of those things?
    • Write another list with all the things that come to your mind — don’t judge your answers. Just write your list. My 9 – 5 job. My family commitments. Lack of money. Lack of education. I don’t know how. I’m afraid. It’s a stupid idea. People will laugh at me if I…

Now, for every thing listed on your ‘what brings me joy list, answer the following question inserting each one of the answers you gave to Question No. 3 ‘What’s holding me back. (write your answer down)

“How does my _[9 – 5 job]____________ hold me back from ____[watching the sunrise]___.

“How does my _[9 – 5 job]____________ hold me back from ____[watching the sunset]___.

“How does my _[9 – 5 job]____________ hold me back from ____[Walking in the park.]___.

There are 2 possible responses here. 1. It does hold me back. 2. It doesn’t hold me back.

Either way, answering the question for each thing that brings you joy will identify your excuses, or the fact you don’t let excuses keep you from experiencing joy.

Cause, here’s the thing. If you know what brings you joy and take steps to experience it everyday, you are already on the path. And if you let your excuses keep you from experiencing joy, once you’ve identified that they are just excuses, stepping onto the path is accomplished by — letting go of your excuses.

Acknowledging that experiencing joy in our lives is not hindered by our list of excuses, helps us connect to the possibilities.

Conversely, we can’t get to ‘possible’ if we’re stuck in believing our life makes possibility impossible. If we believe we can’t do the things that bring us joy — simple everyday things that surround us always and are easily accessible just by doing, we can’t get to the bigger possibilities — because we’re stuck in ‘it’s impossible thinking’. We’re trapping ourselves in messages that say things like, “I can’t do that because…” and then we let the list the 101 reasons why we can’t, go back to school, get a new job, quit our job and travel the world, become our reality.

Our impossible thinking stops us from seeing possibility is always present. To open the doors of possibility, we need to step through our fears through the gateway of joy. From that place of knowing joy in everyday things, we become open to seeing possibility for greater things to be possible.

Start where you’re at. Name what brings you joy and then do the things that bring you joy. Let the path appear as you keep stepping through your fears into joy and possibility.