Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What the trees told me ...

I went to the woods to be with my sisters

I went to the woods seeking my next step.

I went to the woods feeling lost, confused, uncertain, weary, emptied and afraid. 

I went to the woods to release my grief. To cleanse my soul. To hear my voice. Find my song.

I went to the woods to disappear for awhile. Be quiet. Listen. Receive.

I went to the woods and I was SEEN.  I was HEARD. I was WELCOMED.

photo by Nika Ridley

I went to the woods and I shed yet another layer, another scaly piece of snakeskin armor.  I shed and left in the dirt beliefs that are Just.Not.True.Anymore. 

Stories that were Never True were laid upon the altar and burned. Wounds honored for the truth they bear witness to: Strength. Belonging. Acceptance. Love.

I went to the woods to create new prayers. To gain new tools. To go deeper into my own truth.

I emptied and then I receive the love. Oh, soooo much love.  It cracked me wide open. It pulled my insides out and left me shiny new, tender, raw.


image by Tiffanie Gabourie Davis

I went to the woods and I was found. I un-covered what had never been lost, just misplaced, buried underneath piles of decomposing leaves, a poultice upon old wounds  long-ago scabbed over and now healed.  New skin ready for sunlight and fresh air.

I sat upon a mossy rock and rested against a tree whose trunk leaned away from the dark of the woods and stretched towards the life and light of the river.  I closed my eyes and I listened to the river's song. I breathed in the scent of wet wood and damp earth. I felt the swift flow of water crashing over rocks in my pulse, in my blood, in my being. 

I listened to the tree tell me its truth, its experience of belonging, of grounding, of reaching, of becoming.   


I received the tree's message about claiming my place. Strengthening my root system. Growing by taking in that which refreshes, inspires, and nourishes me. It shared with me t how I am a link between the past of my ancestors - the earth I come from, the clay soil of my body - and the future that I co-create, that I hold in my arms and in my heart, that I lift up and offer to the light. 

I went to the woods with trust in my heart and in my sisters and with a fledgling's trust of myself. Wobbly, not quite certain, but willing to make the leap. By doing so,  I was welcomed into magic and healing, wonderment and love.

Oh, the love ... a mother's love ... mama goose's love and dedication to her eggs, dedication to life ...

Dedication to her path reminding me to honor mine, to have patience and understanding that there can be no rushing soul work. It must be attended to with care and kindness, generosity and a constant dose of patience and no self judgement. Just love and understanding.

I went to the woods lost, alone, weary, and weak.  I came home fortified, refreshed, filled, and connected.

image by Nika Ridley

I came home flooded by the sense, the understanding, of So.Much.Love and a taste of the immensity of the power and magic of that love that surrounds me and is me.  I came home ready to be fully myself.  It takes a team to do this work. Thankfully, these doulas were on hand to guide me through the journey. Aho my sisters. So.Much.Love to you all.

our ReWilding doulas

Friday, April 24, 2015

happiness is ... (sunshine edition)

... the sunshine waking me up before my alarm ... the robins serenading me as I run ... more and more warm days (mixed with cold and rainy, just to keep things interesting) ... the produce section of the market becoming more inviting (only weeks until Farmer's market!) hence a supper of roasted golden and red beets served over greens and lemon zest goat cheese on ciabatta buns. Is there anything more delightful than the smell of fresh lemon?  Mood lifter indeed!

All kinds of craziness happening over here ... Spring fever has taken hold and I've discovered a new passion:

Tie Dye!  Prepping for shibori in Bali next October.  

I might just be opening a scarf stall when I get back (how many scarves can I bring home through customs?  Hmm ....)

Finding the best medicine is trying new things. Learned that from Martha Beck - it is good for the brain and good for the creative soul.  What should I try next?  

Anything sunshine yellow and turquoise I'd say ...

Monday, April 20, 2015

going slow ...

An interesting thing happens when when you slow down and commit to uni-tasking  ...  the day feels large, time stretches and snaps like an elastic band and a common response to the inquiry of "what did you do today?" is perplexed silence.

What did I do with this day?  Or more accurately: what did this day offer me? 

Lots.  Just nothing I can quantify or measure in the usual terms. How illuminating that my knee-jerk response is to want to offer some sort of measurement of productivity? As if wrestling with the contents of my world or my mind is a sign of deep engagement? Certainly the rabbits who are frolicking about my yard aren't concerning themselves with how many of my pansies they demolish in a day. (Okay, frolic may be too energetic a term for these suburban lagomorphs who resemble overfed house cats lolling in the sunshine.

There is a natural heaviness to this season of new beginnings.  Through Ayurveda I've come to appreciate that this period of earth mixed with water (rain) = mud. Just the other week I was volunteering at the stables on a misty, damp day.  We took the horses outside to their corrals for some fresh air while we cleaned inside.  Then the rain came. Hard. Fast. Cold and miserable.  We rushed out to bring the horses in but rushing was impossible. Each step in the now-sticky mud coated my boots in a thick and heavy layer so each step felt like I was walking upon slippery platform shoes. The horse I was told to retrieve was even more distressed by the unstable conditions, refusing to face downhill, he slide sideways towards the gate.  At one point, all I could do was circle him around and around because going forward was impossible.

Hmmm ...

I finally just stopped moving. And waited for help to come. Part of my work with horses is to yield completely and utterly to my lack of experience, learning to say I need help, learning to ask for guidance and learning to trust that I am, well, learning.  It is an overdue correction to how I was in childhood and, truth be told, an embarrassing amount of adulthood. Saying I didn't know or understand something seemed to me - as a child -  to be a sign of my inherent lack or incompetence and therefore something I guarded carefully. Understanding the absurdity of this still does not undo a lifetime of habit and fear. But I am chipping away at it.

Sounds a bit like Anne Lamott's famous prayer: Help. Thanks. Wow.  In my case, the wow came once I sat down in my car and took stock of my boots, drenched jacket and hair do inspired by a mix master blender frappe cycle. 

All of this is to say, going forward isn't always the best option and mud demands a delicate kind of surrender. I cannot clomp through mud, it just won't allow it. What is required is a mindful and careful stepping forward and an understanding that things will be messy for awhile.  Learning not to rush, but to linger ... and summoning persistence, stick-to-it-ness seems to be my mode for the season.

Even this wonky little bowl required undo amounts of patience and willingness to start again ... and again ... and again.  It's imperfections remind me that I am not striving for perfection, but instead seeking to learn, discover, grow, and ask for guidance.

Oh yes ... guidance ... seeing who my real teachers are ...

Happy mud days. May there be much comfort in these mud pies of mine.  I am inhabiting out-of-time-ness with these inspirations: 

Taking my time listening to David Whyte's What To Remember When Waking.  The perfect guide for the threshold stages I've been traversing.  
true discipline - reading one poem a day from his collection and not continuing on ... it is hard, just one but then time allows the images to soak in ...

Sharon Blackie ( This post got my mind whirling ... (thank you Mel)

Company in the dark (and the light!) places - The Sacred Pause and my sister in moondancing (more to say about her amazing work on repatterning energetic boundaries, if there is anything the doctor should prescribe, it is this!)

Speaking of the moon ... my moon mandala meditation practice is my contribution  to Spectrum 2015 which begins on May 1st.  26 amazing workshops that compliment and augment each other in magical and exciting ways. I am particularly excited by Hali's offering "Calling on the Grandmothers" and Jennette's offering of Make-To-Mend moon ritual object and moon exilir.  

Finally, this had me in tears ... and filled with gratitude and anticipation as I will be making this very journey next October with Em and Nicole. 

Suddenly, I realize I am soaking in a wonderfully cleansing mud bath of ideas and new perspectives! Feel the energy of sunshine slowly drying things out ...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Cleaning (Art Sale!)

In my pre-Cowgirl days, regularly I would toss my bike into the back of my pick-up truck (yes, truly a lifetime and two cars ago) and head over to an amazing trail that afforded me 16, 25, and 40 mile riding options. Heading out, the trail seemed flat but slowly gains altitude until I hit a nice patch of hills that would take me up and down and up and down through wooded areas and rolling farmlands. I carried snacks to fortify me and to celebrate the turning around point, although the longer trek had an ice cream shop as its incentive for schlepping over more hills. But the real treat was the return ride with its gradual decline which meant long stretches of coasting, sitting upright and hands off handle bars to savor the view and the exhilaration of cool air washing over sweaty skin and tired muscles. 

It's been years - no, more than a decade! - since I rode that trail, yet it came to mind as I tried to explain to a friend how I am feeling right now after sloughing through a series of emotional hills since my mother died.  Some weeks things seemed smooth-ish although there still was the sense of effort, the need to keep peddling, keep moving. Then came a number of steep hills: all the firsts one goes through in the initial year of mourning. My first birthday without my mother; first Thanksgiving, Christmas, her birthday and now Easter. I actually have traversed much of the steepest terrain with Mother's Day as the last big hurdle. 

So right now, I feel like I am in the coasting section... the fast flying over stretches of time and geography ... moments of pure exuberance as I engage with renewed enthusiasm in favorite creative practices.  It helps that Spring is ushering in gentle and cleansing rains, greening the landscape around me while the birds add their raucous soundtrack to my days. I've been Spring cleaning while whistling a happy tune and as I pause to catch my breath, I see a number of old friends needing new homes.

I literally have paintings stacked against the walls in my home. (I once joked after watching a documentary on the painter Alice Neel whose New York apartment held corridors of canvases 2 to 3 pictures deep that this would be Cowgirl's inheritance) Many paintings have stood by my fireplace, warming my heart and hearth throughout the previous seasons.  It is time for them to find good homes.

Here then is my blog-exhibit: Spring Cleaning!

Each piece available for adoption purchase has a link to its own page (click on the title) with full information on size, materials, and price.  If you are interested in giving a painting a good home (ahem, purchasing a piece), just leave me a comment on the appropriate page or send me an email and I will make arrangements for payment and calculate shipping cost. 

Email: Lishofmann88(at)gmail(dot)com)  
Shipping to U.S. destinations will range in price from around $7 for small pieces to $10 for the larger ones.

Baby Ganesha

xoxo (Girl 1)

xoxo (Girl 2)

Buck's Magic

Hopeful (Fox and Bird)


Rooted (Rabbit)

Believe & Receive

Seeing all of these friends from the past year arranged in one space, I get a little weepy thinking about the journey they have taken me on.  I know it is time to release them, to share their magic with others.  They have been part of the uphill journey; now it is time to let them (and myself) enjoy a stretch of coasting, a period of celebration and release.    

Friday, April 3, 2015

finally, friday (and a Good one)

More often than not, it is the simple things that bring the greatest joy. 


Realizing that over the years, we have established our own traditions. For whatever reason, when I was a child my family didn't dye eggs.  Probably my mother thought it would be too much of a mess. So I am just as enthusiastic as Cowgirl when it comes to pulling out the Paas egg dye cups and mixing all the colors.

In a season of continual losses (I just learned a neighbor passed away last night) I am mindful of the choices available to me: fear or trust, regret or gratitude, clinging or letting go, despair or celebration.

Again and again, I find my practice consists of choosing to open, choosing hope, choosing love.

Happy Egg Moon, happy Easter!