Wednesday, April 30, 2014

turning up the fire ...

rolling up the proverbial sleeves and getting to it ... feeling all kinds of feisty and fired up ... first from this:

"— you know, I've either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
but now
I've sold my house, I've found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I'm going to have a place and the time to
no baby, if you're going to create
you're going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you're going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you're on
you're going to create with part of your mind and your
body blown
you're going to create blind
you're going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don't create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses

Then there is this: 

ah, Mel ... how do i love thee? let me count the ways ...

I am a bit disheveled from the explosiveness of it all ...

a drawing a day ... showing up, as myself, every day ...

but in a good way.  In a way that is hearing the mermaids singing, is recovering the lost stories within ...

My heroine is taking shape ... 

I can't say much more ... superstitious I suppose, but I don't want to scare away the magical ones.  

Yes, I am clearing my path forward through the brambles, the heather, skirting the poison ivy and seeking the honeysuckle. Tally ho!  Feeling the vibrations of Beltane in the air ... rabbits playing tag in my yard, mourning doves screaming as they fly.  I'm all 50-shades of whirling dervish ... I attribute it to the excellent company I find myself keeping these days ...


Hang on, it's going to be a wild ride!

Monday, April 28, 2014



(and ears, 
and nose, 
and tongue, 
and skin) 


this is how i 
honor my 

this is how i
ground my

this is how i
show up
for my


every day.
#118/365 ... my drawing a day practice ... still wet with grass stains

Curiosity, Connection, & Celebration are my beacons. Practice - creative, spiritual, mindfulness & self care - nurtures those aspects of my being. I fill myself up so in turn, I can offer those gifts back to the world. It is a lovely flow! 
What I practice matters little.  It is the Why - the intention - that has me showing up 

When I commit to my practice, I am committing to my life. to my life. I am casting my vote for love ...  joy ... faith ... belief ... trust. 
I am digging into the marrow, the juice of practice and already I can feel the charge opening me up. Good things coming ... colorful, messy, wild things.  Deep, soul-rich, finally YES! things.  The rumpus begins May 5 and I'm digging out my party shoes. (Got my blue toes ready, as you may have seen)
'Nuf said.  If you are wanting more, I'd love to have you join me here.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Simple is anything but ...

Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step you don't want to take.
- David Whyte, from Start Close In 

I am haunted by that bloody first step!

It seems so simple, right?  Do what calls to me.  Do what flows from me.  Follow the inner guidance. Don't get balled up by envisioning the whole enchilada!  Just answer to the first step, the one whispering, begging me to take.  Take the first step and allow myself to one-step-after-another move forward in the adventure.

Of course, what is unsaid is how those second or third steps distract and seduce me from that essential first step.  

The second step is self-sabotage that has me looking outside myself for inspiration, for guidance, for additional hints and best practices on how to take a step.  It is all the advice offered freely and at ridiculous prices (if it's that expensive it must be the real deal -  the map to Shangri-la, the code that cracks the riddle) and the books that offer insight into other peoples' journeys. (How I do love those books, the true life fairy tales with happily ever after assumed if not guaranteed.) 

The third step is a false notion of priorities. Confusing another person's notion of what constitutes successful, meaningful, vital and necessary with my own.  In my world, reading books out loud, writing letters and noticing how asparagus is green and purple with touches of rose pink must be present for true happiness to exist. 

I am one who excels at complication. I specialized in crafting muddy water, clutter and chaos.  I am grateful for friends who lasso me back in. 

That first step?  It is so hard because it is mine alone to take. No one else can describe it, no one else can verify or validate it for me. It is mine alone to make and mine alone to receive.

It is also very humble and unglamorous.  It is sweat and conviction and determination and discipline held together by a childlike faith in the magical and miraculous, and a certainty that if I eat my dinner, there will always be desert. 

A bit of a koan: if magic happens and there is no one else to witness it, does it make a sound?  If it touches my heart, does that vibration ripple out? 

Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.
- David Whyte, from Coleman's Bed  

I am extracting a story from deep within.  It is unfamiliar territory this practice of writing.  I am summoning it forth with the assistance of paint and play.  

I am leaning heavily the support of my practice which I am shoring up through community here  and in my May gathering of The Gift of Practice.  

I am calling upon friends who inspire me, who follow their own paths and who counsel me to stay true to my way.  These interviews will be part of The Gift of Practice and they represent the heart of what I share: that we each must find, honor and follow our unique path. No one can tell you the way.  No one can do it for you.  It is the gift you give yourself.

Remember the way you are all possibilities
you can see and how you live best
as an appreciator of horizons,
whether you reach them or not.
- David Whyte, from Mameen 


Monday, April 21, 2014

easter bunny magic

Look at what the Easter bunny did:

He gave our chicks legs and feet!

Speaking of legs (I know, I am a master of the segue) I wanted to encourage you to check out the next leg of our virtual blog tour ... these blogs being the treats I turn to for an instant infusion of inspiration and insight.  

Michelle GD is a photographer and writer playing with lens and verse.  She believes there is beauty in tiny moments and healing in image and word.  You can find her on

Mel Leavey is a "writer, magic-keeper, fire-raiser." She has transformed her drafty garret into the inkblot kingdom ( and our world is richer for it. She has saved and supported me in ways beyond the scope of a blog post ... let's just say I have a reoccurring payment to her karmic bank account and I take pleasure in wiring those funds!

Mandy Smith is the proprietress of Flora Phenomena. Mandy enjoys creating herbal remedies, playing with plants, and learning about the relationships between the natural world and the human species. Her blog posts are meant to empower the reader and reignite our sense of wonder of the world and nature. Her herbal products at Flora Phenomena (coming soon!) offer healing and nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit. You can find Mandy exploring her always sun-drenched world (or so it seems to me!)  on her current blog at the present moment

What strikes me today is the many ways we each support and fuel the magical in our lives and in our world.  And when I speak of magic, I mean that which allows me to believe the impossible can happen ... that miracles such as the healing of our planet, or respectful and truthful communication among people, or children growing up steeped in love and wonderment, or felted chicks growing legs are to be expected.  

(A gentle reminder that today is the last day for early bird registration to my course The Gift of Practice which starts May 5.  Registration will be open through the first week, but in order to receive a complimentary mentoring session you need to sign up NOW!  All the details and registration information can be found HERE)  

Friday, April 18, 2014

egg-stravaganza (finally, friday)

Enjoying Spring break and busy with preparations ...

Our experiment in natural dyes (thyme, coffee, black tea and raspberry zinger tea)

While we wanted to try something new, there are times when the traditional (yes, good old Paas dye kits) cannot be resisted.  We girls love color!

Easter blessings to you! xo

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

an insistent call ...

I consider myself somewhat of an expert in daydreaming. As a child road trips involved flopping about the backseat of my mother's cream colored Impala to find a comfortable and cool spot out of the sun (this being the era before air-conditioning and mandatory seat belt use) and staring out the window, creating movies inside my head to pass the time. To this day, I tend to fall mute on any road trip my interiority annoying to The Husband who would talk or listen to music. 

My nature is quiet and rather sloth-like.  Yet there comes a time when I must apply effort to channel the inner out.  A backlog of ideas, images, impulses to create a specific thing rattle around my head, distracting and disturbing the peaceful, easy daydream feeling.

So I find myself reaching for familiar structures of support as I seek to birth a fantasy long-held and only half-heartedly attempted in the past.  I know when I seek the freedom of creative energy I must exercise a fair bit of discipline and structure to constructive channel this energy.

I turn to what I know from 20 years of a yoga practice: show up daily, set a clear intention, be open, let go of my notions of what should or ought to happen (way too small for magic to exist in) and hold space for the unexpected to arise.  The foundation is hard work: I must do my part and then trust Creative Flow to come in and take care of the rest. To meet any Call is to suspend the rational, logical mind in favor of the spacious, daydreaming, anything-is-possible-when-you-step-out-of-the-way mind. 

Still, one must go in prepared ...

Practice is how I prepare for the magic.  Practice is how I clear space for the miraculous. Practice makes us more likely to be accident prone in the sense of hearing the Call and the grace in knowing it is speaking to me.  

I would love some company on this portion of the journey ... I would love to support you in making your way:

Further details and registration information can be found here.
Final days for early bird registration and bonus gift of a mentoring session.

There's no perfect time to start ... you just have to decide you can no longer wait ... you must choose to answer the Call before you can surrender to it ...

Monday, April 14, 2014

time for a virtual stroll ...

It is a blissfully rain-soaking day here ... my prairie home is in a drought, so we welcome the rain here (but not the snowy mix in the evening forecast!

I am enjoying the play of finches, morning doves and robins darting under pine trees, descending en masse upon my feeders, the grey of the day enlivened by the splashes of color zipping across the landscape that is my backyard and the scope of my world this day.  I've made some decaf and am hunkering down for a visit ...

Today is my turn in a virtual blog walking tour ... picking up where my dear SouLodge sister Latisha (a.k.a. my fairy Herbmother - "A little bit fairy, a little bit witch. A whole lot alive") left off last week ...

1. What am I working on?
Work? Um ... right ... I am attempting to blur or soften the the boundaries between work and play.  

play as work, work as play

Having been told my innate building gesture is whirling dervish (chew on that for awhile!) I tend to have many pots simmering, boiling and foaming over on my virtual stove top.  Presently I am having fun recording new interviews with some of my favorite creatives to be included in my upcoming Gift of Practice online offering. (shameless plug here ... but one week left to enroll and receive early bird special of a mentoring session included in tuition) I love learning how others weave together their passions, their creative explorations with spirituality, family, relationships and daily life.  It is pure alchemy - the raw materials of life  transformed into creative and/or spiritual gold. 

Looking around my home space, I see  many other works in progress cluttering awaiting harvest: a pair of wrist warmers on the knitting needles (I'm not behind, but ahead of next year's cold snap!); a shrug that needs a knitted collar and some finishing (my least favorite aspect of knitting); some felt chicks ready to be birthed (from this tutorial);

the next lesson in Mindy Lacefield's Primitive Portraits class (oh my, besides the pure bliss of watching her paint, her southern accent just melts me!); the crafting of MY MYTH (inspired by Magic of Myth Course) which I feel is going to be a collaborative process of writing and painting with my girl (do I even have to say dragons will be involved?); and certainly some other scraps of rawhide tanning, sewing projects bobbing about the flotsam and jetsam of my life.  

Whirling dervish? Or plate-spinner?

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Things that make me go hmm? 

I suppose if I could determine what genre I belong to,  then I might have an idea of what I was doing!  

You know, I've always loved crazy-quilts and I think that best describes my life, my work, my approach.  I don't think so much about my work as much as I go about living a life which involves piecing together all my interests, all my passions and joys into an ongoing narrative, into one massive crazy-quilt of experiences.  I am here for the journey, the process, the experiences of this moment and this moment and the work is a lovely memento of those experiences. 

I'm just me and my hope is that my work is uniquely me-ish; and I love that your work is you-ish because that makes the world a pretty fascinating and exciting place.

Guess that brings me back to hmm?  

3. Why do I write what I do?
If you've spent any time with me, you've probably figured out that writing is my way of processing. I write my way through chaos into clarity. Well, sometimes. Writing (or if we are together in person, then it would be talking) is the way I sift through the contents of my mind in an attempt to find meaning or understanding.  

But I also write to celebrate hard-earned truths, to honor our mutual vulnerabilities and challenges and to support others in turning within to discover they are the source of their greatest wisdom and miracles.  At the end of the day, we all want to know we are loved and understood.  So I write as a means of honoring myself, my experiences and to honor those I love.

4. How does my writing process work? 
I generally will have a question or thought flapping around my mind that I need to release through writing.  I will be in the shower or walking the dog or cleaning the house and realize there is this inner dialogue happening and I need to get it down or untangle it or follow it down the rabbit's hole.  I suppose curiosity is at the heart of why I write.  What is this all about?   The How looks a lot like a dog with a rawhide: I just hunker down and chew chew chew!

That concludes this portion of your tour :)  Next Monday the stroll continues with these three inspiring creatives:

Michelle GD is a photographer and writer playing with lens and verse.  She believes there is beauty in tiny moments and healing in image and word.  You can find her on

Mel Leavey is a "writer, magic-keeper, fire-raiser." She has transformed her drafty garret into the inkblot kingdom ( and our world is richer for it. She has saved and supported me in ways beyond the scope of a blog post ... let's just say I have a reoccurring payment to her karmic bank account and I take pleasure in wiring those funds!

Mandy Smith is the proprietress of Flora Phenomena. Mandy enjoys creating herbal remedies, playing with plants, and learning about the relationships between the natural world and the human species. Her blog posts are meant to empower the reader and reignite our sense of wonder of the world and nature. Her herbal products at Flora Phenomena (coming soon!) offer healing and nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit. You can find Mandy exploring her always sun-drenched world (or so it seems to me!)  on her current blog at the present moment.

I leave you in magical hands. 

Now ... Spring, where for art thou?!

Friday, April 11, 2014

playtime (finally, friday)

When the grackles descend upon my bird feeders, it is officially Spring in my corner of the world.  I celebrated by putting out a jar of herbal tea to infuse in the sunshine and busted out my paints for some much needed play time.

primitive faces inspired by Mindy Lacefield's course Primitive Portraits

I may even be so bold as to resurrect the drying rack and do a load of laundry. I've missed crunchy towels (sun-baked and extra exfoliating!)

How are you celebrating Spring's arrival? 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

my notebook obsessions (vlog post)

Lifting the curtain here ... a little peek into my chaos ...

For no other reason than it is Spring (finally!) and time to shift through the seed packets and sow some new life ...

password: journallove
direct link here

And announcing the Spring session of my favorite offering: The Gift of Practice

Real knowledge does not come from books. It is gleaned through the experiences of life: through personal encounter, through the body, the senses, and through the heart. It is through practice – regular attention and engagement with the multitude of details and treasures that make up daily life -  that I evolve and grow.

 for all the details, including Early Bird special offering, go HERE.

Diving back into my journals ... How is Spring calling to you? What wants to come out into the sun and play?


Saturday, April 5, 2014

my little chip ... (finally, friday)

... and yes, I know it is Saturday!  Staying out of time as best I can! 

Mini-me, you complete me ... just the two of us ... 

We each have own rattle now ... this one needs to dry and then I can unstuff it, add another row of stitching and fill with sound. I am learning the songs of the mothers, the songs of the goddess and passing them onto Cowgirl.  Grateful for her enthusiasm, her care and tender keeping of the teachings.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

scattered pieces, scattered seeds

I've recently returned from a mini-trip and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that I've scattered the contents of my Self along with my suitcase along the trail bringing me back home.

Actually, I DID grab someone else's suitcase from the airport shuttle van and only realized as I reached down to hoist it into the trunk of my car. "That's funny, I didn't think I had a luggage tag on my bag."  Fortunately the passenger who had my bag was rolling it towards me as I maniacally made my way hunchbacked and chasing down the van through the parking lot.

I was extra paranoid about my suitcase arriving with me as I was bringing back a meat mallet (a.k.a. still wet buck skin rattle) along with other scraps of flesh in plastic baggies to later sew into a hand rattle for my girl.

rattles drying ... mine is on the top, right hand side ...

Yup, this is my life!

cutting skin IS hard work!  Never mind that I am a vegetarian ... although powerful lesson in honoring the lessons of life & death passed on to us through these 4-footed teachers

I have embarked upon a year-long intensive study with 11 other like-minded sisters under the tutelage of this Wild Woman

Our weekend beginning with deep practice and gratitude for the animal guides who have stepped forward to support us in this work.  Our guide for our opening day being the equally wild and wise Witchy Nis.  

It feels as if so many seeds have been tossed onto fertile soil and now I am frantic as many many little seedlings are breaking through and asking for my attention and care.

Because then, there is THIS:

"Mythological images are the images by which the consciousness is put in touch with the unconscious. That's what they are. When you don't have your mythological images, or when your consciousness rejects them for some reason or other, you are out of touch with your own deepest part. I think that's the purpose of a mythology that we can live by. We have to find the one that we are in fact living by and know what it is so that we can direct our craft with competence."
Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss (shared by Elizabeth Duvivier in her current course The Magic of Myth)

What is MY myth?  What is the guiding story by which I create/experience/interpret my life?  My SELF? It seems to me if I can figure that piece out, everything else will fall into place.

Such a tangle of thoughts especially for one whose mind is still trying to catch up with her body!  I am home but not returned yet from the journey I've begun.  

Someone was very interested in my new rattle (it is dry now and requires additional work, stitches tightened, grain added, additional ceremony and adornment)

Scattered seeds, shaking seeds, planting, tending ... Spring is arriving in her many forms. I think Persephone has some lessons in store for me ...