Saturday, June 13, 2009

To Martha

"Martha's Grotto Collage"

Today is my sister Martha 's birthday. From the moment that she was born, Martha was loved by each of us in our family. She has been, since she was very young, a ray of light and a source of joy and laughter. She is, at times, much related to the fairy kingdom. Plants flourish when she grows them. Hummingbirds, Orioles and birds of beautiful song flock to her property. A flower garden appeared out of nowhere the first year after she and her husband moved to her present home. She called it her Fairy Garden and said the birds must have brought the seeds.

Martha has been a rock to everyone and everything that she loves and has loved. She stands by them, loyally, and does whatever she can do to bring beauty, safety and happiness into their lives:Her pets; Her plants; Her friends; Her family. Martha is my sister, but she is also my friend. We have shared incredible and unforgettable moments together. We have laughed together until we could barely breath and tears were running down our faces. We have contemplated; argued; consoled; applauded; danced; played cards; worked; created; cooked; gardened; exercised,; lost weight; gained weight (without wanting to); appreciated; supported and cried together. We share a love of campfires, blues music, science fiction and fantasy movies and have spent rainy days watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies, back to back.

I was with her when her husband passed away last April and I have learned much about grief and grieving from her. The last year has been a time of sadness, surrealism and reconfiguring for her. Through it, Martha has exhibited grace under fire & deep compassion. She is re-birthing into discovering who she is without her husband. She is being birthed when she least expected it. For Martha, this year, I send light filled love and wish for her, safe passage to this new manifestation of herself. I wish for her deeper strength, greater joy, more expansive peace..and I wish for her fulfilling new beginnings that validate the gifts she has shared with others. Live long and prosper.

Who has touched your life and given you great joy? How can you honor the people you love? How have your sisters changed your life? Who do you know that is like a sister to you? What birthing is occurring for you, a friend or a family member at this time?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Archway at The Grotto of Redemption, West Bend, IA

I am amazed to discover that I have not written an entry for almost two months. During this time many things have occurred that have deterred me from this. My scanner has a glitch that I have to figure out and get it back in working order. This prevents me from scanning art that I include with my posts. Without a scanner, I am adapting my methods and will be posting photographs I have taken until I get it working.

During my scanner-less-ness I have gone through a shift in my work focus which has created the need for some adaptations and new orientations in my life. My mechanical scanner may be out of sync, but my internal life scanner has been working overtime. Last year, I made the decision to place my dominant career focus up my art and soul healing work. Although I had transitioned from full-time work into working as a substitute employee, in April, I was presented with the possibility to apply for another full-time position at the same agency. The focus of this new job is more in alignment with my specific skills and work background than the previous work I have done there. Before applying for it, I had to scan my life: consider my goals; contemplate my personal mission statement; assess what I was willing to adapt and modify.

Engrossing myself in creating art and working at a job that is not typically art oriented has always been a struggle for me. Being fully present for one always seemed to overwhelm my ability to be fully present for the other. It has been an either/or dilemma for me that created frustration in my life. I felt like I was falling short of fully utilizing my true gifts if I inhibited my calling to create art. I felt like I was not constructing a legacy of substance and significance.

Charting our course in life begins the process of fulfilling who we are...once we set sail, guided by the map we have created to get us there, spirit will lead us away from or toward the channels that will ultimately allow us to travel to the most significant way we are to express our intentions. Artful healing is the process of creating a healing environment with an artful approach, regardless of the venue in which it is expressed. In applying for this job I made a major shift in my mental processing and gained the awareness of knowing that whatever art I did while fulfilling this job was enough. I realized that I could do both at the same time and that defining myself as an artist or, defining myself as anything, for that matter, was not important. I was called to embody what I knew but had not embraced.

In allowing myself to be resilient in thought, rather than rigidly holding on to thought patterns that I felt defined me, I have discovered something I had not expected: For the first time in a very long time I wake up looking forward to going to work.

When you scan your life, what is calling to you? What ways of being and thinking can you let go of to create an opening for new possibilities? How can you expand the way you are defining yourself? If you didn't define yourself in any way, would you fall apart or create a path for limitless possibilities?