Listicles Are Fun aka Five Things

There is so much happening in my life that the only way to wrangle it is to round it up in a listicle style post. I find listicles fun because they suit my short attention SQUIRREL!


Thing One

artsummerschoolI am guest teaching in Art Journal Summer School and I am very excited about it BECAUSE summer means the last thing anyone wants to do is sit in the studio and AJSS will facilitate arting on vacation and/or on the go. A small toiletry bag/cosmetic bag full of very basic supplies and a mobile phone/iPad full of awesome teachers providing quick lessons of 15 minutes or less all summer long? YES PLEASE! Details here.

Stay tuned for a giveaway, coming soon!


Thing Two


I am working very hard on creating the look and feel of the next Radiant, which will be all art journaling all the time. I have lined up 15 of my very favourite mixed media art journaling teachers and we will be diving into learning about their process with the intention of further developing our own processes.

Everyone has their own reasons for taking on art journaling as a hobby or spiritual practice. I love exploring those reasons, being surprised by them, learning new techniques, and discovering some 'out of the box' uses for supplies/ways of doing things. This class is going to be so chock full of that kind of thing that we will find ourselves inspired for years to come.

Why do I say we?

As your hostess, I will be taking the class right alongside you, filming my own interpretation of each teacher's lesson, showing you how I integrate what I learn from other teachers into my own practice/process. We will be the glittery trenches together, trying new things, creating in ways that are new to us, adapting other people's processes to our own styles, needs, and desires...

It's going to be at least as awesome as the first Radiant (which you can still buy here for $45 with forever access) but I suspect it's going to be even better. Watch this space for more details on who the guest artists will be and when registration will open.

Thing Three

bod2015v2.2.4Spring is springing around here and it is glorious. I have been spending a lot of time outside, sitting by the creek with coffee and a happy dog, walking the trail, and going for country drives at sunset. Nature inspires me like nothing else and being attuned to it in the way that I am really drives my creativity. Moon Journaling, which is an always free offering in my class network, consists of touching base with my wilder side this month. While it features a video I dug up out of my archives, it also features a new video meditation that includes the Gayatri Mantra and a time-lapsed painting. You can check that out here.


Thing Four

love_16962308113_oThis man and this dog are everything right now. I love my kids, and I love my friends, and I love my tribe, but at the end of the day, when I've exhausted myself with output, the input I get from these two delectable creatures fills up my well and guarantees that I have more to give the next day.

Sookie (of the adorable raspberry tongue) curls up in the space between my knees and my boobs every night without fail. She curls herself into the smallest furball possible, presses her spine into my belly, and does not move unless I do for the rest of the night. It is utterly comforting and perfect and good. Sultan, of the soulful eyes and plum coloured lips, takes me out driving, holds my hand, tells me his life would be impoverished if not for me, sings along with me to whatever is on the radio, laughs at my jokes, and looks at me like I'm a pork chop and he's starving to death often enough that I remember my hips and the power in them and his hands and the power in them...

We have rediscovered all the reasons we loved one another before the trauma of blending our families before we were ready, addiction, deaths of family members (and ex-husbands), poverty and slow climb up out of it, my too muchness and his not enoughness...

All that has fallen away like a curtain away from a sparkling clean window. So much that got obscured by all that stuff back there is now crystal clear.

Also, I'm happy.

Thing Five

The lilacs are blooming

The lilacs are blooming



Book Of Days Preview! It’s on me, so enjoy! xo

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Spiritual Tech

One of Manfingy's best friends calls all the various religious beliefs, practices, and rituals that he's encountered in India "Spiritual Tech". I love that, because what it does for me is demystify all those practices that we may not have ever encountered, that we may not understand, and puts them in the realm of 'tool' rather than 'dogma'.

I love tools. I have a very wary and uncomfortable relationship with dogma.

Mala beads and rosaries. Community feast days and holy days. Full moons, new moons, solstices and equinoxes. Reverence for earth, air, water, fire. Deities that are emblems of things we encounter in our lives - rites of passage, experiences, phases, life, sex, birth, death.

Blessing hearth and home with fire. Sweeping as a way of banishing negative energy. Prayer. Mantras. Physical postures that are meant to imbue us with their powers. Food laws. Purification of self and environment. Meditation. Contemplation. Myths, legends, stories. Songs. Drums. Fire to create and destroy. Wooing the muse. Mandalas. Iconic paintings. Carvings and fetishes. Statuary. Herbal lore. Tribal ways of being.

These are universal. These are, if you're a mystic like me, merely tools we use to seek and find ease in a life that is fraught with unease, peace in the struggle, order in the chaos, the divine in the mundane.

Spiritual tech.

As a seeker, I have always been fascinated by all the ways we, as human creatures, pattern seek and apply meaning to those patterns we identify. Because I'm a mystic, I am not a 'believer', by which I mean to say that there is no one spiritual modality that is 'the one' for me. I don't have 'faith'. I don't have the 'one true way' or even 'a way'. I have ways, and those ways are collected from many world views, many spiritual modalities, many places, much like a magpie's nest full of shiny things.

I blame Joseph Campbell, who was an early influence. The Power Of Myth on PBS rocked my young, bright-eyed little poptarts. The idea of human practices and belief as threads and the entire species as a tapestry came to me very early. And when I could identify the threads of belief, ritual, or practice that overlapped like golden threads within the whole, those were the 'tech' I found myself interested in. Seeking the commonalities and asking myself how they could be applied to my own spiritual desires, which were to feel connected, to feel like my life mattered, to be at ease in my own skin, to know that all life was sacred, made up most of my late teens and early twenties. Tarot, witchcraft, Goddess spirituality married Catholicism, charismatic Christianity, philosophy, and poetry in my own grappling attempts to meet God as I understood her.

It all made perfect sense to me.

It still does.


This is what my spiritual tech looks like lately:

Walks by the creek with the music of rushing water in my ears.

My lovely dog, whose empathy and unconditional love feel like they are channeled straight from the divine.

Art journaling, which gives me access to all the parts of myself.

Writing, which allows me to pattern seek and create connection.

And this:


Those moments of stillness. The cup of coffee in the early morning sun. A feverish whispering to myself - 108 times - of these words: I am at peace. I am unflappable. I am at ease while my fingers slide bead by bead over smooth, fragrant, strung sandalwood. The moment when I dedicate that practice to the whole world while I face the north, east, south, and west and say 'peace be with you'.

And also this:


The soak in the tub. The salt sprinkled into warm water to make a womb. Candlelight and essential oils. Loving the body with tender care. And yes, I wear my glasses in the tub because READING! :)

And this:

Marking the onset of spring, high summer, autumn, the beginning of winter with fire and feasting and all hails and song.

And this:

2014-04-21 16.32.29Painting straight out of my intuition with no care at all about what I'll end up with.

And this:


Collections of sacred-to-me objects that bring beauty and light into my spaces.

And this:

2013-10-17 14.35.44

Honouring the immanent and transcendent divine through the practice of art making.

Sometimes I add things, and sometimes I take things away. Practices that once meant a great deal to me have fallen out of my personal favour. I don't do morning pages anymore but for many years they were the bedrock of my spiritual tech. Instead, I spill out into a journal whenever I need to. Therapy has become HUGE spiritual tech. "Know Thyself" doesn't really come any other way for me. Telling the truth even when it's scary is also cornerstone stuff, not because it is a moral edict, but because there is no other way to apply "To thine own self be true" to my life.

Spiritual tech matters to me and it is woven through everything I do from the moment I get up in the morning to the moment I drop off to sleep.

It is the ultimate in self-care.

I just wanted to tell you. :)


Learning To Trust w/Bonus Peek At Some Of My Early Spreads

An early journal spread, circa 2010.

An early journal spread, circa 2009.

Trust is a huge topic of conversation between myself and my Self. It tends to go something like this:

"But I'm shit scared!"

"Trust that whatever happens, you can handle it."

"But things could go wrong!"

"And things have gone wrong before, and yet, here you are. Alive and well."

"But he might/she could/they are..."

"Who's the boss of you? You're the boss of you. Trust you. You've got this."

Maybe this sounds familiar. Maybe as soon as that voice pipes up with "But I'm shit scared!", that's it. You freeze, or veer right or left, and go under. I get it. That was me for a long time. But freezing, or veering, or going under never got me any closer to where I wanted to be, to what I wanted to feel.

I am nothing if not brave because lately, when confronted with terror, I rush in headlong - within reason, of course. I mean, if I'm terrified to walk down a dark alley at night when I'm alone, I will probably heed that terror and seek the light. That's just common sense. But if I'm afraid to try something because I might fail, well, that fear gets put in its place and I pull up my boot straps and gird my loins and strap on the helmet of REASON and I go in like a badass.

Most of the time. But usually not until I've grappled for a good long time. Because UNCERTAINTY.


Trust, for me, is very much related to uncertainty. I crave certainty like a seed craves good soil, clean rain, and sunshine. I crave it obsessively. I crave it because I lack *trust* in myself and in life itself, and I have been given plenty of reason to lack said trust. There was a very long time there where I didn't trust my own instincts. I would often move in the very opposite direction of where my instincts were telling me to go. Usually, my instincts told me to stick with the devil I knew. Stay in the abusive relationship. Keep the shitty job. Live in the house that did not feel like home. Keep falling into the same known pitfalls rather than take a different route.

But I grew up some, and while I haven't entirely mastered the whole 'trusting my own instincts' thing, I am working on it.

Working on it is a little like flooding myself with experiences in which there is ABSOLUTELY NO CERTAINTY just so I can exercise my trust muscles. This started with my writing practice many years ago. It started with Anne Lamott's permission to write a 'shitty first draft'. She taught me that I could always edit *after*. It segued into art journaling, into letting go of the desire for perfection, pre-selected palettes, composed spreads with rules and rhyme and reason, and trusting that I could just fling paint, and keep flinging until I was happy - that it wasn't finished until I said it was.


Not bad. :) Closing the gap a bit.


Trust came into play with learning new skills, too. I had to trust that my crappy first attempts would not kill me, and that the more crap I created, the LESS crap I'd create. I had to stare down that weird face I drew - the one with the wonky eyes and mishapen lips before moving on to create ANOTHER weird face with a too long neck or too flat a head before finally creating a face that *pleased me*. I had to fill a few art journals with bad colour choices and zero understanding of composition and too much glitter (there is such a thing as too much!) and text that took up too much room or not enough before I started to fill my journals with spreads that made me really happy.


Closing that gap.



If, as a beginner, I'd needed to be absolutely certain that I'd create a perfect face every time I drew one, I'd have taken up cooking instead of art journaling, because it took a long time before I developed that kind of certainty. Many, many weird and ugly faces led to my first really pleasing one.

The gap between my excellent taste and my skills had to be closed with trust and practice and time. (Ira Glass, thank you, man!)

When we start something new, whether it's taking up a hobby or learning a language or embarking on a new adventure, we must *trust* ourselves. We must trust that we *can* learn that skill, that practice WILL make progress, that trying is WINNING and not trying is BORING.

I'm not saying it's easy, though. It isn't easy. If you're human, and you've had some life experience, you're probably shit scared most of the time where uncertainty is present. But it is possible to overcome that fear, to employ trust, to be brave. I'm living proof of that, and every time I exercise my trust by taking on uncertainty in the journal, on canvas, in my life, I grow that trust little by little.

My life (and maybe yours) resembles the creative process like crazy. Try a thing. Grapple with terror. Let things be uncertain. Rest in not knowing. See what happens. Wonder and then move in the direction of wondering with NO IDEA where it will lead. Bicker with Self, who keeps insisting that trust is key. Resist. And then when resisting is untenable and you feel like you might bust a nut if you resist any longer, surrender. Go for it. Make mistakes. Fix them. Throw out a first draft or two. Pour the gesso liberally. Erase. Let those first attempts be 'texture' and 'practice runs'. Keep going...

I'm learning to trust that I'll get where I'm supposed to be as long as I keep moving forward with my own best interests at heart.



P.S. I grow my trust muscles through intentional creativity, which I teach in Book Of Days.

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Moon Journaling – New Moon In Aries

moonjournalingThis month's edition of Moon Journaling is live in my creative community, which you can join here.

Some months, I offer free lessons in mixed media portrait making, art journaling, and general holy mess making.

This month, we're gathering up and sharing all of our favourite mixed media and art journaling videos so that we may build a library of inspiration. I share one of my all time favourite videos - a visual meditation I created with accompaniment by Michael Beckwith. Come on over! If you're not yet a member, please join us! It's free! <3

This freely offered gift of my heart is meant to create a safe space to explore the New Moon in community with other people who find it useful, inspiring, and fun to pay attention to what's happening in our sky. Though my spiritual leanings are pagan and mystic, we all live under the same moon, and you are welcome to interpret your response to the New Moon any way you like. <3

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P.S. For more in depth mixed media and intentional creativity training, please join me for Book of Days!