Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Petals and Blood ~ A Legacy of Poetry

This is a book of spiritual awakening and unfolding. Each thick glossy page is rich with images of Africa, Hawaii and the natural world. The poetry in the book speaks deeply to me, as in these words from the poem The Entirety and the Particular:

For we are all in this together,
in time and out of time,
blossoming is the birthright of us all.

Or these words from Occupy Your Heart:

Seize your birthright.

Let the occupation begin ...

Occupy your willingness
to never forget
who you really, really are,
ever again.

Be true to your heart's
deepest longing.

But even more than the poetry, it is the story of Gavin Harrison's life that touches me. A journey from South Africa to Hawaii, a journey from chartered accountant to Buddhist monk. A journey that includes living with HIV. In the book, Gavin says: "I will not be defined by this virus. I am greater than the journey I'm about to begin". By sharing his vulnerability with us, the stories in the book show how Gavin has made his life a deeply meaningful one, despite living with HIV since 1982.

Petals and Blood is a legacy of what has meaning for Gavin. He has dedicated the book and donated the proceeds from the sale of the book to Woza Moya Project and the Group of Hope in South Africa. As many of you know, Woza Moya Project is an organization that is close to my heart, and those that purchase the book are helping many of the beautiful young women at Woza Moya seen in this video to fulfill their potential (listen to the words of the song!)

I interviewed Gavin in July, 2013 when he talked to me about what inspired his poetry. He said "Perhaps the poems will raise the bar, opening us to the infinite possibilities we share, in living this very precious and fleeting human life - to live with love, kindness and wakefulness within every corridor of our lives." They certainly inspire me to live each day more fully, and I think you will find the same. I know these words from the poem A New Day certainly make me more mindful of my thoughts and actions.

May your heart release its gift
before thought and self-involvement
the limitless possibilities ahead.

And may this daybreak
midwife footsteps
unfettered by habit and repetition.

May you follow the thread of Love
winding outward from the silence
of your awakening heart
into the majesty of a world
anticipating your loveliness.

If you want to hear more about Gavin, listen to this November 2013 interview with him by Janet Conner in The Soul-Directed Life.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Finding a Labyrinth in your Community

Why do I walk the labyrinth? I walk it because it is the simplest way I know to connect to my body, to stop my mind from constant chattering, and to become present to the moment. I feel more connected to myself after time in my labyrinth.

Your experience might be different, and the best way to find out what a labyrinth is all about, is to walk one.

I'm fortunate enough to have a labyrinth in my back yard, but recently labyrinths have sprung up everywhere, and you might find there is one just around the corner from you by going to the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator.

And if you want to find out more about labyrinths, I recommend you start with the book Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice by Lauren Artress.

I'd love to hear about your experiences in the labyrinth.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Gift from the Labyrinth in Mirepoix, France

One of the treasured memories from my recent trip to France, was visiting Mirepoix, a beautiful Medieval Bastide town outside Carcassonne. I had been told I might find a labyrinth there, in the Cathedral of St. Maurice. What I discovered was that the labyrinth was not in fact a walkable labyrinth. It was a series of tiles measuring approximately 24 inches across and inlaid on the floor of a side chapel of the Cathedral which was not open to the public.

However, I was fortunate enough to find a photograph of the tiles displayed in the Church, and my timing was perfect, as one of the stained glass windows in the Cathedral was reflected in the glass covering the image of the labyrinth. An unexpected gift from the labyrinth.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hop, Skip, Jump to Playful Action!

Hop, Skip, Jump! What a fabulous name for a book on how to creativity make life more meaningful. Marney Makridakis was one of the very first people to create an online artistic community through her website Artella. It was a source of much inspiration to me when I first started working with collage and mixed media, and so I know she has years of practical experience in guiding us to creatively make meaning from our lives.

"Play is the portal to presence. 
Play is the way you touch and amplify the enchantment of being human."

I just love this quote from page 3 of Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life. We are so often intent on getting something done that we forget to play, and play does make all the difference in living an enchanted life.

Marney's book focuses on the intersection of play and productivity.

HOP relates to dreaming and planning.
SKIP to experimenting and exploring
JUMP to taking action and completion.

I am finding all sorts of new ideas for my own creativity in this book, and just took Marney's online quiz to find out if I was a hopper, a skipper or a jumper! I invite you to try it as well to find out your productivity style.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


"I put on my dream-cap one day and stepped into Wonderland."
Howard Pyle

This is my contribution to a wonderful new book by Lesley Riley called Inspirational Quotes Illustrated. I titled my image "Inspiration Arriving". You'll see the woodpecker has food in his mouth!

Lesley invited artists to submit images in response to quotes which she gave us relating to the creative process. Quotes have always inspired me and enticed me into my creative life, so I really related to this project. One of my most precious possessions is an old notebook in which my grandmother hand-wrote her favorite quotations. And I have numerous notebooks filled with quotations which I turn to when I need fresh insight.

What are your favorite creativity quotes?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Your Portable Path to Peace

What is a labyrinth?

Lauren Artress, in her book “Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool” explains:

“The labyrinth is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to the deep rhythm that unites us to ourselves and to the Light that calls from within. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness.”

The labyrinth is an ancient symbol, usually in the form of a circle, with one path which leads along a meandering and somewhat spiraling route into the symbol’s center. Labyrinths are usually large enough to walk, and the winding path to the center and back again serves as a metaphor for our journey through life.

You can find a labyrinth to walk close to you by visiting the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator.

As we don't always have easy access to a labyrinth to walk, I created this journal to be used as a portable path to peace, as a guide for your inner journey, whenever and wherever you need it. An inspirational quote and journal prompt accompany each labyrinth image as guides to discovering your joy as you journey on the path. You can use these prompts for your journaling, or you can choose to write on the labyrinth path with one word, with an affirmation, or with a pattern. However you choose to journey on the page is the right way.

If you want to explore the labyrinth with your eye, your hand and your pen, you can order a copy of "Journaling the Labyrinth Path" from amazon

Monday, October 20, 2014

Slow Photography: Seeing with Your Senses and Your Soul - in Orvieto, Italy

In this video I share some of the beauty of the hilltop town of Orvieto in Italy. Adventures in Italy host creative groups in this magical little town every May and October. I taught my Slow Photography workshop there in September, 2013 and am delighted to be going back there to teach in May, 2015.

Apart from the photography, we will be creating a unique project using photos of doors from Orvieto - and there are plenty of interesting doors for us to choose from!

Perhaps I'll get to meet you on the cobbled streets of Orvieto.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Images as Allies of the Soul

This quote from Shaun McNiff reminds me of the reason for my SoulCollage® practice.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Photography as Reverence and Revelation

When I read Joanna Patterson's poem This is Not Photography, I realized that I had never really defined for myself what photography meant to me. So, inspired by Joanna's words, I sat down and thought about how making images makes me feel and wrote my own poem This is Revelation. Photography is about so much more than a camera and a memory card. It is a way to connect deeply to your soul.

I agree with Edward Steichen who says: "Photography was conceived as a mirror of the universal elements and emotions of the everydayness of life ... a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind."

This is Revelation
Inspired by Joanna Patterson

This is not photography.
This is joy of radiant light.
This is shape of soft cloud.
This is touch of fern, delicate and vulnerable.
This is curiosity.
This is wonder.
This is slow time.
This is seeing past appearances.
This is a language deeper than words.

This is not photography.
This is silent conversation between line and color.
This is soul seeking voice.
This is recognition.
This is connection.
This is praying with soft eyes.
This is embracing the world.
This is celebrating beauty.
This is a thousand new perspectives.

This is not photography.
This is the heart at play.
This is paying attention.
This is dreaming with eyes open wide.
This is songs of praise.
This is my soul as sacred scribe of light.
This is light reflected.
This is reverence.
This is revelation.