"Small Voice in the Midst of Chaos"

 

There has been a lot going on in our world over the past months. Disease has manifested in humans the world over. We are quarantined. We are mandated to wear masks. We are mandated to social distance and not touch or embrace. Fear is palpable. Humans believe we can beat this with these outward measures of safety. We know change is afoot. It can all be overwhelming.

 

I have listened to and read writings of various learned people from differing perspectives. I have spent time in silence, in the forest, listening. I paint to engage my creative self, my imagination. I call on all the tools and guides I have befriended to cope, to grow, to seek, to find the small quiet voice within. I have felt the gamut from fear to bliss. I have expressed myself with peaceful wisdom and with fiery passion; with objectivity and with judgement.

 

And in the end, the truth that I feel in my gut is that we are as much this world as the world is us. The words of learned thinkers, scientists, writers that make the most amount of sense to me have to do with connection. We -- everything that exists -- are in this together. Not just humans. Animals. Trees. Air. Water. Bugs. Animate and inanimate. All that exists. We are all in this together. Not to defeat, but to come together.

 

I dream a world that knows this connection deep within the belly and lives connection everyday.

 

So, where it begins is in me. Each day as I visit with the forest, I open a little more as I listen for the murmurings, the sensations that lead me on a path to fully embrace connection consciously in every fiber of my being. Even though I have always believed the truth of connection, I am a product of the cultural conditioning I have lived with since I was born into this body. The conditioning of separation. I feel as though I am going through a great "undoing". The time of separation, of descent, of initiation (and eventual birthing), has been a time of unfurling for me. I am learning to embrace the chaos of releasing and letting go of control with both feet on the earth. I am learning to embrace not knowing an outcome. And, following the lead of this virus, taking this time to purge toxins from my thoughts, my emotions, my body. And to dream.

 

I don't feel alone in this process of living with chaos. So many of us - humans - are reflecting, loving, fearing, making mistakes, learning, forgiving, dreaming, creating, falling, standing.....being human. I have faith we will sort it out. It may take a few tries. For the timebeing, I dream.

 

I dream a world of all beings living in balance and harmony, thriving in the truth of interdependence and connection.

 

I often return to the knowledge of indigenous people of this land, and to their prayer: Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. The prayer reminds me to stay the course toward my dream. Humility and gratitude are a good place to start. The prayer begins:

 

 "Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people. Now our minds are one."

 

In this time of chaos, may we all find our duty to honor all cycles of life and death, and live in balance and harmony with all that exists in this amazing universe we co-habitate. May we acknowledge our mistakes with forgiveness and make efforts to change. May we have faith in the goodness of ourselves and each other. May our minds and hearts be as one.

 

Blessings, Lisa

 

Read the full  Thanksgiving Address:

https://americanindian.si.edu/environment/pdf/01_02_Thanksgiving_Address.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

I live on the land the Haudenosausee people once made home in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I was introduced to their Thanxgiving prayer many years ago when I was learning about the people who are native to this place. During that time, I was visited by the spirit of a young woman who made the hill where I lived her summer camp. She was instrumental in helping me deepen my understanding of connection. I am grateful for that time that I spent with all Haudenosaunee people, past and present, for their teachings, for their generous hearts.

I am grateful everyday, when i walk in these northern forests and visit with the oaks, the maples, the pines, the chipmunks who are scurrying collecting acorns, and for the coyotes who sing at night with the barred and screech owls. I am grateful to continue to deepen my relationship with all beings of this beautiful land we share. I am grateful to witness the sun rises and sets over the forests and over the lakes. 

I am grateful for the generosity of friends as I journey through my exploration of nomadic life, for their trust and acceptance. I am grateful to the teachings of indigenous peoples. They have taught me to be mindful of the place I walk upon, of how I take and how I give back. 

In my gratitude my heart expands to include all. 

In love and peace, remember Thanxgiving.

I invite you to take the time it takes to sink into the prayer shared below and may it swell your heart......

 

(Copied from Facebook)

Dan Wahpepah

November 25 at 1:37 AM

This prayer is a gift from the Haudenosaunee People (The Iroquois Nation) for you to remember perhaps at your Thanksgiving table – and especially with children. The real observance of the first Thanksgivings by first peoples has been all but forgotten by American culture. It is time to remember.

Let us greet the world in Thanksgiving as if we were sharing one mind, one heart, and one body. Today we have gathered and come from many different places. We have arrived safely at this place to share with each other our gifts from the Creator.

So we bring our minds together as one in Thanksgiving and Greetings to one another.We now turn our thoughts to Earth Mother. She continues to care for us and has not forgotten her instructions from the beginning of time. Now we bring our minds together in Thanksgiving for the Earth.

Now as one mind we turn our thoughts to the Waters of the Earth for they too have not forgotten their instructions from the Creator of Life. The Waters continue to flow beneath the ground, in little streams and in rivers, in lakes and in wetlands, and in the great seas. They quench our thirst and help keep us clean so we can fulfill our duty to Creation. We now bring our minds together in Thanksgiving to all the Waters of the Earth.We now address all the Beings both seen and unseen that dwell in the Water for they too have not forgotten their original instructions from the Creator of Life to provide for us in many ways. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving and Greetings to all the Nations who dwell in the Waters.

Now we direct our thoughts to the many kinds of plants that live upon the Earth- for they too have not forgotten their original instructions. Many members of this Nation sustain those who walk upon this Earth, and many others who continue to fulfill their duties to take away the sickness of the human family and elevate human consciousness. With one mind we send our thoughts and Thanksgiving to the Plant Nations.With one mind we now think of our relations in the many Insect Nations. Like the other members of the natural world, they too have not forgotten their original instructions to fulfill their obligation to Continued Creation.

With one mind we send our thoughts and Thanksgiving to all the members of the Insect Nations.We now gather our minds together and send Greetings and Thanksgiving to all the Animal Life in the world, for they continue to instruct and teach us even today. It is said that the Creator knew that Humans would take too much for granted if they were given all the wisdom, so instead the Creator gave a little piece of wisdom of how to live on the Earth to the different animals. We are happy that many still walk with us on our continuing journey. With one mind we send Thanksgiving to all the Animal Life in the world.

With one mind we now think of the Trees. According to their original instructions the Trees still give us shelter, warmth, food, and make the environment a suitable place to dwell. The trees remind us of the beauty and power in the natural world. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving to all the members of the Tree Nation.

We now bring our minds together and send our Greetings of Thanksgiving to the Birds. At the beginning of time the Birds were given a special duty to perform. The Creator gave the Birds instructions to each find a special place to live in the world and they should learn the song of that place. During the day, our minds are lifted by the songs of the Bird Nations. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving to the Birds of the world.

We are thankful to the Four Winds who continue to blow and cleanse the air according to their original instructions. As we listen to the Winds it is as if we are hearing the Creator's breath, clearing our minds as it blows through the trees. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving to the Four Winds.We now turn our attention to the Thunderbeings. For they too have not forgotten their original instructions and welcome the Spring with their loud voice. Along with the lightning, they carry the waters of the spring on their backs. It is also said that the Thunderbeings were given the job to hold down the beings beneath the Earth which would prevent life from continuing. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving and Greetings to the Thunderbeings.

Our minds are as one as we send our thoughts to our oldest brother the Sun. Each day the Sun continues his instructions from the Creator of Life, bringing the light of day, the energy source of all life on Earth. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving to our oldest brother the Sun.

We now gather our minds together and give thanks to our oldest Grandmother the Moon. She holds hands with all the women of the world and binds all of the female cycles and rhythms of the Waters so we may continue to carry out our obligation to Creation. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving and Greetings to Grandmother Moon.

With one mind we send our thoughts to the Star Nation who continue to light our way during times of darkness to guide us home, and hold the secrets of many forgotten stories. Even though many of the stories are no longer in our minds, it is said it is enough to be thankful to the Stars and perhaps one day we would learn these stories again. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving and Greetings to the Star Nation.

With our minds as one we think of the Four Spirit Beings who live in the Four Directions. At the beginning of time when the Creator first made the Human Family, it was seen that they very quickly got themselves into trouble. The Creator knew that they needed extra help and so created the Four Spirit Beings to remove the obstacles from our paths and guide us with our feelings. And now we gather our minds together as one and send our special Thanksgiving to the Four Spirit Beings.

Now we have arrived in a very special place where dwells the Great Spirit, the Creator of the Universe. As one mind we turn our thoughts to the Creator, for without the Creator we would not be able to walk on the Earth fulfilling our original instructions.

Everything we need is provided for us and all we have to remember is to give thanks. With one mind we send our Thanksgiving and Greetings to the Creator.We have now become like one being. We send our Prayers and special Thanksgiving Greetings to all the unborn children of the future generations.

We send our thoughts to the Elders and the Children for they give us guidance and purpose to live in a good way. We are thankful to all the Enlightened Teachers who have come to help us throughout the ages. We send our thoughts to the many different beings we may have missed during our Thanksgiving. With one mind we send Thanksgiving and Greetings to all of the Nations of the World.

Now Our Minds Are One.

 

 




As the days grow shorter and colder, I am slowing down and reflecting on the gifts of my life, spending more time in solitude.

 

The trees are changing color. They seem to sigh as they slowly get sleepy and move toward dormancy. The forests are filled with chipmunks and squirrels chattering away as they forage and collect for the coming colder months. The ground grows soft again from autumn rains. 

 

I, too, look to warmer housing for the winter. I have lived outside most of the summer and now early fall. As the nights grow longer and the mornings chillier, I find myself seeking warmer indoor shelter. I am not ready to spend more than 12 hours cocooned in my teardrop!

 

I have harvested new perspective from traveling and work experiences. I am learning from mistakes and joys. I remember to stay with the forest in my thoughts as the world around me pulls me into despair or threat. I practice connecting to my heart so I remember the difference between reality and illusion. I am not always successful at these practices at the moments when I am triggered. The more consciousness I bring to my thoughts and actions, even in hindsight, the more connected I am to the present moment and the the more I am able to find some balance. 

 

I find painting is the most peaceful and heartfull activity for times of questioning or anxiety or despair. The act of creating is staying in the present moment. It heals. 

 

Happy Fall! Receive your harvest and share your joy!

 

Blessings, Lisa




I received a "D" for my independent study Senior Degree Project my last semester at art school. My title was "Toward a Personal Mythology". I had veered off the path of my major, Illustration, and initiated an intuitive and  personal exploration into feminine mythology. There was no rational reason I did this. It "felt" important for me to do. (Up to that point, I maintained a 3.5 point average in my studies. That "D" plummeted my final degree points.) 

 

I used "process" and "conjuring" in my painting practice allowing color to guide me. I sought out books of mythology written by women. I had to go to book stores, because libraries had only traditional mythology books written by men from a patriarchal point of view. I was hungry for women's words.

 

This was the mid-1980's. Jean Shinoda Bolen's Goddesses in Every Woman had hit the shelves in bookstores. I also found Esther Harding and Christine Downing writing from a Jungian perspective about the feminine. It seemed "the feminine" was a psychological phenomenon. I devoured all I could find including Starhawk, Merlin Stone, Barbara Walker. I painted from within, conjuring, exploring what my heart, my belly had to show me. After I graduated, I shared my conjuring process with other women seeking a new language.

 

As I look backward, forward and present, I see a huge web of women bringing the irrational, intuitive world into sustenance, creating a visual visceral language.

 

We continue to cycle in spirals and weave our work as we experience our natural world polluted, over cultivated and clear cut. We gain momentum as we make conscious our deep belly wisdom that is of nature. We know we are not seperate. Even as the wilderness outside of us is slowly dominated, we cultivate a wilderness within, allowing surrender, stillness, contemplation, opening the eyes of hearts.

 

I will continue to conjure, with nature, with other artists, with other women, images that will leave breadcrumbs to guide us back home. We will listen to the sensations the wind tickles over our skin. Take in the flaming beauty of trees transitioning into dormancy. Pay attention to the pull our moon has on our blood. With this intelligence we can then engage our minds to make balanced, sustaining decisions in our physical world.

 

Happy Spring! Welcome to our New World!

 

PS An article worth reading......https://upliftconnect.com/thinking-with-the-heart/?utm_source=UPLIFT&utm_campaign=8a40cfc3e4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_04_11_06_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19c1fc07c2-8a40cfc3e4-115811277

 





It is past mid-winter and been a long while since I wrote anything about my life as a contemplative and active artist. I had hunkered down to inner life and organizing and working in my new studio-living space in late Autumn. The Winter has brought short days, many journal musings and a shift once again in how and what I paint. I can feel the quiet murmurings of dreams and ideas planted at Solstice as the days start to grow longer. I also feel a yearning for the quiet of dark days to remain so I have more time to clarify my dreams. The gentle pulls at mid-winter remind me to plan structure for the activities that will come once Spring arrives so I move into the longer days with ease rather than frantic scurrying.

This Winter, I have prayed for more understanding of Grace. She shows up when ego driven desires diminish and my heart opens to receiving and giving love. She disappears in the presence of fear, hidden, yet accessible, waiting for that moment when I surrender to not knowing outcome. She visits me during my daily walks among the trees when I am able to listen and hear the whisperings of wisdom that flutter among the branches and rise up from the roots, strengthening my faith in connectedness. Those are the moments I feel Grace embrace me. And those are also the moments I want the quiet of Winter to last longer. The time I spend in the wilder places, in the forest, I feel most at home, connected to what feels important and more easily access Grace. I created space for the forest to grow within me so that I might carry wilder-ness into my civilized life and feel more at home with Grace wherever I may be in this world.

This new Winter season also brought new ideas about what I will teach this year. Creating a wilder place within myself inspired me to re-structure Creative Conjuring to Intentional Conjuring. Creating balance between my mind and my soul makes a lot of sense, so I am incorporating practical painting skills into my conjuring classes. Painting skills allow an ease in expression that awkwardness with materials can limit. That ease brings confidence for the painter and a flexible ability to be intentional.

If you are local to Ithaca, NY, sign-up for a class, the second Sunday of the month; see what I’m painting in upcoming exhibits at Leidenfrost Vineyards March and April, Moosewood in June and Hector Wine Company in August.

Enjoy the embrace of mid-winter and I’ll be in touch in Spring!





The moment I put watercolor to paper, I knew she was my magic wand. I have stayed loyal to her when wordly authorities dismissed her as temporary, transitory. I love her ability to shift and change without notice. There's nothing completely covered up with her -- she shows all her colors. She is adaptable, flowing, unpredictable, surprising. Of course, the world of rational, permanent, unchangable does not find comfort in her. 

 

She is wild. She cannot be controlled.

 

I work with her. I follow and she follows. She leads and I lead. It is a dance of transmutation. She is the perfect muse for conjuring. She always tells the truth, even when I don't want to look. She reminds me to breathe. She allows me freedom to adventure. She takes me deep and she remains filled with light.

 

We are in partnership, my muse, watercolor, and I. 

We are journeying.

There is no time and there is all time.

There is Conjuring.

 

I breathe.

 

I follow my breath into my heart. I feel expansion. I feel contraction. 

 

I follow my breath into my belly. I breathe into the crevices and edges creating containment. Within the container of my belly wisdom, mystery, sensation gurgle up in images, in colors. In partnership with my muse, we conjure, we re-member knowing.

 

We express.

We connect.

We discern.

We trust.

We share.

 

With conscious intention, in partnership with all women who have walked before me, all women who will walk after me and all women who are now walking, these are the images revealed to me on my path of initiation into the cave of the Wild Wise Woman.

 

Will you journey with us and conjure your knowing?

 

See my Conjured Journey at my opening reception at Hector Handmade, 5344 State Route 414, Hector, NY, September 9, 2018, noon to 5pm


For close to 40 years now, I have searched in books for threads that will lead me into the mystery and power of the Divine Feminine. I found precious nuggets here and there. Many women scholars have written down the stories and myths of ancient times and interpreted them through many different eyes, defining archetypes for us to be guided, and our inner lives to be deepened. 

 

Initiation archetypes, stories and myths have held my interest and imagination recently. In Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarrissa Pinkola Estes tells the story of the Handless Maiden and suggests the lost pieces of Truth in the initiation process for women. “What was once a longing to find the underworld Beloved became, somewhere in time, a lust and seizure in later myths.” She goes on to tell of ordinary invitations into initiation for women from a long ago forgotten time. A woman stepped into a solo journey safely contained by all women who had walked before her. 

 

I am, we women are being initiated into a life we have only known instinctively and intuitively. We are seeking and creating new guides to lead us through the door and down the pathway. We are reviving the ancient archetypes of feminine initiation from the depths of our bellies, our souls, and are telling the stories taught by ancient women wisdom that we find there. That knowledge is awakening in all of us as we listen to the whispers that become clear beckonings and follow the threads into the belly, the soul.

 

We do not need to be abducted in lust against our will into the Divine depths of our being like Persephone. We are not having nervous breakdowns of hysteria and depression. We choose to enter willingly, with courage and curiosity. We do not need the guidance of a father. We are women and we hold the strength accumulated from all our mothers before us. We are a strong circle connected in cooperation with other women. We each have our unique gift to share and we hold each other as each of us dives, then surfaces to shine our true brilliance as individuals. 

 

A prayer: May all our lights shine brightly as we gather to share the gifts we emerge with from our deep dive, freely, safely, within the container of the Beloved, the Divine Feminine, All That Is and Will Be and Has Been.

 

Blessed be.

 

 




 


I haven't written in awhile. Like Winter that has lingered longer than desired, I have been slow to bubble up out of my creative cave. Even as Winter lingered, so did the Dark Night of the Soul. "Dark" not to be judged as good or bad, just dark, cavelike, deep within crevices that are not exposed to light. I felt like a fungus in a rainforest that needs so little light to grow.

 

I experienced both the extreme highs of motivation, as well as the lows, in my wallowing and searching, and a lot of places in between. Sometimes my skills have been lacking when it came to rising out of the muck, and despair so palpable only my dog's eyes held me in this physical world. 

 

This process of re-birthing this year feels so much more challenging than prior years. I found so many things in my mundane life that didn't work to reward me or those I love and care about. It sometimes felt futile to keep existing if my belly rumblings will not flower in bright colors and grace my outer world with ease and beauty. 

 

And then, I remember the glimmerings I witnessed in imagination and the wealth of love and friendship that surrounds me. In that moment, the outer world becomes a kaliedoscope of greens, oranges, reds, blues and yellows! Spring displays herself in all her wonderful wildness, bursting open widely, generously. The Dark is the shadow cast by such brightness. A necessary shadow for fungus to grow. When perspective shifts, with the help of imagination, a world is given the hope of balance.  

 

Staying in the "muck" awhile longer this year may also provide magnificent colors I have yet to experience. An uncomfortably long cycle is an opportunity to become a mouse or an owl, to inspect the details closer, with sharp sight and a keen nose. To burrow a little deeper, maybe, to eventually unearth what needs light to grow. 

 

As I play with and sort through my seed packets spread across my table, I wonder what will bear fruit (or vegetable!) this year. What do I plan to nurture toward harvest? What will I imagine into being? The possibilities are limitless and becoming clearer after having spent a longer time gestating this year.

 

I wish for you ease and discernment. Where will your energies go toward bearing the fruit that will sustain you through another Winter?