Gifts from my Camera: Metaphors for a Transformed Life

I could remember my day today
 through the filter of gloom 
 remembering only those rainy gray hours 
 stuck within the stuffy cluttered house

 or I could admit those hours inside 
 were a gift from my creative muse
 for I wrote content for an eBook I'm been struggling with 
and poetry about the gorgeous moon viewed 
at five this morn--two hours before the rain began
 I could frame this rainy day 
 between that magic before the gray dawn 
 and this evening’s colorful sunset 
 (and perhaps a starry night
 as clouds begin to clear!)
then focus only on the frame 

or I could focus on midafternoon's sudden call 
of brightening clouds and patches of blue  
viewed through raindrops still on the window glass 
a most welcome invitation 
accepted with a dash outside 
(camera in hand, of course) 
to breathe the fresh and bracing air 
and using the camera’s zoom 
to focus on and capture 
the magic of reappearing blue 

 If asked whether my "glass" 
was full or half empty 
I used to growl to myself 
“none of the above--just about empty!” 
(yes, then and still 
a diagnosis of severe clinical depression)
 But now I'm learning 
to reframe my life story 
and how important it is for me 
to focus on each small miracle 
zooming in until it fills my inner viewfinder 
which of course changes my point of view  
until all I am is wonderfully grateful 
and miraculously happy


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[This turned into a long blog, so Photo101 folks and Small Stone members may wish to scroll to the photo and “small stone” posted at the end]

For years I have dreamed of a cozy adobe casita in supportive community.  But due to physical and mental illness, this dream, or either of these dreams, has proved impossible to manifest.  And so, home has been

a dream I despair to find

~that place where I belong, and where I am respected and loved

~heart space



I’ve been a solitary nomad, a temporary camper, for nearly twenty years (stuck in one place for eight years now due to illness).   So the home I first think of is a house.

For someone with multiple chemical sensitivity and mold illness, a house needs to be environmentally healthy but my old trailer makes me sicker. I know I’m lucky to have it (far better than being homeless!), yet I dream ~and despair~ of finding the healthy house I need.   The other part of my dream of “home”—community–is even harder to manifest.  I have tried to find or create a supportive “intentional” community, but that depends on other people (and better health would help!).

I dreamed of home for too long, while growing old, and more ill.  I have stopped dreaming because the dreams hurt too much when I can’t manifest them.  I’m stuck in a place where I never wanted to live–a desert floodplain, a moldy old trailer full of clutter, alone.

Yet even here there is astonishing beauty: from glorious sunset skies to the hearts of flowers.  My hearth is a solar oven under the desert sky, and many months of the year I walk the adobe paths barefoot, connecting physically with the Earth.  My heart opens to the sparrow that feeds from my hand, the butterflies that flutter atop the Tithonia that now volunteers each summer (only water added).  My virtual friends (from a private Facebook group for mindfulness writing) can be as fragranced or “smoky” as they wish without adversely impacting me, their comments on my daily postings an eagerly anticipated joy.

Some days I’m more “at home” than other days. But in seeking a “small stone” to post, there are at least moments of connection.  The late light will create beauty from a dingy aluminum trailer and last season’s Tithonia stalks.  The photo and poem posted to the Facebook group will evoke appreciative comments that bring the moment back to life.  And months later, feelings evoked by that moment and by others’ appreciation echo again as I come across the picture.

For me, photos are powerful reminders, re-evokers of positive emotions and heart connections, bringing needed healing and hope.  And so for this first Photo101 assignment I’m posting not a brand new photo but the one that came to mind when I wondered, “What does Home mean to me?”




a bit of Earth on which to ground

sunshine for the heart/h

the beauty of the late light

supportive friends

and even a cozy niche on social media

A New Challenge Begins: Photo101

I LOVE my little camera!  All I knew was I wanted to zoom in on flowers and insects as well as taking photos of scenery and occasionally people.  I found a great deal on Amazon, and gave myself a gift of a Canon PowerShot with a 16X optical zoom.  That proved to be a lucky choice–the camera has proven easy to use (on automatic, I admit), and I’ve taken some stunning pics (no false modesty here!).

Over the course of a year and a half, I’ve taken over five thousand photos, mostly of Nature, some of my art, all but a few taken at my home.  Admittedly, there have been many to delete, and some notable redundancies.  Although I always seem to find new subjects or new light on old ones, I’m now leaping at the chance to learn new techniques, be given ideas of new things to photograph, and the opportunity to share with a community of learners and bloggers.  Thus, WordPress Photo101!

…Stay tuned for the first assignment:  Home!

Through a Lover’s Eyes–Guest Blog from Tanya Levy

Introducing our Guest

Tanya Levy is our HeartLady on the Facebook group Small Stones: Writing Our Way Home.  She often posts inspirational photo collages of her own creation, or photos of cloudscapes (etc) where she sees hearts, usually accompanied by lovely “small stone” poems. I mentioned  in my post of August 28 (“Seeing with our Child Eyes”), that Tanya inspired me to try to recapture my child’s eyes for seeing images in clouds.

copyright HeartLady

photo by HeartLady.  For her, a puffy white heart.  For me, a fat white hen.  For a friend, a witch on a broomstick, boots dangling!


I included two of her cloud heart photos in that post, along with several of my own cloud menageries.  I asked Tanya if she would share with us her magical way of seeing, which is playful in a more romantic and visionary way than my own reawakening “child eyes.”   And she graciously agreed….



Guest Blog from the HeartLady, Tanya Levy

Let your heart burst forth with love--Tanya Levy

When we flirt we share affection. We see a stranger or a friend through a lover’s eyes.  I believe life becomes more energized when we see the world as a lover would, pursuing it with the passion of doing anything to fulfill the desire’s of our dear one’s heart; the world becomes brighter, more alive and exciting.

Here is an excerpt of a poem I wrote for my first husband.

lovers eyes JE“I owe you much

My whole heart’s desire

I owe you much

For lighting my fire”


Or from my recent wedding vows, “I shall love you for as long as the sun rises each morning and the stars shine each night.”

Today I marry the Keeper of my Heart, my life companion. You ground me and bring me peace. I shall love you for as long as the moon shines each night and the stars dim each morning”


golden raindrop heart--Tanya Levy

golden raindrop heart–photo by HeartLady

Seeing life through a lover’s eyes is not limited to romantic love. A lover’s eyes can see the magic in a sunset, the heart in a clouded sky or the happiness of a long awaited visit from a dear friend.

Children are easily caught up in the magic of love; pledging allegiance to a prince or princess, traipsing off on an adventure through a fairy kingdom to meet a frog prince or a ballerina mouse.

Think of the things we tell our children. “I love you all the way to the moon and back and all the way around the universe”. Remember how wondrous it is to see a warm sunrise and look forward to a day at the beach or a walk in the sunshine.


Believing in others and supporting their success gives us a peek at the expanse of a lover’s heart. Rose-coloured glasses are not essential. Using elbow grease to back up our heart felt sentiments is the backbone of a lover’s eyes. When we do laundry for someone we love, send them a note, plant a garden or cook soup from scratch; we build a foundation to hold our lover’s heart.

Love Yourself--Tanya LevyI encourage you to spend a day looking through a lover’s eyes, seeking the bounty of nature, looking for ways to support those you care about or finding a favourite author on sale at a second hand bookstore. Better yet, be kind to yourself as if you were being kind to someone you were head over heads in love with, treat yourself, cherish yourself; fall in love with life all over again. Light yourself up <3.

 j’Etana’s postscript

Small blue heart appears briefly this cloudy day

Small blue heart appeared briefly this cloudy day.



I love that last sentence!  To see myself through a lover’s eyes–yes!  …and strangers, friends, clouds….

While going through my late summer photos, I discovered a heart in the clouds–a heart I had missed seeing when I photographed that sky. I’m definitely going to follow Tanya’s suggestions to bring more hearts, and more loving energy, into my life, by seeing with lover’s eyes!


You can see more of Tany’s heart images, as well as her beautiful inspirational collages, on her facebook page


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SunDay Swoons

This post is inspired by Effy Wild’s Sunday Swoon tradition.  Her blog today begins, “I love this feature because it gives me an opportunity to showcase all the lovely things you’ve been creating throughout the week! … [I]f you did something that really made you proud this week, please blog about it and add your link!”  Her own two swoony posts–a Demeter she did for the Moonshine Mother class that I am floundering in, and a lovely gratitude art spread that I aspire to emulate–are worth a visit!


Simple collage inspired by the journal prompt for Moonshine Mother, “When I hold the word “Mother” in my awareness, I feel…”

Effy’s “swoon” and those of her tribe are usually paintings or art journal spreads (what she teaches), but since I’m still a rank beginner in those realms I’m posting photography and small stones (mindfulness moments in prose or poetry), simple collaging, land art, and even daily artistic play such as a particularly pleasing arrangement of laundry on my clothesline.  To start off this feature on my blog, I’m going back two weeks for my favorites in all realms of personal “artistic” creativity.

I’ll challenge myself to do more art so I have a “swoon” to post weekly.  Wish me luck–and get out your own art supplies and post links to your own swoons in my comments section!


Laundry "Spread" echoing muted greens of drying mesquite leaves

Laundry “Spread” echoing muted greens of drying mesquite leaves

A recent favorite “laundry spread” in muted greens that echo the fading greens of drying mesquite leaves.

I love hanging the laundry by color and form, temporary “art” that comes inside smelling of fresh air and sunshine.

How about you?


A fun photo capture in my Shadow Play series

Mr Black’s shadow self appears to be …a javelina!


A fun photo capture in my Shadow Play series.

The neighbor’s cat, my part-time witch’s familiar, seems to have a shadow side as a rather short-legged javelina!  Look at that piggy snout!

I love serendipity like this, and the camera helps to capture it with moving targets like Mr Black.




Magical juxtaposition that inspired a Small Stone

Magical juxtaposition that inspired a Small Stone

Another playful photo capture that inspired an Elfje I posted on the Small Stones Facebook group:


lingers here

house stays hot/

moths tattered from close


I enjoy capturing the weird stuff that appears on my computer screen in snapshot photo collages.  Isn’t the serendipity amazing in this one, how the rainbow light shines through the bird’s beak shaped missing spot on the moth’s wing?



Here’s a Small Stone posted 28 September that is more aligned with that group’s focus on mindfulness:

above Mesquite,
cradled by Acacia

The goal is to become more mindful of passing moments by capturing them in short prose or poetry.  Interested?  Join the Facebook group Small Stones: Writing Our Way Home.


Effy Wild suggested using Quinacridone Magenta as the red for color mixing.  Wowza!

Effy Wild suggested using Quinacridone Magenta as the red for color mixing. Wowza!

In closing here’s my first ever color mixing wheel, done in the Bootcamp for Effy Wild’s Moonshine Mother course.

Yes, Golden acrylics are swoony!  And using Quinacridone Magenta in place of red, as Effy suggested, makes a swoony wheel.

Thank you, Effy, for teaching me color mixing, and the importance of investing in quality art supplies.

Which I hope will result in more personally created artistic Sunday Swoons as I make my way through Effy’s Book of Days Bootcamp.  It’s free (!) so check it out (and enroll in Book of Days 2014) at if you’re interested in art journalling as a spiritual practice.  You can also join her Facebook tribe at The Glitterhood.

Now to post this Swoon and get out in the Healing Grove arts and crafts studio to see what creativity will flow….  I hope we all have a great week playing art!

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Autumn Blessings


Looking at the Wheel of the Year as a clock, Autumn is Sunset.  It lives in the West, the home of the Water element and our emotions, sometimes seen as the portal to Death and the realms beyond. Overlaying this solar clock/ medicine wheel with the Moon’s monthly cycles, Autumn is Third Quarter, or Waning Half Moon.  In terms of a woman’s life, Autumn is menopause, the end of fecundity and gateway to developing elder wisdom.

Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year, a time of colorful late flowers and abundant harvests, followed by the blaze of turning leaves.  It has been a time of returning physical energy after the summer heat, and is when I became pregnant (giving birth in Summer). I am now in the Autumn years of my life, and so I wonder if this season of my life will be my favorite?  In spite of many losses–relationships, empty nest, health challenges, inability to dance, and where oh where did my libido go?–as I recreate myself “better than ever” in so  many internal ways it’s starting to seem possible that this is becoming my best season!


This year the Equinox happened during the Gibbous Waning Moon, thus Solar Mabon falls close to Lunar Mabon (September 22 and 26). This is a perfect opportunity for a solitary witch to stay super-mindful of Balance for a week, always a good idea for someone fairly recently “beyond bipolar!”  I don’t have to choose, but can celebrate both sides of Autumn–joy and gratitude for the continuing harvest (and the cooler weather!) and grief for the waning of the light and for losses of fecundity and the sensual (okay, sexual!) pleasures of my life’s summer.  I love balancing Sun and Moon–and getting more opportunities to play magic!

Mr Black, embodying mindfulness as his familiar scurries around taking photos, Mabon Eve 2013

Mr Black, embodying mindfulness as his familiar scurries around taking photos, Mabon Eve 2013


Autumn is the sunset of the solar year, and our sunset on Mabon Eve was an awesome 360 degree panorama, lingering long in the West, direction of Autumn on the yearwheel.

Witch took photos while familiar maintained cool mindfulness.



I send Blessings of Balance to all who need dynamic equilibrium, rather than extremes of hot and cold, up and down, in our lives.  And Blessings of empowerment for “changed” women.  May we find the gifts of our life’s Autumn. and rekindle our passion for life.  May we develop wisdom and share it with our tribes.  Welcome, Matrons!

Mabon Sunset--Cloud Rainbow Portal

Mabon Sunset–Cloud Rainbow Portal. Blessings for the journey from Summer to Winter!

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Slide Show for NatureWisdomJourney

IMG_1975I had fun creating a slideshow introducing myself and my business. I hope you will enjoy viewing it!

Click the link below (rightclick to open in a separate tab or window):

Nature Wisdom Journey slideshow

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Daily Prompt: I Pledge Allegiance


This rant inspired by the Daily Prompt at WordPress,sent today by michelle w. 

“Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?”


Matriotism poster--from We'Moon

Matriotism poster from the We’Moon Collective


I am NOT patriotic.  To me, patriotism appears to be unthinking allegiance to a flag, to a history of warfare, genocide and imperialism, and to an ideology of separatism and elitism, based on arbitrary geographic territories that have almost no congruence with ecological or cultural unities.

In this modern age of global interconnectedness, patriotism is something we should all outgrow before it is too late!



pledge allegiance to earth

Pledge Allegiance to Earth–poster from the We’Moon Collective

I Pledge Allegiance to the Whole Earth, which is our Mother Gaia, a precious and unique blue planet where the winds and currents, the migrations of animals, and the flow of rain down watersheds to the sea (returning again as rain) connect us all in a miraculous Web of Life. The individual strands of this Web are fragile, easily severed by the patriots, imperialists and capitalist exploiters.  But if we increase the numbers of linkages and strengthen the connections this web of interconnected life may survive the idiocies perpetrated in the name of patriotism during the centuries since Columbus “discovered” America and our forefathers stole the land from its indigenous peoples.


Patriotic Americans have led nations such as China to emulate our astonishing overconsumption of material goods.  Our government has refused to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions or otherwise set realistic standards to ensure a sustainable future.  Why would I ever consider pledging allegiance to this military-industrialist complex, or to the global corporations that truly run it?

I hope you will join me in the Pledge of Allegiance to Earth!  By replacing patriotism with matriotism, giving our allegiance to Mother Gaia and her interconnected web of life, we can create a sustainable future–and one with heart.


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Freya’sDay–Succulence and Sweetness

Day 30 of the 30 day Blogalong.  This is my 19th post, which seems pretty amazing to me.  I’ve learned I can write even when I’m not feeling well or “inspired”–and I’ve found that inspiration is actually easy to find and writing helps me feel better.  Thank you to everyone who has taken time to read my posts, and especially to those who have commented here or on the Glitterhood forum.  I love this ever-deepening experience of our “tribe!”

I’m going to keep this post simple.  In casting about for a descriptive word to go with Friday, “freedom” came to mind, and I may write about that another week.  Today I’m going with Freya, Norse goddess of love/ sexuality among other things.  Her name is imbedded in our word Friday (as Thor’s is in Thursday).  I’m not going to take time to Google or Wikipedia her (something for another Freya’sDay), just use what little I remember about her to relate two “small stones”  to today’s theme.

I wrote these Elfjes yesterday while waiting for the flood waters to abate so I could walk home (see the postscript to Thanks-full Thursday for that tale).  I’m not sure which Elfje I like best, so I’m posting both.  (You can “vote” in the comments section!)


Valentine Prickly Pear–photo by Vicky Garwood. I used to use this as my profile pic on Facebook.  Updated it when I became a coach!



prickly heart

sharp spines protect

inner soft vulnerable succulent




Prickly Pear Flower–posted on the Facebook page for Tucson Death Cafe.  Each pad has a row of buds along its margin, one bud opening each day.  Bees love the abundant pollen!



prickly heart

springtime voluptuous blossoms

summer succulent purple fruit




Prickly Pear Fruit

Prickly Pear Fruit. Source of photo unknown

Yes, even our wounded hearts, with all their self-protective spines, may find their seasons to share beauty and sweetness.

Blessed Be!

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