keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


When I began my journey into the healing arts, I realized the need for a historical perspective on what at the time was a possible new career path for me. The first class I took found me in a room with 10 other female participants and two women facilitators; I’m looking at a photograph of extraordinary ladies ages 18 to 70 something who, as we sat around the table learning, talking, creating, sharing and emoting, changed my voice over seven years ago. Though I have attended many classes, symposiums and workshops with both females and males since then, whenever there is a breakout into smaller groups, there in the circle are women only in all shapes, sizes, colors, and cultures with varied religious beliefs and sexual preferences. This is by no accident I am sure -- feminine energy continues to play a major role in what guides, nurtures, supports, and shapes my work and me.

I have found myself in three different groups of women as I took classes over the past year. I bonded, became totally connected to the members of two of them; the third contained energy that pushed me to the parameters of the room, stifling my willingness to connect. I was disappointed however, it happens and though it wasn’t the experience I had hoped for, I was still impacted by the voices around me. No matter how things develop, when you spend concentrated time interacting with people, unpeeling layers of who you are, you take a piece of those with whom you sit with you when classes are over. Their stories become part of your story and visa versa, forever woven together.

In my last group one of our sessions revolved around the 5th chakra ; I was profoundly moved by the toning experiential presented about our voice so much so that I only need to close my eyes to journey right back to those moments spent reclined on a yoga mat as singing bowls and voice embraced and held me. A few days after that class, I picked up a magazine that I had already perused and thankfully paid full attention to a book review that I previously skimmed with tepid interest. When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams is a gorgeous read with so many memorable passages. Not just for women, it is a small book packed with rich words and deep emotion that leave me feeling peaceful, strong, and empowered written by a woman I’ve never met except through the glow of her voice radiating from the page. Her stories are now becoming part of mine, perhaps they’ll be part of yours if you decide to read and as always...

keep your peepers open!® 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

morning glory

first breath of the morning
life force we breathe in
a moment to be grateful
our new day begins. - tsl©

today we get to start anew
what’s past is done, we can’t undo
a chance to be better
than we were yesterday
not as good as tomorrow but for now,
namaste. - tsl©

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep. - Rumi

Have a glorious morning each day that you rise. Pause, listen and…

keep your peepers open!®

today marks my 400th that's something to be grateful in the morning for!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

goddess delight

This past Friday, From the Outside, a group exhibition I am honored to be a part of, opened at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. The night was exceptional in every way from weather, to works on display, to attendance (thank you to my friends both old and new who came out to support me), to the bright full moon resting in the sky. If you live in or are visiting the area stop by, the show is up until August 17, 2013.

In addition, I will be hosting a workshop, An Evening in the Garden of Goddess Delight, on July 11 from 6:30PM - 8:30PM. Come unearth the unique creative treasures that rest inside you at a collage-making "joyshop" created to evoke change, stimulate thinking, and transform the lives of those who accept an invitation for exploration. Hope you’ll stop in for a lively evening of music, movement, conversation, creating art and more. Smith Center is located at 1632 U Street NW, Washington DC, 20009.

For more information on the Center and all of its programs go to their website and…

keep your peepers open!®

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


One of my good friends invited me to see Buika last week and I'm so glad she did! I've enjoyed so much music by this force who, as she took the stage in flowing white garb and bare feet, is so petite. It's hard to believe that so much power surges forth from such a small woman who giggled like a nervous school girl between songs as her appreciative audience applauded, shouted praise and demanded their favorites to be sung. I was thrilled when she began one of mine, Mi Nina Lola, and so dug that she picked up a camera to take photographs of her pianist and percussionist while they played their solos. She seemed to adore them as much if not more than I was charmed by her shyness. It was mesmerizing to watch her transform from girl to Black siren as she cradled the microphone leaning in to blow the roof off the sucka!

Her newest CD is good though I still favor some of her earlier albums only because I was not at all familiar with anything on those CD's when I first got them. Still, I purchased La Noche Mas Larga before departing the concert hall then headed home to relive the experience with my own private encore. Check her out live if you have the chance and...

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Sunday, June 16, 2013


Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small…
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.
               - Edgar A. Guest (1916)

I am most fortunate to have known and spent time with two grandfathers and my tall, dark and handsome great-grandpa who each lived long lives with all their wits about them. My Dad who thankfully is healthy, well and retired is thankfully still keeping watch over all that is happening in my life from his home in Florida. I also have a terrific brother-in-law who is just a great Father to my nieces; I’ve had the pleasure of dating men who willingly assumed the role of primary caretaker for their children. Though this choice sometimes made it difficult for them to be an attentive mate, I only have the utmost admiration and respect for men who take responsibility for the children they helped to bring into this world. Finally I have many friends who along with their significant others are raising or have raised fabulous people who I enjoy immensely… both parents and children.

So let me wish the best of men the very best on this Father’s Day and since this type of man is not every male…

keep your peepers open!®

Sadly, I also personally know males who do and have done nothing for their own and am beyond disgusted when I see or read about those who procreate for recreational purposes then deny those who did not ask to be here. Fatherhood is not for boys, man-up is all I have to say.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

cleaning bites

I have slowly but surely been cleaning out the closets and other cluttered spaces in my home…no planned day to get started, just when I happen to be in the closet and the mood hits, I do it. This way, I finish or get to a certain stop point, put everything in a bag, take it to the neighborhood bin where you can drop clothes and feel like I’ve accomplished something because there was no pressure about keeping a date with the to-do list. So far, I have taken three huge bags of clothes and shoes out of my home.

I don’t know what happened. Somehow my quest to keep clothing to a minimum and the decision I made to establish a basic uniform of black pants and white shirts (accented with fabulous accoutrements) when I moved to DC over 12 years ago went astray over the years. The amount of black pants neatly hung one after the other, some now too big and too long, was just ridiculous. At first, I thought I’d take them to be altered; fortunately my hands just kept pulling them out and dropping them into the pile. I also went into my hamper where I unknowingly had accumulated a number of clothes I no longer wear. Pulled out stuff, washed everything and into the bag went they! I have done some other cleaning around the house, little things that needed my attention ages ago…feels so much better, both my space and me. In fact, I found a cashmere coral throw hidden for years in the linen closet, draped it over the bottom of my bed, which I
had covered in a newly purchased white duvet and pillow shams. Every time I climb in, I feel like I’m in the clouds plus, I make up my bed almost every day because I just love coming in to this…

I’m sharing this because I know how quickly Mr. Overwhelm jumps out from behind closed doors when it’s time for spring/fall or whenever you do it cleaning. Often times we get frustrated and leave it for later which sometimes means never. So how about taking it in small unexpected bites? The next time you pull out something that doesn’t fit or no longer speaks your name, listen closely. I bet there’s more in that drawer or closet mumbling, whispering, and trying to hold a space it no longer needs to occupy. Do yourself a favor and let whatever it is go!

I read an article that says we should throw out nine things everyday (including no longer useful paper clips), could be home and/or office and/or car and/or whatever. Try it and through the process…

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, June 9, 2013

night lights

The “C” in Washington, DC may as well mean construction. Cranes obstruct so many scenic views, one cannot walk or drive for too long before running into a site filled with workers working on some building. Moving about is slowed to a crawl between the detours caused by the erection of a new tower coupled with endless road repairs and construction. Having lived in New York City for a period in my life, it feels as if Washington is trying to imitate the density of commercial and residential buildings of its northeastern neighbor. Thankfully, zoning will never permit skyscrapers in this town, something that gives me comfort; I like seeing open spaces and trees which is one of the reasons I moved back.

For a girl who knows her way about using landmarks, around too many corners now stand unfamiliar structures. I miss the architectural beauty of the old as I get used to the new. Yet one thing still remains -- the same streetlights (some original, others replicas) rise up on many blocks and when they’re turned on in the evening, they are the night lights that give way to peaceful slumbers. Look up when you’re in town and...

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

a simple side of popeye

Cartoons were an integral part of my growing up. Beenie & Cecil (someone recently mentioned this one which I remember loving though I’d forgotten it completely), Felix the Cat, Top Cat, The Flintstones & Jetsons, Betty Boop, Sylvester and Tweetie…I could go on so I’ll just pause. Saturday morning cartoon fests were a big deal. We were up early in slippers and PJ’s, popped in a Pop Tart, made our way to the family room and then tuned in to three hours of continuous fun. When 10:00AM arrived, that was that…no repeats, no save it for later, no computer or video versions, no watch them anytime 24/7. We just turned off the TV, got dressed, did our Saturday choirs then went out to play with our friends in the neighborhood. Seems like several lifetimes ago…

One of the cartoons from very early on in my childhood was Popeye the Sailor Man, an after-school show if my recollection serves me correctly. I hated spinach watching with some level of child-like curiosity as to why this food could make him strong though I was always delighted when Popeye ate it gathering the strength needed to whip Brutus. What I didn’t understand was the nutritional element of this leafy green; my mother cooked it until it was mushy so I didn’t learn to like spinach until very late in life and prefer it raw unless sautéed with garlic. I do seriously like a spinach sandwich and the following salad that I recently put together for some reason reminds me of one sans the bread. I affectionately call it the Popeye & Olive Oil Salad.

Vidalia onion
Raw spinach
Red ripe tomato cut into small chunks
Crumbled feta cheese
Light olive oil

Slice and caramelize onion in light olive oil; drain but don't let cool completely (s/b warm not hot, don't let all of the oil drain away). Put spinach in large bowl; add warm onions, salt and pepper. Toss lightly until spinach picks up oil and is slightly wilted. Add tomato and feta cheese, toss, put on a pretty plate or in your favorite bowl and bon appétit!

As a side or a meal, it’s simple food, easy to make, and simply yummy. Toss it up this summer and...

keep your peepers open!®

PS - Popeye & Olive Oil can also meet Olivia if you add bacon (okay I'd probably use turkey bacon but Olivia is cuter than Tom :))

PPS - Looking at Popeye taught me to despise bullies and made me very much a defender of those who are bullied, something I proudly carry with me to this day. It’s nice to realize that early on I was getting lessons in nutrition and life.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

speaking surrender

I was offered the opportunity to decorate a rock with oil-based paint markers after commenting on one made by an art therapist whose work I admire. She explained to me how relaxing it is I’m sure in response to my fluctuating energy that was bouncing all over the office; the supplies occupied a spot on my desk for weeks. During one of my Thursday classes, a long suppressed meditation place resurrected itself from a subconscious burial site. With it came feelings of surrender. The next day I walked into
my office, turned on the computer, checked email then phone messages, and picked up the rock as if it was part of my everyday morning routine. Before I knew it, that meditation rested in my palm.

I don’t think of myself as a big animal person so when a dolphin leapt into my meditative vision one class morning, I took note surrendering to what it wanted to tell me. Dolphins then began to appear in various messages for several consecutive days inspiring an investigational dive into their symbolism. Several nouns popped up on the screen but only one, resurrection, seemed to bring clarity. While editing a photo weeks after the dolphin swam into my thoughts, there before me was a very abstract version of this mammal surfacing from forces beyond the camera or computer.

In a previous post, I mentioned and included a picture of a vision board I designed. What I didn’t say was this -- before I was able to put the board together, a collage goddess wanted to come to life and she was persistent just like her 69 predecessors! My eyes and hands surrendered working in unison with that unknown force that takes over when I collage as my mind chased behind wondering who was on the way. goddess in a bottle rose up big and bold with unmistakable power to honor the wishes of her maker and any other who gazes upon her.

This past Thursday, I hosted an open studio and while I enthusiastically encouraged those in attendance to explore the variety of media available to them, I had no idea what I was going to do once I got them started. Resorting to my comfort zone, I collected a huge stack of magazines. With each step towards my table, they began to feel like a burdensome load of bricks; no collage of any kind would be on the way. Momentary panic began to rise thankfully meeting up with an inner voice that encouraged me to open myself to new possibilities. I surrendered, got so into a flow. As I announced to the group that we had 30 minutes left, I hastened to complete just one more watercolor square.

I truly had lost myself to the freedom that an open studio offers and plan to go back as a participant to paint once again in the company of surrender.

My creative voice is speaking in many tongues. It will be heard so…

keep your peepers open!®