What if memories are allies?

Researching a seemingly unrelated subject tonight, I was thrown down into a pit of dark memory of betrayal and attack to my heart.  How strange to be reminded of that time, of that sickening anger.

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How strange to have to grab my own hand and pull myself out of the pit– real quick– for it is not a place I should to spend time in.

I can revisit it for use in my creative expression, in my understanding of the human condition.  But I cannot spend a lot of time in that pit, for I know the anger that wells up is not towards the other but is actually directed at myself– for I am heart broken about how much energy I spent trying to save an illusion.

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But wait— maybe I need to spend a bit of time in that pit.

For perhaps, just perhaps, what the memory is telling me to do is to address any unfinished acts of self-forgiveness, to step fully into self-love and CONFIDENCE.

I am about to commit fully to a new stage of my passion project that will test me and empower me in ways I can’t even imagine yet.  IF I AM READY.

What if my vision board needs to be added to?

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What if not only others are allies… what if memories are allies?

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If I am to fly, I must first love myself.

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Being ace, full of peACE

In October 2016, I wrote: 

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On October 3, 2016 I wrote:

Opening up to defining myself as ace and what that means to me feels relieving right now.

• I have found my identity that really explains to me who I am now.

• Life is fluid and so am I.

• Every stage of my life has been magical, deep, rich.

Touch me life, not softly. – Maya Angelou

• I have experienced joy, lust, juice, frenzy, quiet, cozy, lovely, scary, gutsy, sensual heterosexual love.

• I have witnessed and been astounded by the earthy, gorgeous beauty of my body carrying and birthing two children.

• I have had crushes on men and women, madness, deep love, incredulous love, frustrating love, zany love.

• I have been happily married.

• I have been heartbroken.

• Though I have experienced heartache and trauma, I am not ace because of those experiences.

• I experienced intense freedom and a feeling of coming home when the pain of divorce finally subsided.

• I have been single since 2001.  No- scratch that, I’ve been me since 1962.

• I have zero interest in sexual relationships.

• I still love me though and my ever shifting body.

• I have zero interest in getting to know someone romantically.

• I do have crushes on minds.

• And I admit, I have romantic types- the whole gamut from Louis CK to Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, to Tilda Swinton, Janna Levin and Twyla Tharp, to Stephen Fry to Lynda Barry— you see what’s happening here- it’s about characters they portray or who they are in their lives or how they talk when they are being interviewed.  It’s not real life.

• The overarching crush though, I suppose, is Lol in This is England.  

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• But it shifts from having a crush to wanting to look like her.  Yeah, I want to look like her, wear Fred Perry clothes, maybe hang out as twins.  Kick some people in the ass or on the chin with shit covered boots.

• Not a single cell, molecule, atom in my body is interested in dating.

• There’s no interest in spending the time or making the room.

• I admit I have zero interest in small talk and getting to know new people at parties unless its about some kind of creative endeavour or really interesting stuff.

• Observing the game makes me tired and all I can think about is wanting to make a sock monkey or draw something and wish I was wearing PJs.

• I love my friends.

• I love my family.

• I love my kids and we are so damn close.

• I love my kids’ friends.  I sometimes steal them.

• I love having freedom to laugh and be myself.

 

February 14, 2018

I wrote it to state THIS IS ME.

So what happened after this declaration?

I received so many messages of camaraderie and the article was shared on Rebelle Society.  But what happened to me?

Upon reflection, I know that the declaration was an important statement to myself that I can and should express myself and my art fully.  And though the year that followed contained a roller coaster of emotions and strange adventures, what unfolded inside me– slowly over the year– was an inner peace.

By openly declaring THIS IS ME– I allowed my creative process to be mine– very important state of being as I spent the year vomiting out the third draft Molly.

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By declaring THIS IS ME– I was able to navigate an extremely deep depression and pull myself out.

By declaring THIS IS ME– I am able to choose my well-being over people pleasing, I am able to put up healthy boundaries while maintaining authentic connections, I am able to meet anxiety with self-compassion (and just let it be what it is instead of finding solutions).

I am able to sit at my kitchen table in a peACEful house, celebrate myself– and my life, my role as daughter and mother– celebrate myself for a job done as well as I am able, knowing everything from here on in is gravy as my children have reached their 30’s and I, me myself and I, rejoice in the joy of solitude.

On this Valentine’s Day– I am proud of being me- saggy, ugly, creative, lovely, too-loudly-laughing me.

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Something has come to pass, you think, something more important than a mere flight over the ravine – Gwendolyn MacEwen

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 5

I dedicate today’s post to my soul-sister Patti Henderson and to our deep HEART chats.

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

1. CREATE freely.  Do what you love.  What relaxes you?  For me, it is drawing and embroidering.

I recall a piece from 3 years ago:

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From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise Part 4

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

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Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

1. Draw the pain:

Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.
– German Proverb

I recall an exercise I made up in August 2012 as I journaled:

“Waking up with the cannonball weight of anxiety and fear in your chest?  Racing thoughts about all the usual?  Worried that you won’t be able to deliver all you have promised?  That you don’t have enough resources?  Financially, physically, spiritually?  Forgetting to live in the moment and over-thinking the future?  Scattered and feeling disorganized?  You know…  All that typical familiar stuff that builds a wall of fear around you. Well, that’s me this AM.  So I tried this.  I drew an outline.”

Drew in where the fear sits the strongest.

Then gently erased.

Easy.  Breathed through.  Decreased the tension.  Softened.

2. Capture chapter highlights:

Watch the shadows gather in the aching body.  Hear them mutter in complaint and self-pity.

Pity arises from meeting pain with fear.  Compassion comes when you meet it with love…

When we begin to respond to discomfort instead of reacting to it, an enormous change occurs.  We begin to experience it not as just “our” pain but as “the” pain… When it’s “my” unworthiness I feel unworthy to explore it.  But when it’s “the” unworthiness– the pain so many struggle with– compassion flows naturally towards it…

When it’s “the” pain, it has the whole universe to float in, when it’s “my” pain, I’m standing alone in it.

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3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

From:

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By learning about anxiety, spending time with it and finally holding in your hand, you can enjoy the next step: You can relax your grip, and let it fall away. It will have served its purpose. You will have loved that part of yourself and it won’t need to get your attention with such a difficult message again.

You will be connected. That’s the first gift.

The second gift is that feeling connected and with realizing that you’re enough can lead you to a cycle of inner fullness. It can give you an easy-to-remember awareness that you’re up for this, whatever the next exciting challenge or painful event may be.

The third gift of anxiety is that it gets you to recognize your own power with, instead of power over, yourself and your life.

All you had to do was listen… – Ariella Baston

4. Today’s angel card:

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Robin’s egg bowl by Alison Donnelly

From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise: Part 3

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

1. Embroider your heart

Here is a PDF of one of my drawings for you to print out: Heart

Color it.  –> Cut it out.  –> Glue it on card stock.  –> Cut it out again.  –> Embroider!

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Photo by Erin Banda

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Check out:

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

If you had only one year to live, what would you do?

[I think about the beautiful, heartbreaking, incredible mother-daughter year my mother and I had from her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer November 2007 to her death November 2008.]

… To have a whole year to examine one’s life consciously in the context of approaching death is almost unique in the human experience…

As we begin to see where we have been absent from life, increasing possibilities audition for our approval.  The heart suggests that we become more present, that we sharpen our focus…

Those who insist they’ve got their “shit together” are usually standing in it at the time…

Sometime it takes a journey to come home.  We may even have to leave our comfortable (though always rented, never owned) domicile to do it.  Life is like that and so is death…

Thus, in the one year experiment… focus, instead, on the heart that loves as is.  This means completing one life before we start another, taking one evolutionary leap at a time.

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3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

WE ALREADY HAVE everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.
― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

4. Today’s angel card:

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From the heart- a 15-day journal exercise: Part 2

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall: Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

1. Color an anatomical heart:

Here is a PDF of one of my drawings for you to print out: Heart

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

And it’s never too late to complete our birth.  As Buddha said, “It doesn’t matter how long you have forgotten, only how soon you remember.”

To practice dying.  To be fully alive.  To investigate the dread of, and resistance to life and death.  To complete my birth before it’s over.  To investigate that part of myself that refuses to take birth fully, and hops about as though it still had one foot in the womb.

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it was the fear of life that needed to be investigated first…

… But when the heart at last acknowledges how much pain there is in the mind, it turns like a mother toward a frightened child.

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people- and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.”
― Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

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4. Today’s angel card:

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What being ace means to me. #asexual musings

Being age 54 and “single” I am often asked (by people my own age),

Are you dating anyone now?  

When my response is one of raised eyebrows and a cynical laugh, and an adamant, I have no interest, I often get the NEVER SAY NEVER statement.

Oh my God.  I know I know— who knows what lies ahead.  But, seriously, at age 54 and with lots of LIFE under my belt- I have the right to plead:

 Please never say never say never to me.

There is an implication that by not being with a partner, I am not whole.

Also, please don’t say:

You’ll find someone eventually.

You shouldn’t put yourself down!

You aren’t ugly.

You just don’t know what you want.

I don’t need to defend myself, but I feel I need to advocate for us asexual middle agers, who despite who we were before, whatever the hell came before,  who we fucked, loved, identified as, whatever- we are WHOLE now.

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WHAT BEING ACE MEANS TO ME:

Opening up to defining myself as ace and what that means to me feels relieving right now.

• I have found my identity that really explains to me who I am now.

• Life is fluid and so am I.

• Every stage of my life has been magical, deep, rich.

Touch me life, not softly. – Maya Angelou

• I have experienced joy, lust, juice, frenzy, quiet, cozy, lovely, scary, gutsy, sensual heterosexual love.

• I have witnessed and been astounded by the earthy, gorgeous beauty of my body carrying and birthing two children.

• I have had crushes on men and women, madness, deep love, incredulous love, frustrating love, zany love.

• I have been happily married.

• I have been heartbroken.

• Though I have experienced heartache and trauma, I am not ace because of those experiences.

• I experienced intense freedom and a feeling of coming home when the pain of divorce finally subsided.

• I have been single since 2001.  No- scratch that, I’ve been me since 1962.

• I have zero interest in sexual relationships.

• I still love me though and my ever shifting body.

• I have zero interest in getting to know someone romantically.

• I do have crushes on minds.

• And I admit, I have romantic types- the whole gamut from Louis CK to Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, to Tilda Swinton, Janna Levin and Twyla Tharp, to Stephen Fry to Lynda Barry— you see what’s happening here- it’s about characters they portray or who they are in their lives or how they talk when they are being interviewed.  It’s not real life.

• The overarching crush though, I suppose, is Lol in This is England.  

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• But it shifts from having a crush to wanting to look like her.  Yeah, I want to look like her, wear Fred Perry clothes, maybe hang out as twins.  Kick some people in the ass or on the chin with shit covered boots.

• Not a single cell, molecule, atom in my body is interested in dating.

• There’s no interest in spending the time or making the room.

• I admit I have zero interest in small talk and getting to know new people at parties unless its about some kind of creative endeavour or really interesting stuff.

• Observing the game makes me tired and all I can think about is wanting to make a sock monkey or draw something and wish I was wearing PJs.

• I love my friends.

• I love my family.

• I love my kids and we are so damn close.

• I love my kids’ friends.  I sometimes steal them.

• I love having freedom to laugh and be myself.

YUP, THIS IS ME:

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My friend Matt wrote me the day the other day- 

Asexuality is fucking hard to breach because people of all sexualities can’t comprehend it. It will be the next big “coming out” I think for many people. Apparently there was a study done that millennials are having less sex than any other generation. Perhaps there’s a correlation. Not that asexuals can’t create and enjoy pleasure. They’re just more self sufficient about it.  

So next time you see me in the corner with my head buried in a book and not at the bar scanning the room or reviewing potentials on Tinder- know that I’m good. I’m good! 

Much love everyone! Be yourself!  

Check out:

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Related:

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Soul work… my 2016 Toolkit

You may recall, I set my intention for 2016- to simply meet it all with love.  Yet I knew it was important to take the time to do soul work.  But it’s been hard, so very hard to get “started” on it.

Yet- that’s not really correct…  Actually, I have started.

I have been collecting soul work to do’s.   I’ve been preparing.

So yesterday, I thought allotting myself a two-hour window to create a mind-map of my vision and goals would suffice.  I was expecting to be able to share it quickly with my daughter, Anna, and with Patti, over a simple Skype chat.  I predicted an 18″ x 24″ piece of paper.  No, no, no.

This 2016 toolkit is taking a lot longer than I expected.

But I finally committed to it last night.  I created a toolkit last night in an old, recycled journal (a leftover from my work with youth on the Downtown Eastside).  I collected, cut, pasted, organized.  It’s ready to go.  And I’ll do a few at a time.

My personal toolkit contents includes a variety of empowering tools I’ve developed or gathered from my network.  All too good to forget so I just kept adding to the list. A toolkit to visit in bits and pieces, as needed, throughout the year.

My list:

  1. Vision board: take out my vision board from 2013- review it, re-evaluate.  Collage a new one.
  2. Read Anna’s goals and visions.
  3. Write a scenario of my story at age 64.
  4. Where do I see myself in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years: personal, career, health.
  5. Answer the 10 questions that matter list.
  6. Go through current to-do’s and review.  Start a new calendar.
  7. Redo my 12 journal exercises project.
  8. Do core values worksheet.
  9. Mindmap– review old ones, create a new one.
  10. Do the Inquiry process– archetypes and shadow-work.
  11. What kind of bird am I? Study its symbolism.
  12. The Power Path– review in detail and mind-map the monthly forecast.
  13. Answer the Soul Prompts questions.
  14. Explore post-traumatic growth creativity.
  15. Write out the checklist: 25 things you need to let go before the new year.
  16. Write out a bibliography of my favorite creativity books.
  17. Acknowledge my history.
  18. Street art.
  19. Community– build it.  Honor it.  “Remember to rely heavily on your spiritual practice, your allies and your community.”  The Power Path
  20. Redo Peter Breeze’s exercise.  Write a letter to my future self.  Write a letter as my future self to myself today.
  21. Embrace your expertise and take imperfect action.
  22. Re-visit my favorite websites: Rebelle Society, Paid to Exist, Heroic Trading Co, Right Brain Business Plan, Start with Why.
  23. Review my 2013 manifesto and business plan.
  24. Pull angel cards and create daily ritual.
  25. Rethink EVERYTHING.  Scratch that.  Simplify.  Focus on the one goal and let everything else feed that.
  26. And remember- let go when overwhelmed and just meet it all with love!

This morning I awoke pretty frozen by anxiety (a variety of typical right-now reasons).

Larger scale inner RESETS are often accompanied by intense experiences of some kind that threaten the ego and false personality and may even cause one to feel like you are going a little crazy or completely falling apart. The Power Path January 2016 Forecast

Instead of drowning in it though, I dragged myself through the morning then finally  yanked out the toolkit I prepped last night and dragged it to a coffee shop, grabbed a coffee and sat outside and forced myself to write through tears, through fear:

Journal entry Jan 13 2016
Journal entry January 13, 2016

After I got that out of my system, I addressed item 19:  “Remember to rely heavily on your spiritual practice, your allies and your community.

I texted my daughter and my friend/agent Peter for some much-needed good vibes.  Got some fabulous get your head out of your ass (Anna) advice.

Everything is as it should be.  U just need to allow (Peter).

Draw an angel card (Anna).

The sun came out as their multiple texts rolled in.

I decided to continue on the self-care focus for the rest of the day.  Do the toolkit.  Do the toolkit.  So I am taking my time, allowing, trusting and doing it.

For example:

Item 11: what kind of bird am I?

My sister-in-law asked me that question the other day as we reflected on my street art project.

After much thought, I really feel it is the Sparrow.  I always stop and observe birds.  But there is something in particular that I connect with in the Sparrow.

The Sparrow reflects self-worth.   If a Sparrow totem has entered your life, ask yourself if you know your own self-worth.  The Sparrow will show you that even a common little bird can triumph.

The Song Sparrow reflects the chakra energy awakening from the heart and throat.  It reminds us to sing out our own song of dignity and self-worth. [source]

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Item 12 The Power Path January 2016 Forecast mind-map:

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Item 1: Review vision board from 2013:

My nephew, Henrik, fully immersed himself in the process with me
My nephew, Henrik, fully immersed himself in the process with me, Feb 2013

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I look at pertinent quotes on the 2013 vision board and make a found poem:

How to survive going nowhere?

What she said:

We change into our capes in a telephone booth-

and take on the world’s evolving challenges.

Referring to myself: 

Ways to stay up in the air?

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Item 24: Pull angel cards and create daily ritual.

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Beauty is the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially when looking at it

The conception for beauty is used or studied in art, sociology, social psychology, and culture. An “ideal beauty” is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection.

The experience of “beauty” often involves an interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well-being. [source]

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The journey continues.  I will indeed meet it with love and trust I’ll have some pressing issues sorted.

Everything is as it should be.

Much love, Kat

 

And so, the vulnerability shakes set in…

Hi.

As you may know, I’ve been fully immersed in process in the last month or so- working on my book presentation for my agent to shop around, and I have LOVED the process, trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s.  Exciting to be at the next stage.  Ready to share.  So ready.  But let’s be honest- there is still a safety in the preparation.  The not quite ready for prime time mode.  The holding back to get it right.

Safety because it is still just mine.

And I’ve been enjoying working full days in my PJ’s and torn cardigan and worn out socks, wearing a scarf made by a dear friend, counting “pennies” (nickels now I guess), eating “poverty sandwiches” (which are very tasty, by the way- rye bread from No Frills, toasted, with No Name mayo, Spike spice and a generous topping of spinach leaves).

But the time had to come.

Shit or get off the pot.  So finally releasing the private presentation, sharing with a particular list of people for feedback, has been liberating and exhilarating.  But there it is… UGH… the old vulnerability hangover, as Brené Brown calls it.

The shakes.

What does it look like from in here?

Do this for me- wrap yourself completely in a blanket, preferably in a room with a window, preferably daytime, so it’s bright out.  Huddle in a sitting position or lie down- now just expose one eye.  Look to the light.

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Look out at the world from this place.  Listen to the loud beating of your heart and feel the acidic pit in your lower abdomen.  The endless self-attacks and doubt.  That’s pretty much me right now- or my frame of mind at least.  Oh yes, I know, I know, I KNOW that

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath

I have done so much self-work, and gathered so much support around me, yet the racing mind is back.  Oh my God, what have I done?   The what-if questions.  The fear of failure.

Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound. – William Goldman

So what has happened since I started sharing the presentation?

The feedback has been incredibly positive.  Wow.

Truly!

And I’ve tried to share with a wide variety of reader types.  And I’ve received some great and valuable suggestions, which I am working on today.  And I have the greatest support from my agent.

But I want to be real about this feeling.  It is SCARY.

It’s the life of the artist.  Or just simply the human condition, I suppose.

I’ve got to take my own hand and pull myself out of this, if I truly want it.

Do I want this?  All that lies ahead- even if what lies ahead is HUGE AND GREAT?!  

Yes!

I look to my guides.  What are they saying, experiencing?

Aligning with this cosmic energy and really feeling my vulnerability and frailty. Embracing it and being clear for it so I can properly navigate it and not cause any added self suffering is challenging but I’m determined to ride this spiral wave into the depths of my own insecurities and come out with a renewed perspective centered on gratitude and a deeper sense of self love. I know there is a divine reason for being this empathically sensitive to everything around me. Sending love out to anyone being challenged right now with loneliness or feelings of unworthiness and to anyone being tempted by old cycles that don’t serve their highest selves. We really are in this together, all connected, all one, so I know I’m not alone when I feel this way. Blessings to us all. Faith, love, community, and courage will get us through this! Through anything! One love! – Terry Tsipouras, November 29, 2015

Ah, Terry.  Ok- that makes me feel understood!  Terry Tsipouras always posts the most soul-touching wisdom just when I need it the most. Deep gratitude for this magical human being!

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So I take off the blanket:

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Gather the affirmations!

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  – Vincent van Gogh

I look to the birds!  The herons are back on the roofs on neighboring buildings.

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Head high!  Invite it in!  Be ready!  Enjoy!

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