Illustrating decomposition by allowing the newsprint to deteriorate over several years and for the dead bird to slowly be encompassed by embroidered roots and the dark.
The process continues.
I was going to write tonight.
Instead I fell down a nap hole and dreamt of a fox.
I was going to write tonight about how much I hate my face, but instead looked up foxes and symbolism. And put on a pot of coffee.
I was going to write tonight about how I (could) love my face, but instead pulled out a drawing pad and turned on Netflix (crime, French).
I was going to write tonight about how strange it was finding my house filled with people last weekend working on my passion project and discussing crime and science, but instead pulled out china markers and white acrylic paint.
I was going to write tonight about how the wind storm swept in as spirits started swirling on Sunday evening, but instead made some eggos with fresh strawberries and honey.
I was going to write tonight about coming across a 1940’s fur coat strewn over a park bench by the Hotel Sylvia. But instead put my drawing board across my lap.
I was going to write tonight about navigating anxiety, but instead tapped into my subconscious.
I was going to write tonight but my hand just drew and drew and drew.
Lore has it that a fox sighting was thought to be a signal from the spirits of the deceased. Fox animal symbolism takes a turn of intelligence in the Celtic realm, as the Celts believed the fox to be a guide, and was honored for its wisdom. The Celts understood the fox knows the woods intimately, and they would rely upon the fox as their guide in the spirit world. [source]
This past Sunday morning- hanging out on Vancouver Island, my 4 friends and I had a hankering to create sock pigs. There is such magic in sitting around the dining room table at my friends’ house, surrounded by crafting supplies creating. We laugh, we go deep, we eat, we drink coffee, we share time. It is a SAFE SPACE.
But why the sock pig specifically this time?
I am a big fan of looking at symbolism. It’s such a fun instigator of self-reflection.
The Pig Spirit Animal also symbolizes your ability to stand on your own two feet, weather the storm and come out even better than before. Pig does not allow for self-righteousness, but rather a quiet self-awareness that taps into ingenuity so you can turn on a dime without falling over.
When Pig roots around in your soul, it can be a sign that NOW is the time to move forward! Pigs never root while moving backwards – only forward. They have a nose for opportunity. Make the most of the landscape in front of you. If it is not yielding the nourishment you desire, move on – find another patch of ground to explore. [SOURCE]
Yes- MOVE FORWARD.
Dedicated to Beverley, Sue, Darcy and N. <3
In November 2007, Dr. Ebrahim sat knee to knee with my mother. I was on the other side of the little examination room. I recall it was a sunny day. I think it was. Grouse Mountain shone in the background. I think it did. The room seemed turquoise. Friendly.
We found a mass in your pancreas.
My immediate thought went to Michael Landon. For some reason when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died shortly after in 1991, it stuck with me. I knew pancreatic was the worst word to hear when associated with cancer.
“The pancreas represents your ability to digest the ‘sweetness of life’. It reflects your feelings and behaviour in relation to responsibility, particularly how you feel about taking responsibility for your own happiness and that of others. Therefore, the state of the pancreas reveals how well you flourish in life, how successful you feel and how joyful you are in your life experience.” – source
We found a mass in your pancreas.
I took notes, we scheduled an ultrasound… but I don’t recall having a heart to heart with mom about the possibilities. I just recall starting a binder. Creating an action plan.
There is so much to write about mom, but for now it suffices to say that we entered what would be our final year together, renewed, wide-eyed, love in our hearts.
It was a year of appointments, insulin shots, chemo, spending precious time with family, laughing in waiting rooms, shopping, cooking even though she couldn’t eat… her final thanksgiving, just a few weeks before she passed- she put on makeup, did her hair, celebrated- a very frail little bird. Fiercely alive.
The Pancreas is the main organic structure that processes the emotion of fear because its function is to maintain the stability of the organism and any threat at the emotional or physical level can cause a structural imbalance entire system. Because the Pancreas is intimately connected with the physiology of the Soul through the fields of emotion and primary feelings, and indirectly to the nervous system, any violent emotion or attack received by the organism will immediately paralyze the digestion, consequently affecting the production of insulin and the liver. It is at the Pancreas level that occurs an evaluation and separation of what elements, emotions, and circumstances are proper for the being, and how the changes may have to be made for the continual survival of the organism. – source
Last night I could not sleep. Processing so much change of late. Positive change, sad change, epic change, all kinds of change.
The clock ticked— midnight, 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM, 3:30 AM. 3:40 AM— I got up and peed, drank water, drank orange juice. Wandered. Wrestled with blankets. In some weird stupor of processing. My heart didn’t feel heavy or anxious- just weird, unsettled- thoughts swirling about my mother, about pancreatic cancer, about what I should have done, could have done, should have said.
I must have been in a twilight state as I kept envisioning an eel-like serpent swirling around my heart…
To see a sea serpent in your dream represents an emotional transformation. – source
Sleep eluded me, so I finally turned on my reading light and pulled out a book from my current reading pile:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (a gift from Patti Henderson).
The bookmark lay at p. 100— I began to read where I left off. Strangely there it was again, pancreatic…
All day today that image of the serpent swirling has stayed with me.
That slithering pancreatic serpent.
Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. – source
The five-year pancreatic cancer survival rate has increased to 9 percent, according to a report released today by the American Cancer Society:
I used to have a recurring dream— it started in my adolescence and continued into my early 40’s-
I would dream that I was getting ready for dance class and changing in a public bathroom stall– it would be at a university pool, or at a community centre, or at a school- but it would always be the grossest toilet stall– and I would try to get my pink tights on without getting them dirty on the gross, disgusting, piss and shit and hair covered floor. Anxiety sweat dripping off my forehead.
This dream repeated for years and years.
Then suddenly, one night, I had a dream that I brought a bucket of hot water, a cloth and a big bottle of Pinesol into the stall and I scrubbed that stall spotless.
And I never had the dirty bathroom dream again.
Until two nights ago.
I’m back in a stall- some kind of school washroom… I recall someone had called me disgusting, so I ran into the stall to hide and, yes, to change. I’m barefoot, and the floor is not only covered in shit and piss and hair, but now also oozing with a brown sludge, slimy, slippery mother-fucking sludge. And I just slip and slip and try to hold myself up and whisper, please, oh please, please, oh please.
Basically, bathroom dreams may be addressing your need to relieve yourself emotionally and/or psychologically. [source]
I know the inner critic/child has been reawakened lately. The little girl inside has been loud. And looking for love. She’s nagging at me, tugging- clouding my ability to think straight and she seems to not want to trust that I am on the right path.
Everyone has an inner child but the majority of us remain oblivious to what it is. Whenever we miss out listening to our inner voice we have a tendency to encounter trouble and face conflict. After we know about our inner child, we are responsible for our own mess and, consequently, start to clear our own mind. This is a message of this dream, that it is time to clear away the old, to make way for the new. If this is a repeating dream, then inner work with our inner child is a necessary part of one’s life. When one is too busy, or disinclined, to heal ourselves, that’s when the dirty toilet dreams start to appear. [source]
So I am taking more time to clarify and ensure that decisions I make now and directions I take are best for me. To just take a breath and follow the heart. I will sit down in the muck, hold my inner child, and listen. Then it is bath time for both of us and reintegration. And I will remind her that I am pretty spectacular and deserve good things and success– and that I won’t deny her or shush her, but love her and embrace her and maybe she’ll finally trust me and open doors for me to sustainable and sustained success.
Working on Molly, and I remain fascinated that I find it easier to dig deeper into the story by using the image of birds.
Somehow, the layers that obscure the truth are scraped away a little easier.
Are the birds metaphors? My guides?
I robbed your grave. I revealed you. I showed you in shameful moments. I learned things about you. Everything I learned made me love you more dearly. I’ll learn more. I’ll follow your tracks and invade your hidden time. I’ll uncover your lies. I’ll rewrite history and revise my judgment as your old secrets explode. I will justify it all in the name of the obsessive life you gave me.
– James Ellroy, My Dark Places
Digging down deeper, the secrets become aviatic.
In many myths and legends, birds link the human world to the divine or supernatural realms that lie beyond ordinary experience... They are often associated with the journey of the human soul after death. [source]
A flower is a miracle. A carnation certainly so. Did you know carnations are “banned” as decor in certain facilities? They are supposedly cheap, low class, ugly, unacceptable.
I adore carnations and I have to speak up. How can this beautiful flower, known to be GOOD FOR HUMMINGBIRDS, BEES AND BUTTERFLIES, be so vilified?
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer’s death, nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest Hermione’s statue
flowers o’ the season
Are our carnations and streak’d gillyvors,
Which some call nature’s bastards: of that kind
Our rustic garden’s barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.
– Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale
I loved my special bouquet of pink carnations and baby’s breath in 1986, now dry and tucked away in a shoebox, my cinnamon smelling red carnations in my Robert’s Creek garden in 1999, that I can make a joyous bouquet for very little money when I have very little money. My mom and I loved getting a batch of carnations and adding wildflowers and greenery during our walks with Tobey.
Pink carnations carry the greatest significance, beginning with the belief that they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary’s tears – making them the symbol of a mother’s undying love. [source]
While some scholars suggest that their name comes from the word “corone” (flower garlands) or “coronation” because of its use in Greek ceremonial crowns, others propose that it’s derived from from the Latin “carnis” (flesh) referring to the flower’s original pinkish-hued color or “incarnacyon” (incarnation), referring to the incarnation of God-made flesh… … the crucifixion (pinks smell like cloves, cloves look like nails, nails were used to crucify Jesus)… [source]
Adult butterflies feed on the nectar that carnations and other flowers produce. Flitting from flower to flower in search of that nectar, they also pollinate the plants. Pollen is gathered and distributed as the butterfly, on its slender legs, moves about the flower. In the process, some pollen grains from the flower’s stamen stick to the butterfly, while others, from blossoms already visited, are deposited on the flower’s stigma or pollen receptor. Butterflies are attracted to carnations’ bright colors and scents, which may, as with other scented species, mimic the scent of pheromones naturally produced by the insects. [source]
Instead of being a carnation hater, take a second look. [source]
I recall the wonder of seeing a little hummingbird, amidst my sunflower garden, staring in through my kitchen window (when I lived in Roberts Creek). Nothing has never felt so still. That breathless moment. A reminder today to sit in stillness, reflecting on that little creature. Just stop. For a moment.
If the hummingbird shows up in your life as a spirit animal, it may remind you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and take time to enjoy yourself. The hummingbird’s wisdom carries an invitation to take part in and draw to you life’s sweetness, like you would drink the nectar of your own flower. [source]
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death,
And from the organ-pipe of frailty sings
His soul and body to their lasting rest.
– Shakespeare (King John 5.7.24-7)
Dead Birds as Messengers:
On September 1, 2016, Fall weather and autumn vibe seemed to come on full force here in Vancouver BC. Along with the autumn atmosphere comes the rejuvenated desire to craft, to create product and re-open the ETSY shop and the reminder to focus on the Winter craft fair to do list.
So I put away my other work and focused on a full on production day yesterday making my signature sock pugs!
I wondered what a group of pugs is called… OMG:
“To dream of a fawn colored pug is signifies that you are accepting whatever changes you are trying to make and integrating them into your life. Alternatively to see many Pugs in your dream signify’s your inability to accept certain changes in your life even though these changes are necessary for you to move forward at this time. The dream is letting you know that the changes will happen with or without your acceptance.” – source
I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.
– Augusten Burroughs,
I know these faun sock pugs have black tails which is probably incorrect- but hey- they are DOUBLE CURLED (top standard) and are made of socks, so… and also they do have anuses(!) so that should balance out the incorrect color of the tails!
Available on my ETSY shop:
Original drawing of a pug included in order.
I was contemplating the word acceptance this evening and decided to look up symbolism.
I came across a charming reference to the jellyfish:
Jellyfish’s medicine includes – sensitivity to water energy (emotions), understanding of the value of floating rather than swimming through trying emotional times, proper use of softness (not being rigid), ability to become untangled from the webs of peril in life, acceptance and faith…
These are the only creatures that rely on movement for the sustenance of their lives – they have almost no ability to move on their own, depending oceans currents and the directions of the wind to move it on the way that it must go.
As they move in harmony with the currents of life, they show to us how to flow with the natural forces of Mother Earth…
I just had to sketch.
The transparency of the jellyfish teaches the inner source within each of us. We have an enormous amount of power within us to draw upon. We can turn on the light even in the depths of darkness through the wisdom the jellyfish. It often shows up just when you believe there is no hope left.
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.
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:
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.
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]
Item 1: Review vision board from 2013:
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]
Certain people in your life– even though you may not have met them in person- only through the ether- get right into your heart.
Ixquel is one such person.
What a pleasure to dig a little deeper and to interpret her exquisite beauty and spirit through drawing, embroidery and symbolism.
To let the process unfold without question.
Thank you, Ixquel, for being so inspiring. I hope to draw you in person in the not so distant future!
IXQUEL: Jaguar Goddess/ Midwifery
ONLY $175 FOR 12″X17″ PORTRAIT
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Update June 18, 2015:
Bliss- walking my old dog slowly, oh so slowly, in our West End neighborhood listening to the sweet song of the white-throated sparrow. Miraculous.
I walk with a smile on my face. I am filled with self-love for truly the first time in my life. I know my own worth and I can sing it from the rooftops. Today. For today is all I have, and that is beautiful! And lo and behold-
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]
The Sparrow is ever vigilant in her goals. She is always bustling for her food, foraging for her nests, and gathering for her young. Fastidious and productive, the Sparrow is a reminder that idle hands (and idle minds) should be avoided in order to live a full, healthy life.
She is a master of flight, and camouflage, and as such the Sparrow teaches us to use our creativity to get around in life – think outside the box, and be creative in solving our problems.
As an bird totem, the Sparrow speaks of higher thoughts and ideals. She beckons us to keep our burdens as light as we can in order to avoid a heavy heart. [source]
Birds hold so much meaning to me. And they always feel like messengers, telling me to pay strict attention.
I came across a bush the other day abuzz with crimson hummingbirds. BREATHTAKING.
If the hummingbird shows up in your life as a spirit animal, it may remind you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and take time to enjoy yourself. The hummingbird’s wisdom carries an invitation to take part in and draw to you life’s sweetness, like you would drink the nectar of your own flower.
The call of the hummingbird totem will guide you to open up to love and lightness in your emotional life. When you see your totem, you are encouraged to open up your heart and expose yourself more to joy and love. It might be time to show how you feel to loved ones or people who are close to you. [source]
I recall watching hummingbirds land on my sea of sunflowers in my Roberts Creek garden.
I often dream of them.
The hummingbird reminds me that by taking small steps, I can achieve my dreams.
I have turned a new leaf of late— simplifying my life and allowing myself to take those smaller steps.
And to NOT complicate the path. It’s all good.
If you have bitten off more than you can chew and if you were not ready for your bid for power, it will be obvious. Do not judge yourself, just make an adjustment and take a baby step instead of a huge leap. Practice gratitude for all of your opportunities and when you feel overwhelmed go back to handling the details in front of you, one at a time. – – Source
I spent a beautiful morning with Brenda Morrison and her students teaching a 4th year Criminology class with Laura Mack at SFU on February 23, 2015.
The lovely egg above was a gift from Brenda- made by “lifer” at Ferndale Institute. It features a hummingbird with the word “spirit.”
In October, Brenda gave me a beautiful book from another SFU class: The Flight of the Hummingbird. The theme of the book is the power of taking small steps to achieve a big goal.
“I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya.
Birds hold so much meaning to me. And they always feel like messengers, telling me to pay strict attention.
Delighted that my dog has entered some kind of remission. One week after believing it was time for that “family meeting,” he is well enough to eat and walk again.
He runs like a, somewhat lame, puppy after his bath- so it’s all good for now.
I savour every minute with Tobey, knowing he has lived
and is living
and loved life.
And so I walk with him when he can. Like yesterday morning at 6:30 AM. Under blossomed trees at Comox and Chilco.
Tobey and I were enveloped in the whooop whooop whooop sound of pigeons flying and landing on balconies.
What could I learn by listening?
The pigeon is a determined creature. It will stay in an area as long as there is food, despite attempts by humans or other birds to chase it away. The pigeon sighting can encourage you to be stubborn and hang in there, regardless of what challenges are thrown in your path.
The pigeon also has strong connections to house and home. If a pigeon appears to you, take a look at your relationship with your home. What does it represent to you? What would you like it to be for you? If these things don’t match up, you know you have work to do. The pigeon is safest in a flock. Don’t discount the strength and support found in a community. Furthermore, remember the importance of communication within that community; don’t assume people know things just because you do. Make sure everyone is in the loop regarding important information. [source]
I like paying attention to those magical moments, standing rooted in my new neighborhood– full of gratitude for the struggles and gifts that brought me to this place.
Birds hold so much meaning to me. And they always feel like messengers, telling me to pay strict attention.
I never keep walking when I see a robin. I stop and observe. I love their attentiveness. The way they listen to the earth. The way their torsos look like eggs.
The robin brings a fresh new perspective to situations that are otherwise foggy and unclear. Try calling on robin energy for clarity when your judgement is clouded or when you need light shed on an issue.
The red robin reminds us it’s time to shake the sleepiness out of our head (both figuratively and literally), get alert, get moving, and start enjoying life! Spring has sprung, tides have turned, and no matter how crummy or grey our world has been it is time for new beginnings! Enjoy the bright road ahead because it’s only going to get brighter! [source]
When Spring returns, the earth becomes a child who recites poetry. – Rainier Maria Rilke
Recall PART 1: Kingfisher
On February 27, 2015, I observed a Kingfisher at the Spruce Harbour Marina.
I was mesmerized. Birds hold so much meaning to me. And they always feel like messengers, telling me to pay strict attention. I pulled out my composition book and made a note to remember the moment.
Also known as the Halycon, the Kingfisher is a long-time symbol of peace and prosperity… It is said the Kingfisher is the promise of abundance, of new warmth, prosperity and love that is about to unfold within your life. [source]