This word keeps coming to mind. It’s an action to be taken, perhaps even a directive. It’s defined as “to oppose with equal weight or force.”

But in my book, it’s not about opposing. Or the kind of force we are witnessing. Or the kind of either/or where we have to choose. It’s about counterbalancing the state of affairs with the bright light weight of our heart’s wisdom.

It’s about marching right through the battlefield and stepping aside, listening instead to our most self-honoring beliefs and activities. It’s about offering up our love and compassion anyway.

I see friends doing this all over on their individual pathways: rescuing cats, actively spreading joy, writing novels, tending gardens, letting us in on their transformation, moving across the country, caring for the elderly, baking vegan goodies, sharing spiritual insights, being brave in the face of the unexpected. You know who you are.

Take a moment to assess the weight within. Are you counterbalancing today?

It seems these days that people are having to make a lot of difficult and often polarizing choices. The news is full of the directions that people are heading or the group or opinion that they are choosing to side with.

When you think about it, we are making choices and decisions every day and every hour. We can start with what’s for breakfast and proceed from there. It seems difficult when it appears that certain choices have been taken away from us. But even then we have a choice. As many have said, it’s not what life brings us, it is how we choose to react.

Many are choosing to see this unprecedented period of time as an opportunity. We can even learn to embrace the confusion, the conflicting information and the ongoing changes. I am attempting to approach it in a Buddhic or perhaps Zen fashion, stepping back and watching it all happening without having to choose preference or opinion. There’s even some humor in the absurdity of it all at times.

For myself, I am choosing to insert more structure and discipline into my life while also remaining attuned to the flow. Being kinder to myself and others, reaching out further even while we are distanced. Delving into projects long neglected. Staying creative. Attempting to cast aside old notions, patterns of behavior and ways of operating. They all seem to be outdated and no longer useful. A great time to become more mindful.

I recently found an oracle card image that seems to say it all for me. A table for two with a tea setting is in the foreground on an expansive green lawn. Far in the background you see trees, a house, some mountains and a rosey brilliant late afternoon sky. All looks peaceful and yet at closer examination, one of the teacups is broken and a hawk is crossing the scene, indicating messages of minor disruption or potential worry. However, in the sunny portion of the sky is found an angelic image, the dove of the holy spirit, shining light down upon all that is taking place. This is where I want to find myself – involved and yet overlooking it all at the same time. We have the capacity to make the decision to reside in that deepest place of peace within – a dificult choice but we are surely up to the challenge.

Bringing heaven to earth

yellowrosesConsidering all that is taking place upon the earth right now, it is reasonable to imagine taking off for heaven, although I am NOT recommending it. There is work to do right here, shifting with new and unfamiliar energies and holding on to our hats. What about the idea of bringing heaven to earth instead?

When I first started my fledgling small business for photography and various other services about 10 years ago, I decided to name it Blue Heaven. The name embraced all I felt about the big beautiful skies and wide open spaces of Montana. I also remembered the old standard My Blue Heaven from somewhere in my youth, a lovely little song. On my website page (currently under re-construction) I said:  Blue Heaven is a place in Montana and is also a place in my heart where we can meet, connect, create and live jubliantly in the spirit. And it is still true.

When I pictured these splendid wild yellow roses on Facebook a few weeks ago, I said the roses were reaching up to heaven. A friend commented that I was “bringing heaven to earth.” She being an artist herself, I was very touched. I also realized that this has been my goal for many years. And how much more appropriate in the midst of all that we see playing out on the stage of life in these troubling times?

I feel it is my duty, and perhaps yours, to help bring more of heaven onto the earth. There are so many ways, be it photography, writing, compassionate care for children and the elderly, painting, meditation, coaching, gardening, yoga, prayer – the list is long. If we go about our callings with divine co-creation in mind, we can provide a counter balance to all that we are seeing on the endless newsreel, and lighten the lives of those we contact.

I thank my friend for reminding me of this valuable lesson and am happy to pass it on.

Where are you finding Hope?

roadI posted about Hope a few weeks ago, but we seem to have entered an entirely new chapter of this mystery novel called 2020. We are on a road going forward and there is really no other direction to take other than off into the wilderness. That feels like a great option at times, but we know better. I’m talking about the bigger picture here.

Going forward, Hope must be renewed. I find myself having to dig deeper. For some it’s a creative project, or offering help to a friend, loving those close to us in new ways. But it’s also tracing our spiritual roots right back to where they began and blessing those traditions in our lives. It’s turning on a light so we can see our authentic selves a little better. It’s seeking joy in a tiny wildflower or the song of a bluebird.

It’s the small stuff which is really very big – gratitude, forgiveness,  kindness, trust and faith – all for both ourselves and others. Maybe it’s wise to step back and look at the whole situation from the vantage point of the angels. Even though it all seems like a scene from Alice in Wonderland where everything is upside down or backwards or making no sense at all, perhaps there’s a good reason for it all yet to be discovered. There’s an ancient Sufi tale whose moral is:  “Good thing, bad thing, who knows?” I’ve had to adopt this as my motto this year.

I remain concerned, prayerful and yes, still hopeful. I would love to hear where you are finding Hope, where Hope is finding you.



Maybe I should change it to “Bunny Tales”

bunnyjune5I know I post about bunnies a lot. They’ve become a symbol for my creativity and a friendly reminder from the universe. My blog is titled Winks and Wisdom, but sometimes I think I should change it to Bunny Tales.

Today’s little guy decided to play the “I am invisible” game. Although he clearly saw me out of the corner of his eye, he didn’t move a muscle or even blink. Comfortable in the grass, he waited while photos were taken and I moved on. Thank you, Mr. Rabbit!

Creativity is taking on new dimensions in light of everything playing out on the stage of our country, as well as in our collective hearts. I am having to instill more discipline into my life in order that I can see and hear the messages I am meant to hear.  I am learning to set more specific goals with the understanding that they may change in the process. I am having to trust that there are things I know, things I think I know and things that are not yet meant to be known. I am having to remember to walk through the appearance of chaos with fearlessness and joy.

I would love to hear what you are discovering during these green, green days of June.


What did the pine trees say?

BenchYesterday I had the blessed opportunity to spend time among some pine trees. Although the wind was blustery, the pine trees stood strong and brought me back to a more heart-centered sense of peace. I’ve always been drawn to areas where these wonderful trees are found. Today I thought I’d look into the spiritual symbolism.

Traditionally, the pine stands for wisdom, renewal of life and longevity. The oldest tree in the world is a pine named Methusaleh! Pines make you feel “at home” – oh, I can relate to this. I’ve often gone to retreat where tall pines stand. Pines offer a sense of peace, love, hope and inspiration. We could all use a big dose of all of this right now.

Pines are also noted for being strong and stubborn, willing to fight for survival and at the same time adaptable. All of these qualities appeal to all of us who pursue the path of spirit, yearning to overcome all that would impede the evolution of our souls. When today’s alternate realities strike close to home, we are required to make choices that preserve our own sense of balance and survival, without ignoring all the incoming information.

Finally, pines offer protection. This is how I’ve always felt in their presence. They are also said to provide the opportunity for balanced and penetrating insight. And so, with this dose of pine energy, I feel supported in my pursuit of deeper truth and my ability to communicate it with my readers.

See if you can get close to a pine tree sometime soon!

Dream or Reality?

Emily 2.4 (4)I woke up this morning dreaming of a beach scene kind of like this. I’ve borrowed this photo from a dear friend who lives in Hawaii. In the dream, I was riding on a bus to destination unknown. At a given moment, the bus stopped and parked on a grassy plateau. I turned around in my back-of-the-bus seat and saw a wide expanse through the window. My eyes were resting on that serene and cloudless scene when I awoke.

It seems more difficult to determine what is real and what is not these days. A few days ago, I took a neighborhood walk on a sunny and fluffy-cloud kind of day. People were working in their yards, kids were riding their bicycles, trees were leafing out and blooming and dogs were sleeping on front porches. I decided to claim that reality right then and there. Then listening to the news tends to get me rather confused.

I’ve been planting a few more flowers in my outside pots. Pansies and marigolds are waving. Chard and oregano are sprouting up. My geraniums travel inside and out depending on the wind and the weather. Caring for these happy plants is another reality claimed, balanced by prayers that encircle the planet for all those who need them.

The dream seems to have come to remind me that there are other realms where we also dwell, other universes both within and without. It’s not an either or situation, but we do have the freedom to choose our realities.

Ran too fast to be captured in a photo

pansybunnyDid you find the clue in this photo? Yes, it’s true, yesterday I saw my first bunny of the season. He was young and racing along the edge of a neighbor’s yard, cottontail bouncing, and then hiding quickly. There was no time to take a picture.

As my regular readers may remember, I’ve seen lots of bunnies over the years – running, hiding, posing, acting like they’re invisible, and even boldly coming forward to greet me. Personally, the meaning of all these bunnies has always been magic and creativity.

I went back to my Animal Medicine symbolism study from a few years ago and found additional messages meaningful for all of us at this time. The rabbit appears at the dawn of a new season, which is of course spring, but is also a deepening of understanding of many things known and unknown. The appearance of the rabbit heralds hope, renewal, new ways of thinking and new opportunities.

The rabbit hops by to bring abundance and blessings and faith in our dreams and visions. He encourages you to explore your imagination for possibilities and name the ideal version of the future for you, your loved ones and the planet as a whole. He is running fast to capture your attention and alert you to the fact that you can face your fears, dig deep into your heart for courage, break old patterns and create a life full of creative surprise and delight.

As we also emerge, let us find ourselves focusing on a bright and golden future, setting discouraging news headlines and conflicting information aside. The rabbit has powers of intuition, timing and good fortune. His appearance tells me that the time is now to follow his path and discover more meaning, more revelation and more divine magic.

I would love to hear what you are exploring and discovering!

Which side of the fence are you on?

poppy fenceThis is yesterday’s walk when it was sunny, breezy and warm. Last night was cold, windy, wet and gray. The ups and downs of our current collective situation were reflected quite markedly in the weather here in Montana. As a visual storyteller, I am determined to keep myself on the side of the fence which is joyfully blooming. I am discovering new ways of creating portraits of the future, understanding that the future can begin at any moment now.

Yesterday I created another one of my Vision Pages. I take an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of card stock and attach both pictures and lists of specific items I want to accomplish. Sometimes the lists are simple and other times, very detailed. The advantage of these pages is mobility. You can prop it up on your desk, put it in a notebook, tack it up anywhere or carry it around with you. It’s a written order for you and your higher self to collaborate on, rather than just a wish list.

Here’s the page I made. It’s just two photos, one inspirational quote and my list of specifics onclear vision the left. I’m keeping the details of my commitment alchemical for now, but you get the idea. Another version is to put your card stock page of images and key words into a plastic sleeve and insert your detailed list into the back of the sleeve. The list can not only include specifics but brainstormed ideas, suggestions to the universe, etc. and let the angels go to work. Either way, lists can be adjusted and updated along with the shifting priorities of our lives and times.

Knowing most of you as I do, I am sure you are doing your best to remain on the blooming and sunny side of the fence. I don’t mean to diminish the overwhelming and difficult elements of our current situations. As creators, however, we have a responsibility to go forward shining our lights in whatever ways we can.

PS Apologies if this vision page photo is not as clear as I would like it to be. After three tries, I’ve decided to just send the message out!



All the way back to the beginning

baby shoesStories of my life previously unknown to me have been emerging during this season of retreat at home. My Iowa cousin sent pictures from younger days visiting the farmlands where my dad’s family lived. I could recognize myself in the photos, but had little memory of being there at ages 6 and maybe 10, and driving a horse-drawn cart (see previous blog, “Two cousins…”).

Then it came to my attention via a short blurb on a newscast that a man I had spent time with during my college days had passed away of a heart attack. He actually lived not too far away and I had tried to make contact over the years but had been unsuccessful, he being quite a recluse. A very different memory.

And I’ve just received the pictures from my other cousin on my mom’s side of the family. She mistakenly sent the package to my old address. I was quite fortunately contacted by the person living there now and he promised to re-mail the package. Days went by, weeks. He had a family emergency, but was finally able to send it. He refused any payment for his kind gesture and only asked that I pay it forward. A blessing in itself.

It was an odd assortment including my baby announcement, pics of me, my dad mowing the lawn, my grandparents and their home in Florida, and these tiny leather baby shoes. I found myself looking down at my feet and wondering if these were really the same feet.

However, the prize tiny snapshot was my mom pregnant with me, a photo I had never seen before. As my cousin noted, it was undoubtedly the first picture of me ever taken. And this much delayed package showed up on my dear mom’s birthday, a message from heaven.

I am attempting to assemble these puzzle pieces of my life and now I’ve gone all the way back to the beginning. May grace be clearing the way for deeper understanding as spring arrives and we emerge into a brand new landscape.


Winks & Wisdoms — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Susan, So glad to find your blog – I enjoy reading your loving wisdom. Especially can visualize you unpacking your pencils and goodies to read, while basking in nature – which I’m sure basked itself in all the love you are. Thank you for all you share!

  2. Hi Susan, I love your new website! Thank you for sharing it. I love the “winks and wisdom” because it reminds me of all the special little gifts and hints I receive when I’m searching for solution or answers to even the simplest, every day ‘rocks in my path’. And from now on, I will pick up the pennies. I used to leave them, hoping for a quarter or a dollar instead, but now I will cherish them as gifts as well. Thank you 🙂

  3. Forgot to say thank you, Donna for your comment. It was indeed a magical day at the picnic table!

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