Happy Places: collaboration a la carte

my-t-storefront

A few of my favorite entrepreneurs and sociopreneurs have joined efforts under one roof:  Keziah and Michelle Hernandez with My Tea Soul, Amos Lozano with  Famous Juice Company, Christine Sauve of Munch On & Beyond,  Fred with The Vegeria (formerly next door to Viva Books), and Kaz Sephton with the Golden Horn of Plenty thrift store benefiting rescued dogs.

my-t-group

Image:  (left-right) Michelle, Amos(back), Kez, & Chris making funny faces

None of these like-minded individuals could quite afford to make their dream jobs happen alone so they teamed up and the result is magical.

I visited their spot in the universe a few weeks ago to place some art for sale on the walls alongside some other fun-funky pieces and had a blast!

my-t-keziah-n-michelle-best

image:  Keziah (left) and Michelle of My Tea soul

Yes.  I had fun but I also had a BLAST of unique, energy-filled, tasty, plant-based, fresh foods and juices each vendor makes on site and serves a la carte.

When Michelle asked if I wanted to “do a shot,” my mind did a little jig.   I haven’t done that in the traditional sense of the words for thirty-plus years and thankfully not since that kind of juice makes me dance on the tables (naked).  But then I realized, she was offering freshly juiced lemon and ginger in a shot glass from the Famous Juice Company.  WHOA!  This stuff burns all the way down, but in a good, strangely addicting, satisfying way.  Plus, doing this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach then waiting thirty minutes to eat will super alkalize your system and serve as a powerful anti-inflammatory.

amos-of-famous-juice-co

image:  Amos, the famous juicer

Amos, the famous juicer, has a contagious smile and an effervescent personality that is just as delicious as his juices.  Multiple juice combinations of all colors are freshly-juiced daily and available in 16 oz. glass bottles to carry out for $8.  Yes.  I said glass bottles!  If you bring the bottle back, you get a discount on your next juice purchase.  I am exceedingly impressed with the Eco-consciousness of this young business-owner and I love his business tag-line:  Eat plants, Move often.  Plus, the juice combos are satisfying and tasty.  I tried “Popeye” (kale, spinach, ginger…) and loved it!

my-t-juice-n-peppers

Though I am an omnivore, I found plenty to eat for lunch by grazing through the interesting choices available from the several vendors.  From Munch On and Beyond, I sampled the jalapeño/cilantro hummus and the mango/pineapple fruit roll-ups.  From My Tea Soul, I chose a quinoa salad and Oh! My Brownies.

oh-my-collage

image:  me eating the OTHER two of three OH! MY Brownies at home the afternoon I bought them…YUM!!

Everything was exquisitely delicious, especially the moist, flavorful brownies, as you can see.  And this is no small feat, since everything made by each vendor is plant-based and gluten, dairy, & egg free.  I know this because, having been GF since 2000 and for the past year now practicing a Paleo lifestyle, I’ve baked my share of brick-heavy lumps that I had to trash.

my-t-munch-on-snack

image:  trail mix from Munch On:  almonds, walnuts, pumpkin & sunflower seeds with raisins

This restaurant is not exactly sit-down with service though there are two tables and chairs for eating-in and a sofa and chairs on which nibblers can settle comfortably should they so choose.  The vendors do offer catering for events and parties, especially for the Paleo/Vegan/GF communities and grab-and-go munchies for the work-a-day folks including cupcakes, tarts, pies, trail mixes, salads, tamales, teas, juices, and so much more.  There is no coffee for sale at this time and neither is there a microwave in-house, as some object to microwaves.

downtown-wetmore-sign

Eating my quinoa and loving the vibe of this cool enterprise, I overheard someone say, “This is a happy place!”   I must say, “I agree!”  And besides that it is good.  Yes.  The food is good, but beyond that, the intentions and actions of these individuals is good, socially and environmentally pro-active and positive!  These are #formidablePeople and I am pleased to tell my audiences about them.

Please do visit them at  13469 Wetmore Rd,San Antonio, TX 78247 in the Wetmore Shopping Center (on Wetmore Rd. near Thousand Oaks).  Or give them a call (210) 592-8366 to know more.

Have some tea.  See some art. Buy something fun from the thrift store.  Eat. I promise.  Once you’ve found this place, you’ll be as happy as I am!

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016.

Suggested Reading

the beginning of change is always a new idea…   When I asked other formidable women to list for me titles of books they have read that empowered them, gave them courage to change,…

Source: Suggested Reading

loose woman:  #art & #life

image: sketch from a couple of days ago in my journal

This loose woman and many others like her have peppered the pages of my journals for years like sirens, luring me into the dangerous waters of artistic transformation.

Some have become manifest in more rigid forms, morphed into spirit guides bringing messages, heralds of truth.

But these images are more abstract, less full of words, more pure imagining, fanciful, and fun!

I wonder:  what would this life, this art look like?  How would it change me..

Can I let go of what I have known, ask the “Little Baptist Girl” shadow to rest, release her Puritainistic, patriarchal  hold on my psyche and let this wild, loose woman have her way with me?

Can I trust that SHE too is holy?  Can I allow Her sensuous vulnerability to pull me into the dark waters of the unknown?

i wish you every gentleness

The Cloak Brandi Strickland

“The Cloak”  18X18″ Mixed Media Collage.  Image courtesy of the artist, Brandi Strickland.  Used with permission and gratitude.  All rights reserved.  Please visit Ms. Strickland’s website here to view more of her work.

Today is the thirtieth day of the season of non-violence–a sixty-four day block of time between Jan. 30 and Apirl 4 (the anniversaries of the assassinations of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, respectively) which is set aside annually & was originated by Ghandi’s grandson.

Why designate a season of non-violence?  Of course, it is a celebration of the contribution these and other modern day public figures who have lived out their lives passionately, teaching the way of non-violence.  But most importantly,  it is one way to engage ourselves in a conversation about the power of gentleness.

I have never heard nor have I ever spoken these words:  Happy season of non-violence!  And though I think, Happy season of gentleness! evokes more of the resonance I personally want to create in the world, these are not words that have ever occurred to me to say.  Hmmmmmm….

There is a season in which everyone walks the streets wishing everyone else everywhere merriness and joy and P.E.A.C.E!  Culturally, however, we only give ourselves permission to show this much good will publicly for the thirty days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The rest of the time, we might say, “Have a nice day,” or “Be well,” but these phrases don’t carry quite the same message.  They don’t really speak to the practice of non-violence the way, say, May you know gentleness today, or I wish you every gentleness might.

I write about gentleness, confessing my own need for it, my own need to practice, practice, practice, confessing that I lapse into violent thought and sometimes (still) words and actions that come from habits deeply imbedded in my neuron-pathways from pre-birth.

I write to watch myself.  I write to know myself.  I write to change myself.  I write, hoping that what I have experienced will move others into their own way of being present to themselves and their own needs to watch, to know, to change.

What follows are excerpts from a talk I gave to women gathered for the Diocese of South Texas Episcopal Women’s Spring Gathering at Camp Capers in Waring, Texas, April 4, 2014.  I share it with you today, celebrating my own season of non-violence, celebrating how far I have come, celebrating my own willingness to carry on.

bend them with gentleness meme flickr

image:  meme by Brett Jordan.  Use with permission via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

Part I:  Why Am I Here?

 I started writing Making Room for George because I needed to tell the story of what was happening in my life.

But as I wrote, the writing morphed from a simple account of the events in my life into a journey itself–through my life’s history and choices– and as I wrote, it was much like taking an inventory, bearing witness, explaining, and grappling with the transformational journey I have been making from the person I used to be into the person I am.

After I finished the book, I realized that I would be speaking to people about the book.  I had to decide what it was I really wanted to say besides, “Buy my book.”  And as I asked for guidance and began to receive it, I had great resistance to the clear message that surfaced.  But it was so clear and so profound and it scared me so much that I knew this was what I was being called to do.

So this is what I have come here today to say:

The woman sitting next to you  in church every Sunday, well-dressed, intelligent, raising a straight-up child, holding a good job could be the very woman whose husband sitting beside her threatened her life and the life of her child the night before.

Statistics show that as many as one in every three of us has experienced some form of abuse by an intimate partner.

We must realize this is happening, maybe even to the woman sitting next to you right now.

We must talk about it openly.  We must hold the door of our hearts wide open so that disclosure can happen.   We must proactively educate ourselves and our children as to what constitutes a healthy relationship.  We must teach each other how to practice respect and gentleness.

peace is every step cover tich nhat hahnimage:  “Peace is Every Step” (Book cover) by Thich Naht Hanh.  From my suggested reading list & a favorite of mine.

We must tell the truth. We must heal this abuse. We must stand together, become formidable, and thrive toward a culture of gentleness.

Part II:  Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?

As an adult, I asked my mother why she didn’t just leave my father.  After all, she had a job.  This was her answer:  “Because he said he’d kill both of us if I did.”  So my mother risked her life and sacrificed her happiness to save our lives.

That’s valid.

As it turns out, this threat is a common one made by many perpetrators.  Sometimes, in spite of such a threat, women summon the courage to leave and succeed, finding new lives in other cities or carrying on where they are, but with restraining orders in place, finding that their spouse’s bullying behaviors subside once they realize she has finally, really left and isn’t coming back.  Sometimes, the perpetrator hunts them down and carries out the threat.

A woman who lived across the street from one of my friends in an affluent San Antonio neighborhood was being held hostage by her husband, locked inside and not allowed out alone. None of the neighbors suspected anything was wrong until her sister called one of them to say there was going to be an intervention

Sometimes a woman has children and no job and no idea how she would survive and care for her children, so she tells herself after every beating or insult that he didn’t really mean it and that he won’t do it again.  In fact, that’s what most perpetrators do say.  They experience and express real remorse, but somehow cannot keep their aggression from surfacing again and again.

Sometimes, the woman is well-educated and has an excellent job and could easily care for herself and her children financially, but she has been brainwashed into thinking that the whole mess is her fault and if she would only do this or that differently, he wouldn’t lose his temper the way he does.  So the woman jumps through hoops:  taking cooking classes; losing weight; changing her hair; never going out; clinging; not-clinging; and so on and on and on…

The other reason women stay is because they love this man and because they would rather stay and risk a broken arm than endure a broken life with a broken heart.  My mother loved my father until the day she died and I love my husband despite all of our difficulties.

what on earth am i here for flickr Cc

image:  “Good Question” by Bob Jagendorf. Used with permission via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

Part III:  You Can’t Get There From Here

Have I experienced violence at the hands of someone I love?  Yes.  I am one in three.  But why did I choose a man who slapped me to the ground and treated me with such disrespect and why didn’t I just leave him?

Einstein is quoted to have said:  “a problem cannot be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

I can speak most authentically to this point by telling my own story.

I cannot leave the place I inhabit unless I leave it consciously, by first identifying the energetic pattern-cause and then by practicing the vigilant work of choosing again and again a new way of inhabiting my world.

D. Ellis Phelps

In order to move on, I must embody a new energetic pattern.  Otherwise, I will simply find myself back in the same circumstance or with the same kind of partner who may be slightly more or less abusive because that’s the kind of energetic space my consciousness inhabits, because that’s what’s familiar, because that’s what I’m attracted to subconsciously.

So when I found my husband, what kind of energetic-pattern did I embody?  What were my deepest systems of belief?

From as early as I can remember, I learned that violence is a way of life.  That it is part of loving someone.  That it is the way to handle anger, disappointment, and frustration.

I watched my father become enraged with my mother, hit her, knock her down and bruise her.  I watched her cry and mourn and grieve and then I watched them reconcile and stay together for twenty-eight years.  I heard my mother say repeatedly that she loved my father, so I learned that this is how you behave when you love someone.

I learned that violence is funny.  I watched the Wylie Coyote and the Roadrunner do territorial battle on Saturday morning cartoons.  I watched the Roadrunner drop the big rock or anvil on the Coyote’s head and squash him.  And then I watched the Coyote spring back and do it all again and I watched this week after week along with many other cartoon characters who did the same things, smacking each other in the face with skillets and brooms and the like.

Implanted in those cartoons was the notion that these kinds of violent actions do not hurt, after all the Coyote never died.

And the same idea was implanted in my experience because though my mother was sad and I was frightened, no one died.  So I became accustomed to living in tension and because I didn’t know better; I couldn’t know better.

Love and Hate by Mai le via CC

image:  “Love and Hate” by Mai Le.  Used with permission via Creative Commons.

I agreed subconsciously with the idea that violent action, tension, and pain are all just part of the landscape of love.

My psyche studied the roles:  the aggressor rules; the victim submits; and the belief system:  when there’s been an attack, pass judgment, figure out who’s to blame, and punish them by attack.  This belief system implanted itself into every cell of my being, into my psyche, into my emotional blueprint, and therefore into every future relationship I would have, especially into the relationship I have with my own self.

I decided early on that to survive, I would be perfect.  And I vowed that no matter what, when I grew up, none of this would ever affect me.

I graduated high school, President of the Drama Club, Student Council Officer, in the top ten percent of my class, an outspoken, upstanding, virgin, non-drinking Christian who attended church beside my parents every Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon and Wednesday Prayer Meeting.  I looked like a young woman who was just fine.

When I got to college, I started drinking, having fun, and enjoying freedom–until I wasn’t having fun anymore.  Within four years, alcohol had released the rage within me to the degree that I had already blown through two serious relationships and I had become spiritually bankrupt, anorexic and suicidal.

So, I had left home, but I had failed to leave what I learned there behind.


Do you live in an emotional landscape, longing to be in a different place?  What ideas, patterns or habits might you need to relinquish in order to move on? 

Are you one of the one in three?  If so, call for help: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

I’ll be posting more of this story over the next few days.  Click the follow button to the right to get my updates in your email inbox.

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, a love story.  Balboa Press, 2013.

a dime’s worth

Though this poignant, haunting video features worthy men and though this song was written in 1930 in the heart of the Great Depression, this unconscionable, societal neglect of our own who have served and yet, who suffer greatly also includes women.

In the song a beggar talks back to the system that stole his job.[3] Gorney said in an interview in 1974 “I didn’t want a song to depress people. I wanted to write a song to make people think. It isn’t a hand-me-out song of ‘give me a dime, I’m starving, I’m bitter’, it wasn’t that kind of sentimentality”.[6] The song asks why the men who built the nation – built the railroads, built the skyscrapers – who fought in the war (World War I), who tilled the earth, who did what their nation asked of them should, now that the work is done and their labor no longer necessary, find themselves abandoned and in bread lines.

Wikipedia

And here, I ask:  why should a women who has served society– birthed our children, cooked our meals, washed our clothes, raised our young, nurtured our health, AND OFTEN ALSO worked a full time job as CEO, secretary, CPA, teacher, care-giver–ever find herself in danger, in need of shelter or food, and unable to find a safe, honorable place in the world?

My volunteer work at Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas brings me face to face with this need on an up close and personal level.

Saturday I met a woman who has been living at Haven temporarily. I’ll call her Darla (not her real name).  She has brain damage that causes her speech to be halting, says “I forget things.”  She told me that Haven’s social workers have found subsidized housing for her and last week they took her to see what will be her new apartment home.

I’m thinking that’s great!  Right?  I looked into her green eyes.

“Are you looking forward to having a place of your own?”    She took a deep breath, hesitating.

sadness_149 from hipish.free.frimage:  free stock from hipish

“I’m afraid the man who gave me this brain damage will find me.  I’ve been thinking I need to hire someone to check on me everyday.  I mean, I know this is silly, but I’ve been feeling safe while I’ve been here.”

My heart clenched.

“Does this man live in San Antonio?”

“Yes.  He does.  I don’t contact any of my friends I used to know or go anywhere I used to go so he can’t find me, but I’m afraid he will.”

This story is not unusual.  One in three women worldwide will experience violence against them in their lifetime:  that equals one billion women.  And the fact is, this violence is no respecter of persons.  Regardless of whether a woman is intelligent or not so much, employed or not, married or not, beautiful or not, popular or not, she is devastated and usually debilitated by domestic violence.

We must purposefully nurture loving kindness and let the choice for beauty, gentleness and harmony dissolve hatred and let the Great River carry all that does not serve downstream.

D. Ellis Phelps

What I want for this woman and for all women (and men) who are ready to go to any length to change their lives and leave abuse behind is a culturally ubiquitous commitment to healing this societal disease. I am not alone in this.  Many have joined to bring awareness to the need to stand against violence.

I am for standing together.  And of course, I want perpetrators to be held accountable and to be rehabilitated.  I want those who experience suffering to be comforted.  I want provision for all who experience lack.

But most importantly, I want to be part of a culture reconsidering the current reactive approach to widespread abuse and rage.  What we do now is like sending in the National Guard and the Red Cross after the fact to clean up the mess of a natural disaster.

These entities are necessary and powerful forces for good, providing aid in times of crises.  And let’s face it:  no amount of education will turn a tornado from its destructive pathway.

But education will stop abuse.  Education of the spirit.  And practice.

there is nothing so strong as gentleness meme

image:  meme used with permission by the artist, Brett Jordon via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

The practice of loving-kindness.  One word at a time.  One glance.  A smile.  A gentle in-breath and exhale replacing a mean retort. The decision not to hit or yell.  Ever.

The decision to ask for help. The decision to give help in healthy ways.

These are actions we each can take one moment at a time, actions that will change our world for the better.

Ask:  What simple (but not often easy), let’s say a dime’s worth of action can I take today to make my world and that of those around me more gentle, more kind?  How can I change even my thinking, especially my thinking  (this requires spiritual intervention), around someone or something I think I hate or feel the need to punish.  Can I offer forgiveness and loving-kindness instead, even for one instant?  Yes.  One Holy Instant can change everything!

Share your victories and positive choices here and share them with others.  Collect a #formidableWoman badge from this page (at right) and post it on your own website or blog.

Help us reach critical mass and tilt the collective-consciousness toward a culture of gentleness.

peace eLKayPics flickr CC

image:  “Peace” used with permission of the artist, eLKayPics via Creative Commons. Rights reserved.

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Balboa Press, 2013.

Coming Soon: an interview with #indieauthor, Mary C. Simmons

Corvus Rising Book Cover

Here’s a bit about Mary, author of Corvus Rising.  I loved this book, by the way, and I will be including my review along with her interview.  Say tuned.

In the meantime, you can read more from Mary here.

mourning: lost & found

mourning mother flickr image attributionimage:  “mourning mother” by Jinterwas.  Used with permission of Creative Commons, some rights reserved.

Yesterday, I met a young woman whose only child died last year.

Through tears, she told me that those close to her want her to “just get over it already.”

If you are one who feels uncomfortable when in the presence of pain being experienced by another and so you tell them to buck up and move on, please know that in an emotionally healthy individual, the grieving process takes time.  Lots and lots of time.  What is lost, is lost forever.  And mourning is never “over.”

The pain comes in waves, unexpectedly, profoundly.  And sometimes, for years.

As for me and my own experience of grieving, most recently the loss of both of my parents, and within that context, the perceived permanent loss of any possible reconciliation with them, the process has been ongoing since I first realized they were both in the process of leaving their bodies, until this very day.  It has been more than five years.

The pain has subsided.  It is distant now and thoughts of my loss do not always cause me to dissolve into tears, but I do still mourn for them, for myself, and for this planet full of others mourning.

I continue to allow myself whatever form of process-release I need:  wailing, talking out loud to the deceased (believing they “hear”  and respond to me),  furious dancing, receiving bodywork and energetic intervention, talking with a trusted friend, writing and making art.

Hard-Times-Require-Furious-Dancing-Alice-Walkerimage:  Walker, Alice.  Hard Times Call for Furious Dancing, (New World Library, 2010), book cover.  Illustrations by Shiloh McCloud with Michelle Noe

I am clear on this point:  relationships do not end when one “dies,”  but they do become more difficult to navigate because the other now lives on another plane of existence, communicating in non-linear dream-time, thought waves and forms, scents, signs, nudges, and yes, even visions.

For me, writing and making art are the most significant way I move forward–toward the Light.  The point is movement, not resistance to apparent darkness.  Seeking new insight and understanding regarding what is lost and moving gently toward integration of the new understanding into my life-view and way of being in the world, in relationship, transmutes all negative energy into positive, allowing all experiences to be used for the Highest Good.

When I can truly assimilate and put into practice what I have learned from a relationship and from purposeful, deep reflection on its relational qualities and nuances, studying and accepting which is my part and which is the part of the other and how we became who we are (were) together, then the essence of the relationship is not lost but found because the essential life of it lives in me and, indeed, in all whose lives I touch.

touching water by Augustine Ruiz flicker creative commons attributionimage:  “espejo” (mirror) by Augustin Ruiz.  Used with permission of Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved.

This process work is a profoundly spiritual experience.  My most recent series of art,” the surprising” and my full length book of poetry, what holds her (under submission) are both examples of living this process

Further, when this kind of profound interaction between the worlds takes place, each of us heals and can then, and only then, organically move forward with living our lives as they are now, resurrected in this new form, moving more freely within and between the realms and planes of existence toward Harmony and Love–the Highest Vibrational Frequency.

Om symbol creative commons attributionimage:  “OM” symbol by Karen.  Used with permission of Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved.

on the verge: dead trees, cream cheese, and children

Tragic Dead Christmas Tree 1 Toby BradburyImage:  “Tragic Dead Christmas Tree,” Toby Bradbury. Used with permission of Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved.

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas.

I have lost my bearings in the whoop-la of the “holidays”, in people pleasing, in following the way of the world:  shopping, baking, entertaining.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love presents.  I love giving presents.  I love being with my family, but enough is enough.  And no matter how I simplify, no matter how much I avoid tear-jerking, desire-provoking commercial advertising, no matter how I focus on “the reason for the season,” year after year, I overextend and find myself here.

My stomach spasms from overindulging in dairy:  cream cheese, chile con queso, fudge.  My head throbs from pollution, pollen, mental congestion.  My body aches, begging me to stop.  STOP!

a time of change and transition, when the night is on the verge of turning into the day

At three A.M., when vata is in charge, I lie awake, aching, nauseated, exhausted, overcome with anxiety.  Am I dying?  When I do, will I suffer then more than I do now?  Who will comfort me?  My chest squeezes in upon itself with worry.  I toss, turn, try to think of some action, some accomplishment, an achievement to which I can set my mind to abate the fear of the future.

All this thinking, thinking, thinking with zazen breath my sole companion.  Will I recover?  Will I have to go on living in this pain, dysfunctional, compressed, trapped in this tiny world, betrayed by the mind? 

8179518917_1ff414721a_bimage:  “Buddha Quote 100, Hartwig HKD.  Used with permission of Creative Commons.  Some rights reserved.

My body, too, betrays me.  I consider seeing a medical doctor again:  for sleep medication, for some pill to stop these jumping legs, muscles firing at will, demanding to go, to do, as though, like Forest Gump, I need to start running and never stop (until, like Forest, I have “put my past behind me.”)

I doubt myself.  I doubt my work.  I cannot seem to gather enough strength or patience to continue working with children to earn my bread and butter as I have done for many years.  Though I do love them still, they wear me out.

Writing student

And simply painting, usually a blissful activity that feels like the exact balm I need to soothe the “rude noise of the world” suddenly seems too solitary an endeavor, the canvas–a selfish lover from whom there are no guarantees, neither of community nor sustenance.

And yet, if I am to follow The Artist’s Way, this is a loneliness I must endure.

It is I alone who must know I have something to say (with paint or pen) that is worthy of my energy.

The making of art requires time:  time to conceive; time to create; time to problem solve; time to consider; time to complete; time to process; time to nurture the work; time to discern its message; & time to tell the story of how this work has manifested through me into being and what it means (if I know).

All the while I must eat, buy more canvas, hold a place to sleep and keep interesting tidbits: paper, thread (scraps of reality), bowls of stones, incense, icons, images of ancestors, tubes, jars, sticks of color and words–thoughts stacked in corners.

Collage Studio Portrait

I mine for courage like coal because no guarantee ever comes that any human (including myself) will understand what I do.

I think of songwriter, Stephen Foster (1826-1854), now known as “the father of American music,” who wrote over two hundred songs that are still popular to this day.  He died in New York City with thirty-eight cents and lyrics in his pocket.  He wrote about and was himself a Beautiful Dreamer, calling in the unseen world.

And so I follow his dreaming.

Again (the director says)!  Again I put this pen to page.  Again I witness this curve of ink, ask what matters.

In western schools, I learned a linear process, that following certain steps in a certain order would create a desired, predictable outcome.  This masculine way of processing left me with a false belief, a certainty that I could by exertion of my will control my world and secure my place in it.  It also left me completely unprepared to navigate the unknown.

That, I have had to learn on  my own by walking this path:  the feminine ever spiraling inward, this receptive unfolding.

This way is messy, mysterious and completely out of control.

detailimage: from the studies in sacred geometry series, @d. ellis phelps, 2015, all rights reserved.

D. Ellis Phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Balboa Press, 2013 and of the book length manuscript of poetry, what holds her, (under submission).

6 Empowering Halloween Costumes That We Can All Learn From

six inch heels...ouch!
six inch heels…ouch!

6 Empowering Halloween Costumes That We Can All Learn From.   #formidablewoman

About “the surprising” ii: commentary on “love seeks its own”

My Great-Grandmother Mary Ann Henley's rocker is over one hundred years old.  It carries powerful ancestral energy for stamina and determination.
My Great-Grandmother Mary Ann Henley’s rocker is over one hundred years old. It carries powerful ancestral energy for stamina and determination.

Five years ago, on Oct. 15, 2009, my father left his body, only 29 days after my mother had also done so.  Though I had been very close to my mom, my dad and I had been estranged for two years before his passing, our lives together, full of pain.

Since before and after his passing, I had been experiencing heart pain in the form of physical spasms and chest wall constriction plus asthma-like symptoms that seemed to be getting worse.  After consultation with doctors who said this and that as they will (nothing serious; here’s a drug), I knew I had emotional work to do, the work of reconciling this unresolved grief that had lodged itself in my heart chakra.

As I told you in my comments about “between the worlds,” my ancestors and I, especially my father most recently, have had vigorous, ongoing post-hummus communications in the form of scented visitations and vivid (often nightmarish) dreams.  My art has always been, for me, a form of prayer and communication with Higher Realms.  I also work with my dreams and visions this way, so working them and with canvas and paint to resolve my grief, to “hear” my father, to “speak” with him on behalf of healing was only natural.

And so it happened that I was fully engaged in painting and getting ready for “the surprising” during this season or anniversary of my parent’s transition from flesh and that the show would occur and the paintings would be hanging in the gallery on the anniversary of my father’s passing.

Near the finish of this painting, the fourth in the series (remember the heart chakra is the fourth chakra in the subtle body or energy system), I sat in my great-grandmother’s rocking chair across the room from it.

"love seeks its own" 36X12" acrylic on canvas
“love seeks its own” 36X12″ acrylic on canvas

My studio window was open to the sound and scent of gentle, September rain.  My heart was open to my father, to my work, to my Self.  I listened for any message the painting might have for me.  Within seconds, this lyric arrived: “love seeks its own.”  Of course, this phrase caused me to sob for many minutes, since love of the tender, accepting variety was what I had longed for from my father.  Allowing the tears to flow, I grabbed my journal, suspecting a message coming through.

Here is the message in the form of lyrics complete with a melody that came through this painting and that I believe is a message directly from my father’s essence to me, for me, for the planet and for all humans in difficult relationships:

when from beyond the grave/ love seeks it own/ in the violet play/ we are all as one/release from hate/& free to fly/ with ones who wait/for us on high

(refrain): there is no choir/no golden throne/no standard issue/white flowing robe/but everyone sings/yes everyone sings/and in a giant ring/we are dancing

the face of love is seen/as we are shown/hidden in between/all that we have known/this life we’ve lived/our lessons learned/we each are gifts/we give in turn

(refrain): there is no choir/no golden throne/no standard issue/white flowing robe/but everyone sings/yes everyone sings/and in a giant ring/we are dancing

we see no difference/from heart to heart/have only reverence/& a brand new start/the purpose of/all that we have done/becoming like the holy one

(refrain):  there is no choir/no golden throne/no standard issue/white flowing robe/but everyone sings/yes everyone sings/and in a giant ring/we are dancing

I am completely humbled by the love this message conveys.  My heart is lighter and I believe, so is my father’s.  May he rest in peace.