Monday, January 31, 2011


Evelyn: My picture is hardly inspirational, in fact it is boring, however it was the message itself that got my "intention" and sent me into a whirlwind of thoughts about reality. It was the writing that fueled my photo today, not the other way around. I had just finished lecturing to my students that our beliefs determine our reality, that we CHOOSE our reality daily, every moment. That somehow we are deluded to believe that fun, or happiness, can be found "somewhere" other than ourselves. That our health, our sense of worthiness, our belief in love, are all feelings attained by what others provide, but ultimately reality is what we make it, and knowing myself above all else determines what my world looks like. I have noticed my natural joy at connecting with others, not for what they give me, but for what it inspires in me, in recognizing myself in them, in seeing myself and my own feelings, honestly, openly... and finding that the more I love myself, the more love I feel for the world... the more the world loves me...

Monica: I've been thinking about death, probably sparked by my two recent visits to the cemetery. I've been thinking about how it's the ultimate loss of any semblance of control we think we have, a reality that can't be escaped. At the thrift store today, I saw Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking and reflexively picked it up and bought it. The back cover reads: 
Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
All of us have these moments in our lives, where life as we know it ends. There are other deaths besides literal ones, and somehow, we manage to get through them. I know I am lucky to have come this far in life with no devastating losses. I know that one day this will no longer be true. Then I hope I remember to remember that even this, this too shall pass.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Monica: A twist of pink ribbon in a tangle of green foliage—a balloon tied to a pot of mini daffodils placed on a grave. I brought Michael to the cemetery to show him things I had found.  We walked among gravestones holding hands and I knew our thoughts were the same. Both of us trying not to think about that inevitable end that awaits us all, but at the same time considering what the capstone of that end would look like: a stone, a tree, a piece of driftwood, something fashioned by his own hands, or nothing at all?

Evelyn: So many twists in my world—twist of faith, twist in events... then there are the things that hold life together—like twist ties (my other option) and better yet the ways in which we twist our world up... can you guess? One of my favorite P3 friends has dreads that can be envied. I am blown away by their length and form... and I got very curious about their nature.  I love Freak!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Evelyn: Spending the weekend floating around as a volunteer therapist, doing my thing... the exhaustion moving its way in... I messed up my alarm, and in my rush read our word and ran... then doubted myself about the word I had encountered while dazed and still sleepy (I messed up crowded/gathering before)... Yet, in the thick of it, I found some friends warming in the sunshine, coupled and content, and they were willing to share a love bite - the best kind of bite besides food... and that worked just fine for me. 

Monica: I took the word literally today and could only think of an apple with a bite taken out of it, an image that recalls the story of a forbidden fruit and that first bite that changed everything. Then Evelyn called me on her drive home and we got to talking about how cute Justin was when he was a baby, how I nicknamed him cookie face because of his two enormous chocolate chip eyes, and how one time, I was playing at "gobbling" him up and I bit him. The poor kid wailed in pain. I was horrified, but I just couldn't help myself. He was too temptingly chompable.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Monica: This morning I woke up to gray skies and knew it was the perfect day to visit the Caspar cemetery, a little graveyard tucked away in a corner of the woods south of Caspar Creek. It was quiet and I was alone. Recent visitors had brought fresh offerings and flowers, so the place felt cared for and alive with movement and color. I stopped in astonishment when I saw this plot. The rough-cut stones standing askew with their curvy inscriptions written was so simple and beautiful. I had forgotten how much I love spending quiet time in a cemetery, reviewing the headstones and trying to piece together the stories of souls that lived before my time. I am fascinated by the mementos the living leave behind: knickknacks, seashells, pinwheels, beads, flowers, photos, stones, toys, balloons, plants, and trinkets. I can't help but wonder about the myriad untold stories that lie beneath my feet.

Evelyn: There wasn't anything I was willing to rip for a photograph today... in fact, my day was filled with solid experiences... but I got home at that time of day where the sun hits my fractured crystal and suddenly light is ripped into deviations of its whole... for a few moments I take in rainbows playing out along my wall. My crystal, broken, with small fractures along its base, and ripples of stress fractures, like waves on a pond, moving upward, still manages to create stunning arrays at just the right time of day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Evelyn: I am living more colorfully, slowly finding pieces that represent me—artifacts that sing to my identity. I was stopped today and complimented, and the term "eclectic" fell on my ears in a way that made me stand tall, eager, and deeply recognized. I have been hearing that word more often this last year, and the vertical stripes on my new dreamy scarf, full of mermaid colors and a cool snowflake feel, is yet another artifact in my gentle authentic transformation. I enjoy finding my boldness—pushing out who I am through my clothes, though my words, through my art,  in ways I had never dared before...(faster than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!)

Monica: It's been a long time since I've worn anything more decorative than my wedding ring and a simple pair of silver & turquoise earrings. Earlier this week, I broke out the mascara and raided my jewelry box to decorate myself a little differently. This morning I pulled these earrings off my jewelry tree, a pair I found for $3.00 at my favorite used bookstore in Tucson. Instantly, I felt a bit more elegant. It's amazing what a little sparkle can do.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Monica: Mementos of a month-long road trip with my husband, stuffed into a mug. My days with him are like this—an entanglement of entertainments and discoveries, our shared journey. And this, too, is how we sleep, entangled and snuzzled together.

Evelyn: One of the natural oddities of Florida is the abundance of Spanish Moss that can sometimes smother the trees, and wind it way in long tresses from branches and bushes. It reminds me of Rapunzel...letting out locks of her yellow hair from a window up high.  It's beautiful, while also evasive. I spent much of 2009 and part of 2010 managing the entanglements I found myself in, between clients, jobs, and relationships. It was beautiful, for all the lessons I learned, while evasive in the ways in which I neglected to clear myself from the tangles emotionally and physically. I have such gratitude for being free of the clutching spindles of expectations, responsibilities, emotions and entanglements, now breathing fully with more space and better support. I am purple with delight!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Evelyn:  Mesmerized at the ways in which support is evident in nature, I stared at this bud, encapsulated by green leaves, small waxy marks like little kisses at its edges. It appears supported as its blossom presses outward, moving its growth towards a moment of fullness, much like an embrace, supporting another in her growth, until she is fully ready to push out into the world with all her power.

Monica: I don't know if it's the new year, but I feel the beginning of a shift in my life. After a decade-long battle with writer's block, I am finally willing to face my resistance and compassionately direct myself to write every day. The resistance is enormous. My writing process is tentative and messy; I struggle to keep my hand moving across the page in spite of the fearful or critical voices that lurk in the shadows of my mind. I need support in this endeavor, though I'm not sure where to find it or what it looks like. I feel like a tiny bud preparing to burst into flower—there is a greater force supporting my efforts—I simply need to allow myself trust the unfolding.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Monica: I cringe at the word: bulky. I think of overstuffed chairs, soggy diapers, and dusty sacks of rice at a Chinese market. I also think of the bag of beautiful yarn that cost over $100, which I bought nearly 5 years ago in the hopes of knitting myself a sweater. After completing the back and ripping out the front twice, I gave up in frustration. Now it sits in a purple tote bag, shoved in the back of a closet, waiting for me to get up the nerve to start again. 

Evelyn: The joy of foods, combined in ways I never would have imagined, the chub of grains pressing on the edges of a thin wheat wrap, and the tender flavor of sprouts and sweet potato in tangy parsley drizzle, almost too much to savor. The bulky nourishment, filling me up with gratitude, not only for the food, but also the embracing joy of Ralph, whose eager smile and cascading love for the world made for the perfect dessert.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Evelyn:  Nature stacks her creatures in amazingly organized ways, a heap of thorns, intricately agglomerated along tender limbs, protecting buds and new growths, sharp pearls edging its form.
    Haphazardly prominent


Monica:  Today was a day of culinary indulgence. It began with a breakfast of poached eggs on toasted ciabatta bread slathered with basil aioli and topped with turkey bacon, avocado, and melted cheddar. Then for lunch, we had our first pizzas of the new year. (His: pepperoni & mozzarella.  Hers: pesto, with a heap of spinach, olives, mushrooms and grilled onions. Needless to say, we both wrinkle our noses up at the others' pizza choice.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Monica: It's only January and already the flowers are beginning to emerge as if it were spring. The plum tree began its blossoming in December, and now the little bush with the pink flowers is blooming. All I can do is smile at the absurdity of nature's whims and be thankful she is offering up some color in the middle of winter.

Evelyn: Late night absurdity, tickling my belly, deeply. Laughter and playful energy bouncing emphatically between kindred spirits, while creativity leaves us spinning. Balderdash!

Friday, January 21, 2011


Evelyn:  So much is about perspective... and I struggled to find what would represent my definition of "future." However, here I stood early this morning in a small forest of blossoms just after a light rain... and I see that I never really know what the future offers. I can hold ideas, dreams, beliefs about my future—and even HOPE for the future possibilities, just as the blossom holds the collective rain. Yet, ultimately, even the collective dew, part of my world for just an instant, was an unexpected moment as I step into future, from moment, and away from past. I don't know what will happen with that drop, clinging to the fine hairs of her pistil, like a hand holding possibilities, nor do I know how far that dream will move, drop, spread... other than what it holds at this moment, and that is alright ... I like not knowing exactly how my future will move, other than holding in my hands my collective potential.

Monica: I'm not one for planning too far into the future. Ask me where I envision myself in five years and your answer will likely be a long, blank look. I really couldn't tell you, because I don't know what I will want for myself next week, let alone in five years. This can be challenging, especially living in a goal-oriented society where most people can't get by without some organizing technology (PDA/phone/day planner) to remind them of their endless To Do list that, once completed, will bring them one step closer to the happiness they strive for. I tend to favor the "life is a journey, not a destination" approach to things, which favors spontaneity and flexibility. Thus, I am able to decide at a moment's notice that, yes, I do want to see this band I've never heard of play at the Caspar Inn. It's a venue I've never been to before, in spite of it being less than a mile from my house and hailed as THE best place to hear live music in this county.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Monica: The fun thing about today's word: I can take a picture of just about anything and ask the viewer to guess, but the challenge is in showing something ordinary from an unrecognizable perspective. New shapes and patterns emerge, and multiple layers merge into one. Can you guess what this is? 

Evelyn: Today felt like a mystery picture, and with my new extension tubes, everything through the lens is a mystery. For me, the adventure in photography includes the many ways in which the world is re-framed through the lens. I have opportunities to notice things I would never have seen, and sometimes SEE things my aging eyes would never have caught. So a simple daily routine then becomes a new world —new terrains, new colors, new observations, a new appreciation for yet another perspective... Did you guess what this is?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Evelyn: Sometimes the day starts in unexpected ways, with a rush of details and maneuvers and connections that can spin circles around my energy. Such was my day, teetering on a rope over moving ground, solving and processing, jumping and making muscles. It is always an inadvertent adventure, my life, and it spirals with color, and crevices, and gaps, and shadows...a playground.

Monica: For as long as I can remember, I've loved putting on my walking shoes or hopping on my bike and heading off in a new direction, allowing myself to get "lost"—simply for the thrill of getting out into the wide world and discovering something new. These small adventures developed my confidence and self-reliance so that I had the courage at 7 to fly alone cross-country to spend the summer with one of my parents; at 11, to take the bus into town to meet my mother for lunch; at 15, to spend a year abroad in Italy; at 25, to spend 2 years teaching English in China; and at 35, to move to Mendocino to become an Innkeeper at a nature preserve. There have been so many adventures in my life thus far. I look forward to many more...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Monica: I made it out to the Caspar Headlands just in time to see the sunset. It's irregular to see a clear sunset where the sun sinks into the line of the horizon; usually it is swallowed whole by an invisible bank of clouds that smothers the sunlight.

Evelyn:  Even in the things that appear balanced or symmetrical, there are intricate irregularities that make the world unique, different, absorbing. Even in the most balanced of moments are hidden irregularities that make each moment a breath of change.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Evelyn: The unknown exists in the nooks and crannies of my existence, in the reality I believe my life to be—and it is what I don't know that can scare me, exhilarate me, make me curious, or even shut me down... what I think will be a picture, may not be... what presents itself as an unexpected message whimsically re-written over the veins of my life... an encouragement... such is that brilliant unknown.

Monica: What is the source of life, really? By what grace does this little green plant spring up from the earth, dewy and ripe for blooming—in January, no less? Contained within the bud is an infinity of buds and seeds and future plants that have yet to grow. Something so ordinary becomes an utter mystery, wholly unknown.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gathering & Crowded

*The word for today was Gathering but Evelyn had a brain fart and sent me her picture with the word Crowded. So in the spirit of appreciating the beauty of different, we have two words.

Monica: I'm loving my new 60mm macro lens and how it allows me to see things I might not otherwise see: a tiny spotted ladybug gathering her breakfast from what's left of a dried-out flower.

Evelyn: Sometimes it is a little crowded, working in this space, on such big things. Making my mind live fully, in just the area I share with others in this world, and yet, living full in this crowded space inspires movement in all of us. I love my artist dates with friends, piled high with their supplies and canvases, coffee drinking and chatter-washed, laughter and insights dancing among the brushes and colors. Sometimes when I am crowded I feel connected.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Evelyn: Power exists in so many things, and I particularly see it in nature, the way plants form, evolve, sprout, and grow... and then leave a shell as a reminder of the process. It also resonates with a reminder that maybe I should grow a few thorns... hmmmmm.

Monica: For years I joked that whales must be mythical creatures because I had never seen any, in spite of having lived on the California coast for several years. The first time I saw them up close, there was no doubting their existence. There is such power in their slow and steady movement through the water.  They are tiny relative to the immense sea around them, yet they are fearless of the great mysterious depths in which they swim.


Monica: The fog rolls in, blurring the lines where earth becomes sky and sky becomes sea. I don't love the muted gray blanket that covers the sun, but I surrender to the soft colors and the quiet that it brings. I feel part of the infinite in such moments—that which has no beginning and no end.

Evelyn: The infinite skies, stretched and illuminated. I can't help but to stand, awed, at the painted canvas, the ever-changing skies, the extraordinary colors, and the infinite cycles of the moon, the seasons, the days and nights... I often imagine that the sky has been painted just for me during those moments when I stop, gazing and filled with gratitude.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Evelyn: In the brittle, dragging, frostbitten dullness of Florida's dry landscape, I couldn't help to appreciate a squat bouquet of flowers growing from a crevice in an untrimmed palm tree in the parking lot at school. Low to the ground, almost out of view, they were stretched towards the sun, like a child towards a parent, despite the wind-plucked petals and brisk cold air. How can one not appreciate sunlight...

Monica: Elvis, a resident cat at Orr Hot Springs, looked to me like the epitome of appreciation this morning as he lay on the back of the couch, hugging it in a pose of pure relaxation. That's how I felt after soaking in the hot springs for a few hours and a good night's sleep in a luxurious bed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Monica: The truth is an orange-footed salamander you've never seen before, taking its sweet time plodding across the wild tangle of forest that is your life.

Evelyn: The truth is, I am getting older, and the lines are marking their journey on my face like little streaks of rain on a glass panel. Shockingly, I discovered a wrinkle under my ass, this wasn't a dimple, or a patch of cellulite, it was a wrinkle, as I guess it just isn't my face that is aging. God Bless Me!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Evelyn: Here is where that aroma is buried, where it radiates and appeals, where it triggers my instincts to dig and snuffle and tear at the roots... until satisfied that I have gotten to the essence of what exists... deeply, right here.

Monica: One of those blah days, a day of rain and crabbiness and nothing flowing right. Here: a brief moment in the dark on the porch with the rain pattering down. A deep breath. 

Monday, January 10, 2011


Monica: I left home with the intention to have some kind of encounter, then thought the better of it, as I didn't want to suddenly come face-to-face with a mountain lion or bear. I was satisfied instead with the tangled encounter between fine branches and the lichens that survive on them.

Evelyn: The ginormity (immense size) of the hot, dripping, fabulously gooey burgers that emerged from the kitchen in all their glory tonight was an encounter I didn't expect. Dinner with friends is every kind of convention, between conversation, and swapped food, and tickles of laughter and stumbling upon the final bill.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Living Colorfully

Evelyn: I did proclaim, on New Year's, that I was going to live life more colorfully. I think I have been shy of really living authentically colorful... and colors have emerged in my life since doing the Artist Way work (and running my classes.) My art reflects it, my home reflects it, but wearing it is going to be my new thing this year! I am a wonderfully colorful person!

Monica: Hurray for color! I discovered this fascinating new flower when I decided to walk in a different direction today. The simple act of changing my routine resulted in seeing a plethora of new sights. I want to remember to occasionally diverge from the well-worn paths I set myself on and strike out into the great unknown.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Courage & Perseverance

Monica: So much sad news coming from my hometown of Tucson today and I'm feeling a bit vulnerable. Aren't we all like birds perched on high voltage electric lines, mostly unaware of the surging force beneath our feet that could end us? It makes living an act of courage.
Evelyn: Perseverance—growth despite obstacles, faith despite the walls. It is amazing sometimes how things grow, even when the earth seems barren or the obstacles large...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Seeing & Tools

Evelyn: There are some new and some old tools in my bag. I am starting this year with three Artist Way workshops (Creative Soulcare) and I added in a few things to keep my head above water, keep my classes energized, and keep that creative energy tumbling through the boulders of my being, smoothing edges and making its path. It is quite the haul, but the payoff tremendous for my sanity and happiness. It is my intention to spread my wings with this work, in ways I don't even see yet, but powerful and profound!

Monica:  SEEING. Seeing from different perspectives. Seeing without judgment or expectation. Seeing the things that are easy to miss—the things I tend to take for granted—and expressing gratitude. Seeing and being present in the moment. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wings & Winds of Change

Monica: On my last several walks, I've come across a black cormorant stretching his wings on a rock just off the coast. I can't tell if he's basking in the misty spray of crashing waves, or drying his wings, or doing some kind of cormorant yoga. He looks like he's ready to take flight, to leap off the safe edge of the rock into the unknown of the wind. I'm feeling ready to do the same. 

Evelyn: I was chatting with a student after class, one that attended my Creative Soulcare Classes before attending my college classes, so he has a much different level of awareness of my process than most students, and he reminded me that birds fly with the currents, not against them, and only then do they truly fly, soar, and achieve profound heights. The clouds tonight on my drive back to the college were eerie, shifted, and I watched as a cold front literally ate up the sky... and in that kind of weather there are always strong currents... and in those currents I intend to fly - moving with grace with the flow rather than against it. My pictures made perfect sense after our little chat... and the reminder a wondrous one!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Travel & Mindfulness

Evelyn: I am working on mindfulness... of my thinking, of my posture, of my breathing, of my reactions, of my feelings, of my smile... Lets just say that my annual Buddha (gifted to me this year) is a perfect reminder of the healing, growth, and transformation that occurs when I am mindful and present. Did you know that one way to make yourself smarter (I just read an article on this - they listed 5 ways, of which playing games was another one) is to practice meditation? Being mindful of ones breath and NOT thinking... Justin and I had a little competition at Wonderworks this summer; they have this device that you can put on your head that measures brainwaves - and you can compete with someone else on being the MOST calm and relaxed... kinda reminds me of that, except I am missing the gadget that shows me JUST how mindful I am being.

Monica: Travel is always on my list of things I want to do. There are places I've been dreaming of for quite awhile: Turkey, the Maldives, India, and Zanzibar, to name a few. But this year, I'd gladly settle for two weeks in Hawaii with my husband, staying in a treehouse on the beach, eating fresh fish and pineapple, and snorkeling or scuba diving for most of the day.  I crave a tropical island, where my daily wardrobe consists of a tank top, sarong, and bare feet;  where I can lounge in a hammock with a good novel and a fruity cocktail; where I can be a mermaid amongst the fish and the corals. That is heaven for me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Flow & Achievement

Evelyn: Continuing my photographic efforts to capture things that represent what I want more of in my life... I found this billboard. It is not the best of photos.... but the message was extraordinary...
I was taking a route that I have driven maybe 5 times in my 11 years here, JUST to avoid all the extra traffic... and I drove by, gasped, did a U-Turn, and had to snap some pictures, shaking in my car seat, hoping traffic wouldn't pile up on the narrow road. I vow to be an "overachiever" and be extraordinary! I want MORE MORE MORE of that this year! [Thanks to Coca Cola for the encouragement!]

Monica: I walked down out to the headlands and watched numerous whales make their way south along the coastline, spouting and surfacing and flipping their tails. It was marvelous to witness. I then made my way down to the beach and observed the gentle, winding flow of Jug Handle Creek as it made its way to the sea. I found this little feather perched on the edge of the creek bank, and it reminded me of how I want to BE in my life: I want to go with the flow of things, to not struggle against whatever life puts before me. [Note: I had to laugh when I saw Evelyn's picture.  I tend to be an underachiever; Evelyn is already an overachiever of superhuman proportions. I'm always trying to get her to scale it back a bit, while she encourages me to step it up.]

Monday, January 3, 2011


Monica: My husband, Michael, is a huge inspiration to me. I love him for the similarities we share (minimalism and neatness; a love for weird architecture; good listening skills), but it's our differences that inspire me the most and make our relationship interesting. He is self-disciplined where I am lackadaisical. He seeks treasures, curious to discover what is just around the next bend (and the bend after that...), where I am content to linger in the present with what I already have. So here's to a little more self-discipline and treasure-hunting in 2011.

Evelyn: I found a little synchronicity in my tea... I hadn't noticed the message until cleaning up my desk of yesterday's tea binge (yesterday was recuperation day between catching up on sleep and dealing with a long plane ride - no wonder I missed it) - Tonight I returned home from my Creative Soulcare workshop (Week 1) and was reminded...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fruitfulness and Miracles

Monica: I pass this California Holly bush on my daily walk. Each time I do, I pause to appreciate the fierce red berries against the winter-stripped background of bare branches and gray sky. It's a burst of color in a dreary landscape, a flaming protest against the cold and quiet of winter, and a symbol of my desire to be fruitful in many areas of my life this year.

Evelyn: This sums up a lot with regards to what I want more of... More hope, more faith in myself, more miracles, welcomes and observances... I was blown away by both the sunrise and the double rainbows. Although this picture only shows one, i love the solitary little bird hanging out in observance of the hopeful gesture of nature!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beauty & Music

We decided to create a weekly theme structure for our posts in 2011.

The theme for this week is: Things I Look Forward to in the Coming Year.