Sunday, January 31, 2021

"It's been a long, long, long time ..." / Cicely Tyson (1924-2021)

"... He based the chord patterns on "Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands," by Bob Dylan, while the song's understated arrangement partly reflects the influence of the Band's 1968 album Music From Big Pink ..."


Cicely Tyson (1924-2021)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Sunrise / Breach Repairers


While working on my first mandala of 2021, I listened to the inaugural prayer service because it was suggested to me by a religious person I trust.  Some of what I heard put me on edge because it reminded me of my troubled childhood where every Sunday morning was spent in an Episcopal church which didn't feel any safer than my family home.

While drawing I listened to, more than watched, the YouTube video of the prayer service.  When I heard something in a voice that engaged me, I would look to see who was speaking.  I looked up numerous times and saw a diversity of faces of people who are at peace with speaking of and to the God of their understanding.  I'm grateful to Rev. William J. Barber, II, for his homily where he spoke of repairing the breach in the United States with hope in God and hard work and acknowledging that there are those of us who don't relate to God or a god in the way he does and who nevertheless are willing to do the work of repairing the breach.

He heartily acknowledged, among other people who are often not acknowledged in settings such as this prayer service, "people not of faith but with a moral conscience," as breach repairers.  His homily can be found here.  (There are two videos at the link.  The second one has the complete homily.)

This is the mandala I am working on.  It might be finished.  I'm not sure yet.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

We shall be strengthened


... for they shall be comforted.

Comfort:  From the Latin confortare "to strengthen greatly."

(Gouache and watercolor from the late 1980s, revisited) 

‘It is up to us to finish’: Read Warnock’s MLK Shabbat Sermon

Friday, January 15, 2021

Songs for the African Violet


An African Violet that was given to me last spring has been dormant for several months.  In recent weeks I noticed a few buds.  Today on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the first bud has opened, and there are many more blooms to come.

Songs for the African Violet

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Tomorrow is January 15, 2021 / Infinite hope


Tomorrow Martin Luther King, Jr., would have been 92 years old.  The message he carried does not die.  Last night I had a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep due to a flood of fearful thoughts arising from tangled roots in the past, strangling the present and threatening any peace of mind and heart in the future.  As I tossed and turned, I remembered being a child and having the same troubling experience of sleeplessness again and again without the hope that came into my life when I was nearly 40 years old.  

In an unforgettable moment in 1987 came the realization that I was not alone and had never been alone and that there was at least one person, a Lummi woman who was ten years younger than I was and who had experienced severe trauma in her life and who carried a message of hope, a woman who had come to know that she was not alone, that she was part of a community that I now think of as the beloved community.  

Last night when I suddenly became aware that I was not alone in facing fearful thoughts, I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep.  I dreamed that a man I know who is in his fifties and who has survived against all odds told me with deep joy that he was going to be a father.  

This morning I found these sustaining quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.


We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. 


Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.


I came to the conclusion that there is an existential moment in your life when you must decide to speak for yourself; nobody else can speak for you.


This day before Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is an opportunity to revisit this Lummi story of infinite hope:

(Note:  When you click to start the video, it will not start but will direct you to click on a link to YouTube)

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Revisiting Mighty Mouse in the final days of a predator living in the White House

As a small child in the 1950s, before I could read and before I began to spend more time with books than with television, I was fascinated by what we then called Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Much of what was in those cartoons went way over my head, but that didn't matter because I understood enough about life to be caught up in the stories.  I certainly would have identified with the nine tiny field mice in this cartoon who were enjoying themselves in a field only to be caught in a violent storm and then, when they thought they had found shelter in a house,  found their lives threatened by a predator who turns into a superpredator with a green face like the Wicked Witch of the West when he puts together and swallows a mixed drink.  The resourceful mice do their best to escape the superpredator, but he outsmarts them and prepares to eat them as he watches them slowly begin to die.  

At this point, Mighty Mouse has somehow been alerted and is on his way to help them.  Mighty Mouse rescues them and fights the predator until the predator appears to be dead and looking something like the Wicked Witch of the West after water was thrown on her.  The house catches fire. 

Mighty Mouse then picks up the cage where the field mice are trapped and carries them away from the predator's house just in time before it is rocketed high into the air and explodes in a somewhat baffling and colorful fireworks display.  Mighty Mouse continues carrying the field mice back to where they were before the storm and releases them from the cage.  They cheer, thanking him for saving their lives.  He bows and flies in the direction of the setting sun as the narrator says,

"Off into the setting sun flies the champion of mice and men. What a mouse!"

Of course I loved the idea of Mighty Mouse when I was a small girl and wished that he would appear when I was in dire need of help, when my own efforts to protect myself were futile. 

For the most part, I forgot about Mighty Mouse until I was in a counseling session with a Gestalt therapist when I was in my late 40s, hoping to find healing from the traumatic events in my life that had kept me trapped emotionally since childhood.  I was telling him a story from my life that I don't recall now.  He asked me to let go of the story and simply focus on my body for a few minutes and to notice what I was feeling.  When I let go of the story, I gradually became aware of a heavy feeling around my heart.  He asked me if the feeling had a shape.  I had to focus on the feeling for awhile before I was able to identify that it was the size and shape and color of a brick and as solid as a brick.  He asked me what was inside the brick.  My first thought was, "Nothing is inside the brick.  It's just a solid heavy brick."  He asked me to look closely inside the brick.

Suddenly the brick I was picturing exploded into harmless pieces from the power of Mighty Mouse breaking out of it, and I began to laugh uncontrollably in delight!

The counselor asked what had happened.  I was laughing so hard that I wasn't able to speak for a few minutes.  Although he had worked with me for months, he had never seen me laugh before and said that I looked like an entirely different person when I laughed.  When I was finally was able to tell him that Mighty Mouse had shattered the brick from the inside, he laughed with me.

What saved me from something heavy inside me came from inside me, not from somewhere in the sky like the Mighty Mouse in the cartoons I watched as a child.

No Mighty Mouse in the sky is going to save us from the predator who remains in the White House for the next few weeks or from his followers or from anything else, but there is something more powerful than the predators or imaginary saviors like the Mighty Mouse in the sky, and it is found in diverse communities joining together for the good of our divided country.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

"Dark Eyes"

Cover by Maria Montagnini

"... Hunger pays a heavy price to the falling gods of speed and steel ..."

Friday, January 1, 2021

Sharing my 2021 Mandala Calendar in True Colors / Earth Mandala / True Colors

Having these 12 mandalas of mine professionally scanned this week allows me to show them in their true colors for the first time.  The first mandala is from a previous year and the remaining eleven were completed in 2020, most of them in the last two months.

I'm emailing these images to those who responded previously via email.  

If anyone else would like these 12 calendar images for 2021 emailed to them, let me know at:


This morning I opened my 2021 Sierra Club Engagement Calendar and saw the photo of our planet from space -- a beautiful multi-dimensional earth mandala.

With love to blog friends, near and far, in the new year and always.