An Epiphany of Creation


The Goddess’ Cauldron

Into Sedna’s icy seas

I cast wisps of prayer and blessing for this new year.

From her dark depths

cold crystalline shards of unknown shadows

float to the surface,

intrigued and captivated by the phosphorescent luminous.

All now, swirl and churn, mixed with my morning kiss.

Embraced by its heart and heat

All now, melt and merge.

All now, transformed

into wave and mist, cloud and rain

crashing, soaking, washing

shoreline sands, rocky cliffs, silent forests,

skin and scale and fur and feather.

Time will stand still and breathe anew

into this vow of creative surrender.

(Inspired by this clay plate from Newfoundland artist, Peter Sobal, and spontaneous invocation at the Self as Source Writers’ Retreat, December 7, 2015.)

Stepping into a Legacy of Learning

CP HostsIn late September I had the privilege of co-hosting with local friend and colleague, Beth Sanders, The Circle Way training practicum with founders and master circle practitioners, Ann Linnea and Christina Baldwin.  Seventeen people joined us, from Germany, Indiana, Minnesota, British Columbia, together with a strong local contingent.

Strawberry Creek Lodge welcomed and held us for the five days, providing nourishment for body and spirit, its simple and natural beauty – with acres of glowing golden aspens and towering spruce and pine, leaf-covered trails, beaver, moose, coyote and bird – creating the larger container into which we created our circle of intention, learning, curiosity, and compassion.

P1010046It was the second time such a circle had been called.  In 2011, the day before I departed for three months abroad, I emailed Ann and Christina wondering if they’d come to Edmonton to teach circle.  Then, too, seventeen of us gathered at Strawberry Creek Lodge in the glorious splendor of fall of 2012.  Then, intent to bring circle more fully into my personal and professional work, hardly would I have imagined this manifesting as co-teaching with Ann and Christina during their final off-site training.

In the weeks prior to this circle, in the moments between “skippering” our home’s renovation, I felt anxious, apprehensive even.  In counsel with a wise woman, she offered that of course, such would be the response to stepping into a legacy.  Relief with having been so deeply heard, with having received the “frame” for understanding and navigating this new role and context.  My choice of token to bring to the opening circle’s centre, the solid pewter sea urchin, its circular shape and surface covered with tiny circles, its weight signifying the gravitas of the occasion for me.

Kana Ishii Paszek Photography, 2015Together, we four held well the circle’s directions, energies, and teachings.  Together, we were both present to and in a grief that came in with this circle – supporting, shepherding and stewarding, with clarity, focus and compassion, several momentous transitions.  Together, we practiced and modeled a cornerstone Circle Way agreement: “ask for what you need, offer what you can.”

And in the end, after a mid-night of Northern Lights that shimmered in the brilliant sky, clear after a day of blustery wind and steady rain, the torches passed, marked by the green and orange “Glassy Baby” candles, gifts from Ann and Christina to Beth and me.

Now Beth and I mark our own stepping in to create a pattern of learning experiences for the next phase of our lives.  We hope you’ll join us for circle practicum trainings next spring and summer, and our newest (ad)venture, Soul Spark: Step Into the Fire of Doing the Work You Love to Do. Soul Spark

Why I Rise Early

Not every day, not every week, but enough mornings to know that rising early, before dawn, grounds me in the new day.

Golden light on the emerald leaves of the laurel willow and last standing mayday.

Birds singing for a new day – less now but in spring and early summer, the only sound that fills the still starry sky.

Bob’s quiet voice, spoken word and song selections echo The Road Home.

Morning breeze gently kissing awake the backyard trees, inviting them into the new day dance.

Sister Moon’s sliver of shine gives way to the light of her Brother Sun.

Still mind metta meditation for friends and family challenged by illness and travails.

Full hearted prayer of thanksgiving for this Life, my Life, this new day.

Newfoundland Vignette 4 – Moving On

After three nights’ sleeping at Uncle Steve’s Place in Woody Point, we’d be moving on up the western coast to make our way over to the Great Northern Peninsula where we’d see icebergs and the historic French Shore.  During our last morning at Ivy Crocker’s Granite Coffee Shop, I picked up my conversation with the lovely local server as she fed me coffee, toast, and home-made partridge berry preserves.


Woody Point, Gros Morne

Last Breakfast at the Granite Coffee Shop

June 22, 2015

 “I’d be nervous all the time,” explains the sweet young server,

(can’t be more than twenty-two, eyebrow piercing twinkles a delicate blue, matches her eyes),

sharing a bit about her baby girl,

why she’ll stay put on Woody Point

where the closest traffic light is in Corner Brook,

so Adrianna can run



Newfoundland Vignette 5 – That Remarkable Vista

It wasn’t until I crossed the bog, boarded the excursion boat, took my place in the bow and glided into the fjord’s entrance that I suddenly realized I was looking at the very same vista that took hold of me every time I saw that tourism ad on TV.

Western Brook Pond, still in Gros Morne National Park, a fresh water fjord with 2000 foot rock walls, fed by Stag Brook at the far eastern end and waterfalls along both its sides.  That day, the water like glass, mirroring the emerald green tree-faced cliffs and white cloud formations.  Silently gliding deeper into this magnificence, I was overtaken by the grandeur situated within Newfoundland’s Long Range Mountains, and with learning this was the northern most section of the Appalachians, an ancient mountain range close to my original homeland.

Later, when I tried to paint what I actually saw, I quickly surrendered to a rule of spontaneous expression, gave way to my felt impressions, saved realism for the camera.


Wood Brook Pond, Gros Morne

June 22, 2015

 At last.

That long awaited landscape.

The one I first saw on TV.

You know, the one that grabbed my Heart and fired my Imagination.

The one with the cliffs.

“I’d like to go there one day.”

So what fired the Imagination of those ancient mariners?

The ones whose fjords evoke the very one I’m travelling down

right now?

Newfoundland Vignette 3 – Kayaking Off Norris Point

What a perfect way to celebrate this perfect day, kayaking in Bonne Bay!

The Summer Solstice sun shone in full glory as we crossed to Norris Point in the local water taxi. (Later, we saw a “sun dog” – an iridescent halo of light surrounding the sun – something I’ve only ever seen on one of Alberta’s brilliantly frigid winter days.) How this daughter of the water feels at home skimming the fluid surface, smelling the fresh scents of water, feeling the cool wind on her face.

We’d been told that whales – humpbacks and minkes – had been sighted breaching in the bay near where we’d paddle.  For several of the women, to see a whale on this trip would be a dream come true.  The bay was calm, the day’s heat rising as we packed picnic food and supplies into the bows, got outfitted in life jackets and rubber skirts, settled into our seats and pushed off shore, paddles in hand, cameras ready to catch a sighting.  No sooner had we settled into a fairly synchronized rhythm when a blow, once, twice spotted.  And then….


Norris Point, Gros Morne

Our Summer Solstice Prayer

June 22, 2015

Intention held in the hearts and minds of twelve women

wild to witness the whale,

grand dame of our species.

A blow…once, twice

seen along the rock and tree faced cliff.

Colour full kayaks skim the surface,

Carry us Home.

Our hands drum the chant of welcome,

Invoking her wisdom, calling her in.

A tail sighted…once, twice

breaking though the glassy sea.

A sudden breach.

Our collective Heart leaps with the closeness of her show.

A prayer received and delivered.

Newfoundland Vignette 2 – A Sacred Sunday Summer Solstice

Still in Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park, I awoke on Summer Solstice morn to a still sleeping village.  My house mates had already dressed and made their way to the Granite Coffee Shop, the morning ritual for breakfast and the day’s itinerary.  I savoured the stillness and solitude as I collected myself and the requisite supplies for a day of kayaking in Bonne Bay.  I left “Uncle Steve’s Place,” our bed and breakfast, and ambled down the road, camera in hand, present to the awakening day, and promise held in the full rising sun.


Woody Point, Gros Morne

Early Sunday Summer Solstice Morn

 June 21, 2015

 A Bonne Bay full of Sun on this Sacred Sunday Summer Solstice morn.

Shhhh…the only sounds…

A choir of birds.

Robin singing, trilling, thrilling.

Black Crow cawing.

Lark warbling.

Red-winged Blackbird wooing.

Blood red blossoms about to burst forth on the front yard crab apple tree.

Water softly lapping on the stony shore.

Locals sitting on their front porch stoops,

sipping coffee,

smoking the day’s first cigarette.

The “from aways” laughter and chatter break the spell.

I stand on yet another threshold

looking for the middle way.

My Story of Newfoundland in Six Vignettes

A few days after arriving home from Newfoundland, I read this piece from Brain Pickings featuring David Whyte’s monologue on the essence of belonging and what it means to come home to ourselves.  In response I posted, While I enjoyed meeting women on my recent trip, I really enjoyed befriending my creative self who wrote poems and a story, painted impressions, took photos, concocted recipes. A sweet encounter.”  In this and subsequent posts, I’ll share some of what “we” did together.

This first vignette came as we visited the Discovery Centre in Woody Point and learned about the significance of Gros Morne National Park, one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites, as “it was here that geologists proved the theory of plate tectonics. The Tablelands, a mountain of flat-topped rock of a kind usually found only deep in the earth’s mantle, is a truly awe-inspiring sight.”  We also visited the lower level gallery to see fibre artists’ interpretations of the land, its history and people.  A easy amble down the boardwalk in the Tablelands to the perfect sit spot within the rocks to make my first water colour sketch.  The poem below, written on the painting’s border, emerged later that night.


The Tablelands, Gros Morne

June 20, 2015

The vastness of this Island’s spirit,

holding the Earth’s very own heart

exposed to all the elements.

A paradox of deep beauty, magnificence and awe,

with a cutting desperation for survival.

A people who, fierce and proud –

despite what we mainlanders think –

know what matters.

This mater.

This mother.