Today’s invitation from my prayerful listening. Maybe it’s for you too?
Today’s invitation from my prayerful listening. Maybe it’s for you too?
Honoring 12 years of inspiring, beautiful work as a spiritual director/listener. Deepest gratitude to each person who trusted me with their soul journey in our amazing conversations… I am in awe.
I’m taking a sabbatical this winter to listen for guidance on what comes next in my life and work.
From the Art Cards– Intention: Connection
Invitation: To show up and really listen. To speak from our hearts and depths. To discover something new in thetelling of our stories. To grow our connections to include diverse people and communities.
In balance: Sharing authentically, beyond surface talk. Being vulnerable and trust- worthy enough to create a safe space for real relationship. Unlocking wisdom together.
Out of balance: Refusing to risk an unedited encounter. Denying a true exchange, based on pre-judgments about what we might hear or whether it will challenge us.
Listen For Joy Art Card #13 in the Deep Breath Collection
I drew an Art Card before a difficult phone call on Monday, prayerfully asking for a message of spiritual support. Got the “Truth” card– wow– convicted by my own art and writing!
“Say the real thing, not the easy thing.”
“Out of balance: Editing in order to keep up appearances.”
It echoed what I already knew in my heart about speaking up. So I followed that guidance and was met with acceptance! Feeling glad, grateful, and free.
Good news— the Listen For Joy Art Card Decks are now available for purchase in my online shop! Inspire your loved ones or lift your own spirits this holiday season with a gift of art and companion booklets.
Looks like I’ll have enough decks for holiday ordering… but it wouldn’t hurt to buy yours now to be sure. Please order by December 15 for Christmas delivery— it’s mostly me doing the shipping, and I need a couple of days to meet the US Postal deadlines to be sure you have your package on time. Thanks!
I’m so thrilled to be sharing this art and the booklet wisdom. What an honor to know the images and words will be serving you and yours.
With joyful blessing,
The Listen For Joy Art Cards are on their way out into the world! I’m so pleased to report that nearly all of the Kickstarter campaign reward packages are shipped and on their way! BIG THANKS to everyone who helped with the shipping, especially: Lisa Nan, Jessie, Brian, Maqueita, and Hol.
For anyone who would like to purchase more Art Card Decks, or know someone who might, they’re available now in my online shop. Hurrah!! International orders too. (Please order by December 15 for Christmas delivery.) While supplies last… I think I have enough for Christmas, but it’s looking like I’ll get to print more decks sooner than I expected… Wow and Yay!!
Some of you have already received your decks, and are saying fun things on Facebook and Instagram or Twitter. Thank you for the feedback! It’s so great to hear that you’re loving them and using them already. Here are a couple of quotes and pictures:
“Look what I got in the mail today! So beautiful, I am beyond excited to have so many pieces of your art in my life, some of which I haven’t seen in a long time. Thank you!!”
“I received mine and I cant WAIT to give some as holiday gifts (and keep some; heh). They’re so beautiful!”
“I don’t have a good camera to show my joy today, but I want to share HOW BEAUTIFUL your ART CARDS are. Yes, I’m shouting…but I can’t stand it, I have to shout for joy! YAY!”
“Melanie Weidner ministers through her gift of art and a deep well of spiritual wealth. These art cards are beautiful and the writings that accompany each card are thoughtful, wise, soothing and challenging. Check her out on Listenforjoy.com”
“It was already shaping up to be a good day, but when I pulled into my driveway to a box from you on the porch, I grinned and crowed, right out loud to the trees and the birds, “I’m the lucky one!” Do you have any idea how much joy and light is flowing out from your corner of the world right now?!”
“Loving this as my Advent practice each day!”
What a lot of goodness and joy– and everyone who helped make this possible! We did it together, and I’m more amazed and grateful every day. Feel free to add your comments and photos when your decks arrive. And I’d love to hear more about how you’re using them in this next year. Thank you!
The next phase of the Art Card adventure is underway!
With grateful and joyful blessing to you and yours in this sacred season,
The big Art Card deck shipment arrived today!! 866 pounds, 38.14 cubic feet of beauty and inspiration almost ready to go out into the world and serve.
I’m so very, very grateful.
Oh WOW, friends! We’ve exceeded our stretch goal and passed $20,000 on the same day in the Art Card campaign! Yahoo!!!!
I’m joyfully amazed at the generous support and interest in these Art Card decks. Because we passed the $19,500 goal, I can print 300 extra of each deck– to share the art and its inspiration with even more people. And the sale of these bonus decks will help fund future reprinting. That’s a really big deal for a self-employed artist like me! Whatever we raise from here will help with distribution and marketing beyond this campaign. Yes!!!
THANK YOU to all of you who collaborated with me to make this possible. I literally can’t do this without working together, and I’m so grateful. Astonished, happy, thankful, etc!!!
There’s still time to invite friends along who would enjoy these decks– until Tuesday, Nov 21 at 7:00pm Mountain time. Shipping is free during the campaign!
This is so exciting– people love these Art Cards! And they will be of good service to inspire and bring healing and peace. Last weekend I received 100 test market decks to sell at the American Art Therapy Association conference here in Albuquerque, and I sold them all in 10 hours over a day and a half. Another WOW!
So thanks again for being a part of this, helping this art move out into the world where it can do some good. We need beauty and well-being more than ever, and I hope these decks will bring some wherever they go.
With joy, amazement, and blessing– Melanie
The final Art Card decks just shipped from the printer in Maine! YAHOO!!!
Invitation: To cross a threshold. To let ourselves be touched and changed. To get involved by getting messy and being brave.
In balance: Willing to step beyond the clean and comfortable when a situation or relationship calls for more. Playing with gusto and abandon. Fighting for justice.
Out of balance: Refusing to engage discomfort or challenge. Unwilling to be affected or transformed by life.
–From card #2 in the Come Through Collection
Order your decks through the Kickstarter campaign until Tuesday, Nov 21.
We did it!!! Fully funded Campaign for the Art Card Decks!! So excited!! 186 backers, 4 days. WOW. Thanks to everyone for all kinds of support to make this happen.
And we’ll keep going for 10 more days— anyone can join in before November 21 to have decks in your hands in the first week of December.
Invitation: To appreciate the gift of life. To praise and join all that is good and sacred. To celebrate the beauty and bounty of Earth and its beings.
In balance: Expressing thanks and joy without diminishing the realities of hardship and suffering. Cultivating a grateful heart.
Out of balance: Forgetting to be thankful for provision and possibility. Assuming the Universe owes us its resources. Believing we are entitled to more blessings than others.
—Art Card 19 in the Deep Breath Collection
Congratulations, everyone— we did this together. Thank you. We’re going to love these beautiful Art Cards.
It’s a miracle, I think– The first small shipment of printed, finished Art Card decks arrived just in time today to test market them at the American Art Therapy Association national conference here in Albuquerque. What a success! All day yesterday I shared my sample sets, then this morning when these first real decks arrived, I sold 77 decks in 5 hours. Seriously– WOW. Art therapists LOVE them. I know the last few will sell tomorrow and go home with people all across the country who will use them!!
Of course I’d planned for the Kickstarter campaign in the spring, with all the decks printed by summer. I definitely wanted to ship them to my campaign supporters first, and wanted more than just a few of them to sell at this big, important conference opportunity. But challenges arose (as they always do), so it turns out I’m doing everything at once this week. Crazy, yes. Overwhelming at times, yes. And joyful, yes! Both the campaign community and art therapy community have responded with a quick and resounding Yes! to these Art Card decks!
When our campaign successfully meets the goal– we’re so, so close!!!– the next step is to prepare for the big shipment of Art Cards that will be mailed out to all the backers who support the Kickstarter event. I’m so excited!! I can hardly wait for everyone to open their boxes and start enjoying these lovely cards. There’s still time before November 21 to make your pledge to pre-order decks that will arrive the first week or so of December.
With a great big YAY and so much gratitude,
Invitation: To embody our best spiritual and physical desires. To rise to an occasion with fervor and strength.
In balance: Permitting ourselves to feel and express vibrant enthusiasm and intensity. Unfurling our longings and our truth. Confronting the challenge of becoming whole and free.
Out of balance: Stifling our emotions or expression. Shrinking inward due to shame, judgment, or suffering. Hiding who and what we love.
–Card 20 in the Come Through Collection
Join the campaign by Nov 21 to receive your Art Card Decks!
Invitation: To accept the blessing that equips us to become who we are. To emerge with courage and stream into the world.
In balance: Flowing with creativity. Giving permission. Claiming our gifts and talents. Using our strength and resources when facing the darkness.
Out of balance: Exploding with untapped energies. Refusing to mature or to step into power. Hindering others as they grow. Taking fierce independence too far.
–From Card 16 in the Deep Breath Collection
Celebrating abundance!! Almost halfway to the goal in just six hours. 😁
Join in the campaign to pre-order Listen For Joy Art Cards!
Invitation: To open our hearts to receive. To live with gratitude. To build a spiritual practice that supports goodness, joy, and happiness in ourselves and for others.
In balance: Celebrating the gifts of life. Making a home for flourishing and generosity in our lives and in our world. Expanding our capacity for contentment and gladness.
Out of balance: Expecting that life owes us something. Being greedy or protective of our good things. Forgetting that blessings come and go. Flying away from the juiciness of life.
–Card #1 in the Deep Breath Collection
We’re launched!! The Listen For Joy Art Cards Campaign is officially underway. Yahoo!!
Pre-order your decks now, through November 21, for holiday delivery.
We can do this together!
See more about the Art Cards
Thanks & blessings– Melanie
It’s almost here— the Art Cards campaign starts tomorrow, Tuesday, November 7 at 10:00am Eastern, 9:00 Central, 8:00 Mountain, 7:00 Pacific.
Get ready to pre-order your decks and check out rewards that will sell out soon. Thanks for your support!
Invitation: To trust in the natural timing and wisdom of what has yet to emerge. To keep faith alive. To honor and protect what is still hidden.
In balance: Believing our intuition that something new is coming. Holding a poised confidence. Practicing patience with the process. Welcoming what is on its way.
Out of balance: Worrying when things move too slowly. Struggling for answers and evidence. Despairing that seeds won’t sprout.
–From Art Card #3 in the Deep Breath Collection
At last! The Art Cards campaign will begin this Tuesday, Nov 7, 8:00am MDT. You can pre-order your decks in this community fundraising effort. So thrilled I can hardly stand it!
Invitation: To trust that small changes over time produce growth and transformation. To remember that each step in life or relationship is just one part of a longer journey.
In balance: Giving our best effort day by day. Knowing we’re contributing to a larger movement. Believing our wisdom when it tells us nothing is final.
Out of balance: Clinging to one shining moment. Denying that everything will fade. Resisting or rushing the time and effort it takes for anything to bloom.
–From Art Card #28 in the Deep Breath Collection
Look! I received new proof prints from the printer, and we’re getting so close now on the Art Card Decks…
Kickstarter fundraising will begin soon soon soon!
I love the photos I made this afternoon:
The corners on the cards will be rounded in the actual decks– hurrah!
Sometimes I’m thrilled to have geeky skills and interests. Thanks to my first job out of college at The Barclay Press, I love fonts, graphic design, and pre-press layouts. Today I thought you might want to see a screen shot of the digital proofs for the boxes that will hold my Listen For Joy Art Card decks so very soon!
Imagine these images printed, cut out, and then folded up to make the carton for each deck of cards. Aren’t they cool?
Keep your eyes and ears tuned in for news about the Kickstarter fundraising campaign– likely starting within the next two weeks!
Thanks for your encouragement and support.
In light of yet another mass shooting in Las Vegas and the tragically inadequate response to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, I’m asking again these questions from my video clip, “Cataclysm: Hope in Breakdown (below).”
Can we, with conscious self-awareness and wisdom, help certain things fall apart on purpose? Can we break down the aspects of our lives that harm ourselves, each other, and the planet as a whole?
Individually, culturally, politically, religiously, we have to ask fierce questions and take brave actions to intentionally dismantle whatever does not serve life as a whole. Then from those surrendered, raw materials we can begin to make new interdependent, life-enhancing patterns and paths for the future. That kind of transformation will take time, dedication, healing, wisdom, and imagination.
Woohoo!!! Just finished writing the text for each of the 80 Art Cards in the guide booklets… Can’t help but celebrate with you in this 90 second clip:
That’s right– I’m on track to begin the Kickstarter fundraising campaign in late October to early November, so it looks likely we’ll have decks by Christmas!!!
There’s plenty of work yet to do, so please keep up your prayers and encouragement. But wow, this is a big milestone indeed…
With joy and gratitude,
To honor brave DACA and immigrant friends who are #heretostay, and to encourage us all to speak out and protect our neighbors.
Invitation: To claim the power we are born to use. To go out into the world, facing opposition or even danger with the inner strengths of purpose, faith, and joy.
In balance: Living with integrity and balanced self-confidence. Entering the freedom to be our true selves and to be strong.
Out of balance: Stifling identity or power. Refusing to speak out on behalf of life and justice. Lacking the inward assurance to engage resistance.
(From the upcoming Listen For Joy Art Card deck)
Invitation: To adjust our expectation for “arriving” into an acceptance of moving through whatever comes. To welcome each new threshold as our next adventure.
In balance: Affirming change as the way life unfolds. Knowing that life is a series of doorways to enter, rather than one bullseye target to hit.
Out of balance: Resisting movement, decisions, or expansion for fear of the unknown. Lodging in one exact territory. Trying too hard to stay the same.
(Draft text for the upcoming Art Card for this image, “New Passage.” Art prints available now. 😀)
Invitation: To develop and flourish, supported by all of Creation. To trust that the wisdom, strength, and beauty of the ages is nestled in our hearts, waiting for us when we need it.
In balance: Recognizing and connecting with the potent abundance of the Universe. Using our resources in generous and just ways, for the good of all.
Out of balance: Believing an illusion that we’re too small or we don’t have what we need. Denying others their rightful access to the wealth and power available on our planet.
(Draft text for the Art Card based on my original painting called “Seed,” 1997.)
Yahoo! New show & tell on the Listen For Joy Art Card Decks. Check out this little video clip to see the prototypes for the deck boxes, and the first real Art Cards from the printer! They’re beautiful, and, clearly, I’m excited!
“To acknowledge that our efforts alone cannot meet our needs.”
Whew. 18 years of practicing that one since I made this painting in ’99… This wisdom gem showed up today as I’m writing text to accompany this image, “Provision,” in the Listen For Joy Art Card Decks.
Welcoming all aspects of the inner and outer terrain you travel, keeping guidance central to your pilgrimage.
[More draft text for my Listen For Joy Art Card Decks. Writing for these cards is a deeper journey than I thought it would be. Aren’t they all?]
I just had another one of those moments thinking, “Wow, this is gonna be a great Art Card for someone to draw out of a deck– and these words are pretty awesome!”
I’m writing again– can you tell?– working on the text that will accompany my Listen For Joy Art Cards in a little guide booklet. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the task, and sometimes it’s actually big fun to dig into each image, remember where it came from, and listen to the Spirit helping me find words for what the card is about. I’ve had some rough days along the way, but tonight it was the fun kind, so I thought I’d share a peek of the text for the joy of it and to see what you all think.
Here’s the image, a vintage painting made in 2001, with my actual handprints. I can just about feel that wet paint on my hands when I remember making this one on the bathroom tile floor:
Then here are the draft words I’m writing for it (unedited!), in four sections, below. Of course these phrases are just places to start– whomever owns the Art Cards will get to decide what the images mean for them! But sometimes it’s helpful to have a few ideas to bounce around in that process. First is the intention of the card– one word I’ve chosen to represent one of its main messages. Second is the invitation that the card makes to the viewer. Third is the way a viewer might feel if she/he/they are feeling in balance or living in a balanced way. Fourth is what it might be like to be out of balance with regard to the invitation or energy of the card image.
Ok, so look at the image again, and then see what you think of these:
Invitation: To cross a threshold and contact something personally, to let it touch and change you. To get involved, engaged, or committed, which almost always means getting messy and being brave.
In Balance: Willing to step beyond clean and comfortable when the situation or relationship calls for more. Playing with gusto and abandon, letting go of appearances.
Out of Balance: Refusing to engage discomfort or challenge. Unwillingness to be affected or changed by life or a particular situation.
So I’m making something really great– two decks of Art Cards that include images from the last 20+ years of my work. And although it felt over and over like I was ALMOST THERE– that any minute I’d be ready to launch my fundraising campaign and print these cards– the road to making something is long and bumpy. Then winding, and long. And bumpy.
The good news is, I’m still on the road, and I’m making solid progress. (Super cool things are happening, actually.) The challenge is, I get to stay on the path when it’s taking longer and feels a lot harder than I expected. For example, (good grief!!) creating a Kickstarter campaign is HARD. I had a pretty big meltdown the day I made the spreadsheet to try to estimate costs of what I needed to fundraise, to be sure I included absolutely everything, from taxes to shipping costs– even though everything is also an estimate at the same time… NOT what my brain is good at. Bumpy! But I’m doing it.
And although I haven’t talked about it very much, my amazing life parter, Hollin, has a genetic version of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) that’s kept her in various states of illness and tiredness for five years now. Yep, five years without stopping. Long, long, and bumpy road. This definitely impacts the way we navigate life and daily tasks, and it challenges my estimates on how much and how fast I can accomplish. It’s been an incredible gift to learn to slow down and savor life with Hol! But my production ethic is still Energizer Bunny while my actual possibilities are more contemplative and walking-speed. So this year I’ve set the goal to start my campaign twice already, once by May and once by June… and again I need to reset the timeline to what’s real. In fact, when I listen to the Spirit I get clear to let go of setting a date for a little while. This feels really embarrassing to my “But I promised!” and “If I could just work harder” and “What will people think?” self! But this feels honest and more possible to my spiritual and creative self. SIGH.
So… I’m letting myself off the hook as best I can, and I’m still hard at work finishing the packaging details and the writing for the guide booklets that are going to be a real bonus to the project. I even have a fantastic editor who will help me! (Thanks, Christianne of Bookwifery!) I’ll keep practicing remembering that all of this is taking just the right amount of its long and bumpy time.
And one more thing that’s a little bumpy but important– I can tell that I need to talk more about all this. I’m rather shy when it comes to media stuff, and I can forget that it’s actually really cool to see the geeky process parts along the way to making something really great. I mean, I’d totally want to see YOUR project stuff as you go, and hear about your stuck places and celebrations!! So it’s my turn to take the dare and get out more pictures and tell more about the juicy moments, bumpy and awesome both. Be prepared– I’ll probably start with a little video of the prototype tuck boxes that make me grin from ear to ear. But don’t ask me to promise when I’ll post it… 🙂 Sometime after a little more long and bumpy.
Be well on your own winding roads, dear friends.
Storytelling Collage text:
“body halo of flames” –Denise Levertov
“(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)” — e.e. cummings
“anyone capable must want to save the world” — found poetry rearranged out of Rebecca Bagget’s text
“into the wilderness of your intuition” — from a magazine headline
“Storytelling” handwritten by Rebecca Landes, rescued out of the Magic Scrap Bin at Pendle Hill
Even when our government won’t listen to wisdom and the planet, we will.
I’m more sure than ever that we need to change the worldview that says the Earth is a resource for humans to use up. That’s simply not true– Earth is a community to belong to.
So when President Trump pulls the United States out of a worldwide agreement to begin curbing the toxic parts of our human presence on the planet, we will continue to follow the wisdom in our bones, speak out in the ways that are ours to speak, pray for guidance and courage, and take our best actions toward sustainable lifestyles and business practices.
Let’s keep listening and responding with brave joy, fierce love, and active hope– for the good of our neighbors and the planet.
Refresh your web browser page to restart the video.
Hello again, dear friends. So many of us are feeling the heaviness and negativity of our times, wondering what our responses will be. This winter when I felt particularly burdened by the political unrest and injustice I saw in the news each night, I created a piece of fabric art called Center Down that reminded me about returning to my spiritual center to listen for guidance about my part in help and healing. The image is partly inspired by Quaker teachings, and Thomas Kelly’s Testament of Devotion in particular. Both the art and the practice it portrays have been such good help to me as it hangs in my studio!
So I wrote out a few lines to describe the spiritual practice related to this art. I made a little printed card to share with my students, clients, workshop members and at two conferences. It’s been so fun to pass these out, I decided it was time to share it with you all, too. So here’s the text, below, and a link to a free PDF download of the front and back of the postcard, so you can view it or print it yourself. Please keep my copyright information on it, and do not sell it or reproduce it for anything beyond your private use. Thanks.
Enjoy, and if you think of it, please let me know if this is helpful to you…
With blessing– Melanie
A Spiritual Practice Inspired by Quaker Tradition:
Center down: Settle down through layers of speed and distraction into stillness and openness. Choose to arrive in this moment– arrive in your heart and in your body. Remember yourself in the web of life, and connect with the Sacred Presence as you know it.
Clear out: Make a space for the Sacred within and around you. As best you can, set aside your worry, fear, or habits of thought. A purposeful place or practice might help– a patch of ground or sky, favorite chair or cushion, meditative walking, deep breath, a prayer or ritual– return to whatever brings you into Presence and protects your inner quiet.
Listen in: Open your spiritual ‘ears’ and listen within your heart and soul for impressions, phrases, images, or an inner knowing. Wait patiently for some inward spark or impulse that is loving and empowering, for a bit of wisdom from beyond your usual mind chatter, or for a truth felt in your gut or bones.
Rise up: Allow and follow through on right actions that rise naturally from the inspiration or wisdom you receive. Make intentional movements supported by that listening stillness, with love and goodness as your motivation. This kind of doing is fueled by spiritual purpose, and it calls you to become your best self.
Excited to be included into another Fiber Arts show this spring– the Albuqerque Fiber Fiesta, May 19-21, 2017. My fabric, thread, and bead image “Center Down” was accepted by the jury and displayed in the Lujan Center of the Expo NM Fairgrounds. At first I couldn’t find it among the other 215 quilts, so here I am all smiles when I came around the right corner and finally saw it on display:
It’s good to see my art out in the world… always curious what others will experience when they see it.
See image details
See Center Down Spiritual Practice with free PDF download
What do you know, down deep in your bones? What could have happened if you had listened to your bone-deep wisdom? What might happen if you listen now?
What do we know as a people, a community, a planetary system, in our “bones?” I asked this on Climate March day, and this painting emerged. What could have happened if we had listened to what we know, down deep, is good for our children, our neighbors, our bodies, our ecosystem, and all the life with whom we share our Earth? What harm might we have avoided?
What might we listen to now, and what might still be possible?
I’m honored to be included in the New Mexico Chapter of the Studio Art Quilt Associates‘ biennial Fiber Arts Show, “Structural Diversity,” in the Santa Fe State Capitol building. My two images “Seamlessness” and “Cataclysm” from the Resilience Project were juried into the select show and will be on display during business hours at the Capitol, April 14-August 17, 2017.
Beautifully displayed show! Quite a surprise to see my image, “Seamlessness,” right up front on the right.
“Seamlessness” statement: I’m deeply inspired by the structure of our Universe emerging from an energetic realm of possibility. My favorite scientist, Brian Swimme, calls this pure generativity, or “Seamlessness.” I’ve imagined matter and light coming to being, using hand-altered fabric, swirling piles of thread, and stitched paths of interconnection. Are these atoms forming, or the galaxies themselves? Whether tiny or immense, all aspects of life and space are interconnected in this seamless web.
“Cataclysm” statement: Endings and destruction are part of the fabric of our Universe– unavoidably. Brian Swimme’s teachings on “Cataclysm” inspired me to consider actually embracing this letting go as an important part of re-creation. In this image, I am exploring that breakdown. I am also asking a fierce question about dismantling structures of power, thought, and violence that harm our selves, each other, and the planet as a whole. As I literally cut apart and shredded guns, bombs, a colonial mansion, and trilobite fossils, I imagined us transforming those materials into new life-enhancing forms for the future.
The two twin images near each other in the first corner of the show display.
A great turnout for the opening night!
The Great Seal of New Mexico with our SAQA Fiber Arts show in the background.
Thanks again to all those who have been supporting the making of Listen For Joy Art Cards. In my last update, you’ll remember that I applied for a spring grant to include writing with the card decks. It turns out that I did not receive that project grant— but something different and in the long run better— I will be given a generous, more broadly supportive gift in the fall to benefit my work in 2018. What a surprise! I’m amazed and grateful!! The autumn financial support will give me some breathing room next year, and will mean that I’ll have the chance to experiment with new art and new ways of connecting that I’ve wanted to try. This is deeply welcome good news! I can’t wait to see what unfolds.
Meanwhile, the change in grant also brings a different kind of good news— I’ll be making the Art Cards sooner than later! I’ve decided to go ahead and offer shorter, more concentrated writing for the decks, and fold that into a Kickstart-type fundraising campaign likely starting in June. Basically, we and all our interested friends will collaborate to pre-order decks so I can pay to have them printed, and I’ll offer some other fun campaign goodies along the way. If we’re successful (we can do it!), the printing goal is for this fall! Hurrah!!
This is the year to hold these cards in our hands.
Last week I sold art prints at the New Mexico Social Worker’s state conference, and so many of those helping professionals are excited to use these decks with their clients. One woman serving in hospice imagined out loud that she would love to give single cards to her patients along with flowers, to bring specific images of comfort for their dying transition process. What a sacred, beautiful idea! I get teary-eyed again just now imagining all the ways the Listen For Joy art will be able to inspire and serve people in the hand-held deck form.
After all this time, I’m still so excited to make these Listen For Joy Art Cards come to life! It’s been a longer journey than we expected so far… but now I can see the next phases lining up and shining the way forward. If you haven’t already, please consider signing for my eNewsletter list to get the next email to announce the campaign date and invite you to help get the word out. Yay!!
With blessing and enthusiasm,
Honoring International Women’s Day with images of a Mothering God. EVERY woman and girl is a reflection of the Divine!
Read about my Female Imagery for God
Every man, boy, animal, creature, plant, mountain range, etc reflects the Divine too! But too often our culture forgets the value women and girls, so I celebrate them today.
From stardust we come, and to stardust we return.
Our lives are sacred, precious, and short… Remember and live well, my friends.
Notes on Galaxy photo:
30 Doradus is the brightest star-forming region in our galactic neighbourhood and home to the most massive stars ever seen. The nebula resides 170 000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. No known star-forming region in our galaxy is as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus. The image comprises one of the largest mosaics ever assembled from Hubble photos and includes observations taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys, combined with observations from the European Southern Observatory’s MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope which trace the location of glowing hydrogen and oxygen. The image is being released to celebrate Hubble’s 22nd anniversary.
Hubble: NASA, ESA, ESO, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI), J. Anderson, S. E. de Mink, R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and N. Walborn (STScI), N. Bastian (Excellence Cluster, Munich), L. Bedin (INAF, Padua), E. Bressert (ESO), P. Crowther (Sheffield), A. de Koter (Amsterdam), C. Evans (UKATC/STFC, Edinburgh), A. Herrero (IAC, Tenerife), N. Langer (AifA, Bonn), I. Platais (JHU) and H. Sana (Amsterdam); Chandra: NASA/CXC/PSU/L.Townsley et al. & NASA/JPL/PSU/L.Townsley et al.
Well, I have good news and… a little delayed gratification. 🙂 The good news is: I’ve applied for an unexpected grant opportunity to improve the Art Card Decks, and I’m hopeful about my chances. The delayed gratification news is: I need to wait a few more weeks to know exactly when I’ll launch my Art Card Deck campaign part 2. I’d planned on February, but with this big grant possibility, it’s entirely worth the wait!
Here’s the scoop: If I receive this financial support, I’ll be able to invest six months to write brief stories and insights to accompany each Art Card– to make the decks truly complete in the way I’ve always dreamed they could be. I’m so excited about this, and amazed it just might happen! The writing will help bring the images even more alive, since I know from experience that words and questions help many people to really enter an image and make meaning with it. It’s also likely true that written text will give the deck added value if later I can find an invitation to publish with a larger company. And finally, this writing project will bring two decades of my work full-circle, distilling in words what I’ve gained by living with, sharing, and learning from these images. Here I am getting a little teary-eyed about the possibility as I write this to you…
I’d planned to publish the decks without written materials, but now I might be able to create the booklets I’ve imagined would serve alongside the art. It will be a worthy challenge! I should find out by mid-April at the latest.
Although I’m itchy to get these Art Card Decks into your hands and mine, it won’t serve to skip this opportunity or to push ahead on a fundraising campaign without knowing whether the decks would include small resource booklets. So, the project is very much alive and might get even more vibrant in a few weeks. Or, if the grant does not come through, then I’ll move ahead with the original Art Card Deck fundraising campaign as planned in April– without stories, but full of vibrant art that we’re all so excited to use and enjoy. Grant or no grant, this is the year to publish and share these images!
Meanwhile, I will appreciate your prayers, good wishes, and encouragement as I wait with hope and trust. It’s a definite stretch emotionally and financially to delay the deck launch– and to trust your patience with the process. Yet my guidance is clear that this grant chance is worthy of the risks and delay. Spiritual timing is its own adventure, and we’re on that journey!
Thank you again for your support for this dream and your blessings as it changes and grows. I can hardly wait!
With joy, gratitude, and faith,
Even now, right now, we all belong to something wondrous– each one of us is a precious part of this amazing web of life. I feel grief when we forget. So, may the gifts of being and belonging inspire my spirit, my responses, and my actions today.
I felt the urge to share another art image this morning, and here it is. I’ve got to say, however, that I didn’t expect to see this old friend of a painting in a totally new way. At first, I scrolled through my image files and stopped at Enter Fire, drawn by its powerful questions, “Who am I?” “Who is God?” and “Who are we?” I remembered asking these when a dear friend spoke them in a Quaker Meeting for Worship 14 years ago. But then, all of a sudden I saw the colors and questions in a political way:
These days in the US, I can’t help but think of Red vs Blue. All this vicious fighting, entrenching our positions, makes my soul sick. In this toxic climate, “Who am I?” becomes a question of what I’m against. “Who is God?” gets used to define moral judgments and decide who is rejected. But this morning I was surprised by the other color in my art image: the question “Who are we?” rests in purple, in the meeting of blue with red. For a moment, I imagined blending our ideas of what we are for (not just what we’re against) with our sacred knowing about love and right relationships (not just what’s bad and wrong). I dreamed about people meeting each other to ask, “Who are we?” with the real listening, real humility, and real humanity to bring about change that honors all of us.
But we all know a shift like that isn’t remotely simple. I can’t just paint red and blue to make purple and expect us to all get along. There’s a far deeper layer at work. Look– the painting itself opens up, like a book, like a painful story we’re writing together:
See the wounding? See the stitches? We Americans– but especially white Americans like me with education, money, and power– need to actually see and begin to address the wounds of racism, classism, sexism, religious exclusivism, heterosexism, ableism, and too many more. Our national story is cut apart by all the ways we’ve judged and excluded each other. We are wounded, and we are part of the wounding. The injuries must be acknowledged and opened in order to be treated.
It seems to me that this US election cycle has ripped off the bandages we’ve been ignoring. I’m embarrassed at how shocked I am to see more of the hatred, injustice, and violence that our brothers and sisters of color and others on the margins have been bleeding from for years and years. I haven’t really wanted to understand more deeply and ache with them. Many days, I’d rather forget about even my own painful history of being excluded and vilified for my sexual orientation. Then I’m nauseous with more grief to learn the stunning extent of ecological destruction, to watch protective legal regulations disappear, and to see photos of bone-thin polar bears stranded on melted ice floes. I can barely look.
Our wounding gets more clear each day.
See the fire? I sense the growing fires of outrage and despair burning in our country and in our world. Right alongside, I see a fiery rising of passion, justice, and change. The invitation is here, to “enter fire,” to find out what can be reborn if we walk right into and through these flames with courage, creativity, and faith.
I’ve heard somewhere that seeds from many pine trees and prairie grasses refuse to open and germinate without being touched by fire. And I hear from the Spirit this morning that political wildfires are cracking our toughened husks. We are given this unwelcome but necessary chance to send out roots and shoots to grow fresh, empowered, life-giving ways of treating each other and our planet.
See the prayer? “The story of our wounds healing….” I believe this is a long, scary, gorgeous, painful, freeing, essential story– a heroes’ journey to become a people who love ourselves, welcome each other, and nurture our Earth. What will it mean to live out loud and enact the pieces of this prayer, like “our sorrows becoming” or “transformation into love” or “deeper welcome of all things?” I want to find out, today, tomorrow, and over my whole lifetime. My response this morning is to follow the guidance to write this article and share it with you!
I trust that many of us are stepping into discovery by refocusing our priorities and listening to our inner wisdom and our hearts. So many of us are remembering our faith: with spiritual guidance, we actually do have everything we need to bring healing and transformation.
May all of us share this vision and work to embody the real-life, daily practice of joy and well-being that includes everyone.
Amen, so it is.
See the Enter Fire image details.
Deep thanks to my dear, wise friend Barbarajene Williams who asked the three questions that inspired this painting in 2003.
In my waking nightmare, a larger-than-life President Trump grabs a huge map of the United States of America and starts shaking it. Hard. So hard, people start to fall off the map— brown people, black people— he’s trying to shake them off. He shakes again, more people fall— poor people, LBGTQ people, people in every kind of wild and colorful clothing. They bump hard against the thick wall at the bottom of the map before they bounce and fall.
But Trump isn’t finished. More overgrown white men join him now— Bannon, Sessions, Pruitt, Tillerson, Ryan— they all start jolting and shaking the map, the country. Now the trees start falling off, and the water is blackened by shaken oil that spilled and it all runs off, dripping across the map face, over the wall, onto the piles of dislodged, fallen people, trees, and now animals below.
The giant men pause, and agree to shake hard all together— 1, 2, 3, JOLT! Religions fall off, and decency. Hope comes loose and floats down like feathers in the dust of joy and goodness, crumbling.
Trump stops. The men stop, and step back smugly to survey. The map is ashen white. All the color lies beneath, in ruin. Dust smoke clears to reveal the American landscape, barren now except for the oil wells and crosses that mark their territory. They look like tombs.
I study dreams a little bit, sharing them with a dream group every two weeks. We follow a form taught by expert Jeremy Taylor, who asserts that all dreams— even nightmares— are given to us for our healing and wholeness. Although they’re disturbing, in my experience, nightmares are actually good, juicy dreams to have. They get our attention, point out pretty accurately in dream symbols just what’s amiss, and they practically guarantee that our minds and hearts are ready and able to do something about it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the dream! Taylor says, “The very fact that a dream is remembered in the first place means that the dreamer actually has at his or her disposal all the courage, creativity, strength, and wisdom necessary to respond creatively and transformatively to even the worst ‘problem’ that the dream presents.” (Read his great article.)
So I’m paying attention to this nightmare. The image of Trump and company shaking all the color and life off of the American map is a frighteningly accurate picture of how I’m feeling about the political barrage jolting our communities and shaking our way of life. I’ve walked away from my desk several times just trying to stomach writing this list of recent actions taken and promised: Muslim bans, border walls, white supremacist-influenced speeches and policy, climate change gag orders, green-lighted oil pipelines, hobbled environmental and consumer protection, threats to women’s and minority rights, sexual abuse approved and glorified, free press skewed and hampered, healthcare repealed with no plan for replacement, incompetent cabinet appointments, budget cuts on the poor, prioritized corporate interests, Russian election interference, disregard for nuclear threat, nepotism, bullying, lying without regard for truth, petty tweets, and on, and on. Seriously, I can hardly breathe in this Trump version of the American dream. If it all shakes down in this nightmare direction, our landscape will indeed be ashen— white-only, with a narrow band of approved thought or belief, spoiled soil and water, and very few tight fists holding all the wealth in top-down power.
But this is a nightmare— remember?— meant for our healing and wholeness. This is a juicy, important warning message asking all of us to wake up, stay woke, and get busy offering our part of a life-giving dream for the USA and the world.
Some of us have been trying to wake up the rest of us for generations now— people of color, indigenous peoples, immigrants, the LBGTQ community, the peace movement, environmental activists, the mystics and spiritual seekers, artists, poets, writers, and so many others. These wise, enduring, and creative voices offer powerful and vibrant dreams and plans for justice, safety, flourishing, interconnection, belonging. Listening to them in a variety of ways helps me hold my ground and stay steady when it’s shaky. For my whole life, I’ve found inspiration and motivation through spiritual practice, poetry, and art. Contemplative listening, Mary Oliver’s poems, and art-making definitely give me roots and wings. For years, the LBGTQ, peace, and environmental movements have shaped my vision for a mutually-nourishing way of living on our planet home. I even have a favorite scientist, Brian Swimme! Recently, I’ve felt convicted to pray more deeply and to commit more of my life to my best work as I’ve heard stories from the Standing Rock gathering of Native Americans. African-American elders, teachers, writers, and film-makers are urging me to examine my privilege, speak for justice, and never turn to despair. And I’m only just starting to investigate more political avenues for systemic change, like the Indivisible Guide, the Black Lives Movement Platform, and Waging Nonviolence.
What practices, beliefs, ideas, and resources ground your spirit and inspire your actions?
In my dream of a vibrant, alive, colorful America, we must grow deep, strong, unshakable roots in truth, kindness, creativity, playfulness, wisdom, care for all other people and ourselves, healthy relationships with all of earth’s beings, etc. We don’t have to fall off of that nightmare map.
In what do you grow your good roots?
In my vision for who we are as a country and a global community, we do call out nightmares and evil when and where we see them. Yet always and more: we pray or set our sacred intentions, we listen beyond our quick judgments, we speak out and say what we’re for, and we show up and do what we love. Each of us lives these out in a different way. And all of us can live these together in a united way.
What life-giving visions for our future do you see or imagine?
How do your visions and dreams invite you to respond?
In my waking dream of who we as Americans can become, our love and creativity keep us rooted and alive when politics shakes us to the core. We protect and support our vulnerable neighbors when injustice rocks them and us. And we choose to listen to the planet and its wisdom when the climate speaks.
May it be so.
Resilience belongs in resistance. We root ourselves in wisdom, interconnection, compassion, and justice.
This is my intention, my prayer, and also the sign I’ll carry for the Women’s March in Albuquerque on January 21, 2017:
If you’d like to carry this sign too, hurrah! I welcome you to download the file and print it yourself locally (for non-commercial use only, please):
Download the printable PDF sign here: WOMEN’S MARCH SIGN
(You don’t have to join DropBox to download– click “No Thanks” at the bottom of the pop-up screen.)
This winter I invited my workshop students to consider the spiritual practice of clearing out and listening in, to make space to hear inwardly what right action would rise up. In that spirit, I sat down one morning this week to get quiet and listen for inner guidance on whether I would attend the Women’s March in Albuquerque, and what message I would carry. Speaking out for human rights and care for the Earth is deeply important to me, but I wanted to listen beyond whether I should go and what I should say. With my limited energy and my particular gifts and skills, what would my inner wisdom know about the best way for me to respond in this moment?
After a while in the silence, I was surprised to remember a fantastic question my friend Sue asked me a couple of years ago. When I felt all heavy and stuck around something important, she wondered aloud, “What if you could only do something fun about this?” As her question rang again in my heart, I felt a new clarity rising: my political and social actions need to embody joy and goodness, not just anger and fear. Yes, I would go to the march– for the grown-up fun of it— for the chance to join others and lift my voice for justice because love and hope pull me forward, gladly. And with this joyful orientation and spiritual conviction, I would practice integrating the courage and fierceness I admire in dedicated non-violent activists.
So I played with words in my journal, then played with those words on my computer to make a sign that tried to say something about all that. You’ve seen the result here, and I’m delighted that some of you might also want to carry this message too.
This is the way I want to continue to practice– again and again– as I engage our political and social challenges: Center Down, Clear Out, Listen In, and Rise Up. (I have some art that goes with that, and I’ll do my best to get that photo up on the website soon.) My heart and my convictions worked together as I opened myself in the sacred silence, cleared out my shoulds, and let the right action and perspective rise up within me.
For now, I have my marching orders, literally, with sign in hand. Or as my students and I said this winter, these are our Rising Orders. There is much to heal, my friends. May you joyfully listen to your heart and wisdom to find what rises for you, too.
If you’d like to carry this sign, hurrah! I welcome you to download the file and print it yourself locally (for non-commercial use only, please):
Download the printable PDF sign here: WOMEN’S MARCH SIGN
(You don’t have to join DropBox to download– click “No Thanks” at the bottom of the pop-up screen.)
I’m delighted to write an update on the progress of the Listen For Joy Art Cards! Thanks again to all those who supported the GoFundMe campaign to get the project rolling. After a personally challenging summer that delayed an autumn launch, we’re now on track for a February 2017 Kickstart campaign. So exciting!
Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peek of the designs. Turns out I’ll be offering two decks of 36 cards each: the Deep Breath Collection, and the Come Through Collection. Each set will be 3.5 x 5 inches, printed in full color with rounded corners and a thematic design on the back, wrapped in a beautifully printed tuck box (as a traditional set of playing cards would be). I’m thrilled with the professional, helpful, and ecologically-minded USA printing company I’ve chosen. I can hardly wait to see proof copies!
I’ll be printing 1000 copies of each deck to make the investment worthy. So let’s look forward to an ambitious, festive campaign in February and decks in your hands by spring!
I appreciate your blessings, prayers, and encouragement as I move forward with many more preparations. Thanks to my amazing partner, Hol, and dear friend Kath who have especially supported this phase of the work. And my gratitude goes out again to all of you– for your interest and love for the images.
I do believe these Art Cards will be inspiring and useful in the years ahead, as we all practice listening to our souls and listening for joy.
Have you ever been surprised and encouraged by something from the past? This morning my friend Tracy Hart re-discovered a post I wrote in 2008, and it’s such a good reminder as we all continue to respond to Presidential Election results. I’d been thinking about this image, but had forgotten this sweet spiritual practice. Today I want to also add the practices of drop-by-drop activism and drop-by-drop prayer, too– equally important in that ocean of Love.
Here’s the original post:
I heard a fairy tale once about a tiny person carried downstream in a little walnut boat to all sorts of adventures. The story details are gone, but the image of the walnut boat came back this summer for this painting of feeling afraid, called Afloat. I felt rattled and unsure after another car accident in June, and created this image as I wondered just how to trust God’s presence when I didn’t feel particularly safe. Turns out the spiritual life isn’t a guarantee for safety, and so I lost another Subaru and entered some mild recovery.
I’m ok now, but it was a dark summer in many ways. It helped some to paint Afloat, to show just how scary big black waves and car wrecks feel. Today it could show just how scary economic crises and political fighting can feel. Worries come– our little walnut boats might be smashed any minute.
And yet… here’s one truth about art, about life, about Love: there’s always a bigger picture. We’re always held by something More.
When I back up a little and look at the whole painting, I see the crashing waves as the ruffled feathers of a larger bird underneath. Somehow that deep strength and uplifting holds the boat up, despite the chaos on the surface.
It seems to me that Jesus knew that calm under the storm. His disciples freaked out in the wind (and I would too!), but he remembered the possibility of peace and called it into being with trust and faith. I believe we all have access to this deeper body of Love, but that we forget. Spiritual practice of all kinds helps us remember. Prayer and creativity of all kinds help us to name the waves of our fear and then re-connect and re-center our hearts and minds in the deeper, truer currents of gratitude, wonder, Mystery, and compassion.
I’m trying a new spiritual practice a friend suggested this week. Whenever a worry shows up in my mind and body, I imagine it as a drop of rain that wants to join the Ocean of Love. “I might not make the bills this month” becomes a raindrop– a prayer for help that falls into the Divine One who holds all prayers like an ocean. “I don’t know what will happen if I take this risk”melts into a drop of letting go, sliding into God’s endless care and Mystery. “The need is so big, how can I give?” slips into a longing to love that meets all the Love there is. I feel a change when I practice this imagery as my prayer. When my worry drops touch Love’s Ocean, they relax. I relax. Then after a while, those concerns tend to rise back up, transformed into simple steps or calm little actions that bring a bit of peace or offer a bit of joy.
What practices return you to Center, to Love, to a heart of gratitude? Maybe you simply remember to fill your minds with goodness over fear. As one scripture offers, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” — Philippians 4:8, The Message version.
Whatever your spiritual path, I urge us all to remember and practice our best prayers and intentions in these times tempting us to fear. Drop by drop, we can transform the worry in us and around us into the calm and trust that keeps us afloat and makes room for the creativity and compassion we need.
Thanks to friend Robert Smith for reminding me of the little walnut boat, and to Jean Lee, wondrous massage therapist who’s helping me recover, for the image of worries as raindrops returning to the ocean of the One Love.
©Melanie Weidner 2008
It’s an empty harvest without my prayers, or without my love.