Monthly Archives: May 2012

Novelist Elizabeth Wein and the Case of the Cake on Fire ( on synchronicity)

Well, the cake never was on fire, but it could have been!

This is what happened. Years ago, in 1990 or around then, I was driving from NYC (where I was meeting editors) back to Boston where I taught at the Atrium School. I was driving along I-95 just coming away from a rest area when I saw ahead of me a car on fire. I was alarmed. Smoke and fire were billowing out of the front of the car. I slowed down and watched as the car pulled over and two young women raced out of it with a determined goal to–I thought–get as far away from danger as possible. But instead they ran to the back of the burning car, opened the trunk and to my great surprise, pulled out a cake. Carrying the cake like a delicate newborn, they trotted away from the burning car.

All the way back to Boston I wondered about what I’d seen, and figured that had to be some very special cake.  Then a few months later, summer arrived and I went to England for a Children’s Literature New England seminar at Keble College, Oxford. I met the wonderful and vibrant Elizabeth Wein, then a young novelist (and a genius, I’m sure of it). Somewhere I have a photo of her in a trench coat and hat, very classy. She took us (myself and another person) to a change-ringing practice in one of the church bell towers, and otherwise we had meals together in the dining hall of Keble, and had lively discussions (I genuinely liked and enjoyed Elizabeth). Once, after lunch, sitting on the floor, Elizabeth said she’d received a letter and read it to herself. But then she began to read it out loud because of the amusing content. The letter was from a friend of hers who described driving on a highway and how the car they were in had caught fire and how they had quickly saved a cake from the trunk of their burning car.  I listened with true astonishment, and said, “I saw this! Were they on I-95 from New York to Boston?” Elizabeth said yes. We laughed and to this day I still think of this as one of those extraordinary synchronistic events in life. How could it be that I saw this unusual thing happen and then months later travel to England only to hear of the same incident via a letter read aloud by a new acquaintance? How likely could that be? I love these kinds of synchronistic events, they seem to say, “You are exactly where you need to be”.

And by the way, Elizabeth has a new young adult novel out, due to be one of the big smash hits of the year, and a book to be cherished for all time from what I hear. Click here to read about CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein.

Live Life Like You’re Being Sketched

My charcoal and pencil study of a boy/Atlanta/1980’s

Drawing and painting children’s portraits has always been so important to me as an artist and it is something I wish I did more than I do.  To capture that essence of life, or of the moment, feels like flying.

Live life like you’re being sketched, and know that you are powerful and beautiful in all your movements today, and in all your moments of being.

I’m Now Offering Reiki and Readings in NYC!

I am so excited to announce I’ll be in NYC practicing Reiki and intuitive/energy work on a regular basis, on 5th Avenue in the Chelsea area. I’m thrilled to have been invited by Jeff Shammah to practice at Fitness Results, an excellent and highly respected holistic, private one-to-one health and wellness studio.

Reiki with Chakra Charts This is a unique and in-depth approach to best serve each of my client’s individual needs.  The Reiki Chakra Charts are created by me for each client as an additional way to discover what and where in the body needs clearing.  This is part of my intuitive process in doing Reiki healing work, and one I’ve developed over time.

–$100.00 per 1 hour session

To schedule an appointment or to get more information, simply email me through this site or call me at my studio, 203-557-3890.

Honor, Courage, Duty

My sketch of the Veteran’s Statue in Westport, CT/2010

I live where Minute Men fought the Red Coats and sometimes when I look at the stone walls and trees I try and picture both Minute Men and Red Coats hiding, marching, standing in the light of day, in the moon-glow darkness of night.  And other times, maybe when I’m on the hammock eating Cheetos, I’m thinking of how I’m sitting here eating Cheetos and all these young people have endured the horrors of war since the beginning of America, and I’m sitting here gazing up at the clouds. It is true, they did their duty to serve when drafted (or enlisted), in the belief that they were doing what must be done for their country and in the name of freedom. My Uncle Howard Haywood, my Uncle C.G. Clayton and Uncle Guy Clayton all served. A Massachusetts young man (Uncle Howard, from Stockbridge) found himself flying over Egypt, and a young Texan found himself diving to the ground when an airplane flew over head. Whether we think a war is wrong or not (like the utter hell of Vietnam or the controversy over Iraq and Afghanistan wars), I don’t think I or any American should be smug or disdainful of those who serve in our armed forces, especially while we wander around casually enjoying utter freedom and even sickening excesses of an easy American life.  So I’m posting this today for all those who fought for an ideal they were willing to die for since the beginning of our country, and for all those young soldiers I see and often talk to coming and going to Fort Benning, via the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. The ones I’ve seen are practically teens, young and hopeful and scared and courageous.  On my last trip I met a young soldier from New Jersey, a handsome and sweet African American, while being driven in a shuttle van to Columbus, Ga. We talked and I showed him how to play Draw Something. I don’t even know his real name.  When we play Draw Something, I’m not sure where he is–is he in Ft. Benning or in Afghanistan? What if one day he stops playing? Will it mean he’s just tired of Draw Something or that he was injured or died? I worry about him.

Seeing Elves and Fairies: An Interview with Joseph Martin

monoprint and ink/2012

I recently came across Joseph Martin’s books about elves and fairies and asked him some questions.

1. When did you first get a sense that there might be “elementals” (fairies and elves) around us, not just in fairytales?

I first started to realise that ‘Nature’ was trying to talk to me when I was about 10 or 11 years old. The countryside where I lived at the time was simply a beautiful place to escape. I loved all things from nature, the birds, animals and the plants. To me, they were all alive and soon I realised that it was quite easy (albeit innocently) to become One with everything. As I grew older and became a typical teenager, nature never left me, in fact our relationship became more special. Nature would talk to me through the sound of the wind and the rustling of the trees, through bird song and the movement of the insects. Elves, fairies, devas and elementals though never appeared to me until I became a mature adult – they knew that what I was about to ‘see’ was in some cases going to be difficult, both philosophically and psychologically. Nowadays though, Nature and I have the most wonderful relationship; I cannot thank them enough for what they have allowed me to witness – an absolutely different world from their higher, parallel dimension.

2. What is the most extraordinary thing you’ve ever seen spiritually in the way of elves?

This is a fabulous question: One early autumn evening I was sitting at the dining table with my wife having dinner. Suddenly a powerful smell began to infuse through my senses and I knew that I was going to experience a ‘true blue’ clairvoyant encounter; my wife knew it too and she was going to watch it happen.

Several seconds later my third eye opened  and I was peering into another dimension. The unnerving thing however, is that if you can see into another dimension, whoever or whatever is there, can also see you.

I remember being extremely startled and and became afraid because the ‘whoever’ on the other side had moved right up to the portal between us and was now staring at me straight in the face; this seemed no more than say a nose-to-nose encounter. In front of me now was the face of a male elf – striking to say the least. He stared at me very intently with his small dark eyes, turned his head up and to the right in an S-shaped format as if he was studying my energy imprint – no sense or sign of emotion whatsoever.

The elf now began to recede away from me slowly and as he did so his height became smaller – this was when I realised that the elf had dimensionally ‘stretched’ itself to make eye to eye contact with me. The image now panned out further. The elf turned away from me and ‘bounced’ in this strange S-shape pattern over to a further group of six elves waiting motionless in a circle. I noticed there was a gap in this circle waiting for this ‘7th’ elf. The other six elves had their two front arms stretched out in front of them at an angle of approximately 45 degrees, with their two hands touching the shoulders of the respective elf in front. As the 7th elf joined the group, a magical secret now began to unfold right in front of my very eyes.

All seven elves now began to dance. I knew that this was an intrinsic dance of Nature and they were showing me something unearthly and magical if I could just work it out. The seven elves began what I would now best describe as a 3-dimensional dance of nature. They went round and round repeating the same movement in an never ending loop. The intricate mechanism of this dance was something to behold and at the time I described it as a 3-dimensional ‘sine-wave’ dance. I now know that the group of elves were dancing a 3-dimensional trace of the double-helix molecule of DNA – a dance of life itself!

3. How would you describe them?

The main elf allowed me to see most, if not all of his features. In comparison to a typical human face/head the elf had a large protruding chin, at least three times as big as a human. The forehead was also more protruding and flatter relative to a human – the face curved from forehead to chin in the shape of a crescent moon. His eyes were small and dark with a slightly pointed nose, symetrically showing off his two smallish ears. The hair was jet black and was ‘slicked’ back off his forehead as if the elf had used some sort of hair gel! The elf only wore a pair of 3/4 natural green pants – no footwear or top. I could easy see the elf’s chest, feet arms, hands and leg colour – this was what I could best describe at the time as ‘ashen-white’.

About Joseph Martin:

“My name is Joseph Martin, and I am a 49-year -old author of four books.  I have lived all my life in Ireland, and I have always been inspired by the countryside of Ireland. During my student years, I obtained qualifications in Physics and Education, up to MEd and Masters Level. At the age of 33, I had a profound spiritual experience, which has shaped my life ever since. From this time onwards, I was constantly left to ponder existence on earth. Although I continued with everyday life for many years after my initial spiritual experience, I was compelled to re-visit this experience in 2006, when I unexpectedly enjoyed several other spiritual encounters. Spirit instructed me to chart my encounters, and this resulted in the writing of my first book, ‘Encounters with Heaven and the Spirt World’. After this, my ability to connect with other spiritual dimensions intensified, and I went on to write my other three books: I am currently working on my fifth book.

My spiritual experiences have recently led me to pursure courses and qualifications in Reiki ( I am a Reiki Master); Soul Retrieval, Death and Dying and Shamanic healing. I have a particular interest in nature spirits and self-healing, including the use of crystals and other such medium.”



Energy for Healing, State Your Intention

Detail/acrylic and watercolor on paper/2012

This piece is dedicated this moment for healing what needs to be healed. I ask that all channels for healing open up and that Divine Light stream through.  As you look at the art, remember you have that Divine Light because you are that light, and state your intention for whatever needs healing the most.

Inspiration: Mary Ellen Barringer Clayton

My paternal grandmother, Grandma Clayton

May 21st is my Grandma (Mary Ellen Barringer) Clayton’s birthday. She was to me the most inspiring person I ever knew. We used to sit on a brown leather couch (under delicately hand painted, cherubic photographs of my cousins and sister as infants) and draw. The smile and spark in her eye when I drew her gave me confidence (she was amused by the wrinkles I added to the face).  She knew how to make inanimate objects come to life like no other. Going from room to room in her house was like stepping into various continents of wonder; The Purple Room (mysterious!), The Red Room (where I dreamed of French cameos on the wall, whispering to me), the play area (like a miniature living room full of toys).  And she was very much into the unseen, the spiritual realm; she had seen her brother Lesley appear to her after he died, and he conveyed an important message. I know she’s with me in the studio often, and I know she’ll know I posted this for her. Happy Birthday!

Spirit Painting

This is a recent Spirit Painting/2012

When I am commissioned to create a Spirit Painting, I spend quite a while meditating in honor of the person and I allow whatever wants to come into form arrive on the canvas. It is an emotionally enriching experience because it feels like pouring myself into colors and opening myself up to wonderment. I never know quite what will come into view.  I keep the prices low on these (very) because I want it to be something that most anyone could have if they chose to have one.

Manifesting Michelangelo (and making miracles happen)

My Study after Michelangelo/Sketchbook 2012

Healing happens in cycles, miracles happen suddenly. I recently visited my parents and talked to my retired physician/psychiatrist dad about possible surgery I was considering. He strongly advised me not to for some good reasons, and handed me this book MANIFESTING MICHELANGELO by Joseph Pierce Farrell.  This is a book about a man who has healed others by use of conscious intent and has a 5 step process for learning how to do as he has done.  As I read it, I related so much to everything Farrell had to say, from his love of the Gnostic Gospels to seeing visions that transformed him, showing him that everyone has the capacity to heal themselves and others.  As a Reiki Master and artist, this is what I believe and practice each day. I felt I have a lot in common with him, and another thing, he also knows Grandmaster Alan Lee who I’ve known since 1995.  What happened while I read Farrell’s book feels miraculous.

My dad encouraged me to contact Farrell who is Director of the Global Health Institute and recipient of the nation’s first endowed Chair in Consciousness Studies. I didn’t want to, I didn’t feel it would be possible to reach him, really and I felt kind of embarrassed. But I did anyway because my dad is a natural medical intuitive and very spiritual and I just felt I should honor what he said. Plus he said he’d pray about it. I went with the flow and sent an email through the GHI website and did not expect to ever hear back.  Meanwhile, I made an appointment to see my PT who is Heather Strauch, a fantastic medical intuitive and very skilled PT. She said a few things that changed my thinking, making me realize how Eldon Taylor‘s fabulous book I BELIEVE can be practiced in real time. Truly, what we believe about ourselves becomes the truth about ourselves. I had thought I knew that on every level of my being, yet I had bought into a mind set about myself that wasn’t even true–I had given up on healing an injury without even consciously knowing I had done that. I felt shocked when I realized that I had been in the dark about an important wound that needed healing. This is what I try to help others to do every day in readings and Reiki sessions and I myself had not known what inside of me was ready to be healed. Being fixed is one thing, being healed another and in just a few short days I arrived at the place to be healed, or it flowed to me.

After this enlightening PT session with Heather which truly shifted my gears and snapped me out of zombie-like acceptance of myself as unable to heal, and after a conversation with J.P. Farrell (he did contact me and we had a nice chat), I had a powerful cosmic healing happen within me. as the Source of Life came rushing through because I had switched into the dimension of “all things are possible”. As a Reiki Master, I know how this works but it is one thing to have such a new kind of experience with healing.

It was as if everything I needed in order to be healed, not just fixed, got snapped into place. I felt the pulsation of healing (which I describe in yesterday’s post here on Illuminara) and envisioned a golden ring spinning which actually got my muscles to contract, working in rhythm with my own pulse. All I had to do was ask for the healing to happen, and this physical, muscular regeneration and strengthening would take place. It is still taking place, I am a totally new person. I can’t explain it, but there it is. And I am beaming with joy.  Reading Farrell’s book, and opening to other channels of healing as well, ignited my own ability to recognize that I could heal myself. I know for sure something amazing happened and it feels great. I thank Eldon Taylor and Heather Strauch and J.P. Farrell for playing a huge role in changing my perception and making it possible for Life Source Energy to flow straight to me when I needed it. And I hope everyone will get MANIFESTING MICHELANGELO, because you never know what might take place while you’re reading this book, it might ignite your inner healer.

My Stetson and a Sign…


I rarely post a photo on Illuminara, but this morning my 12 year old son said, out of the blue, “Mom, I’m picking up a vibe for you. You need to wear your Stetson today.” I took this as a BIG sign, as a LoneStar girl coming from a long line of Texans. I wonder, was it my Grandpa Clayton (“a gentleman attorney” as Jack London describes him), sending me a message?

This is my Grandpa Clayton (on right) with our “Uncle Bubby”, my dad’s brother Guy (left).

I believe this is my absolute favorite photo of my Grandpa. OK, Grandpa, I’ve got my Stetson on.