Hug a Tree

This is my large mural, commissioned by Librarian Natalie Bernstein, for the elementary library at The Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia 2011

I still cannot believe sometimes how this tree mural came about. So many years ago,  I taught (and learned so much!) at the Paideia School (in my mid to late twenties) and shortly before I left there was a big celebration for a new building which was a gym and theater. I remember designing a t-shirt for that occasion.  I left to go teach in Boston at the Atrium School, and one night I had the most remarkable dream. In this dream, I wandered around Paideia’s campus, and decided to go into the new building. As I stepped into the large foyer/reception area, there was the most holy and important tree growing, right in the building. It was the Tree of Knowledge, of The Tree of Life. Standing there gazing at it, I think I felt both knowledge and life cannot exist without the other. I woke up from the dream feeling a depth of wisdom from the tree flowing through me. I figured that it meant there was so much good, eternal and mythical learning going on at the Paideia School. That is what it meant to me by the way the dream felt.

Many years later (not quite thirty), I heard that a new library for the elementary school was being built on the Paideia campus. Imagine my true astonishment when the librarian, Natalie Bernstein, who arrived at the school after I had already left it those many years ago, contacted me and said she’d like to commission me to paint a Tree mural to go inside the new building!

How can that be? How can a dream symbol such as the Tree of Life actually, over time, find it’s way back to me in this way? In my dream, the tree grew in the new building, and in “reality” the tree mural was to be mounted on the wall in a new building! I still can’t believe it. I live for this kind of magic!

The other thing is that last year, an astrologer told me I’d have many things happening that would bring back the era of life from the 1980’s (when I taught at Paideia). A flood of synchronistic and highly unusual connections did unfold recently, and they still are happening. It is so interesting to contrast the “then” energy and find that, in many ways, there is a “now” energy that is so very similar. Only I’ve grown. Like a tree, toward the sun.



Princes in the Tower Reveal Their Fate

This is my painting for the jacket of my book THE YEOMAN’S DARING DAUGHTER AND THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER/Crown/Knopf Books for Young Readers 1996

I did a meditation when I woke up in the middle of the night last night and could not go back to sleep. In this meditation, I saw (to my surprise!) the two princes, nephews of Richard III of England who “disappeared from view” even though the elder prince was to be crowned King of England until he went missing.  I wrote and illustrated a picture book on this subject years ago, THE YEOMAN’S DARING DAUGHTER AND THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER because when I studied this topic I found all the historians disagree about exactly what might have become of them. Personally, I blame Richard III who wanted, and got to be, king instead.  He was in charge of the princes’ well being and obviously failed. Although Yorkists (those who believe Richard is innocent, including a very well respected friend of ours) believe he is absolutely innocent–and he may be!  Anyway, in my book I created an ending of sorts as a new beginning for the young boys.  And in this meditation last night, the boys appeared out of nowhere and they looked a little pale and  less blonde than people have imagined over the centuries.  I asked them, “What became of you?!” And they told me they were visited in their rooms (in what is known as The Bloody Tower) in the dark of night by a trusted older male who warned them that they had to do as he told them, that they were in grave danger of being kidnapped. They did as he said, which was to climb into burlap bags, to hide. They were then, sadly, suffocated and, still in the burlap bags, carried onto a small barge which navigated out of the Tower through Traitor’s Gate (usually going into Traitor’s Gate was a nightmare).  The barge continued out and beyond, down river, where the young boys were dumped into the water.

This meditation certainly cannot prove anything, and yet I experienced their story as it was real and I was surprised. Perhaps this is an old theory, nothing new? Have they ever tried searching for bones under the Thames or would that be impossible anyway? I will have to look it up. To me, the unfolding of the meditation felt right and sounded right, and alas, Richard was crowned king soon after they disappeared, never to be seen again. Some people think two skeletons under a staircase at the Tower may be the bones of the princes, but I don’t believe it has been proven, and since the Tower was an enclosed fortress, many children of yeoman and others did live there. Perhaps we’ll never know, but I so loved this meditation for it’s surprising quality.

Below, one of the interior pages–can you tell I really do suspect Richard is guilty?

Enchantment with Lisa Hagan

My painting for Lisa Hagan/2012

While making art, doing intuitive work, Reiki and readings, I become filled with a feeling of enchantment.  It is a feeling that is hard to describe, but it makes me feel connected to everything and everyone, the spirit realm and the earthly, the seen and unseen.  There is an enhanced sense of well-being and mystery intermingled, and as though I am a part of the mystery that makes life worth living, that gives us inspiration.

I painted this as a thank-you to my agent, Lisa Hagan at Paraview Literary Agency. She is mind-body-spirit royalty, and the most supportive, nurturing and professional.  When I started out to paint something for her, I could not get the image of elfin or fairy-like children in a forest, reading.  “The Book of Life” is what they have discovered, and not only are they in it, so are all the truths of the universe and beyond. Lisa inspires me and brings her own inspiration, experience and knowledge into the enchanted and mysterious nature of mind-body-spirit work.  Thank you, Lisa!


Keep a Dream Journal

Life Study/Oil on canvas/copyright 2012

Keeping a dream journal is so worth it.  There are so many subtle feelings and meaningful revelations that enter into our consciousness when we journal the details of dreams. As you recall a dream, and as you write it, a flood of feelings emerge that will be your key to awareness in some life situation or concept of self.  I like to keep blank sketchbooks so I can make visual notes as well. Even if you don’t ordinarily remember your dreams, there must be one or two you do remember, so you can start with those.  And do affirmations (verbally, out loud, hand written and any other way you can) daily that you will remember your dreams, you will remember your dreams and before you know it, you will!


Guest Artist: Musician William Carelton


This is a detail of a painting I call “Orb Angel”/ copyright 2012

I asked musician William Carelton to tell me about his life as a musician. When I met him, he was so spiritually open and resonated such calm energy that I felt glad to be in his presence. This is what he related to me:

“Every musician either knowingly or unknowingly has a muse. Mine is my late Aunt MaryKate Carleton. She was the youngest on my Dad’s side of the family – a rebellious, outspoken Libra with the most angelically powerful voice I’ve ever heard. Delicately present, yet as bold as Joni Mitchell – whatever sound she wanted to channel she could – and it would resonate and quiet any conversation in the room, or any concert hall.


MaryKate passed at the age of 33 from cancer, and at the time I was only 12, and didn’t understand the connection I had with her – all I knew was that I was sad that she wasn’t around, and as the years passed, I found myself missing her more and more.


That year, I had an unpredictable experience happen to me, where I was sitting in my room in New England, playing videogames with my brother Mike. Down the side of the road, just outside my window, I noticed a golden orb floating outside. It stopped, steadied, and bee-lined right into my third eye. I didn’t know what to think or feel in that moment, I just said to Mike, “Did you see that?” He said, “Yes!” and then I asked, “Well what was it?” Mike said, “What? What are you talking about?” as if nothing had happened just a moment before.


I didn’t say anything else to Mike, I just kept the experience to myself. Little did I know that this moment was leading  me on a path towards the divine, unknowingly at the time.


Fast forward 22 years to just a few months ago, on the day where I was receiving my 1st level of Reiki Attunement. And in respect of the attunement process, I cannot reveal too many details – but I came to understand that the founder of Reiki, Dr. Usui – had a similar experience with an orb floating into his third eye. And during my attunement – the person giving it to me had drawn the master Reiki symbol twice on my third eye – not knowing why it needed to be done – and I thought of what had happened when I was 12. I was blown away. I knew that I was here for a very specific reason, and that I was on the path of the divine, to offer a channel of healing light to those in need.


Just as I knew I was on the path to become a healer, I knew that music would be a part of my life forever. I was always surrounded by music in the house. My parents and brother all played. And it wasn’t until I was 17years old that I approached my mom after school and said, “Mom, I really want you to teach me how to play.” I pointed at the guitar, and that was that. This was just as Elaine had described my ambition during my Reiki session with her! Literally, a few months later, I started writing songs. And I haven’t stopped writing since then.


The process involves me tapping into the energy of MaryKate – my muse. And I feel like we stay in communication this way. She sends me sounds that are phonetic, without any real articulation – and then it’s my responsibility to try and make sense of the true essence of what she’s saying on paper, so everyone can relate to it. It’s a magical, intimate process. It requires complete humility. But it’s freeing and healing at the same time.


Now at this point in my life, I find my music and healing arts merging and guiding me across the country to California. First I will receive my yoga teacher training at Joshua Tree, and then I will move west to Santa Monica where I intend to share my music and knowledge of yoga with the most beautiful spiritual community I’ve ever met. I just cannot wait!”



My Remote Viewing Dilemma

             Yesterday on Eldon Taylor’s Hay House Radio Show, Provocative Enlightenment, the guest was Ed Dames who has done a lot of work with the military on Remote Viewing.  I listened intently because I have remote viewing visions (and these are very different from astral visions–which are out-of-body visions, clearer than human eyes can see).  In my remote viewing visions, it is seeing as “through a glass darkly”–for some reason it is as if you are looking at things happening but through a tinted glass or somehow through shadows.

My dilemma is that when I meditate, I usually want to be as the 23rd Psalm says, in a state of “there is nothing I shall want” (and I have Eldon’s InnerTalk cd on the psalm, which I love listening to).  I accept, in this state of being complete and not longing for anything, whatever visions come to mind. I do not say, “Let me see the Lincoln bedroom at the White House, now!” for example. Although it is fun to visualize places, people, future events, it is a very different energetic dynamic for me to enter into to ask for a vision based upon my own will. We are co-creators with God in my experience, yet if I become skilled at RV, I want it to be for the good of all involved, not just based on my own desire to see into things.  Since I am not working for the US Government or at “the company from Virginia”, the CIA, I do not have an oath to serve by using RV skills for espionage or other purposes. But part of learning RV is to state clearly what you’d like to see and then see what images surface.

Yesterday I joined with my sister, DeAnne, to do a RV session asking, as Ed Dames suggests, for “my personal sanctuary”. This, I take to mean, the place I need to go with my family in case of crisis (solar flares causing electric grid to collapse, etc.). My sister and I asked for ourselves and each other. We compared notes afterward. It was fun. I still don’t know what my personal sanctuary is, or where, but we got some interesting hints. Again, these visions were very shadowy and fascinating!  In moving forward with learning how to use RV to answer certain things, I still have a dilemma. Maybe I will be put where I need to be when the time comes, if it ever comes, during a crisis. And knowing where to establish a secure and safe place is not best for me. I do not know.

Maybe I’ll concentrate on practicing RV without having to ask about specifics that might not be for the best of all involved.

Recognizing the Sacred in Our Surroundings

This piece of art, and so many that I create, is meant to help you make that shift back to soul essence. Just look at it and let the intention in it shift you into awareness of love that you have within you, a blazing light that is in all things and everyone around us. Detail from a recent painting/2012

I love to read about and listen to NDE’s (Near Death Experiences). Many of the people who have had these experiences talk about how they saw other souls of people who had died and that many of those who have crossed over are in a state of anxiety or misery over something they are still attached to on earth (or over something that they feel terrible about).  And all the while, the NDE experiencers say there is an angel or many right there with them, and they do not see this brilliance in their midst, this essence of pure love right there waiting for them

I realize this is what it feels like on earth, too.  If I am in a bad mood or depressed or anxious, I am not aware of the love in all things, in fact, I am separated from it. But it is there just the same, waiting for me to recognize it. One way I get back to that is to be creative, to make art, and another is to go out in nature. Everywhere there is beauty that shimmers with that light and that mystical presence. The only other way I know to shift from my sad state of mind or heart is to do something for someone else who needs help. That can be hard to do, especially if you feel depleted, but it does shift me away from the mood that keeps me in the shadows.

Look at the painting for a few seconds and let the intention in it remind you of the majesty within and all around you.

Guest Artist: Lauren DesRochers

This is a work of art by Lauren DesRochers/2011

I love contrast and figurative art, and when I saw teenager Lauren DesRocher’s self portrait I was really drawn to it because of the graphic quality and the great form it has. It is a formidable piece of art.  I have known Lauren for a long time, since she was quite young. She is a most magical child, a young woman full of creative imagination.  She has a kind and loving heart.

She sounded so like me when she wrote this about creating art:

“When I’m drawing, painting, or doing any kind of art, I feel like I’m in my own world. I’m in my own world meaning that I can make anything come almost to life- on a piece of paper in a sketchbook. I feel like all of the drawings in my sketchbook are an explanation of me. What I mean is, when I’m feeling happy, I draw something happy. There is also no such thing as a bad painting, or drawing. Every painting is beautiful in it’s own way.”

You are so right, Lauren! Keep creating and making your world come to life, the way you most wish it to be. That is the most important thing I think we can learn in life–because it is up to us to create (to respond!) to what life brings us, and to live as we’d like to live. Nobody can do that for us, we have to do it for ourselves. That is the thing we often forget, that we are truly more in charge than we realize. When you exercise this empowerment by being creative, you make a universe come to life, and then you get the ball rolling for use that same empowerment in your relationships, career and life situations. Bravo, Lauren!


Children Are Natural Artists

This is a pencil and watercolor sketch I did of my son when he was probably about 4 years old. (copyright 2004)

As I work on my new book with BEYOND WORDS (an imprint of Simon and Schuster) I reflect on the sheer creative energy and power that children have, which we can not only enjoy witnessing, but learn from as well. Observing children in their natural state of creative ease and in their uninhibited expression will remind us of that very same well-spring we have inside of us (most likely conditioned away, packed-in and sent out of range as we grew). Watch children as they delight in marks they make, in changing a blank surface (a wall, perhaps?) to something new, once marks are made. You can hardly keep them from marking on all those walls.  The best, most liberating  thing in the world is to just go right now and paint or draw on a wall! Go ahead! Why not?