Come see me!!

Hi there...
This blog has been a wonderful canvas for me to share musings and inspirations...and it has evolved into an archive, which I value deeply...and come back from time to time to be to read entries to be reminded of what I!! In May 2007 during a weekend retreat, I became smitten and intrigued with self-revealing process of making mandalas. It's become visual version of Julia Cameron's Morning Pages...and I've been sharing my mandalas and insights on my blogs Art in Every Day and the
Mandala Oasis ...which I invite you to come by and say hello ~~ Keep creatin'...and keep shinin'!


A Personal Prescription

This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt reminds me to continue to reach even farther than what I might think is venture into uncharted waters even if it scares me a little. Part of my personal prescription is to find the right balance...adjusting proportions, like tinkering rhe ingredients in a recipe. It's important for me to step outside of my comfort zone..with the right measure of "resonance". My actions have to resonate with me....resonance is an ingredient of my inner-wisdom. No resonance venturing without.
Resonance tells me that "on board" with what I'm about to do. That's what gives me the courage to "do one thing everyday that scares me". OK, sometimes it's more like once a week, and depending on what's going on it's can be every 2 weeks. What matters is consistent progression. Sometimes that "one thing" is allowing myself to think of and imagine greater possibilities for my life than I have before! -- That's huge...and the beginning of all change is the idea for it...then the action. The resonance is my inner-insurance. That insurance is what alerts me to what's a good move (or not) matter what the outcome.
Funny thing....what I've learned I incorporate Eleanor's dance into my life more and more....I am fearless! I think Eleanor would be proud. I know I am!
So, on this day may you "Do one thing everyday that scares you"...and may you tweak your personal prescription so you allow yourself to...fearlessly take one small step at a time, consistently...and with abandon!


Chasing Shadows, Roses & Rainbows

As I was paging through my creative journal tonight, I came across a collage I'd made, which included the following poem by Rumi:

"This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. ~ A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.~ Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of it's furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.~ He may be clearing your out for some new delight."

The beautiful roses here, given to me by Marta, my wonderful friend of 25+years helped chase my shadows away and allowed sunshine to peek into my heart. I am so very blessed because I get to share my life with an abundance of generous, loving, thoughtful, fun and devoted friends and great souls...(the best part is, blessings abound as my circle is ever-expanding) and Marta is one of them. Whenever I see her she is most likley to be bearing gifts of any shape or size, color, scent, flavor...tangible or non-tangible! One thing is for will always delight the senses...and the love is electric!

This picture brought back the memory as if I received them today. Marta gave these roses to me one Saturday in July when she joined me, along with four other very good-and-faithful friends (Randy, Carol, Pat and Stacia) for a creativity-inducing workshop I lead which soon had us dancing with our muses and our inner-child squealing with delight! I'm sharing these voluptuous roses here because they are full and elegant, fragrant and cheery....a gift of great generousity and love....and they remind me of sunshine and beauty especially when I might not see it. You know...the light that lingers in places we might not see...maybe on the other side of the shadows...much like the rainbow after the storm...and then there's that pot of gold...hmm..I feel that's
what Rumi is telling us in his poem.

The spirit in which these roses were given just lights me up from the inside out, and when I look at them I think of Marta...and a big smile blooms across my face. Thank you Marta for chasing the shadows away..and helping me to see the promise of a rainbow , sometimes when I least expected it. So...this is the blessing I'm sending you right now: "May the softness within your eyes see the the beauty of the roses in your life...the roses beyond the thorns... and may your heart feel and know the promise of your rainbow that's on the is there."

Here's to you....all of you!

P.S. The Roses and Rainbows are especially welcomed after experiencing the dialogue with my Sad" SoulCollage card about 10 days ago. The process allowed me to be with the Shadow, work with it and have vision and gratitude for the rainbow that followed.


"Creature Comforts"

As the weather transitions, and our part of the country prepares for winter months...this weekend I found comfort in being a home-body even more than usual. Experiencing "creature comforts" satisfied my soul and allowed me to be filled with immense gratitude. Here's why...

This weekend I happily hunkered down and found a renewing ritual that reminded me of my parents, especially my mom. On Saturday, after resting-up from weekday travel...finally around 5 p.m. my "lights went on" the first shift of my my "night-owlness" clicked in. I was fully awake, and ready to indulge any creative whim that I gravitated to. So, I decided to further inhabit my recently created Mango Studio, which my thoughtful and loving daughter created for me this summer. After discarding a few boxes, moving another small table in, and a few file baskets, I turned my attention to the windows. I decided to use the beautiful white cotton curtains, given to me by a friend. Hmm...I was feeling more energetic than usual for a simple project like this. Yep, I had "happy expectancy"!

As I brought the curtains up from the laundry room, and set up the ironing board I could feel a warmth in my heart begin to glow...I knew...I was feeling my mom's presence (she made her transistion 11/5/04). It felt good. As I began to press the curtains, their scent of being freshly laundered, with a hint of Downy permeated the room. I smiled and breathed a sigh of satisfaction. I was soothed and comforted, and wanted to make this experience last as long as I could. I continued to iron, and the scents began to waft throughout my home...the more I ironed the better I felt. This experience transported me back to childhood, and young adulthood when my mother would putter around the house making everything homey and beautiful, and uniquely-creative...she had an imagination that was out of this world...and it showed in the canvas of our home. And...when she would iron, especially evoked a feeling of security in me...everything from the smell of the iron, to the sound of the steam, to the scent of the detergent and fabric softener. (Even the preparation for ironing...she would "sprinkle" the clothes with water, then nest them into the laundry basket as they awaited their time to be ironed.) This all gave me comfort...and I didn't know how much until this weekend. I know that creating a beautiful home and yard is what gave my mom and dad comfort, joy and a great sense of pride. It fed their souls, and mine too.

As I write this I am reminded of other "creature comforts" like the smell of my mom's homemade goodies some of which include: bread, biscuits, rolls, sweet-potato pie, cinnamon cofee-cake (yes, with the nutty, gooey goodness on the bottom), chicken & dumplings, cornbread, greens, turkey, dressing, baked sweet potatoes, apple pie, turkey pie, grilled cheese with bacon, popcorn (popped on top of the stove), skillet-toast with strawberry jam, Constant Comment tea, Pecan Sandies, and homemade ice-cream. Oh...and I can't forget her homemade pizza...the crust made from scratch...and homemade pear preserves made with fresh pears from the tree in our back yard.

And from my dad, "creature comforts" included the smell of his famous barbeque sauce simmering on the stove, smelling the wood he used in grilling the meat on one of his many self-made barbeque grills; his homegrown tomatoes, green beans, carrots, radishes, corn, and green onions from his garden...but most of all (its' a tie with his barbque sauce) is the smell of...sawdust. My heart remembers that deeply. My dad was a master craftsman and wood was his favorite medium. There was not any place in our home that was not adorned with his beautiful and meticulous woodworking talent...working with wood made his heart sing! I grew up with the smell of sawdust...and I woke up to the sound of his electric saw on many a Saturday morning.

And, oh...his whistling....oh my gosh...he could whistle like a songbird...for minutes on end. It was unbelievably beautiful. Every now and then I will hear someone whistle like that, and it's like a homing device for my heart. I stop whatever I'm doing and I have to find the source of the lovely sound....and when I do I am beaming all over..and sometimes a bit teary. I smile and tell them my story if I can..and usually cannot leave without giving them a hug. Thinking about it even now brings a gentle hush to my heart. ...I am so very abundantly blessed.

Merriam-Webster defines "creature comforts" as "something - as in food or special accomodations - that gives bodily comfort". I find experiences that awaken my senses in a satisfying way...sometimes to a memory, or maybe even to anticipate a new beginning...are holistically comforting. That is what home is to me..."figuratively" speaking. it "literally" home...or family, or friends, or pets...or other relationships that grace our lives with love, beauty, excitement...and...a place to feel safe enough to be ourselves..all of these are "creature comforts" to me and give me soul-comfort as well...and I want us all to have that. So...

...that is what my heart sends to you right now, a blessing an angel... that you take this very moment to acknowledge and appreciate your "creature comforts"...the old ones...and yes, pay attention to the new you can consciously add them to the treasure-trove of your life.

Be Well.
P.S. As of 8/14/07, this story is a companion to my post on "DNA & Creativity" as told by my Baby Cheryl-self...on my Art in Every Day blog. I invite you to read that as well : )


Investing in the Life We Have

"Invest in the life you have, to get the life you want." ~ Rhonda Britten

How many times have I spoiled the present moment wishing that what I wanted in the future was here right now? What have I missed not being in the present moment? The punchline of a joke? A Stop sign? Joy? An opportunity? A lesson? A friend? Peace? The beauty of the day? What I've learned over the years is that the future IS now! Louise L. Hay says: "Every thought we think is creating our future." I find this to be true! When I pay attention I realize that the ideas, dreams, passions, loves, I've delved into for years both in my imagination, thoughts, writing, and spiritual practice -- I see that they are unfolding before my eyes --like a rare & beautiful flower that blooms but once a lifetime. And that flower IS my life! Finally...the harvest is here! ...and the soil is fortified, ready to enrich and grow a garden of life-flowers. The persistence, work, faith, fight, tears, self-awareness, patience, prayer, meditation, writing, reflection and belief....all has paid off! I now see that I've been present more than I'd acknowledged myself for. So.. I shall do that now: "I, Cheryl acknowledge myself for devotion to my heart's desires, for carrying the torch for my relationships, my dreams, my creativity, my passions, and overall well-being... and I will continue to do so." That self-acknowledgement is one way I invest in "the life I have". It's also one way of assuring that I will "get the life I want"...which is already unfolding right before my eyes! The life I have and the life I want, I recently realized are two sides of the same coin. Now that lesson-learned has been over 25years in the making. I've not always felt that way, but when you keep investing in the life you have (by learning, being "willing", by risking, by keeping the faith, being truthful with yourself and others) -- that's all an "act of faith:...and that faith-investment pays off.

So today that is the blessing my heart sends to you - that "now, more than ever" you will invest in and enjoy the life you have right now...and may it be the life you want. And may we inspire-by-example so others might do the same.

Enjoy the journey that is your life.

Liberation: Giving back what's not mine

Addendum 5/29/07: -- The poem below from last summer fits perfectly into the "A Day in the Life of Me..." challenge over at "Inspire Me Thursday" (in the journal portion). -- This entry is timeless because by choosing to live life creatively, I get to respond in unique, non-conventional, and empowering channeling my emotions into my art-making of whatever form I choose. And, in the end, I am renewed, energized...and yep...I am "Queen for a Day" again! With this approach, I walk away even better than before!

The motivation to "get this down" came as a result of my attempt to release my utter frustration due to someone backing out of their self-prescribed agreement with me (which, it became obvious they wish they hadn't offered what they did, and they didn't plan on honoring it.) What's worse, they then did their best to vault their self-anger onto me. Well...I was not having it! After a few civil exchanges back & forth, I decided to let my Muse have her way with me...and the poem below is the result. -- Wow! Did I feel liberated after this poured out of me! -- Ahh...ain't creativie living grand! (By the way, several weeks later the person apologized and commended me for handling it the way I did; we're back on track now...and that's a good thing.)

Here's the poem -
"Liberation: Giving Back What's Not Mine"

Today was a day of celebration...celebration of life, and feeling good
Today was delight, and joy, and exuberance
Today was happy expectancy, anticipation, and gratitude
It was a day of reaching out, and accountability
Today was follow-up, as requested
Tonight...the fog came,
Tonight the bounty wilted
But not for long . Tonight her darkness, her self-anger disguised and pitched as a curve ball
to hit me circled back and hit's rightful owner...and enlightened me.
You're OUT!
"I don't need a free lunch!" Tonight know...on those yesterdays...I followed your lead!
"I followed YOUR lead!"
...your decisions, your presentation, your suggestions. Tonight you blame me for your choices...No-thank-you... the blame does not belong to me.
...You see, tonight... I am free!


"Today, I"

This poem was inspired by a cry for help I read today on the June 2nd entry entitled "How I Feel Today" at Kelly Watson's Blog It felt good to declare, and I hope it provides inspiration to her. I also invited her to join the SoulCollage KaleidoSoul community, of where I know she will be welcomed with open arms and encouraged.

Today I declare my SELF!
Today I AM happy
Today I ACCEPT and LOVE mySelf
Today I GIVE the gift of compassion...
..... to mySelf and others
Today I REACH OUT and take someone's hand...
in mine
Today I FEEL the ache of someone else's heart

Today I TAKE TIME to listen encourage, give hope,
.............and send a loving prayer...
.be it by poem
a thought or a smile

Today is a new day!

........ incantation
................and transmutation
This is a monarch butterfly day!
Today I SPROUT my kaleidoscope wings
with the fragrance of be-jeweled colors

Farewell to the catapillar
I THANK YOU for spinning my rainbow wings
...into instruments of beauty and freedom
Now, I INVEST in and HONOR my destiny of beauty
...........and grace
with adoration of my vibrant Soul
Today my butterfly-Self kisses oodles of flowers
and delights many a mortal's heart
This is a day of flirting with bliss
.....and the sky's blue kiss
Today the world is mine
.......of my own making
.......... in my mind's eye
..............and my heart's desire
BELIEVING it "can" be so
Today the world lives in me
This is the day
...I reflect the beauty I see
... in me


Interesting quotes...

These quotes found me as I was doing a SoulCollage interpretation. It's funny how that works...receiving just the right inspiration, confirmation, information or just the right time...

"Work, is love made visible."

~ Kahlil Gibran

"It's become crystal clear to me that work is not my life; my life
is my work."
~Barbara Stahura

The Soul's Wish...

"When the soul wishes to experience something, she throws an image of the experience out before her and enters into her own image."

~ Meister Echkart

This is a perfect quote & remembrance for SoulCollage.


The Illuminated Rumi

If you knew yourself for even one moment
If you could just glimpse your most beautiful face,

Maybe you wouldn't slumber so deeply in that house of clay

Why not move into your house of joy

...and shine into every crevice!

For you are the secret Treasure-bearer,

...and always have been.

Didnt' you know?

From The Illuminated Rumi Calendar 2006. Oh, so beautiful.

Seeing & Thinking Differently

Thanks to the Modern Day Muse, Albert and his domain of "thinking differently" coupled with Aha-phrodite*, the Muse of "paying attention"...I am reminded that by really seeing what's present in my day...from the most significant to the seeming-mundane... I am able to elevate my moment-to-moment experience, and the elements of my day to poetic song! By simply being willing to see it differently, and then to do something writing about it in a new way... like this:

Today is a day of transformation!
Today is a day of rain, flowers blooming and trees flowering
Today...a sparrow winked at me!
Today Spring is here and May flowers are drinking-in the rain
Today is a day I inspired....a friend told me so
Today...."I am inspired!"

Today is a day of stop signs and green lights, robins and red breasts...
...chicken breasts and salad greens
Today is a day for cheering...
... smiling
... and creating
Today is a day well lived, and seen!

These were all ordinary elements of my day that were raised to a playful, poetic level by embracing: "paying attention" and "a new way of thinking"... then writing about it. The cadence of this poem was inspired by spoken word artist, Lizzie Wann's "Declaration"--a cut from her CD: A Wing & a Prayer.

Now, viewed in this way...the day is even more special. We can tranform every day to a day of splendor, reverence and illumination no matter what's going on by simply being willing to think about it differently...then we see it differently.

I gave myself up...

"I gave myself up so completely to present desires and pleasures, that I had no energy to waste on mere wishful thinking." ~ Simone de Beauvoir


What Ike (my kitty) Teaches Me

I am looking forward to unveiling, acknowleding, and learning from these deeper parts of mySelf through the SoulCollage process. Much of this is metaphorical for me as related to one of my two kitties. Ike, he makes it his business to get the attention he needs, and I realize that for the most part...all he wants is love, acknowlegement and affection..hmmm....much like we humans.

When I come home from work Ike will sit and meow, over and over and follow me around, continually meowing. I sometimes tune him out for 5 minutes to change clothes and take a breath, figuring he just wants to eat. What I've come to realize is that more than dinner...he wants
acknowledgment, love and affection... at that very moment! - and he will sit in front of me or follow me around bellowing away...almost in a crying way...until I acknowlege him and give him hands on affection. As soon as look into those sweet little kitty-eyes and I reach to stroke him, he
rises up on his hind legs to meet me, and he leans into the affection...and purrrs away; and he keeps moving in for more... and his purrs become rather chortle-like. He's obviously in heaven!

He teaches me so much about life (as does my other kitty, Suki, but she's another story!). First of all, Ike doesn't give up until he's acknowledged and he doesn't get mad, although he does become quite insistant, he just keeps radiating love...and he keeps meowing for affection until he gets it. when I come in the door, within 1-2 minutes I "love him up" (all he needs is a few seconds to calm down) then he follows me into the bedroom to keep me company while I change clothes...while still chattering away in his kitty-kat-ease.

I think the inner-parts of myself are meowing in their own way too... wanting that acknowledgment... to be heard, listened to and UNDERSTOOD...and to love me even though I might not recognize it as love...(and like Ike, for me to give them attention too). Could be that once I've listened long enough, and deep enough their role in my life will be over and they'll become my mentor...(rather than my tor-mentor)...and we'll ride off into the sunset. Wouldn't that be wonderful? That might or might not be possible, but I do know that listening to and dialoguing with the deeper parts of myself through SoulCollage is a liberating experience that creates a deeper self-love, acceptance and revelation.

As I write this I just now realized that there's a part of me that's NOT like Ike, at times. There's a part of me that sometimes...when I don't feel heard, rather than "meow louder or longer" I give up...I close down, feathers fall, I curl up and lick my wounds. I now know that the part of me that is the "retreater" wants me to acknowledge her, and give her a voice. She too wants to be honored, seen and heard. Wow! --- It'll beinteresting to hear what she has to tell me -- this very issue has caused me to shrink away from some parts of my life...but not anymore! I am in the process of letting all that go and stepping up...and out! As Diana Ross sings... "I'm Comin' Out!"

Wisdom from a Geko!

While at work the other day while going through my purse I found a slightly bent-up page I tore out for SoulCollage. It was a nice size picture of the charming geko -- you know, the Geico gecko. I just loved this picture, he looked adorable.... so I trimmed away the advertising portion at the top and bottom; and the only thing remaining was the charmining little geko, or so I thought. He stood nice and about five inches on a white backround. I smiled and talked to him for a bit telling him how cute and wise he looked. Then I noticed some writing next to him that I never noticed until then. Right next to him....there was a short sentence.....totally unrelated to car insurance.....I about fell off my chair when I read read: "I love my job." I was stunned. At that moment my struggle was over, I declared: "I surrender!... I love my job!"

The synchronicity was incredible because a friend and I had a conversation the other night about this topic...of jobs vs. our "life's work".
After some restlessness, it is clear to me now I'm in my divine-right place...for now. It provides the perfect support in a myriad of ways for my creative-soul-growth as well as other necessities. But..I'd been, I no longer resist. I embrace: my wonderful job, my place and my purpose there...and in this present moment. I now REALLY know it serves my greater good... and therefore my life's work, and the greater good of those whom my life's work touches. Plus, I am appreciated!
A quote by Barbara Stahura provides a perfect reality check for living in the moment. She says:
"It's become crystal clear to me that work is not my life; my life is my work."
Now doesn't that just about sum it up?

I will make at least one SoulCollage card to honor this part of me that knows I am in my Right Place, and that honors synchronicity. And...I will put the geko picture in my office. I'll leave the "I love my job" in tact so I can remember his wise declaration, and attitude. Mr. Geko wasn't lamenting that he was not longer in his natural habitat nor complaining that he had been plunged headlong into media-mania, and celebrity-hood...nope...he simplly declared "I love my job". How adaptable is he? That's a quality that's good to have. What a lesson he's taught me.

Being aware of the life lessons that surrond us, can reap abundant, joyous rewards!


Each day I become more and more amazed and grateful for the SoulCollage process, my journey through it, as well as the expansion of my heart, mind, soul...and creativity. I happily surrender to the insights revealed because I know they are from the deepest part of soul. Every few days or so I thumb through the images I've collected, or new ones, to see which one will pick me! Who would've thought that inner-exploration, discovery and re-integration with mySelf and Soul would intensify my passtion for artistry, inner-listening, and the great respect I have for the mirror of my soul...which is of course reflected in every SoulCollage card I create.

Now, Audacity, the Modern Day Muse--is very special to me. She's not only an energy & quality within me--albeit sometimes dormant--but we "go back" about several months. I first met the Muse Audacity through Jill Badonksy and her book, The Nine Modern Day Muses (see links). Jill's Muse, Audacity, governs "courage & unihibited uniqueness" and her domain is "teaching self-confidence, and freedom to be one's self...being true to oneself". I was intuitively attracted to Audacity when we got to choose a Muse to present at Jill's Muse Group Faciliator's training last October. I think Audacity and I chose each other! At any rate, Audacity has taught me so much. Even now, through SoulCollage she's reminding me she's still with me...and inviting me to borrow from her: boldness, self-confidence, and committment to being myself..whenever I might fall short of my own audacity to do so. Isn't she awesome!

Here is my Card "Audacity"

All articles on are copyrighted by Cheryl A Finley 2006-2007, unless otherwise noted. Articles may be reprinted by permission only: AcapellaSoul is a facet of My Joy For Life, Inc. , Oak Park, IL