Artist, Writer, Woman, Mother, Healer, Teacher, Biohacker, Gardener, Friend, Entrepreneur
November breezes warm the morning air, soft petals float on wind. The scent of night fires bloom in the thick, moist dew collected on green leaves that prickle like cat’s tongues. Morning has come, the call of the rooster long past, and the crows have come to find their carrion. She will not be served up today.
Eyes wide open, hands outstretched, she greets the sun, thankful for breath. The night, long, fraught with dreams of tangerines and legs that want to run still tingles in her hair like a lightning strike. She sees yellow, bright light, bright petals, bright, glorious day. This moment is one to be remembered, to be spoken of when moons grow cold and bones turn hard. This beautiful morning, when there is no November rain.
Sunflowers have long been a soul soother for me. In my mid-twenties I planted a sacred ritual space, an outdoor room where the living walls were sunflowers open to the night sky. Morning glory and moon flower grew up the stalks to create a cloak of secrecy and many a wonderful magic happened within those pulsing walls that summer and fall, fires burning in the center, smoke rising to the stars with the passion of wishes and intent.
I see a lot of myself in the sunflower: it is tall, thick stalked, hard not to notice and unfurls slowly. At its center is a complicated spiral and other creatures like to pick at it, feed and destroy the patterns as if by so doing they can consume the magic within, harvest the spark of life and make it their own. Even in the dead of winter the sunflower will stand resolute, firmly rooted and remains upright against the elements, bowing gently to the wind, turning to the sun. They thrive wherever they are planted and require very little to bloom and sunflower seeds are one of the few foods that do not give me any digestive upset! I am all about the nourishing.
The sunflower in this photograph transplanted itself at the end of my sidewalk thanks to our generous bird population. One of my favorite sunflower quotes comes from Eric Van Buren:
I will not be another flower, picked for my beauty and left to die.
I will be wild, difficult to find, and impossible to forget.
One sunflower has the potential to give birth to so many others and it is my hope that by sharing my selfies, my daily musings on living with chronic illness that even should I die today something memorable will have stuck with you. Some seed of thought that spirals into a bloom for you. I think that is all we can hope for as humans that our interactions make an impression like the beauty of this sunflower did for me this warming November morning as the sun began to shine through Michigan clouds.
Sunflowers also possess cool Fibonacci sequences in their seed patterns and if you haven’t heard of Turing’s Sunflowers please check out the data, if not for yourself, for the science geek part of me that is fascinated by math and pattern in nature. I think everyone needs to be aware of the intricate and beautiful dance around them. The data is fascinating and takes a look at sunflowers from around the world and their spiraling growth habits.
Things I Love:
I have a sunflower dish made of ceramic that I keep by my computer. It holds my smaller Baoding medicine balls that I use to soothe achy hands when typing. They offer great stress relief and massage and have a wonderful chiming sound from the embedded bells. I recommend these stress balls to anyone who uses the computer regularly, or is an artist, writer or works with their hands. You can pick them up for under $8 on Amazon most of the time. I have ordered Baoding balls from this Amazon seller before with success.
Also in this pic is the amazing quilted spiral hanging I received from my friend Amy Thomas and works to remind me that if I walk the downward spiral I know the path back out when my neck and shoulders start to ache. I took it off the wall because I like to run my fingers over it and touch it. It is calming.
I have mini shrines and sacred spaces throughout my home to encourage moments of respite, centering and peace when I can’t be outdoors doing things like taking goofy selfies with wild sunflowers. My DoTerra Wild Orange is something I use for quick bursts of energy, and the alcohol ink illustration is one I inked back in 2014 titled “Just Breathe” that made its way into this mini shrine when I chose my Word of the Year.
The shell reminds me that although the ocean is always near it is never far from my heart and the Buddha charm was recently given to me by a new online friend, Sandy Herbert. It is a constant reminder that even when I feel alone or isolated in my pain, this illness, that I am connected that I have a tribe and I am loved – mind, body and spirit – I may not be where I planned to be at this moment, but I sure as hell can bloom as strongly, fiercly and vibrantly as the sunflower that transplanted itself at the end of my sidewalk and brought me so much joy. It is my hope I brought a smile to your face today.