A Void Dance or Avoidance?

Here it is the end of summer.  Labor Day here in the United States.  As I reflect back over the last 3 months I can say I spent a lot of time in both avoidance and a Void Dance.  I believe it is ok to spend time in either, the important thing is to know which place you are in.

Avoidance:  The act of avoiding something.

A Void Dance:  Time spent in the quiet space between the “stuff” of life.

I have recently decided to relocate my business and my art studio after many years in the same location.  It means sorting, clearing, organizing and packing the “stuff” of my life.  I have spent much of the time between other work obligations this summer doing just that.  Sorting.  Cleaning.  Organizing.  Packing.   At times I’ve been doing it to avoid doing other things I’d rather not be doing and sometimes I am doing other things just to avoid doing the difficult work of deciding what to “do” with the stuff.   But either way, it’s been a therapeutic process.

As an artist you learn to appreciate the voids or negative space.  It’s not always the matter that matters.  (a good thing to remind myself of, as I purge and de-clutter)

20160903_202301The voids are where the fertile earth feeds the roots.  The voids are where the flames lick and spit between the burning logs.  The voids are where the oxygen is.  The voids are what make the beauty of the antique lace.  The voids are what lets the soft breeze come through the screen door.  The voids are the blue sky between the clouds.  The voids are where the damp sand squeezes up between your toes on the beach.  The voids are where you run your fingers through soft hair.  The voids are where the sun peaks through the branches of the tree canopy.  And the voids are where and when we dance.  

I hope as you enjoy your last days of this summer you find time to Dance in the Void.  It is this space and time between the stuff of life that is important.  It is different than avoidance.   It is this fertile space that feeds our creativity and our souls.  It feeds what matters.

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“A Void Dance” artwork by Pamela Penney (c) 2015




Mountain Top

Mountain Top
My view on a camping trip to Shenandoah National Park circa 2007.

This morning as I transitioned out of sleep I heard that Voice that whispers to me before my head gets cluttered with the thoughts of the day.  (I am not a person who likes to jump out of bed at the sound of an alarm. I linger and listen. I get my best guidance in this liminal space.)  The Voice said, “We are so pleased, Pam. You made it over the mountain top.”

What do  I see from the mountain top?  I expect to see a beautiful fertile valley below, but it’s still “early in the day” and the fog is hiding the view.  So, I will linger here for a while.  I will wait for the path ahead to clear. I will enjoy the beauty as it gradually appears through the mist.  I know the trek ahead will become so much easier. I have made it over the Mountain Top!  Thank you, Guides for helping me get here and for celebrating my arrival.  I couldn’t have done it without You.




Well, I knew this day was coming.  My baby robins left the nest this week.  Today it is suddenly very quiet in my studio.  I did not realize how frequently I heard the babies chirp, chirp as Mom and Dad Robin flew in with a meal.  I found great joy in seeing the reaction of people as they walked down the street and noticed them so close to the sidewalk.  One evening a family watched for several minutes asking each other if they were “real”, and yes, “I think I saw one blink!”.  And  I found it facinating just how many people walked by oblivious to the miracle of nature just inches from their face, because they were too busy on their phone to notice.  On Monday the four little robins had gotten so big they barely fit in the nest and I knew the time was near.  I also could tell that Mom and Dad Robin knew it too.  They became pretty aggressive at “dive bombing” anyone who came too near or lingered for too long.  I was not in my studio when they took their first flights.  But I don’t believe the Mother Robin pushes them out of the nest.  No, they spent many days stretching and testing their wings.  They just finally got too big for the nest and had no other option but to fly.

I too am feeling a little like that.  Like my current nest doesn’t quite fit anymore.  So, what to do?  I just keep testing and spreading my wings.  When the time is right, I have faith,  I will be ready to FLY!  Enjoy this little video on my Facebook Page of my babies the day before they left me.  See it HERE.

And, I urge you to slow down, stop and enjoy the miracles of nature just inches from your face everyday.  It puts things in perspective and teaches lessons about life you just can’t learn on your computer and phone screens.  For a great way to learn how to do that I recommend my friend Sallie Wolf‘s book, “The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, a birder’s journal”.  It has great lessons for watching, documenting and enjoying birds and the natural world around you.  Perfect for children (and adults!).

The Robin Makes A Laughing Sound, by Sallie Wolf




Letters from the Future

The following is a hypothetical letter.  I wrote it myself as though my sister has written it to me 26 years from now on my birthday.  I wrote it as an exercise for a Circle of transitioning Women led by Circle Tender, Susan Lucci that I am a part of.  The assignment was to imagine a celebration near the end of your life and ask some of the guests to speak on your behalf about your life and how you fulfilled your “Life’s Desires”.  In light of the issues our world is facing in the NOW this was very therapeutic for me.  Here is the hypothetical letter from my sister:

Happy Birthday Pam!  Can you believe that you are 80 years old and I am just a couple of weeks from being 79?  Who would have thought this is how the world would be in 2042?  Oh yeah, you would have!  You always believed and you were right, that the world and the humans living here would begin to transform and shift when we were in our early 50’s.  That we could overcome the issues of poverty and climate change during our lifetime.  I always loved calling you on the phone, (remember those crazy old devices necessary to communicate?)  and hearing about the books you were reading about the Unity Consciousness and our Higher Selves.  And that ET’s are Us!

Yes, I remember when you were younger that you would get frustrated and discouraged that you weren’t sure how to bring your value and implement your desires in the world.  And you were disappointed that your work didn’t really support yourself.   That you always had to rely on your husband’s income for the survival of your family.  But remember, that was back when we had the old money and banking system.  You were one of the few who believed we could find a better way to “survive”.  Oh yeah, not survive, but THRIVE and flourish.  And that abundance was a “basic right” that All Humans were born to on our planet Earth.  And you were correct.  Just see how fast that concept came to be accepted and implemented?  And your energy, faith, and creative vision were a part of our collective ascension into this new flourishing life for ALL.  You helped others SEE that this was possible.  You helped me see it, even though it meant I had to transform my own business and livelihood away from helping people file their annual income tax returns. (And pay the taxes!  Oh, remember how horrible it was for people to have to do that every year?)  The fact that there are so few people suffering and “in need” now, and that we no longer pay for WAR and military expenses as a nation has really made it so much easier for people.  And I much preferred helping people decide what to do with their abundance and decide how to best share their wealth and “pay it forward” as they used to say!

Oh, and remember that summer evening under the stars when our children were young and we were sitting around the bonfire in my backyard?  The kids were running around in the dark playing on their “walkie-talkie radios”  (Talk about old-time communications!)  You pretended to talk to them like an alien from “Planet Micro-Brew”.  A few years later micro-breweries were everywhere!  And then a few years after that the Earth made peaceful and mutually beneficial contact with Advanced Life out in the Universe.  It was like you could SEE it that night looking out at the far away stars above our fire.  You also had a way of looking into the Flames of the Fire for “Life’s Answers”, too.

I thank you so much for being my older sister, my friend, guide, mentor and visionary.  You’ve always been there when I’ve needed you.  It’s so nice now to be psychically connected so that we don’t need to worry about the phone to communicate anymore.  Now, whenever we need to we can hear, feel and KNOW how much the Other One cares and loves us.  Even when we are apart.  Oh yeah, there is no such thing as “apart”.  We are each our individual spark of the Unity that is Life.  Thank you for making the Soul Contract to be the spark that guided me into this life with you in it.  As you Know, I love you.

Your Sister, B~

Note:  I went searching in my gift card pile for the perfect card to imagine having this letter written on and I found this.  The artwork is by Helena Nelson-Reed.  The Synchronicity of this card’s message goes beyond “perfect” to DIVINE!


Detachment as Offering

I like to start my week with yoga class as often as I can.  I have been going to Ahimsa Yoga here in Oak Park for a bit over a year now.  I’ve been an on and off again practitioner of yoga since my knitting teacher loaned me a book of poses when I was about 13 or 14 (yes, that makes it 40-ish years of yoga!)  Synchronicity brought me to Ahimsa.  Last winter I created my textile art piece titled “A Stitch In Time Saves” (the inspiration for this blog moniker) to publicize the One Earth Film Festival and my work was hung on display at Ahimsa.  So this monday morning I made it to my class where my lovely teacher and now friend, Jackie shared an Inspiration deck from which I could draw a card.  My card for today is “Detachment“.   Perfect, of course, as I’ve been making an effort toward the goal of detaching and letting go.  I spent much of last week cleaning out my basement and detaching from my physical “stuff”.  Now, time to work on my attitudes, thoughts and beliefs~

Coincidentally I cut out a page from the May/June 2004 Yoga Journal during an art making session a few weeks ago written by Sally Kempton on Detachment.  She writes, “the way I ease myself toward detachment is to practice offering…….I offer up whatever it is that I’m doing, whatever I’m intending or wanting, or whatever I’m trying to get free of……Offer the fruits of your labor to God.” …..”Offering our actions helps train us to do things not for any particular gain or personal purpose but simply as an act of praise or gratitude, or as a way of joining our consciousness to the greater Consciousness.  Offering our desires, fears and doubts loosens the hold they have on us, reminding us to trust in the Presence- the source of both our longings and their fulfillment.”  There is no expiration date on this advise!

Then I spent a little “art journaling” time before working on some commission pieces that I need to make headway on in my studio this week.  (And I did make some great progress this afternoon!)  Here is my journal entry embellished with my tree imagery and the Yoga Journal article with wood and bark texture~

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And here is the the work I made progress on in the studio today.  First, an acrylic and mixed media canvas.  The working title is “Can You See the Forest for the Trees?”

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Can you see the Forest for the Trees?

And I’m working on this sweater vest for a client made from Salvaged Cashmere, some of which I hand-dyed.  This is “a Stitch In Time Saves“~

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A Stitch In Time Saves…..a salvaged and hand-dyed cashmere creation by Pamela Penney Textile Arts

I am pleased with the progress and enjoy the process.  I remain detached from the outcome and welcome the work as it evolves.  And I like Mondays~