Grieving an Important Mentor

Grieving an Important Mentor

Nineteen years ago in October, I embarked upon the most transformative and healing journey of my life when I began my Creative Journal Expressive Arts (CJEA) training year with Lucia Capachhione. She and her work and the beautiful CJEA community she created supported me through the deepest grief of my life when Cameron died the following spring.

It is with a heavy heart that I now grieve Lucia’s passing on Monday, November 28, 2022 at age 85.

Last night, some of us in the CJEA community gathered on Zoom to process our grief through clay work. The process and the two pieces that emerged helped me to express and release my emotions. The pieces themselves spoke volumes about the power of this work.

Lucia, I am forever grateful to you for all that I learned from you and for all the healing and growth your work brought into my life. May this beautiful community you created continue to thrive and may the powerful body of work you created continue to bring healing and growth to the world.

Go in peace, Lucia. It’s time to shine your light in other dimensions. The seeds you have planted here will continue to bloom in your memory.


The clay felt cold and hard when I began, and as I breathed my emotions into the clay, it became oh so heavy in my hands. I felt I could not hold it. I felt desperate to set it down.

I asked the feelings, what do you need most right now? And the answer was

To be held. To be honored. To be accepted. You know how to hold me now because she taught you to. What a gift.

My feeling continued, telling me its name was “Letting go,” and that it felt heavy, lifeless, cold, inert. It didn’t want to be here again at grief’s door. It didn’t want to feel grief again. The feeling told me that when things are too heavy, I can let go. It asked me to soften. It said, “Hold me. Let IT go, but hold me, coz I’m your sweet child.

And, of course, this is the core of Lucia’s beautiful body of work – the journey of healing and loving my own Inner Child. It is the Inner Child who feels grief – and all the other emotions – and that Inner Child just wants to be loved and accepted.

After wetting and softening my working block of clay, I broke it into two chunks and began to mold and shape one of them. This piece represents and  holds my current feelings. 

As the first clay piece began to emerge, it fell easily and naturally into the form of a mother and child, although the figure’s face was very bird-like.

I asked, who or what are you? And the figure replied:

Mother Bird. Your safe nest. Be still. I am always here. Let me soften your landing place. Let me be your resting place. You are safe. You are loved. I will hold/absorb your pain and emotional stress. I will give it to the earth so that, when you are ready, you can fly.



The second piece of clay represents a supportive quality that can help me through these feelings of grief. The chunk of clay that had been torn away from the original block was so misshapen when I began, but had a vague body and wings, like a thick, fat butterfly. I sharpened and detailed that form. It became a bird or a butterfly still in the process of unfurling its wings. The message I received was to know that everything is always in the process of transforming, a process that is never complete. I noticed and reflected that one wing seemed heavy and stuck to the table, while the other was lifting. A figure caught between Earth and Sky, a balance of Heavy and Light. That’s the nature of life, I guess. We are here to find the balance between. This piece told me it is ready for whatever is to come next. 

Can you see? I am poised for flight. The wind is already lifting my wings.


I am so grateful to have known Lucia, this remarkable woman. To have been given these tools for inner work. To have found a creative way to live and to grieve and to heal. To know now how to comfort my own Inner Child. To find grace and balance between feeling grounded and allowing the wind to lift my wings.

Fly free, Lucia. You have my deepest and undying gratitude.

An Inner Family Story through SoulCollage®

An Inner Family Story through SoulCollage®

Once upon a time, you were an imaginative, creative, spiritually connected little child for whom nothing seemed impossible. You could daydream your way through the day, build giant castles out of blocks, create a rocket ship and travel to the moon with nothing more than an empty box, create whole worlds with dolls and stuffed animals, dress up and become a princess or Superman, have a tea party with an imaginary friend or two, color outside of the lines and make the trees purple and the sky green, stare at the clouds and see dragons or butterflies or angels. You lived from the heart. Your world was magical and unlimited and ALIVE. Nothing was out of reach or impossible. You could be or do anything you could imagine. That amazing child still lives inside you as your Inner Child – but he or she may need rescuing because . . .


Somewhere along the way, a whole bunch of grown-ups – some with the very best of intentions for you, and others who were just plain mean – slowly started to rein you in. They told you to stop daydreaming because you were going to be late for school. At school they told you that trees were supposed to be green and the sky was supposed to be blue and that you had to color inside the lines. They told you that little boys could not be princesses and that little girls could not be astronauts. They said that you were getting too old for imaginary friends and it was time to grow up and grow out of it already. Very often, they made you feel wrong. They told you, or at least implied, that you were dumb or slow or sloppy or wasteful or uncoordinated or fat or ugly or useless or worthless or bad. The more you grew up, the more rules there were to follow – and the less you seemed to measure up. One day all those outer voices became a voice inside your own head – your Critical Parent – constantly criticizing and reminding you that, in every way imaginable You. Just. Weren’t. Good. Enough.


That once vibrant and unfettered child became very frightened by all those voices and messages. But the voices wouldn’t stop and, with endless repetition, the Frightened Child began to believe the things they said. And so, you stopped daydreaming and building castles in the air. You stopped believing you could be or do anything you wanted. Maybe you began to work really hard at being good, doing what was expected of you, conforming and fitting in. Maybe you gave up on your dream of being an astronaut or a ballerina and became an accountant instead, because it was practical and numbers were the only thing you were ever acknowledged for being good at. You settled, and the inner child felt abandoned. As you gave up on your dreams one by one, that inner child stopped creating and imagining those dreams for you. Why bother? You were no longer listening. The child went into hiding, for the most part. And when they did show up, it was mostly in dysfunctional ways like making you cry at work, indulge in addictive behaviors, or blow off important commitments out of fear or boredom.


But one day, with your help and empowerment, your inner child can learn to say, “ENOUGH!” They can regain their voice and, in no uncertain terms, begin to tell the inner critic to Shut. The. Hell. Up. With all the sound and fury of a toddler throwing a tantrum or a teenager asserting their independence, your Inner Brat can emerge in their full glory. It will be freeing. It will be invigorating. They will tell the inner critic how mean and wrong it is. They will refuse to listen any longer to the heartless words with which the critic has been constantly punishing them. They will assert their right to dream and to be and do whatever their heart desires. They will insist that they are worth it. That they deserve it. But, they will not be able to do it all on their own. Because, after all, the inner child IS just a child. They can help you to dream big and get in touch with your true Heart’s Desire. They can keep you in touch with your own imagination, creativity and spiritual connection. But they need YOU to do the doing. And they will need to be protected and nurtured as they inspire you. Because they’ve been hurt and abused for a very long time. Sometimes even by you.


Your inner child needs a protector to keep them safe. Someone to stand up for them like a mama bear protecting her cub. Someone who can say, “No,” when it is necessary. Someone to create strong and safe and practical boundaries. Someone to deal with the bullies (even when that bully is you). Someone who will always look out for the child’s best interests. An ally. An advocate. Your inner child needs a Protective Parent, and they need you to help with developing one. You may never have gotten the kind of protection you needed while you were growing up, but you can give that protection to your inner child now and heal the wounds of the past. Imagine the very best qualities in every kind of protector you can think of – from the animal kingdom to guardian angels to superheroes – and create within you a protective parent that embodies those qualities and whose sole focus is the inner child. Give the child that safety and protection and they will help you to claim your Heart’s Desire.


Your inner child needs to be nurtured. Their fears need soothing, their hurts need mending, their worth needs affirming. They need to be encouraged. They need to be recognized and celebrated. They need to know they are loved, valued and honored unconditionally. They need someone to hold them close. Someone who will let them feel all their feelings. Someone who won’t turn away from their anger or belittle their fear. Someone who doesn’t push them to be someone they’re not and accepts them just as they are. Someone who will only feed them what is truly nourishing, both literally and metaphorically. Someone who sees to it that they get enough sleep, enough fun, enough bubble baths and massages. Your inner child needs a Nurturing Parent and they need you to help with developing one. You may not have grown up with a good nurturing presence in your life, but you can become one for yourself. Imagine a mother holding a baby to her breast, a bird feeding her newly hatched chicks, Mother Teresa tending to the poor and the ill, or Mr. Rogers zipping up his sweater and telling you, “I like you just the way you are.” Create that presence within yourself to nurture your inner child. When your inner child is loved and nurtured, when the wounds of the past begin to fall away, then the little child will lead you to your Heart’s Desire.


If you’d like to learn how to create a strong inner family and claim your heart’s desire, I invite you to join me and my co-facilitator Beth Breedlove for “Claiming Your Heart’s Desire By Healing Your Inner Child,” June 5 -7 in Burlingame, CA (just south of San Francisco).

During this weekend retreat, using Creative Journal Expressive Arts activities and SoulCollage® card making, you will:

• Learn how to communicate with your inner child
• Learn how to quiet the voice of your inner critic
• Begin to develop a healthy inner family to heal and support your inner child
• Explore, envision and express your current heart’s desire
• Discover what blocks you from your heart’s desire and ways to get unblocked
• Create your own Inner Family SoulCollage® mini-deck to take home for continued healing, growth and exploration
• Create a vision board to take home so you can stay on track to claiming your heart’s desire

For full details and registration, go to

Save $50 on your registration through March 15th!

(These SoulCollage® cards were created using Free Use Images from Unsplash and Pixabay)