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.

Make Picture Stories

Make Picture Stories

20 Ways to Change Your Story

7. Make Picture Stories

A picture, it’s said, is worth a thousand words, so you can imagine the immense story power a picture holds.

Why do you think Vision Boards have become so popular?

Images capture our emotions and imagination in ways that mere words cannot. Even with the most skillful writing, a story captures our imagination most powerfully when the words cause our minds to make mental images.

road-trip-1044982_1920Anyone at all familiar with the Law of Attraction is probably familiar with the idea of Vision Boards or Dream Books. You decide you want a new car, for instance, so you find pictures of the exact car you want – make, model, color, every detail – and you glue them down in a journal or on a piece of poster board. Maybe you even cut out a picture of your own smiling face and place it behind the steering wheel. You might add a picture of the open road unfolding before you and your brand new shiny car.

This is great. And it works. Especially if you take time every day to look at your Picture Story, to dream your way into it, and to imagine yourself living it and feeling the joy of it.

What can be even more powerful is to let your heart and soul do the dreaming for you.

This is the Visioning® method I learned in my Creative Journal Expressive Arts (CJEA) training with Lucia Capacchione. Her trademarked ten-step Visioning® process is a profoundly life-changing (and story changing!) practice. You can read more about this method in her book, Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams.

Instead of deciding in your head what you want, get quiet and invite your heart and soul to speak to you through images. Pose a specific question, if you like, such as, “what is my perfect work?” or “who is my soul mate?” or “where is my perfect home and what does it look like?” Or, you can be a bit more general and begin with a broader focus phrase like, “the year ahead” or “my soul-centered life”.

Now give yourself 20 minutes or so to browse through magazines, not looking for any specific images, simply allowing images to show up and grab you. Which images speak to you? Cut those out. You don’t need to understand what they mean. Glue them down. Spend some time with them and listen to what they have to say. Listen to their stories for they will soon become your stories.

It may happen quickly or it may take some time. It will require action on your part in addition to dreaming.

I just realized an amazing story manifestation in my own life today.

paintingFBOnce upon a time, many years ago, I painted this picture as a gift for my husband. I gave it to him – for a birthday or anniversary – and I told him, “I’d like to live here with you someday.”

The painting was not based on any “real” place that I had seen. It came out of my heart’s imagination.

That painting has stood on the mantle of my fireplace for the past 30 years. I see it every day, without really “seeing” it anymore as it has become such an ever-present thread in the fabric of my life and surroundings. An ingrained, subconscious part of my reality.

Recently, we decided to buy a piece of land on which to build our retirement home, the home in which we intend to spend the rest of our lives. We looked at a lot of properties. A LOT. The moment I walked onto the land we eventually purchased, I was drawn to the beautiful pine that stood, alone, in the center of a cleared area. I stood under the tree and heard the wind sigh through her and I experienced an instantaneous and heart-centered feeling of homecoming.

DSC_0350_Crop_Adjust-SmallerAs I sit on that property today, admiring the view, a powerful flash of deja vu reminds me of the painting I created so many years ago.

It occurs to me that the dream of my heart has become real. That picture I painted, of no “real” place, bears a striking resemblance to the view I’m now enjoying as we plan together, my husband and I, just where our new house will sit.

More than 30 years ago, my heart showed me its dream, and through a long and winding road, it has led me to it.

I still want to live here with my love. And someday has become today. I can just picture it.



This is the 8th post in a 21-post series sparked by Chapter 9 of Fallen, The Adventures of a Deep Water Leaf, in which Lizard suggests that Alora change her story.

#20WaysIn20Days, #ChangeYourStory, #Fallen