Judith Elizabeth Bowen

author, wisdom keeper, healer

January 11, 2018

I just returned from a writing workshop, Silver & Sage, in Santa Fe, NM. Co-leaders of this four day intensive learning experience were authors Carolyn Flynn and Elizabeth Cohen. A dozen people gathered, shared their writings and gave and received feedback. Content was primarily memoir writing with most people at the front end of the process. It was so, so useful for me. I learned from feedback given for my own work as well as from discussion of everyone else’s work.

I have been working on my new book in fits and starts and think I now understand what has been blocking me. But I also feel it is time for me to reconnect with Carolyn Flynn, the editor of my first book, for the structure I know she can provide. I have wandered around for many months telling myself I wrote one book, so I can do another all by myself. WRONG. Quite a fantasy. Time for feedback, guidance, and perspective.

On the other hand, my painting has been flowing and my next step with that is to create a web page just for that with a link to this website. Time to move on!!!

September 18, 2017

It has been a long time since my last post. Interferences from many events. Also a time of continued sorting out for me. Have made some progress – have added a few chapters, which stimulated new thoughts and avenues, as happens, and seems to be part of my process. Just returned from a conference which has supported even more growth. The Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation Annual Conference brought speakers and participants together in exploration of our Oneness in this Universe, from many viewpoints. Quantum Mechanics was joined with Taoist philosophy in a seamless discourse throughout the conference. I connected with a friend I had not seen for a long time and we too shared as if there were no time or space since our last meeting. A nourishing exchange in toto.

It feels, for me, as though time (whatever that is) is moving at the speed of light, and changes within me are as well. I know this will impact my writing and I trust my hand and mind will be guided to bring something to my readers which will touch something new within them, that they have not yet seen within themselves.

July 4, 2017

Independence day! A day to reset. Returned a few days ago from a two week trip to the Canadian Maritimes with my sister. It was a good trip. Still processing. Canada – in many ways an extension of the US, but clearly it’s own country. Canadians were friendly, proud of their country, and open about the challenges they face, especially in the Maritimes – changing face of industry, shrinking population, reinventing themselves as they go. Coming back to the US, a country which I love, but which is in great upheaval, I remind myself this day to stay in the present – to live within each day, examine my heart each day, and to live fully in the knowledge that all I can control is how I react and choose to live. A day to reset. Time now to refocus on my book. It’s content is current and I am feeling urgency about getting it finished. I have a way to go and recommit to showing up at my laptop daily.

June 17, 2017

Will be leaving on June 19 for a 13 day trip to the Canadian Maritimes with my sister. Starting to get excited! Have long wanted to see that area and am eager for the experience. It will be good to get away. I will not be working on my book during that time, except of course, in my head. My writing feels like I am creating a patchwork quilt. Some squares are finished but I am a long way from piecing them together. Carolyn Flynn, my incredible editor, guided me through Tapestry. What an amazing teacher and mentor. I am trying to use what I learned to write a rough draft of the whole thing before asking for her input again. My own personal challenge. Diana Gabaldon has said that she just writes bit and pieces and puts them all together at the end. That seems to be somewhat my path right now. I do have a plan for my story – specifics to tell, but they are coming in pieces. I am okay with that. Again, it will be helpful to get away. To allow my mind to rest and release from the intensity of the story, to allow it space to emerge and come to me. Here in southeaster PA, after an amazing emergence of lush green after a rainy spring, we are now in the midst of a dry spell and the grass has all turned brown. There have been days, like today, with showers forecast, but the clouds scud by without releasing rain. The air is saturated with humidity however, so that if I carried a spoon with me on my walks with Maggie, I could scoop the moisture out of the air.

May 31, 2017

At last, after many self-imposed distractions and procrastinations I have begun writing my second book. I have a working title and a full chapter written, knowing it is a first draft. Started on another chapter, half done, and have the rest written in my mind – rough draft. I had forgotten what work it is to actually show up. To start putting all of those glorious thoughts I have floating in my mind, onto a page in black and white, seeing, as I write, where I will need to trim and re-word and think again. But right now its about just turning on the faucet and letting it flow.

Now no more distractions. The book has captured me. It is part of my story, part of my voice, needing to be expressed. I see that I will need to go deep inside in some places, as I had to do with Tapestry. I will be led where I need to go.

For me what has become the essence of what I will eventually bring to completion is vulnerability. For me, writing is about opening my soul, unafraid of what will surface. I don’t know any other way.

April 20, 2017

Spring. A time of renewal, new growth, assurance of the promise of nature’s nourishment. The word that comes to me now is “gentle”. A time to be gentle with myself as the air and breezes are gentle on my cheek. This morning I will finish two paintings which just need a bit more work and then prepare a new canvas for a new beginning. Then on to the emerging new book. I know what I want to write about. I have already written two beginnings. Have pages of notes, outlines, interlinking thoughts and now wrestle with the process of transferring and transforming images to words, pared down to carry core themes and messages. I cook on this “stew” of information and begin to write, tasting as I go. Sampling this flavor and that as the beginning of this long process begins to unfold. The accountability to the readers of this blog will help me move forward.

April 13, 2017

I was very much looking forward to visiting my younger daughter and her family in Portland, ME last weekend. On the departure day, April 6, I drove the 1 1/4 hour trip to BWI in a blinding storm. White knuckle the whole trip. Thunder, lightning, sheets of rain. I thought perhaps I should turn around and cancel this trip. I did not. This was a huge storm system that blanketed the upper east coast, resulting in chaos at the airport. Flights delayed or cancelled affecting the whole of the country. After several hours of delays, my flight was also cancelled, because a transformer “blew” in Portland leaving the airport without power. I was close enough to drive back home. Others were not so fortunate. I was struck in all this by what I felt. Thousands of people were affected. The predominant energy was one of FEAR – Will I lose my place in line? Will I be able to get a flight out? How will I manage my three little boys? How will I get my debilitated father to some sort of lodging? Every single person in that terminal was STRESSED. The airline employees were doing the best they could but they were also stressed. Within all of this I saw that not one person had control of what was happing. Nature was in control. The skies raged and wept until they were finished. My older daughter said it was like RELEASE. The smile came with the sunshine a day later. We live with the illusion of control, but the only thing we really have control over is how WE choose to react to events that come our way. But this also connected me, in compassion, to all people in this world who are displaced by events of nature, war, famine, and man’s inhumanity to man. I felt, in that airline terminal, the fear, chaos and uncertainty of plans and lives turned on end. In that situation, within a week, all would be back to “normal”. But not so for those caught in the events named above. The question is: What can I do? What can we do? I cannot influence nations, or the complexities of an overpopulated planet facing the reality of diminishing resources. But I believe we are all connected by an invisible web and I can be in this web of humanity with love and compassion for those making difficult journeys.

April 3, 2017

I feel new about this blog but trust that pattern and frequency will emerge. South central PA has received an abundance of rain. Sunny days have been few and far between and I still feel the contrast with sunny, dry Sedona. I am trying to step into this change with arms open to receive. I recently came across a writing that reinforces the idea that one cannot receive if the hands are already full. So, I have been trying to imagine my hands empty and welcoming of the rains, even thinking that they are washing through my body as well with their energy. I am feeling the rewards, as I see, almost as if overnight, daffodils, hyacinth,and blossoming trees. The grass is suddenly lush and birds of all variety are singing their reacquaintance with each other and their nesting songs. On my morning walk today with Maggie, my greyhound, we were both distracted by flocks of seagulls swirling about the farmer’s field. Why are they so far from the ocean, I wonder. Adapting to habitat change? Then Canadian geese add their calls. They are abundant in this part of PA and I realize how much I had missed their community when I lived in Sedona. Today I feel blessed. I receive.

March 16, 2017

Time and space for transformation appear every day. I am still in process of such a transformation after my move, in October, from Sedona, AZ to Red Lion, PA. I grew up in PA and I told myself the culture was familiar and I really wanted to be closer to my family. I need community. But my time in the stunning beauty of Sedona, where I wrote my book Tapestry, was so transformative and profound that I suppose I should not be surprised at how long it is taking me to find my way into this place. When I walk my greyhound Maggie, we walk on sidewalk instead of gravel road, or roads without sidewalk. Instead of coyotes watching us go by, there are other people walking other dogs. Instead of the incredible red rocks, I walk beside a large field with gently rolling contours. I notice how different the energies of the earth are. I notice how Arizona feels harsh and vivid and new and how Pennsylvania feels old and gentle. I miss the big, clear skies I saw on my walks in the west, and so now I paint them. That feels good. But my walks here are helping me see the loveliness of this landscape with its higher moisture saturation. Pennsylvania skies are allowing me new ways to look at sunrise and sunset and so I have begun painting what I see here as well. Nature wears different clothes here. Birds, trees, smells, sounds are again new to me. As I was on my way to visit a friend last week, I looked at the trees, still without leaves. I was traveling up a hill and as I looked up at the rise I suddenly saw the trees as the wispy tufts of hair that stick up on a balding head and I had to chuckle.

My non-human environment is leading me through this transformation into what is to come. I feel wrapped in the beauty and solidity of it. The safety of it. The promise that there is a pattern and rhythm and universe that supports us despite dislocation and change.