Spring Lilies Evoke Energy of Gratitude

When my father planted the secret garden of our alley with spring lilies in 1994, he couldn’t have imagined the lasting energy of gratitude those simple bulbs would evoke over the years. They bloomed so brightly, so shamelessly, so vibrantly the following spring that my mother was compelled to paint them in their glory. And now, decades later, “Spring Lilies” has become one of her most beloved paintings of all the genres and all the moments she memorialized in her work which spanned fifty … [Read more...]

Rx: 3 Steps to Mother’s Day Forgiveness

Today marks the 15th Mother's Day since I became a motherless daughter. I am grateful that my mother and I were able to resolve our difficult relationship, and my heart goes out to the many for whom this holiday brings nothing but pain. Earlier this week, I spoke with Lynda Martin on San Diego Living (click to view) about the Mother's Day dilemma. Tonight, my Rx for Mother's Day airs on KOLO-TV in Reno/Lake Tahoe, the region I fled to forty years ago, to escape her. For anyone who has tried to … [Read more...]

Guided Self-Discovery Can Be Sublime

The Mother-Daughter Way LIVE weekend was a celebration of shared self-discovery. On the sign-in book, I see these comments: "A warming of the heart," "Wonderful sharing and fellowship," "Beginning to really enjoy life," "Sharing with others is very healing," and "an opening of the heart in remembrance of Mom." Although our event began on a snowy afternoon chronicled by local photographers, we offered a warm welcome at "Ocean Alice's." Our off-site host, the Victorian Motel also rolled out the … [Read more...]

Transcendence in the Mother-Daughter Way

    For the final week of the Mother-Daughter Way, we focus on transcendence. What does that mean in everyday terms? When my mother asked me to sit for this portrait, I resisted. I was busy. She was dying. I imagined having yet another unfinished portrait to remind me of the ways we couldn't sign off on each other. However, I agreed on the condition that I could write while she painted. I loved watching the way she rallied when she picked up a brush. As I recorded her … [Read more...]

Nurture Your Blessed Autonomy

For the 11th week of the Mother-Daughter Way, we are nurturing a blessed autonomy. In this photograph, my grandmother reads her memoir and shares her vision of more than 90 years on this planet. She was sure that the world outside of her small apartment would receive her words, and that they would live on. It was a lesson she showed me, and I love passing it on to you this week. She knew she was the author of her life story. To nurture your blessed autonomy, this week's body/mind focus is a … [Read more...]

Seek and Defuse Emotional Triggers

For the 10th week of the Mother-Daughter Way, we seek and defuse emotional triggers that sabotage momentum, harm self and loved ones, and destroy peace. These sometimes-benign categories can derail your best self. This week, we do a writing exercise to unmask the devils. In our mind-body practice,   we gird our spirit with Ujjayi, or Ocean Breath (click for audio guide) and Utkatasana (Chair) or Fierce Pose. The list of emotional triggers includes some that you would expect ­– alcohol, drugs, … [Read more...]

Compassion is Another Kind of Beauty

  Compassion is the focus for the 9th week of the Mother-Daughter Way – compassion for self and for others. Valentine’s Day messages bombard us with lush images of romantic love  –  images that can be elusive and misleading. They exude a manufactured beauty that doesn't fit all shapes, sizes or ages. By contrast, compassion is always a good fit. This week, we look at times in our lives when we gave up on a dream that still smolders. It's essential to recognize and heal those … [Read more...]

A Powerful Combo: Emotional Strength & Vulnerability

Self-Portrait, c. 1996 Watercolor by Alice Steer Wilson

Emotional strength coupled with vulnerability makes a powerful combination. After my mother died, this self-portrait startled me when I found it among her works-in-progress. It showed her strength of character and her self-awareness as she faced her mortality. The portrait was a project my mother started after she survived her first battle with breast cancer, but she never signed it or left any description for provenance. I dated the work by the visual clue of her curly post-chemotherapy … [Read more...]

Envy Opens the Mother-Daughter Connection

  Connection is the focus of this, the 7th week of the Mother-Daughter Way journey. My connection to my mother, Alice Steer Wilson, fifteen years after her death, is one of imagination and memory. I lead this part of the journey with a renewed sense of the relevance of the program mission, which is to open up the process of self-mothering the way you wish you could be mothered, or in the case of a difficult daughter, the way you wish you could open up that connection using the MOM … [Read more...]

Blessed Abundance or Cause for Panic?

The weather forecast for this weekend is all about abundance. Of snow. Which conjures Abundance's evil twin, Scarcity: scarcity of groceries, transportation, and brawn to shovel the walks. When I walked the dog today, I was warm because my sister Deb, who travels to Sweden, taught me that there's no such thing as "bad weather" -- just "bad clothing." She doled out this tidbit of sisterly wisdom on a cold winter day in Cape May, as we prepared for Christmas. The wind was bitter and I was … [Read more...]