January Thaw II: A Green Light on Your Possibility

Green Light on Possibility

Last week I wrote about the origin of The Mother-Daughter Way, and offered a glimpse of the power of the MOM Fix to shed light on, and reveal alternative endings to painful mother-daughter stories. I’m excited to do this pilot program with a group of interesting, thoughtful women. And I do the entire program right along with them. Yes, I've been doing this work for over fifteen years, and yes, I love the life I am living. But if I fail to cultivate my own self-mothering traits of mindfulness, … [Read more...]

A January Thaw: Melting Frozen Stories of Mothers and Daughters

I HATE MOMMY! Desk copy

The month of January is named for Janus, the God of beginnings and endings, transitions and movement, entrances and exits. In just three weeks of the Mother-Daughter Way pilot, we have witnessed gates of the heart opening. Last Tuesday night, on our weekly conference call to understand and melt the frozen parts of our stories, a woman whose estranged mother died decades ago said, "I was writing as if I was having a conversation with her. I asked her what her mother was like, and I started … [Read more...]

Christmas Story: Mothers and Daughters

mothers and daughters

Red was my mother's favorite color. I love blue. For the first week of the Mother-Daughter Way program, we focus on safety: feeling grounded and connected to earth. Within the practice of yoga and energy work, we honor the ethereal body by balancing the chakras. The healing begins with the root chakra, which is associated with the color red and the element earth, or source. Every Christmas, I feel close to my mother when I surround myself with red. What brings you close to your mothers or … [Read more...]

MOM Fix III: M is for Mercy

Jan's Bouquet, 1966. Alice Steer Wilson oil on board, 9 x 6 inches. From Alice Steer Wilson-Light, Particularly, by Janice Wilson Stridick.

Even when I was an angry teenager, long before my mother and I forged our way back to forgiveness of each other and ourselves, we shared a love of the colors of nature. I was grateful for the beauty of the roses my father grew in our garden, and when I picked a few and gave them to my mother, she expanded the gift by creating the painting above. Later, when I prepared to move across the country, she gave me the painting as a memento. The 3rd profound shift to lighten and reframe the … [Read more...]

MOM Fix II: O is for Openness

Be My Guest, 1992 Alice Steer Wilson watercolor on paper

The open doors of her third floor studio inspired this black and white watercolor my mother painted to illustrate my grandmother's poem about aging and seclusion. When the three of us started working on The View in Winter, Alice planned to use her skill as a colorist to brighten up her mother's poems. I argued against the use of full color illustrations because I wanted the art to complement, not overpower, the verse. Alice agreed, reluctantly, to work in black and white, and later, she was … [Read more...]

The Mother-Daughter Way Unfolds . . .

I'm excited to share a work-in-progress, the Mother-Daughter Way, although I rarely do that. This work is highly collaborative, and I welcome your questions, comments and feedback. In the potential cover for the book, my mother sits before a blank canvas in a watercolor self-portrait, "Winter Work," (1994) done in her Merchantville studio. The image on the right is her oil portrait of me, "Jan in Blue," done in 1973 as I prepared to move across the county and start a new life as far away from … [Read more...]

Art Sale as Autumn’s Release

The summer of 2015 went by too quickly, as many summers seem to, but this one was remarkable in the level of excitement and discovery that stayed high all season. The last time I posted, I had yet to open the exhibition of Alice Steer Wilson's works at the Carroll Gallery. Since then, I have collated and sold a record number of card packs and prints. Next Friday we will host a closing sale and celebration of the works, and all the stories as well as old and new friends they have brought … [Read more...]

Thrilled to unveil Alice’s Cape May, the part represents the whole . . . .

Fifteen years ago, Saturday, my mother began painting a large oil portrait of me. That may sound unremarkable, since she was a painter and I am her daughter, but it was highly charged for two reasons: I was busy, healthy, and I hate to sit for portraits. She was weak, breathless, dying of breast cancer, and she had never been satisfied with any of the previous portraits she’d attempted of me. In her home, and my sibling’s homes, there were plenty of portraits of the rest of the family. Her … [Read more...]

Loving, Losing, Letting Go

Yesterday, I helped out as my friend Sandy Sampson conducted an estate sale to empty her parent's home. I had to see how she did it. Sandy is an awesome daughter who provided much family caregiving over the past decade. Her father, Harry Trigg, died in April 2009, and her mother, Marion Jane Bold Trigg, passed away four months ago, on Christmas Eve. Sandy set her mind and heart to the difficult task of clearing out her family's lifetime of collections, and to do so with the willing … [Read more...]

The Promise of Mothers and Daughters

...this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard; this is how you smile to someone you don't like too much ...   Jamaica Kinkaid, "Girl" Will you be there?  ...  Can you hear the truth?    Tori Amos, "Promise"   It's been a lovely meditation for me to sit down and write daily tributes for Women's History Month. Now, on the last day, I'm returning to the relationship with the most elemental power­: the Mother-Daughter bond. So … [Read more...]