Humble Mother’s Day Gifts – May 10, 2020

Joan Adele deForest Winston with John, Lisa & Andy 1962 (sorry Mary …born 1964)

In the midst of a pandemic…    Today is Mother’s Day. I’ve been missing my mom, and thinking about all the years she lived “on the hill” out in the countryside of Western New York where we grew up. She was surrounded by nature, and lived pretty much in isolation. She didn’t drive, so the world had to come to her. She had a deep appreciation for the deer, turkey, and occasional bear that visited the yard, and she marked the calendar the day each species of bird came back in the Spring. So as I took my daily walk today, I carried her memory and her appreciation for nature with me. The gifts were even greater than most days. #beautyheals #natureheals #loveheals in so many ways.

Gift #1   Just a block from my apartment, I received the gift of another little painted rock – a beautiful blue starfish. When I got home I googled “spiritual symbolism of Starfish” and this popped up from the website Universe of Symbolism:

Starfish spirit animal opens its wings, reaching to feel all that it can.  When you are at the water’s edge of the magnificent seas and oceans something mystical happens as you gaze into the rolling tides… something within you happens and you hear the truth.

Well, that’s a home run message! One thing I’m really missing during this “stay-at-home” time is sitting on the beach at the ocean’s edge listening to the wisdom of the surf.

Gift #2   Walking up Fairhills Drive, where I hear turkeys gobbling every day, today I saw them from afar and up close. I could hear a turkey call from across the valley. When I stopped to listen and follow the sound, I could see in the distance on the next hill, a big tom with his tail feathers all fanned out.

On yesterday’s walk I had continued down the road and through that valley. Today I was called to turn around and go back down the hill the way I came up. Five minutes later as I was taking a close up photo of some yellow roses, I turned and saw a big tom turkey just a few feet from me. I stood still and watched as he did a little dance in the middle of the road and fanned his tail. I could hear little cooing sounds coming from under a bush. He was showing off, trying to coax a hen out from hiding and wasn’t paying me any attention. I very quietly, very slowly edged a little closer, and a little closer. At one point he turned and looked straight at me. I stopped, stood perfectly still as he came towards me… and then he turned and we ambled down the road together for a few yards.

Turkey is one of my animal guides. In the Jamie Sams, David Carson Medicine Cards book and oracle cards, turkey occupies the “below” position in my 9-card totem animal spread. “The Below animal teaches you about the inner Earth, and how to stay grounded and on the path.  Turkey symbolizes the spirit of giving – “Ho, Brother Turkey! So freely you give, Of everything that you are, So others may truly live.”  From Animal Speak by Ted Andrews: Turkey is sometimes called the earth eagle. It has a long history of association with spirituality and the honoring of the Earth Mother.”  So here I am. Here WE are. All of the photos I share on my daily walks are honoring a grounded path and our mother… Earth.

Gift #3   Back down on level ground I took my loop along streets with beautiful landscaping and a vast variety of flowers.  I’ve taken a couple hundred images of camellias, iris, bluebells, rhododendrons, bottle brush, succulents, honeysuckle, and lots of roses.

As I was admiring some tiny little multi-colored blossoms along the stone wall of one home, a gentleman came out the gate, “Hello,” he said. “Are you admiring those flowers?”

“Oh yes,” I said. “I’ve been walking every day since almost the start of the lockdown, taking flower photographs and appreciating all the beautifully landscaped yards in the neighborhood.”

“Would you like to come in and see our roses?” he asked. “My wife is an expert rose gardener, and the rose club meets here. Well, it did until this pandemic hit.”

We introduced ourselves and I followed him through the gate at a proper “social distance,”  into the stunning beauty that surrounded me.  Yellow, white, pink, red, peach, mauve…

“How many variety of roses do you have here?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Come back again sometime later in the day when my wife’s up, she’ll be happy to tell you all about them. Stay as long as you like, and come visit again.” With that, he went inside and left me to the roses. I took a few photos and let myself out the gate.

Elvina & Lisa 2004 – Princeton NJ

Gift #4   A couple blocks from home, near the end of my walk, my phone pinged. A message from my best friend of 45 years, Elvina Tamasi Pettus. Her 65th birthday was yesterday and we had just talked and laughed and cried together, so her message was a surprise.  And what a surprise! It said, “Just wanted to say that actually bearing children is not always the only qualification of being a Mother. For all the guidance, patience, courage and love you have extended to me and your family I wish you a very blessed Mother’s Day. I love you.”

After my mother died 20 years ago and we held her memorial in Boulder with the family gathered at my house, Elvina came from New Jersey to mother me. She had known my mom,  and I adopted her mom, “Mommy Adele,” when my mom was gone.  Her mother’s name is my mother’s middle name. From the time Elvina and I met in college we’ve both mothered each other. I’m pretty sure none of this is coincidence… it has to be some past life connection.

It is with deep gratitude that I share these gifts bestowed to me today. And in the midst of this pandemic which is causing so much disorientation and suffering, I pray that you stay safe, stay well and have a blessed Mother’s Day.  May it be so…

Footnote:   A spiritual teacher once shared with me that during a time in his life when he was experiencing deep depression, all he could do was walk. He walked for hours, sometimes days. He said, “Feeling your feet on the ground, emptying your mind and allowing open-hearted awareness to just notice what’s around you, to drink in nature, helps to ground and orient you when you are in a disoriented state.”

I started walking around my neighborhood daily about 10 days into our lock-down, discovering streets I had never walked. With the sun coming up earlier, each day I start my morning meanderings a little earlier and stay out a little longer. I’m not trying to lose weight or get in shape, I’m merely trying to stay grounded, awake and aware. So I walk with no agenda, just quiet mind and open heart. Some days I vary my route slightly, some days I reverse it totally, always curious to see a different perspective with fresh eyes. It’s my spiritual practice these days.  Visit my profiles on Facebook or Instagram

What are you doing to stay grounded these days?  Needing some soul care?  Send me a private message. Peace and Blessings…  Namasté

Seeing, Being, Playing

A rare balmy, calm afternoon communing with the Anemones, Chitons, Snails, and Kelp in the tidal pools at Agate Beach, enjoying the oneness: no mind, no thoughts, no time nor space, simply being with the experience. And then I couldn’t resist the urge to indulge in photo-play, bringing everything from that day and previous visits to life in a supra-real way.

Click on any image to scroll the gallery. All photos © LjWinston / LjW Divine Sight

Part 6 – From Spirit to Matter

Divine • Light • Mandalas  – Cosmic Consciousness Through the Chakras

Portals of Ascension

Seven years after my near-death-experience (NDE) I moved from Colorado to California to study more deeply with the spiritual teachers I had met through Mystery School. Seeking that Divine connection, that feeling of oneness, I continued my training in world wisdom traditions, spiritual psychology, Reiki crystal healing, and our Chakra system, becoming a skilled healer.

As often happens with near-death-experiencers (NDERs), in spite of the fact that I had a spiritual community, I didn’t feel like I truly belonged. Solitary, contemplative time exploring with my camera was my preferred way to ground into a sense of belonging with myself and my environment. To avoid increasing isolation, I sought connection with other photographers. During a short-lived stint with a photo club, I met someone who, like me, found photography both grounding and uplifting, and a way to create a deeper connection with self and others.

She also loved to photograph holiday lights, so we played with what I call “Camera Dancing™” ––moving the camera liberally, while using a slow shutter speed. It was so much fun! When I looked at the original images in photoshop, I thought kaleidoscope!  I mirrored each photo once, then twice. Amazing portals appeared! Spirit took over the process and the images came to life. I experimented meditating with them and found that I could unblock and re-energize stuck energy in my chakras, from root to crown. This collection has become one of my many creative, sacred, healing art tools I share with others.

Movement and mirror imaging come together to create Divine • Light • Mandalas

See slide show HERE


Transformative art must express something beyond where you are, it demands that you grow beyond your current self. This is where an artist’s angst and the pain of transformation coincide. You reach toward the true, the good and the beautiful and become a better person through the struggle.
—Alex Grey, artist

Holiday Message

May all beings be well, may all prayers be answered and may blessings reign upon the earth.

And in Leonard Cohen’s words…
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

May we BE the light…

Mother’s Day

Love is in the details…

On a stair between the 2nd and 3rd floors in one stairwell at the hospital is this heart, a mere scrape in the paint. And yet, I notice it every day, every time I take the stairs. It’s maybe an inch across. Anyway, today I took this picture on my way home after baptizing a precious baby girl in the labor and delivery department. She and her mom and grandma were stunningly beautiful.


And Happy Full Moon!!!

How auspicious to launch this new year with a ‘super’ full moon Jan 1!  AND…there are two full moons in January (none in Feb) and two again in March!!  Only happens every 25 years or so. © 2018 Rev. Lisa j Winston

Click on the images to see larger. 




A Thanksgiving Past

Thanksgiving 2009 – This was written while still living in Boulder, CO shortly after completing Part 2 of Nine Gates Mystery School. I recently re-discovered it in my archives and felt the gratitude all over again from the memories that keep on giving.

Wow…what an incredible Thanksgiving morning this is!

As I sit drinking my coffee and reading the November issue of Shambala Sun cover-to- cover, in silence, other than the quiet hum of the dishwasher running. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Every article in the magazine stirs deep feelings and the sensation that you are all with me this morning. Knowing pours in through my wide-open crown chakra…dizzying.

One article in particular about sunrise reminded me of how many spectacular and memorable sunrises I’ve seen in my life and how much more important each one is today. Sunrise has blessed me from the top of Kilimanjaro in Africa and Longs Peak in Colorado, from windows overlooking vineyards in Italy, and a hospital room in Boulder, to tent doors on the edge of red-rock canyons and deep in alpine forests. Dawn has greeted me on the beaches of Hawaii, Cape Cod and Key West, on the tundra above the Arctic Circle and in a “circle-of-souls” at Joshua Tree. And every day I awake at home I can watch the sun rise in the east and it’s light kiss the mountaintops to the west.

Last night, minutes after the sun sank, I stood in the center of the cul-de-sac and watched the space station and the shuttle chase each other through the night sky. They appeared as two stars, miles apart, but moving as one. And I wondered what early civilizations thought, if/when they saw two stars traveling together?

How big we are…how small we are…how Here we are… I give thanks to all that is, and to all of you, for you are all in my heart this day.


Sun Up on Ring Mountain

Sun Up on Ring Mountain

Mother’s Day Blessing

As we celebrate our mothers, grandmothers, aunties, and sisters–those near to us and afar, those who gave birth to us and those who support us in community–let us also remember she who holds us all, our Mother Earth. May we treat her land, waters, fire and sky, flora and fauna, all beings, with love and respect. May we kiss the ground upon which we walk, in thanks… for without her we can not Be.

May the earth continue to live

May the heavens above continue to live

May the rains continue to dampen the land

May the wet forests continue to grow

Then the flowers shall bloom

And we people shall live again.

Hawaiian Prayer – from Earth Prayers

Click on any image to scroll through the gallery

All photos infused with Spirit and ©2017 LjWinston