Hey! Now we’re both here.

I love that you’re visiting. Having someone over has a way of pointing out things I usually don’t see. Kind of like when you see a photo of your kitchen and you see the side of your fridge with all the coupons and postcards and magnetic business cards stuck to it and realize, “Geez what a mess! This is what people see when they come into the house.” And you think back to people looking around and smiling politely.

Phyllis' messy party pic

Well, yeah, so, I collect things that delight me and many times find a way to display them. My home is filled with whimsical, beautiful, oddments that are mostly made of natural elements: stone, wood, clay and feather. Lots of feathers.

My work space looks like a cross between something a kindergartener brought home and an altar by the side of the road in New Mexico. Basically, everything’s an altar, an homage to the Spirits that keep it all orderly and safe for us. The wind’s kicking up as I write, which, while I don’t believe in signs, I do notice and tuck them away in case I need it to make sense of something later.

Phyllis workspace/altar

You know what I mean? That push and pull between the mind’s tendency to make sense of stuff, even if it has to lie and twist and be outrageously dramatic to do it, and the soul’s quiet knowing that this riotous assortment of life can never, ever be known or understood fully…and that’s okay? The struggle to quell the anxiety of the thought, “Maybe I’m horribly mistaken about all of this,” with the certainty of the heart, that keeps saying, “No, you’re good, honey. Just keep checking back.”

basket with heart stone

I’ve always been pretty stubborn when it comes to making my way in this world. The couple of times I’ve done things because that’s what people do have backfired mightily when my heart hasn’t been in it. I’m basically unable to go against my gut. Which is a blessing, of course. But makes for some pretty wavy walking.

When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher, a nurse, or a spy. But basically, I wanted to be a spy. I just threw in the other two to throw people off. Growing up in the age of Mission: Impossible and It Takes a Thief, I was attracted to the lipstick, the gadgets, the deception, the risk, and, of course, the high-end flirting. (I think even then I knew it was more than flirting.)

But there’s only so much spying you can do before you eventually either discover you’re not that, or you fall in love with your “marks,” throw away the disguises and defect.

Once fully immersed and naturalized, the only thing to do is enjoy, express and create, which is basically the holy trinity I believe in, with god being, of course, love itself.

The spiritual practices and musical traditions I am drawn to are ones that reach far back into human history. Everyone alive has these roots. As a drummer, I perform and teach the frame drum, which has its roots as a sacred instrument used to evoke a trance state in ceremonies and for healing. My spiritual practice is based in core shamanism, which also traces its roots to the beginnings of human spirituality.

Frame Drums

But I believe anything can be a channel for a direct, living relationship with the Divine. The inner life is constantly hollowing that channel, and the outer life is what happens as a result of being in that divine connection.

My professional training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy, a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, a Certificate in Spiritual Psychology, and a two-year Apprenticeship in Shamanic Healing. I have been fortunate to have had wonderful teachers in all these fields, as well as in music. I studied with the late Layne Redmond, who pioneered the modern frame drum renaissance with her book When the Drummers Were Women, and with Maine drumming masters, Inanna Sisters in Rhythm.

Shamanism Poster

In April, 2013, I published my first book, a collection of poem-prayers, entitled To Whom It May Concern: Prayers Without the G-Word, a journey of a personal spirituality for those who need Something other than the God they grew up with. A year later, I created Soul Messages: Lavish Love Notes for the Soul, an inspiration oracle consisting of a book and cards developed for the little lost soul in all of us as we blossom and grow into our wisdom. I’ve written over a hundred songs, mostly sweet and soulful things strummed on a guitar, about everything from heartbreak to existence, and lately many of my compositions are improvisational vocals over trance rhythms I play on the frame drum.

As a workshop leader, I’ve designed and facilitated introductory writing, vocal improvisation, drumming, self-exploration and creative self-expression experiences in both clinical and community settings for over a quarter century. I discovered that I naturally channel a loving Universe when I am communicating with others in a healing setting.

Desktop Assortment

I’m both a grammar nerd and a foolish lover of idioms and dialects; a bossy know-it-all and a servant to the moment; a planner and an outrageous improviser; precocious and a late bloomer. Cruelty makes me sick to my stomach. Inspiration is my bread and butter. In addition to all of the above, I am also a goofy dancer, a laissez-faire gardener and a cast iron skillet buff.

I wrote my first song when I was 12. It’s called Crazy Kid. I idolized the singer songwriter poets of the 60s and 70s. Later I discovered the Beats of the 50s. The confessional poets blew my mind. They are the closest to me, the folks who, through their own expression, search, and who express the search through exquisite attention to the inner landscape.

I had my true adolescence in college, where I learned to push the edges and finally dropped out because there were too many of them, and they were all going straight up and down. I still don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but it was the only thing to do. I saved college for later, when I had an idea of why I was going.

Artists Talismans

I was in a folk trio for a goodly number of years, then walked away when I woke up to my own displeasure and realized I had no idea what I cared about musically or any other way. I seem to go to sleep for times at a time and then wake up. Do you, I wonder?

There was a period of time when it looked as if I’d put aside writing and making music, when I got married, divorced, earned a master’s degree, and struggled into the professional working world. I maintained all that through a second marriage that was over in the first few months but stayed official for several more, and during that time I was snatched from the jaws of addiction and started to wake up on a whole new level.

Bowl with seeds still

Recovery has been like water for my soul. Also like one of those annoying people who, walking by the jigsaw puzzle you’ve been squinting over, picks up a piece and plops it into place without so much as an apologetic nod. I’ve needed the clear, loving discipline of a daily practice that includes surrender, abstinence and prayer.

My art is my love letter to life. It is the way I express who I am. It’s my way of making beauty. Artists are people who listen deeply to the inner layers of life, make connections where there were none, and forever altering the way we see our world. There isn’t anything I intend to do with my expression except be true in the moment to what is right there waiting to be freed. I hone that trust every time I listen within and express what’s there.

The focus of my work right now is deepening my dedication to my creative soul by living deeply from it. I feel the power of creativity could be something that is able to move energies that have long been stuck, in me and elsewhere, in others. There really is only one location, here. And only one time, now.

Artist Talismans

My coaching practice supports my art by being the place where I share this adventure with clients who also want to deepen their connection to their creative soul. It is ever-evolving, a work of art in its own right.

This website is a place where I share my journey with you, whoever you are–someone just stopping by, or an old friend who follows my posts on a regular basis. And if you’re interested, you can also meet my other creations–books, music, resources for creatives, personal growth tools and videos, as well as find recommendations for books I’m reading, books I love, and other things I think are great.

You can also, if you’re so inclined, join my mailing list and try my 30-Day Creativity Breakthrough, an ebook guide to healing your relationship with your creativity, sign up to receive Soul Messages in Your Inbox, and contact me directly to inquire about coaching programs I’m currently offering.

I love that you’re here. Did I say that? I hope you’ll let me know you stopped by. I always love hearing from you.