Author of "Recipe For A Green Life," C.S. Sherin, MA, honors life, relationships, and the sacred through storytelling, poetry, art, and photography. C.S. also creates engaging educational content across genres; and provides expert editing, research, and proofreading services. WildClover.org is the online polestar for C.S.'s creative expertise and services.
You can also find CS on IG and Medium @cs_sherin, and on Twitter @windywildclover
The cool thing about photography is that it provides an enduring insight into fleeting moments. This is one of the reasons I love it. As someone who has always preferred being outdoors as much as possible (with some exceptions), nature photography allows me to stay present with it even when I am indoors a lot of the time. There are usually important memories and moments that are strengthened and better remembered with the photos. With summer now in full swing, this is the time for exploration with my camera.
Here are some of my favorites that are also recent.
As always, if you would like to order a full resolution archival quality print or digital copy of any of my images or art, contact me.
I believe in the power and importance of dreams, because that has been my experience. No one taught me to listen to and pay attention to my dreams. When I was in middle school my dreams simply began getting my attention, and I listened. I began writing down my dreams of my own volition. There was a knowing within me that dreams are something more. I honored them and found solace and wonder with them.
Having worked with my own dreams for a long time now, I have learned that a decades old dream can still hold power and importance in the present, and for the future. There are some dreams that are powerful — and that power does not wane. Some dreams remain special because they hold a healing power and/or deep insight and Mystery.
When my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I first went to Mexico, we became engaged on the beach under a full moon. It was a special time, and a beautiful trip. That was 21 years ago. (This July, we celebrate 20 years of marriage!) It was on that big first trip that we encountered the Mayan ruins together. On that trip, and for a time after it I had vivid, spiritual dreams influenced by being present there. I wrote them down, and honored the wonder and mystery of what was unfolding in my dreams.
If I hadn’t written those dreams down, I would have lost a lot of the crucial details, and would eventually have forgotten all of it. Instead, the dreams were active, living parts of my spiritual and personal growth and development.
About 9 years later, in 2007, I had another dream that seems somehow related to that time in 1998. In this dream, I found myself being a woman of another time and life. This dream was so powerful for me that I was moved to create a painting to honor it. The following is an account of that dream. I call the dream “Ixchel Dream” because the dream seems to indicate or is in someway reminiscent of the Mayan rainbow goddess, Ixchel.
I am an Indigenous woman. I speak a different language. I am aware of who I am. I belonged to a privileged class, but I left. I am now wandering, seeking something important. I approach the edge of a jungle that meets a river. There is a clearing nearby. I look down at the river. I see a wide vivid rainbow and feel a mystical presence. I say the name for what the rainbow means to me in the language I speak twice. (It sounds like: Ixchel-coatl or Quetzalcoatl.) I look at the rainbow twice. Then, I turn and walk to the clearing. It is vibrantly green. There is a sloping hill at the end of the clearing with large grayish boulders and smaller stones. A deer appears from that area and rushes towards me. I feel scared. The deer lightly brushes my shoulder and continues on, rushing down to the water. The deer then stands still at the river, maybe to drink. I get a good look at this deer now. I am surprised to see a singular unicorn-type horn on the deer’s head. The horn is at least two feet long, maybe longer. I feel a strong surge of hope within and around me.
The feelings in the dream were: determination, wonder, surprise, fear, joy and hope. The feelings upon waking from the dream were: astonishment, engaged passion, appreciation, bemused by the mystery. The action I took in response to the dream: I wrote it down, thought about it and sat with the gift and mystery of it, and I created a small watercolor painting of the woman pointing to and touching a rainbow.
The feeling from the painting and dream remains strong. It is: proof of hope and joy contained in a spiritual depth — at a time when it is desperately needed, as time has been rough.
The painting now resides in Guatemala, with a friend of a friend, who is Mayan.
What I got from this dream was a deeper sense of other lives and realities. There was not a sense of me needing to take ownership of this life. It was an experience, a gift, and a moment of beauty and insight. The deer seemed to be a surprise that gently touched on a loving affirmation that arrives when finding or being close to finding something important. This comes after leaving what was comfortable and familiar.
Dreams hold gifts that are timeless. Sometimes they can’t fully be appreciated until much time has passed. In writing down our dreams and in sitting with the memory of them respectfully, we may find that we track and access a natural magic, medicine, and hidden knowing that can make all the difference for our paths in our waking lives.
Even in accessing and thinking of this “old” dream of mine today, so many years later, I find the energy and gift of it is still palpable and special.
I have been posting a lot of my photography and art on Instagram lately. Peony season seems a good time to post some flower photography here for a change.
Photography is something that I do as an artist, yes, but also as a way to meditate on and appreciate overlooked beauty and wonder around us each day. It begins with taking the photos with an open mind, persistence, and patience. Then, through the editing process, I begin to appreciate what is captured on a whole new level. Editing photos is a part of what makes this practice an art for me. Most of all, photography draws me close to nature in a way that goes beyond the moments of being there.
I am not going out with a tripod and big expensive lenses. I am not a studio type photographer. I have always done this in a minimalist way. That is true to who I am and how I approach life. An acquaintance of mine who gets into photography, after looking at my photography, asked what I use. I revealed my little camera, and they were shocked and said it was miraculous that I get the photos I do “with just that”. The difference between me and a studio photographer is that my core is studio artist, not photographer. I want to create art in moments and in contemplation of what is, and what arises afterwards. Most of all, when I go out to photograph, it is therapeutic for my spirit and heart, and I am able to let go and be.
Peonies are a favorite of mine to photograph. Did you know that peonies have been cultivated for over 2,000 years and can live for 100 years or more? Not only are they simply gorgeous in full bloom, they represent the ability to thrive and bloom where you are planted. Once planted, it is not recommended to move a peony plant. They do best in full sun, but some put them in semi-shade to help the gorgeous blooms last just a bit longer. From my observances, they seem to do well with a subtle structure (like a tomato cage type thing) to hold up the plant when the heavy blooms come about. Also, planted in full sun they do, indeed, seem taller and happier than those in part-shade. Without further delay, here are my peony photos from yesterday.
Isn’t just seeing a photo of peonies a real mood booster? Flowers truly are living symbols of beauty, love, and mysteries of life.
If you would like to order a full resolution archival quality print or to buy a digital copy of any of these, please contact me.
I awaken. I arise each morning. We all do. At first seeing, what is not seen — is the blank page. Upon it are wisps, remnants of elusive, felt dreams from sleeping. They haunt the unseen blank page like vivid watercolor drops that fade as they dry. Each new day, when we arise, pages have already been written… in dreaming, and other days, and then we awaken again upon a new page where we write our lives by living, breathing and being.
Blinking eyes, happily taunt-stretched limbs, the loud yawn of awakening, the guttural bellow of the flexed stomach releasing…
we may wake up with expectations and a schedule. We may be woken up by interruptions and demands. We may arise alone or crowded, or something in between… and we may want it, or not want it. We may wake up peaceful and content, afraid and worried, or neutral, or excited, or confused.
Still we wake up living and so we write upon the blank page of morning. Each blank page becomes filled with feelings, thoughts, actions, words — the seen and the unseen, and by choice and by no-choice — consciously and unconsciously.
For me, in the past year and three months, ever since a kitten was unexpectedly adopted… every morning, my blank page begins with the most persistent shower of warmth and affection — a cuddle like no other on my tip-top upper area of the chest with a complete nuzzling-in of a little face deep into my neck, where he purrs… and then sleeps, if I let him there long enough. He is soft as a marshmallow and just as sweet. He is a being who comes to me like a patiently timed magnet instantly attracted — upon my awakening. I do not write this on my page exactly, it is a repeating miracle shining upon me by a little mysterious being of love, brought here by my life partner. So, our pages can change in certain ways that are beyond us alone.
This young cat’s constancy, his persevering affection and gratitude changes my page of awakening. He softens and warms my voice and has been applying a medicine to my heart each morning that it has not known in this way and sorely needed at this time.
The unseen blank page and what I write upon it is up to me… because it is me… living and breathing. No one else can actually write it. Though others may influence and affect it. A life partner doesn’t write my pages for me but he writes beside me, and I with him. We fall asleep holding hands, waking up we are next to or near each other. Yet, everyone too… because everything and everyone are connected to all that is. We are all connected. If I forget that… my page can lose its strength. And if I forget that I am writing my own life by living it and that no one else can… then my page can lose its magic. That has happened before. That was something I wrote on pages of my life at one time. And… it is not happening anymore. Today I am writing a poem, as the silence holds my breath, writing, and being in spaciousness. That, for now, is all there is in this moment upon the page.
There is one more thing to say about all of this… shining sunshine upon others may not write upon their pages exactly, because it is our own pages we write on. Yet, what it does, is it uplifts and warms, it comforts, relaxes, and inspires, and can help to welcome in all kinds of goodness and healing.
I originally wrote this piece for Mother’s Day, but I don’t want to limit this thought and action to one day. This is for everyone, and for every day.
This is a time of emergency on many fronts, and I have found myself returning again and again to the spiritual and mental/emotional aspects in order to remain well, so that effective activism is still possible. Consider the following:
Mother’s Day (just a couple days ago) is a painful day for many people. The reasons why are numerous: a mentally ill and/or abusive mother, a mother who died too soon, wanting to be a mother but not being able to, a cold and distant mother, and many other complications and tragedies related to “mother”. And many have wonderful experiences with mother, the woman. Yet, the mother energy may also have taken the form of a sister, grandmother, aunt, friend, or single parent father.
I want to make something clear: it is necessary for us to reclaim healthy mother energy for ourselves — no matter what the actual mom and motherhood has been. We need to realize how we may have found healing and understanding of the healthy and loving mother energy from others — regardless of their age, gender, or relation to us. There are many ways that we can now welcome and honor the positive, life-giving love of healthy mother energy and being, which this world needs so badly.
Giving birth is sacred. And, there is no real need to literally give birth to a living being in order to be a mother to someone. This is also sacred. And it crosses imaginary lines of gender and species. Everyone is capable of mothering, being a mother, and providing mother blessings to others. We need this energy now. We all have the capacity to provide fierce and healthy mother energy to ourselves and others — and the Earth as a whole.
This is sacred, mighty energy that is the foundation for everything that is real and good in this life and world! This is a way of being and sharing that teaches, nourishes, protects, guides, sustains, and risks all to protect and promote health, growth, right action. This is the energy of both unconditional love and transformative love. Together they provide wise and fair discipline, while weaving inspiration and practical goodness throughout — in the midst of both hardships and ease.
At this time in history, women and girls require a special acknowledgement, protection, and respect. Women and girls are under attack at this time. Honoring and wielding this healthy mother energy for all who need it, is more important than ever.
This is the mother energy that refuses to cling, smother, or treat her children as something to live through or own. This is mother energy that refuses to rule by rejection, manipulation, or cruelty. This mother energy is a truly radiant energy that promotes and sustains: health, sustenance, and a consistent presence. The true mother energy can be terrifying in its knowing and seeing, and an absolute life-line in its ability to comfort, teach, persevere and instill goodness in her children — while respecting their unique expressions, needs, privacy, space, and paths.
Mother energy is also the planet, Mother Earth — Terra Mater, and all of her ecosystems, biodiversity, diversity, and balance of beings. This energy is also under attack and in great danger at this time. We are called now to hold in our minds, hearts, and actions ways in which to honor, act with, and preserve healthy mother energy.
It is essential that we stand up for and take concrete and practical actions to protect female rights, so that they always have say over their own bodies, and to honor females as equal — with equal rights and equal birthrights. In truth, mother Earth gives the birthrights to all beings born here: free, clean, accessible, and healthy air, water, and soil; shelter, quality of life, well-being, abundance, balance, space and freedom to be, live and grow; and health. Corruption and greed is what pollutes, destroys, monopolizes, and monetizes it. Just like females, the Earth requires our concrete and practical actions to ensure protection and preservation of her biodiversity, biosphere, balance, and health.
Mother’s Day and healthy, loving, strong mother energy is for everyone. The potential for this mother energy is in everyone. We all carry the capacity for true loving mother energy that has the power to sustain and nourish life, and encourage it further: with love, wisdom, and natural magic. Men and boys just as desperately require this energy and the preservation, respect, and protection of it. Men and boys also have the capacity to respectfully and positively wield the healthy mother energy.
I have posted two pages on my website that support the mental/emotional and spiritual aspects required in order to face these challenges, and to wield the healing and healthy energy of mother for self and others.
Speaking personally, I need to practice mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in order to be more effective in my activism. It helps me, and stands for what I believe and seek. This is why I share, in hopes that it will welcome, help and support others. Here are the links to these pages: Heart Mantra and Loving-Kindness Mantras.
May my mother be free from bondage and suffering. May my mother be well. May your mother be free from bondage and suffering. May your mother be well. May the mother within be free from bondage and suffering. May the mother within be well. May our Earth mother be free from bondage and suffering. May our Earth mother be well. May all that is be well.
Adaptation of the Metta Meditation (Loving-Kindness mantras)
Dreaming is a big part of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Most of the time, people experience five different segments of dreaming during a night’s sleep. Remembering dreams can sometimes be challenging. When remembered, finding meaning for some dreams can be elusive, if not mystifying.
Dream dictionaries provide cookie-cutter type definitions for dreams. That is far, far and away from what ongoing personal dream work processing and recording provides. When we learn to consistently engage with, honor, and respond to our dreams — dream dictionaries then fade into the background of less helpful approaches.
Dreams can be a pivotal key that unlocks enriching information that can benefit our waking lives in beautiful, healing, and transformative ways. Leaving our night of dreaming, a whole part of our lives, unexplored and underappreciated is a loss. It is like being given a secret chest that keeps refilling with treasure and maps once emptied, and never bothering to unlock it or look inside regularly.
For the last 30+ years I have kept a dream journal, tracked, and cared for my dreams, and actively explore the dimensions of dreaming. Since 2014 I have kept my dream experiences and knowledge up-to-date with respected dream books, seminars, and workshops. I regularly encourage others in their own dream practice, offering proven techniques that are helpful and that respect boundaries and avoid ego traps. Dream work is essential to my quality of life and well-being. I do some of my best work in dreams and in waking visualizations! Because of this, I share the importance of it with others. So much goodness can come of it!
Being present to my dreams, and being a facilitator and mentor for other’s dreams is sacred. It is an honor and a joy. Accessing the power and gifts of our dreams, and responding to them, is some of the best and most important work we can do for ourselves, and the world.
Dreams disturb, amaze, and puzzle us. They can be intense, frightening, fleeting, mind-boggling, inspiring, healing, and/or transformative. Learning how to be present to, respond to our own dreaming and unique dream symbols is empowering, and awakens hidden potentials.