Arizona Sycamores at Montezuma Castle National Monument – The Trees and Me!


Portrait with Arizona Sycamores © 2014 Bo Mackison

It’s not often that I post a photo of me. I am the one with the camera in hand and haven’t much embraced the practice of selfies. So I am seldom in a photo, and happy enough to be the one behind the camera.

But these trees — these Arizona sycamore trees were not only calling to me, they were singing my name! They were insistent. “Sit on my perfect little tree nook and smile for the camera.” And so I did.

Aren’t those trees magnificent? I can never resist running my hands along their bark, connecting the many puzzle pieces I see.

I am honored to have had my portrait taken in the midst of such grand company!

Yay! Desert Wisdom Cards — Now Available

The Desert Wisdom Card sets are now available. Printed in a limited edition of 26, and numbered and signed by me, the Wisdom Cards are featured in my Etsy shop. See the shop for more photos and full details.

Desert Wisdom Cards

I created my first Desert Wisdom Card in March of this year. It was the PLAY card and featured happy, pottery jackrabbits playing an assortment of musical instruments. The photo made me smile every time I looked at it, and I wanted to share that happiness, so I posted the photo on my blog. I added a quote, some musings on the benefits of play, and a few suggestions for adding play to one’s day.

In the next months I created a total of 24 cards, and I featured many of them on my blog from March through June. Then I worked on a template so that I could create a limited edition set of the Wisdom Cards. I wrote about the final piece of the puzzle falling into place when I shared about my letterpress discovery.

Once I printed the cards, I constructed a four flap portfolio to hold the set and tied the folio with a leather tie. There is also an attached milagro, or tiny miracle, charm. (These Mexican folk art charms feature natural symbols of the desert region.) The portfolio comes in a simple muslin bag for added protection.

Desert Wisdom Card - Delight

There are many ways to use the desert wisdom cards. A few suggestions include:

  • choose a daily card as a focus card during meditation
  • choose a card as a journal or art prompt
  • enrich your daily spiritual practice through contemplation of nature
  • inspire and nurture your creative muse

These cards are not only a wonderful addition to a practice of self-discovery and contemplation, they are also a work of art – modified book arts.

Please check out my Etsy store for more information or to order the Desert Wisdom Cards. Or contact me at bo(at)bomackison(dot)com with questions or comments.

A New Beginning — Working with Cigdem

Purple Conelfower - Intimate Landscape

Purple Coneflower – Intimate Landscape ©2013 Bo Mackison

I love my evolving business. I am passionate about the changes. I am passionate about moving from one who seeks healing to one who offers a healing or self-discovery experience. I wake up every morning, excited by the work that is ahead of me for the day. I also get overwhelmed at the shear volume of what is ahead of me.

But if I’ve learned only one thing in the last 20 years, it’s to put effort into living every day, to not spend a lot of time making excuses that give me permission to quit, get sick, etc. because the never-ending excuse mill is what stops so many great projects. So I keep moving. Forward. Yes, with lots of questions and some fears but I know how to work through fear. You keep moving.   ~ Bo Mackison


Cigdem Kobu is a multi-dimensional business coach and creative woman, Her life’s mission is to work with quiet-loving, purposeful solopreneurs, helping them redesign sustainable, creative businesses so they can savor more joy and success in their lives while still being true to who they are.

When Cigdem asked if I would be interested in working with her on a restructure of my solopreneur business — from a photography-based platform to a business that encompasses my photography, love of nature, book-making, and a deep calling to share my products/services with other women on self discovery or healing journeys — I responded with a whole-hearted “yes”.

Not only is Cigdem offering me an intense program of business coaching and support over the next five months, but she will also be working with Vicky White from The Spacious Life. And for the first time, she will be openly documenting her specialized business coaching process, writing about our progress as we work on our individual businesses in weekly case studies on her blog.

This is truly a dream opportunity for me, an opportunity to work closely with Cigdem as I redesign my website, transition to a new business, develop new products and marketing practices, and make my business sustainably profitable. All this, while I develop a business that allows me the opportunity to be of service to fellow journeyers.

I know there’s a lot of work to be done, but this was not an opportunity to pass. I hope you will join Cigdem, Vicky and I as we work together.  You can follow and learn from every stage — as I learn, too! — beginning with the post that describes this creative business transformation journey.

Please join me on this exciting (and a bit scary) business adventure!


Bo Mackison is artist, photographer, book-maker, collector of stories, naturalist, poet, curator and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She is embarking on a grand learning experience, and visualizing what her dream business will look like in six months time!






Vintage Dahlia – and a Wabi-Sabi Lesson

Vintage Dahlia

Vintage Dahlia © 2013 Bo Mackison

“But when does something’s destiny finally come to fruition? Is the plant complete when it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout? When everything turns into compost?” ~ Leonard Koren, in Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers  

It’s been a rough few weeks. Really rough. A double loss in our little family. A long time friend’s liver cancer diagnosis. A co-worker’s college aged child killed in a motorcycle accident. Grief is not an easy emotion at any time, and I am working to cope with grief upon grief upon grief, while discovering the life skills I thought would be helpful are woefully inadequate.

I’ve been asking a million “Why?” questions. And getting no satisfactory answers.

Yes, I know life is cyclical and includes — on various levels — experiences of birthing, living, and dying. And during this time of grief, I tend to ask the question “Why?” An unanswerable question, in most situations like these, but it was becoming an unhelpful mantra for me.

I didn’t realize how pervasive “Why?” questioning was throughout the many parts of my life, however, until a wise mentor kindly brought it to my attention. To fully explore her comment, I began to journal. And I came up with a long list of questions:

  • Why did I create my Desert Wisdom Cards? Why am I creating the Prairie Wisdom Cards? Why?
  • Why am I studying teaching methods and taking creativity coaching training? Why?
  • Why am I drawn to mystical and sacred places? Why?
  • Why do I take photos and make the effort to painstakingly process them and post them and print them? Why?
  • Why do I long to travel, to let new places and experiences and cultures seep into my being? Why?
  • Why can’t I stay one place? Why can’t I concentrate on one project? Why do thing always seem more difficult than expected? Why? Why? Why?

My mentor suggested that I need not answer those persistent whys, that they are a both a distraction and an attachment to outcome that does not serve me in my work.

She suggested I read a small book, The Seven Paths by Christine Baldwin, one she has found of great help in its simplicity, and contemplate several of the paths — “follow your purpose while dealing with surprises,” and “ask for what you need while offering what you have.” And finally, “move gently upon the earth.”

The advice is simple, solid, and had a feel of acceptance, an uplifting quality. It offers a message to quiet the continuous chatter of “why” and substitute the more down to earth and less ego-driven mantra — “Do your work and release it into the world.”

I took these wise words one step further, and applied them to my current life situation. The above quote by Leonard Koren in his book on wabi-sabi gave me a container for my thoughts.

Our destiny, each of our destinies, is individual. We are alone on our journey, yet we walk with companions.

We may set fruit, flower, sprout seeds, or turn to compost.  No need to ask “why?” for it is all good, it is all necessary.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.   Her exhibit, Garden Party – A Celebration of Botanical Photography, is at the Alicia Ashman Branch Library Gallery in Madison, Wisconsin and runs through September 5, 2013.

Putting Out Fires – Barrier Series # 8

Fire Escapes

Fire Escapes © 2012 Bo Mackison

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Confucius

(This post is the eighth in a series of my story, an intimate exploration of art and healing.)

So the greatest glory is not in never failing, it is in rising again — a hard lesson to learn, when time after time, I make the same mistakes. (It took me a long time to learn that the only real mistake in making a mistake is denying that you made it.)

A little voice in my head often tempted me:

“Oh, go ahead. You are doing great. You don’t need to go to bed this early, you’ll miss out on the fun. You don’t need to watch what you eat – it’s the holiday season, enjoy all those treats. You don’t need that tiny pill any more – nah, don’t check with your doc. And just maybe you don’t need to see that therapist any longer. Nah, you’re doing fine.”

Now I’m in a better state of mind, I nix those crazy ideas immediately. Those ideas are crazy ideas. They send out a red alert for me. Only a few years ago, I often fell into the trap. I’d believe them. I’d eat unhealthy foods or I’d stop eating altogether. I wouldn’t listen to the signals my body was sending, all those SOS alerts. Eventually I would crash and wonder why.

“Every day, think as you wake up today I am fortunate to be alive.
I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” ~ Dalai Lama

One of the ways I’ve learned to not waste even one precious day is to follow a regimen of extreme self-care. Taking care of my body, my mind and my spirit is my first priority. Like the attendant who reminds all flight passengers to first put on their oxygen mask, I take care of myself so I am in a position to do my work, create art, help others.

Some days are easier than others. But each day is a gift, and every morning is an opportunity to consider how fortunate it is to be alive.