Contemplative Creatives Journey – Spring 2017


This gently guided journey with Bo has infused my existing practices with renewed energy. Her exquisite leadership is informed by experience, training and soulful instinct. I consider her a modem mystic. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

If the words contemplative and creative have a sweet juiciness for you and you’re interested in a different sort of workshop, read on.

  • Instead of schedules, I offer serendipity.
  • Instead of a planned curriculum, I offer surprises.
  • Instead of expectations, I offer possibilities.
  • Instead of learned objectives, I offer an always-available way to engage and interact with the world through art, nature and the written word.

I combine my roles as curator of life experience, writer, artist, and Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach to offer you a meaningful and fulfilling workshop. Or might be truer if I substituted the word play-shop!

MY SPRING OFFER: YOU WILL RECEIVE REGULAR AND RANDOM PROMPTS, QUESTIONS, AND EXPLORATIONS as we shift from the sweet darkness and introspective work of the winter season, and journey towards light and a new time of awakening and growth. I will offer inspiration, new ideas, new ways of seeing and being.

Together we will explore themes and creative practices that inspire and encourage, elicit wonder and awe, uplift your spirit and feed your soul.


This practice does not require that you set aside a certain amount of time each day (unless that is your desire.) Mostly, it is this:

  • a practice that is gently woven throughout your day
  • a practice that illuminates the extraordinary in the ordinary, enhances the uncommon in the common
  • ways of interacting with place that highlight the wonder of and connection with nature, no matter where you live, work and play.

We begin March 15th, as spring approaches, and we will journey together until June 15th.

I will journey with you throughout the Spring as we Mine the Divine from Within. I will share dozens of creative and contemplative practices as together we explore and connect with the awakening earth.


YOU WILL RECEIVE REGULAR AND RANDOM PROMPTS, QUESTIONS, AND EXPLORATIONS as we shift from the sweet darkness and introspection of winter, and journey towards light and a new time of awakening and growth.

I will offer inspiration, new ideas, new ways of seeing and being, as we explore themes and creative practices that inspire and encourage, elicit wonder and awe, uplift your spirit and feed your soul.

These practices do not require you set aside a certain amount of time each day unless that is your desire. Mostly, it is this:

• a practice that is gently woven throughout your day

• a practice that illuminates the extraordinary in the ordinary, enhances the uncommon in the common

• ways of interacting with place that highlight the wonder and connection with nature, no matter where you live, work and play.

There is a strong community and collaborative aspect in the group, but it is always invitation and opportunity, never a requirement.

Bo has created a safe and sacred space for creativity to flourish, respite to abide, and healing to occur – no matter what is happening in our internal or external worlds. The vulnerable and honest sharing of her own creative practices has invited me more deeply into my own. I cannot recommend this offering or her heart on others’ behalf highly enough. ~Ronna Detrick

In community and individually, we explore these themes:

word * vision * place


This practice focuses on how to connect — to the world, community, and self — using words. We will play with words, explore words, and connect nature and place using words.

I will share many ways to create poetry, even if you do not call yourself a poet or a writer. Poetry can be simple to complex, straightforward to multidimensional. Many of the writing practices are collaborative invitations.

Not only will we play with words – one-minute poetry, collaborative poetry, poetry prompts to create original pieces – but during the Spring season we will create postcard art and art using letters and words.


Mandala making will evolve from the practice of using metallic pencils on black paper – my preferred winter practice – to exploring the emergence of Spring’s color using found objects and a brighter palette of colors and papers. Focus: found art and mixed media.

We will learn to make simple book structures and incorporate these books in our exploration of the everyday sacred. Focus: Simple book structures. Content creation.

The photography component will focus on contemplative photography practices (using any camera.) Focus: new ways of seeing and interacting with your world. 


As Spring approaches and the days lengthen in the northern hemisphere, exploring and connecting with the outside world becomes more accessible.

I’ll be introducing the concept of backyard phenology – the study of nature’s calendar, an in-the-present survey of the cycles of plants and animals as they interact with climate and habitat.

We will consider the art of pilgrimage and how one introduces the concept of taking a pilgrimage when exploring one’s home and environment.

We will use writing, art and photography as creative vehicles to create a sense of place and embrace the essence of place.


Do you see metaphors everywhere and anywhere? Do you think in metaphor? If your answer is yes, then this workshop is likely something you will love.

Do you thrive with to do lists? Do you do your best, most creative work on a schedule while meeting deadlines? If your answer is yes, then this workshop will likely be a different sort of experience. Are you ready for this kind of change? Then come along and explore the creative and contemplative life with spaciousness and spontaneity.

Are you searching for a place of sanctuary, a place to recharge your inner battery so you can show up bright and energized for the demands of everyday living?

Together we will walk on a journey of enhanced awareness of the miracles and beauty of the ordinary, of renewed appreciation for the renewal of life as the natural world reawakens in Spring.


What if you to had a creative practice that could be done in free moments? What if instead of checking social media whenever a free moment arises, you chose to check in with yourself instead! I know there is a connection with self that I greatly desire and often neglect and I want to re-establish my connection with the present and the place in which I find myself.

Do I have the right kind of supplies? You create with the simplest of supplies, things you likely already own.

  • Paper of any sort, i.e. sketchbooks, copy paper, ephemera.
  • Any sort of mark-making media you already have, i.e. pens, pencils, markers, pastels, paints.
  • The camera of your choice (Cell phone camera is perfect.)
  • Mixed media supplies such as old magazines, household ephemera, a glue stick.

Whether you have a fully equipped art room or a box of supplies you store in a closet, you will find new ways to explore these things. Surprises or nudges will get your creative juices flowing. Hints on how to see or create in new ways will offer you unlimited creative possibilities, easily incorporated into your everyday routine.


The Spring journey is 13 weeks long. We begin on March 15 as Spring approaches, and continue until June 15th.


Private community on Facebook. Everything will be delivered to a private Facebook group page and may show up anytime. Surprise and serendipity! You are encouraged to share your discoveries and experiences in the private group however and whenever you choose.

This guided and easily accessible process allows you to engage in the practice wherever and whenever you choose.


I offer you my knowledge, my skills, my presence and my enthusiasm. The cost for the 13 week Spring journey and community is $99.00. (This is about than $7.50 a week, what you might pay for a fancy coffee. Consider this a different sort of coffee break!)

Note: This price is locked in for you. Once you have journeyed through one season with me, you are welcome to join other seasons I offer at this price.


Registration is now open. You can use the PayPal link below.

Click Here to Register.

I do hope you will join me.



Emergence – Poem and Mandala

Emergence ©2016 Bo Mackison

Emergence ©2016 Bo Mackison

In the middle of the night
when my companion is the tick
of the second-hand
– and heart beat

In the early morning hours
awaiting first light
so still in the house
– too quiet

In wait for the coming of storm,
be it thunder, hail, snow squall
– or a brewing wild within

Midst scheduled days or days unfettered,
in calm or angst
with joy or grief,
– take up your pen and paper

And in keen or chant, praise or lament,
in raised voice or sultry whisper,
(remember this)
– all is sacred and profane

Cast spell and benediction,
turn your words into phrases
and phrases into lines
– invite unruliness and ecstasy too

Take up your pen,
invoke madness or muse
Take up your pen and write
– then, poetry emerges.

Blessing – A Poem and Mandala


Blessing © 2016 Bo Mackison

A Thanksgiving Blessing

Bless the beginning and the end
and all moments in between.

Those in-between moments, long pauses,
interminable wait or – paradoxically –
too much action. A blur, a flash, a crash.

Bless this very moment.
Bless me, sitting at my desk, with filtered November shining through my window,
a light/shadow abstract cast upon these written words. Holy words.

Bless this moment of routine
of ritual.
In the midst of the ordinary and mundane
In between the common and the trivial.

In the midst of unspeakable despair
lingers a relentless awareness of what is.

Yes, here is the sacred.
In this – the present – there is presence.

Bless the quiet night
and the firelight,
the dark shiver and the cold.

Bless the dream unfolding in sleep
and the dreamer;
Bless the seeds germinating in damp earth
and the cracked seed, foreteller of life.

Bless a pale sun that casts blue shadows on crested snow;
Bless the lakes and rivers in icy embrace.

Bless us, in our silence and our singing,
our laughter and our weeping.

Bless absence in the presence
and presence in the absence.

Bless this moment.
Bless us all.

Telling My Story – A Mandala

Tell My Story ©2016 Bo Mackison

Tell My Story ©2016 Bo Mackison

Tell my story.

I’ve been writing a lot. Stories that feel “too hard, too messy” to write anywhere other than my private, password-protected journal. Just yesterday, I reached a tipping point where it now feels important to give my story the dignity of being seen in the light, not kept hidden in the darkness.

More often than not I want to diminish my story. But in diminishing my story, I keep myself in a dark cage, silenced. I reinforce “my story is not allowed.” “I am not allowed to speak.” “I am not seen.”

The above mandala? It was part of my process of allowing, of sharing, of being. For every “x” I marked on the mandala, I spoke aloud the words “my story needs telling.”

And so I… tell my story.


I woke up this morning unsure of where I was. I grappled with my bed sheets for a minute trying to remember. Oh. Pillow. Mattress. Early morning light shining through the window. Gracie breathing at the foot of my bed. My bed. All safe. All sound.

And though I know this to be true, that I am safe and sound in my bed, I am not convinced.

Moments before I did not feel safe nor sound. Suspended in that half-awake half-asleep threshold, in a gray state of floating semi-consciousness. Where reality and fantasy mix. Where truth is mist and swirl. Where my foot searches for a place to step that does not shift into nothingness.

In my dream, I am trapped in a small stone hut on the outskirts of a metropolis. I could see through a ground level slit in the door. There were people, tall buildings, streets clogged with traffic in the just beyond. I had no voice. I tried to call out to the passers-by, to the taxi drivers, to a crowd of children feeding birds near a rainbow-lit fountain. No one could see me, huddled on a concrete floor. No one could hear me, my voice silenced. I tried to write a message on the floor of the hut, convinced all I needed to do was write my name. Until I realized that I was writing with my blood.

Half awake, I struggling with the twisted bed sheets. Then I was fully awake and on the verge of panic.

There is a lot of noise in the world right now. Nationally, the presidential election, only 19 days away, is in the headlines 24/7. Closer to home, I am adjusting to elder care, responsibilities that do not play into my strengths. In my home, I am working through relational issues. None of these are easy. I might call them triggers, but triggers are getting a lot of pushback in the news. Media headlines imply they are an over-reaction, that we should all just grow up as a society and be strong enough to handle the unpleasantries in life. Triggers be damned.

Recently Donald Trump made clear (to me) his reputation as an abuser. In one of his many verbal diatribes, he called out Senator John McCain as suspect, claiming he was “only a war hero” because “he was captured.” Trump insinuated that the very act of being captured by the enemy was a sign of weakness. Trump is a trigger.

Trump also claimed that returning veterans who are “strong” do not get PTSD, but “others can’t handle it.” It is the victim’s fault for getting captured, for not being strong enough. For not rising over impossible hurdles. It is the victim’s fault.

When my youngest daughter was a senior at the University of Wisconsin, a student group had a rally on the quad. A few students erected several bamboo cages on a grassy space in the middle of campus and “lived” in these cages for 24 hours. It was their way of calling attention to still-unaccounted-for POWs from the Viet Nam Era.

The cages were constructed of bamboo sticks, maybe 3 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, the size of a large dog kennel.

We had made plans to meet for lunch across the street from the quad. We had a thirty-minute wait at our window table for pizza, so we watched some of the POW activities. When our food finally arrived, I was no longer hungry. I was having trouble enough simply breathing.

Putting these pieces together — my panic upon waking, a dream where I am trapped in a small hut, my only way of communication writing my name in blood, the blaming of victims for their weaknesses in response to trauma, the cages of torture and imprisonment — makes me want to deny there is any connection between the horrors of war and the horrors of child abuse.

Isn’t it better to minimize, to accept the blame, to deny triggers?

I hear voices from my childhood. “Don’t make a big deal out of nothing?” “Don’t tell. No one will believe you.” “It’s your fault.”

And a half century later, I am ready to say, “No. That was a big deal. I get to tell my story. It was never my fault. I believe me… and maybe others will, too.”

Sound Byte – A Poem


Morning Flight © 2014 Bo Mackison

Morning Flight © 2014 Bo Mackison

Sound Byte

The sound was so even, so precise,
I looked around the room, half-expecting
to see the old rocker swaying,
inhabited by grandmother’s ghost.

But no, it was the creak of Canada geese —
their approach, fly over, diminuendo.
And I was held in stillness — breathless
at the wonder of it all.


Playing with words is a part of the practice on the Contemplative Creatives Journey, of holding an awareness of what catches your attention. What are the connections made without thought? What insight comes when transcribing words from thought to writing, the moment not lost but gently held?

Please consider joining me on the Contemplative Creatives Journey, an online workshop and community. Beginning December 1st, 2016.