The winter journey is now in progress. I anticipate offering a spring journey which will begin in March, 2017. If interested, please email me at bo at and I will add you to a information list.

I am offering an online workshop, the likes of which I have never heard of nor encountered in my life experience. If the words contemplative and creative and journey have a sweet juiciness for you and you are interested in a different sort of workshop, read on.

  • Instead of schedules, I offer serendipity.
  • Instead of a planned curriculum, I offer surprise.
  • Instead of expectations, I offer possibility.
  • instead of learned objectives, I offer an always-available way to engage and interact with the world

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 perhaps I might say playshop!


Items to 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
  • an ordinary practice that illuminates the extraordinary
  • ways of interacting with place that highlight how no place is truly common
  • a practice that will draw your attention to just how incredibly extraordinary your ordinary is

I will offer inspiration, new ideas, new ways of seeing and being. Until the crocuses bloom. Yes, you read that correctly. We will begin December 1st, the day I associate with winter’s beginning, and we will go until the day my backyard crocuses bloom and herald in the awakening of spring.

I will journey with you throughout the winter, holding a lantern to illuminate the path we walk together, offering light and connection and dozens of examples of how I explore and see the world – a way of deep connection invoking the wonders and mystery of word, vision, and place.

word * vision * place

Let me explain further.


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

I will share my practice of containers, an original practice I’ve developed. I’ve been working with the concept of containers to explore self, relationships, community. Everyone I’ve introduced to these practices finds them instinctive and telling and so easy to understand. There is much to see in this exploration; it truly illuminates the path to discovery.

I will share variations on how to write a poem, even if you are not a poet or a writer. Poetry can be simple to complex, straightforward to multidimensional.

Just as I believe everyone is creative, I also believe everyone has an innate ability to play with words. And yes, one plays with words to create poetry.

Word play is poetry. And it is a writing practice that is deeply meaningful.


Oh, the things you will see! The simple and the complex, the mystical and the ordinary.

There will be mandala creating. There will be map making and book making. There will be contemplative photography practices (using any camera.) These are ways of seeing and interacting with your world.


A sense of place is important. I deeply connect with the places I live and travel, be that prairie, mountain, desert, or shore. And I incorporate dozens of ideas in my day that offer enhanced ways to see and appreciate my surroundings. We will use writing, art, photography and more to create a sense of place, to embrace the essence of place.


There will be practices for all occasions! Oh! I like that! A practice for all occasions. For the common and the uncommon times in life. For the ordinary that is extraordinary. (This is the thread that runs through this practice. Yes?)

  • Practices for exploring nature and travel. And practices for your trip to the grocery store or your daily commute.
  • Practices for calming and grounding. For awakening and celebrating.
  • Practices for being being being. And for seeing seeing seeing.

Your work is a sacred exploration to me. The composition of your photography paired with just the right quote or poem draws me in to a space in my soul and invites me to linger. Your mandalas are an exquisite study of beauty and complexity, yet seem like something I might be able to learn. And then there are your words. When strung together, they become music and find a way deep into my bones.

So when you offered an opportunity to explore and study with you, I jumped on it. I know it will be a soulful, explorative journey filled with wonder and surprise. I can’t wait to get started.

~ Sharon Martinelli, Artist, Activist, Crone


Do you love metaphor? Do you see metaphors everywhere and anywhere? Are you intrigued by 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 join in the fun.

Are you searching for the positive instead of the negative, for the song instead of the scream? I am not advocating for rose-colored glasses and Pollyanna-ism. I know from much experience that life is not all rainbows and unicorns. And still, I choose to embrace life with appreciation, generosity, kindness and respect. Does this resonate with you? Then this workshop might be affirming and relevant for you.


What if you to had a creative practice that could be done in free moments? What if instead of checking Facebook whenever a free moment arises, you periodically chose to check in with yourself! Personally? I love Facebook. I love love love the connections I’ve nurtured using social media. And sometimes? I know I seek more. I know there is a connection with self that I so desire and sometimes neglect, that I want to re-establish my connection with the present and the space in which I find myself.

Do you have art supplies that you would enjoy using, but they are off your radar? (This might look like a fully equipped art room or a box of supplies you store under your bed.) What if you had playful and/or meaningful ways to use these things? Surprises or nudges to get your creative juices flowing? Hints on how to see or create in new ways? Imagine the possibilities!


First Crocus © 2014 Bo Mackison


I light the lantern to illuminate the path on which we travel together on December 1st. We will continue our journey until the first crocus pops through my backyard’s earth (or snow cover) sometime in early March.


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

Dive Deeper materials will be offered several times a month on a password-protected blog and are optional. This is bonus material and not at all required to reap the benefits of the full experience.

This guided process allows you to engage in the practice from anywhere in the world and at any time of the day or night.


I offer you my knowledge, my skills, my presence and my enthusiasm. The cost for this inaugural three-month journey and community experience is $99.00. (This works out to about $7.00 a week, or what you might pay for a fancy coffee and a little something on the side. Consider this to be a different sort of coffee break!)


Registration is now open. Email me at I will send you a PayPal invoice and add your name as a participant to the CCJ Facebook page once I receive your payment as confirmation.



To hold the lantern high to broadly illuminate our contemplative and creative journey. To connect with community that embraces life in all of its many manifestations. To offer wisdom and experiences that bring forth an awareness, appreciation, and awe of everyday life. To explore – and celebrate – the uncommon in the ordinary.

And to do this with you, my friend.

Will you join me?

The instant Bo Mackison articulated her vision for this online course I knew I wanted to participate. I have a lot to learn from Bo whose talent delights me. I am excited to benefit from the ways she sees the world.

~ Mary Anne Radmacher, Author


Row of Rocking Chairs

Rocking on the Porch

Row of Rockers © 2013 Bo Mackison

Turning a corner in Southport, I found this porch, home to a dozen rocking chairs.

There aren’t many inspiring quotes about rocking chairs. I found that surprising. The quotes I read insinuated that only those who could do nothing else would choose to spend time rocking in a rocking chair. Or that a rocking chair doesn’t go anywhere, just rocks in place, and why spend time going nowhere?

Ah, this row of inviting rocking chairs., filled with their own history.

I noticed the rockers as I strolled past the front porch of the Walker-Pyke House in Southport, North Carolina. The building, built circa 1800, is probably the oldest residence in Southport. It is a part of Southport’s Historic District and is on the National Register of Historic Sites. That’s the historical part.

Here’s the part where this photograph becomes a metaphor.

The rockers are an invitation to sit down, slow down, relax. Enjoy the view. (Imagine the view from this front porch – across the road are a few wooden piers and the gently rolling Cape Fear River. Late season day – November – peaceful, quiet.  Blue skies, a bottle green sea. Breathe the fresh air. Ahhh.)

Perhaps it’s time to take a break.

Perhaps it’s time to turn from a hectic schedule, give your body a time out and your mind some space. Allow new ideas to percolate while you relax with the back and forth of the rocking rhythm. It’s amazing how new ideas can crystalize when the mind has some roaming time.

So many things to love about the rocking chair. An evening pause. A vacation moment. A creative spark.

Do you love rocking chairs as much as I do?

Desert Tax Shelter

Bob's Tax Shelter - View 1

Sherpa’s Tax Shelter

“The Tax Shelter represents the existential struggle between the spirits. The Face is the powerful Sherpa Talisman (protector) . . . “

Bob's Tax Shelter - View 2

Sherpa’s Tax Shelter

“. . . and the rocks on the tether represent the vagaries of the tax rules – swinging forth and back.”

In the last post, I wrote about a workshop — Figures from Natural Materials — offered on January 28 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. Sherpa was visiting for an extended weekend, and we had already planned to take a day trip on his last day in Arizona. He agreed to take the workshop with me, even though he claims he’s never created a piece of original art. (He’s a numbers guy – accounting and tax stuff — and says he uses his creativity decoding the tax code. And I believe him — that would require a great deal of creativity.)

We had plenty of time to discuss the details of the workshop on the two-drive drive from Tucson to Superior. He grimaced a bit at the idea of making a “doll” from natural materials of the desert, but when I suggested he might want to make a structure or a shelter of some sort, he brightened considerably. Actually became excited.

“A shelter? I could make a TAX shelter!” he said, beaming at the idea.

And so he did.

Truly, he was one of the stars of the class. Ruth Ipsan-Brown, the workshop instructor, gave basic instructions and let us each create on our own. Sherpa did a fine job exploring the vagaries of glue guns, seed pods, and tax rules as he constructed his Tax Shelter. And he even sent me an explanation of his art, so that all could appreciate the meaning of his sculpture.

Thanks, Sherpa. It was a great afternoon – creating art, walking the arboretum, and making memories!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She takes time away from photography to explore other creative arts and create great memories, too.

Doll of the Desert

Desert Guardian

Doll of the Desert © 2013 Bo Mackison

It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living. ~ Simone de Beauvoir

Laying the Groundwork

I am exploring a variety of arts in the solitude of the desert — art that offers me a connection with my inner space, with my spirituality, with the roots of authentic living. I am searching. I am listening. I am creating.

During a conversation with a wise woman guide, we talked about the many ways of using the creative arts to explore the journey of living a full life. We discussed journal writing, art journaling, dream journaling, book-making, collage, weaving — all of which I’ve experienced, some more than others. As we were discussing a dream I’d had involving a doll house and a collection of dolls and accessories, she questioned if I might be interested in making a doll. Or several. I wasn’t sure, I replied. Sewing has never been a favorite activity of mine.

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears

Serendipity intervened. A day later I was researching visiting hours for a regional arboretum and their site had a photograph of a small figure created from the natural materials of the desert. My curiosity was piqued. After contacting Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, I learned about a just-scheduled workshop – Figures from Natural Materials. I registered on the spot. (Sherpa was visiting and I claimed a second space in the workshop for him. More on his experience in the next post — it’s an another amazing story, and too good to keep to myself!)

The workshop was taught by Ruth Ipsan-Brown. What a creative and kind dynamo! Ruth spends half her days scrounging arroyos, open desert, parking lot perimeters, and back lots of arboretums (with permission) for sticks, twigs, seed pods, cactus skeletons, rocks and minerals, dried flowers and other such stuff. When not out in nature, she keeps a look out in thrift stores (grape-vine wreaths for dismantling), gem shows (tiny crystals and beads to augment her collection) and other such places.

Ruth then creates small figures from her collection of natural and found materials. The arboretum saw her marvelous constructions, asked if she would teach a workshop, and so it happened.

We arrived early at Boyce Thompson, allowing us time to stroll the almost deserted gardens. It had rained and everything was freshly bathed, the smell was heavenly. We arrived at the workshop studio at noon and met Ruth. She gave us a few instructions – some advice on using glue guns and drilling holes with Dremls, a quick lesson on painting tiny faces on flat rocks or bone. Then the fun began.

I looked over Ruth’s collection of desert finds, picking a few things that seemed to call to me. I’d bring a handful of nature bits to my workspace, add a piece to my figure, return the unused items. Repeat. Eventually, this tiny doll sculpture emerged. I created her without a lot of planning or thought.

A Doll of Metaphors

It was not until later that evening, when I was studying my creation, that I realized the desert doll was quite metaphorical. I identified some of the plants that made up the doll figure and looked up some of their symbolic meanings..

She has a piece of the Ironwood’s trunk for the base. According to a forest lore site, Grotto Radio, this tree “will teach that you can resurrect from tragedy”. The site also says the Ironwood tree spirit is “slow and grounded. One that sees its own feet walking the path rather than looking up to see the sun. It is not about speed or result but the effort put in the moment.”

My doll-figure’s spine is a spine from a cholla cactus, a relic from the desert that could be nearly 2oo years old. It is a symbol of endurance, survival in hardship, and to the  Tohono O’odham people, “the plant is a sacred being, capable of sustaining life.” What better choice for the spine of my desert doll?

Behind the saguaro spine is a bit of feathery skeleton from the prickly pear. Merely touching this dried skeleton can cause damage. Is that a cautionary sign to “handle gently” – that everything has its fragile part?

The cactus flower is often called a symbol of maternal love, a symbol of the unconditional love of Mother Earth, even under the most difficult of conditions. Every one would do well to have a symbol of unconditional love nearby.

And one final symbol – the turquoise “hat”. The turquoise gemstone is a symbol of protection and strength.

So, it seems as if my little figure is imbued with much mythological and symbolic meaning. It was a fun exercise – both its creation and the consideration of its symbolism. I think I’ll continue to explore this type of creation.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Sometimes she takes time away from photography to explore other creative outlets, and in doing so she discovers a depth to her world she once only imagined.