Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New Beginnings, New Website

 Dear readers

I am moving to a new website at the end of the month.

Probably, most of the blogs on this page will still be recoverable. I am moving some of the most important ones (for me) to the new blog, and starting fresh from there.

If you are on my newsletter list, you will be notified.

To get on that list, see the side bar on my web page now, while it's still there :)  the address will still be the same.

I am very happy to be starting over, with a new year and a new look. There has been a long period of incubation, and hatching eggs I didn't even know I wanted to hatch.

A few new classes got developed over the summer : Mothering Ouselves and Self-Care was offered through the World of SoulCollage(R) to facilitators. The recorded version is available to members.

Kaleidosoul invited me to offer The Good Girl Archetype to their members, and that went over well.

All that to say, some new offerings are coming - how to give ourselves permission to receive Sacred Rest and restore our creative fire, a retreat I hope to offer live in the fall; and What Wants to be Born in Me has finally started to come out of the chrysalis of development.

More news soon, keep safe, be well

Enjoy the Cocooning time - here's a poem for you to help with the Unbecoming, spiralling inwards.

The Path of Unbecoming

It's okay not to have New Year’s resolutions

It's okay not to have big goals for your life

It's okay not to have plans you want to


It's okay not to chase your dreams

That path is not for everyone

Some walk the path of


They are traveling the road


Seeking the core

What is basic and essential

What has been there all along

Though we may be headed the same direction

Our spirals are mirror opposites

Some walk the path of the visionary

Creating abundance and

Dancing inside a multiplicity of forms

And Some walk the path

of the serpent owl

Becoming more and more naked

Shedding layers of fantasy into the ash

Night sky

Sitting in the dark

And seeing the way the wind moves

They do not walk a line or

poise their arrow to the target

They sit at the bottom of the ocean

And wait

Letting the waves devour them

They are following the pulse

of listening

To silence

Like a tiger in the brush

Waiting for existence to strike lightening

Into the fire of the heart

For this kind

Nothing less will do

Some are opening the palms of their hands

And unraveling

To become

Less and less

Until they are


To become the still point

In the center of


You know who you are

Keep going

~ Maya Luna 

Friday, November 20, 2020

What wants to be born in you? musings and a poem

Photo: Jennifer Boire

What Wants to Be Born in You? 
by Hollie Holden

I have become grateful for the moments
When I remember to stop
In order to listen
To what the earth has to tell me.

This morning it was a flower
Who took me by surprise
And shared her secrets with me.

She told me of her journey.
How it began in darkness,
In the quiet, cool embrace
Of the quiet, generous earth.

She told me how the light called to her,
And how, slowly but solidly,
She began to unfold towards
The simple inevitability of her calling.

She told me of the exquisite cracking-open
Of all she knew herself to be;
The opening that felt like death
Until she realized it was her birth.

And then, with her open petals,
She asked me in the way
Only a full-bloomed flower can ask,
'What wants to be born in you, beloved?
What does the light want to call into being
From the quiet, generous earth
That waits patiently
In the cave
Of your heart?' 

Dear gentle reader,

This question has been on my mind for months now. Since my mother passed in April and I began seeing an art therapist, I've been actively writing, journaling and processing so much. The following is an excerpt from my journal notes, because I feel that this work of recovery in the cave of the heart is the most vital work I have ever done. It's not over yet, but here are some musings on the process.

In my reading and writing of family stories, I have discovered what is possibly the mythos or motto of origin for my ancestors. My parents were both brought up during the Great Depression and WWII. Their underlying motto, like many in the same period, seems to have been: strive, push ahead, work hard to succeed and rise above; and at the same time, the underlying message was to ignore those pesky emotions that show weakness, too much feeling is dangerous. This combo led to generations passing down anxiety, depression, harsh self-criticism, and a low level of loving kindness to self and others. Toughness was valued. There was also a playful side, thank goodness, in their younger selves, manifest in their love of storytelling, theatre and music. But it was regulated overall by the authority of the Father figure, who gave permission for it if there was good behavior, and shut it down if it got too loud or out of control. In my family, with eight kids, the latter was very likely.

Their motto worked in times of adversity, something like being in the army - the expectation is you keep soldiering on; and my father was a lieutenant during WWII and a captain in the reserves after the war. As children growing up, even though we received the needed care if we were sick, as soon it was deemed feasible, it was up and at at’em! enough whining. Time to get out of bed, get back to school or work. That was my father’s attitude at least. Whereas my mother more and more began to drag and resist this military model; no longer the sub-lieutenant or sergeant - she showed her resistance by passive-aggressive behavior, always late for church and with eight of us that was a lot of organization, pulling back, or letting the housework slide into abandon. Drinking to feel her ‘spirit’. As the eldest, the yoke of responsible one was placed on my shoulders (along with my second eldest sister). Overarching boss of everyone comes naturally to me. My psychological profile said I would make a good army sergant! 

Last fall I came up against all of that programming and not for the first time. But now, it made me feel stuck, frozen, unsure of how to move ahead with my work.  I began to see a therapist to talk it out. Then COVID-19 happened in March,  my mother died, my dog died, and I began to withdraw to tend to my grief, and also to all the other small griefs - the endings of things that hadn’t come to pass, the two miscarriages, the death of beloved pets, the books not published or feted, I began to create space for honouring these ‘slivers’ of pain with slivers of time. Mostly, I read books, poems, made SoulCollage(R) cards and wrote in my journal.

This whole season of Covid has been a descent to the Death Café, (gently) allowing the grieving process to be felt, allowed, ritualized, veiling myself in a subtle shawl of sorrow. Swimming into the deep DNA of ancestral wounds, reverberating with echoes that go all the way back to a great grandmother's story of time a mental breakdown and time in a sanitorium. A grandmother who lost both her parents at a young age and was brought up by an aunt. My mother’s own depressive tendencies and time spent in detox and recovery. 

Oh Goddess of Never Not Broken – I am feeling broken, not whole, but am willing to abide, and befriend all the mixed feelings. Feeling and dealing is healing.

SoulCollage(R) card: Hiding, Not Knowing

And still the question comes up - What is calling me? What wants to be born in me? Constant listening for that, constant questioning. Never feeling ready or sure of a complete answer – little bits and drabs of a vision still float in the haze around me.

I wish I could learn how to say no to all that distracts me from my artist’s vow and know in my bones that I am worthy and deserving of taking time for creative loafing, dreaming, reading, soul-tending, writing or collaging. It gets easier, because during this time of pandemic, there are fewer outer distractions (aside from the US election, gawd what an awful mess).

I want to learn how to say Yes to what my soul is calling me to; I do say yes to daily meditation, and journaling time; to weekly yoga, walks outdoors. I am still asking, What is mine to do in this world?

In the meantime, while I’m musing on this and wondering if I should spend money and redo my website, and what do I want to put on it anyway about who I am and what I have to offer…. I had a therapy session that shed new light on matters. The big aha moment came when I heard - it’s ok to hang out in the swamp of not knowing. What if I am simply not ready yet to hang up my shingle and announce anything new to the world at large? What if the box I have imagined I fit in is just too small and I can open my imagination wider to include all the parts of me? The writer, the poet, the singer? not just the facilitator, trainer and workshop leader.

What if I need to feel safe, secure and connected to my solidity, to anchor my inner child who feels overwhelmed and unsupported in the Center of my own presence? What if safety and belonging are the secret keys to my well-being and also a clue to what I offer in the Mothering Ourselves and other workshops.

What if I widened the portal and let in the music, the love of singing, the visualizations with soothing voice to calm and reconnect the soul to the heart to the body to the mind? This new thought entered my mind and allowed me to stop pushing myself to find a definite answer.

What if I didn’t rush rush rush like a mad hatter or the hare, and paced myself to the pace of my body, of my tortoise breath (really, I have been saying this for years, but only now that the body feels safe enough, am I beginning to take care of my Little Jenn).

There’s also the Vision of a Sanctuary – a retreat center that we can share with other wellness practitioners occasionally. A drum circle, a fire pit, a center for a circle of wild women to howl at the full moon…the possibilities are endless.

women's circle on retreat 

What do I love is part of the question, and what would I do if I removed all the limitations and false beliefs about myself? From the book Finding The Deep River Within, came these questions.

What would I love to do if it weren’t so selfish?

Get a weekly massage. Take long drives in the country just to explore the landscape. Spend a whole afternoon chatting with a small group of women friends (oh for the days before Covid prevented us gathering in circles!). Read a book all day long and sip soothing chai. Dance to great 70s music and twirl around the room. Stay in bed and have coffee and toast brought to me!

What would I do if I didn’t care what people thought?

Dye my hair with blue streaks, wear long skirts and lacey gypsy shawls. Create big colourful murals on the walls. Enclose myself in a small cabin with a roaring fire and talk out loud, record visualizations, make up myths and stories for women…Once upon a time there lived a woman…

“That which you seek is seeking you.” says Rumi.

How to relax and surrender into the longing of your heart?

That, my friends is where I begin.  Stay tuned.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Eve poem from Collected Poems 2019 in Translation

 This poem first appeared in a chapbook, A Place of Trees published in 2003 

Eve hears about her birth

Perhaps you have no memory

of how you got here:

you arrived steaming from this wet place

stretched her skin, skull screeched through

muscle; blood streamed with water,

salty, precious; nine months long

fed through the cord of life, you breathed water,

turned somersaults in brine.

Tiny seahorse swinging by one leg,

you forgot whatever came before.


Now you have been cut

away from her body,

you must re-enter

through your own.


Surface, into bright sun,

parrot’s screech,

water steams off broad jungle leaves,

morning in Eden.


Ève apprend la vérité sur sa naissance

Peut-être que tu ne te souviens pas

comment tu t’es retrouvée ici.

Mais tu es arrivée à toute vapeur

de cet endroit détrempé,
déchirant sa peau, poussant avec ton crane
à travers ses muscles,

ruisselée de sang et de l’eau
salée et précieuse.


Pendant neuf mois, nourrie

à la corde de vie, tu respiras d’eau
et pirouettas dans la saumure,
Hippocampe menu brimbal
é à bout de jambe.

Tu oublias le fil menant à ce moment

et maintenant que tu es

séparée de son corps,
tu dois te réintroduire
à travers le tien.

Refais surface, dans la matinée ensoleillée,
parmi le cri perçant des perroquets.
L’eau s’évapore sur les larges feuilles tropicales

au jardin d’Ève.


copyright Jennifer Boire

Little Red Bird Press

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Fall Launch of Collected Poems with French Translation

Happy News! 

A poetry project long kept on hold  is now published on and .com, in Canada, UK, USA and France.

Malheureusement nous pouvons pas celebrer en personne! Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we cannot celebrate the launch in person.

I welcome visitors to my blog to click on the link above to order the book. 

Si vous parlez français, voila les versions transformés par André Jérôme, un ami de longue date qui a commence à traduire mes poèmes il y a belle lurette.

Je suis très contente que ce livre voit le jour!

Thanks for checking it out and taking a peek.

bonne journée,


p.s. artwork for the cover was done by Suzanne Marier, a long time friend of my in-laws who lives and paints in France.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Fall into Fall - seasons and cycles

SoulCollage(R): Wheel of Fortune card 

As the wheel of the year turns, and the equinox is upon us, I am musing on endings and beginnings, the seasonal cycles of pausing and returning, while the world burns in fiery conflagrations, tossed by tornadoes and hurricanes, floods and storms. It is time for me to pause and give thanks in spite of the turbulence, or maybe because of it.

Here in this protected oasis (for the moment) I look for what is solid and real, while around me everything appears to spin out of control.

In the northern hemisphere, we are wrapping up summer, transitioning to fall; it is reassuring that the seasons keep changing, following more or less a regular pattern. Here in our Canadian harbour, we are planting seeds for a new construction – a future home in the country and retreat center slash music space – a new beginning for both of us, as we tear down the old horse barn, (recycled to an alpaca farm) and get ready to clear the land and rebuild.  Hopefully next spring it will be ready to move in. A dream project is unfolding as we enter a new phase of being (almost) grandparents (due in January), and partial retirement for my husband next June.

This year has seen the end of a work cycle for me as all workshops and retreats (in person) were cancelled – with the Covid pause, there was less workflow, and more rest time. It was a needed break after spinning my wheels and ramping up my networks. It feels like the end of a part of my life cycle too – my mother passed in April, and her house of 54 years was emptied - the overflowing basement and closets, her five bedroom house finally cleaned and cleared of smoke,  furniture, old boxes of memories, letters and photos, and just plain junk. We made a big bonfire at my brother's and burned some old desks and things.  That felt good.

In this blessed pause from more public activities, there’s a strong pull to write family history or memoir (as I sort through all the slides, photos and movies, letters and treasures found in my mother’s house). There is a freedom that comes with emptying. I may become able to write more, as I let go of all the shoulds that weigh on me. I step back and imagine letting the basket of shoulds lie on the floor – maybe writing them down on small pieces of paper and burning the  words, emptying myself out just like my mother’s house--  of all the internal boxes, baggage, collections of hurts, past grievances, allegiances, lists of things I think I must do, responsibilities for others I have taken on – sifting and sorting what is mine to do or not mine, (releasing the good girl, rescuing others, being a busy body); leading women’s circles, performing a public role, or wearing the mask of One who knows how it should be; the desire to be seen as wise mentor – all that – scuffed, sloughed off, recycled and composted. An emptying out of the inner house too. Perhaps an invitation to the muse.

Here and now, fall means making arrangements to close up the deck, the dock, the porch, the cushions and couch, the outdoor places ready to be sealed up, the garden put to bed, the hedges clipped, although I want to leave the flowers with seeds and tall grasses for the birds to glean this winter. 

It will soon be Thanksgiving, and already the stores and markets are overflowing with an abundance of tomatoes, squash and cauliflower; the harvest is plentiful, we are ready for gratitude, feasting and parties flowing with the grape/wine harvest too.

May the cycles and seasons hold to their course. And may all the fullness of the season, of autumn and its rich blessings, find you well, keep you safe.

For those who are gathering the broken pieces of their homes after a disastrous season of fiery storms and hurricane flooding, may the homes you rebuild be safe and free from harm. For those faced with illness and loss in this pandemic time, may you find the grace and benevolence of life cycles, even there.

May the teachings of fall, about cycles, endings and beginnings remind us we are part of the natural cycle too, and help us find our own season of fallow, of rest and renewal.

May the muse be with you.



Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Time for Serenity Today


Time for Serenity, Anyone?

William Stafford


I like to live in the sound of water,
in the feel of mountain air. A sharp
reminder hits me: this world is still alive,
it stretches out there shivering toward its own
creation, and I’m part of it. Even my breathing
enters into this elaborate give-and-take,
this bowing to sun and moon, day or night,
winter, summer, storm, still–this tranquil
chaos that seem to be going somewhere.
This wilderness with a great peacefulness in it.
This motionless turmoil, this everything dance.

(Found on Parker Palmer's page, he adds this note: "The poem also gives voice to a simple sabbatical insight I want to keep alive: The most radical thing I can do during this era of intense social and political turmoil is hold to inner peace, as best I can. This isn’t the first time I’ve learned that lesson, but I needed to learn it again."

Some of us are seeking serenity even more than usual this year. There's a lot of turmoil going on, it's a time of great unrest. And although the summer has been gorgeously long and hot, the river water beautiful and the mountains majestic, we are also preparing for a seasonal shift, to fall and cooler weather and a return to school. This year that return is very needed yet very stressful  – uncertainty about the virus spreading amongst children, whether the kids will wear masks or not in classroom, all the little bubbles of friends spreading and mixing. Parents getting their freedom back!

Even though my kids are grown and living on their own, my son’s wife is pregnant, and therefore limiting her contacts with the world at large, safely working from home. But as thirty somethings, the invitations for weddings, funerals, christenings and baby showers are frequent - and have to be negotiated, considered, sometimes declined. It is not an easy time for any of us.

In this continuing pandemic chaos, we need a little serenity. I offer this poem as a reminder that the seasons are still turning, the dance of life is on-going, and we are part of this creation of nature. My breathing is part of the give and take.

I need to find tranquility in the midst of the chaos surrounding me, on the news, in the airwaves, around the corner.

When the moon is shining on the water, I am reminded of that beauty.

When the wind is blowing the leaves from the trees, I watch in wonder.

When the storm clouds blow and shake and shiver the sky, I am grateful to have shelter.

Laisse le vent souffler! Let the wind blow, sings Zachary Richard (amidst hurricane season).

There is beauty even in the madness – il y a de la beauté dans la malheur, sings Kevin Parent, two songs I’ve shared recently on my Facebook page. They remind me that music, songs, poetry, nature are balms for my soul – they remind me to stay where I can breathe. To re-center and lift my eyes to the sun and moon, to the stars and the sky. To dance with the wind.

Tomorrow is a full moon. I’m going to get outside and fill my eyes with light.

I want to remember the basics, the in-breath, the out-breath.

Soften my belly and feel my feet on the ground.

Stand like a tree and receive the life energy flowing.

Sending me signals, messages, this moment.

Serenity is within my reach.


SoulCollage(R) Card: Heart Focus 




Monday, May 25, 2020

Hearing the call, what is waiting to be born

This period of confinement due to the corona virus shutdown around the world is a challenging time for some, and a blessing for others.

If you are struggling to make ends meet, going crazy working at home while your children also need attention, I get it. I have the greatest sympathy (having been a writer who worked at home while my children were young).

But if you find yourself with some extra down time, and have managed to meet all your basic needs for shelter, food, safety, love and belonging, perhaps you are feeling the call for finding a deeper meaning and purpose.

Especially during the mid-life transition,  there is often a call to transformation, to reinvention. This is not so much a mid-life crisis involving little red sports cars as it is a sense of dissatisfaction, of wanting something more, of longing to get in touch with a deeper, soulful part of self. Or of finding meaning and being able to give back to the world.

Personally, I felt it most strongly during menopause, where everything I had done from age 30 to 49 began to drift away. I had been writing and publishing poetry, actively involved in the writing community doing readings and volunteering with the League of poets and local writers' organization, when I suddenly lost interest. I had two teens entering puberty at the same time as my hormones were rising, so the hot flash clash was part of this issue.

But I remember going to a week long writers' retreat and discovering over the course of that time that my true interest was not in belonging to a literary group. I wanted to reach out to women like me, mothers who were at home, part-time or full-time and trying to find their creative flow. I was not motivated by literary prizes as much as getting together with a circle of women and exploring our needs, our themes, our angst and our blessings. My women's circle became a sacred space for me to feel seen and heard.

The Creative Circle I was teaching from home sustained and fed me, as well as providing support for other women for about ten years, but then it happened again, I heard the call to reinvent myself. Maybe because I had been giving and supporting others all my life, as a eldest daughter, mother, and teacher, my well was a bit empty. I wondered how I could continue to serve while taking care of myself and feeding my soul. I took a year long course on Rites of Passage and how to create rituals so I could incorporate that on retreats with my circle of women and also celebrate their turning fifty.
But soon I was 60 and menopause long past. I was not an elder yet, nor a grandmother. Who was I now? What did I really want to do with my wild and precious life? I did what I often do when in a period of not knowing, I left for two weeks on a pilgrimage to Ireland visiting various sacred sites of the goddess with a Celtic Shaman. During a drumming ritual and ceremony, she helped remind me that my creative center was calling out for me to nourish it with something just for me. I came back still reluctant to stop leading workshops.

I was, however, keenly interested in my mother's ancestors from Ireland. How had my great grandmother's voices been shut down, and how could I dialogue with their stories of anxiety, depression and other challenges, and learn more about my own? I began writing a memoir, using letters and information from my mother, my maternal aunts, and a memoir written by a great-aunt about her life in the early years of the 20th century. I lost my mother recently, at age 89, and feel a need to get back to that writing and expand it.

All this to say, my life pattern since my mid-forties has been one of frequent reinvention, new projects, studying with teachers and travelling on pilgrimages, but above all, seeking to listen to the inner call and follow my intuition. Honing the feminine side and listening to my intuition may have been the real goal all along, rather than changing my role, giving myself a new job to do, or even a new book to write.

This call to finding our core values or selves, and honour our inner depths, may lead us to leave behind certain roles or aspects of our selves. We may feel disoriented or lost in the maze of choices available to us and not know what we really want. I know many women in my circle have gone through this in their late forties and fifties.

What I have found is that creative process has been so helpful - whether it's by using journal writing, taking a class on fairy tales and myth, using ritual and ceremony, or making collages and using the symbolic language of images, we need to find a way to go beyond our rational selves, and get back in touch with our deeper longing.

This inner voice is often covered over by the outer world of busyness, or by guilt of not being seen as productive - which makes this confinement period a great gift - we may have less structured work time, more silence, more alone time, and more opportunity to reflect, and get a clearer picture of what the elements calling out to us are. If we choose to, of course. There is always the option to pig out on ice cream and chocolate, binge-watch shows on Netflix and zone out, which I also have resorted to over the past two months. Right now my hunger is for something real, something deep and authentic, and perhaps you feel that way too.

What I want to offer you is a path to regain strength and serenity from simple practices that help to tend the soul, listen to your heart, and find where your life is calling you. Sorting and sifting, like Psyche in the underworld sorting peas and beans, is an essential task. Making peace with the past, embracing all the parts of us, the fabulous and the flawed, are also important mid-life tasks.

Life is a process of growth and change. Little by little, we find new versions of ourselves waking up, or older versions and dreams we had forgotten being revealed. Paying attention to our lives requires we grow out of the limited awareness of ourselves as merely the 'roles' we play.  Learning that our struggles and challenges are great teachers, and that we have hidden allies on our side, will help us discover our dreams, our loves and fears and bring new self-awareness, as Bud Harris, the author of Sacred Selfishness says. SoulCollage(R) and journaling have both helped me redefine who I am, embrace all the parts of myself, the fabulous and the flawed with greater self-compassion.

I hope to offer an on-line class coming soon which will help us remember What Wants to be Born in You. It is never too late to dig deep and hear the call.

See my website for more information about what I offer and sign up for my newsletter so you can find out when this class will begin.  online classes can be followed by zoom from the comfort of your living room or bedroom; a circle of support created with you in mind.