an ongoing story

For three years now, Varied Thrushes have been visiting me in January, marking significant points along the way in the journey of my life and the evolution of my spirit. This is the story as it has unfolded thus far. 


December 31, 2015

“I woke on this year’s very last morning, early and with purpose.
I sat by the fire before dawn and scrawled a list.
Reflections on achievements, lessons, releases. It’s good to see how I’ve grown.

I put my pen down for a moment and wandered toward the back door to peer at the morning unfolding. There, in the center of my view, lay a tangerine-breasted bird, placed neatly on the ground, claws unclutched toward the open sky. His plump body prepared for a busy spring it would never find.

My lungs brought in air and I got to work.”

After making images of this beauty, I placed the bird into a paper box along with lavender, sage, and other natural objects and wrapped it as beautifully as I could.


On the first day of 2016, I went to an intentional New Year’s Day ceremony put on by members of my shamanic community. I carefully placed the decorated box on the gratitude fire among the flowers, fruits, and other objects and gave thanks for the lessons this Varied Thrush had offered me. I watched as its energy returned to the world in flames.


In reflection, 2015 marks the year I learned to transform grief into gift.


The New Year’s Day ceremony marked the first of many for me in 2016. I attended many ceremonies and learned a great deal about healing, living with intention, and taking personal responsibility for my own life. I shifted much of the energy I had previously invested in my art into healing myself and my relationships. Many things fell apart and many things came together during the course of the year. I grew stronger, reclaiming power and vitality from the many places in my life where I had unnecessarily given it away.


In reflection, 2016 marked the year I learned to release victimization and embrace empowerment.


January 1, 2017

“I have seen a great variety of birds in my yard and neighborhood in the seven years my family has lived in outer Northeast Portland. The stand of fir trees towering over my family’s house has been home to hawks, crows and jays, and my garden has welcomed hummingbirds, eagles, herons, finches, gulls, and many other winged-ones I can’t name. But I have never seen another Varied Thrush before or since the day this one gave itself to me on the last day of 2015. Until today.

My morning was quite full, in preparation for what would be my second New Year’s Day ceremony. I glanced out the window and caught a glimpse of a tangerine color. This time there were three Varied Thrushes. The one female and two male orange-breasted birds hopped about my garden, just inches from where these photographs were made exactly one year before.

I cannot say yet what I will learn in 2017.  But I can set into motion what I intend to experience.

My intentions are simple: to give love, to receive love, and to be love.


In reflection  on 2017, I fulfilled my intentions to give love, to receive love, and to be love. I learned to give and receive beautiful, powerful, intensely passionate, magical, fiery, spiritual love. I learned to give and receive challenging, shadow facing, forgiving, pride swallowing, ego dying, compassionate, listening love. Most importantly, I learned self-love. I learned truth-speaking, boundary-setting, self-honoring love for ME.

It was the hardest year of my life.

I’m still learning. Some day, I will tell you all about it.


January 29, 2018

“The Varied Thrush came to me again today, alone and alive, and carrying about what it needs to do to survive and thrive and create. It arrived late in the month this time, but appropriately so, as it has been waiting for me to be ready. This is the Varied Thrush’s 3rd annual appearance in my life as a clear and powerful marker to me on my path.

My intentions for 2018 are: to value myself and to honor my value with actions that consistently affirm the truth of my value to the universe.

I do wonder how long this bird will visit me. I’m grateful for the gifts and teachings and reminders it has brought to me. Life, here I come!

Intentional Practice with Emily Wright

May your 2018 be filled with intention, love, peace and ease as we begin another cycle of growth and learning. 

Yoga is helping me to ground and stay centered with flexibility as I navigate the many changes in my life. I’m grateful for the many amazing yoga studios and instructors in Portland, who are sharing their gifts and presence with all those who want to bring physical and spiritual wellness into their lives. 

Emily Wright has the easy, confident and determined presence I enjoy taking yoga classes from, and working with in my studio. You can find Emily teaching classes at The Yoga Space ( a beautiful light-filled studio in NW Portland. 

Nanette Lima @ North Portland Yoga

Nanette is one of those inspiring souls with whom I have been privileged to work with multiple times. This woman inspires me with her presence, her practice, her open heart, and her purpose-driven entrepreneurial spirit. 

I had never visited North Portland Yoga’s studio before, and wow!!! What an amazingly inspirational space. I’m in love with the light-filled windows, the brick, and all the beautiful plants. 

You can find out more about Nanette, her yoga classes, her beautiful custom-made malas, and all her offerings on her website and you can learn more about North Portland Yoga’s classes at

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