Day One Hundred Five 2017 Transition


April 15, 2017

Bohemian Grace

Coyote Road

Fort Sumner, New Mexico


Day One Hundred Five 2017 Transition


The transition is complete. If I have always been wildish I have now acknowledged it again and painted it on my skin. When I was a teenager I tattooed a marijuana leaf on my ankle and a heart on my wrist. I have long since wanted to have a horse done on my shoulder blade but never found the right time to have it done. Now, having hired a talented young artist with a light and steady hand, and having had the chance to witness his work beforehand, I have fulfilled my wish.


First, being not so brave as I would choose, I had my favorite eagle feathers (my own creations, all) penned on my shoulder. If it burned it was not truly painful and I sipped a beer through the process. Beings that I rarely indulge it served the purpose well and with some good company for distraction the time passed quickly. It took little thought to decide to finish the effort either and I arranged to return the next day for the other. Yesterday found me sitting for the horse on my back and then, as it was now a familiar effort, I had the Zia symbol emblazoned on my other shoulder, all for balance of course. We all joked that it was only the beginning and although I have suggested it is enough there is the temptation to continue.


If I have wondered why a person might blanket themselves with tattoos I now understand more of what is behind it. If it is in part a social statement the personal message is far more important. The symbols we choose to write on our skin are a statement of who and what we are and the experience of doing so elevates it to yet another level. It was in fact one of the more spiritual things I have ever done and as one sits and feels the pain of the ink entering their skin it takes you to that higher plane of thought and experience. It was almost as if I was having a vision as I sat for the process and I moved into another realm of thought and emotion, it is with me still.


I also felt the work at another level as I have so often drawn the same lines with my own hand. The horse I penned is also the focal point of my artwork and my business, “Running Horse Designs” and I have drawn it, burned it on leather and routered it on wood hundreds of times. It was the router I thought of as I felt those lines burn across my back and there was a thrill in following them. Each sweep of the mane and tail but also the long arch of her back, the curve of her shoulder and the bend of her legs was yet another piece of who I am. I followed every line with my mind.


This then is the transition I speak of because the experience will remain with me in body, mind and spirit. I have made the statement all along but now it is visible as well. The feathers are for my Native friends and express my loyalty to their values and beliefs. The Zia is for the four directions and the state of New Mexico where I have grown my life and call my home. The horse is the expression of my freedom and grace as my spirit runs wild, always. I think now there may need to be two more before I am done. I need a hawk or an eagle on my other shoulder, for freedom and strength. In the center of my back I want to write those words I sang so many years ago as I walked across the parking lot at that truck stop in Ohio with nine dollars in my pocket and very little else. “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to loose…….” Janis.


Yeah, that would summarize it all. There is certainly more but that would say it pretty well. I have already come away from the experience feeling more complete and centered and I am proud of who I am. Funny but I was a little worried that my son David might not approve but instead he texted me and said, “Your bad ass Mom”. I’m so good with that! My oldest was a little concerned but accepting also and even joked for the first one. Today I walk forth just a little more empowered than I was before and knowing that I have lived and am still living my life just as I have chosen to. I might have easily taken a different path but I chose not to and I have never had reason to regret that. I could have stayed in New York and more than likely prospered in the conventional sense but I never would have found the joy and the freedom I discovered on the road. I might have never made it to New Mexico, never lived and loved as I have, nor spent the time amongst the people who I always wanted to know better and to be a part of. If I made that transition so many years again I have reaffirmed it. The transition is complete. Except perhaps for another tattoo. “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive!” Ahhwooh! LOL

3 responses to “Day One Hundred Five 2017 Transition”

  1. agapejacqui says :

    You have put into words how I personally feel about each piece of art I’ve placed on my skin! Each has a personal reason and story behind it’s choice.

    The symbol for Free Spirit,which later in life became the turtle shell for the woman & turtle as a symbol for my Lakota name given to me by one of my patients.

    The woman/tree on my leg, which appears to be in the center of a medicine wheel in honor of my twin soul who died at age 47 from liver cancer, and also of my friend Michael Berry who disappeared under mysterious circumstances… Whose bones were found 5 years later on a logging trail here in the hills. His dream was to create a “Circle of Unity”…. A medicine wheel, where people of all faiths and cultures could visit and feel the peace that he felt here.

    And finally, the multicolored spiral at the base of my neck…simply an image of beauty placed over a perceived ” hump of imperfection” … to remind me to find beauty in ALL parts of myself and to speak words of self love and compassion daily!

    Yes, my friend…ink has long told a greater story than many who have never experienced the process will ever know. Each one has a personal reason and story. And for those who tend to make comments or judgements on their dislike of them, I truly say….” Then don’t get one!” And then I simply dismiss any comments that insult my soul..even those which may sting my heart.

    • cathieeisen says :


      Dearest sister soul of mine in so many ways, thank you. I have reached that place in my life where the judgments of others, when unfairly offered, no longer bother me. Thank you for expressing even more clearly than I was able to the wonder of such expression. I will have to see you tattoos next visit!!! I don’t know when next I will travel your way but it is certainly one of my favored journeys to be chosen from. Much love to you dear friend!


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