Making My Mark

Denise makes her mark in this small painting of a saying by a Balinese Temple Dancer

painting by Denise Trach of Creating Cadence

Early this morning, which is when my best planning happens, I take direction from Spirit in my first thoughts. The words, “making your mark” floated up. I spent the time in quiet contemplation, making tea, watching the light change on the trees, looking at the moon through the frost on the window. Watching the moon dissolve in to the blue sky, I wondered how I make my mark. Then I wrote in my journal.

frost makes a mark on my morningLater, I went through a patch of day, like slick black ice, where I considered that my desire to “make my mark” on the world was prideful and manipulative. The old words that haunt me, “getting too big for my britches” made my eyes sting.

This afternoon, I sat knitting, ear buds in my ears, talking to a friend on my phone. We spoke about this question of mine, whether it is prideful to think I make a mark, anywhere, on any one? Is this something I need to sacrifice? Does it even matter?

And then, in the way that happens when I talk to certain people, truth bells up to the surface, clearing the cluttered waters of my mind, I knew, and know that I trust the marks I make in the world, on my own soul and on the lives of the people I work with, the people I meet. I am here to make marks.

Otherwise, I glide through life as vacant space.

I am everything other than a vacant space.


My friend Jill taught me to trust the marks I make. My close friends mirror this back to me. My students send me notes. People who learn about my work reach out to me. I get notes like this one,

“Hi Suzi: I wanted to say how much I very much respect what you’re doing w/ the women in Armenia. It’s the unfoldment of great good.”


Do I work for that affirmation? No.

Do I work thinking that my mom, long dead, will think I fit my britches just right? Goddess bless her, no.

Do I believe that if I go about making marks all day long, something will come of it? Not at all.


What I believe is that the sacrifice I make every single day, the time I give to my creative practice in exchange for another set of hours on the planet, is worthy of my effort. It changes me, as they sing in Wicked, “for good.”


What am I willing to sacrifice in 2017? I am willing to sacrifice the nagging irritation that keeps me looking for worldly approval.

The legacy I leave are marks made by a woman who is very much alive to the beauty and drama in daily life, in ordinary lives, and in the natural world, in the bigger world, in the people I meet out beyond my skin.

And by sticking to my daily practice, I act on my own agency, responding with what rises forth within me, to internal and external events, but from the originating point of myself.

making my mark with Miriam

Doing a mudra flow with Gyumri sculptor Miriam Simonyan photo credit Knar Babayan


I cannot head in to the holiday season without huge gratitude for each of my readers here on Rising Forth. As the Solstice nears, I hope you can spend time outside, in whichever season you are in, to feel the earth’s turning.

That moon this morning, the way it melted in to daylight with such grace-I am going to keep that easy motion in my heart over the next days.


All my best,






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Showing 11 comments
  • Michael O'Leary

    Beautiful, your a wonder and I love you…

  • Cheryl Paley

    Thanks for this Suzi. And for the wonderful “marks” you make. It was so resonant for me! And Happy Holidays.

  • Julie Bond Genovese

    Gorgeousness!!! Reading at my son’s hockey game ???? and soaking in your loving warmth and mindfulness✨???? Thank you sistah ????

    • Suzi

      Stay warm Jujubee! I send you miles of love and hugs. And stay tuned for the upcoming new OUT call for entries. Have you read Terry Tempest Williams, “Finding Beauty in a Broken World?” There is a big section of it with Terry and Lily together in Rwanda. It’ll blow your socks off. Hugs and love, S

  • Susan Heffron Hajec

    You have changed me for good and not only when you are with me. Your creative mark resides within me and accompanies me in my commitment to writing and art making. Love, love, love.

    • Suzi

      Hmmm. This seems like the start of a poem, Susan…such beautiful words. I send you lots of love for these new winter days. xoS

  • Diane Husic

    Suzi, I am so grateful that we reconnected this year. Our conversation over lunch, our reminiscing over days at Bay Cliff, left a very wonderful mark. Have a wonderful holiday season and all the best for 2017!

    • Suzi

      I look forward to what we will create together in 2017, Diane. I dream about walking the caving grounds with you and Kathleen. xoxoS

  • Darby Gwisdala

    Suzi, from Creativity Unzipped by Jan Phillips and Ruth Westreich…pg. 26 “If you have a voice inside you that admonishes you for selfish behavior, it’s most likely an inherited voice and it’s time to silence it. It serves no one. It is not virtuous to abandon your own needs. Two great masters have offered some wise advice in the matter. Tony De Mello, a Jesuit psychologist and retreat director often addressed this subject. “Do what you want. That’s not selfish. Selfish is expecting other people to do what you want.”

    And, one of India’s greatest sages, Ramana Maharshi, counseled people with these words: “Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” To be self-realized means that you live a fulfilled life that is soul-sustaining for you. And from that place of joy and light, you offer yourself to others. You do not sacrifice your well-being to the service of selfless behavior. You do not strive for selflessness, for then what would you have to offer anyone?”

    Go ahead…make your mark…make lots of marks! You go girl!

    • Suzi

      Darby, We have been reading the same book! “Each of us as creator is contributing to the fabric of the cultures we inhabit. What we do or fail to do is consequential. A hundred years from now, if your descendants did a search to see what you stood for, they would reach their conclusions from the tracks you are making. If there are none, it will say one thing. If there is evidence from your life-stories handed down, letters written, photographs taken, organizations started-these things will the legacy for who you are.” Jan is one of my long time mentors and friends. Her work in the field of evolutionary creativity has had a powerful impact on me.Thank you for your words and your heart Darby! xoS

  • Janey Davis

    Suzi, I am behind in going thru email and just read this post. Amazingly is was fro Dec. 16th which is a date I carry in my heart, as it is the birthday of my oldest son who passed away 2 years ago. His life was cut short, but he did leave a great mark and a story I’m trying to tell (writing, writing, always writing). We all leave our mark and it is our choice as to what kind of mark it will be. Sometimes we leave marks we’d like to erase! But
    put together, they tell our stories bit by bit. The marks You leave are filled with beauty and insight and positive spirits that guide others. Thank you for sharing, your path so we can all learn.