All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. – Henry Ellis


So much precious living in this creative life I live.  Of special note:  My two youngest children made beautiful food for friends with nary a lifted finger from me.

Apple tart flower w cream

It meant the world to walk into my house and see my children sitting around the table laughing with friends, coffee in hand, waiting for apple tarts to finish baking.  A simple rookie timing mistake that they handled with ease and grace.  And even though the kitchen was exploded, my heart expanded a size or two as I watched them sharing love by serving food.  It wasn’t something that we intentionally taught, rather a value they caught in the living.  Which is in and of itself, both terrifying and full of freedom. 

[And seriously, before the night was over, the kitchen was tidy. <3]

Also, keeping true to my commitment to share more.  Not everything, but more.  I’ve shared a couple of raw journal pages.  Pages where I’ve been wrestling with credentials/lack of credentials.  And pages that hold true heart break and true revelation.  In the last few weeks, I have put things in writing that used to stay in the shadow realm of my thought life.  As if somehow I could escape the reality of my swirling brain or make the true issues disappear by not putting them on paper with pen or paint.

I make people cry and help them find their voice.

Maybe I’ll always internally struggle with ‘people-pleasing’ and worry over whether or not I have approval from others.  [Which ‘other’ I care about varies and shifts.]  Maybe I’ll never feel like I’ve completely arrived.  But in the last decade, keeping pages has given my feelings a place and allowed me to recognize when my feelings are telling the truth and when they’re simply pointing the way.   I’ve discovered that the cloak of behaving that I wore for safety has been cast aside.  At first secretly, and now right here out in the open.

Recently, my sweet friend Hali, who is simultaneously gentle and fierce, offered to print me out a piece of paper if it would make me feel better.  “Would you like a piece of paper to validate what you already do?  Because I can do that and then you can carry it around in your purse and do the work with some credentials.”  Actually, she offered me a piece of “fucking paper” and gave me the sort of quiet, swift kick in the ass that I’ve come to count on from her.  She was fierce about reflecting my true vocation back to me and reminded me in that moment of energy and laughter, that at times I must be fierce, too.

The truth is I’ve always gone my own way.  I’ve lived true to my convictions, but I also secretly pined for affirmation of all of my alternative paths and beats.


Not so much pining over outside opinions anymore.  I’m not flipping anybody off or holding grudges or even crying a ton.  I’m simply naming emotions and moving on.  I’m taking my ideas/important work seriously and my angsty self not so seriously.  I’m no longer diluting my message or making myself easily digestible.  In a recent meet-you-halfway meeting with my friend Cynthia, we said aloud to each other all the things we’ve done without approval or credentials.  Between the two of us, it was quite the collection.  I call it the Big-Ass-List-of-Courage-and-Valor.  There is so much living well that we ignore.  Why do we forget to recognize our own victories?  Find the people who know you and help you recognize what you do well.  Stop going to the wrong people and constructs for affirmation that you’re never going to get.  Be true to your self and be brave.


I am living my creative life.  Recognizing that I am a vessel.  I require filling up and I am made for pouring out the oil of words, image and paint.  And so, I continue to pray the prayer of orientation that passed from the lips of a Catholic nun, to a great teacher and then landed in my heart.

“Teach me to care.  Teach me not to care.”

Be in your life.


p.s.  The Journal Shoppe is open. [See the tab above.] It holds the slow, handmade work of my hands including journals and other treasures.  Enjoy.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00November 25th, 2013|Journals, Uncategorized|4 Comments




“Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already posses.”

–  Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

This is the oil of my creative life.  I am lifting it to the sky, and pouring it out onto the earth and into hearts.

From coffee with one of the 20-somethings that I birthed to teaching journal-keeping as a spiritual practice to the 20-somethings that I’m honored to serve, I am pouring out my life.  I am sewing journals, tearing paper, listening well, tending to gardens and being faithful to my own morning practice of words and paint.

Yesterday is full of maps.

Tomorrow, will come.

Today, I will BE and I believe that it is enough.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00November 12th, 2013|Art is Life is Art|3 Comments

I am not confused.


My name is Betsy Cañas Garmon.

I’m a truth-teller, wisdom catcher and image maker.

Ultimately, all of my work is about helping people reframe the way they curate their personal narrative.  Because we all have a beautiful, wild life to BE in and a powerful story/message/way to collect and pour out the oil of our living for service and healing.

That is what I do.

And I am not confused.


Answering this invitation from Alexandra Franzen.  Thank you Cynthia Lee for holding up a lantern today.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00November 7th, 2013|Uncategorized|4 Comments

On birthday cake and pouring oil

"She no longer uses old tape measures."

“There is no need to run outside for better seeing… Rather abide at the center of your being; For the more you leave it the less you learn. Search your heart and see… The way to do is to be.” –Lao Tzu

It was my birthday last week!  I had a multi-day celebration with friends that was full of books, dinners, beautiful words, lots of art and good cake.  So many amazing people in my world!   And because I love presents, I gave myself a gift.  My birthday gift to my self was to spend time alone contemplating the year that just passed and setting intentions for the year to come.

Simply Fall

Somewhere along the way, I realized that the new year doesn’t begin for me in January.  The new and fresh has always come for me in the Fall.  Ironically, as leaves are falling like rain, crunching beneath my feet with finality, I am vibrating with the excitement of birth and new beginnings.  I used to think that it was because I was on a school schedule and really into new school supplies and fresh notebooks.  I thought it was because there was a new academic year to use as a fresh slate.  But, I have learned that it’s way more than the influence of a school calendar; it is the rhythm of my year.  My year begins in Autumn.


This past year brought an exploration of my business and my creative practice.  I learned much about the way that I live my life and how and when I create and share.  I took classes and kept notebooks, and thought I would find a mission statement or marketing plan that would be the key to this next season of empty nest.  I thought that I might create a new way of being in the studio and writing now that all of my children are out of school and mostly out of the house.  But, actually, the biggest discovery was this:

The most important offering that I have as an artist/mother/coach/mentor is my life.


Period.  That’s it.  I have spoken to my students and gotten feedback from instructors and most importantly excavated through hundreds of journal pages.  And this the conclusion that I’ve come to.  My richest product line is wrapped around my life and how I BE in my life.   My biggest influence and greatest offering is woven around the core of my creative life well-lived.  And so, I entered year 49 with this intention:

Just my face

My life and creative practice are a daily offering.  A creative life is my path/vocation/way.  I do this faithfully  inside my four walls.  This year, I intend to share more – a little something every day.  I’m giving this project my birthday.  I’m showing up with my real face.  No makeup/masks.  Just me pouring out my creative life as an offering.


Join me.  Explore your creative-life offerings.  How are you living and being that is a work of art?  Use the hashtag #iamthevessel at Instagram and Facebook.  And keep an eye out here for my stories and the stories of other creative vessels pouring out the oil of their lives on the world.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00November 5th, 2013|Uncategorized|4 Comments