Tools & Talismans #93 — Laura Simms

• A writing pad;
• Glasses and pens, journals and books, dictionaries and essays;
• Meditation practice materials, and mala beads;
• A Statue of Tara (deity of compassion) with a small glass vial of ashes from my Tibetan • Buddhist Guru, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche who I met over 38 years ago.
• A turtle rattle (Oglala Sioux, given to me at a Council training);
• A stone heart painted with a crocodile pattern from Zimbabwe, I owe so much to the cultures and the symbol of crocodile beloved by my granddaughter who is 2 years old.
• My computer is not shown but is adorned with a purple cover.

The two geese feathers and my glasses. Seeing with wings so perception is wakeful and beyond the ordinary. Leading myself and others to remember our connection to earth and sky and things unknowable. And my old wooden library desk that I love to oil in order to bring up the colors in the wood. I clean it before writing.  It is sturdy and elegant and a bit funky.

All that sustains and inspires my storytelling (spoken word engagement combining traditional tales with personal stories) is supported by a long time practice of mindfulness-awareness. I savor penetrating reminders of culture and compassion talismans. And, for three years I have been writing about encounters with birds. The goose feathers are my never forgetting the natural connection between words and wings. Tucked under the pile of books is a lovely book on the mythic meaning of birds that helps me uncover complex images and meanings for stories and metaphors. I nearly forgot my eye glasses. They let me see small printed words and details in photographs. I like to see them, transparent and revelatory.

As an artist, I surround myself with suggestions of the presence of spirit and nature, and a constant access to authors who motivate me to write fearlessly and to speak from the heart. The sunlight that changes the shadows and brightness of what is on my writing table is always present. I barely turn on the lamp (so it is not in the picture) since seeing shadows keeps my mind fresh.

Laura Simms is a storyteller, writer and humanitarian.


Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I document {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

Would you like to have your very own Tools & Talismans painting to inspire, support and remind you of all the things that make you “you”, as you go about your days, grow your business and create your life? Get in touch so we can talk, I'd love to hear from you!