Ann Keiffer

Medicine Cabinets

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What Are These Curious Little Medicine Cabinet Art Objects?

Each One Is A Gift From Ann—A Personal Altar, An Icon, A Talisman Handmade To Capture The Inner Wisdom Of The Person For Whom It Was Created.

A Look Inside The Medicine Cabinet Process Working With Ann

You won’t find pills, bandages, or cough syrup inside the Medicine Cabinets shown here. Each of the miniature Medicine Cabinets shown below belongs to someone and holds that person’s medicine: the unique symbols, images, objects, words and colors that embody the inner wisdom of that one person. 

And how do such curious and personal little art objects come to be?  If you are my client, I meet with you in person, by phone or video call for a 1- 1 1/2 hour interview, asking questions that encourage you to think about your life in interesting and creative ways, with the idea of discovering your particular “medicine.” I take that information and extrapolate and imagine—finding images, words, objects, colors that embody what emerged from what you revealed in your sharing. I assemble it all in a small tin “Medicine Cabinet” (approx 2.75”x 4”) and write a miniature book describing each element in it. What you see below are photos of interiors and exteriors of a number of  different Medicine Cabinets, and one photo showing an accompanying miniature book. Each one is as unique as the person who owns it!

Interested in a new experience to discover what kind of inner wisdom you have about yourself and life?  Or maybe you are dealing with a difficult life transition, a physical illness or troubling emotional passage or relationship. I invite you to take a journey inward with me to discover your wisdom about healing, your wisdom about how to live fully with whatever you are facing. Whatever your purpose, we’ll have an interesting conversation, some aha’s and probably some healing laughter, too! Your “medicine” will arise out of your own imagination and Soul and it will be my pleasure to make it real and give it form in a Medicine Cabinet made just for you.

Interested in having a Medicine Cabinet made for you? 

There is no charge for this experience. I make each Medicine Cabinet as a gift. It is my calling, my privilege and my joy.

Your interview can be done in person, by phone, or by video call.

To inquire, email me at: annkeiffer@pobox.com

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A Well-Lived Life

A tiny baby in a walnut shell, a school bus, open arms, places, people and peace… For the recipient of this Medicine Cabinet, the creative process involved a long look back at a well-lived life, its lessons in love and learning, grief and joy, the meaning of its moments, large and small.

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Medicine Cabinet Marking Big Life Transition

Gears, a bindle, feathers, diver, bluebird, bolt, NOW clock, footprints—all part of the story of a transition, big changes, old pain, a new sense of freedom and possibility, and fashioning a life that truly fits. 

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Entanglements and Tapestries

Labyrinths, fingerprints, string mandalas, connections, entanglements and tapestries—each is related to one of the central themes in the life of the recipient of this Medicine Cabinet. With many more elements to explore! Something healing happens when you tell your story and you hear yourself tell it—with someone to witness your words and listen deeply. Something healing happens when you see key elements of your story embodied and given form in objects, images, words and art in your Medicine Cabinet. You know something more about yourself. You know what you know. In the case of this Medicine Cabinet, the recipient is working with entanglements and Gordian Knots he/she is being called to unravel, unwind, cut or let go of in order to weave a more integrated, connected and harmonious tapestry of life. What the recipient said about this Medicine Cabinet: My hopes, fears, gifts, challenges all contained in an exquisite piece of art.

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The Wisdom of a Lifetime

In the interview part of the process for creating a Medicine Cabinet, one of the things that surfaces is amazing wisdom, gold of incalculable worth the interviewee has mined from his or her own life experiences. The collage of images above captures different views of the inside and outside of one man’s Medicine Cabinet. Each image, each word, each object embodies something that came to light in his interview, what he has learned from a lifetime of being in dialogue with life’s unfolding, what he has gleaned from both stumbles and successes, his desires for how he wishes to live the rest of his days. You have mined your own particular, hard-earned wisdom. What images, words, and objects might be in your Medicine Cabinet to remind you of your inner wisdom and your healing medicine for the rest of your days? If you would like to inquire about having a Medicine Cabinet made for you, please be in touch. Medicine Cabinets are my gifts. There is no cost. Just get in touch. 

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Medicine Cabinet Honoring Life Changes, Acceptance and Inward Healing

Each Medicine Cabinet you see here was created for a specific person, each one a gift from me to the recipient. The symbols, objects, words and images each Medicine Cabinet contains are drawn from that person’s answers to a series of questions, from his/her personal sharing about life, challenges, joys, meaning, innate gifts, what in his/her life might need healing and more. An icon, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, each Medicine Cabinet is uniquely the owner’s, reflecting that person’s spirit, inner wisdom and medicine. I love creating them and giving them.

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What Medicine Do You See?

You’re looking at the “medicine” in a Medicine Cabinet created for one specific and special person. She is unique, with a one-of-a-kind set of life experiences, gifts, and issues she deals with—as is true for each one of us. There are no bottles or droppers or tubes or pills in her Medicine Cabinet. The recipient’s medicine for life revealed itself in her answers to a series of thought-provoking and sometimes fun questions. Her medicine emerged from what she herself knows, from her own inner wisdom. Each word, object, image in her Medicine Cabinet carries meaning for her—each described in a companion mini book.

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Knowing What You Know

One of the exciting outcomes of the Medicine Cabinet process can be realizing what you know for sure and who you are at your essence. On your life’s journey you have chanced upon discoveries, disappointments, suffering, sadness, happiness, joys, pain, pleasures and treasures. The Medicine Cabinet process brings your truth and your life experience to the surface and gives it form in the outer world, miniaturizing it, allowing you to hold your truth right there in the palm of your hand where you can see it and more fully take it in. The recipient of the Medicine Cabinet shown in the image above opened her Medicine Cabinet package and reacted quite a lot like the joyful, dancing lady on the front it. It was, indeed, her essence reflected back to her, her joy! And she said as she took it in, that along with her exhilaration in seeing herself in the images, words, and objects in her Medicine Cabinet, came a new awareness of life integration.

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What Might Be Speaking To You?

Is there some image, some song, a verse of scripture, a line from a poem, an object that has found its way into your mind, your life, maybe your dreams, over and over? Something that inexplicably captures your imagination, resonates with you and draws you in?

The recipient of the Medicine Cabinet above realized she has a special affinity for bamboo. Bamboo is in her memories of living in Hawaii, and she has unconsciously been “collecting” it for years. In a thrift shop she might chance on a small mat of bamboo canes bound together and bring the treasure home to place under a plant. Bamboo’s presence in her life is never overt, but looking here and there in her home, she began to notice she had gathered bamboo picture frames, rattan furniture, paintings of bamboo, creating a meditative feeling and a strong but subtle texture in her environment.

In thinking about her affinity and reading about bamboo, we can discover there are more than a few instructive life lessons in the nature of bamboo, such as these: What looks weak can be strong—Bend without breaking—Be strongly rooted, so you can be flexible. The recipient of this Medicine Cabinet awoke to her appreciation of bamboo on a whole new level, realizing bamboo has something to say to her.

What in your life might be speaking to you?

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Light in the Woods

During dark times in your life, how might it be different if you held the thought that even in dark times you have a light within you, a light that goes with you and illumines a small circle around you? Such a light might make it a little easier to keep moving forward, to take just the one next step—one step at a time. Such a light would not banish the dark entirely, but it might give you courage, something to trust until dawning light breaks fully on the scene. The recipient of the Medicine Cabinet shown in the images above says the difficult passages of her life have felt like being “lost in a dark woods.” Can you envision being in the dark woods…but with that circle of light, that light from within? The feeling of the woods might start to change. What if we could be there in the woods with the thought that these woods belong to us? And what if we knew we were out here in the woods for a purpose, learning how the ground lays and the nature of our woods’ boundaries? Can we bring light and meaning to the work we are given to do in dark times?

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Everything In Its Time

We may hoodwink ourselves into thinking life is always about moving forward, making plans, getting things done, staying strong, building relationships and taking care of what is ours. But as Ecclesiastics reminds us, everything has its season. The Medicine Cabinet shown in the images above belongs to a woman who is finding peace with the old-age season of her life. She says she no longer has the energy or drive she once had to push forward and get things done…“and that’s okay.” She has given herself permission to drop all the shoulds she has carried in her life…to rest in her easy chair when she needs to…to use this slowing-down time as the perfect time to appreciate the small, unsung pleasures of daily life and to reflect on the past with a feeling of gratitude.

Interested in having a Medicine Cabinet made for you?

Find your medicine. Your interview can be done by phone. Receive your Medicine Cabinet in the mail. To inquire: annkeiffer@pobox.com

 

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How Much is Too Much?

How easy it is for our lives to spin out of balance. We take on responsibilities, make commitments, and extend ourselves. We run faster-faster-faster on our personal hamster wheel to get it all done…until we are in a near-constant state of anxiety, exhausted in body, mind and spirit. We say we hate the hamster-wheel existence. We keep forgetting it is we, ourselves, who get on the hamster wheel every morning. And only we can act on our own behalf, reconsider our goals, change our minds and our lives. For the recipient of the Medicine Cabinet pictured above, the hamster wheel was, indeed, spinning faster and faster. And she had been running faster and faster trying to keep up, lest she stagger, fall down and get knocked off the wheel entirely. But she was beginning to get the message this was not a sustainable way of living. Coming to that realization makes change possible. What comes next—question our assumptions, set different goals, sign up for counseling, go back to school, change jobs, get help, take a pay cut, cut back on hours, face whatever fears are tangled up with that furious pace? Nobody said change was going to be easy! Unless you’re a hamster, in which case, you don’t need to change at all…just keep on running.

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Fully Alive

When asked what attitude she most wants to express at this time in her life, the recipient of this Medicine Cabinet said she wants to be “fully alive.” Speaking in body language, she demonstrated how that would look and feel, jumping up to stand with her feet slightly apart, her arms flung wide, a huge happy smile on her face. What a welcoming way to meet and greet your life! Could we all, potentially, be fully alive to life all the time? And what would “fully alive” mean on bad days…or in bad years? Take away everything I think matters to me—my sight, my hearing, my health, my comforts, my self-image, my safety, my loved ones—one thing remains: I am still the experiencer of life, a carrier of the spark of life, a place or vessel where life happens until the moment I die. Whether life is easy or grand or wrenching, I am experiencing it…I am alive to it and can be fully alive to it. The symbols and images this Medicine Cabinet contains were drawn from an interview between Ann and the person for whom it was made, including answers to a series of questions, the recipient’s personal sharing about her life and what in her life she thought might need healing. An icon, a portable altar, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, this Medicine Cabinet is uniquely the recipient’s, reflecting her spirit, her inner wisdom, her medicine.

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Descending Into The Body

Even in our age we are called to become, to explore and give expression to the parts of ourselves we may not have recognized, valued, or led with in our younger years. Whatever we have lived, there may be an opposite and possibly complimentary aspect of who we are that we have neglected and left unexplored. Those who have worshipped at the altar of the rational, the intellectual, the logical in themselves, for example, may find themselves pulled toward exploring what it would mean to experience more of life through their senses and physicality. This Medicine Cabinet is an honoring of such a momentous descent, someone being called to tiptoe down the staircase from the mind and head, down into the more earthy mystery of the body. The symbols and images this Medicine Cabinet contains were drawn from an interview between Ann and the person for whom it was made, including answers to a series of questions, the recipient’s personal sharing about her life and what in her life she thought might need healing. An icon, a portable altar, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, this Medicine Cabinet is uniquely the recipient’s, reflecting her spirit, her inner wisdom, her medicine, affirming that something more of the great Mystery wants to be revealed.

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Holding On and Letting Go

What does it mean to live fully when life is hard, when things are falling apart and outside your control, when you are confronting grief, loss, guilt, sadness, joy, love, entrapment, freedom, and obligation all at the same time? The symbols and images this Medicine Cabinet contains were drawn from an interview between Ann and the person for whom it was made, including answers to a series of questions, the recipient’s personal sharing about her life and what in her life she thought might need healing. An icon, a portable altar, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, this Medicine Cabinet is uniquely the recipient’s, reflecting her spirit, her inner wisdom, her medicine…an affirmation that she will know when it is time to hold on and when it is time to let go.

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A Beautiful Inner Life

This Medicine Cabinet emerged as an honoring of “a beautiful inner life.” The symbols and images it contains were drawn from an interview between Ann and the person for whom it was made, that included answers to a series of questions, the recipient’s personal sharing about his life and what in his life he thought might need healing. An icon, a portable altar, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, this Medicine Cabinet is uniquely his, reflecting his spirit, his inner wisdom. his medicine…and his beautiful inner life.

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Newest Medicine Cabinet Healing Art

This Medicine Cabinet was created for Gina Rose Halpern in the summer of 2017. The symbols and images it contains were drawn from Gina Rose’s answers to a series of questions, from her personal sharing about her life and what in her life she thought might need healing. An icon, a portable altar, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, this Medicine Cabinet is uniquely Gina Rose’s, reflecting her spirit, her inner wisdom and her medicine. Gina Rose is the founder of the Chaplaincy Institute (ChI.) She gave her permission to share this with you. I wish you could hear all the stories and experiences this Medicine Cabinet contains!

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What’s New in Healing Arts Land?

With the recipient’s permission, I’m sharing this “Medicine Cabinet,” created especially for her. The symbols and images it contains were drawn from the recipient’s answers to a series of questions, from her personal sharing about her life and what in her life she thought might need healing. An icon, a portable altar, a personal talisman, an assemblage of sacred healing, this Medicine Cabinet is uniquely hers, reflecting her spirit, her inner wisdom and her medicine.

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A Medicine Cabinet With Your Personal Healing Medicine