Whenever a true theory appears it will be its own evidence. – Neville Goddard

I Conjured a Bear

At what point did I become leery of bears? I used to blithely stroll alone in the woods with the full belief that bears were shy and wanted nothing to do with me. My friend and neighbor, Pop Todd, grows more blueberry bushes than anyone I know and yet, in over forty years, he has only seen a bear once on his property. He enquired how was I lucky enough to have this majestic creature regularly visit my camp site. Knowing my work he suggested that I did everything to attract a bear – with my thoughts; that I had conjured the bear. After all, I read everything I could about bears and studied how best not to attract them. I asked my neighbors about bear sightings and encounters. I even drew a picture of a bear on my message board. Somehow I became obsessed with the idea of running into a bear. And here he is. I call him Boris.

Frances message to Boris

Frances’s Boris-inspired message board

Things were fine when Boris simply traveled through, leaving his signature smell of wet dog mixed with the back of a garbage truck. One night he made a bluffing sound into my window and I just closed it. Boris didn’t worry me until I came home one day and found that the back of my trailer was torn apart. How far was he willing to go to get my olive oil? I talked to my neighbors some more and learned he has been causing mischief elsewhere so I called the DEC and ratted him out. When I phoned to report this bad behavior a voice on the other end asked if the bear had done anything wrong. Wrong? Did she mean was the bear abusive? Did he use bad language? He tore out the back of my trailer! That’s what he did wrong. If he manages to get in while I’m home we are both going to get hurt. My report was passed along to a wildlife expert who called me later that same day. After talking with him I learned that I was mostly doing things right; I am careful with my garbage; I don’t grill. My kitchen is so clean I don’t even have ants. But I was also doing a couple of things wrong. In order to unconjure the bear I will no longer rinse pots and pans at the outdoor faucet and I will cook before 5 pm as much as possible. I’ll use the air horn to signal that he is unwelcome. It’s a little sad but it is best that Boris moves further into the forest.

Airstream and Bess

Frances’s (hopefully) bear free trailer


The painting Prepare/Beliefs was inspired by the promise of abundance in nature. In early June the robin prepares her nest and soon thereafter the beautiful blue eggs appear. She does not worry that she may not lay eggs, she simply prepares for them. Expectation and prepare go together. There is no if in her experience. She expects to lay eggs and prepares for their coming. The robin has no intellect or outer ego, and her preparations are performed by pure and spontaneous use of instinct. What is instinct? It is the innate knowledge which makes manipulation of energy from one form to another possible, and we use it constantly. We are not robins, however, and are hampered to a great extent by our self consciousness.

Prepare - Beliefs 24 x 12 oil on canvas

Prepare – Beliefs 24 x 12 oil on canvas

If it is true that you create your reality according to your beliefs and expectations, you should examine these carefully especially if you do not like some aspect of your world. How do you know what you believe in? Look around. Evidence of your beliefs surrounds you. If you believe in lack, you will drive a battered car, or no car at all, and you will constantly struggle to pay your bills. If you believe in abundance money will flow easily to you and you can expect to see large sums in your bank account. If you suffer through one ailment after another it is evidence of your belief in poor health. A person who trusts their body to remain healthy is not affected by the colds and viruses that plague their worrisome neighbors.

Preparation for anything involves first examining one’s beliefs because whatever one believes about a potential outcome is what one will experience. How does one examine his or her individual beliefs? Begin by examining your feelings. Write down how you feel about a subject. List your intellectual and emotional assumptions.

Below is an example of my own feelings and beliefs about bears beginning with a general feeling of vigilance which led to a more narrow feeling of fear of bears to a changed feeling of safety.

Feelings (emotional assumptions) Beliefs (intellectual assumptions)
Cautious, vigilant There is always danger somewhere.
Fearful of bear encounter Bears are dangerous.
Safe I have taken proper precautions. Bear behavior is mostly predictable.

What does the bear symbolize for me? Pop Todd pointed out that, having grown up in what to him was the most dangerous place on earth (New York City), that I was looking to find the dangerous thing here in the Adirondacks. There doesn’t have to be a dangerous thing. Look for danger and you create danger.

Thank you, Boris, for pointing out to me that I believed that danger is an inevitable part of life. I now understand that the presence of danger isn’t a given. Now move along.


Frances presenting at the AIC's 3rd Annual Loons and Logs Day

We are so excited to be hosting Frances Gaffney this summer as our first Artist-in-Residence! She’ll be working at the AIC May through August, frequenting the trails to create beautiful and thoughtful pieces inspired by the local landscape.

Rich Lake 15 x 11 (458x640)

Rich Lake 15 x 11 watercolor

She will not only be here to work on her art, she’ll also be here for you! Throughout the summer, Frances will be available to speak and interact with the public. Every Sunday, guests will discover Frances working out along the trails. Feel free to stop by to observe, chat and share techniques and tips with Frances. She will also be leading drawing and watercoloring workshops on the last Saturday of every month. In these workshops, participants will discover their own artistic style while further developing their skills. Don’t miss out on these unique opportunities to connect with this fantastic local artist!

Throughout the summer, Frances will be writing entries for our blog about her work and experiences at the AIC! Learn more about Frances in our Q & A post with her.


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