Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Thanks for being here.
I hope that this is a space that inspires you to add something beautiful to the world. I truly believe that 
you are required to make something beautiful.

– Shawna



Claiming Your Expertise

Claiming Your Expertise

In general, in my every day life, I’m extremely happy to go along in a pretty low-key, anonymous way. I prefer it. I don’t need to use fancy words to prove I’m clever, or brag about the places I’ve been (not that many but you know what I mean). I wasn’t always this way. There were times in my long career of customer service jobs and waiting on tables that I wanted to say to someone who was talking down to me, “Hey, I’m Somebody you know!” (Even though I really wasn’t much). Does this mean I’m more evolved than I once was? Maybe. I like the words by Hafiz:

The Foundation for Greatness

is always built upon this foundation:
the ability
to appear, speak, and act
as the most

still life by shawna lemay

I’m certainly not great! But I was having a conversation with someone last weekend about how at the same time as it feels good to just be anonymous and down-to-earth, it’s also important to claim one’s expertise. Which is what I’m trying to do in part, with these recent still life photos, my recent essay. I’m letting them say, a little, and quietly, I know some stuff. And why is it that women in particular have trouble claiming their expertise?

With someone else, I was talking about claiming our power and what that means. We were talking about how it’s nearly impossible to get the life you want to live and even then, say you’ve come close, that these days it’s a tricky procedure to be happy for five minutes altogether. The contortions to get to this state are mind-bending, happiness that is. So that you can forget, momentarily, the “fuckery of the world.” I’ve never felt more despair at the state of the world than I have of late – each day there’s some news that is more unthinkable than the day before. I know I’m not alone in feeling like my head is going to explode. So the question is, how to claim your power in the face of this, and what does it mean to ‘cry power,’ and how are we to go forward? As Bruce has said, nobody wins unless everybody wins.

Here are a couple of songs that cry, “Power!”


What would happen if we claimed our expertise, and if we claimed our power? What is it that you know? What happens when you share that joyfully with the world? How can we be great and kind and powerful and mindful and joyful and decent?

I was scrolling by too quickly somewhere on social media and I’m sorry for not remembering who but someone shared the story of the Titanic where, as you know doubt remember, the one ship, The Carpathia answered the Titanic’s distress call. The captain has the crew making hot chocolate and getting blankets ready and they rescued 700 people. But the other ship, the Californian, did not react. The message in this Facebook post was: be like The Carpathia. Change course, make hot chocolate, get things ready. Of course some days it’s impossible not to dwell on the musicians playing until the end.

still life shawna lemay

As always, it feels weird to just go on with daily life while the world continues to go to hell in a hand-basket. And yet we do and we have to, too.

So it’s possible, of course, to despair on the one hand, and be happy, on the other, that someone has taken the time to write a very thoughtful review of my Flower book. I would love it if you could read it.

The Creative Person’s Natural State

The Creative Person’s Natural State

On Diaries, Notebooks, and The Book of Delights

On Diaries, Notebooks, and The Book of Delights