Monday, October 28, 2013

Joy, Incognito.

I woke up this morning with Danielle LaPorte's question on my mind...What does joy look like to me?

The weatherman had predicted rain. As sleep faded and awareness snuck in, I waited for the signs...the smell, the sound, the crispness. Definitely crisp and chilly but no rain. I had started thinking that joy would look like a steaming cup of peppermint mocha coffee on my back deck, protected from the rain but experiencing one of my last days among the pine trees. I pictured my dog at my feet, fuzzy socks and hours stretched ahead of only doing what I most desire. No rain, and my picture of joy dissolved with only remnants of a feeling remaining.

I shifted, got out of bed and hugged the dog. Put on the fuzzy socks. Made the coffee. I daydreamed. Joy. Joy! Joy? Maybe looking at the Milky Way from a treehouse on an island, sitting on the lap of someone who fascinates me, cocktail in hand and a night of storytelling and frolicking in the immediate future. Mmmmm. That sounds juicy and joyful. I googled "Milky Way Treehouse" to find some images that might capture this joyful thought. I found, instead, a couple of amazing treehouse vacation destinations. One that offers an exclusive excursion by the hosts to a place where you hike to "the top of the world." There, the sun casts your shadow through the mist and forms a rainbow halo around your shadow on a cloud. I imagined this hike with my daughter, my active athletic daughter who only recently has shifted back to appreciating time with me. My heart expanded. This, I thought, is Joy with a capital J. But she is in school right now and there are pressing obligations on us both in the near future. We can plan this, for certain. But for now? Joy existed in that moment of imagining.

Joy. C'mon, constant companion so elusive to capture in word or image. I have a task at hand, cooperate please!

I abandoned the active part of my task and started passively looking for indications of joy around me. I found joy in dreaming. In imagining. In talking about it and having conversations about joy~full things we could all do together. I found joy in connection to my loves and hearing about their joy. It was in my heart and in my belly and it came from so many different places for so many different reasons. There was joy when my dog thought I was talking to him and acted like he was trying to talk back. There was joy in knowing that my boy is moving into the world with big enthusiastic dreams. There was joy that my Grandma is continuing to set the badass stubborn playful example, charming the staff at the hospital and being matter-of-fact about serious matters of the heart, literally. There was joy in getting it right at work in a complicated mess of things by just being present and honest and connecting. There was joy in dancing, moving my body while surrounded by people who I know love me exactly as I am. There was joy in my coffee cup with its peppermint schnapps or peppermint creamer. There was joy in my car streaming Pandora to my heart's desire driving through amazing countryside because I live in a beauty~full corner of the world. There was joy in my house with these creatures who share it with me and the way we move and live and laugh and love here. There was even joy to be found on my computer where I am connected and challenged and can explore and dream.

Joy isn't elusive to experience, but it is proving to be a bitch to describe or explain.

For me, joy is a laugh, a tickle deep in the gut and all around the heart. Joy is a moment, a lifetime...a moment that feels like a lifetime. Joy is feeling small under a huge sky and feeling protected and snuggly on a rainy day. It is the recognition of heart strings that have no understanding of distance or time. Joy is the aliveness of each cell when a song comes on the radio that resonates or when things fall into place like a secret plan that finally reveals its magnificence. Joy is truthbumps and twirling and the acceptance that you can't catch it with words or images but you can live it right out loud.

I'm filled with joy, especially in this moment...connected to you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Apocylapse. Now.

She's at it again...this bodacious badass with the questions that rock and roll and lullaby and break everything wide Wide WIDE open.

"How do you feel about destroying what must be destroyed in your life? You know — right this very minute — what’s not working in your life. You don’t have to think about it for too long. The question is: How do you feel about destroying what must be destroyed in your life? "

Not a second had to pass for me to know from a place way deep inside. The knowing was like fireworks in a night sky complete with that burning celebratory smell that speaks of independence, confidence and connection to the universal yes.

I know what's not working, what's holding me still and holding me back. What I hold onto consciously because I want to be held here, where it's safe and easy...and what I allow to hold me because letting go means certain dreams fade, wither and die...even, no...especially those dreams whose dying is long overdue.

The question divides into two for me right here. It turns into How do I feel about destroying what must be destroyed in my life and Am I willing to experience that feeling by taking action?

Imagining, I feel frightened and empowered simultaneously...full of jittery, excited energy that tells me that I'm doing something GREAT that will leave me changed in ways that I've been hungering for. It feels like letting go of a balloon holding me up and an anchor holding me the time to fly, float or sink in the direction of my own choosing has come to pass. It feels terrifyingly liberating. It feels like melancholy-tinged badassery as certain hopes, dreams and beliefs are tied to that balloon and other fears, obligations and dogmas to that anchor.

Taking action will mean I will encounter misunderstanding, assumptions, blame and shame. I will be misunderstood and I will hurt someone's feelings without a doubt. I will change. Things will change. Relationships will change. Some people will withdraw their love, others will come closer. I will grieve the loss of people and the possible future I thought was a foregone conclusion. I will set free the part of me that stayed small to hold on when holding on was no longer serving me or you or that or them.

What's amazing is that just the question...entertaining the possible answers starts something wonder~full.

I'm not the same person I was before I started this post.

Destruction doesn't have to be brilliant and devastating. It can be a quiet destruction that happens in a heart when the heart is ready. It can be a letting go that is not a dramatic, in-your-face firey explosion of burning journals, quitting a job, breaking up with a lover or telling off of someone who has had it coming for way too long. It can be a balloon that quietly floats away until it can no longer be seen or an anchor that stays in the darkness of the depths with its broken chain coiled around itself.

The answers is: Yes, I am ready and chances are it's already happening.

DML Graphics v13 130919 Badge 300x100 Desire Map for Life

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Love Letter to the Lost

There's something about forgiveness that is blissful. It's that expanding of your heart, character, integrity and capacity for love that is so heady and intoxicating.

Forgiveness has been hovering, shaking, aimed at my heart like the point of an arrow on a bow that's stretched to capacity. It's felt ominous and inescapable lately. I've tried to stave it off with righteousness and outrage and anger...unsuccessfully.

If I would have known it would feel like this, I would have surrendered much earlier.

When I forgave YOU, you lost every iota of power you have or ever had over me. That was intoxicating.


When I forgave ME, I gained every ounce of power in all the galaxies combined. That is fortifying and liberating.

My heart is peace~full and my past mistakes no longer define me...those stories are about some other person in some other time, surviving as best as she could. I've nurtured that girl and loved her into evolving so far past what she was and the mistakes that were hers to make.

I highly recommend it. Nurture. Love. Forgive. Evolve. Rinse. Repeat.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Birthday Love Letter, Prequel to the Sequel

Last year, when I sat down to write your birthday love letter, it was with love wrapped in regret and a hint of sadness...more selfishness than I can stand to see in black and white.

It's amazing what a year can do.

This year, I wish you adventure. More than your imagination could even begin to believe is possible. I wish you deep connection to those who love you...who remind you of why you do the things you do and help you now as much as in the past to be the man you are. I wish you laughter and brilliance, new discoveries and the shattering of beliefs that no longer serve you. I wish you discomfort...cold toes and an empty belly, overtired Monday mornings, blisters and sore muscles...from being places and doing things that push you to live life right out there to the edge of possibility. I wish you moments of staggering beauty that take your breath away and make you wonder at this life in ways that knock you on your ass. I wish you belly laughs and naps and moments of deafening silence to reflect on all the amazing that surrounds you. I wish you soul freedom in intoxicating quantities.

I love you. I'm so glad you were born.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Finding my rhythm

My core desired feelings are making me fall completely totally in love with my life and all those who touch it. That's you, reading this. Yes, you.

I'm getting better at this business of running my thoughts and actions through the filter of "how does this make me feel?" Does this make me feel: Succulent? Magnetic? Magical? Awestruck? Entrenched?

The answer is almost always yes. I'm not quite sure if it's that I lead an unbelievably amazing life or if it's that the eternal Pollyanna in me can find or create succulence, magnetism, magic and be completely caught up with being awestruck and enthusiastically connected in solidarity through a vivid kaleidoscope of communion with every person as a soul friend in this wild daily adventure (my definition of entrenched). Either way, HELL. YES!

So, I've found myself all over the place this past places both mentally, emotionally and physically where maybe those core desired feelings aren't commonplace. Most strikingly, there was some fear and anger. Vulnerability. Procrastination. Good old fashioned dirt.

Breathing into the fear, I realized that it only comes from having such amazingness in my life that any threat against it is frightening. Succulent. Awestruck. Entrenched.

Pressing into the anger, I knew that the other person's actions were only because I am succulent. Magnetic. Magical. And by that definition above? Entrenched, for sure. That left me awestruck.

Standing, crying tears of joy in a hallway full of people who depend on me to hold it together. Crying from the deepest most tender part of my soul and feeling my vulnerability pull those around me closer. Entrenched. Magnetic.

Curled up on my momma's couch reading a book with twenty other things comfortably simmering unattended on the back burner. Self care, self love. Succulent.

Sweaty, hair stuck to my forehead and filthy hands...but smiling and sunkissed because I wasn't only feeling Succulent and Magical...I was BEING both. Resulting in magnetic.


Awestruck. All the time.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Bitter~sweet Birthday...

I turned a year older today. It's been an amazing couple of days. I floated the river with my lovely, munching on local fruit and drinking super~sized Bloody Marys on a raft built for two. I napped and was fed dinner by a witch. Denny's gave me a free breakfast. I ate it with my three favorite people on the planet. My babygirl gave me the gift I so desperately be heard. My boy hugged me extra hard. I was invited into the forbidden zone where I was offered a strawberry made even sweeter by eating it in that place which I thought I had lost forever. I hung out with my momma then hung out in my hammock. There was a long bath and a book that I haven't set enough time aside to read lately. Dozens of facebook messages, texts, calls and an email offering up pieces of a soul I also thought I had lost forever. My soul sister called me after way too long that then felt like no time at all. I made my list of things to do before my next birthday...after evaluating last year's...and fell a little in love with where I am today, this crazymazing life and the future too.

Through all of that, I had to keep reminding myself that it's okay to be happy today. My birthday this year falls on Father's Day...and I felt myself slipping often into that risky, tricky place of sorrow and regret. I miss him. I grieve the lost opportunities and I regret the missed ones...the missed words as well. It's been a bitter~sweet day and the only saving grace has been that there are beauty~full things going on in this his legacy...that he would be incredulous about and delighted by if he were here to see them.

My greatest gift this year has been that of family, gifted to me by a father whom I didn't get to know nearly well enough. My greatest gift this year has been my sister opening her heart to me and a man raised by my father but with whom I share no blood...who called me "family" and burst my heart wide open.

My New Year/Birthday List:

Go to them. All of them.
Say things. Lots of things.
Listen too. Lots of that too.
Salute the sun. A lot.
The moon too.
Hug some more.
Map my desire. Follow it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Three Beauty~Full Things

♥ Leftover Thai food for breakfast, right out of the takeout container.

♥ My old computer fixed...all that lovely past accessible again.

♥ One lone wish left on the plate~sized dandelion in my planter bed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mapping my Desire

Danielle LaPorte and I have a long history. Over the course of years and years, she has been accompanying me on a soul journey... motivating, leading, lightheartedly encouraging and making it seem not only possible but absolutely inevitable that I would find my way to my inner amazing. We've never met.

She introduced me to my own White Hot Truth slowly and persistently by enticing me back to her space with stories and soul poetry and goosebumpy truths over and over again. When she chose to walk through her own fire into her own name, her own bedrock, she led by example to not only claim that core identity but to accept even that as fluid...and call the fluidity a superpower. It is.

I was drawn to flesh out her burning questions with my own blazing reality, taking me from invincible at times to totally totalled as well. I learned what I trust. It was in there, it was part of me. But getting it out and making it part of my world instead of just inside of me breathed life into these things I trust. They morphed. They morph. Trust changes, that was the most enlightening bitter pill I've ever swallowed. My mantra was born out of that...a mantra that led my life to peace, connection, fulfillment and ethereal joy that bubbles up from the very core of my being. Then she asked me how I want to feel. I knew. There wasn't a glimmer of hesitation. I wanted to feel more. I purchased the audiobook version of The Firestarter Sessions. She whispered her secrets like a best friend convincing me of my juicy~ness in stereo through my car speakers. I wanted to fill my car with people...people I knew and people I wanted to know and people I didn't know...and, and, and! I wanted them to hear and I wanted to make that eye contact that says "right?" with incredulity and recognition behind it.

It was rockin along. Then there was the Maximum Mayhem Moment, the one that changed everything. Adrift, confused, terrified and displaced...all I carried with me were the beings I adored and an exhausting determination to believe that things would get better. Somehow. Destitute and displaced but with an over abundance of time on my hands, I created a buoy. I spent some days with Danielle LaPorte and others with Marie Forleo, Chris Guillebeau, Tanya Geisler, Lissa Rankin and Kate Northrup. I created a team of coaches to pull me from the pit of despair. I read every word I could find and marinated in them. I watched their videos and downloaded their freebies. I subscribed. I meditated and visualized. I made vision boards and sticky notes and lists. I journaled and I sang and I walked with eyes wide open through parks filled with gnarled and wise oak trees and endless expanses of sand at the ocean's edge. I read poetry. I wrote poetry. The pit of despair faded into appreciation for life, even its despair.

Then there was this:

And on her birthday, like the glorious grounded gracious rock star that she is, she offered it up at a "pay what you can" rate. I paid what I could...and now? Now, I'm desire mapping. For a couple of weeks now, my attempts to begin have fallen flat, I haven't even opened the book.

Last night, unexpectedly alone on a good hair day with uncharacteristically amazing open window weather and fueled by butterflies after a soul to soul reconnection, I lit some nag champa and brewed my favorite "get zen" tea: Saffron Chamomile Spearmint with vanilla stevia in my favorite mug from a coastal trip with my lovely. I turned Pandora on to The Pierces radio. I laid out my softest blanket and spread my tools around me: book. workbook. colored pens. highlighters. the black gel pen that makes my handwriting look like ancient wisdom. laughing buddha. my tiny frog prince. rose quartz charged by my favorite witch. lip balm. A McCabe rock that says "breathe". I called my dog to lay nearby so I could bounce ideas off of him. He's intuitive.

I opened the workbook and the first page has an entry titled "Make it sacred" and states: "Let this process be important and sacred for you-because it is. You're a grown-up, do this in whatever ways feel inspiring. You know how you learn best and what you need to hear yourself think. Crank some rock or rock opera if that's what alters your state. Light a honey beeswax candle. Find a park bench, get a sitter, say a prayer. Do what you need to do to create a container that will allow you to unfold our truth."

I was right where I was supposed to be.

If you believe my dog, I did great work. If you believe me, I rocked the damn socks off of that workbook and I'm only halfway through.

My core desired feeling list is too long but I decided that it's as long as it needs to be right now. It needs some time and space and reason to evolve. Right now? It takes my breath away and I'm in a constant state of butterflies.

My Core Desired Feelings:

Camaradarie...these may evolve into In Communion

Light...these seem to be saying Ethereal

Playful...maybe all of these are Magnetic

Now, for action...this day isn't gonna know what hit it!

~A week later, these words evolved into: Succulent. Magnetic. Entrenched. Awed. (with entrenched meaning: enthusiastically connected in solidarity and communion, seeing every person as a camarade together in this wild adventure we share.)~

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

That One Time I Got Peed On...

"Turn your face, young lady" he said with an authoritative and extremely serious demeanor, reaching for the drawstring on his swim trunks. Just fifteen minutes earlier I had been prancing on the beach where the water met the sand. My bikini was, with was a gift from my mother at my sixteenth birthday party just days prior. Now I was looking up from my seated position on the sand at a rounded belly and dark nippled chest covered by a carpet of salt and pepper hair. So. Much. Hair...all the way to that drawstring. My mind couldn't even conceive what was beyond that, but by all evidence, I was about to find out.

Rewind fifteen minutes and my prancing had taken me past the water line to where the waves began to break. There was a group of us prancers...splashing and laughing and eventually bobbing in the Gulf of Mexico. I was on my back, arms outstretched, feeling the sun on my skin and the rhythm of the waves rocking me gently. I had drifted a bit away from my friends when the pain of a thousand needles simultaneously being shoved under my skin took over my leg. I screamed with every bit of air in my lungs, sure that one of the sharks rumored to be in the waters just ate my right leg from mid calf down. I couldn't do anything but scream, not even turn my face to find my friends. I went under, frozen in my floating pose with no air left in my lungs. I felt myself being dragged under the water and thought, "I didn't even eat lunch yet and I'm going to be lunch," when I realized I was being pulled TOWARD the beach, not into the depths to be devoured.

My arms started working and a strong male voice demanded that I stop my thrashing as I felt the thousand needles on my skin again. Terrified of what I would or wouldn't see, I forced myself to stop moving except to look at my leg. My foot was there and it all looked normal, except for the sand the forceful man had heaped on my ankle. He apologized and quickly scrubbed the sand into my skin. I screamed again, in total flaming agony. Then he ordered me to turn my face and I felt a stinging warmth on the same skin. I could smell urine and in my agonized, near-delirious state, I thought I had lost control of my bladder. I was embarrassed. I was more embarrassed when I realized what had really just happened.

He wrapped my leg in a towel and put me in the back seat of my friend's car with strict orders to go straight to the Emergency Room. We tried. I cried. The drive should have been twenty minutes but the drawbridge that was always such a welcome excuse for why we missed curfew was karmically in operation at the time. An hour and five minutes later, we arrived at the ER. I was welted and the scars remained well past the summer, but the ER couldn't do any more for me than the quick thinking and reacting hairy Samaritan on the beach had.

I don't know what's luckier, that it was my only encounter with a Portuguese Man O'War or the only time a stranger peed on me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

San Francisco Soul Magic

It was an old hotel whose ground floor had been converted into a restaurant and the upstairs deserted. It's facade was so San Francisco that it took my breath away. Arches and curlicues, a stately entrance with 10 foot doors and wrought iron everywhere. It was breathtaking and, still staring wide-eyed, I whispered "c'mon" before leading the way in. The inside was even better, with wide sweeping staircases that I'm sure hold amazing history, crystal chandeliers, dark-chocolate colored wood everywhere and thick, jewel-toned, intricately patterned carpeting. It was magic and history and mystery and heartbreak and hope all at once, like the city it sits in.

We snuck upstairs, over the velvet ropes and quickly ascending while hugging the shadows. I was exploring the deserted dusty ballroom and the views to the street below. My partner in crime was busy as well. His tickling the ivories of the old and rheumy grand piano had attracted like-minded and like-hearted rebel explorers. There was singing. There was dancing. There was laughter...and the old placed sighed with satisfaction. There is magic in that place, in that city, in that night, in this world.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Dark Ladies of Southern Decadence Circa 1999

There were beads. There were boobs. There were skimpy outfits, leashes and collars. We found ourselves in the absolute center of a Mardi Gras you don't hear much about. Labor Day in New Orleans is something everyone should experience at least once...and it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime for me. Two amply tufted burly men in hot pants educated us that we had landed in the midst of Southern Decadence. That explained the rainbows.

It was me and my elfin boyfriend...who was quite the sport in this most unusual circumstance. We met up with my high school soul-friend-mate and it was a party from the moment we realized what we had gotten our selves into. There were new friends, kisses, full body paint on a street corner by a heroin addict named Bone, a fun but creepy waiter who looked like Uncle Fester, amazing food and conversation, street performers on unicycles who let us try on their duds, beads, beads and more beads, whistles and cat calls and Hurricanes. Oh, the Hurricanes.

I think it was the Hurricanes that sealed the deal. I had spent the day sneaking into every bathroom with him, ravishing him as much as I could between the giggles and the knocks. It was after that first Hurricane that I quietly snuck behind him in the brick lined labyrinth of a hallway that eventually leads to the men's room. I slid under his arm and wrapped myself around him, planting a kiss right on his neck. Used to it now, he smoothly turned us around while kissing me back before turning me around and giving me a little shove the other direction. Two more of these back to back peppered with kisses and giggles, he stopped me in my tracks with a mid-laugh breathless "God, I love you." I lost control of every muscle, arms dropping to my sides and face going slack with wide eyes. "Huh? What did you say?" I responded oh, so eloquently. Confusion crossed his face for a split second before he began to turn pink. He turned me around again and gave that little shove again. This time I went the direction I was sent. I made it up to the bar where by soul-friend-mate had already ordered drinks and was sitting belly up to the grand piano being played enthusiastically and with flourish. When my guy made his way to where we were sitting, I had made a full recovery from my stupefication in the hallway. He tried to be heard over the piano and yelled "Did you order me a drink?" to which I replied with a slack look on my face and one eyebrow raised "Huh? What did you say?" This exchange happened once or twice more before he realized what I was doing. A huge smile crossed his face and he yelled, just as the piano player finished his song "I SAID, I LOVE YOU!" His yell echoed through the suddenly silent bar and was met by thundering applause and me launching myself into his arms. There were pats on the back and rounds bought in honor of his declaration. There were high-fives and equal amounts of "way to go" and "run, dude" comments.

I floated a foot above the ground the rest of the night, despite the enormous amounts of beads my love lavished on me from all the flashing he had done all day long. Now THAT is love.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I sat here to write, like I've sat here on so many other occasions over the past few months...fingers poised over the keys and thoughts flying through my mind. Tonight, like all of those other nights before this one, I get up and meditate instead. I'm cocooning, stilling and silencing my words instead of sharing them...letting them swirl and stew and become something beautiful beyond imagining.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Imagine & Allow

I've most recently labelled my new calendar years Carpe Diem & Moxie in 2010 then Possibility & Brilliance in 2011.

This year is Imagine & Allow.

It's not on purpose...but I can see the evolution of my soul in this progression. First it was: give it all you've got, live out loud, be gutsy and grab ahold. Next it was: expand your vision to see what might be there waiting to dazzle and captivate. Now it is: use less vision and more visualizing, create fertile ground and and around this little sphere so those possibilities have the time and space and nourishment to flourish, bloom and turn into amazing sweetness.

It's how it should be.