Go Make Your Own Fucking Art!

Haters and bullies and trolls, OH MY!!


Okay so I know that many would consider that title RUDE.  If you are offended by strong language, this will definitely not be the hang-out for you!

But hey, I just used a vigorous curse word…I didn’t smack your baby!

I feel the need to spout off a little and hopefully those who are of a strong constitution can buckle up and come along for the ride.  I’ve found myself getting more “feisty as fuck” with each passing year! Hopefully you are too.

As I said in my last blog, Elizabeth Gilbert’s words “Go make your own fucking art!” have become my new motto.

The inspiration?

I was recently the subject of an overwhelming cyber bullying attack (June of 2017).  At first, I had no idea why, but was suddenly hit with a few one-star reviews on my Garden of Ink Tattoo Facebook page, with no actual words.  Just the 1 star.

Had the page for about eight years, never a problem at all. Had a rating of 4.8 and in 24 hrs. it was down to 2!  UGH.

I was busy in meetings all day so didn’t have a chance to deal with it but by the next day I had over 150 negative, vicious comments and 1-star reviews before I had a chance to turn off Facebook reviews.  I spent countless hours reporting and blocking people over a few days.  They attacked me personally and commented all over my photos and posts.

Soon it was over 200, and then they moved to google reviews too (which cannot be turned off unless they are violent or threatening). They also went on to my student’s Facebook pages and made nasty comments as well as contacting two of my clients. (determined little nitwits!)

The thing that floors me most?  It was tattoo artists from across the country doing the bullying!! My OWN PEERS!

In general, the “reason” behind it was because I own a tattoo school and these other tattooers believe everyone should be forced to go through an old-school, harsh apprenticeship to “earn” the right to practice this craft and thus I am “degrading” and “dishonoring” the tradition of tattooing by having a school and using modern equipment.  They didn’t even care that schools are required and regulated in Oregon! The comments ranged from rude to threatening to downright filthy. I was quite in shock at how ruthless and ugly they were being to defend their way of thinking.

Those first few days I was puzzled, then hurt, then defensive, then angry! My clients, friends and family came to my defense with lightning speed, which was AWESOME. (Danny, my son-n law REALLLLY raised a ruckus…I loved his “HOW VERY DARE YOU” attitude.

But I personally chose NOT to engage with them. I didn’t say ONE WORD to any of them, and just countered the mean google reviews with a pat answer.

In fact, after it got up over 300 comments I began to literally LAUGH at the ridiculous, mean, awful things they were hatefully spewing.  I couldn’t even fathom why someone would waste so much energy directing hatred instead of just making their own art.

REAlly?  I mean SERiously?

And my family and friends were shocked that I was so calm, because they were all pissed! (Especially my sons…defending their MAMA.)

My feelings are as follows: A. I am an artist no matter what the FUCK you think. B. There is room for EVERYONE who is determined to tattoo and multiple paths to get there. C. My clients love me. D. My students love me. (well except that one asshole). E. How dare you act as if you are the almighty deciders of how the tattoo industry should be run. F.  is for “Fuck you”.

One of the weirdest parts of this is, my friends, students and clients know me as a kind, caring, generous, positive and Fierce Pollyanna.  These trollers have no clue of who I am, my journey, my reasons, motivations or the difficult path I’ve had to get where I am.

And yet they feel they are my judge and jury with comments like “you should break your thumbs”, “let’s bring her down”, “My dick does better tattoos” or “your art looks like a 5th grader did it.”

Here is some of my “crappy” art they tore apart but the client was over the moon happy! (Watercolor Elephant tattoo 2017)

My inclination is to feel “hey if they are picking on me I can just count that as a measure of my success.”. 

(My Pollyanna sunny side has tried to find a positive spin to this brutal verbal attack.)

Ok so first of all, if you were a painter and went to college or a private art school no one would say to you “you should NOT pay your way through, you should SUFFER for your art and only train through a traditional apprenticeship such as in the days of old, where they will treat you like crap OR you are NOT really a REAL painter!”  And secondly, no one would say your painting was shit if you didn’t create it in the same way, style or using the same tools as they did. And thirdly, no one would say you weren’t a REAL painter just because you didn’t take art history or uphold the traditions of all those who came before you. And lastly, all art training, styles, tools and technology change over time!  Why should tattooing be any different?

The majority of the meanies said things that implied I am hurting all tattooers and scamming the students because I am breaking with traditional apprenticeships.  Also, I am dishonoring all those tattoo artists who came before me. And because I use a modern rotary tattoo machine (and teach that to my students) I am apparently an idiot and I am “shitting on the whole tattoo industry.”

HOLY MF, people get a life.  Things change. Traditions change. People are allowed to make their own choices.  Just because you think you are right doesn’t make it so and certainly does not give you the right to be hateful, judging and threatening to someone who doesn’t believe the same as you.

I was told in a private message: “I’ve been tattooing for 30 years and what you are doing is an abomination.” REAlly? SeriOUSLY?  Me tattooing my happy clients and teaching my happy students to do the art they love is what you consider an “abomination”?

How bout your spewing hatred like a gutless chicken behind a computer screen–Now THAT is actually vile and abhorrent!

One of my clients said it best when he commented: “It’s so ridiculous how they are bashing you for not doing things the traditional old school way, but they are using Facebook to tell you this.  They should be using a rotary dial telephone to call you up and threaten you instead.” (OMG I laughed so hard when he said this!)

So instead of crying, being hateful in return or shrinking back…I made this video, ala Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean tweets”.  CHECK IT OUT!

And they wanted to ‘bring me down’ shatter my confidence and crush my reputation.  But hell, all they did was make me more feisty and KICK ASS than ever.  I’ve literally written more, created more, painted more and drawn more in the last few months than in years AND increased my income through my own IDEAS. Take that bitches!!

And of course there is this piece of advice from Wayne Dyer I have always tried to live by: “Your reputation is in the hands of others. That’s what reputation is. You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is your character”.

If you have a moment, join my facebook group to continue the discussion or comment below.  I’d love to hear how you have stood up for yourself!!  I’m seriously starting a “Feisty as Fuck” movement!!  Hee hee

Be fierce. Be kind. Be BADASS!



PS: Let me know what is the biggest challenge in you not being the person you want to be.  What is holding you back?  I’d love to help!

Feisty Black Sheep says “GO ALL IN!”

Feisty Black Sheep says “GO ALL IN!”


black sheep, noun
The least reputable member of a group; a disgrace. This metaphor is based on the idea that black sheep were less valuable than white ones because it was more difficult to dye their wool different colors. Also in the 16 century, their color was considered the devil’s mark. By the 18th century the term was widely used as it is today, for the odd member of a group.
(American Heritage Dictionary)

Have you always been known as “the black sheep”? Associated with words like outcast, outspoken, reject, prodigal…weirdo?

Or perhaps in your family of origin you were the only one with musical or artistic talent and nobody understood your weirdness. Or maybe you were a guy who didn’t like football or a girl who didn’t want to have a baby? Or maybe you turned your back on the religion you were raised in.

Or maybe you just cursed a helluva lot more than the normals do. (I sure do!)

On the outside it appears that you don’t care very much what people think of you or what is considered the “right thing” to do? (I very much embrace a “fuck-the-fucking-fuckers” philosophy.)

But inside there is the incessant voice that questions “who do you think you are?”, “DO you even have a clue what you are doing? Or “What if I am all wrong?”

How often do we let this voice stop us? How much of our time is wasted fighting back the defeating self-talk? Despite our outward bravado and strength, there is a little

scaredy cat

inside each of us.

OMG I drain a lot of precious energy IN MY HEAD, having to talk myself down off the ledge of self- doubt. I remember author Wayne Dyer saying we have something like 60,000 thoughts in one day, and most of them are repeats! It is exhausting to continually harp on myself, even if it’s not out loud.

Here’s the bald truth; I have two battling voices inside: Scaredy cat me and feisty black sheep me.

And I have conversations in my mind that go something like this:

Scaredy cat: I’m too old!

Feisty black sheep: Screw age. Who decided how old was too old anyway?

Scaredy cat: I’ve wasted so much time already!

Feisty black sheep: You’ve worked your ass off for years. You only always have the now moment.

Scaredy cat me: But what if I’m not good enough?

Feisty black sheep: Good enough for whom? (fuck-the-fucking-fuckers!)

Scaredy cat: I don’t want to seem too woo woo or ignorant.

Feisty black sheep: Embrace your freaky deaky nature and prove how smart you are!

Obviously scaredy cat me is the voice of my dastardly and wimpy ego and feisty black sheep me represents my

inner badass diva (the higher power baby!).

And I must continually make a conscious choice to listen to the feisty black sheep or my INNER DIVINITY, the messages that download to me from universal energy all about worthiness, talent, dreams and capability. (Besides divinity is delicious!)

Sometimes, as I am swept away by amazing bouts of inspiration and glorious ideas, that stinkin’ fear voice creeps in and makes me question myself. I begin to doubt or lose faith in my ability to be successful or flourish. If I happen to be really stressed, feeling a bit under the weather, or even just premenstrual, I can waiver in my confidence and shrink back from going all in.

I actually thought to myself a few months back, WHAT if I didn’t question? WHAT if I truly believed in the power of my intentions with absolute certainty? WHAT would it feel like to have absolute KNOWING? How astonishing of a life could I have then? (I love these moments of ‘satori’, or sudden enlightenment, where the veil of understanding is lifted just for a fleeting moment and I truly get it and then whoooooosh…it’s gone.)

So sure I can shrink back at times, but my need for beauty, adventure, brilliance and connection urge me to just keep going, just keep trying… just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, an assistant professor of communication at Utah State University says, “Many so called black sheep wear the title like a badge of honor. This applies especially to “positive deviants” — people who make positive changes in their lives and the world but are still ostracized by members of their family.”

In my mind the term “positive deviants” = Fierce Pollyanna—and yes I do wear the label “black sheep” with pride!

And feisty black sheep me says GO ALL IN!

If you are a black sheep too, I’d love to hear from you!  Join the conversation in my facebook group!  I will be offering fun freebies, badass tips and custom art products + loads of brutal honesty!

Be fierce. Be kind. Be Baa-Baa-Baddass!


Why do people think they need to tell me what to do? Why do people think they KNOW better for my life? I mean especially the people whose lives are not so nifty??

I get advice EVEN from people who are broke, overweight, unhappy and unhealthy. Even those who are in terrible relationships feel the need to tell me how mine should look. Really? (can you hear the inflection in that? REAlly?)

BUT what I am recently coming to grips with is the people who have told me that my art is shit. I mean for one thing REAlly? And for another thing SERIously?

How DARE you tell anyone their art is shit? “How VERY dare you?”

Have we not seen enough movies with the art or music teacher telling a kid they are lousy and untalented…THEN that same kid goes on to fame and fortune?

And not only that– ART is probably one of THE MOST subjective things on our planet!! Ummm…have you seen a Jackson Pollack painting?

Ok, ok, to be fair, it was a bunch of people from other states cyberbullying me on Facebook. No one in my real life has ever said “your art is shit” which does make it a little easier to take.

And yet, since our world is so integrated with the internet, and the voices out there are getting louder every day…it still hurt! (fucking chickens, hiding behind their keyboards!!)

But I chose to ignore the meanies (in fact made a funny video responding to their ridiculous posts, which I will share in another blog) and I just moved on with my life. Fortunately, I am confident enough in my own skin, and strong enough in spirit to LAUGH at the losers who waste their time tearing people down.

I also am blessed with a tremendous amount of supporters who love me and love my art. They keep coming back! (YOU PEEPS TRULY ROCK MY WORLD!)

So the clear message here for me is: I’m not going to please everyone. Some people will be drawn to me and the art or writing I offer and others won’t. So what? I’d rather build a following of enthusiastic fans and ideal clients, even if it’s small, then beat my head up against the people who want to hate, or slam or dis me.

As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her FANTASTIC book BIG MAGIC (and I have adopted as my own Goddess warrior CRY) “Go make your own fucking art!” (more on that later.)

Check this out: 10 famous people who make horrible art.

Ok so sheesh…HORRIBLE is an appalling word. But damn, if they can do it, anyone can.

And listen…people buy this stuff!!

Makes the old saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” come in to crystal focus.

Everyone deserves their own art, no matter how amateur or advanced it is. And each artist has their own fans, whether it’s MOM or a crowd of high falutin’ art collectors.

Art is good for the soul. Art is a skill that can always be developing and growing. Even kid’s art can be a beautiful, moving, inspirational piece. (Here’s my granddaughter Orin’s latest piece. She’s 6!)

I happen to think she is brilliantly talented and I am her number one FAN!

So if someone says your art is shit:

And please comment or share your stories of how you have dealt with naysayers, haters or know-it-alls!

Be fierce. Be kind. Be Badass!!


PS: Be part of the conversation by subscribing to my email list. I am planning all sorts of goodies, freebies, videos, and great convo!

One Big Retro “Screw You”!

One Big Retro “Screw You”!


Being content and joyful, despite circumstances, seems to be a foreign state for most people. I would swear people love misery, and misery loves company, so we get an exclusive invite to their poopy pity party!

I practice hard to stay in the present moment–using meditation, yoga, affirmations, determination and mindfulness. HEY it’s not freaking easy, let me tell you, But it’s high on my priority list to FEEL GOOD!

My lightness and joy are like a skittish unicorn, poised to be spooked away at any moment by the village folk crashing through the woods, carrying pitchforks of pessimism.

And yet I just keep bringing on the rainbows.

Oh sure, I know there are tons of jokes and memes about the airy fairy, new age, too happy sunshine dorks.  But that’s just peevish people attempting to categorize all UNKNOWNS into one big label. People called me Pollyanna for YEARS before I realized it was supposed to be an insult!

One big retro “screw you” to all those jerks who tried to make me feel foolish for simply being cheerful.

Everyone’s unique perspective is needed in this world.

We can’t all be cynics and too-cool-for-school.  I happen to be fierce, nutty, funny, weird, optimistic and unbearably light most of the time.  It takes real tragic trauma to get me down.  Sure, life pushes my cork down to the depths of the sea, where I struggle to breathe, but my sunny nature just keeps popping that cork back to the surface. I like to float!

One of my biggest turn-offs is sitting with a group of people who fill the air with complaints; why things can’t be done or just a lot of “woe is me”.  I swear some people literally aren’t happy unless there is some drama and BS to stir up.

Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction.  Break the habit.  Talk about your joys.” ~Rita Schiano 

So when that happens to me, before my eyes start to roll, I politely excuse myself and GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE.  It’s hard enough to maintain your own centered state of being, without adding the drain of whiners, complainers and negators!

I’m not saying there aren’t valid traumas and tragedies–people do need support and a kind ear at times.

I’m talking about the type—you know them—NOTHING makes them happy, everyone is against them, they expect the worst and they believe they have no control over their lives. It’s all happening “TO” them. Years go by and you hear them saying the same old things. Waah!

Guard your mind from the Gloomy Gabbies.

Looking on the bright side and being cheerful is not childish or delusional. These are important qualities of successful people.

Optimism is quintessentially an energizing, dynamic force

So why power down when you can power up?

Let’s commit to complain less.  Let’s find more to be grateful for. Let’s allow our unicorns to prance freely through the forest, undisturbed.

Be Fierce. Be Kind. Be Badass.


“My friend told me I was delusional.  I laughed so hard I almost fell off my unicorn!” ~unknown.

Don’t Just Sit There


Don’t Just Sit there!

Last night I attended a lovely, out door, country wedding ceremony.  When the music started, loads of attractive young people crowded the dance floor, getting tipsy by the minute, and having an outrageously good time!

I looked around and saw oh so many older folks (a lot of grumpsters), sitting in their chairs just staring. OK sure, some had canes, I get that, but what about the ones who just sat there? Forgetting how to be childlike and imaginative? Spectating instead of participating? Throwing a wet blanket on the fun?

Damn, why don’t the elders get out there and shake a leg too?

Granted there were a couple who danced a little, but mostly they sat. And sat. And sat.  (Have they not heard thatsitting is the new smoking of our generation?)

A glowing orange half moon lit the sky, twinkle lights all around, and a super bright spot light illuminating the huge field. The music was loud and bass was pumping.  I shed my inhibitions, and twirled in the grass with my radiant six year-old granddaughter squealing and grinning!  She was so delighted and bouncy, like a tigger and when “Happy” started playing she yelled “I love this song!” and both of us just danced our legs off!

After several songs, sweating and thirsty, we grabbed some water. She took her bottle and just dumped it over her head… no worries about makeup, hair, squishing around in wet clothes… just spontaneous, in the moment.  Absolute bliss to watch. And her laughter was so contagious!

I would’ve missed this moment if I was just sitting around talking to the people my age.


This Pollyanna will stay as magical as possible!!! 

And take every opportunity to twirl in the moonlight, despite the grumpsters and wet blankets.


“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…I hope you dance.”

~ Lee Ann Wommack

Painting on the Sidewalk!

Painting on the Sidewalk

I was honored to be chosen by the City of Springfield to participate in the “Upstream Art Project” which allowed me to paint a mural right on the sidewalk! This project is an effort to raise awareness regarding storm drain pollution and habitat protection. Six artists were chosen and awarded $1000 for our effort.

The design I submitted in May 2017

I was inspired to enter the contest because I’ve been working on fish paintings for the board game Reel Me In! for the last several months.  In addition to entertainment and strategy, the board-game shares in an effort to protect wildlife and fisheries.


Different fish species I painted for the game cards.

Hey, I didn’t know that the water flowing through storm drains goes straight into our rivers and streams unfiltered and untreated!  So it was an education for me as well as the many folks who stopped by to ask questions.

It took me and my wonderful assistant Gil 14 hours total over two days to complete the nearly 5’ x 7’ painting. Being as it was on the ground…whooo wheee….we were kneeling, bending, squatting, and laying on the sidewalk the whole time…OH my aching back!  Thank-goodness for the knee pads.

Special traffic paint was provided in only five colors: red, blue, yellow, black and white–from which I mixed all the colors needed for my design. I am told the painting could be there for several years.  It’s right between the Springfield City library and the Springfield museum on 6th street.

(Here is a slideshow of the fun we had!)

This was a FABULOUS adventure and being paid to do art is always a thrilling privilege!  Of course, part of the money went to my chiropractor bill!


Writing a damn blog already!!

Writing a damn blog already!!

Ok, so I ‘ve been quiet in the corners of blog-land for a while, working on so many other things…but my business coaches keep saying “write blogs” and I seriously keep putting it on my to-do list then it keeps falling to the bottom.  AND the muses keep snickering & whispering their words of wisdom to share.

Hey, I ain’t no slacker!  It’s not like I’m sitting around watching Netflix and eating deep fried oreos.  No sireee……I am running a tattoo studio, teaching tattoo school, I’m writing a tattoo book, painting, drawing, planning my HIGH flying online business, editing plays, illustrating children’s books, tattooing my own clients, taking a “build your online business master class” reading tons of books, helping design a board game AND in between all that…I painted a sidewalk for 14 hours, over two days! (more on that in the next blog.) I’m exhausted just rereading that list.

Sooooo blephhh <——–that’s me sticking my tongue out! CUZ I’m a freakn hustling dynamo!

And yet the casual, fun nature of the blog calls to me.  I enjoy the short but sweet clips of life’s adventures and it is my honor to be gifted as a writer.

And so I’m returning to my sadly barren blog-o-rama with the intention to fill this space with sparks, thrills, positive thinking, feisty convo, and radical encouragement for my fans, clients, friends, community and whoever the fuck cares to listen to my musings.


I will promise TWO things: honest unfiltered behind the scenes of my artist/writer badass life AND tidings of great JOY!  This is because I MASH and MERGE my feisty, brutal Sagittarius side with the gentle nature of my spirit guide, the bunny !

I am a fierce Pollyanna people so watch out!!

Be prepared for positive messages with a swift kick in the hindquarters!

Be fierce. Be kind. Be badass.


Know Yourself as Divine!

believe“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


My past experience with spirituality was religion.  I grew up forced to go to church and vacation bible school, though my parents were NOT regular attendees. I never thought that was fair.  I was also forced to go to a Christian middle and high school.  There were so many rules; do’s and don’ts and lectures on SIN, it would make your head spin–so confusing for a young woman.  I always believed in God as a wee child, but I knew God as a benevolent, caring, father figure. Then around age seven, suddenly there were sermons on hell, brimstone, lakes of fire and sinners so horrible that Jesus had to sacrifice himself to save all us wretched souls.  My teen years were filled with guilt, confusion, anger and sadness that my beloved grandfather (who called himself a “Deist”, essentially knowing god through nature) was going to go to hell!

As a young adult, and newly married, I attended bible studies and attempted to live according to fairly legalistic principles;  woman was subservient to husband,  meant to be a mother and homemaker, have lots of children and be a Godly example. So from about 18 – 22 I attempted to fit in with these strict values: I was a republican, though I had no clue what that meant, and I jumped right in with the “anti” crowd—anti-abortion, anti-drugs &alcohol, anti-gays and anti-television.  I look back on that young, naïve self and realize I was beyond judgemental…but I explained it away because “I was a Christian and the bible was infallible”, so I was living according to “truth” and those other people were uninformed. Realistically, I was just trying to “fit in”.

Then about that time, when my kids were little and I was trying to be a good parent, my former husband and I both began questioning all the religious stuff, particularly when it came to obedience and spanking etc. I began researching “positive discipline”, “self reliance” and treating kids with respect. This led me to other great books that were–heaven forbid–not by Christian authors.

And slowly we began expanding our minds and then eventually stopped going to church. And lo and behold the heavens didn’t open with lightning and thunder to strike me down for not reading my bible daily, as I had suspected it would.  So between age 25 – 30ish I was “spiritually DRY”.  I wanted NOTHING to do with anything even remotely Christian sounding.  And of course I had been taught that the NEW AGE stuff was evil.  OY.  So my secret love of mystical things, mythology, fantasy etc, was just buried.

I got into self-help books and that lead me to Tony Robbins, then eventually to Wayne Dyer’s teachings and my mind began to open!! I now saw that spirituality was very different from religion.  And as my heart opened, my life got steadily more filled with joy.  It was a disappointment to my Christian Mom and family…but I was actually much happier getting away from the bible and church.

It took me many more years to sort out my beliefs–hundreds of books and audios, exploration of different philosophies, from Buddhism to Paganism, studying anthropology and sociology in college, for me to arrive at a place that I am content and feel supported by the universe.  And though I don’t have a label for my spirituality I do have a very basic philosophy of  “life is supposed to feel good”.  I am so much more accepting, aware, loving and giving than I ever was as a Christian.  I do believe Christ was an avatar but I think his messages are unfortunately too often twisted and adhered to blindly to justify harsh judgement and divisiveness. I lived that first hand.

I have come to comfortably understand that each person deserves their own relationship to the “Divine” or “God” or “Higher Power” or “Universe”…whatever people choose to call it.  And no one else can tell them what is right–no authority, no institution or religious leader.  And we all get to choose our rituals, traditions, prayers or anything that enhances or supports our feeling of inner peace and deep love.

I truly know that the power of BELIEF is incredible. As Oprah Winfrey says: “You become what you believe”.  I think if someone believes crystals are imbued with power, it is true for them.  I think if someone finds comfort in an altar, they should have one.  And if someone doesn’t believe in a higher being at all, that’s ok too. Maybe science and nature are their comforts.  I personally feel the idea of God equates with our own higher consciousness, the witness, the part of us that simply ‘knows’ the next right action. I like to think of it as the “Oneness”.  I’m now embracing my mystical side and I LOVE it.  I like affirmation cards, gems/stones, sparkles, altars, prayers, dream boxes, vision boards, magic, celestial connection and all things whoo woo, as long as it resonates with my soul and makes me feel good (god).

Creativity, art, writing and music are my channels to the divine.  I feel more connected to love and manifesting than ever in my life. I feel an immense amount of joy and satisfaction…even bliss on some days.  Appreciation is my soul-song.  And I give credit to the Great Spirit, the Divine Beloved or as Wayne Dyer once put it, “Infinite Organizing Intelligence”…all these names falling short of sufficiently describing what this magnificent spark really is. That is why the “Tao Te Ching” says “the name that can be named is not the eternal name.”

~Shelly Dax

 “The most common belief is that what we can perceive is real and that the invisible is unreal. In spite of this, scientific advances are revealing new truths about this ‘invisible world’ to us. With recent discoveries in the field of quantum physics it is slowly dawning upon us that the invisible world is in fact the only ‘thing’ that is real.”  ~unknown

Let it Go!

It’s strange toLet it go catch yourself feeling odd, and you take a moment to get quiet and then suddenly realize it’s because you feel so good! And you’re not used to it. What is this new sensation? I am in the middle of a hustle bustle day at the studio, people coming and going, flitting between my desk and observing students; and I find myself smiling. There’s a relatively new sensation in my bones…it’s the feeling of being centered. Whoa. This grounded state of being is something I’ve been searching for most of my life. Sure I’ve experienced this peace of mind off and on many times through-out my life—mainly the last 15 years, but never have I consistently felt this deep sense of calm.

So much of the time in previous years I would allow every little thing to get to me. I would allow picky customers or moody co-workers to throw me off my track. I could easily fall victim to the “sky is falling” syndrome when something didn’t go my way. Or when an honestly inconvenient thing–like knocking over fresh coffee grounds in the filter perched precariously atop my cup—would derail me. Boom! All over the floor when I was in a hurry. I couldn’t let things go.

My level of acceptance used to be so low I would actually argue for my complaints…”it’s real! I’m not making this stuff up! I have every right to be pissed off all day when I am out of sorts”. Thankfully those days are farther and fewer between. When my car’s anti-theft system locked up and refused to start for over an hour, while on a vacation at the coast a few weeks ago, I was calm while I searched google on my phone for an answer. As I watched my friend get tense and snappy with the man who came out to see why we were parked in front of his house, I truly understood the futility of getting upset or cranky. Bottom line: it simply doesn’t help. Sure it wasn’t exactly fun…but it was an opportunity to slow down, laugh at life’s foibles and praise the miracle of smart phones!

I have gradually embraced this idea of “you create your own reality”. Believe me; it didn’t happen all at once. It’s been about 10 years of reading and listening and about five years of serious challenges to truly test my mettle. (You know the old saying “challenges are just opportunities in disguise”? I have been blessed with HELLZA PALOOZA opportunities!)

Practicing meditation for the last two years added another layer of serenity. I just don’t let things get to me as much anymore. I’m saving my freak–out energy for the life altering moments. I have cultivated a secret place in my soul, undisturbed by daily troubles, that I can access to help me remain tranquil. Of course I can’t always get there as fast as I’d like, but better than I used to be is okay with me.

Interesting that also about a year ago I began practicing Louise Hay’s idea of putting your hand to your heart and saying to yourself “I am willing to change” and wow, this last year has been the most transformational of my life. So watch out kids—THOUGHTS have power!!

“Let it go”, as the Disney movie encourages, seems to be the new buzz phrase. Pop song or no…. best advice to help us transform our hurried, worried, wearied world.

“It’s not the situation that’s causing your stress, it’s your thoughts, and you can change that right here and now. You can choose to be peaceful right here and now. Peace is a choice, and it has nothing to do with what other people do or think.” ~ Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD


Writing Down The Bones

Just start writing they say. Whatever comes out. Let it flow. “Writing down the bones”, as author Natalie Goldberg says. Allowing thoughts to transform that blank page. No holding back. Even correcting and editing should wait until a lull in the flow of words. Just get started…past the hump. Don’t interrupt. Somewhere inside there is something to say. Something profound or relevant to share. But just beginning is the hardest.

I ask the fairies of writing to descend upon me in glorious splendor!! And that cursor sits and blinks. I invoke the powers of the divine mind to help me and then my foot itches. Ah it must be a sign, right?

But it’s just never comfortable enough to begin. I must have quiet. House must be clean. I must not be hungry or sore or in pain or itchy or anything that can distract me from writing. The conditions must be perfect. The stars must be magically aligned. (I notice all kinds of typos above and I resist the urge to correct them immediately).

And then the doubts creep in: What in my life is relevant to anyone? What is going to matter? This feels silly. This is all garbage and I’m going to delete it anyway so what’s the point? No one cares. Poor me! Ah the lovely little pity parties I can throw in my own head. I shoo those thoughts away and urgently ask the guardians of written word, the muses, the caretakers of literature to bless me.

And then the excuses pop up: When I get home from work, I’m exhausted. I think I might need a better keyboard. Laptops are so uncomfortable. My arms hurt from resting on the edge of the desk. I feel the height of my chair isn’t correct. (But seriously, does that ever stop me from sitting for hours on Facebook? Or from shopping on Amazon? Truth hurts.)

And next come the “shoulds”: I should learn how to type correctly. I should have a college degree. I should have a dedicated writing space. {temperature-controlled, sound-proof room, ergonomic cherry-wood desk and massaging chair with built-in aroma diffuser. Boy, then I could really get some writing done!}

And the biggest “reason” I can’t write: other people’s stories are more important than mine. They have more thrilling, dramatic stories than I do…near death, talk to angels, children dying, psychic abilities, surviving accidents or cancer etc. I’m just sure I was born in mediocre-Iand. And that brings me back full circle to the doubts creeping in. Wheee…it’s a merry-go-round! Suddenly my higher-self, that connected and grounded part of me, yells STOP! My low self-esteem is startled.

Then, as if by magic, the list is exhausted, I settle in, I move my fingers, my body relaxes, my ego takes a nap and the words begin to glide from my soul, bypassing my bewildered brain.

As Tony Robbins suggests, I ask myself some better questions: Can I believe that something I’ve been through matters? Could my experience and growth and expansion really help someone else? Could my writing be a source of support, inspiration or enjoyment for even one other person? Hell yeah! So let’s do this baby!

And here is the deal…for me writing is not an option. It has always been there. It is always tapping me on the shoulder. It wants to be freed. It is always nagging at me like a cranky baby. It wants to be born. I can no longer neglect the intense desire because of excuses or doubts. It is the “choiceless choice” that Kendra Thornbury talks about. When you ignore the call, life becomes a struggle. When you distract yourself with any number of diversions…it becomes more loudly insistent! And so here I am…giving in, listening closely, minding the baby, and shedding the excuses. I am a writer. And I shall write. From BOO HOO to WOO HOO!

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
~ Natalie Goldberg