Sunday, December 29, 2013

Extreme Pet-sitting

December 19, 2103.

Yesterday I finally accepted my busy future fate and surrendered to one 40-hour per week job (starts January 16) plus two part-time jobs. For the past week I had flung myself around the house in full martyr mode, bemoaning my fate. I had called four friends trying to gain sympathy, but no dice. Each one talked about a time in their life that was extremely busy. All four were positive and saying peppy things like, “I worked six days a week for three years because I wanted to build my retirement,” “Well, I have to work hard during the busy season,” “Make hay while the sun shines,” and "I was so busy working that I didn't have time to spend money."


Once I got over myself, I decided to work in the main house where there is an Internet connection. (I am caretaker at a ranch that is for sale and live in the cozy detached guest house.) I opened the door and saw five cows grazing on the pristine lawn in front of the house. They were escapees from the neighboring ranch. I set down my computer and rushed toward them, clapping and shooing. The last cow stood still, looking at me with bovine indifference. As I herded them up a small slope I quietly told them how much happier they'd be once they were home with their other cow friends. They moved up the slope and I scooted by them and opened the gate. I waved my arms in a forward sweeping motion. They didn't budge. I climbed the hill behind them and rushed at them again clapping and shouting. All five scurried neatly through the gate.

I call this extreme pet-sitting.

This happened 10 days ago. Finally I trust that I am headed the right way into a full working life. I see my Higher Power standing ahead of me, coaxing me forward. This is the big difference between how my HP does things and how I do things. My HP coaxes me, I herd myself. My HP stands a few yards ahead of me, waving me on.  I stall and try to garner sympathy from friends and waste time gnashing my teeth, drinking a little too much wine and watching too many TV series, but so what? 

My question is: how do I stay awake during this process? How do I take my poetry heart, which requires vast empty space and keep it open as I move through my very scheduled days? One step here. One breath there. I don't always feel that happy about where I am being led, but by now, I trust where I am being led.

This season I've had to forgo lots of holiday events in order to take care of myself as I juggle three part-time jobs. (I still am slightly worried about my writing time when one of the jobs gratefully goes full-time.) I've been happy to stay home with two pet-sitting charges: a dog named Sammy and a cat named Jimmy, both female. We hang out in my snuggly room with my Pic N' Sav tree and listen to Xmas music. I love Xmas music. On Xmas morning I lit the wood stove and danced in the kitchen to a Xmas mix I created in 2008.

Recently, while I was watching Downton Abbey in my room, I felt my HP calling me inside the big house. I searched for lights left on, water running then I thought a work-related phone call would be returned. Instead I looked out the large kitchen window and saw a rainbow. I stepped outside onto the patio. One end was bright, shimmery, yet subtle and seemingly anchored to the earth. I walked down into the field for a better look. The center of the rainbow was pale, barely perceptible as it arched over the orange groves like a gentle, sweet promise and disappeared behind the hills to the east.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Laughing at the Turkey Table

This season, I'm appreciating being from a fun AND funny family. Mom seems to be the ringleader: our history is filled with stories of her antics. One is that after she caught my older brother and sister playing with an unauthorized water balloon, she demanded they give her the balloon. They tossed it at her, she caught it and ended up swinging it around her head before launching it at them. Of course they got wet. And of course this was done in the front yard for all the neighbors to see.

Since beginning a great new job, continuing with my caretaker job at a ranch and other commitments, it's been easy for me to get overwhelmed. Happily, I've discovered that laughter is the best remedy. 

If things are getting too serious at the turkey table, excuse yourself and check out my favorite funny/fun Internet distractions.

If you still need convincing, check out this serious link from the Mayo Clinic on why laughter feels so good.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Refracted Versus Reflected Light

This morning I watched the hummers on the patio. If the weather is good, if the yellow jackets don't chase me away, I sit in the chair under the slatted patio cover and watch them zoom around five feeders. From this direction I can see the garden, the orange groves and the sun rising behind the hills across the road. I have been facing this direction since just after Labor Day.

I laughed at the hummers sweet little brown heads bobbing at the feeders, but the desire to see their brilliant colors made me move to the other side of the patio and face the house. Now I saw that one bobbing head was brown, now ruby red, now brown, now ruby red. Several other hummers were flashing iridescent green.

A hummingbird's coloring comes from refracted light. This is the explanation from  All About Birds website

Adding to the diversity of avian colors are colors produced by the structure of the feather. The best known example is the gorget (throat feathers) of many hummingbird species. The iridescent colors of the gorget are the result of the refraction of incident light caused by the microscopic structure of the feathers. The refraction works like a prism, splitting the light into rich, component colors. At certain angles little or no light is reflected back to the viewer and the gorget can appear black. As the viewing angle changes, the refracted light becomes visible in a glowing, shimmering iridescent display.”

Photo courtesy of

I sat still for several moments before the difference between reflected and refracted light dropped into my heart.

Reflected light is all about me. Lower case me, ego me. Reflected light begs questions such as why did a hummer pee on my forehead as soon as I moved to the other side of the patio? Why did a bee get tangled in my hair and sting me on the side of the head? (The right side.) Why is it too blowy for me to journal outside comfortably?

Refracted light has to do with Big Me, soul Me. The Me I glimpse as I disappear into a line of writing or a flash of hummingbird. 

Thanks to my hummingbird reminders, the question of the day is: how can I allow my refracted light to shine?

What makes your light shine???

Friday, September 6, 2013

Creative Journaling and the Ladder of Affirmations

Before I discovered the Creative Journal method, I was run ragged by my emotions. It was often difficult to distinguish what I really felt from what I should feel and near impossible to deal with conflicting feelings.
            I was also born a right-brainer and latched on to the feel-good practice of affirmations before I understood the principle behind them. I believed that simply repeating an affirmation was the way to move out of sadness. Instead of staying with the emotion of sad, I tried talking myself out of being sad by masking sad with positive slogans.
Esther and Jerry Hicks, authors of Ask and It is Given, say that this is like putting a happy face sticker over your car’s empty gas gauge. The Hicks teach that our feelings are indicators of our emotional guidance system: they are simply there to tell us where we are on the emotional ladder. The reason why we want to know this is because of the Law of Attraction. Remember? Sad begets sad, anger begets anger, joy begets joy. An extremely simplified version of the Law of Attraction states that the primary feelings that we are living in this moment will attract feelings of vibrational equality in our future moments. So yes, we want to feel the sadness as it comes up, but we don’t want to be stuck there! 
It is one thing to feel and honor our emotions, it is quite another to become a victim of our emotions. Picture a ladder where the top rung is joy, and the bottom rung is depression or hopelessness. If I’m starting at depression and want to reach joy, there are several rungs that I need to reach in between. And each time I move up the ladder, I will not only release my feeling of depression, but I’ll also be closer to joy. But each step needs to be felt, honored and released.
Before the Creative Journal process, I didn’t realize there was an emotional ladder of feeling vibrations, much less where I was on that ladder. But now that I understand that being with and accepting my feelings helps release the emotional energy, I am better equipped to enjoy life and all of its thrilling and contrary loveliness. 
Excerpt from My Body, My Car: How to Coach Yourself Through Life's little Accidents by Dorothy Segovia.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Berry Hunter

The thing about blackberries and boysenberries is that you have to pick them all gone before you can get more. This is true prosperity. It is in alignment with what my friend Cam just told me earlier this week: that we live in a just in time Universe. As usual, I grumbled and moaned about my upcoming berry picking. I didn't want to be poked by the thorns, and it just didn't seem as if there were that many ripe berries to pick.

Gail has left me a pale blue jumpsuit to wear over my clothes. “Gail Brooks......Berry Hunter” is embroidered in tiny script along the collar. There are disposable plastic gloves to wear, and I always keep a pair of rubber work galoshes in my car. My spirits lift somewhat when I realize the boots match my outfit.

 I select two cartons from the pile on the chair: one for each type of berry. I begin with the boysenberries along the fence. I taste several checking for ripeness. There are so many different shades that I am easily confused as to which ones are ripe. I mentally hope that Mike, Gail's partner, shows up so I can ask him. Surprisingly enough, my prayer is answered within the next half hour when Mike and his father appear walking along the path that edges the bay. Mike picks a couple berry's and pops them in his mouth. “See, these are done. Whatever ones come off the tree easily.” Reassured, I go back to picking the sweet, red fruit. When I fill up half a milk cartons worth, I start on the blackberries. It doesn't take long before my mood has shifted from grumbling to gratitude.

Although it is overcast, it is warm. There are less berries now because I picked a full carton a few days ago. This gives me a chance to notice my surroundings, and listen to the bees, the breeze and the wind chimes. The chimes send me back to my beginnings here on the bay. It was in 1993 and I was renting a place behind a friend's house in Morro Bay. It was a basement apartment. There were wind chimes there too.

Carolyn Myss said that we have to let go of the life we thought we'd have to embrace the life we are living. When I think about it, I've always wanted to live in a house where I can spread out with enough time to focus on writing, songwriting and creating. I wanted the freedom to flow with my own energy. I'm done picking berries and ready to head back into the house. I wind my way back through the bushes and notice a number of ripe berries that I didn't see before.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Pissosity of Presence

Once I woke pissed at the cat for having the audacity to walk across my pillow, announcing it is time to get up because she was hungry. I wanted to walk across God's pillow myself, announcing “Hey, I am here. Feed me.”

Of course, if I did that God would only answer back, "You have a full fridge, get up and get it yourself."

After I fed the cat, I felt guilty for being mad.

Playing monsters with brothers baby Michael and Larry Larry Lawrence.
This afternoon I was hanging on the patio with a friend, feeling tender by recent personal events. My friend is an energy worker. That means she not only feels me heading towards TILT, but she sees how I am energetically locked in on TILT. This is not unlike a heat-seeking missile. If my setting is stuck on guilt...then all I'm going to attract is guilt.

This is why I kinda love the energy of mad. Mad means I have the gumption to shift my locked-in energy by actually feeling and releasing mad, then and there, in the moment. Only then can I move on. Lately I've noticed that some people don't allow themselves to feel this energy. Instead, in an effort for peace, they stuff down anger or frustration and pretend peace. I understand the fake-it-til-you-make-it adage, but in the case of strong feelings,  this is only putting a finger in the damn! to stave off an all-consuming  flood.

My friend went on to explain that when we are children, we move through feelings quickly. One moment we are fighting with our siblings. The next moment, we are best buds. As we become socialized, we hang onto certain emotions rather than allowing them to move through us. This wreaks havoc with our bodies as well as our creativity. 

I'm not saying that it is appropriate to inappropriately act-out or dump on others. Our feelings are for US. If we are open to them, we will be naturally guided to the right expression. Right expression may be telling someone how you feel; or right expression may be simply drawing, painting or dancing out the energy.

It is our duty to be present and FEEL our FEELINGS, not judge them, or stuff them. Again, stuffing only leads to harmful behaviors. By honoring our true emotions, we gift ourselves with presence.

What energy is present in you now???

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Allowing, but not Chasing Chickens

On my first day pet-sitting at a new ranch (8 cats, 6 hens, 2 ducks and several house plants) I learned how NOT to catch a chicken.

I went down to the pen to say hello to my new charges when I spyed one of the black hens had flown the coop. She was now racing around the perimeter of the coop, periodically stopping and trying to squeeze back in through the large chainlink.

My initial thought of simply shaking the cracked corn treat can and waiting for her to approach didn't work because of my impatience. I kept walking toward the hen rather than standing still and waiting for her to come to me.

My second attempt faired better: Steve, co-owner of this ranch (and experienced chicken catcher) waited in one spot with the treat can while I snuck up behind the chicken. I missed multiple chances to scoop up the bird and toss her into the pen because, well, I'm a chicken.

Finally, I surrendered to my truth and told Steve I'd just keep her pointed in one direction, Steve continued to stand still (at the pen door) shaking the can, and voila, the hen is now happily laying eggs for my breakfast.

Photo courtesy of
Chasing that chicken felt an awful lot like chasing my dream. The one thing I know from my practice of Visioning(R) and using the non-dominant hand method of journaling is that allowing a dream to happen is much more enjoyable--and a lot less effort than chasing down a dream as if it were an escaped, clucking chicken.

Chasing a dream assumes that we have all the answers.
Allowing a dream is surrendering to your internal life questions:

Who are you?
Where are you coming from?
What do you want to become?

By surrendering and investigating these questions through the internal exploration of poetry, music, art, movement, gardening, biking, yoga, meditation, scrapbooking and writing, we allow ourselves to live the questions. To evolve.

Surrendering to your heart's will is a subtle, yet dynamic process that is often lost in the cacaphony of modern living and all of it's viral and noisy technology.

How will you allow your dream to manifest today?

Post Your Answer. I'm listening.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Room to Dance

I was dancing in the living room this morning when I realized how little space I claim in my universe. I'd been dancing in a small corner of the living room, worried that my neighbors were going to see me. Silliness! I couldn't even move my arms because I didn't want to hit the lamp.

When I moved into further into the middle of the room, I was benefited with a view of Morro Rock.

This leads me to ask the question: What areas in my life do I keep myself confined to a corner???

Expanding ourselves through physical movement throughout the day keeps our perspective fresh and open.
This leads us to access intuition. When we regularly follow our intuitive voice, we are rewarded with passion and joy.

Ann Cuddy describes this in her powerful Ted Talk.

Beware! Practice equals more power.
What part of your life needs expansion?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Next Wandering Step

Now that I've achieved my dream: living in a safe and sacred home in Ventura, I've been reluctant to create another collage. I don't want to trick myself. Being in the safe and sacred home in Ventura happened when I showed up at a particular house, with a particular warm and loving family. And here I was hoping that my collage meant that I was going to be living and working in Ventura. Well, I did. But what I meant when I created the collage was that I be working and living in Ventura longer than four days.

Instead I am wandering between Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. This afternoon I let myself follow a clearly marked trail through the orange groves in Cayucos, trying to find the fence line. Yesterday morning I was standing on the deck of a home on the back bay in Los Osos with a cup of tea, and last week I was in Carpinteria buying asparagus at Farmer's Market.

In my search for the "right job" and the "right place" it is easy to lose sight of what my heart knows. My heart knows that right now is a pretty good place to be if I like being buzzed by hummingbirds and don't mind the cute-faced dog Sammy-Sam-Sam sticking his black and white snout on my lap, hoping for another Premium Saltine.

I didn't know I needed to walk through groves of oranges and lemons, or listen to the birds chirping above traffic. But my heart knew. My heart knew that I needed to rest in the sun on a ranch without cell service and barely an Internet connection. My work today is looking up how to tell the difference between flying bald eagles or hawks when they are circling the valley. I'll also need to look up the meaning of lizards and deer on an animal-medicine card website.My heart has led me to a place where a lovely woman named Grace walks every night down the long road to follow the constellations. My heart has always known me better than my head does and for that I am grateful.

What does your heart know in this moment???
Please be bold, comment!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dorothy Lane

Have you ever been lost in your own neighborhood?
How did you feel while you were winding your way through the confused streets?
Helpless? Frustrated? Joyful?


Last week when I was lost in my own mind, that translated to becoming lost in a familiar neighborhood.
Frustration was my first feeling. After I chanced upon a familiar block, I became joyful because I remembered a good park and thought I'd take a walk.

(This is my bad habit: ditch my original destination in favor of a new treat when the driving gets tough.)

But there wasn't any parking, back to frustrated.

Fortunately I learned a terrific prayer from writer Anne Lamott--HELP!

Image by

The essential step after dialing your Higher Power is to hang up the phone so she can call you back.

As I was slowly driving, waiting for the Direction Kahuna's soft inner voice, it dawned on me that it was best to continue towards my original destination--even if I was going to be late. Next I realized that I was lost because I was not minding my own business. I was lost because I had been worrying about another person's problem.

This is called driving in someone else's lane.

Fortunately, I thought this was funny. Fortunately I heard ''turn right,'' over my own laughter, fortunately, I recognized a street that led me back on track..... Dorothy Lane.

Question: How do you know when you are driving in someone else's lane???
Please post your answer in the Comment section!!!

Dorothy Segovia knows all about being lost and found. She teaches you how to use Creative Journaling and Visioning(R) to keep you driving in your own lane:  My Body, My Car: How to Coach Yourself Through Life's little Accidents, workbook and music CD. Now available in PDF. Visit

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Retail Wisdom

I'd been sniveling, and dragging my feet as I've sorted through my storage unit multiple times over the past few months.

My initial intention to "sell everything that isn't nailed down" disappeared quickly in the face of the ragdoll I've had since I was 5, my Grandmother's telephone table, and my Pic n Sav Christmas tree from my first apartment. (The lights still work!!!)

Dejected, I packed these items back in the box and returned it to the Keep pile.
Basically, the only things I now have to sell are 10 unmatched dishes, 9 books, 8 pieces of random sewing material, 7 DVDs,  6 kitchen containers, 5 blankets, 4 electronic items, 3 blouses, 2 purses and 1 never used guitar book complete with CD.

This does not a garage sale make...

I woke up and realized this experience needed a new story.
I'd been gnashing my teeth over the fact that I am not currently residing in a permanent space to store my stuff. But what I needed to be doing is transforming the past into my exciting future.

Try these sentences out loud and hear which one feels more energizing.

1. "Wow. I have to sell my stuff because my plan didn't work. Waaah."
2. "Wow. I have a lot of great inventory. It's going to fun learning how to be a retail slut."

Maybe you have an aversion to the word retail.
But telling a new story about an experience you're having anyway releases resistance and promotes acceptance. Acceptance of disappointment, acceptance of change, acceptance of joy.

Pic n Sav tree anyone?
It includes decorations and I'm selling it, cheap. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Stepping through New Year's

This is the time of year when I usually compare my goals and dreams to last years intentions. I want to see if I made it. I want to see my progress.

Last year, I wanted to find full-time work and my own place in Ventura.
This year, I still want to move to Ventura, but landing a temporary job and having some groovy housemates would be just fine.

In 2012, I also began following a new way of project planning, that follows a lunar cycle.

New Year's day fell on the disseminating moon, just another day in my 30 day planning calendar.

 (Each month I set about the same intention: to follow my inner guidance and to be happier. )

Well, the next step to Ventura is letting go of my storage in a garage sale.
After that, it's moving the things I need for a room rental to a temporary storage at a friend's place.

That's it. I'm simply moving to my next logical step.

Yes, I accomplished many goals in 2012, some planned, some surprises.

A big dream was my booksigning concert in November.
A serendipity was visiting friends Diana, Shelley and Rose.
A highlight was the baby shower for my niece Summer.
A surprise was living in Morro Bay working for a friend.

The major non-accomplishment?
I am more relaxed about who I am, and I trust life more.

Here's hoping 2013 yields more of the same: trust, serendipity, surprises.