Saturday, August 8, 2015

Showing Up

In two weeks I will be on a plane to Germany. When I bought my ticket about a month after my mother died, I didn’t feel like going. But I trusted my long held desire to visit my friend Gabriele-- and away I go!

This past June Gabi said she was planning her on her own vacay. She would be visiting with me a few days, but I wasn’t sure how many. I was figuring close to a week, turns out it’s going to be four. I had also hoped to visit with my niece Charity who planned to be working in a town close to Munich. But Charity’s job ended. She returned to Colorado in July.

After Gabi’s recent confirming email that on day five of a two-week trip I’ll be on my own at her apartment in Munich, I laughed. So much for planning! Then I followed my latest impulse.

For some reason I’d been thinking of Dusseldorf for the past couple months. The city is now on my itinerary and I have several new connections who live in, or who have lived, in that lovely city on the Rhine.

So, while I do have several fun things in mind: museums, Salzberg, and a 4-hour English speaking pub-crawl tour, I’m really just intending on showing up with a super tasty travel purse.

But that’s in two weeks. Today is Saturday. Tonight I’m meeting a pal at Castoro Cellars Winery for a three-band concert. But that’s tonight.

That leaves me with today. Today I might play the guitar, sit in the sun, or go downtown. Today I might read my new book by Patricia Ryan Madson called Improv Wisdom:Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up,

or not.

Now, right now, what is inspiring your life today?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stabbed in My Happy Heart

A couple of weeks ago, while sorting through my non-dominant hand (NDH) drawings created over the past year, I came to this soothing realization: I’ve felt like shit plenty of times before and I am still here.

Last month I started one-on-one grief counseling sessions at the hospice center. Counseling was recommended by a friend who said that since my mother’s death on March 27th my face has looked tight; I’ve been angry.

Last month I experienced mornings of waking up and forgetting for 5 minutes that my mother died.

After writing my 3-morning pages, I sat in front of my current collage and journaled with the Watch Image, though the answer seemed obvious.

Collage Detail: I Want to be A Published Author

“It’s my time. What do I want to do with my time?”

I want to be enjoy myself, I thought. And I know enjoyment is easier when I allow myself to express all of me. 

This is different than my usual belief of "if I'm not feeling positively fabulous all of the time, then something is wrong."

It's time to set myself free from this silly, repetitive habit of thought, that actually makes me feel much worse than crying when it's time to cry; and laughing at the latest Dave Barry essay.

So, just for today, I allow myself to be stabbed in my happy heart.

Dorothy Segovia is the author of My Body, My Car: How to Coach Yourself Through Life's little Accidents. For more info on how collage and Creative Journaling can help you express, visit To learn how 3-part collages can help you unleash the creative solution to any obstacle, visit Dorothy's Visioning(R) post.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Joy is Your Joy

It is 1 month and 6 days since Mom died. The funeral with the cemetery burial and gathering at the home is done. I have alternately been okay, yet not. My mind plays a continuous loop of "Mom died, Mom died, Mom died, Mom died," 24/7.

By day, I bury the grief mantra with a busy day job combined with Lyle Lovett tunes on my iPod. By night, I run errands and binge watch the 6th season of Private Practice on Hulu, and nosh on popcorn, cheese-puffs, gummy bears and Big Macs. It is my spiritual practice to limit wine at home.

I know this time will not last long; I don't pretend that this is the first time I am giving myself a break by chowing down my feelings, or tuning them out.

But feelings are different than a looped thought tape announcing "Mom died."

For several days after Mom first passed, I was overwhelmed with waves of complete joy. I decided this was Mom, and that she had returned to her happy Self before her long, slow decline.

"I want to be a published author" collage. 1.28.15

As an expressive arts teacher, I keep myself in tune by having a Vision board on standby. My theme for the year is "I am a published author" which was created in January. Four days after my mother died, this is the dominant hand/non-dominant hand conversation with the image of the Masked Woman. At the time I created the collage, I had no idea why I picked this image. (When selecting images for a themed vision board, the rule is to initially "grab what grabs you" and to allow the sorting / arranging/ gluing steps to determine what stays on the board.) 


DH: Dear Masked Woman, who are you?
NDH: I am a sub-personality of grief and mourning and weeping.
Masked Woman detail.
DH: How do you feel?
NDH: Honored.
DH: Why?
NDH: Because you give time and ceremony to me.  You are a healer woman.
DH: What do you want me to do?
NDH: Let me out when it is time and know that my joy is your joy and that happiness does not dishonor the grieving process at all.

DH: Thank you.

Making time for all of our feelings honors all parts of ourselves. Taking time to create art gives us room to catch our breath, catch up to our bodies and know that "all is well, everything is well, and all good manner of things, shall be well." 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Be Your Own Dog

I'm a blessed woman. I get to live in the SUPER cool town of Paso Robles, and when I do overnight pet-sitting, I live in other groovy places like Morro Bay, Cayucos, Los Osos, and San Luis Obispo.

Having completed my latest San Luis Obispo pet-sit for two dogs (Nikki and Max) and one cat (Gabbi), I've come to the frightening realization that I take care of animals better than I do myself.

Here's what I mean: when I live alone and have to commute to work, I barely have time to guzzle a cup of caffeine and scribble Morning Pages. I often rush in to work late with my hair soaking wet, no make-up and an uninspired outfit.

However, when I pet-sit 3 animals, I somehow have time before work to carry Max up the stairs to the back patio so he can take a pee-walk down the planters to the kitchen; let Nikki out the front door so she can race around the driveway, then saunter through the bushes in search of the perfect place for Number Two before racing to the back door to meet Max. While they are eating I find Gabbi, give her brushes, coos and fresh water, change into walking clothes then  head back out the door with Nikki for a hike up a hill so she can do a second Number Two in the bushes and not on the living room floor.  I even manage to write Morning Pages, eat breakfast and pack a lunch while the dogs are eating.


Granted, my commute is a half-hour shorter, but why do I take care of myself better when I'm pet-sitting than when I'm alone?

I think it's cause I've left all my busy-ness at home.  But now I am making the commitment to being my own dog.

Being my own dog means I write Morning Pages, and then decide what kind of body movement I have time for. Sometimes it's a walk. Sometimes its a few yoga poses. Moving definitely feels a lot better than reading emails, or opening mail.

Yes, I still love getting things done, but the day flows more joyfully when I take the time to take care of my self first.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our Allowance Receiver Meter

I recently lived a manifestation of my new collage. And it relates to what Esther Hicks, the popular speaker of the Abraham talks, calls The Art of Allowing.

I was in a Dodge Dart rental. Driving home after work on Highway 46 was an act of spontaneity. While driving, I realized I was inside the image of the car pictured on my collage. That is, I was in a squeaky clean new car, driving through rolling hills...listening to an Esther Hicks CD.

The next day, I decided to write to the image using the Dominant Hand/Non-dominant method. This method used both hemispheres of the brain to let our heart speak. Basically, we have a conversation with the image by asking questions with our dominant hand and answering with our non-dominant hand.

I intended to write to the entire image of the car, but became interested in the little diamond shaped antennae above the back windshield.

DH: Dear Diamond on Car, who are you in my collage?
NDH: I am your allowance receiver meter.
DH: How do you feel?
NDH: Like I am flying along ready to continue the journey!
DH: Why do you feel that way?
NDH: Because you are open to listening to your Self in a way that you never had before.
DH: How can you tell?
NDH: How excited, content and satisfied are you?
DH: Why, I feel the best and most excited in a grounded way, than I ever had before.

To take this understanding even further, antenna's are how we perceive our environment. That is, when you encounter someone in a bad mood, do you take it personally? If you aren't able to complete a project on your own, do you seek help or just give up? Do you allow yourself to enjoy a vision for your future, or do you habitually cut the dream off as soon as it appears because you can't imagine how it will happen?

Allowing ourselves to perceive through our heart, feel our joy, practice visioning and use right-brain journal techniques, keep life's magic alive.

What are you visioning for yourself today?  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Happy New Vision Board

Last week I created a vision board for the year. The best thing about the workshop was having the facilitator hold the creative space so I could listen to my to heart. I was able to relax and let go of my everyday life.

Vision Board January 2015
The first step was to find a Creative Self symbol. The reason is that we want to listen to our intuitive guidance about our desire. Marianne Williamson says it best. "What do I want? Now what do I really want?" Creating a vision board is about wanting something so we can have a state of being, rather than a goal to strive after. After all, we set goals because we think it will make us happier.

I chose the image of a woman wearing glasses as my Creative Self. After placing this image in the center of the page, I meditated for a few moments and let my non-dominant hand (to access the right brain) write "I want to be a published author."

Creative Self image
This is not surprising.

I've been a blogging, songwriting, magazine-published journalist for years. But I want to publish the books that I am creating. Not self-publish, although that is a wonderful start. I want my books to be published by a publishing house: small press, big press, online, off-line, down the line. Those details don't matter. What matters is that when it comes to desiring, then pasting that desire to a board for ourselves to see, well, the devil really IS in the details.

I'm talking inviting the Critic to join me for the ride.

First off, the reason for calling this negative rant in our minds the Critic is to distance ourselves from this voice. The Critic is really a negative thought pattern running loose in our mind. After the process of selecting, sorting and arranging the images that depicted my focus phrase, I allowed the Critic to speak. The reason is that I wanted a chance to talk back. But I can't do that until I journal the rant. Using the dominant hand for the Critic voice externalizes the thought. Using the non-dominant hand to answer back allows the inner child to stand up to this scary voice.

Critic voice using dominant hand
You just read that the publishing industry is dead. So maybe you can be a self-published author with your cute little books, but that's it.

You don't have the capacity to do anything but complain. You're not my guide. You're not even on my team. I'm following my Creative Self.

Inner Child voice using non-dominant hand

After this 10-minute exercise, I was ready to glue the images to the page.

Now, here's what the Creative Self had to say. (I use the dominant hand so I can be a left-brained interviewer. The Creative Self answers with the non-dominant hand.)

DH: Dear Creative Self, tell me about yourself.

NDH: I love wanting to be a published author. It launches a fun creative play list that flows seamlessly into my wonderful life. Delight and joy and trust and love in the journey to published author starts with me. 

Delight and joy? I say YES!

Next month...the first image manifests.

Learn more about this journaling process with my book My Body, My Car: How to Coach Yourself Through Life's little Accidents. Part memoir,I wrote this self-guided workshop so you can blast through the blocks that stand between you and your dream.It even includes a music CD.  For more information, visit