Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holy Days

I'm setting up my Christmas tree and thinking about Christmas past.
I have my tea, tunes and a couple of gifts to wrap. I feel pretty happy.

Being happy and solo at Christmas can be challenging: especially when I pay more attention to outside expectations than to my inside feelings. ❤

I've been doing the holidays solo for a lot of years.  I've learned that honoring the wide range of feelings that occur around this emotionally charged season is my gift to myself. 

This means...

  • navigating lonely when holiday cards with family photos show up in my mailbox.
  • making fun plans with friends.
  • setting up the Pic n Save tree from my 1st apartment
  • putting a Santa hat on the doll Mom made when I was 5. 

Christmas 2015
The holidays mean my tradition of laughing/crying/laughing over the photos of Christmas past. This photo collage is from last year's trip to Carpinteria with my brother Joe (red jacket), my solo trip to the Santa Barbara museum and a January party for my pal Brian's 50th. 

 Reminiscing is grounding. It helps me realize that everything changes. I don't know where I'm going to be next Christmas, but I do know this

 I'm going to spend my time following my joy, wherever it leads.
In the spirit of all that is holy and lovely, Happy Holidays from my family to yours.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Body of Life: Using Photo Collage to Celebrate Loved Ones

It's been 22 years since my brother and father both passed away.

Steev's birthday is 10/27 and Dad died on 10/30 so I dread the last week of October.
But it doesn't have to be this way.

Even if my body feels sad, even if my heart is crying, I can celebrate their life with a Day of the Dead style altar. 

Traditionally, the Dia de los Muertos celebration is from Nov 2 to Nov 3, but you can create an altar anytime. 

I have a year-round altar that I update weekly, so I opted for this photo collage.

Because Mom, and her granddog, (Steev's dog) Kimber have also passed, I added their photos as well.

This process made me happy because it reminded me of how silly Mom was--here she is showing off her new microwave and that Steev loved to travel.

Though I'll take the collage down after 24 hours, it was a fun way to remember---and celebrate everyone in my family. I'll be celebrating the holiday season the same way by creating another photo collage of past holiday celebrations.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Big Ask

On a daily basis, I find myself seeking solutions to the many situations that life tosses my way. From the mundane; how many pictures should I frame for my place? to the biggies; which job should I accept?

Most of the answers require research, or at least asking for a listening ear. This would be okay except that asking for help makes me hesitate--or even cringe. Maybe I'm fearful of not choosing the correct answer. Maybe I'm not ready to hear the answer. The result? I often avoid simple decisions indefinitely.

But I recently learned through the Abraham CD series presented by Esther Hicks that the vibration of a question and the vibration of an answer are entirely different. A question tends to come from lack. Answers and inspiration are gifts from the ether.

This makes sense. Slowly I'm asking in a new way. When a question arises, I simply say aloud, "Help me figure this out," or "You figure it out, damnit," then I wave my hand. This makes the ask more in line with placing an order. I don't sit around worrying about the pizza not showing up, so why worry that my order for a great new job is going to go missing.

As long as I'm willing to look at the menu and pick up the phone, I can trust that the answer is on its way.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Vacation Diver

I'm busier than ever, working full-time and hanging out with my creative trifecta: writing, music and visioning.

But hey, it's spring and time for friends and wine, and the new episode of Nashville is next week. The only way to stay calm is to DO less and DOWNLOAD more.

Downloading is the voice with the answer that lands in your belly on the way to work, when you first wake, or maybe its 2am--and you just know.

Because I practice the morning pages---first thing---I'm able to write some of the download info: "name it Anatomy of a Vision Board," and "text Leyla," and all sorts of wondrous whisperings that I have forgotten already. But they have been captured in my body to be remembered as needed.

Downloading answers saves all kinds of worry, hurry and drama. Heeding my own quiet voice leaves more time to be a vacation diver: diving into the adventurous moment and leaving planning for sleep.

Vacation Diver: Say Yes, Soul Collage.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Heart Agenda

It's the second Monday of the month and I'm up an hour early. I've already had tea and wrote my 3 morning pages. My next step is to review my weekly appointment book. I like to balance fun stuff---Soul Collage on Wednesday---with a few simple To Do's. 

Hoping I won't just be transcribing last week's To Do list. 

Next, I'll trick myself into exercising by adding two yoga appointment times to the pencil. 

Each week it's the same process: creating a loose roadmap in the direction I want to go. And I'm always aiming for a light-hearted, expansive feeling.

I used to struggle to get things done. Note "trick myself into exercising." But I've learned that if I simply move toward a feeling that I want, rather than a goal such as getting into shape, the To Do list takes care of itself. 

Heart Agenda. Collage from 5/3/15. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


I have a beautiful white comforter on my bed. When I write or read in the morning, I put a cover over it to protect it from pen marks, tea stains. Despite all of my efforts, stains happen. The first blemish is a tiny lipstick mark on the underside. After cleaning up there was still a faint smudge and I felt frustrated. Several days later I rarely thought of the stain at all. In order to find it again, I will have to put on my glasses and seek it out: a tiny smear of pale pink against a sea of crispy white. 

Focusing on my mistakes is similar. I have to stop what I am doing and search out the blemish--just so I can feel bad all over again. In the spirit of self-preservation, I will focus on the clear expanse of cozy comforter instead.

Goleta Pier: Photo background, 1. Day appreciation, 10. 

This year, my intention is to observe and appreciate all that is right in my life.