Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year!!!

Hello my wonderful friends and family!

This year was a wild, wonderful and woolly ride. The most valuable thing I learned is how blessed I am to have amazing people in my life. I’m especially appreciating my still, small voice, because it has seen me through a year fraught with challenge!

So. I’m headed down memory lane to count my blessings.

January: This year started out with Grace piloting Maggie, her dog pal Kay Kay and me on a loop from Santa Ynez to Santa Barbara! We followed up with lunch in Santa Ynez. 

February: While at work, I had the intuition to take a writing retreat vacation to Los Osos, CA. I knew a friend was out of town, so I stayed at her wonderful home on the back bay. What a magical visit! I saw tons of friends and got to hang in one of my favorite places on earth. 

March: Spontaneously joined a 4 week business class from Women’s Economic Ventures. We had 1 F2F meeting before we were Zoom-Zoom-Zooming along. This class was so valuable! I learned what step I am on for my website, and most importantly - that my heart’s desire is to focus on completing writing projects.

April: Working from home and staying home is getting real. Happily I am sharing a house with 2 awesome housemates - Rich and Debbi - so isolation is not so isolating. That Los Osos vacay is serving me well!

May: Celebrating my birth month usually means a trip to San Luis Obispo county. This year my stay home par-tay included a reading from Rich Moser of Transcendental Astrology. So handy to have this detailed resource not to mention the convenience of a housemate astrologer. Check out his insightful read on the nature of fear. 

June: Wowie kazowie!!! My dream came true! I scored an awesome apartment in uptown downtown Santa Barbara. It happened so fast, before I knew it I was trying to squeeze 10 lbs of stuff into a 5 lbs apartment. Luckily, I discovered the amazing team at Elite Movers who had me out of my old place and into the new in less than 3 hours and I now live upstairs!!!   

July: I’ve been working with a Talent Buddy for over a year as we worked through a book by Lucia Capacchione called Putting Your Talent to Work. Nina Kleidel is a fellow Visioning(R) coach graduate, an artist, my new friend AND she lives in Denmark. We did it!!! I also took the plunge and joined the Hay House Writing Challenge and joined the community.

August: Missing my music! Hooray to Jensen’s Guitar shop for the new strings. I made a couple of videos for the Pajama Sessions. Right now I’m still practicing. But as soon as I remember to take the gum outta my mouth - I’ll be sharing. 

September: Wow! This is one long pandemic. I’m starting to crunch, so I take steps to ask for heeeellllppppp! Now I’m working with an exercise coach who keeps me moving. A remote session at BeBalanceBliss took the edge off. Between walking and falling asleep to my session recording, I’m ready for a solo holiday season. 

October:  The California fires have me updating my evac plan. Most of this month is spent scanning letters and snapping photos of photos.. Whoops! Too little too late on the music promo front. If anyone can recommend an experienced music promoter, ...please let me know. I have high hopes for Christmas Tonight on Spotify, iTunes, and even a Holiday movie!!! I’m excited for the upcoming holidays, though bummed not to be seeing friends or family. I feel loved though!

Here’s a collage photo of my 2015 Christmas past.

November: This month is the last of a series of writing workshops with Marcia Meier. Between her workshops and the writing challenge, I’ve invested my writing energy into a memoir about my pet-sitting/house-hopping adventure. This was a surprise. I had joined the challenge with the intention of this topic as a non-fiction, teaching book. However, this new focus has my heart singing.   

December: Yahoo! Holiday decorating and completing the first draft of Chapters 1,2 and 3 is my reason to celebrate! I treated myself to two days of inching an essay towards first draft completion: The Keeper of Sentimental Things. I had abandoned this piece to focus on the book. The year has been maddening, exasperating, fulfilling and insightful. But because I allow myself to express all of my feelings, Keeper is delicious to write. Looking forward to my next 2-day essay break when Chapters 4,5 and 6 are in the can.

From Keeper: “On my next birthday, I’ll be 60. By then I want to be the kind of woman strong enough to deadlift her neighbor’s body down eight stairs and across the parking lot. Though It is no longer necessary, it’s still a worthy goal. Plus, the idea delights me.” 

Finally, an excerpt from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart daily meditation book.

12/31/20 Honor the Ending: “..Look back for a moment. Reflect in peace. Then let this year draw to a close. All parts of the journey are sacred and holy...”

Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed and holy 2021. 

Love and hugs, 


PS: I almost forgot!!! Listen in on my conversation with Emily Yurcheshen on valuing ourselves. Listen to Emily the Songbird podcast here. We’ve been pals for 16 years!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

How to Shift Your Perspective

 The collage made sense: an experienced writer surrounded by readers and books.

Author Collage 7.2020

But later, while glancing at the collage, my perspective shifted.That is, I’ve thought of writing as a solitary occupation. A renegade act. But what I had thought of as solitary now appeared collaborative and connected. I had learned to write in front of a television with my family around me. In later years, I’d write at the kitchen table while they were in the living room. I love journaling in crowded coffee shops. Editing in the company break room. This shift in perspective was eye-opening and I want more!  

  1. To shift your perspective try this: write down your current point of view about a tiny trouble.
  2. Put on your walking shoes and allow 30 minutes. Leave the earbuds at home and your phone in your pocket. Walk the neighborhood, the beach, the streets.
  3. Your intention is to notice what you like with the walking prompt. "I like..."I like that yard, that plant, that purse, that mask!
  4. The mind chatter will chime in at walking step #2. "A red door! I was going to have a red door. That reminds me to go to Home Depot..."
  5. When you notice you are lost in thought, simply come back to “I like” on the next step.
  6. When you are back home, write down a couple sentences about how you feel about your tiny trouble or about the walking prompt. 
Shift happens when we allow ourselves movement and the moment.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Art of Routine

These days, I’m streaming either comedies or biographies. I love learning about artists, writers, actors, or anyone who has an inspiring story. The movie The Endurance, is one. It's the story of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the South Pole.

The movie is based on the book, The Endurance written by Caroline Alexander. In it she recounts one crew members diary entry about Shackleton. The entry quotes Shackleton's response after the ship was destroyed by shifting ice floes; forcing the men to evacuate into makeshift shelters.

“As always with him what had happened had happened,” Macklin wrote. “It was in the past and he looked to the future without emotion, melodrama or excitement. He said, “Ship and stores have gone, so now we'll go home.”

I am obsessed with Shackleton. He did not allow his crew to get caught up in the story of the tragedy. He insisted on a routine of working, cleaning, and physical activity, thus grounding the men in their bodies rather than letting their emotions run away with them.

Shackleton's main objective was to keep the men unified. Our job is to keep our body-mind-spirit unified.

Depressed and scared? Write it out, accept your feelings, and then take a walk, read, nap or stare out the window. Stuffing down emotions with food or drink or Netflix feels good temporarily, but the emotion is still there.

Feelings are like people. We all want to be seen and heard. The body is where emotions are stored. That’s why a walk around the block feels so good!

Yes, we are in an unprecedented time. But practicing a feeling-fine routine will move us through this very real, yet temporary, situation.

When I play The Spirit of Harmony music that has started most of my work days for the past two years, my emotional self receives the signal that it’s time to focus on work.

Whether you are working from home, or finally cleaning out that closet, a few minutes of routine goes a long way towards weathering both the viral and media storms.

Now, keep your gorgeous self safe. Stay home, wash your hands and before you inventory your toilet paper again, take a deep breath and repeat after me, “If Shackleton can do it, I can do it. If Shackleton can do it, I can do it.”

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday Snark: The Martyr

So far this year I’ve felt happy, peaceful, quiet, bored, snarky and really angry. I live with four lovely roommates in one beautiful house. For the most part, it works. But some days.

To be honest, I’ve lived in solo situations that resulted in plenty of problems. Most were all in my mind. Welcome to martyr mode. When conflicts strikes, suffering in silence is a common strategy.  

For example, my current household rotates cleaning tasks on a monthly basis. Yesterday morning I was greeted with the smell of a really full kitchen trash and recycle bins. This has happened before with the same person who has this duty.  Because of religious beliefs, no work gets done on Saturday.

What to do? My first reaction was to grab my tea and run back to my room. I was planning on being out that day anyway.I could just bring it up at the next meeting. I could also just empty the trash and recycle, but that’s doing someone’s job. I am happy to help if asked. If I wrote a note in giant letters on the community board, it may not be seen, and if it was, it was still no-work Saturday.

We all have an internal martyr who sacrifices their inner peace for the group. This works to a certain point. If you find yourself constantly agreeing with the group consensus yet feeling resentful, your inner martyr needs to speak. Feelings are like people, we all want to be seen. 

Instead of playing the martyr, express the energy by scribbling or drawing with your non-dominant hand. Once the energy is felt, seen and accepted, you will no longer carry the resentment. Be patient and have compassion for yourself. It will take a few situations to recognize when you are playing the martyr. My drawing is from 2017.

Martyrdom is a learned energy that I have dealt with many times. However, once I went back for a 2nd cup of tea, another housemate was there, also puzzling over the trash bin. She said, “I’ll take one, if you take one.” We did. Household emergency handled and we have an agenda item for our next house meeting.