Mindfulness and Choice

It seems to me, (and I’ve only myself and my own experiences  to go by), that any time I feel down or blue or depressed, its roots, (when I find the energy to dig them up), are in something that someone else did or said and the way I reacted to that event or conversation.  The roots are in how I was made to feel.

So when I pick at that thread, I must realize that I have given away my power in some way, to another. After all, I am not responsible for what others do or say, but I am responsible for how I react to it. So, if I give over my power by allowing others to control how I feel, then I’ve brought about my own depression, in a sense.

In the depressed moment, I am (consciously or subconsciously) choosing to focus on something negative that has taken place and the feelings I’ve attached to it.

So how do I stop this? The first step is realizing what is happening. There is some word or event that is stuck inside me, and I’m focusing on it.

I’m not sure I have yet discovered the answer in total, but I am feeling some relief by simply replacing negative thoughts (or memories) with positive ones. I’m making it a point to replay positive things others have said to me, positive truths I know about myself, over and over, to sort of replace the negative thoughts and feelings.

I know in my head that I am not a sum total of what others think of me or even of my experiences; at least, I don’t have to be. If messages are going to replay themselves inside my head/mind, then I should be the one to get to choose what messages those are.

So today I am practicing mindful choice; the choice to hear (on repeat) those things I choose to hear.

I’m sure I’m not nearly the first person to have such a realization, but coming to understand things myself, (rather than reading it elsewhere), seems to be key to my personal growth and understanding.

Today I am choosing to hear that I am loved, cherished, befriended, wanted. I am replacing the old with the new, the bad with the good.

And I feel good about it.


Hangin’ In (Enjoying the Journey)

It is such an incredible joy to be able to do what I love to do and focus only on creativity and artistic endeavor at this point in my life. I know that people often feel the need to do what it takes to pay the bills (and responsibility is a very good thing), but these days I can’t imagine spending 40 plus hours a week having to do something to further someone else’s agenda rather than my own.

I’m incredibly blessed at this stage, that I can work at my own pace without the lights being turned off for lack of payment. But I don’t know many who got to such a place quickly or easily.

Even so, I’d encourage every person to search after work that feeds their soul as well as their tummy. I was always pretty good with office work, and I find that if you’re good at something, you tend to enjoy it a little more. I also have an undying love for coffee, and worked at coffee shops more than once in my life. I’ve had several “normal” jobs in my life (meaning outside the realm of artistic endeavor; writing, painting and the like). But even while you’re doing what you have to do, try extra hard to make it something you’re passionate about. It will make those work hours go by faster and easier.

My husband, BFF and business partner is a tech genius in my estimation.  I couldn’t do what he does any more than he could write a fiction novel, but he’s good at his job, which makes it a little bit easier to expend a lot of his life doing it.

We only get this one life. I find it to be a necessity to do what you love, (even if you have to do something you love a little less until you can do what you love a little more–later on down the line.)

Hang on, don’t give up on your dreams. I’m holding on and hanging in, even when people aren’t throwing money at me for doing it. Because I insist on enjoying the journey–every single day that I can.

On Friendship

People leave. That’s just the way it is.

I’m not a surface-y kind of person, I don’t want a hundred friends that want to party and talk about the weather. I need a small circle of friends that like me and love me and accept me, friends that I also connect with and care about.

I go deep.

I want friends who will speak to me honestly and openly about their lives, problems, thoughts, issues. Who are not afraid to share openly, and to listen to me share openly, without judgment. Someone I can discuss issues with, and—even when we disagree—we decide to show one another respect and kindness.

I used to believe this was normal and common place, but it isn’t. These kinds of friends are so hard to come by.

I have people come into my life all the time, promising me things, acting as if they’re my new best friend, and then, for whatever reason, I usually have no earthly idea why, they just vanish. And for a long time, I’d beat myself up about that. But I came to a realization; well, a couple, really.

For one, my personality is different and I’m a unique person, (as are others), and sometimes we just don’t gel well for the long-haul. Sometimes others are more of a “surface-y” type, and do not enjoy people who always want to know what’s going on deep inside of their hearts and minds. Some people just aren’t that vulnerable and do not enjoy such a friendship. And that’s okay.

I’ve realized that most of the time, they have their own reasons for fleeing that have nothing to do with me, and the truth is, if they DO have to do with me, then they have to be willing to confront me in love and say “You hurt me” or “what did you mean when you said such-and-such” or to confront in any way. I find most people don’t do this. At the first sign of “realness” in the friendship, the first time we disagree or rub each other the wrong way, they’re gone.

At first this hurt my feelings, but it’s just the way most people are, I’m coming to terms with it.

People are broken, they want to be heard, understood, loved, and accepted, and if any little thing makes them feel less than all of this, their tendency is to move on in their continual search for authentic love and relationship. And sadly, they will likely never find it, unless they hang with “yes-men or yes-women” who never voice a real thought or opinion; those who have learned that being authentic means chasing people away, or the potential to do so.

I’m at a point in my life, though, where I don’t have the energy to expend on trying to “fix” people. I don’t have the energy to chase anyone, not anymore.

So, if we mesh, we do, and I’ll enjoy that friendship as long as it lives. But if you decide I’m too for real, that you can’t handle all of me, then be blessed, and journey on.

I speak my mind. I don’t pussy-foot around. I’m aware of who I am and I have confidence, and I don’t hem and haw about any of that. I have boundaries, I don’t allow people to put me down or insult me or try to tell me how I’m wrong because I’m not just like them.

I don’t have time or energy for any of those games, not anymore.

I’m grounded, secure; I’ve done a lot of work to get where I am, (authentically me), so, as for friendships, know that I am a fiercely loyal friend. But I don’t do BS and drama. Love me, then stick with me. Don’t love me, then walk away. Do what you’ve got to do. I refuse to let it make me bitter or closed down. I will continue to be who I am, regardless of how others treat me.

And for those that are still here, who stick; you are so special in my life and have shown me what true friendship looks like.

And for those who bumped into my life for a while and then left—journey on and journey well.

The Panic in My Mind

My best days are spent not thinking of you
My worst days are spent thinking only of myself
On the bad days, I fall into the well of guessing
Your thoughts
Your feelings
Your motivations
But it isn’t about you at all
After all
It’s only my own personal madness
Descending full blast
Ready to melt my brains and fry my heart
The what-ifs that drive a person
Full-on crazy
The other shoe won’t drop
But it teases you into thinking
It will
When you least expect it
And there’s the rub

The Human Condition

Muscles, sinew, bone, marrow

Blood runs through it all

Brain and mind, meant to work higher

Function better than animals

But often just the same

Animalistic behavior

Devolving, we’re devolving

Into what we were never meant to be

Where and when did it go wrong?

When was the hairpin turn?

Are we being punished?

Left to become

The consequences of

All our sins?


Artistic Priority (When My Worlds Collide)

I’ve been writing for many years, but that’s not to say there weren’t times that I went for long spaces of inertia with writing. During one of those down-times I began to get into painting. It felt like the right thing to do at the time; focus on something else for a while.  (I began writing full-time in ’09 and have written ten novels, and have put together and published other’s work as well, and now write a lot of poetry.)

Painting has settled into a spot in my life I didn’t even know I had. It soothes me, inspires me; it’s meditation as well as creation. It’s therapy for me.

When I first began to feel like I was figuring it out (to any degree) I got very excited and set up this site to sell artwork and my books, as well. I still sell one on occasion, but now my writing has kind of taken it’s place back (first place), for my time and attention. It may be possible to give 100% to both things, but if so, I don’t know how to manage it. So, as writing has always been there, a part of my DNA, I’d say, it will stay top priority for now. I just don’t have time to write and paint and try to market and sell books AND artwork. So, I’ll leave the ones up that I have listed for sale, and may continue to sell one from time to time, but painting has settled into a spot that’s just for me. It’s a special thing, like massage for the soul.

Recently I dreamt up ideas for two new fiction novels, so those will keep me very busy for a while, and I have a poetry compilation due to publish next summer. I plan to do more anthologies for young, aspiring writers and poets as well, so this must be my focus…. at least for now.

It’s very cool that art (painting) discovered me (or I discovered it, either way). It’s become a very welcome part of my life. For now it is priority two, but it is still very special for me. I adore combining both of my loves when possible (like the above poem posted on a piece of my artwork). It’s the best of both worlds.

Why Teaching Empathy is Important

Over the last generation or two, we’ve witnessed a downturn in empathy and compassion being taught to our children. Here are my opinions and thoughts on why.

  1. More and more households have two working parents, leaving the largest part of child-rearing to strangers who have no emotional investment in our children. Many believe that both parents must work to get by, but often, (not always), it is not about getting by, but getting ahead. The desire for larger, nicer homes and cars has outweighed our desire to parent our kids.
  2. In some instances, a cycle of abuse and neglect has simply been continued on. If parents know no empathy, they can hardly be expected to teach it to their children.
  3. Faith is not popular these days. Many have found a foundation of moral and ethical, even empathetic and compassionate behavior to be taught in churches. Church attendance and even faith in a higher power has declined, which causes many to choose to have no moral foundation. While it is possible to be an atheist and have a moral compass, it is rarer than one might assume. Once certain lines are no longer drawn, and ethics are now situational, it is so much easier to wander down a path where anything goes, because it is believed there are few consequences to your behavior. If there is no God waiting to smack you down or send you to hell, then it is an easy leap to an “anything goes” lifestyle, for some. “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” becomes the mantra.
  4. When one grows up without constant love, acceptance, positive touch, and compassion, one learns to count only on themselves. This leads to a “me first” mentality and a lifestyle of selfish and boorish behavior. Bad behavior becomes the norm. Looking out for number one is the only way some know to live. This is my societal observation. It makes me sad, but I have yet to be proven that any of this is untrue.
  5. As my fifth and final point, I’ll just say, let’s love our children first; put their needs ahead of our own. Too often we have babies having babies and nobody fully understands what it takes to raise a child (well) and into adulthood. Our children aren’t asking to be born; sometimes they are brought into this world as an expression of love, sometimes by accident, or a lack of planning. Even those who are planned and wanted in the beginning face the possibility of a neglectful or abusive upbringing once the parents realize just what it takes to raise a child. If you are not able to (compassionately and lovingly) raise a child for a minimum of eighteen years, (and it does not always stop there), please take steps to make sure you are not going to conceive a child in the first place. They say Hell is for Children, and often that hell is right here on this earth, in a home where they should be loved and cared for. Have empathy, show empathy, teach empathy; this alone will heal our hurting world.

The Mind/Body Conundrum

There are days… today is one. I am frustrated to no end by the difference in what’s going on inside my brain/mind/creativity and that which my bod seems able to handle. And the depressing thing is knowing that year after year, it will ultimately get worse and worse.

Today I am unusually fatigued. So I rested my head on my pillow (two in the afternoon) and let my mind do its work. In my mind I painted fabulous works of art, I wrote things, profound and thoughtful things. I re-arranged all of the artwork on my living room walls… again. I cleaned and organized all over my house. I painted some more, I wrote some more… art that would likely never see the light of day, never be painted, never be written. Because sometimes, with that fickle creative muse, it comes in a flash and if you don’t get it down somewhere fast, it flies out the window, not caring a whit about your bad day.

I’ve had a bit of this sort of dichotomy all of my life… a body that couldn’t quite keep up with my mind. But I know that I will have good days again. I will have energy again. I will paint again and re-arrange and organize again, even if it doesn’t feel like it today.

I say a heartfelt farewell to those winged inspirations that get away from me, and can only look out for the new ones yet to come.

Journey Well!

I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery, a deep, personal, spiritual journey, for, well, many, many years, but on a different level–for over seven years now. Here are some conclusions I’ve drawn:

Nobody will every be their best until they take the time to do the work; unpack their baggage, face their demons. You can coast along, same stuff different day, until the day you die, but growth takes courage, time and the willingness to change.

People, by and large, believe that anything with the word “self” in it, means you’re being selfish. Self-discovery, self-esteem, self-confidence; but the exact opposite is true. All of these things are essential to be who you were meant to be, so that you can ultimately be a positive influence on those around you and accomplish all the things you’re called to do. Do the work. There are no short-cuts.  People may call you selfish, but one of these life lessons, is knowing who and what to listen to; don’t fall for it. People say a lot of things. That’s their limited perspective, not your reality.

I do believe there can come a time when it’s time to put away the self-analyzing behavior. You can get stuck in there, so be careful not to. Unpack your bags, figure yourself out, love yourself, then, after all is put away in its proper place, turn and face the world again, with newfound strength and abilities. There does come a time when you’re healed enough to be outward-focused without doing damage to those around you.

You never truly “arrive” because life is, after all, a continuing journey. There is no final destination; face each morning as it comes, prepared to conquer one day.

Journey well, my friends!

Me, then and now

Who’s this? Well, yeah… That’s a waaaaay younger version of me. I’ve found myself studying this photo and trying to get back there, to feel what I felt, remember who that girl was. I was so many things.

I was so very afraid of criticism and my peers not accepting me, I was a wall-flower. My family didn’t have a lot of money, especially in those earliest years, so we never had the coolest clothes, we weren’t the popular kids. My older brothers tried to look out for me a bit, but I very much felt alone a lot. On my own.

I won’t go into all of my issues at that time of my life, but suffice to say I had no idea who or what I was.  I never self-reflected really, just became sad, confused, angry, and I stuffed it all in. This girl watched a lot of friends come and go, chasing after things she often didn’t understand.

I want to talk about the good, though. She was so, so kind-hearted and empathetic. She loved easily and without question. She was hurt easily, but only because she wore her heart on her sleeve. Even then, she craved the connection I often speak of now, in my writing, She just wanted love and acceptance. She was a good girl.

Now, when I see this girl, I want so much to go back and meet her, give her a big hug and tell her everything would turn out okay. I get tears in my eyes thinking about it.

I would tell her:

You are good. You are worthy. You are beautiful. If others do not know how to see you, how to value you, that’s on them. You are stronger and smarter than anyone has ever told you. You can do great things, big things. You can change the world. You can make an impact. Chase your dreams, follow your heart, seek God but don’t let others think for you; not ever. Chase truth. Be YOU, the you that you were absolutely created to be.

And, girlfriend, don’t take 30 or 40 years to do it. Figure it out sooner!

I love you.

Falling in Love, Daily

I fall in love, daily. Not in a strictly romantic sense, in fact, not at all, but it’s more of a soul connection. I meet people and I feel a soul-tingling sensation, (male or female). Something inside me leaps when I meet certain people. It’s almost as if we were cut from the same cloth or that we knew each other in a previous life. Or that we were meant to know each other in this one.

I feel sure that 90% of the time the other person has no idea, nor would they always feel the same connection to me. It’s one of those things I think deeply about sometimes. What is that? What does it really mean?

I’m a sensitive, I know this, so maybe it’s no more than being extraordinarily aware of other souls; of being excited when my soul connects in some area, with another. It’s always oddly disconcerting to me to realize that not everyone does this; experiences this. It used to be shocking to me that others didn’t always feel the same towards me, but I’ve grown used to it by now.

Of course, to explore both the yin and the yang, there are times when I meet people and I’m immediately turned off or turned away by them, too, but this doesn’t happen as often. I discern certain levels of brokenness in some, and it’s the kind of brokenness that I know intrinsically, I can’t influence them for good, they will hurt me, and I should walk away.

We live in a world where there are so many walls around our souls, so much STUFF blocking the way. We’re so guarded. These walls, this stuff, does not lend itself to falling in love in this way with others, with connecting this way.

Others find me different, intense, tightly wound, and I have to admit, they’d be right. I scare people. I’ve come to realize this, too.

A soul wandering the shores of this world with their walls down is different. Not that I’m totally there–is anyone ever? But I like connection. Time and circumstance has taught me to be very careful about who I trust and who I connect with, but even with this knowledge, I still smile inside when I meet someone new and my soul jumps a little.  I think I like it.

On Politics, Religion and Labels

(Copy of a Facebook post)

So, as today seems to be my day to make provocative statements on Facebook, (which I don’t do often):

I don’t like boxes or labels. I do not consider myself a liberal, or a conservative, or a republican, or a democrat. I have even distanced myself somewhat from organized religion.

Here’s why:

Once a person identifies with a label, a group, an organization, or a cause, they then begin to make that group or cause a large part of their identity. So, what happens next is, every time this group says something, the tendency is to jump on board, and without really thinking about it. I think it’s just human nature.

Say you’re a part of political party A and Church XYZ.

“A” gets really organized and starts doing some stuff you really love and enjoy. You agree with it, you get on board. Maybe A has a manifesto somewhere, but you haven’t read it, cuz, hey, they seem like decent people, doing good stuff. So you jump on board.

Same with church XYZ. They seem nice. The fact is, they have some weird, wild stuff buried down in the dogma and doctrine of their church, but that doesn’t matter, it’s just been there forever, it’s in the jot and tittle of their beginnings; weird stuff. Stuff that if you read today would make your stomach hurt and your eyes cross, so you don’t think about it. You just go to church, cuz they have a cool worship leader and nice, friendly people.

What CAN happen, is people then begin to follow these very real, very fallible leaders in these organizations, even when they begin to do stuff that makes you question what you’re doing and what you’re a part of.

These days if political party A says jump, you say “how high” cuz, hey, that’s your party, and those are your peeps. Did you read all sides of the argument? Did you do any due diligence? Nope, you just said, “Those crazy political party B-ers, they’re stupid and wrong.” There was a rally, emotion, people were into it, and maybe, just maybe, you jumped in because you thought that’s what you’re supposed to do.

The Pastor of church XYZ decides he wants to build a bigger church than has ever been built before and buys himself a new house big enough for eight families, and for a second, just a second, you get a twinge. “Aren’t we supposed to be feeding people with this money? Reaching out? Doing great things in the community?” But you shrug and go get a triple non-fat latte at the new coffee bar and have a seat in the new 6 million dollar sanctuary and listen to them sing and preach about love and God.

Party A is in the news bashing party B and you get all fired up. You jump on board, because, hey, they must know what they’re talking about; they’re my party and my people. Brain checked in to the safe in the bedroom, compassion turned off.

You see where I’m headed here? Yeah, it seems like I’m bashing all churches and all political parties. I’ll even cop to bashing political parties. If you didn’t realize it, they really aren’t about the issues anymore as much as they are about who has the money to get into what office and be bought off by whom, with what particular agenda. An agenda you and I will never even hear about. I have no use for either of the established parties. Go ahead, judge me. I won’t align myself with things and people I disagree with.

And this is my point.

I won’t and I don’t align myself with organizations, religions, or any group that wants to slap a label on my head and get me to back up their agenda, knowing full well that their agenda and mine are often polar opposites.

If you want to know where I stand on any religious or political issue or anything that is in the news today, please, feel free to message me and ask. I love discussing all of these things with people who use their own minds and thoughts and hearts to discuss with respect.

I can always spot the ones who have signed on to the “party line” because they are the ones who do not have logic or facts, only hyper-emotion and, if I might use the term, “religious fervor” to back up their arguments. They do not show respect, they cuss, they name call. They don’t want to have a kind, rational discussion, they only want to push their agenda. I have no tolerance. Zero.

For the record, this is not intended towards any one person, but it’s something I see every day all around me, especially on social media, which is largely why I don’t discuss politically-charged things on Facebook.

I did have a nice chat with Jacci Kalynn earlier, and I’ll call her out as a person with a brain and compassion, and she carries those things around with her. Love her to bits.

So if you want to ask where I stand on anything, please ask, and preferably privately, (especially if your intention is to stir up trouble on social media, I won’t play that game with you.)

I know there are good people in churches, trying to do their best, trying to do what they feel God is calling them to, and due respect to them, I spoke in very broad terms to make a point. I will re-iterate though, sometimes churches have an agenda, and before you align with them, make sure you are 100% on board, or don’t be a part of it. It’s integrity.

And know that all church leaders are only human, and by and large, as I said, are doing their best with what they know.
Denominations come with dogma, statements of faith on what you’re supposed to believe to be a part of their body of believers. Read it, and see if you can get on board and align yourself, in integrity. If you can’t, get out.

Labels, people. I hate them. I don’t wear them anymore. If you had to slap one on me, like, if you just HAVE to for your own peace of mind, call me this:

Loving, Peaceful, Independant, Empathetic, Compassionate, God-fearing… I’ll take these.

Mission Statement

This is my heart and my mission statement:

I try to bring order to chaos, it’s why I was created; to, in creative ways, bring people together, show them love, show them peace, show them a better way.

This will show (and has shown) itself in my life over and over again.

You may not always get where I’m coming from but I ask for the benefit of the doubt.

I was born to be a peace-maker, so if you hate me, hate me for that.

It will rear its head in my writings, poetry, fiction and non-fiction and in my artwork. But if you want to know who I am, this is it; this is what I’m about.

Love it or leave it, handle it or walk away, no matter.

Hugs to ya, my friends on this; a new day. Spread peace.

I wanna pack my bags and hitch a ride on the next inter-glactic transport…

Can we rewind ten years and try again?

I don’t remember the world ever being so polarized, so defined, utterly, by their political party affiliation. If a republican says the sky is blue, a democrat will come along and scream loudly “No, it isn’t, it’s azure!!”  If a democrat says “We ought to feed the hungry,” a republican response will be, arrogantly, “Get a job.”

I do not now, for the record, align myself with either of the two major political parties, I cannot, in good conscience.

I used to believe republicans stood for small government interference in our lives and low taxes. I believed that democrats always leaned more towards a heavier responsibility on the government to care of its people, to make sure people are fed and have health care. I always kind of thought a democrat’s mindset meant people cared a lot, loved deeply, wanted to help others. In the last several years, any sense of, well, sense, has gone out the window.

I always thought it was just about a person leaning more towards one way of thinking than another, and you’d go into the poll booth and you’d vote your conscience.  I remember it being that way, I really do.

I remember as a twenty-something being able to sit over coffee or a meal with someone and talk about things happening in the world, and you’d discuss, and maybe even respectfully debate how you saw things, how you thought things should be, but throughout the whole time, there was a feeling of mutual respect. Our relationships did not rise or fall based on being a republican or a democrat. And at the end of our time together, we hugged and said goodbye and went about our lives.

Man, those were the good old days.

I avoid all talk of politics now, for the most part, because it’s like walking past a barroom brawl and if you open your mouth to voice an opinion, you find yourself pulled into the brawl, no-holds-barred, kicking and screaming fights will commence. Ugliness. Disrespect. When did this happen? Why? When did humanity decide we all had to agree all the time or the other guy is dubbed evil? I don’t like it. Our world has become hyper-confrontational.

Now this thing in Charlottesville happened, and a light has been shined on racism, the KKK, and hateful bigoted speech fills my social media feeds, even more than usual.

And my heart hurts.

I long for a simpler, easier time, perhaps one that never existed, and perhaps, never will. But a gal can dream.

I dream of going back to having respect for one another, of liking or disliking people for who they are, at the very least, not what political party they belong to. I am not, and refuse to be defined by a political affiliation, and if that’s the thing that you identify with the most in a person you meet, I kinda feel sorry for you. What’s going on in our world right now is craziness. I don’t recognize people anymore, they’ve lost their humanity.

Beam me up, Scottie, cuz I’m ready to try life with another species. I’ll come back to earth once people get their wits about them again. Take me to a place of love, acceptance, grace, and mercy. Take me to a land where the people recognize that we are all much more alike than we are different, where people give each other the benefit of the doubt, and all the beings are free and treated equally. Where respect still exists.

Yeah, there probably isn’t such a place, but shouldn’t we have goals? I’ll keep dreaming and hoping for a kinder, gentler humanity. Until then, I may have to limit my reading of social media commentary, for my sanity.

Spread the love, people. Spread the love. (I really don’t travel well and would love to stay here on earth.)




When I tune out all the noise

and set my focus

When I think of no-one’s opinions but heaven’s

When I dig deepest into who I am

I am supremely peaceful

Uniquely blossomed

Divinely divine