Posts

Showing posts from 2015

You Are NOT Broken; I am NOT Broken

Image
Recently, I participated in the latest Deepak Chopra/Oprah Meditation Experience, Become What You Believe. I've enjoyed these experiences in the past because they have the meditation and then probing questions that push me to challenge my preconceptions about myself; however this one annoyed the hell out of me. Every time I got to the questions, I wanted to shout "I am NOT broken, damn it."

My answers  became shorter and shorter and felt more and more forced as the experience progressed. I felt like it was trying to force me to be broken when I in no way felt broken.

There is so much out there that pushes us to examine what's "broken" about us to fix ourselves, to be better, to fit someone else's definition of how we should live. Frankly, I'm tired of it. It's an old trope and is often, but not always, targeted toward women.

Interesting, isn't it?

The more equality we seek, the more we're told we need to fix ourselves. I'm tired of it. I…

My Chosen Path

Image
A couple of months ago, a poet friend, Ariel, posted a blog titled Help a Sister Out? in which she inquires whether to continue to submit her work and wait for others to decide if it should be shared with the world or to blog her poems and risk them being ineligible for many traditional publication outlets. She mentioned that she doesn't think she has enough credits to start publishing chapbooks. I started to respond but decided to give it some thought first.

Over the intervening weeks, I've given her query quite a bit of thought.

In answer to her quandary, I'm going to share a bit about my writing journey.

When I decided to take my writing career into my own hands, I knew the risk I was taking. I really did; however, I wanted my career to be my own. My message was more important to me than fame. Staying true to my vision was more important to me than bestseller lists. Frankly, I'd rather share my work with people than struggle to impress the gatekeepers.


I published my fi…

Furever Rescued... Who Rescued Whom?

Image
Last week I was brushing Kit, and she asked, in her own special way to be petted, a rare occurrence for her. As my independent girl melted against my hand, her entire body relaxing, and her purrs growing louder my mind drifted back to when she became part of our family.

December 7, 2015 marks the 7th anniversary of Kit becoming part of our family. It feels like she's always been here and like she just arrived all at once. I thought a bit about her story...

The first time I saw her, she was scrunched up as close as she could get to our sliding glass door on a cold, rainy Autumn evening as Loay came in from his woodworking shop in the garage. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to let her in because she needed to go home. See, in the past I'd been guilty of occasionally letting a cat stay with us until I found its home. 
Once I even fed a baby raccoon I was convinced had been orphaned. I cried for half an hour when we saw it dead on a nearby street, but I digress. Back …

Peace and the Power of Love - Dona Dobis Pacem

Image
Love... Peace... Hope... Life...

Love is where it all begins.

I look into my heart and find that without love none of the rest is possible.

I decided several years ago that I wanted to live from a place of love. I wanted my actions and my words to be guided by love. It's not always easy, but my life is so much more peaceful and hopeful and... well, alive when I live from a place of love.

When I saw Mimi Lenox's choice of Peace and the Power of Love for the theme of this year's blog blast for peace, I did a little cheer sitting at my desk. Perfect...

Then I saw her announcement about the 30 Days of Love Challenge leading up to the blog blast, and I smiled. I thought, easy enough. After all, I already live my life from a place of love. I've got this... Then I completely zoned it and missed the first two days...

I took a deep breath, loved myself a minute and forgave myself for my imperfection. In the past I would've spent days berating myself. I would've lost sl…

Getting in Touch with My Rebel Heart

Image
Saturday night, October 17, 2015, I got to do something I'd wanted to do since I was a teenager. I attended a Madonna concert. I'd tried before, but timing, money, life had interfered. This time I was on it. As soon as I found out her Rebel Heart Tour was coming to Portland, I set out to the buy the tickets. I also checked on when she'd be in Kentucky, just in case Portland didn't work out. I figured I could work a family visit around attending the concert.This time I was determined to make it happen. Portland happened! Yeah! (Sorry, Kentucky family and friends.)

My husband was a bit concerned that my expectations were too high, and I'd be disappointed.

Nope, not even a little bit. I loved every single moment of it. (except the long wait before it started, but I'll let that slide.)

I love the Rebel Heart album, the explicit version, mind you. No cleaning it up for this girl...

Madonna was raw and funny and real. She was professional and imperfect and perfect. She w…

Finding the Spirit of Spirit Day...

Image
When I first learned about GLAAD's Spirit Day campaign, I didn't quite get it. I couldn't see a connection to a spirit day and ending bullying. In my mind, spirit day was always that day right before or of an important ball game when we all dressed up in school colors and spent the day revving up the team's ego - I mean spirit - in the hopes they'd deliver a winning game.

But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. We're all "wearing" purple and posting our cheers all day long to support people who have been bullied. Okay, I can see that. Boost the egos - I mean spirits - of the bullied people. Now those are egos that need boosted.

In March 2012, I explored the fine line between teasing and bullying in When Does Teasing Become Bullying? and then in Why Do Bullies Bully? I examined how our society teaches bullies to bully.

As I think back on my life, I remember times when I was bullied, and I wonder if anyone ever perceived my actions as …

Underneath - a poem for International Peace Day

Image
I've been pondering peace all day... well, since I learned that today is International Peace Day.

Peace is important to me. I've participated in the Blog 4 Peace project the past two years, and I always come back to the same thought. Peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace begins in each of our hearts.

I listened to the anthem for this year's International Peace Day, One, and I felt... well, sad...



There is so much disconnection in our world. There is so much us versus them. There are so many labels. There is such a strong push to control one another. There is such a strong push toward greed and materialism.

It leaves me wondering why, if so many people can see us that we are "one", that we are more alike than unalike, that we are better off united than divided, we end up right back at this place where hate, division, and vitriol rule the day.

Then I look at social media. The world works by keeping us divided, by telling us what to think, by demonizing…

Vulnerability in Silhouette Finds Strength

Image
As a writer, I often feel a sense of isolation that is only relieved through sharing my work. As a human being, I sometimes feel a sense of vulnerability that is only relieved when I risk connecting with others. Being a writer gives me an excuse to avoid risking vulnerability.
When I was compiling the poems for my book, Strength in Silhouette: Poems , I couldn't help but notice how often strength and vulnerability played on the same playground, and they played together well. I reflected over several years when I spent concerted efforts to risk vulnerability in order to grow closer to those I loved and to be more authentic. Each foray I made into vulnerability made me feel stronger. It wasn't that I couldn't be hurt. It wasn't that I didn't hurt. I was hurt. I felt pain deeply, but I felt a strength coming through the vulnerability that reminded me I could do better than survive, I could thrive.
So, as I sorted through the poems to focus on strength I watched my rej…

Guest Blogging about Oregon

Today I'm guest blogging on Fifty Authors from Fifty States. I wrote a bit about hiking in Oregon. This summer we spent several Saturdays hiking places within a couple hours drive from our house. I touched on a few of them as well as on how the hikes reminded me how much I used to enjoy being in the woods...

Check it out at Fifty Authors from Fifty States.

What Motivates You?

Image
What motivates you?

I recently asked myself this question as I read through my Facebook newsfeed. I felt paralyzed by outrage yet again. I stared at posts of one more atrocity and then one more and then.... And, the next thought I had was that human beings are the cruelest species on this planet...My heart ached.

I pondered what motivates me. I see so many people who are fueled by outrage. Their anger pushes them to make change. It gives them purpose. It helps them stay focused on the change they want. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized outrage just doesn't motivate me.

Outrage exhausts me. Outrage depresses me. Outrage paralyzes me.

I see all these posts I'm supposed to be outraged about, and I feel the outrage, but it's fleeting. Mostly I feel incredibly sad about the way human beings treat other Earthlings and the Earth itself. So I asked myself again and again "What motivates you?"

As I meditated over the next few weeks, the question kept re…

The Everlasting Vulnerability Journey

Image
Recently, as I stood in the middle of Sweet Creek with one foot on one rock and the other foot on another rock in order to take a picture of one of the many waterfalls we saw while hiking the Sweet Creek Trail, I thought about a blog post I'd been struggling to finish. I felt perfectly comfortable standing in that slightly unsteady stance to capture the image I wanted. My mind wandered back to the words I'd been struggling to find to express my latest thoughts on vulnerability. I looked down into the water I straddled and felt the fleetingness of words written and discarded as not perfect enough.

So much of my life I've felt the need to protect myself - physically, mentally, emotionally. There have been times when I've been paralyzed by my fear of vulnerability. Vulnerability and I have always had a very tumultuous relationship.

After I snapped the photo, I secured both feet on one rock, stepped onto a larger rock and sat down. I took a deep cleansing breath and looked a…

No More... Excuses... No More...

Image
No More...
When I stumbled across the No More campaign, I felt my breath catch. I'd discovered Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation shortly before and was intrigued by the work the foundation does. Apparently, Mariska Hargitay's work on Law & Order: SVU inspired her to do something to help the many survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence in the United States. Her foundation works to get rape kits off shelves and tested. They provide retreats for survivors to get support. The foundation pulls together resources to raise awareness and to actually take action.
I studied the website over several days and felt a sense of the foundation's commitment.
It reminded me how important fiction can be. Hargitay works on a fictional show - granted, the Law & Order franchise likes the "ripped from the headlines" concept, but it's still fiction. Yet, Hargitay was so moved she researched sexual assault and domestic violence and then decided to use her …

How Writers Can Benefit from Learning to Learn

Image
As I worked through the course, Learning to Learn and read the book, A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra), I came to realize I'd practiced many of the techniques taught in the class in different areas of my life but without deep understanding of how or why they worked. I often didn't consider things that worked in one area of my life for another area. As I studied Learning to Learn, I began to make connections I'd never made before and felt energized to apply these techniques in
new areas of my life, including writing.

One common piece of advice in the writing world is to sit your butt in the chair and write. Get the words written. The idea is to take the muse out of the process, stop waiting for inspiration, and focus on getting words written. In this kind of focused writing, one to focus on the project at hand without being distracted by the multitude of other projects in the works. This allows one to free one's mind for…