Sunday, December 29, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Beware What You Put in Your Brain

Beware What You Put in Your Brain

So, I think…I’ve thought…I’ve noticed…the thoughts running through our heads have a huge impact on the quality of our lives and how powerful we feel.

I have been monitoring and changing the quality of my thoughts for years now.  It has become second nature by this point, but there are still often times I catch myself falling into limiting thought patterns and need to do a quick mind re-route. Or sometimes not so quick, or sometimes I need to do it several times before it “takes.”

My life has improved dramatically since I figured out that mentally beating up yourself, another person, situation, etc., really isn’t that great of an idea. It doesn’t change or help anything. It just makes it worse. Just by thinking about things differently, situations that would have made me angry in the past no longer do. I simply don’t take things personally so much anymore. I finally get that very little is truly about me other than what I choose to hang out with in my mind.

I have collected quotes for years, and am a big believer in reading something inspirational first thing in the morning. I read at least a short phrase that makes me feel empowered, with my cup of tea, every morning before I start my work day.

What makes you feel empowered and true to yourself? Certain verses from the Bible? Your favorite writer? Buddhist traditions? Native American? Divine Feminine? A favorite poem? I love Robert Frost’s THE ROAD NOT TAKEN so much that I once stenciled it onto my home office wall. (With a lot of help from Marie – thank you again if you happen to read this!!!)

What you turn your attention to first thing in the morning sets your tone for the day. I say put some fresh spearmint in your morning tea while you’re reading something that totally makes you want to jam.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth


Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black

Oh, I kept the first for another day

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -

I took the road less traveled by

And that has made all the difference

-Robert Frost

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Artificial Limitations

Artificial Limitations

            The waiter walked up to our table and smiled. “Good evening…I’m so happy to be able to serve you tonight. I wish we had a larger selection to offer, but we are a bit limited at the moment.”

I looked at the menu, but the inside was blank.

“There isn’t anything here,” I said. “Did something get misplaced…”

“No, sir, that’s the menu we have every night…which means that anything you order we can make.”

“But you just said that you were a bit limited.”

“Well, we are limited if you take into consideration your own past experience. You see, the only dishes you would be able to order are the ones you’ve either had or have heard of…Regardless of how much you know, there is still a great deal more that you do not. In that way, we are all a bit limited.”

“What he’s trying to say is that if you’re limited, we’re all limited,” Linda said to me. “That’s because we see each other slightly differently from how we might see ourselves. What happens to one happens to all…do you understand?”

“That’s correct, ma’am,” said the waiter. “In this case we’re both limited because I cannot think of or prepare what you do not order, and you cannot order what you do not know. It’s really quite simple.”

-From THE BARN DANCE, James Twyman

What would you like to order today from the great menu of life?

What do you not yet know about that could be your greatest entrée yet?

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Authentically Yours...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Light and the Shadow

The Light and the Shadow

I am no expert on the dark side of human nature. Frankly, it’s something I prefer to avoid, like I prefer to avoid mildew in my shower.  So I clean my bathroom every week (Thursday evening), along with the rest of my home, whether it needs it or not.

If you want an expert on this subject, you might want to check out Debbie Ford’s work. I read THE DARK SIDE OF THE LIGHT CHASERS years ago, and just pulled it out again as I prepared to write this post.  

Certain movies haunt me after I see them, so I’m careful what I put in my brain. Our brains react to something on screen - particularly if it’s well done - as if we have experienced it ourselves. (Although I’m pretty sure this would not apply if you have TWO AND A HALF MEN on while playing pool with your buddies, or a Hallmark movie on while working on a knitting project.)

While there are certain movies with plenty of violence I love (I’m a big HARRY POTTER fan, and the original TOTAL RECALL kicks ass, for example) I do tend to avoid violent movies. I’ve never been severely beaten or raped (in this lifetime anyway) although I do know people who have been. Yet even though I thankfully have no personal experience, the movies I see depicting these kinds of horrors impact me, physically and emotionally.

Recently…for no reason I consciously understand…all of this stuff has been coming at me regarding Nazi Germany, WW II and the Holocaust. There was a Corrie Ten Boom quote on Facebook that reminded me how much my Grandma Handke loved her work, so I ordered THE HIDING PLACE on my Nook. It is set in Holland during the Nazi occupation. Then there was a horrific image of Jewish “camp” survivors in a TIME magazine anthology. Then my fiancé and I watched THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS as we both had wanted to see it, knowing it would not be an easy movie to watch. Then another Netflix pick pointed back to the Holocaust from a newer generation. Then the theater movie we both most wanted to see, THE BOOK THIEF (look for Academy Award nominations, friends) was right there, again, in Nazi Germany. Then came the SOUND OF MUSIC live broadcast on NBC, which we watched as we decorated the Christmas tree. The movie was one of my favorites EVER. It is set in Austria during the Nazi occupation there.

It’s just so…odd. 

Of course Nazi Germany is only one example of humans’ inhumane treatment towards humans. It happens everywhere, in different cultures, always has, and sometimes it seems always will. I could start with the mass destruction of Native American culture and then African slavery right here in the States, what continues with the Taliban, North Korea, the child sex slave trade, and keep writing for a library’s worth of pages if I wanted to. But I really don’t want to do that anymore than I want mildew in my shower!

Somalia alone breaks my heart. Pointing back to a movie – the pirates in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (again, look for some Academy Award nominations) would have gained no wealth from hijacking that ship. They were told not to come back without the money; it was like recruiting volunteers for a likely suicide mission. This doesn’t excuse their deeds, of course, but I did leave the movie with a lot more compassion for people who are born into this awful situation in Somalia. And intense gratitude I was born in the USA – like, how did I luck out to be born here? – kind of gratitude. 

I may be rambling a bit here in my attempts to delve into these consistent messages I am getting from the media. I remember one other thing…I just pulled out my journal where this was taped from a magazine article, shortly after 9/11. It was probably PEOPLE magazine: Some other performers had to speak out: Madonna, who wore an American-flag skirt at her Los Angeles concerts Sept. 13-15 (proceeds will be earmarked for families affected by terrorism), offered these thoughts on the attack: “each and every one of us should look inside our own hearts and examine our own personal acts of terrorism… It’s not just bin Laden, it’s all of us. We’ve all contributed to the hatred in the world today.”

I’m sure there were a whole lot of people who were really pissed off about Madonna’s comments that day. I get it. And I’m not right either. I am very rarely “right.” I get turned around directionally on a regular basis. I say things sometimes that leave me scratching my head going, “Did I really just say that?”

But I got what Madonna said that day.

We all have our “stuff.” I have made mistakes and have done things I regret…who hasn’t? Maybe the Dalai Lama has made it this far in life without having ever even said an unkind word to another person (do you think that’s possible?)…but I’ll bet even His Holiness has had unkind and unloving thoughts. He probably just prays about it a lot more than most of us afterwards!

Of course, I could be wrong…as I’m very often not right. J

I don’t know why I have been sent this message in so many different forms. What I do know is we are all human, and we all make mistakes. We sometimes make poor choices that have long-lasting consequences. We can never know why another person made a certain choice without having been inside their heart and their head experiencing their fears and their loves, in the moment they made that decision.

But we can know our own. We can learn and grow from the consequences of our own actions, whether joyful or painful. And we can look another human being in the eye – a person from Germany, from Honduras, Greenland, Canada, The United States, Africa, India, China, Scotland, Serbia or wherever – knowing we are all the same, imperfectly perfect humans.

If there is just one thing I can do to make the world a better place, it’s to be more loving in my own heart. –Laura Handke

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Writer Ann Hood

Writer Ann Hood

While I am on this amazing writing kick (writing about writers I love), I am beyond pleased to tell you that one of my very favorite writers, Ann Hood (website: honored me by saying ‘yes’ to my request for a brief interview. I admit I’m a little star struck.

I was first introduced to Ann’s writing close to 20 years ago when I was living in Salem, Oregon and didn’t have a lot of extra cash. I was in a used book store that was like a maze of hallways with little sideways rooms. It seemed like an enormous book store to me at the time - I hadn’t been to Powell’s in Portland yet! I would often get turned around, yet somehow I came across and back to an obviously well-loved, often-read, well-taken-care-of paperback book called THREE LEGGED HORSE. (This refers to a musical group, by the way, not an equine friend missing a limb!)

Thus began my love affair with Ann Hood’s books.

THREE LEGGED HORSE was one of my favorite fiction novels ever. As I made more money and was able to purchase new books (I still love and haunt used book stores!) I kept on buying more books that Ann Hood had written. When I purchased an electronic book prior to traveling on a two week trip, the first thing I did was search for new Ann Hood publications. There weren’t any and I was bummed. When I searched before a more recent trip, I found THE OBITUARY WRITER, which I loved so much I wrote a review of on Amazon, something I have done…maybe…four times total in my life.

And now I am reading KNITTING YARNS, about which PEOPLE Magazine says, with four stars: In this lovely anthology, Sue Grafton, Barbara Kingsolver and other authors go public with their passion for knitting, demonstrating how it connects them to mothers, grandmothers and neighbors, consoles them in grief and—despite the occasional misshapen mistake—clarifies their thoughts. One of the sweetest essays reveals how Clovis, a Chihuahua, came to acquire several “elaborately cabled” sweaters. Want to make one? The (size-adjustable) pattern is included. –Reviewed by Helen Rogan, 12/2/2013 issue.

When Ann agreed to answer a few questions, I wrote to her: Your writing seems very personal to me, which is why it strikes me straight in my heart and I keep buying your books and recommending and loaning them to others. Something deep inside me wants to share your work with others, as it has meant so much to me.

Me: What writers have affected you that way?

Ann: So many. Chekhov definitely. Contemporary writers like Elena Ferrante. Tom Perrotta. Andre Dubus lll. Denise Mina and Elizabeth Speller and dozens more.

Me: Please tell me how much of your work is true to your own life, and where you find your inspiration.

Ann: My fiction almost always begins with the seed of something real, something that keeps me up at night. But then the challenge of a fiction writer is to turn that into something universal rather than personal.

Me: What made you first pick up a pen, pencil, typewriter, computer? Do you remember when you first knew you needed to write?

Ann: I fell in love with reading at 4 and writing by the time I was 7.

Me: If you had just three sentences to share with a burgeoning writer, what would those three sentences be?

Ann: I have two: Read everything. Write every day.

And there you have it, readers, straight from one of my favorite writers. This is a good day. J

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. You Know Your Way Home: Suzanne Jauchius

You Know Your Way Home: Suzanne Jauchius

It seems I’m surrounded by good writers these days. Suzanne Jauchius (pronounced jawkuss) is one of them.  I’ve read Suzanne’s book, YOU KNOW YOUR WAY HOME, twice now, and I’m sure I will read it again at some point. It’s one of those you get into and hate to put down. Last I heard, it was number 63 on Amazon in the “divorce” category, although I would hardly categorize it as a book on divorce. Yes, Suzanne has been married, ah, more than once…well, I’ll let you read all about that yourself. 

See, the thing is, Suzanne is a psychic. And, to me, the book is about Suzanne coming to embrace her authentic gifts, no matter how hard that may have been for most of the people in her life (including those husbands) for a good chunk of her life.

I first heard Suzanne as a guest on radio station 105.1 FM The Buzz (she is on around 5 pm in Portland, OR, the first Monday of every month) and not too long afterwards booked an in-person reading myself. I liked her right away.

I’m no stranger to professional intuitives. I tend to book a reading about once a year, sometimes more than that. Often, it’s my birthday gift to myself.

In March of 2007, I wrote an in-depth spotlight ( on intuitive Renee Madsen, starting with her “coincidental” meeting with my ex-husband that led me to her work. Renee and I have since become friends and graduated together as certified voice teachers through the Transformational Voice Institute. I continue to check in with her from time to time and highly recommend any workshop or class that she does.

I’ve now had three different readings with Suzanne as well, spread out over about three and a half years. They have all been accurate, astute and enjoyable. As a young adult, Suzanne discovered she had the ability to do psychometry, which means she will hold or touch an object belonging to someone else and see pictures. The pictures appear as if she’s watching a dream, and she reports the images back to her client. I get excited going to a reading – I think it’s a lot of fun. J

I know there are people in the world who claim to be psychic and just want to bilk people out of their money. (I sadly suspect this is true in many professions.) This is unfortunate for the good ones, who will encourage you to develop your own intuitive gifts rather than relying on theirs. I think psychics have a tough row to hoe in our present skeptic western culture, although it certainly may be getting easier with shows such as GHOST WHISPERER and MEDIUM having become popular.

In SIX DEGREES TO YOUR DREAMS, I describe how everyone has what I call an Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature or IVIN. Some might call the IVIN that little voice in the back of my head, some a gut feeling, some women’s intuition, some God. Whatever you want to call it, it’s there. Have you ever been driving somewhere and a feeling told you to turn left instead of right at a particular intersection, in spite of the directions? Or that if you went around the block, you’d find a parking space? That’s your IVIN at work.

But this isn’t quite the same thing as what Suzanne has experienced throughout her life. As a child, I wasn’t ridiculed or shamed because of my intuitive gifts, as many psychics are. I find this tragic, and Suzanne’s book a page-turner to help illuminate the “average” person on what it’s like to be born with extraordinary intuitive gifts. Plus, it’s simply a great read!

If you’re interested in checking out YOU KNOW YOUR WAY HOME, you can find it at or
            A good reader can be an invaluable sherpa in the mountains, pointing out which trails work best and helping you find your way.
            A bad one can lead you right over the next cliff.
            Don’t blindly follow.
            Your answers are inside of you. –Tosha Silver, Outrageous Openness

             People are often eventually grateful to have acknowledgement of what deep in their hearts they actually already know. –Tosha Silver, Outrageous Openness

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. On Being a Writer

On Being a Writer

A life dedicated to the art of writing is not for the feint-hearted or thin-skinned. 

Granted, I know relatively little about this because “all” I’m writing right now is a blog (although if you knew how much time and energy I put into this you might be shocked.)

But I have read the work of many really good and well known writers, several I have met in person, heard speak, a couple I have befriended through social media, etc.

I can recommend two books if you want to write for a living. The first is WRITING DOWN THE BONES, Natalie Goldberg, which was recommended to me by a college friend back in the 1980’s. It is referenced in my second recommended book, BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott, recommended by a dear friend just last year.

I see Lamott quoted all the time now. In O Magazine, as a reviewer on other people’s books, etc. After years of sticking to her writing, Lamott is finally making a good living at it. I say it’s about time. She’s one of my favorite writers and has never wavered in her dedication to the craft of the written word. (I have a tremendous amount of respect for the woman, in case you haven’t noticed.)

Now for all about me. Before I was “just” writing this blog, I completed one book to be published print-on-demand through iUniverse. I received their “Editor’s Choice” award, which I was told at the time about 10 percent of their published manuscripts receive. So, that doesn’t suck too bad.  I had a book signing at Border’s in Salem. The book was published in 2005 and I got a royalty check from iUniverse last year for $2.19. I asked my CPA if that would put me into a higher tax bracket. J

Writing first the proposal, and then the book, took a year and a half of my life.

SIX DEGREES TO YOUR DREAMS is 61 pages, paperback.

To any rational person, this must sound like madness, right? But writers need to be irrational. If you have it in your heart to express yourself through the written word, your soul will never be satisfied if you don’t. In fourth grade I was writing plays based on I DREAM OF JEANNIE to be acted on the playground at recess. In fifth grade Grandma Handke gave me my first diary. I have been writing ever since.

When I was working on the second draft of SIX DEGREES, I relied on the editing expertise of two writer friends I particularly trusted. One was Rocky Bellew. I knew that she was a very good writer based on what I had seen online and in her letters.

But when I first read an actual chapter she sent me (in the snail mail – a real paper copy) called On Saw Tooth Road, I felt that I had been transported into a different plane. I said to myself, “This woman is the next JK Rowling.” Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan. Rocky’s work might be less Potter and more Lord of the Rings, but it’s neither. THE SHADOW MASTERS is something quite different. An entirely new realm has been created, and I can’t wait to see the next chapter.

I asked Rocky a whole bunch of questions about how the series had been created, how it came to her, and in the long run I understand it’s simply part of the mystery that creates anything truly worthwhile…you feel it in your heart and soul, and it won’t let you go until you have expressed it.

With my multiple questions about Rocky’s writing process, I’ve narrowed the answers down to this:

I rarely had quiet time or time to myself, so I ended up relishing my nights alone. One night I sat down at the computer to write, but I didn't want to work on the story I'd been stopping or starting for a couple of years, so I started something else. It simply began with a father and his son feeding the sheep in a temporary makeshift pen. The boy didn't want to do the work, but his father made him with the promise he could spend time with his friend when the work was done. But, before the work was done the calm of the camp was upset by the entrance of fifty riders from the Inner Realms.

Along the way I've created several sketches of characters and completed a ton of research into cultures and eras throughout history. I want everything to ring true and reasonable. I want it to be believable. I have had to create several different societies and cultures with histories and belief systems. I've had to decide what they'd look like, what their political systems were and so on and so forth. I've had to learn about doing things in a primitive fashion and learn about all kinds of things I would have never learned otherwise. Of course, my experience with the Native American culture has played a huge role in a lot of the story.

I must say, the process has been one of discovery, one discovery right after another. If you would have told me twenty years ago I had this story within me I would have denied it. In truth, the story is so huge and so complex I sometimes become fearful that I may not have the intelligence to write it. I'm afraid that someone will read it some day and discover I'm a fraud.

The process is fun, exhilarating, exhausting, daunting, frustrating... The purpose of the original story is I wanted people to realize they are stronger than they could ever imagine, and they have the wherewithal to face any challenge, no matter how dire, no matter how heart wrenching, no matter how hopeless the future may seem. This remains the primary purpose of the story plus so much more.

The only other thing I would add is that I think every story written is in some small way the author's story. Though there may be real shockers in there, those shockers, prose and ideas that give people pause and make them say, "That person must be crazy," are only tools to create a strong reaction in the reader. A good writer will know when to use them and will use them sparingly. The use of those tools does not make the person crazy.

My readers, I’m thrilled to introduce you to one of my favorite writers you may not have heard of until now.

Rocky’s book is now a serial on JukePop. Should you feel drawn to do so, go read it and vote like I did. J

Authentically Yours,


Monday, November 18, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Visualize, Journalize, Vocalize

Visualize, Journalize, Vocalize

Visualize, Journalize, Vocalize is a phrase I coined early on in the creation of Wishweavers.*  Bringing your authentic dreams and wishes to light and into reality, using the six degrees of connection, is a three part process. This process uses different learning styles for those who are visual, auditory or tactile. You see what you want, and deserve, clearly in your mind’s eye. If you can’t see it yourself, how are you going to go about describing it to others and getting it? You write it down because that makes it real and helps solidify details and concrete goals you may be missing. And you share it with others, vocalizing, which kicks the six degrees of connection into action. (But be careful who you share your dreams with! No dream stompers – only people you know will support and buoy you with encouragement.)

I will add a couple of things to that at this juncture in my career and life. Add emotion. Incorporating feeling into the visualization process makes all the difference in the world. A very good book on this topic is ASK AND IT IS GIVEN by Esther and Jerry Hicks. That book added a whole new dimension to my personal visualization and creation process.

The other thing to add is the phrase “as is in Divine order for the highest good.” Sometimes we think we know what we want, but God has a slightly (or radically) different take on the subject. (Please don’t take that literally—like God is sitting at a desk with a pencil, like Santa, checking boxes on a piece of paper and deciding if your wish is a good one or a bad one.)

The “perfect” house you found on Red Leaf Avenue may actually be destined for a family with a dog that will enjoy the fenced back yard, while one almost exactly like it, but with a pool and flower garden the dog would have destroyed, is waiting for you right around the corner on Peony Drive. You just haven’t seen it yet…that’s all.

Visualize, Journalize, Vocalize (discriminately), with feeling, as is in Divine order for the highest good.

Authentically Yours,


*For those unfamiliar with Wishweavers, refer to The website is still mostly there, like a potential rental house that needs to be remodeled.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. ME NOW Exercise: Your Ideal Day

ME NOW Exercise: Your Ideal Day

I was in an all day seminar recently and grabbed a pen, as I often do in these things (especially right after lunch), and started writing to ensure I wouldn’t start to nod off. Sometimes I write letters. This particular day I started working on what I refer to in my first book as the ME NOW exercise.

Imagine your life, yourself, as a clean slate. Wake up in the morning and notice your surroundings. What are the colors, textures, scents, sounds and beings – people, animals, plants, etc. – around you? Did you wake up in a king size bed with a rich thread count in the sheets, on a bed of pine needles in the forest, in your very own house boat? Wherever you start is your ME NOW. What gifts, talents, skills and energy are you using to better your life and the lives of others? Write down every detail. Know your contribution to the world and where your money comes from, what you are doing with your time and resources. For now, let your imagination run wild. Later you will break down priorities and map out a plan.

This exercise is a lot of fun. Just take yourself step by step throughout a 24 hour period, a week if you wish, noticing how you’re feeling and what you are sensing.

I first completed a similar exercise called Your Ideal Day, from the book WISHCRAFT by Barbara Sher, in the fall of 1999 shortly after I co-founded a women’s group (known as M to the Sixth Power or M/6 for short), dedicated to helping each other make our dreams come true. Being involved in this group, and reading Sher’s book, changed my life. All the critical pieces in that particular ideal day manifested into my life within six months.

Now I do this exercise regularly, typically every year or two. I start with when I wake up in the morning and end with when I go to bed at night. I also give this exercise as a homework assignment when I facilitate classes and workshops. One attendee of my LIVING IN BALANCE series several years ago presented a particularly creative result that stands out in my memory. In her ideal day, she and her husband were running an intergalactic import / export company. You read that right. Not international, intergalactic, working with artisans from planets all across the Universe. That one got a big burst of applause from the group. J

My recent one wasn’t quite that expansive, but beings plenty of tropical breezes and scooter riding surfaced, I have reason to believe some changes may be coming before too long. At the very least, a sunny and sandy vacation in 2014!

Just completed my morning activities, which include morning maca shooter, yoga, meditation & prayer. I invite you to give yourself permission to live today without history or herstory. Be in the moment with God's story about you. It begins like this: "once upon a choice" not "once upon a time". Choose to be happy, creative & feel that all your needs are met as the beginning of your choosing. Blessings! -Michael Bernard Beckwith Facebook post (If you have not checked out this amazing man’s work before, do it right now!)

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Worst Decision I've Ever Made

The Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made

You may have noticed my last entry was over 90% quoting Dr. Phil. Not only did I admire what he wrote, and how he wrote it, but I paid close attention to what he said about a “decision audit” -- truthfully recognizing whether or not important life decisions had been based on desire or fear. 

A huge part of authenticity is becoming clear about our motivations. We have all said and done things we regret. We’ve all made choices that weren’t in the highest interest of humanity or our planet or even a close personal relationship. Or especially ourselves.

Rather, what I am talking about here is a decision that completely alters the trajectory of your future, and it’s only later – looking back – you just want to smack yourself alongside the head (and maybe you do) and go WTF WAS I THINKING?

Some who know me well may think my worst decision has to do with my divorce…or my marriage. It doesn’t.  I don’t regret my over 12 year marriage, nor do I regret my divorce. I learned to become a better partner by being married to Jeff, and when we had done everything we could to keep our relationship intact and couldn’t – we both knew. As for those of you who know about the one time I was pulled into the police station and finger-printed – suffice to say I never again had too much wine and not enough Chinese food at a hot-tub party and tried to drive home, really slowly. Really super stupendously bad idea back in 1997.

No, the decision I am talking about was a decade earlier, 1987, Phoenix, Arizona. I was fresh out of college and after 3 ½ months left my first professional job as a placement counselor for temporary employees at a company called Pro-Tem. (I met my best friend at that job, which makes it an enormous blessing.) I enjoyed placing temps in jobs (remind me to tell you the story about actor Patrick Duffy’s home construction job; that was a hoot) but the office was so slow I would sometimes do my nails because there was nothing else to do. So they sent me out to market for them. Cold calling and me were SO not a good fit.

I had an interview with a start-up cosmetics company – cosmetics meaning the little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. for hotels and the like. The atmosphere in this warehouse type building on the industrial side of town was charged – everyone in that office was jazzed about what they were doing. I vibrated around these people. And they assured me the receptionist job was only a starting point. They wanted people to grow with the company. They were filling the receptionist position because the last one had been promoted. I wish I could remember the name of the company to see whatever happened with them. It would not surprise me, at all, if I am to this day using their bottled products whenever I am in a hotel room, and they have expanded to a line of spas or something like that.  

I had interviewed at a bank around the same time. The bank receptionist position paid $100 more per month. I held off on giving an answer to the cosmetics company, who had offered me the job, until I heard from the bank that I had been hired.

For $100 more a month.

Looking back, I realize that while that tiny amount of extra money per month felt like security at the time, I went against my gut feeling and the energy I felt around those people and in that environment.

Perhaps in a parallel universe I was a part of that company’s and my personal success. From where I am sitting here, it feels like the biggest mistake I ever made. I ended up working in banking (at three different banks) until I moved away from Arizona in 1990, and didn’t truly enjoy any of the banking jobs, while I made the most of all of them and met some wonderful people.

I rarely express regret because I truthfully rarely experience it. My friend Quinton (God bless his soul on the other side) once said that I am an unflappable optimist.

But I wish I had taken the job with the cosmetics company.

I’m sharing this story because Dr. Phil got me thinking, and I believe it’s best to make decisions based on that energized and “right” feeling, rather than the illusion of security which is really only that – an illusion.

Here’s to releasing the F word of fear, and going with the authentic desires of the heart and soul!

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. From Dr. Phil - You Can't Play the Game of Life with Sweaty Palms

From Dr. Phil – You Can’t play the Game of Life with Sweaty Palms.

I liked this article from Dr. Phil in the October 2013 issue of O Magazine enough to quote a good chunk of it here.

There’s a four letter F word that’s not offensive to your sensibilities. It won’t send your moral compass spinning like a top. But this F word is far more insidious because, unbeknownst to you, it could be the motivation behind a shockingly high percentage of the life choices you make. The F word I’m walking about is fear.

A psychology professor of mine used to say that 80 percent of decisions are based on fear rather than desire… If he was even close, think about what that could mean for your life. What if you married not Mr. Right but Mr. Right Now because you heard your biological clock ticking… Or what if you spend the next decade in some boring, dead-end job because you’re afraid nobody else will hire you to do something you love?...

It’s possible you’ve been selling out for so long, you don’t even notice it anymore. I get so many letters from readers who feel stuck or are living without the sizzle they long for. Too often we settle for what we don’t want instead of reaching for what we do. Why? It’s an epidemic that I call fear paralysis.

You can’t play the game of life with sweaty palms, so it’s time to do a brutally honest “decision audit” to find out what’s driving your choices. List the top seven decisions you’ve made in your life, and think back to how you made them. Ask yourself truthfully if you were driven by an aspiration or if fear ran the show. Were you moving toward something you wanted or away from an alternative that scared you? … Living – really living – is about taking chances, so what a shame if you never conquered your fears.

By the way, I am not advocating a reckless risk-to-reward ratio… What I am saying, however, is that if you are punking out on your dreams, you need to start believing in yourself enough to go for it instead of settling into your comfort zone…

Start by not blowing the stakes of your decision out of proportion. Your self-worth is not a matter of wins versus losses. It’s an inherent, God-given quality, so don’t catastrophize the consequences of your decisions.

Next, I want you to play the “what if” game, but you need to play it all the way to the end. If you’re going to ask the question, then you’ve got to answer it with a realistic worst-case scenario. What if you quit your job and the next gig didn’t work out? Is it an outcome you’d be able to handle? Could you recover?...

You’d likely start over again and be much wiser. If you’d be gambling your rent money or your children’s lunch money, then maybe the risk isn’t worth it. But if that’s not the case, I’m betting that the downside isn’t as bad as you think – and the upside could be life-changing. You’ll never get ahead by playing it safe.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Which is why I didn’t. J Thanks, Dr. Phil.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. If I Can't, God Can

If I Can’t, God Can

Is something bothering you? So much so you can’t stop thinking about it? Get yourself a can. Or a jar. Set the can aside for one specific purpose, to put your worries in, knowing if you can’t deal with it, someone else can. The someone else could be your higher power (I call mine a God Can) or a circle of people or angelic entities you trust.

Write your worries down on a piece of paper. Fold the piece of paper and put it in the can. Make it symbolic, a ritual, knowing you no longer have to worry about that issue. Your IVIN (Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature) will help you sort it out, and you can forget it about it now. Whenever the worry resurfaces, remind yourself, “That is in the can!”

One of the first techniques I learned was the God Box. You simply write down your worries and pop them into some kind of a container…Sounds simplistic, but honestly, it works… During the period of offering, solutions often spontaneously arise. When the mind is no longer grasping for an answer, space opens. The Box gives room for a Divine plan, even in impossible messes. –Tosha Silver, from the book OUTRAGEOUS OPENNESS

Authentically Yours,  


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. It's All ABout Me: Part 2

It’s All About Me: Part 2

There’s one best way to give to others, and that is to give to yourself first. Good financial advisors say to pay yourself first. The same is true of your emotional bank account. None of us can share what we don’t have to give.

Take a solo retreat to a beautiful area (the coast, mountains, prairie, river) for a half day, an entire weekend if you can. Bring only inspirational reading material, your journal and a pen. The iPad is okay as long as you use it only to write and read inspirational material. Turn off the phone. Do not check e-mails. TV, do I even need to mention…NO! Don’t even listen to music, other than the music of the birds singing, the natural hum of insects and nature, the brush of the wind, the sound of the moon coming out over the water. Soundless perfection.

Pay attention to everything you see, hear, smell, touch. Write about it. Everything will have meaning in it. Sleep well and deep. You will come back to your daily life completely rejuvenated.

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. It's All About Me

It’s All About Me: Part 1

Do whatever comes your way to do as well as you can. Think as little as possible about yourself and as much as possible about other people and about things that are interesting. Put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. –Theodore Roosevelt

Of course I can’t speak for you – but I am an interesting person. Frankly, my whole life is extremely fascinating. And I am a scintillating conversationalist…which is perhaps why I spend so much time talking outloud to myself.

Nonetheless, I happen to appreciate these wise words from Mr. Roosevelt.

Truthfully, I suspect most of us spend way too much time worrying about what others think of us, when they are too busy worrying about themselves and their own fascinatingly scintillating (read sorry ass) lives to really think about us at all.

I also happen to believe most people are inherently good. And I am cognizant of how blessed I am with people I love and who love me.

And if you can take one more thing I happen to believe, it is that the better you take care of yourself, the more you have to give to others. Ya just gotta water your own well first.

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. –Anne Frank

Your vision will become clear only
when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
Who looks inside, awakens.
-Carl Jung

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Myth of Multi-Tasking

The Myth of Multi-Tasking

I interviewed Meggin McIntosh ( a while back for a Wishweaving Word newsletter. I remember her saying that in this day of perpetual busyness, none of us can multi-task (unless you’re doing something really mindless like folding the laundry while watching television) – the best any of us can hope for is rapid serial-tasking.

I thought of that this morning while I was on my way to the office and saw a woman on roller skates pushing a stroller with a child in it, while holding her dog’s leash – the dog was running alongside the stroller. Now that is multi-tasking! And I wonder how attended to the woman, or the child, or the dog, felt in that moment.

Then came to mind something my boyfriend said recently while quoting an acquaintance (I am loosely paraphrasing here)… “Yep. I woke up this morning. I organized the tool shed. Then I gave both dogs a bath.  Then I finished the garage painting project I started yesterday. Then I built a retaining wall by the front garden plot. Then I sanded all the woodwork in the studio and stained it… And that was all in the five minutes before I got out of bed.”

Which brought to mind something Sara Wiseman ( wrote in WRITING THE DIVINE. She was talking (and I am even more loosely paraphrasing here) about how so many mothers/parents are so busy running their children from soccer practice to dance lessons to softball games to band rehearsal that most of the time what the children see of their Mom is the back of her head from the back seat of the car.

This, people, is insane.

If we never take a moment (better yet, an hour, or a day, or at the very least 15 minutes) to breathe, have down time, and listen…how can we hear our innermost, authentic voice? I daresay we can’t.

You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love. –Nikhil Saluja

The Voice
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you—just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
-Shel Silverstein

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. The Authenticity of Language (Cussing)

The Authenticity of Language (Cussing) 

I’ve never been a big swearer. Seriously. There have been periods in my life wherein I cussed more than others. I’m not sure why, really. Maybe at times when I was feeling stressed or when I felt more free or when I just didn’t give a f***.  Bah ha.

Just recently – I would say in the last year or so – I’ve started saying sh**-fu** (those two cuss words strung together) in certain rare circumstances wherein I could just as easily have said wow-really-seriously-can-you-believe-that? But that’s a lot more syllables.

Mostly, when I hear people swear - even in movies or music – when every other word seems to be the F bomb or something else – I basically tune out. It doesn’t feel good to my heart, and as a result I really don’t hear the other messages that might want to be conveyed.

But I gotta tell ya… Recently, while I was on my stomach in bed, relaying a frustrating phone conversation from my work day to my boyfriend, I whacked my forehead downwards three times while saying Jesus f****** Christ. 

George asked if that was the sound of my beating my head against the wall and I said yes and immediately apologized while looking up (like Jesus was hanging out there on the ceiling) because I had just seriously taken the name of the Lord in vain. And while it was meant to be funny (and kind of was, while repeatedly smashing my face against the pillow on the mattress) I didn’t like the way it felt.

So, I immediately suggested that we come up with some other way of expressing this particular form of frustration, one that would have nothing to do with Jesus Christ combined with the F word, but would sound similar enough to have the same feeling.

George said cheese and rice. (We both really like Mexican food.) I said but there has to be something in the middle, like duck. But I really don’t care for duck. (I mean the meat, not the bird. I am quite fond of our waddling, swimming, flying feathered friends.) And he said something that sounded like “Cheese is stuck in rice.”

That wasn’t exactly what he said. But it totally works. And it makes me giggle. Maybe not anyone else, but we get a good laugh out of it.

When in doubt, in a frustrating scenario, remember…cheese is stuck in rice. 

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. The Authenticity of Being of Service

The Authenticity of Being of Service

My boyfriend, George, said something recently, during a coffee break at my office, which bears repeating. I needed to get back to work and he had a client scheduled at the top of the hour.

Neither of us wanted to end our time together and head back to the desk (me) and massage table (him). But the way he worded it was, "Now we go back to helping people."

He has reminded me before (at times when I was majorly stressed out, or unhappy in my work that particular day, or in that particular situation, or with that particular client) with such earnestness in his face and belief in me in his heart, "Just think about all the people you are helping, all those people who need your help."

This goes into my authenticity model because it is such a simple shift in thinking to change your attitude.

When I was first introduced, years ago, to Neale Donald Walsh's CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD trilogy, I listened to the audio books in my car over and over. I remember hearing, over and over, whatever it is you desire, give to another.

Virtually any activity any of us take part in can be looked at as a way of being of service to another. If you run out of milk in the middle of making banana bread and rush out to get some, you are supporting the dairy farmer and all the people and businesses which got the milk from the Holstein into your shopping cart. And you can strike up a friendly conversation with the cashier.

It's easy to remember that you're being of service while planning a dinner party for six of your favorite people; not necessarily so easy when you're going in for a root canal. Yet this slight shift in thinking can work miracles in the way we feel about the daily tasks ahead of us, particularly if we approach the opportunity to be of service with joy. I love this! I certainly don't manage it with every single task every single day, but I love the reminder!

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Be the Best Version of Yourself

Be the Best Version of Yourself

I dated a (very talented) musician for a few months back in 2007. He told me a story about the time he was recording an album in Nashville and someone came racing out of a recording room, saying “You gotta hear this guy! He sounds just like Kenny Rogers!”

The response?

“We already have Kenny Rogers.”

Always be a first rate version of yourself, and not a second rate version of someone else.
–Judy Garland

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. The Art of Discipline

The Art of Discipline

I’ve been reflecting recently on discipline in regards to living an authentic life.

I suspect pretty much no-one is going to live the life they truly want in their heart without dedication and consistency. Even Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones was consistent about showing up on stage for every gig, even if someone else had to drag him out there and stick the guitar in his hands. (I read that a while back in Rolling Stone Magazine.)

I think I came out of the birth canal disciplined. If I could have cleaned my own diapers, I would have. My home gets cleaned every week whether it needs it or not, meaning it never needs any more cleaning than has already happened…unless there's some odd thing. Like a big pickle making thing or having people over for dinner thing. Which really isn’t that odd, now that I think about it.

I also always know my bank account balances and what it is my kitchen. As I am running out of something in the pantry, I write it down on the grocery list. I have never, in my entire life, ever run out of toilet paper.

I am disciplined, and structure in pretty much everything around my day job. Yet it's very clear to me my dietary habits are something I don't want to be disciplined about. I have this list of suggested changes from my naturopathic physician, after keeping a food diary for a week.

Really? No cheese? Seriously, my love affair with Chardonnay? Cigs are gone. But I miss them too, from time to time. I love peanut butter but did buy a jar of almond butter. Okay, it’s good. But it’s still not the same! Almond milk for the rest of my life? Tomatoes are one of my favorite things and there are tons in the garden!!!!! Are you kidding me in regards to the citrus fruits??!! OMG!

I am being so dramatic. Dr. C assured me that I can try taking dairy out of my diet, etc., and see what happens. It doesn't mean I can never have a slab of medium cheddar again as long as I live. However, my digestive system might be better able to take on a piece of say, aged, white cheddar...which I have fallen in love with lately....instead of softer cheeses…and that grapefruit is not something I need to say goodbye to forever.


I have decided to take most of the recommendations on a little at a time…slowly. So it doesn’t seem so dramatic. Acupuncture, for the first time in my life – I’m digging on it so far, after two treatments. Some thought re-arranging will be needed, and great self love.

Here’s to the discipline of great self love!

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Just Be You

Just Be You

As I was cleaning the bathroom floor just now, on my hands and knees, I began having an imaginary conservation in my mind, as we all do from time to time, with a close family member. (Hopefully you are having a mental conversation with your own close family member and not mine. I might be fearful otherwise.)

The question in my imagination (which probably never would have been asked anyway) was something like this. “Why aren’t you going to organize that lunch we talked about?  Who is going to do it if you don’t?” It could equally have been, “You’re not going? But you said you would.”

No matter the myriad of questions that could have been posed in my mind, the response was this:

I have spent far too much of my life trying to structure myself and activities around what I thought other people wanted or needed from me.

As it turns out, what I thought they needed or wanted from me wasn’t it at all.

They just needed me to be me.  

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Authenticity and Body Image

Authenticity and Body Image

It’s only in my 40’s I’ve realized I have had a negatively distorted body image for basically my entire adult life. I look back at photos of my 20 something self in a two piece – if not necessarily “bikini” – swimsuit and wonder what on earth I was worried about.  

It’s true we are all bombarded with media images of beautiful women in Hollywood who work out a lot and have personal trainers (I recently read that Gywneth Paltrow works out for two hours every day and hates it, but considers it part of her job) and have Botox injections and cosmetic surgery, etc.

I like looking at these beautiful women too, okay? Just for one example, I am amazed by Cher. Who clearly has a really good surgeon and takes very good care of her body.

I am equally amazed by Annette Bening, whom some may say snagged the perennial bachelor (Warren Beatty), has probably had no facial surgery, and looks just as beautiful with lines on her face and takes very good care of her body.

My breasts were very small as I was coming into womanhood. Looking in the shower or bath from the age of 13 through like 19, I kept wondering if I would EVER get breasts that amounted to anything. Around the age of 21 (I must say my breast size was never an issue in my sex life – it only was in my own mind), I simply accepted my small breasts. It never occurred to me to have an augmentation. In my 30’s, I finally found a bra size, Nearly A, that actually fit right! I was thrilled! Bought two of those comfortable bras with no underwire before the line was discontinued and essentially wore them out.

Guess what? My breasts are a bit bigger now that I’m getting closer to 50. And I love them! But so is my waistline and my belly! And I don’t love that so much. So go figure…

I am seeing a naturopath about the weight gain and GI digestive issues (so this isn’t totally vanity!) and have a more nutritional path to follow. Yet I still haven’t quite figured out how to love my body exactly as it is in any given moment. I’m pretty sure it’s not about learning something, rather about releasing something.

In the meantime, here’s to an awesome Godwalk!

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Trust Your Own Emotional Compass

Trust Your Own Emotional Compass

I was playing my keyboard and singing when a memory came flooding over me and I sat down and wrote this post.  

It was Christmas at my family home. A lot of relatives were over for the festivities. I was in my bedroom playing the piano and singing Christmas music. One I chose was STAR OF THE EAST. I was having a very good time playing the piano and singing that song. If I remember correctly (my memory is a little sketchy here), other relatives were singing with me.

Uncle Steve rushed in (this part I remember for sure) and asked me to play it again because (this part I don’t remember for sure) one of the older female relatives – could have been my maternal grandma, or great-aunt – really liked that song.

So, I started playing it again.

Then another relative came in and asked me to stop playing it because X older female relative was in tears.

Obviously, Uncle Steve and whoever the other relative was interpreted X older female’s emotional reaction in very different ways. Based, no doubt, on their own emotional responses not only to the music, but how they felt being around someone who was crying. I did later learn that STAR OF THE EAST was this relative’s deceased mother’s favorite Christmas hymn.  So, it brought about some emotion.

The moral of this story, if there is one…? Trust your own internal, emotional compass.

I was a teenager when this happened, and not all that integrated with my own emotions.

I suppose if I were to go back and do it differently, knowing what I know now, I would simply shut the lid to the piano and walk over to either my grandma or great-aunt, and ask her if she wanted me to play the song again. I would take her hands, if she wanted them to be taken. If she wanted to cry and other people were uncomfortable with that, perhaps, I could whisperingly ask if she wanted to step into the laundry room or outside for a moment.

In which case she could weep to her heart’s content on my shoulder and and / or tell me (if she wanted to) what memories that song brought up about her mother. I suspect they were very good ones, and that she missed her mom.

I don’t think of this as a coulda, woulda, shoulda thing. That was a long time ago.

I just wanted to write about the memory when it swept over me…as it’s an awesome reminder to trust your internal, emotional compass. Therein, authenticity lies.

Trust yourself, then you will know how to live. –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Ask For What You Want

Ask For What You Want

Surely I am not the only person walking around on this planet who has realized asking for what we want can be…really, really hard. Uncomfortable. And about a bazillion other words, but I’ll stick with hard and uncomfortable for now.

I’m not going to delve into why this may be…our familial and social programming…not wanting to hurt another person’s feelings, fear of speaking up on our own behalf because we might be perceived as selfish, etc., etc., etc. The list could go on until the end of time. I’m sure there are many times you have kept your mouth shut, like your lips were duct-taped together, rather than actually asking for what you wanted. Oh, the horror!

The older I get, the more I realize how silly this is. Yet I still experience this silliness at the ripe old age of 48.

I’m writing this post because something occurred to me when my lips were anything but taped together – my mouth was propped wide open at the dentist’s office. I had to have a crown put on – a huge filling put in many years ago was finally wearing out, the tooth was cracking, and I was experiencing sensitivity to temperature.

So, there I was in Dr. Maggie’s office, enduring an hour and a half appointment with a lot of drilling, one of my biggest uncomfortable fear scenarios. (Singing solo in public is another and I really don’t enjoy pap smears.) You know that smell of having your teeth drilled? Do I even have to describe it? I didn’t think so. It’s a smell that makes me want to run to somewhere like…I don’t know…Mars. Maybe Greenland. At the very least, into the restroom or parking lot.

My current dentist does a really good job of keeping that smell, and any pain, at bay. I love my dentist, this clinic, and everyone who works there. When Dr. Maggie was inside the tooth drilling, and I winced, she asked if I could feel it. Well, yes, I could. Apparently this is rather unusual. Most people are totally numbed at this point. She pulled out some rock star formula that was developed in France and goes deeper into the bone. I didn’t feel anything the rest of the procedure. I mean, it still wasn’t fun, but I didn’t have any pain, and didn’t smell a whole lot either.

What an eye-opener! When I went to the dentist as a child and it hurt (the shot hurt, too; albeit needles were much larger then), I just assumed there was something wrong with me, that I shouldn’t have been feeling the painful feelings I was experiencing.

What a gift to have a sensitive dentist so many years later, with much better technology, who presented another option and asked if I felt that when I winced.

Just another lesson in learning to ask for what I want. I encourage you to do the same.

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Clear and Pure Intention

Have a Clear and Pure Intention

I have mentioned previously the Sacred Success workshop I attended with Barbara Stanny and 16 other women September, 2012. I keep in touch with many of these women; each week we share “upbeat updates” highlighting our accomplishments, gifts received and lessons learned (not necessarily in that order) the previous week.

I was married and step-mother of three boys for over 12 years. Their father and I divorced as the eldest, a Marine, was killed in the war in Iraq at age 21. I still keep in touch with the other two (now 26 and 24) on Facebook from time to time. I shared this in one of my upbeat updates and received a note in response from one of my “Sacred Success Sistahs” that said, among other things, “I bet you were a great step-mom. That's why the kids are still in your life. They don't have to be there, they are choosing you.”


My response was that I thought for the most part I was a pretty lousy step-mom, but even then I knew I was doing the best I could with the tools I had at the time. I really did try to have a positive impact on the boys, and to keep my marriage and our family together. It's clear now that I did a better job than I thought I did. My intention was good - and that is just as important as anything else…

I wouldn’t call myself a great step-mom. In fact, at times I recoil from memories of things I am embarrassed about and utterly convinced I would do differently, in retrospect.

Yet what I do know is that I did the best I could at the time in any given moment. That’s all any of us can do. What I believe our parents did as well. And there is nothing more authentic than that. Everybody makes mistakes, takes missteps. If we have a clear and pure intention, the rest will eventually take care of itself.

Always do your best. –Don Miguel Ruiz (One of THE FOUR AGREEMENTS)

Authentically Yours, Laura

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Simply Authentic...your soul voice is calling. Your Authenticity as a Model

Your Authenticity as a Model for Others

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world. –Robert Louis Stevenson

Many parents know this. Many non-parent people know this. It is good being happy. Most of us tend to feel happier when we are around happy people. I was a step-mom for over 12 years, and I knew this. And a lot of the time I sucked at it!

A lot of us suck at being our authentic selves in relationships. Perhaps especially when we are around people (like children) we feel we need to teach, who can also be the most likely to emulate us. Which is pretty back-asswards, when you think about it. Which, I suppose, is why so many people grow up convinced they are going to do everything the exact opposite of how their parents did. Which typically doesn’t work either, in the long run.

It seems so many of us have expended so much energy trying to make other people happy, that we end up tense and unhappy ourselves, which does just about as much to please other people as poking a hole in a bicycle tire so the bike will fit better into that tight space in the garage. Which is approximately as effective as expecting other people to change for the benefit of our happiness.

Whatever we say, do, or even think, can be a gift of our (hopefully often happy and tension-free) authenticity to the people around us. They can absorb our experience, from our example, without us having to “teach” a thing. Doesn’t that feel like a relief?!

If you’re a parent, you have a very good idea of what your children are unconsciously picking up from you. If you’re a teacher, you know how you are reaching your students. Or not. If you’re in a romantic relationship, you know how your lover is responding to you before they say a word or you ask a question.

As you’ve probably figured out reading my blog, I am an avid reader and have favorite writers. Every writer I admire has been influenced by other writers and has their favorites as well.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my faves - Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.  

My son, Sam, at three and a half, had these keys to a set of plastic hand cuffs, and one morning he intentionally locked himself out of the house. I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when I heard him stick his plastic keys into the doorknob and try to open the door. Then I heard him say, “Oh, shit.” My whole face widened, like the guy in Edvard Munch’s Scream. After a moment I got up and opened the front door.

“Honey,” I said, “what’d you just say?”

“I said, ‘Oh, shit,’” he said.

“But, honey, that’s a naughty word. Both of us have absolutely got to stop using it. Okay?”

He hung his head for a moment, nodded, and said, “Okay, Mom.” Then he leaned forward and said confidentially, “But I’ll tell you why I said ‘shit.’” I said Okay, and he said, “Because of the fucking keys!”

God, that made me laugh the first time I read it, and still does re-creating it for you. J

Here are a couple recent photos of two activities I engage in that sing to my authentic self. Batting a tennis ball around the court (without keeping score or serving) and watering my little garden plot. It was also really fun to put braided pigtails in my hair at the age of 48. I got a little help with the back part.

Do you know how to give folks what they most, most, most want from you without even asking what it is?

In all regards, just be yourself.

That’s what they were after when they manifested you into their lives.

Whoa! –The Universe (Thoughts become things…choose the good ones – registered trademark.)

Authentically Yours, Laura