Sunday, November 9, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Receiving Assistance: An Earthly Angel

Receiving Assistance: An Earthly Angel

My last blog post was about requesting guidance. This one is about receiving assistance. Remember how I wrote in that last post about the scary 4 ½ month period I went through in-between jobs? Well…I haven’t told you about this one particular earthly angel who came to me when I badly needed one.

Early in the summer of 2010 I had needed to call companies like Portland General Electric to let them know my payment would be late. PGE was very accommodating as I had a 20 year history of never having a late payment, much less a missed one. Yet that was not a fun call to make, trust me. And I had to make four of them. Perhaps some of you have been there. I never had before.

Each person on the other end of the phone was respectful, kind and professional. This was a first for me, but it certainly wasn’t for them with the high unemployment rate in Oregon at the time. I was certainly not alone in my predicament.

The lowest point in all of this, and it pains me to remember it, came the Saturday morning of my moving sale.

When I moved to the Portland area from Salem in September of 2007, I had a knowing the next time I moved – it would be with a lot less “stuff.” I’d been carrying around furniture and other belongings from when I was married for over 12 years, things I needed to release.

That knowing didn’t make it any easier that Saturday at 8:00 am. I’m not going to share what I wrote in my journal that morning other than the last line, which was “I ask for my heart to be healed and for peace to come in.” I’ve never felt more low. All of my stuff was out there for strangers to look at and see if they wanted to give me a dollar for it. I was relying on the sale to pay the first month’s rent in my temporary residence. Talk about being in a precarious situation!

The weird thing is, within about an hour, this woman showed up. I don’t even remember her name. I gave her my card, asked her to keep in touch, and never heard back from her. She was probably somebody’s grandmother. I will guess early to mid 60’s, somewhat heavy-set, shorter, wavy graying hair. Warm eyes and a kind smile. Once she showed up (she ultimately stayed with me for about four hours, and also came back later in the afternoon to purchase an expensive bracelet), I suddenly started having fun. It was like being in retail again, and this woman was shepherding people around my place. When someone walked in, she would say things like, “Make sure and see the lovely jewelry in the back room! There are all kinds of wonderful home décor items and canning goods in the side room!” Etc. She became my co-pilot, my sales clerk. My angel of an unremembered name.

I had almost $260 in cash by the end of the first day, and the rest of the rent money was there by the end of the following day. I donated nearly everything that didn’t sell to the Union Gospel Mission. This was an incredibly freeing feeling – knowing I had the means to donate, when I had felt so low and powerless just the morning before. And what I took with me was just what I needed.

I asked for a sign before I resigned from a horrible job and ran into the man who would become my next manager a half a block later. On the prize-winning lowest day of my life, I asked for my heart to be healed and for peace to come in…and this earthly angel in a grandma’s body walked into my moving sale and completely reframed my experience.

I couldn’t make up stuff this good if I wrote fiction!

Assistance and guidance are available to us at all times, if only we ask and pay attention. And I know from my own experience angels come in all shapes, sizes and forms.

Don’t hesitate to reach out.  

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Requesting Guidance

Requesting Guidance

My last post was about listening to the IVIN (Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature), and I gave a specific example, one involving dear friends, from my own life. 

Here’s another personal example illustrating how it’s wise to not only listen to the IVIN, but to ask for guidance.

In early 2010, I was working at a claims job I had grown to hate, while going through voice teacher apprenticeship training with the Transformational Voice Institute, which I loved. I was using my PTO time to attend the weekly apprenticeship meeting on Friday afternoons, and was in the studio two other evenings a week after work – for my personal voice lesson and to co-teach or assist with a voice class. The job I had at the time couldn’t be accomplished in 40 or 50 hours a week, much less 36. There were times I worked from my home computer at midnight, trying to catch up.

Push came to shove, and I needed to make a choice. My work product was suffering to the point where my PTO would be revoked and I couldn’t attend the TVI meetings anymore. I asked myself, “Why would I give up something I love to save a job I hate?” I knew I would regret that decision for the rest of my life.

But the idea of quitting my job without having another income source filled me with fear. Terror. How could I possibly be so financially irresponsible? I had obligations and commitments; I couldn’t just quit!

When it became very clear that choice was upon me, I took a deep breath and went for a Godwalk, my usual walking route around the office. I prayed. I asked for guidance as to what I should do now, what I should apply for, what my next steps were. While waiting at a stoplight, I literally said (I don’t recall if aloud or silently in my head), “If I’m going to quit my job, in this economy, without having another one, I want a sign.”

The light turned green, I crossed the street, and halfway down the block I saw Paul, whom I worked with in the 1990’s at the same quasi-public insurance company I mentioned in my last post. He runs, I walk, and our paths would occasionally cross. But for the first time, that day, he stopped running and asked me where I worked. I said I was seriously considering resigning, and he suggested I send my resume as Matrix had some new business coming on board which would mean new hires. I had to memorize his email address in my head as neither of us had business cards, anything to write with, or phones on us.

If that’s not an immediate answer to a prayer, I don’t know what is.

So, I put in my notice – a long term notice – with that company, and kept up with my voice training.

I was unemployed for four and a half months—applying and interviewing with other companies and signing up for temp work all the while—before the job with Matrix materialized. I went through some scary times, times when I wasn’t even sure how I would put gas in my car. But somehow money always mysteriously showed up when I needed it, even a room to rent for 60 days; then when the job did materialize, I was hired at a substantially higher annual income than I was making at that shitty job I left.

That was a happy day.

And during that uncertain period, I learned how to trust. How to believe if I only listen to what is true in my heart, and take a step…even if seemingly off a cliff…I will be provided for.

And now, over four years later... This job has been great (if certainly challenging and frustrating at times – that’s the nature of a claims job) and Paul one of the best managers I have ever had. I’ve also known for over a year it’s time to make a change. I have workshops to facilitate (I’ve already written and taken a “test drive” of one full two day Authentic Expression workshop), classes to create, at least two more books to write, acting to do, and authentic performance to teach.  My first voice student in about three years recently signed up for her first lesson. I can’t do all of this and continue to work a full time job at the same time.

Writing my resignation letter (at home) wasn’t easy. In fact, I’m surprised how difficult it was, considering how ready I have been to leave, and for how long. Tears trickled down my face while I was typing it and I kept having to stop to blow my nose. It took me two and a half hours to work up the courage (at the office) to send Paul a simple e-mail…”Do you have time to chat for a few minutes at some point today?” I’ve given ample flexibility for my notice period as it would be nice to see a new examiner hired and trained before I leave. So at this point I don’t know exactly when my last day will be.

I do know it’s time to move on and more fully embrace my heart callings. This time I’m more financially prepared, and it is not such a dramatic need for change…yet I’m still stepping out into the unknown, ready to take another risk. Nothing great comes without risk and challenge. There are times we simply must leave the security of the safety net to embrace our full potential.

In fact, I would say we must continuously do so.

I will see you there…where the sea-watery essence of our colliding dreams meets the open waves and sandy ground of the sun-warmed beach.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature at Work

The Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature at Work

Anyone who knows my writing and facilitation work knows I often use the term IVIN (Inner Voice/Intuitive Nature) in describing the importance of intuition for authentic guidance and direction.

It occurs to me I’ve never before written about one specific example of my own IVIN at work, in a rather bizarre and unexpected manner. And this prompting wasn’t even for me personally; it was about my friends Stella and Rob.

I worked with both Stella and Rob at a quasi-public insurance company in the 1990’s. I knew both of them, but they didn’t know each other except in passing. At the same company, I was assigned to Marcia as her claims mentor, and we became friends and made music together.

Years later, when none of us were working for that company, I met Marcia for coffee. She was now employed with the State, and so was Rob. Shortly before my coffee date with Marcia, I had reached out to Rob for feedback on my burgeoning website or a flyer - something like that - after re-connecting with him in an acting class. Stella was working for a different company as a claims professional, and we often walked together or batted a tennis ball around.

Marcia and I met at a café right there in the State office building, had a wonderful conversation, and – as we were walking out – Rob walked in. We exchanged a hug and a few pleasantries. Marcia remembered Rob from our quasi-public insurance company days.

Marcia and I left the café and headed into the hall. And the strangest thing happened. I “heard” these words in my head: “Rob is for Stella.”

Not, Rob and Stella should hang out. Or Stella might like Rob. Or any other linguistic combination you might hit on while you’re getting the sense you should hook one person up with another.  Nope. It was “Rob is for Stella.”

Thankfully, I’ve learned to listen to these inner promptings no matter how bizarrely they come worded, or if in wordless feelings, so I turned to Marcia and asked, “Do you remember Stella?” She did.  I asked, “Can you see her with Rob?” She absolutely could.

Rob sent me his feedback that evening in an email, and when I thanked him for his input, I asked if he remembered Stella. He did and had always thought she seemed interesting and sexy, but he had just become un-entangled from a complicated relationship and had absolutely no interest in dating. He was single, and that was the end of that story.

So I certainly did not expect to hear from Rob again the following evening, with a message that I would not BELIEVE what had happened in the past 24 hours.

After getting my email mentioning Stella the preceding evening, Rob had a breakfast appointment with an investigator who used to work at the same company we all met at. The investigator asked if he remembered Stella, saying she was single now.

After the breakfast appointment, Rob had a scheduled haircut. His stylist wondered if he might want to meet another client of hers (you know where this is going, right?) named…Stella.

Talk about getting hit on the head with a virtual 2 x 4. Three times within a 24 hour period!

I called Stella for permission to share her contact information and sent them both an email with contact information, making it clear that was the end of my part!

Stella later told me when she opened the door for their first date and saw Rob standing there on the landing…that was it. They both knew. They have been happily married now for over eight years, and came to our house-warming party after George and I rented a home together.

I share this story because: 1) It’s just such a cool story. 2) I’m so happy my two friends found lasting love together, and that I was one of THREE people who set them up – in one day!!! 3) It’s a reminder that your IVIN isn’t just for you…it will help all those in your circle, and even people you don’t know yet.

So listen already, right? J

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Stormtroopers in the Office

Stormtroopers in the Office

This last week at my day job (as a Sr. Claims Examiner with a third party administrator—TPA—handling workers’ compensation claims for self-insured employers) I ran across the name of an attorney firm I hadn’t seen in a while. This firm shall remain nameless, but I used to deal with them quite a bit when I worked at my first insurance employer back in the 1990’s, and – in fact – my ex-husband knew some of the partners personally as he sold them their office equipment. The firm specializes in cases like personal injury and, of course, workers’ compensation.

I was curious as I hadn’t seen the firm name in several years, so I checked out their website. There I found…and I quote verbatim…

*Insurance companies are multi-billion dollar Deathstars with buildings full of lawyers and experts, all bearing down on you with bad intentions.

*Beware the Nice Insurance Person (This was the title of a blog post).

*Your initial contact with insurance claims representatives may frequently be pleasant. Their goal is to make you comfortable and gain your trust. However, when dealing with your own insurance company or the insurance company that caused the accident, this friendly attitude will inevitably change.

*Remember that insurance claims people are evaluated, receive pay increases, and receive promotions based upon the amounts that they do not pay. It is in their interest to not pay you everything you are entitled to receive.

Uh, wow.

When I mentioned this to my fiancé after getting home from work, he said that smacked of “ambulance chaser” to him.  Which may actually be a nicer term than “Deathstar”; I haven’t decided yet.

I’ve never worked in auto or personal injury claims, so I can’t speak to that. But I can say it is my job to ENSURE injured workers receive the benefits they are entitled to under the law, and if I didn’t make that happen I wouldn’t have a job for very long. And I really do try to be nice to everyone…workers, employers, medical providers…attorneys, legal assistants…wookiees…

Fortunately, I am a big Star Wars (original trilogy) fan and…the older I get, the more I find humor in things. So I found the Deathstar analogy quite amusing.

A play I worked on in my last acting class, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, was beautifully translated to the big screen by the playwright, Robert Harling. You’ve probably seen it. And it may be time to see it again. George ordered the DVD and we watched this exquisite film again after acting class was over for the term. Every time I see it (the play or the movie), I laugh and laugh and cry and cry. It’s SO good.

There is a scene in the movie (that isn’t in the play – there are no male characters in the play) the night before M’Lynn and Shelby are headed to the hospital for the kidney transplant. (I can’t believe anyone reading this doesn’t know the storyline, but just in case – M’Lynn, the mother, donates a kidney to her daughter, Shelby, who is severely diabetic and having a baby did a number on her kidneys.) The family is playing cards and one of Shelby’s brothers says, “Give me…all of your internal organs!” Everyone laughs hysterically (except for the father, who is clearly worried sick about the health and well being of his wife and daughter). And then there’s a reference to “A Tale of Two Kidneys,” which illicits the laughter all over again.

In no way do I mean to compare needing an organ transplant to having the industry you work in likened to arguably the most destructive space station ever created in the history of science fiction…I’m just saying that sometimes humor in the best place to go in a tense or uncomfortable situation. And sometimes you just kinda can’t help it.

So…I said loudly enough that anybody in the accompanying cubicles could hear…”Did you all know that insurance companies are multi-billion dollar Deathstars with evil intentions?”

A colleague chirped back, “Does that make us all stormtroopers?”

This is how our cubicles looked when I left the office on Friday.

May The Force (of humor) Be With You.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Part 2

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Part 2

If you’ve been tempted to completely give up on your dream…remember fears, doubts, lack of self-confidence…all these pieces of internal resistance are completely and absolutely normal. We’ve all experienced the same thoughts and emotions.

So, how do we move forward in spite of the fears, doubts and other “alligators” snapping at our heads, as my acting teacher Jo liked to say?

I have learned from acting classes and being on stage, embodying a character who isn’t you, from a script, takes a good deal of courage. I’m not talking about stage fright, but about allowing yourself to become emotionally vulnerable. As I mentioned in a previous post, if the actor doesn’t feel anything, the audience won’t either. That’s what I mean by becoming vulnerable.

Fear of becoming emotionally vulnerable on stage is no different than the fear of realizing your dreams. A few common worries are:

*They’re not going to like me

*I’m going to mess up

*I don’t have the skills or ability to do this

*Why am I even doing this? Who do I think I am?

*I’m going to fail

I am here to tell you, with everything I have learned from my acting classes and experiences on stage – this kind of thinking is all about “me, me, me.” When you are focused on your insecurities and fears, you can’t possibly be focused on being of service and living in your Divine Direction at the same time. Many wise teachers have said over the ages fear and love cannot exist simultaneously.

Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there. –Herbert V. Prochnow

You have something remarkable to share with the world that noone else has, just like your unique fingerprints or the patterns of the irises in your eyes. When you are getting up on stage or pursuing your dreams while moving through the fear, you are sharing the gift of your unique self with other people. You are living in your Divine Direction.

You may be good, but what are you good for? You’ve got to be good for something. You’ve got to be about some project, some task that requires you to be humble and obedient to the universal principles of service. –Stephen R. Covey

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Part 1

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: Part 1

Did you know it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries before he created the incandescent lamp? I love Edison’s story, a man who never gave up.

I have not failed. I have successfully discovered over 1200 ideas that do not work.

 –Thomas Edison

If you feel like you’re the only person who doesn’t have a clue how to realize your dreams, if you suffer from self-doubt, want to give up, feel like a failure…trust me—you’re not alone.

Barbara Stanny interviewed hundreds of women in writing her books Secrets of Six Figure Women and Overcoming Underearning and found a consistent theme for high earners, ranging in income from $100,000 to over seven million dollars annually. Every single one of them experienced fear and self-doubt.

The moral of the story? Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Craft of Acting

The Craft of Acting

I was first on stage when I was in fifth grade. I played a “very lively orphan” named Harriet in our elementary school operetta Sunny of Sunnyside in Clark, South Dakota. If I remember correctly, I had one line. Possibly two. I do remember I wore a blue jumper, and underneath a polyester white and blue shirt with a collar. I guess that was my first costume. I would later – at age 40 – come on stage in a purple cat suit with gold buckles and transparent sleeves, a curly red wig, and chunky gold high-heeled sandals to play a Texan ex-Yam Queen.   

I sang and played instruments (piano, clarinet, bells in marching band) all through school and was in more plays, musicals and singing groups than I can list here without boring you to the point of drizzling drool. Which about sums up the level of my acting ability at that time.

After one show in college, I didn’t get onstage again until I was living in Salem, Oregon and newly married. As an adult, I have studied with two wonderful teachers (three if you count private coaching for a monologue), most recently completing Nancy McDonald’s ( wonderful Professional Actor’s Class at Lakewood Theatre in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

I honestly don’t remember what drove me to Jo Dodge’s acting class at the Pentacle Theatre; I think we received Chemeketa Community College’s class schedule in the mail, I read through it, and thought an acting class looked interesting. And it was affordable.

I felt completely at home in that first class, much like I did in my first voice class with Linda Brice (but that’s another story for another time.) Ultimately, I took something like 12 terms of acting classes from Jo…mainly because it was like cheap therapy and I enjoyed it so much, difficult and challenging though it was…and somewhere along the way I learned how to act.
Let me make a distinct distinction. By “how to act” I don’t mean “this is how you should act!” a term many of us heard way too often growing up. I mean I learned how to become emotionally open and vulnerable in front of a whole bunch of people I don’t know.

Even if you have no desire to act or be on stage, I’ll bet you have certain movies, plays or performances you enjoy watching, possibly over and over again. I certainly do. Those favorites touch you emotionally…through laughter, tears, a facepalm moment of OMG—we all do this stupid shit, feeling at one with the music, completely identifying with a character or scenario, feeling like someone punched you in the gut because it’s so real…because the people who were “performing” felt emotions you identify with. I believe I can say unequivocally if the actor doesn’t feel something, the audience won’t either.

If you think this is easy (as in, I could make 10 or 20 million dollars a movie, too – if I looked like Charlize Theron or James Franco)…think again! Try it! Go to an acting class or workshop, find a script at the library, and be presented with the task of slipping into another character and feeling what that person feels with all their history, their relationships, their hopes, fears and dreams.
Consider, for example, becoming a plumber who made a good living until his wife of 45 years died of cancer and he was left with an empty bed and a mountain of bills. What about a pianist who lived with fear of rejection and desire for perfection all her life until she had a wrist injury which kept her away from her instrument? Perhaps an 11 year old heterosexual boy who watched his older sister coming out as a lesbian, and how his parents reacted? The crazy aunt whose mission in life seemed to be to make everybody around her laugh?

I find the process humbling, creative, expansive, healing and uplifting. And…the skills can be translated to “real life.”

First of all, many of us worry too much about things that will never even happen or plan for things we really can’t control. We’d be better off getting into our hearts and bodies—experiencing what we’re feeling before responding, than spending so much time in our heads trying to figure out what to do, how to react, or mentally creating worrisome scenarios that don’t exist.  

Here are the five “ingredients” – the primary tools in an actor’s toolkit – as taught to me by Jo Dodge.

-Who am I?

-Where am I?

-What do I want (and why do I want it?)

-What is the relationship?

-The conflict?

The WHO is pretty obvious. You’re that plumber, the pianist, the boy, the crazy aunt, with all of the rich history of that character.

*The more you can identify with the inner workings and motivations of a character, the better actor you will be. The more you can do the same in interacting with another person in your life – ie, walk a mile in their moccasins – the more effective you will be in communication.

The WHERE is important because you are going to behave much differently in a crowded restaurant than you are in your bedroom by yourself, on a plane going down with an engine on fire than on the swing on your sister’s front porch.

*If you always behave exactly the same way whether in a restaurant, your bedroom, a crashing plane, or your sister’s porch…well…there is reason for concern. J  

What do I WANT (and why do I want it?) can be more challenging. This is the motivating force that drives what you say and do, in character, on stage. Jo always said you need a strong want; if it’s not strong enough, find another right away.  And it can’t be a “don’t want.” (I don’t want to go to work today. I don’t want you to get your driver’s license yet.) And for purposes of improv, on stage, it should be what do you want in the next five minutes, not a month or a year from now.

*If you don’t want to go to work today, what do you want to do today? Seriously? In an ideal version of the highest and grandest vision of yourself, how would you spend today? And the next day, and the next? And why?

RELATIONSHIP.  A man walks onstage. He picks up an envelope on the table, opens it, and pulls out a piece of paper with a lot of numbers in a column and a total below a bold line. Also on the table is a framed photograph of a lovely, smiling woman who appears to be in her late 60’s. The man sits down at the table and puts down the paper, upside down, with shaking hands. He picks up the framed photo, looks at it, and begins to cry.

We have a relationship here with noone else on stage but the man, and not a word spoken. You can see this is the plumber mentioned above.   

*It is easy for any of us to get so caught up in what we want that we forget what is important to the other person in the relationship, be it our partner, parent, child, sibling, co-worker or client.


There is no interesting book, play or movie without conflict. Being born means we will experience conflict, which probably started—if not in the womb—when our parents had differing ideas on how to approach our crying in the middle of the might when our diapers were wet. Fred wants to go to the 3D horror movie at the new cinemaplex while his girlfriend Paula wants to stay home, make beer cheese soup and watch GHOST on DVD. Again. Your aunt wants to plant marigolds; your uncle is all for ghost peppers. You want to take a weekend for gallery hopping; your partner wants to plan a trip for nearby B & B’s that boast haunting (while I’m on the ghost kick.)

*Yep, it’s inevitable. Conflict. How do you deal with it? Do you listen and feel before responding (rather than reacting?) Do you know what you want? Do you know what the other party wants? It sure helps if you both do, and you can communicate clearly without belittling or badgering each other.

Cheers to knowing who you are, where you are, what you want, how to develop the relationship despite conflict, and the same of the people with whom you choose to interact! And please enjoy the next movie or play you go to – applaud the actors madly and passionately.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Follow Your Own Dream

Follow Your Own Dream

THE LAKE HOUSE (Warner Brothers, 2006) is one of my all time favorite movies, and very possibly my favorite romantic movie. At least I can’t think of any I like better. In it, there is a scene in which Kate (Sandra Bullock’s character) shares with Alex (Keanu Reeves’ character) that her father – who whisked her away from a would-be singing career with a musician boyfriend when she was just 16 – had a dream of her becoming a doctor, and eventually her father’s dreams became her own.

If you ask me, a parent dreaming of their child becoming a medical practitioner is probably preferable to persuading him or her towards…say…involvement in organized crime or a terrorist group. And I certainly admire anyone who has the wherewithal to make it through medical school. All the same, I would rather see every parent encouraging their children to explore the most authentic dreams in the deepest recesses of the child’s heart and soul.

I read two things today (I am writing this September 3, 2014) by two different writers who approach this topic in radically different ways. To me, they are both well-written excerpts which speak to the same overriding philosophy. I want to share them both with you.

The Unwatched Space

             I tried so hard to please that I never realized no one is watching.

I imagined, like everyone else at school, that my parents were sitting just out of view like those quiet doctors behind clean mirrors, watching and reprimanding my every move. As I reached adulthood, the habit continued. I walked around constantly troubled by what others must be thinking of what I was or was not doing. In this, we are burdened with the seeds of self-conscious. From this, we trouble our spontaneity and the possibility of joy by watching ourselves too closely, nervously unsure if this or that is a mistake.

It is from the burden of others watching and judging that the need to achieve gets exaggerated into the want for fame. I remember at different times fantasizing the future gathering like an audience, ready to marvel at how much I had done with so little. It didn’t even matter for what this attention might come. Just let some form of watchfulness be approving, and I would know relief.

It wasn’t till I woke bleeding after surgery, with all those mothlike angels breathing against me, that I realized that the audience was gone. I cried way inside, not because I had just had a rib removed and not because I was in the midst of battling cancer. I cried because I had not only been physically opened, but also opened beneath my sense of being watched. Somehow the unwatched space was given air. Though I could explain it to no one, my sobs were sobs of relief, the water of a de-shelled spirit soaking ground.

Years have passed, and I wait long hours in the sun to see the birch fall of its own weight into the lake, and it seems to punctuate God’s mime. Nothing said about it. Now the audience of watchers is gone and I can feel life happen in its quiet, vibrant way without anything interfering. Now, sometimes at night, when the dog is asleep and the owl is beginning to stare into what no one ever sees, I stand on the deck and feel the honey of night spill off the stars, feel it coat the earth, the trees, the minds of children half asleep, feel the stillness evaporate all notions of fame into the unwatched space that waits for light. In this undistorted silence, the presence of God is a kiss. It is here in this unwatched space that peace begins.

– Mark Nepo, THE BOOK OF AWAKENING. Conari Imprint, Red wheel/Weiser, Boston, MA 2000

Barbara Stanny’s Weekly Words of Wealth

Is Becoming Your True Self a Scary Thought?

Ultimately, Financial Success is an Act of Individuation.
            Individuation is a psychological task we should’ve undertaken as adolescents, but which few of us (especially women) have actually completed.

Individuation means distinguishing what’s true for us from what’s been artificially imposed—by our family or society as a whole—then letting go of what no longer serves us.

What we think we are supposed to be—all the shoulds, oughts, musts—too often gets in the way of what we actually could be.

I invite you to ponder this: What values, goals, beliefs have I absorbed from my family that no longer suit me? Then consider how these may be standing in the way of your utmost success.

Warmly, Barbara.

Let go of the perceived watchers. Embrace your individuation. Follow your own dream.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. When Others Doubt

When Others Doubt

Lately I have had several conversations with different people for whom what they have been doing (specifically in their job/profession) simply is not working anymore. These people have all known for some time that change was inevitable; it’s just a matter of time. Two of these people, both colleagues I met in a work environment whom I also consider friends, have opted to leave their current situations without what many might term a “safety net.” Both have long term partners who are wonderfully supportive, yet they are in different stages in their careers and work life. One plans to temp while she identifies a job she really wants in the right environment with the right people, and the other will take her nursing and business skills in a different direction that is more heart fulfilling.

I have taken leaps of faith like this myself, at least three times, throughout my career so far. I don’t consider myself a particularly courageous person. Some of the motorcycle rides my brother has gone on would probably make me throw up. There is no way I am jumping out of an airplane with a parachute, as my fiancé has done.

Yet I do know it takes courage to leave your comfort zone. The thing is…for most people the comfort zone has become so uncomfortable it feels like change is the only choice if you are to get out of bed in the morning and not pawn everything you own for a one way ticket to anywhere but here.

AND! Then you have to deal with other people in your life when you tell them, or they eventually learn, about your decision. If making the decision to take the leap of faith is difficult…say, like trying to photograph a giraffe in the wild in Africa…trying to explain why you have done so to people who profess to care about you (and probably really do)… can be like trying to saddle and ride the long-neck.

Very often people who come across as negative simply want what THEY feel is best for you. They don’t want you to be hurt if you fail. They most likely haven’t read Wayne Dyer’s 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace and learned about the myth of failure. As Dyer says, there is no such thing as failure. Everything we do simply produces a result.

If you make a chocolate soufflé and it falls the first time, do you whine and cry about being a failure as a chocolate soufflé maker? Or do you simply try the recipe again, a different recipe, or create your own, until you’ve made the soufflé you had envisioned?

If I had gone by the first batch of garlic dill pickles I made with my ex-husband when we had a garden and baby cucumbers, I’d be a lifetime failure as a pickle maker. They were so salty and soggy, I dumped all six quarts down the garbage disposal…except for the one I’d brought the neighbors, and they were grateful when I suggested the same to them! The next batch wasn’t salty enough, yet was crisper. The third batch was nearly perfect, if a tad heavy on the garlic.

Each batch was closer to the “dream pickle”, so to speak.

The same is true of whatever change and next move is calling to you. It doesn’t have to be perfect at the onset. Just take a step. Experience how it tastes, smells, and feels. If it isn’t quite right…tweak it. And then tweak it again.

I believe in you.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Three Time Rule

The Three Time Rule

One philosophy I live by is what I sometimes call the Three Time Rule. We receive little nudges, often unbeknownst to us, meant to bring us another step closer to realizing our dreams and creative potential. I’m thinking back now to a day in college towards the end of my senior year. I majored in broadcast journalism my freshman year at South Dakota State University. One of my classes entailed an assignment doing radio spots and editing (at that time, literally splicing) the tape with a partner. My partner’s name was Marilyn. Marilyn and I had the best time doing that assignment, laughing our way through most of it. As you can imagine, we had to tape over and over again because of the laughter, so we were in the studio the entire afternoon. I don’t remember what kind of a grade I got on that assignment, but I do remember the fun Marilyn and I had together.

 I switched majors to psychology and eventually sociology after that term and didn’t see Marilyn again for three years. Then in the last few days of my senior year, I ran into her three times in three different locations in one day. We were both astounded. Had I known then what I know now, I would have invited Marilyn for a cup of coffee—or more likely, at the time, a beer. This Three Time Rule philosophy has proven itself to me over and over. If I see or read about something more than just a couple of times, I look into it and virtually always find some gem of inspiration I needed to move another degree or two closer to my dreams. Sometimes three different people will recommend the same book to me within a short period of time, and reading that book gives me an entirely new perspective, an alternative route to accomplishing my dreams I hadn’t seen before.

Do you think the universe fights for souls to be together? Some things are too strange and strong to be coincidences. –Emery Allen

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. One Good Thing

One Good Thing

If you’ll excuse my “French,” this week started off shitty. I felt like crap all day on Sunday and didn’t leave the house once. I typically don’t watch much TV; (truly, I don’t; just ask my fiancé and roommate who hates it when I call him “roommate” – he’ll vouch for me.) But I sat on the sofa with my cat and watched three back to back movies on the Hallmark Channel that day. I was grateful when my voice teacher suggested rescheduling our planned afternoon get-together. In fact, I didn’t even shower until right before I went to bed (at 8:00 pm, no lie) and that was just to rinse off in cool water because the weather was hot and I was miserable.

I didn’t feel much better going into the office the next morning, but not bad enough to stay at home again and take a sick day. I was crabby. Slightly depressed. And it was a MONDAY by all accounts. I seriously considered rescheduling my phone consultation with my web diva Monday evening as well. But I’m eager to get going on my new website, had already postponed one appointment in the preceding 36 hours, and don’t have a lot of free time right now. So I decided to forge ahead.

Something happened about a quarter way through our talk. I started to get excited. I remembered what great collaborators Amy and I were when she was designing my Wishweavers logo and website something like a dozen years ago now. I got enthused about moving ahead with the writing and workshop product offerings I feel drawn to put out into the world in a bigger way. I started imagining the color scheme, design and what the site might look like. By the time we hung up the phone after 45 minutes, I was so happy I cried. Literally.

And then I thought about something a co-worker said to me last week. She got married a few months ago after being engaged for something like eight years. I may have asked her how married life was, or some such thing. She mentioned how shocked she was by her husband’s regular practice of coming home from work and laying down to rest. “He does this, for 15 or 20 minutes, every day!” she said. I thought, “How cool. Good for him!” She continued, “When I get home from work it’s always something with the kids, the pets, the groceries, laundry, putting dinner on; I never even sit down until 8:30 at night.”

My co-worker certainly isn’t the only person in the world (I’ll go so far as to say amongst mothers in particular) who could honestly, and perhaps unfortunately, make such a statement.

How many of us make a practice of doing something we want to do, something that makes us happy, every single day? Do you? Truly? I’m paying attention to if I do and so far the answer is no. But I sure feel better when I do.

I’m not talking about what you do for a living (even if you really love what you do for a living), watching TV, any household chores even if you really enjoy a particular chore, or going to the gym. And we should throw parenting out of the mix, too, no matter how much you love being a parent and love your children. I’m talking about the kind of good thing that sings to your “essential self” or “inner nature,” as author and life coach extraordinaire, Martha Beck, would say. We all have an essential self who knew this stuff before we were like, say, five. Or started school. Or whenever other people started telling us all the reasons why we shouldn’t or couldn’t engage in something that made us happy, or all the things that we should like and do because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

For me, for example, one of those things has always been hanging with animals. Mom tells me my first word was “kitty.” My best friend at age nine was my horse. To this day, I see the dog walking before I see the person at the other end of the leash.

Also, singing and playing piano. And walking outside in nature. Drawing was one, too.

In fourth grade (before I had even first been on stage in fifth grade) I was writing little plays, based on the TV show I DREAM OF JEANNIE, and performing them with my classmates on the playground during recess. Noone taught me to do this – I just automatically did it because it was fun and Julie or Shelly agreed to play/act with me. (There’s that instigator of mine from the last post.) Is it any wonder that acting and writing both bring me such joy now – even though I’ve made no money from acting to date – and not all that much from writing yet either!

Thank goodness I had the sense (and not the kind that comes from your head) to start taking acting classes and get back on stage again in my 30’s. And I did receive, out of the blue, a $2.19 royalty check from my first book last year. I asked my CPA if it would pop me into a higher tax bracket.

For a lot of people, gardening is one good thing. (Note I haven’t mentioned Martha Stewart. I’m not sure which library would have enough room for all of her good things.) Not so much for me, especially the pulling weeds part, but I do love hanging out in gardens and eating fresh produce from my or anyone else’s garden. Maybe for some people, going to the gym is. But I doubt it. Dancing, horseback riding, swimming, yoga, golfing, tennis, etc., is for a lot of people, though. You know the difference because of the way you feel when you think about, or are engaged in, the activity.

At the present time, I have two non-negotiables. I read something inspirational every single morning, first thing. I go to the bathroom, make a cup of tea, and go back to bed and read before I start my day. (This year it is Mark Nepo’s THE BOOK OF AWAKENING.) And I Godwalk typically five days a week. This morning I started making myself happy while I was shaving my legs as I started writing this blog post in my mind. I took my Godwalk mid-day. I sang Lorde on the way to the office. And I took a break at the office mid-afternoon to start working on this post. When I got home, I poured a lovely glass of pinot noir and am flushing out the writing now before heading into the kitchen to make tacos, which are fun to cook and I immensely enjoy eating. I will hula hoop later too (which I am darned proud of myself for learning to do at the age of 47) because that sounded like more fun than going to the gym. Which I will likely do tomorrow before…acting class!!!! J

I am challenging myself to do one good thing for my essential self every day, starting with through the end of this month. But really forever. I challenge you to try it for a week! Let me know what you discover!!

Contrary to what you may have been taught, there is nothing frivolous or superficial about what you want. It isn’t a luxury that can wait until you’ve taken care of all the “serious” business of life. It’s a necessity. What you want is what you need.” –Barbara Sher, WISHCRAFT

Laura’s Home Movie Popcorn Recipe

Put 3 tablespoons cooking oil into a heavy four quart pan and add 1/3 to 1/2 cup popping corn kernels. Cover, slightly ajar, and heat on medium, shaking occasionally, until popping slows. (Yes, microwave popcorn works in a pinch, but this is better.) Put popped corn in a large bowl and add two tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle liberally with grated parmesan cheese (try real fresh cheese rather than from the green can – I buy the already grated kind and stick it in the freezer) and add some ground sea salt. Stir well. Don’t make this when you’re on a diet, but it’s really good on a shitty Sunday when you’re watching back to back movies on the Hallmark Channel.

Life is not intended to be simply a round of work, no matter how interesting and important that work may be. A moment’s pause to watch the glory of a sunrise or a sunset is soul satisfying, while a bird’s song will set the steps to music all day long. –Laura Ingalls Wilder

Authentically Yours,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. I Give You My Word

I Give You My Word

Was there any one particular word you were labeled with as a child? Was that word true about you?

I remember a handful of words placed on me. Motor-mouth, for example, was one I heard on the school bus. Apparently I liked to talk a lot on the bus. (No wonder I’m a writer and actor now.) But that’s not “the word”…I’ll get to that in a bit. J

Recently I facilitated a “practice run” weekend workshop. As providence would have it, the participants able to make it that Saturday and Sunday received some pointed insights from the process, while giving me hugely valuable feedback.

One of the most poignant exercises was sharing our “word.” This stemmed from something I read in Julia Cameron’s THE VEIN OF GOLD (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1996) wherein she shared a story about composer Michael Hoppe ( I have read Cameron’s books before – but, interestingly – didn’t pull this one (a gift) out again until after I had met Mr. Hoppe personally. I sang one of his songs at the Transformational Voice Institute graduation ceremony, after I had completed the apprentice voice teacher training. I find Michael Hoppe to be gifted, gentle, insightful, and basically a wonderful man.

Paraphrasing Cameron, Michael Hoppe was denigrated a “dreamer” as a child and not encouraged to take his music and composition dreams seriously. As a result, he became an executive in the record industry, representing other artists’ works. One “happy” day (Hoppe himself was mortified at the time) his own work accidentally came up at the end of the reel of music he had presented sharing the works of other composers. But that accidentally-at-the-end-of-the-tape-composer was precisely what that particular film producer was looking for. And the “dreamer” began to embrace the dream.

For one of my workshop participants, the word was “sensitive”, feeling everything, it’s like I need to walk on egg-shells around you.

MY word was “instigator.” Always the one starting things. I knew how to get things going. Yet I often suppressed that gift because I had a feeling it was a “bad” thing. Thankfully, I came to embrace my instigator as an innovator and connector later in life.

I encourage you to identify your word, whatever it might have been. And then turn it around…what are the innate strengths in that word? In you?

I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy, to be told instead she has leadership skills. –Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Authentic Expression in the Home

Authentic Expression in the Home

I knew from a young age I needed my surroundings to reflect how I felt inside. I was fortunate to have a bedroom of my own growing up, and I always decorated it in ways that made me feel good. (Never-mind that for much of my adolescence that meant many posters and magazine pages of a sometimes shirtless Erik Estrada—whom I did meet in my 30’s—my first really big dream come true!!)

Authentic expression at home is so crucial to me I don’t think about it; I just do it. Whenever I move (which seems to be fairly often, something I didn’t expect when I was that adolescent in my personally decorated bedroom kissing posters of Erik Estrada or pretending my pillow was his lips) the first two things I do are start to unpack and decorate one space, and then find a walking route. This happened again when I rented a house with my fiancé early March, and this time it wasn’t just my space but his, the cats, and ours. Yikey Crikey.

I have certain ideas of a color scheme, pieces of furniture, etc., but I also just go by how I feel and what calls to me. I avoid clutter and buying or hanging onto items other than those which are useful or I find beautiful, “things” that lift my spirit. Often with little expense. Here are a few examples.

I wanted red and gold in the living room, after years of green (my favorite color) and releasing the furniture I brought with me from my marriage after my divorce. Note the round wool rug in this photo. I found it at Cost Plus/World Market for three hundred bucks. (Actually $299.95, and I sometimes wonder if the world of retail will EVER get over this deceptive and pointless routine.) I waited until it was on sale, and I had a coupon, and brought that rug home for $63 about four months after I first laid eyes on it. It’s still one of my favorite purchases, over three years later. 

I found a long, low dresser, nightstand, and bed-head-and-foot-boards by the side of the road, while I was walking, for $20. When I called, I found the $20 included delivery (because I asked)! Turned out the quality wood furniture (finished in an unfortunate shade of almost green ivory-ish) had been in the family for three generations. After our move, we repainted the dresser and nightstand deep brown, via spray cans from Home Depot, for approximately $30 and not a whole lot of our time. The waiting-for-it-to-dry time was more than the painting time! (George removed the hardware beforehand and put it back on when everything was dry.)

George wanted to take photos of me through these arched openings at the El Morro Fort in San Juan when we spent a week in Puerto Rico late February. A girl and her singing brother (whom I found myself singing with) were running through while George was trying to take the photos. However this happened, each photo ended up with a slightly different shade, which can only be explained by clouds shifting outside or mystical forces. Or perhaps a camera glitch! But they were all taken so close together it’s odd. You can see the girl in two of the photos, running in and running out. I am in love with her. And her brother I sang with who is not in the photos. When I decided to have these photos enlarged and framed, I ran across a 40% frame sale at Aaron Brothers.

Five tapas I bought in Tahiti in 1998 are still with me. I don’t remember how much they cost, but they didn’t sell in my last moving sale, and I still have them and still love them. But this one was way too small over the dresser for my aesthetic sense. I considered a number of things, including taking my own photos, looked at the Saturday Market, etc. Then I remembered this painting by my Aunt Barbara that my mother had hanging in the hallway. I mentioned it to George and he suggested we take a photo of it while we were in South Dakota visiting my family over the week of July Fourth, and then make the print into a canvas transfer.

I thought that was a great idea, and mentioned it to Mom when George and I were there. Wouldn’t you know it? Mom had taken down all of the artwork in the hallway. She wasn’t using the painting anymore; it was being stored in the basement. She said I could have it. My heart leapt – I had wanted that painting for years. Cost of shipping: less than $16. This is a priceless piece of artwork in our bedroom, created by a woman I love dearly who is now on the other side of the veil. She must have laughed from “above”, knowing how many stops we made at UPS stores and USPS outlets the day after the Fourth of July, until we finally found one open in a grocery store in Sioux Falls.

Cheers to Aunt Barb, a woman whose home (from her in-house hair salon, to her paintings, to the kitchen where she made screwdrivers to drink and cooked delicious foods to eat) reflected her awesomeness. I hope someone remembers me one day as fondly as I remember Aunt Barb.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Spice of Life

The Spice of Life

I am now back to writing after my trip to South Dakota. And this isn't what I was planning to write.This is a letter to one of my favorite authors and an invitation to spice up your life!

            Dear Kate,  

            Now that I’m back and somewhat recovered (bah-ha) from my trip to visit family in South Dakota…here is a cross-country package from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine! Ta-Da…the seasoning packets with recipes from Cuisine Mentor I mentioned to you on Facebook. I decided we should drive across the bridge to Sellwood and find some nice salt and pepper for you at Savory Spice Shop as well. I would have gotten some of the olive oils, vinegars and/or hot sauces, but I didn’t want to mess with packing and shipping anything liquid.

            Let me know how this stuff works for you, if you will, as I’m planning to do much of my holiday shopping this year through these two companies, both based here in the Portland area. I never really need an excuse to go to Sellwood anyway. It’s a cool area of town, and when I decide to go hiking at Tryon Park (which we didn’t today) that is right on the way. Sellwood is filled with older, every-one-looks-different (rather than the whole neighborhood being erected a few years ago by the same developer) houses, antique shops, one store dedicated to soaps, another to creative collage, a couple cool art galleries, people leave water bowls out for dogs on the sidewalk…I’m sure you get the idea. J

            Today George (my fiancé) and I drove over there after an amazing service at the COEXIST Celebration and had lunch at the Grand Central Bakery, one of my favorite places in the Universe to get a mocha – with REAL whipped cream – in a cup the size of a soup bowl, on a saucer. You have to ask for the whipped cream light if you don’t want it on your face when you take a sip, and if you stir it in with a spoon it flows all over the sides and onto the saucer. Which is perhaps why they use them. You could use a straw. Anyhoo, I digress.

            I mentioned briefly on FB that I have a personal story in regards to Cuisine Mentor. It all started at the Portland Saturday Market. Well, no, it actually all started at Lake Grove Chiropractic Clinic in May of 2010 when my back – especially the left trapezius – was bugging me so badly I absolutely had to book a massage or I may have climbed a wall. Well, no, rather I would not have been able to climb anything because of the physical discomfort I was experiencing. And I remembered this chiropractic clinic across the street from my apartment offered massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, etc., I called them, and was told a therapist named George had an appointment available that evening right after my work time ended.

            I booked that appointment and kept going back every time I needed a massage because George helped me – his touch, skill and energy were therapeutic. Before your mind even goes there (it already has, right?) I will tell you George had never dated a client and had a personal philosophy that he never would. And I never thought of him in a romantic or sexual manner either, anymore than I would my dentist or my gynecologist. I was usually the last client of the day because I would go after work and the gym…so everyone would be gone in the clinic but us, and George would close up after I left. We got to talking, with him behind the reception desk and me on the other side. Sometimes for up to a half hour or more at a time. I developed a sort of friendship with this really nice and cute guy who helped me feel better, physically. We both liked music and became friends on FB because of a music link I wanted to get from him.

            And then one day around the time of the US open tennis tournament, during or after a massage, it came up that we both had played tennis in the past and would like to again – but just for fun and exercise, without keeping score or serving or being competitive. George found his tennis racquet, I replaced mine that had been stolen from my car several years prior, and got a pair of shoes and a can of balls.

            There is much more to this story surrounding a minor uterine surgery I had already scheduled, that George took me to the hospital for at 4:00 in the morning – not insisting, rather making it very clear he was available and wanted to – when I was planning to take a cab. But the deal is we went to the Saturday Market after batting the tennis ball around twice. That’s when I figured out he was asking me on a date, and we weren’t just tennis buddies after all.

            We found the Cuisine Mentor booth and I tasted several of the wonderful samples. I bought four seasoning packets for twenty bucks and rifled through them as we walked, wondering which one I would make first. I decided on the Moroccan chicken, and said so outloud. George asked, “Is that when you are inviting me over for dinner?” I said yes and how about next Friday and he said sure.

            I admit I was a little skeptical. Green olives and dates along with everything else? I chopped and diced and prepared the night before, so I could just make myself pretty after work on Friday and stick it in the oven before George came over. The Moroccan chicken was sublime, and the rice and salad as well. We became boyfriend/girlfriend that night – 10 days after our first walk to the tennis court. We’re engaged now, since 10/13/13. When people ask if we’ve set a date for marriage, the response is “One of these days.” I like that. We like that.

            Much like these wonderful seasonings.

            Ah, ah, ah….the spice of life!! Enjoy, Kate.

Authentically Yours,


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. The Loincloth

The Loincloth

I head out on vacation (to see my family in South Dakota) on Sunday and won’t be writing for a couple of weeks. After I get back, I will be interviewing Barry Dennis (, a truly inspiring speaker and remarkable writer and musician. Barry, one of the most multi-faceted and talented people I know, founded the COEXIST Celebration in Portland, Oregon, which I now consider my spiritual home. I’m thrilled to be a member of the COEXIST visionary group, which I will write more about after I interview Barry.

For now, here is something of particular interest for any of you who – like me – often look at the massive consumerism in our society, shake your head, and go WTF…? (Or something along those lines, especially when you find yourself actively engaged in it!) This is an excerpt from Barry’s Book, THE CHOTCHKY CHALLENGE (Hay House, April 2012), a book I highly recommend.

            The Loincloth

            In the 13th century, a great master lived in a cave near a small village in Nepal at the base of the Himalayas. Today that village is known as Katmandu. At this time, however, there were fewer than 500 villagers. The master had renounced everything of the world. He had need of nothing other than his robe and sandals. He took only one new student every ten years. When the time came for a new student, several young men from the village made their cases but only one showed true promise. His name was Fu.

            After a year of tutelage, it was time for the student to denounce all things of the world. He was to learn to trust the universe to provide, as did his master teacher, who proudly presented his student with his own humble, flowing garb. And so it began. The student found a cave nearby to be his home. He was to do nothing but meditate until the master returned from a spiritual trek for an undisclosed amount of time.

            Fu was quite content. The universe did provide, and he was happy. He lived in harmony with nature and was greatly loved by the villagers. One day some friends came for a visit, and there was Fu, sitting blissfully on a rock in his cave.

            “Fu, you would be much more comfortable with a loincloth,” one of the villagers remarked.

            Fu replied, “I have renounced all things of the world. I am content and happy with nothing but that which my master has given me to wear.”

            “As you wish,” his friend said. After they left, however, Fu began to consider a loincloth. Maybe it would be more comfortable. But then he remembered his master teacher’s words and was conflicted. It is said that he meditated on this idea for many months: to get a loincloth or not to get a loincloth.

            Finally one day he thought, What could it hurt? So he went to the village and, because he was so loved by the villagers, the cloth maker gave him a loincloth.

            He used his loincloth religiously to sit upon as he meditated. He did have to go to the river every so often to wash it, which cut into his meditating time, but it seemed to be a fair exchange.

            Then one day he came to get his loincloth off the branch of the tree where he hung it to dry, only to find several holes. It appeared as though rats had found the loincloth quite appetizing. He considered letting it go. However, he had gotten used to it. It was cushy. So, he went to the village to get a new loincloth, but this time the cloth maker wanted him to pay. He didn’t have any money, so the cloth maker accepted an IOU.

            Fu also got a cat, with a similar arrangement, to chase away the rats. This worked beautifully. The cat chased the rats so the monk could have his cloth. However, the cat became scrawny. He needed more nourishment than the occasional caught rat, so Fu got a cow for milk for the cat who protected the loincloth so Fu could sit on it and meditate. Soon, however the cow became scrawny. There wasn’t enough grass around the cave for the cow to graze upon. So Fu began to work the land to feed the cow that fed the cat that kept the loincloth from getting eaten by the rats so Fu could meditate.

            Working the land, of course, cut greatly into his meditation time. He was making a little profit on the extra grass, so he hired his friends who had recommended the loincloth to work the land so he could get back to meditating. Soon there was so much grass he had to hire more people from the village. It became quite an enterprise. The villagers worked very hard and became strong. They made up songs and even danced as they worked the field. However, over time, they grew unhappy. They didn’t like the working conditions and formed a village union. They made many demands. Fu spent most of his time now dealing with the unhappy villagers. He built a kind-of office and what today would be called a “break room” for the villagers. He also hired a manager.

            Fu was stressed, but had very little time to meditate for release. At least when he did, he had a loincloth to sit on. The cave no longer seemed appropriate, so he built a home next to the office and the break room. He didn’t sleep very well, though, because he was concerned about his loincloth. Each day he milked the cow that ate the grass that fed the cat that kept the rats from chewing on it.

            The next season there was a great drought. They could not grow the grass that fed the cow that fed the cat that kept the rats from getting into his house and chewing up his loincloth. The business went under, and the villagers were very upset with Fu. Under so much stress he had forgotten to pay back the IOU for the cat and now he barely had enough to reimburse the cloth maker. When he tried to return the cat, it ran away while chasing the rats who had just absconded with his loincloth. He ended up paying back the cat lady with his sandals and the robe off his back. He then became known as the naked beggar. Cold, dirty, and hungry all the time. A few years later, the master returned. He barely recognized his student, there in the street, nude.

            He said to his apprentice, “My son, what happened?”

            With great remorse, the student, unable to hold eye contact, finally confessed, “Master, I got a loin-cloth.”

            The master shook his head in grave disappointment and said, “You Fu!”

--Barry Dennis (Mythical, from THE CHOTCHKY CHALLENGE)

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Simply Authentic...Your Soul Voice is Calling. Some Authentically Good Recipes

Some Authentically Good Recipes

I recently received an invitation for an e-mail recipe exchange. I care about the person who sent it and wanted to respond, while knowing it would be challenging to find 20 people willing to take the time to share a recipe. I thought about just ignoring it, but to ignore anything from someone I love feels less than authentic.

It had been a challenging day at the office when the invitation came in. I stayed late without having moved my undone tasks to the next calendar day. I wanted to go to the gym before my 5:45 chiropractic appointment. I reallllly needed an adjustment, and I don't mean just in my spine. Doc Harrington did a great job getting my spine adjusted in more places than ever needed before. It took longer to adjust my mental state.

Writing down these recipes and passing them along to my friend, while declining to participate in the recipe exchange, helped. I hope you enjoy them.

Robert Duvall's Mother's Crab Cakes (from Oprah)

-1 lb crab meat

-2 heaping TBSP mayo

-2 eggs, lightly beaten

-1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (my "secret ingredient" for everything from meat marinade for grilling to sloppy joes to baked beans)

-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1/4 tsp salt

-1/2 small onion, grated (don't try and dice or food process it - grate it)

-1/2 TBSP mustard powder

-18 Ritz crackers, crumbled


***See possible additional ingredients below.


Combine all ingredients except the crackers. Add cracker crumbs as close to sautéing as possible so they don't get too moist.


Form into desired size patties. Sauté in butter (oil isn't going to work) on medium to high heat (turning it down low isn't going to work) 10 minutes per side. Crab cakes should be crispy outside and moist and juicy inside.


Easy tarter sauce: mayo, grated onion, lemon juice, and maybe some sweet pickle relish.


***I have to add these suggested ingredients after having my friend Chris Kyle's crab cakes, while I haven't made crab cakes myself since: Red bell pepper, fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, hot sauce. The basil especially added a fresh flavor I just loved. I'm guessing cilantro might work, too. Chris serves his crab cakes with a fresh rosemary aioli sauce.


Kale Smoothie


I recently purchased a Vitamix and am now making my own smoothies. Here's one of my favorites so far. I love the fresh, green taste and all the nutrients I am getting in a glass. I have added banana, strawberries...really, I think you could add just about anything in the fruit or veggie arena and it would work fine. (Maybe not tomatoes, but I might try that too!!)


-1/2 apple

-2 C kale leaves

-1 C spinach

-Fat free vanilla yogurt to put in the bottom

-1 TBSP ground flax seeds or flax seed oil

-1 C ice on top


Blend until smooth.


Fresh Corn Succotash (no lima beans!)


I Googled a recipe for corn succotash after falling in love with the dish at The Cheesecake Factory. (It comes with their spicy chicken tenders called "littles", along with amazing garlic mashed potatoes.)


-Kernels cut from four ears of corn

-1 red bell pepper, cut into fine half inch strips

-1 yellow bell pepper, cut into fine half inch strips

-1/2 onion, diced

-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

-1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves

-1 TBSP fresh bay leaves, chopped

-About 1/8 C olive oil

-About 1 1/2 TBSP butter

-Salt & pepper


In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion, cook until translucent, about four minutes. Add the corn and bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the herbs a minute or two before the veggies are done.


Potatoes Deluxe


Now for something truly fattening, not healthy, and really good and always a hit with dinner guests...


-2 lb. bag frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

-1 C diced onion

-16 oz. sour cream

-1 can cream soup (chicken or celery for vegetarian)

-1/2 C butter, melted

-8 oz. shredded cheese

-Salt & pepper or other seasonings to taste

-Crushed potato chips (1 C) for topping


In large bowl combine all ingredients except for topping. Spread into 9x13 cake size pan, top with crushed potatoes chips. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.


And two last tips: for either chicken salad or tuna salad (the kind made with mayo to spread on sandwiches or tortillas)...add some diced jalapenos (I'm talking pickled from a jar, not fresh in this case), shredded cheese, and in the case of tuna salad, two boiled eggs, diced with one of those wonderful egg slicers that cost like three ninety nine at your local store.


Enjoy cooking, putting love into the food, and eating with loving appreciation!!


Authentically Yours,