Monday, November 18, 2013

The Two Wolves

So, apparently winter is coming. Try as I might every year, my plunge into denial and absolute refusal to utter the very word doesn’t do one freaking thing to keep it from coming. It comes anyway, which I think is just so unbelievably rude. Obviously, and for the official record, I am not one of those people that thinks that winter is a miraculous adventure cake covered in sparkling, creamy, white newness. It is a thug lurking in the bushes, just waiting to take me out. I’m not alone, I know. All around me are tender souls hunkering down for the epic cage match of Sanity vs. Face-Down-in-the-Snow-Unable-to-Brush-Your-Teeth-Fetal-Position-Emotional-Snail-Goo that is February through April-May-June in these here snowy states. Simply put, the past several years have seen me increasingly winter challenged. And it sucks.

I had my first wave of winter dread earlier than usual this year and decided to discuss it with a spiritual/intuitive coach of mine. She reminded me of a story from the Cherokee Indian tradition that I had heard long ago, but had completely forgotten.

The Two Wolves
(Anonymous from the Native American Tradition)
An old grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with raging anger at a friend, “I, too, have felt great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison into your own body and wishing your enemy would suffer and die. It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is kind and understanding and does no harm; it works to benefit the entire pack. He lives in harmony with all around and does not take offense or plot revenge. His heart is open and available to the Great Spirit. The other wolf is always vengeful, vicious and full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone for no reason. He kills without cause or remorse. He cannot think because his resentment, anger and hate are so great. His heart is closed to the Great Spirit.  Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me. Both of them try to dominate my Spirit.”  
The boy looked with amazement into this wise man’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The grandfather smiled and said, “The one that wins― is the one I feed.”

Wham, bam, thank ya Ma’am. Clarity. This beautiful and brilliant story is obviously about so much more than the refusal to let go of a personal snowy season victim story, and it applies to any and every area of life. The Light Wolf and the Dark Wolf (also referred to as the Light Self and the Shadow Self, the Higher Self and the Lower Self, the Human Self and the Spiritual Self, the Grown-up Self and the Big, Fat Baby Self – take your pick) we all have them, which one do we feed? Where do we direct our thoughts, feelings and attention?

Take some time to look at your two wolves and get deep-down-dirty-raw and honest about which one you are feeding. And how you are feeding it. And why you are feeding it. What are you afraid of? What are you avoiding or hiding from? What or who are you blaming or angry at? What are you addicted to? Where are your attachments? In what areas are you needing to grant yourself freedom?
I have gotten very good at recognizing my victim stories, both large and small, and this year, at long last, I have been able to let most of them go. Talk about miracle of miracles. There are still those that I am working my way through and to the other side of, and it is being done consciously and deliberately. I don’t believe in being a victim and I really do refuse to live my life from that place any longer. I can write about it, speak about it, coach others through it, kick ass at it personally and then turn around, sit down and write the Queen of Victimlandia opening paragraph to this post. Barf.
Being human – welcome to it.

Winter happens every single year. Every year it gets cold. Every year it snows and every year that beautiful white snow turns into piles of greasy, dirty, grey poop. Every year the sky vanishes, taking with it the fresh air, and inversion presses down on us. Every year winter lasts far longer than I would like it to. But it happens every year whether I enjoy it or not. I learned long ago that it is exhausting and futile to raise my fists, scream at the heavens and argue with What Is. What Is simply is What Is.
And, right now, What Is is that winter is coming. Which wolf am I going to feed? No question. It will NOT be the one that gnaws on its own ankle in a dark corner gorging on bitterness, complaints and off the charts depression. It will be the wolf who has learned how to pack her bags and move out of Victimlandia and knows, without a doubt, that she can, and somehow will, experience winter as…yes…a miraculous adventure cake covered in sparkling, creamy, white newness.

She’s going to feast on as many cozy, candlelit snuggles in the arms of a wonderful man, movies, happy music, laughter, girl’s night parties, Sex and the City episodes, chocolate, hot adult beverages, snowball fights and bubble baths as possible. I promise you that puppy is going to be fat, happy and, most definitely, well-fed. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Among the Living

I have spent a great deal of my life thinking about death. Most likely because I have spent a great deal of my life processing the deaths of loved ones that were closest to me. Death has, without question, been an actual character in the play of my life that I have been forced to wrestle and figure out an actual relationship with. It is something I have both learned a great deal from and something I have learned how to live with. Living with Death. Talk about an oxymoron.

When I received word a few years ago that my childhood babysitter had been diagnosed with a fast growing cancer, I jumped in my car and drove 45 minutes so I could say goodbye. It's always strange to say goodbye to someone you love when you know it is for the last time in this physical life. What do you say? "I love you... Thanks for loving me... Are you scared?... Don't be... What are your favorite memories of our time together?... What are mine?... Do you remember when?... I'll see you soon..."

Yep. All of the above. You hug and laugh and cry and hold hands and stare into one another's eyes a lot. She asked me to sing to her. I did. Then she asked me to sing that same song at her funeral. I agreed. She died the next week. I attended the funeral and sang for her the songs she had requested. I was cocky and thought that I wouldn't cry but standing above her casket a flood of childhood memories washed over me and I was emotional from start to finish.

This woman had watched over me as a child. She had played the piano and hide and seek with me. She put flowers on my own sister's grave every year. She was only, like, 56 years old. She had a constant smile that masked a hundred pains that I'm not sure how many people in her life actually knew about. And she is the only person that I know who loved chocolate more than I do.

When someone dies it is natural that we think about death. What is it like? Where do we go? What is the point? And then we think about life. How are we living it? How can we live it better? And, yes… Why are we here? The roundabout point of this post is best made in a story that was told at her funeral. When my babysitter/friend was about five years old, her family moved to a new town. She wanted to have a birthday party but her mother told her it would be hard because they had just moved there and they didn't know anyone. You can't really have a party with no friends. She left the house and came back about an hour later followed by several neighbors. "Mom, these are my new friends. Can I have my party now?"

This story both delighted me and caused a shift. I had spent so much of my life grieving and in pain and stuck in the spin cycle of all my victim stories. Like so many others, especially those spiritually and/or religiously minded folk, I had spent FAR more time focused on life before this one and life after this one than I ever spent focused on the life I was living right here and now. Life, I realized, was a big, fat parade that was passing me by. And, for the first time in my life, that wasn't okay.

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." - Marcus Aurelius

I began to ask myself a series of questions that eventually led to one, singular inquiry. What does it really mean for me to be alive? What does being vibrantly, joyously, deliberately ALIVE look like for me? And, was I willing to do what it would take to get there? Was I willing to look at what I needed to look at, let go of what I needed to let go of, for Life to finally flow freely through my veins? I was willing and I did what I needed to do. And then, as though Life itself became aware that I had finally chosen to live it, I instantly found myself surrounded by an orchard of brand new possibility blossoms in the most glorious emotional springtime. And nothing has been, or will ever be, the same again. Hot damn.

Do you know what being alive means for you? What it looks like for you? If not, figure it out! It will be the single most worthwhile thing you have ever done. Life is your birthday party. If it’s lacking something you want - go out and get it. Make it. Meet it. Create it. Demand it. Don't rest until you have it.

NOTE TO SELF: Stop being fascinated by near death experiences. Focus on having near life experiences instead. Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


So, I know that I keep posting snippets on Facebook about being brave… This has become my singular theme of late. People think that I am a ballsy chick and, generally speaking, I am. But I also have had a long list of things that terrify me, accompanied by all of my very good reasons for that terror and equally good excuses for not facing and busting through it.

I am so tired of being scared of the things I’m scared of. I have so much love and creativity I have yet to tap into and I KNOW that I won’t be able to do it until I get to the other side of my biggest fears. Once I have done so, I’ll probably share specifics. Until then, it’s time to jump off a series of rather high cliffs. Time to dig deep into the inner realms of untapped kick-ass bravery.

Who’s with me? 

For the official record, the guy in the mall with the happygasmic hair took the RIGHT pills. And I want him to be my next door neighbor.

Remember, you are Bigger, Better and Brighter 
than anything that has ever happened to you. 

Go make your world a better place. xo

Friday, July 19, 2013

Broken and Spilled Out

I posted the above quote on my Facebook page the other day and it has been knocking on my consciousness ever since. The notion that being broken in however many emotional, spiritual, and psychological pieces leads to greater strength, endurance, understanding and capacity for all kinds of grander experiences is a wonderful one. When I say that we are all Bigger, Better and Brighter than anything that has ever happened to us, I include in that the belief that we are all Bigger, Better and Brighter precisely because of everything that has ever happened to us.

Just like when we work a muscle and essentially tear it down so that, once self-repaired, it is stronger and able to lift and accomplish more, the experience of being “broken” does exactly the same thing for our insides. Once we have been stripped bare, humbled to the ground, challenged to our core and demolished, sometimes beyond recognition, if we choose to allow it we can come back stronger than ever before.

But I think that the experience of being broken is so much more than that. When we are broken down we are also broken open. Kind of like a magical Easter Egg, when our shell is shattered open all kinds of beautiful things come spilling out. We know what we’re made of not only by who we become after being broken down but by the hidden soul-treasures we find when we are shoveled out.

One of my very favorite quotes comes from one of my very favorite books on the planet (The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran): Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding… and could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.

Although it certainly doesn't feel like it at the time, being broken and spilled out is a wondrous thing. So next time you've had your ass handed to you and you’re crawling out of the mud in which you have been wallowing, cursing God and waiting to die, take a good long look at your heart. Not only will its muscles be bulgier but its pockets just might be overflowing with riches beyond your imagining.

Remember, you are Bigger, Better and Brighter 
than anything that has ever happened to you. 

Go make your world a better place. xo

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Nail

I absolutely LOVE this video! It's such a great commentary on the crazy-ass way so many of us women need men to just listen to us bitch without trying to fix the problem. Totally makes me giggle.

And it also makes me think of the nail in the context of letting go of our shit. Sometimes the thing that's tormenting us, causing us so much damn pain and keeping us stuck in our own personal spin cycle really is as simple as a freaking nail in our foreheads that we could easily pull out if we could let go of our attachment to, and need for, the payoff of being the victim with the nail in their forehead.

What's your nail and why aren't you yanking that bitch out?

Just something to think about.

Remember, you are Bigger, Better and Brighter 
Than anything that has ever happened to you. 

Go make the world a better place. xo

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Three Stories

Okay, so in this conversation about getting unstuck and out of our big fat stories, I want to clarify what I mean by “Story.” There are three types of stories that we tell: The Story of What Happened; The Story of The Meaning We Made out of What Happened; and The Story of Who We Have Chosen to Become as a Result of Getting Out of That Story.

The first story is the actual “Just the facts, Ma’am” story that we can’t change and have no control over. It happened. There was an accident. We got divorced. Someone died. We lost our job. He cheated. She lied. We were attacked. We got sick. This story simply happened. It caused pain, most likely altered the course of our lives and then was it over.

The second story is the one we need to face, understand, take responsibility for and get the hell out of. It’s the “So and so happened and this is what I made it mean.” Our parents got divorced and we made it mean that marriage doesn't work or we weren't worth our fathers or mothers sticking around for. Mom had bad days and yelled at us and we made it mean that we we're bad and not lovable. Dad drank too much and we made it mean that we were responsible for fixing him and worthless because we failed and everything we did was wrong. We got thrown in the dumpster by bullies at school and from that day on have believed that we’re garbage and are alone and that human beings just suck. Someone told us that we shouldn't have been born and we believed them and have been telling ourselves the same thing ever since. We were sexually abused and we made it mean that we are bad and worthless, that men (or women) are untrustworthy, that life is an unsafe place to be, that sex is evil and not to be enjoyed, or that we are here to be sexually consumed by everyone that takes a number and lines up to do so.  Someone we love dies and we decide that that life is cruel and maybe we are going to die the same way they did and we live in daily fear of that, or that they didn't love us enough to stick around for, and that it’s not safe to love anyone ever again. We get lied to and cheated on and suddenly no one is ever trustworthy again.

Painful things happen just because that is the nature of the world we live in. And I am not saying that the pain isn't valid - it is! It needs to be acknowledged and honored and reverenced. The problem is that once we have done that we continue to wear the second story like a badge of honor. Or shame. We let it alter who we believe we are and how we show up in the world. We carry it around like a million pound knapsack that keeps us from being who we truly are and from doing what we are truly on this planet to do.

We are not here to suffer and to struggle and to ever-play the role of victim. We are here to kick ass, to celebrate, to learn and grow and become. We are here to have a party, to dance in parades, to pick one another up, to laugh, to sing, to rejoice to spread our wings and soar into the fucking stratosphere. That, my Lovies, is what happens when we pull ourselves out of the muck and mire of our Victim Stories and start telling story number three.

Story number three is where our power lies. Story number three is where we inspire and bless. Story number three is where we finally exhale, reap the rewards, enjoy the benefits, feast on the fruits, and understand the Why’s and the How Come’s. Story number three is where we finally get it.

The floats are in line. The band is tuned up. What are you waiting for?

Remember, you are Bigger, Better and Brighter 
Than anything that has ever happened to you. 

Go make the world a better place. xo

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bigger, Brighter, Better

Many of you have read my book Dancing With Crazy. When that project took a hold of me it wouldn't let go. It drove me relentlessly for nearly ten years while I processed, wrote and completed it – all the while dreaming about how amazing it would be to have it done and out there. I expected a lot of things. I expected it to feel amazing – it did. I expected some people to love it – they did. I expected some people to hate it – good Lord, did they ever. What I didn't expect was that the moment I had the book in hand, I would be completely done with the conversation that the book was instigating. It was time to get out there and market the hell out of it so it could be the wild success I wanted it to be but, literally, every time I opened my mouth to talk about the Mormon Church, or the gays, or the Mormon gays or every horrifying and painful thing that had ever happened to me – my throat closed off, my brain shut down, my chest became unbearably heavy and I could not speak. It felt like it was a language that I no longer knew how to communicate with.

I was equally thrilled and devastated. I had worked so hard and needed to support my family but had to accept that Dancing With Crazy had done for me what it was meant to do. It continues to do well on its own – all things considered. And I have spent the past two years sitting and asking and listening and getting clear about what’s next for me – both personally and professionally.

I am so humbled to look back and see how clearly I have been led, protected and supported by Life and the exquisite spirituality I have finally re-embraced – ten years after dragging my lifeless body out of religion. The fact that I not only survived all that I survived but that I have emerged with my sense of self, humor, and purpose intact is pretty damn cool. The fact that roughly three months ago I finally, after nearly four decades, learned how to get the hell out of my “story” is proof to me that wonders and miracles do happen after all. I look around me and see people everywhere that have had the shit kicked out of them and have no idea how to get back up again. I see people stuck on the same nauseating merry-go-round that I was on for most of my life. I see people that can’t find the strength and/or don’t even know how to re-assemble themselves after their personal tsunamis and obliterations.

Now I am driven by the same love, passion and energy that once drove me to write my big-fat-story to take the hand of whoever stumbles upon me and wants to get out of their own big-fat-story and to get them to realize in their bones that they are Bigger, Brighter and Better than anything that has ever happened to them in the same way that I have finally realized that I am Bigger, Brighter and Better than anything that has ever happened to me. No one can tell me that there is something from which they simply cannot heal. I know they can. I know you can. And I know that, no matter what my future holds, I will too.

In the name of You and Me and All Humans That Kick Ass…

Amen, Namaste, ShazBot, and Rama-Lama-Lama-da-Dinky-da-Dinky-Dong. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

48 Hour Film Festival

Heading this weekend into another 48 hour film blitz. Friday night we are given a theme and character, line and object that must be incorporated - then we have until Sunday to write, prep, cast, shoot, edit, post and deliver an 8 minute film. It is both crazy fun and just plain crazy. I'm not manning the helm this year - most likely doing sound and misc grunt work. I'll letcha know how it goes...

Just for shits-n-giggles, here is a peek at last year's goofy film I directed.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Choose now. Love or hate. Courage or fear. When bombs go off don't hide away cursing the ugly darkness of life. Acknowledge, breathe, process then stand bravely in your own beauty, step outside and SHINE.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Response to an Email from Someone in Pain


Turn off the TV and get off the Internet. Sit quietly and listen. The answers are there. Your heart and soul know exactly what you need to heal. Don’t fight what you’re feeling – you are feeling it for a reason. Are you angry? Are you afraid? Are you feeling crazy? Why? Ask and then listen – YOU will tell you. Stop listening to everyone else. Others may have good advice and guidance but they will never, ever, ever know you better than you do.

Listen through the anger and the fear and the turmoil. Listen until you hear it – the sound of your own heartbeat, the sound of your own rhythm, the sound of your own life. Listen until you hear the sound of your own voice speaking to you – and believe what it says. If there’s a person, place or thing that causes you pain, anger, fear or just plain old feels shitty then that’s your soul telling you to get away from that person, place or thing. Walk away. The time may or may not come for that person, place or thing to re-enter your life – but only when it brings you joy, peace and alignment. It really is that simple. If your soul tells you something, LISTEN.

If it tells you that you've been abused, then you have. If it then tells you to walk away from that abuse and forgive – then do it. If it tells you some hard work and digging is required first then dig and put in the work. If it tells you that you have done enough work and it’s time to let go, then it’s time to let go. If it tells you to get professional help then do it. If it tells you that you are not getting the right help then keep looking until it tells you that you have found the correct method of healing.

You are always feeling what you’re feeling for a reason – even though it oftentimes may not be the reason you thought. Listen and you will know. You are your own healer. Your soul knows exactly what it needs to heal the same way that your body does.

When you break a bone you don’t sit there lamenting that it will never get better – you don’t throw yourself on the train tracks because you no longer have a whole bone. You curse and cry because it hurts like hell and then you do what needs to be done. You get to a doctor, you set the bone, you give it the support in needs and trust that in time and with proper care, your body will do exactly what it needs to do to heal the bone and life will go on. You don’t need to know how the bone is healed, you just need to trust in your body’s innate ability to heal it.

It is the same with your soul. When your soul gets cracked, fractured, broken in two or shattered in a million pieces it really does know what it needs to heal. Listen to it! Set your soul-bone – get it back in its proper place (yes, it will tell you where and what that is too), give it all the support it needs, take pressure off of it, take time to breathe and sleep and nourish yourself and YOU WILL HEAL. You will need big things and you will need small things and your soul will guide you and tell you what those things are.

You know the voice of your best friend, you know the voice of your spouse and your children. You know the voice of your favorite singer or movie star but do you know the voice of your own soul? If not, be quiet and listen. You will hear it – and it will be the most sublime sound you've ever heard. I promise. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Soul On Deck

"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires ...causes proper matters to catch fire...Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. Do not lose heart. We were made for these times." 

~Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs.