Sunday, 13 November 2016

Go to Hell 2016: I rebuke thee

Shit.

It has been a bullshit year to be trying to keep the peace and be all love and light.

My soulmate brother has been on a diabolical health journey since exactly January 1st sending me and my entire family spiralling with broken hearts to hope-full to fear-full to just damned glad to be able to talk to him and laugh with him and love with him like I was able to today. But this guy? This guy is the closest to a saint that could walk the earth:  I rebuke you 2016 for messing with this fantastic man.

Iconic musician's deaths. I will say no more: I rebuke you 2016 for continuing to suck the earth dry of souls that let us dance some of our pain away.

Politics. Elections. Nobody knowing what the hell . . . and now an icon for hate and intolerance elected to the highest office, arguably, in the world. WTF 2016? I rebuke you.

Christian right– who taught me the word rebuke–spreading hate and lies and only happy when looking at their mostly white faces staring back at them in the mirror– unable to even fathom for a moment what the words "Christ-like" might really look like: I rebuke every last living one of you that took the hate-full actions you've taken in 2016. Stop giving Christianity such an ugly face and bad reputation.

KKK and the other overtly racist and bigoted action-takers– shut the fuck up: I rebuke the fact that you could even exist in 2016 and your Hitler-mentality. The thought you were instrumental in electing the US's next president causes the bowels of this earth to roar with distaste.

Refugees being shut out, children bombed, palpable unrest: 2016 I rebuke you along with the diseased fear and hate that perpetuates your wars.

FaceBook– you fail. I divorce you. And I rebuke you in the name of all that could be right in social media if it didn't allow hate-groups to form and shit in people's mouths.

My thought was to disappear entirely from social media and the world wide web entirely, but for right now, that is not the answer. I deserve to feel the feelings and I deserve to have a voice and speak it and I'm all sorry if my naughty words bother you but I have censored myself all of my life.  

I will news-fast to a degree. I cannot keep my head in it like most responsible and activist citizen's will.

What I hope to do is get back to being someone who can see the bigger picture and the Universal significance of it all.

But right now? I'm fucking angry for every minority and disenfranchised person in the U.S. that is getting spit at by these hate-spawns. And we all need to join forces and conjur up as much love-energy as possible to rebuke the hell out of that hate. 

Look out for yourselves peeps.

Be careful out there. 

Don't own their vile words and actions or let them penetrate your loving energy fields.

Feel the feelings.

It's okay. It wouldn't be helpful to paint it with all zen and namastes right now. 

Sending the biggest love out to those that love and are living lives of compassion.

And rebuking the hell out of the hate-mongers.

No, I am not one of you. 

I do not hate you, person full of hate and fear and acting and speaking in such a vile manner.

I just fucking rebuke you.

Be gone.

And 2016 it will be a great to soon see the back of you.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Compassionate lessons from a gorilla

Today, I awaken to more news of the parents being under a police investigation—and it hasn’t been determined yet if criminal charges will be placed. Following that, I read vile criticism continuing to mount toward the parent of the four-year old-boy for allowing this to happen.
As the previously linked writer stated, and I could attest as a professional who has worked with families from all walks of life and has also parented nine children—but for the grace of BeyoncĂ© go you or I.
As parents, we are all vulnerable to actions or oversights that could change our lives in one split second that, in hindsight, might have been avoided. That is the chalice we parents drink from and why so many parents struggle with anxiety—it’s a heavy chalice.
Read the rest HERE at elephant journal.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Parenting Teens: 7 ways to keep the peace.

Parenting is a different experience for each of the adults involved in a family system and exquisitely unique, depending on the child involved.

Every child is different, so hard and fast parenting guidelines do not always apply.
No one lovingly gazes down at their precious newborn baby and murmurs to themselves, “I wonder how many times that perfectly formed, delicate little finger will be flipping me off in the future…” 
Read the rest HERE at elephant journal.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Responding to Terrorism: be the peace

Dawn brought news of another devastating suicide bombing.

Sometimes I wonder how our world can continue at this massive rate of implosion.
I wonder how we can negotiate the ensuing waves of fear, anxiety and hate these attacks herald while continuing to live a mindful and compassionate life.
We are in a time when it is an act of violence to let our children see the graphic destruction shown on the news, precipitating the onslaught of innocent questions asked in the hope that they can be reassured that this, this carnage, can’t possibly happen to them. Ever.
Read the rest HERE

Friday, 1 April 2016

How to Practice the Law of Pure Potentiality when Life's a Big Mess


Does anyone else feel like 2016 is the overly negative, occasionally violent guest that you never really want to invite to your party?

My family has been whopped up side the head by 2016, just about from day one. Add to that scores of our musical heroes leaving the planet and an on onslaught of global terrorism—sometimes it feels like we are all riding one big hot mess disguised as a calendar year.
Read more here:
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/03/how-to-practice-the-law-of-pure-potentiality-when-lifes-a-big-mess/http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/03/how-to-practice-the-law-of-pure-potentiality-when-lifes-a-big-mess/

Sunday, 27 March 2016

for all the mom-writers out there


I know there are a good many of you who have managed to follow your passion for writing, even with a house full of kids and varying responsibilities. This is not for you.

Hey you. Who, like me, has juggled until your fingers feel like bruised nubs.

You, who wrote as a kid and knew you would always write.

You, who had high school teachers and college professors telling you, "you've got something– you must write."

You, who took the journey of many women before you and, try as you might to sit down and write your biggest project, let everything and everyone come first.

You, honey. This is for you.

I am a writer and I've been a writer all my life. 

Screw the rhetoric that makes me feel "less than" when I read off writers' credentials, the awards, the honours, the degrees and list of literary appointments. 

That will never be me.

Me–obtaining a nursing degree I was not so interested in, but thankfully allowed vast experience in mental health, and enabled me to work and support myself, paying my own way through university.

Me–choosing a career of helping others because I'd always been intrigued by people's complex stories. Yes, maybe I should have put the full-time effort into writing people's complex stories, but instead I made a career of helping people rewrite their stories so that their lives brought less pain to themselves and others. (crucify me)

Me–with my mate at 23, married by 25 and a mother to three by the age of 33, living a complex existence while working my socks off in mental health-- always squeezing writing in when I could-- but unfortunately most of that writing was to finish my BA and MA, each were completed (with honours) while nursing my first baby . . . and my last.

Me–divorced and remarried and now co-parenting a family of nine children as my little straggler boy was born when I was 43. Yes, 43. Throughout all of that I wrote. I wrote poetry sign-posting my journey, I wrote articles, I journaled, I blogged . . .  and then, finally, I started the book.  And finished it.

Let's talk about you, because I know most of you are like me.

Part of you feels guilty or "less than" because you know you are a writer, but you don't feel your portfolio says that you are a writer.

You hesitate to embrace the creative in yourself because everyone and everything else in this world seems to demand to come first.

I feel you honey.  I am you.

I am working hard to take care of myself and part of that is to take care of my writing, which is a marriage of sorts. A commitment.

I'm working at letting go of thinking I'm too old to be putting out queries for my first book– look at how prolifically these other ladies have written, who am I . . .– comparing myself to others' accomplishments that were simply not meant to happen in my lifetime.

After letting my book sit and be just for me, I've decided to uncage it to fly and see if anyone welcomes its wayward self into their window– while trying to ignore the inevitable comparisons to other writers that creep into my consciousness.

My life has taken difficult, varied and innumerable twists and turns; a fact I cannot change.  I bet yours has too.

But we can do this.

We can write. 

We can call ourselves writers.

We can put our words out into the world.

Sister, let go of the "shoulds" and "what ifs" and embrace the "why not," letting that tension go and getting to the work at hand.

Write.

Write for yourself.

Write for others.

And when you are too busy to write in the moment, make note of the brilliant idea that flickers in your mind or comes in a dream and sets you alight. 

And come back to it; she'll be waiting for you. 


Saturday, 26 March 2016

My Reward

Walking out to my little zen writing hut/office this morning, predawn, I was rewarded for the effort. The near full moon was still high in the dark sky. Besides the dogs that had gotten an early release from their kennels, and the bull frogs singing their morning song, it was silent. 

For moms especially, there is a sweetness to the still solitude that sweetly envelopes you on very early mornings– a reward for reluctantly bidding the soft caresses of your bed a fond adieu.  Admittedly, it can be a long reach for me to take the step into that space of self-care rather than rolling over for more sleep. 

I lit candles and incense.  Beckoned some centering energy and began writing. I tweeted a couple photos as the sun was rising over our rolling hills and the mist was hanging on for a tardy farewell. 

But this shot was my reward.  This shot is why returning tomorrow, flinging back the covers and hopping out of bed, will be easier than it was today. This, and the flow writing I was able to do as I work on my new book. 

Yes, I #amwriting.  

#amliving

#amlookingforlight




Friday, 25 March 2016

an unfinished story: after the book is written + before it is published

For over three years I have sat with a "finished" novel.

Meeting new writers in a new land, away from my nest of the woo-woo women writing group I called home, I was struck by how much focus seemed to be on getting published rather than writing a quality book/piece or the simple awe and hallelujah of the experience.

Running into people who had self-published, which involved having to spend thousands of dollars to buy hundreds of their own books, and go pedal them . . . something wasn't sitting quite write, er, right.  Authors sentenced to carrying a huge book crate shaped ball and chain, constantly feeling the pressure to recoup their investment.  Where was the love?

That bucket list book finished, I then went introspective. Who was I doing this for?  Why was I doing it? Fine, I wrote it and rode a big trippy high off the experience. Maybe that's enough. Maybe the true love of the art is about fully embracing that experience. It's ego wanting to put it out in the world, right? And how much feeding of ego do I really want to engage in?

The artistic drive for this project was fed by having spent a lifetime working with people dealing with various degrees of trauma, slaves to an unpredictable mind and having a topic that I couldn't get out of my head and was compelled to write about. I always knew I would. Someday.

But it wasn't pleasant.

Through the magic of using my professional experience and immersing myself in this person's world, riding bareback on their narrative, a horribly unpalatable topic rather magically flowed into a palatable (or bittersweet) understanding of how a very "nice" person could consider committing an unthinkable violent act toward her own child-- with an ending full of exhales and redemption-- involving layers of characters and stories such as those that follow us all through life.

While writing had been my escape and my therapy since childhood, this lengthier project was such a pleasant experience of getting lost in the process, I couldn't get enough of it. I had a vague direction– a question I wanted to answer– but wrote being carried by flow and the development of characters, feeling as if I was channeling the story.  It was a rush; a high. I loved every minute of it.

Then the beta-readers (who stated they loved it), the editing, the re-editing– all not as exciting as the writing but full of honouring the work– and that felt good. I wrote in first person which comes very natural to me, but from a literary context can provide its own challenge: will the reader (read agent or editor) find the writing compelling or unique or descriptive enough, while still being a believable first person narrative.

Enter Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic talk that she recently gave in Auckland. I had read in her book how she believes that there are only so many ideas to go around and if you sit on one too long, don't worry, someone else will snatch it up (as she described had eerily happened to her in the past). And how it is really Mr. Fear that is what stands in the way of moving forward with your creativity.

So the next day, I researched a list of agents. And the next week I started sending queries out. These queries were so much better than the drafts I had put together four years ago because I didn't just ask Mr. Fear to sit in the back seat, I asked him to get out of the car.

Yes, it is no small feat to put yourself out there with a challenging topic.  I've already heard from one great agent, "honestly, I don't want to read about this topic, but I'm sure someone else will."  And yes, thus far one very reputable agent has asked for a full manuscript with requests from two publishing houses as well, which I will hold on until I'm sure no agents will represent me.

For now? I'm chuffed that a reputable agent has asked to read my manuscript. Full stop. I hope to hear from more– or from her again.  But what if I don't?

As Elizabeth Gilbert says, much more eloquently than this: you write.  You write because it is your first love. You write because you are a writer.  You write because it is your art and your creative outlet and it would be cruel to withhold that from yourself.

I write because that is when the answers come.  Answers to "who am I?" "What am I really doing here?" And sometimes more pertinent and timely answers to what is going on in my life.

I write because as a mom to many and wearer of many hats– writing is when I feel most me.

I write because I can't not.

My job now is to further honour the place writing has in my life and make more consistent structured time to do so: foster the flow, gifting writing with more space.  And to let go of self-judgment and allow the process of putting myself out there manifest the outcome that is meant to be.



Friday, 26 February 2016

About being Naked . . .

This piece of mine is published on elephant journal-- 

I May Just Swim Naked--

When do the delicious folds of baby fat become judgment ridden cues for self-deprecation?

My early memories of being told to cover my body are still vivid; the “hide your nakedness” message clearly left a lasting impression on me.
As a small child I vigilantly followed parental instructions.
Cover myself.
Must cover myself.
In the locker room seeing a variety of inhibition and disinhibition I was, foremost, covering myself.
Forever embarrassed to show my naked body. Must cover myself.)
Not looking like the models in the ads. (Must cover myself.)
Fearing being made fun of. (Must cover myself.)





Sunday, 21 February 2016

A Tribute: The Profound Impact of Harper Lee.

Life as a child was probably toughest between the ages of 10 and 13.

Living in a household that was tumultuous with the constant threat of violence, I began to realise that life really shouldn’t be this hard—but I also knew that I was too young to do anything about it.
These were the years before the “must sleep as late as possible hormones” kicked in and my most effective and treasured escape was to wake up early and grab a book from my headboard, which also served as a book shelf, and read until I was forced to get out of bed.
There must have been other books, but the ones I remember being my repeat go-to reads were To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn.
Please click HERE to read the rest of my piece published on elephant journal.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

A Parenting Bill of Rights

You have the right to guiltless sleeping in and napping for the entirety of your life—if the opportunity ever presents itself.

The endless interrupted sleep of parenting has paid this debt. Never question yourself. You are not a sloth. Get thee recumbent.
You have the right to carry an invisible permission slip to say “no.” No, you do not have to volunteer for every task at your child’s school. No, you do not have to be the person everyone depends on as back up for childcare or transport. No explanation needed. Just no. I’m sorry, I can’t.
(read more of this article published on elephant journal HERE)

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Hello 2016: meet Radical Self-Care

Bliss Farm
Radical self-care. 

The term keeps popping up.  

There's even a radical self-care website.

And I love their quote: Radical self-care is about dancing with vulnerability and strength along the continuum between selfless and selfish. 

Read more HERE