The Stories of my Life

Drawing by Jamie Lee

I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and quickly realized that the one area that I really need to do some tidying up was in my writing world.  Except for consulting reports and this blog, I have essentially quit writing fiction.  After so many years of trying to find an agent or publisher (I actually had two different agents) I just kind of fell into discouragement and gave up.  I gave up something that I love more than gardening or berry picking.  There is just such magic that happens when a character or single scene grabs my attention, and I just go into this writing dance.  It is quiet and private and noisy and messy all at the same time.  A whole world is created out of nothing.  So, this New Year began with me taking stock.  I realized a couple of interesting things.

First, I started organizing my blog posts and taking some favorites and putting them into a collection along with some snowman drawings.  I was overwhelmed by what I found.  My first blog post was in 2005—over ten years ago.   And the second discovery was there are probably over 600 pages of written words made up of short 2-3 page posts.

Who knew.

But that wasn’t the most startling discovery—the next one that tore at my heart a bit.

I have six books in print.  The books have been good to me—I sell a lot at my workshops and retreats.  The first one I published in 1987 almost pre-computer, and I have sold probably 20,000 books over the years.

But here is the kicker.  The books I love the most have never seen print.  In fact the books on the table for sale are not the books I love the most.

So why, I have to wonder, are these books that rest so close to my heart not available?

And this is what tore me up a bit.  Several of these sweet, mystical wandering tales are so close to me that I don’t want to risk sending them out into the world.  After all, if you read some of those books, you would see into me.  You would see my soul. Somehow that feels very vulnerable.  If a reader or critic took my stories and tore into them, it would hurt like hell.

When I was studying the creative process with Robert Fritz, he said that our creations need to be set free once we have created them.  In other words, “I am not my creation.”  I’m not sure I’ve accepted that, and that is why the stories closest to my spirit have not been set free.

And I think that keeping them locked away is hurting my creative process.  I’m a hoarder in my way and see those many characters lined up behind bars like prisoners.  That is why I have stopped writing fiction.  I can’t keep spinning these stories and then putting them in lock down.

Oh, I have lots of convenient excuses—time, money, I suck at cover design, self-publishing is dismissed by the “real” literary world, etc.

But the truth of it is this feeling of vulnerability with these stories of my heart and soul.

I recently went to an evening workshop given by my new friend, Dee O. who is in a training program to present “The Daring Way” program created by Brene’ Brown.  During Dee’s presentation she talked a lot about being courageous enough to be vulnerable out there in the “arena”.  I may have drove off that snowy night with one more of my missing puzzle pieces.  Am I willing to be vulnerable enough to publish these imprisoned books?

So, in early January I set a new resolve for 2016.  My plan is to publish one book per month for 12 months.  It sounds a bit ambitious unless you consider that I have already spent hundreds of hours on each one of these novels.  They are not first drafts.  I’m not facing a blank page each month.

The January book is done and the proof of One Drum is on its way to me.  And a couple of days ago I opened Silver and began reading it.  I was also secretly afraid that I would look at these stories again and hate them or tell myself how silly they are but, in truth, I fell instantly into Silver and only changed about 6 words in 80 pages.  I love this story filled with earth rhythms and pulsing with so many layers of love . . . it brought tears to my eyes.

So, do I really have 12 books caged up in my computer tugging to be set free?  I guess we shall have to see.

It is my hope that as I bring each one out you will take the time to order a copy, read the book, and then give me feedback—gently, of course.

And for my part, I will push back when a tiny voice in my heads tells me that nobody will like these stories because they are silly, not good enough, etc.  And I’ll just finish and publish.

You go, girl. Starting . . . now.

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What are You Worth?

snowgirl ponders her place

The cyber doctors have worked their magic on my blog and it is back up and running.  I still don’t know how it was attacked but Google shut it down as infectious.  It is good and fully approved now with added defenses, but let me know if there is anything that isn’t working.

I wondered if it could not be repaired, would I do what is necessary to start a new one?  It is a good question as I come to the end of the year.  Every once in awhile we should stop and check in on the things we do and why we do them.  Often we find that an action set up earlier in time no longer has meaning or purpose.

Why do I write a blog?  Does it have any value?  Is it what I want to be doing?

This year two of my siblings’ spouses have passed on, and a third sister is standing strong by her husband as he battles for his life.   It’s been so hard to watch these people I love suffer.  In some ways, seeing this suffering makes me value life even more.  Time is precious.  I want to treasure each moment, to spend time in worthy and meaningful ways.  It feels like so many of us are focused on money when time is the only true currency of our lives.

All those minutes and hours and days—it is our wealth.

One of the areas I was exploring with my coach friend, Gary, was the way that I tie a link between time and money.  If what I am doing is not making money, it must not have value.  This translates into if I am not making money, I must not have value.  One of my teachers, Robert Fritz talked about how some of us have a deeply ingrained sense of not deserving even the air we breathe.  We feel we must earn our right to be here and to belong.  We don’t know how or why this got installed into our programming—it is just a program running in the background like whatever malicious malware snuck into my blog and destroyed it temporarily.

I don’t want to live that way anymore.  I don’t want to be a slave to some old outdated software that exists in my brain.  While my blog was down, I got on this odd kick of drawing snowmen and putting captions on them.  A totally “moneyless” activity.  Some of them would make me laugh outright as I was drawing them.  Some of them are making others laugh as I drop them on Facebook in an endless stream.  And last month I was totally taken with drilling small stones and twisting small bead people out of 20 gauge wire to fit onto the stone.

Do tiny acts of creation have value and beauty?  I don’t know.  They won’t solve global warming.  They won’t bring world peace.  They don’t pay the bills.

Do I love engaging in micro acts of creation that make me laugh or cry or smile or that touch my heart? To me that has true value, especially as I become keenly aware of how fragile these sacks of skin and bones that house our spirits really are.

I don’t know if I blog for myself or for you.  I know that when I sit down with sincere intention and just share my thoughts it seems to reach you and maybe help you face what you must face today.  And it does exactly the same for me.  Just for today.  Again, it doesn’t make money—I just can’t think of it as a “marketing tool” to send your racing off to my website to buy my books.

Alas.  It is a good thing my needs are simple and getting simpler, since I just can’t seem to muster a bunch of energy just to “make money.”

On the other hand, my life is filled with wealth.  I have crafted a life that is exactly and precisely what I want and where I want it.

A few questions for you as we roll into the new year.  Are you spending your time as a precious commodity?  Are you doing what makes you even more you?  Are you dropping or cutting away things that take your spirit because they no longer hold meaning for you?  Are you?

Am I?

Milt and I were talking this morning over coffee.  I wrote the earlier part of this post yesterday, but we were talking over some of the same ideas.  We decided that we would “resolve” in 2016 to be just as selfish as we could be, spending more time in creative pursuit, spending more time with art and music and micro acts of creation, spending more time with really cool people.  Even just writing this down awakens all the negative triggers around “mustn’t be selfish.”  I guess just for once I’d like to know where all that selfishness would lead.  I don’t think that it will mean taking more than we have a right to.  We just aren’t built that way.  It might mean that we just quit feeling guilty when we are engaged in inner delight.

Enough for now.  I’d like to hear your reaction to some of this.  I value each and every comment that comes from this blogging thing.  And naturally, I can’t resist sharing some of my snowmen with you.  You can see them all on my Facebook page.

snow people praying for peace


snowman in a hot tub

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True Confessions of a Woo Woo Dancer

sun dogsLast night I was scribbling in my notebook once again in search of what I should do when I grow up.  I make these interesting loops and end up in arguments between my scholarly, scientific self and my spiritual, earth-loving sprite self.  For some reason, in this moment, I saw that it really was a standoff–swords drawn—between the external me and the internal me.

Outwardly, I teach and study the brain, work with complex systems and processes, and consider myself to be straight up and on the ground.  Inwardly, I seek resonance and connection with some mysterious rhythm or energy . . . the realm of the creator. This is where I write, create, and use stillness and silence to find the subtler energies in myself and others.

I keep this inner self pretty private.  I’ve had a fear of being considered too new age or “woo woo” in my work with others.  In fact, when I thought about it, I realized that the novels I’ve written that are most meaningful and precious to me I’ve not even brought into print.  These stories all wander and play in the mystery.

I think I understand my fear. Over the years I’ve seen or heard hundreds of ego-driven, dollar driven “teachers” out there who seem to just exploit other people. They often seem parasitic and sometimes dangerous. I’ve also seen that those large egos are often a cover-up for some scared or damaged child self. It is messy. And I’ve met literally thousands of people who jump from one workshop to another in order to “heal” without ever really envisioning what they will do with all that wellness. As a result, the endless healing becomes the path.

We are not broken. Whatever the ads or the quick fix teachers tell us, we are all just on a developmental path toward some unknown end. The only thing we really can do is to increase our awareness of both our inner and outer worlds and do the best we can to choose a way forward.

I remember an old book from the early years that I think was titled, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road—Kill Him.  It was all about learning to trust our inner tuning fork rather than seeking someone to tell us who we are and what we should be doing.  In fact the real Buddha and sages tell us that the true answer lies within.

flSo, how do I resolve this conflict for myself? When I write here in this blog I think it is apparent by any of my posts that I am letting you into my secret garden.  I talk about flow and resonance and constellation work and the beauty and allure of the other realms. I get personal. But when I am writing I’m alone and linked to my inner self. Out there when I am hired to work with organizations—I feel stifled and convince myself that I mustn’t stray from the tried and true path of science and strategy.  Even in my Life by Design retreats I’m sometime too-focused on the brain and not speaking to the spirit of the people who come to spend the day with me.

I feel the need to align myself with the part of me that seeks wisdom and nourishment from the subtler realms.  In this space reflection, writing, and stillness are all an important part of learning to read these quiet rhythms and energy.

The spirit is alive.  It wants to be heard.  It wants a greater say in the path we choose.  It wants us to be  better listeners.  It wants us to seek stillness and respond to subtle cues.  It grows weary and sad that it is constantly pushed to the side while we supposedly seek wellness—or security.  The spirit IS wellness.  That is really what I want to be teaching.

And yes, we do have some faulty wiring that needs to be repaired and cleaned up.  I won’t give up that part of my work, but we only fix the wiring so we can connect more directly to the spirit and find meaning and purpose in all that we do.

This afternoon I had a nice conversation with Helena, an old friend from our early constellation training days.  We have both done constellation work and grown older and grown into the work in very deep ways.  She is (and has always had) a great spirit.  We both agreed that just taking a path of personal growth is not enough.  We need to be more active and engaged out here in the world—doing more and being more.  That is my goal when I teach Life by Design—is to grow a stronger core so that we can get mouthier and more active out here without fear of rejection or falling into the dark pool of self-doubt.

So, I personally will work to bring these two brilliant parts of myself into the same room more often and not pick and choose which one to let out at any moment in time.  And if people think I am too new agey and woo woo, well, so what.  My life is too short to let myself be defined by others.

Do you have two brilliant parts of yourself who are warring it out?  I’m interested.

And more true confessions to come.  In my next post I will tell you some stories about woo.  Please share this with others if it feels right.  Also, I hope I don’t get spam slammed from my weird title:)



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