Monday, June 17, 2013


I picked up a tiny little book to give to a friend years ago. For some reason, I felt I needed a copy.  Now I know why. It is called "How to Live on an Island" by Sandy Gingras.  I find peace in it and words I need to be reminded of ever so often, not often enough.
From the back cover: "We often need "How To" books to remind us of what we already know.  Maybe that's why we need islands remember ourselves. To remember how tenuous and miraculous we we're out-to-sea, surrounded by horizons and how we're, at once, fragile and possible."
Many times in our lives we need an island, perhaps as a foothold among the chaos. For me, I can think there...breathe there...forget all the mounds of unimportant fluff that surrounds me on a daily basis.  I can sift out those things that truly don't matter and focus on what does. As Gingras says, "It almost convinces me that there is such a place as the present."
An island is where you can have a change of heart. Each day off the island begins pretty much the same, but on the island 'the morning crackles like a never turned page.'
It is here we get second chances at ourselves and a place where we remember the fine art of doing nothing!! Finding simplicity once again while remembering how to breathe, and that the only focus should be cultivating quiet.
And finally as Gingras says, "on an island you can build castles and leave them for the moon to find."  It is on an island you can find all the treasures you all too often miss in the chaos that is your life.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


"I'll cry with you,"
she whispered
"until we run out of tears.
Even if it's forever.
We'll do it together."

There it was . . . a simple
promise of connection.

The loving alliance of
grief and hope that
blesses both our breaking
apart and our coming
together again.
~Molly Fumia, Safe Passage
There are those times when a simple promise of connection makes this journey bearable when you need someone by your side the most.  Just to hear the words "You know my heart is with you today" when you are facing the unknown and the frightening, suddenly changes everything. Your heart stops speeding and suddenly you realize you aren't alone after all. A simple promise of connection. 
This morning I went to an early, early doctor's appointment to get the results of multiple tests.  I slept fitfully and felt like I was tumbling and didn't know how to stop this feeling.  I got in the car and drove through rush hour traffic and arrived a bit early.  I sat on a bench outside the office building to inhale the morning air.  Across from me sat a young father and his precious toddler.  She was dressed in a pink dress with little white flowers edged in white eyelet lace and wore white sandals.  Her hair was light golden and hung on her shoulders and blew gently in the breeze.  She was mesmerized by something on the window next to the door leading into the medical building complex.  She would bend and stoop and look and slowly tip toe closer and closer until her forehead almost touched the window. For her, the entire world and her being was transfixed on whatever it was that held her attention so closely. It was then her father stood up and said, "Okay, let's go."  I could tell instantly that whatever had transfixed her did so with a pull that left her feeling she most definitely did not want to leave.

Her father headed to the car and called once again for her to come.  She turned to go and then turned back around. Then I saw it.  I saw what had captured her attention.  One single whirling, twirling, iridescent, silky seed pod from a willow tree. The gentle breeze kept it moving and dancing. The little girl walked away from it and then stopped in her tracks, turned to see it once more.  It was then that she lifted her right hand and waved goodbye to it.  No one else saw this, nor cared. But for heart stopped. I felt that moment and the innocence of it with such an intensity that I wanted to cry.  I wanted to capture that scene and the little seed dancing, bringing to life a single breathtaking second and never ever forget it.
Perhaps that little girl was me.  Or perhaps I wanted her to be me.  And for that moment in time, I felt her joy, her breathtaking imagination and delight in seeing this one little white feathery seed float with such grace and beauty.  I too wanted to wave goodbye for fear I never would feel that way again, this loving alliance of grief and hope. A simple promise of connection! A moment that for that moment made all else disappear. 

Monday, June 10, 2013


Absolutely the greatest lesson I have learned in my life! Why is this?  Any answers?
It hurts to the core and there must be an answer. For me, hurt leads to depression and ultimately panic attacks. I am knee deep in both.  Struggling out of the hole and trying to get a breath of air is sometimes all I can accomplish in a day.
A friend just wrote me a text that said, "I think we are picking up other people's energy and then trying to process it as our own." I'll bite, but how do we not?
And honestly at this age and stage, I don't know any other way to be.  I always thought these attributes were my gifts back to the world.  They came from my heart, and they restored my soul. I have indeed given too much, trusted way too much, helped others my entire life, and loved too much to the point of extreme pain and crippling fatigue. If these attributes are indeed in my heart and soul, then my simple response is why.  Why am I the one always to be hurt the most, while they go merrily on their way?
I have had no ego, no plan, no agenda.  It isn't now, nor has it ever been, all about me. Helping, giving, loving, and trusting has depleted my emotional energy.  The framework of my life seems to be crumbling. I hang by a thread onto my writing and my precious dogs. My friends call every morning or periodically throughout the day and ask how I am.  Today I said 'please ask me anything but don't ask me how I am.'  For if I were to tell them I couldn't stand the pain.
I need a safe place for healing, overcoming horrible pain.  I need to find my way out of the proverbial tunnel. My dreams have been shattered repeatedly, so I no longer dream. 
How can I not care, love, trust and give?  I need answers. I have a good heart yes, but my good heart is repeatedly broken.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


" No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness."
Wow, am I glad to hear that.  To have it affirmed.  To know that I am not alone. I have felt at the verge of tears all day, feeling not so strong at all. I dragged myself out of bed, thinking I would feel better, but that didn't seem to work.  Then I ate three chocolate peanut butter cookies.  That didn't work either.  Some days I suppose it just has to feel like the bottom is falling out life, and that I am sinking, falling, tumbling, and dealing with madness.
The past few days have in many ways been grueling, heart wrenching, and full of sadness and madness. I have been waiting for things to be picked up, shaken out, straightened out, and stood upright, to include me. A world that is twirling and whirling around me quite literally is.  I am battling vertigo, which was made more intense after hours of tests on Friday.
Prior to the tests I received multiple emails and phone calls from friends wishing me well and telling me they loved me and cared and hoped that this vertigo and ensuing panic attacks would be able to be cleared up and if they could in any way help there were standing ready.  I received calls and notes of prayer and hope and inspiration which all warmed my heart.  All were uplifting and made me feel cherished and truly cared for. How very blessed one is to have friends who are there through thick and thin and love you dearly no matter what.  To be able to text a friend between hours of tests and receive an instant message back, made me feel not so alone and frightened.  A reaching out of love and caring.  It wasn't a pleasant bevy of tests.  Quite the contrary, they were most unpleasant. They threw me into midst of a tornado for two days.  I am somewhat recovered today.  But nonetheless that blasted lump is still in my throat. And honestly I suppose it is just part of the process of all that I have endured in the past few months. 

I opened facebook this morning to a posting by a friend, Janet, in Montana. My vision changed and pain lessened some what. "One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more days left to do what you want to do. Spend time doing things that matter, not worrying about things you can’t change. Remember, it’s all about choices."
This last week in the midst of the loving kindness from friends, I was also the recipient of words that were loud and cold and flat and deeply hurtful, hurled at me, unwarranted. and untrue.  The repercussions and pain continue like a knife blade thrust repeatedly into me. I wonder why I can't be stronger and let them pass over me like warm water.  But I am not built that way.  My heart is simply too tender. I have  repeatedly been battered and hurt.  Hurt which I am just now becoming aware that I in no way deserved. 
Often people hurt others because they hurt and to feel better they must lash out at you.  But pain is pain and the scars remain, cutting deep, embedded in your soul. So for today I will deal with the madness, by choice or not by choice, and I will be sad and weep.  For there are those that who will raise me up as I walk on the stormy seas of life and assure me that I will once again stand on a mountain and cry tears of joy. To them a heartfelt thank you as my soul, scars and all, will emerge stronger.  Just not today.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


In the past few weeks I have been working to cease continually being stuck in the problems of my life and to become embedded and deeply committed to being involved in the solution. This isn't easy.  In fact it is quite grueling at best. Friends understand and support me whole heartily, others don't understand at all and place blame on my lack of availability and accessibility as I take this journey that I must take alone. I have retreated, backtracked if you will, and am taking a well deserved 'time out.' I am resting, cogitating, reading, listening to music, journaling, quieting my life to a manageable pace and focusing on finding answers to questions long neglected.

The issues go back to my childhood.  Trauma and abuse I have carried my entire life had it origins decades ago.  Relationships, bad choices, continued tolerance to being repeatedly treated poorly, thinking I didn't deserve anything better ~ a learned behavior. A general inability to feel any real sense of joy, because I never got to as a child, and unrelenting constant guilt have traveled with me daily. 
I have lived my life, my journey, with a passion to inspire and motivate and have true and deep compassion for those I feel need it the most by use of my therapy dogs.  I have founded five non profit organization doing just that. Each are still in operation, for which I am pleased.

What I have discovered is that I never had those blessings bestowed on me. I am telling this not to gain sympathy, quite the contrary.  I am telling these things to make them real.  To make me real.  For in many ways I never have been.  It is easy for me to talk to double and triple amputees, severe burn patients with no nose or ears, coma patients, dying patients, parents whose children are taking their last breath, and the list goes on.  I am blessed to be able to do this, and according to many,  to do it well. Many professionals tell me this is a very rare gift.
But what I have discovered, is that in many ways I am giving to others what I so desperately have needed my entire life and never received. A place, a person(s) with whom I could share my tears, my pain, my fears and my laughter and successes. A safe place where nothing is asked of me, except that I be real, be whom I am, be me. I have needed a person who would listen and actually hear what I was trying so vigorously to convey.  But many times, most of the time, I have fallen under the control of domineering and abusive people, while I danced like a puppet trying to be what they wanted and demanded of me, only to be caught in the trap over and over again. When I did not do as they wished/required, I was, as I like to say, "bended, folded, stapled and mutilated."
I have written 58 books.  The last several Pockets of Peace series of books are dedicated to providing motivation and inspiration for those in dark places that so often we find ourselves.  Places that I am all too familiar with. In searching my soul, I find I really wrote those books, not only for our wounded warriors and their families, but also for me.  I needed someone to soothe my soul, to inspire and motivate me.  I know all too well the pain of being alone and so desperately needing a hand to hold, as I have met various challenges and countless heartaches.  So I reach out and offer those things to others for them to start a new day, to remember how to open their wings and fly!  Our ability to help and heal others is unlimited.  For me opening my heart to strangers, offering them hope and encouragement, defines why I am on this earth.
Now I am learning how to become 'real'.  I sit in my garden and watch the tiny buds opening as they too are trying desperately to climb toward that warm bright light.  I know with no doubt that I will never stop reaching out to people with a smile and often a warm understanding hug and offering them hope and encouragement and the true compassion that they too so dearly long for. They too need to remember how to spread their wings and fly, much like the babies of the white winged dove sitting on her nest right outside my living room window.  I have learned to protect her nest, as if it were my own. Protect her until her babies take flight.  I stand by it as the lawn men mow, so as not to have her frightened.  She seems to sense this protection I have of her ~ this making certain she and her babies are safe. I protect her, as I would love to be protected and sheltered.
But for now, for a while, I need to plant my own seeds, give myself gifts, get my nails done, get a massage, begin reading the stack of books that have long gone untouched, I need to find me again.  I need to find laughter, fun, activity, and involvement with those who make me smile and giggle.  I need to walk, sing, and dream.  I need real spiritual/physical therapy that I so urgently need for my personal well-being that has long been neglected..
Then and only then I can return to sharing those things with others, lending a shoulder, giving a hug and hopefully some day knowing myself what it is like to be loved unconditionally and fully, in a place where there is laughter and music and joy and most of all respect, understanding, caring and kindness each for the other.  I am going to focus on asking, believing and receiving.  Today is a new day.  I will offer my best and expect to receive all good things in return.