Saturday, April 24, 2010

Alanis Morissette On Authentic Power

Click this link: 'Join Alanis Morissette Today at 11am PDT!' on the Women on the Edge of Evolution teleseries at 11:00 a.m. PDT

"Authentic Power: Stepping Up and Stepping Out
in Service to Our Collective Evolution"

In Dialogue with Honored Guest,
Alanis Morissette

Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and multiple time Grammy winner, Alanis Morissette, speaks intimately to the trials and vicissitudes that come with being a woman on the front lines of power and influence. At twenty-one years of age, Alanis' album Jagged Little Pill skyrocketed her to unexpected worldwide recognition and fame, selling more than 30 million copies and becoming the best selling debut album of any female artist in music history. At this very young age, Alanis found herself thrust on an international stage, an icon of rock and roll whose voice was changing the face of the entire music industry. Through the swirl, Alanis made a fierce decision to stay true to her own voice amidst enormous pressure from both fans and industry insiders who all wanted to stake their claim in shaping her emerging career.

Here is Alanis performing Thank U

"Thank U"

how bout getting off these antibiotics
how bout stopping eating when I'm full up
how bout them transparent dangling carrots
how bout that ever elusive kudo

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

how bout me not blaming you for everything
how bout me enjoying the moment for once
how bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
how bout grieving it all one at a time

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

the moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle
the moment I jumped off of it
was the moment I touched down

how bout no longer being masochistic
how bout remembering your divinity
how bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
how bout not equating death with stopping

thank you india
thank you providence
thank you disillusionment
thank you nothingness
thank you clarity
thank you thank you silence

Friday, April 23, 2010

In the Clearing

Clearing ~ the act of making or becoming clear.
Clear ~ a synonym for transparent

The word "clearing" and "clear" have been especially significant to me the past seven years. I entered into a new phase of life that included marriage, moving to a new community and then becoming a mommy to twin daughters. Sharing my life with a partner has taught me so much more about the real meaning of commitment, compromise and forgiveness. Being a parent also includes commitment and compromise, in addition to self-forgiveness and the practice of a whole new level of patience with myself and others.

I entered into therapy for the first time due to some struggles I was experiencing in my marriage and as a first time parent. It has been eye opening to view my life as a kind of web and to really see how the various parts of myself from the past and the present connect. There have been revelations that have been positive and helpful. Others have been painful, but also in their own way sometimes even more helpful. When you find yourself caught up in an unhealthy spiral, to finally have that aha moment of clarity, allows you to then break free and move in a different direction, make different choices and really see things through new eyes.

During the course of some work I have been doing with Shiloh McCloud and the Cosmic Cowgirl University in the 30 day on-line class called A Year of Great Promise I have again come to see more "clearly" how often my thoughts can travel back into the past and revisit old stories and events or project worries into the future. I once read that FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real and I have never forgotten that because it is so true. If I am reminiscing about wonderful happy memories that is all fine and good. However, if my wanders into the past are more focused on loss, grief, sadness, and those things that cause me pain, I am unnecessarily living them over and over again. In the opposite direction there is that thinking about the future too much. Dreaming, Visioning, and Planning out one's future is the best part about thinking about one's future. Yet when I find that my focus becomes more about my worries and fears about what could happen, then my focus on the future becomes unproductive and even self-defeating.

I don't want to suggest that all wanders into the hurtful past are self indulgent. Certainly it can be necessary to bring something from the past into the light so you can experience a breakthrough of sorts and finally move forward. An example might be when you are feeling anxiety and you really don't quite know what is at the heart of the matter. So you find yourself taking an on-line class with Shiloh and some of the prompts and questions prove difficult and intitally you find yourself resisting answering, writing and responding, but as you stick with it there comes upon you a realization of what is truly at the center of that anxiety. There is your clearing. There is that point of bringing what was hidden into the light. There is your opportunity for recognition and then release, or perhaps action, if that is what is called for in order for you to move forward.

In this clearing I have realized how profoundly my own thoughts affect me. I can allow my thoughts to get bogged down in thinking about old negative story lines from my past or worries and fears about my future. When I get bogged down in the past and future there isn't as much room for Focusing on my Vision or all the positives in my life or all of my many blessings. This is my challenge - to stop those unhealthy and negative wanderings and redirect my thoughts back to the present and what I am doing NOW. Positive thoughts create positive feelings. Positive feelings make you feel good and make you feel happier. This brings me full circle to my Life Vision. I want to be a force for Positive change in my life, the lives of my family and friends and if I widen the circle I would also say in my community and in the world.

It all starts with my thoughts and where I choose to focus them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beauty In the World!

A Love Letter to Mother Earth

Image digitally created by myself in 2008

My Dearest Mother Earth,

Your beauty is astounding
so much so that it brings tears
to the eyes of those who really see you
the greens and blues, the red, browns and yellows
the rainbows that you sometimes wear like magical jewels
and underneath your stunning appearance
you are humble

You are a provider
a giver of life
if it were not for you
and the water that covers
two thirds of your surface
there would be no life
and yet you are humble

There are those
in certain circles
who are concerned
about worshipping you
as a deity
and yet it seems
that since our very
lives and survival
depends on you
that there needs to be
greater Reverence in how we view you

There needs to be more
love and respect
in our actions and thoughts
towards you
and while we can celebrate
that forty years ago
inspired individuals celebrated
the first Earth Day on
April 22, 1970
we must also honor that
every day is Earth Day

Here are the lyrics that appear in the above art work.

Jack Johnson featuring Ben Harper

"With My Own Two Hands"

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I'm going to make it a brighter place
With my own two hands
I'm going to make it a safer place
With my own two hands
I'm going to help the human race
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I can hold you
With my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands
But you've got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own
Use your own two hands
With our own
With our own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Queen of Your Own Life

Queen 1. a female ruler 2. an admired woman 3. the most powerful chess piece 4. a woman eminent in rank, power or attractions 5. a goddess or a female having supremacy in a specified realm.

Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney

Are you looking for something inspiring and entertaining to read? Then look no further than the book Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman's Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve by authors Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney. You might recognize Kathy Kinney from her role on the Drew Carey show as she played Mimi.

In the book they share techniques that they call "The seven best gifts a woman can give herself." These seven gifts elaborate on the following:
  • Claiming your beauty and feeling your power.
  • Cleaning your mental closet and finding your queen voice.
  • Admiring yourself for who you've become.
  • Building deep, fulfilling friendships with other women.
  • Establishing firm boundaries that will strengthen all your relationships.
  • Learning the simple trick to finally being happy.
  • Placing the crown firmly on your head.
Cindy and Kathy manage to keep the reading rather light, even as they tackle topics like Kathy's below-sea-level self-esteem. They takes turns sharing stories from their personal lives to help elaborate and get their point across and that includes some real nuggets of wisdom along the way.

Here are a couple of excerpts to give you a taste of the book~ "I've had my share of grief and sadness in my life but the truth is that a lot of my unhappiness has been created by me. I was so busy borrowing worry from the future, about things that were probably never going to happen, that I was destroying any chance of happiness in my present. I had no gratitude for all the abundance I did have and no faith that I would be able to hang on to any of it. I didn't understand that being happy and worry free is a choice, and making that choice on a daily basis takes practice."

"I believed that I had to suffer in order to be worthy of anything I received. I thought if something came too easily to me, I hadn't earned it and therefore didn't deserve to enjoy it. I now believe that life i supposed to be easy and joyful. When it is difficult and painful, it's a sign that I need to change something."

"We have a secret to tell you. You already were the Queen of Your Own Life. You just needed a couple of good friends like us to hold up the mirror to help you see what we see -- your best self, a woman who has been made wiser and stronger by the journey, who is beautiful just the way she is and who she is more than capable of creating a life for herself that is filled with joy."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sofia Harrison ~ Mosaic Assemblage

In March I was in Healdsburg for a Cosmic Cowgirl member conference and had the pleasure of visiting the Electric Rose Gallery. One of the artists currently showing at the gallery is Sofia Harrison who does the most wonderful Mosaic Assemblage. Her creations had me ooohing and ahhhing and wishing I had a budget that allowed me to purchase even just one of her art pieces. She has an exquisite eye for color and for placement of the glass pieces she uses. Sofia also uses words in all of her works of art and as a lover of words this only added to the appeal of her work.

Please visit Sofia's web site to view her art and to read about her. Here are a several of her creations that are featured on her site.

Natalie Merchant Sings the Poets

Natalie Merchant beautifully transforms poetry to song.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday! ~ I turn 41 years old today.

If you were with me in person we would sit out in the garden and eat vegan cake and soy ice cream together. Don't worry they both taste out of this world and you would never guess they were vegan. Since you are not here with me in person I still wanted to share my celebration with you ~~ so here are lyrics to one of my favorite songs ~ Private Party by India.Arie. If you aren't familiar with her music do check it out. She is an amazingly spiritual and positive individual who writes beautiful and inspirational music.

On the count of three lets all sing it together...
1..... 2...... 3.....

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

I tried to call my mother, but
She didn't get where I was going
I called my boyfriend and he said
Call me back a little later baby
I hung up the phone, I felt so alone
Started to feel a little pity
That's when I realized that I
Gotta find the joy inside of me

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

I'm gonna take off all my clothes
Look at myself in the mirror
We're gonna have a conversation
We're gonna heal the disconnection
I don't remember when it started
But this is where it's gonna end
My body is beautiful and sacred
And I'm gonna celebrate it

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

All my life (all my life)
I've been looking for (I've been looking for)
Somebody else (else)
To make me whole (ooo)
But I had to learn the hard way (ooo)
True love began with me (ooo)
This is not ego or vanity (ooo)
I'm just celebrating me

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

Sometimes I'm alone but never lonely
That's what I've come to realize
I've learned to love the quiet moments
The Sunday mornings of life
Where I can reach deep down inside
Or out into the universe
I can laugh until I cry
Or I can cry away the hurt

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

I'm having a private party
Ain't no body here but me, my angels, and my guitar singin'
baby look how far we've come here
I'm havin' a private party
Learning how to love me
Celebrating the woman I've become, yeah

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finding Freedom

Finding Freedom
by Shiloh Sophia McCloud

What if we woke up today

And the old stories didn’t have their sting?

What if we didn’t resist what there is to do?

And set about our tasks, whether grand or mundane

As if we were serving the world through our tending.

What if we gave ourselves permission to love,

really love,

those who previously, we framed with our thoughts

as if we always know how they will be,

What if we treated them differently? Made ourselves.

What if we did a simultaneous cleansing,

a right of forgiveness…

If we took responsibility for what has gone before

and then choose to move forward powerfully

Instead of guiltily.

We know, how guilt does not inspire

but condemns us to hidden silences.

Let us be honest with ourselves

If things have not turned out as we hoped for.

If our dreams feel dashed or doomed.

Just say it.

Are there ties that need cutting?

Are there others that need re-tieing? Mending?

Heal it, Mourn it.

But only for less than a day or two

Then it is time to move forward.

Slowly, surely we move toward hope again.

So - it is foolish to love again, try again, risk again.

But what else is there to do?

Really. Really?

We are living in a broken hearted world.

Because some of us are hungry.

Some of us are hurting.

Some damage is too far done.

To admit what is, is not to enforce a negative reality.

We have what we have and words and thoughts

do not change what we have.

But we can change our futures.

We can love beyond reason.

We can choose to move ahead with as much joy as we can find.

Some of us are happy – some of us have enough.

We can rejoice in what we have,

Guilt is not the bedfellow of true joy.

Let us be truly truly thankful for what we have.

And when we are, what we no longer need

Comes into clear view. And we can make changes.

We see how we can give, and serve.

Finding freedom comes from telling ourselves the truth

About us.

Finding freedom comes from admitting and releasing.

Finding freedom comes after a lifetime of pain or pleasure.

When we allow ourselves to see what is truly here.

In our lives in the world.

A space is opened up in us when we are no longer

hiding from our conscience, our soul, our heart.

Finding freedom comes after grieving.

Freedom is not free, or easy, or even likely.

Good Riddance to Disappointment

I wrote a poem called Good Riddance to Disappointment just a few days ago as part of the current Cosmic Cowgirl on-line course I am following for 30 days called A Year of Promise. One option of the Day Three exercise was to share something you would no longer tolerate. During the course of my life I often felt like a disappointment to certain people in my life whenever I was overweight. I shared that I will no longer tolerate thinking that I am a disappointment to another human being. Just yesterday I was exercising after work at the park. On my walk I passed a beat up pick-up with three young men sitting inside. From behind I heard a whistle and then "Ooh baby, I love your ass!" and then laughter. There was no one else around so I knew the comment was directed at me and I also knew that it wasn't sincere but rather meant to poke fun at me. I had a wonderful aha moment though because the whole scene made me smile. I really didn't care what those young guys thought of me. Their opinions meant absolutely nothing. It really struck me on a deeper level ~ Why would I care what they thought of me? It is what I think that matters!

Good Riddance to Disappointment

I was told that my thighs
were too pudgy
my middle too round
from now on
only 30 carbs a day

I wanted
I wanted
to please
I wanted
to be loved

Appetite suppressants
like caramel candy
would ease the hunger
and help me get
through the day

No bread or crackers
no milk or pasta
or even too much fruit
all this effort in order
to melt the fat away

I wanted
I wanted
to please
I wanted
to be loved

I didn't question
the methods
there was no mention
of health
all I did was obey

I feared
I would disappoint
if I was not thin
I was learning
fat was not okay

I want
I want
to please
I want
to be loved
these are the things
for which my little
4-year-old self
would pray

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cosmic Cowgirls

During the summer of 2008 I was spending the weekend on the coast with my sister Wendy. Upon entering the Wisdom House Gallery in Mendocino here in California, which is owned by and features the art of Shiloh Sophia McCloud, all I could say was "WOW! WOW! WOW!"

Here are a couple of images from that visit.

I was incredibly moved by the art and journals that Shiloh had created. I spoke with Mary who was working at the gallery that day and during our conversation she happened to mention SARK, an author I had been reading and admiring for years. My visit to that gallery that day left an impression and I found myself visiting Shiloh's web site. This is where I began to learn about the Cosmic Cowgirls. I also learned about the Bountiful Conference the Cosmic Cowgirls were presenting in October of 2008. It was a three day event for women that would feature art and writing and even SARK would be present and would lead one day of the conference.

My immediate response was that I must attend. I would end up vacillating on my decision for weeks. I would question affording it. My soul was being drawn to it though like a moth to a flame. Finally I committed and signed up to attend by myself. The conference proved to be an incredible experience for me. It was inspiring and motivational and I met some amazing women. The vision statement of the Cosmic Cowgirls is:

We envision a world where the voices of women and girls are heard and valued. Our mission is to inspire a creativity movement and provide a platform for voices for transformation to be expressed and shared. Our member-owned tribe teaches and produces educational multi-media events, books and tools that are designed to promote a vision of wellness, compassion and empowerment.

This vision spoke to me and I knew I would like to be a part of what they were planning to achieve. Before I left the conference I officially applied to become a Cosmic Cowgirl. My membership would later be approved after a telephone interview. After a couple of days filled with creating, visioning, writing, sharing, witnessing and celebrating, the long drive home was anything but tiring. I felt jazzed and fired up because my spirit had felt at home in the Cosmic Cowgirl world.

In the months following I would find myself procuring a business license for myself and I would call my new endeavor Red Boa Productions. I created business cards, got a resale license and began to plan my first Red Boa playshop for February 2009. Everything fell into place so smoothly and I continually had a sense that I was on a path meant for me.

In January 2009 I attended a class being presented by Shiloh called Painting Your Prayers with a friend and I again so enjoyed the experience of being in a women's circle where we shared, created and meditated on our life visions together.

The day of my playshop was cold and rainy, and even snowy in nearby areas. In spite of the weather a total of 14 women, composed of family and friends, attended that gathering. Our ambitious agenda for the day included 1) Mandala Meditation 2) Circle Sharing 3) Personal Manifesto 4) Paper Altar 6) Closing Circle. It was an empowering and fulfilling day for me to facilitate such an event. I also felt very present and content. My closing reading was a powerful piece Shiloh wrote called We Are Wild Wonderful Women:

We Are Wild Wonderful Women

We are women of complex deep juicy mystery
We are women learning to love and forgive ourselves
We are builders of dreams and seekers of justice
We are creators of new life and bringers of light
We are lovers and warriors, healers and truth tellers
We are marvelously tender and fiercely compassionate
We are whole even when the past has been too much
We are abundant beings, full of celebration and vitality
We are wild… We are wonderful… We are women!!!

Last Fall the Cosmic Cowgirls started a new on-line project called Sparking for members only. We were invited to commit to working on a particular Focus Desire for one month. Each day we would check in and share our "Sparks" (basically goals or intentions) for that day. There were prompts to get us to think and share. My first session Focus Desire was to have "Balance in Mind, Body and Spirit." I also participated in the next session that was offered and took on the Focus Desire of "Making Daily Progress on my book and deck of inspirational cards." Then in March they began a session that was opened up to the public and anyone could sign up for only $30.00. It proved to get a wonderful response and I again joined the Sparking group and this time focused on "Delighting in Fun and Play every day."

It seemed like forever until I attended another in person Cosmic Cowgirl event which was the Comic Cowgirl member conference in March of this year. The member conference was a small and much more intimate gathering. Here we all are in a group photo.

It made my heart happy to be present for a meeting of the "Inner Corral" and learn more about the exciting new projects that are being unveiled. The Cosmic Cowgirls are launching the Cosmic Cowgirl University and the Cosmic Cowgirl Magazine. There are also numerous in-person and on-line classes and workshops one can attend. I am currently participating in an on-line 30 day course called A Year of Great Promise. My dream is to one day take the Leading A Legendary Life class.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cosmic Cowgirl University and upcoming session of Spark and other classes click here