New Year’s Reminders!

I posted this for New Year’s Day 2012 and the words are as true today as they were then!  Peace and love!

Breathe. Consciously.  Drink more water. Eat less sugar. Run. Stretch. Remember that Karma is only a bitch if you are. Give more. Want less. Love, love, love. Have fun. Be BRAVE. Cry as necessary, but no more.  Remember that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Remember that only you can change your fate.  Remember that an eye for eye makes us all blind.  Learn.  Create.  Inspire.  Have a little faith that it will all work out.  Believe in the here and now.  Be present.  Dance more.  Dream more.  Be reckless with your heart, but not other’s.  Own your decisions.  Own your thoughts and stances.  Own your sexuality.  Sleep enough.  Meditate.  Spend more time barefoot in the sand.  Relax.  Take a picture.  or two. Draw.  Paint.  Play.  Embrace life.  Enjoy the journey.  When you fall down, get up.  When the going gets tough, get tougher.  and bring back-up.  Smile.  Remember that bad decisions make good stories.  Try something new…anything.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Don’t just live, thrive.

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

I am contemplating the past year with gratitude. I have spent the last 365 days with a truly amazing man. The kind of man that makes you realize why it never worked out with someone else.  The kind of man that was worth traversing the long, bumpy road of my relationship history for. I have also, despite not making any sort of resolution to do so, finally managed to get my finances in proper order.  Like really proper. I feel all grown up!  Maybe it’s the result of 18 months of practicing minimalism.  Maybe it’s the result of actually having some extra income from my photography business in 2014.  Maybe it’s the positive influence of the aforementioned new man in my life.  More than likely, as so many successes are, it’s a combination of all those things and more. I also feel a foundation has been built this past year for some successful business projects. Grounds cleared and stones stacked to build something amazing on.

As I look into the crystal ball of 2015 I see…. nothing.  Mostly cause I don’t have a crystal ball and I’m not really psychic. And so glad that I’m not because how boring would that be?

So I am excited about what the next trip around the sun will bring. I refuse to make New Year’s Resolutions.  While every January I do try to refocus on getting in shape, I don’t consider it a resolution. Especially since I also refocus in March and July and October and November and so on and so on…  I have some really exciting photo projects lined up. I have some really inspiring people surrounding me. I am working with friend on building his business and I think it’s going to be his year. The staleness, the icky and the stuff that made me say “Thank God this year is over!” are all a thing of the past. Long gone and washed away with some super sexy rainshowers. Time to jump headfirst into some artistic expression and see what adventures 2015 has in store for me.

I’m ready for it all.  And I hope you are too!

Finding the Good Life.

The “good life” is your life. Whatever you choose.

What should I write? It’s a question I frequently throw out to trusted friends or sometimes just at dinner to rile up the conversation. It’s usually met with the same response

Er… I dunno. Whatever you want.

Helpful guys, thanks.

But when I was getting antsy to write this time, my usual question was answered with a not so usual response.

“Write about how there are so many people, including myself, that live their lives struggling, advancing in work, getting married, running in the rat race. Denying the true feeling that they have had for ever about their lives. They are a gypsy soul that wants to wander the world, have no place to hang their hat, love strong, say YES, die whenever but not from sickness.”

And at first, I could not figure out how to answer that text. But then I realized that I did know how to respond. I felt it, I understood. I could relate. I did it. Fuck, I LIVED it. All of it, every line.

I got married, because that’s what people do. Because I mistook loving someone for being deeply, truly and madly IN love with them. Then I got divorced and did it all again. Even the divorce part. Next my biological clock started ticking so loudly in my ears, I went BABY CRAZY. For four years, I listened to my biological clock pounding in my head, in spite of not having someone in my life that I would want to share a child or have a family with. Then, one day, I realized I’m not even really sure that I want kids.

And then I thought about it. Not kids, necessarily, but life.

I actually took the time to think about my life. And what do I want? What happened to all the things that I knew I wanted to do? I wanted to see Europe. All of it. Mountains and beaches and museums and cafes. I wanted to lay on the grass and stare at the Eiffel tower. I wanted to climb to the very top of Greece and look down to the ocean, see its stucco facade in all of it’s blue and white glory and watch the old men lead donkeys up and down the windy roads. I wanted to ride a gondola in Venice and smell the retchid loss of dignity the city has suffered going from a beautiful mystery to a city drowning in it’s own sewers.

And I was spoiled, blessed. I watched the wave riders from the beach in Bali. I walked for hours on the Great Wall of China. I toured the Great Ocean road in Southern Australia and gawked, open-mouthed and stunned at the raw beauty of Aboriginal paintings. The spark of wander lust was fueled; like someone recklessly splashing lighter fluid on the bonfire. It remained a fire that glowed, sometimes brightly, sometimes just an ember.

But as it does, if you let it, life happened. I got a job and found myself in a career. A year, then five and then a decade passed. My mind occasionally wandering back to a lust for travel. But the occasional longing to roam, well it’s the longing that confirms that I want it and need it. I need to GO.

I miss the feeling of standing in the customs line, my gut tight with knots, strangely and unnecessarily nervous. The same way that my muscles clench mildly during date. Knowing what I want, but not what to say to go about getting exactly that. Not sure if my hunger will be immediately satiated, or if I’ll need to justify it.

No place to hang my hat? Yeah. Been there. Lived in my car. Literally. A Ford Escort. A shower curtain rod hung between the two back windows to hang my work clothes. Everything else in the trunk. Missing my dog, knowing she was safe and loved and more cared for than I could provide after leaving her with a family friend. Crashing each night with a different friend or colleague. Do I long for that life again? I was going to say no, but unexpectedly, the idea makes my heart flutter with inexplicable excitement, my pulse and energy level rising in unison at the mere thought. And reminiscing about my unfulfilled desire to see the world, well, I could just sell the house, sell the car, buy an old VW bus and live in the vehicle again. An unexpected notion that has me surprised and titillated by unexplored possibilities…fascinating.

Love strong? Me? No.

Did you believe me? Yeah, neither do my friends. I fall in love. Hard and fast. As Sugarland puts it,” I’m slow to trust and I’m quick to love.” I love in a way that is strong and deep and I don’t want to let go. I don’t protect my heart. I don’t build walls or put up fences. I believe in being reckless with my heart, but not with other people’s. And I believe that there is peace in knowing that love is going to be gone someday and you only get more if you give it away.

Say YES? God, yes. Yes. Let’s do it, let’s go there, let’s try that. Yes, I trust you. Yes, I want you. Yes I know that you can, and very well might, break my heart, but yes to anything might ask. Let’ do it. YES.

I’m not ready to die though. In fact, I feel as though I could live forever. Surviving on the ebb and flow of the ocean. Stealing subtle intensities from the sky with each deep breath. Absorbing the suns energy like a plant and thriving on that.

I’ll say it again, just in case, I don’t want to die yet. I’m not ready. There’s too much life to live. Too much to see and do. Too many friends left to embrace. Too much love to give and accept.

Before I go, I want to dig in the dirt. and know that a tree will grow because I planted it. I don’t need to watch it grow. I have faith that the sun and sky and earth will watch over it for me.

I want to play in the surf, knowing that while I’m nowhere near “home” the waves could carry me there if I let them. If I could just be swallowed by the oceans and rivers for only a moment, to have them deposit me where they believe that I should land, maybe this crazy world would make sense.

I want to watch the sun until it becomes an eclipse. I want to spend my time seeing it rise and set and fight with the moon until they learn to compromise and share the calender.

But if I were taken from this world today I could rest easily. For I know that I have loved and been loved. I know that I’ve explored and experienced life. To it’s fullest? Not yet. But thankfully, I believe I still have time.

“I go where the wind blows. You can’t tame a wild rose. Welcome to my crazy life.”

*originally posted to elephant journal June 2012.

Being Happy

I live my life according to the serenity prayer. I don’t really know when this happened, and it was by no means a conscious decision to do it. But I realized during a conversation with my brother that doing so is not just how I get by, but how I find happiness.  Let’s face it, for most of us, life is just not that hard. I count my blessings every day. I have a stable job, a roof over my head, lots of friends, a loving family, a couple of adorable, four legged kids and the time and tools to sit around and blog about life. Of course, like everyone, I could certainly find something wrong with my life if I wanted to and do on rare occasion. Sometimes I get caught up in the could have, should have and would have of it all.  But the truth is the past is the past and it cannot be changed.  It’s just a fact.

Now, I’ve stated in previous posts, my faith is a little scattered, so I found it both amusing and somewhat scary that my happiness is the result of living life by a common christian prayer.  So let’s not think too much about it as a prayer and just break it down.  And I’m going backwards, because it just makes more sense to me…

The wisdom to know the difference.  I started at the end because this is really the big one.  Because here’s the thing…. There is very little in life that cannot be changed.  It’s not always going to be easy and it’s not always going to be comfortable, but it is possible.  Remember that not choosing, is still a choice you’ve made.

The courage to change the things I can.  I read (and stole) a twitter post once that said ‘If you don’t like something, change it.  If you don’t have time to change it, turn off the tv.’  And this is so very, very true.  So much time is wasted doing nothing, so now it’s time to shut up and do something.

The serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  There are some things that just cannot be changed.  Learn to live with those things.  There is really nothing else to do here but deal.  You have to find a way to accept the things that cannot be changed, which again, are really few and far between.  Don’t let it fuck up your day (or week or life for that matter.)

So find happiness.  It’s yours for the taking and chances are, the good life is already yours.  It’s just waiting for you to open your eyes and realize it.


Breathe. Consciously.  Drink more water. Eat less sugar. Run. Stretch. Remember that Karma is only a bitch if you are. Give more. Want less. Love, love, love. Have fun. Be BRAVE. Cry as necessary, but no more.  Remember that life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Remember that only you can change your fate.  Remember that an eye for eye makes us all blind.  Learn.  Create.  Inspire.  Have a little faith that it will all work out.  Believe in the here and now.  Be present.  Dance more.  Dream more.  Be reckless with your heart, but not other’s.  Own your decisions.  Own your thoughts and stances.  Own your sexuality.  Sleep enough.  Meditate.  Spend more time barefoot in the sand.  Relax.  Take a picture.  or two. Draw.  Paint.  Play.  Embrace life.  Enjoy the journey.  When you fall down, get up.  When the going gets tough, get tougher.  and bring back-up.  Smile.  Remember that bad decisions make good stories.  Try something new…anything.  Be the change you want to see in the world.  Don’t just live, thrive.

2011 – Inspired

My plan was to write a little bit about the year past before jumping into the next.  And when I started to think about this year, I came to a startling realization.  I have been so incredibly affected this year.  I’ve made so many connections and I have an amazing support system.  I have an ever growing spider web of people who make sure that when I fall, I don’t hit the ground.  And I appreciate every single one of them, there is no possible way that I could fit them all into one teeny tiny blog post.

So after a proverbial wastebasket full of crumpled up beginnings of this post, I decided that instead of reviewing the ups and downs of another crazy year, I’d like to introduce you to a handful of women who inspire and support me.  Not only am I naming names, I’m offering up their websites, because if you too want to be supported and inspired, these are your girls.

Shelley Adelle – Ah, Shelley.  Unlike the other ladies I’ll introduce you too, I am lucky enough to live in the same town as Shelley, which means that I get to soak up her awesomeness directly from the source.  But explaining Shelley Adelle to the world?  Where do I start?  The yoga goddess?  The artist?  The actress?  Nope, I think it it’s the “experimental human” thing that really makes her special.  She teaches us to be who we are.  If you don’t know who you are, be everything and anything you ever thought you might want to be until it all falls into place.  Shelley is the one who gave me the push to take it to the keyboard.  and the canvas.  Both of which are slowly becoming new ways for me to share and express myself.  Something I’m not very good at.  And she taught me to breathe.  Ok, she’s trying.  Who knew breathing was so important?  A good deep breath can undo a whole day’s worth of troubles and stresses.  Sometimes I think I literally forget to breathe.  Apparently it’s important.

Katie Coyle – Katie and I ran together in high school.  And by together I mean, she was running, while I was holding a relatively steady and totally unimpressive jogging pace somewhere in the vacinity.  But you get the idea.  I started following Katie’s blog last year and find her lifestyle to be totally inspiring.  Think you’re doing everything you can to help the environment because you put out your recyclables every week?  Think again.  The ‘Jack Creek Coyles’ live the most sustainable lifestyle that I can imagine.  Growing, raising or hunting most, if not all, of their food.  Minimizing waste and energy use wherever possible.  Re-using anything they can get their hands one.  They’re keeping an eye out for mama earth and sharing their journey.  Of course they can’t save the planet on their own, but here’s the kicker – she makes it sound so damn easy!  When I start getting lazy and think about using the dryer instead of the clothes line, because the clothes line is “so far away” (picture eye rolling here) I think about Katie’s posts.  I’m going to whine about the extra five minutes it takes to put the clothes on the line?  Really?  And while I’m at it, why aren’t I making my own laundry detergent?  So easy.  Why don’t I grow my own food?  Ok, I don’t grow my own food because I have guilt over the death of so many lovely, lovely plants at my hands.  But I could try again.  And why am I not making marmalade from the over abundant citrus trees in my parents back yard?  So easy.  Just read the blog.  The woman makes her own cheese!  From her own goats!  And now she and her husband are about to bring another little Coyle into the world.  Raising a child in a truly sustainable lifestyle.  Talk about improving the next generation.  Oh, and she still looks like she’s twenty.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Carla Tanguay – Carla and I went to school together, for a few years.  In fact, we were nearly inseparable during that time.  Well, Carla moved to another school and as teenagers do, we grew apart.  Eventually we found each other through Facebook (have I mentioned my love of social media?) and re-connected.  Carla comes from a religious upbringing, her dad is a pastor.  She clearly has a firm grasp on her faith, something I admire, but lack myself.  She shares her faith and stories of where it has taken her willingly and openly, without preaching.  But here’s the gem.  Carla, to me, is the definition of what a true Christian should be.  She’s so genuinely kind.  She makes me want to be a kinder person, just by being who she is.  Yes, I’m sure that there are plenty of non-christians out there who are just as kind as she, but I don’t know them.  And I can tell you this for sure, there are whole lot of people out there who claim to be Christians, but could use a lesson on what the really means.  Carla is new to blogging too, so maybe a good deal of this won’t come across in her blog, but I’m betting it will.  You can’t hide that kind of good for long.  I hope it’s contagious.  And I do need to give a little shout out too, because Carla blogging helped me claim this blog as my own.   She uses the the tag line “A recovering self-censored girl speaks out” and it was reading that sentence that took me from writing under a “pen name” to jumping into owning my thoughts here.  Because nobody wants to be censored, not even by ourselves.

Sarah Stanley – Sarah is the first of two women here who I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting.  I started following her on twitter over the summer.  Sarah is an ultra-marathon runner, which in and of itself is inspiring (when was the last time you ran 100 miles?)  So one day on twitter, I reached out to Sarah, after a particularly grueling long run, that left me wanting to quit,  looking for some ideas to inspire and motivate me through the rest of my training.  And she responded, in a private message, looking for any way to help.  She offered advice, asked questions about where I was and told me to reach out any time.  We went back and forth for several days talking about where I was physically, mentally and emotionally in my training.  The woman has like 9,000 followers and took the time out to help me.  She cares about the journey of a total stranger.  Why?  Well, honestly I don’t really know why.  Cause she’s awesome is the answer I’m going with.  And knowing that this woman, who’d never met me, cared enough about helping me find a way out of the little pit I let myself land in, was all the inspiration I needed in that moment.

Kate Fields Bartolotta – Kate, who I also have yet to meet, and who I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, is a blogger who I stumbled upon while reading Elephant Journal.  The thing that I love about reading Kate’s work is it gets me thinking.  Every time.  She’s witty, fun to read and can write about anything.  In fact, when presented with “Hey Kate, how about another Adam Levine article…” no problem.  The link was on my page the next day (photos included, thank you much!) Her titles range everywhere from “Adam Levine does yoga.  Should we care?” to “Batman: Sad & Tender Warrior” and “Mom, what’s fellatio?” (a questions that makes me exceedingly happy I don’t have children.)  Reading her posts remind me that I can write about whatever I want. It’s fantastic to be funny one day and deep the next.  To address anything and everything I want.  I can be everywhere and nowhere and somehow it’s all ok.  Oh,and it’s a small world. Get this, Kate went to high school with Carla.  Apparently they had a good writing program.

So in many, many words, these are my women.  This post is way longer than I had ever intended, but these ladies are way to cool to put into less than 1000 words.  So follow them, check out their stories, be inspired. Hope everyone’s 2011 was as great as mine!