I Had My Heart Set On It

My season so far has been unusual. For the most part it’s been good. Travelling around is harder in bad weather but you can kind of pick and choose a bit when you go.

I realized throughout this holiday how nomadic I am. Years back I did a mass exodus of most of my belongings and my dresser drawer is down to two. While travelling, I take a laptop and a backpack. I don’t own a home and my parents are both gone, so there isn’t a main family home to visit.

For a few years now, I have been looking at old buildings and churches with the thought of buying one to live in at some point. There was one I really loved and it sold, but the funny part is that I didn’t feel any disappointment. For about 5 seconds I thought, aw…that’s too bad…then I moved on. See, I have changed my entire perception about things. For many years, things dictated where I would stay, what job offers I would take and where I would live…but it was so freeing to consolidate how I did and now I feel like I am not too far away from being ok with buying a place to call home. I actually think I could buy a home, furnish it, and lose it all and still be ok with it because of my new perception of "things".

I was telling this to a friend who said she lost a home to another buyer (as though it was already hers to begin with) and she said, "Ya know…I just had my heart set on it." I believe this thought can stop us from looking for what is in front of us. It’s a sure way to experience disappointment and we seem to teach it to children young. Children at this time of year experience it with gifts. It’s nice to have some ideas about things, but should you really invest your heart in it?

Then it got me thinking about how I have had my heart set on people too. Talk about MAJOR disappointment. Is it not better to be open to the idea that something won’t come for us and someone won’t be there for us?

Fixating my heart in either scenario not only sets me up for disappointment but takes my eye off of the beautiful surprises life offers. It reminds me of when my driving instructor asked me to keep my eye further down the road than on the hood of my car.

I feel really wide-eyed and ready for what is next. If a cheap church or century home comes up and I am struck with the idea of getting it, I will…but I am more concerned if that is where I am supposed to be at the time according to the bigger plan that is waiting for me.

I won’t lie to you though, I could certainly make a lot more noise in it than an apartment. ;)

Just gotta be open to what comes my way.

I apologize for my really horrible reply time to emails, internet is questionable in my travels.

Much love on all of you this holiday season!

Karen :)

"Dreaming is one thing, and working towards the dream is one thing, but working with expectations in mind is very self-defeating." ~Michael Landon


The Jerry Springer Incident at My Hotel

Well, I am back from my first trip. I was in Orlando with friends…Cape Canaveral’s Beach was a highlight for me. I watched the Sandpipers for a very long time. If you have never seen them, they run quickly from the tide coming in and then as soon as it goes out again, they run quickly towards it picking up little bits in the sand.

The weather was humid compared to Los Angeles (which is abnormally cold right now but apparently compared with Ontario where I will be after the 15th of this month for quite a bit, it’s balmy) Overall I had a good time.

I had posted a status update about the chick who pulled the fire alarm at my hotel. I guess her and her roommate got into it (they seemed like women in their 20s) and the one ran out of her room yelling that the other stole money from her. She yanked the fire alarm, then people started coming out of their rooms to see what was going on. She proceeded to knock on everyone’s doors warning that her friend was a thief and she’d steal from us all! I went back in the room and called security and they said the police were on their way. The hotel manager and security were trying to get a straight story, she’s going off like some whack on Jerry Springer (oh in my status comment that was me yelling for Jerry Springer to help, she wasn’t yelling it….ha) Then a little while later, I hear some man in the hall say, "I’d never hit a woman, but I wanted to slap that crazy bitch!" I was thinking ‘WHERE am I?’ It felt like a Springer set. The man in the hall was telling some other people that he ended up having to shove her into a wall because she was so out of control and that was where the cut on her head came from. He said the Hotel Manager wanted a statement from him and he laughed and said, "I got no time to make some statement…" With that I laughed and shut my door thankful nobody wanted info from me. I was free. YAY!

Anyways, I now safe at home again until I leave for the cold North I grew up in. I will still have access to the internet for those of you who asked that….hahahaha but I am not mailing signed CDs until the new year. If you would like to order one, email me at stevermusic@hotmail.com and I can mail you one before I go. Same goes for CDs you would like to send as gifts. I can mail anything you want between now and Dec.14th. After that, it will be a few weeks into January.

And of course, anything you’d like to buy or send as a Christmas gift you can pay for in the new year when your finances are ok. I don’t mind helping with you giving gifts. I don’t charge interest. ;) They are $15 to send anywhere in the US and $18 to send outside the US. I’ll send right away, you pay when you can.

I hope that helps a bit. :)

Pouring back tons of tea today to keep warm!

Happy Holidays!!
Karen :)

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."~Helen Keller


HAVE FUN…whether you like it or not!

December is always a colorful month. It’s good to see holiday cheer beginning.

I haven’t really had a holiday in over a decade and this month I am taking family and friends up on invitations to go various places. It feels bizarre because I have been particularly shut in since Mom died on Dec 24th of 2001.

But, I am taking a different attitude and spending much of this month visiting and doing friend and family outings and travelling. I’m not gonna lie to you, I find it difficult and if you are a bit of a hermit, you may understand that.

Being a big ‘people watcher’, it’s interesting to see how other families react to the season which I suppose is part of what has turned me off of the holidays to begin with. But with taking on this fresh outlook, I am trying diligently not to be tainted by things I disagree with and let it slide a bit more. Public places really show bad parenting at its finest. Can you imagine what we don’t see?

Losing Mom was a wake-up call for me. I started out being very bitter that she was gone and people were still fighting. So I isolated myself for years. I realized that sweating the little holiday stuff is not worth it. It just doesn’t matter. I used to listen to arguments over which day someone would have Christmas, who would be hosting it, what food would be cooked, how much to spend on presents and despite everyone thinking the season is especially for little ones…the little ones would feel the biggest part of the stress. That bothers me when it’s parents fighting with their kids in an amusement park or shopping mall setting because those places were originally intended to bring people closer.(or uh, make money on bringing people closer…haha)

When I look back at my childhood, despite losing Daddy at a young age, my fondest memories were of me doing something or doing nothing WITH my Mother. I especially loved bringing a very large stack of books into her at night not necessarily with the hope of reading them all, but prolonging our time together before bed. It amazes me how parents are annoyed by it. If they really viewed it as it is, the child just loving to be with them, they might take a cooler approach to bedtime. I never argued with her over bedtime, she just made it enjoyable and I accepted the sleep part as being a necessary health thing for me because she explained it that way.
I know during the holidays depending on who I visit, I am going to see parents stressed out. As natural and somewhat normal as this is, if everyone jumped up into my Father’s airplane at a few thousand feet and looked down, they’d see how the little things don’t matter. I should say, the little quarrels don’t matter…because the hugs, kisses and small words are very important.

I know it’s economically been a tough year for many, but I am pretty sure most children could be ok with less ‘stuff’ if the parents would worry less about how the house looks and would get down on the ground and play with them. It’s my opinion that spending time WITH family rather than spending money ON family is what they will remember in 10, 20 and 50 years. I remember the toys and books where Mom played or read them with me. I only treasure those items because of the experience, not because of the bits and pieces themselves. There are so many great books now and many have forgotten about them. Kids love curling up with them if a parent is involved.

In other areas, there are lonely people (ie, families of soldiers etc) who would appreciate the time being spent also….of course, not just the holidays, but every day.

I hope all of you are able to take the opportunity this season to assess or reassess your relationship with your family, perhaps find someone you haven’t had a deep conversation with, ignore the housework and curl up on the sofa with them over tea.

I’m looking forward to doing just that.

Much love on you and Happy Holidays!
Karen :)

"A vacation frequently means that the family goes away for a rest, accompanied by a mother who sees that the others get it." ~Marcelene Cox


My Birthday; ‘Incroyable’!

Incroyable! (that’s the Canadian in me creeping out, although my background is German, not French…ha!)

It means ‘incredible’ and is really all I can think to describe my birthday present last night.

Cirque du Soleil has the Big Top set up beside the Santa Monica Pier. So it was 30 minutes from me! After a lovely dinner, we wandered around the tent for half an hour looking at the fabulous merchandise. You could really go broke if you weren’t careful. I didn’t buy anything, I am not really much of a shopper, but I love to look.

The show that was playing is called Kooza which really feels like a return to the travelling Circus unlike the extravagant Vegas-style Cirque shows. (which I still hope to attend sometime) This show was a raw display of physical and comedic talent. While the set was stunning (you forget how vibrant color really is) and the costumes ridiculously beautiful, my focus was on how many people there were eager to inspire the audience. In fact (without blowing the storyline) I felt that the main character was lonely and depressed and he was visited by the spirit of inspiration. For anyone who has gone through a bad depression, this show is for you. For me personally, I walked away thinking that the group I saw somehow had decided that they were going to live their lives fully without boundaries.

The music is live and the musicianship made me think all radio is garbage. These are people who have specialized in their field, have given everything to their craft and completely love what they do. They make me feel like our standards have dropped too much.

I had a cute little chuckle with a girl beside me. I felt really proud telling her I was Canadian and we talked about the origins of Cirque being from Quebec. They initially had some brutal financial issues in the 80s but through our Government Arts Grants, they were stabilized and went on to be what it’s become now.

During one performance, there were a group of girls who could bend their bodies any which way and I leaned over to her and whispered, "Every woman here all of a sudden feels inferior." Then a little later in the show, we watched the ultimate acrobat on a high hamster-style wheel (video below) do the craziest stuff I have ever seen. She leaned over and said, "Now the men feel inferior."

But I thought, you know, they weren’t here to make us feel inferior, they were living to inspire others. I don’t believe their lives are easy. They work enormously hard and they deserve the applause. We should be very proud of them and steal the energy they are sending out because I am sure they would love nothing more than to hear someone say their performance inspired someone. :)

Thank you all for the birthday wishes from yesterday. I am certainly feeling the love you are sending!

Here’s your inspiration! You don’t have to do this (HA!), but try to put equal passion into the thing in your life you love the most! The crowd went nuts for them…so exciting! This is a clip of my favorite act of the night; (from YouTube)

Now, go grab LIFE!

Karen :)

"I believe that the circus is a place where people can forget about the headaches and heartaches of life. And all the other countries getting along together is part of the magic that is the circus." ~Bello Nock


Do our Screw-ups Define Us?

"Our sins are more easily remembered than our good deeds." ~Democritus

I saw that quote and I thought, "Yes, I do have people who will always remember me for something I screwed up." I mean, obviously it depends on how bad that thing was. Some people get fired for something and of course their boss will remember what they did wrong. If you go to jail for something you did, you will most likely be known for that. A champion boxer will be remembered for spousal abuse over the several titles he held. I understand all of that. I don’t mean to cite such extreme cases…this is me speaking more generally.

But I am reminded of what James Hetfield had said when he was performing to the inmates at San Quentin. It was something about being born with the same size souls and being born good. I think James did a great job at that prison of showing respect. He wasn’t there to rub anything in anyone’s face. He didn’t have them all released into society, but he did show respect.

If Democritus’ quote rings true, then I would think it would stand to reason that a person who is capable of performing good deeds does have a good soul. Now if the person is just absolutely rotten to the core, then maybe the good deeds are part of a bigger scam…but then, they wouldn’t care if they were remembered at all, right? Of course some people start off pretty good and then fall off the turnip truck along the way…I doubt they care how they are viewed either.

For those of us who would rather have the good part of us define our character, I think it’s a good starting place to look at what we remember or acknowledge in others. Is there someone in our life who has had the bad parts overshadow the good? For instance, in a marriage; could we look past the smaller idiosyncrasies and quirky behavior to see the person we fell in love with? Are we storing these faults in the fronts of our minds instead of the back and if the faults don’t further jeopardize our future, could we shove them out of heads altogether?

It’s painful when someone defines us by our screw-ups but if we hate it so much, could we start by looking past theirs? I don’t think this means we have to stay married to someone abusive or keep an employee who steals money, but I think we can begin to detach the human from their actions.
In my own experience, when I have reminded someone about the good they have done and ultimately the good person they are, the encouragement in many cases have caused them to be more like the person they want to be or know they are.

I think the goal is to strive be the person we want to be and the person we know we can be based on our own personality with the hope of getting farther away from what we screwed up. Nobody is perfect and I think it’s more crucial now than ever to encourage everyone towards their right to happiness.

Much love on ya!
Karen :)

(quote is at the top of the blog) ;)


Nov. 16th, 1940- Dec.24th, 2001 (when my angel roamed the earth)

Dear Mom,

First of all, Happy Birthday! I bet birthdays in heaven ROCK! Do you still play the big pipe organ you were hoping to find? And what about the guitar, are you still playing? I bet you started back up again. I bet your fingers aren’t sore anymore. You know what? That sucked so bad when the chemo destroyed your fingertips. That crap is pure poison, isn’t it?

What is Odie doing, is she sitting beside you? Is her ear all bent still? Does my Filthy Cat like to sit on your lap? Thanks for asking God to send him, he did a really good job at the perfect time in my life. Someday I will have to ask him how he managed to get in this building all those years when he wasn’t allowed to. It’s probably not as hard as I think it is. On that note, is God as funny as you described him? He shows his silliness to me a lot. I’ve been having a Phoebe bird visit me lately. I didn’t even know what they were until I heard this loud call one morning. I know you taught me about all the birds in Ontario, but I don’t know the birds very well here. I search online a lot now.

How’s Daddy doing? Still flying his plane around? I bet he hangs out with all the animals. That is where I will hang out when I see you both.

I am doing better. I’m not as angry as I was. I am remembering to breathe. I am writing an awful lot. My writing has changed, but you may laugh at that and say it’s reverted back. You can either look over my shoulder or wait until I have it all done. Your choice! (like I could stop an angel from doing what she wanted to anyways….hahaha) It would seem that all I am doing is picking up where I left off almost two decades ago when things were going well. It’s like I need to buy an easel and begin painting with my fingers again. Is that what was meant by ‘coming as a little child’? Why are we taught all these complicated things that don’t even work? I love the intricacies of life and I like the complex make-up of it all, but Mom you were so right when you said there is nothing greater than love and to keep it simple. I’ve been trying to show it more even when it’s hard to do. What made it seem so easy for you? Keeping it simple has always seemed boring to me, but now I am starting to understand what you meant. You meant that some things really don’t matter…that love is the starting point that grows in a circle, not a straight line…that everything ends there too. I like the idea of the focus being there and then my crazy life can happen on the way. Can I still be crazy? It must have been hard for you marrying into all the craziness and then have to deal with the silly offspring. heehee

Do you still cry when you see all the hurt in the world? Did you ever think of compassion as a heavy anchor? I don’t want to lose it, but I am trying to find some sense of separation between the bad things going on and taking full advantage of this amazing planet. I don’t feel the need to save everyone like I did. I understand my job isn’t to control it anymore. But so many people are hurting these days, Mom. Do you remember crying on the edge of your bed just weeks before you died because you were so sad? The whole fall of 2001 was bad for everyone. I still can’t believe the Mommy instinct you felt in leaving us. Remember when I asked why you were crying? "I’m just sad to leave you all behind, because you are going to have such a big mess to deal with." I think it hurt you more that you felt like you couldn’t be around to protect us from it all.

But you know what Mom? I’m still here and despite it seeming like the world just continuously drops downhill, the last 4 years have been very good and going up! It’s been a ridiculous amount of work, but I don’t mind hard work. The big work has been in rebuilding my character again. I let some things slide that you taught me. I didn’t mean to, I was just overwhelmed by it all. I will try and apply all the things you said, but in all fairness, my memory is just coming back recently after the fog has lifted…so you’ll have to cut me some slack. ;)

I think we are all facing some enormous challenges, but when you were dying was when I saw you rise up higher than I ever witnessed from you! How did you do that? How did you show 1000 times more love to people around you when your organs were failing? How were you able to comfort us when your pain was so high? And can you show me how?

You are and forever will remain the greatest overcomer I have ever met. I long to see you every day. I doubt I will ever be perfectly ok with you being gone but I am seeing past all of that and understand that our lives are not all supposed to be the same length, but we all have the potential to achieve the same sense of purpose no matter how long we are here.

I love you, Mom! I want to be more like you!
Love you forever, Karen :)

"Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children." ~William Makepeace Thackeray


People need to keep their hands OFF of each other!

Ah, Friday night. I’m sure many of you can relate when you live in a big city, you just hear "stuff". You can’t track down exactly where it’s coming from especially if you live in apartment corridors.

There are always random screams, kids crying, dogs barking and general craziness going on. It’s frustrating to listen to when you can’t exactly walk into someone’s home and ask what their problem is. I understand police officers can’t do much unless there is a definitive situation.

I’ve had so many friends over the years talk about domestic violence and I am also a victim of it from years back. So, even if a child is crying because they don’t want to go to bed, my past makes me think they are in trouble automatically.

The violence that I have personally experienced (I have family who have a lot of history as well) seems to have started what some may consider, "innocently". I don’t mean to lump play-fighting or wrestling in with this, but when you hit another person even if you think it’s playful, you run the risk of breaking down a protective wall of respect. Some people have a wonderfully unique relationship where they can play fight and it never turns violent. I get that. But you may be on the safer side if you are starting off in a new relationship to just avoid it if you can. I’ve seen it so many times be a playful part of a relationship, then some backyard BBQ with beer happens, someone gets pissed off and it turns violent because the wall has already been knocked down. For example, you are used to punching each other in the arm, stomach, chest etc, then during an argument, it’s easy to turn that into a real punch because you’ve already hit them there playfully. The wall has already come down.

So, the title of my blog is not for the playful, loving relationships.That title is specifically for those who think they are justified in striking another person. Someone had asked me recently if a man was allowed to slap a woman back if she slapped him first. My response is that she is no more justified striking him than he is her. Many women live under the protective blanket of, "I’m a woman, he can’t hit me" and they use that as a free license to hit him. I’ve witnessed it firsthand where I have personally thrown myself between two people so he wouldn’t hit her back, but she was WAY out of line. We see it in movies all the time where women slap men. It’s easy to be all brave when you think there are no consequences. Most men won’t press charges because the police side with the women, but he should at least consider finding a nicer person or counseling.

My advice having been through domestic violence is that if someone strikes you, get out. It rarely gets better. Charge them, do what you have to…but hitting, punching, kicking etc is a violation of another human’s personal space and it is wrong. Few people can erase it from their arsenal and it can be pulled out again and again later on.

If you feel the need to strike at someone first, may I humbly advise you to take some courses in communication because it would seem you are unable to resolve a problem with your words.

Karen :)

"Do all things with love." ~ Og Mandino


Depression; The Real Enemy

I was thinking about how important sticking together is and how easy it is to turn on each other inside our own relationships. We can lose sight of why we are together and what we are fighting for because our own depression, anger and frustration of everyday life can get to us.

Today I not only plan on reflecting on past and present warriors, but I am going to use the day to see how I can be of help in repairing a few broken relationships that are going on around me. I am involved in several business relationships as well where I am seeing people turn on each other. We can easily forget the common goal!

I think most of us are well past the need to be right in an argument. I think most people would feel satisfied in just being heard! I think the key to fixing these broken relationships is not making big statements about who is right or wrong, but just allowing the other person to speak and be heard. Our partners and families are not the enemy. Our partner or spouse should be like a soldier on the same team. When did it get to the point where the person we marry or are living with became the enemy?

Part of today’s reflection for me is taking a good hard look in the mirror. Am I doing everything I can to listen to people around me? Am I reserving judgment and striving to be a better listener? Are the people I claim to love and have committed to on my team or am I treating them like the enemy?

I am trying to be conscious of who or what the enemy is. This is not to say real enemies aren’t out there. It’s like we can’t win the battle within ourselves and we can’t win the battle inside our family. But the truth is, we shouldn’t be battling our own forces. Within the home, there should be no enemies. There are problems, yes…but a spouse is not supposed to be an enemy.

But my biggest demon I have had to fight off is Depression. I feel like I have beaten it for the most part now, but Depression above all else can make us dream up enemies that don’t even exist. Depression like a bad acid trip can put demonic faces on those closest to us when we look at them. Depression can change our focus from seeking out life’s most fulfilling avenues to causing us to wish people dead. Depression can make us turn on one another. Depression can lead to hating others but most of all hating ourselves. We can finally view our own reflection as the enemy.

And then, crazy as it seems; Depression can cause a sad person to think anger is an accomplishment in a day.

It takes some time to identify the enemy. I think once we realize it is our own depression, anger and frustration, we can come up with a better game plan.

Much love and hugs on all of you!
Karen :)

"The trick to problem solving is to go to the root, i.e. to find the actual cause." ~Brahma Kumaris


Pouring More Gas on the Inferno

It’s not a topic I would usually touch on because it can get too heated. I don’t mean for it to become that, I am striving for more peace in my day.

The shootings at Fort Hood were beyond horrific. I don’t even know if there is a word for it. I am praying for the families and people who were involved, but I am also mindful of how something like this can affect the hearts and minds of the rest of us in other states and other countries. It can cause much bitterness and anger. If you are angry, you are allowed to be, I am not about taking a person’s emotions from them. Everyone grieves how they grieve. If someone is angry, they emote. I do understand that and all of my sympathy is there.

When you hear about the role of women in uniform (both military and the police force) there is a tendency to have a few opinions and many are divisive. There are the dinosaur ones that believe there is no place for women there and then there is the extreme side where people can build a wall and become defensive in an excessive way to defend the role of women. I’m not in between those, I am actually neither.

I am a believer that each person should do the job they are good at and they should be allowed to choose, yet prove that position. I don’t see gender, sexual orientation or religion (although obstacles for many) as a reason why someone should or shouldn’t hold a position.

What I am trying to remind myself in this Fort Hood situation is to be careful of judgment based on those three areas. The woman who stopped the rampage by putting 4 holes in the shooter did her job. She did something heroic. Is she the best police officer on her force? I don’t know, but she did the best job she could in her position. The situation came up, she was in a unique place with a courageous mindset and skill to be able to put an end to it. I refuse to submit to the theory that because she was a woman, she outsmarted, outwitted or outranked people around her. I don’t like using stories like this to bash men. That would be a slap in the face to everyone else who was trained and skilled also, but not in a unique position to be able to end it. This doesn’t mean what she did can’t benefit the Woman’s Movement, I just don’t want it to end in generalizations and male-bashing.

My attention with her is more about praying for her heart to heal from this as all reports suggest she is very upset by the losses (bless her heart). So are many others, both genders, orientations and color/religions. Her broken heart is a reminder to the rest of us that while she did do something heroic, she doesn’t enjoy it, it’s upsetting but it’s her job.

On the flipside; it is my strong opinion that even if this shooter was politically-motivated, it’s very important not to conclude this is a Muslim trait. I have so many wonderful Muslim friends who are very upset by his actions and are frightened of the repercussions on their communities. It’s so super convenient to think because this man was Muslim, that all Muslims are like this or that it’s a Muslim thing to do.

Clearly, there is a story…but I feel the story should be focused on the actions of ‘INDIVIDUALS’ not communities or genders. The country needs to run on law, not prejudice. I believe we should react with love for those who need it not join the hate groups to seek out vigilante justice.

Even though I fundamentally understand what that means, I know we are all capable of allowing our own baggage and prejudices to enter into stories like this. I am trying not to indulge in that. While we think it’s a harmless story around the water cooler, there are families around us who have to add locks to their doors so Supremacist groups don’t come looking for them because this shooter has a Muslim name. There are police officers, army personnel and their families who are mourning the loss of their friends.

I just don’t think we have time to do anything that adds to the negativity and I don’t think it’s even appropriate to make large generalizations.

I am very open to suggestions from both the Military families and the Muslim community on what I can do here to help in a practical sense. This isn’t because it’s a passion of mine, but partially because I worry about more hate spreading. If you can help in those communities, even if it means sending notes of love and prayers somewhere, I would hope you would also.

Much love on all of you!
Karen :)

"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." ~Gandhi


Sued, Drug Use, Apology, Confession, Caskets and a Monster

Those were a list of words that managed to make the top searches on the internet.

Usually a celebrity’s name will precede them (with the exception of the Monster, that was the one you’d think would be behind a big name, but sadly no….ha….it was a discovery of a sea monster) Oh and Caskets; that was something about Walmart selling caskets online. That one was so ridiculous. I shook my head once and moved on.

The other four words are classic grab words. When used in conjunction with a big name, you can get just about anyone to click on something. (don’t feel bad, I did not suck you in using them on my blog, you are just a regular reader here, right? Hahahahah—LOVE YOU!!!) ;)

On the flipside of it, many of you know I will click on just about anything that says "Puppies" or "Kittens". They are used to try and sell us everything too! Even though I never wax a car by hand, I might buy car wax if a Jack Russell Puppy is selling it to me. :)

I also notice big brand names affixing themselves to things that they have nothing in common with. A popular Cola or fast food restaurant sponsoring something that has to do with a Health event. (I’m not going to start pointing direct fingers) That’s really bizarre to me. You walk away thinking, "Oh Geeze, even though their product contains 10 times my caloric intake and 50 times my salt, I feel good about these guys! They are doing good things!"

What ends up happening with these kinds of advertising (both grab words and associating) is we tend to do one of two things outside of ignoring it.

*We click on it or read it because we are curious

*We throw stones at the wrong participants

But I think there are the people who don’t get enough credit here (don’t necessarily think good credit, but it could be) and that’s the person profiting.

When we click on an internet story that is gossipy with the grab words, there is generally a banner somewhere on that page. You may not necessarily click on the banner, but you at least peripherally see it. When you spot a big organization associated with something you already know to be good, you may already know that fast food chain or cola company is garbage but you are left with a feeling of "oh, a family run company" or "they assist with my son’s Little League team, they can’t be all bad".

I am all about people doing well at their business. I’m not trying to stifle profit. I am however very aware of things are not always as they seem.

As I have said before, I really just skim the news to stay current. I don’t dive in very far because I have become aware of how the negativity affects me. What I have been trying to stay attentive to(without indulging in paranoia or conspiracy theories) are the motivations behind advertising.

The words I listed in the title are colorful (they grabbed me initially) but they are negative. I actually have more of an issue with the people writing the stories than I do the people in the stories. It’s a catch 22; we read it; we feed it, they feed us; we eat it again…

Anyways, I don’t know how deep I want to go with this as it’s already been a long day. But I think it’s just good to be attentive to the negative wording in both journalism and advertising and steer clear as best we can. We can change our home page to something better and we can support companies we believe in.

It’s really just about choices.

Hope you have had a great week so far!
Karen :)

"I would be lying if I said the journalism doesn't reflect my own choices as a reporter and a writer: what to say, what to emphasize, how to say it, what is true or untrue." ~David Simon


The Responsibility of Being Happy

When I was going through my Depression, I had two specific people in my life that clinically helped me through much of it. One was my family doctor who I have known since I was 13 and the other was my Pastor who I had also been through a lot with.

Both of these men were in a unique position to be able to be a Doctor or Pastor. I think it takes someone very gifted to be in either of those roles because they really get dumped on too often!

Having known my Doctor for so long, I was really amazed he could come into our small town and take on so many clients. He was jovial, calm, smart and compassionate. I remember asking him how he could handle such a big responsibility and I shared how much I hated being dumped on when I was already so fragile. He was humble in responding and said it was his job, that he enjoyed it and that certain people could handle that and in fact it was their responsibility to help others. He also told me that the smartest thing I could be doing was concentrating on getting better first before throwing out a life ring so I wouldn’t drown in the undertow.

Well, fast forward to today. I saw a Beethoven quote. I am unsure of his exact context but he said,

"Off with you! You're a happy fellow, for you'll give happiness and joy to many other people. There is nothing better or greater than that!"

It made me think how many genuinely sad people are out there who need to have joy spread to them, but I think about how many happy people I know too. There aren’t as many perhaps (or maybe they are sitting quietly on a back porch somewhere and we don’t hear from them) but it reminded me how important it is to send thoughtful emails and pictures, to write letters for no reason but to say you are thinking of someone, to help someone at the store and to spend time with those who need it. While I think it’s smart to guard your happiness and take care of yourself so you aren’t pulled under by someone drowning, I do believe there are a small handful of people on the earth who have the greater capacity to stand a little taller with the strength to pull someone from the quicksand of everyday. You may not even know you are this person with this kind of responsibility, but the world needs you. Maybe some random act of kindness from someone who is depressed is good for their spirit too, but we all need it!

Not everyone is cut out to be a family Doctor or Pastor, Therapist or Counselor, but there are those who can legitimately and positively change lives. It’s not merely the right thing to do, but I feel deeply it’s the responsible thing to do. I am sure we all have a laundry list of people who have pulled us out and where would we be without them?

If you are one of those very few who has a good grip on their happiness, I encourage you to do what Beethoven said. We need you! :)

Or, your happiness may already come from helping others. ;)

Much love on ya!Karen :)

He also said,

"This is the mark of a really admirable man: steadfastness in the face of trouble." Ludwig van Beethoven


Stage Fright!

A friend of ours on here has a show coming up on Thursday and he asked me about ways to overcome stage fright. I think this could apply to public speaking etc as well.
Hi Joe!
My take on stage fright; Most fear comes from your body basically accumulating stomach acid and has a need to protect itself, impress someone or not be made fun of. An animal could actually get it too from the instinct to defend itself. Wild, huh?
What I had to do to overcome it was to get to the root of it all and have a deep reflection over what I thought was threatening to me. What was really making me nervous? Were the people in the audience going to swarm the stage and attack? Was there someone specifically I was trying to impress out there? Was everything on the line and I wasn't going to be able to make a mortgage payment if it didn't work? Is my fear based on anything real or am I just imagining a worst case scenario?
Stage fright although it feels damn real when you are standing out there, is a dream killer overall. If you think about it, when you are busy worrying about what people are thinking, you are ripped out of your creative headspace and a wall is erected so you can't do anything past being on the defensive. But, when you are on stage, being defensive is not a good role like in hockey or football. When you get up to entertain, your job is to emit emotion to people out there. You want to be able to give everything you have, not have a wall between you and them. (that is if your goal for making music is pure)
You can actually harness it too if all else fails. The extra adrenaline kick you get (like an animal gets to protect itself) could be part of what ramps you up, although my goal was to kill it altogether so I could control everything I was transferring. That way, you can be in charge of all you are doing in order to reach a higher level of your art!
Lastly, I had to ask myself, why am I even doing this in the first place? I had to question why I am sharing what I am doing. The answer was I wanted to build an intimacy with the audience where we could rock out and I could perhaps touch someone. It's what I try to do with writing too. When I write, I write because I need to get something out and then share later on. When you put your show together, the intent should be to be creative and then share...not do it to impress anyone. If you can get past caring what others think because music means a lot to you, you’re on a good path.
If your motive for making music is pure and your goal is to touch others, nervousness shouldn't be there. You should be fixating on giving everything you have to an evening of music. A lot of the time it’s these ‘get famous quick’ shows that teach us we have only one chance to make the impression, but you know what I have found? It’s not about making an impression…it’s about sharing. If you have the solid purpose to what you are doing, it should be about the purpose, not the adulation. It’s essentially a path to get back to purity.
Don't forget, with the exception of a few drunks who don't even know where they are, (ha!) your audience WANTS you to do well, they WANT to be entertained. They don't want to see you fail because there is a good chance they had a sucky work week and you are an escape for them! But for some strange reason, we jump onstage expecting that the world wants to laugh at us, not with us.

Have a great show on Thursday, above all…enjoy it!! You are making MUSIC!
Karen :)

"When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way." ~Wayne Dyer


LOVE Like You’ve Never Been HURT

Our friend Marc left me a comment on here with a quote he was questioning;

"The best way to love is to love like you’ve never been hurt."
He mentioned unknown author, but I believe its origins are from a Mark Twain quote, "Dance like nobody’s watching, love like you’ve never been hurt, sing like nobody’s listening, live like it’s heaven on earth."

I think the reason why that part of the quote can come off as being somewhat confusing isn’t because the approach is incorrect, but I think we can feel like our hurts were ignored. "What do you mean like I’ve never been hurt, of course I have been hurt! Why doesn’t anyone see how hurt I am!" could be a normal reaction.

The quote is controversial, really. It could be argued that the kind of love we show when we are aware of past hurt is filled with more compassion. But overall, I get what the author was going for. Love in its purest form quite often happens before we are tainted by pain. I believe that Mark Twain quote is child-like, which for most of us was our happiest time! I don’t think everyone has to have experienced pain in order to show love.

It’s kind of like when someone is abused. The person can either pass the abuse along to their next relationship and children, or they can vow never to put someone through that again because they hated the feeling. Love buried without water or love can grow when fed…

For me, it’s been progressing in stages. I can still have buttons from my past pushed and old wounds reopened, but I feel like I am at least on the path to loving as though I don’t have the baggage. But for me, I have had to really take a closer look at what it truly means to love. I believe we are supposed to love without expecting love in return. I believe love is unconditional and free without penalty and interest. I believe love is not selfish and that love only wants the very best for our neighbors.

Overall, I am trying hard to show love because people need it, not because I expect it back. Some days are easier than others! ;)

Great thoughts Marc, thank you for sending it. It’s a subject worth pondering!

Karen :)

"You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love." ~Henry Drummond


Some Practical Thoughts to Combat Your DEPRESSION.

I was just reading an article that was talking about the difference between Grief and Depression.

GRIEF is categorized like this;

· Sadness, melancholy, or despair
· Low energy or fatigue
· Weepiness or persistent tears
· Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
· Poor concentration
· Guilt or hopelessness · Unbidden happy and sad memories

DEPRESSION is categorized like this;

· Worthlessness
· Exaggerated guilt
· Suicidal thoughts or plans
· Low self-esteem
· Powerlessness
· Helplessness
· Exaggerated hopelessness
· Agitation or restlessness
· Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
· Exaggerated fatigue
Now I am not going to try and play psychiatrist here. I have felt all those things and some added. But I do know the science behind it. Serotonin (the happy chemical in your brain) to make a long story short gets attacked when your stomach acids tend to run high (anxiety and stress).
(it is a way longer explanation, but let’s keep it simple)

I don’t want to try and one-shot to everyone’s depression out there with a cure-all, but while we are busy getting to the root of our problems, I do want to add a few quick ways to get your serotonin up (with or without the antidepressant-your choice, your call on those) Hope some of these I am sharing are helpful.

· Drink a ton of water. Your body is made up of 70% water. When you are anxious, upset and crying, you are dehydrating yourself and water can keep the high tension headaches at bay.
· Omega 3 supplements and fish oil naturally build your serotonin levels up again.
· Exercise also naturally builds serotonin and keeps your brain thinking clearly. I do morning hikes and they make my day way better.
· Keep sleep sacred. I started taking 10 minutes in my living room before bedtime to make a list of things I want to accomplish the next day. I leave the list on the coffee table so nothing on it comes to bed with me.
· Music; the number 1 healer. And ART! Whether I am writing it, cranking it or having it on in the background (especially when I was going through depression) keeps my thoughts busy. Sometimes too much thinking time can be bad.
· Stop engaging in negativity. This could be everything from negative emails to TV News, hanging out in negative circles to being part of criticizing groups. I try and keep my reading material light and positive now. I will read a few headlines to be informed, but I never engage in anything that is cutting down another person for anything. "Misery loves Company" is one of the truest sayings on the globe.
· FRIENDS! Call them up, they WANT to help you!
· Light! I understand the need to save energy, but while you’re saving energy by sitting in the dark, you run the risk of running low on vitamin D. Open some windows to let fresh air in too!

Hope some of those help, they in conjunction with each other, helped to save me!
Karen :)

"Depression is the inability to construct a future." ~Rollo May



You know when you get that gut instinct to put in a call to someone because your gut says, "Call so-and-so?" I had that gut feeling about a friend of mine who has been going through a rough relationship break-up. She is in Los Angeles and he moved to New York (job offer etc)essentially signaling to her that although he claimed to really love her a lot, he wasn’t ready to commit or be with her forever.

He moved there a few months ago, but he keeps reaching out to her but not with anything she needs to hear from him concerning their future together. While I think he’s an ok guy, I personally think her sadness over this past year needs to scale up to another level and move on to someone who does want a future with her. He seemed content with it being more casual with the hope of a future together ‘someday when he feels more ready’ and she really wanted to know where it was going. (It’s obviously a bit more complicated than what I could portray here, but suffice to say, the break-up is a good idea)They don’t hate each other, just a crossroads where their futures are not aligning. It happens. I think she should move on now considering they are technically broken up.

Well, back to this gut instinct of mine, I texted her and asked her if she were ok. It turned out unbeknownst to me that she was in New York with her family celebrating a birthday party and when I texted her, she was in tears. Well long story made short, she’s having a really rough time getting over him. (it’s like that while she’s here in LA too, it’s not just that she was in New York)

At this point, they have called it quits. But, because of their situation where they actually still talk, he let her know he was going to have a vacation in Spain. Well, she has this all dreamed up now where he is going to be swept away by some Spanish beauty and will have moved on with his life. It’s a natural thing to do, but we also talked about the fact that they are broken up which means you are not together and he can do what he wants. It goes to a dangerous place lying in bed thinking about what your ex is doing and while I wouldn’t categorize her as obsessive, we did talk about how it could go to that place when you still feel a sense of ownership like many do in relationships (I think that the initial possessive is even bad)

I feel that this is what happens when a person feels rejected. She doesn’t feel good enough for him and so it plain old-fashioned hurts when someone doesn’t make a choice to be with you and nobody else. You lie in bed wondering what they are doing, what they see in someone else that they don’t see in you. You dream up scenarios that may or may not be happening and in the worst case, your sleep (which should be absolutely sacred) is lost.

I’m personally excited for her because she has such an amazing future ahead of her so I do hope she can let this truly go. It’s important to realize in situations like this that we are all butterflies just hovering around from flower to flower. I think we are all trying to find our individual path and purpose in life and that someone else’s choice shouldn’t be viewed as such a personal attack, but rather sometimes our trails don’t match up. It’s important to let go of control and allow the world to function how it was originally set up to. I would love to see her mind be freer to do child-like things and be creative instead of fretting over something that can be so mentally damaging. I think there are certainly better things to be obsessive about.

I think the next graduated level of moving on is knowing your ex is with other people but you actually want them to be happy, wishing them only the best. But man, doesn’t that seem like an impossible thing to ask? I think it should be something to strive towards anyways.

Hope that your sleep is sacred and that your days are filled with HAPPY thoughts!
Karen :)

"The most exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your control."~Ogden Nash


Confucius Say...

Tonight I was reading some Confucius quotes. Here are some that spurred some extra thought;

"A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions."

I really agree with him, but only understood what he meant by that in very recent years. I was used to being around bullies and people who spoke loudly and talked too much. I think the ‘actions speak louder than words’ quote came from that. I have met a few very specific people who epitomize this.

"And remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

This lesson I learned when I left everything and moved 3000 miles away. I purposely took very little with me thinking I could leave everything behind that I hated. It turned out some of the things I hated were inside me. It’s been better since focusing on those things instead of the exterior problems that were plaguing me.

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

I’ve always found experience to be bitter, but for some reason it works better like Buckley’s Cough Syrup.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

I worked so many jobs I hated at the same time in order to be able to finally do something I love. My days are longer than they have ever been and yet, I don’t feel like it’s work anymore. I mean, I work yes…but I like what I do.

"You cannot open a book without learning something."

I have been taking on a new attitude with reading. We are bombarded with news columns, magazines, emails, the internet. I don’t believe everything I read, but I always learn something….even if it’s learning what NOT to do and who Not to believe. ;) Or I see some cool word like you’d hear off the TV show House and think, hmmm what does that mean? The important lesson I am realizing with reading is to be open to learning, much like when someone is speaking…to be open to what they have to say.

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

I look for it mostly because he said so. HA! I suppose death can even be beautiful. I remember when Mom was dying, she saw snapdragons. Her dying was the most disturbing yet peaceful transition. I don’t see beauty in everything yet, but I am working towards it. Maybe he needs to clarify. Objects? Situations? People? The Earth? I could think on this topic for a long time.

"I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being."

This quote could make me cry if I stare at it long enough. I grew up in relationships and careers that wanted me to be something I wasn’t. The happiest I have ever been was when I made a very concerted effort to be me. I am still getting to know me…even still.

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

I used to equate being successful with going really fast. But I am learning to love the moments along the way…You know, life’s a journey, not the destination? But guess what, sometimes I stop…and that’s ok too…my heart is still beating.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

I think the fear of falling down (notice he didn’t say failure) causes many people to not try the things we’d like to. Basically, I am learning to just laugh when I fall and try to find the lesson in it.

"We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression."

Ah yes, oppression leading straight to depression. Would you believe I now find some enjoyment in sad moments? I think we all do to some extent, otherwise, why put on a sad song or read a sad story? Why rent a sad movie? I think it’s healthy to embrace those emotions if you are simply experiencing them. Where I see the problem is when you are overcome by them and it inhibits you from functioning.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

I do agree, although what I have learned is the difference between something being complicated and something being complex. The Earth is a complex place, but I am humbled by it and it causes me to trust that it will still work in the way it’s supposed to if I don’t harm it or interfere (which can complicate matters). I feel a sense of freedom knowing I don’t have to fix everything.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Karen :)

If Confucius were alive today, he may say to me; "Quote here; unnecessary." ;)


Mirror Mirror on the Wall

I’ll never forget the day my brother brought home one of his buddies when I was probably around 12 or 13. It was a summer day and I was wearing shorts. My brother said, "That’s my kid sister, Karen." The boy looked me up and down several times and then said, "hmm, you have knobby knees…" and then he went off to play with my brother.

I was mortified! I never actually gave my knees a second thought. So, because I didn’t have a full length mirror in my room, I jumped up on my bed to have a better look. "Knobby knees! Really? They just look like regular ol’ knees to me!"

The next time I saw him, I said, "I had a closer look at my knees and they look like knees." He looked again and said, "You have weird spaces between your legs when you stand too."
SPACES! Yup, the air between my knees was no good either…air that I couldn’t even claim to be mine.

I ran into my room and jumped on the bed and had a look again. I decided that I needed a better mirror so I dismantled the mirror from the dresser and put it down on the floor sideways. I started finding all sorts of problems. The problems were everything from the texture of my hair down to my feet that seemed too flat. I began to cry.

I look back at that as absolutely ridiculous. I was doing ok until this boy started in on my knees. The mirror is a very dangerous place that I think we spend too much time in front of. I know it’s fun to grab a hairbrush and sing into it pretending you are singing to someone, but when you start using the mirror for inspection like that, you are tripping down a very slippery slope. Top models find flaws too. You can actually talk yourself into thinking something is there that isn’t. But so what if it is?

The problem with mirror-inspecting is it can’t possible set the mood right for the day. If you require it for a task like putting on mascara, flossing or doing your hair, it’s fine. But when you strip down and stare wishing something could be flatter, bigger, smaller, smoother… then it’s a train wreck waiting to happen. I think people should throw out their bathroom scales too. Losing weight and building muscle probably won’t budge the scales anyways so why have them? You retain water a few days and gain a few pounds and then starve yourself from guilt. They are just bad.

What happened to me as a young teen was an unhealthy obsession with body image. It didn’t even come from magazines back then. It came from a boy. That really sucks too because that particular boy would have made a horrible boyfriend. If you think about it, would you want a guy who would point that out? Perhaps it isn’t that I wanted him as a boyfriend, but his comment may have made me think I could never have anybody with my knobby knees. You know what the problem is there? I can’t exactly cosmetically make my knees look less knobby. So, I live with my knees. Why? Because they are mine. Every part of the body is given to us…the body IS a temple. If we don’t protect it, who will? I understand people wanting to feel better. So if we want to do something GOOD for our body, I am all for it IF the motivation is to feel better. But if we need to change something to win someone else, we’ve lost ourselves in the process.
Is that a good trade-off?

We don’t really seem to be too concerned with what we put in our body either. What if the mirror showed what was going on in there? Talk about horrifying.

Much love on ya!
Karen :)

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." ~E.B White


Speaking of Incest

I was told by a friend yesterday that Mackenzie Phillips came out with a book outlining her drug use, crazy upbringing and a 10 year period of sex with her father John Phillips which started as rape and grew into a consensual sexual relationship.

My first reaction was, "Why would she bring it up now, oh yes, writing a book so of course she’ll make a ton of money."

But you know, I don’t think all the money in the world could make me admit to something like that. The shots she is taking for it can’t be smoothed over by money. It’s almost self slaughter.
Then I watched her in a fairly lengthy interview. I’m not going to say she doesn’t have many moments reminiscent of drug usage, but she’s forward. I will say that for her. My initial reaction was wrong.

Part of the interview that got me thinking was when she said she hoped that the story could bring incest survivors out of the shadows and get people talking towards healing. If you think about it, it is one of the most taboo topics out there.

I thought I’d share my experience seeing as nobody likes to discuss it.

I was not personally involved in an incestuous relationship. I am a victim of sexual assault by my mother’s boyfriend who lived with us, but I was clearly the injured party. The reason it felt incestuous was that he was supposed to be taking on a Father role and he abused it. So not only was I a pre-teen and he in his 50s but I became extraordinarily confused by his position.

As far as true incest goes, there is a history of it deep in the roots of my family. My great grandfather slept with his daughters (I didn’t eventually come from that, I came from one of his sons) but the crazy part I have had to deal with is the fact that it was laughable in all the generations that followed. There were definitely a few people down the line who came on to other people in the family. Jokes like "incest is best" and the jokes against the Amish/Mennonite communities around us were considered funny at the time. Have you ever noticed how many people cover up pain with a joke?

I have learned that it’s not normal nor is it amusing. Incest is an abuse of power. Incest has ruined lives…ruined future relationships and put a crazy distortion on intimate encounters. But like any racial bias or slur, we think it’s perfectly fine at the time. Humor can paper a nice floral print over ugly cracks in the walls. Incest for many families is the elephant in the room. You don’t just feel its weight but you have to come up with clever ways to get around it.

I think it’s massively important that we make ourselves a really good, non-judgmental people in order to allow those who hurt the freedom to open up without fear of criticism or ridicule. The baggage from these incidents carries into countless other areas which are stopping people from moving forward with meaningful lives.

You will never be judged by me or laughed at. This you can count on. I will not participate in that.

Karen :)

"A lot of people say they want to get out of pain, and I'm sure that's true, but they aren't willing to make healing a high priority. They aren't willing to look inside to see the source of their pain in order to deal with it." ~Lindsay Wagner



What is deception?

I decided to write on the word 'deception' because the last few blogs and responses have alot of talk about the phrase, "wolf in sheep's clothing".

Here are some synonyms...which, depending on what or who is involved, could be deceiving in itself, right?

trickery, double-dealing, deceit, dishonesty, fraud, chicanery, subterfuge, duplicity, mendacity, untruth, dupery, insincerity, indirection, craftiness, circumvention, juggling, treachery, treason, betrayal, pretense, disinformation, falsehood, trickiness, trumpery, beguilement, cozenage, humbug, hypocrisy, lying, sophism, deceitfulness, equivocation, prevarication, cunning, artifice, guile, misleading, deceiving, imposture, imposition, bamboozlement, snow job, skullduggery, flimflam, blarney, hanky-panky; dishonesty, hypocrisy.

I wanted to include some of those related words because sometimes a word that means the same thing can trigger you and make you think, "Oh yeah! That happened to me!"
For instance, I have been a victim of fraud but also encounter hypocrisy on a daily basis.
We think it's someone from the opposing team, the inlaws, opposing religions, opposing political parties...opposing countries. But to be TRULY deceived means quite often, you had NO clue.

You could be deceived by a magician, they trick you but you sort of expected it. A band playing a certain type of music with a certain look could be deceiving, but that is elementary-level sleuthiness to figure out their message. A car salesman tricking you is a form of deception but really, we see it coming. When you look at someone and you have left a 10th of a percent of doubt there, you aren't truly deceived. But, when you truly thought, "This guy's the real deal" and they sucker-punch you, you are left with WTF?

Have you ever taken a hit to the center of your chest by someone you admired? By someone you followed? By someone's title being the opposite of their actions?

Children raped by their parents or church leaders. That is an unbelievable form of deception. When you have been married 25+ (what you thought were loving) years and they cheat on you. That is unexpected deception. When the person who gave birth to you deceives you...THAT is overwhelming deception. I have followed many Hollywood stories over the years where a child turns around and sues the parent for dirty business practice. Isn't that also deception at it's finest? When your own parent does it to you and you could have sworn they'd be the last?
We are constantly being warned about being deceived and yet we look for all the usual suspects!!!

I have a laundry list of people who have deceived me and guess what? They came from inside my very close inner circle. From inside the family, from inside my church, from inside the cause I was fighting for, from inside my various teams and groups I have been a member or supporter of. The same people who I got to sign crucial documents have done it. It's not enough for someone to have their fundamentals in place. It's not enough for someone to say all the right things.

What I have found very helpful is not to look at the promises of any one person, but their motivation...essentially their heart. People will have a track record of being trustworthy when the motivation of their heart is in the right place. For me, purpose-driven people keep my trust above those who are driven by their goals (to the point of stepping on anyone to get what they need or bad-mouthing them). A person who puts themselves that high won't blink twice before stepping on heads. Many people who are really driven by their own selfishness try very diligently to come off as being good. I think it's important to look at the small cracks in their foundation as opposed to the paint chipping from the walls.

Something I also equate to true deception is the feeling of wanting to throw up after. If you half-expected someone to double-cross you, it hurts, but you prepared yourself somewhat. But when you take a huge gasp of air in and think, "OMG! How could they?" and you pace your floors in the house wondering if you should pick up the phone or find a weapon... that is when it's happened to you.

It's difficult to keep an eye out for the potential of anyone deceiving us and it can breed paranoia. But if we keep a close eye on the motivation of people, we can be supportive of those who have a loving and good heart as opposed to supporting something that can be destructive in the future.

This shouldn't be confused with people screwing up, we all do. But as you know there are some huge issues at everyone's table right now and the potential deception looming can be harmful from a domestic level all the way up to a global scale.

My motivation in it all? After having a very sore, bruised, shredded heart, I'd like to minimalize the pain in everyone else's. Pretty simple. It doesn't feel very nice.

Now the trick is to find an inspector to assist in looking for the cracks who is trustworthy,

"Life is the art of being well deceived; and in order that the deception may succeed it must be habitual and uninterrupted." ~William Hazlitt

Grabbing The Electric Fence

It's kind of like knowing the ice is thin but you wanna jump on it anyways...or someone posts a sign saying "Electric Fence" but you get some twisted idea that you'd like to grab it just to see what would happen.

Tonight reminded me of the night that for no intelligent reason, I put on the rings from a past relationship just to see what they would look like on my hands after pretty much not wearing jewellery for several years. It's a memory-trip I think each one of us has been entangled in. It can go from pulling out old photo albums to driving by an apartment or house you used to share with someone. You are extraordinarily happy to be away from the scenario, so it's not a matter of wanting to dive back into the fire, but it's like a sick curiosity that sucks you into wasting minutes or hours saturating yourself in the negative and destructive emotions that go with it. You find yourself at Google or Facebook searching their names to see where they are or if they are alive. You realistically don't want to do any of these things or go to that dark place, but sadly...there you find yourself.

Well, I feel like I have graduated past alot of those self-inflicted evenings of pure torture.

Tonight was a mini journey I find myself visiting more often than not. It's much like re-reading an old diary, but it involves music. Many people understand the nostalgic feeling of throwing on a record or cd of an artist from yesteryears. There is a certain type of music you associate with old school settings...there are songs you remember from church, weddings and funerals. Everyone seems to have at least one song from a movie that will move them even if it came on the radio 50 years from now.

Tonight wasn't any of that.

Tonight was the same as every time I decide to do this sadistic listening session.
I have written well over 800 songs in my own personal library and that doesn't include songs I have written for or with other artists. I think I am about done counting, 'cause by this point, do the numbers really matter? The songs are in strange places. Some in LA, some in Canada...some on hard drives, cds, dvds..."tapes" and floppy discs. I have boxes upon boxes of words on paper that I haven't even gone through. I may have as many words now as times that I have blinked. Because I sucked at every other subject in school, I found solice in writing and reading. Words are empowering because they stir imagination.

So, tonight I put on headphones and went through several old songs. Not every stage of my writing makes me feel this way. I have silly songs, really I do...lol. It seems the bulk of work I revisit is the gut-wrenching rip your heart straight from your chest ugly ugly ugly material. I'm almost embarrassed to hear it. But, with the voice of my mother firm in the background of my conscience, I continue to write down everything because she told me to.

What I always find with this revisiting of old archives is the intense illness inside my stomach that can appear instantaneously. Alot of these songs aren't produced very well. I would give most of them a 2 out of 10 in production and an 11 out of 10 for having the idiotic nerve that I could write them in the setting I was living in. Very courageous or stupid. They affect me so much when I listen not because they sound particularly good, but I sound mentally disturbed. I feel like I am listening to a girl who needs serious help. For the first few minutes I feel sorry for her...then I become her...and that is the scary part.

I think because my mind is so much clearer nowadays, I find the listening experience immensely disturbing. It was disturbing that I was so ill. With this new clarity I found myself massively pissed off at the people who dominated my subject matter. It would be mature of me to simply forgive them and just view this as a diary entry and oh-so-historical part of my character, but the truth of this situation is that there was over a decade of straight brutality preceded by years here and there of nausea. When it sounds like a singer is getting sick while singing about the subject, it's hard to just chalk it up to a character-building experience. Weird to remove myself from that person like that.

Much like trying on all that old jewellery, I think that this is a similar category of revisiting things I am simply not ready to keep a clear head about. It's too too much. I have won some pretty epic battles in my fight to get me back, but some of these archives are incredibly painful and leave me quite sour. I guess I could have learned the lesson when I was trying on those rings...but you'd think."Oh this is something artistic in my past..that doesn't compare." But it does. It's like asking myself to fight quicksand. The torture is bizarre.

Above all that, I feel like I just wasted a bunch of time that I could have been doing something else. I learned not to drive by those old houses. I don't weep in old photo albums...why would I revisit this archive of songs now?

There has to be a time to move forward. I don't hate the songs, on the contrary ...I feel sad for them.

But you know the shittiest part of tonight's listening? I'm doubly pissed off that I wasn't allowed to take all these ill-produced ideas and give them the production they deserved. Now it's too late to do that because I emotionally couldn't take it on nor would there be enough years on earth to do it all. For that, I think I will always harbor some resentment to those who were in the subject matter even though I preach forgiveness.

Those songs were abused children...it seems so utterly unforgiveable to me.
However, I learned once again tonight in listening to them, that they aren't the ones to blame...nor was I when I wrote them. It's a bloody wonder I am alive.

And...................now done feeling sorry for myself. I'm going to bed.

Have you wasted time like this on things that simply aren't helpful to the balance of who you are? Is it just that we hate things left in an unsettled state?
I feel like it's just breeding unnecessary anger this evening for me.

Ah well, this kind of writing helps. Looks better on the computer screen than in my head. That's for sure.


"Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word."~Laurence Olivier

Bird With A Broken Wing

I am not one of those people who believes, "whoever dies with the most toys wins". In fact I subscribe to the belief that you can't take it with you...but then from there, I believe there is something better after all of this where there are gifts and rewards and parties and friends and all those things deemed lovely. But, I think the lessons are set-up in life where by the time you die, all the rewards we are promised won't even matter because there is an eye-opening enlightenment where we truly figure out what matters.

I believe all of that, let's get that out of the way. I am quite purpose-driven and perhaps writing this down will keep me reminded of that so I don't go into self-centered mode.

Today was a more earthly enlightenment. This was more about my own character discovery/(some may argue)flaw.

I have a (bad?) habit of finding and aligning myself with those who require more than I do. Now I will be the first to stand up and say I have been known to be emotionally a high-maintenance person, although that is becoming less that way as time moves forward. But see, one of the things I love to do is assist other people. As usual, I am not claiming martyrdom...there is always something more complex coming when I say things that seem like I am drawing attention to my good traits. :) HA! Helping others is very rewarding.

Paying it Forward heals society. I am big on it. As far as getting credit goes for helping others, I am sincerely not interested in that. There are a few reasons. One, I would rather people go pay it ahead than stand and thank me for hours. Being thankful is lovely and more people should do it (me included) but it's really not worth an award or anything. Being nice, being helpful...giving an ear to a friend(or enemy) in need is supposed to be normal. So I feel like when I am not helping others, that is the thing that is a problem. Being a friend or friendly is normal, although it's increasingly unpopular nowadays (do I sound like your Grandmther yet?) Two is that I generally have bigger reasons than credit for being of service.

Here is my gripe. I am amazed how a Good Samaritan can have good motivation(oh, that is what I strive for by the way, it is NOT my title...lol) but be treated like a Jail Mate.

Let me give you an example.

A man is raising his children alone. He works both night and day to keep things afloat after his ex leaves him with the responsibility. His bills mount up high, taxes go unpaid...the house turns into a war zone, he barely sleeps and barely gets by. He meets up with a new woman and they decide to get married. She comes into this insane responsibility both work-wise and emotionally.

Because she loves him and the children, she throws herself into the scene with both feet and her caution to the wind. But because she has never had children before, it's a very difficult transition. She almost ends up looking as rough as him and the two of them are in a crazy scenario of stress.
Now, her motivation was to be helpful because she loved them. But at the very second she decides she needs some time to herself or has been unsuccessful at cleaning up his past mess, she takes the brunt of his past stress. As they fight, he says things like, "You have a roof over your head...why are you so ungrateful?" She complains they never spend time together... you know insert your own scenario. This is quite common.

The problem with this scene is that her heart was the type to bring home the birds with the broken wings. She loves to be helpful and do her best to fix things. But generally speaking and I need to really stress this point, this kind of person is usually very disinterested in obtaining credit. You see, credit alone is not enough to sustain a person through these types of relationships. Simply having a roof over her head isn't enough to stay in that kind of work-load.

Her motivation was to be helpful to the ones around her, but now they have dragged her down into their festering pot and the little things she used to do don't exist anymore. She is made to feel guilty if she has anything in her life that is enjoyable because everyone else is so dysfunctional around her. Misery LOVES company. ...and the more, the better. A person who is miserable can quite often sabotage their own happiness because they have no idea what that means.

So the Good Samaritan in the situation becomes like them...because they are more comfortable when she is burned out, tired and unhappy. She's invited into their jail and her loving/giving heart makes her feel guilty enough to go there.

As far as the people I align myself with, I have the tendancy to try and help those with BIG suitcases of skeletons. I think if I was more equipped like a doctor etc, I could handle it...but like Alanis said, "I am not the Doctor" and therein lies my revelation. I get so absolutely pissed off when I take the brunt of their stress because not only am I not the Doctor, but I didn't make the mess to begin with!

So two things need to happen. I either have to go and get my psychotherapy degree so I can get paid to be shit on, or I can stop helping others.

I am unwilling to do either because a) I don't like that job and b) I am not going to stop helping others because it's a human trait we need to keep So off of that, I think I will stay a musician and keep a safe distance from those who need me who are "needy". I will help where I can, but I have been suicidal. I have been depressed. I have looked and felt like hell for much of my life...little sleep, poor health etc so I need to draw the line on what and who will suck me down with them. It's not selfishness, but how can I possibly continue to assist those who need me when I am in need of too much assistance?

While the birds break my heart DAILY, I am going to try making wiser choices about what I can physically handle. It just makes more sense.

Even though my mom died of cancer, I would say her affliction was "care-giver burnout". From taking care of the elderly, to looking after us...friends and other family, I believe she took on more than what she should have. I love her heart for it! But I believe it contributed to losing her ultimately.

I remember an ex-employer once told me, "Karen you work really hard, but you're not working smart." This means picking the battles and looking after myself first so I am more equipped to assist others around me.

How many people do you know who have lost everything because they put others first? I admire them...please know that I do. But if some people are burning out, it means others may not be pulling up their own socks. It's really important that when you see someone you know giving more than they should, that you not only pitch in(I don't mean take-over) but allow them to take some time for them.

And on top of that, if someone is working really really hard, they don't necessarily want credit. They may be trying to alleviate your work-load so they can spend some time with you...or they simply want you happy.

It's not fair to always assume in an argument that someone needs credit. Even if they are proclaiming they don't get your credit, it could be a sign of the fact that they deem you ungrateful or their heart feels unfairly judged.

I really don't know very many people wh put themselves in torturous situations simply for a pat on the back....so a statement like, "What do you want from me, a medal?" is entirely useless coming from the person they are assisting.

Things like clean houses don't matter if someone is not happy.

And on that note, trophies are tacky anyways. They are usually gawdy gold and require dusting. Nothing like having the extra responsibility of shining the damn things, right? ;)


"Helping someone is what life is all about." ~ Willie Stargell

Have You Switched Over?

I was not popular most of my childhood. But I really wanted to be. When highschool hit, I grew legs and alot of hair. I got popular. Most of my teen years were in turmoil emotionally, but I had alot of potential partners snooping around. I confused their attention for their respect. I worked in several professions but I liked acting and songwriting the most.

The problem with those choices of professions is that you also confuse the attention of people for their respect. So, I started hanging out in studios to show off my skills and try and gain the attention of other producers. They just saw legs and hair too. And if you have any self-esteem issues you will understand that I took that kind of attention because it was better than nothing.

In looking back at my life, I spent countless hours primping in front of the mirror. You basically stand there and wonder who will look at you that day. In the nightlife scenarios, I wanted to be THE chick that turned heads in the bar, not just one of them.

I am almost embarrassed in looking back at it...and although it's fashionable to say, "Oh I don't have any regrets...life is one big lesson, yadda yadda yadda" I did regret those times because I could have used my time more wisely for personal growth. Like for instance. I write alot. (lol...didja notice?) So I wished I wouldn't have skipped typing classes instead of taking the afternoon off from school to go joy-riding in the back of some friend's pick-up truck. (ewwwwww...wow...that was stupid.ha!)

All for attention. Ridiculous.

But what time in life should a person switch over? We all want children to concentrate in school so they can have awesome careers. So we would prefer them concentrate on building their brains coming out of the womb! When I say switch over, I mean go from caring what others think to caring about our own growth. When is it time to let go of the hairspray and make-up and curl up with a book? When is it time to stop going to the bar on Saturday night and take up an instrument so we can jam on Saturday nights instead?

I don't have an issue with socializing, my issue was "unfulfilled" socializing. ...the kind where you go home feeling as empty as before you went.

What I mean by switching over isn't me saying we should all "grow up", but for me personally, I think it's about reaching a time where self-discovery happens. Instead of seeking the attention of others, would it be better to learn a new skill? Instead of spending the time on physical appearance that masks good health, maybe go work-out instead and change our eating habits? When is ok to start wearing flat shoes if they are more comfortable instead of high heels to impress others?

The hard balance is that many will feel like they are "getting old" if they get rid of some of the things they equate with youth. I was not into giving up those things either! This is really about freeing our minds of what others think of us. You'll hear me say a million times, "When I quit caring what others thought of me is when I became truly free." This is what I mean.

Are you currently free? Have you switched over to this kind of freedom?

It's a beautiful thing to not feel tied to the things we do to impress others. Why is attention so important? Is it not more important to have a purpose?

While I do have the respect of my peers in the music industry, I don't require it now. You know why? I am far too busy being emerged in creativity and doing the things I love to do to even notice. Being free to create is one of the most amazing things ever. But, you can only do it when you don't care what others think. I do love to share what I do with others, but their stamp of approval isn't necessary. We all enjoy compliments and kindness though. I try my best to be encouraging of others according to what their purpose is. I'm not always perfect at it, but I try not to EXPECT anyone to look or act a certain way. The world is comprised of unique individuals who are masking their individuality by coloring their world the color they think others want to see.

What is truly interesting to me is to see the real colors. Even if those colors are black or white. We need to be true to who we are.

I guess the question, "Have you switched over?" could be better stated as "Have you found YOU again?" ...or for the first time even? :)

I'm eating brownies for breakfast today...and I don't care. (it's ok, it's just fun, not my every day habit...LOL)


When you please others in hopes of being accepted, you lose your self-worth in the process." Dave Pelzer

Bleeding Hearts

I was called a "Bleeding Heart" once. It was derogatory and mean. I was told I was overly sensitive, a cry-baby, unstable and volatile. I have been called many things, but the "Bleeding Heart" ticked me off the most. We're not talking about a scene (Bleeding Heart Yard) in a Charles Dickens novel.

Although metaphorically, I guess I was made to feel that way. lol

I was the most upset by it because I came to someone with a need and was told, "the world is tough, you gotta pull up your socks...nobody needs another bleeding heart like you. Get over it."
Well, suffice to say my heart went from bleeding to crushed. Like I don't know the freaking world is tough! It's such a condescending, militant stance.

I was mostly bothered by it because it took everything I had to ask for help only to have my emotions packaged that way. I did learn this was not a good friend for me, obviously, but the bleeding heart label stuck with me for enough years to stop discussion of any kind with anyone.

I received an email from a friend here on myspace this week. When she originally emailed me, she said she didn't want to bother me. I instinctively assumed I was viewed as unapproachable, but after some email exchange, I realized she was a highly intelligent person who was simply hurting. It turns out she was just trying be respectful of me when she said she didn't want to bother me, but I guess I have been turned away enough times from people that I built up these calluses where I was scared I was being thought of as unapproachable. Ah, even when we think our baggage has been dumped in the sea, another suitcase rears its ugly head. In this case, my suitcase has the person in it who called me a bleeding heart. (Shall try to dump that one in the sea also).

She had a question for me. I asked her if I could post it on here in the hopes of starting a Q and A blog. The reason isn't because I am trying to prove I am easy to talk to, but because I would like the opportunity to answer some questions any of you may have if it assists either you or others on here in reading it. I'm no Ann Landers, but I feel like I have lived the life of an 80 year old
woman sometimes!

I also love the people in this community. I think if we start this, there are enough great thinkers on here who could also answer questions.

I'll start with her question. She said I could post it. I said I would not post who it was.

"I was wondering, how'd you find your way from where you used to be to where you are now? I'm speaking psychologically, from mentally bad to mentally good. I hate to ask, it's not who I am, but didn't know what else to do. Was it just a way to constructively express yourself or was there some sort of insight or perception change? Just one person who can't seem to find the bottom asking one person who's already finding their way back up."

Here is my partial response;

"I'm not sure I am confidant enough to say I am 'mentally good'. LOL
I guess my good days are finally outranking the bad ones, but it's been years of getting here. I did let go of one thing I found to be helpful. "Control".Basically, the words of a therapist I met with years ago still ring true. He said, "When you have expectations of people, you WILL be disappointed."I am realizing we are all butterflies here. Nobody controls anyone and yet we somewhere along the way thought that was ok. So, when someone hurts us, we shouldn't be offended. They are seeking their own path. I also quit caring so much about what people thought about me. I also am approaching life with a sense of purpose, meaning I feel like I have bigger jobs to do than just chase my own goals. I try to be attentive every day to where I am supposed to be and what I need to do. It releases me from feeling like I have obligations.' For the greater good' may be a good way to say it. :)"

Please feel free to post your questions in this blog, I will answer best I can inside this thread. If you see a question from someone else on here that you feel you have some experience in answering, please feel free to do so. I don't like the idea of anyone feeling like their hurts don't matter. Sure hearts are bleeding, but saying "the world is tough" and to "get over it", isn't helpful. It's obvious we should count our blessings. It's obvious there is always someone way worse off. Just because someone has bigger problems than you, doesn't give anyone the right to diminish what is hurting you right now.

Have a great day!!

"Pay mind to your own life, your own health, and wholeness. A bleeding heart is of no help to anyone if it bleeds to death." ~Frederick Buechner

Pay It Back Or Pay It Forward?

Lindsay is 22. She's a young girl I was talking to about her recent breakdown. She's not the only one, there are tons. I guess some might assume you need to be at least double that age to have a breakdown as young people are deemed 'resilient' and they 'bounce back easily'.

Breaking down in the way of having your nervous system collapse is what I am seeing with her. It's not just a crying session or angry fit, she has lost control. Some of you understand what it means to break down completely while others may have some areas of your life that are just very difficult. Like in the 'Bleeding Hearts' blog, many people noted how one person's pain is not higher than another's, but I think there are various levels of instability that can come from pain. Let's not forget mental illness playing a factor or past skeletons, those are their own topic.

I will tell you why I took a special interest in Lindsay. It's not because I don't believe everyone has potential, quite the opposite, I know everyone can reach their potential and push it farther and beyond. But Lindsay reminds me of myself and so I like to think I perhaps relate to her easily in a mirror kind of way.

She has the whole world in front of her. She's a smart girl who has many, many talents. The problem in her world is that by either poor luck or bad timing she has managed to align herself with the most abusive, condescending, ego-deflating individuals who are holding her head below water. She is angry beyond words and quite rightfully so. The levels of cruelty are unspeakable. I understand Lindsay because every word she says I feel like she stole from my own mouth.
There two things that are currently happening as a pattern post her abuse. She is either saturated by vengeance or unknowingly treats others the same way. She makes statements where she is consumed by "payback is a bitch" or says things like, "Nobody will EVER walk on me again". PAY IT BACK or PAY IT FORWARD.

I was considering these two terms in looking at her world because while she's doing all this "paying" she's not receiving anything. If you were to ask her why she reacts this way, her answer is much like mine has been, "It doesn't matter if it feels good, they can see what it feels like" or for the cases of new people she comes across, "Ya, well the world sucks, they better learn now".

If I felt like revenge was a good fix, I'd be doing lots of it! I don't think it is fair to mistake yelling at someone for feeling good. When a person feels good, they hang out, party, sing crazy songs together or relax with a good book. Anger doesn't feel good, it's just a release. You have it pent up, it has to come out. It's much like air from a balloon. The air inside gains momentum after tasting the air outside and soars through the air squealing until it's gone. Then guess what? It's the saddest looking site when you look down on the ground (or the flowerbed it's landed in) and it's withered up and dead. As far as her teaching new people a lesson, I've tried this approach also. Self-appointed teachers...this the world does not need. This I feel, is also an element of control.

So why do we feel the need to negatively pay back or pay it forward? Is this not like giving someone your attention when they clearly don't deserve it? Paying back someone you owe money to feels really good. You feel like you made good on your debt. Often people who dismiss the debt which you own them will say, "Oh your debt to me is forgiven...you should go pay it forward to someone else". This is healthy and it feels fine.

The hard part is convincing Lindsay about this negative payment being unhealthy. Confronting someone for resolution or to get something off your chest has its place. But, plotting your course of retribution keeps a vicious cycle going. 'Settling the score' feels really mafia to me. Now, there have been times in my life where I couldn't get help from the law to take care of business and my instinct was to be the justice-seeker and it's still what I consider both my best and worst character flaw. I am big on defense of a third party! It pains me to listen to Lindsay talk. I simply am not the vengeful type anymore (although it creeps up from time to time).
Lindsay and I have been talking a lot and I am trying to get her more focused on the positive things in her world. My concern is that her mental health is so reckless that she is simply missing out on her amazing life that is in front of. Time is ticking!

When you personally look at your PAY IT BACK or PAY IT FORWARD equation, what percentage of time are the figures representing? Are you engulfed by retaliation and a hardened wall around your heart? Or are you in a place where you can move ahead and PAY IT FORWARD the way the phrase was intended? And what are you paying back and what are you paying people forward?

I'm not completely on the positive side in my own life, I see challenges every day where I am trying to watch which account my emotions are being thrown into. Hopefully, by adding your responses here, people like Lindsay can begin to get a grip on what to pay back and what to pay forward. I am trying to differentiate the two in everything I do.

Think I will just serve the ice cream cold instead,

"Revenge is often like biting a dog because the dog bit you."~Austin O'Malley