Here it is! This is a Public Playground...we're allowed to be here! ROCK ON!
Please share with as many people as possible and encourage people to buy it from iTunes. ALL MONEY goes to MusiCares to take care of Artists & Musicians.


Public Playground Artwork (Music & Video coming!)

This is the artwork for the song we did together; 'Public Playground' (for Itunes)
Video is COMING! ;)


Hey guys! Just wanted to clear up some emails/questions. Here's what is going on;

*Next STEVER CD 'Idiot Savant'; working on it! (plus sewing wardrobe, crafts for it)

*'Idiot Savant' -the book; ...over time... lol

*Jammit; man is that gonna blow up. BIG things happening! (finally approved by Apple, website coming)

*thepublicrecord.com; new website looks killer, can't wait to share it with you so you can all start hosting your own music/art projects!

*The Public Playground song; adding to Itunes- at their discretion when it will be for sale so we can raise money for our Charity!

*The Public Playground Video; All the files are in one spot after my big move and we are putting it together. To the 100 people who participated; you guys look smashing!

*Sloppy; is having an epic day every day. ;) I am loving life.


Is the Small Stuff Keeping you from the Big Stuff?

Between several meetings this past week, I couldn’t help but think about how much time gets wasted worrying about the little things. There is a saying which suggests, ‘it’s all in the details’ but I think that applies to when we are doing something creative or when the important task at hand requires special attention.

However, I don’t think it applies to when we are so distracted by the things which ultimately don’t apply in the grander scheme of things. There have been so many scenarios where we are distracted by personal vendettas or trying to prove we can do something we were told we can’t. This to me is a severe waste of precious time.

I’ve talked before about how valuable every moment is and how important I think it is to guard our lifestyle. I also think it’s important to note when something is distracting us from realizing our true self and purpose. This is the tricky part. The media, friends, our job and family never seem to be exhausted of steering us into their lifestyle and their purpose. We are not taught to be leaders, we are taught to follow with the flock.

I sincerely believe that each one of us has an important job, lesson or journey which is trying to gain our attention but the problem is that our own calling usually isn’t very boisterous in its approach. The true voice usually comes as an insistent whisper addressing the very depths of our core instead of being broadcast with dazzling lights. That has been my experience anyways.

I believe my true calling has been to reintroduce love and compassion again. I sure can tell you I am not a perfect example of that and I often wonder why the call is so strong, but I suppose even if you aren’t perfect at your calling, you can be a pretty good messenger. The problem I have had with my calling is that it didn’t fit in with two things;

1. My Career Agenda &
2. My Vengeance

I grew up wanting to be in the spotlight. I wanted to act, sing and make music and I do still enjoy those all. The problem was that my ego was not in check and therefore it never flew back then how I wanted it to. It was all about ‘look at me’ instead of regarding music and the arts as a way to either reach out or heal. This agenda was in mass conflict because a higher calling was telling me I needed to do it differently. I didn’t want to listen to that voice because it simply didn’t seem very glamorous.

The other conflict was that my higher calling was not in alignment with all the plans I had to inflict vengeance on those who have done me wrong. I became absolutely obsessed not with attacking back, but proving my worth in certain scenarios. If I wanted to be a superstar and those around me didn’t think I could, it would fuel me to work harder towards becoming that. The problems and conflicts came when the journey to that position showed me things which were contrary to my character and that is when the true battle switched from being ‘me VS them’ to ‘me VS me’. Essentially, the voice inside me became stronger to follow it rather than my other agendas.

Many times within the businesses I am involved in I witness times when our focus gets pulled to seek vengeance or prove our worth. Then, many, many hours and days will get wasted on adding chalk lines onto small victories which end up leaving us farther away from our initial goals. Some of these are based in fear and paranoia and some are based on easy win scenarios that are the equivalent to winning the lottery.

How many times do we do this in our personal lives and relationships? Something our partner says or does pulls us farther away from our calling and all we had to do was stop it in its tracks. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ is a popular saying. My Mom used to say, ‘it’ll all come out in the wash’. Those sayings while true, don’t quite punctuate the point I am trying to make. I am merely suggesting that somewhere the way we allowed something or someone to distract us or trick us into not doing what life wants us to do or is pulling us in the opposite direction of our full potential. Think about how many people spend their time complaining about what the other person is doing and if you were to ask them what they were doing, they would say they were busy complaining about the other guy.

If you had to write down a list of all the things which pull your mind away from the true voice inside of you, could you identify what those are? Is it gossip and bad-mouthing? Is it money? Is it the potential of being famous? Is it keeping up with the Joneses? Is it negativity? Is there something that keeps appealing to your lavish side when a more modest lifestyle is where you are truly needed? I suppose this is what happens when people sell everything and go back-pack in a poor country to help out.

We all have various things which fuel us and I don’t see anything wrong with taking our raw emotions in that particular moment of the day to give us a bit of spark, but I suspect it doesn’t contain the longevity and attention truly required of us to meet our full potential and realize our individual worth.

The small stuff is like the coyote in sheep’s clothing. It often comes to us in the form of excess which could be an oxymoron. It seems like it should have our attention when underneath, it’s very dangerous for us to be concentrating on it. The truly bigger stuff is often like a bunny rabbit nibbling away in the corner patiently waiting for us. We don’t understand that is the more important place to be because it seems to be too calm.

I thought it was interesting that this is the year of the Rabbit. ;) Maybe everything is finally aligning to be gentler all the way around.

I feel the urge to go read some Beatrix Potter now,

Karen :)

“It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is ‘soporific’.”

Update from Karen


When Your Crush is Not Reciprocated

I guess it’s happened enough times to me now that I will discuss the topic. I have online friends who now and then will send me a harsh message followed up by blocking or deleting me. I’m usually left in a state of, ‘Wow, no idea what happened there.’

The human imagination is pretty powerful. I love that it can lift a plane off the ground or send people into orbit. I love that it can write a song or paint a picture. I love that it can make us laugh, giggle and have a good time.

The human mind however has the tendency to create falsehoods that aren’t even real based on what I would call a ‘colorful imagination’.

For many years online, I have been pretty clear about my intent without trying to be assuming with everyone’s intent. Right in my bios, I have written, ‘only online for friendship’ or ‘only interested in friendship’ or ‘I love you guys tone, but please keep it pro’.

Some people are really cool and will just need a one sentence clarification from me to clear up why I am online. Others react according to a movie that has obviously played out in their mind.

Imagine watching 10 minutes of a film, leaving to go run some errands and returning home to catch the paramount part of the film where one line all comes together. You would feel like you missed a lot, right? Well some people will play a whole movie out in their heads about relationships they are developing and the character they inserted in their imagination doesn’t get to be let in on what they are thinking. They just give them the first line of the movie and the last line they are to deliver. That’s how I feel.

The kind of confusing message happens to me when I go about my daily work life, check my email and the last line of the film I know nothing about is there. All other topics aside for a minute, if you want to really annoy me, just send me one random line and don’t let me know what you are talking about.

The whole thing is, I probably won’t spend too much time investigating. I’ll ask you what you mean and then move on because I hate mind games.

I would say 80 % of these messages are from people who are delusional while the other 20 % really did think I was following a previous thought process. I’m not going to say I don’t miss a lot, because I do, but when constructing an email I think it’s smart to give a brief synopsis of the background. For instance, if you send an email which says, “2 o’clock on Wednesday”, there’s a good chance I will respond and say, “What?” Communication skills have become so poor though, that people will email me back and say things like, “don’t act like you don’t know” as though I have time to act like I don’t know.

How about, “Hey Karen, that cool TV show on puppies I was telling you about is going to air 2 o’clock on Wednesday”. Ok then! You will get a sincere, heart-felt thank you from me for sharing because first, I love pups and second of all, it was a clear email.

What happens though, is that people will become immediately offended that I didn’t recall our conversation about puppies. (which is unlikely with THAT topic, but just using it as an example…hahaha) I notice that many of these kinds of reactions come from people who don’t have as much going on in their day or maybe just a couple friends on their friend list. If I had four people on my list, I think it would be a bit easier to remember each and every interaction, but even then, people have busy lives outside the internet.

The reason I believe people become offended is because they feel like their conversation was worthless or that they were worthless if I didn’t remember having it. This is actually my inability to remember everything that takes place in a day, it’s not a reflection on how I feel towards people.

The more extreme case I will sometimes experience is when someone on my friend list thinks we are going to develop a relationship past the kind of community relationship I am interested in. That is where they write a movie in their head. If they had some high hopes about us becoming romantic or even just best buddies going for coffee and I don’t play out the film the way their script reads it, there’s a good chance I am going to be reprimanded based on something completely imagined.

It’s not a good feeling when you have a crush on someone and they don’t feel the same thing. I am mostly concerned that people are taking it way too personally as though they did everything they could to be my new best friend or romantic partner and they failed. That is not a failure, I have no intent to date online or go hang out with anyone so my intentions are what is causing the boundaries, not something a person who has a crush is doing or not doing.

I generally tell people I am too messed up and you wouldn’t want to hang with me anyways; that I am a nightmare. ;)

The best kinds of friendships and romantic relationships happen when they happen naturally. I would never want to be involved in something that I had to chase down or force, so why would anyone else want to do that? That would lead to a disaster if you have to push someone to love you.

I believe that if a crush is not reciprocated, it’s not necessarily because you are not doing everything you can to be attractive to someone, I think there are a million other possibilities inhibiting that kind of relationship and they simply might not be a good match.

I also believe it’s better to really look at relationships realistically and not play out potential scenarios in our heads. I wouldn’t suggest you imagine yourself married to someone on the first day they say hello. Wouldn’t life be more fun to just wake up and see what happens? I suspect these types of people can’t stand waiting until Christmas morning to open gifts either. Some people don’t like life’s little mysteries.

Maybe our imaginations could switch over to actually writing screen plays instead of just keeping it in our heads.

Karen :)

If poets were realistic, they wouldn't be poets.” ~Peter Davison


Are You Swallowing Poison Over Time?

I saw that they want to cut back on the fluoride in the drinking water due to kids having too much of it. They may not take into account things like every child in my family trying to eat their toothpaste because it now tastes like candy. Maybe we don’t worry about things that are harmful over time.

If you read the ingredients on the packages of your favorite foods, I bet there are 2-10 things you can’t pronounce, don’t know the origin of it, what it’s used for or its potential damage either immediately or most likely, long term.

It’s a bit easier to document a study on physical damage. If something is scientific or touchable, we can identify it a bit easier.

What if we were to apply this same type of thinking to the things we cannot see which are making us sick over time? Relationship problems might hand out more poison during the course of our life than any external chemical in our food. This is not to say we shouldn’t be educating ourselves on what we are ingesting, but it’s cross-cancelled if we are still eating the small bits of emotional poison being ladled onto our plates every day.

For instance, a rapid fire of guilt or anger coming at you can feel heavier than everything you've already endured, but if you were to total the accumulated guilt you have felt up until now, your lid might not fit on the blender. We can sometimes think we can put up with more guilt if it's given to us in bite-size pieces. We might even think small bits are easy to recover from. On the contrary, I believe they act like small cancerous cells dispersed evenly over the body.

Identifying to me isn’t the biggest problem, though. My concern is that we know what is killing us slowly and we’re ok with it. We even laugh about it and make jokes out of it. It’s partly because it allows us to cope with the small bits of pain so we can enjoy all the good parts of the thing we are ingesting. If you eat a chocolate cookie, the best excuse to eat it is to tell yourself everyone else is doing it. You can ignore the bad ingredients by laughing at how you can’t pronounce them so you can simply consume to sweet parts without guilt.

This happens in dysfunctional relationships too. We excuse the bad behavior by cracking jokes about our partner so that we can continue in a less-than-ideal situation without being harmed by its poison. If you receive anger, guilt trips and other unacceptable behavior in your relationship because they are bite-sized and easily digestible, you could possibly be ignoring the power, not size of these cancerous growths.

If you have finally decided that a bad relationship needs to end because you are finally feeling the poison’s effects, it might take a seemingly positive turn or it the poison might rush in like a river. In the case if guilt trips, you might not be able to handle how much poison is coming so you stay there in order to alleviate the assault. A heavy assault like that can make us think it was the first time we were being poisoned when in fact, we didn’t see the tiny portions at every meal over a 5 or 10 year period.

I think the same thing applies to every drop of poison we let in our lives. Gossip, bad-mouthing, hate and violence are other things which don’t seem problematic when we watch a 5 minute broadcast or read a short article in the newspaper or online but they can manifest over time to seep in and destroy our character without us even noticing.

I know it’s difficult when the poison escalates to an intolerable level. Our bodies sometimes tell us to go back and moderate the toxin which throws many of us back into very unhealthy relationships. I think once we can identify what is destroying our character, we can ignore be aware that it can kill us slowly or quickly, but remain decided that it is in fact poison and it does have to be cut off.

If you are a compassionate soul, this might be harder to identify. I don’t think we have to lose our compassion for others when we set personal boundaries. I believe we are intelligent enough to have both.

Man, I do love chocolate, though. Not big on eating toothpaste, though…

Karen :)

Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.” ~Edwin Lewis Cole


The Homeless Man with the Golden Voice

What a fantastic story.

There was a viral video taken by a man who stopped to talk to a homeless man. The video showed the man holding a piece of cardboard which said he was an ex-radio announcer who had the gift of a good voice and was just down on his luck. The man filming him asked him to say something in his radio voice, he gave a really great quick audition from the street corner and then the cameraman put it up on youtube.

It had around 11 million hits and he ended up on a news show and now has several offers pouring in for work. His big catch was from Kraft Foods and he is now doing voice-overs for their ‘You know you love it’ campaign.

To say this is inspiring is an understatement. He has a criminal background and needed to be cleaned up. Yet, he landed himself some work by simply using what he had.

It’s very difficult to take simple inspiration from a story like this and turn it into something equally tangible in our own lives. We might think we have no gifts or talents. It becomes difficult to take an encouraging story and do anything with it past just feeling good about it at that moment.

It’s really up to each individual to grab a hold of the reins and steer it the way you want it to go but many people think this man is just an exception to the rule and therefore the odds are much like winning the lottery, so why bothering trying?

I grew up learning to not count on others. Any job I have had, I either hunted for or created it. I believe too many people are blaming higher powers for there being no jobs.

When I was a kid, I used to take my bike around to all the farms in the area and I would hop off and say hello. I would never say, “Hey are you hiring?” because they would always say no. Instead, I would strike up a conversation long enough to figure out if the farmer had an area where he sincerely needed help. If I spotted weeds in the garden, I would say, “Wow, you are such a hard worker! You must get so busy around here. Do you need some help cleaning up those weeds so the strawberries can get the sun?” They would laugh and say, “yeah those weeds are choking out the berries aren’t they? Sure I’d love the help.”

Instead of negotiating money with them, I would just set my bike against the barn and begin pulling. They would always give me some money for helping. I never had to ask.

This kind of mentality is missing from the job-hunting world. We go into work places and let them know what we will and won’t do before we are ever even hired and we want to talk about pay raise and benefits five minutes into it. It’s not to say those topics shouldn’t be discussed at some point, but they certainly aren’t good to start with.

I hate that people think the country owes them a job too. Nobody owes us anything. People are like farmers who just wake up in the morning and go about their business. If you don’t create a need in their business, they aren’t going to hire you. Why would they? Somewhere along the way, everyone became very entitled and has been buying into the idea that jobs should be supplied for us. If you don’t have a job, you don’t have a job…this means it’s not yours to get possessive about. It’s not the farmer’s job to make sure you are hired, it’s your job to convince him that he needs you.

I have also been in management where I have had to hire and fire people, so I know what happens on that side of the line too. I can generally smell someone’s sense of entitlement a million miles away and there’s a good chance I won’t hire them if they think they are owed the job.

Waiting for an economy to correct itself isn’t going to be the answer to finding work. In fact, I walk by places who are hiring all the time.

I do believe it’s more difficult for people like this homeless man who has a criminal record to find work, but it was his own mentality of being an overcomer against his odds which landed him the Kraft deal. Some people will say he dug his own whole with his drug and theft charges while others will say the system isn’t set up to give second chances. The bottom line is he could not afford to wait for external remedies. We could argue all day long about who is at fault, but all faults aside; his or the system’s, time is ticking on our lives and we simply cannot count on anyone else nor can we afford the time to blame anyone else. We might be absolutely right about where the fault lies, but well-placed blame isn’t enough to put food on the table. Not only that, it absorbs very precious time in our days and moments! We should be extraordinarily possessive about how our time is spent and guard ourselves against the things which can steal our time.

We are equipped…we can overcome…peacefully!
Karen :)

Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?” ~A.A. Milne


“She ODs all the Time and She Lies”

That was one of the Facebook responses to a woman who posted a suicide statement on the Social Networking site.

Simone Back left a message on FB which said; “Took all my pills be dead soon so bye bye every one.”

“She died”, the article said “…and nobody helped.”

What a sticky topic this is turning out to be. The article also said, “One user replied calling her a liar who ‘overdoses all the time’ while another said it was ‘her choice’. Miss Back, 42, is thought to have been dying of an overdose as the messages were posted on Christmas Day.”

I am overcome by so many emotions that I had to actually detach myself long enough to take a good hard look at the situation to see what is really happening.

Where I feel a bit caught is that the health of our friends and fellow citizens is everyone’s responsibility and the notion that a woman who is 42 years old is responsible for her own choices. What I feel is missing in the conversation is the part where we are not dealing with a stable adult. When the one person responded saying, “She ODs all the time and she lies” it might seem reasonably easy to dismiss the last statement Simone made. The problem I have with the response is that she stated something that was brutally obvious and was actually the answer to all of this, not the excuse for no response.

My response is, “She ODs all the time and lies? Ok then, she is sick and needs help!” If someone out there thinks ODing ‘all the time’ is on the same level as stealing cars or sleeping around, they seriously need to take another look at what they are saying. ODing all the time is time for intervention, not dismissal! Lying is another sign of sickness.

Healthy-minded adults absolutely are responsible for making poor choices like in cases where they are selfish, but I still believe every poor choice comes from somewhere no matter who makes it. If we choose to go sleep around on our spouse, we are making a choice based on some mental instability which needs addressing. If we have to lie about something to cover something up, we must be doing something harmful to ourselves. For this reason, I believe EVERYONE needs help and EVERYONE has the potential of being Simone Back.

All that being said, I firmly believe that friends and families can only do what they can do and shouldn’t beat themselves up from guilt. This is when we ‘do what we can do’ not ignore and type cruel, heartless responses. For instance, the Mother heard about it when it was too late and she’s disabled in a wheelchair. She is limited on where she can go and how she can travel, but she could get on the phone. She probably is well aware that her daughter was sick and lied, but she tried anyways…it was just too late. I don’t however agree this is FB’s responsibility although I applaud them for putting some things into play. Everyone’s pages are semi-private communities. The user base is over 600 million people. It’s getting to be like society. It’s like blaming the Government for something that happened in your living room. I would hope everyone could do their part.

Every single one of us has the capability to do what we can, but I also believe knowing when to keep our mouth shut is a skill too. If you jump on a forum and tell others to dismiss a suicide note, you are adding fuel to it. You aren’t helping. Ever remember the saying, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?’ That does apply in some cases.

Now, on the flipside; one of the reasons I am such a defender of the English language is because I believe in Word Power. When we learn about conflict resolution, healthy debate and how to communicate well, we have a power to help that can equate to being fully armed.

What if this woman said, ‘Ok guys, we need a new angle with Simone because she has had several attempts before this where she didn’t actually kill herself and she is known to lie. Her life is worthwhile and if anyone can come up with a game plan based on Simone’s complicated personality type, I would love to hear it.”

People in war train all the time to get to know the enemy better before entering the combat zone. Why don’t we arm ourselves with the same weapons in peaceful resolution? If we can start with the facts instead of reacting with our annoyance, we might be able to realize the enemy wasn’t Simone and her ‘lies’, the enemy is the sickness going on in her head. If your friend was being attacked, you would try to get the attacker off of them. If your friend is being attacked by Depression, suicidal tendencies, mental illness or other instabilities, wouldn’t you want to save them from it if you could?

I hate the phrase ‘crying for help’ when used to describe something that Simone was doing. If someone is crying for help and we are in a position to help, we should help. Maybe they need help getting rid of their sickness. Maybe like cancerous cells, it’s taking over their judgment and their lies and manipulations are their body’s last resort. We don’t have to bend to their every whim, but we can recognize they are being taken over. You know how I know Simone was being taken over? …because she is dead today. If death is not enough to tell you the person was fighting illness, I don’t know what could convince you.

If we truly feel like we have done everything we truly can, we should not carry the weight of someone’s illness or suicide. But if we tell others to dismiss their illness, we are probably going to be left with a burden bigger than what we ever asked for. The responder might have been accurate saying she ODs all the time and lies but a person who offers that isn’t trying to help, they are either looking for sympathy from others or have been manipulated and therefore feel warranted in their reaction. It’s simply not a helpful response and could have been worded in such a way to educate others and help Simone get the help she needed.

If you ever wonder how to deal with things like this, the internet has all sorts of ways you can help. You can even ask other friends how to properly respond. If someone tells you dismiss it, ask someone else until you find someone who both respects Word Power and is interested in finding a solution. Again, we are adults! We can’t save everyone, but we can try based on being well-informed and well-equipped.

Much love on ya!
Karen :)

Your ability to communicate is an important tool in your pursuit of your goals, whether it is with your family, your co-workers or your clients and customers.” ~Les Brown

Are you both Scared and Excited?

It’s the Stomach Butterflies deadly cocktail which causes acid to churn in our gut. Something in our life escalates to a violent end forcing a big change or decision and we welcome it because like the ‘Is Staring over Worse than Where you Are?’ blog, we know it is ultimately best for us.

Without suggesting arson as a solution, I have seen what people have accomplished who have watched their homes go up in flames. One woman told me that the new home her and her husband built was the most joyful, bonding experience her family ever had together. She said they learned things about each other she never thought imaginable. They said they had fights, they argued, the house was full of tension and she said she was constantly reminded of the ex-wife who lived there before. No, she did not set the house on fire to kill the ex’s spirit, but she said one day while sitting in her new kitchen she smiled at how crazy everything was and giggled that the ugly wallpaper was now gone. You have to sometimes incorporate a bit of silliness and laughter into it. Injected humor can at least take the stinger out even if we still have to tend to the bite.

She said she wasn’t sure if she ever became completely excited about working on the new home. It was tight all the time, they ate in weird places, slept at strange family homes and were very overwhelmed. She did however tell me that she was excited and scared and wanted to throw up a lot.

The thing about her situation was that it was temporary. She had to view it as temporary. There are simple things in life we have to do that we don’t want to do in order to facilitate our change. If you have to sleep on a lumpy bed for a while, that is what has to happen. This woman had two big German Shepherds who had to board somewhere. She hated that too, but it was temporary.

She also took a lot of video and pictures and documented the whole transition. She then got together with friends and organized the pictures and videos into a presentation because she said she wanted to use all of her experience to inspire others. She documented the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. All of it was part of the experience. We don’t always get to choose what facets make their way into our experiences. I do love her lemons into lemonade approach.

Some of the best artists in the world have documented their hardships. Many people who make it out the other end wished they would have. Think about some of your favorite lyrics on your favorite records? What if those people didn’t go through that and didn’t document it? How would you have ever known about them? They went through something exciting and scary in order to come up with something that could soothe your soul when you crank it on your stereo.

The one thing I have experiences with the deadly stomach butterfly cocktail is that our bodies will mix it like this in order to propel us forward. My stomach acid became my Rocket Fuel…and I mean rocket fuel, not gasoline. I could get to the store on excitement, but I can’t get to the Moon with it, right?

Some people have the gift of ingenuity and natural drive which gets them to the Moon if that is where they want to be. Others have to have a fire set under them to get there. It would be lovely if we could fuel our move without the stomach cocktail, but hey, if that is the fuel you are burning, I vote use it to get out of your hell and into a place of peace. We have many tools in the toolbox at our disposal. I say use what you have!

Being scared sometimes can mean we are alive. It’s our body’s way of violently shoving us into the next place. Fear assists animals in staying alive, but animals will react according to their driving instinct. They don’t stay fearful for too long.

No, stomach acid is not healthy. It physically causes the pancreas to work overtime and it’s hard on us. But it is there for a reason. If it’s telling you something, you probably should listen to what it is saying to you.

Eating dry crackers and sipping Ginger-Ale,

Karen :)

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.” ~Winston Churchill


Is Your World Spiraling out of Control?

‘As it turns out, the world isn’t spinning, I am.’ That was a funny realization I came to not that long ago.

It essentially goes against the laws of nature, but it’s meant to be metaphorical. I don’t actually think the world is perfectly still. In fact, the world is working in a frenzied state all the time, but it doesn’t really offer up anything too unpredictable overall. There seems to be cause and effect for just about everything.

While I think the world operates in such a way to continue its existence with all the necessary volcanic eruptions and crazy weather patterns, it isn’t out to get me or to test me. It isn’t on the same wave of thought as I am in and doesn’t actually have a personal agenda to see me fail.

People on the other hand are full of agendas; conflicting agendas, selfish agendas, hateful hearts and are looking out for number one. It’s easy to think therefore that the world (people) are out to get me or that a big spirit in the sky is trying to test me.

The thing about being chased, if you don’t want to be caught, you won’t be caught. If someone tries to anger us and we don’t allow it, we can’t be angered. We are not in control of the world or people in it, but I believe we do have control over one thing; our reaction.

How we react to being punched is the key to surviving the hit. If you have ever taken any kind of martial arts class, you will know there is a fine art in learning how to block someone’s hit, but you also learn how to fall if you have to take one. It covers the bases. The smart thing would obviously be to not walk the dark alley where gunmen can hunt you, but in the event you wind up there, you kind of have to be equipped to defend yourself and fall elegantly in order not to break anything.

The world however has been known to break into our homes; you know, the place where we think we have peace…the place where we are minding our own business. Our spirits should be prepared for that to.

The thing I am learning especially lately when all my technology (which is what I rely on for work) is breaking down is that the only way to come to a solution is to be perfectly calm and incorporate systematic solutions one by one with zero emotion attached. As soon as we allow our emotions to spin out of control, we just added a problem onto our pile which will not allow any other problem to get fixed. It will always be number one on the list. When we become emotional over a massive snag in our life, it’s imperative to get a rein on that first so it doesn’t cloud the intelligent judgment which is needed to come up with a solution. I see this in too many places where real problems have been replaced by emotions which not only get in the way of solutions, but actually amplify the problem to a level where we can’t even begin to find a solution. The problem becomes insurmountable.

Generally, solution-oriented people are not overwhelmed. They might be overworked, but not utterly snowed under by it all.

The biggest hurdle is to gain perspective of our own environment. I’ve talked about how my dad used to fly above our farm and would say certain problems were not problems if he couldn’t see them from hundreds of feet. That is perspective. When satellite images zoom way out from our kitchen table like I have mentioned before, we gain perspective on our place in the universe. When you stand one feet away from your art, you can’t gain perspective until you move 15 feet back. It’s the same as when I mentioned about cutting hair for years. I could tell if my cut was straight until I stood back.

This is difficult to do when we are hurting or being attacked. Unless the gunman is on a roof a city block away, there’s a chance you have to fight off the attacker who is within inches of your face. It’s difficult to gain a wider perspective when they are so close.

How do we do this? Oh geeze, I have no idea. Ha! I would suspect we have to react in such a way that makes it seem like the problem is smaller or farther away from us than it actually is. Gaining a perspective inside us that could be one-size-fits-all perspective seems unreasonable, but maybe it’s what we need. If I can apply ‘act accordingly’ instead of ‘react quickly’ that might be a good start. Maybe the best combo is ‘act quickly’ or ‘react accordingly’.

All in all, the thing which seems to be working for me so far (and I say ‘so far’ because who knows how I will react next time) is to detach the emotional aspect. If I have a task to do, I need to do it without added emotional strain. ‘Action is the antidote to despair’ still rings loudly in my ears.’ Generally, life has a huge list of complications, tasks, jobs and hurdles. It will ALWAYS be this way. I believe we can get to the first job on the list if we cross, ‘Get really, really upset’ off the list. Nothing else will ever fall into place when that is taking the number one position.

Loving systematically,


It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there's nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.” ~Wayne Dyer


Is Your Language Incendiary?

I think it I overheard Jon Stewart saying he didn’t like language that was incendiary. It was the generalizations of groups and name-calling which can only lead to heated discussion, not solutions.

Remember when you were a kid and you would be on the Playground with no teachers or parents around and the name-calling would begin and it would be directed towards one child? If the kid was really unpopular, it would be easy to join in. Gossip and unfounded lies do this, but so does certain lingo. I’m remembering how I had the Cooties. I never knew how I got them or who gave them to me…perhaps I was born with them, but according to the entire school, I had them. When I looked them up, one meaning read;

The term may have originated with references to lice, fleas, and other parasites. A child is said to "catch" cooties through any form of bodily contact, proximity, or touching of an "infected" person or from a person of the opposite sex of the same age. Often the "infected" person is someone who is perceived as "different" and bears some kind of social stigma: of the opposite sex, disabled, someone who is shy or withdrawn, someone who has peculiar mannerisms, stigmatized, etc. The phrase is most commonly used by children aged 4–10; however, it is also used by many others older than 10.

I assumed at the time they were a lot like the heebie- jeebies which is what I seemed to get when one of the name-callers would come near me.

Adult name-callers seem to give me the same uncomfortable feeling. I can’t even determine who is right and who is wrong when name-calling starts. I simply wrap up my heebie-jeebies, throw them in my knap-sack and take them home. I find it very difficult to listen to adults saying they hate a certain person, group of people, leaders etc when the argument is pretty much the same as catching cooties.

Name-calling is one example of language that is incendiary. Incendiary is basically when you use phrases, arguments or name-calling which inflame or ignite discussion in a negative way as opposed to causing discussion to take place, incendiary language will infuriate and cause angry debate or people to shut down. If you call your partner a Slut for instance, there’s a really good chance you are going to ignite a very hot situation, one that probably will end very badly.

Your partner may wear clothes that are promiscuous, the actions might warrant the name you chose in your mind, but unless you are planning on never seeing this person again, the name-calling doesn’t spawn healthy conversation. I think even if the person slept around on you and did things which were indicative of the word you gave her, what does it say about you using language like that? How does it match your character and the kind of person you want to be? If you wish to pack up all her bags and set them by the curb, that’s fine. If you want your lawyer to make sure she doesn’t have a penny for wrecking your home, so be it…but the name-calling is something that we should have left back on the schoolyard because it literally does nothing except make us look less intelligent.

If our hope is to implement change in any area of our lives, wouldn’t it make sense to simply be solution-oriented? If you hate some leader, could you not put together an essay or blog which talks about the actions which you disagree with? Does it have to be just calling them names and saying you hate them? Whether or not we feel justified by their wrong actions doesn’t give us the right to be the Playground Bully. We just gave ourselves a name then too.

I don’t want any name attached to me except for my name. I don’t want a religious or political organization’s name associated with me and I don’t want my actions to give me a name or childhood fictitious disease.

At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned how kids feel free to name-call when there are no teachers or parents around. It would seem that having those people around keep us in check, but I believe they keep us reminded. You know how I manage to not be part of the incendiary language that is happening? I think of my Mom, Dad, Grandparents and mentors and imagine them standing in the room with me. If you were to take the person you admire the most in the whole world and pretend they were sitting in a chair next to you while you said something which hurt someone else, what would they say to you? If the person you admire the most was a religious figure, how would they feel about what you just said? If you were to say the person you admire the most would be totally ok with me saying hurtful or incendiary things, then I would humbly suggest you find a new mentor.

I personally only want to be mentored by peaceful, loving, compassionate, solution oriented people.

But overall, I really want to say things and do things which cause discussion and don’t light the room on fire. Change might be much needed, but love and compassion are still needed more. They always will be.

Better go check my head for Cooties,

Karen :)

Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.” ~Eric Hoffer


Wherever You Go, You Go Too

I had a lot of direct and indirect commentary surrounding the ‘Starting Over’ blog. It’s still amazing to me how many people are waiting for an environment change for their lives to change. I giggled a lot only because that is totally what I was doing.

My biggest transition was five years ago coming from Ontario, Canada to Los Angeles. The biggest change I noticed was sun every single day with the exception of a few weeks in the year where it would rain. The landscape felt very different due to the surrounding hills. I grew up with flat country cornfields all around me.

It’s one thing to come from a small town to a big town. I noticed a big change driving from my small town to Toronto years ago. Toronto seemed a bit intimidating. I didn’t have my driver’s license very long and the 401 and Gardiner Distressway (I like to call it) scared me a lot! It was too fast, too many cars and too confusing. By the time I would get to my auditions, I was completely frazzled.

Then I did some music tour-y stuff in NY and I gotta tell ya, Toronto looked more like my small town. New Yorkers are upfront and loud, but super crazy in a good way too. I love NY so much. I like how dark people dress and I like how fast you can get around.

Los Angeles is way too spread out. You can spend most of your time driving somewhere or sitting in traffic. I find people here very tolerant of our differences and very open to creativity. There is a joke with Canadian artists that you only get recognized in Canada if Los Angeles recognizes you. I’m not sure where the saying comes from, but I suspect people can feel very free to be themselves here without judgment and I really like that.

The thing is this; I spent way too much time in all my transitions looking for the external changes. A fresh coat of paint in our living room can certainly make us feel better when we are in the room. I believe color has its place and I do understand the affects of sunshine and how great it can be.

Sometimes we need an environmental change just to give us some breathing room to figure it all out. My issue before moving here was that I lived in a very angry infected environment so I was always too mad or too sad or too constantly bombarded to just breathe. I go to the point where I couldn’t even catch my breath. I’ve always said I wasn’t running from a problem but running to a solution.

In looking back though, it wasn’t a solution I was looking for out in the world, I was looking for some stillness so I could just figure it out. You know, ‘Just let me think for second, wouldja?’ –That mentality.

The best part of my growth definitely came while living in the storm. I just didn’t know it then. I started off by being silent, withdrawing…then I would break out in anger and then retreat in sadness and silence. It was a horrible ritual of attack, retreat, attack, retreat. It was truly my fox hole.

That is massively tough on your emotions after a while. I started to look for solutions outside of that. I would try to say things differently and I would try every new angle possible. Once I felt like I had exhausted those angles in 20 different languages or dialects, I decided it was over. When I wanted to take my own life, I knew I had to get out.

I would hate to think people couldn’t get out of their unhealthy situations unless they reached that edge on the cliff. What I was able to do though was something from the Funeral Mute song, ‘bite my tongue & bide my time’. It’s part of having a game plan.

So I did everything I was supposed to do to change everything and it took a long time. My situation was clearly a case where MASSIVE change had to happen or I was simply going to die. The one thing I hated that I had to put on hold was working on my character. It wasn’t until I was surrounded by some very cool people who inspired me to want to improve myself did I attempt it. I realized that parts I didn’t like came along on the move. I wished I could have left those back there too!

As it turns out, there is no one dumping ground for the bad traits. They don’t stay at the last house or apartment you lived in. The newness of environment gave me a chance to breathe, but I still had to face the demons eventually.

The groovy part is I could breathe and think long and hard because I had nobody around me to clutter me up. That was a good thing. But over the years, the parts of my character that have been shaped the coolest in my mind (maybe others would disagree) happened during volatile conflict. If I could take a deep breath and listen to a hot-headed client instead of yelling back, I would mark a point in my mind. I would sometimes take a bathroom break and go look in the mirror and crack a smile and think, ‘You just pulled a Frank…nice one Karen.’ (I’ve told you guys before, Frank stays on point and never angry which I admire) I am most proud of myself for remaining calm, cool and collected when everyone is on fire around me. For anyone who is in the audio field, you will know that if you push up all the faders on a console, you won’t hear things better. Some faders have to come down. I find the same thing in heated discussions.

I know there are so many people facing big changes, but there is beauty in learning the calmer skills in the crazier storm. It’s a skill that truly will follow you wherever you go…and storms will come and go too.

Very proud to say I managed to NOT flip the bird in NYC, (That is a BIG point for anyone…lol)

Karen :)

The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.” ~Norman Vincent Peale


Is Starting Over Worse than Where You Are?

I often call the ‘comfort zone’ the ‘uncomfortable zone’ because I haven’t had much luck being comfortable there. I always looked at my comfort zone as being in a holding pattern. If you don’t make any sudden moves, it can’t get any worse, right?

Having been in a chain of terrible relationships and many cases of bad financial issues, I think it was more of a case that I could get used to just about anything if it was done over and over again in a pattern. A habit whether good or bad can sort of just keep going on its journey because we inch it along and those inches seem quite doable.

Starting from scratch might be the scariest concept for a person. It’s not that we don’t know how, we are usually just too invested up to that point or we are basically exhausted and aging in such a way that we can’t imagine where we would find the energy to move on. Then, couple that with the things that now come with us. We might have had children since or there is a heap of bills staring at us and taunting us to stay in its clutches.

I watched a clip of a girl who has a Ministry which helps gets prostitutes off the Vegas Strip. It’s pretty gut-wrenching to watch. I know people who have been in the porn/strip club/escort business and while it might seem easy to escape for those of us watching from the sidelines, it’s life-threatening to leave it. You seriously need a whole community to save them in order to accommodate their protection from the Pimp community.

The one clip which really tugged at my heart strings was when one of the ex-prostitutes got off the phone with a friend who seemed to easily transition back into her life in New York while this girl was struggling with therapy and a very shaky do-over. She began to cry at how unfair life was and you could tell she was overwhelmed with what to do next. She must have felt like her life had actually gone backwards by leaving the industry. I’ve seen this with that industry. Some people get back on their feet quickly while others struggle for years to get ahead.

A story like that can make our own situations feel pretty easy to fix or they can make us just feel grateful we aren’t going through that. Being grateful is one thing, but sometimes seeing the extreme stories can just cause us to do nothing about our own situation.

Going back to the mounting bills which could be keeping us in the trap; there are so many things which we are in bondage to. The oppression of owing money not only stops us from going new places and experiencing new things but it eats away at our character because we believe at the heart of it all, we are good people and we like to make good on our debts.

The one thing I got from this Vegas Story is the theory ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. The steps these girls have to go through to get their lives back doesn’t end with the hero scooping them up in a helicopter and escaping with them. It’s a really long road and it takes the love and assistance of the people in the Ministry for them to have a hope of not returning to the uncomfortable zone again.

In our own trying times, like mounting bills and joblessness, why do we think we can go it alone? I believe like these hookers on the Strip, they are mostly burdened by their shame and I believe that our shame is what keeps us locked up. It’s very embarrassing to ask family or friends for financial help especially if you have people in your family who work in finance. You might seem like a failure to them. You might not want to go to someone for help because they might say, ‘I told you so’ or maybe not quite as bad; they whisper about you in circles behind your back making you feel really imprudent. What I have learned over the years, people who love us really do want to help even if it’s just being an ear. If you can muster up enough courage to be completely honest about your situation to someone who truly loves you, you may be surprised how helpful that will be. They might not write you a check to pay off all your debt, but they might provide some focus and I’ve said before; just verbalizing or writing down something about our situation can put a lot of things into focus. Most financial planners will have you write down every debt you have on a bold list in front of you. You would be surprised how many people who are in debt don’t actually know what they owe because it’s too painful to look at. Maybe some personalities would crumble at the sight of it, but more often than not, the bold truth is what helps us make a change.

The bigger problem I have encountered with change is that I have almost always had to step back…sometimes many steps knowing things will then move forward. It’s an error to think we can smoothly transition out of something like prostitution into a high-paying job the next day. We just have to decide if the steps back are worth it. I believe they are; if we can simply find just one more ounce of strength to make the awkward elbow-turn.

If you are facing a big decision or need to make a large change, can you break it down on paper into something tangible even if it takes slightly longer?

Packing about one box per/week,

Karen :)

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” ~Albert Einstein


‘Do the right thing, Man!’

“It's not enough for you to do well. You want to do good. You want your life to matter. You want to live in such a way the world will be glad you did.” ~Max Lucado

That was a twitter update I saw in the main stream this morning. He is usually someone who I think is brilliant and loving so there is the danger of just agreeing with everything he says based on how much I like the guy. I almost hate to say anything to the contrary because he really is super cool and very knowledgeable.

He starts off by saying, “It's not enough for u to do well. You want to do good.” I am sure having read several of his books and knowing his background that he wasn’t using ‘good’ as a mediocre behavior preceding the word ‘great’. I am sure he meant we should do some good on the earth as opposed to doing well in our lives. It’s part of living with a purpose and I dig that. He did go on to say, “You want your life to matter” so that pretty much solidifies the point.

It’s his last phrase which begs for some follow-up. If I look at what he is saying very literally in a way that would match the three sentences before it, I would think he meant the actual earth will thank us for it. Nature as a whole, grass, trees and people included will be glad we did something with this sense of purpose. I think that is a true thought. It’s reasonable to think anything we do which is good will be felt by the earth in some way, on some level and with some percentage. What set me a little off center about the final phrase was, ‘You want to live in such a way’. I feel like this is just uncomfortable to read because it points to us doing something because others will be pleased. I am not a big believer in doing things selfishly, but my real concern with it is the thought that, ‘What do we do when the world doesn’t acknowledge what we do?’ and will we suffer some disappointment because of it. Again, having read so many of his books, I am sure he would say, ‘Ah, but you are doing good and the world is glad.’ I am still left wondering in that case if he did respond that way, why would we do anything based on whether the world approves or the earth is thankful.

Whatever happened to doing things because it’s simply the right thing to do? Whatever happened to paying something forward because having been through pain, we should understand that it feels yucky to go through something and why wouldn’t we want to do everything we can to alleviate that in someone else because pain is so awful? Whatever happened to slotting ourselves into a much grander picture rather than looking for the Superhero role in it all? Why are we still thinking about the gratitude of others and making sure they notice us? While I want the things I do to matter, can’t I simply just trust that the magnificent Earth which has a plan a million times bigger than me will take my efforts into account IF I do the right thing and do what I am told to?

If the Earth responds favorably to something I implemented and it makes me feel good, I guess that is fine. But hasn’t the Earth given me more than I could ever imagine to give back? Isn’t the favor bank slightly slanted in its favor? Because it is so slanted as far as which one of us is working harder, I fail to believe that is ever needs my gratitude. I understand gratitude isn’t dependent on who does more and I will continue to be eternally thankful, but looking for its gratitude simply cannot be the reason I do anything. If it pleases the Creator, awesome…but he’s done more for me that I could do for him. I won’t stop doing good things and finding my place in it all, but I won’t be looking for the Earth or world to be glad that I did. I see it simply as my responsibility and job.

I want to live in such a way that is agreeable, but I am more thankful than looking for thanks.

I am continually looking for where I am needed, simply because as a human who lives on a part of the earth where I think I was given some good tools and blessings, I believe it’s the right thing to do. I think when everyone does what they are supposed to do and go to where they are needed and respond when they are called, I believe the world and earth is going to function properly. It’s a perfect initial plan that when we work against it, things go badly. The Earth has even set up back-up plans all over the place for when we screw up. I just don’t want to be one of the ones sucking that well dry.

Yes, the world will be glad I lived this way but it simply cannot be the reason for what I do what I do. It’s a bit too shaky and unstable of a motto to live on.

Maybe we should set the motto back to, ‘Do the right thing, Man!!!’

A bit bossy, but you get where I am going with it. ;)

Always feeling like I could be doing more, but recognizing I can do what I can when I am called to…

Karen :)

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. What about you?” ~Max Lucado

(Another quote by him which I like…but I could start to talk about if we are going around looking for something to do or if we are ignoring the very thing we are called to…will save that for another day) ;)


Welcome to the Aftermath

There are a few of us who barely knew Christmas was here. Some opted out and some had it stolen from them. I viewed it this year as a gift of some silence although with everything going on around me, you’d never know anyone was taking a break. For a few of us, work just kept on going straight on through. Having stayed home New Year’s too and not having a single decoration or light within eye shot, I don’t feel the particular letdown of the Holidays being over. In my day-to-day life I don’t understand the difference between Monday and Saturday, they all blur together into one gigantic day.

For some people though, it seems like Cinderella turning back into the girl scrubbing the floor surrounded by some pumpkins. Christmas in this case is a good deterrent for a time of love and dancing, but then the brutal reality of work comes crashing in or even worse, the return to Depression.

I’m writing this today because January can be one of the most depressing times of year for people. The Holidays gave them a chance to interact and be merry, but then all those people who were off work have to return to their jobs and a depressed person might feel like there is nothing good until the next Holiday happens when their friends are available again.

Imagine playing in the sunny meadow and then a Prince or Princess comes along and asks you to dance. You have a wonderful time, you get on the horse with them and ride over the moat, across the bridge, into the Castle, they show you your new throne and then they say, ‘Ok, I’m off…I’ll return in a week.’

Part of you may be thrilled by the new architecture and independence, but without the person you met there, you might be extremely bored and looking at life as pretty dull. There is nothing for you to do and you slump into the waiting mode, hoping the next party will be soon.

Worse for some people is when all of that happens but they have fun with you and drop you back off at your home and say, ‘I’ll pick you up for a summer BBQ’.

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” is a Leonardo da Vinci quote that I have always loved. I always looked at it as the thing which drives me. There are certain things I have experienced which have been very good for me and I recognize quickly that I can’t return to the old ways of doing things. After being around very calm, considerate people, I can never go back to abuse. After meeting extraordinary souls, I have felt my own soul improve and so I love the quote.

However, the quote can also mean that a depressed person after experiencing one party or one crazy fun event up in the stars will look at the ground with disappointment. It’s not an entirely bad thing because it prompts us to improve our setting and environment but I am afraid most people who are depressed in January will feel as though the amazing festivities are indicative of everyday life. It’s not one big party and this extreme example of fun can make a person’s everyday life feel very lackluster.

The word ‘Aftermath’ is usually used to describe the period after war, destruction or catastrophe. While I do hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday Season, the celebrations can feel much like an aftermath in the life of a depressed person. Staring at Christmas wrap, stacked dishes, empty folding chairs and pine needles on the carpet can seem like a warzone. Cleaning it up can keep us busy for a while but then the bare rooms can seem more like a desert. This is part of what leaves people feeling deserted.

Having been through a brutal case of January blues followed up by 11 months of abandoned self-worth for many years in a row, I can only say what has worked for me is to put way more emphasis on my life that happens between weekends and holidays, than the Holidays themselves. If you are truly a weekend warrior, what kind of game-plan can you implement for yourself that will make you enjoy every moment equally. I am not suggesting there are not times which are just hard work, but can’t we whistle while we work like the song recommends?

I might go back and read my own Time Stealers and Bad Habits blog again and see if I can still be streamlining some parts of my life that are tugging away my good moments. There is always room for improvement in time management and allocation.

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the Days of Our Lives…(Nope, I absolutely don’t watch Soaps, I just know the saying)

Much love!

Karen :)

“When I was 21, I got into a motorcycle accident while traveling in Europe and I had to lie around a lot in the aftermath, which was really the first time in my life that I became really focused and inspired to write.” ~Chantal Kreviazuk