Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Perfect Gift

Hard to believe Christmas is just over a week away.

Not much shopping, decorating, or celebrating has been going on in my world. No cookie baking, or caroling, or dreaming of presents under the tree.

It's not for lack of holiday spirit. I've been thankful that others have decorated up a storm--the lights look prettier than usual this year. And I'm looking forward to seeing friends and making merry. It's just that I can't seem to get my head (or heart) into the whole giving/getting thing. And that's so not typical of me that I've actually been feeling bad about it.

Until tonight.

Driving home from Jim's, I heard an Eddie Cantor song from 1939 that could easily have been written today. By the time it ended I felt at peace with the way I'm feeling. Given the kind of year it's been, the perfect gift would be not to lose what I already have.

The Only Thing I Want for Christmas
(Is Just to Keep the Things That I've Got)
If Santa passes by my stocking, I promise not to mind a lot
The only thing I want for Christmas is just to keep the things that I’ve got
A pair of loving arms around me, a garden of forget-me-not
The only thing I want for Christmas, is just to keep the things that I’ve got

A friend or two, a peaceful sky of blue
A place to hang my hat when work of day is through
If Santa passes by my chimney I’ll still be happy like has not
The only thing I want for Christmas is just to keep the things that I’ve got

Ya know there’s a lot of unhappiness in the world today
But we still have peace over here.
In this country we really have Christmas 365 days each year

If Santa passes by my stocking I’ll still be happy like has not
The only thing I want for Christmas is just to keep the things
Just to keep the things, that I’ve got

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's so easy to get mired in the muck of the everyday. To lose sight of the joy and the wonder. To forget the experiences, big and small, that amaze, surprise and delight me. That ignite my spirit and soothe my soul.

Today, in this moment, I give thanks for simply being. Here. Now. And I bow down in gratitude for the life I've been given. The life I've created. And for everyone who has walked with me: for an hour, a year, or the entire journey.

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Snow

Sure, the world as we know it has been turned upside down since the super storm hit.

But there is still something magical about the first snow of the season. It blankets the earth in quiet, muffling the high-pitched sounds of sadness, guilt, loss, fear. And creates a fresh, clean canvas on which we can lay down new brushstrokes, and begin again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Summer went to waste. Cooped up indoors, sanity dependent on the non-stop hum of the dreaded air conditioner, I experienced the hot-weather equivalent of cabin fever. Hair and skin and hope wrung dry, I longed for September to come and save me.

And oh, was it worth the wait! A week's worth of crystal blue skies, curtains billowing in the breeze, sweaters tossed across shoulders, and flowers glowing in the bright sun, have erased all memory of summer's misery. And lured me outside to play.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Handle With Care

The project is called Liberate Your Art. And when I took the plunge last year and signed up to participate, it was all about that for me. Liberating my art from the confines of my studio and, for the first time in over 30 years, sharing it with the world.

Five post cards. That's all it is. Transferring an image that reflects where you are in your creative journey onto five small rectangles. Mailing them to the marvelous Kat Sloma. And waiting to receive five postcards from other artists in return.

But that's NOT all it is. Not for me, anyway. It's about courage. Being brave enough to tear off five tiny pieces of my soul, put them in an envelope, and send them to the mysterious Kat Sloma--a complete stranger.

It's about trust. Trusting that Kat will keep her promise to stamp them and put them in the mail. Trusting that she'll handle them with care, knowing what they represent. Trusting that, like those chain letters from my teen years, miniature works of art from five other courageous souls will magically appear in my mailbox. And trusting that each participant will hold the souls of the others in safe and supportive hands.

This year, in the absence of the fear and anxiety that accompanied last year's effort, I've realized that Liberate Your Art is also about something else. It's about connecting. Sharing. Being part of an incredible and inspiring creative community. The anticipation, the waiting to see what shows up next--and the "oh, wow!" as each treasure arrived--are like nothing I've ever experienced. And each card was like a voice in my ear saying, "Keep making space in your life for self-expression!"

That's the reason I decided to be part of this amazing project again. My deepest gratitude to Kat & to everyone who has shared their (he)art. Can't wait 'til next year!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Like Riding a Bike

No pressure. No promises. No uttering the “C” word. Just a short post about where I am right now.

In an effort to reconnect with the joy that has been my blogging raison d’ĂȘtre, I signed on for Susannah Conway’s e-course, Blogging from the Heart. This is week two, and our first writing assignment is to do just that. Write.

So this is where I am right now: exhausted and stressed and battling like hell not to give in to the urge to pull the covers over my head and stay in bed. All day. Every day.

And: excited by the prospect of re-immersing myself in the world of amaze, surprise & delight. Coming regularly to this place that celebrates what sustains me. And gives my life meaning. And gets me out of bed each day.

It’s just like riding a bike, right? You never forget how. No matter how long it’s been since you donned your helmet, put air in the tires, and took off down a shady, tree-lined path. In search of nothing more than what you encountered along the way.

It shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I love a good joke and I love to laugh.

But April Fool's Day is one of those I'm-happy-when-it's-over holidays. Like New Year's Eve. And Halloween. The less thought and energy I put into them, the more quickly they'll pass.

So when this blog post by Jamie Ridler showed up in my Inbox this morning, it sort of caught me by surprise. Not because it contains information that I don't already know. But because it puts a fresh spin on what it means to be foolish. And it couldn't have come at a better time.

I've been taking myself and my work way too seriously lately, and it's taking a toll. If, like me, you've been struggling to find the light and joy in your day-to-day, Jamie's insights may resonate with you, too. Or at least remind you to be more open. As she says, the gift of letting go of knowing is the opportunity to learn.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Luck of the Irish

It's St. Patrick's Day, and Jim and I spent the afternoon on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant.

Please keep in mind that the date is March 17. This is the Jersey Shore we're talking about. And I wasn't wearing gloves.

There was no green beer. No Shepherd's Pie or corned beef & cabbage. No shamrocks pinned to our jackets. Instead of celebrating a saint I know nothing about, we celebrated the end of another dark, dreary winter with a few brisk rounds of Skee-ball, a bucket of hot, crisp french fries--perfectly salted--and our first-ever deep fried Oreos (they won't be or last!)

The sun felt amazing. And so did the sand between my toes as we stripped off shoes and socks and strolled along the beach. In the middle of March. Feeling lucky to be alive.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Daydream Believer

Davy Jones died yesterday. He was 66.

Whether you loved the Monkees or not, if you were alive in the 60's you knew who they were. I saw a clip on the news where Davy said the Monkees would live on for a very long time. That people underestimated the impact the band would have on people's lives. It would be easy to accuse him of believing the daydream a tad too much, but history has proven him right. For better or worse, the Monkees are woven indelibly into the fabric of pop culture and the hearts of the millions who loved them.

As for Davy, he kept the daydream going. Although the made-for-TV band was often accused of having no real talent, he built a career on singing the songs that fans knew by heart. Belting them out with joy and passion. By all accounts, he stayed cute until the end. And died while indulging in his other lifelong passion: tending to his racehorses.

Today is my birthday. I'm 58.

Just as I was a bit shocked to realize that Davy was 66, I'm not quite sure how I got to be this age, this fast. And I have a tough time sticking to my guns when it comes to indulging in my passions. But I do know this: his death is a reminder that I may not have all the time in the world to live out my daydreams. He died doing what he loved. Will I be able to say the same?

Monday, February 13, 2012


Love is an emotion that is impossible to capture in words.

Trying to express what love feels like (as opposed to what love is) is daunting. It’s not that there are no words to describe it. It’s that the words all seem inadequate.

Far better writers than I have tried. And many of them have done an admirable job. But as I said to Jim yesterday over a pre-Valentine’s Day brunch: maybe the reason there are so many love poems and love songs is that no one has ever managed to capture it perfectly.

And yet…we can’t help but try. So today, this is what is true for me: There is no such thing as falling in and out of love. Once I fall in love—with someone or someplace or something—there is no going back. And I can’t say that about any other emotion. Fear, sadness, anger, passion, hate—they all come. They all go.

Not love. Love feels like…forever.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Resolutions Revolution

Resolutions or no resolutions? That is the question.

For some, New Year’s resolutions are crap. For others, they serve as a blueprint for change. For me—well, whether I go on record with them or not, I am definitely in the without-goals-my-life-is-directionless camp.

Regardless of where we fall on the spectrum, we all know that the issue is not making resolutions. It’s keeping them. After all, who wants to knowingly set themselves up to look foolish?

Not me. Not this year. Which is why I’m grateful to Susan Piver for offering up a fresh perspective on the whole darn thing. Rather than paraphrase, here’s the idea in her words:

“…stop making lists of hoped-for accomplishments. Instead of writing down “exercise more”…I try to spend some time feeling what I wish to become…One thing I always long for is more energy. But rather than hoping to somehow become that person in the future, I experiment with becoming that person right now by becoming her on the inside. For example, if I tell you right now to flash on what it would feel like to have all the energy in the world, you can do that, right? Just flash. Don’t try to hold on. Don’t try to build a story about how to get that way or why you can never be that way—just be that way. For a second. Then let go. This is a great start."

This makes so much more sense to me than pinning my hopes on a handful of promises I'll try my best to make good on. So here’s what I’ll be “flashing” on in the days and months ahead:

• Organizing my mind
• Feeling better in (and about) my body
• Living authentically (hiding less, shining more)

And I wish for you the fulfillment of whatever your heart and soul desires.