Self Imposed

Friday night.

I could be all dressed up with somewhere to go, yet instead it’s Friday and I’ll be home in my jammies by 8pm.

Even though I have somewhere to go. I won’t.

Nine months ago I’d of been outta here, nine months ago I was. I was out at a live music show doing what I love, memorializing ‘the bands’ show.

But instead I am isolating and being reclusive.

I’ve not been able to really talk about this, but right now I seem able. That could all change tomorrow. Stroke recovery is like that, I find myself repeating “every day in stroke recovery is different.’


I’ve been an extroverted loner all my life. I’ve always been quite comfortable being alone, most often choosing solitude, yet I had a social side and liked being with people…well most people.

But now the extroverted side of me has apparently disappeared with the brain damage I suffered from the stroke that hit me last October. Being with people I love or even engaging with them on the phone I often find is simply too much. At least for today, and “For Today” is all I can manage.

Social media is the only place and time I feel somewhat comfortable being social, as it were. Knowing I can duck out at any give moment without being seen as rude or someone taking it personal gives me latitude to work with. I don’t feel like I have that option in person or even on the phone. Brain injury survivors tend to be hyper sensitive to stimuli. I am.

I find that I have been using isolation as a way to cope rather than to be overcome by the paralyzing social anxiety that has evolved post stroke, anxiety that will completely derail me, anxiety that is still so new to me.

I think the isolation has been a good coping tool but it’s a slippery slope.

I tried 4 different pharmaceuticals for anxiety only to find that the side effects were too much, Weeks into it I began to realize that I needed time to heal, not more drugs.

Surviving a stroke brings a host of new lessons for life, the learning curves can make a person feel like a first grader all over again. Initially the first six weeks post stroke I was doing wonderful. Part of the recovery assessment in the inpatient rehabilitation unit included a psychological assessment, both the psychologist and Speech Therapist told me I appeared to have a good handle on the traumatic (stroke) event. I was obnoxiously happy despite having had my life turned upside down.

Yet, coming home was another thing,

Despite being happy to be home, finally, there was still ambiguity. One of the things I found most intimidating was trying to resume some sense of a structured life again at the mercy of stroke survival.
Physical recovery was trying enough to structure at home and though the Rehab Unit had prepared me well by creating a exercise program to continue at home the mental and emotional recovery were a whole different thing. I found right away that I had become weepy, wordless, and my frustration and tolerance levels were scraping the barrel bottom. The normal social butterfly side of me is now MIA.

It’s all been just too much. I stopped taking phone calls. I stopped having visitors. I purposely allowed my world to shrink. Isolation is not always a good thing but it can have its benefits when used appropriately.

Causing people I care about to worry is NOT A GOOD THING. Nor is not nurturing relationships.

Yet, i’s been healing. It’s been good. For me.

(On a personal not; I’m beyond grateful for everyone who understands and knows that it’s not personal. Thank you )



Secret Keeping


My parent’s generation did it. Almost anything was fodder for secrets.

Keeping secrets is a strange dichotomy for most of us, and if you grew up in a home where keeping secrets typically meant there was some serious shame involved that shame can transfer from the secret bearer to the secret keeper.

It’s true of course that there are times that minor innocuous secrets are kept, i.e. Surprise party, gender of an unborn child, and maybe even keeping confidences can be seen as secret keeping. But the secret keeping that can scar a person are the kind that cause a sense of desperation and may even be motivated by shattered heartbreak or shame.

Family secrets especially are secrets that in the end can scar our heart and souls. Many of us carry the burden of a family secret. From illnesses, betrayals, deceased siblings,  to arguments and sexual orientation —I know that some will argue that  there are legitimate reasons to hold back information or hide the proverbial family skeletons, but I wonder if the health hardships behind keeping the peace by keeping secrets have been considered.

It’s true that most everyone has had one, you may have one now, sitting there in the back of your mind, or on the tip of your tongue waiting to come out. Secrets are all around us. I think we should ask ourselves what can bearing and sharing secrets do to people and their relationships with others? Certainly there will be both negative and positive outcomes and they affect some people in different ways than others.


Keeping a secret involves at least two main characters  The Secret Bearer. The Secret Keeper.

The Secret Bearer:

The bearer of a secret faces many obstacles to finding the contentment of self peace. Harboring inside a secret holds us back from peace, keeping things bottled up inside usually makes people unhappy. Understanding that the burden of holding on to a secret is exhausting mentally and spiritually is no stretch, yet we have little understanding how this can impact us physically. There is of course the actual physical sense of a weight on our shoulders, shouldn’t we listen to that?  Secrets take so much energy to maintain and they can beget mistrust and suspicion which sure can interfere with how we live our lives. All of this can erode away any personal desired connections. Everyone needs to be able to make informed decisions and choices in their relationships and they need enough accurate information to be able to do this. Secrets often get in the way of any credibility.

The Secret Keeper

Many of us grew up where secrets were simply part of our lives from an early age and became our normal, the lack of honesty or authenticity became our norm. The family secret may be that a parent drinks too much, or says or does inappropriate things. The secrecy may be about illness or how a family member actually died.

My own family had a secret, and to this day although my siblings and I know about the secret we have little information about how our 3 year old sister died. We still are not talking about it. I thought when our mother died we’d have a long talk, that has never happened. Even more curious is why my siblings and I seem to be perpetuating the secret keeping, (for instance my adult nieces must come to me for information because my brother, their dad, won’t talk.)

I think we make the mistake in believing that if we remain silent our children won’t be hurt by what they do not know, but on some level children sense there is a secret and most often they have an idea of what the secret is. Yet because of the family rules about secretiveness, they feel that they can’t say anything. This dynamic makes for a very lonely isolation and feelings of being deceived by not giving them an honest answer. Or we simply deny what their feeling. We should perhaps give our children more credit that we have raised them well enough so that they can handle information about shameful and painful events.

Secrets and lies are toxic to relationships. It may seem to lighten that heavy weight on our own shoulders, heart and soul by asking another to bear witness to a secret, but now we’ve placed a burden on another by creating a secret keeper.

Even more damaging are the life threatening secrets kept.

Despite the dangers, keeping secrets is part of human nature.

However now we know….

Neuroscientists now believe it’s biologically better for us to confess our secrets, or better, just to refuse to be party to someone else’s.  Reason being that holding on to secrets puts our brain in an awkward, compromised position.We are hard wired to tell the truth The “cingulate cortex”- essential to our emotional responses, this “logical lobe” signals other regions of the brain to share information so it can move on to more important functions, like learning. But when we keep a secret locked inside, we’re not allowing the cingulate cortex to perform its natural functions. Instead, the cortex becomes stressed, and our body responds accordingly.

So….keep in mind….considering whether to take on the weight by locking away sensitive info or not is ultimately a healthy exercise — and that’s no secret.



Defining Moments

There are moments in our life that make us and set the course of who we’re going to be.
Sometimes they’re little subtle moments. Sometimes they are big moments we never saw coming.
Not everyone asks for their life to change, but it does.
It’s what we do afterwards that counts. That’s when we find out who we really are.

Be Brave

Laugh out loud, even when you feel too sick or exhausted.
Trust, even when your heart is screaming NO and you think it could break you.
Sing, even if others take on that smug smile like their singing doesn’t sound like crap.
Dance, even if you can’t keep time and you suddenly grow two left feet.
Smile, even if you really feel like crying. Tears only blur your vision.
Frolic & meander, even when you are made fun of.
Kiss your lover while others are about and may be staring.
Sleep, even when you’re afraid of what your dreams have been bringing.
Run, even when it feels like you cannot possibly lift a another foot and run an inch.
Never forget a moment, even when the memories tug at our heart string’s and leave a hole. Because of all the pain & joy we experience we become the deep feeling kind of person we are meant to be.
Without our experiences we are void of our emotions, a vital missing link.
What makes us brave is our enthusiasm to live through our trials, tribulations and hurdles in life while we still make the choice to hold our head up high the next day.
We become even stronger after all our experiences and painful moments, stronger and more whole than ever before.
Let us not live with fear of life.

So This Is It….

reminded of you

Being reminded of you…. still….

It’s the dark o’clock early morning hours that have become empty, and I am reminded again how I wish there could be one more song.

So this is it….

I still miss the hours we shared when the rest of the world seemed absent, my 3am was a time of music, intelligent conversations and inspiring challenges that without had left a hollowness I could not wrap my mind around. Let alone my heart.

But I am accepting now that you’re gone. Though it’s not been easy to hide… this pain inside…the anger is gone now too….like you.

I think I found the words… I think I can say now…to you.

Maybe there is a reason you came sweeping into my life on white shirt-tails of music we both were passionate about, on cascading words that both inspired and challenged me. Maybe I am the writer I am today because of those dark o’clock interchanges of vulnerable intelligence.

Maybe I grew in that environment of raw emotions and challenged feelings by you. Yet, strange how that can make people feel what they’d rather not. I continue to wonder if that’s why you went away again, this time, our final parting.

It will be two years soon and I am grateful that the emptiness is finally being released in ways that I would not have dreamed when you left.

The gifts you gave me shall remain in my heart and in all my words, for those moments shared impact me still.

I thought you should know.





The New Normal




Ever notice how purses are conspicuously missing at family gatherings?


….your lifelong friend is raising her grandchildren after needing to retire early from her career to do so?


….that having a restful night means that is because the addict in your life is either in treatment or is in jail?

These are NOT a few of our favorite OR normal things…..

……however….these ARE the new normal in our communities and families today.

Dedicated to my late friend, “The Junkie” (1955-2017)


The New Normal:

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2016 about 948,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year,…and losing just one loved one to a self-injected overdose does nothing to stop the ongoing growing number of developing addicts. It doesn’t take long to become one of the ranks.

Today the average age of a heroin addict is 27 years old female and the sad fact is that 99% of Heroin addicts leaving a treatment program clean will still relapse within weeks.

Though the first heroin high might seem like a choice, this just is not true for addicts, because after that first few highs for an addict it rapidly becomes no longer a choice. The potency of today’s insidious heroin is so toxic that in just a few weeks of use the drug’s chemistry changes the brain and tells the body it needs the drug like it tells the body it needs food. When the addict’s body no longer has a level of heroin it begins to crave the drug and becomes dope sick. No one ever strived to be a junkie. Most say “it happened before I knew what hit me.”

If there was a formula to “cure” addiction parents would use it. The terrorizing life lived with an addict can feel like there is no choice for family and friends as well. It is said that the family and friends of an addict are addicted too. They are. We are. We are addicted to our Addict.

We practice our addiction by enabling. We practice our addiction by preventing consequences for the addict. We practice our addiction by making ourselves responsible for the addicts place to live, food to eat, fines paid to courts, money for gas….even paying for their drug….We keep the addict from rock bottom.

How that applies to how we practice our addiction to our addict is when we use “bail out” measures it massages the guilt we feel for blaming ourselves….and the guilt for blaming the addict. We try to fool our brain that we are in control, because it helps us to feel in control of circumstances that we have literally no control over.

But it’s a ruse.

Blame is pointless, except to keep us addicted.

But we can look towards a brighter future: TO FIND A NEW NORMAL.

We must find hope in education and awareness. The ugly truth, not scare tactics based on false information.

We must stop blaming, it only stigmatizes and alienates

We must educate addicts before they die, and educate the people who are addicted to an addict and who perpetuate the stigma and who enable.

Just because the addict is not allowed to live in our house, just because we will not give him the $40 when asked, just because we find the courage to say “No” and to not enable does not mean we don’t love the addict in our life. It does mean we don’t love the addiction substance, and it does mean we don’t love the chaos.

Finding A New Normal.

It does means that we address our addiction to an addict and draw a line where for us at least the chaos stops. It’s not a judgment of the addict, it’s about Finding a New Normal that isn’t invaded by a drug’s addiction and the practicing addicts behavior.

A New Normal that doe not enable the addict to die.






The Little Things

” Above all else it is about leaving a mark that I existed. I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a great purpose and that is why I make works of art.”

~ Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Today I know that life itself is a work of art, one in which we all have a great purpose in.

We create art in our life on a daily basis. Do you recognize that you are your own masterpiece?

I have been duly conscientious for the need to try to remain mindful of today, of the “now” in my life. It is not a new belief concept for me, but it requires patience and focus. My patience is being tested lately.
This has made me forgetful and helped me lose my focus on just the here and now, and enjoy just what I have now.
I am realizing that to also be grateful for the things I don’t think about as often would go a long way to the gentle reminders I need to remain in the now. To NOT get caught up in the problems of yesterday, the worries of tomorrow. Instead, being mindful of all things significant in my life. Better than snapping a rubber band against ones wrist.
Don’t ask. Just trust me.
I ask myself what about the little things? The things in my life I take for granted, What are those little things that serve to be reminders for me. And why are they significant if they are such little things?
There are things I take for granted in my life and when I’m suddenly spun to another world and I’m left without the things I don’t know where I would be without.
I am a grateful person usually by nature. I believe in gratitude and expressing thanks. I am often aware of feeling grateful for the obvious gifts in life. Gifts like my Faith, my Hopes, my Dreams, on being loving, on being loved, on peacefulness and contentment. These are the things happiness can be built on it is true. I am thankful each morning and night for these gifts. And for those in my life who are my gifts.
Yet there are those small, seemingly unimportant things in my life I would not want to be without. They are significant to my style of homespun happiness.
There are a few others in my life I’d like to be more aware of how significant they are to me in a mindful way. Making a point of being grateful for the “small things” and not taking advantage of or assuming they will always be there.
Just a few honorable mentions from my world in no particular order of value:
For one immediate stand out I look no further than the very keyboard I type this on. And the magic of the Internet I don’t even pretend to understand. Ironically for a lady who is not a fan of technology it has become an important form of communication for me. I know what it is like to be without though even for just a couple of days. I’ll not take it for granted, instead I will be mindful of the gifts it brings to my life each day.
I am grateful I can journal, and feel good about the cathartic expression as well as the personal growth I gain from my introspective reflections.
Seneca, the Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman and dramatist, suggested the idea of “self observation” by making a daily self-inventory of ourselves; by asking as we bring our day and evening to a close the questions of yourself. His suggested questions work for me.
  • What bad habit have you cured today?
  • What fault have you resisted?
  • In what respect are you better?
This ritual of asking and answering for that day’s behavior & actions helps me to be reminded of the times when I am not living as graciously as I could. I am able to sort out the day’s events and process any feelings through my journaling. Tomorrow is a new day, start anew.
Cloth Napkins
I know.. I know…. threw you for a loop there did I?
Cloth napkins are an indulgence I feel good about. I rarely use kitchen paper products, specifically paper napkins or paper towels. I usually have both in my home but prefer cloth napkins and cloth hand towels. It feels like a luxury with every meal to use a cloth napkin that I adore. I’m an extremely texture oriented person and am not a fan of the feel of paper napkins.
I am most grateful for being able to use cloth napkins.
My Neighborhood:
One of the things I know I take advantage of and am rarely mindful of is when my neighborhood is quiet. There are times when I just want the solitude and false misconception that I am all alone in my ‘hood. That the absolute quiet means that everyone has left for the day. (weekends in the Summer) and I have this whole world to myself. This is my favorite time to walk about in the Hood and meet the neighbors pets, look at the gardens, especially in winter, most have some architectural designs that I admire and are only visible when the foliage has gone into hibernation.
Water & Music
I love a hot shower/bath with music at the same time. Candles are optional.
There is a restorative calm that seeps into every muscles, tendons, and my body’s entire collection of connective tissue. I am magically transformed from the moment of stepping into the hot & fragranced water and the first few chords of someone like Snowy White’s Blues guitar and voice starts to fill the room.
I am in heaven on earth then.
Yet I take it for granted and never give a thought to having the clean abundant hot water nor my Bose stereo that I can move about the house at will.
I am most grateful for the soul grabbing love of friends who know what music moves me and sends it along my way. Never forget those who give the gift of a song.
I know that you cannot create happiness out of just anything It takes creativity
I am able to touch my own oneness because of these small things in my life that are very significant to me.
They help create this masterpiece I call my life..

I’ll Shy Away by Toni Helser & Phil Kearney


Sometimes people come into our lives and with them they bring priceless gifts.

This is the case when Phil Kearney came into my life, his music struck me first and I became a fan, then we became friends. Phil has made a lifelong dream come true for me in turning my words into a song. I really don’t have adequate words to express my gratitude and fondness for Phil, he turned the “becoming a songwriter” into one of the most positive life changing experiences of my life. I’d even go as far and say Phil helped bring me to a point of full circle. Priceless!

Through the whole process of writing, recording, and final mixing Phil allowed me the privilege of being along for the journey of his process. I’ve learned so much while often just simply being in awe.

I’m in awe still Phil. Thank YOU!!

……and Phil…I’m even more of a fan.



Published on Oct 17, 2017


“I’ll Shy Away”Music by Phil Kearney
Lyrics by Toni HelserSo this is it, this is my lightship
where my sense is regained
Here’s where I find a kinship
Penetrating the atmosphere with it’s frailtySpiraling and cascading
into vulnerability
Words that flow with ease
Into fairytales of ecstasyI’ll shy away
from all the tears
No longer chained to shame

I’ll shy away
taking risk where they belong

No need to lie
no need to pretend
that I’m okay
I’m okay

It was all part of the denial
but there’s grace in my face now
No longer quietly afraid
Singing “this is no charade,
this serenity…”

Casting out the shadows
of all that I buried
Showing the scars
like some battered little thing

I’ll shy away
from all the tears
No longer chained to shame

I’ll shy away
taking risk where they belong

No need to lie
no need to pretend
that I’m okay
I’m okay

Light glimpsing softly
Shadows celebrate with the sunshine
shifting brilliance in all that’s divine.




As The Wind & Rain Shape Their Night



The ocean tide comes rolling in

While there’s not a soul to be seen

And so it begins

The gentle waves turn the tide into a violent sea

Are you ready?

Are you hunkered down again?


From a quiet gentle breeze that wouldn’t disturb the bees

It soon turns to gusts that topple the trees

Still the feathered weather and escape its clutch

But the people and their homes not so much

The wind gathers up into clouds of dust

shutters will squeak, hinges that creak and houses will bust

With an intensity of energy they’ll all take flight

while the bright sun becomes just a diminished light

Furious gales build as people take shelter

property takes to the sky while folks just hang on tight

………as the wind and rain shape their night





Here I Go Again

I see the world turning in my sheets, and once again I cannot sleep.

Losing ground in a fight I’m meant to keep.

Fighting to stay on point over many mountains and turning tides.

Forgetting the panic that sets me aside, forgetting the fear that I cannot hide.

Walking down the streets of choices, catching a glance at second chances

Here I go again

Knee-jerk reactions, not finding that safe place to tend to my self.

Searching the stars to ride through the storms should be my wealth

Yet the galaxies leave me empty, there I’m left alone.

Remembering all the rights proved so wrong, I know it’s what I’ve blown

My mind is muddy, my heart is heavy. Does it show?

Here I go again

Reaching for that second chance, one that’s honest, one that’s real

Screaming at the top of my voice don’t give me reason,

just give me choice, for reason is just another season.

Making same mistakes, a troubled reflection I feel

What good is hindsight? Will I ever win the fight?

Here I go again.

Losing now all that was never lost , chances painfully taken away.

Something in this fight has lost its worth,

leaving in its place my hollow rebirth

It threatens in the night and defies the day

My quest for whole just empty promises kept at bay

And…. here I go….again.


(Note: Thank you to singer-songwriters Miss Yvonne Jay, and to Bobby Lindstrom for encouraging and supporting me with this piece)


A Gypsy Wanderer ~ Vacation Anticipation 

A Gypsy Wanderer & her Random Thoughts……

5 more wakeups and Florida bound. To the place where I fell in love.

It’s true. You really can fall in love on a vacation. I did.

St Pete Beach Florida was the scene of all the emotion. St Pete Beach is the object of my desire and love affair. I fell in love with a place. A home away from my Oregon home. Something that has taken me quite by surprise.

I am going back.

In 5 more days I board a plane for Tampa Bay from Portland Oregon. I will spend most of 3 weeks with my love, in St Pete, and even though as I sit and write this while coping with a cold virus those 5 days to paradise seem endless. Tropical sunshine is just what is needed, it’s been a long dark cold winter on my high desert of Oregon.

Last year my bestie “T” and I spent two glorious weeks on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and I fell in love. I felt like I had come home.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am a definite native Oregonian, I am devoted to my Oregon. I have a deep love for the Pacific Ocean that lines my state on its western border…..but I have to tell you, the moment I stepped onto that white sand and dipped my bare feet into the balmy waters of the Gulf I was a goner.

The difference between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf Coast of Mexico is night and day. The magic love I found such an affinity for on the Gulf Coast of Mexico was the most surprising and significant souvenir I brought home to Oregon with me. How can a person be homesick for a place they’d only spent two weeks at?

But I was. I am.  I have been for almost 11 months.  Since I serendipitously found a song by a native Floridian who’s music expresses my feelings perfectly. I have been a fan of  JJ’s for a few years but this song’s significance didn’t hit me until I came back from Florida last year.

I go back in my day dreams, I revisit with my bestie, I watch the video of our last sunset in St Pete, I listen to JJ.


So although my head is heavy with a cold virus, my throat sore and my voice is sketchy I am SO ready to return. So ready with my Bestie “T “and our St Pete Host Mikie to explore more of the Sunshine state. This year we will also road trip to places east of St Pete; going to Gainesville, Daytona Beach & St Augustine…..I will get to dip my bare feet in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

Packing now!

Going “home.”



Sitting On The Fence of Decision

I can fake a smile.

I can pretend that I’m okay…

but I’m only in denial.

My hearts been chained.

sitting on the fence

Time doesn’t always look you in the face. Quite often time is what holds us in the balance of our choices.

Do you ever wonder why we do some things in our lives over and over despite knowing it will not result in any different outcome? Repeatedly, every time? Probably results that we know do not serve us.

Decisions for me were times in my life when I struggled. There were these inevitable arguments between my instincts and life’s external/internal expectations. The arguments would paralyze me. Not making any decision is A decision, a decision to remain stuck. That thing we call “time” ran on while I chose to remain behind. My choice had been to remain stuck in the same place because I was stranded on the teetertotter of being undecided.

I’m certain I don’t need to explain the pathology behind my chronic indecisiveness to most, nor explain the certain kind of bliss of not taking any ownership for making a decision. If I didn’t decide I couldn’t be blamed. Right?

Denial feels like a wonderful thing….for a awhile.

Denial helps support indecisiveness in multitude of ways. But repeating not making decisions was not serving me, it was actually just another form of denial.

When finally I found I could no longer fake the smiles I began to make decisions that started to unchain my heart. Shame began to fall away.

Transparency in time.

I knew things were off for a long time, I mean 10 plus years of a “longtime.” There were misguided notions I chose to let my heart ignore.

All that was off in my life began to mess with my emotional intelligence, and this finally messed with my spiritual health, which in turn messed with my physical health.

To be as transparent about this “longtime” I had found the only way to cope with all that I was denying was to get numb. Because I was dealing with physical health issues I had convinced myself I needed pharmaceutical medications to function mentally and physically. With hindsight the truth is for me the medications helped me stay in denial, it helped me to remain numb to the pain, both physical and mental. These treatment modalities helped me to remain stuck.

So much in denial was I that it took major life alterations for myself to begin to feel again.

Which meant having to make decisions.

Some extremely frightening decisions had to be made by myself if I ever intended to expect different results; if I ever expected a resemblance of emotional and physical health again.What I had been doing by doing nothing certainly was not working except to keep me stuck. Time didn’t stick though and I was losing a lot of it. Too much of it.

A decision had to be made. Decisions had to become part of my game plan. Denial was no longer working. Faking a smile was no longer getting me by.

NOT making a decision WAS a decision. One that in time I could no longer live with.

Deciding to make major lifestyle changes was frightening but staying stuck was scaring me even more.

I began the long task of excavating myself to discover what it was that wasn’t working for me and I made drastic changes.

The first one I made was possibly the most important change. I changed my habit of over-thinking everything, every step, every move. I made a vow to begin the change and decided to listen to my instincts while learning to trust them versus the dwelling and rumination of second guessing.

Making decisions about everything from my marital status, removing toxic medications and toxic relationships were the most difficult choices to make for this lady who typically found it a struggle to decide what to take out of the freezer for dinner.

Don’t believe it if you are told an “old Lady” can’t learn new tricks. Not true. Although the new lessons might come slow, taking their time they’ll come. Just make the decision to learn to change your “ways.”

It will be seven years in July that I made the most drastic decisions. Making physical changes in moving my residence to living alone, then the gradual removal of said pharmaceuticals that were doing far more harm than any good. All the while filtering those in my life and the weight I give to respective relationships.

With great joy I found my health and my life reaching a place of good I had not been in for a long, long time.

Time to make changes in my life I decided to jump off the proverbial fence of indecisiveness of being stuck. Deciding this is the time when I finally choose to take ownership for my well-being and the serenity of self peace.

The changes inside me are not changes most see, some who do see the changes see them as misguided deflections, but then there are those who do see the authenticity that I am striving to live today.

No more fake smiles.

No more denial.


Drawing Lines In The Sand.

Don’t take it personal.

There came a time when our mutual respect for life and one another got muddied. It isn’t important who might be more culpable or not in fostering the circumstances, the fact is communication broke down. It took two. Please don’t make it personal when my choice is to remove myself.

Drawing lines in the sand with someone really isn’t personal towards them, it’s absolutely about finding the self-importance to not allow anything or anyone to become chaos in our life. That’s not personal, that’s survival.

We typically don’t live in a bubble, we have all kinds of interactions with all kinds of people and circumstances. To not create boundaries would allow people, places and things to run amuck in our presence. A good and wise friend shared with me a priceless mantra that I quickly adopted, I am paraphrasing: We have three options when dealing with chaos in our lives: ” We can change it, we can accept it, or we can eliminate it.” Pretty clear to me.

Addressing the “eliminate it” faction of the mantra…. interesting isl that to “change it” or to “accept it” is seen as all that is good and selfless, meeting with approval by most. “Eliminating it” however is seen as evil and selfish, met with disapproval.

Boundaries are a necessary layer to a healthy life and healthy satisfying relationships, but there is no denying that creating boundaries requires skills, and unfortunately those skills are seen as negatives. Sadly so many of us believe we don’t have the right to set boundaries; let alone know how. Knowing when and how to draw lines in the sand means knowing and understanding what our limits are; what we can change, what we can accept, and what we need to eliminate.

Adopting skills aimed specifically at drawing lines in the sand means that we are honoring our self-value enough to get real honest with ourself first, and then with those who we need to draw lines with.

Own limits.

Identify physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits, know what we can accept, change what we can’t accept, or eliminate it.

Trust feelings.

Red flags or cues tell us that we’re letting go of boundaries, ask what is causing that? Where is the discomfort coming from? It’s a tell when someone acts in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s a cue there may be a line being crossed, a violation of boundaries.

Direct and transparent

Maintaining healthy boundaries may need a direct communication about our boundaries. There will be people and circumstances that might bring about a need to be more direct and transparent than we are comfortable with. Just do it. With kindness.

Give permission. Fear, guilt and self-doubt are motivators for remaining stuck, Give permission to trust that we are not meant to be able to cope with any and every situation. Give permission that when we feel drained by the interactions of others and circumstances that we deserve to have boundaries in the first place. Perhaps it would serve us to know that boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; they’re a sign of self-respect. Give permission to set boundaries and work to maintain them.

Self-awareness. An awareness that boundaries are about honing in on our feelings and honoring them. Notice if we start slipping by not sustaining our boundaries.

Past and present. Family roles can be obstacles in setting and preserving boundaries. Ignoring our own needs might have become our norm.

Self-care a priority. Give permission to put yourself first so the need and motivation to set boundaries become stronger. Recognize the importance of feelings and honoring them.

Be assertive. It’s not enough to create boundaries, we actually have to follow through. assertive communicating when a boundary has been crossed and establish an “accept it, or change it, or eliminate it” stance.

Getting real honest with ourselves helps foster getting real honest with where our boundaries need to be placed, and to explain them and to maintain them.


Gracious Tenacity


[An annual posting]

I thought that my 50’s was to be the decade of my life. I found grace in my 50’s that I had been looking for in my 40’s. As I still recognize that Grace is a calling I am celebrating with 62 years to my credit that I have also found a rather ‘Gracious Tenacity. ‘

I believe we each have a calling in life and that grace is very much part of our calling. In my 50’s I realized and understood that listening to our callings is really simply listening to the voice and heart of our grace. Grace is the listening, seeing, and being present in each moment. Grace is the ability to stay away from yesterdays,  it’s the grace to not look towards tomorrows. Grace grows inside of us, grace is woven with tolerance, patience, generosity……woven like a thread…. a voice of uncertain certainty.

Then Grace meets Tenacity…..

This newest decade has become surprisingly my favorite decade, and no one is more surprised by this than I.  A tenacity that I had only seen glimpses of becoming part of the grace I’d found and nurtured. Had I had the foreshadow to know this in my 40’s I might have been less crazed. Maybe.

When the going got rough in my late 50’s while navigating circumstances unlike any other time of my life I discovered a determination I had not known before. Serving what I was dealing with I began developing a strong tenacious sensibility. Oddly enough I would have never used the description tenacious and myself in the same sentence…..not until about two years ago. My 60’s.

Tenacious me? Yep. Determined, persistent, perseverance, stick-to-itiveness – whatever label is applied it’s really about hanging on through the challenges and bumps in the road while chasing your dreams and eventually achieving your goals. Though each of these words above represents the same fundamental ideology, admittedly my latest decade to my credit has come with a  strong affinity for my own concept of tenacity

Tenacity to me is about so much more than not giving up on dream chasing and reaching for goals… It’s about focusing on growth, innovation and stretching beyond my comfort zones and normal boundaries.

In tenacity I am finding a gracious empowerment. Perhaps it’s the discipline of applying an unwavering approach to dream chasing. Clearly understanding the difference between not giving up and stubbornly doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome is part of that tenacity I call mine today.

(I heard stubbornness referred to as tenacity’s ugly twin – I think that sums it up pretty well.)

Being tenacious focuses on growth with purpose, continuing to evaluate actions and progress; remaining flexible and adjusting methods so to leave nothing to chance.

Tenacity is mastering self motivation, being an avid learner and quick study.

Tenacity is having no qualms about asking for help when the need arises.

Grace is recognizing the importance of mastering internal motivation and applying the tenacity to reach it. While dream chasing with tenacity it’s important to bear in mind that such adventures are rarely undertaken in a vacuum; begin by going for a goal that is just a little out of reach, something that requires new knowledge and new skills in order to achieve. Then continue to build on each successive accomplishment.

The point: Those who are tenaciously passionate about achieving their dreams are not easily distracted or discouraged. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. 

” Persistence is doing something again and again until it works. Tenacity is using new data to make new decisions to find new pathways to find new ways to achieve goals when the old ways didn’t work”    ~Seth Godin

Graciously…. persistently…. tenacious.




The Blue Skies Crashed Down


It’s been weeks now. I still forget “he” is not there to reach out to. I forget that the Blue Skies have crashed with his leaving me behind. I forget for moments at times that he is no longer here for me to reach out to, not here to process my writing with, not here to share music with, not here to philosophize with.

The Blue Sky crashed and sometimes I am not sure I can do this alone. I’ve not felt this way for several years, but there it is…. sometimes I am lost without him being here. Seems like he always has been here, wan’t he since our teens? Now he is not.

If I am really honest with myself I would admit that these past few years have been more and more painful for him to navigate, the shadows he lived behind were continually growing deeper, so deep I think he could no longer dig out alone…and he’d not let anyone in.

I know that what I am feeling is purely selfish and self-centered… so be it. I’ll own that.Leaving without any word to why he made the choice to not say good-bye has been hard to swallow, I keep analyzing our past conversations looking for ‘tells”…..but I am still missing the signals.



Except, I clearly feel the blue sky crashing down sometimes.

I can see his smile still, I can feel his pain still, I can feel his tears of despair, still….I saw that there was no longer any ray of hope left…..I understood he wanted to give in.

But I didn’t think he would try again… I sure as hell didn’t know he would win…..finally.

The Blue Sky Crashed Down on him…..and he did it alone.

I miss you my friend. Life isn’t the same.

I am trying to let go of the anger. Still.








The Difference Of (four) Now Five Years & A Certain Grace

 **Reposting from 2013 and each year after**
Hindsight and four now five years later makes all the difference in my world and to the grace of my emotional intelligence. Approaching January 2017 now 2018 I read past narratives like the one below that I wrote while navigating the biggest personal storm of my life with a sense of detachment. Was that really me?
Since literally opening the door to my life alone on January 4th 2013 I have become the person I was shirking away from for a lifetime. A person who had become so immersed in what others expected that I lost sght of myself and the dreams I had always planned to chase.
Today this person I am is as different as the four five years that have become my learning curve to the truth of who I really am, and how I finally got to here. I read the narrative below and find I don’t even connect with who that person was who wrote those words in 2013.
What a difference a year can make, what a difference four five years makes. There is a certain grace is being mindful of this.
Dream Chasing at warp speed!

…..or four

(*originally written in 2013)
What I know To Be True-  Dreams Are Meant To Be Chased
I don’t know a lot to be absolute truths, but two things I do know to be true are feelings are not forever and that change is inevitable.
Reflections on where I have been and where in life I am today were much like self-inventories that are also inevitable.
Questioning myself:
 “What happened to the significance of living the life I wanted?”
“Do I have a different idea about what The Dream Chasing really was?”
“Is it different from what I dreamed of chasing so many years ago? “
My Dream Chasing today seems not very different from what I dreamed before I stopped chasing it, although very different from what and how I am now going about the chase.  This I say with great certainty.
Could it be that the dreams had always remained the same and it is I that was that had changed and stopped the chase? 
Is it I  that let go of chasing the hope that one day I would realize my dreams were within reach?
Truth is… I had let go.
I just stopped because….well… I allowed myself to believe a misconception that it had become pointless.
I’d convinced myself that because my dream did not matter to anyone who was important to me it should not need to matter to me as well
I allowed myself to forget that feelings are not forever and that people change.
But I was wrong. Terribly wrong.
Chasing my dreams and the plans I’d made changed many moons ago by a storm that went through my life, leaving me in the dust of its wake.
That person and the dreams I had originally been chasing to reach were completely struck off course by life’s bizarre sense of humor.
But then again; was it really the dream I was meant to live?
Maybe this has all been for naught, this time of questioning and lack of clear direction.
But I think not. The truth is I have gained much wisdom about this person….this woman…I have always meant to be.
With a new claity I began to understand that I couldn’t authentically become the person I had tried to be- the one who would attempted to meet what was expected of her by others AND chase her own dreams.
Clearly living my truths were not where I’ve been.
 I hope that one day I will apply the wisdom, find the clarity and the courage to do so.
Though I don’t mean it to I realize that these words of mine might sound a bit strange; especially to someone who’s maybe never taken a leap without knowing where they’re to fall.  Or if they’ll nail the landing.
 That person I tried to be, the one I had to work so hard to be, was in the end not someone I could reconcile with. Not someone I took pride in.
This shouldn’t be so hard.
 That person; she is not even the real me.
She is an impostor.
 That person is some others’ idea or composition of what they wished I would be.
How did I ever let this happen?
 Why did I ever let go?
I am ashamed of this fake person I have become.
 I’m not comfortable in my own skin..
Authentically living my life I AM NOT!
I know that angry woman who is buried inside is not me.
I have to send her away.
I need to find the peaceful & loving me again.
I think she is still there.

When It’s Time To Quit

I can fake a smile.

I can pretend that I’m okay…

but I’m only in denial.

My hearts been chained…

been imprisoned by shame.   ~ A 2011 state of mind:


sitting on the fence

Time doesn’t always look you in the face. Quite often time is what holds us in the balance of our choices. 

Do you ever wonder why we do some things in our lives over and over despite knowing it will not result in any different outcome? Repeatedly, every time?  Probably results that we know do not serve us.

Decisions for me were times in my life when I struggled. There were these inevitable arguments between my instincts and life’s external/internal expectations. The arguments would paralyze me. Not making any decision is A decision, a decision to remain stuck. That thing we call “time” ran on while I chose to remain behind. My choice had been to remain stuck in the same place because I was stranded in the balance of not deciding. I’m certain I don’t need to explain the pathology behind my chronic indecisiveness to most, nor explain the certain kind of bliss of not taking any ownership for making a decision. If I didn’t decide I couldn’t be blamed. Right?

Denial feels like a wonderful thing….for a awhile. Denial helps support indecisiveness in multitude of ways. Repeating not making decisions was not serving me, it was actually just another form of denial.

When finally I found I could no longer fake the smiles I began to make decisions that started to unchain my heart. Shame began to fall away.

Transparency Time.

I knew things were off for a long time, I mean 10 plus years of a “longtime.” Those misguided notions I chose to let my heart ignore. All that was off in my life; it all began to mess with my emotional intelligence, and this finally messed with my spiritual health, which in turn messed with my physical health.

To be as transparent about this “longtime” as I can let me say I had found the only way to cope with all that I was denying was to get numb. Because I was dealing with physical health issues I had convinced myself I needed pharmaceutical medications to function mentally and physically. With hindsight the truth is the medications helped me stay in denial, it helped me to remain numb to the pain, both physical and mental. This treatment modality helped me stay stuck. So much in denial was I that it took major life alterations for myself to begin to feel again.

Which meant having to make decisions.

Some extremely frightening decisions had to be made by myself if I ever intended to expect different results; if I ever expected a resemblance of emotional and physical health again.What I had been doing by doing nothing certainly was not working except to keep me stuck. Time didn’t stick though and I was losing a lot of it. Too much of it.

A decision had to be made. Decisions had to become part of my game plan. Denial was no longer working. Faking a smile was no longer getting me by.

NOT making a decision WAS a decision. One that in time I could no longer live with.

Deciding to make major lifestyle changes was frightening but staying stuck was scaring me more.

I began the long task of excavating myself to discover what it was that wasn’t working for me and I made drastic changes.

The first one I made was possibly the most important change. I changed my habit of over-thinking everything, every step, every move. I made a vow to begin the change and decided to listen to my instincts while learning to trust them versus the dwelling of second guessing.

Making decisions about everything from my marital status, removing toxic medications and toxic relationships were the most difficult choices to make for this lady who typically found it a struggle to decide what to take out of the freezer for dinner. Don’t believe it if you are told an “old Lady” can’t learn new tricks. Not true. Although the new lessons might come slow, taking their time they’ll come. Just make the decision to learn.

It will be five years in July that I made the most drastic decisions. Making physical changes in moving my residence to living alone, then the gradual removal of pharmaceutical medications that were doing far more harm than any good, all the while filtering those in my life and the weight I give to respective relationships.

With great joy I found my health and my life reaching a place of good I had not been in for a long, long time. This time in my life I decided to jump off the proverbial fence of indecisiveness of being stuck. Deciding this is the time when I finally choose to take ownership for my well-being and the serenity of self peace.

The changes inside me are not changes most see, some who do see the changes see them as misguided deflections, but then there are those who do see the authenticity that I am striving to live today.

No more fake smiles.

No more denial.

When it’s time to quit.




To Blog…or…Not To Blog

8 Year Anniversary Achievement

Happy Anniversary with!
You registered on 8 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
EIGHT YEARS. 8 yrs. Wow!
How time flies when you’re blogging.
These past 8 years of keeping a blog, or I should say a blog keeping me has been so many things I never intended, many things I had no clue it would teach me, so many different perspectives to take my writing to. This blog has been a catalyst to my growth as a person, as a woman and as a writer. I can read past entries and read in them the growth that has taken me to these moments today with relish. This blog is my reminder that I am taking life on with a rebel roar while thriving along this journey,
In 2008 when I tackled the challenge of creating a blog I was not the least bit technology savvy. I could navigate my computer but never understood why something worked or didn’t work.  I had begun to participate in health forums in the mid 90’s searching for others who I knew existed like myself who are survivors of a failed medical implant. I had a voice on the vast topics involved and there was an audience. In 2004 and into 2007 I was invited as a guest author and blogger with a response each time that would leave me literally flabbergasted. It was validating and empowering, but I minimized what I was doing by the fact it was a select audience who held a personal invested interests in what I was writing about. Things they personally knew as well.
Image result for writer blog
I began to wonder if I broadened my topics would it broaden my audience?
If I removed the initial emotional connection to me, i.e. medical commonalities, would I still have something to say that anyone would find merit in? Would there still be a readership?
It was a frightening and sobering thought. What if what I wrote others thought was garbage? Worse yet, what if I hit publish and no one came?
2008 I thought I had the courage.
I created a fancy looking blog thanks to the user friendly WordPress.(yes a plug for WP)
I began writing what I had intentions of sharing publicly. My first post…I edited it, I sat on it. I changed the content, I edited. For two, almost 3 years. Yes, you read right. I was too nervous to hit the publish button. So I didn’t. Oh I still wrote, I processed some intense stuff during those first 3 years in my unpublished blog. But I couldn’t bring myself to having enough confidence to click that publish button.
I share this 8 years later because of an admission I feel I owe to those I have encouraged to blog. Rather overly passionately encouraged I am afraid. Glossing over the fact that there was real fear that came over me when I realized going public was subjecting myself to real critiquing. I am a passionate advocate about writing in general and hope to always be a spot of encouragement to anyone who puts their thoughts into a narrative, regardless of the format or genre. Wordsmithing is an art and it’s a courageous thing when thoughts are committed to words to be written.  To take that courage and step into the abyss of the world of critics by publishing a blog is downright frightening, I think in my passion for writing and my wish that everyone would know the pure joy I believe writing brings I have minimized the frightening aspects of going public.  I make it sound so easy.
Truth is the mechanics of creating a blog could not be any easier, and the price is right. Free. Although if you are now or do become serious about writing and building a brand behind your name I highly recommend purchasing your domain name and registering your name with Creative Commons.
Blog built. Check.
That was easy.
(note I will put my assistance where my mouth is and offer help to anyone wanting to create a blog but feels stuck)
Now there’s a blank page in front of you with a cursor keeping time it seems with your pulse. A blank page….LARGE….a W>I>D>E open space.
It’s a challenge and one most writers take on happily, even though it’s work. We forget about everything, anything, anyone or anyplace else but what it is that wide open space is allowing us to express. Like a painter with a brand new canvas and tubes of paint, the colors are there for our expression, stringing words together saying what we need to say. Expressing where it is our random thoughts take us, giving no thought to anything else but the melodies the letters combined compose. Rough drafts are our raw work, we give no thought to why the words work, or if they work, they just spill from us. Making them make sense to someone else comes next.
Is there no better feeling than walking away backwards to check what we expressed and finding glimpses of our soul peeking through?
I think so.
Albeit I believe I write for myself first there is no denying the feeling of satisfaction in composing the words so they strike a chord when shared with someone else. I won’t deny either the nerve-wracking anxiety I felt after hitting publish the first few times… and then waiting…..I didn’t know whether to feel relieved if there was feedback, or to be relieved if there wasn’t.  Holding my breath I waited.
Tears . Of relief? Gratitude? Accomplishment? Expression?
All of the above.
For suddenly this deep abyss of wordsmiths and purveyors of words no longer held me prisoner in the unpublished cell, suddenly this community called WordPress became my community, suddenly I was looking forward to the critiquing I had so feared.
My Dear newbies to the land of Blogging and those still on the fence; let me say that the one thing that held me back is not only something I look forward to today but a motivating prompt for me. My thought is this:  If what we write inspires dialogue of any kind we are touching nerves in people enough for a response, we are on the right path of contribution to humanity.
So,….when I encourage you to write, maybe even to blog, it is because in your wordsmithing I read that you have a message to share with the world, or some of us. There are folks who need the message to come from you alone, just how you alone articulate it. It’s true there may be anxiety in hitting that publish button, so think of this: Is the fear so powerful that you can live with not ever knowing who your words might touch?
I thought so. For a time.
Then……I thought… “what if I just do it?” and then… “What if I never?”
To Blog or not to Blog.
Eight years later…I’ve sorted, debated, digested, and am still processing…..
And you came, and you keep coming back, 8 yrs later.
I AM Blogging.
Happy 8 years Barefoot Baroness Readers!



The Taste of Bittersweet Prevenge

Image result for prevenge


“Get them before they get you.”

“Why wait until after you get screwed over? Practice prevenge, you will feel better.”

To name it is to tame it.

Every once in a while as a Lover of Words I am surprised when introduced to a new word or a new context in which a word is used. When such an event happens I am again happily (and with much contentment) reminded of how much of a love affair I have with words and the stringing of them together to express what our hearts and minds know.

Being taught a new word recently also taught me behind that word is a theory involving human nature and behavior that I knew but I never had a word for. A theory about the human behavior of agendas and motivations. I understand IT. 

I believe IT’S employed more often than we realize. IT leaves a bitterness in my throat I have difficulty swallowing. But IT is a reality. I have first hand experience with walking through life in a state of prevenge, and with those too who like me have used the tactics of prevenge.

As I understand “IT” aka “Prevenge” is an effective way to deter and deflect away from becoming involved with someone or a situation that comes with the risk of being hurt. In premeditation prevenge entails erecting emotional walls and defenses in preparation of being hurt – preparing to do the attacking hurting first…Prevenge. In the act of prevenge the person perceiving there is a possibility of being hurt engages in hurting first. In deciding to strike first the prevenger’s hope is their act will preemptively discredit and render impotent the effect of a hurtful act upon their self.

Apparently, although rarely recognized for what it is, prevenge is used frequently because it works. It works because most people are kind and wince at the thought that they are doing something unkind, immoral, or inconsiderate, we are reluctant to believe not all walk through life the same. The claims that there are those who are not alike in kindness melts our resolve, and we become receptive and surrender to feelings of self-doubt.

Prevenge is employed through all kinds of exchanges. When the prevenger suspects feelings are at risk of being hurt or feedisappointment they engage in tactics of prevenge, trying to deflect from being the one hurt…..first.

Tactics of Prevenge via deflection & deterrents. Attack.

The Wounded (“Why do you have to be so mean?”)

The Exasperated (“Oh boy, here we  go again.”)

The Preacher (“C’mon, show some respect.”)

The Weary (“Sigh. . . . “)

The Cold Shoulder (“Well,  that’s YOUR opinion.”)

The Misinterpretation (“Well, if you hate me, why didn’t you just come out and say so?”)

The Strategic Adviser (“You should have told me differently, at a different time, in a different place, with a different tone.”)

The Analyst (“You’re misguided.”)

The Upper Hand (“Oh, grow up.”)

The Well-Adjusted Humorist (“Geez, can’t you take a joke?!”)

The Mute (……… The silent treatment)

. . . among many others. There are situations certainly in which every response on the list is perfectly honorable, heartfelt, and appropriate. But it’s precisely why these responses can be counterfeited and used for prevenge.

Prevenge is among some of the most powerful and pervasive rhetorical human behavior tactics. Meaning “rhetorical,” in that it adds weight to any argument regardless of the argument’s intrinsic merit, but it’s a general-purpose, passive-aggressive persuader and a generic influencer. Rhetoric in that although effective going through life in a state of prevenge is disturbingly sad.

Quite effectively prevengers get a good grip on others and their actions and finding the threat of their emotional response credible. Credible because often their proffered emotional response seems natural or justifiable. Prevengers react first and without validation, their ultimate goal is to hurt before they’re hurt. Risking being wrong in their assumptions is simply collateral damage they willingly accept.

I can’t say prevenge is or is not necessarily wrong, every person and circumstance being different,  but it certainly is strong – strong, persuasive, and inherently compelling. So….when someone uses these tactics attempting to strengthen even their most indefensible demands the word wrong enters my consciousness.

This discovery (through a friend) of a word describing a prevalent human behavior has given me an awareness I didn’t have before. I recognized the behavior as soon as the word was explained to me, but prior I would have been hard-pressed to describe it in a word. Consequently I will be proactive at learning how best to avoid prevengers as well as (maybe more importantly) work to curtail my need for prevenging tactics.

I don’t want the bitter taste of prevenge keeping me from swallowing life, and I don’t want to miss out on life’s possibilities because they might be hard to swallow.





If You Don’t Know Where Your Place Is ~ by Chloe Bell

Guest Author: Chloe Bell

Rarely do I have a guest author on Barefoot Baroness mainly because this blog does bear my name. However this is an exception to my rule, this piece by Chloe Bell strikes such a chord inside me I think it’s share worthy. The serendipity factor of finding this while I have been trying to rediscover my place in the blog world caused me to freeze my thoughts when I happened onto this piece of brilliance by Ms Bell.  (yes, FYI, her words have been like a reset button for myself) ~ BB


Image result for loss of direction

*Put this next to your bed, where your eyes reach first in the morning light.

Your bed, not anyone else’s. If you do not have your own bed, put it in your place—where you read, where you write, where you know it’s safe to hide.

If you don’t know where your place is, find it.

Written by Chloe Bell

* Cry. In the morning, in the afternoon, on Saturday nights when it will ruin your makeup.
Tears are for washing, for protecting;
stuffed tears turn to poison, to hate, pulsing through the sea of you.
Cry when you are happy, cry when you are broken, cry when you need to
and because someone weak once told you it made you weak.

Begin to belong to you, and only you.
Did you ever belong to just yourself?
Be the person you can count on, to laugh with,
to endure with, to wipe the eyeliner from beneath your eyes.
Be the person to hug your hips, to read books to, to lay in the grass with.
You do not have to fill your spaces with someone else.
If you expect someone else to fill you, there will never be enough love.
Let light flood the empty parts of you and heal with sunshine, not fingerprints.

Exist, and let your existence speak for itself.
Do not make yourself a smoker or a prude or a body cavity to fill.
Do not make yourself into anything other than the person you are.
There is an identity, there always was an identity, you have never ceased to exist.
You have never disappeared, despite your many attempts.
Eat. As much or as little as you want. Do not vanish.
Breathe, deep, shaky, powerful gulps of air. Do not suffocate.

Wander into the places of yourself you’ve been too afraid to touch,
You may find bruises, you may find scars,
Know yourself, map yourself.
One day, someone will want to understand your geography.
Know how to teach them.
Wander too far away from home, leave home, build new homes.
When one burns down, you will always have another one to learn
to trust warmth inside of.

Set down your burdens.
You carried their emotions inside your heart for far too long.
You are not a backpack, or a hamper, or a trunk for all of
their old demons to sit and rot inside of.
You are not luggage, you are a person.

Love will come to you in forms that you don’t recognize.
People will love you who don’t need to be saved.
People will love you for your face in the morning,
and not when they tear down your strength.
People will love you for the way your voice sounds when reading,
and not when telling them what they want to hear.
People will love you because of the creation you are,
and not a wax figurine they tried to turn you into.

Learn to be fresh. To begin each day without yesterday’s mistakes.
Learn to sit in the rocking chair
and hold their flaws gently, cradling them,
as they learn to trust your balance-beam heart.
Learn to smile when plans fall through, when the food gets cold,
when the rain drenches us on our walk home.

Say, “I love you,” only when you want to say it.
Say no, maybe and yes. But not just Yes.
And not just No.
Carry inside of you the story of a person who is a tapestry.
A person made to help flowers grow,
A person made to give the world something no one else could.
A person made in divine light.

Let the hate steep with the tea.
Let your fear of remembering be forgotten.
Let your toes curl up in delight.
Let happiness sit upon your windowsill like a sleeping cat
so that everyone who passes will smile knowing:

You are whole.
You have always been whole.
You will always be whole.


Author: Chloe Bell

*I do not own the rights to this intellectual property and share here for only the purpose of sharing because it’s caring.





A Barefoot Music Group Review- “If Walls Could Talk” by Justin Johnson

if walls could talk cd art_justin johnson
Maestro Justin Johnson’s “If Walls Could Talk” is an intriguing album of engaging instrumental compositions and arrangements with extraordinary layers throughout all 12 dynamic tracks. A must hear that should not be defined by genre alone.
A fellow roots fan first introduced me to Johnson’s music a couple of years ago when he was on tour performing with his Cigar Box Guitars (CBG) in Coos Bay Oregon while also turning his shows into teaching  moments. Educating school children (and parent & teachers) about CBG’s and their relationship to the history of Roots music; keeping an important art alive and thriving with new students thanks to Justin Johnson.  
Whether it be one string or 12, Maestro Johnson is a string virtuoso and he is an ambassador for Roots music.
This newly released CD & DVD combination “If Walls Could Talk” showcases the impeccable string musician that Johnson is; spotlighting the individual layers of who he is as a musician, and who he is as an artist. These 12 tracks speak volumes to how genuine Johnson stayed to his own roots (pun intended) on this project, and how true he stayed to the music that unfolded in the Tennessee Braxton Dixon built house where he lived during the composing and arranging of this album.  
The brilliant nod to the stunning voices of each of the instruments Justin chose to use also feels to this listener that he intentionally also stayed true to his signature sound and roots style.
Justin Johnson has created an archive of music history with this album.
Album producer John Carter Cash says it far more eloquently about Justin and his music; “the very soul of America.” 
If you’re a lyrically driven music fan who’s not typically an instrumental fan Justin Johnson is going to convert you with his introspective melody lines.
If you are a die-hard instrumental fan “If Walls Could Talk” will speak to you on many levels with the dramatic voices of each string instrument that Justin and album producer John Carter Cash obviously put much thought into choosing.
If you are a returning Justin Johnson fan then you will be happily content with this new addition to Johnson’s catalog. 
As is my custom when living listening to a new album I intend to write about I begin compiling snippets of notes. “If Walls Could Talk” struck me right away as being quite special. A repeated note I made throughout the week was referencing the emotional roller coaster this album takes the listener on; each song evoking wonderfully intense feelings of nostalgia, lightness, sadness, mourning and moody
feelings…. just like music is meant to do- just like music should do.
The opening track for me is nostalgia in music, captivating me right away with Johnson’s epic interpretation of “Summertime,”
Justin perfectly sets up the stunning ambiance for the phrasing of the entire album with this classic song with the strikingly beautiful unique voice of the 1923 Gibson Mandolin. It’s fine nuances bring a richness of depth to this classic that makes it Justin’s own. The mandolin ‘singing’ the lyrics is perfectly accompanied by a 1963 Gibson Folksinger and “Magic” an upright bass. This is a treasure to any collection of music, it’s also a fabulous crossover for different categories of collections. 
Though I could easily write about each of the 12 tracks, I’m not. I don’t want to intrude on anyone’s first listen who may have not yet heard the album. Each listener is going to hear something different from these walls as this music will touch a personal chord in each one of us. 
While speaking of personal and again my love for nostalgia in music I want to address one more track.
So many memories are wrapped around music
Track #5 “Wood & Weed” takes me back in time to another phase of my life when traditional country music was what I was being raised on. “Wood & Weed” is definitely not country, nor is it traditional. Great roots music is organic in nature and allows for the listener to hear in the composition that which reaches inside and grabs the individual attention of each of us..I am taken to my childhood with this track.
Throughout the album there is almost a mythical ‘poetic-ness’ – for me it’s all about the instrument voices and the songs they sing. Much like a Museum of Art I find myself associating this album to a dream come true for an audio curator of string instruments.
Audiophiles/musicologists like myself however will find this no dream, instead happily we find a reality in our ears when we hear the brilliance of Maestro Johnson perfectly translating the voice of each incredible instrument that he played on this album.
*Recording Notes*
Mandolin- 1925 Gibson Lloyd Loar F5
Resonator Guitar- 176 Dobro Model 66
Acoustic Guitar- 163 Gibson F-25 Folksinger
Acoustic Guitar-Martin Limited Edition OM-28WRosanne Cash Signature Model #2
Electric Guitar- Little Crow Guitars Custom “Justin Johnson”Corvinho Model
Cigar Box Guitar- Homegrown Strings-4-string
Baritone Ukulele- Willow Glen Guitars
Upright Bass- “Magic”
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the video footage of the recording sessions on the DVD included in the CD/DVD set. I purposely left watching the DVD until I was ready to write and I am glad I did as I wanted to write without any bias; After watching the video I know that would not have been an easy thing to do. 
Following Justin and Nikki for months prior to release they shared so many aspects of this project during the composing and then the recording that their sharing endeared them both to fans,this writer included. Leaving the DVD’ for the last was much like an epilogue to living vicariously through Justin & Nicki over the past several months and  allowed for no bias on this listener/writer’s part.
The music that went on inside those walls is simply brilliant, and that’s no bias. Like blueprints, that’s a fact 
If Walls Could Talk Cd/Dvd available here
  “If Walls Could Talk” Mp3’s available at all outlets below here:
More Justin Johnson here
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The Gulf Coast of Florida 2016

Well no more wake-ups in Florida. We leave Tampa this afternoon at 4:30 pm.
I am sad to leave.
I am coming back.








Bucket list check offs are even more significant when you’re in the second season of your life and getting to spend a week with my dear friend’s in Sarasota was just part of this dream fulfilling vacation of two weeks in Florida.

Friends old and new.

Sheila MacLeod and I cyber met in a scrapbook website forum about 8 yrs ago and quickly we knew we had more in common than just an art form to archive life. We became the best of friends.
Sheila and her husband “the Rickster” Rick MacLeod embraced me and my traveling bestie from home as family. I suggest never underestimating friendships made via the Interne, sometimes it’s an immediate cosmic connection and you

Mike who is my bestie Terri’s friend from her hometown of Parkersburg West Virginia. has become another significant friendship. I take away back to Oregon with gratitude the giggles that have been abundant in every moment we spent in St Pete Beach with Mike. Often Mike’s best buddy Rock joined us rounding out the table to four. We spent evenings listening to tunes, and talking until the wee hours of the morning.

Our final night together we spent watching a series called Fringe that Rock had recommended one evening. Feeling compelled to watch one episode after another we finally hugged goodnight at 2am. Thanks guys, I am hooked.
Rock and I hugged “so long” too as I won’t be seeing him again until the next visit. He promised me a tree house when I come back so he best get to work. *wink*

Mike, our incredible host and always the most fun tour guide is also our ride to the airport so we have hours yet before we have to say “so long.” I refuse to say goodbye to any of these treasured folks.

Sitting up alone at 6am my thoughts are trying to compile the memories of this last two weeks, and the friendships old and new that make my world a better place.

Though I miss my daughter Janis C Helser who has been my cheering squad for the leap I took four yrs ago next month I already also miss these fine people here who made this vacation filled with bliss.
Too often we put off the things on our bucket list because it never seems the right time for a dozen reasons.
Don’t wait family and friends. Tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us.
Do it today!



A Collaboration For “Love”


“Love” is a new 2016 release by David Miller ft Beau Bert.

 Taking great delight Barefoot Music is honored to introduce a new song release titled “Love” by the collaboration of musicians David Miller & Beau Bert, both hailing from USA.  Lyrics written by Singer-Songwriter/Word Master David Miller- composed and performed by Beau Bert. This new song “Love” will surely to touch the listener’s heart while gently being reminded of just how genuine and lasting love can be, just as a love song most certainly should do.

* listen here

About The Artists.

David Miller

David Miller, a talented seasoned lead guitarist and singer David also is a local music teacher and a singer-songwriter who is a master of original lyrical wordsmithing. David is a native son of Oregon state in the USA and writes original songs in several genres. In the lyrics  to “Love” David’s vision for the tune to have a classic contemporary country music feel resulted in this emotionally impacting love ballad. Along with with his multiple music projects and teaching music David is also a creative writer of fiction and editorials that inspire thought provoking discussions on his his blog. David and his wife make their home in Bend Oregon with their two daughters.

additional links for David: David’s Blog Living The Music Life

More of David’s music here @ Soundcloud


Bert Beau

Beau Bert also a talented musician who’s originally from Dallas Texas and now resides in Red Oak Texas with his wife ad children. Bert’s vocals and music composition compliment David’s lyrics masterfully on this collaboration creating a sense of beautiful nostalgia in this country love song. Bert is a police officer serving his community; with his vocals alone it’s difficult to believe he only plays music as a hobby, yet it is so..Beau is also brother to Bend’s Kim Kelley, another Oregon musician who was the catalyst in how Bert and David originally connected. 


*all rights to this song are owned by the writers/composers, not Barefoot Music Group.



“Take It Easy On Me”



Happy Birthday to me!

I”m adding another year to my credit today while intentionally celebrating much different from the first 60. {“Is she talking about someone else? Can’t be me. say it’s not true. Can it be so?” }

Reconciling with my chronological age has never come easy for me, I’ve never felt my age. I mean that in both the positives and the negatives. Feels serious this year. I hear my 61yr old Self saying “Barefoot get your soles out there and live life’s adventures you’ve been dream chasing for so long.”

Aye Barefoot.

This year the focus is a celebration that revolves around meeting and learning to embrace my natural self. Learning to like who I see in the mirror, curves and all. Learning to like the scars I can’t erase. Learning that my dream  chasing has never been a ridiculous idea. Today I believe.

It’s been some time since I have felt like I am sitting upright in life’s proverbial saddle again. The last four years Life has led me up and down some very different kinds of trails; including the challenging trails with steeplechase, hurdles, and sometimes spills that seemingly come out of nowhere. Referencing with horse riding is inspired by the old adage when you get thrown from your mount get right back up in the saddle again.” (or something like that)  Because this has become my personal perspective regarding the last four years; rather than letting the spills keep me off my horse I’m committed to continue on. I’m hell-bent on living life and being an active participant, not merely existing in it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that there has been some collateral damage along the way which I’m either saddened by, or I am relieved by. This Blog, Barefoot Baroness, has also taken a few hits and has been relegated to the back seat to other projects that are aimed at inventing this second season of my life. Apparently I am holding onto the reins tighter and with more confidence today than ever before because I’m feeling like I’m remaining in my saddle more often than not now.  Honestly I am actually surprised by this. (Is this really me who is not letting my Self be derailed by spills?)

My absence from Barefoot Baroness has become part of my normal lately. It has become more routine to not blog than I’ve experienced since hitting the publish button the first time almost 8 years ago. I could give lots of excuses why but I rather think my why’s are not important, nor would they make for interesting reading. The fact is that the last four years I have been negligent as a blogger. I have instead become an attentive student of Life who’s reinventing what I call second season of life. I’ve been learning how to live in this thin-skinned shell all my life. I recognize that life has phases and cycles, much like the moon, and it has taken me 60 years of cyclic phases to find complete comfort inside this physical form that harbors my heart and soul.

The past four years have been a lot of things to me, including the powerful phases that have lent to educating and liberating myself. There’s been and continues to be enormous lessons to learn that crib notes and/or an owners manual would certainly have been welcome. But we are individuals independent of one another, my Owner’s Manual could not be your owner’s manual. Maybe there’s good reason we all don’t come with owner’s manuals; although I am often baffled by life’s hurdles and jumps and not always having the answers keeps me putting one bare foot in front of another. Looking back over old journal entries I see that I have been all along creating my crib notes for Taking It Easy On Me.

All along the way I’ve stumbled, tripped, fell out of my saddle, been thrown; and I get back in my saddle each time, albeit not always as quickly as I’d like. Some days it’s a struggle to get back up again, and some days this is an understatement. Admittedly I tend to keep hurdle failures to myself for the most part. The amazing thing though is these past four years I have begun to be healthier than I had been the prior 26 years. It’s not a prideful declaration I make here, but rather instead it’s an admission of the healthy notions from my hopelessly optimistic/positive personality. There are still  times I isolate, on days I tumble and fall, It’s something that I am not proud of, but it’s my truth. It’s what I do.

When my physical body needs to heal I tend to withdraw my whole body & mind. When mental or emotional exhaustion presents itself isolating my Self is instinctively knowing this is how I will put my one bare foot in front of another to get back in my saddle. One foot up into the stirrup, pulling my Self up into the saddle and throwing the other foot over to slip into the empty stirrup….THIS…. is my triumph. This IS my proud declaration. Being authentically true to the ways of how the moon and tide’s impact all the phases of my life.


Starting over again and inventing a second season in my late 50’s was a choice I made. (not to minimize my emotional intelligence knowing I really had no choice) I wanted to be healthy, I needed to be healthy. Today I am healthy. It had been a very long time since I could say that. Because I am an eternal optimist my first nature is to find the positives instead of facing what the reality is. It has been like me to deny that anything is wrong. Denial goes like this:  Deny, Deny, Deny. Keep denying.

I’d become indifferent and had numbed down. Deny.

That I had been living in the midst of personal chaos took me by complete surprise when I stopped minimizing and finally stopped denying. How did I not see what was right in front of me every morning?

Denial, denial, denial.


2011 I began feeling again…..every cell, every nerve, each muscle was being wakened by something deep inside. My spirit that was no longer burdened by stress was opening up my consciousness to feelings again. It was frightening, and it was empowering. I had begun to start seeing glimpses of being wholly liberated when in 2012 I could no longer deny even the seemingly insignificant untruths.

“I’d been living a lie.” The 5 word admission….and then..the emotional levy broke. Feelings have been flooding my Self ever since. My emotional intelligence thankfully understands this is an intended phase and I just need to remember to *”Take It Easy On Me” while this steel butterfly learns to fly. (thank you Beth Hart) Being brutally honest with my Self has never come easy. Brutal honesty that comes from another in my inner circle is painfully difficult to accept hearing. Yet there it was. I felt anger and fought the need to defend. Why didn’t someone tell me sooner?

I struggled to not deflect and I tried to truly listen and embrace the perceptions from another. I’ve been so fortunate in that I have people in my life whose mindset is caring enough to accept that mutual reciprocal honesty may involve hurt feelings, possibly something being taken too personal, or too serious. These…the risks of being vulnerable with another.

My belief in the power of transparency between significant relationships remains solid despite that there have been a few sadly misguided attempts by some whose  agenda unkindness came under the guise of being honest. “Yes, go ahead, swear to me just how honest you are, go ahead and convince me that your agenda is coming from a genuine concern for me…while you’re convincing me maybe you can convince yourself.”

It’s the open nature of transparent syncopation that I look for as a solid level foundation for any kind of genuine relationships. Transparency is all about the agenda and the delivery.. maybe most importantly is the agenda.

I also think it’s important firstly to YOU that you are being honest with YOU.

Honesty is difficult, and it’s downright frightening.

Getting honest with your Self’ if you’ve not done this insightful work before might be helpful knowing it’s okay to slow the process down at any time if it becomes overwhelming. During your personal excavation you may at times want to tuck your head down inside your hooded sweatshirt and run the other way as fast as you can.

Denial. Denial. Denial.

Yep. I could only cope with small doses of self truths at a time and I became intimately invested in my over sized hoodie while I allowed my Self the much-needed emotional space between doses of truth. It hindsight it seems that over time I became less sensitive and critical of my Self. “Be kind” my Spirit would whisper to my Self.

“Be kind while you do the work = “take it easy on me.”

I’ve been doing the hard work to finally get to this place where I am strong and confident with my Self;  the if and when questions/problems may arise involving my truths, if so I know how to suss out the answer without it derailing me. In the past without this emotional intelligence and self honesty there was simply denial. I even had created two corners of my mind to sort questions or doubts when ignoring them no longer worked.  I’d either allocate (minimize) them to be insignificant half-truths, or I went straight to denials.

Most of us are deceiving our individual Self’s every day. I was. My evolution into honesty has been slow but unbelievably empowering. Sometimes too painful. I mentioned the fear of getting honest with our Self’s, because being transparent with Self is frightening and it is uncomfortable. My experiences of feeling fear and discomfort today though are being rivaled by the height of my serenity.

I happily have discovered  this internal peace when the oppressive burden of untruths had been lifted. This was my first conscious realization that it was the hard work of getting honest with my Self that brought this amazing first glimpse of the awesomeness of heavenly serenity. A fleeting flash of a moment that I will never forget. Each subsequent moments of gracious serenity reminds of that first glimpse. There is a natural high of serenity for me. A natural high from honesty and serenity that are not laden with shame and guilt, Two emotions best to avoid when possible.


Honesty sets you free.

I’d been married for 42 years. I raised a family. I was a Foster mother.I worked outside the home. There were times I lied to my Self by saying I was still there because it was the right thing to do for the children. Right thing to do for me, it was safe. Right thing for him, didn’t I owe him the devotion of forever? But you know what? My daughters both would have preferred to have not had to live in a tension fueled driven home that was broken. Looking back I remember thinking,  I just hadn’t found the right things/ways to keep the peace. My solutions never changed anything, no matter what I tried. Once I began the getting painfully honest with my Self I realized that the work I needed to do was internal, not external. Nor did it really have anything to do with anyone else.

Here’s the thing about honesty. It not only theoretical, but it’s also concrete. It has taken me a lifetime to create my truths through years of worry and trials and errors over how to peel the layers from my core to find my truth. Honesty took a willingness on my part for some serious excavating. There was no place better to start than with my own thoughts. I began asking my Self: “Why am I doing X behavior?”  “Who’s approval do I pathologically seem to need?” “What don’t I want even my best friend to know about me?” “What’s my next step?” Because I am a writer and keep journals I wrote my questions out in long hand…..then….something unexpected and interesting began to come to light.

I realized I needed to seek help.

No, I don’t mean I need a therapist or a life coach because I am a broken mess. Been there, done that. It’s why I can be accountable to my Self today. Yet I still began to understand that outside assistance would be needed to undertake this process to set my Self free.  I know and trust that it’s really best done with an objective ear with a skill for listening. Again my great fortune of God’s and Goddesses smiled upon me, for I have people in my life who meet my requirements, they actually exceed them. Someone who will ask me the tough questions. Making a firm commitment of telling the truth about yourself (especially to yourself) isn’t a linear process. It requires coming back…and coming back again..and again. It is an evolutionary process. Once there’s a sweet taste for the freedom of honesty it’s hard not to want more. I find my Self now even wanting it of others in my inner circle.

Remaining optimistic while being brutally honest and living fully present in my life is how I’m setting my Self a little more free every day, while realizing the key is that I need to take it easy on my self to be able to be honest. Honesty is how I am able to be free with the wings of a Steel Butterfly

Happy Birth Day to me. March 14th.


Miss Beth Hart’s Take It Easy On Me


  • Take It Easy On Me ~ Beth Hart





Oregon’s Thelma & Louise

She’s the best friend I wish I’d grown up with.

She’s the friend I found, lost, and reunited with again.

She’s the friend who had the grace to tell me the truth that I fought her on.

She’s the friend who waited in the background while I figured out the truth.

She’s the friend who when I told her erroneously that she was in the wrong…. she forgave me.

I missed my best friend for a few years because of what I let myself be convinced of.

I missed how we could hang out doing everything, and doing nothing. I missed how there was never awkward silences from the first road trip we were on together. I missed those road trips, the hometown adventures we’d make. I missed the visits we made to one of our local old cemetery’s and neglected grave sites from the 1800’s- we imagined we were the most recent visitors.

I missed the natural connection with her that I’ve not known quite in the same way. Cosmically feeling like she could be the older sister I didn’t ever get to know because she died before I was born.

I missed the woman who was born and raised on the other side of the country from me.

I missed my best friend who is my sister without the biological ties, instead there is a cosmic connection.

Thankfully things, circumstances, and people change with time.

While every emotion takes a turn and often can distance us a true best friend remains forever, even when there is a distance. The concern, the wondering if they’re well and happy, the missing of what had been and what could be remains.

Best friends share the good and the bad, they also have this intuitive trust in their friendship that despite distancing their spirits continues to scream to close the gap.

Gratitude is a small word to use to describe the enormous feelings when the distance is closed again finally and the two friends reunite and resume as if not missing a beat.

My best friend, my sister, she is my Louise to my Thelma.



A Shamed Life? (Reposted from 2012 April)




What does that word do to you may I ask?

Does it conjure up thoughts and then feelings about a time or event in your life that at some point even now causes a shame response?

I know that shame is not necessarily a bad thing. Shame, or the knowledge of the consequence of it can serve its purpose I suppose when one is weighing whether or not their actions could be shameful in someone’s eyes? But whose eyes count? Is it something that we carry with us in adulthood from events that happened while still maturing? I have no real answers to any these questions for anyone but myself. Especially I would never condone that what I am feeling or writing about how I feel or think is the best for anyone else. I don’t. I don’t because I come from a different history, I have different beliefs and thoughts on things than anyone else. Just as you do. We may be like-minded in many ways BUT WE STILL ARE Individuals with individual outlooks.

Shame is something that will cause us to have to pay for the excess baggage. Its expensive. It’s a cost that is likely to cause extreme hardship if allowed to continue to fester. Shame comes in many forms, comes from many things, and is insidious if left alone. Especially the shame that you have had no say in. Shame that was being played out like a maestro orchestrating an orchestra.

I know shame well. And shame knows me well. I am going to add a frame of reference to this post that is rarely my custom. Referencing my past, or my childhood; I’ve spoken about it in simplistic good terms before; the good out of the bad because 99.9% of my time that is just how I see my childhood. There were both. Just as there is in every one of us. For the purpose of this post and for my own journey I hope that you’ll indulge me and maybe even relate.


This quote from the Preface of Lent may seem surprising to those people who are accustomed to thinking of Lent solely as a time of penance: “Each year we are given this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed”.

Lent is certainly a period marked by somber seriousness, but contrary to certain stereotypes it is also a time of joy

We become aware of our sinfulness and our shames, however not by remaining fixated on ourselves, but by contemplating the love of Spirit. The readings for Mass during Lent certainly denounce sin, but at the same time Mass proclaims the divine mercy which is about forgiveness, 

For those who do not know I am a recovering Irish Catholic. I mean no disrespect or offense to those who are practicing Catholics, it is my personal spiritual choice based on personal history that made no sense to me to continue being under the direction of The Church that protects physical and sexual abusers. Priests who have obviously disobeyed their vows and promise to God. My abuse albeit not by a man of the clergy but was inflicted by one who should have been an even more trusted member of my family-the paternal grandfather. I was barely 8 yrs old.

Suffice it to say that I find no purpose in regurgitating up the details to be read here. I shall take no part in allowing anyone to “Float their boat” by reading a post here that is intended to help, not hurt. The only thing needed to be known is this was my start to shame. Something that I did not have control over, yet all the same I wore the shame of it like a red scarlet letter.

Growing up, and then growing out of an alcoholic home where parents had their heads in some other game than parenting, seeing violence, arguments were the norm and drunk parents at any time was my fear. I could not and would not let my friends see it. I would try to protect them from it just as hard as I tried to protect my baby brother of 4 years from it. But I could not. This was beyond my control and led me to believe that this was also my shame. I vowed to never as an adult allow events and other people to have power over my life again. The shame of others would never be mine again. I could master my culpability in life, but own no one else’s.

It’s taken me 50 plus years to realize that shame causes guilt of the hidden kind  and that I don’t have control and never will. As long as I let whatever happens around me to engulf me spiritually I would continue to try to make it my own. AS long as I allowed my own children who are adults now to accept their shame and guilt I am keeping them from owning what they need to heal.

Spending time on Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent reading and praying I asked Spirit to help me quiet the chatter in my mind, and to still my heart so that I may get closer to letting go of what does not serve me. What can I do to bring my mind more open to Spirit? What can I do to lend my heart to letting go of all old pains? What is keeping me from that complete openness that I will no longer need childish things? Letting go of guilt and shame whether I own it or whether it belongs to someone else will help guide my quest.

I need to let them all go and take down the screen that has helped me keep a guard up around my heart. Hanging on to shame is hanging to resentments, it’s akin to hanging on to an old lover who abuses your right to be happy. I can see ever so clearly now that what I held onto as baggage  was a way for me to remain a victim. To hang on to events that are past whether years ago, or yesterday, they only keep a screen of falseness up between myself and the spirit of contentment in my life.

Taking responsibility for events not in my power were bricks that through the years the mortar began to crumble. I had no idea why only that I knew there was this hole in my heart where I placed all shame. Shame has been keeping me from a lot of things for a long time. I did not feel worthy despite all the teachings I was forgiven. I had no idea I also had to forgive myself.

I need to let it all go. I’ve hung on too much too long, so long that I feared the idea of being without this coat of hidden shame. This is what happens when you own something too long that never belonged to you in the first place. Yet I stumble, I look over my shoulder, I run the other way and shame wants to follow. I will have to master this letting go.

Letting go of shame may sound difficult, it may not even be what is thought of as the typical fasting for Lent. Yet it feels so right in my heart, and my mind knows how much I need to let it all go.

This Reason For The Season of Lent I am giving up my shame. Letting it all go  and turning it over to something far more powerful than myself. I will cleanse all my resentments away, all the shame will leave my heart. Not just f several weeks until Easter Sunday, but for always. My heart will no longer be abuzz with painful shame, and my mind’s self chatter of times gone will be free to be open to just today. Just this moment. Living in splendor with a whole heart, with a mind that can relish the now, and a spirituality that is quiet, true and free.

Goodbye Old Shame, it’s been real.





Barefoot Rock n Blues Is Now On Podcast For Your Listening Convenience

barefoot rock n blues podcast

As some of Barefoot Baroness’ readers might have been aware my repressed Disc Jockey alter ego was unleashed in June 2014 on Mixstream Radio-a 100 % Independent Net radio where I have had the great honorable pleasure of sharing with my listeners the outstanding Independent music from around the globe. Literally there are no geographic boundaries in where the Music Maker’s hail from, and the music just as diverse.

I invite you to indulge yourself in music that you’re likely not going to hear on terrestrial radio stations such as in your car, there’s no programming director dictating what music I can and cannot spin. What you’ll hear week in week out is music that speaks to and enhances my music intelligence. So shall it yours.

I hope you enjoy and return often. Please feel welcome to say hello and that you were by to have a listen. I love feedback.

~ Yours Truly, Barefoot


Rock My Soul Single

*Updated December 2016rock my soul

* Almost four years ago; 4 January 2013, I opened the door to a different life.


Moving into my new apartment in almost a foot of snow I began embracing the different me that began emerging. I have spent the last four years getting to know this me. I think in all honesty the perception that some had of me as “The Bitch” was because my choices actually empowered me. I finally was being the most honest me I can ever recall being in my life. I’d began to feel accountable for my happiness and my peace of mind. I began to create boundaries in my life. It’s been a process with quite a bit of a learning curve and I blow it still sometimes. I am finding there is empowerment in boundaries though and I am getting better at it. Better too at not dissolving into a puddle of guilt when I do draw lines that impact other people, despite this being sometimes perceived as cold and uncaring.

Making a commitment to create boundaries for one’s sense of serenity and peace sounds so much easier than the reality is. That is if you care to live in your universe with other people and hope to have your soul rocked by others.
Some will rock your soul, some won’t. Some will cause you to wish that you could simply rock them out of your universe. Life has given us the marvelous gift of being in control of what and who we let rock our soul, our heart, our mind, and our world. Making choices good or bad are at least my choices, and they make up the person I am and how I live my life. This comes with the understanding that no one else is responsible nor can I point the blame if my decisions don’t bode well. But there is this empowering liberation. It took me the large majority of my lifetime to understand this. To apply the knowledge took me even longer, and to finally own it? Just recently in fact. When the choices serve me to the good I willingly and happily own it. When my choices serve me poorly I am working on owning it, but not so happily. Yet.

Today in 2016 I am happily owning it.

I know very few absolute truths in this life of mine, but I do know that one of life’s most basic truths is things constantly change. We as people change. What others saw in me thirty, twenty, or even three years ago has changed. We are a continuous evolution of change. It’s called humanity.

Four years ago in the middle of my life I took a hold of myself and shook up my world like it hadn’t been since I was nine years old. Having long recognized that I was literally drowning in angry sadness I found myself isolating like I never had before. Admittedly I thrive on solitude, always have and always will. Solitude to maintain balance works for me, but solitude in a self-imposed isolation to avoid conflicted feelings and tension became something quite different.
Although I referred to this time as being depressed I don’t want to minimize depression, nor the treatments, I know in hindsight that isn’t truthfully what it was I was coping with. Any symptoms of depression were indicative of the changes I needed to address. Isolating became a way of avoidance and as long as I saw and called it depression then I wasn’t having to face the real fears I was trying to ignore.

“Nothing stays the same.”

Things change, people change, and people change their minds, me included. Admitting this wasn’t my first nature; changes meant the unknown and the unknown meant fears. I had not ever been comfortable addressing my fears, yet to continue to think I could ignore them I realized was delusional on my part.

It’s been a long strange trip the last 4 plus years of my life with all the changes I made. After running into an old acquaintance in the grocery store I realized during a baffling few moments that I physically have changed in many ways. While standing in the fresh produce department talking with her it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was my reply to her kind “How have you been?” that did it.Before I realized what I was saying I replied “My life is vastly different and my lifestyle choices might make some who have known me before uncomfortable today.”

My friend pierced her lips, ” Pasha!”

But I know there is credible truth in what I said. The most oblivious outwardly changes has been the physical change. I lost almost 50 the first 8 months of making changes in my personal and marital status. The stress was removed from my face.

There are also internal changes I am navigating that no one can see. New truths about myself. Once upon a time I was one of two, part of a couple for a first lifetime 42 years.  Once upon a time my social life revolved around family dynamics, community and other couples.  “Once upon a time is where I used to belong.”

Today that’s part of my change. Becoming single has meant major changes in my lifestyle involving living alone, changes in my social status and how I interact socially. Being alone as a Single in social circles brought about my first self-conscious awareness of being a “single” -the first year after becoming a Single, those first moments of being aware that alone could feel lonely, I found myself get sucked into a pity party for one. More changes obviously needed.

Four years later I fiercely protect my alone time and realize that a person can be lonely in a room full of people. Or with an insignificant other. Embracing changes means making necessary choices. I began to foster within myself that being a Single is nothing less than being a whole me. Highlighting lifestyle choices of living single keeps me mindful of why I made the life changing decision in October 2011 and made it common knowledge in July 2012. I was no longer domestic partnership material. I no longer wanted to be the other half because I am whole on my own. And that is enough.

Despite the moments of awkward singularity this is the lifestyle I prefer to live today and I am more true to myself (and others) than I have ever lived-for the first time since before the age of nine years old. Not having to be accountable or responsible for anyone but me is worth the few lonely moments. I’ve discovered it’s a far more an empty sense of loneliness living in a lousy, non-fulfilling and angry relationship than it is living single.

Changes happened.

It’s been a long 4 plus years filled with needed changes, including this past year of 2016. I have grown, I have healed, I am living my life….my way. I’m even considering now possibly being open to having my heart rocked by someone.

My world? ….it’s already being rocked.

Letting the negatives wash away…. and keeping only the good that Rocks My Soul.








A New Blog To WordPress: Living This Musical Life by David Miller


Happy New Year WordPress Community!!

It’s with great pleasure that I have the privilege of introducing one of WP’s newest bloggers; David Miller, he will be bringing his insightful perspectives on a vast array of subjects on his “Living This Musical Life” blog. If you think by the title his blog is about his life as a musician, you are right. But it’s so much more. You see I have had the great honor of being privy to David’s blog before he hit the publish button. I didn’t have any doubts that I would find his writing  enlightening, enriching, and of course entertaining, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve known David as a musician, (lead guitar/vocals) a singer-songwriter, a music reviewer, and his frequent editorial style posts on social media, but he surprised me most recently with his creative fiction chops.  I am excited about several projects he has in the works and with David for the first time I have writing community locally.

Please meet David Miller and welcome his personal invite below to visit and share your thoughts at Living The Musical Life. (link below)

” For many years now I have enjoyed creative, non-musical writing. I have a few books/novels started, a stage musical in the works, and I have written for various music papers/magazines/websites. I often write just to write. Album reviews, opinion pieces, humor, I like to try it all. I have spent a few weeks gathering some of my favorite pieces and after some encouragement from a fellow writer and friend, created a site where I can post these works. The site is broken up in to categories and most of the posts are relatively short. Some are several years old. I will be posting new updates regularly and hope some of you take the time to check it out…..maybe check back now and then.

Feel free to give me feedback (preferably constructive) as I hope to improve as I go along and will keep an online diary of sorts about my progress. Thanks for always supporting my creative ventures. ”

Please stop by and visit David’s ‘Living The Musical Life here  and introduce yourself and your blog. You might even find yourself wanting to take him up on the welcome invite to leave some feedback, his writing is thought-provoking and inspires great discussions and dialogue. Enjoy.






Veteran’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Suicide-

Downtown Bend Oregon USA


Bend Oregon USA is not literally a village by Webster’s dictionary standards. We may not even be called a town anymore since our population explosion in the last decade. But a village we are. When we lost one of ours we wrapped our collective arms around his mother & his family. Because that’s what a village does.

The weekend of 28 November 2015 a mother and brother were traumatized and scarred forever. By no comparison, yet our village was also scarred. I’m sharing globally outside our village because this is NOT an exclusive issue for just Bend Oregon.  I’m sharing because I believe passionately that my country is failing our veteran’s of War. Still. I’m sharing in hopes of creating more awareness. Our Veteran’s need prompt and adequate treatments. Now!

*From the Bend Oregon’s Bulletin newspaper.

Veteran who killed himself during traffic stop suffered from PTSD; James Morris sought mental health services for more than 2 years

In the weeks leading up to his death, James Morris went to classes at the local community college. He played video games with his younger brother. He watched “Jeopardy” with his grandma. All the while, a gun Morris had stolen from his grandma’s house was stashed in the glove box of his 2005 Hyundai Elantra. The 27-year-old knew he wanted to kill himself, he just didn’t know when.

Read more –


Please feel welcome to share your thoughts and please share this to help inform and advocate.

One Love

paris n peace

artist ~ Jean Jullien

I am Paris…..


I like all of you who may read this are having to once again navigate a very painful time for our Universe.  Although by choice I don’t watch television I do not live in a cave. (though there are days)  The majority of media I receive current events from is print, via several platforms. I am a writer, I am an artist, the internet is a treasured tool.

This week I am pulling away.

I do not mean my head will be stuck in the sand, I am aware of the trials and tribulations humanity faces, I would even say I am educated on current events. So much so the last few days I have struggled, haven’t been able to even put a decent sentence together since 11.13.2015. In the scheme of things my Nano project lost all wind for the time being.

I’m recognizing my need to pull away from social media, regurgitated political rhetoric, and repeated videos and stories. I need to regroup. Again, like you who may be reading this my emotions have been all over the map.

I respect and can accept that we all have strong feelings and opinions, I do too. But it breaks my heart and scars my soul when I witness friends dissolving friendships over differences of feelings and opinions. It is certainly their choice. As it is mine to make myself scarce during this time.

I’m taking a time out.

We ALL are Paris.

We ALL are also the Wind of Change.

Let us be One Love”>


Truth Be Told- (Dedicated to Ken Nelson RIP)

Dedicated to the spirit of my much-loved friend and brother music man.

Ken, I wish I had gotten on the bus. Rest easy now.

Ken E. Nelson

{October 24,2015}

Truth be told.
I am a very rich woman.
One of the richest.
Rich in family and friendships with folks who illuminate my small world from the shining crazy diamonds that they are.
Tonight I opened a friend’s work in progress to read, but first I got caught up in reflecting back on two earlier evening conversations.
I am feeling enormously grateful for the twinkling of inspiration that is growing from those conversations. For the first time in a few months, truth be told.

On the cusp of a whole new month, and another National Novel Writing Month challenge (my fourth) I am mindful that it is my family and friends who are my treasure trove of unconditional loving support.

Take notice I remind myself , this is worthy of guarding fiercely. A friend’s sudden death recently sadly reminds me how precariously precious our time together is, we shouldn’t waste a moment of it unhappy or ungrateful.

Thank you to my two friend’s who shared time and stories with me tonight.
Thank you to anyone and everyone who’s out there inspiring and supporting each other.
Truth be told; we rather need one another.“>



Dreaded Voices of Judgments

Listening to the dreaded voice of my self chatter made deciding on a title for this piece even daunting and doubtful. Self chatter does that, creates doubt.

The title came last, clearly indicative of my inability to narrow in on exactly what thoughts I want voiced.
I have yet to reconcile with myself as to what all my recent swirling thoughts that turn into self chatter mean, including but not limited to, how I am feeling about my recent binging on the game of “Judgmental Finger-Pointing”


True Confession.

The past couple of months I have been experiencing a bizarre dichotomy of feelings
Feeling both shame and pride at the same time, revolving around the same self-discovery.
I am proud that it took me far less time (couple months) to realize what I was dong rather than the years it took me to understand how toxic Finger Pointing is.

The flip side of this dichotomy is feeling shame that I was sitting in judgment of others in the first place. In the second place, and the worst place, I began to feel like I was participating in some kind of spectator’s side-line sport.

I wish I could say I realized that right away, and that I admitted to it just as fast. But truth be told this just this isn’t so. With my new tendency of zero tolerance, and even less patience I’d made a sport for myself by jumping straight into making judgmental reactions.
I know better.
I know that given time and emotional space before reacting is a healthy intelligence, yet instead I’d regressed to old ways by spending my time and energy as a spectator who judged others.

It elevated me when I was low.
Without taking responsibility and ownership for my thinking (self-chatter) and my behavior it becomes yet just another game of finger-pointing. It’s too easy to let my perceptions to a situation or person be extolled or tainted by someone else, To blame someone else for ME allowing any weight to be given to my perceptions is yet another style of finger-pointing. Blame.
True enough that it’s not feasible to expect we’ll never be influenced by our community. (unless we live in a physical and emotional bubble) Yet also just as true is it’s our personal choice and responsibility to what influences we adopt.

Somehow along the way I lost sight of this
. When I choose to surround myself with anyone who can erode away any presence of my own voice it is I that is abandoning the voice that screams at my spirit: “giving power to judgements you have no first hand experience with is a form of spiritual suicide.”

A Spectator Participating Sport?
Engaging in the judging of our self and of others with constant and hypercriticisms as a normal routine has become an international sport of shooting people down. This “sport” has for many become an infectious source of entertainment. As a society we are even competitive when it comes to”Finger Pointing.”
I suggest that what we really are doing is deflecting the truth, Our own truth.

judging others1

That which we find time and energy worthy to judge and point the finger at is more of a reflection of our own truths. The things we choose to make judgments about others says something significantly and brutally true about ourselfs….if we can take accountability for it.
Not everyone can, it’s not easy, and its frightening being that vulnerable with our self, let alone others. I thought a long time before deciding to admit to this out loud.

But It’s sabotaging of others and of ourselves when we give merit to our judgmental self-chatter.
Many people who live in misery and despair will mask their own perception of truth by deflecting away from what isn’t easy for them to own up to. Deflecting away from what is creating chaos impacting their lives. Somehow it makes us feel better to put others down by judging them and giving ourselves a sense of elevation, albeit certainly not any genuine kind of elevation.

Listening to our own voice is never as important as it is when being faced with someone who is determined to continue making judgments.
It even might make us feel better. Temporally better. But at whose expense?
The quote, although an ancient cliché by todays standards; “that misery loves company” never has seemed more true and made more sense than it does today

judging others3

We have become beings who are unwilling (unable?) to be honest and vulnerable with oneself by admitting that what we’re privately complaining about is in truth judgments (faults) that we seen in ourselves.
More often than not they are reflective of our own feelings about ourselves, and we’re looking for someone to keep us company in our darkness.
I’ve become hyper-aware of this in myself recently, so aware of it that I could no longer ignore the circumstances I was allowing myself to engage in. Judging in others while personally disowning the very same ugly things I was seeing in myself. It was far more comfortable and safe when facing things I’m not proud of to point them out in others instead.
Maybe its human nature to default to deflection.
Maybe most of us are not even aware of what we are doing because it’s been so ingrained in who we are. Didn’t our families for generation after generation sit around sharing meals and making judgments of one another and the community? To what end was the agenda?
This isn’t to say, but we haven’t begun to evolve.
Making changes in our behaviors that better serve us as a species isn’t inclusive of participating in the sport of “Finger Pointing.” Whatever our justifications may be.
Once the awareness is there and if I should continue forward with pointing the finger I am now on notice. Notice that I am devaluing someone by my judgments. By doing so I am also being fake and hypocritical. There’s nothing genuine in the judgment of others.
I even like less than the judgmental me the disingenuous fake me, or even whatever ugly it is I am struggling to embrace. I like even less the me who deflects away by making judgments of others.

After catching myself back sliding I am trying to remember “Stay in the light!

I sit amazed as I write this in hindsight just how quickly and easily I spiraled into the role of judge and jury, despite having the consciousness of what judgment of others really means about ME.
I can’t escape that I was in a hypercritical place where for some reason I was okay with “trying” to elevate how I felt about myself at the expense of judging another. Nor can I explain it with any rational reason.
I understand that roads are for taking us on journeys, not destinations. I readily admit that I am a perpetual student of life with still so much to learn and highways to travel.
I get that I am not always going to know the reasons, the whys and the how’s that make up the turns on life’s highways. I will even say that I accept that some events and people come into my life only to bring me lessons I’d not yet mastered. This was one of those lessons I hadn’t mastered, even when I thought I had.

I am trying.



Questions Without Answers


Dear Reality Check,

Trying to be mindful and remember that when we question ourself it is because something needs to be set straight in our mind, heart & our soul.  Yet 10 months and I am still questioning and wishing I knew why.

Uncertainty can be ambiguous

Certainty can be clarification

But what about today when there is no answer?

What about now?

I just wish I knew.

i can't tell if it's“>http://

Music is….

Music is…..


Music is possibly a part of the air I breath. (without it my spirit withers and the rhythm of my heart stalls.)

 It is without question such an integral part of who I am that if and when it’s not present in my life a significant part of who I am is missing. My relationship with music is as telling as is my relationship with my faith. As much as I know there is a force far more powerful than anything I am or that I understand, I also know the sonic impact music has on my spirit and my human physiologically. 

I now know today after having experienced a time when music was missing from my life that without music I had no idea where to let my feelings rest, I had no backdrop for deciphering them.

 (Allow me to say that for me music is not just a therapy, but without its cathartic benefits I would be a certain broken hot mess.

Today I am more aware of this. Today I own it.

Today I am giving music the respect of an honorable place in my life that it always should have held. It is not a 9 statement when I write there was a time when I was so numb music was the only thing that could break through and touch something meaningful inside me. There were times when certain songs were the only things that could cut me enough to make me bleed… feelings.

There came a times when music was my lifeline, music is was what kept me from becoming the island alone that I often felt myself drifting towards. 

And yet….

Once upon a time I gave up nearly all music in my life for someone else’s comfort, never understanding at the time I was putting my own emotional and spiritual well-being at jeopardy. Today I take two significant things away in hindsight; my relationship with music, and my relationship with people. 

It became painfully obvious to me to have to admit that my sans music period was ME willingly letting go of something that touches me more deeply than anything else. That something though I apparently didn’t value enough. Not then. 

It was not stolen away from me, I gave it up. I gave it up little by little, over time, trying to minimize someone else’s discomfort. Never understanding that it wasn’t even ever abouinsteadt simple discomfort, but instead it was about an ever growing resentment. A resentment over music being the only thing that touches particular feelings inside me.

Quietly and covertly that became seen and felt as a threat. 


As a young child who loved music I had the good fortune of belonging to a family who made music part of daily life. In some way, some form, music was the soundtrack to growing up in my family. Singing with my family and friends was my first stage and my first audience. I loved the Saturday Night Jams, which seemed like every weekend. I was young, maybe four, so how trustworthy my memory is for accuracy will be made up for in sentimentality. As a child I never knew anything different than understanding that making music was important as the listening to music is. I may not have understood beyond the surface why this is, but as much as I trusted a measurement of time I also trusted this to be true. 


Figuratively and literally, (my play on words are intentional) when music and it’s time signatures are missing from my life I lose place of myself. I catch myself smiling at the associations that make so much sense today. I didn’t know for the longest time that for me there is a deeper value to every note played out in my life. 

First years of knowing the score, then long empty years when I began to shift the importance of everything that I had learned. I’d stopped honoring the significance of lyrics and instrumentation and I began to lose a major part of myself. I had let music in any format cease to be part of my life. I had adopted an attitude that if I couldn’t participate in music like I always had, and how I wanted to, I just wouldn’t.

“That’ll show them!” 

 Little by little the major discord from participating in music came to be my truth and my resolution was that it wasn’t worth the waves it caused.

Except….music is powerfully ever reaching.

 In the final analysis, there was NOT a single thing that this resolved. Not for anyone. 


Amazingly though music’s powerful reach touched me again and again. It kept touching the vulnerable parts of who I am, Ironically for me it was a beautiful Cello solo suite with a deep mourning being played across the strings that suddenly woke me up very early one morning. I recognized my personal association with the empty shadows that the cello was filling. Piano chords picked up gently the melody the cello was weeping softly, and my soul finally understood. 

I had been foolish. 


Life and it’s uncertainties that surround us can be a tough nut to crack. Feelings are often the toughest nuts with some of the hardest shells to crack. Finding the right tools for the right job my dad always said was a sign of a true craftsman. Consequently I do believe in finding the right tools to navigate life and to crack the nuts it drops at my feet, 

Music is…….  a tool, a therapy, a study, a science, a philosophy, and a practice. I dare say even it’s a prescription.  

 I trust losing myself in the rhythm and cadence of music will dim the significance of anything else and let me find my way to be honestly in touch with my emotions.

Experience has taught me that music is how I first let go, give myself emotional space, and then find a way to come back to navigate life’s stresses and problems.

Yes, admittedly letting go maybe only for a few moments, but those few minutes of music are a form of therapy that I can repeat as often as needed. Those few minutes, or even hours, escaping into music gives me the emotional space between action and reaction that serves me well. 

But it’s only been in recent years have I recognized that it was music that was the missing element, it was music that was the void I couldn’t fill any other way.

Music had been an important part of my life. I should have known it made perfect sense as I grew older that music should remain a significant part of my life. Music is a significant form of communication for me and letting go of music was in effect me no longer communicating. 


As a child at first singing was something that I did because I was heard. I knew it pleased my parents and won the approval of the family & friends.

As I grew older I recognized too that I loved to sing because it made me feel comfortable in my skin, and more at peace. (though at that age those were not words I had to express my meaning.)

 As time passed and I went into the tumultuous teens songs that spoke to me became my way of dealing with life’s joy and pain, with life’s problems and emotions. 

 Music, whether listening to or singing was a therapy for me.

  I love the way I feel when I am listening to, or singing a favorite tune. I love the way my imagination moves easily from one visual to another. I depend especially on the way the tempos fill my mind and move through my spirit until I am only feeling only the music.

It’s a healthy kind of time-out that I allow myself to simply feel whatever emotion the music is expressing in a visceral, but objective way. In that objective way I can let go of my own emotions, making it possible to feel only the expression of the music, it leaves an emotional space that’s both liberating and cathartic. 

Once I let myself fall into the rhythm of music I quickly feel a closer connection with the independent me, my strong self, the mysterious and even childish me. 

Music gives way to my imagination and how I wish to see myself, the way I want to be. 

Music is what gives me the freedom to be whoever I want to be, to say whatever I want to say, and to go wherever I want to go. 

Music is how I deal with what’s so painful on it’s too raw it’s difficult to cope. 

Music softens the worries of my everyday life. 

Music gives me the emotional space to fosters a deep analysis of the day. Good or bad. 

Music tugs at my heartstrings when I miss someone. Music fills my heart.

Music fills voids and heals wounds


Prescription 101- 

Tune out the world. Turn on the music. Turn it up loud, 

Lose myself in the music until my mood becomes adjusted accordingly. 

Repeat as necessary. 


Music will always remain my personal therapy. At this point in my life I am adamant that I will never relinquish it again. Should I feel it being threatened in any fashion an alarm will signal  (possibly a Cow Bell) and this time I will listen. This time I won’t let music go. Kowing this time that for me to expect to remain emotionally and spiritually whole music is part of the air I am required to breathe. 



Music is……. 

Image result for music is my therapy

King King is my current #1 form of escape ~“>

Getting Out Alive When You Absorb ~

empath body

Getting out alive when it comes to the impact that others can have when you’re an ‘absorbent person’ isn’t easy.

Learning to live among the chaos that an Empath is surrounded by takes practice. It’s not a done deal  even if your heart is kept isolated from trying again, I know, I tried. Going through the emotions of recently getting caught in someone’s chaos I have had new questions, yet also clarity. If I let others into my world and give in to the power of someone else’s pain/mood impacting mine how can I hold on to all the serenity I have created for myself?

Why the hell do I feel the need to let myself absorb like this? Nothing should shatter my resolve to live with a simple balance. When I allow my feet to walk in someone else’s discontent my balance is tipped and rocked tenaciously.


“The world according to an”Empath”.

An Empath is born, not created. Becoming an Empath is a genetic trait, inherent in our DNA, and often is passed from generation to generation. Empaths are not ‘A Something’ we can learn how to be;  either you are or you are not. I’d like to also address the misconception that an Empaqth’s is part of some pagan belief. Some claim practicing Empathst “is the work of the devil” which I find absurd.

So that we have a mutual conception of how I am referencing Empath as a noun I include my perspective based from my own experiences and the broad belief:

According to the dictionary ’empathy’ is described as one’s ability to recognize, perceive, and feel directly from the emotions of another. The word itself, is derived from the Greek words “empatheia” meaning “passion” + “pathein” meaning to experience or suffer. Most of the world’s population has empathy, to a degree, it’s part of the human make up. Most of us  “understand” how another feels.

But a practicing Empath is quite another matter.

For the natural born Empath understands holistically that we cannot help but feel the feelings and emotions of others as if they were our own. It goes far deeper than just relating to the feelings of others. As an Empath we channel the absorption in through the realms of physical, physiological, psychologically and instinctual channels from others. It’s a visceral flood of those emotions.

Empathy… it’s not (as is commonly believed) the same as sympathy. Sympathy is how we react to someone who is suffering. We feel sorry they are suffering, which is our own emotional state. An Empath instead is someone who finds themselves standing in the others shoes, we feel their joy, and their pain as if the emotional spike was our own. My experience; literally, Learning to decipher has been a lifelong study. What makes it difficult to navigate is the empathetic impacts that we’re not able understand the whys..

For an Empath absorbing isn’t an option, no switch to turn off/on.

However.creating boundaries is.

I am learning finally that there are effective ways to practice while being directly involved and interacting with the world as an Empath without getting struck down. There is the other side of the emotional coin -trying to completely disconnect/disengage from the flow of empathetic energies by isolating. Isolating was worse; the consequences of which had me numbed down in every aspects of my life. Emotional Isolation is emotional suicide. .

But….I learned rapidly that this was not going to be something I was willing to give up. It would have meant isolating my heart and soul and as a chronic empathetic person I don’t think that is a viable choice. Yet 24 years later with this awareness there was still no clearer understanding of how not to absorb.

Baffling for me was having done the work to get to a place of serenity while still being absorbent fooled me. That I was in a mindset that I was in full control of my feelings was misleading. Neither could have been any farther from my truth. I am surprised by what it is that can knock me off balance. I realized that simply trying to deny what my heart and soul was screaming wasn’t working either.

Unspoken feelings are no less feelings, nor no less true.

Around our physical body there is a layer of energy, it’s electric, it’s often referred to as an “aura”  If this a new way of thinking for you perhaps think of it as your Aura being devoted to your interface with your environment. Our aura’s shape and condition what is indicative of our relationship to our world.

People who are Empaths are often thought of as having a “thin skin” in relation to absorbing their world. Creating boundaries, or a “thick skin”  to help insulate our spirits is crucial, yet holes will still develop, no matter how vigilant we are. Empaths are too easily influenced by the environment.

I am an Empath with many years to my credit banked, and finding ways to navigate the onslaught of emotions that flood my spirit has been one of the longest studies of my life. My spirit and heart had to discover the need to create a visual of an ‘energy shield ‘around my physical body as my saving grace. I use imagery to see it as a radiant essence of the complete me. I see different emotions as different colors..

Once boundaries are drawn, “energy armor in place” I again use imagery to see the spark in the center of my being, that is the pure essence of my spirit. With my attention focused on that spark I become keenly aware of the sensations and emotions that continuously flood my spirit. My thoughts bring me far more clarity.

I first tried this practice when alone, after a time I began to practice it around others. Soon my hope is that I will be adept at switching my awareness from my environment to myself, and back again, all the while noticing the difference between the two.

As a Practicing Empath I have found what works for me, keeping that fine balance requires some proactive thinking and doing, my sharing follows:

  • Don’t Take On Responsibilities That Aren’t Yours-

I need to be reminded. As an Empath I learned that I was used to care taking, even to the point at one time that I felt as though I was supposed to do it.  I am not. You are not.

My agenda became finding a balance between being as compassionate as possible without going beyond the limits of what I need to do to maintain my health, serenity, and my sanity. That balance meant understanding that I am responsible up to that point, and not beyond it. As Empaths we are often seen outwardly as kind and caring, we are often misunderstood. We typically have the curse benefit of everyone thinking that we are almost saintly but it’s not a comfortable thing to get attached to always being the “nice guy”.

However, and it is a big however, it is not easy dealing with people’s negative emotions and reactions, but know that the chronic care taking of others will not in the end serve you, or even serve them for that matter. It doesn’t even help to protect them from their feelings, instead it will keep them from growing. People who have became accustomed to your care taking may get angry or sad at you, or with you, when you don’t do what they want you to do, or what they expect. It is important to remember that their feelings are not your feelings, and your well-being is not dependent on their well being. Stay mindful of your own reality.

A fellow Empath expressed my sentiments perfectly- *Nick said;  “As empaths, we can’t cut ourselves off of ALL emotion from others. We need it. I had my empathy go away temporarily a few months back and it HURT. It was like talking to a brick wall whenever I would talk to someone.”

As I continue to move forward in my life I close my eyes. I imagine myself being covered by a pink bubble of light, because pink is the color of love.  With my mind I make the bubble flexible enough so that it won’t be shattered when other emotions hit me. I imagine it thick enough to be resilient, making it solid first, then letting it develop very small holes in it so that I’m able to absorb what I do choose.

Taking a deep cleansing breath,  I realize immediately that I’m going to be Okay.



Moving On Without Regret


Moving On ~ Without Regrets

By Ttaylor  2015

Without regrets.

When you’re living in the midst of destruction.

When you’re living broken.

When you’re an island.


Ongoing questions – the ambiguity.

Roller coaster of decisions – the ambivalence.

Decided convictions – the animosity.


Is there a more perfect time to build resentments and regrets?

When do I acknowledge the cracks in the foundation will just continue to break?

With fewer resentments…can there be less lasting regrets?

Perhaps disengaging when blame is such a part of the game and is so alluring could make it a possibility to split with less collateral damage.

“Be Switzerland”  suggests my dear friend Rebecca. I loved those two words.

Time’s passed.

I moved on…..

Approaching the milestone of the three-year mark (*2017 will be four years) of when I first began to close the book on the longest chapter of my life to date, the life and the demise of  my marriage – with a person that had been my life since the age of 16.

What a long strange trip it’s been.

I understood that the emotions and reactions would be happening while in a high state of ambiguity. I had tried to remain mindful that feelings were/are temporary, that given time feelings would change.

For the first time in my life I was being brutally honest and true to myself. ( a newly running theme in my life)
Yet I had failed to acknowledge that getting through one of the most life-changing events with little to no regret was unrealistic – especially when stress was insurmountable and emotions were running rampant….swinging from high… to low.

A roller coaster of emotions that would leave me day in, day out, vacillating. Definitely not a state of mind to be in when animosity is your best friend. Admittedly I was constantly fighting the temptation to communicate with vengeance to the ‘insignificant other’; “Well Mister, you done lost your good thing now….that way that I use to love you?….it’s how I’m going to hate you now.”
Although the words might have felt momentarily good when initially expressed, they’d do little to support getting out alive. Getting out with little to no regret.

Animosity was the hangover from all the destruction. The white knuckling experienced while deciding to separate is unlike anything else it can be compared to. For me, 42 years, it was a lifetime. Being confused, overwhelmed by untruths, facing truths, feeling fears, pain, grief… and that knowing that desperate feeling of failure. Regret soon knocked on the door.

Reminding myself again and again that it was all just feelings, I tried to stay mindful that these feelings too would pass in time. Slowly…. they began to ease up from my shoulders. Heavy feelings easing up,  a weight I recognized. this time. I say this time because it was the very same weight that I had ignored before; ignored it by remaining in denial that something had long gone wrong. There were ambivalent days and nights; days that turned into the long nights spent vacillating between “leave” and “stay”.
Then finally…..Something just clicked. Finally, I had gotten beyond the sick reasoning with myself. No longer was I telling myself that even though I was miserable I was at least financially comfortable and secure. Trying to convince myself that should be enough. My crossroad.

Then…. Finally….A long time it took to get me to finally, but finally was here. Or I was there. I admitted to myself finally that I could no longer endure what had become an unhappy, unsettling personal relationship disguised by a legal matrimonial contract. I had been lying to myself…for a very long time. I had been lying to my spouse even longer. I don’t even know when I began lying to family and friends, I was ashamed to admit that my life wasn’t what it seemed to be to the outside world, I was convinced by what my emotional and my spiritual intelligence knew to be true, but I was diametrically confused by what my heart didn’t trust. Telling myself lies, reasoning, justifying, qualifying… I should stay for financial sake, for the kids sake, even for his sake. Yet,  how I could forsake myself?

Bargaining with myself… because… well….because I was frightened. I didn’t know any of the answers to even one of my questions. I doubted myself. I was afraid to stay. I was afraid to leap, I knew not where I’d land.
How I wish I’d known then was what hindsight has brought me today. Then… with my self-esteem shattered, and looking for validation…I just wish I had known.

It wasn’t easy; the deciding to split up.  The “moving on” wasn’t any easier,

But I couldn’t deny any longer that if I didn’t move on I was soon to become just another miserable casualty with a broken down soul. When you live day in, day out, with someone who to save their life cannot have a positive outlook on a cup of sugar it can become highly contagious. Knowing and applying that I had no control over my spouse’s behavior were entirely two different things though. When you have lived with broken for so long that some things become a norm it becomes difficult to apply the knowledge. I wish I had know sooner that they should not be anyone’s norm.

The behaviors and actions I dealt with didn’t involve serious offenses, no threatening harm, no cleaning out savings account, no racking up debt on a joint credit card. (If yours does absolutely take proactive action.)

My experiences were annoyances that didn’t endanger me, but they sure angered me. Not being mindful that my spouse was trying to make my life as miserable as he possibly could would only cost me, resulting in a long, drawn-out, expensive, soul-sucking divorce—If I let it. Instead, whatever the issue or event I vigilantly tried to see it as simply as I could. Leaving emotion out of the equation. Relying on logic as much as I could muster from my NOT logical based nature. It became crucial that although I couldn’t control his behavior that I could choose how I reacted. My choice to take the high road despite how someone else acts is entirely up to me.

Like most things during the split, the actions of splitting is easier said than done. Even before physically leaving the marital home I had made a definitive decision that I had to move on with my life, separately. Emotionally I had already started to move on even before I “split.” I had even started to heal. I began connecting with others who had walked a similar path. Reading that last sentence still fills me with an immense sense of relief that others were navigating moving on as well. Almost everyone who shared did so with similar thoughts and feelings regarding splitting from a significant relationship. I can’t say how many times I heard ” If only I had known sooner what I know now.”

Though I would prefer not to, I must admit that there were times of despair, even some self-pity. The “my life was not supposed to be like this”  and  the ” I feel ashamed of failing.” were all part of it..…..I wish I’d known then that this is all part of the grieving process, that learning how to balance it all is also part of the process. Accepting that my circumstances changed, learning how to navigate those changes, learning how to heal, and how to move on; they were all hard lessons for me. I did however learn rather quickly that I am not a prisoner to those circumstances, and that I have the power to come out of this life chapter stronger, and whole.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing for looking forward.

In hindsight I see there were a few things that should have stood right out from the beginning, but for me I had to almost be hit over the head. Some of those things are what I wish I had known sooner: First and foremost I would make a conscientious choice not to perpetuate the false “I am Fine” statements to myself, and to those closest who honestly cared to ask how I was doing. I wish I’d seen immediately the need for and the validity in a support system with good friends who are able listen while being non-judgmental. They are priceless.
Those two notable objectives I wish I had known to attain immediately.

1.To create a safe place to vent.

  1. Help find constructive and healthy ways to navigate through a separation and/or divorce.

To recognize the need to resist any temptation for making decisions based on emotion instead basing decisions on logic would better serve for making constructive choices. Having an understanding that separation/divorce is a business transaction-splitting years of material things and income would be of great help. The logical side of me understands this, yet my emotional side that feels; could easily inspire months of right-fighting over things that have nothing to do with business at all. Or moving on. During the legal process I would force myself to choose my battles wisely, choosing to serve my well-being wasn’t something I had much experience with.

To say that once the decision was made that I just simply moved on would not be accurate. Though it was my choice to end the relationship there were days I felt like I was emotionally getting sprayed and tossed about by an industrial fire hose. I felt the emotional beat down. The number of “to-do’s” – “should-do’s” – “have-to’s” regarding emotions, finances, legal issues, and the logistics of living came with varying urgency, and with varying importance. There were days and nights I was absolutely overwhelmed and felt paralyzed by my emotions and fears. I now understand splitting-up is a process, and as with any process there are things that need to be dealt with as they happen. Things that need to be addressed immediately: income, lodging, safety. Things to be addressed later: legal issues, finding an emotional support system. And things that would be addressed long-term: a legal separation agreement and divorce.

With the benefit of hindsight I would try to remain mindful that a divorce is like a marathon and it requires patience and persistence. I’d  recognize that there is some brilliance in accepting that not everything has to be done right now. That one thought alone might have saved me some stress.

Three years… and I am still healing, *2017 update-I feel healed. I feel I am where I choose to be.

I am grateful that I had the foresight to not attach myself to anyone in those three (*Four) years, to know to not fill in what was different, simply because I had confused being alone as a void. I appreciate today that my foresight included knowing that to attach myself to anything, or to anyone might have distracted me from any real chance to heal, and to become whole.

I recognized early on that I needed to learn when to fight for the things that are rightfully mine, but I also learned how important it is to know when to let other things go. Yet I still had to learn that nobody wins in a divorce. After all was said and done I couldn’t reconcile with finding myself robbed of years of a new life just because of right-fighting in court. It made no sense to spend more dollars on legal fees that could instead be better put to use in post-divorce lives.

Finally, I could see that I had a choice to look at this split as a trauma from which I would not get over. I could choose to be guided by the anger and fears. Or I could move on without regret. After some difficult consequences I could see the common sense instead in choosing the path of discovery of self-worth. I would ask for help when needed. I would choose to educate myself, to find whatever the support was needed for any given circumstance. Acknowledging that admitting to a need for help is an awe-inspiring strength. I began to understand that I had the power to get through it all. I understood that I was not alone in these struggles, never had been. That whatever I might need was possible. Always was.

I had come this far; I owed it to myself to NOT allow any of what I felt in these moments as discomfort to make me bitter, nor will I allow it to drive me into isolating and insulating my heart.

I’ve made those choices too.

I’ve moved on.




*edited for update ttaylor2016

Reminder ~ Another Time

Spring of 2013 I wrote an open letter to someone very important in my life, it was an open letter because at the time it was the only way I could communicate. The person that I am addressing sent me a copy of the same letter today, over two years later. In respect for privacy I will refer to this person as my friend.

It’s important to me that I share again and add yet another update. Thank you for indulging a more personal share from me than is my typical style.  ~ BB
*Please see the included 2015 update in the footnote.

March 17, 2013

My Dear Loved One;

Please forgive this open letter, I did not know how else to reach you, and although this is a selfish act on my part I do hope and pray that just my few words and the song I include speaks to your spirit that I know is still searching.

My hope is you will understand that this which you are going through will all be worth the pain and the struggle someday when you look back. I pray that you will come out the other side someone you like enough to know you deserve to be loved in a healthy, loving, and kind way. Though I am unable to be there for you for what ever reasons, your choice, or mine, please know that I am trusting there is a great chance you will read this.

As the song will tell you;  it’s Time To Go Inward.”>

I am not denying the incredible hard work on your part it is going to take. If you do, although a journey, I think you are going to like the you that you are going to find there. I hope & pray you have the nerve.

Our healing, yours and mine will begin once you are well.

This song I believe will speak to your heart in ways I cannot because of who I am to you. That is why we process and assimilate through music, is it not? My tone may sound reserved, it is. I do not trust my emotion here and it certainly is not the platform for it anyway.

For tonight, for today, let it be enough that you know I love you, that this will never change. It could not. Know that you are in my prayers and my positive thoughts continuously. You know how much faith I have in this belief.

I have just as much faith in you.

(Added March 29, 2013)

To you My Loved One: you reaching out tells me the one thing I needed to know now from you, That you are in a better place today than you have been in a very long time. Today is all that matters for now. It may be all that ever matters. You have always my unconditional love always, sometimes that means having to love from a far. But it never diminishes the love held. Thank you for doing what you are doing. This too shall pass, and things will once again shine more brilliantly for you than you ever thought would happen again. Trust me.. but more importantly trust something more powerful than either of us.
I love you. I am so proud of you.
~ Your personal cheering squad

*Footnote July 1, 2015

These past two years my friend has been working extremely hard at excavating her life and soul with tremendous passion and commitment to honesty.
She has worked with great finesse and a beautiful grace to make real amends to those who matter in her life, and to gain back the respect and trust in her life she had at one point given up on.
It makes me proud when I see her walking the talk, working back in her chosen and trained profession, something that she always saw as a passionate challenge, she is once again embracing that.

This friend, she sent me this reminder of where both she and I were two years ago as a significant point to where we both are today.
That is one point I wanted to make.
The other two points for this updated repost are, One to say how incredibly proud of my friend I am- she is my hero….
….and two; to share with anyone who might be struggling with anything that they may think is or could be their “undoing.”
My friend is a shining example of what getting brutally honest with yourself, with those who matter, and doing the massive self evaluating of that “undoing” can help to change things. Know that the “undoing” need not be your forever.



Took A Leap



Feeling quite pleased with myself I am.

Yep, I’m writing a very self-serving post tonight to brag a bit that I accomplished a 3rd NANOWRIMO challenge with NANO April 2015 Camp.

With a committed word count goal of 30,000 in the month of April to write a short story, it happened I am delighted to say. Especially since I’d had no intention of participating, let alone did I have even a project in mind…. until what was almost the 13th hour.

I took a leap into a month of Creative Lunacy.

Although I have written most of all my life, writing a short romance story was something I’d never done as an adult. There were many as a teenager I remember, but once married and raising a family my writing took a complete different direction.

This NANO experience was completely different from jump street. My other two had a game plan at least a few weeks before beginning since the prior two projects had been brewing for some time in my mind. I also am doing a weekly radio show that I wasn’t committed to the other two times. I’d decided right away that I would publish the short story as web-fiction, building its own web site and post in a series of chapters.

This time…. was so different.

Almost out of the blue this story came to me.

I listen to a lot of music, and I write by having music in the background. I have had music inspire me for many…many years, but I had never had music inspire a story.  It just so happens that is what happened with Mesmerized. I heard an original track of music from a friend, an instrumental. I was inspired by a question asked,  What visuals did the music create? The first two paragraphs of the story were born within 5 minutes in answer. I then a few days later decided to run with those two paragraphs and a premise.

quote_image_maybe some women

It’s completely fiction although based on a belief that I think many women can personally associate with. It was a fun story to write, to flesh out. I had the greatest time being the director of my character’s lives. It’s one of the wonderful joys I find in writing fiction, and as I get older there is even more delight in being able to live vicariously through the characters and events I design.

Through fiction a writer can freely say out loud what they might not feel comfortable saying openly.

Always thankful for the alter ego of my stories. I learn a lot about life through writing, and I learn a lot about myself. The past month was no different. Some of those lessons came to the writer within, some came to the woman within.

Bravery in words is a wondrous magical thing.



Dear Words


Dear Words,

Hello my Lover. You have always been the one for me.

You remain the one I can bare my soul too.  Without you my spirit would be a hollow shell of who I am.

Words, you have a way about you that I take great solace in.

Beautiful Words, with you I find the answers to the questions that keep me on a quest as I wander through this life.  My love affair with you has never left me feeling betrayed or abandoned. You are there when the sun rises, and when the sun sets.

Dear Words, together we have seen pain, we have seen peace. With you I can shed my armor and scream out loud, with you I find meaning in what otherwise leaves me baffled.  You give me the illusion of control when I write, giving me a place to rest my vivid and often wicked imagination.

Dear Words, we make a great team, we have a unique love story that is ours for eternity. Writing can feel like an isolating, individual act—yet with you, my computer or pad of paper it really is a social way for me to respond to people and the world around me.

Dear Words, when I connect with you I do so because I want or need to create a platform to receive my thoughts and ideas. A place where I can reflect and archive.

Dear Words, you surely know me well enough by now to know that this process of putting ideas into words and then arranging them so someone else might see, create, and explore new connections to life has become not only my creative outlet, but it’s become my way of life. You have become my catharsis.

Dear Words, I write because it reveals my personal choice’s and habit’s of my mind, my ability to connect and mold ideas.

Dear Words, you, me,  I write because I cannot.



copyright_editttaylor 2015




13th Hour Commitment & Fear


Committing to what I choose to call the Creative Lunacy” of NANOWRMO I decided to pack up and join Camp this year, last-minute. I had no intentions to do so this Spring……….. until about 24 hours ago now.

Funny in an odd kind of way where inspiration and motivation can come from, funny also in a very cool kind of way. I have a head start as I have been outlining and character building since hearing a music composition by a friend about 2 weeks ago.  A visual presented itself, inspired by the instrumental, a few paragraphs later a romance story was born. At the 13th hour I decided to commit to Camp NANOWRIMO.  And then I gulped.

30,000 words in 30 days.

It started out from a brief innocent question which I’m paraphrasing – ” have a listen to this song and see what visuals it might create?” Those who know me know that – one – I write to music,  two – that I love a good writing challenge. A fast free writing paragraph literally flowed out my fingers into a new draft. The working title is “Mesmerized” and takes place in a dense forest in the Pacific Northwest.

Today as I took the day to prep myself physically and mentally I had the gift of being involved in a discussion about fears that brought home to me that I know this feeling, fear. I have felt it before, and I know it will pass too. It reminded me of a post I wrote back in August called “Redefining Fear”

It seems apropos tonight as I prepare for Camp. And there’s another serendipitous connection made that I love.

My wish is that whatever may be causing someone fear in their life that they might find a way to redefine it.

If you’re going to be at Camp this year I wish EACH of my sister and brother campers  a happy month of creative lunacy!

Write on Campers. ~

copyright_editttaylor 2015

Reflections of a Golden Year

self reflection

In hindsight.

I should be sleeping, it’s after 3 am on the 8th morning of this brand new year, maybe it’s the hour and lack of sleep that is inspiring these random thoughts, I keep thinking about 2014, reflections of this past year.
The last month of 2014 I spent listening to and cleaning up a year’s worth of music I had collected during the year. It might sound like work but that is not how i see it. Nothing makes me feel my memories more intensely than songs I associate the memories with. I think you know what I mean. Certain songs can take me back to being 13, 16, 21…..and to 2014.

So much navigating life and the rollercoaster of emotions I processed through this music. Listening to some Beth Hart is always a catalyst for me, and as I went about musing over 2014 in hindsight a thought crossed my consciousness;  I’ve no clue where it came from, or the connection if any to my music menu tonight, but it interested me. Like many cultures I grew up with the folklore that said the year you turn the age that is the same as your birthdate is your “Golden Birthday. Some call it the “Champagne Birthday”  So me? I was born on the 14th, hence my 14th birthday was my Golden Birthday.

Following that folklore in my random thoughts it occurred to me that since it had been 2014 and that I was born on the 14th day 2014 was to be my Golden Birth Year!

Looking back to January 4th 2012- The date I began my life all over again…….

………Two years ago I opened the door to a tiny new sanctuary where there was only a hint to the many significant changes that would soon create what I have chosen to refer to as my “Second Season.” During these past two years I grew, mentally, spiritually, and physically stronger.

By 2014’s end I felt whole again.


I thought a lot about the year 2014,and that my birth date is the 14th, I thought about every person, every event, every lesson, each that 2014 brought to my life,

And the changes, changes that don’t resemble anything I knew my life to be prior.
Right up to the end of 2014 I had the benefit of even more change.

self reflection

2014 brought to me the lesson of what being alone single means in all it’s singularity. I found after first fearing the worst- the holiday’s alone- means that being alone has nothing to do with feeling alone. I have to admit that with all my bravado of declaring that I no longer will attend holiday functions out of a sense of obligation or old traditions that I soon was feeling fear. Fear as those dates got nearer that I’d find myself lonesome, AND miserable.

I’d not ever been alone on Christmas Eve in my life.

There were times in my life I craved being alone, snippets of alone time as any sibling and/or parent knows is a rare commodity. Rarely do I remember alone time that I was mindful of at the moment though, or even what it felt like to be alone.
I do remember being alone had nothing to do with me ever feeling lonely. I never connected being alone in the context of loneliness.
Today that context is often referred to by others because I live alone, I am predominately a solitary person. I find myself feeling compelled to negate the assumption made that because I live alone means I’m also lonesome. (Yes there are rare times) I’m fueled with rationalization that I want to explain.
But I don’t.

Living alone for someone who’s neither an introvert, nor an extrovert; but both, comes with mixed feelings AND mixed messages.
I’m fascinated by how many of us are navigating life as a single, and intrigued by the “tricks of the trade”of living life singularly.

I think embracing living a single life comes easier if a person has prior acceptance that being alone is not only just okay, but also emotionally intelligent. Time alone that doesn’t come with the sense of need to fill all the empty-space up, to not fill the silence in, this is a precious commodity of time that I find especially valuable for checking in with myself. To do a self-inventory of my life and who I am today.

who you are

One of the most precious lesson’s I’ve discovered during 2014 has been how vital my serenity is to my life. Literally. I realize immediately today when that serenity is being threatened to be jeopardized. I don’t question when my radar goes off alerting me to chaos that is approaching the fine balance I try to maintain. There was a time in my life when I didn’t trust that radar because there was so much outside interference, too much static.

2014 was the year I began to recognize how important to me living single is to my serenity. I’m not sure it will remain to be true for the future, what I do know is my expectations of what is needed for me to maintain the peaceful authenticity that makes life worth greeting each sunrise.

I’m not ready to give that up.



In Concert: Peter Yarrow & Chris Yarrow

Friday night in a small venue, in a small town in the middle of Oregon, a performer of all time played in our tiny historical Tower Theater,  Bend Oregon What a delight! 

(Repost from 2012)


This is my review tucked inside a personal memoir, of a very special night.

For anyone that dare think that because this performance was lacking two of the all-time popular and famous folk music trio known as Peter Paul & Mary, please think again. This man of age 70 years young was on fire last night. Yet as Peter Yarrow and his son Chris Yarrow began the evening we had no idea what we were in store for.

I knew the trio’s music, I can sing every lyric, but in deciding to buy the tickets for last night’s performance over 3.5 months ago this was not my mindset in wanting to see this legendary folk hero, performer, and songwriter. I just wanted to be in the same room with this man who was part of what had been such a huge movement during my informative teen years. The trio Peter Paul & Mary helped foster in me the rebel for cause, my politics began about the same time I first heard their sociopolitical commentary in their songs.

I was a young long-haired lady who naively believed that if we put our voices together in harmony we could accomplish so much. I believed we could change this world we lived in and we could right the wrongs, that we could bring justice to the unjust, and that we could make our government listen to us. That we could stop wars. This was the late 1960’s and it seems I had been listening to Peter Paul and Mary my whole life. (I still have their vinyls that I deemed worthy of spending my meager earnings on, even at just eleven years old.)

In hindsight, it feels only natural that as their voices became a strength for our country I would become a fast and passionate protester of the causes and the wars they took on, and to become a follower of their music. They were my introduction to many other folk musicians. I’d sit for hours listening to their songs over and over, practicing to harmonize just like Mary Travers.. 

But no one can ever do Mary Traver’s justice.

Peter Yarrow performed last night acoustically, of course, it was pure sweet music from his 6 string folk guitar, the combination of his voice with the tone of the strings playing off the theater’s acoustics was quite phenomenal.  His son Chris Yarrow was his only accompanist, playing a  Washtub Bass. that gave the backdrop from a serious bottom end with some curious rhythm, all coming from a typical vintage washtub, and a string attached to a long stick-shaped bow. It seemed amazing that with this simple instrument Chris had just one string to find his notes and chord changes with. He was able to master parallels with the great Bassist’s who performed with P P & M like, Bill Lee,  Russ Savakus, and my all-time personal favorite, Richard Kniss. It was a nostalgic yet contemporary duo performance. Chris was able to provide the same backdrop sound to his father’s music as Chris’ voice blended in perfect harmony with that of his father’s, the whole evening took on a surreal feeling that took me back some 40 plus years.

There was not a silent voice in the house last night.

At one point Peter asked to have the stage lights brought up and I saw the same young man, only wiser. Yes, he has aged and grown gray like we all have, what good folk artist would dye their hair for Folk’s sake?  Yet there is not an ounce of that aging in his voice, it’s as strong as ever with the bravado and vigor I was happy to hear. He took us through the evening with music that so many of us in the theatre had grown up with, and here’s the amazing thing;  there are still new generations born every day that are learning about the art of folk music through this man. The kids in the audience ranged from 18 to a baby. The adults in the audience seemed to range from 19 to 99. I was pleased to see that so many are still touched by the stories and music Peter has to share with us. The evening’s music setlist went from the very early days of  P P & M. as the evening began we heard an emotional version of the trio’s Day is Done. he only became stronger and more vibrant as the evening went on. The entire house sang along with each and every song and the room began to descend into the sense we were just sitting in the living room and the early years of peace & love.

The playlist was long, they played for 1.5 hours before taking a break. I mentioned the evening feeling surreal, and although I can’t possibly name every song they played for us there are personal favorites that were definite standouts. What we heard live last night from Peter & Chris Yarrow was memorable in every sense of the word.  One artist “A Legend” and one finding his own footing and making a name of his own.

In Peter Yarrow’s style, he started out with a couple of songs and then led us straight away into his storytelling about the love and devotion he always had and will have for Mary. His “Work Wife”. He shared with us how much he misses his sidekick Sadly Mary died two years ago from complications associated with chemotherapy she was receiving for a bone-marrow transplant as treatment for leukemia,  PY asked if we would be Mary’s harmony in  “Leaving On A Jet Plane”  *Deep sigh* We complied.

Mart Travers (1936-2009)


The room’s energy lit up in profound sadness and much love for this woman whose voice came into our homes, and whose lullabies we sang to our own children and grandchildren.

You are a great loss mended my heart, and gave me courage at the time that has impacted who I am today. You brought to us to what you so lovingly gave. With Mary’s spirit filling the room Peter asked once again for the stage lights to be lowered, and at the same time, he wanted the house lights lifted. He wanted to see us. He wanted to know what “Bendites” look like who would pay upwards of $80 to see him on a Friday night. He could not believe we were there to see him! Yet we were. All of us. And that his son Chris who resides in Portland Oregon was with him was our gift. A bonus..

The night was a  spectacular benefit for our local non-profit  (PLAN) that helps to provide performing arts to students in the schools; in the classroom and in the performing art venues the kid are introduced to arts such as Folk Music. Peter donated and added his own artwork & autograph to an acoustic guitar (seen in the photo above with guitar facing the front of the house.) that Peter himself auctioned to the highest bidder, with all proceeds going to this non-profit. With Peter doing the auctioning in between verses of Blowing In The Wind the proceeds he garnered were $1999 & $2000, you see there were two strong and persistent bidders, so in the end Peter said they both won a guitar because they bid with so much passion.  Peter kept reminding us all: it was not about the guitar, it was about the love and passion being shown for such a fine and valuable agency in our schools. 

And finally for me the Piece DE Resistance of the evening Peter closed with  Puff The Magic Dragon. Peter first asked children 18 yrs and younger to join him on the stage to help sing Puff The Magic Dragon with him. The kids who were with us last night didn’t need to be asked twice, and it’s a good thing Peter wasn’t checking I.D. Especially mine, y’all know I was already on my way up. Now if you don’t know who Peter Yarrow is or who the folk music trio Peter Paul & Mary are I know you know this song. How many times have we sat together singing this song? You know the story. Maybe you don’t know Peter changed part of it, instead of Puff being sad because Jackie Paper came no more… Peter invented Jackie’s daughter so Puff could slip happily from his cave again and we’d be reminded happily of the legacy of his daughter.

I began first to sing, then realizing I had brought my camera on stage with me I did what I do. I opted to sneak in a few shots. The people on the stage, the children, and one baby, all joyed to be on stage with Peter Yarrow. I captured a couple of close-ups despite trying to do so somewhat covertly. I’m sure the theater and artists have protocols about such photography.

My photo of a very sweet moment; just after Peter had softened the music to Puff he gently slowed the lyrics and music down to finally an absolute hush, he put the microphone up to this baby’s mouth and complete utter silence fell over the entire theater.

Then this sweet baby child with that darling soft wispy hair said ever so quietly whispered ” mmmm…”

Then this sweet baby child with that darling soft wispy hair said ever so quietly whispered ” mmmm…”


It was a great party. An intimate evening with the Yarrow men. Peter Yarrow, let me remind you is 70 years young, and he had been performing for almost 3.5 hours at this point, taking no break for himself, choosing instead to spend in with his fans signing autographs. After these two extremely talented men who came across as so down to earth took their final bow to a standing ovation as the audience cried for an Encore.

For his encore number, Peter had the whole entire theater up on their feet in a hell-raising rendition of  ‘This Land Is Your land, This Land is my land”

On a personal side note; I never got to see PP&M live, I’m not even sure they ever reached the Pacific Northwest, but seeing Peter last night made up for it. At the end of  Puff The Magic Dragon Peter & Chris graciously thanked each person on stage by shaking hands and hugging. As I was one of the last people on stage a special moment of my life presented itself.I stepped towards Peter who smiled my way,  he reached out to take my hands and I lost all restraint and decorum. I put my two hands on each side of his handsome face and pulled his face closer. Lightly & gently we shared a perfect kiss of friendship.

Thank you, Peter, Thank you, Chris. It was the most wonderful enchanting kind of evening.

Please do come back~

©tjhelser 2012