Inspiration Everywhere Lessons learned

Five Secrets to Remember when Sh*t Happens

It’s nearly 2017. With all that’s happening in the world, things can sometimes feel unbearable. What can we do? Remember these Five Secret Ways of the Heart.

  1. Remember to Breathe, or Die

angry-pooIn moments of stress or fear or anxiety, or when people act like total ______, when everything seems too much or goes wrong (it’s probably not that bad compared to the whole range of human struggles, but feels horrible nonetheless) let us remember to pause, and breathe deep. Even better? A good long sigh. Go ahead, let one out now: “Ahhhhhh…” Feel better?
Breathing is easy. Cheaper than drugs, alcohol or therapy. But so damn hard to remember.

  1. Remember: Emotions are like Pizza

Poop_-pizza-EmojiAfter breathing, may we remember that strong feelings are messengers. Something needs our attention. Like a pizza delivery guy knocking on the door. How can we respond?

  • Go hide in the closet and pray he’ll go away
  • Peek out, decide he looks like a crazy person, and slam the door in his face
  • Invite him in, to hang out in the living room for hours and hours and hours
  • Run away with him, leaving everyone at home to fend for themselves

May we remember instead to acknowledge the feeling, and open it up, like a mysterious box of pizza. Get curious. Smell it. Taste it. Digest it. Use the info. And poop out what you don’t need.

  1. Remember: You don’t have to do it Right

sad-pooMany of us walk around with little haters inside us, telling us we are pieces of shite. They’re just waiting for the right moment to catch us off guard and say, “See, there you go again, ___________. Didn’t get it right. Again. You never will. I wonder if you even deserve to live.”

May we remember to breathe and say to the haters, “Yup, I’m a Human. Again. An imperfect, totally loveable human being, just as I am.” That usually hushes them up. Until next time.

  1. Remember to Laugh

Poop_EmojiThe whole world is weird, but who’s the funniest comedian you know? You. So let’s remember to smile at the one who goofs up regularly, slips on social banana peels, and argues with people you love (but only about really important things like how to drive or load the dishwasher).

  1. Remember Love, dang it

LOVE-BLOW-KISS-pooAlthough we are the center of the universe, and all things ‘should’ revolve around our world view and preferences, let us remember that others have other priorities, other ways of doing things.

Let us remember that we too want everything to go our way, so we’re not all that different, really.

May we remember tolerance and empathy, even for those who have none, which is pretty much the same as love, only harder.

So let’s remember to Love, because without that, we’re totally effed.

With Love from my Heart,

Download this post as a PDF to share: Five Secrets to Remember When Sh*i Happens 2016

Inspiration Everywhere Listening

Going Soft (and lovin’ it)

Do you hold your tummy in all the time? Or some other part – your jaw, shoulders, neck?

I call this habit THE CLENCH. I’m on a Quest to smooth it out.

The other day, one of my singing partners – a petite, lithe 50ish dancer – showed us her round, soft belly. We softened our bellies too. It felt good to let it all hang out.

So in my morning ritual, Move Groove & Gratitude, I slid my elastic waist down to really let my tummy breathe. It looked much bigger and floppier than I knew. Yes, dimples. Yes, sagging skin. Yes, wiggly.

My whole life I’ve held my belly in, to look as flat as possible. And damn proud of it.

Yet it felt so good to go soft. I set aside my judgements and loved my belly up and down. I thanked it for doing its job: storing fat for lean times, holding my babies, digesting my food.

Could I keep it soft all day? HaHa! In less than two minutes, I was holding it in again.

On Day 2, I practice belly softening at several social events. Would anyone notice? Course not! I avoid alcohol, keep my senses sharp. Getting easier. Still I catch myself in THE CLENCH at least 25 times.

Day 3: I awoke feeling strangely sad. For no reason. Yet I sensed it was part of my Belly experiment. I let go of my to-do list and spent the day tending old emotions (more on that later).

Day 4: My tummy is soft more than not. But it takes devotion to open a new neural pathway, a new pattern. It takes effort to invite awareness, to slow down, to feel my body, to love my self as I am.

‘Going soft’ is seen as weak, in a patriarchal culture that’s about proving our worth through accomplishment (get it done, babe! what’s next on that list?)

But what if our priority was to see our beautiful bellies, our selves, and those around us – with softer, gentler, eyes? To round off the hard edges?

I’ll bet our days would be sweeter, kinder, more loving.

Why should I care? It’s just my belly…

Because as each of us heals our old shizzle, we become more human. More whole. More available to show up for what’s needed: in our selves, our relationships, our communities, our world.

What would this world look like if more of us could show up?

Climate Change: we can do it. Social inequities? We’re working on it. Cruelty? give it time…

When our hearts are open, our hands are more willing to work for what we love most.

Take a moment, now…

  • Draw in a deep breath and let out a sigh, ahhh….
  • Let the breath flow down into your belly
  • Let it go soft
  • Let it be the shape that it is
  • Can you love your shape, as it is, right now?

Could your heart use a kind, insightful ear? Fresh skills to connect and communicate from the Heart? More courage to create your Hearts’ Desire?

Contact me for an introductory coaching session, or a Body & Soul Healing with Sound session. Currently by donation.

Everyday Spark Inspiration Everywhere

Igniting JOY!

I’m speaking tonight at the second Ignite Bainbridge event, “The Pursuit of Joy.”

This topic is so rich and vital for me, that I intend to write an e-book summarizing the Happiness Research and the ancient indigenous wisdom that share many juicy, overlapping findings.

In the meantime, here’s a FREE DOWNLOAD of the awesome tool I developed to find more joy in my daily life.

Please let me know how you like it.

Much Joy to you!

Everyday Spark Inspiration Everywhere Singing Spark

Day 2: Thanksgiving Spark

Yesterday was November 22, 2012, Thanksgiving morning.

I woke up so in love with my husband that I went out to find some mushrooms for him to put in the stuffing, even though I don’t like mushrooms. At all.

While on this lovely walk through the woods, I tweaked an old ankle injury. Spent the rest of Thanksgiving with my foot high in the air, so couldn’t post this video on Day 2. That makes me smile, that the most sincere intentions get zapped by Real Life (more on Day 3 video).

It felt so good to notice blessings all around, from the colorful weeds to the edible treasures I found in the deep dark woods. I noticed that My Spark – that chunk of the divine that’s in everyone – helps me to stay connected to what really matters in each moment.

Every day for the month leading up to Dec 21, 2012, me and my Spark will make a short video about what’s happening Right Here and Right Now.

I hope you’ll join me. If inspired, please subscribe to the YouTube channel, or enter your name and email in the subscribe box upper right of this page.

Everyday Spark Inspiration Everywhere Singing Spark

30 Days of Spark

It’s November 21, 2012. Only one month until Dec 21, 2012. 30 days of this world, as it is right now. What is most important to say – or do – in that time?

I believe we all have a Spark of the divine that lives somewhere near our heart. The Spark’s theme song is Love, Love, Love, and it’s connected to everything. Because it’s tapped into a larger source than my little human brain, I listen as often as possible. If I can remember to clear out the noise in my head and tune in, I usually receive spot-on guidance on all questions, small and large.

To stay with the Spark for this crucial time of evolution, each day until December 21, 2012, I’ll tune in and ask, “What do we need to know now?” and make a short video of the messages that come.

Join me! To inspire your Spark, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, or subscribe via email at upper right.

Authentic Writing Inspiration Everywhere Listening Soulwork

Grandpa Gumpy’s wisdom: Story and the Space Between

As the cold and rains came in November, I decided to begin writing another book. As much as I’d like to write a fantasy novel for the Twins of Tessar series, or complete the one I wrote during #NaNoWriMo in 2009, another story calls.

This tale is a map to the many doors that have opened in me, gradually, graciously allowing me to become fully myself. The story is as sweet as a fairy that leads you with her glowing light into the forest. And it’s as scary as that 9-headed monster you don’t want to meet there in the dark. It’s hopping with goofy gremlins of all shades and colors in between.

I’m not yet 100% clear on the shape this story will take. A graphic memoir? An animation? A performance? A series of blog posts or videos? Every day in November (I’m calling it Devotional Project Month, or DevoProMo) I spend from 1 to 3 hours writing, singing, drawing, filming, or just exploring this story. My intention is to utterly follow an inner compass, my Spark.

So far my mind and heart has overflowed with ideas, generating a mountain of words. That is part of the process, to allow what comes. But my ego wanted a flashlight and a shovel so I could see the path ahead. My Spark said: Ask Grandpa.

[image source_type=”attachment_id” source_value=”1980″ align=”right” lightbox=”true” width=”300″ autoHeight=”true”] My grandfather, Dr. Norman Frank Thorpe, was a master teacher and storyteller. With a twinkle in his sea-blue eyes, he charmed and inspired and warmed the hearts of everyone around him. This superpower, along with his insightful intelligence, led to a position of honor as a dean at the University of Nebraska.

Grandpa Gumpy died when I was 16. At that time I was cut off from myself, pursuing pleasure in any form I could get, seeking to change my unhappy consciousness through many dangerous adventures on the wild road.

Among the elders who expressed concern my 15th summer, Grandpa truly saw me. With his presence, his body, his hands, and that mystery sauce that emanates from a loving heart, he showed me how much he cared for me. Perhaps it made a difference; perhaps that love created a force field that helped me survive several brushes with death.

38 years later, I still need his love. And his help. I lit a candle and settled into the big comfy chair he would have chosen. I remembered details that brought him to life again: running my hand across his silver flattop, bristle-stiff yet deliciously bendable. His leathery skin, dark tan from many hours in the sun golfing or fishing, his great passions. The scent of his favorite pipe tobacco.

I thanked him for his love, and for showing me how to hook a worm that long quiet afternoon at Butternut Point, Minnesota, when I was about 7. Sharing a small boat with Grampa Gumpy, watching the ripples move across the lake, with a backdrop of buzzing insects, I imagined the world below the surface. Would a fish swim up to take a bite of that worm?

My book – or whatever it is – is like the elusive sunfish. My ego wants to catch it, but it’s still swimming in the land of mystery.

I asked out loud, “Grandpa, what can you tell me about storytelling?”

His words came up from my heart, from the wisdom that reaches beyond time and space and death and life. His voice was clear, and it had a twinkle. Always a twinkle.

“The real essence of story comes from not only from what you think you have to say, but from the magical space between you and your audience.

First, put your awareness in the audience. Imagine that you are among them. Imagine their concerns, their needs and wants. Once you can really feel them, then you are ready to step into the space between.

The space between you and them is where the fire is, the ancient storytelling fire. Men and women have crouched and told stories around this fire for the millennia. That space between is where the magic happens: it whispers to you what is needed. If you remember that space and the fire, your stories will connect.”

I sat in awe of this nugget, sensing that shifting from Me to You to the Space Between will help with all communication, not just this project. It’s another way to speak of the resonant field, created with our energy.

Grandpa spoke of many things, of becoming an elder, of authenticity. He also said that my book is not one big story, but many little ones. Just like the fish in the lake. We want to catch a Big Fish, but most of the joy and pleasure of fishing is in the feel of the sun and the shadows swimming under the boat.

Do you have a relationship with your ancestors? Tell me a story…

Authentic Writing Inspiration Everywhere

The nice part and the ugly part

My husband brought me a delicious gift just now. A passage from a young adult novel he bought for our daughter, Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork.

I want to sing “Hallelujah! Amen!” because this bit of dialogue says everything I believe about healing yourself. It says everything that’s happened to me, how I feel about myself and others.

It says it all! In a simple, heartful, ordinary way. How true change happens from the inside out. Check it out.

“But how did you change? What happened? What made you different?”…

“Little by little, I don’t know, what was eating me up went away.”

“But how did it go away? What did you do?”

“Like, at the beginning. I felt sorry for myself, I guess. Not like, you know, pity or anything. But then one day I stopped being so angry. ‘You’re just a little girl,’ I said to myself. ‘It’s not your fault your parents died. It’s okay you messed up. It’s okay to be angry about your face and hate everyone. You’re just a little girl. I forgive you, little girl, for all the bad things you did.’ Like that. It’s crazy isn’t it? To have one part of yourself be nice to another part. Like the nice part of my face saying nice things to the ugly part. After a while, the nice part and the ugly part stopped hating each other. There was peace inside of me, like the different parts disappeared and there was only one me. After that, I saw how the other girls were like me, and I started doing the same thing with them. I saw their ugly parts – and around here that’s not too hard, believe me – and I tried to be nice to their ugly parts.”

Then it comes to me. It cannot be that this is the first time I realized this, but it is. We all have ugly parts. I think of the time in the cafeteria when Jasmine asked me what the girl in the picture was asking me. How do we live with all the suffering? We see our ugly parts, and then we are able to forgive, love kindness, walk humbly.

“We all have ugly parts,” I say to myself…

As a person who writes fiction, I am humbled by this beauty. Filled with joy that young people will read this. Grateful that my husband knows how it thrums with me.

Then another part whispers, “See! Why did you stop writing fiction? Stories are the best way to deliver these messages. Why don’t you release your writing? You write every day. Why did you stop blogging?”

Then I take a breath of forgiveness. I give my darling ego a heart hug and say, “Yes. I know you want me to do more, be more, accomplish more. But all is well. All is deeply ok. I will publish, blog, sing, speak, teach, as the time moves in me. Trust it. Know it.”

Have you befriended those parts that are not your very favorite? Do you chat with them? You are not alone, my dear.

Loving all,

A Creative Life Authentic Action Inspiration Everywhere

What we need most to change the world

I’m so grateful to spend last week with 80+ inspiring and influential change-makers, edge-walkers, & visionaries at the Hollyhock Summer Gathering. It’s a diverse group of social entrepreneurs, educators, writers, artists, thinkers and healers to explore social transformation. Amazing people who make a real impact.

All are driven to make a difference. To transform despair into positive action. To change the world. (yes, it was a tad intimidating!)

What’s the common denominator? What skills do visionaries use and teach, again and again? What do young people need in order to make a future they can fall in love with?

Creativity and collaboration.

All of us are inherently creative. We all yearn for connection and collaboration. But not all of us give our lives to a cause.

How can you help shape the future, even if you are not a born activist?

1. Follow your Spark. It’ll tell you what needs to come alive, for community, culture & the world to be re-made.

2. Give your time & energy to the young. One afternoon I made friends with the lovely girls in the photo above, and helped them finish their mermaid scupture. Here’s a few tips on working with teens and young adults:

    • Lighten up on all things agenda. Be willing to just hang out.
    • Ask about their ideas. Listen.
    • Be real & authentic, open & curious, wacky & playful.
    • Teach them what they want to know. Explore side-by-side. 
    • Learn from them. 

In July, I got to do all that with 6 beautiful young ladies at our first SummerSpark! Day Camp for Girls & Teens. < see photos & video we made.

We’re doing it again next week. Please pass this on or share our Facebook event. Thanks!

Inspiration Everywhere Singing Spark

Singin’ a new song (every time)


So I’m chatting with my Mom. Telling her how my classes are going. And how I love to sing spontaneous songs as often as I can. She gives me an assignment: [blockquote]Go sing for the plants in the garden.[/blockquote]

So I do this, because my mom is a creative coach and Zen master, which is like having a divine muse on speed dial. You never know how the instructions will impact you, but it’s worth a shot.

The camera is turned on, the kabucha seeds go in, and a song comes out.

I’m passionate about spontaneity, to notice what comes out of my mouth. Sometimes it feels like a ‘real’ song, or it’s a ramble that doesn’t go anywhere. Those may not taste as good for public consumption, but they all feel great to me.

There’s nothing like feeling your way through the present moment, allowing the voice to reveal what it wants to say.

Using less of my brain to access a “known” song, perhaps there is more of the heart? It’s just a theory.

Who knows? Maybe the Kabucha pumpkins will grow better.

P.S. If you’re near Bainbridge Island, WA, I’ll be performing a version of my SparkStorySong on May 16 at IgniteBainbridge.

Inspiration Everywhere Singing Spark Soulwork

Letting Love Lead (into Liberation)

Today is about love, leaps and learning.

It’s not been easy to maneuver around my Good Girl and other parts of me who carry shame about my big, brassy, diva voice. In this video, I see I’ve learned to love my voice and can share it widely, in the service of something bigger than me. Spark.

Yeah, my voice takes over. Yeah, it’s too much. Too intense. I don’t even like the intense expressions my face makes in this video. But it’s who I REALLY am. Naked.

My Spark wants me to sing and tell its story as widely as I can. So you’ll will know you are NOT alone with your experience. So you can feel permission. To take risks. To go and DO that thing that you are called to do. Despite the fear, the Lizard voices that try and hold you back.

This calls me to practice trust. To trust love, and its subtle whispers in the dark as I lay awake at 3:17 am. Meanwhile my little ego munches away like a mouse on the details of where this calling will lead me and how I will navigate it.

I’m making peace with this vulnerability. And it feels liberating.

Did you see yourself in the story? What does your Spark love the most? Does Mr. Lizard bother you, too? What do you do with that?

Your comments are like five-spice mustard on a hot, wet noodle.