Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Hi, everybody. Today marks the end of the second full week of cross-country journeying for me, and the effects on my soul, my psyche, and my life have been profound. Due to the speed at which I am putting down the miles, however, I suspect that the real changes and impact won't come until I am back home in Rhode Island, on or about November 15. The initial whispers from my heart tell me that I will never be able to come back and ground myself in my old life again. I have seen too much, and more importantly, I haven't seen enough. The original hunger that launched me on this quest has not abated, indeed, it has only grown larger. On the other hand, my heart longs for connection, deep and powerful connection that only coming home, coupling with another, making a commitment to find common ground, dreams, and purpose can deliver. I am unsure which of those two roads, or a different one entirely, that God, the Universe, and my angels have in store for me. For today, however, my heart is open, the road is long, and the opportunities to be of service are endless. Peace out, my friends.
Love, Carol

Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's Your Life

A few years ago, it occurred to me, in a stunning and humbling moment of clarity, that I was waiting for someone else to show up with the key to my life.

As a single woman, I was seeking a partner with a big life. In my mind, big life was not necessarily synonymous with big money, big house, or big car. Big life meant that I wanted a partner whose life was filled with passion, purpose, meaning, and depth. I wanted to be transformed, and carried from my own so-so life, into someone else's purpose-driven life. What the Universe provided me with, however, was an opportunity to experience, and utilize, my own sense of lack as a vehicle for transformation. In short, so long as I sought, outside of myself, that for which I desired, I would continue to attract that missing piece in others. And while I never thought of myself as a woman seeking rescue, that moment of clarity was a game changer. I discovered that in order to find people who led deeply passionate and purposeful lives, I had to become a vibrational match! 

The Universe wasted no time delivering direction. Almost instantly, I was given an opportunity to attend a class at the Rhode Island School of Design, aptly called, "Become the Art Director of Your Own Life." From the first class, I began a process that continues to this day, of creating my own big, rich, passionate, purposeful, meaningful life. And lo and behold, now that I have taken responsibility for that creation, now that I am an energetic match to all that I seek, I no longer have to look outside of myself for the key.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Going Out Onto the Limb

There seems to be much talk these days of courage, specifically the kind of courage that it takes for me, a 59-year-old woman from New England, to embark on a month-long trip across this great country of ours, taking pictures, selling work, meeting new people. What does courage mean to me, and how do I manage courage, because certainly the flip side of courage, for me, is fear. How do I practice fearlessness in the world?

For a young girl growing up in Bristol, Connecticut in the 1960s, fear commanded my life. I had great difficulty even going into the market. This fear of walking into places followed me for some time into womanhood. (The early manifestations of agoraphobia, perhaps?) Today, I can walk into rooms, buildings, new communities, and smile, introduce myself with confidence, and extend a hand. Is that courage?

Traveling down interstate 90 west, with speeds of 75 miles per hour, with tractor trailers all around me, and having to pass. Is that courage?

Walking into a meeting in South Dakota surrounded by people who don't look, or talk, like me. Is that courage?

Embarking on a month-long trek cross-country with nothing but a map, a camera, a few changes of clothing. Is that courage?

The answer to all of those questions is yes. And the only way I learned to be courageous was to practice fearlessness in all aspects of my life daily. When I learned to lead with love, courage grew exponentially.

Wherever you are today, go out on a limb, onto the limb that is your life. You don't need to travel across the country to practice fearlessness. Practice it right where you are. Do one thing today that scares you, and then do it again tomorrow.

When you lead with love, fear vanishes.

Love, Carol

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wait For It

Quick story.

Much of my trip has been pre-arranged, at least the route part of this cross-country trek of mine. Barring snow, and the closing of northwest sections of Interstate 90, I have pretty much ascertained, in advance, which towns I'd be stopping in. Nevertheless, I have left room for the unexpected, the unplanned, the uncharted, and it is when I travel with an open heart and an open mind, without my agenda, that wonders unfold. Without exception, the Universe's plan for me is always infinitely more colorful, wonderful, and magical than anything I could have thought up.


When I woke up in Elgin, Illinois on Thursday morning, I knew I wanted to find the 7:30 meeting at Advocate Sherman Hospital before getting on the road for La Crosse, Wisconsin. By the time I took my seat in the conference room of this fabulous medical facility, literally hundreds of geese, egret, and heron had set down on the hospital's 15-acre geothermal lake! I had to resist the urge to leave the meeting, run back to my car, and grab by camera. Another member reassured me that the birds would be there when the meeting ended. Not so.

By the time the meeting closed, the birds had taken flight. No more bobbing. No bird calls. The lake was still. I wanted to curse my luck, but I knew that other photo opportunities awaited, so I grabbed my camera anyway. When I left that facility four hours later, I did so with some wonderful images, albeit few of waterfowl.

So be it.

Fast forward to yesterday's unplanned visit to Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After checking in with Taylor Fox, my Airbnb host, he urged me to check out a greeting card shop downtown, and while I was down there, he suggested I visit the falls. Here's where the Universe's plan for me trumped my own: geese, hundreds of them, bobbing, squawking, all around me! Despite slippery quartz rocks (and me in flip flops), I walked out to the ledge as far as I could safely, and sat down a breathe away from these fabulous creatures. What a thrill to be close enough to almost touch their fat underbellies as they took wing right above me, and to feel their swoosh just overhead as they became airborne. I even cried out in glee, "Thank you!"

So glad I waited for it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Linger longer

Early last night, after checking into my apartment in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for the night, I decided to head into town for a meeting. Not knowing my way around, I gave myself plenty of extra time to find the meeting place. Driving down the street, not too far from my apartment on the Mississippi River, I passed this handcrafted, well-lived-in birdhouse. My muse told me to stop and take the picture that she had already conjured up in my mind's eye. Fear said, "Better not. You'll be trespassing, and you know what happens when you do that." Fear won out, ever so briefly, and I kept driving, but not for long. Seconds later, I made a hasty K-turn in the middle of the road, and returned eagerly, to capture the moment.

I parked the car, grabbed my camera, jumped out, and took the shot. At that moment, I knew, intuitively, that I had to be on higher ground for the shot to work, for the Mississippi River to be glorified in the background. So, I did what any self-respecting photographer would do---I climbed onto the trunk of my car! From that perch I snapped away, and ultimately walked away with this image and several others.

The lesson is always mine, and for me, on this trip, the message that I've learned, and hope to convey in my work, is linger longer. Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Be in the moment. Be present. As poet Mary Oliver writes, and I so often quote, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." Even though I am breezing through towns across this great country, paying homage with one-night stands, make no mistake, I am missing nothing. This was never intended to be a sight-seeing tour. The sights I am seeing may not be the popular ones, the ones people seek out on vacations, the ones advertised in travel brochures, but the insights from lingering longer over the ordinary, the mundane, the discarded, the overlooked, are powerful.

I wish you time to linger longer today and every day.

Love, Carol

Friday, October 17, 2014

Just Keep Going

Good morning, everyone.

I awoke early in Elgin, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, in a lovely urban farmette, as my young Airbnb hosts, Mandy and Dan, refer to it. After a 7:30 meeting, my plan is to take my hosts' suggestion and hit up some of the galleries downtown, take some pictures, and then around 11:00, climb back into the Hyundai and make the four-hour trip west to Lacrosse, Wisconsin where I will be the guest at another Airbnb home on the Mississippi River for one night.

Although the trip is unfolding in wonderful ways (some planned, some unexpected), I was seized, upon awakening this morning, with a fear that, up until now, I have only fleetingly acknowledged. Fear is a funny thing. Fear is a dangerous thing. Fear sits in my belly and churns up a storm of emotions. Fear has the potential of shutting me, and this whole circus down if I allow it to have its way with me. Fear reminded me that this is only Day Three, that I still have at least 27 days out here if I intend to complete my epic journey, and that I am getting farther and farther away from home. Fear whispered worry into my heart about my precious cat, Carla, back in Rhode Island, that she may take sick while I'm away. Fear told me lies about my car, my health, my finances, my relationships, my faith.

The truth is, my faith is strong, strong enough to kick fear out of the bed. So, I did what I've learned to do. I got out of bed before fear could have any more of me. I got on my knees and I asked God to keep me, Carla, and all my loved ones in the palm of his hand (thank you, Jodi Gladstone for that image and prayer). And, thank you, Mary Ullrich Anderson for posting this quote from Rainer Maria Rilke.

"Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final."

Just keep going. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Open Hearts Open Doors.

Hi, everyone.

Well, Day One on the road went better than I could have anticipated. Lunch with Mattie was awesome; it was great to catch up with my charming and handsome son, but I wasn't prepared for the sadness I felt when we said our goodbyes in front of his apartment around 1:00pm. Thanksgiving, blessedly, is right around the corner. (And, I'm due back in New England on November 15th, his 21st birthday!!)

From Syracuse University, I drove to North Syracuse where I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful woman I've been Facebook friends with for a number of years, but never actually met face-to-face. Kimberly Balch, thanks for inviting me to your workplace! It was great to meet you and your crew, and to share some of my work.

I spent the rest of the afternoon driving to Buffalo where I got to meet Marivi and her dad, John Howell. Marivi is the youngest Airbnb host in the country, and at 17 years of age, she is a beauty pageant queen and honor student. Her innkeeping efforts at her parents' historic arts and crafts home in the heart of Buffalo, allow her to underwrite her pageant expenses as well as help out with her private school education. Great folks!!!

John Howell directed me to the shops in Elmwood Village where I made a few sales calls. One in particular, Talking Leaves Books, showed promise. More will be revealed in the days to come, and I'm glad my e-commerce website is, at last, functional. While the afternoon itself was rainy, I did manage to take my camera out and shoot a few random images.

Turns out that fellowship in Buffalo is alive and well, and I attended a fabulous Emotional Sobriety discussion meeting tonight. I am always amazed at how quickly a room full of strangers can become fast friends when the sharing is from the heart. Open hearts open doors.

Thanks for tracking along with me, everyone. I'm going to post a few images to Earth's School Of Love fan page, and then call it a day.  I'm leaving Buffalo at 5:00am tomorrow so I can drive to Niagara Falls, cross the border into Canada, and then down through Michigan to meet Sheri Skinner, a woman I knew back in Rhode Island at least 20 years ago. It will be great to meet again!

Setting Off

Good morning, everyone!

The long-awaited Wednesday morning of departure has arrived. It is presently 4:21am in my east coast world, and I am writing these brief words and heading out the door, bound for Syracuse, and then a night in Buffalo with my young Airbnb host, the junior beauty pageant queen. My goal is to sell at least one pack of cards today, take some pictures, meet an old Facebook friend for coffee (we have never met face-to-face), and wear life like a loose garment.

I felt the fear this morning, and got out of my warm bed anyway, petted Carla one more time, held on to Paul for a minute, (though I knew there'd be no tearful goodbyes allowed), got on my knees and thanked God for the strength to go forth on this journey.

One cardinal rule of mine is to not drive in the dark, night time dark is scary to me, but morning dark, well morning dark gives way to morning light, and that's a different matter. The GPS says five hours to Syracuse, so I know I need to be on the road within minutes if I want to breeze onto the Syracuse University's campus to hug my son, Matthew, before his noon class.

Thank you all, for your kind words, generous support, love and well-wishes in the last few months. You have inspired me, kept me humble, and encouraged me to move forward with this dream of mine to take my work, our work, on the road.

See you out there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Embracing Life

Good morning, world.

Today is the last morning, for a month or so, that I will wake up in the safety, simplicity and splendor of my own apartment in Rhode Island with my precious cat, Carla, between the sheets, surrounded by familiar sounds, rhythms, and activities. Tomorrow morning, before dawn, I will cast off from the safe shores of East Greenwich and southern Rhode Island, with my Hyundai Elantra, a Rand-McNally map, a dream as big as the moon, speaker tapes, a few changes of clothes, and the prayers and well-wishes of hundreds (literally!) of friends. I have known some of these friends personally for years, and others I have gotten to know here on the page, and in many ways, those relationships are no less intimate. Oddly, a few of the people I had expected to stand beside, spiritually, on this journey, are conspicuously absent, and that's okay. I release them with deep affection and gratitude for all they have taught me about life, love, and forgiveness.

Today, will be a final day of organizing, packing, checking things off lists, meeting and orientating the women who will care for my apartment and Carla while I'm away. Tonight, I will share one more meal with the gentle man who has encouraged me for the last seven months, and nurtured the birth of this vision, this heartbeat, this passionate pursuit of taking my work on the road. I am blessed, beyond measure, to have this opportunity to go out into the world to share my work, my love, my hope for a better world, a better planet.

A boat is safe on the shore, but that is not what boats are made for.