Friday, October 30, 2015

My Way.

My dad passed away peacefully in his sleep, in a nursing home, back in 2004.  Mr. Mossa's two favorite songs were "Sweet Caroline," by Neil Diamond, and "My Way," by Frank Sinatra. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and I was my dad's daughter, through and through. I followed in his footsteps in oh, so many ways. Alcohol ravaged my father's early years and the missteps he made as a young man would haunt him into adulthood. As a child and young girl growing up in a dysfunctional home, I vowed I would never drink like my father. I didn't know what I didn't know, and in fact, my life mirrored my father's in myriad ways. The one difference, however, is that I found a solution. I discovered a spiritual remedy for what ailed me before it was too late. As a result, at nearly 61 years of age, an age when many people are contemplating retirement and are slowing down, I am just getting started. I found purpose and passion in work that I love. I have connected with like-minded individuals around the globe, and together we are making a difference though our creative energies. I may not have it all, but I have my freedom, and I wouldn't trade it for the house on the hill, the luxury car in the driveway, or a five-star hotel.

Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Giving Thanks.

The windmill. That iconic reminder of a bygone era, America in the 1800s, ranches, farmers, livestock, hardscrabble lives and times. At least once during my stay here in Arizona, I have had to correct the steering wheel and redirect my Nissan back onto Route 82. I am smitten, mesmerized. Is it my love of Americana, the lure of a great picture, or does the fascination go deeper? I love old red barns, and the sight of an oversized American flag still delights me. I have conjured up the perfect photograph in my mind's eye countless times---one of these Aermotor mechanical towers, galvanized steel blades gleaming (more oft rusted out), in the foreground, with a dazzling blue southwestern sky, and the Whetstone or Mustang mountain ranges in the distance. I suspect, however, that for me, the fascination, the identification, goes deeper. Sidestepping the notion of a past-life connection (which, incidentally, I fervently believe in), I am simply drawn, at this juncture of my life, to things and processes that harken back to a more mindful existence. Some will argue, there is nothing glamorous, romantic, or time-saving about having to pump your own water, hang clothes out on a line, or travel long, winding, arduous miles for fellowship. For me, living out here in southeastern Arizona, where the nearest grocery store is a solid fifty-minute drive, and the border patrol's presence is keenly felt, I am grateful for every opportunity to slow down, rewind, remember, and fall in love with the natural landscape around me; to yield to deer, horses and burros; to marvel at the raptors' flight overhead; to welcome the grasshopper's presence. In my own small way, I pay homage to the pioneering men, women and children who so bravely covered this sacred ground before me.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Leading with Love.

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." ~ John Lubbock

I use this Lubbock quote often, and I wholeheartedly believe it is at the root of all manifestation. (Law of Attraction 101, if you will.) What are you giving your attention to? Do you expect miracles, or do you assume they happen to everyone else, never you?

I seek love, not the romantic kind, rather the kind that is found in grocery store lines, on the highways, daily on Facebook and in social media. I do not watch the news, I do not seek out the gore and desperate tidings online or in the newspapers. I will scroll right past your post if you're whining again about your cheating husband. I do not fixate on the latest virus or plague sweeping the county. I am not blind either; I know such horrors exist. I simply choose to focus on the things, the experiences, the happenings, that I wish to see more of. Generosity. Abundance. Kindness. It's probably why Halloween is my least favorite holiday. Given the headlines, it's disconcerting to see youngsters, and even grown men and women, carrying knife props, fake blood smeared across themselves. And please don't tell me I lack a sense of humor. Are you kidding me?

I once dated (literally, once) a man who kept a machete under the seat on the passenger's side of his truck. I'd been groping around for my misplaced cellphone when I came upon it.

"Why do you have a machete in your truck?" I asked.
"Just in case," he answered.
"In case of what?" I pressed.
"In case someone tries to mess with me," he countered.

I had just returned from my first solo cross country road trip---9000 miles in 30 days---and not once did anyone mess with me, not at the pumps, not checking into my rooms for the night, not on the long, sometimes barren and desolate highways. I went out into the world expecting safety, seeking connection, deliriously in love with life, and not once did calamity visit me. Perhaps there are two types of people in the world: people who look for, and generally find, trouble, and people who have faith and hail mankind as benevolent.

Maybe one day, someone, something, will prove my theory wrong, but in the meantime, I'll go on believing in love because when I lead with that, all things are possible. Try it. If I'm wrong, I'll refund your misery.

Friday, October 23, 2015


My 90-year-old mom tells me that when I was a young girl, I attended creative writing classes after school. I have no recollection of such classes, instruction, or assignments. I do know that writing has always come second nature to me. Whether a term paper for school, a thesis for graduate school, a short story, poem, a marketing piece, if wordsmithing was involved, I was in my element. I became an English major in college because I liked to read and I could write, and I had no interest in nursing. Where I came from, those were the two career options most young women pursued. I was an art minor in college with a concentration in photography. I penned two books of informational nonfiction during the ten years I was not drinking alcohol (between 1989 and 1999), was a columnist for a national trade magazine for two years, earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree, and did all kinds of creative things. The minute I picked up a drink in 2000, I ceased to write another word, and the camera got buried behind some cardboard boxes in a closet under the stairs. It took five years, once I got sober, to recall, to remember that I was an artist, that I had God-given talents. I get to spend a month in Arizona this fall, in this blue chair, with the light streaming in, writing, crafting another book. I don't know many of you who are reading this today, but I will tell you one thing: I am not unique. You, too, have been given gifts, talents, skills that the world needs. What are they? What's holding you back from following your heart's desire? Fear? Of what? Failure? That you're not good enough? Trust me when I tell you, you are brilliance. You are a beacon. How dare you not to shine?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Best is Yet to Come.

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 22, 2016, marks what would have, perhaps could have been, my 27th wedding anniversary, but instead, more than 10 years have passed since my divorce from the man that helped me birth two, and raise three, beautiful children. I will be forever grateful for all their lives and love. I am not the same 35-year-old woman who stood beside the perennial garden of a historic New England post-and-beam Cape, on a windy autumn afternoon, in a Laura Ashley tea-length dress, and promised to love, honor, and obey. I was sober, yes, but painfully unaware that putting the drink down would not suffice. For the first ten years of that marriage, I would not drink; I would not recover either, and untreated alcoholism would eventually lead to the decay and eventual collapse of that marriage. We were both fine people, just completely and utterly unaware that anything less than a psychic change would spell failure. When that 16-year marriage finally dissolved, I found myself at a crossroads and knew, intuitively, it was time to go, or grow. With school-age children at home, going was not an option, so I dug in and did the work on self, so vital to a lasting and meaningful recovery. Those three children are now young adults, chasing down lives of their own. I am blessed to have them in my life. If I've taught them anything, I hope it's been about forgiveness, acceptance and self-love. Until I could forgive myself, accept and remedy my spiritual bankruptcy, and eventually love myself, I could not love another. Today, I am blessed to love and be loved by many, and know that the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Sweet Smell of Simple.

There is no washer or dryer in my three-room cabin here in Elgin, Arizona where I am staying to work on my writing this month, and that is no hardship. I didn't bring many clothes because I knew I'd have little need for outfit changes here on the ranch. I did pick up a pair of black yoga pants at the Walmart in Sierra Vista the day I arrived, and I have actually laundered those in the kitchen's porcelain sink, and hung them, and some wet bath towels, to dry on the green nylon clothesline, strung between two aluminum posts out back. I love the smell of nature's perfume---mountains, forests, fields---in the fibers after clothes have been drying on the line all day. This practice reminds me that I don't have a clothesline back at my condominium in Rhode Island, and the neighbors would probably pitch a fit if I aired anything from my fire escape overlooking our parking lot. I do have a stacked electric washer/dryer unit tucked in a utility closet in the master bathroom that I rarely use because I'm not a clotheshorse back home either. I am a simple girl, at home in jeans, tee-shirts, and work-out clothes. I expect to make the transition from designer apartment mortgagor to van dweller with relative ease!

I'm not sure when I fell out of love, favor, and touch with fashion and material possessions. I have a sense that I simply turned my attention a few degrees left of center and fell in love instead with the natural world around me. The birds and beasts I encounter daily don't care what I am wearing when I open the door to greet them in the morning. When I was still drinking alcohol, I used to take my bottle of Merlot into my home office, shut the door, and order, indiscriminately, whole pages from the latest Talbots catalog. I know now, nearly a decade later, that I was suffering from a soul sickness that no bottle, no new outfit, could remedy. I needed, and blessedly discovered, a spiritual solution. That solution allows me, today, to show up here on the page, out there in the real world, and alone with myself, with an inside that matches my outside---simple, open, and eager to engage with you and others.


Suppose the end came suddenly.
No physical exam, diagnostics, therapies, alternatives.
No time to get affairs ordered.
You leave for work one morning, labels visible, or implied,
Not planning, or expecting, your stars to collide with that runaway tire.
And instead of, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
It’s all over the evening news.
You know these run-ins with destiny happen, but not to you.
Hell, you hail from a long line of centenarians.
You have all the time in the world
To find your sacred self.
So you keep stuffing more stuff between you and you.
Those high definition boxed sets mesmerize you for nights on end.
You call it entertainment, but it’s just another device to keep you from examining the life you let others create for you.  
The distractions (the retro cocktails, the friends you hide behind, the immaterials) work until they don’t anymore.
The day is coming, or maybe it will be an evening,
And when it does,
Whose job will it be to empty
Your closets?

Monday, October 19, 2015


You all
Know each other
Out here.
I am the stranger. The new
I take up residence.
The cement, wood, walls, roof
Insinuate I am safe from
Elements, poisons, weather, but
I am raw. Open. Exposed. Unprotected.
This is your land. Your home.
I am a visitor here.
You will tolerate my noise,
My early morning footsteps on sacred ground.
My tapping, as if I have something important to say.
Truth is, you say it all
Without saying anything at all.

You don't know distraction.
You graze. Heads bowed. Single focused.
You dip, dive, carefree on currents.
I'm up. I'm down.
I eat when I'm not hungry.
You know things.
Teach me.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Joseph Campbell, the famous teacher of mythology, wrote, "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." For me, the last year has been a year of releasing, a time of letting go of attachments to people, places, and things. Two solo cross country trips and several shorter ones have taught me valuable lessons about the essential components for a rich, creative, expansive life and spiritual journey. Some psychologists refer to the work on self as a peeling of an onion. I prefer to think of it as the casting off, the shedding, of skin. The snake, or serpent, is highly revered as a spiritual totem, and I can't think of a more fitting icon for the transformational work I have done over the last twelve months. I have witnessed and participated in a world once invisible, unavailable to me, and now that I have witnessed it, I can never return to my old way of thinking and being in the world. One of my teachers, Carolyn Myss, says, "We are reluctant to live outside tribal rules because we are afraid of getting kicked out of the tribe." I took the chance, and what I discovered was that my tribe grew. It expanded. There are others out here, who, like me, have also shed their skins, who are unwilling and unable to go back to their old self-limiting beliefs. Within the next several months, it is my deepest desire to sell off my real estate, all nonessential possessions, and lead a nomadic life that will bring me closer to my creator and to all of you, who, too, have either bravely risked thinking outside the box, or who are contemplating such changes. Namaste.