A Safe Purpose (a rejected essay)

Today’s Soul Report: A Dangerous Purpose

What is your safe purpose? What do I mean by this? Well, actually it came from my very wise daughter. The other day, I found myself smiling, more than I have in awhile, and I remembered days in which I felt full, and realized it is a full life, which brings happiness. At least for me. The day I found myself smiling, I felt full. And what was I doing? Laundry. Yes. Laundry.

I love laundry. I really do. In fact, and this I just realized, I could probably be happy having a job as a laundress. I think it would be extra wonderful if it were at Downton Abbey, and not some dingy place like, say a laundry mat. Yes, I see myself in the lower half of Downton, washing her Ladyship’s attire. In between the cycles of wash, rinse and dry, I read and write in my journal. I don’t have to make a living from writing because I have my living quarters there, and receive pay for doing laundry. A simple task, at least for me, which gives purpose and fulfillment, and is completley satisfying. Clothes are dirty. They are sorted. They are washed, and now clean. Folded, smelling good, and put away- and then more laundry accumulates. Does anyone relate? Or is this just me?

Does not matter- because I love doing laundry, and as I shared my love for this satisfactory task with my daughter, she says, “So laundry is your safe purpose.” Yes. By God, it is. “But,” she continues, “what is your dangerous purpose?”

I love doing what I’m doing, but while I’m doing it, I’m miserable. ~Viola Davis

That would be writing, something other than a blog post, which is another safe purpose. Over  7 years of writing them, I have learned how to compose a blog post, and in an instant I can publish. Satisfying. But, a book? A screenplay? A children’s story? Then, not only do I have to write it, I have to edit and submit it, and seek publication, and an agent, or e-book it, which I don’t want all my books to be e-books. Arduous. Can I just do some more laundry, please?

You have a talent that none of us have. Just find out what it is and do it. It’s doing nothing that’s the enemy. -Sybil in Downton Abbey

But, I am not a laundress, except every two weeks for my family of four. And unfortunately (and fortunately), something else has been put into my heart to do. An itch, that won’t be satisfied until I do it. When I sit down to do it, it’s often excruciating. I look for exits. Something easier. What I have in me to give, even in an attempt to give, looks weak in comparison to how I feel it inside, therefore I’d rather keep it inside. Hold it. But it itches, and it won’t stop. It wants to be freed. That dangerous purpose, wants to be realized, and because it is in me, I am the only one to free it.

And then, on a walk I realize how to free it. My inspiration? A man with a mop bucket. He’s working, and I envy him. He has work to do. It is work, which gives purpose and makes life full. No matter how long a process, to complete, or short. No  matter how internal the work is, or external. It’s work, and I have lots of it to do. Laundry, and writing and who knows what else. To work satisfies the itch. To not work, as Sybil so suggests, is the enemy. It simply is, just time to move into that dangerous purpose, and work.

To get me started, I have a tip that might work for you too, and it begins with a question- could it be, the impulses I receive in a day, are clues about the work that is to be done for that day? If so, it is time I not just listen and take notes about those impulses- it is time I act upon them, and see them into completion. ***Beyond this, it is time to put the fantasy away- the image I have of me as said writer, writing, happily and consistently as a livelihood. The more I work, the fantasy becomes weak in comparison because it cannot not offer what is truly at the heart of wanting to be that writer- which is to help. To share honestly, and as one commenter said, to do this, and I quote her: “You articulated many thoughts I wasn’t even aware I was thinking.” This is why I dare to move into that dangerous purpose.

***These last few sentences were added after the “rejection” of this piece. Maybe with them, it would have hit that “sweet spot” they look for that combines spirituality and creativity, and it could have been published. The timing of the rejection was ironic, but of course perfect. I was just finishing up yesterday’s post about finding my voice, which I think does hit that spot, when I saw the email come through, and I immediately became anxious, but did not allow myself to read it until I accomplished the post, and shared it. I needed a victory, because somehow I might have known I was getting the old, thanks for your submission, but I am afraid….song and dance. I was not as elegant and strong as I thought I might be. First, my heart races. I am mad. I want to vent. I am angry. Bitter. Want to lash out and defend myself- what do you mean- me not writing spiritually.? I send my husband a text. I cry. This is all in 5 minutes or less of time. I turn off Pandora. My head is down and I ask my question from the last couple days: what can I embrace now?  It turns out I am embracing this post, and the last words, the editor said to me: “That this piece didn’t come together for me is neither here nor there. Keep going.”

He’s right it is neither here nor there. I will keep going. Unfortunately, and fortunately I have to. #theartist’slife.


The Soul Reporter


Where the Magic Happens

Today’s Soul Report: Further Embracing

In times of frustration, creative or otherwise, ask- what can I embrace now?

Yesterday, I wrote an honest post about my creative/work struggle (click here to read). My ending question was: what can I embrace now, until I’ve had enough- enough of the puppy’s paw on the nail- enough of the pain of my frustration?

I had no answer until I walked out of my front door, red umbrella in hand. It was raining and I had to pick up my daughter. Being carless since the accident, it is one of life’s mysteries and blessings, that her school is within walking distance. Now, one could think it was not one of life’s blessings, to have hail fall once I stepped out the door, as it did, but it soon stopped. Rain is not common in Southern California, so really how often do I have the opportunity to walk in the rain? I embraced it, and it was soft, calm, and in a strange way, purposeful and delightful.

There was something else I had embraced after I wrote that post, which was less obvious until it occurred to me this morning. While talking to my father on the phone, I embraced a rather embarrasing, yet persistent impulse, which was to ask him if I was a good writer. You know, those “singers” on American Idol who can’t sing, yet their moms and dads tell them they can, but they really can’t- was I one of those? But more than this, my little girl wanted to know- Daddy, am I good at something? Validate my purpose and talent, daddy.

And he did. “Yes,” he said, “you are a good writer.” In a way, the sad, neglected, little girl needed permission to do her art, and dad gave it. At age 39, his words brought a tear, and liberation to move even deeper toward me.

This is not to say, we need this validation to do our art. I’ve written hundreds, if not thousands of posts, and essays, unpublished, with no validation whatsoever, and in some cases we might not ever get this from our mom or dad or whomever would feed this most for us. But, what I am observing, as I push more and more of myself forward into some sort of artistic and helpful expression is, to bring all of who we are to it. This is where the magic happens. Where we speak deeply to others, where we feel the most alive, and at home.

When we do create something, what makes it move people beyond just the giving of information or our art, is when we put our whole self into it, and not just a part of our self. Especially, the part who thinks she should do it a certain way in order to be liked. To move, and be in the fullness of that creative current, that indestructible life force, is to bring our whole self. I’ve suddenly noticed how people write. I notice a certain generic style and this is fine, but I don’t notice a voice. A person inside the message. The life force vibrating within it. This is not necessary for us to learn or even be inspired, but maybe it is to be moved. Really moved.

We went to a screening last night of a movie that will be out at the end of March. It served the purpose it had- it entertained in the moment. It was funny at times and had interesting images to be taken in by, but once the lights came on, it was over. The movie did not linger. It did not stay with me, and this is fine. But the movies, which do, like Shawshank Redemption for me, lingers, and continues to teach me, and often shows up when I write. Rumi’s poetry lingers, and does more- it awaknes and enlivens. Once, on a cloudy Minnesota day, I sat outside and read an entire book of Rumi poetry. When I was done- my insides were swirling as it is said he did- the whirling dervish. In a way, I felt high. His magic literally moved me. It went somewhere deep. It’s rare, but it happens. And I guess as I write this out, I see this is the instrument I want to be. No small order.

My daughter who is an actor, admires Meryl. Yes, cliche- she is one, if not the greatest actress of our time, but not only does my daughter admire her, she wants to give what she gives. But she, will admit, wanted that yesterday. That’s the perfectionist. That’s the ego. Someone asked my daughter, what Meryl was doing at 19.

“Meryl was going to school,” my daughter said- and so is my daughter.  If we continue to keep that desire within us, and allow that intetnion to move us, it will begin to reveal itself. We will begin to see not a copycat of Meryl or Rumi or whomever, we will begin to see ourselves. Our essence will be within what we give. Not just in our art, but to every person and experience we meet.

This is where the magic happens.

Once we find our voice, which means after some time and probably with lots of practice, a personality or a style emerges out of all the parts of our self. I had no idea the last seven years blogging was not about being followed and getting comments and having my blog turn into a book. What it was really about was turning a journal writer into another kind of writer. To turn my insights and stories outwards, first to practice so the reader understands, and than to find a style, a self- I did not even know was there.

That little girl, who I have often denied, who needed to hear her dad say, she is a good at something, can now be brought into the mix of what is me. The less afraid I am of all the parts in me, the less I resist and deny my parts, wholeness arrives and embraces the fullness of creating, loving and living, and that paw is gently removed from that nail.

Listen to Adele’s words in this video, from AmericanVogue 


The Soul Reporter

Little Bug

Today’s Soul Report: Help is on the way

I helped save a bug. An itsy-bitsy one. I was outside, filling up the dog dish with water, when this tiny little bug flew into the water. In an instant it jumped out, dry, as if never wet, ready to fly. But then, maybe the wind blew, and it fell back in. This time , I thought, it might not make it out, so I helped it. I put my hand in, trying to flush it out. It landed on my finger, and after a bit of wobbling, it flew away.

Why did I help this bug? It’s spirit. It kept trying to live, and keep going. It inspired me to assist. My insight from this tiny experience- someone might see my spirit, and lend a helping hand (toward my desire to be a published writer). If not, at least I know I keep going even after being thrown in a dog dish full of water, which often happens- not literally of course.

Sometimes life feels shitty and yet somehow I remain committed. My bet is we all do. Maybe this is the miracle.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting. ~The Buddha

Keep striving, no matter where you are. Help is on the way.


The Soul Reporter

It Takes Time

Three weeks, 49 days, and countless hours and my book proposal is finished.

At the end of the road, freedom. Until then, Patience. ~Buddha

At the end of the proposal road, I was running out of patience. Sure, I had the kind of patience to wait in a cold, school resource room while my daughter takes tests. I’ve the patience to wait while my daughter gets water, shuts down her computer, looks in the mirror, picks out her clothes for the following day, and adds three blankets on top of her when I’ve asked her to go to sleep for the past hour. But- where was the patience to get through the last few steps of my book proposal?

I guess now, it does not matter. I concluded. I got all the way through something. I am proud and I am hopeful. I am also scared the baby I just birthed will be rejected. But, I let her go and I wish her success. I surrendered for three weeks, 49 pages and countless hours, into that place many refer to as the zone. At first, the process exhilarated me and I could not wait to return the next day, and then I burnt out. I wasn’t excited anymore. I wanted to be done. This is when I lost my patience.

When I am not patient, I force. When I am not patient, my main objective is to conclude. When I am not patient, I do not listen. Yet, I wanted to be at ease. I wanted to be content in the process. I wanted to listen, and respond. I wanted to be patient. And I persisted.

I began to see the layers of the work and if I wanted to honor them, I had to do more than just paint a background. I had to add detail, structure, depth. In a sense, I had to express me in each moment. This took time.

The layers within us and the tasks we set out to express, cannot be ignored. The depth cannot be denied. It’s a process. A journey. It can’t be rushed. It won’t be rushed.

We do this by knowing there is a consciousness alive within the layers. We listen. We respond, and we move it out for others to see. We succumb to the patience the layers adamantly, but respectfully request. To do so, it is guaranteed to be a lesson of sight- to see the richness in taking our time. To see this is the only way to truly live. To be within the layers. To see and experience the depth, which is in everything.


The Soul Reporter

Getting Into It

A bit of a rant: Attention Writers & Artists of all kinds

It seems to me articles and books for aspiring writers (books and articles I read since writing is my chosen art form) often aren’t speaking to that genius part in us- the literary great, which resides within. Instead they, who are usually writers who have already published, write to the part of us that worry we will never be published. The part that wants to be good enough to be published but might not be or if so, has to jump through a hundred hoops, that they now know about, to maybe squeeze in the very tight publishing door, the door somehow they were able to squeeze through- and I am sure it is because they knew somebody who knew somebody who was somebody (or so they say that’s how it really happens).

I just saw an ad for a writing program offered by a well-known person in the writing/self-help world. The program costs thousands of dollars.  Somewhere in this advertisement, had I not skimmed, it probably guarantees success. I’m sure it works too, but I’m not going to buy it. In fact I am not sure I am going to buy any program like that. I may not even read another book or article about getting published or how to build a platform.

Why? Because I’d rather be writing. My days of gathering information, and worrying over why I probably won’t be one of the “lucky” few who have success, are over. I’ve heard author, Elizabeth Gilbert speak a few times about her success from Eat Pray Love, and I’m always annoyed by her response to her success. She speaks of it like some kind of fluke. It’s disheartening. Not encouraging, but that’s her perception. Or at least how she presents it publicly. As an aspiring writer, I want “them” to speak to me that everything is possible and not that I have to just hope my book too will be a fluke. Speak to me as if I am that genius. Stop speaking to me as if you are now the expert who might know better than I…..but just like I never understand why parents are angered when the olympic swimmer smokes pot or any other athlete who does “wrong,” because their children see them as role models, these published writers don’t have to hold up to my ideals either.

There are so many layers to a wish come true; to a desire of the soul. Everything must align for that “perfect storm.” All necessary energies and desires present. Divine timing and readiness of the writer. It’s a lot more than what those books and articles tell you. It’s included. But there’s more. And if this desire is in the soul, and the soul desires to permit the desire, than the being within the soul shall certainly have it, and quite possibly more than ever imagined. Call me naive. Tell me I’ve no clue because I’ve no agent. I’ve no published book…..


There are many telling us what their secrets are and giving advice when we didn’t ask for it, and information was not meant to dictate to us how to live or publish or whatever, but simply add something new or maybe show us what we don’t add, and I dont care what well known expert is dictating it either. We have our own expert available to us, and we can become conscious of it. It is our SOUL.  It knows us and only us. It works for us and only us. We can go there even if we don’t know where there is.

Now I’m going to go get an agent. Why? Because in my soul I know it’s time to find someone other than myself who is  going to believe in my work and work for my work. And until I find that person or if I don’t, that person will continue to be me.

Today’s Soul Tip:

When we are truly into our art, we are into our art. We aren’t reading about what we should do with our art, or how to make our art, or about other people’s opinions about our art. This IS the best place to be- within our art, and where that art takes us, and where that art wants to go, we listen. We watch. We obey. In this way NOTHING is ever a fluke. 


The Soul Reporter

And They Shall Make Art

We make art to survive and thrive.

Yesterday I wrote a post, where I thought while reading it, may seem harsh, but it is from my experience, and as Tina Fey says, “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

I did my thing- and I had fun dammit. Later in the day my daughters and me (is that the right use of me? I never can figure that one out) went to Yogurtland, than to Starbucks for tea. A man was drawing a boy who sat near him at another table. To look at him, you wouldn’t think he was an artist- he didn’t wear a beret or have a funny little mustache, but there he was creating. I thought- maybe art is what we do here to survive this thing called life. I took my thought to my daughter, up-and-coming-actress- extraordinaire, and she said, “Mom that isn’t original. It’s been said before.” (When I am famous for my wisdom, she shall humble me.)

“By whom,?” (is that right use of whom? I can’t figure that one out either and if I am going to be published soon, I had better) I wanted to know.

“Mom, I have been surrounded by artists for five years. We talked about it.” In which I replied, “Oh, well I am surrounded by myself and I figured it out with myself.”

Anyhow, this all said, I think it safe to say art is going to be my therapy. That may be drawing wearing a beret, or writing a post that makes people unfollow me. Okay there was only one who said this of my post yesterday- “wow, u r arrogant…and unfollowed.” (Did they spell you and are right? I don’t think he or she will be published anytime soon.) And further, beyond art, I am going to be less judgmental (except of that person who unfollowed me) about what anyone does to survive this life. Even the kids who stole UPS packages from our neighbor’s front stoop this past weekend (on a Saturday in the daylight(I said less)). The pressure of life made them do it, or of peers- either way it is fucking pressure to live on the planet sometimes (probably when we aren’t going with the flow). But as we have been told, and maybe some coal miners have witnessed, pressure creates diamonds. And I am definitely in the rough and I do feel pressure and so I shall make art….

And in case, you couldn’t take any wisdom from me (I am a no-name), then hear this from Oriah Mountain Dreamer from her published book, What We Ache For:

No matter how far we roam, we always need to draw inspiration and vitality so we can go out into the world again. We must inhale to exhale, must receive what sustains us if we have anything to give. And the more practice we have at finding and recognizing what feeds us, the easier to venture from the familiar into unknown territory.


The Soul Reporter (& Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

>Where is She?

>I had a dream I kissed her.

Who I kissed was me, but a messier me. 
Her hair was in dreads.  Her house was a mess.
Nothing like the me I see.
But I like her. 
I love her.
My brain feels numb.

Am I alive?
A part of me is.  
A dull piece; 
A piece that exists to exist.
But I want more.
Where is the part that wants more?
Is she in the voice that says she wants more?
Is she the me in the dream?
Where else is she?
Is she in this poem?
Today you said you’re happy.
I’m happy you’re happy.
My happiness is somewhere tied up in her.
Where is her expression?
You tell me to trust her.
Stop driving.
Let my will and desires, that seem to keep changing be the driving guide.
Are these wills and desires of her?
Where is she?
Where am I?
A part of me feels dead.
Did her kiss awaken me?
If so, when?
When will she become alive in me?

>Small Thoughts Keeping Us from Big Things

>Today I wrote, and I wrote well.  It helped that I processed some of my doubt with my friends last night.  I told them of my recent blog- I am Not A Performer, and what happens to me each and every time I get to the page and today I began the process of birthing the head. I have been in labor for at least four long years with this book, and like a frightened mother with control issues, I didn’t want to let it g0- even though I really did. I figure once the head comes out and I am pleased with its face, the rest should slide on out with ease and become a fully formed baby, which I will be ready to share with the world. You do know I still talking about my book here, right?  

I am a much better mother to real children than I am to my books. I have been so controlling with them, not giving them a lot of space and movement.  I have held them still and stiff, trying to contain something that feels almost too big for me. I remember an editor telling me it is like I am trying to write the Bible.  I think anytime writers talk about spiritual things, like I am doing, it feels big.  The energy often feels like it is coming from some place else, the concepts seem huge and expansive and yet we have to filter it all down to a nice, pretty package of about 300 pages with chapters and sub-chapters. 
I am in the puzzle phase- where I feel like I am faced with a million piece puzzle on my desk and I have to sort through each piece and make the pretty picture that is already there.  Today I bounced around with the border pieces, trying to build the frame or in this case the foundation for the rest of the book.  
While talking to my friends last night, I told them the thoughts that come up when I sit down to write.  I watched one of them today: who do you think you are. You are not that smart, so what makes you think that you can write something so intelligent. You just aren’t worthy. 
Last night when my friend Theri told me how talented I was, immediately the presence of my father sat on my left shoulder and I could not take what she said inside of me.  Instead her words hovered around my outside and waited until I stopped listening to the words, apparently coming from my dad- You aren’t good enough. You aren’t special. You aren’t worthy of writing.

I love my dad. He’s great and has become a great supporter of me, yet now that I am doing what I thought I could never do, the beliefs and old energies of my childhood are coming through. But they are only small thoughts.  They are not worthy of me or what I am here to do.  In a sentence- they are not worth my time.  And before I write each day I tell them so, and then I observe them as they fly on by trying to get my attention.  But they won’t get it when I am writing.

>I am Not a Performer

So much of where I have ‘failed’ is when I believe I must perform. I am not a performer. I am actually not a do-er.  I am a be-er.  A whisper of substance:  Greatness does not come from doing. It comes from Being.  Now that I ‘got’ this, I have no interest in doing, especially not in trying to be something I am not.

When I sit down to write ‘the book’ the writing never flows.  Why? Because my mind thinks it is ‘on’ and time to perform.  No, I now say. I have nothing to perform.  There has been great conflict inside of me because deep down I know there is nothing I have to do to be more than I am already.  I did not have this conflict in my earlier years because I wasn’t putting myself out there- into the world like I am now.  Instead I was inside of my self, dedicated to the adage of ‘know thyself.’  And why did I pursue this?  Because I wanted to feel good, and I didn’t, and I wanted to help others and I wasn’t.  
This deep desire to feel good, serve others and to ‘know thyself’, led to years of “soul excavation;” years of being with myself, allowing the internal awakening process to happen. Then the desire to move out into the world increased in intensity.  It was time to come out of myself and share what I learned.  But who would I be?  For some uninvestigated reason (at least for now) I believed I had to do something special to be someone else.  How could I just be me when the world didn’t want that.  I hold no degrees.  I have had no job. I just worked with me, and the experts out there look so polished and put together. They speak so eloquently. I am just kind of, well- me.  I don’t have fancy words or phrases.  I don’t talk in cute little sound bites.  I have struggled with my elevator speech, but who would believe me unless I sounded like the expert?  
Then, to even get out there I have to market myself- what is my tag line?  What is my title? How will I get anywhere? Who will know my brand?  My writing even took a hit and lost its depth.  The publishers and agents want to be sold.  They want a lengthy book proposal stating my target audience (why would I want to exclude anyone when my book is about unifying), the book’s competitors (why would I want a spiritual book to compete?), and my platform- do I have followers? How could I when I have spent the majority of my time learning about myself and taking care of my kids?
It feels good to get this all out because frankly, my friends I don’t care about any of it anymore. It isn’t me.  It never was.  I don’t want to market and brand myself. I don’t want to sell myself to you. I have no desire to be the expert. Simply, I want to share myself with you in the hopes that it might mean something to you. If it does, you will want more.  If it doesn’t I am not going to convince you otherwise.  Does this sound passive? Will I earn a living being this way? Will I have a following?  Make a difference in the world- if I don’t sell you on all the benefits of me?  I would like to think so.
This blog post on this day intends to free me of me- of my critical, hard-nosed thinking- thinking that never fully came from me, but from a society obsessed with itself, thinking in lack- thinking, however, I adopted because of a deep insecurity that said I am not good enough just being me- it isn’t enough.  But I am enough.  I AM.  
I AM is being. There is freedom in knowing there is nothing I must do to come alive and thrive. I AM alive and I am thriving (even if not a lot of people know my name). From aliveness comes birth- manifestations of many possibilities- all to encounter and embrace.  
Leaving you in the Space of I AM,