Category Archives: Inspiration

One Billion Rising


Butterflies © 2010 Maria Pace-Wynters

When I read about Eve Ensler’s global initiative to end violence against women and children, something stirred my soul and I cried. And not just for the women and girls around the world who have endured unimaginable pain and suffering, but also for my dear friends who are living (and some who are not) with the aftermath of sexual abuse. These wounds can be healed, but it takes a tremendous amount of work. How much better to put an end to this barbaric behavior by supporting the evolution of mankind. So tomorrow on Valentine’s Day, I’ll be dancing along with women in 197 countries. I hope you’ll join us!




In the Eyes of the Beholder

Hummingbird © Olechka

When we ask for help, the challenge is in recognizing the answer when it shows up and then knowing what to do with it.

I recently had a visual field test to explore the cause of a bizarre optical episode. Stationed in front of a humming machine in a darkened room, chin in cup, I’m instructed to focus on a bright pinpoint of light in the center of a black screen and to click a mouse-like apparatus every time I see a flash of light. The flashes appear to be random in size, placement and frequency. One has to concentate. A lot. At first it seems easy. A flash here, a flash there. Click, click, click. Then I begin to wonder if I’m really seeing the flashes of light, or if I’m just imagining them. I don’t want to miss any, but I don’t want to compromise the test with random clicks either. As I try to focus, my mind starts to wander: What am I making for dinner? What if there’s nothing wrong with my eyesight? Could I have a brain tumor? I hear the test administrator say, “You’re doing great. You’re halfway through–only 3 more minutes.” Three more minutes?! It feels like I’ve been sitting hunched over with my head in a vice for an hour. And there will be another six minutes to test my other eye. Believe me when I say that it was the longest 12 minutes of my life.

When the test was over at last, I started thinking about perception. And attention. Our experience of reality is determined by our beliefs. We see what we believe is real, what we believe is possible. And we need to pay attention to everything around us because the answer to our query may not show up in a way that we expect it.

Last month I was awarded 2nd place in the Hay House Vision Fiction Writing Contest and received  a self-publishing package from Balboa Press. But after thoroughly researching Author Solutions, Inc., the parent company of Balboa Press, I decided that I wanted to go the traditional route after all. So now I’m driving myself crazy researching the ups, downs, ins and outs of legacy publishing wondering if it’s possible to keep pace with all the mind-boggling changes in what was once considered a ‘gentleman’s industry’ and actually get my book published.

Yesterday I was standing at the bird bath having just flushed it out and filled it with fresh water pondering my future as an author. When I started my novel, a friend who teaches writing at Stanford told me that she would never have the stamina to write a novel. Stamina. That’s what I needed.

Lost in my reverie, I felt a rush of air against my face and heard a whir that sounded like the idling engine of a city bus. And there right in front of me, staring intently into my eyes was a hummingbird. I stood frozen, not wanting to frighten him, but then I remembered that nothing frightens these fierce little creatures. I told him to go ahead and take a bath, but he ignored my suggestion and continued hovering. After another moment or two, he zipped straight up into the sky and was gone.

I knew that Hummingbird is a harbinger of joy, but I wanted to consult Steven Farmer’s book, Power Animals, to see what the appearance of this guide meant for me at this moment.

“Know that the only true prison you have is your belief in your limitations. Let them go, and experience the abundance of love and opportunity that’s all around. It only takes a willingness to see it, taste it, and feel it.”

Thank you, Hummingbird! Now, it’s back to those queries.


Baby Steps

Onward and Upwards - © Angi Sullins & Silas Toball

Onward and Upwards – © Angi Sullins & Silas Toball

All the lost souls tell themselves to do the logical, practical thing and then they’ll get to do the thing they love later. It almost never happens. You have to tell the universe that you’re here to do it NOW, that you’re committed and that you’re going to make it happen and make it successful. And then every step you take has to be in that direction.”– Sue Frederick

After nearly two years of writing and researching and rewriting and editing, my novel is finished. This, I am told, is the easy part. Now the real fun begins: building a platform and getting it published. Then there’s the marketing, something that was traditionally done by the publisher but now falls heavily on the shoulders of the author unless you’re a big name like Danielle Steele or James Patterson.

But help may be on the way. Just before I finished my final edit, an email from Balboa Press popped into my inbox announcing a fiction writing competition. The grand-prize winner will be awarded a publishing contract with Hay House for the launch of their new fiction imprint, and the second- and third-place winners will receive self-publishing packages from Balboa Press. I scrambled to meet the deadline, sent in my manuscript, and last week I was informed that my book was selected as one of the 30 finalists. As you can imagine, I am very much hoping (and visualizing and praying and asking all my friends, relatives and even the most casual acquaintances to do the same) that my book will be selected for the Hay House contract.

This doesn’t mean I can sit back and wait until July 16th when the winners will be announced. I need to press forward, develop content and begin building my brand which involves creating a stunning website, producing a trailer for my book, and engaging in social media in a more productive way just for starters. And while I’m doing all of that, I need to begin the process of acquiring a literary agent in case my wish for a contract is not granted. Oh, and I need to begin writing my next book because this one is the first in a trilogy. I am overwhelmed to say the very least.

While my giant to-do list seems daunting, I know it’s doable. Before I began writing my book, I consulted Sue Frederick, an intuitive career coach. I was ready to close my photography repping business of 15 years and move on to the next thing, but I couldn’t quite bring it into focus. Sue saw me writing books, producing CDs, and conducting workshops that would inspire people to connect with their personal power, in short, building an empire like that of spiritual activist, author, and lecturer, Marianne Williamson.

WHAT? ME? I had yet to connect with my own personal power, so how could I possibly do this? Just the thought of putting myself forward as a paragon of spiritual wisdom, not to mention standing on a stage and speaking in front of a group–any group at all–nearly sent me into a panic.

When I recovered sufficiently to express my concerns, Sue assured me that there was nothing to fear. All I had to do was set my goal and begin to make my way toward it by taking baby steps. She even set out an ambitious plan which included submitting articles to holistic periodicals, getting certified as a life coach, and setting up a coaching business, all before beginning work on what she saw as a memoir/self-help book.

Shortly after my consultation with Sue, I took an online coaching course, but as much as I loved the idea of helping people, I couldn’t get myself to hang out my shingle. So instead, I turned my focus to the memoir and began organizing all the material I’d gathered since I started this blog. But I didn’t feel ready to take this on.

As I thrashed about trying to get myself to take the next baby step, an extraordinary thing happened: Another book began coming through–a mystical coming-of-age story about a girl named Selene and her reunion with her seven missing soul parts. Actually, the characters had been trying to get my attention for months–they had been appearing in my dreams and following me around during the day-but while I acknowledged them, I made every effort to get them to step back while I continued on with the program Sue had laid out for me. But the scenes playing out in my mind were so provocative and the characters were so insistent, that I finally gave in. I’d fallen in love with them and felt compelled to give them life.

And now here I am exactly two years after my consult with Sue, standing on a different springboard, ready to take the plunge and embrace my destiny. Arriving at this point seems something like a miracle, and while I have no idea how everything will come together, I really do believe that Sue’s baby steps are key.

*Dancing for Mental Health

The Dance of Youth by Pablo Picasso

The Dance of Youth by Pablo Picasso

A few months ago, I stumbled upon six guys dancing their guts out to wild African music on So You Think You Can Dance. I got so excited that I jumped up and started moving. And I promised myself right then and there that I would find a way to start dancing again.

DANCE had been at the top of my ‘to do’ list for years. But every time I even thought about dancing, my goblin appeared and provided a laundry list of reasons why I couldn’t do it. I was too busy. I didn’t need to dance because I was doing Tai Chi. And besides, I couldn’t possibly find a decent school; after all, I didn’t live in New York any more.

But after my reading with Dr. Steven Farmer last fall when he advised that dancing would help bring about the changes I felt coming, something shifted and I was finally able to give myself permission to do what I wanted to do.

All of a sudden, I had plenty of time. And a quick Google search revealed a dance school affiliated with a world-renowned dance company within walking distance from my house. Best of all, the school’s mission to provide students an opportunity ‘to re-connect heart and mind’ could not have been more perfect for me.

From the very first class, I was hooked. The teacher was so full of joy and passion that even though I hadn’t put my body through such a rigorous workout for a quarter century, I made every effort to jump and leap across the floor with the 20- and 30-somethings.

I’m not saying I succeeded. In fact, I could barely follow the choreography and my lungs were imploding halfway through the class. As I walked home – very slowly – every muscle, every sinew, every tendon – in short, every cell in my body was screaming, “What have you done? What do you think you’re doing?”

It was my goblin again. But this time I wasn’t going to listen. I loved the feeling of pure joy I’d experienced so much that I knew I had but one choice, and that was to put my goblin to rest and step outside my self-imposed prison.

Spiritual intuitive Colette Baron-Reid uses the term goblin to describe the shadow self whose job it is to keep us stuck in our current reality. When our intuition surfaces encouraging us to do something that would disrupt the status quo, the goblin does its best to keep us from paying attention to it. According to Reid, we can free ourselves from this entity by acknowledging it and transforming it into an ally.

This sounds good, but how do we do it? Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief : Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, and Miracles tells us that we have the power to change our reality with our beliefs. We’ve heard this before, right? But for those who need something a little more substantial, here’s the good news: this information is coming from science.

Cellular biologist and pioneer in the science of epigenetics, Dr. Lipton produced breakthrough studies in the early ’80’s connecting the principles of quantum physics and the information-processing systems of the cell. His research showed that the outer layer of the cell is the cell’s equivalent of the brain. This ‘cellular intelligence’ allows the exterior environment to operate through the cell membrane and to control the cell’s behavior and physiology. These discoveries not only challenged the established scientific belief that life is controlled by the genes, but also pointed to the power of the mind.

How exciting is that? If our cells respond to our thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions, it would seem that we can use our conscious mind to create health, happiness, abundance – anything and everything we desire. But this is possible only if our thoughts are in harmony with our subconscious programming.

Over the past decade, Dr. William A. Tiller, Professor Emeritus of Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science, has expanded the proof that human intention does affect physical reality. When we repeat emotional processes over and over, our brains create neural pathways that direct our behavior. Using brain scans, Dr. Tiller’s research showed that when we imagine something long enough and with enough detail and energy, new neural networks are created.

This would explain why meditation, visualization, and affirmations work. Simply making the choice for a change can work, too. If you’ve been yearning to do/create/try something new and you’re meeting with resistance, look your goblin straight in the eye and JUST DO IT!

*Thanks to celebrity portrait photographer and recording artist Lynn Goldsmith for the title of this post inspired by her self-help comedy album of the same name.


Source Lends A Hand

Figment © Angi Sullins & Silas Toball

Last night in the middle of my usual sleep-challenged state, I saw SMITHSONIAN in big black letters, all caps, on a white background. I had no idea what this meant, but I knew it wasn’t a fragment of a dream because this wasn’t the first time I’d received a nocturnal message consisting of nothing but a few numbers or letters. But it was the first time information came through directly in response to a request.

Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the breakaway international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, I’d asked Source for help sorting out my ideas for various creative projects. In her TEDTalk last year on nurturing creativity, Gilbert tells us how she challenged God when she “fell into a pit of despair” in the middle of writing her book.

“Listen you,” she said (and I’m paraphrasing here). “I don’t have any more than this. If you want this book to be better, you’re going to have to show up and do your part of the deal.” Well, I guess he did!

So the first chance I got the next morning, I Googled Smithsonian. Skipping past links to the museums (I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ it), I hit the link to the online magazine and within two minutes I found something I didn’t even know I was looking for: an interview with author Mary Collins about her new book on Amercia’s sedentary culture. This helped me in two ways: #1) it provided me with additional material for a post about the joy of movement that’s been marinating in my head for weeks; and #2) it helped me focus my attention on this particular subject and move it to the top of my list.

I’m not sure what’s at work here. But I don’t think we’re meant to tromp through life alone banging our heads repeatedly against the wall until we ‘get it’. As Gilbert and so many writers, artists, and musicians before her have discovered, help is available from the Divine if we just ask for it. The trick is recognizing the answer when it shows up and then knowing what to do with it.