How to Listen to a Woman.

Until you give her the attention she’s vying for,
She cannot feel validated.

Turn your eyes toward hers.
Look into the endless well of unmet needs.
See the shards in her heart where
Listen to me! screams.

Look deep. Listen hard.

Pet her chaotic temperament and
Tame her mental tantrums with
Pure presence and no intention.

Look into her eyes.
Listen to her story.

Like giving medicine to a
a crying baby,
You have the power
To soothe her.

This isn’t about you.

Or becoming
Her friend.

It’s reminding one soul
She is worthy.

It’s overriding the instinct
To dismiss or disengage
Because you can’t contend
With the childhood rage
That reverberates in her energy.

Because we believe we need to fix.
(Just like men.)

You shake your head.
You don’t like this girl.

Is likability the sole criteria of a
Woman being welcomed—and if so,
Isn’t that just your subtle way of silencing?

Isn’t that the very action—
The nonchalance of others—
That throws you to your knees?

Or makes you fight
Like a caged raccoon?

A girl needs love.
Even if she’s 33,
Talks loudly and speaks of
Masturbation.
Makes you cringe.

Just know, you have the power
To continue the cycle that
Has her spinning.

Your subtle little putdown:
“Do you meditate?” reveals
You’re trying to make her
SHUT UP.

You are. But, she cannot.

She needs to be heard. Validated.
Accepted. Loved.

Like you. Can you do for her what
Other women have done for you?

Can you listen in the way you claim
To want men to listen?

You—collectively—women—me—us.
Can we authentically listen
To each other?

We talk. We empathize.

Yet, we often compete to share our stories.
Me,too! is necessary and true.

It’s time to speak. We validate
Ourselves by owning our stories.
AND
We help wipe away the tears
Of unworthiness when
We listen.

With our eyes.

How to Surrender.

“Surrender is an active endeavor.” ~ Sarah Entrup

I’ve surrendered twice in my life.

According to Yogapedia, “Surrender may be the key to curing mental suffering because it directs the focus away from selfish desires and wants. It is in this way that the goal of experiencing unity with all can be achieved.”

In 2011, I said, “Whatever it takes, God. I want to write.” Thus began my journey.

In 2014, I surrendered to love in a way I never had. In the past, I’d given myself to love and fought for love.

Surrendering freed me, like the physical stance of arms wide open.

The other night, in a container of radiant awakening women, I surrendered to my great love again: my writing life.

I surrendered my book and its revision, landing an agent, and getting published. I surrendered my blog and my financial striving toward making money from my writing.

Surrender doesn’t mean giving up. It means setting my deepest desires into the hands of God/Goddess, angels and guides, and welcoming divine magic to take the burden of struggle from me.

No matter my ego’s insistence, surrendering isn’t quitting.

When I surrender, I trust all that’s beyond to lead me to places I haven’t found on my own. To the alter, I bring my map, plans, dogged persistence, and predetermined pictures of outcome.

I imagine my writing life like hummingbirds I’ve been seeking. Surrender means a new, clean, bright red feeder I fill with fresh sugar water and hang outside my kitchen window.

Surrender is a new invitation, rather than piles of expectation.

I’ve lived in this home five years. Here, nature serves my eyes the delight of bright red cardinals and yellow finches. With my dog as their starting whistle, I’m entertained by squirrels racing and leaping from our deck railing, flying to tiny tree branches like a high wire. The woods welcome me like my own living room. And oh, the deer!

On a walk the other evening, my sister and I gazed at a mama and her spotted twins lounging behind our yard. Such ordinary bliss.

But, hummingbirds? No, not one in five years. We hung out a feeder before. Nothing.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a new feeder at a farmer’s market. How could I go wrong for $7? I reread instructions for the ideal sugar to water ratio.

Now hummingbirds, with their magnificent wings and luminescent green, hover at the feeder. They’re slower than New Mexico hummingbirds, as if they’re lingering.

Hummingbirds remind me my deceased mother, as she was enthralled by them. As their wings flutter, so does my heart.

They answered the invitation. I ‘d almost forgotten my reverence toward them.

Dictionary.com says reverence is: a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration, and the outward manifestation of this feeling.

With reverence, I surrender my writing life and career. I set it on the altar of the divine.

I ask for it to be blessed, cared for, and delivered into this world like a newborn baby.

May she grow healthy and be of benefit. As she does, may I delight in the joy of her creation.

I continue to fill this new bright feeder with words. I surrender my gift, but not my desire to give it.

 

What are you here to teach me, Grief?

What are you here to teach me, Grief?

Life is precious and valuable. You are strong and loved.

You can handle anything, but you’re not in control.

Trust. Dive all in—to the love, the joy, and yes, the grief.

Release the fear, pain and guilt.

Let it all flow through you. Transform.

Become new. Become more you. Over and over again. Live a life of metamorphosis.

Release the old tricks and tools that no longer serve. Stop grabbing.

Be good to your body.

Suck the marrow out of life. Take time out when you need it. Be true to you.

Honor your pain, sadness, heartache, and outrage, but don’t become them.

Learn. Forgive. Love. Hope. Pray. Cry. Laugh. Write. Dance. Read. Listen.

Appreciate. Accept. Honor. Share.

Life rolls out in seasons. You hating winter doesn’t make it any less cold.

If you’re still here., it’s for a reason. Find it. Live it. Love it.

Open to new possibilities.

How Miracles Arrive.

How Miracles Arrive.

“Hope is believing in spite of evidence, then watching the evidence change.” ~ Jim Wallis

I didn’t realize I’d been holding my breath until I saw the breaking news of 12 boys and their soccer coach saved from a cave in Thailand.

I hadn’t followed the story closely. My heart couldn’t take it. No more innocents dying!

Over the last several years, our hearts and minds have taken in and pushed back on school shootings, a political arena that resembles the WWF, grown-ups fist fighting and flinging flagrant disrespect, suicide rates soaring, police involved shootings (both as victims and perpetrators), hurricanes in Houston and lead-contaminated water in Flint, white supremacy rising, everyday people getting dragged off airplanes, children being kept in cages, a friend’s mom dying of painful cancer… My heart screams no more!

I want to turn off the news, but as citizens today, we can’t afford to be complacent.

A society gone astray stirs up chaos in our individual and collective hearts.

In this environment, it’s increasingly easy to be frenzied or even flip out on someone, for something as minor as having a meeting at Starbucks. What?!

At first, each incident seems isolated, but it’s all a mirror of the society we’ve created, or the one hatched while we watched The Bachelor.

Shootings in schools, theatres, and nightclubs reveal more than one crazy individual.

Like the one running our country with lies, corruption, and the master manipulation of a reality show king. To those who continue to point to the clothes they insist the emperor’s wearing, there’s nothing to say.

We’ve lost the art of discourse and taken on anger, violence, and disrespect as if our Constitution reads not, “We the people,” but, “You people!”

Here’s how it actually starts:
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Tranquility, provide for the common deference, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Amazing! Yet, no matter where we stand, disappointing news arrows into our hearts, filling the American diet in a way we haven’t seen in decades.

So, today I happily focus on this miracle of people from around the world coming together for the sake of these children.

Today, I focus on the miracle of people from around the world coming together for the sake of the children.

Can we focus on the miracle of coming together for the sake of the children?

 

How to Be Like Kevin

Kevin Fire! Lentz died March 4, 2016. He was my friend. My boyfriend. My beloved. He was a badass and together we were crazy, sexy, cool.

Call. And call again. Take the calls—even when you’re driving to dinner with your girlfriend and looking for a parking space. Take the call, especially if it’s your dad. Not because he’s 85, because he’s your dad.

Connect with people. Laugh. Let your funny be infectious.

Don’t be a hater. Speak your mind.

Apologize when you screw up. And mean it. Move on.

Own your anger. Be forthright, but be gracious.

Love women. Really love them. And music. Listen to music-LOUD! Especially the 80s. Hard rock. KISS.

But, take Etta James and the candles. Yeah, bring that old boom box to the beach. Play the game Washers.

Read. The Bible when you feel nudged. Take pleasure in reading.

Find your favorite author. Kevin’s was Lee Child, but he also read Mark Twain, JR Moehringer, and Alice Lundy.

Give people nicknames. ICE! ICE! ICE! Let it be your way of honoring them.

Pray. Out loud. In the morning. While drinking coffee and watching birds with your girlfriend.

Say, “I LOVE THAT!” often. Say, “I love you.” Write it. Bring back the art of hand-written letters.

Send kids’ Valentine’s Day cards with love to friends and family every year.

Enjoy good food. Make memories of meals, like cooking Chilean seabass at home or taking your lady to the high-class, like-you’re-in-Italy Italian Tony’s, where you used to go with your mom.

Also go to dive bars, like Villa Nova.

Bring home Taco Bell sauce packets that say, “Marry Me” and “Team Fire!” Present them like a bouquet of flowers.

Seek love. Be romantic. Be real. Dance.

Follow your passions and applaud others.

Take care of your business, but don’t be so serious. Make work fun. When it’s not, refocus. Readjust. Decide what you want and go for it.

Change. If you want to. Become better.

Be at peace with yourself. Take care of yourself. LOVE YOURSELF. And especially, BE YOURSELF. Kevin was totally himself, not imitating a soul.

Be emotionally courageous. Say: This is how I am. I have a temper and I can be selfish, but I’m the man for you.

Yeah, be a man—in the best sense of the word.

Support your team and Diva’s team and your people.

Show up. Be on time. And have some style!

LIVE your life. If it ever comes to your door, kick cancer’s ass!

Speak a unique language with your brothers—one your girlfriend couldn’t understand if she wanted to.

Make your cousin a brother and make the word brother mean something.

Give friends and family the value they deserve.

GO ALL IN. Whatever you’re doing: sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, sales, wooing a woman, loving your mom, hanging with friends, frying fish, developing relationships, telling a truth, listening… damn, Kevin could listen.

He could talk, but he could really listen.

Open doors. Pull out chairs. Hug. Hold your partner tight throughout the entire night.

Kiss too hard and love like this is your last chance and you want to get it right.

Buy little gifts. Don’t expect so much from others. Give because it makes you feel good.

Tell stories. And make them entertaining!

Hang with your boys. Be wild when you’re young, but never grow old.

Get out of the house. Travel, but spend time hanging at home, just chillin’.

Be like a kid, but be a man. Face life head on.

Be like Kevin, but you can’t. There was only one.

So, be like you. Be the wild, weird, wonderful you.

 

The Spirit These Times Require.

So, my dear,
you’ve learned to cry.

Not just reactionary tears,
earnest ones born of
your brave heart.

You see the darkness and refuse
to disrespect yourself
into denial.
Bravo.

Welcome to the juxtaposition:
No one asked you
to lay down
your joy.

Claim it again.
Be a warrior, enlightened.

To fight for light,
enter the darkness
dancing.

Let them hear your laughter.

Flash your smile
like a peace sign
as you pledge to do your part.

In one bucket, carry the problems.
In the other, the spirit with
which to transform them.

 

How to Release Worry.

“In release, we begin.” ~ Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Dear Worry,

Thank you for visiting, for doing everything you can to protect me from financial ruin and career failure.

Thank you for all the time you invested in my health issues. You’ve been busy!

Here’s the thing, Worry. You’re not actually helping. When you’re around, I rarely get anything accomplished. I waste too much time with you.

I know you mean well and are trying to help because you’re concerned about my future.

Would you be willing to step aside for a while so I can spend time with my other team members?

It’s hard to hear you’re not qualified to lead me in the direction I’m headed, but if success and health are what you truly want for me, I need you to step aside.

There may be other occasions where I call on you in the future. For now, your services are no longer required.

I’ve put together a new team with Planning, Follow Through, and Faith.

I’ll be spending time with them. When I’m not working with them, I’ll be partnering with Peace, Forgiveness, and Fun.

I just don’t have the time to be with you anymore, Worry.

This is a conscious decision, one you’ve helped me make by all the time you’ve spent with me. I know it’s not your intention, but you exhaust me!

I’m simply not able to spend my late nights and early mornings having endless conversations with you.

You tried to help me. I get it, but now it’s time for you to go. I’ve got work to do.

Thank you for your contribution and allowing me to grow on my own from here. We just can’t be partners anymore.

No, really. I must go, Worry. I want to go. I choose to go. I’m letting you go.

Just step off, Worry! Seriously, you’re holding me back and trying to manipulate me into discussing every little detail and then rehashing over and over. It’s not going to happen.

I can’t do this anymore. I need you to leave my home and my life.

Thank you and goodbye.

Sincerely,
Alice in Authorland