Tag Archives: growth

A Post About Skin That Isn’t Really About Skin

I have a sunburn on the insides of my thighs because I went kayaking on the Cowlitz River a week or so ago and I didn’t think to put on sunscreen.

I think that fear of the sun is over-rated – what with being a pasty-faced white girl living in the dearth of Vitamin D that is the Pacific Northwest and all – also I still think of myself as invincible. Mostly,  I didn’t have any sunscreen and it was cloudy.

Though I don’t balk at ingesting whatever it is that makes the shelf-stable Cup O Noodle taste like food of the gods, I am loathe to slather oxybenzone et al on my body’s protective though permeable surface layer. “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body,” the maxim goes.

Cup O Noodle as sunscreen? Probably not.

Photo from wikimedia.org; creative commons license

So as I was sitting here watching Lynda.com videos on creating infographics and hiking up my yoga pants to get a really good scratch on my thigh, I glanced down and noticed that I’m peeling. Of course I’m peeling. I was sunburned.

The peeling spots appeared to be little circles on my skin, like really thin dried skin stickers kind of held on by sweat or spit or magnetism and yoga pants; but when I went to peel the stickers off I found that they were the holes in the otherwise intact skin. The positive and the negative inverted.

Hey, I’m as much a monkey groomer with bad depth perception as the next guy.

When we are in liminal states like identity clarification or financial unraveling, we hope the holes are little stickers that can be easily picked off, but it doesn’t seem to work like that. By the time we figure out it’s the whole layer of skin that’s going to come off, overwhelm and doubt can creep in. Being responsible for peeling off a whole layer of skin in one sitting is a big day.

So I think the trick is to realize that 1) sometimes not all of the skin has to come off -and sometimes more than one layer has to come off; 2) mostly skin heals itself when you nurture it with natural oils and aloes; 3) you can often be doing other stuff while you haphazardly scratch your skin when it’s particularly itchy; and finally, 4) everyone’s skin is different and heals in its own way and time.

Off to more infographic videos. Maybe I’ll make one about sunscreen.


Random Thoughts on Transition to the New Way

I got nothing.

In school studying journalism and each week’s assignments are blowing up my mind. Learning how to manage my creativity and workflow is something I’ve never really done before and I feel like a stranger to myself. Having to produce week after week in stretching, practical, technical ways is a powerful antidote to self-doubt. Keeps me too busy to think about the future, men, or logistics. Nose down, next step.

That’s not to say that I’m not filled with self doubt, but I think it’s from the debris field. Everything feels up in the air: how I talk to myself, what I expect from myself, what I want from my life, and how I engage with the world. I didn’t realize how insular I am. So very, very self-protected. Have had to be.

I think I am excited about the future, and hopeful, but I’ve never really felt that before, so I don’t trust it yet. Will be nice to get THAT behind me. You know: the feeling that I’m fundamentally broken and the next shoe is about to drop.

Talking to my sister about the other gender today. Told her about a blogger I heard about who took a year off to just date – no strings, no agenda. Just date.
“What did she come away with?” was her question. “Don’t know,” was my answer.

Not sure why the thought of dating seems so viscerally repulsive. I’m sure I like guys instead of girls, but at 45, the whole Pavlovian dating / intersecting rubric feels like a whole lot of slightly moldly bread. And who likes that?

Birthing into the Invisible

Precipitous leaps into inscrutable voids.

Letting go of the vines with right hands and holding out left’s, hoping to find other vines because:  BLINDFOLDS and FAMISHED TIGERS, milling below.

Burning Encyclopedias of Known’s for books we aren’t certain exist.

Sacrificing Destination on the alter of Journey.

We do these things when we decide to live intentionally.

What bravery!


I went to the gym today. (Pausing for applause and plaque engraving. K A L E Y)

I emerge from last year’s emotional hibernation by coping a la carbs (here you may clap again before adding a line to the plaque — because it wasn’t sex or overspending, drugs, alcohol, or gambling and that is pretty freaking amazing). The chub is more than I want to carry by more than I wish to confess.  But because I do want to get naked again at some point, I want it all gone now. But it cannot be gone now because today it is just the right amount of ‘goddammit’ to remind me that I may not be where I want to be in my journey, but I am here. Because of me. And that’s okay. I have access to a gym and I can walk and I made it through another volcanic year.

How I feel and carry myself when I am at fighting weight is probably kind of obnoxious. But it feels amazing and I want it back. Empowerment. Physical and existential strength knowing that I am the responsible manager of Kaley, Inc.

To create the me that I am, I am going to have to Birth into the Invisible.

Birthing into the Invisible means drinking water, eating protein, and walking even though the scale laughs. Fucker.

Birthing into the Invisible means that tomorrow starts clean for you too, no matter how many times you’ve ‘failed’. Or not even bothered to start.

Birthing into the Invisible means starting today to learn the tools of crafts we’d give our front teeth and favorite sweat shirts to have already mastered. (Like scenes and character development. Or goat husbandry.)

Birthing into the Invisible is much like wanting to pee in private but having three small children who Adore and Worship you and absolutely have to accompany you to the bathroom. Again. Because of love.

Birthing into the Invisible is the ten years of working your fingers numb with scales and riffs before becoming an overnight success.

Birthing into the Invisible is knowing that you can’t fail at birth. That sucker is coming out whether you get in its way or not. It is trusting the blueprint for LIFE that establishes inside you when you become pregnant with dreams. It is doing the next best right thing you know how to do. Sometimes that is just breathing.

Birthing into the Invisible looks like being glad you are ambulatory and can afford a gym membership — and drinking more water. It looks like being thankful for new beginnings which stem from oft inauspicious endings and believing that you are a wonder of Creation for simply being, warts and all. It looks like wearing your favorite sweatshirt as you write horrible obstacles badly for characters you struggle to infuse with authenticity — and not quitting. It is being grateful for flush toilets and unconditional cuddles from healthy kids. It is wearing callous with pride and being able to tune your own guitar.

We Birth into the Invisible when we don’t know what that means. When we’ve hidden behind defining ourselves by what works for everyone around us instead of listening to the voices of the characters we are put here to play and we finally come to our senses to step on stage.

This is how we do it.






Survival, Co-Creating, a Confession about Plant Life

Life comes with a ‘Circumstances outside our control that seem like complete bullshit but turn out to be really good for us’ feature. For this feature to be operational, we have to be able to view life as Co-Creators, and some of us must over-ride a Victim default .

“There are great survivors and helpless victims on the curve of human ability. Most of us are neither. Most of us fall somewhere in between and may perform poorly at first, then find the inner resources to return to correct action and clear thought.”

— Laurence Gonzales, from his book Deep Survival

I’m not going to lie: victim is a role I’ve spent time developing, though I don’t think I would have called it that. It felt noble… comfortable. A victim can be intelligent and idealistic, righteously indignant even. Victimhood keeps a person very busy: finding  sympathizers, spinning stories to keep the identity in tact, and drafting for rescuers can be exhausting. But there are significant set backs to victimhood which remind one of a yeast infection.





Sit with those for a second and feel their emotional impact…

Reading the characteristics of victim-hood makes me want to crawl back into bed and watch TV with a heating pad. I need my rest. But the concepts that make up co-creation fill me with HELL YEAH. Book outlines are forming. Maybe one I can sell online for $1.99 and begin funding my washer & dryer! From that to eBook girl. And then ‘how to become an expert in a month’ girl. I feel so energized, I may alphabetize my bookshelves after I get this all sketched out!

(It’s important to be able to recognize the nuanced transition between manic creativity and straight up OCD. It’s also helpful to recognize when you use writing blog posts to procrastinate packing.)

Moving from Victim to Co-Creator happens across the vast and messy matrices of our lives in a see-saw manner. Maybe we feel great romantically but we can’t get our shit together at our work; maybe our family life sucks bong water but we win awards for community service. Maybe it’s all clicking along beautifully but we know mortality is lurking out there. And sometimes it just feels like it all sucks bong water. (I’ve never sucked bong water.)

Victims use these times to verify the unfairness of life and probably blame God if the man or the government or the ex or the parents aren’t available. A cosmic game of pin the blame on the other guy. They might be passive and depressed or they might be active and destructive; either way, it’s not abundance.

Co-Creators know intuitively that deep soul gardening* is going on at these times, and they learn how to remind themselves of this as they do each next right thing. They survive and eventually thrive because they believe they are part of an expansive magnificence that has ample room for them to discover and implement and fail miserably and start over. Because they are part of something bigger than they are, co-creators feel safe to get outside them selves and truly participate in life as a creative process. They aren’t afraid of getting lost.

When we find ourselves in places we don’t like AGAIN, the journey from victim to co-creator is the only one to take.

Quite Possibly the Longest Sentence Ever Written about the Parts You Have to Wrangle to Become a Strong, Surviving Co-Creator:

These make all the difference: laying aside our expectations of how it should be for how it is actually presenting; acceptance that a rescuer isn’t coming — make or break is on us and our ability to get our shit together to take care of ourselves; a rational stock of available resources vs missing gaps; acceptance that all we can do is the next right thing; a deep belief that there is a plan for our lives, our feet are magnetized to the path, and that it is safe to step out in faith and do the next right thing.

So there is a plan, our feet are magnetized to the path, unexpected obstacles are chances to grow new skills. It is what it is, and all we need to concern ourselves with right now is the next right thing.

Time to pack.


* Gardening is nowhere on my matrix. I buy plants only to kill them or throw them out after they’ve rotted in my crisper to the point that my need to rid myself of rot over-rides my guilt for wasting food.

The Sweet Spot

Not THAT sweet spot. The one where I am in a state of extreme gratitude for having lost everything. And when I say everything, I don’t mean a kid. I mean everything but a kid. And I don’t mean everything either in the sense of having to live outside.

Enough disclaimer: Here’s a list of what I’ve lost and lessons I’ve learned. There will be more perspective as time passes, but in terms of today’s gutcheck we have:

MARRIAGE: I miss the social acceptability of marriage but I like who I am on my own, my new friends, and I have a feel for what is important to me if I choose to share the journey with someone at that level.

HOUSING: From big house in the country to a one-bedroom apartment with three kids. Appreciate having lived in Japan where small is just the deal. I’m not defined by my stuff (stay away from my books, or I’ll eat your head) and I like setting up new spaces and new beginnings. My home is where my kids live with me.

STATUS: Separating my worth and identity from how much money I make or what position I have has left me bruised, bloodied, and gasping for air. How do I do a fix up project without my staff, my fleet, and my warehouse? But I depend on people more because I have to and this is putting a chink in my pathological independence. Still not comfortable, but I value my friends more — and have more compassion. The delusion that my resources define my worth will be a nice one to let go. Choices are vital to me. I will trade the uncertainty of creating my own way to have more autonomy.

FAITH COMMUNITY: Trading ‘neatly defined’ and ‘following expectations’ for living with freedom and abundance. I don’t like judgers and people who know what I should be doing in this new paradigm. I’m choosing a more creative path, and it makes people uncomfortable. I’m okay with that. My new tribe rocks. The intangible wealth that comes from struggle is largely under-rated. Permission to remind me of that if I start whining again.

Something inside me has changed. I passed the Mid Point on the ‘Life is Like That’ Continuum:


                        Life sucks, and I’m a victim                                   Life is full of amazing opportunities, and I Co-Create


Something I sincerely dig about myself is that some deeper intuitive part of me seems to make decisions for me that I know are in my best interest even when they don’t make sense to the fretful mask of me (quitting my job, trusting that I will make my way with writing). I’m going to honor that better part of me and start trusting her. She hasn’t led me astray, yet there are countless times that my fear and need-to-be-a-victim have sabotaged our forward motion. Just getting out of the way.

Having a text conversation with a good friend as I write this. “The whole thing of itemizing what used to be will forever prevent enjoying what you have now,” he writes. BINGO! He is a good friend.

Don’t think I would feel this alive if I hadn’t shaken it all up.  What I have now is pretty fucking fantastic. Take that, Dragon!


To the planting of culm…

This morning I aspired to greatness, so, smile clad, I hopped out of bed immediately, made a list, executed everything on it, and by 11 AM, I was making $400 / hour having a dramatic impact in people’s lives. By 4 PM I had that all automated, and by staying in the game until about 6 PM, I was able to complete some compelling content that will motivate generations to come.

Should be out in eBook by Thursday.

Said no one, ever.

Not because it can’t be done, but because it can’t be done in a day. Or by Thursday. And isn’t that just the rub? Greatness takes time. Also, I’m thinking maybe greatness is only achieved when the task is truly great.

(There are some things that would feel great but are in reality just really cool. Like me having a walk in closet will feel great but it’s mostly a personal benefit that won’t add substantially to the quality of my life–particularly when a rebuilt vintage Airstream with WiFi and a Sleep Number bed with virtually no closet would be equally cool.)

water the bamboo“When giant bamboo grows, it will rocket up an astonishing 90 feet in only 60 days… Typically, bamboo farmers will tend the plant for at least three years before they see any signs of growth. Do you have that kind of vision, faith, patience, persistence, and focus to achieve what you want?” — Greg Bell (from “Water the Bamboo”)

Greatness lasts beyond us. Greatness involves other people. Greatness is bigger than we are and it is outside of ourselves. Greatness requires massive tending before fruit manifests. There aren’t short cuts. Rain and sun and fertile ground aren’t optional, and you gotta plant a culm for the sucker to grow 90 feet.

To the planting of culm and the passing of one nurturing day after another.



Mastin Kipp on Getting the Dream Lived

Birthday gift to myself: watching this video and spending a day listening to what my soul has to say about where we go from here. Well, today was eating Oreo’s and playing Wii with the kids. Tomorrow is soul day.

While on that topic, this video is amazing. It’s all about framing, purpose, and integration. Twenty-seven minutes of gentle mindset reminders and hellz yeah!

Mastin Kipp on Living a Life of Purpose