A friend tells me life equals pain. I say life equals love. It’s all in the focus of attention.
I got a call from an artist friend, all upset and depressed and crying because of recent world events.
She said, “When I look at how the world has gotten, I think why bother with making art anymore? What’s the use? I feel like giving up. What the heck good does it do? I’m just throwing paint on canvas and who cares, even?” Continue reading →
A lament for the delicious mainstay of almost every lunch and dinner since childhood. What have they done to my beautiful fruits???
My tomatoes love their marigold companions that keep the aphids at bay
I adore tomatoes. In a perfect world, I’d have a godzilla-sized garden with way too many varieties that would produce way too many tomatoes to be able to eat them all, and they would all be big, juicy beautiful organic juicy deep red, orange, or yellow or weird-colored globlets of rich juicy flavor.
Did I say juicy? Mmmmm — savory succulent juices drooling down your chin and dripping off your arm as you set your chompers into one and allow the earthy scent and luscious flavor to fill your mouth and swamp your tongue and rise up and smack your brain with ecstasy…
Annie and I allowed ourselves to face the debilitating beliefs we had about ourselves, money, and business. Here’s what happened.
How green your garden grows, without all those weeds!
Not too long ago, my buddy Annie and I got together on zoom, and did some inside work on our relationships with money.
Hahaha — no, we weren’t going to get a divorce from money! Quite the opposite, in fact, since we had both already been at some distance to the green stuff for most of our lives. We wanted to attract and be stewards of more of it.
Neither of us is a spring chicken, so we decided it was about time we added a little prosperity gravy on an otherwise very thin serving in life.
I suggested that we pretend that we both had hundreds of thousands of followers on medium. Because I’m fascinated with those who have 10K, 100K, even 300K followers. What’s that like? Continue reading →
We learn to hide the pain. We feel unacceptable. We learn to present happy faces, calm demeanors, soft voices — where what we really feel like doing is screaming until our throats rip apart.
Depression is a daily nightmare
That’s what comes to mind when I see people getting down on folks who write about being depressed and scared. Just be kind.
See, you have no idea how frightening it is to feel so shitty and not know how to get out of it. People say to them, “get over it!” Well, you can say that until you’re blue in the face, but it doesn’t help. Believe me, if they knew how to get over it, they would! No one likes to suffer!
“Cheer up!” you say. “Get up and get going! That’s enough! Just turn it around,” you say. Oh how that hurts to hear! Don’t you think they’d turn it around if they knew how???
How we can drum in a new era of joy, peace, beauty, and love.
Purple Bear Drummers
I guess I’m still an old hippie at heart. I look at what’s going down in the world right now, and remember the 60s, and how the world looked upside down and crazy, then, too.
Out of that ‘bad’ time, men’s groups grew, shamanistic trainings flourished, women threw away bras and other restrictions that had been ingrained in us for centuries. Hallucinogens transported us to new awarenesses and extra-3D dimensions.
It was both a dire and a very, very rich time. I believe we are now at a similar juncture, albeit more dire by magnitudes than it was back then.
No matter the intensity, we have a choice.
We can buy into the directed narrative, and ignore the increasing urgings of regimented realities that our respective, unrespecting govs are trying to foist upon us; or we can stick our trusty middle finger up and say, ‘nope, not going there.’ Continue reading →
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick to death of people telling me what I ‘should’ buy or ‘should’ do. Use the Law of Attraction! Do this technique! You should eat green! You should stop eating sugar! Use this technique to get more clients! You should…you should…you should!
NO! I shouldn’t!
And I won’t, either!
In my experience, the Law of Attraction is mis-marketed. It was a huge trend a while ago. I noticed that people who didn’t quite understand the workings of it were giving out incorrect information hand over fist, and it made me mad. Because if used right, it does work.
First, it’s not a law, it’s a principle.
And second, you have to add appropriate Doing to the Dreaming — taking real, concrete action — or it doesn’t work. Something most LOAers forget to tell you, if they even know it. Continue reading →
You wouldn’t have gotten the idea to do what you do, and then the idea to share it with others, and you wouldn’t have been asked to write a book if no one cared, if the Universe hadn’t conspired to get all those people to say to you ‘you should write a book on that!’
Kailua Winners, Setting Out from the Boat Ramp
ARE YOU AN AUTHOR?
Today a friend I have been coaching, helping her to write her book, emailed and wanted to postpone our session for tomorrow morning.
At first, I was OK with it. I started to check my schedule to see how I could shuffle some things around to make way for her session.
Then I got mad. In truth, it would have been just bloody inconvenient, both for me, and the people I’d have to shuffle around.
And then I got sad. This woman has a wonderful process she uses that helps people get more food out of their gardens. It’s so simple, and right now is the perfect timing for what are unsettling days ahead of all of us.
Each time she postpones, or slacks off, or falls into self-doubt, what happens to her book? What happens to the folks who want/need that information? Continue reading →
I had deeply internalized all those negative, destructive messages and made them into my own beliefs that >I< was a failure, that >I< was the one to blame, and that >I< would ‘never make it’ –
Sedna, Queen of the Seas, who never once failed her Soul…
I attended an intense marketing workshop for women artists a while back. It made me cry. It put me right smack dab up against the years and years of deep conditioning about being a woman that I have railed in futility against my entire life.
I absolutely loved everything about that workshop. Because the instructor pointed out that it wasn’t our fault that we didn’t do well marketing our art work.
Because the instructor pointed out that the system was set up against us, just because we were female.Continue reading →
On a larger scale, there were a couple times I’d simply not be driving anymore. The first time that happened, I about lost it. How did I get home, sitting at my kitchen table…
Loving the riding and loving the falling!
There are times in my life when my entire mental/emotional/physical system goes on dizzy-mode. It started in the early 90s when I was living in New Mexico.
When the dizziness hits, I have to stop whatever I‘m doing, or pull off the road, or halt a conversation I‘m in, in order to simply not collapse and fall down wet-noodle-kneed right on the spot.
The world in front of me sways and swirls. Sounds get muffled or distorted. My skin tingles. At first, the worst part of it was an inner twisting sensation. Not awful, but frightening.
The first few times scared me out of my wits. I thought there must be something really wrong with me. Was my eyesight failing? Did I have some kind of brain injury? Was my mind (finally) unraveling? Continue reading →
I threw out all of the first and second stage work — it was horrendous. I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to have to suffer seeing those designs on even his underwear.
Healing Hands on Broken Birdie
In January of 2021, I took a plunge and enrolled in an intense 3-month long course in surface/pattern design.
In case you don’t know, surface design means creating designs for fabric, tiles, stationery, wallpaper, wrapping paper, table coverings, sheets, duvets, place mats — anything flat. And clothing, of course.
By that time, covid had destroyed my coaching business — evaporated right into thin air. No one was wanting graphic design work, or my guidance in writing their books. So I decided that, if I liked what the course was about, I would dedicate not just the three months, but the entire year to doing surface design and only surface design. This was a really big deal for me, since I am heavily multi-disciplinary. Continue reading →
It’s so easy to offer glib platitudinous directions! What makes it OK for one person to tell another what to do, be or have? I think we ought to just shut the heck up and stop telling people what to do.
Have you noticed how business coaches, spiritual teachers, gurus and guides, coaches and trainers all constantly tell us to ‘be yourself,’ ‘come from your heart,’ ‘speak your truth,’ ‘follow your dream….’
And we swallow that. We even welcome messages like that.
We are so used to being instructed what to do with our lives that we allow others to tell us what we ought to do!
Sure those ideas can be wonderful positive ones, but we don’t see how sneaky those orders are!
You know those moments where an absolutely exquisite moment of silence descends upon a space before everything erupts into chaos all around you?
Rescued from the Fire
It was 1966. I was 21. I was new to California culture, having lived back East up until then. I had come to stay with my aunt and uncle in San Francisco after I divorced my first husband.
Eventually, I landed in Santa Cruz. Those were the hippy days — lots of pot and acid almost every day, UFO sightings (yes, we saw lots — and no, we weren’t high when we did see them), and the beginning of the rampant development of the crafts. That’s when I became a potter.
My BF at the time decided to introduce me to his favorite Japanese restaurant. I was excited — eating Japanese food back East wasn’t common, so I had no clue what I was getting into. Continue reading →
Sitting like a little kid, with her legs straight out in front of her, she was shock-white, with glazed- eyes seeing nothing. The webbing between her left hand first finger and thumb …
You Are My Only One
My mother and I got into a huge argument during my senior-year spring break. We disagreed so vehemently that after three days, we were still at a ragingly fierce stand-off. The tension between us was so tangible you could pick it up and chew on it.
She and I were usually pretty tight, so to have her at such an emotional distance was devastating.
On the morning of the fourth day, on a whim, I asked if I could go with her to that day’s job site — she was a well-respected horticultural landscape designer. Continue reading →
One day about a month before she left the planet, she turned to me with such a galvanizing look that I felt my feet suddenly get cemented to the floor. If I’d wanted to pay attention to anything else, I could not have.
Journey of the Soul
I’ve always said I’d be a psychologist if I hadn’t trained to be an artist. My family is full of them — my mother, her two sisters, and their daughters were/are all artists, although only one cousin and I do anything commercial with what we create.
If I had not fallen into the here’s-some-paint-go-have-fun-dear trap, and wanted to do something else, they’d all have keeled over in absolute shock. Continue reading →
The secrets every last one of the characters carries are all starting to dribble out, with horrifying consequences. Everyone’s true nature is being revealed.
Freedom in Broad Daylight
I’ve been watching a fairly new show on Amazon called POWER.
You have to know that I don’t watch TV. Not EVER. So it’s pretty near miraculous that I even heard of this show, much less deigned to view it — much less all nine episodes so far!
It’s an excellent show.
The premise, as I have shared before both here on medium and on my blog (angelatreatlyon.com/the-real-power), is that girls are getting a bizarre awakening of power: they can shoot electricity through their hands.
Soft little arcs of pretty zingy light jumping from one finger to the next, or electric power increased to the point of electrocuting someone.
Images flooded my panicked mind of internet police coming to Get Me and Punish Me, hoards of angry women descending upon my house and doing Bad Things to me, being banned from being online forever….
Friends Help Friends…
The first time a customer complained to me and told me she was really upset about trying to buy my first book, I got really upset, myself.
This was 2002. I was barely beginning to learn how to market my art, classes, and books online. Using computers was no biggie — I’d been into them since 1985.
But marketing? Whole new world. Scared me to death.
Remember, I’m the gal who was so shy I virtually never spoke out loud in public until I was almost 20. So to think about talking to people about my work — or heaven forbid, selling — put my entire nervous system into a massive dizzying tailspin. Continue reading →
I guarantee you that if you do not, they will hang around and expect you to do and pay for everything for them — just like you have their whole lives!
The only monsters are the things we don’t communicate
Because my parents were so tight-lipped about money, I had no idea the sacrifices they made for all of us. No. Idea. My three brothers and I all went to private schools. All four of us went to college — art school, in my case. (Yes, private school. I was so glad to get away from home!)
Did I have one single iota of a clue what that cost them? What they had to do to cover those expenses, year after year as we grew up?
Not until way, way later, when it was far too late to say thank you, thank you, thank you — for caring about our futures, for doing what it took, for going without so we could have. Writing this is so hard. Shame and tears. But that’s done and gone. Got to move on, right?
One of the problems that exacerbated my naïveté was my dad’s panicky behavior around discussing money. As soon as the very word slipped past any of our lips, it was hammered into oblivion: “We don’t talk about money! It’s nobody’s business!” So, we just zipped our lips. And our minds.
Helloooo! Can you see how naive I am?
After I had walked the stage and received my high school diploma, I went home and crashed. More than tired — I felt as if some demon had sucked all the life out of me. I awoke next morning frozen to my bed. I could move, but the effort it took was as if I was single-handedly lifting the Empire State Building. Not gonna happen.
Somehow my mother convinced our family doctor to come over and do a house call. After examining me, he looked at my ma and announced, “Mononucleosis, Mrs. B., bed rest for the summer.”
On nights with no moon, if you looked over the side into the water, the waves the hull made as it glided through the pitch-black water frothed up thick, sudsy lines of brilliantly glowing neon-blue phosphorescence.
Under the Surface: the Mystery
I’m no singer, but I can kinda carry a bit of a tune, so I brought my 8-string tenor ukulele with me on our cross-Pacific odyssey. I was thinking that I’d have lots of time to practice a few chords, and maybe memorize some of the Hawaiian songs I’d learned at Kaua’i community center classes. When it was James’ watch, I’d go sit on the bowsprit and study, strumming and humming.
Eventually, astonishment for what I was doing — the grandest adventure of my life at that point — the incredible presence of the vast ocean, these life-changing events — all combined and detonated something in my brain that came out of my fingertips into words on paper that I then stuck strange musical sounds to.
I’m not sure I’d call them songs, really, but it was fun trying to sing them and trying to make them work right. James didn’t like how I sounded, so I figured I was getting somewhere. He was such a pill about it by the last week of the trip I put the ukulele away. Maybe he was right — they certainly weren’t award winners.
One moment, sunny sweet skies — the next, the Mother Hulk of a demon storm with hideous, grotesque grey-green and black clouds pelting us square on with sheets of ice-cold rain. We were hard-put to keep our footing, being tossed around by gigantic heaving swells. I could hear the planet saying, ‘it’s ain’t over yet, you puny humans.’
Yummy yummy yummy…
You know about the Doldrums, right? Officially, the area known to sailors around the world as the “doldrums” is the ‘Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone.’ This is the windless belt of ocean around the earth near the equator where sailors sometimes get completely, utterly, desperately stuck. Boats with no other way of propulsion than wind can be becalmed there for weeks. Some never make it out.
Because of the earth’s rotation, the ITCZ shifts locations season to season, so it’s impossible to plot from afar on your sea chart. Oddly, each one has its own weather.
Every day as we sailed along, James plotted our course. Today, he thought he had plotted our way around the Doldrums, according to the latest weather and ocean-current reports.
But somehow he must have miscalculated, because there it was right in front of us, in all the beauty of its glassy, flat, windless sky-reflection. Continue reading →
I struggled to sit up, holding my head on with both hands. I couldn’t seem to stand, so I slid off the bunk, and inch by inch slowly creeped on my hands and knees over to the box….
Cruisin’ with my buddies
It was a hot mid-August, 1984, just a few months before my 39th birthday. At the start of the month, as a representative for the Hawaii yachting association that held a trans-pacific race from California to Kaua’i every two years, I had welcomed ‘James’ and his son, a father/son team, who had come in second in their 31′ yawl* in the double-handed (only two people on the boat) race from California to Kaua’i.
*A yawl is a two-masted, single-hull boat. The first mast is the main one, holding the large mainsail. The second, shorter mast is located behind the steering wheel, almost at the end of the boat. This particular boat was a double-ender, meaning it had two pointy ends, not just one in the front, like most boats.
I met and greeted them when they came in, helped them tie up and secure their boat in their berth at the dock, and helped them unboard. We worked together to empty their supply containers, carry gear, trash, and dirty laundry up to the docking station, where everyone was busily dumping, meeting, greeting and celebrating.
After two weeks on the water, they still had wobbly sea legs, so we went slowly on up to the club house. Continue reading →
Despite feeling so insulted and so enraged, and so helpless to do anything about what had happened, I also knew I had to, could, and absolutely would, change How Things Were.
It Takes Two to Tango
After I got home from my sailing-across-the-Pacific journey, I spent a good amount of time cogitating about what I wanted next in my life. The kids were back home, school was starting, and I was back at work as a (not-very-good) sales rep at the art gallery in Kapa’a.
I had to acknowledge that, while things were OK, they were just that — OK. I wasn’t feeling happy, excited, enthusiastic, expanded.
I asked myself what I’d have to be, do and have, in order to say, “yes, I’m happy.” I realized that thoughts and feelings had to come first.
It isn’t ‘I have this, so I can do that, so I can be/feel a certain way.’
It has to be ‘out of who I am, I do what I do, and receive what I receive.’
I’m not one to fill the space with a lot of talk or jabber — I’m really happy just sitting with someone in a companionable silence — there is something sublime and sweet about just BEing with someone you love.
I was astonished — I didn’t remember ‘screaming bloody murder’! I said so, and he laughed and said, “Yep, you sure was, and boy was it loud, yeah man!” Huh.
SAM. Likes shiny things.
The second time I was raped was a far cry from the first. Looking back, I count what happened to me that day as a stroke of incredible good fortune for myself, and a completely out-of-the-blue show of the amazing solidarity of a community in its endeavor to maintain peace, and its deep-seated intolerance for violence and cruelty.
I was 17. My first year at Parsons School of Design. My father had loudly lamented sending me there, telling me, “You’ll probably just get married and spend your life making babies and washing dishes, and give up making art anyway, so why should I go to the trouble of paying for this expensive school?”
If he meant that as a joke, it didn’t ride. Our family’s forté was the say-the-reverse-of-what-you-really-mean thing, so I never really learned how to tell if someone was speaking the truth or not. I still struggle with that.
As an example, instead of telling me I looked nice in a new dress, he’d say, “Too bad your ears stick out — kind of detracts from how nice that dress should look.” Gee thanks for the kind, supportive words, Dad. Not. Continue reading →
Granny made it very clear that she was disowning me because she thought I was a ‘sex maniac.’ Those were her exact words, conveyed with a contorted look of appropriate horror by my father.
When I was a little kid, my dad’s mother would come stay with us. Granny. The one whose middle name, Treat, I carry.
I couldn’t stand her. She smelled like Eau d’Oldde Peoplle. And she made this weird little sucking-in warbley whistle sound whenever there was something she disapproved of, but wouldn’t speak about.
This image is how she appeared to me then. Looking back now, from the perspective of someone who is the same age she was then, I think I might understand more.
She wouldn’t speak up about things she didn’t like because my dad would shut her down. Never in front of us — always in another room. I heard him one time — it wasn’t pretty. So she communicated by sucky-whistle, or one of those high, wobbly hoity-toity voices as she asked us to do something we didn’t want to do. Her voice sounded like she was in one of those old-timey movies. Continue reading →
…his voice was deep, gravelly. For some odd reason, I felt like I could totally trust him, so I told him I was just back in town, 54, no place to live, sleeping in my car, yadda yadda. Him nodding, listening, focused, kind.
OLIVER: Sees You
September of 1999 was stifling hot. I had just returned to Santa Fe after a summer stint back east, house-sitting for my dear friend, Cynthia, out on Long Island. I hadn’t been able to find a place I could afford yet.
I did find a little secluded glade I could park/camp in, down by an arroyo hemmed in by cottonwoods and brambly brush, on the edge of town. It was just big enough to park my little Kia and have room to turn around in.
Fortunately, I found work doing ad design at the main local newspaper, so at least my dog, Io (pronounced EE-oh), and I weren’t starving.
One evening as the sky wheeled through its usual brilliant show of cerulean blues, purples, and fuchsias, Io and I came out of our little hidey-hole to go for an evening walk. It was earlier than usual, so I was cautious about anyone seeing where we came out of the weeds. Camping out in your car as a lone female was not safe in that area, so I practiced safe space. Continue reading →
When I drew this, I was focusing on the white part so much that it wasn’t until later that I saw the funny blue face.
I particularly like this one because it’s so silly (Silly really ought to be my middle name), and so obvious … but not. I bet if I hadn’t said anything, you wouldn’t have focused on just the blue part, and you wouldn’t have seen the silly face.
It’s a great metaphor for our lives — we go forward with stuff, and a lot of tangential events and other things happen, and it isn’t until later that we realize/see it. Continue reading →