Thursday, March 31, 2011

The meaning of life, panda-style.

What does it all mean?  My life... the people in it... my experiences... the yearnings inside of me.  What do they tell me about my purpose?

In a book I received from my sky diving friend in Key West,  I read the answer that I know has always been in me.

"There is only the search itself." 

As life intensity unfolds all around me, it is up to me to shed any fear I have of it and dive head first into the messes -- to get nice and dirty, and to experience the transformative power of sorting through it all.

I owe this philosophy to Irwin Kula and his book, "Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life," but owe my gratitude to my friend for sharing it with me.  I am in a thankful mess.

And as soon as I dive into a mess, I change.  By getting my feet wet in the knowledge that my desires have led me to investigate, my whole perception of the possibilities of this life changes.  I accept the "new me" as a part of the "old me" that just hadn't come out to play yet. 

And maybe "messes" isn't the best word to describe our dream scenarios, because as a whole they look like paradise.  It takes separating them into individual pieces that we must get a firm grip on before we can create the whole. 

That is where I am in this moment.  In the middle of a huge abstract puzzle.  It took all of the experiences in my life to get here.  All of the "I hope to someday"s and the "If I only had"s that brought me to this point.  I know that I am not the same person I was 10 years ago, not even the person I was 2 years ago when I first moved back to Kansas City, but I am so thankful for that.  I have the next 10 years to look forward to now!  And what better way to kick off my new mental moment than with a desire to filter through the messy world of publishing books?

There is nothing to lose.  I will gain more understanding, experience, and uncover talents that I did not know lay dormant in myself thus far.

It is with these desires, that all of our "oops" moments begin.  If we continuously lived our lives as "good girls" and "good boys" all the time, then that catalyst for change might never surface!  When we move forward on a fleeting moment of desire, all of the rules change.  Everything we have created in comfort -- our daily routines, the ease we create for others -- in turn sacrificing ourselves, and the resulting floating through life that occurs -- it is all holding us back from our transformations!  An "oops" moment may be just what the existential doctor ordered!  "Oops!" I did something for myself that made me feel better and it was different than anything I have done in years...hmmm, imagine the possibilities. :)

Here I stand, with Ms. Panda at my fingertips, being created day by day and used as a vehicle for my transformation.  My ideas swim like a school of fish through my head and I reel them in one by one, inspecting them, honoring them for feeding my conscious and then releasing them out into the world.  It is from my interaction with these new, fresh and slippery little suckers that I am changed. 

As for Ms. Panda, by continually feeding my desires into her and I am certain that I will inevitably merge my life with hers.  I will become the very hero that I have dreamed into existence.  Through her, I will be able to "go" places and "fix" problems in a virtual representation of the real world.  It is from the adventures of my avatar, Ms. Panda, that I will teach humans about our actions, the ensuing effects of them on ourselves and our environment, and how to create our own "oops" moments to challenge the accepted way and order in life. 

This, to me, is the meaning of life.   We never stop growing and learning and what we think we are now is bound to change, so don't hold on too tightly.  Let the desire flow through you, heck, let it be a flood inside of you -- for that is the only way you will ever muster up enough courage to release the fear and dive into the mud and the muck of your sticky desire.  Believe in the mud pie that you are about to create and go for it!  It is bound to be a fun time, even if no one will eat it ;)  That's just the point -- get dirty, have fun and learn something about yourself!

"Twenty years from now you will regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did.  Explore!  Dream!  Discover!" -- Mark Twain
Happy mud pie making :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Who is Ms. Panda?

As I was sitting down to write this evening, I came across a character development outline that I received in my Children's writers critique group.   I thought about filling it in with ideas for Larry Bear, but I changed my mind and started to do it for myself.  I mean, who do I know better?  And better yet, who can I draw from the easiest when actually developing my characters?  I didn't do it as an ego building exercise, but as more of an inner examination.  I am often asked to explain who I am, where I came from and what I am trying to achieve with this life.  I figured it would be beneficial to do a reexamination of just that.  So, here are a few of the things that I re-learned about myself:

1) I'm a Navy brat, born in Meridian, Mississippi, moved to: Jacksonville, FL., Corpus Christie, TX., Key West, FL., San Diego, CA., and Kansas City, MO. all before I was 12 years old.  I moved a lot.  I saw a lot.  I met a lot of people.  I still communicate with a lot of them.  I loved every part of it.  I left home at 18, destined to return to San Diego.   I studied journalism at Mesa College, studied abroad in Spain during the summer of 2001 and finished my BA in creative writing at Cal State University Northridge in 2005.  I lived in OB (Ocean Beach), San Diego, for most of my CA years and have a California license plate that says "MSPANDA."    

2) My nickname since I was 8 years old is Amanda Panda, simply because it rhymed.  The ensuing chacter traits, such as playful and cuddly, sort of just fused themselves into me.  I have an extreme amount of playful, creative energy and am always on the lookout for an outlet to plug into.  I also love to hug.  My dad always made me squeeze him as hard as I could when I was a kid.  I kinda became a pro-hugger.
I LOVE TO CUDDLE.  It comes out in many ways, like leaning my head on your shoulder, walking into your path as we walk side by side together, and pretty much just invading your space without any reservation, whenever, wherever.  People who know me well, or have spent a considerable amount of time with me will agree with this.

3) In astrology, I am a Pisces-Monkey-Ocelot, which pretty much says that I am deeply ruled by my emotions -- am intelligent, but I get confused easily -- and I have the ability to heal human relationships, or at least figure them out fully.  My numerology is a 3, which reinforces my enthusiastic nature, ability to inspire others and the fact that I am a born communicator.

4) I love to communicate.  I love people. I love learning. Everyone that crosses my path has something to teach me.  I listen and share. I love traveling and seeing new cultures and hearing other languages and accents.  I love words, like serendipity and copacetic and epiphany.  Some of my common expressions are: Love.  Just be. :). ((((HUG)))).    I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I'm very sensitive to other people's energy and cannot tolerate liars, people with crazy big egos and obnoxious noises.  I like to spend time with like minded life enthusiasts, because there is true value in the company we choose to keep for it creates our reality, good or bad. 

5) I need attention.  I like to be a charismatic leader and do great things, but I have a hard time doing it alone, or if no one else is there to recognize it.  However, when I am recognized for my work, I shine even brighter!  Positive recognition adds fuel to my fire.  Recognition can be as great as a tangible award, or as simple as a high five!  As long as it comes, I am a happy panda.  As far as drawing attention to myself, I've always liked to challenge trends and choose my expression of style without fear of acceptance.  I wear what feels right for daily events and I am usually met with queries of interest and/or nods of approval.  I definitely have my own panda style.

6) The thing I would most like to change about myself is my dependence upon others.  I always feel the need to have someone to lean on as a crutch, so that I can feel a sense of confidence.  It is my goal to become more self reliant by facing my fears that I am not adequate or worthy enough to be a published author and to educate myself in the areas that I wish to achieve success.  Currently those areas are publishing eBooks and writing using HTML, as well as attending venues to practice my spoken word and be my own master of rhythym and flow of language.  Then I wish to use that language while reworking/editing my stories, marketing them upon completion and teaching others about my cause, which is to leave this planet better than I found it.

7) Ms. Panda is easy to approach, friendly, generous, honest, positively infectuous, loving, warm, full of good energy and always smiling.  Some people are annoyed by it, because they aren't happy as easily as she is, but some accept her as she is and love and honor that special being in her.  She always wants to help and save the day by using the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction to receive the gifts that life will give when you live this way.  She is always there for others in need and will do anything she can to help them out.  If there is a crisis, Ms. Panda wants to fix it!

Hmmm...I smell a character coming on ;) 

Ms. Panda the bear
a reporter with blonde hair
Travels everywhere.

Ms. Panda believes
in helping others in need
and doing good deeds.

She goes overseas
to save creatures from disease
and man-made forces.

From there she reports
Situations of all sorts
And hugs to comfort.

Stay tuned for more... ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The "Pain" Pen

Sometimes I write my journal entries with a red ink pen that I picked up when I took my friend to the North Kansas City Hospital's Pain Management Clinic. They make patients fill out the "rate your pain" form with the red pen. Is it because the red color resembles blood? 

It certainly does to me and the emotions I am able to spill with the "pain" pen flow out as raw and fluid as if it were my own blood with which I was writing.  Well, sorta.  Not as intense, but it has an effect.

That is why tonight I write with the "pain" pen, as an ode to the suffering, for so many people on my path lately, strangers, friends and myself included, are struggling with our selves.  This is my ode to human struggles.

Everyone is suffering. Whether silently, or publically, we all have some pain stuffed away that surfaces when we hit a rough patch. Sometimes that pain is deep enough and strong enough to fuel a fire big enough to light up a pretty intense pity party.  This pain may come from a great personal loss or failure that has created a black hole inside oneself that no amount of attention, substance, or outside influence can heal. The pain must be dealt with mentally before a person can actually begin the healing process.

That is where it gets tricky.

People don't want to go through the emotional trauma again -- ever -- so they latch onto escapism and self medicating, which may create unhealthy addictions to people, possessions, substances and behaviors.

One person in particular, Charlie Sheen, has sort of become the model spokesperson for this exact situation. According to Charlie, he is "winning," but according to his father, Martin Sheen, Charlie is "emotionally crippled." Martin states, "when you're addicted, you don't grow emotionally. So when you get clean and sober, you're starting at the moment you started using drugs or alcohol." It is a valid point.

Yet, does it ring true for all addictions? Is a shopaholic or a person with a gambling problem trying to numb away a pain created by want for material needs that may have been deprived as a child? 

How about a sex addict, or a couple in an abusive realtionship? Are they just too afraid to be alone, or have such a low level of self worth that they are willing to risk health and happiness for a comfortable distress?

There's so much pain all around us all -- all of the time. Just turn on the news. There is an entire world of suffering going on out there. But the important thing is to not feed into the negativity!!!  Misery cannot survive without company!

Everyone lives in their own version of reality, created uniquely by their own experiences in life.
The most important lesson that I have learned in my lifetime is this:  

I cannot change what anyone else thinks, says, or does! 
Any attempt to control any of the aforementioned will leave me feeling sad, unworthy and discouraged.
What I do control is how I think, how I act and how I interpret the things that happen to me.
Its like the serenity prayer--
                "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
                 the courage to change the things I can-
                 and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."

In order to kick the pain and suffering that causes negative behaviors, we must get to the root of the pain first, and then drill it out like a cavity and finally fill in the dark hole with something positive.  And, seriously, who doesn't hate the drilling part?  Sometimes people avoid going to the dentist for years because they know it is that uncomfortable!

The only one missing out is You.
The only person stopping you is You.
The only person who can make it happen is You.
We need to maintain ourselves.  We are responsible for our own upkeep!

And the positive "filling" is different for everyone.  It can be meditative, like yoga, exercise, or taking up an instrument, or hobby, or it can be productive, like investing wholeheartedly in yourself, or your dreams -- whatever your thing is.

The question is, what is it and am I doing it now?  I think that by creating a positive "filling" before the "drilling" is finished, the process actually advances much faster! 

 Be the light that you wish to see in this world.  Others will see it and shine, too :) Smiles are infectious!  Make the choice to smile when you meet others, whether you are driving in your car during rush hour, or ordering food at a restaurant.  Others will notice. 

Peace on earth begins within you and me.  And sometimes the journey to that peace can be discovered by writing with a red ink pen.

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.

Robert Fulghum, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There's Always Two Sides to Everything

Being sick sucks. Everyone can agree with that.

But I will award it one thing: it is a time to catch up on sleep. And when I sleep, I dream, which to me has always brought with it a sacred clairvoyance. Through my dreams I can see into my unconscious and in many ways, the future.

When I wake from a lucid dream full of symbols, I consult my dream dictionary and journal to document the meanings of these vivid scenes. However, when the meanings don't always bare the news that I would like to hear, I can often feel disheartened. I, by no means, expect life to always be full of rainbows and butterflies, but when I dreamt of being in a traffic jam last night, I wasn't stoked to read that it meant I may be stuck in my waking life, too. Specifically, the traffic jam suggests a frustration that life is not proceeding as smoothly as I would like it to. Ok. I can see that. I can be impatient at times and now that I have set my goal, I definitely have more weight to carry with me.

I try to blog everyday so that I can build my audience, but I am afraid I might start to sound boring if I am not truly inspired to do it. That is why sometimes, I will write short poems, or haikus instead of longer blogs. I also set a deadline of my next birthday to be published by, which we all know that as you get older, time seriously flies and those days pass by like lightning. The one thing that I must remind myself constantly is that this is my gift. In order for me to develop it to its full potential, I must continue to practice it everyday. I must actively participate in the world that I want to be a part of -- by attending writer's groups and author appearances, reading other's blogs and articles, ect. And when I have dreams that illustrate my frustrations, I must also honor them.

However, there's always two sides to everything. As my day unfolded, I was reminded of this. In my dream, I was driving along I-35 south to Kansas, where I just so happened to have a writer's meetup group scheduled this evening. After sitting in the traffic jam for a while, I decided to detour through the city and found my way back to the freeway, passed the messiness. I did overcome the obstacle, but my dream changed settings at that very moment that I was to enter back onto the freeway. It was strange because I didn't ever make it to where I was going in my dream.

Now, the last time I had a dream that warned of traffic, I actually took an impulsive exit off the interstate and sat in construction traffic for 30 minutes! So this time I didn't discount the premonition. Then, about an hour before the group was scheduled to meet, I received an email that the presenter was under a tornado watch and wasn't going to make it after all! WOW! I knew it all along. My dream was surely a sign that driving there would be a journey with no meaningful end in sight.

Being blessed with intuition is one of the greatest gifts I have experienced as a human being. I get gut feelings, tingly goose bumps and obviously, vivid psychic dreams. However, decoding these messages isn't always the easiest task. Sometimes the symbols that appear are so random and far out there that I don't even consider them as a valid sign until they appear right in front of my face! There are no coincidences in life!

Dreams have many levels of interpretation and today I experienced that first hand. Although there are the famous Freud and Jung interpretation theories, there is also the intuitive stream of unconsciousness at work alongside the stream of conscious accounts of the previous day's events. All of these together make for a pretty amazing puzzle -- one that I am grateful to receive in my sleep and to witness it unfold in my waking life.

It is important to see the dream from all of these angles and to keep a positive frame of mind when the symbols don't always forsee happy times. By choosing the higher road, the earthly path presents far fewer traffic jams.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mind Walking

There's so much to say that hasn't been said,
So much to write that needs to be read.
So many emotions in front of me,
That come with living out my destiny.
My patience is weak,
I jump into this street.
The traffic is so thick,
I'm bound to be hit.
In the middle of the road,
I walk alone.
I close my eyes,
And trust in life.
This is meant for me.
This is meant to be.
I let it be.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Making the rules as I go...

Yesterday was my birthday. An anthem sounded through my head all day long, "31 and so much fun!"

As the birthday wishes on Facebook rolled in, these were among my favorite:

"And on this day...many moons ago...a wolf owl HOOTED...and Amanda came into being...and the universe paused for a moment to marvel."

"Bake in joy, wake in wonder, be you, you are Amazing...make us the it to it sweet honey pie."

And the love continued to pour in all day!!!!

Birthdays are the most special days of the year, because you get to be YOU and everyone celebrates it! It is the one day of the year when people are just thankful that you are alive, and they aren't there to change you or critique you. Oh, I shall bask in this glorious light for as many days as I can make it last! I only get to do it once a year, right?

Anyway, I had lots of fun, which began with writing my blog and marketing my Facebook author page, which actually worked! I increased my fan base by almost 40 people! And why not? There isn't another time (that I have experienced) when you get more traffic on your FB page! Score! :)

I rewarded myself for getting my writing done first thing in the morning, by juicing up a nice carafe full of fruits and veggies. The birthday special: one beet, three carrots, a handful of kale and collard greens, two oranges, an apple, a kiwi, some strawberries and a banana. Mmm Mmm! My nephew, Ryan, assisted me with the juicing as I loaded in the goodies and we sang the juicing song! Or rather, I sang it and he looked at me like I had gone completely nuts. ;)

That afternoon, I indulged myself with a visit to the Princess Diana exhibit at Union Station, my family in tow. The guys weren't as interested as I was, but they stuck it out!

Princess Di is such an inspiration to me and many of the words that have been written about her resounded deeply in my heart. Her brother, Charles Spencer, wrote that she was a, "unique phenomenon," a "glorious humanitarian," who had "intoxicating sophistication," a "natural nobility," a "sincere common touch" and "boundless energy."

And yet this woman was highly scrutinized in the public eye. Regardless of her amazing, selfless life work, Diana was still insecure and it is that humble side of her that truly magnetizes me to her. Charles Spencer wrote, "Genuine Goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum," and I thihnk that is so important for all of us to remember that as we battle the swift currents of social evils and fight our own good fights!

In the words of Diana herself, "I don't go by the rule book; I lead from the heart, not the head."

Such strong words from an intuitive role model and they also ring true to my own journey, as I now find myself choosing to either follow the rules of publishing Children's lit, or to just do it the way I hear it in my heart. It is all great knowledge to consider, but it is there just for that purpose: to consider. The final decision is up to the author! Amen!

After the Diana exhibit, we grabbed some delectable treats at Pierpont's happy hour in Union Station. By request of my nephews, we made our way back to the music shop that we stubled upon on Wednesday to host my birthday jam. This time, however, we gave our jam some lyrics and had an audience to clap for us! We left with a video documentation and sweet smiles on our faces! :)

When we returned home there was only one thing left to do: eat cake! My mother prepared fresh strawberry shortcake and I made a very focused wish as I blew out my candle. ;) My dad also prepared two chinese wishing lanterns for me to send up into the clear sky, and I happily wished twice more as they floated up, up and away.

As my birthday began to wind down, I thought about just how special my day had been. If the special moments of a birthday were practiced more often for individuals, they may lose their "awe" factor, but Geez! We sure would all be bubbling over with joy more often than not! ;)

Just sayin'.

I may have to start celebrating a quarterly birthday just to experiment my theory. So ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars, my next day to be showered with love is June 18th, 2011!

As for "Larry Bear," I began the story-boarding process, not based on any model, but on my gut feeling about how it should be presented. I saved a draft and forwarded it to my illustrator, who has been in Colorado all weekend for her daughter's Volleyball tournament. I accompanied the document with an email full of "Whaddya think"s and open ended statements, but expect that she will not have much time to write until the beginning of next week when she returns home to Florida.

This collaboration is a first for both of us and I suspect that our emails and questions will only be getting longer as we move along each stage of the process! Well, I say bring it on! Every ounce of energy I have put into this project comes directly back to me, magnified by its ability to change and grow and I can feel the FIRE getting stronger and the QUAKE shaking harder inside of me daily!

So, to close in honor of Princess Di -- we are writing our own rule book daily, and I look forward to sharing it with you, too -- to take it, or leave it, as you may.

As always, thanks for being along for the ride...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cheers to you!

Skateboarding gives me peace
when I see the way a rider has mastered his craft,
with grace, an amazing balancing act. 

The same way musicians get ya when they play
something great, that they have practiced and practiced
And those harmonies vibrate from your heart strings
All the way down to your feet,
Leaving you feeling light as a feather...

Softly, as my soul sings
Hallelujah to the sweet angels on earth--
Those who actually know their worth
And share this gift of self--
Life's true power of wealth.

Cheers to you!
For falling on your face, but getting back up.
For learning how to do it yourself.
For trying something new that has always been in you
For giving peace through just being.

Give freely!
Create peace.
Just be.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Birthday Blog :)

Today I celebrate my life.  I celebrate everything that has made me uniquely me.  I celebrate every experience and person that has come into my life, shaping my dreams and realities, pushing me to reach my goals, and teaching me to embrace every moment as if it could be the last, because we never can know when it will all come to an end.  And the saddest thing in life is wasted talent! 

Today I make a toast to all of my friends and family, professional network and fans (all 7 of you!) to continuously work on my talent, fine tuning it and putting it out there, all raw and juicy, for the world to see, feel and give back to me through its own reflections, interpretations and imitations.  You know they say, imitation is please, by all means, feel free to start speaking in rhyme and prose, whether in your Facebook statuses or in your comments here.  I DO notice when you do ;)

Today, I also see a time line.  365 days of the vigorous work it is going to take to make my dreams a reality!  Every day, an adventure through the unknown, unearthing new challenges and obstacles to overcome through knowledge and diligent practice.  There is much work to do, and it is all presenting itself to me now like a great brick wall that I can only climb one brick at a time!  My next brick? Editing and storyboarding for my illustrator to take the reigns.  I must map out my story onto separate pages and make sure that each page is a compelling concept that kids and parents will truly take something away with them after reading it.  As a perfectionist, this is going to be a very important process, as I only want to put my best foot forward! 

I have many of my favorite books to reread now with a critical eye and to take from them the attributes I loved the most as a kid and now as an adult. Some of these include: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and Oh! The Places You'll Go, Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand, Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, Janell Cannon's Stellaluna and other child empowering books that have preceeded me.  Are there any books that you guys think I should look at, too?  What were your favorites as a kid? 

I want to take from the best!  I strive to be better and to produce work that has true value to kids in the world today! Our earth, although it is the same core earth that it was created as, has been influenced by its inhabitants for many moons before us and many more to come.  These influences have changed earth just as our experiences in life affect us, but for our planet, these changes affect its chemistry and longevity.  My greatest achievement will be to provide young people around the world with the tools to change the current set of societal laws and make personal choices that will encourage a lasting and healthier planet overall. 

So...editing and storyboarding.  My NEXT steps on this ever changing journey into publishing my eBook.  I feel that this is MY year to make it happen!  Thanks to YOU for being with me on this journey, encouraging me to keep plugging forward and following my dreams.  I know that I couldn't do it without you! 

So, cheers to YOU!  and Cheers to me, too...
This book writing business involves us two!
The TWO of us doing what it is that we do.
So do what you do, and I will do what I do, too!
And our actions together will become the glue--
That holds this project together
Until the world can see it, too!

Happy Birthday to ME and Salud to YOU!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Love Potion #9

To me, family is the most important thing in life. So when my sister called upon me to help get the kids out of the house while she did some remodeling work, I didn't hesitate one bit.  In fact, I cut her off mid-sentence and told her I would do it.

I drove to my sister's house, loaded up my nephews and we took off to go play away the day.  A beautiful spring-like day, with a fresh breeze and sunshiiiiiine :)  We were so blessed. 

We had originally planned to go to Guitar Center and jam out, since Ryan, my youngest nephew, is convinced that we are a rock band that is destined for great things, including Hollywood.  However, among missing the Guitar Center exit we just continued along the I-70 into downtown with absolutely no agenda. Well, one agenda: food.  

And on a perfect day like it was today, there was no better spot than Grinders West in the Crossroads district.  We sat in the courtyard out back where they hold concerts in the summertime.  The rows of long picnic tables were pretty full, so we asked to share a table with a couple of hipsters, who were drinking beers and smoking Parliments with their Ray Bans disguising their faces.  It was definitely a unique scene for noontime on a Wednesday -- especially for a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old.  

After we ordered our food, we played a bean bag toss game in the courtyard,  and returned for more after we finished eating.  The sun was high and the bean bags were flying!  The boys really took out some aggressions on those bean bags, which I really think they needed, and I took the opportunity to write a little poetry in my pink Moleskin journal.

Michael, my oldest nephew, suggested we walk around a bit before leaving the area, and I knew that a little store was just around the corner.  We walked the block's length, dodging stagnant rain puddles and jumping over spray painted planter pots and old rickety picnic tables.  When we entered that store, with its wide open door, we were in music heaven!

The store is called Midwestern Musical Co. on 19th and Locust and is filled to the brim with old guitars, amps, radios, turntables, the coolest belt buckle collection I think I have ever seen, and nude art on the walls. The guy at the counter apologized about the content of the art, but I don't think the boys minded much! It's funny how we had planned on going to Guitar Center, but just so happened to stumble into the ultimate garage band breeding ground.  And the best part - there was a stage for us to jam on!

Ryan picked a guitar off the wall and Michael found a bass he liked and the guy plugged them in.  The boys played for a minute, and then I took over the bass and Michael hopped on the drums and we had a family jam session.  It was my first.  I have jammed with friends many times, but this was the first time with family, and although we have never practiced together, we sounded great! It was priceless.   As we were leaving, Ryan tried booking us a gig to play there!  The guy told us, "Yeah, get some songs together and come back soon!"  So, that's our plan.  Stay tuned...

The fact that we made it to a guitar store after all is a funny way of God showing us some humor.  Just like me, Ryan has a dream, and I know that in order for him to reach his dream, he will also need a solid network of people.  However, it is his "Ryan the lion" courage that took a giant leap and asked for a gig without a solid musical background that reminds me of myself.  There is much to learn still about publishing and playing guitar, but now for both of us, it will require hours of hard work, dedication and practice before we can enjoy the personal successes we seek.

Here's to reaching for the stars!  At least you touch the sky ;)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#82: Write five haikus on the same subject

Last summer I took a road trip to southern California and made sure to visit friends all along the coast.  The subject of these five haikus was a day when I reunited with two fellow English graduates that I had studied with at Cal State Northridge.  We walked to Venice with Lucy in tow and drank chai lattes while lounging in comfy chairs on the busy sidewalk in front of Coffee Bean.  

The first two haikus were inspired that night as we reminisced.  I decided to keep it going tonight since my dogs are such a huge part of my life and give me such strength and wisdom. 

Lucy in Dogtown
Don't look down, you might get lost
In the pretty dog.

Strangers greet her first
Her sweet innocence, a bridge
Good dog on my leash.

The chocolate croissant
That could be her end of days
Still she begs for it

When a dog smiles
I can see there is a God
And that God is love.

Writing in the sand
The message may wash away
But the moment stays

We walk to the beach
My good girls walking with me
All our tails wagging.

Canine soul sisters
Howl "I loooove you" at the moon
And dance to the tune!

California girls
Drunken, like the ones I find
Sippin' sweet sunshine!

Ms. Panda the bear
A reporter with blonde hair
Travels everywhere ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Mantra

"I am an internationally beloved children's author.  My work has been translated into scores of languages.  Millions of children and parents delight in my words.  I have a bookcase filled with awards.  I am now sitting down to begin my eagerly anticipated new work, which may well become the greatest thing I have ever written."

Yes!  YES!!!  YES YES YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the power of mindset.  It works for any field you choose! 

Sometimes, as in my case, it takes great friends or family members telling you that they have faith in your gift and what you have to offer the world. 

It was at that moment in time, when my friends so lovingly cornered me, that I began making writing goals.  I longed to experience the publishing process, so I originally started rewriting my family narrative, which my grandmother had left to me when she passed away.  I wanted to bind it nicely, and keep it as an heirloom to be passed down for generations to come.  I set my deadline for March 18th, 2011, my 31st birthday. 

I typed daily and saved the document to my little panda bear shaped USB drive, occasionally backing it up on my hard drive.  Well, one day I went to get the panda USB off of my key chain and it wasn't there.  All of that work lost!  25 pages, gone.  And only 9 pages saved on the hard drive. Bummed me out.  And even more scary, the USB had ALL of my other writing, including college work, poetry, stories and plays.

So what now?  Get back to retyping it? No way!  I was ready to start working on getting my OWN writing out in the world before some stranger did! 

I had everything I needed to succeed, right there, right then.  I just had to say I could do it.  I had to adjust my mindset.  I had to lace up my shiny new writing boots and get to trudging those thick, muddy waters immediately!

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win"  '
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

I decided to take the advice of a computer saavy friend, who suggested that I start a blog and publish my stories publically, so that readers could get acquainted with my voice.

That day was born.

By changing my mindset, I have since written a new children's story, Larry Bear and the Endless Sea, joined a children's authors critique group, started a Facebook author page:, bought the domain name, which I am eager to begin designing soon, and connected with an illustrator in Florida to start collarborations on Larry Bear

Ahhh...the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction.   It really exists. 

The task now is to stay focused on the new goal: To publish Larry Bear as an eBook by my next birthday!  It's totally achievable and I am excited to do it.  There are so many other stories in my collection that I will be hashing through with my critique group, so do not be surprised if I add some other projects to my timeline soon!

"Through our thoughts, we make the world."

Make it a happy place :)

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Float

Yesterday I entered into my first "float," an age old tradition commonly referred to as a deprivation tank, with hopes of achieving a wellspring of creative imagery and ideas.  I scheduled the "float" at Spa Tuscano in Braircliff Village and arrived feeling pretty tired and empty, for I was not sure about eating beforehand.  My hostess led me to the locker room to leave behind my belongings and there I ditched my clothes in exchange for the luxurious white spa robe and slippers they provide.  We then proceeded to a special room with three hot tubs geared for the Goldilocks of the spa world.  They were hot, medium and cool in temperature and each boasted a waterfall that cascaded over a huge boulder backdrop and down into the pool of water.  I was in hot tub heaven! 

Fifteen minutes before my float, my hostess escorted me to the lounge where I made some tea and ate trail mix.  She returned shortly and showed me to the room with the "float" tub in it.  She explained to me how to position myself properly and described a few different ways that I could go about my meditation.  The one thing that stuck with me was her suggestion to breathe deeply, inhaling positivity in and exhaling stresses out.

As I began my float, that is exactly what I did.  As I inhaled, I thought of positive images, like hearts, stars, rainbows and unicorns.  As I inhaled and cast out images of sad times, memories of pain and arguments with my exhalations.  I began to feel like I was pushing it too hard mentally, so I just concentrated on my breathing by counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 for each breath in and out.  I noticed a difference from yoga as I was able to expand my lungs to full capacity without the ground underneath me.  My attention became centered on places in my body that were feeling pinches of pain, mainly my lower back and hips.  Although I could feel my body releasing deeper and deeper, I was never able to fully separate my mind from that tinge of pain.

However, images did flow through my head: the number 4, an amazing swimsuit design, an idea to put all of the religious figures at the same table and open up dialogue, an idea about outer space travel and how to get kids to the moon without paying $500K.  But one image kept popping up - my phone.  I couldn't get it out!  I spend so much time on my phone talking and using it for networking, that I thought I could escape it for at least the hour that I was in my service.  Ugh!  I started thinking about my dogs a lot, too - and about taking them out to play.  Maybe I was feeling guilty for being inside on such a lovely day?  Regardeless, these images came to me near the end of my experience, so I guess I was ready to get back to life.

My hostess knocked, turned on the lights, and started the shower for me.  I felt surprisingly rejuvinated, not the tired feeling I had when I walked in the door.  However, I didn't feel like I had mentally birthed anything exceptional and was a little disheartened.  I realize that I will need to work through my aches and pains first to be able to fully get there.  I also feel that the first time doing something new is just cracking open the door.  I will need to go back a few times and feel more comfortable to really gain from it.  I also think I should focus on one specific idea, and meditate on it to see what my singular focus can summons out of my subconscious.  Lots to think about and some work to be done individually before returning.

What I did gain was understanding of the process and that for my individual journey there are some kinks to iron out.  I look forward to it though.  Growing is a process and even as a writer, not all experiences are shiny, happy ones.

Today, I continue my investigation of myself and my abilities by attending a workshop that is designed to heighten my senses and intuition.  Details about the event, "Practical Intuition: Beyond the Five Senses," can be found at:
As always, thanks for reading!  Have a great day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.

"Each day, accept everything that comes to you as a gift.  At night, mentally give it all back.  In this way, you become free.  No one can ever take anything from you, for nothing is yours."  ~Daniel Levin

Today I received an amazing gift from my unconscious.  It told me to take the plunge in life and I did!  You see, last night I dreamt of diving into a deep pool, which is interpreted as getting in touch with my own deepest of strata and the deeper I dive, the more magical the gifts.

Well, today I joined a Children's Writers group and since it was our first gathering, we ended with some extra time.  The facilitator called for a writer to share a piece...

I thought immediately about "Larry Bear" and had my blog address bookmarked in my Droid, providing easy access to my work!

I rallied the group's attention and read my new story aloud for the first time in front of anyone other than family and friends.  I took the plunge!  I was even caught on camera doing it!  Although I did feel my heart beating a little faster, my cheeks warming up and my reading voice stumble through a few phrases, the story was received very well and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment!  The group even offered me more gifts: specific publishers that would welcome my style, related subjects to write about that have already inspired me (see my song about juicing :)) and probably my favorite suggestion of all - getting my book in Whole Foods.  I see it.  My voice belongs there.  Calling from the shelves at the checkout, "Read me and teach your kids about the importance of the environment." Ahhhhh...  Time to make it happen! 

Today rewarded me with a wonderful gift; one that my dreams promised, and I give it back, to share with you, that  there maybe a way to decode this life if we all share our greatest gifts.  A way to hear, taste, smell, see, touch and feel from the soul and then to mindfully release it all at the end of the day as an offering of gratitude. 

Tonight I am thankful for the fire inside of me that lights my way through any unknown and makes anything possible!  

Stay tuned...     

Thursday, March 10, 2011

#50: Sing more songs that I make up.

From my first blog, I chose #50 for my inspiration this evening. 

      Earlier tonight I attended a Children's authors group. I love other writers.  And networking is SO the key to success!
      Well, I took the plunge and volunteered to read my "Larry Bear" story to the group, after which my notebook filled with suggestions on topics that might also suit my writing style! 
      One member, Stephanie, suggested I write about health and nutrition, which is a big part of my lifestyle, and well, the first thing that came to my mind juicer. 

So, here is a song- 
It'll touch you tender, 
Its about a juicer-
Not a blender!

So get all of your veggies
Out of the fridge,
And wash them and rinse them
With the help of your kids!

And as you juice, 
Sing this tune
Like the "Hokey Pokey,"
Your health isn't a jokey! :)

First verse:

I put the apples in,
And the pulp comes out,
I put the apples in,
And the juice comes out the spout!

I'm juicing for my body,
And I feel good all around!
That's what it's all about!

Next verse: 

Replace "apples" with whatever foods you have to juice! 

Here are some of my favorites:

bell peppers

and so on and so on...

Happy Juicing Everyone! :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Larry Bear and the Endless Sea

Larry Bear and the Endless Sea
by Amanda Steinhaus for Jada Rose

Larry Bear goes everywhere!
All across the ocean.
He lives on a ship
And plays sweet music!

When the fish hear his song,
They swim and dance along
All night long
Until the break of dawn.

Larry Bear dances above on his ship
He spins and "caw"s with his bird named, Skip.
He plays his flute, while Skip looks cute
As they sail out into the blue.

The ocean is calling them
She brings them home,
So many creatures within
They're never alone.

All of their days,
They dance and play,
Larry Bear and the ocean
Are here to stay.

So it seemed--
Until one day the water turned green,
And black with oil
And the dancing fish began to spoil.

The ocean wheezed and Skip sneezed
And Larry Bear fell to his knees!
From the top of his lungs he screamed,
"We have to stop all of this disease!

The fish are my friends,
With them I am not alone,
Is oil so important
We should ruin their home?

And the water once blue,
And so clear you could see through,
Is filled with black oil blobs
That the fish mistake for food.

My fishy friends can still be saved,
If kids and parents today,
Drive cars and use things
Called alternative fuel machines.

That one choice
Will be the voice
That tells our earth
We know her worth!

Will you choose
To keep her blue?
Will you tell your mom
To choose it, too?

The choice is yours,
So make it right
So me and Skip
Can sleep sound at night.

New choices will come
Each day that you wake,
You must learn to think about
Each choice that you make.

For the things you choose now,
Will determine the future,
There are lots of creatures
To love and to nurture. 

So start with yourself,
Start with your health,
And remember good decisions
Are your greatest wealth!"

Haiku for you :)

A haiku or two to look forward to...

The first day of Spring
When the sun warms your dry skin
And you melt again.

Be true to yourself.
Don't fake it til you make it--
Find it in your soul

You were made perfect.
Every choice you make is yours
Leave somthing behind.

I have a feeling.
It comes from deep within me.
It is divine light.

Spiritual toys...
Play with them every day
and watch your light grow.

Dreams are who we are.
Follow them and you'll go far.
You get a head start!

Radness is badness
Like the shizzz...nit, it's legit.
It is...what is it?
I saw you kiss her
Your hands touched her booty, too,
And I'm like, haiku.

"The journey is the reward." Chinese proverb

You will be just fine.
Do not be afraid of life!
Life is finite,
No one gets out alive!

Whether it's the flower that grows and thrives,
And later shrivels and dies--
Or the dog that you teach,
Or does she teach you?

Everything that lives
The bare minimum being
The skin on him.
The petals on her.
Their fur.

It all goes back
Into the Earth
To be born again
And take the reigns on life
This is our time.
To LIVE the best we can LIVE
And BE the best we can BE!

It's how we'll survive--
In the light through the tree,
Or under a shell on the beach.
We can only be
As perfect as the nature we see.

There is a greater purpose for me.
Greater than the test of society,
Is the examination inside of me,
The challenge to just be.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"I got sunshiiiiiine, on a clouuuudy day!"

OK! (Pushing back my sleeves to write.)

It's crazy how once you finally make the decision to seek something that you already feel is inherently yours, the Gods smile down on you.

However, when I woke up this morning, I never would have guessed it was smiling that they were doing up there.  Last night after I posted my first blog, I lit some candles, crawled in bed and pondered my writing career; I Facebooked and tweeted about my blog and started following different publishing houses, quirky writers, marketing teams and non-profits with whom I related best being SparkedCom!  Love it!  Check em out:!/SparkedCom

I plugged in the Droid and layed it down next to my dream journal on the bedstand.  I wondered how vivid my dreams might be tonight and what I would write in that beautiful aqua blue journal tomorrow morning--

So night took over and I dreamt of a vacation with people I respected that was nearing end.  I lingered in their company so long that I only allowed myself an hour to return a rental car and make it on an international flight.  Of course, I missed the flight. 

Nonetheless, I entered the airport to locate the ticket counter to reschedule my flight and found myself inside a never ending maze, equipped with warp holes that led to the right terminal eventually, but my airline, "GLOBE," was nowhere to be found.  I felt frustrated and stressed.  I wanted badly to find it, fix the situation and move on, but I couldn't.  It stung me in the gizzard.  I was exhausted.  I gave up and woke up simultaneously.

As I took in my surroundings, I noticed the bed was in complete disarray as if I had been literally running through the airport in it.  I even felt tired.

My overall interpretation of my dream was that I was asking too many people for directions and going to all of the wrong places, when I had the Orbitz flight status email in my Droid the whole time.  However, when I finally arrived to the right place, I didn't see the name "GLOBE."  That is when I thought about the symbolism of the name.  In my career, I would like to reach out all around the globe, which is much easier today with eBooks, blogs and such.  This worldly choice of word clearly meant something. 

So, I consulted my book, "The Hidden Meaning of Dreams," which has given me extreme insight into my unconscious lately.  In regards to being lost, the book reveals that it is a symbol of the beginning of a new phase of life and the anxiety of leaving behind the familiar.  The book suggests making a list (haha, that was my first blog) of things I want to achieve in life, but I interpret it as more of a timeline, ie. what I need to do first to get to this next, etc.  The book says to set an attainable goal; a deadline; and go for it! 

It's funny, because I just did this a few days ago for myself.  I set two personal, two career, and two health goals.  Now, having taken this first step of committing myself to writing and sharing every day -- it is time to revise those goals!  They are no longer goals, for they are now realities.  Yay!  New goals!  How exciting! 

So, I went from feeling lost to now drawing my own personal map.

The airport setting indicates a new departure in my life and the name "GLOBE" harmoniously resonates with "EARTH" to me and that is symbolic of the unconsious mind.  Earth is the fertile womb that contains potential for further development .  Now is the time to sow new seeds of life for the future.  WOW!  Love it! 

I clearly am departing on a new adventure in life and even though I couldn't find the airline in my dream, it doesn't mean that my "womb" cannot exist in waking life, too!  Actually, the closest thing to a life-like womb that I know of is a deprivation tank.  AND...It just so happens that there is one at Spa Tuscano in Briarcliff Village, only a few miles from my home.  I will take it as a sign and put it on the map!  Maybe I will even go today!!!  After I write my new goals, that is.

To Be Continued....

Monday, March 7, 2011

No. 1 - 100

As I embark on this blog, I forsee that there may come a time when I need to look extra hard for inspiration and subject matter...  that is why I am posting 100 resolutions, some weak, some strong, to consult when writer's block sets in.

1) Publish a book; any, but preferrably a children's book
2) Discover a new island oasis to travel to
3) Host an Art Gala
4) Go on a musician-centered cruise
5) Start a new fashion trend and make everyone want it uncontrollably
6) Create a piece of art every day, or at least be creative everyday
7) Make tons of new connections, connect people who need each other
8) Find a mentor
9) Tell my family and friends how much I love them as often as I can
10) Have a house party and invite all my neighbors
11) Organize my closet
12) Sell more leather heart shaped necklaces and feather earrings.
13) Get on either The Price Is Right or Wheel of Fortune
14) Get to know my neighbors better
15) Make better decisions in relationships
16) Drink more varietals of wine
17) Have an all-girls sleep over with a hula hooping contest
18) Write in my journal about more daily events so I can remember 10 years from now.
19) Read a chapter in one of the books on my "currently reading" list
20) Run like Forrest Gump
21) Pamper my doggies
22) Get a six pack before John (my work out buddy) does.
23) Write more hand written, send-in-the-mail, S.W.A.K. letters
24) Take lots of pictures and blow up the good ones
25) Collaborate on many projects and document them in journals
26) Do more yoga
27) Pose in more photos, like in classic cars
28) Start my scrapbook, finish it, too
29) Go back to the Carribbean soon
30) Write about my old beach cruiser
31) Write more memoirs about romantic relationships
32) Talk to strangers and listen to what they say; pay more direct attention
33) Help the homeless
34) Start a new tradition
35) Speak my mind, even if my voice shakes
36) Think more about the war, and educate others about its significance.
37) Eat lots of cheesburgers and milk shakes
38) Go to the Theatre as often as possible
39) Ask silly questions
40) Write silly poems
41) Talk to myself more
42) Paint more
43) Go to concerts as much as possible
44) Listen to an academic lecture
45) Read the newspaper everyday, more than the horoscope
46) Drive slower
47) Take more long walks and find pretty houses
48) Eat healthier foods and cook at home more often
49) Read to kids, read kid's books to adults
50) Sing more songs that I make up
51) Plant herbs and keep them abundant
52) See the Statue of Liberty
53) Learn how to scuba dive
54) Get certified to sky dive
55) Go see pandas at any zoo in any city.
56) See the whale show at Sea World (it's supposed to make u cry)
57) Ride in a horse-drawn wagon and over tip the driver
58) Ride a horse
59) Enter a contest
60) Visit an old friend
61) Play a game with a kid
62) Look at the moon and howl
63) Learn about alternative energy
64) Buy compelling art/support local artists
65) Spend time alone
66) Write my dreams in a dream journal
67) Fill my house with fresh flowers
68) Minimalize my clutter
69) Love myself enough to be found by my true love
70) Send more random messages into the universe and see if they get retrieved.
71) Swim in the ocean more often
72) Find new breathtaking views from the city
73) Write a poem, read it out loud, then eat it.
74) Have less expectations and more goals
75) Ride in the sky in something other than an airplane.
76) Dance in the rain
77) Go to more free art galleries.
78) Share a secret
79) Go to the drive-in
80) Eat BBQ in as many places as I can and decide who in KC has the best.
81) Get more massages and give more too!
82) Write five haikus on the same subject
83) Pray often and be thankful for the blessings in my life
84) Hug something
85) Bless people when they sneeze
86) Lay in the grass and ponder life
87) Take a walk everyday to connect to the earth
88) Camp out under the stars, find a constellation
89) Wish on a star
90) Listen to my gut more closely and follow it
91) Take a long, hot, bubble bath
92) Do not rush goodbyes
93) Linger in a kiss
94) Imagine what heaven is like
95) Watch the sun rise
97) If there is something I want to read, and it is not written, write it!
98) Wear more original fashions
99) Try not to get too comfortable
100) Do cartwheels in high heels and pretend I have super powers 

Now, should I ever need an inspiration reference guide, I have one!  Created by me (like in #97).
So ah-ha!  It works and I am not even trying!  I just started this blog because I know that I want to write more, to network with other writers, to learn about publishing and smash out my fears of the unknown.  With knowledge I will grow as a writer and with a network I will surround myself with people who are doing what I would like to do.  I truly believe that we are all relfections of each other and that the law of attraction is here to be used!  So hello!  I am reaching out to YOU!  Read my blog, comment on it, and let me know that you are out there and you have a voice!  I look forward to this journey.  I am eager to share my poetry, short stories, and random thoughts with you.  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

My Womanifesto
I sit down to write my Womanifesto
when the washer spins unbalanced - a quick fix.
I sit back down in my seat and sip my tea

And burn my tongue, but can’t sue Mickey D’s
‘Cause I made it myself!
I survive on my own.
For the rest of my life
My choices will decide
I have much to learn and
Technology bewilders me
mushy, mushy brains me
I must unlock these codes to truly shine!
People, oh people
I love you and I hate you
I wish it was all just my way
But I like to debate you
And spoon you and mate with you
Well, there’s more than I say to you
It’s not easy to be me
To hear me and see me
I say it perfect in my head
It looks great in my mind
And when I try to show you
You are completely blind.

The way you receive me
You judge and confuse me
But this is my journey!
And I choose to be happy
with just me
and my dogs, Lucy and Annie.

Often when I lay down to sleep
Thoughts escape me
And something funny
Will make me laugh.
So random, these memories
The making of a dream
A day I lost in the past
Tomorrow I pray I laugh
Tonight I pray the same
As I did when I was two:

“Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
God Bless…
Mommy and Daddy
My sissy
Lucy and Annie
And every living thing in need.
Tell Grandma and Grandpa and everyone hi!
And give me the strength to do what is right.
A miracle would be nice
But I am happy
In your name I pray--
Oh, and thanks for listening, too
My “woman”-ifesto.