It’s not fair.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 7.17.18 AMYears ago, I used to say “That’s not fair” whenever things didn’t go as I thought they should.

One day some said to me “Amy, whoever told you that life was fair?”


No one.

It’s not fair. But that doesn’t matter.

Fair means no one let’s you down – ever. Fair sets you up to believe you deserve better – always. Fair sets you up for unrealistic expectations. Fair means we have no emotions and no psychological issues. Fair means if you don’t get what you want you give up.

Reality is – well – REAL.

You can be disappointed and that sometimes isn’t fair, but it is real. Instead of thinking about an outcome, I try to think about how I want things to be. Instead of imaging a rigid rule to live by – I think what kind of flexibility can build into my thoughts about fairness?

I recently really, really wanted this new house we saw. We put an offer in and all these signs were pointing in the YES direction. Guess what? That sale failed. So…what did we do? We looked again and found an even better house for less money. WHA?  We could have moped around – which we did for a bit and we were totally pissed at first, but I kept saying, let’s think about what we want our new house to be like and feel like instead of dwelling on the house that was never going to be and magically – or not so magically – a better house appeared.

It’s not fair that someone bumped our very good offer, but it is real and so is the new house we’re moving into.

It’s less about getting lemons and making lemonade and more about imagining lemonade the whole time. If you’re thinking about lemonade – when you get lemons, you’ll know exactly what to do. GO!


Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 6.25.05 AMIn 2012, I started the year by writing about REVOLUTION. Last year I started by writing about REvolution and REVELATION.

2012 = Revolution – everything in life got turned on end, things changed quickly, my therapist of 8 years moved away. I lost my job. I got a new job. I decided to figure out how to work for myself. I started all over again.

2013 = Revelation – everything in life revealed itself.  I evolved. How I was going to work for myself revealed itself. I started my own business. I worked my ass off for ME. I believed it could work. Not everything was perfect. My dog died. I couldn’t write as much. I had some complications. It wasn’t the easiest thing ever, but I changed because of what I saw around me. Life revealed itself because I was willing to stay with it. 2013 was revealing how to thrive.

Why do I tell you this?  Because dreams do come true. I am proving it everyday. Dig deep, you can be happy, believe it, BELIEVE it. You can’t sit there doing nothing to have it happen, you have to keep working at it, but it can happen. If you imagine it.

Just before the new year 2014 – I had a dream – I was texting with my friend Kate – which is ridiculous that texting is now in my dreams. Note to self – less texting in 2014?! We were texting about the new year ahead and I said: Revelation and Revolution got me to 2014, I’m happy that I changed my life with the flow of those.

Kate responded:

this year
is love.

I’m in. I woke and thought what does that mean? I thought about it and thought about it.

It means, go with love, just love it all the way it is. If I’ve learned anything these last few years it’s that patience with yourself and love for the way things are is where it’s at. Right now is all we really have anyway – so you can stop trying so hard to be good enough, stop trying to be perfect, stop pushing, imagine how you’d like things to be and start letting things fall into place they way they should be, the way they are – right now – for right now.

2014 is for Love – it’s for loving things exactly as they are, the messiness of life, the brilliance of life, to love not knowing, to love knowing, to love the past, the present, the future, to watch in wonder of how things flow, if you let them.  Just love. GO! for 2014.

What’s your word for 2014?

On_giving and thanks_remembering

At Thanksgiving – I am more than thankful – I remember.

I remember my Mother. The way her hands moved over the raw turkey, salting and buttering under the skin. She was mindful about food and set in her ways about how this or that should be done, when it came to cooking. All ten of us kids were banished from the kitchen, but I would watch – from a distance – in wonder – at how she made things – all from scratch – all on more than a tight budget.

When I was old enough, which wasn’t very old – I was allowed into the kitchen – for a few minutes – to add butter, milk, salt and pepper to the potatoes – only in her way.

She’d mash with an old hand masher, thick grooved metal at the end and a wooden handle that used to be red, but was mostly worn down to the wood. I’d add things. In her way.

Butter first. She’d hand me a butter knife and put a stick of butter on the table, still cold in the wrapper. “We’ve got to add this butter while the potatoes are hot.” I’d slice off inch after inch of butter, unwrap and throw it into the pan – all as fast as I could. She’d mash and then stop to look into the pan. “More butter.” I’d slice, unwrap and throw in again. “See there, it’s not all white anymore.”

Then milk. She’d mash and I’d pour into the old battered, but still solid cooking pot. My small hands balancing the gallon jug of milk, one hand at the top, one at the bottom.  “Not too much milk.” She’d mash and mash. “Potatoes should be creamy, not too thick, not too thin. Add some more milk.” Bang. She’d hit the side of the pan with the masher. The potatoes fell back with a thud. “More milk.” More mashing – Bang – the potatoes fall back – with a lightness.

Then pepper.  “You should see the right amount of pepper all through the potatoes.” I’d shake and shake, the pepper never came out of the pepper shaker very fast. “See that’s right, now you can see pepper everywhere.”

Then salt to taste. I’d shake the not really white anymore, plastic Tupperware shaker with the broken lid, a few times. “Potatoes need a lot more salt than you think, Amy.” I’d shake and shake and laugh, so much shaking. She’d press on, now with more stirring than mashing, fluffing up the potatoes. She’d drop a finger into the pan and bring potatoes up to her mouth. The back of her hand would come into focus. Thin and thick at the same time, veins standing out, small brown spots, always tan, but not leathery. Their smell in my mind without ever smelling them, onions, salt, butter, flour – it’s as if she had been cooking her whole life.

“Mmmm, but not yet, more salt, a little more milk.” I’d pour and scramble to keep up. And then bang, bang, bang, the masher on the side of the pot, to shake off all the mashed potato stuck to the masher. With me standing on the chair next to the table – she’d hand over the masher. I’d scrape it clean with my hands, shoveling what was left into my mouth – jump down – turn on the sink – rinse the masher and throw it into the sink with another bang.

Mom would cover the potatoes still in their pot and I would go back to doing whatever it is we do on Thanksgiving, on a cold November day – hoping for snow, thinking about Christmas, fighting with each other, watching the black and white TV – In the middle of nowhere in Michigan.


IMG_0474I began to write about authenticity and how we sometimes live split lives because of our political values or our inability to be genuine with people because our beliefs don’t match theirs. Or we can’t be honest with ourselves and admit who we really are and live a split life out of fear.

This all began because of something I read on Facebook.

I like Facebook in general because it helps me keep up with people, but many times I see people use Facebook to – as my Mother used to say “air their dirty laundry” and in general say things to other people they would never say to their face. Which is a strange techno-behavior that we’ve all been seeing trend upward since Al Gore invented the internet.

And that was where I started to think about authenticity.  What came next though was what happens some days – I got a status update from David Whyte – which always brings a sense of future and freshness to my Facebook experience. Instead of people complaining about people on food stamps, I get a taste of future and freshness.

The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds,
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before,
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.

It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing,
speaking out loud in the clear air.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

From River Flow: New and Selected Poems. ©David Whyte

So I read this and thought to myself – that’s it – again authenticity. But it changed my view on writing about someone else and I returned to writing from my own experience.

For me, right now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in life, that’s a scary thought. What if I’m never this happy again?! So, I feel myself clinging to these moments as if they could end tomorrow and what I know from being unhappy for a very long time, I did the same thing. During the unhappy moments – while I longed for better times, I clung to the bitterness, and the hurt, and the past, because it was what I knew. And I knew when it changed – things would be different and change is a terrible and awesome thing, but we don’t like it, because we don’t know what’s on the other side of where we are.

So what’s the point ?

I’ve seen happiness is a state of mind, it’s not money, it’s not politics, it’s not anything other than being open – as David Whyte says – it’s speaking out loud in the clear air – the secret conversations of your own heart.  That’s pretty deep.

When you can finally admit to yourself and to everyone around you what your own secret longing is, no matter how foolish it might sound, that’s when you can be authentic, true, real, genuine.

The Kind of Thing That Gets Passed Down

I kept writing the intro to this over and over and over – trying to get right. I so want to say I’m proud, I’m honored to call this woman a friend, and on and on. And while all those things are true – they feel like they are about me. Thunk. I decided it doesn’t need an intro.  It needs to be out there.

All this is about her – Becca Bessinger – her success – her PUTTING it OUT there.  She’s doing it. She’s doing what she loves and she’s keeping on keeping on even through doubt, through all the wondering and self-reflection and because of that she wrote this beautiful song with strong lyrics AND she totally gets it.

This could be my story, it could be yours, it’s collectively ours.

LOVE IT.  Keep bringing it!

Click through and watch this video and hear these lyrics. And like this video if you do. Click – link – go on – click it.

The Kind of Thing That Gets Passed Down by Becca Bessinger

Click the link!

The five stages of happiness

Anyone who has experienced grief of any kind is probably aware of the five stages of grief, first outlined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969. I’m certain everyone who is everyone experienced grief in the same way long before that.

I also know that these five stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance, don’t happen in order, they happen in a circle, sometimes circling you all at the same time.

No one that I’m aware of ever explains the opposite though.

You get your big break, your dream job, your book sells, you meet the love of your life, buy a dream home, make ends meet, you do it. You wrestle through life and in some moment, you’re happy. Or maybe, you just get what you want. Finally.

People tell you how to get through grief. How to push through, get through, batten down, suffer it out, but no one ever says: here’s happiness and how you get through it, because once you are happy you can just be happy? Right? When you’re happy you don’t need instructions?  What now?

What now? 

THE FIVE STAGES OF HAPPINESS – which are quite similar to grief, but without all the angry parts:

1. Infatuation (approval)- YES, YES, YES, more of this please. I need more now, I want it all, all, all. I will marry you today. yes. I will do this forever. yes.

2. Elationover the moon, I can’t believe this is true, true, true. I love this feeling. WOW!

3. Insecurity – will it happen or won’t it happen? or continue to happen? This is a fluke, cling to what you know, you know how to struggle, but you don’t know how to be happy, someone will take this away from me. This can’t be possible! Save some of this for another day, don’t use it all now.

4. Reality – you begin to realize maybe this is real, it’s not over the top, over the moon anymore, it is real. Things calm down, you sink in, you’re good. It’s good. This can send you right back to insecurity.

5. Depression or Clarity – this can go either way – on the one hand, you’ve got what you want, but on the other you aren’t striving for more, better, faster anymore. That’s what you wanted – right? You might start to sink down into depression. It’s disappointing to let go of an old way of thinking. It’s disappointing to have failed all of your old ways by breaking through and believing in what you want and going after it. If you go the depression route, you’ll end up back at the top after you fight your way through it – again. Or you might realize all you’ve left behind was for good reason. This new reality is good, you’ve changed and maybe you can sit with it and be okay without striving for anything more. That can come another day. I’m clear this is real – and good – and I’m okay. Clarity.

After sitting with this piece of writing for a bit, I realize these five stages of happiness apply to lots of things, new babies, new jobs, new loves, new houses, life in general. Most of us are looking out at the world screaming I’m not happy yet! What happened!? Meanwhile we’re looking for something, someone, some experience to MAKE US HAPPY NOW.

And the point is – happiness isn’t out there waiting for you – it’s right here. We’re all circling all of these things all the time. Right now. It’s all the same process.

*After writing this I searched and found other people are talking about the five stages of happiness. Different from my view, but it’s out there.


I say this line sometimes from a story I write in my head.

I say it loud and confident in my best southern accent:

“Daylene! Get in here. Daddy needs a sponge bath.”

I imagine Daylene lives in a trailer home in the South, with her Momma and her Daddy. Daylene is small, blond, rail thin and sweet. She is fierce when it comes to scrubbing Daddy during the sponge bath. If she hurts him he’ll want it over faster, so she scrubs real hard with her tiny pink hands, which are so thin you can almost see right into her veins, all blue and tangly running up her arms.

Daylene’s Momma sometimes cracks her on the head or the behind with a cast iron skillet. She’ll yell “Daylene, get in here before I make you get the skillet so I can crack you on the head with it.”

Daylene has a secret though. She’s getting strong. Early in the morning and late at night when everyone is asleep or no one is home, she’s been lifting the cast iron skillet, over and over, high over her head and then back down to the ground again. Daylene knows that one day when she is strong enough, she will either leave this place forever and not look back, or she will have the nerve to smack them both over the head with that skillet and kill them.

That’s Daylene. Maybe one day she’ll make it into a story or two. Until then Daylene lives in my mind.

Daylene! Get in here!

Never and Ever

2826443735_6dc0cd1cdf_bHere are a few things I have said over the years:

I will never wear heels.

If I ever become the person who gets up and goes to the gym first thing in the morning – shoot me.

I will never eat sushi.

I will never ever ever….and then something happens and I’m wearing heels, eating sushi and going to the gym at 6am. Not wearing heels, or eating sushi AT the gym, but you get it.

What do I say now? – even if I say I will never – it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Here are some other things that I’ve also said:

I will do a photo shoot in Paris.

I will work for myself one day.

I will write a book.

Two of those three are now TRUE.

Things change. We change. Life evolves.

You can always start over, you can always change, you can always believe in something instead of saying never. Saying never – never ever helps.

I am who I am at this very moment and that is that. There are some basic beliefs I have that stay true, but sometimes we learn and sometimes what we learn changes who we are and what we think and what version of NEVER we know.

I can use my willPOWER for things I want to be true.

Change is inevitable. Suffering is optional. GO!


Every morning I wake up and pinch myself. I think – why – oh – why didn’t I do this before? Why – oh – why didn’t I start my own business before?

The answer – I wasn’t ready for it and neither was my life.

It’s that simple. Trusting that I’m doing the right things at the right time is always a challenge, but things always happen when they are at the right moment to happen.

I wish

I want

I do

All things in good time. Wishing and wanting are good, but believing in those things is not the only thing.

Do something. Keep wanting, dreaming, believing, but action is everything. Live your life like the story you want it to be – as if – you are already in the new story. Live your life – as if – the story is yours to write. You are writing the next word on the page – what is it going to be?

Had I not had the life-experiences and job-experiences I had in the moments that I had them – I would not be doing what I’m doing now. End of story. LIVE. Everything in your life has brought you to this very moment. It’s yours.


the day you think you are desperate

2900736320_efec4ccf78_oThe day you think you are desperate – think about the day in the future that you will be more desperate. You never think it could be worse, but I’m telling you from experience it can. What could be worse? What could be better? When were you desperate before? Are you in the same place or a different place? Are you desperate about the same thing?

Desperation is not easy. It’s as if the world is going to end, even though you know it is not going to end. Lonely, bored, sad and afraid of what comes next. Desperation.

Desperate – having lost hope.

And hope is ridiculous.

I was reading Danielle LaPorte the other day and sometimes, she hits it just right – Replace “hope” with action words, reality words, intentional, faith-bounding, wide-open, change-agent hero words..

Losing hope is brilliant.

I hope someone saves me.
Not going to happen – I’ll soon resent them for saving me and end up right where I started.

I hope, I hope, I hope. Don’t hope, achieve, reward, do, go get, be it, breathe it. You are your own hope. Your hoping is hold in you back.

Desperate times often deserve desperate measures of change. Cut it off, set it on fire, let it loose.

Wake UP. Look out at your life, what’s making you happy? what’s not making you happy? Do something. Don’t wait. Don’t hope. Start now.