The Meaning of Mistakes: A Guest Post by My Teenage Daughter

When I launched my blog, I told my thirteen year old daughter we could learn the technical stuff together and that maybe she could have her own Thesis blog some day. By the end of the day, she’d written this post for ‘hers’ and shown it to me. Whether you have kids or not, grandchildren or tweenagers, I hope you’ll understand why this made me melt with pride. I haven’t edited a single thing. Please welcome my daughter, ‘JD’; I called this blog Sharing The Journey because of her.

The Meaning of Mistakes by JD

There have been many times in my life, when thoughts along these lines have entered my head:

“If only I could turn back time”

“I wish I’d made that decision instead of that one”

“Why did I have to do/say/act like that?”

“I should have kept my mouth shut”

“I should have spoken up”

If only…I wish…why…I should…

Thoughts following actions and decisions that have caused undesirable effects and situations.

Regret. And more regret.

Turns out human beings can’t turn back time. The thing is, would I, even if it was possible?

Well, from my thought processes the obvious answer would be yes. I would be able to save myself from the pain of my mistakes, be able to make what appeared to be the right choices.

I could put in more time and effort for revising for that test … spend my money on something that matters, rather than that silly impulse buy … save myself from blurting out that nasty thought running through my brain … control my anger and apologise in time, to prevent hurting the people I care about. To have shown so much more love and appreciation. I’d be able fix all these things, and more.

But, as I sit here, I’m wondering if the obvious answer is always the right one. I’m thinking about why the universe lets us make mistakes in the first place. Why do people have to go through such pain and anguish, the feeling of helplessness as they know they can’t reverse the past?

For such a big question, is it possible for there to be a simple and uncomplicated answer?

I look around. Stop typing for a long, silent moment. And I think, yes, there is.

Why do we make mistakes? It’s so we can learn.

You’re probably thinking, “How does that work? Learning? How is that supposed to make up for our mistakes?”

It’s simple. We learn from our mistakes. They are there for us to grow, to look back, to think, “I’ve changed since then. I can change.” They’re there so we can see what we’ve done wrong, and if we are ever faced with a similar situation in the future, we can attempt to make a different choice, to be a better human being. Think back – if you had not made those mistakes in your past, would you be the person you are today?

Our mistakes our part of us. They make us. They symbolise that we are only human, that life is not one predictable, easy stretch. That it has many obstacles and tribulations along the way.

Can we always fix our mistakes? No. But we can always learn from them.

And why?

Because we’re not perfect. Because we all make mistakes.


 Which ‘mistakes’ in your life have carried the biggest blessings?

Think Like a Black Belt

loribook-copy-231x300Today’s guest post is by Lori Hoeck, author of the ebook Think Like a Black Belt and creator of the website of the same name.

What can I say – I’ve adored this blog from day one! Those of you who’ve been reading for a while will know I love wisdom from Zen masters and the Tao. What you may not know is that I used to do karate, back in the Bruce Lee days. My children now study karate, not just for the self defense, but for the focus and discipline.

Lori, a former volunteer firefighter, is a senior instructor in the martial arts,  a third degree black belt in tae kwon do, a second degree black belt in tang soo do and a contributor to Black Belt Magazine.

I first met her through the wise comments she leaves on other people’s blogs. You may know her as Space Age Sage. When I visited her new site, I loved that she’d brought all of her skills and passions together.

Please check out Think Like a Black Belt  for mental, physical and emotional self defense lessons, especially if you’re a woman or have children.

Who can benefit? Anyone who walks in public, parks a car, has children, works with others, goes out in the evenings… in short, everyone! We’re talking some of the most practical life skills that can be applied to any situation where you need to be sharp, alert, aware and informed. I let my teenage kids read these posts. I’m anxious by nature, but the tips they’ll learn from the  Think Like a Black Belt  ebook and blog will help me breathe a little easier. I bought the book the day it came out!  It covers many topics such as strengthening your inner radar and your psychological and physical defense mechanisms, and teaches us to layer all the skills for greater effect.

I want to think like a black belt; I want to feel poised and strong, confident, alert and wise. I want to have what Lori calls a “determined heart and mind”. I want to feel my skills have been honed, that I’m not spending so many hours in front of a computer that I’m losing my physical instincts and awareness of the world around me.

It tickles me that we have three black belts among our café regulars – it makes me feel honoured. Please welcome Lori.

7 Ways Blogging and Karate are Alike

by Lori Hoeck

When Janice asked me to write a post, she left it pretty open — “anything that inspires you” — so I decided to show how karate and blogging are similar. At first you may think a physical, class activity like karate and a cerebral, solitary activity like blogging can’t have too much in common, but you may be surprised!

Here we go with seven ways karate and blogging are alike:

You have to do it to understand it

Parents can watch their kids do karate for years and friends may read your blog for years, but neither groups will get it until they jump in for themselves.

Both require lots of work

The old adage is true of blogging and karate: “You get out of it what you put into it.” This is especially true if you want to make money teaching karate or earn a living by blogging. It’s even more work if you can reach a point where you make it look easy.

Feedback is fulfilling

One of the greatest highs in teaching karate or writing a blog is receiving feedback from someone whose way of thinking changed for the better because of something you wrote or said.

Often addictive

Because the depths of the martial arts and blogging have never been fully explored – one is too old and one is too new – both blogging and karate can become all-consumng and addictive.


Karate and blogging both demand self improvement. Karate pushes a person physically, mentally, and emotionally to perform at greater and greater skill levels. Blogging pushes your writing, organizing, and time-management skills, as well as your technology, SEO, and networking skills.

Change is required

Just as a karate student must learn to move and think differently to execute karate techniques with both power and control, a blogger will often adapt their writing style, tone, and caliber to make more of an impact on readers.

Transparency matters

At the higher level of black belt, instructors can read students easily. How a person bows into class, what they do when they think your back is turned, or how loudly they kia (karate yell) tells me where their heart is in regards to training. If you’ve read enough blogs, you can probably do something similar as you read the tone, energy, and voice of a blog writer.

I could probably come up with more ways they are similar, but how about you? Can you see other ways karate and blogging are alike?

Sharing the Seattle Journey

This is a guest post by Randi of Foreign Quang. It came about after an exchange we had in her comment boxes. It’s long, it’s lovely and it moved me to tears, something which Randi’s open heart, sincerity and refreshing style often do. Please put the kettle on and savour this. I will be doing more guest posts in the future so let me know if there’s something you’d like to share with our community.

The Journey is No Fun Alone

by Randi of Foreign Quang 


A couple of weeks ago I was doing dishes when I started to pay attention to a TV show that was playing in the background.  My ten-year old son had been watching something, got bored, and ran outside to play, leaving the TV on as “ignored noise.”

Former gang members, now elderly, were reflecting about their involvement in the 1965-Watts riots.  One of the men stated that most gang members at that time never left a ten-block radius of their homes in their entire lives.  That statistic astounded me.

Traveling for me has always been an eye-opener.  I’ve learned that most people are basically the same, no matter which state lines I’ve crossed. They all want to be happy in their jobs. They love their children. They want to have some peace at the end of their day. And most of them are kind to strangers.

What would life be like for a gang member who got to travel?  I am certain that a person who never leaves a ten-block radius in his life has a skewed world vision.  What if he was able to see that not all people were out to cause him harm? How would his perceptions change?

On my recent drive to Seattle, I learned anew about the wonder of people through those who unknowingly shared my journey. 

The Seattle Mystery Man

On the morning we went to the Space Needle, a man with short dark hair shared our elevator ride. He looked like someone I had seen on TV, so he stood out from the crowd.

Later that afternoon, we were walking to a Mexican restaurant we heard hadspace-needle delicious food.  We walked into a parking area and walking out of the same area was the man from the Space Needle.  I thought it odd, after all, Seattle is home to some half a million people.  What are the odds that we would run into that same man?

After eating, we headed for a Mariners baseball game. I had never been to a pro-ball game of any kind, so I was anxious to go.  Guess who brushed past me in the ball game crowd?  Yup. The same man.  I couldn’t say whether I felt more like I was in an episode of Lost or The Twilight Zone. 

How often do the same people cross our paths and we don’t notice it?  And when we do notice it, what are we meant to know from it?  Why are certain things or people drawn to our attention?

Free Parking

It has been awhile since we have lived in a big city. For the last twelve years we have lived in secluded rural America. We forget about things like having to pay to park somewhere.

When we planned our trip to Seattle, we neglected to budget for parking places. Our first trip to downtown Seattle was a shocker. We had planned on being there most of the day between the Space Needle, eating lunch and visiting the fascinating museums.  The $20 price tag on our parking spot though, caused us a little deliberation.

Our discussion ended when a very nice woman pulled up and asked us if we were going to be spending the day in Seattle, and if so, had we paid for our parking?  She told us that she had already paid  $20 for a full day and was not going to be able to stay after all. Would we like to use her parking spot?  For free?  Hmmm…that was a no-brainer!

Accident? Co-Incidence? Someone looking out for us?  What do you believe?

To the lady in Seattle who gave us the very generous gift, we say “Thank you.”

Even Children are Customers

Snoqualmie FallsWaterfalls, I am sure, are among the most majestic sights in the world.  There is something about the power of falling water that intrigues even the most jaded among us.

When we pulled into our parking spot at Snoqualmie Falls, we could already hear the roar of the falls and feel the rumble under our feet.  We followed the crowd toward the lookout points. Most people stood in silence, whether from awe or because trying to hear your companions was pointless anyway, I don’t know.

I could have stayed all day, watching the water as it pounded into the river below and created a mist when it crashed onto the rocks. 

My son was anxious to visit the gift shop. It was the second day of our trip and he still had money to spend.

He found a display for polished rocks. The shiny blue, purple, orange and black rocks felt smooth and cool in his hand. On the display were small leather bags of varying sizes, but no prices. The store was very crowded and the only clerks available were the ones at the checkout stands, so Jeremiah waited patiently in line so that he could ask the price.

When it was finally his turn, he asked the blonde cashier about the rocks. She smiled and told him the prices of the bags and said to him, “Whichever bag you choose, make sure you pack that bag full. Get as many rocks in there as you can, OK?”

He went back and chose the smallest of the bags so that he would still have money to spend later. Again, he waited in the long line for his turn.

When he got the same cashier, she again smiled at him and made a show out of feeling his bag. “Yup, you did a good job. I don’t think I could have gotten any more rocks in there.”  He felt pleased that he had done well.

To the cashier at Snoqualmie Falls who took the time in a busy day to treat a child with respect, I say “You rock!”

Positive vs. Negative

At my first professional baseball game I learned something about baseball fans.  They are…um…emotional.  

The Mariners started off well the night we went. I thought for sure they would beat LA. After the fifth inning though, things turned sour. The Angels came from behind and surpassed the Mariners. The fans also turned sour.

mariners1All around us we heard people shouting and muttering negative rants against the Mariners.  Disgruntled fans started leaving. My son asked me why people were leaving when the game wasn’t even over and I said, “Because they’re poor sports.”

One young man stood out as a ray of light. He was about twenty years old, sitting with his family.  As The Mariners did worse, his loud chants got more supportive. “C’mon, baby, you can do it. Show us what you’ve got, my brother!”  He was laughing and getting all of us around him laughing too. His mom laughed and shook her head, acting a little embarrassed but he just replied with a loud, “I love you, Mama!”  Every time a new batter went up, he cheered and hooted. He stayed until the game was over.

To the African American young man at the May 18 Mariners game in Seattle sitting in the nosebleed section between home and first base I say, “Thank you for showing my son what it means to be a good sport.”

 A Fork in the Road

My step-daughter, Naomi is a huge fan of the Stephenie Meyer Twilight series.  When she decided to go with us to Seattle, we knew that Forks, forksWashington would be a mandatory side-trip for us. Apparently, according to Twilight legend, when Stephenie Meyer was writing the novel, she wanted the story to take place in a dark, dismal, area, conducive to vampire activity. She searched on the internet for a place in the U.S. that had the most yearly rainfall and came up with Forks.  Instead of being familiar only to Washingtonians as a good fishing spot, Forks is now known worldwide.  (Pay attention budding novelists: Take a small town and make it famous.)

It takes a day of driving to get from Seattle to Forks and back, but the trip was well worth it, thanks to the residents of Forks.

Our first stop was in front of the “Welcome” sign at the town entrance. The second place we visited was the town information center.  The two women working there were a credit to their town.

From the moment we walked in, Twilight memorabilia surrounded us.  The lady at the counter had Naomi sign a Twilight guest book, and told us that over 5,000 visitors came last month just because of the book.  They had a truck similar to the one Bella drove in the movie and had signs available, such as “We Love Edward and Bella,” to have in your photographs. We stayed awhile just listening to the stories the ladies had to tell about meeting Stephenie Meyer and their involvement in Twilight activities. 

The next stop was at a store called “Dazzled by Twilight.”   The store of course, carries only items related to the Twilight series.  The employees were totally jazzed when we walked into the store. They had their own Twilight stories to tell, especially a blonde clerk who spoke with a foreign accent.  She and Naomi traded tales and later they traded $100 in return for Twilight merchandise.

The restaurants in town won’t be left out. We saw signs for “The BellaBurger” and “Bellasagna.”

To the residents of Forks, Washington, “Thanks for making our journey worth our time.”

Being Green

Tim’s sister and her husband own a copy shop in Monroe, Washington.  It was a frequent stopping point during our trip. 

I was impressed to see that on the way out, there is a rack full of various sizes and colors of spiral bound notepads, all for free.  The sign there tells us that the notebooks are made of scrap paper that would otherwise be thrown out, so please take one.  If they were to charge for them, they could easily get $1-$3 apiece.

I also left with a full box of unlined index cards in various sizes. Again, these are scraps that the store bundles with like sizes and has available at the front door. These are perfect for flash cards and note taking.  Such generosity is recycling at its best.

To the Monroe Digital Copy Center we say, “Thank you for being green!”

I felt her there

Your friend and mine, Janice Hunter, was with me in spirit on my journey. Before I left, Janice encouraged me to smell the sea breeze. I couldn’t wait to comply! 

On our trip to Forks, we drove along the Washington coastline. Our view of the ocean from the highway was obscured by trees most of the way.  Finally, we saw snippets of ocean and decided to stop at the next rest area.

Behind the restrooms was a short trail leading to a lookout view of the Pacific. Sunlight glistened off the wet rocks below as the surf pounded the shore. The men were kind of sleepy, so Naomi and I decided to follow a different steep trail down to the beach so the kids could play.  I was so glad we did.

seattle-oceanAs I neared the end of the lush fern riddled trail, the most delicious smell greeted me-a combination of sweet greenery and ocean mist.  Sea breeze, I thought to myself. This is what Janice was talking about. 

Toward the end of my stay in Washington I happened to check in at my blog and found more words from Janice, asking me to sip some Seattle coffee for her.  Tim’s kids, Naomi and Nathan love coffee. I have never been a fan, but the challenge was there!  On a couple of outings we searched for the right place to take a picture of me sipping coffee for Janice. Alas, due to time constraints we never did have the cappuccino-fest that I was hoping for. Sorry, Janice. We’ll just have to go there together some time.

To Janice, “Thanks for sharing my journey.

Line of Duty

memorialOn the way home, we stopped at a rest area for…um…a rest.  Tim pointed me to a sign, a memorial to an officer killed in the line of duty.  Trooper James S. Gain was killed on the same day that Tim’s youngest son, Nathan, was born. I was touched, both by Trooper Gain’s sacrifice, and by the evidence of the circle of life. A man gives his life protecting others, and an infant enters the world. 

To Trooper James S. Gain I say, “Thank you for touching my life, twenty-two years after your death.”

Lately I’ve realized that the happy news–the news that makes us excited to walk outside our door instead of lurking inside, frightened– the news that shows us that we are all really sharing the same journey, can be found on blogs.  Through blogs we share the unbelievable coincidences, the unexpected miracles, and the moments of euphoria that mark our human existence.  We are not alone. 

Make sure the impression you leave with others makes them delighted that you shared part of their journey.


Randi, I can’t express how touched I am that you chose to share your journey with us.  I hope you’ve moved other Sharing The Journey readers to do the same. This site is here to be used and enjoyed by everyone who visits – to share life journeys and real journeys. 

Hunger and Hope

I believe that our instinctive alliances, the folk we resonate with, are sent as  a signpost, pointing to our values, our needs and our longings. People come, people go. We love, we learn, we evolve and move on. We’re all travellers, after all. Only our souls, our real selves stay intact. Relationships, deep or casual, can result in disappointment or pain but some people were sent as teachers, bringing us lessons about ourselves; they were lines drawn by the universe to underline or point to the people, beliefs and actions that do matter.

Over the coming weeks, as I play around – and believe me, it is that intuitive and spontaneous – with the concepts of finding and expressing our voices as creative people, writers, bloggers, business builders and parents, I’m hoping to have a lot of open mike nights, charity coffee mornings and bring and buy sales in our wee café-bistro. I genuinely want this to become a café where people can sit silently, read and relax or chat and enjoy the company of others.

There’s so much information on the net; I’d like this to be somewhere that values wisdom, experience, synchronicity, instincts and spontaneous insights too.  I especially treasure the people who become regulars, whether they smile at me silently or fill the space with laughter, music and chat.

I read the following post  last week and decided to use it, right there and then, because of how it moved me; because I like the person who wrote it. We learn as much about ourselves from our spontaneous choices as we do from our deliberate self excavation.

I have been given permission to use this post in its entirety, as it first appeared. I know Randi from her comments at other blogs. She has helped and inspired many people, always happy to praise and support others in her comments. I enjoy commenting in other blogs too, and I like the ones where I’m made to feel welcome at their ‘kitchen tables’. For me, it’s part of the essence of the awesome potential that blogging has to shrink the world in a huge win/win hug. That’s why I resonated with Randi. When I learned more about her, I knew my instincts were sound.

Unite for Hunger and Hope ~  by Randi at  Foreign Quang


April 29, 2009, is the day of BlogCatalog’s Unite for Hunger and Hope. BlogCatalog hoped that as many bloggers as possible would post about the seriousness of the world hunger situation. At last count, 598 bloggers agreed to participate.

My sister, Kelli Solsma, President of Project Rehema [see picture] has made me acutely aware of the growing problem of world hunger. Kelli has traveled to Tanzania, Africa, on numerous occasions. She began traveling there as a member of a medical and educational ministry team. The doctors on the team would perform much-needed surgeries for the citizens of Tanzania, often in hospitals with dirt floors. Kelli’s special focus was on the orphans, most of whom had lost their parents due to the AIDS epidemic. She has worked tirelessly with the Tanzanian government in an attempt to open adoptions.Kelli

When the ministry that she supported could no longer focus as much on the orphans as Kelli would have liked, she simply began her own ministry. Her heart could not forget a special little girl. According to the Project Rehema website:

“Rehema was a beautiful, but small, frail, little girl who was first noticed by a group of missionaries at 3 separate orphanages in July of 2003. When asked why she was moved so often, the reply was, “Rehema is HIV positive, you know.” The perception that Rehema’s mere presence would spread HIV to others prevented her from being admitted to most orphanages. Rehema spent her last days at one of the few orphanages that do accept HIV positive children. She died on July 24, 2004. She was only 8 years old. Project Rehema is named in her honor.”

Since so many of Tanzania’s orphans have AIDS, the food shortage has become especially painful for Tanzanian children. The AIDS medication that is available to them, has to be taken with food. Many children do not get enough food to even be able to take their medicine. They die, hungry and sick. 1 in 9 Tanzanian children die before age five.

Kelli related to me an especially poignant conversation she had with a Tanzanian adult woman. When Kelli asked the woman how many meals she had a day, the woman replied “Two.” As shocked as Kelli was by that answer, she had the presence of mind to pursue it further. “And what do you eat for your meals?”

The answer was shocking. “The first meal we have tea. For the second meal, we share a piece of corn.” [On the cob–shared among four people.]

That answer alone should make us grateful for every mouthful we stuff into our faces and for every plateful we scrape into the garbage. Super-size me indeed.

If your heart is touched this Unite for Hunger and Hope Day, Project Rehema does accept donations. They are attempting to fix the “Donate” section of their website so please call Kelli directly using the numbers on the website.

For some real inspiration, watch Daughtry’s video, “What About Now?”


Where do you bestow yourself? Which are your most treasured alliances? What can you learn about yourself from the people who move you and bring out the best in you, the causes that call to you?

Do the Next Indicated Thing

crete-chaniaI love link-surfing, going from link to link and drifting out into uncharted waters. My last bit of surfing took me to Greece. Intrigued by the mention of Chania – my work often took me to Crete – I followed a lovely comment by a new visitor, Chania Girl,  to her site. I found a beautiful blog and a post with a great interview. That’s a good way to get to know people, I thought. At the end of the post, she asked if anyone would like to be interviewed by her. I said yes, and here it is.

Being spontaneous is fun. I enjoy being my own boss and mixing things up! Being interviewed by others is another good way of finding our voices – the more hard questions and surprises, the better!

I haven’t used all of Chania Girl’s questions here; some overlapped with posts I actually had planned and others were so good I think she should use them as entire posts in her own blog! But here are a few of my favourites.

Chania Girl: If you could give your twenty year old self some advice, what would it be? What would you tell her?

Janice: I’d say “Everything’s meant and the pain passes. Love! Just keep loving. Things will work out OK.” I’d also say “Write home more.”  and “Sing your heart out while you can. Write, write and never stop.” Although it’s really tempting, I wouldn’t give her any advice that might change her life direction; everything that’s happened since then was meant, even the bad stuff.  Even things that became regrets were meant to happen.

Chania Girl: If I were meeting you for the first time, what would my first impression of you be?  Would I be correct?

Janice: Some people find me unsettling; others have been put off by the haunted eyes if they’ve caught me off guard. Some are uneasy because they can’t pigeonhole me when we start chatting and I ask unusual questions.  Most people who read this blog would feel instantly at home if we chatted,  like we’d already met but couldn’t quite remember where.

Chania Girl: What it is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?  Why?

Janice: Too hard! I’ve needed  – and been given – loads! My mum always said “What’s afore ye’ll no go past ye”  because I often felt out of  step and left out of things as a child and a teenager. It means if destiny’s got something planned for you, it’ll happen, no matter what you do.

Advice from books? First two that come to mind are “All must be deeply felt” and “Do the next indicated thing”. The first is one of my favourite Katherine Mansfield quotes and the second is a stunningly simple piece advice from Victoria Moran that works when I’m stuck or overwhelmed. One wee step at a time, believing that the universe is guiding me, I get through most things and often end up surprising myself.

Chania Girl: What makes you laugh?

Janice: My son was born knowing how to make me laugh, like he was sent on an undercover mission. It’s his timing. ‘Friends’ videos and great one-liners in films and ‘The West Wing’ make me snort with laugher. My husband doing jokes in foreign accents gets me every time. So does my daughter’s ear for the ridiculous which she captures in the dialogue she writes in her stories. Most of my friends have a drole, mischievous and wry sense of humour. One makes me laugh till I cry and my sides hurt.

Chania Girl: What qualities do you like most about yourself?

Janice: The first few that came to mind were resilience, loyalty, empathy, creative resourcefulness, honesty and a ridiculous bold determination to be authentic and do the right thing –  even when it gets me into trouble!

Thanks Chania Girl – it was fun!


I’d love to hear your answers to any of those questions.

Claiming Your Voice

My dream for this site was to see it grow, surely and steadily, into a wee community. I wanted it to feel like a good place to visit for a bit of respite and a coffee break, a place where the comments are as interesting as the posts. I’ve been moved by how quickly that has started to happen. We have good people reading these posts and sharing their thoughts and feelings, resources, insights and wisdom in the comments. If you have a chance, please have a wander through the comments from the last few weeks. Our genuine, meaningful responses on other people’s blogs contribute to the jigsaw picture of our online presence, our ‘voice’. The choices behind our guest  post exchanges contribute to that mosaic, too. They’re snapshots in the albums of our journeys.

Today’s post is by Nadia Ballas-Ruta. I’ve got to know her on our common blog routes, through her wonderful blog, Happy Lotus, and through her comments here. She has supported me since the day we ‘met’ through my guest post at Write to Done and I’m pleased to have the chance to showcase her lovely presence and wisdom here.  After her comment on my post about finding our voices in the silence, it seemed like the perfect time to begin our café-bistro’s ‘open mike nights’.

Claiming Your Voice

By Nadia Ballas-Ruta of  Happy Lotus

One of the things that has fascinated me about life is how so many of us are trying to find our way. I used to think that my struggle to find myself was an isolated incident because so many around me seemed to be aware of who they were and what they wanted. I later learned that this appearance was just an illusion.

We all at one point or another have wondered what is it all for and what is it that we want out of life. When we are children we seem to have a better grasp on the issue because it really is not an issue. We are content to play and run. We somehow know that all will be okay because that is what our parents tell us.

As we get older, fear sets in as we experience our first heartbreaks and disappointments. Childlike innocence is replaced with logical adult rationale. Pretty soon we are just going through the motions in life without being aware that at some point in the journey we lost sight of that child within us.

My journey to happiness has been filled with many bumps. I have had my share of suffering, and spirituality was what saved me but it was not easy.  During the midst of one of my emotional roller coasters, I realized that I needed to heal many aspects of my childhood in order to move forward. I had no idea how to do this so I prayed. I asked God/the Universe to show me what is it that I needed to see in order to have my pain stop.

So I closed my eyes to meditate and was hit with the image of being a little girl locked in a closet pounding on the door because she so desperately wanted to be free. My heart immediately went to that little girl…myself, many years ago.

I was 15 and I was sick and tired of opening my heart only to have it stomped upon by boys. I remember sitting in my room and swearing to myself that I would never ever open my heart again. So I opened the closet door and pushed my little self in there.

Here I was in my late twenties when I realized what I had done. No wonder I felt out of balance. I had lost sight of my voice. No wonder why none of my romances ever worked out. I was so concerned with not getting hurt, that I inadvertently closed off a part of my soul. It was a huge eye-opener.

A few days later, I came across an interview with the actress Kim Basinger. She talked about feeling like a trunk stamped with all kinds of labels and that she had spent her life ripping off those labels. I could relate wholeheartedly to the description because that is exactly how I felt. I felt that all these labels had been placed on me in an effort to hide the fact that I had locked away an essential part of my soul. Now that soul was screaming to be free.

Realizing something about yourself is one thing but the next steps of healing are not as easy. Sometimes, in order to overcome our past, we have to face it head on. We have to pull out all those unpleasant memories and come to terms with them. It can be very scary but as we face each challenge, we gain a little more insight into who we are.

We each have a voice that is uniquely ours. Each speaking voice is unique and so is each voice of the soul. We each have a purpose and we each have a philosophy that is cultivated by who we are and what we have done.

No one has a right to squash another’s voice or belittle it or condemn it or make fun of it. There are no absolutes when it comes to what makes you the person that you are. Sometimes we are afraid of claiming our power because we are afraid that we will not be liked or that someone else will rip us apart. How stupid is it for us to do that to ourselves?!

One of my heroes is Marianne Williamson and here is a passage from A Return To Love that has always spoken to my heart:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Once you claim your power, you will be amazed at what life will bring to your door. When I began to speak from my truth and claim my voice which is centered in creativity, all of these creative people began to appear in my life. When you speak from a place of strength, the Universe mirrors that strength back to you.

So take time to claim your voice and heal whatever it is that is holding you back. The world is waiting for your song!


I was meme-tagged by Marc over at Welshscribe. He’d been tagged by Sean at Blogopolis Blueprint. These are two good guys, freelance ghostwriters I respect and trust. If you click those links, you’ll find out much more about the whole concept. I was a bit hesitant to begin with, but then I read other folks’ meme posts and really enjoyed the new layers it brought to reading their posts.

7 Things you may not know about me

1- My first language is the Scots they speak in the mining village where my dad has lived for all of his 85 years. When my husband first met my parents, I had to interpret. It’s not just an accent thing; the syntax, grammar and vocab are wild too. “Away ben’n git yir piece aff the bunker, hen, an mind ‘n tak yer shin aff’n pit yer baffies on.”

2- My husband made an advent calendar card for me one year and behind every box was a picture of one of my favourite movie characters. The list looks like a page from a therapist’s notebook. George of the Jungle, The goodie tattooed Magi guy from The Mummy, Aragorn, Legolas, Wolverine, and Johnny Depp with a pony-tail in something, who cares what! Seems I hadn’t realised I have a thing for men with long hair and hero complexes! My husband was relieved, though, to have his could be an identical twin look-alike George Clooney there.

3- I’m fluent in Greek and used to sing and play guitar in tavernas and bars. I write better Greek song lyrics than English. The Greeks don’t frown on lyrical, – they like lyrical! I once did goat shearing in my godmother’s mountain village with a man who’d killed his mother’s attacker with an axe when he was a child. I only found this out when I was learning different shearing designs from copying other people’s. Someone said, that’s OK- just don’t copy Michali’s…he doesn’t like it when people copy his… In the end, Michali taught me his intricate design (he could have been a hairdresser, such precision) and insisted I join them in the shears washing ceremony and a drink afterwards.

4- I did karate as a teenager. (Yes, I did go through a Bruce Lee phase, too. And I like Jackie Chan…and Jet Li…and I watch way too many films!) I started writing haiku back then, too, and studying Chinese astrology, Western astrology, the Desiderata, The Prophet and the Tao. Then I went to university and discovered …parties. Fortunately, I rediscovered a lot of my spritual side decades later!

5- My favourite wine at the moment is Chilean Merlot and when I’m ill, I crave macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes or hot buttered toast.

6- I can mirror write fluently, like DaVinci.

7 – When I was a wee girl, I wrote myself into episodes of my favourite westerns, played with a Janey West cowgirl doll and matching plastic palomino horse, built camps by the stream in our local wood and always thought I’d live in the USA when I was a grown up.

My taggees…

  • Mary Jacksch, over at Goodlife Zen. She’s one of life’s empowerers as well as being a detail lover and Zen master.
  • Cindy Platt, over at NamasDaisy. Another sweetheart. She’s a teacher, mum and writer – and does them all inspiringly well.
  • Dr Amy Palko at Less Ordinary. A Scottish mum, writer and university tutor whose photographs delight me and whose normally short, inspiring blog entries leave me dying of shame for torturing you all so. She’s an expert on Stephen King’s work, especially his book ‘On Writing’.
  • Dr Robyn McMaster whose blog delights and intrigues me – she specialises in understanding how our brains function so we can better harness our powers. (Sorry if that’s a rubbish summary of something huge, Robyn.)
  • Cheryl Wright, a freelance writer whose clean, crisp style is something worth aspiring to. A comment of hers stopped one of my self esteem wobblies turning into an about turn the day before yesterday…
  • Nadia at Happy Lotus, a writer who blogs with the aim of spreading support and happiness. She got meme tagged while we were exchanging emails about this but I’ve included her anyway because her 7 things were really interesting!
  • Trina L. Grant, another sweet, smart freelancer who’s graced my blog with support in these scary first days.

And then there’s

  • Matthew Dryden. What can I say. I feel we have a glimpse of genius here. His subject matter is not something I’m drawn to, but every post, every image, every scene is fearless, tightly controlled, compelling and haunts my memory. I’ve no doubt his 7 Things will shock me and linger…

The rules…

  1. Link to your original tagger and list these rules in your post.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself in the post.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names and links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.