Saturday, June 27, 2020

How to Be Okay Whatever…


I was traipsing down the road writing the Where Tigers Belch newsletter with two tuna fish sandwiches, four bottles of water, an apple, and a big fat dill pickle in my backpack.


I had placed the sandwiches in plastic sandwich holders for I remembered from school sack lunches how the apple made a crater—all munched and flat in the middle of my sandwich. I slipped the straps of my backpack over my shoulder and set out.


It was a glorious day with the sunlight casting shadows flipping through the trees like a movie film. I was humming and on the road to my destiny.




A shot rang out.


What the heck?!


It struck my husband's job dead center.


A bullseye.


Well crumb, dead job.


When Universities close, they aren't motivated to purchase new equipment, especially custom microscopes. And you know the old adage; No buy-e, no sell-e, no mon-ey.


I remember Johnny Coleman, an exuberant guest minister at Terry-Cole Whittaker's church in San Diego. She yelled from the stage, "If you go into work one day and the boss, says, "You're fired." You say, "Okay, Great Master, what better thing do you have in store for me?"


I loved that woman so much--I’ve remembered her name for over 20 years--when I was in Chicago, luckily over a Sunday, I took a cab to her church. Unfortunately, she was guest speaking someplace else, but I was loved up by the congregation. I guess that one-liner was the message I needed.


Back to our road--the one to find Where Tigers Belch (Come along—you can do it—subscribe here, it won't cost much, less than two lunches at McDonald's).


Suddenly the road collapses, and we find ourselves skittering down an embankment, scrapping our hands and legs. But we, luckily, we land short of the creek. Okay, we're still alive, what do we do now?



But here we are on this blog, with me wondering what in the heck is happening out there in the big wide world.


One dear reader said she had been alone for about four months, and she finds herself crying at anything that vaguely tugs at her heartstrings. Remembering her dog, her horse, her kids.


That doesn’t support her magnificence.


But as I said, this is a blog, and people usually seek out a blog because they want answers.


Ah, the pressure.


So, Let's call this: 


"How to Be Okay Whatever…"


That's what I want right now.


In 2009 I worried so much about another financial slump that I couldn't sleep more than 3 hours/night. I lost weight and carried anxiety for the most part of a year like a boulder in my stomach.


I decided never to worry to such a degree again. I wrote The Frog's Song about our move to a tropical Island—our solution then. However, much of the angst was edited out. (Maybe the editor didn't want me swearing or crying.). However, I loved, loved, loved that publisher and editor, she was the sweetest thing.


So here I am, determined not to worry, and in some perverse way, excited. I'm wondering what lies ahead. I'm on my way to the spot where the Tiger Belches, remember? (That spot where the magic happens.)


On Wednesday, the day of the lay-off, I paid the bills, paid the mortgage, and bought groceries. We're set for a month, Whoops, we need half and half—gotta have it for coffee, right?


Tony Robbins would call this "Managing your state." He means "State of mind." Not an easy task nine-tenths of the time, and don't hold me to keeping mine in check. I'm trying to learn that we are in control of our mind, not conditions.


Sometimes celebrities who have achieved success in their chosen field, have money, and the esteem of their peers, still kill themselves. (John Belushi comes to mind.)


Not enjoying your success isn't a success. 


I suppose we could go back to childhood and talk about the ills that befell us, the psychological hits that set us up for a complicated life.


(Jack Canfield says, "So, you had a childhood—get over it.)


That's called "Growing up."


I'm not saying we won't get hit once in a while and feel crazed. When my husband told me he was laid off, my blood dropped to my ankles. 


But I'm up. I'm going to the spot Where Tigers Belch.


Are you with me?


Hit it!



Tuesday, June 23, 2020

From Jo, With love,


I’m assuming that you, like me, have grappled with this dilemma…

From the Oregon State Fair art by Jenny Armitage

Not the dragon, that just represents a dilemma, here is the dilemma. Have have you ever gone to an art fair and browsed through exquisite paintings, crafts, photographs, and some you would like to buy, but the price tag prohibits it? You feel for the artist. They deserve what they are charging, for you know chances are they spent hours on that painting, or that dragon. Even if they did whip it out, they deserve energy in the form on money in exchange for the energy they put into their craft.

 My grapple is charging for my services.

I feel selfish charging for something I have created, knowing how much art feeds the soul.

I’ve paid people, and I have taken a lot of free advice from people willing to give it.

Perhaps right now what I write ought to end up being my morning pages that Julia Cameron writes about in The Artists Way.

For those who do not know about Morning Pages, they are a way to write out the crap that’s cluttering one’s head, and it’s not for public consumption. With morning pages, you can gripe on the page and then throw it away. It’s a way to put a period at the end of a sentence. You know how thoughts can cycle through then turn around and bite you on the butt.

Morning pages are a way to write without fear of mistakes. It’s letting thoughts pour out through the fingers. Why write it? That way you can put a period at the end of a sentence and be done with it. Who wants to repeat themselves with a pen—you get writer’s cramps.

It’s the best therapy I can think of right now.


I need help turning my thinking around.

What if my art stinks? And who wants to buy it anyway? People are short of funds right now I don’t want to ask them to part with money better spent on survival. And regarding books, who reads these days, and why would they read mine?

Long ago I took a correspondence course from The Art Instruction Institute thinking I wanted to be an artist. Charles Schultz, Peanuts creator, you’ve heard of him, took that course before me, and that convinced me to sign up. Somewhere in the middle of the course when we were doing pen and ink drawings, I came upon the phrase “The Painter with a Pen,” and while the course is long-gone, and I’m not an illustrator, or a cartoonist, I like the idea of being a painter with a pen. For do not words draw upon a page, and with ink?

 Zig Zigler to the rescue!

“It’s the attitude, not the aptitude that determines your altitude,”

I know that half the world--more than half--spend their day doing soulless work. Thus, we ask ourselves, “Why am I different? What makes me think I can pop out of the morass and do what I want?”

Suffer with the world seems to be the mantra.

Well, are you not a child of God destined to do great things? We didn’t come here to be small. We came to live a grand life, and to live abundantly.

Are we someone who settles?

Let’s do it and ask others to come along.

You know there are a few, bless their hearts, that do what they love, and love doing it. And they get paid for their services.

It doesn’t matter whether you like them or not, what matters is that they believe they deserve to be paid, and they do.

Motivational speakers are hot on that trail, and people flock to them for inspiration and advice. Their clients plunk down money on the line, and often running up their credit cards to do it.

The BELIEF is that these people can help them accomplish what their soul is desirous of. It’s a belief that they can live their dreams if only someone points the way. And if they do your money is well spent. If they don’t, you probably let your energy fall down.

From old Zig’s wonderful drawl: “Some say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we do it daily.”

I was in need of it today. I let my energy fall.

And so, I searched the web for his Attitude vs Aptitude quote and found one of Zig’s talks:
  •  Recognize when you’re down.
  •  Set a limit on it—know it is temporary, and set a "get up and go day."
  •  Wake up in the morning and say, “Today I’m going to give it my best shot.”
  •  Do it with a smile.
  •  Attitude, like the flu, is catching. Associate with positive people, avoid nay-Sayers.
  •  Measure your success, not against others, but with what you could have done.

Zig’s podcast segued into a commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania given by Denzel Washington:

“You will fail at some part of your life.”

“You will suck sometimes. “

“Don’t quit.”

 “I never understood the concept of ‘have something to fall back on.’” said Washington. “Fall forward.”

Do you have the guts to fail? What are you going to do with our one glorious life?

After Washington failed two auditions in a theater in NY, he went onto many more failures. Thirty years after that first audition, he was back in that same theater performing Fences, for which he won an Emmy.

We find ourselves in an odd world condition. But we will get out of it. We will find our passion again.

Why wait?

We need it more now that ever.

Do it now.

Okay. After that motivation, I’m off and running. I wrote the first edition of my newsletter “Where Tigers Belch.”

 A newsletter cometh. See below.

Volume 1, June 21, 2020

May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poet’s towers into dark primeval forest where tigers belch, and monkeys howl…beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”–Edward Abbey 

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt off? You were out of sorts, irritable, thinking that nothing was going right? You were mad at the world and mad that things weren’t going according to plan. You were angry that you aren’t further along on your enlightenment trail, and wondering what in the heck enlightenment is anyway. 

You could search for years and never find that spot where the tiger belches, where you are calm, and believe that all’s right with the world. It is the place where you feel invincible.  

I understand the gap. Best to back off. Go into your hut, take a nap, pet that baby cheetah that was sleeping on your bed, and listen to it purr. (I’ve heard that they have a purr like a lawnmower, and if they lick you, your skin will feel like it has been sanded.) Decide at that moment that you will be fresh tomorrow, and you are not going to push it today. 

Page 2

Tomorrow, you think, I will take my backpack. I will add a few bottles of water, a couple of sandwiches, and set off to find my destiny.

This is the purpose of Where the Tigers Belch—more a journal than a newsletter. It is an investigation into finding our purpose, and learning that we are magnificent beings on the road to greatness.

We’re not on safari here, although I wish we were. We’re here to find the spot, that spot that lights our fire. That’s where the tiger belches. I could say sleeps or lies down, or roars, but I like Abby’s lyrical poem, so I’m saying, “Where it belches.” 

While in Africa, Martha Beck found herself in an awkward and dangerous place. She was between a Momma rhinoceros and her baby. Standing there looking at an animal the size of a Volkswagen bus, she experienced a strange phenomenon. She was frightened, yes, but she was also elated. She was at a place she had dreamed of since childhood, and at that moment that rhinoceros represented her one true nature. She felt that somehow, she had come face to face with her destiny. (Between a rhino and a hard place?) 

Perhaps that rhino was a talisman for her, a representation of what she could become: big, strong, able to overcome obstacles, that thing that both scares us and elates us. We just hope we live to tell of it. 

Being at a spot where a tiger belches has a gentler ring than coming face to face with a rhino. The purpose is the same.

The teacher Abraham talks about the vortex. That’s her description of that place where you are experiencing your highest self, and that’s the place where miracles happen.

Tony Robbins pumps up his energy, and the energy of the audience by standing, moving, dancing, yelling, for we know that not much happens when we are in a slump, or bored, or lackadaisical.

I’m using the word miracles loosely here, for I think a miracle is divinely sent by grace, maybe asked for, maybe not.

However, Creating at the spot where the tiger belches is an intentional, thought induced action.

I don’t think we can take credit for all we have produced, for I believe in muses, and divine intervention.  However, we can take credit for finding that spot in the jungle where the tiger belches, and where the magic happens. 

You think we’re small? Don’t believe it.

I'm so anxious I can't sit still, but I will wait for morning knowing all the while that I am jumping without a parachute.

Let's see.

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This is a FREE copy to give you a glimpse of the road ahead. The second volume will begin July 21, 2020