Visit with me here to commiserate and to celebrate the writing life. Or you can find me over at Heckled by Parrots where life is for the birds… and the dog.

Holidays, Aliens & Cookies

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There are things I love about December.

I love the smell of cinnamon and pine.

I love the haphazard visual cacophony of other people’s badly hung Christmas lights.

I love it when the air turns crisp and tense, allowing my falconry birds to cut through the December sky hard and full of heart. I love snuggling beneath a mound of blankets and a couple of dogs in the drafty chill of a 1925 house. I adore the sound of bells. And Christmas cookies. I really LOVE Christmas cookies. All kinds of Christmas cookies. Pretty much ALL the Christmas cookies.

I hate the holidays though. They have never met my expectations and I’ve never met theirs. The warm gestures, perfection of the human spirit, and magical mysteries of the season have never arrived perfectly timed to the season and at my doorstep – not on accident or by my design. My family celebrates Christmas and I can’t remember a single one in 40 years that wasn’t a disappointment, if not a disaster. (In fairness, I don’t remember the first four. They might have been perfect, but I doubt it.)

Even though I continually tell myself that I’m not expecting anything special, I somehow get let down. Some years it’s a family fight over dinner or just an accidental unkind word in my direction. It’s a dissatisfied look at what I thought was the perfect gift. It’s the silence of my cell phone when I’m hoping for someone I miss deeply to reach out and think of me. It’s that moment when the falcon misses the duck I was hoping to bring home for dinner, because, well Christmas. Come on, falconry gods! It’s not like I asked for a pony!!

I think most of us aren’t really expecting that much, but I’m willing to bet that almost all of us are quietly discontent, if not miserable about the whole ordeal. There is always something missing during the holidays – a person, a promise, or one of those annoying fantasies that every ounce of media insists will soon be ours. ‘Tis the season. You only have to believe!

I think we all have stealth expectations.

Brené Brown in her book Rising Strong describes stealth expectations as those things we expect from ourselves or others, but don’t ever honestly tally. We expect them, but never actually give a thought to whether or not they are possible. And without a reality check on our expectations we are likely to be hurt or even resentful. Christmas is the season of stealth expectations.

In fairness, Christmas isn’t the only event I learned to face with a sense of dread when I was younger. I always felt the same way about my birthdays. No matter how much I hoped, hinted, and wistfully opened the door on my darkened home, no one ever yelled “SURPRISE!”  Someone always forgot to call. Boyfriends oddly seemed to manage a breakup right before the next birthday. By the time I was 24 I wanted to burn my birth certificate and ban any reference to it. Instead, I decided to take back the day and make it my own.

When I was 24, I started a ritual that I’ve held vigilantly to this day. I start fasting at sundown the night before my birthday. (So, you’re welcome to forget my birthday cake. I’m not eating it anyway.) Then when the sun sets, I find a quiet private place, light a candle, sip from a goblet of milk, and list all of the year’s most wonderful moments, the ones I want to take with me into my next year. When I’m done, I blow out the candle, leave all the year’s disappointments in the year that made them, and then I go pig out on pretty much everything good I can think of to eat or that happens to fall on my plate. Sometimes I feast with others. Sometimes alone. It doesn’t make a difference. The only thing that matters when you are that hungry is that you feast. So I haven’t had a disappointing birthday in 20 years. I made it my own. I know exactly what the expectations are. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…

I don’t know why I’ve never done something like this for Christmas, which is an inherently more difficult season. I mean, they don’t bombard me with advertisements for my birthday. I don’t have to feel guilty that I barely made my mortgage and for the fourth year in a row no one is getting presents. I don’t spend a lot of time trying not to think about who will never again be sitting at the family table. The whole world isn’t pressuring me to smile, be cheery, and grateful. And blessedly, there are no mythical beings passing judgement and deciding whether or not to bring birthday magic.

I don’t believe in the holiday season, but I’ve seen the commercials, the magazine ads, and the billboards. So, I feel the same way I feel about aliens and ghosts. I don’t believe, but I really really want to believe. You see, apparently I’m going to get a boyfriend, quite possibly an engagement ring, a festive family, no new life disasters (not during the holidays!), a big unexpected gift that makes me feel loved (probably a new car—that seems standard), a flood of love from strangers, at least five new reasons to be joyous and hopeful, and maybe even a Clydesdale.

Except that I’m not. In fact, where would I even PUT a Clydesdale? And why would I want my wonderfully imperfect family and friends to suddenly be absolutely picture-perfect examples of humanity. I’d be wondering if it was Christmas —or an intervention. (Or perhaps if they’re actually those aliens I want to believe in, but those aren’t the sort of aliens I’m hoping for.) And I’m pretty sure that those Hallmark-movie Christmas boyfriends who ask you to marry them in three days’ time, actually end up being the serial killers on next year’s Lifetime movies.

So this year, I’m taking back Christmas and I’ve been carefully considering my expectations.

Here’s what I’m expecting… cinnamon, pine, other people’s badly hung Christmas lights, falconry birds against a winter sky, cold nights with warm snuggly dogs, the bright jingle of copper bells, and cookies, maybe even ALL the cookies  –even if I have to make them myself.

May your holiday expectations be realistic, merry, and bright!

xxR
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But YOU Were the One in the Ring

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Two months ago a relationship ended that absolutely broke my heart. Mostly no one knows about this.

I loved this man. He’s a good a person. I believe he truly cared about me.  We had three months of intense phone conversations that lasted for hours. We had private jokes. We had shared dreams. It was long distance, but he came out twice and spent the better part of a week or more with me both times. We cooked. We flew hawks. We schemed. He quickly became my best friend. Then he had a family tragedy.

A few months ago he drove away from my house to deal with this family tragedy after an incredibly awesome week together that included some big plans for the future. When he left he promised he would be back and that everything was going to be okay.

And then he stopped communicating with me.  He ghosted. I imagine he was doing the best he could with his horrible situation, but after being mostly incommunicado for weeks, it was obvious that what we had was over.

He broke my heart in a way I didn’t know it could be broken.

He broke my heart with silence.

This brought me to my knees, but I kept flying hawks and doing my work when I could manage, and just tried to be present with the heartbreak. Then one afternoon, while I was at lunch with “the girls” they asked me about my love life. So I gave them the cliff notes on the breakup.

One of my single friends looked up at me from her salad and asked with awe, “How are you even getting out of bed?”

I said, “If I was in bed right now, I wouldn’t be enjoying this insanely delicious salmon and brie sandwich. I wouldn’t be laughing with you. I’m just trying to be present.”

And I felt like shit for saying this.

A few days ago I finished Brené Brown’s amazing new book, Rising Strong. At the heart of this book is a clarion call for failure stories. Not just for the thrill of the train wreck or the inspiring bit where we rise up and conquer, but for the part of the story we gloss over, the part where we’re on the mat and watching the ref count us out.

**

When I was 23, I was a kickboxer. I don’t mean I went to aerobics classes. (Which is honestly probably about all I could manage to do these days.) What I mean is that I trained several hours a day for five days a week, had an amateur license, and fought in real matches.

I trained hard. I ate tuna most meals because I had to lose 5 pounds to get into a better weight class. I dehydrated myself before weigh-ins. I once went a few rounds with Tommy “The Hit Man” Hearns’ sparring partner in training.  (He totally schooled me, but that’s another story.) I was very serious about it all. Unfortunately, being serious didn’t make me a particularly talented fighter.

I’ve been thinking about kickboxing a lot lately because I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to fail and how to get back up. In kickboxing getting back up isn’t just a metaphor. It’s something you physically do or do not. There are no points for “try” when you’re on the mat. (Hat Tip to Yoda)

And it’s not just you who hits the mat sometimes. You watch friends, foes, and training partners get knocked down or out. You watch how some people get back up humble and determined, while others get up with a fierce anger that eventually burns them up and how some people simply quit. You watch people manage their fall in a dozen different ways. You have a front row seat to the mysteries of getting back up.

I have a vivid memory of the first time I fell, at my first real match at a casino in Los Angeles. The place was packed with people and my trainer kept suspiciously eying my pallid face and shaking hands. I’ve always had stage fright, but going five rounds in front of a crowd of screaming people? Holy Bread and Circuses. What was I thinking?!

In the end I was simply thinking too much. The girl I fought was much better than me and I couldn’t get out of my head and into the fight. In the corner of the ring, my trainer Lorenzo rinsed the blood out of my mouthpiece and said, “Mija, get your hands up and get in this fight. Don’t make me throw in the towel, not when I know you can do this.”

And I could do it. I stayed in the fight, but I certainly didn’t win. I was relieved when it was over though and more relieved that no one had to throw in the towel. I had lost, but it could have been worse. I consoled myself with the thought that I had done the best I could. Thank God I hadn’t hit the mat.
After the fight, my boyfriend, who also trained with me, found me in the green room. I smiled openly at him expecting encouragement, but he shook his head.

He said, “That was embarrassing. You can fight so much better than that. I’m so disappointed in you.” And then it was if I WAS on the mat with the ref standing over me. This wasn’t the fight I had prepared for, but it didn’t make a difference, I had failed. All of the bruises and blisters, all the watching my boyfriend eat guacamole and chips while I stabbed at a can of tuna, all of that determination had gotten me nowhere but straight to failure and disappointment.

What the hell was the point of anything anyway? Why did I even try?

Our best friend Dave found me later. I was out of my ring clothes and now swaddled in sweats, but with my hands still wrapped from the fight, and quietly crying in a corner. He consoled me, saying that hey, it was your first real fight in front of a big audience.

And I told him what my boyfriend had said. Dave’s face twisted into a look of distain and dismissal that even after twenty years I’ve never seen anyone do so effectively.

“Yeah. But YOU were the one who actually got up in the ring. Fuck him.”

This was my best first lesson about failure and getting back up. I was never a great kickboxer, but I came to understand that failure was inevitable. That anyone who retires undefeated has most definitely quit too soon. That what matters is that you were in the ring. (Hat Tip to Teddy Roosevelt and Brené Brown)

All the same, I’ve never quite mastered the art of getting back up. This, my friends, is a lifetime affair. We should all be talking about the view from the mat.

 

At lunch with my girlfriends, talking about my breakup, I sounded like a champion.

My single friend sighed and said, “I wish I could be like you. I wish I could just put the hurt away and be so strong.”
I winced. And then I opened my mouth to tell the truth. I wanted to say:

“Oh, but I hurt. I hurt so bad I have to remind myself to breathe. The first thing I do after I wake up is cry every morning. Sometimes in these moments I text and beg him to talk to me. And then when he doesn’t, late at night, after a few shots of tequila, I text something bitter and angry. Then I delete the messages out of my phone because I’m embarrassed of both. I suck at this. I’m terrified it will never end. I wonder what is wrong with me – if I’m irrevocably broken.  I’m a hot mess. Don’t take any advice from me. I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. I’ve hit the mat and I can’t get back up!!”

Instead I serenely said, “I had three amazing months. A couple weeks of heartbreak seems like a fair trade off.”

I did a huge disservice to my friends by not being honest about how hard it was to be flat on my face on the floor. Yes, I was back on my feet, but it would have been more helpful to honest about how my legs were so wobbly that I’d be back down shortly and that the battle was still being waged. I should have told them I was fragile and human and asked for a hug. I should have given them a front row seat to the ring and let them see the struggle, help if they could, and more importantly see that it wasn’t just them. It’s all of us.

So to make amends, I’m telling you.

It sucks on the mat, my dear friends. And the ref may very well count you out. And the worst part is that you’re going to have to decide whether or not you’re in for the next fight. But just so you know, it’s not just you. It sucks on the mat. It hurts. It’s disorienting. It’s humiliating. And most people don’t just bounce right back up. If they say they did – well, they are lying.

All the same every time you hit the mat, you learn something new about yourself while you’re sprawled there. And I believe that as ugly and distasteful as the struggle to get back up is, it is truly one of the most beautiful things that humans are capable of doing.

And it DOES get easier. If you tend your wounds, grieve your loss, reflect on your weaknesses, strengths and strategy, then you are going to get to your feet faster every time. If you do this, then it is SO worth scheduling the rematch. It is SO worth being in the ring. It actually IS worth the broken heart.

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Surely You Can Get Back Down

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A couple of weeks ago I found myself staring off a bluff straight down into my favorite phobia.

Dread, my red-tailed hawk came into my home late last January with beat up feathers, wild as the wind, and a nasty temperament. He saw my value pretty quickly though, and we were hunting together within a month. We have an agreement. I provided better opportunities to hunt, water when he was thirsty, a warm safe place to sleep, food when hunts went badly, and therefore he would let me tag along while I set him loose to do hawk things.

Logically, I know he has the better deal. However, I know that I get fresh air, exercise, mental challenges, and that I get to see and experience things that most people don’t even consider. Philosophically, I have a much better deal. Dread makes me a better person.  And so when we are in the field, I am completely in, no matter what. After all, I might catch a quick glimpse of something akin to magic.

Which leads to why I ended up in a precarious place with no good options on how to get down.

Dread was high up on a bluff, watching below as I tried to scare up a cottontail and potentially, his meal for the next several days. Our communication is limited to hand signals, a few agreed upon words, and a lot of trust, but we understand each other as best as two rather incongruous minds can manage. However, I know I’m not the boss of him. So when he suddenly disappeared, I realized that he had stumbled upon an agreed upon exception.

Anything involving food is an agreed up on exception.

I got out my receiver and verified via the transmitter on his tail that his was still not far from where I’d last seen him, but most likely out of sight above the rise and surely with food.

Now I had a job.

He’s in my care and therefore I needed to get to wherever he was as quickly as possible. I am his first line of defense against another more aggressive red-tailed hawk, a coyote, or anything else that might damage him and take his meal.

I didn’t even look at how steep the climb was, I just used my hands, dug in my toes and made my way up. I found him with the biggest wood rat I had ever seen. Despite my haste it was mostly eaten, but it as also fairly won. So I hopped him onto the glove with it, and let him finish, knowing our outing was over. He was too sated and pleased to continue with any more hunting.

It wasn’t the ending I wanted. I don’t enjoy killing things, but larger game is a bigger bounty and hawks need food. It would have been more ideal to have a bigger reward. It would have been more exciting to have seen the hunt. All the same, the hawk didn’t care. He was happy. I was happy for him. This was a good morning. Until looked down.

Climbing up is a lot less daunting than the realization that you somehow have to safely descend with a hawk hooded and balanced on your glove.

Let me expound on this a bit. Steep inclines take my breath away. Maybe it’s that I fell down a flight of concrete stairs when I was three years old. (No, really, I still remember it.) Or maybe it’s that I’ve watched Wesley and Princess Buttercup roll and bump down that endless hill one too many times. Whatever it is, climbing down.  No. Just no.

I shuddered and squeezed my eyes shut. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I wasn’t going to climb down that bluff.

Then I opened my eyes and looked at the view.

This wasn’t where I imagined my morning would take me. It wasn’t the hunt I was hoping for, but down below me there was a beautiful stretch of native California, swirled into motion by flocks of mourning doves and set against a winter blue sky. I stood above a Sunday morning world that was mostly still sleeping and probably not even dreaming of things this beautiful.

You got up here, didn’t you? Surely you can get down.

Standing with this gorgeous hawk sitting comfortably if not blissfully, on my glove, I remembered his first begrudging step to my glove, his first free flight. I recalled his first successful hunt. I remembered our many failed outings and our gradual friendship. I thought about the fear and hope and magic that is involved in befriending a wild hawk that would catch its own meal and happily return to your glove.

I thought about the journey up this hill. That journey was surely worth every slow and precarious step I was going to have to make to get us safely back down.

It was definitely worth it. It was worth the slow embarrassing slide on my butt and the thorns in my palm. It was worth it just like the autumn relationship that broke my heart. The finished novel on my desk that didn’t wrap up into the beautiful poetic package I wanted it to. It was worth it — just like life.

So when you accidentally climb up that precarious place representing your most revered fears, don’t forget to pause and remember how freaking awesome the climb was that got you there. You’ll get back down just fine.

xxR

 

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Why San Bernardino is Broken— and Amazing

This is what I want you to know about San Bernardino. This is what the media isn’t talking about.

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Photo Credit: Micah Escamilla via The Sun Newspaper

San Bernardino was one of the hardest hit cities in the United States during the recession and still has not recovered. I write about the economy for a good portion of my living. I know too well how SB ends up on so many of the worst lists. Here is just one example.

“The recession of 2008 struck the city hard and hasn’t let up; San Bernardino was forced into bankruptcy in 2012, and it still hasn’t recovered. On the law enforcement side, draconian budgets forced most of the city’s police force off the job, with entirely predictable results.”

It’s listed as one of the worst cities to live in the United States in 2015 in the link above, but what is notable in this list is the fact that the police department has been doing the best they can on a shoestring for several years.

San Bernardino is rife with crime and a hard place that a lot of good people are determined to make better. Some of these people head nonprofits. I have interviewed many of them and written about their organizations over the last few years in a weekly column in Press Enterprise. (I know. I write about a lot of things. Girl’s gotta make a living.)

My favorite interview, perhaps was with A Fighting Chance, an organization in SB giving inner city kids a chance to be champions in the ring so they didn’t need to try to be one on the streets. I was a boxer in my youth and I know what that kind of disciplined training requires and what kind of anger and despair it extinguishes. Ian Franklin, the president and CEO of this organization talked to me about these hardscrabble kids:

“Everyone who comes through the door wants to be a champion and we have kids who have realized their dreams, but there is a lot of hard work and dedication that is involved in any dream,” Franklin said. “Whether you want to be a doctor or a boxer, you have to roll up your sleeves and work hard for it.”

This, to me,  is San Bernardino.

And nobody told you this about San Bernardino when you watched the Chief of Police deftly handle this horrible situation, but SBPD is just like these kids. They roll up their sleeves and despite that fact that times are hard and they are short on staff, they fight. They fight for their community, which is rough and dangerous and sometimes seems hopeless. If you want a deeper picture, then read Joe Monzingo’s story in the Los Angeles Times about one of the most broken cities in the United States. San Berdoo can be, often is, heartbreaking.

A yet here in this broken place, the last place you would think an act of terrorism would even be worth the effort, we just found harder times, but we also found heroes.

I hope you watched Lt. Mike Madden in the press conference tonight. He was the first officer on the scene and told a story I’ve never heard the police tell the national public. In charge of dispatch and records, he does mostly paperwork now. I imagine his family is relieved that after years of service he is out of harm’s way these days. But his wife probably shoved him — and then hugged him when he came home last night.

Madden heard the tension and confirmation of a true major casualty situation in his dispatchers’ voices and as a highly trained veteran officer and closest to the scene, he was there first and managed the entry.

It is an unsettling, but true story with excruciatingly difficult details about walking into carnage while remaining determined to save human lives. But stories… true stories… real stories… they can change the world.

San Bernardino PD acted as and were world-class level responders in a poor city that is barely supporting their police department. They did what the best heroes do. They faced the situation they never imagined with fierce determination and called in every partner who was willing and able to back them. And the surrounding city authorities were immediately there to back them.

San Bernardino answered their hero’s “call to action” and never looked back. And considering the odds and the insane situation they were faced with, I can’t believe how efficiently and professionally they made their city and the surrounding cities safe and in such an astoundingly short period of time.

I’m telling you this because it isn’t a fantasy novel, although it’s an outstanding example of a real-life hero’s journey and because that is what hope in the face of the impossible looks like. San Bernardino never believed they were in ashes. They were always rising. Embrace their hope. Let’s all rise with them.

I’ve felt wrung out the last two days. There is so much loss in my community. So much pain that isn’t even mine, but I still can’t look past. And so much broken that will never be made whole. I don’t know how to make this better.

But I do believe in San Bernardino PD and I believe in San Bernardino. I guess it’s a small jump to believe in myself too.

And so, when we are tired of arguing about how we are certain that our way (whatever that way is) is the only way fix this horrible cycle of violence the United States, I hope we can pause and talk calmly and figure out how to be #SBStrong.

I hope we’ll figure out how to fix it together.

When Social Media Doesn’t Help

I learned something yesterday about myself that I’m not proud of. I learned that I have spent far too much time making national tragedy about myself.I have surely let people down who could have used my love.

Yesterday from 11AM until 1AM this morning, I sat with my phone and computer in front of the television. When you live in small places never mentioned nationally, you don’t think anyone would bother with this level of terror in your home.

I spend a lot of time interviewing and writing about Inland Empire nonprofits and first worried about my nonprofit family. When they were shooting in the streets, I worried about my coworkers in the nearby area. I’m an occasional crime reporter and I also worried about friends in law enforcement. When they started the manhunt in Redlands, I worried about my immediate family who lives there. When they discovered the apartment was an IED factory, I worried more. All day there were new things to worry about. New dangers to the people I love.

And through this I discovered what it feels like to be combing your feed for any tiny bit of news that will make you feel your loved ones are safe, that a friend has recently posted and is fine, that it looks like the horror is ending — only to have it all buried in a flood of anger and raging arguments about gun control and terrorism.

You feel alone and invisible.

You even feel guilty that people in your home are causing such vitriol. And you feel like no one actually gives a damn, because there are people in danger, people who are terrified, people who need love and support and compassion NOW. And they are people you know. They are you. But instead everyone is screaming about what went wrong and who is at fault.

In fact, I deleted more than twenty comments on a post about the Inland Regional Center’s work on my own Facebook page. They were all regarding what should and must be done and they were some of the most angry and inflammatory I saw. You can see for yourself how many comments were left that involved compassion and empathy. Maybe a dozen?

How to stop these acts of terrorism is an IMPORTANT DISCUSSION. I won’t stop having them and I don’t think you should either. These discussions are going to need to be had and the anger is merited. —But there were people who during that entire tense day (and honestly now) who needed others to reach out with kindness, empathy, and hope.

I’m probably just too sensitive. But if I am, there were many others like me.

I hope there won’t be a next time, but there will be. And next time when it’s not “us” this is happening to I vow to focus on how to be immediately helpful if only to offer compassion and anything I can think of to actually help to those at the center and periphery.

I promise to save my anger and my justifiable demands for change for at least 24 hours or at the very least until the crisis is over.

I promise that I will start with kindness, empathy, and hope.

I promise that if this is ever you. I will be there for you with my open arms right then.

Far From Fearless


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Seventeen years ago, I spent three entire days asleep in a stranger’s tiny and cold flat in Healesville, Australia. I slept because I was jet lagged, I couldn’t get warm, and because I was more scared and homesick than I had ever imagined was possible.

I had flown 13 hours across the ocean, excited to work at a show with birds I had never seen, to be welcomed into a new job and find new friends, only to discover that my host was having some sort of emotional breakdown and had decided she didn’t want me in her house. So, I was reluctantly shuttled into someone else’s home who didn’t want me there just a little less.

They had only agreed to house me if I would split the utilities and take my turn at cooking and cleaning during the four months I was scheduled to stay. (Back home, the keeper I was swapping jobs with was an American and staying at my apartment for free.) This was an unexpected turn, but reasonable. The fact that I was living with a man who had cheated on his wife a few months ago (a soon-to-be-coworker of mine) and now shared this home with that mistress, was rather less reasonable. I had landed in the middle of a foreign land and a horribly familiar drama.

I wanted to go home, desperately. The food tasted wrong, the toilet paper smelled like perfume, and the unfamiliar bird sounds put me on edge, but not as much as the way the mistress of my new house eyed me suspiciously. I had been left with a car, but had no idea how to drive on the left side of the road, or where to get groceries, and what the hell the difference was between petrol and gas. I had no business being there and I knew it.

I called home to my boss who told me to change my flight and come back to Florida if that was what I wanted to do. He understood. I was relieved.

I slept away one more day and dreamed that my grey parrot, Ty, flew across the ocean, through the fern forests and landed on my window sill. I woke in the late afternoon, startled by a riot of sulfur-crested cockatoos outside my window.

My grey wasn’t with me. I was still homesick, still scared, still cold, but as I threw my legs over the side of the bed, I realized that if I went home, I might regret it for the rest of my life. Nothing I had done so far had been as frightening as this, but all of the most wonderful things in my life had started with risk and fear, and were then followed by a determination to do them anyway. Why would this be any different?

The first month was hard, but it got easier and I stayed almost five months. I successfully trained and hunted with a brown goshawk. I ran amok in the bush with her, discovering new things every day. I helped release rehabilitated wedge-tailed eagles, trained wild fairy wrens to take mealworms from my fingers, and spent one dark and spooky midnight with an aboriginal man who performed a grounding ceremony on me. I had adventures I couldn’t have imagined. And I almost went home.

Starting this “newsletter” made me think of this time and so many similar ones. I wonder who the hell I am to think I have inspiration and advice worth sharing. I wonder if I’m getting in way deeper than I should. Will I be able to keep it up? Will no one read? Will everyone hate what I have to say? Am I going to sound like a pompous ass?

Who cares? I’ve failed at a lot of things. Sometimes to disastrous effect, but the journey to get to failure or success was always full of wonder.

All the most wonderful things in my life started with risk and fear.

In fact, whenever the fear spikes in my chest, and I think to myself, man this is risky… you might break your heart, break a bone, end your career… my inner girlfriend replies, “Well, I guess we’re doing it then, aren’t we?” Yes, yes we are.

I hope I can give you some good reasons to start with risk and fear as well. Let’s see where it takes us, shall we?! I’m very grateful that you’re choosing to come with me.

xxR

(If you would like to subscribe — please fill out the form to the right.)

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Birds, Words, and Inspiration

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Dear Friends and Fellow Adventurers,

As I work on a new novel and a nonfiction guide to 158 Days (now The Girlfriend Project) I’m realizing that I have a great deal of short writing I want to compose ad share in letter form. I want to talk about The Artist’s Way, The War of Art, the philosophy I’ve been reading, books on happiness, on creativity, on mindfulness, my journey to self-love, surviving heartache, postcards, and of course the zen of birds (and maybe, occasionally, the blind devotion of dogs) .

I want to share these thoughts once a week and lead my friends to other sources to investigate, discuss, and maybe incorporate into their lives. I want to be more whole through sharing. Which I think perhaps is the best way to fill yourself up and discover what you have to pour into your art. It is the best way to discover that you actually have the same compassion to share with yourself that you share with friends.

So I’m starting a mailing list.

I don’t want to write the first email for the ether. I want to write it for friends. It will appear in your inbox every Friday when I get going in a few weeks. It won’t be spammy. I, of course, hope that you will read my other works, but I’ll be sparing about telling you them. I don’t really have anything to shill right now anyway.

So if I promise to give you encouragement, positive things to ponder, and ways to discover your own journey through art, love, and being present, would you consider joining? I need a few people to send the first emails to so it’s not so very lonely in the beginning. I’d love to share with you!!

xoxo Rebecca

Fill out the form. I will go blank, but after a bit you should get a confirmation email.

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