Come Meet My Writing Muse

Come Meet My Writing Muse

Come meet my writing muse – the Lion. 

Little did I know that Lion would become a writing muse as I began to welcome the idea of writing this new book I’m currently working on.

In January of this year, I had an animal reading done for myself by Ana Maria Vasquez. I was intrigued as she does them based on numerology and date of birth. While I don’t understand exactly how it all works, I’ve been intrigued by how it’s unfolding and applying to my life. I revisit the reading each month as there is a different animal energy for me to observe and pay attention to via the reading Ana Maria did for me.

She began with the animal that came in with me at birth, considered my totem animal, which she shared is Lion. Then each month she shared what animal presented itself that would help guide me this year. I must say, so far, each animal has been in alignment with where I need to focus my energy, and how I can embody more of their teachings.

When Ana began the reading she said that the animals were sharing how this was a happy reunion. She said the animals adore me and were excited to see me, and hangout. How touching that was to hear.

While Lion being my totem animal, Ana shared that Lion energy has also been with me since my 54th birthday last year and will be with me until I turn 55 in July. Lion is also my animal for June, so I’ve definitely been paying attention to how this all fits in with my life right now.

Ana shared that looking at the energy of lion, lion is for me personally about balancing the feminine and masculine. How I’ve achieved a certain level of success to this point, but now this time in my life is about my hearts desires, not playing by the rules of others, and about being in cooperation with more of the feminine aspects of lion. Those aspects being more about being inward, and feeling safe and protected while listening to my heart, before I step back out into the world again.

As I wrote yesterday on my blog, my writing process for this book is to follow my process, and not what other writers do or how the industry may suggest.

It occurred to me as I’ve revisited the reading and Lion as my totem animal, that it’s also in alignment with an animal communication reading I had done with Gidget in early March, done by my friend, Dawn. So much of that reading has helped me with a new awareness as I’ve allowed it to unfold, instead of trying to force an outcome. I’m recognizing that when I try too hard to figure things out that I only retreat further into myself, which only leads me to feeling anxious, frustrated and worried.

A little over two weeks ago I began the search for a lion totem to have on my desk. I found just the one I was looking for in a shop on Etsy called, Journey Back to the Past. A one of a kind as someone with the initials A.J. made it. I knew it was the one as I felt this skip of recognition in my heart. So gentle with just the right balance of sweetness and confidence, I think, reminding me that I too, am one of a kind, and there is no one else like me. Just like you, one of a kind, and something to be proud of and cherish.

Lion encourages me to listen to my heart, be gentle with myself, to not force anything, and to be patient. As for that last  – patience – I do believe just about every animal tries to help us humans with that! 🙂

This morning in silent meditation, I saw in my mind’s eye lion walking confidently across an open field. I admired his sturdy, strong, graceful stride. Not in a rush, but just enjoying and owning his domain. He then let out a gentle roar, and one I felt a message that I too can roar, by sharing my thoughts in my own graceful and expanded understanding as I continue to write this book.

Thank you for reading and sharing in my intrigue of the muse!



After I finished writing this post, The Animal Wisdom Tarot, popped into my mind. I wondered what the Lion card looked like from that deck. I share it here because it sure did make me smile as I saw myself sitting beside that lion in this sweet illustration.

And the message? Be true to self; claim authority.

Lion: Ruler of the Open Heart (Strength) - Animal Wisdom Tarot

What I’m Giving Up to Write a New Book

What I'm Giving Up to Write a New Book
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What I’m giving up to write a new book is something I never thought I would. What I’m giving up is this notion that there is a right, or wrong way for that matter, to write a book.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I’ve spent in the past reading and listening to the “how to’s” from the industry and also from other writers and authors, and their process. Telling myself that if I just did it their way it was what I needed to do, instead of opening to what was right for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy hearing about the craft of writing and other’s process. But now when I do, I hear it more as oh, that’s cool, and it’s inspiring to know other’s like me are out there following their creativity.

I’ve come to realize so much of this trying to figure out how something should perhaps be done was just my own lack of trust in myself, tied to my own need to feel worthy. Have you ever felt that in your life? This need to prove your worthiness?

At times, it has been quite painful to be in this place of feeling not good enough. That the way someone else does or did something is viewed as better.

I’ve had the thought of writing another book for close to two months now. Before that it wasn’t anywhere on my conscious radar. At times, I didn’t even think there was another book in me.

But today I began and wrote 2,365 words. And I’ll be honest, part of it came from two blog posts I wrote last year. 

This morning as part of my process not only for writing, but for the benefit of my life really, I’ve started a new experiment with my meditation practice. Normally I listen to a guided meditation or to music. But I’ve decided to just sit in silence. My goal today, a big one, as I wanted to try and meditate for one hour. I’ve never done that before and the longest has been thirty minutes.

But I am curious about what it is I might discover if I just learn to be with me more. Now I realize for many that sounds scary. It was for me too in some ways. And I’ll admit, the first couple of minutes felt almost like torture. I wanted to wiggle right out of my chair! But I opened to the uncomfortable. Pretty soon my shoulders dropped back down from around my ears and the butterflies in my stomach found a place to rest, and I heard myself taking these welcoming, deep breaths. It felt so good.

In that space, though I didn’t make it an hour, and sat for forty five minutes as I had to go to the bathroom… Okay, maybe too much information here, but I just had to go. 🙂  At any rate, it was in that space that it came to me how to begin my book. I’d been searching for a way in, that first line of a book that would start to carry me to the next and would begin the momentum.

The reality is that my process really began quite sometime ago, though I didn’t realize it then. But it’s been in the experience and growth I’ve had the last four years that has brought me here.

Then over two months ago when that idea of perhaps there might be another book in my future, it didn’t begin with the actual sitting my butt in my chair and clicking away on the keyboard. I just started to observe and capture thoughts that were coming to me (which I continue to do), keeping track of them on post it notes, or on paper, and then transferring them to Evernote.

Last week, a few times in the wee hours of the morning, I had more thoughts flowing. This weekend I realized it was time to just begin and made the decision it would be today. And so my experiment with sitting in silence in meditation to listen for what I might discover as the first line to begin…and it came. Now I’m not saying it will stick just as it is, but it was a start! And I welcomed it!

What I’m giving up to write a new book is to stay open to my process, however that will unfold. For now it’s a day-by- day process. I looked at my schedule of things to do this week and for now, added in two more one hour writing sessions. If more calls to me to do so, I will.

Part of my giving up also began when I recently wrote about my desire to give up my mindless scrolling of Facebook and how I didn’t even realize I was using it as a distraction. While I’ve decided to keep my personal profile page and will continue to link my blog posts there, it’s about as much as I will do with Facebook for now. It’s freed up an incredible amount of energy and I’m sure enjoying how this feels.

I’ve set no deadline for now on when this book will make it out into the world. I trust myself now that if it’s meant to be, I’ll keep writing. When I get stuck, I’ll honor that and do things such as walking or meditating to find my way back to the page.

I’m giving up everyone else’s process and the getting sucked into the “how-to” of industry standard. Instead, I’m embracing my own authentic path, which I have to say feels quite liberating and empowering. Yes!

Thanks for being here and reading!



When Life Hands You an Opportunity to Practice Human Kindness

When Life Hands You an Opportunity to Practice Human Kindness
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Being must be felt, it can’t be thought. ~Sarah-Jane Farrell

Walking into a thrift store today to search for a hard cover book to use for a creative project I’m embarking on called, Blackout Poetry, I encountered the friendly face of a big dog, with long hair in shades of caramel, black and white.

He was sitting inside the large foyer, his leash tethered to a bench a few feet from the door to the entrance of the store. He stood, wagged his tail and looked up at me with his brown eyes. I stopped to pet him as he lovingly pushed his head into my body. After a few moments of such a sweet connection, I headed through the door toward the used book section.

After finding a book and making my purchase, I headed back out to the foyer, just in time to notice how black the sky had become. Just then it began to thunder followed by heavy sheets of rain, which within moments turned to sleet and then snow. Not having a hood on my jacket I knew I’d wait it out.

It was then I noticed the dog was now attached to a tall, thin older man sitting on the bench. He was wearing a black knit hat and shoes that looked to be pieced together and an unlit cigar hanging from his lips. I stopped and said, “What’s your dogs name?”

“His name is Kulow,” he said. “I named him after the dentist who pulled out all my top teeth.” It was then I noticed he only had about two teeth left that I could see.

He continued, “I got Kulow from a man in a wheelchair. Kulow had accidentally pulled him down the stairs. He had to find a new home for him, but no one wanted him. But I said I’d take him!”

By now the sleet and snow was really coming down. As I continued to stroke Kulow’s soft head, the man said, “What kind of car do you have?”  I thought it an odd question, but told him it was a Chevy Equinox. He said, “Would Kulow and I fit in it?” 

“Ah, probably,” I said hesitantly.

“Would you give us a ride home? I only live about a mile down the road.” 

I hesitated again, not sure if I should and thought about all the groceries that were in the back of my car. And of course, I was concerned about my safety.

But something told me all would be okay.  My heart also went out to the man and his dog having to venture out in this now slippery and sloppy mix that covered the ground. I said, “Sure. I can do that. But do you mind if we wait out this downpour of crazy weather first?”

“Of course!”  he said.

Once it let up a bit, I ran to my car, opened the hatch in the back, and began to throw the bags of groceries over to the backseat so Kulow would have a place to sit.

I drove to the entrance where they waited for me, sprung the hatch open from inside my car, and Kulow jumped in. As the man got in the car, he said, “Wow! This is a nice car. You must have a really nice husband!”

I chuckled and said, “Well, actually, yes, I’m very blessed to be married to a wonderful man.” 

“What’s your first name?”  I asked.

“Alan, but everyone calls me Al.”

I said, “My name’s Barb. Nice to meet you Al.” 

As I drove out the parking lot he said, “It’s nice to meet you too. Normally I ride my three wheel bike, but walked today.”

It was then that I made the connection as the dog seemed familiar to me. I’ve often seen this man riding around town, with the dog beside him, or tied to a tree outside a retail establishment with the man’s bike next to him.

He said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you are a foxy lady.”  

Blushing, I said, “Oh gosh, thank you. You are sweet.” 

“Really,” he said. “I mean it and if something ever happens to your husband you now know where I live.” 

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll remember that. But I do hope my husband is around for a very long time because I love him very much.” I knew he was having fun with me and meant no harm.

I asked him if he was married. He said he was for ten years. Then he was engaged for thirteen years, but that didn’t work out.

I said, “Are you retired now?” 

He told me he has been on disability since he was 27 years old. He got in a car accident and was in the hospital for nine months. The doctors told him he’d never walk again. 

“But the next day I stood up and the nurses were pissed at me”  he said. 

“I’m sure they were just concerned about you,” I offered.

“Well, I was determined. And you know, I want to live to be 3,000 years old!” 

I chuckled, but also was in awe of the spirit of this man, who seemed like he didn’t have much, and was down on his luck, as we tend to define as a society.

We crossed the busy highway and within minutes he pointed to the brown mobile home on the left side of the road saying this is where he lived. He told me how he often tells the man whose driveway runs next to his house, back into the woods, that he is going to start charging him a toll because his driveway is on his property. I chuckled again.

Pulling in his driveway, I glanced in my rearview mirror to notice Kulow looking out the back window. It touched my heart, reminding me of the few times my Lab, Kylie, sat there.

I popped open the hatch again from the button in my car as Al got out, leaving his door open. Walking to the back, he grabbed Kulow’s leash as the dog jumped to the ground.

Al walked back to the open door with Kulow beside him and the half-lit cigar between his lips again. “Wow! You opened that from inside your car?” 

Smiling I said, “I know. Kind of amazing isn’t it?” 

“You’re a doll,” he said, as he held his hand up in the symbol of peace and closed the door.

A part of me didn’t want to leave. There was just something about this man’s beautiful spirit. I thought about all the times in my life I wouldn’t have done something like this. To pick up a complete stranger and one just by appearance we so often tend to ignore or shy away from. What moments had I missed out on, I wondered?

These moments of practicing what human kindness is all about. Helping another without expecting anything in return.

But therein lies the reward… the gift of this man and his dog, and his infectious spirit despite his appearance, who enriched my soul beyond words.

Thank you, Al. I hope to see you and Kulow again someday soon.

Thanks for reading!