5 Ways To Honest Writing (and selling people out)


No one wants to be a rat.

You know, the one that tells the family secrets, betrays the trust of friends or business partners.

But someone’s gotta do it.

As  Joan Didion says,

“Writer’s are always selling someone out”.

You may want to write a book, a blog, and wonder about writing the truth the way you see it. Or the way you experienced something. And then you realize you may be saying too much, or that someone may not like what story you told.

What do you do?

I wrestled with this for a while because I wanted to write stories based on my childhood growing up as one of eleven children.

That’s a story loaded with stuff about other people. Do you sugar coat? Change story lines, names and situations?

When I read this quote by Anne Lamott I had my answer very clearly.

“Own everything. If people wanted you

to write warmly

about them they should have behaved better”.

Pick your choice. Blog for real or your writing may be milk-toast-inspired.

Do you get into messes because of something you said?

If so, good. That means you have a shortcut to being honest in your writing. If not, then perhaps you can find your truth when you write. Because that is all people really want to read.

I love this writing space in this photo,  yet have a sneaking suspicion that it would be hard for me to be honest and raw surrounded by pink. 



My half broken laptop with the super annoying Windows 8, the draft at my window and the roll top desk  I bang my elbow into as I write is where I am at. Right behind me are sharp Lego pieces I step on with my bare feet getting to my desk at 4:30 AM.

Now that’s a space that brings out the truth in me, and only the truth, so help me God.

Here are 5 Ways To Honest Writing.

1) “Tell the truth but tell it slant.

…The truth must dazzle gradually,

or every man be blind”.  Emily Dickinson

Change things that don’t take away from the emotion of the writing or the events that you want to portray as having occurred in a specific way.  This can be tricky yet possible. The truth with a slant.

2) Write your first draft when you are tired, uncomfortable, hungry, angry, lonely.

This will help you use your emotional and physical state to bypass good feelings and get to the raw.

3) Ditch the keyboard.


Take out a paper and pen and ask yourself what you really, really want to write if no one else would read it . Ever. Write THAT down on your paper.

Ask yourself what messages or emotions you want your readers to get after reading  your writing. Write THAT down on your paper.

This may bring you closer to your truth than the keyboard initially.

4) Become a Healer

Writing provides relief for yourself and others. When it feels scary to be honest in your writing, remind yourself of the healing you can only provide others if you’re real. And take courage from the knowledge that this is how you as a writer have ultimate healing yourself.

You deserve to heal.

5) Be sinful

There is a feeling of sinful pleasure when you write the truth because you know someone won’t like it. AT ALL.

And isn’t it fun to sin once in a while?

From my edgy, drafty space to yours, know that you could do it. Actually, only you could write the truth as its known to you so if you don’t the world will never have that spot inside themselves healed in a way only you could provide.

Write your truth and you’re a hero.

Go be a hero. It’s not for the faint of heart but if you read this far, it’s probably for you.


images: pagewoman.tumblr.com/inspirerooms.com/

Must There Be Pain?


Who’s idea was it that there must be pain? No one wants pain and struggle.

The spiritual teachers say to get into the ‘Zen’, go with the flow, and allow life.  Yet, people that have accomplished great things have the ‘no pain no gain’ approach.

Who is correct?

You try the zen thing, and the money dries up so fast you have to sell your meditation cushion to buy lunch. You work hard, and feel burned out, stressed and know there’s more to life.

You want a balance. Work hard, play hard, take some time for rest,  yet that may not feel balanced. There is a reason for that.

Can hard work and zen balance each other? Where does the ‘no pain no gain’ come into play?

Here’s an aha moment from Arnold. You may not expect to be able to relate to him at all, yet some of his success philosophies are surprisingly simple (I didn’t say easy) and inspirational.  

A marathon runner friend insist I watch an old movie called “Pump it Up” , trailing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s early journey as a bodybuilder and how he kept winning Mr. Olympia. He narrated most of it and taught me two things:

1) There WILL be pain. Embrace it.  Even the greats go through great pain, it is easy for NO ONE.

“Yes, I threw up in the gym, yes I fainted in the gym”, he said.

2) Smile. Enjoy it all, laugh, make jokes, all while you work the hell out of yourself.

Sounds simple? Perhaps. There is one missing key –

You can read this, hear this and say, yeah, yeah I know all that. Or you can do this:

Seek out the pain. If there is no pain there really, really is no gain. REALLY. And that’s OK. If while you work hard all you can think of is how you wish it would be easy, and can’t wait to run home to your aromatherapy candles and relax in front of the TV you did not experience the ACCEPTANCE and DESIRE of pain.

BE OK WITH THE PAIN. Don’t complain about it and wish it were not there, not a necessary ingredient to your success. Once you do, the zen moments to balance you are so sweet and nourishing.

And smile? You would be surprised at how many people forget this. Just look around you.

You think that when you’re closer to your goal you will smile and be happy, crack jokes, feel good about yourself among people. Smile today. It makes all the difference.

And you can still do the zen-go-with-the-flow thing. The trick is that you stop wishing the pain was not there. Once you embrace the pain necessary for your growth and dive into it, accept it and do the work you need to do, the spiritual stuff is so much sweeter.

Without the hard work, time, effort and necessary pain the zen flow becomes a stagnant river.

You can DO THIS NOW.

No matter where you are on your journey, you have the right and actually the obligation to smile and seek out joy as well as know that all great things come at great struggle and sacrifice.

I wish it were different. It isn’t.

Arnold is actually adorable  in this movie. A young, inspired, happy 28 year old pushing his limits and then pushing them even more. His charm and hard work combined make him so attractive, you want to be like that.

You can.

What is it you want to do? Write? Study? Music? Numbers? Embrace these two concepts of NO PAIN NO GAIN and SMILE AND BE HAPPY and you will shock yourself into a painful, joyful state of feeling your body, your soul and your knowing that you are living on purpose.

That feels really good.

What are you desiring in your life right now? I would love to know how you will apply these two ideas.





To Keep The Dog Or Give Her Away?

dog glasses

In  Los Angeles, CA, dogs seem to be treated better than people.

After moving out there and seeing this, I caught the desire to be a dog owner and wanted a tiny teacup Yorkie to put in a pocketbook so I could carry it around town with me.

If I only had one of those I wouldn’t obsess about myself from head to toe,  or desire a miniskirt and Ugg boots to fit in with the culture. So I thought.

A dog in a bag, walking a dog along the palm tree lined streets. 

And people with dogs did seem more peaceful. But then what about the roped off dog parks? Millions of dollars spent on food? Little dog outfits and sweaters? I thought this was like the Emperors New Clothes where people lavished emotions and attention and ideas on their pets instead on on themselves, pretending dogs really ‘got’ them, cared for them, protected them.

What’s a ‘dog person‘. Some say they’re a ‘dog person’ or say “I’m not a dog person’.  I finally decided to rescue one and see which one I was, yet every time I found a rescue I wanted  I was denied. The excuses given to me by the shelters were at the last moment, after going through extensive applications. As if the LA shelters couldn’t let go of their dogs.

“Your back yard isn’t big enough.”

or  “Your child is the wrong age for this dog”

or how about “You don’t have enough celebrities on your block”. (kidding, but not far fetched)

So I gave up finding a dog.

What you wish for may come true. As fate would have it, a dog would come to me. I got a phone call from a friend saying she had to give her dog away, and would I like to have  it. Without hesitating, I envisioned my life with a white picket fence, boy, girl, tall dark and handsome man, and little white dog.

“YES!” Yes to a perfect life!

Cookie arrived an hour later.

I had no idea what to do with her. I tried putting her into a pocket book and she freaked out, barking as if she were fighting for her moral right to go against LA culture.

  • She did her business on the floor. On the carpet.
  • She barked every time a car in a five block radius drove by.
  • She barked at night. Scratched at my bedroom door at 4 AM.
  • She wanted my dinner.
  • She didn’t eat her dog food.
  • Help. Help. Help.

I visited the pet store. Stayed up late and Googled and YouTubed all the dog channels. How to this and that. What to do if you dog won’t sleep. Barks too much. Too little. Won’t eat. Wants to eat.

It was crazy.

Until Cookie chose ME.

I was the one she followed around. I was the one whose lap she wanted to sit on, snuggle next to on the couch, lay her head on my knee.

Huh. I wondered what it was she saw in me.

Slowly I figured out how to care for her.  When she annoys  me,  I tell her I can always give her back to Linda if she doesn’t behave. She doesn’t seem to care, and I know she won’t end up on Jerry Springer’s couch because of my bad mood.

Yesterday she nailed her place in my heart. My 6 year old son came home angry from school, and started yelling and lashing out at me and  in anger, kicked me on the shin. He never did that before, and before I could think of a response, Cookie charged at him, knocked him over and barked in his face, bit at his backpack and shoes and jumped all over him, keeping him away from me.

The rare sensation of feeling protected came over me. I felt protected. By a 5 pound white Maltese.

Someone/something  stood up for me for real. She showed her fangs, fought for me. Wouldn’t let up.

Growing up, my father was the aggressor, not the protector and didn’t hesitate to use physical violence or raise his angry voice to get me to toe whatever  line he decided to draw.  My first husband used religion and a patriarchal culture to keep me in fear.

My next relationship was one where he could not stand up for me or protect me from himself, because he was deep in his own dark mental illness, depression, and busy reaching for whatever would ultimately break us apart.

Now my honor is defended, restored in a sense. I have my own warrior. I now know what it feels like to have my honor stood up for, fought for, and I like the feeling. Love it. Cherish it. Knowing for certain she won’t let me down makes me smile. I feel calm walking her, and put a sweater on her so she won’t be cold not as a dress up toy.

If she wants to come up on my bed sometimes, I bring her on, not to replace human connection but because she really is connected to me.  She fought for her right and she won a real place in my heart.

I get it. I get why dog’s are a man’s or woman’s or child’s best friend. I get it now.

(I still have to deal with Benny kicking me in the shin).

Quote by Dean Koontz:

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog.

Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”  

Do you have a dog story for me? send it to smartbutscared@gmail.com and I will publish it here.



Go Ahead! Just do it Already!

dog thoreau

Why You Should Do What You Always Wanted To Do

What is it with the rampant self-doubt?

You concoct so many reasons why you can’t or shouldn’t do what you want. No time, money, support, etc. Classes to take, kids to care for, relationships to tend to, and so on.

There should be a diagnosis code for this. Call it self-doubt 101, something so many of us suffer from.

What is the possible treatment?

There’s going onto the therapists couch and analyzing who, what, when, and where. Then there’s taking a trip, running away, and trying to find the answers elsewhere.

And let’s not forget, the way most of us treat our excuses about why we don’t do what we always wanted: you stuff it down to the back of your soul and plod on. Doing what you think you ‘should’ do.

Here is another option.

Take a look at some people that went ahead and did what they always wanted and succeeded. But not before they failed on an epic scale. So take that in, realize that you can choose to do what you always wanted to and get ready to take some huge falls.

After falling and floundering, getting doors slammed in your face, being called all kinds of names, and shouting back at the voices in your head that scream at you to stop, you WILL succeed – just like these famous people below that did what they always wanted to do.

You are no different than they are.


Sylvester Stallone  had it rough as a child. He was taunted in school and in-and-out of foster homes. He was told, ”You’re stupid lookin’ do somethin’ else.” His movies grossed over a billion dollars.

What he wanted to do: Inspire people and act.





Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four, or read until he was seven years old. Everyone thought he was mentally handicapped and would not accomplish anything. He won a Nobel Prize and became the face of modern physics.

What he wanted to do: Study physics and change the world.







Rodin was considered the worst student in his school and was continually rejected when applying to art school. His father called him an ‘idiot.’ He ended up becoming a sculptor and famously created ”The Thinker Statue.”

What he wanted to do: Be an artist and sculptor.







Elvis Presley was fired by the manager of the Grand Ole Opry after one performance. Presley was told, ”You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”  What do you know, Elvis became the most popular singer in America.

What he wanted to do: Sing and perform.




Winston Churchill failed 6th grade and lost every election for public office until he was 62-years-old. He went on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Among many other accomplishments, he renewed the world’s faith in the superiority of democracy.

What he wanted to do: Serve his country.




Walt Disney went bankrupt and was fired by a news editor for ‘lack of imagination.’ He was the man who gave us Disney World and Mickey Mouse.

What he wanted to do: Entertain people.

It’s YOUR turn.

What do you want to do? Imagine if these individuals above would have not felt they should do what they always wanted to do. We wouldn’t have Mickey Mouse! Or “Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go” (Elvis).

How about the Winston Churchill quote: “Never, never never give up”?  or the theory of relativity.

How about Rocky – that movie inspired people all over the world to go for their dreams and never give up.

You have something that you always wanted to do and we are waiting, the world is waiting. Even if it’s something you don’t think will be the next Thinker Statue, it will light your soul and everyone around you will be encouraged by you.

This ripple effect can make a change for generations to come.

Put the Rocky soundtrack on and run up and down the stairs and imagine what your life would be like if you were doing what you always wanted to do. Prepare for bumps and bruises, knowing that that’s part of the game of life.

And in the end, you will be pumping your fist, standing tall and proud of living your life the way you want to. You’ll be using the gifts you have until you cannot squeeze another drop out. 

Then squeeze some more.
Amazon – Shop. Connect. Enjoy. All from Earth’s Biggest Selection.

This post was written by me and first appeared on Lifehack.org

Featured photo credit: Do What You Love via flickr.com

Featured photo credit: Roberto Rizzatovia Flickr, Thomas Hawkvia Flickr, Wally Gobetzvia Flickr, Seng Chenvia Flickr, snapsvia Flickr

What Can a Snowflake Teach You About Life?


Enough is enough.

I mean it. Snow is pretty, winter wonderland, white Christmas and all that. ENOUGH ALREADY! I have never been bored in my life until now.  Walking from room to room,

waiting for the sun to remember that New Jersey exists.

I sat down and did a Google search for snow, expecting a blown up snowflake looking magical so that I would be inspired to write something about how snow is beautiful and get out of the cabin fever I had from being in the same comfortable clothes…for days…

Here is the first image that came up. The one at the header of this post.

A hot guy in leather, snow falling, a red race car, some horses. There is a God. (click to Tweet) 

Sit back, breath in and out and dream.

Ahh. I GET IT.

Do you get it? You have to do snow in style. You have to do life in style. There is always a choice.

Wear your ugly waterproof boots, hair tied up in a bun under a woolen hat you wear year after year, warm puffy coat that puts 20 pounds on your frame –


Red hot. Snow White. Horse sense. Guy in Leather.

Remember this: There is ALWAYS a choice. (Click to Tweet) 

So choose to do it in style. Whatever it is. Day 5 of snow? Break out the hottest clothes you have. No hot clothes? Shovel your way out and get some.


photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/fhfalthani/


moon and tree


It’s 2:20  AM and I feel so full of fear.

I feel so scattered – so fearful of so many things. Its not like there’s one thing pressing on my mind. Does it mean that my entire life is a mess or I am just being irrational?

Would money solve my fear problems?

There is no one to talk to at an hour where you hear every drip in the sink and the on an off cycle of the refrigerator motor.

Last resort seems to be what Neal Donald Walsh says he did in Conversations With God.

So I take out a pen a paper and have a conversation by the light of the moon at the kitchen table.

Me: OK so there’s a ball of fear in the pit of my stomach. Why?

G: You’re trying to be me.

Me: Oh.

G: You be you and I’ll be me.

Me: OK. So what’s mine, my stuff to worry about?

G: Nothing. I do the worrying and you do the living.

Me: So why do I feel so afraid to do my part, to live?

G: Because you want to know the final score of the game before the game is over.

Me: So what do I do now?

G: Let go of the score and enjoy playing the game.

Me: OK. So how do I keep the rent paid and food on the table while enjoying the game of life?

G: We both can’t coach the game. If you shout orders to everyone, sing along with the cheerleaders, and grab the bullhorn what does that leave me, or anyone else to do? That leaves me sitting on the sidelines while you coach and play. Let me be in control where I belong so I can  get everyone’s attention and coordinate all the players to catch your ball, block and protect you and help you score. You’re the quarterback.

Me: So I shouldn’t try to work out all the details of my life?

G: No. Look to me for guidance and go out and play.

Me: Money. Work. Kids. Relationship. Friends. Health. How do I figure this all out?

G: Wake up. Eat breakfast. Write. Do one thing at a time with grace and joy.

Me: OK. I still don’t know how to pay the bills.

G: Here’s the deal. You do your part first and then give me some time to organize everything around you to support you. Can you be patient?

Me: With the world of worries off my shoulders, it sounds like I got off easy here.

That’s how my conversation went. Nothing resolved immediately yet the burden was lifted off my shoulders.

So pull out a piece of paper if you are brave enough to and open a dialog with any power you feel that is greater than you, and see what happens. I would love to hear about it so let me know.

I know I feel better and that’s good enough for me for today.

To a good nights sleep….







How to Solve Your Problems by Ignoring Your Brain

smartbutscared post

I’m smart enough to know that I’m smart.

But I’m scared.

You look around the world and gremlins are oozing out of every corner.

  • Bullies in other countries are making people suffer
  • There may be a bully lurking in your kids’ class at school
  • Your spouse or significant other being significantly disturbing
  • A new year lies ahead to fill with clients, cash, and ideas
  • Google is manipulating your mind through inbox tabs and who knows what’s next

Why can’t a smart person figure things out? You want to eradicate all these silly nonsensical figments of our world and life. Perhaps if we put our heads together or study really hard we could make this life of ours kind of work in our favor.

So we read.  

And study.

And pontificate.

And tweet, post and create.

And blog about the mystery, history and destiny of it all.

Do you feel better when you do all this?  Maybe a little. Or a lot, for a short while. Until you don’t anymore. Because your mind has got a hold on you. So what do you do?

Here is one trick that works every time.

You circumvent the mind, that smart brain of yours. You ignore it, tell it to be quiet because you’re busy being happy and free.


When you leave your smart mind behind, what are you left with?

Your body. Your imperfect, too tall, too short, too fat or too thin, big nose, little ears body.

You can over analyze what to do with your body. Do you go to the gym? Which one is better? No, it will be yoga. Or hot yoga. Hotter yoga. The reports are out on how great that is.

How about running a marathon. You investigate the best sneakers and running gear, and start charting and timing yourself, following running blogs.

Stop this all. Anything that takes brainpower, you need to stop for a moment. Do something that completely circumvents that overworked brain of yours.

Here is how.

Press play on wherever you store your music and turn up the volume and move. Around. Move anyway and anywhere. Jump up and down, do some stamping, twirling, shaking and grinding. For 20 minutes straight. Every day. NO choreography or planning, no thinking.

LET GO. Unwind, and give your mind a rest and let your body take over. Once you are done you will feel amazing and lo and behold have solved some pressing problems. I challenge you to try it.

When villages in the times of old used to have a large problem, they would call the people of the village together for a day of music and dance, and only then gather around to talk about the solution to the problem, after dancing and shaking it out.

Go ahead and try it, and you will be amazed.

Let your smart brain rest for a bit and use the body you were given to listen and groove.

You’re smart, but scared.

Don’t think your fears away, dance and move your fears away.

Can You Let Go Of The Past? If You Don’t…

birds in flight flcr


“When You Hold On To Your History You Do It At The Expense Of Your Destiny”  

as heard on the Oprah show


Do you have to read this quote twice?

I read it every day.

When you are introduced to to someone for the first time, what do you tell them about yourself, I mean what is “your story”, your history? What are you holding on to?

Here is mine.

“I’m the oldest girl of 11 children”.

I then wait for a reaction and proceed to say that yes, it was hard. Very hard.

What would it be like for me if I meet someone new and leave that out of my history?

Whatever your holding on to about yourself that is painful, difficult, not dealt with, its filling up your arms so that you cannot pick up other things, ie. your destiny.

Drop your history, embrace your destiny. When we meet, tell me about your destiny not your history.

Marianne Monday: A Great Job or a Great Life? (You don’t have to choose.)

“Everybody wants a great job. Accept that it’s already been given to you. The fact that you’re alive means a function has been assigned to you.” 

Marianne Williamson

It’s amazing  that there are so many people in this world, yet each one has their individual purpose and function. Each person is born with their very own passion for something.

Why is it so hard for some to find their gift, what they’re great at, what makes them feel alive?

I see people depressed and procrastinating, creating all kinds of excuses for feeling sick and tired all the time.

“I’m just lazy”.


“I don’t have the money, the time, the energy…I don’t know what I want to do”.

What they are really saying is, that for some reason they are not surfing the wave they came to ride in their life and don’t know where the ocean is.

The first step is to know without a doubt that if you are alive, you have a unique purpose and function and if you spend your time discovering what it is, you have solved half the battle.

Sometimes you need help with this, or to spend some time journaling or talking about it, discovering what it is.

The next hurdle is deciding that you will spend time in your life going for it, going for whatever your gold is. Dig for it, sweat for it.

For me, it’s writing. I knew this from the time I was 10 years old. When I entered the job market I forgot, and spent many years in a fog, in a cubicle, crunching numbers.

Now I write. I wish upon everyone the feeling of owning a deep knowing that this is how I express myself, and ultimately the way I serve those I am here to serve.  No matter how far down I go, I always have my pen.

Imagine if everyone in the world took the time to see what they feel inspired to do, what makes them feel alive, and gifted? What a world that would be!

Instead of drinking, some would be drumming. Instead of eating, some would be keeping the little ones warm with their knitting.  There would be painters instead of drivers and singers instead of smokers. And to those that find they are in love with numbers, I tip my hat. Everyone has their ‘thing’.

At the same time, you can do both – have  job doing something that is not your specific passion, yet that can e part of your purpose too. As long as you have the knowledge of what you are here to do, what you have a passion for, you can make time for it. If you cannot make time for it right now, you know what it is and can have hope and plans to go for it.

So go ahead, find your passion, make time for it, for you can have it all.







Wayne Wednesday: Are You On Team Excellence or Team Irresponsible?

peace scarf


“Contrary to what your ego attempts to convince you, you will not simply vegetate,  become homeless or an irresponsible drifter when you stop striving.”

Wayne Dyer

No matter how hard I try, I cannot stop.

Striving, doing, going, creating, thinking, planning. On and on. My ego must be on full speed ahead, and has hidden the ‘off’ button from me.

“I am on Team Excellence”, my ego proclaims loudly.

Is Everyone Deaf?

No one hears or cares what team I am on but me. No one cares how many things I got done, plans I have, or how early I woke up to write that ebook that will sell more copies than Harry Potter (that’s my ego talking).

So why strive? Why stop striving? and what will happen once I stop?

For one, I am starting to ask myself,

“Who am I serving with this behavior? Who am I loving?”

Certainly not myself or anyone around me. It’s time to lighten up, and make room for the space of emptiness and calm to enter. Time to learn how to sit with the present moment and make friends with it, to SLOW DOWN.

“Shut up the nagging, you critical ego voice!”

The voice creeps in when I stop striving and pushing and I cannot sit with the present and feel loving feelings and feelings of being in service with that chatter going on.

So what do I do? I take some time to look around and be in awe of my surroundings and feel grateful, right it the moment. Instead of knocking the next thing off my list in a race to to the top of the superwoman mompreneur list, I can be OK with being patient.

There is a gentle, intuitive wisdom that the universe provides you with once you stop striving and sit still, patiently. You will know that you can rely on the divine answers on what your next step can be instead of the ego’s prodding, clamoring ways.

Silence and patience does not have to be filled with busyness, chatter and planning.

“What will happen is that you will lighten up and become so engrossed in your mission that you are more vibrant. With this power , you discover that you are free to serve whatever you are intuitively drawn to. WD

You and I are not irresponsible when sitting in silence and patience, taking divine guidance instead of rushing around at a pace that would make New Yorkers look slow.

All we are doing is lightening up and letting the intuition in.

I think we have a good deal here, I’m in.