Secret Rebel Club - Staying Put

I told myself this day would be a day for staying put. There aren’t many staying put days.

I made a batch of blueberry muffins. I didn’t know if anyone would eat them, but I knew I would. The muffins came together quickly, but everyone else ate fast and furiously and was done before the muffins had come out of the oven. I was determined to move slow, even though I felt the quick current of family pace wanting to take me with it.

When the kitchen had been cleaned and the dishwasher was swirling I made myself a tray of “staying put.”

{Continue reading at Secret Rebel Club.}

Out There

Burn list prompts from The Right Brain Planner.

Burn list prompts from The Right Brain Planner.

(I originally started this as an email to a friend. I will still send it to him, but decided it needed to be shared "Out There" as well. So here you go...)

Dear Wildly Talented Friend, Who Keeps Putting Himself Out There,

I sat up in bed on my 36 birthday this year and said, "I don’t think I want to be famous anymore." I said it later on that day to one of my sons too, and he said, “I didn’t know you ever did.” But I did. I think I did. Last year at this time I wanted to release a book and garner attention and go on to write books for a living because people couldn’t wait for my next one. They would gather at book signings. Long to have meaningful conversation. We would all be moved towards freedom. 

I’m going to a Katy Perry concert next week by myself and sometimes I wonder what it takes to be noticed like this. What suddenly puts you around people who no one else is allowed to come in close proximity with because they are too famous to be available to everyone. Is it luck or destiny or right place, right time, or hard work, or conquering fear, or all of it or none of it? Someone told me to take my book to give to Katy Perry. “Just in case,” she said. I’m so sick of “just in cases." This year has been the year of hard knocks, and I have lost hope in anything being changed for me by the tap of a magic wand in the hand of Providence. 

I feel distanced from doing art for me because last year was the big push to make money, and it didn’t happen. I am working in the kitchen of a coffee shop. It is a lovely job, but a discouraging turn of events when a year ago you had your hopes up for writing and painting (but mostly writing) all. the. time. Now the hours are fewer and further between to give to the creative expression that I need, and when I do sit down to “make” the high items on the to do list are the money making options, not the raw-er heart spilling ones. I do put myself into everything I create, even if I am creating for others, but my unwritten words are swirling in my brain and haunting me in my dreams.

Striving is such a loathsome word to me. I am far more reckless and temperamental and stubborn than that word seems to allow, and far too tired and annoyed and awake to wear myself out spinning my wheels on some American dream of wishing on a star coupled with pulling myself up by my bootstraps. 

I must find a way to do what I need now, though it feels so contrary to everything I’ve been taught about how-to make it as a writer.* I only have so many hours in my week to give in this season of my life.  (*Note to self: I think your definition of “make it as a writer” has changed.) 

I sat down at my laptop this morning, after a busy work weekend, and I opened it to my blog and started to cry because I miss being there, the purest, most consistent and most honest place of outpouring I have ever had publicly. 

I read a story that there were dancers on Taylor Swift’s tour that switched to Katy Perry’s tour. One of the reasons they gave was that Katy has established herself and so she has the freedom to do what she wants, how she wants it. This, understandably, makes for a more pleasant and fun environment to work  in. Establishment feels like a golden ticket in the hands of Charlie Bucket. How much chocolate does one have to eat?

When I hear Tony throw out the word “amateur” vs. “pro” in cycling terms, I realize I will always be an amateur writer. I have no desire to pursue any more formal education or be whittled down by some ESTABLISHMENT in workshops and internships and curriculum. I don’t make the time to schmooze in public or social media venues (though I have been told ad nauseam how much it would benefit me) because what little time I have I want to use creating. 

I am disgusted with the time I have wasted taking advice from professionals. Taking advice from anyone. Everyone. It has robbed me of a childlike fascination with the written word and weaving stories out of the scattered pieces of my days.

I am simplifying. I can feel it. Things, new things, surprising things, burning away. It hurts so much because I was promised following the rules would get me to my dreams, and they haven’t. They haven’t. They haven’t. They continuously let me down. The system is faulty. 

I am having to start from the inside and work out. Who do I want to be as a person? What do I define as success? What do I want for my life?

I’m finding it isn’t fame. I suppose fame can be a result. But it isn’t the desire. 

I want to be okay with myself. When I am alone with myself I want to be okay with who I am, with what I’m doing, with how I’m loving, with the way I touch my life and the lives of those around me. 

Over the last few years my expectations of faith and friendship and family fell apart in the dark place, and this year my expectations of career are following suit. My life is like a road through the mountains with “Falling Rock” signs posted at every curve. It is the inevitable crumbling, while I just continue to drive. 

And the dangerous part of all this is, I AM continuing to drive. I AM driving right on through the great, wild, falling rock of "Out There" and I don't have a clue anymore where I am headed.


The Mad One

For All The Adventures You Will Have Together

In September I worked on a commission project for my sister who is due with a baby boy in November. She gave me a collection of adventure quotes and gave me free reign to create them in my own messy style. After dousing them in several layers of paint and coffee, I was sure they were going to turn out perfectly horrid, but things turned the corner when I decided to frame the pieces in bold brushes of color. Adding the inked words and oil pastel as the finishing touches is ALWAYS my favorite part. I'm thrilled they made it to her safely across the miles. Now we anxiously wait on the baby to arrive. <3 

Secret Message Society Zine - Issue 18

Cover art by Luther Steward. Age 5 and a half. (The half is VERY important.)

Cover art by Luther Steward. Age 5 and a half. (The half is VERY important.)

With Eric on vacation this week, my friendly team at Office Depot had some trouble printing the Secret Message Society Zine, but they pushed through and figured it out. This weekend I'll be stuffing envelopes and slapping on postage stamps and scribbling oil pastel hearts. Coming soon to a mailbox near you! 

Members can tiptoe into the Secret Lair for a digital download right NOW!

Issue 18 features Beth Morey as the centerfold artist! Let me tell you, she packed A LOT of rich #secretmessages into her offering for us!

I can't wait for you to see the contributions by members Deb TaylorHelen Harrop, Gina Kimmel, Cassandra Aswani, Bethany Paget, and Hillary Rain.

I would really love to send you my gypsy journalism in the mail. Become a member HERE, or read more about the zine HERE.

Back issues are available in my Etsy store. Once they sell out they're gone. 

Here's your peek at Issue 18:

Inspired by The Art Journaler's color theme for this month.

Inspired by The Art Journaler's color theme for this month.

Secret Rebel Club - To Rest Is To Surrender

“If you want, we can put on a movie.”

“Yes. Yes that is exactly what I want. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to move. I need to just sit still and let my insides stop racing.”

We were sitting outside in our outdoor living room. We are in experimentation mode when it comes to our backyard. We have gone through Gyspy Fort 1.0 and 2.0 which are basically glorified sheet forts like I made as a kid. Currently the Gypsy Fort has been put on hold while we play around with the Gypsy Palace, a tent like structure given to us by that kind Goodwill donation man. He has been known to periodically offer up the best treasures to his storefront neighbors, which just happens to be my Love Interest’s bicycle shop.

On this particular night we had an air mattress with soft sheets set up for a tent floor.

* excerpt from the post I'm sharing at Secret Rebel Club Today. 

Secret Message Society - September Centerfold





Beth Morey


the bear woman

secret mutant power: 

growling, roaring, making a mess

current art medium/creative endeavor i am exploring:

the [re?]birth of my soul.

relatedly, I'm also currently hard at work on my second novel.  my first published novel is available HERE.

a secret message i found in the last week:

this one (created from two posters displayed in Aeropostale's window at the mall)

a stranger i interacted with recently:

a man at the coffee shop where I go to write.  he comes here to study.  I told him that I am writing fiction.  I wonder if I'll be brave enough to tell him what my book's title is and where he can check it out, if I see him here again.

a word that means a lot to me right now:

fearless (a la #myfearlessyear2014)

when i don’t feel like my art matters i tell myself:

it matters to me, and that is enough.

i knew i was an artist when:

I realized that I am less healthy in body, mind, heart, and spirit when I am not writing or creating art.

a rule i like to break:

the ones designed to keep us small, neat, nice, and not-true

this is what the secret message society means to me:

encrypted sacred messages of solidarity, encouragement, and subversively deep thought from and for the messy ones.

here is something i created that i want to share with you:

Art available HERE.

Art available HERE.

if we meet on the street we’ll know each other as undercover artists by:

the fierce and unquenchable fire in our eyes that burns behind the tears.

Beth writes, paints, and dreams in Montana. She is the author of The Light Between Us, a new adult romance, and the creative healing workbook Life After Eating Disorder, and is also the owner of Epiphany Art Studio. Her words and art have appeared in various publications, such as Somerset Studio, to linger on hot coals, Still Standing Magazine, Wild Goslings, and Disney's Family Fun.  In addition to her quirky little family and their three naughty dogs, Beth is in love with luscious color, moon-gazing, and dancing wild. She writes soul into flesh at her blog. You can read another inspiring interview with Beth HERE.

Each month I am featuring one Secret Message Society Member, both in the Zine and on my blog. I want you to see some of the creative ways these artists think, explore, live. When you open the Zine to the middle you will see an enticing double page spread designed by the centerfold artist. There will be a companion post here on my blog where I ask them a Lucky 13 questions. Want to join our grassroots movement of artists who are actively collecting, creating and inviting Secret Messages into their life?! You can subscribe here and/or get more details. 

The Tale of Two Eggs

“Are you loving your job? Is this your dream job, Mandy? Did you ever think you’d be in a kitchen peeling hardboiled eggs?”

“AND getting paid for it!”

“No we don’t pay for you the hard boiled egg peeling. We pay for everything but that,” he said sarcastically.

“So you’re saying I need to clock-out every time I peel an egg.”

“Yes, could you do that please?”

“Or I need to get much faster at it.”

This is the sort of banter I have come to appreciate at Cafe Evoke. Thankfully I work with people who have a sense of humor. It was especially nice comic relief since the day before peeling an egg only managed to get me into a deeper hole. 

Hardboiled eggs are used on one of our salads, and I have been in a pinch before, caught peeling an egg when I have a backload of food orders. So this day I was particularly proud of myself, remembering to peel a hardboiled egg BEFORE I needed it. Getting it ready for when a salad was ordered. 

I remember this moment distinctly because I made a point to feel the shell give way when I cracked it on the edge of the table. I made a point to feel the first flaking off of the shell into the trash. I made a point to feel the silky side of the white of the egg itself, revealing more and more of it as the shell gave way willingly in big pieces. I made a point to noticed how perfectly yellow the inside was when I sliced it in half. I thought to myself, “I feel pretty Zen right now with this egg. Really being here now. Really enjoying myself. I need to handle everything in the kitchen just like this. Even peeling an egg is artfully enchanting, if you let it be.” This was egg one. 

Fast forward through the day a bit. I missed an order that came through on the printer, and only discovered it LOTS of minutes later when another order printed. In a panic I rushed to gather the ingredients for a chef salad and it wasn’t until then that I realized my unshelled hardboiled egg stash was gone. I needed another one.

The door to the kitchen swung open, “Did you get order number 19?” 

“Yes!” I said, gulping because I knew he was asking because the customers were asking. “I’m working on it now.”

I cracked the egg. It shattered into the teeniest-tiniest pieces you’ve ever seen, and they were suctioned cup to the flesh of the egg. As in suctioned cup with super glue. As in, the egg started trembling in my shaky hands because this was most certainly NOT the time to be dismantling a snarky hardboiled egg. 

The door to the kitchen swung back open. “They want that order to go,” said my co-worker.

Sigh. Of course they do.

Oh the difference it felt to hold a hard-boiled egg in experience one and experience two. There was no zen egg experience this go around. It felt very different. Different like I wanted to throw the egg at the wall and watch it splatter. I was wishing there was another person working the kitchen that I could hand the egg off to while I threw the plated salad into the to-go box. But there was just me. Me to peel the egg. Me to own the missed ticket. Me to eventually walk the food out to the couple knowing they weren’t altogether pleased. 

The food was refunded. I was told they waited 45 minutes. I was also told they were regulars. I had to explain what happened and own it. Double sigh. 

When I turned on my phone after work I saw this photo. My new friend Eden, who is in the Wild Mystics Blushing Wild eCourse, shared it on Instagram. I softly smiled, knowing how uncanny this intimate #secretmessage was for me. I knew I needed to go gently with myself. Only I could let me off the hook. Sometimes romancing yourself looks like saying, "You did the best you could today."

Later that night while my son was getting into the bathtub he called out to me in the bedroom, "If you can’t make a mistake you can’t make anything. It’s the only way to learn.” I reached for my phone to document it.

“Say that again buddy?” He had no idea how my day had gone, he was just passing on general wisdom.

“It’s just something we say in our class. If you can’t make a mistake you can’t make anything.”

It was in that instant that I finally let it go. The disappointment. The refund. The series of unfortunate events. I hadn't realized I was holding on. I'm not really sure I had a choice. Somethings just take time.

I am in the making business, as artists are, and mistakes are par for the course. 

I note them. I learn from them. I move on (with the help of a friend's photography, an 8-year-old's wisdom and a good night’s rest.)

If I’m going to keep making, it’s my only choice. 

You Want to Give Me Things

Most people carry around some kind of internal scorecard about what they’ve been given, so that they can ‘repay’ it in some way. That way, their receiving has limits and controls and is ‘fair.’

Some of this behavior is fun and natural - giving back after you’ve been given to - and some of it is a form of blocking receiving.
— Sark

On Friday night I was sitting at a campfire in Yellow Springs, Ohio, when my two cousins took the stage in a talent show that was part of the pre-wedding festivities.  

One of them, Andrew, was carrying his guitar. His older sister, Meghan, the bride-to-be, was going to sing. It was a song I had never heard before, but the soft guitar and her soothing voice cut through the darkness and I was enthralled. By the end of the first stanza, I was teary-eyed.

The book of love is long and boring. No one can lift the damn thing. It’s full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing.
— The Magnetic Fields

Maybe I need to add that these are the cousins I grew up playing with on the holidays. I lived a block from my Grandpa and Grandma's house where we would gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. My cousins lived about an hour and a half away, so my family would always arrive first, and I would wait anxiously to hear the barking of the dog, signifying their arrival. 

I was the oldest grandkid on my mom's side, but my cousins weren't far behind me. They would tell me fascinating stories about their school and how they didn't have to sit at desks in Montessori learning. They would teach me songs, like "Bullfrogs, bullfrogs on parade," and while the adults talked we would make up theatrical and musical performances sitting at the kids' table or in the top secret back bedroom. 

They came from a different world, with their violins and latin classes, with their unique boardgames and flavored bottled beverages. When they would unwrap their Christmas presents I was always fascinated by toys and treasures I'd never even heard of. "What's that?" I would ask. "Can I see that?" I would say. They were always using words, humming songs, eating food, telling stories that were foreign to me. They were carriers of unknown adventures ready to be explored, and they made the holidays extraordinary for me.

Seeing them up on the stage, continuing their incredible theatrical and musical talents as adults, made my heart go soft. The fact that Meghan was singing about love and all the dreadfully boring ways we go about prescribing and defining it made me all the more responsive.  

I really have been going along just fine. Wonderful even. But there are still times, even in my satisfied life, where it feels good to taste a new flavor, to smell an enchanting smell, or better yet to have all the senses gang up on you in one giant surprise party of pleasure with you as their unsuspecting guest of honor. 

I was drinking a cup of delicious beer. Smelling the campfire. Touching the sweaty skin of my five-year-old and feeling my bare legs resting against the wooden benches and my bare toes caressing the grass. Seeing my family spread out around me. Hearing the night creatures raise their chorus up as a generous gift of background music to my cousins' performance. And they were singing about love. Love and all the stupid things people have misnamed as love.

I'm pausing now in my writing. Cueing up the song on my laptop, letting the teardrops roll down my cheeks and sitting on my back porch and soaking in it one more time, as if I could suspend that moment at my cousin's wedding forever.

When she came to the end of her song, she asked her brother to play the last line one more time, and she asked us to join in with her strong, but delicate voice. I joined in loud, my voice cracking with the cleansing sobs.

I love it when you give me things. And you, you want to give me wedding rings.
— The Magnetic Fields

I don't know why we make it so goddamn hard. The loving. And not just the loving. Maybe like Sark says, we have the loving down. Maybe it's the receiving love that is what we make hard. The allowing ourselves to be loved. Allowing someone to give us things, to read us things, to sing to us and allowing them to do it in their unique way.

My cousins gave me things for years. Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, they brought a warmth to the mundane advent that had somehow (despite knowing what was good for me) lost its magic. Try as I may, "Jesus being the reason for the Season" one more year running had nothing on my strumming and dancing and giggling cousins and the tasting of their foreign lands. With them around we were riding donkeys straight out of the staged nativity and lassoing our own star of Bethlehem. They put love into a fresh language, and I am still learning to conjugate their verb. I have stood righteously in the way of receiving for too long; who knew, all this time, Love was ripe with giving. 

The Book of Love song was just the first of many gifts I received this past wedding weekend, and I received and I received and I just kept receiving. "But my I am thirsty these days," I thought and the lapping up of love is a welcome flipping of a coin that reads "I am thrashing" on the other side.

This is what it feels like to erotically awaken. For all my senses to pulse with a Divine Yes. To know that I don't have to do anything by the book, especially a book I can't lift for the life of me.  Mystery dances me right off the pages, and suddenly this life looks like nothing I've ever seen before. Intimately mine. It slips its ring on my finger again and again and again.

Each year, like a tree, I am ringed with an ever-widening circle of Love.

Secret Rebel Club - Avoiding a Room of My Own

I feel as if I am avoiding the written words, MY written words. As if I know that when I put several down in a row a new me will be there waiting to reveal next level madness. I am scared? hesitant? unwilling? to commit to the work of manuscripts and articles and eCourses. Unwilling to devote time to my alone work once again.


* excerpt from the post I'm sharing at Secret Rebel Club Today. 

Lush Overload

Art from Secret Message Society Zine, Issue 17

Art from Secret Message Society Zine, Issue 17

‘Cause I don’t want to come back down from this cloud.
It’s taken me all this time to find out what I need.
— Bush

Last night sitting at the dining room table, I told my Love Interest, I feel like I may wake up 10 years from now and say, "Remember that one time I wrote a book? That was a lot of waffles ago."

My kids went back to school this week, and I increased my part-time hours in the coffee shop. My soul's go-to phrase to keep me sane right now is "I moonlight as a writer." I can feel it still a part of me, patiently waiting for those moments in which I creatively carve out time like I have always found a way to do. 

It's an interesting time in my life. My father-in-law says I'm more chatty and chipper since taking this job.

"Maybe it is the job. Maybe it is the caffeine," I told him laughing. But I also have seen this coming. If the very necessary energy of pulling inside myself over the last few years was my yin, this coming out party that is my life right now is my yang. 

I said goodbye to a friend last week who is moving across the country to start a new adventure with her family. She's listened to a lot of my thrashing over the past couple years and she said, "I've seen a real change in you. You seem to be really happy and full of light, like you've worked through some stuff."

Ha! Yeah, I've worked through some stuff. And I am sure I have other truckloads to work through. But it's nice to be in a place where The Dark Night is transitioning into a Blushing Wild. I now have an ever-widening freedom to explore my life in color, when it once felt black and white.

Though the actual minutes of writing time are proving difficult to carve out, there is no lack of things to write about. It's like a writer's paradise, rich with characters, setting and sensual details:

  • The circular spectacles on an aging bow-tied man.
  • The suspenders and closely trimmed beard of a green-eyed stranger.
  • SPY coffee.
  • The plush bathrobe and boing-y blonde curly hair of my neighbor who is turning in for bed, and the half-shaved asymmetrical haircut of her 20-something daughter who flashed me the most gorgeous smile yesterday.
  • The way the hot summer wind blows my skirt high and higher still as I ride my bike. 
  • Picking fresh peaches.
  • The teenager I saw making a brave fashion statement on the first day of school.
  • The tantric swishing of my hands through warm dish water at work and the alarm on my phone that I suggestively named, "Turn Me On" that goes off at 6:45 AM so I remember to turn on the waffle iron, panini press and fried egg cooker.  
  • The Blackberry Wine and salsa and tamales from the Farmer's Market.
  • The way my son said in a note to his teacher, "I'm excited to learn. Are you excited to teach me?"

I am tired to the bone. But my friends, my life is a lush overload. I'm just doing my best to take it all in.

Two things:

One, if you want to read about some of the stuff I worked through internally over the past few years, I wrote a book called Thrashing About With God: Finding Faith on the Other Side of Everything and the eBook format is available for free today (August 21) and tomorrow across all major retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CBD.

Two, this Sunday we are launching our premiere Blushing Wild eCourse. There is still time to sign-up! I am excited to continue opening myself up to the pleasure asking to pulse through my Mad flesh. I am relieved to FINALLY get to be putting this course into action. It's been such a tease to work on. I'm thrilled with the richness from all the women who contributed bits of their vulnerable and mysterious selves.

Okay, three things. May I suggest reading this piece by another Blushing Wild Mystic?