Monthly Archives: March 2014

Facing STUFF

During the Inside The Actors Studio show featuring the cast of “How I Met Your Mother,” they showed each cast member’s favorite scene. One was the “Bang, Bang, Bangety, Bang” song, a song described as “celebrating procreation.” It was raucous, joyful and fun. It stuck in my head and thinking about this post, I started singing, “Stuff, stuff, stuffety, stuff.”

Celebrating stuff? I think we do it, I know I do it in varying degrees. Advertising, acquisition, accumulation. A boy and his toys. He who dies with the most stuff wins. So much feeds the need to own.

I know a large part of my stuff=security belief comes from having parents who lived through the depression. My mother was very stuff-needy. She shopped and spent. Christmas and birthdays with a big family were good excuses. We had a well stocked pantry, Mom always bought extra, “Just in case.” Both of my parents were extensive collectors. Mom gave away and assigned many things before she died but my father wanted nothing to change so he kept everything and it has taken a full year to deal with all the stuff.

Multiple van-loads of furniture, glassware and collectables went to an antique dealer for sale. Family took some items. Documents from a long closed business were shredded. There were four huge donations pickups. Each week for months, we put out what we could for trash and recycle. Two separate scrap metal pick ups, a few appliances and miscellaneous pieces were ‘freecycled’ and still, it took three large full dumpsters to finish clearing.

My mother kept every card and letter. I gave back my older brother’s letters from Vietnam and my younger brother the cards that came to celebrate his birth, report cards, school work, kid art and a love letter. These had clear assignment and definite value. Very few decisions were so easy. Clearing out has been a long and difficult process, both physically and emotionally.

Attachment to stuff, for me, is a mix of associated memories, plans, potential, regret, status, accomplishment, and proof of worth. What meaning is held in a set of china, in a bookcase filled to overflowing, closets packed with never or barely worn clothes, pillowcases yellowed with age still in their cellophane? How many bedspreads, tablecloths and doilies needed to be crocheted for use, or were they to be proof of existence?

Meaning. The meaning of a life, the purpose of existence, stuff weaves in, out and around our days and nights. Habits, preferences, and rituals, all with our favorite things. How has solid matter in different shapes taken on such importance?

I am a creator. I write, I knit, I make art. I love the process more than the product. Process knitters have many projects started. Ironically, I am great at mass production. This is useful when there is a need, like filling a wholesale order or making Christmas presents for every member of the family. Generally, it is not useful. How many of anything does one need?

But what is there to do? Throwing everything away does not address the reason it was there. Understanding the why’s and how’s of the stuff will dissipate the energies around it and hopefully clear the need for so much.

To help with this process, this sorting, assigning and release of stuff, Kathleen Nelson Troyer is teaching a four week teleclass, “From Clutter to Clarity.”

Kat is leading us through processes to sort out our physical, mental and emotional clutter. I know the same issues run through the clutter in my house, my weight and my questioning my focus on work. I am looking forward to clearing a lot in all the areas.

Information can be found on her site,

A recorded call about the program can be found at,

I will be on this journey. All are welcome.

It is Time- Making a Difference for Many

If you knew there was a way, a process to heal something about your past and by doing so, your life would change, would you want to experience it? If you knew there was a program that has empowered more than 200 women around the world and there was a way you could help grow the program so thousands of women including marginalized women in highly at-risk groups could have this process and support to heal and thrive, would you help it expand?

Heal My Voice, has a history of success. The women participating in the circle process of building community and supporting each other in bringing forward a story, the part of their lives that is ready to be healed, truly find and heal their voices. They go on to start businesses, make changes at work, show up in a stronger way in their families and take on bigger roles in their communities.

Heal My Voice has implemented a pilot program for the residents of the Chrysalis House in Crownsville, Maryland, a recovery center for women. After nine months of weekly writing circles and monthly workshops, the process has been documented so it can be standardized and replicated. The Heal My Voice process can be used in prisons, shelters, and recovery centers, anywhere women are willing to commit to the work of healing themselves.

To fund the growth of Heal My Voice, there is an indiegogo campaign.

The process works. I am part of the Heal My Voice Community and have experienced the pain of abuse, the power of community support and the joy of healing transformation. I was held and supported to forgive my aunt for marrying and staying with my abuser. I honestly faced the crutch of emotional eating. I started to care for myself as well as I mother my sons.

You can help. Commit your energy to helping Heal My Voice help more women. Spread the word about the indiegogo campaign. Donate. Every dollar helps. Andrea Hylen is forming the next Heal My Voice book circle, “Sensual Voices” so women can have a safe place to heal their wounds around what keeps them from claiming their whole selves. She has developed a twelve week teleclass around sexuality, power and money, knowing they are all linked. Once we heal our core selves and reclaim the full range and power of our masculine and feminine selves, we access our full creativity and banish our limitations around money.

Everything is energy, and that includes money. We all have issues with money, old beliefs, unconscious rules and messages. Even though we are ‘fed’ and compensated in many ways, for now, money is the currency of exchange. We need it to keep the lights on, a roof over our heads and ourselves clothed, mobile,online and connected. I have spent most of my life in service, volunteering thousands of hours to help others. Heal My Voice grew out of a community based on service. It is essential that we shift from a model of self sacrifice to one where there is compensation for service.

Humanitarian efforts started in corporate settings begin with the understanding that the underpinnings of a financial structure are necessary for implementation and growth. Heal My Voice has proven its effectiveness. To grow, we need funding.

By taking an active role in HMV’s fund raising, you are helping to shift the energy. You are validating the process and valuing the work of Heal My Voice. By donating and spreading the word, you are making it possible for more women to heal. When we heal, we become more our true selves. When we step into who we truly are, we do the work we came here to do. When we each do what we are here to do, everything gets done and the world changes.

Spread the word. Blog, share the link, post about HMV.

Donate. Every donation matters. One dollar is as important as one thousand dollars. Your donation adds your energy and your intentions to the group.

Get others involved. You may know someone who would benefit from one of the bonus gifts- a teleclass, HMV books, coaching or a place in the next book circle.

You matter. Every voice matters. It is time to heal and thrive.




Let’s Change the Dialogue About Money

Something is stuck in the universal field. Most people I know are at a crisis point around money. One fell victim to a highly orchestrated scam. Another is living far below paycheck to paycheck. For some, clients are scarce and for others, contracts end abruptly. Foreclosures have happened or are looming and businesses are folding.

What is it that we are being asked to look at, accept and heal? I am a part of the community whose members believe that we are here to learn lessons through life experiences. Critical mass is reached and then there is change. The hundredth monkey, suffrage, civil rights, human equality. We are in the midst of a financial upheaval. The occupy movement, the 99%. Our issues with money take myriad forms but we all have issues.

HBO premiered a new documentary about the working poor. Politicians in state capitals and in Washington debate the minimum wage. We live with the mistaken belief that if we identify ‘the problem’ we can have ‘a solution.’ We want to cling to the false security that comes with simplicity. Living with complexity, uncertainty and not knowing is a huge challenge.

I think there is an opportunity for a new discussion. How many problems would cease to exist if basic needs were met? Buckminster Fuller said “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” He believed that the idea that everyone must earn a living is false. “The fact is today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest….We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist.”

He suggested that once basic needsare provided, “The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

Many of us have chosen to do work that is not currently valued. Barbara Marx Hubbard has said that many of us, at this evolutionary time, are doing jobs that now have no job titles but will be accepted and valued by society in the future.

Let us begin this new discussion about money, worth, compensation and support. When we open the door to possibility, the world changes. Limiting and outdated beliefs are keeping people from being helped to find their voices, heal their lives and take their true places in the world.

Join in the discussion. Let’s challenge some beliefs and shift the energy around money.


Eulogy for Peggy Porter

My sister-in-law was buried yesterday after a nine month battle with leukemia. My brother asked me to speak at the funeral. This is what I wrote.

It is said that when a parent dies, you lose your past; when a friend, sibling or spouse dies, you lose your present and when a child dies, you lose your future. With Peg’s passing we have lost our past, our present and our future.

Peggy received her diagnosis one month to the day after Dad passed. She knew from the start it was most likely just a matter of time and during the early days of her hospitalization, we had time to talk.

We talked about the difference in knowing your time is limited and sudden death. Of course, she hoped for as much time as possible. She wanted to see Mandy graduate. She knew to say what she needed to say. She talked with Dan and the girls. She planned final arrangements.

We have had our share of death and dying processes in the family and for each person, Peg was there to care for, comfort and support. When I wrote about Aunt Pearl’s dying, I wrote about Peg, calling her an angel, detailing her dedication.

Without any doubt, Peg was there for everyone else. She was a thoughtful, dedicated and generous daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother. She loved babies in the family and wanted to be a grandmother, but towards the end said that she was glad she had not become grandmother because it would have been too hard to leave those babies.

How many people do you know who have a lifelong best friend, a friend since first grade? How many people do you know who would start their day in the wee hours of the morning, making coffee and lunch for their spouse, go to work for a full day plus, then support the sick and dying, run errands with her mother and then go home to cook dinner, keep the house, and get ready for the next day?

If I said 1674 seven up cakes, you know exactly what that means. Peg was an instinctual cook. She loved watching the food network to get ideas. She cooked for her family and she cooked for others. I will keep a very sweet memory, just a few weeks ago, Peg was cooking for the week but also leading Dan through how to cook barbeque. She continued taking care of her family until the end, commenting on the cluttered kitchen table and stopping to straighten the kitchen rug on her way from the loveseat to the bathroom.

Until the end she thought of others. When Mandy told her who had visited while she was sleeping, Peg remarked, “They must think I am so rude.”

Peg was courageous and strong. For a wee thing, she fought harder and longer than most of us would. Her heart was so big. She loved her life and her family.

I will miss her laugh. Her delight. Repeating what she found funny and laughing again.

I will miss her sweetness. She was absolutely the sweetest member of the family.

Dan, Peggy loved you so much. While going through the boxes of cards Mom saved, I found a love letter Peg had written to Dan. When I returned it to her, she talked about all the cards and letters she wrote before you were married.

Mandy, Danielle, your Mom loved you, worried about you and was so proud of you. To say that we will miss Peggy does not begin to describe the depth of our loss.

There is nothing good about Peg’s illness and death. All the good was in Peggy. The good was in her life, and her loving us. We are saddened, devastated to lose a soul so sweet. We were blessed to have her with us.

Her grace, her faith and her love were great. May we carry her in our hearts and minds. Right now we feel diminished by her absence. May we in time feel how truly enriched we have all been by her presence in our lives. May we cherish our memories and realize what a blessing Peggy was to each of us and be thankful for the time we had with a soul so sweet, a heart so pure.