Conversations with my body

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Dearest temple of my mind and soul, cauldron of my magic, vehicle for my adventures; I apologize with all my passion. I have put you to so much hate and craziness and desperation that I can’t barely believe you’re still on my side.

I put you through hunger, over eating, Tequila nights, late nights and so many confusing and contradicting messages and feelings; I love you, I hate you, I want to live forever, my life sucks, I am happy, I suffer…

You tensed up sometimes but you always accepted my excuses and the little love I gave you as a bandage; the days of soothing organic veggie broth, uplifting green juices, the occasional visit at the sauna and acupuncturist, the warm lemon water and NAD in the morning, the Probiotics and sauerkraut…

You sighed deeply and built yourself up to smile again.

Recently you refused. You kept on sending pain messages; something isn’t right. I couldn’t appease you with the usual tricks.

What didn’t I see?

“Sign up,” you said. “You have time for this.”

So I spontaneously signed up for what evolved into a two hour talk with a holistic practitioner on the phone. He became your voice.

“You tried so hard to love yourself,” you said, “but you don’t, not always. Not deeply. Your bullies are hiding but they are still around.”

I felt my fear of not being pretty and young enough on my skin and in my irregular heart beat; not being smart and innovative bugged my head and my self doubt ached in my belly.

“You have used anger to motivate you,” you said.

So true, each time mess happened I got up and wrote a blog or a couple chapters or even created a business because I hated what had happened to me. I got more mess because hey, that’s my powerful badass sidekick.

When in challenging situations I moaned “I can’t do this any longer.” It was you, my body speaking to me. You asked me to stop. I didn’t listen. I kept on doing…

I forced myself to adhere to dead lines. Instead of getting me there the “have to!!!” reduced my joy of the creative process; I froze. I never had writer’s block before. The panic “to be somebody” only after I publish the book became my No 1 goal, not the message, not my art. My love for storytelling got drowned in my fear of survival and my need to be seen.

I had watched less experienced and advanced women in my field of fashion therapy being preferred to me; they got invited to to talk in conferences because they have a product, a book, something tangible out there. Not just 12,000 followers on IG and an okay blog. I was angry again; I have to show them what I know. Urgently.

Why? Do I fear I’ll die tomorrow? That others steel my ideas and get them out before me? It happened before…

I looked into he mirror and she said “You’re not enough without your book. Your rebel talk, your theatrical pictures don’t count.”

The old “not enough” created anxiety and fear. My mantras of self love and my powerful alter ego on Instagram had not managed to silence it.

“You don’t have to work so hard to make it.”

I don’t? My shoulders relaxed and my voice trembled when I thanked you. You are right; I was again too harsh in my demands, too relentless and took you for granted; I took from you and did not give back; now you are depleted, tired and yearn for attention.

I will serve you the way you so unconditionally served me.

When I hung up the phone I cried. It was a release of all that pushing, fearing, wanting. I wrote about my discoveries and made them real.

I decided to trust; my path, my timing, my Self.

I wrote this letter to my body.

The next day my symptoms were gone. They come back from time to time reminding me not to forget; this is a journey of reinvention.

My book shows how our lives are movies with opponents, wise guides and many supporting actors, where the heroine has to go through tough challenges to discover and reach her goal.

Trust is a conscious decision. I trust my own knowing.

Here I am, finally.

I am coachable; I will listen.

I invite joy to finish my writing and let go of artificial deadlines.

I don’t need anger to get moving, my motivation is gifting the world with new thoughts and insights.

I return to my initial spark to pursue writing this memoir; to share my journey as an inspiration and empowerment.

I stop excuses for late eating and late nights; in fact I stop both.

I let go of critical responses to my looks; I am okay the way I am. When they come up I acknowledge them and put them aside; I love myself the way I am.

I am patient and take baby steps to convince you that I mean it this time.

I trust my timing and my process

To rewire our brains is daily training.

My last sentence in my letter to my body is

“I always said I would like to have somebody who loves me for who I am. I see now that’s you. I will be your soul mate.”

13 tips and 8 steps for your amazing Instagram gallery

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OMG, that's so cool. "I told all my friends and everybody loves it," Barbie smiled when I balanced my Iphone on a cactus to take pictures of us. Kristine, Kathleen and Marla's Instagram pictures improved with smiles and letting go of fear and Ruth taught my tricks of the selfie trade to her friends on Facebook. "Merveilleux" "Klasse" "Giro"... I love how my I-Phone game has begun to cruise the world. That was 2018.

I’m republishing the tips as I see so many amazing women with cool content not making the best of what they’ve got.

  1. Ladies, just posting pictures of your cuisine, knitting, gardening or spiritual wisdom is boring. We want to get to know you. Your face. Your smile. Your frown; but not so much of that. Being serious is seriously overrated.

  2. Text pictures are boring. Pronto.

  3. Teach if you love it by being you, by living and showing you

  4. Sales pictures are boring, mix it up

  5. Badly lit pictures are insulting your followers esthetics

  6. When you post, don’t think of people as clients or pupils but as friends on your level, even if you feel you have so much to teach them

  7. Let go of your fear of not being liked, even if it takes longer, being a sheep for applause is excruciatingly unsatisfying in the end

  8. Make your philosophies fun

  9. Keep your videos quirky and short

  10. And I repeat myself; sell less and don’t sell your Self.

  11. Don’t plan every shoot, but plan some for quality of form and content aligning

  12. Take care of your pictures as much as your hopefully take loving care of yourself

  13. Don’t color coordinate if it doesn’t make sense for your content but always keep an eye on the look of the whole gallery

Trending; pictures in which you move, laugh, be funky, quirky or philosophical from your experience; be real and show your soul. I literally "wear my heart on my sleeve."

Good question to ask for authenticity: "What does this setting, outfit, design etc matter to me?" Mix posed and snap shots, catch your self reading, writing, debating or “walk by”, be spontaneous.

Another tip; I stash an extra outfit into my car when I'm going somewhere new or interesting; you never know what amazing setting will inspire you to dance for your followers.

Step 1
You discover the coolest, storytelling or arty, moody, crazy background. Yay! If you can, you move into the shade.

Step 2  No tripod? Don't despair. Prop it on the lamp post!
Vases on restaurant tables, flowerpots, window sills work perfectly.


Step 3
Is the phone safe? Get the sticky tape you'll always carry in the glove department, secure the phone if needed. I crashed the screen of my phone by putting it on an iffy spot, 10-9-8.. and there it went onto the street.


Step 4
Set ten second timer, take a test picture.

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Step 5
Reposition yourself if needed

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Step 6
Take several pictures. Have fun with it. People in the street will stop for you or walk by you creating the coolest photo bomber images.

Step 7
Choose your favorite (s) and post

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Step 8

The best for last; when you see a cool back ground and don't have a tripod, drive your car close to it, open the window and stick your phone into the rubber lining of your car door. Perfection right there. And nobody smirks about your selfie stick or tripod.

 

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Outfits talk; the whispers of a Millennial style wedding dress

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“I would love to have wild hair like them,” I told my fiancé pointing at photos of beautifully liberated amazons of the late sixties cultural rebellion in Stern Magazine .

“My little sweetheart,” my fiancé answered, “you are much too nice for that.”

He took the magazine out of my hand. “Have you already tried pizza?” he asked. “Let me invite you.” Pizza was new in the early 70’s in my small hometown. I was “old; I grew up in a mindset of “so yesterday.” My mother had pushed me to believe that women got married as their sense of life and to get engaged to a seven year older catholic college student at 17.

“You have to marry the first man you have sex with,” she said. I was doomed.

I was a really good teenager as I had given up on my “childish” hopes and dreams, which never included a white wedding dress. I accepted that to please my parents I needed to become a woman and not an explorer, architect or stage designer and especially not a rock star. I did not talk back anymore. But my skin crawled when I looked at this man I had nothing in common with other than our obsession with English sports cars, a man who wanted me to just be educated enough to serve his future business buddies.

On a rainy night after one of his jealousy fits I tossed his ring into a puddle and ran. On high heels, water splashing on my panty hose, my carefully curled hair getting soaked.

He didn’t follow; he dug into the puddle to recover his investment.

I laughed out loud. I was free. I decided to never ever be the “possession” of any man. I signed up for college instead and got my MA with suma cum laude.

I loved my independence; my freedom to do what I felt was right for me and later for my amazing son. I experienced a few long term relationships but always had one foot out of the door. I missed out on love; I did not believe in it. I did not trust men. If you don’t trust, commitment is not a word but a threat. I did not know how to receive or give love until I “grew up” with my son.

The percentage of couples not getting married has gone up since 1969. In 2018 the count of single parents was 24 Million. “The model of an adult life that puts one romantic partner at the center is just one way to live... Some people care most about another person who is not a romantic partner. Others have a number of friends and relatives who are important to them; often they value the flexibility of deciding when they want to see those people, rather than feeling obligated to be with one person most of the time. Still others like to spend most of their time alone.”

I am proud of and still love my independence but I don’t love to live alone. Anymore.

My dad died a few years ago, the man for whose acceptance and love I had fought in everything I achieved, whose approval meant the world to me. I never got it. I thought.

Writing my memoir, diving deep into my memory and feelings I saw that in his way he had loved me with all he got. He was broken so it wasn’t “enough” for me. I didn’t realize that his tough criticism was fueled by the need to protect me from life’s disappointments, from the blows of fate he had to accept.

“Don’t be so ambitious, it doesn’t pay off,” he warned me. After another one of my crazy cool achievements he asked, “Can’t you ever be normal?” These blows to my heart kept my armor up for decades.

On his last day on Earth I said “I love you dad.” And without a pause he answered, “I love you too.”

After he died I went on new journeys into my truth. Discovering my dad as a truly good man with a broken heart who never woke up from his pain and failed aspirations cracked my armor. And when it’s cracked it’s destined to fall off one day.

Empathy is medicine.

The pain of loosing him is still with me after 7 years. Seven years in which I slowly gave up on my old stories. I learned that trust is possible and love is available right there in daily life.

Women held up the mirror for me; “We love you Angie.”

“Hey, I love you right back.”

The more you hear it and say the more it becomes REAL. “Believe, my dear,” said my insistent life coach, “is a positive thing.”

Rudolf Steiner postulated that “the school of life” happens in 7 yearlong semesters with lessons responding to seven chakras and exams that can feel like “crisis.” I always saw my life as a university and that I am here to fulfill my potential. To me it means to also resolve issues I brought with me as an “old soul” and it doesn’t matter if we call it former lives or memories of our lineage or DNA input. We’re not empty pages when we arrive.

Looking at the lessons I was supposed to learn in my first 49 years I can only say, darn, I flunked the tests. Sometimes I avoided the tests.

I put what I had learned on a shelf for a later day though.

10 x 7 = 70. Just yesterday I texted my deadline battered son that out of solidarity I give myself a dead line. I thought of June 2019 to finish a project I am in labor with for quite some time. Now I got the bigger deadline. I’ve got some time to make it to 70 but that’s it; I will finish all my lessons until then.

“If you pass the exams, you are offered a chance to get to the next level in order to meet new teachers that help you learn new things about life,’ says the life script doctor. I always got teachers even when I did not pass my exams. Like a cat with seven lives I received many chances.

I WOKE LATE.

But I did.

Who knows what late blooming is good for in my bigger picture; as I always said after every life experience and every drama, “at least I have something to write about.” I was meant to be a messenger and how could I be if I did not go through all human feelings myself to finally learn one of the most important lessons; self love?

In finding answers to what is truly important for me in a relationship with humans around me I am learning to see “male” with different eyes; without the cold metal of much despised patriarchal prison bars clouding my view. Healing the world and our selves means to heal the wounds of gender animosities; to balance the inner male and female learning but not wallowing in our female history of repression.

The pain of the past is a story that belongs into the bookshelf, not forgotten but put aside so that we can see the good.

When we embody our full potential in order to share it with the world, like many of us do with social media, we are offered unique opportunities to rediscover ourselves and “see things differently.”

Outfits talk and get us on our way if we are open to listen. Today it was a Millennial style wedding dress for me. It said, “There is love, believe it.”

My dad never once criticized me for being a single mom; he supported us.

Men know love for women. Okay then.

I woke late. But I did.

Talking about life lessons; I owned a  wedding production company  for 14 years….

Talking about life lessons; I owned a wedding production company for 14 years….

The blogger power of 500 words or less

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I love brain storms and stream of consciousness writing. My process usually is; wow! cool idea and yay! Go for it. While writing I discover what the idea means to me.

Writing is an exploration, a discovery process.

When “in the flow” a different part of my mind takes over and my inner knowing, my voice, lets beautiful thoughts fly onto the pages. When I start to" “figure things out” or explain my message, my ego-based writing can get pretty preachy. Preachy is a big NO for a rebel, as much as for artful writers. We are creating symphonies, all parts need to be in harmony; when I’m good I can hear the music of my words.

My fear of not being the artist I know I can be makes me run from structure and planning of my stories.

Exploratory writing is amazing. Getting to a deeper truth let’s us discover a unique take on old beliefs.

Exploratory writing made me a fierce editor. When at the end of the essay I often see things differently than initially thought and for sure, I see much, much more. So I go back to the beginning and cut and paste. I might even change the title. I was often kicked to the courage to cut cute paragraphs I felt were such perfect art work. But they didn’t fit into the whole any longer.

Talking about cute; it also takes brave resolve to cut out the fluff. It will cause a passionate writer’s sigh but limit your poetry in your essay.

Novel and screen writers have to “kill their darlings”; make their protagonists suffer to get to their goal. Essay writers have to let go of darling paragraphs to get to the point.

Being organized is no fun. For me. Discipline had been forced on me too many times.

The writer’s freedom to “let it flow” has it’s super creative pros and time wasting cons.

Thank you, my dear brain storming soul, I became a fierce editor. I needed that. But now I simply can’t waste time any longer. I love my morning lists but when I look at them at the end of the day and only did three of ten things having a Tequila to erase the threatening judgment of “looser” doesn’t help.

The way I write is a metaphor for the way I live. I need structure.

On the inside as much as on the outside; my daily rhythm and my pages are like twins.

Hit the brakes for your readers; they want to take something home and the more clarity you provide the easier the message or moral is wrapped up to go.

Hit the brakes for your self. We want to use time efficiently.

What do 500 words or less matter to me?

It’s a challenge to commit to clarity.

It requires

  • a straightforward thesis

  • organization of thoughts

  • an outline

  • an outcome

  • a plan

When I was a journalist I learned the hard “crying in publisher’s bathrooms” way that I had to present a strong opinion, not all the possible facets of a subject. “You’re not writing a novel, babe.”

1. To set the stage “Unclutter a physical drawer” as an exercise before writing.

Today I organized my styling studio’s outfits by color.

2. Wear a simple outfit, comfortable and non distracting. Overalls a great for disciplined work ethic.

3. Create a mind map

Closest to fun for emotional writers is brainstorming on paper; mind maps drawn by hand.

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4. Use the head lines from your mind map as the content for your essay/blog (mind maps work for any goal)

5. Create an outline with the head lines, which become paragraphs

Results?

Blogging takes me half the time. (Still a bit too much though…)

I am warmed up for my two hours book writing every day.

Perfection is a lovely thought but can be counter productive. Truth is, this article is 642 words and I hit publish anyway:)

Have you created mind maps? What will they prepare you for?

Magic lies in what we avoid... like hell

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"Oh, but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have." "All the better to eat you with!" And scarcely had the wolf said this, he was out of bed and swallowed up Little Red Riding Hood.

I had a different outfit planned for Valentine’s Day but the red shiny fabric of an old dress called me to be creative. I like to make skirts so I draped the fabric over a black petticoat, pleaded and ruffled it and added a waist band. A little improvised but pretty enough. Rummaging through left over fabric I found tulle to make a hat…

When I looked at my pictures I saw her, I was Little Red, I had just traveled into fairytale land. Playing with outfits is like meditation for me; I immerse in the moment and let them talk to me. When I listen magic happens. As Little Red had never been my favorite tale I found her appearance strange, even a little unsettling. She was this silly girl skipping into danger, how did she not realize what she was getting herself into? Archetypes are ancient, deeply rooted in our subconscious and amazing supporting actors, I know by now that when they show up a story will unfold. Yet each time it surprises me.

What did this girl want from me?

The book by comedienne Blythe Roberson “How to Date Men When You Hate Men” became the key of the encoded message. It was Valentine’s Day and this was about my fear of wolves, to be swallowed by men wolves.

My first bad wolf, my dad, was proud to declare that he would never physically mistreat a woman. He did it emotionally and psychologically. He used his words. He let his eyes do the condemnation. He didn’t know how to feel his feelings and make his pain work for him not against us. He was busy repressing his crushed hopes and dreams and the utter sadness of an unfair life that forced him into a war he did not agree to at 17. He did not even get the boy he wanted; he got me, just a girl.

New to this world and innocent like Little Red silly me expected love and support but my hand was slapped each time I reached out. I was afraid of my father’s eyes when they went black with deep, dark rage. I also was an old soul and they reminded me of burning at the stake in a female body.

My dad’s eyes structured my life pushing and guiding me on my path and to the mystery behind my story. In a movie we would call this “on the nose”, so obvious that i hurts; my first boyfriend, my second bad wolf had the same old-fashioned given name as my dad. To my mom’s delight he was a seven-year older student, the same age difference as my parents. He wanted a Stepford wife; a girl just educated enough to “serve my business guests with intelligent charm.” “Men are like this,” said my dad even when he cheated on me.

My 17th year could have ended in a life I did not want as my mom manipulated the heck out of the situation to get me married. When I saw my demanding fiance ready to swallow me as his wife, to possess until I’d probably kill myself with drugs and alcohol, I tossed his engagement ring into a puddle and signed up for college instead.

My innocent little girl went into hiding never to be swallowed again.

Little Red Riding Hood in her girly cutesiness was dead to me. I denied myself the innocence that is my essence, more I judged her as stupid. “I’m not stupid,” I yelled in therapy sessions beating up pillows.

I was smart, an intellectual, living with a literary professor and in his clan of hedonists and bohemians. I got my MA with a suma cum laude. I held on to the illusion of being “fine” for seven years but my smooth life in ivory towers did not resonate with the movie my soul wanted to write. I left my pretty perfect professor prince to find the wolves that would embody my fears. Singing with Foreigner “I want to know what love is” I excelled in my drama proving that men don’t see me, get me, love me. They were bad and I didn’t deserve better.

My fear of patriarchal judgments and (possibly cellular) memory of thousands of years of repression forbade to truly committing or giving myself fully.  It also made me vengeful; exercising power over men later in life. I had more money than them; I could always show them the door.

It was all about me and what my bad wolves did to me or did not do for me, I could not see them as the men they were through the clouds of my needs. I did not dare to listen to my inner knowing nor to open my eyes to my reality; I avoided my truth.

Years later, when Drew Barrymore as Cinderella in the movie “Ever After” caresses her prince’ face whispering, ”Henry” with the sweetest tenderness tears flooded my face. I knew this feeling of all-encompassing impossible eternal love. With a sigh I put it away.

We put layers around our hearts when we were hurt as children, iron bands to keep us safe. The illusion of safety though locks is into old fears, beliefs and avoidance of what could be the doors to liberation.

I popped a few of mine.

I learned love from my son, unconditional forever love, which I cherish as a treasure in my heart.

I learned to love my soul and somewhat love my human self.

I learned to love the women I finally met in women’s groups, beautiful mirrors of my hopes, dreams and capacities, inspiring and sometimes challenging.

I still do not know what to do with men.

I decided that I wanted to pop all my iron bands, to be open to see things differently. My 2019 word is “ready.” I have a big mouth when it comes to fierce mantras.

Ready means to be present, which I found one of the most challenging ways to be; without beliefs and judgments from the past and no expectations how the future has to turn out.

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So “How to date men when you hate men” was right on. The title was a seriously funny revelation. I knew where the author was coming from. “To paraphrase the suffragettes in Mary Poppins: I adore men as individuals, I believe that as a group they're systematically oppressing women."

I had hated the patriarchate and expected it in most men, especially in my generation. I had to sort out the individuals from the dark medieval soup. Stepping out of my underlying beliefs that all men suck I saw smart, sweet and aware husbands and boyfriends of my women friends. My son is a perfect specimen of the future man.

“Sure there are some,” said my friend Kat grimly, “but the good ones are taken.” She encounters one bad wolf after the other; her belief in them seems indestructible. I think, Kat, we need to open our eyes and our hearts like the innocent curious children we once were before being smacked with painful experiences. We need our inner romantic princesses and the innocence of Little Red. She doesn’t ponder possible pain, which made her fearless and - she survived.

I clung to my old stories because it allowed me to live happily ever after avoiding men - safe from disappointment.

I can “see” men and not wolves when I let go of fear and judgment, back to my true Self, the Innocent, “silly Little Red”.

“The Innocent's greatest strength comes in their trust and eternal optimism. They are pure, wholesome, full of virtue and an enthusiastic sense of wonder and positive energy. They believe in love, hope, and persevere in the face of obstacles.” Jeannie Campbell

That’s the Angel on a pink cloud I never wanted to be.

Mindset is everything and hanging on to past pain is an excuse as much as needing to loose those extra pounds, get Botox or a facelift, more money, success or a degree, whatever it may be we feel we lack, before we are “available.” And that counts for anything not just finding love in a relationship; it counts for self love, adventures, change and risk of any kind.

The experiment here is; is our world going to change when we shift our focus? Do we suddenly see the king ready for his queen? The adventure and not the danger?

When I am present and ready to listen the Universe sends archetypes and books, message and winks. Sometimes she sends a giggle.

My open handbag just fell out of the car and some of its content spilled. Darn, didn’t I have a hundred bucks bill in here?

I pulled half out of the lot and stepped out lighting the floor with my I phone.

A handsome middle age man stepped out of his Tesla.

“Are you okay? Can I help you?”

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Archetype: The Innocent

Known by many other names, including the Child, the Youth, Utopian, naive, and mystic, the Innocent embodies a soul untarnished by the harshness of the world.

“The Innocent craves happiness above all else. It need not be just his own; the Innocent desires paradise for all, even his enemy. The motivations for the Innocent are sincere. Truth is all he knows.

This unadulterated innocence is what makes this archetype one of the most sympathetic characters, and in group settings, it is the Innocent who often rallies those sooner down-trodden. They inspire people to default to the good, especially those that are apathetic. At his height, the Innocent can convince a neutral party to fight for the Hero, even if there is no reward to be had and the chance of success is slim. His optimism is unrivaled.” Ariel Hudnall

The Shadow of the innocent is being naive, to the point of endangering those around her. The Innocent can also be precocious, and difficult to reason with. They often live sheltered lives or having a disposition that ignores reality in order to retain a fantasy ideal.

 

When we accept our shallow we become deep, it’s as cool as that.

Ann Gentry. Karen Gutman. Angie Weihs

Ann Gentry. Karen Gutman. Angie Weihs

“I let literature and world history inspire me to give my textiles quirky creative names,“ the elegant boss lady over 50 said, “that’s pretty shallow, isn’t it? But I live for those names.”

The group of a dozen memoir writing hopefuls and our wise, experienced writing coach giggled.

Marketing copy as her “creative shallow”? The way she talked about it was funny, one of those breaking-the-ice moments making everybody sigh with relief that they can be real here in this writing seminar.

Shallow, I thought, I hate shallow.

So called celebrities came to mind, those women for whom appearance and what they own is everything and who chose their entourage following the same categories. Shallow people are naturally narcissist prone and rarely have compassion or unconditional feelings for anybody. A person looking for real friendship would probably fall on her face realizing that the OMG, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH of a woman full of herself is void of any true emotion. Not because the shallow person is born a mean bitch, but because she never had the privilege of learning what consideration, empathy, honesty or loyalty are.

I’m one of the others, the “complicated” people. If you’re nice you call me deep. Everything to me has meaning, tells stories, evokes feelings.

“Isn’t that an exhausting way to live?” I was asked.

It is sometimes; when I feel that I’m not understood and run away from myself trying to fit in and when I need too many shields to protect myself from getting hurt. I ran from the pain and after the joy and understood after decades that living deeply means both; crushing despair and high flying happiness and in between the calm of knowing.

Shallow to me is a vacation from myself and a learning tool.

The difference lies in BEING shallow, which means the lack of self awareness and ACTING shallow, which to me is freedom from limitations of being deep ALL THE TIME.

An old friend of mine “cancelled” our friendship as she couldn’t bare seeing my “self-indulgent selfies.”

Mirrors and pictures of myself are part of my process; test drives into self confidence and who a truly am. My exploration of outfits opened new levels of understanding; accepting the feminine pretty of pink gave me new depth.

The shallow act of dress up became a guide through vanity to self love.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I loved that quote because it condoned my “dying of boredom” in regular life.

A new friend of mine is the queen of small talk; she appreciates and gets along with everybody. I watched and cringed. When I was able to allow shallow talk as a part of life without having to get drunk to stay calm I found compassion.

Shallow talk can be somebody’s cry to connect.

Who hasn’t giggled about celebs, found the power of a billionaire sexy, identified with the cool new car, craved a freaking expensive perfume or espresso machine, loved their selfies or people that made them look good? Who hasn’t had shallow thoughts or desires?

When we accept our shallow we become deep, it’s as cool as that.

“We tell anecdotes all day long,” explained our writing coach, “the difference to writing our life’s story is to add significance and meaning to it.” The most important question, which Adam Hauge asked us ten years ago in a screen writing seminar and I seem to forget sometimes in my desire to change the world was

What does this matter to me?

It’s the same with anything described as shallow; where does it come from and what does it matter to you? It’s a question that cuts though the clutter of our wants and needs.

This is not a call to love ego tripping narcissists and happily embrace and let in the shallowness of Hollywood gossip; it’s a reminder to feel the fear in our judgements.

Everything even shallow acts have the potential of being and knowing “more.

Shallow, I figured, I shall add significance and meaning to shallow.

Happy Women Dinners. This was a brunch with writing coach Karen Gutman,  Spirit of Story

Happy Women Dinners. This was a brunch with writing coach Karen Gutman, Spirit of Story


I'm not ready.

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I was invited to a ball by Devora, a gorgeous queen somewhere around my age, eccentric, creative, slim, a former dancer with beautiful movements. I have never been to a ball, how amazing!!

I didn’t go. I wasn’t ready. I felt too fat with my 15 extra pounds, I didn’t have a facial in months and the dresses I owned weren’t expensive and theatrical enough for this arty event.

“I’m not ready.” How many times have I said it?

I made things up not to be ready. I couldn’t find my car keys or my glasses or my lip stick, I spilled coffee on the dress. The dog sitter had a flat tire or I had to turn around because I forgot my phone; now I was too late. Now I can’t go anymore…

I clung to old beliefs, judgments or an adopted mindset; I can’t finish my book because I don’t know how to pay for the team I need to publish it. I can’t sell the screenplay because everybody in LA has the same hope and I’m not pathetic.

I learned to check in; is it the party, conference or meeting I don’t really want to go to or am I am afraid? Do I love my story and feel it is worth telling? Am I still afraid not to be good enough after all these years packed with self improvement?

What is an excuse and what is intuition?

I got so much better; thanks to the mantras I jot down every day in my Ageless Rebel Planner, thanks to the ReBelle spirit I spread for myself and others with my fierce avatar at The Ageless Rebellion on Instagram I grow a little each day.

I learned to go against my fears by faking it to make it, by acting, doing, inventing tricks and sometimes jumping with my eyes closed. I’m not ready? So? I have spare keys and glasses hidden in the garden. I get ready in the car putting on make up at every red light. I tell myself empowering tales; remember how you managed this or that? Quitting the suffocating job without knowing how to create income? Starting my book without a clear message? Risky, yes. Time consuming? Of course. But I don’t want to die without knowing who I am. I don’t want to leave the planet without a trace of my truth.

I would have never discovered my power or the love I am able to give without softening the limitations I had protected my heart with if had I not jumped.

Bruises heal.

I took me longer than I through but I found my message while writing. I found my body and style while playing dress up. I am finding my tribe by going to all kinds of meetings. I still rush out of the house last minute leaving a mess of clothing thrown everywhere as I wasn’t happy how I looked. I still wished I was organized and ready all the time. In the meantime I dance; I laugh and cry when I fall over my own feet.

Facebook showed me a picture today from two years ago; sitting in a tree in a leopard jumpsuit was one of my first professional photo shoots; I posted it while judging myself as too fat. That was my first step.

1. Jumping into our fear of imperfection is empowering. The more we accept our flaws the better we get living with them and transforming them into power

2. Anger helps; saying NO to our programing of being too old or overweight, too loud or too different. Who said that we are not good enough? Who is measuring?

The more I voiced my anger the more I felt it; we can only transform what we are aware of. I took my Self back, and rediscovered my own voice. In my new found sweet, bubbly pinkness, my essence of curious joy, I allow myself to be angry here and there. We all need a little rebelliousness to change ourselves and the world around us. It always were the rebels, the Da Vincis or Einsteins who said No to the status quo who pushed the world forward.

I am afraid to finish and publish my memoir because I’m afraid you won’t like it.

3. Baby steps are always the answer, to focus on the big goal and make it happen by small steps towards it. I am looking for a new editor because the man I paid last year up front hates my women power guts. I publish little things on IG and FB posts and restarted my life style blog. Inspired by Loretta, an amazing woman who posts her life’s stories like a warriorress blogging 500 words every day I got over my “I can’t because I edit too much. I write too many words…I don’t have the time…”

My book tells stories about the power of NO. So here I am. Ready or not.

800 + words. 3 tips and the summery of my experience with “I’m never ready”

  • sometimes we’re sure; we listen to our intuition and with self love, feel good about NOT doing “it”

  • sometimes we only truly know if we are ready by doing “it.”

  • sometimes we discover what we really want by doing what we don’t really want.

  • often we get ready in the process of doing…

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It is not about you, says social media. It is about your followers.

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“Make it about your followers not yourself,” advised the Instagram savvy social media expert.

“Yes and no,” I answered.

“I’m not sure you’re coachable,” she responded, her forehead in furrows,” this is a well established marketing advice.”

“Gotta make it about my self to answer.”

Eye rolling.

“Okay.”

When I posted my first pictures two years ago I didn’t have a concept of what I was doing, I was pulled into Instagram because I love photography and IG felt more contained and personal than Facebook. It was an emotional decision; I was excited to show who I am through images telling stories of how I see the world.

“But Instagram is so narcissist",” said my son.

I agreed. IG is a play ground for our egos. But hey, I wasn’t posting pictures of myself. I wasn’t vain and I took thousands of dollars of marketing advice to heart; make it about others, talk the language of your followers, or clients; in my case women over 50 who want to be fit, fab and ageless. I checked what women my age were talking about from menopause to cheating husbands. I went to longevity conferences, posted about health and fitness, not aging and how to find your soul, a process I had gone through and which I figured everybody was looking for.

I created two empowerment planners, Ageless Rebel and Soul Sister with the bright grin of the “C’mon lets go for it” of a cheer leader. I marketed them on FB and IG. The response was okay but far from what I expected. I was answering to “their” problems, why did I not receive worldwide recognition?

I tend to go through extremes to find my balance, my truth. When I made it about “them” I became preachy in my desire to share my knowing and advise everybody. My inner author cringed and hissed into my ear, “Your writing is freaking gruesome.”

I couldn’t have that. I’m a writer first of all. I did not want to be an empowerment coach anymore. What now?

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I still had my street art and eccentric art shows; one of my favorite playgrounds, my love for creative expression.

I wasn’t posting pictures of myself not to be perceived as vain but crazy enough, when I did it became my creative arty path to self awareness; my outfits, my second skin became my teacher.

We are art, I proclaimed thinking of Michelangelo who said the the art object is inherent in the block of granite, he was just chiseling it free.

Vanity can cause personal revolutions; I found self confidence in playful dress ups losing my fear and judgment like in child’s play. I found my unique path to empower my self. That’s what I shared. I told my story through pictures of me; the story of my search for my passion and purpose.

I stopped asking what is it that “they” want to see and how the heck I can make myself relatable and get the most likes. With every post I became more truthful to what I loved about fashion, how I related to my own skin and how I desired to see myself. I created the avatar of the fearless ageless fashionista and every day I am embodying more of her in real life. My IG became a journey of my truth.

I wrote a poem.

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I wanted to be fierce and “naked”; truthful of all of me, the doubts and dreams, the downfalls and wins.

It was about me. I was real. Not an answer to statistically relevant questions but an answer to my self. With becoming real I am becoming relatable to others; by being truthful to my self not my marketing coach.

I realized what a privilege it was not to have to “sell” but to enjoy the freedom to offer myself.

Comments of other women became guides to who I am as an essence; childlike joy and curiosity. My love for life and the courage to be more guides me to own my magic.

Because I shared my process I got answers that told me “what women want.” I wasn’t the one to answer menopause or fitness questions, I inspired to take risks and be “more” on my path to being it myself.

The question “Who am I that is valuable to others?” can be life changing.

Are we repeating what we had to learn or are we adding new thoughts, our own thoughts? What do we know that other don’t? What do we love about ourselves that we find truly worth sharing?

So yes, it is about others but our answers come through the stories of us. We add our uniqueness to the world, sharing new colors, tones, vibes and new insights. It is through our uniqueness that we create the whole.

How weird is it to think that not one in billions of thumb prints is the same?

Be a narcissist in a sense of loving your Self and showing everything you are, but when you say “I love YOU” don’t let the narcissist need for applause hinder your true caring for others.

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When I post my funky fashion stories I’m happy when it looks pretty but it is the childlike joy and curiosity when stepping into the “wild, crazy, silly, yuppie, slutty, nerdy” that I love to share.

“You have to speak the language of your clients,” demanded my marketing coach. “You have to fit into a category,” said my book writing adviser.

What if I speak the language with a different accent?

What if there is no matching category?

What if I create a new category and stick to using my voice not what readers are used to?

Should I not be true to my branding? ReBelle my truth, my unique inner and outer beauty?

The risk of allowing ourselves to be different is to land “outside” and the art is to make the outside attractive, to invite people to join our uniqueness while supporting them to own or discover their own.

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I never was the most relatable person. I felt like an Alien all my life. For me its time to let go of the need to fit in but to happily and unabashed be the Alien.

So yes it is about me and you; my inner Alien hopes that her stories add color to your life and evoke your “more.”

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Mirror obsessions

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“What are you doing?”, asked the white haired teacher who had been brought back from retirement as our school for girls couldn’t find a history teacher. We tricked her into telling anecdotes from her youth nobody was interested in. She fell for our begging each time; her flights into her child hood gave us the chance to read magazines under the table, to dream, to sleep, ‘cause who wants to learn about “real” history? This old stuff was so boring…

I was a mostly nice Catholic teenager in the 60’s not allowed to sing with Mick Jagger, the devil, or daring to hold hands with a boy. In a time of cultural rebellions I tried hard to be what my parents expected from me but I knew that there was something wrong, this wasn’t me. I wasn’t seen, heard or understood, neither by them or by my self. I felt like one huge question mark, an Alien probably found in a trashcan. I looked into the mirror when and wherever I could or found one. It was vanity, sure, but on a deeper level it was

“Am I really HERE?”

“Is this really me?”

My history teacher caught me looking into a small hand mirror i had under my desk just in case I felt lost. The girls in the class giggled. I was the weird one, a girl attached to her mirror who had an A in math.

Looking at myself was my obsession through all my life, controlling my looks, dreading imperfection, loving style; hoping to proof that I was good enough.

I was searching for more than the shiny reflections of my outside.

Mirror, mirror, who am I?

Two decades later I yelled at the amazing star studded night sky of Portugal’s Algarve,

“I do anything to know what life is all about.”

The Universe answered manifold and repeated its messages many, many times until my tears had wiped away the dust and I could see. In my many spiritual, shamanic and self exploring journeys I found the bigger mirror, the one quantum physics calls Schroedinger’s cat. Reality exists because we see it. If we close our eyes there’s nothing out there but our imagination.

What if when we open our eyes all we see is our imagination?

What if we can’t see our Self in others because we are too afraid to face the truth? What if that’s why we are slapped over and over again? Because our soul wants us to wake up?

When my life coach told me to write “I love you” on my mirror a few years ago I found it super silly but did. I looked at it and at my wrinkled face and grinned.

“Fat chance.”

I did not love myself. Why should I? Because of some inner values? Everybody had them. I wasn’t special enough to deserve my love.

My coach gave me another one of her silly exercises; I took a deep breath and decided it couldn’t hurt, ridiculous or not.

I walked my dog. Instead of allowing my brain to bubble its usual comments like “Wow, he looks grumpy” “Gosh, look at that ugly dress…” I focused on finding people’s eyes. I looked at everybody I passed, no matter if they smiled, were absent minded or seemed unfriendly.

“I see you. I love you. I wish you all the best,” I thought. It must have been a hundred times.

When I came home an hour later something had clicked. I loved the world. I saw its people. Some had looked back at me recognizing something deeper.

For the first time I looked at my mirror image and saw more than my skin; I saw my soul.

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I saw everything I was, all of ME. When I said “I love you” I felt pieces of my armor crashing to the floor.

I had seen my Self in the many people I met, in the essence behind all their personas.

Writing my memoir, the story of my rebellions and resistance, the stories of No let me dive into the people in my life; a mind boggling and heart expanding revelation of the love I received from my friends and foes alike; they were there for me to let me see; they were guides, teachers, messengers and even the guardian angels I did not believe existed. Each and every one of them was a mirror of my hopes and fears. Because I did not believe I was worthy I let the fears win and ran away.

I ran away with with my son, far away from Europe to the US, an ocean away from my past.

Giving my son everything I had missed out on and loving him without conditions I created the first mirror in which I could see my beauty; my son is the most loving, balanced, generous, smart and funny being I know. It just dawns on me now that he is a manifestation of every I hold dear and a mirror of the best in me.

The concept of seeing ourselves in others can easily be misinterpreted and misunderstood. It doesn’t mean that we are as bad as the murderer we see on TV, that we want the husband to hit us, are narcissists or actually aspire to be broke.

What we see are our fears, beliefs, judgments as much as our dream, hopes and desires.

Our judgments are our prisons but can be our guides to freedom; what we think about others often has nothing to do with their reality but is a “truth” interpreted by the grid of our own beliefs. We assume intentions where there aren’t any.

The answer is to ask “What does this have to do with me?” “What do I really see?”

You and me we are messengers from our souls, supporting actors showing each us our deeper truth.



Prompts from the Soul Sister Journal


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Truth and Dare

Be brave. Fess up. See yourself in the mirror of others.

Take off your personas like robes that don’t fit anymore.

Attract like-minded women, your soul sister tribe, when you walk your truth.

Don’t fear your Self, be radically honest.


Helpful questions to ask

What was my relationship to women in the past and what is it today? 

 

How do I feel towards women and in women groups?

 

How would I like to feel?

 

What are my main reasons to connect with women?

- Develop my business to make more money

- To connect with opportunities

- Achieve a common goal

- Support and be supported

- Give and receive love

- Sell my products or services

- Joined partnerships

- Create a better world together

- Feel sisterhood

Create magic and rituals

- Connect to ancient knowing

- Women empowerment

- Feel that I belong

- Create a revolution 

- Other

 

What do I love or hate in my women friends?


What do I judge? (Fear)


What do I love about them?

 

Who and what inspires and attracts me?


Who are my deeper connections on Facebook?

 

Who are my girls on Instagram?

 

What do they have in common?

 

What do I see of myself in them?

 

What can I learn from them?

 

How can I be of assistance to them?

 

What’s my unique contribution, my gift to them?


I see you. I love you. I wish you all the best.


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What are you wearing? Connections in the fashion zone.

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“There you are,” whispered my stylish IG friend and hugged me excitedly as if she had waited for a long lost friend. Hugging her back I looked around in the room of about 75 woman listening to a panel of five female presenters; I saw welcoming smiles, nods, little waves even a thumbs up. I felt a happy giggle lighten me up, this was as soothing as a warm bubble bath.

I had been a little anxious about joining the Fierce Fifty fashionistas in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Redondo beach this weekend. I had been worried that too much fashion meant fashion only and not what I love, the digging deeper, the depth, the real and authentic connection.

Will I see what I love or what I fear?

Women conferences are a great test of our old beliefs; do I still have to prove that I am good enough? Do I still fear that child hood trauma of “nobody throws me the ball?” or believe that I must be an Alien as nobody gets me?

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Those darn thoughts came up like soap bubbles dancing around in front of my eyes but like soap bubbles they also popped. After lifelong explorations, from studying art therapy to shamanic journeys, my recent two years of life coaching, the incredible adventure of writing my memoir and creating the concept of fashion therapy I knew what to do; I stopped, took a deep breath, acknowledged my thoughts and responded to my challenge. I would own who I had become; no more excuses to live my empowered life. I followed my own advice from the Soul Sister Planner I had created in the beginning of this year using the prompt I had given to my readers; don’t enter the room with “look at me,” but with “who are you?”

Its amazing how much it helps.

I pulled out my Iphone to find the name to the face of my welcoming sister. We often know the handles of our IG friends, their online avatars, but not their human names.

Avatars are amazing tools, mine, the ageless rebel, empowers me every day; when I post stories to inspire, empower or motivate I empower myself. I look at my smile and if I feel shitty right now I know the smile is near.

Avatars also often reduce our complexity, we are our branding; as the ReBelle I can’t be a wimp, if my purpose is to lighten you up I can’t make you cry. So we don’t tell all of our stories and don’t get to hear them from others.

Meeting in 3D allows us to be our whole package, the “Silver Sister” becomes Nadia, a woman with many stories. We meet the pain in the path of the powerful fashionista, the doubts of the super coach or the fierce desires of the shy introvert. To dance in social media is weightless but now we have real life feet stuck in boots or balancing on heels, we are the density of all we are.

When we accept the challenge to be real and take a chance we amaze ourselves and others. My questions of “what are you wearing, how does this make you feel and who are you showing us?” were answered with amazingly heartfelt honesty.

The cool, creative, sassy, sweet or trendy outfits became the storyteller’s sidekicks. I met the badass behind her jeans, the physicist in a Roberto Cavalli dress, the searcher for purpose in the white vintage robe and the shaman in her power of red invoking the magic of the divine feminine.

Our stories are invitations to connect.

When we share our lives or truly listen to other women’s stories we find compassion, love, understanding; the closeness most of us desire. Avatars become multi dimensional human beings, women with many colors.

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Women who dance together, creatives having a blast, girls who hug.

Women who dance together, creatives having a blast, girls who hug.

Wise women, soul sisters and fashionistas.

Wise women, soul sisters and fashionistas.

We also see ourselves mirrored in others, we detect what we wish to have or fear to be. Keeping this in mind makes the step towards a woman we find threatening or judge in whatever way much easier. There’s always more than meets our eye as our lenses are shaped by our experiences.

To ask “who are you?” and to listen from an empty place can be revolutionary. Deep listening needs training but the result, being able to truly “hear” somebody is a rewarding gift.

One of the lessons women conferences taught me is to stop being “full of myself”, not to see the world through the grid of me. It’s like being in a martial arts dojo where we exercise to be present, in this moment, not in yesterday or tomorrow.

To be “right here and now” means not to ponder about agendas. If we want true connections we have to forget the “what can you do for me?” Without agendas life becomes storytelling not a hunt and collaboration develops naturally when it’s right.

Trust in your Self, that little voice that knows, is the best confidence pill I’ve ever taken. It’s the same trust that says “your vibe will attract your tribe” and that it is okay not to like or to be liked by every woman in the room. We all have different movies in our heads; it’s much easier to understand and play within the script of the same genre than having to make your way through dark dungeons in a princess dress.

I probably could have stopped and taken more deep breaths during the conference this weekend and wasn’t truly present all the time. I was pulled out of the “being present” zone by my hair; I have a thing with my hair and if I don’t like it…. But when I was in the moment, magic happened.

My upcoming book has the subtitle; “A journey to the magic of Yes”, which had been an adventurous voyage with huge jumps up, deep falls down and a million baby steps in between.

Fierce Con 2018 was one of those steps.

Thank you for the stories, fierce femmes and for being real.

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Put a pink girl into a punk car

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“Seven hundred”, I called out, nervously squeezing my kid’s hand. The rock’n roll lesbian couple looked at each other, they really wanted this car; it looked like a Ferrari. I really wanted this car even if it wasn’t practical at all for a single mom with kid and dog and it was red, the color police watches out for most. But I was about making the best out of wacko bad situations; losing a bunch of money in the stock market and being broke had been pretty wacko indeed. “That’s how this feels”, I had thought, “ when traders jump out of their windows after a financial crash.”

I was the 90’s. I was in shambles and had lop sided the two door SUV we had driven to Los Angeles from from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I needed something more than just crude necessity. Driving this power version of the Pontiac Fiero, a Fastback would make life funnier, lighter.

“750”, the couple yelled. “800”, I answered bravely standing my woman.

Bidding with a racing heart and sweaty hands I got the car. The San Fernando Valley car auction sold seized, stolen, impounded and forgotten vehicles; a car lot packed with drama.

“Why did they have to bid this up so much, didn’t they realize I wouldn’t budge?”, I said, my hands still trembling with anxiety and excitement. The whole action was fun but we also really needed a car living in the boondocks of hippie town Topanga.

“Be happy,” said my wise 10 year old son.

“Okay, I am”, I answered doing a little Yay dance.

It had been the right choice, the car roared powerfully, served us loyally and when kids asked if this was a Ferrari I felt giggly. After a little more than a year, the beautiful sturdy pony over heated and wasn’t repairable. I felt so guilty. I sold its remains to a Hollywood cinema car company; at least it’s frame would stay alive under a movie car.

The Fiero mirrored “I”m effed but I don’t let it get to me.” I was as cool and eccentric as I could be on my tiny budget. We drove in a similar funky vintage vehicle for the next two years, a Datsun Z, nice but we never made it to a love relationship. It was a rebound car after the theatrical Fiero Ferrari and I couldn’t commit; I was looking for more. By now I was on the road to success, looking for the next decent car and gifted the Z to a penny less musician who was “obsessed” with Datsun Z models. I paid big bucks for a shiny new Camry Hybrid version, eco friendly like my wedding production company, slick like a Beamer and very grown up. Mr Camry was a respected colleague, a great partner on many cross country road trips.

I had emotional attachments to all of my cars from respectful adoration to friendship and love. They were my daily companions, my buddies, with an cute purple convertible being my soul mate. They were expressions of how I felt about myself and served as power objects, making me feel better about my life.

My first ever love relationship was a 15,000 bucks MGB convertible, a sporty, sexy car fitting to my purple velvet jeans, Wild Thing T-shirt and custom made snake cowgirl boots from London. My boyfriend had gifted its dark purple paint job for my birthday. I was the free spirited fearless journalist driving to interviews, events and photo shoots and pushing my baby’s petal to make the deadline rushing back the local newspaper or the post office.

The convertible said I’m confident and in a superficial I was; my pizzazz depended on looks and what I had. Henry, my moody, eccentric English four wheel fellow presented me with temperamental electrical challenges. I learned about kicking the carburetor, cleaning spark plus, adding destilled water to the battery and checking the oil in the valve covers. I knew what head gaskets and cylinder heads were. I was confident and also independent; I handled my torch wrenches and floor jacks. I drove Henry to Portugal twice until I settled there, he was gun metal gray now and looked smashing with his cream top in front of the entrance tower of Quinta dos Figos, my house overlooking the ocean. As a construction company owner I drove a Landrover and Henry became my pampered number 2. I cried when I moved to the US and Henry drove away with his new owner. He had been my adventure car and after my shelter dog freaked out alone in the car and ate up the interior, was fully refurbished with black leather interiors. Henry had seen a lot of my brave, perseverant persona.

I was driving a Mini in the last few years, easy to find parking with and millennial fun. It brought me to many photo shoots in DTLA in front of street art and murals I love, to new women friends and coffeehouses, art galleries and foodie joints. The Mini mirrors the newfound feminine me, sweet, straightforward, neither demanding nor diva, not throwing tantrums like Henry or giving theatrical performances like Mr Fiero.

“She has plastic parts like all modern cars but is not plastic fantastic,” said my mechanic today when her repaired a coolant leak and patted her soft curves. “She can take a bump or too.”

I’ve caught myself posing in front of jeep Wranglers. As a power object it says; I’m tough, I can do this. Barbie wants a bigger edge.

I need this extra muscle, to be reminded of how much spunky success I had. I’m ready to put the pink girl in a punk jeep, one with fat tires and a muscly look. I’m ready to show ReBelle Barbie to the world and drive to DTLA not just to look at and pose with but to DO street art.

What’s you car story?

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Who wants to live forever?

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"I think it, so I am IT," said Bernadeane, co-founder and Co-director of People Unlimited, who has has spoken and written on radical life extension and physical immortality for over four decades. Her thinking kept her hip and fit dancing around the stiff number 90 with a boy friend who's maybe 50. "IT" for her is immortality. She is immortal. No discussion.

Don't we love the power of our thoughts? Mind over matter becomes more and more true and even scientifically proven. I'm a queen of What if??? always playing with thoughts others find weird. Living forever isn't a strange concept for me at all. As a kid I let my thoughts wonder and stories would pour in before I was falling asleep.  A few times I had a very strange physical feeling like being in a space under water, no sound, no air just this dark but bearable pressure. The words that lit up were; death isn't real, death is an illusion. The feeling stayed with me like a never-ending memory.

Living forever? Sure.

Of course when I realized that I could then actually visit the next Universe, a childhood dream of mine that also never died, I held my breath for a moment. One of the possibly Earth-like exo-planets, Kepler-452b, 60 per cent larger than Earth, with a rocky surface, oceans and orbiting a star like our Sun at a habitable distance, is 1,400 light years from Earth. Each light year is 5.88 trillion miles - which means it would take the best part of a millenium-and-a-half to reach it if a spacecraft could travel at the speed of light.

Eternity is a long long time.

After that discovery I changed my goal to "living as long as I like." Hip and healthy of course. One of the thought exercises I came up with was the idea that truly living in the moment, where space and time do not exist, could mean that we don't age. Eckhard's NOW might be the answer. It's an idea that tickles me but then, as I writer of an upcoming Sci Fi fantasy (2019) I'm constantly in the future and in the past. Unfortunately that thought form wouldn't work for me.

But there's also science and an amazing longevity movement where I had met Bernadeane and her team. That she loves to support her radical thoughts with science gives me hope that mind over matter has an actual chance.

I visited the RAAD fest in San Diego twice and intend to be there again this year, it's coming up in two weeks.

At a life extension party a few months ago.

At a life extension party a few months ago.

The line up is amazing. I am a fan of Ray Kurzweil , who's bestseller "The Singularity is near", was on one of my side tables for years until I was finally ready to read it in 2013. Good stuff if you're not tight minded. He'll be there this year, so are Suzanne Somers, Aubrey de Grey, Liz Parish and Dr Natasha Moore and many other innovative speakers. I interviewed a some of them last year and met Aubrey and Liz twice.

Walking my dog this morning I spoke a couple notes into my Iphone; what do I want to blog about longevity? That I find the idea of us living forever would change the world in a really amazing way as everybody would be worried that they would have to reap the fruits of their (evil) actions? No more polluting the world, adding more and more species to the endangered list, a possible stop to global warming... I had a website years ago called "La Femme Futura" and was hitting readers over the head with innovative and often far out science news I didn't quite understand myself. Should I talk about living forever? I had bumped into a lot of resistance last year, is it time now? While dictating Siri and rolling my eyes as she's not good with my light (!) German accent and garbles my words I saw a mini library, one of these oversized bird houses packed with books. I pass them often, added a couple books but didn't look inside. Today I did. I picked up every single book searching.... I found an interesting looking vintage piece and took a picture of it, the title was about love. I took it. Why not. Maybe I have time to read.

Book in one hand, dog leash in the other and waiting at the red light I opened the book; it’s the stories of Lazarus Long, an eternally living man, one of the few heroes in one of the few books I liked when I lived in Portugal. I see myself in my bed reading dreaming that this man would be real.... I heard Lazarus in my head. He said, "go now, write a blog post about living forever. And come to the RAADfest. I'll be there."

Natasha VIta Moore                                                                                                                                                                                                      Aubrey de Gray

Natasha VIta Moore                                                                                                                                                                                                      Aubrey de Gray

The conference motivates us to break out of the box of ageism and to eliminate beliefs that are "so last century." 

Who wants to join me?

 

 

 

Do you have A style?

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"You cannot wear black here," said the owner of the New Age restaurant, "it's a dark vibration and imprisons your light." All I had was black outfits, that was my thing. I'm cool. I'm edgy. I'm a rebel. I can't go against my style for a job?? I'm proud to be stubborn too.
It was 15 years ago, I had lost a lot of money in the stock market and was catapulted from being well off and successful into broke and burdened with the guilt of having made a huge mistake. With a kindergarten kid and dog I had moved from a stylish Adobe house in Santa Fe to a freaking air stream trailer in Topanga. At least it overlooked hiking trails and mountain lions...but... My ego had suffered an unsuspected crushing hit and now this, now I was to wear frumpy hippie outfits? How bad can life get?

I needed an easy job so that I could finish my screenplay and be in the saddle of success again. I applied for the wedding planner job at this romantic restaurant delivering an amazing speech of my many entrepreneurial successes. Having organized large art opening parties in my gallery and restaurant proved that I was totally fit for the job. The boss lady took my hand and said in a calming motherly voice, "Why don't you start as a hostess."

The old belief that "I'm not good enough" fell with the door into my house of cards and flattened it; I had held on to being worthy for several years now. But bandages only last for a while; it was time for me to look at the stuff hidden in my darkness. "Don't hide in black" was a huge wink from the Universe which I refused to see. I chose to be upset about the insults to my ego.  What an audacity to take away my style! I was proud of my mirror obsessed vanity.

Used to being the boss myself my lesson in humility unfolded to my great dismay. I couldn’t even wear black, did I had to iron out some bad karma here? I needed the money so I agreed to squeeze myself into dresses I considered an unfortunate style faux pas.

A couple of years later, after I had not written the screenplay but climbed up the restaurant ladder I was allowed to wear black again; the boss figured that my inner light was so bright now that it pierced through the darkness. Gosh, finally I was me again, finally I had MY style back - and then I realized that being focused on being the best single mom who ever existed it didn't even matter anymore. I was okay in jeans and tees and simple dresses for the job. Then the boy left and I looked into the mirror; vanity was back with a vengeance screaming, "Now you're too old for fantastic fashion."

Fast forward to my Instagram fashion journey, a amazing year in which I created a cool course called Styling from the Insight Out. Don’t worry I won’t sell it to you, it’s not on the market yet. I had tested a lot of different mindsets by trying out lots of different styles. Losing my judgment about those styles I got much closer to understand other women and their different takes on life and with that my own.

My Instagram gallery said, "Check it out, girl, you have changed." My pictures were pink all over. Pink? Seriously? I saw sweet, girlie, happy feminine outfits as much as edgy jumpsuits, rock'n roll jeans or teeny bopper skirts. I had gone from a fierce male Rebel vibe to the feminine path of ReBelle, reclaiming my true inner beauty reflected in my style. Even the formerly considered kitschy Belle of Disney's fair tales, a lady-like style and the “sexy 60” femme fatale were included. Who was this person?

My followers commented on my joy and opened my eyes like a collective guru; I am the cosmic giggle, at home at the playfulness of a child. I wasn't just playing with other styles I had adapted some of them, they were part of who I was: a multiple personality. That was my new order; wear what you feel inside or what gives you the vibe you need today.

In the many rebellions of my life against unfairness on personal, political, social and cultural levels, in the many NOs were the jewels of what I really wanted; to be free to express my truth. Awareness actually was like light piercing my darkness; I saw all the colors inherent in black and I had grown brave enough to let them out.

Help, I don't have A style.

Hurrah, I am multiple fashion personality.

My style is to wear my heart on my sleeves.

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Perfection is crushing me

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The flicker! Oh how I am scared of that sudden zigzaggy flashing in my eyes, which reduces my sight. It's a sign of doom, of my impending migraine. And yes, it really feels like an attack. It comes out of nowhere and tells me that I overdid it again.

Lately and that means yesterday and three months ago, it started on my dog walks. I'm working on my arms with eight pound weights at the same time and one of those moves obviously strained my neck. Okay, got it, that's the physical reason and I will avoid bending my arms towards my back. What's the "deeper" cause? Last May it was emotional, an unexpected slap into my face from a woman friend, which derailed me. What I had seen as relationship on its way to "perfect" took the opposite turn. Yesterday it hit me after I published a blog post, standing up for not over editing and bravely letting it go and be read. After posting it I went through a stack of manuscript pages. Sending my editor the first 5 chapters and "really mean it" was the first important step after our are we a good fit? test drive with a random chapter a few days ago.  Oh gawd, what if she hates my writing? I edited again and again, just one more time...!! My dog stared at me; when the heck will you finally GET UP?

I hit send. I got up, a couple stress waves too late. My fear of not being good enough resulted in a migraine. Darn. I thought I was over that freaking belief.

I know what to do when I see the flicker; I run home, swallow Vit C, B and garlic pills with a lot of water, I breathe deeply. Usually I lie down in my dark bedroom, feet up and hoping it passes. Yesterday I felt that I needed to move first; I shook my hands and feet in my garden as if pushing out the tension. I did a furiously quick body scrub. I had a cold shower. I laid down with a hot towel around my neck. Please. I don't want to be "stupid" again.

The flicker disappeared. The fear flared up. I am alone. What if I'm loosing my mind and nobody knows?

Breathe.

Caspar David Friedrich, pralines and cream... my son is Luca, my dog is Nikita...I still had it... My book is... What? Who? My code words to check if I still had my full mental capacity disappeared; parts of my brain had gone dark.

"I'm here, I'll talk you through it," said my son on the phone.

I began yawning relieved to hear his voice, suddenly I was terrible tired. Instead of sleeping and possibly waking up still babbling nonsensical stuff I talked and talked. It was slightly scrambled stuff, not as bad as last time when I wasn't able to verbalize anything. The physical action might have helped to reduce the impact. This time I was only half "gone",  I still remembered certain things and was able to verbalize half of what I thought. The horror though was knowing that I couldn't get to images stored in my brain. That was the worst; like not to remember the content of the book I'm writing. Help, I am brain impaired...

"Breathe," said my son, "you will be fine."

Why do we remember certain things and others are simply gone? Why did I perceive some of reality but, like his stories, didn't "get" the rest? I heard his words but they made no sense. I usually understand concepts and philosophies or enjoy stories when I can visualize what I hear or read, perhaps my brain's image processing section is numbed during these attacks?

30 minutes later my son said, "You sound better." I had not even realized but my reality had slowly come back to me, the stories in my head which I love so much, were back.

I was so grateful for him and the billions of beautiful cells in my body, which didn't let me down. I visualized hugged my brain.

What's the action, Universe? What can I do other than fierce shaking of hands and feet to never ever feel "brain dead" again?

"I don't need to be perfect", was my mantra since quite a while but reframing our brains is not easy. The task is to continue and exercise; like writing and publishing blogs now a couple times per week. Fast and with fun. That's my warrioress Kung Fu.

What else? I opened my Ageless Rebel FB page. Short before the migraine smacked me I had asked, "What would you like to see here more often? Or more of?"  My friend Nancy Mac  responded, "I think it would be nifty to get the red carpet treatment of our own gifts and talents....wouldn’t it be nice to build a stage for the women we already are, celebrities in our own lives."

Wow, I loved this. The pink carpet. Celebrating achievements, something we often forget in our thriving to be better. An ode to us, to who we are in the moment, to the journeys.
My book title is
Thank you for the flowers.
A journey to the magic of YES.

This was perfection!!! Thank you, Nancy.

The Universe had answered. "You already got the flowers, honor them, go, put them in a beautiful vase."

I am grateful for my ambitious inner journalist who wants me to publish award winning stories, but today I thank my inner girl, who plays without judgments, just curious where the journey and her words will guide her.

Action of the moment?

I am posting this without my perfectionist's frets.

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Be sixteen or whatever

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It smelled of beer. I don't like beer, I thought taking in a slightly run down event space with cheap furniture and cigarette buds on the floor. The commentator of the sports game running on several screens had a hard time competing with the noise from the loud bar underneath. It’s a rock’n roll chick's book release, I thought, this is a weird venue but probably a conscious choice.

I wore a tight black mini dress with an ankle long sheer overlay and lacy sleeves that resembled tattoos. My freshly curled long blonde hair looked nice in the mirrors behind the bar. I felt okay about myself. For thirty seconds. I walked through the room of about 80 people and nobody looked up. Not one person looked at me. Not one person saw me. Now the mirrors screamed: crow’s feet, lines, crepey skin. I am too old. The message in my head went into a loop, old, old, old.

Even the author herself who knew me ignored me. WTF? I snug out and down the stairs, my lips were trembling. It was too embarrassing to cry now. The compassionate valet was close to hugging me wondering, “How was the party? Not good?” I gave him a big tip and answered: “The party sucked.” What I really thought was: I suck. Life sucks. What, dear Aphrodite, is left when the sex appeal of youth is taken away? My smarts obviously didn’t work like magnets.

What the hell do we do when our confidence shrinks in fear or view of sagging skin? Do we give up, cut our hair and stuff our bodies into frumpy unisex lounge pants so that we can melt comfortably into the sofa and munch sinful chocolates instead of committing sensual sins? Do we drown our sorrows with Drambuie? Or hide our fears with nip tucks and inject poison into our faces no matter the long-term results? Burn our skin off with CO2 laser facials to end up in agony for two weeks?  Or do we proudly wear our furrowed faces using them as weapons against ageism?

Whatever we’re up to, the question always is: are we motivated by fear or a true self aware confidence of being all we can be? Are we in self-love or self-hatred?

At the time of the party I was 60 and I was angry. I did not like my life. As a proud former rebel I hated the martyr I had become in more than a decade of playing "normal." My repressed anger unloaded itself in a car crash forcing me to open my eyes; anger became a motivator for change. I dug up the fiery power of Kali, my creative, action-packed pissedoffness; if nobody sees me I’ll see myself.

A rebel does not give in to the status quo or the options at hand; she creates her own reality.

So I did. I got a life coach and went on another vision quest. I had met my dragons before but now I was ready to slay them and their limiting beliefs. My reward was the treasure of self love, the most powerful alchemical ingredient, which let me see my life in a new perspective.

"Age is mindset, another one of your excuses not to live the life you came here for," said my inner teenager, also called my eternal Millennial soul, and pulled me into a fashion journey.

"Play," she ordered.

I experimented with different expressions of "my rebel style" also with outfits "so not me" and felt my judgments right there, on my skin. Most of all though I felt joy, this cosmic giggle... I looked into the mirror and saw my little girl playing dress up. She had no preconceived notions, she played, curious, open to feel and wonder and completely in the moment. "This is who we really are," my teenager smirked.

I joined her in the moment. I played. I was back in the ageless zone, where time and space don't exist just the freedom to be.

After a year of daily Kung Fu in self awareness with affirmations like I wear what I feel, I say what I think, I got it; it's all about walking my truth and being what I would love the world to be. I don't want the world to be 16 but everybody to discover their essence and dare to go for it.

Truth lies in our openess to play. Play disregards the norm and not everybody thinks that's cute.

"You are desperately trying to look like 20," a midlife group member commented on a picture featuring me in funky boots and a vinyl mini skirt.

"It's 16 actually," I responded with LOL emojis.

"It's so silly, you and your 16 thing," a friend of mine responded to my online story rolling her eyes. "Grow up."

I had been grown up. I did everything a grown up was supposed to do; okay, I never got married but I had long term, loyal relationships and gave birth to a son, I was a successful entrepreneur and got my kid through college. I worked fiercely for three decades.

I don't want to be grown up anymore. Grown ups suck. I want to be everything I am, the whole package, and sometimes that might feel like 16. Most of us have one of those crucial moments, a day or period in our lives that needs reliving, redemption or its crushed promises to be revived.

For me 16 was the time of my first love. I smell the fragrance of hay baking in the summer sun. I hear the Troggs rock'n rolling in the country barn and my drummer boy whispering "Wild Thing" into my ear. I had no preconceived notions; I was curious, open to feel and completely in the moment.

My mom crushed my innocence with her fears; she forbid me to see the boy ever again.

I buried him like I had to bury my truth; I couldn't win. I gave up. I submitted to my mother's ultra conservative rules and regulations until I threw my engagement ring from a 10 year older conservative man into a puddle; the best rainy night ever. It was not just the No to a man who had been chosen for me, it was No to my mom, no more good girl stuff. I went to college to become a bad rebel stepping out of the traditional woman role.

I took a four decade long journey to get "me" back, the kid and her magic, the teenager and her romantic dreams.

Yes. I want my drummer boy whispering "Wild Thing" into my ear. So I went out today and bought a light blue denim overall, ripped and all. It looks like the one my mother had "accidentally lost" when I was a kid and bought me proper dresses instead.

I will wear the overall like on that summer day; with my heart on my sleeves.

 

 

 

Your office is where your heart is

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When you write your heart out you’re not creating a bestseller on a weekend😎 You go to bed with it, get up with in the morning and dream of it.... then you go for it;
- jot down ideas wherever you are in your iPhone - tell Siri your ideas and ROFL when you see what she made of it
- handwrite the amazing epiphany you had in the middle of the night during your morning pages
- connect with the Universe, muse or soul to guide you, please, c’mon
- write in your book-only notebook, one of five
- draw mind maps on a huge drawing block
- sit down with your laptop and write already
- edit like a mad woman staring at your handwritten sign “don’t edit!”
Finally you create an outline of all your bits and pieces
Yeah, not a weekend job.
Oh of course you also evoke the Rebel women before you, annoy your friends with your wonders and woes and inspire the world to discover their own amazing story with your excitement💋

My first book was traditionally published in the 80's. I got an advance from the publisher and still wrote journalistic stories "on the side."

What does it cost when you go full time and into self publishing? Depending on who you are and what you need.

For me so far;

Two years of sustaining your modest life $120,000 (everything is relative of course)

Writing and business courses $12,000

Life Coaching $20,000

Photographers $2,000

Outfits and accessories for your branding fashion $5,000 (but only when you're thrifty)

I expect another $7,000 to get it published.

Somebody complained on my FB page that I "just want to get rich"..... I'm pretty sure girl you're talking about yourself:)

 

8 fun tips for your amazing Instagram pictures

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OMG, that's so cool. "I told all my friends and everybody loves it," Barbie smiled when I balanced my Iphone on a cactus to take pictures of us, Kristine, Kathleen and Marla's Instagram pictures improved to happy levels and Ruth showed my tricks of the selfie trade to her friends on Facebook. "Merveilleux" "Klasse" "Giro"... I love how my I-Phone game has begun to cruise the world.

Here it is.

Trending; pictures in which you move, laugh, be funky, quirky or philosophical; be real and show your soul. I literally "wear my heart on my sleeve." Good question to ask for authenticity: "What does this setting, outfit, design etc matter to me?" Mix posed and more snap shot like selfies as in reading, writing, debating or walking by pictures.

Another tip; I stash an extra outfit into my car when I'm going somewhere new or interesting; you never know what amazing setting will inspire you to dance for your followers.

Step 1
You discover the coolest, storytelling or arty, moody, crazy background. Yay! If you can, you move into the shade.

Step 2  No tripod? Don't despair. Prop it on the lamp post!
Vases on restaurant tables, flowerpots, window sills work perfectly.


Step 3
Is the phone safe? Get the sticky tape you'll always carry in the glove department, secure the phone if needed. I crashed the screen of my phone by putting it on an iffy spot, 10-9-8.. and there it went onto the street.


Step 4
Set ten second timer, take a test picture.

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Step 5
Reposition yourself if needed

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Step 6
Take several pictures. Have fun with it. People in the street will stop for you or walk by you creating the coolest photo bomber images.

Step 7
Choose your favorite (s) and post

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Step 8

The best for last; when you see a cool back ground and don't have a tripod, drive your car close to it, open the window and stick your phone into the rubber lining of your car door. Perfection right there. And nobody smirks about your selfie stick or tripod.

 

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I call it magic

Christian Lacroix.

Christian Lacroix.

(This article contains paragraphs from my upcoming book Rebelle)

I climbed up the stairs to the apartment of my ex-morphed-into-brother, Florian, a university professor. The architect I had passed on the level below nearly shut the door onto his hand, staring at me. I smirked. I liked the attention. I wore a tight, red two-piece set from Dolce&Gabbana, its mini skirt revealing smooth stocking free legs. My bright red heels matched the outfit perfectly.

It was 1988. My ex-morphed-into-brother told me later that said architect asked him in a secretive manner, "Did you hire a call girl...?"

I laughed. Cute!

I enjoyed the self confidence of being a young entrepreneur, who had just sold a business making a nice profit, lost ten pounds sniffing a little Cocaine here and there instead of lunch or dinner, bought a Beamer and sped at 130 mph over to Paris on the amazing European Autobahn.

Looking back at my red heels on squealing wooden stairs I wondered, did the sexy red suit reveal my soul? My darker desires? Did I have an inner courtesan calling?

If you consider reincarnation or genetic memory a possibility, that we can link to scenes from the past as their energy lingers all around us or if you like the proposal that we live in a virtual reality where everything is possible you won’t flinch when I tell you about my courtesan memories. I connected to a medieval story in which I was a courtesan in 1248. It wasn’t a mental construct or called in by witchcraft, those eerie memories of the past simply happened.

I lived in the magical Aquarian country of Portugal, in a 700-year-old farmhouse, when I looked into the mirror and she looked back at me; bright make up, wild hair, lots of powder and rare pearls on a risky decollete; my furious inner courtesan. People entered my life with strange messages, my closest friends and my lover took on roles from the past and real words about "whores" appeared on white washed walls. I had visions of my home burning and monks praying in the valley. On another day I walked through the fields in front of my house in a white vintage dress, a rifle over my shoulder, Mozart’s Don Giovanni blasting from the speaker on my terrace. I felt heart broken, desperate, threatened by a sin I had committed and fearing revenge. I was defending myself; from whom I didn't know - yet.

I stumbled firing a shot into the air waking me up from my trance. The old farmer and his companion’s heads popped out of the cornfield, ”Now she’s shooting at us.” The scene was morbidly funny but my heart was racing in panic. I ran back into the house, what had a done? I could have killed somebody.

My inner courtesan had winked at me again on the stairs of my ex’s apartment building but like so many foreshadowing moments in my life I chose to ignore it. I wasn’t yet on the level of experience I could cope with it. The story of my courtesan memories revealed itself only years later when I fearlessly looked back at my spooky visions of 1248; I thought writing a screenplay with her as the heroine would get me out of the financial mess my gambling the stock market had caused. She was the force that drove us from the serene beauty of Santa Fe to the harshness of Los Angeles and promised to be the way out of my financial ruin.

It was not fame and fortune that awaited us in LA but a spiritual path; rarely paved by prayer and meditation but an enlightenment that went through the body; the crude, emotional, human experience of my shadows. Like the high priest of my medieval story had prophesied the courtesan Alazais; "I will give you eyes to see and ears to hear."

Locked into a mindset of being unworthy, a decade of martyrdom and redemption had to pass until my rebellious feminist soul dared to show herself again; Justyna Smart, a couturier, felt inspired to draw a high fashion outfit for me; her intuition made her call it "Angie's Inner Courtesan", a blonde femme wearing a red mini skirt suit.

Justyna Smart, Los Angeles

Justyna Smart, Los Angeles

There she was, young me in my Dolce&Gabbana number. You can call it coincidence, I call it the magic of synchronicity.

It doesn't stop there; Justyna offered me to wear her red Christian Lacroix two piece outfit and when I looked into her beautiful mirror my inner courtesan looked back at me, this time with a smile. We both had left the story of abandonment. It doesn't matter if Alazais was me or the memory of the life of a mysterious whore who was murdered by the Catholic inquisition in 1249. She was in my code, part of my life, a reoccurring theme. The outfit by Christian Lacroix was not just red and similar to my D&G; the couturier had fallen in love with courtesans influencing a whole period of his life.

"At the 39th-annual Rencontres d'Arles, France's most famous photography festival, the guest curator, the couturier Christian Lacroix, chose Les Insoumises to feature in a special and very entertaining section, explaining that he has long been fascinated by these colorful transgressors.

They were courtesans whose nickname "insoumises," meaning insubordinate, came from the fact that, unlike common prostitutes, they refused to submit to police licensing or conventional morals. They were glamorous, venal and usually ended up badly but while the going was good they were celebrated, from before the Empire and after its end, by writers from Dumas fils to Maupassant and Zola."

Not all courtesans were consciously or deliberately rebellious women driven by the fierce need of freedom. Not all of them were educated or trained in tantric type magical rituals. But some were; they followed in the tradition of wild women, witches, sorceresses and holy whores. 

Remembering Alazais I had promised to finish her story to redeem both of us. I let her see that she was loved when she died, not abandoned as she was forced to believe. Abandonment had provoked many of my rebellions, which made me wonder how far the rabbit hole goes, how old is the story running my life and what do we see when we take the pill that opens our eyes? Are we programmed with beliefs and deep layers of memories structuring our lives? A script? Is our warrior's task is to live through them, win the level, become aware of another puzzle piece, power or treasure and rise to the next more complicated challenge like in a video game?

Why is Alazais, my inner courtesan showing up right now? I am writing about sex and love at midlife after I experienced a rather mind boggling old story of love and betrayal recently, which I thought had been long out of my system. I had given up on men pretty much entirely. My No to the old paradigm of men's dreams of mindless sex entails my Yes to what I want from love, from men or women. The experience woke me up; what was I missing? What can Alazais teach me about other ways of looking at sexuality? At the union of male and female? What did it really matter to her and what does it mean to me?

She had stepped into my life a couple of times but I never really listened deeply, I took it as a tantalizing game, a seduction I had to avoid. I will lend her my hand to restore her diary; I want to know from her if it is true that  there is magic in sexual union. "Jesus replies: "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the upper as the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male shall not be male, and the female shall not be female: . . . then you will enter [the kingdom]."

Life is story, and underneath the stories and beliefs of our childhood are deeper, darker and much more forming ones. The detective game is to find out which ones we are living and which ones we truly want to live with.

Outfits have to power to kick our emotions. They express who we are and what we feel at the moment as much as they can reveal deeper levels of our selves. They can be hideaways, invitations, provocations, wake up calls or embodiments of our ignorance. Outfits are energy and consciously stepping into them or simply giving ourselves permission for "more" can be an eye opener.

I always hated the color or non-color of white. The white "wedding" dress I wore in Portugal to express my guilt, despair and grief about a love forever lost has changed to a white dress in which I feel beautiful, open and loved with everything being possible. White had meant the end and now I feels like the beginning.

By couturieuse Justyna Smart, Los Angeles

By couturieuse Justyna Smart, Los Angeles

 

Outfits are not just things we buy because they are in fashion or we might fish out from the deepest corners of our closet to make a point against the dependency on trends. Their style, color, how their materials feel and especially the period they came from or remind us of can be storytellers and co creators of our lives.

 

Social media fasting

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"See you on Monday," I informed my friends and followers on Facebook and Instagram. I had three days in front of me without posting or checking on what's up with everybody lives and successes; 72 hours of just me, my dog, my notebooks and word files on my computer. I call it social media fasting.

I fasted several times throughout my life and the most successful retreats were those of 2 weeks or longer, in a beautiful setting, together with other health nuts and under professional supervision. My social media fast was spontaneous, not planned and not guided by any other guru than myself. Basically I was winging it. One thing I knew was that I really needed this. A break, a breather and to feel the beauty of my writer self without distractions. To see straight. My goal is to finish my book be June, how the heck could I get there feeling like ten people on 100 different parties....?

My body was tired from my emotional reactions to the various feelings other people's posts evoked. My brain felt frazzled and my cells buzzed, lit up by opposing view points and world views I couldn't possibly "get" or condone. The many marketing suggestions, when did I sign up for all these emails? caused panic that I needed to be into 7 figures by now or at least have the fail-safe plan set up. I hadn't. I had a migraine attack instead and was "stupid" for one hour, a rather unpleasant knowing that you don't know your son's name, can't understand text or speak coherently. My brain said enough is enough! No more trying not to judge, responding wisely, being politically correct and fitting in. No more "monetizing the book when its done" strategies, I needed to get back to the story, my book baby and the reasons I loved writing about resistance and how she can liberate but also crush us. I needed to empower myself, stand up for my dream and re - belle, get back to the passion and beauty of words against all business coaching and 7 figure marketing plans.

It was not quite a fast, more like the time after one finishes a fast when "normal" is reintroduced; those little bites and sips of easy digestible food and drink like dry sourdough rolls and almond milk. I had peeked into FB, as two of my friends and business partners communicate with me only on messenger and checked how many likes my "last" picture, a quick hi from my abstinence had gotten.  I quickly hit a couple of likes but proud of myself I disconnected within 5 minutes. Still, I had cheated.

I wanted to write five glorious chapters, tripling what I usually produce in three days, by being fully focused on the adventures of my rebelling past. Murmuring mantras and repeating affirmations I managed to manipulate my brain to wake up on day 2 happily thinking of the next paragraph not a like-winning photo for Instagram.

The book Rebelle is about the power of No and I had to exercise it vigorously; No, don't open Google Chrome, no, I'm not powering up the Iphone and no, I'm not checking my emails.

The outcome of my little experiment was two glorious chapters, only one more than what I usually produce in three days with distractions. But I also prepared the next three chapters and felt balanced, clean and calm. Not engaging with other people's opinions and feelings was a cleanse of my emotions. I got back to what is important and essential to me and what I can give without reacting to others and their take on life or success. I am as authentic and vibrant as I can be at this level of my life and see myself as a mindful gift.

I love synchronicities; on day two I met a new friend who told me her journey into compassion. If she could be compassionate with a man who hid his mental illness from her and betrayed her I could be compassionate with letting myself be pulled into too many directions and loose my compassionate cool. Nobody is responsible for my feelings, I am. So I changed them. I am where I am supposed to be. I chose my friends, my groups and with whom or what I love to engage. I will never please everybody.

I am glad I went through the moments of social media withdrawal. After my four writing hours I put my legs up, and, phone in hand listened to the birds chirping in the huge pepper tree in front on my home. I did not give in to the temptation to have an Instagram peek. The ivy leaves covering the window in my meditation corner let a few sun rays through dancing over my black dress..... Now what? I was taken by complete surprise; without my fashion and life style stories I felt - bored. I missed the engagement, the comments, even the mini dramas of my emotional reactions. My followers and friends are part of my world, my mirror, my creativity and even my guru. I don't want to live without them.

The answer is balance.

From now on I will turn social media off for half of the day and prepare my next social media fasting as described above. Maybe I'll even find a monastery or those three or four real life people who want to do a self guided writer's retreat.

Tips for writers and bloggers

Less distractions means more writing

- get a dog sitter, baby sitter, responsibility sitter...

- find a place to write outside of your usual surroundings

- if you stay at home, have the house cleaned before and prepare your meals.

2. Less emotions and reactions to other people's posts means more peace; a cleanse of reactive emotions and more writing from our truth

 - brain storm in morning pages about your reactions to past news, posts, friend's opinions, find the message of your reaction, use it for motivation and writing ideas and with that get rid of left over emotional residues

3. Less engagement means getting back from the outside to the inside

 - Less noise lets us go deeper, it's best to also avoid TV and newspapers

4. Being with ourselves means more insights.

I realized that a regular human being can't produce creative work for more than 4 or 5 hours. My desire to create twelve hour writing marathons is utopia at least in regular not threatening circumstances. I am sure that, when my deadline is close I can power up to writing night and day.

- mix it up

- be creative around your goal, meditate, play with it, look at it from different angles

- prepare writing exercises

- use a chapter of your book to write a blog post

- expand your theme, add new nuances to it

- write a poem to the theme

- walk with your heroine through town and feel her feelings about what she sees

In my experience a ten hour writing day is easy to achieve in a writer's retreat when prompts, exercise and free writing are mixed up. Finding two or three other writers and renting an AirBnb in a peaceful setting is much easier - and less expensive - then booking a high powered writing retreat. Viva mini think tanks.

To sum it up; a social media fast is a serene step to get more organized, it adds motivation, depth and authenticity and increases creativity and self love.

I feel refreshed and happy to be back.

A truck, a director and a muddy Hollywood dream

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We were soaking wet from the rain pour and exhausted after stomping through mud for fifteen minutes. Unprepared for a hike in general and in a freak storm in particular our jackets weren't really rain proof, my computer bag was leaking and our sneakers were squishing water and dirt. They sank in so deep that every step was a small effort. And now we had stopped, frightened of what had been announced as a "tiny ravine" and had become a crazy wild water rushing through our path. We had to cross THAT?

It was a Hollywood trip; my kid, my dog and me had arrived in LA, broke after a stock market disaster and over the ears full of hope that my reinvention as a screenwriter would manifest rapido. I had been a journalist for 7 years, with a non fiction book about experimental theater on the market and several successful business ventures under my belt. Other than my investment crash my life's experiences pointed to success. Yes, in LA, against neysayers and rolling with the Hollywood dreams and all.

Of course when we make big mistakes like losing all our money it nags at our psyche and makes us feel like losers; nothing that self empowerment mantras can't push under the table, or so it seems.

When I met the long haired 50 year old director, with his very impressive 100 page investment proposal, which several people had already made funds available for, fate smiled at me. This was it. The Universe had heard me, answered me and had served this friendly hippie man right on a silver platter. His cool Native American vibe (he was 33 % Cherokee, he said) touched my freedom loving, adventurous heart and when he offered me a part time job I was super happy to accept. He presented the two men living with him in the west side apartment as his production and writing team. I was the female voice and they needed it; the women in the first act of the script were bloodless and bland and looking for a light... I felt needed and capable to fix this. They were on a deadline as their investors wanted to see the finished script and they needed more investors...

Their funds seemed to pay for everything, their expenses and rent... but I didn't want to care. I got a salary for doing something that I loved and would get a writing credit for.

The director, and I'm still not sure how naive I had been to believe his story, came up with the amazing idea to write the female characters in the wilderness as that's where most of the movie was playing. Kinda like method writing.

It was a two hour ride and we used my tough two door Bronco, not a rough pickup truck but close to the feel of it. The director didn't have a driver's license and I didn't ask. Maybe he had a DUI; I wanted to be polite. Maybe he was a criminal, but I thought about that only later after I hated him.

My dog jumped on his lab. I thought it was cute but she did what she had never done and would never do again; she pooped on his lab.

I should have know then. My sternly house broken dog who would alert us if she needed to go had expressed her clear mistrust for the man.

At the site we were not allowed to drive through the wilderness with the truck. The road was blocked off by a huge gate. The director said that they must have added that recently. "We can walk, no problem, it's only fifteen minutes from here," he assured us. We were not prepared for serious hiking but this didn't sound too bad. What's a couple minute walk...

After 10 minutes it started to drizzle. "No problem," he said, "it drizzles here some times."

5 minutes later it was pouring.

Another 5 minutes and I had enough, I wanted to turn back but our camp was "right around the corner." There would be a covered picnic area, a hot spring for us to warm up and bathrooms to dry ourselves. He would put up the tents under big trees.

When we arrived at the rushing ravine we were close to 30 minutes in, drenched and cold. I worried about hypothermia, what the heck was I supposed to do?? My kid... He just shrugged his shoulders.

Any mother can imagine my panic.

I had a drama queen moment and flipped, screaming at the wild water, the fucking mud and the irresponsible, crazy man.  He grabbed my bag and crossed the ravine. "It's not too bad", he yelled back at us, "you can do it. And I can see the camp site from here."

Kid on one hand, leash in the other, laptop around my neck we crossed. It was slow and scary with our dog nearly being pulled away.

We made it and indeed, there was the camp site; we were safe.

Only that the hot spring was a 2 x 2 x 2 concrete basin with hot water, the two picnic tables weren't covered and the bathrooms were dingy and towel deprived. We threw our stuff into one of the rooms and jumped into the hot tub, which was the life saver of the day. I'm not kidding. I had gone there, to the dark thought of freezing to death...

The director put up the first tent but alas, they only had sun roofs, porous sun roofs, the solid tops hadn't been part of the special deal. I would have jumped at his throat if I wasn't so tired and if it hadn't been for those voices... three other hikers had been surprised by the storm and got just stranded here. Real hikers and prepared they lend us a dry towel and we all got a sip of some hot beverage from their thermos.

It was tight with 6 people in the restroom for our pow how, should we stay or should we go? but at least it felt warm and somehow safe.

The director dude had lied; he had no clue where the camp site really was and how it looked like, he had endangered my family's life.  From now on I ignored him. Actually I hated him.

The three other campers had maps and found a least treacherous path to get back to the parking place. I was so tired that I left our bags when we joined the trio on the march back. Another group of people had found shelter at the amenities back at the parking lot. My kid and I crawled into the truck, heater on high, and changed into dry tee shirts, luckily I always had extras flying around in my truck. The dog got rubbed down with her dog towel. After one of the other campers shared a cup of soup with us we fell asleep in the car where we stayed over night. Every hour or so I ran the motor and its hot air kept us somewhat cozy.

On the next sunny morning the rancher brought my bags from the camp site. A dozen sweet and helpful people - and one rotten apple.

I expected the director to write his own scene to get home. We left without acknowledging his existence. We never spoke again.

Three months later I passed by his apartment and it was for rent. The phone number was disconnected, the one page website was an error message. Was their's a naive dream to make it in Hollywood fast and furious, like my own? Or had they pulled a conscious scam? If so had we been in danger with this man?

My intuition says that they started out with dreams and became scam artists pretty fast but that they weren't "real" criminals. I want to believe that hippies with dream catchers and peace drums can be trusted. But maybe we were totally lucky and the storm made us slip and slide away from a real disaster. The Universe might have seen and heard us in a different way than I had thought.

I'm not naive anymore, not with Hollywood nor its people.

But after many added experiences I understand why I lost my small fortune in a stock market gamble; I discovered my unconscious beliefs and went on a journey to reframe my thoughts and rewire my brain.

I'm on the other side of the wild water. I am still in Hollywood and much closer to its dream.

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