Monday, September 30, 2013


It's been a little bit since I've written a post; I've spent the better part of the last two weeks preparing for this past weekend.  I sold my jewelry in a local festival the past two days, and by my measurements, I was successful.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and finished up with a tidy profit.  I had an experience that eclipses that success though, and that is what I want to record for memory and share with you.

Yesterday early on, I sipped on my coffee and spilled a big spot smack in the middle of the bust of my white, white shirt.  I tried to ignore it because there wasn't much I could do about it, but it bugged and bothered me.  I put my wrap on and tried to cover it; that worked but it was a bit too warm for long sleeves.....then along came a customer with a tee shirt draped over her arm.  My helper and friend Carol asked her where she got the shirt and whether or not they were giving them away and explained by pointing at me and my shirt why she was asking and without hesitation the woman handed me her shirt, said she would get another one and walked away.

I quickly put the new shirt on over mine, and then as only a woman can, shimmied out of the one underneath and pushed it down over my body and legs; voila! Brand new!  After a moment I saw the woman walking with a new shirt draped over her arm but she was across the park, and I took off running after her before I lost her in the sea of festival-goers.  When I caught up with her, I touched her on the arm, gave her a hug and thanked her again for her kindness.  Then I invited her back to my booth, telling her that I wanted her to choose something that would make her feel as happy as she made me feel.  We walked back to my booth together; me smiling, and her with a tear sliding down a cheek.

The tears continued as she carefully chose a bracelet that matched her outfit and her style and Carol helped her to remove the tag and put it on.  Then we hugged each other again; two strangers united in kindness, and as we hugged each other she said in my ear, "God bless you".  Indeed.  He blessed both of us.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I'm gonna admit it, I make the mistake of looking for validation from others over and over again.  In their eyes I want to be smart, capable, lovable, spiritual, kind....the list goes on and on.  Each and every time I am aware I am doing that I have to secretly disqualify myself; because no matter what another says, I have an argument for them.  After all, I know everything that goes on inside of this skin! Sounds irrational, I know, but leads me to my little exploration this evening.

Every time I've given a performance I've been the harshest critic while accepting external compliments.  When I've given an exceptional performance, given my all, been drunk on the gift of flow from the Universe, I know it.  I know it as I am doing it, not before or after.  It is the gift of being entirely present and authentic, and that is the most incredible kind of validation there is.

A couple of weeks ago I submitted a portfolio for consideration to be accepted (or not) as an Arts & Crafts Artist vendor in a local, annual festival.  It's the largest festival I've submitted to, and only the second one I've submitted to.  I'm still a rookie is what I'm saying.  I've been busy becoming a jewelry artist for several years now, just like I did long ago as a musician.  I was hopeful, but willing to accept that my work can't yet compete in such an arena.

Yesterday, I skipped joyfully from the mailbox to my door, acceptance letter in hand!  That, my friends, is validation.  I am who I say I am, not who I hope someone else says I am. And that matters so much.  


Monday, September 16, 2013

design flaw

Recently my daughter suggested to me that I should try to develop the habit of waking to write a note in order to recall my dreams the next morning.  I've tried to do it, but more often than not I struggle to get my eyes open, roll over to the bedside table, put my glasses on and capture the essence of my dream-thought.  Last night I managed to take those steps and capture a bit of what my sleeping-self was thinking about.

My 3am note to myself begins with 'design problem'.  I guess we must all work a little while dreaming.  The issue as I recall it now was multi-dimensional; my note continues, 'forgetting to anticipate inner diameter after beads are added'.  Clearly I was working out a design for a piece of jewelry when using a different size bead than my original design called for, but there is more.  I remember feeling this deep sense of knowing something.

The idea that something on the inside changes when we change something on the outside - and that we have the ability to anticipate that change seems to be the more subtle and deeper message.  So often we are shaken by a design flaw in ourselves or in our relationships with others and without even thinking, we do everything we can to maintain things just as they appear to be on the outside because we have such a strong tendency to resist change.  But without anticipating changes, the result is that it might not fit well.

Life, like a simple piece of jewelry, is so malleable when we work through a design challenge while its a work in progress.  Or, we can keep it up only to have to take it apart and start over.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

word play

When light settles softly on my face, the visual signs of years are erased.  The spirit of who I have become; apparent, the celebration of life; inherent.

I was playing with this idea, these words as I fell asleep last night.  I didn't know if the idea would hang around until morning but it obviously did.  Sometimes I am critical of my skin.  This skin that has held me together for so many years. And if I am critical of my skin, I am critical of my Self.  I have little age spots, scars, crows feet at my eyes, tiny crevices at my lips; and I have moments that I don't want to accept any of it.  Last night, I took my glasses off before I brushed my teeth and my reflection without my vision corrected looked a bit softer, a bit more youthful.  And as I fell to sleep, I played with this idea of how I see myself with love versus how I see myself with a critical eye.

As it is with the external, so it is with the internal.  Yet, that experience seems a bit upside down.  Where once I struggled to be still with my soul- always had to write a song or journal or something to open the cage and release somehow - I am more able to be still; just be; accept.  (Although I will say for the record that I recognize that my blogging is a form of release.).  With each blessed year I am of this earth as this configuration of flesh and spirit, my internal criticism of my thoughts diminishes.  I am more curious, more open, more loving to me.

When light settles softly on my face, the visual signs of years are erased.  The spirit of who I have become; apparent, the celebration of life; inherent.


Monday, September 9, 2013

safety zone

What you allow is what will continue.

This is my mantra for the day for good and for not so good.  My heart's meditation.  It's my contemplation of my experiences and my relationships.  It's short, to the point, and easy to repeat over and over silently while I go about the business of preparing to give a workshop tonight.  It's my safety statement in Kerstin's Life, Inc. today.

What you allow is what will continue.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

eye on the prize

Manifesting one's destiny is a tall order.  The constant challenge of removing obstacles from the path can be distraction enough to temporarily forget the bigger picture.  For some, it's enough to lose sight of goals completely.  How do we maintain that which tethers us to our heart's desire and the gifts we were born to share?

I've been lead to this thought process by a recent experience; a hiccup really; but a provocative hiccup.  It was an encounter by choice that turned out to be nothing like what I expected.  I welcomed another human being into my life on the grounds that it seemed like we were becoming friends only to find that their goal was to get to another person through my connection and nearness physically to this other person.  I had to quickly examine my personal goals in order to navigate the situation; mostly what I expect of myself and the gift of being able to listen closely with love in my heart.  Once I re-employed my goals I was able to care for this person in spite of their disregard for who I am.  What an empowering lesson for me.

I could've easily decided to be angry and upset and I could've easily justified those emotions; I'm sure there are those who would disagree with my choices in the end completely.  At the end of each and every day it's up to us to ask ourselves if we were who we want to be in the course of our interactions with others whether or not they behaved the way we wanted them to.  Most days we come across those challenges because human beings are unpredictable.  Whether or not I should've remained kind to the person I wrote of above because of their actions isn't the debate for me, whether or not I remained kind is a decision because of who I think I am.  Remaining tethered to my personal picture of who I am is keeping my eye on the prize; I am kind, therefore I practice kindness.

What about my other goals?  At this point I'm happy to share that I am dedicated to my walking training and adding in a bit of yoga and swimming laps.  I've started beginning Spanish, and am still developing the daily habit of taking my lesson.  I'm reaching past my perceived limits physically and emotionally, and I'm finding that there is is more there.  The prize is mostly internal (but my legs are looking a bit better!); the prize is knowing deeply that I am who I think I am even when a challenge threatens to unravel my reality.  I've said this in previous posts, and it's worth repeating for myself after another's attempt to take advantage of me; I am enough.  Kindness is not a weakness, it's a vehicle to remain grounded in any of life's little storms.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013


For a long period of my life I believed I knew and understood what I needed to know and understand.  I was the proverbial child longing to grow up, rushing the process, clumsily breaking rules, clearly trying to establish for myself and those around me who I was.  Fierce independence holds a price; to maintain it you must never see things differently for an alternate view either subtlely and gently loosens your attachments to your beliefs or shakes them loose with force.

A struggle developed early each Sunday morning when I was a child; there were clothes one wore to church and clothes one didn't wear to church.  To be a believer, one must conform.  I didn't like dresses then, and now nearly fifty years old, I still don't really care for them.  Shoes with a heel?  Forget it.  It's interesting that the struggle was seldom about whether or not I wanted to go to church, it was about what I could or couldn't wear to church.  My beliefs about attending church became so negative; in my young mind it was nearly impossible to reconcile the absurdity of clothing being a requirement of Christian status.  I still wrestle with theology that clearly places people either inside of the circle of acceptance or outside of the circle of acceptance; my belief is better than your belief.  My clothes are better than your clothes.  The attachment to my beliefs in this regard held me hostage to their power for such a long time; I wasn't a good enough believer, therefore I couldn't be a believer publicly at least.

The subtle, soothing all-loving power of The One has consoled me through the years inspite of my road blocking attachments.  I know with unshakeable faith that I am a child of God.  I've accepted the idea that I may have the wrong clothes on upon entering the pearly gates.  I'll handle it then.

The whole church-Christian status created a somewhat one dimensional viewpoint for me as far as whether or not I was an accepted part of the extended family clan.  Clearly I lived my life differently and I felt the barriers that I created for myself.  With my dad's recent health status he has taken to writing a daily email that is sent to our immediate family and grown children as well as his brothers and sister.  As I read replies to him from an aunt and uncles I hardly know my heart softens in love and acceptance and I feel years of attachments to some of my beliefs slipping away.  What a joy it is to let attachments go when they no longer serve a belief!

This post could go on for quite some time this morning as I reflect on other attachments to beliefs that may be more of an invisible fence for the safety of my "being right" than beliefs that serve me well presently.  I'm going to continue my reflections in private for now.  God bless everyone, no exceptions.