Thursday, January 26, 2012

Conscious Choices: the Pathway to an Authentic Life.

 I'm so loving my Thursday posts
on Balance.
My guest this week is
Mary Jo Guglielmo, an intuitive life strategist.
Read on!
Sometimes when you’re looking for balance in your life you just have to jump ship.  That’s what happened to me 18 years ago.  Having had my first child in my thirties, my identity was very much defined as a working professional.  With two young children, my life was hectic, but seemed to have a manageable rhythm.  I loved my job, the environment, the fact that every day was new with its own rewards and challenges.  Yet I felt stuck on a treadmill I couldn’t stop.   I was a member of the generation that believed that you could have it all—work, motherhood, a great lifestyle.   Eventually, I began to realize that for me having it all came at a price. When I was finally willing to examine my true heart’s desire, I quit my job to be home with my children.
 I pruned away an identify that no longer fit, shed possessions I didn’t need, released desires that weren’t real and created an authentic life. Financially at first, it was a real stretch but we cut back on expenses.  It didn’t seem like we were depriving ourselves; instead we were making conscious choices.   It wasn’t about planning for the future and worry about the past, it was about making the most empowering choice possible by grabbing what I truly wanted in the present moment.  I learned the importance of defining your core values and then living a life that reflects these values.  
It’s a process I’ve done many times since then.  We’ve been through many different stages at my house and at each new juncture I ask myself what’s most important in the present moment.  What makes my heart sing now?
Maybe an outside force will give you the push to re-examine your life and assess what’s most important to you.  But why wait?  Two of my favorite questions to start this process are:
1. What's working in my life . . . what's not?
2. What in my life brings me joy?
  When you determine what you truly value, review the things you do, the things you own, the way you spend your time and resources.  Are these things supporting your core values?  The balance in life comes when your daily activities reflect what you value most.  There’s no better time than now to explore your true desires.  You might not need to jump ship like I did, but you may need to throw a few bags overboard.  Happy Travels!

Mary Jo Guglielmo is an intuitive life strategist.  She helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their true north.  If you are interested in an Artist Breakthrough session or a Personal Mentoring Program go to

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life Lessons on Balance

My goal this year is to live a more balanced life.
And having these amazing people
share their views on balance
simply is inspiring.

Today's guest post is by author, Kenneth Weene.
I know I did.

Like most young children, I liked playground equipment – that is most playground equipment. I didn’t like seesaws. My brother, who is older and was therefore bigger, would always con me into joining him on the seesaw only to sit on his end and keep me trapped, legs dangling uselessly and hands gripping in terror, high in the air. Then, when I had been suitably intimidated, he would jump off and allow me to fall to the earth, invariably crying as a result.
It wasn’t fair. I knew that we were supposed to balance that long beam so it was even, but we never did. Over time I came to think of maintaining balance in life as very important, but I also had learned that life is not fair. Accepting its unfairness was an important lesson. Being prepared to pick myself up after disappointment or after my brother jumped off the seesaw was an essential life principal.
Fast forward about fourteen or fifteen years. I was a freshman in college. Like all colleges, Princeton had a physical education requirement. I ended up in a boxing class. Our coach, Joe Brown, was a delight of a man. He had been a professional boxer, and he saw boxing as less about fighting and more about dance, rhythm, and balance – especially balance. I wasn’t very good at the sport. I hated hitting others almost as much as I hated getting hit. But the idea of balancing myself struck home. We would take our stance, and Joe would push against us. If somebody wasn’t properly balanced, if his weight wasn’t properly distributed and set low, down he would go in an embarrassing heap.
Quickly I appreciated the lesson of balancing myself, of tucking in, of setting my feet and getting low. I thought of that balance as self-organization. If we aren’t prepared and organized, we are not ready to deal with life.
Joe taught me other lessons about balance as well. In addition to boxing, he taught sculpting. While I didn’t sculpt, I liked him well enough to occasionally hang out in his studio. He always had music playing – usually classical Spanish guitar. It wasn’t simply a love of music but also a keen awareness of the need for aesthetic sensory input. There was also decent wine to drink, the earthy smell of the material, and the sensuous tactile experience of working the clay. And there were wonderful discussions an unending flow of topics.
The balance of sensations, including intellect and emotion, helps us to live fully. I call that the balance of life.
Besides sculpting, Joe designed playground equipment – not the static equipment of my youth but interactive climbing apparatuses. When one child moved, it would change the equipment for all the other children who were on it. This meant that the child had to be aware of the social matrix in which he or she was playing.
Social balance is important if one is to find fulfillment. If we are not balanced in terms of the significant others in our lives, we will find ourselves very lonely.
These four balancing lessons are integral to my artistic endeavors. My creative milieu is words; I’m a writer – mostly novels but poetry and short stories as well. Every day I sit down at my computer and type away. It would be easy to lose perspective and focus, to become wrapped up in my work, unable to accept the inevitable rejection letter, digging my way deeper and deeper into a maze of my own mind. It is so very easy to lose balance. That is why I like to review these four lessons, to think about their application to my life.
Periodically I ask myself four questions:
1) Am a ready to deal with disappointment? If the story doesn’t work or the rejection letter comes, can I get on with my work?
2) Have I got my life organized so I won’t be caught off guard? Have I taken care of what has to be done?
3) Am I getting good quality input to keep my mind and body in tune? Have I planned ways to fill my personal space with the quality sensations, information, and nurturance that will allow me to be productive?
4) Have I thought about the social world in which I am pursuing my art? Have I taken proper steps to meet the needs of those who are important to me and have I made my needs clear to them?
I no longer play on seesaws or climb on jungle gyms. I’m long since out of college and well past the age when I could box even if I wanted. However, the life lessons about balance still hold true.
Life itches and torments Kenneth Weene like pesky flies. Annoyed, he picks up a pile of paper to slap at the buzzing and often whacks himself on the head. Each whack is another story. At least having half-blinded himself, he has learned to not wave the pencil
A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist and pastoral counselor by education. He is a writer by passion.
Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Sol Spirits, Palo Verde Pages, Vox Poetica Clutching at Straws, The Word Place, Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Bewildering Stories, A Word With You Press, Mirror Dance, and The Aurorean.

Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk, Memoirs From the Asylum, and Ken’s newest novel, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne are all published by All Things That Matter Press.
To learn more about Ken’s writing visit:     


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Checking In

So I'm super excited about the 
guest bloggers who are 
sending in posts
about balance.
Boy, am I learning a lot!
I hope you are loving them, too!
Don't forget to check in on Thursday
for the next one.

And now, on to other business:
 Right before the holidays
I won Soap!
And the reason you are just now hearing
about it?
Well, I've been bathing a bit . . .
I must say,
this soap is the most amazing
soap ever!
Judy sent it to me from Soap n' Such.
Check out her blog here
She and her blog are lovely.
Let her know I sent you.
Even my guests over the holidays remarked
on my soap.
Of course, I did share some,
which just means I'll be stopping by
Judy's to get some more soon.

I'm also working on a new knit project.
I'll share photos later.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Balancing Life As A Writer

Welcome to my Thursday
Learning to Live A Balanced Life Series

My blog guest today is a writer. 
Listen to how she does it all!

Balancing Life As A Writer by Rebecca Ryals Russell

Creating balance in the life of a writer is probably the hardest aspect of a writer’s life. As a mother of four, ages 23, 20, 17, 12; a husband of 36 years who loves home-cooked suppers after his one and a half hour drive home each evening; entrepreneur of a Vacation Rental Business on our five acres in the country; owner of a 110-year-old Victorian home that is also on the Real Estate Market; AND a MG/YA Author of two current series plus more works in progress, I have to follow a fairly strict regime or nothing would ever get done.

For example: Tuesday my 12-year-old son had a home soccer game. Since my husband works so far from home we have a system worked out—I attend home games and he does away games. So I attended  my son’s home soccer game along with my two young adult daughters (spending some quality time with them during the game). That evening my oldest daughter and I went to our standing Tuesday night movie date to see Girl With A Dragon Tattoo. When I got home, everyone went to bed. I began my writing day…or should I say night. With the house quiet, I answered emails, wrote blog posts and edited my current work in progress until about 2:30 am. Since my husband drops off the sixth-grader on his way to work, I can sleep a little in the morning.

Not every day requires so much juggling. Some days I can cajole my oldest son to do the drop-off and pick-up, allowing me a full day of writing in peace and quiet. It’s important to may hay while the sun shines on those occasions and often I don’t even eat until my husband arrives home. 

I consider myself fortunate that my children are all self-sufficient and no longer require as much of my attention as they did when younger. But that’s also why I waited to retire from teaching and begin this new phase of my life as a writer. For those who don’t wish to wait—or can’t—you need to evaluate your minutes in each day and decide where they can be grouped for short sessions; especially while the kids are in school or napping. But probably the most important thing for a writer to do is: Just Do It.
No excuses.

Rebecca Ryals Russell writes MG and YA Dark Fantasy while living with her family in a Victorian house on five acres of North Florida countryside. She also runs a Vacation Rental Log House on the property: Florida Black Bear Cabin.
She is a fourth generation Floridian. She was born in Gainesville, grew up in Sunrise, lived in Orlando and Jacksonville before moving outside Lake City to care for ailing parents.

The daughter of an Elementary-school principal and secretary, for fourteen years she taught Middle Grades, preferring English and Creative Writing. She had several students’ works published in anthologies as well as her own poetry, photography and stories. Her main interests are her four teen/young adult children and Irish hubby of 35 years. She enjoys spending her time writing, drawing, going to movies, reading, discussing philosophy with her son.

Over the course of the next few years she has several books being published.
Be sure to check out the special interactive Middle Grade Reader website Tween Word Quest for tons of information about Stardust Warriors as well as the other projects Rebecca has in the works and Under the Hat for all of her other works.

Zarena, Stardust Warriors MG Series

 14-year old Zarena spends time with a Holy Order of Clerics on their hidden world of Revrum Natura, while she receives training in Martial Arts, Herbology, Astronomy, Weaponry and Mind Control. Destined to become the leader of the Vigorios, child warriors, who will assist the Seraphym in the war against the demon-dragons of Dracwald, Zarena grows up in a hurry. Lonely and homesick, she meets a Mermaid who encourages her to talk about her training. Is this new friend too good to be true? Zarena learns a valuable lesson about trust and betrayal—a lesson that will serve her well as leader of the Vigorios.

Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors MG Series

For centuries upon centuries Reverend Jeremiah Holyfield guarded the Prophecy in a small village church at the base of the mountains wherein dwell Narciss and his Legio of evil demon-dragons. But now that the dragons burned the village and church to the ground, Jeremiah run and hide, taking the precious document with him. Accompanied by eleven-year-old protégé Abram, the two journey across Dracwald. In their search for a safe new home in the distant Solimon Mountains they encounter Majikals and monsters, natural disasters and discover new friends.

Prophecy,  Seraphym Wars YA Series

For centuries the residents of Solsyl lived in peace and harmony with the planet. Then the dragon-demons arrived, causing the Great Shuddering. Majikals from everywhere scurried to find shelter from the evil while humans hid. Laud regretted his rash decision of exiling the demons on Solsyl and asked one of his advisors, a member of The Conscientia, to protect his people. Jeremiah Holyfield agreed to leave the peaceful world of Revrum Natura for a life of constant strife and fear on the newly renamed planet of Dracwald. But Narciss, ruler of Tartarus and King of the demons, desperately wants what Jeremiah has sworn to protect—a Prophecy predicting Narciss’s doom. And Narciss refuses to take no for an answer. But Jeremiah discovers allies along his path and even true love, which he never dreamed possible.
But forever is a long time to protect something without ever letting down one’s guard.

Odessa, Seraphym Wars YA Series
17-year-old Myrna is drawn into the middle of an epic battle between Seraphym and Demons. An average High School student from Florida, struggling with inner demons resulting from an attack when she was 15, she wakes one morning on the Steampunk planet of Dracwald, home of the demon-dragons responsible for her brother’s recent murder as well as many other atrocities in the news. She meets sweet and sensitive Michael, who explains that according to prophecy, Myrna must gather the remaining six Vigorios (teen warriors with special talents) then train with the Majikals on an enchanted island. He accompanies her on the quest, but harbors a secret past that ironically would destroy all the faith she has placed in him. A handsomely roguish Scientist with suspect motives haunts her dreams and makes sudden appearances in unlikely places, while a sensual dragon warrior defends her against her will.
Can love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Thanks so much for sharing Rebecca!
Please leave a comment
And if any of you are interested in making a guest appearance on my blog, 
let me know.