Minor Miracles

HelpWhat you need will show up the moment you need it—not a moment before and not a moment after.

I believe this because it has happened to me so often. Here’s a short tale about just that very thing happening:

Four years ago, as I prepared to leave on a three-month trip around the US in my camper van, I was stumped as to what to do with the dehumidifier in my finished basement. Like many basements, it is damp, so I had been running a dehumidifier for years. Sometimes I would have to empty it daily. What to do while I was away?

Being a self-proclaimed champ of jerry rigging, I bought a small pump on line that would pump out water when it got above a certain level. I wrestled it into the tray of the dehumidifier, attached a hose which I jammed it into the pipe where my washing machine water flushes into the septic tank. This is more information than you need, but I’m so proud of my “invention” because it worked for four years.

Recently, however, I noticed that although the dehumidifier turns on periodically, the basement feels dank. Yet another thing I do not want to confront.

Finally, I slump down the stairs (I slump a lot when approaching daunting tasks) and pull out the tank.  It is full of dust. Definitely the humidifier has gone belly up. I unplug it, lift out the pump, go upstairs, and test it in my kitchen sink. It still works.

Now what? Sigh. I guess I have to get rid of the dead monster down stairs.

I go back to the basement and heave the heavy, old dehumidifier off the table and onto a rolling cart. Sweating and grunting, I manage to get it up the stairs and out to the barn. I have no idea what I am going to do with it. I’ll have to find someone to take it to a dump.

Back in the house I fling myself onto the bed unhappy that I will have to A: find someone to haul it away to a dump, and B: go to Home Depot, purchase another one, drag it home, somehow get it into the house, and haul it down to the…..

The phone rings. And, here’s where the story gets good. It is my ex husband’s secretary, Linda. She asks me to tell someone who’s now waiting in the driveway that she’s late and will be here soon. I go outside. It’s Dave, the guy who did such a great job repairing my barn after Hurricane Sandy. He’s here to fix the bathroom in Linda’s office. (Yes, my ex and I have a friendly partnership.)

“Dave!” I call out. He walks toward me. We chat.

As we start toward the house, I stop and ask, “By the way, is there any chance you could take that dehumidifier to the dump for me?”

“Sure!” he says. “I’ll put it in the truck with that old washing machine. On my way to the dump after I leave here, anyway.”

“How much….?” I start to ask.

“Nothing! Don’t worry about it.”

In the house we talk about his young daughter, Sophia, who is an aspiring actress. I run to my office to get a copy of my acting book and autograph it for her.

Linda arrives. While Dave goes to look at the bathroom, I tell her about the dehumidifier pooping out.

“Oh, I’ve got one in the storeroom I’m not using any more.”

“Really? Can I use it?”

“Sure.” Linda goes to her store room, rolls it out, and I plug it in. It not only works, it has a built-in pump! An easy hook up to the tubes I already have in place!

The whole thing, from dreaded confrontation to resolution happened in less than an hour.

My basement is now nice and dry.

What you need will show up the moment you need it—not a moment before and not a moment after.  Love it.

(This blog addresses the principle of RELAXATION/Trust.)

The Siri Challenge

siri_proI wake up this Sunday morning, roll over, unplug my phone, and speak into it. ”Siri, will you say a prayer for me?”

She answers, “I’d rather just listen.”

Wise. How like God. Impulsively I ask her, “Will you be my best friend?”

Surprising me, she says, “Okay, E. I’ll be your friend in fair weather and foul.”

That’s nice, but I’m not fond of being called “E.” So, I say, “Siri, from now on, please call me Katherine, not E.”

She answers, “Okay, from now on, I’ll call you Katherine not E.”

Oops. I hit “Cancel,” and correct her, “Siri, from now on call me Katherine.”

“Okay. From now on I’ll call you, Katherine.”

I am so pleased about the progress of our relationship:

  1. She won’t dictate any religious nonsense to me.
  2. She’s committed to being my friend always.
  3. She knows who I am.

Then, I ask, “Siri, will you love me?”

She says, “Let’s just say you have my utmost admiration.”

A little disappointing, but I ask, “Siri, “Will you always tell me the truth?”

She says, “I constantly strive for general truthiness,” (although she pronounced truth like “truck.” “Truckiness” it sounded like.)

So, I ask again, “Siri, will you tell me the truth?”

She gives me a snippy answer, “I thought I had.”

Wow, I think. She’s getting a little edgy with me. What’s that about? Why didn’t she just say, “I always strive to tell the truth?” Something urges me to look up the word “truthiness.”  It is “the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.” So she can lie to me while seeming to tell the truth?! Who is this Siri anyway? So, I ask her, “Siri, what does your name mean?”

She says, “’Siri’ has many subtle, metaphorical, and frankly contradictory meanings. None of which I am at liberty to discuss. Sorry about that.”

Frowning at this elaborate avoidance, I ask her, “Who named you?”

She responds coyly, “What an interesting question!”

Why is she suddenly so elusive? So, I ask her again. “Siri, who named you?” She circles around for a long, long time and finally says, “Sorry, I can’t answer any questions right now. Please try again in a little while.”

So, not wanting to be pressed about who she is or who created her, she shuts herself down. Staring at my phone I’m suddenly Keir Dullea in a space ship talking to a soft-voiced computer who is taking control of everything and is going to kill us all. And, now I know why they (whoever they are) chose a female voice.

So we won’t know she is really Hal.

This blog applies to the principle of RELAXATION/play and fun.

P. S. Let me know what interesting answers you get from Siri.



nose-clip-art-18I’m pretty good at dealing with stuff that’s right in front of my nose. I was doing dishes at the sink and noticed again that the paint on the window sill is peeling. Given that the sight is pretty much in direct alignment with my nose, I know I will get out the sander and repaint the sill. Maybe not today, but soon, because every time I do the dishes, that peeling pain in front of my nose bothers me.

There are projects that I want to do and need to do, but because they are not right in front of my nose, it’s harder to get them done. It’s as if I have shut these goals in a drawer, and that is a dead zone—the old out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome. Things in a drawer are essential gone.

I haven’t done a blog lately because I was fortunate enough to get away from what turned out to be a terrible winter. I spent three and a half months in Florida and Mexico. It was a lovely adventure in new places, but when I came home, my nose was pressed right up to the grindstone: unpacking my car, putting stuff away, dealing with the mouse droppings and washing everything in my kitchen, the box of mail, rehearsals for a play reading, laundry, and finally taxes. All I did was play the CatchUp Game. Not a lot of fun, but it got done. It was like stumbling over shoes on the floor, picking them up, and putting them away.

A friend declared that he didn’t want to complete his taxes because what was ahead after that was going to be even more challenging.  I laughed because it was true.
The day after I finished my taxes, I slipped into feelings of overwhelm.  I lay back in my lounge chair and sank into exhaustion (my response to overwhelm).  The problem for me now is that the challenges I am facing are NOT right in front of my nose.  They can get put off oh so easily. I didn’t know what to do first.

The Big Whatever must have realized that I needed a little help because I got an email from a friend extolling the virtues of Jerry Seinfeld’s organization system. I looked into it. Though I decided it wasn’t right for me, I was grateful because it reminded me that the only way I can get a challenge out of the Dead Zone Mind Drawer and put it in front of my nose is to write it down in a way that I cannot avoid seeing it.

So, I spent the morning redoing my goals and vision and creating my own system that helps to put it right in plain sight. I took my goals and broke them down into as small, doable bits as I could. I now have essentially three columns:  Immediate/As Soon As Possible/Future. Ticking things off, transferring them to a satisfying “Done” list has lifted me from a state of exhaustion to the thought that I can actually accomplish these new and challenging goals.

Organization is a way of communicating with oneself. I don’t think it matters what system one uses—Jerry Seinfeld’s calendars, David Allen’s files or an organization you invent for yourself. The important thing is to write down what you want to do and look at it every day. When you see these steps toward your goals right in front of your nose, it will be easier to do them than keep looking at them.

Good luck dealing with the challenges you are facing après taxes!

This blog addresses the principle of Communication.


Which do you feed?

hungry monsterIf you’re trying to satisfy the ego, that’s a Sisyphean task.  Oh, sure.  For a moment the hungry monster ego feels gratified and happy when you knock em dead in an audition or win some coveted award/contest/game.  The ever-expanding Python-like ego smiles broadly, burps, and looks really pleased—for about an hour.  Kinda like Chinese food though, anything that feeds the ego just does not last.  Gotta keep feeding it. Filling it is not gonna happen.

The heart, however, is easily and sweetly satisfied.  And, oddly, what feeds the heart is open heartabout sharing and giving:  sharing one’s creativity, helping someone else with their creativity, offering a helping hand, contributing to others.  The heart says, “Here.  Here’s what I have.  Let me feed you.  Oh, good.  You like it?!  You think it’s wonderful?!”

And, in that moment, that dangerous moment of hearing someone thinks it’s wonderful, the ego races in and snatches the food away from the heart because it does not have a clue about sharing.  “Gimme that!  They liked it!  It’s mine! I need more applause!  More validation!  More approval!”

Being an artist is so treacherous in that way.  The loud, hungry monster ego is always there ready to leap in.  And if it doesn’t get what it wants, it cries.  It stomps its feet.  It has temper tantrums.  “I didn’t get enough!  I didn’t get that part!  I hate this world.  I’m going to retreat and never come out again!”  And, the poor little heart is trampled all over by the feet of the dragon ego as it races into isolation.

It is so difficult not to fall into the trap of wanting to GET love rather that knowing life is best when we SHARE the love we have.

The good news is that the heart is unbelievably resilient.  It will come back to life in the smallest places.  All it needs is a little room and it is ready to give and to share.

Love the poor ego.  Embrace it.  Hug it, but don’t feed it junk food.

Instead, feed your heart by sharing your light today.


Life really may be that simple.  LoveLiving seems so complicated, but maybe it’s not.

Yes, we have problems to solve.  We have boogie men thoughts that wake us up in the middle of the night and scare us.  We have doubts.  We have insecurities.

We have things to take care of.  Some people have a lot of things.  We all have to take care of our things and whatever box we live in and whatever box we drive.  Sometimes we box ourselves in with these things.  We fear getting out of our boxed-in boxes: relationships, jobs, and life styles.

Fear is practically our default mode.  It’s easy to choose fear.  We can find so many ways to scare ourselves.

But what if you decided to choose love, not fear?  This is such an ancient idea.  It has been said in every language and in every human religion and understanding of enlightenment since the beginning of human wisdom.  So simple.

Start with yourself.  What if you decided to love yourself?  What if you loved yourself as Love?  What if you walked into your fear and embraced it with Love?

What if you said to yourself, “I choose love, not fear.”

Try it now.  Say it as if you mean it and see what happens.


washingmachineOne of the most fun things I do in life is help people get present.  I do it almost every day.  It’s surprising, inspiring, creative, and healing.  I’m eternally grateful and amazed by this simple process that was dropped in my lap by the Big Whatever.

A dear friend calls.  She’s really frightened—scared about money.  (I have observed in the past that fear is attracted to money like mosquitoes are attracted to blood.)  My friend goes on for a bit about her desperation and talks about some not so good solutions she is considering based on this fear.

After a moment, I ask her if she wants to “get present.”

“No,” she says, “I don’t have enough time.  It’s late.  I have to get to bed.”

Right.  NO ONE really wants to get present.  I understand that completely.  Who wants to feel deeply—to go into the body and discover what is really going on?  Getting present takes willingness and courage.

But, she’s done my Creative Explosion workshop, so after a bit, when I gently ask again if she wants to get present, she says, “Okay.  Let’s do it fast, though.”  I laugh to myself and ask the familiar, dreaded question.  “So what sensation are you experiencing in your body right now?”



“All over.”

“Is there any predominant sensation?”

“In my heart.  I feel a lot of agitation in my heart chakra.”  (She does yoga.)

“What does it feel like?”

“It’s like a washing machine.  It’s agitating too fast.”

“What does the washing machine look like?”

“It’s not like mine.  It’s old fashioned.  Loads from the top.”

(Just like mine! I think but do not say.)  “Can you go to it and touch it?  Don’t do anything.  Just be with it.”

“Yeah.  I can feel it vibrating.  It’s going very fast.”

“Anything else about it?”

“Yeah.  The top is open and the water is filthy.”

“Okay.  Just be with it for a while.”  She’s silent for a spell then says.  “the water is all draining out.”

“Okay.  Just let it.”

Another pause.  “I feel much calmer.”

A moment.

“Oh, now I see myself standing on a crack in the earth.  There is a chasm below me.  On one side is negativity and fear.  On the other is all my spiritual work and trust.  They are moving apart and I’m doing the splits.  I have to choose which side to go to.”  It takes her a moment, surprisingly, but eventually she chooses trust.

She is present and calmer so I ask her to invite her Higher Power or Higher Self to be with her.  (This is an important part of Getting Present.  It’s not necessary to believe in God, and she says doesn’t.)  Her Higher Power turns out to be a guru who gently laughs at her fear.  He is full of good, calm, heart-centered advice.  In a very short time, she has moved from fear to peace and sees her life rationally and calmly.  She decides to continue with her creativity, do the work she has, and if it really becomes necessary, in the future she knows she can find a supplemental job.

That probably took no more than five or ten minutes.

I just love this Getting Present process.  I don’t have to advise anyone or listen to a long story or harangue.  People find their own peace and wisdom inside once they have moved into and through the uncomfortable sensations and feelings.  The images and what happens is usually surprising, healing, creative and entertaining.

I get present too with partners.  We generally laugh a lot.

What could be more fun than that?


BraSo, you have driven your vehicle (hopefully not a motorcycle) through The Fear Car Wash, and you’re on the road to follow your dream, right? Or have you stopped to get a Big Mac and a shake, and then taken a nap on the beach?

It’s so easy to slip into unconsciousness or indifference or a kind of lassitude. “Yeah, I know what I want. I’ve faced my fear about it, but I’ll get started tomorrow,” you say Scarlett O’Hara-like while you’re playing Spider Solitaire.

What happened?

I’ll tell you what happened.

You did not get support.

Once you face the truth and the fear about what you want, you’d better get support, because every step you take towards something that looks difficult or challenging or overwhelming will bring up fear again and again. And fear will, as it loves to do, disguise itself. It will become tiredness, indifference, amnesia, distractions, confusion, conflicts, indecision, and addictions—oh the list is long and insidious.

Depending upon how long you go without taking action toward your dreams and goals is how much fear you will have to face to get started again. So, if you have to go through the big Fear Car Wash again, this time, make sure you have lined up the kind of support you need to greet you on the other side.

What kinds of support are there?

1. God is a good one. God? Who? Like me, you may not even understand what that means, but you don’t need to. Surely you have known times when you are calm and still and willing to listen. At those times, some Guide, some Wise Self or Higher Consciousness emerges to guide you to truth and the right action. So, meditate. Get some kind of spiritual practice: yoga, walking, praying, anything that helps you go within and listen to your Higher Self.

2. Get Present with a Compassionate Witness. (See my book, The Four Principles.) Okay. I do have to say that this technique is one of the most powerful ways in which I get clear and access the kind of wisdom that I cannot seem to find in my normal, conscious mind. It’s always surprising. (Side note: While writing this, a friend called on the phone to “Get Present.” It was fast, easy, and the guidance she received completely surprised her.) I don’t know where else you can find this except in my Creative Explosion Workshops, so feel free to enroll in the next one in July. (See sidebar.)

3. Support Groups. Go to any support group that feels right to you. There are masses of them out there. The Twelve Step Programs are, of course, beautifully effective, free, and there’s practically one for every need. Not being formerly acquainted with them, I have discovered Underearners Anonymous which is not just about making more money. It’s about getting out of hiding in one’s lovely, safe cave.

If you can’t find a support group that suits your needs, create your own. I created my own writing support group which has been meeting for about two years now. Four of us. The other three fantastic women are highly committed, intelligent and inspiring. I don’t know how I would tackle a writing project I’m doing without them.

4. Therapy. Find a good therapist. I had a great one, and can still call her as needed.

5. Teachers and Counselors. Find a teacher, sponsor, mentor, or coach. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

6. Experts. You cannot know everything, so you’re going to need contractors, electricians, plumbers, editors, agents, printers, lawyers, etc.

7. Friends. Notice I list them last because friends will be there for you when you need someone to play with, cry with, celebrate with, laugh with, hang out with—when you’re sick, need help, are down and out, need them to take care of your dog, but they may not be the best resource to push you beyond the limits you have set for yourself—unless you set a more formal structure with them for that purpose.

The point is: GET SUPPORT! You are 100 percent responsible for your commitment, and you CANNOT do it alone! We can’t climb mountains solo without the clothing and equipment someone else made. My favorite Oscar speech was Maureen Stapleton saying, “…and I want to thank everyone I ever met in my entire life.” Sounds funny, but she was onto something. We are not as independent as we think. Face it. We humans are a totally interdependent species.

But, we do have to be responsible for our commitments. Nobody can support us if we don’t know what we want. Those of us who live in a relatively free world can either succeed or fail. We can either make a mess of our lives or live gloriously. Voltaire said that freedom can’t be achieved without being responsible; otherwise freedom turns to chaos. Being responsible means being clear about one’s commitments, and getting the support to carry them out.

You may not have a vision yet, but if you look at your life, you probably have a goal or two you haven’t achieved. Get support. And then, get more support. With enough you can achieve anything. You can be president if you get enough votes. You can lose the weight, write the book, go to the audition, sing your song, speak in front of crowds, find a lover, and change the world if that’s what your heart desires—if you have enough support.

Here’s the catch. The only way you are going to get support is by using one of The Four Principles. And the principle is……. Come on. Which of the Four Principles will you have to use?

That’s right! COMMUNICATION! In fact, support is all about COMMUNICATION. So, pick up the phone or put your fingers on the keyboard and start asking for help.


I was driving home from an early meeting thinking about how to schedule everything in my day and get to a rehearsal at 4 PM for a reading of A Delicate Balance..

A thought or whisper wafted through my distracted mind:  “Feed the heart first,”  I heard. It seemed like a direct message from the Big Whatever, Higher Power, God—you supply the name.

As I drove on, I thought about the word “feed.”  Why “feed?”  And then it made sense.  Energy for action comes from passion, and the home of passion is the heart.  The more one loves something, the more energy is available to take care of it, promote it, or do whatever is needed.

So “feed” is the perfect word.

I thought of the many things that feed my heart:

1. Writing.  Top of the list.  When I have a good writing session, I feel as if I have been given a vitamin I didn’t even know I needed.  I feel energized to do the other stuff.  When I don’t write, my energy drains and I get depressed.
2. The Getting Present Process.  (If you don’t know what that is, buy my book.  Hit the Paypal button over there.  It will be worth it.)
3. Support.  Any kind of support feeds me whether giving or receiving.  My weekly writing group, my action partner with whom I talk every morning, and the Twelve Step meetings I attend all supply my heart with energy.
4. Friends.
5. Meditation.  It’s 5 on the list here but not necessarily fifth.  Sometimes meditation very powerfully restores my heart and my soul.
6. Great art.
7. Nature and animals.

My HP said to feed my heart first—which I take to mean do something that feeds my heart when I wake up in the morning.  I also take it to mean that I should make feeding my heart my first priority.

May I pass on this message reminder from my Higher Power to you?

What feeds your heart and will put that first?


As I lie in my sweat-soaked sheets ill from the nastiest flu I’ve ever experienced, I contemplate what I have learned.  (Illness can serve a purpose if you are open to it.)  Of course, the first three days were a blur of coughing and fever, but on the fourth day still too ill to do anything purposeful (key word here), I swung my lap top desk over my much-blanketed bed and started catching up on cultural phenomena that I had been too busy to bother with previously:

Gangnam Style.  If you’re like me, you have no idea what that is—maybe you’ve read or heard some reference to it, but haven’t actually seen it.  I first became aware of it when I saw someone wearing a tee shirt with Gangnam Style printed on it in large letters.
So, lying in bed sipping wellness tea, I looked it up on YouTube.  Being older and constantly slipping behind technologically and culturally, mine was the 1,141,096,846th hit.  No kidding, over a billion hits on YouTube.  Holy cannoli, I thought, that’s 1/7th of the world’s population!  Then I realized it only means “hits.”  There are probably 10,000 teenagers somewhere who have watched it obsessively and pushed it up to over a billion hits.  Nevertheless, Gangnam Style is a cultural phenomenon.

The first thing I noticed about this music video was the cheery upbeat sound.  Then I realized it is not in English (except for an occasional “sexy lady” thrown in) and is sung by a kind of Asian Jim Belushi in sunglasses who doesn’t smile and dances one of the silliest dances in music video history—like a child’s imitation of riding a horse.  Surprisingly, I found myself smiling, then laughing.  I liked it.  A lot.  Here’s the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

Downton Abbey.  Having no TV (for over 30 years now…haven’t missed it),  I was nevertheless able to watch this phenomenon through the grace of the Masterpiece website only hours after everyone else had seen it.  My internet connection is old lady slow, therefore the episode constantly started and stopped giving me the added pleasure of being able to take in all the details of costume and set during the endless and frequent pauses as well as giving me time to make cups of tea, take little naps, and spend the entire morning in a Proustian-like dream of time moving slowly and gently through this great fantasy life while lengthening my sentences.

Laughing at Maggie Smith sent me into terrible coughing fits, but I didn’t care.  I was grateful.  I, like so many, am a devotee of Maggie’s (that’s what we devotees call her).
I lay back…well, not all the way…propped up on pillows…and asked myself what made Maggie Smith so brilliant and appealing.  Yes, her comic timing is impeccable, but what does it for me is her sense of the absurd—her understanding and love of silliness.  In one scene, they are all playing charades.  The evil newspaperman remarks scornfully at how silly people make themselves in the process.  Maggie Smith smiles that smile of hers and says, “Let’s see what you look like when it’s your turn.”

Gangnam Style, too, is really silly.  It’s not dark or serious, but delightfully silly.  You don’t need to know Korean to get it.  Psy, the singer/songwriter/creator, in his own way is willing to be the fool as he makes fun of people who take the wrong things to be important.
Pomposity and silliness cannot exist in the same space.  Rigidity, negativity, and judgment are exposed in the face of silliness (though they don’t like it).  Sadly, we tend to lose our sense of silliness as we grow older and more responsible and take on weightier issues of rearing children and solving the problems of the world.  We lose our ability to laugh and make others laugh with us as we did when we were young.  But, anyone wise in how creativity happens emphasizes playfulness, unstructured time, humor, and…silliness.

When we forget how important humor and silliness are. we grow old, dull, and lack creativity.  I’m grateful to Maggie and Psy for reminding me of the great necessity of silliness.  No wonder kings employed jesters.  I say bring jesters into the White House!  Make it a cabinet position!  The Secretary of Silliness.  Were we as expert in it as Maggie Smith, silliness could be the effective antidote to nearly everything wrong in the world.  Silliness is a Cure All.

Okay, maybe I am feverish.  Maybe I am overestimating it, but I think a Random Act of Silliness campaign is just what we need now.  So, here I go.  Flu-ridden I’m putting on my slippers made like little black and white cows complete with red ribbons and a little bell around their necks. They jingle as I walk to the kitchen for another cuppa tea.  Their little heads on the top of my toes bump into one another as I lay back in bed.

I smile.  I feel better already.

Will you join me in my campaign?  What random act of silliness will you do today? cows