Category Archives: stories

Mojo Monday ~ Plot Twists

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It began with a dear friend posting this quote to the left on her Facebook wall on July 5th.

I responded:

LOL – This is part of what we call writing your Legendary Story. Plot twists in the real world can be a real pain, but when you look at it from a story perspective, oh this is when the story sometimes gets really good and juicy!  

She wrote:

Oh yeah! well I could use some boredom right about now LOL Plot twist, Plot twist, Plot twist!!!

I wrote:

You’re funny!

Then I wrote: 

Tonight while reading the novel A Good American I come to this paragraph on page 353 that ended Chapter 40 – “My grandmother’s life had been one long opera. There had been drama, heroes, villains, improbable plot twists, all that. But most of all there had been love, great big waves of it, crashing ceaselessly against the rocks of life, bearing us all back to grace.” (Can you believe that!?! – how uncanny!)

Her response: 


synchronicity.. gotta love it!


Then on July 8th I read this in an astrological forecast by Heather Roan Robbins on Starcodes.

Thursday, July 11: If conflicts and friction arise early on; breathe through it and be safe. Tell good stories midday; when the plot twists, choose a good road. Afternoon is more efficient as the Moon enters mental Virgo, but instincts may work better than our minds; unknown factors can challenge our judgment as the Sun sesqui-squares Neptune. Watch out for detours, sloppy conditions, and defensive people; feel the good road underneath.

I began to get this nagging feeling that the Universe was telling me to “Pay attention, this is important!” and then laughing at blowing my mind with some good old synchronicity.

Several weeks have passed but I still felt inspired to write about Plot Twists for a Mojo Monday post.  I am curious and wondering what kind of plot twists others are experiencing out there?  How are you dealing with them?  Do you have a basket of goodies or a tool box, or belt if your more into packing them on your hip, that you can reach into when life throws you curve balls?  

Have you been experiencing more synchronistic moments?  What are your thoughts about synchronicity?  What is THAT about?  

Something to wonder about and ponder are the lyrics to the song Synchronicity by The Police:
Synchronicity I
With one breath, with one flow
You will know
Synchronicity

A sleep trance, a dream dance
A shaped romance
Synchronicity

A connecting principle
Linked to the invisible
Almost imperceptible
Something inexpressible
Science insusceptible
Logic so inflexible
Causally connectable
Yet nothing is invincible

If we share this nightmare
Then we can dream
Spiritus mundi

If you act as you think
The missing link
Synchronicity

We know you, they know me
Extrasensory
Synchronicity

A star fall, a phone call
It joins all
Synchronicity

It’s so deep, it’s so wide
You’re inside
Synchronicity

Effect without cause
Sub-atomic laws, scientific pause
Synchronicity

You can also read more about how to handle things when life throws you curve balls in my article called The Compass of Love in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.



Unfold Your Own Myth

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This month in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine 
we have all been contemplating and writing 
about the term Legendary. 

Come read my latest article called Unfold Your Own Myth

“We are all born innocent babes you know.
We all begin with a blank storyboard.
It all begins with endless possibilities.”


From Brush Dance 2013 Rumi Calendar


Mojo Monday ~ Promise of Tomorrow

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Courage doesn’t always roar
sometimes courage is the quiet voice 
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”
~ Mary Anne Radmacher

This has been one of my favorite quotes for many years.  Artist and writer Mary Anne Radmacher has inspired me for many years with her writing and her art.  Many of her books are included in my library of favorites.  Yet it is only recently that I picked up a copy of her book called Courage Doesn’t Always Roar.   I was incredibly moved and thrilled to read an expanded version of this very quote in this book.  I felt a bit stunned after taking it all in.

I also definitely appreciated this particular part in the introduction, 

“Courage is a paradox.  
Courage is the willingness to aspire, reach, 
and again believe in the promise of tomorrow.”

Hmmm…let those words linger promise of tomorrow.

Now let us journey together further into the exploration of courage with Mary Anne Radmacher….

Courage doesn’t always roar
sometimes courage is the quiet voice 
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”

It takes courage

to change your style,
your opinion,
the path you walk…
your hat!

It takes courage to let go
of the weighty parts of your past.

It takes courage
to find your own voice.

It takes courage
to reinvent joys,
to reinvent opportunities,
to reinvent dreams,
to reinvent connections…

to reinvent hopes
that you have set aside.

It takes courage
to recognize that rigid habit inhibits.

It takes courage to accept
that the way you “have always been”
does not determine the way you are.

It takes courage

to stand in a place
you didn’t know existed…
and learn from a view
you previously couldn’t imagine.

It takes courage to let go
of your assumptions
and fly your dreams as a 
soaring invitation to become
the best version of yourself.

It takes courage to stand for your convictions.
It takes courage to give up control.
And it takes courage to recognize you are perfect
just the way you are.

Change of any sort, requires courage…
Courage to write a new story of your life
with the pen of each day
…of every moment.

Tell yourself this little story when you need it – 

“I have the courage to stand
in whatever the weather brings…
and understand that everything is washable.
Everything is fixable,
and everything is replaceable
but my time and breath.”

The opportunity for greater courage
comes in the most ordinary moments.

Courage sings the praises
of the sturdy souls and says to them,
“Today I will borrow a little of your courage
and see what garden I can water 
with the healing of my tears;

and what growing things I can nurture

with the strength of my laughter.”

Courage is defined more by its contrasts 
than it sameness,
more by its risks
than its security.

Courage is content to make no excuses.

Courage, dressed in intentional change,
is the most ferocious response to fear.

Courage acts without regret.
Courage laughs right out loud.

Have the courage 
to walk out the door
and let possibilities discover you.

Have the courage 
to wander and parades will find you.

Courage.

As you weigh the many possibilities of your day

measure your action with this question,
“How would I most like to remember this?”

Your chosen answer becomes
your natural action and
your unique opportunity 
for courage.

Perspective in the large.

Grace in the small.

An open hand.

A practiced pause.

A YES!

Courage doesn’t always roar.

Mary Anne Radmacher has touched the hearts of tens and thousands with her popular cards, books, posters, journals, and gift books.  She conducts workshops and writing seminars on living a full, creative, and balanced life. 

She is the author of the following books:
Lean Forward into Your Life
Us: Celebrating the Power of Friendship
May You Walls Know Joy
Courage Doesn’t Always Roar
Live with Intention
Live Boldly

Please visit her website: http://www.maryanneradmacher.net/



A new year is approaching.  

2013 will be here within a week.  

Surrender your fear.

Embrace change.

Center yourself.

Stay true to your voice.

What is it that you want in 2013?

Now is also a great time to write yourself a series of Permission Slips!  Be courageous.  Set yourself free to be you ~ and to do those things that make you happy…and then let the rest be.

 You can just let it be.

I looked back at a list of Permission Slips that I had written for myself as part of a Cosmic Cowgirl Sparking session.  I have the date down as December 22nd.  I was inspired again by what I had listed.  Here is that list:
I give myself permission to be different than I was 10 years ago.
I give myself permission to like and love who Michelle is today.
I give myself permission to not be perfect.
I give myself permission to love my imperfect and over-sized body.
I give myself permission to be content.
I give myself permission to be an imperfect parent and partner.
I give myself permission to lighten up.
I give myself permission to not get it all done.
I give myself permission to write without editing.
I give myself permission to relax and have fun.
I give myself permission to make mistakes AND NOT beat myself up about them.

What would you include on your Permission Slip list?


Mojo Monday ~ The Story of Time

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Purely Pacific Northwest from John Eklund

“The Milky Way drifts across the sky. Aurora tumble and roll. 
Clouds flow like rivers or undulate like smoke.”

This video is photographer Oregon-based John Eklund’s time-lapse depiction of the Pacific Northwest.  John has this to say about his work, “I choose to shoot locations that appeal to the way I would like to interpret the story of time.”  “Here is the Pacific Northwest, there are endless opportunities to depict the magnificence of the world around us.  I have discovered that when time is the storyteller, a special kind of truth emerges.”  
The video Purely Pacific Northwest is composed of 260,000 shots John took of Mt. Shuksan, Crater Lake, Mt. Bachelor, Mount St. Helens, Oregon’s Badlands, Painted Hills, Cape Kiwanda, Mt. Hood, Lost Lake and Cannon Beach between July 2011 and August 2012.
I am in awe of this video.  There is something about nature, our planet, the stars, the cosmos above, that leave me with a sense of wonder and wow, but also a greater sense of peace.  It reminds me that we are all a part of something so much bigger and greater than ourselves.  It also gives me a comforting reminder of the way we are all connected on this planet.  

Connecting with the beauty of nature has always been a grounding touchstone for me.   Is the same true for you?     


Consider getting out, taking your camera and going for a walk in your neighborhood or a nearby park or if you have more time on your hands, take a little drive and go exploring to find some fall color.  Perhaps your adventure might even call for a hike in the mountains.  

Come back and share photos after your outing.  

Do they tell a story?  

How did you feel during the outing?  
Here is a photo slideshow from the world of nature my family and I have been enjoying the last few days in beautiful Northern California.  

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Mojo Monday – Our Stories

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What do we know about the world?  How do we know what we know?  We might respond that we have learned about our world through books and classes we have taken in school.  What it comes down to is that our human world is based on story.   For thousands of years stories were memorized and passed down verbally through the generations.  Once written language came into being stories were recorded in written form.
I have always loved stories and probably because of this I became an avid reader at a very early age.  I also loved learning about the world, different cultures and the history of the people who have inhabited this planet for thousands of years.  My six year old twin daughters just started first grade and we had an option at their school to have them take an early morning enrichment class in which they will learn Spanish and about Latin culture.  One day after picking them up from school they were excited to share with me the new Spanish words they had learned that day.  They asked me “Where do people speak Spanish?” and I explained a bit about Spain and then how the Spaniards had traveled to what is now known as Mexico, and how the language was adopted by this other land.  My daughter Aubrey then asked me from the back seat “Mommy, how do you know all these things?”  It was such a curious question and I responded that I had learned about these things from books and classes and that my love of history led me to take a lot of history classes. 
While I may have a college degree in history I sometimes still wonder “What is history?”  Sure there are some hard facts involved with so-and-so being born on such and such a date, or a war beginning in a particular place on a particular date, but those facts are part of a bigger story, a human story.  While we may think that our history books are based on facts, they are also infused with the perceptions and biases of the historians that wrote them in their current time.  How historians view something in a particular era, century, or even in a particular decade, changes and evolves, because the historians themselves are going to be influenced by their own life story, which has been formed by the time period they grew up, their personal views, opinions, prejudices and personal experiences.   There are also the ones behind the scenes, such as the publisher or the powers behind a publishing house, who may have their own ideas or agendas into what gets published and what doesn’t.  One may try to be impartial and unbiased, but our own stories will and can color how we respond or view things.
One of the papers I wrote for a university history class compiled how the  historical perspectives changed over time regarding Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Dubois and their roles in the civil rights movement.  Both hold a significant place in American history and African American history.  It was fascinating to see how the historical views and opinions regarding these two men shifted and evolved through the years. 
Card from The Voice of Knowledge deck by Don Miguel Ruiz

Where I am leading with this is to a much more personal level.   We all have stories.  Our lives are stories, series of happenings, events, activities, doings, and while some fade into the mists of the past and out of our memories, others stay with us.  Some of them are certainly, and hopefully, positive, and bring forth feelings of nostalgia and can even have the power to conjure up feelings of contentment and happiness even in the present moment.  Yet our human nature also gives us a tendency to remember and hold on to events that were painful, and if we give our stories power and hold to them tightly, these stories can affect us deeply.   We can even give them the power to create very real psychic wounds.  The painful stories, if held onto too tightly, and believed in strongly enough, can unfortunately lead us to negative spaces and dark places. 
Just like any other person walking this earth I have my own collection of stories. Stories about my childhood, my family, events that took place, traditions carried on, my young adulthood, my relationships and on and on and on.  Some of the stories were sweet, others comical, some were painful, and I even allowed a few to take me to dark wounded places.  Some life events came into alignment though that led me to delve deeper into my stories, sometimes so painfully, that I went through what I describe as a dark night of the soul, and yet the healing that took place on the journey has been most remarkable.  These life events include: choosing a life partner, moving, marrying, becoming a mother to twins, struggling in my marriage, shutting down, gaining 100 lbs, retreating from relationships, experiencing shifts in friendships, questioning my life purpose, developing cracks in my rose-colored glasses, entering into therapy, learning to accept, then like and love myself, forgiving both myself and others, finding a tribe and community (Cosmic Cowgirls) that nurtures me, gaining courage, taking chances, entering into marriage counseling and therapy one more time, claiming to be an artist and writer, writing, painting, learning, teaching, loving and grasping the true meaning of grace.
I have been contemplating and wondering about how we hold onto and process our pain and wounds.  What I realize from own experiences it that it took doing a few key things that culminated in me seeing my stories with new eyes.   The first was the talk therapy that helped to purge all the really old stuff that had been crammed into my soul for way too long.  Yet, I know that talk therapy would not have been quite enough to help move me through my process.  What also deserves a great deal of credit for the personal growth and healing that took place is the work I have done with Cosmic Cowgirls.  I entered into the tribe via attending the Bountiful conference in October 2008.  The work that Cosmic Cowgirls is doing is revolutionary.  There is a reason that women from all walks of life, artists, writers, therapists, healers, poets, dancers, singers, spiritual leaders and creatives of all types, are being drawn to the courses and workshops being offered.   While some women may be initially drawn to the painting portion of the classes, or others to the writing part of the classes, it is how everything is blended together spiritually, that leads one through a process unlike any other.  
What is it that Cosmic Cowgirls offers that promotes healing and personal growth? As an example I will share my most recent experience at the Cosmic Cowgirls Feast of Frida Story Weaving workshop.  Our Cosmic Cowgirls always begin with us gathering in circle.  The space is safe and sacred.   During our circle time we share in the Red Thread Ceremony where a long red thread is passed from woman to woman as we share our names and usually some word or sentence that gives insight into where we are at or what we wish to gain from our experience with one another.  The Red Thread Ceremony always concludes with each woman getting to keep a piece of the red thread as it represents how we are all connected to one another. 
In this particular workshop we were focused on artist Frida Kahlo and yet we also took it to a very personal level by reflecting on our own stories.  We created paper altars over the course of the two days and they came into being from prompts, by quiet reflection, journaling, sketching, some one-on-one sharing, and then turning the stories into art with drawings and paintings. 
This particular process had us pick one particular story from our past.  In the first corner of the panel of the altar one was to share a story about something that had happened.  An example given was of a woman who was told her art wasn’t any good while the art instructor tore up her picture.    In this particular version the person was then to depict what she decided about herself based on that one experience or story.  In this particular situation the woman decided or came to believe that she had no artistic abilities.  The next panel or part of the story was to share how this experienced had informed who she was now.  In our example this woman feels sad and feels creatively stuck.  In processing this story she is asked if this story is true.  Does this one experience really mean she is not an artist?  Does the opinion of this art instructor really mean anything?   The woman was then asked to claim a new belief about herself, in essence to create a new story for herself.  In her new story this woman gets to claim herself an artist and free her creative spirit. 
Card from The Voice of Knowledge deck by Don Miguel Ruiz

What I found refreshing for me during this experience is that most of my old stories had lost their charge.  I knew what the old story was and I could write about it and talk about it, but I no longer felt that emotional tug when I thought about it.  It was an aha moment of realizing how far I had come in healing old wounds.  Writer and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant states that “When you can tell the story and it doesn’t bring up any pain and tears, then you are healed.”   I found that when it came to creating my own personal altar I was much more focused on my image that represented me today and on what I was claiming for me now and in the future.  Most importantly I really believed what I was claiming, rather than it being wishful thinking or about where I wanted to get to at some point in the future.
Creating new stories for oneself may take some time.  It may also take time to release old stories.  Some questions to ask yourself as you consider your own stories are “How does this story serve me and my life?”  Is it helpful?  Does it make me feel good or bad about myself?  Is it healing or hurtful?  If it protected me in the past, do I still need protecting now? 
You can also consider viewing your own stories through a more neutral and objective lens.  If you have ever felt that you are not enough.  Take a step back and ask yourself “Is that true?”   
Author Kris King who wrote a beautifully thoughtful book called My Heart Has Wings: 52 Empowering Reflections on Living, Learning, and Loving wrote this about telling stories, “If you want your future to be a repeat of your past, keep telling your story.  If you want your future to be a bold and daring adventure, start dreaming. The choice is yours!” 
At Cosmic Cowgirls we believe that you get to write your story, paint your story, dance your story, dream your story, sing your story, create your story and most certainly, even turn your story into poetry.  

Mojo Monday ~ Healing Wounded Hearts

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Necklace made by Michelle Fairchild while healing her wounded heart.



Many people are familiar with the term “aha moment.”  We Cosmic Cowgirls refer to them as “awe ha!” moments.  I had my own shift recently after attending the latest Cosmic Cowgirl Hodown member conference.  My realization was that I don’t feel wounded by the old stories of my life anymore.  This was a truly beautiful realization for me, as in fairly recent years I went through some significant life changes and also experienced some difficult life challenges.  


In fact, I am not being overly dramatic when I describe the period as the dark night of my soul.  My personal struggles led me to retreat from some long held relationships. Thankfully, instead of going down a completely self-destructive path, I chose to dig in deep and accomplish some incredibly cathartic soul work.  I underwent a period of the unburying of the old hurts with the guidance of two therapists, and my husband and I also went through counseling together.  During this time frame I had questioned my lovability and likability. Anger and rage that I had stuffed also needed to be addressed and processed in healthy ways.  There was a point where my natural sunshiny ways of spreading love were dampened and I questioned deeply what love meant to me. This proved to be a profound experience.  I now see that making it through the dark times has led me to a lighter place, one where the love is deeper, the grace so much more profound and the forgiveness so much more freely given. I have also seen my spiritual wings grow stronger and more sure of themselves as I look at the world with awe and wonder.


I agree whole-heartedly with the brilliant author and motivational speaker leader, Iyanla Vanzant, that in order to heal our pain three things to need to happen, we have to feel our pain, we have to deal with it (really deal with it) and then we can heal it.  Feel, Heal, Deal.


I also must add that one of the gifts of belonging to the tribe of Cosmic Cowgirls is the way we are encouraged and even challenged to open our minds and think about things in new ways.  In courses I have taken with Cosmic Cowgirl University I have continually been reminded of our ability to write our own Legendary story however we choose.   I have been going through the process of doing this work with Cosmic Cowgirls for the past four years and there were initially times where my story made me sad.  There were parts that brought up pain and old losses and I would get stuck and just stop.  There was a time frame when I realized that the rose-colored glasses I had been wearing for years had developed some serious cracks in them and I couldn’t go on.  


Now I see so much more clearly how everything that has occurred in my life has contributed to who I am, and I really truly love who I am.  My Legendary story is a big adventure with plot twists, exciting heart-stopping drama, exotic adventures and whole-hearted love because of the joys, the losses, the love, the lows and the highs.   

In the eight years I have worked for a private non-profit fost-adoption agency I have learned a great deal about special needs children, wounded hearts and souls, and the therapeutic process.  My knowledge and understanding of how wounds affect behavior and our choices expanded ten-fold during those years.  


Then with my most recent “awe ha” moment it became even that much more transparent how many people are living lives as the walking wounded.  While I will not allow others to intentionally hurt me and I have learned a great deal more about healthy boundaries in relationships, I also have compassion for others, knowing that how some people respond or act is due to their unhealed wounds, which in most cases I have nothing to do with at all.  For example in best case scenarios those who are wounded, but haven’t dealt with it, do things like living life reactively, being blind to why things push their buttons, acting defensively, when they would really prefer to act lovingly.  


In the worst case scenarios the walking wounded can cause others grievous harm and pain. These are the situations that lead to violence, cruelty, and committing crimes.  One way of viewing those who are wounded and then act out by hurting others can be through the lens of a quote by buddhist Thich Naht Hahn, “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.  He does not need punishment, he needs help.”  Iyanla Vanzant goes more in depth about all the things stuffing and masking our pain can lead to, such as addictions (ie drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling), criminal behavior, as well as such things as low self-esteem, depression and lack of direction in life.  Iyanla also shared during her live show with Oprah about how people can also become addicted to their story of pain.  She tells one man who had been addicted to drugs and alcohol for twenty years, and after ten years of being sober and is still unhappy and has been thinking about using again, that he has become addicted to his story.  She challenges him on what he would be doing if he was to really choose to be happy and move forward with his life, instead of living in the past.


One of the events that helped push me over the hump and firmly into a new  awareness took place at the most recent Cosmic Cowgirl gathering.  During the closing ceremony, beautifully directed by a member, each woman went around the circle and one-by-one, linked arms with each woman and while looking into one another’s eyes said these words, “I see you.  You are my sister.”  It was a very moving, and at times emotional exchange, for those participating.  Days following that event, when I was asked by someone, who I had described the experience to, if saying those words was difficult, and my response was “Not at all.”  I shared that when those exchanged took place it was about really seeing a person and their inner soul.  In my spiritual practice it was also about seeing that God essence that exists in all of us and is that which connects us all.

Do you feel wounded?


Are there things in your past that still feel left unresolved?


What are your thoughts about healing?  


What are the stories you tell yourself about events that were hurtful?


How do things from the past affect you now in the present?  


What if you decided to start telling a different story?


What would happen if you were to heal and move on?  What would you be doing?  Who would you be?  




More to explore about healing the wounded heart:

There is a documentary called The Dhamma Brothers.  It is about an Alabama prison, known as “the house of pain,” that allowed a Buddhist meditation practice to be brought within its walls and taught to some of the prisoners, most of whom will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.  It is eye-opening and moving to hear some of the prisoners share their experiences with the meditation course and the changes it brought to their lives.  One of the prisoners in the documentary shared how he was more a prisoner when he was out on the streets, acting out all his pain in hurtful ways.  He will be in prison for the rest of his life, but the meditation practice led him to finally feel his pain and then deal with it, which finally allowed him to heal.  He actually stated that he feels more free now then he did prior to being in prison.  The reality is that he was in a prison of his own making, as are others out living lives in which they are hurting, unhappy, addicted to alcohol or drugs, which they use to dull the pain.  


Here is a brief video with the director presenting at a TED talk about the making of The Dhamma Brothers.


One other great show to watch is the first episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass the Tour.  In the first episode Oprah meets with Iyanla Vanzant who talks about “Stopping the Pain.”  You can watch the full episode by going clicking on this link: