What is Love, Really? (How My Youthful Ideas May Have Impacted My Perception of Reality) Part II

(Continued from last week)

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I was “in love” with a gorgeous boy in high school. His name was Bob. He looked just like Robert Conrad on The Wild Wild West. He really did. But our family moved to another state just when I was starting to think about boys like that.

I didn’t really date in high school, but when I graduated and started working, I met a handsome boy. I liked him a lot, but I can’t say now if I truly loved him.

I ended up marrying him and we had a child together, but as the months went by, he became more and more abusive until it got to the point where I was afraid for my life and that of our son, so I divorced him. My life at that time, was a nightmare.

Looking back, I can’t say that I felt love for him because the bad memories far outweigh whatever good ones there might have been.

A few years later, I met my current husband. He made me laugh. He was kind to me and we had fun together—went places, did things. I would say that I was in love with him, but this time it was perhaps more of an adult form of love, with some protective barriers put in place. I was apprehensive about getting married again after what happened to me the first time, but we eventually tied the knot.

Life became a whirlwind of raising kids and all that family life entails. I loved every minute of it. I loved being a mom. Those were the happiest years of my life.

But something happened to the love between my husband and me. It got lost in the raising of kids and in the paying of the mortgage.

I love my husband, and I know he loves me, but now that the kids have grown up and moved out, sunset couple kissingand after reading all that recent hoopla about David Cassidy, I found myself asking myself, What is love, really? Did my innocent devotion to the likes of David Cassidy and Bob, that boy in high school, stymie my chances of ever finding those kinds of feelings within myself, that, to me, were proof of real love? I’m sure that I had those kinds of feelings–fireworks and all–when my current husband and I got married, but was it to the same degree that my childish notions told me they should be?

Because there are so very many different types of love besides the romantic kind, like the love I feel for my friends and my family, and even my pets.

My love for my husband has morphed over many years of having to compromise and get along with someone even when you don’t agree with them. It comes from growing together, then apart, then together again. It comes from being able to finally see the sacrifices that person made for you, for the family you share. That is love. But it isn’t the flowery, floaty, frothy, fiery kind of love or lust, that first made you turn your head in their direction… and wonder… what if?

Does that fiery kind of love really happen to real people or is it just in the movies? Is it possible that the protective barrier I devised could now be hindering my ability to see beyond it?

And why do I love movies like “The Bodyguard,” “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,” and “Message in a Bottle” where the lovers can never really be together? Those stories that are bittersweet and heartbreaking. Maybe because that’s what my definition of love has shifted to after all the life experiences I’ve had: real love is supposed to be bittersweet and leave you alone in the end—forever longing for those feelings you once shared with someone or for someone, even if for a very short time. (Like my feelings of aloneness after the passing of both of my parents.) Even if you are still married to that person and those types of feelings have gotten lost in the shuffle of life and you forever long for their return.

And what about attractions to people that we can’t or shouldn’t be with? For instance, in my case, David Cassidy and my first husband. Why are we attracted to people like that? Is that really love? Misguided love? Or, in my case, was it my childish fantasies that left me feeling so smitten I could hardly function and therefore ended up cheating myself out of life because I was so enrapt with that one person, ad nauseum? In “The Road Less Traveled,” author M. Scott Peck said that sexual attraction is nature’s trick to get us to spread our seeds as much as possible—survival of the species. Could be, I guess, but that can’t be all there is to it.

girl-lying on her back dreamingI don’t know where I fit in any of this. I keep waiting for that pie-in-the-sky sort of all-consuming, soul-baring kind of love with my husband, but I also know that he does the best he can. We both do. It’s my own fault if I fell into a trap of complacency, of mostly just survival with a few fun things thrown in. Or maybe I just need to change my focus and concentrate on all the blessings I have–and the man (my husband), who loves me in his own way of loving. At the same time, maybe that’s why I have an insatiable need to write. I can create fictional characters to fulfill my ideas of what love is or isn’t. But … in the long run, is it ever really enough?

What is Love, Really? (How My Youthful Ideas May Have Impacted My Perception of Reality)

IMG_5239I admit it. I am obsessed with love.

I espouse the notion that love can solve anything. Heal us. Make the world a better place. I look for it everywhere and in every person, place or thing.

But love can be a very difficult concept, or, at least we make it that way. When I was young and thought I was “in love,” was that really what true love is all about? The naive, flowery, sharing a soda, holding hands, dreamy, floating feeling? Kisses under oak trees with falling leaves, walking through the park, spending hours just gazing into each other’s eyes?

Did those notions cloud my perception because I was sure that that was real love and anything less didn’t qualify? (Besides the unconditional love my parents had for me and that I too, have for my own kids and grandkids.)

The other day I saw the following video online about David Cassidy falling off the stage during his concert: TMZ

I took it personally and couldn’t figure out why. I don’t know the man. Never have.

(Today, Cassidy is announcing that he has dementia, which is supposedly the reason for his not being able to remember the lyrics to his songs, and that may very well be true. But I’m not here to debate Cassidy’s mental health, or his personal issues. This piece is about love. The recent news about him is what got me thinking about all of this.)

I was “in love” with David Cassidy when I was a young girl in the ‘70s. I was going to move to California, become an actress, and marry him. Thousands of other girls had the same dream, I knew, but that didn’t hinder me one bit. I just knew that when he saw me, we would instantly fall madly in love and get married and live happily ever after.

That was before David Cassidy was a real person.

In my teenage mind, he was the epitome of the perfect boyfriend and husband. He was handsome, sexy, romantic, caring, sensitive, and had a beautiful singing voice. He seemed to respect women. He had kind of an androgynous look that wasn’t threatening, that was safe and protecting. He seemed smart and kind and all the other things I thought would make the perfect life partner.

Then one day, Rolling Stone Magazine featured an article about David and he appeared nude on the cover—and in the centerfold. I was flabbergasted. I was probably 14 or 15 at the time. The bubble of naïveté that encased my fantasy wasn’t just popped, it was sliced into a million pieces by shards of cold, thick glass and lay hemorrhaging at my feet.

I remember sitting on the floor in the drugstore and reading the article. I couldn’t tear my eyes from the words, “Aw shit man, take drugs,” and the words that spelled out what a “great fuck” he was and much more.

I bought the magazine and took it home with tears running down my face. It couldn’t be! This perfect man—he was all a lie???? Something the TV show and the fan magazines all constructed?

It was inconceivable to me that anyone would make up blatant lies about someone and pass them off as “the truth.” The media had me believing that David’s favorite books were “The Godfather” and “Siddhartha.” Reading “Siddhartha” made me believe that David was a deep thinker and it only endeared him to me more. Reading “The Godfather” at 14 caused me permanent mental damage.

Either way, David Cassidy became an important part of my life, of my newly-forming ideas of what love was all about. I had no concept of sex back then. I really was that naive.

After reading the Rolling Stone article, David was dead to me and I mourned for a very long time. I remember my dad using the experience to teach me that David was a human being just like the rest of us, something my young mind refused to accept.

But to this day, I still love to listen to some of Cassidy’s old songs—the ones where he croons in his soft breathy voice about making me his, and trips to my father’s summer cabin and holding me in his arms—being together. Impressionable young girls take these things personally. At least I did.

And now, seeing what a disgraceful performance he gave on that recent video, I am embarrassed for him. I know that his dad was an alcoholic and that he perished in a fire started from his lit cigarette which he dropped while sitting in a chair because he was too drunk to move.

I also know that David has been arrested for several DUIs and has been to rehab to help him overcome his addiction to alcohol. He apparently has a few issues, but then, who doesn’t?

I heard David, himself, say that those who managed him took full advantage of him, that he never got a cut of any of the paraphernalia with his name and picture on it—books, lunchboxes, bubblegum cards, pillow cases, you name it. I don’t know if any of that is true, nor will I ever. I do know, because Cassidy has said it many times, that he felt he could never measure up to his father’s standards—it seemed that Jack Cassidy was jealous of his son’s fame and fortune—and nothing David could ever do was good enough to earn his father’s love.

It just goes to prove that he is a person just like the rest of us. Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean they are happy or have it all together mentally. I can think of many examples, among them—Michael Jackson and Robin Williams. They had all the talent in the world, and money and admiration, but they had issues. Serious issues.

This leads me back to love.

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I based my idea of what love should be, on false impressions of a person I didn’t even know. And now that I’m older, I wonder if those ideas were really what love should be or if they were simply unrealistic fantasies of a young mind. Let me see if I can explain.

So if I have these raw, untainted emotions as a child, are those more authentic simply because they aren’t based on preconceived notions of what something should be? Or are they just fantasies? And, in any case, aren’t these the sorts of emotions that make artists great? Baring one’s soul and raw feelings and observances of the world in a way that provides a connection to others? The fact that the message conveyed is universal?

(To be continued next week…)

 

One Sky

 

img_2815If I could have slept the entire day away today, I would have.

You see, today was the day, eleven years ago, that my wonderful father left this world. Less than two months later, my mother died of a broken heart. And while my grief will never completely dissipate, losing the ones I love forced me to look at life in a new way.

I’m more tolerant than I used to be, and I see the many ways we all take our blessings for granted, how we fight amongst ourselves to prove who’s right, when, when it all comes down to it, what difference does it really make? We are all colors that make up one, beautiful rainbow. One sky.

I’d like to tell people to allow others their own opinions and beliefs, to forgive those who may have wronged us, to let go of all the petty bullshit we fight over…

…to just be kind. To the earth, to animals and to each other.

I’d like to tell people to hold those you love close, to hug them, tell them that you love them, spend as much time with them as possible. Call them on the phone once in a while. But don’t wait to make that phone call or to get together with them because you’re too busy at the moment. Cliché; yes, I know, but so very true.

Today I wait on pins and needles for the phone to buzz with a call or a text announcing the death of my favorite aunt, Marilyn. She had a stroke a few days ago, and all I’ve been getting are brief texts from my cousin asking for prayers, but I have no real information other than the few words she sent me yesterday, telling me that her mom suffered a massive stroke and that she isn’t going to recover. She said that her mom isn’t responsive other than an occasional squeezing of their hands and that it’s going to be a matter of days. I have so many more emotions than just feeling heartbroken.

Eleven years ago, along with her two remaining brothers, my dear Aunt Marilyn made the inconvenient trip on Christmas Eve, to attend my dad’s funeral. I’ll never forget what she said to me. In the kindest, most loving tone, she told me, “Isn’t it wonderful? Jack is in heaven with Jesus to celebrate His birthday!” She meant Christmas. She wasn’t being superficial; she truly believed it to be the biggest honor bestowed on a human being.

And now, here she is, getting ready to celebrate Christmas in heaven with Jesus too. I pray with all my heart that she isn’t in any pain, but for my own selfish reasons, I also hope she will at least wait until tomorrow if she has to leave this world because this date is one of the worst memories of my life.

In my imagination, I can feel my dad’s spirit hovering over his dear sister’s bedside, and the spirits of her husband, who died when all their kids were still little, leaving my aunt to raise four kids all by herself in the ‘70s, something I always respected her for. I can feel the spirits of her other brothers who preceded her in death as well—my uncles. And the spirits of her wonderful parents, my grandparents—all waiting to welcome her into their arms and into the arms of Jesus and the angels, because that is her belief, and to stand in the shining presence of her Lord and God this Christmas Day.

But I am sad beyond words, for having to lose those whom I adored with all my heart. And it seems even worse for these things to happen at Christmastime—a time that for me, used to be the happiest time of the year, a time to celebrate those I love with all my heart. I still do, but there’s a huge hole in my heart for those whose physical presence had become part of my identity and made me feel whole.

I love you, Aunt Marilyn.

I love you, Dad. (And Mom.) I miss you so very much.

star-christmas

Thunder on the Rocks

Redrocks Amphitheater
Morrison, CO
September 5, 2016

img_1966You can say what you want about Sammy Hagar—that he’s a god, that he’s a clown, that he’s amazing, that he’s egotistical, that he’s washed-up, that he’s an incredible person… we all have our own opinion, and I’m going to try to remain objective here, but having had the immense pleasure of seeing Sammy and his latest band, The Circle, perform at Redrocks recently was such a delight that I just had to share my thoughts.

It had been the culmination of a super crazy week for me, having worked 12-hour days for the Labor Day weekend and, not being a spring chicken myself anymore, trying to deal with the agony of my vehemently protesting knees, but when The Circle exploded onto the stage with “There’s Only One Way to Rock”, where I could barely walk just moments before, I found myself dancing (as best I could) and wishing I’d had more space in which to move. Oh my God! The music blew the roof off the building! Oh wait—there was no roof. Or building.

I’ve seen Sammy perform with Van Halen, The Wabos, Chickenfoot and others, and while I never got to see Van Halen in their prime, (I saw them in 2004 during their reunion tour—don’t get me started) and although I love all his previous bands, I have to say that I think I enjoyed The Circle the other night most of all. Maybe it’s because I’m also a huge fan of Led Zeppelin.

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Jason Bonham & Sammy Hagar

With Sammy on lead vocals, Michael Anthony (former bassist of Van Halen) on bass, Vic Johnson on guitar and Jason Bonham (son of the illustrious John Bonham from Led Zeppelin) on drums, how could this band be anything but spectacular? And they were. Tight. Loud. Sounding like thunder on the rocks.

I expected to hear some Zeppelin tunes and was thrilled with what they chose to play. I loved “Good Times Bad Times,” but “When the Levee Breaks” and “Rock and Roll” are two of my all-time favorite Zeppelin tunes and when The Circle performed them, I was swept up into a state of bliss and wonder that matched the fog machine’s ambience, and I don’t mean stoned. There was just something magical about all of it—Redrocks—with the stars overhead in the warm summer night’s sky combined with the towering red-hued boulders on either side of the venue like two giant hands holding audience and performers in an intimate setting of sound and soul and rock and roll so mesmerizing that you just had to experience it to believe it.

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Hagar seemed to feel it too. “This is the most beautiful venue on earth!” he said, extending his arms. “I wish I could have gotten here while the place was empty, climbed to the middle and just sat there in awe and taken it all in.”

Indeed. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a live show at Redrocks, I urge you to go sometime. You won’t be sorry. There is nothing like it.

Michael Anthony was as talented as always—with his high pitched, irreplaceable backing vocals that helped make Van Halen great, and his seemingly sheer joy at performing with his buddy Sam.

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Michael Anthony on bass

And although he’s not Eddie Van Halen, on guitar, Vic Johnson, who hails from Colorado Springs, CO, never disappoints. He hammered out those songs as easily as if he could do it in his sleep.

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Vic Johnson on guitar

There was a moment during the show that really stood out for me though—Sammy’s guitar solo during “When the Levee Breaks.” I remember talking to Vic years ago and he told me that he’d mentioned to Sammy that he needed to play guitar more, that his fans loved it when he did so, and when I heard that solo during “When the Levee Breaks,” that’s what came to mind—Damn! Sammy! You need to play guitar more! What a treat!

Although I’ve seen Sammy in concert more times than I can count, and yes, I suppose I’m a little biased, I am still impressed that he can perform with as much energy as he does. I leaned over to my son, who was there with me, and said, “Can you believe he’ll be 70 next year? 70!” You’d never know it. Hagar made it look effortless, and it was obvious that he enjoyed every minute of it.

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Sammy Hagar on lead vocals

There was a moment during “Runaround” when Mickey’s mic quit working, but it was only a minor distraction. And toward the end of the show, Hagar’s voice grew a bit hoarse, but I’m sure it was due to the altitude. I’ve seen many performers in Colorado have to take hits of oxygen between songs for this reason.

But they didn’t let up. Quipped Hagar, “We’re not going to go offstage and come back on because I don’t want to walk down all those steps to the dressing room and back up them again! So we’ll just do it like we’re in Cabo. We don’t go offstage; we don’t do encores in Cabo. We just keep playing until we’re done playing.”

And they did. The crowd went crazy with applause.

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Jason Bonham on drums

The show ended with an etherial rendition of “Dreams,” which is one of my all-time favorite tunes. One year in Cabo, as Sammy was getting ready to perform “Dreams,” he announced to the audience about how I had made my dream come true—to be a writer (the video is on the home page of my website, you can see it here) so this song will forever have special meaning for me. And although he’s lowered the key, with the magic of the evening overpowering my angry knees, it was truly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen Sammy do. Then to close with “Rock and Roll”… Give me more!

 

Setlist:
There’s Only One Way to Rock
Rock Candy
Good Times, Bad Times
Poundcake
I Can’t Drive 55
Runaround
Right Now
Little White Lie
When the Levee Breaks
Why Can’t This Be Love
Finish What Ya Started
Heavy Metal
Mas Tequila
Dreams
When It’s Love
Rock and Roll

**All photos property of Patricia Walker, 2016. No unauthorized duplication, please.

Another Name for Fear

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I’m tired of living in fear.

I was taking a shower recently, when suddenly, those words popped into my mind. It was almost as if someone had whispered them into my ear, as if it were a new concept I’d never considered before, and my brain took the notion and ran with it. Thoughts tumbled out of me faster than the warm water washing over my skin—all the ways I lived in fear, commencing with my childhood religious lessons, which, incidentally, probably effected my psyche more than just about anything, beginning with the ubiquitous FEAR THE LORD which absolutely HAD to be at the very top of my list.

And then came:
fear of failure
fear of terrorist attacks
and tornados, earthquakes, floods and fires;

fear of having my identity stolen
fear of being in a car accident
of being alone
or misunderstood;

fear of having people know too much about me because they might not like me if they knew the real me,
fear of thinking that my health issues are with me forever just because I’ve had some of them for a very long time;

fear of not being in control
of pissing people off
fear of not having enough money,

fear of not being an effective teacher, speaker, guide, writer,
of not being a good enough wife, mom, grandma, sister, daughter, friend, citizen…

And as these fears tumbled out of my brain, my brain also said, Damn! Do I really have that many fears inside of me? I was under the impression that I’d been doing a pretty good job of managing my fears, my limiting beliefs, but apparently, there are things still imbedded deep in my soul that continue to have me by the throat. And I bet if I thought about it even a little bit longer, I could come up with a whole bunch more.

No wonder I feel like I’ve got one foot nailed to the floor; my fear is keeping me from moving forward. Believe it or not, there is also the fear of achieving one’s goals; I could probably add that one to my list as well. You know, because if you achieve your goals, what then? You’ll be a different person! You’ll have responsibilities you never knew existed! It’s safer and less-stressful to remain miserable.

Well, I’m tired of living in fear. It is not serving me. It has no positive ramifications. Anthony Robbins said, “Life is found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear.”

I love that quote. To me, that almost makes it sound as if fear and desire are made of the same stuff—just on opposite ends of the spectrum—and could very well be true. They are, perhaps, two flavors of the same sweetness, which is why it seems there’s a fine line between the desire to do something that elicits fear, in spite of the fact that it is terribly exciting—and the ability to exhibit self-control no matter how tempting the sweet, because in the end, the long-term payoff (living in fear) is sweeter than the temporary desire. And by desire here, I mean the desire to achieve your goal, or your lifelong dreams.

How can fear be sweeter than doing something one desires? Desire, combined with fear, is exhilarating, enticing. Which is why people do stuff like jump out of airplanes, go bungee-jumping or parasailing, ride rollercoasters, drive fast cars, etc. because it’s an acceptable way of doing something that goes against our better judgment of remaining safe at all costs. Under normal conditions, it’s against the law to drive too fast, to jump off a bridge or a mountain because if any of these things were done without safety gear, the result, obviously, is death.

Like desire, fear is intoxicating, but it is also suffocating. Fear seduces us with its lies, then slithers into our minds like a serpent made of black smoke, then it smothers us. Like smoking, or a drug, it feels so fine as we suck it into our lungs and blow it out–in and out, in and out–and all the while thinking it’s comforting us, but before we know it, it rules us. Fear is a rotten, lying, deceitful drug addiction, and I’m so angry with myself for allowing it to control me all these years.

Not any more, baby.

From now on, I choose to use fear, not as a means to cause me to freeze in my tracks, to back off, or to run and hide, but as an opportunity to look at things from a new perspective. I’m going to use fear as a signal that I need to change my thoughts, my beliefs and my emotions instead of allowing them to control me.

I’m going to use my fear to change my life for the better. Methinks it will be a lifelong process, but then, that’s what life is for—learning and growing, and sharing what we’ve learned.

Cheers.

New Interviews with Bruce Moen on His Upcoming Workshop on the Afterlife

If you missed either of these interviews in which author, speaker and engineer Bruce Moen discusses his upcoming workshop in Ft. Collins, CO on April 22-24, and answers questions from callers regarding what happens in the Afterlife, you can now listen online:

and

Between The Pages on KRFC Radio with Host Rich Keller

Rocker Lita Ford Rocks My World

IMG_2107I wish I could bottle the feeling inside of me right now and give you all a big swig. I apologize if this post is fraught with incongrity; I am still high from what happened the other night, but I wanted to share it right away while the feeling was fresh within me. WHAT A FEELING!!!! An effervescent, sparkling, dizzy, fizzy, in-love type of ecstasy!

Friday night, I met the indomitable Lita Ford.

How is it that rock stars can make me feel this way? Is it their celebrity status and the fact that they sometimes take time for little ol’ me? Is it their music? Music has to be the most effective tool in the universe for transmitting feelings and emotions—those of power, or those of destruction and depression. Those of helplessness or those of joy, accomplishment, self-confidence and of making a difference in the world. Like that of a true friend, holding your hand when you’re down and celebrating your achievements when you’re higher than a kite with joy. I’m not talking about drug use here. I’m talking about the sort of high that comes from living life to its fullest and appreciating every strand of it.

I can’t imagine my life without music.

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So… The rep from my publishing house contacted me the other day and told me that rocker Lita Ford, former award-winning guitarist of The Runaways, had just published her new memoir, Living Like a Runaway. He said that she and I wrote about many of the same things—abuse, rock and roll, the deaths of our parents, and a rebirth and re-emergence of sorts because of rock music, coupled with a burning desire to bring awareness to the issue of the crippling jaws of abuse and to make a difference in the world. Of course there are differences between Lita and me, I mean, she’s a rock star; I’m just a small town author, but we also know a few of the same people.

The world is a funny and small place sometimes, and I’ve learned, through the writing of my book, that celebrities are people just like the rest of us. However, the other night, when I offered to give Lita a copy of my book, Dance of the Electric Hummingbird, and she asked me to sign it for her, offering me her silver, thick-tipped sharpie and I went to write, my hand was shaking so badly I could hardly write. The thoughts going through my mind were, “I’m writing her name—To Lita!” and “There are a lot of people behind me in line and I’m taking up too much of her time. I shouldn’t!”

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But she didn’t seem to be in a hurry. We chatted for quite a while, and I felt like I could have talked to her for much longer than I did.

When I mentioned some of the things we had in common, and that my book was fully endorsed by rock star Sammy Hagar, she seemed impressed. When I told her that I, too, had been abused by my first husband, I could see the compassion and sorrow in her eyes. When I mentioned the names of a few of the people we both knew, she laughed. She knew exactly who they were, and she gave me a message to deliver to one of them.

“Breathe, Pat,” I reminded myself.

Okay, so I’m on the fringes of this rock music business; I’m not on the inside and that’s okay. I’m not trying to get on the inside. I honestly don’t want to be in the limelight, but I wouldn’t mind my work speaking for itself. However, I find it fascinating that I am where I am. Before any of this stuff happened to me (the events I wrote about in Dance), I was just a stay-at-home mom quietly raising three teenage sons in suburbia, driving them to soccer practice and viola lessons in my minivan and finding innovative ways to combine Bisquick with whatever I had in the freezer to make something for dinner each night that bore at least a slight resemblance to a healthy meal that tasted good. As Sammy Hagar so eloquently put it, “Pat was just a fucking housewife; she had nothing going on!” Ahem. Well…

While I was waiting in line for Lita to sign her book the other night, I met a man from San Diego named Robert Yehling. Bob is also an author, and he had planned to give Lita a copy of his book, Stevie Salas: When We Were the Boys that he co-wrote with rock musician Stevie Salas. Bob told me that he had been a journalist and had interviewed a lot of rock stars. He’d also ghostwritten many books for and with them.

My heart began to sing! I want to do this too! Right now, my book, Dance of the Electric Hummingbird, is lying on my garage-sale-purchased, pitted and beat-up wooden desk all by itself, (on top of all the clutter, I mean) and it’s been screaming for a companion for a very long time. I still get letters from readers all over the world telling me that my book changed their lives and asking me when I’m going to write another. And I need to because something is churning inside of me like a volcano ready to explode.

Chatting with Bob, I began to feel like I’d known him for years. He said I needed to get my book on the shelves at the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver (which is like THE biggest bookstore in Colorado; it’s like OD’ing on books for a book junkie) and proceeded to introduce me to one of the managers there so we could begin to make that happen. Bob said that he and I should do some book signings together since we both wrote about rock music themes. I replied, “YES! Let’s DO this!!!”With Robert Yehling

At the end of the evening, Bob and I bought each other’s books and had each other sign them, vowing that we would keep in touch. Holding each other’s books, we posed next to the poster of Lita Ford.

By the time I walked out of the Tattered Cover, I was so high, that my friend Carol, who was with me, had to catch me before I stepped off the curb into oncoming traffic as I went to cross the street. If I’d been hit by a car that night, I don’t think I would have even felt it; it would have bounced right off me.

I didn’t get the chance to tell Lita everything I wanted to tell her. I wanted to tell her how I plan to donate copies of my book to women’s shelters and women’s organizations to demonstrate to abused women that they don’t deserve to be treated like that. To show them that there is hope, and that they have a choice. My book is the perfect example of how I went from being a victim of severe abuse to realizing my lifelong dream of being a writer, and if I can do it, so can everyone else.

But even if I never hear from Lita again, what she gave me Friday night is something I will never forget. I mean, a big star asking me to sign my book at the expense of taking up time for all those other people in line. Of her taking the time to connect with me… I felt like a star myself.

Sammy Hagar has made me feel like this before too—many times. If you haven’t read my book, you should. It’s all in there.

How I wish I could bottle this feeling and share it with you. Everyone deserves to feel this way at least once in his or her life, an ecstasy resulting from hard work, accomplishment, perseverance and from a belief in one’s self that transcends reality, combined with being recognized for having done so.

Here’s to YOUR joy! Cheers!

Order Lita’s book here: Living Like A Runaway

Lita is raising awareness for this cause: Parental Alienation

Order Robert Yehling’s book here: When We Were the Boys

All That Matters

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This is Honey. She is now about four-and-a-half months old. We adopted her from a local animal rescue organization about two months ago. All we know for sure about her is that she was rescued from a high kill shelter in NM. The rest, we can only speculate.

Last week, I took Honey to visit the family who fostered her when she was 9 weeks old, right before we adopted her. I’d never been to their house before, but when I pulled up in front of the house and put my car in park, Honey’s tail started wagging like crazy. She started whining and climbing all over me (she weighs close to 40 lbs. now); she could hardly wait to get out of the car. She never behaves this way when I take her for rides in the car.

She remembered! The house, the people. How could a four-and-a-half-month old puppy remember something that happened when she was 9 weeks old? Nine weeks?! I get goosebumps just writing this.

Some people think that animals are stupid, that non-human lives don’t really matter because, well, they’re just animals. (Same with our natural resources—our water, our air, our forests and deserts—we often take these things for granted as well.) But just because animals can’t use human words to communicate, they certainly can, and do, demonstrate their feelings and intelligence through body language, perception and instinct. I’ve always known this to be true, but I guess it never hit me so strongly as it did when my puppy obviously recognized the family who was kind to her and who so unselfishly became her stepping-stone to a better life.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—love is all that matters. Not just love for our families and friends and those who are easy and convenient to love, but also for those who suffer from abuse and neglect, for those in poverty, for those in other countries, for those who think, pray, look, and live differently than us, for the weak, the dying, the depressed, the mentally ill, and for those who cannot speak for themselves but who are forced to live at the mercy of the rest of us—animals, children, the elderly, the severely disabled.

Hug your dog or cat or horse today. Your children. Your spouse. Your parents. Your grandparents. Your friends. And perhaps do something kind for someone you don’t even know, because obviously, even animals never forget kindness.

Love truly is. All. That. Matters.

Bruce Moen Introduces His Afterlife Workshop in Short Video

In preparation for our upcoming–and tremendously exciting! workshop with the fascinating and multi-talented, author, speaker and time/space-and-other-levels-of-consciousness traveler, Mr. Bruce Moen, Bruce has prepared a short video giving viewers a glimpse of what we’ll be doing at his “Exploring the Afterlife” workshop April 22-24 in Fort Collins, CO.

Wait ’til you see this!!!

If you haven’t yet signed up for this workshop, I encourage you to do so soon, as there is a lot of interest and space is limited, so we are filling up quickly!

To register, please click here: Moen Workshop