Monday, August 31, 2009


I am writing this to the incessant and arrhythmic sound of hammering coming in the (closed) windows from the house next door. My morning peace has been disrupted by the installation of a new (and very needed) roof.

OH! Just this second, another noise has been added. Something unrecognizable but nerve devouring! YAY.

It is on this morning that I have had scheduled for months the task of ordering bus tickets and a hotel room and generally organizing the travel that is coming up very quickly.

Anxiety inducing activity +
anxiety inducing noise =
One. Very. Stressed. Chick.

If you've not noticed yet, I am not good at this travel thing. I don't do it. But in order to spread my wings and fly, as I have determined to do this year, I must leave my comfort zones and push my edges.

After an hour or so of fighting with various websites and trying to understand the hours involved in bus travel, I have my printed out confirmations.

You would think I could now breathe easier, but all of this has just brought up the extreme feelings I have toward this thing called "Change."


I am filled with utter and complete joy at having rediscovered my love of dance. I am thrilled with the commitment and other good things that have come of this rediscovery.

I am happier and more content than I have ever been.

But any change is difficult. It's the nature of change. I have been readying myself for the reality of this to not just settle in but hit me with its full force. And today it has.

I hear the nagging voice in the back of my head every single day:

Go back to your life in your secluded garret, writing poems and touching the world only virtually. It's safe there...the world is scary...

Every single day, I ignore that voice and go about my (new) business.

But today that voice was just screaming:

See! I told you! It's so very hard! How hard do you think the travel will actually be! You have huge layovers in New York City! That's a big scary place! What could happen to you...


With the flat hand of my willpower, I squash her, yet her voice remains, muffled, but still present.

What voices do you have to learn to ignore in order to realize your precious and fragile dreams?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)


I will be writing a full post later this morning, but for those of you who don't twitter or facebook (and I know there are many of you!), I thought I'd update you on my crazy busy.

I may be exaggerating just a wee bit, but I have been pretty busy (for an introvert!) the last few days.

I had a phone interview with Jamie Ridler that was fantastic fun but, alas, will not be ready for consumption for a while. I'll let you know. (Tease!)

But I also had a nice long chat with Connie and Andrea, my cohorts in crime for the Creative Dig Workshop, and I think we covered lots of important creativity topics on BlogTalkRadio.

And, finally, Marcy and I were interviewed (this one in writing) about our Love Journey. Lots of giggles ensued.

(Text & Photo Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

MysticBliss: Wild Woman Mother Teresa

This past Wednesday was the anniversary of the birth of Mother Teresa.

She was not perfect; she was grouchy and bossy.

But she got it done!

And being a real person just qualifies her as a true Wild Woman.

She risked everything every day to follow her heart.

And she did this while struggling for most of her life through a true dark night of the soul.

In her youth, she felt a deep and intense and real closeness to God. But later, this disappeared, and yet, she still believed. She believed that God is Love and that to serve God is to be that love in this world.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

MusicBliss: Get Your Dance On!

Today's theme is obvious!

Get up and GROOVE! There's something here for everyone!

The smoothest two legged animal ever:

And I Double Dog Dare you not to feel your Sassy Funky Wild Self with this!

Friday, August 28, 2009

GuestPostBliss: 8 Simple Ways to Be of Service

Today's post is a guest post! And it fits perfectly with yesterday's post about the point of enlightenment:

"How wonderful it is that nobody need
wait a single moment before
starting to improve the world."
- Anne Frank

What does service mean to you? For some of us, we immediately think of people like Mother Theresa, who sacrificed her entire life for less fortunate people, or Bill Gates who donated billions of dollars to cure diseases. We think of professions such as a nurse, doctor, and teacher.

But the reality is that you don't have to be a millionaire, a doctor, or an everyday volunteer to be of service to humanity. You don't have to save lives, or donate 50% of your salary to a charity. Being of service simply means making the world a better place, even if it's just for 1 person. Here are some simple ways we can be of service every single day.

1. Smile and say Hi.
It may sound cheesy, but try smiling more often, even if it's on a Monday morning commute. You never know whose day it may cheer up. Strike up conversations with strangers and give them compliments. When I was depressed a few years ago, I remembered a day when someone came up and remarked on how beautiful my hairstyle was. It didn't end my depression, but I immediately felt great about myself that whole week.

When you smile, and live your life with energy, it can be contagious. Offices are terrific examples of this. If everyone looks depressed, work is boring. If people start joking and laughing, suddenly work doesn't feel like drudgery. We can all agree we all want to be happy, otherwise what's the point of living? Make someone happy, and you've made their lives joyful.

2. Talk to an old friend.
It's amazing how often we lose touch with old friends. Take a few minutes to call someone this week that you haven't talked to in awhile. It feels refreshing to get a phone call or a letter from someone who simply states "I'm calling b/c it's been a long time since we've talked." It is touching to know there is someone out there who is thinking about me.

3. Organize a social event.
What better way to make others happy than to organize a social event such as a dinner party or bowling night? Don't just invite the same old friends - mix it up a little. Invite your co-workers, your close friends, a relative, and tell them to invite friends of their own. Helping others make new friends is invaluable. And it's also a great way to network and broaden your connections. Sounds like a win-win situation.

If you're ambitious, try starting your own meetup at

4. Teach someone a skill.
We all have unique abilities and skills to share with others, so share it! If you're great at computers, perhaps you can help install anti-virus software in your friend's computer or offer to upgrade their software. If you're good at editing, you could help edit your friend's resumes and give them feedback. If some of your friends are thinking of starting a business, give them some assistance. See if your local community center or retirement home needs someone to teach people skills.

Share your passions with others. I know someone who gives free yoga lessons every weekend at the local park. How would you feel if someone discovered an activity that made their lives happier because of you?

5. Mentor someone.
You could sign up to be a mentor in the Boys and Girls Club. Even if you have an hour to spare each weekend, that's better than nothing. But even if you don't want to be a professional mentor, you either have children, or have relatives that are children. When you're around them, be a good example to them.

6. Donate blood.

7. Listen and give the glory to someone else.
Most of us don't listen when we have a conversation. Sure we may hear the words coming out of their mouth, but in our minds, we are thinking of a witty comeback or a story to tell. To truly listen means thinking about what the person is really saying and why he is saying it. Instead of retorting with a clever reply, why not give the glory to the person talking? Ask deeper questions that show you're interested in what he/she has to say. Let people talk about their passions. They'll think you're a wonderful person.

8. Help a friend with health, wealth, or love issues.
It may sound simplistic, but the main concerns people have center around health, wealth, or love. So if you can help them with any of those 3 areas, you just made their life so much better.

If your friend wants to lose weight, help him/her with diet choices and workout choices. If a friend is looking for a relationship, ask around and see if you know any other single friends. If a friend has no clue how to invest, explain to him the principles of compound interest.

Service is not just limited to donating millions to charity or building homes in Africa. You don't have to wait until you're retired or rich to start being of service. It is something we can do every single day. Even a simple act such as being a good friend or smiling will make the world a better place.

About Angela: Angela C. is working on a yoga book coming out late next year. She is also a part-time herbalist, and dishes out colon cleanser advice here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Whole Point of Enlightenment, Liberation, & Freedom

I recently asked the question: Are we avoiding communal responsibility?, and I would like to look into that a little more.

As we are putting ourselves into Triangle pose on our yoga mats, as we are settling in comfortably on our zafu cushions, as we pull out our prayer beads, as we light our candles, as we gaze at the moon and contemplate her feminine energy...

As we do all these things that comprise individual spiritual lives, do we think about the reason we do them?

Is Triangle pose only about stretching? Is meditating only about feeling peaceful and calm? Are the prayer beads only about connecting to the inner divine?

In other words, have our spiritual lives become self-centered?

It's true -- we can only liberate ourselves.

It's true -- we can only be who we were meant to be, and it's most definitively true that when we are that person it goes a very long way to rippling out and healing the planet.

I believe that with all my heart or I would not write and take pictures and dance. If I did not believe that, I would chuck it all and head to the streets and feed the hungry and clothe the poor and help build houses (and I have done this in the past, actually).

I am a believer that we are all sent here for different reasons, and each of these reasons is just as important as the next, just as vital to communal health.

And yet...

What is the point of enlightenment but to eventually spread our light to others?

What is the point of liberation but to eventually help liberate?

What is the point of freedom but to go back and unlock the doors of the prisons that contain so many?

We must get off the mat, off the zafu. We must put our beads in our pockets and walk into the world.

But how? It will look differently for each of us.

How do you spread your light? How do you help to liberate your fellow human beings? How do you unlock others' cages?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WishCasting: Acknowledging Your Brave Truth Telling

Just a couple of weeks ago, I acknowledged that my primary written expression right now is nonfiction...and that is okay. This is a big deal for a girl who has always had a prejudice that only novelists are "real" writers.

Well, this walking your bliss thing tends to end up being about peeling away layer after layer after layer, and I don't think there's an end in sight. ((sigh))

Today for Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie asks:

What do you wish to acknowledge yourself for?

And I want to acknowledge myself for, pat myself on the back for, continuing this difficult work of being radically honest about who I am and what I want out of life.

It can be difficult to pay close enough attention to our old stories to notice what is not working for us anymore. To deconstruct when we are holding onto old ideas that are holding us back.

Holding onto this idea of "novelists are the only real writers" has kept me from working on projects that are just screaming to be heard. Projects that deserve to be written.

Yesterday, I had another of these ideas about myself knocked down a few more pegs.

Over the weekend, I had my epiphany about how, at some very essential level, I am a dancer -- and not a yogi. As I pointed out then, I will continue to study yoga philosophy and all other yoga components (especially chant).

Little did I know on Saturday, there were still more layers waiting to be peeled in this area.

Yesterday late afternoon, I was doing a set of Kundalini Yoga (NOT Ana Brett, I would like to add!). I was putting my all into it and sweating and really feeling it.

When I was finished, Marcy asked me what was wrong.

"Nothing. I'm just tired." (Typical non-answer!)

We sat. I wasn't really talking. (Very unusual!)

Marcy asked again, "Really...what's the matter. You look...MAD."

She was right! I was mad! And what makes me madder than anything in the world (just about)? I get mad when I am (drum roll) Bored.

Oh. My. God. I was mad because yoga had bored me. My body wanted more. My body wanted the challenge of dance. The creativity of dance. The wild abandon and the mindfulness and the total unification of my mind, body, and heart of dance.

This is possibly not a popular thing to say: Yoga is boring me.* But there it is. And it's not about you; it's about me, and that is my truth.

(*Yoga has saved my mental health. It has brought me to where I am and I will still be a student of Ravi Singh and Ana Brett -- who are moving toward Yoga Dance themselves.)

I acknowledge that I am brave in my truth-telling.

And that is what is about you: are you brave in your truth-telling? Are you holding back some truth from yourself because it is not particularly popular right now? Do you do things because everyone else is and there must be something there for you too?

What Truth Story are you avoiding because it doesn't fit into your Idea of You?

(Text & Photo Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is the Spiritual Community Getting Boring?

Are the tools you're using to find bliss and enlightenment and happiness getting to be overused and boring!?

Do you need some excitement and fun in your spiritual quest?

I sure did, and I wrote about it today for Wish Studio. Check it out!

Twelve Results of Being True to Your Passion

Over the past many weeks, I must say...I am amazing myself!

I have now written and deleted just about three sentences trying to explain to you that I am not being conceited, and I am going to stop right there. Why do I feel compelled to do that?

It's true: I am amazing myself! (Now let it be, Christine!)

Something has shifted this year and it is beyond amazing and I am allowed to feel good about that.

I have worked my whole life to get to this point and I am going to own it and enjoy it.

What point have I gotten to, you ask? I am finally, finally, finally doing what I am meant to do.

I am dancing!

About fifteen years ago, I pretty much hung up my dancing shoes, and I started doing yoga, telling myself that it was a better movement model for aging. What? I was twenty five when I started saying this.

But two days ago, while doing a particularly wonderful dance workout, I had an epiphany.

I am not a yogi (though I will always do yoga and pursue its spiritual truths, don't get me wrong). I just mean that is no my primary identification.

Nope. I am a dancer! And I am yelling that loud and proud. My body loves dance. My body wants and needs dance. My body is dance.

It happened while I was lifting some small weights and warming up. I was supposed to then do a yoga routine. I could feel every fiber of my being resisting and I knew I could not face getting on that mat; I just wanted to dance. So that's what I did and then the epiphany came. Marcy came in and saw how my body was working and started to cry because she could see the epiphany.

Dance is my path, and for some, because of fear, fifteen years ago, I attempted to sublimate that into yoga. You can't do this. You must do what you were born to do.

I was born to write and to dance. Period.

Now, with this realization, I noticed some things about myself that have changed because of this doing what I was born to do. My body and heart had this epiphany weeks and weeks ago, of course, and my brain was just doing some catch-up.

I noticed some things that I think would apply to anyone. These are things that happen to your life when you admit and give in to your passion:

1. There is no not doing it. Resistance still exists. There are days when I internally whine about the sweating and the moving, but I do it anyway. And there is no doubt in my body that I will. My mind might be talkin' trash, but my body and heart know that it's full of crap.

2. As soon as I start dancing (as soon as you start "fill in the blank"), everything else just falls away. I am in the flow; I am the flow. There is nothing else. I am completely in the Now. There is no such thing as time or effort. My being and doing become one.

3. This joy permeates the rest of my life. It's as though I have finally met myself and with that comes this immense well of confidence.

4. I feel brave. Also from the confidence. I am a dancer, hear me roar.

5. I no longer have time for bullshit. I have stuff to do and it's important.

6. I no longer have time for negative people. I no longer have the need to be negative myself because I'm not hiding from myself so I'm not angry.

7. I am attracting a different sort of friendship into our lives now. Suddenly, we notice that there are all these people we know who are growers rather than destroyers.

8. I wake up energetic and ready to go.

9. As a friend of ours just said to us during a visit, "I feel like I am really living." Yep. Exactly.

10. Ravi Singh and Ana Brett like to say "feel like you can do one more...forever." That used to make me so freaking mad! But now, I get it. And I do feel like that. Whether with writing or dance, I feel like I can just go and go and go.

11. I am swimming in an ocean ideas and possibility.

12. Trusting that things will work out is coming so much more easily. Risk taking does not feel life threatening.

Now this may all sound like I am experiencing some sort of mania, except that I'm not, and how do I know this?

Because not only am I more myself but I am also still just myself. I am still a rather serious little animal with a tendency toward (cute, according to Marcy) grouchy-osity.

I am Me and More Me all at the same time.

What an adventure I have ahead of me!

How about you? What dream are you hiding from? You know the answer. It just popped into your head!

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Can We Really All Be Creative?

I woke up this morning with this very question in my head. My eyes weren't even open yet!

There are all these people out there "life coaching," and "soul coaching," and leading workshops about dreams and creativity and following your heart, and well...what the heck?

Can ALL of us really stay at home and paint pretty pictures for a living!? Or write poems or write books or be creativity gurus!?

This had me quite distressed and I wasn't even dressed.

And then it hit me: I am the product of the industrial revolution. We can pretty much thank Henry Ford for the mess we're in -- turning humans into cogs as he did.

Immediately, I realized how utterly important buying handmade is.

Imagine. The way we live now? This is a very small portion of human history -- this cog life. This waking to an alarm, getting into a car, streaming like ants to jobs that we hate, that no longer challenge us or make us feel alive.

We are so bored that we mistake material gain with happiness.

We are so bored with ourselves that we seek momentary relief by buying stuff. Then we go back to work at jobs we hate, so we can have the momentary relief yet again.

We go on vacations rather than living lives that are invigorating every day.

But imagine again, how it used to be.

Those shoes you're wearing? That dress? That necklace? The cup you pour your espresso in? It was all made by a person, and very likely, it was made by a person with whom you have developed a relationship.

Humans were not built for this life we live. We were truly built to be creative. Now we have dangerously and detrimentally limited the idea of creative to artists.

We often speak of the planetary destruction of the industrial revolution but take a moment to really contemplate what it has done to the human spirit.

If you are interested in topics like this, I highly recommend the book, The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time, by Matthew Fox.

He outlines what has happened to us and ways we could fix this.

He also shows how this all leads to boredom and how boredom leads to violence.

Being bored, not being creative, makes humans angry. As it should.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

ArtBliss: WeeArt Sale!

Marcy surely writes a very funny blog, co-starring our beautiful mini-rex rabbit, Miss Zoe (who happens to be quite the smart arse), but Marcy is also a painter. She hasn't been painting much, because of all the writing, but she is feeling some new work getting ready to come out of her.

So we have decided to try to clean out her Etsy store, Ordinary Enchantment, and we have, therefore, lowered the prices.

If you order one of these lovely originals, you may also find yourself getting a little something extra in the package!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

MysticBliss: Wild Woman Sister Joan Chittister

"If the people will lead, eventually the leaders will follow."
(Joan Chittister at the end of the above video.)

Amen to that! (The thesis of Blisschick is summed up right there.)

Many years ago, I was lucky enough to read this book by Sister Joan Chittister, who is one of the Wildest Women I know. (And who happens to live mere miles from the house in which I write this.)

She speaks out when she is told to be silent.

She writes about that which very few dare to write.

She speaks the truth about the Nonviolent Christ, the Hooker Loving Hippie whom I follow.

She dares -- dares -- to speak against war and torture and poverty and women's oppression. Imagine!

If you have never read her, take the time. This is not a Catholic Nun but a Wild Woman of Wisdom.

(In the above video, she really is especially wonderful after minute ten.)

(Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

MusicBliss: Some Recent Loves

Okay. I think that Rob Thomas is a totally amazing singer, but I think he produces a LOT of cheese. Sorry.

But this song is different, more worthy of him:

For something completely different, check this out! Who doesn't want those wings!?

I love her voice (it's always the voices with me, isn't it!?):

And because she is worth discovering over and over and over:

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Number One Reason Why The Secret & The Law of Attraction Will Not Work For You

I was working at the library's reference desk when The Secret got really big. I was putting it on hold left and right. The Book Snob in me automatically avoids anything that becomes this popular with the teeming masses so I decided not to read it or watch the movie version. But I knew what it was about.

I mean, you can't possibly live in this world right now and not know -- it's everywhere. Also, it's made of Pretty Obvious Stuff.

But it's made of obvious stuff distilled down to simplistic. Stick with me. Please. This is important.

I have a million problems with The Secret and the Law of Attraction, but I figured before I wrote about this in a blatant and public way, I better finally hunker down and watch the damn thing.

Which I did.

I was not at all surprised in any way. It was exactly what I had thought it was.

Lately, I've been coming across people writing about how there are people who are becoming more depressed than ever because the Secret -- which makes so many promises -- is not working for them.

It reminds me a little of people being surprised by their heart attack after following the Atkins diet and eating practically nothing but meat and eggs.

It's difficult to be healthy and fit and in shape. It takes Hard Work. The Atkins diet oversimplified that hard work, and oversimplified hard work most often leads to the reverse of the effect you wished for.

The Secret and the Law of Attraction do much the same thing.

There is no secret. All of what you need for enlightenment already exists in thousands of years of deep and thoughtful religious text. These texts have withstood the test of time. And if you are willing to sit with them, and do the work, you, too, will benefit from their wisdom.

There is no secret. The Buddha, Christ, the Hindu sacred texts, Shintoism, Taoism...they and more have said it all. And the main thing they all say is that you have to make your own way. Use me as an example, says the Buddha, says Christ, but walk your own path.

There is not taxi cab to the top of this mountain.

Take, for example, two sacred and deep wisdom traditions that the Secret turns into moosh.

First, "you create your own reality." Many traditions have a form of this, but let's look at Buddhism.

When a Buddhist says this, it's really about right perception. It's not about sitting on the meditation cushion and envisioning yourself in a Ferrari. It's about envisioning yourself as you are and being okay with that.

Being okay with that will bring you deep and abiding peace. This will make your reality line up with...your reality. This is a path to happiness that most people never bother to walk on.

Second, prayer. God is not a giant vending machine. Period. In a world of free will, prayer is a complex concept.

Prayer is not a List to Santa Claus in the Sky. Prayer is meant to bring you in alignment with Love.

And this all brings me to my larger point.

The number one reason why the Secret and the Law of Attraction won't work for you:

In order to know what you "want," you have to,
first and foremost, know who the hell you are.

And I'm sorry, but most of us do not.

When you do not know who you really are, your desires end up coming from all your False and Needy and Unloved and Stuck Chicks.

You want the big car because it will make you feel like a cool kid.

You want the big house because it will show your parents once and for all that you are a good person.

You want the money because you will finally feel power.*

(*I will say this again because not all of you reading this have been here for long: Money and cars and houses are not bad; it is what we are willing to do for them that can be bad.)

And all this time that you are trying to attract these things, your real desires, your real needs are dying from a lack of oxygen.

The need for more peace can't be heard above these ego needs.

The need for more authenticity can't be heard above these ego needs.

Getting past these ego needs is the work of a lifetime and no number of sticky notes on your bathroom mirror will help.

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

WishCasting: Peeling Away the Layers of the False

I write the Blisschick. I say this to differentiate from "I AM the blisschick." Rather, bliss is a path I attempt to walk every day through my choices and my actions. I do not claim I have attained any sort of proficiency in this!

Perhaps that gives me even more reason to write the Blisschick -- my own imperfections and strivings are, I would guess, more interesting than reading of someone who is so far above us in their self-actualization.

The point of all of this writing is really quite simple: Here is one woman trying to be who she is.

Now, sometimes, other people see us way more clearly than we see ourselves.

Take, for instance, an email I received yesterday.

I had to send a health form to a woman involved in a training I am doing this fall. I filled it out like I would fill out anything -- with naked honesty.

She wrote back to tell me that she had "never received such an ebullient form!"

Ebullient? What?

I told Marcy, who immediately started giggling and saying, "Oh, my, that is the most perfect word anyone has ever applied to you!"


Ebullient. Cheerful and full of energy. These are two ways I would not describe myself. I would say I am serious, a bit grouchy, and a bit lazy.

But I find that that is all false self -- false chicks -- when I dig deep and explore the stories that those words are simply indicators of.

(If you're interested in doing this kind of digging, this kind of work, consider coming to the workshop I'll be helping with at the end of September in Cleveland.)

And that is the biggest goal of all the work I do: to uncover all these false selves that weigh me down, pull me down, try to drown my True Self.

Jamie asked yesterday, for Wishcasting Wednesday, Who is the Who You Wish to Be?

I wish to be my True Self.

The one that other people see so easily because they do not carry my baggage. They see me in the moment. In this moment. As I am right now.

And right now it seems -- gosh darn it -- that I might just be Ebullient!

Who would your True Self be if you were willing to drop the baggage and take other people's (uplifting) opinions more seriously than your own (negative) opinions?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SharedBliss: Creativity MidWife Chris Zydel

Besides missing the music links from earlier posts, some of you have also mentioned missing the SharedBliss interviews. Specifically, you miss these glimpses into how other women are doing it -- how they are living these wonderful, wild, and free lives constructed from their own hearts' desires. No cookie cutters here!

Though they won't be every Wednesday, I am officially bringing the interviews back!

And what better way to start than an interview with this true WildWoman, Chris Zydel, creativity MidWife extraordinaire!

To get a quick feel for what she does, watch this beautifully produced (short) documentary, right here.

You can find her site here, her blog here, and you can tweet with her here.

Describe the PrimaryBliss of your life. How did you come to know that this was your PrimaryBliss?

My primary bliss is really anything that has to do with creativity and the creative process. I myself am constantly creating, whether it's through my art or writing or cooking or gardening or the way I dress or designing workshops or classes or creating my business. I am continually surprised by how thrilled, fascinated and captivated I still am by the whole creative process. I never get tired of it. It's the core of what drives me. It gives my life meaning and satisfaction and pleasure and yes, bliss!

In addition to my personal creativity, I also derive an enormous amount of delight from other people's creative efforts. I love going to art museums and live performances and reading really good writing and buying beautifully made jewelry and listening to all kinds of music.

Even if I don't particularly LIKE something, cause it's just not my style or taste, I am still really appreciative of someone else's creative efforts, and it makes me so happy to experience someone else's creative contribution to the world.

And finally, I get TREMENDOUS delight from supporting and encouraging other people to fully express themselves creatively. It fills my heart with such gladness to be part of someone else's full creative blossoming.

It took me a while to really get that creativity WAS my primary bliss, because, like a lot of people, I was confused by thinking that creativity meant that you had to have a certain level of artistic aptitude. Which is all wrapped up with notions of talent and sophisticated technique. I got all caught up in thinking that I had to be "good at" creativity in ways that I just couldn't be. That I had to be something that I wasn't. I forgot that creativity is not about what I produce but it is the compassionate acceptance of who I am. I forgot that creativity is really about allowing my life to be my work of art. I forgot that creativity is about being true to who I am and having the courage to shine and express my own unique gifts. I forgot that creativity is really, at it's core, an act of love.

What types of choices and sacrifices did you make to be able to craft this bliss-filled life?

One of my favorite books is a novel called Breakfast With Buddha by Roland Merullo which is the story of a normal kind of a Western guy, who gets tricked into taking a cross country road trip with a spiritual teacher . The guy is a nice guy who's a food writer for magazines and he's into the "good life"... making enough money, being successful, having a family and of course, delicious food.

So this odd couple stays in different hotels as they travel, and of course, the food writer wants to eat at all the best restaurants. And the spiritual guy eats hardly anything at all, and when he does, it's incredibly simple fare. The food writer asks him at one point why he lives a life filled with so much deprivation. And the spiritual guy kind of laughs and says "What deprivation? I do what I do because it's the sweetest most amazing pleasure that I know!"

So a lot of times people will look at me and my life and say things like "You work an awful lot! How do you do everything that you do? You are just so busy. I could NEVER do all of that!" Kind of assuming that my work is somehow a burden or unpleasant or something that is difficult.

But I LOVE what I do. And I love all of it. I love the classes and workshops and the relationships with my students and I actually totally get off on the marketing, and I love that running my business means that I get to be creative in so many varied ways. So yeah, maybe there are things that I don't get to do, things that I have sacrificed, although to tell you the truth I can't really think of what those things might be. It's not like I really SUFFER from not ever watching TV!!

How does your PrimaryBliss radiate out into the rest of your life?

My entire life is devoted to the creative process and that is reflected by being part of an ever growing sense of creative community. My life partner and husband, Tim, is the most creative person that I know. And HE is constantly creating. So our home is one big art studio. In fact when we bought our house the reason that we decided to buy it was that it already had an art studio built into it!! I am also surrounded by amazing creative people like my friends, my students, my colleagues, and now, this incredible online community of creative bloggers like yourself. So I am constantly being inspired and motivated by my community's creative efforts. It takes a village to foster true creative freedom and creative flourishing. So my creative bliss involves helping to create ever widening circles of creative community support.

What are some other activities that also give you this sense of bliss? Things that make you lose track of time?

Being out in nature is a big one for me. I love hiking in the mountains and in the desert and when I am there I totally lose track of time. The beauty and the aliveness of the natural world is where I get in touch with a tremendously powerful sense of the sacred. These places are my refuge, my temple, my church, the holy of holies. I know that the rocks and trees and streams and the earth itself are totally alive and I experience them as guides and mentors and healers. I talk to them all the time and feel completely supported and loved by their ancient and abiding wisdom. Two of may favorite places on the whole planet are the East Side of the Sierras which includes the high country of Yosemite National Park and the red rock desert of the Southwest, particularly Abiquiu, New Mexico which is where the painter Georgia O'Keefe lived and painted during the latter part of her life.

What is your daily or weekly spiritual practice?

It's funny cause whenever I come across this question I always get a moment of panic and think "Oh my goodness, but I don't HAVE a spiritual practice!" Which never made any sense to me cause my connection with spirit is core to my life. But I realized that what was panicking me was thinking that my practice had to look like something obvious, like formal meditation or daily chanting or prayer, that you make time for like you do for exercise. You know.... I'm going to sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day and then I can check THAT off the list!

But then, I remembered that I never do ANYTHING the way I'm supposed to, so why should this be any different? As I thought about it more I realized that there are a few things I do pretty religiously....which I guess constitutes a spiritual practice.

I'm also an astrologer, and when you look at someone's astrology chart, you can often see where they feel the strongest connection to spirit based on where the planet Neptune is located. My Neptune is in the house of relationships and it is also deeply connected to my Venus, the planet which is symbolic of the goddess of creativity and love.

Which is another way of saying that relationship and my creative process are my spiritual practices. I use my creative process as a way to learn to listen to my internal guidance in the form of my muse. Part of my practice has to do with the willingness to surrender to what my creativity is giving me at any given moment, to not second guess myself, to recognize that my creativity is really none of my business. What comes through me is not something I have any control over, and if I try and control it, I kill it.

I try and listen, really listen, to my intuition cause I know that it's one of the ways that spirit speaks to me. So that's kind of like prayer. And sometimes I even do what it tells me to!

I also experience my creativity as an opportunity to tap into a sense of the sacred and as a conduit to spirit. It's very clear to me that I have the most fun and I do my best creative work when I just get out of the way and let whatever wants to come through, come through.

Often when I am writing or painting, I have no idea where something is going until I'm part way into it. I might start writing a blog post, for example, and think that I'm going to be writing about one thing and then realize that spirit has other ideas! So it's my job to just surrender, to not fight what's coming or try and manage what's happening and force it in some other direction. When I do that, I just end up being very, very miserable.

It's also an ongoing opportunity to practice letting myself be enough. Which is huge for me. There's that part of me that is always comparing myself to someone else. I want to be different. I want to be better. I want to be more skilled at drawing or more articulate in my writing or have a better color sense or be more popular. And all I can do is be who I am.

So part of my practice is to do the best that I can do and then leave it alone. It's practicing reigning in the judging mind that always wants me to feel less than or ashamed or inadequate and keep my attention on the flow of creative energy itself. Because when I do that I have a way more fun. I try to remember that God/Goddess really wants me and really ALL of us to be creative. It's as natural to who we are as breathing.

Another aspect of my practice is a commitment to a life of open heartedness and compassion. I love that quote by the Dalai Lama where he says "Kindness is my religion." I make it a practice, and it really is a daily, moment by moment practice, to treat every person I meet with the utmost kindness, respect and generosity that I am capable of. And to try and remember to see past all the personality craziness that we are saddled with into the essential divinity that is truly who we are.

Now, goddess knows, as in any practice I fail at this more often than I succeed. But I do try to be very aware and conscious of when I'm NOT loving and compassionate. I really resonate with the concept of ahimsa which translates as harmlessness or non-violence and comes from the Hindu belief that God is in everything and so everything is sacred. Which means that if I want to stay on god's good side it's always a good idea to act nice and not spread my crankiness or crummy karma around!

So if I can't always be actively loving, I at least try to behave in ways that won't make things any worse than they already are. And like any practice, there are certainly days and times when it is easier than others. Probably my biggest challenges come when I'm driving. And then there's my completely annoying next door neighbor. And some unnamed family members. So, OK, it's NOT easy. But that's why they call it a practice. And of course, I have to try and include myself in this "do no harm" practice, which is often the hardest thing of all.

What music is your bliss?

Wow.... now there's a question! Is there a limit to the word count of this interview?? All I can say is that I have more than 9,000 songs on my iPod. And way more CD's that have yet to be downloaded! I like all KINDS of stuff and have different favorite things at different times.

Right now I'm really digging on the albums ( calling them that is showing my age here). Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krause, Short, Sharp Shocked by Michelle Shocked, Electric Arguments by the Fireman ( who is not so secretly Paul McCartney) Jaya Bhagavan by Tina Malia and Shimshai, Remembering Through Resonance by Fabeku Fatunmise, and StreetcoreStrummer and the Mescaleros.

I also love anything by Emmy Lou Harris, The Be Good Tanyas, Wade Morrisette, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Dead Can Dance, Lorenna McKennit, Bruce Cockburn, Jai Uttal, Regina Spektor, Tom Waits, Buddy and Julie Miller, Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors, Patti Griffin, PremBaaba Maal, Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, Jean-Jaques Goldman, Dar Williams, Leonard Cohen, Snow Patrol, Martine Locke, Townes Van Zandt, Joe Strummer, Rodrigo Y Gabriella, Blind Boys of Alabama, Ry Cooder, Lori B., Shabaz, Eva Cassidy, B-Tribe, Amos Lee, Steve Earle, Ray LaMontagne, Sheila Chandra, Sinead O'Connor, Indigenous, Ligabue, Solid Air, Moodfood, Shearwater,The Wailin Jenny's , Bob Marley, UB 40, Lyle Lovett, Krishna Das, Deva Premal, The soundtrack from the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "Once More... With Feeling", Eddie Veder singing absolutely ANYTHING at all, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Ramones, Keith Richards ballads, Maniko, Judea Eden, Chrissie Hynde, Tibetan Singing Bowls, GONGS make me swoon!!, anything that my musician husband writes.... I KNOW that I'm leaving out all KINDS that I totally adore but I think that I'll just stop here.

Name books or authors/poets or people who are your bliss, who influenced your bliss.

OK. Now answering this question is going to be as bad as the music question. If there are two things that I spend WAY too much money on it's books and music. And turquoise jewelry. But thank goodness you didn't ask me about that!

So here's another ( what I consider to be) short list: Walking On Water, by Derrick Jensen, Anything by SARK, Life, Paint and Passion by Michelle Cassou, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, Anything by Mary Oliver, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit, by Brenda Ueland, No Plot? No Problem! : A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Beatty, What We Ache For: Creativity And The Unfolding of Your Soul, by OriahShantaram by Gregory David Roberts, A Path With Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life, by Jack Kornfield, Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Compassion by Marshall Rosenberg, There is Nothing Wrong With You: Going Beyond Self-Hate, by Cheri Huber, Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies & The Truth About Reality by Brad Warner, Comfort Secrets for Busy Women: Finding Your Way When Your Life Is Overflowing by Jennifer Louden, Yoga and the Quest For The True Self, by Stephen Cope, Breakfast With Buddha by Roland Merullo, Soulcraft: Crossing Into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche by Bill Plotkin, Balancing Heaven and Earth: A Memoir of Visions, Dreams and Realizations by Robert A. Johnson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso, Destiny at Your Fingertips: Discover the Inner Purpose of Your Life & What It Takes To Live It by Ronelle Coburn, Breaking Open The Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into Contemporary Shamanism by Daniel Pinchbeck, The Canyon Of Remembering, by Lesley Poling-Kempes, The Wisdom Of No Escape and The Path of Loving Kindness by Pema Chodron, Sweat Your Prayers: Movement As Spiritual Practice, by Gabrielle Roth, My Stroke Of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey, by Jill Bolte Taylor, Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism and The Inexplicable Powers of The Human Mind by Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer, How Much Joy Can You Stand: A Creative Guide To Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True by Suzanne Falter-Barnes, Wild Heart Dancing by Eliot Soble, Free Play: Improvisation In Life And Art, by Stephen Nachmanovitch, In Search Of The Beloved by Steven Levine, The Power Path: The Shaman's Way to Success in Business and Life by Jose Stevens, Anything by astrologers Steven and Jodie Forrest.

What advice would you give to someone who feels they have not yet discovered their PrimaryBliss?

There are two things to look for: One, pay attention to what makes you happy. Follow your heart, even if it doesn't make sense. Oftentimes, ESPECIALLY when it doesn't make sense. I think that most people actually KNOW what their primary bliss is . They just talk themselves out of it because they think they shouldn't want what they want. Or they don't deserve to have what they want. Like the poet Mary Oliver says in her poem Wild Geese "You don't have to be good....You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

The second way is to follow the "back door path" that is related to some not so pleasant feelings. For example, notice what scares you, what the critic gets all over you about and what you envy in other people. If you find yourself really being attracted to and fascinated by something, and then the next internal message you hear is " Oh boy, I could NEVER do that. That's too hard, too much, will never happen, etc." you are probably on the right track.

Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share?

One of my favorite quotes is by the late great actress Ruth Gordon, and I THINK this quote actually comes from the movie Harold and Maude:

"Never give up, and never, under any circumstances, ever face the facts!"

And here's three more:

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

-Katherine Hepburn

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

-Meister Eckhart

It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.

-e.e. cummings

That back door path that Chris speaks of? Yep. That's the one this Chick is exploring right now and it is surely uncomfortable but I am moving forward anyway, and with guides like Chris, how can we go wrong?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Are We Avoiding Communal Responsibility?

I have taught in a very wide variety of environments. Very wide variety. I have taught at a wide variety of skill levels. Again, very wide.

So I know the truth of "you can't teach someone who isn't ready to learn." As a teacher, this is one way to stay sane. We remind ourselves daily that the student must make the choice to learn, that there is no forcing.

In what people call "new age" spirituality circles, much of the thinking is the same, but it's not necessarily from direct experience of the people of whom we speak.

It's more about humanity in general.

We look around and see all the pain, and it's too much for one person to take in, much less do anything about.

So we look for ways to make sense of it, and our favorite, currently, is the "everyone is sent here to learn different lessons" answer.

(I am NOT writing this in response to my reader comments -- which were wonderful -- but more as a general response to some twitter and other discussions. It's also just stuff that has been in my own head for a long time.)

I am wondering if we are not letting ourselves off the hook all too easily?

I am wondering if we are not getting dangerously selfish with this line of thinking?

I am wondering what the difference is between what calls itself "liberal" thinking and the thinking of people who say that the poor are poor because they are lazy. I mean, really.

Because the result of both lines of thinking is the same, isn't it? We do nothing. We just do nothing for different reasons. What we think of as "better" reasons.

Part of this post comes from my "messiah complex," which a fellow Scorpio once told me all Scorpios have. You know, I want to save the freaking world. I want everyone to be happy and healthy and self-actualized, and I think, on some level, that it's my responsibility to make this happen.

And, of course, that is impossible.

But what is enough? And perhaps more importantly, what is too little?

When are we just making excuses for our own laziness?

Who do we think is going to clean up this mess if not us?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who Grows to Know Their True Selves?

Sit anywhere for more than a few minutes -- a library, a chic restaurant, the public park -- and you will very quickly start to notice that there are a lot of pained and sad looking people around you.

As this happens to me, I find myself -- every single time -- wondering how people got like this, how they don't get "better," what choices they are refusing to make, and on and on.

First, let me get this out of the way: We can never ever know another's heart or soul. Period. I am making a lot of assumptions. But I am also an intuitive person who has the capacity for "quick reads." Ask anyone who knows me. This is a skill I have. (It also sometimes feels like a curse since I not only notice people's pain and sadness but absorb a lot of it.)

In human psychology, it is believed that all people who turn into abusers were themselves abused. The reverse is not true. Not all people who are abused go on to be abusers. Some of us decide to be different, to consciously break the cycle of abuse.

And again, here I get stuck.

What is the difference between the first type and the second?

I go round and round with this question, coming to all sorts of conclusions. I sometimes think it has everything to do with Karma and reincarnation. Then I think it has everything to do with emotional or other intelligence.

This past weekend, while reading a book by Jon M. Sweeney, it came up for me again:

...during our earthly lives...we either grow to know our true selves, ending our lives with a measure of joy and love...or we lose sight of what is true and instead fashion a false self that leads into alienation, darkness, and pain...

What is the difference between the first and second person in that description?

If you look at all the violence and war and hate in our world, we can fairly conclude that we are surrounded by that second sort of person.

How do we help them? Can we help them?

What do you think about all of this?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Creativity, Yoga, & Being Interviewed

This morning, you can find me over here, being interviewed by Sweet Connie of the Dirty Footprints Studio -- one of my evil cohorts in the Creative Dig Workshop.

I talk about how I teach writing, how and why I will be including a yoga component, and how honesty is the most important creative tool you have.

I also get to list what things make my life Juicy!

Check it out!

I'll be back later with more!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

MysticBliss: Wild Woman Tori Amos

If you review the Eccentricity Revolution for Wild Women manifesto, you would agree with me that Tori Amos is an OFFICIAL Wild Woman!

From her style to her blatant honesty, she is an inspiration for those of us just setting off from our cages.

Here's a little something.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

MusicBliss: Rabbits Make Great Music!

If you've read Blisschick from early on, you know I used to post new music every. single. day. It got to be a bit of a chore. Which I never want music to be.

But some of you have said you miss this. And so do I. I just won't be doing it quite so frequently, but consider MusicBliss reinstated!

Here is a song (and VOICE) that I am utterly obsessed with right now (I dare you not to feel energized by it):

Friday, August 14, 2009

Does Money Make You Feel Creepy as a Creative or Healer?

Have you ever felt confused about the "value" of your work? Do you feel compelled to give away your art but, at the same time, would like to make a freaking living doing what you love?

Do commerce and art feel like opposites to you?

Does money make you feel "dirty" as a creative or healing type?

I'm writing about this issue today over at Heather Plett's new blog, What Are You Giving Away?

Check it out!

enCouragingBliss: Dissolving Your StuckChicks

Yesterday, while writing about the necessity of having positive people around you and your Precious Dreams, I mentioned that one of my main StuckChicks is OtherPeopleBringMeDownChick.

She is a strong one.

She is that Chick who thinks, well, other people must see the world or me or my dreams more clearly than I do. They must know some secret of which I am unawares. Maybe they are even trying to help, save me embarrassment or heartache or from just wasting my time.

This Chick surely knows how to spin the tales.

And her spinning creates a web-filled, dark place in my mind and heart. I get downright clogged from these webs, which she spins too fast for my dust cloth to catch.

When I was younger, OtherPeopleBringMeDownChick was the go-to Chick for most-assured-to-stop-me-in-my-tracks action.

I would end up looking like Frodo in that creepy spider part of the Lord of the Rings.

But now I have my own Sam -- or more accurately, a whole arsenal of Sams.

Of course, there is my partner Marcy. If you don't have one of these, I highly recommend getting one. She sees me, I sometimes imagine, in the same light that a Guardian Angel must. I know that my dreams are not silly or a waste of time because they glow her up -- and that in turn, glows me up.

But what I really want to talk about is the power of Sweat.

You read that right: Sweat.

Sticky, salty, runs-from-your-pores Sweat.

I guarantee you that any of your StuckChicks will dissolve in Sweat. (And if I sound like a used car salesman, then so be it. This is my Guarantee!)

I've said before that it's important for us to pay attention to, spend some time with, really listen to these StuckChicks. And it is.

But sometimes, it's equally as important to just get them the hell out of the way.

Dissolve them. In Sweat.

That friend who popped my Happy Balloon really affected me. And that StuckChick started spinning away in my mind and heart. Before I knew it, this BlissChick was feeling pretty lethargic and apathetic toward her Precious Dreams.

I started turning my back on them, or at least, I was looking at them through slit eyes, wary of them, not so sure anymore that they were as Glittery and Pretty as I had once thought.

In the back of my mind and deep in my heart, I knew this was untrue. I knew someone was messin' with me.

So I turned on the tunes and put my whole self into a gloriously sweaty, wear-myself-out, kick-my-own-ass dance workout.

OtherPeopleBringMeDownChick got real quiet. Her spinning stopped. Pretty soon, I could feel her gasping. And oh, how I just laughed at her!

You know -- the scene in the Wizard of Oz! Pretty soon that Chick was just melting all over the place, and not for one minute did I feel bad. I mopped her up and watered some plants.

For today's enCouragingBliss, this is my question for you:

What physical activity does this for you? And why aren't you doing it every day?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Picking a Practically Perfect Positive Posse is Pressing

(I apologize for the overdone alliteration; it happens.)

A lot has been going on in this Chick's life -- a lot of really Good Stuff, including the Creative Dig Workshop (don't forget to sign up!) and a bunch of as-yet-unannounced Goodness.

Recently, I was sharing some this Amazing Goodness with a friend. I'm sure you've had a similar experience too many times.

I was expressing my excitement over having conquered some issues with discipline. I no longer even contemplate missing my dance workouts or my yoga. This simply is Who I Am -- someone who dances or does yoga every single day.

I was feeling extra high about this. My story telling was exuberant; my hands were flying!

When I was done, there was barely a response. I'd felt little listened to.

My friend looked at me and said, "Hm! Well, I guess we'll see if you can maintain that."

One sentence. That's all. And it was like a freaking knitting needle to my happy balloon.

It has taken me days to remember that I have spare balloons in my back pocket.

This would be one of my StuckChicks: OtherPeopleBringMeDownChick.

It took me days to remember where I had heard that sentence before. It took me days to remember that I am no longer that sweet child who was so beaten down that a mere glance would stop her in her happy dance.

It took me days to realize that this person is So Unhappy that spreading unhappiness can feel like a way to allay their own bad feelings.

It took me days to realize that all of this is part of This Year's Learning.

Here's the point: Positive People are vital to your Precious Dreams.

Negative Nellies will pop your balloon or take in hand that fragile, shiny glass globe, pretending interest, and then "accidentally" drop it.

We have to stop showing these people our balloons and glass globes.

There are plenty of people in this life who marvel at balloons and who handle glass globes with cotton gloved hands.

When I ask you this question, you will immediately have an answer. Sadly:

Who in your life is not worthy of knowing your Precious Dreams? Sometimes these are the very people we most want to make an impression on. Just stop.

Negative people are like Death but worse, because they bring a Dying to all that is Good and Beautiful in this Life.

Conversely, it is Positive People who should be in your Dream Posse. They breathe life into the most embryonic dreams. They grow beauty behind them wherever they walk.

Who in your life is worthy?

Who in your life will protect those Dreams and even help you to build them?

Who in your life knows the value of your Heart?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Door Behind the Wardrobe

Jamie Ridler's question for Wishcasting Wednesday,

What Door Do You Wish to Open?

brought to mind a dream I had. One of those dreams that stays with you and leaves a deep emotional imprint.

Here's the dream:

I'm in a very large and old house. Rambling does not begin to cover it. Hallways down hallways down hallways and doors upon doors upon doors.

I am being chased. Typical for me. I am opening door after door and running through rooms only to find more doors and more hallways, but I can still hear them coming. It's a heavy boot sound.

Finally, I enter a room, a small bedroom, that is dark and cozy, thick with oranges and reds and the yellow glow from a small lamp. I realize that I'm trapped. There are no more doors. This room does not even have a window.

But there is an old wardrobe overflowing with light, diaphanous materials. Flowing, feather edged robes. All very feminine. I know that if I move that Wardrobe aside there will be a door, and I know with more certainty that it is a place where I will be safe.

The heavy boots will not be able to follow me there.

So I push it aside and there is a door and as soon as I walk through it, I'm in a different world. A world of peace and calm and beauty and I know that the door has closed behind me and that the wardrobe will protect me.

I am in an attic. A very long and narrow attic that is lined with windows. Beautiful windows with curving eves. I know they look like lidded eyes from the outside. The glass is leaded and lined. Some of the windows are open and a breeze enters. I walk over and out the windows is a lush and green and rolling landscape.

I realize that this room was once a nursery. You know, the old fashioned kind where there was a nanny and boys in short pants and everyone was happy in this place. I can feel it. It is filled with beautiful toys.

So my wish for today is to open the door to that attic nursery inside of me. To understand completely what this dream is telling me.

How about you? Have you had a dream that stuck with you like this even years later? What did you learn from it?

(Photo & Text Copyright, Christine C. Reed,, 2009)