Tag Archives: positive attitude

Tutu Brain Power

They say games increase brain power, so why not tutu games? And besides, you know about the research related to play and fun, right? Fun boosts morale and self-esteem, not that any of us have a problem with these but just in case, have a little fun once in a while.

I’ve created several tutu games … not because I have so much extra time while I write my memoir. Truth is, I need the distraction since I’m near completion. I’m working on a tutu chapter in my memoir about the battle of tough vs tutu. Continue reading

The unPrison Project: Freedom on the Inside

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is my journey now, to walk out of silence and secrecy and use my voice. Not always easy for one like myself who spent many years silent, sometimes mute, and always with a secret held from the world: my prison birth, one of many secrets, many stigmas which I thought made me less than others.

Not anymore though. I’ve come to believe we create other prisons for ourselves and my story just happens to be one of extremes. I’m hard at work on writing my memoir so I can share my journey with you.

Fast forward a few years. I’m now Continue reading

The Mother Who Waited

The week of Thanksgiving, and I pause to recall the five days of solitude I took years ago at a retreat run by Franciscan nuns. I also joined them in their vow of silence for those days.

I committed myself to frequent silent retreats then, to write with more seriousness, by now relieved to end my long-lasting rebellion against my parents and their careers, both English professors and writers.

This particular retreat, in the dead of winter in Wisconsin woods, landed me in a one-room cabin heated by a wood stove. I’m a city girl and had to learn how to keep the wood dry and ready to stoke the fire. I loved the challenge, and rather than write that week, I meditated about my mother and our battle of a relationship.

This is the mother who endured a few decades of my rejection as I reminded her she wasn’t my “real” mother. This is the mother whom I plotted to gas to death, and also the woman whose face my fist grazed before it punctured sheet rock, my every bone shattered in my right hand.

This is the mother who stood by me no matter what, the mother who waited, as did my father, for me to come out the other side of hate, fury, and pain.

My parents adopted me around three or four from foster care. Before foster care I’d spent a year with my other mother in prison. When authorities removed me around age one, I unconsciously held out for over twenty-five years for my prison mother to “come get me,” held out without knowing it.

Fast forward through a disturbed childhood and a more troubled life as a teen and adult, a life of drugs, crime, and violence. When my mother was in her 70s and I was thirty-something, I finally “hired” her as my Mother. At last the girl my parents adopted, turned into their daughter.

This is the mother I never mention on-line. I don’t Tweet about her, or blog with stories about us (the way I do about my prison mother.) Not exactly a Facebook status update kind of woman.

At last I learned to release the past, to accept what I imagined for years would never happen — my return to live in prison with my other mother. At last I opened my heart to the woman who loved me day in and day out, even when, and probably especially when, I’d been estranged and absent for years.

Along with acceptance, gratitude replaced anger. Compassion and forgiveness healed our wounds. I learned the art of forgiving. I forgave my mothers, forgave myself.  The journey to achieve our redemption, my own and ours as a family, is the story of the memoir I’m working on.

For the two years up until this retreat, almost every weekend I flew to visit my mother, now in chemo treatments for ovarian cancer. I had to catch up for a lot of years. We’d sit and read magazines, watch TV, and nap together. I massaged her swollen feet, puffed from cancer now in her liver. We talked, something new for us.

I flew in on the Thanksgiving after my silent retreat in the Wisconsin woods and my mother sat, almost a pile of bones, in her wheelchair through the whole dinner. She scolded me when I tried to force feed her whipped cream. Some hours after I arrived that day, right after our family feast, my older brother wheeled her back to bed. She died in my hands, my father and brother on the other side of her hospital bed.

I’m grateful for our victory, the six or so years of our mother-daughterness. Without this, I’d be a different person, not a woman speaking in prisons, not a writer. Probably not a mother myself. She’s the woman who taught me to see humor even in the darkest of moments.

I’m convinced my mother waited until Thanksgiving, waited for my arrival, to die. Every Thanksgiving week I honor her, my mother’s stamina, her maternal endurance to wait for me for thirty years to accept her.

Sometimes attachment takes a long time. This is the woman I call Mother.

R & R: Rebound and Recovery

We all need to replenish and renew ourselves. This is a working list for ways I know  to nurture a depleted mind, body, and spirit. I’ll continue to add as I think of things.

What did I leave out?





Cranial sacral therapy

Therapy (who hasn’t put some therapist’s kids through college?)

Beach, sand, sun, ocean

Korean salt massage

Thai massage

Good food

Healing ritual in water

Work out



What else?

These aren’t  necessarily in any particular order and if they can all happen in the sun on a beach, even better!

Mutt Meditation #18: Enough! Something has GOT to change

Why not take a deep breath, and reset what doesn’t work in life?

Change is an adventure. I’ve re-invented myself a number of times. It’s fun actually, not only in the end, but also along the away even when it’s agitating. I keep what works, and shed the rest. (I have no idea where it goes, but it goes.)

So take several deep breaths. Make sure your footing is firm, and get ready to press, or bang, your reset button.

I’ve created a flow chart for my “Enough” moments, that Something has GOT to change notion that hits me when the time is right.  Does that happen for you?

Mutt Meditation #17 and Quiz: Do You Need a Mother-Mutt…mentor, spiritual advisor, or life coach?

Read the full article here, on Huffington Post.

It’s all the rage now to reach out and touch, to find someone who can help you make sense out of life: a mentor, spiritual advisor, or life coach. Call it what you will, pretty much anyone you trust and has insights that you don’t have can fit into this category that I call Mother-Mutts. (These can be male or female.)

If you’re lucky like me, you’ll be surrounded by Mother-Mutts: those who like to step in and, well, get a little bossy. Let’s just name it. Never mind disguising their wisdom as advice, suggestions, or guidance. It’s bossy!

Here’s the weird part, especially for me. When they say jump, I jump. Usually.

That’s because I trust my instincts when someone knows A LOT more than I do. Even a little bit more. I wouldn’t be alive, out of prison, and happy-healthy-free if it weren’t for all the people who pitched in with their insights and said, “Hey, Deborah, have you considered…” or “You might want to think twice about that.” This last, I’ve heard a million times. Makes me want to smack ‘em upside the head, but they’re right. (Besides, I’d never do that.)

I highly recommend finding mentors, and don’t be afraid to listen. How are you going to learn anything if you don’t listen? You do want to learn, don’t you?

Take the Quiz on Huffington Post and find out if you need a Mother-Mutt …mentor, spiritual advisor, or life coach.

Mutt Meditation #16: Take the High Wire Walker Attitude

A good mutt life is something akin to acrobatics. You might wobble, but do whatever you can to get to the other side.

I’m fascinated by the circus. Especially the highwire.  Most anything adventurous with an element of risk — it’s for me.  In fact, I filled out the application for circus school at one time. You’ll have to wait until I’m done with my memoir to find out what happened.

There’s nothing like the thrill of  living on the edge but now that I’m all grown up (did I really say that?) I make sure my thrills aren’t too life threatening.

Back to the circus. Tightwire is the art of maintaining balance while walking along a tensioned wire between two points. Highwire is the same as tightwire but at much greater height. In French, it’s called Funambule. Isn’t that a little too close to fumble?

In China, ‘Dawazi’ or high wire walking has a 430-year history. Jews don’t do this, I’m sure, but I’ll check with that branch of my people.

Tightrope walkers sometimes use balancing poles and might even perform the feat without a safety net. That adds to the excitement for us on-lookers! There’s got to be some extra thrill for the walker, too, especially if she’s on a wire 2100 feet over the Yangtze River.

The biomechanics go something like this. Tightrope acrobats maintain balance by positioning their center of mass directly over their base of support, i.e. shifting most of their weight over their legs, arms or whatever part of their body they are using to hold themselves up.

My point? It never helps to be rigid in life. And if you’re a mutt, you need to flex and flow more than others. Remember, we’re all a mutt in one way or another. So find a base of support, shift a little when you need, and hold on. It helps a little to hope for the best, and keep a positive attitude.

Thought for the day: Look inside your muttilicious self. Find your center. Dig deep and seek balance. And don’t wait four hundred years.

Don’t ask about Mutt Meditation #1 through 15. They’re scattered throughout this blog, and not numbered yet.
I know, my non-linear scramble is enough to drive any reader crazy. I’m still working on lining up my brain waves. Who knows, maybe it’s the heroin-at-birth thing.

Who in the World Invented Track Changes?

Fuller article here: Huffington Post

Is anyone in their right mind able to really work with all the action behind track changes in a document? What’s with all the lines and colors and highlighted material?

I know it’s useful but how can it be good if the whole experience of working with Track Changes in a document is like a circus on the page, more like a prison of words walking on a high wire with a light show underneath, arrows and dotted lines stabbing about the page.

I’m rebelling against it. What happened to just using the delete feature, and the keyboard for new data entry?

I’m back to the whole idea that simplicity is best. Flash fiction over grand lengthy works. Haiku rather than epic poems.

Six word memoirs instead of the whole self-focused 400 pages of me-me-me. But, I’m working on one of those, so I better get busy.

I’d love to see votes – email me or comment here: which do you prefer? Grand ambitious pages or a few select simple words (where there’s not need for Track Changes)?

Not everything that is faced can be changed …

But nothing can be changed until it is faced.    ~ JAMES BALDWIN.

I’ve figured out that if we are to live a life laced with possibility, it means meeting challenges and setbacks straight on, nothing sideways. With blinders removed, we can look at life’s bigger picture, and dive into the unknown.


Don’t you love that, though? The mystery,  adventure, and challenge of this exploration — this explosion called life.

Anyway, it’s better than the alternative. (No life.)

Eureka! Where Are Your AHA Moments?

(Clink link below for full article in Huffington Post)

Where do your AHA moments come from? Do you plod, or do flashes of inspiration hit you out of nowhere?

I’ve been curious about these instincts and I explore that core in all of us in my new article on Huffington Post.

Here’s an excerpt from my article about what I call Brain Buzz:


From experience, I’ve come up with five tips for everyday living that can help inspire our flashes of imagination that can lead to creativity – Aha moments:

• Find quiet moments to shut everything down.
• Save time in the morning for a stream of consciousness to take notes on whatever comes to mind. No judgment. You never know where this stream can lead you. Jot notes rather than think.
• Keep a way to record your ideas in the moment, whether in the car, by your bed, in your briefcase or bag. Notebook, scratch paper, recording device, anything to make sure you don’t lose a word or phrase that you want to develop later.
• Have someone to spring your ideas off. Other people will surely offer a new perspective.
• Keep an eye and ear open for quotes, images, headlines that can buzz your brain with new ideas.

All in all, pay attention to life and stay open to new possibilities of being in the moment. It’s not about forcing our Eureka moments. It’s about making room for flashes of inspiration.

You’ll be surprised what can happen!