A Toe Head’s Little Adventure


Just Hanging Out!

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I decided to re-post LIGHT (12/22/16) as it still resonates with me during this holiday season.  May you find your own inner spark, and may it shine bright!

Hello My Beauties,

So, I was thinking about LIGHT and why we cover our trees and houses and windows with sparkly lights, why this time of year is especially magical….

There are the obvious reasons, Jesus’ birth, Hanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice… the time where family comes together when many of us are apart the rest of the year.

But it goes deeper than that. This time of the year lights are everywhere ~ the night fairly sparkles here in our little valley. Solvang has white lights wrapped around the trees that line Highway 246, and you can’t help but feel the magic in the crisp night air.

What the lights do for me is remind me, that even on the darkest of nights, all you need is a spark and the dark becomes embraced by the light.

For me, that spark is joy.

In an earlier blog post, Buckets, I wrote about how we need to keep our buckets of joy and gratitude and love and hope full so on the darkest of days, we know we have what we need to heal ourselves.

This time of the season can be especially trying for some, for others it is the most joyous of occasions. In either case, perhaps the sparkly lights we see everywhere can serve as another type of bucket ~ a touchstone to remind us that we too are made of LIGHT and Stardust and… Magic.

Perhaps we lace our houses and trees with bright lights in response to December and January being the darkest of nights and in some places in the world, the bitterest cold. Perhaps we do this because LIGHT represents safety and warmth and welcome.

And in the darkest of nights, don’t we all need the hope, that at least somewhere in the world, we are welcome, wanted, that we matter?

I am very fortunate. I know I am welcome, that I am wanted, that I matter. But what if you don’t feel that way? What if no one is there to remind you that you are a miracle just because you are the only YOU in EXISTENCE? The Light is like a slap in the face, a constant reminder of what you DO NOT HAVE and what you WANT with ALL of your being….  What then?

The answer, My Beauties is: BE YOUR OWN DAMN BEST FRIEND. Do for yourself what no one else is.

Love yourself like there is no tomorrow, because in fact, there might not be.

Laugh because you are alive.

Tilt your face up and let the rays and warmth of the sun fill you with light and know that LIGHT recognizes LIGHT ~ that you are a mirror of all that is above and all that is below.

Tilt your face up and let the cool glow of moonbeams enfold you, whisper that you too are of the Night. That you too belong among the Stars, that the diamonds that sparkle far, far above are OF you.

Let the breeze tickle your skin with your hair, a gentle caress to remind you, you are cherished.

Watch a butterfly dance upon the air and know that once it was a caterpillar. Know that within its cocoon the caterpillar literally turned to mush and goo so that it could then, and only then, blossom into its true self.

Hug a dog. Let it lick your face in greeting and feel its unconditional joy at meeting you as if it is for the first time, every time.

Listen to a baby laugh with unfettered joy and then bring that joy into your being so the spark can be relit.

Blow gently on that spark of joy with self-compassion and watch the flames catch, the fire grow.

You are of the LIGHT.

You are made of LIGHT.

Be your own LIGHT if no one else will.

As you shine, your LIGHT will be the beacon for someone else hidden in the deep, dark night terrified to move because UNTIL YOU, it has been black as pitch.

It only takes a spark.

LIGHT is all around you. LIGHT is in every fiber of your being. LIGHT is WHO YOU ARE.

The DARK, My Beauties, is there to show you this TRUTH.

So shine and shine bright.

Blessings and may all the LIGHT that you are, fill your being with joy and love and self-compassion and acceptance.

Isn’t that the best birthday, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, and just any-old-day gift you can give yourself?


IN JOY and limitless Gratitude.



The golden-white lights of Solvang, Ca.  Peace, Grace, and Ease this holiday season to all of you, My Beauties!


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Happy Thanks

Hello My Beauties,

I know Hanukkah ended last eve, Winter Solstice is today, and Christmas is right around the corner (already?!  how can this be?!), but I wrote this for you, My Beauties, a week after Thanksgiving, and decided to post it today.  Who really cares about physical timing anyway?  It’s the divine timing that matters most.

Holy holy holy.  You

Are a miracle

Precious in every way

Perfect by design

You are the only YOU there is ~ one in a million, billion, trillion….


Take the time to get to know who you are

Hold yourself close, whisper sweet nothings, and know you are loved

Angels watch over you, giggling with you, crying with you, loving you always 

Notice the little things, let them tickle your fancy, make you smile

Kiss a bunch of frogs and be your own prince or princess

Savor the sweet and the salty, the bitter and the tangy for all of it, all of you, is LIFE

Thank you for all you do, for all you are.  Thank you for loving me and supporting me.  THANK YOU for finding within your own good enough-ness and joy and love and laughter and light and sharing it with the world.  Thank you for showing up and for taking this journey with me — and we’re just getting started!

I am the better for knowing each of you.

Blessings and in ever ending JOY,


We hold each other in our hands and in our hearts.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Hello My Beauties,

I’m sooo excited to share this with you!  I was invited to write a guest post for my new friend, Lauren Cook, THE Sunny Girl.  Lauren spoke here, in Santa Ynez for the National Charity League, and we hit it off immediately!  There is a reason she calls herself THE Sunny Girl, Lauren exudes happiness and warmth and a kind of compassion that comes from listening and talking with hundreds of middle school, high school, and college students nation wide about gratitude and finding the sunny side to life.  Lauren writes:

“Happiness is about loving an imperfect life for all of its little splendors and failures. My goal is to help you get there—so that you can find gratitude in the good and bad days and find the blessings in between.”

Now you know why we connected so perfectly ~ we share the same message, helping girls and women, and boys and men too, cultivate more joy in the everyday.  You can find my guest post below or read it at Lauren’s website, THE Sunny Girl.  Lauren made it so pretty too!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I am happier now than I’ve ever been, but I can remember as a teenager crying in the shower because I was so sad.  And the saddest part?  I didn’t even know why the gut wrenching tears had me curled in on myself on the shower floor.

I now know ‘why’.  It was because I was missing me.  The me that was my potential, the joyous, loving, kind person I could be.  The smart me, the me that actually followed through, the me that didn’t hold back because I was so afraid.  Afraid, of what exactly, I didn’t know.

Have you ever felt that way?  Afraid and sad and angry, sometimes all at the same time, and not really knowing why?

Many of my girlfriends felt the same way I did, but back then, we didn’t know how to talk about it, let alone how to deal with such a quagmire of ick.  If I knew then, what I know now, maybe I wouldn’t have lived so long with despair and the idea that I wasn’t smart enough, or good enough.

In case no one has told you lately, my dear Sunny Girl, YOU are good enough just the way you are.  You are a miracle.  After all, you are the only YOU there is.  You are a precious being with untold gifts waiting to be unwrapped by you, for you.

But how do you move from feeling so sad and confused and angry to finding joy in the everyday?  You become a gardener, the kind that tends to your heart and mind and body and soul.

Try these 4 steps to become the cultivator of good enough-ness and joy in your life.

  • Step 1:  Make a Decision
  • Step 2:  Create Some Space to Grow
  • Step 3:  Plant the seeds of Gratitude and Joy
  • Step 4:  Tend with Great Care

Step 1:  Make a Decision

Every day, people are telling you what to do.  Your parents, your teachers, even your friends have an opinion on who you should be, how you should act, feel, dress….  But what if YOU decided you want things to be different?  That YOU are tired of being sad, or angry, or quiet.  The first step is acknowledging you want things to be different and then making room in your mind and heart and body and soul for things to be different.

Step 2:  Create Some Space to Grow

To plant a garden, you need a sacred space.  That sacred space is YOU, my dear Sunny Girl.  But if you are full of anger, and sorrow, and shame, or blame, or the dis-ease of not good enough-ness, some serious weeding is in order.  It’s hard to bloom, when you’re suffocating from weeds of negativity.

The best way I know to weed out negativity is to write it out.  Grab some paper and a pen, and write for 3 whole pages without stopping.  This is not a grammar or spelling test.  There is no censor here.  Think of this as yanking free the weeds of ick and letting them land on the page.  Write whatever comes up and spills out.  By putting your feelings on the page, you’re preparing the soil for a new crop of seeds ~ of ideas and feelings ~ to prosper and grow.

Step 3:  Plant seeds of Gratitude and Joy

What are the seeds you want to plant in your newly tilled soil?  This is your garden.  Perhaps you want to nurture more forgiveness in your life, or the willingness to try new things.  Maybe laughter is what you want to see bloom, or the knowledge that you are good enough, smart enough, strong enough….  There is no limit to what you can grow in the garden of your mind and heart and body and soul.

Planting seeds of gratitude and joy are game changers.  Nothing has shifted my attitude from feeling not good enough to loving who I am faster or with more grace.  Start by keeping a Gratitude Journal.  A simple list at the end of the day about what you are thankful for shifts your focus from lack to abundance.  And suddenly your whole world is about what is working, instead of what isn’t.  Know that some days will be full of sunshine and your gratitude list will pour out of you.  Other days will be stormy and grey, and all you might be able to come up with is being grateful the day is finally over.

A Joy Journal is like a Gratitude Journal, only its focus is on what makes you feel good.  Before I go to bed, I write down a list of the things from the day that made me smile, made me laugh, made me feel better.  Anything that brings me joy, from a humming bird whizzing by my ear, to the comfort of my own bed, gets written down.

I am a true believer in what you focus on blossoms in your life.  I don’t know about you, but I got tired of my angst growing stronger and stronger every day.  Of feeling like I did everything wrong.  Of not trusting myself and thus, not being able to say ‘no’ to what I no longer wanted in my life, or even ‘yes’ to those things I did.  Whether you decide to keep a Gratitude Journal or a Joy Journal each will help put in perspective that your garden needs both the rain and the sun to flourish.

Step 4:  Tend with Great Care

Remember, a gardener must not only prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, but pull the weeds that persistently keep popping up for the days and weeks and months it takes while waiting for the crop to come to fruition.  This is a gardener’s tender loving care.

My Sunny Girl, remember YOU are the gardener AND the garden.  Tend to yourself with great care while you are growing.  Drink plenty of water, eat good food, sleep more, be creative, exercise, laugh often and laugh hard.  Surround yourself with people who tend to YOU with great care.  It’s hard to nurture the precious seedlings of I am good enough, I am thankful, I am full of joy, when those around you keep stomping all over your precious seedlings.

Gardening is not an easy undertaking.  Neither is shifting your head and heart and body and soul from the darkness into the light.  Be gentle.  Be kind.  Ask for help when you need it.  Wake up each morning ready to pull the weeds of negativity and dump them on the page so you don’t carry them around with you.  Read your Gratitude Journal or your Joy Journal as a reminder of why you are tending to YOU.  Listen to that still small voice within that whispers, “YES, you CAN.”

It is my greatest wish for you that your garden, your LIFE, be bursting forth with the flowers of good enough-ness, and joy and gratitude, and anything else YOU choose to plant in your body and mind and heart and soul.  And may the occasional weed help you pause and take the time to re-evaluate where you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it.  After all, a weed is a kind of flower.  And YOU get to decide if it stays or if it goes.

Happy Cultivating!


THE Sunny Girl with Lauren Cook


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Fear Relegated to the Backseat

Fear Relegated to the Backseat

Hello My Beauties,

So, something really fabulous happened to me last week in the dentist’s chair – I was healed.

Some back story is necessary.  I was one of those kids who was always at the dentist.  Every molar I had, had a filling.  My teeth were large and so in third grade, I had oral surgery and I had 8 teeth removed, 4 baby teeth and 4 permanent.  Thank Mom, the Bionic Woman, and smushed up aspirin with honey and lemon getting me through that one. I had braces, like fooorrreeevvvvverrrr, with a lovely neck gear I wore in fourth and fifth grade.  I had 6 wisdom teeth ~ yes, I was waaayyy wiser beyond my years.  And, I have always and in ALL ways loathed shots.  And let me tell you, the shots from the dentist were the worst, EVVVVVVERRRRR!

Fast forward to my being an adult and not taking great care of myself ~ meaning, I stopped going to the dentist.  1.  I had no insurance for a while.  2. I didn’t like my dentist.  3.  I was afraid of what they’d find.  And….  You get my meaning.  Fear was driving and I was relegated to the back seat, shivering in dread.

When I finally did get really good about taking care of myself, ALL of my Self, I went to a new dentist.  And it was okay.  Not fun, but okay.  When they told me I had to have my gums planed because there was this black gunk growing beneath my gums and a regular cleaning wouldn’t get rid of it, I said yes.  Scared to death, but I did it anyway.

That was over ten years ago.  Now, I get my teeth cleaned every three ~ four months.  I’m lucky that way, my body likes to create plaque.  And that means I get to see my smart, capable, beautiful, kind, funny hygienist 3 ~ 4 times every year.  We’ve become FRIENDSI KNOW she is not trying to hurt me.  Neither is my dentist for that matter, he is a delightful man too.  We are now allies.  BIG SHIFT!!! 

But… this realization was easy to accept logically, even spiritually.  Emotionally was a WHOLE other matter.  I still walked into the dentist office shaking with anxiety and sweaty with fear.  I would have to pee, like every ten seconds.  I would forget to breathe.  And you know, when you forget to breathe, everything hurts worse.

It was time to do some SERIOUS soul work.  Every time I went to the dentist I would take my inner child by the hand to our favorite beach in my mind.  Her safe haven.  There she’d play in the warm, salty bay, dig in the hot sand, laugh on the jungle gym while hanging upside down….  She was taken care of, so that grownup Shannon ~ meaning me ~ could handle sitting in the dentist chair and allowing them to do their thing to help me, keep me healthy.

I repeated this process days before I went to the dentist, before I walked into the dentist’s office, even while sitting in the dentist’s chair.  My inner child self was taken care of.  Her job was to PLAY and NOT be in the chair with me with her trauma.  That was over.  I was in charge now.  AND, you know what?

Little by little, it worked.  I’ve had a crown and fillings refilled with the white stuff instead of the old silver stuff….  Going to the dentist has become doable.  The shaking in my bones has stopped, the weeks of thinking and anticipating and dreading going to the dentist has stopped.

It helps that the ladies in the office ROCK!  That they are kind and smart and funny, and have helped me get past this thing called fear.  They knew how I was feeling.  They didn’t make fun of my fear.  They witnessed it and still loved me and cared for me and made me smile.  And for that I am eternally grateful!

Fear is not a fun place to be.  Fear takes over my body, I shake, I sweat, I tremor from the inside out, I want to cry.  The adrenaline rush of endorphins is enough to stop a Mack Truck, and yet….  Last week, I was laughing with my hygienist while I was once again having my gums planed.  It was the third visit in two weeks.  Two, were one hour cleanings.  The last was scheduled for two full hours.  Ugh!

AND… I made it through all of the shots.  I heard her when she told me I was doing a good job, felt her love as she scraped and dug and poked.  I WAS OKAY!  Actually, I was better than okay.

It was a miracle.

A Course in Miracles defines miracle as a shift in perception, or a change in the way we feel and think.  I started with my shift in perception ~ my dentist and hygienist were there to help me, not hurt me.  And now, after much practice, and acting on my new belief consistently, I could not only endure, but weirdly, have a great time having my teeth and gums cleaned Wonder Woman style.

Elizabeth Gilbert in her book, Big Magic, writes about how she and fear have become friends of sorts.  That fear is allowed to sit in the back seat, but not allowed to make any decisions, let alone drive.  As far as the dentist is concerned?  I’ve taken over the wheel and fear has taken its seat in the back.

So, My Beauties, here’s to relegating fear to the backseat and taking control of the wheel once more.

Glennon Doyle says, “We can do hard things.”  And we can.  We just have to believe, and then leap.  We already have wings.  So let’s practice flying!




The right side of my face is totally numb – hence the lopsided smile. I was laughing hysterically.

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Everything Is Golden

Everything Is Golden

Hello My Beauties,

I want to let you know you’ve been on my mind all Summer.  I’ve been focused on finishing my current fiction work in progress (which is still in progress, though I’m rounding the final lap.)  Please know you’ve been in my heart and in my soul every day since the last time I wrote here.

I want to thank you for holding this sacred space for me.  For always loving me and encouraging me and walking this path with me.  This summer has been filled with transitions and sacred truths.  With pivotal moments where life and death and life walk that fine line of ever flowing energy.  Some things have been super scary, some things have been super glorious ~ yin and yang, light and dark, ugliness and beauty.  LIFE in all its deliciousness.

Today I wanted to share one of the golden moments of my summer with you.  Wanted to give you hope, that we can do hard things.  May you find your own truth in my sharing mine.

Here we go…

My girlfriend and I set off on our first road trip together to see Danielle LaPorte on her book tour for White Hot Truth.

This was a big deal, since we’ve been besties for over fourteen years, and this was our first road trip together—just two girls driving from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles.

Totally awesome, AND a weee bit out of our comfort zone.

The drive was lovely—the windy road of Highway 1, the beach all glowy, the sea sparkling with sunlight, the conversation full of giggles and delight….

I don’t know how or why, but golden became our #truthbomb for the weekend. And you know what? Everything was golden—from the hotel, to the lack of traffic, to the lovely barmaid who set us up with Lyft and gave us a coupon to boot. Champagne, dinner….

Can you say, golden?

Practice it with me ~ golden.

It was a delightful shift in perspective as my driving anywhere new seems to stir awake my fears of being lost, of not knowing where I’m going.  Out of my comfort zone button pushed. It’s an old paradigm I’m still working through ~ thankfully, it pretty much stays in the realm of driving directions.

Between the two of us ~ it helps that my girlfriend is most certainly NOT directionally challenged ~ we made it to our hotel. Our room was on the 17th floor overlooking LAX, and with the sun setting, our view was literally, golden. The airplane parked beyond our window was a bright shade of purple and said, WOW, in bold white lettering. I took this as a sign the weekend was going to be spectacularly, you guessed it… golden.

The gig was awesome and affirming, with goldenah ha’s’ and one truly fucking amazing woman standing up for all of us. Speaking out for all of us. Loving and leaning in for all of us as she spoke her “open heart[ed], big fucking fence” kind of truth.

The kind of truth that makes you catch your breath, and cheer in solidarity. The kind of truth that makes you thankful to be a woman, to know the kind of friendship that always has your back ~ and your front, and your right and left, and your upside down crazy loveliness.

The kind of White Hot Truth that when one of us stands up and speaks, it makes it that much easier for each of us to do the same. And that, My Beauties, was one of the most golden of golden moments.

Sitting next to my girlfriend in a room full of strangers, I realized we weren’t total strangers at all, but members of the same tribe. I was awed.

Listening to Danielle speak, I was proud. Proud my girlfriend and I had dared step outside our comfort zones in order to stand witness to Danielle’s truth, and therefore, our own.

It might seem a little thing, driving from Santa Barbara to LA, but I’ve come to understand it’s the little things that make all the difference ~ whether in leaping forward or in staying stuck.

The first step is always the hardest. In driving to LA, we pushed forward and stood in the light.

We remembered we were more capable than we gave ourselves credit for. That we could do hard things, even if those hard things were really only in our minds.

I know trying something new affords me the opportunity to push against resistance ~ the force of nature that stands in my way, like the soil hiding a daisy. The daisy has to push through the dirt to reach the sunlight in order to blossom.

That’s what going to see Danielle LaPorte was for us, a golden opportunity to push through our resistance. It might have been only 30 hours, but it was absolutely a golden opportunity to prove to ourselves, one, that we could. And two, that not only could we, but we did. And had a delightfully, delicious time doing it!

Best of all? We’d do it again. And that is the most golden thing of all.

I’m a bit fanatical it turns out when it comes to choosing to love/learn via grace and ease and joy.

This trip pushed my buttons just enough I was able to breathe and laugh through the fear. Practice for the hard parts of life, a golden reminder that I can do hard things, even, and perhaps especially, when that hard thing is getting out of my own way.

Buying the tickets to see Danielle LaPorte was the first step, following through… the reward.

Know, My Beautiful You friends, if I can do it, you can too.

Here’s to creating, and being open to your own golden moments.


IN JOY and limitless gratitude.







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Everything Is Progress

Hello My Dearest Beauty,

I hope Spring finds you taking the time to smell the roses and enjoying the swings in weather from a delicious, sunny and steaming 96* one day, to a delightful, stormy, and rainy 60* another day.

So much has been happening in my life lately, it feels like I’ve been swimming upstream. My head’s above water and I’m doing great, but let me tell you, it has been a doozy of a couple months.

What has helped me get through this with grace and more ease than I’d anticipated, is Danielle LaPorte’s #truthbomb,  Absolutely Everything Is Progress.  It has been my mantra as things have been moving verrrryyyyy slooooowly where my goals are concerned.

I attended the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference in March and was given the opportunity to submit the first 100 pages of my current manuscript plus its synopsis to an agent I really like.  Usually you do this immediately upon your return home.  But, as Life does, She had other plans for me.

For one, I needed to rewrite those 100 pages.  No sweat.  Right?  Weeelll, I’m still working on them a month and a half later.  Everything Is Progress ~ I love how the story now flows, I have a greater understanding of my characters, of how to write a kick ass synopsis, and I’ve done a better job keeping things hoppin’.  Best of all?  I now know this prequel WILL work with the beginning of the series I’ve already written.  See?  Progress.

I’ve had a very challenging time creating my website (you’ll be the first to know when it’s ready) and let me tell you, working on this baby has been the epitome of embracing the practice of Everything Is Progress.  One step forward, ten back – ugh!  AND I have learned tons, and am now able to apply this new knowledge as I move forward with building my platform as an author and blogger and cultivator of joy.  Progress.

Breathe in, breathe out.  Yoga is the practice of connecting your body, mind, and spirit.  This takes time and patience and willingness and breath work.  One week I can hold all the poses and feel exuberantly rejuvenated after the class.  The next week, I can’t hold my balance ~ no matter how hard I try, and during the class all I can think about is how hungry I am and that I really want a glass of wine.  AND I keep going back because I love my yoga instructor, I love how centered I feel ~ no matter how “good” I was at yoga that night, I love how my mind is clearer, and how the practice of yoga reminds me that Everything IS Progress.

So, My Beauty, when you are hearing your inner critic screaming at you, when you feel like you are moving at a snails pace, when you start beating yourself up because you are just NOT GETTING THINGS DONE….  Take a breath ~ breathe in, breathe out.  Take a moment, or two or even three, and recognize what you HAVE done.  More importantly, embrace the feeling of joy that comes with this recognition, let it fill you up.

Keep in mind that JUST BY SHOWING UP you ARE making progress, you are giving yourself the gift of being present, of taking that step.  And that, My Beauty, is the hardest thing of all ~ and YOU ALREADY DID IT!

Repeat after me ~ Absolutely Everything is Progress.   Say it again, and again, and again until you feel the freedom it endows.

And, KEEP showing up!  No matter what that might look like.  But most of all, BE KIND to yourself.  You are the only YOU there is in this world.  You matter.  You ROCK!  AND you CAN do this!

Everything, EVERY. LITTLE. THING, IS Progress, My BeautyEvery Thing!

Blessings always and in all ways.



JOY is what we were made for!

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