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in and out of the closet

March 26, 2015

Since my book came out, I am a favorite person to tell secrets that were never told to anyone before. “Your secret is safe with me,” I tell them, “I am a vault.” It’s true. After years of working in research ethics and compliance, and my current work with sick patients, confidentiality is something I do very well. I would never disclose information gained in confidence.

Still, I can’t help but wonder why some people choose to live with certain secrets. It takes work to hide the unsavory elbow, the objectionable hand, or the entire family anatomy behind an obscuring veil.

That which is kept caged will continue to feed. Stating the simple truth of your life sets it free. Accepting all the parts can lead to a new wholeness. It takes confidence and stamina to grow up to be yourself, closet-bones and all.

Perhaps no one is to blame for that which is kept hidden, but it’s a choice to continue to hide it. No one wants to appear outside “the norm” or be associated with anything that might be a social stigma, but the concept of a “trouble-free normal” is a fallacy. Some problems are just not outwardly apparent and so it’s easier to keep these problems in the closet. Yet, the more we share openly about our lives, the more we realize we are fundamentally the same.

The “Instagram life” we prefer to present to the world, filter and all, is a mask that shows life as idyllic and softened around the edges. It misses the point that the goodness, happiness, fulfillment, peacefulness, and achievement we have in our lives was not inherited or bequeathed. These things were earned. We earned it.

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The first thing that falls away when I am unafraid of fear is my worry of what others think of me. I am the heroine of the story I write about myself. If I were to discard the unflattering chapters, the ending might be less sweet. In the end, each story is a story of survival. We are individuals negotiating our life circumstances — including those stored in the closet — to find an acceptable peace.

You are the journey that leads to yourself. You will spend your life getting there. No one else will reach your particular destination. Each life is a beautiful pilgrimage. For some, the first step of the journey is the one that leads out of the closet.

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Book giveaway on Seashore Sisters

March 24, 2015

I’m honored to be featured on the Seashore Sisters blog this week!

They are hosting a giveaway of a signed copy of my book Moon Full of Moons, published by Peaceful Daily!

Visit their site for information on how to enter the drawing! Be sure to leave a comment to indicate your interest in entering (either here or at Seashore Sisters)!

Moon Full of Moons signed book drawing

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My Journey to the Moon – Part One

March 11, 2015

When I started writing ‘Moon Full of Moons‘ (published by Peaceful Daily), I didn’t know it would be a book. I also didn’t realize the poems would become a companion through one of the most difficult transitions in my life: the final, true acceptance of my mother’s schizophrenia. Until then, I had accepted her illness in pieces but part of me, subconsciously, thought she would return to a somewhat-normal life. My denial was epitomized by keeping my mother’s furniture in storage, as if she would one day be able to live independently again. Many do, but she will not.

Cleaning out the storage and tossing the family heirlooms that had been destroyed beyond repair by circumstance was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I literally “cleared out the dark corners”. I still use this phrase today on my twitter bio as a reminder of the personal power of transformation that can come from acceptance of that which we cannot control…and deciding to live.

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So, although some poems in the book are inspired by many types of dark “New Moon” sadness such as loneliness, fear, vulnerability, motherless mothering, mental illness, and death, it does not linger in the darkness. Not at all! As the poem “Hope” says:

Make your sadness
as malleable as clay —

A necessary sadness
that builds a new place

…and so the book builds a place of hard-won happiness (a “Full Moon of happiness”), through acceptance, rebuilding, faith, healing, the invention of love within oneself, and other subtle internal changes.

The sequenced collection has been called “self-help expressed as poetry”.

Meanwhile, twitter has provided a wonderful community of skillful writers as well as feedback for experiments in poetic phrasings. I practiced drilling down to the essence of emotion, the nugget that was universal so that others could understand it, even if they could never know the specific situation from which those emotions grew. I reflected on the process of finding happiness after sadness from both the level of high clouds and from the low center of its center. I kept my favorite poems sequestered away from social media like a secret project.

And so ‘Moon Full of Moons’ was born.

For three years, I wrote poems in the 1-2 hours after the kids went to bed. I carried printed poems with me in a brown and blue polka-dot satchel on the chance that a few odd moments would present for editing. Whenever I could, I retreated to my favorite rock in the river. I carefully arranged the 75 lyrical poems and 27 moon micro-poems to describe the emotional journey.

A sincere thanks to readers – loyal and new – for accompanying me on this journey of undergoing my transformation and then understanding it more fully. My greatest wish for the book is that it is helpful to others in their own transformations. For when something I do helps others, it feels like my struggles had a purpose that goes beyond myself.

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Pulling Down the Sun

March 9, 2015

I have a new youtube channel, called (appropriately) SongsOfKat! The first entry is a video of me reading a short poem called “Pulling Down the Sun” from my book Moon Full of Moons.

I love this poem. It’s about letting go of old paradigms to find the power within.

I’m excited to share it with you, even if it feels very public and exposed for a comfortable introvert like me! I’m thinking of making more videos like this. What do you think? Thanks for watching!

UPDATE: I plan to read more poems on my site! Subscribe to my channel HERE.

Book release: Moon Full of Moons – Poetry of Transformation

March 4, 2015

A journey into darkness and back to the light. The Moon makes it look so easy.

My first book of poetry, Moon Full of Moons, has been released by publisher Peaceful Daily, and is now available at the following locations:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

We are thrilled with the beauty of the result, and even more invigorated that this offering of positivity and hope has been put into the world as a source of encouragement and inspiration.

The book describes a journey from happiness lost to happiness found, with poems sequenced with the Moon’s phases. Micro-poems about the Moon begin each chapter and provide touchstones like cairns along the path from a descent into darkness through a climb to new-found light.

From the book description: “It is self-help expressed as poetry, with an impassioned call to embrace the meditative, find acceptance, and live.”
MFOM final FRONT cover jpg w outlineI am so happy I can finally share these poems with you. This is not only a collection of poems, it has been an amazing journey of transformation!

making happy, making sad

March 2, 2015

My almost-9-year old (!) son Sunboy was moping. “My Pokemon cards are in Daddy’s car, and Daddy isn’t here,” he said. He tried to use this cruel oppression to his advantage. “Ice cream would cheer me up,” he reasoned.

I love to nurture my kids. I wrap them in blankets. But pleas of being bored or being made unhappy by circumstances gain no ground with me. “Use your imagination and find something to do,” I tell them when they say they are bored.

In this case, I told Sunboy, “We cannot do anything about the Pokemon cards in Daddy’s car. This is beyond our control. Thinking over and over about things we cannot control is called ruminating – it’s like a cow that keeps chewing on the same grass. Not having Pokemon cards cannot make you sad. Ice cream cannot make you happy. These are things and things hold no power. You are making yourself sad over one thing and making yourself happy over the idea of another. We can have ice cream when we get home, but I want you to think about this.”

Hopefully someday these ideas will gain ground with him, perhaps it will make sense one day when he is bored and left with his thoughts.

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constellation below the moon

February 22, 2015

The Waxing Crescent Moon (with Venus) sails over the constellation of house lights across the river. It takes moving through a New Moon to arrive at this beauty.

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