Tag Archives: travel

Drive Through the Night


I remember once driving through the night. Honestly dear reader, I wasn’t just driving, I was escaping. I had everything I owned crammed into a Ryder Truck, my Acura in tow, my two year old son and mother beside me. I drove and I drove until the lights of Phoenix were far behind me. There comes a time for all of us when we have to take big steps toward freedom. Sometimes I think all I’ve done is taken big steps. At this point in the game, I’m an Olympian Pole Vaulter. But please know this, I wouldn’t change a thing.

We are all on a journey. Baby steps are just as valuable as pole vaulting. Actually, you can’t do one without having first done the other. So if you are finding yourself having to take big steps or baby steps to start something new, know that you are not alone. The one’s who don’t take those steps are those that will, most likely, be tasked with the same struggles throughout their life or perhaps in a different life. As for me, I try to stop the bad cycles when I recognize them.

One of the biggest cycles we all face is in learning to let go. Often, this means letting go of a relationship. Life is about relationships. We live an existence that is in relationship to what’s around us. Letting go of a steady paycheck can be devastating. Letting go of a much loved home is brutal. Letting go of someone you love is near crippling. Yet, there comes a time, when that is exactly what we are faced with doing. We must shift our direction, lift the energy, and in doing so, allow in something new.

And we know when its time, don’t we? In our core we know. From there, we usually fight it. I will say this, it does get easier. But I’ll also say that it never truly gets easy. Then again, I’m a tender heart. I feel things others don’t. Having said that, if I can do it, so can you.

Its okay if you notice you’re stuck. Its okay if you notice that those surrounding you don’t respect you. Its okay to realize that you took a few wrong turns along the way. Don’t judge yourself. Instead of viewing it as a set back, look at it as another step toward perfecting peacefulness. We almost never know what peace feels like until we are surrounded by the absence of it.

Its okay to take a stand. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself is to fortify yourself with grace, look at yourself with Love and treat yourself accordingly. Often this means letting go of a few people, a few situations, a few habits. Every day is a new day to drive through the night toward making things right.

I’ve driven through the night both metaphorically and physically. Either way, it was filled with an indescribable ache, as well as an indescribable sense of freedom. With grace, let go of those things that no longer serve you. With a blessing, let go of friendships that have went beyond their season. And with a special prayer, release those mismatched loves. Both of you deserve something better.

I remember one night saying goodbye to someone that to this day I still love. As I sat in my Jeep, I felt the death. But I also felt the birth of hope for something better. Since then I’ve let go of people, places and things. It must be where I am in my journey. And I’m doing my best to move forward without too tight of a hold on anything. No map. Just my senses tuned to my core and the stars above. Now, if you’re needing to let go, do so with an open heart. Take a moment to look up and into the night sky. Breathe. Trust the Universe. It won’t let you down. Its time to shake it off and start again. Something better awaits. But it begins with you.


Standing In The Shadows

Depending upon the sun’s rays, even the grandest of trees possesses a dark, blurred silhouette. The shadow that marks the ground behind it always fails to capture the true beauty of the object that created it. Yet it is within this shadow of ourselves, where so many of us live. We stand within the shadow, never stepping into the grandeur that is – our true self.

Some people never contemplate the many dimensions inherent to being alive in this human form. They merely carry out their days, taking it no further than that. But then there are those who live within this overcast world knowing they are not living their full potential. They see it. They feel it. But they haven’t the courage to believe they are the very thing that casts the shadow. Instead they live amidst a murky, disillusioned version of themselves.

Every time the voice within whispers, “I want to do that.” Take note. It is your grandest self wanting to emerge. Every time you feel an inclination to act out in love and benevolence, please know it is your soul wanting to feel itself in action. And every time you imagine a version of yourself that isn’t quite what you recognize at the moment, please know it is your spirit laying down the groundwork for the you, that is waiting to be expressed.

In this respect, we are the tree. The true version of ourselves is strong, steady and beautiful. We just have to stop living in the shadow of all that we are meant to be. Brutal are the winds of life, at times. But I would much rather be seated deeply within the core of myself when life gets rough. Standing in the ever shifting shadow, offers no peace, no comfort and no safety. One of my fondest memories was when a spiritual speaker shared with me a vision she had upon looking at me. She said I was a willow tree. My branches flowing gracefully, and a bit wildly in the wind. But my trunk, the core of who I am, was solid and unmoving. This vision, has helped me when the winds of life were at their strongest.

As far as I’m concerned there is something magical about trees; the way they look on like silent observers; the way they remind us to stay grounded. Never do they shirk from their grandeur. And neither should we.

Somewhere along the line we began to believe we are the shadow and not the tree. This distorted, lesser version of ourselves has never been our true self. And it never will be. In fact, I have to believe those who feel the most discord and darkness are often those who’s true self casts the largest shadow. We don’t control the shadow anymore than we control the tree. But we do control where we choose to stand within these parts of ourself.

Innately, we know when we are not in harmony with all that we are meant to be. We feel the conflict. Instead of seeing that inner contention as a sign of failure, as a soul that is broken, see it merely as a sign of the greatness that is you. Surely it must be, to cast such a large shadow and to cause such conflict. Now step into it. Live it. Be it. It is where your strength is.


Dedicated to a very special friend.

This Is My Wish


I have to wonder, does the sun get lonely. So often it is watched with longing and soft sentiments, but nothing more. Does it whisper to the moon upon their passing. And when it does – does the moon smile, and reply.

There are those who live with one foot in this world, and one foot out. Never once do they know the feeling of sublime complacency. Instead, they hover between the two: the world that displays these words before your eyes, and the world where the words were formed.

The ethereal world that sits just beyond our view, sits blatantly in mine. Often, I wish it weren’t so. There are two kinds of writers: those who write and those who write from the soul. The latter, like the sun, is never quite at home – regardless of how bright they shine, or how natural they may appear. Don’t let this scare you. This isn’t lunacy. Lunacy is to deny what is. It takes unquestionable sanity to claim it.

When I cry, my soul cries. When I laugh, my soul joins me. And when I write, my soul speaks. I have to imagine, this is felt by those around me. Perhaps that is why I hold most at bay.

When I sit this weekend, and pour my first glass of Côtes du Rhône, I will be making a wish. Instead of blowing out candles, and casting that wish into the stars, I will send it across the world within this missive. And that wish is: That everyone sees their beauty. That they not battle their demons for too many years before coming to peace with who they are. And if, like me, they only have one foot in, let that foot be firmly planted.

That is my wish. The telling of it, is my journey.

I never feel alone when I sit with the sun, or the moon. Perhaps because we know how the other feels. They are as much a part of this world, as they are a part of the world beyond our eyes. And yet, we both just keep soldiering on.


Written to Into The Mystic by Van Morrison

Honored to be Honored


Oh, Wandering Voiceless, how very kind of you. I discovered, this morning, that this very charismatic blogger, nominated the Insanity Blog for the Reader Appreciation Award. I accept this nomination with a grin, and a warm heart. Thank you, thank you – thank you very much (Yes, I said that like Elvis).

Now, down to business: there are rules to be followed upon being nominated. Rules, some of which, I failed to follow once after a previous nomination. The rules are:

1.  Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their site.

2.  Nominate other people (you choose how many–whatever makes you happy).

3.  Write some bad ass things about yourself. 

In accordance with the rules:

1.  Please see initial, heartfelt, first paragraph – located above. Please scroll.

2. My nominations are:

May I nominate the blogger who nominated me? Well, I don’t see any small print that indicates otherwise, so my first nomination goes to: Wandering Voiceless. A thinker after my own thoughts. A joy.

 The Boy With A Hat. Yummy thinking, at least yummy to this writer.

Notes From a She-Hermit or ‘Being Mental and Loving It’. By Dotty Headbanger. Just pure enjoyment. Plain and simple. If you don’t believe me, head to Dotty’s Collected Profanities and Insults page.

 Jason’s Jukebox. A nice, nice place to mull around.

 Cristian Mihai. A writer’s refuge.

3.  I don’t know if the world is ready for me to reveal what I’m about to reveal. My bad-assness, my secrets finally spoken, my weird flag allowed to flap free in the wind. But I’m going to do it anyway:

Every morning, without fail, I burn my steel-cut oats. I set them to slow simmer, then completely forget about them until I smell something odd.

I’m terrible with names, and often fail to listen to what’s being said after an introduction as I’m quietly repeating the person’s name in my head; Felicia, Felicia…Feleeeshhaa.

I’m a creature of habit. If ever my brain were dropped on the floor during a routine lobotomy, my body (due to years of habitual use), would carry on quite nicely without anyone being the wiser.

I’m an inventor. Don’t ask of what. I have no intentions of telling.

I write not only because I want to, but because I have to.

I pull my Band-Aids off  – fast, real fast.

If I could survive on dark chocolate, caramel, oats, red wine and coffee – I would.

I see myself in a completely different light than everyone else sees me.

If I could possess one superhuman, superhero capability it would be the Cloak of Invisibility. Oh, the places I would go…

I’m a third generation Harley rider.

I was born on the Virgo/Libra cusp – astrologically speaking, I’m a force to reckon with.

I could never blatantly kill someone. Not for fear of moral issues or spiritual repercussions. But for fear that one small particulate found under special lightning will lead the fuzz right to my door. Damn that CSI.

In my senior year of high school, I was once accused of being a Satanist.

I find the smell of nature to be nearly intoxicating.

I gasp if my pants accidentally brush up against a public toilet.

According to the FDA, I consume more than the recommended allowance of tuna per week, per my body weight. It seems if the drugs, sex and rock n’ roll don’t do me in – tuna will.

I believe in miracles, but I don’t believe in Santa.

Well there ya’ go, folks. Tidbits and factoids. A few things you may or may not have already known about me. One thing, I can not go without saying however. As its imperative that you understand – I value my readers more than you know. A review by a critic is one thing, a review by a reader, one much like me, is what makes my heart sing. To know that someone let their eyes scan upon my words, the working’s of my mind, for a few minutes or a few days – well, that’s what this writer’s journey is all about. Thank you for that – truly. My novels and books are all stories spun around others. Yes, there is always me entwined. However, this little blog, is the story of me. Thank you for stopping by. Every nomination, like, share, reblog and scan is appreciated.


Speaking My Language


There are nearly 7,000 different languages spoken in the world today. According to the Ethnologue, the encyclopedic reference of known languages, this number translates into about one language for every 862,000 people on earth. So many different verbal expressions. Yet, there is one language universal to all, and that is the language of the soul.

Feelings are the way the soul communicates. And it does so with two absolute and sovereign emotions: love and fear. All other emotions fall under one of these two life altering and life dictating emotions.

When operating under the emotion of love, the soul opens, expands and thusly, so does one’s mind; like a flower, nourished and exposed to the sun – the person as a whole blossoms. The opposite is true when operating under fear; all emotional faculties withdraw; the mind shuts down, the heart closes. The person as a whole wants to hide.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about these two emotions as of late. The one thing that strikes hard against my heart upon the thought, is how due to the vulnerability of love, rarely is it fully expressed. Like a weed growing aside the flower, with roots deep and overpowering, fear sits too close to love. Once we feel and give our love, fear follows. Fear of rejection, fear of approval, fear of judgement, fear of abandonment. Fear does all it can to choke the life from love. And it often succeeds.

In an attempt to protect ourselves from a pain that hasn’t yet arrived, many project outward their fears. Things that haven’t yet happened, are made tangible and forced into reality, long before they’ve had a chance to arrive of their own accord. If left alone, if left unencumbered, I have to wonder if those fearful things would’ve come to light. Loving under the guise of fear is much like getting into one’s car, heading toward one’s paradise, yet stopping half way for concern of what things might look like once arriving. It’s like standing on stage, ready to sing one’s song of a lifetime, yet only singing it half way for fear of not hitting the high note.

I don’t want to love half way. I don’t want to live half way. I’ve made a conscious decision over these last few months to either love and live fully, or not at all. If I can’t love without fear creeping in and shading my perception, then the problem rests solely with me. Imagine what life would be like if everyone lived without fear. They would give freely, never fearing their own scarcity. They would give attention to others, never fearing abandonment. Whether we understand it or not, the language of the soul is the language that moves us all. Fear sits on the polar opposite end of love. Their commonality is in their power.


Written to Trembling Hands by The Temper Trap

Never Been To Spain


When I was little, I loved going to my grandparent’s house, not because there were warm hugs and cookies greeting me. No, that wasn’t the case at all. My grandparents – owned a globe. Our house had many things, a globe wasn’t one of them. While visiting, I use to sit, for long stretches of time, spinning the globe then quickly resting my fingertip on its surface. As my finger gently slid across its bumpy exterior, the globe would eventually come to a stop, and like a magic eight ball – provide me with a valuable answer – where I’d one day go.

It was obvious to me by owning this globe, that my grandparents were intellectuals of the highest echelon. Or so I thought when I was little. They did, after all, have a library too. The fact of which clinched my analysis of them. We didn’t have a library at home. We had scant books scattered here and there, and of course a pile of magazines in the bathroom. I sat for hours in my grandparent’s library and soaked up as much information as my ever absorbent mind would hold. They even had a book about the moon. It was my father’s book when he was young. After eyeballing this wealth of knowledge, it was apparent to me that my grandparent’s could have conversed with Einstein, had they wanted to.

As I sat on the orange vinyl sofa in their library, buried under volumes of encyclopedias, I would often let my eyes scan the surface of my grandfather’s desk. He was, as we were made very aware, the Ruler of all the family money. And according to my ten-year old analysis, this meant: he must have had a lot, as his money never ran out – which was odd, as ours always did – every month. No doubt, my grandparents were wealthy, or so I concluded. Proof of this wealth sat right on his desk. My grandfather didn’t buy ten stamps at a time like we did; he had an entire roll of stamps curled within a brass stamp dispenser. It was obvious that in addition to his funds, his stamps never ran out either. Tapping the brass dispenser with my small finger I imagined the President of the United States must have had a similar dispenser on his desk. Whereas my mom was always searching the bottom of her purse for a loose stamp.

To the side of the library, there was a camera closet as well; a  narrow storage area that held all of their cameras, new and old, their movie camera, projector, and all of their photo albums and movie reels. I probably don’t have to tell you how big of an event it was when my brother and I managed to talk our grandparents into having a movie night in which they would set up the projector and screen. When the library was turned to dusk, my brother and I sat enthralled while watching reel after reel of trips to Florida, my grandparent’s house as it was being built and harvest time on the farm. The only soundtrack filling the room was the music the projector offered as it hummed and clicked behind our heads.

In some manner of speaking there is still a part of me that emulates my grandparents. I’m not as delusional as I was then. I now know the nuts and bolts of the family history – the good, the bad and the ugly. And with all of that added knowledge I am left only, with added questions. I don’t have a library in my home. My home is a library. Next to my chair sits a globe. And almost every surface in my house contains at least one book, if not a stack. Some books have been read, some are saved for later, and many are stretched open – awaiting my return. With the advent of the internet, I’ve never felt the need to get an encyclopedia set. But my Google searches and hours of research prove that once again, I bury myself under volumes of information.

I haven’t – yet – made it to any of those places on which my fingertip landed, those many years ago. But I haven’t given up hope, and when the urge strikes, I never deny myself another spin.

It occurred to me that some of you might find it interesting to know the song I listen to when writing each post. I am never without music. This post was written while listening to: Never Been To Spain by Three Dog Night, one of my favorite bands.

A Ship Named Samantha


It is my deepest belief that everyone should live without love, only so that when they do have it – they never let it go. But then again, that goes for most things in life.

I’ve been paying careful attention to human behavior as of late. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why certain people behave the way they do. I look at my life – my journey – as a ship. My mind controls the rudder that’s plunged deep below, but all of my outward movements control the sails. When the winds blow hard, I have to adjust.

I don’t know why I find myself sailing upon glass-topped waters one day, only to battle the unmerciful sea the next. But either way, I need to stay afloat. And all the while, I’m careful of my actions. Gratitude and appreciation mark the bow of my ship. As I move forward I do so knowing how life feels during the worst of times; knowledge that regardless of how painful it was to acquire, I am blessed now to own. As it’s knowledge that not only has shaped me, it has shaped my perception.

I feel one doesn’t know the unspeakable pleasure of satiety without having first been staggeringly hungry. My life has flopped between extremes in every area. I can’t say I want to relive any of the undesirable times that I have endured, but I also never try to completely leave them in the past either. Instead, I take them with me, but with gratitude each time I am blessed with that, which I do desire.

I grew up in a home that upon appearances was quite complacent, yet all the while behind the walls of my youth I knew only volatility and erratic mood swings. I’ve known  the vacuous, hollowness of financial collapse and I’ve known how it feels to lose the one you love. I know what it feels like to sit and make deals with God to save one’s child, and I know what it feels like to watch one’s dreams float away like dandelion pollen in the springtime breeze.

I think everyone should have to spread coins across their bed and count the change, hoping they have enough. Because those moments give depth and substance for when they do finally ‘have enough.’ I also think if love came easy, then we would never have cause to fight for it, nor would we be so moved to protect it and cherish it once it was ours.

I’ve been the recipient of quite a few miracles in my life. I often sit alone, and think only of those miracles; picturing them within my mind; feeling them once again; giving thanks for them again.

It may sound incredibly silly to some, but almost every time I park my trusty Wrangler in my garage, I silently give thanks as I run my hand across its broad fender. Because you see, there was a time when I had nothing, and was given an orange Volkswagen Rabbit resurrected from the neighbor’s field. I was young, and grateful that I could once again get to where I needed to go. Had I not been without, and then given a car, albeit inhabited by mice, I wouldn’t appreciate, on the same level, the wonderful cars I’ve had since. The same goes for love and health and friendship and all those things we so often take for granted. Wherever I go in this life, I don’t take anything for granted. I can’t imagine why anyone would ever do otherwise.


It’s All A Matter Of Taste


It’s important to know what one wants in life. This extends far beyond what may be wanted from another, but also what is wanted from oneself. I have settled into a time in my life wherein I know both.

Here in my blog and also in my novel, I compare love and desire to that of food; the way the right taste can touch the tongue and send the body into a flurry of satisfaction and joy. How the taste of something delicious can linger within the mind long after the last drop of flavor has vanished. The way the thought of it will appear within the mind afterward and with a sense of longing.

When it comes to men, I don’t like Twinkie’s, Moon Pies or cotton candy. I’ve sampled a few and inadvertently married one. Life’s a buffet, they say. If so, it’s important as we move through life to develop our tastes. And if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that I need substance. I realize these fluffy treats have their place, except that place isn’t with me. I like a meal. I want a man who can offer an appetizer of enticing conversation, an entrée of a well-developed mind and the kind of dessert found only within a passionate, deep soul.

I shy away from a man who works ardently to craft six-pack abs. Instead, I like a man who works to develop his mind, his heart and his integrity. Within the first few conversations with a man, I know how I feel. The questions that are asked, their attention to the details, and the way they observe the world, these are the things that matter to me.

Oddly enough, the way I view a man’s internal being; his mind, his heart and his perception of the world, shape what I see externally. What is on the inside, colors what is on the outside. So when everyone else is ogling the chiseled and bronzed stud slowly emerging from the water; I’m noticing the man in the background, the one that doesn’t seek the attention – the man with the chiseled mind.


PS ~ Sorry for my absence, I’ve been tired as of late. Thank you for your notes and emails.

No Complaints

S. Hoffman Archives

My grandparents, Elwon and Dorothea Hoffman, members of the Detroit Motorcycle Club. Circa 1941

It was late July, the sun hadn’t quite set and in the sky was perched a blue moon.

My Harley rumbled calmly beneath me as I leisurely made my way home. Things were peaceful. It had been an uneventful ride and I had only a few miles left to go; by now, my thoughts had settled into the methodic rhythm of rubber rolling on pavement.

I have no memory of the hour that followed, when the deer hit the side of my bike. My mind, it seems, has spared me the tragic imagery of the moment. Instead I only have memories of the peculiar time when I was allowed access to my subconscious mind, and I will never forget what I saw and felt while there. But this post is about the celebration of life, and in that moment of subconsciousness it was revealed to me that our physical body is merely the small tip of the iceberg as to who we are. I peeked at the vastness that rests under the water; the sight of which, has forever changed my outlook on life.

When I was forced into consciousness it was told to me that my brain was hemorrhaging and that I broke numerous bones; some of which, the surgeon revealed, are near impossible to break. I broke that particular impossible to break bone – twice. He was amazed. I didn’t know what to think.

I remember while recovering, sitting in the office of my orthopedic surgeon. He disclosed to me that never before had he encountered a patient with so much injury that didn’t complain. I had, after all, twelve or so broken bones all along my left side. He then asked about my pain. I was thrown a bit by his question, but as is always the case, I offered a very sincere answer. I said, “Yes, I’m in horrific pain. But I almost died. So, the way I see it is, I have two choices, to be alive but in pain – or dead and feel no pain at all.”

He sat quiet for a moment, then said he sees people with a lot less damage, yet all they do is complain. I don’t know about them, but I know about me. And I was given a gift – the gift of life. I was allowed to see my kids another day, and hopefully for many after that. And I knew that if I could only push through the pain, I’d one day emerge: healed and whole. Reminders of that accident can still be found on my body. But I don’t mind. They remind me that I was given a second chance. So no – I have no complaints.

Long and Winding Road


Sitting in the doctor’s office the other day with my brother, I watched as an elderly couple emerged from the examination area and headed toward the door. They moved along slowly, but with a certain rhythm that indicated many years spent together. I smiled.

I then sighed and wondered what it would feel like to have a life long companion. As they reached the door to leave, the woman said something to the man about getting the door for her. It was obvious her sight was impaired and she was a little unsteady on her feet. To her comment, her husband replied with a rather abrupt growl, “I know to get the door! I was going to get the door!” In that moment, my smile faded and I felt all the romantic air leave my heart.

By all rights, sitting here right now, I should have no belief in true love. I don’t mean companionship. No, that’s not the type of union for which I speak. Companionship is inherent to true love. However, true love is not inherent to companionship. Many couples sign on to be together and move through their days knowing that they have someone to call if ever they get a flat on the freeway or someone to fill their house with activity. My parents had that. I don’t want that. I want the kind of union where kindness sits at the core of words shared, respect is mutual, and both would rather harm themselves than the other.

I’ve never viewed myself as a romantic. I am, without a doubt however, passionate. I’m passionate about my children, my friends and my writing. I’m passionate about this thing we call life. This does not mean that I’m a Cuckoo bird or a nut job. Or that I run through fields naked. Not that I’m ruling that out, I just haven’t ever felt possessed, as of yet, to do so. Being passionate just means that I absorb life more than most. My lows are felt harder and deeper. Yet my highs reach unheard of levels. Middle of the road just isn’t how I roll. Instead of floating slowly down the center of the river, I tend to pinball around a bit, cascade down unexpected rapids and also rest at the serene spot where the water is like glass and the reflection of the trees can be seen like a painting upon the bend where the water isn’t captive to movement.

I think that is why I so often listen to music. Song writers and musicians are by nature, passionate people. They write words that cut through the heart, much like how I write. They write with brutal honesty; their pain and their joy are expressed equally and without concern for appearances. I find harmony with them; a certain resonance. In fact, music feels spiritual to me. The energy of music is the stuff of the heavens, the stuff of God and love.

Do I believe in star-crossed love and Kismet souls uniting – yes. But just as two middle of the river lovers are sure to have a certain subdued love. You can bet when two passionate lovers come together, its one hell of a ride. There are ups and there are downs. But there is always respect and an undeniable need to be with one another. If I’m blessed to finally have this most precious of unions firmly in my grasp, I will cherish it, nurture it and I will write about it. I won’t look for it, of course – it will have to find me. But once it does, I will give it my best, expecting the same in return. When I need the door opened, I hope to find my husband already standing there with the door lovingly pulled wide. God knows, I won’t travel down the river otherwise.