Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Oat Coconut Clusters (Unsweetened and Gluten Free!)

I experiment regularly with creating unsweetened desserts that 1) actually feel like dessert when eaten, and 2) are tasty enough to serve to others. I have created many "desserts" that do not meet these two criteria and result mostly in frustration and disappointment. Fortunately, my husband is a forgiving and hungry sort who enjoys almost anything I bake!

Here, however, is a recipe I created that does meet these two important criteria. After making these twice - to test the recipe - I decided that the reason they work is because only the sweetness is missing - the fat, that is present in any satisfying after-dinner-delight, remains. Feel free to experiment with this recipe and send me your delicious variations.

Chocolate Oat Coconut Clusters, Unsweetened and Gluten Free!
1/2 C. Almond Flour
1/2 C. Gluten Free Quick Oats
1 Tbs. Cocoa Powder, unsweetened (Ghirardelli)
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
pinch sea salt - or to taste
1 Tbs. coconut oil, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp Vanilla
1/8 C. Coconut Milk (So Delicious, Beverage)

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit and grease a cookie baking sheet with coconut oil, set aside. Measure 1 Tbs. coconut oil into a small glass bowl and warm until melted, set aside. In a small bowl, add first six (dry) ingredients and mix well. Pour 1/8 cup Coconut Milk into a 1 C. liquid measure, add egg, vanilla, and melted coconut oil; mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. Adjust batter consistency by adding more Coconut Milk. Form batter into tablespoon portions and place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes, or until set and bottom is lightly brown. Makes 12 cookies.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Unsweetened me.

I've been playing with sugar recently. Sharing the holidays with friends and loved-ones often spurs the desire to "relax" into sugar. I tell myself, as I reach for the ice cream with spoon in hand, that I deserve a little treat. I know that with just a little "hit" of that sweet goodness my mind will relax, the tension in my jaw will soften, and sharp emotional edges garnered from sharing too small a space with too many loved ones for too long a time will feel less jagged. I tell myself that I deserve a reward for making it through the day with a smile on my face even though inside I flirt with the desire to scream and run.

The spoon slips easily into the creamy, mocha delight. I blanch a bit as the bitter coffee flavor melts on my tongue. I decide to try another taste. An hour later I am chatty and relaxed. Feeling confident as the sweetness sweetens my temperament, I think loving thoughts of loved ones and holiday time, in general. Aaah, I think, the world is just a little bit lighter when sugar is involved. I know now why wine is a staple at the holiday table.

It is foggy and damp here today, with a chill in the air that runs bone-deep. I woke up, remembered my current struggle, and wept. My dalliance with sugar came to an end a week ago. With nothing to buffer the pain I am experiencing, raw emotion washes through my blood. I breathe deeply, I cry solidly, I breathe again. I do not feel confident, or relaxed, or loving. I feel alone and sad and slightly desperate. Sugar, in all its finery, does not dance through my veins. Unsweetened, no false sense of confidence nor chatty ease transfigures my emotional storm. Solidly in my pain, I am fully me.

The fog and rain continue to cloud my outside world. On the inside, I have found some measure of peace. A surprise gift in the mail, a call to a close friend, and a little external pampering in the form of a much needed hair cut allow me to reflect on my tumult with some objectivity. Comparing my recent holiday experience to the storm that raged within this morning, I am grateful for my ability to feel deeply. Free of sugar's hypnotic effect, I acknowledge the deep courage it takes to truly feel my pain and wait . . . while, in time, the storm ebbs and the pain, softened by love this time, not sweets, slowly dissolves.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


As November draws to a close, I am writing with great gratitude for the many gifts it has brought me.

November used to be my least favorite month. Cold and dark and rainy, for most of my life I have viewed November as a dreaded bone-chilling expanse between crisp and colorful October and festive, white December. This November, I feel differently.

Over the past few years, I have come to appreciate November as something more than the dismal month connecting October and December. I don't believe that November, itself, has changed - especially since I now live further North than I have in the past and my experience of November is colder and darker than ever. Instead, I know that I have changed. As I've slowly unwound from my fast paced attorney life, each November since 2008 has seemed a little softer, a bit quieter, a tad less lonely and even a little less dark to me. As my mind has relaxed from the constant pressure of tracking trial deadlines, scheduling meetings, and preparing for court appearances, I have developed a greater awareness of my physical surroundings: the path the sun marks in the sky, the moon's light pouring through my sleeping window, and the blooming and retiring of nature's bounty from Spring into Fall.

As I walked past the lake on November 21st, the cold, dark water reflected the blue-gray clouds as the chilled breeze blew small, lapping waves upon the sandy shoreline. In this moment, I embraced the joy and blessing that is November - a time for slowing down from the chaotic blaze of color that October offers, reflecting on nature's transition, and preparing for December's snowy, peace. The lake's beauty engulfed me as I recognized that the gentle unwinding within me, now surrounds me, and I gave thanks for this and every November of my life.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Left Brain: "Just Tell Me What To Do, Please!"

I've spent most of the past two days fretting. Tying myself in knots and tangles in the most unproductive way, I have, quite frankly, been feeling miserable. Miserable as in trapped - for no apparent reason. Nothing has dramatically changed from a week ago when I was quite happy and pleasantly productive, so I could not determine what exactly was causing my malaise. Yes, here in the north woods, it is still dark at 7:30 a.m. and yes, it has been overcast and gray for days now, but that just didn't seem like enough to cause me, a generally optimistic and upbeat soul, to wallow so deeply in my pit of seemingly self created despair.

Today, I got curious. I started to look at this misery from an objective viewpoint and after turning it this way and that to see all sides of it, I figured it out. No deadlines. The difference between last week - happy - and this week - miserable - is the absence of deadlines. I have no meetings to prepare for, no emails of any pressing importance to draft, no birthday cards to artistically create, no nothing. Of course, I have lots that I could be doing to meet future deadlines: there are paper mache bowl orders to fill before Christmas, two birthdays in November, and handouts to edit for a series of workshops I am presenting in the Spring, but none of them are demanding my immediate attention.

This used to happen to me as an attorney. I would finish a brief and wander around my office for three days checking email and feeling like a complete fraud because I felt incapacitated to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. I always attributed this post-project time period to mental exhaustion, but now I am seeing it in a whole new light. Deadlines. It turns out that those pesky time sensitive proverbial "lines in the sand" that I have dreaded my entire life are actually a necessary boundary that allows my left brain to focus on an identifiable, concrete goal. Left untethered by such a boundary, my thinking, analytical left brain quite literally turns on itself in sheer boredom like a border collie without a job. Simply fascinating.

I am looking forward to testing this new hypothesis in the coming week and, fingers crossed,returning to my cheerful, productive self.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Just Answer the Question, Please!

As an attorney, I have been trained to ask questions, demand that others answer those questions and do all that I can not to answer a single question directed my way. No longer practicing law, I have carried this conditioning with me and continue to practice NOT answering questions. This morning, I realized what a huge disservice I have done to myself in practicing such evasion. This morning's interaction:

Husband: "What do you want for breakfast?"
Me: "I don't know, it's your birthday weekend, what do you want?"

Now, this may seem sweet, at first glance. He should have whatever he wants on his birthday, right? Yes, and no. Yes, because he deserves some pampering on his birthday. No, because evading the question made me feel small and powerless. When given the opportunity to express my desire, I chose to hide my truth instead. As a result, my "answer", instead of being sweet and selfless, served no one. It robbed me of the opportunity to be and feel heard and it robbed him of the opportunity to consider another possibility that my answer may have presented.

After this exchange, I realized that I no longer want to live this way. I want to be seen and heard in this world in every way. I now see that his choice and mine can coexist, such that we both have the opportunity to be heard and feel satisfied with the outcome. My goal for this coming week is to practice what I have told countless witnesses in preparing for trial: listen to the question and answer the question.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Back!

Okay, confession time. I have been avoiding this space like the plague . . . and all of you. I'm not proud of my cowardice, but I am, with this post, emerging from the dark in which I have been hiding these past few months back into the light of revelation and truth.

In my first post on 12/14/10, I asked all of you to "just show up", here, in this space, with the intent that your presence, alone, would keep me honest with myself and focused on my journey and I promised to do the same.  This equation only works, however, if both parties actually participate.  These past few months I have not held up my part of the bargain knowing that writing for all of you would require me to be accountable to me, as well.  And, frankly, I have not been all that impressed with my behavior over these past few months.

I started this blog to help myself out of addiction to sugar. In April, I committed to no longer eating sugar, fruit included, and I have stuck by that commitment. However, nature does not enjoy a vacuum and when the sugar left, I replaced it quite handily with the next category of carbohydrates on what I call "the carbohydrate continuum", whole grain.  Bingeing on rice and oats doesn't sound too, bad, right? Wrong. Bingeing is binging and carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body, so even though the effects of my binging were not as dramatic, the stress on my body, and my conscience, has remained.

Addiction feeds on darkness, silence, and stress and all the yoga, meditation, prayer, grounding techniques, chakra energy work, and breathing in the world, in my experience, can not replace the healing revelatory power that comes from sharing myself with others. And, so, this is me, emerging from the dark, whole, and willing to journey this day with you, by my side, knowing that together we can heal anything. Thank you for being here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eternal Possibility, Part III: Editing and Proofreading

Eternal Possibility: living knowing that all things are possible involves redefining how I relate to my world.

When I left the practice of law in 2008, I did not expect to practice law again, however, I did expect that the skills I learned as an attorney would, in time, serve me in another way. One skill I developed in law school, practiced as an appellate attorney, and continue to enjoy is editing/proofreading. I love the power word choice and placement give an author to convey their thoughts to another through time and space. And I love knowing that my ability to spot errors will lead a reader to greater enjoyment as the words flow effortlessly across the page.

For the past six weeks, I have spent considerable time editing/proofreading for Concord Free Press, a non-profit alternative publisher. I was first introduced to CFP in June 2009 when I attended a book release party for CFP's second title, Push Comes To Shove, by Wesley Brown. Before the book reading, Editor-in-Chief and founder, Stona Fitch explained CFP's concept: Generosity in Publishing. Free books, written by well known authors, that raise money for a charity or cause of the reader's choice. I was hooked. Here was a group of writers who recognized publishing as a vehicle to spread good will and made it happen. The beauty of the CFP concept is that the authors retain the publishing rights, so the books are often published and sold through mainstream outlets, following the CFP release, while the CFP copies continue to circulate and raise money for those in need. The ability to retain the publishing rights attracts well known authors to CFP. In turn, the authors' prior work creates a reader-base eager to donate in exchange for the opportunity to read their favored author's new release. Every person involved benefits. Simply brilliant. I couldn't wait to get involved.

I immediately volunteered to edit/proofread for CFP and in Fall 2009 I did a final proofread/edit of CFP's third title, The Next Queen of Heaven, written by Gregory Maguire. I loved every minute of it. Since then, I have worked with CFP on three hard copy books and, most recently, on five e-books newly released for concord e-press. The proceeds of the e-books are split equally between the author and CFP, which will make CFP viable for years to come.

To date, CFP readers have donated over $215,000 to causes worldwide that are as varied as giving 7 pounds (approximately $11.00) to a homeless person in the U.K. to donating $1,000 to the Red Cross. My work with CFP has been infinitely rewarding: I love reviewing the work of talented authors knowing that I am part of an organization that is making a difference in the world; and, I love that I have found a creative way to use the editing/proofreading skills I developed as an attorney in service of the greater good.

If you are interested in learning more about CFP, you can check out the site at:  To visit concord e-press, click here:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gladstone, Michigan: How I Got Here!

It takes great faith for me to step into the unknown and trust that my foot will land on something solid, that I will be cared for, and safe in that new, as yet unrevealed space. Each time I do so I am rewarded beyond my expectations. The process of finding a place to live in Michigan required such a leap of faith.

As of Thursday morning, April 7th, my husband and I were all set to rent a house in Rapid River, Michigan. The moving truck was scheduled for pickup on Friday morning and we planned to leave Boston on Saturday and arrive in Michigan on Tuesday, April 12th. On Thursday afternoon, that all changed.
Our to-be landlady called and said that she had a buyer for the house we had rented and, although she intended to honor our lease agreement, the buyer had 30 days to move from her home and had offered to buy us out of our six month lease at $1,000 a month if we agreed to find another place to live.

At this point, we had a choice to make. We could ask our landlady to honor the lease agreement; or, motivated by the promise of $$, and knowing that the house sale would help our landlady, we could spend time trying to find a suitable alternative. We chose the latter. In less than 36 hours we had secured a new place to live, made arrangements for utilities, and substantially packed the truck. On Sunday, April 10th, mid-move, we learned that the house buyer had backed out of the deal.

Now, one could read this story and say, "Aren't those two naive. They had a sure thing and they gambled it for what was obviously a false promise of money because who has $6,000 to just give away these days?"

OR, one could read this story and say, "Wow! Isn't that amazing! They could have told the landlady it was too late, they had an agreement, they needed to concentrate on packing, not finding another place to live on such short notice, and they liked the house they had rented. Done. But they didn't. Instead, one day before the moving truck arrived, knowing that the promised money was not guaranteed, and wanting to help their landlady sell the house, they took the risk that they would find a new place, overnight, that would meet their needs, and trusted it to work out. They just trusted it would work out. And it did. Wow!"

We trusted, and it worked out beyond our expectations. The first house was bright, clean, spacious, had garden space, a back deck, and lovely neighbors. It was also located on U.S. 2, a 55 mile per hour highway that sees significant truck traffic, would require my husband to commute 25 minutes to work, and was miles from the nearest store.

The new place is located in a quiet neighborhood, 2 miles from busy U.S. 2, five miles from my husband's new job, walking distance to many stores, and the space is beautiful, as well.

So, what about the money?? It never mattered whether the money was actual or virtual. The idea of the money was enough. It diverted our attention from the effort required to change our plans under a tight deadline, and gave me, and my husband, the motivation to expend such effort with a positive attitude. Once we made our choice, the money was no longer necessary. It had served its purpose.

Had we chosen the guaranteed option and decided to rent the house on U.S. 2, we would have been just fine. In choosing the unknown, however, we ended up so much better than fine. We were rewarded, beyond our expectations, for our leap of faith, which once again verified our belief that anything is possible.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MI Here I Come!

Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Destination: Rapic River (near the Route 2 sign above Gladstone)!
I'm moving. MOVING! I'm REALLY moving!! I decided to leave New England in December 2000. I started dating my husband in February 2001, and I'm still here, but not for long. The moving truck permit is posted, my living room is filled eight feet high with boxes, the piano has been sold, and I am moving. It feels fabulous!

My New England journey started in 1992 with an insatiable desire to move to Boston. I was living in Notasulga, Alabama, population ~900, working for an environmental consulting firm when the feeling came upon me. I HAD to move to Boston. It was inexplicable, really. I had driven through Boston once my senior year in high school as I boarded a cruise ship to Bermuda. I returned with a close friend during college and was in awe of the old stone churches, cobblestone streets, and rich history that pervades the city. I given it much thought after than until 1992 when the thought struck and stuck. I had to move to Boston. I bought a copy of The Boston Globe every Sunday and searched the Classifieds for jobs. Soon thereafter, law school fever assailed me in a similar fashion and I applied to three schools in Boston, alone.

When I arrived here in August 1994 for my first year at Suffolk Law, I remember looking at the lit up Boston skyline and wanting to pinch myself to make sure it was all real. I had arrived and my future was bright and beautiful. I graduated from law school and was working as a prosecutor in the Middlesex District Attorney's Office when I decided, in December 2000, that I wanted to be closer to my family in my home state of Pennsylvania. And then Cupid's arrow struck my tender heart and I stayed in New England.

Now, eleven years later, with a wonderful husband, a new vocation, and one cat, it is time to go. This city has served me well. After seventeen years in New England (four spent in Concord, New Hampshire), I am ready to say goodbye to this city that has given me so much. I am leaving with a loving husband, a wonderful education, and many fond memories, as well as friends. In essence, I grew up here. It is this place that helped me to find my voice in the world, first as an attorney, and now as a creative force that continues to sprout, bloom, and become.

On Saturday, the moving truck will pull out with my family and my life inside. I am looking forward to the new friendships and experiences I will find up North and the continuation of the many cherished friendships I have created here in New England. As I move on, I welcome the rich soil of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the trees, the water, and the love that I am sure to find there as I continue this journey called life.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Power of Personal Story

In my adult life, I have given very little thought to the lives and experiences of teenagers. Until recently, I perceived all teenagers I did not know personally, and some I did, as self-absorbed, superficial beings who used truly irritating behavior to navigate their struggle between youth and adulthood. I realize that this viewpoint lacked compassion, tolerance, insight, and love, yet I held it all the same. In the past month, I had the true pleasure of spending four days at Everett High School teaching 4 lessons of storytelling-based curriculum to high school juniors. This experience has altered my perception of teenagers forever.

These kids have stories. In small groups, one-on-one, and as told to the entire class I was introduced to lives rich in experience. A young man told of looking in the mirror at the folds of extra flesh hanging off his frame and wanting to look differently. With his brother's guidance, he learned to exercise regularly and choose healthy foods. Fit, healthy, and eighty pounds lighter, he proudly shared his experience.

Another young man woke up one day to find his brother leaving for a rehab facility. Until that day, he had viewed drug users as "losers". After that day, he saw individuals with addictions as people who had made mistakes and needed assistance to turn their lives around. Now, he abstains from using drugs because he has seen the consequences of such behavior.

A young woman with perfect grammar and barely an accent told me how she relocated to Everett three years ago not speaking a word of English. Having no friends and unable to understand her teachers who did not speak French, she desperately wanted to return home. She persevered, built friendships, and dreams of attending college in this, her adopted country.

With great courage, these young students welcomed me, their peers, and teachers into their lives filled with heartbreaking loss and joyous accomplishment. Each of them withdrew the veil of their outward persona, for just a moment, and used words and gesture to pour their deeply personal experiences into the hearts of their audience. I saw them stand tall, with loud, clear voices, and proudly share what mattered to them most.

Through telling their story, they changed; and I changed with them. Transfixed by their vulnerability, authenticity, and bravery, I gained insight into their lives. Listening to them share, my heart opened with compassion and my mind softened with tolerance as I realized that the persona they share with the world is no substitute for the persona they hide inside their hearts. And I will never discount them again.

To learn more about the innovative StoriesLive® program developed by the visionary women of massmouth, a storytelling non-profit organization in Boston, visit

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday IS Fun!

OK, it still feels like Winter here in Boston, even though the calender, the green shoots, and the singing birds tell me otherwise. To brighten my mood, ease my cold joints, and warm my heart as the sun attempts to break through the gray, gray clouds, I watch this inspiring video and follow along! May all of you practice this form of yoga in your body, mind, and heart.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thoughts are Things

Yesterday morning I remembered something I hadn't done. I took a picture for a friend a few weeks ago and never sent it to her. Around 9 a.m. a thought popped into my head reminding me that I needed to follow through and send the photo. When I got on-line a few hours later there was an email from my friend requesting the photo. It was sent at 9:57 a.m. Of course, I could discount this this convergence of my thought and her email as a coincidence, if I believed in coincidences. I don't.

Yesterday, in the early afternoon, my friend Tara popped into my mind. I had been thinking of calling her and immediately picked up the phone. The timing was perfect. She had just walked in the door and her three children were at school. We had a wonderful time catching up on each other's lives and I thoroughly enjoyed our uninterrupted conversation.

About two weeks ago in the early evening a small, inner voice, said "Call Jess." I didn't know why, as we usually communicate via email or Skype and rarely pick up the phone to just chat. I trusted that voice, found her number and called. I started by saying, I don't know why I'm calling you, I just am. She responded, "did you just hear me screaming in the car 'I need a friend!'? Of course, I hadn't . . . or maybe I had?? Like a divine GPS that says "turn here", I am guided when I choose to listen to thoughts that pop into my mind unbidden and prompt me to act. I have many more of these stories to share and will do so here, soon. For now, I ask . . . has this happened to you? I'd love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below to share!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookie!
Today's post first appeared at on February 28, 2011. First Ourselves is a wonderful website containing information on body image, diet, weight loss, sugar, and overeating. Its founder, Karly Randolph Pittman, helps women overcome these issues in a healthy, compassion-filled, way. I recommend checking it out!
As a teenager, I recognized my sensitivity to sugar, but did not actively try to work with it until May 2005. Since then, I have spent countless hours in the kitchen devising sugar-free recipes to enjoy and share with others. Of course, cooking is a chemistry experiment and sugar-free cooking takes the challenge of creating a pleasing dessert-like recipe to the next level.
I have discovered three key things that boost the sweetness factor in recipes. First, I incorporate naturally sweet vegetables like pumpkin, squash, and carrots into my creations. Second, I create ingredient combinations that do not require baking soda or powder, both of which contain sodium bicarbonate, a salt that decreases the sensation of sweetness. Third, I add sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger, vanilla prepared in naturally sweet glycerin, and sometimes curry to jazz up my dessert recipes. I find that when a dessert tastes satisfyingly sweet, I am able to enjoy a little at a time, guilt-free.
One of my recent creations is what I call Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies. Pumpkin is a great indicator for where my taste buds fall on the sweetness appreciation scale: if I find it sweet – excellent; if I find it close to intolerable – my diet needs more vegetables, period. This recipe is gluten-free when prepared with gluten-free oats, vegan when prepared with ground flaxseed instead of egg, and is naturally dairy-free. Enjoy, and let me know if you have suggested modifications at (Subject: Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies).
Oatmeal Pumpkin Spice Cookies
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit                              Yield: 20-25 cookies
1 cup instant oats OR 1 cup rolled oats (processed to a course meal)
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. sea salt
Dash allspice
½ tsp. finely grated fresh ginger,
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed meal plus 3 Tbs. water OR 1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla (I prefer alcohol-free vanilla)
1 cup pureed organic pumpkin (not the pie mix)
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds soaked for 5 minutes in steaming water to soften

Blend dry ingredients; add wet ingredients and mix well. Batter will be thick. Spoon by the tablespoon onto a parchment- paper-covered baking sheet. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes or until slightly brown on bottom. Cookies will be crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and will not rise. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Fantasia!

Matrix Energetics moves in my life in surprising ways. My friend E just returned from a trip to India. I have been talking to her about my Matrix Energetics journey and, interested, she picked up a copy of Richard Bartlett's first book, Matrix Energetics. She has not read it, yet. She did carry it with her to India, however. While there she was invited by her mother-in-law to attend a seminar lead by a homeopath. The homeopath happens to be a Matrix Energetics practitioner who gave a demonstration of ME during the seminar. That is how ME works, in the background, connecting and awakening me and others to new insights and possibilities in their lives. May reading this blog post bring the magic of Matrix into your life, as well.
Here is a video slideshow created by Svetlana Pritzker, a ME practitioner in Chicago. I found Svetlana's ME inspired paintings truly beautiful and filled with positive energy. Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Me Now, Me Always!

In discovering a new way of being, I have often struggled with self doubt over leaving my career as an attorney, wondered whether I am good enough, bold enough, "together" enough to really be successful walking a  new path. These times of doubt and worry have often been accompanied by a stream of consciousness rant that includes every reason why I'm not good enough, bold enough, or "together" enough to be a success. And, I had an eye-opening conversation on Friday morning that has changed my attitude about this - forever.

Suppose, just for a minute that I am the only person left on Earth. No one else exists to ask me why I would leave a lucrative, promising, secure life as an attorney to create paper mache bowls, tell stories, and become an energy practitioner. No one is around to comment on my haircut, my weight, or the size of my lunch. No one else is there to make me doubt my own self-worth, my choices as to how to live my life, or the authenticity of my proclaimed happiness, despite the appearance of financial insecurity. No one is there to create a whisper of doubt, a breeze of insecurity, or a firestorm of self loathing. No one is there . . . but me.

So, I considered, if no one is there to trigger my doubts, insecurities, and negative thoughts, why would I create them for myself? Why would I entertain these limiting thoughts of my own free will? Why would I choose to harm myself in such a destructive way? And, if I chose to shower myself with positive, loving, nourishing thoughts when no one else was there, why would I choose anything less when I am not alone? That, I thought, is an excellent question.

So today I choose to love me, all of me, right now, right here, as I AM. I have nothing to lose, after all. Absolutely nothing.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eternal Possibility, Part II: MATRIX ENERGETICS

My friend Jess and me at the end of the
 Matrix Level III seminar in San Diego
 in August 2010.
In December 2010 I took a 5 day certification course to become a practitioner of Matrix Energetics. Dr. Barlett, a chiropractor and a doctor of naturopathic medicine in Seattle, WA, experienced what he now calls Matrix Energetics in response to finding a cure for his young son's many debilitating ailments. After failing to find a cure through traditional and alternative medical routes, the energy of Matrix Energetics (ME) began to flow through him and resulted in his son's healing.

I first became aware of ME in 2008 when I picked up Dr. Bartlett's first book, Matrix Energetics, in a bookstore. I could not stop reading it. I finished it within days and went to my first ME seminar in July 2008. In August 2010, I attended a ME seminar in Boston and knew that I wanted to share ME with others. My weekend consisted mostly of giggling and feeling so relaxed that I did not care what happened next.

Every ME session I experience, either as a practitioner or a participant, brings me back into a state of calm and ease. ME can be used to shift physical ailments, relationship issues, and even mechanical trouble. Friends I have worked on have experienced major shifts in their lives that seemed unattainable prior to our session together. My friend, KH, called to cancel our dinner plans because she was experiencing a very intense gastrointestinal bug. I did a quick session with her over the phone. She told me that she felt very relaxed and "in a swoon" by the end of the session. She called back that night to say that she was able to sleep for 2 hours after our call and was so grateful because she was unable to do this prior to our session.

I am now completing my practitioner certification hours (60) and seeking individuals who want to experience Matrix for themselves. Time and space do not affect Matrix energy, which allows me the latitude to effectively provide sessions in person, via telephone, or via computer (Skype). What is required of you, the participant? Well, simply, to notice what might be different or what has changed during the session or during the days following the session and then tell me about those changes. That's all.

If what I have written interests you, you can learn more about ME at under the "learn more" column on the left hand side of the page. You can also contact me at, or via Facebook - search Esther Bixler Piszczek, to inquire further or set up a session. May you live as if all things are possible.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Technology!

Although I do not yet own a cell phone, I have been exploring the wonder of new technology and enjoying it. Last week I spent three hours putting together my first YouTube video slide show. The YouTube video I created represents more than my introduction to movie making technology, but a rediscovery of passions mislaid for too long.

In November my husband and I spent four days exploring Wisconsin. The trip was triggered by a much anticipated job interview my husband received. My husband did not get a job offer from this experience, yet the other gifts we received from this trip were many and memorable. We visited with his college friends, whom he had not seen in almost ten years, dreamed of living on Lake Superior, and enjoyed the expansiveness of the North Woods. It was a wonderful trip and one we had dreamt of making since we started dating in 2001. This trip also gave me the opportunity to dust off my camera and re-experience the joy of photography, which I have loved since I was young. Now, it has given me the opportunity to share that trip through YouTube, with you. I hope you enjoy the show!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy I Love You Day!

val-en-tine (val'en-tin')- n. 1.A sentiment or greeting of affection
sent to a sweetheart, friend, or family member. 2. A person
singled out as one's favorite on Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day! In the past, I haven't given this day much thought. I always saw it as a commercial holiday devised to sell candy hearts, cheesy cards, expensive dinners, overpriced roses, and a boat-load of chocolate. It can still be viewed this way, but this year this day means so much more to me. Surprisingly enough, Hollywood triggered this change in attitude for me, for which I am grateful.

A gorgeous, hand-crafted Valentine's Day
 card from my talented Aunt Barbara.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I watched the celebrity filled movie of last year, Valentine's Day. I didn't know what to expect from it and I was pleasantly surprised. The movie followed a host of characters in different stages of love relationships, friend and romantic, and celebrated the many ways people express their love for one another. It made me see the beauty of an entire day to just say "I love you", "I think  you are special", and "You mean so much more to me than mere words can say." That is, it revealed to me the true meaning of this day.

In past years, I have received Valentine's Day cards from relatives who, I now realize, have always celebrated this day for its deep, true meaning. I did not send cards myself and I did not truly grasp that my relatives' Valentine's greetings were filled with special love for me. This year, I enjoyed cutting out hearts and sending Valentine's Day cards to loved ones. As my heart expanded, I felt loved and rejoiced. May your day be filled with special messages of love, as well. xo

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just Plain Fun!

Happy Friday!! A friend sent me this YouTube video this week and I love it so much I have to share it here. See what you think. It made me both joyful and sad. Joyful because it is so much fun and sad because everyday life could be this fun and, yet, it isn't. And so, I am intending, right now, to seek out ways to have more fun, walking up the stairs, riding the train, going grocery shopping and just living. I will let you know what I discover in the process. And you??

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In Releasing and Allowing I Found Perfection!

This past weekend I did a number of things for the first time. I visited Lansing, Michigan, flew on Southwest, visited three new airports and one new terminal - Chicago's Midway Airport, Detroit Metropolitan (not the one in the city), and Baltimore's International Airport (if I've been there before, I no longer remember it), and Terminal E in Boston's Logan International Airport. I learned how to play Cribbage and a new form of Solitaire, compliments of our gracious hosts in MI, and I recognized, once again, the beautiful way life flows when I let go, allow, and just be.

A view of the wing from the back
 of the plane.
It happened as I was boarding the flight to Chicago's Midway Airport on Saturday morning in Boston. Flying Southwest for the first time, I had never experienced the freedom and anxiety involved in choosing my own seat on an airplane. After years of having my seat assigned on every flight I ever took, the experience of choosing my own seat was truly novel. Yes, I have often checked-in on line and chosen my seat from a seating chart, however, that process is much different than standing on the plane, seeing many available seats and having to choose from what looks like at least fifty reasonable options.

In the moment or two it took for me to walk past the first few rows of seats, where I knew I did not want to sit, I felt anxious about the choice looming before me. As I looked around, I felt more than saw where I wanted to sit. It was a window seat on the left side of the plane in front of the exit row, on the front side of the wing. Realizing that this particular seat was close to the engine, which may be loud during the flight, my husband asked me if I wanted to choose another seat. I looked at the other options, felt settled in my choice, and sat down.

At the time I chose my seat, the plane was parked at the gate in Boston under overcast skies of an arriving storm and I had no way of assessing whether my seat was favorable or not. About thirty or forty minutes into the flight as my morning chill from riding public transportation to the airport began to ease, I realized the divine perfection of my choice. I was seated exactly where the sun shone off of the curved, highly reflective forward position of the wing such that it warmed my face and body during the entire flight to Chicago's Midway airport. The seat I chose, with no more than a "feeling" that it was where I needed to be, was the only seat positioned such that the sun's angle in the sky at that particular time of day would warm my chilly body. I knew in that moment that I did not and could not have determined with my mind that that particular seat was perfect for me. In releasing the initial anxiety I felt at making a potential "wrong" seat choice and allowing my body to choose for me, I landed myself exactly where I needed to be: warm and grateful. It was a wonderful flight.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Over this past week, I have been concentrating on allowing myself to rest as I recover from back to back bugs that created a wonderful opportunity for me to care for my body. In slowing down, I noticed that the continuing accumulation of snow has resculpted my environment in miraculous ways and required me to navigate my surroundings differently. Snow, slush, and ice covered sidewalks have required me to think about each step to avoid slipping, falling, or soaking up to my ankles. In the past, I have sometimes viewed this as an annoyance, but this year I feel differently.

Yes, snow clogs the street drains, buries much needed parking space, and creates seemingly endless opportunity to shovel one's way to fitness outside. It also flocks the trees, sparkles in the sunshine, creates hours of sledding fun, and provides an opportunity to create snow people, snow balls, and snow angels. As I carefully chose my steps on Wednesday, I wondered whether the weather in warmer climates gives people who live there the gift of changing their landscape so dramatically that they actually relate to it differently, pay attention, and experience it as the miraculous thing of beauty it is. Maybe, maybe not. Right now, I am thankful that Mother Nature has cloaked Boston in Winter's beauty and given me the gift of being present to appreciate it in all its wonder.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Viewpoint Of An Old Ill

Yes, it is Friday, once more, and I am in reflection mode. I sit here at the end of birthday-week grateful for my body's amazing ability to heal. On my birthday eve, I met my husband for dinner, co-taught a storytelling workshop, which my husband graciously attended, and returned home for late night present opening and fun dessert. Monday completed my weekend trilogy of parties and gastro-indulgence (a new word, I just coined), which, at the time I enjoyed immensely. My body had other opinions. On Tuesday morning I awoke feeling just a bit queasy. By Tuesday night my body was in full purge mode after succumbing to a gastrointestinal bug that efficiently, if not painlessly, rid my body of every sweet, corn chip, and bit of pizza that I had invited into my system over the weekend.

In the past, I have always viewed the stomach bug as an evil destroyer that swoops in unexpectedly and results in fevered pleas for relief, even if that relief means sudden death. I know, that sounds dramatic, but in the throws of cold sweats and waves of nausea, sudden death doesn't seem like such a terrible option, at least to me. This time was different. Although the cold sweats and waves of nausea were the same, my view of the misery I experienced was dramatically different. This time, I clearly saw both my body and myself as co-creators of my experience.

For three days prior, I took little to no care for what I asked my body to digest and, in doing so, I created the perfect atmosphere for a virus to enter, nest, and multiply. My body, reacting in a healing fashion that involved stomach cramps, fever, and many trips to the bathroom, quickly and efficiently rid itself of the offending viral intruder and just as efficiently cleansed itself of the myriad of gastrointestinal horrors I had ingested all in the name of celebration. Through it all, even as I felt as if sudden death may be a better option, I did not ask for it. Instead, I recognized that "this too will change," reminded myself that my strong, healthy body would endure this trial, and I gave thanks to the Universe for this opportunity to heal.

Today I am feeling much better and have begun to enjoy eating once more, but with a fresh perspective. I am starting my 41st year with a new respect for my body's wisdom, healing ability, and, most importantly, my role in being its steward and protector. For this, I am truly grateful.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Year in Review

Last year on this day I pressed the virtual "Reset" button on my life. As a new decade began I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to throw out the old, embrace the new, and focus on who I am now and who I want to be in the future. It felt so good; free; wonderful. Now, one year has passed and as I approached this birthday I felt a lot of self-induced pressure to wake up on this day with a huge smile of radiant joy enveloping my face as I appreciated my fully organized life, enjoyed the feeling of 100% health, and embraced feeling at complete peace with my place in the world as I walked forth to prosper in my 41st year. That did not happen.

I did, however, wake up. I showed up for another day of becoming more me, more gracefully, beautifully, and simply, and I gave thanks for my imperfect self. Because, really and truly, I am all I have in this world. Last year I asked my then-boss, "What can I do differently?" He replied, "Just keep being you." As I reflected on this past year, I realized that he was right. The more me I become, the more seamless, joyful, and graceful my life becomes and I am continually in awe at the gifts and miracles that occur when I simply let go and be . . . me.

So, on this day of celebration of my becoming in this world, I am grateful that in this past year I have discovered a joy for creative performance, reignited my passion for writing, opened to the vulnerability inherent in sharing myself with others, awakened my love for artistic expression through paper mache, explored my body's capacity to heal itself through movement, and embraced the possibility that all things are possible with faith, trust, and love. Thank you for celebrating with me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

January Joy Through . . . Cleaning?!

Each January, for many, many years, I have felt this overwhelming desire to deep clean and organize my physical space. For many Januaries, I spent my holiday time visiting my family and returning to a hectic work schedule that did not leave time to purge unnecessary clutter from my life. Each year, I felt disappointed that I had set my intention to take time for myself to get organized and did not act on it.

When my husband and I relocated in 2008, we moved from a townhouse in New Hampshire to an enlarged studio space with an eat-in kitchen and 6x8 foot study in Massachusetts. Our Charlestown space is beautiful and much smaller than we were accustomed to in New Hampshire. Since relocating, my husband, a natural organizer and one who despises clutter, has expertly packed and repacked our closets to fit more things into less space than they once occupied; unloaded items on Craigslist - a brilliant creation of the mass marketplace; and, efficiently de-cluttered his personal possessions to the bare minimum.

Despite my years of longing for time to de-clutter and organize in the way that seems to flow so naturally for my husband, I have spent years fighting what appears to be a never ending tide of clutter and avoiding opportunities to address it. Moving to a smaller space amplified the negative impact this clutter has on my life and forced me to address it. Last January I made progress toward a simpler life when my husband and I spent every January weekend moving things around, cleaning, and removing unnecessary items from our home. Yet, throughout this past year I have continued to feel tangled in my own stuff that oozes out of crevices and bubbles out of drawers constantly calling me to use it or dump it already.

Over the past two weekends, I have truly embraced my long-held desire to de-clutter, simplify, and deep clean my living space. Now, when I open my dresser drawer I feel good knowing that I actually wear everything in it; the antique rocking chair is no longer my I'm-not-done-wearing-this-so-it's-not-dirty-yet clothes hanger, and I feel inspired when I retrieve my art supplies from their newly organized spaces.

I struggled through the deep cleaning process and was thankful for my husband's support and encouragement. I still have a few outstanding de-clutter projects in mind, but I know that the truly hard part of organizing my space and my life is done. Now, I rejoice when I sense my lighter, cleaner, more open physical space and feel freedom in my emotional space to embrace new things that will bring me pleasure. Letting go was hard, but I now recognize that living my life not letting go was far harder.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stories Shared

On Monday, January 10th, I co-hosted a story slam for massmouth, a storytelling non-profit in Boston. The theme was "Your Day In Court." As an appellate and later a trial attorney, I spent many years speaking publicly. A lot of my public speaking involved telling stories, but they were always someone else's story. When I became involved with massmouth, I discovered the freedom, creativity, empowerment, and growth that naturally comes from telling my own story. Sharing in this way, I have begun to view my past experiences not just as something that happened to me, but as something that enriched my life, motivated me to explore new paths, and brought me step by step to this moment, right here, right now. For all of this, I am grateful.

My co-host experience was one more step toward sharing my own story and helping others to share theirs.  My co-host and good friend Tom, who I met as an appellate prosecutor in the Middlesex District Attorney's Office in 1999, is a natural storyteller. He can relate a tale of real life experience like no other person I know. Monday night was no exception. He enchanted the audience with his charm and tickled them with his humorous portrayal of his life and the law. I treasure this time spent with him and am gratified to know that everyone seemed to enjoy his presence as much as I did.

The night was a huge success filled with many amazing story tellers, new and seasoned in the art of sharing orally. Thank you massmouth co-founders Norah Dooley and Andrea Lovett for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to experience this wonderful night of coming together through the power of personal story. Thank you Tom for sharing this night with me and thank you to every person who dives inside, finds their story, and courageously shares it with others. Here are a few stories Tom and I told on January 10th. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Guest Blog @

Thank you to everyone who is reading this blog! I am loving writing again and sharing my experience has been helpful to me. When I started blogging, I sent a thank you email to a few incredible women who have truly helped me grow as a person over the last few years. One of them, Karly Randolph Pittman, founder of First Ourselves, invited me to guest blog on her site:

I met Karly on-line two years ago when I downloaded her e-book, Overcoming Sugar Addiction: How to Kick Your Sugar Habit and Conquer Food Cravings, Stabilize Your Mood, and Lose Weight, now in its second edition. Karly's story is truly inspiring and she has dedicated herself to helping others live healthier and more joyful lives by overcoming sugar addiction, weight gain and body image issues, and overeating. I am honored by the opportunity to guest blog on her site and grateful to her for sharing so much of herself to help me, as well as others. Here is my guest blog post: (Click on "Guest Author" to read the entire post). Feel free to share it with others.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Friday!

OK. It is Friday. I am in a random mood. So here is a random list of my favorite useless inventions I found on (search useless inventions for the entire list). Now, what makes these funny for me is reading each one and imagining using it for its intended purpose.

1. A black highlighter pen
2. Inflatable Anchor
3. Battery powered Battery Charger
4. Inflatable Dartboard
5. Double sided playing cards

I got a charge, pun intended, out of the battery powered battery charger, but my absolute favorite invention is the deck of double sided playing cards. Funny!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mother Nature's Gift

Boston is a winter wonderland today with approximately fifteen inches of snow on the ground, a brilliant blue sky, and dazzling sunshine. It is incredibly beautiful. Weather has an amazing ability to bring people together. It is a shared common experience that invites conversation regardless of age, gender, political affiliation, marital status, sexual preference, ethnic origin, or religious denomination. It is Mother's Nature's way of giving everyone a reason to pause and contemplate something more than the day-to-day rush, the bills, and the cleanliness of the bathroom.

As I walked through Charlestown yesterday afternoon, I sensed the camaraderie between neighbors as they shoveled snow to reveal cars, parking spaces, and sidewalks; conversed with strangers over our shared wintry experience; treasured time with my husband as the storm altered our daily routine; and enjoyed a phone call from a loved one checking on my family's safety in the storm. And, as the day waned, I gave thanks to all that is for Mother Nature's ability to so beautifully and simply connect me to the people around me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Fun: Prudential Flash Mob Wedding

It's Friday! Last night on the news I saw a feature piece about Jon and Caroline Kleiman who held their flash mob wedding ceremony in the Prudential Mall here in Boston on December 12, 2010. The six minute video is really sweet. If you haven't seen it already, it is fun to watch and the celebrant's words worth a listen. I am always grateful when I am reminded that there truly are not enough ways to be kind or show love for another being. May you find much love in your heart as you watch this wedding ceremony and may that love carry you through this new year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Eternal Possibility, Part 1: Story Telling!

Eternal Possibility: to live a life knowing all things are possible and I am eternal.

Living in this way I notice that information that I want or need comes to me without much thought and even less effort. Last year, my boss, co-owner of a small bookstore, wanted me to schedule story telling events  like those held in New York City and featured on National Public Radio. In my research as Event Coordinator, I found that Boston had its own story telling organization called massmouth, inc. (small case intended). I did not contact them.

During my year at JWB, I often had the experience of wanting to know something and very soon thereafter someone would enter the store and provide the information I needed. An act of providence; it was magical. This time was no different.

I was at work late one afternoon when a woman walked in the door and asked to post a flyer about a story telling competition being held the following week. She was from massmouth. I was in awe. I was tasked with bringing story telling to the store; I identified the organization that told stories; they found me. Wow!

Now, the interesting part of the story is that on any other night I would not have been at the store at the time she arrived; and . . . she was in town to make a donation to Good Will, which was next to the book store. She stopped in on a whim. I happened to be there. Providence happened.

We exchanged information, the co-founder called me that same week, and I volunteered at the event. Nine months later, I am co-teaching story telling workshops, assisting at slams in three Boston neighborhoods, and co-hosting my own slam on Monday, January 10th at Kennedy's Midtown, in downtown Boston. The theme: Your Day In Court. Next Monday night my creative story telling life and my former life as an attorney will become one. ALL things are possible!