Monday, May 11, 2015



As you may recall, I moved to New Mexico recently. Much of the reason I came here was to put a thousand-plus miles between myself and the shadow of grief, sadness, loss, chaos, and catastrophe that surrounded me in my small Maryland town.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d done a lot of happy living in the twenty-three years I spent there with a husband, a mother, two kids, three houses, several careers, lots of friends, and four dogs – all while I had two legs. But after my marriage was long over, my mother gone, my kids launched, and my leg chopped off, I was faced with a decision:  Should I stay? Did I even want to? Would it be better to start over in a place that didn’t remind me – every day and everywhere I turned – of everything I’d lost? After a great deal of thought, I decided to go for it. Yes, moving across the country would cost a fortune and I would miss having Arleen and my kids as an almost daily part of my life, but I knew I needed to start over. Now that I’ve been here a few months, I know without a doubt that I made the right call.

I came here to heal in every way a person can – physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally, financially, and spiritually. It’s been over three years since I got home from the hospital, and I suppose that seems like plenty of time for a person to get their shit together. But the truth is, I didn’t get a lot of healing done during that time. I never had the opportunity. I bounced from one emergency to the next during those three years. My mother died. My son dropped out of college. I ended a decade-long relationship with my publisher and had to find a new one. I had no choice but to file for bankruptcy. I lost my house. I had to move. I experienced PTSD. I did rehab, learned how to live with a disability, then experienced intense pain and another major surgery. The IRS came after me. My  former husband filed a court motion that led to ten months of legal fighting. It went on and on and on, giving me no room and no time for healing. All I could do was focus on surviving the current day so that I could wake up and try to survive whatever came next. By the time I left Maryland at the beginning of 2015, I was depleted on every level. I had nothing left for myself or anyone else.

New Mexico is bringing me back to life.

With just a few months of sunshine, peace, silence, and beauty, my creative juices are surging. I’m on fire with stories and art projects. After three years of doing battle with myself just to put one sentence at a time on the laptop screen, this rush of creative energy is an embarrassment of riches. But I’ll take it.

I’m getting physically stronger, too, and bouncing back emotionally enough that I’m not worried some horrible crisis is just around the corner. Eight months after my hip reconstruction, I am walking in public with my canes again, not paralyzed with fear that I will fall. It feels wonderful.

Money will begin flowing into my life again by the autumn, which will mean I can focus on growing my career and challenging myself creatively instead of merely surviving month to month.

And most interestingly, my instincts and intuition are off the chain these days. I am sensing and knowing things not supported by real-world evidence, and many of the things I “know” eventually show up right in front of me. The guidance I receive in dreams, during meditation, or by being still in nature can manifest in my life a few days later, surprising me with how accurate the connections are.  You may be wondering . . . has she always been this whackadoodle? No.  I used to think those who claimed to sense “energy” and “vibrations” were odd if not outright nut jobs. And yet here I am, plugged in to something I never used to believe in. Did almost dying somehow reset my brain, leaving me more sensitive? Hey, why not? All I know is my ability to receive information from the universe has expanded, and I didn’t even realize how much so until I found a little peace and quiet.

For those of you who have spent any time in New Mexico, you know I couldn’t have picked a better place to get my New Age on. (Shirley MacLaine owned a ranch not far from where I live.) And I certainly have found some kindred spirits here, especially among my classmates in a Native American “Shamanic Journey” course I’m taking. For those of you not familiar with the concept, it’s a nature-based spirituality of transformation and healing, an awareness of the sacred all around us. In a recent class, we participated in a lengthy guided meditation in which we met our animal spirit guides. (A subject for another blog entry.) This journey was designed to take us down to the “lower realms,” of our psyche, the home of our deeply buried issues and motivations.

Just as we were about to begin, our instructor gave us a heads up:  she was using a new iPod dock for the background music, and she hadn’t quite mastered all the bells and whistles, which would pose a challenge in the dark.  “So if you suddenly hear Liberace in the middle of the meditation, I apologize,” she said.

I spoke up. “I’m not sure I'm comfortable journeying into the underworld with Liberace.”

Everyone laughed.

Making people laugh: another sure sign I’m coming back to life.


Monique said...

I'm so glad that the new home is being everything it's cracked up to be (hee hee) One thing about traveling with Liberace, never a dull moment and the glitter will certainly light the way!

k-link said...

I've read some of your backlist but was unfamiliar with your personal journey. Was listening to the DBSA podcast on my way to work this morning and felt compelled to check out your blog. You are an amazing lady! I'll stop feeling sorry for myself for a not-so-good knee replacement from last spring now. :)

Monica said...

I had the extreme pleasure of meeting you and hearing you speak at the Nora Roberts Writing Institute in Hagerstown, MD in August, 2014. I sensed that you weren't in a good place emotionally, but you inspired me to read all your novels (within a month, I might add). Your writing is so true and heartfelt, funny and sexy. I can read your books and forget everything but that story for a while. Best of luck in your new home, and you'll continue to be an inspiration to all of us who eagerly await future tales. (P.S. I love your books so much, I've read them all at least twice this past year. My favorite is "Take a Chance on Me." I can still hear the dog's comments in my head, and it makes me laugh. Thank You!


Thank you, k-link! I'm glad you enjoyed the SBDB podcast, and thank you for stopping by the blog.


Thank you so much, Monica. No, I was not at my best last summer, but oh, what a difference a year makes! I can't thank you enough for going out and reading all my backlist. Your comments mean more to me than you know.