Saturday, July 23, 2005


I just got wireless, so I'm sending one last blog before I head out for Reno to gamble, party with friends, and practice being a bad girl!

When I get home, I'll be doing one of my very favorite things--starting a new book! The working title is "Dead-Central", and it's about Mojo Sheepshanks, my new romantic suspense heroine. She's juggling ex-husband, Nick, (who is severely hampered by the fact that he's--well--dead) and Tucker Darroch, handsome but often scruffy undercover cop. The setting is Arizona, with many of the same locales as the Clare & Tony books.

Once I get a handle on this wireless internet thing, I'll be taking my computer along when I travel and doing a blog. Linda Lael Miller, on the road.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Do you have boundaries?
Mine sometimes seem to be made of jelly. It's still a struggle for me.
When is enough ENOUGH?
For me, with a certain issue, and with which I will not bore you further, it is TODAY.
I'm tired of tap-dancing on the decks of the Good Ship Lollipop.
This "good girl" is gonna go bad, big time. (For an excellent definition of bad girls, read November 22 in "Simple Abundance.")
I'm off to Reno.
I really need this vacation.
Can you tell?
And I intend to behave very badly indeed.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Invisibility Cloaks

Harry Potter's invisibility cloak comes in handy. Certainly, no young wizard should be without one. How else to spy on Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy? How else to prowl the halls of Hogwarts on a vital mission?

For the rest of us, though, I think invisibility cloaks are definitely a disadvantage.

You might be wondering what the heck I'm talking about. "I don't own an invisibility cloak, for heaven's sake," you may be thinking. "I wish I did!"

Well, the truth is, you probably have a closet full of them, just as I do. Invisibility cloaks are the ways we sneak under the radar, play small, don't speak up for ourselves or others when it's important to take a stand. Putting on weight can be an invisibility cloak. Not pursuing your personal dream is an invisibility cloak. Accepting unacceptable behavior from others is an invisibility cloak.

What the world needs now is people--particularly women--who are willing to throw off their cloaks and speak the truth. The planet is in peril, and we cannot afford to be invisible.

We cannot wait for the wise ones to come along. We must become the wise ones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dragons Four through 999,000

There are, of course, a great many more dragons lined up outside the door of our cozy little mental cottage, and dealing with them will take a lifetime. Let's agree--remember, I am no further ahead on this journey than you are--to greet these visitors one at a time. We've got the idea now, and we can take it from here. I have my dragons, and you have yours. I suspect yours bear a certain resemblance to mine, and vice versa. I can only say that we will have an easier time if we don't let them stampede across the threshold in a herd, but we mustn't try to ignore them, either. They will huff and puff and blow our house down if we do that.

Today, I want to recommend a book, and here's a surprise for you: it isn't mine! It's "Radical Forgiveness", by Colin Tipping. Check out his website at You can buy the book there, and I suggest you get the CD, too. The one called "The 13 Steps to Forgiveness". I had a powerful breakthrough, listening to that CD. Fair warning: you will probably want Karen Taylor Good's music, after hearing it on the 13 Steps. I swear, it washed over my soul like healing balm.

We all have things, people and situations we need to forgive. Radical Forgiveness is a simple but very deep process, and it bears little or no resemblance to the kind of bite-the-bullet forgiveness you were probably conditioned to expect. If you have a resistance to this idea, the Victim Dragon has crept back into your cottage. True forgiveness has little or nothing to do with the person or circumstance you're forgiving, and everything to do with your journey to wholeness. You have probably wondered, as I did, what is blocking you. What is holding you back.

Mr. Tipping's book will clear that up for you, and even if you read only the first and sixteenth chapters, you will experience profound healing. Just remember--it's a process.

On Saturday morning, I'll be leaving on a vacation, which means there won't be a blog until the morning of August 1. I will be here tomorrow morning, however, and Friday, and I haven't forgotten that promise to set up some kind of response system. I've got people working on it.

And so, for today, may you be blessed. May you be centered.

May you be more fully yourself.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dragon Three

I really didn't want to let this one into my cozy little mental cottage at all. I just got through picking up all the wadded tissues from Victim's visit, and now this.
Blame is an angry dragon, first cousin to Victim, and she does breathe fire. The walls are scorched and sooty, and I will be a while washing them down.
Blame's motto is, IT'S SOMEBODY ELSE'S FAULT.
I can't be happy--Somebody Else is ruining my life.
I can't (read: won't) take responsibility for my situation--I wouldn't be like this, if it weren't for that Somebody Else. I wouldn't be fat, stuck, depressed--you fill in the rest.

Oh, that mean, rotten Somebody Else, I thought, temporarily buying in, because Blame is very convincing, you know. She's so in-your-face angry that you get singed by the heat of her fury, and it's hard to concentrate and stay centered when your eyebrows are on fire.

Once I caught my breath, though, I began to get some perspective.

Wait a minute, I said. I led Blame to the mirror, and she did not go willingly, I assure you. But I made her look. At HERSELF. (Funny, how much she resembles me, when you look past the scales and the flames shooting out of the nostrils.)

There's your problem, I said. You don't see Somebody Else in there, do you? Is Somebody Else making your choices? (They will, actually, in an indirect sort of way, if you let them, but even THAT is a choice, isn't it?) Don't give me any crap, here. If Viktor Frankl can make a choice in Nazi captivity, we certainly don't have an excuse.

Blame is a way of letting ourselves off the hook. Letting Somebody Else be responsible.

Sheep dip. Always, always, the choice belongs to you, and you alone. Maybe you can't choose what other people do. But you CAN choose your response. (Remember Viktor Frankl if you're tempted to snivel.)

Think about it. I certainly am.

I need something to do while I wait for my eyebrows to grow back.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dragon Two

Dragon Two said, when I invited her in for tea, "My name is Victim." She cries a lot, and sheds wadded tissues like--well, dragon scales.
Things just always went wrong for poor Victim.
Her childhood was rough. When young dragons chose up sides for games, she was among the last to be chosen. She didn't get asked to the Dragon Prom, and if she did, it was by the wrong boy. The one who didn't breathe fire worth a damn. She had to settle.
Poor Victim.
She married the wrong man.
Went to the wrong college, or didn't go to college at all.
(I suggested that she enroll now, and she said she was too old. Life had--sniff, sniff--passed her by. I pointed out--very gently--that I am 56, and what amounts to a freshman at University of Phoenix, but she just looked at me balefully. I knew what she was thinking: That's easy for YOU to say. YOU have a career. YOU write books.)
The dark litany went on.
She has always been on the outside looking in.
She never gets what she wants.
Well, DUH, I thought, it might be your attitude, but I am Hestia, keeper of the warm hearth, so I must be friendly and welcoming. My job is not to retrain dragons, but simply to listen to them. I couldn't resist saying, though, after the long catalog of existential despair, with much dragon-sniffling and the occasional plaintive wail, "You are rather tiresome, you know."
"Everyone says that!" cried Victim, indignant.
I patted her scaly paw in what I hoped was an understanding way, trying to ignore the tissue clutched in it, and goopy with dragon snot. "Then maybe it's true," I said.
She blinked a couple of times. I could tell she was grievously affronted, but I didn't think she would incinerate me with a burst of flame. She was much too soggy for that. Then she got up and left in a huff.
Good-bye, Dragon.
I won't miss you very much.
Not at all, in fact.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Dragon One

Thy name is ENTITLEMENT.
(Please note: I am on this journey with you. I'm not out there ahead someplace, I'm teaching what I need to learn.)
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Here's what the first dragon has to say:
We have been spoiled in this great, rich, messily imperfect country. Many of us have come to feel that we are entitled to the things we want, well, just because we want them. We act as though some special heavenly dispensation should be granted. We should not have problems. We should not have struggles. We're special.
What we are, ladies, is damn lucky.
We have to do the work--and most of it is internal--in order to become the kind of people who live the kinds of lives we want. Nobody is going to wave a magic wand and make it so, so let's stop waiting around for the fairy godmother to show up and make everything all right. That's our job. Let's define who we really want to be, and grow into that new skin. Deliberately. By choice.
The first thing on our agenda is to stop believing we're entitled to anything more or less than what we have.
What we have, right now, today, corresponds to what we are, right now, today. We've earned it, for good or ill, by our thoughts, actions, and attitudes. It's a hard truth, I know, but nonetheless true for that.
Are we too fat? Nobody put a gun to our heads and made us eat too much.
Do we wish we had a better job or more education? Nobody said, "Drop out of college and get married, or I'll kill you."
At every single moment of our lives, we are blessed with the power of choice. No, we can't always choose what happens to us, because the people around us, not to mention world governments and other institutions, are busy making choices, too, and those choices affect us. That's the reality. What we CAN do is choose how we respond. We can rant and rail, and look for the Cosmic Complaint Department, or we can stop and be grateful. We can stop and see where we are, and where we want to be, and we can make better choices.
On Monday, we'll tackle Dragon #2.
In the meantime, are you writing those Morning Pages?
No excuses, now.
Write them. Dialogue with the dragon. Tell yourself the unvarnished truth.
It's the only way to get off square one.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Take tea with dragons

Okay, so I promised to tell you what to do with the list of 20 you made yesterday. (You DID make it, didn't you? And you ARE writing those morning pages?)
Now, cross off the dumb stuff.
Make a new list of 20 things you can appreciate.
Come on, you can do it. Don't tell me you can't, because I don't believe you. Either you want to feel better, or you don't. This isn't hard, and nobody has to see the list but you.
Try this: imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning and everything and everybody in your life was gone. What--and more importantly who--would you miss?

Now, for the dragons. (This is a Buddhist concept. I read it somewhere, and I don't remember where. If you're a fundamentalist Christian, don't scream and run. This is not Of the Devil. The devil gets too much credit anyway, and the collective ego is all the devil anybody needs, but that's another subject, for another day. If people would think more about God and less about the devil, they'd be better off. Enough said.)

Back to dragons.

What ARE dragons, anyway, you ask, as you well might.

Dragons are the things you resist. That extra 10, 20 or 50 pounds you're carrying around. That woman at work who sets your teeth on edge. That guy who cut you off on the freeway yesterday afternoon. The husband who leaves his dirty underwear on the closet floor. I could go on--and on--but I know you get the idea, you're smart.

Dragons are the things you're afraid of. Strangely, they are often things you want very much, but at the same time, you push them away, because you're scared of change. NO WONDER you're frustrated. It's an endless round of "Come in-Go away, Come in-Go away!" DECIDE, for heaven's sake!

So now you know the dragon theory. No matter what stage of life you're in right now--Diana, the Huntress, Athena, the Warrior, Demeter, the Seeker of the Precious Lost, make a shift. Sit down in that bright little room in your head, where you are Hestia and a bright, cheerful fire is burning on your hearth. Make sure you have a welcoming spirit. You want a tea-serving, scone-baking kind of attitude. Now, invite the dragons in for a chat. One at a time, since dragons tend to be unwieldy creatures, and in need of a great deal of elbow room. Ask the dragon--politely, please--what it wants to tell you. And then LISTEN. Take notes. (A list of 20 things the dragon said?) Don't judge. Don't chase the dragon away. It's your friend. It really and truly is. It will tell you what you're resisting, and why. And you'll know how to stop, because just being aware of a problem means it's 3/4 of the way solved.

Resistance repells. Appreciation attracts.

Remember that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

My middle name

I was born Linda Lee Lael.
I imagine the angels chuckled at that, and would have suggested another name entirely.
Try: Linda RESISTANCE Lael.
I've been a scrapper, all my life. (During my Athena period, that was all right. We need to be warrior goddesses for a while, so we can define who we are, what we will embrace and accept, and what we want no part of, but too many of us get stuck in this phase.) Although I'm a fairly cheerful person, most of the time, I have a tendency to put up my dukes and dig in my heels when I meet up with something I don't like. Now that I'm Hestia, the hearthkeeper, I've garnered enough wisdom to make a different choice.
Here's what I've discovered, and I did it the hard way. You don't have to.
Resistance repells. Whatever you don't want, and resist, will get stronger, because by your very opposition, you are giving it something to push against, and build muscle.
Acceptance and Appreciation, on the other hand, ATTRACT.
When you hit a rough patch--hear me, now--you are resisting something. What is it?
Many of us resist scarcity. What happens? Scarcity gets stronger. You're giving it purchase, something to push against.
Instead, try appreciating. Even if you only have $10, appreciate the heck out of that $10.
Here's your assignment for today:
Make a list of 20.
20 things you can appreciate.
I don't care how small or how silly they are.
Just do it!
Most of them aren't so silly, are they? If you can get up in the morning and go about your business, you're way ahead of a lot of people. Folks in wheelchairs and hospitals would consider that a major blessing. Do you have a family, however troublesome and annoying? Lots of lonely people would like to have a family. Ask that foster kid. Ask that guy under the viaduct. Or maybe you ARE a "lonely people". You have solitude, and time for your own pursuits. That mother of four preschoolers could appreciate that. You live in a free country, however imperfect, where the pursuit of happiness is a right. Folks in Afghanistan and Iraq could get behind that.
You're smart.
You get the point.
Let's have that list of 20.
And every time you get discouraged, frustrated or angry, at least for the next little while, get out that list, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and appreciate. You don't have to be perfect at it, or even good. But just for today, shift your focus off the things you don't want--flash: they get all their power from your resistance--and onto the things you DO want. You might be surprised to discover, when the emotional dust settles, that you already have many of them.
We'll talk more about what to do with the list tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Holy Cafe

Imagine that Life is one big cafe.
You come in, sit down, and look at the menu.
What are you hungry for?
There are so many distractions. The jukebox is playing, and you didn't choose the tune. You get up, fumbling with the change in your pocket, and examine the choices. There are SO many, it's overwhelming and, besides, other people have put in their quarters already, and chosen a lifetime of songs. What's the use? You sit down again, discouraged, figuring you'll handle the problem later. In the meantime, you'll just have to listen to other people's music.
The waitress comes over, pen and pad in hand. "What'll it be?" she asks, popping her gum.
Decisions, decisions. You look at the menu again. Marriage. Children. A career. This house or that house. This car, or that car. This city or that city. This church, that church, or no church at all.
You ask her to come back later.
She sighs and goes away.
You peer at the menu again. You check your watch. Time is passing.
You'd really like to order that special--the great marriage, with a good career on the side, but do you deserve it? Do you have the wherewithal to pay for it? Maybe you should settle for something less. You count the change in your pocket. Yes, maybe you should settle for less.
The waitress comes back. She's getting impatient. "I don't have all day," she mutters.
Neither do you, as it happens. If there's one thing you're conscious of, it's the passage of time. You're starting not to recognize the songs on the jukebox. The scenery outside the window is changing, season to season. Furthermore, you're getting really hungry. What if you choose the wrong thing? What if, when the bill comes, you don't have enough to pay? Will they let you wash dishes, or have you arrested?
Pressure, pressure.
DECIDE, says the Universe. But kindly. The Universe isn't tapping its foot. The Universe is--well, the Universe--and it has, literally, all the time there is.
You are getting older and wiser, and suddenly you look around the cafe and you realize you're the only one there. How did that happen? The jukebox is playing the songs you didn't choose. You call the waitress over and ask why. She answers that if you don't choose, the thing operates by default. Plays whatever songs, at random. Frankly, she wishes you'd make a decision, because she's tired of all those sad ballads. How about a little Reggae? How about some John Phillip Sousa? How about some good ole rock n roll??
"I don't have much money," you confide, ashamed, even though you don't think this waitress is especially friendly.
That's when she hits you with the truth.
This is your cafe.
You choose the songs.
You choose the food.
And, best of all, there isn't any bill, because you own the place.
NOW what will you ask for?
Added caveat: The cafe scenario was inspired by my friend Chellie Campbell's wonderful book, "The Wealthy Spirit." I simply embellished it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thoughts on homes and hearts

I came to a great realization today, in my journaling, as I often do. (Are you doing your morning pages? I am a mother, and thus very skilled at nagging. I won't let you off the hook on this one!)

We pass through stages in our lives. As women, we are Diana, goddess of the hunt, early in our lives. We are looking for the things and people that will complete us. Searching, seeking, striving and pushing. Oh, it's exhausting! But it IS a natural part of the life cycle, and all women must pass through it on the way to wholeness, on the path to discovering what was there all the time: the true self. Then there is Athena, the warrior goddess. She fights for what she wants. She's strong and vital. Some of us stay way too long in the Athena stage. And there is poor Demeter, searching for her lost child. Some of us have to pass that way, and most likely, no woman ever faces a greater ordeal. That child might not literally be lost, as in abducted, or taken from us at a too-early age. Sometimes, that child is wandering in dark and dangerous forests. What can we do? Keep the Home Fires burning. Pray and wait. Open your heart, and let it be a warm place to come home to.

I am 56 years old, and I have come, at long last, to a very peaceful and rewarding place. I am Hestia, keeper of the hearth. I have made a home of my own heart, and I am committed to keeping the floors swept, the cupboards full, and the fire burning. My books reflect this. They are way-stations for the weary, distracted heart and mind.

So come in. Sit a while. Rest your mind, body and spirit. You are welcome here. Welcome at the McKettricks' kitchen table. Welcome on the trail ride, and under the broad sweep of stars gracing the night sky. Even welcome, in NEVER LOOK BACK, to share in Clare's quest for justice and truth. (She is definitely Athena!)

Don't worry. Don't fret. You are in exactly the right place, and if the journey seems long and difficult at times, don't despair. You are following an ancient path. In time, you will come home to your own heart. You will settle comfortably into your own skin.

In the meantime, wherever you are on your journey, know that others have traveled this way before. It's a hard road, but beautiful. Oh, breathtakingly beautiful. It's a scary, too, some of the time. But it leads to a wonderful place.


Friday, July 08, 2005

The British spirit

The British are brave. When they talk about keeping a stiff upper lip, they mean it.
And they are back in the game--after One Day. That's typical of them, you know. They faced down the Spanish Armada. They went to the cliffs of Dover in rowboats and saved countless Allied soldiers, stranded on the beach. They've slept in subways to avoid Nazi bombs and done without the most basic necessities without a whimper. They've seen whole neighborhoods leveled--imagine September 11, day after day, year after year. That's what happened, during the Second World War. And even that didn't keep them down, because they truly believe, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." A people who will not surrender to fear can never really be conquered.

The terrorists, meanwhile, huddle in their little dirty little hidy-holes, incomprehensibly proud of their cowardice. What spineless wonders they are.

By definition, terrorists seek to inspire terror. They want to undermine the British and American ways of life. The best way to fight them is to go right on being who we are, and doing what we do.

No matter what is going on in the outside world, fear is a choice, and so is courage.

Today, kiss your children. Play with your dogs. Revel in your good work. Be happy.

Oh, how the terrorists hate that we're happy.

So let's all get a little happier, and then happier still.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


For several years, London was my second home. I kept a flat in Hans Place, behind Harrod's, and spent many happy times there. I came to love the humor and bravery of the British people.

It breaks my heart that London has been attacked. But if there is one thing I know, it is how courageous the British really are. The Blitz could not defeat their spirit, and neither will the terrorists, however unconscionable their acts.

May God bless and keep my beloved Brits.

The story you star in

Okay, so we've gotten it, that writing our own "movies" doesn't work very well. The cast is unruly. The sets change constantly. It rains when sunshine would suit our plot-line better, etc.

Etc. Etc. Etc.!

But there IS a story, and it stars you. It's your own, authentic life. The little you, becoming the big, true you. To some extent, it's an autobiography--nothing lets us off the hook for making responsible, day-to-day choices. That's our part.

It came to me in my journaling this morning that our lives are really biographies, and the Author is God. We can kick and struggle and resist, and generally raise a lot of dust--which we will promptly choke on. And when it all settles, we will look around and ask ourselves, yet again, "What have I done?"

OR we can trust the Author. We can live this page of the story with joy and acceptance and love, and no matter what twists and turns the plot might take, we can believe the Author has only good things in mind for us.

Let's just live, with courage and trust in the Master Storyteller, and see what happens.
Personally, I think it's going to turn out GREAT.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Beep-beep, the Roadrunner...

That's me.
I run too fast sometimes, and too far. Do you?
Today, for all practical intents and purposes, I will finish my new historical, "The Man from Stone Creek." I've worked especially hard on this book, battling a persistent case of bronchitis and a certain tempest in a teapot in the midst of the process, and now that I will be writing those final pages, I find myself immediately focusing on the next book.
Wait a second!
"Stone Creek" is a marvelous accomplishment. I want to take time out to celebrate a little. I'm not talking about going out honky-tonking, or anything like that. I'm referring to an internal pat on the back. A little savoring.
I need to stop and breathe.
I forget to do that. Do you?
Maybe I'll light a candle. Maybe I'll say thank you, to the universe and to myself.
I don't want to be a lump in the middle of the street.
But I don't want to be a roadrunner anymore, either.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

Today, let us celebrate the gift of Freedom.
Who gave us this gift?
Well, inititally, God. He planted the yearning in our hearts long ago.
But after God came others, who spoke up in spite of their fear.
They framed the Constitution.
They fought and died to establish, sustain and preserve the great gift.
Do we truly have Liberty and Justice for all?
We've got work to do. Fortunately, we don't have to be perfect at it.
We must tend our own gardens. We must practice compassion. We must open our hearts and our minds to the cries of others. We must value those who take the opposite view, for without them, there would be no balance.
Let us remember:
The forgotten child, in the inner city.
The mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grieving for that fallen soldier.
The people who are--gasp--DIFFERENT. (Remember that guy I mentioned yesterday, the one with the shopping cart, who lives under the freeway, and beams as he begs?)
We must make room for everyone to stand proudly inside the circle defined as 'us'. (Or U.S., if you will.)
We are far from that goal, and yet I feel great hope for this nation, and all free nations. (If you don't believe we're really free, try spending a day in Afganistan or Iraq; you'll soon see the difference.)
What shall we do?
Remember the code, inspired by God.
Liberty and Justice for all.
We shall keep marching. We shall keep trying. Keep hoping and praying.
You see, it's not the destination that matters so much. It's the journey.
Let us travel with integrity, with courage, with fairness of mind.
Let us seek the Light. It will lead us.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The best trick I ever learned...

For generating ideas, I mean.
And ideas come in handy, don't they?
Not just story ideas, but ideas for living, for solving problems, and making dreams come true.
Are you on the edge of your seat yet?
You should be.
Now, breathe....

Here's the trick. (I learned it from Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and self-help writer extraordinaire. I want that clear up front. It's his idea, not mine, and IT REALLY WORKS.)

It's the list of 20.
When I first get a concept, or a character, in mind, I ask myself, pen and paper at hand:
What are twenty things I need to know about this character?
What are twenty things that could happen in this story?
Then I write.
As with the Morning Pages, this is a stream-of-consciousness thing. You go as fast as you can, and you don't judge along the way. The first few ideas, in fact, are usually stupid. Great. You've got them out of the way, so you can get to the good stuff, the stuff you wouldn't even have thought about, if you hadn't been willing to wade through the sludge first!

Do you see how this technique could be used for anything?

What are twenty things I'm not facing?
What are twenty things--little things--I could do right now, today, to feel better?
You take it from here.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

For me, it's music

What have you been denying yourself? What small, nourishing pleasure? What touched you too deeply, so that you thought the best thing, the only thing, to do was back away?

For me, it's music.

I love music of all kinds, everything from Gregorian chant to the Beatles. Music stirs my imagination, energizes my body, lifts my spirits. For some complicated, unconscious reason, I have a tendency to deny myself anything I love that much. Why? Because I was afraid of the total abandon I sometimes feel when I listen to music.

I am giving myself a gift. I am going to listen to music, in the morning while I write in my journals, while I work, and just before sleep. (It's got to be an improvement over cops-and-robbers TV!) And I am going to listen to music for sure when I'm resisting it, because that's when I need it most.

For me, music is the Voice of God.

Music soothes. Music heals.

More music, please.

(Keep this quote in mind: "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life, and you will call it fate." Carl Jung.)

Friday, July 01, 2005

About drums and soundtracks

Let's start with soundtracks. Your movies, of course, have them. They usually go something like this:
You'll never make it.
Who do you think you are?
It's selfish to think of yourself first.
Something will always go wrong, so why try?
If you really love me, you'll....(fill in the blank. It's always what the manipulator, often well-meaning, wants.)

I could go on, but I think you get the drift. Those voices in your head are the soundtrack of a lot of self-defeating mind movies.

Who SAYS you'll never make it? Just because it hasn't happened yet, it can't happen, ever??

Who do you think you are? Well, you're a creation of Almighty God, THAT'S who you are. And I guarantee you, you came into this life with an important mission to accomplish. Everyone did, even that guy under the viaduct with a shopping cart full of junk. (Clue: He may be an old soul, or even an angel, and know exactly what he's doing. Don't dishonor him with your pity.) But unless I miss my guess, you've gotten so caught up in your mind movies that you forgot all about your personal marching orders. How do you find out what they are? ASK. God, aka the Universe, is eager to help you out on this one.

Selfish? It's very unlikely that you're selfish. I see you sitting there, with your warm heart and those secret dreams of yours, the ones you've put on hold to please other people. You do so many things for so many others, especially your family. Here's a hint: a little healthy selfishness can be a good thing. If you don't take very good care of yourself, you won't be there for others who need you. (Also, remember that in some quarters, calling you selfish is a time-honored, sure-fire way to get you to do what the accuser wants.) Don't buy in!

IT'S A MOVIE, and these are the soundtracks.

As for the drums, well, that refers to the things you say over and over to yourself. This habit is usually so ingrained that it has become unconscious, automatic. You establish a beat, and it becomes so steady and rhthmic that you get hypnotized. You forget who you are. You forget that you have a mission. You forget that Somebody loves you, big-time.

Stop beating the same old drums! Get some new thoughts. How? By doing what we talked about yesterday--get started on those morning pages! Get to know yourself. It will be a fascinating journey, full of surprises. Yes, you'll uncover some things you'd rather avoid, but where has avoidance really gotten you? Those very things, those hidden things, are the drumbeat of your life. It's a universal law. What is hidden will be revealed. Why wait until the whole thing gets so big it explodes?

Do you want to march to that kind of drumbeat? I don't think so.