Barbara Sher’s Idea Party


How Does the Online Idea Party Work?

You have a dream or a wish, and an obstacle to getting there. (If you don’t think you know your wish, work through my kick-starter and read this post. To learn why you must put logic aside to find your dream, read the following.)

The online Idea Party is here to help you – and the other fellow party goers – with your wishes and obstacles.

Voices from Success Teams and Idea Parties:

Having a team to report to and hearing what everybody did each week is very exciting. It’s kept me moving all year. In the past I made some good starts on my own, but found, every time, when the energy ran out, I ran out. Now it doesn’t run out.
Jade G.
Children’s Playroom Therapist, New York Hospital

I would do a painting a year, a sketch a year. If it was only me I know I would never do it. Having to tell you makes all the difference. It’s crazy why I didn’t do this years ago, it’s so easy all of a sudden.
Caroline R. Personnel Executive, Macy’s Dept Store

Post Your Wish and Your Obstacle Here!

And help your team mates out when you can. Use the Reply link to help, the form below the comments to add your own Wish and Obstacle.

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4,290 thoughts on “Barbara Sher’s Idea Party

  1. I can understand you want to be of value to others and its noble…however you may have to test your market for interest, monetizability and your passion to serve that x product.
    2. you need to know deeply what makes you feel of value? I don’t know what you do and its not administration.
    3-i think the crux is knowing your passions/ what you want to fight for and then see how that can convert to a service and or product.
    4-draw your maps out of what you liked and you would repeat over and over and probably never tire and even grow!
    5- or take your loved skills and monetize them as a free lancer or coach or whatever title you like.
    i hope i was helpful and not an impediment. you really want to move in the right direction since that will open up doors vertically and horizontally.

    • Thank you for the reply. For many years I’ve been an admin asst. I moved away from that position because the position is volatile. I’ve experienced so many layoffs when the market dips. Looking back I see the importance of diversity and inclusion being central.

      After the last critical layoff, I took a course and the time to learn to go in a new direction. At that time my husband was alive and I had his support. I discovered I had many years volunteering for free and how to turn it into a paid opportunity.

      I’d returned to college, after taking a couple of years off losing my way in the business administration field to become a social worker. However, the school didn’t have a social work program so the plan was to complete my Human and Community Service degree, which I did. The mentor set me up with the necessary coursework to go on to complete an MSW, which I did not do.

      I thrive in positions helping people in the community to be their best selves and take advantage of the resources around them. This is where the being of value part comes in.

      For 8 years, I worked for a construction management company where I worked in field positions where my degree and experience were critical to the roles. The company obtained grants for things other than construction.

      I am so bumbed out over the job search thing and the thought of having to start low and over again at my age is really getting to me. Not that I’m allowing my age as a factor, I think it’s the thought of having to struggle. I will find out, do more writing out on what I do want.

      Thanks you were a big help!!

  2. I urgently need help, your thoughts input with an employment issue. I won’t make this too but I was recently furloughed from my job for the 2nd time in 7 months and am now terminated as of 5/27/22. I’m not hung up on the terminated part, I should have left the company long ago. I’m running low on money. I want a career where I’m of value to others. Having trouble finding direction.

    I signed up with an agency that has a major hospital as their only customer but not only am I being lowballed in salary but they can only find administrative assignments for me. I have to interview for temp assignments, work that’s beneath my skill level. I’m not hearing responses from positions I apply for on the internet job searches.

    I watched Barbara’s Ted Talk one of the problems is that I’m Isolated I have very few true friends. I am reaching out for help! Any suggestions ???

  3. I urgently need help, your thoughts input with an employment issue. I won’t make this too but I was recently furloughed from my job for the 2nd time in 7 months and am now terminated as of 5/27/22. I’m not hung up on the terminated part, I should have left the company long ago. I’m running low on money. I want a career where I’m of value to others. Having trouble finding direction.

    I signed up with an agency that has a major hospital as their only customer but not only am I being lowballed in salary but they can only find administrative assignments for me. I have to interview for temp assignments, work that’s beneath my skill level. I’m not hearing responses from positions I apply for on the internet job searches.

    I watched Barbara’s Ted Talk one of the problems is that I’m Isolated I have very few true friends. I am reaching out for help! Any suggestions ???

    • Dear Lisa.
      This is so often the case with well-educated women. with college educations, who end up being lowballed into various poorly-paid secretarial (paper pushing) positions.
      And it’s a rat trap and a nightmare. And it can go on for years, and begin to feel like an inescapable trap. (Been there, done that, have the franchise to the T-shirt factory!)
      Here’s what I think:
      It’s going to take a combination of approaches to escape the trap and survive while you’re escaping, and finally fly free.
      First, you’ll need what Barbara has called a “Good Enough Job.”
      A Good Enough Job does not contain any toxic bosses or toxic co-workers. It pays a steady wage good enough to pay the rent or mortgage and pay the rest of the monthly bills without giving you sleepless nights over how the rent is going to get paid–it has to be steady work that supports you adequately. It should be work that you can stand to do, or that you may even like.
      I was caught in the Paperwork Trap until I crash-landed on a small island that was a place where I had always dreamed of living.. It was extremely difficult to live there, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it put me in touch with kinds of things other than paperwork jobs for employment. The catch? I had to be willing to do darn near anything, even though I was professionally trained as a teacher. Talk about volatile! If you want volatility, try to be a teacher!
      And there weren’t jobs in teaching. Not then. So I went to work cleaning cabins at a resort, and cooking at another resort, and developed some good professional cooking and cleaning skills. Within a year, I was hired at another restaurant to be a breakfast cook. And I actually enjoyed it. I was making hash browns from scratch and running racks of bacon, hash browns, and sausage. And doing everything else, except cook the eggs and the blueberry pancakes. It was just the two of us, me and my boss, running the place. And from 6 a.m. when we opened until about 10:30, we were slammin’! Think Hindu goddess with 16 arms! Kitchen goddess! I was learning some very valuable survival skills. I liked the cooking job because we were nurturing people. I also worked in a used bookstore and in a pet store, and was learning some retail skills. I also did some commercial cleaning. I cleaned a bakery and another restaurant, and I came back at night and cleaned the restaurant that I had been cooking in during the morning. Long hours, low pay. Things changed when I went into business for myself as a cleaning contractor. At quadruple the salary. But I could then, because I had some cleaning experience. And I trained with a company in California who trained me to make it into a trade, and not just somebody mindlessly swizzling a rag around.
      I built the business quickly up from zero to around $30,000 a year, and had an employee, whom I was training so that she could have a trade.
      The business built rapidly, and I had it up and going in about a year.
      I just got approached by someone looking for a cook recently. I said that I have only been an assistant cook, and that I do not have all that it takes to be a head cook, cooking for 60 people or more. Then, just yesterday, I got approached again, by a head cook whom I have helped, who said she is willing to train me to be a sous chef. That’s a pretty good survival job at a pretty good salary. The only thing is, when COVID came along, it terribly wiped out the restaurant industry.
      Living on the small island, outside the corporate paper-pushing world, things were tough at first, but, with a willingness to do almost anything in order to live in that world class paradise, I rose rapidly into decent paying jobs and more stability. I was glad that I was able to work outside the paperwork trap.
      So, that’s my story. The reason for going into it here is that I have been able to gain some good survival skills, which a paper-pushing job never gave me, and which help to pave the way in the world, when you have to survive. Years ago, I would have recommended the real estate business, but now, it’s so incredibly volatile that I wouldn’t recommend it. I was able to make a fortune in it, but I wouldn’t go do it now. I recently found, when I was trying to help a friend move up, that the bank tellers where I bank, which is a credit union, can move up into being loan underwriters, and that pays well.
      So, I think it’s partly a matter of finding out, “What does the greater community that surrounds me need?” And then trying to fill that need.
      So first, you work to get established in a survival job, a good enough job, that pays well enough to keep the bills paid without nightmares about it, and that doesn’t contain any toxic bosses or co-workers, and that is work that you can stand to do or may even like.
      And, when you have your “survival cushion” under yourself, you begin to build your life. And this entails going after your dreams. What are you good at that you love doing? I’m good at floor mopping, typing, and accounting, but I hate all 3 of them. Especially accounting. And I haven’t any business doing any of them. It’s not about that ol’ debbil word “Skills.” It’s about what do you love? That you are naturally good at? This is where your talents lie, sometimes hidden, sometimes out in the open, and this is where the material is out of which dreams can be crafted into a life.
      None of my jobs ever came to me through any job banks or internet job searches. I was directly in touch with people who truly needed help, and were putting out ads themselves, or who were responding to my ads that I did certain things. I’ve never gotten beans from any on-line searches. Being directly and personally in touch was a very important factor. I believe that it put me leagues ahead of those who try to rely on internet job searches.
      The third thing I would suggest is to get ahold of Barbara’s first book, “Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want” and pay particular attention to the Ideal Day exercise in there. On the back cover of that book, it says, “Cindy Foy was a waitress. Now she’s a pilot. Peter Johnson was a truck driver. Now he’s a dairy farmer.” Such is the power of Barbara’s work. So you work in that first book of hers, and you can begin this right away. Pay particular attention to the Ideal Day exercise. Then break it down, the way the book says to do, until you discover what the elements are that you already have in your life.
      The isolation factor is important to heal, and is also a vital part of Barbara’s work, and that involves getting into a Success Team. Is there a Success Team in your area anywhere? Look and see on Barbara’s website. If not, can you start one?
      Friendships are developed from activities that you enjoy doing, with groups or organizations that you feel good about. You start with just doing an activity for activity’s sake. Not because you’re trying to meet people. Just because you love the activity. It involves an activity where you talk to each other. Not something like a bridge club, where you don’t. Then, you may find someone from there whom you really like, and they may like you, and you find that you are wanting their contact info. and they want yours. And, you start spending time together, outside of the activity where you met. A new friendship has been formed. Some of my deepest and most personal friendships have begun this way. It’s a good, healthy way to meet new people.
      So, you can start right away. One of Barbara’s exercises is to take a piece of paper and number down the side of it, 1-20. Then, list everything that you love to do. When you’re done, this should be the beginning of a pretty good grab bag of opportunities. And interests.
      4. Most important of all–Get in touch with nature, no matter how you do it, and do it about 3 times a week. It is such a balm to the soul. In so many ways. We are dead if we stay indoors all the time and cut ourselves off from nature.
      5. Developing a very strong and up close and personal relationship with some form of spirituality that really feeds your soul, and neither guilt-trips you nor tries to insist that you have to be perpetually cheerful and can never admit a negative thought, (there are plenty of crazy extremists out there) and that allows for all emotions, and that goes deep, is really–I don’t have the words–profound. And necessary for soul survival, on a visceral, deep level. This I know.
      I hope these things have helped.

  4. Hey Mary Ann, how ya doing? I think I want to go live in a tree house for a while…but I want to be warm, I freeze easily. It would have to be in Southern California I think :-).

    • I think what I mean is….when I have a wish, sometimes I don’t know if I’d genuinely like it until I do it. All my life I’ve loved the outdoors, but would I really like staying in a tree house? In reality, and upon reflection, probably not but I’ve learned to get a smaller version of what I want. Like dipping my toes into water before doing a full marathon swim. So staying in a place surrounded by woods is enough.

      I’ll express my wish and obstacle in another post; these things need to be carefully formulated and clear I think.
      Thanks for reading this 🙂

    • Dear Louise,
      Why do you want to go live in a tree house? I have seen an amazing book in the library, including photos of tree houses, so there are people actually doing this. Is it because you want to escape, or what? And if so, what are you wanting to escape from? (There is always this thing about wanting to pull the drawbridges up from the world and hide, if you’re in a tree house. Kids who build them feel safe inside their treehouse.) Fer godssake, don’t romanticize Southern California! They’re in a monstrous 10 year drought and hydro dams which have been able to supply power are on the brink of failing, because water levels have fallen so low that they may not be able to supply power much longer. They are also engulfed with wildfires again, already, even though this is just May. I used to romanticize it when I was a kid and wanted to go live there. Now, having driven through there several times, I have decided that I was crazy.
      Hmmm . . . a tree house. I have to admit, it’s a warm and fuzzy concept. I had a friend once, a single parent mom, who built herself a loft space that was a tree house. She said it was her way of getting some time and space to herself from her rebellious teenage son, and it was the necessary break that she needed to restore her sanity. It was also her bedroom. Ahhhh, peace!
      I love the outdoors too; can’t get enough of it. Are you presently living in a place in the woods? For five years, I lived in a raunchy old rusty single-wide trailer (in Britain, they call them caravans) that was in a place where meadow with a pond in it met the forest. And there was a trail that went down through the forest with moss and the most beautiful Calipso Orchids to a little rocky crescent beach. I had two roommates–two men and two women, over the years that I lived there. I told the men straight up not to get up to any fancy ideas–I only wanted to be roommates and not form any Relationships with them. They honored that. One of them came back one day and was excited to announce that he’d found a secret beach. This place with no trail to it was entirely covered in tiny white shell fragments, and just offshore was a large boulder covered in thick layers of moss. It was spring. By a miracle, there were beautiful white fawn lilies, with their yellow stamens and spotted green leaves, growing out of the moss on top of the boulder.
      This was the day and age when seafood could be harvested easily, and you didn’t have to always worry about permits, as you do now. The shellfish were abundant on that beach. No one ever went there. It was very steep scrambling back up, but what heaven on Earth! I used to live in the San Juan Islands, and you can imagine this is why I put up with living in a rusty old trailer to be surrounded by such natural beauty.
      My roommate was a good buddy. We went hiking sometimes, and he built a beautiful cedar kayak out of wooden strips that he laminated together, in the front yard. It came in a kit. He was very afraid that it would come unglued when he launched it, but it floated beautifully. He was a good craftsman, and that project proved it. Memories, memories.
      Yup, wishes and obstacles have to be thought through, and sometimes people don’t have a clear idea, and so then they plunge ahead anyhow. And then, sometimes others can help them to clarify what they are wanting, and then the clarity helps them to go after things.
      I know at this point that I have a big personal storm brewing. Being an ecotherapist is a passion of mine and I am about to go and pay office rent on a place tomorrow so that I can launch a conventional practice in psychotherapy. And I’m a multitalented person. Not a Diver, as Barbara explains it, but a Scanner, with 9 distinct talents. And if I am trying to do only one thing, my soul is bleeding inside, and the other things are crying out for expression. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t ever make sense of my life. I was an up and coming young musician then, and if I was off in the mountains, which I also loved, with my backpacking parents for a week or 10 days, by the time I got back to town, I hadn’t been practicing, so my music stunk. I could never figure out how to fit the “shards” of my life together. There were even talents that I didn’t know I had when I was a kid that emerged later. Speaking is one. Counseling is another. Life coaching and mentoring is another.
      When I lived in Northern New Mexico, I went to Bandelier National Monument. I was walking down a trail that went near the river in the bottom of the canyon there. I came to this enormous pine tree near the river that had nine limbs on it that were as huge as tree trunks. And I stood there weeping. Why? I was having a big epiphany, that’s why!
      In Ecopsychology, anything in nature can be a teacher, or a mirror.
      Or both.
      All my life, I’ve been on this Quest for Wholeness. At Bandelier, in front of that Great Tree, I was finally acknowledging and recognizing what I have been gifted with. There’s music. That’s one great limb .
      Then there’s wilderness photography and close-ups of wildflowers. That’s another. Speaking is another. Writing–another. A whole bunch of outdoor lore from spending a lifetime in the mountains, camping, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, cross-country skiing, and coordinating 9-day wilderness expeditions and leading trips. That’s another “limb.” Then, being a performing storyteller. I have performed at open mics, storytelling festivals, monthly performances of a storytelling league, and have mc’d and put together storytelling and music performances. That’s another limb. Then there’s the life coaching and the mentoring. That’s a huge limb. Then there’s the psychotherapy. How many limbs are we? Seven, I think. Oops! 8! And the 9th limb is the Native American ceremonial legacy that I hold. If I were doing the ceremonies to the fullest, there would be one every four nights, when I wasn’t performing somewhere.
      Being multitalented has been a painful challenge all my life. I was told, on Vision Quest two years ago, that I must be able to “braid my life” like the braided channels of a powerful mountain river that spreads out over granite gravel flats. It may have many channels, but it’s the one river.
      The one way where I see my many things coming together is in the Center for Indigenous Wisdom. Speaking, teaching, mentoring, would be definitely involved. Some of my photography would be hanging in the art gallery that I envision. Music? I’m a violinist, violist, and I play harp and some percussion. I have a picture in my mind about fiddling around a campfire on summer nights. Ecopsychology would definitely fit. Putting people out upon the Earth to encounter their own healing power through the healing power of the Earth (Ecopsychology and Wilderness Rites of Passage in summers) would definitely be a possibility. And there are other things.
      Right now, I am struggling with the opening of a conventional psychotherapy practice versus wanting to take the time to take the excellent training (which is also expensive) to become a Vision Quest Guide, through the School of Lost Borders in California. It takes a month. No less. I couldn’t dare be away from my clients for a month. Shards of a broken mirror . . . .
      I have a personal storm going on. On my bulletin board is this huge sign. I did it myself, using the biggest font that I could use on a computer. It says, “MY DREAM IS A NECESSITY.”
      I know that counseling is one of my talents. No question. If I start a conventional practice, will I be able to do anything else, or will I end up bleeding inside, not able to express the other things that so much need expression? There is a personal storm going on, on the day before I go to pay the office rent.

      • Hi Mary Ann,

        I would love to see you do counselling!! Can you do it online? If so, the only expense would be a website. (oof! I just heard you groan! Ha ha.)

        As always thank you so much for your input. To answer your question, I just love the cozy feeling of being closed in, surrounded by underbrush and trees. I have a favourite spot where no one else goes and it’s like religion for me to be around nature, alone and quiet. My Mom was the same way.

        • Dear Louise,
          Here’s how it goes in the world of psychotherapy and life coaching: I am licensed to practice as a mental health counselor in Washington State. There are no geographical extensions, and there is no reciprocity between states. Every state has different standards and requirements for training counselors, and I think this is why things are the way they are. So, for instance, if I were working with a person and we were doing good work together, and they moved away to go to college in, say, Portland, Oregon, but wanted to keep working with me, I would have to say no, and tell them to get a referral from their mental health department at their college if I didn’t have one to give them. I am only licensed to practice in Washington State, and cannot cross state lines. I know of a very few counselors who are licensed in two states, and I have run across 2 or 3 of them who are licensed in 3 states. But meeting the requirements of licensure in another state can be incredibly challenging–requiring going back to school for almost two years, for instance (!!!) So that’s why most of us are only licensed in one state. And it’s all about licensure.
          With life coaching, however, the sky is the limit, and, like Barbara, the reach can be international. Yes, with that to really be effective, you need a website. There are various ways to create one–there’s at least one do-it-yourself template, and it is possible to hire someone to do it. There’s someone I know who does them. It does not come cheap. I think he said it’s about $2500 for a basic website.
          I have belonged to Barbara’s HO (Hanging Out With Barbara) for a long time, and I once asked her what was the shortest and quickest way to becoming a life coach. She strongly encouraged me to become a life coach, and that is something I am offering to people now. I have a local mailing list, and am offering it to them. I haven’t offered it to anyone else yet; this is relatively new. I just got finished offering it to them last month. Because of COVID, I am setting up my practice to be either in person at my office or via telephone, and I envision doing the life coaching the same way. It is entirely possible to do life coaching on line, too. There was one of Barbara’s life coaches helping me once, via telephone, all the way from Germany! So the telephone method can work, for life coaching.
          I’m very glad to find that you have a special spot where no one else goes. This is so important. In the Native way, we call such places power spots. A power spot doesn’t need to have a dramatic balcony view. But it does need to feel special in some way. In our practice, we may go to our spot and spend time in it weekly, or so. Just being in it. How much time? Who knows! Some things are timeless. You go in, thinking you have spent a few minutes. You come back out to discover that it’s been an hour and a half or more. It’s timeless. But it’s so necessary, so rejuvenating, to say the least!
          There’s a certain place, up a certain deer trail, in Point Defiance Park here in Tacoma. Part of that park has never been logged, and there are miles of trails through it. Deep in the woods, away from the trails, is a certain mossy glade, guarded by huge cedars and hemlock and fir trees. It is a prayer place, and then there’s an adjoining glade that’s a power spot. The big old trees are the pillars of my temple.
          Once, on a Winter Solstice morning, I was out there when the sun was just breaking through the fog, and through the big old trees, in long rays of light. I won’t say more.
          We believe that the Earth is our Mother, because she supports us with everything that she gives us, and does so unconditionally. To us, it is vital to be there quietly with her and to spend time with her this way.

          • wix has a free version too,
            i don’t know the big difference between six and weebly but when i choose wix, wix was more user friendly.
            however if anyone has more experience with both hosting companies and knows that one is easier to work with let me know. I have big issues with mobile version at times …so i will check your site on my phone too.
            ty for reminding me. joanna

  5. I did not go very far with my first dream here. I will practice and write all my dreams and get to feel more comfortable expressing it.
    One other dream that i had for a very long time is about running a social enterprise in a warehouse where we recycle and upcycle basically stuff brourght to us that people don’t want anymore.. Take discarded items and improve it or transform it. It would be a huge high warehouse and with skilled and non skilled people. Not sure about monetizing and paying salaries here but i suppose i would pay 50% back to the creators based on the hours worked too.
    There would be tea available all day and fresh wholesome cookies and apples..
    It would be fun and take risks with creation type of place.
    There would be land and potential to grow food too. Maybe a recycled farm.

    Not sure about the obstacles.
    I don’t want to depend on govt and too many hindrances on practical creations.
    I always feel lonely most of the time as if have to do this myself.
    I would have to dedicate most of my time and focus on this mostly.
    I would need to see if i can get partner to get free barn or partners who will wait for payment.
    I need to be a leader and stand out
    I need to collaborate with other groups and synergize skills
    I need a business plan…frankly i have no idea …i just know its so exciting to this sort of thing
    I need to be fixed /attached to that business /place and what if i want to travel
    I have to be a ceo and frankly don’t know what that means.
    I have to organize all the aspects of doing business including real estate.
    Do i have the time in my life time to get this done?
    How much do i want this…i need to have fun before it manifests.

    I can start small and check its profitability.

    ty in advance

    But this industriousness and creativity and sun beaming in through big windows has always interested.

    • Dear Joanna,
      Some business models that do this are Goodwill Industries and, I think, at least to some extent, Value Village. Goodwill Industries is definitely the social service enterprise based on this sort of thing. Would it make sense to collaborate with them, or work there, in some sort of management capacity, to get a foot in the door and see what they do?
      A CEO of a company is the head of the company who oversees all aspects of the business.

      • ty

        i know what an ceo does
        i have noticed that these goodwill companies don’t upcycle they even throw your stuff if its not up to standards..
        i never heard they even sew or fix anything…there is no enhancement of skils..
        there are other companies that sell home furniture for others to fix or use.
        that is why i feel that this capacity to fix and upgrade is being lost

        • Dear Joanna,

          To get most of your blockages away I agree with Mary Anns advice to go and work in this industry, even if only for one day a week (preferably more) to experience it from the inside and get some clear insights on the work that is been done there.. what comes in (how, from where) and what goes out and what gets thrown away that could be interesting to save/repair. With this new data it would be an easy step to realize a detailed businessplan for your upcycling business, based on existing recycling companies. I understand making a businessplan is not your expertise, you could collaborate with a businessschool and get an intern for that, or a student to help you make a businessplan and get the facts for your plans and get a good overview of what will be needed to realize your upcycle business – and of course what steps to take.

          • yes ty i appreciate.
            to know the inside logistics is important. and to even make distinctions on what i truly like…all this would help.

            as i said before, goodwill does not upcycle nor teach doing skills ..they just resell.

            What i will focus on is my upcycling i have started since a few months…its beatiful and wearable.
            but i have trouble getting used jeans at a good price..they are are all at least 10.00 up.
            for now i am honing the upcycling process…found a tag and a web site domain. i think this is a way easier way to start this movement and maybe get others involved..
            next is selling it…then i will know what buyers think and want.
            I enjoy the beauty out of a simple garment which marketing is not so simple but the whole concept of taking a used item and giving it new beautiful life is impressive for me…just like people when they are renewed in their mind i guess.

            ty again for your support.

            i think i was rmanticizing the upcycling…but what i loved what the high ceiling high ceiling and the windows! lets get the jeans progressing its palpable.

  6. I left a very valuable and rich reply, and all I got for my effort was “internal server error!” and then the whole thing got cannibalized, as usual!! This happens all the time and that’s how the replies get cannibalized. I enter them in good faith, I do everything right, and they just keep get getting gobbled up with “internal server errors.”
    I can’t do it over again. There is no way!!

    • Dear Patty,
      Thanks for doing some magic and managing to recover this post. Things are taking a very long time to post, I notice. Even a short post takes over a minute. Anyway, thanks for the magic!

  7. Dear Sarah,
    Nature loves you all the time. Whenever you are bird watching, you are also being bird watched. Whenever you are squirrel or chipmunk watching, are being squirrel or chipmunk watched. (And aren’t they adorable?) Around here, we have raccoons–lots of them! But it’s not good to feed them, because then they can become pests. We have deer, too. Lots of deer. Babies, with all their cute spots. Does, and young males, with their antlers in spring velvet. Any time you are watching an animal, you are also being watched. I’ve actually had deer come up to me, and stand 6 feet away or closer, wanting a handout. I never feed wildlife. It’s not good for their health. Human food can make them sick. When the deer want handouts, I just wave my arm at all the grass and say, “You’ve got all this grass here. And those flowers. You’ve got food all over the place!”
    Resistance about walking and hating encountering others: Hide under a large grocery sack. Or a large sheet with holes in it. (Just kidding!) Do you dread others because of safety issues, or what? Animals and birds will almost always love you, even if humans won’t. Even relatively common creatures, like dogs and cats, and ducks and geese. Cows and horses, if you are where there are any. If a horse comes up to you and sticks his head over the fence, it’s a pretty good sign that he likes you and wants attention.
    One day, I was feeling very lonely and rotten. And so I headed out to the park.
    I was hiking along, going up a trail in a slight drizzly rain. And I noticed a little brown bird, but it wasn’t a sparrow or a wren. It would start near the bottom of a big tree trunk and creep and hop up the tree for a ways, and then fly to the bottom of the next tree and repeat the process. It kept going from tree to tree this way, in this peculiar fashion. For a little while, my energy was focused away from myself to the little bird. I made enough observations about his markings that I could look him up in my bird book when I got home. I found out that he wasn’t exactly your average bird. He is called a Brown Creeper. I have learned how to identify Nuthatches, too. That day, after I saw him, I saw a robin. And then I knew that I was not alone. There are sights, the sounds of birds, especially in spring. Nothing more beautiful than a liquid trill of a little yellow warbler. I am lucky enough that I live right near the Sound. I can watch the silvery play of the silver and the shadows on the water that the current makes.
    Being by a body of water is so rejuvenating. And so is hearing the sound of running water. I love the sound of trickling water, like a small fountain makes. It is so peaceful.
    Try starting off the morning with a very beautiful tasting kind of tea in your best china cup. Linger over it for at least 15 minutes. If it’s not pouring down rain, go out to a grassy area, like say, in a park somewhere, and lie down on the grass and watch the clouds in the sky. Go wrap your arms around a tree and be with it, with your forehead against the tree trunk for half an hour. If it’s too big to wrap your arms all the way around, that’s all right. Just put your arms around it and hang on. When you go to be with one, tell it you love it. Try this with two different kinds of trees–one with needles and one with leaves. Sit on a large boulder and see what it has to tell you.
    Meet up with nature. That’s the first step.
    I love to listen to beautiful music. I play violin, viola, and harp. There are so many wonderful and absolutely exalting, inspiring, and even thrilling pieces of music for these instruments in the classic literature. Some people don’t “dig” classic music at all. But try listening to some harp music anyhow. There is some kinds of New Age music that is good to listen to, as well. Try this at home, not while being distracted doing anything else, but just putting the music on and then lying down, feet to the speakers. In this way, the music washes over you like a sound bath.
    There are many other things, but I won’t go all into them right now. You need to make up your own list of 20 things. Even if you have to write “Scratching when it itches,” you need to come up with 20 things.
    So, get outside and get happy, this week, for at least half an hour, three times. And then stretch that to getting out every day, and stretch it to an hour at a time, and not a half hour. Notice things like bright green new spring leaves, ferns unfurling, any bugs, beetles, spiders, and which way are they going? East? West? See if you can locate a copy of the book by Ted Andrews called Animal Speak. All around us are animals and birds that are important signs. Any creatures you meet, extend your love to them. It is when we refocus outside of ourselves that we begin to heal.
    Naturally, check with your physician before you begin any kind of exercise program.
    Better yet, before you even have that beautiful cup of tea, set a timer for 15 minutes, and for those first 15 minutes, just be a blob. This is good to do in bed in the morning, after you fist wake up. No thought, no action required, nothing required, just relax and be a blob. For 15 minutes. Then get up and have the wonderful cup of tea in your best cup. Linger over it for about 15 minutes in bed or in a patch of sunlight, if there is one.
    Gratitude improves everything from the moment it goes down on the page. So you go get a nice blank book, with a good cover. I find that an artist’s sketch book is good. And what to have gratitude for? The element of Earth, out of which everything grows and upon which everything depends. It nourishes us and supports and us and gives us a surface to stand on. The air. The waters–I live right near where there are mountains with glaciers and near the salt water too, so I am grateful for all the waters, salt, fresh, and frozen, that make this land so beautiful and so unique. The good fires that come and heat our homes and cook our meals. All that there is in the mineral kingdom. All the plants–grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees and everything that grows. All the animals–the swimmers, the creepy-crawlers, the winged ones, and the four-leggeds. And the two-leggeds: The black, the white, the red, and the yellow, and all the mixtures of the Rainbow Races. And then, The Planet Earth, the Sun (whether he is shining or not that day), the Moon, the Sky and the Star Nations. And anything else in particular that you can think of that you’re grateful for. It’s good to go through this right after that delicious cup of tea. Then, you go get cleaned up with a bath or a shower, and get into some clothes that you would like to go walking in. Something that will be warm enough and dry enough. And good, sturdy shoes. Have a breakfast that is nourishing but not fattening. Gratitude for the food. Then the kitchen gets cleaned up, the bed made, the house straightened up, and you’re ready to go out the door. If it is a sunny day, go somewhere where there’s grass and lie down in the sun. Let the warmth of the sun soak into you and infuse your soul. Then watch the clouds. Do the tree exercises. And walk for half an hour, at least. Remember to focus on what’s outside of you. Try to notice anyone from the animal kingdom, particularly, or the plant kingdom. Where are they in their growth? Are there flowers in bud? Full bloom? Already bloomed out? Are leaves unfurling? Try to engage your sense of smell and hearing. What bird calls are you hearing? Are there good smells coming from the forest floor or from nearby? I got to smell the smell of new mown hay a few days ago, and it was wonderful. When you get back to your house after your excursion, do one thing to make the house more pleasant. Do one chore thing a day. Laundry, ironing, mending, paperwork and errands, (going to market), cleaning house, working on the garden and taking care of the car. One of these a day. Six a week. Noon-1 is lunch. Engage in some reading for at least an hour. Good books, inspirational literature, good poetry, and even great children’s literature, not trashy dime novels. Music of your choice, for at least one hour, lying down, feet to speakers, having a sound bath.
    Having done these things, find a recording of a children’s choir and go listen to it. One good thing to do is to go to a place where you can see the sunset, and particularly over the water is good. Stay there until it gets clear dark.
    Go to a body of water, the ocean or a lake or body of fresh water, and breathe deeply for 5 minutes.
    With the help of a therapist if necessary, or on your own, develop a nurturing voice in your head to counteract all the negative statements that are going around in there. I guarantee that you won’t be stuck anymore. Having accomplished these things first, go look for an opportunity to volunteer ongoingly somewhere. That helps a lot. It helps you to know that you are helping them, and it’s a worthy cause, and you’re making a difference. These things help. They’re a good beginning.
    The “no money” issues, we have tackled through budgeting. There are 4 envelopes, and one of them is for “Wants.”
    I think it would be good to experiment with the radical notion that men are people. And as just people, they have a lot more in common with other people. They think interesting thoughts, they laugh, they get sad, they agree about certain things, they walk, run, eat, burp, and breathe air. They are people. Just like us. (Well, not completely like us, but . . . .) So part of this is to relax and analyze, and consider the common denominators that men have with the rest of humanity. It may even help to write these down, because your own notions that they are people need to be validated. The radical notion that men are plain ordinary people needs to be considered.
    There are a few things that Barbara has said that I have taped to my front door, which is my bulletin board. “Feeling positive all the time is neither possible nor necessary. Having to have a positive attitude, like oneself, believe in oneself, love oneself, and be happy all the time–I am really pissed off at that, and at the people who told you this. Changing reality, creating your own reality–this is the kind of grandiosity that drives me nuts!
    “How you see yourself should not be your focus. I’d like to talk you (and everyone else on the planet) out of spending time on self mind-control, and just concentrate on the “work” of doing what you love.”
    So, in addition to finding a man, because we hear that this is important to you, what major unit of life design have you ever dreamed of that you really want? Even without anyone else in your life but you? The things that you love doing are the things that you’re naturally good at, and this is where your talents lie. And this is the crucible and the raw material, for making dreams. Barbara had one more thing to say: “It is my deepest belief that nobody is lazy.”
    There’s another thing on my door, too, right in the middle:
    Your Wisdom Is Pure
    And Your Thoughts are Wholesome
    This is just my stuff to remind me. These ideas about self-care come from Barbara Sher and from Jennifer Louden’s wonderful book called The Woman’s Comfort Book. It is the most marvelous healing thing that I have ever laid hands on, and is the ultimate in overcoming self-loathing. The beauty of it, too, is that the exercises in it are sequential. And they really work. Starting with being a blob. In fact, I think Jennifer now has a whole bunch of books about self-care and comfort. A When we don’t want to meet others, we are dealing in layers of shame and self-loathing. Self-care is the antidote to all of that. And it’s foundational to creating self-esteem. People who are bound up in self loathing aren’t doing the work of what they love.
    So begin to taste the juice of life when you get this. Create a day of beauty for yourself. And then another. And then another. It isn’t impossible. And check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program of any sort. Chances are that he or she would endorse it.

    • Dear Mary Ann,
      thank you for your rich and valuable answer. I answer you now not earlier because last week I was figuring things out that you mentioned. I can say that I had a good week. Had a walk every other day, a walks of more than an hour to almost two hours. I think it helped me a lot to start making some shift of mind. What really helps is the approach you gave to connect with the environment, with animals trees etc. I did connect a little, by noticing same animals, noticing they were looking at me, seeing plants or grass grow, encountering people. That made me feel good. For the record I already went to the gym about twice a week, My health condition is ok, but it would feel better if it was much better. Lately I feel very bored with the gym to workout on my own. I like the walks way better

      Second is this whole week I hade a huge flow in applying for a job, I had two interviews with very good and well fitting jobs, actually the best two invited me. Did a lot of applications for other like frontoffice or shopklerk etc. For all of these I got rejected. The two good careers will answer me next week, I have worked very hard to prepare for these interviews. I have no Idea what I would choose if I had to choose, or what to do next if they will reject me both.

      For now I can say I’m in deep trouble. ran out of money completely can not get any job jet, and social security will take a month or so, but I prefarrably don’t want that because of the restrictions here. I tryed applying for anything that can bring in money: factory work cleaning jobs, but only rejections so I don’t know what to do how to get the money to buy groceries next week. I do not have a plan now

      The isolation part is a big problem with me. And the last three weeks I have not found more “situations” or things to do to get to know more people. I can not think of more things I like to do, that involves more people. Accept some clubs that require monthly fees which I can not contribute to at this moment.

      There is a lot I know I like and I can do well (apart from my IT/analyst working experience). I like to cook, clean, especially organize (like with the japanes methods or other methods), sew, officework, arts, office software, horses, nutrition, workout, etc..

      to give an example I applied for cleaning jobs in families, but they want long term commitment for 1 morning a week and a lot of references from former families. I do not have that. I do have some experience with frontoffice work and sales, but there I only get rejections aswell.

      I’m literly stuck with the money thing now, I can not go anywhere and do anything or buy anything. I do have a network of family and my crafts club, and some friends, but they did not really help me (I did asked and flagged the Barbara way, only in the end nothing came out of that) So I guess I really do need to broaden my horizon by getting to know other people. Just moved to this town and I do not know a lot of people here. The only few I know ask a lot from me but do not give back (volunteering)

      So that is it for now, thank you again Mary Ann, your answers are very inspiring and helped me last weeks to make some big leaps in connecting to potentials and feeling better.
      And hopefully I can get myself out of this mess in short term. (Oh and find that man as well! that is where it all started here at the ideaparty)


      • Just wanted to add something that is on my mind lately, and had been on my mind incidently the last 3 yrs. That is the idea of studyand work to become a cook. I love cooking, I am very good at it, all kinds of foreign kitchen used to cook daily for about 8 people.

        BUT…. to realize this I can only think of obstacles:
        1. a good friend of mine she is a cook, she loves cooking but is totally burned out by long irregular working hours, harassive male co-workers, aggressive judgemental atmosphere in kitchens and with chefs, drugs use quite common in kitchenstaff (to get the energy for the long working hours) low pais
        2. I don’t like the stories she tells, it seems to me it would be a nerve wrecking job anything Barbara would recommend to keep awayu from
        3. low waiges
        4. we have programs here to study one day a week and work 4 days, these will start not earlier than september this year
        5. in covid all is closed, and I will be out of a job
        6. most students will have the age of my children, i would feel uncomfortable with that
        7. irregular hours might not be very suitable for me, I go to bed quite early..
        soooo many obstacles,,, but I do like cooking all my life, passionate about the techniques and to know everything about it..

        so what to do with this dream?

        • Dear Sara,
          Are you thinking of going to chef school? That’s the main question to understand. It sounds like it.
          I have done many things in my life, and among them, I have been (and that means am, because the experience and skills are still inside me) a professional cook.
          As I recall, you’re in Europe, aren’t you? It might be different over there.
          Here, I live in the State of Washington, in the U.S. What it takes here to begin to work professionally is simply good at-home cooking experience plus a Food Handler’s Permit, from the Washington State Health Department. To get the permit, you have to do just a little bit of studying about some necessary things about food handling safety, sit for the test, pass the test, which is relatively easy, and then you get your permit.
          I did this when I moved to a small island and needed immediate survival work. The resorts were hiring, and I got a cooking job at one of the resorts this way. I was hired as a prep cook, and it was making shrimp salads–chopping up romaine lettuce, and peeling the shells off of cooked shrimp and arranging them on the plate for the customer. I had to learn to work fast. And the head chef and the line cook fought with each other. But I kept my head down, kept working. The job was from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. 6 hours. Yes, the wages were low. But I had not ever professionally cooked before, and this was a whole new thing for me. I was also working another part-time job cleaning cabins at a resort. I had never professionally cleaned before, either. I felt like I was “faking it until I made it.” But I made it. If you work well, and know that you are learning new skills all the time, you rapidly advance to better opportunities. I advanced, from April into August cleaning rooms at a posh resort, and then, by October, to another cooking job. This time, I was a breakfast cook. I had to arrive at work by 4 or 4:30 in the morning, and start making hash browns from scratch. Then, I started cooking racks of sausage, hash browns, and bacon. My boss, a huge woman who was over 6 feet tall, arrived around 5:30 and we opened at 6 a.m. We were very popular with the locals, and so we were slammin’.
          In the restaurant biz, it’s called “counting covers.” In other words, every time a table is occupied with customers, that’s a “cover.” We didn’t have time to count covers! We were slammin! It was just the two of us running the place. My boss, Sandy, wouldn’t let me near the main grill. She did the blueberry pancakes and the eggs, and I did all the rest. Think Hindu Goddess with 16 arms. We had no wait staff. Just the two of us. Stir that! Keep those pump pots full of coffee! Bus those dishes! Wash those dishes! Cut that toast off a loaf of bread! Put that cinnamon roll in the microwave! I was really hustling, and guess what? I loved every minute of it! Kitchen Goddess! Night and day, compared to the previous cooking job. I loved it. I loved being as busy as that. It was challenging. At first, the boss was intimidating. She expected a lot and I knew I had to deliver a lot and not screw up if I wanted to keep from getting fired. At least this was my perception. But, I was willing to work hard.
          One morning, she must’ve made a mistake at the grill. She yelled, letting out an oath that I don’t dare repeat in this polite forum. In front of God, the Country, and the customers!! I was working away in the dish room.
          I stuck my head out the dish room door, and I said, “That was pretty good. That describes . . . . .” She turned around from the grill, with a spoon dripping grease on the floor, and yelled, “WHAT?!!” Very calmly, I repeated, “That was pretty good. It describes . . . . .” And then I thought, “Omigod! She’s going to fire me on the spot!” She didn’t. She broke out laughing uproariously. From then on, my fear of her vanished, and we became good friends. That job ended, as island tourist-job things do, and she was very sad and angry one morning when she told me the landlord who owned the building said he didn’t want the restaurant to be there anymore. But she never fired me. And we became good friends after that. She died a number of years ago. I still cry. I miss you, Sandy. I miss you very much. It turned out that she had a heart of gold that was at least as big as she was. I miss you, Sandy. I miss you very much.
          I went on to find another cooking job on an adjoining island, and commuted to work by ferry boat. It was an afternoon job, into early evening. I started out by baking 18 loaves of French Bread. We sold these to other restaurants. Then, following recipes, I worked at making desserts. Oh, the lemon cake! Wow! To die for! Yum!! I never ate any, but oh, my goodness! And then, if I had time, I would start doing the dinner prep by making salads. You can see I was progressing a lot from the first job where I chopped romaine and peeled some shrimp. That job consisted of me and my woman boss, who had been to chef school in France. She was strict, but professional.
          Two years ago, and again now, I have volunteered my skills as a prep cook, or an assistant cook, to the Mountaineers Forest Theater. We cook for a cast and crew of up to 60 people. This year, I when I volunteered again, the manager wanted me to be a sous chef, and just be the head cook. “What if we get you the groceries, and you just follow the recipes?” “Yikes!” I said. “I don’t have that much experience! I’ve only been an assistant cook! If you can find a head cook, I’ll be happy to come and be the assistant cook.” They did, and for the next two weekends, I’ll be going over there to cook. Just a couple of days ago, when I was there, a cook that I worked under two years ago offered to train me to be a sous chef! Wow! I said, “Thanks so much! I’ll take you up on it!” We’ll see what happens next! I’m excited! Learning to cook on the job like I’ve done provides a person with some valuable survival skills. Cooking is a good fall-back job. A survival job. The wages start out low, and you may well have to have another survival job too, but the jobs I got were always part time. Four and 6 hour shifts. In Sandy’s restaurant, the important thing I learned, besides all kinds of cooking skills, was that we were producing really good food, and we were nurturing and nourishing people! And we knew it. And they knew it. There was goodness in every bite.
          A prep cook doesn’t make very good money, this is true. I always wanted to move up from prep to being a line cook, but now, it looks like, based on my experience, that I’m being given the chance to skip that step and go to being a sous chef. A head cook. The woman training me has a catering business, so she’s really good. And sous chefs make good money!
          The point to all this is that I moved up very rapidly, from April to October, into Sandy’s restaurant.
          Yes, COVID did knock things back, badly. Cooking was always a survival job until COVID. And then restaurants were shut down. But now, things around here, at least, are opening back up. COVID is finally on the wane. Opportunity exists. And not all cooking jobs are bleak, black, hideous, nasty, and horrible rotten. I am living proof. I think that going to chef school would be one good way to skip the beginning steps and go on a straighter course toward being a sous chef. There were no drugs present on any of my jobs. Drugs were completely illegal then. And anyone like that would be fired right away. It takes guts and brains to be a cook. You have to be able to concentrate, think fast, act fast, and be able to keep focusing and concentrating and coordinating everything. And for that, you need a clear head! If it’s your cooking crew, and if it’s you’re restaurant, you get to make the rules.
          Wow! This has been a treatise, but I wrote it to inspire and be helpful. So I hope it has helped. I am to the point now where I enjoy using my cooking skills, and I hope you can, too.

          • Dear Mary Ann,

            Thank you, your cooking stories are so very inspiring, that is how I would imagine working as a cook.
            I will respond to the cooking part shortly, for now I am waiting on two IT employers to give their answer. one application procedure will take long after a yes, the other will only take one or to meetings before the final paperwork.
            These answers will be provided somewhere this week.

            Today I feel a bit chaotic, had a steady application flow last week, now I’m not sure how to go about it, it could possible be the case that I might even prefer a cooking job instead of the IT positions. (IT pays way more better and I can work somewhat from home, all during daytime etc)
            I have been looking for cooking jobs, not too late in the evening. I found one restaurant, I love this place and I love the menu and their high quality plates/food. If I would own and run a restaurant it would be totally like this one. Good thing is the owner always seems to need extra hands and I checked their website and looks like they are open to a “junior”souschef at the moment. Another ting is, this owner is a friend of a relative (great aunt?) with whom I have a little contact on social media, but we never met before. I want to have a conversation with him if he is interested, to see more closely what my options would be. But I feel a bit in a split, I do not want to come over as hesitant or wiggle waggly, that will not get me this job, on the other side I don’t want to pretend I’m 100% positive sure and totally in, and lead him on and than decide the opposite to go for an IT job and dissappoint him. Not sure how to initiate a conversation or meeting in this situation. But I think it would not be wise to wait too long before contacting him.

            Beside this one restaurant I have a list of five potential restaurants and hotels to apply, and another five jobs in totally different areas (construction companies, administrative jobs)

            The temp agencies that is something I did think of, thank you for pointing that out, If I don’t have clear answers by Thursday I will contact them to get me to start working on whatever (hopefully).

      • Wow, Sara! I am very happy for you, in spite of the present difficulties with money, or lack thereof. Wow! You’re walking. That helps a lot. It helps your body on all levels, and helps with fear and depression, too. And like you say, when you’re out there, it is very often the case that you are sorting things out. Like you just did. And I think it’s so cool that you have some very promising job offers coming up. You know, they wouldn’t have interviewed you if they weren’t interested in you at all. There’s that to consider! They were interested in you, so they interviewed you. Being interviewed is always a positive step. I’m glad you saw animals looking at you. That’s neat! Unless they’re serious predators, like bears and cougars, it’s neat, that is! I think that mostly they love us. I certainly love them. I always try to say very soft and soothing things to them if they seem scared.
        Yeah, I agree. Walking is way better than the gym. Maybe it was my bad experiences with gym class in school, but personally, I won’t go near a gym. It costs money, which I don’t have. And it’s boring as heck. I refuse to consider it. But that’s my style. Your health will improve the more you walk. I have back problems, and they have improved just in one week of walking on forest trails in the park.
        The thing right now is to try not to panic too much. You have interviewed, which is great. And try to stay as much “in the moment” as possible. Being utterly broke is really bad. I’ve been there many times, unfortunately. So let’s not worry terribly if the good interview people reject you. We don’t know that they will. And fears are not facts.
        When you’re penniless, or nearly so, (I’ve been down to $100 before, with no job) you are in a position where it’s “Any old port in a storm!” That’s what it was like when I moved to the small island and applied for a job cleaning cabins. The want ad wasn’t in some gynormous job bank. It was a small ad in the local newspaper. The cooking job where I made the shrimp salads was in the same edition of the same newspaper. I called up in answer to both ads, to start with, and was scheduled for interviews the same day and hired the same day! Whew! But being very up close and personal and local is what really opened those doors. I really think that this is what it takes to find and land “any old port in a storm” jobs. Job banks don’t work when you’re broke and really need work right away. There are too many people filing resumes for the same job. There may be between 60 to 160 applicants for the same position. Whereas, there may be 5-10 applying for the local ad in the local paper. Speaking of local papers, are there any published in your area any more? Do they need someone to deliver them? Are there any other delivery jobs you can get? Like delivering groceries to shut-ins? Or delivering for an outfit like Amazon? That’s big around here. Or, for that matter, helping shut-ins? I had a friend, when I lived on the island, who made her living by taking care of elderly people. I’m just shooting off various ideas. Again, she didn’t try to get a job like that through an agency. They pay extremely poorly, at least around here. She did like I did with my cleaning business, and presented herself as a Caregiver. House sitting and pet sitting are other ways I’ve been able to make money and survive when I had little to nothing. It helped. I transitioned from that to cleaning houses before. I have always been able to make better money working for myself than for someone else. You go directly and in person to the person who wants the help, and you skip all the middle-man stuff.
        The man stuff can wait until you get your legs under you. What a man doesn’t like is someone who is dependent and clingy, and relatively hopeless and helpless. That’s never a good mix for a partnership. And these days, women are partners, not somebody trailing along, utterly depending on the man. That’s a recipe for disaster in relationships, and such relationships usually end very badly. It may have been that way before World War II, but then, women entered the workforce and began building bombers! We have a folk hero called Rosie the Riveter. Women are a lot more equal partners with men these days, and are holding their own in a variety of professions, as independent citizens. And that’s what men like to see.
        Another thing is, are there any temp agencies where you are?
        They are a lot easier to get work from, because basically, they need warm bodies, and people with more than a little brain, who are willing to go to work and work reasonably hard. And they are eager to put such persons to work right away. In the islands, I got a job working at a B&B, cleaning rooms and making beds, and being a clerk in a pet store, and working in the aforementioned restaurant, making French Bread and yummy desserts through that temp agency. With a temp agency, you can quit when you need to when your real job comes through. A little later, when things were more stable, I started my own cleaning business. That’s when I could make long-range commitments. They were my customers. I had my Monday customer, etc., one each day of the week. It takes very little capital and a lot of moxie to start a cleaning business from zero I advertised it by making fliers on a computer that read like this: (In very big, bold letters:)
        The House Cleaning Service (As in, what other house cleaning service Is There?) And then I put the basic contact information, and at the bottom, in the center, I put an attractive looking logo.
        There were several bulletin boards in the main town, and I hung those flyers all over the bulletin boards, announcing my business. The phone started ringing, almost right away, and I started getting customers. I was prepared, because I had learned house cleaning as a trade from a company in California, including learning how to go out to a place before cleaning it to make a bid, and what to do to make the bid accurately. There were a lot of millionaires and even a few billionaires on that island, and they were impressed with my methods. It turned out that I was way better than other house cleaners they had had. But that was after a while. I didn’t have to have references from previous jobs. I was The House Cleaning Service. I came out, dressed in a business suit. They would look me up and down, and ask, “Are you the new cleaning lady?” And I would answer, “Yes, I am a Cleaning Contractor. And I am here to perform your estimate. May I come in?” They always looked a little blown away, but that’s how I was trained to do it, and that’s what I did. But that’s for later, not now.
        The food situation: How much food do you have in the house? And what is it? If you really had to, you could make pancakes out of flour and water. Provided you had flour, that is. I’ve been known to make a stew that lasts for about 5 days to a week or so, if I ration it carefully. A one-pot stew. I stew it up in a Dutch Oven. I make flour and water biscuits in the Dutch Oven first, so I have something for bread, and then I do my stew. I once put a scrawny Cornish game hen, two carrots, an onion, and two potatoes in a pot, and stewed it up, and this is what my roommate and I ate for a week. We were in college, sharing an apartment together, and we were the Starving Students! For sure!
        But this is not really the time to be starting a cleaning biz because you are hoping for a good break to come your way in a week or so, and goodness knows, it might! It feels like it! If you have a temp agency around there, it would be good to try it right away. At least in this country, they do not require all the fancy resumes, etc., that applying for a regular job does. And they will keep you in groceries. Also, around here, the churches–not all of them, but some of them–have food banks. Is there a food bank near you, where you can go and get help? This may provide a vital link.
        I’ve had no car sometimes, and have had to take the bus. The bus system around here is horrid. It takes 20 minutes to get to the library by car and 2 1/2 hours to the same library, and two busses which don’t connect at a transfer point, on the bus! But, I took the bus. I didn’t have a computer at home then, and had to get to the library on business. I find that the job banks just don’t work well in an “any old port in a storm” situation. A person has to be willing to do just about anything, and temp agencies have more than office jobs, at least around here, they do. And, even in that setting, be willing to be of service, always. If you manage to work a temp job for more than a month, at the end of two months or more, you could ask them for a reference, and that always helps. Work references are helpful.
        Beyond that, Barbara, in one of her books, talked about a thing she called “The rent party.” It’s where a bunch of your friends gather together over potluck dinner, and you host the party. The goal is that everyone chips in a little bit and helps you to make the rent this way. But it sounds to me like you’ve tried this or something similar already.
        I’ll send up some prayers. I truly believe in the power of prayer. It is very strong, when prayed directly for the need that exists.
        Because I think those interviews, those invitations, are going to come through!
        In “Any Old Port in a Storm” situations, I have been a cabin cleaner, and a room cleaner at resorts and B&B’s. I have been a dishwasher at restaurants, and have cleaned two restaurants and a bakery. I have been a cook, 3 times. I have caretaken the elderly. I have worked in a pet store and a used bookstore. I did the used bookstore while I was establishing my cleaning business, before it was fully up and running. I have been a caregiver for the elderly. A house and pet sitter. And cleaned the houses I sat for, again and again, after I sat for them. Because I cleaned them while I sat for them, I was invited back to clean again and again. I have tutored. And have worked temp, doing office work. And much more. I am descended from pioneers who homesteaded in this country, and from Native Americans. There’s an old pioneer saying, and it goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” The one factor, when it comes to finding work right away, is willingness. Being of service. I’ve been an employer too, and they see this, they know this, and they like it!
        So, prayer time now!

  8. As disc i treat enlarged prostate ( u don’t need to be cancerous) with massage therapy. I did not say i was a doctor nor did i say my clients have cancer and it treat cancer. since i usually enlarged prosate and not cancer.
    if they have cancer usually they are on another path.

    I am a licensed massage therapist so evidently i treat many different pains and stresses.

    My speciality is men’s health in general with non-intrusive therapies.

    What do you treat? you have not introduced yourself and your interest in all this.
    i am not interested in giving you my protocol to you.

    • Dear Joanna,
      I have been involved in the work of Barbara Sher since I first discovered her in 1987. Some others and I sat in a Success Team in Seattle for 3 1/2 years that benefited us mightily. I am a Scanner (see Barbara’s book called Refuse to Choose.) During high school, I was an up and coming young musician, playing viola in 3 symphony orchestras, and a little later, going to college on a music scholarship. I thought I was on the path to becoming a virtuoso violist. But this never happened. Long story. I switched majors into English instead, and graduated with a BA in English. Then I added teaching credentials to it, and credentials from the School of Librarianship, so that I could become a school librarian. This lasted three years, until a major recession hit, and all over the region, all teachers with less than 7 years of seniority were laid off, and so were all the subs. So I re-invented the wheel and founded a freelance editing and manuscript preparation business out of my home.
      Most of the clients were people getting their master’s theses and PhD dissertations done. I had some book clients too. And I also went to work for a major Northwest publisher, on the editorial board. We were making decisions about what to publish and what not to publish, and writing authors’ critiques, and encouraging new authors. All of this crashed in the next Great Recession, about 6 years later. I worked temp for a year and then went to work as a front desk receptionist and executive secretary and park ranger in a very versatile job at a park with an outdoor recreation program.
      I am also a lover of nature–very much so–who was born to parents who were forest fire lookouts during World War II, and who were determined that having a baby wasn’t going to keep them out of the woods. So I made my first backpack trip, 8 miles into a mountain lake, when I was 11 months old, and have been going to the mountains ever since, and even living in them. This has evolved into becoming a hiker, backpacker, cross-country skiier, mountaineer, and wilderness photographer. A leader of mountain trips and coordinator of wilderness expeditions, and now, an ecotherapist.
      While I was holding down the park job, my mother died, leaving me with several pieces of real estate that needed major work. I quit my job and for the next ten years, I bought, fixed up, and sold real estate, and parked out raw land. I was consolidating assets to start a retreat center, and tried to, and it was a bust!
      From there, I went to live in a very beautiful part of the Northwest, the San Juan Islands, where I worked at a bunch of different weird and odd jobs so that I could live in that world-class place. I worked in the hospitality industry. I worked in a pet store. I worked in a used book store. I was a breakfast cook. I was a prep cook and a professional baker. I also became a cleaning contractor, doing residential and commercial cleaning.
      I left the islands in 2003 and moved to the mountains of Northern New Mexico. After a catastrophic injury in 2005, I put my brain (instead of my body) back to work and tutored writing at a community college, and taught the language portion of the STEM program (science, technology, engineering, and math). While I was injured and unable to walk for 8 months, I re-evaluated everything and decided to enroll in graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work, which would enable me to become a psychotherapist. When I was working on my degree, I wrote a research paper in the field of Ecopsychology, and it is one of the few, and possibly the only statistical research papers in that field. Ecopsychology is my passion, as is my love of nature.
      I also hold a very strong bond and heart connections and spiritual connections to First Nations people and indigenous people. Gramma was half Native American, and I was brought up with a whole different set of values from the mainstream. There are 24 Sacred Principles of Life that are instilled that we know and live by. These began being introduced when I was only 2 years old, and from then on. It made a very strange walk through life, until 1980 when I met up with a Native Medicine Chief at an intensive three-day weekend campout. He was there to share some sacred principles of life with us. These turned out to be the very ones that I had grown up with! I had been searching, spiritually, for years, and finally knew that I had Come Home, in a very profound way. I knew that I simply needed to come further up and further in, and became involved with this as my spirituality and way of life. I walk in both Native and non-native worlds. Besides these things, I enjoy being a performing storyteller. I belong to a storytelling league, and until COVID shut things down, I was performing monthly at open mic meetings and at storytelling events, and in a nursing home nearby.
      I also give ethnobotany walks occasionally, though haven’t in a few years now. Gramma and Mom made sure that I learned at least 350 different plants that are edible, medicinal, and poisonous, for this region. So I have conducted ethnobotany walks. I also give weekend gatherings and speaking engagements on Native philosophy and ways of life.
      There is always more to learn, and I am learning to braid my life and its talents into one contiguous whole, much like a river that flows in braided channels. I hike, I camp, I work with Native Medicine People, I write, I play my music, and I work at developing my practice. And I find the Barbara Sher work to be most healing. For sure, nature plays a major role. It always has and it always will. And so does Native spirituality. I believe it to be the cornerstone for everything else. Who am I? Goodness knows! Am I just my talents? Am I just my work? Are any of us? Why do we define ourselves this way? I dunno.
      A Medicine Woman with whom I am working now has us doing this exercise: She says, “Ask yourself, “Why am I here?” (That has to do with the deep question, what is my unique purpose on this planet.) And then, when you have an answer, ask the question “Why am I here” again, and go deeper. And then again, and again, each time, going deeper. Seven times. Whew! I tell you, when we get past the mundane world, things get mighty interesting!

  9. hi dear
    glad to know you know what you want
    i may have a recommendation for you to change your perseption of yourself.

    i go to a virtual emdr …therapy on line. and i find its clearing these unwanted or wrong beliefs.

    • Dear Joanna,
      Please, on bended knee, when you address people, always do so with the dignity and respect of the person in mind. Calling anyone “honey” or “dear” or even worse, “dearie,” when you’ve just met is a form of one-uppmanship and is considered, at the very least, to be in very poor taste.

      • this comment is a bit too critical and selective
        when i did it once with no ill intent
        and you miss the whole value of my comment

        which took me 30 years to find out


      • Unless, of course, you live in a part of the country where anything less would be just too presumptive. After growing up in the NYC area, I found these words grating when I first moved to Louisiana. But I realized that all of the nicest women used them. (The mean ones used, “Well bless your heart.”)

        • this has confused me now since i saw some “dear sarah” here and i did not overthink it as to what it was supposed to mean. i would rather look at content which was good,

  10. Hello All,

    A week has past and still my wish is a man,

    Little adjustments: A nice honest man with integrity for a husband.
    To make lots of loving memories.
    (Need one, totally done with being alone)

    New obstacles:
    – Huge resistance in going for walks (noticed soooo much self-awareness that I do not enjoy going for a walk, and I procrastinate, suddenly hate to encounter people)
    – Huge resistance in going out and meet new people (too much self-awareness feeling not good enough, having no money, can’t come up with interest that involve not only women but men as well and for free)
    – Feeling me being not good enough in general (always another reason)

    Old obstacles:
    – Money, income and budgeting expenses is what I am working on now, that is going fine for now. (Thank you so much Mary Ann) still no income, but some progress here
    – I left the house issue for what it is, no focus on that for a while, same with the personal “make over thing” (Thank you soo much Patty)

    This man thing is intriguing me. Partly I think it is just natural, we human beings are not loners by nature, at least I am not, I appreciate company and teamwork.
    I’m trying to find my touchstone (as Barbara names it) for this wish. Could be something else that is missing to me. Or maybe not

    But for now I feel literally totally stuck with my huge obstacles I don’t know what to do and where to go to meet people and how to feel better, and go outside and mingle and enjoy… without this self-awareness

    Have no idea what to do and whatexactly is going on here…

    • Sara, when you’re feeling not good enough, one of the best moves you can make is to help someone else, either in person or by volunteering at a service organization like Red Cross, a soup kitchen, a library, a local elementary school, or a town-wide cleanup day. On the plus side, there may even be some very nice men there.

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