Thursday, December 8, 2011

Brainstorm! Wanna help?

I am beyond impressed.

Apply this man’s speech to homelessness.  Apply it to anything you advocate for.  Go ahead, substitute the phrase that evokes passion in you for the phrases Patch Adams uses that describe his visions — can you hear it?

What is your ideal practice?

In sore need of encouragement today I came across this YouTube clip moments ago on (Patch Adams, M.D. & Gesundheit! Institute), moments ago.

Again, I am beyond impressed.  I feel motivated.  I feel patted on the back by a kindred soul.  Something I needed intensely.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

No Hate

The front of
my new personal
calling card. ::grin::
Oh joy!  I get to play my jester card on … myself!  ::chortle::

I hope I was not as sick-looking as I was feeling yesterday a little after noon-thirty.

So gung ho was I feeling at the beginning of my day, I thought to myself, “Self, we’ve got a lot of energy this morning, we can do this!”

Phlbbffssstttt!        Fail!
That’s not to say, my morning didn’t go well.  It did.  I made a long trek to get my Disabled EZPass.
I made it through a get together with a friend I don’t see often in person.

There was also the coloring to finish the design of my new personal calling card.  I LIKE having a calling card to hand out, I feel like one of the big kids!  Plus my card is a playful one, so hopefully any person I hand it to will get a chuckle.  That’s a big plus to me.

And then there was the moment when my physical energy hit a wall that leaped out of nowhere ...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Dances the upside down Woodstock Flitter - Go Snoopy!

Apparently, I miscounted, for when I compiled everything from Scrivener I had a whopping amount of words over 50,000 for the month of November.

I state proudly for my record, I was a NaNoWriMoRebel -- that means and I quote from the NaNoWriMo forums:

"You're writing a memoir, a script, a nonfiction book about turtles or something else that's not a novel. You're a NaNoRebel, baby! Converse with your fellow outlaws here."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Promise and Commitment

Graphic from my Hemera collection,
TY to the folks who held my old computer for me
without you I wouldn't have this image!
‎"The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible"   Author Unknown

“glad to have the likes of you in my midst.” From a friend I just made an hour back.

I made myself a promise a short time ago — it seems like forever to me, however, it truly was only about 2 months ago (or less).

Actually it was a series of promises and commitments:

  • That I would not fret over situations and circumstances for the month of November;
  • That I would expend my energy on me;
  • That I would communicate when and how it felt “right” to me;
  • That I would not apologize for taking care of myself;
  • That I would not apologize for “not being what others expect or anticipate me to be”;
  • That I would meet and explore my expectations not anyone else's;
  • That I would be myself around those I call my friends, regardless of what I feared my friends might think of me, or if they would drop me as a friend, (I rarely fit into others comfort zones); and,
  • That I would express what I feel, see, perceive and am aware of.  Regardless of the fear—that still has some residual life in me, for it was strongly necessary in my survival when I was younger—of what others would “think of me” and most enervating “do to me”.

The month of November is nearly up.

Friday, November 25, 2011

#NaNoWriMo Write-In and The Grinch! Holy Cow!

Vroman's Pasadena 11-26-11 -- Tomorrow is gonna be ROCKIN'!
Special Holiday storytime featuring The Grinch!  10:AM
NaNoWriMo Write-in 9:30am - 12:30pm
Come on NaNoWriMos!

Whether you are going to make the 50K words or NOT!  Whether you are a Rebel or a “Proper”!

This (despite all the trials and tribulations that invariably happen to me in November) has been the most tremendous November of my life and I wanna see all you NaNoWriMo people in my area!

I want to breath the same air you are breathing and bask in the creativity, expression, and passion for being that exudes from you.

All I can give you in return is one of my crooked smiles, but I tell you now, I've got plenty of  them, and tomorrow is gonna ROCK!

On top of the write-in that is being touted, they will have at 10:AM THE GRINCH at their holiday storytime (and YES!  I will have my trusty Fidget and Widget with me to have someone take a photo of me with The Grinch!)!  I'm not missing that!  Spoken-word storytellers, whether reading or telling are part of my lifeblood and this is gonna be a DAY!

How do you make a difference?

Silhouette from Dover clip-art
We all want to have others be aware of us in positive ways.  Positive is a nebulous word.  Pick a meaning for you that makes your spirit soar.

For me it's important to make a difference.

In the grandest of my dreams, the difference I make is cosmic.  Felt worldwide, felt universally.

In the reality of my world, the difference I make is sometimes not observed by anyone but me.

We look for the "big" things, often forgetting it's the little things that build the big things.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To All Things a Season

Christina, Lori ...

I have not forgotten our discussion the other evening.  In my research to give you both more information on yule log, the tree of fire, the burning tree, the burning bush and other monickers it's known by, I came across this.

It is an incredible piece of writing and speaks to my spirit.  As you both know, I have no issue with whatever faith a person resonates with, as long as two things are present -- 1) there is no hate/bullying expression involved and 2) I am not proselytized to.  This piece, Pagan-centric, meets my criterion in spades; and I feel comfortable sharing it.  It is as valid for one form of faith as it is another.  And as I am not a faith-believer, it is also valid for those of us who are not faith inclined, in my unhumble opinion.

From my point of view, it moves well beyond an exposition on mid-winter celebration; it gives, if you look deep enough, illustration of how people can transform the world -- yet, you know me ... that's one of my goals, so I'll find ways and means for it in any circumstance I come across.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friends - my 100th post? Egad!

I am lucky.

The friends I choose to have are absolutely brilliant people.

Are yours?

Why are they brilliant? Without naming names, let me tell you of two of them.

We allow each other to be who and what we are.

No, we don’t do it perfectly. So take that notion right out of your head. In fact, let the concept that things must be perfect sit in a safe place from which you can reclaim it at the end of this tale. Fret not, it will be safe, it is in a container of your own devise, which you can open and close at will.

Moving on …

One example of why these are two people I have allowed within the confines of “close friends”?

Thursday, November 17, 2011



I chatted with my therapist yesterday.

Why do you need to know that, you may wonder.

First and foremost — it is imperative to me to illustrate to others (you, if you’re amenable) how we humans can be.

No, that’s actually second in importance.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Teach Your Children

Crosby & Nash 11-8-11 (the same as above, but a link to take you to the YouTube post itself)

ARTIST: Graham Nash
TITLE: Teach Your Children
Lyrics and Chords

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye

/ C - F - / C - G - / :

Teach your children well
Their father's hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick's the one you'll know by

Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

/ C - F - / C - / Am - F G / C - F G /

And you of tender years     Can you hear and do you care and
Can't know the fears        Can you see we
That your elders grew by    Must be free to
And so please help          Teach the children
Them with your youth        To believe and
They seek the truth         Make a world that
Before they can die         We can live in

Teach your parents well
Their children's hell will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick's the one you'll know by

Don't you ever ask them why
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

An Essay -- The Meaning of Life

I've been given the assignment of writing a one page essay.  Being the rebel I am, my fulfillment of the assignment is to perform another person's essay, and it's more than one page.  Yes, I will ultimately write a piece to hand in ... I have another 4 days to get it done.  However, the opportunity to perform this piece is so much more fulfilling personally at the moment.

These words, from The Viscott Method by David Viscott, M.D. have meaning to me.  The paperback I have that contains them has a shredded cover (the moreso since it's been with me since 1984); it is yellowed, and perhaps in danger of falling apart.  But this morning it has served it's purpose, once again.  It reminds me of what I value, some of what I believe, and of a teacher I read often when I was in my 30's.

I am a performer, so it's natural for me to give this to you vocally.  Just imagine you are sitting in front of a radio, listening.

Lost Awareness's Vocal Reading of David Viscott's essay "The Meaning of Your Life"

It was a dark and stormy night ....

It’s 2:am and it’s raining.

It’s 78 hours and 53 minutes until I turn 57.

This is a month when many give thanks officially in the continental United States.  I’m thankful I’m dry, only a little cold, and writing up a storm.

It’s cold outside and my apartment is in the midst of an area where my street peers are huddling, shivering and focusing on surviving.

Did you know that 2 blocks from where I live, a mobile shower appears in the parking lot of a church for my street friends?  The same location houses a food bank to help feed those in my neighborhood.

Are you aware if the same type of love is going on in your neighborhood?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You say you want a revolution?

There are innumerable ways to have an effect upon the world.

Revolution is one of them.

Care to join in a peaceful revolution?

You have skills.

The skills you possess are tremendously important, and you never know for certain how they may play a part in transforming others.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Response Ability

We learn by illustration.  Yes, we learn by words, yet we learn some of our most intrinsic behavior by emulating others.  It's one of the ways we develop some of what we call our "beliefs"; our "standards"; our "ethics"; our reality.

That said, I'm sharing this piece -- for any person who may have some of the same feelings and questions that I do.  My hope?  That by illustrating what I have found, you may feel freed to find a truth for yourself -- whether or not your truth agrees with mine.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Take advantage of the moment

It has been another startling month and a half for me.

First, if you wish to celebrate my upcoming 57th birthday (November 15) with me, go here and make a donation before November 4, 2:42pm EDT.  There are only 14 days left to do this, and it is my most fervent wish for my birthday to see this project blossom:

Now onto the grist of this post:

This will make the most sense to those who follow me to keep track of what's going on in my life.

I heartily invite you to persue the thoughts, even if you are not one of those ... by all means, eavesdrop!

Those of you who know me, know well that my creedo is: "Choice is always yours. Everything is an opportunity. The meaning of life is in this very moment."

Friday, September 30, 2011

DoOver Week?

Why Not?
Yes, that was
the cat's name
This week did not go as I had hoped it would.

Between a waffling flu-ish grippe; an allergic reaction to some unknown substance kicking in during the middle of the week; and my hand deciding to go absolutely banana bonkers painwise -- I've missed 3 very important events; and will miss a fourth tomorrow.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Small Actions Create Large Ripples

Ascencia (formerly known as PATHAchieve Glendale) has Breaking News constantly.

They continue to ROCK in how they serve the homeless community with a new volunteer: Lori Kozlowski.

On Wednesday evenings, Lori brings a Creative Writing Workshop to Ascencia's clients.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

57? ::grin::

I haven't asked for birthday presents in many years.

Yes, now I'm asking.  Yes, I'm asking early, 'cuz there's a time deadline.

If you want to give me my desired birthday present, you need to do it before 2:42pm (Eastern Time) Nov. 4, 2011.

My birthday is November 15, 2011.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Communication to create change

Some of the things that have never created change for me are: Fighting.  Attacking.  Trying to prove right/wrong.

The original title of this post was "Communication -- Abuse or Healthy?"

Is your communication a healthy means of expression?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gratitude is Power

This is one of my *family*.  Her name was LePounce.
I am grateful she graced my life.
I am grateful someone else chose to facilitate her
during a time 10 years ago when
I found myself with no home.
Yeah, the picture bites, I'm
still grateful I was able to rescue it
from my elderly computer.

We can spend so much time focusing on our trials and tribulations we forget our power.

Our power is All Ways to find in our circumstances what is a benefit or a boone.  Our power is being able to make the choice in our mind and take action to find at least one thing to express constructively about.

Since I'm overtly attempting to coerce you into taking that mental/physical/emotional/spirit action, I'll give you an example of this morning and me:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brice, Guest Chefs ROCK!

Brice, I'm way too verbose to be able to respond to your tweet on Twitter today!  ::grin:: 140 characters is great, but I need more!

"@lostawareness @PATHAchieve what can we bring for the new mama Sunday night when we guest chef?"

The new mama is one of PATHAchieve's current housing successes!  When she leaves the hospital with her babies, they have a great little home to go to!

I cannot truly answer your question, but I can share with you that checking with @PATHAcheive would be a great way for you to get an answer, as the shelter's awesome team facilitated getting my fellow group member to the hospital yesterday.

Between all the staff at @PATHAchieve, and a gentleman shelteree whom the new mama trusts -- all  the coordination and connecting loose ends were handled brilliantly.

By the way ... Brice, I want to share with you, how important the guest chefs are to those of us who are (some of my friends) or have been (me and some of my other friends) in emergency shelter.  That one meal a day is a huge boone!

The time and effort you and your colleagues put into obtaining and donating the food, serving it and providing smiles to everyone taking shelter in that space is deserving of the loudest thank you's!

So, from a previous shelteree:


Monday, September 5, 2011

Whew! Looks like I'm back online!

Electronics Mascots


Can't say the 9 hours I've spent today testing apps working together has been the way I wanted to spend the day.

Nor have the multitudes of hours/days during the past 6 weeks been pieces of cake -- testing, checking and verifying that my technical units are functioning the way they've been touted; along with recovering bits and pieces of stuff that was buried.

I love this!

"I don't care what ones personal faith is. One could believe in the Holy Chicken of Antioc,
or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or nothing at all. The fundamental question is this:
Are you a good person, do you treat others well and with respect, do you wish for ALL mankind to
live positive, fruitful lives of personal fulfillment and purpose, and do you do this without
caring one bit what their personal faith (or lack of faith) is? If so, then it's all good.
Moving forward..."

~Douglas Mallette

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carrying Bus Tokens -- A small act of well-being

Back to one of the questions I am most often asked:

"What is the one thing we can do to aid someone we see in need on the streets?"

This response is not only for aiding the homeless; it's for aiding anyone who is having a challenging moment.

There is no "one thing".  However, one of the things you can consider is:

Carry Tokens on you, for the public transit system in your area.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thoughts on a film

In 1998 a film came out ... I never saw it, nor heard about it -- until a day ago.

However, *now* is the time it could have an impact on me.

What Dreams May Come, 1998

At the time it came out, I would only have been able to view it for what it appears as face value:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Opportunity is what you make it

Today offered me an unexpected opportunity.

In dealing with the opportunity I was brought back to memory of two songs that were my mainstays between the time I was 11 and 13.

So that I don't have to go searching for them again, I have their names at hand.

I am a Rock, Simon and Garfunkel 1966

The Sound of Silence, Simon and Garfunkel 1964

Opportunity is what you make it.

Believe in yourself. Take care of yourself. Love yourself.

What are you making?

Thursday, August 25, 2011



I expected this post to be on previous members of my family before an incident of homelessness -- Le Pounce, Sly, McTavish, Starlight, Athena, Why Not?, Wild Thing.  That will have to wait.

Today, I'm thrilled to find another piece of my life -- it too, a poignant one.

Along with an opportunity to listen to an author of a song that was a theme song for me when I was young, I get to troll memories I didn't realize I had.

Remember the song Windy?

Here is Ruthann Friedman, the song's author singing it:

Here's the Association singing it as a hit on the airwaves in '67.

And, yes I was an impressionable 13 years alive at that time, and I dreamt (or if you're a stickler, I fantasized) I was Windy.

Today, I am an impressionable 56 and 3/4 years alive -- and I have the rare opportunity of being in the audience at LAVA's Sunday Salon 8/11 this weekend to observe Ruthann Friedman.

Perhaps you have to be in my mind, to me it's a fully intriguing occurrence with the opportunity to re-incorporate my put-away and denied visions into my current life.

What brings that opportunity knocking at your door?

Do you choose to open the door?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Archive shots of my previous drums

There's no other way to label this and I have to get it onto my blog asap, as I don't want to lose these while I have the .jpgs in my hot little hand.

Thanks again to for the iPod which now miraculously records my voice -- something I NEVER could get it to do until two weeks ago -- and I've had it for -- well it'll be a year come November.  Ya gotta love electronics.

Thanks to my old computer for reviving as much as it has, it held the .jpgs.
Thanks to the folks who stored it for me while I was homeless, so that today I can rescue the ,jpgs  to make this slideshow.

Now, without further ado ... for my picture book:

Play well, mes amis.

This moment in time is our life and it is what we make it.

If you ever doubt that, listen to your heart.


Again, folks this post is for me ... however, you are welcome to eavesdrop. :)

It's also for the folks who are keeping track of me via my posting until I get all my e-mails sorted out -- which is on hold until I get a decent online backup provider.  Negotiations are currently in progress for that.

We all have times when it's necessary to get pieces of our lives back together.  For me, there is no better time than *now*.

Word up -- there is a forthcoming article for anyone interested in finding online storage.  As soon as I finish the altercation I'm having with one provider I'll be sharing that article, along with recommendations for potential online storage locations you may want to explore.

Back to the photo --

The pic shows one of my passions -- me onstage telling tales.  One of the many things I *like* to do.  My forte is mystical, fable, wizard/magic, and fantasy.  And, yes, I do tell others, just more rarely.

Yes, I look different.

I was wearing contact lenses which I had for most of my life.  Had to give 'em up when I became low-income and then homeless.

Contacts lenses are a huge expense.  Plus there's trying to get 'em in and out daily and keeping the store-bought chemicals along with other considerations -- glasses were more economical and easier to keep track of.  Now, it's been so long, I'd have to readjust to wearing them and the cost to get new contacts is hideous. ::grin::  So glasses it will continue to be.

My teeth were still in my head.  Changes the smile quite a bit. ::snort::

This photo is a fav of mine, so it's going up on this blog to let me find it in the future.

People keep asking me what I like to do -- this photo shows off one of my passions.  Busking is a part of that.

A lot of folks get a grin when I share with them that many moons (read decades) ago, when Pasadena had Busking Licenses -- I had one for storytelling and facepainting on the streets.  A busking license?  Don't you just go on the street and busk?

I don't know anymore -- at that time you didn't if you didn't want to be rousted in Pasadena.

As a homeless advocate it gives me thought to ponder -- do buskers today get rousted as panhandlers?  Is it something I could go back to?  I'll have to give that more thought.

In the meantime ... Crikey!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A farewell to one who graced me with their last moment.

Live your life to the fullest.  Protect yourself when necessary.  Trust your intuition.  And remember to explore reality with an open mind and heart to find your own truth.

Birds are creatures who nurture and protect their young most diligently.  Nurture yourself.  Nurture those around you.

Nurture those you have contact with.

And drum with me a farewell to my little friend, whom I only knew for a few moments today.

You could have had a melodious, bubbling song, but now you never will,
except for in my ears.
You could have had little bobbing movements when you chirped
that expressed the joy of life. 
Not anymore except for in my heart.

Wren, Bran's Sparrow -- you were one moment, and the next you were
blood and guts smashed on the street.
The person who hit you probably doesn't even know it. 
Thunderbird now carries you through the skys and the Dreamtime.
All my relations, I call on you to witness the bright moment that was this little one's life.

Only the four humans -- me; the lady who took you out of my hat where you originally landed and accidently put you on the wrong side of the sidewalk; and the other two ladies who watched you get hit unable to do anything about it -- knew of you.

I sang and danced my song of farewell for you, while two others cried.  The other people on the street looked at me like I was crazy -- Except for the one other lady, who pulled you out of my hat -- she who was ready to rush into the street and try to save you -- just as I was ready to do at that instant.

I looked at her afterward and spoke softly to her, knowing she probably didn't understand what I was saying -- we speak different languages. But words are only 7% of what we communicate, the other 93% is nonverbal, and my spirit flowed with the nonverbal.

"It's all right.  You did the best you could.  I did the best I could." 

I know not why the little one picked my hat to fall into apparently on its first flight out of the nest.

All my relations, it is never an accident or coincidence when one of you comes to me.

I wish I could have done more than just giving the song of farewell.

It is one of the reasons I had to leave animal rescue because so many of my animal relations came to me on the brink of death, asking for companionship and awareness in their final movement.  My heart couldn't take it after it happened so often ...

All my relations, in the spirit of your messenger, and so someone other than me will know of the beauty that was this little one's life I will share this with any human that chances upon my written words:

Live your life to the fullest.  Protect yourself when necessary.  Trust your intuition.  And remember to explore reality with an open mind and heart to find your own truth.

Birds are creatures who nurture and protect their young most diligently.  Nurture yourself.  Nurture those around you.

Nurture those you have contact with.  Be aware.  Awareness is a most priceless gift.

Awareness is not fixing.  It is not healing.  It is not making things better.

Awareness is using yourself to express "You have meaning."

A few lost things found

I spent part of the day with a family who met me through Skip1 last Sunday.  They asked me a number of questions, and I returned the favor -- asking questions of them.  I hope to see some of the video they shot, I'm looking forward to sharing it with you.

Some of the questions I get asked most often by people are variations of "What did you lose?  How did being homeless affect you? What do you have now that you are housed?"

If you watch you'll see/hear many stories and thoughts from myriad people who find themselves homeless.  My story is no different, in fact mine is up on that venerable site.  If you listen to it, you'll hear me extemporize on how prejudicial and short-sighted it is to deny a people (in this case those of us who endure homelessness) the standard tools of society because somehow we are deficient and not-as-good-as.

I'm a philosopher.  No, I'm not trained in philosopy.  Just because I am not officially graded or judged in something, does not mean I don't have a clue.  This holds true for anyone, you or me -- just because we are not officially graded or judged in something, does not mean we do not have a clue.

The part of me that is a philosopher answers the questions I'm asked most often like this:

Homelessness, for me, was the manifestation of loss I was already feeling.  The loss of the roof over my head was the final straw in a series of losses including: awareness of self; income; the use of my hand/arm among other health issues; self-confidence; and self-efficacy.  My first episode with homelessness began when I was 17 1/2.  If I hadn't of been bent on getting my high school diploma, it would have begun at 15 1/2. 

Being homeless from August 5, 2010 to February 2, 2011 put me in touch with people vibrant enough to help me regain my voice.

Now I have the ability to *be*
While I bring my computer back online -- a slow and arduous process -- I'm also rescuing a few things from an old computer as well.  In many instances I'm re-opening wounds that were not healed; I'm finding some of the bits that were lost; and using each circumstance to live in the moment and transform.  Some things may be lost to me for the long-haul, others may resurface.

Here are some pix of my 51st birthday -- that'll be 6 years ago come mid-November, which represent one of the largest and most emotionally wrecking things I've lost -- but to explain it would take a book -- so for now I'm simply going to let the pictures share -- and if you're wondering why I'm taking the time to put this up on my blog?  It's for me, if my old computer dies -- which it's been trying to do for years; and my new computer dies yet again (which it's already done twice in less than 8 months) at least I can come back to this blog and see the pix.

Moi, telling the tale of Puff the Magic Dragon

My 51st birthday party was my favorite ever.  I planned it, paid for it, threw it, and hosted it.  At a wonderful place that no longer exists physically.  Bang-a-drum.  I was there for Bang-a-drum's birth, its many drumcircles, and watched it close.

I purchased a huge amount of handdrums and percussives over that few years.  When I became homeless 8/5/10 they were distributed among folks who share my passion for the framedrum, drumcircles and the entrancement of drums heartbeat.

This is Chris -- the *father* of Bang-a-drum facilitating my 51st birthday drum circle
Chris owned Bangadrum.  He and his wife were awesome!  He graciously accepted my request to facilitate my birthday drum circle (along with one of his employees).  The Djembes and other accoutrements always available for experimenting on in the store were inspiring.

This is my birthday twin singing Puff the Magic Dragon at my request.
Born on the same day about 12 hours apart, one on the west coast (moi) and one on the east coast (my friend) -- the woman has the voice of a lark.  As you can see by our garb, I made it quite clear to those attending that if they wanted to come in fantasy RenFaire gear or dress up in some other dream of their own, to do so.  I was honored that everyone who attended did so.

A teller of tales extraordinaire!

Some of the finest people I know are tale-tellers.  This is a woman whose Irish lilt always drives me into a tremendous desire to have it as my own -- what a wonderful voice, what a wonderful sound!  She continues to tell tales and share bountiful life.  She (and her mate in the top hat, who has since died) will always be a source of inspiration to me.

And this is me holding time with a dun-dun.

Of course, I cannot resist the pun ... that means this blogpost is dun-dun ... er done (yeah, it's not the right pronunciation for dun-dun -- but, it is my blog post so ... phlbbffsstt)!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Laughter and Awe are important in our lives

The accident that befouled my computer totally for 3 days (and the prelude which had kept me limping on it for 3 1/2 weeks prior) ultimately has given me some great gifts.

More, in fact than I can count in this post -- it would take up waaaaay too much space.

The good news for friends patient enough to wait to hear from me, is I will be back online and social in about another 7 days.

I still have not installed my e-mail reading app, so e-mails are behind by at least 4 weeks in all accounts.

At this point, I'm still testing installations (a slow process), refinding things, and re-building trust with my system functioning.

The old clips of me telling some of my favorite stories are apparently gone.  The good opportunity springing from that is I have the brilliant gift of a FlipCam, and a dynamite tripod -- so I'll be setting up those tellings in present day.  And, of course, I'll be posting them here, because at least I'll be able to find them again in the future.

I believe in laughter and awe.

Here are 4 of the recovered things that bring me immediate laughter or awe (or both).  May they keep you occupied while I keep working on my return to the social world.

My personal favorite out-take

Peter O'Toole, Man of La Mancha (1972) - I, Don Quixote

Puff the Magic Dragon, Peter Paul & Mary

Shibaten Spirits

Note to self and friends:

I have a limited backup (due to physical size of the holding unit).  As I get programs back up and running on my beloved Toshiba I am restoring the files from my backup in incremental sessions.

I've also researched online cloud storage, and found one that will suit my needs, albeit expensive.  I hope to avail myself of it next month.

Yes, I checked out the free online cloud storage, and 2GB of storage is a drop in the bucket.  What I have been able to restore so far is in excess of 68GB -- and for what I normally keep onhand -- that too, is a drop in the bucket.

No, I'm not back on Twitter or FB yet.  That is important to me, however, getting my computer set up to function without snargling needs to be taken care of first.

See y'all soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

#PromotingWellness -- A Series of Outcomes: RYF 8/13/11

Thanks to the Promoting Wellness Conference, one of the bits of paper that made it into my hands was about the 7th Annual Rainbow Youth Festival.

I'm having difficulty accessing the web given on the handout, but here's info easily findable on the web you can share with folks.

Saturday, August 13, 2011
LGBTQ Youth and Allies Ages 14-24

The Facebook Event page for it:

Also check in with LifeWorks on FB and their website

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#PromotingWellness -- A Series of Outcomes: Steve Lopez

"Come hear from a journalist who has presented lived experiences and stories of homelessness from LA's Skid Row through his book The Soloist and the LA Times article series From Skid Row."

This is what was printed on the agenda for the Keynote Speech.

I've been looking at my notes from the conference.  All 15 pages of them.  I was flabbergasted to find that I only had 3/4's of a page of notes on Steve Lopez's talk.

I'm flabbergasted because I was heavily impressed with Mr. Lopez's sharing.  I expected to have pages and pages of notes on what he said.

If you're involved with music you know the feeling of "being in the groove".  Others will speak of "being in the flow".  Athletes "get their game on".  In yoga, t'ai chi chu'an, chi kung and meditation there are phrases people use for the experiential sense they come across.

Your sense of passion is kindled.  You "feel" the "entirety".

It's that sense of magick.

That's what happened for me listening to Steve Lopez.

Marketers try to create this sensation in people, because it's what makes people "buy-in".

To understand what was so impressive about Steve Lopez's dialogue you needed to be present for the nonverbal communication.  It's not what you say, it's how you say it, so to speak. Only about 7% of our communication is words, the other 93 to 94% is nonverbal.  Mr. Lopez is brilliantly coherent in both his verbal and nonverbal communication.

When the verbal and nonverbal communication are saying the same thing and you feel they are genuine -- you are in the presence of power.  Those are opportune moments to safely learn and transform/accept yourself.

Such was the gift of Mr. Lopez's sharing.

Everyone got something different from what Mr. Lopez said.  This is what his sharing enabled me to find language to express (these tell more about me than they do about Mr. Lopez -- one of the gifts of a talented presenter is to let you find out what's important to you, by sharing what's important to them):

Keep your eyes and ears open.
How do you root for someone?
Are you a safe human connection?
Are you a friend or are you just trying to fix someone?
Assess the situation. 
You need patience.
If you keep at it you can make a difference.
We wring our hands -- as if we're surprised that something happened.
Are you taking someone back to a place where it's difficult for them to be?
It's always an adventure.
You spin the wheel of life -- who knows what you're going to get?
Does someone inspire you?

I found myself wishing Mr. Steve Lopez was my friend.  I found myself inspired.

Mr. Lopez's keynote speech let me recognize what I want to be as a friend.

Conversely, it let me be aware that I have the right to establish what friendship from others is for me.  A life-altering concept because the adults in my childhood life pounded into me the belief I had no right to expectations and needs -- I was there to take care of them.

This may not have been the exact thing Mr. Lopez wanted a person to take away from his keynote.

But, who knows what you're going to get?

If you have the opportunity to see/hear Steve Lopez speak ... take it in a heartbeat.

Here's how to follow Mr. Lopez on Twitter:

Here's how to read some of Mr. Lopez's journalistic articles:
Steve Lopez

And here is his Facebook page you can "Like"
Steve Lopez Facebook

What would happen if you rooted for someone?

Friday, August 5, 2011

#PromotingWellness -- A Series of Outcomes: SOAR

One of the outstanding informational segments of the conference is awareness of SOAR.  A program that should be on the lips of ANY service provider in any field.

Another Breakout session I missed while attending others was entitled "Expediting SSI/SSDI Applications".  The CD provided by the conference facilitators again proves it's worth many times over!

*Note to my partner in debriefing: There are two excellent PowerPoints regarding SOAR (Expediting SSI/SSDI Applications) and (SOAR Implementation in a Transitional Housing Setting), I have to share with you.  Also a fistful of printed information.  Along with the business card of a Senior Project Associate with SOAR, she is a part of the TA Center and SOAR State Team Lead Contacts, whom I had the luck to meet briefly during the Outreach Breakout session.  But I can't find any of them online, so again, it will need to be on a flash drive I bring to our next meeting.

For now, I am hellbent on bringing awareness of the SOAR website to everyone's attention.

SOAR: SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery for people who are homeless

SOAR Outcomes 2010 -- look at the average days to decision.

In accordance with the precedent I've set in sharing this information about the conference, a bit more of my story now:

I'm an SSDI recipient.

Had the SSDI come through in a reasonable amount of time, I could have averted being homeless entirely in this episode.

My process began in April 2010.  It could have begun in February 2010 if the agencies and individuals I was approaching had intimate knowledge of SOAR.  I knew I was going to be homeless starting in August of 2010.

I say "reasonable".  What's reasonable to one person is often off-the scale for another.

When I was homeless, I had an ersatz virtual case-worker -- this was the person I trusted-in and counted-on the most.  The people I was involved with in-person were less than forthcoming with me, either through strictures placed on them at their workplaces or through the limitations of their own experience and knowledge portals.

My virtual case-worker (never officially designated my caseworker by any agency, but this person spent countless hours of blood, sweat and tears as a catalyst  for paths out of my situation) expressed honest verbal surprise when I did actually receive my SSDI, December of 2010.  The process had been less than a year from my application to my notification of award, yet long enough that I was homeless and unable to find safe low-income housing when it did come through.  It was through that person's honest response to me that I was able to deal with many of the shaded answers I was receiving from others.

Anyone in the field apparently is aware that from application to award *standard* waits have been anywhere from 2 to 7 years (or longer) with numerous battles after initial rejection for SSDI.

If you look at the outcome rates SOAR is documenting (evidence-based) you'll see that response times have been as low as 39 days, and average out to around 90-ish days.  THIS IS AMAZING! And it needs to be talked about, shared and disseminated.

SOAR is a fully viable, exciting, and successful means to keep people from languishing in shelters and on the streets because the only income they may be receiving is the $210 a month from GR and $200 in food stamps if they are lucky.

You want to bring a ray of hope to the eyes of someone?  Learn about SOAR, keep it on the tip of your tongue, and above all, learn how to use the processes they are putting forth -- because the processes can be used in any number of fields.  Collaboration, Communication, Champions.

All SOAR TA Center services are available on a limited basis at no cost to states or communities participating in SOAR.  For more information, e-mail

I don't understand why so many of the people in the field of help care are not willing to state what is real rather than couching responses and replies in shaded terms that ultimately wind up having no meaning.  It destroys the trust relationship between themselves and their clients.  I can only guess that it may represent some form of defensive posture -- due to the litigious bent of our society.  It could also be burnout, unrealized prejudice or any number of things.

The worst thing a help care worker can do is set the stage for destruction of trust in the relationship with themselves and their clients by shading answers.

It doesn't make the relationship effective to fog the situation (from either side, provider or consumer) -- People Know When We Believe In Them.

SSI/SSDI is a life saving factor.

What if instead of making our processes complicated and difficult to navigate we made them simple and efficacious?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

#PromotingWellness -- A Series of Outcomes : Trauma

Breakouts I missed (by attending other sessions scheduled at the same time) were "Trauma and Its Impacts" and "Facilitating Recovery through Trauma-Informed Practices and Trauma-Specific Interventions" sessions.

There are a series of  handouts copyrighted by Cathy Cave and Niki Miller from Services in Supportive Housing TA Center.

Because I cannot find a version of the slideshows already on the internet, I am not posting them here.

To my cohort (the one I'm debriefing with, she knows who she is ::grin::) -- DM me, I am currently checking Twitter about every 24 hours, and fortunately, through the CD given to all attendees I am able to look at their written material, which I feel important to pass onto you..  I consider the PowerPoints invaluable.

To everyone else reading this post, I am recommending you peruse the following informational material online currently available at HRC:

Avoiding Re-Traumatization and Fostering Recovery Among People Experiencing Homelessness

HRC's Homelessness and Traumatic Stress Training Package

Finding Your ACE Score

If you read on, know that the rest of this post is an expression of my story, not the work presented by any of those above.

"You should have known!"
"You should have said something."

Ever hear these phrases?

Imagine that you hear at least one of them.

How do you feel when you hear it?  What body parts do you notice a response to the phrase in?

My immediate mental knee-jerk reaction when I hear those phrases is:  "Exactly how am I supposed to have known? Exactly what should I have said?"  My immediate physical reactions vary widely.

The phrases are some I hear in the present, not only from well-intentioned people with whom I have established levels of trust (my trust of them) but also from people who are acting on their own agenda and are doing what I call 'shifting blame'.  I also heard the phrases ad infinitum in my past.

The phrases trigger (whether I want them to or not) intense feelings that can perhaps be understood if I express them with the new language I've been learning at the conference.
  • The phrases trigger intense feelings about being:
    • unseen and unheard -- silenced,
    • trapped, 
    • powerless,
    • unprotected and vulnerable,
    • threatened,
    • set up with no privacy boundaries,
    • blamed and shamed,
    • thrust into crazy-makingness,
    • betrayed, and 
    • isolated.

My personal belief is that no one escapes being faced with trauma.  My belief also extends to this: Some people have been around others who were skilled/talented in illustrating how to deal with trauma, and have learned adequate or superlative coping skills.  Some of us have not.  This is true not only of "consumers" but of providers.

Of course, the main reason I feel it's important is because it affects me.  And, being aware of the many things my comrades on the streets and in shelters have shared verbally with me -- trauma and re-traumatization is a common story.

Familiar with ACE? My ACE score is 7.  Why is that important and what does it mean?

It is important because as each of us finds our voice -- our words and language -- our expression grows.  And having words from the information surrounding ACE -- to share what's going on in me with others -- gives me a chance of being heard and perhaps understood.  Which gives my peers that same chance as well.

It means I am in a position to help bring awareness to this provocative information that can transform worldviews and bring about the end of homelessness (along with other social ills).

Personally it reaffirms my choice of advocacy.

So when someone uses a phrase that triggers me, I am offered a chance to grow, express and transform.  It's always possible to turn a circumstance into a constructive growth process.

Healing from trauma, like healing from a physical injury, is a natural human process. ~Mollica 2006

#PromotingWellness - A Series of Outcomes: Self-Care

I had the opportunity to attend a conference August 1 and 2, 2011 in downtown Los Angeles.

Promoting Wellness: An Integrated Approach to Homeless Service Delivery

I highly recommend it to you when it comes to your neighborhood.

Don't let the title fool you.  The conference was about many things. And the best means I have of *delivering* what I learned to my community is through this blog, because I can easily share this blog through my social media outlets.

My previous post on non-compliance was sparked by this conference.  I had no words to express what I was feeling in regard to the fact that many of us -- "consumers" of help care services --  are labeled non-compliant until I attended the sessions at #PromotingWellness.

It was especially poignant that in one of the role-play dialogues, the first day of the conference, I was shouted down at my table for being non-compliant.

That table experience lead me to the very same feelings I've had when dealing with service providers during the two years leading to my homelessness and the 8 months of my being " a person experiencing homelessness."  During that time so many service providers handed me dictums and I bravely (or foolhardily as I was told on occasion) started saying "No, that is not something I can live with."

First and foremost I have learned a bit of language at this conference.  My goal with that is to express (more clearly for others) things in my consciousness I've been carrying around, with language others can understand.

If you know me well, you know that I am often frustrated by the fact that I see and observe things and yet cannot find adequate means to communicate it to others.  Others look at me and respond in a variety of ways some of which include,
  • "Huh?"
  • " ::blank stare:: "
  • "I didn't get that"
  • "Would you repeat that using different words?"
  • "  ::wandering off muttering, 'Chick is crazy'::   "
  • "Dog-gone it Rd, I cannot understand  your code!" (I personally love this one because it comes from someone I value highly)

Having the tool of language that others use on an hourly basis is a means of increasing my feelings of self-efficacy.  A valuable outcome of any conference.  Extremely valuable as some service providers give it to their clients, for instance, PATHAchieve Glendale has an EMDR therapist who shares the value of giving language during #WellnessWednesday Stress Management and Parent/Family Groups each week.

This hour's post is on one of the very important concepts carried throughout the Promoting Wellness conference:  Self Care.

While it is aimed directly at those in the high-burnout field of Help Care Delivery, it is valuable to each and every person.  Because at the very crux of things, we are all the same:  human species; with feelings, goals, desires; and the need to be nourished.

As a trainer, I am impressed with not only the information but the fact that it was incorporated into the conference setting as a main stage event several times during the day under the title "A Taste of Self Care."

Katherine Volk was the presenter.  I'm impressed with her.  Especially since she was presenting some of the same techniques that I have been looking forward to presenting to my own peers.

As well, I'm totally on-board with her comment of "take the information from the disk we've included in your packet and share it.  Print it, e-mail it, pass it out to your friends and co-workers".

I've taken her literally.  Please be aware the link material is Copyrighted (2008) by The National Center on Family Homelessness

That said, here's information on Self Care:

What About You? A workbook for those who work with others.

What if you gave yourself some time to read the information and experiment with it?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What's in a label?


What are you aware of as you envision non-compliance?

What do you feel when you label something or someone as non-compliant?

If you say no to something are you non-compliant?

If someone says no to you are they non-compliant?

Are you a help care or service provider?

If someone says no to the help/service you want to provide, is that someone non-compliant?

What effect does your label of non-compliance have on the person you are labeling -- even if you do not say the label to their face?

Are you trying to persuade me to change?
Are you assuming you know what's best for me?
Are you criticizing, shaming, or blaming me to invoke change?
Are you labeling me?

Are you surprised I'm not changing?

Am I non-compliant?

May I offer you some hospitality? Would you consider exploring another viewpoint with me?

People Know When We Believe In Them

A Taste of Motivational Interviewing

How would life be different if we all had safe places to explore conflict and difficult realities?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thoughts on Help - omg'dss it's long and rambling!

My therapist said to me two days ago, “You don’t accept help” or “You have difficulty accepting help.” Or did she say, “You have difficulty asking for help.”?

I’m thrilled to say we have a difference of opinion ‘cuz it can be traumatic to confront an authority figure. I get 100 points on the courageous-acts-scoring for daring to disagree! And, my therapist will figuratively pat me on the back for acknowledging my disagreement in two weeks when next I see her.

I definitely want help.

However, what you think is help may not represent help to me at all.

It is critical when you “help” that you and the “helpee” are resolving the same perceived crisis.

One person’s definition of help is another person’s definition of trouble, danger or abuse.

If I were a business person considering an opportunity, you’d expect me to analyze and decide whether it is of value to me.

As a consumer, it is my right to say, “this product meets/does not meet my needs”.

I am:
  • previously homeless;
  • currently housed only because a group is paying a third of my bills (I call that “me-accepting-help” on a monthly basis by-the-way);
  • not in the best of health;
  • coping with a lower than anticipated income due to unexpected circumstances still being dealt with; and
  • unable to meet my survival needs.
I am still a business person and a consumer, with the same rights when I assess *help* that is being offered to me.

Yes, I want help.  (I don't suppose you know anyone willing to come in daily and help me dry scrub Borax into the carpet and then vacuum it up in the evening for another two weeks, so I can finish dealing with my allergy to flea bites?  It's wearing me down. And I don't even have any animals in residence.)

  • The fact that I am starving is a symptom. When it happens repeatedly it becomes a pattern.
  • Resolving for the symptom does not solve the challenge.
  • Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results does not solve the challenge.

    Someone handed me some some spinach to eat as I left to catch the bus Wednesday.  It was important to that person to tide me over for that moment. Yes, I’m grateful. Yes, I needed it. Yes, I accepted it.  Yes, I munched it down.

    Yes, that solves the immediate symptom, however, the symptom is going to crop up again, and again, and again, and again and …. many agains.

    Does it change your brainstorming suggestions if I say, ”I’m depressed ‘cuz I perceive no change available to the pattern of me starving for a number of days each month”?

    Oh, the D-word. That changes things entirely, eh? Say the word depression and two things struggle to come out of people’s mouths:
    Are you going to hurt yourself or anyone else?
    Why don’t you take a pill prescribed by a doctor to stop the depression?
    Talking about depression in public is on a par with talking about death. It’s a social taboo.

    By-the-way, no, I’m not suicidal, no I will not take prescribed (or non-prescribed) pills or alcohol to mask depression. And I have a brilliant therapist, so I’m *safe*.

    However, even copping to having depression is yet another way to be stigmatized by narrow-minded people.

    Just like the word “homeless” brings about stigmatization.

    It’s also a social taboo to turn down an offer of assistance. If you handed me a loaf of bread, a package of sliced cheese, a package of hot dogs; a carton of milk, and a couple of oranges – you’d most likely feel you gave me healthy food and resolved my immediate dilemma.

    Two points:
    1. If I ate your offering I’d wind up unable to think (wheat, red meat & sugar); congested (dairy, wheat &; salt); blood pressure skyrocketing (salt); with mouth sores (orange); and with a headache and sticky, congested inner ears (processed foods & chemicals used on non-organic foods).
    2. Your offering does not help me alter the fact that starving is only going to happen again when my body signals it’s hungry as I have no means of obtaining healthy food for half the month.
    Yet, if I turn down your offering there’s a 90% chance you’ll look askance at me with an internal musing of “she just turned down help, she doesn’t want help”.

    Seldom am I asked, “What have you explored to resolve this issue?”

    Most often, I’m told, “Well, have you done this?, what about ________?, have you tried ________?”

    I am an intelligent, articulate person, used to solving problems. Yes, if I have a problem it’s not usually something I’ve just whipped up in my imagination. Chances are I have already found out about (or implemented) the first- and second- round of brainstormed resolutions.

    That said, there are some things I have to tell you "Treat me as if I were a Kindergartner while you are explaining this."  Trust me, if I say that phrase to you, I mean it.  I generally know when I'm not understanding something.

    The fact that issuance of my SSDI check on the third of August is caught up by a bunch of people who cannot agree on what is and isn’t important on a national scale is something I don’t have the energy to focus on. I'm too tired from Boraxing my rugs daily to give much thought as to what will happen if I don't get my scheduled SSDI payment on Wednesday.

    Constant hopelessness wears you down in any situation in life.

    It’s one thing to ask for help, it’s another to have to ask for it continuously.

    I am not the only person this is true for.

    Listen to those who are homeless.  Listen to the 99ers.  Listen to the elderly indigent.  Listen to the youth indigent.  Listen to those with low-income.  Listen to the middle-class who are becoming low-income.  Listen to the upper middle-class who are becoming middle-class.  Listen to the upper class who are afraid of losing their way of life.

    Listen to anyone. Actually listen to them. Put your work, your next meeting, your next telephone call, your next social media interaction, your next entertainment moment on hold for 15 minutes. Just be with someone and encourage them to talk. Listen.

    I hear my friends and associates saying to me, “talk to us” and “why don’t you ask me for help?”

    What would you have me ask you for and how often would you have me ask it?

    Money every month?  Food every month?  Rides and helping me schlep stuff for my advocate and personal endeavors at various and sundry hours, particularly at night when the buses to my local area dry up and the one-mile walk from the nearest stop becomes very dangerous?

    If this particular lack of food was a one-time thing I could ask for a couple bags of groceries to get me through the next few days; or $200 to get me through the next 30-days foodwise.

    It’s not a one-time thing. It’s been 4 months and will continue for I don’t know how long.

    What kind of help do I need? I need to finish dealing with the impossible things I learned as a child and have carried into adulthood. I do that through an excellent Wellness Program at a shelter. The therapist who facilitates these programs is worth her weight in gold (or fresh food, depending on what you value most).

    I know some of you are persistent about “what can I do to help?” So for you, I'm putting up a list of what I physiologically need at the bottom of this post. (The food I need EVERY month, the items are one time deals.) If you read something that you feel attuned with, then you can connect with me about it.

    That's the most effective way I can think of to let people know, otherwise I'm constantly talking and dwelling on it.  I've got to say, I'd much rather be putting my focus on finding ways to smile because the frowning is changing the structure of my face, and except for my severe periodontal disease and poor eyesight, I pretty much like my face.

    What do I expect from anyone?  And what do I expect to be able to give to people?

    I love that you care. I love that you are aware. I love that you make time. I love that you listen to me. I love that you let me listen to you. I love that you spend your energy and time to express and interact with me. I love that I am on your radar.

    I love that you consider whether or not to take the time to write out your thoughts on this diatribe and post said thoughts in the comments section.

    Remember this – I’m housed.
    I’m not sleeping on the streets and in danger of skanky people traversing those self-same streets.
    I’m not directly confronted by the cold and heat of each day without any protection from it.
    I can go to the bathroom when I feel like it as long as I have something to wipe myself with. TMI?
    I can take a shower or a bath when I feel like it.
    If I don't have any clean clothes because I cannot afford the quarters for the laundry machine, I can wash an outfit by hand the day before.
    I have a place to be where no one else can come in unless I open the door.

    In comparison to a huge portion of the global population, I am well off.

    And I am grateful for being in the position I am in.  Even if it's miserable.  It's another opportunity,

    :) Here, have a smile, I have some hidden away for times like these.  It's always good to have a stash of smiles.

    The list for those of you who want to know what I need:

    • Raw shelled Sunflower Seeds, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pine nuts
    • Dried: Organic Adzuki Beans, Large Lima Beans; garbonzo beans/chick peas
    • Dried, textured soy protein
    • Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta (Gluten Free)
    • Ancient Quinoa Harvest Supergrain Pasta (Gluten Free)
    • Gluten Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
    • Yellow Corn Grits/meal (for making polenta – not the denatured white grits)
    • Chia seeds
    • Dried goji berries
    • Cold pressed extra-virgin kalamata olive oil
    • Fresh uncut pineapple
    • Fresh organic:
    • Apples, key limes, bananas, celery hearts, red onions, green onions, blueberries, whole unpitted dates, grapes, papaya, peaches, plums, raspberries, carrots, cranberries, figs, watermelon, avocadoes, cucumber, tomatoes; potatoes; yams; parsnips
    • (No oranges, lemons, mangoes, strawberries, cantaloupe)


    • Periodontal Care (I estimate six-figures easily, since every tooth in my head has to be pulled and replaced so I can breath without flinching, eat without wincing and chew regular celery stalks for their texture rather than having to food process it so I have a chance of digesting what I ingest.)
    • Chiropractic and massage therapy for my disabled arm/leg issue.

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    What is #EmPowerConnect?

    ::grin:: I'm not getting asked often enough "What is EmPower Connect?"

    And what the heck has it got to do with Thumbs Up for Homeless People you may be asking.

    If you're not asking ::chortle:: I'm asking for you!

    EmPower Connect is a joint effort between and Project Peer Return Support Network to bring computer and mobile connectivity to those most in need: homeless friends who are not yet housed.

    Launched September 2010, WeAreVisible has grown into one of the many phenomenal communities available for homeless, and homeless service providers to reach out and touch someone.

    The Facebook and Twitter online communities of WeAreVisible are eloquently managed and facilitated by @CareyFuller, currently a homeless mom.  She does this work as a volunteer, while writing professionally, taking care of her family and seeking enough income to procure a home and childcare.

    Of course, there is Mark Horvath, road-warrior (@hardlynormal) bringing the stories of all the homeless he comes across to life on

    Project Return Peer Support Network is Los Angeles County's oldest program run by and for people with mental illness.  Their motto is "taking charge together."

    They are also a truly awesome 501(c)(3) organization that wrote a grant to provide me (as an outreach/training/expression volunteer with WeAreVisible) with two laptops and mifi to be able to reach my comrades in the street and not be tangled up trying to get to facilities where computers are available to the low-income, poverty-living, and homeless.

    We work diligently to provide training and support, and have had phenomenal success with the people we've touched so far.

    PATHAchieve Glendale has been instrumental in many of the success stories springing from EmPower Connect.

    Currently a couple residing at the shelter are learning the basics of computer use:

    They've spent time learning how to get the computer to do what they want it to; how to research online;  where to go when they have questions and how to access their data. provided the flashdrives to keep their precious data files on, as well!

    Icing on the cake? -- As the EmPower Connect volunteer on-site at PATHAchieve, I've had the opportunity to assist in setting up the couple's resumes in Word, and the hugs I've received in return are absolutely, without a doubt, among some of the best in the world.  (Consider that a great thing, because I have the benefit of having learned the fine art of hugging by receiving them from masters like @JeffPulver at the #140conference!)

    The opportunity now to brainstorm on expanding the project to a non-crisis toll free peer support network component, reaching out to recently housed within their first 6 months thrills me.

    I believe the recidivism rates of homelessness can be transformed and dramatically lowered with active outreach to provide access to social community.

    I was only homeless for 7 months recently -- that's an exceedingly short time to be homeless; many of my compatriots have been without housing for years, even decades.

    It's not just as simple as putting a person in a house and expecting that to resolve the issue so you can move onto housing the next person/family.

    Even with as little time as I spent during this episode of homelessness, it's difficult to adjust to being housed.  When you are housed, you lose your community.  For example, I am well out of the area where I had friends among the homeless community.  I am isolate.

    Now, I'm the kind of person that adjusts well to being isolate. And even for me it hasn't been easy.  I write, tweet, and FaceBook post to keep in touch with people.

    To be part of a community.

    Having access to social media tools is integral for my social/mental health.

    I am not unlike anyone else in this respect. Everyone needs community, I believe lack of validating, acknowledging community to be a reason for gangs, dysfunctional relationships, and many other disasterous bondings in the human social realm.

    It wasn't until I spent time with a brilliant EMDR therapist recognizing memories I've buried very deeply, that I became aware I have been homeless many times in the past.  It simply wasn't labeled as homelessness, because I wasn't an addict, prostitute, obviously mentally challenged, or otherwise socially unpresentable.

    My homelessness cycle originally spawned at the tender age of 17 1/2 when I ran away from home to prevent myself from committing suicide. At that time homelessness for me was called "being a runaway".

    Over the years, in cycles of months to years, I've lived on the streets and on other people's couches at least 8 times (other than August 5, 2010 thru February 2, 2011).  It was called "inbetween jobs, inbetween house/animal sitting gigs, and inbetween relationships."

    Having support and encouragement to assist with acclimation to being housed and the facilitation to gain new or reinforce existing community is critical not only to ending homelessness, but to preventing it for the many who face homeless now.

    Transforming, ending and preventing homelessness is something all of us at We Are Visible hold dear to our hearts.

    Thumbs Up For Homeless People is a way you can recycle your unused thumb drives to transform someone else's life.

    It's a little thing and it goes a long way.

    You don't have to train anyone to be an EmPower Connector -- you are one now. You're online and you have the ability to acknowledge and validate others.

    And if I haven't been clear, by all means, ask me,

    "Hey Rd, what is EmPower Connect?"

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    #MakeADifference #changeYourMentality #changeYourWorld - Use Social Media

    graphic copyright JaguarWoman licensed use
    Any crisis is a turning point. It is a moment where instability can be turned into balance. It is a moment where transition can be effected and views can be affected.

    Community is where you and I learn about relationships and how to be human.

    Listening is the one skill at everyone's beck and call that truly empowers in any situation.

    Homelessness is a crisis.  Twitter is a community. #140conf is a place where listening and participating can rock your world.

    My point?

    Social media is responsible for the fact that I am no longer homeless.

    That bears re-typing: I am NO longer homeless, and it is because of social media.

    Less than a year ago, I would not have joined Twitter for love nor money.

    I perceived it as a place where people talked about burping, farting and generally shared drivel I could not bring myself to be interested in.

    I joined Twitter kicking and screaming because another then-homeless colleague (whom I met through this blog, which I started in desperation) told me, "You need to go to Twitter, there are people there who can guide you."

    The things you'll try when all hope seems to fail.

    Yet -- here I am.


    Safely ensconced in a human community I never could have found without social media.  (Thank you Shelene Bryan and

    Touting the benefits of (and training my comrades on the streets in the use of) social media. (Thank you @WeAreVisible and

    Let me be more specific --> Twitter led me to @hardlynormal, who led me to #140confLA 2010, which re-opened my belief in humanity.

    I, NOW, am housed because an organization saw me speak (via the internet) at the 2010 #140confLA.

    I, NOW, am in a community of brilliant people:  thinkers, do-ers, inventive, creative, and great teachers.

    When Jeff Pulver uses the phrase "explore the *State of NOW*" it has a poignant and very personally significant meaning to me.

    I look forward to returning the favor to #140conf in the future.

    Rock your world ... give yourself the gift of changing your life on June 15 and 16 in NYC.

    I was homeless THEN.

    I was communityless THEN.

    I am housed and part of a great community in the state of ...

    graphic copyright JaguarWoman licensed use

    Thursday, June 2, 2011

    Thank you

    I feel stunned.  Wait, let me rephrase that ... I feel illuminated.

    Thank you.

    People have contributed to me getting the blood pressure unit -- and I've have had a moment of being speechless.

    If you know me ... me being speechless in a public situation is something that happens rarely.

    A friend of mine uses the phrase "wrecked" when something engages him beyond the pale emotionally.  I use the phrase "illuminated."

    Each of us has a phrase to use.

    I encourage you to not only find yours, but to use it whenever you get the chance.

    I was illuminated when I went into ER a week ago Tuesday for presenting symptoms that could have been a heart attack or stroke.

    I was illuminated when my EKG read nearly perfect, and my blood work did not bear out a coronary event at that moment.

    I was illuminated when I recognized how high my blood pressure is skyrocketing and that I not only know techniques to reduce it, but that if I had a measuring device I could constantly track how those techniques are working.  This in turn would let me share with people valuable techniques they might want to explore in their lifestyles.

    I was illuminated because a handful of people took the time and effort to be aware of me and that is something that has value beyond any coinage and any material object.

    Awareness is a form of nourishment.

    The human species -- like every other entity on earth, needs to be nourished.

    Individually and in community.

    Thank you for nourishing me.

    I am very grateful.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    Thank yous, and panhandling.

    All right then.

    A very special thanks is due to the folks who assisted me with "morale" support and kept their mouths closed for me whilst I dealt with the issues and stress of going into ER.  You are all well and truly loved.

    If you didn't know about my most recent ER visit, it's not because I don't love you.  It's because I needed as little stress as possible and even connecting with four people was problematic for me.

    Now -- I need to ask all my friends to pass this onto anyone with a few bucks.  I must return to tracking my blood pressure daily.  Funds are not available to replace the blood pressure monitor that was "lost" during my homelessness.

    And more visits to ER are not going to help, however, being able to keep track of my blood pressure during the day and night is going to allow me to track what I'm doing that's working and what is not working in bringing it to a manageable level.

    Therefore I need to panhandle to get the device.

    This is a direct request for money, if you want to assist me to gather the funds necessary for my desired OMRON Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Series 7, please go here to put money directly into my PayPal account.

    If you don't want to, that's absolutely okay!

    My thanks to all, and the next blog post will be a bit more lengthy and on a different subject.

    May your day be as bright as mine is, and here's a smile to go with it!  :)

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    But you don't look ....

    What don't I look?

    Sick?  Homeless?  Previously Homeless?  Hungry?   Tired?  Old?  Young?   Healthy?  Rich?   Poor?   Helpless?    Hardy?    Mad?    In Pain?   Anxious?    Depressed?    Impressed?    Fatigued?    Perfect?     Imperfect?

    Or is it something else "I don't look ..." ?

    Question.  Challenge. Think for yourself.

    My job is to challenge things.

    It's all our jobs.

    It's a part of life.

    Some of us challenge things that are more obvious than others.

    In a sense we are all Hamlet.

    "To be, or not to be."

    Are you roused to be who you are or do you evade yourself?

    In the dark and light that is my mind, I hear Yoda "... do or do not. There is no try."

    I depart from the First quarto, and move straight to our modern day version of the discourse;

    "Whether 'tis nobler in mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them."

    Is it true spirit to use negative coping strategies as a familiar and reliable way to protect oneself from all the stuff life has to throw at you?

    Can you be shocked from your unthinking acceptance of what you have been taught?  Is it a virtue to sit back and leave it to whatever Heaven you imagine to settle things?

    Or is it true spirit to take action, to the best of your ability -- to move from insistence, empathy, passion and heart ...

    ... to challenge

    "To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub"

    Do you sleep? (Live by what others say, unexamined?  unchallenged?)

    Perchance to dream (Accepting others terms, unquestioned, the pablum that is fed to the masses to keep them under control -- manipulated?)

    Can the Heaven you subscribe to have created humans as thinking creatures and yet have issued an edict of "Oh wait, don't use those minds of yours"?

    Aye, that is an obstacle, isn't it?

    To be or not to be, my friends.  That IS the question.

    And how you answer it affects your life twenty-fold.

    Don't look at things the way I do.

    Get out there and question.
    • Question what you see.
    • Question what you hear.
    • Question what you smell.
    • Question what you feel.
    • Question what you sense.


    Find answers that resonate within the core of your being.

    You make a difference.

    Never believe otherwise.  And by all means, question what I just said.

    I believe.  I question. Previously, I spent 55 years thinking I didn't make a difference -- it's what I was taught.  I acquiesced -- it was a matter of survival.

    I am now 56 and 1/2 years alive.

    And I don't look like a lot of things.

    Do you know who I am?

    More importantly do you know who you are?

    We have all suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.

    I challenge you ...

    Do or do not.  What is it "to be"?

    Your age does not stop you, your health does not stop you, your poverty or wealth does not stop you.

    You affect everyone in your life.  Whether that's one person (yourself) or myriad (your friends or enemies) -- YOU AFFECT everyone in your life.

    No matter how you look, no matter what your personal life has for slings and arrows.

    I cannot in good conscience close this blogpost without giving you some information to question and research.

    I have spoken in generalities above, because I see the patterns in many things.

    However, there are numerous of us that deal with what are called "invisible illnesses" during our days and nights, and that I can give you concrete information on.

    The list below is specific to people wanting to know more about invisible illnesses. 

    It is NOT comprehensive, nor all-inclusive.  It IS a start to help you ASK QUESTIONS.

    Personally, I run into a few folks now and again who don't understand why I need to rest so much, sometimes for hours, sometimes for a few days.  I don't know either, I have no concrete diagnoses for anything.  I've been told my fatigue is mental.  With those folks I like to share The Spoon Theory, even though I do not have lupus -- because I resonate with what Christine says, and if I choose to dedicate time to you, know that you are one of my spoons.

    The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino