Category: My Mid-life Smackdown

Scenes from My Full-Frontal Midlife Smack Down

Happiness after loss?

resilient you are

Yes You Can

I was asked to be a part of a very cool free event and what’s even more amazing is I said yes! I’m pretty picky about what I say “yes” to when it comes to being interviewed for A Beautiful Mess Inside. If I don’t get a clear “hell yes” in my gut when I investigate the organization I bow out. I also abhor things that come with hidden strings or affiliate marketing.

So when Lois McCullough, approached me about being on the panel for The Art of Happiness After Loss Summit, I needed to see if we had the serendipitous connection so necessary of me.  She’s passionate about finding joy again after loss. It’s a personal mission for her. She lost her husband, to cancer, 6 years ago and was left with two young sons to raise. She says about life…

“We’re here for a good time, not a long time. Make that time count!”

We beautiful messes inside have had losses in our lives that left us wondering how we were ever going to experience happiness again. You know life can joyful and fun again, but you have no idea how to find those things for yourself anymore.

Those of you familiar with my story know that my father died suddenly when I was 14 years old. His early death shaped my life and no doubt contributed to my passion about learning to embrace both the beauty and messes in our lives.

The Summit finished up in August.  I’m pleased with how the interview turned out.  I hope you find something meaningful in there for just for you.




The Nastier Side of Nostalgia

Dealing with Messy Nostalgia

What am I doing this weekend? Preparing to announce the dates for the next Journey from Habit to Intention and clearing the clutter of the multitude of old photographs I’ve amassed.

The first task is pretty simple. Maybe a little time consuming, but I know how to launch my eClass.

The second task? The thoughts of clearing photographic clutter causes me to shudder, shake, and sweat. So I’m doing research to help me find the strength I need to make beauty out of the mess I have amassed.

I thought you might appreciate this article. It’s written from the heart and experience… just like I like ’em.


Millburn says:

That’s when I realized that my retention efforts were futile. I could hold on to her memories without her stuff, just as she had always remembered me and my childhood and all our memories without ever accessing those sealed boxes under her bed. She didn’t need papers from twenty-five years ago to remember me, just as I didn’t need a storage locker filled with her stuff to remember her.

I can’t tell you how much “stuff” I’m hanging onto, when in reality the memories are with in my heart and mind.  I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s.  So you might argue “But, Gayle, what if your memory goes?”  The sad truth is if my memory goes the mementos and pictures will become junk.  They only hold meaning in my memory.  No memory – no nostalgia.

I feel sad thinking about all of this, but I also feel freedom lurking on the outskirts. I am pissed off too.  I am NOT a woman of clutter.  It is not been part of my identity.  It was, however,  part of my mother’s identity.  The problem is I am no longer functioning like who I am.  I am surrounded by clutter. The clutter of my own doing is, in part, because I lived to be 56 years old and I’ve loved well.  I’ve amassed a lot of memories.

I was 16 when my mother was 56.  Maybe she didn’t start out as a woman of clutter either.  Maybe her ability to love well caused her to amass stuff in the name of love.  This weekend I’m going to begin stopping in the name of love.  I have a plan.  I have a starting place.  I don’t know how it will end up. But I know how I will begin and that’s all I need to know.  The rest I’ll figure out along the way.

Any tips you can share with me, will be greatly appreciated. Remember what I always say  “In sharing our feelings and experiences for others to see, we find strength and connection.  Freedom comes from knowing we aren’t alone.”

I’ll keep you posted, so to speak.  More soon.




pieces of the past

Slipcovers For My Heart?

The Story of the Nightstand

I came upstairs a bit early (for me) tonight.  I wanted some time to write.  I was getting things situated on the night stand and moved the box for my night guard (yes, I’m a teeth clencher.)  Shorty had already devoured one of them and I promised myself to be vigilant in protecting the new one.

And there was the mess.  I’m clueless how the water got there, but there was a pool of it underneath the case.

“Shit” I thought.  My eyes glanced over the entire surface.  I was looking for more water but what I noticed were the imperfections, nicks, and mars in the surface of the nightstand.

Was all the time I spent putting several protective layers of polyurethane on the wood years ago was for naught? The dings were there.  I wondered why I had even bothered trying to protect a piece of furniture that was going to be so heavily used.

Some people distress furniture on purpose, but I don’t really think the scratches on my nightstand make it more beautiful, nor do I think they add character.  It’s distressed because it gets a lot of traffic – not for the sake of art.  Carelessness?  Practicality?  I don’t know…  but it’s well-worn… just like my heart.

Protection has its place, but even the layer of carefully applied polyurethane didn’t prevent all the damage. The watermark is almost gone now. By morning there will be no evidence. And so it is with my heart. Some of the damage will be evident for the rest of my life. Other mishaps are inconvenient and irritating, but they leave no permanent injury.

I used to think I was the fool when my heart got hurt.  I blamed myself for not knowing better. Hell I still “go there,” but ultimately I get over the self-recrimination.  I do know better now. My heart is going to show signs of wear of tear, it’s going to get hurt, but not all of the mishaps will leave a permanent mark.  I think you can protect something to the point where it becomes unusable (case-in-point those god awful plastic furniture slip covers of the 1950’s.)

I have a heart (and a night stand); I’m going to use it.  When I’m gone from this planet, it won’t be sold in mint-condition on eBay.  It won’t end up in a museum as a  masterpiece.  But… it will have left something behind for others. to remember. and that is enough.

-seriously… they were awful (and painful)-



Beware The Rear View Mirror


Today I’m low on words and that’s just alright with me.  I wrote this a few weeks ago, when I had lots of words in my head.

I adore it when I discover my beautiful-self wrote something that my messy-self would need to read on June 19, 2014.

How cool is that? 😉

It might even mean I’m here for myself even I don’t realize it!

xo, Gayle


Just keep moving forward. life is better played with a HEART FULL OF YES. Even when you are crushed by the weight of gravity there is a YES somewhere inside you. Search for it. Your pain only seems bigger than you. Let it fuel you to push FORWARD. There is nothing back there you can change. The rear view mirror is for lane changes. Change lanes when necessary, but keep your eyes on the road ahead.


Wicked Awesome Quotes: Life

not the say it's supposed to be
I’m taking a deep breath and nodding as I read this one.  I know this with all my head.  My heart is still lagging behind.  Yes.  A part of me still wants life to be the way I think it’s supposed to be.

50 something years on the planet and I’m still learning how to let go gracefully.  Mostly I hang on like a bird firmly attached to her perch.

It’s exhausting…


~the mess

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