Miscellaneous Oddities & Schtuff I Dig

A bit of this, that, and the other.

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 Most Beautifully Messy Movie List of All Time

movie listA while back, on a whim, I decided to ask the beautiful messes inside on Facebook to share with me what their favorite beautiful mess inside movies were.  Almost 600 comments later, the mother of lists was being compiled!  I present it to you below. Enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you. What movies do you think should be on this list?  Please leave me a comment below with additions and/or your thoughts about the list.

~the mess

Gold Medal
Steel Magnolias

Silver Medal
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Notebook
Girl, Interrupted

Bronze Medals
Pretty Woman
Hope Floats
Silver Linings Play Book
Love Actually
Eat Pray Love
Bridget Jones
Out of Africa
Shawshank Redemption, The
Under the Tuscan Sun
You’ve Got Mail
Sleepless in Seattle
Somewhere in Time
Terms of Endearment
What Dreams May Come

Honor Roll
As Good As It Gets

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
City of Angels
Imitation of Life
Meet Joe Black
P.S. I love you
Practical Magic
Les Miserables
A Walk To Remember
Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind
Family Stone, The
Forrest Gump
Gone With the Wind
Secret Life of Bees, The
28 days
50 First Dates
A Beautiful Mind
Color Purple, The
Divine Secrets of The Ya Ya Sisterhood
Green Mile, The
Holiday, The
How to lose a guy in 10 days
Mama Mia
Notting Hill
Pay It Forward
Pretty in Pink
Pride & Prejudice
Sense & Sensibility
What the bleep do we know?
An Affair to Remember
Baby boom
Big Chill, The
Blind Side, The
Devil wears Prada
Four Weddings & a Funeral
Girl with The Dragon Tattoo
Help, The
On Golden Pond
Sweet November
While You Were Sleeping
West Side Story
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Honorable Mentions (2 Votes)
10 Things I Hate About You

A Good Year
A Walk in the Clouds
About a Boy
American Beauty
An Officer and a Gentleman
Apollo 13
August Rush
Because I Said So
Bed of Roses
Benny and Joon
Billy Elliott
Birds, The
Boys On the Side
Bridges of Madison County
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Dan in Real Life
Dark Knight, The
Dear John
Despicable Me
DIrty Dancing
Donnie Darko
Driving Miss Daisy
Ever After
Facing the Giants
Fight Club
Finding Nemo
First Wives Club
Good Will Hunting
Goodbye Girl, The
Guess who’s coming to Dinner
Harold and Maude
He’s just not that into you
Hours, The
How to Make An American Quilt
I am Sam
In Her Shoes
Into the Wild
Jerry McGuire
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Just Married
Lake House, The
Legends of the Fall
Life of David Gale, The
Lion King, The
Little Women
Love and Basketball
Love Story
Mad Love
Made in heaven
Maid in Manhattan
Memoirs of a Geisha
Million Dollar Baby
Mr Holland’s Opus
My Best Friend’s Wedding
My Cousin Vinny
My Girl
My sisters keeper
Natural born killers
Officer and a Gentleman
One Day
One fine day
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
Ordinary People
Original sin
Pan’s labyrinth
Perfect Storm
Princess Bride, The
Proposal, The
Pursuit of Happyness, The
Raising Arizona.
Red Violin, The
Riding in Cars With Boys
Robin Hood
Rosemary’s Baby
Safe Haven
Saving Grace
Second Hand Lions
Shall We Dance
Something’s Gotta Give
Sweeney Todd
Sweet Home Alabama
The Breakast Club
The Princess Bride
The Secret Garden
The Ugly Truth
The Vow
The Way We Were
The Wizard of Oz
Thelma and Louise
Thomas Crown Affair (Pierce Brosnan)
Time Traveler’s Wife
To Kill A Mockingbird
Top Gun
Toy Story
True Romance
Truly Madly Deeply
Urban Cowboy
When Harry Met Sally
Wuthering Heights





Valentine’s Day Ode to My Darling Dopamine

Let’s Get Dopey

(Caveat:  beware of posts that come with caveats.  I don’t usually post scientific stuff because: a) I am not a scientist, b) it’s boring, and c) generally, who cares.  With that said, understanding the basics of dopamine helped me clean up some of my messes.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to get dopey.)

When I was 7, a non-animated version of Cinderella with Leslie Ann Warren was released. I dreamed of being her. I dreamed of finding him. I knew that when I did everything would be right in my world 4-ever.  Rodgers and Hammerstein provided the music.

Do I love you because you’re beautiful
Or are you beautiful because I love you?

Am I making believe I see in you a girl too lovely to be really true?

Do I want you because you’re wonderful
Or are you wonderul because I want you?

Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s dream
Or are you really as beautiful as you seem?


Am I making believe I see in you a man too perfect to be really true?
Do I want you because you’re wonderful, or
are you wonderful because I want you?


Are you the sweet invention of a lover’s
dream or are you really as wonderful as you seem?
Do I love you because you are wonderful or are you wonderful because I love you?

Who knew that Cindy and her Prince were right to question what was happening to them?  Little did they know they were under the influence of dope, a.k.a dopamine. (Yes heroin’s nickname “dope” comes from the neurotransmitter dopamine.)

You know how mice like cheese?  How cats dig cat nip?  How dogs drool for treats?  Well that’s how we humans are about dopamine. We love how it makes us feel (and it makes us feel love.)  We must have it (literally.)  We’ll do damn near anything to keep it coming once we’ve found a good supply of it. It’s our reward chemical. It’s the chemical that makes falling in love feel so damn good.

When you are highly attracted to someone and you feel yourself “falling” in love your brain is falling into a big ol’ pool of dopamine. It’s not optional. It’s not your fault.  It just happens.  It is the reason why taking it slowly and not making life altering decisions during the early days of romance are good ideas (and yet so hard.)

Ever wonder why you keep going back to the wrong person even though you know better?  Yep… dopamine.  Your body is gonna seek it and if Mr/Ms Wrong causes your brain to produce dopamine you are headed there whether you like it or not.

Ever heard (or thought) the dreaded “I love you, BUT I’m not in love with you?”  What this really means is “I love you, but you no longer cause my brain to make mass quantities of dopamine so I’m looking elsewhere.”

I wish I had understood about the power of the dopamine when I was younger. Little did I know when an unwanted breakup came my way I needed to find other sources of dopamine.  It wouldn’t have fixed my broken heart, but it would have helped me get back on track.

When I was in the throes of doing stupid things like calling and begging to get back together or coincidentally showing up at the places where I might run into him, I was jonesing not only for him, but for the way he made me feel… for the dopamine I was producing thanks to him.

When you “stalk” someone you love after a breakup, you are really just like a rat seeking cheese, hunting around in cyberspace for your dopamine fix.  Strangely, even seeing his picture on her Facebook page during their weekend at The Cape (which makes you feel like shit) can still spike your dopamine levels for a moment.


“Stalk” on Facebook  ——> Find Stuff (the Rat finding Cheese) = More Dopamine

Result of Seeing the Pictures or Comments ——> Heartbreaking Sobs ——> Now You Want Him More = Rat Wants More Cheese ——> Send Him Texts (or message him, or try to chat with him, or do all of the above) ——> Dopamine Spikes While You Wait For a Reply——> No Reply ——> You Crash ——>  You “Stalk” Him More (cycle repeats.)


 He Replies ——> You Get Your Fix ——> You Want More ——> You “Stalk” Him More (cycle repeats.)


Things that can increase your dopamine supply include (please note, this is *not* a list of recommendations – just information):

  • Caffeine
  • Dairy Products (hellooooo ice cream)
  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Orgasms
  • Pornography
  • Gambling
  • Risk Taking
  • Stalking him or her on Facebook, etc.
  • Sexting
  • Sugar
  • Avocados
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Wellbutrin
  • Massage
  • Brisk Exercise

Whether you are suffering from infatuation with the wrong person or the heartbreak of a failed relationship, you’ve got to find another source for your dopamine. Do not look up your old high school boyfriend or girlfriend!  Eat a damn pumpkin seed.   Take a brisk walk. Jump out of an airplane (with a parachute,) or even head to Starbucks. You get the picture. You’ve got to find a different source. It would be best if it didn’t come from another human being until you’ve actually grieved the loss of your prince or princess.

When new love does find you, surrendering to the love coma can work if you have a few lifeguards in place. Don’t get married, move in together, merge money, or make a baby (the 4-M’s) during the first 6 or more months of a new relationship and you’ll be much better prepared to find out whether or not you are really compatible with each other.  It’s always nice to know there really is long-term relationship potential before you are up to your neck in long-term commitments.

I don’t want to turn this post into a science fair project. I’m not going to get more nerdy on you.  If you want a dopamine geek fest check out this article.

All this is to say, if you are having trouble getting over a relationship or are flirting with the idea of starting something you know you shouldn’t, there’s more at work than weak will, bad decisions, or even soul mating.

More Articles in the geek zone…

Listen to Helen Fisher (the guru of  love chemicals) speak on the topic – this is a MUST!

The Brain in Love and Lust

How Love Works

Love in the Brain


About My Journey


Today’s post comes in the form of an unsolicited “love letter.”  It was posted as a Facebook status from one of the women who did the August 2012 Journey from Habit to Intention.

It moved me and brought some fresh air into my day (a day that needed all the fresh air it could get.)  After I picked myself up off the floor, I asked her if I could share her words with you. She graciously said yes.

Immediately one of the voices in my head wondered “isn’t that a bit shameless of you?  After all she says some pretty awesome things about A Beautiful Mess Inside and the e-class.  Shouldn’t I be a bit more humble and retiring? Shouldn’t I just quietly thank her and leave it at that? ”

And then another voice countered,  “Hell no!”

Shameless seems to be my style.  I certainly have my humble moments where I am full of awe and wonder for this amazing universe, but I am rarely quiet.  If I was quiet, I wouldn’t be sharing my inner world so publicly.

There is something freeing about owning one’s own mess so openly (and finding the beauty in it).  I’m less interested in what you think OF me and more interested in what you think. period. full-stop. end of sentence.

Regardless of whether or not you are curious about doing The Journey from Habit to Intention, these are powerful words.  They resonated with me.  I suspect they will speak loudly to you too.



~the mess

pink lyrics

These are some pretty powerful lyrics. So many people listen to them, and don’t really absorb them. Your mental chatter is essential to your health. Most of us, even the most emotionally healthy of us, suffer with negative mental chatter. About ourselves, about others.

How many of you look in the mirror and think that you are perfect? I never have the thought of perfection. I am constantly disappointed with my skin, my weight, my nose, my hair, my stomach…How many of you finish a project and think it is flawless? When I finish a painting or a paper for school, even though it may be acceptable or even great by society’s standards.

I can EASILY pick my work apart, feeling like I could have done something different or worked harder… How many parents think they are fabulous and could not possibly be any better? For sure not me!!! Although I may have a moment when I think I am a cool mom, it usually flies right out the window! And I have the uncanny ability to use their most beautiful moment to beat myself up. When they are asleep, and they are so precious and perfect….I realize what an asshole I have been and start thinking about what I need to do to be a better mom.

Here’s the deal, if anyone in this world has made monumental mistakes, it is ME. If anyone has ever self-hated out of guilty for not being the mom they knew they would be, it is ME. If anyone has ever felt like a failure, over and over and over because they let their children down, it is ME. If anyone has ever dealt with an addiction and didn’t know how they could ever crawl out of the deep dark place it put them, it is ME. If anyone has ever searched for self-worth from anyone that showed them attention, it is ME. ………AND YOU KNOW WHAT???? I AM OK. And YOU will be too.

But you must change your inner voice. You have to quiet the mental chatter that is holding you down. You must see perfection in yourself. We ALL have flaws, and God knows there will always be someone else to point them out…but finding true beauty and worth in your reflection is possible…and only then will you embrace your imperfections…

When I was at my lowest point, I couldn’t even see my own reflection because I was trying to find it in everyone else’s eyes. But I was also hiding my reality from the people who loved me the most.

When I was finally honest with MYSELF, I could share my truth. And that was a pretty daunting thing to think about. But I did it. Not on my own. I found A Beautiful Mess Inside, and stumbled across an e-course that was coming up, called The Journey from Habit to Intention…and began a personal awakening that helped me make my life changes…starting an internal healing process that eventually became an external force.

Did changing my mental chatter fix all my insecurities? No. I still have to literally tell my mind to shut the F*&% up…a lot. But that one change has made differences in my life that I never imagined…..and now I am an arrow. I had to be pulled back in order to be launched into the air in the direction of my hopes and dreams…..

So, if you are feeling discouraged…or like a huge failure….or ugly….just try this one thing….

Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead!

Jessica 11 March 2013

Other bits about the Journey from Habit to Intention.

comfort zone



You Gotta See to “Get It”

IMG_7653Now that the 2014 Calendar and Workbook are in house and being shipped I’m breathing a sigh of relief and appreciating, not only their beauty but their functionality. It wasn’t until I could lay my own hands them and go through them page by page that I actually fell in big love with what I created. That’s the challenge of creating media digitally to be sent to a printer. It is the difference between looking at an ultrasound of a baby and actually holding the baby in your arms.

I decided to create a video so you can get a better idea about what the baby really looks like. But I suspect, if you are like me, you’ll need to hold it in your own hands and flip through the pages to fully get the vibe of the calendar and its companion workbook.  Since I can’t beam you a copy, I can and am offering you a money back guarantee.

Buy The Calendar & Companion Workbook Now

One of the downsides of being any sort of artist is that we tend to be filled with self-doubt, criticism, and perfectionism.  Frankly, I’m shocked that I adore the finished product as much as I do. It’s so damned engaging, but better yet it will make you think. I believe it has the power to help you gain insight into yourself and why you think the way you do.

For me it was a big Wow Wee of a process.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into and that’s actually a good thing.  Had I know, I’d have said,  “Ooppps ain’t got no time for birthing no calendars Miss Moon!”

Sometimes we are better off not knowing and just doing.

I learned how to do every step of this process from start to finish on my own.  Shooting the photos, getting the resolution and sizing right, finding a printer(s), creating print ready PDFs, approving proofs, learning about printing bleeds, saddle stitching, setting up shopping carts, shipping from home, international shipping rates, printing postage, and even filling out custom forms online.  I can’t believe what all I’ve figured out how to do since August.  Just me and Mr. Google.

Let me just say, had I not been practicing what I preach about BREATHING, I’d have never made it through the process. There were quite a few meltdowns along the way and stopping for breathing breaks (see the month of February) is what kept me going!  In other words, just another day in the life of a beautiful mess inside.

I was about to abandon ship in the middle of September.  Little did I know I wasn’t even one-quarter of the way through all the steps.  Good thing I didn’t know. But now that I do know I can actually PLAN realistically for next year (like start in January – NOT August.)

Sometimes (read as often) we get more than we bargain for, but if we start where we are, breathe, and be gentle with ourselves we are capable of more than we ever expected! 

You can safely order the calendar and or workbook book and go through them page by page at home. If you aren’t thrilled with them, I will refund your money (minus the shipping) no questions asked. We’re shipping the calendar and workbook within 24 hours of your order M-F. If you are ordering outside the US email me and I will let you know how much shipping costs will be as soon as possible.   You’ll find more information about the Monthly Simulcasts I am creating for the Companion Workbook in 2014 when you click one the the Buy Now links below.  I also talk about them in the video.

Wondering why a calendar comes with a workbook & and year of monthly simulcasts?

I tend to have lots more questions than answers.  I find that in being willing to ask the hard questions and speak the difficult words, I can live life more openly and honestly.  And that’s what this workbook is all about.

The Workbook is designed to get you thinking.  It asks questions.  There are no right or wrong answers.  While I do hope you enjoy my photography, what I really want for you to experience with this workbook is a journey into the beautiful mess inside YOU. The simulcasts are designed to help you get perspective and assimilate what you are processing in the workbook.

At the end of 2014, I’d love for you to know you better.

 Buy The Calendar & Companion Workbook Now


 Registration is NOW open!! The Next Journey from Habit to Intention with Gayle starts Monday October 13.