2017 Continues: Everything is Free

I still do recess, guys!  It's just I don't always document it - nor do I practice it so "religiously" anymore.

Instead, I can say that for the past 10 years, practicing recess has helped me to learn to be more spontaneous ,organically, and to allow more play into my life at all times.

Work and play don't have to be separate and you don't have to feel guilty for taking 30 minutes out of the day to do something that makes you feel joy.  

My goal here is not to deliver some perfectly polished performance.  My goal is to have fun, to share and to inspire.  

I'd like to do more of that here - more often - so feel free to join me.  :)

Here's tonight's "recess" - practicing a cover of "Everything is Free" by Gillian Welch.




The shortest woman in the congregation approached me after services.  Her shock of blonde hair knotted on top of her head was the only indication she was making a move through the crowd.  Bounding over chairs as the rest of the large congregation waited patiently to file out of the auditorium, she made a beeline directly towards me.  I was waiting patiently for my row to file out when she approached with her blonde topknot and wide smile to make her introduction.  “I hope you’re open to things like this,” she said.  “I am being given a message from your angels.  Would you like to hear what they have to say?”  Proudly being a new-agey Californian, I replied curiously, “Of course.”

“Well, I just feel like you’re supposed to be up on that podium,” she said.  “Your have a story to tell and we’re supposed to hear it.  You’ve been gifted with an experience that will help to heal people.  It will help so many.  I don’t know exactly what your story is, but I just feel like you’re supposed to tell it.  Does that make any sense to you?”  I couldn’t speak, but my subconscious was nodding furiously.  “Yes, ma’am.  That does make sense.  Thank you for telling me.” 

With that, she gave me a hug and stepped away.  The congregation had dispersed, but I stood there for a moment with the realization of what had just happened hanging heavily overhead.  I knew exactly the story that I was supposed to tell, but it was not something I felt others would be receptive to hearing.  Perplexed, I exited the auditorium and made my way towards my car.  I wondered to myself, “God, is that you?  Do you seriously do things like that now?”  My mother would tell me to beware of false prophets, but I had to wonder, “Of all the people at the 11am service – why did that sweet woman pick me?”  

And, so, with that - a tiny seed was planted. This nudge I needed from the universe to get back to writing and sharing on this little blog of mine was squarely delivered months ago, but I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

I certainly have been gifted with a diverse set of experiences and a deep longing to share those stories in a search for meaning.  If they'll help to heal others the way this sweet, little blonde messenger said, then: Amen.

With the fresh calendar page of January 2017 quickly filling up, much has been on my heart and mind.  I want to know that I'm living a life with purpose and meaning packed in between all of the flurry of activities. I've been searching my heart and my mind for what that purpose could be for years now.  Could it really be as simple as sharing my stories?

I drove myself to the beach tonight just in time for sunset.  I sat looking out at the cotton candy colored clouds as they melted into the horizon and I thought - you can do this, Hillary.  You can try to share, again.  

You see, sharing your personal stories can be scary.  It opens you to a vulnerability that is akin to nakedness - and if that nakedness leads to rejection, then you'd better have a pretty thick skin or some broad / sloped shoulders so you can brush it off.  

I can't claim to have either of those - but, what I do have is a heart that longs for connection.  And, if experience has told me anything - you aren't going to find that connection or that meaning in isolation.

So, here's to sharing our stories and opening ourselves to new connections, healing transformations and miraculous discoveries.  


Weekend Warrior

I used to pity "Weekend Warriors".  Because I worked from home and had a group of friends who were active every day of the week.  I never thought I'd be one of "them".  I always thought that I'd just intrinsically get outside into the sun and have recess regardless of where I was or who I was with.

I was wrong.

Since moving to LA six months ago, I haven't been surfing, yet - unless you count the internet.  I go to work and come home exhausted after 6pm.  I don't have a group of friends waiting at the boat dock for me to hop on-board and I don't have any buddies going to catch a set before or after work (at least, not yet).  

So, it's no wonder I've been feeling so blue.  I only average about 4 hours of sunlight a week, now.  

I got up Saturday morning and I cried.  I cried for all the friends and the memories we've made to this point.  I cried because I didn't have anyone here to meet up with or go play with - not even on the weekends.  I cried because I fear that part of my life has passed - and I don't want it to be that way.

Then, I put on my big girl panties - (okay, I really put on my bikini) and I went to the beach with my dog, Jack.  We walked the boardwalk - we got some sun - we even made friends with a homeless man named Puck.  Jack and I sat and talked with Puck for over an hour.  And, Puck said to me, "You look at that Ocean like it's a long lost lover....why?"  And, I told him the truth.  I told him how I used to surf and wakeboard and how I haven't been in the ocean for over 6 months.  And, once again - I was crying.  

He said, "Well, that's an easy fix...get out there!"

He's right.

Just because I don't have people calling me - doesn't mean I have to put my life on hold and wait for when they do.  I can do things to make myself happy - right now.

When I started this web-site - it was to encourage everyone to take at least 30 minutes a day to have "recess" - and at the time that was a really simple thing for me to do.

Now, I'm married and moved to a new town - and well....I probably don't have to tell you that before last Saturday - I don't know when the last time was that I had recess.

So, here I am : looking at the life I am currently living and I'm finding it lacking.

What it is lacking is my own attention to fun, laughter and JOY.  So, I'm writing this as a confessional - to admit that I haven't been taking care of me - and to share with you that I no longer want to live this "weekend warrior" lifestyle.  It may mean that I have to sacrifice some sleep.  It may mean that I have to do it alone, again - but, the truth is - I need to re-claim some fun for myself.

I need an extended recess - and I need to remember to observe it daily.

So, here's to putting yourself out there. 

Here's to setting goals and to making time for yourself.  

Feel free to hold me accountable. 


Tired of being Sad

I'm sad.  Often.

I suppose you could say that I have lived my entire life with a broken heart.

And, that has handicapped me.

It has cost me relationships.

It has cost me happiness.

It continues to oppress me.

The best I seem to be able to do is have "days".

Days where I don't cry.

Days where I go outside to see the sun.

Days where I try to get past the ache in my heart.

But, it's always waiting for me.

And, I seem to always default back to the pain.

I'm tired of being tired.

I'm sad that I'm always so sad.

I need a friend.

I need love.

I need affection.

But, you can't be a bundle of needs with nothing left to give.

That'll cause people to run.

And, so I hide it.  My pain.  My sadness.  My ache.

And, I own it.

It becomes me.

And, I must's a contstant.

It never lets me down.  

It just robs me of everything else.


From Out the Cave

From Out the Cave
by Joyce Sutphen

When you have been
at war with yourself
for so many years that
you have forgotten why,
when you have been driving
for hours and only
gradually begin to realize
that you have lost the way,
when you have cut
hastily into the fabric,
when you have signed
papers in distraction,
when it has been centuries
since you watched the sun set
or the rain fall, and the clouds,
drifting overhead, pass as flat
as anything on a postcard;
when, in the midst of these
everyday nightmares, you
understand that you could
wake up,
you could turn
and go back
to the last thing you
remember doing
with your whole heart:
that passionate kiss,
the brilliant drop of love
rolling along the tongue of a green leaf,
then you wake,
you stumble from your cave,
blinking in the sun,
naming every shadow
as it slips.