Something New

Hiya! It’s been quite some time since I wrote here so we all know what that means… STORYTIME!

Once upon a time (i.e., 18 months ago), people began asking me if I could teach them to do what I do – intuitive readings & coaching. My general reply was something like “Uh…okay…maybe…hmmm…” My hemming & hawing stemmed from my long ago declaration that I’d do readings, but stop teaching so I could live a “normal life”.


Just try to let go of your truth once it discovers you. That thing will track you down like a pack of teenagers in search of left-over pizza.

IMG_0838So despite whatever it was I thought “normal” was, thinking transpired.
Which turned into scheming.
That evolved into a class.
And then another.
And another.

I was hooked. And because I now had two coaching certifications and lots of inner gnashing of teeth under my belt, I developed a new approach.

As I taught these courses, I watched how students reconnected with their intuitive abilities and noted a couple of things:

1. The more they rediscovered and listened to their own guidance – their own unique intuitive “hits” – the more their lives changed into something authentic and organic. They began taking action from their inner inspiration and creating their lives anew.

2. As confidence in their intuitive abilities grew, so did their communication with their own clients. Students began integrating the techniques with their work, developing stronger focus, clarity, and direction. Often, they discovered their niche.


And then the name “Intuitive Arts Studio” popped into my head like a brilliant light from beyond [insert ethereal music here].

Or… I scribbled stuff all over everything until I drove my family insane and the name resonated with me.

It’s your guess.

I love the word “studio” because a studio provides space to creatively explore. You try things out in a studio. You experiment, screw up, get scared and irritated and passionate. Chaos sets in. Wild stuff happens. Then nothing…maddenly…nothing. Yet, as you stick with it you make a discovery. And eventually…amazingly… something meaningful is created.

The process of learning about your intuition is no different than any other creative process. People need a place to experiment with this stuff, to get reacquainted with their unique intuitive magic. And then they need to remember that they are that magic.

My new website is Intuitive Arts Studio (created by the terrific Florence Moyer of Pecks Beach Design). If you are interested in remaining current with my business musings and offerings, there is a sign-up over there called “Non-Telepathic Communiqué” – an occasional newsletter.

Along with classes, I’ll continue to offer private sessions for intuitive reading and coaching, teaching and mentoring. Info on this can be found on this page: Services.

Rarely Balanced will now become more of a personal and creative blog with no direct focus or timing (so run while you still can).

Blatant plug for the next beginning course which starts on April 22nd   – “So, You Want to Read an Aura…”  The class teaches how to reconnect with your own intuitive abilities by learning to read energy vibration in yourself and other folks. Presently, the classes are designed for people-oriented practitioners such as life coaches, massage therapist, energy workers, etc., and even for those who work with our four-legged, feathered, and sometimes scaly friends. It’s a safe, gentle environment that focuses on self-awareness and practice – a key factor because experience speaks much, much louder than words. Especially YOUR experience.

Thanks for reading and listening. I’ll leave you with this:

May your  intuition joyfully find you as you live Happily Ever After!

The En…trance to something new.

© 2014 Beverly Belling


Distraction: Friend or Foe

“Ok, listen, this one’s REALLY funny.”

My 8th grader is making his breakfast while reciting, nearly word-for-word, an episode from one of his favorite shows and laughing hysterically. I can barely understand him.

I nod and smile and make approving noises but I miss even the intelligible words. I know, bad mommy moment… but it’s 7:46 AM which means I have 14 minutes to make his lunch, shower, do something really important I can’t remember, and gather my stuff because today is my out-of-the-home-office writing day – no excuses – no diversions – and unless someone is bleeding out, “Focus” is my middle name. Period.

Adding to the angst is “The Tardy Letter” we received last week. One more tardy and we BOTH end up in the principal’s office! Neither of us understands how this happened, unless it’s that lingering case of I-forgot-something-itis.

We sprint out of the house, scramble into the car, and catapult ourselves through the drop-off lane just before the gates close. At least we didn’t screech to a halt… much. Students are already crowded at classroom doors, pushing each other and causing last-minute mayhem. My son races off, rolling backpack trailing wildly behind.

I wait for it.

Just before rounding the corner, he looks back to give me a “thumbs up” paired with a maniacal smile. I love this kid!

As the gate closes behind me (yes, I’m the last car), I drive off to Peet’s Coffee where I find the place teaming with conversationalists. Today the din is perfect for writing: the tone is balanced and includes a touch of intensity topped off with joyful over-notes.

I luck into the last seat at the writing bar – a long, high counter perfect for laptoppers – and realize the climb onto the bar-stool chair isn’t as awkward as usual (i.e., no one is injured). My feet dangle like a kid’s as I ponder this important point: Why don’t these chairs swivel?

barstool chair

Seriously. Picture a writer all frozen and tense, caught in a moment of writer’s block, when suddenly (and without warning) she pushes off into a wild swivel ? It could totally break apart that inertia, if you ask me.

After a time, I notice there are four of us huddled over computers: two are furiously writing, one stares out the window with the gleam of inspiration in his eye, and one is catching snippets of other people’s conversations because she is in a state of inertia and sitting atop a non-swiveling bar-stool chair.

Well…. why don’t we just pause for a Peet’s Moment, shall we?

The guy behind me is changing his address and calling various places via mobile phone. I hear the following:

  • his new location (Big Bear City)
  • his first, middle, and last names
  • social security number, passwords, codes
  • the sale of his first born child

I don’t make a mental note to forget his info because I’ve already forgotten his first name – but let’s call him Bob. What my memory does latch onto, however, is that Bob will be living in a place with the word “bear” in it’s title. How exotic… and a tad unsettling – especially if you believe in the Law of Attraction (i.e., what you feel/think is what you attract to you).

My vicarious fears aside, I notice Bob has been on hold with his auto insurance company for quite some time now (I SO need a swivel chair). When he finally gets someone on the line, Bob does the unthinkable: He asks them to hold.


Then, get this, he sets the phone down and blows his nose.

My ears grow wide with awe and wonder!

What a bold guy that Bob is. I would have let my nose drip to distraction before taking a huge risk like that. But, then, that’s why Bob is moving to Big Bear City and I am not. He obviously has a whole new take on this Law of Attraction thing.

Well, enough of that. Back to my non-swiveling state of… hmmm…. uh, gee, I’m sorry, but I need to put you on for just a moment…

[insert your favorite “in-the-cue music” here]

Okay, thanks for waiting. Just added some non-whining content to my journal, wrote out an idea for a class I’m teaching, and even created a semi-balanced work/life plan for the day which includes “quality listening” to one middle school student.

Odd time for inspiration – I thought distraction was an evil byproduct of inertia when, actually, it seemed to help. Of course, I’m still holding out for a swiveling bar-stool chair. Perhaps they make folding ones for easy transport…. I’ll ask Bob.

Natural Motivation for Exercising

I just happened upon an amazing early-morning exercise routine. It’s absolutely all-natural, includes breathing method(s), and results can be seen even just once-a-week activity. Follow instructions to the letter:

A. In half-awake drowsy state while still in bed, listen to morning sounds (i.e., birdsong, squirrel chatter, distant trash trucks).

B. Roll over to get comfy. Take lovely deep breath. Set intention to relax back into slumber.

C. Sit bolt upright because “someone” forgot to take trash bins out to curb last night with holiday approaching.

D. Gasp loudly. Pause to consider ramifications if bins were not curbside today.

E. Panic. Fling back covers, grab sweater, shove feet into garden shoes, run out back door. Forget gloves.

F. Shudder at cold blast of air on teeth.  Check bodice for complete coverage. Run to bins.

G. Stop and stare. Sigh loudly. Forget which trash truck comes first. Swear.

H. Spring to action. Lunge for smallest bin. Roll onto patio. Run over own foot so bin falls down. Yank to standing. Clean up trash mess. Run bin out to street. Place at curb.

I. Check for trash trucks. See nothing. Hear truck noises “somewhere”. Run back to remaining bins while swearing under breath.

J. Choose big, heavy yard waste bin filled with oak leaves. Wrestle onto patio. Groan loudly. Try to brush spider webs from arms. Get all heeby-geebie-ish. Pick up stick to remove said webs from handle. Check for spider….twice. Run bin out to curb.

K. Marvel at one’s adrenalin. Search street for trucks. Take deep breath of relief. Run back.

L. Grab recycling bin. Drag over patio to back door. Rush into house. Grab newspapers. Rush out of house. Dump in bin. Rush back into house. Grab more recycling. Rush out. Dump in bin. Rush in; rush out. Dump. Rush in; rush out. Dump. (Repeat as necessary.)

M. Feel endorphin response kick in. Feel empowered, blissful. Race effortlessly with recycling bin to curb. See no sign of trucks. Throw arms up in air. Run around front yard in triumph. Sing “Barney’s Clean Up Song” because nothing else comes to mind and moment deserves music.

N. Go back into house. Search for even more trash. Strike gold in son’s room. Run with armful to street. Dump in bin.

O. Wave to neighbor taking one, tidy trash bag to her bin as you pick up dropped trash bits. Be grateful pjs resemble sweats. Drop trash bits in bin.

P. Saunter into house as you brush last spider web from arm. Put kettle on. Hear first trash truck lurch by, sigh deeply, pat self on back.

Q. Make coffee, read paper you rescued from gutter, enjoy day.

© 2012 Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, All Rights Reserved
All photographs & drawings are original and © Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, unless otherwise noted.

Stuck? Not me…

I’ve been feeling a little uncertain the past few months… okay, a lot uncertain. When I finally understood that I was stuck, I became a bit surprised…in a panicky sort of way. How could I be stuck? After all, I’m a Creativity/Life Coach and an intuitive one at that. I’m not supposed to be stuck. I’m supposed to be immune to stuckness. I have many, many tools at my fingertips to unstick all sorts of stuff. In fact, I help OTHER people get unstuck which means I’m a Master at Self-UnStuckness! Right!?!

Apparently, no.

Apparently, I’m…uh…human…


And now for a little background info (hindsight-induced): Apparently, when I get stuck, I get so wrapped up in it I forget I’m stuck and think that everything is a mess. Everything! Then I do some wholehearted wallowing and a sense of immobility overcomes me which soon starts to feel kinda comfy, like I’m floating in a vat of mac & cheese. So, I end up hanging out in the vat for awhile (can you say “unconscious habit”?) and will stay nestled there not doing anything until I start to gain too much weight.

For example, this time I put on about five pounds of “nothing is working” plus eight pounds of “I have no more ideas” and a whopping ten pounds of “I don’t know what to do anymore.”

That’s a pretty cheesy 23 pounds!
(Ba dum, bum.)

Anyway I figured I needed to lose weight… and FAST!

But, of course, it didn’t occur to me at the time that I was simply stuck and could do with a closer look at my thought processes because… well… as I mentioned… “I don’t get stuck” (something to do with a slight perfectionist tendency maybe?). And since I didn’t realize i was stuck, I didn’t remember that this state is not permanent but more of a flow and can actually be helpful (more on this point in future posts).

So, as it happened, I got busy and changed the entire focus of my business…again.

Hmmmmm…. really?

Yup… ‘cause I thought that would solve the problem I thought I had.


Right, I didn’t have an actual problem. I just had a moment (or three) of uncertainty.

Apparently, there’s a difference.

The Good News: I did SOMETHING and creativity flowed.
The Bad News: I wound up even more stuck than ever because although I was reinventing stuff, it was off target.


What’s a mere human to do?

Along with Stuckness came the land of Non-Meditation (big surprise, eh?). So one morning this mere human took three deep breaths and asked her Inner Being (aka, Higher Power, Universe, God, Source, Mistress of Chocolate-Covered-Raisins) what the heck to do next. Up came the notion “Well, you COULD get out of resistance for just a moment, you know.”

Oh. That.

So I got busy with some in-depth personal discovery actions, found my way back into creative action, and landed back at Rarely Balanced where people are recognized as creative, intuitive, talented, and uniquely quirky – the surefire formula for a successful, fun-filled life.

Ta Daaaa!


For those of you interested in what I did to unstick myself this time, my steps are listed below. Your process may look different – tell me about it, if you like.

In-depth Actions:

– hired a coach (I self-coach myself daily, but another perspective is invaluable when an issue gets too sticky)
– focused directly on releasing resistance and any lingering “supposed to’s”
– reestablished my meditation practice
– focused on what I find enjoyable

Creative Actions:

– started writing down all my crazy ideas in one book (a Scanner tool from “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher). It’s oddly liberating.
– decided to learn a new instrument (it’s a surprise)
– reintroduced, in small bites, some easy creative things I love to do: (practiced piano, doodled, hung a picture, reorganized a few things, did some creative writing, planted a cactus

© 2012 Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, All Rights Reserved
All photographs & drawings are original and © Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, unless otherwise noted.

Ideal – Creating Mother’s Day 2012

It is early morning, but not too early. Our front porch  has been miraculously cleared of cobwebs, dirt, and those awfully prolific Brown Widow Spiders. I sit, holding a steaming mug of coffee in one hand and today’s newspaper in the other. The headlines read:

“Work Done by Parents & Caregivers No Longer Invisible – Currently the Highest Paid Jobs in the World.  Teachers Salaries a Close Second.”

And further down:

“New Discovery: Scientists have confirmed there is enough time, money, space, silence, food, creativity, and chocolate-covered raisins to go around.”

I take a sip of coffee while enjoying the usual morning sounds – birds chirping, squirrels scampering, weed-whackers whacking. Our screen door opens and out walks my only child with a tray of freshly baked cinnamon buns. Setting it on the porch ledge he…

… morphs into a baby – gurgling, laughing, and doing his funny singing thing. Just before he poops, he morphs again into a two-year-old and runs out back to eat the cat food.  Now, at four, we are butterflies who suddenly encounter a Big Wind, get blown willy-nilly through the house, and end up smashed against the back door. Six-years-old brings us to an all-nighter at Children’s Hospital for a broken wrist – he is happy, talkative, and brave. At nine, he plays the Star Wars’ theme at his piano recital; at ten, it’s Linus & Lucy. He opens his first business at age 12 – the Student Store – just before he morphs back to 13 and makes me laugh with his crazy antics and love of life.

My sweet husband brings out fruit and cheese, and the three of us discuss environmental concerns and technological discoveries. We also take turns reading the comics out loud.

During my shower, I have the bathroom to myself. There is no persistent knock on the door, no “excuse me” yelled through the shower curtain, no asking about today’s agenda. Dressing takes little time because no one desperately needs an emery board from the mirrored cabinet I’m using, meaning, mascara does not have to be scraped off my cheek. I also get to use the toilet.

My sister, sisters-in-law, and girl friends join me for brunch at an outdoor cafe where flowering peach trees line the garden and wild flowers set in Mason jars grace the tables. We share healthy foods, personal triumphs, and future dreams. Someone tosses out a question: What is it about caring for a spirit in a young body that fills your soul? At that moment, a small bird lands on the table looking for crumbs. We fall silent and watch as my sister feeds it part of a seeded muffin. The bird eats a bit, then grabs a larger chunk and flies off – perhaps to a nest? No one speaks and the question lingers unanswered. Soon, our conversation moves to exercise, education, and retaining – or gaining – one’s sanity during summer vacation.

Afternoon tea arrives with my mother, her mother, her mother’s mother, and a few more generations of Hungarians. At my Granny’s home, the table is beyond elegant – linen, silver, China, rose petals. Except for my mother, our attire consists of 1940’s era, Christian Dior-style skirted suits complete with gloves, hats, and dainty bags. My mom, however, is in Levi’s, sneakers, and a T-shirt. She carries a baseball in her front pocket. We discuss the many changes women have faced, the hardships and good times, the war that wiped out this family. Much to my surprise, a particularly hot topic is disposable diapers… for which they would have apparently given their eye teeth. Even so, it’s agreed that although new inventions are welcome, the amount of work remains the same. What makes it bearable is the village of women who understand, who have been where each of us has been. What makes it bearable is the love.

The evening meal approaches. I’m late and run to meet my dad’s mom as well as a few more of my Russian ancestor moms for drinks. We invade a fancy restaurant bar – scotch/rocks all around. Eventually, a hearty dinner is served complemented by an equally hearty cabernet. We prepare to close down the joint with cognac and a tray of gorgeous desserts. At this round table, no subject is sacred. We know who’s on a diet, who’s gallbladder was removed, who’s shacked up with whom, and who’s been insulted most recently (only I never know who it is because they speak in Yiddish).  On the whole, raucous laughter permeates the evening, the restaurant, and my heart. I feel the hardships they felt as mothers – losing children in childbirth or before – but  more so I feel their joy, their gratitude. In fact, I feel my gratitude.

It’s late now and I come home to my small family. My husband is asleep but my son peaks his head up from the covers … as usual. I give him a hug and kiss, smiling down at him from the generations of mothers that came before me. He smiles up at me from the generations of children yet to come.

“Mom,” he says. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, honey. What is it?”

“So….what’s on the agenda for tomorrow?”


© 2012 Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, All Rights Reserved
All photographs & drawings are original and © Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, unless otherwise noted.

Martian Mom

“The leads are all wrong, they have to be redone.”

“What? OMG! What the hell does that mean?”   My over-the-top reaction flies at my sister through the speaker phone. Nice! How did Instant Panic become my first response again? I’ve worked hard to maintain a refined demeanor in these situations – patient, contemplative, steadfast. Think Kathryn Hepburn in “The African Queen” as she calmly pours Mr. Allnut’s whiskey into the river. I attempt a few deep breaths…

My sister is speaking again, “The leads. You know, the wires for Mom’s Neurostimulator … they’re all in the wrong place. They could have slipped when she lost weight or just over time or maybe the first doctor screwed up. This new doctor says he NEVER would have put them in her head like this and wants to start all over. It’s surgical.”

“Okay, let me rinse off and call you right back.” My son, who’s been holding the speaker phone up to the shower curtain, asks if he should hang up now. For the last nine months, we’ve been in a near weekly crisis with my mom – even with her recent move to an assisted living facility – so he has standing instructions to bring the phone to me whenever my sister calls. He does his duty well.

“Sure, Sweetie, thanks. You can leave the phone here.” I’m slightly calmer, but only just.

“Okay doke,” he chirps, “no trouble at all.” He snickers a bit as he leaves the bathroom. He’ll ask me later about the Neurostim-thingy, about Grandma and how he can help. But right now I know he’s chuckling at my use of profanity because a middle-school mind knows cussing is wrong and, therefore, cool – right up there with nonchalant eyebrow-raising.

The idea of failing yet again at my role-model duties adds to my angst, but louder thoughts swarm my head, such as, ‘What the hell do we do now?’ I recall a recent conversation with Mom – the one that prompted this doctor visit:

Me:  Hi, Mom, how are you doing?

Mom:  Well, I’m okay except for the wire.

Me:  What wire? (thinking TV or lamp)

Mom:  Oh… there’s a wire sticking out of my head.

Me:  What? You’re kidding. Where?

Mom:  All the nurses here came to take a look. They can’t get over it. It’s the nuttiest thing.

Me, slightly strained voice:  Where is the wire, mom?

Mom:  It’s strange. Every time I turn my head to the right, a wire pops out the back of my head on the left (Uncle Martin from “My Favorite Martian” edges into mind and I smile even though I know this can’t be good).

Me: Okay, Mom. Let me make some calls. We’ll get this handled.

In an attempt to stop her severe head pain due to past brain surgeries, Mom recently underwent a very new procedure placing wires under her skin in the area of pain. A connecting wire runs down her back to a control panel thingy and then to a small battery pack just above her hip. Most visibly, one can see a U-loop of wire on her forehead – rather like a perky vein; the small battery pack is only visible because she is so thin right now. Simply stated, this device emits electrical impulses to circumvent nerve pain – rather astounding, actually. But while many people find benefit from it, Mom has never found this comfortable – not the idea, not the wires, and especially not the battery pack she feels when sitting or reclining… which is almost always.

What exacerbates the situation is her waffling, dementia-like cognitive state due (in part or in whole) to the fact she’s still detoxing off some highly addictive pain medications. When asked, Mom’s short answer is she wants the “contraption” out. Period. But how much does she understand what that means? There is still potential that it will curb her pain without medication. Plus, this is her only shot with it due to costs, insurance, etc.

Quite a delicate line we walk here – mom’s comfort, mom’s body, mom’s semi-mind vs a whole new century of therapies. How much do we push? When do we let go? Where is the dang manual? Disappointment looms in the many conversations between my sister, brother, and I. We can’t force her into some therapy just to appease our own desires. Ultimately, we must do our best to see the thread of her decision no matter how thin.

After another trip to the doctor and about 37 conversations with her – each – we believe Mom is cognitive enough to know what’s what. It’s clear she is done experimenting. Frankly, at 75 years old, who wants wires potentially popping out of their body at the turn of a head or the lift of an arm anyway? Kinda creepy even if you were a ‘Martian’ fan. We respect that. So, the contraption will be removed and we’ll locate those new and improved, non-addicting, pain-control drugs. I’ll even throw in some free meditation options with a touch of visualization… but only if Mom’s up for it – promise!

One day at a time is the standing motto.

One day at a time.

© 2012 Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, All Rights Reserved
All photographs & drawings are original and © Beverly Belling,
Rarely Balanced, unless otherwise noted.

Change is the New Normal, Mom…

Last week my sister, brother, and I placed our mom in an assisted living facility. We did our best to help her remain independent, but when she began confusing the TV remote control with the cordless phone and was found watching a movie put on by the wee folks living in the terrarium….well, that sort of made the decision for us.

Mom’s adventures of the mind may not entirely be a result of typical dementia issues. She is currently detoxing her body from 13 years of using heavy pain medication for severe headaches – a bonus left-over from 4 brain surgeries nearly 30 years ago, 2 of which saved her life. This particular drug can take about six months to release from her system and we are mid-way through Month Two. Although she wanders through some rather metaphorical dimensions, her travels are not as extensive as they once were. Generally, she can carry on conversations about our lives, such as, remembering I went to a reunion last weekend or that I have a tendency to undercook/overcook/burn dinner. When it comes to following instructions or understanding a new procedure, her mind takes a turn. Although her mother had dementia, the doctors aren’t entirely certain about what may come next given all the variables. Not a lot to do but hope for the best…. and pray a bunch.

My siblings and their families are amazing. They did the hero’s work of caring for mom in their homes – first my brother, then my sis. They watched her personality diminish as pain seeped in and overtook her joy. They watched her body decline from using the only bandage available which, by the way, offered little relief at a terrible price – addiction. I’d talk to my mom often, but did not have to see this daily. My stint was early on in the process – the initial discoveries, the doctor visits, endless tests, surgeries, hospitals, more surgeries to correct the first (and didn’t), and the recoveries. Mom was still on her own at that time, but my siblings have been in the trenches with her and I’m incredibly grateful.

Mom is the type of person others go to for help, for counsel, and for encouragement. She is sweet and gracious and genuinely believes we are all born pure and good. She gardens, writes poetry, and would draw if it didn’t cause her pain. Over the years, mom has done her very best to stay positive and hopeful for a solution – not just for herself, but for the plights of others who have similar issues. This recent challenge has been tough. I keep reminding her (and myself) that we are taking it one day at a time… but sometimes this scales down to one moment at a time. We are not without alternatives: neurostimulation; new, less addicting drugs; even meditation have the ability to help in some fashion – a precarious teeter-totter of possibilities, yes, but possibilities nonetheless.

This section of my life feels strange. I am in a parent role with my parent, making decisions I don’t want to make, contrasted by the fact I’m an actual parent doing my best to stay at least three minutes ahead of my child. At first, thoughts such as “this shouldn’t be happening” and “I don’t have enough time” and the very lovely and talented “why me” routinely popped into my head. Throw in a few thousand chocolate covered raisins and the picture is complete.

Little by little, however, I find myself accepting this scenario, this story I’m involved in right now. I still have times when I want it all to just go away, to go back to normal – but what “normal” am I comparing it to? When have things ever been normal and what is that anyway? They say change is the only consistently normal thing in life – and this feels simultaneously true and odd. Experience tells me I’m learning to turn on a dime whether I’m up for it or not… I probably better relearn how to roller skate, as well.

I have one small request. If you see my mom and I sitting in front of the terrarium with rapt attention, give us a little tap on the shoulder before you change the channel…it may take just a little getting used to.

© 2012 Beverly Belling – all rights reserved

Fidgety Writer

I’m at odds with my desk-top computer today, it won’t write anything worth printing. So, my laptop and I are at Peet’s Coffee & Tea – my favorite spot to get lost in the din. The place is packed and wild: kids romping around, boisterous people laughing and shrieking, a loud argument whose every other word is cr*p or sh*t or choc*l*te. Crazy stuff… probably the full moon or some celestial body in retrograde … like my kitchen.

I spot two bar-stool chairs at the bean counter: one contains a live body; one harbors an inanimate object. I’m in! I ask the guy if I can use the chair his bag occupies even though he knows and I know he can’t say no. It’s Café Law. Nevertheless, he shoves the bag to the floor, looks at me as if I asked him to toss his mother into the trash, and stares back into his laptop.

Guess we won’t be doing much friendly-banter about beans this morning.

I decide to give him some leeway – after all, he’s wearing scrubs. I’ve always found people in uniforms to be awfully busy – take Wonder Woman or The Jolly Green Giant. Goodness knows who they’re saving day in and day out. I know that canned peas saved my own mother’s life day after day …. after day. Mr. Scrubs is probably a doctor discovering big, life-saving stuff even as I gawk.

I don’t like to ask people in uniforms, especially hospital gear, to do anything when they’re obviously off duty. I figure they do enough.

I start to write by organizing my belongings. I’m all fidgety today so this takes a full fifteen minutes because papers keep falling, I can‘t find my phone which I must have handy (in case my son’s school calls to tell me his head is stuck in the fence), and my sweater falls off my shoulders three times before I stuff it in my bag. Aware that Mr. Scrubs has moved his chair slightly away from my cacophony, I try to tone it down.

Not happening. When I finally climb into the chair I realize there is absolutely no leg space at the bean counter. None. I squirm to reach my computer and my knees complain. I try a side-saddle position, but my back complains. I move to a not-so-lady-like posture; Miss Manners complains. I try the healthy option of standing at the counter but I’m too short to semi-comfortably reach the keys. Back to side-saddle where I manage a whole 37 seconds of stillness. Maybe Miss Manners will find me a seat.

Mr. Scrubs side-glances me for the third time which prompts my Inner Squirrel Freeze – the one that says “I am not a squirrel, I am a rock. I was not running across the street even though I am somehow in the center of it. Do not look at me, I am not here.“

I wonder if Mr. Scrubs will slip a Valium into my coffee to get some peace. I wonder if that’s not such a bad idea.

Mid-Squirrel, a mom and child bonk my chair as they walk by. The mom apologizes, the child smiles and shows me her pink bunny. I offer a “not-to-worry-I-get-it smile”. They remind me that I, too, am charged with keeping a child alive 24/7 despite his lack of memory for doing chores. My uniform just happens to be dark circles under my eyes and a crumpled schedule written on last-week’s grocery list.

I then remind myself that mom’s do enough, too, so I put myself back on equal status with Mr. Scrubs and decide to squirm at will…which, oddly enough, calms me right down.

I find this interesting. I allow myself to be fidgety and now I’m not? I pose a question to myself and ready my hands at the keyboard, prepared to be wholly enlightened by my inner knowing.

I ask:  What else am I not allowing myself to be or do?

But out of the corner of my eye I see an open chair by the window…with ample leg space! Enlightenment, shmitenment – Miss Manners just worked a miracle. I wonder what her uniform looks like…

© Beverly Belling – all rights reserved

Space – The Stuff that Writing is Made Of

“Look at the space where you write,” says our writing coach. “Is it inviting? Does it promote creativity? How would you design a space for an honored guest?”

My classmates nod and jot down these questions dutifully while I wipe up the tea I just splurted all over my journal. At the moment, I’m pretty sure I don’t have “a writing space”. I have keyboards. I have screens. I have journals and pens. But a “space”?

I think about this.

I do have writing “time”. I have scheduled time in my calendar plus stolen time where I write in between work, vacuuming, child rearing, waving to my husband, and burning something for dinner. But this “space thing”…I just don’t know. That’s a whole different cartridge of ink.

I decide to investigate – here is my report:

by BJ Belling

1. My Head. It’s not a bad head, as heads go. Inviting? Well, the ruffly outside is kind of fun. Promote creativity?  Hmmmm….the imagination department seems to be coming online – much more activity than, say, 3 years ago. I notice, however, that the Fight-or-Flight area is on alert a bit often – something about lots of change and feeding on mac-‘n’-cheese. Made a mental note to sooth this area more often, but can’t seem to  fit it in…oh! Wow…the Mental Note department is way overcrowded. Too many gangs of Cruddy Thoughts lurking about. Time for a purge and bit of redecorating. An Honored Guest might like a bit of violet chiffon with a touch of gold inlay – will get on that straight away.

2. On the Go. Includes driving, exercising, showering, and maybe grocery shopping if I have a list that I stick to and don’t have a child with me saying “can we try this? can we buy this?”. I find it curious that I do NOT write when I’m shopping for a new purse… but I’ll leave that addiction alone for now. If I have an idea worth writing down (and they are ALL brilliant ideas, aren’t they?), I locate any scrap of paper and writing instrument – which could mean I scratch with my nail at the back of a receipt. A little precarious when driving a car or grocery cart, perhaps. I tried fumbling with a digital recorder a couple of times but the sounds of “gak!” and “oh no!” and falling displays of all-natural dog food put a damper on my A-hah!-moments. Probably not Honored Guest friendly.

3. My Office. Where there are at least two sides to every story:

a. On the plus side there are two windows. One overlooks our front yard and street; the other, my neighbor’s house. Out of these windows I see my neighbor’s neat-as-can-be yard, a flowering bush, a bit of sky, and people ducking to avoid a concussion from the oak tree that leans over the sidewalk.

b. On the minus side, my office is the place where Papers come to retire, living out their golden years free from confined spaces. The Papers have been so comfortable here that word got around and now many Household Items have joined in, such as, The Old Computer, The Empty Vitamin Bottle, and The Paper Bowl which I’ve stepped over at least a dozen times because I just can’t bring myself to disturb its daily meditation.

I know the Honored Guest Remedy for this, but thinking about it requires more oxygen than is available in here. I move on.

4. Peet’s Coffee & Tea. A cosmopolitan atmosphere, Peet’s offers just enough din to both fuel inspiration and drown out people’s gall-bladder stories. Other than once in awhile needing to locate an open table by using my super-powers (i.e. I stare at the back of someone’s head until they think they’re being haunted and leave), it is the perfect place for me. I just make sure I purchase enough stuff to pay for my seat but not so much that I look like I’m paying for my seat, ifyouknowwhatImean. Oh, and the coffee here will knock your toe rings right off. Definitely an Honored Guest spot.

So, in retrospect, this is not TOO bad. I honestly didn’t think I had any writing space at all! Although I’m fairly certain an Honored Guest would pass on the window seat in my office (see “b” above) or a ride in a grocery cart, a trip to Peet’s could definitely work. And if not, there’s always a lovely spot in the center of my mind.

© Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, All Rights Reserved
All photographs & drawings are original and © Beverly Belling, Rarely Balanced, unless otherwise noted.