Crazy-Drama Syndrome

Ah, the Crazies in our lives . . . are there Strategies that can help us deal with them?

I’m sure you know who I’m talking about here. The people who blow up over little things, and turn them into really dramatic BIG things.

Those who like to fan the fire of tiny angst-filled emotional sparks — into all-consuming conflagration!

How do we protect ourselves from being sucked in and devoured by their ever-recurring dramas?

(And they seem to abound in the greater horse/human work-related community! :))

My Hawaii horse-trainer-daughter, Angela, and I, set out to conquer this one evening: Poster board in hand. Colorful marker pens. Mind-Map begun . . .

After working our solutions for the past five years, our Strategies remain sound, and really do seem to help:))

Mind Map

              Example of a Mind Map


Drama Queen/Control Freaks

Here’s what we came up with — and here’s how we did it.

We started by writing an ever-growing list of the people we know who seem to always be caught in the midst of drama — losing it, causing chaos, blowing stuff up and out of proportion.

Then we looked at their individual traits, habits and behaviors, and began listing some of what they would regularly indulge in:

  • Flip flop — constant change and unnecessary upheaval. When things work, they STOP doing what works.
  • Ask random EVERYBODY for advice. Get confused. Believe the most random/far-fetched answer/person (the internet contributes to this).
  • They make the mistake — but blame others for it (projection).
  • Lack accountability. They seem to have no consequences — yet hold you accountable (even though they are not :))
  • Manipulative. Come with their own agendas.
  • They cause (concoct) the problem/disaster . . . in order to “solve” the problem (to make themselves look/feel good?).
  • Appear as rescuers.
  • No memory/distorted memory of timelines, facts, reality.
  • Lie. Exaggerate. Delusional. Twist. Facade.
  • Bossy/bully, yet insecure.
  • Defensive. Ultra protective of “turf”.

You get the picture . . .

Malibu Lightning 2008

  • Ever stirring the pot. Creating turmoil.
  • Always trying to “prove” themselves
  • Incessant talkers. Gossip. Critical. Yet can appear overly “sugary sweet” . . .
  • Words and actions quite the opposite.
  • Obsessive/Compulsive.
  • Non-problem solvers — they are the problem.
  • Weasel. Downers. Unpredictable.
  • Know-it-all. Accusatory.
  • Make bad decisions.
  • Spoiled — used to getting their way.
  • Not respectful.
  • Volatile. Explosive.

Rearing Stallion

Possible Horse Solutions

Next, as horse trainers, we looked to the one topic we knew the best: Horses.

We made a list of the horses we’d known through the years with similar traits. (Difficult horses. The ones you can count on to blow up, spook, dump their riders and cause problems.)

Then, we listed how we would deal with those horses to better manage them, hoping to find a correlation between the ill-tempered horse, and the human . . .

(After all, we work with our horses to “desensitize” them. Can we do this with people???)

And we came up with a list of Horse Strategies:

  • WORK! Putting a hot/spooky/high-energy horse to consistent work is better than having them stand around idle. (Keep them busy, directed. No extra time.)
  • Cut the feed/carbs. Managing the diet of volatile horses helps curb the problems.
  • Dominance. Horses work off of a pecking order. Who ever moves the other guy wins. Establishing dominance with these horses is essential. I need to be the one who moves the horse in order to gain his/her respect.
  • Exposure. Exposing them to different situations. Habituate them to new and changing environments . . .
  • Apply boundaries — no holes in the fence. If a horse pushes against a fence, a gate, and it moves, he will keep pushing, keep moving the boundary. My job is to reinforce the boundaries . . . keep it solid!
  • Shake up the mix. Change the set-up, the routine. Keep it interesting (Don’t do everything exactly the same every day.)
  • Bribes!! Food. Cookies. Rewards. Cooing. Scratches :))
  • Cool them out. Spray them off. Turn them out. And let them roll . . .

Bath Time!

Dependable Horses and Humans

In contrast, we listed the good horses, and the reliable people we know — and listed out some of their positive traits.

  • Logical.
  • Grounded.
  • Problem solvers.
  • Pleasant.
  • Predictable.
  • Good instincts.
  • Uplifting.

And we wondered, comparing these calming folks to those on our Crazy-Drama list, would it be possible to “train” the others to be more positive, to embrace more of these reliable traits?

Susan Smiling

Human/Horse Comparisons

So we looked at possible Strategies for desensitizing, managing the energy, and coping with our overly dramatic, Crazy-Drama humans.

How do we protect ourselves from them? Prepare for them? Train them?

Can we learn to see these people coming before they get here, before they explode? What can we do to ward off their tirades and keep them from upsetting us???

And we realized, communication is at the core of the issue.

For them, dramatic outbursts and behaviors are their pattern of communication . . .

Rooster“Don’t Show Up for the Pain”

Years ago I worked for a gal, trained in psychology, and I remember her poignant statement to me one day: “We have a saying in the mental health field: ‘Don’t show up for the pain.’ “

As in: If someone is abusive to you, don’t keep going back for more. Cut the cycle.                STOP participating. Go away. Don’t show!

And in looking for our solutions, Angela and I wondered: By reducing communications with our Crazy-Drama people, by not showing up for their pain, can we protect ourselves         from them?

PeaceLimit Communications

Rather than answer their calls, can we let them leave a message?

Rather than get angry, upset at their behaviors or tirades, can we train ourselves to put on emotional earplugs?

Train ourselves to stop repeating their annoying behaviors and hurtful words in our own minds, and to others?

Stand Up — Enforce Boundaries

Can we learn to diffuse their energy?

Deal with what needs dealing with, but not dwell on it. Stand up to them, as needed.      Stand our ground. Then let them go!

Ignore their actions, their tirades. Pray for them. Love them. But enforce our                boundaries with them.


Putting our Theory into Action

I got to test the theory out one day, when a certain woman confronted me while I was working, shoeing a horse in a barn — for someone else. (Yes, turns out this woman was on our original Crazy-Drama Mind-Map list!)

This lady barged up to me, invading my space, and began talking at me about a close-to-home, emotionally charged topic of her gossip-driven obsession.


My immediate thoughts:

Are you kidding??? I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I cannot let this person interrupt my concentration — emotionally, she’ll ruin me!

If I take my mind off of my work right now, I can really mess up what I’m doing on this other lady’s horse.

I can’t afford to hear what she has to say. Not here — not now!

So I decided to stand my ground. To put our theory on limiting communications into action.

Barn Silhouette

Standing Ground

Bent over and holding the rear hoof of the lovely mare I was working on, I looked up and told her:

I cannot talk now. Please, go away.

This is my workplace, my office . . . 

Right now, I need all my concentration to work on this horse.

Call me on the phone later, if you want.

This is not the time or the place to talk.


With that, she walked away.

Ruffled, I began calming my nervous system (with deep breaths), and focused on one thing:  Working on the hooves of that lovely mare.

DawnHoof Working


I would never have known how successful this approach would turn out to be.

She never called. She never confronted me again.

Every time I saw her after that, she politely said hello.

That was it — end of drama!

Nipped in the bud.

Cut off at the beginning of the gossip cycle.

Crystal CatLessons from the Animal World

It seems we can learn from the animal world around us.

Stand our ground, and set our boundaries.

Become more aloof, like a cat . . .

Apply some of the same strategies with difficult humans as we do with our spooky, difficult horses.

We don’t have to show up for the pain.

In many instances, we can walk away — and surround ourselves in a more pleasant circumstance . . .

Molokai Hybiscus

More Ease, Less Tension

Since Angela and I have been working these strategies, we’ve seen some refreshing results.

We seem to be managing our work and life with more ease, less tension.

We seem to be surrounding ourselves with more reliable, grounded individuals.

And that makes our work, and our Lives, happier :))

We have learned to: 

Reward good behavior.

Nip bad behavior in the bud.

Work on calming our own nervous systems.

Look for joy and dependability in ourselves, and in those we work with.

Focus on the positive.

And be ever on the lookout for, and protecting against, the Crazy Drama symptoms — not only in those around us, but within ourselves — being aware of and reining in, our own personal flaws and weaknesses :))

(Turns out our Strategy even helps with our own behaviors — see my Post, Ride Life :))


North Shore Dragon Head


Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s horse blog: Soul Horse Ride

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Shadow Dawn &amp; Angel


Copyright 2018

Photo credits: Dawn Jenkins, Dawnhoof working: T. Turner




Dove and Moon

Lonely . . .

It seems an epidemic:  Loneliness!

For in a world with so much connectivity, we find ourselves living in our own little islands. Isolated. Alone.

The once-loved sound of a telephone ring, who could it be? Now replaced with dread — a telemarketer.

The warm timbre of a loved one’s voice, now replaced (if at all!) by texts and emails, icons and hashtags.

It’s like within so much humanity . . . we’ve lost our humanity.

We’ve become test-tube humans. Sterile. Cold.

Remember the poor little experimental monkeys researchers deprived of a mother, instead feeding through cold tubes. And the life-long psychological damage this lack of touch and love inflict.

It’s like we have become the monkeys. Untouched. Unloved.

Fed with our cold plug-in gadgets, but deprived of the warm hands-on interactions that our human spirits and souls so deeply crave.

Tree Face


So what can fill that emptiness?

What’s the remedy?

How do we heal a society that’s grown so cold to human interaction?

It must begin with each one of us. In baby steps.

Who can I visit today? Who can I call?

Who can I banter with, here at Starbucks, at the store . . . that stranger there, in line next to me. That member of my big, human, planet-sharing-family, here in the same space/time as me. Breathing the same air . . .

What can I say in attempt to connect?

(See my post, Deep Philosophical Three Minute Conversations)

Some will accept. Smile. Even hug.

Some will shun. Saunter off, unphased.

And yet, I feel, it’s worth the try.

Worth feeling awkward.

Because, sometimes, I manage to get through. To connect.

Sometimes a tender nerve is touched. Kind words are exchanged. Tears flow between our eyes.

Sometimes I make a new friend — some lasting.

And sometimes I seem to shatter the loneliness each one of us silently hides.

And break through to feeling warm.

Human. Again.


North Shore Surfers


Copyright 2018


Dawn’s a Life-long Horse Girl — Please visit Dawn’s Horse Blog: Soul Horse Ride :))

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El Rancho Viejo


Dawn roses photo

Entrepreneur — Lessons Learned over 40 Years — Part II

2018 — Forty years into my personal Journey of Self-Employment . . . let me share further reflections and lessons learned from Living my Entrepreneurial Dream.

(Please see my previous post, Entrepreneur — Lessons Learned over 40 Years — Part I)

Fast Forward to Today

As explained in my previous post, my personal Entrepreneurial story involves following my passion into: Flight. Fashion. Family . . .

And Horses — with a successful, thirty-year Farrier (horseshoeing and hoof trimming) career (HoofCare Services), as well as custom Trail Rides, Carriage Rides, and instruction (Soul Horse Rides).

(Also interspersed throughout these years: Entrepreneurial, Business, and Life Coaching/Consulting; Magazine articles published; and most recently, Buffalo sales!!! :))

Through all this I’ve learned to work HARD, and I’ve made many Self-Discoveries.

DawnHoof Working


“Be True to You” (For me: Small is Beautiful :))

As explained in my previous post, with my Fashion Accessory Venture, Blossoms of Dawn, I did the “Wanting to get BIG” thing. Fancy big accounts. Employees. Trademark Registration. Patent Pending . . .

Expand. Expand. Expand!

But in the long haul, I discovered, that’s not me.

I don’t like managing people — it’s hard enough to manage me!

They say in the investment world that you need to figure out your “tolerance for risk”. Oh, it’s easy to say, “I’m all in! Go for it!” Until you lose the $1,000-plus investment you made. As in, poof! All gone! And you find out, you really don’t have a high tolerance for risk. For loss.

So, I discovered: Limit my risk, my loss, by limiting my hiring — to just me!

Sole-Proprietor: No employees:))

Sole-responsibility: Mine.

Sanity restored :))

DawnHoof Horse Shoeing Gear

Me with my Horseshoeing gear :))

(I know there are many who say: “Unless a venture can run without you (the founder), it won’t last.” Yet this simple approach of Self-Reliance has worked out well for me :))


Energy ~ Intuition

I’ve found Self-Employment to be far more than just Business-like stuff: Find a product. Create a Business Plan. Marketing. Sales. Profit and Loss . . .

Rather: Find the Energetic Driving Force of something Stronger, Higher, Deeper, than just making money.

Energy. Intuition. Pizzazz!

Think about the Entrepreneurs we all know: Jobs. Zuckerman. Musk. Certainly, there has been more to their success than just following a well-thought-out business plan.

Passion. Spark. Desire.

Coupled with: Hard Work!!!!

Making their mistakes, and learning from them . . . (see my Working The Assignment: Welcome Failure and But . . . do you ever feel like a Fake? )

When I’ve attempted business ventures from a purely technical, flat-line formula, they’ve seemed to flop!

(I’ve had a few of these — usually when I tried to push something that sounded good in my head, but felt bad in my gut.)


The energy surrounding the project/product has to have its own Spark.

Disneyland After Dark


Invest in YOU

Turns out, on my Entrepreneurial Path, I discovered: I am the product: My skills. My persona. My expertise. So I better spend what it takes to get me up to top speed. In my industry, and beyond.  ~ DawnSeeker

Chase down what you need to know. To learn. To be the very best at what you do. Conferences. Workshops. Classes. Conventions.

Jump in. Take the risk. Invest in YOU.

And . . . then follow through. Put what you learned to ACTION.

Nose to grindstone. Late hours. Lack of sleep.

Whatever it takes.

Brainstorm! Seek out Mentors. Read. Study. Listen. Learn. Apply.

And never, ever stop.

Shift. Adjust. But not stop.

Squirrel Looking


“Winging It”– Self-Motivation

In Part I of my Entrepreneurial Lessons, I relate how learning to FLY helped fuel my successful Self-Employment Ventures.

In flying, I learned to TRUST: My good airplane. My good training. My good sense of timing, and knowing that I’ll know how to handle whatever comes up.

Literally, as I learned to wing it in Flight with a very real airplane, I learned to wing it in Business with very real dollars and cents.

“Winging it” is an Art Form in itself. And it requires a good deal of Self-Discipline.

When my Intuitive inner voice tells me to DO something — to call someone, or attend to a particular task or detail — I’ve learned to listen, and do! Follow through.

Cease to resist. Stop arguing, and just get it done!

(Sometimes, it tells me NOT to do, and I’ve learned to honor that, too :))

This listen and DO, Self-Starter skill set, has been a successful part of my personal journey.

(And like the skills of a seasoned pilot, in certain instances, I believe that listening and following through has actually saved my Life!)

Up in the Air!


On Selecting a Product or Service

How do you know when you have a good, viable business idea?

Like a good landing in an airplane, things have to be aligned in order to work out well.

If you have to PUSH too hard to get something going, that’s not a good sign.

If it’s too hard to explain — if you have a sick or sinking feeling about an endeavor when you start talking about it, if you feel you have to “convince”  them, that’s not good either.

Look for the item, thing or service that has a Life/Momentum of its own, a Buzz surrounding it.

A feeling of “Wow!!!! That’s awesome!!”

The item itself, has to generate its own Good Vibes.

Molokai Hybiscus


On Expanding Too Soon

“Don’t expand until you’re bursting at the seams!” — Blossoms of Dawn lesson

Don’t jump into that perfect (expensive!) office, thinking that will attract the work. Stay small, make due, wait to expand.

Stick with the old car, the old wardrobe. Upgrade only when you really can.

Better to stick it out in a limited situation than move into a payment you cannot afford.

Beach Nest Shack


Connect with your Clients

This has proved to be a big one for me. Not only for success in my career path, but for happiness and satisfaction in my Life.

Cut the clients out who cause you strife. Angst.

If there isn’t mutual joy, it won’t really work, anyway.

Seek out the happy face in the crowd. The ones who resonate with you, and your message.

My Mom had a saying: “Just do your BEST.” That’s all that you can do. (I have a sign by my kitchen door stating just that, as a reminder.)

Do what you’re best at. Take your best care of the job at hand.

The rest will take care of itself :))

Susan Smiling


“Give Me Something!”

This famous quote in our family came from a former boss of my brother. (A separate post on this topic to follow :))

Bottom line: We all like to feel special — to be recognized and given a little something extra in exchange for our loyalty.

So when performing our product or service, look for ways to add appreciation and value, and perhaps a bit of fun.

I like giving little helpful things that cheer my client’s day.

A jar of local honey.

Trader Joe’s Belgium Chocolate :))

Hawaiian coffee.

It’s often the little, happy things that get remembered.

Hawaiian Horse -- Patrick Ching


On Communication

When you make a commitment, keep it.

If you’re running late, call.

If you haven’t spoken to a client in a while, check in.

Be proactive in your communications! Don’t wait for them to call you.

When you feel a client think about you, when it just seems like “time to check in” — take  action. Call!

They will appreciate the psychic connection, that you think and care about them.

Maui Sunset from Moloikai


Don’t Fret over the Competition

We tend to worry over losing a client or job. We worry about the competition. That’s human nature.

Yet I’ve (eventually) learned to celebrate the lost work. Roll down the window and cheer!!!

~ The late Bob Skradzio, horseshoer for more than 60 years, had this to say about getting fired:

“I’ve been fired by more fourteen-year-old girls than you can shake a stick at. ‘Mr. Skradzio’, they tell me, ‘You don’t know anything about shoeing horses.'”

(A well-respected East Coast farrier, Bob started shoeing horses at age 12 ~ he certainly did know all about shoeing horses :))

I’ve learned over the years, when I lose an account, something better is coming to fill its place.

Nothing lasts forever. Change is part of the ebb and flow of Life.

Bless it. Love it. Embrace the change. (See: Ch-Ch-Changes!)

Tree Face :))


Metaphysics of Money

I’ve learned that money isn’t what it appears.

It’s energy!

Plain and simple.

If I hang out in fear or angst, I shove the energy, the money, away.

If I mellow into “All is well . . . ” it comes my way, like a magnet.

Like breath . . . In, out. In, out.

When I give, release . . . it shows. Grows. Takes care of my needs.

When I hoard, it shrivels.

So I’ve learned to keep giving. Breathing.

Stay Grateful for all I have, and all that is.

(See Gratitude is . . .)

Lani Kai Cloud


On Borrowing $$

I’ve also learned that sometimes, financially, you have to ask for help.

Like a few years ago when my Jeep engine blew.

Who to ask? What to say? How to be sure I can repay?

Borrowing money works as long as you promptly pay everyone back — with interest. (Some people will refuse the interest.)

Brainstorm all the possible off-the-wall options to solve the problem at hand . . . think outside of your everyday box.

Communicate. Keep good records. Keep your agreements. Send thank you notes!!!!

And when you get the genuine inner tug to give or loan to someone who needs your help, go for it!

Creative solutions always exist!

(Right now I’ve done a trade deal with a client and dear friend, swapping out a horse carriage for several loads of hay, solving both of our problems :))

Remember — there are people who don’t have issues with lack of money, and, thank God, they are genuinely happy to help!

Inspiring Quote -- Choices


Health and Scheduling

I’ve found staying healthy to be similar to finances — it’s all about energy.

Managing and maintaining my energy.

Because I cannot work when I’m sick. Broken. Injured. (See my post, Overcoming Injury ~ Life Lessons.)

Nor when I’m worried over scheduling, timing, running late, or how to get everything done . . .

If I hang out in fear or angst, I shove my energy, my health, away.

If I mellow into “All is well . . . ” it all works out.

Like breath . . . In, out. In, out.

So again, I’ve learned to draw on my Pilot skills, calm my nerves and systematically go through the steps I know that will accomplish the task at hand.

And if I do need to take a few days off to preserve my energy, or recuperate from a difficult job, I’ve learned to listen and follow that leading, as well.

(In recent years I’ve made changes to my diet, vitamin and herb supplements, and come up with strategies that have helped me maintain my weight, increase my energy and ward off sickness and flu. Hurray! It truly can be done :))

Molokai Egret


Everything is Good. Always!

Important in calming the nervous system and overcoming obsessive negativity is the attitude: “Everything is Good. Always! Both the Good, and the Bad.”

Ultimately. Always. Good.

No matter what it is . . .

(Sometimes I need a reminder on this! See My Yoda Story)

When a problem or situation arises, rather than get uptight — what a temptation, I’ve learned to do my best to:

  • Remain calm
  • Search for a solution
  • Bless it
  • Love it
  • Journal it
  • Breathe into it

Rather than act out of fear:

  • Know — there is an answer
  • Know that everything always works out . . .

And, somehow, it always does :))

Like Magic!

(See My Miracle Book)



Kinda/Sorta Guarantee :))

I remember freaking out during the first year of Blossoms of Dawn, and calling my   Entrepreneur-Uncle (Dad’s brother, Conway), for business advice. Things were going well, but how could I know if they would continue? How could I be sure that it would all work out?????

“Ha!” Uncle Conway gave a big chuckle. “That’s the thing about working for yourself. There are no guarantees. But after a while, you sorta figure, you can kinda count on it.”

That was the only guarantee I ever got! But somehow, it kinda/sorta has, and still is, all working out.  ~ DawnSeeker

And there you have it. My only kinda/sorta guarantee! And it’s seen me all the way through forty years.

Backyard Rainbow

So that’s my Entrepreneurial Wisdom —

Straight from the Horse(shoer’s) mouth :))

Distilled from Forty-something years of Self-Employment.

Perhaps Unconventional.

Perhaps a type of Spiritual/Metaphysical Entrepreneurship.

But it’s worked well for me :))

Crystal Horse

It’s Easy, really

Nothing to it!

  • Set your course toward your Passion
  • Climb to get there
  • Chase after it
  • Master it
  • Wrap it in Goodness
  • Breathe Love into it

Pure Metaphysical Alchemy.

Like landing an airplane.

Like shoeing a horse . . .

Like spinning straw into Gold :))

Tropical Reflections



I still fly airplanes. Usually on my birthday, and since I’m no longer current, always with an instructor. (See Aviation, Family of Flying)

I still trim and shoe Horse Hooves, as well as take people out on Trail Rides and Carriage Rides with my herd of well-behaved, homebred horses :))

(Please join me on a Soul Horse Ride when you’re in Southern California, or a Virtual Ride from the comfort of your computer :))

And I am still passionate about Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment.

I enjoy: Brainstorming new products or gizmos or gadgets; Helping others Map out a path to solve their Entrepreneurial roadblocks; and helping People and Horses experience the Fulfillment of their Dreams.

Best to you in all your Entrepreneurial Endeavors!!!!

Keep it Passionate! Keep it Fresh :))



Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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Soul Horse Ride :))


Copyright 2018

Photos by Dawn Jenkins

Additional photo credits: R. Trento, E. Jenkins, S. Curry





Dawn and Piper Tomahawk

Here I am, third generation pilot, with  (rented) Piper Tomahawk. (My Mom shot this pic.)

Entrepreneur — Lessons Learned over 40 Years — Part I

2018! As I write this date, I realize that my Self-Employment Journey began in earnest, forty years ago!

In my mid-twenty’s, ready for all that Life could offer . . . (see bio in About DawnSeeker), I started an arts and craft Business Venture: Blossoms of Dawn — Silk-Flower fashion and hair accessories.

Initial investment, a whopping $40 bucks!

It began as a solo act. Just me, hot gluing flowers onto hair combs, selling them out of baskets in beach towns to tourists and shop keepers . . .

Then, that same year, I drove to the local beachside airport, and looked into learning how to FLY!!!!!


Bellanca Beckons

1978 — Palomar Airport, near San Diego, California

I had a dream. An underlying wish that fluttered in and out of my Life — (and almost died when Dad died).

I wanted to learn to fly — like my Dad, and my Grandfather before me. (See my Family of Flying)

An unlikely dream for a girl back in those days . . . but I learned from Dad not to let that stop me!

And although we lost Dad to a heart attack when I was just 16, his legacy of Entrepreneurship and Self-Determination runs through my veins.


Dad at the foundation of our beach house

Dad — at the construction site of our Trancas Beach house, Malibu 1950s (Cousin Andy photo collection)


Role Models

I feel for those of us who lack a role model in Entrepreneurial areas — the areas of Self-Sufficiency and Grit.

I learned all this from Dad.

I watched him perform on the Stage of his Life — from enthusiastically answering phone calls from his office in our Malibu beach home (booking Hollywood film and TV music gigs), to flying his airplane . . . to entertaining the crowds, nightly (and quite literally), on Stage at Disneyland.

Upbeat. Self-Motivated. Ready to take on whatever Life had to offer him.

(Read more about my Studio Musician Dad in You Can Do ANYTHING!)

Elliott Brothers Post Card

My Dad (foreground, Saxophone) and my Uncle Lloyd (Trombone ) on the Carnation Plaza Gardens Bandstand at Disneyland.


Nature vs. Nurture

I often wonder about Nature vs. Nurture.

Would I have learned to be Self-Employed without him?

Would I have known how to branch out and make it on my own?

Even after losing Dad at a young age, the lessons I learned from him have survived in me — even thrived.

So I figured I’d share a bit of that Magic Alchemy with you. Forty years in. Forty-eight years since his passing (at age 48!!!).

OOOOOOhhhhhh!!! Chills!!!!

View from Dad's Disneyland Bandstand

View from Dad’s Disneyland Bandstand


Find your PASSION !!! :))

What do you LOVE, more than anything else????

What sings to your Soul, inspires you — makes you hop, skip, and want to jump out of bed in the morning????



Not just surviving.

“Just be the BEST at what you do and you can’t help but make good. There’s always room at the top!”  ~  Dad’s famous quote :))

When you find that Passion:

Nurture it.

Study it.

Develop it.

Master it!

Little Dawn with Horses

That’s me with my Breyer plastic horses in Grandma’s back yard

So I loved HORSES. And I also wanted to learn how to fly.

And I loved the idea of Self-Employment. Entrepreneurship. Working for myself.

It started with “Dawncy’s Lemonade Stand” at our Beach House in Malibu the summer after the 5th grade, with friend, Nancy Carter (mostly thanks to her mom, Adelle, who did more work on the project than Nancy did :)) We sold lemonade and sandwiches and chips — I guess I just liked that I could do something to get both a few grown-up praises, and a little cash in exchange, because from then on, I was hooked. I kept searching for fresh ideas with which to generate my own income :))

Early ventures included: Dog-walking; House-cleaning; Arts and crafts (making and selling macrame choker necklaces); Baking and selling chocolate chip cookies at the  college dorms to students with the munchies (Sunday nights when the cafeteria closed early); Traveling the California Coast selling art prints, crystal necklaces; fashion items; Picking lemons (with permission) from mini-estates and selling them to health food stores; Roadside apple sales; Packaging and selling mistletoe for Christmas . . . in addition to odd jobs like milking cows, horse wrangling, and waiting tables.

I also wanted to be a Singer . . . but my daughter, Ella, ended up fulfilling that! (Ella inherited the musical genes — watch her YouTube music video here: EllaHarp) :))


Red Acrobatic Pland

Back to 1978 . . . and my Dream to FLY!

In order to get my pilot’s license, I had to get through Ground School first.

That means brainy stuff: Physics; Flight theory; Navigation; MATH! (These were the days before laptops and apps and cell phones.) So I muscled through, rose up and got it done!!!!!

Next, the actual flight lessons — as in “Here we go!!!!!!”

Take offs (easy!) Landings (hard!)



But I knuckled in. Stretched my brain/hand/eye coordination.



By concentrating my lessons over three consecutive months, I accelerated my progress, growing my skills from one flight to the next.

First, like a drunk. Searching for the necessary light touch just to fly straight and level.

Then turns and banks.

LANDINGS!!!!!! Ever working on landings!

Growing my skills. With patience. With time. And with the help of my wonderful flight instructor (Dr. Backart).

Solo. Yahoo!!!!!!

Free as a bird — hooting and hollering. HIGH as a high ever gets!!!!!!

(My first solo flight, I did about six landings in a row, my instructor standing on the tarmac, fearful I’d forgotten him!)

Then cross country.

And finally, that nerve-wracking flight with the stodgy FAA Examiner.

“Congratulations! You’ve just PASSED your exam and you are now a Private Pilot, Single Engine, Land.”


I now had my wings, and was ready for the next chapter of my new Entrepreneurial Life!

Honolulu Fireworks


Stretching, Soaring, Expanding

I’m including the airplane aspect of this story, because I think it factored into my Entrepreneurial success.

Here, forty years later, I’m finally concluding . . . I don’t think I could have soared in Business if I hadn’t soared first in that airplane.

If I hadn’t overcome the fears and frustrations of flight, I don’t know that I could have succeeded in long-term Self-Employment.



Branching out into Business on my own was actually a very similar process to learning how to fly.



I knuckled in, trusting my brain/hand/eye coordination in learning how to take up the yoke of Self-Employment without freezing up, stalling out, or crashing, out of control!

Round Rainbow



While learning to fly, I had decided to go back to school at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, as a Communications Major. (By that time, I had already completed my two-year, Associate in Arts degree.)

So after completing my Private Pilot training, I moved to the Central Coast of California and started back to school. Studied hard, and went to classes . . . still working my newly fledged Blossoms of Dawn fashion venture in order to pay my bills.

It was Springtime now, in a new region — and like my flying, my Business started taking off!

My flowers sold. And sold. And SOLD!!!

Then came the BIG BREAK!

I got in an order from a family-owned fashion chain store — for twelve dozen of my product!!!

Business Game On!

So I dropped out of school. (With my Grandma’s blessing! Read: You Gotta Wanna:))

Hired workers. Filled order(s).

Thus beginning my Real Business Education — as an Entrepreneur!


Clear Clouds

The Sky’s the Limit :))

Sales. Orders. Manufacturing. Shipping.

Hiring and overseeing employees: Bookkeeper. Production manager. Production crew.

Updating and creating new designs . . .

Working — expanding — traveling.

Most of the time out of town, on the road, rather than “safe at home”.

Flying my rented airplane on sales trips to both Northern and Southern California.

Logging nearly 300 flight hours, most flown in a tiny aircraft filled with flowers, lifting off from the bounds of Earth above twinkling runway and taxi lights, in the inky dark of night . . .

(As a pilot, they let me rent an airplane, but because I had no credit card — a more difficult thing to get back then — they wouldn’t let me rent a car!)

So I parked an extra car at Van Nuys Airport in order to get around when I would fly in.

A very busy time.

Long hours. Little sleep.

In my mid-twenty’s — lots of energy for all this.

Deep Darkness

Craft Fairs. Wholesale accounts. Retail stores.

Westwood Village. Newport Beach. Carmel. San Francisco.

Sales Reps across the country.

Commercial flights to service accounts outside of my region.

First-ever trip to Hawaii :)) (I ended up moving there a decade later!)

Boutique Show in NYC.

And, while I’m out of town: Doing my best to manage the employees . . . ever keeping up with the employees.


As I expand, competition invades my sales, so I develop a unique clasp design.

Hire Palo Alto patent attorney.

Apply for Federal Trademark Registration. (Blossoms of Dawn)

Apply for design patent (Patent Pending).


Malibu Lightning 2008

Burn Out . . .

After a couple years, I’m beginning to burn out . . . there has to be more to Life than just WORK! (And managing the employees!)

So, in attempt to realize my Horse Dreams, I take a day off and attend a Horse Sale at the Paso Robes Fairgrounds. I bid on (and buy) a sturdy Appaloosa yearling — my mare Fanta, matron of my current 4-generation homebred herd, and jump-start to my next Entrepreneurial career. (For more on my horses, see my Soul Horse Ride blog.)

You see, I realize in all this, that I really want to be working with Horses . . . not Fickle Fashion! (Hint: follow your Passion!)

Seasons and fashions, always change — “What do you have that’s new????”

Shifting styles, trends, colors, themes . . .

And so eventually, I land my airplane for the last time.

Shift my Life and Business out of fashion . . . into marriage, motherhood, kids. And Horses!!!

My New Venture includes:

  • Vacation horse care and feeding.
  • Scenic trail rides and lessons.
  • Swift-moving horse and carriage rides.
  • And learning the art and craft of Hoof Trimming and Horseshoeing (Farrier)!!!

Fast Forward to Today

Now that I’ve “Been there and done all that”, not only with: Flight. Fashion. Family. But a successful, thirty-year, Horse and Farrier career, I’ve plenty of insights to share.

My next post, Entrepreneur — Lessons Learned over 40 Years — Part II, contains more specific reflections and lessons from forty years of being an Entrepreneur :))


Side Saddle (watermark)


Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

White Horse in Green


Copyright 2018









Self-shadow shot

Overcoming Injury ~ Life Lessons

Life is great when all’s going well :))

No problem!

But what about when stuff goes South?

When illness or injury stops our earning, or enjoyment, poof! — mid-stride.

Dawn Starboy and Aria

Dawn with Starboy and Aria — Note the size relationship between human bones and horse bones — note wrist!

Wrist Injury!

So sometime later on this summer, I injured my wrist, and was unable to work for nearly three weeks . . .

(For those of you who don’t know, I work as a farrier — trimming and shoeing horse hooves — a very physical job that demands much strength from every part of a complete, strong, physically fit body!)

I’m thrilled to be back to work now, and I wrote this piece somewhere in the midst of the healing, as a reminder of how to deal when an injury happens.


Previously Hurt

Unfortunately, this (left) wrist has been injured before.

First, about four years ago, working on a very strong mare who resisted me — over and over — with her right front leg.

(You see, in order to work trimming or shoeing a hoof, the horse must cooperate. Yield. Or nothing can get done.)

Eventually, I finally got the shoe on — I’ve always been strong.


But after shoeing the mare that day, it felt like my wrist had broken!

And as it turned out, radiographs later showed, it had!

Hairline fracture.

Just from trying to restrain the pressure of the big mare throwing her leg forward, over and over, in resistance.

Big Mare Hoof

Innocent looking hoof — capable of breaking a wrist!

Ever since then, I’ve kept that wrist in a brace/wrap while working.

(I know, with the weight and forces a horse is capable of — just a twist and a lean the wrong way could tweak it, strain it — or even break it, all over again.)

It’s an honor-system agreement I have with myself:  Keep brace on!

And it’s worked wonderfully, until about a month ago . . .

DawnHoof Horse Shoeing Gear

Me with my Horseshoeing gear :))

So I ask myself:

What happened?

How did I injure it, even with the brace on?

How can I take better care of my wrist, my entire self? Prevent this, or another,  painful, work-shattering event from happening again?

What lessons have I learned in the three weeks I wasn’t able to work?

(Note the physical riggers of working on horses hooves . . . )


I must have gotten cocky.

Everything with my body (and my physically demanding work), was going along well.

I felt great! Top of my game.

And then I got in some new work.

Thrilled at the opportunity to both help my new client and earn some much needed money, I started in.

Two solid weeks of work.

And tucked into the midst of that, two very difficultly behaved horses.

Resistance! Over and over again! Stressing all my stamina.


But I’m tough!

No worries — I held up.

Kept on going, no matter what!

(“Die Hard Dawn!”)

Shoeing Horses -- Shadow Jeep

Shoeing horses, end of day — Shadow Jeep

So how did I tweak it, even with the brace on?

The straw that broke my wrist (again!) was a definite break in my usual work routine.

At the end of the two straight weeks, more work than I’d been doing, I had to trim hooves on an older, arthritic horse who can barely lift up his hind legs.

The weather was hot. The hooves were dry — hard as steel. And my friend’s husband is pretty good at helping me squeeze the nippers in these dry hoof conditions.

So I decided to try a new strategy.

I held the heavy hind hooves up, first the right, then the left, for maybe five minutes each . . . with all the arthritic weight of the large horse pushing onto my hand, pulling on my wrist, while my friend’s husband crouched down and worked the nippers.

It didn’t hurt at the time. I really didn’t know til later  . . .

By later on that night, both wrists were sore. Unusually so.

The right, previously uninjured one, healed in a few days.

But the joint on the left (previously injured) wrist, pulled completely apart.

“Subluxation” :(( affecting tendons, ligaments — full blown PAIN and weakness!!!

Monstro's Mouth!


At first, my wrist just HURT.

Then I saw my Osteopathic doctor.

He snapped the joint back in place . . . it felt fantastic!

But I worked on a horse later on that same evening, and it went out again. Immediately.

Then it went completely gimp!


(Regardless of wearing the wrist brace!)

OUCH!!! It HURT!!!!

Now, even the weight of holding a phone was too much for it . . .

(Not a good sign, if your work involves lifting the legs of thousand-pound horses!)

Lenticular clouds

And I finally realized I had to STOP working!

Lay off all hoof work in order to let it mend.


“Time Heals”

That’s what they say.

But I know, it takes even more.

It takes good practices in both the physical realm, and the metaphysical.

The mental, as well as the Spiritual.

Good care and good thinking.

Going up into Love and Light, and focused Goodness.

Hawaiian Blossom


So I went up into my Light-God-Goodness space, and applied the following:

“Good wrist, good baby!!!!”



“Thank you for being quickly healed!”



“You will get better . . .”



“You are better!!! You are well!”



“You’re such a tough, hard worker . . . “

Time off.

Let it heal . . .

“I’m grateful for all you’ve done.”

Ignore the pain . . .

Focus on the good.

“All things, even this, work together for good . . . “

Round Rainbow

And I set about working on other aspects of my Life.

Uplifting. Affirming . . . Ignoring.

Reading. Writing. Journaling.

Overcoming, as best as possible.

Working my Life Strategies.

(See my: Depression Emergency Kit)

Window into Flight

Lessons Learned

And the take-home lessons from this incident are many.

  • No more working on really bad, resistant horses. When these come up, I’m putting down my tools, packing my car, and walking away!
  • Once again, watch for breaks in my usual routine. (No bowling!) A break in routine can trigger an unfortunate accident or incident. (See: Anatomy of an Accident)
  • Be VERY GRATEFUL for the physical ability to do my wonderful, satisfying horse hoof work! It’s a great blessing that my body has held up — not every body can do what I do.
  • Be thankful, appreciative and take good care of the physical condition and abilities I have :))
  • Realize I’m in a different phase of my life now — in my 60s. (Not my 30s or 40s or 50s!) Pace myself. Set my good boundaries.
  • Love my abilities. Love my horses. Enjoy my Life’s beautiful ride!

White Horse in Green


So when illness or injury happens. When things go South:

Remember, there’s always a series of Life Lessons involved.

  • Immediately affirm Goodness — “I am fine! All is well! I am safe and protected!”
  • Take necessary ACTION to resolve the problem.
  • Re-write my mental thought patterns.
  • Learn what I can from the experience.
  • Stay in Gratitude and Love.

And discover fresh awareness from the events.

Take good care of myself!

Shine. Love. Give!

Molokai Egret Preening


In reviewing this piece, now that the healing is complete, I’ve noticed that I’ve changed my Life in several wonderful ways:

  • I’m much happier now :)) (Previously I had been working too much, and had been in a bit of a funk.)
  • I’ve been riding my horses more and really appreciating and enjoying them!!!!
  • I’m more in-tuned with my inner, intuitive voice. I’m listening first, and acting later :)) :)) :))
  • I’m less worried and less stressed about finances, and more certain that all will continue to manifest and be here, as needed, as it ALWAYS, somehow, has! :))
  • I’m really, really glad I can still do my awesome hoof and horse work!!!!!!! :))
  • I’m grateful for my wonderful Life and all the Goodness and strength I have :)) :))

So remember: When stuff happens to us that appears to be bad, Good abides. Right along side.

Bless it! Transform it. Learn from it.

This too shall pass . . .

And we will come out the other side stronger, better, renewed!

:)) :)) :))

(See My Yoda Story — and remember, it’s true! :))

Molokai Rainbow


                  Find out more about Dawn’s HoofCare Services and Soul Horse Rides in the Frazier Park Outback of Southern California :))


Please visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

El Rancho Viejo


Copyright 2017


Reminder: Miracles Abound

Of late, it seems the news, so bad. So sad.

Yet, Miracles do Abound.

Awful things do happen . . .

Yet Miracles still Surround.


Birds soar outside my window.

Golden boughs grace poplar trees.

Fall wildflowers paint the meadows.

All is not as it appears to be.

Grateful Squirrel

How do we reach up, Higher,

When things down here seem so low?

What proof do we have of Goodness and Love

Amidst such senseless acts of woe?


Bad days have always rushed towards us,

Yet good days, also, right along side.

Think back to Mom, to Grandma, the

Wisdom of a simpler Life and time.

Grandfather -- Army Air Service

Grandfather Conway Ulyate, U.S. Army Air Service, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

They weathered many, many storms.

Depression. War. Why?

Their loved ones also passed away . . .

Yet still, their chins kept up high.


What message can we learn from them

In times of fear and loss?

What hope and Love can they send to us

From the other side of the cross?

Vibrant California Rainbow

Dig deep into that calling

That Love writes in the Sky.

The Sunshine and the Moon Glow

Shall find a way to let us know —


Reminder: Brighten, not frighten.

Miracles. Do. Still Abound.

Be Grateful for the Good you have

When evil times surround.

Fall Leaf Shadow Bells

The best I know to offer

In times of trial and woe —

Is to tune my thinking up to the

Highest place I can go.


Rather than go down

The rabbit hole of fear —

Stay in Love. Light. Grace.

Stay in consciousness most clear.

Saint Francis statue


Please visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

Rick and Laddie


Copyright 2017


Malibu Twilight


“Good girl, Dawn!”

“You’re a very good girl!”

I heard myself say it to — myself — again, today.

I heard myself say it to my horse, last night.

And I realize how far I’ve come . . .



A few years back I caught myself, saying stuff in my mind, even out loud, to berate and belittle myself, that I would never say to someone else.

It was hurtful. Non-productive.

It was a habit, and it was bad . . .

And I had to stop.

And I had to have a little talk with myself.

And I made up my mind, that if I wouldn’t say it to someone else, it wasn’t exactly helpful to say to me!!!

And I did a little self-accounting. And I put a little Angel on my shoulder.

And I asked my Angel to please point out and make me aware whenever I would be mean to me. To remind me . . .

To STOP!!!

Saint Francis statue


Yes, I can check myself and notice when I’m off track. I can listen to my self-criticism and add the needed correction to my course.

But I’m not allowed to berate myself. Nor anyone else . . . (Oops! Still working on this one, too!!!)


Mentor at Dusk

Just Like Training a Horse :))

It’s like training one of my horses. If they go off behavior, off course, I can give them an immediate check to get their attention back. A pull of a rein, a shake of a rope, a tap or a smack.

But once I’ve got their attention, I have to re-direct them back to what I want.

“That’s a good girl! Come on now, let’s go . . . ”

Same thing with me.

If I go on a tirade, I can give myself a tap, a smack, to stop the tirade . . . and then I must re-direct myself back to the task at hand.

I must STOP. I must ask . . .

“What do I need to be doing right now???”

And I must — do that!!!

“Good girl!”

Just like with my horses, I work poorly with hounding and criticism.

I work best with encouraging words and vocal tones. Cookies and pats and praises. Giggles and sorbet and chocolate.



WordPress Blogging Community :))

And the supportive WordPress blogging community greatly encourages with soothing, upbeat comments.

(So many of you took the time to reach out to me in my moment of funk last week, and that meant so much to me :)) :)) :)) To be heard. Understood.

. . . Still, many bloggers out there seem to be stuck. Depressed. Down. Struggling . . .

I’m hoping that by sharing my process, my Ups, my Downs, and how I work my Life Strategies — we can all band together, for Goodness sake.

Grow. Learn. Share inspirations.

Offer, and receive, support.

Be there for one another . . .

Find a way to climb up, out of the funk.

Into the fullness Life has to offer each one of us  :))

East End Molokai

I’m wishing us all the best!!!

In Self-talk. Self-thoughts.

And in our thoughts and talk, to and about, those around us.

Let’s ride our Lives like we do (or would) our horses.

Put an Angel on our shoulders to remind us when we get off track.

Give ourselves a little smack — and then re-direct — up to what we really want our Lives to be about :))

As my Malibu friend, Pastor Scott O’Neal, always says: “Go give ’em Heaven!!!”

Encourage one another.

Connect. Listen.

Share those soothing comments.

Let our Light shine into the darkness that another might be having right now.

Hibiscus by the

With all that’s been going on lately, we all can use a little Heaven!

(And listen to a little upbeat music:))

Dawn :))




For more Life Strategies see: Depression Emergency Kit, and Runaway (Emotional) Emergency Escape Ramp


Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

Crystal Horse


Copyright 2017







Crystal Cat


I’m at a fascinating place to observe right now.

Have I ever experienced this before?

Is is an aberration? Is it normal? Will it shift?

It’s like all the “will” has left my Life.

I’ve done, literally, all I have wanted to do.

I have traveled, worked, ridden . . .

Flown, loved, slept . . .

The only thing that seems to interest me right now, is writing.

Some reading, but mostly writing.


What about my horses?

Why not ride???

I just don’t have the urge.

Why not anything else???? Anything physical, like I used to do, my whole Life?

Maybe it’s normal to want a time to come down off of a physical Life like mine. Physical work and labor. Toil, travel and sweat.

(I’m still working, although less in the last two weeks — I blew out my wrist, and am on a forced hiatus.)

But that, alone, isn’t it.

Oh yes, the weather turned bad. Thunderstorms and hail and pounding rain. Washing out roads and such, thwarting our rides-to-be up Mt. Pinos for two consecutive late summer weekends.

But not even that, is really “it“.


It’s like my “wind-up doll” unwound.

And it’s sitting on a heap on the floor.

But, I just don’t care.

Motivation: Zip. Nada. Nothing!



So, can I make peace with this phase/stage of my Life?

Or do I ROAR like a lion, to (try and) shift it???

It’s like I’m sick, without the sickness.

Forced down time . . .


So I might as well find a way to enjoy this new phase of mine.

Set my sights on shifting what I can. Accepting what I cannot shift . . .

(See my Yoda Story)

I must thank God for ALL things, the Good and the bad — for things just like this.

Force myself to do the little that I can, and appreciate that.

:)) Dawn-who-must-everkeep-Seeking


(Strategies to use at times like this: my Depression Emergency Kit, and The Assignment, Guide to Greater Happiness.)


Copyright 2017


Life Lost — Written, and Found

How much of our Lives are lost — forgotten? Fallen through the fractures of our meager minds. Evaporated into the ever-ticking course of Time . . .

How many stories, chapters, do we see, experience — only to remain ghost memories?




Dawn and Piper Tomahawk

When I was younger, did I really fly airplanes — 300 hours!?!

Did I camp alone with my horse for ten days, when I was just 18? It’s so far away now, like some kind of Past Life.

Soul Horse Riding

Did I ride my horses, all by myself, under the stars, on the side of a mountain?

Fly to Hawaii every six weeks to work shoeing horses for the last 14 years???

Molokai Mural


And if those memories seem so distant, what am I doing, now, that will seem like a dream to me later on . . .

And, what can I do to enhance that dream, to LIVE my Life, fully, today?

What do I need to change, tweak, alter?

What am I waiting for . . . to really be here . . .

Today, right now, and Live?

Luney Moon


I Write!

In writing, I set out to capture what Time, and Life — shall someday forget.

What shall certainly, one day, be gone.

Word pictures, I call them.

Snapshots. Some in prose. (I have journals full.)

Some in colorful Mind Maps . . .

Mind Map

Us writers — we Live. We write.

We Live some more. Write some more.

Doing our best to capture the never-ending Circle of Life.

Freeze it. Store it.

Love it :)) Learn from it.

And now we reach out, though blogging, in hopes of connecting, sharing with each other.

Like pointing out a shooting star . . .

Honolulu Fireworks

“It was really bright! Fast! Lit up the whole sky!”

(I’m there, with my back to the quadrant you saw it streak past in, but I didn’t see. So you, on the spot, do your best to describe it to me.)


Questioning Reality . . .

Yet, where is reality?

What makes something real?

Who is my witness?

Ghostly Orbs Pinos


If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it, does it still make a sound?

If I experience Life, and I don’t write it, share it, preserve it, did it even happen???


(I look at my computer, 11:44 right now — the alignment of symmetrical patterns and multiple numbers have always confirmed my truth!)

Gorman Hopscotch



Think about the psychic connections we share. I think of you, then the text chimes.

Of course, it’s you! That’s normal. Expected.

That’s how my reality works.

(So much takes place on so many levels that we won’t even acknowledge.)

Like dreaming.



Ghost Orbs on Pinos



And so I ask you. I ask me:

What in your Life is lost right now? How will you strive to find it?

What do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered?


What shall you shift in consciousness, before your leave this Green Earth?

How deep, how connected, do you want to go???

Ella at Fuji's


So go for it, girl!

Blast off, boy!

Make the shift . . .

Take the dip . . .

Jump into the uncharted waters.

Shoot for the stars!

Roll onto the runway of Life, and lift off :))

Ready to Roll

For strategies in dealing with anxiety and depression, see my Depression Emergency Kit.


Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Soul Horse Ride

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…/< >\ …/< >\ …/< >\

Running Horse


Copyright 2017











Disney Merlin's Hat


1969 — The year we went to the moon. The year my rusted out ’69 Chevy pick up truck was brand spankin’ new.

The year my Dad — just months, even weeks, before he died — gave me one of his greatest gifts . . .


I’m 16. It’s dark. Fall; Winter?

I’m waiting outside, under the lights, for Dad to pick me up from the Junior Achievement building in Culver City, CA.

Oh yes, here he comes — I hear the rattling engine of his black diesel Mercedes.


What makes one simple statement a parent says to a kid stand out? Stay in their memory all of their life . . . out of all the interactions and conversations of my then-sixteen-years???

I don’t know the answer to this, but I’m sure glad — somehow, it did.

Date Niters Disneyland Patch

Dad’s Disneyland Band Patch

Dad was an Entertainer. Disneyland Bandleader. Fox Orchestra Studio Musician for TV and films. (Read more about Dad, and listen to his music, here: You can do ANYTHING!)

But by the late 1960s, things in Dad’s world had changed.

Walt Disney had died.

The new management of the Park had wanted to clean house, start fresh. Dad’s twelve-year Main Street Band run was up. Gig over.

And in the Film Industry, things were changing, as well.

The big orchestras were phasing out. Songs from folk and rock artists like Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, Steppenwolf, and such, were used in musical scores for films like Mrs. Robinson and Easy Rider.

There were fewer work calls for the older studio guys. Dad’s Big Band era had somewhat lapsed.

So Dad had less studio work. And he had time on his hands he’d never had before.

Instead of working insane hours every day, barely time to sleep or see his family — for the first time in his life, Dad was idle.

He still went to the airport. Still flew his plane. But less, way less.

Beechcraft Bonanza Landing

V-Tail Beechcraft Bonanza — same style as Dad’s.

Dad had always played clarinet and saxophone professionally. But in those last few years he began playing flute, figuring it would help if he could be hired to play a third instrument.

I remember his flute scales fluttering in the background of my early high school life . . . homework, phone calls, messing around in my room, to the melody of his methodically  practiced notes.

Family Band

To help with finances, Mom got a “dumb job,” as Dad called it. (I think he felt badly that she had to work; he missed her, and resented her time away from home.)

She worked at a department store, in customer service and returns.

(Mom, so fair and kind, was well suited to solving customer’s problems:)) Besides, Mom never complained. She seemed to enjoy it.)

But Dad was down. He had never, ever had so much time without constant work, and it didn’t suit his Type A, Bigger-than-Life personality.

Skid Marks


So Dad picked me up that night from Junior Achievement, and I rode in the car with him the fifteen minutes or so it took to get home.

I don’t know exactly how the conversation went, but I remember the stand-out statement:

“Honey. Things are always changing. The sooner you get used to that, the better off you’ll be.”

Question Mark

In fact, I didn’t think much about it. Just one of so many conversations in family life.

Until the following February, when Dad died of a heart attack in the night.



Is that what you meant by: “Things are always changing . . . ” !!!!???!!!!

Monstro's Mouth!


I’ve replayed that statement many, many times over the years. I still see Dad’s eyes, hear his voice. Like a mental tape recorder — words frozen in time.

And he’s right.

Things are always changing. Oftentimes when we least expect.

And our job is staying flexible. Ready.

Dad, born in the 1920s, was old school. Matter of fact.

Maybe another way of putting it would be:

“Honey. I want you to know that things are always changing. It’s our job, as humans here on Good ‘ol Planet Earth to adapt. To adjust. To find a way to thrive among Life’s shifting circumstances.

“I want you to know this, so that you will be ready. So that you can embrace change. So that it won’t knock you down. but you can continue on. Adapt and adjust to the new norms . . .”

David Bowie sings in 1971 — Ch-Ch-Changes :))


Thank you, Dad!!!

You gave me a final gift. Of wisdom. A strategy for dealing with what Life has to offer.

And it’s really helped :))

Just to know, in advance, about the changes that loom ahead. For all of us.

As sure as the hands of Time . . .

Things are always changing, still.

So rather than grumble or complain: Adapt. Adjust. Take the lead, and make changes, too.

And yes — all these years later — I still take this one to heart! ❤

Gas Cap Heart


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White Horse in Green


Signs! Gone Surfing


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