Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hope is a function of struggle.

When I think of hope, I don't think of struggle. I tend to feel that hope is out of pure optimism but perhaps that is too Pollyanna....of course I've always loved playing the "Glad Game."

 Not to digress into talking about being glad, which is another discussion, I will journey into "hope." I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like the "struggle" in life is never ending and it just creates massive stress in my life and my husband. Poor dear, he has such a sensitive heart and ironically it goes out of rhythm when his mind takes hold worrying about money and the struggle he feels. I told him to talk to his heart to ask what it needs. Shouldn't we all do that?

I sometimes call my television and Youtube, "The Oracle." I will turn on  either of them and find the perfect inspiration, answer to a question or food for thought that is so necessary to my continued growth . So today I felt a bit hopeless. Dare I tell anyone? I am supposed to be the "Fearless Leader." I've created three books about it. You would think I could get it right? Sometimes when I share my hopelessness and struggle with my inspired new thought friends, they coach me to watch my thoughts and look at the words I use. They share that life does not have to be a "struggle." So I tend to not share these days when I dance with my shadow as it just throws me into shame, which is another interesting subject.

In my dance with my shadow self, I began to search for women who inspire and inspirational speeches. This became my perfect lesson and just what I needed to hear.  I was delighted to find  Dr. Brene' Brown speak about feeling worthy and being in hope. It amazed me to hear her say, "Hope is a function of struggle and it's the product of not tying our failure to who we are. What we see in high hopeful people is that they can separate their achievements from their struggles and their failures from who they are as people. Dreams don't work unless we do."

Reflecting on what she said, I believe "struggle" has been given a bad rap. I also believe "being in balance" is over rated. I'm all about being in harmony and dancing through the journey, sometimes joyously and sometimes with deep dark drama. Both of these beliefs probably raise the hair on the back of many of your necks. It makes me feel relieved to know that "hope is a function of struggle." It makes me realize not only do we all live in struggle and feel guilty about it but we live in such stunning scarcity....not enough of anything....time, money, work, client or "Likes." Ultimately, we have enormous amount of vulnerability (which is not a bad thing) but leads us to sitting in shame. I don't know about you but this realization makes me want to take my clothes off and dance in the rain of pure celebration. 

So my fearless friends, once again I share and bare my fearless soul to you about my struggles and my oh so fabulous journey to discover and rediscover the fearless woman that I am.

I invite you to pass this along to any friend you know that my want to read this. Perhaps it my just inspire them to dance in the rain too!

I also invite you to join me for the upcoming Fearless Visionary Mountain Retreat, June 20-23, 2013. Give yourself the gift of time and the space to be vulnerable and sit in a group of powerful visionary women who dare to live greatly!

Thank you for baring witness to my vulnerable self. I am forever grateful.

Fearlessly yours dancing joyously in the sun (it's not raining today)!

Mary Ann

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Feeling Vulnerable

I haven't blog since my 31 day blog challenge ended. I just didn't have the inspiration. Today, Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, I slipped into a funk. I go there at least once a week. Today's darkness was no different than other days. I wake up after having anxiety dreams and thoughts and just say to myself, "Just get out of bed and go upstairs." So I get my tea and look out the window with my mind running a muck. It's Sunday, don't you think I can give the anxious ego a rest? No, not me. Joe comes up looking groggy and down as well. He tells me he was up at 6am with anxiety and did some tapping (EFT) and it made him feel better.

Seeing him so fragile made me dive head first into vulnerablilty. I shared how I just felt no confidence, I felt my photography was lacking, my focus (figuratively and metaphorically) was challenging. Is it because I am getting old. Am I just not in enough good health or good physical shape? I feel a lack...of confidence of engery of inspiration and motivation. My business has been off and I'm scared. I haven't been focused on marketing. There's that word again "focus." Funny how it keeps turning up. As I share with Joe I go deeper and deeper in that dark paralizing place where it's hard to climb out of. I feel my big oversized chair, I call the Queens chair, sucking me in and down. And speaking of the "F" word, in my depressed insanity, I think about a new project around Fear. F.E.A.R.=Fuck Everything And Run! I share with Joe, let's just sell everything and dive head first into fear and all the shit we feel and just run! I laugh through my tears. That's a place I go in my head now and again.

I hang on until 11am when Super Soul Sunday comes on and I know that I will be inspired. There it was Dr. Brene' Brown talking about vulnerability. She shares her study on vulnerability and that we are in a social climate of "scarcity." We wake up every day putting on our suite of armor to brave another day. We measure our success by how many "likes" we get on Facebook and how we are looking. I have a fear of softening into joy because I antisipate the other shoe dropping at any time and then there is deep disappointment.

Brene' Brown shared her inspiration for her new book, Daring Greatly:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”  US President Teddy Roosevelt

I've been in the arena and I have jumped out. I felt knocked down, tired and that all I did was not enough. I made the mistakes of focusing (there's that word again) on the few critical comments from friends, family and strangers. Wow, if I had armor on it was very thin!

So I have decided to jump into my vulverablity and bring my camera on our journey today to see my Mom...being the dutiful daughter that I am. I will let me camera lead me. Joe said he would do the same, bring a camera and do a city safari.

So my friends, there you have it. I am fucking vulnerable, pissed that I feel this way. I'm putting my hip boots on and wading through the much and embracing my vulnerability and jumping back into the arena. If Brene' can do it, so can I! Fuck depression! Fuck judgement! Fuck my ego being the doubting darkness! I am willing to go the distance to being in gratitude and ultimately softening into joy!

Yours in feeling everything and skipping,

Mary Ann

PS. I'm not even going to proof read this cause I just don't fucking want to!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fearless Women with a Purpose

For several months I have pondered what is next for Fearless Women? Should I back burner all that I put sweat equity, passion and pain into? My physical health break down and break through at the end of last year, gave me moments of enlightenment. Of course, just when you think the door to enlighenment opens, the wind shuts it closed. Damn that wind!

So I spoke to a few of my fearless friends to gather ideas and opinions on the subject. The questions were, "Do you think there is a hole that needs to be filled with another membership site and women's groups around the country? Where do you see it going?" What I got back at first are questions, "What do you want?" I just wanted suggestions. I wanted someone to flip the switch and light up my room on the subject.

At the end of the conversation, when everyone except one woman was on the call, Betty Liedtke, we discussed more ideas. She expressed such passion about being part of Fearless Women and what it meant to go to the event in LA last year. Then I thought, if I could bring purpose to it in the most simple form, I could do something meaningful and NOT burn myself out.

I revisited the inspiration I felt from these two women, Betty Liedtke and Tabitha Kyambadde. They met because of Fearless Women. Betty was in my Fearless Women, Fearless Wisdom. She spoke about being a fearless woman and being in the book at a Toast Masters gathering in Minneapolis. Tabitha who lived there but is from Uganda, was very moved. She later asked Betty more about Fearless Women. Long story very short, they became fast friends and Betty went to Uganda to help Tabitha with her mission to build a community for women and chidren who live in a slum brothel in Uganda. This village is to become "Miracle Village."

I was so moved by Tabitha's passion that I asked her to be in my newest book Fearless Women, Visions of a New World. I felt that Tabitha had a huge vision.

In the simplist most intimate way to carry on, I will be doing a webinar once a month co-hosted by another woman in my new book, Teresa McKee from Knoxville. We will be interviewing Tabitha and Betty about their passionate cause and give everyone a call to action to buy the new calendar, Fearless Women, Visions and Wisdom with Tabitha on the cover and all the proceeds going to build "Miracle Village." Every month we will feature a woman from either the books or calendar who have a passion to change the world! Yes, that feels very good!

Sometimes you have to surrender what you think you should do to find what just feels so so very right! Exhale....

I would appreciate hearing your comments about your fearless purpose!

Yours in Fearless Purpose,

Mary Ann

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If you think you can...

...or if you think you can't, you're probably right. Oh, that Henry Ford...what a guy! Here's a man who was brought up on a farm, encouraged by his parents to tinker with clock in the kitchen and had only an eighth grade education. Most would look at him and say that, this is a kid going nowhere in life. He turned out to be the most influential man in the industrial revolution.

PBS had a really interesting documentary on Henry Ford tonight. If was educational and very inspiring. He fought for the common man at the very beginning and then later caught up in competition and egotistical accomplishments. We have much to learn from Henry. His story encourages us to think outside the box and  passionately follow your dream...your calling. However, he was not the greatest father and his son, seemingly much more sensitive and malleable, did not meet up to Henry's expectations. Edsel (an unfortunate car was named after him) died of an ulcer due to stress before he was 50 years old.

I suppose you can't change the industrial world and be a totally sweet guy, can you? The things I want to take away from this example is his perseverance and steadfast focus. I admire his ingenuity and fearless vision a changing world.

Looking at these historical figures, I am stunned by what they accomplished to shift the planet into the next realm.

So it's about vision, following your dream...your calling and going for it fearlessly, no matter what other's may say.

Fearlessly dreaming,

Mary Ann

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Don't Know

This is day 28th on my 31 day blog challenge. I don't know. I think that is a declaration. A statement that I have been sitting here contemplating. We say it alot but do we mean it and embrace the "don't" part of the "I know?"

If I truly don't know, does it mean I've lost my head or just my mind? If that is the case, isn't it a good thing? Aren't we truly too much in our heads? Isn't that what mediation is about...getting out of our heads?

Speaking of which, and to take another journey from the rediculous to the sublime, you must do me a favor. Take your earphones and put it into your computer or smart phone and absorb yourself in this trancendent chant by Deva Premal.  I will leave you with this beautiful song that will take you out of your head and into the relm of you heart. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and Enjoy!

 Go to Youtube:

Yours in blissful...I don't know,

Mary Ann

A photographer with a Big Vision!

My visionary friend, Joe Sohm, spent thirty years traveling across America capturing images of with his camera. What drove his creative pursuit was one phrase, "How to you photograph Demoncracy?" He captured a historic, heartfelt portrait of all 50 states of America. Photographing American presidents to American homeless, from national monuments to small town America, Joe passionately explored and took tens of thousand of photographs.

In 2009 Joe Sohn assembled his 30 years of images into an amazing photography book, Visions of America. Being a photographer of now four photo/essay books, I was impressed with his journey to create the images and in awe of his commitment to creating this 12x12, 312 page photo book! It is an extraordinary accomplishment and not a project for the faint of heart. But Joe's passion and inspiration doesn't stop there,  he felt called to create a photo symphony!

One of Joe Sohm's close friends is the talented composer, Roger Kellaway. Roger loved the idea of setting music to Joe's visual show of Americana photographs. Roger then brings into the project Allen and Marilyn Bergman (known for hit's such as "The Way We Were") to write songs for each segment, Clint Eastwood narrates the show telling Joe's story with Steve Tyrell and Judith Hill singing the songs.

Tonight we were honored, and inspired to be in the audience of Visions of America for it's west coast premiere with the New West Symphony. What a beautiful concert filled with music that breaks your heart open and photographs of America that covers part of Joe's passionate journey that led up to this moment in time. It brought tears to our eyes and filled us with a rekindled love for our country.

I am grateful to Joe for his encouragement to create my last two books, publishing them myself through his designer, Peter Green. I watch Joe do such "outside the box" creations. Watching him take these huge leaps into the creative abyss makes me realize that anything is possible.

Yours in fearless inspiration,

Mary Ann

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Simple Gratitude

I talked to my Mom yesterday who turned 90 year old. We celebrated her birthday last Saturday with the family. When I spoke to her yesturday, she shared how busy she was with all the phone calls and she received 15 birthday cards. She was pretty tired but so very grateful for her well wishes.

Whenever I talk to my Mom, she reminds me of "simple gratitude." She remembers every kind gesture, every card given to her and everything in her day that gives her joy. At 90, it is inpiring to see her in such appreciation. It makes me inhale the joy of life and exhale what's not needed.

Finding this image that sybolizes simple gratidude, I found these 7 Simple Steps to Cultivate Gratitude. As I was looking through the seven steps, I noticed the second step was "never compare."  I don't usually compare myself to anyone but lately, let me ask you, do you ever read stuff on Facebook and feel just a little inferior? Perhaps feeling like you are just not doing enough in your life or business or have as many people commenting on your posts? Everyone seems so full of joy with inspirational sayings, cleaver musings, incredible events to promote, campaigns for remarkable products and new photos of themselves that are showing them so full of positivity that it would make anyone run out and buy a button that says, "have a nice day." So when I start feeling that, I fold my laptop and take a nice walk around Lake Hollywood or watch House Hunters International. 

That's why my Mother is such a touch stone to the simple gratidutes in life. She doesn't have a computer, a cell phone or even a CD player. She recently got high definition TV and was beyond thrilled. 

So as I inhale the simplicity of life, I exhale the need to posture, prove that I am something  I may not be at this moment. But honestly who really cares? Only me! The truth is we are all extraordinary humans on a spiritual journey! I think we just need to relax more and not try so damn hard.

So I hope you are appreciating and loving your life with "simple gratitude."

Yours in Fearless Simple Gratitude,

Mary Ann 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fresh New Creativity...

This is the 25th day of the 31 day blog challenge. To be honest with you, I missed two days. Oh, happens. I just get so distracted by people holding shiny objects in front of me and go off on other journeys. It's's all meant to be. I know I am on a fearless journey of discovery and all is well.

Oh, I love to swim in fresh creativity. It's the place to play for me. I have been focusing on Fearless Women gatherings, and doing work to help "change the world." I found that I felt burned out, stressed and wondered why the phone stopped ringing with photographic inquiries.'s because I digressed and lost my focus (pun intended) on my photographic work.

So I fearlessly decided to put my marketing into my photography. We are creating lot's of different photographic campaign's throughout this year. Valentines Portrait Days,
Kid ACTivist portraits for ACT Today for Autism fundraiser with a calendar for 2014, pet portraits in the summer etc etc. It's amazing how much the phone has been ringing for photographic work since I have put my head into creating marketing for my photography!

I had a test shoot with a young woman I know, Christina Dunbar, who is passionate about helping other sensitive, spiritual, beautiful, badass women become the starlets of their life and business. She was perfect to do test photo session for my Fearless Diva series. I had so much fun creating lighting and shooting from differnet angles. It's just what I needed. As you can see, we have some fun!

And with this Fearless Diva Valentine's Portrait Day I ask, "What's Your Fearless Sexy?"

Yours in Fearless Creative Sexy Bliss,

Mary Ann

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What is Your "Yes" for this Year?

 I am a big fan of marketing guru and writer, Seth Godin. His latest blog, "On behalf of Yes" got me thinking of my own "Yes." What is your "yes" this year?

Yes, you can achieve your dreams.
Yes, you can recreate yourself, your vision, and your business and succeed.
Yes, everything will be just fine....even better.
Yes, life is filled with so many amazing choose and if the wrong choice, choose again.
Yes, you can make a huge difference in the world and still keep your sanity.
Yes, you can be creative and make money.
Yes, you can do what you are called to do, inspite of what other people say.
Yes, you can live in your truth and a transparent life and be totally in your power.
Yes, Yes, Yes, Exhale...

"Yes is an opportunity and yes is an obligation. The closer we get to people who are confronting the resistance on their way to making a ruckus, the more they let us in, the greater our obligation is to focus on the yes.
There will always be a surplus of people eager to criticize, nitpick or recommend caution. Your job, at least right now, is to reinforce the power of the yes." Seth Godin

Yours in Fearless "Yes!"

Mary Ann

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Discovering the Heart of My Creative Passion

Thank you for those who have been hanging in there with my daily blogging. It's the 22nd day on my 31 day bog challenge. Every day it encourages me to see what inspires me to move creatively forward in my life or... just move forward. I have been looking at "what's next" for me in 2013.

I am blessed to have had a camera placed in my hand 25 plus years ago. I don't even remember the first photograph I have ever taken but I think it was with my parents little Brownie camera and that's way more than 25 years ago.

What has kept me going for so many years is knowing that I will be capturing a moment, an expression, an emotion of another human being, being vulnerable, powerful, scared, joyful sassy and sometimes awesomely fearless. In the beginning of this year, I am rekindling that feeling. It feels good. 

I have created four photo essay books in 16 years. I step back for a moment and lavish in the thought of how amazing that is. Most people dream of creating one book and die with a book in them. So I have been breathing into the success of my accomplishments. A successful book seems to be socially valued by how many people bought it, if it's a "Best Seller" and have you been interviewed by Oprah. I have come to believe that success begins and ends with the fact that you have created a book, a work of art from your heart. 


This video of Elizabeth Gilbert speaking on a TED talk makes me realize I am not the only one that is posed with these perplexing questions about creating books, fears and success. She shares that some of her friends say, "Aren't you afraid that you will create another book that no one in the world cares about." Yes, my book Fearless Women, Visions of a New World was a bestseller on Amazon for a day in two categories, a great accomplishment but not the mega hit as Elizabeth Gilbert. However, I do understand alot of what she shares and appreciate her humor and sardonic outlook on success. I am so appreciative of her raw, awkward sensitivity in her expression of who she is. She raises great questions about your "elusive create genious." It is well worth watching.

So I end this post expressing gratitude with this discovery of the heart of my creative passion and rekindling it. Yes, I am fearlessly grateful.

Yours in forever fearless gratitude,

Mary Ann

Monday, January 21, 2013

What is Your Dream?

Today was a momentous day, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the first African-American President being sworn into his second term. These are both men who express their dream for equality for everyone in our country and the world.

If you haven't heard the famous speech by Dr. King, take a few moments out of your life to be inspired by his words.

It made me think, "What is My Dream?" I just completed the project that I dreamed of at the end of 2010,  Fearless Women, Visions of a New World.  I dreamed of creating an inspirational book with photographs of women, wearing white on white with a short essay of their vision for a new and better world. The dream continued with a vision to include an inspirational music CD that accompanied this book. And with the help of some amazing women musicians, singers and songwriters and my husbands musical knowledge and talent in mastering the final CD compilation, it was accomplished. It was one of my biggest accomplishments and I hope that whomever it touches will be inspired and called to action to pursue their dream. That their dream will positively affect and touch those who encounter it.

So my question to you is, "What is your dream?"

Yours Fearlessly dreaming,

Mary Ann

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Our Inspired Imperfect Heroes of Fearless Inspiration

I was looking for inspiration for my blog today which is the 20th day of my 31 day blog challenge. I can't believe I am more than halve way there! So for inspiration I went to the Oracle I found a very short video by Richard Branson.

As we know, Richard Branson is one of the most successful humans on the planet. You would think he had it all under control. That's probably one of my biggest struggles throughout my life is that I didn't feel I had control especially because I didn't ever read very well or as my mother said, "Oh you were just a slow reader." She still contends that instead of perhaps I have Dyslexia? So when Richard Branson confessed that he didn't do well in tests or didn't even know, in business, what is "net" and what is "gross." It was a jaw dropping moment for me as I have gone through the same thing!

Alright Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your raw and quirky honesty. You have inspired me, a kindred spirit to know that being an imperfect human on her way to finding her own success in life has lot's of hope.

And speaking of inpiration and imperfection, tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day and the Inauguration. I will celebrate tomorrow with gratitude to all the impossible heros that have graced our planet. For the inspired leaders that have had obstacles of some kind but transcended it because they had a dream! Nothing can be more powerful.

Yours in Fearless Inspirational Dreaming,

Mary Ann

A Tribute to My Mom's 90th Birthday

Tonight was a wonderful celebration with my family in honor of my dear Mom's 90th birthday. She is quite an inspiration to all of us. My  Dad passed away 12 years ago just before my parents 60th wedding anniversary. Watching Mom live on her own all these years with fierce independence is remarkable to witness. She is almost always with a cheerful positive attitude and prides herself in being a "spirit giver." She lives in a senior living complex and shares that some of the old people there are way too negative to her. So she doesn't go to the lunch room all the time as she needs a break. She plays Bingo every week and wins all the time. She say, "You know I always win everything I need. Last week I won paper towels and I was all out of them and this week I won tooth paste and I needed that too!" She makes me laugh with her appreciation of simple abundance.

Birthday girl Mom with sister in laws Roxie, Mary Beth & Me (the tall one in the back)

When people meet Mom they can't believe she's 90 years old. She has so few lines (never had work done to her face) and hardly any gray hair! She claims her good skin is from using Nivea cream for all these years. And of course, she doesn't sit in the sun. She's remarkable and I have learned many fearless lessons from her.

Mom is in the phase of her life that she doesn't want anymore cards or material things. She brought a card from each one of us that she has treasured over the years and had us write something new in them for her 90th birthday. I love that, it not only saves paper and money, it's a great heart felt ritual. So I decided that we all needed to read our cards at dinner. My brother Johnny went first and later he went through dates pertinent to my Mom starting with 1923, when she was born, and named off important events that happened that year. I love my family and how much fun we have when we get together.

One of the fearless lessons Mom taught me is to surround yourself with beauty. She always loved beautiful old hotels with lot's of history. So we took her for her birthday dinner at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

I feel so blessed to have been adopted into such a wonderful, fun and festive family. Happy Birthday Mom!

Yours in fearless gratitude,

Mary Ann

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Climbing a Tree

On our walk today around Lake Hollywood, we walked by a group of young men, 20 something years old. They were acting like obnoxious boys scaling the hill and and climbing up a tree. There were three of them in the tree and two were on the ground talking to them. I sensed that they were either too scared to climb the tree. So as we passed they said, "Those guys are stuck in the tree!" My first instinct was to try and help but I knew they were kidding so they could cover up their fear about being up in the tree with them. I said to my husband, "I should have just told them to jump!"

Going deeper into the idea of climbing a tree and the symbology of it starts me pondering.... Am I afraid to climb my tree of bliss or my life? I feel like  I actually climbed a very tall tree last year. Am I stuck? I just want to sit up here and look at the view. I am not ready to jump yet.

I think I want to reconcile with that feeling and make it "okay." I luxuriate in the notion that I can actually climb a tall tree and sit and enjoy the view.

On a call the other day with my wonderful business coach, Michele Scism, asked me the question"What is your vision for 2013? I paused, and laughed, "My vision is foggy." Michele in her simple yet profound way pointed out that I can do anything I want. Her company is aptly named  "Decisive Mind"and here I am at the beginning of the year sitting in a tree looking at the view with nothing decisive about what I want to do in the new year!

Am I fearless? I don't know, I'm just too busy enjoying the view, at the moment...

Yours in fearless tree climbing,

Mary Ann

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2012 The Year of Fearless Women

 What an amazing journey it was last year. I put together a very short video with a few photos from 2012, the creation of the book, Fearless Women, Visions of a New World. It was wonderful to review all the accomplishments, photographing 49 women, creating a Fearless Women LA Event in May, the creation of the Fearless Women, Visions and Wisdom Calendar 2013, our book becoming a bestseller on Amazon, the cover on the Reuters Billboard in Times Square New York and a book event at Barnes and Noble at The Grove in LA. What a year!

Enjoy our little video!

Yours in Awe and Fearless Gratitude,

Mary Ann

January is National Be On- Purpose Month

There are interesting holidays that take over the whole month. I just found out that this month, January is National Be On- Purpose Month. I began to think, what purpose are we on and what is the purpose? Don't get me wrong, I've heard the phrase said in so many ways and so many meanings. There's, find your purpose, live on purpose, got purpose, live your life on-purpose, creating on-purpose, and you did it on-purpose.There is on-purpose coaching, websites to help you live your life on-purpose, websites to help you connect with on-purpose deep feeling people,  there are very helpful websites to teach you what it means to be on-purpose, and even a be on-purpose church. I didn't realize until I heard about this month of January dedicated to "being on-purpose," that it was such a huge movement or philosophy. Where did this come from? 

So I went to the wisdom of Googled and asked, "What does the phrase on-purpose mean?" Most of the Googled attempts led me to websites that took me "off purpose." In this ezine article I glanced at explains, "If we forget about quantum physics it could be said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That logic could be applied to what the term, "being on purpose" means. Basically being on purpose means following a direct path to our objective." Okay...thanks for giving me the answer. 

So I am thinking that if I should live my life on-purpose, I should not wake up in the morning and go through my day like it's an accident. I don't know, it puts alot of pressure on someone creative like me who likes to live in "the flow" of life. It seems so hard-lined to be on a straight and narrow path to my objective. Well, it's something to think about, another Zen Cohen.

Some might say that...
Yes I did! 

And speaking of months and calendars, I will be on a marketing- purpose for a moment and let you know that you can purchase an awesome calendar with cool months dedicated to very inspiring messages and causes, Fearless Women, Visions and Wisdom Calendar 2013 on my website

Yours fearlessly on and off purpose,

Mary Ann

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Dedication to All Fearless Women from a Gentle Poetic Warrior

This email from Karen Mertes couldn't have come at a more perfect time. In my fearless journey of healing my body for the last two months, I have been contemplating about this Fearless Women branding and what to do next.

I want to share you this written word piece from a gentle poetic warrior emailed to me by the cover girl of our book, Fearless Women, Visions of a New World, Lt. Col. Karen Mertes  shared the stage with this man, Sunday when she was the Keynote Speaker at an event in Orlando at the University of Central Florida. Here's what he wrote:

"I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Lt. Col. Karen Mertes, and this I dedicate to her and all fearless women around the world who are moms, CEO’s, wives, etc., etc.  Whether you made the book or not all women are fearless."

            If you are a woman then by all means
Your day is hard just trying to get your kids to eat greens
Its even more complicated with life and issues
No wonder you invest so often in Kleenex and tissues
Your tears are united around the world
Being a woman is truly the universe pearl
The pressure of being a mom, wife, and homemaker
The last to be cared for, as you play to care-taker
So many then are hit with life and moments unfair
And still you look in the mirror and are required to have no fear
Cancers, divorce, illness threatened all you have worked for
The woman is simply at the center, she is the core
But regardless you pick up the sword and you fight
Because it is in you, you have a power and might
Whether you are Karen Mertes, Lisa Metwaly, or Linda Gray
You provide the sunshine when the weather seems grey
Maybe you are Janet Nelson, or Kimbra Ness
You wake up every day and take life as a test
To all fearless women around the world in every city
Every country, all towns and all who protect their community
Life is never about being afraid or running back to a nest
Its simply the goal to live and be fear-less
Across the globe your message is clear
You are heard and not one to fear
A Fearless Woman takes on all things
At the presence of knowing the suffering
And still she is fearless
And with her presence all life is blessed…

From Martial Arts Master, Author, Poet, Public Speaker, Rodney Robertson

Yours in Fearless Gratitude and Inspiration,

Mary Ann

His Credit Card was Denied...

 This is my blog I meant to put out last night on my 14th day of my 31 days of blog challenge. I got caught up with my two favorite Jack Nicholson movies, Carnal Knowledge and Five Easy Pieces. The second movie I ended up falling asleep and not finishing my blog. So here it is...

While traveling back to Los Angeles we stopped off Interstate 5 at a road side area of super commercialism where everything looks alike. As a friend of mine calls it, "the comonization of America." It's a place where you can trust the names, Starbucks, Subway, McDonald's and more. The idea is that there is a comfort in seeing everything the same, same layout, same decor, same, same same.

So we stopped in one of these areas for gas and a cup of Starbucks Joe. As I was squeegee-ing my front car window as Joe pumped the gas, a man approached me, with credit card and receipt in hand. With sad eyes he looked at me, "My credit card was declined and I need some money to buy gas to get myself to Modesto." My immediate reaction was not to believe him. I have been scammed before by this kind of approach. I dismissed him by saying, "Hey, we are just trying to get ourselves back to LA!" He apologized and said he was sorry to bother me. I watched him approach other people who dismissed him as well. Then I saw him linger by his small, old beat up car parked by a gas pump. Inside the car was a woman holding a baby.

I kept glancing back to see if he would get his gas. I didn't want to let this experience in. It was just too painful to think that he was really telling the truth. We finished our car duties and drove over to Starbucks for coffee. Then I thought, why am I buying coffee when I could have helped them fill their car with gas. Joe and I decided to be frugal and take our refillable coffee container in and get a regular coffee for $1.95 and split it. On the way to San Francisco we splurged and got two large (is that called a Vente in Starbucks language?) and spent almost a whopping $8.00 for two of them. I felt it was such a waste after thinking about the sad man with the woman and baby in the car.

We drove on towards our destination and I became so sad and guilty. Joe and I reviewed the incidence and thought of the different ways we could have helped. Joe pointed out that it wasn't like me to dismiss someone. I usually stop and ask them their story....why was their credit card declined? What was the reason they had no money for gas? I felt sick that I could have helped these people and began to cry. In a moment I saw millions of sad people in our country losing their homes, people depressed from loosing their jobs and just a sense of hopelessness. I wanted to turn back but we were already miles from that gas station.


What was a fearless (supposedly) spiritual practicing woman to do? I decided to pray for them and in my mind saw them getting the help they needed and visualized a wonderful wealthy person filling their car with gas and their hearts with gratitude. I felt the gratitude in my heart that our credit card wasn't declined, we could shared a lovely cup of coffee, that we had a car that was reliable and comfortable, and that I had a husband that was sensitive, conscious and supportive. I felt a warm glow of love and light fill my body as we drove through the beauty of the Grapevine on I 5 with mountains covered with snow! I sat in bliss of the beauty of life and knew in my heart that all was well.

What is the fearless lesson for me? To take the time to hear someones story and see how I can help? Yes, but the true lesson is honoring ourselves when we are not in the place where we can physically help or "save" someone in need but know, just know, that they are on their own personal fearless journey and see them in light and in divine perfection. Yes, I hold this man and his family as being taken care of and know that all is well in his life...

And the fearless journey continues....

Yours in walking the fearless path,

Mary Ann

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Powerful Day of listening, 1-13-13

We traveled up Interstate 5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco for our Fearless Women Book Event that happened today on the 13th day of the year 2013. It felt pretty auspicious to have a book signing on this day. As I began the day today I wondered what this day would bring

The last two months of last year was my "crash and burn" time with health challenges which propelled me into a reviewing of my truth, my passion and what was I doing with this Fearless Women journey. I had created books, jewelry, a membership site, an event and nearly 10,000 fans of FB. But I pondered, "what's next?"

Before the book event we met a friend for lunch. I gave her my new book and while she was looking at it two ladies at the next table were curiously looked over her shoulder to see what this book with a woman holding a sword was about. They were obviously mother and daughter. The mother looking very high brow looked over and said, "What is this book, Fearless Women?" I explained to her it was a compilation of 50 women with a vision of a new and better world. She proceeded to ask me what makes a fearless woman. I answered her by telling her that I believe everyone is fearless we need to move through it to love. The absence of fear is love. Her daughter kept shaking her head, "yes." This older and seemingly very worldly woman persisted in her questions about being fearless several times but in different ways. It made me smile because I felt she was a messenger from Spirit challenging me to explore and find clarity by answering the questions I was pondering these last couple of months.

I found myself really thinking seriously about her questions. In retrospect it was a wonderful rehearsal for the book signing where there were more questions asked about "being fearless." I want to be as honest and transparent as possible, living in my truth. Honestly, though, I really don't feel fearless a lot of the time but pray to fear less and be in gratitude more.

Life is such a journey of fearless challenges and wonderment. In this new year, I long for more joy, peace and harmony. I welcome more answers to the questions. I see that the river of life is beautiful when we learn to flow, trust the current and know that the direction you are going is the perfect least for now.

Google (one of my teachers) led me to this song, "Revive your Soul and Flow in the River of Life!" A perfect song to end this day and this blog. Take care, you deserve the best!


Yours in the fearless flow of questioning,

Mary Ann

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I Googled Directions to the Road to Enlightenment...

Inspiration comes from amazing different places when we open our heart and mind, stop and pay attention. Teachers come in all different shapes and sizes. When you choose to live a fearless life and walk the yellow brick road to Oz, stop and smell the poppy's even if they make you sleepy.

When I Googled directions for the road to enlightenment and found myself here. Low and behold someone made a t-shirt. How convenient!

Google is a great teacher. Don't you think? Perhaps Google is really the Wizard of Oz. But don't trust the man behind the curtain. Trust yourself, trust your knowing and you will find your path way home.

Good night sweet dreamers of light. Tomorrow is another day of joy, adventure and discovery.

Your in eternal fearless learning,

Mary Ann

Friday, January 11, 2013

Can I really follow my bliss from my easy chair?

Today in my quest to find inspiration throughout my day to write my daily post, I find the my muse of words, Linda Gabriel on Facebook posting that she wrote a guest post on Tiny Buddha. It truly resonated with me as in my new years zeal to create my resolution for 2013, I stated I was committed to "being in my truth and follow my bliss." However, can I really follow my bliss from my easy chair with my laptop computer on my lap and HGTV on TV (which I tend to call the Oracle...the TV that is not HGTV)?

Linda turned on a light in my brain when she said, "If you are going to follow your bliss, the supposition is that you already know what it is. Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Yet."

Yes, Linda, you are right "what is my bliss?" The six points in Linda Gabriel's post opened my truth seeking eyes to the fact that I need to find what my bliss is or at least narrow it down to one bliss at a time so that I can follow it. Trying new things, being open to possibiites, being curious and trusting life. Well, I guess that means I have to leave my chair and my house?

When I am in LA at my home photo studio, I work work work, strategize and work some more. Linda's six points to discovering you bliss is very helpful. Her last point in finding your bliss is "trusting life." Yes, I am a big believer in trusting what life brings, being grateful and enjoying the journey.

And speaking of the journey, one thing I am very passionate about and confirms that in some of my searching moments of bliss finding is that I adore inspiring women to be the best they can be. That gives me a big inhale of happiness and exhale of peace.

So I am following my bliss up I 5 to San Francisco to share my new book, which Linda Gabriel is featured in and is the co-author of, Fearless Women, Visions of a New World at Book Passage. I look forward to sharing my journey creating my book project and listen to some of the other women from the book joining me, tell their story and hearing the beautiful voice of Karen Drucker doing a special performance of "I Am a Gift," featured on the CD that comes with the book. Yes, that feels like bliss to me!

Hey, I'm not only getting out of my easy chair tomorrow but getting in a car and driving up north on a fearless joureny to Northern California on the I 5 following my bliss.

What's your bliss and why are you following it?

Yours in fearless bliss following,

Mary Ann

Stop Whining and Look at the Sky!

Today being the 10th day of my commitment to the 31 Day bog challenge, I realize at 11:45 that I still hadn't written my blog. I'm looking around the internet in between watching Stephen Colbert to find something to inspire me. So many things every day when I pause for a moment, take a breath and look around, I find true wonderment.

Sometimes when I hike Fryman Canyon I pay attention to some of the snippets of conversation that I hear as people pass by on the trail. It's a practice I engage in for my own mental therapy. I feel like Spirit may give me messages through conversations from a hiker/teacher of life that passes me on the trail.

The best message I have eavesdropped is by a mom hiking with her family behind me. Her 10 year old daughter was whining that she was tired of hiking and blah blah blah. This particular day was warm and stunningly beautiful with a blue blue sky and puffs of white clouds that looked like they were painted by Monet. While the girl moaned on and on the mother says, in a very calm but firm voice, "Stop whining, look at the sky." It was a gasp moment for me! This was a zen moment, a gift of a Cohen for me to meditate on again and again.

I have used this inspired message in my life over and over again. It works every time I get depressed and wind up my whine machine. I go outside and look up at the sky or look at a tree or smell a flower and see the real truth of life. It's those moments that change your perspective from dark to light.

When I shared this message I heard on my hike she got it right away. Rebecca does beautiful pottery and decided to create a mug to inspire people to vote. On the mug it read, "Stop Whining and Vote."

I invite you to meditate on this Zen Cohen and see where it takes you. For me, right now, it's going to take me to bed, to dream and to luxuriate in the journey of deep sleep.

Yours in Fearless non-whining,

Mary Ann

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Pot Roast is Well Worth Writing About...

Here I am on day 9 of my 31 day blog challenge. As I flow through my day I wait and watch to see what will get my attention or tickle my inspirational insides to write a blog post. My friend Teresa is visiting us from Tennessee and said, "Well, the pot roast is well worth writing about!"

Well, this picture is not quite as pretty as my husbands dish. And speaking of dishes, Joe, my husband aka Singing Chef Joe, I also refer to him as my hunk of burnin' love is a fabulous cook. I am blessed to have such an amazing man that loves me, takes care of me (in sickness and health) and supports me and most of all cooks for me. Yes, I am a lucky broad!

All I must say is the pot roast was divine! As far as inspiration, it was sumptuous...the taste, the texture, just plain yummy.

Well, ladies and gents...that's my blog for today! I am filled with pot roast, great wine and great company. Life is great!

In full fearless bliss,

Mary Ann

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Love Letter to a Fearless Woman

On the 8th day of my 31 day blog challenge, I look for inspiration through my day. This time it came from my Goddess Badass friend, Christina Dunbar, with a sexy sweet heart and a soul of a poet. I have observed Christina over the years explore her Goddess side, her sensuous side, her bad girl side and mix it up with some warm brandy, chocolate and life experience into a smooth tasting coaching, speaking and empowering women branding.

“Visionary women don’t dream big, they dream BIGGER. Visionary women don’t expect to get it perfect, they allow themselves to be messy. Visionary women don’t play by the rules, they play by their passions. Visionary women don’t follow logic, they follow intuition. Visionary women don’t just say “why”, they say “why not?” Visionary women don’t hide out; they make their entrance on stage. Visionary women don’t dismiss their pain, they share their story. Visionary women don’t start a company, they start a movement.”~ Christina Dunbar

She inspired me in her last blogpost to write my own love letter to myself and to all fearless women. A letter to read when I am down, doubtful, insecure and stressed out. Oh dear, I think I need to read it now! LOL. Here goes...

To you my gorgeous, sexy, bodacious, change-maker, hilariously funny, warm & big hearted, soul-searching, deep thinking, ageless, brilliant visionary warrior, sword wielding Fearless Woman...

I'm speaking to you...
From the depth of my aching soul
My heart throbbing self of self....
Yes, you...look in the cosmic mirror and see who you are...
Really are....
I hand you the mirror sweet sister of everything brilliant and shiny...
You are the breathe of God and Goddess of all...
Make your mind sing with all the knowing that you have and will have...
Know that the ancestral sisters who blazed the trail before you are always with you to guide you
To push you, every so gently with, sometimes, their red spiked heals and taunt you with their caustic humor so that you can truly see the beauty not the beast you think you are and who you know you truly are
Oh ferocious wild Woman, dive into the water and drench yourself with all the fear you know that is deep in your Venus heart and just... let...go.....
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....much better now
Be naked in your new found truth
Luxuriate in the tears of realization
And weep for your whole self...the whole world...the whole Universe...
And surrender to the river of life
And finally, finally press the easy button 
Allow yourself to have the peace, the quiet, the freedom, the time, the completion, the total support, the hugs, the kisses, the love and everything everything that you have yearned for in your heart of hearts.
I love you with every part of my body, heart and soul.
And if you remember anything
Know, just know that I am here for you always and forever.
You are the bomb...

With Fearless Love,

Your Fearless Wise Woman

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Am Lost & Now I'm Found

This is the seventh day of my 31 day blog challenge. Just when I start racking my brain about what to blog about I get an inspired email from a friend of mine. She said, "In a way, I'm avoiding to face my life by staying here (at her mountain cabin)...I like what you told me, rather than I'm lost, may be I'm....what's the word you used? Finding" myself?"

I replied to my friend that I think rather than seeing yourself being "lost" see yourself being "found". It's one step in front of the other. Make a choice to do something and if it doesn't work, choose again. It's so easy that we complicate it and agonize over not having the right answer.

In this new year, I think we all wrestle with finding our passion, following our bliss and creating from our heart place. We over-think things and then either hide out, stay in confusion and overwhelm. Well, I say just make a choice any choice and if you don't like it choose again. Don't question it just do it! Yes, now doesn't that feel better?

Yours in fearless choosing,

Mary Ann