Archive for the 'Bizzy-fabulous-ness' Category


Major Renovations. And Gin.

We are doing major renovations here at Break the Surface.

Renovations which include the name.


You heard me. We’re moving to our very own dot com. Which means we won’t be Break the Surface much longer…

Can you wait? (I can hardly wait!) Renovations always go over budget and over schedule and the kitchen never looks quite the way you drew it up with the architect. BUT, lucky for you, I’m the architect, the builder, and the client. And this renovation isn’t finished until the fat lady sings.

And I ain’t singing quite yet.

So everybody is going to get out their big girl panties and get ready for something very, very sassy. Because that’s how I roll. And y’all are gonna roll on into the new digs with me! We can have a housewarming party and everything.

I’ll serve gin and tonic and there will be karaoke.

Except for the karaoke.

Because I fucking hate karaoke.

So just the gin then.

Excellent. We can all get our drunken woo-woo on. Crystals and harps and enlightenment and everything. Including gin. Did I mention the gin? It is a party after all…

And who doesn’t like a party?



It’s about fucking time for this labour of love

I’ve wanted to record an album for as long as I can remember. Literally, not figuratively.

The time has come.

Ash Ambirge and her Intoxicate 2012 project lit a fire under my ass. If not now, when? So, now then.

Whittling down a lifetime of songwriting into 12, maybe 15, songs is heartbreaking. Being brutally honest with yourself and assessing whether, after all that writing, you have 12-15 songs that are strong enough to compose an album is…humbling. And that’s only the beginning.

Then there’s recording. Or what I like to refer to, so far, as “The ProTools Debacle.” It’s a long, long story (about 3 years long) that started with me lending my MBox, new out of the box, to my brother, and ends with me getting it back from him (it’s been sitting in a corner at his house, unused, for quite some time now), only for us to find out that it isn’t really working all that well. It works OK for about an hour, and then starts to make the most hideous noise I’ve ever heard. Which is delightful. And in the interim, I lost my ProTools install disk. Maybe it was because I moved. Maybe it wasn’t. Who’s to say. But I am now at a point where my recording vehicle only sort of works and I’m fucked for the software, even though I paid for it. So I will be turning my house upside down…again…looking for it, so that hopefully I can get rid of this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.


My homework now is listening. Listening, listening, listening. Because I have to figure out how I want these tracks to sound. What instruments, what effects. What drum beats for god sakes, because the reality is that I have to program drums, and I am soooo not a drummer. I have to know everything that I want, because I’ll be producing myself. So I have to listen like mad. And I have to listen to an enormous width of music too, not just the same few albums I tend to rotate, and at a closer level. I have to listen to a vast variety of music from both a production standpoint AND a writing standpoint, because there exists every possibility that I will be writing more tunes as part of this process.

So I asked y’all for listening suggestions, and you sure did come through! Here are some of the suggestions you guys have given me for listening. Haven’t heard most of these yet, but I know what I’ll be looking into. And please add more suggestions in the comments!

  • Rupert Blackman
  • City And Colour
  • Ally Rhodes
  • Ron Pope
  • Passenger
  • new Train album
  • Cady Groves
  • Lights
  • The Icarus Account
  • The Pretty Reckless
  • He Is We
  • M.T.L Band
  • Brighter Brightest
  • Young the Giant
  • Meg & Dia
  • The Cab
  • Safetysuit
  • OneRepublic
  • We The Kings
  • Parachute
  • Stay – by Mayday Parade
  • All Time low
  • Therapy
  • Courage My Love – Anchors Make Good Shoes (If You Have Issues) (@couragemylove)
  • The Beatles
  • Lydia
  • Lost in Paradise – Evanescence
  • Good Enough- Evanescence
  • @hollywoodkills
  • @Halestorm
  • Nicki Minaj
  • The Pretty Reckless
  • Hot Chelle Rae
  • @kerlimusic
  • Marianas trench (OK, a LOT of you suggested this. Who are these assholes anyway?)
  • a few of you suggested me. While I totally appreciate it, I think for this exercise, me listening to me is rather circular…YOU listening to me, on the other hand, is purely delightful!
  • Artist vs Poet
  • Nightwish
  • A Day to Remember
  • Chiodos
  • The Color Morale
  • Paramore
  • This Wild Life
  • Acres of Lions
  • Emarosa
  • Silverstein
  • The Deadhands
  • Escape the Fate
  • There for Tomorrow
  • A Change of Pace
  • Amanda Clemens
  • Of Monsters and Men
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Fun.
  • Stabilo
  • Two Door Cinema Club
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Bedouin Soundclash

I’m not content to shoot for the middle. I recognize that I will be making this record under circumstances that are less than my ideal. What would I like? A full band, a producer, and a studio full of wicked gear, and an engineer. What do I have at my disposal? My MBox, ProTools (hopefully), my Mac, a Shure 57, an old Roland synth, a couple of guitars, and me, myself, and I. I have a bass player friend who will probably play bass tracks for me. My brother will give me some technical help where he can. But really, it’s mostly down to me.

This project is about removing my own obstacles so I can do it anyway instead of seeing only roadblocks. So it’s not an ideal set of circumstances. It’s still better than not doing it. Which is exactly what I’ve done for the last 20 years. And that’s been lame. There’s really no other word for it.

So, given my parameters, I have to shoot for the moon. My own personal moon. This has to be the absolute best I can make it. It won’t be finished tomorrow. I have an extra hiccup in that my health challenges make my work love schedule on this project entirely unpredictable. I’ve had a lot I questions about release dates, and to be fair, I have no freaking idea at this point. Not one clue. I don’t have a team working for me, a machine turning the cogs behind the scenes.

You guys are my team, my machine.

Which is to say that your patience, and your support through each step of the process is unimaginably valuable to me. My promise to you is this: I will stay in conversation with you, keeping you updated on the whole process as I navigate it. And we’ll enjoy the finished product together. You’ll hear about the challenges (there have been some, as I told you, but the process is also bringing up some emotional ick that I have to wade through, and I’ll let you in on that too) as well as the successes. It’ll be a journey, a process. But I think that’s kinda cool that you’ll all be with me along the way.


So here we go, jumping in with both feet. Break Until I Bend will get made if it kills me. Which it just might.

Apt album title for me, wouldn’t you say?


Allowing vs. Attracting.

So I’ve been doing a whole lotta introspectin’ lately. Gettin’ clear and saddling up for the ride that’s gonna take me on.

Over the last few, I’ve heard mentioned by some pretty ballin’ chicks, the concept of Allowing.

  • Danielle LaPorte of White Hot Truth mentioned the concept of allowing and it’s unfortunate glossing over in the whole Law of Attraction business, in her interview with Satya Colombo for his Freedom Business Summit. I have listened to this interview over and over again, because it’s just so durn inspirin’! (You may have come to realize this, or you may be taking a ride on the slow bus, but yes, Danielle LaPorte is one of my business / spiritual / crystal-totin’ / word-slingin’ crushes. There you have it. I heart you, Danielle. *sigh* But seriously? Super-duper inspirational lady to whom I feel very drawn. An added bonus that she’s got some mad skills and likes to share her knowledge.)
  • Lissa Rankin of Owning Pink tweeted on January 5 of last year,#MojoTip Allow yourself to receive abundance & financial freedom this year. You deserve it.” (And by the way, this lady rocks. She’s all about talking about the vag. Seriously. Who doesn’t like a lady like that? Plus, she’s got balls. Vag and balls. An OB/GYN who spends an hour with each patient at each appointment? Hello, revamping healthcare (finally!) And then goes on to shut down her medical practice because she feels called to coach other folks to find their own sump’n sump’n. A brave, inspirational lady.)

I know there have been more stirrings of this. At least, I sincerely hope there have. Because it’s something that has been grossly under-discussed, I believe. So for those interested, I’m gonna throw my two cents in the ring…

Here’s the thing. You can attract all you want, but unless you accompany that with allowing, you won’t be any further ahead than you started. In fact, when you don’t allow what you attract, you run the serious risk of sliding backwards, because the attraction will be accompanied by the plaguing question, “why can’t I make it work in my life when it is all around me?”

Let me say it once more, as it bears repeating. Attracting and allowing must flow together, like two streams that converge, resulting in the great vastness of a river.

Both of these things take work. The Law of Attraction has been pretty well fleshed out in The Secret, among other programs and texts. Seeing as I have not yet mastered this one, I’m going to let that speak for itself and move along.

And if you thought I had trouble in that arena, let’s look at the concept of allowing. For some, it comes naturally and easily. I am not one of those people. Any progress I have made in this area has come at great personal expense…primarily payed to my amazing therapist for all the time spent in her office taking a good, hard look at where my blockages are. And blockages there are a-plenty.

Because allowing is not simply an intellectual concept. True, I can examine my life and any traumas that may have contributed to my blockages. I can see them clearly for what they are, and even understand in my head what I need to do to move through them to get to this illusive place of allowing. But knowing it in my head and feeling it in my body are two different things.

How do you go from the therapist’s chair to walking the walk and talking the talk? Please, tell me if you know. Because I’m still working on a trial by fire basis. So far, lots of fires, and they’ve been very trying. Ba dum bum.

I have gleaned a few nuggets which look promising from this vantage point, however.

  1. Consciousness is the key. (Staying aware and staying present are pretty much the precursors to any personal growth, as far as I can tell, btw. Dammit. There goes my pralines ‘n cream date later.) You have to notice your body’s reactions to the blockages as they arise, which actually requires an enormous amount of consciousness and willingness on your part. Only if you are aware can you make choices – yes, choices – about how to proceed.
  2. Respond, don’t react. If you are truly aware, and take some time to sit with it and stay present, you have the ability to make decisions about what comes next. Choices. Decisions. Not knee-jerk reactions that just replay the old scripts over and over again.
  3. Take some time, regularly, to be open on purpose, with purpose. In other words, hold the issue in your mind, and create a feeling of space around it. For me, it’s a very physical feeling. It’s like softly holding a sealed box while standing in the middle of a vast field, grasses swaying in the wind. Inside that box is Possibility…and Possibility holds inherent in it two (or often many more) outcomes. This is where conscious choice and allowing comes in. But first you have to give yourself, heart, mind, and soul, some space around it in order to get there. (Of note: many people talk about taking regular meditation time. I think this is admirable. I don’t manage it very well – perhaps I’d take less Ativan if I did, but there we are now. If you have the time, freedom, and ability to stay awake while cross-legged on a pile of pillows with oils burning and Gregorian Chant in the background, kudos to you I say. And I do mean that. Let’s meet for a beer when you’re done. I am a big proponent of taking nuggets of learning and applying them in my real life. For instance: as you walk down the street to the Post Office, take that 2 minute opportunity to visualize and resonate with that feeling of space while holding the issue in your mind. Do it again on the way home. When you stand under a hot shower after the gym (something else I don’t do, the gym that is. I do shower. Most days. OK, some days.)…or even better, sex (this one on the other hand…) or whatever, again with the space and the visualizing. I would love to have the time and focus to devote to mediating an hour a day, but right now I don’t. So I make it work in my life, for me…because that’s the only person I have to make it work for. And same goes for you, sailor. Find a way to make it work for you, and you only.)
  4. Breathe. Yes, breathe. Why? Because breathing helps you make space, gets O2 to your brain so it has a fighting chance, and it helps slow you down and relax you. Plus, every self-help, good-for-you, find-your-centre practice there is out there talks about breathing. “Yes Sara, but if they all talked about jumping off a bridge to achieve enlightenment, would you do it too?” Hee-ell no. So really, that’s not the motivating factor for me. But you know what? My mamma, Corlynn Hanney, is an extraordinary voice teacher, and she taught me that the concept of space, support and breath are all wrapped up in one when it comes to singing. And so I figure if I’m looking for space, trying to support conscious allowing, then breathing (the hat-trick) can’t hurt, right? Yeah, I’m going with it.

To be clear, all of these things are fantastic theories. Some days, in my life, they even make good practices. But nowhere, ever, will you hear me say, “Yup, got that one nailed.” Because I so don’t. I do step 3 for a while. And then I forget. Sometimes for months at a time. 1 & 2 come and go, somewhat of their own volition, apparently. 4 is reasonably constant, but that’s only because I now have a super sexy sleep apnea machine (Darth Vadar mask) that keeps me breathing at night. When my body forgets to do it by itself. No, I’m really not kidding. Super duper sexy.

Because even those processes that should intrinsically automatic sometimes…aren’t. We unlearn them. We fuck them up. We throw our own weird -isms and -obias into the pot and then we stop breathing in the middle of the night when shit is just supposed to work by itself. So it’s back to basics. Learn to breathe. Again. Consciously. Feel it in your body. Direct the breath where you want it to be – your toes, your elbow…hell, your lady bits. But all of a sudden you’re back at step 1. Funny how that happens, huh?

Without all of these bits and bobs – and I’m sure other people have loads more to throw into this mix – we are not present enough to allow. We are distracted and focused on other things. We have blockages we don’t even realize are there. We go so unconscious that we might as well be housed inside a mountain for all the cell reception we get from the Universe. Attracting is only half the equation, building the building. Allowing is phase two, moving in. If attracting is buying more stuff, allowing is clearing out your closets and donating to the Salvation Army to make room for all the new lovliness coming your way.

I don’t do so well with the allowing. That’s my mountain to climb. Until I start allowing, no amount of attracting will do me any good. I don’t know if it’s not feeling worthy enough? Why else would we not allow ourselves to open up to the things we want most, the things we feel most passionate about? I’m pretty sure that’s where my roadblock crops up. Not feeling good enough to deserve the things we hunger for, the things we strive after, the things we want nothing more than to attract. If we don’t feel deserving of them, the road stops there. There is no going any further. There’s no attracting, because there is no allowing. We aren’t good enough, we don’t matter enough, we don’t deserve that much bounty and abundance in our lives.

Fuck that shit.

I have lived with that underlying belief for thirty-cough-something-cough years now. But the more years I add to that thirty, the more I realize that I deserve everything I want. Wanting is not a bad thing. My wanting does not cause somebody else lack. Andrea Beaudoin at Align Your Energy tweeted, “By the way,the world doesn’t need fixing. Neither do you. And dreaming for more doesn’t mean you can’t be happy today~Notes from The Universe” And I have done enough work on my core beliefs – another blog post unto itself – that I feel like I’m finally starting to get somewhere with the whole issue of self-worth. Lord knows I’m not the only person to struggle with this albatross, and if it’s taken me this long, this much therapy, this many bad decisions lessons, and this many self-help books, it’s unlikely to be an overnight fix for anyone else either. (But isn’t it better to start working on it now than never?)

So once I untangle the whole bloody equation, I think it looks roughly like this:

Self-worth => Allowing => Attracting => Johnny Depp BLISS (aka anything’s doable)

Got it?


Thank you Ash. Just…thank you.

Dear Ash –

I’m really glad you sent the email version of your blog post to me (and probably a few others) twice today. Funny, because it was probably in error – slightly ironic given the subject matter, don’t you think? But the fact of the matter is, I didn’t read it the first time around.
I’m having a really hard time these days for a lot of reasons beyond my control (yeah, I create my own fucking reality and all that…and yet i’m sicker than shit and have been for months and keep getting worse and ending up in hospital…pretty sure I’m not doing it on purpose…and yes I know that I could still be creating it because it serves me in some way and all that shit. I’m really very enlightened. Fuck.)
But I digress. Point being, I’m in huge avoidance mode. I avoid answering the phone. I avoid opening any emails that are anything less than emergent. Sometimes I avoid making dinner and settle for chocolate and ice cream. I avoid doing pretty much anything that doesn’t relate directly to making sure my children are fed and well, and keeping my symptoms as low-key as possible. Sometimes I even avoid those things. Pretty sad-ass, if I do say so myself.
And so when your first email arrived, I did not open it, just like I have not opened any of yours for the last couple of months (sorry, just being honest.) I also have not opened any of Danielle LaPorte‘s, Satya Colombo‘s, Karol Gajda‘s, Chris Guillebeau‘s, or any of the other people I find inspiring. I just figure I’ll get around to them when I get around to them, or I’ll pick up from a new starting point when I’m ready.
But yours arrived twice.
And I recently watched Oprah talk about life whispering to you, each time a little louder, until it’s screaming and knocking you over the head. So how about learning to listen to the whispers? I decided that receiving your email twice was a whisper.
And your post was exactly what I needed to hear. Don’t think I even need to explain that further, do I?
Sometimes we need to just give ourselves permission to be where we are. Thanks for giving me the permission to give myself permission. (Um, yeah, I know that’s ridiculous.) I’m putting your post up on my fridge.

Just. Do. Something.

We spend an awful lot of time in the past.

Acknowledging pathology is one thing, but getting stuck in blame and bitterness, and just, well, STUCK in the past doesn’t help any of us in our lives. I am as guilty as anybody on this one. I’m sure my therapist would agree.

I was sitting at my kitchen table tonight, having put in several hours today on some bizzy-fabulous-ness, rewarding myself with some promised ME time. Currently, that’s working my way through Danielle LaPorte’s The Fire Starter Sessions. And, holy hell, Ms. Thang is lighting a fire under my ass. Or really, helping me to find my own fire, which is the best compliment I could give her.

Me with Danielle LaPorte.

I completed Exercise 2 (clearly, I am just starting to burn my way through the program), which has to do with identifying past “failures” in business so as to move beyond. Danielle clearly has a fantastic sense of humour (or at least she shares my particular irreverent sense of humour.) There was a footnote at the bottom of the exercise, suggesting several things to do with the paper, once the exercise had been completed, all in the name of release. One of the suggestions was to write “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” across the page.

So I did.

And promptly started laughing like a fucking lunatic.

I mean out loud. Really loud. (Thank God no one else was home and none of my children were trying to sleep.) Kind of maniacally. (OK, possibly super maniacally. Stephen King would have been proud.) Unstoppably. (It just went on and on and on. And on.) I eventually had tears streaming down my face. And a newfound lightness in my being.

Looking at my bizzy-not-always-so-fabulous past has always been a source of bitterness and disappointment for me. But it doesn’t actually matter what other 99 descriptors I could add there, the past is the past is the past. No, don’t forget it, because it A) got you where you are now, which is a fabulous jumping off point for what comes next, B) made you who you are today, and that person is equipped with everything they need to take the next step, and C) taught you every lesson you’ve got in your arsenal, lessons that you can turn around and NOT repeat (you know what they say: know better, do better.)

So don’t forget it. But don’t stay stuck in it. Move along. No…no excuses. Just. Move. Along.

In all the many business- and success-related books I’ve read and speakers I’ve heard, that is an overwhelmingly common thread. Do something. It almost doesn’t matter what. But keep moving. I understood it rationally, but it hadn’t hit me on a visceral level until I sat there laughing uncontrollably at my kitchen table tonight.

This was exactly the kick in the ass I needed in order to move beyond. Sure, shit’s happened. Yep, shit will happen in the future too. But for God’s sake, lighten up and don’t drag it around. That baggage can be incredibly freakin’ heavy. Don’t let it define everything you do. Don’t let it define YOU!

I will no longer let it define me.

Now I can give a rockin’ elevator speech that leaves you as in the dark about irrelevant parts of my past as before I started. And almost all of it is irrelevant. Unless it has to do with my business now, or looking forward, it doesn’t matter to you.

So I am in deep gratitude to Danielle. This hit me just the right way, at just the right time. It freed up in me something that has long been stuck. Instead I’m in a place of joy, doing something. Staying in motion. Doing. Something. Best of all, I’m doing it all while laughing.

Because laughter is really effing important. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!


Business Secrets Amassed

I don’t usually write business-y (or as I like to call ’em, bizzy) posts here.  However, sometimes exceptions must be made…

There is the single-most amazing sale I’ve ever seen of current entrepreneurial and online business building content happening right now.  As in, only for three days, and it’s already begun.  I have been following many of these bloggers for a while now, and slathering at the mouth thinking of reading all of their e-books.  But at about $1050 all in for their amassed materials, there was no way I could swing it. (If you’ve been a reader here, you might have noticed that my dysfuntional relationship with money is a bit of a recurring theme, albeit one I’m working on changing. Starting here.)

But until 10am EST Thursday, December 2, 2010, it’s only $97.  For all 23 e-books, guides and courses.  By the some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds on the horizon at the mo’.


Yes, I just yelled at you, and yes, I used far more exclamation points than I would ever advise be used in one place.  But it really is that big a deal.  I know that I now have my reading materials stocked to the gills from now until Christmas (or maybe my birthday in June, or maybe my 40th birthday, which is….uh….sometime in the next decade.)

Who are these masked menaces, you ask?  Well, buckle up.

Danielle LaPorte of is a fantastically inspiring, authentic, intuitive business mind.  True Strengths + The Metrics of Ease is one of the most oft-purported nuggets in the Fire Starter Sessions. She will light you up and you will move yer ass. So worth it.

Everett Bogue. This dude’s website is a go-to for minimalist lifetyle. He lives with 57 things. Seriously, 57 items in his possession, period. He says things in his blog posts like, “My name is Everett Bogue, and I think you’re an idiot.” Perhaps it’s my dark sense of humour, but how can you not love a guy who has the balls to throw that out there?  He also happens to know a thing or two about creating the online income he needs to support his minimalist, location independent lifestyle, which he shares in Minimalist Business.

Chris Guillebeau: | The Art of Non-Conformity. This guy is kinda the shit when it comes to questioning convention and challenging the status quo, instead favouring revolution and non-conformity. A bigwig when it comes to creating an online income to support his pro-travel lifestyle, check out his Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself.

Leo Babauta and Eric Hamm come together with The Essential Motivational Handbook.  Leo Babauta I know about from That one is kind of self-explanatory, no? I not, I need you to go pick up a dicionary and look up the word “zen” right now. And then drop and give me 20. That is all I will say about that.  Eric Hamm is new to me, and I am looking forward to learning more about his background at From what I gather, he’s a web techie guy, and I am a total closet wannabe geek (OK, maybe not so closet). So I’m stoked.

Karol Gajda. is a very cool site. Karol is another one that’s in the freedom business. As in, make a living that allows you to be free. Plus, he put this package together with Baker of  In it, you will find Karol’s How to Live Anywhere.

Jonathan He challenges ordinary and is all about creating work that you are both passionate about and will support you. All is not lost!  Reclaim Your Dreams.

Corbett Barr. is also about creating the life that suits, well…you, with Affiliate Marketing For Beginners. Just what it sounds like. And so often we think of affiliate marketing as pushy and sleazy. But Corbett makes it not only accessible but also laced with integrity.  (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either.  Apparently I was wrong.)

So, these are the rockstars I already know about and am SO excited to read their materials. Education in every form is invaluable. And the other 14 authors – yes 14! – I’m equally excited to discover for myself.  The other contributors are Naomi Dunford, Dave Navarro, Laura Roeder, Chris Garrett, David Risley, Charlie Gilkey, Lea Woodward, Johnny B. Truant, James Chartrand, Nathan Hangen, Tammy Strobel, Henri Junttila, Erica Douglass, Colin Wright, and Jade Craven.

And if all that wasn’t cool enough, $5 from every single sale made during these 72 hours is going to Chris Guillebeau’s Charity:Water Ethiopia project. The lofty, but reachable goal is to raise enough money in 72 hours to build 2 wells in Ethiopia.  Rock on.

If you want to get in on the deal, have at ‘er. Link is below. And if you aren’t game for spending $97 on blowing yer mind, no worries. Go ahead and check out their websites for some incredible blogging content. Do yourself a favour!  Let me know what you think of the discoveries that will ensue…

Make and investment in yourself and your future.

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