Progress Reports

I’m doing a ‘thing’ this week that surprises even me!
I’ve posted this:
because I’m Moving.To.Detroit.
This is a huge Yes! in my heart – change of atmosphere, change of scenery, change of ‘background noise’! (OMG – Illinois!) (OMG – Chicago!)
I’m jumping off the down-escalator that is ‘Chicago in 2016’ and onto the up-escalator that is Detroit. They were roughly where Chicago is now, several years ago, and are now climbing out of that dollar-hole.
The cost of living is lower; the job prospects are better; and my head-space for finding something is better!

Take a look, please, and if you can conribute (money or moral support) you will be a Hero in my book forever! Share it and you rack up Karma points 🙂

Love and Bright Blessings!

Another “Me, standing up” post. 🙂

Here i am, asking for your help to make an exciting adventure happen without the energy-killing stress of ‘how can this really happen, without going broke in a week?’

I’m not running away, this time, or hiding from anything – I’ve never been so jazzed about a huge change on the near horizon. I’ve found out *so much* about myself in the last year, and a whole new environment presents a magnificent opportunity to ‘start over’, using all that new knowledge, and applying myself to whole new experiences.

All kinds of support – good juju, candles, prayers, dollars, and sharing – will be most welcome!

Happy Canada Day (yesterday), and Happy (US) Independence Day (day after tomorrow), all!


A real breakthrough this week: “I’m afraid of…” is too big to get my head around and change –

What I’m really feeling is “I’m reluctant to Start (X) because of a Long History of (bad things) (disappointing results) (not ‘getting it right the first time’ – so clearly, it’s [I’m] wrong!) resulting from a Start…”

See what I did there? Digging into the several-many itty-bittty pieces that make up “I’m Afraid” …

Because all kinds of feelings can come under the heading of “I’m Afraid”, but they’re really different flavors (and textures, and colors) – with different sources and different solutions. Even though some of them are susceptible to the same sorts of conversation…

Part of me is very comfortable with “If I don’t start (or don’t finish, even if I start – a whole ‘nother issue, that one), it means I Haven’t Failed Yet.

Not quite “fear of failure”, and not quite “fear of success” either – more digging to do. But a good start, methinks. More to come…

Happy New Year, everybody!


Happy New Year, especially Little K!

Little K – you just stood up and took ownership of what you’ve really been doing all evening, instead of either hiding or lying to yourself and the people you feel certain you’ve let down.

I was hiding all evening, fucking around on the computer, not even writing, or doing anything “productive” or even creative – just playing solitary games, and debating putting off getting dressed and going to a party that I really wanted to go to, up until about 5 o’clock, when I got all nervous and insecure and cold and hungry, and I didn’t make the Choice: I simply Didn’t Choose. No *decision* made, I simply puttered until there wasn’t enough time left.

I’ve done that to myself for 50+ years – WTF??


I’m not particularly proud of *what I stood up about* – but I am definitely proud *that I stood up* at all!  Progress, yes? YES!

Thank you for being here…

I just did [a thing] that I’ve been resisting for a long lo-o-o-ng time.

KarenJ / Kharmin / Kay


I sat down and wrote honestly about myself, and some of the ways I’ve been less-than-together (under-statement of the century) in my Real Life, and then Actually. Ask. for Help! (Progress, right?) (Thank you, Ash and Shanna and everyone who’s ever written about how vital that is.)

The next step is to ‘make that visible’, because, well, *writing it*, committing it to screen is one thing (Yay, Me), but if nobody can actually *see it*, it still doesn’t do much good, right?

So, here’s Me (Ms. Karen Johannessen in Chicago, Illinois, USA), being vulnerable and visible at the same time:

All the heavy-duty resisting and denial I’ve done in the last year (decade?) – about losing the house, editing my stuff (by definition: eliminating options!), getting what’s left packed up and mostly stashed out of reach – all of that has come down to ‘spare-rooming’ it (a step up from ‘couch-surfing’ but a really small one), and now, losing the latest couch (at the end of December!)

It’s time to step up, get a “real job” with a “real income” (I know: you-all are a lot about “‘don’t just ‘work for the Man'”, but right now, I haven’t left myself time to start a side gig – face-palm!), and get into a place that supports my genuine needs. I see that as a place of my own, where I can be not so off-balance every minute of every day. First I need the place. I need the job, too, to support the place, but the hard deadline for a place is January 1!

Meanwhile, Thank You all for your wisdom, your advice, your support and your role-modeling. If it weren’t for my friends and the folks I’ve found on the internet, I don’t know *where* I’d be now (not anywhere any more comfortable, that’s fersure) ~ Blessings to you, and a shiny New Year!

Please take a look at this page, and if you can contribute, I’d surely appreciate it. Even if you can’t (or choose not to), I appreciate you, for sharing You, and for reading my words! If you see fit to share it, that would be wonderful, too.

Bright Blessings (the sun’s coming back, hurray!) and

Happy Winter Holidays (all of them) ~ Karen J

PS – I do have a PayPal account, too: k m johannessen at yahoo dot com. (Thanks for the reminder, Cordelia’s Mom!

I’ve just recognized a costume that one of my Monsters often wears: “But I don’t know HOW…” is really about “I. Mustn’t. Risk. Failing.” while I try something unfamiliar…

He conspires with his Monster friends to throw up all kinds of distractions: dishes that want to be done or hunger growls or running out of time before something else needs doing – and the ever-popular Not Enough Money bug-a-boo!

Also: “must have mindless brain occupying (pattern recognition practice)” NOW! AKA Solitaire or games. (Those can be good for hours of “Not Risking Failure, while I also ‘don’t do’ the thing I don’t know how to do”!)

He was probably born in early grade-school, when I started to hear “You’re so smart about A, B and C, and X, Y and Z – how can Q or R be so hard??” from Very Important Adults.

Now that I know another place where he hides, maybe we can come up with a new job description for him, that helps instead of hinders me?


This popped into clear view as I wrote a comment over at Carol Tice’s writing blog:

Thank you for the safe space to grow in, Carol ~

And Bright Blessings, always!

Karen J




I read that old saw again yesterday – you know: “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.”

And I started wondering  just how true is that??? I mean, it’s true in the microcosm – with these particular people, in this particular venue — but mostly, if you change your target, you get a whole new audience to impress! And since (contrary to your “I AM the Center of the Universe! aren’t i?” voice) you aren’t the topic of all conversation, most of the folks who didn’t see the first iteration won’t ever know about it; so you can start over, again and again and again.

But — your Inner Voices will always remember what that very first time looked and (more important) felt like – and I think that’s what really underlies the oh-so-commonly-paralyzing “fear of failure”!


So… Your assignment, Mr. Phelps* whether you choose to accept it or not(!) is to look at the story you’re telling yourself about this, and rewrite it so  it doesn’t become another club for your I.V. to beat you with, but an “AttaBoy” for Doing It At All (flagged with a fluorescent sticky-note and a glowing gold star)!

Love to you-all, and to me (that’s important to remember, too) and

Bright Blessings, as always!


*Yes, that’s a “Mission Impossible” reference, there (wink)

Hooray! This only took one morning to write, edit AND POST! Yay, Me! 🙂

“I want a(nother) cigarette… “

I hear that in my head on a regular basis, sometimes within 3 minutes of finishing one.

This morning, I asked myself: “What part of “I” wants what part of that cigarette?”   Mouth? hands? lungs? brain chemistry? blood chemistry? brain habit? (which one(s)?) body habit?

Is it the smoke? the smell? the broncho-dilator effect? the blood vessel dilation? the muscle relaxant effect? the muscle-movements of inhaling? the tiny little division of attention needed to type AND hold a cigarette between my fingers? a ‘cool factor’ (This is what a writer, writing looks like – from really old movies, don’chya know)?

Am I really hungry? thirsty? resisting some Authority?  …my own Authority? Am I bored? scared? confused? excited? (forgot one: horny?) (also: really, really relaxed ~wink~)


One thing I’m certain of, is that it’s not – as the sound-bites would have us believe – “all about the nicotine” — there’s a ton of other things (emotional, logical and physical) going on, too.

And a “smoke break” has a different effect than a cigarette *at the same time*. ~ Sometimes the best thing to do is to get up and get away from the project. ~ Sometimes, what’s really called for is that boost in the *right-here-right-now*.  When I want to stretch and widen my focus, give my attention room to wander,  “Must go outside” is useful.  When I need more focus on the project at hand, the last thing that would help me is to put it all down and go somewhere else and risk losing track of what I was doing.


I’ve been more-or-less successful in keeping to 1 pack per day or longer (20 smokes in 24 hours) but some days are far, far from that goal.

I do smoke much less when I only buy one or two packs at a time, not by the carton.  (There’s no longer a price differential, so using the “scarcity” trick does come in handy!)  Another “trick” I’ve just thought of while writing this is “What else could today’s $8 be used for?”

I can’t give a general answer to any of those questions because they’re all situational: “It depends…” is the only accurate generalization that applies! Maybe simply digging up the questions will help find more deeper answers, though…?

Bright Monday Blessings to you, my friends ~


PS: This article definitely shouldn’t stay buried deep in the comments:

(Truth be told, this is as much for me as for all of you ~ and it’s swiped from a wonderful sales page(!) that Ariane Benefit sent out this morning. )

Happy New Year!

Every new year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start.  As you are reflecting, I hope you find yourself delighted by the progress you have made in your life in the past year.

My personal benchmark is to look for not only “what” I’ve accomplished, but also at “who” I’ve become.

Have I become

  • a little wiser?  more peaceful?
  • a little more patient? more compassionate?
  • a little kinder to myself and others?
  • a little more accepting of my new normal as each year of aging affects my body?

I know I’ll never be perfect and in fact, I no longer even want to be!  I’ve found that what I used to think of as my weaknesses (like not having a biological clock, or not following orders well) are actually what makes it possible for me to deeply connect with people and be forgiving and compassionate.  They are actually my sources of strength.  Each little struggle makes me that much stronger.

There is no healing for the holes in your soul like being able to see yourself as you are and liking what you see.

In 2013, my deepest wish for you is to have lots of moments every day where you stop for a minute, pause the endless stream of what isn’t done yet, and just give yourself credit.
  • Credit for all that you are putting up with.
  • Credit for all that you are going through, and
  • Credit for somehow still being a caring, giving, creative and generous person who is always ready to help someone in need.
Find out more about Ariane and her new AgiliZen program at


My wishes for us all in 2013 ~

  • May you feel the Love you are surrounded by with an open heart
  • May you be Gentle with yourself and with others
  • May you see the Beauty that is in the World with new eyes
  • May you Grow in wonderful and unexpected ways

Bright Blessings, my dears!



Another “Just DO it” post … not giving myself time to second guess and then postpone posting!

A couple of verrrry interrrresting-looking books:

“The Luck Factor” by   Dr Richard Wiseman

Written by my friend, Joel D Canfield: “…most of us believe there’s nothing we can do about {our luck}. And Dr. Richard Wiseman is here to tell you that’s wrong.

Luck, it turns out, can be changed. It can be controlled. Luck is a skill you can learn and a tool you can apply in business, in life.


From the same site (Actionable Books. com) ~

“Brand: It Ain’t the Logo…” by    Ted Matthews

This one jumped out at me because I’ve been running into questions and classes and doubts about “Personal Branding” all over the place, lately. It also helps answer that perennial question: “What d’you do, anyway?”!


I honestly cannot remember how I first came to Lia’s place – just last Tuesday! Following commenters home again, methinks…   What do *your* Basic Rules look like?


“Frame it as a prototype or “beta testing” and you’ve got permission to start the thing you’ve been putting off.”

~ From Michael Bungay Stanier, via his inspiring Great Work Provocations:


And a Friday Funny from Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way:

Love and Bright Blessings, all!   ~ Karen


Whoops – forgot one! The bee-you-tee-full all-new launched-last-week site of my Stars-Mentor Lissa Boles. Good for all you/us Aspiring, Growing and even Established Entrepreneurs out there — If you’ve ever wondered what “the stars” have to say about and do with what’s going on around you, but don’t want to “learn a whole new language” in order to understand it, Lissa’s a fabulous resource! She does the translating (behind the scenes) and just tells us ‘what it means’. No geek-speak unless you really want it, and then it’s kept to a bare minimum. Love this Lady!


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