So this morning, I’m looking for “What’s missing from my life?” ‘Cause, there’s a ton of it missing, whatever it is…

Complicating the search, is asking two questions at once:
“What is it?” and “How do I get more of it?”

I asked  a group of friends – and the best answer I got was from Thea, amplified by Tami:

 Be sure to appreciate what you already have. Getting too lost in the question “What’s missing?” can sap your strength, but keeping attentive to what’s already in your life will empower you to act on the answers you find.

Ahah! Keep your language positive – such an important reminder!


“Asking 2 questions at once” is like “Trying to Write and Edit at the same time” – a supremely bad idea. Your brain gets all tangled up and confused and thus, Overloaded and Stuck.

Mark Silver’s Remembrance Practice helps me get out of that Stuck, every day: “Is there room even here for Love?”

Also “Live in the Now” … !

Bright Blessings to you ~

I’m feeling my way through ‘how to make this Christmas more like what *I* want’, today. There are cooking and preparations to do, to help Amy get her Christmas ‘right’, and parts of the day that I need to be ‘right’ for *me* too.

Shortly after I wrote that paragraph yesterday, I sat down and wrote a list of ‘the menu, as planned in Roomie’s head’ and ‘what still needs to be done’ to make that menu happen.
The Doing of list-making helped me kick into the Actual Doing of Dinner. 🙂 instead of fretting about dinner in a black hole. It not only All Came Out swell, but everybody raved, everything got checked off, and I felt great by the end of the day.
“Permission to Nap” after dinner helped, too, yaknow!
I didn’t slink off – I told folks that was what I was going to do, and I did it! (Also texted some important people in my life, and turned on precisely the music *I* wanted to hear. Maybe not literally ‘nap’, but retreat from “too many people, too much outside energy” –  really important to me!)

All-in-all, Christmas turned out splendidly, I was tired but not defeated (victorious, in fact!) at the end of the day, and got good sleep rather than ‘passed out’ last night!

Hope yours was equally good, and have a great Boxing Day, today, too ~ Bright Blessings, All!  K




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…

I don’t get it.

I don’t know ‘how it works’, so I ask questions.
I don’t want to ‘do it wrong and get yelled at’, so I ask a question.
I don’t know ‘how you want it done’, so I ask another question.
Your answers don’t make anything clearer, so I ask more questions…

I don’t want to guess wrong (and get yelled at) but then “You ask too damn many questions! Leave me alone!” and “You’re smarter than that – stop asking questions and Do It!

= Yelled at, anyway!

Wah-ahh-ahh! Sniffle – Tears – Hide! I can’t do anything right – I quit! I give up! I don’ wanna!
There’s no point in even trying…
I’m gonna go [eat worms].


Holy Cowabunga!

All kinds of amazing personal self-discovery going on over at Havi’s today! Check out some of the links in her post, especially this one:

S is for Stimming, which for me is Supportive of Sanity and Serenity.

I personally self-identity (S-word!) as HSP and not so much with autism but hello, stimming (my dear friend!), and also hello, spectrum, another important S-word. May we all find a comfortable spot, a sense of security and “oh, this is me!”

And this one: rediscovering-stimming-as-an-adult by ExtendedExile.

Please read them, and the awesome comments, and then come back here. (Oh, please do come back – I’d miss you something fierce if you didn’t!)

Those posts are being as transformative (in the last 2 hours!) as reading “You Mean I’m NOT Crazy, Stupid or Lazy?” was.

I really AM OKAY, just the way I am. I’m NOT broken or wrong or crazy – I just don’t didn’t know how to use my brain-hardware happily.


Bright [if chilly (understatement of the year – it’s 5 above right now)] Blessings to you all ~

Karen / Kharmin / Kay 🙂


Hah! Another Friday morning dash-it-off post ~ And SEND!

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’ll bet you haven’t clicked on the tab at the very top here that says Let the Day Begin – I know I’d even forgotten about it… (insert embarrassed-as-hell smilie here).

Shanna Mann’s post comments reminded me of the incredible power of music to lighten, brighten, and overall Level Up your mood – and therefore your whole day.

Bright Blessings , y’all!



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




This article just came across my transom, courtesy of Lissa Boles.

It’s Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs”, talking about what I call Micro-Rules and finding your *perfect* (whatever):

A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Career Advice…He Didn’t Expect This Response, But It’s Brilliant. 

Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is an awesome guy. He can build or fix anything, he’s very entertaining, and has a great sense of humor. Mike also tells it like it is and gives great advice to others. A fan wrote him and asked him for some career advice:

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

– Parker Hall

And here’s the reply…

Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”

“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”

“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”

“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”

“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck,


PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

PPS. Think I should forward this to Claire?

That’s one more reason to like Mike Rowe. He’s too cool! If you enjoyed Mike’s advice, share it with others.

Source: The Real Mike Rowe

(found again at  April 7, 2016)

The most important line is in the last paragraph: “…most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

All I can add right now is “The grass is always greener where you water it!” – Listen for your own Micro-Rules that keep what you truly want far away from you. Make changes in how you talk to yourself, and to the Universe. Your world will change right along with you.

Blessings, all…