Let 'Em In.

Fred Rogers imagined a world where everyone was your neighbor. In the land of make-believe you could cross paths with another and begin an authentic, real-time, real-life conversation with no judgement or categories; no right or wrong. Those exchanges flowed, as easily on that planet, as the water cooler fodder over what happened with celebrity 'x-y-z', in ours. Mr. Rogers knew what I have only recently come to: neighbors are made when we keep our doors open. Boundaries be damned - full speed ahead!

Cameron Weil surely must be from that land of make-believe. He is a rare soul who seems only to be present, without a hitch over the past or a worry about the future. When he connects with you he is locked on. Meet him and experience it for yourself. You'll notice that he's really listening. You'll also notice that most of us do not. The trolley to Cameron's world passes right through the Eckhart Tolle-Booth and slows to a smooth halt at peace, bliss and connection. In a place called Now...

The Night.

Emily, or 'Emmo' or 'Captain E-Mo' arrives ashore - the twentieth mofo in my quest for 250 - an apparition. She purposefully (always purposefully) moves from one end of the room to the next on an invisible toboggan; she's watching me watching her, and she's faster than I am, so...well...I just...watch well

A bit like an ethereal mermaid princess when I think about it; so powerful right up to the surface edge - so vulnerable outside her world. Either way I won't take my eyes off her, for there is the sense that extraordinary will happen either/or. 

You may fish for who she'll be today. Above the surface, ardent and set? Below the blue; bubbly, buoyant, Bonnaroo jubilee? I dunno. Doesn't matter. I'm hooked.

( N0. 20 in a series)

Family Man.

Matthew Stewart gives new 'juice' to the expression Wait til your father gets home. Like, YES! For not everyone gets a bad-ass, bass-playin' rock-pop (actually, maybe in Nashville they do) walking in the door. Not every pop...rocks.

This; being a father and husband - is a vocation. And I have empathy for the battle between the ears; watching the paths that stretch away from the appointment.
 Yet, Matthew I acknowledge you for being a dad with your will as much as your body. I know it ain't easy, and that we often know too much for our own well-being; but look at this beauty you've created. Now all you and I have to do is...honor that.

Here's to the Pop that rocks!

(Matthew is 'Mofo' N0. 19 of 250)

Before Today.

Thank you, Alissa Moreno, for generously giving the gift of meditation this week. My eyes were veiled and mind opened to its own bursting school of color; gold hammered tin, garnet stone and lapis lazuli feathers. Whodathunk that I carried a carnival inside without movies, magazines, or music?

The teacher welcomes you in to her inviting nestle nest, draped and drenched with a thing called love. It's spicy, warm, and a baby's lean against her mother's familiar belly. Nice.

What's more is that the guru is a pop-star! I love that about Nashville; that you are only ever a step or two away from a hit, or in this case, a hit-maker, 'every day.'
From Alissa:

You deserve the best.
Never feel unworthy or 
not justified in having the best.
I tell you, this is your heritage;
but, you have to accept it.
You have to expect it;
you have to claim it.
To do so is not demanding too much.

-Guru Deva-

The End Of Outside.

Ms. Heidi Espe ( 'Mofo' N0. 18 in a series) has been cooking up something special. She's having a baby! Got me thinking about that 80s movie with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern. It was my primer on adulthood. Though I didn't see my life as anything like the characters', I sure wanted it to be. It shaped my next 20 years through a super-sized filter: 4 bedroom/3 bath, big yard, two cars, show kitchen, oppressive in-laws, >whew<. That was close...  

Heidi seems to be on a far more contemporary course in her approach to motherhood. She and her baby ( identity will be a surprise ) have been bonding as indelible allies since day one. Mom isn't given to effusive expression; her walk does the talking, and what it tells you is how excited she is to meet her baby. 

No movie could prepare me for the wonderfully rare thing created between a mother and her child. It is hardly the water-breaking, water-boiling, manic-cab-ride-through-congested-streets affair written into comedic scripts. Yet close your eyes and imagine: warm, working hands, embraces that never stop hugging you and a dance partner willing to meet your pace, step-for-step...that's what Heidi is up to. Congratulations to you both (and daddy) Happy Birthday!

Cedars of Lebanon.

An hour's drive east of Nashville - in a town named for the stuff of Phoenician building blocks - there is an old-fashioned cowboy with a modern world purpose.

Kelly Collom is a horse man. An equine sounding board for the things we want to say, but often...do not. He crafts a hand-tooled alliance from rider to horse; as individual as one of his custom saddles. His mission levels the playing field by listening to his bronco buddies, and sharing their 'words' with us. Clearly he's no 'do little.'

One of a group of communication pioneers (Steve Irwin and Kevin Richardson come to mind) who are outside the lines, Kelly is partnering with the natural world. What do you have to teach me? How can I contribute to you? A compassionate, gentle hand used to gain understanding and trust; an open ear and heart fostering healing in an uncomplicated way.

What a pleasure to spend time with him and Bella, Junior Who and Maggie Blue and the other Horse Corner inhabitants. Come prepared to work, to discover...to break up the limits on what you thought you knew.

Kelly Collom shares the ride.

All In Me.

I just finished a conversation with a client (a friend) who is 'disappointed' with a recent experience she had with me. She is 'just not happy' with the quality of the work I did for her. 

I am listening... 

I am embarrassed and experiencing here I go again - there is something wrong with me - I shouldn't be doing this - I CAN'T do this. At the same time, if I heard those words coming from anyone else, I'd say...the context is decisive. Ok Stephen, I get it. So if I'm choosing a context that builds me up rather than disintegrates - what in her dialogue with me - is for me? Where is the gold?

I am first, grateful, that she said what she needed to say. I am honored to be someone who can receive a communication with no resistance. Then I can see that I did not do everything I know how to do to ensure that she got exactly what she wanted. I can also see that this is a recurring pattern of mine. Why? What will it take for me to love myself enough to handle the details? To be great?

It's all in me.

Divine Idylle.

There's only one way I know how to say this; Raquelle Bostow has the Best. Face. Ever. It's become one of my favorite mantras. It's as if something pop n' fresh good is ready in the oven; Christmas morning good. Specifically like the Christmas of 1976, when I gingerly snuck downstairs to discover that I had not one - but two Six Million Dollar Man action figures. That's promises delivered and abundance yet-to-come. That's possibility. 

She's a vision with carved-from-dove-bars skin and a comely smile; one casting director away from being a campaign for something treasured. And then, from the most beautiful smile that God hath bestowed upon a human not named Sade, the French language flows. Boom. 

With all that said, you want to know what my favorite thing about Raquelle Bostow is? Why Mr. Bostow, of course.

 Zephaniah is a resonant wavelength that illuminates his bride (so much talent in that man!). He patiently serenaded us during the photo session and nearly sidelined the proceedings by being too good. Their friendship opens the great American songbook and belts it out in a savory falsetto! It shares dance steps, standing on the tops of the others feet. It plays patty-cake. It is an easy love to share in, receive from and...a double action-figure holiday. 

Mofos N0. 16 & 17 live, love, work and play together. 

Higher Ground.

Who are we? Are we the labels that our parents, schoolmates, or co-workers give to us? Are we: tall/ athletic /smart /nice /pretty? Are we lucky/ guilty/ beleaguered/ fabulous, or crazy as media agents often portray? 

Well here's a question: what if we are simply who we came into this world as? A label-less, blank slate - a body, heart and mind only requiring food, shelter and water for its function. 

Given that audacious opening for life as action, who do we choose to become?


I'm taking this space to label Cathie Cargill the Queen of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is Southern Royalty who wears her sculpted dreads like a crown and her garments as textured maps of personal history.
She's turning her blank slate into an inventor's wanderlust. She's twirling fleece into nests of cozy effects,  bending her form into a patient yogini, and pointing life's compass north after the death of her brother, Ricky. His skateboard/shield guards over her;  'Lucero' his royal crest. 

She's tying all of her labels together with as much depth, soul and beauty as one of her knitted pieces. Long live the Queen...

(N0. 15 of the '250...mofos') 

Learning To Crawl.

I'm watching you James. You young, restless, creative, force. 
I'm watching you grow every day. I'm watching you work through so many questions in your mind - you have this weight on your brow when you're thinkin' about things. I'm calling it the 'Chi Town Stare.'

Now I'm watching you play. You're beating those drums you play as thunderclaps smacking the wet earth. Here you're in command; you aren't thinking - just being. It's beautiful. It's the you that you must be tryin' to get to when you're thinking. I get it. 

It's all good. I mean - all the things they said, all the rules that you're supposed to follow, all the 'shoulds' that get in the way - give 'em (you) some space. Play.

James Chiodo, you're one to watch. You are awesome.

(N0. 14 of the '250...mofos.')