If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say …


Wow, was I raised like this!

I remember in high school, the girl I most emulated was soooo nice. People would say, “She never says a bad word about anyone.” For a while, that’s what I wanted to be like, especially because my own thoughts ran rampant, swinging from happy to murderous in the same five minutes. In the South, where I lived at the time, angry women were frowned upon, unless you could master a kind of faux anger, where you playfully put your hands on your hips and pouted, all the while remaining cute.

All through high school, I practiced controlling my emotions to make them more acceptable, and because I was a new girl, I though it might make me acceptable as well.

After those years of hormonal upheaval, the murderous feelings subsided, but so did my ability to voice an opinion. At some point, I realized, I had given up my own voice to make other people comfortable. I’m still learning how to find that voice again.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with being nice. But it’s being nice to the point where not making waves outweighs everything else that is the problem. Perfect example! I sometimes hesitate to tell the person blowdrying my hair that they are actually burning my scalp. I keep thinking they’ll stop any minute, and I won’t have to say, “That’s a little too hot for me, ha ha! I’m such a whiner!” On a much more important level, I put off having difficult conversations with my children that need to be had. I fall back into the pattern of saying nothing, when I have nothing nice to say.

But what if the truth is upsetting?

Here’s an article from the Elephant describing one woman’s thoughts on being too nice:

(Sorry about the racy ads, on my version at least. : (

Why Niceness is a Cover for our Struggle to Speak Truthfully

Claudia Christan’s Ted Talk on Naltrexone


Interesting Ted Talk from actress Claudia Christan, and how she stopped drinking.

I have no personal experience with Naltrexone, but I’ve heard from other people (mostly in Europe) that say the drug helped them tremendously. I have no idea if it’s widely prescribed in the US, but it does seem to have promising results.

Claudia Christan  Tedx London

Just Doing my Homework

Glow version

(Photo: Me, with special glow filter and sunlight effects.)

I have a life coach. I know, very trendy, but this woman is the perfect mix of intelligence, spirituality, and humor. She’s big into A Course in Miracles and has written some amazing books that I reference from time to time. ANYHOW, I told her about a spiritual experience I’d had that I’ve never written about, except in a memoir that I may never publish, and she believed me. Unreservedly.

And since she believed that, I told her another secret. I told her that from the time of that breakthrough, I’ve been able to do “readings,” which I have to put in air quotes because I’m not that comfortable with the word. Same goes for “psychic” or “medium.” In truth, I’m fine with those words applying to SOMEONE ELSE. And that’s part of the reason that up until recently, only a handful of people knew anything about this. At the urging of my coach (and after another year of putting it off), I did some readings for people in a spiritual group she has in Denver. It went very well. More importantly, it was fun and energizing. She’s also encouraged me to reach out to the world in general, because she sees these readings as healing, and they have been, both for me and other person.

The best way I know to describe what happens is that my mind and someone else’s become joined in a kind of communion. It’s almost like the feeling I used to get when I had a drink with someone. One drink in, and we suddenly connected on a deeper level, like we’d found some new way to communicate. I loved that feeling. Friends appeared out of thin air, and social anxiety was something that you could only imagine sober.

With all this in mind, I’m reaching out to do a few practice sessions. A year ago, I did one for a lovely woman in Australia. It was such a wonderful experience that I’m going to give it a try again.

SO! If there are any brave, open-minded souls out there, send me an email. (Of course, there is no charge for these readings. It’s just for fun and so that I can tell my coach I finally did what she has been asking me to do for years.)

Wow — one more of my secrets out there in the world. It feels good.



Please use this email:   shawnacarpenter05@gmail.com

Or just reach out in the comments.

The Danger of Justified Anger


After a difficult marriage and divorce, I thrived on anger. Somehow, the anger felt like power in a situation where I had very little of it. It wasn’t until I read A¬†Return to Love that I knew there was a downside to what I saw as perfectly justified anger.¬†Here’s a great article from The Elephant describing one women’s anger toward her father:

The Danger of Justified Anger.

(You may have to give an email address to read articles from The Elephant.)

You Don’t Need to Explain Yourself


How much time did I waste wondering how something I wanted to do would affect other people? Perfect example: For years I worried about inconveniencing friends because I had quit drinking. How would I explain it to them?

What a waste of time.

Today, my reading from the book A Year Without Fear addressed this perfectly:

Today, you do not need to explain yourself to others.

You do not have to explain your journey or courageous faith to others. If you were giving birth, you wouldn’t take time to make others feel comfortable and secure. You would be doing what your nature demands. You’d focus on the task at hand, the evolutionary impulse. You’d attend to your own needs. A new life will speak for itself.

— Tama Kieves, ¬†A Year Without Fear