Beauty in the Breakdown

Beauty in the Breakdown

P1000280In a room, all alone, she sits and wonders how she got to this point. Away from all that is familiar, stripped of all that is known and once thought to be needed, she lays down and closes her eyes. Those voices that steered her too far off course. The surrounding people that did not understand. Wanting to be heard but scared to yell. She had been bent so far that she broke. She broke down, and was now segregated and in a world surrounded by the unknown – no other words to describe what was going on except that she was in the process of a complete breakdown. Pushed to the limits, she comes to a realization. It is really okay to feel this way. It is okay to feel lost at times. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to say no, it does not make a person less than a person. Basically people are just not okay all of the time, and even that is okay. Praying and lost in thought, she seeks and finds complete solace within herself. Stripped of all that she felt she had to have to survive, she finds herself in the darkness and somehow finding clarity and making sense

Does the above sound like a total breakdown? I do not think so.

I think we are all in different places on our journey. We all fight 60d2f4622bf344ad5e55e983608affcbbattles in different ways. Some of us need a time-out, others react in other ways – but the main thing is that no one is alone in this and that awareness will come to us at the right time and place. The main thing is to treat each other with respect and to just understand. Each person has a different perspective on Life and each person and their gorgeous uniqueness.

“I may have not gone where I intended to go, but I think I wound up where I needed to be.”– Douglas Adams

No one expects to wind up in the middle of a breakdown. But, Life 51a35a34e730ddc111714c0986818a0ccan throw you curve balls and put you on a different course. That was me. I had a life planned out that I thought was going to work. I did everything I could, made some mistakes along the way, but overall felt great about the way I was living. Then I let someone in my head. I let this person tamper with my sense of reality. Instead of listening to what I knew to be true – my intuition, and my gut instinct, I chose to listen outside of me and it sent me over. Coming from a broken environment, it was my every intention to never live that way again. Somehow, it still caught up with me and I, as stated above – broke.

“Crazy is not about being broken or swallowing a dark secret. It’s you or me – amplified … Was I ever crazy? Maybe I was – or maybe I was just a girl, interrupted.” Susanna Kayson

The definition of the word ‘crazy’ is as follows: mad, insane, deranged, and demented.

Now, would you honestly use any of those words to describe someone you know or even yourself? I do not think so. Labeling one as ‘crazy’ does nothing good for them. It can hurt and make one feel isolated from the rest of the world because they are so ‘different’.

“Some people are beautiful. Not in looks. Not what they say. Just in what they are.” – Markus Zusak

On a road of recovering, I have been blessed beyond words by the 0dd791855d05462a97d9a67fae3f345agorgeous people I have been meeting. The kindred spirits I have met have been very inspiring and have all helped me move forward in some way. Even if it seemed like what was going on at the time was not the best thing to go through, it still led to pure beauty. Life as I am living it is so very exhilarating. Part of the beauty I see in others, and what I see in me, is due to the happiness on their face, the love in their heart and the feelings in their head.

“Leave your things behind, because it’s all going off without you.”–Imogen Heap

Want to know a pretty awesome secret for utter bliss? Do not carry your baggage with you every single place you go. Just like you place a book down after it has been read, and it is likely not to be picked up again, why would you keep dragging things around?

At any point the details of your life can be changed. There is a reason a4be934727e6329622d7b82a1e9ecee4you are here and there is a gorgeousness about you because you have made it through a dark time and come out ahead. Do not let things happen to you. Change your mindset to think that Life is happening for you. The elegance of your uniqueness is an elegance this world needs.

“You can’t take anything for granted for a second otherwise you trip up. More than anything, I believe life is all about timing. I know certainly every situation in my life has been like “why now?” and it’s a test or a beautiful moment. That’s why life is so gorgeous.” — Lena Headey

beautyinaskirtSomething is to be said about the ones that have overcome adversity and hardship. We all have a journey in this world and each one of us has our own signature styles. The absolute artistry Life creates with each and every one of us is exquisite. Things would not be the same without you in this world.

We all are connected. We all make a difference. We all matter. We are all worthy. And we are all enough. That is such a beautiful realization to come to.

There is pure beauty in Life and its plans for us all. We are doing the best we can, with what we have and what we know in the here and now. Your struggles, your triumphs, sad, mad and glad moments – they are all unique to each person and the more we respect each other, the better we all will be – no one does it alone.

“Someone gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” – OSHO

sending starlight and moonlit promises, RF_plane_Renee_December2015Renee

we are ALL worth catching

*images used with permission through Pixabay and no infringement is intended* 


Succulent Wild Love – A Q & A with SARK & Dr. John Waddell

I have had the most wonderful pleasure of coming across a book by one of my mentors, SARK, and her partner, Dr. John Waddell. I have been enjoying every word – it overflows with wisdom and tips that are beyond the usual things you might hear when talking about relationships. The following is an interview with the esteemed authors. 

Succulent Wild Love
Q and A with SARK and Dr. John Waddell

SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) and Dr. John Waddell are the authors of Succulent Wild
Love. SARK is a best-selling author and artist, with sixteen titles in print and well over two million
books sold. Dr. John has been helping individuals and couples lead happier lives for over 30 years
through his clinical psychology practice and metaphysical teachings.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ 

sark_quote7Tell us your love story. How did you meet and come to write this book?
We met on a cruise ship where we were attending the same metaphysical seminar in 2012. When we first met, John said, “I want you to know that I’m qualified to adore you,” and I felt married to him in that instant. We’ve been together ever since and in January of 2014, John proposed and I said yes! John had no idea who SARK was at first — he thought maybe I wrote mystery novels. I knew he had a PhD in clinical psychology, was a metaphysical teacher, and had self-published two novels. We didn’t plan to work together or write a book, until it became clear to both of us that his three core teachings and my three core teachings merged into six powerful habits that we knew would be profound life-shifting teachings for others, as they are for us.

What is a Succulent Wild Love relationship?
Succulent as in self-loving and nourishing, the way a succulent plant stores water & nutrients for itself. Wild as in untamed, being utterly oneself while in relationship with another. Love, of course, as the ultimate expander.

Why do you describe the book as “a new philosophy of love and relationships for everyone?
Most of us have been taught that in a successful intimate relationship we need to be willing to compromise. We have also been taught that in a long-term intimate relationship, such as a marriage, sacrifice is necessary for the sake of the relationship. So a mother may wish to pursue a hobby or a vocation, but feel that she needs to sacrifice in order to take care of her children. A husband may limit his freedom to spend time with his friends because his wife wants his attention. Almost all relationships, even quite successful ones, have these pockets of frustration. We show you how to clear these compromises and sacrifices away and create joyful solutions instead.You can go from a slightly uncomfortable “I love my partner anyway,” to a wholehearted “I love my partner.”

The idea that you do not have to compromise or sacrifice in a relationship is a whole new concept that we use to show readers how they can have more unconditional love in their lives. Loving and being loved unconditionally is the highest form of love in a relationship. Many spiritual teachers and counselors encourage you to love unconditionally, but they don’t show you how to get there. We do.

What would you say to someone who is single and longing for love?sark_quote5
Practice deeply loving yourself and become the partner you think you want. Inhabit your longing for love fully, and do your transformative work with the six habits in the book and let it inform your creation of a new Succulent Wild Love relationship.

Your book offers six habits of people who are in Succulent Wild Love Relationships. The first is that they listen to their Inner Wise Self and take action accordingly. Please explain.
Each of us has a wise love mentor inside — it’s the part of us that knows more than our personality self does. You can think of it as your higher self, pure positive energy, or a gut feeling. Your Inner Wise Self is with you constantly and loves you unconditionally. Most people know they have this part of themselves and most people don’t ask it for help or advice. Whenever you ask, you’ll receive wisdom you can use. As you learn to ask more often, you’ll multiply your
power in tremendous ways.

The second habit has to do with using feelings as a guide for knowing when the relationship
is off track. Please share an example of how this works from your own relationship.
We were going out for the evening and I wanted John to compliment me and tell me how nice I looked. When he didn’t, I excused myself and went back into the house to tend to my own feelings first. I stomped around for a few minutes expressing to myself that I wished he was the kind of guy that exuberantly complimented me. I then turned to the mirror and exuberantly complimented myself in great detail. Five minutes later, I met John at the car, feeling beautiful and well loved. John looked up and said, “Hey, you look REALLY nice.” That felt good of course, and it was even more important to give that to myself first.

The third habit of people in Succulent Wild Love relationships is that they recognize their inner critics and don’t put this criticism on their partner. Please explain.
You are never fighting with your partner. You are always fighting with an inner critic and projecting it onto them. Here’s an example: we were at the airport, and John commented on how my luggage was much heavier than his. I got very crabby and felt like he was being judgmental and unhelpful. It then led to my thinking that he thought I was too heavy! I accused him of this and he assured me that he didn’t think that. When we talked more about it, we discovered that my inner critic that thinks I’m too heavy had been projected right onto John! I also identified a critical inner thought that thinks I should always travel with a slim, light, overnight bag and that I had failed in this too. Once you become familiar with your inner critics and the kind of things they say and think, you can avoid most fights and arguments with your partner.

You also offer an Inner Critic Care System in the book. How does it work?
Many people are so merged with their inner critics that they’re not aware that the critics are not them. The first step is to become aware of them by noticing any critical or negative dialogue inside your head. Next is to separate from these energies by expressing in some way — even as simple as saying NO. Next is learning how to communicate with them and inform them that they are no longer in charge — you and your Inner Wise Self are. We show how to do this process.

You talk about Joyful Solutions as a way to go beyond compromise and make everyone happy in the relationship. Can you explain how that works and if it is always possible to find a Joyful Solution?
We start by looking for the essence. Beneath the surface of what people say they want there is usually an essence that is somewhat different. For example, a wife might say to her husband, “I want you to pick up the kids after work,” and if you stay with that surface desire, it may be impossible to find a satisfactory solution if the husband doesn’t want to pick them up. Upon further investigation, it may become clear why she wants her husband to pick up the children —
she may want to rest or work on a project, and from that vantage point, we go on to the next step of Joyful Solutions, which we call Going Wide — which is looking for alternative solutions. In other words, are there other ways that she can have time to work on her projects or rest, other than by her husband picking up the children?

sark_quote4Joyful Solutions start with the belief that you can both have everything you want, and that there is no scarcity. Once you agree that you truly want to honor each other’s desires, you can begin envisioning beyond compromise — where one person gives something up for the other or for the relationship —and use your creativity to come up with new solutions that may not have occurred to you otherwise. If you believe you can create Joyful Solutions you will not be willing to stop at compromise. Sometimes it may take several days and support from others, but we have found —for ourselves and for our students — that you can always come up with a Joyful Solution as long as at least one of the partners is fully committed to this.

Please share an example of a Joyful Solution you created in your own relationship.
Out of the thousands we have created together, big and small, one of our favorites is something we call the “shower meltdown.” John was visiting me for the first time after we met and encountered my clawfoot tub and handheld shower, which had become clogged. He sat in the tub with water dripping on his head and thought, “I can’t live like this.” I asked him how he was and he shared his dismay about there being no shower. I explained that I was more of a bathtub person and that I was open to creating a joyful solution. We arrived at the joyful solution of having a shower installed over the tub, so that we both had what we wanted, and it turns out I absolutely love having a shower!

You say that people in Succulent Wild Love relationships practice seeing the perfection in their partner and all other people they’re in relationship with. How is that even possible?
We start by teaching people how to create Joyful Solutions. In the following chapters we continue laying the foundation for being able to love unconditionally and accept the perfection in others and ourselves. This is impossible to do without such a foundation. With practice, you can experience more and more of seeing yourself and others as perfect — not without preferences — but inherently perfect as they are.

You write about the importance of boundaries in relationships and use the term SPAR to explain their various aspects. What does SPAR stand for?
SPAR stands for Security, Privacy, Activity, Respect. Security in that you feel safe, Privacy in that your personal ways and habits are honored, Activity in that how you choose to spend your time- solo or with others is supported, Respect in that you are respected in general and in specific.We call this the foundation of “beautiful boundaries” where each person’s boundaries are honored in the relationship. In many relationships, boundary breaking goes on without awareness. In a Succulent Wild Love relationship boundaries are clearly understood and honored.

What advice would you offer to couples for moving through anger and pain?
Know why you are angry. There are three components to anger, each of which needs to be dealt with differently: feeling not cared about, believing someone “should” behave differently, and addressing the practical impact for you of what they are doing. Once you understand why you’re angry, you’ll learn how to deal with your anger consciously.
What would you say the most important thing that couples that want to create a Succulent Wild Love relationship need to know?
That they can create Joyful Solutions and continue creating them.

Succulent Wild Love by SARK & Dr. John Waddell
December 1, 2015 • Personal Growth • Trade Paper/eBook • 272 pages
Price: $22.95 • ISBN 978-1-60868-358-1

Reflections In Reality

When I began putting out the Magic Musepirations,  I became familiar with Rose Costa’s work.  Since then, however, something more has come out of this than just great poetry (and I mean GREAT!). She has become a friend, a confidant, a sounding board and a pep talk coach to me.  (again, this is a new feature – I do not make any money with my promotions, etc. These are just places and people I share because they are life-changers) 

A Favorite Poem of hers – “Life” #22

When life
gets you down,
lay back,
look up
at the sky,
and admire
the view.
– Rose Costa

To Rose, Thank you – for being all you are and for being what I need in a friend. And I love you —


The Realization


For too long I felt unsafe.
And even when I thought things were safe,
I had the rug pulled out from under me
more times than not.
And being surrounded by
those constant words
and reminders of that possibility
were not doing me any favors.
Fear remained
a constant in my repertoire.
Once I did become at ‘home’ with something
around me that seemed to make me feel better,
I would soon have it ripped away from me
for this reason or that reason.
But I expected that.
Given conditioning and all what
I had seen as ‘examples’,
my head was spinning on what was right
and what was up and down –
which led me to more
questions than answers.
The cycle was still going.
I was becoming the same one
I tried so hard to break free from.
The same habits, the same attitudes,
even the same looks –
that stopped me dead in my tracks.
I had to change.
I had to take charge
and if I was feeling unsafe,
I reminded myself that it is different now,
and always will be.

  • – Renee Furlow; January 2016

Thirty West Publishing House


This wonderful company, run by the talented and amazing Joshua Dale, is a new publishing house that I have had the pleasure of coming into contact with.  While they are not taking submissions at this time, they are working closely with other authors and will take on artists in the future. In the meantime, we are honored to share that 2 chapbooks, penned by Josh Dale, have been released on the label, with more publications planned.

In their words:

“We are striving to perfection within the eyes of authors and readers everywhere. Our mission since day one: Dedicating to providing our clients with a unique publishing experience. Utilizing a personalized design rationale, professional cover design, tactile editorial work, and superb communication, we are confident to make your voice heard with the utmost of clarity, in both the textual and tangible realms.”

The following are some poetry examples from the publishing place – and I am honored to share them here.

There will come a time when you break promises
you once made; promises to others and to yourself.
You’ll cross your heart and hope to die, and then take
it back. You’ll promise to always be there for someone,
but in reality you just can’t be around them anymore.
They’ve changed. You’ve changed. And it’s not that you’re
giving up on them, it’s just that you’re choosing what’s best
for you. And it will hurt, because you never wanted this, and
they never wanted to be “bad for you”. You will promise to
love someone forever and the love will change. Maybe you
still love them but it’s just not in the same way in which
you once swore, even though you promised it would never fade.
One thing needs to remain clear in all of this: You cannot
blame your aching soul for wanting to be filled to grow so
big, to live and carry on. “Forever” is a point in time
and time, my darling, is the greatest illusion ever created.

Clawed red
Throbbing veins
The sky is bleeding
The color of their planes
Scorched orange
The engines roar
Blue mirrors haze
Parallel altitudes
Grow brown
Golden wheat polluted
Powder snow
Falls like ashes in the spring
Combined separated by color
-Josh Dale

days west
she sat down
to find
the words
that could save her
from herself.
-Thom Young

More information and more poetry may be found at the Facebook page, HERE. My appreciation to Joshua Dale for sharing such great things with me about Thirty West!


Sending streams of starlight,
Renee Furlow


The Great Green Okayness by Rachel Awes

Awes_6x8_Cover_PresentationThe Great Green Okayness is a field guide to discovering the beautiful wildlife within, infused with a dollop of alimentative honey and delectable color. Wise author and artist Rachel Awes, a psychologist of twenty years, created these works of the magnificent human heart from her reflections following client sessions. Each passage and corresponding artwork speak to the soul like a potent, powerful reduction of boiled-down truth and goodness that every one of us needs daily, a homecoming gift to our humanity. Open to any page and find the passage that you need now. From the African plain to the great cosmos, Awes takes her readers on a journey to discover the beauty around, within, and always.

*I am excited for another book by Rachel. Her first book, all i did was listen, moved the heck out of me. I am so in love with her work and everything she does. Plus she really cares  –  she understands people, she understands what people need and she does it all with love and tenderness. I am honored to know her and have her friendship.

For more information:

Rachel is a psychologist, author + art playgroundist

and can be reached: (web) (shop) (instagram)

sending streams of starlight –



A Thirsty Soul Worth Catching

amore astrattoMy spiritual growth at times is at a standstill. And it is entirely my fault that happens.

I become overwhelmed with the silliest things. Whether it be procrastinating because I feel no inspiration or being surrounded by distractions (that I create!), I feel very lost when I cannot check in with my spiritual side.

I am going to finally say this and own up to this: I cannot just sit with myself and my own thoughts very often, and this slows my spiritual growth downstreams of chaos.

Losing myself in swirls of words on Instagram or the offers and personal notes in my email or photos and love from Facebook, I realize that hours go by very quickly. Or I end up watching all kinds of my favorite TV shows and I lose so much time that I have no inspiration to write, meditate or read.
I have reached a point in my journey where I know that the moments of silence, the moments of looking inward and the moments of reflection are well, they are where the real moments are. My starlight is not shining its brightest when these distractions take over. I have reached this decision to allow myself more time, and in doing so, have come up with this, a contract with my soul, my thirsty soul begging for more attention.

My Soul Contract:
I, Renee, pledge to you, my sweet soul, that I will acknowledge you more often. I will give you the things you crave more. I will

Flowers in the spring
photos on page by

honor you with allowing for your inspiration to be translated to me. I will bless you with spiritual articles and lessons to quench your thirst for that side of me. I will not let the typical ‘zappers’ take all of my energy so that I am at a loss of time with you. I will do what I can to keep the fire alive and allow your inner star to shine. I will welcome the star to shine bright and usher in the ideas and joys and assertiveness that is all worth catching.

I guess even I need to remember – I am worth catching, too.


Dear Me, I need to hear this

(ms ginger‘s writenergy experience brought me this ‘assignment’ and it opened up my world)

Old shabby book, feather and inkwell on a floral background



Dearest Renee,
I would like you to know I am here for you. I will listen and offer you ways of escaping that trapped feeling you have when you think there is no where else to turn with your thoughts. I am here to help you sort through your many emotions for each subject that comes up. Sometimes, I am going to offer your freedom from your missteps and show you things that will cause you to feel elation and joy. Other times, and I know that this is hard, but I will do this because I do love you, but I will also show you where you need to work on things and where you need to apply yourself as well as what lessons you are in need of learning. My job is not easy. Sometimes, I just do not want to come and join you. It’s not that I don’t like the visits. It’s that sometimes, rather than just flowing freely, I get jammed up in your head because you fill your mind with these random thoughts leading to over thinking and then I cannot get out and break free. It is not your fault. Many people do it. But we are talking about you. And you are such a talent. You are amazing with the words I give you. When you put them to paper, sometimes in a different way than I give them direct and sometimes in different order, but you nail it. You are inspiring people with the words we formulate together – I am always here. And as long as you allow the rest of your thoughts and your mind clear passage, I should always be able to pass through and you should be able to formulate my messages. You have to put in work, too, since my messages, like I said, are a little jumbled and sometimes they are going to come out fast. But you can do it. I have faith. And that is why I am here and that you were gifted with this blessing of being able to express yourself through your writing. It’s not for everyone. But you are not everyone. Now, let’s get to work…..
the one who has actually always been here no matter what and will continue to be here – your writing.


Chaos’ Whisper Turned Yell

Aphrodite's Grotto

Am I a whisper of someone else’s addiction
at times this causes the world around me to break
into storms soon after the chaos takes over
and there is not a single source of peace
not in these moments
quickly, the eye of the storm arrives
a soft and almost hushed understanding takes over
and in this quiet there is a solace that
will never be duplicated even if I tried to
the feeling doesn’t last long as the storm must complete
the cycle and I allow it all to take place and take over
but once it is finished, the weariness hits and the time comes
to admit something that the storms never could
maybe I don’t need the chaos anymore

~ Renee Avard-Furlow ~

*sharing as a person who is deeply committed to releasing some of this extreme chaos*

Temperance = Balance

spa conceptA tablespoon of love. A teaspoon of courage. A dash of assertiveness. A pinch of uniqueness. A cup of truth. A quart of understanding. A dash of creativity. A gallon of silence. An ounce of stability.

If we are not in balance in life, life can throw us off course to teach us how to be. So, what is balance?

The dictionary states that it is ‘the even distribution of weight enabling branch red orchid with leaf and stones on wet backgroundsomeone or something to remain upright and steady’. I define balance as keeping all of my emotions, projects and relationships in healthy shape by willpower and positive living.

The tarot card, Temperance, is in itself something to be practiced.. Meaning in moderation, passions are great to pursue but must not be allowed to be in charge. So it all comes down to balance.

One of the gifts that temperance bestows on us is the freedom to enjoy the things we love. For me, that looks like a life of writing, creating graphics, watching my shows, cuddling my family and speaking to my friends. To balance it all out, however, I have to remember to take some time out for quiet meditation and time alone with my thoughts.

Spa still life with aromatic candlesLose the feeling of hurriedness. Release the pressures to be perfect. And escape from the emotions of feeling pushed. Just let it all go and apply temperance. Balance can be yours.

And it’s easier to achieve than you think.