Facing Phallic Fears by Dana Bergstrom

Like most humans, I've worried plenty about what others thought of me.

Then middle-age arrives and some of us are like, "Geez! Other people's opinions are none of my biznass! I'm gonna ditch 'em and get on with the fun stuff I came to dooooo!"

And some of us do that, to the best of our ability, but occasionally things pop up indicating that we still have more hoohaw to let go.

Like the other night, I dreamed someone told me all of my emails were accessible to anyone on the internet.

"Wow," I thought.

I wasn't worried about it, but was curious to know if it was true.

I nonchalantly hopped online and quickly scrolled down the list of my emails.

Huh. No biggie.

But then I stopped at the last one, one I didn't even recall was in my inbox.

Black Helvetica. All lowercase. Just quietly sitting all alone at the bottom of the screen with the subject line...

"penis"

OH MY GOD! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I totally freaked out.

I freaked out so hard that I woke myself up and sat up in bed.

"Oh, thank goodness! That email's not really in my inbox. There's nothing to worry about."

Then suddenly it all became hilarious to me.

I'm terrified of penis emails?!

Ridiculous!

Pauly was awake so, between laughs, I told him about it.

He just stared at me blankly.

Sometimes my very modest husband has no idea what to do with me, so he doesn't react at all, probably hoping it'll stop me from talking about whatever disturbing topic I'm wild about, in this case, very public, genital-related documentation.   

"Okay, fine," I thought. It's not funny to him but I know someone who will totally see the humor in this, so I sent my dream off to my pal, Marian.

Marian quickly responded on a new email thread with the subject line...

"penis".

And THAT, folks, is what friends are for!

😃

The Best Kind Of Name Calling by Dana Bergstrom

Pauly and I were called something outrageous the other night. And now whenever this name pops into my head, I start giggling.

We were in Minneapolis since our pal, DJ Nola, was spinning her magic at Club Jäger on Friday. The instant we walked into the club, I began jumping around like a happy bunny.

But that's only because Craig Lambert, another wizard on the wheels of steel, was playing fantastic music from the get-go.

Hop hop hop! Shake shake shake! No warm-up required! Pauly loved the jams and joined me on the dance floor, too.

The place began to fill up while we bounced and beamed to Craig and Nola's transcendental tunes. Then I saw another one of my favorite DJs, who I hadn’t spoken to since he played in July on my happy birthday!

His DJ name is Cloudy Kid but Pauly and I call him DJ Cutie. He’s not only funky, he’s stinkin’ adorable.

Well...lemme rephrase that.

I'm the one who thinks he’s adorable.

One of the many wonderful things about being married to Pauly for the last 24 years is that he has zero problem with my announcing that another dude has Got It Goin' On.

Each time I point out a guy who's my type, which is always a fun, rare sighting, my sweetheart does the exact same thing.

First, he smiles and shouts "HE'S GOT NOTHIN' ON ME!" while taking his hand and running it through his long, dark, invisible hair, which was last seen sometime during the 90s.

Makes me laugh every time!

And it's true. Even though these guys always have amazingly gorgeous, long locks, they don't have a thing on him.

Pauly also makes fun of me whenever we run into one of these hairy fellas. I ADORE Pauly's insult comedy no matter who it's pointed at, so, yeah, my lil' crushes are entertaining for us both.

Anyhoo!

DJ Cutie spins a lot of amazing old school funk, soul and disco, which I’m crazy about, and on the night of my birthday he slipped in a perfectly-placed and completely unexpected jam by Madonna.

VOGUE!

No!

Way!

I instantly lost my mind…

well, actually...

me and ALL of the gay guys in the club lost our collective minds.

Holy! The combined energy soared through the roof with loads of screaming and arm waving. That was one blissed out, femme dance floor!

But I love to give artists their props and I missed the chance to let DJ Cutie know how fabulous his set was. So when Pauly and I ran into him on Friday, I expressed my appreciation for the whole night, plus the peppy, Material Girl bombshell!

This is when he said that although he didn’t really know anything about our lives outside of our many dance floor encounters, he knows one thing.

And that one thing is that we are...

Righteous Partiers!

As soon as the words came out of his mouth I started laughing.

He then went on to emphasize that we live too far away and we COULD be down in the Twin Cities partying with them every week and SINCE PARTYING IS THE ONE REASON WE ARE HERE ON EARTH, we should REALLY move closer because, once again...

with great and adorable emphasis...

we are Righteous Partiers!

I very much appreciated his impassioned sermon and told him so.

What I didn't say was that this was one of the funniest names we've ever been called.

I think it’s 'cause dancing was considered a questionable activity during our upbringing. Pauly wasn’t allowed to go to dances AT ALL. I was, but it was tolerated and not encouraged. I was actually forced to sing in church as kind of penance/trade for some of my secular activities, which was annoying at the time but amusing to me now.

This was a huge improvement from what my parents had experienced. My mom’s church had banned dancing, declaring it a sin while she was growing up. And I was told that my paternal grandmother would not be happy to learn that I’d attended my high school prom and this was gonna have to be our family's little secret.

So, yeah, in our ultra serious, religious home environments the word “righteous" was never a word associated with "partier". Quite the opposite.

Then there’s the fact that we’re about two decades older than DJ Cutie AND IT ONLY TOOK US ABOUT 50 YEARS (47 & 49, but who's counting?) of life on planet Earth to be called "Righteous Partiers", making us some mighty late bloomers in the partying department. :)

But, ya know...if I think about it for a sec, we get SO DANG HAPPY on the dance floor...

in truth, we could be righteous.

We let go of all thoughts and allow unfiltered life energy to flow directly through us...

smiles are permanently parked on our faces while the rest of our bodies totally spaz out…

we're fully in the NOW channeling pure positive energy...

Yep, that’s a lotta LOVE right there!

I think DJ Cutie is on to something.

Partying AKA Joy in the present moment is why we're here.

Party on!

Follow Your Bliss, Super - Callous - Fragile - Ego - Expialidocious by Dana Bergstrom

Sometimes I'll see a fantastic quote and get an impulse to text it to a friend.

This morning I spotted a magical one and sent it off:

LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE
If you allow yourself to be the person that you are, then everything will come into rhythm. If you live the life you love, you will receive shelter and blessings. Sometimes the great famine of blessing in and around us derives from the fact that we are not living the life we love, rather we are living the life that is expected of us. We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.
John O'Donohue

My friend enjoyed it so much that she forwarded it to someone else.

Her friend replied, "It didn't work for Hitler."

Here's the thing:

I think it could've.

As a young man, Hitler dreamed of becoming an artist. He had a great passion for painting yet he was rejected from art school and made unsuccessful attempts to make a living as a painter.

But what if he had decided to fiercely pursue what he loved, despite the repeated rejection he got from his father and the external authorities in the art world?

I mean, why go around spewing hate and starting wars when you could take a simple job and make just enough money to be surrounded by brightly colored paints and beautiful scenery while creating something that brings you joy?

According to a conversation in August 1939, published in the British War Blue Book, Hitler exclaimed "I am an artist and not a politician. Once the Polish question is settled, I want to end my life as an artist."[4]

What if the fear of being perceived as not good enough is what caused Hitler to not follow his bliss?

Focusing our time and energy on what we love is how we awaken our true nature. It is that part of us that inherently understands we are all connected.

Of course, Hitler's actions were beyond horrific and, as a result, many people believe that he was born evil.

Yet, that is the exact line of thinking that Hitler himself promoted - some humans are born better than others - which absolutely is not true.

It's just that people who abandon their dreams often choose a perpetually critical and lack-based focus, which is what feeds their super-callous-fragile-egos-expialidocious and sometimes they can become a menace.

I would freekin know.

I was afraid of not having enough or being enough, so I ignored most of my passions for years! And I yelled at near-deafening levels during those years like a lil' redheaded dictator who thought she desperately needed things to be a certain way.

Several years ago I was standing in our living room and I was so mad (read: fearful) and yelling soooo loudly over a remodeling project that I…

get this…

hurt my lower back.

No joke.

As soon as I felt the sharp pain, the whole thing became immediately hilarious to me and Pauly but, holy crap, you gotta be a special kind of maniac to do something like that.

And I AM that special kind of maniac…who then got to explain the entire ordeal to her sweet, gentle-natured osteopath.

Oh well. Embarrassing myself is my thang.

Depending on externals for self-validation and security is how I was living.

And Oooooeeee, that's a mighty unpleasant way to live.

Happily...feeling good by simply focusing on what I love is a daily choice!

Don't be like Hitler. Follow your bliss!

OMG.

I just visualized that as a black bumper sticker with bold, white lettering.

The world's worst bumper sticker.

Okay, erase that nonsense from your mind with Jerry Seinfeld and Friends' Hitler jokes.

Or just go do something that feels good, loves!

Win-Win by Dana Bergstrom

I remember the day my therapist said I could achieve win-wins in any situation.

The cogs in my brain came to a screeching halt.

I contorted my face and squinted at her, certain that she was now the nut in the room.

Doesn't my therapist know the world's a place where we battle for resources and security and there's no way there could always be a win-win?

Doesn't she understand that humans are born inherently broken and that I've been working really hard to become a better person?

Doesn't she get that life itself is difficult not easy?

But here's the thing: My therapist is amazing and she'd never said anything outrageous like this before.

And I truly wanted to understand how she could make such an unreasonable statement.

"What do you mean?", I asked.

She said that I could decide to do only what brings me JOY.

And if I allow the other person to do only what brings them JOY, then we could come together in JOY and that's a win-win.

My grimace remained.

WHO does only what brings them joy? Who lives like that?

I've witnessed obligation and shoulds and have-tos and need-tos and sacrifice all based on external authority type definitions of what is good, right, healthy, Biblical and worthy.

But JOY?

Doesn't that make you a hedonist headed straight for hell, or if there is no hell, at least condemnation from all of the "moral and upstanding people" of the world?

Welp. My therapist and I had this conversation several years ago, and it's taken me until now to fully comprehend what she was talking about.

Today I can see clearly how I am able to live every moment for the purpose of joy.

It's actually possible.

And that's because I have the ability to think whatever thought I want.

I can always choose the least resistant thought in this very moment.

My petty mind (the new name for ego - it gives it less power!) is always gonna conjure up some reason not to enjoy this very moment. It'll go to the past or the future and focus on negativity or as I used to call it, "reality".  :)  "I suck, you suck, this situation sucks." That's where my petty mind likes to live - in resistance.

But it's entirely possible to let go of thoughts of lack and move to a state of allowing goodness to flow.

In my case, it's been important to let go of the belief system that we're all born sinful, broken, lacking, and separate from one another. That makes it sound like life begins as a problem.

When, in truth, there is no problem.

There's a stream of creative wholeness called Life Energy or God or Source or whatever you wanna call it, that I'm either allowing or I'm resisting with my thinking.

I know win-wins are possible now.

As I continue to allow that stream to flow, I am trusting in the goodness of life itself.

And I'll run into people who feel the same way and we'll create beautiful conversations, experiences and things together.

Like today!

We've become pals with our mail lady. As soon as she got our route, she began giving our old dog, Oslo, treats every day. This brought her and Oslo joy. Then we'd give her chocolate and coffee to-go on cold days, bringing joy to her and us.

We had so much fun chatting when we first met that, right away, I got casual with language. This brought us both marvelous, curse-filled joy.

Anyway...she's been out on leave for weeks and hasn't seen the exterior on the fixer upper that Pauly and I have been having so much fun and joy creating.

And today I find this on the back of some junk mail in my mailbox.

A joyful, sweary note from my favorite mail carrier!

Made my day!

Win-wins abound!

Double Bellies: A Love Story by Dana Bergstrom

I've been eating whatever I want this summer without any judgment.

It all began when Pauly and I shared a sweet treat from the ice cream truck lady.

A surprise midday snack for 3 dollars! I love it!

The next time I went to the store, it occurred to me that we could use waaaay more access to treats.

I gotz to have ice cream in our HOUSE, not just in the truck that randomly drives by blasting weird nursery rhymes.

That's when my sweet tooth spotted a sweet deal - a case of 24 Klondike bars for less than 9 bucks.

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA?!

TOO BAD, FELLOW SHOPPERS!

THEY'RE MINE NOW!

I brought 'em home and shouted the good news at Pauly. Our freezer's bursting with ice cream bars! We can eat 'em all day long!

About this same time, I started wearing overalls every day, not thinking about what might happen if I enjoyed regular sugary snacks in clothes that BARELY TOUCH MY BODY.

But something did happen under all of that denim.

I grew a super cute, extra potbelly.

But first, a lil' potbelly history!

I'm three and I'm all about flaunting it. BAM!

I'm three and I'm all about flaunting it. BAM!

I had one as a kid and then lost it due to regular spazzy dancy jumpy activities. It showed up again in college from non-stop pizza eating. It disappeared again when I got sick with rheumatoid arthritis, then it quickly came back and never left. Weight has been a hot topic among relatives and family, and we all know how our culture feels about it; so as I grew up, it became an area where I felt I wasn't good enough.

Flash forward through a couple of decades of potbelly-related self-judgment, when I posted a dance video and then decided to write a post about how my ego was going bonkers on me. That post is actually what helped release my resistance towards my belly and finally accept it.

Then a few weeks ago, my overalls were too dirty to wear, which meant donning regular jeans. They felt tight when I pulled 'em up but it wasn't till I sat down and saw not just one, but TWO big rolls spilling onto my upper thighs, that I knew my sweet intake had caught up with me.

OMG.

I have TWIN potbellies!

And they're taking up MAJOR lap real estate!

"This is not good," my ego began to say.

Thankfully, I have days where I'm quick on the draw.

Not good according to WHO, Ms. Petty Ego?!

What external authority is gonna tell me that it's not okay to have two potbellies?

And who is this external authority who gets to decide what my body looks like and feels like to me?

Nobody! That's who. I choose how I want to look and feel.

I was already fine with the first potbelly. I know I can be fine with this one too. It just might take some time.

True true true.

But then something amazing happened.

Whenever I'm not working on a task that requires both arms, I usually have one arm resting inside the bib of my overalls, directly on my paunch.

It's one of the best things about wearing overalls. It's an incredibly relaxed posture.

I love running into other overall wearers who are in the same exact stance. We're all wandering around in public with our hands in our pants. It's not only a chill way to stand around, it's kinda gangsta. It makes me happy.

So.

The other day while driving with my right hand, my left arm was in it's favorite, little spot on the tum-tum.

Suddenly, I realize that my wrist and hand are being softly cradled - in fact, it was a PERFECT FIT - right in between my potbellies!

Oh my! What is going on here?

My arm is gently nestled in a super cozy way and it feels incredibly...

SWEET.

A wide smile grew across my face.

It sounds strange, but I immediately noticed how

CALM and COMFORTING,

wholly ACCEPTING,

and surprisingly MATERNAL it felt to be supported in this way.

And THAT is the exact moment when I fell in LOVE with my two potbellies!

How magical!

I was driving (rather unsafely, it occurred to me while writing this) and grinning and loving my body!

Now when I look at myself or even notice other people with what society would call "extra weight", I no longer have a sense of judgment or lack. I usually think NOTHING AT ALL but sometimes I think "Look at all of that wonderful COMFORT!" and immediately sense the pleasure and sweetness of my bellies.

I've even surprised myself by looking down to find that I'm rubbing and patting my bellies.

HEY!

How 'bout that!?

I can do without another dog for awhile!  I have super adorable tummies to pet instead!

Ya know...the great thing about falling in love with this new part of me is that whether the bellies stay on my body or go, it makes no difference.

They could eventually come off without much effort, simply because I'm not judging and resisting it, but I don't know that for sure. They may stick around and that's fine too.

The only thing I do know is that what I choose to focus on in this very moment determines my experience.

And I LOVE to focus on feeling good, no matter the conditions.

Unconditional love.

That's what my potbellies are showing me it's all about.

How I Lured A Comedian And Her Dog Into My Basement - Thanks Internet! by Dana Bergstrom

One night I got a text from a couple of my grrrlfriends, asking if I'd like to join 'em for some dancing.

I don't turn down dance related invites because that would be SILLY.

So Pauly and I headed downtown where The Flame Nightclub was completely packed.

Ooooooh! The music is SO DANG FUNKY!

I bounced, shimmied, and shook my way onto the dance floor.

There was a female DJ spinning vinyl records.

But it's never really about who is playing. For me, it's ALL about the music.

Does it move my booty?

Does it make me temporarily forget that I am in a body?

Does my consciousness transcend time and space on the dance floor?

If so, then that's my JAM!

And this DJ played my jams

ALL!

NIGHT!

LONG!

When it was over, I was so blissed out on PURE FUNK AND SOUL that I totally forgot to tell the DJ how much I adored her set!

Oh, man. I looooove giving people appreciation.

This is one of my favorite things to do on Earth. If I'm wild about something or someone, I just want to express express EXPRESS how fabulous I think they are!

And this girl had a whole lotta DANA LOVE comin' her way. I just needed to track her down to give it!

I found her website in a flash.

DJ Nola, master spinner of Disco, Funk and Deep House, got an exuberant love note from me and a question about her next gig. She suggested we become Facebook friends so I could keep up on her schedule.

Thanks to super handy social media, over the last few years we've hung out at loads of dances and become fast friends!

And, WHO KNEW, but an unexpected bonus of being pals with my favorite DJ has been meeting a new tribe of people who are some of THE MOST CHILL BEINGS I've ever encountered.

These dancers/artists live in an amazing kind of flow. Their focus is clearly on creating fun and unique experiences versus obtaining things, acquiring status, and striving for future attainment. CREATIVES is a fitting name for this happy herd of music lovin' humans.

Anyway, I briefly met a woman from The Creatives at a 70s concert (Kool & The Gang/Village People!) and we saw each other again at another gathering before going out dancing.

I loved her vibe. She has this amazing, clear, open energy. She feels like an old soul to me. And that night Nola just happened to mention that she was a comedian.

NO!! WAY!!

I LOOOOOOOOOVE COMEDIANS!

In fact, I am completely obsessed with comedians. They utterly fascinate me.

How does someone just decide to get up on stage and talk, facing massive in-person rejection day in and day out? Who does that? Why do they do that? And how did they get so brave? And what would make a WOMAN do this? What's driving her to tell her story knowing that she's gonna be sexually harassed and disrespected for doing her thing? What makes a female want to face all of this shit? Who and what inspires her? How does she hone her craft? What makes her tick, man? Really! What. Makes. Her. Tick?

I have a lot of questions for comics and I don't have anyone to ask. And here was a REAL LIVE ONE at the same party!

I knew that despite my usual social awkwardness, I wanted to make an attempt to be pleasant and outgoing.

Oh, Lord. Being friendly to strangers is SOOOOOOO difficult for me.

I suck at small talk in the most horrible I-have-no-fuckin-idea-what-I'm-doing-way. But FOR THE LOVE OF COMEDY I was gonna go for it. 

I got my big, fat chance when I spotted her in the club bathroom.

"I heard you're a comedian!?!" I LOVE comedians!" I shouted at her.

This is all I remember saying. Well....I'm sure I said more stuff. But I'm repressing it BECAUSE I was so awkward.

Actually...now that I think of it...I do recall telling her that I write a comedy blog.

And I only remember this part because I IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED saying it.

My blog is not that funny. It's occasionally funny. It's MOSTLY about how I'm a nut-job and am trying to STOP being a nut-job.

But I'm not going to go up to people and say... "Hi. I write a blog. It's about how I'm high strung and harass people with my screaming and I really wish I wouldn't keep doing that, but I do. Wanna read it?"

Wait.

Maybe I will start saying that.

That's an accurate description.

Anyway, much to my surprise, she started reading my blog and we began interacting on Facebook, and she is HILARIOUS.

Out of the blue I told her to come up to Duluth anytime she wanted a little vacation from the Twin Cities, not EVER expecting her to take me up on it. She probably had comedy sets to write, gigs to schedule and, ya know, people to entertain.

But one day she messaged me, suggesting a specific date for a visit.

Okay...

apparently...

this is happening.

But I had no idea how it was gonna go. So I wanted to warn her that I'm an introvert and that I'm really odd -- just some basic shit to be aware of before staying at my house.

"Anyway...I barely know you and I'm rarely friendly to people, so inviting you up for a weekend is a really strange thing for me to do. I won't be too weird about it...or maybe I will. Or maybe just stating this is about as awkward as I'm gonna get. Let's hope. I'm sure it'll all just be hilarious. I'm looking forward to it, Jenny, whether it's weird or not.

Her reply was perfect.

"Oh it'll be weird. Get ready"

She came up for the weekend and stayed in our basement guest bedroom with her 10 year old pug called "Pug" and, yes, it was slightly weird, as to be expected.

We talked about comedians, which I never really get to talk about with ANYBODY. As it turns out, we are both wild about Amy Sedaris, my favorite funny person of all time. Check her out!

And Pug is just as funny as Jenny. Pug doesn't really care about or listen to humans at all. She just slowly moves around with her bulgy eyeballs and smushed face, making loud, gross, breathing noises. I could barely take my eyes off of this hilarious creature.

It was a great weekend. Honestly...I don't remember laughing this hard and this much in a looooooong time.

And the best thing is that I've FINALLY found someone to share my love of comedy with.

Ain't that great?

YES, IT IS!!

Thanks, Internet!

Who'll Rescue Me From The IRS? Jesus or Krispy Kreme? by Dana Bergstrom

While sitting at my computer doing income taxes, my vibe began dropping drastically. I was freaking out about money and having loads of trouble with the online tax program.

Anxiety began to build as I stared at our income (or in my view - lack of income) and I started making growly noises, because - GRRRRR - that's what I do.

Soon the grunts weren't fully expressing how annoyed I felt. So I moved into some manic fist shaking, a fair amount of baring of teeth, and finally amped it up with some loud yelling about glitches in the muthaflippin software.

My beastly noises escalated until it'd become obvious that the Internal Revenue Service, Americans' favorite persecutor, had officially RUINED my day.

So what did I do in my poor me victim state?

I ran outside, hopped in my tiny car, and raced down to the gas station where some Krispy Kremes were waiting for me.

AHHHHHHHH!

My rescuers!

I jammed a donut in my face, drove home, sat at my desk and continued snacking on sugar till I was numb enough to finish entering our taxes without any more snarly sounds.

It was a fabulous solution!

Well...until my belly began to ache.

Now that right there is a great example of a Victim orientation to life.

And it's one I still occasionally use to justify high volume donut consumption.

But, happily, I was introduced to a couple of freekin' genius diagrams that help re-frame my low vibe victim perspective into a fun, powerful, and freedom-based Creator orientation.

The story of the victim/drama triangle is one we all know by heart -  think "Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor" - a tale of Victims, Persecutors, and a Rescuer.

This predictable triad describes all of our drama-filled relationships. It's also illustrated in countless books, TV shows, movies, and the majority of news stories! And what I didn't recognize until recently is that all three roles believe they LACK POWER.

Another example on the Drama Triangle is my well-worn role as Rescuer. Friends and family would get themselves into a jam and I'd bail them out with time, energy and money. I'd feel good about myself for helping these needy victims of circumstance, but then if they needed too much help, I'd feel victimized by them. Around the drama triangle we'd go, each of us with a belief in our powerlessness against external situations.

I've written plenty about being a Persecutor on the blog. It shares the same belief in lack of power, but it's just a more aggressive approach. It's where I'm telling Pauly that he's doing every single thing wrong on our fixer upper or blaming him for not warning me about my wild eyebrows.

It wasn't long after reading about this Drama Triangle that I realized that the literal Christian theology I was familiar with fit the Victim Orientation to a T!

In this theology, an anthropomorphized God is displeased about our fall from grace and therefore, we're always teetering on the edge of some kind of punishment. We inherently sinful humans are the victims of this moody God (persecutor), but, Jesus has come to our rescue. He sacrificed his life so we wouldn't be eternally damned. As long as we acknowledge our rescuer, Jesus, and accept him as our savior and follow specific Christian rules, God will show mercy and instead of punishing us, will love us.

To me, this Biblical interpretation is the perfect example of conditional love: "Do these specific things to satisfy my perceived needs and then I will love you."

It's Victim Consciousness played out on a big, fat, cosmic scale.

I've never been fond of that take on Christianity, but it's a popular one because our human minds often cling to the basic presumption of lack, in this case, original sin and powerlessness in the face of an upset God.

Here's the antidote to that entire way of perceiving:

A dynamic where no powerless and lacking victims can be found.

There are only empowered Creators, Challengers and Coaches.

From a Creator orientation, I could see every challenge as being beneficial for my growth.

I could've chosen to focus on the ways that taxes benefit us all and simply do my part. I could've even told Pauly that I was feeling anxious and he'd likely become a Coach, asking me questions to help me look at what false thoughts about money and lack were bringing on the anxiety.

But, hey, I chose donuts instead! No biggie. I can always choose again.

In terms of being a Rescuer, which I used to do to feel like a "good person", I now help people when it brings me joy. I've begun to question the whole idea of seeing others as victims, and am able to see people as powerful creators who are requesting a little boost. Acting as a Coach makes it waaaaay more fun for me and for the person who's asking for assistance.

As a Persecutor, sure, I could holler at Pauly a little less, but he tells me I'm cute when I yell. As a middle aged, potbellied lady, this offers my ego little incentive to change. "Why fix what ain't broke?!" it vainly says.

However, once I realize that blaming others isn't REALLY that fun, and my voice is tired from all the yelling, I'm able to shift into a Challenger role. I take full responsibility for my life, express my authentic self, and ask others provocative questions to encourage openness and growth.

So here's a new approach to the old theology!

Instead of God being an angry-old-man-in-the-sky Persecutor, I could choose to define God as All-That-Is, an unknowable, undefinable energy source animating every single thing, meaning that we're never separate from each other. And yet this energy source offers us all contrast, highs and lows, and acts as a Challenger for our expansion as consciousness.

I am a Creator, making choices about what I want to experience, which includes my challenges.

And Jesus is just one example of a self-realized Coach. There are many self-realized, fearless, religious and non-religious beings acting in that role.

As I remember my empowered state, I'll be doing taxes and even EATING DONUTS YEEEEEAAAAAAH! from a place of peace instead of lack/neediness. There's a huge difference in any experience when I do it with a joyful and powerful Creator's mind.

To me, this means taking 100% responsibility for my experience.

And although I'm not accustomed to acting from a Creator Orientation in all areas of my life, I am taking baby steps towards it.

Because creating lovely and joy-filled experiences for myself and others is easier when I see all of us as being powerful creators.

*Visit www.powerofted.com and read the book The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) by David Emerald for lots more great info on shifting into a high vibe perspective as a powerful Creator.

Labels Are For Buttheads by Dana Bergstrom

Gorgeous.

Ugly.

Normal.

Weird.

Republican.

Democrat.

Genius.

BUTTHEAD.

Labels, man. They're everywhere.

For ten years, Pauly and I were respite care providers for kids who were defined as disabled in one way or another. And my main takeaway, besides absolutely adoring these children, was that the labels that they'd been given mean nothing.

Energy is what matters when it comes to relating to anybody or anything, really.

People don't respond to labels. We respond to the energy behind the words.

We tend to only remember how we FEEL around particular people. Yet, our egos continue to generate definitions like gigantic label making machines.

What's behind the label that you've been given?

Does it seem like who you REALLY are is actually considered when you're being called that?

Are you seen as the mysterious, undefinable, ever-changing, creative being that you are? Or are you perceived as a certain, static thing?

That's what labels do. They attempt to put people, objects and ideas in a specific, fixed, condition or category. It helps us to feel like we've got things managed or under control if we label shit.

I recently realized that I define myself a lot. And often in negative, lack-based ways. As if calling myself these things will encourage change somehow. But all it really does is to keep me stuck.

What if I just saw myself and others without definitions?

Or if I'm tempted to define someone, why don't I just see them as the whole and perfect energy being that they are?

Or if I can't see them as that, I could at least begin to name a few of their positive aspects.

Our dog, Oslo, gone in body but not in spirit, is a master in seeing all things lovely, with or without spectacles.

Our dog, Oslo, gone in body but not in spirit, is a master in seeing all things lovely, with or without spectacles.

Looking for pleasant things about ALL people doesn't mean that I have to vote for them for President, ya know. I can make this wild election year easier on myself, keep my undies out of a bundle, and simply choose the candidate who I see as having the most positive traits.

The most magical thing about a more free-flowing, upbeat perspective is that my energy isn't spent on judging and being critical, which is about as much fun as a poke in the eye, or a rock in the sock, or a kick in the shin, or a smack on the butt.

Wait...

That last one's kinda nice when it's from your playful, hot husband.

[Blush]

Anyway.

HEY, didn't you come to Earth to focus on creating things and experiences you love?

I'm pretty sure I did.

Saint Paulycakes And The Patriarchy by Dana Bergstrom

I mostly paint a picture of my husband as a living angel.

My blog and Facebook page are full of stories about his patience, his generosity, and his sweet and amiable personality.

And they're also full of stories about how I'm the opposite.

After reading enough about this dynamic, my high school boyfriend was inspired to write this comment,

"With each one of your posts, I find myself admiring Paul more and more. He will be up for sainthood someday if these stories are passed down from generation to generation. Books will be written about him. Statues made. But, St. Paul and St. Pauly are both already taken, so he'll need a new name at his beatification."

And how did my favorite husband of all time respond when I read him these clever words?

"I don't know why anyone would say that. I love living with you."

EXACTLY what a SAINT WOULD SAY!

Haha!

However, even though I'm nuts about the guy, in my opinion, St. Paulycakes has a few growing edges.

For instance...in the past few years, Pauly has begun to immediately shoot down every single one of my awesome ideas.

Well, even if my ideas are not that great, he automatically disagrees.

He's initially against ALL of them.

And, guess what?!

I'm FINALLY ON TO THE BUGGER.

This is how the man keeps me DOOOOOOOOOOOWN!

Goddamn patriarchy!

Okay.

I'm kidding.

Umm...not really.

Yes, I am.

Well...

kind of.

But, I think I just discovered WHY this happens.

When I get a fun idea, I get PUMPED. My energy can soar THROUGH THE ROOF and I become COMPLETELY WILD.

And I think Pauly's immediate negative response is only to give him a fighting chance to think before I SWALLOW HIM UP with all of my dancing, clapping, spinning, joyful, HIGH VOLUME idea yelling!

How can a person ponder anything with so much smiley, bouncy goodness going on around him?

How will he remain in control?

He WON'T.

And so I've allowed his instantaneous "NOs" to dampen my spirit.

I've begun to keep any new concepts of mine to a very low roar or not at all.

But NO MORE, y'all, NO MORE.

When I have a hot, fresh idea I'm gonna go for it!

Because I now understand this has simply been Pauly's way to create some space for himself in my high energy state.

Ya know...

It really does help me to reframe ALL situations in terms of energy.

If I'm attached to definitions and labels (like patriarchy) which I have a particular judgment about, I'm gonna overthink things, get defensive or self-righteous or victimy, rather than just sensing energetically what's going on.

Pauly simply needed extra energetic space and found an easy way to get it by being negative. But now that we both see this, we can change the dynamic so it works for both of us.

Perhaps it means I just spin, bounce and shout a little less when I present my ideas.

Or maybe acknowledging this dynamic is all that's necessary to shift.

We'll feel it out as we go because as he and I continue to change and learn new ways of being together, that is the only way to do it in flow.

❤️

Hairstyles That Make You Look 10 Years Dumber by Dana Bergstrom

My last post included a pic of a 2003 haircut of mine that was reminiscent of Jim Carrey's crazy sexy look in "Dumb and Dumber".

I got this hairdo by being too friendly with my hairdresser.

Ya see, we're super fond of each other and because we were having SO MUCH FUN talking, she forgot to pay attention to my hair and I forgot to mention that I did NOT want to look like a 10 year old boy with a bowlcut. 

Oops.

We both laughed afterwards and made a pact to never ever ever ever cut my hair short again.

I'm writing this 'cause I spotted the article below on Facebook this morning.

My immediate response was, "Geez! What's wrong with looking my age?"

It's more than obvious, with millions of titles like this, that our culture thinks we ladies need to be perpetually beautiful and youthful.

But here's the thing...

That's impossible.

And this article happily reminded me that there is only one idea that keeps me from feeling the joy of being alive. 

And that idea is that lack or loss exists

In this case, it's that an aging female body is somehow a state of lack...

WHICH IT AIN'T.

Human bodies are temporary vehicles for our souls/consciousness and don't last forever.

But our egos will click on these headlines because egos believe in lack, seek out lack, and act on lack. 

I saw this headline and recognized that I can either spend the time I have in this body to focus attention either on lack/loss or joy/abundance.

If I want a new hairdo, it's my choice.

But I'm not gonna change my look based on lack.

I'll change my style if it seems like fun!

It'll also change if I lose track of what's happening at the salon and end up with another Dumb and Dumber 'Do....

which is a pretty magical look too.

What's The Story by Dana Bergstrom

A couple of weeks ago, I had an entire day where I felt zero emotion.

I experienced what life must be like as an emotional flat-lined human.

When one of my favorite songs came on the car radio, I'd NORMALLY be like, "Ooooooh! Earth, Wind & Fire! Dance! Dance! Dance!" 

But that day, I felt nothing.

I even had my favorite food which is usually quite a high for me.

I mean, I adore avocados so much that I don't even try to contain the involuntary moans and loud declarations of undying devotion for this perfect fruit whenever I'm near one.

"CHIPOTLE! Yummy! I could eat this every single day! Oooooh! If I could ONLY SMEAR GUACAMOLE ALL OVER MY WHOLE BODY, I'd be in HEAVEN!"

But that day, I simply sat in Chipotle and ate my burrito bowl minus any talk of delicious green goop on my lady parts.

It was so weird.

Nothing moved me.

Nothing irked me either.

I did stuff that day; but it didn't MATTER to me if I did anything or not. It was a perfectly fine day, to be quite honest. It was just strange.

By evening, when my emotions started to appear again, I realized how much of an effect the stories I tell myself have on my daily experience.

My constant narration pulls information from my past and projects it into the future, swaying my emotions and convincing me to decide things in a particular way.

What lights me up? What turns me on? What excites me? That's how I like to move through life.

But when I don't have an emotional compass, like that day, then how do I make choices?

I certainly don't want to go back to how I used to decide stuff when I was DEPRESSED as hell.

Oy.

That's when I made all of my decisions based on "shoulds".

I SHOULD do this because this is what I SHOULD be doing as an "educated person", as a "spiritual person", as a "responsible person", as a "whatever-I've-been-conditioned-to-be person".

I now understand that a "should" indicates that I'm not listening to my inner being. I'm listening to an external authority instead.

Making decisions based on external authorities' stories sucks my ever lovin' will to live and I'm not going back there again.

But making decisions based on how things FEEL has always worked well for me.

For example, I fell crazy in love with my current house and that's how we ended up here. I saw it online, couldn't stop obsessing over it, driving by it, and constantly daydreaming about what we could do with it. Outwardly, it made little sense to go from a FINISHED three bedroom colonial to a one bedroom gross, little, nondescript dwelling. And even though Pauly did NOT want to live in this particular neighborhood and refused to even look at the house, I made an appointment with a realtor to see it on my own.

It was obvious to me the second I walked into this tiny, shithole, fixer upper that it was OURS! I called Pauly and told him to make his way here FAST. He did and the second he walked in, he knew it was ours too.

I designed the remodel with a 3D software program, creating an open living room with two massive windows looking out into the woods.

Potential!

Potential!

It's 2003 and I'm in my DOROTHY HAMILL LIVES IN A CRAPPY RUNDOWN HOUSE phase.

Every day since Pauly and his dad and brother put those windows in, I'd walk through the living room and experience AWE. The trees could not have been placed more perfectly around the house! All year long, it's like staring at a stunning postcard when I look at the nature surrounding us.

For years I've said that this view was the MAIN reason I could handle Duluth's harsh weather. The beauty of it all made living in the frozen North worthwhile.

But then one day last year, I walked through the living room with a basket of laundry and instead of looking outside and going "Ahhhhh!" as I always did, I saw the gorgeous view and went "Meh".

WHAT?!

I stopped in my tracks.

What just happened?

I didn't know.

But thanks to my recent emotional flat-line day, I now know exactly what happened.

I dropped my story.

My living room view is still just as lovely, but it no longer has a particular MEANING attached to it.

Pauly currently practices  Jin Shin Jyutsu  in our finished living room when we're not remodeling the house next door.

Pauly currently practices Jin Shin Jyutsu in our finished living room when we're not remodeling the house next door.

I don't "need" to stay in this house in order to live in Duluth. I don't require a story or strong emotion to know whether or not I want to still live in this house or not.

In fact, I now know that I can live ANYWHERE and do ANYTHING in the world and be happy.

Like becoming a naked guacamole wrestler in Sweden!

I can tell whatever story I want to or tell no story at all.

And that right there is pure and simple Freedom.

Here's A Thought...Like It or Lump It by Dana Bergstrom

Out of the blue, thoughts show up.

That's how thoughts do their thing. One minute they're not there and then BAM! there they are.

After our one-year-old Border Collie mix, Monte, died in 2003, I'd have sudden intense thoughts, flashbacks, of his death.

I’d be driving home alone, thinking about what I was going to do when I got there (dishes, laundry, etc.) and then I'd see an image of my dog, like a slow-motion video, running in front of the car driving by my grandfather’s country home.

I’d relive the entire experience in my mind in one instant, because it just showed up.

The incredible guilt I felt over taking Monte off-leash that day so he could play with his Husky mix brother, Paris, would COMPLETELY OVERWHELM me and I’d start sobbing right then and there.

I hated myself for being so irresponsible and stupid.

Since I couldn't see through my tears, I'd pull my vehicle off the road, put it in park, and take deep breaths till I was calm enough to start driving again.

Then time would pass, a few weeks or months, and I'd be driving and the same flashback would arrive and I'd do the whole thing all over again.

After having this experience several times, I couldn't take it anymore. It wasn't going away on its own and I needed the pain to stop. I was becoming a hazard behind the wheel, too.

So I sat down with a pen and paper, wrote down what happened, cried it all out, and finally forgave myself for accidentally killing my dog.

Tears flow down my face as I type this; however, it’s only because I loved Monte. Words cannot express how much I adored that year I had with him. He was so precious, so smart, so beautiful. I learned a lot from that dog. But I’m not actually suffering as I cry today.

I did what I did, Monte did what he did, I learned from it, and it’s done.

I gave up blaming and shoulding myself over it.

I don’t suffer over this anymore because I finally decided to stop arguing with reality.

Paris and puppy Monte doing TREATS FOR SITS like the furry, little champs they are. GOOD BOYS GOOD BOYS GOOD BOYS!

Paris and puppy Monte doing TREATS FOR SITS like the furry, little champs they are. GOOD BOYS GOOD BOYS GOOD BOYS!

I just finished this amazing book, "A Thousand Names For Joy" by Byron Katie.

She talks about how in 1986 she woke up to "reality", what she also calls “God” or “what is” and has questioned every stressful thought she’s had ever since.

She lives a life of peace and joy because there is no point in arguing with reality/God/what is.

She says, "When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100% of the time."

"People should be more loving."

Now there's a stressful thought that shows up in my mind often, which I also happen to believe.

The statement creates resistance/stress in me because it presumes that people are not loving enough and they should be different than they currently are.

Byron Katie suggests that we take any stressful thought and ask ourselves four questions. This process is called "The Work".

1. Is it true?

Yes. People SHOULD be more loving!

2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?

Yes! Duh!

3. How do you react when you believe that thought?

I become upset. I think of multiple examples where people have been or are currently unloving. I think of our unloving political discourse. I think of all of the unloving family relationships I've witnessed. I think of all of the pain that's been caused by all of these unloving people and their unkind acts. I think of how things could've been so much better if people had been more loving to me or others. My chest gets tight. My breathing becomes shallow. I can feel the muscles along my temples start to contract.

4. Who would you be without the thought?

I wouldn't be upset and impatiently expecting other people to change. I wouldn't be focusing on hundreds of examples of unloving behavior. I'd have more mental real estate for appreciation and creativity and enjoying my life. I'd feel freer and healthier and I'd love being alive in a body. I'd be focusing on the things that light me up. I'd automatically be more loving to myself and others.

And then the last part of the process is flipping the initial stressful statement several different ways. You turn it around and see if it rings more true with other words. So instead of expecting other people to be more loving, I could flip it to say, "I should be more loving."

Yeah. That's DEFINITELY more true. I WANT to be more loving.

This thought "People should be more loving" is one that I probably won't dwell on much longer now that I've done the work on it. I can let that one go. If it shows up again, I can do the work again. Maybe I'll spot something new in my second go-around.

I can use this process with any thought that causes a lack of ease. And I've got great incentive to do it because every thought I believe gets projected onto the world and creates my entire experience.

Here comes a new thought again. Of course, it's coming! Thoughts show up all day long.

So now the question is: "Do I wanna like it or lump it?"

World wars begin as inner wars, as stressful, resistant thoughts.

World peace comes from inner peace.

"If you wanna make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change." I’m starting with the (wo)man in the mirror.

Thanks to Byron Katie, my sweet puppy dog, Monte, and also Michael Jackson, musical genius, dance master, and peace lover, for today’s beautiful reminder.

Hey Maybe Just Stay Away From My Face by Dana Bergstrom

Nobody ever bothered to mention that my getting older could be hazardous for other people.

It's just one of those weird things you figure out at a certain age.

Except NOW I've clued you lucky, little whipper snappers in!

Oh boy.

As I heard that sentence in a nasally voice, I saw an entire set of false teeth fall outta my future old lady face.

Anyway.

A while ago, I worried aloud about injuring fellow pedestrians with frightening, invisible, sword-like, grey eyebrow hairs, after spotting my very first one.

Well.

I'm pleased to say that those fears are gone forever!

I just got a 10x magnification mirror to catch dem stealthy, lil', regenerating weapons before they - YEOW - take somebody out!

It's like having an Eyebrow Terrorism Task Force in my bathroom!

We seeeeeeee YOU, Mr. Silver Stabby!

Ya ain't getting past security today!

So.

BAM.

I gotz THAT covered.

Yet thanks to my new larger-than-life mirror, there's also a WHOLE HOST of facial issues I never even knew existed!

Lord have mercy.

10x magnification is not for weenies.

Am I right, ladies?

It's a good thing I've been dropping loads of body judgments these days!

And it's also a good thing I remember, more than I used to, that I'm not actually a body.

The body is just a vehicle for my infinite energy/soul.

Or maybe my body is IN my soul!

Actually, I like that better! It's waaaaaay more expansive.

Either way, this body is still a temporary communication device which happens to have an AMAZING number of impressive pores.

Like, wow...

I had no idea.

Enormous Porous Galorous - my fun, new name for the situation.

And when looking in that mirror, I wonder if a small unsuspecting human could accidentally bump into me and fall in one of these gigantic, bottomless chasms, never to be seen again.

So, yeah.

I'm delivering good news on the eyebrow front...

plus, a Special Safety Warning for bodies about a Potentially Pedestrian Absorbing Face.

And that's the latest from an ETERNAL SPIRIT with a menacing mug (minus the blog photo filter), roaming the streets of Duluth!

The Upside of Public Humiliation by Dana Bergstrom

Hey! What's with all the embarrassing blog posts?

We know that you're a depressed prom queen on welfare who remodels and yacks non-stop about her boobs, shins, potbelly, pimples, plus a lot of drunken and not-so-drunken yelling sprees.

Yet how does this help the world?

And what's it got to do with the authenticity obsession we hear about between glimpses of the FrEaK SHoW you call a life?

Well, Golly Gee Whiz!

Thanks so much for asking!

My awkward posts aren't exactly saving the planet but they've certainly helped me.

Writing is how I discover my truth.

Sometimes I don't know what I really think until it flies outta my fingers on the keyboard.

And so sharing these writings has kinda turned MY WIFE YELLS into a virtual confessional.

I'm not Catholic, but, man, if I were, I'd be like a...

FREEKIN'

OLYMPIC

LEVEL

CHAMPION

CONFESSOR

GOIN'

FER

THE

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD!

In a Catholic Dana Parallel Reality:

Priest: Crap! Here comes that middle-aged redhead. Gotta run!

Dana: Come back! I've got stuff to confess! Imma talk till yer ears bleed!

Priest: Gaaaaaaah! No more stories about your boobs! YOU are going straight to Heeeeeeeeeell!

[Hikes up his robe and races off into the horizon.]

I love writing for the blog because I get to admit my socially unacceptable behaviors, as well as unhelpful thoughts and labels that I've carried around about my body/personality, and then, POOF, I'm suddenly able to let them go!

Plus nobody makes me do any penance or tells me I'm eternally doomed or nothin'.

It's great!

Dreaming about a new Olympic sport that you can do in dirty overalls - CONFESSION! "Hey! Listen to all the shit that I just did!"

Dreaming about a new Olympic sport that you can do in dirty overalls - CONFESSION! "Hey! Listen to all the shit that I just did!"

By releasing conditioned beliefs about how to be "normal" [read: boring-ass-boring], I now freely move about the planet in tight, stained t-shirts, muddy overalls, disheveled hair, and no makeup covering up my perimenopausal acne, and I have the BEST TIME EVER!

That may not seem like anything to you but it's major progress for me, pal.

Freedom from others' opinions AKA external authorities is HUGE since that was such a massively limiting part of my early life.

I now walk around looking less like a prom queen and more like an androgynous hobo and, well, that is just so much more...

ME!

This is why I'm gonna keep writing about all of the external blocks to the awareness of JOY, the amazing life energy that animates this 47-year-old, hobo-like, yelling machine I get to temporarily inhabit for a limited number of years on this planet.

So, fellow Earthlings, there will likely be more embarrassing stories to come.

I don't know exactly how much it's helping others; however, maybe you find them entertaining, disturbing, or even somewhat comforting on your own journey of authentic self-realization.

I appreciate ALL feedback via comments, emails, and Facebook messages, including ones that offer a different perspective and make me think!

Because the only reason I am here is to grow into the open minded, open hearted, JOYFUL LOVE BUG that I truly am.

And, deep down, isn't that what we ALL are?

Yep!

You know it.

Shorthorn Leghorn by Dana Bergstrom

In my high school drill team performance videos, I could see that there was something fishy going on. My lower body looked a little different than the other girls', but it wasn't obvious to me what that difference was.

Then a couple of years ago, I took a belly dance class and everything became clear.

We were practicing a move that ended in a bent leg pose.

I thought I was doing what everybody else was doing, but the teacher, while standing in the front of the class, stopped everything to inform me that I was doing it wrong.

I looked down to see what was going on and then she said,

"Oh. You're doing it. I couldn't tell because you have short shins."

I stood there stunned for a second.

I have WHAT?!

But then I went right back to dancing.

It wasn't till I was driving home from class that I was like,

"HEY! That woman just told me I had SHORT SHINS!"

Yes, I am slow and...

How.

Dare.

She.

Well, LADY....you ain't perfect EITHER!

You know what?!

You FROWN WHEN YOU DANCE.

You do!!

But do I walk around on my shrimpy shins announcing that you have a FROWNY DANCE FACE in front of everybody?

Noooooo!

Because I'm not a big meanie!

And also, because you're an intensely serious, kinda cranky belly dance teacher and that would get me kicked out of class FAST.

Egos, man.

Sometimes it doesn't take much, does it?

Actually, I got over it pretty quick because I was glad to finally know what had looked so odd in those drill team videos. But every now and again I feel self-conscious about my legs.

Like today.

I tried on a knee-length skirt I got for next weekend's dancing extravaganza/wedding reception of one of my best friends. And then the ol' resistant-to-life ego told me that I can't wear it 'cause it highlights my puny legs.

Before that belly dance class I never once thought about my shins! Now it looms in the back of my mind whenever I put on new clothes. However, I'm waking up to the fact that "short shins" is just another UNHELPFUL LABEL.

This is my new thing now!

Spotting where labels jam up my FLOW OF LIFE, ya know, like when they keep me from enjoying myself in my fun, new outfit!

Right?!

So, why not keep on floating down LIFE'S RIVER OF JOY and throw these silly labels back on the river banks where they belong?!

I don't need 'em!

No matter what anybody else says, I'm here to have a great time with my super happy shins that are actually just the right size to DANCE DANCE DANCE. 

Disco Sucks? by Dana Bergstrom

During the 1970s and 80s my family would take a road trip nearly every summer.

We'd visit different parts of the country and go sightseeing along the way.

As a kid I saw lots of cool places because of these vacations.

But what am I remembering most about the trips now?

The bathrooms.

I sat in many stalls across our fine nation where scrawled on the wall in gigantic, angry letters was "DISCO SUCKS".

Scribbled nearby there was usually a bigger "ROCK N' ROLL FOREVER".

Sometimes the words had been furiously crossed out, but were still legible under the deep scratches.

"What the heck is going on here?" my young mind wondered. "Why is everybody so worked up about disco? And what is disco?"

A music-based civil war was going on, leaving thousands of scarred, wooden bathroom doors as casualties, while tiny, American children emptied their bladders in utter confusion!

I didn't know how music was labeled.

All I knew is that some songs made me waaaay happier than others.

I mean, I'd hear "Wildfire", the tune about the horse who got lost and died in a Midwestern blizzard, and I'd start bawling.

Or "Hotel California" would come on the radio and the Eagles would sing "You can check in any time you'd like, but you can never leave".

Creepy chills ran down my spine every time.

NOOOOOOO!

DON'T SAY THAT!

A MAN IS TRAPPED IN A SCARY HOTEL!

THIS IS TERRIBLE!

I'd immediately turn the station, unless, of course, I was feeling extra brave that day.

But Donna Summer's "Bad Girls", OOOOOH! that was an entirely different thing.

The pulsing beat overwhelmed me and I ignored the words entirely except for "Toot Toot! Yeaaaaah! Beep Beep!"

I'd leap to my feet and start spinning with pure joy.

Nobody was held against their will in this song!

Oh wait.

Now that I think about it, that may not be true.

Isn't the song about prostitution?

CRAP!

I always forget that.

A fast paced tune with so much booty shaking glee does that to me.

Dangit.

So much for my fun, light hearted disco example!

Now erase that from your mind with a Toot Toot! and a Beep Beep!

There!

All better!

I saw this shirt the other day and it made me laugh.

It also brought all of these childhood memories flooding back.

I think the shirt was designed by a defensive 1970s disco lover who spent lots of time with a utility knife, crossing out DISCO SUCKS in bathrooms.

Man, I really want to buy this shirt. I'm totally crazy about disco.

But I won't be getting it.

Because the t-shirt is a lying liar.

It implies that some people can't dance and that's just not true.

There is not a WRONG WAY to express yourself to music.

I mean, sure, I won't buy a ticket and sit to watch a dance show where people can't find the beat with their body, but I would never say that anyone can't dance.

To me, that's like saying a person can't have a heartbeat.

Everybody has a heartbeat and therefore, in my happy, sparkly, disco ball world, everybody can dance!

Some just dance in sync with the music's rhythm and others don't.

The only thing that matters to me is that the dancer is enjoying themselves.

Someday I'd love to have a space where people can come and move to music in whatever way they want.

My dance floor would be a no judgment zone.

Jump offbeat, do somersaults, crawl around like a lizard, or move like Karate Kid at my place! I don't care!

Some people may have told you that you can't dance but that's only because they don't know better.

So I'm puttin' the dream out there.

A big space with bumpin' speakers for Dana's Daily Dance Party.

Sweat your prayers.

Lay it all out on the floor.

Pure dance freedom.

And happy, bouncy funk, disco and soul music for all.

House Snob Cools Her Jets by Dana Bergstrom

I used to be real opinionated about houses. I didn't like anything built after a specific time period. Didn't care for the design. I'd blather on about the lack of character and poor quality of materials.

One day a friend had had enough of my shit and called me a "House Snob". I stopped in my tracks and thought, "Wow. She's right. I AM super judgmental!"

So I became aware that I was being a jerk, but that still didn't stop me from thinking judgmental thoughts about housing style.

It wasn't until several years after this helpful incident that I realized I'd been clinging to my identity as a remodeler.

Once I let go of the need to identify as this particular and uptight role, my judgment of houses fell away. Loads of energy I was spending on being opinionated suddenly freed up!

Geez! I could've remodeled a whole other house with all of that extra energy!

Opinions are preferences taken to a judgmental extreme.

Seriously.

What external authority actually decides that one type of house is better than another? Architectural Digest? This Old House? Better Homes & Gardens?

I like old houses. Other people love new ones. Big fat, hairy deal.

Preferences make the world go round!

And any time I want to engage in any type of judgy comparison, whether it's about houses, art, lifestyle, clothing, or even comparing myself to how I think I'm supposed to be, I'm misidentified as something that I'm not.

Comparison is an ego device.

When I remember that I'm an infinite energy being who's temporarily appearing as a human, the desire to compare disappears.

Of course, it comes right back when I forget, but this is what happens to us humans.

All the livelong day!

Remember then forget.

Flow with ease then compare and judge.

Up then down.

It's all part of the DANCE of being human.

Right foot then left foot.

Choose the ego/inner bully then choose the love of the inner being.

It's not wrong to stop and then move again.

That's what dancing is all about!

And if I know one thing for sure, there is no wrong way to dance!

Drunk & Disorderly by Dana Bergstrom

I spent my college years on an Evangelical Christian campus--going to Bible Studies, eating loads of pizza and being a GOOD GIRL.

So as it were, I totally forgot to get into booze and drugs.

Oops!

It wasn’t until my mid 30s when I began to explore all of that.

I'm now well into my 40s and still haven’t even gone full tilt on that journey yet, and as a result, I have no idea how to handle my alcohol or my drugs.

I don’t get crazy that often, but when I do…

I do it with FLAIR.

Like last week.

I was feeling a great deal of resistance to working on our fixer upper one day.

And instead of acknowledging my resistance, ya know, getting to the bottom of it and then letting it go with some deep breaths, I drank Diet Coke instead.

Diet Coke is like armor for me.

It makes me feel bulletproof.

My energy gets jacked and I become so amped and feisty that I overflow with inappropriate jokes and sexually harass Pauly, my hot husband of 23 years, waaaaay more than usual.

Basically, it takes every bit of FERAL ME up several notches to SUPER FERAL ME.

I stopped at McDonalds and got a jumbo Diet Coke because their crazy juice is the tastiest.

Diet Coke is basically my gateway drug.

I start with that and then get so wild that I think I need to come down with another substance.

So that day, after I finished my McD’s drink, I added some limeade and tequila to more Diet Coke.

And then I just kept on drinking, paying zero attention to how much alcohol I was taking in. 

Zero.

Things went downhill pretty quickly.

All I remember is laughing and dropping a lot of F-bombs.

But that’s it.

So I’m going on what Pauly has told me plus a bit of video he took of the whole incident.

It all began to go sour when I told him I wanted a divorce because I hate remodeling with him. 

I also said, “If I can’t get a divorce then I’m gonna drink myself to death. Tonight!”

And apparently I said this over and over.

Divorce or Death!

Your choice!

HOLY CRAP!

Drama Queen much?!

WAIT!

IT GETS BETTER!

Patient Pauly decided that he’d had enough of my drunken nonsense and was going to the gas station to take a break.

But I accused him of being too drunk to drive, which he wasn’t, after sipping on two beers all day long. 

However, my brain imagined his inebriation as it was running mostly on tequila; so as he attempted to back out of the driveway, I came up with a genius plan to stop him.

I ran out of the house towards our Mini Cooper and pretended that he hit me in the arm with the side mirror.

I dropped to the driveway and screamed,

YOU BROKE MY ELBOW! YOU BROKE MY ELBOW! I’M GONNA CALL 911! YOU BROKE MY ELBOW!

He had to park the car, get out and come around to see what I was doing, because now I had actually put myself in danger of getting run over.

I began crawling on the driveway towards the front door, still screaming,

I’M CALLING THE AMBULANCE! YOU BROKE MY ELBOW AND YOU DON’T CARE!

The neighbors across the street hurriedly pulled down their windows and shades.

They'd witnessed it all.

Once I crawled into the house, I splayed out on the living room floor and pretended to be dead from a bumped elbow.

Shortly after the dramatic living room death scene, the room began to spin, so I stumbled to the bathroom.

This is where Pauly began videotaping me.

I'm sitting on the closed toilet, holding my head and pontificating about driving under the influence, and how, if he got caught, it would ruin his life.

Then I move to the floor in front of the toilet and rest my head and arms on the seat and continue to lecture him about the dangers of drinking and driving and that he’d never to get to share his Jin Shin Jyutsu from a jail cell.

I loudly spell out the word J-A-I-L and slowly drag an index finger across my throat, just to emphasize the point about his career being finished.

Not long after that, the tequila exited my body from where it came and I passed out in bed.

And I woke up the next day feeling like a...

FUCKIN' CHAMP!

I am not kidding!

I have got this drunk and disorderly shit DOWN!

It’s nice to know that my sweet husband understands it was drunken yelling about divorce and death, and that I have no intention of pursuing either.

And the fact that I’ve sat through a few of his inebriated hoohaw bits myself over the past couple of decades, also doesn't hurt.

The unconditional love is there for us both, drunk or not.

Now every single time I see my neighbors, I start giggling.

And I laugh A LOT because they’re over in our yard chatting every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, and nobody has said ONE WORD about the event from last week.

As if this is a totally normal way of living one’s life!

Screaming about imaginary injuries while crawling around on the driveway!

Ahhhhhhhhh!

Boozy tales.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided that I’m gonna stop my gateway drug for good.

So if you see me with a Diet Coke, please feel free to knock it out of my hand.

But be prepared to be tackled and bitten quite hard, because you’ll have no idea how much feral juice I'll have consumed.

You have been warned.

:)

All Over The Overalls by Dana Bergstrom

My husband chooses my favorite clothes.

Pauly just has a knack for knowing what I'll like.

He finds items at second hand stores like Goodwill or Savers, or on a clearance rack, or sometimes in a FREE box.

At first, I was not cool with this.

"Dana! Look what I got you! A new sweatshirt!"

I'd scrunch up my face.

"Where'd ya get it?"

"In a box of free stuff they were getting rid of at work. They were gonna take it all to Goodwill."

I'd roll my eyes and think, "I'm not wearing that. Who knows where it's been."

Then I'd wash it and try it on and

"OMG!

This is the most awesome sweatshirt ever!

Thank you, Pauly! I love it sooooo much!"

I'd wear it day and night until the fragile, remaining threads would fall off of my body.

This kind of thing happens a lot.

The other day we were on a Home Depot run and I mentioned that the one pair of work Levi's I have were wearing thin.

Pauly said, "Let's go to Savers and get you some overalls. I have a feeling they're there today."

"Nawww. Let's go when it's raining."

It was a nice day and when it's sunny in Duluth, you take full advantage of the opportunity to get outside work done.

But he persisted, so I agreed.

Pauly swiftly made his way through the racks of women's jeans.

"Here they are!" 

He held up a barely broken-in pair of Gap denim overalls. They were a couple of sizes too big but I was willing to try them.

The second I put 'em on, I was CRAZY IN LOVE!

These are the most comfortable things I've ever had on my body!

They barely touch my skin!

Holy crap!

It's like I'm naked! But I'm NOT!

I can put tools in all of my pockets!

I can even rest my entire arm INSIDE MY OVERALLS! ON MY POTBELLY!

We drove home, I got in my new outfit, and we headed straight to the garden to build a new gate.

Now my arm won't get tired from checking the weather all the time!

Now my arm won't get tired from checking the weather all the time!

I told Pauly that I LOVED how they felt so much that I'd totally forgotten to take a peek in the mirror.

"How do they look?"

Pauly laughed.

"They're cute. I like that nobody else can see your curves in them."

"WHAT?!"

Immediately, I got hot under the collar and glared at him.

"Is this like your Bergstrom remodeler version of a BURQA?! You like me in overalls so NOBODY ELSE can see my body?"

Oh boy. My ego was raring to go on this one. It couldn't wait for what the man was gonna say next.

"No! I just LIKE it that there are curves under there that nobody but me knows about. It's like a fun secret!"

Ohhhhhhh.

My ego steam suddenly dissipated, the pressure instantly released.

"Okay."

Just like that, I unhooked from my ego's burning desire to shout about the millennia of female subjugation.

I also simultaneously realized that this was Pauly's ridiculously positive spin on my super frumpy, new outfit.

That's what egos do. They thrive on finding things that are different, separate, and therefore "wrong" and get high off the self-righteousness of it all.

Mine was clearly out to hide the fact that Pauly and I had a shared yet slightly different appreciation of the same thing - my fun overalls.

And now when I put on these fabulous duds every day, my LOVE for my overalls can remind me that life is more fun when I love OVER ALL.

Awwwww. Freekin' cheesy but true.

Lovin' In A Van Down By The River by Dana Bergstrom

Whenever I'd get wild and bug-eyed about what Pauly was doing with our last fixer upper, I'd shout, "We're gonna end up livin' in a van down by the river!"

 Unlike Chris Farley on SNL, I was dead serious.

This was my biggest fear.

At the time, I didn't know that "whatever you focus on is what you get", so I hollered the van phrase whenever I got anxious, which OF COURSE, made me even more anxious.

I was pretty sure that Pauly was trying to get me to divorce him at several points during that project.

I opted for yelling, which was waaaay easier than doing all that divorce paperwork!

So we stayed married, lost some money, and didn't end up in a van.

The entire experience brought great contrast (what we did NOT want) and eventually we got great clarity (what we DID want). So we began to make big, sweeping changes in our lives, specifically, in the way we chose to spend our precious time on the planet.

As a result, I've released many of my attachments to unnecessary things.

And now I actually dream about....

LIVING IN A VAN DOWN BY A RIVER!

When I fantasize about this, it's a great adventure, a simple, romantic lifestyle where we get to enjoy stunning and ever-changing scenery, meet interesting people, and experience unique foods and activities.

Several months ago, I was doing my morning dance/exercise routine and imagining the glamorous van life, when a random thought popped into my head,

"BOOGIE ACROSS AMERICA DOT COM!"

Ooooooh!

Travel the country and have dance parties everywhere! And I could make fun videos of our escapades!

So I bought the domain name because I'm absolutely CRAZY about the idea!

Pauly is not.

At all.

But I'm not gonna let that stop me.

I also have no clue how I'm gonna finance it.

At all.

But I'm not gonna let that stop me either.

Besides...the super fun domain is only $14.99/year! And I've gotten at least $5K worth of PURE JOY just shouting, "I'M GONNA BOOGIEACROSSAMERICA.COM!!" at Pauly when the mood strikes me - which is quite often.

I would also love this sexy sexy van.

Which is definitely not $14.99/year.

Yet, I can already see it!

BoogieAcrossAmerica.Com plastered in bright purple sparkly letters across the whole vehicle!

Pauly can learn to DJ (he's already a wicked playlist master on Soundcloud), I can up my videography game, and we can spread DaNcE AnD BoOtY SHaKInG LoVe all over the nation!

On Saturday I attempted to warm him up to this idea by traveling to a Kool & The Gang, The Village People, KC & The Sunshine Band concert in our trusty 2001 Toyota Sienna, which thanks to my blasting the bass, no longer has a functioning sound system. (THE FUNK MUST BE LOUD! 'Tis a Funk Commandment!)

We got the van all cozy for cuddling.

Awwww! Cute!

Awwww! Cute!

And then we ended up staying at a friend's house.

So.

No van action for me yet.

However, no worries!

On the way home from our trip we drove by a Mercedes Sprinter cargo van that's FOR SALE and ready for ALL of our fabulous customizing touches!

"Stoooop! LOOK AT THAT VAN! BOOGIEACROSSAMERICA.COM!"

"Pauly! We can fill it with a bed, a kitchen, speakers and DJ equipment!"

He frowned.

I beamed.

My dream of dancing

Across the nation

For hours on end

With strangers

Who'll become fast friends

While living in a van

With my man

Could be realized sooner than I think!

Ha!

And even if this "I'm Your Boogie Van" fantasy never materializes, I've had a RIDICULOUS amount of fun with the idea.

I know that my mind is where the joy of life actually lives.

Van or no van, I can access that funky love at any time.