beginning to rebel at nautilus teachings

graduating from high school
means leaving your childhood behind
making new friends
studying for what you wish to do
with your life,
it means growing up…
graduation had finally come.
sher woke up with a high fever
from infected wisdom teeth
but told her parents,
“i don’t care how sick i am,
i am walking…”
upon arrival at school
the principal greeted them,
“well, it seems …..has gone missing again
from his facility…”
sher thought
“who is this guy, houdini?”
“i don’t care.
he won’t hurt me.
he’s in love with me.”
she searched her parents faces
they nodded in agreement.
they agreed to let sher walk
as long as the police stood outside
the gymnasium door…
everything went off without a hitch…
the summer was flying by
and sher was getting excited for school
when dory approached her
“hey, sher… i met a very nice young man
up at the lake last weekend
and i set up a date for you.
he will drive down from…
and pick you up friday.
he is taking you to a pig roast
the next day and he will
bring you home sunday…
you will stay with his mother
at their house …”
it was true,
sher did not have a boyfriend
but that is what she wanted-
to be free.
to meet college men
and make her own choices
she loved her parents
but she was so tired of being
the good girl all the time,
the obedient one
and rule follower….
sher smiled at dory,
“ok mom, whatever you say…”

then she locked her bedroom door
and began to cry.
was she ever going to be able to break free
decide on her own
what her life would be like?
her father had chosen the college.
her father had chosen her major-
with a minor in german
her father,
her father,
her father…
silently she obeyed.
friday arrived
with a knock on the door,
“sher, that must be your date!
go answer it…”
here we go,
sher thought…
as she opened the door
a tall
very thin guy
with weak hair
an even weaker mustache
stood gazing down at her,
“um, hi…i’m…..”
sher just waved
let him in
grabbed her stuff
kissed her mom
and was off…
the drive took 2.5 hours to get
to his mothers house…
the time was mostly filled with music
although every now and then
sher would ask a question,
“so, what do you do ?”
“i’m a police officer…”
“how old are you?”
wow, she thought
not the guy she would pick,
she’d had enough of the police department
growing up
with her crazy brother
always getting in trouble,
running away,
in and out of half way houses…
his parole officer
even came for dinner sometimes.
it’s not that she hated cops
she just never saw one
help her brother…
that night they went to a bar
drank, ate some burgers
and then went back to his mothers house
where they slept in separate bedrooms.
the morning sun woke her
so she cleaned up,
dressed and walked to the kitchen
where his mom had made a
nice breakfast…
“sleep well?” she asked sher
sher just nodded,
sat down
and began eating
‘where is he? i want to go home…’
what was her mother thinking?
he strolled into the kitchen
kissed his mothers cheek
grabbed a plate and sat down
next to sher.

“so we are going to a pig roast
out in the country
with live music.
should be a lot of fun…”
sher just smiled
and continued eating.
this car ride took 30 minutes
and as they got closer
it began to rain
the field was a mud pit
but off in the distance
sher could see a tent
with lights on
filled with people laughing,
as they approached the tent
she noticed a table
of guys and girls
playing cards
drinking beer
and laughing loudly.
they all waved to her date.
he waved back.
sher asked,
“who are those people…”
“see the blonde guy
in the middle
with glasses?
i work with his father.
stay away from him.
he’s no good.
the rest of them are all his friends…
come on, lets get some food
and a beer…”
um, HELLO,
the blonde was damn cute
and if he was no good
sher would definitely meet him.
how else could she defy her parents
and how would they ever know?!!!
she followed her date to a corner,
the pig was gone
so they ate bean sandwiches
and drank nasty warm beer.
he was busy talking to a group of guys
and sher
felt lonely…
she set down her beer
strolled over to the
‘stay away from him, table’
tapped the blonde guy
upon the shoulder
and said,
“hi, i am …..i was told i needed to meet you
by my date………”
he looked up at her.
she fell into his baby blues,
“hi, I’m…. won’t you join us?”
and with that
she was caught
hook, line and sinker…

Read More beginning to rebel at nautilus teachings

from verbal to psycho at nautilus teachings

when you are married
to a verbally abusive spouse
you tend to sidestep
cuss words
as part of your own vocabulary,
sugarcoat almost everything,
by pleading
and crying on your knees
for them to stay,
apologizing for things
which are not your fault
even beat yourself up
verbally in front of them
taking the blame
for the reason they drink
do drugs
and abuse you…
for sher
this cycle of accepting
she was no good
undeserving of a thought
belief or opinion
started when she was small…
born into a family of boys
she was the baby
very ill
and when her parents
brought her home
the boys were sat down and told,
“sher is not to be touched…”
how would you feel if you were
3, 5 or 11?
i cannot tell you how they felt
because i am not them…
what i can tell you is what
grew inside her
was fear-
of rounding a corner
without being tackled,
descending the red wooden steps
without being pushed,
or ever thinking being alone
was a good thing…
her hearing
and sense of smell
became extremely sensitive
she learned to be
as quiet as a mouse
and to never ever
let them see her cry…

sher only felt safe
when dory was there
but back in the 60’s
they only had a baby sitter
if it was night time
and her parents were out-
usually it was her 11 year older brother
who obviously had girlfriends…
sher became very good at hiding
in corners, under the steps
behind trees in the park
across the street
even in the dark, damp basement.
think about how you would feel inside
if for the first 11 years of your life
you were afraid
to move,
let alone speak…
if at night
you witnessed your father
spanking your brothers
yet their behavior never changed
it only got taken out on sher
more and more…
unless dory was around…
sher never developed socially
when she was a teen
she fell in love with softball
that introduced her to
more criticism
their words fueled her
to be better
and in her first year
she landed on the
varsity team
where she would stay
as a starter until she graduated…
her art in school
was winning her trophies
her writing earning her straight A’s
soon she fell for a boy
who seemed to be just as shy as she was
he was kind
but very odd…
it wasn’t until dating him
for over a year
her friends told her
he was hit in the head his freshman year
playing football and was never
the same…
what did that mean?
it meant,

sher did not run
they dated for the whole year.
she spent the summer
in California
with her older brother
and his wife
cut off her long hair
learned to roller skate down hills
ate tons of pizza
and listened to her brother…
“listen, sher, this is your senior year
then you will go to college
you need to break it off
when you get home…”
so she did.
the week before school started
she got a call
while she was babysitting,
from his mom…
“it seems…..took his gun
and we cannot find him.
are you in a safe place?
we are out looking for him…”
she called her dad,
explained what was going on.
she called the people she was babysitting for-
they came home
sher and her dad left in his car
driving very slowly the route
she knew he drove to her house…
sure enough,
about a mile from her home
he was walking
on a dark back road
gun pointed forward
determined look…
sher’s dad pulled over and said,
“wait in the car…”
sher did not wait
she jumped out
leaped in front of her
and said, 
“what are you doing?
the young man cried.
put down the gun
and said,
“i was walking to your home
to protect you
i wanted to sleep under you window…”
hello, psycho much?!
they put him in their car
the gun got stashed in the trunk
they drove home
called his parents
and the police…

he was put away
in a psych unit
school started
sher was happy
life was good…
the call.
her principal called sher
into the office
“it seems….has somehow
broken out of…..
he has a gun
and we think he is on the way here.
we will need to remove you from
the school…”
the police arrived.
sher was allowed to take all her friends
to the principals house
and have a free day
watching movies…
as the day was drawing to a close
the home phone rang
and her father answered,
“hello…yes. uh huh…”
then silence as he listened
followed by,
“of course. thank you…”
“well sher…it seems ….has some
severe psychological problems
none of them caused by you
but by the brain injury
he suffered freshman year
before you met him.
he is safe.
now go to bed…”
what was it with the men in her life?
all sher knew was graduation
was fast approaching
and then
outta here!

Read More from verbal to psycho at nautilus teachings

birth of the swear jar at nautilus teachings

in order to find
and live a life
filled with joy,
happiness, gratitude
and forgiveness
sher had to
walk away.
leaving her past
a person
or place
vowing never to go back
or talk to them
did not erase memory.
for sher
the pain of loosing her mother
still lived within her
30 years later…
for sher
anger and ugly words
made her retreat
to darkness and corners.
for sher
knowing she failed
her children in any way
left her
feeling unworthy,
even of being a grandparent…
relationships suffer
when you have never felt whole,
you become a perfectionist
running yourself ragged
making sure everyone is
‘had enough…’
all the years growing up
sher witnessed her own mother
including underwear for her father,
making home made desserts every day
stretching a thin budget
as far as she could
washing and waxing floors
volunteering at school
little league
pee wee football
cub scouts
to name a few,
all the while living with the understanding
she was not allowed to work for money
not allowed to punish her children
she would do what she was told
speak only when spoken to
never complain
and accept that if any one child
was in trouble or failed
it was
HER fault
and she
was then labeled a

sher always found herself
in dory’s shadow
that being a wife and mom
meant doing it all
putting up with
whatever was thrown at you
crying in the bathtub
wearing the perfect
wife and mother masks
never having a voice…
sher saw dory
as this incredibly colorful
kind, giving and loving
full of faith
there for everyone
but who was there for dory?
her sister.
sher’s aunt
was beautiful.
tall, slender
a working woman
she managed the women’s department
at a big, local clothing store.
in fact one summer
she got dory a secret part time job
to help earn money
to purchase new clothes
for the boys…
dory would walk downtown
come home
and make sure all
household chores were done
before her husband returned
at night…
when he somehow found out
dory was working
he went down there
and made her quit the job
humiliating her in public…
dory found her voice
when sher was 11.
she got that job.
she moved up
quickly in ranks.
she became a voice
for women.
she made new friend.
held onto the old ones.
kept the family together
all the while sher struggled
to even speak.
her father did rule over them all.
her brothers all rebelled in
various mean and ugly ways
with her mother always
taking the worst
tongue lashing
carrying the heavy burden
of shame ~ that she was not
and never will be enough.
sher was just drowning in
low self worth
had no courage
looked like gumby
had her share of acne
and struggled repeatedly
to find her voice.
she found it in solace
in writing
she built her own world
inside her head
upon her journals
and refused to show anyone.
when she secretly applied
to the San Francisco school of art
and got accepted
she was so happy.
finally she would get out of this home
away from her father.
she knew leaving dory would be hard
but finding sheri was more important.
so at dinner that evening
sher gave her parents the letter.
dory smiled and her eyes welled up with tears.
well he nodded three times
struggled with his words being released
and then,
“well,” hahahaha, “ you cannot make a living at art, sher.
i will not support this. you will go to the school i pick
and major in business…..”
sher became silent.
she nodded.
she accepted her fate

her father was in control.
it’s what men do.
women are to be obedient.
this man,
her earthly father
just could not wrap his head
around the fact that
his daughter needed acceptance
a listening heart
to be able to step outside
his preconceived plans for all his children
and allow them wings
to pursue their own dreams
and become who God intended them to be…
he could not and would not bend
because he was born broken?
 what did that mean?
mom always said it.
and even though mom always
had her blue suitcase packed
mom always stayed.
sher heard dory scream
several times
that she was going leave…
dory even fainted one night
during an argument with her father…
what was sher learning from all of this?
what did she teach her own children?
she grew up with the fear of being left
not wanted
by a man,
became a perfectionist
in pleasing the men in her life.
she gave up all her dreams
and became
now 30 years later
with her children all grown
she wondered
what had she done
to them?
she tried not to be like her father,
distant, cold, punishing.
she also knew that
by the time she found her own voice
her kids were 12, 15 and 20
had witnessed verbal abuse
and physical abuse
and lived with a man
who had so many addictions
it would not surprise her
if they, themselves
had no idea who they were.
so, at the age of 42
sher looked up to the sky
and for the first time she could remember
ever saying it
and from that
her swear jar was born….

Read More birth of the swear jar at nautilus teachings

walking away from family at nautilus teachings

could you walk away
from a family member?
end your relationship with them?
never talk to them again?
i can
and i did.
you may see me as cold
and unforgiving
but it is actually the opposite…
through the process of forgiving them
i learned all their truths
this allowed me to understand
where their pain and anger came from-
it landed upon me because
i was the baby of the family
the only girl
and for my exes the closest
one to their heart…
we tend to take out anger
upon those we love the most
because with them we feel we
can be honest and open-
and we can,
but we must also have boundaries
we cannot blame or harm
someone we care for
because we have been hurt or abused
we must break this cycle and accept
their love unconditionally…
during my marriages i
felt sympathy and pity for them both
i wanted to fix them
help them heal
the result was them
taking out upon me
all the pain anger and shame they felt
for whomever had harmed them
prior to me entering their life…
in understanding this
in accepting all this as truth
the path away from them
was healing…
the shedding of all the
cumbersome barnacles
of their failures
which i too was carrying
literally floated away.
they do not have to accept or acknowledge
your forgiveness.
in granting forgiveness
you welcome inner peace
into your soul
you gift yourself freedom
from the energy sucking
never healing
always fearing being attacked life…

when it is a parent,
and in this case
it was my father
i knew
i could not
and would not see him again
as long as his wife was alive.
that may sound cruel
but he made his own choices
to deny to my face what
his wife said
to take her side
allowing her
to belittle me
accuse me
and verbally assault me
in front of him.
not long after
my father called me
accusing me of putting
naked pics on fb
i picked up my phone
and called him…
“hey dad. listen. i don’t know what…..says about me
but i am your daughter. all i ever wanted was
for you to love me and be proud of me.
i cannot talk to you if you continually attack me.
i wanted you to know i love you…”
now, remember his hearing is bad
this is the response i got,
“she denies saying anything.
oh, and by the way
i am going to be cremated
when i die, so you don’t have to come home
she will just put me in the mausoleum next
to your mother. no party or service…”
more silence
then i hung up.
my father is odd.
always has been.
but this lack of hearing can
sometimes bring about the weirdest
responses from him.
i still remember the one time he was in my convertible
in the backseat
his wife in the front-
remember i told you we were friends for 20 years
prior to the incident of her ugly loose lips-
he was talking and smiling…
upon arrival home i asked him what he was saying
and who he was talking to.
his response,
“to myself. i always talk to myself
because no one yells at me
and i can tell myself jokes…”

is this what d is in for with me
when i am old?!!
i think about my dad a lot
i know she takes care of him
and for that i am eternally grateful.
the family i walked away from
does not
and never did
need or want me in their life.
does it hurt?
it did for years.
did the pain stop
once i wrote my letters?
it healed.
every now and then
i get a tiny fissure
that produces a
toddler temper tantrum
which ends up with me
and throwing paint
but yes,
pain free.
the burden was lifted
of having to participate
in a life
that truly was never
one i was invited to.
all of this explains
my inability to form close bonds
with any one person…
i love my kids
i would love to have weekly
if not daily
“hey mom, just thinking about you…”
like i did with my own mother
but that will never happen
because even though i know
i did the best job i could raising my kids
i also understand the bigger picture
i was never whole while raising them
and just as my mother says about my father,
i was born broken.
i am my father’s daughter.
at the age of 42 i began separating
from my life and
finding sheri…
today at 55
i am still a work in progress.
all my broken pieces
are now bonded to me
with faith as my center
making up my one beautiful
colorful mosaic life.
could you walk away?
i did
and in doing so
i found true love,
inner peace, joy
and happiness…

Read More walking away from family at nautilus teachings

the letters at nautilus teachings

when i am harmed in any way
i retreat to darkness
and silence…
i pull inside myself
and get creative.
in fact,
i have made some of my best pieces
in my healing.
for in order to mend my wounded self
i must first re-open the wound
let it drip drip drip
into my entire being
and then
i feverishly write in charcoal
upon the blank canvas
the words that need to be said…
then begin building layer upon layer
the wet healing balm of color
i love this process…
i did not learn it from any one person
i just combined all the ways i release
with my passion-painting…
three years passed
i did not call, write or communicate
with my father.
i was in my car
top down
sun brilliant and warm
music blaring
when my phone rings
interrupting my song,
“call from, dad…”
click, end.
music resumes.
next day
“call from, dad…”
‘hi dad, what’s up?’
“why are you posting
naked pictures of yourself on fb?”
i pause,
‘dad-you can’t post nude pics on fb
and besides i would never do that…’
“well…….say’s, her friend…..saw them…”
his crazy wife and her
just as crazy friends..
‘love you dad.’
click, end.
that was it.
nothing more
the forgiveness challenge by desmond tutu!
my studio was doing very well
all the kids were happy
d was well.
and then
God sends me this challenge
and i can hear HIS voice saying,
‘it’s time sheri…let it go…’

i loved this book and challenge.
i posted many videos on it
and then the time to write the letters…
Dear Dad-

You and I have had many ups and downs. I have put you on pedestals you did not deserve I know, but I needed to because I needed you to be someone you are not.
You always provided for me perfectly fine. I can never remember wanting for anything. When I needed you, you were there.
Mom once said to me, “sheri, you expect too much from him, your father was born broken. just love him the best you can…”
My truths don’t matter now. I have grown up and grown into
a woman I love and I respect. So I hope one day Dad, you can feel proud of me. All i ever wanted was family, love and art.
As you celebrate you birthday please know I have written ……. a letter telling her I forgive her. it took Nelson Mandela 27 years to become an icon of reconciliation, forgiveness and honor and lead a country back from the brink of civil war and self destruction.
So…3 years is not bad at all!!!
If you were here with me, I would take you for walk along my beach and then to my favorite coffee house for breakfast. I would follow that up with showing you all the colors that live within me…

I love you dad.

and the second one, to his wife…

It’s been nearly 23 years since you married my father. From the very beginning I welcomed you, loved you, and asked you to be my children’s grandmother…
Throughout the first 20 years you were absolutely a good grandmother to them. You were always kind to me and I was the same in return.
So when 2 1/2 years ago at …..graduation party when you began speaking against me in words and stories that were not just untrue but hurtful, it threw me to the ground.
Why you think these things about me, or why you felt the need to say them does not matter.
“I know who I am, I know what I have lived through and I am so proud of myself…”
We are all inherently good and flawed. I thought maybe you hurt me because you yourself were hurting, I just don’t know Thank you for the years of loving my kids and my father. I hope you continue on in good health and feel such happiness and peace.

forgiveness is such a gift to ourself…
i can tell you in writing these letters
and all my letters
i lost the need to carry any hurt
i felt incredibly lighter
almost flushed clean…
forgiveness led me to
true expression of gratitude
it re-opened my eyes
to the beauty and wonder
of my life
those i know and love
wrapping me in a balm
of cool calmness
with faith as my center…
we have to have these hard conversations
we don’t have to live with people who hurt us
it’s ok to say goodbye
and love them from afar.
this is your life
your choices
for me
i choose inner peace…

Read More the letters at nautilus teachings

mean girls at nautilus teachings

what is your breaking point?
do you have a long fuse?
i have always hated anger
because my life was so filled
with it being hurled at me
that i had come to
never even flirt with it-
oh sure,
once in a blue moon
i could be pushed
and when i am shoved?
look the fuck out
because i become
my disheveled father opened his door
the morning sun was blinding
his hair was a mess,
i had obviously caught them both
getting ready for the day…
my father is very hard of hearing
which can benefit you sometimes
but today,
for the next 15 minutes
i hurled at him so many
ugly, hurtful words
i told him truths i swore
to my dead mother
he would never find out
and just when i ran out of air,
as he was standing there
looking all broken
mixed up
and confused
slathering the cream her face
came out
and said,
“oh grow up.
we all had hard childhoods…”
and who did she think she was?
i had welcomed her
when all three of my brothers hated her
i stood up for her!
to come to my home
spewing lies about me,
this woman had no idea
what i had lived through
i had told no-one except God!
i lost it.
i began to cry.
i told my father
what all three people said to me
that his wife said,
he did not speak
he mumbled
and then
“oh, that’s bullshit. i never said any of that…”
ok so now she is going to lie to save face
to my father?
arguing would do me no good.
i was glad the two of them had one another.
i said to my father,
“i don’t ever want to see you again.”
stormed out.
drove home
had a drink
waited for d
and cried like a toddler
throwing a temper tantrum…

from what i have seen
in my lifetime
people only lie to protect
they don’t want anyone to know
their truth…
i don’t believe to this day
she was truly out to hurt me
and i know, i will never know why
she said what she said
or all of what she said
but i did write her this letter-

I hate that your words scream
Inside of my head
I hate that I let what you said
Make me feel so small
Make me recheck my memory
And question my beliefs
And values
Since you married my father
I have been nothing but kind
And loving
And giving to you
How dare you come to my home
And throw up vile
Lies about me and my life
How can you sit at a table
With me and my family
And say I was a bad mother
Why would you even care if I was a jesus freak?
How would you personally know what I say
Think, feel or do
You have never been granted full access to my heart
You are not my mother
But I gave you the right to be a grandmother to my kids
You are hurtful
And as
Taylor swift would say
A liar
Leave me out of your conversations
You have successfully destroyed what little relationship
I had with my father
I can no longer walk into his home
Or hug him
Because you may be lurking in the shadows.
What you said to my mother-in-law, my daughter and my friends
Will never be forgotten
Your daggers wounded us all
And as my daughter said to me
“that was some pretty twisted shit mom, what is wrong with Grandma?”
All you wish
Live in your world
Of ugly
I find it hard to believe my mother called you a friend
She would hate you for the things you said about
Her daughter
And the lies you told
My mother knew my truths
My mother held me
My mother protected me
I hate

did i feel better writing and sending it?
did she read it?
probably not.
for years she deleted
every email i sent to my father…
so i wracked my brain
why oh why
did she hate me?
my oldest brother said,
“sheri, she was always mean.
i remember her as a kid
being ugly and mean to everyone…”
this was not helping me.
sure, i remember her being a gossip queen
every time i saw her,
but i just tuned her out
walked away
did not care what she was saying…
this time it was about me, though…
i remember at my wedding to my crazy ex
i sat upon my dads lap
and was telling him i loved him
when she came onto the deck and
“oh, you two, get a room…”
then she laughed.
odd and mean…
sugar land says it best…

Well, I ain’t a mean girl
But I’ve known a few
They’ll make you cry, baby
And then blame it on you

Read More mean girls at nautilus teachings

betrayal at nautilus teachings

as i grew up
i learned to choose
faith over fear
in fact,
my faith is what grew me…
i knew i had to go through troubles
that good times would follow.
this was another test for me
how strong had i grown
how powerful was my voice
did i trust myself
enough to face my ex?
i never had to see him again.
we spoke only once
i called him and asked him about
the peanut butter and letter
he vehemently denied both
so i let it go
hung up
and blocked him
and all his family-
ya gotta love technology!
for me,
that was the end of his story
he eventually decided to get help
went to rehab
fell in love
stayed clean and sober
and lives a faith filled life.
our oldest daughter reconnected with
and now lives near him
our youngest was adopted by d
and never wants to see him again…
breathing in and heaving huge sighs right now…
and my life
my tiny bali studios
began to grow…
i was asked by a close friend to host
a paint night?
she had gone to one in alabama
and loved it…
so she got me started with the
byob’s 9 years ago
and up until the last 3 or so years
i was pretty much
the only byob…
they are every where…
in 2009
i began kids summer camps
and hosting private parties…
i love my life.
yet behind all the colored paint
the funky aprons
the painted tables
my pain was still raw.
i hurt.

i embarked upon reading
and taking classes on forgiveness –
i never ever thought i could forgive
all the men who hurt me-
but through the guidance of several teachers
and books,
the most influential being
Desmond Tutu’s book on forgiveness
i began writing letters of forgiveness
asking for forgiveness
all while having no expectation
of ever hearing from anyone
or of anyone acknowledging
their part of grief and pain in my life…
in fact, the few people i felt i needed to apologize to
laughed and felt i had no need,
“we were young and stupid!”
the people i wrote letters of forgiveness to,
not one,
and there were only 5
even acknowledged receiving them.
four i really did not care about
i had let them go years ago
and in a small way had already
come to terms with their abuse
inflicted upon me.
but the biggest pain
and still unhealed
is my father.
i was never close to him
i never felt supported by him
but i did love him
after mom died
and he remarried
i asked his new wife
to be my children’s grandmother
and for years
i felt like i had a somewhat kind
and loving relationship with them both
then BAM,
it was just 5 years ago
this may…
my youngest graduating from hs with her aa
the party was at our home
all our friends and some family
were there
including my dad and his wife…
the day went along fine
everyone went home.
the next day we had them
to our home for dinner
we all sat outside
along the water
my dads wife began
talking about what a bad cook i am
and how my kids were never fed…
my son and his girlfriend were there
he looked at her so confused saying,
‘the only thing i remember not liking was
moms chicken breasts, they were always dry…hahaha!”
she proceeded to say i was not a hands on parent
my kids ran wild…
doc stood up
took her hand
and escorted her and my father out…
then the 4 of us sat there,
like WTF just happened…
my son said,
“grandmas crazy…she doesn’t know anything.
just ignore her mom…”
so i did.
the next morning was a monday…
my oldest daughter called me early,
“mom, grandma was saying some pretty
twisted shit about you at the party
to everyone at our table…”
she then proceeded to tell me tiny
ugly words this woman said about me…
we hung up and i thought
my phone rang again,
this time it was our office manager
who was at the table with her husband
and she was in shock saying,
“i cannot repeat the vile things she said,
but she called you a slut…”
my head was spinning
another phone call
this one from mom in law,
“oh, my sheri…oh, my sheri…
i don’t know how to tell you this
but you have to know that
your dads wife was saying….”
exactly what she said i don’t know
i was only able to get these three
beautiful souls i love to tell me
small pieces…
“her brothers hate her because…”
“she should have stayed married to….”
it was all vile, ugly and hurtful…
but to find out she had been talking
to my ex
buying into all his bullshit-
that was the last straw…
i got in my car
and drove to the hotel we
had put them up in
i stormed up the steps
pounded on the door
and screamed,
“let me in right now dad..”
i kept screaming and pounding
until he opened the door
looking all bewildered….

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bali studios is born at nautilus teachings

they say karma
always comes back
to bite you in the butt.
for this brief moment
no one lived in fear
her ex was in jail
the kids were all happy
she and d were in love
building a beautiful life…
the time had come
for her to fix sher.
where to begin…
she started with writing classes
pouring out her life story
weekly in the classroom
next up was photography
a month long of selfies
with the goal being to
actually take a picture of
your naked face
by months end.
most posted their toes
half a face
their flowers blooming…
not sher!
she build complete sets
painting corners
one with blue waves
one with angel wings
one with the closet
she hid in as a child…
she smudged mascara on her cheeks
and red paint on her body
she set up her camera
and click, click, click
she did not just take one photo
she took hundreds
and made slide shows…
this was how she would heal
through her art.
march arrived
and d asked her to go to el sal with him
on a surf trip
so the two of them few off
and for 5 days stayed in the guarded
yet extremely beautiful hotel
where he surfed three sessions a day
she napped, read, wrote, drew and photographed…
on the third day
under the almond tree
sipping cold water from a bottle
he picked up an almond that had fallen

‘blondie. how would you like an oceanfront studio
to teach your art?”
speechless, she stared at him
“i own the double unit next to me
and as a wedding gift i want you to have it…”
‘yes, yes, yes…’ was all she could stammer out.
they returned home and began
tearing down all the walls
opening up the whole space
to the gorgeous mother ocean view…
they laid the floor
put in a mosaic entry
painted the walls different colors
made tables out of saw horses
and plywood,
Bali Studios was born.
“well blondie, this is all yours.
time to begin.
let everyone hear and see you.
you can do this…”
and so sheri began to be being born.
the unraveling of so many locked images
the very first painting in my studio
was wise old mr. hawksbill
who hangs above my desk.
he was my imaginary friend
and guide as a child.
he introduced me to fancy finns the mermaid
lots of tropical colored fish
waving seagrasses
i hung sea stars in the dark closet
to light my way
all while being engulfed in the warm
cradling of my faith…
now, at the age of 45
it was all becoming real.
i had no idea what would come out
how it would look
and i did not care
just the release of paint
on canvas
the soft brushing sounds
began to heal me.
at first,
every painting had to have air.
it had to be protected.
it needed light.
protection=black outlines
yellow at the top=light
that’s how my painting started
here in cb

in my tiny ocean front bali studios.
for a whole year i threw paint
i cried
i screamed
i yelled
i wrote
57 paintings later
with mr hawksbill
-as the not for sale- main piece
i had my first art show
at juice and java,
selling all but 7 paintings…
they have all sold accept 2.
those hang in my home…
my kids were all doing well.
our first grandson was now 1 1/2,
my ex was in jail
his family hated me
blamed me
that was ok.
i could live with that
knowing full well, now
that he brought his problems with him
into a marriage
through bold face lies.
the girls and i wrote a letter to the judge
asking to keep him in jail
and they did for a tiny while longer.
we were picking up the pieces of our life
and it was hard.
you cannot just forget
15 years of madness
because there were some beautiful moments
there was love,
or so i thought…
one day in 2008
right before my show i got a
large manilla envelop
it was
it was a story
his imagined story
of what life would be like
once he got out of jail-
us picking up as a family…
i knew the drugs had played havoc
with his brain
and i did not want to ever hear from him
so i put it and the letters
her wrote the girls
in a box
sealed it tight
and stuck it in the attic.
a week or so after my show in october
i came home from errands…
i noticed on my porch an
empty peanut butter jar
there was also a note…
“i fucking hate you.
i want to pin back your eyelids
and make you watch me…”
i was thrown right back down
into shame
filth, ugliness, terror…
every sound made me jump
and then the phone calls
i started receiving
and recording
from him-
he was out of jail…
my first thought?
bring it the fuck on!

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bitter sweet life at nautilus teachings

dory & sher 1968

never gave up.
never gave up.
dory stayed.
sher left-
what would her mother do?
ran through her head
at the very moment
her boyfriend held out the ring
and asked her to once more
take a huge leap of faith…
her heart was in her throat
her mind was racing…
what about you?
this is your time,
you cannot get attached
so fast.
go home.
find yourself.
she knew he was a good man.
she knew what he had lived through.
they were not young kids-
they were both middle aged…
her faith was strong
her mind had been clear for a while now
her marriage was over
years before the divorce
was granted
she hadn’t had sex in 3 years…
she was looking at his
big gorgeous green eyes
surfer dude
oh man…
she smiled,
and whispered
through her own tears,
then came the waterfall
‘but,but…i have the girls still at home
we cannot live with you unless we are married
and i have to sell the house
my life is a mess still…’
“shhhh. blondie. i love you.
i have your back.
i love your kids.
now, let’s celebrate your freedom!”
they giggled and loved
like teenagers
that night,
they met all their friends
for her divorce party.

one by one
young, handsome
surfer men came in
with a flower
offering sher their phone number
in case she got lonely
as everyone laughed
cheered and toasted
her new life.
as the night was drawing to a close
her friend noticed the ring
which sher purposely wore backwards
so all you saw was the yarn
she had to wrap around it to keep it on her finger…
“hey…what’s on your left finger?”
she glanced at sher’s boyfriend and said,
“no, you didn’t even give her one day?”
then everyone was raising a glass
to the two lovebirds and
taking bids on how long it would last!
the girls were ecstatic.
she started renovating his house
making it her home
they settled on november for their
small, private wedding
because the only other month
no ones exes had birthdays or they
had been married in was february
and sher did not celebrate
valentines day!
so, november it was
with their reception being
at pompano-
their favorite restaurant.
september and october
came and went.
the day after halloween
as sher was backing out her truck
lauren and her friend piled in the back seat
they all waited for molly…
the sun was bright
it was warm
low humidity.
molly emerged
backpack in hand
sleep still upon her
big brown eyes
she walked towards the truck
her ex grabs molly.
molly held the inside door handle
the rest of them screamed
he was pulling her
she was kicking back
one of her shoes
slides off as he stumbled backward…

she jumped in the truck
sher locked the door
dialed 911
as everyone is screaming
and crying…
her ex spits on the windshield
beats the truck in a few spots
and yells,
“these are my kids
you can’t take them…”
the police arrive as he
and his crack whore girlfriend
are walking to his truck.
his license plate is a scrap piece of cardboard
upon which he wrote
lost tag…
the cbpd do not check his license
or registration
they do not do anything
except ask him to leave.
then they walk back
check on the sher and the girls…
molly is a mess.
lauren and her friend
are still crying.
the police assign the school officer
to the case, to keep an eye on
the girls
making sure her ex does not
just show up at school
everyone is shaken up,
but the girls eventually
calm and say,
‘mom, we want to go to school…’
sher is amazed at their determination and strength.
‘mom, we can’t let dad get to us.
he is crazy.’
“ok. let’s go to school”, said sher.
this was her life
bitter sweet madness…
a week later
under a full november moon
on a balcony overlooking mother ocean
with 25 of their closest friends
d and s
said i do.
they embraced
each others messy past
accepted all the broken pieces
of each other
and became one.
their honeymoon
was beautiful
life fell into routine
when they returned.
it was january 2007
sher had taken molly to her friends house
as she rounded the corner in her truck
this time he was alone
on a motorcycle
staring at her as he drove off…
“what did he want?” she asked d.
‘oh he tried to intimate me,
and when i backed him down the driveway
and flexed my muscles
he started crying
got on his motorcycle and took off…’
she was home.
this she knew.
she and her girls were safe and loved.
her phone rang,
‘this is cbpd, we have arrested
your ex-husband….’
she dropped the phone on the driveway
looked up at d
and said,
“they got him!”
then she fell into the arms
of the man she loved
and cried…

Read More bitter sweet life at nautilus teachings

begin again at nautilus teachings

divorce is hard
on the whole family
even if it is an amicable one.
but when you find yourself
being accused of
making drugs
even though you were in no way
even close or involved,
well, you grow up fast…
over the next 24 hours
the phone was attached to sher…
she spoke to no-one accept her attorney.
by nightfall the girls were on the sofa
clean from their baths
eating pizza, drinking a soda
and watching a movie
when once more her phone rang…
“awww, mom do you have to get that?”
‘yes. but i will be right back…’
she walked to her bedroom
and listened to the key west police,
“yes. we understand now that
your boat was stolen and you were
ordered by the court to find it and sell it.
we have removed the meth lab
your husband and his girlfriend
are both under arrest
but no charges will be pressed
against you.
we apologize for any inconvenience
this may have caused.
have a good night…”
then a dial tone.
she heaved a huge sigh
poured a drink
and hopped onto the sofa
with the girls…
‘what did i miss?’
they filled her in
and all three fell asleep
and dreamed sweet dreams
for the first time in months
upon the blue suede sofa,
with sam their golden lab
right by their side…
maybe 2006 would turn out ok
she thought as she woke up
the next morning…
she had been seeing her neighbor
for a few months now.
he was handsome
loved her kids
and kind.
she was not ready for a serious relationship,
this she knew.
her plan was to move home
after the divorce was final.
it was already nearing the end of
the school year.
the girls were going for their last year
of sleep away camp
then would land home for a few weeks
before jet setting off to see her
soon to be ex’s family in
virginia an utah…
she wanted the girls summer to be happy.
she knew they were both loved
and a few weeks with his family
before the divorce
was the perfect end to a 15 year marriage.
what happened after the papers were signed
no once could predict…
it was a lovely summer…
sher was alone during the day working
on ending one marriage
starting over
and filled with possibility
hope and dreams of the unknown…

first and foremost
was finding herself…
dinners she spent with her neighbor
and soon they were a couple.
the girls were excited
and approved of moms new boyfriend…
it seems he played softball and baskeball
with them in the street in 2005-
how had she missed that?
she thought,
‘i was tied up in the madness of
my second husband…i cannot believe
i never noticed…’
her son had moved back to n.c.
met a girl
and was happy.
he called her every now and then
was back in college
and really growing up.
the girls seemed happy too.
as summer drew to a close
the girls were home
shopping for back to school
and every night
the 4 of them ate dinner…
having a man at the head of the table
a man of faith
who to sher
was Einstein
who made them giggle
and feel not just heard
but loved unconditionally,
it was so
unbelievably wonderful…
her day in court
was august 20, 2006
exactly 22 years
to the day she married
her first husband
and nearly 19 years
since her beloved
mother’s death.
she woke up early
got the girls off to school
and walked down the two houses
to see her boyfriend.
he kissed her
wished her luck
and left for work.
‘well, she thought, i need to pack up my things
from his house. soon i will move home…’
as she was packing and crying
he came back
and startled her.
“hey! what are you doing?
why are you crying?
i forgot my files…
baby, what’s the matter?”
his eyes were welling up too.
he knew.
he knew she wanted to move home.
that she would not stay.
she needed family.
he hugged her tight
and once more, left for work.
her husband did not show up
to court.
the judge gave her
what was left of the money
told her to sell everything she could,
including the house,
he stripped her now ex
of all of his parental rights
and told her,
he is not qualified to ever
make more than minimum wage
so there will be no child support
or alimony-
divorce granted!
she drove home
with her top down
music blaring
smile upon her face…
tonight was her divorce party
at pompano grill
being put on by her boyfriend…
it was a warm sunny day.
she pulled into his driveway
and walked through the garage.
he was lounging on the chase
she had given him for his last birthday.
“hey! how’d it go?” he asked.
she sat with him and told him
all the details finishing with,
“so now i pack to move home…”
before she could rise up
he pulled his doctorate ring from his pants
and with eyes full of tears
he said,
“well, blondie, will you marry me?”

Read More begin again at nautilus teachings