About a decade ago,  my friend Vicki Hinze had a literary agent, Helen Breitweiser, who was a blast to be around.  Helen was young, hip, intelligent–and had a mouth on her.  That was part of her charm. (In my opinion, at least.)  One of her favorite phrases was to refer to someone’s literary masterpiece as being “fucking brilliant.”  For those of us with little kids, we paraphrased it as “effing brilliant.”

We’re all entitled to spout a “pearl of wisdom” every now and then, but some people have the profoundest insights that consistently astonish me.  Five of these “effing brilliant” people have made a huge difference in my life this past year.  I won’t say how exactly, because in many cases, it’s been extremely personal and meaningful on my own spiritual journey, but their words are worth exploring for gems that you may find meaning on your own journey.

  1.  S. Kelley Harrell, author of Gift of the Dreamtime, is a shaman and sexual abuse survivor who writes about so many levels of existence and meanings.   Whether it’s her personal blogs, public blogs, or her books and stories, I never fail to leave them without feeling a little more enlightened about what goes on in the unseen worlds around us and how we carry it with us.


I’ve heard it said that the people who are the most grounded are the ones who are at home in the dark and have worked through so much of the pain and trauma that come to us in our childhood and throughout our lives.  These are not the people who wallow in self-pity and obsessive emo stereotypes, but who have faced the trauma and share their healing with others.

  1. Author Christopher Penczak always seems to say something extremely important to me just when I need it, whether he realizes it or not.  Though I’ve enjoyed my online associations with him for several years as well as his very gentle but on-target advice, he floored me when I met him in person.  He’s a very gifted and charismatic workshop teacher and I simply enjoy being in his presence to hear his take on the world.

Christopher is the one who lectured me on being the “fix-it witch,” which was a big turning point for me, but I also appreciate the way he’s given voice and structure to a lot of ideas I’ve had floating around chaotically in my head.  Geez, I feel like such a bobblehead when he’s talking and I’m just nodding, yes…yes…yes….

  1. Author Dorothy Morrison may seem like a  demure Southern lady when you first meet her, but she’s wickedly powerful–and funny, too.  Whereas Christopher has always reminded me to let other people fix their own problems, Dorothy is the one to give me a kick in the ass to tell me to fix my own and stop trying to be so sweetly ethical when dealing with unethical people.  She has a real no-nonsense about her of “Take your power and own it” that I’ve come to appreciate time and again.

Flying By Night novel

I adore Dorothy–she’s one of those friends who won’t pry but she will step in like a protective big sister and fill in the gaps for me when I’m up against something that I can’t help myself with.

  1. Obiwan, one of my coaches.  I call her “Obiwan” on this site and in my books because she’s a private person, but she exudes a sweet compassion that is hard to find, even among the most spiritual of people.   If I am in a jam emotionally, she is more likely than anyone else to talk me down.  She has a way of putting things that helps me see clearly the dynamics around me.   She can be very accurate in her assessments, and at the same time, gentle with her words so that the message is clear and not lost in a need to defend my feelings.  Her encouragement and assistance in good times and bad have really helped me to stay on track when life gets too busy or chaotic to see what’s in front of me.
  1. And my eldest, Shannon Bailey (right).  Shannon has an upbeat personality without being a pollyanna that you’d like to slap, if you know what I mean.  She actively looks for the positives and the possibilities, and she gets annoyed with people who can’t see that they have options in their lives.  Even when things seem at their worst, she can find either a bright side or a facet no one’s thought of.

Since she was about 16, she’s come up with consistently brilliant nuggets of insight, my all-time favorite being “Never take advice from unhappy people.”  She’s a wonderful listener, too, and in a way, it seems that she’s what the Universe has given back to me to balance all those times when I was the good friend, the good listener, the shoulder to cry on for everyone else.  She’s my rock, and someone I’d cherish as a friend even if she weren’t my daughter.


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