Awakening meditation

let the

So goes the saying on my coffee mug.

7:15am. I look out my kitchen window to the slowly lightening sky, with scattered cirrus clouds drifting ever so slowly to the south. Like a meditation, I watch them. Beautiful. Some drifting apart into whisps that keep stretching and evaporating into the soft white and now-emerging light blue sky.

I hear the birds singing. I see five – – – – –  darting together in the opposite direction as the drifting clouds. Darting as if on a mission. Places to go. Things to do. Start of the day.


Two birds come back into view, fliterring together, one up to the other’s down, ^ ∨ like a morning dance.

A tiny form farther in the distant sky. A plane ¯ , the size of a grain of sand, moving west to east.

Movement. Dawn.


I invite you to take 20 minutes, first thing after you awaken in the morning, for a calming and connecting meditation, quietly observing the sky and the natural elements around you.

Today, I chose to play music to accompany my vibrational connection with the dawn of a new day. Calming, instrumental music works well. “Spa Lounge” on Spotify is a lovely playlist option. Get it started. Use your earbuds or head phones, or play it on your stereo.

If you’re using a phone or your computer to play music, put it in Airplane or Do not Disturb mode. Mute other devices and place them where you can’t see them.

Don’t do ANYTHING but observe the sky and the way it changes. Watch the clouds, the birds, the shifting light. Be still. Don’t talk to anyone. Try to do this solo, without anyone around.

See how you feel after 20 minutes.

You could do this once a week maybe. A Saturday or Sunday morning would work wonderfully.

I highly recommend it.

~ Johanna

Terri Lyne Carrington’s FABULOUS music (and story)

For this post, I’d like to share one (of many) inspiring Dare to be Fabulous contributor updates. This update comes from GRAMMY® award-winning jazz musician Terri Lyne Carrington.

Photo Credit: John Watson

Terri Lyne Carrington’s personal story in Dare to be Fabulous is titled “Full Circle and Living an Authentic Life.” She writes about what it was like to be a protégé jazz drummer in the male-dominated jazz world, and how she has grown to become her fully authentic self.

Terri Lyne Carrington – new STANDARDS – vol. 1 
From her website:

“Drummer, bandleader, composer, producer, activist and educator Terri Lyne Carrington has worked tirelessly over her remarkable career to fight for inclusivity and raise the voice of women, trans and non-binary people in jazz. New Standards, her ambitious new project, was created to shine a light on women composers in historic new ways. New Standards will arrive this fall in the form of the first-ever lead sheet book of jazz compositions dedicated entirely to women composers, a newly recorded album of 11 selections from the songbook featuring an all-star band and dazzling line-up of special guests, and a multi-media exhibition at Detroit’s Carr Center.”

Listen to “Respected Destroyer” from new STANDARDS – vol. 1

Live At The Detroit Jazz Festival with Wayne Shorter, Terri Lyne Carrington, Leo Genovese, and Esperanza Spalding

Also: Terri Lyne Carrington + Social Project’s Waiting Game was nominated for a 2021 GRAMMY® award and has been celebrated as one of the best jazz releases of 2019 by Rolling Stone, Downbeat, Boston Globe and Popmatters.

Watch their video, “Pray the Gay Away”

I have many other amazing updates from story contributors to this book, and will share more in future posts. I’m also posting fun pictures and updates to the Dare to be Fabulous Facebook page.

Dare to be Fabulous book feedback

I’ve been getting wonderful feedback from initial readers of the book. If you  enjoy the book, please, pretty please, add your book rating on Amazon. You can rate the book on other retailer websites or Goodreads, as well. Every individual reader/customer rating makes a difference. (Thank you!)

It’s still early days for media coverage, but the book has been featured on Yahoo! Lifestyle and other media websites so far. It generally takes a few months before media runs stories or reviews or articles of a book. More to come!

I’ll sign off with one of the 50+ featured quotes in the new Dare to be Fabulous Journal Notebook. Let this be fodder for some weekend reflection:

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~ Helen Keller


Both DTBF publications now available from Amazon & indie bookstores

Dare to be Fabulous and the companion Dare to be Fabulous Journal Notebook are now available from both Amazon AND your local indie bookstores!

On Amazon, you can also “Look inside” each publication.

The glossy hardback Dare to be Fabulous Journal Notebook just released. It features 50+ humorous and inspiring women’s quotes and 120 pages. Consider this publication as a companion for the writing and reflection prompts offered in the book. You can also get it for journaling, list-making, creative writing, note-taking, and as a fun gift. (An alternate paperback option is forthcoming on Amazon, too. Keep an eye on that page.)


JOURNAL NOTEBOOK FROM INDIE BOOKSTORES (select a local store from the list in the right column. The list is rendered by city or zip.)


PAPERBACK FROM INDIE BOOKSTORES (select a local store from the list in the right column. The list is rendered by city or zip.)

Remember that you can also follow the Dare to be Fabulous Facebook page for fun contributor posts, pictures, and other updates. #DTBF


~ Johanna

Dare to be Fabulous

Spreading the love

Dare to be Fabulous ratings and reviews

Every Customer Rating on Amazon adds up to make a big difference, especially when ratings are from “verified purchasers” of the book. These ratings help the book’s ranking and get it in front of more interested readers who might not otherwise know about the book.  If you enjoy Dare to be Fabulous, please offer your own rating or review on the book pageScroll down the page and click “Review this Product.” 

Please encourage others who like the book to do the same. Thank you!! 

Three more easy ways to spread Dare to be Fabulous love: 🥰

  1. Share a post about the book with your personal and professional networks. For social media posts, please include #DTBF and tag the @DaretobeFabulous page on Facebook.
  2. Take a picture or short video clip with the book or the Kindle. You could post it to social media and tag the Facebook page; send it via Facebook messenger; or email it to
  3. If you’re in a book group or a creative/supportive circle, select this book for future discussion. Each personal story in this book is followed by a writing and reflection prompt. That’s 27 stories with great fodder for meaningful conversation.

A brief personal video introduction to the book and journal

My fabulous contributors are posting and sharing pictures and videos with the book, so I figured it’s only right that I do the same as the book’s editor and publisher. Watch my short video introduction by clicking on the still photo, below. 

Follow/like the Dare to be Fabulous Facebook page for fun contributor posts, pictures, videos, updates, and more. It’s a public page, which means non-Facebookers can also visit.

Speaking of spreading the love, I want to extend a hearty thank you for all the enthusiastic responses you’ve been sending my way. Feels great for the book to finally be out there.


Dare to be Fabulous

The book is LIVE!

Dare to be Fabulous is now LIVE and available on Amazon!

Dare to be Fabulous is now available to purchase in Kindle and paperback on Amazon. If you select the paperback option, you can also click above the cover image to “look inside.” You’ll be able to read through my Introduction and the beginning of the first story in the book. (The paperback will be available from independent bookstores and retailers at a later date.)

An early reader likens this book to a delicious assortment of tapas. I love that analogy. The book features 27 short and personal stories, averaging two to four pages in length, so you can choose to read as many as you like at one sitting. Each story is followed by a writing and reflection prompt, so you might also choose to read one story at a time as a daily meditation.

A companion Dare to be Fabulous Journal Notebook

This vibrant and glossy hardback publication will also be available to purchase on Amazon very soon. It features 50+ humorous and inspiring women’s quotes and serves as an optional companion for the personal writing and reflection prompts in the book. The two publications together make a beautiful set.

Note: A list of sources for all featured Dare to be Fabulous quotes (in the book, the journal, and the website) is posted on a dedicated page of the website. As I note on that page: “At a time when disinformation is rampant, it becomes even more important to give credit where it’s due, and to spend time on factual sourcing.”

Daring to be fabulous

A big celebratory cheer for the women who contributed a personal story to this book. They dared to be fabulous in more ways than one: first, in the very experiences they recount here, and second, by writing about those experiences and sharing them with all of you in this book.

May their stories (and the personal prompts) embolden you on the path to finding your own true north.


Dare to be Fabulous

A book update and an endorsement from Julianna Margulies

Dare to be Fabulous just received a book endorsement from multiple award-winning actor and author, Julianna Margulies. Here’s an update on the book, along with her wonderful endorsement.

It makes me so happy to share this endorsement, not only with subscribers and blog visitors and potential readers, but also with all my contributors, whose personal stories comprise the book.

“This book holds together the power women find when they are honest and courageous and truthful. Some of these stories moved me to tears, others made me believe in humanity again, many I could identify with. This book brought me tremendous joy, insight and brought me back to believe in the human spirit.”

~ JULIANNA MARGULIES, multiple award-winning actor and author of Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life

Let this be an affirmation: when you share your personal experiences with humility, courage, honesty, and humor, you can have a big impact.

The full roster of book contributors and their story titles is available to peruse on the Dare to be Fabulous website.

Pre-order your book today

You can pre-order the Dare to be Fabulous ebook for Kindle (pre-ordered Kindle ebooks sometimes arrive before the release date.)  The paperback will become available closer to the release date of August 4, 2022.

Offer an early book rating

If you enjoyed reading the stories previously featured on the website, you’re familiar with the theme of this book. Please consider rating the book now, so other readers can discover it! Link to the retailer book pages above and click the stars. You can also rate and review the book on Goodreads. (Amazon welcomes book ratings and reviews starting on, or just before, the release date.)

Consider the Dare to be Fabulous Journal Notebook as a writing companion

The Dare to be Fabulous Journal Notebook will also be released in August, 2022. This 120-page publication has a colorful, glossy hardcover and features 50+ inspiring and humorous women’s quotes.  Consider this as a companion for the writing and reflection prompts offered in the book. Together, they make a beautiful set.

More updates as they come!


Dare to be Fabulous  

The Dare to be Fabulous book . . . and more

Dare to be Fabulous book is coming in Summer, 2022!

Over the years, the Dare to be Fabulous website grew to feature 40+ personal stories from women on all walks of life. A selection of those stories is now being updated and edited for an upcoming book publication. Stories for the book were selected based on the variety of topics and writing styles.

The website is evolving to focus on the book. This means that stories are no longer being featured on the website. As of now, the book contributors’ title pages remain public with their bios posted there. The comments section is also still open, so previously posted comments on their stories remain visible.

Check out the new Book page for more information about the book.


That’s the latest for now.

Join the mailing list if you aren’ t already receiving these posts. You’ll receive occasional email updates, including when these publications will be available to pre-order, and more!



A Bossy Massage and Some Truth Telling

This guest post comes from story coach Cara Jones. 

Have you ever found yourself lucky enough to get a long awaited massage, only to then find yourself lying there feeling just subtly agitated or unsatisfied by the pressure or music or temperature. But then, when the provider asks how it’s all going you say “good” or “fine” because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, inconvenience them, or make them work too hard?

Recently, I had an experience that was the opposite of that. It’s called a “bossy massage,” a body work modality coined by Betty Martin that is all about inviting the client to direct the experience and ask for exactly what you want.

I obviously signed up for the adventure but, in the moment, I froze there on the table. My heart started to race. My hands got cold. I stayed silent for some awkward minutes watching my thoughts race. “What should I say?” “What would be okay for her?” I was so distracted I couldn’t access what I wanted.

The experience illuminated so much of what has and can still happen with me when I am challenged to tell the truth in my life and writing:

  1. I get a hit of something I want to say, then start worrying about what others will think
  2. As a result, I get cut off from feeling the depth of my own truth
  3. I say something that’s acceptably “good” or “fine,” or don’t say anything at all

What I learned from this bossy experience is that so often the “shoulds” and rules we have inherited block us from even knowing what we hold inside. The truth asks us to slow down and give it permission so we can hear what it has to say.

I was in tears by the end of it all as I discovered that, underneath so many shoulds, was someone who was so powerfully clear about what she wanted . . . who could both ask for and receive that.

May you also feel permission to access and receive the gifts of your own truth . . . for your work, your writing, and your life.

If you are coach, artist, healer, or entrepreneur, I would love to welcome you to a free writing experience to support more of your authentic expression in the world. The Be Yourself Out Loud Writing Experience happens on Tuesday, October 19th from 10-11:30am PST. You can learn about it and sign up here.