3 Unexpected Signs Your Manifestation is Coming Your Way

Hi. It’s me, again. The fitness nut who has taken two nasty falls in the space of 3 weeks. I pose the million dollar question: Why on God’s green earth would I attract severe injury when much of my joie de vivre comes from biking, hiking, riding horses and doing HIIT?

There’s a reason why and I discovered it yesterday. It’s a form of the law of attraction but it’s not what you think. And I’m totally pumped.

Come along with me on my journey and I’ll connect the dots along the way for you.

The Onset of Physical Challenges

At the end of February on the brink of the pandemic, I was lifting weights, pyramiding, and straining to finish the last set of shoulder presses. I pushed it too far and damaged my AC Joint. The injury has since put a squash on my lifting weights.

Loss of Job Due to the Pandemic’s Effect on the Economy

On May 1 amid a 30-day quest of listening to Bob Proctor’s Calm Guided Meditation to Gain Abundance, Love & Happiness I lost my full time job which had been getting in the way of the things I wanted to manifest—e.g. time to craft customized pitches for Calamity to literary agents and get back to cracking on Calamity’s sequel.

The First Fall

On May 3, I took a nasty fall whereby my knee hit the ground, taking the full brunt of my body weight, at the onset of our favorite 5-mile hike. Dennis helped me up. My knee blew up with fluid. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. We managed the first mile’s steep incline and finished the hike an hour and some change later.

The Second Fall

Compromised carrying a 30-gallon bucket of bird seed, I fell off the top step of our porch stairs. Dumbfounded to a galaxy beyond the Milky Way, I laid there, my cheek mashed to the ground, pondering, did I just fall, again?

Dennis helped me up. A bump began to swell on my left shin some inches south of the inflamed location sustained from Fall #1.

Message of Loving Support

It was getting harder and harder for me to get up. But the Universe sent me a message before fall #2 which didn’t resonate until the following morning. It told me “don’t give up” in the form of hearing Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel’s duet as I walked Sabrina passed by a neighbor’s house. This little message, Universe to lil ole me, blew me away.

The Universe Working through Youtube’s Algorithms

This is it, folks. The reasons for my sustaining injury. I had finished listening to Bob Proctors’s meditation and looked at my Mac’s display and Youtube had queued up similar videos, including one from Master Sri Akarshana, “3 Unexpected Signs Your Manifestation is Coming Your Way.”

I couldn’t press “play” fast enough.

The first sign, Sri says, that your manifestation is coming your way, is that you experience a loss. That would be my job—check.

The second sign, he says, is “an odd request” is made of you. Dennis had made an odd request of me a couple weeks back that didn’t sit well with me. Check.

The third sign, Sri says, is the universe gives you a challenge (or in my case, a series of them) to see how you manage it. A-ha! The universe is testing me! Triple check!

Epiphany in Motion

There you have it. Depression over. Pilates over. Drowning myself in booze and tator tots over. Onto low-impact circuit work with lightweights. I’m up for weathering the challenge, Universe, like the fighter I’ve always been. I’m focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude. Check.

Dennis and I have been crafting a pitch and proposal for a literary agency with agents who pride themselves on nurturing and championing their writers. We’re hoping to send them the submission in the next couple of days.

Whaddya think will be the outcome?


Lisa publishes essays on the writing life, sex and relationships, and her love for horses. Her essays have appeared in Horse NetworkManifest-StationHuffPost, and the IPPY-award-winning anthology Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty. In August of 2018, she was awarded a one-month writer’s residency at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts in Fairhope, AL. She lives near Boston, where she bikes, hikes, rides horses, and edits technology blogs for the CTO of Hitachi Vantara. She is pitching her memoir, “Calamity Becomes Her: Love, Loss and a Healthy Dose of Overcoming Adversity” to agents and at work on the sequel.

You can contact her at lisa.demasi@gmail.com and follow her on TwitterLinkedIn or via her website nurtureismynature.com.

Who Says You Can’t Get Married at the Barn?

Honored Horse Network picked up my “bit” on getting “hitched” with 2 horses standing in as our witnesses.

On Thanksgiving weekend I sat atop Shadow, one of the two lesson horses I ride, just outside the indoor, wallowing in the delight of being at the barn as I chatted with my riding teacher and a couple of other riders.

Getting married was on my mind. My fiancé and I had been engaged a year and chose January 10th as our wedding date but remained undecided on a venue for the eight-minute-and-seven-second private ceremony.

Our Justice of the Peace had offered to officiate at her home. But I had no attachment to her home. Or to the insides of a church. My attachment, naturally, is was here in the saddle, with my horsey peeps, surrounded by nature and everything-equine. The question came out of my mouth before I even knew what I was asking.

“Linda,” I said to my riding teacher. “Could Dennis and I get married here?”

She didn’t even know we were engaged—I wore riding gloves. Her jaw gaped in surprise. The other riders smiled on.

I said, “You know, here?

Linda recovered her good-natured demeanor in no time. But not before I asked, “With our J.P. and Shadow and Nacho as our two witnesses?”

Linda’s smile was a mile wide. “Let me check with the powers that be,” she replied.

The farm’s owners not only agreed to allowing the ceremony on the property but were thrilled at the prospect.

On a subsequent ride with my two friends, Courtney and Candace, we picked out a spot for the wedding, near the outdoor dressage arena, on the grass before a long sweeping row of cattails that tapered well over ten feet high. It was perfect.

On our wedding day, fourteen years to the day we met, Dennis and I stood before Gayle, our J.P. with Linda and Nacho to Dennis’s side, and Shadow by my own. A video camera was propped on a table, recording.

Gayle began reciting the gathering words of the horsey-themed script:

“Lisa and Dennis, after many years as a committed and loving couple, we gather at Course Brook Farm, in Sherborn, Massachusetts, a very special place where Lisa enjoys riding Shadow and Nacho, guided by her kind, patient and encouraging teacher, Linda Smith. We are grateful to Linda and the Mayo family, owners of Course Brook Farm, for their kindness and generosity.

Our purpose for gathering today is to give a new official status to the life that you share. Your lives already are tied together by a deep personal commitment; your marriage is an affirmation and acknowledgement of all that you are to each other. Marriage gives structure and security to a couple’s love. Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two persons can find and bring out in each other.”

At this juncture in the speech, Shadow and Nacho began ferociously feeding on the frozen grass. Linda had Nacho by the reins, he was well off to the side and not particularly disruptive. Shadow, on the other hand, kept turning his hindquarters to the camera.

What was that thing that W.C. Fields said? Never work with animals or children on live TV?

No matter. I turned Shadow 180 degrees for the second time and announced, “This is going to be a very fluid and dynamic ceremony.”

There was laughter, a whinny from one of the horses in the paddocks. Gayle resumed her task and asked for our consent to one another and instructed Dennis and I to recite our vows:

“Lisa, before you, life was a chore. With you, life is a joy. I want to share in that joy with you for the rest of my life.”

“Dennis, me without you is like sky without blue. As long as there is sky, I shall be with you.”

Shadow was stepping squarely on my foot. Good thing I was wearing cowboy boots, not high heels. I nudged him off my foot as he continued to power through the grass like a fairway mower.

Linda began the reading, the foreword to Dr. Allan J. Hamilton’s book Lead with Your Heart… Lessons from a Life with Horses.

[As humans, we] insist that space represents a “final frontier.” We look out into the depths of the universe with the same naivete that the conquistadors and The Pioneers demonstrated when they faced unexplored territories. Our first instinct is to try to possess it and tame it, not to truly, simply dwell in it. We want to be “out there” rather than “in here.” We see the challenge and the struggle as existing outside ourselves rather than within.

Horses see things differently. They are large and powerful animals and can at times be intimidating up close, but they are the prototypical prey species. They offer us a practical method to see meaningful alternatives to our own voracious way of life. When we spend the time to see the world through their eyes, we can visualize a path to transform our predatory appetites. They challenge us to undertake the journey of mastering ourselves, rather than everything around us.

Teaching without preaching, horses lead by example and employ the lessons of experience. They epitomize immersive learning at its best. And they challenge us with their formidable size and strength to bring results through collaboration rather than by force. Horses have developed their own compelling models of fairness, forgiveness, and leadership. They have acquired a group identity, a consciousness not as singular beings but as members of a family, a herd. They see themselves not as individuals in the isolated context of “me” but as relatives in a family in the broader framework of “we.” And they derive a powerful and gratifying sense of inclusion from it.

Horses share resources for the benefit of the herd. They are a wise, gentle species that eschews the notion that might defines right. While stallions with their reproductive imperative come and go, the alpha mare endures as herd leader. Because they understand what it means to be hunted, horses have the most profound appreciation for the benefits of peace. They yearn for harmony, kindness, and tranquility; they crave freedom from anxiety, abuse and predation. With their nonviolent attitude, horses are a testament that a partnership based on trust is far more productive than one that relies on dominance.

I thanked Linda for her heartfelt reading. Shadow was eating the grass at my feet in such a way that his body made my own disappear; the camera was only capturing my head, a centaur in the midst of getting hitched. Nacho had stopped eating grass and was pawing the ground with his left foreleg. Was this his sign of consent?

Gayle was moving to the ring exchange. Dennis and I didn’t want wedding bands, this wasn’t our first rodeo, and I neglected to give him my engagement ring before the ceremony. I placed Shadow’s reins between my legs, a gesture that would make any true equestrian cringe, and pulled at the glove on my left hand. Shadow, sensing the loosening of the reins, moseyed after more grass.

My glove fell to the ground. I picked it up, took off my ring and handed it to Dennis. Linda was giggling. Nacho was nodding his head up and down in great big gestures. Gayle was maneuvering away from Shadow’s roving hindquarters.

Time skipped and stymied until I realized Dennis was holding the ring before my finger “Lisa, each time you put on this ring, may it remind us both of the love and joy and commitment we share.”

I regained presence of mind. I smiled to Dennis and thought, yes, this is very nice, thank you.

Gayle pronounced:

“Dennis and Lisa, you have chosen each other from among all others to journey through life together. Today, you shared with one another words of trust and loving commitment, and you consented to marriage. Now it is my privilege to say, by the power vested in me by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but most especially by the power of your own love, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may seal your marriage with a kiss or a neigh!”

After Dennis and I engaged in quick smooch, Linda made the suggestion of a lifetime. “Let’s move the horses to the frozen footing of the dressage arena for picture taking!”

“Good thinking,” I said, laughing and leading Shadow a mere ten feet away to solid ground, where the horses behaved picture-perfect, calm and sweet and even, comical, and we stole away with beautiful snapshots that will forever seal my desire to get married in the presence of horses.


Afterword:

Dennis and I reached out to Dr. Hamilton to tell him we excerpted his introduction to Lead with Your Heart. We were thrilled to receive a note back from him!

Dear Lisa and Dennis:

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful note. I am overjoyed that the book moved you and could be incorporated into your wedding. This is a great honor. My wife (Jane) of forty-five years and I wish you and Dennis a life together filled with joy passion, and purpose.

Best,

Allan J. Hamilton, MD, FACS, FAANS

[our note to Dr. Hamilton}

Dear Dr. Hamilton,

Preparing for our equine-themed wedding last week, we stumbled across Lead with Your Heart and were moved to excerpt a significant piece of your introduction for the reading that gave context to the ceremony. We shared the story, Who Says You Can’t Get Married at the Barn, with Carley at Horse Network, who published it.

We are currently enjoying your book.

Horse Network also published The Breakthrough I Witnessed in the Healing Power of Horses, which I hope you might enjoy.

Thank you for your wonderful contributions!

Yours truly,

Lisa Mae DeMasi & Dennis Ravenelle


Lisa publishes essays on the writing life, sex and relationships, and her love for horses. Her essays have appeared in Horse Network, Manifest-StationHuffPost, and the IPPY-award-winning anthology Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty. In August of 2018, she was awarded a one-month writer’s residency at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts in Fairhope, AL. She lives near Boston, where she bikes, hikes, rides horses, and edits technology blogs for the CTO of Hitachi Vantara. She is pitching her memoir, “Calamity Becomes Her: Love, Loss and a Healthy Dose of Overcoming Adversity” to agents and at work on the sequel.

You can contact her at lisa.demasi@gmail.com and follow her on TwitterLinkedIn or via her website nurtureismynature.com.

 

How My Disapproving Mother Unwittingly Fuels My Creative Expression

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The room began to close in. The air got thick… dense. Tension seeped into my pores. I grew smaller in stature—shrunk right there in my chair before her, as if I was Alice and had just choked down a little red pill.

The topic is forthcoming, typical of family gatherings, a line of discussion of an inquisitive nature. It is terribly humiliating this line, disintegrating the little validation I feel about myself, and certainly paving the way to pulverizing any validation I someday hope to feel.

She is triumphantly sitting across from me in my brother’s parlor, her hands folded over her swollen belly on this Christmas Day.

My hands are not folded over my own swollen belly, but my ever-shrinking Alice fingers are fumbling about, trying to maintain a grip on my ever-growing glass of sherry. I wallow in thought.

It’s a terrible thing to be shrinking, I muse.

I try to convey to her, with an expression of pity, that I’d like her to cut this sort of thing out: Hand me the blue pill! Return my body back to its normal inadequacy!

She picks up on my expression, but it doesn’t stop her. Her eyes, piercingly blue, bore into my forehead, mining my mind for the reasoning that prolongs the ongoing predicament. It is the matter that seemingly sears her brain daily, upon waking.

Words penetrate the thickness.

They loom before me, big and fat and dripping with turkey gravy. She says, “Are you ready to get back into the circle of life yet?”

Here we go.

I resist rolling my eyes, suck in my breath, and feel the pressure against my insides. Time slows to a crawl.

My lungs deflate, a slow leak like a bum tire. I maintain my front, an uneasy smile, thinking I have never departed from the circle of life!

Alice and I sometimes share shrunken commonalityI am here, albeit dwindling to mere molecules in my chair—she, mother; me, daughter—amid a festive family holiday. In my book, that constitutes part of the arc in said circle.

A voice in my mind, sounding as if it’s just taken a hit from a helium-filled balloon, squeals at me: That’s not what she means.

I laugh to myself, entertained: “Girl interrupted.” Say something else…

She’s not referring to procreating or dying or even “eat or be eaten.” She means circulation as in, “Are you ready to get back into circulation yet?”

Oh yeah. “Girl reactivated.”

The topic is the one that translates to me getting a paying job, rather than continuing to “run away from reality,” with my so-called “writing interests.”

I suppose, from her perspective, four years is a long time for her daughter “to run away from reality.” It is a novel pursuit, which thus far has yielded fruit the size of a water meal. However, in these four years she has failed to realize that I’ve poured my heart, soul and angst into this self-proposed commitment. Accordingly, I’ve also sought out Reiki to induce some self-love, since I am—especially when engaged in writing—constantly and colorfully harassed and torn to shreds by my inner critic.

Needless to say, my mother is my outer critic.

In the peace of the lovely colonial room, Dennis sits in a chair to my left, and my father sits beside my mother. My brother is off in the kitchen, cutting cheese.

The question, relating to the humiliating, fruitless topic that my mother could not resist in asking one moment longer, (particularly in light of the New Year—making resolutions, picking up the pieces and starting anew, and so forth) remains there, unaddressed. It lingers, splattering the coffee table with fowl juice, tainting the sherry and the nibbles, while extinguishing the flickering light of the assorted votive candles. This “circle of life” subject deflates the holiday mood; all falls flat.

I gaze back at her, with a hint of incredulousness in my expression saying: Why can’t you support my endeavor? Why can’t you just be a nice mother?

She, of course, does not pick up on this. She has never picked up on it, despite the countless amounts of times I’ve attempted to impress my feelings upon her.

Why should I expect anything different this Christmas Day?

Although he’s sitting beside me, I don’t defer to Dennis for his unwavering sympathy, support or opinion. I keep this subject between my mother and I, leaving open the possibility and space for us to “hash it out,” so-to-speak.

The “hashing it out” (a confrontation of sorts) does not happen. As usual, any real invitation to speak candidly, openly… ends up shunned upon.

There’s no avoiding her intention. She moves the subject right along and puts the question in a more specific form, saying: “What kind of job will you look for?”

My expression sours.

The refrain in which Elton John sings “in the cir-cle, the cir-cle of life” begins to repeat in my head.

The core of me within begs to rise up and show itself—my insides, out. The scorched and glistening spongy tissue springs from my throat and slops to the floor next to the coffee table. I stare at the battered evidence, my guts, and choose to defend myself (something I haven’t dared to do since I was a teenager).

My face is deadpan, void of the four-year compounded emotion relating to my writing efforts (best described as trying to squeeze blood from a stone intermittently). I assert into the space, some distance over my scorched and glistening core—my guts—and say, “I’d like to become a successful writer.”

My mother’s expression remains unmoved, quite serious and probing.

I refrain from glancing at Dennis and keep the perimeter open and clear for fire. I hope for confrontation—for a once-in-a-lifetime candid discussion.

Dad shakes himself out of dozing at the subject matter and pushes his glasses further up on his nose. He interjects, “There are lots of teaching jobs out there. You could be a teacher. All my retired engineer friends teach—you could teach middle school or high school.”

But Dad, I don’t want to be a teacher.

Not quite to my advantage, my mother’s ears fall deaf on the suggestion, and the conversation flatlines.

I focus on the flame of a burning candle, situated in the middle of a marble-topped mahogany end table, between my father and mother. I cross my eyes silly—my forehead cramps. The funky play of light brings me into a world of my own, prompting ironic clarity.

The helium inner voice comes on the wind again—she is from a different time and a different playing field. She knows not what it means, what drives and feeds one’s magnetism for risk, leaving the known for the unknown.

The voice becomes stronger, and sloughs off the high pitch. She is the catalyst to our creative expression, you see, the thing that sates us—our subversive writing.

Anew: I am rebel with a cause, confident, triumphant even, in my own right.

My scorched and glistening guts slither up the couch and climb back down my throat to their rightful place. In a trance-like state I say, “Wait till my manuscript hits the big screen.”

My parents are stunned and wide-eyed. I can just make out their expressions in my periphery.

Nothing more is said on the matter.

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This essay was published in Elephant Journal with the title She, Mother. Me, Daughter, January 17, 2015.

Lisa publishes essays on the writing life, sex and relationships, and her love for horses. Her essays have appeared in Horse Network, Manifest-StationHuffPost, and the IPPY-award-winning anthology Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty. In August of 2018, she was awarded a one-month writer’s residency at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts in Fairhope, AL. She lives near Boston, where she bikes, hikes, rides horses, and edits technology blogs for the CTO of Hitachi Vantara. She is pitching her memoir, “Calamity Becomes Her: Love, Loss and a Healthy Dose of Overcoming Adversity” to agents and at work on the sequel.

You can contact her at lisa.demasi@gmail.com and follow her on TwitterLinkedIn or via her website nurtureismynature.com.

 

No Kids, No Regrets

We’re seated by the gate at Logan, held captive by the airline’s whim, watching a steady stream of disheveled passengers walk or dash by, but the place remains stale and lifeless somehow.

Until a little princess, right out of a storybook, toddles into the seating area of our gate. She is unhurried, functions in her own dimension, immune to the chaos, the germfest, the push to get to point A to B.

Her presence casts a tiny spell on me. My book collapses into my lap. I’m drinking her sweetness in: a beautiful, clean-faced, bright-eyed little girl—a gene pool homerun.

What would my path have looked like with children in it?

Rarely do I question my decision to forgo becoming a vessel of reproduction. My goal in life was to become CEO of a wildly growing company, not wiping little beasties’ noses. I even left my husband when he wanted them. But as sometimes happens, this delightful girl seems to be showcasing my poor decision. She looks like what I imagine my little girl would have looked like had I not married my dark-haired husband of 5’7” with a 27-inch waistline, but Bob Redford.

Not to mention that I never did become the CEO of wildly growing company, and the jobs I have had have been sort of wildly unsatisfying.

I watch her, feeling that regret wash over me. She stands on sea legs between her mother’s thighs, crunching Cape Cod potato chips with less than perfect execution, savoring what makes it into her mouth. She babbles, a form of self-engagement, and randomly feeds “Kit-Tee,” a wide-eyed cat peering out from a crate on the floor.

Women of all ages watch her, heads cocked, wearing expressions of maternal yearning, remembrances, maybe regret, like my own.

I bet she still has that baby smell thing going on. You know, like puppies.

I surmise, too, that Zoe’s recently graduated from applesauce and whipped franks to adult food. And now, I think, and a disgruntled flatline my mother used to wear when I was in high school settles on my lips, her parents are giving her junk food, creating an unhealthy palate and a rhythmic type of oral indulgence.

I elbow Dennis. “If that sweetness were mine, I’d give her a hard cooked egg and fruit to eat, not crap food.”

He eyeballs Zoe for a nanosecond, nods and returns his gaze to his handheld.

I think of the other things I’d feed Zoe: Greek yogurt, kale crisps (much softer than potato chips), hummus, non-GMO whole grain crackers, organically grown vegetarian stuff.

And then, Zoe begins to choke.

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What Happened When I Did Reiki on My Conservative Mom

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi

My mother and I are in her bedroom. I have the rare opportunity to administer healing energy to her, an act that will draw us together—physically, emotionally, spiritually. We are awkward about touching one another; emotionally, we don’t discuss matters close to the heart. The idea of God and a Higher Presence is strictly private.

This is the nature of our relationship, dictated by her upbringing.

Overwhelmed at the prospect of laying hands on her, I ask her to lie down on the bed. I recall when I needed her support and love—when I first got my period, the aftermath of boyfriend breakups, amid broken bones and excruciating pain—and she conveyed little.

Her convictions, tainted by my bouts of rebellion, are as big as a mountain.

I enrolled in learning Reiki with infamous Libby Barnett when writer’s block saturated every molecule of my body. Explaining the premise of the healing art to my conventionally-minded parents was like conveying Einstein’s theory of relativity in Swahili.

I read their expressions like an open book.

They figured, like my memoir writing, practicing Reiki was an escape from reality—another endeavor to keep me from returning to the workforce. But to counter their belief, I didn’t offer to demonstrate the various Reiki positions on them—I felt defenseless against their skepticism; this most recent act to sabotage their “please-just-do-the-right-thing” campaign.

On top of it, my dad mispronounced Reiki. No pun intended, he called it “wreck-ee.”

The whole notion of “healing energy,” however, must have taken up residence in my mother’s mind. For a week later, as we were getting out of the car, she asked me to do Reiki on her.

I panicked. Slithered down the driver’s seat like Bugs Bunny doomed in fighter aircraft; blurted some excuses. “I can’t do Reiki on you, Mom. I don’t have my massage table.”

“That’s okay, I’ll lay on my bed.”

“But I don’t have my Reiki playlist.”

“We’ll do it without it.”

“But, I don’t have my sage candle.”

“I don’t need a sage candle.”

“But, Mom, I don’t—”

“Let’s try it anyway.”

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My Work is Featured in the IPPY-Award Winning “Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty”

Are you a fifty-something woman in need of revitalizing your sex drive? Get your hands on the Unmasked anthology and dive into a new realm of possibilities!

A refreshingly blunt chorus of older women’s voices. —Kirkus Review

Marcia Meier (Ireland, Place Out of Time, 2017, etc.) and debut editor Kathleen A. Barry, a psychotherapist, present an anthology of essays and poetry about female sexuality after age 50.

For some women, aging doesn’t mean the end of their sex lives but rather the beginning of new adventures. Liberation from pregnancy fears, child-rearing responsibilities, and menstruation allow them to fully indulge their own pursuit of pleasure. This anthology gives such women the opportunity to speak for themselves—and they do so with aplomb.

Nonfiction author Bernadette Murphy discovers the orgasmic perks of learning to ride a motorcycle post-divorce.

Lisa Mae DeMasi, whose work has appeared in multiple literary journals, finds that, with reiki practice and essential oils, achieving climax no longer feels like “trudging up Mount Washington with a dead body strapped to my back.”

Writer and blogger Rita Bullinger describes how a communication technique called “Imago dialogue” has increased intimacy and sexual satisfaction with her lover: “Communication coupled with oral sex, I’m convinced, is what makes sex at sixty-six the best sex of our lives.” It’s not all excitement and discovery, however; writer Lola Fontay shares the unsettling experience of witnessing a man masturbating in front of her at the end of their first date. Poet Becky Dennison Sakellariou considers the legacy of silence around women’s desire: “A woman like me is invisible, if she is not, / she should be, an anathema, a sin.” But many writers here use humor to talk about the havoc that aging can wreak: “Just when we have our act together the warranty goes out on the equipment,” says author and professional speaker Sally Franz in her hilariously prescriptive essay “Tweaking Sex After Fifty.” The authors also often address sex with tact and sensuality: “Sometimes then, long-married / bodies, after stuttering into sleep, / curve into long slumbers of silk yesses, / yesses loud enough to waken dreams,” writes poet Brenda Yates. Toward the end, the bad online dating stories do become a bit repetitive. But there’s a diverse array of perspectives here, each unique enough to keep readers intrigued.

This collection of essays and poetry is meant to bring sex after fifty for women into the open, to proclaim that it is important, it is natural and healthy and, for some women, it is absolutely necessary. “Unmasked” will surprise, inform, and–it is hoped–encourage all women of a certain age to (re)discover their sexuality.

I am so proud to be a contributor to this Anthology! You can pick up your own copy here.

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Lisa publishes essays on the writing life, sex and relationships, and her love for horses. Her essays have been appeared in Horse Network, Manifest-Station and HuffPost. In August of 2018, she was awarded a one-month writer’s residency at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts in Fairhope, AL. She lives near Boston, where she bikes, hikes, rides horses, and edits technology blogs for the CTO of Hitachi Vantara. She is pitching her memoir, “Calamity Becomes Her: Love, Loss and a Healthy Dose of Overcoming Adversity” to agents and at work on the sequel.

You can contact her at lisa.demasi@gmail.com and follow her on TwitterLinkedIn or via her website nurtureismynature.com.

Who Rescued Whom: How We’ve Made One Another Whole Again

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. ― Martin Buber

Lady’s ribs protruded from her coat and her belly was swollen with milk.

Thirteen frightened rescue Labs who’d just endured a straight 12½-hour drive from Muncie, IN, combined with the anticipation of the adopting families, made for a chaotic scene at the rest stop Union, CT, that crisp autumn day.

“Lady” the handler called out and we came forward to meet our new family member. She looked at us with her sad eyes and immediately dropped to ground, presenting her belly in submission and desire for loving human contact.

Ostensibly, she was about 2-1/2 years old and despite being clearly underweight and having recently delivered a litter, Lady was beautiful. We couldn’t help but look for comparisons with famous beauties — high cheek bones, gorgeous brown eyes. Audrey Hepburn, the original Sabrina. She took to her new name immediately and we raced to the park to feel the joy of freedom and play. Off-leash, she couldn’t get enough of fetching the ball or the stick. Soon, we learned that she was an incredible frisbee player.

Until laying my eyes on Sabrina’s profile, my heart couldn’t entertain loving another dog. And what canine isn’t after the same love?  I’d grown up with animals and while we maintained a diverse entourage, the loss twenty years earlier of our beloved German Shepherd was still a bit raw. Dennis, my husband on the other hand, had grown up with allergies and never experienced life with the warmth and companionship of any four-legged, furry creatures. I surprised him announcing the planned adoption on the train returning from a business trip to Washington, D.C. His face actually lit up (a dog!)

In Sabrina’s case, she couldn’t know the variety of family members that awaited to embrace her presence. Within days of the initial hair-raising excitement, the cat sought out occasions to groom her ears. Our pet rat was free to waddle the kitchen floor unbothered, and the pair of bonded bunnies in want of company, stretched out beside her on the living room floor.

Dog, cat, rat, rabbit?

You bet.

And Dennis and me?

Like kids again.

Sabrina settled into the folds of our lives, well-nourished and exercised in Boston’s epic snowfall in the winter of 2010, taking careful watch over all of us. The fear expressed in her eyes pre-adoption disappeared — the classic love-story.

But in the vein of “who rescued whom?” there’s more to this story.

Thirty years ago, as a passenger in a VW Rabbit that was broadsided in a January blizzard, my abdomen was driven into the steering wheel—blunt force trauma that necessitated re-plumbing and iterative repair to my digestive system. The all but miraculous recovery did leave me with irritable bowel syndrome and permanent damage to the nerves that signal my bladder is full.

Working from home for most of the eight years following Sabrina’s adoption, I suddenly noticed that when I’m busy working away, Sabrina will gently place her head in my lap every couple of hours, prompting me to get up and make a trip to the restroom. And, when I suffer acute intestinal cramping, Crohns-like symptoms, she’ll sit at my side and lean her body against mine. Her calm and steady source of nurturing helps me to relax and mitigates the cramps.

In 2008, the Department of Justice amended the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to include individuals with digestive, bowel and bladder impairments that limit major life activities, calling for employers to make reasonable accommodations and if the individual elects, to allow certified task-oriented service animals (dog or miniature horse) to accompany them on-the-job.

Sabrina demonstrated that she met the requirements and serving in the capacity of a sensory/medical assist was certified by the National Service Animal Registry (NSTAR). She was welcomed enthusiastically in a temp role I held at Sun Life Financial in Wellesley in 2016.

Her competencies and understanding of language constantly astound us. For bystanders in public, the grocery store, pharmacy, gym, dentist, doctor, gazes from cell phones are broken, conversations fall short.

Then, come the smiles. A question. Praises. The feel-good moment.

Sabrina brings people together.

In 2017, being hired for a role at a snooty Cambridge brand-analytics firm, the HR Director responded to a detailed email explaining my condition and Sabrina’s certification with an “enlightened” “you can’t bring your dog to work.”

My reaction?

I walked out of the place.

Most recently, her behavior on-the-job at Dell Technologies is so well-mannered, coworkers never run out of compliments about her.

The other day I read a distressing post from a woman who said every time she looks into a service dog’s eyes, she sees sadness. Even Ingrid Newkirk, CEO and Co-Founder of PETA, has told me, “the life of a typical service dog is a terrible one.”

It’s true. Any canine enslaved to servitude is doomed a dog’s life unlived.

Service animals are working animals, not pets.

The ADA confirms it.

In Sabrina’s case though, everybody won, and life couldn’t be better. She thoroughly enjoys the hikes and playing and gets plenty of it. Sabrina teaches me to exist in the moment—just like she does. We enjoy the sight of the sun shimmering through the trees, the call of the birds, and the fragrance of wildflowers when I tread beside her when we’re on our hikes. But she’s always there, as my devoted helper.

What more could a dog do for a girl?

Sabrina is just like heaven.

To see all of Lisa’s published work, click here.

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Lisa publishes essays on the writing life, sex and relationships, and her love for horses. Her essays have appeared in Horse Network, Manifest-StationHuffPost, and the IPPY-award-winning anthology Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty. In August of 2018, she was awarded a one-month writer’s residency at Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts in Fairhope, AL. She lives near Boston, where she bikes, hikes, rides horses, and edits technology blogs for the CTO of Hitachi Vantara. She is pitching her memoir, “Calamity Becomes Her: Love, Loss and a Healthy Dose of Overcoming Adversity” to agents and at work on the sequel.

You can contact her at lisa.demasi@gmail.com and follow her on TwitterLinkedIn or via her website nurtureismynature.com.