include_once("common_lab_header.php");
Excerpt for Pearl by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

This page may contain adult content. If you are under age 18, or you arrived by accident, please do not read further.

Pearl

A Guide to Living an Authentic & Purposeful Life

Copyright © 2015 by Cali Gilbert

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval devices or systems, without prior written permission from the author.

Some of the names of those mentioned throughout my story have been changed to protect the individuals.

Paperback Version Info:

ISBN-13 978-1503031098

ISBN-10 1503031098

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015918325

First printing November, 2015

Serendipity Publishing House

Santa Monica, CA

Cover photograph courtesy of Tony Lee ~ fototaker.net

WWW.CALIGILBERT.COM

Praise for PEARL

"Cali's beautiful story of transformation in PEARL is a perfect example of what happens when you shift between setting an intention in life, to living an inspired life filled with purpose."

─ DR. JOE VITALE, bestselling author, star of The Secret

“PEARL is a beautiful story of transformation, one that inspires us all to live a life of joy, love and happiness.”

─ STEVEN E. SCHMITT, founder of Law OF Positivity

Contents

Foreword

With Gratitude

Introduction

Part One

1. Life is Golden

2. Structure

3. Reflect & Move Forward

4. Spontaneity

5. New Love

6. Reunion

Part Two

7. Torn Heart

8. Love & Loss

9. Awakening

10. Metamorphosis

11. Blind Sighted

12. Dare to Dream

13. Too Close for Comfort

Part Three

14. Change of Scenery

15. Let Go & Let Flow

16. New Beginnings

17. Sausalito, Sailing & Serendipity

18. Closure

19. City of Angels

20. Blissful Dreams

Foreword

Would you recognize the face of homelessness? It doesn’t always look the way we expect it to look. The perception of a raggedy man or woman begging for money on the street is often a perception that doesn’t apply to those who find themselves without the comfort of a place to call home. You may know someone right now who is homeless and never suspect the suffering they feel in the core of their being. Living without a home leaves them unrooted and yearning for a place they can ground themselves.

It could be the girl in the cubicle next to you who looks put together but sleeps every night in her car. It could be the woman on the bus who appears to have it all but is couch surfing where she can, desperate for a real place to lay her head and wondering where she will sleep next. It could be the young man on his bicycle making his way on free meals and sleeping in cheap hostels. Those of us who have experienced homelessness have one thing in common, we know what it feels like to not belong anywhere, and that leaves an emptiness which yearns to be filled.

In Pearl, Cali Gilbert shares her story of struggling with homelessness when she loses her job and home and is forced into the streets, dependent only on the kindness of friends and surviving on what many people would see as pure luck. Prior to becoming homeless, she is struck with a back injury that physically debilitates her and leads to her losing her job while her romantic relationship crumbles. What keeps her moving forward is her understanding of four principles she laid out in her book It’s Simply Serendipity, and her faith that everything will work itself out in a way that is best for her.

Pearls begin with a grain of sand and are polished with years of hardship that become beautiful and symbolize the wisdom garnered as a result of life experience. Cali’s story is evidence that anyone can prevail from even the most difficult experiences to become who they were truly born to be.

─ VICTORIA REYNOLDS, Inspirational Author, Speaker & Mentor, Spiritual Freedom Guide

Introduction

“Dreamers paint a pretty picture. Those who take action create a masterpiece.”

– Cali Gilbert

Walking along 5th Street in Union Square, I pass a middle-aged man sitting on a bench. He asks me for some spare change. I smile slightly and apologize for not having any. “I’m sorry but I don’t even have a home,” I say. “You’re homeless? But you’re so pretty,” he replies. It was in that moment that I realized homelessness does not discriminate. I looked around at the vast expressions on the faces before me and wondered how many others were there, people just like me? Not the drug addicts or felons, those who are stereotyped when it comes to homelessness, but someone who had worked hard to build a good life, obtained a university degree, and just hoped to find some work.

There is a great misconception when it comes to the face of homelessness in our country and in particular, the state of California. In San Francisco alone, the homeless population reached over 6,500 in 2010, so little did I know when I graduated at the end of that year with my master’s degree from the University of San Francisco, that I would become part of those statistics just one year later. Walking the downtown core of San Francisco in the area known as Union Square, tourists gravitate to the many shops, theatres and restaurants. Yet just a few blocks west is an area known as the Tenderloin where a large portion of the homeless community congregates. I had heard about this area as one to avoid, yet would find myself seeking shelter there.

The unemployment rate in San Francisco in 2010 was 8.5%, and I soon learned my graduate degree would become more a detriment than a benefit as I was looked upon as being overqualified. My dreams of creating a successful and happy life for myself soon became a harsh lesson in reality. What I also didn’t realize when I graduated was that I was pregnant. Over the course of the next 12 months, instead of beginning a new promising career, I ended up losing the child and falling into a deep depression. Soon began a downward spiral of loss that culminated with the loss of my home at the end of 2011.

I was lucky though. I had an amazing support system and I was surrounded by love. In four months’ time, I was able to turn my life around and began again. I had learned a lot during that year of loss and created a four-step formula to manifesting my greatest desires. At that time I only had three wishes. I wanted to find a new home of my own, a part-time job that paid the bills yet allowed me the flexibility to do what I love, and to wake up each day and follow my passions for writing and photography. I created all of it in less than three months after setting my intentions. Despite living my dream in 2012, I still had lessons to learn and more growing to do, and the months that lie ahead would reveal a side of myself I had yet to discover.

There is another misconception that when we finally create the life of our dreams, fears and limiting beliefs all of a sudden disappear, and we live happily ever after. It’s a nice thought, but if that were the case, we wouldn’t be human, and we wouldn’t continue to evolve and grow. Every day we wake is a new opportunity for us to develop, to learn, to dream new dreams, and to connect with the true essence of who we are at the core of our being. Life is constant transformation, and it is through that transformation that we begin to peel away the layers of programming we’ve grown so accustomed to follow, in order to reveal our true authentic selves and ultimately live purposeful lives.

The story I share in the following pages is a recollection of an 18-month period in my life from April, 2012 to October, 2013. During this time I share how I implemented my four-step formula for manifesting bliss into my everyday life, and how I published three more books in the process. I also share how I fought to stay true to my authentic self when fear and limiting beliefs would rear their ugly heads. It’s constant transformation for me as well and every day I learn something new about myself. I continue to peel away the layers and I continue to grow, as we all do.

When I left you last in my personal story of transformation, it was the spring of 2012 and I was taking part in my first book signing at the prestigious Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito, California. I had published two books, It’s Simply Sausalito and It’s Simply Golden, and now I had the opportunity to share my work with those in my community. It was also a wonderful way to begin a new chapter in my life as I had just accepted a new position as a caretaker for a property management company and was moving into my new home, a beautiful loft in my beloved Sausalito. After the massive amount of loss I experienced in 2011, I was feeling very grateful to have survived and excited about what the future would hold.

PART ONE



1

Life is Golden

The week following my book signing was filled with excitement as my creative juices were flowing. My new apartment was a beautiful blank canvas and a vast amount of space from which to create my own personal sanctuary. I entered to 1200 square feet of space with 14 windows that welcomed in the morning light. I felt I had found heaven. As an artist I envisioned vibrant colors filling each room, reds and golds, greens and blues. For the first time I would have a designated space to utilize as my studio, a place to write and create. I was so excited.

The first day of painting I declared as ‘Red Day’ as I was painting several accent walls a deep burgundy red. I have always loved this color but was always told it was too dark. I figured with all the light flowing in from the many windows, it would be perfect. The walls I would paint were in the dining room, one wall in the studio and the great 20 foot wall in the main living area. I decided to take before and after photographs to document the transformation. I was so pleased with my creation.

The next color on the palette was a mustard yellow and this would cover one wall in my bedroom, one wall in the studio, an accent wall in the main living area, and the hallway leading to the back entrance. The final color added to the studio was a light moss green which really brought the room to life. I loved the idea of a designated room to work. The room included a separate entrance and a door dividing the space and the main living area. It was part of my home, yet separate at the same time. The room included a small desk and chair, bookshelves and a daybed to start out. I was eager to really make it my own writing sanctuary.

The rest of the week was spent organizing furniture and adding my personal touch to the décor. I loved how my new space was beginning to resemble a home. By the end of the week my body was craving attention and I headed to a yoga class with Matthew. As I walked the path to the studio, the fog had rolled in and was hovering over the Golden Gate Bridge. I was able to capture a magnificent photograph. It felt good to be out in nature again, and I had grown to love the early morning sounds and smells during my walks.

My new job was going well. I worked Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm in the office. It was a customer service position and I enjoyed the interaction with clients. I also enjoyed the flexible schedule which allowed me to focus on my passions the rest of the week, those of writing and photography. I loved being able to do what I love while also having the security of a home and steady income. I would try to put in extra hours of work whenever possible to save some money.

As I continued to get settled into my new job and home, my life began to take on some structure once again which I found comforting. I like order and I don’t function very well in the face of chaos. My yoga practice was the anchor to my week, a chance to re-charge the batteries. One class in particular was everything I could have dreamt a yoga session to be.

I arrived one morning to find Matthew alone and it would be just the two of us in class on this particular day. He asked me what I wanted to work on and I told him mid and lower back. He said we would do something called binding which sounded worse than it really was. Okay? I thought. Class started off with us building lots of heat right off doing the full scale of flow movements repeatedly. Then we got into positions that had us resembling pretzels. What made the class so special were all the extras. Matthew started off the class with us in a seated meditation and then he began to chant a beautiful mantra. He said it had to do with nature and divinity. Throughout the practice he would tell me how each position had a specific meaning in yoga and stories of reincarnation. It was wonderful as I love learning. By the end of the class we were in these positions that made us laugh out loud. It was so much fun. I felt so blessed to have this beautiful kindred spirit in my life.

I welcomed May with a sense of excitement as I believed this month would certainly shape my career as an author, at least for my Golden book. The Golden Gate Bridge turned 75 at the end of the month and there were so many exciting events leading up to the Festival weekend. I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to promote and sell my book, It’s Simply GOLDEN.

Aside from the office work, part of the caretaker position entailed manual labor which included cleaning out the units and keeping the grounds well maintained. I didn’t mind the tasks although my body didn’t really enjoy the work, especially my low back. After a couple hours of sweeping and weeding, the pain was pretty intense. I also felt combined with everything I had done with the move and remodel, I was overdoing it somewhat.

The first week of May was spent adding the final touches of décor to my new home and searching for additional pieces of furniture that I now could utilize with all the additional space. My previous apartment was half the size, yet four times the rent. That was the best part of my new home. Because it was part of my job, I never paid rent. It was taken directly out of my paycheck and included all utilities and internet. I felt as though I had hit the jackpot in finding my dream home.

I also continued to network and meet new people who I felt could assist me with growing as a writer and published author. I consider myself an eager pupil, always willing to learn more about everything. Even after publishing two books, I knew there was always more I could learn. The publishing industry was rapidly changing and I needed to stay in the loop.

The following Friday when I headed to my yoga class, something happened that completely caught me off guard, and to this day has me puzzled. I headed to class and there was one other lady who joined us. It was a good class and we worked on moves to strengthen the low back. After class is when things took an interesting turn. I mentioned to Matthew how my back had been aching with all the manual labor I was doing at work, and asked if he could recommend a massage therapist. He then went off on this rampage about how it was best if I no longer attended the class. I asked why and he said that I hadn’t done anything wrong, that it was him. He was having inappropriate feelings for me, and being a married man, felt uncomfortable being in my presence. I sat there in shock as he went on and on. I couldn’t understand where all of this was coming from, especially since just the week prior, things were really good between us. We had a good friendship and that’s all I saw it as being. Apparently he didn’t feel the same way. The last thing he said to me before walking out of the room was “Thanks for listening.” I just sat there dumbfounded and not really sure what to make of the incident.

The following week was busy with work, making new connections and planning a trip to London for September. I realized that I had waited long enough for my Love to come home, and I needed to make a move. I was going to go to London and find out once and for all if we could have a future together. I had many friends in England who I hadn’t seen for a while, whom I was eager to visit. I was excited about crossing the pond, and I found a great hostel in Earl’s Court to reserve for my time there.

May 8th was a pretty significant day. I felt as though I had overcome so much in the last year and how life had changed so drastically the last two months. I decided to declare May 8th NEW YEAR’S DAY for ME. I realized that the universal New Year’s Day was January 1st, but I felt there was nothing wrong with having a personal day to start anew. I posted a blog about it and was eager to see what this New Year would bring me. More transformation I was sure of, but at least now I was doing what I truly loved, focusing on my writing and photography.

I continued to make new connections and one in particular was with a woman in the sailing community who was involved with the Hobie North American Championships, a sailing regatta coming to Sausalito in June. With my background in event management and my large network in the community, I was viewed as a great asset to the event committee. I also became one of the official photographers for the event which I was excited about. I had never photographed a sailing race, and I was eager to get out on the water and develop this new skill.

After our meeting I headed to the beach, YES! – the BEACH which I learned was a ten minute walk from my new home. It was a small private beach at the foot of Schoonmaker Point. I was in heaven. Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, I discovered the icing on the cake. I spent a couple hours soaking up the sun and reading the book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I began Part Two of the book – India. The entire chapter was about yoga and I laughed at the Universe thinking of what I had just experienced in my own life when it came to Matthew and my yoga practice.

2

Structure

It was nice to see my new home taking shape and I was happy with the progress, yet something didn’t feel right. I was eager to get back to writing and my studio, although taking shape wasn’t what I was hoping it would be. I had purchased a dining table from the Goodwill that was a great size to actually write from, so I decided to move it into the studio and use it as my writing desk. I could always find another dining table, I thought. Once I had my new desk in place I was able to get back to completing the outline for It’s Simply Serendipity. In this book I share my personal story of transformation from 2011 and what saw me through the darkest days of my life, and ultimately guided me to finding my purpose in life. I was happy to get back to work as I’m not very good at beginning something new when I have unfinished work somewhere else.

My days were filled with writing and photography, networking at local events and volunteering for community functions. As the preparations for the 75th Birthday Celebration for the Golden Gate Bridge approached I took part in joining Team75, an Ambassador program to welcome those visiting from around the globe to the San Francisco Bay Area. I have always loved the Golden Gate Bridge and I was excited about sharing its history and of course my latest book with the world.

The Bay Area was a mecca for social events and one I always enjoyed supporting was the Sausalito Film Festival. Back in 2009 I was part of the original event staff at the inaugural event, and I learned quite a bit about the film industry. I had attended film festivals in the past from Toronto to Sundance, and with my extensive event management background, I was able to support the staff in many ways. Little did I know at the time that a seed would be planted and ultimately blossom some five years later.

Around mid-month, my friend Gina offered to drive me around town so I could look for a new dining set. I had never had a dining set before because I never had the space, but now I had room to spare, and I was excited about finding the perfect pieces to compliment the décor in my new home. I asked Gina if we could go to the Salvation Army and Goodwill because my goal was to find a full dining set (table and chairs) for under $50.00. She laughed at me and said, “Good luck with that.” We stopped by both places but no such luck. I wasn’t discouraged though and I told her it was out there somewhere, and I would find it.

Sailing was in the news and not just with the upcoming Hobie North American Championships next month. The America’s Cup organizing committee hosted an event at Union Square in the city to make the announcement that not only would San Francisco host the 34th America’s Cup in September of 2013, but also the Inaugural Red Bull Youth America’s Cup for young sailors from around the globe. I loved this idea and thought what a wonderful opportunity to get involved with the event. I have always loved to support youth sports and here was a global sporting event coming to my backyard. I attended the event at Union Square and was able to connect with sailing professionals from both Oracle Racing and the America’s Cup.

I loved all the new connections I was making and how it seemed everything was aligning with my passions for writing and photography. Also this month the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce hosted their monthly mixer with the Golden Gate Bridge as the main theme. The event took place at Cavallo Point Lodge at the foot of the Golden Gate and I was invited to have a book signing for my latest book, It’s Simply Golden. It was a wonderful event and not only did I sign and sell books, I also connected with the owner of Habitat Books, a small independent bookstore here in Sausalito. She loved my book and offered to carry it in the shop. I was thrilled as my dream was manifesting before my eyes. I had walked passed Habitat Books so many times and envisioned my books on the shelf in the window. I even took a photo of the shop window and photo-shopped my book on the shelf. Now I was about to see that dream become a reality.

As the month began to wind down I found myself itching to write. The words had been coming to me for my memoir, It’s Simply Serendipity. I knew it would be a difficult process rekindling all the painful memories from 2011, but knowing where it led me was the bright spot, and I knew it would give hope to others who were experiencing difficult times. I also knew it would be therapeutic for me because of how far I had come in just the last few months. I was ready to write and I did for about two hours one day. It felt good.

Now that my home was taking shape, I was writing again and preparing for the Golden Gate celebrations, I knew I really needed to listen to my body. I spoke with my boss about the manual labor and we agreed to allow me to work solely in the office on Saturdays and Sundays and hire someone else to do the manual labor. I was relieved because I knew the effect it had on my back and didn’t want to risk injury. My new schedule would take effect the first week of June as I had off the last weekend of May for the bridge festivities.

One day as I was working on my book I decided to take a break and check out Craig’s List for my dining set. It just so happened I found exactly what I was looking for, an IKEA dining set complete with table and chairs. The style and color was perfect to compliment my current décor. The best part was the price - $30.00 for the entire set. I immediately sent an email to the owner and expressed my interest. I ended up speaking with the owner who told me his assistant had placed the ad and it was posted incorrectly, that the table alone was worth $100.00, but that he would honor the price as listed. I couldn’t believe my luck, but then smiled thinking back to me telling Gina that I would find what I was looking for.

I was thrilled with my newest find, but concerned as to how I would get it to my apartment as I didn’t have a car. I spoke with the owner and told him I’d have to get back to him as to when I could pick it up due to my lack of transportation. He asked me where I was located and I told him Sausalito. He then asked where specifically and when I mentioned the street name he said his office was right around the corner. He offered to deliver the dining set to me. My perfect dining set, delivered personally to me, and all for $30.00. I knew it was out there but had no idea how it would all work out. I realized I didn’t need to know. I just had to believe.

I look back and remember the first time I saw the space that would ultimately become my new apartment. I immediately fell in love with it and envisioned decorating it and all the possibilities a space like that could provide. Now I was living my dream and creating this beautiful new home just the way I had envisioned. I realized it all began with an intention and following through on that intention. Once just a mere thought had now become my reality.

The festivities celebrating the 75th birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge took place over the weekend of May 26th and 27th. It was a breathtaking weekend with brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures. My friend Tom, who was also part of Team75, picked me up on Saturday and we headed over to Crissy Field to find out where we would be working. Today was all about welcoming the world to San Francisco and answering questions from visitors about the Golden Gate Bridge and its history. It was great meeting people from all over the world, selling my books and learning more about the bridge myself. We were able to spend some time with one of the bridge painters who shared fascinating stories and photographs. I have always had a love affair with the bridge and living five minutes away was certainly a dream come true.

When I returned to Sausalito with Tom in the evening we stopped by the Post Office where I found a new shipment of Golden books. Tom helped me take them home and now I was set for the remainder of the weekend. Although I had off from working in the office over the weekend, I still woke each morning early to open up the gates to the property at 7:00 a.m. Since I had off on Sunday I decided to head to church. That was the one downfall of working on weekends in that I couldn’t attend the Sunday morning services. It was nice to be back and catch up with my friends who invited me to breakfast after Mass at a local café.

Sunday, the 27th turned out to be a spectacular day. I sold one of my Golden books at the café during breakfast and then decided to head to Habitat Books to look for my book on the shelves. I found it in the back of the shop and mentioned to the person working that since it was the Festival weekend, it belonged in the window. She agreed and placed it there. I was so happy and took a photo. There it was, my Golden book in the window display, just as I had imagined.

I continued to network and attend events around town. One that will always stay with me was the Bestseller Book Launch event in San Francisco where I was able to meet and speak with fellow author, Marci Shimoff. I showed her my Golden book and told her how I had published it while I was homeless. She told me she would love to learn more and interview me. We had just met but she assured me she wanted to support me any way she could. I was thrilled.

As the month of May came to an end I reflected on my journey that began some ten years ago when I first came to Sausalito and knew I had found my home. I remembered the first time I met my Love and all that we had experienced together in the last decade. Our lives had taken us in different directions to opposite ends of the globe, but somehow we were always connected and we always knew precisely what the other needed at any given moment. I knew that it was he who got me through the worst moments in my life at the beginning of 2011 when I lost my child and even just a few months ago when I was faced with the decision of giving up or starting over. It was his love that kept me going.

As I reflected, I was grateful for my Love and for all that he brought to my life, but I also couldn’t ignore the fact that I had changed. You don’t lose a child and experience so much transformation and remain the same. It’s not possible. I had discovered the blank canvas that was my life in January and I knew I had the power to create the life of my dreams precisely the way I saw fit.

Once I made my intentions clear, things began to change and new people began to enter my life. I had met a new man, a kindred spirit named Grant. He came into my life precisely when I needed him to and opened up his home to me, found me a job and helped me get back on my own two feet. I felt grateful for everyone who was there to support me and encourage me to keep moving forward. Despite everything however, I still held on to the dream that my Love would come home and we would have our happy ever after.

3

Reflect & Move Forward

The month of June started off with a bang. While out in San Rafael, a town just north of Sausalito, I spotted something that instantly made me think of my Love. I took a photograph and sent it to him. He replied how much he had missed San Rafael and asked if it was still the same. It felt so good to connect again and gave me hope that the day would come when he would return home to California.

I continued to work on my memoir, It’s Simply Serendipity. I completed the first chapter and began working on Chapter Two. It was difficult at times reliving the painful experiences from 2011, but I realized however that I had to experience that journey in order to lead me to this precise moment of living the life of my dreams. I now had a beautiful new home, a decent job, and I was able to do what I was truly passionate about – writing and taking photographs.

With two books on the market I was now established as an author and new opportunities began to present themselves. One in particular was co-writing a baseball book, but things didn’t align correctly, and I decided to pass. I began to wonder if it was a good idea to take on yet another project while already working on three books. That was tough at times for me, deciding what to take on, and what to let go. I love creating but I didn’t want to take on more than I could handle. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I would deliver mediocre work because I was simply overwhelmed. It was difficult at times to say no, yet necessary.

The first Monday of the month turned out to be quite spectacular. It was the first Monday that I didn’t have to work, and it ended up being a good thing in more ways than I could have imagined. Having the day off allowed me to listen to the Transformational Author Experience wrap-up call. During the call, there was a contest for listeners and prizes included different level passes for TAE. The final prize was the big one - the Diamond Pass which included six months of mentoring, an invitation to a live event with other authors, and entry into the TAE Writing Contest to have our work judged by top agents and publishers from the publishing industry. Well, guess what? I WON! I was so excited but then thought, perhaps it is time I shared my story with the world.

I was so excited about the opportunity to share my work with publishing executives, yet a little nervous as well. I knew I had a story to share, but it was more cathartic for me to write, than to really share it with others. I didn’t really consider the scope of what my story could do until I won the contest and realized I had no excuse to keep it to myself much longer. It was also a great opportunity to really look at the different components of creating a book proposal, and the material that agents and publishers would look for in considering my work. It would be a great learning experience even if I didn’t win the writing contest.

One of the books I was working on was my third in the It’s Simply series, It’s Simply SF: Our City By The Bay. During the promotion of It’s Simply Golden, I continued to run into many second and third generation San Franciscans who suggested I produce a book on their city. I loved the city of San Francisco and I wanted to create a book of photographs that were off the beaten path, places the average tourist wouldn’t normally visit. I accompanied the photographs with inspirational quotes, and It’s Simply SF was born.

With each book I wrote I also created a book trailer, a video montage promoting the release. The music I found for It’s Simply SF came by surprise when I was looking for music for It’s Simply Golden. My friend David Baron, a singer-songwriter who had lived in San Francisco but moved to Los Angeles, offered to help. I asked him if he had a song I could use for the Golden book and he replied that he didn’t have one specifically about the bridge, but had written a tune about San Francisco. I asked him if he could send me the Mp3 which he did. When I listened to the song I knew it was perfect. I completed the trailer and announced the launch date as July 8, 2012.

Now that my home was fully painted and decorated, I invited Grant to dinner to show him my new creation. We enjoyed a good meal and conversation. I told him about writing the memoir and he asked if he could read some pages. He informed me that he had been a copywriter and could offer some input. I thought, why not? I shared with him the first five pages and he offered some good feedback. We also listened to some music selections for the trailer and he shared his input on that as well. I had my heart set on a piece of music I felt expressed the message of my story, but he suggested I use an instrumental piece with dramatic sections of high and low pitches.

I continued to prepare for my September trip to London. I was so excited about crossing the pond and seeing my Love. It had been way too long. While catching up on social media one day, I saw an advertisement for an event with Wayne Dyer. I clicked on the link to learn more and found it was for the I CAN DO IT seminar which would be in London while I was there in September. I was thrilled and knew that I needed to attend. Not only would Wayne Dyer be in attendance, but also the likes of Louise Hay and Brian Weiss, two individuals I had always hoped to meet and learn from. I loved how everything was aligning so perfectly in my life.

While coming back from the grocery store with my friend Tom one day, I happened to mention my trip to London and how airfares were currently over a $1000.00 U.S. roundtrip. I told Tom that I was putting out the intention of finding a flight for under $900.00 U.S. roundtrip. A few days later I received an email from Virgin Atlantic and found a flight from SFO to Heathrow for $875.00 U.S. roundtrip. Ask and it is given.

I began working on my book proposals for the Transformational Author Experience Writing Contest. I figured I would submit two proposals, one for the Serendipity book based on the events of 2011, and one for a second memoir that revealed the story of my childhood as a young athlete and public figure. I wanted to submit two proposals in hopes to showing the agents and publishers that I had more than one book in me, and taking me on as a client would be a smart decision.

I continued to network and attend events around Marin County and in San Francisco. One event I chose to attend was a reading and book signing at the Sausalito Library for a local author who had released her book which was also a memoir. I thought it would be good experience to learn how she markets her work. The event was part of the Library’s speaker series. It was a great experience and opportunity to envision myself doing the same one day. I sat in the room and listened to what she had to say while also taking a mental snapshot of the event. I knew it would be me some day and I wanted to envision how it felt.

By the middle of the month, the sailors from Oracle Racing Team USA were back on the Bay practicing with their AC45 vessels. I wanted to check them out and see if I could capture some photographs. I headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf and planned to stop at Walgreens to get a sandwich and drink. On the way I passed by a homeless man and his dog. He held a sign that read he was homeless and hungry. I decided to purchase an extra sandwich and couple bottles of water and take them back to them. When I returned to where they were sitting, I said hello and introduced myself.

The man told me his name was Walter and his dog was named Daisy. I gave him the sandwich and bottled water and told him I also brought some water for Daisy. I then sat down on the ground with them and we shared a conversation about life. I told him how I had been homeless myself, and everything that had happened to me in 2011. He also shared moments from his own life and time spent at Alcatraz. He told me he wanted to share his story in a book. As we conversed I gave him a copy of my Golden book and told him I would love to see his story in a book as well.

After our chat I decided to head out on one of the small sightseeing boats docked at the Wharf. As we pulled away from the docks I couldn’t help but notice another boat docked in a nearby slot called Serendipity. I had to smile. I was able to capture a few good photographs of the Oracle vessel during the hour-long excursion, but couldn’t stop thinking about my new friends Walter and Daisy. I said a prayer for both of them in hopes things would look up soon.

One of the networking groups I belonged to was WISE – or Women in Sports & Events. They were hosting a panel discussion with women involved in the upcoming America’s Cup. It was great to meet more individuals involved with the sailing regatta and share my book idea. I also shared my involvement with the Hobie North American Championships. The regatta was quickly approaching and I spent most days gathering raffle items, putting the program together and preparing to photograph the event.

Dunphy Park in Sausalito hosted the sailing regatta and it was great to see sailors from around the world arrive to unload their Hobie 16s and 20s. The park lit up like a rainbow of color from the sails against the crystal blue sky. It was quite the scene. The Welcome Party was a lot of fun as I had a chance to chat with the sailors and their families. I also sold some of my Sausalito books which was nice.

The week-long event was a lot of fun although the weather seemed to be unpredictable and some of the races had to be postponed or outright cancelled due to high winds and rough waters. On one of my days off I decided to head over to the San Francisco side of the Bay and to the Golden Gate Yacht Club to photograph the crew from Oracle Racing Team USA. When I arrived they were sailing by and I was able to capture a few shots. They then headed down towards the South Bay.

Anticipating that they would remain in the South Bay, I began to pack up my things and head home, but as I glanced over my shoulder, I noticed they had turned around and were heading back in my direction. I quickly grabbed my camera and headed out to the rocks on the bluff. I waved my hands to get their attention and said, “I need you right here” as I pointed towards my feet. The next thing I knew the AC45 vessel was heading directly towards me. They stopped right in front of me and took a turn. I quickly snapped a few photographs and was so excited at the proximity to me, that I yelled “THANK YOU!”

I was so excited about the photographs I had captured that I was beaming. I ran into Grant when I returned to Sausalito and I showed him the shots. He was really impressed, and as a sailor himself, that was high praise. I posted some of the photographs on social media and also thanked the crew from Oracle for answering my call so I could capture the photographs. I also just happened to mention that the Hobie Championships were taking place in Sausalito should they happen to want to visit during a training run.

The following day I headed out on the waters of Richardson Bay on a spectator boat to photograph the sailors during the Hobie North American Championships. It was an incredible experience as I planted myself on the deck of the boat, wrapped my legs around one of the rails to brace myself for the shots. I was able to capture some amazing photographs and I enjoyed the thrill of doing so from the water. At one point during a break in the races, I spotted the Oracle AC45 vessel heading our way and it actually passed right through the race course and went nose to nose with one of the Hobie catamarans. I somehow managed to capture the shot and it was the talk of the town for days to come.

The Hobie North American Championships were a huge success despite the unpredictable weather. The Awards Dinner was held on the final night and I showed up early to help set up and take photographs. They showed a video montage of the week’s racing using my photographs which was really exciting. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about sailing and meet the athletes and their families. I also sold out of my Sausalito book which was great.

Following the week of sailing, it was back to work on my book projects. My back was really aching as I strained it opening the door to one of the units at work. I visited my chiropractor and the adjustment helped. I worked on wrapping up Book #3, It’s Simply SF. I added the final pieces of content and applied for the Library of Congress control number. I also worked on my book proposals for the Serendipity books and making progress there as well.


Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-17 show above.)