Smart Siren Buries Dream of the Perfect Family

March 23rd, 2009

Cause of Death:

Mental Illness

Eulogy (Written by the Siren, of course…):

My entire life, all I ever wanted was a normal life. But when you come from a family riddled with mental illness, and suffer from mental illness too, what hope is there? Starting from a very young age, probably 11, I obsessed with relationships. I know more about relationships than Dr. Phil. I’ve done nothing but turn cartwheels, jump though flaming hoops, and stand on my head to seek, then obtain, then keep, then lose, then get over a relationship. I always learn, but success is elusive. The emotional investment and emotional cost has been staggering. Some days it’s taken up every free minute and every free thought in my head—only to lose the entire investment and have nothing to show but wasted years. It’s worse than gambling, because I’ve never won a thing. Yet I continue to double down and hit on 20. I have to let go. Let go of having more kids, let go of having the perfect husband, let go of even having a special someone. Maybe today I can finally let it go. It’s gone. I need a new dream.

GOODBYE: Depression, Ineptitude, Helplessness, Self Doubt and Risk aversion

HELLO: Selflessness, Morality, Faith in God

This Siren is now able to counsel others to move on.

A note from Cemetery Mary: Lady Siren, in my humble opinion it is not mental illness that causes you to kill this dream, it is mental wellness. Relationships are there only to reflect back new aspects of yourself to learn to love. Of course now that you know that YOU are the one you’ve been looking for, you can relax and have some fun with that. If someone joins you for part of that exotic adventure, fine. If not, keep loving YOU in that way you’ve been seeking. And don’t forget to sing your dead dream theme song, which I believe is, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” no?

When all else fails, repeat my favorite prayer and mantra over and over again until it clears the spider webs and crazy voices from your head:

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

You are saying this to yourself—because you are the best friend and lover you will ever have, and you need to start cherishing yourself again.

STAY TUNED: The Resurrection is Coming

February 21st, 2009

Beloved Readers:

Cemetery Mary is listening and I AGREE there is too much crap news coming out of the air and cyber waves, not enough stories of how one might turn CRAP into COMPOST. But that’s all about to change. Make sure you sign up on the home page so I can send you your daily hit of cyber antidepressent starting Easter Sunday. Yes, like Jesus, we are going to rise from the dead and kick off an exciting new party. One that focuses a bit more on good news. Sure, the economy is tanking, thousands are getting laid off, people who make $17,000 a year can no longer get $750,000 mortgages for houses they can’t afford so unethical loan officers can collect fat commissions. But there is good news too, no? Crooks and thieves who’ve benefited at the expense of the masses are being EXPOSED, unemployed workers are being FORCED to stretch into new job possibilities, and it’s no longer cool to be grotesquely wealthy. These are the days when those of us who have been forced to spend years building character can flaunt it. Our global economy is having its version of a massive forest fire to burn out the messy undergrowth and we will all emerge stronger (if not a little crispy). Turn off the TV and instead, look to mother nature for wisdom and forecasts. It’s winter. Things look a little barren for awhile, but of course it will not last. (In fact, my naked plum tree already shows great signs of hope. A hummingbird has built a nest and is raising her tiny little babies right under my window. I was certain the last big storm must have killed them all, but when the sun came up this morning they were so big and robust, they look to be outgrowing the nest.)

Meanwhile, thank you for all the emails. In aggregate, its apparent you are all craving better news, not to mention some inspiration and reasons to take life, and yourselves, a little less seriously. Thanks for writing, and PLEASE sign up for Cemetery Mary’s Crap into Compost daily antidepressent feed…it’s coming soon (Easter) to an email address near you.

Rest in peace with the TV off,

Cemetery Mary

Why we should never, never give up…

January 27th, 2009

Feeling defeated? Watch these and get over it…

Saving the best for last…

Finish last? Or finish strong…

2009: The Year to Celebrate Failures

January 12th, 2009

The month of January was named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He has two faces and can therefore look backward and forward at the same time-just like us. But I’m going to suggest we all do our best to stay in the present. I’m pretty sure that is the best vantage point to allow us to learn from the past and look forward to a future. And looking forward to life and its roller coaster of changing events puts me in a better mood.

Recently someone commented that I maintained an insane insistence on seeing the glass half full. Of course I delighted in interpreting the remark in the most positive light. It doesn’t mean I don’t wallow in the pain and self-pity of grief, loss, disappointment or shame for a moment or two (or in some cases, years and years). We must embrace those emotions as inevitable too, or they skulk around and start to stink. But when they are given their due time, like everything else in this lifetime, they will die out to make room for the new. With the exception of some whacked out brain chemistry that results in clinical depression, dark moods do pass like the weather so why not hunker down, light the fireplace, and observe the storm until it becomes clear, at a deep intuitive level, what our next step must be?

Oh, Cemetery Mary is waxing philosophical on the onset of this New Year. So many global storms these days, what with wars, poverty, global warming, and the economic meltdown. But there are still new days, new babies, new loves, new presidents, and new stories. These things have me looking forward.

The world is obviously going through an important transition, and the old way of doing things is dying out. EVERYONE is going to have to try new ways of being, and these attempts cannot be thwarted by the fear of failure. That’s why it makes sense for us to celebrate in the face of failure. (YAY, the greedy bankers and wall street crooks aren’t the cool kids anymore!) When it’s all good news, our spirits are already lifted. If things are tanking, that’s when we need to treat ourselves with extra care. Failures do not need to beat themselves up (I’m talking honest failures, not the Bernie Madoff types). Instead, we can simply look in the rearview mirror, check out what worked, what didn’t, kick the wall a few times, then have a party to celebrate another lesson learned (even if the party is something we have alone, in a bubble bath, with Gloria Gaynor singing I Will Survive in the background).

I like Fast Company writer Richard Watson’s idea about how to celebrate failures: “Rather than putting up statues to people who did something that was successful, let’s build a monument to the people who didn’t. Let’s celebrate the lives of people who invented things that didn’t work or tried to do something that was just plain crazy. A monument to the unknown innovator in pursuit of an impossible dream. The people we watch with perverse envy when we are too scared, too self-conscious, or too constrained to fail ourselves. Because without these wonderful people, there would be no progress or success.”

Recently I heard a wise minister explain that that spiritual progress and success is not realized by what we gain in our lives, but instead comes from what we are able to let go. (Think anger, fear, unforgiveness, or attachment to physical and material wealth.)

Happy New Year. Happy New You. I wish you many spectacular failures because I know they are your greatest teachers on the pathway to success. I also wish you the liberating ability to let go of defining your life by your successes or your failures as they have nothing to do with who you are.

She can’t afford to make movies…or even go to them…Is her dream dead?

December 20th, 2008

Dear Cemetery Mary,

I am in a position where I am deciding whether or not to bury my dream or continue pressing forward, despite how hopeless it seems at the moment. I, too, had grandiose dreams of greatness, but mine were of directing and the lifestyle that comes with such a position. Since college, I have declined a full time job and remained freelancing, living “hand to mouth” in order to have time to devote to shooting film projects, which were not just time-consuming, and required the non-stop begging of favors of fellow collaborators, but expensive as well, despite receiving said favors.  I juggled freelancing, working simply “to make money” in order to spend that remaining time shooting and directing, and what I thought at the time, “investing” that money in myself and my “dream”. I received many positive accolades for my work, but yet, have not yet been able to get signed with representation that would make me viable for the commercial jobs I dreamt of directing ever since I stepped foot onto a film set. 

For the last few years, I was always the girl with no money. Always looking for the least expensive item on the menu. Thinking twice when meeting up with friends, even with simple things like going to a movie. Always parking my beat up car around the block, avoiding any sort of doctor or dentists office. And for awhile, I felt like those things were part of my bigger cause. This past year, in an effort to take a big leap and “play a bigger game,” I was accepted into a small (in number of participants) but recognized program in the industry I have been trying to break into. After spending pretty much what I had in hopes of that big “reel” that I expected to bring with it representation and open doors into the world of commercial directing, I find myself right now in a downward spiral of depression. My inbox is empty and my cell phone sits silent on top of my desk. Maybe I haven’t given it everything I have, and maybe I need to continue. 

But I feel spent. I am ready for a more balanced lifestyle, one without the constant worry and anguish.  After weeks of sitting in my apartment, alternating between the desk, my phone, and my bed, I am finally bringing myself to write about my reflections on what is happening. I truly appreciate what you did with your book burial ceremony, and the website, and the articles, and I just felt you were such an appropriate person to share my story with. I would love to figure out how to turn some of the ideas you mentioned in your article “What the hell? The Secret Didn’t Work,” into something tangible and concrete for my every day life in order to move on, such as “let[ting] go of your idea about how something was supposed to happen to give it a real chance to succeed.” Even accepting that ““Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.  How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” 

Its hard to imagine that I’m supposed to be sitting here, hopeless, despair, feeling like a loser..etc. But I think I am ready to find out what’s next. How to move on and forward. How to get to the life I was meant to live. 

Director Seeking Direction


Beloved Director,

WOW, you’ve done a lot to pursue your dream. And then, while wildly twisting in the sheets of your own pity party, you had the wherewithal to seek help. Plus, you had the good sense to come to me, the Empress of all Pity Partiers (Did I not throw myself a funeral?) Let’s take a moment to give you a big attagirl.


Okay. Let’s get to work. Your dream sounds lovely, fascinating, intriguing. But I want to check something. You said that you wanted to pursue “directing and the lifestyle that comes with such a position.” That was the little nugget that caught my attention and I offer it back to you to chew on for awhile. Which part of you wants to pursue this dream to express yourself at the deepest level of your soul, and which part of you is into this “lifestyle.” I ask only because Cemetery Mary believes we are here to bring forth great creations (much like our good Mother Nature) that will make the world a more enchanting experience, and to enjoy ourselves while doing it (not that some sacrifice and crap work won’t be required). But I’ve spent enough time with my own ego, that I know it sometimes takes over and yearns for the things that I think my success will “get me.” I would spend some time meditating on how you feel when you do the work that is required of your dream, and really decide if the passion is there for the pleasure and purpose of the work side more so than the results and payoff side. (Not that I have anything against big payoffs, but at my age/stage of life, having fun or feeling satisfied with work is the place I put my attention.)

That said, dang girl, you’ve worked hard so — as they say at my cool Oakland church — don’t quit before the miracle. You might be two seconds from the finish line and not be able to see it because of your disappointment is blocking the view. It may be time to make some adjustments, but my assessment is that it is too soon to bury your dream. Instead, bury the worry and anguish, hopelessness and despair. Have a full on ceremony to let those vampires go and when you hear them yammering on in your mind at any time, just blow them kisses. They are big blowhards and don’t deserve to take up too much of your time.

How to get rid of these pests worry and anguish? Well certainly you’ve got to take care of yourself better financially because you deserve to go to the doctor and dentist and a movie once in awhile. Google Maslov’s hierarchy of needs and make sure you have the ones at the foundation and, FYI, it does include sex, which I think is mighty cool. Starting now you need to eat fresh healthy food, exercise, find a decent paying job and pour yourself and all the creativity you have into this work — what ever it turns out to be. Working jobs just to make money strangles the meaning out of life–or at least has us believing life must be postponed until…until what? No matter what job you take, use every moment of your working life to express yourself to the best of your ability (ie; you can’t hide behind the idea that what ever you are doing isn’t your “real job” thus you don’t have to be fully present.)

Delight in your well paid job, get your teeth cleaned, walk in the sunshine, have a laugh with a friend, and sex with someone cute (or something with batteries) and continue to pursue your dream, even if at a different pace. I don’t know what that pace is, as I also did the “throw myself completely into the project technique” and it led me to create the cemetery of dead dreams (meanwhile I also picked up a great job I never expected or planned for and it supports me and leaves time for funeral planning and answering advice requests.)

Are you supposed to be depressed? OF COURSE YOU ARE. Things have to get pretty nasty for us to actually take a large enough risk to really change our lives. (Did we not just see that in our political arena? How ridiculous would things have to be for this country to have the strength to elect Obama?) 

You are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be. You are composting. And decomposing is not painless or easy, just ask the caterpillar before he gets to be that great big beautiful flying winged thing. 

Your homework is to go out every day and pay attention to nature. It is winter. The sky pours out the tears, the landscape looks empty and desolate, but meanwhile there is much important work going on that is simply not obvious to the eye.

Don’t be stressin’ about a little depression. 

Good luck and check in next spring to tell me how you are flowering.

Rest in peace and joy, 

Cemetery Mary


And what to do with the dead dreams of my guests…?

December 11th, 2008

Dearest readers:

I’ve had a chance to lovingly pour through the casket of dead dreams that sat at the front of my dead dream funeral last Saturday, and LAWD HAVE MERCY, what a collection of eccentric dead dreams. Comic books, dancing shoes, silk scarves, love poems and letters, and lots and lots of currency for those who are giving up attachment to material things. All of these items are being stored in a safe box, surrounded by candles, incense and protective love — until we burn them to smithereens at the next important ceremony: The Cremation.

Yes, Reverand Rai, Song Mistress Lisa, and I have discussed that it is important that none of your dead dreams, dashed hopes, or disappointments get left in the world. Our deadline is New Year’s Eve 08. You will be purified. We all will be purified. And congratulations to those of you who GET IT. That you are just giving up on things turning out the way you thought they were supposed to, and opening yourself up INSTEAD to new love, new surprises, and new ways to realize your dreams. As it is said, We Plan, God Laughs. Let it all go. We will enjoy watching everyone, including ourselves, rise from the ashes in 2009. Stay tuned for updates about the cremation event. Should be hot.

In other, more self-promotional news, this is the best blog review of event: Silkstone – Open Salon

Rest in peace, love, and a hot bath full of lavender,

Cemetery Mary

The Funeral Reviews Are In…

December 8th, 2008

Dear Fellow Mourners,

The reviews from the funeral are coming in fast and furiously and they make me believe that we aren’t as afraid of death and loss and letting go as we all act…that maybe we really can and want to get over ourselves…

Handsome pallbearers enter with coffin.

Handsome pallbearers enter with coffin.

NOW, may the reviews of my book be so positive…

Rest in Peace & Joy,

Cemetery Mary



I am speechless. What an event, I was thrilled to be a part of it!!! Everyone, and I mean everyone who participated (your daughter, singers, speakers…) were all amazing! I can’t stop talking about it!!!

Wow! The funeral was spectacular. You (and the Reverend) did a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of the event, including the serious parts. Someone I know was there because he read about it in the paper. He’s a story teller (and published author, the bastard!). He was blown away and came over to me as soon as it ended to say that he thought it would make a great movie or play. He couldn’t stop raving about the concept, the execution, the whimsy and the serious content.

Oh,my– what an amazing event!  It was a blast and such a wonderful combination of humor and inspiration.  It was like being part of live theater. I’ve never been to anything like this, Mary, and I’ll never forget it. I bought a couple of copies [of the book and} read the first ten pages... last night.  Those retarded publishing companies!  The book, the way you put it together, is marvelous.  I hope you sold lots of copies. But then, I'm also reminding myself of what your pastor said -- that we are valuable for who we are,  and not for our accomplishments.  I hope to remind myself of this daily.
All I can say is that Saturday afternoon was a wonderfully creative, empowering, goose bumping, affirming, spirit lifting, joy-full noise making, celebratory testament to the power of letting go.   YES IT WAS!!!!!  Amazingly, you provided the refuge, the safe haven within which we could release our pain on buoyantly floating waves of positivity.   YES YOU DID!!!!!!

Author adding up cost of tasty funeral snack buffet.

Author adding up cost of tasty funeral snack buffet.

I had no idea what to expect and so was pretty much a blank canvass when I walked up to the Chapel.  However, as I approached the building I heard the vocal swells of some woman filling the night air and cloaking the space between me and the door.  I knew that something huge and unusual was going on.  Couldn’t wait to go in and experience what was happening on the other side….

What a fabulous funeral! I expected to go and have fun and to laugh.  It was much more than that.  I actually threw some old baggage into that coffin, and felt lighter and better for the whole experience. The music was amazing.  Who is that woman singer?  What a voice!  At one point when she was singing “Climb Every Mountain” I thought that every window in the Chapel of the Chimes might shatter. There were so many high points….certainly one of them was when the audience yelled NO to tossing the diploma into the coffin.

Just wanted to thank you…[the funeral] was just what I needed to do for myself. As a fellow writer, I sympathized with Mary. It was standing room only for this wonderful event. More people should do this for any reason whatsoever.

I can’t even properly describe how fun it was to be there…

And this blog entry from The Mysterious Funeral Parlour Lady

What on earth is she reading?

What on earth is she reading?

Today is the day! My funeral at last…I’m off to prepare my body.

December 6th, 2008

But read about it here…

Oakland Tribune



Adios discrimination, complaints, powerlessness & gallstones

November 26th, 2008

Beloved dreamers,

 The fabulous funeral to bury my dream of publishing The Book through a mainstream publishing house is days away, and I’m thrilled to hear of all the exciting additions guests are adding to the open casket. First of all, so many of us are going to bury the idea that discrimination has any part of our lives anymore by sticking Proposition 8 into the coffin. As we bury that misguided effort, it will fuel our passion to get to work reversing it. I have no doubt that the decomposition of Prop 8 will serve as rich compost for our nation’s growth into greater love, acceptance, tolerance and equality deserved by everyone—regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age. And speaking of age, after hearing that her Grandma wasn’t casting a vote one way or another for Prop 8, my young niece announced that she didn’t think old people should be allowed to vote. “They don’t have to live with the results,” she reasoned. But, hey, discrimination is discrimination. If old people get to vote, then gay people should be allowed to be married. Especially the old ones—cripes, they’ve been waiting so long. (If we aren’t going to give gays marital rights, then we must at least offer them a discount on their taxes since they aren’t getting full service.) But from a purely practical standpoint, since the majority of young voters went against Prop 8, at least we know it has a short shelf life.

In other burial news, many are joining me in killing off the whining and complaining that leads to an overall feeling of powerlessness. For me, it was the idea that I needed Big Publishing Daddy to give me a book contract to launch this novel. It turns out that self-publishing and holding a funeral book launch killer fun. Another beloved guest, currently at Summit Hospital being prepped for gallbladder removal, has asked her doc to package up one of the stones so she can place it into the coffin and bury all remnants of disease, as well as her contributions to her own demise (poor diet, lack of exercise). She’s going into 2009 with one less organ, which leaves room for the inner strength she’s summoning to treat herself with greater love and respect.

Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.

Yes we can.

Say folks…what do you want to dump into the coffin?

Please consider the following excerpt from an oracle written by my favorite astrologer, Rob Brezsny This guy gets it…

In order to live, you’ve got to be a demolisher. You take plants and animals that were once alive and rip them apart with your teeth, then disintegrate them in your digestive system. 

Your body is literally on fire inside, burning up the oxygen you suck into your lungs. 

You didn’t actually cut down the trees used to make your house and furniture, but you colluded with their demise. 

Then there’s the psychological liquidation you’ve done: killing off old beliefs you’ve outgrown, for instance. 

I’m not trying to make you feel guilty—just pointing out that you have a lot of experience with positive expressions of destruction. 

For more get Brezsny’s book, PRONOIA Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings.

How The Obama Factor Can Help Us All Move Forward

November 8th, 2008

Excerpted from Cemetery Mary’s: Six Tips to Overcome Dead Dreams, Dashed Hopes, and Disappointments.

Okay, if you are trolling around a website that lets you bury dead dreams, maybe things suck in your life right now. Some cherished dream, goal, business, relationship, or major project and/or idea has tanked and you are devastated. That dream may have been a different outcome in this Presidential election. But even Senator McCain, during his gracious concession speech, had to admit:


I don’t care what your political beliefs are, on the day after the election you had to have noticed that the sun was shining brighter, the birds sang more sweetly, and people were making more eye contact on the street. There’s something about change that involves greater inclusiveness that makes everyone want to sing Zippity Doo Dah. (Okay, except for a few of my beloved republican friends who claimed to remain in the fetal position on the morning of November 5. Your job is to download my Tip Sheet and employ “Denial.”)

That said, this amazing shift in the American consciousness did not happen in a vacuum. In addition to the history of horrors that led to the fight for fairness and tolerance, many people had to sacrifice individual dreams in the process. Most recently, we can offer thanks and condolences to Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain, as well as that cute and controversial Governor, Sarah Palin (but seriously, if she could be V.P., I could be V.P., and no one would want that). Despite this great shift, there were some casualties. In California, we feel the ironic twist of fate, whereby despite getting to elect our first African American president, voters also approved Propostion 8, which deprives our homosexual brothers and sisters the basic right to marry. 

See? The collective consciousness giveth; the collective consciousness taketh away…but maybe the joy of those who lived to see the dream of an African American president realized, will fuel the ongoing fight to extend equal rights to all. More compost for the cause.

So don’t give up hope, as it’s impossible to know what good may become of what feels so unfair. The dead dreams of others often serve as the perfect fertilizer for important growth. It may help to believe your pain and disappointment could serve a higher purpose. For me, The Obama Factor is proof that we shall all overcome some day. Hey, no matter how bad it gets, it’s still A New Day…

For more of my handy tips to overcome dead dreams, dashed hopes, and disappointments, click here

Rest in Peace,

Cemetery Mary