A Crafter's Life, Books, Music, Podcasts

Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children”

Have you ever wondered why suddenly you are upset or struggling with something and you do not understand why? Well it could be the “Ghost Children“…

Throughout 2018, nearly non-stop, I’ve been listening to non-fiction audiobooks (with a couple science fiction audiobooks peppered in).

Here is a list of many of the non-fiction audiobooks (all borrowed from my public library) that occupied my ears the past 8+ months:

  • I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual – Luvvie Ajayi
  • Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day – Ken Mogi
  • Eat Fat, Get Thin – Mark Hyman
  • Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey – James Holli
  • Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life – Bill Burnett
  • You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want – Sarah Knight
  • The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain – Steven Gundry
  • The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations – Oprah Winfrey
  • Nudge: Improve Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness – Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing – Daniel Pink
  • Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain – Peter Shankman
  • Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People – Vanessa Van Edwards
  • This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide – Geneen Roth
  • Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself – Mark Epstein
  • Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More – Courtney Carver
  • Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller
  • You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth – Jen Sicero
  • Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice – Brene Brown
  • Yes Please – Amy Poehler
  • Fail Until You Don’t – Bobby Bones
  • The Art of Mingling: Fun and Proven Techniques for Mastering Any Room – Jeanne Martinet
  • The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Between my daily walks (3 – 4+ miles a day), road trips, cross country plane rides, and sewing marathons, I’ve knocked off a lot of audiobooks so far in 2018.

Most of these audiobooks were highly engaging, filled with many useful ideas, tips, and inspirations; however one audiobook really stood out: Geneen Roth’s This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide.

image credit: amazon.com

While listening to this audiobook, read by the author, I was introduced to the concept of “Ghost Children“. According to Geneen Roth, “Ghost Children” are the stories we repeatedly tell ourselves based on an unhealed/hurt part of us that believes things such as we’re not good enough, we are unlovable, we are not worthy – because at some point in our life, many times in childhood, we had unmet needs or a hurt which are still seeking to get comfort from.

Geneen Roth has done a lot of work with women who emotionally overeat (she holds workshops and has written books focused on this topic) and she ties the “Ghost Children” concept to why people emotionally overeat to comfort their hurting “Ghost Children” but I clearly saw a connection to other behaviors.

This connection helped me during a difficult time on a recent business trip attending a conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children”

I work in the healthcare industry and I attended a healthcare industry software related conference in late July/early August held at the Aria Hotel’s Conference Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Las Vegas Boulevard

The healthcare software company sponsoring the conference was very generous to its attendees to include providing a private Train concert on one of the conference evenings, at the Brooklyn Bowl. I was very excited about this concert as I’ve like the band Train (Drops of Jupiter, Meet Virginia, Calling All Angels) since they first came out with their song Drops of Jupiter in 2001.

Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH) accompanied me on the trip to Las Vegas and I confirmed with someone at the conference registration desk that he could also attend the conference. He is also a long time fan of the band Train, so I was excited to share this private concert with him which also included an open bar and food (as I said the sponsoring software conference company was very generous).

So the evening came for the concert and TTQH headed to the tour bus set up for conference attendees to be transported to the Brooklyn Bowl for the concert. While on line to load the bus, we discovered that only conference attendees with conference badges could get on the bus and attend the conference. TTQH was not able to attend with me.

We were in shock and incredibly disappointed as I had verified with the conference registration desk that he could attend, only to find out that the staff at the registration desk very misinformed. I was torn – on one hand I wanted to go to the concert on the other hand I did not want to just leave TTQH behind at the hotel with this sudden dispointment.

TTQH is a very enlightened and well-adjusted person (one of us has to be in the marriage – ha!) and he quickly recovered from the disappointment and strongly insisted that I just attend alone and have a great time.

So I got back in line and then got on the tour bus. The tour bus was filling up quickly and people were filling every available seat. Except in my row. No one sat with me. (This was likely because I had a very sad look on my face as I was so disappointed I could not share the concert experience with TTQH). The last person got on the bus and sat with the last seat available besides the one next to me.

So the entire bus was filled, except for the seat next to me.  Before I knew it I was quietly sobbing to myself on the bus ride to the Brooklyn Bowl and did not know why.

But – I remembered the audiobook I had recently finished, This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide , and realized one of my “Ghost Children” had popped up!

When I was around 10 years old my parents had a major disagreement with other parents in the neighborhood and, unknown to me at the time, the other neighborhood parents had told their children not to play with me. For a couple weeks, none of my regular friends in the neighborhood, who I played with everyday after school, would play with me. They all ignored me.

I did not understand why and as you could imagine this was fairly traumatic for a 10 year old who was used to playing with most of the kids on my block for many years. Finally one of the children was kind enough to pull me aside and tell me what happened. It was a very upsetting and frustrating experience as I was being punished for something I did not do and I was now an outsider/outcast from my long-time playmates. It is one of those feelings you never forget and I guess it eventually became one of my “Ghost Children”.

Realizing where my sudden painful feelings were coming from as I sat alone on the bus (no one wanting to sit with me), helped me pull myself together. I decided: “yes I am attending this concert alone, but I am going to have a fun time and find a group of people to hang out with during the concert”. There is so much power in awareness of where an emotion/reaction is coming from – it gives you options on how you react.

And this is exactly what I did. Upon arrival, I asked a group of women if I could hang with them for the evening and eventually ended up in another group and had a wonderful time – a “Ghost Children” free evening!

The Train concert was incredible (I sat close to the stage in an elevated area of the bar to the right of the stage) and got to connect with some wonderful people before the concert and during. I learned some new trivia about some of their songs from another concert attendee: the lead singer, Pat Monahan wrote Drops of Jupiter about the death of his mother (now some of the lyrics I never understood make sense).

Here is a little excerpt from the concert (which was only open to concert attendees) – Train performing Lost and Found (I finally learned how to upload videos to YouTube):

I love the lyrics in this song (excerpt from Google):

My dad said son, one
Day we’ll have a drink together
You’re young
You got to take your time
Just trust
Let me raise you right, and later
We can raise a glass to life, and say
Here’s to the time we have
Here’s to the lines we crossed
Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on
And the ones we lost
Here’s to the time we have
Thank God for what we got
Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on, and the ones we lost
And found, the ones who stick around
Lost and found, the ones who stick around


I feel like writing Geneen Roth, the author of This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide, and thanking her for introducing me to the “Ghost Children” concept. Thanks to what I learned from her book I was able to reset a moment and turn it around.

Taking a break from the conference and relaxing at the Bellagio hotel, “Ghost Children” free

You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. It’s possible to treat yourself with outrageous kindness beginning today. Geneen Roth


During the conference I got to attend my first TED Talks/TED Salon and that was a very cool experience.

Dr. Andrew Bastawrous at TED Salon: Catalyst at the Aria Las Vegas

The TED Talks were focused on the future of health care. It was amazing after years of watching TED Talks online to see how formally TED Talks are filmed. There are hosts that coach the audience on etiquette for the Talk once filming starts.

The six speakers who talks about moving health care forward were amazing and here is a post on the TED Blog I found about the event:

Moving healthcare forward: The talks of TED Salon: Catalyst

A slide from one of the speaker’s presentation

By the way – I’ve finally finished my intense work on the secret art quilt project for a future WCQN show that is not yet announced. I am taking a little break from “creating” and then in the near future I will return to sharing what is on my design wall as I used to do in my What’s on the Design Wall series of posts.



28 thoughts on “Las Vegas and the “Ghost Children””

  1. Tierney,
    I am so sad that you and hubby had a neat, shared event planned and it was unexpectedly thwarted. That is jarring. I too, would have cried. You pulled yourself up, and handled it so well. I am proud that you kissed a ghost child goodbye! Still sad for TTQH though.

    You have done really well to read all these books this year. May I ask what I would use in order to indulge in audiobooks? I would begin with your list. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was bummed too but I did share all my video clips with him from the concert once I returned to the hotel. I used the Overdrive app for my iPhone and most decent sized public libraries have digital audiobooks. Head to your local library and ask for help on how to access them via your device or maybe check out their website for instruction. You also have the option of paying for audiobooks through services such as audible.com or libro.fm which supports independent bookstores (https://libro.fm)


  2. Thanks for sharing your list. Too bad about Train concert for TTQH. I saw Train at one of my daughter’s Parent Weekends at college: Fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and although I knew that stuff from your past can impact how you current act or emotions you experience, it was very powerful to learn this name for this experience and made me feel like I could “talk to the children” and readjust my reaction.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story and self-care inspiration (thanks for sharing Roth’s text, i have heard of it but haven’t read it). ☺ A reminder to give the Ghost children the radical love + acceptance they deserve. What a wonderful breakthrough! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. TTQH certainly handled his end of the disappointment valiantly – and urged you to go on ahead…sweeeeet.
    The Ghost Child ’empty seat’ is daunting…in the midst of a crowd and yet there was the single empty seat next to you…geeeesh.
    However, in my limited understanding of what occurred in your childhood neighborhood, I’d say ‘shame on you’ to those parents. You were a trusted part of the gang and then zap! The untouchable????
    What kind of thing is that?
    Anyway, thanks for allowing us into your Ghost Child eradication journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yes he did – he is a class act and I appreciate him as my life partner 🙂
      I agree with shame on those parents but you know people can be reactive and do not always take the feelings of the innocents into consideration – they just wanted to get back at my parents. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Note #1: Must be a cultural difference. I would have been glad to have an empty seat and not have to sit next to anyone. More room to stretch.Plus, you needed that alone time to center yourself.
    Note #2: The HealthCare Industry is a huge topic these days. You guys have a lot of people counting on you.
    Note #3: The only reason I would go to Las Vegas is for the annual International Pizza Expo. https://www.pizzaexpo.com/
    Note#4: Just started my Backpack sewing project because of you. All those posts of epic quilts made me feel like I was being lazy. I am thinking I should capture images to show steps of it in the making.
    I wanna be a real creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciated the free Train concert but the International Pizza Expo sounds like an even better reason to go Vegas – ha!
      Congrats on starting your backpack sewing project and yes you should blog your photos if you want – at least for bragging rights that you are making a backpack!


  6. The concept of “Ghost Children” is so interesting! It does kinda stink though that TTQH couldn’t go to the Train concert after being told he could! I am glad that you were able to still go and enjoy yourself by resetting the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ugh, I have so much to say about this post. First, yay you for being courageous and asking to join in with the others at the concert. I would never have been able to do that after the initial snub. Second, as a kid who was made fun of and was a complete outcast, I can completely relate to your childhood tale, and I know how that can set you up for negative thinking late run life (I still always assume people WON’T like me, so it’s very hard for me to talk to people…even commenting on blogs is a frightening prospect at times). Third, I would have sat with you on the bus! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate Tammie as I am a lifetime “outsider” that occasionally gets to be part of groups. Sorry you went through that as a kid and I was right there with you being very tall, braces, bad skin and nerdy (the full package for Outcastness!) as an adult I went the opposite way and decided everyone will like me (I am delusional by nature) and I get truly surprised now when someone doesn’t like me. Thank you that you would have sat with me on the bus – I was the one looking sad and sullen (always an attractive look to draw people in). Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a wonderful post, and like others, I too could say a lot here. I’ve never heard of ghost children before, but of course it makes sense. There are circumstances from before (childhood or other times, I’m sure) that color how we see things now. I have my 40-year high school reunion this weekend. I went to a large school; about 440 people graduated with me. I came from a small grade school (4th-8th grade) and when we left there, we split to different high schools. There were only 12 of us who went to my high school. None of the others were my close friends or neighbors, and we weren’t in many classes together. I never fit in and always felt alone in my big school. And I always framed it as a popularity issue — I was unpopular, and other people didn’t like me enough to include me in things. Recently, with this reunion coming up, I had a different thought. It’s not that I was unpopular (read: unliked.) After all, people seemed to like me well enough. No one was actively mean to me. I had people to talk to in class. It was that I was not very outgoing and didn’t get to know my new classmates very well. You’d be amazed how much better it feels to see myself as “not very outgoing” instead of “unpopular.” My day to day experience was the same, but how I feel about it now is different. So I’m going to this reunion, the first of them I’ll have attended. I don’t know very many people who are coming. That’s okay. I’ll just treat it like other functions I’ve attended (as an adult) where I don’t know many. I’ll just be pleasant and happy to get to know them.

    Thank you for the therapy session. How much do I owe you? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Melanie – that is so cool you are going the reunion – I’ve never attended a reunion – for some reason that has always sounded less than appealing – I endured those people while I had to and that was enough – ha! Thanks for sharing your insights and not very outgoing sounds like a better perspective than unpopular.

      You know I hesitated on writing this post as I thought I might be “oversharing” but I really appreciate when people like yourself share such candid comments 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Awwww, Tierney! Reading the first half of this, I wanted to reach into my screen and give you a hug! (And I would not describe myself as a “hugger”, generally!) But go you! You turned that evening right on its head, met some new people, and sent that particular ghost child on their way. And even though TTQH had to skip the concert, I hope you guys got to make the most of the sponsor’s generosity for the rest of your trip 😀 Now, I’m going to catch up on the rest of your posts, then see if my local library has any of the cool stuff on your very extensive reading list! Oh, and I would TOTALLY have sat with you on the bus by the way 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you Tierney. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Love your listening list. Will save it for future reference. First purchase will be Geneen’s book though. I do like her work/writing. Ghost Children. Who knew? It rings true to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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