Sunday, January 30, 2011

Whoa, Emerson Just Popped Me Upside the Head!

I learned something today.  Okay, well maybe I knew it before- but I heard it loud and clear today!  You know how that goes right?  When the student is ready the teacher appears.   Talk til’ you’re blue in the face; nobody will hear it until they are ready to listen.  Well today I was ready to listen.  It was like I finally saw the hidden image in the bigger piece of art.  Remember the black and white (negative/positive space) profile picture of an old woman, but then when you looked at it another way it suddenly was a profile of a young beautiful woman?  That’s what this statement did to me.  Let me just call it an “ah-ha” moment.    Drum roll…. Please.

“You become what you think about all day long.”  

HELLO!   Did.You.Hear.That?    Read it again… WAIT, don’t skip back up to the sentence above—let me just repeat myself.  


What a statement.  I wish I was wise enough to come up with something that powerful and brilliant.  But I didn’t.  It was a statement by the ever enlightened, Ralph Waldo Emerson, an author, poet, and philosopher (among many things).

I would write it a third time so you wouldn’t have to look up or lose your place but the blog must move on. 

Do I take the statement literally?  No, I do not. 

But it is funny how my inner kid becomes the ever enduring smart-ass I never allowed to see the light of day.   
So here is my inner dialogue about what Emerson said…

Philosophical Me: Wow what a powerful statement. 

Smart-Ass in Me: Huh?

Philosophical Me:  I really need to start looking at what I want to become.
Smart-Ass in Me:  Wait a minute, so what he’s saying is… what I think about ALL day long, is what I will become, right?

Philosophical Me: Yep, I manifest exactly what I’m thinking.

Smart-Ass in Me: I will become exactly that thing.

Philosophical Me: That is what Emerson was saying.  Yes.

Smart-Ass in Me:  So if I thought about Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs all day long…  

Philosophical Me: What a smart-ass…   

I guess if I thought about goodies all day long it might manifest into a job working for a snack food company or maybe a baker or a pastry chef.  But to be honest, I interpret it as a much deeper statement than the literal justification of my inner smart-ass.  The statement makes me look at every aspect of my life.   Do I consciously think about being a good mother/daughter/sister, a wonderful wife, a successful published author, a trustful friend— all the time?    What am I becoming?  

The statement galvanizes the need to make sure what I focus on is what I truly want in my life.  It’s a pretty big responsibility.  Suddenly Emerson’s statement reigns with a much heavier meaning.  Now what I say, think, and dream is pinched and examined under the microscope of my beliefs.  I can’t claim ignorance anymore.  I can’t blame anyone else for what I have become in my life.  I am the constant thinker that brings the results in my life.  It is my eye that peers through the lens to discover who and what I want to be.  Now if I could just keep my glasses from fogging up.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's on Your Canvas?

We are all creative.  We are all filled with unlimited creativeness.  Creativity is one of our best human traits; right up there with compassion and empathy.  I’ve had so many conversations with people about being creative.  I can’t tell you how many people tell me they just aren’t creative.  How they don’t have a creative bone in their bodies.  Well I can tell you what I think of that, it is a big pile of bull poo poo.  

Every human being is born to be creative.  Let’s face it, if we weren’t supposed to create, than why do we have an imagination?  If we weren’t meant to be creative than we wouldn’t long to see art, listen to music or read stories.  I think people who say they aren’t creative, consciously or not, decide to call it something different.  They might call their creativity— parenthood, employment, exercise or even dinner.  Let’s face it; we are creating all the time.  Whether we are rearing children, earning a living or feeding our families, we are being creative.  We are designed that way; it is in our makeup, our DNA.

Now that we are all on the same page, let’s take it a step further. 

We are the creators of our experiences.  (Just hang with me here)  We need to think of our lives like a blank canvas and we are the painters/creators. 

It is our hand that clutches the brush and presses it against the canvas.  What are we going to paint?  What are we going to create?  What are we going to put out into the world?  Are the lines and shadows going to tell people about whom we are, what we want, how we see the world?  Are they sharp or more obscure?  Did we splatter the colors or meticulously place each one.   Did we use primary or bright colors?  Is there texture and depth?  Ultimately, did we tell the story we wanted?  Even a blank canvas is art designed to tell us infinite stories.  
The greatest thing about a blank canvas is we can decide what we want to paint on it.  If what came out the first time isn’t what we wanted, guess what?  We can paint over it.  Even if we keep painting over it again and again, and never find the right angle, shades or colors— don’t sweat it; because when we get tired of using the same old techniques, we can get a new canvas and try over again.  Maybe we will take a class, learn from someone who has succeeded in creating a masterpiece.  Maybe the colors we started with aren’t the colors we wanted to end with.  Maybe we just needed to step away for a moment to see our true inspiration.  Or maybe— we just needed to give up that canvas and start with a new one.    

It is when we uninhibitedly let our creativity flow from our heart, through our hands, and into the paintbrush we press against the canvas that we create the most magnificent story of our lives. 

When we let go of old methods and ideas that just aren’t working for us anymore, it is at that point we create new ones that do. 

The time is now, when we are the most open and vulnerable, to grab the paintbrush of our lives and let the inspiration cover the canvas.  It is time to create the most wonderful piece of art in the universe— your life!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What's in a Title?

Is it really that unbelievable that little ol’ me could write a novel?  When people first heard, several years ago, that I was working a book, they couldn’t believe it.  Responses ran the gamut.  Some said, really? (Like it was totally unbelievable) or get out— you?  While others gave me unimaginable support and unconditional faith in what I was doing.  Still in the back of my mind, I didn’t know what to expect.

It wasn’t until I was half way through my second novel, did I start letting others see my work.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my faithful beta readers that have seen everything I have ever written.  But when I started letting more people read my work, I started to gain an understanding of who I was.   Their responses became the catalyst that kept me going.  Because let’s face it, we all need some cheerleaders in our lives. 
Now that I have two complete novels each with over 85,000 words and four more WIP’s (work-in-progress), I am still trying to figure out and understand what it is like to consider myself a writer— unpublished or otherwise.

I have to tell you, the words I am about to type are hard to get out without fumbling the keys.  It takes every ounce of self-assurance, a boat load of positive reinforcement, and a meticulously stacked tower of sturdy confidence to even think them (about myself), let alone type them on my blog for the world to see. 

So here goes nothing…

I am a writer (Whew, that was harder than you know). 

What is a writer?  For me it’s a storyteller, an evoker, a creator of worlds and experiences that give people an ability to escape their everyday realities.   A writer is the gate keeper of words, paragraphs, and chapters that gives the reader a magical opportunity to live vicariously through fictional characters.  A writer is a professional.  A writer is a gift.  

But for the life of everything vital, I have had a hard time aligning myself with the title “Writer”.   When it came to labeling my new found passion with that actual word, I didn’t think it was going to be so hard to do.  Heck, I identify myself everyday as an adult, a mother, and a wife without even flinching.  How hard could it be?  VERY!

But, I think I figured out why...

I came to writing later than most, I didn’t major in English or creative writing in college, and I will be the first to stand tall and say, I still need to learn a lot (I mean A-LOT)about grammar, editing and presentation (I said I finished writing two novels, I didn’t say they were duly edited and polished).  

All of my life I’ve understood what it was about to be self-confident.  Not cocky or self-centered, that is something totally different.  I’m talking about being confident in the choices I’ve made and results they have produced.  Doing what makes me happy, without hurting or alienating people around me.  A confidence in knowing whatever happens in my life; I take full responsibility for it— good bad, or indifferent.  I am a total believer in the law of cause and effect.  (You reap what you sow)

I know it’s going to take some work to build up my confidence in knowing that what I write isn’t half bad, maybe even publishable some day.  Day by day, word by word, sentence by sentence, manuscript by manuscript, I will keep building; keep creating, keep crafting, and keep writing, until I am so confident in my ability, that I can call myself a writer when someone asks what I do.
Now don’t get me started on the title author that is a whole different book of words… baby steps my peeps… baby steps…

Enjoy your week! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Bright Blip on a Cloudy Day

Have you ever looked at your spouse and for a bright moment of a drab day and you saw something so amazing, unconditional, and generous, that you were reminded why you fell in love with them?   Today, my husband reminded me why I loved him.  

Yeah I know, most of the time, okay all of the time, I try and not write about my personal life regarding my family, but today I experienced something totally amazing.  Worlds turn and perceptions change when I witnessed this complete and totally unconditional collaboration for the sake of someone in need. 

The story starts with us driving by our neighbor’s house… 

A neighbor who takes pride in his perfectly manicured lawn, conservatively painted house and methodically shaped oak tree.  Routinely we would see him out mowing, raking, trimming, keeping his property prideful and perfect.  But lately he has been amiss.  No sounds of mowers or rakes dragging across the carpet of green.  No voice calling to us as we shuffle out of our cars.  A void we’ve noticed silently but never acknowledged. 

He has been sick, too sick to work on his yard.  Sick enough that a stratum of leaves from his tree and the neighbors have blanketed his yard in reds and browns.  Leaves left long enough to cause you to pause and struggle to remember what the yard looked like before.  

As we passed our neighbor’s house, I heard my husband’s voice, filled with conviction and determination, announce we had a plan for the next hour of our day.  We were going to rake his yard and do it with the full intention of being grateful he was our neighbor, an attitude of gratitude.

So today, my family took one hour out of their day and reminded me the importance of giving back.  I smiled proudly as our neighbor’s front yard transformed from a drabby brown to a glorious green.  I watched my family work together to give our neighbor a pat on the back, a thank you for being who he was— a perfect neighbor.  They never expected a thank you or anything back but the satisfaction of helping someone who needed help.

As my husband stuffed the last grimy pile of leaves in the over flowing green bin and our boys were collecting up the rakes, our neighbor came out from his house and was completely taken aback.  He was so grateful, overwhelmed and most of all relieved.  His yard has been upsetting him for a while and he was fretting about cleaning it up.  The smile on his face spoke volumes.

I gotta tell you, I forgot the completeness that fills you when you give back.  I mean when you truly give without expecting anything in return.  I experienced a true connection with the unlimited power of giving back unconditionally.  

It wasn’t only the rhythm of my family working together, and the rightness that swelled in my heart, but the uncompromising givingness that my husband demonstrated reminded me of why I fell in love with him in the first place.  

An extraordinary moment in an otherwise ordinary day.

Thank you for reading my ramblings!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fire in the Hole!

I have two words for you today… Burning Bowl. 

What is it?  You ask.  Well let me just tell you it has nothing to do with Flaming Hot Cheetos in milk or JalapeƱo peppers once they are ingested (far from that).

It is a physical, tangible, and symbolic representation of letting go of the past and opening up to receive the future.  It’s the renewing of your mind and definition of who you are.  In other words, it is the act of letting go of who and what you USE to be and embracing the who and what you are right NOW. 

The greatest thing about the exercise is anyone can do it.  All you need is a bowl, matches, paper and old ideas you want to let go…

We look at the New Year as a time to renew ideas, vows, goals and expectations.  We believe by changing our thinking we can change our experiences.  What better way to embrace change than to disintegrate the old “not working for you” ideals. 
So below are the steps to letting go of what use to be and embracing what is to come.


  1. Set the bowl somewhere it won’t get knocked over and won’t cause a fire hazard or damage personal belongings. (common sense things)  I would put it on the kitchen counter.
  2.  On a small piece of paper (Don’t use a letter size, blazes can be frightening) write bullet point ideas you want to change or let go for the New Year.  Ideas you don’t want to take with you in the renewing of your mind.   It is time for us to let go of our old baggage and worn out stories.  Self doubt, anger, fears, lack of support, disharmony, dysfunction, guilt, debt, anything you want to step away from or any ideas you don’t want to define you anymore. 
  3. Drop the paper into the bowl, strike the match and watch the old ideas, thoughts, and judgments disintegrate into the nothingness from which they came.  Allow yourself to be forgiven and loved.  Believe you have every right, as much as anyone else to have joy, happiness, health and prosperity in your life.  Visualize all the old definitions you’ve allowed to define you melt away in the flames. 
  4. Once the paper is gone, the fire is gone, all that is left is ashes and the bowl has cooled, take those ashes and release them into the garden or set them outside and let the gentle wind carry them away.  Healing begins with unconditional forgiveness, so forgive any judgment you’ve put upon yourself and others.  Let go of past deeds of others and misfortunes of yesterday.  Today is new; embrace it with your renewed vision and goals.
  5. Let your new ideas, new definitions, and new beliefs to be born.  Think the thoughts that elevate you and cause your heart to smile clear to your lips.  Plant the ideas you want to grow in your world.  Give yourself the permission to be the wonderful you, you are meant to be. 
  6. Affirm every day what you want in your life and go out and make it happen.
From the ashes a Phoenix is born.  Be the new you, you deserve.  Come from unconditional love, complete forgiveness, and undeniable self confidence that are all yours by your birthright.   It is time to start seeing the infinite possibilities that await your acceptance.  It is time to stand up and claim the power of change that dwells within you.  

Happy New Year and Peace be with you!