Tag: writing

WRITING FOR CONNECTION – #WednesdayWisdom #AshWednesday

WRITING FOR CONNECTION – #WednesdayWisdom #AshWednesday

JournalingToday, I need to write, to lay out in words on a page the cacophony that has taken up residence within me.  Not writing too often leads me to bouts of irritability, depression or sleepless nights. I used to write in a journal every night before I went to bed. That was years ago, before kids, before I married. I lived alone. No TV, no phone, no close friends.

PATHWAYS

Writing in a journal led me down such interesting paths in those days. Each night, I grabbed my notebook and pen and climbed into bed, eager for a conversation with a caring friend. I began with whatever came to mind, often with no particular forethought. The process of writing loosened my unconscious thoughts and opened the floodgates that kept me locked within myself. The more I wrote the lighter I became and I eventually flowed into exhortation and prayer. When I put down the pen I felt stronger, a bit more whole, my spirit solidified.

‘the world will never starve for want of wonders;
but only for want of wonder’

I believed the Divine was alive in me then, as I do now, alive in all of us. We simply need to find our point of entry.  Writing became my vehicle of communication, a daily dialogue with the great beyond. I was not clear where the two worlds met other than in that very private and personal space. It didn’t matter. Inner peace is worth a few unanswered questions.

I set down my pen for years. Lost in the world of doing and becoming. The connection weakened. The communication severed.  I could not find a way for the two realities to meet. I experienced this great divide for the first time after returning home from church camp. Longing to share my experiences I reached out to the one person I thought would understand, my mother. She was unable to cross the bridge from her world to mine and the wall between my experiences and the “real” world thickened. Eventually I gave up trying to talk about it. Doing so only made me feel more alone than I already did.

THE GREAT DIVIDE

This great divide ultimately led me into a very dark place. A psychiatrist named it Clinical Depression and gave me medication. The pain dulled and once again I reclaimed my place in the world. This world. Dwelling here in finitude my focus shifted to more mundane matters, a career, a marriage, children. My connection with myself and with the Divine lay in a closet somewhere out of sight.

Many years later, a mighty swing of the hand of God put the pen back in my hand. Even now I stray and wander as I always have, but with each passing year I come to understand more deeply the connection between my soul and the written word. It is my life blood, my vehicle for expression and connection with myself, with others and with the world of Spirit.

I still choose not to question too deeply and instead choose to rest in gratitude for all that lives within each of us. The spiritual path is a practice that requires leaning into, embracing and accepting our yearning, our sense of incompleteness as a fundamental human drive for a deeper connection with all that is.  The strength of the longing and the fact that it exists in all of us is proof enough to me that it is a path that we all must travel in our own way.

“In my life, writing has been an important exercise to clarify what I believe, what I see, what I care about, what my deepest values are. The process of converting a jumble of thoughts into coherent sentences makes you ask tougher questions.”  ~ Barack Obama, 44th President of the U.S. 

 


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Just One Decision – That’s All It Takes

Just One Decision – That’s All It Takes

Sunflowre by Annelein Beukenkamp
Floral/Still Life – Sunflower by Annelein Beukenkamp Watercolors

Most of us remember our parents warning us as teens and young adults to think twice before doing a thing we were thinking about doing. Those of us with children did the same. We caution(ed) them as we were cautioned, suggesting they look before they leap. There’s even a cliché for this advice. Experience taught our parents, as it taught us, that life can go awry in a big way. Thinking and evaluating before we act is a good thing.

Too often, however, this sensible advice came with other subtle messages attached to it. The warning may have been delivered from a place of fear. The real message may have been, “I screwed up so many times in my life and suffered the consequences, I love you too much to watch you do the same thing.” We hear the fear and attach it to our own.

Making decisions, particularly decisions that stretch and grow us, is an intimidating proposition for most. Either we haven’t a clue about what we’re getting in to, or we’ve fallen so many times we’re terrified to try again. This is why we absolutely need and benefit from support and guidance.

Guidance is something many who struggle as adults never received as children.  Guidance helps us see the possibilities, good and bad, it shares experiences and stories as story lessons, it helps us process our fears in a constructive manner.  When guidance is missing, warnings illicit fear and rebellion, the antithesis of moving creativity forward to a positive conclusion.

The creative spirit, the life force, in each of us longs to be set free. It longs for an avenue of expression, for experiences that feed it, for success, accomplishment, and growth. In essence it’s very nature is expansion. When our spirit and desire to live, love and create is thwarted by fear, it draws inward. We become depressed, frustrated, angry, or confused and life doesn’t go well. Our relationships flounder, our work life is not to our liking, our world looks dingy and fulfilling. We may even despair, or give up trying.

Picture quote Anais Nin

JUST ONE DECISION

If you find yourself in this place, if you are stuck and not living a life you love, one decision can change everything. It did for me.

I had little guidance as a young person, at least guidance that was useful and that resonated with who I am.  As a result, I made one less than stellar decision after another. To compound matters when I faced with recovering from my poor decisions, I had no support.  We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn and grow.

Guidance and support is a valuable commodity when it comes to learning from our mistakes.

As time went on I grew more and more fearful of taking risks. The only way I could figure out how to decrease the pain in my life was to live a smaller and smaller life and do what I thought I was “supposed” to do – what family, society, friends thought I should do. I shoved down my creative spirit and locked it away. At times it would sneak out and lead me to a decision – some were good, some not so good – but I’d lock myself down more often than not.

That is, until my early fifties when the time came to either live or die.

It was a horrendous battle, that began with my willingness to find the courage it took to make one small decision, a decision made for me and from me, not for my children, my husband, our business, my family or for any other external reason.

I made the decision to sign up for and take an online writing class. I was fifty-one. I don’t want to bore you with the details here, but that one decision changed my life. Was it an easy process? Not on your life. It took another ten years before I could say I am happy and at peace with who I am and my life and I will always be a work in progress.

Do yourself a favor. If you’re feeling stuck, unhappy, confused, lost, or overwhelmed, make just one decision from the center of you, one that will take you in the direction you long to go. If you don’t know what that decision is, or need or want support and guidance,  reach out to me or someone you know can provide it. You’re worth it. The world needs you. It needs the best of you.

OUR THOUGHTS, OUR CHOICE

DEPRESSION – FIGHTING THE BATTLE

THE WILLINGNESS TO FACE OUR PAIN

MY COACHING SERVICES
Late Blooming Writers In Action – 2014 Work in Progress Blog Tour

Late Blooming Writers In Action – 2014 Work in Progress Blog Tour

My Writing Space 2014
My Writing Space 2014

I was inducted (abducted, lassoed, hoodwinked, invoked, sideswiped, challenged, and above all honored) by my blogging friend and ever present source of inspiration, Laurie Buchanan, into the 2014 Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour. Of course I was humbled to be noticed, let alone invited to share a glimpse into my behind the scene writing endeavors.  It was an act of faith on her part to even assume I had any “work in progress”, but the biggest problem with my writing is that at any given moment I have “works in progress”…many…dozens…lost somewhere on my computer by next week. My challenge very quickly became finding one worth sharing!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the post of the person who tagged you  (check – Thank you, Laurie!)

2. Write a blurb about — and type the first sentence of — your next book’s first three chapters. (Yikes!)

3. Tag four other writers to do the same. (Can’t wait!)

So….

I have three books in progress and the two I’ve already published that I want to un-publish and re-write. They’re terrible. The majority of my writing is an ongoing attempt to make sense of my life from a psycho/spiritual perspective and universal ideals.  My perspective and understanding is at best a work in progress and ever-changing so I find I no sooner get a book underway than my thinking evolves and renders it inadequate – a partial truth and I struggle to live with partial truths or I daresay I wouldn’t be on this journey!  My biggest challenge is to let go of a work knowing it is insufficient and incomplete! That being said here’s what I’m working on:

(Instead of writing about three chapters, I will be writing about three books in progress – maybe you can help me decide which one to complete!)

1. Walking Between Two Worlds – Trauma & Transformation – A Memoir of Sorts: The tiny snowflake that landed on my nose when I was five is as mysterious to me today as it was then. It is still beautiful, still miraculous, still takes my breath away. So too with Love Divine. Mysterious. Ever Present. With Us. Always. I’ve walked in both worlds. Walking between them has been the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do. 

2. The Art of Aging – As menopause begins, so too does the process of becoming a wise and dangerous old woman. Recognizing and embracing this process embodies  the art of aging.

3. Reaching – A Collection of Poems –

It's the little things that spark the creative spirit in each of us!
It’s the little things that spark the creative spirit in each of us!

When I bent down to pick up the pieces of my life,

I shoved my hands into the black soot of death and

reached through the bitter haze of unspent emotions,

to find fragments of me, inert, motionless and suffocating.

In addition I’ve been writing for a living most recently for iSeniorSolutions.com.

I now tag…

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden – Sage Woman Chronicles Associate Faculty Member of Chochise College, Writer, teacher, Reiki practitioner and author of the children’s book Scottosaurs the Little Dragon, Lucinda lives in Arizona. Her blossoming as a late blooming writer is a delight to behold. Her dedication to the craft and to life itself is an inspiration to me.

Joan Z Rough – One Rich Life – Joan describes herself this way: “Wife, mother, grandmother, writer, blogger, gardener, artist, healthy food nut, loves all creatures, especially dogs. Addicted to books, good movies and the grandkids. Believes in being positive, choice and taking responsibility. Easily overwhelmed by it all, but never bored. Laughing and smiling all the way.” I can’t wait until she publishes her book! (I will let her tell you about it.)

Eric Mondschein – We hear too little, in my opinion, of heart matters from men over fifty. That’s not the only reason I love reading Eric’s blog posts, especially his poetry and reflections on his life growing up in the late fifties. My husband and I both enjoyed his book Life at 12 College Road and I highly recommend it!  Dr. Eric S. Mondschein is an author and education consultant. He has a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the American University, a Master’s degree in delinquency prevention, and a doctorate in law and education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. What he did with all that education can be found on his website!

Lindsey McDivitt – A talented writer with a unique focus, Lindsey shares and reviews positive aging picture books with older characters who show the positives of living a long life, on her blog A is for Aging.  In addition she shares strategies and Intergenerational Resources that can be used to strengthen the connection between generations.  She holds a degree in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Minnesota and worked for 25 years in long term care settings, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and the community. Her love of Children’s literature and its power to shape values and beliefs has helped create a new mission: “to help all generations see older adult as valid and aging as the valuable stage of life that it is. She is also writing children’s books doing just that!

Tag your it! (I hope you’ll participate but I won’t love you any less if you don’t! It’s a busy time of year and its always difficult to get everything done. If you’re looking for connections with like minded people it may give you a boost, but please, feel no obligation.)

Are You a Writer or Want to Be?

Are You a Writer or Want to Be?

Writing
Write up a storm!

I have had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. I think I wrote my first poem when I was four or five. I really got intense about writing poetry during my high school years, when I first became acquainted with angst. I rarely shared it with anyone as I had already learned that I would never “be a writer”. I did not find favor in the eyes of my English teachers or college professors and I somehow came to believe a writer had to have a “gift” and I just didn’t have it!

It didn’t stop me from writing, at least for myself.  Journaling helped me keep my sanity through  heart breaks and the difficult twenties.  More angst.  It was also probably my joy of writing that made up for my other deficits when it came to completing my college and grad school course work. I was able to take the little bit of time I spent on research and spin it into a twenty page paper in a flash and usually got a decent grade. I didn’t consider this a gift at the time. I considered it luck.

Writing is just in a person’s blood. I think that’s the only part of it that is a gift. The rest is just plain hard work and persistence; it’s writing until you’re good at it or until you no longer have anything to say, whichever comes first. Writing is a craft.

So if it’s in your blood, write on! And, forget the naysayers both real and imagined.

Three Things A Writer Should Never Do

WRITING UP A STORM by Celia Leaman

WRITING UP A STORM by Celia Leaman

Celia Leaman, the author of Writing Up a Storm, is not only a prolific fiction writer but a skilled instructor of the craft of writing. She was one of my first and best writing instructors at Writers Online Workshop from Writer’s Digest and has become a dear friend. Celia is a kind and compassionate teacher who understands the tender heart of the writer, but she is also passionate about using language and structure correctly so as not to take away from the writer’s  intent and meaning.

Growing up in England , she has a delightful sense of humor that weaves its way through her book and gets the reader through difficult patches. Each page is infused with her obvious love of the craft of writing and one can’t help but be infected.  Celia’s creative spirit refuses to rest, whether she is writing a book, gardening at home on her little Canadian island, spinning wool or creating her charming felted critters to sell at the local market.  Celia creates and adds beauty to the world everywhere she goes and is an expert in helping others do the same.

Writing Up a Storm is the perfect companion for anyone who puts pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You willwant a copy of it in your library. A Global eBook Award Nominee for 2011, Writing Up a Storm is available in both paperback and e-book.

For more information or to purchase your copy of Writing Up a Storm, visit Celia’s Store on Lulu.

CELIA’S NOVELS

  • Mary’s Child – Kitty grows up feeling she doesn’t belong to the couple who call themselves her parents, so when she meets the man who makes her feel as though she does belong, she follows her dream. But that dream becomes a nightmare when she discovers who he really is.
  • Past Present I: Web of Lies – It isn’t Anne Graham’s dream of becoming a best-selling author that makes her go astray, but the older, worldly man who promises her success who leads her down the wrong path. Watching her every move is a sinister beholder, who will kill the person he loves rather than see Anne succeed where he has failed.
  • The Winnowed Woman – Just how much can one person bear? In The Winnowed Woman, through essays, poems and recollections of less happier times, we are shown how one woman arrives at accepting the changes that come knocking at her door. Divorce can happen to anyone, female or male. It isn’t the event that is the challenge, but how a person deals with it.
  • Unraveled – No one could be more innocent than Millicent, who has always kept the promise of her wedding vows until she finds she has been grossly deceived. Casting care to the wind, she embarks on a new, exciting journey that will lead to an ultimate destination of fresh love and self-fulfillment.

For more information visit Celia’s website: Still Writing