Tag Archives: Blogtoberfest

Wishcasting Wednesday

Large or small, one or many, what treats do you wish for?

Jamie further describes the prompt this way: “Have fun with this wish prompt. Let it be light and playful. Imagine the Universe is answering the door when you come to trick or treat! What do you wish she will put in your treat bag?”

A day off work, all of my work–paid, self-imposed, creative, house, dog care, all of it. A day when I can do whatever I want all day long, no shoulds or have tos or schedule or caring for anyone but me, completely and utterly selfish.

A seven day personal retreat, as described by Susan Piver in her book How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, complete with the 36 hour beginning weekend by myself, preferably spent at Shambhala Mountain Center. I’d also really love to do another retreat with Susan Piver at SMC.

A professional massage. I spend a lot of time really wanting one, needing one, but usually only gift myself a couple of times a year, so this would be a treat.

A book that is so good, I spend the whole day reading it from cover to cover in my pjs.

A movie day. These are even better with my mom, but it’s been so long (in fact, the last one was with her this summer), I’d take one alone, watching movies all day long in my pjs (are you sensing a theme here, dear reader?).

A long hike.

A cabin vacation.

A professional photo shoot. I’d love to have some really nice pictures for my blog.

Long, lazy conversations with friends, full of laughter, and even a few tears.

A surprise “big link” to my blog, something that would give a boost, a little bump to my stats, grow my “army,” my tribe of kind and gentle readers.

A massive decluttering of my space, a simplification of my life, giving me ease and calm and a clean slate, breathing room, room to grow and move around, space to expand into, to fill with things that are useful, that I love and adore.

And since I’m asking for what I really want, what would delight me, I’d like a book deal. And I wish for a kind, gentle, and loving but also powerful editor/agent who adores me and my work and wants nothing more than to bring it to a larger audience, to ensure that all I have to do is open my heart, show up and string the words together, pour all my love and suffering out on the page, and she’ll take care of the rest.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: The secret to flight, to freedom is to open your heart. For the longest time I’ve been gluing found feathers to my sleeves and in my hair, drawing ink outlines of wings on the skin of my back, buying angel wings intended to be used for Halloween costumes, reading books on the mechanics of flight, imagining that in this way I would eventually learn to fly. Flight–the journey through space, movement through time, escape from fixed ideas and expectations, freedom doesn’t happen this way. Instead I have to relax, let go, leap or float away, open my heart and let it all in, soar in a way that is entirely different than birds do.

2. Truth: Unravelling, being broken can wake you up, give you back your life. When this started to happen to me–trauma, loss, grief, suffering–I imagined myself a perfectly constructed sweater being unravelling loop by loop, stitch by stitch, falling apart, but it turns out it was more like a tangled mess of Christmas lights, usable and workable only after they were unravelled–only then could they be lit up, only then could they color the darkness. I lost so much, only to discover what was true, what was real, what mattered in the ashes of my life after the burning. At times, it felt like dying, but it was only after, shaky and raw, that I felt fully alive, broken open.

3. Truth: Courage and vulnerability are essential, the only way to stay awake. Courage is the ability to do something that scares you, to have strength in the face of pain or grief. To be vulnerable is to be exposed potential harm, to possibly be hurt, wounded. To love what is mortal, to open my heart and be present with whatever arises, to be fully alive, awake and present, to accept impermanence is to be both vulnerable and courageous.

One wish: May we be brave even as we are broken. May we keep our hearts open knowing that we are vulnerable, that we’ll be hurt. May we have the courage to unravel, to fly, to love, to stay awake to life as it comes, whether terrible or tender, beautiful or brutal.

Something Good

1. Conceptual art by Rune Guneriussen.

2. Future Me, write an email to your future self.

3. Why You Absolutely, Positively Have to Share Your Gifts from Ken on Paper. His story sounds so much like mine.

4. Big news. Two books. And … the future. Love Alex Franzen’s new site design, and can’t wait for a book from her. She’s wicked smart.

5. From Courtney Carver at Be More With Less:  5 Steps to Eliminate Clutter and Your Vote Doesn’t Count. Seriously badass, there’s just no other way to describe her.

6. 15 Things I’m Happier Without by Miss Minimalist.

7. Maybe the most beautiful blog: 3x3x365 It will make you laugh, it will make you cry.

8. You know you are a design nerd when this excites you: Subtle Patterns. Tilable textured patterns, free to use.

9. Nebraska third grader dresses ‘in character’ every day for school. I pray that life doesn’t ruin this girl, because she’s amazing.

10. Two important messages from my Inner Pilot Light:

In a Doing culture, it’s easy to forget the value of Being. But your soul is not here on this earth to DO anything. It’s here to BE something. When you’re so busy Doing, sometimes you forget to just BE. So please – do me a favor – take some time. Get quiet. Retreat. Pull back. Do less. BE more.

And,

Oh honey. Why the punching bag? Why must you beat yourself up so
fiercely when all I see is this precious being I only want to hug? If only you could see what I see, you would realize that, when you let your Gremlins go bananas in your mind, you hurt not just yourself but everyone you love. Instead, let me give you a heaping helping of just what the doctor ordered. (((((((((((((((((Jill Salahub))))))))))))))))))) Love is all you need.

11. 30 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

12. Five Tactics Bloggers Can Steal from Fiction Writers from Cynthia Morris at Original Impulse.

13. How To Reduce Fear & Anxiety About Disease & Death – Part 4 from Lissa Rankin.

14. One cool way to figure out what your badass life is about from creative badass Justine Musk.

15. 99 Life Hacks to make your life easier! Give yourself some time to look at these. They will make you laugh, and I guarantee you’ll want to try some of them.

16. How I Followed My Passion and Escaped the 9 to 5 by Dani Dipirro of Positively Present, one of my favorite blogs. I want to go to there…

17. The Science of Dogs from Doghouse Diaries. This made me laugh out loud.

18. The emergency compliment. This could come in handy. The one I just got was “Your sneezes sound like angels giggling.” Why, thank you.

Full Harvest Moon Dreamboard

Jamie says of this full moon: Today we’re celebrating the Full Harvest Moon, welcoming the abundance of our dreams, expressing gratitude for what has arrived and welcoming in even more!

The Full Harvest Moon asks:
what would you love an abundance of?

Parts of this dreamboard came to me in a dream. It was me, wrapped in mosquito netting, but I didn’t feel scared or trapped–it was like being covered, protected in a layer of stillness, softness, and quiet.

What else do I want in abundance, plenty to last me through the winter, besides stillness and quiet? What do I want during this season “when the soul lies down in that grass” and “the world is too full to talk about”?

Calm, peace, ease, rest, tenderness, gentleness, surrender.

The warm glow of love, kindness and connection.

Nature and creativity, the possibility of flight, courage and an open heart.

Time and practice, patience and wisdom.

Simplicity and space.

Book Writing Saturday

Just last week, these trees were on fire with golden leaves. Now, they are bare, naked and gray. They remind me that life is like this: one minute you are burning with life, and in the next moment, things have changed and so have you. We will all be lit up, shine for a brilliant but relatively brief moment, and eventually our light will go out. This is impermanence, this is the nature of our experience.

Someone recently asked me, after finding out I was a writing teacher, “oh, I have a friend who is a writing major, do you have any advice for her?” I mumbled some string of random things that essentially boiled down to “it’s a hard way to make a living.” I said something about developing other unique skills that would be related, like being able to code a webpage, that she should be willing to string together a lot of other little things to add up to a “living,” and that only people who really want it, are determined, will be able to stay with it long enough to make it, that you have to really want it. She surprised me with the question and I didn’t really know what to say, but it’s worth considering.

“What do you do?”
“I am a writer.”
“Really? What have you written?”
“Words on paper.”
~From an actual conversation I’ve had, more than once

And when I spent a bit of time considering it, my answer wasn’t much better: Read. Write, a lot. Develop a practice. If your first question is “how do I get published?,” you’re doing it wrong. Stop talking about it. Don’t join a writer’s group. Take classes, but know when to stop learning and just do. Don’t write for attention, money or fame, write because you can’t help yourself, you can’t stop yourself–don’t be a writer unless it’s your only option and you just know you’ll die if you don’t. Discover your own voice. “Pay attention, be astonished and tell about it,” (Mary Oliver). Some of the time, don’t write. Don’t forget to live, don’t forget to breathe. Pay attention to story. See meaning everywhere. Recognize patterns and believe in magic. Let go of judgement. Surrender. Try. Fail. Try again. Show up. Be boring in your life but wild on the page. Tell the truth. Get rid of energy vampires, shadow comforts and time monsters. Be your own kind of weird. Be kind.

Then it came to me, the only advice worth giving, the only way I know for sure how to be a writer, the only way to be alive, awake: live with your heart all the way open, and even when it’s hard, when it hurts, keep it open. In this way, you will know things, you will notice, and you will recognize what needs to be said about what you see, you will understand the secret message that only you can communicate, that just maybe you were born to share. As you “feel the rapture of being alive” (Joseph Campbell), you will know what to say, you will connect your innate wisdom and kindness to the right words and tell the story that the rest of us need to hear.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Dexter getting to see another snow. Like I said yesterday, I didn’t think he’d still be here when it started to snow, but there he is, having another good day and getting snowed on.

2. Friends willing to remind me who I am, to love who I am.

3. The first bite. After that, things can get weird, but that first bite is always magic, alive with flavor.

4. Snow tires.

5. Classroom community in my Writing Online, writing for the web class. I am so grateful for the way they work together, helping each other and working together to figure things out, celebrating and laughing. I’m grateful for how easy it is to hang out with them, how much they are learning.

Bonus joy: my little family, and another week of us all together.