This Is It

I had an epiphany this weekend.  Relax_rock_stones_264940_l

I just love me an epiphany, especially when it makes me feel happy and in love with the world again.  Not that I had fallen out of love with it.  Well, maybe a little.  Given a few little ups and downs and my anger at the idiots people who are running the country. (Note: I'm not pointing fingers at either side here, I'm fed up with the whole lot of them.)

So, anyway, the epiphany.  It came, actually, thanks to my ego.  That wondrous entity that really loves to point out to me that I am not thin enough, rich enough, successful enough, perfect enough, enough enough.  My friend the ego especially likes to point these things out when I am feeling most out-of-love-with-the-worldish. 

This weekend, when I was in the middle of journal writing, my ego whispered, "what if this is it?"

But the intent behind that whisper was: "what if this is it, if this is all you get, you stupid idiot.  What if this is it and you'll never achieve the success you desire, never get your novel published, never accomplish the things on your intention list that you read every morning…."  Like that.

And that was when the miracle happened.  Because sometimes epiphanies, when they are accompanied by that wonderful sense of letting go, feel like miracles.  The miracle was this:  I realized, that indeed, this is it.

And that this is it is wonderful.  And all I need. 

Because this is it is amazing and perfect and miraculous.  My this is it features a huge loving family, a charming little house with a yard full of flowers, a career I love with clients I adore, travel, a life devoted to writing and sharing it, a crusty, stinky old pug and two fat cats, sunshine and rain and the chance to live in one of the greatest small cities in the world.

And more, so much more:

Clean water that comes out of a tap, two strong legs to carry me on a walk every morning, an active brain and interesting things to focus it on, hands to engage in writing and making things, friends and colleagues and a whole other family at my church.

My this is it is nothing short of a flippin' full-on miracle.

And anything else that I get is icing on the cake.

What does your this is it look like?


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Photo by Gastonmag.

3. Only Write/Writing Abundance,Connecting, Continued

This is the third post of a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read this post. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.


In the last installment, I talked about the importance of connection.  Connecting with supportive friends and family, connecting with your readers, connecting with other writers.  But most importantly, connecting with something bigger than you–the universe, source, the divine, your ancestors, a plan to save the world.  Think about it: God (if you believe in God, and most people believe in some variation of God) created the world, and so when we create, we are then most in his image.  I first ran across that thought in Julia Cameron's book, the Artist's Way, and I've been totally enamored of it ever since.


Or, think of it this way: why do we write?  Well, for most of us it it to share, in some way or another, who we are.  The best writing gets way down to the deepest essence of ourselves.  Some might call it our highest selves.  And I believe that that higher self is connected with every single thing in the universe, including God.  So when we are writing, theoretically all we have to do is call upon that connection to the universe to access that higher self and put it on the page. Conversely, when we're not writing, when the stories are piling up inside us, we're denying our divinity, and invalidating the very essence of who we are.

And that, my friends, is why connecting is so important to the writer.  Connecting means being open to receive, take what you get from that openness and connection, transform it and gift it back to the world.  When you open the channels to receive, you open mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  You are open to abundance, both in words and financially.  So, it will behoove you to find a way to regularly connect that is centered specifically around your writing.  Here's the basics, again:

1. Ask

2. Be open to receive

3. Act on what you get.

Easy, no?  I've even designed a movement by which you also get the body into action, always a good idea.  So stand up from your computer where you are reading this,  shake your ya-yas out, as we used to say, and let's do it.  You can also do a mental version of this same movement if you are at your desk and don't want people to think  you're nuts.  Then again, many writers often work alone, so it shouldn't matter.  Get your butt up, it will be good for you.  Here we go:

–With your arms at your sides, take three deep breaths. Slowly raise your arms above your head and feel the opening to the divine. Breathe deeply and feel the connection to your source; as you place your hands together and pull them down to your heart center imagine abundance, light, energy, and creativity pouring into you and filling your entire being.

–Now as you move your hands out from your body, allow that abundant creativity and energy to shine outwards into the world. Breathe deeply as you imagine your wonderful ideas, creations, and writing being shared with the world.

–Gently circle your hands around and bring them together again at your heart center, as you feel the energy of that abundance returning to you in gratitude, people reading and appreciating your work. Feel how their love fills you up again.

–Take a couple deep breaths as this new energy fills you up and linger for a moment on that feeling of fullness and abundance.

–Once again, feel the opening to God as you move your arms upward to the starting position and direct and share that abundant energy with your higher power.

–Repeat two more times. Do this movement every morning as part of your prayers or meditations. It’s great to do as part of stretching or your yoga practice. You can also use it as a focusing technique during the day, when you are transitioning to a writing session or you need to refocus after a distraction.

It is that simple and yet also very energizing.  It can be cleansing, too, a good thing to practice when you are moving between projects.

That's it for now. On Thursday, we'll talk some more about various methods of connection that you can use to support your writing habit.




2. Only Write/Writing Abundance, Practice One: Connect

This is the second post of a projected very long series and future info product whose name is still under consideration (hence the dual titles above).  For background on what's going on, read my post from Monday. You might also want to read about the Writing Abundance system that this series is going to cover in depth.  You can do that here.  All of the posts will be readily available in the sidebar to the right, at least until I introduce it as an info product.

On Tuesday, I began the series with a post that talked about choosing paper and pen.  Whether to begin with tools or the first foundational practice of connecting is always a bit of a toss-up for me.  Generally in workshops I begin by talking about connecting.  However, each foundational practice includes exercises to play with, because, dahr, this is a writing program.  So it seemed logical to discuss the importance of finding paper and pens that you love.  But then again, maybe it's not, because nobody ever called me logical.  Crazy, yes.  Right-brained, yes.  (Often the two are confused.)  Now that we've gotten that settled, let's get going. Hands_prayer_praying_267345_l

The Importance of Connecting

The first foundational writing practice considers the importance of connecting.   I start out talking about connecting because I believe it is the single most important aspect of becoming a prolific and prosperous writer.

What do I mean when I talk about connecting?  It is actually a multi-faceted practice, and includes:

•    Connecting with the work
•    Connecting with other writers
•    Connecting with family and friends to gather their support
•    Connecting your work with the world

However, far and away the most important connection you will make is the one you cultivate with God…or the universe…or source…or creator…or a higher power…or the divine.  Call it whatever you want, establishing this connection around your writing is vital. 


To me, connecting with Source (which, for the sake of simplicity is the term I am going to use throughout) is one and the same with connecting with your higher self.  And your higher self is the source of all true and authentic writing.  In this way, connecting is about being open to receive, take what you get, transform it, and gift it back to the world.  This is really what writing is all about, no?

But we writers like to make things difficult for ourselves.  We struggle with our passions, fight with our muse; close down our connections so that the words won’t come.  It’s enough to send us fleeing from the page.  And then, instead of realizing that all we need to do is open up the connection again, we blame ourselves.  We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, not talented enough, don’t have the discipline to be writers, aren’t pretty or handsome enough (as if it mattered!).  We let that stupid, know-nothing critic come in and dominate the party.

The origin of story and voice is deep within and of course it comes directly from our connection to Source.  The thing is, in that connection to Source, you will find everything you need: truth, beauty, ideas, creativity, motivation, passion, you name it, and it will be there.    All you need to do is ask.  Really, what we are doing when we access our creativity is accessing our connection to Source.  In this way, writing is the most profound of spiritual acts.

And in these spiritual acts are the levels of awareness where stories rest.  They are also where voice and style are formed—they are your deepest essence, your true, higher self.  It is this voice that we want to draw forth and put on the page.  The goal is to show up at the page, get out of the way, and let Source guide you.  Connecting is centering, a way to get to know yourself—and Source—both of which are vital for writing with integrity and truth.

But how?

That is what we'll cover over the next few days.  So stay tuned.  And feel free to write about how you connect in the comments.

Ah, Weddings

This is going to be a short post.

My daughter is getting married tomorrow.  I've written about her story on this blog before, and you can read more here, and here.

But let me just say that weddings are hell on the writing schedule.  As if you didn't know that.  I suppose planning any event for 200 people will do that.  Yesterday I spent the entire day at my daughter's command, cleaning and straightening (she's having an open house at her place the morning after) and in general doing what I was told.  And then were things to deliver and in the middle of it all, a memorial service to attend.

Today is no different–we are heading out to the wedding venue in just a bit to begin stringing lights around the huge tent that was erected yesterday.

By the way, could every single person who reads this blog please, please, please give a little prayer for sunny weather tomorrow?  Please?  Thank you.

Even though we've been enjoying this mad, crazy schedule, I have gotten a little bit of writing in.  Just a touch, but its enough to keep me feeling centered and in touch with who I am.  And here's what I realized the secret of doing this has been for me:


The first part of that is to Pause.  Pause and take a second, just a wee second, to Remember your connection to whatever or whomever you believe in (and if its a big fat nuttin', just feel your connection to everything around you)and then Acknowledge. 

It's that simple and boy does it make a difference.  You can do it in seconds without anybody knowing, or you can repair to the bathroom and sit on the toilet and take long minutes.  You can extend your PRA to an hour-long meditation.  Its a perfectly adaptable habit.

And that is all I got for you today.  Have a great weekend, everyone.  And remember, think sun.

Negativity, Gossip, and Other Bad Habits

Everystockphoto_224932_tn  This morning I was talking to my daughter on the phone, our daily call while she drives to work.  And I launched into a bit of gossip about a friend we both know.  Nothing terribly malicious, just some gossip about how this person is negative and bitchy, with a hint of superiority that I'm not that way thrown in.

Except I was being negative and bitchy about my friend at that very moment.

Which stopped me short.  I corrected myself and told my daughter I wanted to drop the subject because I am attempting to stop being negative, bitchy and gossipy.  So we dropped the gossip and I told her the genesis of this little effort of mine.

I'm enrolled in Lisa Sasevich's Big Mission, Big Life, Big Sales online bootcamp, which is pretty amazing and awesome, and one of the things she talks about in the first home-study DVD is the work of a woman named Edwene Gaines. Edwene wrote a book called The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity, and in it she issues a challenge to people to go 21 days without being negative, gossipy or judgmental.

Deep breath.

It was one of those things that I hated hearing because as soon as I heard it I knew I had to do it.  Sigh.  I don't even have Edwene's book yet, though it is on its way from Amazon, but I figured that was no excuse not to get going on this project.

After all, the idea is simple.  Just quit being negative, gossipy, and judgmental.  And seeing as how I spent Monday morning in Nashville at a PBS filming in which Beverly Danusis outlined the seven practices that weaken us as guilt, comparison, competition, blame, shame, judgment, and asking why me?, I knew I had my marching orders.

So I'm working on it.

Want to join me?  Have any of you tried this or something similar?  Do tell.

Writing in the Rain in Nashville

If the title of this post sounds familiar, its because it is….I wrote a post called The Writing Life: It's Raining SBphoto in Nashville back in September when last I was here.  It rained hard then, and it is raining hard

once again today.                     (Above: View of labyrinth from my room at Scarrritt-Bennett)               

Personally, I like the rain.  I'm an Oregonian, after all–I'm used to it.  But I also like the cold, wintry days we had here last week, with the sky gray and threatening snow.  I arrived on Wednesday to be the "book doctor" for Room to Write, an amazingly wonderful four-day writing retreat.

I got a lot of writing and pondering (c'mon, it is a vitally important part of writing) done, got introduced to the quiet thrill of walking the labyrinth, discovered a couple great new Nashville restaurants, and most importantly, met some incredible people.

I feel blessed to work with Rabbi Rami.  A mutual friend described him as one of the sharpest theologians of our time, and I think she's right.  He's also got a passion for writing and a passion for helping other writers.  He's awesome, plain and simple.

My very first coaching appointment was with Janet Hagan.  I came away from it with A. a new social media consultant, and B. (and most importantly) an awesome new friend.  This woman is amazing, people!  Go read her blog and soak up her wisdom.  Or hire her.  She is great at demystifying social networking for writers.

Ruth Williams is a therapist whose mission is to spread joy…and just being with her begins that process! I also shared the weekend with John Anderson, whose smile, jokes, and enthusiasm for writing lit up everyone's day, Sarah Young, Deborah Hatton, and Samantha Yeargin, new friends who were a pleasure to get to know.  I could write pages about any of them, but I won't because I have other things to discuss.

My job at the retreat was to be on hand for coaching, hand-holding, and offering advice about writing.  Besides writing, I love coaching writers (and other creative types) more than anything else in the world. It is satisfying to hear that my efforts have helped others past blocks but that's not why I do it.  I do it because through my own years as a writer, I've discovered techniques to unblock myself and keep the words flowing and its my mission in life to share them.  Why?  Because I'm a sappy soul who believes that if everyone followed their creative path regularly, we'd have a lot happier world.  Fewer wars, less anger, more joy and happiness and good old fashioned contentment.

My pleasure in coaching writers this weekend has led me to a Thought.  And the Thought is that I want to spend more time coaching in the new year.  I'm not talking about reviewing or critiquing writing here–that is a totally different beast.  I want to spend time helping you get the words on the page, whether that requires gentle prodding or swift kicks in the you-know-what.

The coaching will be based on my own system, Writing Abundance: The Seven Practices of the Prolific and Prosperous Writer, because I want you to be both madly prolific and wildly prosperous in the new year.  (If you want to learn more about this system, you can also subscribe to my newsletter, at the top right of this page.)

To celebrate this decision, I'm going to be offering free coaching sessions.  Yes, you heard it right, free coaching sessions.  Soon as I get back to Portland, I'll sit down with my calendar and figure out the specifics, so keep your eye on this blog.  And if you can't wait until then, if you need help right this very minute with your writing, just go ahead and email me.  You'll find the address at the top of this page.  So until next time, happy writing.

Review: The Future That Brought Her Here

The Future That Brought Her HereBook_cover

by Deborah Denicola

Before we get started, I want to make one thing perfectly clear, just in case the FTC happens to be reading my blog (stranger things have happened, but not many).  I have an ulterior motive in writing this review: I got a free book to do so.  Gasp!  I know, I know, shocking but true, review copies of books are given out so that writers can read them.

Okay, that taken care of, let's get started.  This memoir by Deborah DeNicola is about a spiritual quest.  The author found herself plagued by strange visions (a room she was in completely changed itself to a previous incarnation) and intense spirits, for lack of a better word, who made her life somewhat of a living hell with their antics.  But, ultimately, this turned out to be a good thing, as it set in motion a journey through many mystic and mystery traditions, including goddess worshiping and the gnostic gospels, and consultations with psychics and channelers.  Denicola, a poet, also set off on journeys to sacred sites in Israel and Europe.

DeNicola's background in poetry clearly shines through in her lyrical descriptions and beautiful flights of fancy.  Her accounting of her quest for spiritual answers in incredible in its detail.  Since I can't generally remember what I ate for lunch the day before, I'm amazed at the recall DeNicola has about things that happened years ago.  I don't mean this as a criticism–rather; I'm envious.  I presume she kept a meticulous diary.  And even with that, the level of detail is impressive.  I keep what I consider a somewhat obsessive diary and I still wouldn't be able to recount my every thought from years ago.

Impressive as the detail is, I also consider it the main drawback of the book.  At times I longed for a glance at the bigger picture because being inside DeNicola's head for the constant play by play of her quest was sometimes exhausting.  Upon occasion, I longed for a step back to ponder what all of this might mean. 

That being said, the book is well worth reading, particularly for those with an interest in New Age and spiritual topics.  There's a lot of interesting history and information here, on a wide variety of topics, sometimes all on one page!  Deborah DeNicola has written quite a fascinating memoir.  Here's a bit more information on her, in a blurb provided by her publisher:

Deborah DeNicola is the author of five poetry collections and she edited the anthology Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology. Among other awards she won a Poetry Fellowship in 1997 from the National Endowment for the Arts. Deborah has been a recipient of many writing colony residencies. She also teaches dream image work and mentors writers online at her web site www.intuitivegateways.com. To purchase a copy of The Future That Brought Her Here and receive up to 20 bonus gifts, please visit: http://www.thefuturethatbroughtherhere.com/bonusoffers/

Technology , Spirituality and Creativity

This is a funny confession, but technology inspires me both creatively, and spiritually. 

I used to live in a tiny bubble that was comprised of my immediate neighborhood, my city, occasional forays to other cities.  Now, thanks to technology, I’m connected to a vast web of people, through my blog, email, and social networking.  I’ve got ghostwriting clients in LA, students in Nashville, and friends all over the world.  People say technology is the death of intimacy, but I say the opposite.

There’s no escaping it–we’re all connected. Quantum physicists tell us that everything we do impacts even the tiniest atoms of matter.  Technology proves this to me, over and over again, every day.  Because I have physical evidence of our interconnections through technology, it is much, much easier for me to believe it in a spiritual manner.

As above, so below, the ancients say.  As technology, so spirituality.