I’m Back …

A few people of late have been asking where I’ve been. The answer is  I’ve been busy, quite busy finishing my … (wait for it) manuscript for the book that I will be publishing hopefully next spring!

I have learned such a great deal in a relatively short time about publishing a book.  And I just have to tell you that after dreaming about being a published author for more years than I can remember, the idea that I am actually going to do just that kind of blows my mind to tell you the truth.

I recently visited Barnes and Noble shopping for the holidays, and as I walked out, the idea struck me like a lightning bolt, that maybe next year at this time my book would be selling (dare I say) on one of their shelves?  Dream big or go home, right?  The idea caught me off guard though, and nearly bowled me over.  I left the store with probably a very strange look on my face which quickly faded replaced with a very wide smile.  I always say the journey is as much fun as the destination.  For now, I can dream big and see my book on the bestseller table as opposed to the marked down closing out section, and whether or not it ever even makes it into a Barnes and Noble store, for this moment in my mind’s eye, my book is sitting on the bestseller rack and it looks simply marvelous there.  And my thinking is this, happy is happy, whether it’s a dream or a reality.  Time spent happy is good for your soul, not to mention the actual heart muscle.

What I wanted to address in this post, is really not about publishing the book, I just had to tell you about it.  I’m sure I will have much more to say about that in coming posts.

No, this post is about blogging, and how much I’ve missed it.  This post is dedicated to my fellow writers/bloggers.

The other night I realized that I would finally have some time to post and I felt so doggone happy about it.  I felt like I was going to be visiting a dear old friend, and I couldn’t wait.  I actually stayed awake for hours that night thinking about what I wanted to say.  I couldn’t wait to share my realizations in the hopes that some of them might help my fellow bloggers.

When I first started blogging and someone would like something I wrote, I would do as the site encourages, go “see what they are doing.”  I started following one after another for about a week or two, but I realized quickly that if I followed everyone that liked my post, I’d soon have no time left for writing.   I stopped “seeing what they were up to,” and began to write in earnest.  I am so happy though that I did begin to follow a handful of bloggers as I’ve learned so much from them.  They’ve come to feel like co-harts and I can see the ebb and flow that we each go through, the difficulty coming up with new material to write about.

Spending time working on the book has made me realize what an amazing and truly rewarding experience blogging is.  Writing a chapter to a book can be a lonely experience, as there’s no immediate audience.  You can write for days and days or months and months and not one person will respond, nor will your chapter travel to different countries.  The connection with your readers, if it comes, will most likely be years down the road.  And I’m sure that’s wonderful in its own right, but I’ve come to understand that blogging is something pretty unique and wonderful.

The gifts that have been bestowed on me as a modern day writer are beyond what I ever could have imagined.  I can sit at my computer with the world’s music at my fingertips, my earphones sounding me as if I’m in a symphonic music hall, the internet a click away if I have a question or want to find the right word, or more importantly spell the word right.  I’m dating myself, but when I first started working, I typed on an IBM Selectric (those must be in some computer museum these days.)  It was something pretty amazing with the little ball that twirled around letting you type faster than ever before, and it even had a backup feature that let you correct your typos.  Whooaaaa!

As a blogger, when I have expressed my thoughts on the page to my satisfaction, I have the ability to send them out into the world … I have to repeat that … I can send my thoughts into the world never leaving my desk chair.  We take so much for granted these days.  But I just want to do my part to remind all of you bloggers about what an amazing gift we’ve been given.

And whether we post every day or every week or once a month or less, it truly isn’t a race, and there are no rules.  We are writers.  We thrive when we can express ourselves on the page.  We won’t always have something to say.  But when we do, we have a forum to deliver our thoughts, our prayers, our dreams and our stories.  I have learned following the few blogs that I do, that I don’t really care if someone lays low for a while.  I’m just happy when I see that there is a new post.  I love following Stuart M. Perkins’ Storyshucker.   I haven’t seen many posts as of late, but I can tell you this, when he does, I’ll be reading it because his posts always make me feel good.  And I will always smile when I see Paul S’s Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies posting yet another interesting take on Michelle and Meg.

This break I’ve taken has been eye opening for me in many ways.

My husband has been telling me for years, “honey, you are a writer.”  And I’d respond trying to convince myself that he was right, “yeah, I know.”  And then the little voice in my head followed, “well, not really.”  In my mind, unless I had a published book, I didn’t really deserve the title.

I’ve come to embrace and claim the right to call myself a writer these past few months, and I thought at first blush it was because I was working to publish my book.  But the other night while I tossed and turned drafting this post in my mind in the wee hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping, I came to understand that I will never again hesitate to think of myself as a writer.  And that is, in large part, because of this experience of blogging.

I hope to blog for years to come, regardless of how many books I may write.  Because blogging is nothing short of magical.  And I think often of something that my writing coach taught me a few years back … there will always be people out there waiting to hear from me, my voice … and from you, your voice.

Back soon with news of my book, and whatever else creeps into my dreams.

Namaste

 

A book?

Time to catch up with my readers, with some exciting news.  My fellow bloggers will for sure appreciate this, I’m publishing my blog story.  I’ve hired an editor/publisher and my book will be hitting the stands in the spring of next year.  My book will consist of the story many of you have followed, plus new content.  Which sadly, is why I will be taking a break from posting until I have my manuscript completed.

This journey has been nothing short of amazing, and has changed my life in no small way.  I love blogging, and look forward to returning.  Sending my thoughts out to the universe and hearing back from all of you who respond, reminds me every day that we souls far and near are so connected, all drifting down the stream together, regardless of how different we may seem.

I will be back as soon as my manuscript is complete and I am free to continue my dialogue, plus of course, you will have to hear me ad nauseum plugging my upcoming book … come on, you gotta give me that.  Oh my, there will so much to chat about.

In the meantime, I will still be reading my fellow blogger’s posts, and sending positive thoughts to my readers who are not bloggers.

Continue pushing … remember life is short … pursue anything and everything until you hear your heartsong.

Namaste

Postscript:   (sounds pretty official right?)  I waited so long to finally upload this post that I wrote about a month ago that I’m now done with my manuscript and will be posting again on my blog next week.  Can’t wait to catch up with all of you.

 

 

 

Pressing Send

 

Good morning.  This is just a quick post, not so much about yoga in particular, but in response to comments that I have received from a number of people about blogging, and sharing their thoughts about the fears and roadblocks that can be associated with writing.  I wanted to share my experience so far, in the hopes that it will be helpful for some of you in terms of pursuing your own writing.  And even though this will be related to blogging, really these ideas relate to any dream or endeavor one might have that they feel hesitant to embrace.  In the end, whether we take that leap or stay in one place, can likely depend in large part on fear.

Putting yourself out there … not easy.  Making the decision to put yourself out there is, in my opinion, even harder.  The good news though, is that once you make the choice to go for it, it truly does get easier from there.  I think the hardest part is deciding which path you are going to go down.

I thought about the idea of blogging with regards to the training probably two months before the class.  When I first thought about it, it sounded like a sound idea, something that people could relate to and hopefully be inspired by, a subject that I imagined would have lots of things to write about, new experiences, new ideas to share, and there was a built-in ending.  That built-in escape hatch might have been the deciding factor for me.

If the blog was not going well, then all I had to do was finish it out (how hard could that be for six weeks) and then take my bow, pull on my ear (Carole) and stage left.  I’m outta here.  The worst-case scenario, once I really broke it down, was not all that awful.  So my ego would be a little scraped and bruised if it didn’t go well, that was not worth keeping myself from something I’d been wanting to try.  It’s not like a family member becoming sick or losing your home or some other true tragedy befalling you.

It would be a short, very short period of time that I might be a little embarrassed when I saw my friends and the subject came up about my blog  (insert your book/online dating experience/backpack trip/job interview, whatever it is you are thinking about but having trouble actually executing)  I would just have to acknowledge it didn’t really work out.  (Uhhhh, next?)

And really, how long could that conversation last, anyway?  Let’s face it, in this fast-paced world, people are not hanging on to your drama very long, as they have plenty of their own to focus on.  But this is hindsight, so let me go back to the weeks before I made my choice.

Once I had the idea, I basically looked her over, polished her up a bit, liked what I saw, and then shoved her as far to the back of my mind as I possibly could.  There she stayed until about ten days before the class, when it was time to decide if I was brave enough to try this.  Seriously, my stomach turned every time I thought about it, and for about three days in a row, I did my Scarlett Ohara impression.  There would be time to think about it again tomorrow.  When I was down to about a week, I told myself I did not have to do it, and that the class would be hard enough as it was, so why put that extra pressure on myself.  (Boy, is that ever a cop out.  But if that’s what you want to do, okay then.)

Another day passed, and I decided that I was down to the wire, and would need to make a choice.  That night we brought home some Chinese takeout, (you know where I’m going with this) and my fortune cookie said “take advantage of an upcoming opportunity.”   I put the little fortune on my computer screen in the lower left corner, and the next day with Rick’s encouragement, I sat down at the computer and drafted my first blog post.

Was it hard to press send a few days later, hell yes, it was.  But here I am 13 posts later, on such a high (of course, that might also be due to all the deep breathing I’m doing) and I’m just so thankful I took the chance.

To sum it up, I would say this.  Whatever your dream is, listen to that inner voice with regard to the logistics like good idea, bad idea, tweaks, etc. If you are thinking about writing, know there will be an audience if you bring your authentic voice to your writing, whatever that is.  If you are invested and excited about your idea, trust me, there are people out there waiting to hear from YOU.

Do not listen to the inner voice, if at all possible, when it’s scaring the shit out of you.  If you think your idea/dream/endeavor is sound, then figure out your escape plan, picture the worst-case scenario and problem solve how you will get through that.  Lastly surround yourself with people who will encourage your dream, and offer positive support. And of course, get some Chinese takeout, if possible.

And then push SEND.

Namaste

Enough

One of the major themes throughout our two weeks in class has been self-acceptance.  Our instructors have done a fabulous job of teaching us to look at how we speak to others as well as ourselves.  It’s a bit surprising to realize just how much I apologize, for this, that and the other.  In the first few days, our teachers would stop us in our tracks when the words  “I’m sorry” came out of our mouths.  By the second weekend, the teachers didn’t even need to say a word.  If one of us was speaking in front of the group and began to say “I’m sorry” you’d see the speaker’s face flinch as if they’d been jolted with a small amount of electricity.  We looked like a bunch of Pavlov’s dogs.

It’s not as easy as you’d think to stop saying you’re sorry.  Tess, our female teacher, is such a little spitfire, I just love her.  And man, she just peers into your face and asks you, “WHAT ARE YOU SORRY FOR?  WHY ARE YOU SORRY?”  And she means it, she wants an explanation for why you are sorry.  In most cases, I find myself realizing I’m not really sorry at all.

There has been a major focus on the idea of being enough, and accepting that we are always enough at all times, regardless of what we can and can’t do, what we do and don’t have, that we are right where we need to be at that moment in time.  Interesting concept for some of us.  It’s so easy to always have my eye on something I think I want or need, or something I need to change about myself.  And not enough time is spent appreciating what is, right now, just this, just me, nothing more, nothing less, this moment being perfect.

The instructors have definitely gotten their point across in a short time, as  I am finding myself contemplating the concept of acceptance and enough throughout my days.  I think of myself as a pretty confident and happy person, but I have to be honest, I say I’m sorry a lot now that I pay attention.  The hike I talked about in my last post, I spent the whole way up saying I was sorry and thanking my angels.  They kept saying, no need to be sorry.  And they were right.  Why would I need to be sorry to someone else for my fear, and needing to take breaks to catch my breath when I’m not used to a hike like that.   WHY WOULD I BE SORRY FOR THAT?  Yet, there I was … sorry.

Check it out yourself, just pay attention to your thoughts, how many negative thoughts run through your brain in an hour, or a day?  We humans can be damn tough on ourselves.

With this philosophy in mind, I will share a really nice realization I had on Saturday evening when I left yoga.  Part of our homework has been to clean and clear our spaces, both internally and externally.  We were asked to purge our surroundings of unnecessary objects.  Since Rick and I moved in the last few years, I don’t have very many items left that need purging, but I did have a pile of old videos from my mom’s stuff sitting on my dresser.  It seemed the perfect place to start my assignment.

On Thursday night after dinner, I got comfortable and started to play each video.  Some were my kids from their preschool years, but there were two in particular that were films my mother had transferred onto video, and they dated back to when I was a toddler.  It was a collection of images, no sound, myself and my cousins going down a slide at the San Francisco zoo, our parents dressed in their Sunday best laughing among themselves, chasing after us, and others with just my parents and I.

I sat somewhat mesmerized studying the films, yearning to see more, searching their faces and actions for some clue as to how these seemingly happy people became what I would remember them as, two very unhappy and unfulfilled souls.  I finished looking at the tapes and went to sleep that night feeling so sad.

As I drove to yoga on Friday night, I was listening to the Beatles station on Sirius radio.  They were playing a collection all weekend of the Beatles’ top 50 love songs as voted on by the listeners, I’m sure in honor of Valentine’s Day.  For anyone who hasn’t listened to the station, they will put together a collection and then play it over and over all weekend, it just loops around and around.  I came in at the beginning of the songs working down from No. 50.  As I came through the canyon they played Julia, which is a song written for John’s mom, I believe, after her death.

I couldn’t help thinking about my mom, and still feeling melancholy from watching the tapes.  I found myself thinking how sad our life together had been, so much unhappiness and turmoil, and feeling like we had wasted our precious time on this earth together.  The mood hung in most of the night, and when I drove home around 9:30 coming through the canyon, Julia played again.  And then again the next morning, and then again the following evening. Coincidence?  I’m only in my car 20-40 minutes depending on where the class is, Auburn or Roseville.  I’m not sure what the odds are of coming into the rotation at the same place every time I get in the car, but I thought about heading to Reno to do a little gambling since my mom seemed to be in my back pocket.

Saturday morning my mood shifted and I welcomed the song, enjoyed my drive through the canyon and greeted the new day with an open heart.   What would day five of this adventure bring?  It was an eventful day in class, lots of yoga and instruction, but what would be the most important part of the day would come as Julia once again played on my way home (of course it did).

Instead of thinking my mom and I had wasted our time together, I asked myself “what if what we had together was enough? What if it was just what it was supposed to be?”  With that door open, my mind raced remembering what I’ve always believed, that we come here to learn and that sometimes our lessons are hard.  With that thinking in mind, then truly my mom and I kicked some ass in this lifetime.  We’d hiked our own trail straight up a rock hill and parachuted down to the river below.  Just maybe I had this all wrong.  Amazing.

And if all that is true, then it would explain my reaction when my mom did finally pass. Hospice had called early that morning to let me know she was close.  She’s been close for three months, but this day was different and I knew it the moment I walked into her room.  I settled into the big blue chair next to her bed with my book.  I’d pretty much said everything I needed to her in the previous three months, so there was no need for words at this point.  She was already somewhere far away.  I watched her breathing all morning, reading a page or two, and glancing up.  Although her breathing was labored, she was interestingly very quiet.  I could not rely on sound to monitor her.

At some point mid morning, I glanced up and found she had made her way ever so peacefully after such an arduous journey.  I sat watching her for a few moments and once I knew for sure her chest would not rise again, I said, “Mom, I didn’t even hear you leave.” I let the tears come, and after a few minutes, the next words out of my mouth were, “We made it, Mom.  We did it.”

They are interesting words for someone who has just lost her mother.  They were not words prepared or thought about beforehand.  They were the words of my heart, and what I was feeling.  And I don’t know about you readers, but to me, they sound like the words of a gal who made it with her mom to the top of the lookout.

I will close with the words of one of my favorite songs from You’ve Got Mail, hauntingly beautiful lyrics and melody.  For some reason, I do believe,  in this lifetime we choose to forget what we know in order to learn our lessons.  It’s nice when we remember …

“Long ago, far away

Life was clear, close your eyes

Remember is a place from long ago

Remember FILLED WITH EVERYTHING YOU KNOW

Remember when you’re sad and feelin’ down

REMEMBER TURN AROUND

Remember life is just a memory

Remember close your eyes and you can see

Remember think of all that life can be

Remember-

Dream, love is only in a dream, remember –

Remember life is never as it seems. Dream

Long ago, far away

Life was clear, close your eyes”

 

Remember lyrics – Harry Nilsson

http://www.harrynilsson.com/

 

If I walk away from this class with nothing more than this realization, it will be enough. But between you and me, I’m not thinking that I’m done.  Until we meet next week,

Namaste

 

Picture taken on our sunrise hike to the outlook over the American River, Overlook Park, Auburn, Ca.

Giving Thanks

Had one short post for you guys this morning, only to thank you for joining me on my quest.  Your responses mean a great deal to me.  To hang yourself out on the line, so to speak, can be a bit daunting.  But this journey with you doesn’t feel that way at all.  It feels so good to have my long-time friends and loved ones near, my new friends joining in and people I’ve never met reach out.

And I wanted to give thanks to a friend from high school, Doug D’Anna who is usually one of the first people liking my post every morning while he drinks his coffee (guessing) and peruses the Wall Street Journal.  Doug has been a writer for years.  Some 20 years ago when I picked his brain about what I should “write” about, he gave me the best advice I could ever get.  He said to me, “Write what you know.”  I’ve never forgotten his words of wisdom, and am putting them to good use.

Thanks, Doug, for the great advice, and thanks to each of you for tuning in and for those of you reaching back to me.  Will be back tomorrow with my post about Saturday.  Have a blessed day.

Namaste