Winter, or our lack thereof, is slipping into the rearview mirror. This wonderful bloggy medium is shifting behind me, much like the cold winds from the north. While I hope to post every now and again, as the words and ideas require it, I will be walking, talking, and rambling here less and less.
So, gentle reader, wherever you are - I hope that your new season is full of sunshine, blossoming daisies, and easy smiles. Be true to yourself, do your best, and when in doubt, read a good book.
Last night I perused that hashtag #yalitchat on twitter. I love this forum, where YA writers come together to examine the market, the books, and the people who create them. It's equal parts fun and enlightening. I didn't stay on long, as fingers were flying, keys were pounded, and the feed was ferociously sliding past where I could keep up with it.
But what I realized from it while I was tuned in, is this: stories that matter, the ones that cause readers to return to them, celebrate them, and want to live inside them, are the stories that make us feel.
In yoga I'm constantly reminding students, "You have to feel to deal to heal." On your mat, as you move from posture to posture and work towards quelling the racing of your thoughts, you are feeling your body. Feeling the peace that resides within you, and releasing the past as you set aside anticipation of the future.
When you're inside a story, when the characters and situations sweep you away, you're doing the same thing. You're allowing yourself the freedom to let go completely and just be. Often times, and a side effect of a truly poignant novel or book, we heal from reading. We discover something about ourselves, apply a situation to our own life, our own character, and discover a new layer of bliss.
Because we're all seeking joy. Even when we get in our own way and bumble things up, we're still looking for happiness.
When I read, I want to connect. To fall in love inside the pages. I want to reach enlightenment of some level, even if it's only for a moment, only a glimpse of "oh yes, I understand that emotion, I feel it, too." The promise of a story is the promise of contentment. Of finding santosa. If only for a moment, an hour, or perhaps, even a lifetime.
As writers, I think we are the keepers of sacred words. I'm not talking just Ni, Peng, and Neee-Wom here. I mean the permission words, like create, believe, imagine. We have to believe that we are creators of new worlds worth imagining.
The main struggle isn't usually the dreaming, but rather the follow-through. It can be difficult to peruse finishing the first draft of a short story or manuscript. It might feel exhausting to revise, cut whole chunks form a story you've slaved over, and then unravel it into a whole new dimension.
But if the characters haunt you the way an echo from the last note of an amazing song chases after your ears, you must persevere.
Every author I have ever interviewed, and in three years time that's a whole heap of amazing scribes, has had to suffer at the hands of patience, perseverance, and faith. Sometimes blind faith that has been duct taped and thrown in a back closet.
But they don't stop putting one finger to key after key after key. They don't backpedal in fear, away from their passion and path. They don't succumb to fear or petty annoyance. They simply strive. Ahead. With an umbrella of hope and vision for tomorrow or the next day.
Keep your words sacred, especially when talking to yourself. Be gentle with yourself, for you are a child of the universe. Your words and your stories matter.
I think we all lose our moxie from time to time. When you're treading water for a long while, testing shore to land to deep end, it's near-to-impossible not to get a little (or hella lot) worn out.
The land of Dishearten, where dreams deflate, ambition sours, and will loses way while chasing why. If you're following your passion, chances are you've spent some time in this underworld.
I have a go-to for when I find myself here. It may seem a little silly, but it always brings me a smile and reminds me that impossible is only possible with the I'm. Im+possible=impossible. As soon as I change my mind, and go back to believing, all-to-everything is available to become true.
Come with me and you'll be In a world of pure imagination Take a look and you'll see Into your imagination We'll begin with a spin Trav'ling in the world of my creation What we'll see will defy Explanation If you want to view paradise Simply look around and view it Anything you want to, do it Want to change the world, there's nothing to it
There is no life I know To compare with pure imagination Living there, you'll be free If you truly wish to be If you want to view paradise Simply look around and view it Anything you want to, do it Want to change the world, there's nothing to it There is no life I know To compare with pure imagination Living there, you'll be free If you truly wish to be
As 2012 gently guides us into the future, change is shaping itself into the present. My world is a very exciting one right now, and it's filled with a calm awareness. Which isn't something I'm overly familiar with. I believe it is brought on by the grace of letting go of that which does not benefit me and grabbing onto belief.
I'm letting go of people, of habits and expectations. I'm turning to belief in myself, my family, and greatness for others. The Universe is talking, and I'm hearing and listening to what it has to say. I don't think we're always taught kindness. To love without malice, without judgement or jealousy. But just because we aren't taught something, it doesn't mean that we can't learn.
I've witnessed attitudes that baffle me, anger and resentment that take away from joy, and fake interactions that neither fulfill nor provide solace. 2011 opened a number of doors and showed me a grand scale of photos into some of the best and worst moments of humanity.
Here's what I have resolved. What I can do, and what I will not. In 2012:
I will move forward with forgiveness.
I will not hold myself to an unrealistic standard.
I will make mistakes.
I will try to laugh more than I cry, unless crying makes me feel better.
I will do my best to be kind, provide empathy, and let love walk into every room I enter.
I will try not to judge you, and when I start to, I will remind myself that I am not God.
I will believe in all things.
I will ask for forgiveness and the ability to believe more.
I will love on the grandest scale I can imagine and supersede it.
I hope this year that you give yourself over to what your heart seeks. That you believe in yourself, even if you feel foolish or doubtful. That you let yourself make mistakes, and don't judge the mistake as a failing. I hope you will close your eyes and imagine who it is you want to be. That you see that person, that you name the qualities they posses and the dreams they desire. And I hope that once you see who that person is, that you recognize that because you wish it, because you name those qualities and see them, you already have everything inside you to become who you wish to be.
I'm on Week 6 of The Artist's Way. This week I'm learning about abundance and how to ask for it - for the gift of being given what we seek. It's a dangerously wonderful concept, one that I keep tiptoeing around like it's a sleeping baby I'm afraid to wake. I think we all deserve that unbridled bliss, that open door we can walk through to wake our slumbered dreams. But just because I theoretically believe something doesn't mean I can fully commit to trusting it.
I dabble in the layers of faith. I believe in it, but when it comes back to me I sort of shy away from it. My pragmatic mind believes in all the good in the world for someone else, but I struggle to apply it to myself. I don't think I am alone on this shifty raft. It's a wanting and doing oar, one in one hand, one in the other - and I'm trying to smack the wood together so the two miraculously become one.
But I don't think it's up to me to do the merging. Maybe I just need to set the oars back down, perhaps toss them in the water, and lay back for a float down the river of life. I'm pretty sure that they'll find their way back, merged as one, and maybe in the form of a motor so I don't have to bust ass to haul myself along the slowly trudging current. Or perhaps they come back as the current.
What I'm thinking is this, I don't need to have the answers of how to get the abundance, where it comes in from or what train brings it to me. I simply have to open my arms up, and welcome it home.