We tend to see success as a realized goal, often overlooking the small successes that create the links in this chain. I write further on this subject in my article on The Story Reading Ape. Thank you to Chris Graham for hosting me ❤
While writing the introduction to a fellow author’s book, I realized many of us view success as an end-product. We aspire, we strive and, if fortunate, we manifest. Only then do we feel gratified, overlooking all we accomplished in the process. In short, we fail ourselves.
If we become discouraged when met by an obstacle, we are not seeing that obstacle for what it truly is: a teacher. Obstacles not only teach us what does not work, but also challenge us to reach beyond our perceived limitations. Obstacles are opportunities to practice what we’ve learned, alter our approach, and move forward. This is success.
Being stuck in obsessive thought patterns, limiting beliefs, or anything that stops us short of reaching a goal can lead to wallowing in the past (nostalgia) and yearning for the future (desire). Turning inward and finding the embedded thoughts sabotaging our efforts…
I’m so grateful to have this task behind me! It took quite a bit longer than I expected, largely due to how poorly I wrote five years ago compared with now. I decided to give the book a quick overhaul, forgetting it was not a vehicle that merely needed an oil change. And once I started, there was no turning back. I did all the formatting, which can be a nightmare. But I learned a lot when I published my book Vampyrie last December, and fortunately I remembered most of it.
I also needed to make a cover. On the front I wanted to use the same image, which was created by a friend of mine and was easy to upload. I used GIMP to apply the text. Since CreateSpace’s cover design choices are limited, the back cover was more of a challenge. How to get the color I wanted? I was blessed with a light-bulb moment. I scanned a sheet of white paper into my computer, uploaded the image into GIMP, applied color, and added the text. This project was a full day’s work. When I uploaded it to CreateSpace, it looked fine. But CS said the text went too far to the border (even though it was within the border shown), so I had to redo the text, which took another half day. (I need to go to GIMP school.)
During all of this, my mum became seriously ill and had to be hospitalized. I thought I might have to hop a train and travel cross country. Thankfully she recovered and is doing well.
Now that the dreaded book business is completed (I need to go to formatting school), I can resume writing posts and visiting blogs. I can tackle that collapsing pile of books on my TBR. I can open the stack of mail on my desk. Maybe I’ll get around to cleaning and doing the laundry. My neglected little car needs a bath, and I really should jump in the shower. Wash my hair? Yes, I need to do that as well. I even hope to go out to dinner or the movies before the end of the year. An author’s work is never done.
I wrote and first published PLATEAU: Beyond the Trees in 2012, because I wanted to put a message of hope into the world. December 21st of that year was the end of the Mayan long count calendar. This inspired the making of documentaries that aired over several months. Most of them evoked fear by focusing on the doomsday aspect of apocalyptic prophecies. Many of us wondered if love could prevail in an atmosphere of dread and panic.
PLATEAU offers hope with its underlying message: We must keep our hearts open and act from love instead of reacting from fear; we must practice gratitude and compassion within every moment and with every breath, so that we might help elevate the human species to a higher consciousness and facilitate personal and global peace. Within this vision – this practice – the human species will continue into the Golden Age of Enlightenment.
Novel reading can increase our understanding of who we are. I hope PLATEAU will advance this understanding. I hope it will encourage empathy, compassion, and tolerance for diversity. I hope …
I will leave you with this quote by one of the indigenous shaman women of the Sisterhood of the Shields:
You have the choice to nourish or you have the choice to destroy with your power. –Ruby Plenty Chiefs quoted in Spirit Woman, The Teachings of the Shields by Lynn V. Andrews
Our thoughts and prayers are with
our sisters and brothers in London ❤
The hatred evidenced by terrorist attacks around the world could easily be met with equal hatred, should we allow it. But how would that identify and inform us as a species? What would that do to the hearts and minds of individuals as well as society? What do we want to teach our children, and what kind of world do we want to leave them?
It is a challenge to keep our hearts open amid such unconscionable acts of violence. Yet it is our only hope of survival. Meeting these despicable acts with an equal amount of aggression could lead to our annihilation in this nuclear age. At the very least, it could alter our consciences and consciousness to a degree beyond repair. And that is as unacceptable as the terrorist act itself.
Fire cannot be fought with fire. We know this. Yet our species persists in its futile attempt to meet hatred with hatred, aggression with aggression, terror with terror. However, hope is skirting the horizon ~ fragile in its element but tenacious in its intent. Whether or not it will rise with tomorrow’s sun will be determined by our actions today.
I’m reminded of Dorothy Bryant’s book, The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You. The village folk circle a woman being raped. They neither interfere nor intervene but simply stand in witness of this heinous act. The perpetrator not only cannot continue, but also comes face to face with his salacious fear. When he realizes he has been forgiven, his heart opens and he is transformed.
Some might call this a miracle. Yet if we consider the collective unconscious, we might see this in a different light. Instead of intervention from an outside source ~ no matter how beneficent the being ~ we realize it is a manifestation of our unified thought. We are what we think, and energy follows in kind.
Although I was raised Roman Catholic, I follow an eclectic spiritual path. I hold the avatars and bodhisattvas in my heart, and one in particular now comes to mind: Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether history is to be believed, the story of Jesus’ passion sets an example that sorely needs to be remembered, if not emulated. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
If we understand that all negative emotions and behavior originate from fear, we might be more inclined to err on the side of compassion. This does not negate the validity and necessity of raging with anger, for emotions are raw and must be given a voice, lest we implode. This does, however, caution us to act instead of react ~ act out of love instead of react out of fear.
Fear is a survival mechanism but, if unchecked, can easily run amok, as we have witnessed once again in today’s attack on the people of London. Where does violence end? Where does peace begin?
Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me . . . ❤
Friend and blogger John Fioravanti kindly invited me to guest post on his impressive blog. I was thrilled to accept and am delighted to share this with you. John is a historian who blogs on issues of contemporary importance, health, writing tips and more. He also supports other authors by reblogging and guest posting. Please visit his blog and enjoy his excellent posts. Thank you so much for hosting me, John, and for sharing my work ❤
Shortly after John invited me to be his guest, I received an email from a friend telling me his wife and my dear friend had just been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Upon sending my condolences, Payson replied:
Persevere…the dice keep rolling…and one adapts with as much detachment as possible.
The work of a lifetime….that drawing closer to the Event Horizon makes one more present.
Such good work…a blessing to be aware!
Both Payson and Kamla are authors and devoted to a spiritual path. I read Kamla’s book,The Singing Guru,during one long night of sitting with a dying friend. Kamla writes:
The Divine “is everywhere, in every direction, in every space, without exception.”
Payson produces DVDs he callsVideoTonePoems,which are a blend of exquisite visual art, intriguing sound, and the poignant written word.
I’m sharing their work with you here, because it’s relevant to the subject matter of my guest post ❤
It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome Tina Frisco, author, blogger, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, a student of shamanism and friend, to Words To Captivate. Death is a difficult thing to face, but Tina puts a different face on it.
On Facing Death
Facing death is a life-changing experience and one that most of us fear. The first time I faced this monster, I paced and cried, ranted and cursed its arrogance. The second time, I tightened my mid-section and refused to acknowledge it; but I couldn’t sleep. The third time, I took in a deep breath, sat down, and closed my eyes. In a flash, I saw myriad lifetimes pass before me – incarnations I was fortunate to have lived.
What is it about physical death that throws so many of us into a tailspin of grief, anger, and denial? Is it not knowing whether life continues beyond the…
Our generous Story Reading Ape has granted me another guest post on his most informative blog. Thank you, Chris, for giving me the opportunity to share the little wisdom I have acquired throughout this earthly journey we call Life. And, if you haven’t already done so, remember to stop by the pearly gates and pick up your angel wings 💜
When faced with an inexorable problem where emotions run high, knowing what to do can be a challenge. Rational thinking becomes obfuscated, forcing us into a holding pattern of circular thought.
Anger wants to place blame on others. Obsession with fine points masks the big picture. Abject frustration insists we bury our heads in the sand. Emotions churn and become ill-defined. Focus obscures. Common sense derails. Indigestion, insomnia, or worse take up residence.
None of these gets us anywhere. All of them threaten our sanity and plunge us into a maelstrom of inimical emotion. What to do?
Taking in a few deep breaths is a good first step toward relaxing. Listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking a long bath are a few ways to ease the constriction felt in the midsection. Relaxing the body helps mitigate mental and emotional distress. We all know…
When we weather the storms of life and continue on, undaunted and bearing our wounds like armor, we become wounded warriors, ready and able to cast our light into the world as a beacon of hope.
Natalie Ducey is one such warrior. She acknowledged her fears and met the challenges life tossed at her feet, with grace and firm resolve. She is one of myriad unsung heroes in the world, as her story will enlighten and give hope to so many.
Purchase her book here. Please visit her site and share in her accomplishments. #Recommended
Writing is my passion and my saving grace, as I discovered in 2014. ♥
In January 2014, at the age of 39, I embraced the stillness and, without judgement or fear, listened to my soul. I really listened.
The truth is…I was tired. The sheer weight of the compilation of my heart’s journey was about to break me. The vast remnants of loss, sorrow, and regret suddenly chose to show their presence after I thought I had nestled them away in a place where they could no longer touch me. I felt everything with such acuity, it was as if I stepped back in time. My mind knew I couldn’t dwell there, but my heart seemed eager to stay. So…I began to write. It was my saving grace; as the words flowed so did my healing.
I tell you this because maybe you can relate. I believe we are connected by similar and relatable experiences. We all love/loved deeply and most likely have been on both sides of goodbye. We know the exquisite and profound beauty of love. We know the immobilizing force of grief and the anguish between letting go and holding on. We know the acute distinction between second chances and new beginnings. These trials could easily dishearten us, but instead we choose to be more loving, compassionate, and kind. Isn’t that incredible?
We all have moments in our lives that unequivocally leave a divisive mark; life is now conveyed in terms of before and after. Many of us have more than one of these divisive marks. I know I do.
On August 30, 1992, I sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of a car accident returning home after a fun weekend away with friends. I was 18 years old and just four days shy of starting University. Life changed in an instant.
Throughout our lives, we hear ourselves say: ‘I’m not that good!’ ‘I’ll never make it.’ ‘I wish I could write that well.’ ‘If only I had said. . .’
Words are powerful. Energy follows thought. The words we speak to ourselves drive our subconscious minds. Diminishing thoughts tell the subconscious we are not enough.
The subconscious mind is self-serving. Its mission is to fulfill our every desire, and it sets in motion the means by which to do so. It takes our words at face value and strives to manifest what they represent. It assumes that what we think and say is what we hope and dream.
How often have we heard ourselves utter, ‘Did I say that’? Unless we’re channeling spirit, the mouth speaks what the subconscious mind thinks. If thought rests in the conscious mind, we are aware of it and can choose whether or not to give it a…
Gag orders on gov’t agencies; walls being built between countries; bans on immigration to a country that is a melting pot . . .
My fellow Americans and all Citizens of the World:
Even though leaders in the Trump administration are behaving like children let loose in a candy store ~ now more than ever ~ it is important to keep positive thoughts, send out positive energy, take positive action, and simultaneously keep abreast of all that is occurring within the United States government and across the globe.
Collecting and sharing data is vital. Dwelling on the negative is self-defeating. Reacting with violence will sabotage any and all positive change.
Remember: The women’s marches took place in all 50 states and in 57 different countries. This was a first in the history of humankind. All marches were nonviolent.
Everything unfolds in an orderly fashion. As above, so below.
The patriarchy is dying and rearing its head for one last stand.
United, we will get through this troubling time. This is the time that prophecies of most cultures and religions spoke of centuries ago. They speak of us moving into the Golden Age of Enlightenment. This is the time. We are in the storm before the calm.
It is imperative we recognize this and come from a place of love in our hearts instead of a place of fear. While keeping abreast of U.S. and world affairs, it is crucial that any and all action we take be positive and nonviolent.
Love is the only answer to the heightened treachery and tragedy we now experience, not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Only love will still the waters.
We have forgotten who we are ~ beings of light. It is now time to remember. In our purest sense, we are love. And only love will prevail.
Living with a chronic illness is a challenge at best. If the illness is devastating but not recognized by the medical establishment, convincing ourselves life is worth living becomes an uphill battle.
In the year 2000, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that presented as a drop-dead flu. I’d been symptomatic since in the 1980s, but early on, flareups were few and far between. Innumerable doctor visits always produced tests with negative results. Over time, symptoms increased in severity and duration until they became immobilizing and constant in 1999.
I knew my doctors thought I was malingering. I felt invalidated yet knew damn well something was wrong. I lived in fear of a dreaded disease not being detected in time to be treated. Simultaneously, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live. By 1999 I was nearly bedridden; in debilitating pain; overwhelmed by fatigue; suffering varying degrees of GI problems; plagued by sleep disturbances, cognitive dysfunction, free-floating anxiety, panic attacks, and depression; and had a constant low-grade fever with sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. It wasn’t until I consulted a rheumatologist that I finally got a clinical diagnosis – one based on physical examination, as no definitive tests existed.
Since I was too sick to work and had been denied disability for two years, I exhausted my savings and retirement. Add to this that I had to advocate for myself while nearly bedridden, exhausted, and in constant pain, it’s no wonder I reached the point of planning to end my life.
So what stopped me? I had lists made of people to whom all of my possessions should be given. I knew where and how I would take the final leap. The only question left unanswered was when. What prompted me to delay making a decision?
Antidepressants helped somewhat but left me feeling flat and worthless. I also hated putting pharmaceuticals into my body. Two things saved me: my spiritual practice and the constant reminder of love from treasured friends. I had to learn to grant myself the same acceptance, compassion, and love I so freely bestowed upon others. It has been said by many – myself included, at times – that we are incapable of loving another if we do not first love ourselves. But I found the exact opposite to be true. I felt deep love and compassion for others, but every time I looked in the mirror, I faced self-loathing for the specter I’d become. I knew that in order to survive, I needed to turn the same love and compassion inward.
My belief that Mother Earth is a schoolhouse deterred me from ending my life. If we incarnate to learn specific lessons, and if we leave short of learning those lessons, we’ll need to return and undergo the very same experiences in order to grow. I didn’t want to backtrack. I didn’t want to suffer the same ordeals when all I had to do was commit to seeing them through this time around.
It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding. I’m no longer taking pharmaceuticals and don’t rely on allopathic medicine for anything more than relative diagnosis and emergency/trauma care. There’s no known cure for this illness and the etiology is unknown. I still have flareups, but other than low-level pain and fatigue, the symptoms are no longer constant. I’m still learning to love myself, and I wonder if that isn’t an ongoing struggle for all unenlightened humans.
My biggest challenge is keeping up with social media. Writing can be accomplished when I’m feeling well enough, but maintaining an online presence can be demanding. I often find myself merely treading water. And when in a flareup, I feel as if I’m trudging through neck-high water, pushing myself to complete the simplest of tasks.
I’ve lived with this condition for over 25 years and generally take it in stride. But since flareups are random and of unpredictable severity and duration, I’m finding it difficult to plan and write blog posts, visit other’s blogs and share their posts on a regular basis, and read the books on my overflowing TBR in a timely fashion. When I visit blogs, my ability to comment depends on my cognitive state at that moment.
When in a flareup, I have to accept a stop-and-start work scenario: work a little, rest a little; work a little, rest a little. And I’m usually unable to do little more than click on a few share buttons, unless the fatigue and mental fog clear long enough for me to write a few lucid sentences. If lucky and my head isn’t dropping to the keyboard, I’m able to do a reblog or create a post. The challenge in all of this is self-acceptance and not giving in to frustration.
I remind myself each day not to become my own worst enemy. Self-acceptance on all levels is crucial to survival. Compassion for oneself is as vital as breathing. What concerns me most is not being understood by the people in my life. It’s difficult to imagine – much less believe – what someone else is experiencing when their condition or situation borders on unfathomable.
I hope my fellow bloggers will understand when I’m unable to visit their blogs as frequently as they visit mine. I hope my fellow authors will understand when I’m unable to read and review their books as quickly as they do mine. My desire and intention are to pay it forward; at the very least, to be reciprocal. Yet when a flareup strikes, I fall short in meeting my goals. I’m still learning to accept this as a life lesson for which I contracted before I incarnated. We all choose the lessons we want to learn before we come in to this earthwalk. The trick is not to give up on ourselves.
Self-acceptance. Self-love. Self-compassion. I’m still a work in progress . . .
Rejection comes in many forms, from many places, and is very painful. What makes rejection so devastating? What causes us to react in a particular way? How can we use rejection to our advantage?
On a purely instinctual level, rejection threatens to extinguish our life force by depriving us of vital nourishment. No being can truly thrive without some measure of love and acceptance.
Rejection devastates when we attach our personal worth to someone or something outside of ourselves. Feeling worthy only when liked and accepted by those with whom we engage sets the stage for rejection.
When feeling disliked or ignored by another, it’s wise to step back and view that person’s behavior as a mirror our own subconscious. Often the things we don’t like in ourselves are reflected back to us by others, giving us an opportunity to examine what…