Tag Archives: Lifestyle

This Writing Life…

Twenty-eight pages. That is a good day of revision. One of my goals with this long narrative is that each chapter can be published as a stand-alone. Today, I feel that this chapter is complete and could carry the weight of story all on its own.

Best writing for today:  “I didn’t know I had so much blood inside of me. Feeling dizzy, I tenderly lowered myself onto the glass, lying on my back as if I were used to a bed such as this. I stared at the ceiling while waiting for Mrs. Heights to come help. The ceiling was the same gray cement color as the floor. There were thick cobwebs in the corners, and the ceiling seemed lower than I remembered. I watched as a spider dropped and trembled on a thread above my face. I was afraid of spiders. I tasted bile and my body began to shake.”

I know every writer has their own system, their method to “warm up” to write. I have a beautiful fountain pen with deep purple ink and I love both the sound of it scratching on paper and the way it feels as I write in my journals. It isn’t writing in a creative manner, I’m actually copying poems from my past journals into one place. This process connects my mind to my heart, my heart to my hand, my hand to pen and finally, pen to page. It is a quiet process. And slow. I have a permanent purple ink stain on my finger where the pen rests that looks like a deep bruise. This is one of those warm ups into writing.

Family Adventure = Bowling at Big Al’s. My gutter ball was so slow that it stalled in the gutter and I had to flag down a staff member to walk onto the lane and retrieve it for me. My youngest son beat us all in the first game. My disabled son won the second. I lost every time. I consider myself the entertainment factor for bowling as I roll it down the lane carefully so I don’t hurt my neck.

Water = forget it.

Core Strength = I held in my stomach most of today.

Guitar = it hurts to play. I can strum, but not pick and am only decent at three cords to date.

New Dish = Chicken Tortellini – Kosher, of course. Coated in salt, cracked pepper, olive oil, rosemary and a titch of lemon juice.

New Discovery = I enjoy my mid-life hot flashes. My feet are always cold and having this new internal heating pad doesn’t seem such a bad deal. At least for me.

Staying Bright.

 

 


This Writing Life…

Memorial Day.

Writers absorb the world in more detail than the average bear. We feel things more intensely and notice what is less obvious to the naked eye.

Today was a day to take in the world. My sons and I prepared 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and packed lunches for those less fortunate, those without homes. Since many Veterans suffer from homelessness, this was our way of giving back to those who were willing to risk the most ultimate sacrifice for our many conveniences.

My youngest needed music while “working” and so we listened to the “Purple People Eater” almost 8000 times. I had over-purchased jars of peanut butter and jelly, so on our way to deliver pre-packed lunches, which included fresh fruit and bottled water, we paused at the local food-bank and donated our excess product.

We took to the streets armed with the hope of giving. Initially, we couldn’t find anyone in need. We went to the normal corners where we notice those with a sign, “anything will help” or “family of four in need”. It took us over three hours to hand out 50 lunches, but we found them, people in need tucked away in the crannies of our city. They were lying near storefronts and in parks. One man paused, shook my hand and then saluted me, saying “G-d bless you and your family.” Another just kept saying thank you over and over.

What stood out the most were three people, separate from one another. They each were clearly hungry, yet they declined our offer for a free meal. It was heartbreaking. I knew that they didn’t trust us. Someone, somewhere had violated that trust. Someone, somewhere had pretended to offer them something good and somehow took terrible advantage of them or someone they knew. They had been hurt or deceived or worse. I didn’t want to think about it.

Great storytelling involves scene, capturing the concrete details and creating a world that the reader can enter, like a dream. But it can also involve, sometimes more than anything, the main character returning to their ordinary world changed. We, as a family, returned home altered, changed. We felt great because we helped someone else in some small capacity. But emotions are complex and we felt awful that we could not do much more and that so many people are hurting.

My youngest announced, “we alleviated some suffering today, Mom.”

Later, I met with my writing group, my tribe and I thought it funny how most of us sat there with pens that glide and journals small enough to carry everywhere. How alike we are in some connected capacity, yet how different the stories we share with one another in the hope of feedback to help shape us into better writers.

It was a good day for writing, one of heartfelt adsorption of the world around me and a connection with like-minded people I respect and admire. It was a good day for living, one of opportunity to instill in my sons the greatness of serving others and appreciating all that you have.

 


This Writing Life…

I have one word for myself as a writer: Sentimental.

Ugh. My early writing is so sentimentally ugly, so overstated and over-written. I am thankful for the ability to rewrite and revise, because I’ve probably rescued anyone that would have read my story from enduring much pain.

My favorite line from today’s revision: “She silently hands over her baby and a warm imprint remains on the pillow.”

Honestly, today has been one of the most solid writing days of my life. I re-worked this week’s chapter for two hours, submitted a short story to literary journals, wrote a rock-star cover letter, and completed a Letter of Intent. The LOI is for Poetic Therapy. I’ve been training, pre-degree, and accumulating hours to become a Poetic Therapist for the last three years. Now that I’m heading to grad school, I can officially submit my LOI and hopefully be accepted into the NAPT program.

And….there is still no water in my diet. I did brew three pots of herbal tea, homemade Chai, without caffeine, so I’m counting this as my water intake from henceforth. This means that I’ve consumed about 48 oz of water. If all else fails, I’ll start counting my cups of Java towards water intake. Desperate means…

My disabled son and I went to the gym for a “workout”. He’s in Superhero training to write his scripts for his own stories. So we did a few core activities, some light strength for our joints and a bit of flexibility.

I practiced three cords of guitar. This is so difficult for me. And frustrating. My hands do not work right and trying to make my fingers stretch for each cord is painful. The nerve damage from my neck injury makes me think that I may not develop that “muscle memory” needed to quickly switch from cord to cord. I don’t think my brain and my hands are communicating. But I’m determined. And I think this will help strengthen what has been lost in my hand function.

Rest. Better. I watched Sherlock, listened to my “Calm” app and sprayed my pillow with lavender oil. Though I didn’t sleep long, I did sleep well.

I have an interesting family “excursion” planned for tomorrow, but you’ll have to wait to read until after the event.

 

 


This Writing Life…

“This is Not an Exit,” the sign on the door reads. She pushes through and the acidic aroma of sanitation singes her nostrils. With every step, fluid seeps from the bottom of her soles to the tiny crevices between her toes, a distinct squish. The open room is dim, clay in color throughout. The voices maintain a respectful hush. There is space between each isolette like a wide road separating oncoming traffic to prevent a terrible accident.  The babies don’t look like babies. They are small, some only the size of a hand, with a film of fuzz and skin darkened and wrinkled like a bad sunburn. She tries to avert her eyes as she weaves past, more out of horror than respect. Though the ward is full of babies, all is quiet. This is the passage. A substitute for the womb, thinly lined with hope that each baby will finish the journey of growth and miraculously reach full term.

This is the opening paragraph of  a revised chapter somewhere, somehow, in the center of my manuscript. The first day of truly writing was a good day. As I worked my way through this chapter, I realized my writing was less than adequate. What is funny to me is that when I revised this entire project five years ago, I thought I was a solid writer. I’ve learned an incredible amount of detail work and storytelling during my undergrad work and now I’m both exhilarated and terrified to discover how I will feel about my writing in two years from now when I finish my MFA. I guess you should stay tuned.

As for my other goals. I’ve yet to drink a glass of water. Not even a sip. I’m not sure what this psychological resistance is about, perhaps the desire to pretend I’m indeed superhuman? I’ve committed myself to stop analyzing myself and just accept my quirks. So what? I don’t like water. I know I need to consume water. It is on my list of “things”. Core strength consisted mostly of laughter and mostly at myself.

Rest today is a four letter word. Two of my sons graduated from Middle School yesterday and we spent the evening at Wahooz, arriving home after 11 p.m. and up at 5. I’m tired, but joyful. I do believe this counts as a family encounter.

We are only a few hours from Shabbos and I’ve baked 8 loaves of Challah to share with neighbors and friends. In observing Shabbat, I will not write, but instead, I will marinade the remaining 7 pages of this chapter.

I created a neew list in my journal. Throughout my writing academics, I’d jot a “side note to self” in margins as a reminder to write about a specific event or perception or experience in my life. I paged through my 7 binders of writing notes and listed each and every item in which to write. This added up to 7 journal pages.

I’m beginning to think my new lucky number is 7.

I’m off to light beautiful candles to bring more Light into my home tonight and to dream of living the writing life that I’ve longed for most of my existence.


She Rises

The wobbly first step appears to be the most difficult, but becomes the most exhilarating.  Something unknown, yet the toddler fills with life.  Her curiosity erases her fear.

She launches.

The awkward first blast from the sprinter’s starting blocks looks embarrassing, but is alive with excitement and anticipation.  Blinded with wind in her eyes, yet the young athlete pushes forward, overflowing with determination.  She shows no shame.

She blasts.

The clumsy first dance on the eve of a social gathering seems humiliating.  Experiencing young love, the girl sees only the eyes of her date; the one she hopes will be her first real kiss–the kiss that counts.  She is complete in her thoughts and her dreams.  She understands no judgment.

She floats.

The unstable brave step out of an abuser’s prison proves a shattering event, but grows into a move based on faith.  Horrified that she has found herself in this place, she slowly allows self-forgiveness.  She realizes she can move on and heal.  She knows no limits.

She rises.


How Do You Live on Fire?

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I want to know…How are you living on fire right now with your one life?


ONE WORD

(published in Hedra News)

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I’ve reached my fourth decade on the Universe this year.  I believe this is a significant turning point, a place where each one of us turns a new corner, beginning a new era of existence.  And at this time, some poignant questions tend to rise to the surface.  I know there is a piece of me a bit disappointed in myself, my lack of fame and fortune.  This is probably the little girl who dreamed of being a Champion at something by this time. 

 So, I followed my own coaching advice and pulled out my journal and favorite pen.  I wrote down the same profound questions I place before clients who are a bit disappointed with where they’ve currently ended up in life.  The first query is usually the most challenging and rewarding.  Maybe part of this challenge is getting your mind open and your pen moving. 

If you could take away one year from your life, or even just one event that negatively impacted you, what would it be? 

As I started to ponder this with each challenging year and/or event, there were too many significant positive outcomes, major rewards and pay-offs in personal growth and spiritual development that grew from the painful experience.  Or even from the experience I’m not too proud of and wish I would’ve handled a bit differently.  To take away any one event would be to alter the course of the life I’ve grown into.  I couldn’t unravel how any one change could possibly lead to a series of events that would be better than who I’ve become and what I have in my life right now.  This leads us right into the next question, when reflecting on one’s life purpose. 

Can you find significance in your trials? 

I believe this is the key to hope and overcoming any obstacle.  In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl talks about the survivors of Auschwitz, himself included, the most horrific of all Concentration Camps during World War II.  He was a young doctor, specializing in psychology from Vienna when he was thrust in the environment of the Nazi Death Camps.  He lost his mother, father and wife to the camps.  Yet, he carried with him two things, his manuscript (until it was later discovered and destroyed) and the hope that he would be reunited with his family.  The hope of completing his life-long dream and seeing his family kept him going through the atrocities of Auschwitz.  While in the camp, he contracted Typhoid fever and to keep awake, he reconstructed his manuscript on stolen pieces of paper.  As he observed slight men survive and stronger men perish in the concentration camps, he noted the one common denominator of those who survived.  Hope.  Those who believed they had family waiting for them or something more to live for tended to overcome.  While those, though stronger and healthier in size and stature, who knew their loved ones had perished, soon gave up the fight.   All of us have trials to endure, obstacles and mountains in our paths.  The question is, can you find significance in your trials and can you keep hope that there is something better on the other side?  Keeping your faith not only allows you to endure the hard stuff life throws your way, but, it also helps you survive without bitterness.  There isn’t always deep meaning in life experiences, but, you can find the lesson FOR YOU.  What I mean by this is that in the anguish of life’s darkest moments, we often learn more about ourselves.  Sometimes this is our will to survive because of our dedication to our children or a deep desire of accomplishment.  Sometimes we find our true character, maybe we did, after all, contain “grace under fire”.  Or we may discover our true value system and uncover the base of integrity and our belief system. 

Did you look for the lesson?  If so, what did you discover about yourself? 

The thing is your obstacles and challenges can work FOR you.  We’ve all heard, reluctantly, how the tough things in life can make you stronger.  But, if I had you take a moment and make a list of the moments and events in your life that truly defined and shaped your character, I bet at least half of them would be the challenges.   Make meaning of your life experiences without regret, but, instead with reflection. 

How did your obstacles work FOR you? 

And finally, after finishing “The Call” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, I began to ask clients her question. 

What is the one word in which you are here for? 

In her book, she elaborates on discovering the ONE WORD in which to live.  Instead of trying to see your word, open up to the possibility of all the places in your life your one word has been calling to you.  Look at your failures, not just your strengths, to discover your word.  Fill in the following sentences with your one word (mine is in parenthesis);   

How can I ___________ (rest)?  What must be surrendered for me to ___________ (rest)? 

“Living your word does not cause suffering, not living your word does.”  Oriah Mountain Dreamer.By uncovering your one word, your list of experiences and events will now look like a series of stepping stones on your life path, leading you to the exact place you need to be; right here, right now.         

Rebecca Evans is an author, Transformational Speaker and Certified Empowerment Coach.  Her books, The Art of Self Discovery and Inner Fitness for Empowerment are available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnobles.com.  To contact Rebecca for an event or order products, go to www.inner-element.com.   -End-


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