Tag Archives: Spirituality

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.

 

 

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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.

 


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.


Six Inch Squares

(Excerpt from Coffee Please)

Six inch squares.  She folded the tees into six-inch squares, aligned in a small stack.  “Flush and grounded” was the term the Air Force taught her and she applied the technique this morning.  She scurried to her van, parked in the dim garage with the hatch open in back.  Inside the back of the car sat an open duffel bag that she could easily climb into and disappear.  Already packed was the nebulizer, a machine that blew air through a tube with a small cup of medicine, creating a mist of steroids to inhale.  This kept her youngest son breathing.  Next to the neb was a pacemaker machine, wires with leads to attach to her oldest son’s chest, ensuring his heart held a sturdy beat.

She left the door between the house and the garage open so she could listen for her sleeping children should anyone stir early.  Her glance stayed fixed over her shoulder and without looking at the bag, she placed the clothes within.  She needed only enough for her and her three boys, enough for a week.

She was preparing the exodus, becoming “mission ready.”  Eyes wide and skin drawn taut, she hadn’t slept in weeks.  Her cell phone was stuffed under her left arm inside her bra so her husband wouldn’t take and dismantle it again.  Beneath her right breast, also tucked in her bra, was a small roll of cash.  Crushed in her front pockets of her jeans, which she had been sleeping in for days now, were her car keys, a pocket knife, her driver’s license and a credit card.  Her can of mace was deep in her purse.  At night, she feigned sleep, lying still, trying not to move before it was time.

“Part the sea for me, God,” she had prayed.  She remembered to brush her teeth, but had forgotten to comb her hair.  This was indeed her dark time.


What Others Think

The following is inspired from a writing exercise from a David Whyte workshop. My Writing Muse, Ron in Indiana, added a twist to the exercise with the ending to the prompt. Enjoy.

It doesn’t matter what others think because they do not hold the desires of my heart in their minds. They only hold their old blueprints, judgments, opinions and value systems.

It doesn’t matter what others think because their ideas are based solely on their exposure. They have not endured my journey through my eyes, so they cannot truly understand the place I am emerging from.

It doesn’t matter what others think because they can only respond to life out of their own history, from their limited experiences. Though compassionate, not one of us can truly step into anothers’ footprint.

It doesn’t matter what others think because I must hold true to what I believe first. If I operate out of the need to please others or avoid conflict, I will lose sight of my path and surely let go of my purpose.

It doesn’t matter what others thhink because man’s thoughts are often not in alignment with God’s thoughts. We are frail humans, broken, undiscerning and off course. I must keep my focus on doing that which honors God. I must call into my movie only the situations and people who guide and help me do this.

Yet, in a sense, how others think can matter, but how they behave when they walk along side you matters even more.


Getting Back to Self Care After Baby

(published in Hedra News)

I delivered Julian just two months ago and like many new moms, these first few weeks were more of an adjustment for me than they were for him.  After all, he only needed to leave a safe, warm, uninterrupted and secure environment where life was a warm bubble bath and all was content.  I had to re-learn how to live a life already full of many passionate things and re-introduce, very slowly, only those things that are most precious to me.

Having a new baby gives me one great new opportunity.  The opportunity to say “No, I’m REALLY too busy right now,” and have others actually believe this.  As I’m saying NO to the extra committees, board positions, creative ideas, get-togethers, parties and side-bar commitments – and by saying NO, I’m also saying YES – utilizing this time to be my very best and offer my very best.

The most important step for me (and I’d love to hear from ALL women out there, not just those who have new babies) is to affirm my need for self-care.  I cannot be my best if I’m feeling my worst.  I cannot achieve inner contentment if I hate how I look and feel.  My plan has been simple and today I’ll share my first step with you:

GETTING BACK TO SELF CARE AFTER BABY – Step One:

Rest.  Decent sleep is probably the most overlooked fitness plan in America.  But good sleep helps our bodies (and minds) handle stress, burn fat, repair damaged cells (and after delivering a baby – there’s some repair that needs to take place) and think clear.  If you’re not getting adequate rest, look at ways you can begin to get better sleep.

My coaching question to you is HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP?  And how will you know when you are?  Please share your ideas here and with friends – and as sisters, we can help one another begin to operate at our best!


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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