Reflections

Today we said goodbye to our minister. The three churches in the parish came together for a service and potluck to mark the occasion. There were gifts and goodbyes, and a few tears shed. She’d only been with us for a year and many of us were sad to see her go. For the year we had her we came to expect the unexpected, seeing her dressed as a church mouse on one occasion and even a clown. She made us laugh and sometimes cry. She helped us to extend ourselves in kindness and be more than we previously were. While we’ve always been a parish that cared, with her we cared even more.

For Easter I gave her a copy of my book. I’m always amazed at what meaning every reader finds in a book, what themes present themselves to that particular reader. I think it all depends upon where we are in our own lives, and if we’re looking for some deeper meaning or simply to be entertained. I’ve had different reactions to my novel. Some people saw it as an entertaining story, while others were left wondering if it was a true story or one that I had made up. Rightly so, our minister saw certain things in the book as a reflection of my life, my beliefs, and things that can only come from the heart.

As we discussed the book, she mentioned how very important the connection of the three generations of women plays in the book. “Remember that as you go ahead in your writing,” she said later. I explained that when I started writing the book, much of what came to me wasn’t at all planned. She completely understood. Of course she would.

I’m often made aware of themes popping up when I’m writing a story even though I don’t knowingly go about putting them there. It just happens, as if the story is being eased in a certain direction all on it’s own. When I started writing Bitter, Sweet, I had no plans of writing about healing plants when I named one of the children Flora. Nor did I know I would be called to reflect upon a memory I had of my father digging gold thread from the ground.

For the most part I try to ignore these things while I’m writing for fear that it will get in the way of the story, but it’s there, running in the background. I’m not oblivious to it. Later, once the story has been written, I can take the time reflect upon these things.

While some stories seem to come directly from the heart, others are complete figments of our imagination, but I’m inclined to think that every story reflects something in the author’s life– thoughts, feeling, beliefs, opinions, memories. The same can be said for any one who is creative. We put our heart and soul in our work. We make it a reflection of who we are, who we’ve been, who we will become. Even our blogs tell something about us. That something is what draws others to come visit.

Lately, I’ve had many moments of reflection in my life. Reflection is never planned. It just happens. It’s important, not just for writers but for all of us. As I think about the next book I’ll write I can’t help but wonder what parts of myself will be layered between the pages. What I am sure of is this, it won’t be planned, it will just happen.

Do you believe that our creative endeavours reflect who we are? For the writers out there— do themes show up in your writing all on their own?

Thoughts—Where Do They Come From?

Coming to the end of my revisions the other day I was hit by a sudden realization that I needed another chapter. I have no idea where the thought came from, but it seemed to have a mind of its own. Immediately, I knew what would happen and why the chapter was even necessary.  I’m not sure why it never dawned on me before now. Writers know enough not to question when these things come to us but to simply respond when they do.

Turns out this whole other chapter I wrote is now my favourite. It allowed me to inject something into the story that was definitely missing. It makes me happy.  🙂  It fills in some of the spaces without over-filling them, if you know what I mean.

I am amazed by the way thoughts spring into our minds. One minute we’re thinking of one thing and the next minute this whole new idea pops into our heads.

Where do these thoughts come from? Do they erupt from out of thin air? From deep within our brains? Were the thoughts already there just waiting for the opportunity to jump out and say, Here I am? Do they hibernate? Peek out around the corner, waiting for us to take notice? Or do they gently prod us, from time to time, until we grab hold of the idea and run madly away claiming it as our own?

Since I have no answers to these questions perhaps some of you do or maybe you just want to share some terrific idea that came to you right out of the blue. It’s up to you! And maybe, just maybe the answer will come to me in a flash, like a lightening bolt.

In Search of the Gap

Have you been into “the gap” lately?

Nope, I’m not talking about the clothing company. I’m talking about “the gap”— the space between our thoughts.

Sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it? The space between our thoughts? Imagine that!

We all have chatter in our heads. Don’t try to deny it. We talk to ourselves, to the person who ticked us off two days ago, heck we even have conversations with people we haven’t seen in years— you know, the ones who did us some injustice, or else behaved in a way that was totally annoying and frustrating and WRONG. We go back and have imaginary conversations with them because you never know, we might just find those magical words that will set everything right again. Sound familiar? A bit silly when I put it that way but isn’t that exactly what we do sometimes?

I just found out that the average person has 60,000 thoughts in one day (Gee, I wonder how they go about measuring this?) With that many thoughts rolling around our minds, you can be sure we’re thinking many of the same thoughts over and over, much of it quite negative. Our minds are indeed very busy.

Recently, I picked up a copy of Wayne Dyer’s book on meditation called, “Getting into the Gap.”

This morning I listened to the CD, eyes closed, and peacefully followed along. Even then, I couldn’t seem to keep the thoughts from sifting through. I’ll admit, it was my first time with the CD and I didn’t expect it to be a breeze. I’ve tried meditation in the past but with out much success. My thoughts would drift off and I’d forget for the moment what I was attempting. I usually ended up bored and thinking about the ton of work I had to do that wasn’t getting done. But darn it all, meditation is good for us. It helps reduce stress and fatigue; helps with memory, some people even use it as a form of healing. Now that I think about it, mediation is one of those things I’ve never heard anything negative about. It’s all good!

Wayne Dyer says that within the space where we have no thoughts all creativity takes place. Good news for this writer! I’m all for tapping into my creativity, hauling it out of those empty spaces and getting it down on paper. Sounds SO easy.

Now that I have my trusty CD to walk me through it, I’m hopeful that I’ll be making it into “the gap” on a regular basis. It doesn’t take that long and I figure the least I can do is spare myself fifteen minutes a day. Not sure how long it will take me to catch on but I’m sure going to work at it.

I’m wondering now, how many of you meditate, or have tried it in the past? I’d like to hear your experience. Do you think it encourages creativity and if it did would you be willing to give it a try?

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