Don’t Die With Your Story Still in You

Many years ago I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room waiting on my mum who had an appointment to have her eyes checked. There was an older gentleman there, a retired teacher, who struck up a conversation with me. He asked where I was from and I told him. From there he asked what it was I did in East Dalhousie. I replied that I was a writer. He admitted to me that he’d always wanted to write, that his stories were “up here,” he said, tapping his forehead. I encouraged him to take the plunge and start writing his stories out. What did he have to lose?

“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. When you do this, you’re also tapping into another face of intention: love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I love this quote. Whenever I read it, it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It wasn’t to DSC00753prove I could do it or to rack up a bunch of publishing credits that I could wave like a victory flag. I started writing as a matter of survival, that little voice that one day reminded me of how important writing had been to me in my younger years. Back then I didn’t care about publication, I only cared about writing a story and expressing whatever it was inside me what needed to be said. Growing up as a middle child sometimes left me feeling stifled. It was difficult for me to communicate my feelings verbally. I was often shushed. But the written word offered me a safe place to fall, a way to communicate without making too much noise. Plus it felt right.

My mother bought me a diary when I was nine. I hadn’t a clue what to write and I’m sure I didn’t update it with any regularity. I was young, words hadn’t yet found their way to me in the way they do a writer today. That would come a bit later. Yet, I was the only one in family who ever had a diary. Perhaps my mother saw something, or sensed something in me even then. I’ll admit I did love to write stories. I wrote plays in elementary school at an early age. My friends indulged me by playing along. We did it because it was fun. As the years went by, I discovered a great sense of contentment upon the page and writing stories felt so right, so natural, so good—like music to my soul. But what if I had resisted that urge to write? What if I had said, I don’t have anything important to say,  I won’t be good enough, or  People will only laugh at me?

I wonder sometimes how many of us ignore the nudges we receive for fear that we won’t be good enough. Good enough for what? How good do you have to be to write? All you need is an idea and some words. Now, being good enough to publish—that’s a little different. But we don’t all need to be THAT good. If writing fulfills some longing in you, if it brings you joy, that’s what counts. If in time you decide that your work is good enough to be published take it further. But nothing, nothing, should stand in the way of you writing if that’s what you want. I used to think that everyone who writes should do so for publication, that it would ultimately be the goal for anyone who writes. But I’ve since changed my mind about that. Writing can free us by allowing us to express the things that make us happy, angry or sad. Sometimes we don’t even know how we feel about a particular thing and can discover new truths about ourselves.

The people I write about might be fictitious but inside each and every one of them comes a sliver of truth, a small piece of someone I know, something I heard, everything I’ve every experienced either directly or indirectly.

Not everyone is a writer, but I’m willing to bet that most of us have something we do, some way of expressing ourselves. I’m sure there are people right now saying, “No, no, you don’t understand. I’m not creative in ANY way.”   You know what I say to that? Fuddle-duddle. Maybe you don’t write or paint, but what about crafting, card-making, sewing, gardening, baking, or twiddling your thumbs? Maybe you’re the best thumb-twiddler on the planet. And if that’s so, that’s wonderful. But seriously, we all have something. Maybe you’re a good listener, someone who volunteers their time, someone who makes time for someone else who’s lonely or in despair. We all have/do something of value.

It doesn’t matter what your story is because maybe your story isn’t a story at all, but something you’ve been called to do yet you chose to ignore. Wayne Dyer said, “don’t die with your music still in you” which is really the same as saying don’t die with your story still in you. If, at the end of you life, you had to write an essay about yourself would you end it all by saying you followed your heart, your inner guidance, or would you end the story by saying there was more you would have liked to have done?

I sometimes wonder about that older gentleman in the doctor’s waiting room, if he finally got up the courage to write down all the stories he’d been keeping in his mind for years. I hope, I pray, he did not come to the end of his life still thinking of those stories he wanted to write, that he did not die with his story still in him.

Next Time

I’ve got to admit, the passing of Wayne Dyer earlier this week had me feeling a little sad. I’ve most of his books and loved what he had to say. I surely looked up to this man.

A few years back, I went with a friend to one of his talks when he came to Halifax. I would have liked to have gone to meet him after the show, but we didn’t. We left with me longing to have met him on a more personal level. Afterward, I promised myself if I ever got the chance again, I wasn’t going to let it pass. Even if it was just to say “Hi” and get a close up photo. My mind was made up. Next time, things would to be different.

See where that thinking got me?

There’s something to be said about seizing the moment and not letting opportunities pass because, seriously, we never know when our encounter with someone is going to be our last. I should have learned that lesson many years ago on the day my father died. I was at the house when he left to go to town and I don’t even think I took time to say goodbye. (The day was busy. He was just going in to town and I’d likely see him later that day. If not that day, the next.) He never made it home.

We put too much dependence of these “next times” in life, giving ourselves and easy out. (No problem… I’ll just do it next time!) While that thinking is fine and dandy so long as we get that “next time”, but what about the “next times” that never materialize? Think of all those missed opportunities.

So, I’m going to try and change this. If I have something on my mind to tell someone I’m not going wait until the “next time.” No more “next times” for me if it’s at all possible. From now on “next time” has been wiped from my vocabulary. I’m going to be a “this time” kind of gal. If I have an urge to meet someone, to say hello, or to stop and talk a few moments, even when I’m in a hurry, I’m going to do it. This may not work all the time, I mean, sometimes we do need these “next times” in our lives, but I can almost be sure that many of my “next times” won’t be filled with regret later on. That’s all I can do.

I hope you’ll join me on Wednesday when author/blogger Darlene Foster pops in for a visit to talk about why she writes for children. Darlene’s the author of the Amanda Adventure Series for young readers. Hope to see you next time. Oops there’s that “next time” again!

Why Do You Write?

The question as to why I write comes up from time to time in conversation. People want to know why? Why writing?

For me, it’s not an easy question to answer. It’s kind of like asking why someone prefers the colour blue over green or why they play a musical instrument or sing. No one seems to know. It’s just something that is, something that stems from inside us, makes us who we are.

Words fascinated me early on, even before I knew they fascinated me. I’ve always had this feeling that I had something to say. Mind you, I didn’t know anyone would ever read what I had to say.

Last weekend I had the chance to hear Wayne Dyer speak. I was in awe to learn how many millions of copies of his books are circulating around the world. It sure put the few thousand copies that my book sold to shame. But I wasn’t really comparing my writing to Wayne’s, nor was there even a slight twinge of jealousy. I went away wondering what it would be like to have my words touch the lives of so many people around the world. Yet, this man was as humble as you and I.

As a beginning writer, I used to wonder when or if I’d ever be good enough to have my work published. Back then publications felt like a pipe dream. Was I wasting my time and effort. Why was I even writing, subjecting myself to rejection after rejection?

For me, it wasn’t simply enough to write, I wanted my words to be read by others. That meant I had to grit my teeth, swallow my appointment,  keep my head up, my brain focused, and write on, many, many occasions.  Even when I felt like quitting.

Thank goodness the world is filled with many more doers than quitters. Imagine what would have happened if many of our great writers (who also faced their share of rejections BTW) would have given up because they weren’t up to the challenge.

This business of writing and published is filled with hurt feelings. If someone tells you they’ve never, ever felt hurt when their work was turned down, take what they say with a grain of salt. They’re obviously out of touch with their feelings. No one likes rejection. It stings. Mind you, over the years, I developed a somewhat thick skin. I was able to look past the rejections  on many occasions and keep sending my work out again and again. But every now and then a certain rejection would get to me and I’d be pulled down into the pit of despair. Yep, I got down, but more importantly, I didn’t allow myself to stay down. I became my own cheerleader. I had to if I wanted to become published. The truth is, all the good words from others won’t keep us going if we don’t believe it ourselves.

Have a great weekend, and for my Canadian readers Happy Canada Day!

 

I’ll leave you with a photo that I tried posting on Facebook, but my dial-up connection just wasn’t co-operating. It was one of several I took at the Cunard Centre the day Wayne Dyer was there.

Not so easy to get a clear photo of Wayne Dyer when he was in Halifax. Too many heads in the way and he moved around a lot on stage. He spoke for nearly three hours (not bad for a man who turned 73) and the audience hung on every word. This photo is sort of the best of the worst.

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WordPress, Wayne Dyer, Summer, Book Releases, and Grandchildren

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. ~~Oprah Winfrey

Funny how time slips away from us as we watch the seasons come and go. Time slowly unravels–a little here and a little there— and before we know it those seasons have turned into years. Over time we laugh, we cry, we grit our teeth. We grieve the passing of people in our lives, our youth, and every other loss that comes our way. For some, the grieving takes over their lives and finding reasons to celebrate take an enormouspic_0092 amount of searching. Like everyone else, I’ve faced my share of grieving and loss, but through those times I’ve tried to see the good. Life is to be celebrated, a journey of our souls, an adventure that takes us far and wide.

This weekend is a celebration of sorts for me in more than one way. First, WordPress informed me that this is my four year anniversary for blogging. Not so shabby considering I’ve seen many bloggers come and go. Some I still miss and wish they would suddenly be struck by the blogging bug.

Also, I’m celebrating the fact that I’m off to hear Wayne Dyer speak in Halifax tomorrow. Some of you might remember me mentioning him from time to time on this blog. I’ve been a big fan of his for years and never dreamed I’d ever get to hear him speak. A once in a life time opportunity I’d say!

There’s also the beginning of summer to be celebrated even though the days are now growing shorter. I’m looking forward to the warm weather, and all the work involved with the release of my book in September. I also recently learned that I’m to be a grandmother for the second time!

So many things to be celebrated.

How about you, do you have reason to celebrate?

Just Being Human

I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t. – Dr. Wayne Dyer

When I came across this quote by Wayne Dyer, I immediately thought I don’t want to be a human doing all the time. It is so easy to become caught up in life, always working, never feeling able to take time to relax and simply enjoy life. When it comes right down to it, family and friends should always be at the top of our list. As important as writing is to my life, it can’t be all there is. Suppose for some reason I was no longer able to write, I would like to think that some other area in my life would replace that void, but I do know for a fact that my family would never replace it because they are far more important.

I sometimes think we can become so consumed by following our passion that we forget there is much more to life. Sometimes it’s as if we wear blinders, keeping our eye on that one goal in life. We hunger for it. We forget the more important things in life. This past week spent with Miss Charlotte helped put things in perspective for me yet again. Since my daughter and her husband live in another province being grandparents is a bit of a challenge. I only hope that Miss Charlotte will come to know us in a way that our kids knew their grandparents who lived quite handy. Not as easy to do with the distance between us, but luckily the Internet makes it is much easier.

One of the nice things about having Miss Charlotte home was having our other children visit during that time, and knowing that, they too, are building a relationship with their little niece despite the distance. It may not be a prefect situation, but we’re making the best of it. With any luck Miss Charlotte will come to think of “Ant Grub” and “Uncle Mutt” as two very important people in her life.

Tomorrow we’re off to Halifax Word on the Street. We’ll spend the day with our son, say hi to some authors who will be reading, and hopefully get some great pictures to share.

The really best things in life simply happen when we pause for a time and stop being human doings and allow ourselves to simply be human beings.

Do you ever find yourself becoming caught up in “doing” instead of “being?” What helps to put life in  the right perspective for you?

Self-Motivation: a.k.a the Art of Sucking it up

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
~~Wayne Dyer

Yeah, I know, we’ve all been told to suck it up a time or two, either by ourselves or someone else. That’s where I am at the present moment– deep in the midst of sucking it up. Want to join me?

I sometimes lack the motivation to write every day I wish it weren’t so, but it’s the truth.This doesn’t mean I don’t think about writing those times when I’m not actually doing it, because I can honestly say that scarcely a day goes by when I don’t at least think about my current WIP a few times and try to settle things in my mind.

Someone once told me I think too much. Well, I’m a writer. Writers need to spend as much time thinking as they do writing. Or at least this writer does. The worlds we create are not just on the page, but they take up residence in our minds as well.Sometimes there’s not a lot of room to spare.

I get the impression that other people think I never have my dark times, that everything’s always great in my world, that everything’s simply sunshine and roses. While I’ll admit that, I like to keep a positive attitude and I like to encourage others to do the same, everything isn’t always the way I’d like it to be any more than it is for anyone else. Like everyone else, I have my share of disappointments. It’s part of being human. The only thing is, I don’t often share those disappointments with others. I hang onto them in silence. It’s not a pretty thing when I whine. Believe me.

Today was one of those days when a little bit of everything was getting me down, when I was questioning my abilities, when, for a brief time, I wondered what would happen if I never wrote another word. Would anyone care or even notice? We live in a rather fickle society. We might not like to admit it but it’s the truth. It’s easy for someone to simply disappear unnoticed, unless you’re rich and famous. And, let’s face it, most of us aren’t.

Oh, for a time I certainly did have my doubts today.I even questioned the importance of writing to me, knowing that along the way there have been sacrifices and missed opportunities in other areas of my life because I am a writer, and because sometimes writing has to come first. I realize not everyone understands this and, sadly, I’ve seen where it has changed some of the friendships I have. Out of sight, out of mind. I don’t blame anyone. Sometimes I’m probably not much fun to be around. People begin to forget that you’re more than just what you’ve written or what you are writing. Because of this other side of my life, I can’t be everything to everyone the way I once could.I can’t drop what I’m doing and go play. There’s just not enough of me to go around. Let’s not forget that most writers have to work at something other than writing in order to make a living. I’m no exception.

So what to do? I’m not exactly sure. I can only be sure that whatever I do there will be someone out there who doesn’t approve. For now I can only follow my heart and go where it leads me. And even if everything I write from now on turns out to be nothing but drivel I’ll at least know that I spent my time doing what was important to me. If we go through life, living up to someone else’s expectations of who they want us to be, then that voice inside that is woven into our soul’s fabric will eventually wither and die, leaving behind nothing but some tattered remnants.

Today, my choice was “miserable”, but tomorrow it will darn well be “motivate.” It’s what has to be done and it IS my choice. Sometimes you’ve just got to suck it up and keep going. Because even if there’s not one person out there who cares if I ever write another word I can say, in all honesty that, I do. Let’s hope it stays that way. 🙂

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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