Category Archives: Power of Words

Where is Your Writing Taking You?

Shell Spiral
Shell Spiral (Photo credit: Theen …)

There are many places that our writing can take us:

  • New worlds (fantasy or real)
  • New work – assignments and projects we might not have been able to imagine
  • Discovering we have a tribe of followers of our ideas
  • Discovering no one resonates with our ideas
  • Deeper into our soul, whether anyone reads our writing or not
  • Into despair even though we have many readers
  • Closer to God
  • Farther away from God
  • Stuck in our mind
  • More deeply into the heart of our life
  • Into our own world that keeps us separated from others
  • Into a shared world that brings us closer together with others

And more . . .

Our writing destination is both a choice and an unplanned spiral journey expanding us and often bringing us back to a focal point defined by the greater part of our soul.

Where is your writing taking you now?

Where would you like your writing to take you?

Do you have a choice?

the center of the universe
the center of the universe (Photo credit: JasonChamberlain)

Where is the center of your writing universe?

Energy Booster for Writers

writing (Photo credit: found_drama)

This is the final post in my current series of blogs about taking the brakes off of your personal energy and innate goodness.

Today, I am sharing ideas about why it matters for writers to understand our personal energy, and to be aware of the type of energy that we’re putting into our writing.

Nowadays, most of us are bombarded with information and writing that is packed with different kinds of energy.

Some communications are uplifting, funny and inspiring.  Others are angry, demeaning, fearful.  Of course, many pieces of writing are boring because the energy of emotion is not present in them at all!

Your writing has an energy to it that often reflects the kind of day that you’re having.  This doesn’t mean you should only write when your energy is “good”. Sometimes, the “negative” energy is just what a story needs to create drama and interest.  So, it’s not necessary that your energy becomes all sunshine and roses.  However, it’s helpful to track your energy over the course of time to notice how the type of energy you are experiencing and creating affects your writing.

south to north view of chicagoland area
south to north view of chicagoland area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Energy Boosters for Writers worksheet is something I’m putting together for my 7 Elixirs class for Writers that I’ll going to be offering this fall in the Chicago area.  It’s based on the writing coaching work that I’ve done in the last few years.

I’ve noticed that finishing projects often requires that we manage our energy for the toughest part of writing which is when we are refining our work.  This is the time when we throw out good and sometimes great ideas for the sake of a story or grant application or marketing brochure or memoir.

This worksheet may not make complete sense, because it’s out of context to the rest of the course that I’ll be giving.  Yet, I’m sharing it anyway because it’s rather self-explanatory, and shows you a different way of managing your time and energy in conjunction with your writing.

Energy Booster for Writers Worksheet

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs!  Tomorrow, we’ll be back to some literary musings.

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Writer of Destiny: Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday a friend of mine sent me a link that I wanted to share with all of you, in case you missed this in the international news last week.

This story reminded me of the power of writers of song who affect destinies beyond their own.  In this case, the song is My Rainbow Race written by Pete Seeger (age 93 today).

Here’s what a group of thousands Norwegian’s sang in response to Breivik’s massacre, after they heard Breivik, who is on trial inside the building where this gathering took place, dislikes this song (the lead singer with the ukulele is Nilson):

Hope this story and Pete Seeger’s song inspire you as much as they did me, for showing the power of our words to create a new destiny in the world.

Do You Create Secret Journals or Videos for Your Children?

the next four journals
the next four journals (Photo credit: paperbackwriter)

I decided this week’s theme is about how do we leave a legacy with our writing, our art and our life.

Today, I want to start with a simple writing idea.

Before my first son was born, I got the idea to write a secret journal that I would give to him sometime in his teenage years.  The journal would contain quotes from me and his father and his grandparents.  Then over the years, it would contain the wisdom that I have acquired for living a good life as well as expressions of how proud I have been of him throughout his childhood.

It’s been a while since July of 1998 when I started the first journal when I was pregnant with my first son. Now about 14 years later, I have two journals — one for each of my sons.  I’ve been sporadic about adding material to them.  Life gets in the way.  I was reminded of this journal today as I shot a video of our house and garden as a reminder of their early life for my boys to add a video component to my “secret writings”.

It’s easy to forget how short life is.  We think it will go on and on forever.  We worry about the daily challenges of life — making a living, getting a promotion, buying a new car, getting our kids into the “right” schools, saving for retirement and so many other transitory concerns.  We get annoyed with our kids for stupid things they do, or ourselves for being less than the person we wanted to be.

My inspiration for writing journals for my children is my mother.  She has always been a great letter writer.  I have a chest full of letters and keepsakes from her.  My mom also taught me how to ask deep questions about life from the time I was little.

Unfortunately, I have very little from my father in the way of written expressions of love or wisdom shared, and I can only remember vaguely the things he shared with me.   I have photos but they aren’t as powerful as written words when it comes to sharing wisdom.  He wasn’t a talkative man either, so I sometimes wonder what mattered to him in life.  I still miss his presence in my life, four years after his passing.  It made me cry to see what he had written in my son’s journal back in 1998.  I am so glad that I asked him to write something when he still could.

There’s no guarantee my kids will appreciate their wisdom journals from me.  I just hope they will know that I cared enough to think often about their future happiness as well as my own.  I want them to know that I will always be wishing them the best for them from wherever my spirit takes me.

If you have kids, it doesn’t matter how old they are, or even if they’ve moved out of the house.  Think about sharing your love and wisdom with them in a journal or video. For there will be a time when you won’t be around to show how much you care.

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Does Your Bucket List Motivate You?

Today, I was watching and listening to a motivational video talking about the importance of making a list of the things we want to accomplish in life and realized that I had stopped believing in the importance of what are now called bucket lists.

The reason I stopped caring about these type of lists is that I had accomplished so many of the things on my list, and they hadn’t brought the kind of nirvana that I expected.  In fact, I still feel like I’m muddling through life like the vast majority of people, despite achieving goals that I had once thought impossible.

As I’ve aged, the most precious commodity to me has become time.  I realize that there is less and less of it left in my life.  For me, I don’t want to run around chasing elusive goals just to be able to check off yet another To Do list.

In fact, there has been one major goal on my bucket list for the last four years, which has been to slow down my life and be present for all of life’s little moments with my kids.

I also looked at a magnet on my refrigerator — We Plan — God Laughs.

Yet, for all my skepticism about bucket lists, without having written what I call a dream scene about twenty years ago, I probably wouldn’t be spending my time watching my two boys grow in to men or writing stories and blogs with my two dogs as companions or enjoying the honor of coaching socially conscious entrepreneurs. Writing down my longings in lists and journals had an effect on my choices.

As I thought how the boys will be leaving home in a few years, and my dogs unfortunately won’t live forever, nor will many of the older people who are so important in my life now, it became clear maybe it’s time for a new bucket list.

I never thought much about what I’d do after I reached the age that I am now.  When you’re young life seems to go on forever. Knowing what I do now . . . that the achievement of my dreams is not a static thing, but an ever-changing evolution,  I’m ready to start dreaming about my journey for ten and twenty years from now.

I’m also looking back at the dreams of my younger years when I was 15, 21, 25, 35, and 40.   I’m grateful for that young and naive self for having dreams and desires and taking the risks to make them come true, even when I completely failed to reach some of them.

Here are a few questions for your contemplation today:

  1. Do you have any goals that are motivating you now?
  2. Is is time to add some new ones to your list?
  3. How are you now living a once longed for dream that you might be taking for granted?

Here’s to the wonder of all the ways in which we create our destiny.  Even something as simple as writing a list of all the goals, relationships and adventures we want in life.  It is actually possible to write and sketch out our destiny.

What is Your Iliad?

What is your motivation for writing a blog this year, or writing in general?’

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient books, texts and stories.  I’m fascinated to read the stories and authors that have staying power over millennia. I’m also interested in trying to imagine what words will last.  2500 years from now, what stories will our descendants know about from our time?

These opening words of the Iliad were written by a poet known as Homer around the year 700 BCE :

The rage of Achilles — sing it now, goddess, sing through me

the deadly rage that caused the Achaens such grief

and hurled down to Hades the souls of so many fighters,

leaving their naked flesh to be eaten by dogs

and carrion birds, as the will of Zeus was accomplished.

Begin at the timee when bitter words first divided

that king of men, Agamemnon, and godlike Achilles.

When I look around the world, I see epic stories that deserve a Homer to write what he or she sees. My guess is that stories and poetry about gods and goddesses, war, lust, sacrifice, love and rage will still be told and read thousands of years from now through some medium which we probably can’t imagine now.

I also have a strong feeling that we are living in a special time when in a sense the “gods and goddesses” are shining down upon the dawning of a golden age that we cannot see or hear because we are too wrapped up in it.

What is your Iliad?

Could you write a story or create any other type of work that would speak powerfully for our violent, fleeting,luminous, and glorious world?

The Good Life and the Masters We Serve

I am reading Alice Hoffman’s book, The Dovekeepers. It’s a beautifully written historical novel set in the time of the Roman overthrow of the temple in Jerusalem. It’s a wonderful example of a spiritually inspired work of art that tells a story of cycles and patterns and deeper truths.

The Dovekeepers fits in well with my recent re-reading of the spiritual texts of my youth. I felt a strong desire to remember the beauty and lyricism of the Bible as well as the timeless wisdom in its pages. Yesterday, I had the inspiration to read the Beatitudes again. As I shared recently, I read Ecclesiastes a few days ago, for the almost sarcastic wit and longing that those ancient words convey to me. I found the words of Ecclesiastes comforting.  So, I thought reading the Beatitudes would be comforting too.

In fact, reading the Beatitudes was discomforting. It made me question some of my more modern beliefs around the right for everyone to live happy and fulfilling lives. Strangely, in three separate incidents during the day I was given reminders of these words by Seth Godin, Neale Donald Walsch and National Geographic magazine specifically from the text of the Beatitudes. I felt that God was trying to tell me something, or maybe to raise some questions.

In the Beatitudes from Matthew, Jesus tells us:

Blessed are:

  • the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
  • they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
  • the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  • the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

These words are beautiful and poetic.

It’s the words around them that are even more challenging, especially in Luke where he records Jesus saying things like:

  • Woe to you that are rich for you have received your consolation.
  • Woe to you that laugh now for you shall mourn and weep.

He goes on to admonish those of us who live in comfort when others suffer. Two thousand years later, most of us still want the same things that the original crowds that heard Jesus speak probably wanted — to be strong, invulnerable, happy, wealthy, and have a life filled with never-ending good things.

Like the Ecclesiastes passage that I quoted a few days ago, Jesus is very much asking how to challenge the way we look at life, with even more radical advice. It’s in the Sermon on the Mount that he shares the Golden Rule and later the Lord’s Prayer:

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you . . . as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

He goes on to say:

No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and mammon (money). Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on . . . He tells us to trust that God will take care of us.

The overall messages of Jesus also have a very strong similarity to the humble way of living that Lao Tzu teaches in the Tao Te Ching teaches through s ideas such as:

The softest of all things overrides the hardest of all things.

That without substance enters where there is no space.

Thousands of years after both Lao Tzu and Jesus, I believe that most of us are still caught up in serving the masters of the world wherever we are in the world, and often our life mastery is focused on our mastery of making money.

Yet, as Alice Hoffman teaches us, when we think about all the civilizations that have come and go throughout history, what remains? Economic systems and empires come and go. It’s art and stories, especially sacred stories that remain with us.

Art is one of the most powerful ways that the Spirit speaks to and through us. And those of us who want to be models of spiritual living and artists have to be careful about the master that our art is serving.

All around us there are prompts, urgings, admonitions, media, marketing and culture(s) that are calling us to value the service of money over the service of our spirit. And yet we also need to make a living. I just heard a life coach talk about the sacredness of paying our bills too.

For me all of this leads to more questions for personal contemplation:

  1. How do you help your soul to stay focused in your artful life to serve the “right” master?
  2. When is it more important to pay your bills, and when is your art more important?
  3. When so much in the world pulls you away from your highest truth, what helps you to return to your true values?
  4. Do you allow yourself to feel the edge of the sometimes narrow road of making your biggest and most long-lasting contribution?

I’ll share some ideas tomorrow about how we might approach these ongoing questions with humility and confidence.