Creating an Enchanted Oasis in a World Where Violence Too Often Occurs

Enchanted 1955

I had planned to share a post on symbols of enchantment today, but with the latest tragic gun violence in Colorado last night, it seemed appropriate to talk about the challenges of daring to live an enchanting life when we live in a world that is filled with injustice, tragedy, and senseless actions of the few that affect the many.

Whether we see senseless violence in the world or ongoing injustices, we can feel that creating peace and beauty for ourselves is frivolous or a way of burying our heads in the sand.

I felt a tinge of guilt for my own prosperity when I was reading Behind the beautiful forevers Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity  a book by the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Katherine Boo, about life in the slums of India.  She spent four years observing Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport.  As I read the book, I couldn’t help but be struck by the injustice of so much wealth juxtaposed next to such dire poverty.  For most of us, the way forward is not to all become impoverished but bring balance to our abundance and prosperity.

Yesterday, I heard a riveting radio program that talked about research that has shown that countries where income inequality is high experience increases in a large number of undesirable effects including mental illness, while countries with greater income balance experience more of the good things we all want. In my other blog, I wrote about the increasing amounts of data pointing to the societal problems caused from income inequality in America and other countries around the world.   You might be surprised to find how poorly America shows up on the income inequality scale, or maybe you wouldn’t if you have been paying attention to what has been happening in this country during the last 30 years.

We are living in a time when the questions for all of us include:

  1. How do we keep our heart and mind open to the injustices and tragedies in the world, at the same time that we allow ourselves to experience and create enchantment in our own lives?
  2. Can we use positive thinking and prayers to change the inequities in the world around us?
  3. Is there a change we feel called to make in our own lifestyle?
  4. How can we improve lives for ourselves and help others when we live in less than ideal cultures and social systems?
  5. Can we do something to change the inequalities in our own world?

When I hear or read about a tragic event like the shooting in Colorado, I choose to focus not only on the causes of the senseless violence, but on the outpouring of the kindness of strangers to those who have been hurt.  There is so much goodness in the world, and we need to remember that too.

The enchanted symbols that I’ll return to discussing tomorrow can help us realize that our questions are the same ones that humans have struggled to answer for millennia.  Perhaps seeking a more enchanting life individually can lead to new understandings of how to create a better world for all of us.

Energy Booster for Writers

writing
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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Writing as a Form of Healing

A comment to one of my recent blogs inspired me to devote today’s blog about writing as a form of healing. If you’re reading this blog, I suspect you have a gift for writing words that heal. As you probably know, all the problems that healers regularly experience are also challenges for you as a writer, and a few more.

The nature of writing is different from many other forms of healing and requires some different ways of recharging our healing gifts.  One challenge that we have as writers is the inability to have our healing gifts flow through our words.  We generally give this challenge a name — writer’s block.

Most writers experience writing blocks at one time or another. You may experience a block every time you attempt to write.  I find that certain kinds of writing have their own timings and cycles as well, and that some blocks are really incubation times.  You may know of many ways of working through or with your writing blocks.

Writing blocks can also happen because we know that we have a powerful message or story that wants to come through us, and yet we approach our writing as if it were all about our talent to write a good sentence or compelling story. Or we worry about how our writing will be received or our ability to get published.  We treat our writing as if it were a task to be completed rather than a sacred gift that is ours to honor and share.

Ultimately, our writing and other healing work are both different expressions of our personal unique healing energy that flows through us every day. This week, I’d like to offer some ideas on how you might work with your personal energy to help your writing flow more easily so that you can be the total healer you are meant to be in the world.

To get started, here are a few questions for your contemplation.  What would happen if you allowed yourself to wholeheartedly believe that:

  1. Your writing is another aspect of your healing work in the world, and you have a gift for writing?
  2. Your writing eventually is meant to be a healer in its own right that can heal people when you are not physically present?
  3. Your writing is a reflection of your unique personal energy, and your energy heals people?

Do not underestimate your gifts for healing as a writer.

In the next few days, I’ll be offering some ideas on how to play with your writing in a way that not only uplifts others, but uplifts your own energy as well.   Be kind to yourself and your own healing energy today.

Look forward to connecting with you again, soon!

When You’re Bored, Embarassed and Uncomfortable – Write!

Spending  three days at a basketball tournament with a bunch of junior high boys and their parents is not my idea of a great time.  For some people this is a precious time to be treasured forever.  For me, being a sports mom is part of the marathon/sprint that is modern parenting that I probably would avoid if I could.  Yet, this weekend has been one of those occasions where I had unexpected opportunities to open my mind and improve my writing, that at first didn’t feel like moments to be celebrated.

By nature, we all tend to stay in our comfort zones unless we allow ourselves to try new situations.  Of course, as writers, there are times that we need to shake up our view of the world.  

This weekend I was reminded how boring, embarassing, and uncomfortable situations can strengthen our writing.  Here are some ideas that can transform these kinds of situations for you as a writer:

  1. Write down the details of some situation that you hate, and imagine if that situation would never end.  While I was listening to way too many kids running and screaming in a swimming pool that sounded like an echo chamber, I got the idea for adding a situation where people are tortured by never being able to turn off the noise.  I may or may not use this idea in my novel, but it made an annoying situation into a more amusing experience. 
  2. Talk to people you wouldn’t think to talk to and listen to their story.  Today, I met a young woman who is about to graduate college with a degree in Spanish and Political Science.  It turned out that she’s also a lifelong writer and poet.  We ended up sharing the stories of our novels and creative work. As I told her the story of my novel, she suggested that I listen to a Uriah Heep song – Tales.  It was one of those moments that I felt she was telling me something I was meant to hear.  You never know where you will meet a “wizard” who can give you a key to growing your creative work!
  3. Leave behind expectations of which people to connect with and those you can’t.  Sometimes we have to be patient so that we can gain the trust of those around us.  Just showing up counts.  This weekend, I heard stories of struggle and heartbreak that reinforced what I already know but sometimes forget that essentially we are all people just doing our best to live well.  

Sometimes, in today’s polarized world we have so much trouble seeing past politics and even lifestyle to see the common struggles we share.  Take the chance to be one of those writers who can’t be easily labeled. If you’re bored, embarassed or uncomfortable with a situation or experience in your life– congratulations, you have golden material for your writing.