Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rob Brezney's astrology update for this week

According to expert gerontologists, Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards (a Sagittarius) should have passed on to the next world a decade ago. The man has abused his body so thoroughly, his continued survival is a mystery. You're currently in an excellent position to achieve equally stupendous feats of persistence yourself, Sagittarius. More than ever before, you have a dogged capacity to keep pushing -- even in areas where you've been flighty or sketchy in the past. I'd say this is an excellent time to deepen your commitment to your dreams in very practical ways.

see link for Rob Brezney's fun horoscopes

Very exciting I can cut and paste!!

I think I'm going to need some "stupendous feats of persistance" in the coming year to keep my dreams flying in the air.

I have been having a lot of fun practicing the violin; the other day during the lesson when we were playing the same phrase over and over, I thought, "OH-I'm happy, really happy." It was a deep contented feeling.

I have been waking up in the middle of the night, lifting my head to look at the red numbers on my clock radio, "Is it time to get up?" Several times it has been 11:11 or 4:44 which are magical numbers for me. I sigh as I lay my head back down, I feel blessed and visited, but also puzzled, "What am I supposed to do with that?" Am I supposed to get up and go outside like in that Rumi poem.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsillwhere the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.

So far I've been going back into quiet sleep.

I've been listening to Byron Katie's 6 cd set. Holy crap! It is so intense to hear her just breaking al the walls of shit down in that loving amused voice.


I realized all I can do is try to be present with love. That can be all for now.

Maybe next week I'll find the round door.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Martha Beck's letter

The way I've been thinking about creativity, money and jobs these last few years has left me feeling frustrated. I set up a way of thinking; "My job as a nurse keeps me from writing and being with my children. I will write a book about the difficult process of becoming a nurse as a guide for new nurses. Then I will rake it in and be able to write more and be home more."
I can see why it was so alluring. But the "rake it in"part has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. After trying half-hazardly to get an agent for almost three years I am about to put the book aside. Annoyingly the process of trying to sell my book (to set me free of my draining day job) has made me bitter and grumpy.
"Buy my book, damnit!!" "Set me free!" is the attitude I have and it just isn't working. Sigh. That is part of why I am writing this blog. I am reclaiming creativity and writing for fun and sanity. It feels good. I really don't like thinking about the marketplace and how I will sell myself but I really did try with all the effort I could muster while focusing primarily on being with my family and trying to pay bills.
My mother, who works in a bookstore, gave me an advance reading copy of Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck and it has helped me break through my funk. One of Martha's exercises has you meditate for 10 minutes or more on your true life's calling. It has been so fun to meditate, to relax and to engage and meet the right brain on a daily basis. It has taken the dichotomy out of my thinking and prompted me to look at being creative for the sake of happinesss not the bottom line.
That explains the violin, too. I am trying to be present to the current moment in time instead of waiting for when my book sells. I realized I didn't even WANT to go on a book tour or be on TV shows I just wanted to make enough money so I could stay home and write. It seemed silly to focus my energy on the outcome and not the process, I suppose. SO here I am.

I think Martha Beck is great! I wrote her about this issue a few months ago and she gave me fantastic advice.

Here's the letter and reply:

Originally posted by katsuzharris:
Dear Martha,I'm so excited to find you here on the internet. I was researching to find info on my husband's high triglycerides and stumbled upon you. What luck! Your columns are my favorite part of Oprah magazine and Expecting Adam is one of my very favorite books.
OK, for my question,I feel like I've done some great work with my therapist and on my own to discover I want to be a writer. I feel deeply nourished when I write and after much hard work I completed writing a book about becoming a maternity nurse, which is the job I do to make money. Then I tried to sell the book (to make some money so I could afford to write some more.)When I wrote the book I had only one child and my sister babysat her every Monday (very loving and free) so I was able to write all day. Heavenly! Now my sister is unavailable and I have two wonderful children (5 and 2 year old girls) but I can't find time to write without feeling like I'm neglecting them and I can't afford extra childcare. (My husband is working full time and watching the girls when I am at work)I am discouraged that I have to work at a job that drains me after I have done all this inner work to find out what I want to do. I keep getting near-misses with selling my book and I am getting discouraged. It feels like no one seems to want to read what I want to write! Well, maybe that's not true - I have had some things published in nursing journals and the local paper, but I can't find anyone to pay me.
Then what was the point of doing all that work discovering I want to write when I have no time to do it? I feel confused and increasingly bitter.I've been trying to keep a good attitude, plugging away, enjoying my family, making the best of my job as a nurse and trying to avoid more debt. I've seen The Secret and I've been trying to visualise what I want, but after a year of no change, I am getting discouraged and finding it hard to enjoy visualising or doing a vision board; instead I feel sad as I keep trudging along, barely making ends meet, missing my kids and husband during my long hours at work, and not wanting to sacrifice my minimal sleep to write.
Any suggestions would be welcome!Thank you so much for all you do,
Love Katherine Harris

Oh, boy, do I ever know how you feel--your post describes me during my 20s and 30s, although my work was finishing a doctorate and teaching college, and I also had child with a disability who needed extra care, and an autoimmune disease that made it virtually impossible to use my hands (I had to tape pencils between my useless fingers and tap the computer keys with the eraser ends). I wrote this way for about six years before my first book appeared, only to fail miserably. The book I wanted to write, EXPECTING ADAM, had been rejected by every agent and editor to whom I'd sent it. After writing the other book (a boring tome based on my Ph.D. dissertation) my publisher reluctantly agreed to publish EXPECTING ADAM, and it became my first bestseller.I tell you all this not to discourage you further, but to tell you that you're digging steadily through a mountain. The tunnel really is getting longer, you really are making progress. You just don't see the light until you break through the other side. UNTIL THEN, YOU MUST LET YOUR FEELING OF BEING NOURISHED BY THE WRITING BE YOUR EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. I found three techniques that helped immensely as I slogged through the experience you're having right now. First, I read books about writing by writers I loved--Anne Lamott's "Bird By Bird," Lawrence Block's "Telling Lies for Fun and Profit," Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones," and more recently, Stephen King's book "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft." Oh, and also "Women Who Run With the Wolves," by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" was another favorite. These were my writing friends, my peers, my advisors and consolers. I didn't know anyone else who wrote, nor anyone in publishing.The second technique was that I disciplined myself to write in my head while I cared for my children. I'd challenge myself to compose a paragraph as I changed a diaper, did an hour of occupational therapy with my son, or washed maple syrup out of all three of my children's hair. I have a brain that easily holds verbal patterns, so it felt as though I was molding shapes in my mind, and they'd stay there until I got the chance to type them. I had to get my drafts right the first time, because I had so much pain, and the writing process was so slow, that I couldn't edit or rewrite much. I still work this way today. Running an errand, I'll make myself write in my head on the outbound leg, then reward myself by listening to a book-on-tape that inspires me while I drive home.The third thing that helped me keep writing was to read for pleasure every day. This, too, is something I still need to do in order to keep plugging through annoying rewrites or new projects. It's almost as if reading pleasure fills the well, so that when you begin writing, there's plenty to flow outward.
Here's the thing: you can't give up. Your bitterness comes from a false belief, which is that things should be going faster to prove you're on the right track. The sign you're on the right track is that you know it. You just do. The ultimate solution is trust--trust in yourself, your vocation, and your destiny. Deal with the bitterness by believing what your heart most longs to believe--that you can succeed at this--and just keep writing.
Best of luck to you, and much happiness for your whole family. Martha Beck

Another quote from the local new-age paper rolled around in my head, too.

"I began woodworking in my midlife when I decided that I was going to do things I had always wanted to do, but either didn't have the money, time or guts to do them."

from Lori Miller-Freitas in an article in Spirit of Change

Inspiration to stop waiting until the money and the time show up.
Do it now (that's where the guts come in).