Cleaning House

For some reason, I have an ache in my bones to clean up the blog a bit. I’ve taken down my many NanoWrimo badges/widgets. I’m thinking of changing the theme – not sure to what, yet. Need to update my About Me page, I think. I may do away with some of my categories and I’m definitely doing away with all the awards. I want to just concentrate on what matters most. So just a heads up, things may start to look a little different around here in the coming days.

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Are You Ready To Show Up Today?


Are you ready to show up today? I’m talking about being true to you. Do you listen to what your heart tells you to do, or what your mind tells you to do, or do you let others tell you what you should do? Are you willing to make a shift in your life and experience just a little bit of what it feels like to be free?

I’ve been going through a bit of a shift and I wanted to share this with you because I love you and I want you to love yourself. Heck, I want to love myself. I mean, I suppose I do love myself but I don’t feel it enough or see it enough to KNOW that I love me. Do ya feel me? I want to romance myself, appreciate myself, forgive myself, feel whatever it is I’m feeling and say that’s okay, I love it. So try and do something with me today, if you are up for it (it won’t be too strenuous, I promise) –

First, stop listening to anybody but your heart. I mean, this is your one life (unless we really are sent back into new lives – haven’t gotten the memo on that one, yet) and you are sent here with a purpose, or several actually.

I don’t know what all my purposes are, yet, and I’m learning to be okay with that. It’s an evolving process. It’s a journey. For each of us. But I can tell you some of our collective purposes – some things we are each/all sent here for:

(1) to love. Meaning to love others, to serve others (this can show up in many different ways for each person – each has to feel this in our gut), to be a safe haven for others, to be welcoming, forgiving, compassionate humans, to be gentle, to sometimes be fierce (when the occasion arises) and to believe in and have faith in other humans. It also means to love my self. All the quirky, angry, broken, mending, confusing, tragic, silly, funny, goofy, smart, not so smart, creative, blocked, beautiful hot mess that I am.

(2) to let life flow. Meaning to feel what I’m feeling and be okay with it, not to force things, to feel it and love it, because it’s moving me on to the next step, the next thing, but I have to feel the thing first. Feel it, be in that space, and then move on to the next thing. Do not stagnate. Do not try to fix it. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay that I don’t have all the answers. It’s okay if I’m confused and lost. I am opening myself for what is to come next. I am open to love myself and you and the thing that’s happening now, and opening myself to life and the next step in my journey. In its time. I will not force it. I am making room for something bigger than myself and something better that I could not have planned (and I am a huge planner but I’m not planning this). Sometimes I have to experience sadness, loss, anger, and hard times, because something else is trying to emerge – something better that I cannot even begin to imagine.

(3) stop looking for approval or acceptance externally. Meaning you are not here to live for others. You are here to live authentically as you. Stop seeking approval from others. Start being okay with yourself, how you look, how you feel about things, what you do. If you don’t feel that person is really your friend and they do not align with your best self, it’s time to cut ties. It might hurt but you know in your gut it’s the right thing. Just do it and move on. If it’s a relationship that can be healed or forgiven, then work on it, if it’s for your best. If it’s not good for you, say goodbye.

Even if your parents are beating you down with what you should do and what you should be, it’s time to ignore and listen to your own heart. You were not sent to live for them. You were sent to be authentically you. Start listening to what you are passionate about and go with it. Open yourself to creativity. It’s time to start living our truth and passions and then we can give more of our love and connectivity and align with others that are up there with us. As long as we stay beaten down, we will only align with those beaten down. Make sense? We attract like minds and vibrations. Ask yourself how you want to live. Do you want to be better? Do better? Feel happy and free? Open yourself to it. It’s scary, I know. But until you make space for it, it will not show up. You already have everything inside you that you need for your best life. Just open your heart and breathe yourself into it.

So the mission, if you choose to accept it – step out of your mind today, don’t have a plan (I don’t mean skip out on your already set plans if you need to keep those plans), just be okay with what is, and what’s to come, and be open to your heart and to what your heart tells you, and be open to others, smile and engage with others, be connected with them and offer love from every cell in your being, offer love to yourself and to them, do not force anything, be okay with what you feel today, feel it, then if it needs to be released, let it go. Cry if you need to. (If you can’t tell, I’ve been listening to Kyle Cease a lot lately and he’s really opening my eyes to my heart.)

Crying is the same as letting go. It’s very important to cry. Find some time to be still and silent, quiet your busy mind. Remember, the mind usually lies to us, because the mind is ego. The heart is what needs to be feeding us. So feel with your heart today. If you get a wild hair to do or say something, do it or say it (as long as it’s legal and does not infringe on someone else’s rights/will). Step out on faith. Talk to the stranger even if you’re nervous. Don’t spew stupidity. Be real (but be kind). If you want to speak to someone, start with a compliment, or just say “I want to say something to you but I feel a little nervous.” What would happen? Being authentic is the best place to start from.

Emulate Benjamin Mee when, guys, you see that woman that you just KNOW is your soul mate and say to them, “Why would an amazing woman like you even talk to someone like me?” Or speak from your soul – say something that’s just you. There’s no better place to start from. You could potentially be speaking to your future wife here. I mean, be real. Everything sparks from that first sentence. No pressure.  😀

If you feel something in your gut, please don’t ignore it. Maybe that’s the thing that’s trying to get through. Go with your heart.

That’s what I’m doing today. Let me know how it goes? If you want to share, I know we’d all love to hear your story, because we are all connected and we learn and grow from each other’s stories, not just our own. If you’re scared, share that too. Be real.

I love you. Now go out there and have the most awesome, inspired, magical day that you’ve ever had!!!

Carol xoxo

Learning More About Me In This Process

Good evening! Or morning! Or afternoon! depending on where you are in the world.  😀

So here I am, showing up. I’ll get right to it.

Writing this book and seeing an end in sight, at least for book 1, I have learned a few things about myself. Who knew? I suppose with every experience is a lesson to be learned. Here are a few things I’ve learned about myself in this book journey, so far:

1. Between being a pantser (fly by the seat of my pants)planner (more structured, writing outlines, etc.), and plantser (a bit of both) – before now I’ve always been more of a pantserI’ve always sat down to a blank screen and just allowed my mind to bleed through my fingers, typing it all out as fast as my little digits can fly, just soaring along with the flight of imagination, anticipation, and allowing my wings to carry me, with no safety net to catch me if I forget how to fly. Sometimes I allow fear to creep in, even amidst flight and start questioning myself. My wings fizzle out, I fall, and splatter all over the pavement below. Feathers everywhere. So, somewhere along the way of this book, I started being more of a planner.

First, I decided Word, alone, was not doing me any favors, so I decided to use my Nanowrimo winnings to purchase Scrivener at the prize price (I’m a creature of habit, so this is a surprising turning point for me).

Second, I revised everything I had, separating it all into scenes, and then putting them in order (one fabulous feature of Scrivener).

Third, I reviewed the scenes and decided where the chapter breaks would go.

Fourth, I made a separate text file, placing titles in an organized chart (Chapter 1, Ch 2, etc.) took every individual thread for each chapter and numbered them, so I have only a certain number of threads per chapter (and some threads continue through each chapter), in order to not overwhelm the reader with too much going on all at once, as well as keep me in line as to what story needs to be told in each chapter.

2. Absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder. Taking a break from the book is never a good idea – at least not for me. I am very ADD. When I take a break from something, I tend to put it on a shelf and busy myself so much with meaningless tasks (although I suppose cleaning and organizing my house and reading is not meaningless) that I have absolutely no free time to look at book work. There are really no good excuses for not getting the book work done. If I have a lot going on, I should just get up earlier or stay up later or do it on my lunch hour. At least 1 hour per day is a prerequisite if I am ever going to finish it. Thankfully, I’m on the home stretch but NOT if I keep setting it on a shelf and keep taking breaks. Look, I get up at 4am 2-3 days per week for the gym, and then go home and get clean, walk 7 steps into my office and go to work by 730. There is always an hour, whether at lunch or after work. If I have an appointment at lunch and a supper to go out to after work, I can simply stay up an hour later than I normally do and get the work done.

3. I’m a better writer in the morning, although the occasional evening has provided much motivation AFTER I get started. If I don’t make the effort to sit down and do the work, it won’t get itself done. If I do carve out an hour, I find that after 15-30 minutes, I’m totally in the zone and can sometimes turn one hour into 2 or 3, if I have it to spare.

4. I can actually be funny. I am so NOT a funny person. Silly, yes. Funny? Only in my own mind. But when I was re-reading my chapter 1 to see what I needed to revise, I found a paragraph that made me laugh so hard, I cried. I had forgotten what I wrote, and reading it out loud to Buddy (my dog), that paragraph just made me bust a gut!! And this book is not meant to be funny. It’s more of a dark, adventuresome fantasy/drama for young adults – though there are pieces of humor, innocent romance, suspense, horror, mystery, etc.

5. I have a book deadline text doc in my Scrivener project also, as well as on my desk paper calendar and phone calendar, and while this is useful to have a schedule, I sort of feel the deadlines have been stressing me out and stifling my creativity because it makes me feel limited, so I kept the deadline file but add (or plus 3-10+ days, give or take) to each day’s deadlines, so this gives me a framework to see where I am and where I need to be in any given week. It shows me where I need to go from here. The good thing is I can change it and update it each week, which I have done pretty much every week. Honestly, I’m not sure how the deadlines are helping me. I suppose it lights a fire under me on some days. Other days, fear makes me put it on a shelf.

6. I have to keep telling myself (and I put a sign in front of me at my desk, as well as on the top of my daily schedule) DO THE WORK EVERY DAY IF YOU WANT TO GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. ACTION IS THE FIRST STEP TO COMPLETION = SUCCESS.

I’ve learned a bit more about myself through this journey but these are but a few of the nuggets I wanted to share with you today.

You have to find what works for you. If you have that dream, that goal, that thing you want so badly you can taste it, don’t let anything stop you from working toward it. If you want the thing, you have to take action. Talking to me, too. Do the thing. Get a few steps closer to where you want to be. Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know how amazing you can be, and how easy and wonderful life can become. Don’t stay in the same place. Don’t allow yourself to get stagnant. One of your many purposes? You were put here to grow. So bloom.

What have you done today or this week to get you a few steps closer to what you want? Do you know what you want?

Love ya!

Carol xoxo

Plotting Along…

Hi y’all. As you know, I’ve attempted to be mostly off of social media for a bit. I’m still at that point but I may post to the blog a little more often than I have. I’ve had a few friends ask me about my blog and tell me they were missing it so I’ll schedule in time to post at least once every other week if not once a week. I must admit, I have missed speaking to you guys on a regular basis. I miss our engagement, our connection. Alas, the life of a writer is much a solitary one, and I admit to appreciating that also. Working from home is right up my alley, as I no longer have to deal with fake gossipy drama-mamas in the corporate setting. Thank You, Lord! Plus, it doesn’t hurt to love your job, working from home and the people you do work for.

Lately, I’ve been going through so many mood changes, and I’m presently experiencing a shift – hard to explain but I’ll try. The mood changes are mostly just a roller coaster of emotion, due to my daughter being a senior in high school, her being accepted to her college of choice, choosing her dorm roommate, planning her grad party and trip, her just turning 18. It’s exciting. It’s an adventure. It’s emotionally draining and bittersweet. As most of you know, Hallie and I have always been extremely close. Our nicknames for each other are Lorelai and Rory (you’ll understand if you’ve ever watched Gilmore Girls). And it sickens me to think of her moving to college next year and not living in this house – only to visit on weekends, holidays and summer break. I don’t even want to imagine what it’ll be like because I want to cry, and then, honestly, to throw up. I know I have to let go. I’m just not ready. It hurts my heart too much. I’m used to her going on trips for a week or two. I miss her, of course, but I take comfort in knowing she’ll be home, as I count down the days. Don’t misunderstand. I do have things on my ‘To Do’ list that I take pride in accomplishing while she’s gone and I do appreciate my alone time. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss my little love monkey. Maybe I can’t use the word “little” anymore, but she will always be my little one, my wee one, my baby, even after she’s 40. Thankfully, she doesn’t mind my nicknames for her. She has nicknames for me, too.  😉

The shift I’m undergoing is multi-faceted. I’ve been on a journey of exploration – not just for the self but being more mindful of others and taking in all of the possibilities for connection with others – looking out for like-minded people to associate myself with but also “trying” to be mindful of others in the sense that no matter their mood, I have to take into account they may be going through something I know nothing about. Such as the clerk at the grocery store or the clothing store we normally frequent. Many times, we think these people are there to serve us and be kind and high spirited while they do it. However, we must put ourselves in their shoes, if only for a moment. If we do this, we may consider that perhaps their grandpa that they were raised by just died, or they lost their best friend in a car accident, or it’s that horrid time of the month and they are in great pain. 

You never know what someone is going through. These people are not there to only serve us. We are here to serve them, as well. We can offer a smile, a kind word, something funny to say to maybe lift their spirits. If nothing else, we can offer our gentle understanding. They are just like us. They have to work to pay the bills. They have to work when they are sick because they have a child to feed and have to make the rent. I admit to sometimes being a harsh judge of people when they are hateful or rude and I have been rude as a retaliation. What sense does that make?! That’s easy. Why is it so easy to fight back with hardness and more difficult to reply with love and compassion? This is something I’ve been mindful of lately and I feel it’s changing me. Mind you, I do still have much work to do in this department, as I am still trying to rid myself of anger I strongly hold on to. I have no idea why I hang onto it.

Not only with others but within myself. I’ve always been my toughest critic, being more hard on myself and sabotaging myself rather than romancing myself, appreciating myself and my accomplishments. I tend to beat myself down over everything – every little thing. But lately, I’ve been watchful of my words, noticing how negative I tend to be on myself, trying to change the language I use. If it’s negative, I’m trying not to say it or change the wording I’d normally use. I’m trying to believe in myself, have faith in me and my abilities. I’m writing down all I’ve ever been good at, then and now, and everything I’ve accomplished. Turns out, I truly have been more of a success than a failure. Many of the things I’ve wanted to do and truly made an effort with have come to pass and I’m practicing daily gratitude for each of these things and in everything I have in my life that makes me thankful and happy.

Normally, I have resting-bitch-face – not because I’m feeling bitchy or depressed or irritable, but because I don’t think about how my face is resting. LOL! Often, I’m contemplating something and that’s how my face is – in contemplation mode, or I’m extremely tired because I walked the dog like 10 times during the night, got up at 4am to go to the gym, worked all day, worked on my book after that, had to go to a meeting or event after that and I’m feeling very DONE with the day.

Lately, I’m practicing mindfulness on the muscles in my face. I actually think I may have inherited my grandmother’s facial expressions. She even frowned in her sleep! I don’t want her facial expressions. So I’m focusing on a slight constant smile, just barely there, enough to lighten my forehead muscles. I’m focusing on every blessing I’ve been granted each day and I’m being actively thankful – meaning thanking the Lord daily, telling these special people how much I love them and how amazing they are, hugging and smooching and laughing at my silly dog, appreciating our home and land more, loving working from home and the jobs I do and the income to pay our bills and save for important things, appreciating going to a great gym and getting healthier, and just every special thing and person, even what may sound small to some – sometimes it’s the smallest blessings that make the biggest impact/difference, and I’m thankful for each one.

Another thing I’m trying to learn is to Let Go and Let God. Being a control freak, this is a hard one, but I’m learning little by little. I am letting go of things and people that no longer serve my life in a positive way. I actually just joined a group that I thought would strengthen my character and spirituality as well as offer friendship and connection but learned that group was not the answer so, after 2 meetings, I let that go. I no longer have space or time in my life for what does not assist me or help me grow in some way on my journey. Joining and leaving that group only helped to further teach me that lesson.

Another mood swing is the novel I’ve been working on since 2013. I cannot count the varied emotions I’ve been going through. I birthed this story with great enthusiasm and excitement, only to set it on a shelf because I had too many clients at different times, too many things going on and I did not have any further time to devote to it. I did have to pay the bills and that was more important. As time went on, I got better clients, bigger contracts, but didn’t want to face the book, because I let fear distract me – fear and lack of faith in myself.

So now, I’m happy to say that I am 95% finished with the book. I thought I was actually finished but am reworking chapter 6. I’m thinking I may even interweave it with chapter 5 or 7 or just leave it the smallest chapter in the book. I kept giving myself a deadline, which in many ways is helpful, while at the time was putting an obstacle in my path. The deadline was more stifling my writability and creativity than bolstering my motivation and ambition to get in touch with my muse. My muse heard DEADLINE and ran for cover! So I will work on my book daily, finish when I finish, revise, revise, revise, then query agents and publish. And then become a #1 New York Times bestselling author.

I am learning to have faith in myself. I am learning to trust myself, love myself, believe in my pursuits – my dreams – my goals. I’m learning to lift myself up to new heights and tell myself only good things and reaching, stretching for a higher plane of existence. There is nothing wrong in bettering myself. I have everything I have ever prayed for, except the one. And the one? It’s only a matter of divine timing, inspired action, and persistence.

What have you been up to lately? Share all your joys, your pursuits, your progress, your fears, your expectations, your news. I have missed you greatly and I only wish for you good things, always.

Love you!

Carol

(P.S. Oh, and that picture? I’m just dreaming of cool Fall weather, wishing for long-sock-wearing, gushy-sweater-wearing weather. Please, chilly Fall breezes – come to Mississippi?). And sorry for the very wordy post…