Category Archives: Inner Writer

Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

I open my eyes. Startled I sit up and peer over at the small old-fashioned alarm clock complete with numbers, hands and a built-in light sitting atop Mike’s night table. 6:15. I lay back down. I’m not taking care of my little 2 ½ year old grandson today which means I can write all morning. I moan and bring my hand up to my forehead. I feel groggy. My eyes hurt. I had a restless night tossing and turning. Last night I counted down from ten picturing the numbers in my mind in different colors, first blue then green, hoping to quiet my mind.

At some point I must have succeeded because I eventually feel asleep but I don’t feel refreshed this morning. Sighing I get out of bed and stumble to the computer room to turn on the computer. It takes a while for that sucker to fire up so on my way back to bed I stop and grab my phone off the charger from the living room end table. I unhook it and cradle it in the palm of my hand. I crawl back into bed. I’ll just check my email on my phone, I think, then I won’t have to do that when I go to my computer. Instead I can just sit down and start writing. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I prop up my pillows and nestle my head down. I bring up my HTC android phone and open my Google mail account. I scan through my in-box.

Farmer’s Almanac, Earth Day Special!
Amazon Deals, Pedi/Mani or Haircut deals

Thought for the Day, How to do Exactly What You Want
Ann Elizabeth-Nagle, Ann’s CD Release Concert
Deliberately Delicious, [Jazzminey Crone Chronicles] Comment: “resurging with spring”

I smile when I see the email from Ann and open it first. I read about her up coming CD release concert and I feel joy inside at her hard-earned and hard-won success. Sighing, I close that and stare at the email from Deliberately Delicious. I feel oddly numb.

Last night I just finished reading the memoir Live Through This: a mother’s memoir of runaway daughters and reclaimed love by Debra Gwartney and tossed the book on the floor when I was done. It felt unsatisfying. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I identified with the story about a single woman raising four daughters and the trouble she had with oldest two. I didn’t have four daughters but I understood dealing with out of control teenagers and feeling helpless. I was hoping to understand how things got better for her and her daughters. I didn’t’ get that understanding and was feeling let down.

I started to think of the memoir I am writing and I hope that I am not going to let readers down but how can I not think that I would. It’s not like I am the greatest writer. However, I have been writing on this memoir for over a year. I produced over 100,000 words. At times I felt the writing was going well. At others I felt it was a mess. I paid to have it reviewed. Show don’t tell is what I got. How can you show everything, I thought, the book could go on forever. After being in the dumps about the critique for a week or two, I finally decided to do something about it. I went to Amazon.com and found writing books and ordered four of them.

Showing and Telling: Learn How to Show and When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing by Laurie Alberts,
The Describers Dictionary by David Grambs
The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Up Your Novel for Success by Jeff Gerke

I also checked out from Pauline Haas Public Library the book:
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: the Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction From Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind.

Some of those books I am reading, some I am using as a reference and some I am doing the exercises in. I think its making a difference. I reworked my memoir making a whole new folder for it called “New Version”. I am making use of more scenes and dialogue. Making it more dynamic.  At least that is what I hope.

But the question still remains and the one that rolled around in my head last night, What’s the point? There are tons of memoirs out there.  Everybody and there mother wrote or is writing a memoir.  Who cares about mine? Why bother? My voice is just one in a sea of voices all clamoring to be heard. I know, I know, I need to focus on the writing and not worry about the end result. It’s just that I am a want-it-now kind of woman so that bit of advice is hard to follow.

And now in my email is a message from Ann. Talented beautiful Ann who struggled with finding a place in her life a midst all her responsibilities for her music. But she did it. She found the time. She found her voice. She got a producer and went to Nashville, cut some tracks. I heard one and the sound is amazing. The message is uplifting. When I talked to her on the phone last night before I finished my book, she told me how Nashville is teeming with singer song writers. She didn’t say she felt like she was just one in the crowd. She just reveled in her experience. So what’s wrong with me.

Sometimes I just want to chuck it all. Wave the white flag and say, Okay, life, you win, I give up. Then I get a comment on my long dormant blog. Someone out there remembers me. Is glad I’m back. It’s bitter-sweet. I am touched by being remembered but I’m not really back. In fact my goal was to pull the plug on my blog. Stop paying for the domain, stop paying for the web service. Just yank the whole thing. Yesterday while I was walking the dogs I thought I better get to it and take care of that blog before it is automatically renewed and taken out of my hands.

Here’s the truth. I haven’t written in my blog because I think I need to be uplifting and inspiring. That is what I said I was to do. Most times, I don’t feel uplifting and inspiring. Far from it. If I try to write something up lifting it would be forced and it would show. I just can’t do it. I am left with nothing to say. I told myself I am not writing because I need to spend the time on my memoir. That’s partly true but not the whole of it. The truth is I am struggling with my choice in choosing to write.

By the way, after I checked my mail from my bed in hopes of saving more time for writing I played mahjong on my phone for at least 45 minutes. The only reason I stopped was because the dogs wanted to go out. Some mornings I am playing for an hour or more. Valuable time I could spend writing but I piss away. It’s not the blog that’s keeping me from writing my memoir its my distractions, my resistance.

And where am I with ditching my blog. In limbo. Just in limbo.

So here is a blog post. It is not uplifting. It is not inspiring. It is just me plugging along. It is just me for some reason writing a blog post. Be it good, bad or indifferent.

And for a bit of uplifting, which I am in dire need of,  here is another one of my photos with a message from myself to myself to help get me through.

IMG_3468

The Free Fall to Beat All Free Falls (figuratively speaking)

Felix Baumgarner’s unbelievable free fall

Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from the stratosphere. It’s amazing to watch. It’s out of this world to contemplate. It gives me the chills to watch. To just think of the trust he had have in his equipment, in his team, in his self.

I was on the phone talking with a girlfriend Sunday night and she told me about this man who did the free fall from outer space. What??? I thought. But after we hung up I was exhausted from the day so I numbed out in front of the TV watching Johnny O’clock an old film noir movie from 1947 starring Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes and Lee J. Cobb. I never finished that movie I ended up dragging myself off to bed.

When I woke this morning I thought of this man free-falling from outer space and went to the internet to check it out. I sat transfixed as I watched the grainy version of Felix Baumgartner jump off the edge of his little ship and fall through space. This version showed the full free fall clocking his speed playing incredible music by Sabrepulse – Arcanine. It was definitely free fall music only adding to the excitement and mystery of what this man must be experiencing. An added plus with this particular YouTube video is there would be glimpses from the team who assisted him in a control center and of his family and friends watching on some screens in a room.

What went through my head was unbelievablity. To think the idea up that, “Hey, I’m going to free fall from the stratosphere, 24 miles up.” Then to plan it out, find the necessary help and Do It. Some people must have said, “What? Are you crazy.” Granted he does dare-devil free falls for a living but still this one was over the top. Maybe not the first time someone did this but the first since 1960, fifty-two years ago. Amazing.

For me it shows a great sense of self-esteem. I mean anyone who would pull this off has to believe in himself. There must have been opposition somewhere. Supporters too. Of course many supporters. However, I am sure he needed to convince his supporters that this is what he wanted, what he needed to do. He must have had to let them know that he was born to do this awe-inspiring feat. Therein comes the trust. His trust and belief in himself. Trust and belief in the universe, the earth, the atmosphere.  They would support him.  The trust he needed to have in others to help him achieve his dream. The trust that he needed to have in all the complicated and scientific equipment. And of course his trust in his parachute. At any moment once he dove off the edge something could go wrong. But he persisted. He trusted.  He believed.

Makes me think, if Felix Baumgartner can believe in himself to the extent he did to carry out his mission, could I not just trust and believe in myself to carry out my few little dreams and goals, one of which is to write a memoir.

Thank you Felix Baumgartner for your inspiration in such a grand, imaginative and super sonic way, paving the way for meager dreams such as mine.  I’m bolstered.  I’m inspired.  I’m ready to believe and trust.  I’m ready to Do It!

More exciting video’s:

Related Links:
The Washington Post article.

Baumgartner free fall image from the Washington Post article.

Women Gather, Magic Happens

A CD at Amazon.comWhen women gather magic happens. That’s a bold statement but one that I personally experienced and that I heard voiced this weekend from the women who came to gather at Cedar Valley near West Bend, WI. Once a year for at least 15 years Cathy Gawlik and Dawn Zak of Way of the Willow put together an opportunity for women to gather. This weekend’s gathering Circling: Walking the Wheel of our Life made use of the medicine wheel (see link below) to look at ways we can be unbalanced in our life.  This weekend had its challenges for sure but over all I had an awakening, an opening up and an allowing of myself to be me, the joking, loving, heart on sleeve, fully present for others, vulnerable me.

The first women gathering weekend I attended a number of years ago, although powerful, was more than challenging, it was rocky and rough. The me I just described would show up in bursts and fill me with shame and humiliation at her antics. When I’m being me, I am wide open, vulnerable. In this state, I can screw up, get carried away and say something that could be misinterpreted and I have no defense, after all I am being who I am, I am being me. And so my reflexive ego saving defenses would kick in and I would clam up, retreat to my room or go for a walk. When sitting down to eat with the other women I would get up and leave as soon as I was done, not allowing myself to sit, be and communicate with the other women. When the weekend was over I would make a hasty retreat, trying to extricate myself as unobtrusively as possible. Worst case scenario, I would leave early, just sneaking away with my tail between my legs.

That was then and like I said this time things were different. For one I’m older and the changes I made with myself through the years although minute at the time have tallied up. So although my growth was imperceptible day-to-day the cumulative effect is substantial. And also,I have been working with Cathy on her e newsletter WillowTalk, and her blog Life. A New Perspective. So, I went to the weekend feeling safe to be myself, to express me.

At one point I did have a melt down. Not an overly dramatic, big, splashy, meltdown. At least I hope it didn’t appear that way. I thought it was more like a silent, quiet, hiding, a need to retreat and cry silently by myself meltdown. My bouncing around feeling like myself caused me to hear myself say, “Oh, my God. What are you doing? You’re so stupid,” in my head. At which point I sat down, covered my head and cried.  Two fantastic, generous, caring women graciously and inconspicuously, or what I felt was inconspicuous, helped me out. This meltdown was silly really but it turned out to be my catalyst for awareness about imbalance in my life.

On Saturday we were to spend time alone either journaling, walking out in nature collecting things for a prayer stick, working in our big meeting room with art materials to create a mandala, resting or whatever we needed or wanted to do to reflect on ways we get out of balance and how to bring ourselves back in balance.

Swinging free at Cedar ValleyI chose to do everything. While walking on the serene grounds at Cedar Valley which has many trails with powerful art objects throughout, a chapel, an outdoor labyrinth, a pond for swimming, horses and goats, I came across a cool swing hanging from a tree. I had my camera with me so jumped on that swing and took my picture. I can see from the picture I took that I am feeling free and myself. Not long ago I wrote a blog about how as a child swinging gave me a sense of freedom

After a quick dip in the pond I went back to the meeting room to assemble my prayer stick and create a mandala. I needed some inspiration for that mandala so I went to the table that had these meditation cards. There was this deck called the Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards. After breathing, centering myself and asking for guidance, I drew a card. It was a Mole! A big part of me wanted to put that card back. What can a mole say to me. I knew that I needed to accept what comes my way so reluctantly opened the book to the description of the mole. I was blown away. I took that book over to the table with the art supplies and copied down what it said inserting my personal interpretations in parenthesis.

This is the point at which to examine your life, detach your interest from the ways of the past (insecurity, guilt, self-loathing) and recreate yourself (Trust, self-confidence, passion, power). You are the guardian of yourself. Come up above the ground into the light (awareness, clarity, consciousness). Live in the present by incorporating your knowledge and vision of past and future (writing). Each new moment is an opportunity to awaken so self (conscious awareness) and burrow deeper into earth goodness (trust, faith, hope). You have the power to heal your life and create your life anew in any moment. Listen to the messages you receive from above (higher self) guiding you to the whole healing of your body, mind and soul (integration).

Then I made a mandala with the picture of the mole in the middle.

mole mandala

What I learned was that I can get out of balance when I am being my spontaneous, open self and unconscious memories from the past can cause negative self talk and throw me off. Instead of getting lost in those past emotions and thoughts, I can become aware of what is happening and get back to trust and faith. I need not punish myself when I get out of balance. It is part of life. Instead I can face and accept my imbalance and strive for balance.

I came away with three reminders to help me do this. My prayer stick, my mandala where I copied the meditation from the book and the little card Cathy and Dawn gave us to fill out as reminders about what we learned.

I face Southwest. I strive for balance in Trust, Clarity, Intuition, Passion and Power with my creative unique writing with the help of Great Spirit.

I am not the only woman to reap such benefits from that weekend. Each woman in turn filled out their card with their own message. Each woman was awed by the magic that happens when women gather. I would highly recommend that women gather to help bring themselves into balance which in turn can help balance the energies on this planet.

Related links:
Wikipedia’s article on the medicine wheel.
Bighorn Wyoming’s medicine wheel
Circle of Women music CD

Listen to the Cherokee Morning song by  Walela.  An uplifting song that we heard this weekend during of our retreat.

A Life of Passion

Judy Garland while at MGM StudioJudy Garland lived a life of passion; she lived her passion, her passion for singing and performing. I recently saw About Judy Garland: By Myself an episode on PBS series American Masters. I sat sprawled on our brown sofa transfixed as Garland’s life unfolded on our 52 inch LCD screen. Her life stayed with me as I went about the next couple of days living my life. It was infectious the way she lived her life of passion. This passion was evident in her whole being when she sang. I always loved Judy Garland’s movies, not just the Wizard of Oz, but all of them however, watching this biography of Judy made me realize why she resonated with me so.

Watching her I felt a yearning in my heart. “I want to live a life of passion. I want to be able to express myself uninhibited,” I felt it whisper to me. Yes, Judy was terrified of going on stage. She was terrified of being found out, as she put it. But once she was performing, once the music enveloped her, once she started singing, once she let herself go with her passion, I believe she was living her life on purpose.  Watch this video and see for yourself.

Judy Garland believed her motive behind her drive to perform was because she wanted to please people. She wanted the audience to love her. Yes, that seems like she was trying to fill a hole probably from childhood. This may not be the most healthy way to live and in the end, it did kill her. However, I believe that part of her appeal to audiences is the vicariously living a life of passion thorough her. I know that is what I ache for, the giving of myself so freely to that which moves me, my passion. Living a life of passion. Judy is an inspiration to be sure.

It is clear to me that taking risks, putting myself on the line, being prepared to get messy and forging ahead in spite of the fear that tries to squelch any passion is the key to a passionate life which is equal to living your life on purpose. I saw this in Judy Garland as those close to her confided about her extreme stage freight and how she threw herself into a song or a role she was playing.

My life purpose, according to my LifePrints analysis, is to express myself creatively. I would not be surprised if Judy Garland’s LifePrints revealed her purpose to be one of artistic expression with her own unique creative style. Not that I think I am in the same league with Judy Garland, no matter how much I wish it were so, but she is a powerful role model for me.

What I need to do, what I want to do when I am writing which is the medium I choose with which to express myself creatively, is to come from my heart and not allow my inner critic to suppress what comes. Emily Hanlon says, in her course Creative Success that you have to be willing to get messy, to get your hands dirty.  You have to be willing to be wet and juicy. Judy does just that in her performances. That is what gives me the chills when I watch her.

Judy found her passion but it was born out of desperation. I believe a life of passion can be found through awareness and intention. By shinning conscious awareness on areas of my life that are blocking my flow of creative energy which for me is usually fear, fear of making a fool, fear of doing it wrong, fear of doing it right, fear of being seen, fear of not being seen, fear of making myself vulnerable. By being aware that these are my blocks, I can consciously release them through my intention and step out on that ledge and free fall to my life of passion just like Judy Garland

Added links
A biography of Judy Garland
A workbook for 12 weeks to a more passionate life.

Father’s Day and Jung’s archetypes

For Father’s day I will expound on Jung’s archetypes, specifically the father archetype and the collective unconscious.  I have  hesitated to write on a subject for which I think I know little and Jung’s theories are just such a topic.  However, it is a topic that I felt drawn to when I first learned of Jungian psychology at Alverno College in 1988. My reason for delving into such abstract theoretical concepts is because Father’s Day stimulated my thinking about the father archetype and also I made a resolve with myself to delve deeper into my inner landscape with my blog, to write about thoughts and feelings that I shied away from because I thought I was too insignificant to voice them or I was too afraid I was wrong or didn’t have it right. Putting those fears aside, here is what I think I know with regard to Jung’s theories.

Jung based his thought on the concept of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is where all the myths, legends, images, patterns of psychic life, patterns of relating, patterns of the internal world of the human unconsciousness lie. It is the connecting thread underlying all humanity which we automatically inherit. It is primordial and I believe it is spiritual. It is an internal world rich in symbolism, abstract ideas and concepts which can be found in the archetypes.

Archetypes are the stuff the collective unconscious is made of. They are like templates of an idea or form from which like energies are attracted. In the case of the father archetype, all the energies, thoughts, feelings, actions that an individual experiences of the concept of a father are attracted to the father archetype. The basic form of the father archetype is of protector, provider, disciplinarian and authority. Carolyn Myss describes the light attributes of the father archetype as having the talent for creating and supporting life and being a positive guiding light within a tribal unit while the shadow of the father archetype is a dictatorial control and abusing of power. All the personal experiences one has with regard to the father archetype gravitate to that archetype and reside there in the personal unconscious consequently adding to the collective unconscious.

My experience with the father archetype through my relationships with my biological father and two step-fathers was abandonment and abuse of authoritarian power. I feel these earlier experiences led me to abandon and abuse myself. My lesson, as I see it, was to heal my past experiences or make conscious my archetypical pattern ultimately transforming this archetype in my life. After a few failed relationships where I repeated my archetypal pattern of abandonment and misuse of power, I made a conscious decision to find a relationship that was more benevolent.

My husband Mike was already a father who was supporting and protecting his own children when he married me and took on the responsibility of my three sons. Through the years Mike’s role of father has evolved and changed and he has shown me a distinctly opposing experience to those I had while growing up. He is a stalwart provider, generous with a strong sense of justice and right and wrong. He has a loving heart and a soft mushy inner core. He would do whatever it takes to protect his family. Due to Mike and his influence in our family he has balanced my shadow father archetype with the light attributes. Balancing and bringing awareness to the unconscious patterns of the father archetype that influenced my life has brought much-needed peace and a sense of support and security.

Any thoughts? How has the father archetype shown up in your life?

Related links:
Help with discovering your inner father archetype.
Matrignosis, a fascinating  blog I follow that deals with Jungian Psychology
A place to go for Carl Jung’s ideas and concepts.
A bloggers post on balancing your archetypes.
Exploring and balancing archetypes.