An Adventurer

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.” Ernest Hemingway

If you want to discover anything in life, you must be an adventurer.” Actor Ricardo Montalban

At first glance these two thoughts almost seem to rub up against each other — as if they are at odds and not tending toward the same direction. But somehow, in my mind, they seem connected, all of a piece. Let’s unpack them a bit and see where they take us.

“Now is no time to think of what you do not have.” This is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Right now, in this moment, we are free to dwell on what we lack — what we don’t have. But if we do, we lose the moment — it falls down a black hole and disappears. There’s a better choice we are all free to make.

“Think of what you. can do with what there is.” What power there is in this handful of words! They free us to take action — to do something worthwhile right now with “what there is” — with what we have at hand, with what’s available to us.

And what’s available to us? Only think of what we have the power to call upon right now!

We have ideas — wisps of thought — that we can turn into stories and wonderful characters.

We have life experience — all that’s happened to us in arriving where we are today is fuel we can use to spark the fires of inspiration.

We have desires and needs — these are the motivators that keep us going and growing — wanting to be more and to do more.

We have our will to create — wherever we are on our writing path, we are here because we feel the call to create.

What riches we have to nourish and sustain our gifts and growth!

And beyond all this, we have the call to adventure!

If you want to discover anything in life, you must be an adventurer.” When we think of what we can do with what we have, we realize that the possibilities are actually endless. We have everything we need to become adventurers, to discover life and share it.

What gifts we have right at hand as we all write on!

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Pepping Up

We all sit at our desks way too much and too long. Little wonder, then, that our productivity often flags at different points during the day. Taking breaks can be very helpful: they help us rest our tired eyes, stretch tight muscles, bring oxygen to our brain, and recharge mentally. But what counts as a true break?


Not grabbing another cup of coffee or checking our email!

A few energy-boosting strategies that are simple to use, yet effective:

Rehydrate yourself: First, Drink a full glass of water. Then, splash some water on your face – warm, if you want to relax, cold if you want to feel re-energized. 

Try stretching:

1) Plant your feet firmly on the ground, lift your arms and look at your palms.
2) Stretch your spine for 30-60 seconds, gradually increasing pressure, as if
you were trying to touch the ceiling with your fingers
3) Relax, lower your arms and feel the energy moving up your spine.

Do some deep breathing: Stand up and walk away from your desk. Find a quiet place, where you can sit down, close your eyes, smile to yourself and take 10 deep breaths. Imagine tension and stress leaving your body as you breathe out and feel peacefulness, positive Energy, and relaxation filling your mind as you breath in.

Use a guided meditation: There are plenty of 10-15 minute meditations that allow you to tap your creativity and let go of muscles tension. Just close your eyes and let peace
and relaxation flow through you. 

Step outside: Catching some sunshine and absorbing a dose of Vitamin D can give you a quick boost of energy, refreshing both mind and body. Try to be in the moment: feel the sun on your skin, the breeze on your face. Even one quick trip around park will help.

Boogie for a bit: Music is a great mood changer, especially if you allow yourself to get up and move with it. Just a few minutes of humming and dancing can put a smile on your face and loosen up both your body and your brain.

Take a brain Break: This is a great idea if you need a quick distraction from the problem at hand to get your creative juices flowing:

* Take your left hand and have your fingers in and your thumb up.
* Then take your right hand and put all the fingers in except for the pinkie. in other
words, your left thumb is up and right pinkie out.
* Now switch the roles of your hands. And now try doing it faster. 

Ok, now that we’re energized, let’s get back to work and write on!

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You Can

“I’m stirred when someone says, ‘You can’t do it.’ I find the statement ‘You can’t’ offensive to the human spirit. We can be anything. Maybe this entire experience is a series of lessons to learn that you can — yes, you can.” Maya Angelou

What wisdom Maya shares with us here —- and how much we need to hear it! Every day, in ways large and small, we hear this kind of negative messaging — “You can’t do it.” “This is too hard, try something easier.” “You’re not good enough.” “You don’t have enough of this or that.” “Buy this and you’ll be better.”

Sometimes the toughest messages of all came from that voice inside us — that pesky little internal critic who’s always judging and finding fault. Always making sure that we don’t get too big for our britches — always putting us down to be sure we don’t get too uppity.

But what if we didn’t listen? What if we stood off to the side of ourselves with an open heart and an open mind? What if we took a tip from Maya’s uplifting words and said to ourselves, “I can be anything.” “Yes, I can.” “I’m just experiencing a series of lessons here so I can learn that I can do anything.”

Let’s change our self-talk! Let’s give up the part of us that wants to play small and run out onto a bigger field — the field of opportunity, the field of possibilities, the field of learning and growing.

Yes, let’s play on that larger field! There’s sunlight there and room to move around and make mistakes and learn from them and become bigger and better than we are now.

“Yes, you can” — let’s take Maya’s mantra and run with it! Write on!

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Something Wonderful

Truth

It fortifies my soul to know

That, though I perish, Truth is so;

That, however I stray and range,

Whatever I do, Thou does not change,

I steadier step when I recall

That, if I slip, Thou does not fall.

— Arthur Hugh Clough

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Victor Victorious

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo

Born on February 26, 1802, Victor Hugo is best known for his novels Notre-Dame de Parisand Les Misérables. A leading figure of the Romantic Movement, he was also a poet and dramatist. He studied law, but Hugo was always drawn to writing and was encouraged by his mother to follow his passion. Words of wisdom to light our way:

“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.”

“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”

“Laughter is sunshine, it chases winter from the human face.”

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.”

“As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.”

“He who does not weep does not see.”

“People do not lack strength; they lack will.”

“Where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”

“Our mind is enriched by what we receive, our heart by what we give.”

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.”

“Curiosity is one of the forms of feminine bravery.”

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

“It is from books that wise people derive consolation in the troubls of life.”

“Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie, it’s pleasure.”

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Bravo, Victor! And now, inspired and emboldened, let’s all write on!

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“This Day”

When I happened upon this Sanskrit proverb this morning — one which many of us have seen before — it really spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you as well.

Look to this day,

For it is life.

The very life of life.

In its brief course lie all

The realities and verities of existence.

The bliss of growth.

The splendor of action.

The glory of power —


For yesterday is but a dream,

And tomorrow is only a vision,

But today, well-lived,

Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness

A every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.

What a wonderful reminder that today — this day — is full of promise. It holds the “bliss of growth” and the “splendor of action.” Let’s remember all the power this day holds as we all write on!

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Ruth’s Recipe

When an interviewer asked Babe Ruth what he thought about when he struck out, the legendary baseball hitter had a simple answer: “ I think about hitting home runs.”

What great advice — and how helpful for us as creatives! When “the Babe” had a strike out, he shrugged it off — he let it go. Instead of focusing on where he’d been, he focused on what he wanted to do at his next at-bats— on hitting home runs.

How can we make this work for us in our writing life?

While we’re not standing at home plate and swinging for the bleachers, we writers have “strike outs” of our own. We might strike out with a rejection from a journal we submitted to and had high hopes for. We might strike out with a sluggish work session that makes us stalled and as if we’re not making progress on a project. Or we might hit a rough patch in a plot or proposal and feel tangled up in our words and ideas.

When these stumbling blocks crop up, let’s us the Babe’s approach:

Shake it off — Just let it go. Instead of dwelling on your strike out, simply see it as a natural part of the writing process. You’re going to have ebbs and flows in your writing life — accept it and move on.

Use the “Law of Averages” — Babe Ruth knew that if he kept swinging, he’d get more hits and more home runs. But to get a hit, he had to step up to home plate and risk striking out again. The same is true for us. We need to keep writing, keep submitting, keep revising — to get those home runs.

Focus on the future — The Babe always kept his eye on the prize. He focused on taking action and making something happen. He learned to shift his attention to the promise and possibilities ahead of him. He looked forward, not back.

Like baseball, writing is as numbered game. The more savings you take in baseball, the more likely you are to get a hit. And the more we write, the more likely we are to hit on a winning idea or a better way of saying what we want to say. So let’s step up to the plate and start swinging as we all write on!

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Abundance Everywhere

I love the word “abundance” – it feels full and rich, doesn’t it? My trusty Century Dictionary says it all, defining abundance as: “overflowing plenty, copious or ample sufficiency, profusion, affluence, also abounding or rich in something.” Its root, translated from Latin, means to “rise up in waves.” So when we think and cultivate abundance, we are stimulating good things to rise up and flow toward us, to pour out.

As writers, abundance is all around us. We may focus on lack – lack of time, lack of experience, lack of contacts — but we are really richly endowed with all that we need to craft and create the work we feel called to do. Abundance abounds: It constantly invites us to share in the plenty it offers. Consider all we have at our command to give and receive:

An abundance of words: As wordsmiths, how lucky we are! Words, the tools of our trade, are infinitely rich and easily available. Pick up a dictionary and hold it: Every word within it is ours to play with. As wordsmiths, we are rich beyond measure.

An abundance of ideas: Some people believe that ideas are hard to come by and genuinely original ones are rare and precious. And yet, ideas also abound. They are floating in the ether, just waiting to be summoned and nurtured into grand and exciting ventures. Who would have thought a musical about Alexander Hamilton was a great idea? Or a story about a man’s obsession with a whale? Or another biography of Washington or Lincoln?

An abundance of effort: Sure, we all have a lot to learn – and, hopefully, we are all striving to grow and to improve our craft. Yet, even now, today, in this moment, we have so much to offer! By putting in the time and effort: by working steadily and purposefully, we can enrich our skill.

An abundance of persistence: Whatever we are working on, we are free to bring plenty of stick-to-it-ive-ness to the table—in fact, we won’t get anywhere without it. And yet it’s abundantly available to all of us: No one can give it to us or take it from us — it’s ours. Let’s use it!

How rich we each are in all we need to grow and prosper and create. Write on!

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Washington’s Wisdom

In honor of George Washington’s birthday, also my wonderful husband David’s birthday, some words of wisdom from our Founding Father to ponder and apply:

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

“It is better to be alone than in bad company.”

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

“Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do–then do it with all your strength.”

“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation. ”

“In politics as in religion, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

Let’s take inspiration and fortitude from George — and write on!

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Something Wonderful

Try, Try Again

‘This a lesson you should heed,

Try, try again;

If at first you don’t succeed

Try, try again;

Then your courage should appear.

For, if you will persevere,

You will conquer, never fear;

Try, try again.

— T.H. Palmer

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