Inspiration

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It’s only been a week since I committed to a daily schedule of writing. It has been wonderful and that is the most pleasant surprise considering I have been scared of this for so many years. I’ve been feeling blocked for a long time, as this blog can attest. There isn’t a perfect word for how good it has felt to be productive again, but grateful comes close.

I am grateful for the Universe pushing me to do this for so long. I am sorry it took me so many years to face my fears. I have had more energy and been more content and present in this last week. I feel alive.

It seems ridiculous that I have let fear dictate what I did with my creativity but that fear has caused me to live a half life for quite some time. Writing everyday has helped me to connect again with my true spirit and I don’t want it to end.

Songland has been my favorite thing since the first five minutes of the first episode. I cried through the whole show and have continued to cry through most of the episodes since. I love seeing songwriters be given these incredible opportunities. I love seeing the artists work with each song and the way the song changes with the help of the producers. I am blown away each week.

Tuesday’s episode with the Jonas Brothers was particularly inspirational. Seeing them respond to all the songs they heard was beautiful. Every week pushes me to start writing songs again. I made a new playlist on Spotify today with songs from the show and other songs I am jazzed about right now. I was singing in the car on the way home from a movie and noticed that I was singing with so much freedom. It was so invigorating.

I even went to buy new guitar strings tonight. If I can write everyday, I can definitely start playing the guitar again. It was weird and exciting to walk around Guitar Center. It occurred to me as I was paying for my strings that it was the same store I had bought my amp at almost 20 years ago. I remember thinking that amp was going to change my life. It did in many ways. I’m a little sad I stopped playing and writing songs in the first place, but I am excited to come back to it.

It feels great to be so inspired again, in every way.

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Showing Up

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It is overcast and cooler today. I have my windows open and have been listening to the chirps and squawks of the birds around my apartment as I drink my first cup of coffee. It is finally summer and the freedom of building my own schedule everyday is bliss.

It was a stressful year in many ways, but I made it to the end. One of the main goals I wanted to accomplish this summer was to find a daily schedule that worked for me and to write again.

I had found my rhythm with writing non-fiction for a while, but only when I had a deadline. My novel and short story ideas would be present every day, but I could not get them on the page. I know it had a lot to do with fear and ultimately rejection. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to rip off the bandaid.

That’s what I did. I ripped off the bandaid and made room for my stories again. It’s been a week, five days of writing actually and in those five days I have shown up and produced work. My notebook is filling up, my pens are drying up and there are 17 pages of new work on my laptop.

I didn’t want to give myself a word count goal because that has tripped me up in the past. Instead I am making room for writing everyday and starting with at least an hour. I am finding I can write close to a 1,000 words in that hour and end up working for much more with outlining and research. Big chunks of time eek away and I feel satisfied and excited for the next day.

It feels good to come home to myself in this way. To be surrounded by notebooks and pens and stories. I am excited to see what I can accomplish between now and August, just by showing up.

Listening and Love

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A lot of my value has been wrapped up in being a strong and independent person. I have learned over the last couple of years to ask for help in some small ways, but when I am really struggling, I dig in and play the “I’m fine”card.

In a couple of days we will move into the second half of 2018. This year has already been a rollercoaster of wonderful blessings and life-altering changes. It has been challenging to hold both realities. These last couple of weeks have been especially tumultuous.

When I have felt like I couldn’t breathe from the grief, my tribe has risen to hold my heart and soothe me with texts, emails, phone calls and visits. I had to laugh as one friend ignored me all together and brought groceries, despite my protests. Just sitting together, laughing and talking brought me so much joy and light. Each check in eases my burden bit by bit.

This wasn’t the summer I had planned for in many ways, but I am doing my best to listen to what I’m receiving. I haven’t been able to be out in the world much, but I’ve had the time to go inward and process my own world and the worlds I am building in a handful of stories.

I’m also learning to let people in more and accept more help. It doesn’t make me less valuable to be vulnerable, despite how uncomfortable it can make me. I know it is just a by-product of my broken heart. I have faith that it’ll be even stronger after it heals.

Research and Inspiration

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This was a hard week. I had some major anxiety about medical tests for myself and my dad and didn’t feel 100% for most of it. Luckily, we both got some good news. I’m not out of the woods, but what they suspect I’m suffering from is a mild case. This is a huge blessing. I was very worried I had another surgery in my future.

So, this is going to be a quiet weekend for me. I have some things on my to-do list, but mainly I will be doing good things for my body and spirit. We are supposed to get a snow storm tonight and tomorrow which is also a blessing. Colorado has barely had any snow this year, and we really need it. I’m prepared to keep myself busy and warm until it clears or I have to leave for work on Monday.

I have been working a lot on non-fiction articles lately, but am also being called to write picture books again. Picture books can be fun and silly, or educational, however they also can be profound and comment on elements of our world and culture that affect us in deep, intimate ways.

I researched a bunch of picture books that were published in the last couple of years and borrowed them from the library. I love reading as reader, but also as a writer. There are so many lessons on craft on the pages of the books featured above. I have been brought to tears and covered with goosebumps with every title. There is such a captivating relationship between words and pictures that work together to create such a visceral experience.

I will be writing review posts for all of these books soon, but for now, they have been wonderful company on this quiet, reflective Saturday. I am hoping they inspire me to get more of my own words on the page.

Let it Flow

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It’s kind of a dreary Saturday morning, but the sun is making its way back. I have a lot to accomplish this weekend, but I have found myself craving the company of hot coffee and good books. As I look outside, the breeze blows the last bit of fall from the trees and I know winter is coming. Just this week we had another extreme dip in temperature and snow. My house is quiet and warm.

The quiet used to bother me. I seemed to always have the television on in the background, just to fill the space, even if I wasn’t watching or paying attention. Having lived alone for many years, the noise provided some comfort. Lately, I have been consciously turning it off to read or write…even to be quiet and think. I am less bothered by the silence.

My personal and professional life have felt chaotic these last few months and that might be the reason I have been wanting a quieter existence at home. I also have been sleeping better than I ever have before. Rest is a blessing. I think a byproduct of this quiet and rest, is hearing my own voice more clearly and the voice of story. I am more attuned to the frequency of my creative current again. The quiet is allowing space for exploration and risk, allowing the space for truth and vulnerability.

I am working on many projects at once, being led by inspiration, but also trying to show up to whatever project calls to me on that day. I am less worried about the outcome and more centered in the process. This feels new to me. I am filling a notebook with thoughts and scenes and quotes and essays. It is all jumbled together, but every page is sacred space.

The Universe is pushing me to let it flow in so many ways. I am reminded constantly that my agenda is not usually in step with the timing of my life unfolding. Patience is a virtue I will likely be working on for a lifetime.

I will do the laundry and clean the bathroom this weekend. I will work on applying for a second job. I will answer emails and work on a website. I will also leave space for reflection and quiet. I will find time to rest and listen.

Season Change

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Colorado has experienced a significant cold front with the changing of the season this year. Mere hours after the Autumn Equinox, it was in the high eighties, but overnight the rain came in and our temperatures have continued to drop throughout the weekend. It is currently forty-one degrees. I had to pull my comforter up last night for the first time in a long time and this morning I had to grab a sweatshirt and dig around for some slippers. Yesterday I read, as it gently rained outside and my green chili simmered on the stove.

As I mention every year, Fall is my favorite season. I am looking forward to the beauty and the light. I feel more reflective this time of year and I welcome the change that the season brings. However these first days of fall are gloomy and cold. I can’t help but think the outside is mirroring my inside. This year has been difficult in so many ways, both personal and global. There is so much to be sad and angry about. I have been on a roller coaster of emotion, especially for the past two months. I am hopeful and working for change within myself and in the world, but some days it feels overwhelming and I wonder if things will ever be good again. I am a silver-linings person, but I have been learning lately that there are certain things I just can’t fix and it is difficult not to get mired down in that.

There is grief in that realization, but there is also freedom in the sense that I can only control my reaction to things. I can have boundaries and take a break. I can make art and write stories and sing songs. Will that change the world? Maybe, may be not. Will it change my inner world? Absolutely, because I feel more grounded and strong when I participate in those activities. Can I send all my love and compassion to people who are hurting? Yes, and I can be an ally and work to find other tangible ways to help. 

Eventually the clouds will part, the temperature will rise and the sun will shine on the beauty of the world around me. It’s all still there, and I will be grateful to see it again. I am thankful for this seasonal change reminding me to embrace the changes I experience in my life. Today I appreciate these comfy slippers and a warm house, while I reflect on how to proceed when the sun  returns.