Category Archives: God

To Everything There is a Season

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mbm2011IMG_2254wtmkThis has been the most beautiful Autumn I ever remember in Colorado. The interesting thing is that it has happened in waves. Most of the trees in Denver are just starting to change, but last weekend, the collegiate peaks were in full color. I was lucky to get out of town, with one of my best friends. We had a wonderful weekend and was amazed by the ridiculous level of beauty at every turn.

Fall is my favorite time of year and I’ve written about it here on many occasions. It holds so much meaning for me, but it is also bittersweet. It is the end of a cycle. One final burst of color, before a new white canvas. There are many blessings in my life right now: I have a job, a home, people who love me, a weekend of uninterrupted quality time with one of my best friends. However, there is horrendous upheaval all around and the stress and sadness is hard to manage. Many systems in my life and the lives of those I love are being torn down. I trust and have faith that these systems will be built again, stronger and better, yet these times of chaos are unsettling.

How do we keep a tight ship in a stormy sea. How do we move forward when our path seems cluttered with destruction, so much so that it’s difficult to even make the next right step? I don’t have the answer, I’m afraid. I think that is one of the reasons why autumn is so breathtaking. I think it’s the universe’s way of soothing our souls and easing us into the dormancy of winter.

I trust that this time of upset will resolve. I can only control or change so much. Much of this is out of my hands and above my pay grade, as a good friend likes to say. Yet, there is still beauty. There is still deep, unending friendship. There is still comfort from my dad, even if I have to visualize a bear hug as he listens and calms me over the phone. There is a time for every season and a time for every purpose, whether I see the reason or not.

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Patience Is a Virtue

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I recently watched the movie The Adjustment Bureau. I remember seeing the trailer and thinking that it looked really interesting. I was so impressed with this film. It was suspenseful, romantic and thought-provoking. As I was watching, I Googled to see if it had been based on a book. I found out that it had been inspired and loosely based on a short story called Adjustment Team. This short story was written by Philip K. Dick, a man who wrote forty four published novels and one hundred and twenty-one short stories. Although he wrote full-time, he never experienced much success during his lifetime and once said, “We couldn’t even pay the late fees on a library book.” However, nine movies (many blockbuster successes) have been based on his stories and films based on his works have accumulated over one billion dollars.

I’ve read numerous times that the mark of a real writer is someone who will write regardless of whether or not they receive any acclaim or success. Real writers are compelled to write. Philip K Dick was a real writer. He had patience and perseverance to write without much reward to keep him going. I find it inspiring and it helps me to cultivate some of the same patience and perseverance in my own writing life.

I have received many little messages from the universe lately. I am being haunted by yellow butterflies. They are everywhere. I’m not sure who it is, but I’m paying attention. I also have been upset about not being called for interviews yet and being impatient about waiting to see where I am going to land with regards to a teaching job. I told my mom last night that I’m having a hard time understanding why others are getting jobs and I am not. I’m struggling to not take it personally and stay positive and hopeful.

I realize that this isn’t unlike waiting to hear from an editor or an agent about a manuscript for months, years or never at all. I read two essays in daily meditations books for July 7th about patience. I became less frustrated about waiting because those essays resonated as omens that I need to take a deep breath and surrender.

I also have been compelled to find out about Philip K. Dick since I watched that movie. After some research, I found out that he is buried in Fort Morgan, Colorado with his twin sister Jane who died when they were six weeks old. I also feel led to go to his grave site for some reason. I think I have an appreciation for his desire to write and feel I need to bear witness in some way that is deeper than just reading his words. I told my friend this a week ago and I said, “I want to look for his grave, but it could take hours to cull through and I still might not find it.” My friend said there might be a directory, which is possible, but it felt like I would be looking for a needle in a haystack.

Tonight as I was preparing for this post, I entered Philip K Dick in Google to look for a nice picture to include. I scanned through pages of photographs, but kept coming back to the one I inserted at the top. I finally decided that I was coming back to this one over and over for a reason and clicked on it.

To my surprise, the picture linked me to a website that gave me the exact plot location of his grave.

I love synchronicity of any kind, but this felt very powerful. I’m definitely going to Fort Morgan soon to pay my respects. I am also working on practicing patience.

Be A Channel

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I have had the song What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye in my head all day today. I recently say a playlist segment on Nightline with Smoky Robinson and he was talking about how when Marvin was recording this album, he told him that he wasn’t writing it, that God was. Smoky talked about how the music from this album is even more relevant today and I have to agree. Maybe Marvin was right. Maybe he was channeling something bigger than himself, something so universal that it would still be poignant all these years later.

Julia Cameron, who has written many wonderful books on creativity, speaks of being an open channel as an artist. Puccini felt that Madame Butterfly was dictated to him by God. Robert Jackson said of his music, “Once I realized it wasn’t ‘my music’, once I realized I was essentially a straw, I began to play very beautiful music – but it’s not ‘mine’ it’s God’s.”

Art opens the door to inspiration. Art open the door to the divine. The act of creating something is a spiritual act. Julia Cameron has a sign at her desk that reads, “Ok, Universe. You take care of the quality. I’ll take care of the quantity.” As she says, when she writes, she lets God or the Great Author work through her. She is a channel.

I have often had these channel experiences as a songwriter, but not in a really long time. For the first time in over a year – I was a channel again yesterday. It felt so good to be overcome by inspiration and know that I was being led to exact right words and the perfect phrase. The lyrics are universal and personal. I needed to express a piece of my soul, but didn’t know how. I was open to the images and words as they came through.

I have been wanting to break out of this block with my writing and I think focusing on being a channel will get my ego out of the way and let the divine step in. If it worked for Marvin Gaye and Julia Cameron, then it just might work for me too.

Victorious!

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Having faith is not always easy. But I’ve been reminded recently that when I truly need assistance in my life, it always shows up at just the right time. Last week I was beside myself with worry, so much worry that I didn’t even think to ask for help. Regardless, angels have swooped in to save me again. I am very grateful for all the big and small opportunities to make some extra money that have come my way lately.

Also, I have yet to get back into my daily writing grid again, but I have been working out some of the bugs in my wip and that feels like progress even if the page is still blank. I also have been reading a lot of short stories and feel inspired to write short fiction again. I think the commitment of a novel has me a bit spooked lately and a short story might be exactly what I need to get my butt back in the chair.

Yesterday I was working on lesson plans at school with my Clinical teacher. I sat at her desk and worked on plans while she read through our students fiction stories. I had worked hard the last month on creative writing lessons and these were the students final copies. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that one of our kiddos had a fantastic lead in his story. I was curious to see what he did with the rest. I found out yesterday that he not only had a wonderful lead, but he also used specific vivid language and wrote a truly engaging story.

I was almost brought to tears as she read it a loud and I experienced the story as it unfolded with all my senses. My student had taken all the story elements that we had talked about during those lessons and created something magical. I felt like a superhero. I can’t wait to talk to him about it this coming week and congratulate him on such a thrilling story.

His victory fuels my desire to tell another story of my own.

No internet and New, Scary Internships

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I made it through my first week of my new High School internship, but barely. I’m soooo not used to waking up at 5 am anymore and that was crazy hard! High School is such a different feeling than elementary, which is logical, but even the demeanor of the teachers is so different. I like it and I know I’m going to learn a lot about the reality of teaching in an urban school and all that this entails.

I didn’t have internet access this week which sucked at first, but I got some reading and thinking done, which was probably better for me anyway. I saw Eat Pray Love last night with a friend and was very impressed. It in no way replaces the book to me, but it was nice to experience Liz Gilbert’s journey with such vivid images of places I have only been in my dreams – Italy, India and Bali. Bali looks like a paradise that I could get used to seeing every morning!

I’ve been on a quest of my own lately. In all honesty I seem to always be on a spiritual quest of sorts. Always searching. Always questioning. The way my mom tells it, this has always been the case. Even before I could talk, you could tell that I was looking around, observing it all and trying to assimilate it into answers. Once I could talk, I never stopped. Once my grandmother asked, “Mary, could you be quiet for just a minute? Please!” To which I stated, “No, grandma. I was just born to talk.” And that was that. She laughed and realized that I wasn’t going to shut up anytime soon.

Lately,  though, I have seemed to find some peace about who I am and what I believe in. It’s always bothered me that I believed whole heartily in things that are not popular. I’ve never really been able to come to terms with the “beat’s to a DIFFERENT drum” element of my psyche and soul. This is starting to change. This change will not always be comfortable or welcome and that realization is becoming more of a blessing than I ever could have imagined.

I’m not the Dalai Lama or anything, but I’m learning the twisted road map of my heart and soul and skin and all that. Surprisingly enough I’m following the dirt trails and have avoided any head on collisions. It might not make sense to anyone else, but it really doesn’t need to. Just that sentence means I am finally on the right path. The right path to what you might ask? Enlightenment. Freedom. Bliss. Joy. Peace. I don’t know. All of the above or maybe none of the above…but if I stay the course, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. And knowing that for certain is a blessing in itself.

Trust, Faith and Surrender

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Trust, faith and surrender. Three seemingly little words that weigh heavy on my heart. Three things I am being called to do, but I’m so bad at them. They are clearly one of my major life lessons, that is for sure.

The universe keeps reminding me to chill out and live in the moment. It whispers in my ear, day and night,”You’re exactly where you need to be, it will all work out, trust me.” Somehow, my heart is still troubled and riddled with worry. I’ve tried all my new-agey tricks to calm it, however I’m still crazy with doubt.

I’m also being tested in terms of my commitment, work ethic and determination. It’s so easy for me to leave and retreat into my thoughts, into a daydream of how it will all be butterflies and flowers some day. The fantasy of the perfect relationship, the opportunity to write all day in my glorious treehouse office…yet, I’ve read enough writer blogs to know that even when I get to write all day and pay the bills with my art – not everything will be butterflies and flowers. Roses still have thorns and it doesn’t serve me to imagine how perfect everything will be then.

There are good/bad things to every situation and I know that even though I can’t see the good in this yet that it does exist. I just have to keep my head down and do the work. I was on a conference call with Jack Canfield once, the creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and he talked about how he would tell himself that all his hard work would pay off in the end. That eventually he would be able to take time to enjoy himself, but to keep working hard in the meantime.

I’m trying to have the same attitude. I’ll still try to have some fun, cheap fun, but fun nonetheless as often as I can, but I have a lot of work in front of me that needs my attention and commitment right now.

This seems like a rambly post, but it helped me to feel more sane to get it out of my head and onto the page. Thanks for listening cyber-space. See you soon.

New Developments aka God is Forgiven

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Lots of stuff happening lately. Two of my favorite people in the world got some great news and that always makes me happy. I also just found out about a new opportunity that could really have the power to change things in my life in such a positive way. I would like the take the time now in blog-mode to officially thank God for not being offended by the cussing when we spoke a couple of weeks ago and for spiritually bailing me out (so to speak) in the last week.

These new development’s will not drastically change my circumstances, but they will offer me a leg-up and the time/flexibility to pursue other things I have been putting aside. That feels good. It is a relief to finally have a break. It gives me a new sense of resolve and motivation as well.

I have been approached a lot lately about what I have learned about self-publishing. I am going to be putting together a group of posts on this very subject – coming soon!

I’m still writing away at The Lost. It is hard to believe I am over half-way done with the novel. I am giving myself a realistic goal of having the first draft in the bag by October. This feels doable and I will likely finish early, but that will be one year. After finishing TCC, I wasn’t sure I could ever do it again, but this novel has been wonderful. I am so in love with this story and I am excited to tell it.

I am expanding my research for the next book and I’m outlining for a new YA series.

Lot’s to do…