Nov.01

At the Core of it All

As I shared a few weeks ago, 2015 has not necessarily been the best for me.  I have had ups and downs with trying to keep to task.  I have tried, God only knows how many ways, to get this train of mine back on track.  To say it has been a stuggle is an understatement.

I started on this path of self discovery and reinvention at the tail end of 2012.  I rushed forward with a passion and an excitement that could not be sated as I reconnected to my love of writing and painting.  

This in turn lead me to start seriously pursuing my dreams, my goals with the hope of one day making them my career.  I met people, began networking and the advice started flowing.  As did  the deadlines and time frames started  shortening.  And then it became…
Have you submitted here…
Have you tried writing this…
You need to get this done…connect to this…sign up for that…

And for me the pressure built making it, less about the work itself and more about all the extras.  Suddenly fitting in  all the extras in began to overtake everything else.

The art and writing I reconnected to…that I loved, became swallowed by the burden of taking my self to the next level.  It had stretched me thin and the fun and excitement was gone. 

It was in this mindset, numbed out and fried, that I sat watching TV with my husband.  We began watching a T.D. Jakes sermon, where he spoke about transformation and getting back to the core of who you are meant to be.  Mr. Jakes noted that to get to your core,  “You can either cut to get at it or rot to it.”  Hearing those words was like having a film lifted off my eyes and suddenly being able to see clearly again.

image

I was allowing all the other stuff, the extra noise, to rot around the core of what I was meant to be doing.  It was killing my inspiration, my drive, my passion. 

On this path to making a dream a career I have to continue to refocus and realign to the heart of it all.  I love being a storyteller, whether it is in the form of paint on canvas or words on the page.  That is what comes first and foremost.  It is the core of what and who I am.

I share this for anyone who has had a year like mine.  Remember the reason why you started.  Hold to that and you will find your way.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,On Writing,Art,Artist

Oct.01

Choices

Dear Constant Reader,

While catching up with a friend today, she made the comment, “I am not a fan of this second half of 2015.”  And in looking at my year to date, part of me was inclined to agree with her.   It has felt at times as though the universe was…is…testing my resolve to hold the course.

I can almost envision the the universe peering over my shoulder, dubiously surveying my current endeavors as it leans in and whispers in my ear,

How bad do you really want this career that you claim so ardently is your calling?

Have I faltered undered pressure of that question over the past year?  Please see massive gaps between blog posts for that answer.

But more importantly, however is despite the gaps, I  keep finding my way back.  With every missed step there has been a clear and conscious choice to get back to work.  A choice to not give up on my writing…my art…myself.

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” -Deepak Chopra

The universe may be determined to test my mettle this year, next year or more likely everyday for the rest of my life, but I am equally determined to make every one of my goals a reality.  How long will it take me?  I have no idea.  What I do know is all things will come with time and hustle.

image

So as I sit here writing this, a new month stretched out before me and I am ready.  While I may not be a fan of  how 2015 has rolled out so far, I know I am stronger than whatever it can swing my way.  I may have tripped and stumbled, even found myself on the floor a time or two, but I keep getting up.  Keep going and pushing forward.

Its time to hustle harder.

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing

Jun.29

A Question Posed

Dear Constant Reader,

There are somethings that I believe in with all my heart.  Things that have no tangible proof other than my gut tells me so.  One such truth for me is if you are open and willing…and quite often in dire need…there will be moments when the universe will speak to you.

Ok, now before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, know that I speak of not of an actual conversation but more of a directing of purpose and passion.  In life there are moments…actions…encounters that will help steer the course of your life.  Sometimes we are able to see them later in life with some consideration and retrospect.  But there are also those rare and beautiful moments where you are so open you know the moment as it happens.

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. -Steven Pressfield

It will take the form of a directness so clear and profound that it resonates within you down to your core.  Your very spirit will vibrate like a  struck bell.  And please trust this my dear Constant Reader, you will definately know when it happens.

I had one such moment this past weekend, when I was speaking to my beloved Comadre and she asked the question…

Are you interested or are you committed?

Maybe I have come across this question before, maybe not,  but it is one thing to be asked this question and it is quite another to really and truly hear it…digest the intent of those words and then to be honest with yourself about what the answer is.

Those words have played in a loop in my mind since then.  My dear Constant Reader you know the octopus rears her head with me time and time again.  My tentacles stretch and begin to maneuver to so many projects.  But then comes this question…

It is so very easy to over extend oneself on things that are interests but in actuality we are not really committed to pursuing.  Am I over reaching in interests to the detriment of that which I am truly committed?  Even as I write this the question replays and I am pulled to look into so many aspects of my life and ask it again and again.

In the pursuit of my dreams, am I interested in being the greatest version of myself or am I committed to giving every ounce of my power, my passion and my purpose to become the greatest version of myself?

I stand before this questions, the answer resonating within me, and I am humbled.

Vanessa

 

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing

May.19

The Octopus Rises…

Dear Constant Reader,

Its been almost a month since my last post, but that is not from a lack of want.  The realities of my day to day life seem to outweigh my artistic vision from time to time.  And while I would love to proclaim that I am a die hard member of the Hustler’s Team No Sleep, I can not.  There are some things that must take precedence over others.  It took me a while to stop trying to fit the “I’ll rest when I make it” ideal into my life.  My day job, which is crucial to my being able to help take care of my family, cannot be done bleary-eyed and fuzzy brained.  Some may say if I wanted the dream bad enough I would make it all work.  I say you don’t slight one aspect of your life to shove in another.

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed. Vincent Van Gogh

My mantra to make it through my day to day is…Patience and Faith

Patience in the belief that all thing will come in their own due time and faith that the fruits of my labors will  come to pass.

I have no doubt that one day I will be able to maintain and support my family with my writing career.  But, as much as I wish it were, that is currently not the case.  Nonetheless, I will keep striving towards making that desire a reality.  In the meantime however, I will not berate myself for those time when taking care of family obligations and work responsibilities dictate that the dream of a writer’s life must take a backseat from time to time.

The Octopus Lives

The octopus needs to rest now and again.  But the break is over.  Steadily I rise from the sea floor.  Even as I write this I feel my tentacles flexing.  Time to get back in the groove.

Besos y Abrasos,

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Constant Reader,On Writing,Artist

Apr.21

Enter the Muse…

“So the Muse whispered in Beethoven’s ear.  Maybe she hummed a few bars into a million other ears.  But no one else heard her.  Only Beethoven got it.”

– Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

Dear Constant Reader,

I recently re-discovered the above passage from Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art”.  It was one of the first books of non-fiction which had a dramatic impact on me as a writer and artist.   And while I had read it many times before, this reading seemed to hold a resonance and impact that was different than the first.

I was introduced to this book about 3 years ago at the recommendation of a then recent acquaintance.  She like myself, was just at the beginning of her path towards self discovery.  Since then she has become a beloved friend, who has grown into such an expansive version of the woman I first met.   I now look at her in awe of all that she has accomplished.   And I have no doubt the Muse holds court at her side.  But, I am sure she would say as much about me and my journey as well.

the-dream-of-the-poet-or-the-kiss-of-the-muse-1859-60-oil-on-canvasbal155451When I first read those lines I was still struggling with defining not just who but also what my passion was as well.  The voice of the Muse was lost to me.  But as I write this, I can confidently say that I know I am a writer and an artist.  I know what my passions are.  In finding that part of myself, I have opened the door to so much more.

I remember having moments when I struggled to make a simple sketch or random doodle on a page.  The inspiration was not there.  And writing…well let’s just say if my struggles in painting left me blind of inspiration, then with my writing there was a defining silence.

However, in reading the above quote, I can now see how much has changed for me.  Ideas come to me like waves crashing against the shore.  Paintings bloom behind my eyes and in my dreams.  And at all times I an beset with the voices of the characters in my stories, who clamor to be made whole on the page.

Where I once struggled with even the concept of a Muse giving divine inspiration, I now lean into her sweet voice, ever present in my ear.  At times I wonder about all the years she stood beside me whispering…willing me to reach…to stive…to create, and all that I could have done if I just listened.

My dear Constant Reader… please know even in this moment she sits at your shoulder willing you to greatness.  Will you wait as I did or will you listen?

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing,Artist,Latinas Write Romance

Feb.02

Latinas Write Romance…Author Mercedes Cruz

Dear Constant Reader,

I am pleased to share my blog today with Latina romance author Mercedes Cruz.

Love Latino Style

By Mercedes Cruz

Latinos are a group of unique people. Almost everything we do we do is with passion. As a Latina born and raised in the USA, I personally can speak from experience. Although I have found that my up-bringing in a big city makes me more American than Latina, I can still very much relate to Love Latino Style. Being a Latina is in the food, the mannerisms, the music and the tough love.

Love Latino Style

I will not say that I am the authority on Latino love or speak for all Latinos; I can say the love I received from my parents might have been a little, ok a lot, harsher than my non-Latino peers. Part of these, sometimes harsh lessons, included loving each other despite our past disagreements. These lessons I learned, whether through the good or bad times as a young adult, will stay with me forever.

Please check out more from this fabulous writer.  Visit her at

Blog www.mercedescruz.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Mercededscruz

Twitter @MercedesAuthor

 

Challenges,Writing,Romance,Multicutural,Latinas Write Romance

Jan.01

Greatness Awaits

Looking back at 2014, I can say it was not what I had hoped or anticipated.

Did I accomplish all the goals I had set for myself?    No.

It was a struggle. I was knocked on my ass more than once. And while I was able to make some strides, it wasn’t until the latter half of the year before I finally started feeling like I had my legs back under me. And once I did I found a staggering amount of catching-up to be done.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

-William Shakespeare

In hindsight, I can say I was ambitious with little thought towards limits. I had unrealistic expectations as to what I could accomplish in a month, week, a day.

And I really underestimated the amount of sleep I needed in order to function, which in the end ultimately caused me to hit the wall…a few times.

But, the rough year is behind me and I am better for it. It has given me a keen awareness of my limitations, as well as a better gage of my strengths and weaknesses.

So with all that behind me, my hope for the New Year is high. I look at the months stretched out before me with optimism and excitement.

So on day one of 2015, I eagerly stand at the starting line ready to take the year head on.

Greatness awaits and will race ahead to meet it.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Quotes

Dec.15

Getting There In Time

As the New Year approaches a litany of impending deadlines looms before me.

It never fails that by year’s end, I find that I stretched my time beyond repair.  As the months roll by, I am always certain there are still a limitless number of days in which I will be able to catch up on. And then comes December.

Oh dear! Oh dear!  I shall be too late. – The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

From 12/1/2014 on, the tick tock of the days and hours rushing forward, even as I will them to slow down, pushes me to check and recheck dates and lists. I’m left continually asking myself whether I have accomplished within this year all that I could have…should have?

So now, with a little over 2 weeks left in 2014, I have taken the loftiest of my unaccomplished goals for the year and have resolved to fulfill it. I have set my completion deadline for no less than 11:59pm on December 31, 2014.
The passing of each second now booms within me. The White Rabbit runs rampant in my mind at all hours of the day and night. Nonetheless, I will not be deterred.

I may have to ring in the New Year bleary eyed, sleep deprived and with a touch more of the Hatter in me than when I began, but so be it.  I will, as dear Mr. Carroll wrote, “begin at the beginning, and go on till the end: then stop.”

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Quotes,On Writing

Dec.02

A Deep Weathered Basket…

Today has been a day of reflection and insight. This time last year I was on day one of a major life change both personally and professionally. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

Has it been an easy year? No. It has required me to push past my limits more than once. Yes.

I’ve had to take stock of what is important and what I would, could and must do without. People, perceptions and ideals have shifted or faded completely. And while I’ve lamented the loss of some, I know these changes are all necessary in order to become the artist, writer, wife, mother and woman I know I am meant to be.

I leave you with a quote from Jayne R. Brown’s poem, “Finding Her Here”.   I read it for the first time this year and it moved something in me and never fails to remind me of why I began this journey of self-discovery.

“I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,

grey at the temples,

soft body, delighted,

cracked up by life

with a laugh that’s known bitter

but, past it, got better,

knows she’s a survivor-

that whatever comes,

she can outlast it.

I am becoming

a deep weathered basket.”

 

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

Nov.01

Finding the High Road

So, I haven’t written a blog post in a month due having to take care of some necessary, and decidedly less fun, aspects of operating a business. But during my mini hiatus, I have had the opportunity to regroup and come to some very clear decisions not just for myself but for my brand as well.
The first major lesson learned is…
Ask questions and do your homework.
I recently learned the hard lesson of what happens after you do not ask enough questions. When you don’t do your own research or follow blindly into any project, venture, business, etc. you have to be willing to accept the consequences. When later down the road the end product or event is not what you envisioned, you can only hold yourself accountable. What your assumptions or expectations were mean nothing if you never made your voice heard. And believe me, I did have to learn this the hard way…kinda in a brick to the head type of hard way.

 

Secondly, in this past month I have come to an understanding regarding not just in my business as a writer and artist, but in my day to day as well…
While I cannot control the actions of others, I can most certainly control my own.
Sounds like a simple enough concept to understand I know, but very hard to put in practice when you are faced with the actual. Regardless of how poor others handle themselves, bad mouthing, talking smack, or just plain being unprofessional yourself, resolves nothing. Those negative reactions only serve to become a weight on you and honestly in the big picture of it all, will have no effect.

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As I was in the midst of my frustrations, fighting tooth and nail with myself to remain positive, when I read a blog post by Dale Partridge…
“If you’ve been screwed, release your tension in a healthy way. Talking poorly of others never benefits your situation and it almost always makes it worse. People assume that since you’re willing to share bad information about someone else with them, then you’re willing to share their flaws with others. They don’t feel safe and you’ve successfully pushed even more people away in a time when you need them the most.”  See more at: http://dalepartridge.com/just-got-screwed-now/

Reading that helped to cement my conscious decision that no matter how things rolled out, I was taking the high road (cliché as that may sound). I would choose to always remain professional but more importantly remain positive. I’ve had enough moments in my life were I ended up feeling choked on the resentment and bad thoughts born of others peoples actions. I decided to just let it go, and though it has taken a lot of effort, I feel better; my conscience lighter and more importantly, I have no regrets.
Besides, one thing I believe wholeheartedly is that karma will always level things in the end.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes