Jul.02

What The Wall Has Taught Me

The first half of the year is done, and what have I learned from it?

I’ve learned that hitting the wall hurts, and hitting it more than once leaves a bruise.   But, in the healing I have found my resilience.

There has been a significant learning curve for me.   My passion and belief in myself as a writer and artist is what has kept me rising from the dust and ashes again and again.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. -Joseph Campbell
These months have taught me that my creativity requires me to use a more tactile and basic technique. For me, the creative process must begin with no more than a pen and paper.  I must start with these basic tools before I can even attempt to sit before the canvas or a keyboard.   Attempting to follow the methods and structures of others has failed me time and time again.  But in this approach I found I can be consistent.

So, maybe for you, my dear Constant Reader, this year has been filled with the sort of magical kismet that has the stars aligning to present one opportunity after the other for you.   Or, if your year has been more like my own, you have found yourself standing in full dark with no stars to light your way.

Courage dear heart.

Regardless your path or methodology, stay the course. Hold true to your dream and the universe will follow.  I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year will hold.

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

Jun.17

Dear Universe…

I find I am at a crossroads and my thoughts are heavy with possibilities and potential outcomes. My bearings are askew and I find myself left of center. There is a crackling of static electricity rising from my skin; a verve of ideas that has me restless and apprehensive. And yet, I find I am pulled and distracted from the path yet again.

Tonight, even as I am soothed by the sounds of a sleeping house around me, there is, in the distance, the sound of a clock ticking.

The Universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already have. Rumi
It is a clock of my own design, massive and gaudy. It ticks away the minutes I have wasted, opportunities squandered and the foreboding sense that the greatness within me may never see the light of day.

Stories and characters are banging at the walls of my mind. Paintings burst like supernovas in my dreams and within minutes of waking they dissipate into vapor. Life has arrived in the midst of my creative burst; a colossus with no care for my plans. He sets boulders in my path and bricks on my shoulders to carry. And I push forward.

As I write this, I find that with each word I type, my hope swells. I sat with the intention of completing one word, maybe one sentence, with no clear outcome in mind, but now the words have begun to flow.
Therefore, I am writing this as a proclamation to the universe. I will speak into being that I cannot be broken from my dreams. I may stray from the path but I will not lose sight of it. A heavy heart and an anxious, worried mind has slowed my gait but still I strive.

Dear Universe, I believe in myself. I will not fail.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

Jun.01

The Abundance Within

There is a bone deep weariness within me fighting to take over as I sit writing this.  It has been a difficult week.  Sleep has become elusive and the periphery of my vision has been tinged with black.   And still I know that alongside this exhaustion resides a hope which is as bright and alert as the rising sun.

My heart constricts yet again as one more obstacle has been placed before me. But that will not deter me.  I have willed myself to take another step and then another.  Giving in to the exhaustion and despair will not due.

Who am I to bemoan hard times when others under greater hardships have persevered, achieved and surpassed with grace and peace in their hearts?

In every moment you have a choice about how you want to use two of your most precious resources your attention and your intention.
– Deepak Chopra

I have dropped the ball so many times in this first half of the year that it feels as though my palms have been greased.   But still I trust that there is an abundance within me; a well spring of greatness I have yet to tap into. 

I envision it as a ball of light which lives deep within the core of me.  Some days it is barely a flicker and others it is a ball of raging fire which envelopes me; racing through my nerve endings, so that it sizzles and sparks with all I set my mind to and touch.

But tonight I am tired and heart heavy.  I write this to remind myself to push forward and keep trying.  Even as my feet are leaden beneath me, I resolve to take another step and then another.

There is an abundance within me.

God please give me the grace to set it free.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

May.01

My Dear Reader

My Dear Reader,

I want to share with you something which has me red-faced and more than a bit chagrined.  I’ve slid down a slick slope of idleness and am at a loss as to how I got there.  I’m angry and frustrated with myself over my unproductive slip.

I’ve lost my flow and I’m struggling.

I share this not as a woe is me story, but in the hopes of helping my fellow writer, artist, dreamer and achiever who is awash in self-doubt and at a loss of how to truly articulate what their going through to the people around them.

For every person, whose momentum since the New Year, has rocketed them on an ever reaching celestial path, there are those like myself that are overwrought with ennui.   I write this as someone who was previously on the ball, working my hustle day and night and now it is a daily struggle to get just one thing accomplished.  I have no doubt that I am not the only one who is embarrassed at all I can’t seem to accomplish.  I worked so hard in the prior year to grow and take myself to the next level and now it seems I battle to motivate myself more than ever before.

I can tell you that March and April were no friends to me.  They brought with them a stockpile of issues, stress, headache and heartache.  And honestly I let them get the best of me, but I am only human.

I am not a machine and can only handle but so much.  Routines are broken.  No system or method is impervious to change.  It is in the pursuit of progress that we must evolve and if we don’t then the universe (at least in my case), will step in and show us a thing or two until we do.

I have begun to make small strides to pull myself back up.  Yet I still can’t say that I have my feet completely under me but, I forge ahead.  All things in their due time.

So to all those shooting stars out there having a phenomenal year I say, soar higher.  And to those who are struggling as I am, I offer the words of C.S. Lewis, “Courage, dear heart!”  We can make it back to where we want to be.  We must have faith in ourselves; in the untapped greatness within us.  We must evolve and create new paths for ourselves if we want to get back to where we once were.

Repeat after me…

Re-adjust

Re-align

Push ahead.

I am with you and believe in the greatness within you.

Siempre,

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

Mar.01

Deadlines

I recently had an epiphany. It came in the form of an SOS from another writer given a tight deadline for edits from her publisher. She asked for my help as a second set of eyes and I agreed without hesitation.

The catch? The edits needed to be back to her that same night. I received the piece at 10pm and was finally able to send it back by 1:30am. The next day, as I sat behind my desk at my 9-5, I realized I’d done for her what I wasn’t doing for myself.

“The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” –Steven Pressfield

I had become lazy, subconsciously nursing my own self-doubt. I made the process harder than it needed to be so that I could tell myself it was okay that I wasn’t writing. I was missing opportunities and deadlines for submissions, but could not produce a valid reason for it.

But, the real question I was left asking myself was, why? Why was I willing to lose sleep and work late into the night for another writer but not be willing to do the same for myself? Fear, self-doubt, self-consciousness, take your pick. I was feeding into my own anxieties and in turn shutting myself down.

Spark.
Fan.
Flame.

It was so easy to find the excuses not to do what I knew was completely within my means to accomplish. I’d become the foil within the story of my own life. And now that I was able to see that, I couldn’t un-see it. I have been writing, revising and producing work of my own everyday since. I have set short tight deadlines, (I realized as well that I do better with them than without) and have not let myself waver from them.

With each new day, I will make the conscious decision to push past the resistance I have created in my own mind. I will overcome the self-doubt that was preventing me from putting out the work I know is within me.

The deadlines are looming. I am more productive than ever…it’s time to get to work.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes

Feb.16

My Birth as Constant Reader…

I have spent a good portion of my reading life thinking of myself as Constant Reader; as a lover of stories.  It is within the context of this label that I first identified myself and where my writing-self was born.

“The glory of a good tale is that it is limitless and fluid; a good tale belongs to each reader in its own particular way.” –Stephen King

I write as Constant Reader.  I write with the mindset of one who desires to read a great story that will linger long after the last page has been turned.

What brought all this to mind was finishing Joyland by Stephen King.  I enjoyed it as I have so many of his novels and it took me back to being 12 again when I first discovered his books.  Back then I couldn’t wait to tell someone about the stories I read.  His books left me mesmerized and afraid to go to the bathroom late at night.  After reading his novel It, I have never looked down a storm drain or at a clown the same way ever again.  I loved it.

Even more importantly, it was within these novels that I first identified myself as Constant Reader.  In many books, either in his foreword or afterward, Mr. King addresses them to Constant Reader.   In reading them I felt as though he was speaking directly to me and reshaped my way of thinking of myself.  Who was I if not the epitome of the Constant Reader?  I lived with my nose tucked in books.  If there was a great story to be read I was in search of it.  This great author was writing to me, giving me insight into the magical worlds he let me slip into.   His stories, so vast in range of characters and storyline, were all so very real to me.  I was able to see them so vividly in my mind’s eye.  It was also within these books that I felt the first stirrings of wanting to be a writer.  I wanted to create stories just like Stephen King.  I too wanted to write for the Constant Reader.

Finishing Joyland reminded me of all this and more.  So I ask you my fellow Constant Readers…What was the last book you read that you couldn’t wait to pass along or talk to someone about?

Self Discovery,Motivation,Novel,Quotes,Constant Reader

Jan.31

The Octopus Lives…

“You are going to need to grow an extra brain and arms.  You wanna be an octopus.”

That was the advice my husband gave to me recently as I relayed my frustrations over trying to figure out a game plan to get more done within a day…week…month.  I was so serious and intent in my angst that his response took me completely off guard.  His beguiling West Indian tone and deadpan delivery had me laughing for at least 10 minutes.

The Octopus Lives

But in all seriousness, his comment does beg the question that many of us who are in the throes of trying to build our dreams into a reality are faced with…Am I trying to accomplish more than is humanly possible?

I seem to constantly grapple with the question of whether my overreaching and overzealous ambition has become the equivalent of a subversive self-sabotage.

The truth that always sets my mind at ease is remembering that this is all part of the journey.  Frustration comes when my desire and drive are moving faster than everyday life. The struggling and fighting for my dream is all part of what comes with creating a life where I am able to live out my passions every day.  This is about commitment and my commitment to myself can never be wrong.

My ambitious nature, which I held silent for so long, has now surged forward.  With each accomplishment the list of things that I want to undertake continues to grow.  Each goal surpassed sets my eyes to the horizon for greater and grander peaks to reach.

At the beginning of last year my only goal when it came to art (because I did make a list) was:

By Summer 2013: Have a completed a painting and/or drawing

After not painting for 7 years that was a big hurdle to cross.  I was not even sure I knew how to paint anymore.  But once I started again and rediscovered my passion, I not only completed a painting but I exhibited in 6 different galleries and venues within the course of the year.  Tooting my own horn…your damn right I am.

My passion, ambition and drive got me there.  And I’m sure there were times over the course of last year when I may have seemed like an octopus.  But as I write this I stand confidently in knowing this is the truest version of who I am.  Not having multiple wheels rolling at once makes me anxious.  If I know there is more that I could and should be doing and instead I find myself sitting on the couch watching TV…that is the self sabotage.  It may seem like too much to some and over the top to others, but  I can’t and don’t want to change.  This is me.

So for now the octopus lives on….I’ll let you know when I finish growing that extra brain.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Quotes

Jan.14

Hard Roads…Pursuing the Dream

The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.

-Steven Pressfield

The War of Art”

Whether you are a writer, artist or entrepreneur we’ve all had times when our momentum has waned; when our mojo is just tapped out.  The path it seems is littered with missed steps.

I’ve recently felt myself faltering.  I’ve lost my stride and catch myself stumbling more often than not.  It is disheartening.  It is lonely.  Friends and family sometimes understand and can help get you back on track, but there are also the well-intended responses of “relax”, “take a break”, or my favorite, “it’s not that serious.”  In the midst of struggle these words become dismissive of what I am feeling and offer little comfort.  But to their credit it is not their journey.  It is mine and mine alone.  And regardless of what others have to say, either good or bad, the perseverance and drive will live and die within me.

One of the hardest things to do, second to getting up the nerve to follow your dream, is to keep your momentum going once you’ve started.  The pursuit of your dreams is a slow and arduous road and is by no means for the faint of heart.  Much is sacrificed along the way but there is even more to be gained.

My passion fuels me but it also keeps me up at night when I know that I’ve half-heartedly accomplished something.  Self-doubt can cripple in the wee hours of the night while everyone else is sleeping.  But for all my uncertainty, I am still confident that this will pass as long as I keep pushing myself.  If I’m consistent the ideas and inspiration will come.  I will not lose faith because I know in my core this is the path I was meant to follow.

So what’s my point in writing this?  It is simply this, I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.  There is a Dreamer, a Believer, a Hustler, and a Grinder all out there struggling.  So to you, my fellow warriors, keep your heads up and stay the course.  These difficult times will test your resolve, but will only break you if you let it.  Remember why you started.

Challenges,Motivation,Quotes