Books

Book Recommendation: Day One

My dear Facebook friend, Kerry Scherer, suggested that I do 7 days of book recommendations. I had every intention of starting this on Monday, but my son came home from school on Monday with a migraine, and well, Tuesday was Tuesday, and then Wednesday flew by in a blur, and here we are on Thursday and finally my first book recommendation.

I can be an incredibly anxious person. I believe a lot of that anxiety stems from the belief that I have to do everything on my own. And, maybe some of it stems from wanting to do everything on my own, too. Another part of it stems from wanting to control things that are completely out of my control. I developed a very warped sense of myself and the world as a child due to severe mental and physical abuse and all in the name of an invisible man in the sky. So, I tried to be good. Tried to be very, very good. Developed the belief that if I could just do things perfectly, everything would be okay. The belief instilled in me was that everything bad that happened to me was because I did something wrong, and even if that wasn’t the case, it didn’t matter because there was something inside me that was inherently wrong, and as such, I deserved what I got. I have carried that with me since childhood, and judging from the emotions I feel right now typing it, I am still carrying it with me now. Why do I mention all of this? Because I’ve come to realize, as I look over my favorite books, that they almost all have something to do with finding an alternate way to believe in a power greater than my human self. I have come to realize that, despite all the difficulties I have experienced in my life, I am still a seeker, and this revelation brought back one of very few memories from childhood.

I remember standing on the half-moon drive that ran in front of our house and two others. I was surrounded by pine trees that seemed to pierce right through the sky. There was a moment while standing there, at maybe age seven or eight, when I just knew I was more than the circumstances I was living in. I knew that I was destined for more than what was happening around me. To adult me, it feels like a moment when an angel came down and whispered in my ear and said:

“This moment you are in is not you. You are so much more than this. Look beyond your circumstances.”

There have been more instances since then when I have heard the little whisper, and other times when I’ve been in such despair and there was nothing but silence. But, in 2011, I had a near death experience during surgery that shifted everything for me. The need to understand that experience (which I’m still trying to do) has definitely influenced what books I choose to read, and what books have the most impact on my life.

As I think more about the books I have read, I am fascinated by how they carry our memories with them. I can see a certain book on my shelf, and the memory of what I was going through at the time I was reading it comes into clear focus in my mind. Books are little storage units for our emotional and physical experiences. How powerful is that?

downloadMy first book recommendation is Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver. It is a book I turn to again and again when I am afraid, when my life circumstances feel out of control, or when I am fighting the need to try to control every little aspect along with the outcome of every situation in my life. This book is my cure for anxiety. It is a reminder that we can surrender everything, and let that mysterious power greater than ourselves do what it needs to do to bring us through whatever it is we are experiencing. What I love about this book is Tosha Silver doesn’t just say, “Let it all go,” she says, “Look for the signs of the Divine. They are everywhere.” And when you start to look for them, you realize she is right, there are little messages everywhere. It is a reminder of the magic of this Universe that none of us truly understand. All we can do is look for the little breadcrumbs that have been dropped along the way that say to us:

“This moment you are in is not you. You are so much more than this. Look beyond your current circumstances and you will see there is magic everywhere.”

Check out Tosha’s website, Facebook, and Instagram account. She is always posting amazing change me prayers along with insights and proof from her own life that you can let the Divine take the lead, let go of control, and things will work out better than you could have ever imagined. I believe all of us need to hear that message again and again and again.

 

Art, ASLR 2018

A Day of Conflicts

Today began my journey back into the world of novel writing. It was no ordinary day, though. It was my son’s first day of eighth grade, which for so many reasons is such a huge milestone for him and for me. It was also a time to try to settle my nerves and return to writing the novel I’ve been working on for many, many, many years.

With my writing practice, I started out differently than I usually do, spending the first hour getting a scene in my head out on the page even though I have no idea where it might fit into the novel. I usually try to write chronologically, leading to a lot of stuckness. I then took a break for lunch (which is unusual for me), and decided to return to the beginning of the novel that had to be rewritten to fit the new direction I am taking the novel in. And the scenes…they just flowed, and all the fear I had felt while staring at the blank screen earlier had melted away. There were a few times where I had to redirect myself when I tried to go back to edit, or spent to much time trying to get the right word, telling myself gently that I could fix it later, to just get the idea itself down on the page. And it worked!

When I had completed my writing for the day, I received notice that my grandmother, who is experiencing late stage congestive heart failure had slipped into the world of non-responsiveness, the world between here and what is waiting for her. I am conflicted because I had a near death experience seven years ago, and I know the beauty that awaits her, but I also am grieving the loss of her in this physical world.

In the midst of a day with so many conflicting emotions, I turned to Karen Abend’s Journey of the HeArt session with the #spirituallivingretreat held by Elizabeth Foley. I’ve been slowing working my way through the sessions, and how fortuitous that Karen’s session was the next one on the schedule. Below is my #HeArt from the session that represents how I’m feeling today, and the words that remind me that letting go is the ultimate freedom.

IMG_3955

Art

Letting Intuition Lead

I am still trying to process everything that has occurred over the last two days. A seven year relationship burned to a pile of ashes and washed out to sea never to return. Breathe. Release. Breathe. Release. Breathe. Release all that no longer serves me on this journey I’ve begun.

For today’s sketchbook practice, I did not “feel” like doing anything. I procrastinated and procrastinated. BUT, I did not want to break the momentum of sketching and creating that with today’s sketch will complete a sixty day streak. So, I returned to my beloved blue pencil and let go letting my intuition take control.

This is what she brought forth: A Guardian overseeing this process of grieving, feeling, releasing…reassuring me everything will be okay…that what is happening now is for my highest good. I know this to be true. It’s time to shed the old me and step into the vibrant light that has been patiently waiting for me to open my eyes. And so a new story begins…