On Meeting Limits with Unlimited Thought

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I highly recommend A Year of Miracles by spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson. I have followed the 365 reflections and devotions over several years. Here’s one of my favorites:

Our power lies in meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thought. It is not what happens to us, but what we choose to think about what happens to us, that determines what will happen next.

If our circumstances tempt us to think thoughts such as “I’m a loser,” “I will never have another chance,” “It will take forever for this situation to right itself,” or “I hate whoever is to blame for this,” then miracles, though they are programmed into the nature of the universe, cannot make their way into our awareness. They’re in the computer, but we’re not choosing to download them. With every thought we think, we either summon or block a miracle.

It is not our circumstances, then, but rather our thoughts about our circumstances, that determine our power to transform them. We choose in life whether to live in victimization or in victory. We have power either way—power to use against ourselves, or power to use to free ourselves. The point is that we always have the choice, and it’s not always as simple as it appears.

Source: A Year of Miracles

The Catalyst for Change

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A long-time fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to reading their emails and blog posts. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Many of the most iconic books, songs and inventions of all time were inspired by gut-wrenching pain and heartbreak. Therefore, the silver lining of these painful challenges is that they were the catalyst to the creation of epic masterpieces.

An emerging field of psychology called Post-Traumatic Growth has suggested that many people are able to use their hardships and traumas for substantial creative and intellectual development. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, contentment, gratitude, personal strength, and resourcefulness.

When our view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered, we are forced to reboot our perspective on things. We suddenly have the opportunity to look out to the periphery and see things with a new, fresh set of beginner’s eyes, which is very conducive to personal growth and long-term success and wellness.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

In Praise of Obsession

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Author Deanna Cabinian shares a unique perspective in a recent post on the Writer Unboxed blog. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

Sometime in 2007 I got it in my head that I wanted to run a 5K. I had never done well in fitness testing in school. In fact, I often finished last in the mile run challenge. I once ran a 14-minute mile. For most people, that’s walking. I was not fast, even though I played team sports. But a 5K goal seemed achievable. Most of my family and friends thought I was nuts. Why would I want to run 3.1 miles? And time it? To this day, I have no idea. But I became obsessed with this goal.

I read Runner’s World. I found a plan called 5 weeks to your first 5K. I followed the plan, 90% of the time. I found a running buddy. And it worked. I ran the 5K and didn’t finish last. I ran several more after that. At my fitness peak, I even completed a half-marathon, a distance I have no desire to run again.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s similar to our journeys as writers. I believe every writer is talented but certainly there are degrees of talent. The one thing that sets writers apart from the rest of the population who aspire to write a book, essay, magazine piece, etc. is that they sit down and do it. The words might be garbage on the first draft, but they just go for it. Time and time again.

If writing is important to you, it doesn’t matter how talented you are. It matters how interested you are, how often you throw words against the page. Handwritten, typed, or otherwise.

It matters how much you persevere, even when you don’t feel like writing a thing.

It matters if you put words to paper, even if it’s just 5 words a day or 3 words a year.

You are a writer because you show up. Showing up is the action part of the obsession. Over time that obsession will manifest itself into talent.

It’s why I’ve sent hundreds of query letters. (I eventually got an agent).

It’s why I’m writing even though I don’t necessarily feel like it. (I’m recovering from a breakthrough case of Covid)

So go ahead. Obsess sometimes. I think a little obsession is healthy for all of us. Sometimes it even improves your cardiovascular fitness.

Source: Writer Unboxed Blog

Life Lessons

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In his memoir, bestselling author James Patterson shares the stories of his life. Here’s one of my favorites from the collection:

To my surprise, maybe even shock, I quickly rose to become CEO of Thompson North America. I was still in my thirties. On the side, I was writing one or two bestselling novels a year. It was nuts. Something had to give or eventually I would.

Life lessons are everywhere, right? The trouble is, like most people, I tended to ignore them. I soldiered on though long days and nights. I was working too hard. I knew it.

But every once in a while, I snapped out of it and actually paid attention.

It happened to me on the New Jersey Turnpike, of all unlikely places. One Sunday afternoon, I had to leave the Jersey Shore for a meeting in New York. The last thing that I wanted to do was schlep back to work. The last place I wanted to be was hot, sweaty New York City in July.

An hour and a half after I left the shore, I was still trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The proverbial turnpike parking lot. Cars moving at ten miles an hour.

On the other side of the road, an occasional car went whizzing by. Whoosh. Maybe one car every fifteen seconds.

Whoosh…

Whoosh…

Whoosh…

I sat there, mildly pissed, absorbing this very obvious life lesson for about an hour.

Then I finally got it. The lesson was simple and so very clear. Why hadn’t I seen it before?

My mission in life had to be to get on the other side of the highway. To get in the traffic lane that was moving. My life was going in the wrong direction.

I swear to God, that insight, that miserable time trapped on the Jersey Turnpike, drove me out of advertising.

I focused on writing novels.

And I made it my mission to try and find somebody who would love me and who I would love back.

Whoosh…whoosh.

Source: James Patterson – The Stories of My Life, pp. 122-123.

Five Life Lessons from a Butterfly

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Here’s an inspiring post about butterflies from the Mind Fuel Daily blog:

These tiny, fluttering creatures are really teachers in disguise. Here are five bits of life wisdom, inspired by the beautiful butterfly.

Be patient. All good things come with time. We are growing, even when we cannot feel it. With great patience come great rewards.

Be open to change. Be willing to be transformed. Without change, nothing beautiful would happen. You have to give up who you are to become who you might be.

Be light and free. Have some fun. Float from each open door to the next. Look for the color, humor and joy in daily life.

Be spontaneous. Go wherever your wings take you. Fly forward with confidence. Have the courage to seize new opportunities.

Be in the moment. Look around. Enjoy the flowers, the sun and the breeze. The present moment is a gift for us to enjoy.

Source: Mind Fuel Daily Blog

It’s Okay

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In The Comfort Book, bestselling author Matt Haig shares little parcels of hope. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

It’s okay to be broken.

It’s okay to wear the scars of experience.

It’s okay to be a mess.

It’s okay to be the teacup with a chip in it. That’s the one with the story.

It’s okay to be sentimental and whimsical and cry bittersweet tears at songs and movies you aren’t supposed to love.

It’s okay to like what you like.

It’s okay to like things for literally no other reason than because you like them and not because they are cool or clever or popular.

It’s okay to let people find you. You don’t have to spread yourself so thin you become invisible. You don’t have to always be the person reaching out. You can sometimes allow yourself to be reached. As the great writer Anne Lamott puts it: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

It’s okay not to make the most of every chunk of time.

It’s okay to be who you are.

It’s okay.

Source: The Comfort Book, pp. 10-11

A Vital Power

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In a recent issue of Psychology Today, Dr. David Feldman discussed the power of hope. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

At its heart, hope is a perception—but one that gives us the power to create reality. It’s a perception of something that does not yet exist. And research shows that when people have hope, their goals are actually more likely to become reality. That’s because when people have a clear belief about what is possible, they’re more likely to take steps to make it happen.

You may have heard the expression, “Hope is not a strategy.” Don’t believe it: Hope is a way of thinking that pushes us to take action. Research by C.R. Snyder found that most hopeful people had three things in common: goals, pathways (strategies), and agency. They were under no illusions that all their strategies would work: they tended to try multiple pathways, realizing that many would be blocked. But they persisted because they had an abiding belief in themselves and their capabilities.

It’s tempting to lose hope today, but that would be surrendering a vital power.

Source: Psychology Today, April 2022, p. 52

Replace Your Fantasies

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A long-time fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to reading their emails and blog posts. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

The older we grow, and the more real-world tragedies and challenges we witness, the more we realize how incredibly blessed we are, and how frequently the fantasies in our heads hold us back from these present blessings. In fact, you’ve likely fantasized your way into headaches and heartaches dozens of times in the past year alone. We all do this to a greater or lesser extent…

We stress ourselves out, because of fantasies.

We procrastinate to the point of failure, because of fantasies.

We get angry with others, with ourselves, and with the world at large, because of fantasies.

We miss out on many of life’s most beautiful and peaceful moments, because of fantasies.

So today, I challenge you to move through this day and practice seeing the real life right in front of you as it truly is…

Do what you have to do without fantasizing and fearing the worst, lamenting about what might happen, or obsessing over how unfair everything is.

See others and accept them without hasty judgments. Choose not to allow their behavior to dominate your thoughts and emotions. Just be present and accepting. Then decide if you want to spend extra time with them (or extra time thinking about them). If not, part ways with dignity.

Replace your fantasies with full presence…

And invest your best into what you’ve got right in front of you.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Answer the Miracle Question

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In her book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do, psychotherapist Amy Morin shares the following technique:

Asking, “If you woke up tomorrow and a miracle had occurred, how would you know things were better?” is a solution-focused therapy technique. It’s one of my favorite ways to help people start identifying their own solutions.

Pose that question to yourself. Imagine what your life would be like if things changed for the better. How would you know things were better? What would you be doing differently? Then, go do those things.

If your “miracle” involves something that can’t really happen, such as spending time with a relative who passed away, think of other people who could give you some comfort.

Many women wait until they feel different to become different. After all, women are more inclined to feel first, rather than act first. But sometimes, changing your behavior first is the key to feeling differently about yourself. You don’t magically feel more confident if you aren’t challenging yourself. Or you won’t suddenly experience a burst of motivation unless you are already working toward a goal. Don’t wait until you feel different to become different. Change your behavior first and you’ll change how you feel.

Source: 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin, p. 280