Replenishing My Inner Well

In 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate my inner writer, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.

That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.

At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable to even consider adding one more activity to my schedule.

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Watch Yourself

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.

While the following is not technically a Zen story, it is said to have been told by the Buddha himself. Its message of self-care is one that will resonate, especially with women.

There was once a pair of acrobats. The teacher was a poor widower and the student was a young girl by the name of Meda. These acrobats performed each day on the streets in order to earn enough to eat.

Their act consisted of the teacher balancing a tall bamboo pole on his head while the little girl climbed slowly to the top. Once to the top, she remained there while the teacher walked along the ground.

Both performers had to maintain complete focus and balance in order to prevent any injury from occurring and to complete the performance. One day, the teacher said to the pupil:

‘Listen Meda, I will watch you and you watch me, so that we can help each other maintain concentration and balance and prevent an accident. Then we’ll surely earn enough to eat.’

But the little girl was wise. She answered, ‘Dear Master, I think it would be better for each of us to watch ourself. To look after oneself means to look after both of us. That way I am sure we will avoid any accidents and earn enough to eat.’


Movie Review: The Grizzlies

Set in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, an isolated town with the highest suicide rate in Canada, this sports drama is based on actual events circa 2004.

High school English teacher Russ Sheppard (Ben Schnetzer) is unprepared for the challenges that await him in the classroom. A naïve, well-intended southerner—referred to as qallunaat by the locals—Russ plans to stay for only one year while he waits for a teaching contract at a private school in Halifax.

After learning (the hard way) that the authoritarian approach doesn’t work with these neglected students, Russ tries to inspire them through sports. At first wary, the students eventually do come around and join the lacrosse team. Slowly—and not without obstacles—Russ succeeds in creating a spirit of camaraderie among the players.

Opposition to this fledgling group can be found almost everywhere in Kugluktuk.

The school principal, Janace (Tantoo Cardinal), tries to discourage Russ from starting this venture. When Russ decides to take the team to Toronto for the high school nationals, Janace advises him not to add to the long list of promises that have been made to the Inuit and never kept.

Several sets of parents and grandparents believe their young charges should be hunting and not spending so much time with the qallunaat.

Alcoholism and abuse exist in many of the homes. From the opening scene where crates of liquor outnumber the passengers in a small plane to a colleague’s advice on surviving life in the North— “I do the same thing everyone else does, I drink” to the depressing night culture…Russ faces many obstacles during that first year.

The specter of suicide can be felt throughout the film. Each time, I was unprepared for the events and ensuing consequences. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live in a community where everyone has lost a family member or friend to suicide.

While the cast is predominantly male, two young female actresses deliver outstanding performances. I enjoyed watching Miranda (Emerald MacDonald) gain confidence and acquire leadership skills as the team’s manager. Spring (Anna Lambe) experiences the tragic loss of her boyfriend but manages to bounce back and become part of the lacrosse team.

First-time director Miranda de Pencier has crafted a powerful film that humanizes the grim statistics about youth suicide in Canada’s North.

A must-see film!


This Other Way

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 following reflection from The Path Made Clear, Cheryl Strayed shares the following perspective on rewriting our stories:

How long do we hold on to this old idea? I was going to do this job or I was going to go to this school or I was going to be married to this person. And it doesn’t serve us anymore.

I once wrote a letter to my younger self and told the younger me, It’s okay to rewrite my story from time to time. And not only okay, but necessary. Sometimes you have to see things through, even though they don’t cause you joy. But sometimes you need to say, You know what? I’m not going to surrender my joy. I’m not going to be this thing anymore. That story is no longer true. I’m going to be this other thing. This other way.

Source: The Path Made Clear, p. 128


25 Things You Can Control

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.

The following infographic was originally intended for teachers of students in the elementary panel. I believe all of us can benefit from this refresher.



Choose Your Words Wisely

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 fan of Jen Sincero’s books, I look forward to each new installment. In her latest–You Are a Badass Every Day–Jen provides 100 short reflections and exercises to help keep our motivation strong. The following reflection reminds us about the power of our words.

Make the conscious effort to eliminate the following low-vibe phrases form your vocabulary today:

I want
I should
I wish
I can’t
I’m trying
I don’t know

Make the conscious effort to fill your vocabulary with the following high-vibe phrases today:

I choose
I can
I enjoy
I create
I love
I rock
The answers are on their way.

What comes out of your mouth comes into your life, so choose your words wisely.

Source: You Are a Badass Every Day pp. 75-76


With Age Comes Second Chances

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have award-winning Soul Mate author Nancy Lee Badger sharing her inspiring journey and latest release, Heaven-Sent Highlander.

Here’s Nancy!

Since Heaven-sent Highlander is the second book in my Warriors in Bronze series, I would like to talk about second acts as it pertains to my life. I am a multi-published and award-winning author, but that profession did not start until I was in my 50’s. About 20 years ago, I started writing. I am a huge reader of romance novels and thought I could do better. At the time, I was an EMT and volunteer firefighter in a small New Hampshire town. Heartache, emergencies, deaths, and other calls would leave me despondent. Reading a romance novel always brought me back to happiness.

I needed to escape my paid daytime job, and landed a spot as a 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the State of New Hampshire. Reading between calls was rewarding, and kept the adrenaline at a healthy level. Changing jobs was good for the ego and pocketbook, but the pace was grueling and I yearned for something different AND to move somewhere warmer. Snow was no longer pretty to me.

So, I ‘retired’, we sold our house, and moved closer to family in Raleigh, North Carolina. About 9 years ago, I sold my first book. What a high! I kept writing while dear hubby kept working full time to pay the bills. He also loves to read and edit my manuscripts. My mother helps in that regard as well. After 26 books, three publishers, and a lot of self-published books, I am enjoying every day as a full-time author.

As I grow older, I am always surprised that ideas for stories pop-up seemingly out of nowhere. I am feeling my age more each day, but I keep going. My eyes have gotten worse, which might be why my hero in Heaven-sent Highlander is blind for a good part of the book. Writing has drawbacks, of course, but if the words are itching to get typed onto a computer, do it. You cannot improve an empty page! I recall Nora Roberts speaking at a Romance Writers of America conference saying something like ‘get your butt in the chair and just write.’

Writing novels, poetry, or even magazine articles can be a lonely profession. Just you and your laptop, most times. The best advice I can give is to seek out others. Writing groups are everywhere, from simple book clubs, to meet-up groups, to organizations like the ones I have been a member of for years. Misery loves company. Other writers will understand all that you are going through and are the first to congratulate you.

Blurb

At an American museum, surrounded by Auguste Rodin’s bronze statues, a Scottish Fae beauty is at a crossroads. Now that Gwendolyn’s friends are engaged, and the demon they fought vanquished, should she return home? After committing a terrible act, she could not explain to her cousin why she had appeared on his doorstep.

Alexander awoke in darkness inside a bronze statue, remembering how the green of Scotland’s Culloden field had turned red with blood that day in 1746. Had he died before awakening nude and sightless in front of strangers in present-day Raleigh, North Carolina? The mystery of how was overshadowed by why. Told that another warrior awoke when a demon threatened to take over the world, had a second demon escaped Hell? When the demon appears and demands Gwen join him, Alex must use all his new skills, weapons, and Heaven-sent powers to keep her and the world safe.

Excerpt

“I placed some clothes in the bathing room. ‘Tis just next door,” Gwendolyn said.

“A bathing room? Inside the house? Show me.” Alex figured he could find it on his own by touch, but he did not know who besides Gwendolyn was near. Keeping his blindness a secret seemed childish, but his pride screamed at him to hold back and see what happened.

“I brought food for ye—”

“I am hungry, yet can it wait? Clothing myself seems prudent, first.”

“Fine. Follow me.”

As she set something down, the lilt in her voice made him smile, and her scent stirred his loins. The urge to grab her, turn her into his chest, and kiss her senseless was strong. The problem? How would he find her?

In the hallway, his hazy vision sensed light and Gwen’s outline ahead of him. His feet closed the space between them. Moments before he could wrap his fingers around her, heavy footsteps grew closer.

“Gwen, what are you and Alex doing? Alex, you are looking well. Clothing might improve your visage. Aye?”

Sam had interrupted his plans. Had he read his thoughts? Gwendolyn had warned him, but why would he care what Gwendolyn and he did?

Alex nodded. “Gwendolyn left some items in the bathing room. I wish to hurry and dress. I smell meat cooking.”

“Oh! I left the chili in your bedchamber!” Gwen’s blurry outline ran past him, and Alex was left alone with Sam.

“Gwen is very attentive, considering we still do not know your intentions.”

What could Sam be hinting at? “I doona know why I am still alive. I swear to you, sir. I assumed I had died on that bloody battlefield. I am thankful to breathe air and feel pain. Truly, as it proves I am alive.”

He sensed Sam staring at him, but he kept his features calm and without fear.

“Well, then we shall commence your training at sun-up. Rest, eat, and find clothing appropriate for combat.”

“Combat?”

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Author Bio

Nancy Lee Badger grew up in Huntington on New York’s Long Island, where school field trips to lofty museums were the norm. After attending Plymouth State, in New Hampshire, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education and met and married her college sweetheart. They raised two handsome sons in Rumney, New Hampshire, where Nancy volunteered as an EMT and firefighter while working full-time. When the children had left the nest, and shoveling show became a chore, she retired from her satisfying job as a 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher and moved with her husband to North Carolina, where she writes full-time.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers. She loves to travel and attend Scottish Highland Games and is never far from her laptop. She finds story ideas in the most unusual places. Connect with her here:

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