Posted by: Cathy | November 13, 2019

12 Days of Gratitude Challenge

Thanksgiving is on Nov 28 this year, so this Saturday Nov 17 is twelve days until the holiday. Like the 12 days of Christmas, I want to start a 12 day gratitude challenge for Thanksgiving.

As we countdown to Thanksgiving from Nov 17 to 28, I invite you to think of 12 people you’re grateful for. Hold this person in your heart and write a letter to him/her whether you send it or not. If you want and can, tell the person what he or she means to you.

To help you think of your 12, here are some ideas to get you started:
Nov 17 – A teacher
Nov 18 – A friend
Nov 19 – A child
Nov 20 – A coworker
Nov 21 – A schoolmate
Nov 22 – A family member
Nov 23 – A service person (mailman, store clerk, etc.)
Nov 24 – A historical figure
Nov 25 – A fictional character
Nov 26 – A pet
Nov 27 – Someone who caused you pain (what did you learn from it)
Nov 28 – YOU, yourself!

If you want to share your 12 people on social media, use the hashtag #thankx12

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Posted by: Cathy | November 11, 2019

11:11: “We are all one”

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Spirituality author Kyle Gray says that, when you see the number 111 or 1111, it’s a reminder that we are all one and an invitation to “lift up our energy, raise our vibration, and step into the light to become a guide, leader, and teacher to the world.” (Read more from Kyle here.)

During this dark time of the year, we celebrate a festival of lights and look for the light and goodwill in other people. Spend time cultivating your own light by taking good care of yourself throughout the season; take quiet time, get plenty of physical and mental rest, say “no” to invitations that don’t excite you, give meaningful gifts only to the people closest to your heart, and know and respect your own boundaries.

We all have good days, bad days, and everything in between. We all have hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties. We are all one when you get down to it. Shine your light for others and look for the light in them as you interact with people this holiday season.

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Posted by: Cathy | November 6, 2019

Self-care: Holiday Boundaries

We’re moving into the busy holiday-time of year. Set some boundaries for yourself so you can actually enjoy this holiday season and not get swept up in too much to-doing.

* Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water? Are you using enough lotion or moisturizer?
* Are you taking on too much or just the right amount, or do you have time and inclination to volunteer and take on a bit more?
* Are you doing holiday activities you enjoy? Do you want to give yourself permission to skip something or say no?
* Are you spending time with the people you care about? Is there someone you can’t be with but you could call?

The holidays have some stereotypes and common experiences, but you don’t need to live them if they don’t bring you joy. Choose how you want to experience the holidays and give yourself permission to live your choices.

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Posted by: Cathy | November 4, 2019

Happiness is a product of your actions

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The search for happiness is a driving force for many people, but those people don’t realize a simple truth: Happiness isn’t something you find, it is something you do.

Doing what you love and value will make you feel happy and satisfied. Happiness is a product or result of your actions.

Try it. Sing a song you love and notice how it makes you smile. Eat your favorite meal. Tell someone, “I love you.” You feel happiness because you are doing what you love and value.

When you feel bored or sad, make a list of things that are important to you and take time to do one of them. The more you do your important things, the more happy you will feel.

Get happy today by taking joyful action.

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Posted by: Cathy | October 30, 2019

Hungry Ghosts repost

Every year, my posts on “Hungry Ghosts” get tons of hits. I’d like to give you the links again for you to revisit them and consider if this pattern plays out in your life and what you can do about it.

Original: Hungry Ghosts (Oct 31, 2012)
“The easiest analogy for the Hungry Ghost in modern popular culture may be the character Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. He is so obsessed with his Precious Ring, he can think of nothing else. It is about craving something you can’t have; like an addict, even if you can get some of your drug, you will never be able to get enough of it. You’re stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting, chasing, and wanting more. The illusion is that the object you desire will somehow complete you or make you happy. But only you can decide you are complete, or choose to be happy.” Read more …

Hungry Ghosts – Revisited (Oct 30, 2013)
“A Hungry Ghost is an empty vessel craving to be full. But other people can’t fill you up; if you depend on other people to make you feel complete, you are giving your power away.” Read more …

Happy Halloween and may all of your ghosts find what they need!

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Posted by: Cathy | October 28, 2019

Odder, deeper, more angular thoughts

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“I think there are odder, deeper, more angular thoughts in your mind than you have yet let come out.” Virginia Woolf

I have been journaling off and on since I was a teenager, and I think my difficulty with sticking to the practice boils down to this quote, that I haven’t yet let my odder, deeper, more angular thoughts come out.

Censorship isn’t conducive to journaling. The point of journaling is to get in touch with your deep thoughts and feelings in an honest way. But sometimes I don’t want to commit those thoughts to writing. Sometimes I’m selfish. Sometimes I’m angry. However, if I don’t hold honest space for those emotions, they fester in the dark.

If I want to be true to myself, I need to acknowledge the times when I feel selfish or angry or happy or giving. I am all of those things in different moments. And emotions only last for a moment. I am the me having the moments, not the sum of the moments. By allowing myself to journal about the selfishness or anger, I accept myself as I am and can look at the root of those emotions so I can see what is triggering them and maybe make a conscious choice to change the situation.

I am full of odd, deep, and angular thoughts, and they deserve to be expressed as much as any other thoughts. They are just thoughts. The power is in acknowledging my thoughts as they are and expressing my experience.
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Posted by: Cathy | October 23, 2019

Writing is a Love Affair #NaNoWriMo

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If you are writing in National Novel Writing Month next month, it helps to think of your writing project as a love affair.

* Think about your project all the time
* Write notes to it throughout the day
* Dream about it at night
* Think about all of your project’s most beautiful attributes
* Steal time to be with each other… have meals together, stay up late together, and spend all morning in bed together

It’s just the two of you having a passionate encounter all month. That’s the kind of energy you need to get you through writing 50,000 words in 30 days. You need to love your writing, love your story, and love the process of sitting down to write every day.

If you don’t love it yet, if you only like it, spend more time together! Fall in love with your project and have a love affair with your writing in November.

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Posted by: Cathy | October 21, 2019

“Revision is a collaboration with self over time.”

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I recently read a book by Andy Couturier in which he said, “Revision is a collaboration with self over time.”

This statement really popped my eyes open. I’m currently struggling to revise my novel because there is just so much that needs to be done to fix my first draft. If only I had started with a better outline, maybe there wouldn’t be so much revision. I’m really resisting the process of revision because I thought I was spending so much careful time (and a few half-assed days) writing my first draft, and I’m frustrated that the end product isn’t more cohesive. And yet, at the time, I was doing the best that I could to write the first draft. Now, many months later, I am not the same person who wrote that draft. The story and my understanding of it has shifted since then. So thinking about collaborating with myself in the revision is really helpful.

If you were collaborating with a friend or colleague, wouldn’t you be more forgiving of her mistakes? Wouldn’t you be encouraging and supportive to get the collaboration off to a good start? Wouldn’t you praise the good parts and then analyze the problem areas together to find a mutually beneficial solution?

Thinking in this way, I’m making small steps out of my frustration and into more productive, positive revision sessions. It will take some time for me to shift my experience of revision, but this quote, “Revision is a collaboration with self over time,” helped shake up my thinking enough to make room for a new experience to emerge. I want to finish my novel, I really like the story, and I need to work with my earlier self in order to move the project forward.
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Posted by: Cathy | October 18, 2019

Writing as an Act of Faith #NaNoWriMo

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Writing is an act of faith.

When you sit down to write, you don’t know what will show up or how it will come to you. You have faith that something will come to you. You can only control yourself by sitting down to write; you show up and see what meets you on the page.

Maybe a beautiful sentence will arise, but it will bring with it dozens of boring sentences. Yet you keep showing up.

A painful memory could be triggered. Yet you keep showing up.

A character may refuse to do what you want her to do. Yet you keep showing up.

The plot twist you had in mind isn’t working and takes you in a different direction. And you keep showing up.

Every writing session is first about showing up, sitting down, and being available to whatever meets you in that moment. Writing may be about the past or the future, but it occurs in the present moment, so you must make yourself present by showing up.

You keep having faith that, as you show up, your writing will meet you there and eventually the habit of showing up will build up your writing project. It will take you to some unexpected places, but the key is just to show up and see what meets you there, and to have faith that showing up is so worth it.

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Posted by: Cathy | October 14, 2019

Self-care for Writers

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up, so I wanted to share an ebooklet to help people prepare and generally set themselves up for success. (Check out my NovPrepWo for my first offering.)

Creativity Self-care:

As an artist or writer, you may prefer to work in a particular medium like watercolor paint or poetry, but really YOU are your raw medium: your dreams, fears, thoughts, and emotions go into every brushstroke, every word you put on a page. Therefore, good self-care will help your creativity thrive, too.

In my booklet, I outline three phases to help with your creativity self-care: Emptying, Listening, and Processing.

To learn more, download my free ebooklet here, Self-care for Creatives (Especially writers and artists).

* The first step to creative self-care is Emptying: creating space for your creativity.

* Once you’ve made some space by Emptying, it’s time to try Listening to your muse and your intuition.

* Once you’ve tried Listening, the next step is Processing; becoming aware of your filters, fears, and frustrations.

Use these three techniques to focus on your creativity self-care. By Emptying, Listening, and Processing, you can clear space for your creativity, reduce distractions, and focus on what is important to you!
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