Good day my lovelies!
Yes it’s me. Not dead. Not on life support. Not in jail. But I recently found myself in need of some radical time off while I figured out why I had become a walking zombie who couldn’t hold a creative thought in her head, or remember why she’d walked into a room… not once, but for the third time.
And so, I’ve spent the last few weeks (okay, it’s been months at this point) post book release, post book tour, post writer’s conference, takin a long hard look at myself, trying to figure out how and where I’d gone off the reservation. And here’s what I realized… I’ve been operating under the premise that “I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT ENOUGH.”
But then how could I be? I’m not perfect. At writing, or dieting, or blogging, or exercising, or keeping house, or marketing, or cooking, or public speaking, or travel planning, or… anything, really. But I was sure as fire trying to be perfect, to be all things to all people, to con myself into believing that if I just tried a little harder, did a little more, slept a little less, I could be. Or at least people would think I was.
Guess what??? It didn’t work.
In fact it NEVER works. And yet there I was, giving it my best shot, spreading myself so thin I no longer had the strength to even feel bad about myself. Guess what??? That didn’t work either. So I cleared the decks, caught up on my sleep, read TONS of good books–about the myth of perfection, the costs of shame, and the absolute critical need for self care. And then I asked myself a lot of questions, about what I want, and what I need, and what matters and what doesn’t.
Here’s what I leaned. I matter. The people I love matter. Fun matters. Growth matters. Joy matters. Love matters. Perfect does NOT matter. Because perfect is a lie. The kind we tell ourselves when we’re focused on what other people think, rather than how we feel and what we truly need to spark our souls. And I’m all done with that.
So… SO done.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop washing my hair, or mopping my floors. But it does mean is I’ll be saying “yes” to a lot more fun, and “no” to more of the things I don’t really want to do. I’m chucking my “shoulds” in favor of joy. Feeding my soul instead of my ego. Living my life based on what FEELS RIGHT, instead of what LOOKS GOOD. In short: I’m letting go of the lie, and embracing me, flaws and all. From this day forward, I intend to live LIT UP rather than STRESSED OUT. That’s my promise to me, and I’m sticking to it. By all means, feel free to join me! Life is just too short to live up to other people’s standards.
Love and Light, sweet peeps!
Hey there, baby dolls! Nervous as a cat, as I’ only five days out from the official release of When Never Comes, but honestly, I’m so promotioned-out that I’d rather talk about something else. So let’s talk a little bit about the “B” word. (no, not that “B” word) I’m talking about BECOMING. It means we’re in process, not quite where we’ve set our sights, but taking definite steps to get there. Sadly, somewhere along the way, BECOMING as a state of being, has lost its schizzle. We’re only interested in BEING, landing at the summit and planting our flag. BAM! We did that. We revere the DONE, not the DOING. The PRIZE, not the PROCESS. Because the process is messy, awkward, fraught with unexpected twists and turns, perhaps even a big old belly flop. And who needs that? ANSWER: You do. I do. We all do. Because that’s how it works. We arrive in this world as pure potential, NOT a done deal. We’re meant to be glorious works in progress, never finished, always evolving… in a constant state of BECOMING. Which is why we need to get ourselves to a place where we’re okay with being in flux, and simply glory in the getting there. It can’t just be about winning the blue ribbon and taking our bow. It has to be about the climb itself, the virtue of the dream, the nobility of our blood, our sweat, and yes, sometimes our tears. Too often, we fail to begin a thing because all we see is the climb, the years it will take to get there, all those awkward fits and starts between where we are now and where we want to be, and we’re just not willing to go there. We’d rather just stay where we are and not risk the BECOMING. And we can do that. It’s our birthright to choose that kind of life, to stay safe and dry and watch life pass us by. But why would we, when we can dive into the deep end of the pool and teach ourselves to swim? It’s okay to flail, to sputter, even to sink a time or two, as long as we keep moving toward the dream. It’s called being human. It’s also called living. And it’s a choice we all came into the world to make. So here’s to BECOMING, my darlings, every messy, scary, awkward bit of it!
Good day, my lovelies!
The pace of life has definitely ticked up a notch since When Never Comes hit April’s Amazon First Reads list, and that’s a good thing! But more demands on my time means less time for savoring the actual fruits of my labors, which is probably why I’ve been thinking a lot lately about things like beauty and simplicity, and how they’re often crowded out of our lives in the name of productivity. Meals become rushed affairs, prepared on the fly and often eaten in shifts, gulped without tasting in order to move on to the next thing. The bath ritual, once a symbol of serenity and calm, has become a forgotten art, replaced by five-minute showers mindlessly taken in preparation for another jam packed day. Even sleep, one of our most precious commodities, has lost its sense of the sacred, as our bedrooms are increasingly filled with digital gadgets that keep us up later and later, and affect our ability to quiet our minds.
We’ve become slaves to a hair-on-fire, 24/7 pace of life that isn’t really a life at all. And the truth is we’ve CHOSEN this. Maybe not in word, but certainly in deed. We’ve stopped setting boundaries on how we spend our time and energy. We’ve stopped observing the small traditions that refresh and renew, like meals prepared with care and enjoyed together, self-care routines that require us to slow down and honor the body and its needs. Long story short, we’ve stopped valuing beauty, richness, quality, and ritual. Now we just value fast. Or as Daft Punk so succinctly put it: Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. And I get it. There’s a lot to do, people counting on us, places to be, targets we need to hit in order to see ourselves as successful.
But success isn’t always about cramming MORE into our days. More stuff, more time, more lists. Sometimes it’s about slowing down, deepening our experiences, savoring our moments. One. At. A. Time. It might look like setting the table, pouring the wine, turning off your phone, and enjoying a meal together, instead of wolfing something down on our way out the door. Running a bath, adding some salts, lighting a candle, and having a good long soak, rather than stumbling blindly out of bed and dragging ourselves to the shower. Preparing for sleep by slipping into your favorite PJs, turning off your gadgets and picking up a book (I have some suggestions there!) and reading until you’re drowsy, instead of dropping off in a stupor, still dressed, with the TV droning in the background.
Now, I know what you’re thinking… who has time for THAT? You do. I do. We ALL do. If that’s how we CHOSE to spend our time. And by choosing, I mean setting priorities and establishing boundaries, making ritual and self care as critical as whatever else is on our to-lists. And yes, it’s about saying no to some requests. As the saying goes, “Something’s gotta give.” Well, shouldn’t YOU be the one who decides WHAT that something is? Today, why not set aside a few moments to ponder the kinds of rituals you might add to your life to make it richer and deeper. If you’re stumped, here’s a tip to get you started… stop saving “the good stuff” for later! Live now, fully and richly. Sleep on pretty sheets. Pull out the guest towels. Eat off the good china. Slip into the silk jammies. Buy your own flowers. Read good books. Sip good wine.
Savor. Savor. Savor.
This. So much… this.
You should go home to your hermitage; it is inside you.
Close the doors, light the fire, and make it cozy again.
That is what I call “taking refuge in the island of self.”
If you don’t go home to yourself, you continue to lose yourself. You destroy yourself and you destroy people around you, even if you have goodwill and want to do something to help.
That is why the practice of going home to the island of self is so important. No one can take your true home away.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education … But internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being.
Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity…
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As some of you may know (and may be sick of hearing by now) my fifth novel, WHEN NEVER COMES, is due out on May 1st, and the last two days have been an absolute joy. And yesterday, the UPS man (aka: the book stork) brought me a big beautiful box of… you guessed it… author copies! Toss in the fact that it’s my first hardcover release… AND my first audio release, and you can probably guess that I’m a pretty happy girl!
Ask any proud mama and she’ll tell you the moment she held her baby for the first time made was one she’ll never forget. But I’m here to tell you, for authors, holding our book babies for the first time isn’t so very different. And when you think about it there are some pretty striking similarities. There’s the moment of conception, the giddy quickening of new life, followed by months and months (and… months) of awkward and uncomfortable stuff, like insomnia, exhaustion, second thoughts, not to mention the absolute certainty that you’ll never survive the process. And then, at long last, after much angst and weight gain (starting to sound familiar?) comes that final agonizing push, and viola! our creation enters the world in all its new and squalling glory.
And here’s something else–the best part, really. Most mothers will tell you those feelings don’t disappear with the second or third child. Or the fifth. Maybe you know what to expect (or think you do) but each birth is unique, fraught with its own hopes and fears and dreams. This holds true for authors as well, which is why, when that 40 lb. bundle of joy appears on the doorstep, courtesy of the UPS man, be it the first, the fifth, or the fifteenth, it can be a bit of a weepy moment. Because until we can finally hold it in our arms, call it by its name, and yes, even cuddle with it in bed, it’s never quite real. So excuse me while I coo just a little over my newest addition. I’m a new (ish) mama, and absolutely over the moon that I get to do this wonderful thing for a living!