Empath’s Confession

Heart Connection (by Alisa Looney)

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” ~ James Baldwin

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.” ~ Maya Angelou

“The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” ~ Meryl Streep

“The opposite of anger is not calmness, it’s empathy.” ~ Mehmet Oz

I’m an empath. I admit it. I’ve written posts here before about how difficult it can be to be a magnet for other people’s feelings and not know what to do with them. It’s exhausting. But recently I gained a different perspective. Being empathetic can also be extremely empowering.

Last fall I got an idea that my sister, Celeste and I should write a memoir about our father and the influence he had on our lives. It’s not a typical memoir enumerating the pain and suffering we endured, but rather how our father taught us to use compassion and empathy to help ourselves and others.

My initial thought was that it was going to be about how he used movies to teach us important lessons because stories are an important way to connect emotionally with another person’s point of view. Our book may still include some of that. However, I see now that the book has to include our memories of how Dad influenced people by using his empathy to spread love and compassion to help them heal. It was as if he was plugged into some deep well of emotion and information that helped him understand exactly how the people around him were being affected by the experiences they were having. But how to write that so our readers can understand?

After discussions with Celeste about what to include in the book, I came to this startling deeper understanding of my father. Not only was he an empath, but he was an extreme introvert. He kept his deepest feelings hidden most of the time, even from us. That’s where I learned it! For most of my life, I’ve kept my head down done my work and not shared my deepest thoughts and feelings. However when I broke my own rule, I was exposed, extremely vulnerable, and my ideas generated controversy. That happened to Dad too because he had ideas that went against common convention. When he shared his point of view, it often stirred up fierce debate.

These are extraordinary times. We can use new ideas and fierce debate about how to make the world a better place. And yet, I remember all those controversies, both mine and Dad’s and I ask myself, do I really want to draw so much attention to myself again? The reality is, in times like these, everyone needs to be sharing their creative ideas and their stories. That’s one of the best ways we learn and grow. We have to share our stories and listen as others tell theirs in return.

Over the years as I’ve written these blog posts, I’ve become more comfortable with being open and vulnerable. But it’s uncomfortable to share my mistakes. I’d love to be perfect. I’d also love to keep these posts intellectual. In fact, I was going to write an intellectual essay and post it today. But after years of work in theatre, teaching, and directing plays, I know the best way to help someone see another point of view is to touch their emotions. Then they are open to new ideas. We need the marriage of ideas and emotions to effect real change. So, I need to share my stories, and listen to those of other people. That’s where we discover that we’re not so different after all.

Admittedly, Celeste and I have so many deep emotions about our father, that we’re having a difficult time focusing on what to write about him. He was an extraordinary man, living an ordinary life. Yet the ripples of his influence keep reverberating. Things my father taught me come to mind often and help me through the situations I face. I’m grateful that he gave me such a fantastic head start in life.

There will be more things to share about this project later. But for today, that’s enough.

Welcome to all my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a lovely weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

One Thing at a Time

Bending Time

“How did it get so late so soon?” ~ Dr. Seuss

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” ~ Henry Ford

As I was considering my options of what to write about for this post, I remembered something that happened when I was in undergraduate school. A friend of mine was complaining about all the homework she had to do. She was so overwhelmed with the amount of work, that she had let all of it slide. However, it was critical that she begin to get her assignments submitted or she’d fail most of her classes. I don’t know where this idea came from, but I said to her, “Just do one thing at a time. Pick one assignment, concentrate on only that task, then when that’s finished pick another, and so on.” She was relieved and said that was the advice she needed to hear.

That’s the advice I need to hear right now. In my head, I have a feed back loop that I need vast amounts of time to work on one major project and only that project. In my fantasy, I’m happily engrossed in my work with no distractions. But that’s not realistic. I’m happy that I remembered this incident, because I need to relearn to compartmentalize my tasks. I think this has become a problem for me since I quit working full-time and have, seemingly, loads of unstructured time.

The thing is no one ever has just one task that needs to be accomplished in any given day. And long term projects won’t wait until we have vast stretches of time to complete them. So, I’ve begun to do a little bit each day on my novel and the rest. Even if I only spend half an hour on each project per day, that adds up to 150 minutes dedicated to a particular piece of work in a week. When I think of it that way, the time adds up quickly. After a month, I can look back with pride at how much I’ve accomplished.

Thank heaven I’m letting go of that myth. It’s much better to be realistic and compartmentalize my mind, than to allow myself to be paralyzed. That’s a copout. “Oh, I just didn’t have time to write that book, or develop that class.” It’s all about creating something one little piece at a time. That’s how all the great inventions, works of art, even civilizations were and are created.

Whew! I’m glad I got that reminder.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. Have a great weekend and stay warm, or cool my friends, depending on where you live.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Something’s Stirring

Olympic Mountains in Washington State

“We all hope for breakthrough rebirth moments.” ~ Dane Cook

“I give you this to take with you: Nothing remains as it was. If you know this, you can begin again, with pure joy in the uprooting.” ~ Judith Minty, Letters to My Daughters

For quite some time I’ve felt like I’m being reborn, or about to go in a new direction. This has made me restless. I am impatient to apply the new things I’m learning, meet new people, live in a new place, and try new activities.

Even though I feel the change galloping toward me, it’s not here yet. I’m finding it hard to be patient. And yet, this process can’t be rushed. My new life is still in an embryonic state, in which I’m gathering information, transforming old ideas into new, and letting go of attitudes and emotions that will not serve the new me.

What make it frustrating to be so idle is the fact that we live in a fast paced society. We’re supposed to “get ‘er done.” Therefore I judge myself. But the seed underground and the butterfly in her chrysalis are doing momentous work that will produce beautiful results. Their work is not visible to those of us who are rushing around accomplishing important things. Constant rushing is not good. We stress ourselves out when what we need is time to recoup.

To be honest, I didn’t have a clue about what I was going to write today. Since the turn of the new year, all I want to do is read, sleep, ruminate about life, work on my writing projects, and enjoy nature. Like Wayne Dyer said once, sometimes the connections to God (or my creative endeavors) are corroded and need to be cleaned up before the channel is clear enough to hear the messages. Maybe that’s what this fallow time is all about, cleaning the gunk off my creative connections.

Out of guilt and since I signed up for The No Pants Project, or to finish up the old to clear the way for what’s to come, I’ve gone back to plodding through the lessons. This “week” is about marketing. It’s something I know very little about. Some of what Mike is asking me to do sounds fun, some really uncomfortable. However, I’ve suspended my judgment and am getting a lot of new ideas from the videos. Right now I’m not acting on any of them. They are going into my bank of things I’m considering for future use. This material is foreign to me. I want to see the whole picture before I make actionable plans.

One of the things Mike suggests for entrepreneurs is to create a Facebook group. At first, I was skeptical. I’m an introvert! Why would I want to administer a Facebook group that I have to maintain and check every day? But I let that new idea percolate for a while. Part of being a good student is to take in new information and allow it to challenge my long held beliefs. Because I did that, today I saw Mike’s suggestion in a new way. Would starting a group for creative introverts be beneficial? I don’t even know if there are any such groups on Facebook, but I’m willing to do some investigation, because another suggestion Mike makes is to join groups of specific interest to me. If I reach out, who knows what will come of it? It might be the miracle that will get me off of stuck.

So, I’m in a holding pattern. I kind of like that, though, because I’ve settled into this quiet time of contemplation and renewal where I can try on new states of being and excavate for talents I might be able to develop.

Maybe that’s what winter is about for humans as well as plant and animal life, hibernation, a time of renewal and rest.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much. I hope the weekend is a blessed one for all of you.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back and apply what she’s learned to her real life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Procrastination

Mary Engelbreit’s calendar art

“Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.” ~ Mason Cooley

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ~ Pablo Picasso

I’ve never thought of myself as a big procrastinator, but recently I’ve had to acknowledge that I have been procrastinating for the last few months on my second novel.

This same thing happened to me when I was writing my first novel, The Space Between Time. I came to a place in the story where I got stuck. Something was nagging at the outer edges of my mind, but I couldn’t quite grasp it. At first I reread what I’d already written over and over, revised, and eventually set the book aside to work on other projects. The story was still alive and percolating on the back burner of my mind. But the story hadn’t matured quite yet.

That’s where I’ve been with the sequel novel, Time’s Echo for quite some time. It’s frustrating because the subject matter is very relevant to what’s happening right now with the women’s movement. I want to get it finished, and yet … I have to acknowledge I’m not sure where the story wants to end up. I also feel like maybe the story will be shallow if I push it through to publication. And I have a bit of self-doubt. Do I have what it takes to write this storyline?

There is another aspect to the almost complete shut down of this novel. I’m a recovering people pleaser. I struggle with putting other people’s needs before my own.

This fall a writer friend of mine suffered some serious health issues and is now in a care center. She won’t have to be there forever, but she’s obviously depressed. I wanted to make her feel better, so when I told her I was working on the audiobook of my novel, she brightened up and asked if I would be willing to do the audio version of a middle grade novel she had written titled, The Dragon’s Gold. I loved the book, so, of course, I said yes without thinking of the consequences. I could have asked her to wait until I’d finished my own book, but I wanted to pay her back for all she has done for me, so I suggested recording a couple of sample chapters and that was it, what I was working on went by the wayside.

Doing an audiobook is very time consuming. I had only begun to learn how to do the recording and editing process, but I wasn’t proficient quite yet. Her project became my lab experiment. It took me a little over two months to complete the nearly 250 page novel. And, once I had put my novel plans on hold, other projects swept in to take up my time.

The Dragon’s Gold is now in my friend’s hands to approve, and I’ve come to my senses. I need to make myself and the things I’m working on the highest priority. I need to stop procrastinating, rest and fill up my own well. If I don’t I won’t be of any use to myself, or anyone else.

The thing I’m learning about procrastination is that once I’ve decided to go back to my various ventures, it’s hard to get the momentum back. However, I am relieved by something my sister said recently when we were talking about this. She’d heard an interview with Ken Follett, in which he said that it takes him a long time to write his novels partly because they are so dense. They take place over many years, there are lots of characters, and a lot things happen to them during the course of the book. That made me feel better because The Space Between Time was a little bit like that and Time’s Echo is likely to be the same. They don’t take place over as many years as Follett’s books, but my characters do go through tribulations that cause them to grow. As my writer friend I just did the audiobook for once said, “You can’t rush your characters through their process. If you beat them up a bit, the reader feels more satisfied at the end when the characters learn their lessons.”

As an empath, I shy away from beating up my characters. That might be part of my procrastination as well. I know I need to create drama for them, but man it’s difficult to feel their pain and write it down so the reader does too. But that’s my job, and I need to do it. However,I guess I can’t rush the writing process either.

I’ll let you know how that’s going. No more taking on other people’s stuff until I’m on a better footing with my own.

Thanks for reading, liking, commenting, and for the reblog of one of my recent posts. Have a fun weekend and stay warm if you’re expecting winter storms.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back and apply what she’s learned to her real life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Don’t Judge a Story by Its Reputation

“As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment and curiosity over fear.” ~ Tracee Ellis Ross

“The anarchist painter is not the one who will create anarchist pictures, but the one who will fight with all his individuality against official conventions.” ~ Paul Signac

The other day I was working on an essay for the memoir book my sister and I are writing about movie chats with our father. The essay is about the movie Back Street, with Susan Hayward, John Gavin, and Vera Miles (1961). The story is based on a book by Fanny Hurst. And being a movie nerd, I did a bit of research on the production and on Fanny Hurst, who created the original source material. When she was alive, her work was considered to be popular pulp fiction, not high brow literature and not worthy of scholarly notice. But in the 1990s scholars began reexamining Hurst’s work. The Feminist Press published a collection of her work which dated between 1912 to 1932. They praised her “depth, intelligence, and artistry as a writer,” (as reported in an article about her in Wikipedia). Hurst was an activist for feminist and human rights causes and her views are reflected in her stories.

I’m attracted to stories that challenge our conventional view of reality. Fanny Hurst did that with more than one of her stories. Cultural conventions in the twentieth century taught us that marriage was sacred. To have an affair broke the rules of society. But in Back Street, Hurst creates an abusive, narcissistic wife, Liz who will not consent to a divorce. She likes the prestige and power that comes with her marriage. Liz is contrasted to “the other woman”, Rae who is successful, independent, loving and kind. If I were in the character Paul’s shoes, I’d fall in love and break the rules with Rae too. After all, we all need love no matter where it comes from.

Since I can’t keep myself from thinking about how other stories might relate, I connected Back Street to Aquaman, which we just saw last weekend. Barry and I are big fans of the movies based on graphic novels including the DC and Marvel superhero genre of movie. We don’t read the books, at least we haven’t started reading them yet, but the stories are compelling and relevant for what’s happening in society now. We have brilliant people like Stan Lee to thank for making great stories accessible to everyone, not just people who might be inclined to read only highbrow literature.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think any story is worth examining, whether it’s considered high or low brow. There can be important messages hidden in both. And one of the most important messages in Aquaman is that sometimes qualities taken from two or more different races can combine to make an extraordinary human being. Arthur who becomes Aquaman, is both human and Atlantean. He grew up in the human world but must unite both worlds to prevent a war that will destroy the planet. He’s a humble man with great integrity and a desire to help others. He doesn’t think of himself as a great leader. When the moment comes for him to face the creature protecting the symbol of his leadership, he tells the creature, “I’m nobody.” And that’s something no one trying to gain the object of power had ever said. Arthur doesn’t want to be a leader, but he’s willing to become one to save the planet.

When Stan Lee died a couple of months ago, I heard that there were people who scoffed at the outpouring of grief over his passing. The sentiment was that he ONLY wrote graphic novels. He didn’t cure diseases, or invent some monumental thing that would help humanity. But that’s not true. He invented so many characters who have helped change the way we view ourselves and our world. After all, he created Black Panther, one of the most influential characters in any movie to come along in a very long time.

There are other writers who have created enduring characters, like William Moulton Marston who created Wonder Woman, another iconic character who has changed the way we view women.

It’s my theory, and maybe I got this from Edward R. Morrow, that stories have power to change our attitudes, emotions, and in the long run our societies. It may take centuries for that change to take effect, but at some point critical mass can’t be avoided. The balance teeters in a new direction and society is made anew, sometimes almost without notice. I’m grateful when I find writers, like Fanny Hurst, Stan Lee, and William Moulton Marston, who help me examine my long held beliefs and think of human interactions in new ways.

In the past I’ve been guilty of looking down my nose at certain types of fiction, romance novels for one, as light entertainment with not much redeeming value. But one never knows when the catalyst for change will come along. I think I’ll change my mind and reserve judgment and just enjoy the ride a story takes me on and see how I’m changed in the process.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back and apply what she’s learned to her real life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

The Answers are Inside You

All the Love and Support We Need

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ~ Rumi

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” ~ Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Over the last few years I’ve been much more conscious of living in the present moment. This has affected the way I look at the noise of the media and the things they think are important.

The media, social and otherwise, like to spew information for how we can all be living a better life. On any given day you will find articles about the 10 foods you should never eat, the 5 best exercises, tips for growing your business, how to remove belly fat, and on-and-on. This has all begun to grate on my nerves.

As I’ve focused on the present moment, I’ve become less tolerant of the tsunami of advice circulating over all the media networks. For the last few months I’ve been contemplating why I’m so impatient with all this free, and sometimes not so free, advice.

Today I can finally articulate what has been bothering me. All of the people offering advice are asking me to depend on them, or someone else, for the answers to my problems. In reality, I am the repository of all the help and support I will ever need. The answers to the questions I have about my life can’t be found “out there” unless my inner guides point me to bit of information I need.

I think I’ve known this all along. I’ve never been big on joining groups or organizations, particularly ones that want it’s members to follow a set of rules or policies. When I was growing up during the 60s and 70s it was fashionable for people on a spiritual quest to find a guru. There were even TV shows, like Kung Fu, that were enormously popular with that idea as a central theme. But as I progressed along my own spiritual growth, I discovered that I may connect with certain teachers for a time, but after I gained the insights I needed, I felt it was time to move on.

When I began teaching public school and now at the college level, I have been an advocate for students finding their own answers to the questions we all inevitably have about life. What works for me, might not work for you. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, we must all do the work of figuring out our purpose for being on this planet. That’s a lifelong process. I’m still working on how I can best be of use to the other beings living here.

Being your own guru means you’ve got to trust yourself. That’s sometimes a difficult and scary thing to do, but take it from someone who’s been at this a long time, you can do it! It’s all a matter of changing your focus from the outside noise to the quiet inside yourself. You might be amazed at how much happier you will be if you listen to what it is you really want and go for it.

I wrote this post to remind myself that I may find answers outside myself from time to time, but I was really the one who pointed that information out to myself. And I’m reminding myself to be a better listener to my emotions and inner guidance.

By the way, I’m applying one thing I learned this fall from The No Pants Project by adjusting the description of my novel, The Space Between Time, below. See what you think of it and let me know.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. It’s a fresh new year to learn, grow, and create something amazing. I’m looking forward to seeing what develops.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate all of you.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back and apply what she’s learned to her real life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Family Connections

Arizona Butterfly

“Forgiveness is the final form of love.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

“Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.” ~ Robert Frost

During this visit to family for the holidays, we’ve been able to reconnect with my father’s last living brother. It’s been over twenty years since we last saw him, and we’ve all been through lots of life altering experiences. Seeing my uncle again and hearing the stories of his painful experiences has caused me to reflect on relationships and just how complicated they are. Each of us carry wounds, some healed, some still seeping. But for me the meaning of Jesus life, and that of the other great teachers like him, is that we must learn to forgive those who have wounded us, and forgive ourselves for being thoughtless.

When we think of forgiveness, we often think of the person who has been hurt, but not about the person who caused the pain. Having been the perpetrator of hurt feelings, I know that when I hurt someone else, I feel terrible that I could have done such a thing and I berate myself endlessly. Okay, I know not everyone is sensitive, or has empathy enough to regret what they did, but still there are always two sides to any story when someone gets hurt. And often there are two wounds that need to be addressed and healed.

This year there has been a lot of talk about how uncivil our society has become, and that we need to be kinder to each other. Social media has become littered with landmines of nasty comments. But I have to remind myself that when someone lashes out with hate, they are trying to get rid of their own negative feelings. So, I go back to one of my life themes, if we want to rebuild our personal relationships and create a kinder society, we have to begin with loving ourselves. Then we can spread kindness within our smaller circle of friends and family. This creates a ripple effect that will transform our personal relationships and our society into one that most of us say we want.

I try to remember that we’re all a member of the human family and that no one is perfect. Often we’re in our own little worlds and aren’t as mindful as we could be when interacting with others. We cause harm where none was intended. I’m a firm believer in the idea that we’re all doing the best we can all the time. And that not everyone has the same level of life coping skills. So, maybe we should do what Atticus Finch suggests to Scout; put on someone else’s shoes and walk around in them for a while. Doing that might help us not only see where we’ve caused pain, but also see that the people who hurt us might not have intended what happened. They were just living their lives and doing the best they could at the time.

Here’s to creating a great 2019!

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Christmas Gift

Olympic Mountains in Washington State

“I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don’t have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?” ~ Shailene Woodley

Here it is Christmas time again. As I get older it comes faster every year. Of course, each Christmas, my focus turns to what gifts to give family and friends. This year, I’ve been thinking not just about physical gifts, but about the intangible gifts we give all throughout the year. And the biggest gift we can give is love.

Over the years I’ve learned that to give love, I must first learn to love myself, no easy task, but so worth it. Recently, I watched a few YouTube videos by a woman named Marisa Peer, a therapist who says that to become happy, all we really need to do is to tell ourselves over and over again that we are enough, that we are worthy, that we love ourselves. When we do that we change the negative self-talk that runs in our heads on a constant feed back loop. It seems so simplistic, and maybe even like wishful thinking to do such a thing because we’re so used to making everything hard. And it’s work to turn our attention away from the familiar mind numbing thoughts that we think we can’t control. It takes commitment. We can’t just say these things once and expect to change our thinking. Nope, we have to put post-it notes around the house, we have to remind ourselves over and over again until a new groove is etched into our brains and the old thinking fades away.

I’ve been practicing this new way of thinking this fall, and I have to say I’m feeling better about everything that is happening around me. I’m more open to people and experiences. Here’s an example: My husband and I are now with family in Seattle. Flying is not always a pleasant experience because of all the security hoops we have to jump through. But both Barry and I decided we were going to change our minds about going through security and then sitting for an hour or more waiting for our flight. We decided it was going to go smoothly. Our check-in process was much more pleasant this time around. The TSA agent even joked with us, which made having to go through the process fun. We struck up a conversation with a couple sitting across from us as we waited to board the plane. And even though it was a long day, I felt much less stress this time than on previous trips.

In fact, I’m feeling better about everything in my life. So, this year and for the months to come, I’m going to follow Marisa’s advice and give myself the gift of self-love so I can spread more of it around and hopefully effect change in a gentle one-on-one kind of way.

If you celebrate Christmas, have a blessed one, and if not I hope your end of the year festivities are full of warmth and love because you are worth it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

This and That

It’s a Wonderful Life Village

“As you grow older, you learn a few things. One of them is to actually take the time you’ve allotted for vacation.” ~ John Battelle

My husband and I are about to go on a Christmas vacation to be with my mom, sister and her family. We haven’t spent the Christmas holidays with them for five or six years and we are looking forward to it immensely.

On the other hand, I find myself torn between setting aside all the projects I’ve been working on this fall, and taking work with me. I will keep up my blog posts, but other than that, I’m fighting with myself. Should I take things along so I can work on my books? This dilemma forces me to ask myself, why am I having such a hard time unplugging?

I’m a bit sad to say that since I retired from full-time teaching eleven years ago, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing some amount of work on my creative projects every single day. When I wake up in the morning, my mind is full of all the things I want to accomplish that day. And just now as I’m about to take a two-and-a-half week vacation, the thought of not working at all leaves me feeling a little bit unmoored.

This feeling is unsettling because I’m a firm believer in taking time to do nothing. In fact, I have a page from one of my Mary Englebreit calendars framed and in plain view in my office that reads, “How beautiful is it to do nothing and then rest afterward.” It’s a Spanish proverb.

Somehow working all the time becomes addictive and it snuck up on me unawares. I’ve got to break the habit. That’s probably why I’ve felt a little stuck on my novel, too many things going on in my head.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the work I’ve been doing is really important. I’m learning vital things that will help me sell my books, and develop my narrating career. But a break from work every so often is something I’ve been neglecting doing.

Getting ready for this vacation, as is usually the case, has been a bit stressful. I’ve just finished my semester of teaching. And though it’s only one class, there are grading and other duties to finish before I can take my month break until the next semester begins. I just finished the work on my friend’s audiobook. It’s in her hands now for final approval. We’re finally signing the contract this weekend before I leave. And there are the tasks I’ve had to suspend while working on the audiobook. A person could go crazy trying to clear the decks so they can relax while on their vacation.

With all that’s been going on this fall, I’ve come to one conclusion. It’s not worth trying to do everything at once. I’m not a good multi-tasker, never have been, never will be. So, these last weeks I chose to concentrate on only one thing at a time, and only do a couple of urgent tasks in one day. Slowly my brain is beginning to unwind. I’m feeling a bit less stressed thank heaven.

We can go a bit crazy this time of year trying to fulfill our expectations of what makes a perfect holiday season. I think I’m just going to enjoy being with distant family laughing and enjoying each other’s company. All the tasks I set for myself will still be here when I get back.

Here’s hoping your end of the year celebrations help you connect with those you love, even if that’s only yourself.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Next blog post will be from the Seattle area. Have a great weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Legacy of a Life

Getting a hug from Dad

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” ~ Norman Cousins

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ~ Robert Frost

As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m very emotional because it’s about my father. Even though he’s been gone for twelve years, I’m still learning from the lessons he taught me. His influence runs so deep that it is often difficult for me to put my thoughts and emotions into words. But, about a month or two ago, I got the idea to write a book with my sister, Celeste, about the conversations we had with Dad. The book started out to be about what we learned from the many discussions we had with him about movies.

When I proposed the idea to Celeste we decided we wanted to concentrate on the way dad used questions as a teaching tool and how parents and teachers can also do the same thing.

The thing is, when a writing project idea comes to me, it often morphs into exploring ideas and relationships that I had not envisioned when I started the project. This one is no different. As Celeste and I have talked about all that we’ve learned from Dad, it is clear to me that we have more things to say about him than just the discussions we had about movies. It seems to me that we need to write a kind of memoir about him rather than just a cheesy little book about using movies to have those difficult discussions with children.

I haven’t read many memoirs, which may or may not be an advantage. All kinds of ways I could approach the writing have been swirling around in my head. How do we structure the book? How do we even begin it? Then I remembered something Brené Brown said. The best way to connect with people is to tell stories. That is what Celeste and I have decided to do and this morning a story about dad came to me that I want to share.

When I was ten, we moved from the comfortable cocoon of church friends and close family to an extremely small town where I didn’t know anyone. There were a few church families living in this small community, and, as I remember it, Dad was to be the pastor of the small congregation. The town was on the Washington side of the Colombia River Gorge across from The Dalles, Oregon. We moved from our lovely home that mom and dad had had built in Gresham, Oregon to a 55 ft long, 10 ft wide trailer, with my brother and I sharing a tiny bedroom. My new baby sister, not Celeste she came later, slept in her bassinet in Mom and Dad’s room.

I was an extremely sensitive and shy girl. The move was difficult for me. I don’t remember having many friends the three years we lived there.

Dad often had assignments to preach at congregations up and down the Gorge. When he traveled, he would take either my brother or me, or sometimes both of us with him. Those were precious times, because though we lived 70 miles from Portland, dad still worked at Freightliner building big rigs. He spent the weekdays away from home. Even so, he found time to coach one of my brother’s teams and he came to many of our school events.

When I was in seventh grade, the principal of our school decided to put on a play. The population of the school was small, and I don’t remember if all students in the seventh and eighth grades were encouraged to audition, or if it was just a seventh grade project. In any case, I think I surprised my parents when I auditioned for the play. I didn’t get a part, but I helped backstage. One of my duties was to prompt students on their lines. I was so enthusiastic that I memorized the entire script. I didn’t think anyone knew this, or even cared, but I wanted to be prepared in case something happened and an actor couldn’t perform.

At the end of the school year, the principal gave me a special award for all my hard work and he told the assembly that I had learned all the lines to the play and done other extra work backstage. I still have the drama pin Mr. Hemple gave me, but the best award I got that night was Dad telling me how proud he was of me. I’m sure he had told me that before, but for some reason, that night his words meant so much more to me.

Over the years dad did that a lot, told me he was proud of me. I found out not too many years ago, that Dad had told Mom, “Lucinda is a sensitive soul.” Or words to that effect. I think he told me he was proud of me because he knew I was filled with self-doubt and needed to hear that he understood who I was.

That was one of the things that made Dad a genus. He observed people. He had empathy for them and could often see talents in them they didn’t even know they possessed. I believe Dad saw my love for storytelling in all it’s forms and he began watching movies and TV shows with me not only to help me learn, but to connect with me in a non-threatening but emotional way. Because you see, my father was an extremely private person himself. We could talk about the events and characters in the movie or TV show and in an oblique way, talk about how we felt and what we thought about things happening in our personal lives as well.

So, even though this memoir that Celeste and I are going to write together will contain stories about the movie discussions we had with Dad, it will contain other stories as well. Stories of how little things Dad did and said to us had a great impact upon the way we live our lives now.

I miss you, Dad. I’m grateful to have had you as my father, and for all the things I learned from you.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate it very much. Have a restful weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.