When Life Thows Curve Balls

Oregon Trail Wagon Wheel Ruts, by Doug Letterman

“Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.” ~ Al Franken

Someone once said, “Life is difficult and then you die,” and I have to admit I used to subscribe to that idea. But not any more. My new mantra is, “There are no mistakes, only lessons.” Three or four times in the last months various groups that I belong to on social media have asked some version of the question, if you could give your younger self, or the younger generation, or your children, friends or family one bit of advice what would it be? The first time I wrote there are no mistakes, only lessons, I got lots of likes and loves back and that’s when I realized that I was giving that advice to myself in real time. 

As Albert Einstein said and I’m paraphrasing, we can live as if nothing is a miracle, or we can live as if everything is a miracle. I prefer to live as if everything is a miracle because living the other way is too bleak.

This week my dramatic structure class watched and discussed the movie Sliding Doors (1998). It’s about a woman named Helen, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who lives two different timelines depending on whether she was able to get on the underground train or not. And as the movie progresses we see the consequences of this one seemingly insignificant event. If she gets on the train she comes home to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman. In that timeline she leaves him and begins a relationship with the man she was talking to on the train. In the other, she’s nearly mugged and arrives home after a trip to the emergency room. By that time the other woman has left. Of course, one of the timelines must go away at the climax of the movie. One of my students said, (No spoilers here) “I wish she’d been able to continue on with the timeline where she was happy.” To which I replied, “Yes, but she ends up in the same place in the end.” And then we had a discussion about choices. If we’re faced with two or more paths, we can’t see into the future to know the consequences of our choice. But I said that I believe in the end it doesn’t really matter, because we often arrive where we were meant to be anyway. Maybe that was the message of the movie. If we choose to do the work, we can learn the lessons no matter what paths we choose.  

When I look back at my life, I can pin point times when I made bad choices because I believed I didn’t deserve miracles. I made myself miserable. Like the time right out of college when I took a job that made my stomach sink when they offered it to me. My body knew this was not a good choice and I should wait for something better, but I was worried about money. Barry and I needed jobs so we could survive. So, instead of trusting that I would be taken care of and find a position that I would love, I tortured myself for two years in a job with a toxic environment that I hated and made me sick, literally.

But since there are no mistakes, only lessons, that hated job propelled me into a Masters program in theatre. And that led from one thing to the next until I arrived here, teaching theatre classes, writing my novels, this blog and podcasting about stories that I love because of the things they’ve taught me.

After years of practice, when the mistakes or unexpected curve balls come, I allow myself to have those inevitable negative feelings, but then I breathe and take a step back. “Okay,” I say to myself. “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” Sometimes the answers come flooding in right a way, and sometimes I get the answers little by little. But either way, I now trust that the Universe has my back and eventually, I’ll be able to understand the bigger plan.

Case in point, I’ve been saying and even writing that I’m working on the audiobook for my first novel. Well, just a few weeks ago, as I was attempting to start that project anew, it came to me that I didn’t want to do the audiobook myself. I didn’t feel I had the talent or the passion for it. So I’ve decided to hire someone to do it. I’m weighing my options and waiting for guidance on how to accomplish that goal. This is one of those times when I need to wait for the right time to make it happen.

Little by little my life is expanding. I recently started doing short videos on Instagram and on my writer’s page on Facebook. They’re little musings about a story that has made me come to a new realization, or heal some aspect of myself that I didn’t even know I needed to heal.  It feels good to have a reason to get up every morning. It’s good to have creative projects that I’m passionate about doing that might connect me with people who need what I have to say. Nothing I do is very earth shattering, but I believe that if I can help one person, I’m fulfilling my purpose. I’m excited to see what comes next!

Welcome new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a glorious weekend and stay safe.

Blessings.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, 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 when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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Looking For Joy

Unbridled Joy

“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.” ~ Rosalind Russell

“The Universe loves a grateful person. The more you thank Life, the more Life will give you to be thankful for.” ~ Louise Hay

If you’ve listened to my podcast, Story~Power, you know I’m a big classic movie nerd. In times when I’m stressed, I’ll go find a movie, often one I’ve seen dozens of times to help me unplug from the craziness for awhile. This election season has been one of those times when I’ve needed to unplug from the drama of real life and sink into a fictional world where in the end all the loose ends are tied up giving me a deep sense of satisfaction.

Here are a few movies, some old, some newer, that have brought me joy these last weeks. The first is Now, Voyager with Bette Davis, Paul Henried, and Claude Rains. Bette Davis’ character Charlotte goes on a journey of self-discovery. Along the way she falls in love, learns to love herself, and she finds purpose, and joy in living. Those seem to be themes for me because another movie I love is, Easy Virtue with Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Colin Firth in which Jessica Biel’s character marries a young British man of the landed gentry and suddenly finds herself at war with his mother who wants him to marry the girl on the estate next door. Biel’s character is recovering from harrowing experiences, something that her new young husband can’t comprehend. In the end she bonds with his father who lost all his men in WW I. They help each other begin to heal old wounds.

The night of the election Barry, who has a rule about not watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving, suggested we watch Sleepless In Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. This is a movie that affirms, miracles can happen. I think we all want to believe in miracles, but we get bogged down and forget to dream, or even ask for them. 

Finally, I highly recommend November Christmas, a 2010 Hallmark Hall of Fame offering staring Sam Elliott, John Corbett, Karen Allen and Sarah Paulson. It’s a story about a family new to a small Massachusetts town. They don’t know many people yet so when their daughter develops cancer, they keep it to themselves. A kind neighbor begins to put things together. He and his wife offer their help. Eventually the news gets out and the people of the town wrap the family in support and love. It’s a quiet movie that sneaks in and touches your heart. 

You probably have your own list of favorite feel good stories. I suggest, if you’re feeling frazzled, to take time out to watch or read an old favorite this weekend. 

Movies are not the only ways I unplug from the daily drama. I look for other little things that help bring me joy. Some of these are, the quail and other birds and wildlife in our yard, a good conversation with a friend, my morning cup of hot chocolate, my meditation time.

I’m also a collector of great quotes to turn to when I need to do a thinking reset. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Everything is figureoutable” by Marie Forleo. In fact, I read Marie’s book by the same title earlier this year mostly because I was trying to figure out how to better promote all my creative projects. Fortunately the book is filled with stories about her single mom, who coined the phrase, and how she figured out how to fix a sink, a radio, and many other things around their home. Marie’s students are mostly women. She teaches them how to build a business using the skills we already have.  She assures her students when we’re not sure what or how to do something we need to build our business, that everything is figureoutable. There are lots of options about how to figure stuff out. She’s right! 

During the summer I read Glennon Doyle’s book, Untamed. It’s a memoir, so it’s filled with stories of things she’s learning while living her life. One thing she says in that book that stuck with me is that “We can do hard things”. I love that because it implies that even though the task ahead might seem daunting, we are capable of accomplishing it. It also implies that we are each responsible for doing the work with great rewards to be gained if we commit to doing the work.

I just finished reading Anne Bogel’s book Don’t Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life. One of her tips that has stuck with me is that when you’re tempted to overthink a situation, turn the problem into an experiment. She says that with an experiment, instead of trying to do something perfectly, you are trying to see what the outcome might be. It’s an opportunity to learn something new even if it fails.

And finally, in Pam Grout’s book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit For Rewiring Your Mind, she reiterates the idea that comes up again and again in A Course in Miracles, that love is all there is. Love is the only thing that’s real. Everything else, all the drama that we tend to get caught up in, is illusion. It turns out Shakespeare was right, all the world IS a stage and all the men and women merely players.

Finally, contrary to what the Vulcan’s in Star Trek believe, “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist. In the first Star Trek movie with the original cast, that’s what Spock discovers. It’s our emotional connection to others that makes life meaningful. A society might function if everyone rejects emotion and uses logic, but there will be little to no joy in it.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about mining stories, to find my connection to the storytellers and the characters they create. Stories help me find answers to my questions about the meaning of life, and how to deal with difficult situations, and to understand why humans do what they do. They show me the consequences of certain actions without having to experience them personally. I think that’s the great blessing of stories. I can learn important lessons from someone else’s experience.

This is the final thing I want to encourage you to think about. Humanity is learning and progressing no matter what events look like in the world right now. I use this analogy all the time, but when you’re cleaning out your closets, you create chaos for awhile. That’s all humanity is going through right now, we’re doing cosmic closet cleaning. We’re deciding what values we want to keep and which ones to get rid of. We’re examining our old ways of conducting business, government, religion, educational and financial institutions, and we’re deciding which is more important, money or people. Change can be scary, but it’s necessary. I would not want to be the same person I was at 20, or 30, or even 40 because as a result of all the personal work I’ve done, I’m finally feeling comfortable about who I am.

Thank you for following, reading, and commenting. I’m hoping we humans learn to appreciate each other.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, 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 when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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Podcasts, Movies and More

My guest today, Trevor Valenzuela, is another former student of mine. As with most of the other students, we met when he took the acting I class. We have an extra connection through podcasting. He knows a lot about movies and it was fun talking with him about our mutual love of them. As you can see by his photo, Trevor has a sense of humor.

Trevor Valenzuela is an amateur filmmaker and podcaster from Sierra Vista, AZ. When not creating, he spends his free time consuming stories however he can, usually through games, comics, and movies.

Podcasts 

Caps off With John and Trevor

Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave

What Say You?

What Should I Read Next episode 256 with Anne Bogel

The Incomparable 

Movies and TV

Impractical Jokers (2011 – present) Screenwriters, James Easter Bradford and 6 others, Directors, Andrew Hood and 9 others

View Eskew Productions

Bam! Foreign Espionage! Video short by Trevor and his friends

Clerks (1994) Written and Directed by Kevin Smith 

Jurassic Park (1993) Written by Michael Crichton and David Koepp, Director Steven Spielberg

The Wizard of Oz (1939) Main Screenwriter, Noel Langley, Main Director, Victor Fleming

Spider-Man ( 2002) Screenwriters, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, David Koepp, Director, Sam Raimi

X-Men (2000) Screenwriters, Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer, David Hayter, Director, Bryan Singer

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Screenwriters, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Director, Joe Johnston

The Flash (2014 – present) Creator and screenwriter, Greg Berlanti

Superman (1978) Screenplay, Mario Puzo, Director, Richard Donner

Chasing Amy (1997) Written and Directed by Kevin Smith 

The Hate U Give Novel, Angie Thomas, Screenplay by Audrey Wells, Director, George Tillman Jr.

Trainspotting (1996) Novel, Irvine Welsh, Screenplay, John Hodge, Director, Danny Boyle

Big Fish (2003) Novel by Daniel Wallace, Screenplay, John August, Director, Tim Burton

Now, Voyager (1942) Novel, Olive Higgins Prouty, Screenplay, Casey Robinson, Director, Irving Rapper

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Novel, MacKinlay Kantor, Screenplay, Robert E. Sherwood, Director William Wyler

The Razor’s Edge (1946) Novel, W. Somerset Maugham, Screenplay Lamar Trotti, Director, Edmund Goulding

Jojo Rabbit (2019) Novel Caging Skies, Christine Leunens, Screenplay, Taika Waititi, Director, Taika Waititi

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Screenplay, Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, Directors, Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Screenplay, Eric Pearson and 8 others, Director, Taika Waititi

Notorious (1946) Screenplay, Ben Hecht, Alfred Hitchcock, Director, Alfred Hitchcock

Casablanca (1942) Screenplay, Julius J. Epstein and 5 others, Director, Michael Curtiz

Sliding Doors (1998) Screenplay and Director, Peter Howitt

Gun Shy (2000) Screenplay and Director, Eric Blakeney

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” ~ Roger C. Schank, Cognitive Scientist

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The Work Is Just Beginning

U.S. Constitution

“Without forgiveness and love, you will live with resentment, bitterness, malice and strife which result in more pain. You can never love without forgiving. Forgiveness deepens your ability to love and frees you from pain.” ~ Kemi Sogunle

I started to write a post for today when I couldn’t sleep at about 4:00 a.m. Later this morning, Saturday, it was announced the Joe Biden was declared the President Elect. Oh my goodness, it has been a long week! I’m relieved but I want to temper my joy and celebration, because there are people out there today who are feeling the way I felt four years ago. They are sure the country is going to go in the wrong direction, they are sure the election was stolen, and lots of other conspiracy theories that I don’t even want to be aware of.

I was about to meditate when I got the news that the election had been called and as I settled down to be silent, I felt that what we need to be focusing on right now is forgiveness. I need to forgive my family and friends who might be Donald Trump supporters. And I need to forgive them for the possibility that they won’t forgive me for supporting Joe Biden. That’s something I’ve learned about forgiveness lately, that we have to forgive people who won’t forgive us for the mistakes we’ve made, or having opinions opposite to theirs.

This week I remembered something that happened when I was a teacher’s aide at a Montessori school in Spokane, Washington. I was working in the three year old room and one day I told a child that he needed to do something that he didn’t want to do. I could see the war going on inside him. He wanted to yell at me, but I was an adult. What recourse did he have. He couldn’t contradict me. So I said to him, “It’s okay. You can be mad at me. I’m an adult. I can take it.” I will never forget the relief that washed over his face. I had just given him permission to feel his emotions. He was willing to do what I had asked him to do because I showed that I understood him.

That’s what we need to do with our neighbors. We need to let them feel whatever emotions they’re feeling right now. We need to just be with them and love them even if they’re angry at us. That’s how we change the world; by loving.

I think this is a day to take in all the emotions the last four years have brought to the surface. As Hermione Granger said in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, “Everything is going to change now isn’t it?” To which Harry responded, “Yes”.

Take care of yourselves. To those of you going back into lock down, I pray for you, as I pray for all of us who are dealing with the virus and all the other problems that we must now address.

Blessings.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, 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 when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find her.

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Let’s Honor the Ancestors

Life Weaving

“Many cultures believe that on a certain day – Halloween, the Irish Samhain Eve, Mexico’s ‘Dia de los Muertos’ – the veil between this world and the next is especially thin.” ~ Michael Dirda

I’ll be honest, I’ve never particularly liked Halloween. As a kid I wasn’t into creepy stories. I don’t like to be frightened. And as I got older it seemed to me that Halloween, at least in the United States, was one of those “commercial” holidays where the candy and costume industries cash in on what was at one time a serious celebration and honoring of our ancestors. It’s sad that our connection to those who have gone before us and the lessons they have passed down is now swept aside for profit.

Just recently, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my ancestors. I believe, and I think there is even scientific proof for this, that we inherit things from our progenitors through our DNA and thought patterns. Our lives and those of those who came before us are irrevocably interwoven. What we inherit is not just things about our health, but qualities like, courage, tenacity, work ethic, or fear, suspicion, and lack of self-worth. 

If we want to get rid of the negative qualities and attitudes passed down to us, it takes a lot of work. Learning the stories about our ancestors can help. I’m enthralled by television shows like Finding Your Roots, with Louis Gates Jr. and Who Do You Think You Are?, produced by Lisa Kudrow. I feel the emotions of the guests when they find out about the lives of their fore-fathers and mothers. They are always so deeply affected. They often say, “Well, now I see where I got that from.” Watching those shows makes me want to find out all I can about who I am, by finding out about the people I came from.

The main theme of my life has been about personal and spiritual growth. I’ve never wanted my life to remain static. And I believe that if I grow and change, I help humanity to grow and change as well. It’s only recently that I’ve felt strong enough to examine the darker sides of my personality and try to do some healing work there. 

So, this Halloween, I have a little bit different perspective about the significance of this time of year and our celebration of witches, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and the like. Those characters are representations of our darker sides and perhaps the healing we need to be doing so we can accept ourselves and become more joyful.

On another note, I’ve begun to do little videos on Instagram and Facebook. They are an extension of this blog and my podcasts. To me stories are powerful tools for teaching and community building. They can help us heal and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. The videos are just little bits of things I’ve learned from the stories I’m consuming. My handle at Instagram is “sagemidgorden”, if you’re interested in following me there. You can find my writer’s page on Facebook at Lucinda Sage Midgorden (without the hyphen). And I hope you will check out my podcast Story-Power. Episode #8 “Storytelling Magic” aired on October 28. I’ve had wide ranging conversations discussing things as diverse as Shakespeare, myths, the MCU and classic literature and movies. Episode #9 “Podcasts, Movies and More” airs November 11. You can listen to them here on my website where the show notes are, or at Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps.

As you may have noticed, I’ve added a donation section to my pages. You can donate any amount you like even though I’ve made suggestions. If you like what you read or hear and donate, I will send you a personal thank you. I’m committed to helping my fellow artists by supporting their work financially. I hope you will do the same thing for the artists you like.

The holiday season is upon us. It feels like it is time to rest, reflect, and wrap up the lessons of this year so we can be ready for what is to come in the new year.

Take care of yourselves. Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. 

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, 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 when the audiobook version is published.

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