Letting Go

August Sunset

“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.” ~ Melody Beattie

“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” ~ Emma Goldman

“What narrative are you playing out in your mind at this moment? The end of society? Or the liberation of it? The story you are telling yourself is more important than you realize.” @MasteringLawofAttraction

Sometimes I drift through life. I’m lazy. I think I’m finished with my personal work. Then something unexpected comes along to shake me out of my stupor. The Covid-19 virus has done that for me and I’m grateful for it.

I’ve been home, except for two short excursions, since March 10. That’s nothing new. I’m home most of the time anyway. But what the shift in energy created by this virus has done is make me pay more attention to areas of my life that I didn’t even realize needed cleaning up. For example, resentments I’ve been holding on to; the people I need to forgive.

I was listening to Amanda Ellis one day and she said that during this time, we need to pay attention to people we need to forgive, especially our leaders. Of course, I knew immediately that I needed to forgive Trump. Once I opened my heart to the possibility that I’d been holding a grudge against him, I had a vision of him as a baby in a crib by himself, crying.

During the 1980s or early ‘90s, when there was armed conflict happening in Eastern Europe, I think it was in what used to Yugoslavia, there were orphanages where hundreds of children got very little care because they had so few staff. The babies rarely got touched, or their diapers changed. They barely got fed enough formula or food. The lack of human contact affected their brains in a negative way. In my vision, that was Trump as a baby. He came from a wealthy family, but in my vision I could hear his father say to the nurse, “Let him cry. It will toughen him up.” Who knows if what I saw is correct, but it would explain why he has very little empathy. Seeing him in that light made it so much easier to let go of my resentment. He’s doing the best he can with what he was taught.

After that profound experience, it’s been easier to look underneath behaviors to why people write nasty things on social media, or try to hoard money, or toilet paper. They’re afraid, or they feel unloved, or maybe they’re sick, or they don’t have hope that things will get better. I wish I could help them see things differently. I wish I could help them understand that they can change their thinking. It just takes discipline to do so. But we all have free will. I can post positive things as encouragement, but some people will never understand what I’m trying to convey. I have to let go of my desire to change everyone’s mind toward positive thoughts.

Every once in a while, though, someone’s positivity does get through. Lesson 68 in Pam Grout’s book, The Course in Miracles Experiment was a profound one for me today. In it she tells a story about Patton Oswalt, an actor, who about a year or so ago Tweeted a “cheeky” poem about Trump’s wall. As Pam writes it, a conservative war vet from Alabama sent some nasty Tweets back. Now, Patton could have gotten into a Tweet fight with the guy, but he didn’t. Instead he did some investigation and found out that the guy had some serious health problems. He had a GoFundMe page to try to get enough money for some much needed medical procedures. So, what does Patton Oswalt do? He sends this Tweet, “Aw, man. This dude just attacked me on Twitter, but … he’s in a LOT of trouble health-wise. I’d be pissed off too. He’s been dealt some shitty cards – let’s deal him some good ones. Click and donate – just like I’m about to do.” Patton donated $2,000, and in the end the vet’s campaign raised $15,000 in a couple of hours, three times its original goal. The vet’s mind was changed. There were people out there who cared about him, and it was all because Patton Oswalt let go of the insults. His second Tweet to the vet was this: “This is why compassion and forgiveness are always best.”

So, today, I’m doing some self-examination. Who else do I need to forgive? My father’s mother is one. She lived with us when I was thirteen years old and unfortunately she tried to spread discord in our family. She treated my mother horribly and tried to drive a wedge between my parents. That didn’t work, of course, and my father moved her out to a town a few hours away. When I got older I came to the conclusion, because of things she said repeatedly, that she must have been sexually abused. I felt sorry for her. She’d never been able to heal and recover from what I assume happened to her.

This past week, I realized, I had never formally forgiven her for her nasty behavior. In fact, it never even occurred to me that I needed to do so. But resentment was still stuck in my heart. I visualized her standing in front of me. I told her I forgave her, and I felt those hard feelings leave my heart. My poor grandmother needed love, compassion, and understanding. But none of us knew why she was the way she was and we resented her. I hope she’s had a chance to heal and is having a grand time with her family and friends in the afterlife.

As this weird time continues, I’m not sure we’ll be finished with it for quite some time, I’m hoping we let go of all the institutions, laws, and business practices that have needed to be overhauled for a very long time. And I hope we’re also taking time to overhaul ourselves as well. What is most important to us? What kind of world do we want to live in? We can play the “What if” game and start to picture the world we’ve always wanted to live in. Each person answering those questions for themselves accumulates and that’s how we change the world.

Thanks for reading. I hope you leave a comment. I want to know what you’re learning during this time.

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.

Ha Ha, Fooled Myself

Thunderstorm over Corfu

Last week I wrote that I was taking a break from writing this post, but I just had to write about what happened this week.

To set this up, let me tell you that the college IT department decided to upgrade the college website and all the links IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEMESTER. As you might imagine it has caused all kinds of havoc. The theatre workshop class, which is the way students get credit for performing in the play, was one of the victims of this switch over. Students had difficulties signing up, and well, I signed up for the class, with my approved tuition waiver in my virtual hand, to pad the numbers so the dean wouldn’t cancel the class.

Monday evening, I got a bill from the college in the mail for $790 for the class. I was required to pay this because, supposedly, I’m an out of state student. I was steamed, to say the least. I’ve worked for the college for eleven years and they couldn’t find me in their records?

The next morning I called Dave, the director of the play, to vent. When he laughed at the absurdity of the situation, I was miffed at first. But as we talked, the whole situation with the website switch over became more and more funny.

My chiropractor reacted the same way when I told him about the incident and we laughed together. Sometimes you just have to laugh at situations like this.

When I got to the registrar’s office to resolve the issue, they were as baffled as I was. Though the letter had dropped the Midgorden from my last name, they were able to find my records in their system and couldn’t understand why I’d been labeled as a non-resident student. Needless to say the situation was resolved. My tuition waiver was good and I don’t have to pay anything for the class.

This morning, Wednesday morning, I was reading Pam Grout’s post about three fabulous things that are happening for her. If anyone has reason to be stressed and depressed, it’s Pam. A year ago, last October, her 25 year old daughter died from a brain aneurysm. Taz, was Pam’s only child. As you can imagine it’s been an extremely difficult year for her, but she’s worked at learning the lessons, and remaining positive. Because she’s kept turning her feeling and thinking back to being positive, several great things are happening for her.

Pam lost her daughter. She’s willing to deal with her grief and then move toward more positive thinking. And I got upset over a little snafu with my class registration!?

Pam is a fantastic example and reminder for me. No matter how big or little my problems, I need to continually turn toward positive thinking and feeling. Wallowing in negativity doesn’t help me or anyone else.

Gregg Braden, a scientist and spiritual teacher, writes and lectures about the new discoveries about the strong energy our hearts put out. It’s a great deal more than the energy put out by our brains. Everyone and everything around us is affected by our emotions and thoughts. If we think and feel we’re not worthy enough to have good things happen to us, we’re setting ourselves up for a bunch of negative experiences.

Yesterday I was a little dark cloud spreading negativity. Today I’m ashamed of myself for being so childish. And I want to change my thoughts and feelings so that I spread positive energy instead. This takes constant self-monitoring. When I feel angry or sad, I have to acknowledge it and then turn my thoughts and emotions around. Today I’m working on doing that.

If I get another aha next week, I may write again.

I hope you 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. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than 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 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. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

One Drop in the Ocean

“Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?” ~ David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

“… for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” ~ George Eliot, Middlemarch

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it.” ~ Lao Tzu

“I am the light of the world. … Humility consists of accepting your role in salvation and in taking no other.” ~ A Course In Miracles, Lesson 61

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed this last week or so. It’s a busy semester. I’m teaching three classes and one of them is a play production. It’s been difficult to keep up with my writing projects on top of the teaching duties. I’m not good at multi-tasking so I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to do everything required and do them all well.

When I get stressed I begin comparing myself to other people. Social media is full of invitations to join this or that class or workshop so you can learn the secrets to this or that process that will make your life easier, or make you more prosperous, etc., etc., etc. Seeing those makes me crazy, because I’m tempted to think that I need to be different than I am in order to be a complete person. I need to be an extravert, I need to reach my audience, I need to … Ack! I’m so tempted to let those outer voices become my inner voices but I was saved these last couple of days from those thoughts by two things.

First, I just finished reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s book The Left Hand of Darkness. One character in particular, Estraven, sacrifices his career, his reputation, and his life for Genly Ai, an Envoy from another planet. His mission is to establish ties between Estraven’s planet and an alliance of planets he belongs to. Estraven is the only one on his world unafraid of the arrival of the alien Envoy. He sees that joining this group will be good for the backward governments on his world. Estraven was one man who made a difference by allowing his title and wealth to be stripped from him for a greater cause. Not many of his people knew the full extent of what he did.

The other thing that helped me was our neighbor. He came by to asked my advice on how to write a book. What! You’re asking me, an amateur, to give you advice? Immediately I felt small and unequal to the task. But I had to admit that I do know a little bit about the writing process.

I always shrink from telling other people how to do things. I mean, what works for me, might not work for them. I know that sounds funny coming from a teacher, but as a teacher I try to show my students all the possible ways they can complete a project or paper and then I let them use their own creative skills to do it. So, that’s what I did with my neighbor. He left happy.

I don’t know why I’m so hard on myself. I’m not alone in that. We are, after all, just one drop in a much larger ocean. We don’t have to fix all the problems that exist. Most of the time we never know the good that comes after us as a result of just living our lives.

Today, I’m taking a day off to relax and recoup. Here is a wonderful song I borrowed from Pam Grout’s blog post by India Arie to sing you into a fabulous 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, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

What I Believe

August Sunset

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

This week’s lesson in Art & Soul Reloaded by Pam Grout is to write an essay about what I believe. This is one assignment I was excited to do because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is I know for sure. I stopped writing because the way I was writing about what I believe to be true seemed to be fake, intellectual nonsense. So I had to sit down and do some thinking about how to share my outlook on life without sounding sanctimonious. I’m going to begin with what I learned from my dad.

He was a lot like me, a very private person. But, when I asked him questions about the news and what was happening in the world, his answers were thought provoking. The 60s and 70s, when I was in school, were a bit like now. There was a great deal of unrest and many of the protests were violent. When I’d ask dad about that, he’d say that wounded people do things to make themselves feel better, but it doesn’t work like that. He didn’t say “What we put out we get back” that I remember, but eventually I understood that the real problems in the world are not external, they’re internal.

Most of us are not taught good coping skills. We aren’t taught how to love ourselves, or that there is plenty of everything to go around so we don’t need to fight for resources. It’s not our parents, family members or teacher’s fault, they’re just passing on what they learned and believe to be true. But what if they’re wrong? What if the infinite intelligent force that created everything sees us as perfect and completely lovable. Wow! That would change everything in our outer world.

It took me a long time to accept this understanding after lots of soul searching and study. I’m finally learning to forgive myself for all the silly and stupid mistakes I’ve made in my relationships over the years.

Throughout my life I’ve had many spiritual experiences that have helped shape my current belief system. The most profound of these insights has been each time I’ve felt my connection to everything that exists.

I think it was Carl Sagan who said that we are all made of star stuff. When I heard that, I knew it was true because when I was a teenager I lay on the ground one night looking up at the vastness of the night sky with all the stars and my heart opened. It felt like the edges of my body were melting away and I was part of the ground, the air, the trees, the grass, the stars, my boyfriend beside me, the other campers in their cabins, the animals in the woods. The sensation lasted for only a moment, but it was profound and changed the way I saw myself and my place in the universe.

Another time I was riding in a car watching people walking down the street and that same feeling came over me, that somehow I had an invisible connection to everyone and everything on the planet. It brings tears to my eyes to remember that and to know that when others hurt, I’m hurt. When good things happen for other people, I get to feel a little bit of that joy too. It’s also sobering to realize that when I hurt others, I’m not only hurting them but myself and everyone else on the planet and the opposite is also true. Understanding that has made me take responsibility for my thoughts and actions.

Knowing all that helps me be more conscious of what I say and do, but I still fall into the trap of getting angry, calling someone an idiot and thinking they are the one who needs to change. Just yesterday I was driving to teach one of my classes and there were some really creative drivers on the road Someone pulled in front of me when I was traveling at fifty-five miles an hour, with not much space to put on the breaks. I was yelling that them, and nearly leaned on the horn. It didn’t feel good and I knew I was sending out nasty energy and that wasn’t helping me or anyone else. That energy wasn’t changing the situation in any way.

The truth is, my growth and everyone else’s is a process. The human race has been growing in understanding since we became the human race and that process will continue until it’s time for something else to happen. I know that I’m just one little drop of water in the big ocean, but every drop is important. Which means, I’ve got to keep working on cleaning up and letting go of all the errors in my thinking and feeling. I’m going to do that because something in my heart keeps urging me to do so when I wake up in the morning, when I meditate, when I sit to write, when I teach, when I read books, watch movies, and look at great art. I never know when I’ll feel the inspiration to keep going. It might be when I see someone doing something nice for someone else. But it’s there and I don’t want to stop working on myself.

What I believe is that every human being is inherently good, we just don’t know that yet. At least not all of us. Maybe more people are waking up to that fact, and that’s why this time the unrest feels different than when I was growing up. For one thing, the protesters are less violent and more dedicated to finding solutions to our problems. That feels good to me. I’m excited to see what happens over the next months and years.

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

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, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

My Imagined TED Talk

Oscar Wilde

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ~ Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence.” Abigail Adams

My husband, Barry, and I are doing the year-long Art & Soul Reloaded course with Pam Grout. We just started the myth busting section. You know all those myths about the creative process. This week is about “Myth #2: To Make Art, You Need the Approval of a Publisher, A recording Company, an Art Gallery, Etc.” Each lesson is accompanied by an assignment. This week we are to come up with a title and subject for our TED Talk.

Sometimes, often, actually, the lessons are things I’ve already done, or am doing. But when I read this one, I knew exactly what I would speak about if I were ever to give a TED Talk. It’s the biggest personal growth question of my life: What am I supposed to be learning from this?

That question did several things for me when it came out my pen onto the page of my journal.

It stopped me in my tracks. Before writing that question I thought that life was happening TO me, that the world was against little old me and there was nothing I could do about that but moan and complain until someone came to save me. The thing was, when I asked that question, I became my own savior. Or rather, God and I became partners. S/he’d show me the way and I’d do the work of untangling the mess.

The question forced me to look at my problems from lots of new angles. It was asking me to look at myself and how I was either making the problem worse, or at the very least, not any better. I had to accept that I had a part to play in what was going on. I wasn’t just an innocent bystander.

Which brings me to taking responsibility for my actions. If you think the world is out to get you as I did, then it’s so easy to place the blame outside yourself. When I understood that I was responsible for my reactions, that gave me a new perspective about why people treated me the way they did. Taking a moment to evaluate a situation before making any kind of response is such a helpful tool. It gives me a chance to choose what kind of interaction I’m going to have with the others in the situation. What I say and do affects others in ways I can’t even comprehend at the moment of making the decision. I’ve often been surprised when people come to me and give me feedback about something I’ve said or done. It’s always much nicer when they thank me, rather than accuse and blame me.

Taking responsibility for my reactions to life events was really scary. Beyond making decisions in the heat of the moment, it meant I had to go to those dark places within and accept that I wasn’t perfect. You probably know what that feels like. For me it’s like something souring in my stomach, or having itching powder under my skin. Before asking what am I supposed to learning from this?, I’d have done anything to get rid of that feeling. But trying to escape dealing with our wounds never works. The problems get bigger and bigger until eventually our lives blow up in our faces and we either deal with them, or our souls die. Living with a dead soul is the most hellish thing I can imagine.

Answering the question, what am I supposed to be learning from this?, is a lifelong quest. I’m still working on the answer everyday. I won’t lie to you, taking a good hard look at myself, was the most scary thing I’d ever done because what I thought I’d find was the most unloveable person on the planet. But that’s not what happened. I began to see that almost everyone feels like I did. We think we’re not worthy of love or all the other good things available for us to experience.

So, I don’t know where that question came from, but I’m so glad I asked it and started on a grand adventure of discovering myself.

I’ll end with a quote from one of my favorite plays, An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde. “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Even though the character saying this means it as a frivolous statement, there is some truth to it, though I’d change “romance” to “love affair”. If we don’t love ourselves who will? And if we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others? Everyone is so busy trying to figure out their own lives. I believe it’s in learning to love ourselves that gives us the courage to be able to build lasting bridges to other people. That’s a worthwhile goal in my book.

Thanks for reading one of my flights of fancy. I appreciate your likes and comments.

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, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Unbridled Joy

Unbridled Joy

“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain … To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host again difficulties.” ~ Helen Keller

During my meditation and study this morning, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I have not had enough moments of unbridled joy in my life and that made me sad for a moment. It’s not enough to let go of fear, which I’m working on. I need to stop being so repressed and allow myself to express joy and not care what anyone thinks about it.

Then, in Pam Grout’s post about today’s A Course In Miracles lesson she said that the course can be summed up in 11 words: The universe has your back and everything’s going to be okay, which to me means I don’t have to control any of the things I thought I had to keep my eye on. I’m free to look around and appreciate the beauty of the world, or enjoy conversations with students, family, or friends, or have fun reading a good book or watching a movie. I can enjoy teaching, writing and directing. I can even enjoy going grocery shopping, or running errands. The decision about how I feel about my life is inside my head and heart.

The most important thing I have to remind myself about all the time is that my thoughts, feelings and actions aren’t confined to just me. They are energy which projects out and affect everything and everyone. Knowing that makes me feel even more committed to sharing the positive emotions rather than the negative. I want to be one of those people others want to be with because they feel good when I’m around. Don’t we avoid people who make us feel horrible? I know I do because after spending even a small amount of time around them, I feel exhausted.

So, I’m going to spread a little joy today by sharing the same Matt Harding video Pam shared in her blog. I don’t know why, but I cry every time I see this. And judging by the comments on his YouTube channel, I’m not the only one who weeps. The video makes me cry and laugh at the same time. Maybe it’s because I’m releasing all those negative emotions and making room for joy. Or maybe it’s because it’s the vision of the world I want to live in.

Thanks so much for reading. Have a joyful 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, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Creative Urge

Taj Mahal at sunset

“The people we walk by every day have untold talents, passions that beat in their chest like a witch doctor’s drum.” ~ Pam Grout, Art and Soul Reloaded

“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” ~ Victor Pinchuck

“It’s impossible to explain creativity. It’s like asking a bird, ‘How do you fly?’ You just do.” ~ Eric Jerome Dickey

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono

“In my experience, poor people are the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Every day, they must innovate in order to survive. They remain poor because they do not have the opportunities to turn their creativity into sustainable income.” ~ Muhammad Yunus

Creativity is something I feel like I harp on a lot. It’s kind of a theme of my life, so, in a way, maybe that’s not a bad thing. We all have a kind of life theme that we share with those we come into contact with.

Creativity came into my consciousness again which started me thinking about the struggles I’ve had to balance my creative urge with making a living. it’s not so bad now that I’m semi-retired, but when I was young there were so many forces urging me to find a career that would pay good money so I could live the American dream. But when I took a job because I needed the money, it was soul killing. And I don’t want anyone else to have to experience that, so maybe that’s why I harp on finding ways to be creative.

When I was offered the job, I had a sickening sinking feeling in my gut. I knew I shouldn’t take it. But I was fresh out of college, married, and living with my grandparents. So, I took the job not trusting that a better one would come along. It had only been two or three months, but Barry and I needed to be out on our own. When I started working, it was great to be self-sufficient, but I groaned every morning knowing that I was going into that toxic environment for another day. Yet, I learned a great deal from going against my inner guidance. And the biggest thing I learned was never to do that again.

I know I’m not the only person who struggles to balance working and having time to devote to things I’m passionate about. Many of my former students are friends on social media, and they share similar struggles I had when I was in my twenties. I guess it’s a universal challenge. I’m inspired by the people who follow their passions in spite of the need to earn money. For the most part, they see the world in positive ways. And it seems to be that when they contribute their good energy and their work, we all benefit from what they create.

Some people would say that I’m a dreamer when I say that I would love it if our society became more like the one in Star Trek, where people have a basic income, and are encouraged to develop their interests and talents. In that society, money exists, it’s there, but no one needs it to survive. Living like that would be so fantastic.

Maybe we are moving in that direction at least in terms of encouraging creativity. You’ve probably seen the ads for master classes in photography, or film directing, or writing, or acting. Last summer I took a free class about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies offered by Turner Classic Movies and Ball State University. It was a fun class, and I learned a lot about movie making in general, and his style specifically. Those kinds of opportunities are out there on all kinds of subjects. All we have to do is take advantage of them.

As you may know, my husband and I are doing the year long course offered by Pam Grout as part of her book, Art and Soul Reloaded. One of the things about this course I love is that at the end of each lesson, Pam has a section she calls “You’re in Good Company”. It’s a little snippet about some person’s struggle to make their dreams come true. Here are some examples: “Every cartoon Charles Schulz, the creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip, submitted to his high school yearbook was unanimously rejected.” Or, “Donald Sutherland has made more than 100 films, but he still gets so nervous, he throws up before filming begins.” Or, “Lady Gaga, whose hits have topped charts in nearly every category, got dropped by Def Jam Recordings a short three months after they signed her.” Or, “Actor Ryan Reynolds, once chosen as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, said, ‘I feel like an overweight, pimply faced kid a lot of the time.” Or, “In the early ‘90s, George Clooney was being considered for the lead role in the homicide drama Bodies of Evidence. The CBS executive cast him instead as sidekick Ryan Walker after deciding Clooney was ‘just not leading man material.’”

But this is one of my favorite exercises in the entire books so far. “Important Creativity Test: Get out a pencil. Are you breathing? Yes _______ No _______, Check your score here. If you answered ‘yes’ to the above question, you’re highly creative.” The entire book is filled with those little encouragements. She wants us all to find our particular passion and nurture it in any way we can.

This week’s lesson is titled “Art Diviners”. In this chapter her point of view is that everyone we meet has something they are deeply passionate about and want to create, and we need to be aware of that fact. I love that idea. There is so much more to people than we can see on the surface. Just look at all of the innovative ideas people are coming up with to solve various problems we’re facing. Maybe you don’t see those on social media, but I do, and every time I read one of those stories it makes me hopeful that more and more people are not letting anything hold back their creative impulses. It might be difficult, they are probably scared, but they follow their passion anyway.

That’s one thing I love about teaching. I get to encourage my student’s creativity. And as Yoda says to Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “We are what they grow beyond.” We’re all teachers in one way or another. I find it comforting to know that little by little the world is becoming a more friendly place to live in because of what we’ve learned from the generations that have gone before, and that we’ll all leave something behind that generations after us can build upon.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

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, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Some of My Favorite Things

Albert Einstein and wife Mileva Maric

“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!” ~ Steve Maraboli

“There was a definite process by which one made people into friends; it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.” ~ Rebecca West

I have never written a blog post enumerating some of my favorite things even though there have been times when I’ve written reviews of books and movies I liked. Today I want to share some things I like, from television shows, to podcasts, to my new morning ritual. I hope you enjoy.

First favorite thing: I have a new pre-writing ritual. It’s this week’s assignment from Art & Soul Reloaded. I’ve never had a set ritual before sitting down to write, so coming up with something to summon the muses has been fun. I tend to over think these little assignments Pam Grout gives us every week. This time I decided not to do that and just choose some things to do that satisfy me right now. I can always refresh my ritual later.

I have two current favorite songs that I listen to often. The first is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. He has a series of one hour YouTube videos made at different times of the day in different locations. He sings the song and dances to it the first time through and then each successive time through different people dance to his sound track. I’m not a good dancer, but I do dance to this song. It’s a good way to get my blood flowing in the morning and to remind myself that I can choose to be happy no matter what is going on. For me it’s better to write from a happy place rather than from self-torture.

The second song I love is “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast. The composer wrote it especially for this new live action version of the movie. The Beast sings it after realizing that he has fallen in love with Belle as she is riding away to save her father from Gaston. In the song he sings, “Now I know she’ll never leave me, even as she fades from view, she will still inspire me, be a part of everything I do …” That touches me so deeply because we do need each other more than we realize. And those we love are still inspiring and supporting us even if they’re gone. So, as I sit down to write, I remember that I’m not writing alone. My ideas come from everything that has happened to me, and all the love I’ve shared. That gives me the courage to try to put into words the feelings and ideas that rattle around in my head.

Second favorite thing: I’ve never been a fan of listening to podcasts on a regular basis. My husband has several that he listens to on his way to and from work. I prefer silence when I’m driving, but a few months ago one of my Goodreads friends suggested I try Anne Bogel’s “What Do I Read Next” podcast and her blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy. After listening to an episode, I was hooked. Anne talks to regular everyday readers, who as it turns out, aren’t ordinary at all. Like the woman who owns, CW Pencil Enterprise – Purveyors of Superior Graphite. Who would have thought that someone could maintain a thriving business selling pencils, and all the accouterments that go with them? Even though this woman was a guest because of the books she loves, we got to hear enough of her story that I want to travel to New York just to visit her store. (Don’t despair, if you can’t travel to New York, she does have an online store.) Or another guest owns a bookstore devoted entirely to books about food. She sells a good number of cookbooks, naturally, but she also carries novels that center around food, or books about celebrations involving food. She even hosts book and food related events in her store. These are creative, interesting women I never would have known about if not for Anne Bogel’s podcast. I love it when people follow their passion and the universe rises up to meet them.

My third favorite thing is the television station NATGEO. When I was younger I was a television addict. I’d sit down with the TV Guide and plan out what I was going to watch during the coming week. In recent years, Barry and I have paired down our television watching and looked for unusual and informative shows rather than the same old sitcoms, or scripted dramas. Earlier this year NATGEO ran their first scripted series, Genius directed by Ron Howard. This first season was about Albert Einstein. It was fascinating. I didn’t know much about Einstein’s early life, his struggles to get his ideas published, his turbulent first marriage, or how he and his second wife eventually emigrated to the United States. It was riveting television, and I learned a great deal about physics in the process. The next season of Genius is going to be about Pablo Picasso. I’m looking forward to that one.

Another series on NATGEO I love is The Story of … with Morgan Freeman. Last year’s series was The Story of God, this season it’s The Story of Us. Morgan Freeman is on a mission, with both series, to help us understand each other better. I have found each episode compelling and even life changing, as he travels around the world asking questions and meeting people with extraordinary stories to tell. I hope you’ll check out both of these shows.

I have other favorites which I may share in future podcasts but until then, have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Thanks Pam Grout

This picture speaks for itself

“Show up, show up, show up and after a while, the muse shows up, too.” ~ Isabel Allende

This week I’ve been doing the week 6 exercises from Pam Grout’s Art & Soul Reloaded. We were supposed to write seven blog posts, which was a bit of stretch for me. I’ve been posting once a week since spring or summer of 2013, yet as I put my mind each day to what I was going to write for the next post, ideas came to me. Now I won’t say that they were fantastic ideas, but since I’m in the habit of doing lots of self-reflection, I was able to come up with enough ideas to complete my assignment.

The amazing thing is that this week my in-laws have been visiting and we’ve been doing some galavanting. So, I’ve had to fit my writing in where I could. And that’s the real advantage of doing this exercise, making writing my priority. Doing that is what Steven Pressfield calls being a professional. In his book The War of Art, he explains the difference between being an amateur and a professional: Don’t fit your creative endeavors around the rest of your life,  make your art a priority and do it every day no matter what.

I have to say that I write almost every day, but I’m not sure I’ve got that professional attitude quite yet when writing my novels. I am always thinking about my novel, but I’m not always sitting in the chair writing new scenes, rearranging, or revising everyday.

After doing these exercises, however, I’m going to commit to two things, I’m going to add a blog post on Saturdays so that I’m posting twice a week, and I’m going to sit down and do some work on my novel every day.

That’s all for today. We’re going on an outing again today, the last day or my in-law’s visit, so see you Wednesday.

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

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list

Week 6 Exercise

Let’s Get Working

“The Assumption that art is a regal robe which falls upon your shoulders magically, bestowed upon you as an heir apparent rather than achieved through slinging the pickax across your shoulder every morning and making off to the mine, was revealed as the greatest hinderance of all to artistic work.” ~ Jane Lazarre, Author of The Mother Knot

I think I’ve written before that my husband and I are taking a year to expand our artistic flow by doing the exercises from Pam Gout’s new book Art & Soul Reloaded. This week she challenges us to write a blog post each day until the week 7 exercise. The title of the chapter is “Fear And Insecurity, Be Gone! I’ve Got Brilliance To Create.”

I’ve written and posted a blog once every Wednesday since the spring or summer of 2013. I’ve felt good about that consistency, but to write a post for every day of the week? Not sure I want to take that much time away from my fiction writing. But I think I can write one post a day for one week. So, here goes.

For the last few days my husband and I have been doing thorough house cleaning in preparation for his parent’s visit. One thing is painfully, and I mean PAINFULLY, clear to me is that I need to get out of my writer’s chair more often and move around more. I may have written before that I do not like doing housework. I do it if I need to, but my dream is to have someone come once or twice a month to do a good sweep through our house leaving Barry and me free to do our respective artwork.

About a year or so ago, when I was complaining about having to clean house, Barry surprised me by saying he loves to do housework. This weekend he proved to me that he wasn’t lying. He gets a job between his teeth and doesn’t let go until he’s finished. I told him he’s hired.

He’s also really handy. We live in a manufactured home in the country. Fifteen years ago the company we bought our home from provided us with TEMPORARY stairs for the front and back doors. Well, of course, we have needed to replace them for a long time, and finally, knowing his aging parents needed sturdy stairs to get into our house, he designed and built some beautiful front steps.

Preparing for my in-law’s visit has reminded me of one thing, we sometimes get stuck in one way of thinking. I did that so much so about housework that I’ve let it go far too long. As I look around at our newly clean house, I think I need to reconsider the way I feel about housework. A clean house is certainly a joy to behold, and one way to get up and move around more is to vacuum, dust and mop floors. See you tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading and making comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.