What to We Want to Be?

Arizona Butterfly

“This is the United States of America. What have we become?” Social Media Meme

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ~ Lucille Ball

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle” ~ Albert Einstein

I saw the above Facebook meme the other day. Every time there’s a mass shooting, story about a rich and powerful person abusing their power, violence erupting, and massive amounts of people killed or left homeless, I see or hear someone say, “What has this world come to?” Or “This is not who we are.” Well, I say, yes this is who we are until we ask some new questions. Who do we want to be? What do we want the world to look like? How do we want to treat each other? And what steps do we need to take to create a more loving, compassionate, empathetic world?

I’ve written this before, because I’m thoroughly convinced, that humanity is in the midst of a great evolutionary awakening. It’s amazing how much of the old ways of doing things and ways of thinking are getting exposed. There are just too many to name in this short blog post, but then you already know what they are. For a highly sensitive person like me, what we’re living through right now can be crazy making. There are days when I just want to stay in bed with the covers over my head. But that’s not an option if I want to help contribute to our awakening. So I’m sharing some things I’ve learned over my fifty plus year spiritual journey that are steps you can take if you want to awaken and help make the world a better place in which to live.

First, we have to acknowledge where we are, both in our personal lives, and our global lives. Okay, things are really bad in this country right now in almost every area of life, but that’s nothing new. We’ve not been very good stewards of the planet, or been very kind to each other. It’s just that we have world wide media now. We see all the bad things that are happening, get overwhelmed and throw up our hands. But, I choose to think that everything is a miracle and that all the dark events that are out in the open now, give us a chance to make a choice. Do we live in a hostile or friendly universe? Yes, I think that choice is up to us.

I can’t say that I have always believed we could choose to see the universe as friendly. Like my sister says, “Everyone has a hole in their heart.” I certainly had some challenges, but even though I doubted, there was one part of my heart that kept whispering that life was a miracle, and all I needed to do was change my perspective.

If you look back at history, you know that we’ve always lived with fear, bigotry, misogyny, greed, hatred, disregard for life, and the desire to go back to the good old days. But, history also teaches us that humanity has been progressing. I’d be willing to bet that now more people react to the bad things that happen with shock and disbelief instead of blind acceptance. More people are saying “Oh hell no! I don’t want to live like this.” That’s a good thing. I think more people are doing self-examination which leads us to better societies.

Of course, there will always be people who don’t want to change. They either bury their bad feelings and go on about their daily lives, or they side with the haters. But if your foundations are shaken when bad things happen, it’s an opportunity to wake up and become a part of the tide of change. Looking into our dark places is not pleasant but it’s a necessary part of the awakening process. I know this from personal experience. When I could accept my darkness as well as the light inside, I was able to understand others better.

Second, accepting all of who we are leads to forgiveness of ourselves and others. This is a vital part of awakening. Each of us must find our own way to forgiveness. The methods that work for me, might not be helpful to you at all.

Forgiveness can take time. I once lost a beloved job due to nepotism. For the longest time I wanted revenge, and I got it in a way. Losing that job led me to the realization that I was meant to be a writer. I’m more happy now than I’ve ever been. But, it took me twelve years to fully forgive the perpetrators of my dismissal. I had to let go of wanting things to be different. And I had to learn that forgiving someone doesn’t mean you let them off the hook for what they’ve done. We each have to face the consequences of our actions. In my case, I had to let God take care of their karma. That wasn’t my job.

Third, after embarking on the awakening journey, our purpose becomes more clear. I think it’s easier to answer the questions I posed above once we know our purpose for being here. We see how we can help make the world a better place. But this process is a kind of cycle, or maybe it goes up and down, back and forth. We address our darkness, we accept and forgive, understand a little bit more about who we are and why we’re here, which leads to the next set of challenges to solve.

So, things look pretty bleak right now, but we don’t need to despair about that. It’s just God’s way of calling us to deeper understanding and healing. And because we have free will, we can choose to ignore the call, or get busy and do the work.

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.

To Risk or not to Risk

Earth from the Moon
Earth from the Moon

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. be patient. The storm will pass. the spring will come.” – Robert H. Schuller

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

“I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.” – Kristin Armstrong

This weekend I attended a practice workshop put on by a friend of mine. It was a vision workshop and she’s just beginning her new coaching business so she invited a few friends to be her guinea pigs. I’ve attended these kinds of workshops before but it was good to be reminded that we can create the life we want first by visualizing it then by taking action.

I thought I had the process down after practicing the steps for seven years, but now I’m coming to the culmination of a long project in which I am deeply invested. I’m ready to send the baby out into the world and I’m anxious. My first novel, The Space Between Time is about to be criticized not only by friends and family but by people I don’t even know.

I’m not new to being criticized. Working in the theatre you get criticized by the director, and even the audience. The process of putting a play together is about six weeks long and the work is intense. I never minded getting notes from the director. If the audience didn’t like the play, or if we got mixed reviews, I was sad, but there was always the next production and a new start. Not to mention, theatre is a collaborative art, so if the production doesn’t live up to the highest expectations, it’s usually a combination of factors that contribute to the failure. Because of that I didn’t feel as personally responsible.

Writing, on the other hand, is a solitary endeavor and I think that’s why I’m feeling so anxious now just as I’m getting comments from friends and fellow writers. I started this book in 1999, set it aside until 2010 and have been working steadily on it ever since. If it’s a flop, it’s all my fault and no one else’s.

One thing we didn’t talk about in that vision workshop was how to pick yourself up from a colossal failure.

I’ve had plenty of minor failures in my lifetime but I’ve never had as much on the line as I do now. I’ve never felt completely invested in anything as I feel with this novel. The thought that is making me anxious is that now I know writing is my life’s purpose, what happens if I fall flat on my face?

After years of spiritual searching and learning, I know one thing for sure. I’m not alone. God is always there for me and I’m safe no matter what. Just today I have to remind myself of that fact about every few minutes. I know that I’m not what others think of me. I’m the being God created and nothing can change that even if my book flops and no one reads it.

On the other hand, though it’s a paradox, I feel confident that this book is good. That there will be people who will be touched by it and that’s why I felt compelled to write it.

So, I’m scared, and excited to put the finishing touches on my work and send it out into the hands of those who need it. If it’s a failure, or if there is just a lukewarm response to it, I’ll be sad, but I’ll be able to take what I’ve learned from writing this novel and put the lessons to work as I write the next one. I’m not going to let one setback keep me from doing what I love doing. Since that is the case I will definitely write another novel. Actually, I’ve already started it.

For all of you who are scared to try to go for that big dream, I understand. It’s not a comfortable feeling being where I am now, but this too shall pass. I weigh what I’m feeling now against not even trying to make my dreams come true and my stomach sinks. I could hate myself, shrivel up and not even try. But that outcome is much worse than failing at making my dream come true and I’d rather take the big risk and fail than never to have tried.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

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Late Bloomers

Fall Flowers at La Fuente
Fall Flowers at La Fuente

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedan

“No one can avoid aging, but aging productively is something else.” – Katharine Graham

“The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” – Doug Larson

“The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one.” – M. Scott Peck

I’m proud to say I’m a late bloomer. It’s not that I didn’t accomplish anything when I was younger, I did. It’s just that it took me a long time to put down roots deep enough to realize what it was I really wanted to do when I grew up. When I could finally say I loved myself, I was mature enough to be able to acknowledge that I was a loving, talented woman who could admit my mistakes and embrace myself as I am. In other words, I finally let all the silly ego stuff go and just loved myself. And I’m grateful for that because I love what I’m doing now, writing. It’s the happiest work I’ve ever done, except maybe being on stage. Being an actor was exhilarating, but it wasn’t quite the right fit in terms of my deepest passion. Teaching has also been a joy in my life, but I never felt the deepest ecstasy I feel when I’m writing.

The thing about being a later bloomer, is that I’ve lived long enough now to have a measure of wisdom to share with others. When I was younger, my mind was cluttered with erroneous ideas, and assumptions. I’ve had lots of years to weed out my mental and emotional garden so I can bloom.

Some place along the line of my study of spirituality, I picked up the idea that true happiness comes by delaying our urge for instant gratification. I think that idea may have come from M. Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled which was one of the first books that opened my eyes to a much wider and deeper spiritual world. When I read that book, I dedicated my life to learning to love myself first, then sharing it with others through my talents. It hasn’t always been easy, as I’m sure you know. But my dedication has brought me to a place where I am not afraid to follow my passion. If I can do it so can everyone else. It’s important to follow your dreams and do what you love, because it’s in doing that that the world is healed.

I don’t mean to belittle those who find their passion early. No, we need all the flowers in the garden to make the world a much more beautiful place in which to live. So, my advice is, no matter what your age, go find the thing that makes you the most happy and pursue that. At some point your passions may change. That’s okay. Mine did. When you find a new passion pursue that. The benefits to your soul are immeasurable, and the service you bring by sharing the love of what you’re doing sends out positive ripples. We may never know the effect we have, but in a way, that’s leaving a very powerful legacy for the future.

Thanks to all of you who read this blog. Pass it on, leave a comment if you choose, and connect with me on social media.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

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Focused Attention

Cochise College Roses
Cochise College Roses

“Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” – George Eliot

“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” – Elbert Hubbard

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” – Arnold J. Toynbee

Last week I wrote about serendipity and how it has worked for me in my writing career. Trusting that serendipity will happen is a key element to being successful, but you can’t just sit back and let serendipity happen. Some say it takes hard work, but instead of hard work, I like to think of it as focused attention.

The reason I like to replace the words hard work with focused attention is because when we think of hard work, we equate it with stress and strain. However, I’ve learned from being involved in the theatre that hard work can be fun, fulfilling and energizing. If you like what you do, you can be focusing your attention on the task at hand, but it won’t feel stressful; it will be fun.

I’m sure you’ve experienced what I’m writing about. You’re doing something that captures your attention. You love every aspect of whatever it is you’re doing. It might be building a sand castle, skiing, playing with you children, cooking, or gardening. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, it’s your feeling about it that makes the difference. Time slips by and suddenly you realize that you were so absorbed in what you were doing that it seems like only a moment has gone by since you started your project. That’s focused attention.

Our souls rejoice when we’re doing what brings us joy. Isn’t that a much better way to live than dragging yourself out of bed every work day and dreading being there for the interminably long hours before you can go home? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if everyone woke up excited to get to the work they love? So why do so many people stress themselves out doing work they hate?

Many of us cling to the old idea that we have to support ourselves somehow. Most of the time we think that means sacrificing doing what we love so we can put a roof over our heads and food on the table. I’d like to challenge that idea. Everyone of us can live the life of our dreams. It may take some effort to transition from our old life to our new, but that’s where focused attention and serendipity can help.

Our minds are powerful beyond what we may think. Many people are convinced that events happen TO us, but science and the ancient wisdom traditions tell us that what we think creates our reality. If we think we must stay trapped doing work we hate for twenty, thirty, or forty years before we can do what we love, we’ll be miserable most of our lives. I don’t know about you but I didn’t want to face that prospect.

I won’t say I was always completely successful in my efforts to find work I loved. I loved doing theatre, but it didn’t pay much and took up a great deal of my time. I missed many a family gathering because I was in rehearsal. The day came when I had to decided what was more important to me, my relationship with my husband, or theatre. I gave up theatre. But then a few years later, I got a job teaching drama. Ah, I could do what I loved and still go home at night to my husband. Yet there were aspects of teaching that were stressful. Teaching drama was nearly the right match but not quite. While I was getting my Masters in theatre, I discovered that I loved writing, but not many writers make a good living. So I buried the idea of becoming a writer and moved on.

The thing is that through the years I continued to believe that I would find the work I was meant to do. I kept my attention focused on doing what I loved to do as much as possible. One day, I remembered that I’d wanted to be a writer, but somewhere along the way I’d become convinced I couldn’t make a living doing what I loved most. My mind was split in two and clouded with thoughts that only the most special people are lucky enough to be successful at the thing they love doing. I tried to stay close to my first love. Almost all my jobs throughout the years involved some aspect of story telling, but I was never the story teller and that’s what I longed to do.

Who knows why we block our own happiness. However, something inside me kept prompting me to keep searching for the thing that would make me deeply and completely joyful. One day my focused attention paid off. Something clicked in my head and I realized I just needed to make the decision that writing is what I was going to do no matter what and that’s when serendipity began to work for me.

I haven’t published my first novel yet. Who knows if it will sell millions of copies. If it sells one or thousand copies, my efforts will be worth the years of work. Something else wonderful has happened during this process, I’ve met other authors by writing reviews of their books. I didn’t know that they would contact me when I wrote the reviews, it just happened that way. So, I’m creating positive change by meeting and supporting fellow authors and by allowing myself to tune into something greater than myself as I write my blog and books. Every little positive ripple changes the world. Because I believe that is true, I encourage you to find ways to do what you love even if it’s only in your spare time. Who knows where that focused effort will lead you.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

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I Did It!

“It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.” –Chuck Palahniuk

I did it! I finished the rough draft of my novel. It’s been a long two years, mostly because I didn’t do a plot outline. I just picked up a novel I’d started about fourteen years ago and I started writing. Oh, I had a basic idea of where the story was going, but I trusted the writing gods to lead me.

This is what I discovered: The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. Ideas come in my dreams, meditations, while I’m driving, cooking and in the shower. Every morning I wake up and feel that tug at my heart to get my fingers on the computer keys.

Finishing the rough draft doesn’t mean my work is finished. Oh, no. Now comes the fun part, revising. I get to make what I’ve written better. Then, I’ll send it out and get other people’s perspective and then I’ll revise again.

Writing is like life; we’re always revising, always improving, always discovering ourselves. When we’ve finished improving one aspect of our lives, we start on another. I love that. I love that I’m never going to be finished, with writing, or with expanding my life. Watch out. I could live forever. I’m having too much fun to give it up now.

The other day my husband and I were at a gallery opening where he has artwork. One of my former drama students was there with her husband and new baby. She and I have kept in contact over the years and she said something that made me take pause. “I admire the way you’re following your dreams.” That kind of threw me for a loop. I followed my dreams because I couldn’t do otherwise. My soul called and I had to answer. Some people don’t get that. I was humbled that she did. She’s a theatre artist, though, so maybe that’s why. Artist follow their hearts, take chances and sometimes the world doesn’t understand them. I guess we all have trouble understanding each other. Great art brings us closer together.

I’m not saying my novel is high art, nevertheless, it has changed my life and I’m grateful for that.

Oh, and this holiday season, support local and independent artists, designers and crafters. They have bills to pay too. And you’ll be giving a unique and beautiful piece of art into which someone put their soul.

© Lucinda Sage-Midgorden
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