Unexpected Turns

 

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Oscar Wilde

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Have you ever felt like you want to go in one direction, but for some reason the universe, God, or circumstances pull you in another? That’s been my life for the last year and a half.

This was frustrating at first, because all I wanted to do was concentrate on writing and recording the audio for my books. But, no, I got a clear message that I needed to make the most of my new friendship with Dave Dahl. He’s the theatre professional who came out of the ethers to help me when I directed Measure for Measure. After that I invited him to be a guest artist and work with my acting students. Wow, did he make a big difference. I even got reenergized after so many years of teaching. Hmm, maybe there was a good reason for me to stay where I was, at least for now.

As last year progressed, I shared with Dave my frustrations about the way the arts in general have been basically ignored by the administration at the college. That after so many years of beating my head against the wall, I felt demoralized. And, I never felt I was well equipped to bring about big change in any case.

As we talked we got the idea to find out if Dave would have the credentials to direct the plays. If we produced one play a semester, that might be just the thing to garner interest in developing a true theatre program. So, if Dave was eligible, we’d revamp the class schedule to make that happen. Tanya, our department chair, was willing to go to bat for us and after lots of hoops to jump through, Dave was hired.

Rehearsals are now in full swing for Twelfth Night. My role is to help Dave navigate all the college bureaucracy to get to the production to final performances. Occasionally, I also attend rehearsals to offer a second opinion. After attending an early first rehearsal, I came home and said to Barry, “Everyone is going to be blown away by the quality of this production.”

There have been times when Dave and I are working with my acting students, or I’m at rehearsals, that I have an overwhelming feeling of being just where I’m supposed to be at the moment. It’s not that my dream of being a full-time writer has been replaced, it’s just not yet time for it to come to fruition. I have to release my expectations, go with the flow and trust that the Higher Ups know what they are doing. Since there is no way I can see the big picture from where I’m sitting, I must trust that there is a larger purpose that will be beneficial in the end.

Dave and I are just laying bricks right now, hoping that the administration, and community will take notice and give our efforts support. We believe that it’s through art that we have an opportunity to understand what it means to be a human being. We both feel it’s one great way to learn empathy. And I’m willing to do what it takes to help empathy grow.

Struggling to go my own way has made me extremely tired. Finally, in this last week, I’ve decided to surrender and see where my current path leads. I can almost hear God laughing.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Welcome new followers. Have a blessed 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.

Trust the Process

Butterfly Close up“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ~ Golda Meir

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” ~ Paulo Coelho, Brida

“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.” ~ Blaise Pascal

“… sometimes when we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, ‘Man, I’m doing the very best I can right now.’ “ ~ Brené Brown, Rising Strong

For several months I’ve felt the ground quaking underneath me. Sometimes change is a slight breeze and sometimes it’s like an 8.5 earthquake. It feels to me like we’re living through one of those seminal times in history when enormous changes take place. My personal life is also going through massive changes. On the one hand, I’m rejoicing. It feels like many good things are going to happen. On the other hand, I’m scared to death. What are these changes going to require of me? Like Iyanla Vanzant says, “When you’re about to try something new, a little trickle of pee should be running down your leg.” Well, I feel like peeing. Yet a comforting voice inside is also saying, “Trust the process.”

That’s kind of hard to do when my modus operandi is also changing. Up until recently, I was the peacemaker in my family. I was the one in the middle who tried to help all the sides come together to work out their differences. But about a year and a half ago, a family row pushed me to set my boundaries and declare the new me. I learned a great deal from that event. First off, it was difficult to be vulnerable enough to state my true feelings and declare that I wasn’t going to be caught in the middle any longer. I risked making some of my family members mad at me, which in fact did happen. But hiding my true feelings away to protect someone else isn’t really living up to my true potential. The second thing I knew already but had to reaffirm to myself was the fact that everyone is always doing the very best that they can at all times. Even though that is true, relationships are still a rough road to navigate because we get caught up in our emotions and our particular point of view.

That family fracas was, in my opinion, a kind of coming out event. I felt apprehensive being bold and declaring my real self, but I gained a large portion of self-love and respect during the process. Ever since that day, I’ve been taking a good look at my old life and throwing out attitudes which no longer fit the new me. I’m learning to be comfortable with the uncertainty of where I will end up since coming out of my cocoon. A side effect of my declaration is that my life is becoming a fun new adventure.

I believe if we’re open to it, our lives go through a reset every once in a while. Or maybe it’s a period of throwing out our trash, or a kind of molting into a new skin. If we’ve chosen to continue to grow and learn, we can’t help but shed the old and expand into the new.

One thing that this transformational period has done for me is to thrust me into an explosively creative period. I’ve got ideas for new projects and ways to make my novel better coming at me fast and furiously. It’s kind of like a spigot has been turned on and I can’t get the new ideas into the computer fast enough.

One of the latest ideas I’ve had is a book titled What If. From a young age sitting in church, or listening to the news, reading a book, watching a movie, or having conversations with my friends, I’ve asked what if that’s not how thus and such happened? What if people could interact with each other differently? What if religious doctrine got it wrong? This is fair warning, I’m going to start writing essays about these questions into this blog from time to time so that at a future date I can put them into a book.

This post is kind of all over the place. Writing is my way of trying to navigate my own thoughts and feelings about the extraordinary things I’m experiencing. I do have to say that I find this birth, death, rebirth process exciting. Where and who will I be in ten or fifteen years? What will the world look like, and what will we all have created only Divine Oneness knows. Curiosity is bubbling up inside me. I want to see what the changes will bring.

Thanks for reading. Share this post with your friends if you’ve a mind to, or leave a comment.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016

Trust Serendipity

Our rosebush
Our rosebush

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi

This morning as I was thinking about what to write for this week’s post, serendipity came to my rescue. The above quote was in my email inbox. When I read the quote, I was reminded of the process I’ve used while writing my first novel, The Space Between Time. It spoke to me because it implies the miracle of serendipity. As I’ve been writing my book, serendipity has played a big part in my creative process.

I began writing this novel in 1999 after a visit with my Mom and Dad in Quartzsite, Arizona. My dad had heart disease, and though he’d been active for more than ten years, I could tell during that visit, that he was beginning to decline.

On the five hour drive home, the idea for one of the story lines of the novel came to me. I wanted to write a kind of love letter to my dad with a relationship between a father and daughter reflecting the relationship I had with my father. This is what came to me: In 1858 Vermont, a minister and his daughter are nearly the only family they have. Their relationship is very close. A letter arrives from a former student of the father’s urging them to come to Southern Oregon. The town where he lives needs a teacher and since the town is growing so fast the father could find work as well. Unfortunately, by the time the letter arrives, the father has been diagnosed with cancer. During his illness he encourages his daughter to travel West, which she does after his death.

After a few months of writing, life intervened and I got a full-time teaching job, which took up so much of my time, I had to set the novel aside. It wasn’t until 2010, six years after my father’s death, that I was able to pick up where I’d left off. By then I had an idea, which I didn’t know how to execute, of having a storyline in the present that somehow intertwined with the events in the past. That idea rumbled around in my mind nagging at me for about a year, until one day a guest speaker came to the writing group I was attending.

The guest speaker was a local writer who had published several books, all military intrigue and action, one of which was about to be made into a movie. At the beginning of the session, he asked each of us to describe what we were working on. When I described my book, he said, “You know, you could have a link between someone in the present with the woman in the past. Something unusual like that is kind of popular right now.” I told him I had been wanting to do just that, but I hadn’t been able to come up with a plausible way to make that happen. Well, of course, on the drive home the idea of how to link the two timelines came to me.

As I was nearing the San Pedro River, I seem to get a lot of inspiration from that river, it occurred to me that the woman in the present could find some journals written by her many times great-grandmother and when she opened the first book to read, her consciousness would merge with her great-grandmother’s and she would experience portions of life with her. I knew this was just the right direction to take my book because the familiar feeling of elation descended upon me. It happens whenever I think of the best possibility, direction, or action to take.

For the next several months, I woke up every morning excited to develop the timeline in the present and linking the two women in the past. I liked the way the book was taking shape, but try as I might, I couldn’t think of a title. Whenever I talked about working on my novel, the first question people would ask was, “What’s the title?” I had no idea. Nothing I’d come up with so far seemed right.

Again serendipity came to my aid. It was late in the fall semester 2013. I was driving home from teaching my evening college class and I was listening to The Beatles on my iPod. I don’t even remember the song that was playing but something about the lyrics clicked and I knew that I was going to title my book, The Space Between Time. Again, I felt that tingle in my stomach, and goose bumps came up on my skin. I knew that was the right title for this book.

I finished the rough draft in December 2013. For the next year, I made revisions and found an editor, all the while considering how I was going to promote my book. I don’t have much experience with marketing and promotion. Since I was going to self-publish, I was concerned about how to get the word out about my book to potential readers, but no solutions presented themselves. I was getting anxious.

I think it was in the spring or maybe summer of last year, that a friend I’d met on Facebook, Dorothy Sander, sent me a #FF message, along with several other women, on Twitter. Dorothy is a writer as well and we had exchanged messages on her Aging Abundantly Writer’s Meet Up page on Facebook. Her latest book, Finding Hope: Inspiration for the Midlife Journey, is available at Amazon. You can also find her blog, “Manifest Me” on WordPress. Now I have to say, I’m old enough that I don’t fully understand all the etiquette of social networking. But on the day I got Dorothy’s message, I thought Oh, Dorothy must be encouraging all of the women listed to connect with each other. So, I went and followed each of them and sent them a short personal message. When they followed me back, I sent each one an individual thank you. Since I didn’t send these as private messages, they showed up on the public stream of tweets. The next day I was astonished to find four or five new follows in my Twitter feed. I thanked them as I had the original women, and so my Twitter group began to grow. Each day I would get new followers and every few days I would go and send a personal thank you to each new follower. Often, if I like their profile statement, I’ll follow them back. The day Dorothy sent me that #FF message, I had about 180 followers. This morning when I checked Twitter I found I have 742 followers. Now, I know that’s not a huge amount over a six month period, but by sending a personal thank you to each follower, I increased my social media influence, and I didn’t have to buy followers who aren’t interested in me personally.

Another way I’ve grown my Twitter presence is to retweet posts that I like. Many of them are about books coming out. It’s my way of paying it forward. If I help other authors promote their work, perhaps when I publish my book they will return the favor.

Who knows if my strategy of building a social networking presence will help me create a following of readers. I’m trusting serendipity to continue to come to my aid in that respect as well. All I know is that I’ve met some wonderful creative people along the way. Twitter is just one of my successes in increasing my web presence. More about that in next week’s post.

I don’t have all the answers about how to gain followers and readers. When I think of spending hours reading books, or taking courses about marketing and promotion, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. When I think of concentrating on my writing and devoting a few hours a week connecting with people on social media, I feel much better. So, I’ll let go of trying to control events and I’ll let serendipity be my guide.

Watch for news of the launch date for The Space Between Time this spring 2015.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

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Trust and Fear

Welcome to my new followers. I’m grateful to all of you who’ve taken the time to read my blog. I hope you’ll get something out of each post and will give me feedback.

“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” Albert Einstein
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
Dalai Lama

I’ve been thinking a lot about trust and fear lately. Until recently, I was living in fear mode. That’s such a horrible place to live. There was a time when I trusted that I would be taken care of no matter what and that God and I were partners in creating my life. Then I was forced out of a most beloved job and for five years I lived in fear that other disasters were going to befall me.

I won’t go into all the little steps, and ahas that got me to wake up and begin my active spiritual practice again. It’s way too complicated. The point is, that I realized that I’d been so closed off, living in fear, that I couldn’t let anything good come into my life. I blamed God for my misfortunes when I was the architect of them all. When I remembered to look for the meaning of my misfortune, I saw that I’d called it to myself. I would have happily continued to teach drama, but that wasn’t my highest best purpose and my soul knew it. I began to practice trusting God again. And that brings me to what happened July 3rd.

My husband, Barry, had two flat tires on the way home from work. Normally, I would have gone directly into fear and worried myself sick. I’ve written before that we don’t have lots of extra money at the moment. So, naturally, I had a fearful moment feeling that we wouldn’t have enough money to pay for the tires. Then I took a breath. I’ve been practicing trusting that all is well in any given moment. I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and said, Okay God, I’m trusting that everything’s going to work out. The little snigglet of fear was replaced with calm. We got the tires on the 5th of July. They were cheaper than the two we’d purchased for Barry’s car last fall. There was money left over in our account. Not only that, we have a book reading and signing scheduled for this week, with the potential of money coming in as well as other small amounts all coming at just the right time.

Now, you might think that was the end of that. Oh no. I’m a person who’s always thinking and making connections with what happens to me personally, and the larger world. As I’ve been thinking about fear in my life and how it affects me personally, I’ve also been thinking about how fear has affected us on a national level. The theme of fear has come up in the media again and again in one form or another. Fear on the personal level and fear on a national and global level. And, I’ve been asking myself what can I do to help us heal our fear. What comes to me is that I’ve got to join the conversation about what’s happening in this country.

I’m not someone who’s going to go out and march in the streets. I believe the change begins within me. I also believe what Eckart Tolle says, that “what we resist persists and what we fight grows stronger.” That’s not to say that demonstrations are wrong. They often bring attention to a situation that needs to be changed. It’s just not my calling to be out there protesting, or demonstrating. My calling is the written word. So, I’m going to pose some questions that might help you think about your own fear, if you are experiencing it as your predominant emotion. Do you think we live in a hostile or friendly universe? Do you believe God is loving, or vengeful? Do you believe what’s written on our money, “In God we trust”? Do you like what fear has done to our country? I mean, I think almost everyone will agree we’re in a mess right now. Are you willing to let go of your personal fears? Or, is everything just fine the way it is? If you trusted God to handle your life, how would you feel?

Yesterday I watched the episodes of Super Soul Sunday with Oprah interviewing Inda.Arie. She sang a song that touched me to my core. I want to include just a bit of the chorus. The song is “Break the Shell,” from her new album Songversation. I think the song speaks about how to leave our fear behind. Go check out her album.

“We have a choice to live, or truly be alive. This is your life. Child, it’s time to break the shell. Life’s going to hurt, but it’s meant to be felt. You cannot touch the sky from inside yourself. You cannot fly until you break the shell.”

This is just a snippet of a much larger inner dialogue that I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. Since none of us see the world in exactly the same way, I want to read your thoughts about what I’ve written, so please leave a comment.