forgive the rain and make a rainbow.'
There are two parts to forgiveness: the saying sorry and the forgiving. It is like a bridge to resolution, so a rainbow is a fitting image. But even if you are only able to do one part, the forgiving or the apologising, it is worth doing. You stand on the bridge and hope the other will join you in the rainbow.
'Be like the sun:
forgive the rain and make a rainbow.'
I am a writer not a TV personality. I say this because publishers these days kind of expect you to be both. Ever noticed how easy it is for a TV chef or wildlife presenter to bring out a book? I'm not knocking them – good for them – but what about the people who don't like standing in the limelight? They may have something important to say – but who is going to listen?
It all comes down to 'marketability'. Publishers are running a business; they want a sure thing. The TV chef is a 'no brainer'. But a relatively unknown author – that's a bit of a risk. But don't mistake a publisher's reluctance to take you on as a measure of your artistic worth. It's simply a business decision.
So what can authors do? Well, we write (cos, let's face it, we're going to do that anyway). We work diligently, submitting our pieces to journals and entering competitions. Many rejections later... and a few successes... gradually, gradually we build up a presence.
That is all well and good. And it does work. But what if you have a book that you want to 'get out there'? You can't sit around and wait. So you self publish.
And if you are going to self publish – you have to do the whole self-promotion gig. That means, blogging, social networking... and generally 'being seen'. Now for someone who doesn't like being in the spotlight, this is uncomfortable. But it's necessary.
When I wrote 'Essential Mantras for Everyone' I quickly realised that I would have trouble finding a publisher. I began to doubt myself... Why on earth did I write it? Who would want it? What is the purpose...? The answers are easy:
Why write it? Because I want others to experience mantras and enjoy the benefits. Also to prove to myself that I could have an idea and see it through to completion (for me this is HUGE).
Who would want it? Anyone who is interested in meditation and spiritual development. And that's a lot of people.
What is the purpose? To communicate, connect and share. To encourage me to create more books!
And so I have decided to publish the book through CreateSpace. It's on its way.... I am feeling VERY uncomfortable – but excited too. And, you know what? It's OK to feel self-doubt. It's human. I just have to keep telling my inner self the mantra below:
Looking at this picture, I am reminded of sperm whales (can you see it? the big grey head and little mouth?). It actually shows the 'northern arch', a cloud formation that sometimes occurs along the coast of Christchurch when there is a nor'westerly wind.
I wanted to be sure I had the name right, so i Googled sperm whale, to discover that only just yesterday there has been another beach stranding of these awesome creatures, this time off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia. Check out this link on National Geographic. I always find it distressing news; but I am always heartened by the masses of people who turn out to help at the beach. People just love these creatures and don't want to see them die. Apparently, some of these bystanders can get in the way - but you can't blame them for wanting to help. Even experienced rescuers and wildlife experts face a huge problem - the sheer size and weight of the whales. How do you get a 40-tonne whale safely back into the deep ocean? Ropes and manpower are sometimes not enough and it must be heartbreaking when all your efforts are futile.
It took the innovative spirit of a New Zealander to come up with a solution – and one that works. Living near the ocean at Farewell Spit, Deb Ward has witnessed many whale strandings. (It's the most common spot for strandings in New Zealand.) She owns an Auckland-based business with her husband Simon that designs and builds machines for loading and unloading shipping containers. One day they came up with the idea to adapt their lifting gear to make a whale-lifting machine. They asked around for a sponsor, but could find no one willing to stump up the cash. So... they spent $40,000 of their own life savings on building the prototype. It is now in use and being refined to be even better at gently lifting the big beasts and delivering them into the sea. The Wards are hoping that the whale-lifter technology can be taken up and shared around the world. Find their story on this link.
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... without making extra challenges!!! What was I thinking by attempting NaNoWriMo? (For those blissfully unaware, that stands for National Novel Writing Month - and actually it's International but InNoWriMo doesn't sound as good). So why did I even start it? Because it was November? Because I thought it would spur me on? Hmmm... I don't know.
But the fact is that lately I've kind of got into a groove of 'doing stuff' anyway. I hardly recognise the old procrastinator I used to be... I put it down to mindfulness practice. Because not only is it helping with stress, it is actually helping me to be more focused and in tune with what I want and what I don't want. I am making good decisions about how to spend my time. So even though I dropped out of NaNoWriMo, I have continued with my project. And... it is getting close to the point where I can publish it!!!!
Watch this space....
As I mentioned in my previous post, the final day of my 29-day practice was in Sydney. I had followed a full cycle of the moon from darkness to fullness and back to darkness again. The whole cycle actually takes 29.5 days (typical Lady Moon – she cannot be confined to our man-made solar rhythms).
I was dedicated and did my walk through the streets and a small nature reserve in my friend's neighbourhood. (People on Instagram will have seen my updates). Of course, since then time has been moving on as always, and the moon is already almost full again (see above).
I drew a card from the Earth Magic Oracle deck by Stephen D Farmer, and synchronistically it was 'Full Moon: Completion'. Completion is a time for rest and gathering before the next new project. A time to enjoy what you have accomplished. It may be a small thing, but I did accomplish my practice – I saw it through to the end. There were 'interesting' (not) times of resistance; plenty of insights; beauty to lift the heart; and rain – so much rain (!!) But through the mindfulness I know that I am learning to see the world differently and to respond instead of react.
So my time in Sydney was the perfect respite. And now I am ready to take on a new project. It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – and so the timing is perfect to get to grips with a writing project that I have been contemplating for AGES.
It is time.
It's not exactly a novel, but I am aiming to have the first draft done by the end of this month. I will still be doing my mindful walks (my practice) as I find that this is a key ingredient in staying creative. Mindfulness is such a helpful practice. It creates a space in which to breathe. It gives a pause so that you are not pushed by life - but are free to experience it. The paradox of inner work is that you become more visible (not less). This is because you start to know yourself, let go of the illusion of who you thought you were, and then you begin to shine.
I hope you find the practice that best suits you. Maybe it will be mindful walking; or meditation; or just a daily walk in nature. Whatever it is, when you give yourself that special gift of self-care, the resulting luminence will benefit us all.
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Just a few words and a picture.
I have a new Mantra book out, click here for details :)