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The Most Beautiful Thing About Middle-Aged Men

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We need more like him.

In the late 80s to early 90s, the 40th birthday bashes were in full swing. I was much younger, of course, far from the baby boomers in my life who faced the reality that they were no longer the youth revolution. It was inevitable. None of us can rebel against time no matter how hard we buck and yell. Besides, they had their Woodstock and their sexual revolution, and let me tell you, whatever that symbolized for them reflected in their midlife celebrations.

Hendrix. Joplin. The Who. Zeppelin. Jefferson Airplane. Cocker.

Baby boomers knew how to rock in their day. I’ll give them that. But, of course, we’re talking about the generation of free love and peace, which produced music that captured the spirit of the times. Still, middle-aged men seemed ancient to me as a young woman back then. No offense intended, but I was looking at fading strands, receding hairlines, weathered skin marked by pronounced wrinkles, and hair sprouting in weird places. I found none of it sexually appealing.

Hey, where’s Pacino when you need him, hmm?

Middle age gets a bum rap. I mean to say that when a man gets older, his testosterone slips, his hangovers sting a little more, and he has to really start listening to his doctor during those yearly check-ups. But you know what? Youth in the rear-view can also mean that he is wiser, more financially sound, handles stress better, and knows how to have more quality fun with a woman.

It’s not a given, though.

Goddess knows there are tonnes of men out there who never quite mature beyond their youth on the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual fronts. The scales don’t lie. They are the men who make everything about themselves, think vulnerability is a weakness, use women, have commitment issues, don’t own their mistakes, and are stellar at making their women feel utterly alone.

I’m not interested in men like that.

Instead, I appreciate men who have aged with spirit and grace and have embraced the subtle art of self-possession. Someone with a rich inner life, emotional honesty, and a beautiful open heart. Someone grounded enough to embrace the courage to commit to what is real.

That’s attractive. That’s sexy.

I’m no longer that young woman screwing my nose up at middle-aged men. Things have changed. I’ve changed. Like the generation before me, I couldn’t rebel yell loud enough to stop getting older. But honestly, I don’t mind one bit because the years have freed me as life has revealed its beauty and difficulty and shown me that each part has value and purpose, and one is needed to appreciate and understand the other.

I now have a thing for middle-aged men.

They can be pretty lovely, with weird hair, wrinkles, and all. But the most beautiful thing about middle-aged men is the magic of their wisdom.

It is the type of wisdom I liken to Albert Einstein’s famous quote:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

This quote perfectly echoes the power of imagination and the limitations of knowledge. In other words, knowledge is easy to acquire, but creativity takes bravery and persistence.

I like that. I desire a man who understands the concept even more.

See, there is a distinction between knowledge and experience that some older men value about life. Those who realize that wisdom isn’t solely based on the knowledge accrued from education but, instead, evolves from education plus life experience plus limitless imagination.

Suppose imagination is the key to elaborate theories, dreams, inventions, and innovation. In that case, it must give rise to experiences that create more enlightened perspectives required to make our most profound transformations over time.

Some men are powered by love and driven by purpose.

He feels profoundly and is sensed by others profoundly.

It is a type of wisdom that can no longer put up with the bullshit produced by a sneaky, excessive society that doesn’t prioritize his life. The kind that comes to reject the endless distractions offered by a community that attempts to deter him from making contact with his own consciousness, using things such as alcohol, porn, entrapment, and Netflix to achieve its objective.

Some men come to realize a higher meaning.

Some men have what it takes to give and receive great love.

Some men come to humility.

Some men learn to stop giving away their life force energy to the things attempting to steal it from them.

And some men arrive at the beautiful door of wisdom.

He unlocks the portal to his soul and begins to operate from that place deep within. He’ll come to know a deep service that he has committed his life to — his spirit, heart, and soul.

It’s a slice of wisdom that bestows those men who’ve done the work, and that’s attractive.

That’s sexy.

Because a man who possesses this kind of inner knowing doesn’t frequently hit and quit life or flip flop around commitment, emotions, love, or the idea that choices matter. If he has done the work to a certain level, he knows the choice doesn’t matter.

It’s never mattered.

What matters is the commitment to the choice.

He drops the game.

Abandons the distractions.

He says what he means and means what he says.

I admire a man who finds something, chooses it, commits to it, and stays committed to it. And please don’t confuse commitment with tolerance or endurance in any scenario that breeds unhappiness or pain. Sometimes, letting go of things that are no longer working for us — people, jobs, homes, and the like — is the most extraordinary step we can undertake toward positive transformation and improving the quality of our lives, and that’s a commitment in itself.

I believe in that old proverb about better doors opening when one closes, and if it doesn’t open, then it’s not your door.

Some men know that he will arise illuminated and stronger through constant weathering than before.

Some men realize that the problem with so many contemporary men is that distraction and lack of immersive commitment propagate immaturity, untrustworthiness, and acute unawareness.

Some men know that they will find themselves through commitment and feel their purpose.

Some men understand that their purpose doesn’t lie outside themselves but within.

I’m talking about the type of men who know how to be, really be with a woman. Because the magic of wisdom understands himself and inspires movement around him through his depth of being, feeling, loving, and seeing. He learns where to place his awareness and knows how to connect deeply with the woman he loves.

Now, that’s sexually appealing.

That’s beautiful.

Dear Goddess, I think the world needs more men with beautiful wisdom.


What it Means to Feel Someone with Your Soul

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Some people take you to oblivion.


“I feel you. Your sun it shines.”

Remember the 1993 Depeche Mode song, I Feel You?

It’s a dark, brooding fusion of provocative lyrics and industrial textured rock and roll that takes you where you want to go, and it’s downright sexy.

“I feel you. Within my mind.”

If I selected a theme song for this piece, this is it.

Check it out:

It was uncanny.

I encountered “just an ordinary guy” who turned out to be anything but typical.

At least, to me.

I didn’t know him from a bar of soap. I didn’t see him coming and wasn’t looking for him. Yet, his brief appearance in my life exposed a buried part of my soul which directly linked to my heart and taught me how to feel more love.

Like a higher, soul-based love.

It happens. Not too often, but when it does, you can’t miss it because you sense the remarkable difference in the energy shift when you make contact. As if the air is charged and crackling with energy, you suddenly feel a strong urge to get closer.

What is that?

I’ve said it once, and I’ll repeat it — I don’t proclaim to be an expert on soul matters, soulmates and karmic connections, and the like.

I’m not.

I’m just an ordinary woman who began a strange journey when I decided to know more about this life — my truths and connection to universal energy. So, I started exploring and tuning in to a deeper part of myself, and I practiced operating from that space.

I ached to know more.

There’s a divine presence surrounding us here on earth, and whatever you make of that, I discovered that energy is genuine and highly intelligent.

And it listens.

I asked for more and offered to be of service.

The universe sent him my way.

“You take me there,

You take me where,

The kingdom comes.”

I know now that very few souls come to us to embellish our experiences with an intensely delicious flavor. Instead, most people skate around the sidelines of our lives, with few affecting us profoundly.

But we are tethered to some people via invisible soul ties — the rare connections capable of touching us from the inside out and creating a lasting impact on us.

The same connections we’ve known over many lifetimes.

Like a soul vibration.

soul vibration is a person’s highest energetic expression of self. Each person’s energy frequency is unique, like a fingerprint.

Before him, I had no idea what it meant to feel someone with my soul. Not really. I’d loved deeply and given my heart wholly, yes. But this was different. The connection felt more spiritual than anything.

I can literally feel him within my soul.

How is that possible? I hear you ask.

Great question.

Since we all vibrate at unique energetic levels, if we share the same soul frequency with someone else, then we can feel them with our soul.

Some people call it a soulmate or “mirrored soul” thing. Others may call it plain madness and make use of taunting those who experience the phenomenon.

People fear what they don’t understand.

Me? I prefer to steer clear of labels and go with the flow.

Either way, the experience brings as much confusion as clarity because feeling someone with your soul is like opening a can of worms — your worms.

And some worms are incredibly dark, convoluted, and filthy.

How does it feel?

  • As if your inner self can finally come to rest in the heart of another.
  • As if you have met before, in another lifetime, or many lifetimes.
  • Like there is something especially familiar about them.
  • As if they are close despite geographical differences.
  • Like instant attraction multiplied by 1000.
  • Like an energetic buzz zapping through your body.
  • Like you cannot deny it.

Honestly, I struggle to articulate the sensations fully, but I can tell you it feels:

Like soul contact.

“You take me to

And lead me through


Making soul contact and awakening your heart center can be one of the most critical and transformative steps on your path of spiritual awakening that you will ever experience.

Like a catalyst, if you will.

Feeling someone with your soul means you are entering into territory beyond description with words and into the formless world of feeling and intuition.

But personal growth of this magnitude is never a walk in the park because it means purging old stuff that no longer serves.

This cleansing process is challenging, frustrating, and exhausting because we humans have to do a lot of work to see through our ego, and ego dissolution is complicated.

Stuff like:

  • Control.
  • Judgment.
  • Inflexibility.
  • Ruthlessness.
  • Manipulative tactics.
  • The need to feel superior.
  • Praise seeking.
  • Holding grudges.

It isn’t easy to look through our mind’s false stories that veil the truth — and this is precisely what happens when you encounter a soul intertwined with yours. This person will have a knack for showing you warts and all.

Hey, whether in this life or the next, all of us will eventually have to do the ego work. We must push beyond the ego to live a more authentic, compassionate life with humility.

Our most intricate soul connections help to accelerate ego dissolution.

How does it feel?

  • Chaos — like your world turns upside down.
  • Scared — the intensity of the connection is unlike anything you will have ever experienced.
  • Unsettled and uprooted.
  • Crazy — have you dreamed the whole thing?
  • Impatient — hurt and upset.
  • Deeply painful.
  • Sorrowfully beautiful.

Sheesh. It sounds a bit like a horror novel on the surface. But, of course, it helps to be gentle with yourself throughout the purging process, as does the act of surrender.

And surrender feels like:

A soul beast.

“This is the morning of our love

It’s just the dawning of our love.”

Your soul is a beast.

I don’t mean that negatively — quite the contrary. I’m talking about the unstructured, ethereal part of you that is tameless, timeless, and wild.

Feeling someone soul-to-soul awakens a spiritual dimension that spreads over the entire spectrum of your being and emotions. It introduces you to yourself and catapults you toward seeing and feeling and exploring your hidden depths and unseen heights.

In short, your soul beast is impressive.

Once you see the whole of you, which is limitless, the ego has very little power. Therefore, the ego/mind does not stand a chance against the light of truth.

It still exists, just seen through.

In other words, you don’t buy into it much anymore — seeing through the ego is a new way of living.

You are now living in freedom.

How does it feel?

  • It feels infinite.
  • And like your soul person understands who you are without the need for words.
  • Like a soft, warm, exquisite light in your body.
  • Like sensual heat curling through your erroneous zones.
  • Like physical distance and chronological time seem meaningless.
  • Like your heart overflows with so much love that you cannot contain it.
  • And like the above point can feel scary.
  • Like you are surrounded by unconditional love.

I feel you.

Yeah, it was uncanny.

I was unexpectedly gifted a soul on earth who ignited a spiritual evolution in me and showed me what it meant to feel someone with my soul, just by being himself.

Alas, that’s what our most profound and rarest soul connections do to us and why it is to be cherished, honored, and appreciated.

I will always be grateful for the experience.

Now, back to feeling Depeche Mode…

“Where angels sing

And spread their wings

My love’s on high.”


Men Who Love Women Do Things Like This

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Damn, I wish there were more of them.

I love women. 

Men say it all the time. They’ll often tell their buddies, openly declare it to women, and sometimes even announce it via their social media accounts. Despite that they clearly have not encountered every woman in the world.  


I love women

He speaks. 

But what does he mean?

Does the man mean it literally? If so, that would mean he is devoid of even the slightest hint of misogyny gathering in the recesses of his being.  

Apologies. More than once, I have questioned if such a man exists.    

So maybe, when a man says that he “loves women,” he really means that he likes the idea of women.   

There’s a significant difference. 

Because in a culture where men’s aggression toward women is often expressed through sex and most men are confused and misinformed about how to love a woman from a place of integrity, ideals usually work better for them. 

Ideally, a man can enjoy the company of and delight in women’s thought processes. He admires her physique and beauty and appreciates the feminine touch women bring to his life.

That’s ideal. 

Until he doesn’t get what he wants from her or things don’t go his way.

Often, a man loves a woman until she stops doing what he likes. 

It’s conditional love. 

For example, if he feels challenged by a woman, the same man who claims to love her can easily yield to his innate desire for power and control to fulfill his internal inadequacy. He might even attempt to dominate and denigrate her – intellectually, physically, spiritually, sexually. 


Well, since the dawn of civilization, men have treated women as second-class citizens, seductresses, and sex slaves, from African American slavery to the Nazis-driven Jewish genocide to racial or religious bigotry. Time and time again, history is strewn with rape and brutality against women.

Men have mishandled us from the beginning.  

So, this horrible trail of threatening, assaulting, and punishing women has created a subconscious bias of misogynistic mindset that has carried through the generations where many men are taught from a young age that they have an inherent right to power, particularly over women. 

These warped beliefs are where the “boys must be strong and aggressive” narrative stems from and support male entitlement, toxic masculinity, objectification of women, and violence against women. It’s everywhere and in every culture. It directly counters men’s highest role with a woman – to patiently and consistently show up for her as she disentangles the abuse and mishandling that she has endured at the hands of males who have come before him. 

It’s unconditional love.

Make of it what you will, but it’s the nourishing depth of a man’s presence in the connection process that every woman needs to experience and witness before she fully opens up for him.


Men who love women do things like this: 

Let me first say that none of us are perfect. We are here to make mistakes and learn and grow from our shortcomings. We are also here to evolve from a past that has distorted the male/female dynamic, negatively impacting the quality of our relationships, lives, and happiness. 

We are here to love.

So, the faster a man can get out of his own way in the connection process with a woman, the quicker he will find more profound meaning and higher love in his life.

He recognizes her realness

And I’m not talking about the “real” things she can do for him like fix his nightly feed, sex as her duty, and her baby-making role in his life. Or, indeed, other forms of male entitlement are considered legitimate forms of masculinity in society. 


  • Expecting women to behave a certain way. 
  • Thinking men are better decision-makers.
  • Dismissing a woman’s opinion. 
  • Treating women as lesser human beings. 
  • Insisting on respect before he has earned a woman’s trust. 


I’m talking about something far more potent for him, which exists on the other side of her heart – the place where a woman embodies her spirit and pussy – her essence and realness.

Men who genuinely love women have figured out that to taste a woman’s wine is to receive the soft layers of her unraveling feminine gifts, which can transcend and nourish his life and their love union. 

Nice, huh.  

Well, it is for the man who can go there with her. 

Because when a man can recognize a woman’s realness, he will receive her holy fire and undeniable love – her light, compassion, loyalty, enhanced intuition, tenderness, and the unbridled power of her sensuality – 

Her fully awakened sexuality.    

But these superb feminine qualities are never just given to a man without his conscious effort to earn a woman’s trust. So he’ll need to embody the tools and wisdom to demonstrate his male proficiency and trustworthiness by allowing her to challenge and test him before she fully opens herself to him.   

Of course, that takes a man’s patience, dedication, and a solid commitment to “self” to recognize a woman’s realness and what that means for him. 

It takes inner work. 

Self-work to face his inner demons and heal all of his wounds, and see beyond a society that encourages him to play games with women, devalue, exploit, and mistreat women.

Honestly, it’s about letting go of old patterns to make way for a new way of being, thinking, and perceiving the world – all without the help of his mommy, of course. 

Only then can he hold a woman.

I mean to hold her within his conscious power and his arms.  

He will let her know that he is there with her so that she may continue to trust him with her unfurling process. 

Again, it takes patience.  

And emotional maturity. 

And honesty. 

And vulnerability. 

And open-mindedness. 

And integrity.

And a whole lot of heart and soul to hold a woman.

Truthfully, the process is not for the faint at heart or men with a weakened backbone. 

I make no apologies. More than once, I have questioned the quality of today’s men. 

So maybe society’s exaggerated gender roles support a belief system that promotes hypermasculinity where masculine qualities like competitiveness with other men and feminine domination amplify sexist thinking.

We all know those males who ascribe to aggression, insensitivity, physical dominance, cruelty, bold ambition, and unrealistic demands.

Hypermasculine men cannot hold a woman. 

Neither can weak men. 

Here’s another truth: I can’t help but notice a convergence of “soft cocks” among contemporary men, and I’m not talking about men who cry. 

No. Crying is a healthy way of expressing emotion and by no means contradicts a person’s strength.    

Do you know those men who run like the wind when the shit hits the fan? They are the types who will leave the dirty work to someone else, don’t know how to love a strong woman, will often deny the truth in favor of comfort zone territory, and is never there when you need him. 

Yeah. Weak men cannot hold a woman. 

But a man in touch with himself, has developed his spirituality and has arrived in a mature place of being as a direct result, can rise in his role with a woman.  

That man can hold a woman. 

Because he’s done the work. 

He takes full ownership of who he is and possesses the self-awareness to love a woman. He has the guts to sense her heart and honey, show up and feel, penetrate and hold her with his consciousness so that she has something solid to trust and respond to.

Because if a man cannot sense a woman, she cannot trust him.    

That doesn’t mean he supports her bullshit, either. It means that he holds her accountable and assists her in opening her heart and soul and vice versa. 


So, I love women.

He speaks. 

But what does he mean? 

Does the man mean it literally? If so, that would mean that he has learned how to be present with women enough to communicate directly and love fiercely without a hint of misogyny gathering in the recesses of his being.

It would mean that he is present enough within himself to fully respect and be present with the magnificent and powerful life-force energy that birthed him – the warmest, safest, and most nourishing place available to him.

Does such a man exist? 

I believe this male is a rare beast.  

Still, I’m grateful for the men out there who understand what it means to love women and have chosen different paths of integrity, maturity, presence, and connection. 

But dear goddess, I wish there were more of them.

Perception: The Power to Reframe Things by Gerthy Bingoly


How you perceive the world needs to be seeded from the inside.

No one can see the world as you do, and within that canvas we all share, you are the producer of your own reality, a world only you can carry. Add another pair of eyes, and you find yourself with two frames, with two realms of interpretations, with two worlds ready to collide. That’s perspective.

And there’s a gap between perception and reality.

The state of things you believe to be true is, in fact, nothing more but a small portion of the bigger truth. A truth no human ever had access to, nor could hope to hold in the palms of his hands.

And yet, too often, we are preoccupied with what other people are thinking. Too often, we are preoccupied with how others see us. Too often, we forget that things are not what they are, but in fact, what we think they are.

Within that gap between perception and reality lies the power to reframe things.

Wayne Dyer said:

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

In other words, how you perceive the world needs to be seeded from the inside. — Kim Petersen

1. Let’s Talk About Inputs

The world in which we live is a lively place. Take a look at how busy you are, multiply it by 7 billion, and you won’t even get close to the answer. With so many things to do, discover, and experience, it’s easy to get lost. With so many versions of the same story, it’s easy not knowing what to believe anymore.

Our sense of sight has long been corrupted by what the people around us see as beautiful. Our sense of taste, criticized by what people deem as non-healthy. Our sense of touch, condemned by people with a golden cage of principles. And our sense of self, alienated by our desire to be like the celebrities on our screens.

In a world with so many inputs, the best thing you can do is to never lose your output.

It’s okay to learn from others, and it’s definitely okay to learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. But there are two truths hidden here:

You won’t necessarily meet success where someone else did, and where someone failed, you can succeed. Don’t be quick to jump in the fray, and please, don’t sell yourself short.

Every input life throws at you needs to be filtered by what’s inside you. They all need to be digested and transformed by your experiences and aspirations. And then, redirected out in the world through actions of your own.

No one can relate to you as well as you do. So you have to do the job by yourself and reach that world only you can create.

You lived a beautiful life, you went through a compound of experiences, and you survived. For that reason alone, your voice matter. For that reason alone, you have the right to perceive the world in a way that benefits you.

2. Let’s Talk About Approval

The reason why we want to please people so much is that we want to be accepted. We want to be loved, invited to gatherings, included, and we especially do not want to be left out. We are social beings, and we long for that connection of the psyche, for the warmth it gives us in the winter, and for its freshness in the summer.

But before being accepted by others, please accept yourself. You may think the people in front of you are the only ones that will ever accept you. You may think you have to do whatever you can to stay in their good graces, but that is simply not true.

You have the right to be yourself, and by being you, you will attract people in love with that self. The world is of different spices, and you have yet to taste them all. Don’t be afraid to show yourself, don’t be afraid to be alone because of what is right. Sometimes, the best place to see the light is in the dark.

Please, be the You only you can be.

I recently read a tweet:

What doesn’t kill you makes you weird at intimacy.

What we forget is that weird can only exist within contradictions. Dancing naked at work is only weird if you’re not in a strip club, eating ice cream in the winter is only weird if you do not want to eat it, and saying “I love you” is only weird if you don’t think it to be true.

When you see the world as others do, and not as you do, you contradict yourself. And thus, you act weird.

Clive Staples Lewis said:

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

The only way to be you, to be the best version of you, to get what you want and what you deserve is to be you, the person only you know. Everyone else is already taken.

3. Let’s Reframe It, Perception

I walked a subjectively fair amount of years in this life, and I met my share of people. Of them all, never once, I heard someone seeking the opposite of happiness.

That feeling of joy and contentment has long been a quest of humankind. Some went to look for it in material goods and riches, others in love and pleasures. And when the high passed, the bummed started.

Because someone is rich, you think he must be happy. Because someone is accompanied, you think he should be exalted. And that may be true, but are the circumstances of our life all it takes to be happy?

I watched a Ted Talk recently. The speaker talked about an experiment with two dogs in two cages made of electric floors. Every now and then, an electric shock was sent to both. But one of the dogs had a button that could stop the discharge.

At the end of the experiment, the dog with the button was relatively happy, and the other one was completely depressed.

“The circumstances of our lives may actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.” — Roy Sutherland

By getting out of the box you were put into, and by perceiving the world from your point of view, you can take back the control over your life. And with it, more chance at happiness.

Here’s a quote from Terry Pratchett:

“A European says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with me? An American says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with him?”

Reframe it, perception.

As Roy Sutherland perfectly summed it. Choose your frame of reference and the perceived value, and therefore, the actual value is completely transformed.

The Takeaway

Life has many teachers, empty pockets, broken hearts, and health issues are a few of them. And though they are the same for everyone, they do not teach us the same lessons, for you are your own person, with your own experiences and your own aspirations.

Be aware of the inputs the world throws at you, learn from them, filter them and transform them. Don’t be afraid of the word “weird.” It can only be applied to you if you contradict yourself. Reframe your perception and take back the control you deserve.

Your life is your own to live, and you matter more than you think.

How you perceive the world needs to be seeded from the inside.

Gerthy Bingoly

From Medium: Writing about the things the eye cannot see, and looking for inspiration where my feet cannot take me. Write me at [email protected]

Discover more of Gerthy’s work at his Medium page:

This post was originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.

Helping Other Writers by Catherine Evans


“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou

Helping others seems like a strange way to work on your writing but please stick with me and let me explain.

Something happens in my brain when I work on someone else’s writing. I’m objective because it’s not my work so I know nothing about it. I’m reading like a reader would, but I’m also reading as a writer looking for flaws. I think about point of view, tense, punctuation, grammar, dialogue, character, story line. I’m conscious of arcs, inconsistencies, structure. I read for so many things and not always consciously, sometimes things just pop out at me. I become conscious of aspects that I may have learned about but previously overlooked.

Often times I’ll be annoyed by something in someone else’s manuscript and then, when I go back to my work, there it is! The exact same damn thing I had been noticing in the other person’s work. By critiquing another writer’s work, I’ve directly helped my own.

You wouldn’t think editing/critiquing someone else’s work would have such an impact, would you?

Ideas for helping other writers

If you wanted to do this, how could you go about helping? There are quite a few ways.

If you know other writers, it’s as easy as offering to beta read for a friend (be one of their first readers, after themselves), or helping a newer author by reading and commenting, often with small changes to help them learn. If you’re in a more formal writing group, you could organize chapter swaps, or judge a contest(s). You could attend a workshop (you never know who you might meet, or what you’ll learn). If you’ve been in the business for a while, you could run a workshop (gathering your ideas together, and trying to present them logically, can be eye-opening!).

Helping other writers doesn’t need such a formal setting either. Over a cup of coffee/tea you can brainstorm plot or character issues, discuss story ideas, talk at length about the industry or your fears or goals or plans.

When you sit and chat, you can go down conversation paths that shine new light on something that opens doors or activities you may never have thought of doing.

Sometimes meeting up for a cuppa can have you writing an article like this — which isn’t something I’d ever dreamed I’d do.

I’ve run workshops other than for writing, and no matter the topic I’m presenting, I learn things from the participants or other presenters. When I attend workshops, I’m there to learn whatever topic is presented, but I also pick up tips from the presenter(s) on presentation skills.

Recently I attended a workshop and the presenter had a marvelous skill at encouraging participants to share their work, something which I had been unable to achieve in workshops I’d run. Right at the start of the workshop, she shared her work by reading it aloud and talked about her experiences writing that piece. She then shared other people’s writing, and quotes from them. All of this was spoken. I had presented similar things, but in a written form. I wasn’t setting the example of speaking my truths, so I could hardly expect anyone else to do the same.

For many years I worked in agricultural research. When I moved into a more senior role where I had to present information to other scientists, I was quite terrified and intimidated. Fortunately, I had mentors who had vast experience.

One looked at me and asked, “Who did this research you’re presenting?” Well, that was easy, he and I had done it. “And who will know any more than you or I?” No one. Since it was the work we’d done and no one else had participated. I presented that talk with much more confidence — until he stood up and asked a question, then I almost turned into a puddle on the floor! Fortunately, it was something I could answer.

That same lesson applies to writing. If you’re speaking about your writing, your book, your process, does anyone know it any better than you do?

What if you’re new to writing?

What if you’re a new author? It’s not so easy to help others when you’re the one needing help. But if you’re in a writing group, there are roles you could volunteer to take on. There may be roles on a committee, administrative roles for contests, meeting organization, tea and coffee making.

When you get in and help, you never know who you may be helping, working alongside, or meeting along the way.

I managed in a contest for a few years. I began in my first year of joining Romance Writers of Australia because my first contest entry came way down the end of the field. The comments I received back weren’t so terrible, and I wanted to know how good the winning entries were. There was no way of knowing that other than volunteering to manage a contest.

I discovered that the entries that were finalists, as well as some further down the scorecard, were at a publishable standard. In fact, some entrants were offered publishing contracts during or soon after contests. I had a lot to learn and a long way to go. I read so many entries and so many of the judges’ comments as a contest manager that it was a brilliant, but steep, learning curve.

Another thing that happened when I was a new author, was that I was paired up with another new author in Romance Writers of Australia — we were called critique partners. In the beginning, neither of us had any idea what we were doing when we exchanged our manuscripts to critique and help each other. We could spot spelling mistakes, we helped each other with things like characters’ names and places, but that was about it. We had completely different writing styles and were writing different types of romance.

It was an absolute struggle.

Then we both began to learn things by attending different workshops or courses, and by going to the annual conference. We learned different things and taught each other by highlighting what we’d discovered in each other’s manuscripts. She learnt about using contractions in dialogue and highlighted all my stilted conversations. Wow! What an obvious thing I’d never noticed.

In the start, our pairing seemed like the craziest thing, yet it turned out to be a fabulous learning experience because by working together, we learned at twice the speed. If you’re in that situation and feeling frustrated, I promise as you each start learning different skills, you’ll end up moving ahead more quickly than if you worked alone.

Writing can be a terribly solitary occupation. Joining with others can give you such a buzz, helping others can make that buzz into real writing energy that can propel your writing career along.

Offer to help, smile, be positive, and watch the energy, and your writing skills, build.

Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium.

About Catherine Evans

From Medium:

Australian, writer and creator. Inspired by nature and living. Weird thoughts are entirely my own, and I know they’re often not like other people’s!

Have You Encountered Someone from A Past Life?

connections 1

Some connections never die.

“Important encounters are planned by the souls long before the bodies see each other.”
— Paulo Coelho The idea of having lived before can be difficult to wrap your head around. As humans, we’re so ingrained in the here and now; caught up in our current life drama. That’s completely normal. It’s easy to believe that this present physical life is the only reality. It’s not as if we have tangible evidence to prove that we once walked the earth in a different skin in another lifetime, any more than we have concrete memories of knowing someone before actually meeting them. All we’ve got are peculiar feelings, Déjà vu-like memories and an uncanny sense of familiarity. Reincarnation, also known as metempsychosis, transmigration, resurrection or life after death, is most characteristic of Eastern philosophy, New Age and religious beliefs that centers around the rebirthing of our non-physical essence (or soul) beginning a new life in a different physical body after death. No doubt you’ve heard of this phenomenon as a past life, where your soul is born into another person after you expire from …. erm…. this life. I know, the thought of being the same but not can be a bit mind-boggling and maybe even a little far-fetched. As if body-hopping is only reserved for evil serial killer entities in supernatural horror films. Except, there are many scientific experts out there with thousands of case studies behind them who believe that reincarnation is, in fact, genuine. For instance, the late Dr Ian Stevenson dedicated much of his career to finding evidence of reincarnation. And while there can be never be irrefutable proof that reincarnation is a real thing, his work has supplied evidence suggesting in its reality. Thinking about the soul and past lives always brings me back to Dr. Wayne Dyer and his book, Wishes Fulfilled, where he quoted an ancient spiritual avatar about the ‘real’. “What is real?” Guru was asked. “What is real is that which never changes,” he replied. More from the book:
“When looking for what is real and unchanging about ourselves, we can apply this definition. There is an unchanging spark from the Creator in each of us, our highest self, a piece of God. And we are all connected.”
The way I see it is that your soul is the unchanging spark which remains the same after your present body has exhausted itself. This can definitely account for the fact that we are not just limited to one body and one life experience. Perhaps, body-hopping isn’t just something that happens in movies after all.
Have you ever encountered someone for the first time, yet instantly felt as if you’ve known them before? I have. It’s the strangest and most incredible feeling. A few years back, I met someone who instantly struck a mystifying sense of familiarity in me. The feeling was so powerful that it overtook my entire being to the point that even though I tried to brush it aside, it was impossible to ignore. Eventually, I began to accept that this was something different than I’d ever known with anyone else. I just intuitively knew that there was a soul history between us and became aware that it wasn’t in the scope of my intellectual understanding. I realized that I was deeply connected to this person, even though I had no explanation as to why I felt that way. You’re curious. You may have met someone who feels oddly familiar without reason, and who ignites a powerful sensation that can uplift your heart as much as kill you on the inside. Have you encountered someone from a past life? Here’s a few signs that might help you determine if it’s the real deal:

Obscure Memories

Meeting someone who activates deep soul recognition from a past life is an intense and unique experience that cannot be mistaken for anything other than an eternal bond. You don’t consciously know it or think, “Hey, I know you from a past life”, but you do understand it at some level — the unchanging spark within you knows sacred secrets from bygone eras. You just know that your soul and theirs have shared time before. You have no idea how or why, but you begin to remember unclear moments that manifest as random visions, flashbacks, dreams and feelings not experienced in this lifetime with this person. You may even begin to question your sanity at times.

Internal Sensations

  • You feel an immediate “out of this world “connection with this person.
  • You experience a strange knowing that he or she was always in your life, even before they arrived.
  • The encounter and interactions conjure up an unexplainable well of deep emotions within you.
  • Confusion is your new friend as your mind struggles to catch up with your heart and soul knowledge.
  • You light up and synchronize with them right away.

The Sound of Their Voice Affects You

Hearing the voice of a past life mate is much like coming home. Their tone seems to vibrate at a frequency that was always meant to resonate with your energetic essence. As if it was some pre-determined signal organized between your souls before incarnation so that you may recognize each other. Their sound is comforting; arousing nostalgic sensations and the deeply sentimental, and their laughter may hanker on your heart like a wistful yesteryear.

Internal Sensations

  • You feel lost and found all at the same time.
  • You sense a shift within, revealing parts of yourself you didn’t know existed.
  • All your existing plans become irrelevant as he or she totally redesigns your life.
  • You slowly understand that you will never look at life the same way.
  • You feel as if you could listen to them forever.
  • Their voice activates and unlocks your heart to create a higher meaning of love within.

They Feel Like Unfinished Business

“Connection doesn’t care about the laws of the land; your soul will be pulled to the place it belongs.”
— Unknown Just as the sound of their voice brings you undone, so does the sense of unending “soul” business with this person. As if they have appeared in your life to challenge you in some way. Famous psychic, Michelle Knight teaches us about past life encounters:
The souls with whom we have the deepest connection and with whom we have chosen to learn and grow with, are the ones who are there to teach us the most profound lessons. And sometimes these lessons are not easy. Just because you have known one another in a past life does not mean it will all be love and happy endings in this one.”
These challenges can manifest as either positive or negative, and the bigger the contradictions and/or obstacles, the more you will have to grow on a soul level in order to meet and understand the higher meaning. This characteristic is one of the greatest signs that you’ve met a profound soul connection from a past life here, because this person will push you to seek new meaning and discover personal uncharted territory just by showing up in your life. They will force you to do the inner-work.

Internal Sensations

  • The mere presence of this person demands truth and honesty at a deeply authentic level like you’ve never before experienced.
  • You experience a slight pulse that begins in your soul and grows intense when confronting deep truths and facing your demons.
  • They excite, repel and delight you as you are propelled into intense introspection, self-actualization and startling moments of clarity.
  • You feel your soul expanding and evolving as new revelations pour forth.
  • Your mind and heart blows wide open to the possibilities.
  • You begin to see everything differently.
  • You begin to distinguish between real and illusionary realities.
  • You can see right through them and them through you.
  • You discover in yourself a strength that you never knew existed.
  • They have a knack for making you feel unimportant and important simultaneously — they can break or lift you like no other.
  • You sense what they represent to you at an intricate level.
  • You know that the connection is much more than yourself and this lifetime, and realize that they are a part of you and it will always be so.

Feeling of belonging

You feel as if you’ve gazed into their eyes a thousand times before. What you see reflecting back at you is a great sense of belonging — your mirror in another person through to your soul. As well, time and space mean nothing and your connection remains strong even when you’re apart. The feeling of belonging is in their eyes that ignite an inner-journey toward your whole self, and the perfectly orchestrated path that led you to the exact moment of correspondence. Belonging is in the dreams and constant confirming signs, and the way you know each other’s thoughts and emotions without having to speak it out loud. It’s in the ease in which the relationship evolves through your soul.

Internal Sensations

  • You feel like a different person around them.
  • You might feel as if your very survival depends on this person remaining in your life in a certain way.
  • You begin to merge with your subconscious-self, which does not differentiate between past, present and future.
  • Your sense of time surrounding this person becomes irrelevant.
  • You feel an intimate connection with them, even if you do not spend time together.
  • You feel an intense longing to be close to them.
  • You may feel that earth is not your true home.
  • You yearn to go home.
  • You have a great affinity for this person that continues to grow over time.
  • You now have a profound sense of wisdom and an unusual capacity to see the deeper meaning in life’s events.

If you’ve experienced these feelings and sensations before, then you have likely encountered someone from a past life who you have run into once again on your current journey. Trust your intuition and be mindful of how you feel. And always remember that meeting someone of this soul-significance is a gift that should always be treated with the highest respect and honor.
Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium