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writers life - Kim Petersen

Value Your Creative Energy: The Benefits of Connecting with Your Higher-Creative Mind

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The higher-self is a term associated with a variety of belief systems, but its basic premise describes an eternal, conscious and intelligent being which represents our most authentic state.

The higher-self embodies our spirit which is expressed through our human vessels — the part of ourselves that exists beyond the conditioning learned throughout our life experiences. Conditions such as fear and ego fixations, limiting beliefs, negative thinking patterns and old wounds.

Our higher-selves are never lost to us — your soul or spirit is ever-present and flows with unhindered and effortless love from the higher-realms.

When we refer to the higher-creative mind, we are speaking in terms of the creative resources available to us from that sacred space within. The incredibly creative part of you that remains hidden and unexplored, and brimming with story concepts and fascinating characters you have yet to meet.

But sometimes, we can lose touch with this part of ourselves. Life happens and we easily become weighed down with everyday stresses and responsibilities which can lead to feelings of disconnection. With the Corona virus currently ripping through the world, this is apparent more than ever right now.

We can tell when we are disconnected to our higher-selves because this state breeds lower vibrational feelings such as anxiety and depression, as well as other negative ways of thinking about ourselves and the world.

This is when problems are likely to arise with your creative output.

We have all been there. Some days, it can feel as if your creative well has dried up — that there are no more interesting words and stories left in you to tell.

It’s normal to experience creative burn-out from time to time. I do. I know how it feels when creativity seems out of reach. When you believe there is nothing left inside of you to creative and bring to the world; at least, nothing worthwhile. We want to produce our best work, and yet, it’s impossible to always be on top of our game.

Sometimes, a small shift in our perspective is all it takes to kick-start the creative juices again, and taking the time to replenish our creative resources is important if we are to thrive as prolific artists and writers.

In fact, recharging the creative batteries is a vital component in the life of a creative. We need to refill our spirits with renewed energy, and we need to allow ourselves time to unwind in order to create a fresh space for revived and invigorated visions and the formation of new ideas.

Often, it is the simple activities that are most helpful in clearing our creative blocks and managing stress levels. The core notion lies in the necessity to separate yourself and your mind from your work and creative project for a block of time.

We may be facing uncertain times and even isolation, but that doesn’t mean we have to be totally limited in finding ways to refresh our creative palettes. Here are a few things you can do to help pull you out of a creative rut (current circumstances permitting):

· Take a walk outside — preferably someplace that encourages positive feelings. Sunshine, trees and air will do wonders to replenish your imagination, and besides, it just feels good to be out and away from the computer sometimes.

· Go veg out at the beach — dig in your toes and imprint your mark into the sand while soaking up the purifying salt air for a few hours (my favorite!).

· Spend time with your children/dog or cat. Laughter uplifts the spirit and children have a knack of bringing out your inner-child. Animal therapy is a proven mood-booster.

· Coffee with a treasured friend — great conversation and connecting with someone special can cure the most contrite of hearts.

· Catch a flick or binge a series on Netflix — movies and TV are modern-day oral storytelling. Inspiration right there.

· Cook up a storm — this can be an extremely pleasant activity in switching up your focus. When we take away the “chore” aspect of cooking and do it for the pleasure, cooking transcends into something utterly delightful.

· Take a drive to destination inspiring — the world is brimming with naturally rustic beauty. Whether it be inhaling the country air over rolling green pastures, breathtaking views from mountain peaks, or dreaming on the wings of an eagle over rugged ocean cliffs, there is sure to be a slice of the magic near you.

The above suggestions are great ways to help improve your mindset when you’re feeling flat on the creative front. It is likely you’re already practicing similar activities. I think we all know when we need to just close down for a while and think about anything other than our work-in-progress or all tasks that are piling up on our desks.

This is true for our higher-creative minds, too. The more time spent intentionally cultivating that inner-resource, the greater your access will be to those extraordinary invisible realms.

We do this through connecting to the higher-self.

Deliberately choosing to spend time on strengthening your relationship with your inner-spirit is an act that will help nurture the bonds with your creativity.

It’s not hocus-pocus. It’s not even “woo-woo”. Those labels are formed by those who don’t get it. Think of it like this; there is so much more to our world and existence than what we are able to acknowledge and perceive. Often, it is fear driving the ridicule behind those who negate alternative thinking and practices with their labels.

Being willing to open your mind to different ideas and ways of being will add richness to your life. It’s like traveling — the experiences will broaden your perspective and increase the good stuff like empathy, love and kindness.

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Connecting to your higher-creative mind will help you achieve:

· A holistic sense of well-being

· Forms of awareness

· Trust in yourself

· Trust in the creative process

· Honor the incubation period — allowing the ideas and thoughts time to stew

· Build on your intuition

· Value vulnerability

· Push past fear

· Free expression

· Keep the creative channels flowing.

When it comes to the higher-creative mind, there are some simple methods we can practice to help get you there and keep you there during your creative output sessions.

Catherine Evans and I are going to discuss all of this and more during our Creative Writing Energy presentation in next month’s WriteHive 2020 convention, where we hope to help you pave a way to connect with and honor your higher-creative mind.

WriteHive 2020 is a free online writing convention featuring everyone from huge names in the literary industry to brand-new writers, and will be live across the world from April 18th — 19th.

Check it out here: https://www.writehive.org/

We hope to see you there.


Writers Are More Prone to Depression

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Last night, I attended a Shamanic Drumming circle. It had been a few months since I had joined circle. When my friend Catherine mentioned the upcoming session, I didn’t hesitate — something inside me recognized the need for the soul-cleansing and inner-healing these sacred drumming circles bring to my psyche.

It was the black dog.

I knew that spending two hours in a sacramental environment listening to our Shaman teachers speak of shedding, soul-growth and revitalization would provide the perfect outlet to get away from myself; away from thought, feelings and the depression shadowing me.

I have battled bouts of depression in the past as well as anxiety on occasion. As much as I have tried to deny how I’m feeling is as much as it produces feelings of failure — admitting to a decline in happiness seems to equate with being an epic screw-up.

The thing is, I know better. I know how to identify the triggers. I have studied philosophical teachings offered by the great ancient masters of Buddhism; Stoicism; Shamanism and the like. I have spent years learning, practicing and seeing the results produced by raising my awareness through meditation and deliberate pondering, as well as the benefits achieved by controlling my thoughts.

Yet, I am still not immune to depression. Have I failed in my quest for inner-peace and happiness? Did I do something wrong?

Honestly, it is my belief that not many of us manage to avoid experiencing some form of mental dysfunction during our lifetimes — no matter how aware we become or how informed we are. Especially in this day and age.

There is so much going on all the time. Lifestyle has become a fast blur. People have become disconnected; replaceable. We treat one another as if exchangeable goods, never really seeing or acknowledging the precious soul behind the flesh. Never really holding one another.

Internet-based relationships for business and social purposes means we are able to engage with others without actually becoming invested in their authenticity. It means we can pretend that the person on the other side of the screen isn’t real. Feelings become invalidated; people become a dime-a-dozen and avoiding the hook is as easy as deactivating your account or hitting the “block” icon.

Only the joke is on us.

We are losing sight of the importance of connection. Our sense of self becomes tainted by behaving like strangers, ditching good manners, ghosting and treating others less than they deserve.

Where is the organic connection? Where is the love?

Writers are among the most prone to depression, but I wasn’t always a writer and I’m not sure that I was always prone to depression. I’ve always had a solid grasp on my feelings for the most part.

The writing life does something to you. It changes you. We delve into the deepest parts of ourselves, get vulnerable and share our inner-most layers with the world. Writing becomes a channel of self-discovery; a passage of growth and exploration. Sometimes, we soar. Other times, we bleed.

Creating stories has the ability to make you fly.

It is when I am working on my fiction that I’m at my happiest. Yet, there are so many elements about the writing business that can leave us feeling utterly deflated.

Kay Redfield Jamison, who is a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and author of Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament has reported that writers experience depression more often than non-writers.

It is thought this is due to several reasons.

For one, some writers desire to be familiar with misery, suffering and pain to guide the writing process and give their work authenticity. They may have not experienced the deep sense of trials and tribulations as their characters, so they seek to gain insight by manifesting similar emotions.

Extended hours of isolation, lack of exercise and natural light is another factor to influence depression in writers.

There is also the emotional roller coaster associated with rejection, which is an element familiar to just about every writer — Rejection in the form of editor’s, publishers, agents, readers and peers.

Clinical psychiatrist Alan Manevitz says: “A large part of a writer’s success depends on how other people think of him or approve.”

How many times have you emailed another writer who is further along the path than yourself only to be ignored?

And all you said was thank you.

How often has one of your peers deliberately inserted a subliminal swipe at your work or future project ideas? How many times have you read some trivial heated debate among writers on social media, or heard authors in a position of influence publicly slam the works of others?

I am not sure how success has assimilated a superior attitude.

I don’t understand why some people behave in ways that breed contempt.

I cannot fathom why we feel the need to judge, ridicule or perceive a sense threat toward one another when we’re all in it together — there are readers aplenty. There are words abundance. Limitation is an illusion.

So is separateness.

They say that depression lies in the past; anxiety waits in the future. But I think those blue feelings can strike for other reasons as well. Sometimes, even the thickest skin becomes porous enough for negativity to seep through. Sometimes, people and situations hurt like hell.

If only members of the writing community could see past their own egos long enough to get real, we might be able to hold and support each other long enough to feel the authenticity on the other side of the screen — to acknowledge that the person beyond the screen is a real human with real feelings.

Last night, my Shaman teacher concluded the circle by suggesting we all hug each other. My first reaction was to baulk at the idea. I’m not a hugger of strangers, even when bonding over a sacred alter and making medicine together.

Yet, as the other circle members approached me with their arms wide open and I stepped into their embrace, I realized how symbolic the gesture was and found myself in a state of appreciation — acts of kindness and affection go a long way to healing the invisible threads connecting us.

We may not be able to physically embrace all of the time, but our energy is as tangible as anything in the physical world. Perhaps if writers practiced hugging one another on the energetic level instead of looking for ways to get outraged or feel threatened, our community will become less hostile and more loving; more supportive.

Even if it stretches our comfort zone. Especially if it stretches our comfort zone.


Also published by Curiosity Never Killed the Writer via Medium

Connecting with your Higher Creative Self by Judy Sweeney

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You often hear about people being in the zone. Painters being in another place, the paintbrush seeming to have a mind of its own; musicians so engrossed in the music they are creating. You only have to look at some of the great guitarists to see what I mean; writers sitting at the keyboard for hours without a break, not wanting to stop because the words just keep coming.

If only it was like that all of the time. Alas, that is not always how it is. Sometimes, we just sit and look at the screen, the empty sheet music page or canvas and nothing flows.

I am not a writer, artist or musician. I am a Clairvoyant and, in my work, I have to go to my highest self and above every time I connect to Spirit. The principals are the same. The following are some of the practices I use to centre and reconnect to my higher creative self.

  • Drink water, without hydration you cannot work to your highest potential.
  • Breathe. The breath is one of the most important and easiest tools we can use to open to our highest creative self.

Close your eyes and take in a deep breath, breathing in through your crown and into your heart.

Take another deep breath, in through your feet and into your heart. Take another deep breath in of love from the universe and feel your heart expand.

Breathe in love from the earth and feel your heart expand.

Breathe in the I AM love from the universe into your heart, breathe in the I AM love from the earth into your heart.

Feel your heart expand, the energy in your heart is your creative essence, let it expand.

Feel the love for the I AM self that is you, feel it, sit with it, be one with it and allow it to expand and flow through you to every cell of your being.

Opening your eyes when you are ready.


Affirmations are such a wonderful way of instilling self-belief.

  • I am a Creative Being
  • I know who I am and I know how I serve
  • I am open to my joy
  • I am peace and allow my joy to flow

Acknowledging Blocks

We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. I also believe that we can change something by looking at the emotion that you are feeling. Sit with it, bring it into your heart, not your mind.

How does it feel?

What emotion are you experiencing?

Fear, anger, frustration, not good enough, fraud? All emotions are valid, even it they are not real.  i.e. you are always good enough etc.

Feel the emotion, hold it in your heart and say this until it lessens or goes away.

I CLEANSE YOU.   I CLEAR YOU.    I LOVE YOU

I CLEANSE YOU.   I CLEAR YOU.    I LOVE YOU

I CLEANSE YOU.   I CLEAR YOU.    I LOVE YOU


Prayer or Invocation

I always use a simple invocation before every reading, or healing. You can do the same thing. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out prayer it can be very simple. As I work with Spirit, I always ask for God and the angels to be with me. You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, but I will say asking your angels for help is one thing that you can do and the angels love helping you.

You can say something simple like:

“Thank you, angels for being with me while I write

Thank you, angels for helping me through this block

I call on all the Angels of Creativity to be with me today.”


About Judy Sweeney:

Psychic Medium, Reiki-Seichem Master & Spiritual Teacher

Judy is a well-known Psychic Medium and Workshop facilitator who is now in the beautiful and tranquil Tanilba Bay, Port Stephens.

With the move to Port Stephens she will be concentrating more on her Reading and Healing work with a focus on Light Language.

Skype and phone sessions are available for my overseas, interstate and distant clients, or if you just can’t get to me in person. Distances makes no difference to the quality of the session as everything is done with Spirit and your higher self.

With a quirky sense of humour and many years’ experience, including reading at festivals, the Mind Body Spirit, New Age Shops and her private rooms, you are guaranteed a high degree of accuracy, empathy, integrity and confidentiality.

Judy’s Website: https://www.lightworkerworkshops.com.au


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Balance Your Solar Plexus to Combat Imposter Syndrome

Turn highly sensitive characteristics into a power tool for your writing career.

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“I’m a fraud!”

“I’m not a good enough writer.”

“What am I thinking? No one will be interested in reading my work.”

Any of these self-deprecating mantras resonate with you?

Mantra. There’s a word. If you’re thinking it’s one that doesn’t quite gel with the negative connotation preceding it, then you’d be right. Words like ‘self-deprecating’. A quick squiz at Wikipedia will inform you that the word “mantra” denotes a sacred meaning, a numinous sound or utterance — ‘A group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers’.

No, I’m not delusional (yet!) nor am I messing around with your head. I’m not attempting to spin a dark twist on an ancient practice rooted in the divine, either, but I did choose the word ‘mantra’ for a reason.

Still uncertain about my intentions? Read on, skeptic creatives, as I attempt to dissect our self-sabotaging inner-demons and pave a way to eliminate those bad boys forever.

Imposter syndrome (IS) is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. In a nutshell, IS boils down to lack of self-belief and self-confidence. This upbeat, feel-good phenomenon isn’t just reserved for the creatives of the world. We’re not so special in that regard. It affects people in all walks of life. However, are you aware that creatives are almost always highly sensitive people who respond to the world in a more reactive way? Nuances like IS are always lingering beneath the surface, ready to pounce.

The nature of writing is an extremely personal practice. Through our words we purge our souls, bleed our hearts, drown in our experiences and flirt with our innermost fears and desires.

We draw on those cards; writers write about what obsesses them.

But finding the courage to go there doesn’t always equate with the fearlessness required when the time comes to share our gift with the world. For highly sensitive people, this is the moment when imposter syndrome strikes like an old relic you cannot shake.

You know what I’m saying. It’s that moment of truth. You’ve just spent countless hours banging on the keyboard and drinking endless cups coffee. You are a writer — committed to story and dedicated to producing your best work and all that entails as you’ve persevered through the long journey. You’ve plotted and outlined. You’ve developed and argued with your characters; you’ve spent more time procrastinating than you’ll admit, and there were times when you succumbed to resistance. Afterwards, you probably paid with a hefty side of guilt. You’ve gnawed, screamed and knuckled down. Then you’ve pushed through the creative blocks and rejoiced when those sweet, magical bouts of inspiration arrived to flow into your words.

Ah, the life of a writer — fascinating yet frustrating all at the same time. And rewarding, because all those hours accumulated to produce your baby, and now that you’ve cleaned, pampered and typed the last words on your preciousness, other people are going to read your work. People are going to judge your intellectual labor too. Cringe.

Brace yourself, dear writer, as you battle those rancid nerves and sometimes forget that you need to breathe. I’m not sure this feeling will ever completely subside but I can offer you a few tools to combat those inner brutes as well as provide suggestions for turning highly sensitive characteristics into a power tool for your writing career.

So, take a deep breath as we get into the guts of this article.

High Sensitivity is a Superpower

Science has confirmed the existence of high sensitivity (did we really need it validated?). In fact, research has showed about 20% of the population are highly sensitive by default. What I mean is that people don’t choose to respond to the world in a sensitive way, they just do.

Before you go brushing this trait away as a sign of weakness, think again. Studies reveal that highly sensitive people (HSP) are often intellectually gifted and are extremely empathetic creatures. They have a heightened sense of awareness too, with an uncanny ability to pick up on the emotions and vibes of those around them. Additionally, highly sensitive people are more likely to cultivate and trust their ability to become attuned and communicate with their higher-mind, AKA their inner-guidance system. Superpowers!

Being a highly sensitive person can mean pain. Quite literally. You may experience acute physical, mental or emotional responses to many situations. These triggers may be external or internal (damned those intrapersonal feedback loops!) While some people want to accredit high sensitivity to the shy at heart, this is not always the case. They can be introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between. However, the traits making you highly sensitive can also be a magical gift for being an amazing writer. Let’s look at how we can use sensitivity to enrich our creative writing.

Embrace your Super-Sensitive Qualities.

Observant

HSPs are aware of details. This characteristic is invaluable as a writer. Often, the small details in our stories can be overlooked or drowned in the bigger global story. Whether it’s story structure and plot or character development, paying attention to detail can provide the qualities and insights that will enable our manuscripts to shine.

Imagination

This mystical resource is critical to the success of every fiction writer. However, the best fiction taps into the minute details that brings characters and scenes to life.For example: An unexpected character thought, reaction, oddity or flaw; the paint flaking as a door opens; the slight limp in his swagger; the way her eyes glaze when she becomes whimsical. You get the drift. Without extreme sensitivity, these details might be impossible to capture.

Generosity

Writing is sharing information and giving to the world. This is particularly true for non-fiction writers. Our true intentions stretch beyond literal recognition or other desires. The act of being an author is generous. Non-fiction authors spend hours tapping into their most sensitive parts — downloading their brain, coordinating and cataloging their thoughts to produce their most useful information to benefit others.

Now that we’ve plunged into why imposter syndrome may be a prominent factor affecting writers and covered a few ways high sensitivity can positively impact our creative work, it’s time to break open the shell, reach within and circle back to those mantras. It’s time to explore the Solar Plexus, discover its key characteristics and how we can make the most of this powerful energy center.

The Solar Plexus is part of the sympathetic nervous system.

This complex system of radiating nerves and ganglia is found in the pit of the stomach. While it plays a vital role in the functioning of the stomach, kidneys, liver, and adrenal glands, this bunch of nerves is also responsible for anxiety symptoms.

That’s right; after the initial rush of excitement accompanying a book release, how often does that high suddenly fade into an internal slide into self-doubt and belief? If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then you’ll know it’s a bad case of imposter syndrome that’s making you feel like a walking scam.

Considering it is the Solar Plexus in our physical bodies that lies at the center of these discordant feelings, we’re going to push beyond the flesh, nerves and ganglia to explore this part of ourselves in a somewhat intangible sense. We’re going to get a little esoteric and discuss the Solar Plexus Chakra.

You’ve probably heard about the seven chakras that exist in our subtle etheric bodies. They are often referenced in the context of emotional healing or meditation. However, you may have found the concept confusing, or not quite figured out what place it might have in your life. But don’t fret, it’s not just the experts that can work with chakras; you can too.

The Solar Plexus Chakra is the third chakra. It is located just above your navel, resonating with the color yellow. This is the energy center associated with self-belief, self-worth, ego, courage, confidence, and personal power. It is vital for this energy center to be balanced so that we don’t experience negative emotional issues.

Let’s examine some of the main elements correlating with the third chakra before moving on to talk about a few alternative approaches we can take to ease our anxiety when it comes to those jarring feelings imposter syndrome can produce.

Key Meanings Associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra.

· Willpower and personal power

· Taking responsibility for one’s life, accepting self-control

· Mental abilities — the intellect

· Forming personal opinions and beliefs

· Making decisions, setting the direction

· Clarity of judgment

· Personal identity

· Personality

· Self-assurance, self-confidence

· Self-discipline

· Independence

Signs your Solar Plexus Chakra may be Imbalanced.

· Excessive control and authority over your environment and people

· Or the opposite in case of blocked energy: Feelings of helplessness.

· Being obsessed with minute details, seeing life through a filter of negativity which may cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture

· Being manipulative

· Misusing your power

· Lack of clear direction, purpose or ambition

· Self-sabotaging behavior and feelings

The Solar Plexus Chakra plays an important role in our self-confidence and self-worth. When this area is out of balance or blocked, we can experience feelings of depression or anxiety, lack of self-control and low self-esteem. These symptoms can also manifest physically and may include:

· Constipation

· Irritable bowel problems

· Reflux problems

· Binge eating

· Addiction

· Overweight or underweight issues

· Diabetes and stomach ulcers

As we move through life, it is important for us to maintain our health in all facets — mind, body and soul. Given the nature of our hyper-connected world, sometimes this can be a challenging state to achieve. If your personality leans toward the highly sensitive side, events like book releases can become overwhelming, particularly when facing deep-seated, self-worth issues fanned by the frenetic flames of imposter syndrome.

By focusing on clearing the Solar Plexus chakra, we can find balance in those moments when dissonance becomes a prominent emotion. Here are a few tools to get you back on track and back to the page.

Crystals for Third Chakra Balance.

Did you know that crystals vibrate with specific frequencies of color and light? There are many crystals and gemstones that help to balance and clear the Solar Plexus Chakra of blockages. Solar Plexus Chakra crystals include:

Citrine

Happiness and confidence, emits large amounts of positive energy. This crystal encourages you to maintain a positive state of mind to attract everything you want in life.

Pyrite

A crystal of positive energy. Helpful for negative thoughts fixed on misfortune and despair.

Yellow Calcite

Helps to increase your vitality and strength. It can give one new hope and a renewed sense of optimism.

Tiger Eye

Helps to release fears and anxieties. It is a great stone for giving courage and self-confidence. Particularly helpful for those who experience lack of self-worth.

Now that we’ve lined up a few crystals, you may be wondering how we’re going to use these gem-babies to help balance our energy center. I have two words for you — meditation and mantras. Yes, this is the part we turn those self-deprecating “mantras” into something positive. So, grab your crystals and let’s get started!

Meditation and Crystals for Third Chakra Balance.

Meditation is an extremely effective way to balance and clear your chakras. The following is an example of how to combine crystals with meditation and mantras when your Solar Plexus Chakra feels out of balance.

1. Hold your crystals in your non-dominant hand while sitting or place them on your body above the naval while lying down.

2. Inhale deeply and imagine a white light coming into the top of your head, allow the light to fill your entire body.

3. When you exhale, imagine any negative energy releasing from your body through your breath — consciously release any low energy vibes and stress.

4. Envision a golden ball of light below your naval spinning clockwise. Every time you inhale, imagine this light growing bigger and brighter. As you breathe out imagine all the blockages and negative energy leaving your being.

Mantras for Third Chakra Balance.

· I am a great writer

· Through my words, I have much to offer the world

· I can make a difference

· I believe in myself

· I am confident

· I am worthy of success, happiness, love (or insert desirable outcome here)

· I am grateful for the opportunities presented to me

· I am a creative writer

· I have the courage to keep going and conquer my fears

· I am everything I wish to bring forth

I’m certain you’ll agree these affirmations sound more like the sacred mantras Wikipedia told us about earlier, right? The greatest thing about practicing mantras is that you can offer yourself any positive outcome you desire. Your thoughts and words have power beyond the ones you release to the world in the form of your stories. They also form the essence of who you are, so choose them wisely.

Now that you’ve become more acquainted with imposter syndrome and high sensitivity and discovered ways to balance your all-powerful Solar Plexus Chakra, it’s worth remembering how important it is to practice self-care.

When you balance your Solar Plexus center, you will feel lighter and confident, and recognize your true potential. You are a creative being, here to spread love into the world through your words and creations. Keeping yourself balanced and cultivating your self-belief will not only improve your quality of life, but also reflect in your work.

Give it a shot sometime; what have you got to lose other than the demonic imposter syndrome?


Originally Published by The Ascent on Medium


Writing Through Disaster and Conflict

It is our emotions that are our greatest muse.

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Natural disasters. Terrorism. Racism. Human rights. Animal cruelty. Inequality.

The world won’t stop for you. Nature will always do its thing, and people … well, they will always be people. Personally, I am among the benevolent among humanity. There is not an inch of me that understands the unjust behaviors often displayed by mankind. I reject discrimination, hate and fear. I reject cruelty of all kinds — violence, malicious intent, inequality, intolerance, corruption and the mistreatment of animals. I renounce spite, resentment and narrow-mindedness.

Humanity is capable of deplorable acts and a merciless attitude. For those that feel deeply, live compassionately and with heart, these immoral behaviors can be extremely unsettling. I turn away from that which affects me negatively and focus on bringing positive and uplifting qualities into the world.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to ignore the ugly stuff. Sometimes, it hits close to home. So close, the option to ignore becomes impossible.

Other times, we are faced with issues and situations at the micro level; personal conditions involving love and relationships, responsibilities, an unseen event or financial concerns. Those are the ordeals we can’t pretend don’t exist. At least, not for very long. Those conditions are a part of life and are also the ones that grip our emotions and cause our bodies to react in some way as our nerves stretch to the very edge.

Stress. It affects us all at some point in varying degrees. Whether it is becoming disturbed about the horrible things affecting our world or our personal experiences, we have no choice but to learn how to cope with the twists and turns life throws at us. Professional writer or not, I believe writing has many benefits from the psychological standpoint. But as writers and creatives, it is through the written word that we find the perfect outlet to work through our emotions, as well as drive home our beliefs and visions for the world. Depending on where you want to take it.

We are complex creatures with many layers and depth. We view the world through the fluidity of our unique perspectives as we evolve, change and reach for new experiences. We are the flesh and blood; the tangible and malleable. Yet, we are also the esoteric and the mysterious; the light and the dark dwell within each of us. And it is our emotions that are our greatest muse.

Words are power

‘Everything begins with words — our stories, thoughts, messages. Each word has its own vibration too. It is these vibrations that create the reality that surrounds us. Words create more than just stories; they inform our universe, our lives and our reality — and they teach us. Through creating words, I have managed to reacquaint myself more fully with my soul and to live a more authentic, love-driven and passionate life.’

– From Creative Writing Energy

Exploring our feelings through writing — personal journals or storytelling — is extremely therapeutic. Some of these benefits include:

Finding clarity 

By expressing yourself and communicating complex ideas in a much more effective way, you can discover your true self and honor that part of you.

Eliminate stress 

Emptying your mind through writing helps to eliminate the stress hammering in your head. Capturing those moments, developing and working through your ideas produces a ripple effect; since not only do you declutter your mind, but it is also a process of rationalization.

Productivity

Writing activates neurons in your brain and gets you set to face the day. It is demonstrated that setting your goals or systems in writing significantly increases the possibilities of achieving them.

You will learn more 

About yourself, the world and others.

You will strengthen and cultivate your writing skills. You will find your voice.

You will gain awareness 

 If you write down what you have in mind regularly — your dreams, worries, fears, deepest desires — you will realize yourself.

So, now that we’ve explored some of the benefits of writing, let’s take a quick look at how we can use our emotions in our work to enrich our characters and stories.

Frustrated or angry

Use the rage to create story conflict. Inject the anger into your words and release the tension. You’ll find those pages to be edgy and fast, your characters a little narky or moody. Get gritty, dark, even profane. Burn your scenes with the crude and rude, twist the plot with vengeance in your heart and your readers will thank you.

Heartache 

Even better. Those words will capture depth and authenticity, pain and despair. Use the turbulent heart to stain your words with grief, bitterness and agony. Your characters are now real, complicated and imperfect. Your plot may be a little dangerous, shady or inspirational. Whatever feeling you’re attempting to convey, it will be sure to bring your readers to their knees as they resonate with your energy.

Happy-go-lucky 

Humor brings joy to the world and to your readers. Allow your happiness to bounce into your words and fill the pages with positivity and feelgood vibes. Surge ahead and spread the happy!

Love 

Alchemy and deep treasures abound through words of love. There is nothing more sacred in the world. By allowing your love to infect your story, you become an instrument of the highest order. The greatest mystery; the pinnacle of life — love. Deep love. It doesn’t get more real than this. The world cannot get enough of this stuff. Neither can your readers.

Despair and Gloom 

The heartbeat of your story; the why, how and where. The all-is-lost moment — vanished goals, mammoth obstacles, impossible situations — build the conflict for your characters and make your story matter. There is a time for everything; a time for tears and expressing the darkness; a time to mourn and wallow in pain. It is through pain that we learn our greatest lessons; through pain that we are reminded we’re still alive. Lend your characters the gift of pain and feel your own lighten in return.

Whether we’re reacting to widespread chaos, disasters or events in the greater world or the experiences we endure in our own worlds, writing is an exceptional tool to use to navigate those rocky waters and glorious peaks life offers us. So, the next time you are feeling a strong emotion, go ahead and get into your writing and see where it takes you.

Our stories can uplift the world one reader at a time. The world needs your emotionally driven words now more than ever. The world needs your love and emotion in all its forms.


Mindfulness; as Sexy as Meditation by Catherine Evans

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“Be where you are otherwise you will miss your life.” – Buddha

I’ve known about mindfulness and I thought I did okay at it. I live in the present moment and I try to enjoy things with a child-like glee—or so I thought. Then I heard and saw someone who excelled at it … and it blew my mind.

I’m emotional and sometimes feelings swamp me – negative and positive emotions. When this happens, my mind goes at a crazy rate of knots. Memories flood in taking me back to similar circumstances and events. I might then get multiple scenarios of what if as I play out a heap of options in my head. I go beyond my reactions and circumstances to include those of other people involved. I may project into the future and imagine what a changed life might be like, what else may now happen, and how things might work out for everyone involved. Amid the crazy, swirling emotions and rampaging thoughts, I try to survive whatever event it may be with dignity. Ha! I always end up overwhelmed and dignity flies out the window.

I thought this was normal, so imagine my surprise when my favorite sportsperson (I’m a sports tragic) was going through massive emotional circumstances—leaving the club he’d always played for, moving cities, getting married, and preparing for a grand final—instead of being overwhelmed, he focused his thoughts on the task at hand, whether that was packing a box, answering a question, or training.

Mindfulness in practice.

His composure made me realize how much I sucked at it. I had none of that mind control. I was struggling as I imagined what he was going through. There was no way I could focus on one task and not think about the future. Besides, as I did a task, I’d be wondering if it was the last time that I would ever do that and how I felt about that, would I miss it, would others miss me, etc.

I went out and bought Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the present moment – and your life. I devoured it, learning many tools and techniques I had missed. There has been a lot of improvement but I’m nowhere near the skill level of my sporting hero. I can attend events where I would have been overwhelmed in the past, such as at a funeral. I now stop imagining everyone’s life changing, stop imagining their sorrow, stop wondering how life will turn out, and stop pulling every memory of previous funerals and grief. I simply allow myself to feel my emotion in that moment.

This mindset makes a big difference to my writing. I focus on writing my story and doing the best I can, today, for these characters. I don’t compare them with previous characters. I don’t compare my writing today with yesterday, last month, last year. There’s no projecting into the future, wondering if my publisher or readers will like my story. I keep my mind in the present moment, and the scene, or sentence, I’m writing.

Of course, I fail often. My mind wonders and wanders constantly, and that’s okay because I notice it now and I know how to breathe and call my attention back to this moment. I like to talk to myself, mostly silently, so I might say, “Hey, don’t stress about what your publisher’s going to think; you’ve got to get the damn thing written first so let’s focus on that now.” And my mind laughs and focuses. If I’m lucky, I get lost in the writing and I’m totally nailing mindfulness.

For complete transparency, yes, I’m embarrassed that I’ve spent a chunk of my life not knowing how to control my own brain. I support an Aussie program that’s trying to get mindfulness taught in all schools, so kids can learn these simple techniques to help them in life. I believe it’s that valuable.

Mindfulness is about much more than helping with creativity. It assists with everyday life and helps me to navigate the stresses of living without getting completely frazzled and lost in looping memories and projections. If you’re interested in the technique, there are heaps of apps that help by reminding you to be mindful.


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Creative Writing Energy: Tools to Access Your Higher-Creative Mind will give you a range of alternative methods and ideas that you can use to access your higher-creative mind. That part of yourself that remains hidden and unexplored, and brimming with story ideas and characters you have yet to meet. Muse or no muse.

Available Now!

Mindfulness is Stone Cold Sexy

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“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mostly, I have always had a positive outlook toward life. I’ve always believed at my core that everything would work out for me – like an inbuilt faith mechanism. Do you know what I mean? I think we’re all born with this inner knowledge to some degree. Think about it – it’s an innate survival instinct to believe that no matter what happens, we’ll be okay. It’s as if we’re aware that something greater than ourselves is watching over us, guiding us through our darkest moments.

Maybe it’s a kickback from the realm in which we originate. Maybe the “Creative Source” or some angelic being working for the Source sprinkled us with golden dust before sending us off to dwell in human form. But not before serving us with a big dollop of amnesia.

Yeah, some hallowed being with crooked fingers and a cheesy smile dusted us and said, “Go forth, greenhorn; descend into the Earth and live your life with no recollection of your true self. That to rediscover who you really are, you will know joy and love, but you must also experience pain and suffering – but try not to worry too much because even though you cannot see or remember us, we’ve got your back. You’ll be okay.”

Sound like a viable scenario? That we were sent off from our divine origins dusted with amnesia and a side of faith? 

Go on – roll your eyes and label me crazy, but it won’t take away the pain and suffering that we all experience throughout our lifetime. Years ago, I fell into a deep depression that I struggled to escape. I had experienced bouts of the blues before when life seemed to get the better of me, but I was usually able to turn those burdensome feelings around and fight my way back to a better-feeling place. This time was different though.

The black dog gripped me during a time when I was raising my three children on my own. Something had happened that triggered me to spiral into a dark abyss. Every morning I’d awake, force myself out of bed and get the kids off to school, feeling utterly exhausted and devoid of energy by the time I arrived back home. Then, I’d curl up on the lounge and stay there for most of the day. I remember thinking that I’d never cried as much as during that time, and when I wasn’t crying, I was numb. 

This went on for a few weeks before I was able to step away from myself long enough to have a good look at what was happening. I was self-aware enough to know the power of thought, and that the process to feeling better meant I had to adjust my thoughts accordingly. One better thought at a time would supply the ladder I needed to climb from the depths of depression encapsulating me. Yet, I was so far down that it was nearly impossible to create and hold onto positive thoughts and feelings for any length of time. I knew then that I needed help.

I arranged to see a psychologist. I dropped my children off at a friend’s place before attending these sessions once a week during the evening. I can’t recall her name or how she looked but I’ll never forget how she was able to help me see my situation in a different light. I’ll always remember how she reminded me of the importance of mindfulness.  

“Wherever you go, there you are.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

She taught me how to train my mind on the present – that in any given moment to shift my attention to whatever I was doing and focus on that task and notice the simplicity of my actions. For example, if I was washing the dishes, I was to focus on the dishes and nothing else. She asked me to only think about washing the dishes – the warmth of the water; the way the glassware squeaked beneath the suds; the cleaning process.

Simple. Effective.

Those six sessions with the psychologist were enough to pull me from the depression shrouding my life. I learned that it was fruitless to fret about things beyond my control. I couldn’t change the way others behaved, but I had the power to alter my own perceptions and reactions. She gave me the tools to curb my own thoughts from dwelling over a past that was haunting me, by bringing my attention to the present and focusing on now. Even through washing the dishes. Most of all, I learned how to appreciate the moments as they arrived – moments that I will never have again.

That is the point of being mindful. When we train our mind to be in the present moment, we free ourselves to make better choices. We can focus. We can dream. We can reach further into our higher-creative minds because we’ve allowed that space to breathe through the simple act of being present in the moment.

“The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” – Tara Brach

I have encountered rough times since. I’ve struggled with personal matters through writing projects. It is when I can recall those simple instructions given to me long ago that I tame any urges to mull over and mourn past events or worry about a future that I’ve yet to experience. If every minute is unrepeatable, then every minute must be a miracle. By anchoring yourself in the present, you give yourself permission to fully experience your life as it unfolds. The more you practice this, the more you are filled with gratitude and appreciation. In turn, it is those unbridled feelings of gratitude that pave the way into dissolving the invisible barriers to your higher-creative mind. I love the way Wayne Dyer explained this concept when he stated, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

It’s so very true.

A Moment to Ponder Mindfulness:

Idowu Koyenikan said, “The mind is just like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.”

  • Considering your daily “thinking” habits, consider the above quote and techniques that you can use to strengthen your mind for expansion. Are there current situations in your life that could use a little mental tweaking?
  • Can you think of a circumstance that may require a change of thinking on your part?  

creative paperback book mockup

Creative Writing Energy: Tools to Access Your Higher-Creative Mind will give you a range of alternative methods and ideas that you can use to access your higher-creative mind. That part of yourself that remains hidden and unexplored, and brimming with story ideas and characters you have yet to meet. Muse or no muse.

Available Now!