Mon. Feb. 11, 2019: Abstract Love vs. Specific Love #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, February 11, 2019
Waxing Moon

The theme for Upbeat Authors this month is love. This week, I’m going to share one of the struggles I have between abstract love vs. specific love.

What, exactly, do I mean by “abstract” love?

What I mean is all that “love for humanity” we’re supposed to have. I struggle with that.

I like individuals. As an introvert, I’m not all that fond of “people.”

I believe on treating people and regarding them with a basic level of human decency and respect, until they prove they don’t deserve it.

I love my family, my friends, particular colleagues with whom I’ve formed close relationships, differently from each other, as we discussed last week.

But I struggle with a basic love for humanity.

I’m too much of a cynic for that. I used to be a romantic wrapped in a shell of cynicism, but the older I get, the more the cynicism is real.

Part of yoga practice is that we are all just fine where we are, in this moment. That doesn’t mean we don’t or shouldn’t strive to do or be better. But it means we are “enough” in this moment. This is where we are; this is where we start. We build from here.

Also part of many practices that work in tandem with yoga, especially devotional yoga, are ways to cultivate a love of humanity.

One of those is the Loving Kindness meditation. There are several versions of this, but the one I use most often is below, with different, specific focuses each time I repeat it. Turning the abstract into the specific, and working from the self into the larger world, I find, is helpful. It strips away the cynicism, even for a moment.

You start with yourself, saying,
“May I be happy;
May I be well;
May I be prosperous;
May I be at peace.”

The second time around, you replace “I” with a specific “you.” This “you” is someone for whom you have fondness, affection, or love:
“May you be happy;
May you be well;
May you be prosperous;
May you be at peace.”

The third time, it’s still “you” — but this time the “you” is someone with whom you have a fractious relationship, in the hopes of cultivating a smoother road for both of you. This can be challenging, especially in the early days. I hold that same difficult “you” in the chant for a period of days or weeks until I feel less resentful of wishing them well in the first place.

The fourth time, it’s “we.” This can mean a specific group – family, work colleagues, meditation group. I usually set it to mean my circle of family, friends, neighbors, contacts.
“May we be happy;
May we be well;
May we be prosperous;
May we be at peace.”

The fifth and final time, it’s “all.” This gets into the bigger abstract I’ve been talking about, about all humanity, or, if you want o go even further, all living beings:
“May all be happy;
May all be well;
May all be prosperous;
May all be at peace.”

If you start dissecting it and saying it’s not logical for everyone to be all those four things (which is tempting), you’re missing the point for the moment of mantra. It’s a wish to work toward that. It’s also a way to get out of poverty consciousness, feeling there will never be enough (which is what governments and corporations want you to feel, so they can take even more), and work toward prosperity in mind and tangible things.

Our minds are our most powerful tools. The Loving Kindness meditation reminds us of this.

I often say it for a few months every night before I go to bed, then give myself a break for a few weeks. I find it particularly effective when Mercury is retrograde, and everything seems to be all over the place.

It’s a way to build from specific to more abstract, so by the time you get to “all” — the all feels specific.

This is one of the tools that works for me as I work on myself and my relationship to the world, especially in these tumultuous times. I’m sharing it, because it might help you, too.

I wish you happiness, health, prosperity, and peace.

 

Published in: on February 11, 2019 at 5:52 am  Comments Off on Mon. Feb. 11, 2019: Abstract Love vs. Specific Love #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights

Friday, February 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and mild

Yesterday’s meeting went well in some respects, but gave me a lot of to think about. There are facets to weigh, positives, negatives, possibilities.

My head says one thing, my heart another, my gut a third.

So we’ll see.

I read Barbara Ross’s STEAMED OPEN, which was a lot of fun. I like that series a lot, and she mentions Wiscasset, one of my favorite places in Maine.

I’m pretty sure I’m off track with the radio play, so I have to rip apart the second half and fix it.

Working on the book I have to review. Sending out a bunch of LOIs. Working on contest entries this weekend, along with the monologues, the radio play, and the novels.

I feel discouraged on several fronts, like there are obstacles pushing me in a direction I’m not sure I want to go. But I can’t stay where i am, either. There has to be movement. But perhaps it’s in a direction I haven’t yet explored.

So this weekend will also contain a lot of reflection.

And planting. There are seeds that need planting!

And writing.

And reading.

Have a good one.

Published in: on February 8, 2019 at 9:50 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 8, 2019: Thoughts, Decisions, Weights  
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Thurs. Feb. 7, 2019: No Need to Rant About Some Things, Need to Rant About Others

Thursday, February 7,2019
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cool

I’m scheduling this to post because I have meetings all morning and don’t know when I’ll get online.

I’m getting frustrated with A2 hosting. I have to be able to access my websites from different computers in different locations, as I need to. They keep refusing me access to my account, because they don’t recognize the IP address. My log-in information should be enough. If this situation isn’t resolved, I’ll be host-hunting again. I’m very happy with the way WordPress works on the host, but if I can’t access my sites when and where I need to, we have a problem.

They have no problem allowing my sites to be hacked; just with letting me get into the sites for which I pay. That has to change.

Still fighting with Fed Ex on behalf of my client. Fed Ex customer service refuses to deal with the problem and just keeps passing me and another colleague around and around and around. So I complained to the executive office in TN. Let’s see if anyone there gives a damn.

Otherwise, work on site was fine yesterday.

I think I may have taken a wrong turn in the ghost story radio play. I think I’ve gone too dark (it’s a comedy). It’s not really Ha-ha-ow anymore. It’s taken a turn. I’ll finish the draft, and then see if I need to completely rewrite the second half.

I wrote a rant about something that really bothers me, writer-wise. Then, I realized that the people behind it don’t actually matter in my day-to-day life. Writing the rant made me feel better. There’s no need to post it. I can now move on and shrug off the idiots.

I’m tired, with a blaring headache due to the incoming storm. I’m going to experiment with some new makeup before tomorrow’s client meetings — can’t be experimenting right before I leave and THEN discover it doesn’t work!

Think good thoughts for my meetings today. There’s a lot that has to shift in the coming months, and I’m not yet sure what’s going to wind up where.

But it will all work out for the best in the end.

Published in: on February 7, 2019 at 6:26 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 7, 2019: No Need to Rant About Some Things, Need to Rant About Others  
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Wed. Feb. 6, 2019: Working Through the Tired

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Lunar New Year — Year of the Pig Begins — Yesterday, the 5th

I forgot to mention yesterday that it was Lunar New Year. The Year of the Pig began. Let’s hope it’s a good one!

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for a post on what your client wants.

I woke up at 3AM on Tuesday morning — not fun. Couldn’t get back to sleep, and had to get up at 5 anyway. I had to go in early for a client, to get some work out of the way and wait for an incoming shipment.

Let’s just say Tuesday was busy and full of challenges, and leave it at that.

On top of that, my health insurance is screwed up for both last year and this year. I am NOT paying a penalty because THEY screwed up. It’s time to get Elizabeth Warren and Maura Healey involved. Don’t ever let anyone tell you MA is a beacon in healthcare and insurance. It’s all crap.

Found a bunch of comments on the blog going way back into last year to which I’d never responded. My deepest apologies. Some of them were spam – others I caught up on. This is the first time they showed up. I try to stay on top of responding to comments.

Onsite with the client was okay. The shipment for which I was waiting never arrived – it’s stuck in Alaska, and FedEx, as usual, was useless. I was bounced around for THREE HOURS, both on phone and live chat, because NOT A SINGLE REPRESENTATIVE wanted to deal with the issue. Which I had been told yesterday, but a different “support” person had been dealt with.

Yes, you don’t have to point out that me, the writer, being there to accept the shipment was a courtesy, and not my job as the writer.

I’m back on site today, and expecting it to be challenging. As the next few weeks will be challenging.

Meanwhile, I’m working on the radio plays and the novels and the book which I have to review.

I was so exhausted by early afternoon yesterday, I noticed it affected my driving. I should have gone grocery shopping, but I just couldn’t face people in the store.

I need to sort through my seeds and start planting in the next few days. The eggplant, leeks, and scallions will go in soon! I’ll start them inside.

A Twitter pal noticed his interactions have dropped down and some of his followers have fallen away. He has a HUGE following. My following/follower ratio is both smaller and pretty close in numbers. Yes, I’d love a huge audience for my books; however I also feel more comfortable with a more manageable number, and growing the list slowly and steadily, so I can handle it. But that’s me- -he’s great with a huge following. Anyway, I don’t think he has to worry about anything – I think we’ve all got the Februaries, and we’re just damn tired.

Of course, now that I’m trying to move my second domain from 1&1 to Name Silo, it’s more complicated. And when I move the third, it will be even more so. But, sooner or later, I will be free of 1&1 and safe with Name Silo. It will be a relief.

Let’s hope I get some rest – tomorrow will be busy!

 

Published in: on February 6, 2019 at 5:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 6, 2019: Working Through the Tired  
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Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way

Tuesday, February 5, 2018
Waxing Moon

The weather is milder, thank goodness. Some rain expected mid-week, but if it then clears up, I’ll be in the yard doing yard work next weekend. The squirrels are very happy with the massive amount of acorns that fell last fall, but I still have lots of leaves to rake.

The weekend was fine. It was cold and sunny. I didn’t do much. I gave myself some time off to recharge.

Got a little bit of work done on the radio play; I have two possible endings, and I have to figure out which one is funnier; I might have to rewrite the first half and introduce another character, but I’d rather not.

Did some work on the Gambit Colony books. They’re pulling at me, although I really have no time for them right now.

Read — finished Michelle Obama’s beautiful autobiography, BECOMING. Went through some research books for various projects. And finally read Theodora Goss’s THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER. I’d read TRAVEL FOR THE EUROPEAN GENTLEWOMAN, the second book in the series, first. Love them both.

Found the Super Bowl dull. I should be all in with the New England Patriots, since they’re the home state team, but their owner’s friendship with the Narcissistic Sociopath has dimmed that for me. Of course, the owner of the Rams is also a supporter, so neither team was really an option for me.

But, the Patriots pulled it out again, as they usually do. I’m surprised by how many people hate them because they’re a good team and get the job done. I respect Tom Brady’s work, although I’m not a particular fan (for numerous reasons), and I’m glad he rubbed it in the faces of all those that said he was washed up.

The Half time show was awful. Went back to doing other things rather than put myself through that. Really, at this stage in the process, the organizers should know better.

Some of the trash talking comments I saw on social media, even by people I usually respect, made me rethink how much regard to actually have for said individuals. Like what you like, don’t like what you don’t like. Don’t trash stuff other people like when it doesn’t cause harm. And don’t trash talk professionals who can do what you can’t. I don’t like football, but I respect good players and good teams on a professional level. When I see people whose only form of exercise is lifting their beers trash talk pros, I lose respect for them. If you disagree with something an individual does, or the league does, or whatever, state your case and put your money elsewhere. But demeaning people who had the guts to achieve their dreams and are good at their chosen professions — all that does is show what trash the speaker is.

Artists and athletes get that kind of derision all the time from people who don’t have the talent or the guts or the commitment to follow their own dreams and turn them into reality. And those people can fuck right off.

Up early on Monday, for the usual routine. I think I might have to start getting up at 5:30 again soon, not 6. Decent first writing session.

Worked with a client. Stressful time. Picked up a prescription for my mother. More stress, that particular pharmacy is always having a problem with something. Very poorly managed.Headed to the library for some other work. Then to the much-needed meditation group.

In the evening, I worked on the book I have to review.

Today, I’m with a client, and then off to the library to do some work, then work on the review.

Once I get in my words for the day, of course.

Published in: on February 5, 2019 at 6:49 am  Comments Off on Tues. Feb. 5, 2019: Going Every Which Way  
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Mon. Feb. 4: Defining What Love Means to You (and Your Characters) #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, February 4, 2019
New Moon

We throw around the word “love” in relation to items or people with which we barely have a relationship. So what does “love” mean to you?

It’s going to mean something different to different people. There are also different types of love: I love my friends differently than I love my cats than I love my writing than I love my family than I love my romantic partner. Yes, they all fit into the “love” category, but the sensations are different and the ways I bring different types of love out into the world are different.

Having a basic “love for humanity” is different than a love relationship with an individual (at least to me).

For me, love is about a deep, layered connection that manifests differently in different situations. It means putting the other first where appropriate (unless it becomes unhealthy, in which case one can’t use “love” as the excuse to remain in a toxic situation).

To me, it does not mean martyring myself to gain control over someone else.

I do love my writing. It expands me, fulfills me, gives me a reason to keep going every day. It is how I understand the world, how I make sense of it. Through stories, characters, words.

I love my friends. I value them, I treasure them. I am willing to go the extra mile for them on multiple levels. I trust them with tender emotions, and I keep confidences and remain loyal — even during rough periods when others flee because of what strangers “think.” My friends and I have history and shared experience. Especially friends I’ve made on shows — anyone not on that particular production will have different frames of reference.

I value and cherish the friends I make online, but if I don’t have actual life experience with them, “love” (for me) is an inappropriate word. There are people that I interact with online daily or almost daily. But I’ve never met them; even if we share confidences, it’s different than sitting across the table from each other, or visiting a museum together or working on a project together. I feel affection and warmth and want to protect them and help them — but I’m doing a disservice if I call it “love.” For me, I have to have the tangible factor as well as the emotional factor.

“Falling in love” for me, has multiple facets. It’s the attraction and the excitement and the warmth and the laughter and the companionship and the sex — but there also has to be a sense of building, of being able to make a journey together, of giving each other emotional and physical breathing room. If it doesn’t grow in multiple directions, if it’s not an ever-changing, growing sense of layered commitments and interactions — not going to work. I’ve never been willing to settle for long — and the older I get, the less I’m willing to settle at all. My definition of partnership is very different than many other people’s. It’s not a judgment on them and their needs, because it’s about their lives. While I am willing to compromise on certain things, I am no willing to capitulate on others. I learned, the hard way, that it is far lonelier to be with the wrong person than to be alone.

Besides, as I writer, I need a lot of solitude. I can’t be with someone who is all over the place, needs constant stimulation and noise.

Our needs and desires change over the course of a life. We have to be aware of them, in tune with them, and honest about them. We have to strike the balance between self-care (which just happens to be last month’s topic) and martyrdom.

That sounds like I believe in order to write fully-rounded characters, we need to have hit a point of self-enlightenment most of us only dream about.

What’s great about creating characters and stories and situations is that we can experience how a variety of individuals define love, define partnership, become self-aware. They are not us; they are themselves, when we do our jobs properly. But we inhabit them while we write them, so for that period of time, we are them, and we can experience the world through their eyes and hearts.

That can help us define and decide what we want and need in our own lives.

We live vicariously through our fictional characters in early drafts of the books. Then we step back and meld the craft with the art and the emotion.

As human beings, we take what we learn from the creative process, and apply what works for us in our lives, and step out of the characters who are unhealthy.

It’s one of the reasons I love being a writer; I can live many lives, and yet still maintain a core integrity. I can also learn from other writers’ works, see worlds and experience lives through their characters eyes and souls, and come away as a better person. There’s an intimacy in reading that is very different from WATCHING a production. Reading is more internal; it touches the soul – and the heart – in a different way.

Great art (in any discipline) makes it possible for me to love more and love better.

This is why what we do is so important. Why the love we feel and bring to our creative process and then share with the audience is so vital to the overall well-being of humanity.

Our love matters.

 

Published in: on February 4, 2019 at 6:31 am  Comments (2)  
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Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend

Friday, February 01, 2019
Waning Moon
Sunny and cold

Yesterday wound up being one of the most quietly happy days I’ve had in a long time.

Hop on over to the GDR site to check out my February To-Do list. Which will need adjustments, because some things are happening that will recalibrate the rest of my year. It’s all good, but will need flexibility on my part to make it work.

I had a good phone meeting with a potential client this morning, and we will meet in person next week.

The radio play split into the 2-part version and the short play to fill the remaining time in that second slot went out yesterday, along with another requested radio play.

I set up nearly a month’s worth of marketing posts for my books on Twuffer; however, they don’t seem to be posting. (Note: I fixed it; time zone issue. Phew)

In the afternoon, I drafted half of the new comic ghost story radio play. It’s a lot of fun, and, as with the other comedies, a little silly. But that’s part of what makes it work. I hope to finish the draft this weekend, let it sit, and revise next week, so it can go out the following week.

As soon as that draft is done, I dive right into the straw hat theatre comedy.

WHILE I’m juggling the novel revisions and working on the monologues and working on the first act of the anti-gun violence play AND research for the Venetian play and the two women writers play.

So it’s busy. But the right kind of busy, which makes me happy.

It’s supposed to get warmer this weekend. First planting should be tomorrow – my seeds haven’t arrived yet, so I’ll have to find something to plant.

Imbolc tomorrow – I’m looking forward to it.

I want to have a happy weekend of reading and writing, because the next few weeks will be very, very busy.

Have a lovely weekend!

Published in: on February 1, 2019 at 11:09 am  Comments Off on Friday, February 1, 2019: Preparing for a Happy Weekend  
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