Mon. May 13, 2019: Inner Peace – Detachment #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, May 13, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

I promised you a post about detachment and inner peace, so I’m delivering.

One of the frustrating aspects of studying meditation and different paths is when the instructors and meditators talk about the need for “detachment.” Or, sometimes, it’s phrased as “non-attachment.”

I don’t believe that artists can approach the world with detachment. Our work doesn’t resonate unless it’s passionate. Unless it’s created with passion and life and juice and emotion.

So when these instructors talk about living a life of “non-attachment,” I admit I want to smack them upside the head with the Frying Pan of Creation.

I think one of the reasons we’re in a societal and humanitarian crisis, locally and globally, is because we’ve removed the humanity from interaction. Computers make arbitrary decisions on hiring, firing, insurance claims, bank loans. Employees hide behind “company policy” in order to get away with debasing and harming their fellow humans.

That’s what “non-attachment” encourages. Yes, whenever I bring that up in a class or a session, I get a lecture filled with psycho-babble terms claiming that’s not what “detachment” or “non-attachment” mean at all. But look at how it’s actually practiced. Look at what happens when we detach from each other as human beings. De-humanization, which leads to the classification of those inconvenient “others” that leads to the fascism and authoritarianism we currently face. To sit on our mats chanting “non-attachment” or to put our hands over our ears and sing, “la-la-la, I don’t do politics” — if we want to stay alive and to have a world in which our children can live, that is not an option.

Especially for artists.

Artists have the capacity, and, more importantly, the responsibility to change the world. While entertaining. Those are not mutually exclusive. The best art entertains AND informs. Art can be lighthearted and fun and brain candy and still relevant. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s too relevant and so heavy-handed that it shuts the audience down instead of opening them up. That’s where craft is necessary.

Artists can build buffers between themselves and many of the demands of daily life because they need a type of sacred space to create. At the same time, daily life keeps artists connected. Things like cooking and doing laundry soothe me and give me a chance to clear my head. Physical tasks balance mental tasks. But artists cannot and should not detach from passion, emotion, complexity, and a wide range of experience, or their art will become soulless.

At the same time, once the first flush of creation is done, be it the first draft or a rendering or whatever form, the artist DOES have to step back, take a breath. Take a break, so that it can be approached and improved from the point of view as though someone else created it.

Finishing your draft and starting edits an minute later, an hour later, even a day later — you don’t have the distance and objectivity to see what doesn’t work. You need to detach from the first flush of creation in order to layer in craft and make it the best it can be. You practice “non-attachment” to every word in the draft, but you are not detached from the craft in the creative process that allows it to engage and enchant your audience. You do not detach from the meld of art and craft that allows an audience to experience something new to them. To change their frame of reference. To see the world through different eyes.

What do you is shift your perspective in order to elevate your creation to the next level. Cut out what doesn’t work. Polish what does. That takes investment, commitment, and a different type of passion.

You detach from the belief that every word in a draft is inviolate and can’t be improved. But you are committed to making the draft better. And the next one even more so.

You balance the frenzy with creation with the steady progress of craft. So that when you release it into the world, it has the ability to fly.

Every person who interacts will do so from their own frame of reference. There will be as many gradations of response as there are individuals who interact with it. That’s beautiful.

But it comes from a deep sense of connection to the world, not detachment.

I detach from toxic individuals and situations. Not everyone wishes us well. A bad review? Sure, it hurts. It’s disappointing. At the same time, ask yourself, “Who is this person in my life? Why should this opinion matter beyond this moment?” Sometimes, it will. Other times, it is a single opinion that can give you information, but don’t let it bully you.

There are books or articles I read that don’t work for me. There are situations when it is my job to state what doesn’t work and why. I don’t wish to harm the individual, and my opinion is a single opinion. It may matter to some people — to people who trust my recommendations or the publication in which they appear. It won’t matter to plenty of others. I try to be specific. I try not to be cruel. I focus on the work.

There’s a wide variety of art and literature, for a wide variety of tastes. We like what we like. Hopefully, we’re receptive enough to explore outside our comfort zones. Sometimes, it will open new directions for us; other times, it’s not for us. We can find something unsuitable without attacking those who enjoy it (provided it doesn’t cause harm, danger, or abuse to others).

There are plenty of pleasures other people like that I don’t. But I can still enjoy their enjoyment. Their enthusiasm makes me smile. I’m happy they found something that makes them happy, even if I don’t share in the experience.

Because we are not detached. We are connected. That doesn’t mean we deny ourselves solitude or quiet when we need it. We can be connected within our stillness. In my weekly meditation group, we are all within ourselves, yet connected by sharing the experience of quiet and focus. In my daily meditations, I am alone, yet often feel more connected to others than I do going about my day. Strengthening those connections, rather than isolating ourselves further, makes a huge difference.

I don’t find inner peace by an ambiguous “detachment” or “non-attachment.” I detach from specifics at specific times, and work on my deeper connections. Because that is what feeds my passion, and, ultimately, my art.

 

Fri. May 10, 2019: Exhaustion

Friday, May 10, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I’ll be asking you to share the Go Fund Me Link for a few more days. I appreciate everything.

Pitched to an editor with whom I’ve worked before; she’s interested in the pitch and will get back to me in a couple of weeks. It wouldn’t pay out until next fall, but at least I’d know it was coming in.

Got out a couple of LOIs. Worked on an article; worked on a couple more pitches that will go out in the next few days.

Mowed the front lawn. Although I didn’t enjoy it, it didn’t take long, and it was much easier with the push mower than with the gas mower. Not to mention the lawn looks much better, too.

Phase One of the car repair is done. I can’t wait very long to get Phase Two done — the next big chunk of it — and I can’t drive very far until it is done. But at least I can get around locally, provided I’m careful, avoiding bumps and potholes. Poor little car. I’m very attached to this car. Not just because I need it to survive out here, but because it’s the car I always wanted.

Got some reading and writing done. I’m behind where I’d like to be on GRAVE REACH, because my focus has to be on short-turn-around, quick-paying pieces. And the money that was marked for any other bills and book marketing and garden and anything else for the next few months all has to go to the car. Thank goodness we could do the repairs in phases.

Still, not having enough of a cushion to cover the repairs makes me feel like a failure.

Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY, which is a good stress reliever. Worked out the outline for the short play I have to draft this weekend. Still struggling with a couple of scenes in “Intrigue of the Aurora Nightingale” — but I need to get them done so that play can go out next week.

“Light Between the Eyes” should start recording in MN today. I hope it goes well.

I’m still waiting for a couple of checks on other gigs I’ve completed. Let’s hope they come sooner rather than later. Every dollar matters right now.

The anti-abortion bill in Georgia is appalling. How any rational human being in the twenty-first century could legislate that is beyond me. But, of course, it has nothing to do with rationality. It has to do with religious extremism and controlling women’s bodies.

The state of the world is overwhelming right now.

Have a good weekend. I’m going to try to dig down and write, and hopefully get some rest. I went to bed ridiculously early, and woke up late this morning, still feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I’m spending a few hours on site with a client this morning, and then stopping for groceries on the way home and, hopefully, being able to get some rest.

 

Published in: on May 10, 2019 at 9:08 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 10, 2019: Exhaustion  
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Thursday, May 9, 2019: Phases of Stress

Thursday, May 09, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Well, I just feel beat up six ways from Sunday.

If you get a chance, I’d appreciate if you could share my Go Fund Me link for the car repair.

With no car, and public transportation less than wonderful in this area, I switched around my day on site with a client. I’ll go in tomorrow instead. I walked down to the library (only about a mile and a third); it was a pleasant day, I didn’t mind.

Got some work done there. One of the volunteers was kind enough to drive me home when she left (and it meant I could take home the heavy books that came in).

I brought out some of the big pots onto the deck and did some pruning. I should have done more, but I was exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Got a pitch out to a high-paying consumer magazine. Got out a couple of other pitches and LOIs.

Trying not to let the stress of the situation incapacitate me, because that won’t solve anything.

Cooked a lovely dinner of chicken in garlic and wine, served with mashed potatoes and spinach. A friend gave me an amazing bottle of Blood Orange Rose – one of the best wines I’ve ever drunk.

Up early this morning. Got some good work in on ELLA BY THE BAY, and will put in some work on GRAVE REACH later today.

The driver was over an hour late to pick me up, but I got there. Phase One of the car repair is done. I can drive it short distances, but I have to be careful on construction, bad roads, etc., until Phase Two is done. Then, there will be Phase Three and Four, but at least we’ve broken up the repairs over time. And I can get to my local client, although I can’t visit any long distance clients or go over the bridge until it’s all done.

Getting out a couple more pitches this morning. I’ll have to mow the front yard this afternoon (it’s supposed to rain tomorrow). I’m onsite with my client tomorrow for a few hours, then have a lot of local errands to run. Saturday I’ll have to take the garbage to the dump; we’re at capacity.

I have a book to read for review, and I also want to do a push on finishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and the first draft of a short play that’s due in NYC at the end of the month. I’m trying to pick up some extra one-and-done high-paying assignments.

I can’t go away for Memorial Day, but I’m going to take some time off and decompress. Memorial Day isn’t that far away!

Sent in the winners and finalists on the contest; invoiced today.

The worst part of this experience is it makes me feel worthless as a human being. I realize that most people don’t have a spare $2300 sitting around, and it’s not unusual to be panicked by something like this. But it still makes me feel like a failure.

That ridiculous USA today article that accused “most people” of “typically” spending $1800 month “they don’t need” – by the way, lunch and personal grooming was included in that – enraged me.

First of all, I don’t know many people who have $1800 they can spend on non-essentials. Second, “essentials” has a wide range. Plus, we need some joy in our lives or we can’t survive. Who is this study to decide what is “essential” and not? And, if one more person does the whole, “For a cup of coffee, you can . . .” or “just don’t buy your $5 cup of coffee and you’ll be financially solvent in six months.”

Total B.S.

Especially since I don’t go out and buy $5 coffees every day. Most of the time, I make coffee at home – that tastes better. A coffee at a coffeehouse? A great treat. I might do it once every few months, meeting a friend or colleague. I hardly ever eat out. I bring my lunch with me when I work onsite – both because of cost and because it’s too isolated to effectively go out to lunch. I don’t take taxis or rideshares; I don’t need them.

Nor do I feel deprived by not doing those things. I LIKE the coffee I make at home (and it keeps the experience of coffee out as a treat). I’m a cook. I like it and I’m good at it. I like cooking at home and eating at home, and cooking for friends. I don’t keep a standing appointment to get my hair cut mostly because I don’t like the way most of the salons do it here.

It’s a bogus study meant to economically shame people who are barely getting by, and who might indulge themselves in a meal out or a treat once in awhile. It’s ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll have a decent weekend of writing, gardening, and reading. And I’ll do extra yoga and meditation to de-stress.

I’m reading Emily Nagoski’s Burnout. Every two or three pages I burst into tears because it’s so relevant to what I’m going through right now. Hopefully, I can learn some good coping techniques.

In any case, for me, today, it’s back to the page.

Published in: on May 9, 2019 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thursday, May 9, 2019: Phases of Stress  
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019: Worries

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

Yesterday was spent in a stressful haze, due to the car. There were a couple of times I wondered if I was having a heart attack.

But I made it to my client’s. And fretted.

Hard to concentrate. Worked onsite, worked on contest entries. Wrote a little, but not enough.

Mostly, worried.

It’s much worse than I expected. A major, major car repair. What a gutpunch.

I had to set up a GoFundMe here to try to get ahead of it.

Not doing well at all.

Would greatly appreciate it if you would share the link.

Meanwhile, I’m pitching like crazy to pick up extra freelance work over the next few weeks. Good thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Published in: on May 8, 2019 at 6:14 am  Comments Off on Wednesday, May 8, 2019: Worries  

Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant

Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

It was a busy weekend. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate, and none of the busy-ness could be in the yard. I really have to mow on the next sunny day, no matter what else is going on in my schedule.

Along with errands like grocery shopping and filling the car with gas, and taking my mom to get her blood pressure checked, I got out some LOIs and wrote.

I didn’t spend much time on social media, and it was a nice break.

But the bulk of the time was spent finishing up the contest entries. Going back over my top choices, and making decisions. One category is done. All the scoring sheets are entered. The winner and five finalists chosen. I still have to write the review, but it’s percolating in my head. The second category’s choices will be made today, and the final category no later than Thursday. The quality of entrants improves every year, and it’s exciting.

I did a lot of work on the new idea, which I’m calling, at least for the moment, ELLA BY THE BAY. It will need cutting in some parts, expansion (especially sensory) in others. But I like what I’m dealing with in it, and how the characters are expanding.

GRAVE REACH is going more slowly than I’d like, but it’s going, and that’s always a good thing. Once the contest score sheets are all entered, I can pick up the pace on it.

I’m feeling a little better, overall, although still feeling overall burned out. Only I can’t take the time off I need. So I’m trying to find packets of restorative time, so that things don’t come to a nasty breaking point.

The Kentucky Derby was on Saturday. Omaha Beach was scratched due to breathing issues. Maximum Security was by far the best horse in the field, but he was disqualified, and Country House, the 65-1 shot who came in second, named the winner. It was a crap decision and has tainted this race forever. I’m saying that as someone who put money on Country House as my longshot pick. He did better than I expected, but he wasn’t the best horse on the field that day.

The stock market crashed yesterday morning, because the Narcissistic Sociopath threatens more tariffs on goods from China. Hmm, shortly after boasting about a phone conversation with Putin. Coincidence? Unlikely.

Was with a client yesterday. Had to skip meditation group because I had to be in Bourne for their Town Meeting. But car trouble derailed it all.

Came back later than I would have liked, and worked on the contest entries some more.

Today, I’m with a client, then at the library, then I make my decisions on the second category. I need to get some more LOIs out.

I’m deeply disappointed the Vermont gig didn’t work out, but I have to keep it in perspective in the bigger picture. It will make sense in the long run, I’m sure.

In the meantime, I need to keep my head in the game and get focused.

Of course, that meant my engine coolant light went off and I’m totally freaking out.

Left the car at the mechanic this morning. Scared to death it’s something serious. If it happened next week, no worries. I’ll have a big freelance check coming in. This week? It’s an issue. Thus goes the life of a freelancer.

Back to the page.

Published in: on May 7, 2019 at 6:54 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, May 7, 2019: Contests and Coolant  
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Mon. May 6, 2019: Inner Peace – What Does That Mean? #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, May 6, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

I’m interested in exploring this topic with you over the month. Because I’m stymied.

“Inner Peace” is something amorphous to me. We hear a lot about it, but what does it feel like?

I honestly can think of moments when I felt it. When I felt content and calm, and happy to be in that moment.

But then life continued, and that “inner peace” fled.

I’ve read dozens of books on how to achieve it. None of them worked. Most of them were so far removed from the realities of my life that they left me more unsettled than when I started.

My conclusion from this is that I’m going to have to come up with both my own definition, and find ways to attempt it. If any of my attempts help you, I’m glad of it. If you have suggestions, feel free to drop a comment. I’m happy to hear them.

My idea of Inner Peace is to find that place in my core where I can meet the world with grace and serenity, even when I’m battened by exterior forces on all sides.

Yeah, I don’t see achieving that any time soon.

The moments I can feel it and recognize it are valuable, though. But how do I get there?

I realize that the world is not all about me. But, quite frankly, I sometimes feel that not enough of it IS about me. Constant demands are made on me to accommodate everyone around me, yet too often, they are not willing to offer me even a fraction of the same.

It’s something I’ve found increasingly frustrating over the past few years. Non-reciprocity.

No interaction will be exactly even, because we each have our own value system. But when things get too far out of balance, it causes distress, illness, and unhappiness.

There has to be at least some reciprocity, be it tangible or emotional.

Far too many people intone, in sonorous voices, about detachment and lowering expectations. I’m going to write an entire post on detachment. We will get to that. But lowering expectations? That’s part of the reason we’re in such a global societal mess in the first place. We’ve devalued intelligence and lowered expectations. The bar for basic decency is so low that it’s buried.

It’s important to remember that, whenever possible, you need to disengage from the toxic. I’m more pro-active about that now on social media. Every time I unfollow or block someone toxic, I feel like a burden has been lifted. Not just from my shoulders, but my heart.

Disengaging from toxic emotional vampires helps with inner peace.

I think of “peace” as being a quiet place, whereas “happiness” is more active.

But in order to find peace, I have to define what makes me happy.

Sometimes that means recognizing that people, situations, things I assumed were givens make me unhappy, and doing what I can to eliminate or change them. Sometimes, I don’t even realize that something or someone made me unhappy until that thing or person is no longer part of my life.

So for me, the first steps to inner peace mean recognizing what makes me happy. Naming those things and deciding how to appreciate them more in the moment, and give myself more moments with them.

Being aware of those moments of happiness while I’m IN those moments, taking what I call an “emotional snapshot” and holding the moment with gratitude makes me more aware of when they come up, and they give me a sense memory to draw on in more difficult times –and in my writing.

Writing makes me happy, even on the tough days. For me, when I need to come to center, to where it all starts for me, it always takes me back to the writing. It’s how I make sense of the world. How I make sense of myself.

For me, inner peace starts with a steady writing schedule, and a constant creation process. It starts with not allowing anyone to sabotage that process (including myself). It starts with recognizing that I am a writer to my bones and my soul, and working forward from there.

 

Published in: on May 6, 2019 at 6:25 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 6, 2019: Inner Peace – What Does That Mean? #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. May 3, 2019: The Slow Climb Back to Productivity

Friday, May 3, 2019
Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Feeling a little better. Physically tired, but the emotional exhaustion is starting to level off. I’ll take whatever progress I can get.

Wrote yesterday morning, then got some work done at the library. Got some LOIs out. Yoga. Afternoon and evening spent on contest entries. I plan to finish them this weekend, so I can make my final decisions early next week. I’m delighted that there are so many strong contenders, but the final decision will be difficult for the same reason. I can’t give all the deserving books an award. I have to pick the best for the limited slots.

This morning, wrote some more into the new project. It feels good, although it’s taking some unusual twists. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Figured out an important catalyst in THE BARD’S LAMENT, which is Sylvie’s book, the fifth Coventina Circle.

Working on an article about Coventina. Working on my other article. Working on a letter of support for an organization with which I used to work closely.

Some errands today, and then I’m focused on writing and contest entries all weekend. If the weather allows, I’ll sneak in some yard work.

May you have a beautiful weekend!

Published in: on May 3, 2019 at 8:53 am  Comments Off on Fri. May 3, 2019: The Slow Climb Back to Productivity  
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Thurs. May 2, 2019: Trying to Get Back in The Groove

Thursday, May 2, 2019
Day Before Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

I’m still struggling to get my energy back. Still feeling burned to a crisp. I’m going to take a little extra time around Memorial Day Weekend and just relax. But that’s still four weeks away. I have to find pockets of rest in there, or I won’t make it.

Onsite work with a client was fine. I played with some ideas for a new marketing campaign. Threw out most of them, because I couldn’t see how we’d get a worthwhile return. There were a couple of minor irritants, but nothing that was a big deal. The long term picture is getting sharper, and I’m more aware of the pieces I have to rearrange to achieve what I need and want.

Picked up a few groceries. I was so tired in the store that I stood holding a can of tuna wondering why the label made no sense — until I realized it was cat food, not people food.

Came home, worked on contest entries, made dinner, re-watched THE NEWSROOM. Played with some ideas.

Woke up around 3 AM, managed to get back to sleep for a few hours. Wrote 1K of a new project. I’m going to write about four chapters to see if it’s viable. Then my 1K on GRAVE REACH. I actually have to up the 1K/day on GRAVE REACH this month, in order to get everything done.

Headed for the library to get some work done, bring back some books, pick up some books. Then, there’s yoga. I might swing by a client’s quickly in the afternoon to take care of one thing so it’s not hanging over me.

Then, it’s back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push on them this weekend, so I can start making my final decisions next week. They’re due on the 10th, and I want to make sure everything is in good shape. I’m also starting to fill out the electronic scoring sheets. It’s a process.

I’m working on the Tip Sheet for the panel discussion for the event I’m doing on the 15th.

At some point in the next few days, I have to make multiple dump runs for the household garbage, recycling, and yard waste. Don’t like doing it in the rain, though.

Doing more Caribbean research, and continuing with classic ocean liner research.

Need to get some LOIs out, and work on an article, and an article pitch. Also have to make requests for a couple more article quotes. I have to finish and send off some letters in support of an organization with which I used to be affiliated, and also prepare some interview questions for a writer who’s guesting on the blog.

Never a dull moment. Which is a good thing. If I can beat this fatigue, I’ll be fine. It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired, and I’m making stupid mistakes.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on May 2, 2019 at 9:22 am  Comments Off on Thurs. May 2, 2019: Trying to Get Back in The Groove  
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Wed. May 1, 2019: Recalibration Time

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool
Beltane

Blessed Beltane, for those who celebrate!

The May To Do list is up on the GDR site. I have to re-think a few things, so it’s subject to change.

I can’t shake this overwhelming fatigue. Je suis très fatigue.

Because even exhaustion sounds better in French!

Worked with a client. Started working on the thanks yous and follow ups for the conference, but I’m behind. Started sending requests for quotes on an article on which I’m working. I have to craft a letter for the Bourne Town Council, which is giving a local organization for which I have great respect a hard time, thanks to a damned developer.

Working on contest entries.

Trying to recalibrate what I want and need from my work and how to get it.

It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired I can barely sit up.

Plugging along with the book. Have to get back to the play this weekend. Have some new web content to write and get up, and I want to write ahead on a few posts for Upbeat Authors and for Ink-Dipped Advice.

I’m having trouble with A2 Hosting and their insistence that I can only access my websites from a single, fixed IP address. That simply is not my life. I travel. I work from different machines in different locations. I need to get on when I need to from where I need to. They don’t protect from hackers, but they prevent me from accessing the sites for which I pay. That’s wrong on so many levels.
So I guess I’ll be moving hosts again when this contract is up. Which is a shame, because I like everything else about them.

Meanwhile, I’m as happy as can be with my registrations over on Name Silo. No drama. Great customer service.

The weather isn’t letting me do yard work. The grass is growing nicely (a good thing), but it needs mowing. However, unlike some of my neighbors, I don’t believe it’s useful to mow in the rain.

I desperately need some time off, but I don’t know when I’ll get it. I need a few days with no demands of any kind made on me, where I can just create each day as it unfolds.

Some of the research books came for the Caribbean. That’s where I’m setting this Shiny New Project — and they also serve two other projects on which I’m working.

I’m also working on the forensic psychology books I have for GRAVE REACH.

All interesting stuff.

I need more energy, so I can make better use of my time.

Onward.

Published in: on May 1, 2019 at 8:50 am  Comments Off on Wed. May 1, 2019: Recalibration Time  
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