Mon. March 18, 2018: Kindness is not Weakness #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, March 18, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

 

In light of the New Zealand terrorist attack, I thought it was important to talk about how kindness is not weakness.

Often, when someone is kind, it is misinterpreted as weak. Part of the premise of my not-quite-cozy Nautical Namaste mystery series (under the Ava Dunne name) hinges on the fact that my protagonist, Sophie, is mistaken for weak when in reality she is kind. She walks her talk. She does her best to live the yogic path she teaches. Part of that path is meeting the world with kindness.

That does not mean she doesn’t fight back when someone tries to hurt her or hurt someone about whom she cares. Quite the contrary. She’s strong. She can be tough without being hard.

But she is also kind. She does her best to make everyone in class feel good about where they are at that moment. It’s one of the tenets practiced at Kripalu that I admire most, and I wanted to fold that in as part of the series.

You are fine where you are. From where you are, you work for positive change to change what you know needs to change.

Offering a helping hand instead of a striking blow is not weakness.

It is something we must start practicing as individuals. If the current poison of hatred can spread the way it has, it can and must be countered with an antidote of kindness in strength.

Take a look at the Strength card in your favorite tarot deck. (If you don’t have a favorite tarot deck yet, I recommend the Robin Wood Deck or the Everyday Witch Tarot or the Steampunk Tarot). Look at the image on the Strength card. There is strength, integrity, purpose. And kindness.

We can’t change the greater world until we change our own part of it. By practicing kindness in strength, we can create a ripple effect that counters the wave of hatred that’s been the long game since the Reagan years, which is now coming into full flower.

We can stop this. We can change this. But only if we don’t turn away, pretend it doesn’t exist, and pretend that our daily interactions either enable it or counter it.

Be strong. Be kind. Make the world a better place.

 

Thurs. March 14, 2019: Pi, Coyotes, College, and Hungry Schoolkids

Thursday, March 14, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy & chilly

Happy Pi day!

When I worked for a library, we used to serve pie on Pi day, along with a display of fun facts about it.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. It was quiet – for most of the day, I was on site, but I was alone on site, so I could be as productive as I would in my home office. I’m working on a couple of big projects for them, so it was good to have that time.

Coyotes woke me up having a party in the yard around 5 AM. Better than 2AM. Quite the pack. I’m pretty sure one of the pups that was raised under my deck a few years ago is now Leader of the Pack. Especially since he takes such pleasure in standing on the deck to call them.

The local coyotes and I have a deal: I don’t act like a dumbass and they don’t eat me. It works for us.

Plus, they don’t use my yard as their toilet. They’re very clean and respectful that way. No coyote scat. They do that in the yards that use chemicals.

I’ve been mulling over how personally angry I feel about the college entrance  scandal. It’s not that I don’t know that the system is already rigged in favor of wealthy white students. It’s not that I don’t know that rich families have bought their kids slots in good schools since rich families and good schools exist.

It’s much more personal than that for me. Both because of my own journey, and because some of those accused are people I considered colleagues.

I was the not-rich kid in the rich town. I didn’t realize the extent of our financial struggles; we always had books and enough to eat and laughter. We didn’t buy stuff all the time, but we did stuff. Went to libraries and museums and historical sites. We often packed a picnic lunch on our trips. I was an adult before I realized it was because we couldn’t afford to go out to restaurants. I always thought the packed lunches were fun.

I did well in school. I wanted to graduate a year early. I was one-half credit short – in GYM, of all things. One HALF credit. Even though I was in the National Honor Society for academics, in advanced classes, and already going to college part time.

The high school principal refused to let me graduate early. I wasn’t allowed to take an extra gym class or to have one of the several college dance classes I took count. I had to stay an entire fall semester my senior year of high school for ONE HALF CREDIT.

While I took classes as SUNY Purchase, which was close by. I’d taken dance there since they opened; I also took literature classes.

Meanwhile, as a junior, I’d taken both the SATs and the ACTs. And I ran around visiting schools and interviewing. In the SATs, I did very well in the verbal and squeaked by in the math. In the ACTs, I got in the 98% percentile of the country, including the science section. When that was brought up in college interviews, I pointed out that to me, math made perfect sense in context with science, but when it sat there as a math problem, it had little relevance to me and I struggled with it.

I was also very active in a variety of clubs and organizations, taking college courses part-time, and writing for the local paper.

I got into EVERY school to which I applied. Including the Ivy Leagues. But I wanted to have more of a traditional college experience.

I graduated in January with no fanfare. I spent a few weeks in the UK. My first trip to Edinburgh, where I first fell in love with it. The first time Lindisfarne captivated me.

I started college in March, at Florida State University, in Tallahassee. Definitely not ivy league, but a great campus and a solid “this is college” experience.

I had tested my way out of freshman year, so I started as a sophomore. My transcripts, testing, and classes at SUNY Purchase mattered to the colleges to which I applied, even though my high school principal had forced me to stay an extra semester in high school for a gym class.

I planned to go for a journalism degree. I took a theatre lighting class as an elective. We were supposed to spend 20 hours in lab work in the theatre in the semester. I spent 20 hours my first week and never left the building for the following year.

I worked through the summer semester, always taking as full a course load as I could talk the registrars into letting me take.

I was a scholarship student and tried to find a workstudy job on campus. I wanted to work in the magnificent library, but they never hired me. They kept hiring social science majors. I wound up working theatre and music crew jobs in local clubs, which led to working rock ‘n roll gigs around the area, some with big names. My theatre teachers let me take some of the grad level classes.

I loved working in theatre, but learned pretty damn fast the rock ‘n roll life was not for me.

I also was savvy enough to know that, while I had fun at FSU and had some terrific teachers, it couldn’t give me the launching platform I wanted or needed to have the career I wanted in the business. There are plenty of hugely successful FSU Alumni, but I knew I couldn’t do what I wanted and needed there after my first year.

I transferred to the film program at NYU. I had done the spring quarter, summer quarter, and then the following full year in Tallahassee. I received my acceptance letter dated April 1 from NYU and called them to make sure it wasn’t a joke.

I started as a film student that June. And continued to work in theatre. And I had a work/study job at the Interactive Telecommunication and Alternate Media Center, where we did some of the first video conferencing that existed. And from there, built my career in local, regional, off-off, off, and up to Broadway.

What’s the point of this?

I took my own damn tests. I studied all night if I had to. I had scholarships and jobs and loans and EARNED IT ALL MY DAMN SELF. When I turned down the Big Name Schools that had accepted me, they were shocked. Because it was hard to get in. But I got in as MYSELF – not because I had connections (I didn’t). Not because I had money (I didn’t). I got in because I was smart and talented with good grades and great essays and lots of interests and experiences and completely out of the box and blew the interviewers the hell out of the water in the interview (and was told that in EVERY interview).

So when I see this entrance scandal, and see some entertainment personnel I liked, respected, and considered my COLLEAGUES involved – it’s an insult. If anyone had tried to buy me into a school, I would have been so damn mortified, I don’t know what I would have done. It was important to me to EARN IT MYSELF. With good grades, hard work, scholarships, workstudy, student loans, and finding my own gigs along the way.

Not only is it unfair to better qualified students without the financial means to allow richer parents to purchase slots, it’s a slap in the face to the students whose slots are purchased. Probably a lot of them don’t care; they know they wouldn’t get in anyway, and it’s just another entitlement with which they sail through life. But it completely negates and discards any work any of them have done or might do.

Along with denying those who would make better use of the opportunity the chance in the first place.

These parents are insulting their own kids while insulting the kids who have earned the right to those slots and are denied them because their parents can’t afford the right bribe. The parents purchasing these slots aren’t helping ANYBODY. In fact, they are hurting everyone involved, while some scumbag “recruiters” or “consultants” get rich.

There’s a lot in our educational system that needs to be changed and fixed, from pre-school all the way up through PhD programs. But I found this, with allegations against people in my own field who KNOW BETTER and whom I expect to BEHAVE BETTER – infuriated me on multiple levels.

Just now, as I’m writing this, they’re discussing it in the library. One man talked about how his son was accepted into Dartmouth and was so excited – he had great grades, etc. Then some man showed up at the house to tell him that his son had to give up his spot in order to make space for the son of an alumnus. The kid was heartbroken, and the man currently speaking threw the bum out of the house. The kid went elsewhere and went on to a good, successful life, but it still hurts.

The fact that it has been going on for centuries doesn’t make any of it right. It’s time to make positive changes.

Yesterday, a teacher mentioned something about kids and hunger and lunch problems on Twitter. I asked for ideas how I, a random taxpayer with no kids in my local system, could make a contribution and make sure that it went to feed the kids who needed it, and not appropriated by the school for something else.

My feed exploded with so many good ideas that I’m gathering them up and going to put together a resource sheet. I’m not sure on which of my websites I’ll put it, but I’ll put it up somewhere.

So far, there was only one mansplainer about how my taxes are paying for schools and how I need to vote and military spending is the problem. In other words, trying to hijack the thread for his own agenda. I have been politically active since I was 15. Once I was eligible to vote, I’ve voted in EVERY election at every level, especially local. I’m in almost daily contact with my reps, from local to federal, so he can stop the hell trying to lecture me about voting responsibility.  30 seconds on my timeline reflects that I take the responsibility seriously. There’s always one, isn’t there? I’m sure he will come back with something else defensive and mansplaining, and then I’ll block. I’m not arguing, and anyone who’s read my timeline knows I take my voting rights seriously. Hijacking a thread about trying to help hungry kids in school to bitch about military spending is inappropriate.

Some other trolls will probably show up, too, and they, too, will be blocked. Meanwhile, I’ll gather the positive info and put together a resource list. That way, maybe some other people who are feeling helpless can find something they can do.

Also, for me, it’s important to donate anonymously. I deeply believe that genuine philanthropy is anonymous.

Enough for one day – I need to get back to the page.

Tues. March 12, 2019: This & That & Writing

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Busy weekend.

I met a friend for coffee on Friday afternoon at Coffee Obsession in Falmouth. Loved the place. It reminded me of the coffee shops where I loved to hang out in New York. I wish it didn’t take me nearly an hour to get there!

My friend’s gone through some big changes in the last few months. Huge life changes, but, in the long run, much healthier for her. It was good to see her again.

Saturday, I wrote a lot — about 30 pages. I also found out that both of our sweet elderly neighbors — a couple — died recently. One in January, and the other at the end of February. I knew they weren’t in the house any more — I saw them leave in an ambulance — but I hadn’t realized both of them had died. Their kids were cleaning out the house. It makes me sad. They were such lovely neighbors.

Sunday was the start of daylight savings time — springing forward. That always upsets my system for a couple of weeks.

It started snowing, then switched to rain.

Eggs Benedict with salmon (a pre-birthday treat) and prosecco with cranberry. We actually started snacking on the birthday cake on Sunday.

Worked on contest entries, finished the book for review and wrote the review.

Should have worked on some other stuff, but didn’t.

Worked on and discarded a character arc, because I felt it wasn’t true to both characters it involved. I have another idea that I think speaks better to their core integrity.

A friend asked for feedback on a new song he’s writing. It’s really good. Not only does it compel an emotional impact, but the structure completely supports it.

Working on pitches, and on a piece I want to write about a book I just read on writers and money (but that can be adapted to any art form if you have the least bit of imagination).

Some unpleasantness going on with a client  (not between the client and me, but with another employee) put some stresses on the start of the week.

Yesterday, the good wishes, funny gifs, and videos came through on the various channels – email, FB, Twitter, and the other platforms I frequent. It was so much fun. I appreciate that people are thinking of me.

 

Published in: on March 12, 2019 at 5:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Wed. Feb. 20, 2019: Middle Day

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Last Day of Full Moon
Expecting another storm

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the weekly take on business.

Client work was fine yesterday.

Sent off the comic ghost story radio play. Dug into the Straw Hat Circuit mystery radio drama. Worked on the monologue, but we’re supposed to get another storm tonight, so I might not be able to go and test it.

I had to order a copy of a book I know I own, that I need as background, from the library, because I don’t know where my copy is packed. I need to live somewhere with enough space to unpack all my books!

Prepping for a meeting with a potential new client on Friday.

Ridiculously excited that the leek and scallion seeds have already started to sprout.

That’s pretty much the deal. I’m writing and reading and working a lot. It’s a typical middle day in a busy week, but a least it’s the good kind of busy.

With all the chaos going on, I’m going to grab as many moments of happiness, or a least contentment, as I can!

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 6:28 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 20, 2019: Middle Day  
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Wed. Jan. 16, 2019: Trying to Get Well

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Waxing Moon

Yesterday, I was sick, but I knew there was delivery coming onsite for a client. I went in to accept delivery and take care of a few things, and then went home and back to bed.

I can’t seem to get my feet back under me. The cough is driving me to distraction. I don’t feel all that bad otherwise.

Working on the radio play – it’s due at the end of the week. Finishing up a book for review.

I couldn’t go to the open mic night to test out the new monologue – I don’t have a voice. Laryngitis. Which just represents so much on multiple levels right now.

Most of yesterday was spent trying to get well, and that’s what I’ll do today. I can’t afford – on any level – to be sick.

Not on deadline, not with client work.

Healthy wishes appreciated!

Oh, by the way, for the Reader Expansion Challenge – I’m going to read a horror novel. I don’t read much horror, so that’s how I’m stretching for next month.

Horror novel due a few months after Valentine’s Day seems, somehow, apt! 😉

Published in: on January 16, 2019 at 6:47 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 16, 2019: Trying to Get Well  

Mon. Jan. 14, 2019: Self-Care in Community #UpbeatAuthors

Monday, January 14, 2019
Waxing Moon

Since January is the Self-Care month for our group, let’s talk about self-care in community.

So often, we’re desperate for some quiet time, alone time, that we forget there can be power in self-care together.

That’s not as much of a paradox as it sounds.

My yoga instructor mentioned it last week, when a group of us began a season of Monday afternoon meditations together. This is in addition to my daily meditation practice in solitude. Once a week, a group of us get together to be quiet in company.

Fellow writers, you know how, during Nano, the write-ins are great, because you’re sitting in a group of other writers, doing your own thing, but being together?

That can work with self-care, too, in some situations.

Many of us in this meditation group were part of a 12-week session last summer of Savaskana/Savasana for 90 minutes, once a week. It was great to lie in a room with fellow mindful practitioners and not have any expectations. My yoga studio also does regular “sound baths” — where participants lie down in restorative positions while a variety of sound washes over us for an hour. As someone with extreme sound sensitivity, this is wonderful.

As much as alone time is vital to creative well-being, try something in company. Walk with a friend. Join a class in something you enjoy, or you think you might enjoy.

Care in company can play a wonderful part in healing and balance.

Namaste!

Published in: on January 14, 2019 at 6:12 am  Comments Off on Mon. Jan. 14, 2019: Self-Care in Community #UpbeatAuthors  
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Tues. Jan. 1, 2019: Happy New Year’s Day!

snow-2910676_1920May your New Year start with beauty and joy.

Published in: on January 1, 2019 at 6:44 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 1, 2019: Happy New Year’s Day!  

Mon. Dec. 31, 2018: Happy New Year’s Eve!

Happy New Year

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 6:42 am  Comments Off on Mon. Dec. 31, 2018: Happy New Year’s Eve!  

Fri. Dec. 28, 2018: Wrapping Up

Friday, December 28, 2018
Waning Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Third Day of Christmas

Today, I take in the car. Think good thoughts that it won’t be as complicated as I fear. Or as expensive. Hate driving over the bridge in foul weather, but too bad for me.

I had a bad night, Wednesday into Thursday. I came down with a migraine (nothing helps). It woke me at 2; then I had trouble getting back to sleep until just before the alarm went off.

I really, truly, hope this is not a preview of the next three months.

Weird dream Wednesday into Thursday, but I lost it before I could write it down. Which means February will be weird, which was already kind of a given.

The insurance situation, which I was promised was solved before the Dec. 23 deadline, of course, is still a mess. Don’t believe the hype that MA is so healthy and has such great insurance access. That’s all it is — marketing hype.

And I think I’m getting an ear infection, too. Not a happy camper.

I’m not writing enough, which throws off my equilibrium. With the onsite days all flipped around this week and next week, and a shorter break next week into the following week, the creative cycle is in disarray. I’m managing to stick to the yoga/meditation schedule, but the writing is more haphazard, because there are things that have to happen in what is usually my writing time, so unless, next time when I wake up I get up and write instead of trying to get back to sleep, I’m screwed. I should get up and write, but when there’s a migraine involved, it’s nearly impossible.

I’m trying to sort out a better fitness regimen for next year. I need to up the yoga practice again. Since the next three months, in particular, will see the stress in one particular work situation go through the roof, I’m considering adding an additional yoga session as soon as I come home from that particular gig.

Go to the mat instead of reach for the liquor.

I also need to add weight training back in to the regimen, but I have to figure out the sequencing and where to put it.

And I need to figure out one more activity that I enjoy (and will actually do). The stationary bike, which my mom loves and does every day for 20 minutes — hurts my knees too much. I HATE running. I like the idea of it, but I hate actually doing it.

Walking, maybe? Taking a walk a few times a week, for 30 minutes or so? On the days I don’t weight train? I don’t know. I need to play with a few things.

But I need to rebuild both strength and stamina, regain some of the lost muscle, and lose some weight (in a way that keeps it off).

That will help me keep creatively focused.

Yesterday contained work-related challenges, and I was glad to get home. Let’s hope, in spite of the car repair trauma, that today– and the next few days — are better.

Have a safe and lovely New Year’s Eve and Day — and we’ll reconnect next year!

Peace, friends, and Namaste.

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 6:30 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 28, 2018: Wrapping Up  
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Wed. Dec. 26, 2018: Happy Boxing Day!

gift-2870161_1920

Have a lovely day! I’m with a client; will be back to blogging tomorrow.

Published in: on December 26, 2018 at 6:40 am  Comments Off on Wed. Dec. 26, 2018: Happy Boxing Day!  

Tuesday, December 25, 2018: Merry Christmas Day!

victorian_christmas morn

Have a lovely day!

Published in: on December 25, 2018 at 6:37 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, December 25, 2018: Merry Christmas Day!  

Mon. December 24, 2018: Christmas Eve!

Santa Sleigh

Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Published in: on December 24, 2018 at 6:35 am  Comments (1)  

Fri. Dec . 21, 2018: Blessed Solstice

snow-834111_1920

Blessed Solstice, my friends. Peace and light.

Published in: on December 21, 2018 at 6:36 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec . 21, 2018: Blessed Solstice