Hello Dear One-
As Spring unfolds, Loving Kindness continues to open itself to me and lead me home.
Year after year, the practice guides me gently.
What is this new season opening in your life?
Recently I was interviewed about writing my first book on one of my favorite podcasts, Tranquility du Jour with Kimberly Wilson.
Kimberly’s questions prompted me to create and share a list about my experience as an author in hopes that you’ll be able to relate to some of the lessons I learned and feel inspired by them.
8 things I learned writing A Heart of Gold:
1-I had to address my perfectionism and how it was killing my creative instincts.
What stops many people from writing a book or creating in general is the idea that if it isn’t really really amazing then it’s too daunting, frustrating, unnerving, impossible, unworthy or boring to do it. We’ve got unrealistic ideas about what will happen after the finish line.
I was quite sure that I had nothing new to say, wasn’t sure how to say what I did want to say, and felt very insecure about my own capabilities to see it through. Would anyone care?
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was really the only one who needed to care. I could let myself be free by just desiring to write a book, without knowing at all if it would be good or widely approved of. Once I was able to let myself feel surrendered to that theme, it all just took off. Granted I had an amazing editor guiding me all the way through but I still had to get up each day and keep writing and writing and writing. I wrote almost 80,000 words over a 3 month period to get to a less than 40,000 page book that was concise and clear.
Ultimately what drove me to write and finish A Heart of Gold is me befriending my fears and offering myself unconditional love about the writing process. I was able to embrace my own vulnerability and just go with it. It ended up being a way for me to know myself deeper and offer myself deep loving kindness. Which in turn, fueled the writing because of the obvious topic:)
2-Writing a book is an ongoing meditation.
Time passed differently than any other activity I’ve ever done while writing my book. I could sit for hours and just be with the letters, words, images and tone. It became a way into my soft side. I learned to cherish my writing time as it soothed my central nervous system much like meditation does. I was free as I recalled memories and times in my life of great awakening, change, sadness, joy and everything in between. It was very healing and cathartic. There were joyful moments, tearful moments and clear moments of who I am, where I’ve been, what I’m becoming.
3-There’s no magic path.
I didn’t know this until I was completely finished writing A Heart of Gold but in my view there isn’t any singular thought leader, book, or course that can teach you the best path to writing a book. Lots of people claim to have the key, but for me it worked like this. I’ve taken courses, read books, been coached on topics relating to writing or running my business. I’ve picked up tons of good advice or ideas along the way. Ultimately it’s my own voice, intelligence, and plan that kept me going and my own insights along the way that gave me the confidence and energy to finish. Not that there aren’t wise guides for us to know about but I think we give too much energy to outside sources. We already know so much! It’s just that we need help remembering. The quiet hours of digging in and writing, staying with it help us remember. It’s like training a puppy. Stay, stay, stay.
4-Consistency leads to joy and possibly success.
I recognize that the most important things in my life which make me genuinely happy, healthy and whole are because I’ve consistently practiced them year after year. I kept going no matter what. Not easy at all, but consistent behaviors have taught me the most about who I am and what I’m capable of. Whether it’s staying engaged in my most intimate relationships, practicing yoga, meditation, cooking, running, reading, gardening, traveling, running a business, returning over and over again to host retreats in Italy or writing my blog. I’ve kept at it and the returns are high. All of the things we stop and start are asking us to find the jewel. Stay with it and find the jewel.
5-Compassionate commitment is a beautiful thing.
Once I realized I craved the full experience of writing a book I was all in. I wasn’t as interested as would it make money (it has!), would my friends and family gush over it (some have and some have said nothing:), or would it open doors for me.
There is definitely a before and after. No question that writing a book will take you places that you couldn’t go before the book. It gives you a new credibility and yes doors do open wider.
But the combination of having compassion for the entire process and then committing to finishing no matter what, are what carried me. I could let my heart rest with compassion and honor my desire to commit to the end be my framework. I felt tons of freedom in that scenario. It was a bit like getting over myself too. I was able to get into the zone and a portal opened up. The universe started to lift me and offer me frequent messages, insights and ways to approach the overall art form of the book itself. My days were totally intentional and I loved that way of being.
6-I’ve become more open hearted.
As an author I’ve become much more sensitive to other writers and creatives. It’s a joy when I hear of a colleague or someone I admire who is painting a new work or launching something they’ve always dreamed of, writing a book or finished one! I’ve got inside scoop on what it all means and it’s like being in a secret society. It’s vulnerable and daring to go there. So worth it in ways that are completely unique to each of us. I’ve noticed my own heart has become more sensitive and open to anyone producing any sort of art.
7-People from far off lands will write you the most beautiful notes.
This has by far been one of the most cherished gifts of my authorship. Like the woman who teaches troubled teen girls in France. She found me on Instagram and ordered my book. Then wrote to me with beautiful praise and shared how she used the book in an event she hosted where over 100 girls in France learned about self care and self love! Each girl received a copy of the book. She told me about the huge impact it had on the girls. This story alone was enough reason for me to write the book. That 100 teenage girls could be helped on their life journey just means the world to me. I get teary just thinking about this. Not to mention many of the girls have personally written to me. It’s truly a heart swelling thrill.
8-I’m good at doing difficult things.
Writing a book is difficult. There I said it. Writing a book is not for wimps. It’s a journey into yourself like no other. It makes me feel more resilient and less fearful. Like it’s ok to go for it and do other super hard things. My zest for life has increased. My energy has shifted and many of the smaller things that used to get to me, seem to have faded. It’s like I’ve been elevated to a place where I can feel more of my own loving kindness.
And now what about you?
What’s something you really want to do but are holding back on?
Sit down and ponder this. What’s one thing you could do today to get started?
Write to me and let me know! I love hearing from you.
Thanks for being here with me.