Don’t Let Anyone Sink Your Ship!

pirate_ship_sinking

“Dreams are difficult to build and easy to destroy.” ~ Seth Godin

There is much truth in that quote. No matter how thick-skinned or emotionally resilient we think we are, our dreams – especially when new and tender – are fragile things.

Today I want to remind you how important it is to protect those tender dreams, not just from the people you KNOW will stomp on them, but from the people you’d expect might treat your dreams with a little more care.

We all have intuitive instincts that help us to feel what resonates with truth for us, and what does not. This is a cautionary tale about what can happen if your intellect overrides your instincts when a dream-stomper comes your way.

Back in 2012 I took a writing workshop with a well respected children’s author. Part of the workshop involved submitting a short sample of our current work for constructive feedback from this industry professional.

What followed nearly killed my dream…

The story I was working on is a children’s story, a tale filled with fairies and pirates and all things magical. It’s very dear to me, for many reasons. I had considered it to be my best work to date.

Siren Song by Victor Nizovtsev

Siren Song by Victor Nizovtsev

The author’s comments, given in a private ten-minute interview just before the workshop started, were devastating. I felt like bursting into tears. His feedback included that I was trying to write High Fantasy with no idea of how to write that genre, that modern kids didn’t read that stuff anyway, and that I was very Tolkien-esque, clichéd and extremely amateur with no imagination. I reminded him of C.S. Lewis.  He could tell I hadn’t written before. (I’d recently had two completed manuscripts shortlisted and one chosen for a nation-wide writing competition, but I was so shocked by his barrage that I sat mutely for almost the entire time and didn’t defend myself.)

He was disappointed that my fairies had pointy ears. My ideas were classist and un-original.  I was writing stuff that had been done to death already.  I was boring. I had no idea what children wanted. The only positive thing he said was that my sentence structure was fair, and my pacing okay. I certainly pushed his buttons somehow.

How did I react? I wanted to run away. I wanted to take my precious story and my precious characters in my arms and protect them from this angry man.

And really, that’s what I should have done.

But I didn’t. I was a good girl. I’d paid for the class, and I’d been so excited to attend and rearranged so many things to be there that I made myself stay. I sat politely for the entire workshop as this man belittled and ridiculed me in front of the rest of the class.

It was a morale-shattering experience, although I tried my best and did get a few good ideas from the day.

When I got home I emailed my writing group, who were very supportive and helped me feel a little less rattled. Poo to him, I said. I’ll keep writing anyway. Big meanie!

But that’s not what happened.

I started another story, I threw myself into my psychic work, I found a myriad other distractions. And my poor pirates and fairies sat stranded on ships in the middle of unfriendly seas, or trapped in the basements of  grand old buildings, waiting desperately for me to return. Only I didn’t.

I’d lost my nerve.

Lucy and Eustace by Michael Morris tumblr

Lucy and Eustace by Michael Morris tumblr

Who reads fairytales anyway? What makes my writing so special?

This man’s negative and nasty words became a caustic force, quietly eroding my confidence and sapping away my strength. I put my story away, and never returned to it.

That is, until just recently. I found my way back to it through my blog, and the sharing of the unfolding of my psychic life.

You see, the fairies and pirates I write about might only be a story but it’s also much, much more.

So thank you. Because your interest in owls and fairies and magic has helped me to see that some people will care, and that’s enough for me to keep on going.

Poo to that man, the big old meanie. I have fairies to save!

TypewriterGirl-Vintage-GraphicsFairy2

Don’t tell me how good you are. Show me…

Image from www.freeflavour.com

Image from www.freeflavour.com  PS: If you’re not sure what the Australian slang expression FIG JAM stands for , I suggest you google it… (Warning: swears alert!)

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ” ~ John F. Kennedy

“Talk is cheap.” ~ Anonymous

Today’s post has come about in part after watching a good friend be deeply wounded and disillusioned by the bullying actions of some people who loudly proclaim themselves as ‘enlightened and spiritual’.

Another friend is considering walking away from their life’s passion because of the vicious and mean-spirited ‘critique’ (it wasn’t constructive criticism, it was a poisonous personal attack) from an instructor at an invitation-only Master Class intended to guide emerging artists in front of a public audience at a large gallery. The instructor used my friend to make themselves look good and to extract a laugh or two from the crowd. The attack left my friend floundering in self-doubt, shame and humiliation, suffering anxiety attacks and questioning everything they’d previously held as true.

Most of the people I know who are incredibly good at what they do are also among the most humble, no matter their what field of endeavour. They sit in their integrity. They acknowledge their ability as fact, but have little need to bang their own drum because they are busy being actively engaged in the things that define them. As the saying goes, they walk their talk.

The yoga teacher who awakens each day to perform her personal meditation, pranayamas and asanas before eating her healthy yogini breakfast and getting ready for her classes. Who then comes home to eat her healthy dinner and concludes her day with more yoga, as an integral part of her daily life and philosophy.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

The business mentor who has had years of experience building and running successful organisations, and who continues to sit on the Board of Directors of profitable companies.

Image from leParisien

Image from leParisien

The artist who still attends classes and workshops, and considers themselves constantly evolving; working on their craft even though they are at the top of their field and lauded by their peers.

'Painting in Gold' by Chad

‘Painting in Gold’ by Chad

Whether you are looking to form a relationship, seek employment or learn something new (and especially if you’re a starry-eyed beginner), listen with your eyes. Don’t be seduced by spin.  Don’t be sucked in by wild claims and promises. When we are eager and ready to begin the journey, our enthusiasm often nudges our discernment over into a corner.

Eagerness and newness make us all vulnerable. And sadly, I’ve seen many a beginner derailed because the people they put faith in to guide them on their journey trampled and stamped out that fledgling flame. Or didn’t give them the tools they need to have that promised ‘success’, and then put it all back on the learner when they fail. “Oh well,” they say, “you mustn’t want it enough, you don’t have the ability, your attitude’s all wrong.”

There are so many self-proclaimed ‘guru’s’ out there.  Who do you trust? How do you work out who can actually support your growth?

Image from www.zdnet.com

Image from www.zdnet.com

Word of mouth is a great place to start.

Trust your intuition.

And look for validity of the person’s abilities or claims. Do they walk their talk?  Are they respected within their industry or profession?  Do they have a public track record?  Do their ACTIONS align with their mouth?

The ‘Law of Attraction Wealth Creation Coach’ who has a mountain of debt and lives on credit cards?  Maybe not your best bet.

The ‘Parenting Expert’ who has never had children of their own, or even had them in their home for any length of time.  Really?

The ‘Write a Best-Seller Workshop’ run by the person who has never been published. Perhaps someone who has already walked the path you want to walk would have more concrete advice to share with you.

Even more than that, are they a person you can respect?  Do they have the sort of values and habits you aspire to? Do they treat others well? Are they leading by example?

In this age of social media it’s easy to set yourself up as an expert. In fact there are courses in how to do that!

Back in the day, experts had… wait for it… expertise.  And expertise was hard won through experience.

There’s no magical pill or quick fix in this life that is going to take you from the bottom to the top of your particular mountain. We all have our own path to walk, and everyone has something to teach us, whether that’s through a positive or a negative experience.

The people ahead of you in the climb up your mountain will have valuable insights to share based upon their own journeys. Those insights can save you time, move you ahead more quickly, and help you hone your own skills and talents. So be an active player in your own development.   Use your discernment.  Do your homework.  Make sure they really are higher up that mountain, and not someone standing at the bottom with a giant megaphone and some smooth-talking words…

Take on board what resonates for you, and leave the rest behind.

Above all, don’t take it all too seriously.  Life is an adventure – a big messy glorious adventure. And that’s a beautiful thing.

The Power of Mentors

Image from beginnerbaby.com

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”
 – Benjamin Disraeli

We all learn by modelling ourselves on others.  As babies we mimic our parents, copying everything they do until we learn to do those things for ourselves; facial expressions, gestures, words, movements…  The fastest way to have success in anything is always to find someone who is already doing that thing, and then copy what they do, or even better – engage with them and have them show you, or help you.

A mentor is someone who has walked the path before you, learned from their mistakes and become successful in their field. What makes them valuable to you is that THEY know how to do what you want to do because they’ve done it already. I have found business mentors, writing mentors (Hi, Doctor Kim!), money mentors and organic farming mentors to name a few. Sometimes my relationship with these people has been a tangible thing, and sometimes I’ve just watched what they’ve done or read their book – and copied what they did to become successful in their field.

I also work as a spiritual mentor with people who want to develop their metaphysical and psychic abilities. That’s a road I know very well.

Image from tananne.blogspot.com

It’s never too late to change or improve ourselves.  Today we’re going to use journalling to help us identify who we want to be, and who can help us achieve those dreams. Why not make yourself a nice cup of tea, or take yourself out to a coffee shop. With a beverage at your elbow, and a notebook and pen in hand, work through the following activity. You might surprise yourself at what you discover.

Journal Exercise:

Start by writing this passage at the top of your page.

Dear Universe, 

I trust that there is a Universal Wisdom which recognises my gifts and talents, that understands what outcomes and adventures are best for my Highest good, and that matches me to mentors best suited to helping me achieve my dreams.

I trust that there is someone out there who knows exactly what I need to do next. 

I am ready to embrace the possibility of a better life for myself. I am ready to move from struggle into flow.  I am ready to embrace abundance, in all its forms. I want you to know that I’m ready for whatever wonderful experiences and opportunities you send my way. I am ready to embrace change, and I am ready to embrace success. Thank you for the mentors I now attract into my life.

Now think of an area in your life where you would like to have success.  Don’t judge what comes next, and don’t over-think it.  Just trust that what you write will begin to create a greater sense of personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

Create a list of people who are leaders in this field, and that you can look up to. (if you don’t know who they are, then do a little research!)

Choose one of the people on your list and spend some time writing about WHY you admire this person, and what they do or have done that you would like to have more of in your own life.  Really allow yourself to explore this in detail, making the emotions you feel as you write this strong and real.

When you have finished, write about how you want YOUR life to look as you walk this same path.  Write down the outcomes you want for yourself, and how this will positively change your future, and the world around you.

Do this over a couple of days, using different mentors from your list each day.  Trust that as you build this connection through writing, the perfect teachers, courses, resources, mentors and support will begin to show up in your life.

Mr Miyagi and the Karate Kid Image from bell-street.com

NB: If you feel that you are walking a path of spiritual awakening right now, and you’d like to explore that further, I suggest you do this exercise while holding one of the following crystals:

  • Clear Quartz – for connecting with Guides and Higher Wisdom
  • Fluorite – for understanding your creative path, and for clear guidance with writing
  • Sodalite – for answers about relationships and knowing your own truth
  • Amethyst – for connecting into your spiritual gifts
  • Rhyolite – for channelled wisdoms – showing you that inner truth you find difficult to access on your own

 

One more thing…

You know more than you think you do.  How can you mentor others? Where can you reach out to people to share what you know, so that others can learn from YOUR experiences and mistakes?

Learning is love – so let’s spread the love around.  Helping others achieve their dreams always moves us closer to our own. ♥

Image from mandieandmedesigns.com

Journal for Spiritual Clarity and Connection 3 – All about my Emotions

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
~ Carl Jung

Week 3:  All About My Emotions

This week we are focussing on our emotions, our feelings and all that entails for us, with a special emphasis on feeling good.  Our plan is to understand and connect with our emotions; our relationships, triggers, dreams and hopes and how our surroundings influence us.

Journal Exercise:

Journal relationships this week.  Identify areas where you need to forgive or move on.

Work out who/what supports you and makes you feel good, and who/what brings you down.

Identify triggers for positive feelings, and triggers for negative feelings/low self worth.  Limit the negative triggers!

Use any of these starters to help you:

  • How I feel right now is…
  • What I need to do to improve how I feel now is…
  • One person who always makes me feel good is…
  • The thing in my life I need to let go of is…
  • The person in my life I need to let go of is…
  • I still can’t stop thinking about…
  • The stuff that always brings me down includes…
  • One of the happiest times of my life was…
  • I’m still proud of the fact that…
  • I shed far too many tears over…
  • The most powerful teacher of how NOT to do things in my life has been…
  • The most powerful example of how I’d like to be is…
  • When I think of my pet, I feel…
  • A place that evokes positive memories for me is…
  • A time in my life when I felt unstoppable was…
  • The person I am still mad at the most is…
  • The person I need to forgive most is…
  • When I think about people who suck me dry, or leave me feeling drained and bad about myself, these people come to mind…
  • If I could name the cheerleaders in my life, the people who have supported and encouraged me over the years, they would include…
  • Food that always makes me feel good about myself is…
  • Food that might feel good in the short term but that triggers guilt, low self-worth or uncomfortable physical symptoms is…
  • Music that uplifts me includes…
  • Movies that always make me feel good are…

Activity:

Overhaul your bedroom and lounge areas so that they reflect your style and are uplifting and nurturing.

Play music that inspires you. 

Introduce colour into your clothing and your life.  Get some sunshine, and spend time in nature.

Clean up your house, your car and your energy!

Contact an old friend, or do something to make new friends.  Spend time with people you love, and who love you!

(This image by vichie81)