Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Problem with Dead People


Writers don’t typically give you the punch line to a story in the lead paragraph. We want you to have a reason to keep reading. Nonetheless, I’m going to clarify the problem with dead people right now: They can’t apologize.

Ah, now you know. And you’re still here, aren’t you? I understand why. Your dead person can’t apologize. Neither can mine.

The good news? We can still forgive them and move on.

Have you seen Coco? And, no, I’m not digressing. The movie beautifully illustrates the Day of the Dead concept. To loosely summarize: Our loved ones aren’t truly gone as long as we remember them. I want to take that theory to the next step – let’s say the ones who hurt us in life aren’t truly at peace until we forgive them.

Sure, they had power here – your dead one might have seriously damaged your self-esteem or changed your perspective on life. But they’re gone now, and we have the power. We can stop letting their past actions determine our future. We can let them rest in peace, as we move forward in peace.

Step One: Reclaim your power.
In my e-book, I talk about wizards – we grant some people (living or dead) the power to change how we see ourselves. Every time your mind goes to that negative place, with that negative interaction, visualize a stop sign. Clearly see it in your head. Then, stop the voice and force yourself to think of something else. I’ve done it, and you can too – I know you can.

Step Two: Hear me.
If you have trouble stopping the voice and mentally turning the corner, substitute my voice. Hear me saying, “You are amazing and good and wonderful and strong.” Because you are. (I know, there are one or two CI readers who don’t actually know me and haven’t heard my voice. If that’s you, and you can’t hear me, then see this in your head:

I AM AMAZING AND GOOD AND WONDERFUL AND STRONG.

If that seems like a leap, then try the affirmation I use: I choose to be kind to myself.

Step Three: Grant forgiveness, for your own sake.
This step is the big one, and we all have different ways to forgive. Maybe you write the issue down on paper and burn the paper. Maybe you say, aloud, “I forgive you.” Maybe you say, “What you did was horrible and wrong. I love you still. I thank you for all the good you did. And I forgive you.”

Step Four: Understand that it’s a process.
If you’ve been carrying a dead person on your back for years, that’s a lot of weight. You might not drop it all today. But, you can let it go! You can. Because you, my friend, are amazing. And far stronger than you know.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

#pocketpoem -- Poem in Your Pocket Day

April is fantastic -- filled with special days. And today is one of them! We're celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day with the American Academy of Poets.

What? Did I hear you say you don't have a poem in your pocket? People, people, people. Have I taught you nothing? Click here, scroll, find a poem, print it, pocket it. Or, just print this gorgeousness from Edward Hirsch. Enjoy!






Monday, April 23, 2018

Creativity Tips: Be Delighted

One of the most creative forces in the universe turns 97 today. We celebrated Mom's birthday Saturday, and she sang songs, laughed, ate pizza and cupcakes, and said the flavored LaCroix was "the best water I ever had -- it really has some pip!"

Mom really has some pip.

Today, in honor of her birthday, I'm sharing a couple of the "secrets" that keep her young and creative:

1. Mom is always willing to be delighted. Think about that. She approaches everything from a meal to a bingo game expecting good things. It's not optimism. It's faith. Mom has a rock-solid faith that everything happens for the best.

2. Mom is observant. When she was younger and we'd go out together, Mom was always encouraging us to, "Look up!" There were clouds in the sky, gargoyles on buildings, a never-ending source of wonder -- all you had to do was look up and see it.

3. Mom is grateful. There are some incredibly grumpy people in her nursing home. She's not one of them. She still thanks the people who help her, and asks them questions -- she's still engaged in their lives and grateful for their assistance.

I could go on, but three is magical and so is my Mom. Help me celebrate her today -- be delighted, look up, and find something and someone to be grateful for this week!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Creativity Tip: Write a note. Right now.

Oh sure, it's National Poetry Month and we all know how I feel about that. Poetry is life in lovely lines. BUT, did you know that April is also National Card and Letter Writing Month? It's true -- I wouldn't kid you about something as important as putting pen to paper.

What kind of card or letter should you write? Love letters come in many forms -- they don't have to be romantic; they just need to convey your heart. Thank you letters are always a delight. If you haven't received a gift lately, write a note about a gift from years ago that you still enjoy. How about an empathy card to a friend who's struggling?

There are millions of cards out there; my personal favorites tend to come from Emily McDowell:
While I love stationery of all kind, I'll tell you a secret: Plain old paper works too. And if you really, really, really can't think of anything to write, here's an idea: Copy a poem -- you'll have National Poetry Month covered too.

Don't forget: SWALCAKWS*.

*Newsflash: LOL and BRB came long after SWAK (sealed with a kiss) and SWALCAKWS (sealed with a lick, 'cause a kiss won't stick).

Thursday, April 12, 2018

National Poetry Month: The Journey by Mary Oliver

Hi you! I haven't posted in ever so long. But, it's National Poetry Month, and I just read a gorgeous article from 2011: Maria Shriver interviewing Mary Oliver, one of my all-time favorite poets.

So, this is for you -- in honor of National Poetry Month, and April birthdays, and Mary Oliver, and Maria Shriver, and all of us trying to save lives that are not ours to save.

(Hmmm. Can you read the poem? I can't, but the image is pretty so I'm keeping it here. Use this link if the words are too teeny to read.)


Friday, January 26, 2018

#BookReview -- This Is How It Always Is

What's your family's secret?

We all have secrets. Every person, every family. And we protect those secrets -- until, one day, we don't.

In Laurie Frankel's beautifully crafted This Is How It Always Is, the core secret is about a child's gender identity. Frankel is well-versed in the topic. She is raising a transgender child. But, as her experience and this novel reveal, who we are goes far beyond our gender.

This Is How It Always Is takes us inside an enduring love story and an evolving fairy tale. We travel along with Rosie and Penn and their family as they move from one state to another, one country to another, in search of ... well, read it and find out.

As you read, you'll come across phrases that make you say: Yep. I know exactly what she means. For example:
"Rosie's number-one concern was: what would make Claude happy?
Penn's number-one concern was: what would make Claude happy?
But happy is harder than it sounds."

Happy is harder than it sounds. Parenting is harder than it sounds. Love is harder than it sounds. But deciding to read this book? That's easy.

I give it Four Bookmarks. Which is like Four Stars out of a Five Star review, only booky. Five Bookmarks, FYI, has to be up there with Little Women.

(And big thanks to Shanna for giving me the book!)