Writing Through Disaster and Conflict

It is our emotions that are our greatest muse.


Natural disasters. Terrorism. Racism. Human rights. Animal cruelty. Inequality.

The world won’t stop for you. Nature will always do its thing, and people … well, they will always be people. Personally, I am among the benevolent among humanity. There is not an inch of me that understands the unjust behaviors often displayed by mankind. I reject discrimination, hate and fear. I reject cruelty of all kinds — violence, malicious intent, inequality, intolerance, corruption and the mistreatment of animals. I renounce spite, resentment and narrow-mindedness.

Humanity is capable of deplorable acts and a merciless attitude. For those that feel deeply, live compassionately and with heart, these immoral behaviors can be extremely unsettling. I turn away from that which affects me negatively and focus on bringing positive and uplifting qualities into the world.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to ignore the ugly stuff. Sometimes, it hits close to home. So close, the option to ignore becomes impossible.

Other times, we are faced with issues and situations at the micro level; personal conditions involving love and relationships, responsibilities, an unseen event or financial concerns. Those are the ordeals we can’t pretend don’t exist. At least, not for very long. Those conditions are a part of life and are also the ones that grip our emotions and cause our bodies to react in some way as our nerves stretch to the very edge.

Stress. It affects us all at some point in varying degrees. Whether it is becoming disturbed about the horrible things affecting our world or our personal experiences, we have no choice but to learn how to cope with the twists and turns life throws at us. Professional writer or not, I believe writing has many benefits from the psychological standpoint. But as writers and creatives, it is through the written word that we find the perfect outlet to work through our emotions, as well as drive home our beliefs and visions for the world. Depending on where you want to take it.

We are complex creatures with many layers and depth. We view the world through the fluidity of our unique perspectives as we evolve, change and reach for new experiences. We are the flesh and blood; the tangible and malleable. Yet, we are also the esoteric and the mysterious; the light and the dark dwell within each of us. And it is our emotions that are our greatest muse.

Words are power

‘Everything begins with words — our stories, thoughts, messages. Each word has its own vibration too. It is these vibrations that create the reality that surrounds us. Words create more than just stories; they inform our universe, our lives and our reality — and they teach us. Through creating words, I have managed to reacquaint myself more fully with my soul and to live a more authentic, love-driven and passionate life.’

– From Creative Writing Energy

Exploring our feelings through writing — personal journals or storytelling — is extremely therapeutic. Some of these benefits include:

Finding clarity 

By expressing yourself and communicating complex ideas in a much more effective way, you can discover your true self and honor that part of you.

Eliminate stress 

Emptying your mind through writing helps to eliminate the stress hammering in your head. Capturing those moments, developing and working through your ideas produces a ripple effect; since not only do you declutter your mind, but it is also a process of rationalization.

Productivity

Writing activates neurons in your brain and gets you set to face the day. It is demonstrated that setting your goals or systems in writing significantly increases the possibilities of achieving them.

You will learn more 

About yourself, the world and others.

You will strengthen and cultivate your writing skills. You will find your voice.

You will gain awareness 

 If you write down what you have in mind regularly — your dreams, worries, fears, deepest desires — you will realize yourself.

So, now that we’ve explored some of the benefits of writing, let’s take a quick look at how we can use our emotions in our work to enrich our characters and stories.

Frustrated or angry

Use the rage to create story conflict. Inject the anger into your words and release the tension. You’ll find those pages to be edgy and fast, your characters a little narky or moody. Get gritty, dark, even profane. Burn your scenes with the crude and rude, twist the plot with vengeance in your heart and your readers will thank you.

Heartache 

Even better. Those words will capture depth and authenticity, pain and despair. Use the turbulent heart to stain your words with grief, bitterness and agony. Your characters are now real, complicated and imperfect. Your plot may be a little dangerous, shady or inspirational. Whatever feeling you’re attempting to convey, it will be sure to bring your readers to their knees as they resonate with your energy.

Happy-go-lucky 

Humor brings joy to the world and to your readers. Allow your happiness to bounce into your words and fill the pages with positivity and feelgood vibes. Surge ahead and spread the happy!

Love 

Alchemy and deep treasures abound through words of love. There is nothing more sacred in the world. By allowing your love to infect your story, you become an instrument of the highest order. The greatest mystery; the pinnacle of life — love. Deep love. It doesn’t get more real than this. The world cannot get enough of this stuff. Neither can your readers.

Despair and Gloom 

The heartbeat of your story; the why, how and where. The all-is-lost moment — vanished goals, mammoth obstacles, impossible situations — build the conflict for your characters and make your story matter. There is a time for everything; a time for tears and expressing the darkness; a time to mourn and wallow in pain. It is through pain that we learn our greatest lessons; through pain that we are reminded we’re still alive. Lend your characters the gift of pain and feel your own lighten in return.

Whether we’re reacting to widespread chaos, disasters or events in the greater world or the experiences we endure in our own worlds, writing is an exceptional tool to use to navigate those rocky waters and glorious peaks life offers us. So, the next time you are feeling a strong emotion, go ahead and get into your writing and see where it takes you.

Our stories can uplift the world one reader at a time. The world needs your emotionally driven words now more than ever. The world needs your love and emotion in all its forms.


Meditation is Sexy

“With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha

One way to access our creative higher-mind is through meditation. I know what you’re thinking – meditation is nothing new and it doesn’t sound as exotic or as sexy as the Tarot. But before you go jumping to conclusions, I’m going to tell you that meditation is extremely exotic and stone cold sexy.

How? I hear you ask. Great question. It is through entering the euphoric buzz offered through meditating that we are able to push through our inner boundaries to frolic with mysterious tales and visit enchanting worlds – and most importantly, we then allow higher messages to flow through to us that inform our daily writing. Is there anything sexier than that? 

Considering meditation has increased in popularity over recent years, there may be a good chance you’re already doing it, have tried it, or popped it on the to-do-someday list. If it’s one of the latter two, now is the perfect time to chillax and get your Zen on.  

 The practice of stilling the mind has been around and exercised by our ancestors for centuries. And for a tradition to stick around for so long, obviously there must be something to it, right?

Apparently, the exact origins of meditation are subject to debate among scholars, but whether this spiritual exercise originated from the Dhyana, Taoists or Buddhists, makes no difference to us writers. It is in the here and now that we can reap the many benefits offered through the continued use of meditation, and where we should take advantage of this limitless well available to us.    

While it comes as little surprise that many people throughout the world are keenly interested in meditating, only a few really understand its true purpose. Most of us are aware of the many benefits meditation provides. Research shows that when we meditate, our brain stops processing so much information. The frontal cortex goes offline, the activity in the parietal lobe slows down, the flow of incoming information in the thalamus reduces, and the reticular formation dials back the arousal signal.

What does this mean? – Loads of mental benefits. Meditation brings the brainwave pattern into an Alpha state that promotes healing and mindfulness. With regular practice meditation helps to:

  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Improve emotional stability
  • Increase creativity, happiness, clarity and intuition
  • Sharpen the mind
  • Expand consciousness

But wait, there’s more! The benefits of meditation are not only limited to our minds; our physiology undergoes a change too. Every cell in the body increases with more prana (energy). As our prana increases, so too do the physical benefits. Some of these include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Decreased tension in the body – eliminating headaches, ulcers, muscle and joint issues as well as easing insomnia
  • Increased serotonin production that improves mood
  • Improving the immune system
  • Increased energy levels

If you know a little about meditation, the above examples are probably familiar to you. There’s no denying the perks of the regular practice of meditation. Overall, stilling the mind reduces suffering on many levels, yet there is a higher, more valuable purpose to meditation that you may not know – It is through meditating that we strengthen our awareness to and begin to nurture our connection to the source of all creation, and thus open the portal to our higher-creative minds.

How perfect that you have this unlimited resource available at your fingertips!

I know that the prospect of meditation can be discouraging at times. Often, it can be difficult to calm your mind, stop the thoughts and get into a space that is quiet. I’ve been there. When I first started out, I soon gave up after a few tries with the assumption that meditation wasn’t for me. I’m an INTP personality type, which means my mind rests at an almost constant stream of ideas and thoughts – to the point I often drive myself mad. Naturally, meditation was an impossibility for someone like me.

Not so.

I did leave it alone for a while. A few years passed, until one day after studying some spiritual text, I dug my heels in. I found a piece of meditative vibes that suited me, grabbed my earbuds and set off to embark on a journey, determined to nail this baby or die trying. That’s another characteristic INTPs possess – when the conditions suit and we’re feeling it, an unshakable mindset can be our greatest asset. Although, I’m not sure my husband would agree.

Regardless of all things personality-driven, once I had decided to persist, nothing could stop me from my daily meditation sessions. Slowly I learned how to still my mind and release my soul to other-worldly dimensions. The invisible barriers parted more and more until I was able to enter the higher realms and succumb to the joy and peace those places brought, and I experienced the intensity of a love the likes of which cannot be fully articulated. There are no words enough to explain it to those who do not understand. Yet, for those that do understand, no words are needed.

I want you to understand.

The higher realms can seem like an abstract notion – a golden mirage dangling like a transparent carrot you can never quite reach. Truthfully, I can understand the driving thought behind that assumption. There was a time that I may have considered something similar. But I am here to tell you that those other dimensions your physical senses are unable to perceive exist and are as real as the tangible life you are experiencing at this moment. Some would argue that those higher realms are more real than our physical world, but that’s a whole other subject.  

 The main point and takeaways are this – through meditation we can raise our vibration. When we achieve a higher vibration or energy, we begin to disembody from our fleshy exterior, and still our mind enough to enter the great silence. This is where we can feel our connection to all that is and become aware of an intelligence much higher than any of us. When we begin to make the journey toward these higher planes, we begin to dissolve the invisible veil often shrouding our lives; we begin to reacquaint with our authentic selves.

This is where the magic happens. Meditation is like the springboard for your creativity. It is the place where limitations mean nothing and we open a current to receive information and messages, and act as a vehicle to a higher intelligence. This is where art has the ability to transcend art and is truly worth persevering through the sessions it may require to achieve a higher-state of mind.

Now that we know the value that meditation has on opening the pathways to our higher-creative minds, let’s have a look at a few tips to get you in the Zen zone.       

  • Sit or lie comfortably. You may want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.
  • Close your eyes – or not. I prefer to shut my baby browns and see through the eyes of my soul.
  • Choose a soothing or divine sound that resonates with you. I use the spiritual sounds mentioned in the book Wishes Fulfilled by Wayne Dyer. These sounds are based on I Am, That I Am.  
  • Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe.
  • If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
  • Meditate with a focus on creating a current with your creative resource. I will often ease into a session by repeating the mantra “I Am creative writing” or “I Am this pure revelation of everything I wish to know” – keeping my current work in progress in mind.

Meditation is where we find our sacredness and our truths, and with continued daily practice, meditation will help bring balance and clarity into your world as well as magic. As a storyteller, the world needs your magic. Get sexy and exotic with meditation and relish the beautiful experiences that abound in you. I promise you won’t regret it.   


Originally published at Romance University on 07/30/2019


Transcend Through Story: Unlock Your Imagination

 

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

~ Albert Einstein

Every now and then, I am drawn into another realm, a wonderous and boundless kingdom where the only factor limiting the possibilities is the scope of my thoughts. I don’t need to go anywhere physically to enter this other world. I could be sitting on my outdoor lounge beneath the sun, or at the beach digging in the sand with my children as they play near the shore. I could even be punching the letters on my keyboard, just as I did when producing this article.  It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always have access to this rich and magical endowment that I can channel anytime and anywhere I choose – my imagination.

Our imagination is one of the greatest gifts we are given and it is as intertwined with the beautiful mystery of life as the certainty of the sun rising at dawn tomorrow. We can’t touch it or taste it, and we can’t hear it or smell it. There are no scientific analytics or mathematical formulas to support its existence, yet we all know it’s there – the invisible thoughts lifting us up and transporting us to other places.

It is imagination that forms the cornerstone of ingenuity. It is essential for the continued evolution of humanity and it is the foundation of all creation.

In his series of texts in The marriage of Heaven and Hell, the 18th century intuitive poet William Blake made this wry comment: “What is now proved was once only imagin’d.” As you consider the simplicity of these words of wisdom and allow them to seep into your essence, your imagination will begin to kick into action.

Take a look around. Everything you see and all you experience with your physical senses emerged from somebody else’s imagination. For something to exist in this world, it must first be anchored firmly into your imagination. Without this perpetual resource, life becomes stifled and creativity is halted.

During his lifetime, Blake was largely considered an outlier for the mystical undercurrents expressed through his creativity – and that’s a nice way of putting it. Yet Blake is now recognized as a seminal figure in the history of poetry for his rich symbolism that embraces imagination as “human existence itself”.

However, William Blake wasn’t alone in his radically insightful views. Throughout the ages, virtually all spiritual teachings speak of the power of imagination; and that invisible formless realm has been bestowed upon you as your birthright.

Our lives today mostly encompass a combination of fast-moving experiences strung together by a series of innovative moments playing out on the leading edge of existence. These are exciting times where revolution appears commonplace, in the form of the technology infiltrating every field from fast food to finances. We’re closer together yet further apart thanks to the internet, and each generation contends with profound social, economic and technological transformations.

A fast-track life with the world at your fingertips can often mean a ceaseless internal merry-go-round spinning around the edges of your soul. It can be overwhelming and stressful, and sometimes we lose sight of the important stuff like love, sacred connections and that beautiful essence peering out from behind your cagey eyeballs.

So, while you’re taking that look around at everything that was once in someone else’s imagination, ask yourself if you’ve neglected your own. Have you left it at the threshold of adulthood to gather the dust of the passing years? Or perhaps your deadlines have highjacked it along with your mortgage repayments.

Maybe. Maybe not.

No one could blame you if you have temporarily misplaced your wild imagination. We are in an age swamped with selfies and Instagram, little Tweets here, and bigger Tweets there. Did someone mention Snapchat? Yeah, I just heard the teenager throw me some backchat.

What’s new?

Your entire life is probably now chronicled on Facebook and you just must keep up with the latest cat memes and viral diarrhea – right?

You’ll also need to remember to pay your bills on time, feed your kids after dance class, follow the rules, and for heaven’s sake – who let out the damned cat? Catch a little Netflix before bed. You may manage something more, if you last that long, because you’re so tired working your butt off to meet the responsibilities that are mounting up somewhere around your hairline, that you feel like your brain will begin to emulsify through your ears.

Meanwhile, you have convinced yourself that it’s completely normal for your eight-year-old to watch adults play with Kinder Surprise toys and Frozen figurines on YouTube just so you can grab a quick five minutes alone and gather your whirling thoughts.

Okay. I might be exaggerating a little. Maybe that scenario doesn’t exactly apply to all of us, or all the time. The point is, most of us are so busy, our childlike imagery often becomes a distant memory we seldom entertain, excluding those Kinder Surprise-playing-grown-ups on YouTube, of course.

In his wonderful book, Wishes Fulfilled, Wayne Dyer says, “Today, quantum physics confirms the universe is made up of formless (spirit) energy, and that particles (that is, things) do not originate from particles.” Meaning everything springs from something akin to your imagination.

Everything.

Think about that for a moment. I bet while contemplating those words something deep within you recognizes the truth. It certainly gets my inner-bells chiming, especially when considering this observation made by the father of quantum physics, Max Plank: “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and, therefore, part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

I don’t know about you, but when I first read those words something unfurled and soared through my being at the realization that science cannot take us through the doors of the divine, no matter how hard we knock. The truth is we are as mysterious and beautiful as life itself, and the power of creation is within all of us. It’s within the places you choose to take your thoughts, and the ideas that seemingly spring from nowhere. And it lives, thrives and breathes through our stories.

Beneath my author name that appears on the banner on my website is the tagline “stories that transcend”. I chose that phrase because I believe story is the perfect instrument in which to nurture the endless creativity of imagination, and I believe it is through story that we can help make the world a better place.

It is particularly true that through fantasy and paranormal storytelling that authors can transport readers to other worlds brimming with magical wonders and spectacular ideas – stories born through the creative forces of imagination that provide an outlet to escape from the demands of modern life as we begin to consider the “what if?”.

Yet, as we ponder the magnificence of stories and imagination, and the escapism they provide to our busy lives, there’s something more at play here. It’s a golden opportunity to snatch back those moments when you dressed up in your favorite super-hero costume and flung yourself off the garage roof; or to reclaim those times when you lost yourself in a world of make-believe that felt so real, you couldn’t quite figure out the difference between the parallel realities.  Nor did you want to.

So, as you turn the pages of a great fantasy, paranormal romance or sci-fi book and immerse yourself in the characters, a tiny spark ignites the dormant embers of your own imagination, in turn reminding you of your own childlike imagery.

Then something happens – the story ends.

Once you’ve read the last line and your fleeting visit to a fictional world has come to an end, you’re often confronted with the reality of your life. The enchanting tendrils of fantasy begin to fade as the weight of the “real world” sets in. Too soon does the inspiration of a great story merge with the internal merry-go-round until it’s lost somewhere in the gray matter of your brain.

But what if you chose to hold on to that feeling? What if you internalized it just a little longer until you have convinced yourself for a few magnificent moments that anything is possible? And what if you danced with the galaxy twinkling beneath your rational thoughts till your essence soared like the inner-child playing make-believe?

Reading the words strung together to form a story created by someone else’s imagination, unknowingly gives us permission to unleash our own. But it’s when we really take the time to ponder this greatest of gifts that we realize the limitless possibilities that abound in us.

Through the mystical chords of imagination, story will help save the world. It is through transcending beyond your daily responsibilities and releasing your imagination that you will expand and enrich your own life.

Imagine that?