Gone Fishin!

I set myself a 10 minute exercise today.My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to write a piece using my intuition as a prompt.  With  nary a hesitation, subconscious the hub of my life –trout fishing it is.

I grew up seeing my father’s coterie of small and not so small bronzed angler trophies gain more and more room on the dining room mantel shelf. He was a champion angler and with a special love of trout fishing and it struck me that there is a synergy between fishing techniques and any wide casting ego that is determined to take you down into the murky depths.

Trout fishing requires the right tackle, sinker and a hook.

Ego: The right tackle is a taken– a range of limiting beliefs coupled with a hook and a sinker that will work every time given the opportunity.

Trout fishing – requires a bait use either garden worms or a lure.

Ego: any pretty sly lure will do the trick

Trout fishing: The back eddies and quiet deep water are the best spots to catch your fish.

Ego: definitely the back eddies and seemingly innocent looking situations will often give the most rewarding catch.

Trout fishing: Make your own colouful lures to skim across the surface to attract your prize.

Ego:  It can create the ultimate lure, where the barb is hidden so well that it can hook you before you even are aware of it’s presence.

Trout fish: Before cooking you need to gut, skin and wash the fish.

Ego: Gut, skin and rub in salt for best effect.

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Friday Tips – Speakers Notes

I much prefer speakers to use memory prompts as speakers who read their speech frequently lose the life force of  delivering an audience grabbing presentation. Why, because they are tied to their printed word, often fearful of losing their place which invariably means they do leading to more discomfort behind the lectern.  Eye-contact is patchy as they try to keep on track. The speech controls them instead of them controlling the speech. But if you feel you must here are some tips for managing your speaking papers.

Type the speech with double space – use only the top half of A4 paper – (if you continue the text to the bottom of the page guess where your eyes go as you read it) It is important to maintain eye contact – read a sentence, use your finger to keep on track and look up at the audience come back to your place, read a sentence…….. Use a highlighter to score beginning of fresh point being made.  Number each page clearly at the top right hand corner.  Practice moving the presented page smoothly across to one side or place behind the other notes. Don’t forget to rehearse it, time it, pace it. 

I recommend Memory Prompts – one liners that take you from point to point.  Write the speech in its entirety and then rehearse it using a highlighter to indicate each point, not complete sentences, just the nuts and bolts of the point. Retype the points in double spacing. Number the prompts clearly. Rehearse using the prompts and checking with the speech notes.  File the speech. Rehearse using the prompts only. Rehearse using the prompts only until it runs smooth, reviewing any stumbling blocks and rewording in language you are comfortable with. Rehearse and time it.  Ready to go get em!

Changing thoughts on being a 2

I know that I’m pure energy and that the thoughts that I generate have complete dominion over my reality. So I set myself the task of diligently observing my thinking and  I am beginning to understand how much brain activity I invest into negative or victim thoughts.

To give you an understanding of the canvas I am working with, I am a number 2 on the Enneagram profiling scale. This personality profile is defined as the ‘Helper’ or ‘Giver’

You would recognise the type as some one who has a natural empathy, is there in a crisis, or intuitively works out in a flash how to help/please/make you feel good.  Nice people yes because there is a deep caring there but the dark side is that we 2’s have a pathological need for your approval. We suppress our own needs as we give, understand and help but if this is not given the right approbation, recognition or level of appreciation God help you as the sweetness transforms into a shrew.   I’m in conflict as I write these words wanting to say unfair, unfair. Not me I’m evolved, my consciousness is awake.  I do things for the purest motives. I’m lovely!  Really Mary?

But with a detached observation, I notice that those poor little me, dark thoughts – Nigredo – will give me a dull achy type pain in my sinus area. I am sure if I was scanned while indulging in this putrefying nastiness, neurologists would identify exactly where the activity was happening in my brain. Thoughts of love, laughter and creativity – Albedo – conversely pulsate a blissful rainbow of colour and peace rising up, so it seems to me from my heart and suffusing my brain to match the vibration of the universe.  These are the same feelings that I get when I meditate.

With the Nigredo thoughts comes pain that pulls down a heaviness, a darkness into my body but with the Albedo there is a feeling of nurture, like the warmth of a loved one’s arms about you or the gentlest kiss.  It is all about softness whereas the mean manipulative thoughts are harsh, gritty like flint in a wound.

I’m trying to train myself  to identify that pain associated with the negative thought the instant it occurs, to act like a warning klaxon to stop the victim/the world has done me wrong  thoughts worming in, waiting for any opportunity to take me down.

Awareness of course, being in the present is route to consciousness. The path of being in the present for me is identify the pain or the joy that a thought gives me. Then I can use my will, to change the pain of the negative thought into a vibration of joy.

By transforming a dense leaden contemplation into golden bliss choices – that is true alchemy. ‘How clever I am,’ I think, ‘I could start something here.’  But Mary you know this is not new, wise men, the holy men have been saying this throughout the ages. So why has it taken me so long when I knew it intellectually? The truth is I, like you, needed to be ready to embrace this wisdom –  to make it my own. Frank Sinatra nailed it  –To think I did all that, And may I say, not in a shy way, Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way.

You simply need to get out of your own way.

There are thousands of  published authors  longing for people to read their literary masterpiece. It must be the same with any artistic work.  Artists hanging on the moment when their work resonates with a buyer.  Musicians who compose soul connecting music and lyrics  waiting for the disc jockeys of the world to play their tracks over and over again.

Losing You, my second book, is a story of a woman trying to make sense of her husband’s death.  It is a  story that shows the power of the human spirit in overcoming adversity and one that I know that will touch and help others in an authentic way. Each chapter, each paragraph  is  stamped with my creative soul that  longs to connect with others.  I have  5 star reviews on Amazon.  So why isn’t it flying off the E-Book shelves?

Is it the quality of the writing? Maybe but what constitutes good writing? Isn’t that in the eye of the reader? From all the books I have read and creative writing courses I have completed,  I hear over and over that a good story will overcome any paucity of literary capabilities.

We have all heard of the first book soaring up the sales chart, some of which have distinct critical merit (as appraised by respected and known literary critics) and some that are disdained by the critics and seen as a ‘would-be wordsmiths’ who have managed to nail a gap in the market.

As writers we  take these successful writers as our yardstick.  With chagrin we accept they’re  intellectually better writers  than ourselves or  writers  who are cleverer than us  not because they have any greater talent but simply  because we see them as reader smart. We tell ourselves that these writers are  better, cleverer, more worthy than ourselves.

But this is all rubbish. The truth is that we frequently, strike frequently, we regularly sabotage our own success. We say we want success and then bask  in a slip steam of self-doubt – not good enough, not worthy, not capable, not deserving and the numero uno fearfulness.

Is it any wonder our books don’t sell?

What we think we create – cause and effect.  This principle is no longer lightweight, it is quantum physics proven.  The universe does not judge and discount self-abusive thoughts.  It simply provides what we consistently give energy to.  So how do we clean up these negative thoughts to visualise our book racing off the shelves.  It is simple, first you need to define why you want it to be a bestseller and to be consciously aware of  those myriad of niggling, juggling negative thoughts that invade our neurons minute by minute.

From what I understand the universe rewards clarity of thought so with your definition  unsullied by negative beliefs you simply need to get out of your own way and focus on what you desire. Feel it, live it, breathe it and claim it. It’s yours.

Okay move over doubt. Okay already here I go:

I am the author of the best-selling novel Losing You. Losing You is not only is a great read, it inspires, uplifts and connects at a spiritual level with my readers.

What’s Not to Worship?

We moved from the white-hot of midday sun into the cool dimness of the Basilica of San Frediano in Lucca.  Our Italian tour guide was a young woman, who knew far too much history for her own good and wanted desperately to share it with the world.   Her voice now barely a whisper detailed the faded frescos and the 12 century marble baptismal font as we quietly wound our way through the side chapels.

She waited patiently in the side chapel of St. Zita until all the group were present.  There was renewed determination as she spoke of the artifacts and paintings.  We had been walking and ingesting Lucca for over three hours. The majority of were simply pleased to sit, pushing shoes off our sore feet as we sought the coolness of the marble floor.  Our guide’s history lesson was overwhelming, ticking off the centuries  while our thoughts fantasized on  a coffee and shopping break.  She sensed she had lost us but then she played her Saint Zita trump card. Deliberately she stepped away from the front of the altar, with a cliché gesture of game show host she indicated the brightly lit glass sarcophagus behind her.   Where the rest of the church was dim illuminated only by rose-red pools of light or iron stand banks of flickering candles, the glass case was rudely lit, neon bright like a cheap side show.  There  on a bed of brocade was the mummified remains of an ancient, once, woman, now only a  leather black corpse dressed in white with a circlet of dusty plastic flowers in her thin wispy red hair. The guide  had our attention. And with that my weakened enthusiasm for absorbing yet another church or monument was dealt a fatal blow.

IMGP1605The only iconic place of worship –  that I have experienced –  that I found uplifting  and gave a sense of spiritual freedom was Gaudi’s Cathedral Sagrada Familia.  Is it because of Gaudi’s  imaginative architecture compared to predictable medieval or gothic  buttressed church naves? Those darkened hallows have a heaviness that dampens my spirits whereas  Gaudi’s cathedral is a lightness of towering space that triggers the imagination to explore it with the spiritual innocence of a  child. May be Gaudi paid heed to the biblical quote  ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’

I love history but sleuthing around a church attempting to retain  a potted knowledge of patrons, saints and bishops while viewing the stained glass windows, a hand-carved lectern from a single oak tree, an alabaster madonna and child is not for me and irrefutably not some horror movie mummified relic in a glass case.

To me the natural elements of earth, sea and sky provide my altar for a conversation with a higher source. What about you?

Friday – Writing Tips from Successful Authors

alphabet-15461_150With thanks to Time Out New York for publishing great tips from successful authors. My pick of the bountiful crop.

Reza Aslan (rezaaslan.com) Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, $27) “The best advice I can give an aspiring writer is the one I received years ago: Nobody cares about you or your work like you do. Your agent, your publisher and your publicist are all wonderful people who work their hardest for you to succeed. But in the end, your success as a writer depends almost wholly upon your own tireless efforts to promote your book and make sure it gets the attention it deserves.”

Edwidge Danticat (facebook.com/edwidgedanticat) Claire of the Sea Light (Knopf, $25.95) “It might sound corny but listen to your heart. Let that inner voice guide you, the one closest to your truest self. The story you are most afraid to tell might be your truest one, your deepest one. Don’t let neither success nor failure deter you. Remember the excitement of those first days, those first words, those first sentences—and keep going.”

Ben Dolnick (bendolnick.com) At the Bottom of Everything (Pantheon, $24.95) “Get a kitchen timer. Writers are ingenious at redefining what qualifies as doing work (‘If I just spend this morning cleaning my desk…’). A kitchen timer tolerates no such nonsense. Set yourself a daily writing quota (as little as a half hour is fine at first), set the clock and get to work.”

Anthony Marra (@anthonyfmarra) A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Hogarth, $26) “Read widely. Write for three hours a day, six days a week. Throw out the red pens and retype your work. When the frustrations accumulate and you want to give up, keep in mind that your solitary struggles to shape language into meaning will become the most profound moments of your creative life. Enjoy yourself.”