Write Daily to Overcome Obstacles

Do you have a method to overcome obstacles in your life? You might not have thought about this before, but consider how much this could help you in your life. You probably have a number of obstacles that you’d like to overcome, but you’ve never thought about a process that might help resolve them.

Is this even possible, you might wonder? Yes, writing is a tool that can help you reflect on your obstacles one at a time and find solutions from within. In fact, this is one of the best ways to overcome obstacles.

Obstacles show up lots of ways in life. It could be a health problem or a big financial debt. It could be a relationship challenge. You might feel challenged because you lack confidence to move forward because a parent, teacher or other influential person in your life criticized you. You might fear rejection or you might be challenged with a self-imposted obstacle such as perfectionism. Regardless of what it is, stay with me. I’m here to assure you that you can overcome obstacles.

overcome obstacles

Your greatest gift is something that you already hold within. Did you realize that you already have access to the answers of how to resolve your own obstacles? Who would know better than you? It can be helpful to seek advice on how to overcome obstacles from others who pushed through similar obstacles. You can surely learn from their story and what advice they have to offer, but ultimately, you have to take into consideration how their suggestion might fit into your own life situation.

Your life is like a puzzle where all the pieces affect the others. It all fits neatly together to form a big picture. Just because someone else used a drastic measure to remove an obstacle from their life, such as divorce, doesn’t mean you need to go to this extreme to overcome obstacles you’re having with your spouse. Divorce, in fact, can open up new obstacles especially if children are involved. You need to take into consideration the whole picture. Who could possibly know better than you all the factors that you might want to consider?

It can be helpful to seek some advice from supportive friends and loved ones who know you and might be able to give some friendly advice, but be sure to remember that when you ask for advice, some people might want to hit you back later with an “I told you so” whipping. If you choose to ask for advice, be sure to carefully consider the source and whether or not they’re able to overcome obstacles in their lives.

In Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul, there’s a section in the book about overcoming obstacles. The majority of the stories are from successful writers who faced obstacles with their health, or with teachers who discouraged them about their writing. Each of them tells their story of how they chose to work through the obstacle rather than let it stop them from being the writers they wanted to be. Even if you don’t want to be a full-time writer, consider how helpful it might be to use the power of writing to overcome your own obstacles.

Prolific writer, Chet Cunningham, tapping out one of his 300 books!

Chet Cunningham tells the story of how he failed the English entrance exam when he applied to college and he started college in a low level English class. He wanted to major in journalism and one of his professors called him aside to let him know that he didn’t think he’d be able to make it as a journalist.

Fortunately, Chet worked around this scholarly obstacle and submitted articles to the local newspaper which got published while he was still in college. Instead of being halted by the professor’s discouraging words, Chet decided he would work three times as hard as the other students and sure enough he published even more articles in the local papers. Eventually, the professor accepted him as a journalism major. Chet went on to write 300 books. Yes, that’s right. It’s not a typo. He wrote 300 books!

Consider one of the challenges you’re facing in your life now. It probably comes to mind often and troubles you, but then you find a way to calm down that voice and remind it to go away. What if, instead, you sat down to write about the challenge to see what comes of it? The solution might not come to you in a day, but if you continue to write to overcome obstacles day after day, you’ll be surprised at how you can really do some housecleaning in your life and in your mind. As you get more clear with your thinking and come up with strategies on how to overcome obstacles, you  have the opportunity to enjoy more fun and rewards in your life.overcome obstaclesYou might be thinking that you have bigger obstacles, ones that are too big to write your way through them. But you won’t know if you don’t try. You have to write to get to that inner voice and hear what it has to say. You will come up with answers.

But what if you’re facing a big personal challenge with a family member who is sick or recently passed away and you have unresolved issues? Sit down and write and you’ll find the lessons that were designed just for you. Whatever is happening in your life means that you’re the one who was meant to deal with it. It came your way for a reason. And it’s up to you to move through it or around it. As you set an example to others of how you overcome obstacles, you’ll gain respect from them and you’ll gain confidence to keep pushing through more obstacles in your life as well.

Just because you were rejected once doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try again. Just because someone said you were a failure doesn’t make them right unless you submit to their opinion. Just because you don’t have a college degree doesn’t mean you can’t write. You can write to overcome obstacles.

Just because you’re facing a health challenge doesn’t mean you can’t write. Stephen Hawking wrote more than a dozen books despite his physical challenges with motor neuron disease. And Ray Charles became one of the most famous songwriters of his time despite the fact that he was blind.

My parents discouraged me from pursuing writing as a career, while my teachers encouraged me to pursue my talent and passion for writing. Fortunately, I had enough confidence to stick to my dream and went on to pursue the education I needed to become an English professor. Later I changed the direction of my career to marketing and then corporate education and quality control, but the hub of my career has always evolved around writing.

I acquired the habit of writing morning pages after reading The The Artist’s Way at Work by Mark Bryan and Julia Cameron. When I write every morning, I inevitably end up writing about some of the challenges I’ve been facing, some of the projects I’ve been procrastinating, and some of the overwhelm I sometimes feel in trying to figure out how I can accomplish all I want to do.

As I write through each of my obstacles one at a time day after day, I inevitably find a ways to overcome obstacles. Sometimes it means that I figure out a way to remove a person or situation from my life. Other times it might be that I finally decide to start tackling a project and it gets done faster than I expect. Other times I might be dealing with a challenge with a relationship, and inevitably as I write about it, I find the best way to overcome the obstacle at least for now.

How writing daily can help you stop procrastinating. 

As you write about challenges, there comes a point when you realize that there’s no point in complaining about them day after day. It’s quite empowering instead to brainstorm ways you might overcome obstacles. This plants seeds and solutions that will lead you forward. And finally, after you overcome obstacles, remember to note how you became a better person through the experience.




How Writing Daily Can Help You Stop Procrastinating

If you’ve ever felt blocked as a writer, you know that one of the best ways to stop procrastinating is to just sit down and start writing. By getting into the action of writing, you stop procrastinating and immediately start producing sentences. As many successful authors will tell you, it’s best to just start writing, even if the sentences aren’t yet coming out just the way you want them to. Make time to write every day and you will find that you’re able to stop procrastinating.

Today I finished up last year’s taxes. It’s May and yes, just in case you were concerned, I did file for an extension. I should have gotten the taxes out of the way sooner, but since I don’t like doing taxes, I allowed myself to procrastinate. But the good news is that it wasn’t as long as I procrastinated last year. Last year I didn’t turn in my taxes until August.

Journal every morning.

One of the biggest benefits of writing three morning pages, as suggested by Julia Cameron in the Artist’s Way, is that by writing these pages every morning, it gives me an opportunity to think forward toward the day ahead. It’s natural to write about the things I’m excited to do that day as well as the things that are bothering me. I also write about the things I know I need to get done, but don’t want to do. And I write about things I don’t have enough time to get to today even though I think I’d like to. When I’m journaling in the morning, it all makes it to the pages.

Can morning pages help you ride a creative dragon? 

When writing for the third or fourth day in a row why I don’t want to do a thing, it’s like having a little internal coach that’s reminding me that I really need to get this thing done. Once I get in motion, it usually happens quicker than I expect, or I feel rewarded just knowing that it’s done. In the case of reminding myself over and over again that I needed to vacuum and mop the floors last week, I finally did it, and I got the satisfaction of a cleaner home.

Choose to do one task to break through procrastination.

All of these projects that stand in front of me are like little flies buzzing around my head reminding me that I’m not good enough, and that I should be getting more done each day. These projects are like challenges that dare to hold me back. By deciding to bust through them, they disappear just like those little enemies do on video games when I shoot at them. It’s feels great to know that they’re out of the way and I can proceed forward.

Speaking of shooting, sometimes when I finally get involved in something I’ve been procrastinating, I find out that it has already solved itself or that it’s much less time consuming than I originally expected, or that I only need to take one small step now and there’s a good reason to wait to complete the rest of it. So many good things come from just getting started, doing the tasks involved, and feeling the relief of knowing that I can move forward.

Take action now to make room for new opportunities.

In her book, A Broom of One’s Own, Nancy Peacock talks about her housecleaning business and some of her clients. She rants about her challenges of picking up after people. In chapter four, she describes an older couple, The Kruegers, who are on her “hit list.” They frequently ask her to move furniture and large plants. Mrs. Krueger is always pointing out the dirty spots in the house, or a place where she recently saw a spider in the curtains. She points out some dust that built up between the wall-to-wall carpeting and the baseboard, and a spot on a cabinet in the kitchen, always nit-picking about something.

Nancy needs the money and the housekeeping gives her the freedom to write on her own schedule. But does she really need these clients that she dreads to visit? She doesn’t like working for them, and as she records this on paper, she’s emphasizing the fact that she doesn’t want to go back. The very act of writing it makes it become more apparent to her conscious mind and automatically lays out an action item she should do. She becomes aware of something she’s procrastinating. Yes, she might have to find a new client and come up to speed with their needs, but wouldn’t it just be better to get it done sooner than later?

Assuming you’re writing fairly fast from your stream of consciousness, those things that come to mind from your flow of inner voice are the things that can propel you forward. Just by acknowledging what you want to do, you plant a seed that can now sprout and begin to manifest in your life. As you write about it, the sprout begins to grow.

When you’re proactive, you find that random opportunities come up and you realize that don’t have to go back to that job. You don’t have to live in that place. You don’t have to put up with that person, or whatever it is. As I read Nancy’s chapter about her frustration with the Kruegers, I’m wondering through each paragraph if she’s going to resolve this and escape from the Kruegers. I want to know if she’s able to write her way out of procrastination. Will she stop procrastinating and tell the Kruegers that she’s never coming back?

This morning when I was writing my morning pages, I was reflecting on the fact that my husband and I had a full day at home with nothing on our schedule, so it was a great day to finish up our taxes. We have a way of doing our taxes together. I do a lot of the categorization, while he creates spreadsheets, scans documents, and sends everything over to our accountant. It’s a good process. It’s one we sort of fell into after almost two decades of being together. Next year, yes next year, I will surely get my part done sooner!

Pay attention to why you’re procrastinating.

There’s great value in journaling about things you don’t want to do, but feel you need to. Simply by writing about it, you gain insight into specific reasons you feel stuck.


Do you really need to do this thing? Or is it something you can ignore, delegate or dismiss?


After knowing for the past weeks and months that I needed to do taxes, I finally wrote about it so much that I realized it would be much better to just get it done. Even when I wasn’t writing about it, it was cluttering up space in my subconscious, like a nagging voice that got louder and more annoying over time. Writing about it allows it to surface and be addressed with the attention it deserves. I thought about hiring a bookkeeper, but it’s really not necessary, at least for now.

Writing about your to do list is more effective than a to do list alone.

Journaling about what needs to get done is more effective than just putting an item on a to list that you forward from one day to the next. It’s easy to look at a big task and think, “oh, not now, maybe tomorrow.” But when you’re writing about something day after day, your mind starts to percolate all the little tasks within the bigger project. As it bubbles up through the words on your page, it’s starts to boil and you get fired up about getting it done and overwith.

Writing daily is a remedy to help you stop procrastinating. Lorraine Haataia

Writing the same thing over and over again every day is motivation in itself to stop procrastinating. How can I bear to be with myself if I put this off another day? By writing about what I feel I should be doing, it helps me to stop procrastinating. Even as I pause from writing, I have to ask myself, why am I pausing?

Stop procrastinating.

Keep writing!

Decide to get it done ASAP.

It’s much easier to just get projects done quickly, especially those that you don’t want to do. It’s such a relief to get them done and check them off. It opens up the days ahead allowing you to move forward knowing that the project is done and you’re free from it. As long as it’s still on your mind as something you need do, it will stand in front of you like another hurdle to jump. When you look out on the horizon, you’ll see this thing that stands in front of you. It’s so much easier to just get it done and stop procrastinating. By getting it done, you get a huge sense of relief.

Today when I finished up my part of the taxes, it felt like I took a huge step forward. The next step is that my husband sends everything over to our accountant who takes care of all the details. One of the things I figured out when I finally decided to dive into the project is that I was having trouble with one major vendor. I needed a detailed report to catch all the right expenses and I wasn’t able to get it from them last year. But this year, I dug a little deeper and discovered that I could create this custom report.

Last year I just didn’t take enough time to search and ask the right questions in order to get what I needed. It was very frustrating. Just by making the decision today to stop procrastinating and get it done, I feel a huge sense of relief that not only did it get done, but it gone done much faster than I expected because of that one report that made everything go so much faster this year than it did last year.

Write about why you need to stop procrastinating.

Declaring that you’ve come down with a case of writer’s block is just another way of reminding yourself that you need to stop procrastinating on your writing. If you didn’t have a desire to write, then you’d never have the opportunity to diagnose yourself with writer’s block.

In the 7 Secrets of the Prolific, author Hillary Rettig tells writers that they should never apply labels like “lazy” to themselves. She goes on to say that “laziness, lack of willpower, etc., are symptoms, and not causes, or underproductivity.”

As I record the words streaming from my inner voice, I sense that it has much to say and will carry on indefinitely. I just need to ask the right questions and this inner muse will give me a flood of sentences, paragraphs and chapters. In fact, I know with the help of this inner wisdom, I break through barriers that used to feel like impossibilities.

Write to tap into your Inner Wisdom

The best way to stop procrastinating is to start doing that thing that you feel like you need to do. When it’s done, you’ll be so happy that you were able to reposition this thing from your future into your past.

stop procrastinating

 




Write to Lure Your Creative Flow

Creative flow is not a secret place, but you do need to search for it in different places throughout your lifetime. Would you like to figure out how you can lure your creative flow so that you can write on demand? It is possible, but you won’t be able to get the answer from anyone but yourself. It requires that you try a variety of methods until you figure out what works best for you. And you might also find that different things work better at different times or places.

Writers do a lot of different things to get ready to write. Writing can be one of the highest forms of mental concentration, yet at the same time, it’s also as simple as tuning into your inner voice. But how can you hear that inner voice? Some writers need silence to lure their creative flow, while others listen to music.

Do you have a prewriting ritual?

Some writers do certain activities before writing. It helps them them get in the mood to write. They might eat, walk the dog, or take a shower. Whatever works best for you is what you should do. You really won’t know unless you try a variety of activities along with your writing. Some people wouldn’t think of sitting down to write unless they had a cup of hot coffee or tea on their desk.

Some people meditate before writing to clear their mind, while others use triggers such as reading to get words flowing. You could, for example take the first line of a poem written by someone else, write a poem based on that line and then go back and change the first line. There are many ways you can experiment to get yourself started. For example, have you ever tried doodling an outline before you started writing?

What about research?

Whether you’re writing song lyrics, a novel, a poem, or a blog post, your process might be the same. But for some writers, especially if something requires a lot of research, it’s essential to do the research in advance and track that time and activity separate from the actual writing process.

It’s vital to think about your topic and get your research done before you dive into the actual writing process. If there’s anything that will stop you from writing, it’s the uncertainty of what you want to write. The more you write about the things you love, the easier it is to get those thoughts down on paper or into your computer.

One great way to slow down your writing is to try to write while you’re doing research, or try to write while you’re editing. Both will stunt your creativity. Your creativity is more likely to flow when you’re letting the words flow from your mind to the paper. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing longhand or typing into a computer. It works either way.

Do you need to tidy up your writing space?

Some writers can write in the middle of chaotic offices stacked with books and papers, with a big ashtray full of cigar butts. Other writers need a tidy office so that they don’t have any visual distraction. Some writers like to face their desk toward a wall, while others prefer to look out a window. There is no right or wrong answer here. You just have to experiment to see what sparks your creative flow most.

If you have a messy office and it bothers you, consider closing your eyes while you write. This works if you’re using a keyboard, assuming you can type without looking at it. Or if you’re writing longhand, you might just keep your eyes on the page and try to avoid looking around. In fact if your normal workspace isn’t working that well for you, consider trying new places to write until you find environments that are more conducive to luring your creative flow. If you spend a lot of time writing at home, it’s worth taking the time to make sure that you love your workspace. Surround yourself with whatever it takes to spark your creative flow. If you do your best writing during your morning commute on the train, then there’s no need to make waves at home.

What about writer’s block?

If you feel stuck, try reading a book to get words flowing through your mind. Choose a book you love or one that sparks your creative flow in some way. By experimenting with different methods, you can certainly find routines that trigger your brain and body to lure your creative flow.

Some people say that they can’t write because they have writer’s block and they use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Keep in mind that your creative flow is always available to you. Imagine if you’re suddenly faced with a problem and you have to make a quick decision. You’re going to put your mind in action and do what you need to do. If you have that same sense of urgency about your writing, you’ll be surprised at how much you can do to captivate your creative flow. You have to have a sense of urgency about sharing your message.

When is the best time to write?

If someone asked if you were a morning or evening person, you’d be able to respond quickly with whichever one applies most to you. The majority of professional writers who are writing full time use daytime to write. But there are certainly lots of jokes and chapters and songs that have been written in the late hours of the evening.

You can write any time. In fact, some writers say they keep a journal by their bedside because sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, or a remnant of a dream. Or maybe they wake up first thing in the morning when the alarm goes off ready to jot down foggy notes about an interrupted dream.

It’s all fodder to fuel your creativity. Some people who write early in the morning or late in the evening say that it works great for them because they’re still in a bit of a relaxed trance state where it’s easier to connect with their subconscious thoughts. And some people purposely induce a more relaxed state by reaching for a glass of wine or some other form of alcohol.

For more ideas on creative flow, check out this discussion where Joe Rogan interviews Steve Kotler, the Director of Research for the Flow Genome Project:

When is the best time to stop writing?

For longer pieces such as books, some writers strategically choose a stopping point such as at the end of a scene, so they can start the next day on the next scene, while others might want to stop in the middle of a scene, setting themselves up for the urge to get back to finishing the scene the next time they sit down to write. Their mind stays occupied with the scene until they get back to the page.

What’s the best way to avoid distractions?

Find a way to work around distractions. Writers who have kids at home tend to write early in the morning before the kids wake up or later in the evening after the kids are in bed. And some writers choose to get a babysitter so that they can stay focused on their writing. Distractions break your creative flow, cause frustration, and potentially even put stress on your relationships. It’s best to let your loved ones know that you’re going to make time to write separate from the quality time you want to spend with them.

Some writers choose to write outside their home, in coffee shops or libraries. Either will do. You just need to explore what works best for you.

What about food?

Some writers like to start writing after a meal, while others say that they feel too sluggish after eating. There might be certain foods you like while you’re writing, such as little chocolate treats. For the most part, writers tend to write after eating rather than trying to eat and write at the same time. Eating can, in fact, serve as a big distraction. You need to eat enough so that you have the mental fuel to write, but not so much that it makes you sluggish.

What’s the benefit of creative flow?

The creative connection is much more likely to happen when you feel the freedom to let the words flow. Creativity expands when you’re in your flow. In order for creativity to appear, writers need to find a way to make words flow, just as artists need to find a way to make images flow, and architects have to find a way to make lines flow as they develop blueprints. Your inner wisdom offers a new perspective.

Write to tap into your inner wisdom.

Creative flow is the place where new connections are made. It’s where you have a chance to express your distinct self as a separate, yet connected human being. The very nature of being human is to be a human doing something. You can do what you’ve always done and you can follow what others are doing, but when you go into a state of creative flow to spark new ideas, and new ways, it’s an irresistible attraction for those who are searching for what you have to offer.

How does movement affect your creative flow?

If you feel stuck, consider going on a walk. The act of walking stimulates the mind with images and activities that spark ideas and allow your creativity to flow. The very act of walking is a means of taking your body through space and time to absorb the flow of life around you. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular ways that writers use to attract their creative flow.

Some writers do more practical tasks when they feel stuck. If you need a break from your writing, consider doing housekeeping chores that involve movement, such as vacuuming, mopping, sweeping or even scrubbing the shower. Not only will you be rewarded with a clean house, you’ll be able to keep processing your ideas while you take short breaks. This can be especially effective if having a clean home matters to you.

If you’re interested in more terrific tips on tapping into your creative flow, read Susan K. Perry’s book Writing In Flow.




Write to Clarify Your Message

Before you engage in a conversation, do you take time to clarify your message? Do you think about what you want to say in advance? This is easy when you’re texting or sending an email. You can write, edit and send. But when you’re speaking, it helps to plan ahead.

Clarify your message with friends.

Taking the time to clarify your message is an ongoing process. As your life changes, you have different messages to send. If you have children and someone asks if you want to do some fun activities with kids and you say yes, you’re saying yes to something that’s fun as defined by you. You may not know what fun means to the person who’s asking. And the same is true if you’re the one doing the inviting.

If you’re asking a couple to join you for dinner, it’s helpful for everyone involved to know specifically what you’re asking. Is it an indoor potluck or an outdoor barbeque? Will you be making all the food? It’s helpful to confirm whether or not there are any special dietary needs. If you enjoy playing board games and you’re expecting everyone to play along, it’s helpful to mention it in advance to avoid disappointment. Did you remember to mention you have pets?

Clarity helps others makes decisions, and it’s equally beneficial to you as well. What if your friend left frustrated because she sneezed all night, her eyes teared up, and she went home with an allergic reaction because you have several cats, but she didn’t know. Remember to mention you have cats.

Clarify your message at work.

Another level of clarifying your message happens at work. Whether you work for another company or your own, it’s important to be clear about what you do best and what services you offer. This is especially relevant for company leaders, marketing departments, and people who work in sales. It’s important that messages are clear. Colleagues and customers are much happier when they know they’re basing their decisions on transparent truth. Clarity is a soothing oil that helps to keep relationships running smoothly.

William Zinsser On Writing Well clarify your message

William Zinsser, a writer’s writer who taught that clutter was the enemy.

Lawyers, big companies, government and the IRS are known for messy messages. They say “at this present time” instead of now. They say things like “explosive expressions of dissatisfaction” instead of protest. William Zinsser advises in his book On Writing Well, that it’s critical to remove all redundant and unnecessary words. What shows up as clutter on the page is an insult to the reader who is genuinely interested in your message. Keep your message succinct. Respect your time and his.

Gobbledygook is so rampant in government that an organization sprung up in the 1990s to help remedy the problem. The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is a group of federal employees form different agencies and specialties who support the use of clear communication in government writing.

PLAIN Plain Language Action Information Network clarify your message

The entire legal industry exists because of the tangled messages and complicated interpretations of the law. You can only hope that you’re doing the right thing and not breaking a law. We know the basic laws, but if we ever happen to get involved a legal battle, experts would advice us to seek the counsel of an attorney who has learned to read the complex laws and navigate through perplexing paragraphs.

Clarify your message for family.

As you clarify your message for others, it essentially helps you clarify what you want. You might state that you want to go on a vacation, but where? It’s much easier if you mention to your spouse that you’d like to go to a nudist resort in Costa Rica for your birthday. This states a specific type of place and a time. It’s clear.

Let’s say your husband asks if you’d like to head north. You reply that you don’t want to go anyplace cold and ramble on with more of what you don’t want. They’re all wasted words. There’s rarely a reason to state what you don’t want. In fact, doing so is counterproductive.

Before you mention what you do not want, know that what you’re about to say can be eliminated both in writing and in speech. There’s no point in mentioning what you don’t want because this could go on endlessly ad nauseum. Where will this end, your listener or reader will wonder?

The only thing that’s important to mention is what you do want. And this takes thought. We seem to have gut feelings about what we want, but in many cases, we have been conditioned to ignore our inner wisdom.

Write to tap into your inner wisdom. 

As you clarify your message, you also clarify your wants. As you clarify and communicate what you’d like to see manifest in your life, you’re much more likely to enjoy the world around you.

A lack of clarity in your message is a reflection of befuddled thoughts. If you’re not sure of what you want, just say so. “I don’t know.” Take time to sort out your thoughts and convey your message later.

In fact, when you’re describing any aspect of your life, whether it’s what you want to do on a weekend or how you want to redecorate a room in your home, the more you can clarify your message, the more likely you are to get what you want. By learning to clarify your message, you will be able to tidy up not only your thinking, but also the world around you.

If you’re interested in pursuing clarity as a part of your writing career, get inspired by Alan Siegel’s TED talk where he demonstrates what he’s doing to help simplify jargon.

 

Exercise:

Think of something going on in your life that feels chaotic or unclear. Sit down and write about it. You’ll have to go through the fog to get to clarity, but when you do, it’s worth it. Often, you’ll find simple solutions to your problems simply by taking the time to get clarity on what you want. When it comes to defining what you want, you’ll be the first to know.




Write to tap into your inner wisdom.

Do you feel like you have all the inner wisdom you need, if only you could figure out how to tap into it? It’s quite common to have an instant gut feeling about things that confront us in life. The gut feeling is the immediate reaction we have when we’re faced with a decision. Someone asks:

  • Would you like to join us?
  • Can you loan me some money?
  • Do you have time for coffee?
  • Can you help me with this project?
  • Got a minute?

The problem, however, is that you’ve been conditioned to adapt to social graces, cultural norms, family traditions, workplace standards and so on, for many years. Over time you become numb to your gut feeling that springs from inner wisdom.

It’s easy to become what you think others want you to become instead of expressing the genuine version of you. If someone were to ask you who you are, what would you say?

I am one who . . .

Seena Frost, the Founder of SoulCollage®, developed a process whereby participants collage together images that represent a particular energy or meaning for them. Each card is symbolic of an inner voice or a part of your life: a person you know, a pet, a place, a major life event, a cultural standard, and other powers that make up the experience of being you.

SoulCollage® offers a powerful method to help you tap into your life experiences in a new way. By recognizing and naming various parts of your greater self, you begin to tap into your inner wisdom. As you gaze at a collaged card that you created, you begin by saying out loud or writing in your journal, “I am one who . . . ” and from here you learn to listen to your inner voice that is always with you.

To learn more about this powerful method, read SoulCollage Evolving: An Intuitive Collage Process for Self-Discovery and Community by Seena B. Frost.

How to recognize the voices in your head . . .

You think “out loud” in your mind all day long. Think about that for a moment. What you write, or say out loud, is simply a censored version of what you think. You edit what you say depending on who you’re talking to. This is normal.

By tuning in to the various thoughts in your mind and reflecting on their source, you gain awareness of what’s driving your decisions. The more you actively pay attention to your thoughts, the easier it becomes to identify their source. As you do this you can learn to recognize their presence and what triggers them to pop up.

Do you recognize a “you should” voice that tells you what you should be doing. You might notice a childlike voice that blurts out to tease people. Or you might recognize the voice of someone who had a big influence on you such as a parent who made you feel like you were never good enough, or a teacher who encouraged you to pursue your dream of becoming a musician. Perhaps you experienced a tragedy that changed the course of your life and activated a loud voice that triggers fear.

Learn to listen without judgment.

Once you gain awareness of the different personalities of the different voices, you’ll have a tendency to want to judge some as good and others as bad. The truth is that they all play a part in who you are. They have coached you to become who you are all your life right up to this very moment. In essence, they’re your best friends that you’ve chosen to keep around.

Even those that seem annoying are truly trying to do their best to protect you and your ego. They help you justify all the choices you make all day long. They help you come up with clever excuses.

They remind you of your fears. They hold you back in comfort when you’re faced with a new and exciting opportunity. They nudge you forward with logic, even when your gut feeling is telling you to back out.

Being attentive to your thoughts is a step toward accessing your inner wisdom.

As you gain a deeper understanding of these various voices, you can counteract with other voices. This process takes time. Keep in mind that you’ve spent years accumulating all sorts of thought processes from countless people, and you’ve played a major role in directing and interpreting all these experiences.

It would be exhausting and nearly impossible to go through every day noting all your thoughts. But through the SoulCollage® process, you can quickly gain insight into your inner wisdom by recognizing the value that your inner voices have to offer. As you learn to tone down the chatter of many voices, you begin to hear the one true Voice. This one Voice you hear speaks for all. This all-knowing Voice will always choose what’s best for all. This all-knowing Voice shares your will. This all-knowing Voice is your source of inner wisdom.

I’ve experimented with lots of journaling methods, but I’ve found SoulCollage® to be one of the most powerful means of tapping into my inner wisdom.

Should you do SoulCollage®? Check out this video to see if you think it might be something for you:

SoulCollage inner wisdom




Can Morning Pages Help You Ride a Creative Dragon?

Morning pages are known by many as a way to break through blocks. Highly creative people are gifted with talents that take them in many directions. To the outside observer, their work might appear chaotic like a hurricane or earthquake. All people are creative, but few figure out how to tap into their creative superpower, channel the energy and send it out on a mission.

I’ve known about The Artist’s Way for many years and, being in the writing community, I’ve heard a number of success stories. The Artist’s Way isn’t just another book. It’s a guide that leads you through a twelve-week journey of self discovery. It requires that you write morning pages and take artist’s dates with your creative child. What’s that all about?

Most self-help books spoon out tips, stories and advice without serious calls to action. But The Artist’s Way requires action. It makes sense, though. How else would you ever figure out how to ride a dragon?

julia cameron the artist's way morning pages

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that creativity is like a dragon that we need to ride. It’s full of energy and has lots of power. Our challenge is to figure out a way to stay on that dragon.

I am one who has known this dragon for a long time. I have observed the dragon from the sidelines. I constantly feed it ideas. I’ve devoted my life to the training and education of the dragon. He breathes in and asks for more. He runs about looking for new things to consume. He asks for things to do, but I haven’t yet figured out how to fully harness his energy.


Many of us find that we have squandered our own creative energies by investing disproportionately in the lives, hopes, dreams, and plans of others.

Julia Cameron


Silly me. Creativity isn’t something we own. It isn’t something that can be boxed up and packaged to go. Creativity is shared and it’s spacious. If you try to own it, it slips through your fingers. Creativity happens through relationships among people and things, between a hand, a pen and a paper.

Creativity is a vacuum, a fire and a force. It can drive you and help you transcend to new heights. It’s our a first love that can be matched by no other. It’s our reason for being. We are all here to create. We are all creators.

I thought I could to tame the dragon, but he screamed back with winds of chaos and agitation. It’s insane to tame a life force that’s designed to be free.


“Anyone who faithfully writes morning pages will be led to a connection with a source of wisdom within.”

Julia Cameron


This morning when I finished reading Week One of The Artist’s Way, I went off into research mode trying to figure out if I should follow Julia’s advice to write out the morning pages longhand. I haven’t written longhand on notebook pages for many years! I was hoping to come across some scientific research that would allow me to justify typing my morning pages into Evernote. That’s what Edwin Soriano does, so why can’t I?

I came across a number of testimonials from people who also resisted writing their morning pages by hand, but later found that they were glad that they did. Plus Julia’s voice kept whispering to me that I’d have extra benefits by doing it longhand. So finally I did, late this morning, write my first morning pages longhand. I decided to commit to doing this for the twelve weeks. Who am I to question Julia’s wisdom? She’s been riding the dragon for decades!

After I finished writing my morning pages, I snapped photos of them and put them into a brand new Evernote notebook.

Lots of people who start writing morning pages tout that they never stop. For many, it turns into a longtime habit. At the end of the twelve weeks I can reevaluate and see what I’d like to do from then on. As a writer who has been searching for a means to become more prolific, I expect to be one of those people who adopt morning pages as a new habit.

Do you feel a creative dragon within that’s enticing you to come along for the ride?




Can you describe your ideal work day?

“Can you describe your ideal work day?”

Since you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re not experiencing your ideal work day at this moment. If you were, you’d be busy doing what you love to do instead of reading an article to help you get where you want to go.

Stay with me. I’m here to help. One of the most important gifts you can give yourself is the same one that you can give to everyone you work with. It’s to align your heart and talent with the work you do.

This is the only way to live wholeheartedly.

If you settle for anything less, the work you do will suck the energy out of you moment by moment, day after day.

As you take strategic steps to spend more time doing what you love, you’ll inevitably work less and less. What you’re doing won’t feel like work. Keep in mind that working and being busy DO NOT equate to a higher cash flow. Doing what you love to do doesn’t guarantee a higher cash flow either.

So assuming that you’re going to do activities every day that add value to your life and to the lives of others, doesn’t it make sense to choose activities that you enjoy?

If you don’t have a clear picture of your ideal work day, don’t worry. Most people don’t. And even if they do, they haven’t done what it takes to make it their daily reality. If you doubt this, feel free to conduct your own poll. Ask some people you know to describe their ideal work day and then ask if it aligns with their daily life. If so, you might have just found yourself a mentor who can help you transform your life. If not, please share this article with people who desire to align their cash flow with the work they love.

How many people do you know who absolutely love what they do?

Now imagine someone you know who hates his work. It might be a colleague, a family member, or a cashier at a place you shop. Assuming that all men are created equal, what’s the biggest difference between someone who loves his work and someone who doesn’t?

This isn’t a trick question. It’s a question of the heart. One has positioned herself to be happy with her work. One hasn’t. If you dare to ask someone who hates his work, he might give you a long list of excuses about why things never seem to work out for him.

Ironically, his miserable situation creates opportunities for others.

Unhappy people are just as important as happy people. If you’re a compassionate listener who loves to counsel and coach people, you might be more than willing to listen to his stories for hours. Or if you love to write country music, you might be able to capture some lyrics for a new song.

“Nothing is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Shakespeare

Do you think it’s possible for you to make your ideal work day a reality for you? The best answer here is “yes.” If you don’t believe it’s possible, then you’ll surely prove it to yourself over and over again. Why torture yourself? You deserve to be happy. And so does everyone around you!

Regardless of what you’re feeling right now, just assume for a moment that you do indeed deserve to be happy today and every day. Keeping this in mind, schedule a little time to vividly imagine your ideal work day. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • make journal entries over the next few days to describe your ideal work day with as much detail as possible
  • gather up some magazines, scissors and glue and make a collage that gives you a visual illustration of your ideal work day
  • brainstorm a list of things you love to do and note ideas on how you could position yourself to start earning income with some of these activities

If you’d like to be on the fast track to turning your creative passion into profit, check out the Path to Profit Academy. They can help you eliminate the fear, doubt and lack of clarity that is stopping you from creating the freedom, flexibility and financial independence that you crave.

You deserve to be happy . . . every day!

Path to Profit Academy - Money - Marketing - Mindset




How to Remove a Mental Block with Scissors

Is there something you know you need to do, but you just can’t seem to get started? It might be something you need to stop doing or something you need to start doing. It might be a decision you need to make, but you can’t seem to go over that bridge to the other side. No one else can see it, but for you it’s like raging rapids that you’re afraid to cross. It’s a mental block.

You know there’s something you should do and you might even have a strong desire for it. It’s something that seems easy for others to do, but for some reason, you just can’t move forward. It feels like a raging river with rising waters. The longer you procrastinate, the more reasons you establish for not moving forward. Eventually you pander to the mental block and treat it like an annoying relative.

I have a long-time habit of collecting paper in the form of files, magazines, brochures and mail. Some of it piles up because I don’t want to go through it. Junk mail, catalogs, business cards, owner’s manuals, warranties, and other papers multiply in my office. Other papers get added to the stack because I like the images or I think I might want to follow up with a person or check out a website. I want each piece of paper when I see it, but I don’t like the chaotic piles that accumulate. I’ve known for quite some time I needed to get rid of a lot of paper, but I just couldn’t seem to keep up with the stacks.

mental block devil

Mental blocks are like little devils that taunt you with fear. I named this SoulCollage® card the Tasmanian Devil. He loves to create chaos and confusion which leads to indecision.

This desire to hold onto paper and allow it to pile up in my office is a sign of indecision. If I knew precisely the purpose for saving each paper or brochure, I would have a designated spot for each type so that I could access it quickly when I needed it. I have a vague idea that I might want to use each piece, but until I decide the service of the various types, the disarray in my mind manifests as disorder in my office space.

It’s a barrier to moving forward. If I had all my papers in good order, all the magazines in one place and all the post cards in one place and all the maps and travel brochures organized well, then it would be easy to locate things. But after paper piles up for a while, it feels like a burdensome task to go through it all to decide what’s worth keeping. I used to think that procrastinating the organization was the block, but recently realized that this was a symptom, but not the cause. Each mental block has an ambiguous partner.

When I discovered SoulCollage® last year, I felt like I met my tribe, my people who also get fired up over magazines, picture books and beautiful images. I finally found a group of people who share my passion for paper. After going through the Facilitator Training, I learned about this art therapy technique which is all about cutting out images and collaging them together into new pieces of art. It came at just the right time to help dissipate my mental block regarding my relationship with paper.

In the process of making SoulCollage® cards, it’s easy to get into a meditative state. Not only does it access the creative part of the mind, it also helps to carve out a little order and meaning in a big world. In addition, it provides a little spot in the world, on a 5×8 card, where one focused energy comes together in a place where we can observe it and learn from it. It’s there to help us remember something and, in the process, heal. A feeling once locked up on the inside, sometimes for years or even decades, is now captured on a piece of paper.

Should I Do SoulCollage?

By combining images in a way that triggers one energy for you, it allows you to instantly access that feeling at any time. Here’s a SoulCollage card I made showing my relationship with paper. I knew I had too much paper, but when SoulCollage® came along, I felt like I finally found purposeful outlet for colorful images I’ve been collecting for years.

fired up paper

This is one of the cards in my SoulCollage® deck. It’s called “Fired Up.”

As a writer, I’ve been around a lot of writers who talk about writer’s block. Some writers don’t believe in writer’s block, while others have written blog posts and entire books about the topic.

But when it comes to mental blocks, I believe most people would agree that we all face mental blocks at some point in life.

I’m a big fan of Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She recommends going through all your possessions one-by-one asking one simple question of each item. “Does this spark joy?” If it does, then she says you’ll be happy to keep it, but if it doesn’t, then it’s time to let it go. I’ve been using her technique for a few years now, and I can say that it has made it much easier to get rid of things that I might have, in the past, held onto much longer than necessary. It has become quite easy for me to apply her technique to nearly everything in my home, except for one area.

PAPER

I love paper. I like the feel of it. I like folding it and cutting it. I love reading books and leafing through magazines. I like the silky feeling of postcards, the utility of envelopes, and the soft texture of brown paper bags that you get at the grocery store.

In her book, Kondo recommends getting rid of all paper, keeping only what’s absolutely essential. Her rule of thumb is to “discard everything.” Her book is written mainly for people who are trying tidy up their homes, but her principles apply to the work setting as well.

I work from home. I have a lot of paper, not only in my home office, but I also have some file boxes full of paper, files, magazines, books, photo albums, and so on have accumulated in the attic, and into other rooms of our home. I have a growing collection of postcards, for example, that I’ve had for decades. Some have handwriting and stamps, while others are still awaiting their life purpose to unfold.

Who ever sends post cards anymore? I have some with written messages. It’s a little piece of history dated with a time and place. Someone carved out a few moments of their life to buy a postcard, write a message and pay to mail it. Yesterday’s postcards required more effort than today’s texts or photos which can be sent in an instant. I’ve got some sort of mental block about throwing away a post card with handwriting.

I used to be a professor. I accumulated lots of lesson plans and games I created to make learning fun for my students. And over the years I accumulated a lot of books and training manuals. What if I decide to teach again one day?

There was a time when it used to be respectable to have a home full of books. It was a primary means of learning and served as a visual museum of accumulated knowledge.

I have buckets of respect for Marie Kondo, but she, like most authors, wrote her book from her perspective. She doesn’t get joy from paper, so she assumes that no one else does either. This is a mental block on her part. Clearly, many artists, craftsmen, office supply manufacturers, art suppliers, and other professionals enjoy handling paper every day.

Perhaps if she wrote a book for artists and creative people, she’d come up with some specific advice on how to go through lots of paper quickly using the KonMari method. I’ve watched a number of people on YouTube use her technique to go through the papers in their home and in the end, then have just a few notebooks and photo albums on a shelf near a desk.

I get it. I don’t need 95% of the paper in my home either, but I still want some of it. It’s not even that I look at it on a regular basis, but as soon as I start going through old training manuals, photo albums, magazines, maps or travel brochures, I’m drawn to certain images, flow charts, photos or memories that I want to keep. Did I mention that I like envelopes and stamps?

Collage Art by Carin Andersson

At the same time, I want to lighten my load. It’s no fun to push around heavy file boxes full of paper. I’ve moved many times in my life and many of these boxes have followed me around for many years, some of the pages, I’m sure, haven’t seen light for many many years.

Have you ever played the rock, paper scissors game? They each have a specific super power. The paper can smother the rock. The rock can crush the scissors. And the scissors can cut the paper.

rock paper scissors game

The rock, paper, scissors game is a great illustration that each and every thing has a potential super power.

Ultimately, I need to get over this mental block and cut a lot of paper out of my life. Paper has been in control for decades. It’s time for scissors to take the lead. Did I mention that I like to cut paper and I have a bunch of scissors?

At a conscious level, I know I could easily get rid of most of the paper in my house. But each time I’ve assembled all the boxes and stacks of paper into one place, as Kondo suggests, I’ve felt overwhelmed. There are literally thousands of pieces of paper to go through. As I start going through the files and the pages, hours slip by. It’s just like getting lost on the internet for hours. As I open a notebook, a file, or an album and start going through pages one by one, I’m suddenly thinking about all the ways I might be able to use an idea or an image. I get sucked back into the apprehensive reason I saved it in the first place.

Someday I might need this.

On a recent Saturday my husband headed out for a business trip. I knew I had the whole week to tidy up papers, so I went around the house and collected up file boxes, notebooks, magazines, mail, and other papers. I piled them all up on the living room floor where my husband sits in his favorite chair in front of the TV. My intent was to cut my paper load at least in half before he got home. I stepped over the boxes and piles of paper for five days knowing he would be home late the next day. I only had one day left before he’d come home and want to relax in his man cave.

Deadlines are powerful!

This deadline helped me to cut right through my mental block about Kondo’s position on paper. She believes that paper cannot bring happiness. What she’s really stating is that paper doesn’t spark joy for her. But this doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone.

As soon as I realized this, I experienced a powerful aha moment. I felt free to keep as much paper and art supplies as I wanted as long as it sparks joy. I quickly started going through the paper according to the KonMari Method, putting all the paper and art supplies into their various categories:

  • books
  • envelopes
  • filing supplies (file folders, hanging files)
  • gift tags
  • glues
  • graph paper
  • label maker (& extra tape cartridges)
  • magazines
  • magazine pages (sorted by categories for future collage projects)
  • markers
  • photo albums
  • postcards
  • scissors
  • sticky notes
  • travel brochures & maps (sorted by location)
  • wrapping paper (paper bags, maps)

Marie Kondo has had global success with her books and teachings because she has addressed a universal question. “What should I hang onto?” She undoubtedly has an opportunity to come out with all sorts of sequels, including one for artists and creatives. Although I’m frequently performing the “spark joy” test on items all throughout my home and getting rid of stuff, I still have lots of scissors. I plan to use them to cut through more mental blocks.

 




How to Make Yourself at Home Almost Anywhere

Have you ever stayed with friends or family who told you to “make yourself at home?” But when you head to the kitchen to help yourself to a glass of water, you have to search through their kitchen cabinets to find a cup. The cabinet doors hide the contents, so it’s a mystery what you might find behind each door. To you it makes sense to keep the cups close to the dishwasher, but your friend likes iced drinks, so he stores them next to the freezer. Your little thought is a judgment that bogs you down. And right away you realize, you’re not at home.

But what if you could feel at home here, there and everywhere? Not everyone has a good feeling about the concept of a home. But imagine your ideal home filled with all the comforts you desire and the people you love. What if you could have that sense of happiness and peace wherever you were?

If you own a motorhome, there’s a good chance you consider it home when your on the road. It’s a scaled-down version of the comforts you keep in your home. It tells a story about your priorities for everyday life:

If you’ve ever taken a long flight, your carry on bag is a small collection of some of your comforts from home: a jacket with lots of pockets, a stainless steel travel mug for tea, a book, your Android phone, and a few other treasures.

By bringing along some of your favorite things, you can make yourself feel at home wherever you are. You are a spiritual nomad, but few people experience the benefits of this in the physical world. Van-dwellers are at home wherever they’re parked, and when they’re going 70 mph on an Interstate Highway. People who live in houseboats or yachts are at home on the water. If you choose to see it, they expand the mainstream definition of what it means to be at home.

Van-dwelling RVers change up their back yard every time their wheels roll. And perhaps they’re moving closer to the true meaning of home. It’s less about the stuff in your home and more about the thoughts in your mind.

wandxrbus volkswagon van minimalism make yourself at home

Sabrina and Jimmy Horel own less to see more. They live on the road in their hippie bus with dogs Austin and Seepy. See more of their lifestyle photos on Instagram/wandxrbus.

I’ve lived in so many places in my lifetime that I’ve lost count of how many homes, apartments, condominiums, townhomes, dorm rooms, and other domiciles I’ve occupied. For a while my husband and I owned a 5000 SF home in a Portland Street of Dreams neighborhood. Our home and family were featured on HGTV. When we bought that home it was a dream come true and when we sold it, I was equally happy because I was ready to downsize to something smaller.

I’ve lived in a number of states in the United States, as well as in France and China. And, as of a few years ago, I’ve added a Pleasure-Way motorhome to the mix. When people ask me where home is, it’s whereabouts I am now. It’s not some faraway place from the past.


You can experience the full joy of being at home in the present moment. If you want to make yourself at home almost anywhere, you’ve got to do some remodeling. It’s not about rearranging furniture, it’s all about rearranging your thoughts.


At first, it might feel like a sacrifice to let go of things you collected. But once you start letting go and lightening up, the benefits you experience fuel your momentum.

You can learn to make yourself feel at home almost anywhere. The lesson begins by teaching yourself to rely on the joy of your thoughts rather than the comforts of your environment. The practice continues day after day, like Groundhog Day, until you awaken to the fact that regardless of where you go, you can not escape your Heavenly home. It’s all there is. And everyone else is right here with you.

Feeling at home is a state of mind. It’s a mental place where you know you’re safe from the battleground, that place where you compete to survive. The battleground, as described in A Course in Miracles, is the world. It’s a place where no matter what you have, you always want to experience something new or different. You desire an improvement on the old or something entirely new. It’s just the way life is in this world of time and space.

It’s quite possible to make yourself at home anywhere when you awaken to the awareness that your home is out of this world. Wherever we go, God is. He’s always there whispering directions so you can find your way home. Every bird sings of it.


You see what you believe and you believe what you see. It’s a paradox you can’t escape until you awaken. Your narrow perspective can begin to expand only by releasing your judgment of others who see things differently.


If you decide that you are not at home here or there, then you are right. And if you decide that you can make yourself at home anywhere, then you are right because that is your belief.

When you have a belief engraved in your thoughts, then anything that supports that belief is right to you, regardless of whether or not others agree.

home birds nest nature make yourself at home

Are you aware that home is everywhere? Whether you’re  walking through a city or forest, you are at home.

Like animals, we’ve learned to gather resources to help us feel more comfortable. Birds build nests in trees, while moles, squirrels and rabbits burrow underground. Birds, butterfliesfish, and reindeer migrate. And people do too! Whether you’re in a forest or a city, you can make yourself at home.

You can build your nest almost anywhere in the world. It might be in a motorhome, or it might be a house filled with a big collection of motors such as your dishwasher, washing machine, blender, vacuum, garage door opener, and so on. Regardless of what you choose, remember that even the most fortified homes are vulnerable in this world.

You can insure a home for reimbursement for damages, but the only way to ensure that your home is damage-proof is to move into your true home which is not of this world. When you awaken to this truth, you will rise above the earthly theatre knowing that what you stage as your home today, can and will change. Everything in this world is designed to change with time.

Sell furniture. Quit job. Take road trip.

I’m in Silicon Valley and no joke, as I was writing this, my home shook for several seconds from a small nearby earthquake.

In her international bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo recommends going through all your possessions one by one asking one simple question, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, then you can feel good about keeping it. If it doesn’t, let it go.


Recognize that all your special collections in your earthly home both lift you up and weigh you down. This is normal for life in this world of opposites. The more you lighten your load, the easier it becomes to make yourself at home anywhere.


Close your eyes and awaken your mind to your eternal home in a castle beyond your wildest expectations. Through your thoughts you can build your dream home. What you think about you will see. And you can do this anywhere!

 

building vision street art eyes open mind open

EYES OPEN • MIND OPEN street art in Los Angeles

 

If you’d like to join my husband and me on some of our RV adventures in our Class B Pleasure-Way Lexor, please SUBSCRIBE NOW to our channel at YouTube/Techie and Writer.

Techie and Writer Video Productions

 




What are the Top 10 Words in ACIM?

“You can’t know a book from its cover, especially the amazingly generous 1300-page psycho-spiritual teachings of ACIM,” says Andrew Allansmith who has been a student of A Course In Miracles (ACIM) for a few decades.

Andrew-Allansmith-Spiritual-Ear-ACIM-study-group-Santa-Cruz-California-teacher-10-top-words-book-teaching

One of Andrew’s favorite quotes in ACIM is, “The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” T-26.IX.6:1

“I was in serious pursuit of a spiritual awakening. I tried different spiritual paths. In 1993, I stumbled on A Course In Miracles and the other books dropped away in the first week when I started studying ACIM. Since then, ACIM has become the catalog of answers that I trust. I continue to intellectually challenge ACIM, but I no longer question it. I challenge it to bring me the answers. I know they’re all there to release my fixation on being separate, vulnerable and even human. I’m delivered from being human. That’s a limit. I’m released,” Andrew said.

“ACIM helped me let go of the thought that I’m a who. All humans are who’s. Who’s are vulnerable. Who’s have something measurable to lose or gain. What you are in ACIM has nothing to gain because it’s touching everything with your true Identity. It’s a whole different way of thinking about identity,” Andrew said.

Andrew-Allansmith-Spiritual-Ear-ACIM-study-group-santa-cruz-california-teacher-student-teaching-leader-book-teaching

Andrew Allansmith leads a weekly ACIM study group in Santa Cruz, CA.

“I was preparing for an annual gathering for our study group in Santa Cruz and I got inspired. I was so busy preparing for this gathering. I was doing Holy Spirit as a topic and it occurred to me how many times the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the book. This led me to look up the most common words. About four hours ensued. It happened all at once. I did the research at a mad pace in a single setting. It was so exciting because I had never seen the book sliced this way,” Andrew said.

“I used a combination of internet research and Excel. The course is available in ASCII. I used some software tools for the legal industry, a word count function. Then I realized I needed to combine some words that had similar meaning,” Andrew said.


These top 10 words offer a quick insight that this long-time ACIM student and teacher finds accurate to the core messages.

Here are the top ten words used in ACIM:

#1        God, Father                           3,192 uses

#2        See, Look                               1,781

#3        Truth, True, Truly                 1,603

#4        One, Oneness                      1,584

#5        Gift, Given, Give                  1,549

#6        Mind                                      1,308

#7        Thought, Think                    1,297

#8        World                                    1,285

#9        Holy, Holiness                     1,281

#10      Real, Reality, Realize          1,264


“In making the Top ACIM Words list, I had to make some choices. I omitted prepositions, pronouns and such, to get to the meaty words. If I included the word ‘I,’ it would be the clear number one word.  The personal nature of the book and author is obvious with over 5,000 occurrences of ‘I.’ In the first half of the book, that ‘I’ is Jesus almost exclusively, as the author coaches the reader through an understanding of how to release the ego and all of its pains once and for all,” Andrew said.

Top-10-Words-ACIM-God-see-truth-oneness-gift-mind-thought-world-holiness-reality-Andrew-Allansmith

Here’s Andrew’s take on a message using these words:


With God (#1) you Look (#2) through the Truth (#3) of Oneness, using the Gift of Mind, to Think about the World’s Holy Reality.


Otherwise, using your ego as a guide you continue to see its UNHOLY reality.

And here’s a message using them in countdown:


The Reality (#10) of Holiness (#9) is hidden by the World (#8) until you Think with the Mind that was Given you from Oneness to Truly See God.


“We could come up with a dozen other sentences using these words. There are so many gifts in this book. After 23 years of studying ACIM every day, I continue to find new powerful mind-healing messages that bring me peace and understanding. One of the gifts is shown by my assembly of these words. I can reconcile the Love of God with the biting tragedies of the world. This is no small gift,” Andrew said.

“The Course knows you are a belief addict and a relationship addict, abusing both with your ego. Using its mind-healing direction by working the 365 daily ACIM lessons, you can see all of your world and every fellow being in it with meaningful thoughts instead of the meaninglessness at the behest of your ego,” Andrew said.

CLICK HERE to buy ACIM now.

“The real number one word is the author, ‘I.’ I had a shift in my knowledge of ACIM. God is this primary topic. After all the years I taught this book, it still teaches me how to live a better life. I’m more comfortable and happy. And to find out that God is in the book as number one. ‘I’ outnumbers ‘God by a lot, by 50%. The ‘I’ is the author, and it’s not Helen Schucman. I had to surrender to the idea that this is a very personal narration by Jesus about God, about God’s way. It’s God’s way for me to return to peace,” Andrew said.

Andrew Allansmith has been a teacher of ACIM since 2004. He is the Founder of Spiritual Ear, an organization dedicated to making PURE ACIM study tools.

God is in everything I see because God is in my mind. ACIM W-pI.30.1

 

Spiritual-Ear-logo-ACIM-study-tools-Andrew-Allansmith




750 Words: A blogging tool to help you write faster

The purpose of 750 Words is to provide accountability for people who want to write at least 750 words a day. It’s an awesome site created by Buster and Kellianne.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia CameronIt’s a digital tool for keeping “morning pages,” a technique recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. Her recommendation is to start every day with “stream of consciousness writing.” She recommends writing three pages of longhand, or the equivalent of about 750 words.

750 Words is a community of writers where (digital) writing is the main goal. It’s not about socializing or promoting your blog or books. It’s all about writing and tracking your progress over time.

I’ve known about it for several years, but didn’t get serious about it until recently. I’m so glad I finally did. My writing speed has improved dramatically.

Why use 750 words as a blogging tool?

When you write here, no one is watching. You enter the space, write without any judgment, and watch your progress build over time.

It’s a tool that can free you up to write faster. If you’re having trouble meeting your blogging goals, this is the solution you’ve been seeking.

Start with a clean slate every day

Each day when you log in to 750 Words, you begin with a blank page. You don’t have to click here or there to get to your blank page. It’s the first thing you see. It’s so simple that even the technically challenged can manage it.

You get a quick overview of your stats for the current month. If you start writing, but don’t reach the 750 goal, you get a slash mark for the day. If you exceed 750 words, you get an X in the box for that day.

You see today’s date and you’re ready to get started. Here’s a sample from a writer at ProfHacker:

750 Words ProfHacker writing sample writer's bootcamp

This screenshot from 2010 shows that there were 263 patrons at the time. Today the site has more than 3300 members.

Connect with your readers

Blogging is about producing interesting content that other people find entertaining or otherwise useful. Because there’s no “publish” button in 750 Words, you feel free to say what’s on your mind in an honest and courageous fashion.  The faster you write, the more authentic you’ll be.

This is a great tool to knock out a blog post draft in 10-15 minutes. By staying liquid and real with your writing, you’ll attract more readers. If you over-edit, you can come across too stiff or sterile.

750 Words mindset writing introvert positive uncertain thinking future

One of the benefits of having a blog is that you can go back and make edits at any time. There’s no need to spend too much time making sure every sentence is perfect. You can always go back and make changes tomorrow.

Generate content you can use later

As you’re writing from your stream of consciousness, you’ll come up with interesting memories, cool quotes, and good ideas. These are useful sentences and paragraphs you can add to your growing database of content.

This is a great way to get your thoughts in writing and generate a bunch of blog post ideas day after day. I usually write more than 750 words. As soon as I complete my daily entry, I copy/paste my text from 750 Words to Evernote so I can easily search for keywords later.

Daily practice helps you write faster

It provides you with statistics telling you how fast (words per minute) and how much (total number of words) you write on any given day. You compete with yourself to become a more productive writer. Here are some sample stats from Marian Schembari. On this day she wrote 78 words per minute and completed her 750 words in 10 minutes. Are you tracking your writing speed?

750Words Marian Schembari words per minute distractions

Get in the habit of writing every day

If you want to be a successful writer, the daily boxes and occasional badges motivate you to establish the daily habit of writing. Here’s what it looks like when you write every day of the month.

Kristen Grainer writing streak 750words badges

Notice that it took Kristen 12 minutes to write 750 words on this day. Since all the boxes are complete with an X, it means that she wrote every day in June. Check out Kristen Grainer‘s beautiful blog at Shutter & Spice.

Get some insight into how you’re feeling

In addition to providing statistics on your writing habits, you also get colorful pie charts on some of your overall feelings based on what you wrote. The faster you write, the better. This gives you insight into what topics you may or may not want to handle today.

750 words Feeling Pie Charts concerned about

Get a good idea of what’s on your mind

After you’ve completed your words, you get a visual picture of what topics were on your mind. On this day, I had an intention to write about my education. Based on my word cloud, I can see that I stuck to my topic.

 

frequently used words word cloud doctor lorraine haataia 750 words

 

If you don’t write with a specific intention, you can do some free writing and find out later what was most on your mind that day. It’s a fun discovery tool either way.

Connect with other bloggers

Although 750 Words isn’t designed for networking, you can see user names of other members and, in some cases, connect with them through social media. You can also keep an eye on 750 Words Facebook page for updates and ideas.

Should you use 750 Words?

Write Fast Bryan Hufford bookThis is an awesome tool I highly recommend. Regardless of how busy you are with other activities in your life, this tool can help you get more focused on your writing.

If you want to be a consistent and successful blogger, 750 Words can help you establish three essential habits necessary for being a productive blogger:

  • write daily
  • write fast
  • edit later



Get it done when life gets tough: Advice from Julie A Fast

Julie A Fast, Best Selling Author, Speaker, Columnist and Consultant

Julie A Fast, Best Selling Author, Speaker, Columnist and Consultant

I recently interviewed Julie A. Fast, a five time bestselling author, mental health in the workplace advocate, professional speaker and ePublishing pioneer. Julie has sold over 300,000 books, created her own radio show, was recently interviewed for People Magazine and was the original consultant for Claire Danes on the Showtime series Homeland. Julie does all of this while living with an illness that challenges and limits her work ability.

Julie’s bestselling book Get it Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Your Life on Track shares the secrets of her success. I asked Julie, “How can we create a life where we are able to get things done even when life gets tough?” Her provocative and transformative answers changed the way I view my own work and I believe they can do the same for you.

There are people in life who can profoundly change the way we approach personal and professional challenges in a single conversation. Julie is one of these people. Throughout our conversation, Julie stressed the importance of having strategies in place we can use when life gets tough. She added, “Whether you’re going through stressful times due to relationship issues, work related worries and health concerns or even a feeling of hopelessness, your ability to take action and get things done doesn’t have to suffer as well.”

CLICK ON IMAGE TO BUY Get It Done When You’re Depressed by Julie A. Fast

Julie knows this from experience as she had to figure out a way to work successfully despite the limitations created by her bipolar disorder. I asked her how she gets so much done while faced with daily challenges and she shared four of the tips from her book Get it Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Life on Track and how we can all apply them to our professional lives.

Julie replied, “You have to create a working world that fits your challenges in life. Because my bipolar disorder affects the type of work I do and the amount of time I’m able to work, I need systems in place that let me be successful despite my limitations. I knew that I had to become super efficient if I wanted to support myself on part time work, so I experimented with new ways to get myself out in the world and when they worked I knew it was time to share the strategies with others who struggle to stay professional and productive on the tough days.”

Julie told me she originally wrote the book for people who are depressed, but after years of comments about how the principles are so universal, she brought her ideas into the business world where she teaches professionals to stay focused and productive no matter what is happening in their personal lives.

I had a great time talking with Julie about her work philosophy. We had a lively discussion about the strategies in her book and how anyone can use them when an extra boost is needed to move forward in life. The following is an overview of how you can immediately apply Julie’s strategies to your life and learn to get things done whether you’re . . .

maze-cartoon

  • going through relationship difficulties
  • facing financial fears
  • in pain
  • low on the mental energy to work at your full potential
  • having focus and attention struggles

Just to name a few!

Here are four strategies Julie shared:

1. Don’t Wait Until You Want to Do Something

Julie’s life changed the moment she realized she could actually work even when seriously depressed. “I kept waiting to feel better to get started on a project. I thought I had to feel like working in order to work. The reality is that you don’t have to want to get things done, feel like working, feel good about your work or even believe you have the ability to do the work in order to move forward with a project. I taught myself to get started and wait for the positive feelings to come out of the work itself. We’re taught to base our actions off our feelings. But if you wait to feel like getting into action when life is tough, you won’t get much done. This always means the work is going to be harder to accomplish than when you’re feeling well, but at least you will have an end product when you work first no matter how you’re feeling.”

motivation-is-when-your-dreams-put-on-work-clothesJulie then explained that in the past on the days when a project felt so overwhelming she didn’t even know where to start, her brain would shut off and she would sit in front of her computer and cry in frustration. One day she thought, ‘What would happen if I just picked up my hands and started to write even though I don’t feel good or even feel capable of working? What if waiting until I feel better and want to write isn’t a good plan?’

She decided that getting something started was the only way to feel better and not the other way around. She realized she often wanted to keep working once the work progressed and that her mood was telling her she didn’t want to work when she actually did.

Julie doesn’t believe in motivation. Instead, she believes that on the tough days we will never feel motivated. She wrapped up this strategy with a statement I believe can change the way we see our professional lives. “I believe that action no matter how you feel creates the motivation needed to keep going. We often get it backwards,” Julie said.

2. Think Like an Athlete

Julie follows professional athletes intensely. She studies how they handle their wealth and personal relationships and yet still manage to get out on the field and do their work. She asked herself how successful professional athletes who are pulled in every direction can perform at a specific place and time under extreme pressure without letting their personal lives get in the way.

“Have you noticed that these athletes can be under unbelievable personal distress and yet still perform? I taught myself to do the same.” Julie realized that professional athletes know how to turn off the psychological noise and let the body do its job. Just like these top class athletes, Julie stressed we can also walk into pressure situations and no matter what we are feeling give the performance of our lives. She uses this technique for the basics such as cleaning her kitchen to the big events such as a keynote to hundreds of people.

Business Finish Line

Think like an athlete!

“On some days, especially before I got control of my illness, I would be crying on the way to an event, perform to my absolutely best ability and then go back to being depressed right after the event! I’ve learned to think like an athlete and give my best presentation on schedule. It allows me to perform no matter how I’m feeling. No matter what is going on in our lives, we can perform like a magnificent athlete when required,” Julie told me.

3. Wait to Judge Your Work

Julie told me the story of how she would try to work when not feeling her best and a voice would come up that said, ‘This work isn’t good enough. People will put it down. It’s not professional Julie!’ This created a feeling that the project she had to get finished wouldn’t be of high enough quality, so what was the point of even trying?

“Stress often leads to a self critical voice that will always judge your current work negatively,” Julie explained. “When life throws you a curve ball, you’re almost always incorrect if you judge your work in the moment. This is especially true if your challenges involve depression, anxiety or ADD symptoms. Waiting to judge my work until it was over saved my career. For example, when I have a speech, I remind myself to do my best and let the critical voice just float there on its own until it has no audience and has to leave! When I walk off the stage, I immediately say to myself, ‘Good job Julie. You can go through your work later and see where you need to improve, for now there is no judgment. Go meet your audience and enjoy yourself.”

Julie still hears the critical judgmental voice while she’s working, but it no longer gets to affect her work negatively. “I’ve gotten so good at this that I often don’t even look back at an event with criticism.” This strategy led to what she calls her big writing epiphany. “I realized the work I did when the judgmental voice was raging was just as good as the work I did when I was in the flow. I was depressed for a large part of the time I wrote Get it Done, but readers can’t tell at all. Listening to my judgmental voice while working was pointless as it was mostly lies!”

4. Be Your Own Drill Sergeant

I asked Julie for her favorite in the moment strategy to get things done. She chose 
Be Your Own Drill Sergeant as she told me it works on the worst days when you don’t even feel you can get out of bed and put your feet on the floor. “I’ve experienced severe depression for all of my adult life,’ Julie told me. “It’s great to have big ideas on how to get better, but I needed help on the days I was so depressed I could hardly lift a toothbrush.” Julie stressed that we all have days like this when life gets too overwhelming.

Be your own drill sergeant!

Be your own drill sergeant!

“If you’re going through a breakup or just lost your job, you need a way to keep going professionally. I had to find a way to break through my sadness and inertia in order to meet my contract deadlines and make money.”

Julie told me how many years ago when she was teaching herself to live with her illness she started to replace the hopeless thoughts with the intense and aggressive voice of a drill sergeant. “Get out of bed Julie Fast! Throw off the blankets, turn your body and put those feet on the floor!” This voice cut through the fog and got her body moving.

She then thought of how she could summon up a voice to help her on the days she couldn’t do it alone. I laughed when she told me her favorite voice, Scarlett O’Hara! “Ok Miss Julie. Fiddle dee dee. If I can save Tara, you sure as heck can fight this feeling and open that computer!” She now asks all of her audiences to conjure up their own drill sergeant whether it’s a beloved grandfather or a figure from a movie when they need that extra push to get started with the day.

Get-It-Done

After Julie shared her four strategies, I realized that I’ve also created tips to help myself through the days when my writing doesn’t flow or I feel overwhelmed with all of the work I need to do. She encouraged me to hone these strategies and make them a part of my work life so they will be there when I really need them.

Julie reminded me that her book and her work in general whether it be in a mental health or corporate context isn’t about learning her way of doing things. It’s about finding what works for us individually and then applying the strategies on the days we need that extra push to get started.

In the introduction to her book, Julie sums up the number one benefit of her book: “Getting things done is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself, which is automatically an antidote to depression.”

How to accomplish a BIG GOAL: Get in the right position

When you look through Julie’s book, you can see that her strategies are succinct and short to prevent adding more stress to an already difficult situation. I like that I didn’t have to read the entire book at once and am pleased that I can use her strategies while my life is going well, but I just need that extra nudge to start and stick to my goals.

Julie ended our interview with a final word of encouragement, “Get It Done When You’re Depressed isn’t about getting out of tough times. It’s about getting things done while you’re going through tough times. Then when life gets back to normal you don’t have to go back and repair your professional life. Instead, you can devote your energy to moving forward!”

We only covered four of the fifty tips in Julie’s book so I’m sure you can imagine how much more productive you can be when you learn them all. I encourage you to explore Julie’s other 46 strategies and change your ability to get things done starting today.

For more information on Julie’s work, please visit JulieFast.com. You can join her social media world on Twitter@JulieBipolar and read about her current ways of getting things done on her Facebook page Julie A. Fast. Julie’s books are available at all major bookstores and around the world on Amazon.

Sick and tired of dieting? CLICK ON IMAGE to gain the mental power to achieve your fitness goals. This is how you can begin living the life you've always wanted to live.

Sick and tired of not getting it done? CLICK ON IMAGE to begin your 90 day mental fitness challenge. You can start living the life you’ve always wanted!