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This is, I believe, what got me to fall in love with writing in the first place.  I tend to think it’s easier to generate with fiction, but maybe it’s just long form writing that fuels it so well.  But anything, really, can pump the steam.

It happens when you spend enough time on a project.  I’m not sure of the exact number of hours.  It probably varies by the assignment, hormonal levels, time of year,  temperament, etc.  It no doubt differs from person to person.  From time to time, too.  Others may use different words to describe it. I only know what it’s like when it overtakes me.

Whatever I’m working on dominates my thoughts. It fills my head.  I can’t wait to get back to it!  I wake up bursting with ideas.  I hear passages or dialog in my head when I’m in the shower.  When talking to others, I’m usually working out how this could fit somewhere.  I’m even more in need of pen and paper than usual.  I’ll use cocktail napkins, paper towels, scraps of paper, paper place mats, matchbooks, whatever I can get to capture the ideas, revelations, understandings, new twists that come spilling out of me.

This steam not only takes over thoughts.  It is also the fuel that propels me forward.  I can get so much done with it pumping!  Whip through first and second drafts, full chapters, complete essays.  It may well push me through to the end.  Or until something comes along that lets the steam out. . .

I believe this is why National Novel Writing Month – November – is so important.  It’s a wonderful steam generator.  I intend to take up the challenge again this year.  The way I do it may not be as disciplined as some.  My process entails doing something on the project, no matter how small, every day.  By jove, by the time the 15th or 16th rolls around, my head is full of steam!

Shall we call it another illustration of my first rule of writing: Nothing Breeds Writing Like Writing.

I know that emotions are important.  They are like signposts to show us where we are, indicators of our state.  An emotion points us to what we’re thinking.  If I’m sad, I must be thinking sad thoughts.  If I’m angry . . .  Susan Jeffers, the fear expert, said that fear is not the culprit.  It’s how we react to it.  The emotion we generate comes, not from what’s happening, but from our thoughts about whatever is going on.  In this world we live in most things are hard to have control over.  Our thoughts, however, are the one things we can truly control.  We have this great system of emotions to show us what our thoughts are doing.  I often say that emotions, once unleashed, are difficult to tame.  But eventually, their intensity dissipates and we can tackle the thoughts.  In this respect, emotions are critical and important.

One the other hand, my emotions drag me around and get me into trouble.  They interfere with my life and my intentions.  They can make whatever I’m doing that much more intense or difficult.  I need to turn them down, step away from them so I can function again.  Emotions move.  E-motion can take me into places I don’t want to go.

Working on an old wound that hinders my progress, I’ve found that if I turn away from it, along with the associated emotions and just do what I need to do, I’m fine.  Maybe there is no healing possible.  Or I’ve done all I can do.  If I tell those thoughts behind the emotion to just leave me alone, I can often move forward.

I was talking with a friend today who warned me that what I was doing could turn out badly.  When we got off the phone I got to thinking about all the ways it could go wrong.  Fear took hold.  Later, I discovered someone hadn’t done something.  I felt hurt that my request had not been followed.  Normally it would’ve just gone by with nothing more than a note to ask again.  But on top of the earlier fear, it really hurt.  Before I knew it, I discovered that there was something I had forgotten.  Now I was angry at myself.  It felt like one of those nasty punches someone whips up from spit, rotten vegetables and motor oil and then asks you to drink it on a dare.

I understand the value of emotions.  But damn they make me mad!

It’s hard to hear what you’re thinking.  Most of us run around with a million thoughts (or so it seems).  Things I need at the grocery, what time to be somewhere, the gas in the car, how my shoes feel, what he really thinks, that’s a good song . . .  Not to mention dealing with whatever is in front of you and what comes next.

There are a lot of thoughts going on under all the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life.  It’s difficult to know what they all are.  But these thoughts are important. They color everything we do, whether or not we’re aware of them. I sometimes see it as a running commentary: “Oh, that worked out well.  That didn’t play out the way I thought. I wonder if I can do this.” The really scary thoughts, though, are buried down deeper, under all this chatter. Things like I’m no good or people don’t really like me.

Of course, they are not true. Certainly there’s something good in me and there are people who do like me. But these thoughts have been around a long time.  And their roots run deep. The thing is that once they’re revealed, once you face them and really hear them, they lose a lot of the sting.  You can see them for what they are.

One really good way to get at these thoughts is to write.  I call it journalling, but you may call it Morning Pages, like Julia Cameron (or Writing Practice as Natalie Goldberg deems it.) Writing longhand, 3 pages of whatever is going on in your head.  Julia suggests the morning because it’s a good idea to get all that out before you start your day. But also because it tends to be quiet and there is less activity in your brain.

It does take time.  Sometimes you need more than 3 pages. And you need, most of all, to feel safe doing this.  Know that this is for your eyes only.  No one else need read it.  You must have a certain amount of trust to pursue the mining.

It’s about allowing yourself to be completely honest. To be able to say things like, “I’m not sure I really like him.”  Or “Doing that really makes me feel good!”  Perhaps, “I didn’t handle that well.  She pisses me off and I reacted too fast.  Maybe next time I’ll try to think first before I speak.”  You might also try to explore why you felt the way you dind when someone reacted to you.  The more you can partake in this monologue, the deeper you can go, the more you will learn about yourself.

Talking to someone else, especially a credentialed person, definitely helps.  But most of us don’t feel compelled to seek that kind of help.  This is free and doesn’t entail a lot of effort on your part. I believe that thinking doesn’t work because you can think yourself into circles. Writing is the key.  Nothing beats seeing it for yourself, on paper.

Some of those floating thoughts in my mind tell me that I have so many things I need to take care of.  When I take the time to write them down, I often find it’s really more like 2 or 3 things.  The others being easy, part of one of the two or something I can do tomorrow.  Saying it out loud can be powerful, but nothing gives more clarity than the written word.

You have little chance of changing a situation and zero chance of changing others, but you can change yourself.  And deep knowledge of yourself is how you do it.  Writing is the key to unlock your secrets.  It there anything more valuable than understanding yourself?

I had a few more thoughts on the subject.  (See Part 1 below.)

What about recycling?  Using again what you have is environmentally sound.

I also thought about tapping into your passion.  Using your joy to motivate and fuel you.  That’s a renewable source.

There’s also using your thoughts to feel the way you want to feel.  That can create very powerful magic!


Such a simple questions, but how powerful it is!

In resume writing, we ask ourselves that question.  “Organized all files.”  So what?  Who cares about that?  What was the result?  What did it mean for the person you did it for?  How did that make you important to them?  This forces you to think in terms of accomplishments rather than tasks.

Getting in the habit of asking yourself that question (not only in resume writing) helps you to see the impact of what you do. To think of the things you do everyday, even the small things, as having value.

So What is also a very handy antidote to perfectionism.  What if I didn’t get everything done I hoped I would or as well as I wanted?  So what?  Will the world end because everything didn’t get dealt with today in just the right way?  There is always tomorrow.  Maybe it’s important.  Maybe it isn’t.

This person said that!! Oh my!  So what?  Does it change the truth?  This simple question can help you find a way out of anger.  To step over the need to be right.

Actions have consequences.  But usually not as dramatic as our thoughts may have us believe.  That chatter can make us miss the real effects of our actions.

Let So What make your life a little easier.  And it’s so easy to remember!

I keep going on about this Alignment thing.  I have thought about it, written about it, talked about it and observed it.  So I have an updated report:

I believe there is an immediate link when you think and feel and act in alignment.  When your thoughts create good feelings, and then act in accordance with your beliefs and values – based on your feelings.

As I’ve said before, very often our thoughts – created from the flotsam and fauna we have banged into over the years – direct us to do things that make us feel uncomfortable, unsure or less.  Thoughts, left unchecked, can frequently be incorrect and harmful. Sometimes our feelings tell us one thing and our thoughts another.  The thoughts may override the feelings and cause us to do things we know, somewhere, we shouldn’t.

We don’t always trust or honor our feelings, either.  The still small voice that whispers to us can often be ignored.  Those loud, boisterous thoughts that tell us we should sure feel Right.

But, I think, when your thoughts are working with your feelings.  When you honor what you feel, deep down inside as Right (despite evidence to the contrary), you can literally create a funnel through which synchronicity can work through you.

You know how it is.  You wrestle with yourself over rescheduling a date with someone.  At the last minute, you give up and call to see if you can change the plans.  Your friend lets out a sigh.  “I was just going to call and ask you the same thing.”  This is synchronicity at work.

The moral of the story is that you need to honor your feelings, first.  Investigate them to see if they are based on false evidence appearing real or if they really are true.  Are they based on thoughts you want to have? With your thoughts in line behind true feelings, you can then take the action you need to take.  This way you will be in alignment and have integrity.  It may not always come out the way you wanted, but with integrity you have the strength to bend and not break. When you are living in alignment with your integrity, there is really no better place to be.

“Your thoughts do not create your reality, but they do create your experience.” – Alan Cohen

This feels good to me. Brings me some ease.  But it also confuses me.  I have, for a long time now, believed that we DO create our reality through our thoughts. But here he’s saying that we don’t.  Alan has another quote that says, “Your thoughts do not create your reality. They either permit it or they do not.”

This puts an interesting twist on things.  It says to me that reality is busy marching along its way, passing by. That does make sense.  My tiny thoughts probably do not create the big reality around me.  It is, after all, affected by the thoughts of others in my life.  Surely what happens in my world has something to do with what goes on in government – locally and nationally. My work situation goes this way or that depending on the thoughts of others.  I can see that my reality is formed from the meshing of the thoughts of all of us, everywhere.

So … whew!  I don’t have to be responsible for creating everything that happens.  But I am certainly responsible for how willing I am to say yes to whatever passes by my door.  How I think about whatever approaches me is what creates my experience of it.  Do I see myself as empowered or as a victim?  That creates my reality far more than the situation that has come into my view.  Am I fighting against it, saying, no, thanks anyway, but take it back?  Doesn’t that decide whether I’m happy or miserable?  Or am I taking hold of what I find in my life, embracing what comes my way and looking for the sacred jewel shard in it all?

Emotions have a habit of collecting other emotions; especially similar ones.  When you feel pain after stubbing your toe, you might start to wonder if someone is avoiding you. The next thing you know you’re aggravated at your printer!  It can go so far as to make you feel like you’re being sucked into a downward spiral.  A slight thought that someone did something wrong catches into feeling like they did it on purpose and before you know it, you’re boiling with anger!

When things are said to “escalate” that’s an example of the chain reaction. Emotions can be catching. There’s a well-used story of the guy who has a bad day at work, comes home and snaps at his wife, who is short with the child, who smacks the dog. One good deed, on the other hand, can cause someone to have a better day than usual, go home and do something helpful for a spouse, who gives the child some extra time. The child then feeds the dog, without being asked.

This chain reaction is what creates your life. You have a thought.  It generates a feeling or emotion, which spurs you to action.  You influence and create your world by the thoughts you have that put you into e-motion.

It’s important to watch for and pay attention to chain reactions of emotions, both in yourself and others. You may want to get out of the way if you don’t want to be affected by it.  For you will.

Like running into a moving car (or the swoop of a loved ones arms), chain reactions of emotions have Effect.  What kind of effect are you making with your thoughts?

I have been running lately.  More than usual.  Doing two jobs – one much harder than my usual one.  Seems like everyone wants me for something, all the time.  I’ve even had things to do after work!  Today was the first day I took a real lunch – away from my desk.

I find this a difficult way to live.  Perhaps there are some who’ve become accustomed to it.  That might be even worse: to be numb to the time and connection missing.

I encourage those who live in this constant stream to take some time this weekend to really relax and see how it feels.  Can you do it?  Think about steps you could take to find more time in your life (outside of vacation) to slow down a little and listen to your thoughts.

Some may be resistant to that, but there’s really nothing so scary in your thoughts.  When you take the time to listen, sometimes, you will find they calm down. All they really wanted was a little attention. You may still, afterwards, be moving at the same speed, but there will be a calmness at the center, reminding you.  You might be more willing to take those steps to bring more quiet into your life.  All from taking a little time.

Even if it’s just a minute or two here and there. Honor your thoughts’ need to be heard.  We can all find a little time to pay more attention.

I’ve been reading this book, “Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting,” by Lynn Grabhorn.  Though I’m moving through it slowly, I’m enjoying it.  I like the way she talks so plainly, so almost casually about things.  I think that’s why I like it so much and why she gets me motivated to carry out her simple ideas.

Lynn says that the instant you start to feel bad, you change your thoughts.  No matter what it is, if you don’t have to act that second, shut it off!  Find something, anything else that feels better.  It might just be a tiny bit better, but that’s something to build on.  Stay with the better feeling thoughts as long as you can.  I like to use my favorite things list when this happens to me – the smell of salt water, sun on my face, vacation, Johnny Depp. . .   Like a sweet on your tongue, a cool breeze when you’re hot, putting down a heavy burden and feeling relief, this can change your mood entirely. All you have to do is let go of the distressing thought.

Right away, you need to put some healing salve on the wound. Talk to yourself, gently.  Remind yourself that it’s okay, you can handle it.  All will be well.  Give yourself a hug if you can, or the touch of a hand.  Just as a good friend or parent would do.  Smooth it on, get rid of the sting.

Immediately, switch from the soft love to the tough love. Speak frankly (she suggests out loud, but to yourself, if you need to).  I tell myself that being freaked out about this isn’t going to make it go away, or get me what I want.  It does me no good to sit and stew about it. I have to stop doing that now and not look back.  I’ll be better able to handle it without all that nasty stuff hanging around me.

You close by slipping directly into thoughts about what you do want.  Lynn’s all about generating and cooking those feelings.  Those are the magical ones which will bring what you want to you.

This is a good practice because, in time, you can do it in just a few minutes.  I like that she agrees with me that time spent on the bad feelings does nothing for you, nothing to help the situation.  Even if it requires you make some tough decisions or take some difficult action, you’ll do it far easier and more effectively if you get yourself into that calm state of good feelings.

So, all you need to do is remember the path:
1) Immediately find a better thought.
2) Then, give yourself some good love to heal.
3) Shift into talking honestly about the futility of staying in that negative state.
4) Slip gracefully into the good feelings about what you do want.
5) Be in a calmer state to take care of whatever is in front of you.

Lynn ties it up well:  “Just remember, however fast your Want comes is directly related to how fast (and how permanently) you can switch your focus OFF what is keeping you in a negative vibration, and ON where you want to go. No matter how dire your circumstances may seem at the moment, it is not permanently glued to you. You just have to decide what you want in  place of your problem, then provide the Feel Good frequency that will give it birth.”

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