After a career in marketing communications, I turned my attention to creative writing. To date, I've written three feature length screenplays and three novels. At this point, I am determined to become less serious.
I enjoy reading words of inspiration as much as you probably do. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I love practicing the art of creative visualization. (My man Jordan Spieth, last week’s winner of the US Open Golf Championship, is the ultimate practitioner of creative visualization.)
Having said this, I have to say something more. You probably guessed I’d go on for a bit in this week’s blog. It takes more than a stranger’s words to affect lasting, positive change and success in any endeavor. It takes loving support from caring mentors. The ideal personification of this support comes from a set of caring, loving parents. Let’s take Jordan Spieth again as an example. He seems to have an ideal relationship with his loving, caring, teaching parents plus a monumental talent that have helped him to win two major golf titles in his young and promising career.
Jason Day, a young professional golfer from Australia, battled bravely through dizziness and nausea caused by vertigo to finish high in the US Open final standings. Jason, unlike his contemporary Spieth, did not have a strong connection with his parents while growing up. He had a troubled youth before meeting Colin Swatton at Kooralbyn, a golf-centric boarding school in south-east Queensland. Jason’s mother had to borrow money to send her son to Kooralbyn in a desperate attempt to do something about his delinquent behavior after his father died of stomach cancer when Jason was 12.
Colin Swatton was a golf instructor at Kooralbyn when he first met the head-strong, rebellious Day. Swatton’s non-confrontational style won Jason over. When Swatton moved on to teach at Hills International College, Day followed him. From there, Swatton became Day’s golf coach, mentor, close friend and full-time professional caddie. Jason Day is now one of the top-ranked golfers in the world with a family of his own and the admiration and affection of his peers.
After I’ve read a self-help book the inspiration and advice usually fade within forty-eight hours. Formulaic self-help exercises quickly become dry practices that yield little or lasting benefits. I picked up a few Wayne Dyer books a year ago and two things became immediately clear: (1) Wayne has a lot of nice things to say and (2) I could not practice or live what Dyer says if I tried for a million years.
So what does it take to move forward, achieve, and grow? To amplify what I said earlier, it takes a special personal relationship. It is a relationship that always accepts and honors who you are and where you are. It can be a parental, mentoring, teaching, romantic, or friend to friend relationship. In the case of the first three, the relationship begins with the child, mentee, or student receiving more at first. I’ve learned that over time the best of these relationships blossom into mutuality where both parties reap significant rewards. There’s an energy and information exchange in these relationships; call it love, call it caring and concern, call it chemistry. Whatever it is, it’s a radiant, magic elixir. It produces extraordinary human beings; some famous and others who live and work quietly outside of the limelight.
What is a blog tour? I’m not entirely sure, really, but I’m learning. To the best of my knowledge, a blog tour is made up of several “stops” at book review sites, all arranged by an online publicity service. Why am I writing about blog tours? I’m deeply fascinated by them and, purely by coincidence, my first Scarlet Ambrosia blog tour starts today.
A blog tour “stop” is actually a website created by someone who loves to read and review self-published and traditionally (legacy) published books. Often, these independent book reviewers are authors themselves. They promote their own books as well as other books of interest to them. Typically, these independent book reviewers (IBRs) do not get paid to review books. They do it because it’s their passion.
From what I gather, there are three ways to promote your book on an IBR site: (1) a live or written interview (2) a book review or (3) a book spotlight. I don’t know what a book spotlight is but I’ll find out soon because there’s a “spotlight” stop on my tour. Blog tours can last for a few days or a few weeks with optional bells and whistles added depending upon the amount of cash the “emerging” author is willing to pony up.
According to my service provider (Sage’s Blog Tours) “Virtual blog tours allow authors to professionally promote their work without leaving the comforts of their home. Each tour stop enables authors to gain new readers and social media fans, while reaching a worldwide audience.”
As a great Jewish sage once said, “It should only happen.”
I want to thank my good buddy, Joe Canzano, for introducing me to blog tours and to Sage’s Blog Tours in particular. Joe is a talented writer, musician and marketing guy. I’m sure he’s good at a few other things too. Joe has just published his new novel, Magno Girl. If you like humor, action and romance check it out.
Doing nothing can be fun or boring depending upon your outlook and level of creativity. What if you didn’t have to do anything except answer the call of nature and buy groceries? What would you do—or not do.
I think most of us would agree that doing absolutely nothing becomes boring. The real challenge, I feel, lies in staying very busy while actually doing very little of major consequence, especially anything that might cause the slightest bit of pain.
I’m at a point where I need to find something to do that I can tell myself is very important, yet doesn’t require a significant degree of sacrifice. I’m allergic to the word sacrifice in the same way Maynard G. Krebs was allergic to the word work.
I have a couple of major projects on the drawing boards that require the participation of other people. Until they are at liberty to work with me, I’m at loose ends.
This morning, I went into deep meditation with the intent of coming up with, at the very least, a brilliant idea for the blog you are now reading. I came up with nothing, nada, zilch. I wonder how this is possible. It’s not, by a long shot, the first time this has happened. Creative, constructive ideas come easily to some people. They have more ideas than they have time to manifest them. I have plenty of time but no ideas. This seems like an injustice.
I thought that by writing about nothing, a great idea would arise out of the void. Well, the void is still there. Where are you Mister or Miss Great Idea? How about if I settle for a medium idea? Still no?
How about ANY GOD-DAMNED CONSTRUCTIVE IDEA?
I think I’ll go have an iced soy latte.
The transmission of an awakened human being can be life transforming and life enhancing. It is like cosmic orange juice–a vitamin for the soul, water for the seed, nectar for a heart thirsty for joy, wholeness, well-being and fulfillment.
“As [students] lose more conceptual, belief-based faith in their old pursuits, the pilot light of their intrinsic being becomes more accessible to the catalytic heat of our transmission. With a sufficient exposure to that energy, Being itself is then able to initiate the awakening and transformational process within the individual. The results are no less profound than that of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.”
One of the major obstacles to personal and spiritual growth is an inability to admit that we need something outside of oneselves to truly activate and accelerate the process of self-realization. That something is hard to define and harder still to find. We can admit that we need family, friends, a spouse or boy/girlfriend. We can accept the help of a trained mental health counselor when our limited internal and external resources are not enough to meet the difficulties life hurls at us. Yet it usually takes a rare form of desperation to seek the help and wisdom of a spiritual teacher.
It is only when everything else fails to satisfy that we are ready to go beyond the boundaries of convention and delve into the realm of the Spirit.
This point of extreme desperation is the beginning. It may require a change from one teacher to another. The deep need for spiritual nourishment may begin with curiosity and deepen with time, perhaps lifetimes, until the time is right to dive deeply. You may audition innumerable teachers and philosophies until you walk into the right room. Once you walk through that door, however, it soon becomes clear that what you hear and feel are what you are looking for. The transmission and the words fit like a glove—perfect for your needs. In time, you won’t hear everything that you want to hear, but that is another stage of the process.
I am grateful to have found in bountiful measure the cosmic orange juice that my heart craves. May it be so for you.
Blessings on your journey.
In my last blog, I promised to write more about my residential retreat with Saniel and Linda Groves-Bonder at their home in Sonoma, California. I left you and me hanging on the question whether I would have enough to talk about during my two-day retreat. It turns out my fear was almost groundless. I did run out of “personal stuff” to bring forward, but it didn’t matter. We filled the space by working on two projects I’m doing with Saniel and Linda, and by simply being together in simple, every-day terms.
For instance, I volunteered to drive Saniel into Sonoma to do some errands, including buying cat food and six rather large sacks of bird seed. Linda likes to feed the birds—every one of them, it seems, living in Sonoma County and beyond. I can imagine word of mouth traveling at warp speed within the aviary community about delicious, free food.
Have you ever been inside a hay/grain/birdseed store? Not this city slicker. I had only been to the main “drags” in town. Saniel helped me to experience Sonoma from a resident’s point-of-view. It’s a quaint country town with a population of only 10,400. Let me add, I gave myself a few extra days to explore some of the surrounding cities. I found Sausalito to be the most interesting of these. It’s a beautiful town overlooking the San Francisco Bay with lovely homes terraced into the hills and populated by artists, musicians, New-Age thinkers, and other adventuresome souls. The more conventional residents were probably working in nearby San Francisco somewhere across the Golden Gate Bridge. The weather in northern California at this time of year can only be described as “glorious and majestic.”
Pardon my digression.
I become really happy around Saniel and Linda thanks to their powerful transmissions. During our time together, we laughed, worked hard, and had lots of fun. There was a bonus event (for me) on Sunday called “a sitting” where Saniel and Linda hosted nine local people for a two-hour session of meditation and sharing.
After these two and a half days, I’m cooked. I can’t say if I’m rare, medium, or well-done. I just know I’m cooked and it’s a good thing.
While meditating at the Sunday morning sitting an image came to me: hands knitting golden threads into a golden rope. The image suggested to me a certain perfect harmony that surrounded everything Saniel, Linda and I said and did. There was another entity at work with us, weaving together the strands of our collective efforts into a golden rope. Everything that happened just sort of fell into place, as if by magic. (I know what my next book project will be about. It fell into my lap as lightly as a feather.) The golden rope brought us closer together; more comfortable in our Being and knowing of one another—linked heart-to-heart, now and into the future.
I’m on a Jet Blue flight to San Francisco. The purpose of my journey is a two-day “personal retreat” in Sonoma with my teachers, Saniel and Linda-Groves Bonder. The retreat is part of an intensive ten-month course entitled “The White-Hot Yoga of the Heart.”
I’m concerned about filling the two days with Saniel and Linda with enough meaningful material to discuss. It will be just the three of us. No other students will be present, which is usually the case with the other “in person” retreats and the tele-course seminars. I won’t be able to snooze or go off into my own little world. There will be no opportunities to take “time off” during our sessions. Gulp.
We’ll spend some time working on marketing projects that I’ve initiated and we’ll take a trip to the beach or the mountains. We’ll do some meditation. This still leaves a lot of time to fill in two days, including lunch and dinner.
We’ll talk about “my stuff,” or in more dignified terms, “my process.” As I’ve grown on this path, I’ve become less inclined to talk about myself, yet some self-talk is necessary. It’s a challenge to decide what is worth talking about and what isn’t. I suppose it’s hard to know in advance what to talk about, but it makes sense to come ready with a few notes. When push comes to shove, I think the shotgun approach is the best way to go: just blurt out whatever comes up on the topics I’ve come prepared to discuss. The golden nuggets will spew forth in the midst of the dross.
I’ve learned to try to listen to feedback and not sit there thinking about what to say next. For me, that’s easier said than done.
Lately, I’ve developed the habit of saying succinctly what little I have to say. This new habit only exacerbates the problem of how to fill the time. My teachers are experts in filling the awkward gaps in conversation. Still, I feel responsible for coming to the retreat with enough material to fill the space. I’m not exactly brimming over with material.
I’ll just have to be cool and see what happens. I’ll fill you in on the flight home.