Spirit Within

Posted by owner on November 5th, 2012 — in Memories

“What do you think Spirit is saying to us through Hurricane Sandy?”  A New York friend asked me a few days ago.  The question rolled around in my mind over the past few days and honestly, I have come to the conclusion that this is simply a question impossible for me or anyone else to answer in broad terms.    The concept of Spirit is infinitely diverse:  what Spirit means to me is specific to me and different from what Spirit means to my mother or next door neighbor.  And that is as it should be for we are all moving on different paths with different challenges and lessons along the way.

So I speak for myself when I say Spirit is within us and connects us to all that is.  It is important to understand the definition of us in that statement.   When I use that term I refer to ALL things:  the Earth, Sky, Clouds, Plants, Animals, Rocks, Mountains, Insects, Reptiles, Birds, Planets, Moon, and Sun…need I go on?   In this context the word “us” encompasses everything within and without my realm of experience.  “Did I think Spirit sent the hurricane to remind us of what is important?”  If I say yes to that, then I am returning to my Catholic roots of a terrible and merciless God; one who smites those who stray.  Roots of guilt I pulled up long ago as I forged my spiritual path.    If I say yes to that, then I am removing Spirit from within and installing it back on the crumbling pedestal of my youth.   This I cannot do.

This morning when I walked the desert, the question of Hurricane Sandy kept gurgling up through my thoughts followed by the words “quid pro quo”.   The Great Law of the Iroquois holds appropriate the responsibility to think seven generations ahead when making decisions today.   This Law recognizes Mother Earth as a living entity; one that supports life in all ways.   She gives us resources to build our homes, fuel our cars, and nourish our bodies.   Mankind even uses those resources to build great ships to explore space and tiny chips that operate our smart phones.   I thank her for the resources that built the laptop I write on so quickly and efficiently.     Yet how does mankind thank her?  We deplete her resources, often without thought, and it seems we are never sated.  Yet, we forget that as mankind continues to grow and evolve so too does Mother Earth.  More and more the Earthly changes are the result of mankind’s disregard for Earthly blessings.  Is the cataclysmic impact of Hurricane Sandy on mankind any greater than the impact of man’s depletion of our environmental resources?  Quid pro quo.

Yet, as terrible as these natural disasters are, Spirit moves me to hold to a different perspective, to see this as an opportunity for heroes to emerge.   Not only the leaders of the nation who are offering comfort and aid, but the father who scooped his child up and held her tight through the storm; the grandmother who brought hot cups of coffee to the rescue workers; the utility repairmen working feverishly for days on end to restore power.  This is Spirit:  the people who dig deep within to find Spirit and honor it through their words and actions, however small they might seem.  Those everyday people who recognize the connections between us all and choose to use challenge as a opportunity to strengthen the bonds rather than sever them.    Did I think Spirit was trying to tell us what is important? If we listen, Spirit tells us this every day, but sometimes in the haste of life, it falls on deaf ears.  Ultimately crisis returns us to a state of appreciation and humility, and it is those things that are the foundation of Spirit, the foundation of self.  Did Spirit send the hurricane?   I don’t know the answer.   But I do know I see Spirit in the eyes and actions of all who are reaching out to assist those in need yesterday, today and beyond.

Writing Tip #1 It’s all about community!

Posted by owner on November 2nd, 2012 — in Writing Prompts

When I say the word “writer”, what image pops into your mind?   Do you picture a man or woman, clad in ripped jeans and t-shirt, bare feet, fingers clattering on a keyboard, an ignored cold cup of coffee shoved to the side?  Maybe that vision is extreme yet even in business, when a memo or presentation needs to be composed, the writer slips into a corner office and closes the door to be alone.   Writing is intimidating, hard work done in isolation and yet, when you write with a group it becomes something entirely different.   Writing becomes fun!  What are the advantages of writing with a group?

  • Motivation.  Think of it like getting dressed in the morning.   If you plan to putter around the house all day, it’s tempting to lay like broccoli on the couch all day in your jammies.   However if you know you’ve got to be at the coffee shop by ten to meet a friend, you think about what shirt to wear with those new jeans you bought last week.    You’re motivated to look your best.   When you write alone, it’s easy to procrastinate.   When you write with a group, you write.
  • Discipline.  Okay, ‘fess up now.  Is there really anyone out there who is able to do “morning pages”?   Every day?  Unless you’re an established author, with an agent breathing down your neck, do you really have the fortitude to crank out a prescribed number of pages every day?   If you’re like me, you find it hard to do.   The dirty dishes piled in the sink refuse to disappear no matter how many times you blink and wiggle your nose.   The dogs need to be walked, the cat box cleaned, and you can’t even see the hamper for all of the dirty laundry piled in and around it.  But if you’re part of a writing group, at least once a week, you find the time to set everything else aside, meet with the group and write.
  • Positive Reinforcement.   Years ago, my next door neighbor used to go to garage sales every Saturday.   She would pick through other people’s unwanted trash, hungry for that one find that she thought was pure gold.  Writing is like that.   Often you think your writing is the worst crap in the world, but then you share it.   You allow the group to pick through your words and suddenly they find gold.   It’s right there under your nose but sometimes it takes someone else to see it.
  • Inspiration.   It happens every time; first one person shares a piece of herself through her writing and before you know it the group begins to feed off of each other’s energy.   A word or phrase, written by another, touches a place deep inside you.  Seeds are planted.   And you have no choice but to write it down.   You need to write it out.   You learn a little something new about yourself.
  • Fun.    There is at least one point each week, in every writing group, when all hell breaks loose and the laughter starts!

Can’t find a writing group to join?   Then get courageous and start one yourself!   You really only need one or two other people to make it happen…and oh, yes, some writing prompts to get you going.   Beginning next Monday morning I will be posting two to three writing prompts to help you get underway.    Don’t have a writing group but would love the feedback on your writing?   Then feel free to use this site as a forum and post a piece or two of your writing on this site.   I, as well as site readers, can jump in and give you some positive reinforcement!