Surrender

10 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

 

Consciousness instigates shifts in outer reality. Recognizing that I have the power to change my world by changing my thinking, I set for myself a gentle vigilance toward negative thoughts. I surrender into the deeper flow of life rather than willfully forcing artificial solutions. Rather than imagine that my yearnings are self-centered or counter to the flow of life, I practice simply blossoming in the faith that I attract what I need simply by following and blessing my true nature.

From Prayers to the Great Creator: Prayers and Declarations for a Meaningful Life by Julia Cameron

Ah yes, the work of Julia Cameron. I found The Artist’s Way years ago, back when I thought that the artist in me wanted to be a visual artist. I dutifully did the Morning Pages, that morning thought-dump that was supposed to free one’s inner artist to be the happy, productive, fulfilled artist that I was.

It didn’t work that way for me. It ended up being a journal of despair – mental masturbation of the worst sort. At least it didn’t leave me in a worse state than when I started. I ditched that journal years ago.

Which is not to say that Morning Pages aren’t valuable for a lot of folks. I also learned a lot about myself doing the Artist’s Way course, stuff that I don’t share publicly. I don’t share it privately, for that matter, either!

I think that Cameron is a marvel, and back in the day the above quote was something that moved me. It still does, today. It’s message is something that I’m still learning. I love that phrase “a gentle vigilance”. It’s all about being kind to one’s Self. I hope to achieve that one day.

How do you talk to yourself? Are you kind to yourself when you mess up? Are you at peace with yourself? Do you hold unsustainable ideals for yourself? Let me know in the comments, and we’ll talk!





July 8 Row80 Update

8 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

I cannot believe that the first week of round three is already over. Let’s see how I did with my goals this time.

They fall into four categories:

Business: Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog.

Nothing. Nada. I haven’t even plotted out what all I need to do for this. Next week!

Creative: Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

I am 99% finished with my synopsis, which I needed to complete in order to organize Steven’s life into three acts. I still don’t know what my opening is, but I have a better idea of that than I did this time last week. I hope to get the synopsis to Ali and Sally for their perusal within 10 days. Hopefully feedback from these amazing writer grrrlfriends will help point me in a positive direction.

I have finally some writing and editing of various scenes in the book. However, I still have some scenes to write, so my first draft is technically not complete at this time.

Creative:  Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

Though I have had some idle thoughts about the Umgonnan, this is on hold until I finish my WIP.

Creative:  Get started on my Halloween costume.

Daily life: Finish losing that twenty pounds.

More like “Re-start losing the twenty pounds”. Yeah, I gained back three of the four that I’d lost from June, mostly due to my audition adventures. No worries, I’d fallen off the diet wagon for my food addiction of choice: sweets. I’m now on day three of a quasi-Paleolithic/South Beach-style diet. The sugar/sweets cravings have been horrible, but I know that if I persevere they will lessen, soon.

Daily life: Practice every day.

This is coming along! I’m excited about it, especially Mozart.

Daily life: Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

Definitely on the right track here. Enough said!

Platform building: Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

I heart blogging. This is not much of a problem for me right now, especially since I have more time in the summer. I have a list of blogposts scheduled, up to August in the case of my Tuesday Quotes series.

One thing on my to-do list is to come up with a blogroll for this blog’s sidebar. I have a handful of must-read blogs in a couple of categories that I want to share with the world.

Platform building: Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

Twitter is my nemesis! I’m not enjoying it at all recently, since I haven’t been doing much #wordmongering. I will be getting back to that, especially since I’m almost done with the WIP’s synopsis. I’ll be back to straightforward writing soon. I miss my wordmongering buddies!

Then there’s the blogging community. I have been frustrated by the WordPress reader. I prefer for my subbed blogs to show up in my live.com email feed, and recently when you click ‘follow’ on someone’s WP blog, it sends it to the Reader instead of your email like before. I haven’t found an easy way to get to my subscription lists/options, either.

Platform building: Including platform building for my business.

Nothing happening here. ::rolls eyes:: Next week!

Tomorrow I’m having a face-to-face with the awesome Ginger Calem! She will be the fourth area writer that I’ve connected with in meatspace, and I am so psyched! I met her through Sally Driscoll (her link is above), and we’ve been Facebooking for many weeks. We planned to meet last month, but I had a bit of a detour that kept me busy.

There is noting like sitting down with a cuppa and chatting with another writer. If I thought that writing was fulfilling, the connection with other writers makes writing even more so. Facebooking, blogging, etc is a great way to connect with writers across the globe, but face-to-face is the best. I hope that I’m able to take in some of the area writing conferences in the next couple of years, and look up even more of my internet writer friends.

How was your week? Is your summer going well? Or, for you Southern Hemisphere folks, how’s winter coming along? If you’re interested in what other people are doing for Row80, you can find more Row80 updates here.





Worry: warts and all

3 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

 

Worrying about what’s going to happen is a negative contribution to the future. Living in the here and now is ultimately the best thing we can do, not only for today, but for tomorrow. Things will work out, if we let them. If we must focus on the future other than to plan, all we need to do is affirm that it will be good. I pray for faith that staying in the present is the best thing I can do for my future. I will focus on what’s happening now, instead of what’s going to happen tomorrow.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Many years ago I was part of the fellowship of CoDependents Anonymous, a 12-step group based on the principals of Alcoholics Anonymous, for people who have been adversely effected by someone else’s addictions/garden-variety craziness/etc. I found a lot of good there, and one of the things that I became aware of was the work of Melody Beattie. And no, I have no idea how to say her name.

She wrote the first books on CoDA: her books Codependent No More and Beyond Codependency were our bibles back in ’87.  I practically memorized the bloody things, and had a double handful of daily meditation books like the above-quoted The Language of Letting Go. I thought enough of the above quote to type it up on my DOS machine and print it out on an index card. It lived in my flute case for years.

I found it again the other day, and its truth still hits me at my core. In the past several months – oh hell, make it three-four years – I’ve been alternately stressing and obsessing, and actively avoiding thinking about any number of things. Note: I graduated from acupuncture school June of 2007, and you remember what happened in 2008, right? Financial meltdown. Holy. Crap. Student loans, a failed relationship, and no income to speak of.

That being said, I noticed something many, many moons ago. I have been taken care of all along. I look back at my life, and even though I was dealing with a multitude of issues from my past, I still had everything that I needed. Wanted? Nope. But I had what I needed. And I have what I need, today. Every tomorrow I’ve ever experienced has been the same. I’ve received what I needed.

So, why worry? Perhaps because it’s a bad habit, a superstition. If I keep on worrying, then certainly things will turn out okay, right? If I stop worrying and just relax, then everything will go crab-wise, right?

Um. No. I don’t think it works that way.

All my worrying has accomplished is that it’s given me grey hair and acid reflux.

 And… more importantly…

It’s kept me from myself. If I’m worrying about tomorrow, or next month, or next year, then I’m not Here, Now. I’m not with myself. That’s the problem which got me to CoDA in the first place! We CoDependents abandon ourselves to take care of others… and it’s just another kind of addiction. Remember how I said that Steven uses alcohol, nicotine, and women to avoid the pain in his soul? Many of us (okay, I) do the same thing, using socially-acceptable WORRY. If we’re worried, then we’re obviously trying to take care of things, right? That’s a good thing, right?

Um. No. Not when it serves to obscure the reality of our Present Lives. Because worrying is not doing.

Today, do what needs to be done, and leave the rest for tomorrow.

What is your relationship with worry? Are you trusting and carefree? Do you face life with a smile? Or are you battening down the hatches, hoping against hope that things will somehow work out? Let me know in the comments! They are appreciated, as always.





Row80, Round 3

2 07 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

Round Three starts today, woohoo! What is the end date? Because I have a hellacious amount of stuff that I need to do!

My goals fall into four categories:

Business:

Completely redo my business website, including adding a wordpress blog. Oy. This is a big one!

 

Creative:

Finish HIS ORIGINAL SIN, and get it to beta readers by the end of August.

Restart work on my second WIP, last year’s Nanowrimo novel.

Get started on my Halloween costume.

 

Daily life:

Finish losing that twenty pounds.

Practice every day.

Continue my Better Life Habits™ from last round (exercising, house cleaning, dog grooming).

 

 

(Yep, that’s my girl!)

Platform building:

Continue blogging three times a week: Row80 update on Sunday, Tuesday Quotes on Tuesday (Duh!), third blogpost later in the week.

Be on twitter, and comment on at least one blog every day.

 

This includes platform building for my business. Oh. My. I think I needed to get started five years ago!





Addiction and the Soul-Hole

29 06 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

 

What is the cause of addiction? Bucket loads of research have been done to answer that question. Some think it’s genetic – alcoholism runs in families, for instance – but co-dependency and learned behavior happen in families as well. In many addictions there is a substance that ‘hooks’ the user: nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, while in others the ‘fix’ is a compulsive behavior: gambling addiction, binging/purging, sexual compulsion. In either case, it appears that there is a change in the function of the brain.

Some addictions have met with approval in some circles: workaholism, smoking in the 1950s (think of the Classic Movie channel), and sexual crimes (think the gang bang as a gang initiation). All that has changed in the past 50 or so years, with increasingly restrictive laws governing public smoking, DWI and DUI, and drug incarceration.

More interesting to me is the emerging brain science concerning behavioral addiction/compulsion. In an article posted on November 20, 2011, Hilarie Cash writes:

When we enjoy playing video games or get caught up in gambling, we experience a similar euphoria. These highs are not something to be worried about, in moderation. The addiction begins to take hold, however, when we do it too much. Then the brain is forced to withdraw neuro-receptors in an effort to restore balance. This is what we call tolerance, and we no longer get the high from the same level of activity or drug use. Now, we need more. And if we go without, we go into withdrawal. In the case of behavioral addictions, that withdrawal involves primarily psychological symptoms (irritability, restlessness, poor concentration, increased anxiety and depression, etc).

In this article from June 2011, Alexandra Katehakis writes:

Both Robert and Clarissa suffered emotional deprivation in childhood. Both have developed rituals to mask the wounds that never healed. While their motivation and end result–despair–are the same, their acting-out blueprints are different.

Clarissa’s compulsions are more indicative of a love addict. Her interactive style is labile, with a come-here/go-away emotional charge that is echoed in her chaotic relationships. Clarissa’s “drug” of choice is less about sex than about a particular romantic experience.

A classic sex addict, Robert is more attached to specific sex acts and sexual encounters than to people. His style of relating is detached, aloof, and avoidant–thus his preference for nameless, interchangeable sex partners.

 


I believe that one key to addictive behavior is childhood emotional deprivation. In my protagonist Steven’s case, a series of emotional wounds in childhood and again in later life led to a separation from his essential self. His addictive behaviors serve to mask a deep inner discomfort – he describes it as ‘an itch that can’t be scratched’ – and as long as he returns to his compulsive behavior, that itch will not be healed.

While he is truly addicted to nicotine (and later, alcohol), his sexual acting-out becomes a behavioral compulsion, in the same way that someone can be drawn into out of control gambling or video gaming. While there is societal approval in some circles for the kind of things he does, for the most part men like him are a father’s nightmare.

 

He is a typical liberal college prof, as well as a Cradle Catholic and feminist. If you think that adds to his ‘itchiness’, you’d be right! Even he has difficulty reconciling his beliefs with his behaviors; his logical scientist’s mind rationalizes what his soul cannot accept. This inner conflict further feeds his desire to do whatever he can to bury that primal wound, until he finds himself sucked into the maelstrom called ‘hitting bottom’.

 

And what happens next? It’s a twisty/turn-y story which I hope will keep Steven Canelli in your thoughts for some time to come.





Home Again

28 06 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

I’ve been home for a day, and I thought I’d comment further on my recent adventure.

I returned fully six hours after I was scheduled to return. Thank you, AMERICAN AIRLINES for a completely FUBAR five days… I’m not going to fly with you again anytime soon. My second flight on Saturday was cancelled due to there not being a crew. I have no idea why that happened, but it severely affected my ability to do what I came to do – play the audition. Given the result and the lost time (and sleep), I might as well have stayed home.

 

My first flight on Tuesday was delayed over five hours due to a problem with the airplane. By the time I reached the head of the line to change my connection, I had to wait an extra hour and a half in DFW because an earlier connecting flight was full. It could’ve been worse. A later flight to DFW from That City was cancelled, and all those people had to scramble to change their plans, as well. That is simply unacceptable when your prime directive is to move people from one place to another on a schedule. Not only do you inconvenience your passengers, you inconvenience your staff.

With one notable exception, the people of AA: the ticket agents, to the gate agents, the flight attendants, the flight crews, were all wonderful, helpful, and did their best to make this insane trip more bearable.

 

In what has to be an amazing coincidence, today Boston Magazine published an article online about the Boston Symphony’s recent percussion auditions. I have never approached an audition with anything like the dedication of Mike Tetreault. Perhaps that’s why I remain in the job I have. I definitely can identify with his sense that he lost the audition at a particular moment – I experienced that same realization at some point in mine.

 

(That would be the Chicago Symphony on stage in Orchestra Hall. I’ve played on that stage, though not with the CSO.)

I did not approach the audition with the attitude that it deserved, mostly because I have a quite casual approach to making music these days. One surprising result of the audition was the desire to take music making more seriously. It remains to be seen if I will do that, with everything else I have on my plate. You can read all about that in my first posting in the Third Round of Row80, which will go live on July 2nd. I’ve been thinking about Steven and my WIP, perhaps I’ll actually do some writing later today.

 

Oh, and a huge, Texas-sized THANK YOU to my new followers! You guys make my day. I’ll do my best to keep things interesting around here.





The Darkness Within

26 06 2012

By Julia Indigo/@juliaindigo

 

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” – Carl Gustav Jung

Such is the theme of my WIP, His Original Sin. Steven Canelli, for all his good points, cannot – WILL not – face the pain that drives him. It’s easier to use – whether it is alcohol, nicotine, work, or women – and, in spite of his prodigious intelligence, he takes the ‘easier’ way out time after time, until he hits bottom. It isn’t that he doesn’t see the endpoint. He uses (that word, again!) his brilliance to rationalize his actions.

That’s the way it always is, isn’t it? People in general won’t face facts until they have to, until they have no other choice. I know that’s been true in my life. I refuse to enumerate the many times that I continued on a particular path in spite of that nagging ‘oh dear, this isn’t going to end well’ feeling, that inner warning system maxed out in the red. Usually when I’ve stayed with a course (never mind the looming brick wall) it’s been because I felt that I had no other options. The truth? I had no other easy options.

In Steven’s case, it’s easier to just pour another drink, light another cig, or chase another skirt. Easier, until it becomes impossible to overcome the consequences of his actions. Perhaps that’s why I adore this character, in spite of his behavior. He’s me, in a different body, making different choices, avoiding different pain… but still running, running, running, until he can’t run any longer.

(And what is he really running from? There’s a hint of it on this page.)

Thanks to my good friend Gayle Greenlea for posting the Jung quote to Facebook. I hadn’t intended this Tuesday Quotes blogpost to become copy about my book, but it fits so well!

What about you? What are you running from? What situations aren’t working in your life? Where could you make other, harder, choices, which might result in beauty? Where are you holding back out of fear of… success? failure? Let me know in the comments.

Oooh boy. I could go on and on with those questions, and probably will, in my journal!








%d bloggers like this: