Claudsy’s Blog—Epiphanies and Breathing

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A while back I heard something that changed my thinking about many things. Questions flooded my mind. Time took on a different meaning.

The words which caused this shift were these: epiphanies don’t just cause you to catch your breath in an “Ah-ha” moment. They knock the breath from your lungs and then breathe new life back into you.

All sorts of ideas, images, and conclusions rushed to fill a void unrecognized until then.

Earth Sunrise and Milky Way Illustration. First Sun Lights. Space Illustrations Collection.

Earth Sunrise and Milky Way Illustration. First Sun Lights. Space Illustrations Collection.

Think about that statement. Each of us has an “Ah-ha” take possession of us at unexpected times, But they persist in their surprise element. Perhaps it’s their infrequent appearance in our lives that catches us unawares and causes the catch in our throat in amazement.

Perhaps it’s our surprise that something so simple, so obvious (which tends to be an element of every “Ah-ha”) could have eluded us in the first place. The amazement comes with a gift card attached that says something like “if you’d paid attention, you’d have seen this a long time ago.”

Each time one of these sneaky  epiphanies drops down before my eyes, I have that reaction. How could I not have seen this obvious truth? And when the answer comes, it carries its own simple message.

calendars-6888067The truth is, we’re all so caught up in the minutiae of daily living that we simply don’t pay attention to the truth around us. When your bucket is filled with sand at the beach, it’s hard to see the tiny periwinkle shell in the middle.

For all that each of us has learned, stored behind mental doors and within file cabinets, we access little of that knowledge or understanding. It isn’t until a quirky trigger effect releases the accumulated correlations stored that we get that moment of revelation. It was there all along, but layered in psychic dust bunnies.

Girl Taking A Nap On Her Notebook Computer As Exhausted

Girl Taking A Nap On Her Notebook Computer As Exhausted

And when the dust is shaken off, and we’ve had our “ah-ha,” we begin to live differently than before. Oh, sure, we can silently choose to forget the knowledge again. We can go back to sleep. But that would mean wasting the gift we’ve given ourselves.

I choose to take the gift and use it to its fullest. Its size isn’t important. Only its effect has power. And isn’t that what each of us wants—just a little bit? A tiny impulse of power, even if its power over ourselves, our lives, our knowledge.

digital rendering of an eye

digital rendering of an eye

This is my challenge to you. Each time you receive a small “ah-ha,” spend time studying it and what it could really mean to you. Turn it over in your mind to see how it applies to you and your situation. But most of all, don’t allow yourself to go back to sleep and forget to breathe in the new life awaiting you. At least consider breathing deep and smiling at your genius.

Until next time, a bientot,

Claudsy

 

 

 

 

Claudsy’s Blog—Laughing at Yourself

 

I admit it. I rarely laugh at myself. I think part of that comes from innate personality—I was born a serious person with a dry sense of humor. Beyond that, though, I went through what a lot of kids do. I was laughed at a lot growing up. All for various reasons, mind you, but it hurt nonetheless.

biker-on-bike_MkSxqOBdThe earliest occurrences I recall involve my first bicycle and my father. I was five or six and we didn’t have a lot of money, but Dad found a used, little pink bike for my birthday. It was only sixteen inches tall, no training wheels, and made for me.

There a clear recollection of me taking possession of it. I was in the narrow side yard. Back then there were no helmets, knee or elbow pads, nothing like that. It was all bare legs and arms. If you fell off, you got back on or risked total nerdhood. And that was before the word ‘nerd’ had been invented.

I straddled that little bike, aimed it for the front yard, and took off. About five feet or so later came the first crash. Fury and disappointment roared through me. No thoughts of defeat entered my brain.

close up of an owl

close up of an owl

What did enter my ears was my dad laughing at me for falling off. It made me even angrier. It wasn’t like I had a lot of experience riding a bike. That failed attempt had been my first.

With each subsequent crash that day, the laughter followed me to my next attempt. Success arrived on the handlebars of the fifth or sixth trip up the side yard. That’s when I heard something like “It’s about time.”

From then on, I was set up for life. It’s taken more decades than I care to number to get past that experience. Why? Because someone I loved humiliated me with laughter. I didn’t need to laugh at myself. There was a handy soundtrack already embedded in my memory. A lot of reconciliation has gone into accepting the fact that my father had no clue as to the impact of his delight in my stubborn determination to conquer a bicycle.

Am I over it now? From the tiny tear running down my cheek as I write this, I’d have to say “Not really.” I can accept the ultimate reality of the experience so long ago, but the hurt went too deep and impacted too much to ever drain away completely.

abstract-musical-notes-background_MJS0eqv_You may also ask why I’m writing about this incidence from my childhood. It comes down to recognizing that we each come to a crossroads in our lives where we must laugh at ourselves or implode. I’ve never had much luck with the practice. Today, though, I chuckled at myself. Out of the Blue. I hadn’t done anything funny.

I was listening to some fantastic music written by Ivan Torrent. As my mind floated on the notes, it settled onto a long-desired dream of creating music. With today’s technology and the auxiliary instrument units that can be attached to a good computer, music is easier to create now than ever before. And the dream blossomed in my mind again.

Analysis

Analysis

That’s when the chuckling started to bubble up. An image of an acquaintance from years ago rose to chide me. Not for the dream, but to remind me of his analysis of me. Leo was a specialist in personality mapping. When he finished going over my results, he came back to me and said, “Girl, you won’t have an easy road. You’re one of those types who will never be satisfied with what you choose to pursue. You have too broad an interest range. You get bored too easily. You’ll enjoy many careers, but they’ll all be short-lived.”

I hadn’t thought about Leo in a long time, but I’d never forgotten his assessment of me. It was spot on. I tend to neglect that reality. Being bright, having a few talents here and there, all combine to create a kind of Renaissance person. That was me.

Here I was struggling frantically to finish a novella that was driving me round the proverbial bend, and my mind was off on making music for book trailers. How ridiculous is that? Okay, maybe not ridiculous, but certainly in character, albeit a bit premature.

Suddenly I could delight in a moment of  self-humor. It wasn’t vindictive or mocking, or filled with ridicule. It was an appreciation of a personal quirk and something that was more real than a misconstrued episode from decades ago. It also allowed me self-appreciation of another sort; one recognizing my uniqueness and potential—realized or not.

That was the gift I gave myself today. Regardless of our age, each of us has untapped potential left to pursue. How fabulous is that!

Enjoy your potential today. Chuckle over the things you dream of doing and know that you are unique. It’s amazing how freeing the sensation is.

Until next time, a bientot,

Claudsy

Words, Post Election
Photo Credit: e_walk

1st Monday: She

She

It did not take long
For me to wish I was
A he and not a she.

I chafed against
The norm and social sensibility;
A rebel with her own cause.

He or she would have
Made no difference;
All I wanted to do

Was touch the sky and
Make love to the moon;
I also craved my home.

In conflict and isolation,
This she found joy
In pregnant pauses;

Her breath molded faith;
Her tears hydrated dreams;
Her love birthed promise.

~ Meena Rose

Claudsy’s Blog—Life Lessons and Dream

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If you think that life lessons and dream are mutually exclusive, think again. Humans spend a third of their lives sleeping and dreaming. The expanded time for processing the day’s events gives each of us an advantage over the rest of the animal world.

Here’s an example for you.

I woke this morning facing a life lesson because of a simple dream. Like most people, I sometimes work in my dreams. This morning my dream work involved the internet, blogs (no surprise there) and mistakes.

Analysis

Analysis

In the dream I’d gone back to blog posts from a couple of years prior and found many mistakes. (Again, nothing new there. We all make them.) My dilemma I was going back to correct those mistakes or letting them go, knowing that once something’s up on the net, it’s there forever. I was torn between making things perfect—to my standards—and going on with life and writing in an attempt to prevent future mistakes.

When my eyes popped open, my mind flashed a question in front of them. If a person is always going back to correct past personal errors, is there any room left for living and growing?

Life lessons are sometimes stark, but always necessary.

The question flashing at me from thin air was stark. Fighting perfectionism has been a long struggle for me; abhorring mistakes, no less so. My gut reaction was to scream NO!

A few seconds later, the reality of the situation sunk in completely. Whether it involves writing, or family relationships, or which residence one has, our choices were made initially for personal reasons. And in the now, those reasons don’t mean squat.

stock-photo-2-010None of us can correct anything done in the past. We can only strive to reduce repeats of the same mistakes, the same shaky choices, and the same outcomes. We can also work to repair damage done by those past mistakes. That’s it.

Using life lessons to produce better outcomes is always a worthy goal.

A person’s life changes in large and small increments continuously. Much of the time, we aren’t even aware of them. We take them in stride and move on.

stock-photos-v2-004-020Yet, this seemingly small lesson from dream will make a big impact on my coming years. The struggle to pull away from perfectionism toward my work just got easier. I can better understand that perfectionism is merely a response to fear; the fear of making a mistake and looking incompetent; the fear of disappointing somebody; the fear of not being good enough.

It all comes down to that one emotion—fear. Facing that lesson requires facing the imperfections that we all carry inside us. And looking into that mirror reflects the human condition.

stock-photos-v2-005-005In the end, we are all human, warts and all. We make choices based on the immediate moment. We make mistakes for many reasons—not least of which is imperfect/incomplete information. Like everyone around me, I don’t have to apologize for being human. I’m not a superhero with special powers, which is a good thing.

Can you imagine how big a problem superheroes must have with perfectionism and the fear from which it springs?

I’ll stick to my own life lessons, whether they come from dreams or my waking life. They make for simpler choices and better growth.

Let me know what you think about this subject. Do you have the same kinds of problems with mistakes and perfectionism as some of the rest of us? Share in a comment, please.

Have a terrific week, everyone. See you next time.

A bientot,

Claudsy

 

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Status

WIP Update – Halfway There

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for joining me on your Holiday weekend. I want to give you all an update on what I’ve been working on these past few weeks. I have started writing a book of prose/poetry that has the current working title “A Flame Through The Heart Of Rose”.

This book will have 12 chapters as well as an introduction and conclusion. I am happy to report that I have written the introduction and the first 6 chapters. I am targeting the end of June to have the first draft of this book completed. Then the editing cycle will begin.

I also have 5 other books as planned WIP that I can pull from as I finish the first draft.

Till the next update!

Meena Rose

Words, Post Election
Photo Credit: e_walk

3rd Wednesday: I Surrender

Hello Everyone,

I have so many writing updates to share with you but they will have to wait till next Saturday. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you Reclaim Your Bliss (RYB). RYB is a business that I’ve recently launched where I offer coaching and healing work. In addition, I maintain another blog over there. Do visit and check it out. At RYB, I will be blogging about the topics of self-care, being and mindfulness, and walking the Path.

Without further ado, here is this month’s 3rd Wednesday poem.

I Surrender

By: Meena Rose

I learned. It was hard.
A much needed lesson
For this time and place.

Two sides of a coin.
Always. Oblique angles
& learning go
Hand in hand.

To not lose, smoothly release.
To not give up, sigh your surrender.
To not shrink, sublimely let go.

I am simply being.
Teaching as I live.
Living as I learn.

Fortune favors the listener.
Always. Paradigm shifts
& living go
Hand in hand.

Grace, a reward for trusting.
Joy, a reward for gratitude.
Bliss, a reward for intention.

Claudsy’s Blog—Playing for Solutions

digital visualization of a chessboard

One of the things I’ve discussed over the years has been playing games and doing puzzles. For all the fun they provide to players, they also provide an opportunity to come up with solutions or problems a person might have.

For writers, Muse tends to hide in the shadows until the conscious mind is focused elsewhere. Then, she’ll pop out and waves a tiny red flag that her person either sees or ignores. With a bit of practice in watching for that flag of innovation, the writer can destress and find creative solutions to writing problems simultaneously.

Here’s how it works.

Sit down to any kind of game or puzzle—in the material world or the computer—with others or alone. Allow your mind to lose focus on your current story problem and gain focus on the game at hand. Relax.

5b6-052714-akpAs you play, your subconscious mind still holds onto the story problem—or whatever problem you’ve been saddled with lately. Soon little images or song snippets will begin to seep into your conscious mind. Perhaps you have the radio/stereo on while you’re at play. Even better. Music is a strong memory trigger, which can be channeled for creative purposes.

Don’t force anything. Just allow the process to unfold. Pay attention to the red flags; a new character appears—one surrounded by conflict or comedic relief. You might see a tool or device to eliminate info dump of backstory through dialogue between current characters. Along the way you might gain a new plot twist that actually incorporates the problem you’re trying to solve.

Whatever happens, you can return to writing with a fresh perspective. That, in itself, can be a boon to the story.

What if you aren’t a writer?

The process can work for anyone, on nearly any type of problem. Solutions are merely relaxed perspectives coupled with accumulated thought about a situation. In other words, the person relaxes long enough for those previous thoughts and considerations to come together in a logical manner and hand over the solution.

abstract_2008012903-1113int.epsThe key is relaxation. Many people meditate to find solutions. That activity works well for problem solving. Playing games or working puzzles does too. Varied forms of relaxation operate more effectively for different people.

For me, solitaire, in several forms, mahjong, jigsaw puzzles, etc. work especially well. Playing pen and paper games do, too; hangman is a great example. Play hangman in your head with someone else and serve several purposes; strengthen your memory, play with words you might not otherwise use, and relax.

But my problem is more complicated than that or more serious.

If that’s the case, you have even more reason to relax. Take a leap and brainstorm with someone you trust. Brainstorming is a kind of mind game that allows for free association and solutions on the fly. Give yourself a break. If you can’t come up with your own solution, another person might. That person can see from a different perspective, because their experience and life is different from yours. Take advantage of the opportunity. If you think about it, the old adage of “two heads are better than one” comes from the practice of brainstorming.

Whatever avenue a person takes, there is value in giving the mind a time out and doing something that seems like a waste of time. It’s been observed that when you see a successful person “staring into thin air” and “doing” nothing, what you don’t see is the problem solving or innovation that’s going on inside that person’s head.

Single standing robot. Black background

Single standing robot. Black background

Daydreamers give all of us our world. An idling mind may be designing the next big transportation solution, the next medical cure, or the newest symphony.

It’s okay to look idle. It’s okay to feel idle. The key is allowing our creative minds the freedom to explore solutions and innovation.

Until next time, a bientot,

Claudsy

P.S. I’ve got a hot game of mahjong to finish. See ya later.

The Reflection Pool based on the Pool by Alex Watson

The Ides of May, Well Almost

Hello, everyone!

It feels like forever and a day since I last posted an entry on Two Voices, One Song. The proverbial rug was pulled from under my feet back in February. It totally rocked my world – work, family and home.

Here I sit, a mere 10 weeks from that event, and so much Light has transpired from the ordeal. At the end of March, I kicked off my own business Reclaim Your Bliss. By April, I joined a community of 44 amazingly spiritual women (creators, writers, healers, teachers, coaches, photographers and the list goes on). The inspiration, love and support has been out of this world transformational.

Through this process of pulling back from routine and transforming it into ritual and through the affirmations of ease and grace, I simply had to step back from my Poetry 365 project and re-evaluate my own publication trajectory through the writing and poetry. I believe Poetry 365 is a very important personal project which I will return to when the conditions are right for that creative exercise.

Now though, I am fueled by an internal fire to write 6 specific books. At this point, I can share that I am actively assembling my first poetry book ever. There will be 3 other books which will follow closely on its heels. I am beyond elated and grateful that the muse is back. I missed her during her absence. Little did I know at the time that she was busy traveling through time and space to collect writing seeds which are a perfect fit for me. In the future, I shall welcome her absences with joy and excitement as opposed to lamentations and sadness.

Everything happens for a reason. This has been reinforced over and over again, especially in the past 10 weeks. For now, my muse and I would like to share the following editorial calendar:

  1. The Reflection Pool (every other Saturday)
  2. Writing Updates (the other Saturdays)
  3. Pause for Poetry (monthly)
    1. 1st Monday
    2. 2nd Tuesday
    3. 3rd Wednesday
    4. 4th Thursday

See you next week on 3rd Wednesday.

 

Claudsy’s Blog—Readying for a Publishing Summer

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While I’ve been slow in posting to this blog in the past few weeks, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in manuscript development, revision, and editing. There are now several projects set up for publishing this summer. 

My first effort on Kindle, Short Tales of Twisted Wishes—Vol. 1, is a chapbook of flash fiction. The title hints at Book Cover 02the macabre nature of most of the stories inside. These are filled with magic, the paranormal, and the just plain eerie. It was great fun writing all of them. Some you may have seen before, but several are all new, written especially for this book.

Next up on my schedule is the collected memoirs of characters from my cozy women’s mystery, Dreamie’s Box. And you’re right. It’s not often a reader gets to see memoirs of a character, but it seemed like such a fun project that I couldn’t resist. It will be coming out in June on Kindle. I’m really looking forward to that one.

For July, I’ll be launching the first volume, a novella, for my episodic high-fantasy series, Wisher’s World. Thorn PuzzleComposing an Apprentice, as it’s titled, is the beginning of a much larger story. New apprentice Reibe starts his world tour with the Master Trader Cleone at her home in Theusa. New cultural quirks, confusion, and intrigue all play their parts in the coming of age tale.

August has another Short Tales volume in its sights, with a different theme than the first chapbook. The second book will center of misconception and misunderstanding. Some of the effects will have interesting consequences.

U.S.A.

U.S.A.

During all of this hubbub, I will do a complete update on my short instruction booklet, How to Slay a Writer’s Dragon. It will get a facelift with a new cover, added material, and a new title. I’ll be sure to post that one so any who want to see it, can find it easily.

As you can tell, I have many projects that are current. I haven’t clued everyone in on all of those projects yet. Many are going to publishers elsewhere, either in magazine form or children’s publishers. Why am I doing this all of a sudden?

My reasons all come down to spring cleaning. I have a hard drive filled to overflowing with projects that haven’t been sent out. They’re hammering and yammering at the door to be let out into the sunshine. So, I’m giving them their wish. I’m sending stories, articles, poems, etc. out just as fast as I can get them ready and still maintain some semblance of sanity.

I’ll drop in here once a week to give you all an update of matters. Until then, I’ll keep the channels open and my ears on. If anyone has questions or comments, please leave them below. I’ll get them and answer them.

Have a great rest of the week, folks. Take care and give yourselves a break once in a while. I’ve finally learned that it’s the only way to stay healthy and get anything done.

Until next time,

Claudsy

Claudsy’s Blog—Need to Reprogram Your Brain?

 

Hands on ComputerMany programs out in the ether zone claim to reprogram your brain for better productivity, greater creativity, a more stress-free life. These are usually accompanied by MP3 downloads for listening and/or viewing. The practice isn’t new or different from what you’ve lived with all your life.

What do I mean?

Well, stop and think about it. We begin life hearing murmuring sounds from outside our mothers’ bodies. We learn our language, whatever form it takes, by listening to and watching those around us on a minute-to-minute basis. We learn our habits, our morals, and our culture simply by observing what goes on around us and hearing how that operation works.

That, my friends, is programming of the brain. We’re born with certain abilities, on an individual basis. The rest—all of the knowledge that activates those abilities—is programming. Congratulations, you’re a biological computer!

Rush HourNow that you’ve patted yourself on the back for that accomplishment, think about this. All of that knowledge came with a built-in soundtrack. Yes, the movie that is your life came with a soundtrack; one not of your own making. And that soundtrack helped program you in ways separate from knowledge.

Caveat: For those born with profound deafness, the programming sequence and execution is different from those born with adequate hearing. I’m not speaking now for the deaf.

Back to the music director of your life. It’s called the world and media. From traffic noise to the bird song of the great outdoors, the world programs many of our auto-responses. The sight of a near traffic accident teaches us to recognize that danger, but it’s the squealing of brakes that makes us cringe. After a few “lessons,” we no longer have to see the event. All that’s necessary is the sound of brakes squealing. Pavlov’s dogs have nothing on us.

abstract-musical-notes-background_MJS0eqv_Like the traffic lessons, music plays a far greater role in our emotional lives than we realize. A movies soundtrack or theme song will transport us back into our favorite scenes from the film. Theme songs from iconic TV shows do the same thing—to the point where we have only to hear a few notes to hop on that transport for a mental ride.

Constantly-playing music in malls and stores, offices and car radios keep us moving along on autopilot; at least from an emotional standpoint. We tend to equate certain songs with specific people, events, and moods. A couple’s song exemplifies a specific event in their lives; like when they knew they loved each other.

We’ve all heard enough of what’s termed martial music to recognize an army’s march into battle, or the soothing ballads that take us back to our childhoods. Each type of music has its impact on our brain’s programming. The odd part is, every day we reprogram it a bit more.

Forest road. Landscape.And if you don’t believe me, try to go one day without listening to any music at all. How long does it take you to start humming to yourself? What do you hum?

Me? I can’t write without music. Instrumental music allows my Muse to create scenes in my head. The type of music determines what I write. It’s taken time for me to catch on to how my words are influenced by the various types and tempos of music, but I must have the stimulation.

How does your music stimulate you? Drop a comment here and let us know.

Until then, I’m diving into Dragon Storm. I have fantasy to write today.

A bientot,

Claudsy