Pondering on Four Big Questions; And A Showcase of Four Amazing Friends


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 A dear writer-thinker-lady-friend kindly invited me to join in a blog hop and to ponder a few questions in where I am at in my journey of writing, creating, breathing and just being human. Well, of course, without a hesitation, I said yes ~ not to promote myself, but to make myself create some space to actually reflect on where I am right now, and where I might be headed. AND, I wanted to have the chance to shout out to the world some of the most amazing friends I’ve made out there in the writing, creating, heart and soul seeking world.

Jeff Goins, a writing teacher I’ve learned so much from, writes that “content is not king ~ it’s all about relationships.”  Well, we know we need to have something worth saying for someone to spend time reading it, BUT, if we don’t have others to share with, it’s only helping ourselves.

 So, here are the Four Big Questions ~

 1.  What am I working on?

 I love how Laura Risser Moss, in her blog, gratefulamazement,  writes that at this time in her life “the curtain on her Second Act is rising”.  I could not find more perfect words to say this is where I am as well.  My children are emptying the nest.  I’m having more time to discover who I really am – other than, wife, mother and teacher of children.

 I’m learning to listen to my body, heart and soul more, as my mind is being ordered to take more time to sit on the bench, or riding the pine, as my husband used to say during basketball season. It’s pretty hard to quiet a voice that’s been leading the parade for so many years, but my heart and soul are pretty pleased.

I’m in my bliss when I’m writing, teaching, creating, learning, helping or guiding others in finding their own true self, but also in helping others to speak and to trust their own voices.  I am working on a hodge-podge of projects right now to live out this bliss.

My bravest step begins August 1st, as a 28-Day Living the Writerly Life E-course.  I began writing this several years ago when I took an online course, called Flying Lessons, by Kelly Rae Roberts, but fear kept showing her scary face and I’d tuck it away.  Well, one day, when the scary monster was out barking at someone else, I hit publish and out to the world the course flew!  There was no turning back.  I can not contain the excitement I have bubbling up inside me to begin this journey guiding others in living like a writer and into hopefully believing that they truly are writers as well.

 In 2012, I vowed to listen to my soul and instill more creativity in my life.  Jeff Goins, was offering a free writing e-course at the time called, You Are A Writer, and this course became the door I entered that opened up an entire world of possibility.  I began two blogs, islandsofmysoul.com and theliteratemind.blogspot, joined a few writing groups, one called Tribe Writers,  and am now working on a book about listening in education.  It’s a timely book due to the increasing use of technology and lack of face to face communication.  This book was born two years ago, so I need to do a giddy-up on it before something more attractive diverts my attention.  It usually does.

I also have two other E-courses marinating in my brain right now as well.  One revolving around writing through our brokenness and the other, a course designed to heal ourselves while taking a journey through our mind, body, heart and soul.  I’m hoping to invite some other fabulous women into this e-course.  These courses came to me during my own writing and through a need.  Our world is going through a huge shift right now.  I’m feeling so much pain and brokenness “collectively”, as my friend Bridgette says, and my soul is crying to help do some healing in any way I can.  Perhaps this healing will take place through writing.

Julie Cameron writes that we need other creative sources besides writing, so that when writing feels stagnant, we can switch gears to another medium and that restocks the writing well.  Art journaling is this other passion.  While painting and using mixed media, messages of encouragement, inspiration and guidance fill my pages.  To keep my art journal girl happy, I participate in the Life Book 2014 online community of art journalists.  Each week is filled with a new lesson by an amazing artist and energetically filled connectedness with others.  Almost by magic, my art journal images often fit perfectly with my blog post writing.  Funny how that works.

 More recently, I’ve been nudged towards making Spirit Dolls. These are dolls created by a its maker to hold energy or an intention, lead one to a dream or to guide one in their path.

I’m not sure where these creative parts of my being will lead me, but for now, I’m just feeling the flow and enjoying the journey.

In August, I go back to my full-time job of being a literacy coach at a K-5 elementary school, so I fear writing and creating will slow down.  I am vowing not to let that happen this year as my artist self begs me to integrate creativity into my work wherever it’s possible.  Working with teachers and children, there’s plenty of room for this if I just pay attention.

2.  How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

 Well, I’m not 100% positive as to what my “genre” is yet.

What I do know, is that my writing flows from my heart and soul.  It’s not always me putting those words on the page.  It might be poetry one day.  Another day, it could be a short narrative or reflective essay.  I’m still searching for my voice and theme, yet, I like to believe my words are healing and filled with an energy that radiates light, love, and hope.  Sharing my vulnerabilities and my own brokenness has connected me to others that feel pain, too.  If I can help others, even if only a few, to heal through the use of tools that have worked for me, then I am grateful.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do in order to live.  If I neglect writing, the rest of my life begins to get muddy. Foggy. Unclear.  Depression seeps in.  Writing gives me clarity and direction.  It clears the cobwebs and allows my soul to speak.

Most of my writing remains in notebooks.  I am faithful to Morning Pages each and every day – at least a full 3 pages of whatever comes out of my flowing pen.  Sometimes, words from these notebooks find their way into my blogs, but often, they remain in my notebook as answers to my wonders or lessons learned.

I write what I do on my blogs as a way to reach out to others who may be wrestling with what I wrestle with.  Perhaps they have tools they can share with me, as well.  But, mostly, it’s to share what has helped heal myself in hopes to help others.  It’s a way to build community and affirm to us all we are not alone and that we all share the same humanness.  I’ve learned that writing is one tool I can use to share my gifts of teaching and helping others heal ~ through words.

4. How does my writing process work?

Not very well.

Like I said, I am faithful to my Morning Pages every day, but beyond that, it’s a circus.  Writing for my eyes only are like breathing.  Once I desire to put something out there for the world, my hands hover over the keyboards for a lengthy period of time.  My fingers often weep at what comes out.  It can take me all day to do a blog post as I am also a bit of a researcher and feel obligated to have some valid words from others to support my own opinions.  I am critical of my words and attempt to weave in craft, trying out different leads and structures.

Once a blog post is written, I leave it sit for a period of time and come back to look at it with new eyes.  Of course, I won’t like it.  And, chances are, I’ll change the whole piece or choose just to chuck it.  If it doesn’t feel like it came from my heart, I can’t send it to the world.

One of the biggest roadblocks that hinders my process is the fear of ever sounding expert-ish, know-it-all-ish, self-promoting, judgmental, critical or laced with ego.  I scour my words for any evidence of these demons.  Often times, even when I know my words are written with love and compassion, my fear will tell me otherwise and the words will sit in my draft box indefinately.

My writing process truly is a love/hate relationship for me.

Wow. . . those were some pretty thought provoking questions.  The answers are true for me today, however tomorrow they might be totally different.  These four questions might be path unfolding for anyone to ponder on.

Now ~ here are some amazing writer-artist-healer-people, that I call my friends~

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Laura Moss is beyond grateful to be able to say she has survived being Mom to 4 spirited girls, a battle with aggressive breast cancer, and some difficult seasons in her almost-25-year marriage. She calls herself a Creative, is drawn to beauty in all its forms, and loves loving on people. You can find more of her musings at gratefulamazement.wordpress.com.

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 Leslie Molen is a doll and textile artist.

I have been a full time artist for over twenty years, specializing in dollmaking and textile arts. I have had discussions with friends about what keeps me going, the drive to continue onward.

 Many comment on how I nice it is that I have found my passion…

pas·sion

noun \ˈpa-shən\ : a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

I tell them it is my calling, I must do this- create in cloth.

call·ing

noun \ˈkȯ-liŋ\

: a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work or impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.

And so my journey to create in cloth continues…this past year I have taken a step back from teaching so that I may start to work towards focusing on my personal art. It is a slow endeavor that will take time to nurture into existence! Stay tuned!”

You can visit Leslie’s page at Rootie Studio and her blog at from these Hands.  Prepare to get lost in her studio!

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James Prescott is  a writer and author from Sutton, near London in the UK.  He loves writing, encouraging people, and seeing people discover their true identity.

“My life journey keeps on teaching me lessons about discovering hope in an imperfect world, and how we can discover our own unique stories in the the midst of this. I share those lessons here in all their brutal honesty.

I’m believe deeply in the power of encouragement. When I was only 12 years old my Dad gave me the opportunity to help him write a major newsletter – which set me on a writing journey. That journey has led me to create this blog and author three books.

If you’re interested in discovering your true identity, if you have a passion to make a difference in the world, if you know you’re broken but are looking for hope, you’re welcome here.

If you want open and honest discussion about issues which matter, or like facing up to the important but difficult questions of life, or you’re a human being, this blog is for you too.”

Early in 2015 James will be releasing his first full-length book, ‘Mosaic of Grace: God’s Beautiful Reshaping of Our Broken Lives’.

To read James’ written words, visit him at jamesprescott.co.uk, or read his bi-monthly posts over at digi-disciple, run by the Big Bible Project, and he also guest posts for prominent authors and bloggers Sarah Bessey, Jeff Goins & Mary DeMuth, amongst others.

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Bridgette Doer connects others to their inspired intuitive life.  I’ve worked with Bridgette and she is the real deal.

“I am overflowing with creative, empowering energy with so much anticipation for what is possible for all of us. There is so much untapped potential, so much capacity. We are much more than we believe we are at this moment.

When I accepted the invitation to be a channel for empowering women by inspiring intuition, the fun energy of the Fairy Grasshopper was created. It is my mission to activate hope, inspiration, and POWER  to help to you grow and glow!  I am in love with my Inspiring Psychic and Soulful Women Empowerment work! It’s not just my job- it is who I AM. I look forward to connecting with you, to cheering you on!”

Bridgette’s website and blog is at fairygrasshopper.com.  She is one amazing woman.

How Energy Clearing Saved Me

 depression        Depression is not a cut that needs a band-aid.  It’s a cancer that needs a battle plan.        ~ Ann Voskamp  

I’ve battled depression and all over body/joint pain most of my adult life. 

“Something is wrong with me,” was my constant mantra.  

I hadn’t suffered trauma, loss, cancer, divorce or abuse.  95% of the world prays for the life I have.  That alone made me more depressed about being depressed because it brought on guilt for even feeling the way I did.

I have not confessed to many people about my bouts of depression because sometimes people look at you like you have a mental illness and treat you differently.  There are enough “real” problems in the world to think and pray about, I certainly don’t want people worrying about me.  I also didn’t want to be sharing my story for a desperate need of attention or to give excuses for why I am the way I am.  I’ve only shared with those who have opened their hearts to me because it’s their story, too.   And, to my dear closest friends.

Doctors said I should be tired and exhausted, I had four children and a job.  Tests always looked good, so they’d prescribe me iron, or more potassium, or magnesium, or B vitamins. I’d leave, relieved I wasn’t dying, but never felt healed.

Over the last 15 years, I became a student of my own depressed experience. I analyzed every possible cause for to find the root of this despair. Thinking it was physical, I eliminated bad habits of caffeine, coffee, Diet Coke, alcohol and processed foods.  I did detoxes and cleanses, exercised regularly, got into nature, conquered addictions and reduced stress.  I buried myself in books to learn about my mind – maybe I was crazy and it really was in my mind.  I devoured Eckart Tolle, Byron Katie, Penny Pierce, Wayne Dyer, Deepok.  I learned all about my ego, consciousness and how we are our thoughts.  I did daily devotionals, prayed, vowing to become more spiritual – maybe it was God missing in my life.  I thought is was my work, perhaps I wasn’t being true to who I was.  So, I began to write, filled art journals, and painted.  Of course, I figured it was my marriage – my resentfulness perhaps is what’s taking its toll on me. I sought therapy and tried depression meds, only to find I was in Fog City.  St. John’s Wart, the same.  Perhaps, it was midlife changes, so I sought out self-help books on mid-life, menopause, had a hysterectomy, and did some serious soul searching.  

Then the world of energy came into light.  I was introduced to Reiki, by my niece, Micara Link, as a way to heal ourselves, so I took classes and learned about how we can heal with energy, focused on releasing blocked chakras and worked on my subconscious blocks buried deep from childhood.  She introduced me to clearing, but I guess I wasn’t ready to embrace it just yet.  She also affirmed my belief of being a highly sensitive person.   This, just a dent in my quest for an answer.

I made strides – big ones.  

But, I was not cured.  

The Big D kept coming back.  Always, it followed me around like lost puppy.

I then met Bridgette. Bridgette and I met in a Facebook group of friends brought together by Kelly Ray Robert’s online class, Flying Lessons.  Bridgette is a  women’s empowerment coach, who also does energy work, intuitive coaching and is psychic.   We conversed online, became companions at a writing retreat and I later, continued sessions with her over the  phone to receive guidance in reaching my goals and learning about my mind, body, heart and soul and how it all needs to align.  

I didn’t know then, that she would be the one that would unlock the door to my depression/pain quest.

The most powerful gift Bridgette taught me was about energy and how it affects us.  I knew some of this, but not to the depths I needed to know.  You think you know – but really, you don’t.

I learned that I am not just a highly sensitive person, but I am also an empath.  Google that.

As a HSP (highly sensitive person) and an empath (I know-sounds like a real head case, huh?), we absorb the energies of others whether we want to or not.  I was not only absorbing the energies of any person I was with at the time, I was also absorbing the energies in groups of people, in my surroundings, in meetings, in my entire world.   And, carrying it with me, until my body felt heavier, more in pain and more depressed.  (I remember learning this with Micara, but I think I was at the surface of just learning about energy then and did not take in more than basic understandings.) This explained my agitation and exhaustion after being at the mall, large group meetings and gatherings and even in my working environment of an elementary school of almost 900 people.

I needed help.  A game plan.  I could not quit my job.

Bridgette gave me tools and taught me two main practices to combat this problem:

1.  Energy Clearing to clear all energies from others that I absorb on a daily basis

2.  Creating a protection barrier around me to protect myself from the energy of others.

Bridgette did my first energy clearing for me, over the phone!  I was skeptical, but I did believe in energy and the law of attraction.   The next day, I felt 20 pounds lighter, had a skip in my step, my depression and pain lifted and I was me again.  I honestly FELT “cleared”.  A peace and lightness flowed through me.  It was a miracle.  

But, it didn’t last.  By the next week, I was back in my bed again, barely able to peel myself away from bed to get to the shower for work.

I called Bridgette.

She said I had to learn to do these clearings on my own, and on a regular basis if I was going to survive my job.  I found that I needed them twice a week, usually over the weekend to clear from the week and again by Wednesday.  I also learned to create a morning ritual for myself before going into my work that consisted of meditation that focused on creating an imaginary protective barrier around me so these energies could not penetrate through my own energy auras.  And also, a disconnection ritual at the end of my work day. Yes, it all sounds crazy in a Cosmo-Rica-woo-woo kind of way.

But, you know what? It worked.

And if something makes me feel better and chases away the pain and depression I suffer, I’m doing it.

You know how I know that it was mainly the energies of others that was causing my depression and pain?

It’s July 2nd today.  We’ve been out of school for one month already.  I have not had ONE day of depression or pain and have not had to do an energy clearing or protection meditation since school let out.  I’ve been home.  Mostly by myself or with my husband.

I have never felt better in my entire life.  I still abide by everything else I’ve learned to stay depression/fybromyalgia free and healthy.  And, I do not believe I would have learned a fraction of all I now understand about our body, mind, heart and soul had it not been for the relief I was seeking. The daily, conscious effort and monitoring of where I am at is a commitment.  But, if I want to be of service and help for others, it’s one I refuse to stray from.  

But now, I’m at a fork in the road  and my question is, “What now?”

We are never fully “healed” and more and more is revealed to us every day about who we are, and right now I feel a new knowing that there is something more that I feel called to do.  I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I do know part of my purpose is healing, helping and teaching others and I can do that through sharing my story and  the workings of our body, mind, heart and soul, along with how energy affects us.  

Since discovering these newfound paths of healing that work for me, God has guided others my way that need this. Synchronicities has compounded and I am blown away every day. I certainly didn’t think that I would be here sharing with the world my depression journey and teaching others about energy even two years ago.  God unfolds for us in a very mysterious way.  I just followed the bread crumbs. I’m not exactly sure where the next crumbs will be, but I do know it’s time for me to open up and share with others the understandings, tools, and practices that I’ve been taught to battle depression.

If I can even help one person, then I know I’m on the right path.

Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.  ~ Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

Shari 🙂

Learning From The Struggle

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There is a lot of pain in the world right now.  Loved ones are hurting.  Entire communities are confused and in shock.  Others are feeling too much – from others and from their own hearts hurting.  Some are worried and fearful of what is to come.  A dear soul lays still, hopeless, stuck, and not knowing which way to turn. Everywhere I turn, someone is carrying some kind of heavy load.

The cause of our pain is a result of countless reasons: physical illness, thoughts we play over and over in our minds and can not let go of, negative energy we accumulate in our bodies from others and from ourselves.

Every single one of us have been in this place.  And, yet, somehow, we paddle through to the other side.  If we are growing as spiritual beings, once we arrive on this other side, we recognize that we are changed.  We are not the same human we were before.

As I hop online today, I receive similar messages everywhere.

“Sometimes not only do you have to fall. . . but you have to hit ROCK BOTTOM to find out who you are, and who you want to become.”   ~Beth Shoutler

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”   ~proverb

 

“Just when go through a hard period,  When everything seems to oppose you,

When you feel you can not even bear one more minute,  Never Give Up.

Because it is the time and place that the course will divert.”   ~Rumi

These were just a few subtle shouts that these words needed to be heard today.  Not only for my ears, but for these other souls who are hurting, to bring understanding about our journey here on earth and that there is hope, for this too shall pass.

The real shift happens when we recognize these heavy moments. This place of despair means that something must change. Something. It wakes us up to dwell inward and ask for guidance about what it is that is meant to learn.  What is the newness that will evolve and birth itself?  Challenges are brought to us to teach us more about the truth of who we are.  We spirits, in human bodies are never done evolving on planet Earth School.

This sounds all poetic and easy to say, especially when you are in a good place at the moment.  Sometimes, recognizing what we’ve learned does not happen until we’ve dug out way out of the hole. Sadly, this makes the time in the hole long, dark and scary. We can’t be deciding to stay down here in the hole or it gets darker and darker. . . and harder to come out.

Instead, to quicken the process and benefit from the learning, it’s important to train your mind to think differently.  By the way, there are lots of ways to pull out of darkness (get into nature, exercise, watch a funny movie), but it’s the new understanding from that challenging place that must evolve for it to benefit you. Otherwise, you will end up right back in that same place, in a different situation, and not know why.

Here are some ways that I’ve learned to help myself move through a challenge and transform into a higher level of understanding about who I am:

1.  Ask yourself,

“Ok, who is not happy here?  Mind, body, heart or soul?”

We first have to narrow our pain to where it is coming from.  I have found many times that the root of my pain comes from my mind in focusing on obsessive thoughts that are pulling me down. Our mind can be our worst enemy and we need to immediately recognize when this happens.  I call my mind “Bernice”, so that I can separate it from “me” and quiet her more easily.  I am not my mind.  Meditate. Still the mind.

Sometimes, it’s my body that is not happy.  My body is named “Joy” for the joy it brings me when it is at optimal levels.  We all know that lack of exercise and eating unhealthy are going to effect you.  Illness will swirl you into gloom (especially if you let your mind get it’s way and tell you that the pain will never end or you are going to die).  When our body is not ok, that means something is wrong and we need to fix it.  Paying attention to the subtle signs our body gives us will help us to prevent bigger challenges later on.

Meet “Rose”.  She’s my heart.  Maybe it’s your heart that is hurting. A person in your life has left and there is an emptiness there.  Or, perhaps your heart has been closed to stay protected.  Someone has hurt your heart too many times, so you think best not to open it and allow love to flow through. If it’s your heart, you will know. You feel pain there – or you feel nothing.  Sometimes the love we need to open our hearts to, is to ourselves.

It may be your soul.  Your soul is who you truly are (it makes sense that I name my soul “Shari”).  Your soul is your truth and purpose – what God put you on this earth for.  If your soul is not being heard and you are not living your truth, your soul suffers.  This purpose inspires us and feeds us.  Your purpose may be teaching, or healing others.  It might be creating beauty for the earth. Perhaps it’s to be an advocate for nature.  If you do not know what your purpose is, spend time with this.  If you do, analyze whether you have been living it or not.

Your mind, body, heart and soul (I call them my friends) need to agree with each other – or align.  My dear friend, Bridgette Doerr, a women’s empowerment coach, taught me this through our coaching sessions.  One of “the 4 friends” can not be overpowering all the time or you will find yourself in a state darkness over and over.

2.  Be an observer of your emotions, feeling, judgements or beliefs about a challenging situation and ask the question,

“What do I need to learn from this?”

This is huge.  Once we choose to allow our emotions and mind to take over, we spiral into a dark cloud uncontrollably.  This magnifies the moment we tell the story over and over again as it intensifies with each retelling and becomes harder to let go of to see the other side.  By being able to breathe through the emotions and ask ourself what the learning is, we can come to an understanding as to why God gave you this challenge.

3.  Again, be an observer of an event, words said, emotions felt and ask yourself,

“What do I need to let go of?”

This is the highest form of reflection and conscious awareness and takes practice (eternally).  I wish I could say I can always do this, but I am such a work in progress.

In Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, Singer talks about making challenges and struggles a game, especially when we feel strong emotions or judgements surface. The goal is to release all old negative narratives that drag us down.  If we believe that each day is an opportunity to allow these old stories, or samskaras (in yogic terms), to be released, we can just be a silent observer of when the emotion arises and then determine if it is attached to a old negative story that we live by.  If it is, YAY!!!  All you have to do is to acknowledge it and breathe through it – let it pass right through you and release it forever.  I like to say a little good bye prayer when another one bites the dust.  Yes, it sounds easy.  It honestly is.  But, you have to pay attention.

Know that you are meant to learn about yourself every day through your trials, twists, turns, bumps and bruises.  If life was as smooth as cupcakes, how would we grow?

Shari 🙂

A song just for you ~ Press On 

A Pinterest Board just for you ~ Transformation

An after addition:  If you are in crisis, turn directly to God.  A Tribe Writer friend, Dayna Bickham wrote about this today in a very  powerful post about tools you need to survive in a crisis.