I’ve just started a Qi Gung class and when I was the only one to turn up for one class, the Qi Gung master and I settled into a long conversation about energy and healing. In the midst of it he made a comment about 'watering concrete’. The image was so striking that I cannot now recall why he said it or what came either before or after that comment.
'What a great title for a blog or newsletter,' I was thinking (which is the other reason why I didn’t hear what he said after that comment). 'I’ll write it when I get home…' only to find myself sitting in judgement on the concept of watering concrete. It was clearly a criticism of someone, something, some sort of action, but perhaps there was something useful to extract from the apparently pointless exercise of watering concrete… ?
Last week I blogged about the myths of ‘Talent’, ‘Mastery’, ‘Gurus’ and ‘Ideal Partners’ so I figured it would only be fair to blog about the realities this week. Here’s my take…
Writing powerfully is no mystery. There are simple strategies for overcoming writer’s block that all tackle the core issue: an over-zealous internal editor, often masquerading as a critic. When we trust and accept what we’re writing, our writing flows. That might seem to be an over-simplification, but it’s absolutely true. The proof is in the pudding of application. If you dedicate yourself to practising trust and kindness, your words will flow.
I’m in a myth-busting mood, so here are my thoughts about a few of them…
The ‘Talent’ Myth
We tend to think that some people are naturally more talented than others, but (as I teach in my Writing Mastery course) talent is a very misunderstood word!
Have you ever put other people on a pedestal, discounting your own intuition and following their advice rather than your own feelings?
Have you ever assumed that others know more than you about your own business, family, health, life? It’s easily done, isn’t it? Especially when they come with white coats and clipboards and awards and letters after their names and big numbers in their bank accounts.
- Extract the gold from your pesky inner voices!
You’ve probably had the ‘should’ thought plenty of times – 'I should be more positive/ call my mum/ eat more vegies/ be more patient/ get more exercise/ be nicer to so-and-so', etc. If you’ve been playing in the personal development arena, you know that ‘should’ is a dirty word. You might even have been told, ‘Don’t should on yourself’. Great advice.
Meet Dr Rosemary McCallum, metaphysician, author, speaker, and wise woman. I’ve just enjoyed a few months in her consulting room talking about one of my 'dark little secrets’, and the red-lips-kiss on her cheek is the imprint of my kiss of thanks! (via my blurry photographic unskills…)
Here’s the ‘backstory’:
Over the last few years I’ve achieved quite a lot. I can literally say that I am living my dreams because it was always a dream of mine to have a close-knit, loving family and be a published author, especially one who is popularising universal laws. Tick, tick, tick!
If you haven't yet seen the movie, Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, you might not want to read this blog, but if you have, and you found your heart strings tugged by the young mother's pain in having her toddler ripped away from her and adopted out against her will, then you might find this blog useful.
I've just had an eye-opening conversation with Emotional Mastery Expert and Demartini practitioner, Bruce Conrad Williams, who managed to get me to see something that was hiding away in my blind spot.
The world of publishing is quite transformed these days as so many self-publish rather than waiting for the external stamp of approval of a traditional mainstream publisher. There are obviously pros and cons to this scenario: on the 'pro' side, the barriers to publication are fewer than ever and writers are able to claim the profit from their book sales rather than just a ten percent royalty; on the 'con' side, more and more publishers are opting to not pay for contributions (one publication that used to pay me one and a half times the going rate now pays nothing at all because they are flooded with material) and many traditional publishers are redirecting applicants into their own self-publishing companies (establishments that used to be known as vanity presses, where the writer pays a fee to have their book published). The traditional publisher will watch the author's stats and if the results are good, pick up their work and publish it themselves. No risk to the traditional publisher, all risk to the author… It’s a brave new world.
Did you read or watch Peter Pan when you were a child?
I remember being captivated by this story about a youth who is perpetually young and can do all sorts of magical things (like fly), and who lives an adventurous life battling crocs and evil pirates and looking after a band of lost kids!
As with most classic tales, there are a few profound truths being communicated despite the childlike surface story, not least of which is the fact that a one-sided, only-positive life is an illusion.
How to extract the wisdom, opportunities and benefits from difficult experiences.
We’ve all heard the truism that it’s not how many times we fall down that matters, it’s how many times we get up. (And the other one about getting back on the horse.) Which is all good sense and we know they’re right, but it ain’t easy.
In fact, speaking for myself, I’m thinking of creating a business card that says, ‘Failure Expert’ because I seem to have a knack for screwing things up. I’m not sure that I would attract many willing clients, but perhaps if we all made a study of our ‘failures’, we’d be better able to transform our challenging situations.
If you've been following my writing and journey, you know that I'm pretty interested in the Law of Polarity – the fact that our universe is an expression of complementary opposites. Years ago, in my early 20s, I started to teach Creative Writing workshops, and without having a very deep understanding of polarity at that time, I was teaching it!
In the process, I coined an expression – 'Self-As-Team' – that fits in with everything I'm doing today. Here's a quick overview:
When I returned from Bali with my swollen, churning belly, I didn't have the energy for anything but reading; it so happened that the page I was up to in my Demartini book delivered some profound insights that stopped me in my tracks. (Synchronicity yet again!)
I shared these insights about how I was speaking the language of desperation ('have to', 'need to', 'must') in relation to my business in my previous blog, and that this emotional state of desperation had undermined my immune system. In the weeks since then, as I've continued to butt up against the issue of my apparent 'business failure', I've had more realisations that I hope will serve you as well.
or – 'From Desperation to Inspiration'
Our first week in Bali was divine - sunshine, villa right on the beach, friendly people, fascinating customs, tropical landscape, delicious food… and then the diarrhoea hit. Okay, I won't go into much more detail! Suffice to say I spent the second week feeling increasingly ordinary, lacking in appetite or downright nauseous. By the last few days I was really ready to return home but even that didn't set things right. I was constantly exhausted. By midday I was usually in bed for a two or three hour deep sleep, and I seemed to only manage to achieve one or two simple tasks per day. My legs were leaden and it was an effort to just move around. By the second week I had a little more energy but was constantly bloated. No matter what I ate or didn't, I would blow up like a whale. I was feeling physically revolting, and that was making me feel depressed and negative.
Having so little energy I did the only thing I could do: I read.