Chingonas, Encouragement, Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah Winfrey, Wisdom, Yesterday I Cried

Wisdom for the Weekend-Iyanla Vanzant Truisms

book I own
Ever since I read the book, Yesterday I Cried, I became a fan of Iyanla Vanzant. She has a way of telling it like it is without putting one down, without judgment. 

She uses her experiences, her own brokenness, to show how life’s hardships can be re-envisioned to become lessons that teach us as we learn to heal, grow and love. She is the quintessential Chingona. 

In Sandra Cisneros, “How to be Chingona in 10 easy steps,” these three are fully demonstrated by Iyanla:

  1. What are you using to cover or mask your pain? Address it.
  2. Your only true possessions are your actions.
  3. Seek forgiveness.

For a good while, almost ten years, I hadn’t heard about Iyanla’s new books or seen her on T.V. And then I caught an episode of Oprah and Iyanla together, earlier this year. The discussion centered on their ‘falling out,’ and the beliefs they had operated on, which resulted in a cancelled show. 

So now I understood what happened. Which caused me to seek out Ivanyla’s new show on Oprah’s OWN channel. But life didn’t let me get to her show very easily. My cable provider charges extra for that channel and includes 5 other channels I couldn’t care less for with the package. 

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Recently, I discovered “On Demand,” on my remote and found I could access “Iyanla-Fix My Life” re-runs. 

I sat up for a few hours watching a couple of episodes and feeling how they resonated with my life. It was emotionally draining. 

The next night I texted my sister and raved about the show before I watched two more episodes. The next day she texted back that she loved the life lessons illustrated on the program. I  know they took the both of us back to painful episodes from our own life. Better still we both felt we had come a long way from that time. 

Iyanla’s books and shows provide plenty of wisdom for growing Chingona’s in training and full fledged Chingona’s (because we never stop learning). So this is the “Wisdom for the Weekend,” my favorite Vanzant quotes:

  1. “Life is about cleaning up the crap and, while you’re doing it, being okay with the fact that you have to do it…. A word of caution. You can’t get caught up in the crap! If you do, you will surely lose sight of the real meaning of life and lose your Self.”
  2. “When you see crazy coming, cross the street,”
  3. “If you don’t have a test, you won’t have a testimony.”
  4. “Words create experiences. Words are things…So when you say ‘I can’t,’ you won’t. When you say ‘I don’t,’ you don’t.”
  5. “Know that if you’re not brave enough to go into love, taking a risk, then what you are doing is bargain shopping.
  6.  “When you honor yourself, every single thing that you do comes from that place…That means when you honor yourself, you protect yourself, you trust yourself, you take care of yourself. And you do things in a way that are going to bring glory to who you are.”
  7. “Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change”
  8. “You are never angry for the reason you think you are. There’s an older hurt under that.”
  9. “There are times when we do not recognize that it is time for us to move forward. When life is ready for us to move and we resist, life will move us by any means necessary. What may feel like a disaster is actually a graduation. Remain open to being guided, supported and protected by the universe.”
  10. “Call a thing a thing.”  

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Enjoy some solitude and feel the grace this weekend. 

Adam Sorkin, Agatha Christie, Authors, Balzac, Encouragement, Jim Morrison, Maya Angelou, Sandra Cisneros, Truman Capote, Victor Hugo, Weird writer habits, Wisdom, Writing

Weird Writer’s and Other Artists

I think writer’s, poets, artists have built in weirdness-mostly good weirdness. That’s why I found Jacob Nordby‘s drawing and quote so inspirational. 

He says we’re blessed, we see the world through different eyes. His statement makes weirdness a good thing. It’s validating and something to embrace. 

I occasionally hear “You writers are weird.” This statement uttered by one of my own kids, usually after he’s ignored the hotel DO NOT DISTURB sign that must turn invisible when I close my door. When he interrupts me for the second time while I’m typing away, I usually shoot him the ‘don’t mess with mom’ look, roll my eyes, or yell “What?!” with a huffy puff, or all three, and yell “Can I just have one hour?!” to which he repeats, “You writers are weird.” 

I write in my PJ’s, with my breakfast of coffee and peanut butter toast at the side of my laptop, in my bedroom. When I see/hear/feel something interesting I jot it down on my Note app on my iPhone. Much of the time I live in my head. That’s the ‘right’ side of weird. 

What about the left of weird? 

Truman Capote. “I am a completely horizontal author. I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don’t use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand.

Truman Capote

Aaron Sorkin, man behind the West Wing and Social Network has a habit of acting out his confrontational dialogue while gazing at his own reflection. In 2010, he worked himself into such a frenzy that he head-butted a mirror. “I wish I could say I was in a bar fight,” confessed Sorkin, “but I broke my nose writing.”

The center of weird:

Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, rises at 5am and checks into a hotel, where staff are instructed to remove all stimuli from the walls of her room. She takes legal pads, a bottle of sherry, playing cards, a Bible and Roget’s Thesaurus, writing 12 pages before leaving in the afternoon and editing the pages that evening. (Someday, but with a nice Cabernet and bar of dark chocolate). 

Sandra Cisneros, in a presentation “Writing in My Pajamas,” she says she is usually in her monkey pajamas, with  unbrushed hair, writing. “…I am wearing my pajamas and write something in the language I’d use if I was sitting at a dirty kitchen table talking to one person…that’s my first draft…that allows me to sound like me…that’s my truest voice.” This photo is part of the Smithsonian Photo Exhibit-“Our Journeys/Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement,” hence the conservative pajamas. 

The far left of weird: 

Hemingway said he wrote 500 words a day, mostly in the mornings, to avoid the heat. In the afternoons he got drunk. Though a prolific writer, he also knew when to stop. In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934, he wrote, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.

Coffee was Honoré de Balzac’s poison. But we’re not talking about an espresso. He would drink vast quantities of black coffee, ensuring that he could write through the day and into the night, once clocking in 48 hours straight.

French novelist Victor Hugo wrote both Les Misérables and The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame in the altogether. Being nude meant he wouldn’t be able to leave his house. As a safety measure, he’d also instruct his valet to hide his clothes.

More nudists: French poet and author Edmond Rostand who is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac, was so sick of being interrupted by his friends that he took up working naked in his bathtub. Benjamin Franklin and Agatha Christie liked the bathtub idea too. 

Now that you have great examples of great writers being ‘weird,’ think on this:

Where’s your will to be weird?-Jim Morrison

 And do fill in the blanks:

 I write in _______________with ____________?

Encouragement, Strong Women, tough times, Wisdom

When the Going Gets Tough…

Some weeks are more difficult to get through than others are. Such was this past week:
It began with a ‘non-constructive’ slam of a critique on my last manuscript, spending hours online looking for an apartment in Paris, and feeling the stress of leaving my kids (and new boyfriend) for all of September. 

I know, not earthshaking catastrophes, but these events shook my emotions.

So when I came across this quote:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Dr. Shuller

My first thought was “yeah, that’s right,” until my heart spoke:

“When the going gets tough, the tough rest.” Mona AlvaradoFrazier 

It’s okay to rest, to power down, be still and feel. It’s okay to dedicate a little time for mourning. (Thank you to a friend who gave me this thoughtful advice after reading the slam critique). It’s okay not to be “strong.”

It’s not about having a tough skin. Even a rhino gets pissed off when stupid birds peck on its back for the hundredth time.
Tough skin needs a break sometimes too.

I’m taking a siesta for a couple of days, unplugging, to dedicate time to rest, heal my spirit, so I can tackle what needs to be done.

In fact, I started this morning. Here’s a few things I came across that made me feel encouraged, inspired, or laugh.


For writers:

Look at life from every angle:

One option:
To remember, next week:

To remember, always:

I hope you have a great weekend. Be tough, be strong and rest. 

Au revoir mon ami.

Aurora tragedy, Earthquakes, Encouragement, Hope, Jeff Goins, Juan of Words, senseless violence

The Earthquake in Aurora, USA.

Rockford Register, OK

The senseless violence and tragedy this past Friday has left millions of people hurt, confused, and numb for words. I’ve been one of them. 

After a few hours of watching CNN and other news sources I marveled at the articulation of some of the  witnesses who were able to think through that horror, to move, to empathize with other victims, to apologize for not saving someone, and then for not stopping the gunman.

 I feel like we had a 6.0 earthquake in America.  

The foundations of life shaken, jolted and jarred-again. There have been shootings in all of the places we used to think were havens of safety: churches, schools, playgrounds, at funerals, our work place, the shopping malls, and the movie theater. 

Late last Friday afternoon I unplugged. T.V, radio, internet, newspaper-ignored. I needed to regroup, connect to my kids and myself,  feel the feelings before I went on. Three days later, the outpouring of pain resulting from the massacre and the lives changed forever still makes a large lump in my throat. 

After 24 hours I went back on to Facebook, saw the hundreds of tribute banners and clicked off. I began to read my blog roll and sure enough there were some on the subject of Aurora, Colorado’s tragedy.

But I found two posts, written on the day of the tragedy, that touched me. These writers were able to articulate much of what I felt and for that I’m appreciative, as it helped me to process the ‘un-process-able,’ at least for a while. 

“Embrace today, for tomorrow is not guaranteed,” wrote Juan of Words

“Every day is an opportunity to tell somebody we love them..To give and get the embraces we’ve been longing for…To make our children feel special.  To teach them love and compassion.  Above hatred and violence.” 

A similar message from Jeff Goins “When the Pain of the World is Too Much to Bear.”

“Years ago, I was in that town, playing a concert with my band. We were at a church, performing for a small audience of youth on a Friday night. I wonder if any of them were in that movie theater? Who knows.

When tragedy strikes, you can go around and around like this, driving yourself crazy with the “what if”s. It’s natural, but unhelpful, and it doesn’t soothe the pain of a broken world.

I’m not trying to be overly optimistic here; I’m not looking for the Pollyanna thread in all of this. I’m just trying to breathe…

In the darkest times, hope is all we have to cling to. It’s an unexpected grace in a time of uncertainty — when we’re not sure we can take another step. And for some, it’s just enough to go on. 

Hope, that’s what I needed to hear and remember. In the midst of tragedy, as in earthquakes, people do rebuild, as difficult and excruciating as that may be for the victim’s and their families. 

Hope is what drives us as we stumble forth and put one foot in front of the other, sometimes leaning back and sometimes leaning on, making our way in life by reaching out to others and reaching in to whatever it is that helps us move into another day.