living life fully before death
Encouragement, Faith, Inspiration, life lessons

How To Live Before You Die

living life fully before death
Live Like You’re Dying

 

The last week was a blur. I attended the Association of Writing Professionals (AWP) 43rd conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center with three of my writing group sisters.

The week of ‘conferencing’ was a good one, inspiring and fun, but when I say conference I mean a 12,000 peopled flow of writers, editors, booksellers, professors, and others. 

The hours were filled with writing techniques, editors/agent panels, poets reading heart-wrenching poetry, and writers speaking eloquent words. You know how even great stuff is exhausting and truth be told this great stuff was also intimidating.

Did I measure up, should I be writing fiction, should I revise, should I be spending countless hours writing? What was I doing?

I ‘shoulded’ all over myself.

When I got home from sleeping in a different bed, meeting people, and eating out I just wanted to decompensate and breathe.

The next day, my mind and body wanted to sleep in and tune out. The suitcase, books, and an art piece I bought lay strewn at the foot of my bed.

Could I skip a Sunday service? I had so much to do before my next day departure to Denver to see my young adult kids. But I hadn’t missed a Sunday service in years unless I was really sick.

The mess would have to wait. I dressed and left for service and was grateful I attended. The message was:

Life is a gift and what you do with it matters…

Our pastor told us the average lifespan was 79 years of age or 28,835 minutes. If those minutes were on a clock, a fifty-year-old would have 18 minutes of their life left. That put life in perspective.

Was I living a life that was significant and meaningful? Is there compassion in what I do and say. Do I give gratitude, show kindness? Do I live my life in a way where others will know I’m a Christian? Do I trust and have faith when the going gets tough?

I thought of all these questions after the service and how the sermon put everything in perspective. I was striving to live the answers to these questions. Trying is good. Trying is movement. There were no more “Should’s.” I felt balanced once again.

Achieving writing success is important to me but it isn’t the end all to my life. I reminded myself that I write because I can’t think of not writing, that would kill me inside.

I remembered that I began writing to tell the stories of girls and women who faced challenges, made bad choices, but struggled to do better. The girls who felt like no one cared who they were and only focused on what they did. The unseen women who wore mask upon mask. Girls who grew up through the garbage strewn upon them.Women and girls who needed family, in whatever shape it presented itself.

So how to live before you die?

When I thought of why I write, I remembered we all have the ability to improve the quality of our life.

We can all make choices to improve our spirituality, our health, and our emotional life.

We can love ourself and others.

We can be of service to someone or something.

Living is finding something to have a passion for whether it’s family, service, or a combination of a thousand other things.

Living is making your minutes count and they count when you stop to look at a sunset, a sunrise, notice a smile, hug someone, and other countless ways.

I’ll end with a quote about life from Maya Angelou.

Life Purpose
Life Purpose

 

 

 

Encouragement, Faith, Inspiration, Writing

Don’t Meltdown When You Feel Like Giving Up

quote on not giving up

Have you ever had months or weeks when you just want to throw up your hands and give up? One of those weeks when not much made sense, you asked ‘why?’ and the gloomy clouds outside matched your mood?

Yeah, I had a month of those weeks in my writing life.

But a great thing happened in the midst of the dark. I didn’t have a meltdown because other people’s posts and words (which I stumbled upon) lifted me above the clouds; especially this week.

I want to share these words and say thank you to the writers/bloggers who I came across in the past seven days:

“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

A revolutionary patience. I loved hearing hope described in that way.

“misery shared is misery halved, and joy shared is joy doubled.”

At Publishing Crawl, author Stacie Lee and Stephanie Garber gave encouragement with their post, Moving Beyond Rejection. My misery halved.

Bustle.com had an article on Octavia Butler’s Letter to Herself:

Octavia Butler's letter on writing, books,
Octavia Butler’s Letter to Herself-archives Huntington Library

Some humorous pet photos passed my way and the laughter lifted my spirits:

dog with eyebrows, humor, pets
Yeah, I got my eyebrows done. What do you think?

An angel appeared:(from Gerry Wilson’s blog).

brandonangel

12 reminders to live passionately  dropped into my email box.

And this past weekend I went to a woman’s worship service and Sunday service. The message from one: You can worship through your hardship.

The message from our ‘tell it like it is’ pastor: “Hard Life, Good God.” He spoke on the reality of trials, that they are unavoidable but purposeful.

Yes, it was ‘one of those months,’ but I heard the message loud and clear.

When we don’t know what to do pray, ask for wisdom, have faith, and believe.

I feel better already!

Encouragement, Writing

#Write Like No One’s Watching

The caveat to write like no one’s watching is the same as this saying “Dance like nobody’s watching.”

Dance Like Nobody's Watching-alandrue.com
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching-alandrue.com

This advice of “Write like no one’s watching,” goes only so far as “Just don’t publish your work before you revise and edit.”

Some words of encouragement for your writing week:

write on.
write on.

Whatever you are passionate about do it this week.

Encouragement, Inspiration, Writing

Obituary and Passion

From Birmingham H.S. Project-flickr.com
From Birmingham High St. Art Project-flickr.com

You know, the Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They only
asked one question after a man died: “Did he have
passion?” – Serendipity, the movie

 

Whether the Greeks wrote or didn’t write obituaries isn’t as important as the question.

Passion is a zeal, a fervor, a barely controllable emotion towards a subject or person.

Do you have that feeling for something? Art, writing, cooking, service…

a feeling that if you did not do this ‘thing,’ your spirit would dampen, keep you in regret, have you say ‘what if?’

For me, if I’m not writing, I’m not truly living. My body and spirit often feel like a container of thoughts, waiting for my hands to hold a pen or hover over a keyboard ready to dive in and release those thoughts into a journal or on a keyboard.

To not set free those thoughts, is to keep everything in a container until it’s in danger of imploding, or worse, create a slow burn from the inside out.

The word passion comes from the Latin verb patere meaning to suffer.

Sometimes we suffer when working towards that passion. We always suffer if we don’t even make the attempt.

I say this only to give an example of what can happen when not heeding your enthusiasm.

Sometimes we do this to ourselves. Other times we allow someone else, through their criticism, to reduce our conviction for a subject.

It’s not their fault, it’s up to you to fulfill your own dream. To crave it so much that you hear their words and work on your passion anyway.

Critics can either wrap your passion in words of doubt until your light goes out or you can decide to follow your dreams and see where they lead. 

Your art, writing, cooking, ‘fill in the blank,’may not lead you to fame or fortune. You may need to work hard to fulfill your dream, and this might takes years…

but your family or friends could affirmingly answer the obituary question;

better, yet, you would know the answer before anyone wrote your obituary.