Monday, March 22, 2010

Dream A Little Dream With Me!

What is your dream? What is it that brings you so much joy that you can’t wait to get up in the morning and causes you to stay up too late to keep working on it? What makes your heart sing? What would you go to the ends of the earth to keep doing no matter who tells you it’s ridiculous or a silly, foolish waste of time? For me it’s writing.

I created my first book in third grade. That first taste was all I needed to set me on the road in search of the “Holy Grail” – how to break into the mysterious world of publishing. With numerous files of short stories, manuscripts, poems, and articles to my credit, it feels like my search is nearing a conclusion; the grail less mysterious and within reach. My book, Feather Gifts for all ages, is now entered in “The Next Top Spiritual Author”, a competition that has unexpectedly drawn over 2000 contestants world-wide.

Writing is my meditation and gift to the world, something I feel I came into this world to do. My passion was only strengthened when a high school guidance counselor tried to discourage me from my dream of being published, toward something he called “more substantial.” Fancying myself as a female version of “John Boy” from the long-running series The Walton’s, I persisted and the Universe, God if you will, carried me...

For many years I gave my written works away as gifts while studying whatever I could about how to be a really good writer. I self-published a newsletter for four years, submitted a few things to newspapers and magazines, and did manage to get some small pieces published. Then fifteen years ago, I began telling stories to children as a promotion at a Native American arts store where I worked in Madison, NJ.

I was out walking, wondering what to do for the story hour, when I found myself experiencing nature in a different way. I attribute this change to my exposure to Native American beliefs that everything has a living spirit, a prevailing theme in Feather Gifts and other manuscripts.

During the store promotion, I started telling my own stories out of respect for Native traditions that their tales are told only by Native people. I received invitations to tell at outdoor education centers, community centers, churches, scouting events, and schools. In my spare time, I sketched feathers and the idea to write Feather Gifts was born.

Years later, I was encouraged when a series of events led me to Ardath Rodale, late owner of Rodale Press, Chief Inspiration Officer of Prevention Magazine, and founder of Hillside School in Allentown, PA. Mrs. Rodale loved the book and by the time of her passing had purchased 30 copies printed on my home computer. I now wonder what may have happened if the relationship with Mrs. Rodale had continued.

I sold several more home printed copies here and there and was ready to print professionally when I discovered that the program I had used for layout was too old to transfer to modern equipment. Undaunted, I hired a graphic artist to re-create the book. Entering the contest seemed like the next natural step when I received an email from James Twyman, author and founder of the competition, who promised ongoing support, education, and exposure for the duration of the competition.

What’s most important to me is that my work will inspire you and bring you closer to loved ones and our earth to experience more joy, beauty, and fulfillment. My goal is to also send books to Native and other under-funded schools.

Round One of the competition (four rounds total) is largely dependent on popular vote between March 30 and May 3, 2010. PLEASE BECOME A PART OF THIS INTERNATIONAL EVENT BY SUPPORTING ME WITH YOUR VOTES!

And please, whatever it is, awaken your dreams and follow your heart. It may sound cliché, but it’s never, ever too late!

Many Blessings and Dreams,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coming Soon!

The days are flitting by as I and about 2000 talented authors prepare to launch our audio and video pitch to become the Next Top Spiritual Author! Right now all I can reveal is that soon you will be invited to register to vote on the Next Top Spiritual Author website. On or before March 29th I will post specific information about their site and my personal author ID and URL so you can cast your vote for my book "Feather Gifts"! Stay tuned! Voting begins March 30th!

Meanwhile I'd like to share a recent experience that feels somehow related to all this excitement!

I was in yoga class with my mat situated so I could look out the window as I moved through my salutes to the sun. Across the street, on a high chimney, sat a single blackbird. My practice turned into a communication of sorts with the small bird.

In our daily readings and chants we have been focusing on Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance. As I stared at the tiny creature on the chimney, I felt a certain melding with Lakshmi and the bird itself, who for the sake of this post I will call "She-bird". She-bird sat there against a robin's egg blue sky, with no choice but to let her dark feathers drink in the warm sun that beamed down on her. It was just there for the taking. She-bird turned her head this way and that, surveying her immediate territory of asphalt and brick, then beyond to the treetops that were visible in every direction. I imagine her gaze found the nearby Delaware River and distant mountains with no thought of lack or concern for what to eat or where to go next. She-bird innately practiced, from birth, what I've worked for years to re-learn...the essence of "being". She-bird stayed with me, perched on that chimney, until just before "shivasana" the ending pose of yoga. I turned away for an instant and when I looked back she had flown into her bountiful world, but her message remains.

My yoga teacher then read a quote about Lakshmi. "She is one whose object and aim is to uplift humankind." Without knowing it, She-bird did that for me. She reminded me that during this contest and in life, there is nothing to do but to drink in all that is laid before me with joy and gratitude. There is no need to be concerned about what to do next, but to simply follow the natural rhythms. I can look beyond my immediate surrounding to the boundless hills and endless sky...Abundance!

In the spirit of She-bird, may these words uplift and carry you into your day where ever you are.

With Gratitude,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Rainy Day Monday, but the Sun Shines Here!

Wow! Is it Monday again? This has been such a full week, so much to do to get ready for the "Next Top Spiritual Author" contest! Ideas are flowing and I'm learning so much! Some moments feel like a luxurious free-fall while others feel like I've jumped off a cliff! Oh, but either way the landscape is breathtaking!

Someone once told me, "Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway." Is there some dream that half thrills, half scares you? Do you get a heady rush just thinking about that dream; not sure if life is daring you or pulling you back into your shell? I invite you...NO! I DARE you to stick your neck out. Take a long look around and if you feel like diving back under cover, put one foot in front of the other and keep going! Never look back.

A dream is just a dream until YOU make it reality! Come on...I know you can do it!