Monthly Archives: September 2015

Forgiveness

FORGIVE Written In Old Metal Typeset

Forgiveness is something we all grapple with everyday. And, for the most part, we immediately relate to applying this when dealing with others.

But what about ourselves?

Are we able to apply forgiveness as easily when we gaze in the mirror?

How do we feel about the person looking back at us?

Are we content with what we see? Or do we feel regret or frustration over something that perhaps may not be as big as we perceive it to be. Things may become closer, distorted, the longer we focus and get blown out of proportion. You know, the side view mirror aspect of life.

Hate when that happens. Don’t you?

Periodically, I like to take an assessment of my goals and achievements. They say it’s a healthy thing to do. So I ponder over what I’ve accomplished and what adjustments may need to be made. I must say it’s not always easy. It’s not always glitter and glee. Not always does it take me to my happy place where I prefer to be.

Why?

Because I start to compare myself to others.

And that is one slippery slope my friends. Because everyone is different. Everyone works at a different pace. Everyone has different habits. What works for one person may not always work for another.

The other day I ran across an interesting article that really resonated with me.

“Writing Begins With Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong,” written by author Daniel José Older. Until this post, I had never heard of Mr. Older, but he brought out some interesting points that I’d like to share with you.

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He starts out with the mantra: Write every single day.

“It’s one of the most common pieces of writing advice and it’s wildly off base. I get it: The idea is to stay on your grind no matter what, don’t get discouraged, don’t slow down even when the muse isn’t cooperating and non-writing life tugs at your sleeve. In this convoluted, simplified version of the truly complex nature of creativity, missing a day is tantamount to giving up, the gateway drug to joining the masses of non-writing slouches.

Nonsense.”

Nonsense?

Wait just a minute! *shakes head* What did he just say? Has this not been drummed into us since…well, I don’t know. Forever maybe?

I realize I may be approaching a dangerous precipice on this subject, but I thought his words were enlightening.

“Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.”

Whoa!!

How did he know that?

I haven’t been writing every day. It’s impossible for me to write every day. It’s just not possible. And…don’t tell anyone this, but…I feel…guilty. Yes, I feel like a scumbag, despicable. Well, maybe not despicable. But I haven’t felt worthy of calling myself a writer.

Then Mr. Older adds, “Every writer has their rhythm. It seems basic, but clearly it must be said: There is no one way. Finding our path through the complex landscape of craft, process, and different versions of success is a deeply personal, often painful journey. It is a very real example of making the road by walking. Mentors and fellow travelers can point you towards new possibilities, challenge you and expand your imagination, but no one can tell you how to manage your writing process. I’ve been writing steadily since 2009 and I’m still figuring mine out. I probably will be for the rest of my life. It’s a growing, organic, frustrating, inspiring, messy adventure, and it’s all mine.”

Okay. Does this mean that I might be…normal?

“We read a lot about different writers’ eccentric processes – but what about those crucial moments before we put pen to paper? For me, writing always begins with self-forgiveness. I don’t sit down and rush headlong into the blank page. I make coffee. I put on a song I like. I drink the coffee, listen to the song. I don’t write. Beginning with forgiveness revolutionizes the writing process, returns it being to a journey of creativity rather than an exercise in self-flagellation. I forgive myself for not sitting down to write sooner, for taking yesterday off, for living my life. That shame? I release it. My body unclenches; a new lightness takes over once that burden has floated off. There is room, now, for story, idea, life.”

So, after reading the article, I took another look in the mirror. And guess what? I am now able to forgive myself. I can now forgive myself for not writing every single day. I can now forgive myself for not fitting into a certain mold.

Yes, having the intent of writing every day is a wonderful goal. And one that gives us great purpose.

Yet, I want to thank you Daniel José Older, whoever you are!

I think this may enable us to forgive ourselves for being unique!

I feel better already.

How about you?
 

So what do you think? Are you able to write every day? If so, please share with us what is it that has helped you to attain success? If not, how has this made you feel? Do you feel guilty? Or have you accepted your personal limitations and established new goals? What affect do you think your writing schedule has had on your productivity?
 

If you wish to read Mr. Older’s article in it’s entirety, please click here or on the link above.
 

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

 

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Bite Me!

As you all know, Murphy is our correspondent for all things beachy in Southern California. Well, I must say the post he sent over was nothing less than a bunch of chicken scratch! It was all I could do to decipher what he had written. Yet, I think I was able to translate his unique Pelican language into something we could all comprehend. At least, I hope I did.

Enjoy everyone!
 

Is it just me or have you noticed an increase in shark sightings lately?

It seems like almost every week there’s been a report that has raised concerns as to whether it’s safe to dip our toes into the water. Some say it’s due to the rise of temperature in the ocean, while others feel it’s because there are more cell phones capturing this phenomenon that has brought this to our attention

Regardless of the cause, this topic made me think about surfing and how this has affected those who participate in that immensely competitive sport, although we at times may also feel like we are “swimming with the sharks.”

This week there is a surfing event called “Swatch Women’s Pro” at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California. Lower Trestles is perhaps better known for the men’s Hurley Pro surfing competition verses the women’s event. Because, well, there are more male surfers than there are women that participate in the sport.

But the reason why I chose to focus on this particular event wasn’t because of women per se, but specifically one woman, that of Bethany Hamilton, a wildcard participant in this year’s “Swatch Women’s Pro” competition.

You may recall a tragic incident back in 2003 when a teenage girl got bitten while surfing off the shores of Kauai by a 15’ Tiger Shark that resulted in amputation, leaving the girl with only one arm.

That girl was Bethany Hamilton.

The interesting thing about Bethany isn’t the fact that she’s a survivor. But it’s the motivation that she demonstrated during her recovery. She didn’t focus on the attack, or her missing arm. In fact, she was back in the water three weeks later and has spent the past decade living her dream of surfing professionally.

You may remember the movie a few years ago called “Soul Surfer” starring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid. It was an extraordinary story that portrayed Bethany’s strength, fortitude and courage while dealing with the loss of her left arm after the attack.

Yet, the most powerful testimony is the way Bethany approaches her life. She is one highly respected surfer. And when she competes, other women are not thinking about the fact that she’s missing an arm. Bethany Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with and surfs with the same intensity and skill of someone who has both arms.

But here’s something you may not know. Bethany and her husband just had their first child in June. So now she’s scheduled to surf just three months after giving birth against those who have competed throughout the summer and while she was pregnant, although she did continue to surf up until her sixth month.

Bethany put it this way, “I often forget that I have one arm…I think there’s going to be things that will be very challenging with one arm, but I’ll just have to find my own way to take care of the baby…I’ll have to figure it out and be creative.”

And here’s what eleven time ASP World Tour Champion surfer Kelly Slater had to say, “I think it would be a real wakeup if everyone had to go out with one arm and catch these waves—and she doesn’t have a problem with it. On top of that, she just had a kid three months ago, I mean she is…she’s unbelievable.”

Yet, the biggest impression Bethany has made with her peers is her kindness.

She’s truly an inspiration in and out of the water.

So the next time you feel like you’re under a shark attack…

Tell him to “Bite me!” Apparently, it’s not the end of the world.
 

Way to go Bethany!

(World Surf League with Kelly Slater and Bethany Hamilton at Lower Trestles
Bethany Hamilton & Kelly Slater freesurfing together at Lower Trestles this weekend.
‪#‎HurleyPro‬ ‪#‎SwatchWomensPro‬ September 9 – 20)
 

So what do you think? Swim with any sharks lately? Had you heard of Bethany Hamilton? Did you and your family have the opportunity to see “Soul Surfer?” In a scale from 1 to 10, what was your opinion of Murphy’s reporting skills? Do you think the Pelican has a future or should we tell him to go take a dive off a long pier? 🙂
 

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

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I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Rain

This is the story of summer. The summer lost to fire and rain.

At least we hope it will rain because they say a deluge is coming.

Summer zipped by. July was one of the hottest on record. And August was a blur.

Where did it go?

It burned up in smoke with most of the Pacific coast on fire. Not to exclude Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming…I have left anyone out?

Oh yes, California.

Last summer I wrote a post about the infamous drought that has plagued not only California, but also most of the west coast. At that time, it was predicted there was roughly eighteen months supply left of water for the whole state.

Yet, have things improved?

Sadly, no.

And things continue to spiral into a dearthy trend producing unemployed migrant workers as they watch the San Joaquin Valley (the breadbasket of the nation, if not the world) sink one foot per year due to intense aquatic drilling, causing a breakdown of infrastructure, leaving no water in parts of Tulare county to drink, let alone flush a toilet.

If this weren’t serious, why would Los Angeles purchase over 90 million plastic balls covered in black carbon to shield the water from evaporating at a cost of 33 million dollars?

I know this is old news. Yet, what were these people thinking?

The Sylmar reservoir holds 3.3 billion gallons of water, enough to supply the entire city for up to three weeks.

Three weeks?

That’s it?

33 million dollars for three weeks of water?

Not to mention these 90 million balls are black. Last time I checked, black attracts the sun, which in turn will heat 90 million balls made of polyethylene. Granted, polyethylene is a common plastic material used mostly for grocery bags. But what happens when this plastic heats up?

Polyethylene is a byproduct of crude oil and toxic material. I don’t even want to think about the breakdown of those 90 million black, solar heated balls into the city’s water system.

Needless to say, this is a fiery topic that has caused much controversy. An act of desperation perhaps? Still it does make one think. How much water does California actually have? And how long will it last?

Thus, I think it’s time for rain.

Over the last week, Washington state went from the hottest summer ever, to instant fall – rain, wind and below seasonal temperatures. One can only hope the rest of the west coast will follow suit.

They say El Niño is coming with lots of rain in the forecast, a deluge of sorts. Cause that’s the only way rain happens during an El Niño season. Floods, mudslides, sinkholes, you name it, are expected. It will be newsworthy, that’s for sure.

So bring it on!

Meanwhile, in my neck of the woods, we’ll be enjoying this:

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Sing it James…

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.

I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.

I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,

but I always thought that I’d see you again.”
 

So what do you think? How was your summer? How do you feel about the drought and the case of the 90 million black carbon balls? Any unusual weather in your neighborhood? Fire? Rain anyone?
 

Cheers everyone! I hope that life is treating you well. And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!
Karen

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