Accepting Second Opinions

Suzy Cat gives her opinion of my chapter rewrite. #amwriting #litfic #handwriting #handwritten #writers #cats #blackcat #catsandwriters

Nothing wrong with a second opinion. Or third. Or fourth. Writers know this. We want feedback. We want critique. And over time, we learn to balance our intention for the piece of writing and the general consensus.

When is listening to your own intuition important? All the time. When is listening to others important? All the time. The key is balancing perspectives when it is time to take action.

Though Shakti Gawain discusses this in terms of meditation guides, the same idea applies when taking in the opinions or feedback from others in any situation…

If the figure you encounter…seems judgmental, harsh, or unloving…Politely thank them for their input, let them go, and ask for a loving, supportive, encouraging guide to come. – Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization

Feedback, advice giving, should always be supportive. In the end, it should always feel right intuitively.

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Read This

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Read this book by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

“An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.” ~ Ta-Nehisi Coates

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Read this article by Roxane Gay: On Making Black Lives Matter http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/features/a21423/roxane-gay-philando-castile-alton-sterling/

“Speak up when you hear people making racist jokes. Speak up when you see injustice in action. Inform yourself about your local law enforcement and how they treat people of color. Vote. Take a stand instead of waiting for absolution from people of color. We don’t have that kind of time…” ~Roxane Gay

Disarm: Anthology as Action

Any action is often better than no action. ~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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What happens when you’ve contacted your representatives, signed petitions, argued with people you haven’t seen since high school on Facebook, unfriended said people you haven’t seen since high school on Facebook, followed and tweeted the #filibuster and #goodtrouble sit-in…and it still doesn’t seem like enough?

Disarm, an anthology in the works from Black Heart Magazine, is looking for submissions, including poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. For now, this is the action I will take.

I cannot watch another mass shooting go by and do nothing.

I cannot worry whether a reader, a student, a colleague, a student is going to disagree with me. They might. And, in my neck of the literal woods, they probably will.

I cannot return to teaching in August and practice shelter-in-place drills with my students as if it were normal, to listen to the security presentation about how a piece of paper over the window will prevent a tragedy. Children practice each school year how not to get shot…this should not be the norm. This should not be accepted.

I cannot read the Second Amendment again, and wonder how half a nation and half a Supreme Court misses the words “militia” and “well-regulated.”

I cannot ignore the correlation to domestic violence. Research is needed here. Reporting domestic violence is needed here.

I cannot watch news reports and wait for another round of thoughts and prayers, and no action.

“If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally…” ~ Eckhart Tolle.

I cannot remove myself because this is my home. I love my family, my community, my friends. Yet I cannot accept the current state of things. I cannot accept mass murder. I cannot accept a personal right to bear arms when innocent people are killed en masse. I cannot accept that, as a society, we are desensitized to it.

Some things are Not. Right. Some things need action.

 

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Accepting a New Plan

I needed a plan. I was on board with being Present, but I could not imagine a new future. I drew a blank. There were a lot of blank moments. Anything more complicated than, what am I going to have for dinner, was a blank moment. I just couldn’t see it.

“Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

I worked on staying present, accepting things as they were. But it was time for decisions to be made.

I needed to re-think where I was, physically, geographically. I was across the country, two thousand plus miles from my family. Just before the house of cards tumbled down, I had started a new job, primarily based on the idea of having children and working very close to home. That wasn’t going to happen, not anytime soon. And what about the rest?

All of my decisions had been based on a marriage I was no longer in. Did I want to stay where I was? Did I want to move back home? I vacillated. Back and forth. A lot. Much to my supervisor’s…well, I don’t know. Let’s just say I probably tried his patience a few times. Sign the contract? Don’t sign the contract.

Somewhere along the way, I picked up this book: Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.

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It was what I needed a way to practice looking toward the future. Some way to to take my life in a new direction. It was a little hippy-trippy, I admit, a lot of sitting quietly and meditation involved.

“…use your imagination to create a clear image, idea, or feeling…you wish to manifest.” Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization

Easier said than done.  It was back to the blank slate. The blank moment. But as I read through the book, that I did not throw against the wall, I realized I was taking it too seriously.

Says Gawain, “When some people first try to visualize, they feel that nothing is happening. The are…trying to hard…stop worrying, relax, and accept what happens naturally for you.”

Oh, ok. This was supposed to be fun. Use your imagination, have fun with it! Over time, I did. The simple exercise of imagining a beautiful place was the first step for me. Nothing more than that, no grand plans or job places. Just imagine a setting where I would like to be.

And I found, my ideal place was not red rock or high desert. It was green and lush…the image came through repeatedly…green, humid, trees, oaks, maples, poplars…and my first step was decided. It was time to head home.

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