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"Your life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened." ~ Wayne Muller

How To Find Freedom From Your Past

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We all have them: those parts of our lives that claw at our hearts. Like the holes in a worn piece of fabric, we try to patch them back together. But that fabric is never quite the same.

These are the holes of our story; the wounds that keep us from moving forward, the events that tel us to self-protect. They are mired in guilt, shame, anger and unforgiveness, and sometimes we feel like we’ll never be whole again.

But those holes are also the things that strengthen us. They shape our character, deepen our compassion, open our eyes to the things that matter.

If we allow them to.

And that’s the big question: will we allow it?

There’s so much advice out there about keeping our eyes on the present and dreaming big about the future. “Don’t cry over the past,” they say, “forget it.” And it’s true that we shouldn’t allow a difficult past to steal the beauty of the present, but until the past no longer has the power to hurt us, we can never truly leave it behind and move on.

An unresolved past equals a half-lived present (tweet that!)

When looking back is necessary

I knew looking back was necessary in my life when the same old fears and wounds kept coming back to haunt me. When I was flaring up at my mother in anger, being defensive at the mere mention of my father, or fearing losing the people I love for no reason.

And my depression: what was that all about?

Old wounds will keep coming back to haunt us until we deal with them (tweet that!) We can try to outrun them, but sooner or later they catch up. Avoidance doesn’t stop the pain; it only forces that pain to manifest itself in other ways.

Truth is, living in the present moment may be the ideal, but there’s work to do before it’s possible.« Continue »

Unpacking Your Creative Life Part 4: Connecting and Sharing

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As we close this series, the hardest work is over. You’ve returned home to your creative self. The boxes you left behind have been reclaimed, the contents sorted. You have stories to tell, truths to uncover.

You are a writer.

Perhaps this has always been the case, or maybe this is a new concept for you. There will be days when your confidence will soar, and other times it will falter. You’ll need support on this journey, especially now, because it’s time to put your words out into the world.

In a moment, we’ll discuss places to share your work, but first let’s talk about connecting with other writers.

“Friends who love you and have warmth for your creative life are the very best suns in the world.” – Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

At this point, you may have a sizable list of blogs you follow (if not, start now by finding ones that inspire and excite you). Leave thoughtful comments on posts – not every single one, but those that strike a chord. Read other people’s comments and click over to their blogs. This is a great way to find creative kindred spirits.

Ask around about private Facebook groups in your genre, or start your own. Befriend writers on Twitter by using popular writing hashtags (such as #AmWriting or #AmEditing). And keep your eye on this growing space here at TGOW, which will be launching a new site, community and courses this fall.

Be sure to follow your natural inclinations. You don’t have to sign up for new social media accounts to find writing friends. Having an Internet connection is enough, but going out into the world and meeting people the old-fashioned way is also a good idea.

Personally, I’ve been astounded by the abundance of support I’ve found online. People I’ve never met, some who live on the other side of the world, have offered me encouragement, advice, and kindness. These are genuine connections created not overnight, but over time, and with care.

However you choose to connect, it’s crucial not to lose sight of the actual work. But finding a supportive community is important for longevity since writing is a solitary and sometimes thankless endeavor. It helps to have company.

Shortly before my family moved last year, I posted a comment on the blog, Writers In The Storm. After complimenting the contributor’s article, I mentioned that I was relocating to her hometown. The writer not only told me to look her up after I moved, but also referred me to another commenter who lived nearby. Both women have since become dear friends and supporters, both on and offline.

Soon after we met, they invited me to join their weekly writing group. They meet at a grocery store café with their computers and power cords. Periodically we break to chat or network, commiserate or advise, but the bulk of our time is spent in silent camaraderie.

There’s a unique kind of comfort, a mutual respect, and understanding when you spend time with artists. I have a friend who is a ceramic artist and we often talk about our projects. While our mediums may be different, the creative drive is the same.« Continue »

10 Journaling Techniques to Kick-Start Your Creative Writing Practice

Are you someone who hears the word “journaling” and switches off? It’s true, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “bungee jumping,” “parachuting,” or “kayaking” as far as activities go, but did you know journaling has been scientifically proven to improve both mental and physical health?  Not only does it decrease stress levels, improve […]

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Unpacking Your Creative Life: Tapping Into Creativity

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“If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door… If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” – Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés Last week in Part 2 of the […]

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