How Self-Care Can Help Writing

Life can be busy. Just think of how you start your day and everything that happens from the time you wake up to the time you get back into bed at night. Or maybe you work the night shift and you are going to bed at 7:00 am when the majority of people are getting up starting their day. I thank you for taking this on, I’ve worked a few over-night shifts and it is not an easy task.

 

As a writer who works in hospitality, my life, if I let it happen, can be filled up business pretty easily. For the past twenty-five years I’ve worked in a hotel and for a period of time, much like the ego slipping in and taking over the true self, the hotel life took over the writing life. When I become aware of this transition I know I must look within and remind myself of what I am here to do. What I have been chosen to share. Writing, sharing stories, not wasting the talent that has been given to me ever so graciously.

 

On a daily basis, I am practicing self-care. There is a lot of meditating. There is also a lot of deep breathing when I’m not able to ride to my writing room, shut the door and keep everything negative out. These are days when the ego tends to have more of a say and I’m not paying attention to the true self. Meditation is important to me and creativity. I need stillness which may sound funny as most of my eight to ten-hour days are filled with a very busy hotel life. Yet, stillness fills my heart when there the lobby of full of people checking in, babies crying, dogs barking (dog-friendly hotel) and the everyday shuffling of a hotel. I take a deep breath and practice the meditation I have come accustomed to, Self-inquiry. I have always been a quiet and grounded person and meditation provides me space to really embrace the stillness which carries over into my everyday life. I am able to write for longer periods of time which I have been able to do ever since I can remember, but adding meditation to my self-care has enhanced my ability to sit in a chair longer or wherever I am writing. Mediation has provided me with the art of knowing I can not change people, and when a guest is not having a great time and wanting to yell at a manager (this still does happen), I am able to watch and witness the person and know that it has no bearing on who I am or what I do. It’s kinda nice when you don’t take on other people’s stuff.

My top three other self-care practices may look a little like this:

  • Cooking, I love to cook. Preparing a great meal is so meditative to me. I get into the zone. There is something about chopping vegetables that gives me a sense of peace.
  • Taking a bath. We all have our own bath rituals. Mine is all about the Epson salts; citrus or lavender essential oils (unless I need to soak my legs after a hard leg work out, then I’ll pull out the eucalyptus oil). I sometimes turn on spa-like music and sink under the water until my chin touches the surface, close my eyes and just be still.
  • Going for long walks and hiking. I am very grateful and fortunate to live by the ocean. Thank you universe for this opportunity. I can walk to the ocean within ten minutes of where we live. There is something about the ocean that speaks to me and creativity. Going for hikes within the mountains on Vancouver Island, especially only a ten-minute drive from our neighborhood is also a blessing. To be surrounded by nature is comforting and provides me with inspiration and a great love of where I am.

It’s important to take care of ourselves. Take the time to find out what self-care practices that benefit you. I am still discovering and will always be learning and finding new ways of making sure that I am taking care of this one body, mind and soul.

What are some of your self-care practices? Do you like walking, running, taking a long lingering bath, sitting in your bedroom and reading?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

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Vacation Time!

My husband’s birthday is Valentine’s day and it’s always a challenge to find something special for him when the entire day is focused on the national day of love. Though Valentines Day origins are a bit murky and there a few different stories around the celebrated day.

This year my husband thought it would be nice to go away during this his birthday celebration and we booked a Las Vegas trip for five days. I know what you might be thinking, Vegas for five days? I thought the same thing the last time we were in Vegas for five days and said if we ever returned to Sin City it would be for less time or we would have to explore the area more. We have planned some-day hike trips, golfing and I will be working on edits as I have until the first week of March to send my revisions back to the editor. Last week was busy with family visiting for the first part of the week and I loved spending time with my family, they flew in from Ontario and we had a great visit. I was able to get some work done on the revisions and it felt good when I was able to focus on my passions.

I did schedule time on our vacation to write, especially when my husband is golfing, I can spend that time with the writing. It’s a win-win for sure.

I have been trying to post two blogs a week and I may not get to it this week, sometimes vacation takes over and I’m okay with that. Sometimes we all need a little rest to recharge.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

 

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

When I was seven or eight my mother took me to see Annie, with Carol Burnett. I fell in love with the movie and the idea of the story. I was very aware of my active imagination before watching this movie, but I was very aware of my imagination as I wanted to see what would happen after Annie moved into Daddy Warbuck’s mansion full-time. What happened to all the other orphans? Did Annie bring them with her? I wanted to write stories about Annie’s life after the orphanage and each of her friends. I wanted to see Daddy Warbucks and Grace to get married, would they be the happily ever after couple? Does Annie fall in love? So many questions to answer and the only way to see what really happens is to write about it. So that’s what I did. I wrote stories to answer my curiosity. I wish I still had those stories to see how far I’ve come, but I have the feeling of how excited I was to create a story to see what was beyond the first story. That’s how I feel now about my fiction work and my memoir writing. I want to see what happens on the page, what unfolds from the mind to the page is very interesting to me.

As a memoir writer, I am constantly going deeper to see where the memory takes me. There are moments of time that I haven’t forgotten, the memories are so clear that I feel like I’m still in that moment. This is where some of my fiction stories come from as well. Creativity doesn’t have any limits and if I start to write I am very committed to the end of the story and beyond. I have grown as a writer from the story that was triggered by the little redhead who was able to sing her way into our hearts. My writing voice is ever evolving and it took some time to get where I am today. I had to dig deep to find the voice that I’ve known that has always been there, I just needed to let it happen and not worry about what anyone else had to say, especially me.

Every story I write brings makes me a better writer. I am so grateful for this beautiful talent and way of sharing creativity.

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing. . . .

Sign up for my Newsletter for more stories and a peek into my first memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Summer Season 

See you there!

 

Choices

What best choices have you made in your life so far? This list is easier than other lists. I will go back and share some of my other lists later on, but this list plucked at my heartstrings a bit more for some reason.

  • Going to university.
  • Accepting the job at Bayside (a church camp that pushed me to what I had asked for)
  • Asking to be trained on the university radio and ending up having my own show.
  • Asking to write for the university newspaper – writing a few movie reviews.
  • Accepting the job at Lake Louise.
  • Staying two extra months after my first summer season at Lake Louise.
  • Going back to the Lake for the third summer and then deciding to stay to see where the hotel world would take me.
  • Leaving the Lake to move to Jasper to another sister hotel property to learn the ropes again.
  • Asking to have a meeting about the possibility of a Jasper radio station and ending up being on the writing team (dream come true!).
  • Moving onto Edmonton to another sister hotel property for a promotion.
  • Moving in with Adam after six months of dating – you just know when you know.
  • Moving to Tofino and once again asking to be part of the radio station and ending up with my own show.
  • Asking to be part of the writing group in Tofino and being part of a great writing group, putting together events that brought creative souls together.
  • Accepting the job at Ocean Resort to help open a meditation retreat center – another dream job of mine.
  • Joining the Arts Council of Campbell River and meeting my writing mentor – Thank you universe!
  • Leaving the Ocean Resort to write full-time and be part of a new online magazine (another dream job, thank you – thank you!)
  • Moving to Victoria for a hotel job.
  • Walking up to a group of romance writers to introduce myself and ask if I could join the group. (I was new to the city and needed to find a writing group)

This list continues with me moving onto another hotel job to get to the next level. I am so grateful for every opportunity that has been provided to get me where I am going. For example: though I loved being the resort manager of the meditation retreat center, something was not working for me and for creativity. The owner and I agreed that I would be laid off for the winter and then he wouldn’t need me if and when they re-opened the resort. I had asked to have the time to write and still have an income so I was able to pay rent and write.  The universe is listening.

Every choice I have made has been in complete faith. I trust and trusted that if the opportunity presented itself that I was to open the door and walk right through to see what would happen. I trust that I am being taken care of and I continue on blind faith – I have also made two choices where I didn’t accept a job to get where we are wanting to go. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions that you know are for the best, but there are times where I think ‘ what if?’ and then I realize I’m right where I’m supposed to be, here and now.

What best choices have you made in your life so far? What has brought you here? If you made a different choice would you be where you are now? I love these questions, it makes me think about the alternative universes and how I’m lining up with what the universe has in store for me.

Until Next time, keep on typing . . . .

 

52 Lists for Happiness

Open this journal to discover the keys to your own unique happiness and bring more joy and balance into your life through the power of lists! Create 52 lists, one for every week of the year, that will help you reflect, acknowledge, invest in yourself, and ultimately transform your life. ~ Moorea Seal

I received this journal from my Uncle in the mail on Friday. He sent me a wonderful note of inspiration and encouragement. He’s always been a big cheerleader of my creativity. After he and my aunt got divorced he was still a big part of my life. Family if funny sometimes and even though he is not blood-related, he’s always been a there for me. When my dad was away at Sea with the Armed Forces, my aunt and uncle would help my mother and I with the little things, like driving us to see my Nanny on weekends who lived about an hour away. It was important to me because my mother didn’t drive and spending time with my Nanny was important to me.  We have reconnected over the past few years and I’m grateful to have him in my life.

I thought I would work my way through this journal here with you. Maybe of the things won’t mean anything to you, but my commitment for 2018 was to share more and this journal is all about sharing.

The journal is set up in four sections: Reflect, Acknowledge, Invest, Transform. With it being a journal for 52 weeks, I may do the first three lists to stay on track.

List 1: List everything that Makes you happy now: (Right off the bat, my ego wants to run in the other direction)

Here is my list:

  • writing
  • dancing
  • singing
  • spending time with family
  • spending time with Adam
  • cooking
  • hiking
  • playing outside
  • walking by the ocean
  • listening to music
  • meditating
  • reading
  • creating (this could be another list of what to create)

I stop and look at my list and smile at the first three. I remember how much I use to be so carefree about dancing and singing. One fond memory I have is sitting at a piano and just playing around with the keys and hearing music and I started to tell a story through the music. I didn’t care that my cousin was in the same room playing with his race car set, he seemed to be just as amused as I was. The feeling I remember is a sense of playfulness and peace. I was doing something creative which is my natural state and that brings me joy.

After writing the list you are asked to take at least one of the topics and make it a daily practice. I already write every day, I write every morning and that makes me happy. As I have said before I am aware that I need to write more during the day, after work, after dinner, before bed, just write!

I use to meditate every day and now I’ve slowed down to once a week and I am very aware that I need to make this a daily practice. When I meditate, it is much like writing. I am grounded with each word, with each breath. I will now try to create every day, be it crocheting or work on a vision board, I am drawn to creativity and if I’m drawn to it then this makes me happy and being joyful is part of my natural state. Starting today, I will try to implement a little more creating in my life. I think I will bring out the bristol board and magazines to start a new vision board. My artist within is dancing for joy!

What does your list of happiness look like? What makes you happy right now?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

On the path of revisions – a writers journey

 

The day has arrived. I received the editorial letter from my editor and I’m staring at it with a mix of emotions. I am filled with excitement and fear. I’m eager to get the work done but I’m afraid of the work to be done. Does that make sense? A double-edged sword of sorts.

So how am I going to start the next step for my manuscript? Well, one word at a time. The editorial letter is thirteen pages filled with suggestions and comments that raise good questions, a bit of resistance (all ego related) and a lot of head nodding in agreement. Some of the things my editor shared with me are things I know and some comments are ‘A-ha’ moments and ‘Why didn’t I think of that!?’ out loud remarks.

Another way I prepared was by talking through some of the suggestions with a good friend who happens to be a published and she understands where I am coming from. My editor has asked some questions and the inquiries are difficult to address right away because I don’t know the answer until I start talking about the chapter and then all of a sudden as I’m explaining the scene I see the answer or a version of the explanation that I was looking for.

Now that I am alone in my writing room I am ready to get to work. I have puttered around, cleaning off my desk for only the editorial letter, a cup of tea and a small notepad. These little things help me to prepare and sit down and dive into the page. Now, it’s time to get to it.

Until next time, keep on typing . . . .

 

 

Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ A Hotel Memoir: Chapter 1

The full First Chapter of Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ A Hotel Memoir

I’ve Served You

 I’ve served you. I’ve listened to your stories of how your vacation is going, good or bad. I know how you like your steak; medium rare, but make sure it’s more medium than rare. I know how you like your martini; gin, three olives, dirty and shaken. I’ve made special trips to the other dining rooms within the hotel to get you the cocktail you liked from the bartender that you think is the only bartender in the hotel for a 900 room and six dining outlets. I’ve served you and you served me a lifetime of experiences.

How did I stumble upon the world of hospitality? (I like to refer to it as the hotel life). No accident, it was a series of serendipitous events that were taking place before I even knew they were happening. The journey to the hotel life started at the age of fifteen, maybe even earlier, the universe works in mysterious ways.

On the first day of summer vacation of grade ten, I was lying in bed wondering what I would do that day. Maybe hang out with my friends but I wanted to work on the short story I’d been writing. Writing was and is my real passion. I heard my father walking up the stairs, he knocked and opened my bedroom door and implied,

“Get up, get a job, you’re cut off your allowance.” Ouch! No warning. Well, maybe a few hints throughout the school year that I would need to a job at some point. I didn’t think it would have to be so soon. I was fifteen and I had grandiose notions of writing books and making a living as a writer. I might need a part-time job to pay the rent and food when I was older, but not now.  I know, I was ahead of my time, or out of my native mind.

Sis: You can say that again.

This is Sis, my sassy pseudo guardian angel/alter ego, who is really me expressing my true thoughts. You see, my mother labeled me as a shy little girl and I carried that like a badge of honor because I didn’t know any better. But I wasn’t shy. I was more like Sis than I knew at the time.

Sis: You got that right.

So, me, an only child had to get a job. I didn’t have to look too far. My mother’s good friend was a manager at the McDonald’s we loyally went to every week. My mother called her friend, let’s call her Janet, said I could come in for an interview.

Sis: That was easy.

My interview with Janet was basically her talking about her life at McDonald’s and she loved it. She said I would gain a lot of great life skills by serving customers and become disciplined by the rules of the company. Rules? I didn’t like the sound of that, but I learned quickly rules meant guidelines, which meant I could skirt around certain things like leave the fillet-o-fish in the warmer for an extra minute but not much longer or they would get soggy and not the crisp fresh fish burger promised on the commercials.

I was hired on the spot, given my uniform, a locker in the staff room, my training schedule and there you have it, I was now part of a major fast-food chain. I took that job seriously because of two reasons. I didn’t want to hear my mother say that I shamed her for not being a good employee or daughter because she got me the job. Second, I wanted to make enough money to buy a car and drive as far away from my mother as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother, but there was a time, especially when I was twelve through my early twenties when I didn’t care for her. I didn’t even like her. I was the happiest when I was writing or at work acting like I cared when I served overweight people a super-sized meal from the drive-through window.

Now let’s talk about names. Let’s discuss changing and protecting names of the innocent or not so innocent. Maybe I need a bit of protecting, I’m not that shy little girl everyone ‘thinks’ I am or may look like. Names have been changed and certain situations out of order to protect feelings.

But my name is essential, it has shaped who I am. My name is Marion Ann Berry, it’s actually, Marion Ann Laura Berry, my first name is Marion Ann. Now, try to say it ten times fast. I’m not Mary Ann, Marion or Marion and Ann (that’s my fav). You can call me Min, it’s my nickname and it’s a helleva lot easier to say than trying to stumble along the Marion Ann that has been on my name tag for over twenty years.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .