Giving my Bad Habits the Heave-Ho!

It is Sunday mid-morning and I am tired. We hosted a dinner party last night and today I feel drained. I should be honest, it wasn’t a big dinner party where we dressed up and had a four-course dinner. It was our monthly get together with good friends and we have been making dishes from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. If you haven’t heard of this cookbook, I highly recommend you do. It’s a great read and the food is so freakin’ delicious! (I could use the f-bomb here but I don’t want to offend anyone and I’m trying not to swear as much as I use to. I’m a Navy Brat, no explanation needed…) I love spending time with our friends and our dinner get-togethers fill me with joy. Sometimes I am aware that I need to be writing and last night was one of those times.

My tiredness doesn’t solely come from the dinner night, there is a combination of a long week at the hotel life and from not writing as much as I planned to. I’m behind on my Nanowrimo project. I let the ego sneak in and convince me that sitting on the sofa after dinner was a better plan than sitting in my writing room doing what I love. How does this happen after all that I know about the ego and old behaviors that suck the life out of me?  I mean I’m sitting in my writing right now and it’s lovely. I mean that. I have a great view of trees and squirrels playing on the branches and from time to time the family of deer saunter by for their afternoon snack. Really why wouldn’t I want to be here? It’s like there is a vortex once I leave my writing room and another time and place takes over. Oh yeah, the ego. So here I am again with the same questions and frustrations of the old behavior that also wants to write but is better at procrastination and I am very aware of this.

I pick up my copy of ‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero to give myself a kick in the ass.

Give Your Bad Habits The Heave-Ho: Successful people have good habits; unsuccessful people have losery habits. Because our habits are all the things that we do automatically, without thinking, they help to define who we are.

Yup, I totally agree. I can see that I’m on autopilot from time to time and the only way I shake out of this fuzzy haze is by writing. Once I get here on the page I am taken to another world, the world that I want to be in. The new habit that I am going to fall into is to get myself in my writing room as soon as I get home from work and write for at least 10 to 20 minutes, it’s better than the alternative. Not writing and staring at the flickering screen of Netflix or scrolling through Instagram to see how many likes I have on the latest picture I’m trying to capture people with. No wonder I’m tired, it can be exhausting trying to keep with the thing we ‘think’ we have to be doing when really we need, I need to be following through with what my heart sings for. Being right here on the page.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

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Writing will Change You

Yes, when you get down to the True self and speak from that, there is always a metamorphosis in your writing, a transfiguration. ~ Brenda Ueland

I have read Brenda’s, If You Want to Write, a book about, art, independence, and spirit many times now, but on Friday morning I reached for the book and opened to the page with this wonderful reminder. I took this book with me on our Seaside, Oregon adventure but I didn’t have a chance to get to it due to the days filled with ocean adventures and family interactions. But something was calling me to reconnect with the book and here it is a very simple but powerful message.

While I was on vacation a few things occurred that made me very aware of a shift transpiring within me. I won’t get into the details but I will tell you that I have been sharing with the universe that I am open to my creative possibilities. Any time you put a thought out into the universe be ready to receive. I am not sure I am ready but I have to be, it’s happening and I can not stop it, I have seen my true self on many occasions over the years and I cannot ignore her. She is not letting the old-self shadow her any longer.

I had a cold during our vacation and I graciously passed it along to my in-laws. The coughing wars were enough to drive one to the edge and I was pushed to the edge of my old behavior self. The one who judges and gets upset over any little thing. Split milk? Watch out my old-self will scold the milk up and down until the old-self feels like it has won some kind of self-made battle. I am very grateful to be aware of these ego related thoughts but it can be scary to see that side of me show up when I’m not paying attention.

Back to the coughing fits between family. It was mid-morning and it was raining sideways, the ocean was spewing waves rapidly, no one was going out anywhere. I took this opportunity to do some writing. But something came out of me that I wasn’t really prepared for.

Do you want this more than me? Was what a new character whispered in my ear. I shivered as I wrote these words. What does it really mean? Do you want this more than me? I know it’s my true-self telling me that I know what I want and I want it more than the old-self, the old behaviors, the bad habits that have lingered for far too long. I want to be creating and sharing more than I want to be sitting on the sofa night after night zoning out on some HGTV show that I know is not helping me to move forward with my own creativity. I crave my creative life so desperately I want to kill off the ego so that I am able to step up and rise to the occasion I know I so desperately want to be doing. Does this make sense? Does anyone else feel this way? All I know is that this how I am feeling and there is something stirring around within me ready to be released.

I’m ready.

Now, get to the page and get to work!

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

Small Reflections & Big Heart

Spending time outdoors is a great way to fill the writers well. I love to take the time to nurture the artist within.

In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery. A mystery draws us in, leads us on, lures us. (A duty may numb us out, turn us off, tune us out). In filling the well, follow your sense of mysterious, not your sense of what you should know more about. A mystery can be very simple: if I drive this road, not my usual road, what will I see? Changing a known route throws us into the now. We become refocused on the visible, visual world. Sights lead to insight. ~ Julia Cameron

I have been feeling depleted lately. It’s been a busy summer season at the hotel life, which is great, everyone is working and I was able to meet some amazing visitors to our Captial City. I was blessed with an abundance of people watching an gathering of personalities for future characters that are waiting to share their stories. Though I have taken a few extended long weekends over the summer, I don’t feel like I’ve given myself time to rest and rejuvenate which I believe we need to do once and awhile.

Friends of mine who I met and worked with over twenty years ago at Lake Louise were in town for their fall vacation. They have come to the island on a few other occasions and we have lunch together but nothing more as I may have been working and the last time they were here I was sick. This time we spent two days together reconnecting and I was very aware of how much I missed their friendship, their company and down to earth nature. Friends stay in touch and we have chatted here and there via Facebook and text, but I miss the face to face, spending time with my friends. I enjoy sitting and chatting over a good cup of coffee or tea and being in the moment.

I took my friends to one of the many parks in Victoria which I hadn’t been to myself, Mount Douglas Park. I heard about the great trials and sights this hiking area offered and was excited to share the beauty with my friends. We ended up hiking one of the difficult trails but for us it was no more than hiking to the Little Beehive in Lake Louise. As we had a few moments during the hike where we needed to scramble up a rock face, I smiled and was overjoyed with the memories of hiking and working in Lake Louise. More so, the memories of meeting my friends and sharing these great adventures over the years we worked together. The years that have passed by but still remain close to our hearts.

When we reached the top of the lookout area we stopped and took in the sights. Though it was rainy and cloudy the vista of the land was stunning. I am so grateful for where I live. I vowed I’d be back to the hike and explore the many other trails the park offers. The feeling of being close to nature, touching trees as I moved my body up one more step to the top of the lookout was filling me with pure awareness, a reminder of who I really am. I am a being who loves the outdoors and experiencing the experience.

Now, as I enter back into the hotel life I am aware that I a need to shift my thoughts and experiences to what really fills me with joy. My artist within wants to get outside and play more often and I will fulfill this eager energy as much as possible. What are you doing for your artist within?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Diaries and The Hidden Writer

As I read The Hidden Writer, Diaries, and the Creative Life, by Alexandra Johnson, I stop and think about the various questions Alexandra asks;

Is what we read in a diary always true? Often using a diary when upset, is a writer more likely to exaggerate a mood, nurse a slight? In her own diary, Joyce Carol Oates writes, ‘we don’t think of ourselves in the past tense: we are always present tense: to consciously record the past is thereafter to invent a self to perform in it, consciously and unconsciously ~ Alexandra Johnson

This is interesting to me as a memoirist as I dig deep to find those past memories I’ve experienced. I’ve written in a diary ever since I can remember. I was married to my journal, scribbling my hopes and dream on the page that held onto my secrets, only to be revealed to my eyes. I dare not share these diaries with anyone, is what I thought at an early age.

I sadly stopped writing altogether during the time I moved to Lake Louise to work for a luxury hotel chain. To be more specific, I didn’t write for the first summer and part of the second summer because I fell in lust (I use to say love but it really wasn’t) The experiences that haunt me (sometimes in a good way) tickle my memories that seem to show up without hesitation.

It’s difficult not to be able to go to an old diary, to flip through, to see the present self-in the moment that it was happening. I have journals before and after these two summers. I got lost for a while and when I realized I was downright miserable because I wasn’t writing, I sprinted back to the page. My journals quickly filled with thoughts of guilt for leaving creativity for far to too,, then when I feel in lust again, the pages once again filled with guilty notions of wanting to be with that boy over the writing. I forced my pen on the page and soon love poems filled the blank paper, raw emotions of how I craved a relationship but was bored with the notion of maintaining one. I read practically written stories, I see where I made a choice to stay with a guy I should’ve let go from the moment I questioned myself within my journals. I know it’s my true self-talking directly to me.

Marion Ann, how many times will you write about his broken promises? He prefers his precious beer over me. Didn’t I just write about this only the other day? When will you listen? Are you listening now, Marion Ann? ~ July 1994 journal

Rereading this sends shivers up my neck. I knew that very moment I was to be treated better. I had someone in my life that was not right for me, yet for some reason, I wasn’t clear or wanting to face that Karma was lingering around for the choices I made.

Now, my morning pages have replaced my diaries and I’m finding that I need to write more past the early mornings. I want to keep writing to answer the questions that keep showing up morning after morning.The evening shows up and I am left without a resolution.

As everything happens for a reason, reading Alexandra’s book has sparked inspiration to start writing in my journal any time of the day, to get what is needed to be said on the page. To let it go and move on. I want to answer those questions that my true self-seems to be asking because I know the answers but I’m avoiding it for some reason. I want that kick in the ass from my pen to the page, I need to read what it is my higher self is desperately trying to tell me.

Don’t stop writing

I see this statement in my diaries and morning pages over the years and so many mornings when I start to complain a bit about not writing more I now commit myself to write in my journal more, morning, noon and night, even in-between the days and moments that I feel edgy and the only thing that will ground me is writing. Are you listening Marion Ann?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

Credit for pictures from Google Images and Pixaby.

Breaking up With the Sofa

Writing is healing. Writing is a way to let go of the past and move forward, to be right here in the moment. Writing unravels the issues within, writing releases the creativity within. I have many stories within, and I am blessed with both fiction and non-fiction writing, more so memoir writing. I don’t have any troubles letting the imagination run loose; in a blink of an eye, I can see a story unfold. Here is a little glimpse of how creativity quickly can take over. This is excerpt is from my Hospitality Memoir: Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ Summer 1:

I loved canoeing on the Lake. I would paddle out to the middle and let the canoe float around as much as the lake would let me. I glided my fingertips on the surface of the chilly waters (only a few degrees above freezing). As I got closer to the middle of the lake the color would change from clear turquoise to a dark murky green almost purpley black. I’d look over the edge of the canoe and wonder what mineral feed creatures lived down at the bottom.

Sis: Maybe an ancient type of dinosaurs like Loch Ness or Ogopogo.
Marion Ann: I wonder why they don’t have a legend at the Lake?
Sis: Too snobby for this place.
Marion Ann: True, it was named after the Queen’s daughter.
Sis: Not saying we can’t have fun with a story.
Marion Ann: Maybe a type of mermaid. Maybe a whole village. The lake goes deeper than anyone knows.
Sis: I like it.

So, did I liked when my imagination was stirred up and I had a story within a blink of an eye. The Lake had mystical energy and I wanted to dive into the deep waters to feed my passion for writing.

Now I should explain who Sis is. Sis is me, Sis is the voice that whispers to all of us. I like to introduce Sis as my sassy-pseudo-guardian-angel, who says what’s on her mind, which is essentially me speaking my mind. She helps tell my story.

When I reread this memory I’m taken back to those moments when I worked at the luxury resort in the Canadian Rockies. I had the privilege to canoe for free when guests were charged up to twenty dollars an hour to say they canoed on a national park lake. I loved when I stared over the edge of the canoe, gazing into the water, wondering what lake creature would pop up to see what lived beyond the surface of their watery existence. I would daydream about these fictional characters more than I thought I would. I would be serving my guests in the dining room, looking out at the lake wondering what the movie would be called if there was a screenplay that went with my daydreams about this magical and mystical underwater alternative life. You can clearly see how my imagination turns on quickly and wants to run wild. So why not? Stand aside and let creativity take over. I love the creative process! Then why am I having a hard time lately to get to the page? I clearly want to be writing and the ideas that enter my mind are crying out to be written. I only have one person to blame, me. I am in the way, along with the sofa and Netflix. So I’m breaking up with the sofa.

I’m getting up from the comfortable routine that the ego is holding onto and dragging me down with it. I’m walking away from the TV shows and movies that will always be there to watch when it’s time to zone out but not now, not any longer. Creativity and I have had enough. Not that I spend hours sucked into House of Cards or Netflix Original movies, but it’s too easy to sit down and get sucked into the promise of a funny and exhilarating movie that will surely leave you with laugh lines.

I’m breaking up with the ego. It’s a process, the ego has been around for a long time and I’ve had moments where I can clearly see the true self, the writer I have known for even a longer time. Yet, there is a moment where the ego slips in and a week goes by and you haven’t written a damn thing and wonder what Walter White and Jesse are up to.

Like any break-up, it may take time to not miss the sofa and curling up with a cup of tea and watching one of my favorite Woody Allen movies. Now it’s time to take that cup of tea to the writing room and write my own movies. Hear-hear! The creative cheerleader enthusiastically confirms as I sit down and begin to write.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

I should also mention where the Lake is located. Without giving it away, it is in a town called Lake Louise, Alberta. If you would like advanced Free chapters of my Hotel Memoir, please sign up for my Newsletter. See you there!

A Recipe to Share – Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles

I love to write and I love to cook. My social media pages tend to be filled with either writing quotes or pictures of what we are cooking. I thought I would share a few of our favourite recipes (Caution: plant-based recipes because veggies are good for you).

We recently made our first recipe from the Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better, alkaline recipe book by Julie Cove. Thai Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Sweet Chili sauce.

The Noodles:

• 1 large spaghetti squash
• 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I used light tasting olive oil)
• ¼ cup sliced yellow onion (I used a sweet onion)
• 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh lemongrass (we used lemon zest because I forgot to but the lemongrass)
• 1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
• 1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger
• ½ cup julienned scrubbed carrot
• ½ cup julienned, scrubbed daikon radish
• ½ cup julienned red bell pepper (we used about a cup because we love red peppers.
• ½ cup julienned, scrubbed zucchini
• 1 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos (I used soy sauce = 2 tbsp to the 1 tbsp)
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 5 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
• 3 Tbsp. sliced fresh mint (we didn’t use this, my partner is not a fan of mind, fair enough)
• 3 Tbsp. of sliced basil
• 3 Tbsp. of finely chopped green onions (didn’t use, we don’t care for green onions, purely a taste thing for us)
• Juice from ½ lime
• Hemp heart for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment (I used our glass Pyrex dish, no parchment needed)


• Halve the squash lengthwise and place it, cut side down, on the baking sheet, (Do not add water or the squash will be too soft.) Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until fork-tender and the “spaghetti” strings pull freely from the skin. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
• Heat the oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in the carrot, daikon, bell pepper and zucchini for 1 -2 minutes. Season with Bragg (soy sauce) and salt. Remove from the heat, then add the cilantro, mint, basil, green onion, and lime juice and toss well to combine.
• Using a fork, loosen the strands of spaghetti squash from the skin by dragging it lengthwise with the stands. Divide the squash among 6 plates into nice heaps. Discard the skins. Pike the Thai-spiced veggie noodles over the squash and serve with sweet chili sauce on the side. Garnish with hemp hearts.

Sweet Chili Sauce: (It does take time to make I recommend getting a glass of wine)

• ¾ cup filtered alkaline water (we have a Brita, I took that as okay to use)
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 4 drops of stevia (Sorry can’t do Stevia – we used white sugar about a teaspoon for 2 to 4 drops)
• 1 Tbsp. tapioca starch (flour if you don’t have any)
• 1 tsp coconut oil (we used light tasting olive oil)
• ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
• 2 garlic cloves finely minced
• ½ cup finely minced red bell pepper
• ½ Thai bird’s-eye chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (couldn’t find this, but you can use cayenne pepper, about ½ tsp)
• 2 tsp maple syrup (optional) or more stevia – you better believe we used maple syrup

In a glass measuring cup. Whisk together the water, lemon juice, stevia, and tapioca starch until well combined. Set aside. (I used a mason jar and shook it together, great arm work out!)

• Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in garlic, bell pepper, and chilli pepper and sauté for 1 more minute. Whisk the tapioca mixture again and pour it into the pan. Cook, stirring to combine, for 3 – 5 minutes, until the mixture turns from cloudy to clear. Add the salt and maple syrup (if using). Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, and pour into a sauceboat. (The sauce will set up as it chills. To thin it, whisk in a drizzle of warm water.)

Enjoy! Please let me know how you made out – did you substitute anything, add something? Please share.

Please sign up for my upcoming Newsletter where you can get Free chapters of my upcoming Memoir; Behind the Kitchen Doors – A Hotel Memoir Series, plus fun recipes like this!

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing. . . .

 

What Has your Writing Journey Been Like so Far?

What has your writing journey been like so far? Good question. I follow many authors on Instagram and this week a fellow writer has put together a mini writing Instagram challenge. All the questions are writing related and this particular question intrigued my creative child within.

My writing journey so far has been like a familiar but unpredictable weather system these days. Drizzly rain mixed with sun and cloud with a rainbow in the horizon. A mixed bag of emotions and events that have brought me to the page.

As long as I can remember and even deeper than that, it’s like I’ve had this past life, even lives that I can see and feel but they seem unclear at times. A life where I’ve been writing, telling stories and sharing. It seems that creativity is and always been in my veins. I cannot, not write. My imagination is a black hole, it is never-ending and swallows me whole at times. The vivid places and situations that occur in my mind baffle me at times, where did the ideas come from so quickly, so vividly that they play out like a movie?

I have never been afraid of the stories that have been and continue to be shared with. The one detail I am afraid of is that I am not sharing this talent and creativity will move on. It frightens me more that I will lose what has been graciously given to me. I have this deeply seeded knowing I should be participating like an excited cheerleader on their first game day – what gives then? It comes down to old behaviors and me, myself and the ego are in the way.

So how do I get out of my head? How do I stay on this great journey of writing? By writing, by reading about writing, by writing about writing, by surrounding myself with other writers to talk about writing and ultimately to keep writing.

My writing journey so far is mostly positive and there are some frustrating times, but as I have shared before, the only person that is stopping me from doing something is me. I choose to sit here in my beautiful writing room watching the trees sway in the breeze on this lovely Sunday evening. This is what I have to do more often. To choose writing over the sofa and Netflix. Writing over staying late a work just because I “think” I should stay for another hour over time to help out. It’s not helping anyone out when I’m pissed off because I chose to stay and would rather be home writing. A vicious cycle the ego plays over and over again.

My writing journey has provided me with beautiful places to live and experience moments that I have been able to soak in and share. Creativity has brought me across the country to live on an island and experience so many wonderful moments. Creativity has provided everything I need to excel this creative life and for this, I am truly grateful.

Now, I will ask you the same question: What has your writing journey been like so far?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .