Copyright 2013 Pacific Northwest Writers Association. All Rights Reserved
The Grace of Nonresistance: Ending a Nightmare
by Jennifer Paros
Nonresistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Around the age of eight I had a dream in which I am captured and brought to a large indoor swimming pool filled with oil - where I am to be boiled alive. That's a nightmare. But what really makes a nightmare a nightmare? Surprisingly it’s not the threat of being boiled, shot, hung, hunted, or eaten; it's the sense of being unable to change the situation, of having no power. If every time we encountered something frightening we immediately knew we had the resources with which to handle it, the nightmare quality would quickly dissipate.
When my oldest son was in the first grade, his teacher notified us that he had “melted down” and taken refuge under his desk. When I asked him about it later, he complained that the teacher acted as though she was in charge. I explained she was, that in the classroom she was somewhat like the captain of a ship. Apparently, my son was under the impression he was in charge, so when the teacher was directing the class, he found it stressful. To my surprise, he took the news fairly well. Just knowing what was his to control (or not) helped him work with the situation. Over the years, he found his own way of adapting to school while remaining himself, discovering his true power in a situation he once feared rendered him powerless. more...
Using Feeling to Guide Our Work
by Ingrid Schaffenburg
As you can probably tell from last month’s post, I’m a huge advocate of following your dreams. Don’t know why I’m so passionate about it except for the fact that my parents were artists and they set a pretty good example for me that you could indeed make a living by following your passion. Which is probably why I ran kicking and screaming from every desk/corporate/uninspiring job I ever had.
Like most creatives though, it took me years to be in a position where I could support myself doing what I love. And since I've recently embarked on a really exciting project, unlike any I've been involved in before, I feel like I've reached a whole new level of understanding of what it takes to "get there,” and I want to share that with you.
Deep down, I'd love nothing more than for all of us to find the place where we really belong. To find the work that makes our hearts sing. If that were to happen, this world would be a much better place to live in because we'd all be in our happy place.
So what is this astounding revelation? In regards to work, don't do what·you love; just do what feels good. If you're lucky, the two will align. more...
by Bari Benjamin
As far back as I can remember when I learned to read and write, I longed to see my words on the printed page. My mother was an artist, an oil painter, so there were no coloring books for me. “Create your own pictures,” she would say, as she handed me bright, white sheets of paper with thick crayons. When I could write, she would say, “Tell your own stories.” I can still see myself, mousey, brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, blue cat-eye glasses, furiously scribbling my stories of fairies, princesses and princes to the rescue. I would proudly send my finished products to kids’ magazines and nervously wait for that magical letter that would say, we will publish your story. Sadly, it didn’t come.
As I grew, I concentrated my writing on high school, college, then graduate school themes and research papers, pushing my creative desires aside. But several years ago, my longings emerged again, first, faint glimmers, then a stronger pull that I couldn’t ignore.
It was at that time I became aware of Randy Pausch. He was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, my home town. He was also a loving husband and father of three young children. A tall, lanky, handsome fellow with thick, dark hair and vibrant, sparkling eyes, Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of thirty-eight. When I watched him interviewed on television, I was mesmerized He was a courageous, strong, optimistic man, who lived his life fully and passionately.
He was dying of cancer, but his focus was on living life. He had requested the opportunity to give his last lecture at the university. When professors retire, they are often asked to hold a final class to leave their legacy. Thousands of people attended his last lecture. There were lines in the street. He spoke, not about dying, but about achieving one’s childhood dreams. I rushed to buy his book, The Last Lecture, to learn more about his life. more...
In Soundproofing We Trust
by Joan Frank
We all tune in, almost around the clock, to the aural avalanche.
Advisories, instruction, rules. Pointers, scoldings, sermons. Warnings, prayers. Parables. Jokes.
They seem to spawn: articles and essays about how to write, what to write, when and where to write, for whom, even why to write. On Facebook we find a roaring Niagara Falls of counsel. Experts and neophytes go at it, hashing out issues related to the calling. There's no end to the blogs and critiques and commentary, a fair portion of those by people with solid authority.
Yet there comes a moment in any writer's life when she knows it's time to slam shut the windows (presuming they're soundproof) and draw the curtains; time to turn off the devices and unplug whatever's still plugged—except, of course, her writing machine.
It's a telling moment—almost physically dictated, like the moment of knowing you can't eat another bite.
For that reason, fellow writers, for heaven's (and art's) sake, pay attention!
I confess myself a prime perpetrator: daily scanning the never-ending tickertape of gabble, most of it artfully done by superb sources (both living and dead). And after awhile I start to feel a little sick, as if I'd eaten too much icing from a stale cake.
That's when I know it's time to seal off all the noise. more...
How Ya Doin'?
by Cherie Tucker
It’s such a common greeting, like “How are you?” that people don’t really think about it, nor do they really care about your answer. But you should.
The most common answer to that how-ya-doin’ question is, “Good, I’m doin’ good.” What most people don’t realize is that they have just said that they are performing charitable acts.
Doing is an activity, and the question “how ya doin’?” asks how that activity is being performed, which requires an adverb, a word that describes how things are done. They can be done well or brilliantly or even be just fine. But they aren’t done good.
You can be doing good if you are building houses for Habitat for Humanity, for example, or curing a disease. But the question wasn’t “how are you?” If it had been, you could say, “I’m good” or “I’m well.” One answer is about your state of being, and the other about your health. more...