Inspiration: Soul mission

Your soul mission is your reason for being, your life purpose. It’s your calling in life–who you feel called to be, what you feel called to do. Mission is an energy that flows through you–a drive, voice, or passion that you cannot ignore… It’s what you know in your heart you must live if you are to experience inner peace and harmony. — Alan Seale

Writing process: Shadow side

Below I’ve listed a few ideas from the article “Hollywood Shadow?” by Dana Goodyear. The article about writing was published in the March 21, 2011 issue of the New Yorker.

  • Your shadow side is the source of creativity and flow. The shadow is your unpleasant and underdeveloped side. If you can understand your shadow, you can understand anyone’s; and your writing will touch on universal themes, making it more marketable and more personally gratifying. 
  •  Assert your shadow’s right to have something to say. 
  • Give your shadow the respect it deserves.
  • Procrastination is resistance against time.
  • Writing is a kind of death. 
  •  Accept the authority of process over external authority. 
  •  Don’t resist process.

What I’m reading: Hokusai Says

Hokusai Says
By Roger Keyes

Hokusai says Look carefully.

He says pay attention, notice.

He says keep looking, stay curious.

He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.

He says keep changing, you just get more who you really are.

He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it’s interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.

He says keep praying.

He says every one of us is a child, every one of us is ancient,

every one of us has a body.

He says every one of us is frightened.

He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive – shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.

Wood is alive.

Water is alive.

Everything has its own life.

Everything lives inside us.

He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.

It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.

It doesn’t matter if you sit at home and stare at the ants on your verandah.

Or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.

It matters that you feel.

It matters that you notice.

It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.

Joy is life living through you.

Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.

Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.

Don’t be afraid.

Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.

Let life live through you.


What I’m reading: The Writer’s Book

In The Writer’s Book, published more than 50 years ago by Barnes & Noble, the advice is still timely:

“…the best work…has always been done by people who were concerned only with pleasing themselves. Given a reasonable degree of competence in the mechanics of the craft, there is an audience, large or small, for anything that any of us writes to please himself, since none of us is unique.” — Richard Summers

Inspiration: That’s Life by Frank Sinatra

Being a writer can have its ups and downs. One day you’re walking on air because an editor bought your story. The next day you’re feeling down because a literary agent told you “Essays don’t sell.” The lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s song “That’s Life” (below) remind us that, not matter what life throws at us, we have to pick ourselves up and “get back in the race.”

That’s Life

By Frank Sinatra

That’s life, that’s what all the people say.
You’re riding high in April,
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune,
When I’m back on top, back on top in June.

I said that’s life, and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks,
Stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down,
‘Cause this fine ol’ world it keeps spinning around

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself, flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That’s life
I tell ya, I can’t deny it,
I thought of quitting baby,
But my heart just ain’t gonna buy it.
And if I didn’t think it was worth one single try,
I’d jump right on a big bird and then I’d fly

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself laying flat on my face,
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life
That’s life and I can’t deny it
Many times I thought of cutting out
But my heart won’t buy it
But if there’s nothing shakin’ come this here july
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die
My, My

Inspiration: Honoring the unfinished life

A poem by Richard Gilbert from the Skinner House meditation manual “In the Holy Quiet of this Hour”:

In the midst of the whirling day, in the hectic rush to be doing,
In the frantic pace of life, pause here for a moment.
Catch your breath, relax your body.
Loosen your grip on life.
Consider that our lives are always unfinished business.
Imagine that the picture of our being is never complete.
Allow your life to be a work in progress.
Do not hurry to mold the masterpiece;
Do not rush to finish the picture;
Do not be impatient to complete the drawing.
From beckoning birth to dawning death, we are in process,
And always there is more to be done.
Do not let the incompleteness weigh on your spirit.
Do not despair that imperfection marks your every day.
Do not fear that we are still in the making.
Let us instead be grateful that the world is still to be created.
Let us give thanks that we can be more than we are.
Let us celebrate the power of the incomplete,
For life is always unfinished business.

Making a difference

Writers write for a variety of reasons: to entertain, inform, annoy, show off, shock or impress. Sometimes writers write to make a positive difference. As Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

If you could have a positive impact on the world with your writing, what would you write about?