Direction of the Universe {I’m already up to #4}

Direction of the Universe {I’m already up to #4}

I’ve started a Vlog! This first series of videos creates an accountability framework for me and shows you my creative process as I conceive, research, write, edit, and publish a book.

Updates will be live streamed weekday mornings at 09:00 CEST. Head over to Facebook {Goddess Kindled} & click like to join in. Or subscribe to my YouTube channel!

See you there, Lovelies.


The Unrelenting Nature of Kindness {getting to the end}

The Unrelenting Nature of Kindness {getting to the end}

This year has been the most soul-bearing time of my life. I wrote and published a novel.

I couldn’t imagine anything topping the sense of empowerment that flooded my awareness the day I gave myself permission to start. That was only the beginning.

The subsequent emotional cycle of getting to the end was a spiral of aeons within centuries within decades within years, well—you get the picture. It felt like vast amounts of time stuffed into my minuscule pocket of imagination that was suddenly too insignificant to conceive of the next word, let alone a whole story.

I’m all for new beginnings; the only problem is they always have endings attached. My experience these past twelve months has taught me in the kindest and most unrelenting way that embracing the cycle of beginnings and endings is a learned behaviour. It’s an attitude of facing into the wind of imagined failure and being thrilled by the way it blows hair out of your eyes clearing your vision for farsighted inspiration.

This adventure has been an astonishing paring away of old patterns, notions and long-held beliefs about myself and my world. Writing a novel has been the container of more effective personal growth than the other paths of self-inquiry I’ve trod.

Beginnings are my way of skipping over endings. It’s an illusion, of course, but as a measure of self-protection, it works a treat! If I don’t end, you can’t judge me. Like many creativists, my psyche is wound around and through my creations so that to see one is to see the other. That’s scary stuff.

If you want a challenge, practise being kind to yourself. The more skilled I became with showing myself kindness, the more ruthless I was about getting my backside into the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

Scared about being too stupid to start writing? Write a letter to yourself in the voice of your perfect manifestation of kindness. The language She will use will shock you! The kindest encouragement looks nothing like you think it will. It makes no effort to blow smoke into any orifice.

Sure that your draft manuscript is utter rubbish? Send it to your editor. If you are lucky like me, your editor’s voice is very similar to your perfect imagined manifestation of kindness. My greatest surprise was that upon receiving critique from my editor, I was excited, enthused, hungry for more!

When I get curious about my core motivations and sink into vulnerability—that’s when my work flows; my words capture the story in my imagination and splat it onto the page with glorious abandon.

Failure is a construct of your psyche. It is the way you keep yourself safe based on all the events of your life (real and imagined). Guess what? It’s actually like a slobbery dog in a dragon costume. Just writing that makes me shudder, but that could be due to my bone-deep aversion to slobber.

Visualise what your success looks like.

Now, visualise what your failure looks like. Scratch that—you already have that picture engraved in your mind.

Do you see? They are both figments of your imagination.

This has not been a lonely year. I have surrounded myself with a community of kindred spirits. Never has my place in the universe, my connection with everything been more palpable.  (Can you tell that I write Magical Realism?)

My best takeaway from this year as I sit here basking in the glow of a newly-published novel is this: embrace the endings with as much enthusiasm as you feel in the beginnings. How did I manage this? I nibbled my way through the cycles. I focused on the next breadcrumb on the path. Step by step, nibble by nibble.

The never-ending endings of living a life.

You’ll Never Be Ready

You’ll Never Be Ready

I know last time I was here there was mention made of following a white rabbit — but this is much more important!

“I’m sure my lovely subscribers don’t mind,” says the excited spark of inspiration on my shoulder.

I want to talk to you about that thing you want to do.

You know, the project that you haven’t done enough research on; the luminous pulse of inspiration that flares intermittently behind all those beliefs about someone else already having done the thing better than you ever shall.

What is it you are waiting for?

Tell me what calls our your curiosity. Draw me a picture showing the texture. If the colour of it doesn’t exist in your pencil box, sing it to me. Tear a wild gash through the fabric of this perfect dream.

Tear it up, throw the pieces into the wind and follow them like breadcrumbs scattered before a starving soul.

But whatever you do, tell me your story.

You’ll never be ready; do it anyway.

So much love!
Sondra Ann

Being Productive {divine timing of distraction}

Being Productive {divine timing of distraction}

Last week I said I’d talk about following the white rabbit of distraction on purpose. I didn’t realise I was setting myself an assignment. May I just say I kicked arse! So much distraction, you wouldn’t believe.

Here’s the thing: the deadline for getting my current novel’s draft manuscript to my editor was Friday (four days ago) and, finally, today I got it done.

On more than three occasions, I heard the phrase, “Resistance is useless!” in the voice of the Vogon guard from Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Like, my muse had to latch on to my ankle and drag me, by degrees, to The End. Who knew my muse was Vogon? Maybe the spirit’s appearance and voice change to suit the depth of distraction.

The whole Easter/Spring rebirth has been overwhelmingly present over these four days of delay. So, I can’t say that the timing has been off. To the contrary, the timing was more perfect than had I planned it myself. Understand I’m a hell of a scheduler.

I realise, I’ve just insinuated that the universe is the most perfect scheduler (that’s only because it’s true).

It’s one of my distraction methods, planning. I can break tasks into tasks until they vanish completely. That is the magic of spreadsheets. I’m exceptional in my ability to plan, but with great power comes great responsibility.

I allowed myself to plan the steps that would get me to one milestone. Just one. Finish the draft. Had I not done that small amount of planning I think I’d be spending today punishing myself for failing to meet the deadline by an even greater margin.

Two of my favourite distractions: planning, and punishment. One is helpful one is not. Not all distractions are created equal. Scheduling for the terminally distracted would be a cool series of articles to create *adds to list of ideas*.

Next week I’ll talk about some of the ways we disguise punishment as constructive distraction.

Being Productive {distraction is your friend}

Being Productive {distraction is your friend}

Your level of productivity is a choice. It doesn’t matter how vehement you are in declaring that distraction is the enemy. That’s just noise: you creating more distraction. If you are a parent attempting to combine the full-time stay home thing with whatever it is you don’t want to be distracted from, that’s a whole other series of articles (which I haven’t written, let me know if you want them). However, that situation is made up of choices, too.

Distraction is one of the dearest friends you have.

This friend shines a light on parts of yourself to which you are going to pay attention. There will be stuff that triggers your emotional body. There will be stuff that challenges your physical body. There will be stuff that questions your mental state. There will be stuff that makes you invoke God/Goddess/Universe/Holy Crap! when it pokes your spirit.

What do you mean, it doesn’t sound like a friend?

What if your dearest, most darling, trusted friend – someone who has been with you your whole life, asked you to listen while they talked about something that was making them sad? You would totally be there for them. I know you would, because my readers are lovely.

You would carry their mat to the yoga studio, or walk beside them in the park; you would send them inspirational you are enough quotes, or drive them to their therapist; you would pray, chant, gaze at the moon, swear like a pirate with them.

Sounds like a best friend, to me.

Making friends with your distraction is not something you do once. It’s dots every day in your bullet journal that remind you to plug in. “No! I need to unplug,” you shout. Not so much, if your plugs are connecting you to the deeper parts of yourself.

Balance is the surest path to sustainable productivity.

I’m going to show you how I walk that path. It’s possible that some of my articles will be too hippy-dippy for you. Maybe, they will contain just enough woo-hoo and out there to tweak your smile and make you curious.

Next Tuesday, we’ll get distracted on purpose, follow the white rabbit, and hop down a few holes. See you then, Lovely!

Being Productive {isn’t the same as being busy}

Being Productive {isn’t the same as being busy}

Busy people aren’t more important than people who have a relaxed approach to their work. This is a surface view of the world. It’s a distorted picture.

Busy is an emotional state. It is a buffer between your soul and all challengers. It’s a thick, fuzzy blanket keeping you safe from woes. It holds you separate from the parts of your life that flounder. Listen carefully. You’ll hear voices, faded from calling to you.

A bored mind will latch on to distraction. Distraction offers a lifeline to avoid sinking into discomfort. That’s how the body works. Pain tells you when to stop doing the thing you are doing. Stop it right now! Discomfort is like that. It signals there is something deeper going on that needs your attention. Were you to turn towards the discomfort and apparent boredom, the discussion you would begin with yourself would be anything but boring. The key is discovering ways to begin those conversations. There is more than one to be had. Taking personal responsibility and the ability to say no are learned skills. How much practise have you had?

Any distraction is a behaviour of your mind. Things don’t distract you. Devices that stream the internet to you whenever you want a fix, included. Being distracted is a way of organising your life so that you don’t have to be responsible to yourself. It’s insidious; you are going to believe it almost every time. Your distraction has been personalised over a lifetime and knows you on intimate levels. Distraction has access to a library of stories that you don’t share with anyone. It has a front row seat to every nanosecond of the show. It has the ability to replay, on ultra slow motion, the parts you try to ignore. Making distraction your best friend might be the best thing you ever do to support your productivity.

Creative work may look inefficient on the surface, and that could be true. Measuring the progress of your creative work requires you to define what your goal is. You need to understand why it’s important to you. Your why is the bedrock of your work. If you’re attempting to anchor your creative endeavours to shifting sands and whimsical notions, they’ll always be works in progress. Know what success looks like for you. Celebrate when you achieve it. Does your why motivate you to dig into the guts of your work? Does it inspire you to explore and learn, and play as you do so? Ask yourself some honest questions; answer them just as honestly. You have all this power. Use it!

Over the coming weeks, I’ll tease apart these ideas about productivity. Next week I’ll be talking about making friends with your distraction.

See you on Tuesday, lovelies.

Do you feel like a fake?

Do you feel like a fake?

The flow of my life since becoming an indie author has been clean, clear, and exhilarating.

Consequently, my heels are digging in.

Their current attempt to slow my momentum is not as enthusiastic as previous episodes have been. Those older ones used to throw me right over the guardrail and into the bushes.

I’ve been working for a year to create a wide base from which my publishing house, Goddess Kindled Universe, can continue to grow. Though, it would not be a lie to say I’ve been building up a store of knowledge with which to achieve it, my whole life.

Has it really only been one year?

Spring is around the corner, crocuses are spearing into the world, and ancient oak trees are swelling with new buds. They never wonder if it’s time to move through the cycle, or what’s holding them back from taking the next step.

Here is a selection of the old soundtracks that have sparked up in my mind this week:

“Worthwhile things don’t come this easily.”
“You don’t earn enough money.”
“Your work’s not as good as you think it is.”
“You need to learn more about that before you can write about it.”

All of these ties keep looping over my psyche, feels like my body, too, trying to stop me from going too far. All the old ways that I’ve kept myself safe from potential failure. But, who knows if I would have failed, or not. Maybe. My heart is thumping at the thought of failure, but there is curiosity and excitement inside the beats, now.

I’m forty-four; maybe I’ve lived enough life to do the scary things, regardless.

Some of the scary things:
The last few chapters of my first novel’s first draft are staring at me.
I’m sitting on the advisory board of an editing company I truly admire.
I’m moderating the Studio space of The Creativist Club with Orna Ross, and about to go through the entire process of creativism with her, live recorded for her podcast, The Go Creative! Show.

That last one is terrifying, because it will plunge me into the middle of all the concepts I have around “financial”. Raw and vulnerable teaching moments? Tick!

I asked my girlfriend why I keep hesitating, even though I’m exactly where I wanted to be (and more quickly than I imagined was possible). Her answer?

“You think you don’t know enough.”

And, as simple as that — with soft words, spoken kindly. I started breathing, again.