2009 in Review

Today I got home from my trip to NC.  I didn’t do as much as I’d planned to on the trip (sorry if I flaked on you and you’re reading), but did get to spend time with my family, my best friends,  Amy’s mom and the baby boys.  We arrived home this evening two hours later than planned, thanks to some terrible traffic in SC and GA.  Mark just brought in the mail and something very special was in it.  Every 1st Sunday of the year at Unity Eastside, we write a letter to God describing the vision that we hope to create in our life for the year.  So I thought I’d share last year’s letter dated 1-4-09.

Dear God,

I set aside the little I and now focus on the big I.  I keep my mind on you, with you, and in you.  My life shows forth that which you have planned for me.  I am an instrument and I am fulfilling your purpose for me.  I am propelled to do that which is of service to others and is directed by you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I am aware and awake.  My life is in you.

Leslee

I was a bit surprised to read the letter.  I remembered it being more of a “surrendering to the plan” rather than setting goals for myself, but it was still interesting to read almost a year after writing it.  I don’t think I’ve been successful at setting aside the little I (the ego) as much as I’d hoped.  This year has certainly had it’s share of drama and I’ve let myself get caught up in it at times.  I do think that so much of what has happened this year has been a part of the plan and I feel like I am following an inner guidance that, despite how it feels at times, has everything in control.

I plan to write a similar letter this year (despite lots of “resolutions” that I may write about tomorrow).  The best thing I can do for myself is to just let go of the wheel.

A lot has happened this year.  I’ve healed and made stronger some relationships, while others have experienced blows.  I’ve dealt with the death of one of my oldest and dearest friends, but was able to hold her baby boys just two days ago.  I started this blog and have exposed my inner thoughts, gone out on a limb, and stepped on a few toes along the way.  I’ve learned both easy and hard lessons here.  I’ve met some amazing writers and bloggers who inspire me daily.  I’ve continued to ask questions and take notice when the answers present themselves to me.  I have been incredibly human and also had beautiful moments in communion with God.  I’ve reminded myself far too often to “be present” and stop thinking about the past and the future!  Mostly I’ve tried to be the instrument as often as I can.  If even one person received something from my words or my deeds this year than I succeeded in that!

Happy New Year everyone!  Have fun tonight and be safe…

Birth and New Beginnings

I just found out today that a friend of mine gave birth to a new baby last night.  It doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, except for when I typed the title I thought of her and how coincidental it is that I am writing this now as she has just brought new life into this world.

Last year I took part in a Goddess Retreat that was held at Amrit Yoga Institute.  Amrit Yoga Institute is a beautiful ashram tucked away near Ocala, Florida.  The four days I spent there rank up towards the top of my all-time-greatest-experiences list.

The first day of the retreat we were all given cards with the names of archetypes written on them.  I was given “Magical Child.”  We were then presented with the characteristics of this archetype and some questions to reflect on.  “Magical Child” as it turns out was representative of “Birth” and “New Beginnings.”  As I looked at myself sitting amongst these amazing women (yoga instructors, artists, healers, writers, and business owners), I definitely felt like a child (maybe even a magical one) and that this was the beginning of something.

Our assignment was to complete the worksheet.  I thought for my blog post today I would share my answer to question number one.  The following was written in June of 2008 and at the time I was working on my second novel.

What is trying to be birthed through me right now?

“For starters a book.  I am trying to write a novel and I am coming to the edge and backing down every time.  If I am learning one thing it is to push through when I get to the edge.  But what I am trying to birth is more than that.  I am trying to find a never ending fountain of creativity that I know is within me.  I am trying to live my dream and create a dream career I left behind long ago.  I am trying to birth a life of balance ,though too, that holds all of this sacred (my dream career as a writer, my love and care of my family, and my love and care of myself).  I have a greater purpose in this life, more than just my past and present roles of teacher, mother, wife.  I want to give to others messages of life however I may, but right now through my writing.”

That was what I wrote on the second day of that retreat.  I will share more of my thoughts and experiences during my stay at Amrit in other blogs I’m sure.  But I want to leave you with a quote and a question.  This quote was at the top of the worksheet, under the title “Birth” and “New Beginnings.”

“Change and growth take place when a woman has risked herself and dares to become involved with experimenting with her own life.”

The question for you is….

What is trying to be birthed through you right now? (Share if you’d like…or just think about it.)

Rejection

I received an email from The Southeast Review announcing that the winners had been chosen for the 2009 poetry contest.  I scrolled through the names and noticed mine was not there.  Rejection.  I had been so happy with my entries and really thought they had a chance.  No such luck.

Rejection is the hardest part about being a writer.  After I finished my first novel I got so excited and sent it out to nearly 50 literary agents.  I managed to score one partial request (an agent asked to read 5 chapters) which resulted quickly in a rejection, but that was it.  I spent months sending out letters and waiting for responses, only to end up back at the drawing board, writing a new novel, hoping for another chance.

Now I’m at that stage again.  So far, I’ve sent 10 query letters out for “The Circle Home” and all have resulted in rejections.  And I am officially terrified.  This book is very close to my heart.  In so many ways, the main character, Emily, is me and I really want to see her in print.  Other writers keep reminding me about how many rejections Stephen King, John Grisham, and Robert Olen Butler received before they were published, but that doesn’t seem to help.  I just think of Stephenie Meyer and Nicholas Sparks and how they got their agents within two days of querying (or something absurd like that).  The life and future of this novel all come down to a three paragraph letter.  If I can’t summarize 60,000 words in 150 words or less than forget about it.

So with the receipt of this latest rejection, I am trying to figure out just how to perservere.  Writing has always been one of my passions.  I stopped writing for over ten years, but somehow found my way back to it.  I like to think there was a reason for that, that perhaps I found my way back to the path I was meant to travel.