Wednesday, February 27, 2013

At The Top of Each Breath

Is a moment where air stands still, no inhalation or exhalation, a moment of golden silence.

This is the pause, the place to find yourself, to be.

Find this space.

Then, your lungs push out the air collected, you cannot stop it (the body is a beautiful thing), and your breath shudders through your blood, your skin, from head to toes, and you arrive at the bottom.

Another pause. Another moment to be.

Your lungs breathe in.

It is in these pauses I find peace.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Life at home has needed my attention. I am not writing, barely thinking, and feeling the thrum of anxiety beat against my ribcage like some crazed bird at a window.

I'll be back... eventually. Meanwhile, carry on... think good thoughts, positive ones--fill the world with hope.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

I May Have Problems

But The Pitch isn't one of them.

CLOSER TO NORMAL makes it past the first hurdle in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

The odds are still woefully against me.

But are they?

ABNA accepted 10,000 entries in 5 genres: General Fiction, Young Adult, Romance, Mystery/Thriller, and Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror. Of these, 2000 make it through the Pitch Round, 400 in each genre (~1:5 odds). Of each 400, 100 will make it past the Quarter Finals (1:4) and into the Finals. Of the 100, there will be 5 winners (1:20).

Breaking down the odds into steps feels so much more palatable than the 1:Gazillion odds of getting read after throwing your story over the cyber transom. It's nice to have hope. Peace...

Friday, February 08, 2013

Mindful Mutterings

It. Is. What. it. Is.

That's kind of the basis of mindfulness meditation. To be in the moment, and accept it. At least, to accept it without judgement.

That's the hard part.

So I am actually taking an 8-week couirse, led by a physician who used these techniques herself when in crisis some years ago. Based on the work of Jon_Kabat-Zinn , author of Full Catastrophe Living, my course takes me through the physiology of stress and anxiety, the way the brain works in relation to stress, and ways to tackle it: yoga nidra, full-body scans, sitting in silence, breathing.

I decided to take the course when I realized I was exhausted from letting every. little. thing bother me. The half-heineyed drivers, the people with 16 items in their grocery cart, the shennanigans of my work colleagues. Most of all, I was tired of worrying about things yet to happen: whether my son gets into the high school of his choice, my daugther's battle with school cliques, my sabbatical, my health. Where we might live in the future.

I was tired of feeling like a different tiger was crouched to consume me every other minute.

I'm half-way in, but so far I have learned to pause before reacting, to breathe. And that comes in handy at 2 in the morning and all the past and future worries consume. And I have begun to realize that it does not make sense to worry about those things I cannot control; in the end, all I can control is my reaction to people and events.

And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

So, how do you handle stress? And what's stressing you these days?

Much peace...

Friday, February 01, 2013


My life. Is.

I mean, how much else can go wrong?

We pay *professionals* to install a new sink and counter, but end up with a broken hot water main. The result? The Pergo kitchen floor ruined, the downstairs sliding glass doors frozen from the waterfall, and a 2x8 hole in the finished basement ceiling. Riddikulus.

A respected peer-review journal holds our manuscript for 10 months. We beg every month for an update. The editor explains the reviewers are reviewing. We withdraw our manuscript, the data's old as last year's apples. The result? The editor comes back with minor edits. Meanwhile, we get rejected by another, lesser journal. Riddikulus.

Back to the pros. The plumber gives us a sink drainer that doesn't drain--there's no holes. Result? Home Depot and $2 later gets me one that works. Riddikulus.

Wind blusters snow this morning, the roads are covered, and slick. Last week, when there was no snow, the school system closed the schools. Result? Kids went to school but barely made it. Riddikulus.

The day job finally flows. Deadlines loom, I am one hour away from finishing and--the power goes out. Entirely. All three floors, including the President's Suite. This last Wednesday. Result? Power still out, all from some undetected leak that destroyed a major part of the electric. Riddikulus.

So what's nutso in your life?