Saturday, September 25, 2010

Celebrate with me!

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Today, September 25, 2010 is the one year anniversary of Healing Morning blog.  I checked the dates about a month ago and have been giving thought to what I would write when the specific day rolled around.  This past year has opened up the world for me beyond anything I could ever have imagined or dreamed for myself, and blogging was an integral part of this process.

I am, first and foremost, a writer.  I have done many different types of work in my adult life to pay the bills, but at my core, I identify myself as a writer.  The process of blogging gave me a genre that celebrates writing in a very unique manner.  I work as a freelance technical and creative writer, and social media management consultant, so writing is incorporated into my daily work life.  Blogging straddles the two worlds of professional and personal writing for me.  I manage social media and write blogs for a wide range of clientele, and I also write here at Healing Morning for purely personal satisfaction. 

It is here at Healing Morning that I express my innermost thoughts, emotions, ponderings and dreams.  Most writers have aspirations to become published authors, and I am no different in that regard.  I am currently working on a manuscript that I have every intention of getting into published and promoted book form.  Blogging has given me a worldwide audience and valuable feedback that I firmly believe makes me a stronger writer with every single article posted.  Writers gain polish by doing more of the simply writing, refining and writing some more. 

There is equal satisfaction in growing readership and meeting fellow writers/bloggers from all over the world.  I have developed incredibly strong, beautiful friendships with many bloggers here in the United States and across the world in myriad countries.  The friendships blossom in the most lovely way as we all exchange stories, read one anothers' writing, post comments and genuinely appreciate the interaction that blogging gives us.

I have learned even more to trust my own instincts, and as a result, fairly early on in my blogging experience, I co-founded Authentic Blogger on Facebook.  Authentic Blogger is one of my proudest accomplishments, as it provides a supportive community for fellow bloggers to post their work, grow their own readership and gain more exposure in the blog-o-sphere.  Our group grows a bit more slowly than some blogging groups, but we like it that way - being authentic is the whole purpose and Mission Statement of the Authentic Blogging concept.  Through this group, I have met more talented writers and have a rock solid relationship with my co-founder and business partner, Duane Scott.  Like many other blogging friendships, this is one in particular that I am confident will be a lifelong relationship. 

I hear that there are thousands of blogs started daily that become 'orphaned' in a short span of time, meaning that the people who created those blogs just abandon the effort and walk away.  At this point in time, I do not see this ever happening for me with Healing Morning blog.  It is an intrinsic part of who I am.  The very title describes me in infinite detail.  'Healing' encompasses my very heart and love of a holistic approach to life and extending myself to others in a peaceful, loving, optimistic fashion.  'Morning' is a play on my name, Dawn.

The day that a girlfriend and I sat at a local Panera Bread and she showed me how to set up a blog shell, I never dreamed that I would be where I am today.  The name, Healing Morning, came about in the most natural manner and I look back now and marvel a bit at how absolutely perfect the title remains.  I will never change it.  I am definitely a creature of habit, so I tend to hold on to certain things for recognition purposes on a public manner.  This is vital in the world of blogging, I think, so Healing Morning will always be a strong identifying factor for who I am as a writer. 

Where will this new year take me and Healing Morning?  In the past year, it has introduced me to new people and experiences on a global level.  I am proud to report that I am a contributing writer for Aromatique Essentials e-zine in Australia - this is the wonderful brainchild of my dear friend, Julie Nelson who is talented in all things aromatherapy related.  I am also a contributing writer to the blogging website called Live and Inspire Magazine, based in Malaysia. I am a contributing blogger on Writers Rising blog, where I have been introduced to even more talented bloggers.  Never could I have dreamed up such opportunties for my writing to span the world in this manner, and to be very well received.  Any writer will tell you such experiences are deeply personally satisfying as well as just plain delightful!  To know that people around the world are reading my writing and enjoying it enough to extend invitations to me to become a contributing writer for their projects is the highest compliment I can think of receiving. 

Yet another completely unexpected and somewhat overwhelming opportunity that came from Healing Morning blog was my first radio interview on Starclear Radio.  The focus of Starclear Radio is to shed light on all manner of spiritual experiences, and it gave me the chance to dip a toe into the larger media and publicity pool and realize this is something that I am capable of doing successfully.  The interview went so well, in fact, that I was invited to return for a full hour long show in January 2011.  The confidence of Starclear's co-founders, Jeffrey Seelman and Amy Lamb, in me was warming and encouraging.  This again shows the incredible power that blogging and social media put into our hands.  Without venturing forth into the world of blogging, I would never have crossed paths with Amy and Jeffrey.  It did happen, though, and is another reason to celebrate this first year of blogging.

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There are endless reasons for me to sit here, smiling as I write.  My world has broadened and become enriched in so many ways that I imagine my Spirit has extra facets deposited all around.  I envision my own Light and writing talent to be a cross somewhere between the soft, lambent glow of a lustrous pearl and the bright, exhuberant blaze of a multi-faceted diamond.  I have a calm, quiet sureness with my writing that is married to a dash of on the ceiling energy and appreciation for the occasionally absurd moments in life.  I like to think that reflects in different ways in different blog articles. 

I look forward to another year with Healing Morning blog.  More friendships, new experiences and new triumphs await.  For now, I celebrate the past year and I thank each and every person who has taken time to visit my blog page, leave kind comments and clicked to follow my work.  I invite you all to celebrate with me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grief path

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Recently, my friend Lisa Brandel invited me to write a guest post for her blog, The Widow Lady.  My answer was an immediate and resounding "Yes!" because she's one of my favorite people.  It took me a while to settle on a topic and focus for the guest post, but now I'm ready to dig in.  Lisa's blog, as many of you who follow her know, focuses on dealing with the loss of a spouse, grief and the whole recovery process.  While I am no stranger to grief and loss, I haven't lost a spouse.  So I tucked the guest post invitation aside and waited.  Inspiration struck in a somewhat different application of grief.

Another friend recently had to bid farewell to a plot of land that had been in her family for many, many years.  To some, this might not strike as a reason for grief.  To me, it hit home profoundly.  I am from a tiny community in East Tennessee that is so small we've only had a stop light at our one major intersection for about 10 years.  My childhood home is land that is up on the side of a ridge, tucked away and so obscure on back roads that you have to know it's there to know it's there!  It is peaceful, quiet and to my eyes, beautiful beyond words.

There has been a lot of noise about a road plan that could end up running right over the top of this property, with the state of Tennessee being able to declare Eminent Domain and force us to sell the land.  While I admit this has been going on since the mid-1990s with no true progress, just the thought of this possibly happening is enough to strike dread and fear into my heart.  I am bound to that land and have always dreamed of building a home there.

My friend who had to bid farewell to her family land is going through a grieving process that hurts my heart for her.  I won't go into specific details on the reasons the land was sold, but I know she has endless childhood memories of that land.  Endless days of playing in the woods, exploring, creating fantastic games of fantasy.  Hot summer days of gardening, weeding plants as the sun blazed down.  Balmy evenings lying under the trees watching lightning bugs twinkling as the evening shadows painted sunset across the sky.  I imagine she can tell stories about every tree, every woodland path, every field, stream and wildflower patch. 

She was fortunate to be able to have enough notice to say some proper goodbyes prior to the final sale of the property.  She walked the land, taking pictures of everything that held memories for her, and whispered her goodbyes.  I know she cried throughout the whole day, as this is what I would do and feel myself.  She was raised out in the country, as I was, and taught an appreciation for the land that goes very deep.  Some people might not appreciate or understand this, and that's okay.  It may be unique to me and this friend, or perhaps each of you reading this are nodding your heads in agreement and feeling a sympathetic sting of tears and sadness for what this girlfriend experienced. 

No, land is not a person.  It doesn't die, per se.  But it does Live.  It is a living, breathing, nurturing presence.  Calm, quiet...patient as the ages, land harbors us without protest, allowing us to trample, to build, to grow.  That plot of land out in the country of East Tennessee harbored my girlfriend and her family with love, of this I'm certain.  I feel it entirely appropriate and logical that my friend is grieving the loss of her childhood sanctuary.  I know that she is going through those stages of grief as surely as she would if it were a person she was bidding farewell to.  Losing family land is one of the most intimate losses I can imagine, and I wish with all my heart that she had never had to experience this. 

I found myself smiling at her Facebook descriptions of walking the land, photographing everything she could think of, down to pebbles scattered across a dirt road.  Yes, I would do that too.  I hope that she has enough photographs taken that somewhat soothe that empty spot in her heart for that land.  She will always yearn for the opportunity to drive out there and roam the land on a whim.  She will always remember the happy times in her mind's eye.  Nothing, however, will give her back that special connection to that land. 

The key to the grief process, for me, is to accept that change is inevitable.  We are left with no choice but to find a way to keep living without that vital presence that we once had.  Be it a person, or a place, it hurts on a visceral level to say a permanent goodbye.  There are no easy ways, no short cuts to the journey of healing the loss.  For me, some losses are years old and I still experience moments of loss that are so sharp it is as though it happened only hours ago.  Yes, time does heal and soften those jagged edges.  We go on.  We are forever changed from the loss, and sometimes not always in positive ways, but we do go on. 

Is the loss of family land worthy of a blog post?  I think it is.  I recognize the gravity and emotion of such an event, and part of my heart just broke for my friend who had to walk that path of loss.  I don't know what the sale of her land will produce.  I hope that perhaps other families will build homes there and grace the land with laughter and love.  Perhaps in that small way, the loss would be a bit more bearable for her.  Should the reason be for another type of commerce, then all I can hope is that she finds solace in her memories and photographs.  The land will not die a true death, of course.  Land is a constant.  It morphs and changes over time with construction and becomes something new. 

So, as is the case for most of us with personal loss, my friend will tuck the memories away in her heart and mind's eye.  She will reminisce with family members about this tree, or that rock, or that field and for short moments, they will be back there again, awash in the security and golden haze of childhood.  I hope that in some small way those moments will ease and soothe her.

*Special thanks to Lisa Brandel for inviting me to share my thoughts on her wonderful blog, The Widow Lady.  I hope many of you will take a moment to visit her blog and read her work.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


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I don't know about anyone else, but for me, the process of writing and inspiration striking is a random one. Most family members and close friends resigned themselves years ago to the realization that any conversation or shared experience with me is potential fodder for either a plotline for a manuscript, or a topic for a blog post. I solemnly swore, hand over heart, to always change names to protect the innocent!

So, that being said, some names I don't change because they deserve full credit for sparking an idea that turns into a blog post. My friend Duane Scott is one of my regular sources for inspiration, simply because we talk a lot and we tend to make one another ponder deep topics. At other times, the subject might be lighthearted and fun, but this particular blog focuses on a 'ponder deeply' topic.

This was the original question thrown out that started the whole thing:

Question Of The Day: Is it possible for a person to be fully satisfied with who they are?
Duane Scott - Scribing the Journey
My response:

I think it is possible for people to be content - that's a different word and different emotional application. And both are conscious choices that we make daily - the same way choosing to be happy falls into that category. Are there bad things happening in the world? Are there bills to pay? Are there wars and famine and poverty? Yes to all of the above. However, rather than letting the knowledge of those things make us miserable, we can choose to find reasons to be happy. We can also choose to find reasons to be content and to be satisfied. They are all conscious choices.

So, yes, I believe it is possible. On the other hand, I also believe that continually striving for better in our lives is of paramount importance! If we stop dreaming, we stagnate. Perhaps the point I'm attempting to make is that it's possible to choose to be content/satisfied on a moment-to-moment basis. Hmm...perhaps a blog is about to be born!
His reply:
Dawn... Write on! Write a post! I'd love to hear your thoughts. These are amazing, but there are more tucked in your brain, aren't there. ;) I know you too well.
And here we are, with me writing a blog post! I've often debated the topic of what constitutes being satisfied. There are so many layers and facets to that applies to literally every area of life. Not long ago, a different friend posted a quote that suggested we should release all ties to wanting more. The basic premise of that thought was focusing more on people who choose to embrace a materialistic life to their own detriment. While I see the full logic and value of being prudent along those lines, I also feel that it is equally important to always want more in life. I'm not necessarily talking about material possessions. Wanting more, for me, quite often is of a spiritual nature. I want to continue to grow as a person; I want to be able to feel that I am improving daily. I have abilities I want to continue to hone. I have negative traits I want to learn to release.

That being said, on a material level, I also have dreams. I aspire to improve the conditions of my life and feel that this is a worthwhile and necessary part of life. I want to succeed at so many dreams, and the hallmark of some of those successes will manifest in material gain. I want to continue to dream big. I want to always be learning and changing and growing. I want to make my own mark on this world, and I want to do it in a big way.

Stagnating is something I hold in abject horror. I have always cheerfully admitted to having what I dub Low Boredom Threshold, and this is what drives me to continue learning. Yes, it can also be an exhausting prod that I tire of occasionally, but the beauty of it all is that no one but me is behind the drive. I can call a halt anytime I choose and just bask in my current state. Perhaps it is those moments that the true sense of satisfaction is realized, but I also find immense satisfaction in discovering that next new challenge to conquer. To me, this is exciting, knowing that I'm on the verge of learning new things. Others might find that same process to be unbearably boring. We're all beautifully unique in what gives us joy.

Is there a way to truly answer Duane's original question definitively? Of course not. I rarely embrace absolutes, because we live in a world that changes from one second to the next. In one breath, I can claim that it is most definitely possible to be completely satisfied and at peace. I am quite often content, as I am richly blessed in the things which truly matter to me...loving family, good health, loving friends, a roof over my head and an agile mind. In the next breath, I can claim with equal fervor that I hope to never be fully satisfied, because to feel such a state would make me, personally, feel there are no new vistas to explore.

And there are always, always new vistas to explore. THAT is tremendously satisfying to know...because the journey goes on.

Now let's see what YOU think. I think it only fair to continue the discussion and find out what you, and Duane, think of the result of that original stream of conversation. What side of the fence are you on? Is there even a fence existing on this topic for you? Are you a mellow, laid back type who embraces satisfaction with ease, or are you a bit more driven and rarely still long enough to contemplate a state of calm where you can regard things as being well done? Or, are you what I think most of us are....a mixture of both? Share your thoughts! I really do want to know, because by doing so, we all get to go on fascinating journeys that we would never experience on our own. The door is open...take me on a journey with you!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The word "impossible" is a fallacy

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Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer.  - AndrĂ© A. Jackson
My dear friend, Marie Blackstock Rhoades shared this quote on her Facebook wall a few weeks ago.  It prompted a thought for me that grew into the foundation for a blog article.  I typed it into my Drafts folder, fleshed it out a bit and then left it until today.  I feel this is always a timely topic to ponder.  I'm not saying this is true 100% of the time, but I will say that I have learned over my life that a great deal of the time, the word 'impossible' is a fallacy.

Years ago - back when computers were still being managed w/ DOS language (shudder), I worked for an environmental engineering group. Nightmarish conditions, because they hired a lot of retired engineers who had worked for 30+ years in Oak Ridge, TN (Secret City, Manhattan Project) and had been trained to be inefficient. So, here I was, working w/ these men and translating their daily instructions into Fault Trees for Nuclear Meltdown - building an inverted pyramid w/ the apex/tip of the pyramid being nuclear meltdown and the widening cone of the pyramid being all the individual points that had to first happen before nuclear meltdown occurred.

It was tedious work, using (at the time) a new software imaging program that wasn't user friendly or intuitive. The engineer I was assigned to would give me sheets of instructions to transfer into fault tree status and I'd work on it and return it to him. I'd argue and tell him he was asking for things that couldn't fit into a specific parameter and he'd ignore me and say he needed it by 5pm. Great, right?  We've all worked in environments that weren't supportive and we all know that we have to swallow rude comments and lack of support and find a way to get the job at hand done. So, I'd go back to the computer and wrestle with it, get it figured out and accomplish what he asked for.

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Weeks into this project, a younger engineer came to me with the printouts I had worked on and sat down and said, "How did you do this?" I looked at the printouts - huge reams of ink plotted graphs - and thought, "Oh no, what have I done? Created something that really WILL kill a whole city if the instructions [for the Fault Tree] are off?"

His next comment: "Look, don't worry - you haven't done anything wrong at all. What you have done is actually not possible to create with that software package and we need to know how you did it."

Me: "What do you mean, it isn't possible? The engineer I'm working with told me it was."

Him: "He's an idiot and he KNEW it wasn't possible. He treats all his assistants that way. We've told him over and over to not do this to new people in his group; he always dumps the hardest stuff on new people and blames them when his deadlines aren't met. 

But this time, that didn't happen. He came in ahead of deadline. His reports are flawless and extremely well written, AND these plot graphs are something that isn't supposed to be possible with that software package. We just want to know how you did it so we can take notes and create a new training system. You made the program do something it wasn't designed to do and the designer even told us today he'd never seen anything like this. He said the program shouldn't be able to perform in that manner."

I can remember just staring at him in confusion, then finally laughing. Little old me who knew zero about programming, coding or how to coerce a software program to cooperate had somehow circumnavigated the system, admittedly out of blissful ignorance, and created some landmark achievement that had nuclear engineers stunned and impressed.  All because I didn't know that this feat was 'supposed to be impossible'. 

So, in a long-winded manner, this is a good example of the above quote. I did something that, in theory, was impossible because I didn't KNOW it was impossible. All I knew was that I was given a task, a deadline and was working with someone who threw me off a cliff and expected me to fly with no warning. So, I found a way to achieve that. I still think of that, all these years later, when times are tough.  I redefined 'impossible' and created a new version of 'possible'.

We're conditioned at a very early age to doubt ourselves.  To not speak up when our intuition is telling us a better method of approach is available.  We subdue our inner voice to fit in and become another mindless sheep in the vast herd.  For some people, this type of existence works quite well and I am not slamming that fact, or denigrating those people.  For me, simply existing isn't an option.  I want to live my life out loud, knowing that I am constantly making waves, moving forward, conquering new goals and achieving new dreams.  That moment in my past was another of those pivotal, Life Changing points.  I learned that I have a much more agile mind than I gave myself credit for all those years ago.  These days I listen to my own inner voice and I honor myself in the ways that allow me to thrive and flourish. 

I seek experiences that other people warn me are not smart to try.  I reach for goals that many delight in telling me that I'll never achieve.  I ignore 'well meaning advice' because 99.9% of the time, that advice is being offered as a means to deter me or break my dreams apart.  I know that within me is an incredible well of talent.  There's a bright glowing core of energy pulsing and sending out vibrant streams of possibilities....and that core of energy is uniquely mine.  I've had moments of accomplishment that underscore how important self belief is.  I have strong intentions for more triumphant moments to occur.  I say this because I know and repeat today that a great deal of the time, the word 'impossible' is a fallacy. The word 'impossible' is just a word. 
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When naysayers get in your way with their dire warnings and predictions of failure and doom, I suggest you cheerfully ignore them and chart your own course.  RETHINK IMPOSSIBLE.  Create your new version of possible. How we choose to react to words and unexpected events, as I have said many times before, is what defines us. It's your life, after all.  Your story to write, your canvas to paint...your doorway to step through.

I choose to continually define myself as that person who writes her own reality.   

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Small triumphs

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Yesterday on September 4th, 2010, I lived a new experience.  I had my first radio interview on Starclear Radio, which is the online radio channel brainchild of Amy Lamb and Jeffrey Seelman.  Starclear Radio is a channel that focuses on all manner of metaphysical, spiritual and paranormal topics.  I was very honored to be asked by Amy to be a guest on their show.  While I have dealt with media interviews in the past for clients and various companies I've worked for, this was the first time that the focus of the interview was on me.
Amy and Jeffrey are very skilled interviewers and they gave me this platform to talk about my writing, my blog here at Healing Morning, my Facebook group Authentic Blogger, and to introduce myself and my thoughts and opinions on a wide range of spiritual concepts.  Many who are close to me are aware that it has been a lifelong goal to become a published author, and most are also aware that at any given time I have one or more manuscripts in progress.  There is a specific concept and manuscript that I am currently writing that I hope will be my first published work.  The process of getting published is full of challenges and fitful starts and stops, but I feel strongly this interview on Starclear Radio is a very positive stepping stone.

Most importantly, this experience has proved to me that I am capable of doing the media and promotional side of things.  I've always been great at promoting others, but the thought of being the one right there in the spotlight had me concerned that no one would be all that interested in what I had to say.  I now know this to be untrue, as I was inundated with emails, texts, phone calls and posts on various social media sites during and after the interview, with family and friends telling me I did a great job. 

Today, Amy and Jeffrey sent me the link to the recorded show from yesterday.  I will be able to use this link as a promotional tool for myself, for Healing Morning blog, and to perhaps use as a calling card as I search for the right literary agent, the right publishing house, the right publicist, etc.  I admit that listening to the show was interesting, as our recorded voice always sounds a trifle odd to our own ears.  All in all, I was very pleased with the easy, comfortable flow of discussion and conversation that happened during the interview.  I give utmost credit to Amy and Jeffrey for keeping that smooth flow going and making the whole experience so enjoyable.

I am happy to say that I have been invited to make another guest spot on Starclear in the near future and I am hopeful that I'll have good news to impart about reaching that goal of being published by then.  Until then, for those who may not have had the chance to tune in and listen to the live Starclear Radio broadcast, here is a link to the recorded and archived show.

It was a small moment of triumph for me, showing me that, yes, I am on the right track to pursue my dreams.  As I mentioned to some friends on my Facebook wall the other day, one of my favorite things to tell people is this:

Be unapologetically passionate about your dreams.  - SDS
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I am taking my own advice and embracing this small triumph with a smile. I am celebrating the moment! It is well met, appreciated and enjoyed, because I recognize it is opening new doors to as yet to be imagined facets of those dreams.  I look forward to the continuing journey.