IT’S NEVER TOO LATE…IS IT?

I’ve always loved “BEING DONE.” The feeling of ahhhhh, I can relax and perhaps watch the rewards of my hard work, do something mindless or just relax enjoy the scenery of life. But over many years of this work method I’ve discovered much more. Yes, you can possibly be more productive…at least in the period of time you are driving yourself crazy with your self driven deadlines. OK, there is a voice in my head screaming, “gees you’ve done a lot with this method, don’t discount those achievements!” Sure and that is the good part of being done, BUT the down side is there is never done! Wanting to be done can cause a good project to be dumped because the ability to see the end is impossible so why do it anyway?? Writing the book took 5 years as I stopped many times totally overwhelmed by the lack of seeing the end to the re-writes, but it was finished (there is always another re-write) but finally I announced it was done.

And this takes me to my blog. With blogging there is never done and sometimes not even a goal as who knows if your words are going anywhere or are of any interest to anyone other than yourself. I’ve come to the point that some projects need to be on-going and it doesn’t matter if there is a reason, other than you want to do it. Recently I re-ignited my “Lost and Found” facebook page and in so doing decided to begin the blog once again. No done, no outcome other than to know I could quit and start again so here we are. I hope you will join me for where ever this takes us.

I invite you to think of what you’ve quit because of the unknown outcome? What have you re-started with no self judgement? What stops you from pursuing something you love? Do you have the “done”drive?

Hope to hear.

 

 

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FEEL LIKE A TEENAGER

No I’m not in love! Instead I’m reminiscing about the teenage memories of everything new, so much to learn and not enough time to play. I certainly thought those days were behind me until I arrived at the era of light speed technology. As you already know, I’m trying to do it “my way” and in doing so there is so much to learn about the new my way, not having an agent, that playing has stopped being an option.

I listened to a 2 hour webinar about self promotion, by Joan Stewart, Publicity Hound in case you want to look her up. She has always had great tips so I decided to dive in. Heck what did I have to lose besides $98? Perhaps the awareness that this era of technology is escaping me and my brain has a difficult time going into overdrive!

Two week ago I discovered I had Shingles. Why? They tell me stress is the culprit. “I don’t have stress, just normal life.” Ha! Normal life is now filled with landmines to jump over or obstacles to avoid but it’s a totally different terrain. It isn’t all bad and fearful stuff. There are so many ways you can make inroads that you could never have done when my first book was published. That book was a breeze. All I had to do was show up and talk and the rest was done by the publisher. I am now learning about the key words, where to blog, why you should never duplicate your blogs…oops I’d been doing that since I don’t know if anyone is reading them to begin with! I took 3 pages of notes—they told us not to because they will send the CD, but it’s my old habits of pen to paper—archaic I know.

One tip I got was how to find topics to blog appropriate to my subject matter. So I will now begin that process (finding other topics) and perhaps stop sharing my journey of book promoting unless I hear you want more of this!

 

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$2000 and I can have it all!

I signed up for one of the many webinars “Promoting your book.” Note pad in place I was ready for some brilliant tips. I hoped for that one thing that would give me a new AH HA! I heard some good reminders for example; give the media a “hook”, an angle, don’t expect them to tell you…show the media why they should want to have you as a guest etc. Then they gave a long list of how to be successful and how not to be successful. Guess which one described me? Yup…the unsuccessful one because I’m not doing all those things they have proven to lead to success; a year of pre-promotion, blog daily, tweet hourly, get interviews etc. all before the book is published. I know I sound like someone who doesn’t want success but that’s not true…and I am not lazy! The wind was taken out of my sail and I was feeling blue to say the least. I got quiet and reminded myself what my goals are; people reading the book (lots of readers) and to have fun in the process! BUT wait, they also said there is a proven way to achieve a high level of success even if you did not do all the must do list! Ok, now you’re talking. WHAT? Easy, they will do everything and it will only cost $1999.00 give or take a few bucks. It would be $1000 more if I waited too long to sign up. I knew that investment was not the one for me but honestly it was inviting. So what am I doing now? Well I’m having fun! I decided I needed a unique video/you tube not the boring one I made a year ago which has been erased from all sites never to be seen again. How am I doing that?? Well soon I will tell you about it and how it changed everything…OK, so I’m great at visualizing too!

“Lost and Found in Macedonia, A Journey to Unexpected Places,” is on Amazon both paperback and kindle. www.marilynwheeler.com

Have fun whatever you’re doing!

 

 

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Successful book sales (or not) doing what I want to do!

Finally, I’m going to do it! I’m going to turn away from the traditional do everything perfect model of promoting a book and see what or what does not happen. Yes, I’m hoping for a miracle and you may think I’m crazy but I’ve had miracles in my life before so I figure go for it!
My previous book, “Problem People at Work, The Essential Survival Guide” was published by Random House in London and St. Martin’s Press in New York and both were unexpected surprises…you might say miracles.
So there’s the foundation…the starting gate.
So what have I done? One guest speaking engagement and four more on the calendar. Started a Facebook page for the book (I now have three of those puppies, one personal, one Healthy Way and my new one Lost and Found).
This is my promotion strategy or perhaps better said my guide; if it feels right I do it, if it stresses me out I don’t. I am aware that something may stress me out and I will need to do it anyway because I know it’s just a learning curve or some other weird reason like the fear of NO…like this blog was until today……

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Off and Running!

Finally, “Lost and Found in Macedonia” is completed and on Amazon! As I was rounding the final lap of this project, I became aware of the fear of being finished. Since I had wanted to be done for at least 2 years, I was surprised actually shocked to be having these feelings. Taking a look at the whole process, I realized that the fear was about “now what?”. Now I have to…no want to promote the book, and talk about my experience and how it relates to life regardless of your journey. Can we find new life after mid-life? You bet we can if we wake up to our dreams. Hope you travel along with me and open up to your new beginning.

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Introductin to Lost and Found

Introduction

 “My desire to slip away from the stories and the choices we make to secure our identity in everyday life has borne fruit again and again. To go on a pilgrimage, I discovered, you do not need to know what you are looking for, only that you are looking for something, and need urgently to find it. It is the urgency that does the work, a readiness to receive that finds the answers.” Jane Pommy Vega, Tracking the Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents

When it hit me that I no longer lived in the land of plenty, it took everything I had not to scream, “What have I done to my life?!” I know it’s the Peace Corps, for God’s sake, but it’s one thing to look at a National Geographic picture of poverty and quite another to know you’re actually going to live there. What was I thinking moving to a foreign country (and not a vacation spot at that) and leaving behind all my comforts—both physical and emotional? It had all sounded so adventurous, so altruistic, so life expanding . . .

But the reality was something else altogether.

When we Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs) imagined the challenges facing us, we tended to be most concerned about the day-to-day hardships and lack of comfort—clean water, heat, food, communication, transportation, physical challenges, possibly personal safety and health, etc.—but continued to believe that an open-armed reception would override these. With these thoughts in mind, families sent their recently graduated sons and daughters off with one of their two suitcases full of toilet paper, long underwear, favorite snacks, and mementos of love to support them during their adventure. As for the handful of older volunteers like myself, we were usually sent off with comments such as, “Are you crazy? I’m glad it’s you and not me!” And of course, everyone hears, “We’ll miss you.” Many of these notions and images were indeed true, but as time moved forward the truth would be revealed. It was no cake walk.

At the age of sixty, I decided to store my stuff, close my business (which was going downhill after 9/11 anyway), and head off on the job of a lifetime, one that hopefully would make some kind of a difference in the world. I’d thought about becoming a PCV since the 1960s, when my best friend left me and everything else behind and went for her stint of service. I envied her adventure of living in an entirely new environment, learning things we could simply not even imagine, and coming back home a different person. How could she not?

For me, the time had never been right; I could never step out of my life until that point. Not wanting to have regrets about what I didn’t do, or dreams I didn’t realize, I thought, “OK, if Peace Corps accepts me, I’m going for it.” It took a whole year to slog through all the red tape, health exams, etc., but finally I held in my hand a plane ticket to Macedonia. Not Africa (the place most people think of when they think Peace Corps). I had given Africa some serious thought but the combination of big bugs and no plumbing scared me off. The Caribbean was also an option but I turned it down; I’m past the bikini stage. And yes, they have big bugs too.

You didn’t actually get to choose where you served, but you did get to choose which part of the world you wanted, so I picked Eastern Europe. I figured that when I needed a shot of culture, it would be easy to get there. That notion turned out to be wrong, but if nothing else, I was pretty sure I’d live in some type of building and have a real toilet rather than a Turkish toilet—a hole in the ground. This at least turned out to be true.

I read every book I could get about Peace Corps life and talked with women my age who had served (their experience, however, was always as part of a couple). I was a very savvy volunteer, I thought. Plus I had traveled quite a bit over the years, so how different could it be?

Very.

My journey took me to places I’d never imagined. Sure, living in a developing country does that, but besides the different lifestyle, people, culture, language, and experiences, I discovered places in myself that no amount of self-help books or therapy could have revealed. How could they? Every time you get close to puncturing long-cherished layers of gunk, it’s so easy to escape into our material world?

Living in Macedonia, so far removed from the American focus on time, money, family, and future, was bound to have an effect on even the most unconscious person. And I’d thought I was awake. As my journey unfolded I became more and more determined that abandoning my life as I’d known it in the attempt to make some small difference would not only affect the lives of those around me, but would profoundly affect my own life as well.

If it didn’t kill me first.

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End of Media Fast

Yes, I completed the fast, no TV, no music, no radio, no reading but I didn’t blog each day. I found that moving from the silence to writing about the silence was decreasing my peace. The experience was quite different than I had expected. I have not re-read what I wrote so if I repeat myself here you’ll know why. I realized that the things I’ve always done to release stress, relax or  just stop working were actually part of the problem. They did not improve my life but instead filled my mind with useless information. I became more peaceful, happier…I guess I’d say I felt lighter. My dreams were 100% about my life, not about some TV show, or news program or anything else and they were prolific. I had a number of dreams about dressing, changing clothes etc., and recognized it as the changing of myself or better said, the peeling of outdated layers. OK, so if this is getting too weird, well you know what to do. I am continuing with much of the silence. I’ve cancelled my TV and after the feeling of loss – I love “So you think you want to dance,” I now can watch a movie, yes I’m getting netflex, and am not pulled into any of the other unmentional junk I watched in the past. I’m also continuing the morning writing, which is basically a brain cleanse. I feel terrific when I get to work and will probably continue indefinitly.

Did I tell you I took flute lessons? Well I did but can’t continue because it hurts my shoulder (bone spurs). I may try singing since I sang all the time through the silence. It was that or nothing and I do love music. Speaking of signing, I didn’t chicken out…I actually sang the song I wrote  while stuck in a 3 hour traffic jam. Want to hear it? Too bad, no sound here.  Hey, at least one person cried because it moved them or was it because they wanted me to stop?

If I have anymore worthwhile breakthroughs, I’ll let you know. Wait a minute, they are all worthwhile but some would be boring to you…then maybe this is boring to you?

The Artist Way, has been around forever. I’d encourage you to try it. You can do it on your own but the class is a great support. Sometimes we go through life being what and who we believe we should be and if there is a chance we can live more joyfully, then why not take that chance? I’ve always been a risk taker, but this is a different kind of risk. And think…I don’t have to divorce someone because of what I discover (I’m already divorced) or quit my job, (I have my own business), or move…at least not yet.

Until next time…….Namaste’

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Media Fast Day 4

Day 4

But who’s counting………….ME! Sleep seems to be my biggest challenge with this exploration of self. I do too much and still don’t’ know how to come down. Knitting was my method while living in Macedonia but I’m not in the mood.

So, in addition to work today, I wrote a song to the tune of Summertime describing this experience. I have been humming it a lot as there is that no music rule and in the humming I began to…yes create. My class will hear it unless I chicken out.

I cooked dinner and took Max, my dog, on a walk through the cemetery. Now there is nothing unique about this, but since I went later than usual, the gates were locked as I got to the opposite corner from where I started which is where I usually exit to continue on my way. Then of course all the gates were locked and this seemed quite funny because you would think someone would have seen me. Never fear, I did not have to sleep there as I knew a way out down a hill of Ivy hidden in a corner. So much for visiting the cemetery at dusk!

Tomorrow I’m doing an early morning Tai Chi class for first time. This is when I usually watch the news.

Until tomorrow or ??

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Media Fast Day 3

Day 3

When did I begin the habit of filling time rather than living? Well maybe it’s not that bad, I’ve had a pretty full life but that’s the perspective I have now. How did these habits develop? I rarely watched TV. I read for pleasure on a day off, and forget the internet that wasn’t really happening then. I would go to work, come home and go to the gym. Have social engagements on other days and life progressed without much numbing except for an occasional bottle of wine. I believe it started when I became self employed and single. The only way I could delineate between work and rest was to leave my desk and turn on the TV—and it’s grown from there.

I’m discovering being still is hard, same as I’ve always known but now I’m forced and don’t choose to use another old habit, eating bad food…like Fritos and ice cream. None of that please!

Is this worth it? Absolutely. Is it hard? Absolutely. But I did something today I have not done in 30 years! I took a flute lesson. The memory was there and I felt I could almost pick up where I’d left off. The teacher was impressed. Of course she is impressed easily. The down side is it really hurt my left shoulder where I have bone spurs—boo hoo! She said injuries are common and I should not practice until my shoulder is better. It‘s always a problem, I had to give up yoga (downward dog) because of it but yesterday I did pushups in my palates class…yes call me stupid. So I will wait till the flare up is gone and see if I can actually practice.

Oh yes, I fixed the antique box or whatever you call it, and I put a battery in a wall clock that hasn’t worked in 4 years! See what can be achieved when you put your mind to it.

I’m actually looking forward now, to going to my couch, lighting a candle and meditating for 30 minutes. Can you believe it?

Namaste

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Media Fasting Day 2

Day 2

I discovered writing before bed caused me to lose sleep so I’m writing day 2 on day 3 (so I cheated!).

 This is a whole new learning curve for me. How does one numb out so sleep comes easily when the old methods are not available? I’d much rather write during that time but since it is a creative trait, it tends to bring the brain alive—damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Day 2 was a dull day from lack of sleep. I think I’m having withdrawal symptoms I never expected from the elimination of my daily stimulus. I went to the gym and did all my usual Saturday home activities and then I met a friend in the eve which was wonderful. We attended a metaphysical event to hear a panel of four discuss their spiritual path and how/when they knew that they were going to lead their life and develop their art from this perspective.  The panel consisted of two movie producers, one artist and one clairvoyant (she was actually much more).  It was amazing! Three out the four had their first “knowing” at the age of three. That was strange. I guess they “came in” with it rather than learning about it and deciding it was their path, it just was. It was very fulfilling to be there and made me realize that all the habits I’m giving up have actually kept me home and alone, too much. I’ve been feeling like I did when I was in Peace Corps, terribly lonely and I thought, “I’m not in Peace Corps! I’m living in one of the most beautiful places in the world Monterey Ca. with lots of people like me…so why don’t I go out?

Lots to ponder.

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