Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Reflections from the Joys of Plans B, C, D, E and...

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 
~John Lennon, lyrics from"Beautiful Boy"

To coincide with the auspicious celestial events of today--the Spring Equinox and New Moon --my first book was planned to launch today. 

The date also coincides with the birthday of William Joseph Lelash aka "Bump Bump," my maternal grandfather and first spiritual teacher.

Today would have been his 128 turn-around-the-sun and his presence and teachings are always present in my heart and soul.

And "my" Plan A is not happening…yet.

Instead, Writing Medicine: The Must-Have Guide to Your Hero’s Journey to Inner Healing is waiting for her reveal later this year.

The alphabet of emotions to share this publicly ranged from anger to sadness to feeling like a failure to trusting this is all in Divine Order. Joining the emotional parade were Guilt and Shame at dissapointing family and friends, not to mention my publisher and editors. 

Embracing John Lesson’s wisdom, I can now reflect with gratitude on the past 11 months to see that the beauty of a Plan B, and even Plans C and D unfolded perfectly imperfect.

“Book” as I affectionately call her, released a tsunami of positive energy—all while I was immersed in the daily writing routine often spanning four to eight hours. For awhile, the possibilities of new plans remained unknown to me while sitting hunched over a computer in the same clothes with unwashed hair and naked face. Book knew what was up and sent out her business card, attracting new opportunities that demanded attention, energy, and action—she willingly agreed to wait and delay her appearance but not forever.

Plan B: Instead of finishing Book, a panel proposal with the same title of Writing Medicine, was selected from 1,700 submissions; members of a selection committee BELIEVED in its healing message and I was notified of their acceptance from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

Affirming I'd be in Portland, I asked Michele True in April  2018 to take this photo while atending the AWP Conference, Tampa. The LOA works! 
Plan C: A week from today you’ll find me at AWP’s Annual CONFERENCE and BOOK FAIR in Portland, OR, the City of Roses. This gathering is North America’s largest literary event. Joining me are four writing sisters on the Writing Medicine panel--three of whom I’ve never met. Gratefully, they found me through the virtual ethers. They include Alexis Donkin (CA); Alicia Anabel Santos (NYC); Tawni Waters (NM) and; my writing sister and business partner, Michele True (FL).
Portland's skyline with Mt. Hood keeping a watchful eye.
Plan D: Who knows what exciting plans might invite DIVINE ORDER in a week with a literary crush of 10,000 writers, authors, agents, publishers, and lovers of all things written?! I’m not planning anything other than serving as the panel’s moderator and a presenter. Just being me is enough to show up as a kind and generous Ambassador of St. Petersburg...and possibilities!

Hilltop view of Arcidosso, Tuscany, the medieval village and site of our retreat and Michele's ancestral home.
PLAN E: Finally, there’s the EAT, Pray, Write: Women’sTuscan Writing Retreat. In November 2018, Michele announced, “My husband and I are buying a house in Tuscany so I can’t be here next month (December)…and of course, we’ll have to plan a writing retreat…” 

Her thoughts became a dream, became actions, and became real. Yes...
"Thoughts are things. Make them good ones." 
~Mike Dooley
We co-created and launched the writing retreat on February 2. Thrilled, we’re delighted to announce that all 13 sacred spaces are filled with a waitlist that’s started. Plans are percolating for more retreats in 2020 to places like Bali, Costa Rica, and of course Italy. Thanks to this new awareness and appreciation, it’s exciting to know and trust that these plans, too, could change for different, and better Plans F, G, H and...

Thank goodness for the 26 letters of the alphabet and the joy-full gifts from 
Plans B, C, D & E! 

Let's all remember...

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ways to Practice the Art of Alchemical Gratitude

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

Thankfulness is modern alchemy; it can yield happiness, grace, and peace beyond imagination.” ~Denise Linn, Sacred Traveler Oracle 

An author's best friend, the Visual Thesaurus, defines alchemy as “interpersonal chemistry; the way two people relate to one another.” This could also mean how you relate to yourself, the shadow and light parts, the yin and yang. And an active, daily practice of gratitude becomes the glue, bridge, and path that does indeed “yield happiness…beyond imagination.”

To guide you on your path, Paulo Coelho, mega-bestselling author of The Alchemist, distills his wisdom into 10 Rules for Success. 

Which ones do you practice in your life?

The art of alchemical gratitude is to be thankful for the times you’re practicing these ten rules and when you are not—that’s the demonstration of your true acceptance of what is instead of what could or should have been. Grace is the other word you are demonstrating.

Today’s Sacred Traveler oracle card, Gratitude and Grace reminds you how:

“Through gratitude, joy expands. The secret to expanding joy is to cherish the preciousness of life and everything and everyone around you. It’s simple, easy, and so very powerful. Be grateful for as much as you can."

Also consider these three gentle reminders:
1) Allow gratitude to flood you at every moment for everything and everyone—it’s easy to appreciate hugs, awards, compliments, and bestselling book statistics. It’s the practice of appreciating the haters, doubters, and naysayers when jealousy and envy seek to creep in and erode your inner peace. Be appreciative you have these contrasting energies in your life!

2) Regardless of where you are,“nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems.” Breathe slowly until the outer circumstances change as they will. Promise. Be thankful for the opportunity.

3) Conflict can be the genesis of change and creativity if you fearlessly walk that path and move beyond. Little whisps of gratitude can become larger, fluffy clouds of appreciation. Be grateful for the details.

As Denise Linn gently reminds, “Your entire life can transform when you take time to fully, deeply, and profoundly allow the grace of gratitude to fill you.”
May you make and take the time.

Shout Outs!
Your success is everyone's success to be grateful for...

Already climbing the Amazon success charts, enjoy this just-relased treasure by sister writer and author, Lisa Hutchinson.


Michele True, my friend and writing sister, and I are appreciating the joy of hosting the Eat, Pray, Write: Women’s Tuscan Writing Retreat from September 13-18just two of the 13 sacred spaces remain
Is Italy on your Wish List? Perhaps Arcidosso, our retreat site and ancient hilltop village, will provide you the time to fulfill this dream, practice gratitude, and appreciate life in all its detailed splendor!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

11 Ways to Choose Happiness Over Suffering

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
"I'm choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises." ~Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Isn’t it odd that a martyred Roman Catholic priest who suffered for his faith would now symbolize one of the world’s greatest celebrations of love?! ’Tis a puzzlement why the name of the celibate Saint Valentine--born AD 269, Terni, Italy and died 269 AD, Rome--is synonymous with lovers and the expressions of affection and love. According to the National Retail Federation, these loving expressions will generate $20.7 billion (that's a "b") to the American economy!

Known mostly through legends, this mysterious character's painful death came because he tried to help others escape the cruel life of Roman prisons. Another more romantic story suggests that the-then imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” greeting to a girl, perhaps the jailor’s daughter, after falling in love with her, and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

Yes, the truth remains as dark as any chocolate—but the love story’s appeal of this heroic, romantic man rippled out and landed in the Middle Ages where St. Valentine became a popular saint in England and France. 
The rest is history.

What rings true is that as the Catholic Patron Saint of Lovers, Valentine is associated with the virtue of love--the reason for life with all two and four-footed creatures. It is is through the expression and acceptance of love, that everyone and everything enjoys the delirium of expanded health, wealth, and happiness--including an affair with pizza!

Yes, Carl Sagan, the famous American author and cosmologist, calls us “star stuff’ and we are much more…
We are love.
You are love.
I am love.

We are designed for happiness in all its forms and expressions.

Saint Valentine and Elizabeth Gilbert might both agree with the Sacred Traveler Oracle message that appeared this morning: 
Five Ways to Choose Passion and Pleasure: 
 “Savor your life and find joy in the moment. Live deliciously. Love often and fully. Cherish your friendships. Fill your life with the people, experiences, and places that you give you delight and joy…”

Five More Ways for You, the Hero, to choose happiness:
* Release by remembering, “When the horse is dead, get off!”
* Write yourself a pink permission slip to be happy and; a love letter with 7 things you appreciate about yourself.
* Focus on what’s now splendiferous instead of being caught up in the dance of anger of drama.
* Allow your senses to be satiated and saturated!
Perhaps you heard, “I love you to the moon and back and, I love me to the moon and back!" or these whispers from Elizabeth Gilbert...

And perhaps, one final way to choose happiness...
Celebrating Passion and Pleasure!
Michele True, my friend and writing sister, and I are savoring the yet-to-come pleasure to host the Eat, Pray, Write: Women’s Tuscan Writing Retreat from September 13-18. Passionately launched 10 days ago, the retreat is now 76% filled—just three of the 13 sacred spaces remain with two pending possibilities!
Is Italy on your Wish List? Perhaps Arcidosso, our retreat site and ancient hilltop village in Tuscany, will provide you the sacred envelope of time to fulfill this dream, enjoy the moment, live deliciously, and more...

To learn more about starting your new year over, check out my
19-Point Checklist: Create a Personal Book Title & Vision 
Your 2019 Hero's Journey
Download my free gift --no email required!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

How the Chinese New Year, Lanterns, and Tuscany Connect

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

财源广进 (cái yuán guǎng jìn) “May wealth flow in.”
Your Chinese Happy New Year Greeting!
February 5 starts the Chinese New Year celebration for millions around the globe. This year’s focus is the zodiac sign of the Year of Pig—or Wild Boar. How wonderful to enjoy a “do over” if 2019 isn’t turning out the way you had hoped. Some historians believe that the Chinese started observing their “new year” sometime in the Shang Dynasty 1766 BC - 1122 BC. 

Legends hold that the Chinese New Year’s origin started with the fight against a mythical beast called the "Year." The "Year" looked like an ox with the head of a lion and was believed to inhabit the sea. On the night of New Year's Eve, the "Year" would come out to harm animals, people, and their properties. Eventually, people discovered that the "Year" feared the color red, fire, and loud sounds. So for self-protection, people began posting red Dui Lian in front of their houses, launching fireworks, and hanging lanterns at year end.

Made of paper with a small, suspended fire, a Chinese lantern (sky lantern) is the world's oldest hot air balloon. Their initial purpose served as military signaling—letting the troops know enemy strength and position. Fast forward to the 18th c with the French expanding the lantern's possibilities; they transformed the small sky lanterns into manned hot air balloons carrying passengers for delight, travel, exploration, and military signaling.

History making continued on “January 15, 1991 when the 'Virgin Pacific Flyer' balloon completed the longest flight in a hot air balloon. Piloting the craft were Per Lindstrand (born in Sweden, but resident in the UK) and Richard Branson of the UK who flew 4,767.10 miles from Japan to Northern Canada,” according to Wikipedia.

The life adventures of Branson, a visionary, world traveler, and billionaire, reinforces the value of the Sacred Traveler Oracle Card that appeared today:

Get the big picture. Don’t get bogged down in details. Let go of petty concerns. 
Imagine that you’re seeing life from above. Only do what is truly important; everything else is consequential…Make major life decisions based on this strategy.”

Five Things to Consider for You, the Hero:
* Be gentle with yourself. It’s easy to let life’s distractions tangle the lines of your ascending hot air balloon—perhaps it’s a new relationship, book, or project

* Realize that there’s truth in “don’t sweat the small stuff.”

* Remember that all worries, anxieties, and setbacks are as fleeting as the clouds on your balloon ride.

* Look up, not down, and imagine the future using all six senses: intuition, sight, taste, sound, smell, and touch.

* Trust the Life-force energy currents that are uplifting and directing your perfect flight path.

Finally, believe that the View from Above will inspire and motivate you to new and different perspectives!

Did I just hear you say, “Oh, the places I’ll go?!

Celebrating the View from Above
Michele True, my friend and writing sister, and I are looking up and forward to hosting the Eat, Pray, Write: Women’s Tuscan Writing Retreat from September 13-18, 2019. 
Our dream launched on Saturday, February 2 and is now 69% filled—just four of the 13 sacred spaces remain. 
Curious? Perhaps Arcidosso, our retreat site and ancient hilltop village in Tuscany, will provide you with a view from above and more…

To learn more about starting your new year over, check out my
19-Point Checklist: Create a Personal Book Title & Vision 
Your 2019 Hero's Journey
Download my free gift --no email required!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How Are Horses and the Super Blood Moon Connected?

Your Soul Cafe Blog: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Action
Super Blood Moon, Seattle by Sigma Sreedharan Fine Art Photography

When the horse is dead, get off.” ~Rosita Perez

This weekend’s trifecta of moon magic dazzled millions who saw Moon’s brilliance and also frustrated many who saw only cloud cover. Thanks to social media, the morning after moon glow provided everyone with images that evoked awe and wonder.

Perhaps your Divine Downloads came as subtle or bold messages, energies and shifts.

One message is universally certain: It’s a New Year and time to let go of the old! And the seven most important words that could help you are, "When the horse is dead, get  off!"

But how can you do this--open your heart and take inspired action--to get off a"dead horse?Try using Oracle cards--
they can assist you on your Hero’s Journey in five ways.

As part of my Divine Dialogue Writing System, you are taught to ask, “What do I need to know for and about my best and Highest good today about ____________?” 

Today's topic is getting guidance for letting go of all the people, places, and things that no longer serve you (and me) to move into the New Year.

What next?
Get quiet. Be still and breathe. Shuffle the deck. Place them on your heart. Breathe. Then draw a card with your left hand, as that’s the hand with the veins and arteries that directly connect with your beating, heart.

If you believe in Oneness, then today’s message for you and me is...

Valiant Courage Card Meaning (partial):

“Take action with passion. This isn't the time to be timid or hold back. Gather your inner resources and go foward gallantly with your banner of truth waving in the wind...Take risks. 
It's okay to feel afraid, just don't let it stop you. 
Don't play safe. Opportunities will pass you by otherwise. Speak up for yourself..."

The Sacred Traveler Wants You to Know:

"The sacred traveler sometimes experiences the unexpected on the road...someone withi less-than-pure intentions emerges from the wooeds. Courage doesn't mean you're not afarid. It means in spite of fear and hesitation, you take action. Any journey of the heart needs courage, and you're on such a journey..."

What I Want You, the Hero, to Feel:

Comforted.You’re not alone in feeling afraid to get off the dead horse of relationships or projects, especially when they involve family members, long-term friends or even clients.

Inspired. You can bravely gather your inner and outer resources. Seek out a mentor who's demonstrated valiant courage and bravery. 

Mentors can help you:
* See around the corner that you can't see and offer perspectives
* Debunk limited beliefs offered by others or yourself
* Go beyond the dead-end you're now facing because you're not moving forward--the horse is dead!

Finally, confident that the message of Valiant Courage is your positive sign to remember that you've got this. You can now get off the dead horse and ride into a new life chapter on a different horse. 

Did I hear "giddyup"?!

Shout Outs!
Celebrating courageous friends who published their messages...

Brava, Debra Oakland! >> Get it here.

New Release! Brava, Cornelia Merk & writing sister, Janet Nestor! >> Get it here.

Let's stay connected during your Hero's Journey!
Here are four simple ways:

Subscribe to travel along with my blog every week. (See very right, bottom corner)

Visit my two Facebook pages--then if you like what you see, give it a digital "LIKE" >> Women as Visionaries with Lore Raymond and LoreRaymond, Author, Speaker, Writing and Creativity Coach

Join my free, women's group, the Writer's VisionQuest: Supporting Your Hero's Journey to Transform Your Words Into Somewhere Brilliant.