Write it–5 Reasons for Procrastination

DSCN3909If you’ve watched the movie, Under a Tuscan Sun, then you’ll recall the line at the beginning about Frances’ approach to procrastination. And all writers, even the most prolific ones experience bouts of procrastination. And what if there are reasons for procrastination?

Often, writers punish themselves making the procrastination worse. Believe it or not, guilt won’t heal your situation. Here are 5 reasons why we feel stranded in the middle of a desert when our goal is to complete a story or a novel.

  1. We don’t have enough information. For instance, I’m currently writing my first YA novel and I am suffering a bad case of procrastination. I realized that I need to research the music, the culture, the language, and everyday lives of young adults. And I need to research ancient kingdoms in West Africa as well as, the dance world. Once I delve into this research I will feel inspired to write again.
  2. Fear. We fear the changes that completing the novel will bring to our lives. Or we fear the changes that writing a novel brings to our life. We fear that others won’t approve of us spending time on our own pursuits.
  3. We don’t actually want to commit to writing a novel. Perhaps, a life as a novelist is not our dream but the dream of another family member or friend. Or perhaps, we are only writing a novel to prove something to ourselves. If we don’t write for the right reasons then procrastination is telling us that this is not our true path at this time.
  4. We need to hone our writing skills first by taking classes and workshops. We need to improve our grammar and learn tools for writing a novel. Many people think that they can just write the Great American Novel, when in fact, any published novelist will tell you that it took years, even decades to arrive at their success.
  5. And finally, the timing is off. We have family to take care of or we work long hours at a that leaves us exhausted. For people who have taken the traditional approach and work a regular 9 to 5 job, perhaps, it will be easier to become a novelist after you retire (and many writers have taken this route).

If writing a novel is your number one priority then do your research. Take workshops and classes to launch you in the right direction. Sit down each day for a set amount of time and write. And if this doesn’t work for you, then try Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way program. Or attend a writers conference (although they are pricy).

 

I am an intuitive and creative coach. Sign up for sessions through Whole Astrology. Let’s set your course for success.

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Literary Essay: The Unexpected Path

MaryMagdalene PixabayMy fifth novel, Enter 5-D begins with “For Eurydice Dukakis, it wasn’t supposed to happen the way that it did.” So, I thought about this line and the way that it speaks for the current era.

Often I have told people that my life was not supposed to turn out the way that it has. I wasn’t supposed to end up back at my parents’ house in a town I despise. I wasn’t supposed to still be renting apartments and houses after the age of 45. I was supposed to own my home, have published my novels, and feel empowered.

I wasn’t supposed to be sick, be tired, or feel disappointed with the road that I walk.

And others who live in vans or cars could say the same thing. People going through a divorce after once saying the words, “Until death do us part,” also wonder where life went wrong. And yet, a hero’s journey always begins with an unexpected challenge which is actually a calling to expand one’s worldview.

Still, my current life circumstances hardly feel expansive. As I type these words in a room the size of a walk-in closet, I don’t see my outer life going anywhere. As I raise funds to relocate and the money drip into my life rather than pour into it, I just feel frustrated. I relate to my character Eurydice whose life just took an unexpected turn for the worst.

Imagine if your entire life shaped and formed you to become an opera diva and then a draconian government bans all musical expression outside of the political State. Imagine if you also lose your home and are banished to the underground. And this is only within the imagination since I’m talking about a novel.

However, in real life many people are living the implausible because they feel that they did not sign up for their current circumstances. And yet, what is life without an adventure that tosses in the wrench? If we find ourselves always walking on Easy Street, then we cannot grow as people and Easy Street is actually pretty boring.

And yet, many of aspire to the safe middle road, which might not even be the right path for us. In fact, someone else, perhaps the media, prescribed the middle road. And we just went along with the program until…until something happens.

And that’s how all great novels begin with an insight or an incident. Authors know that they must use some kind of gravitational force to get their characters moving in a different direction. And while we’re not looking for a rollercoaster experience, we do need to write peaks and valleys.

So, whether the character starts out the story living in a car or watching his wife pack her suitcase as she prepares to leave him, what seems like a restrictive beginning later leads to expansion, but only after all the deep inner work has been accomplished. And so it is with real life too.

As with all my novels, my characters do much soul work. And I’m reminded of the lines from the movie French Kiss where Kate tells her former fiancée that when she walked around the streets of Paris penniless, she did some deep thinking. And she came to the realization that there is never a relationship that is safe enough, etc… Life only brings us constant change and it’s a matter of getting with the program of transformation. A story without transformation or metamorphoses is not a story. Rehashing one’s circumstances is also not a story. It is cheap drama. Boring. Draining.

And it’s the same with our “real” lives. Without change we die and even death is transformation from the physical into the ethereal. Think of the rocks that become sand due to the friction of the sea.  Think of the worm becoming a butterfly. None of this is easy and all of it is painful but we find value in sand and with butterflies.

Even though we sit in our rooms lamenting the shape and form of our current lives, know this. If we do the soul work and if we read the hero’s journey often, we’ll know that life forces are shaping us so that we find our true paths and then, and only then, we expand into the vastness of the Universe.

There are no happy endings. We experience happy moments. And life always churns out more circumstances that shape us. And as life shapes us we feel poised for the next chapter in our lives. It’s best to approach life circumstances with an open mind and an open heart.

While my character’s story begins on a tragic note it ends with transformation. She ends up living a life she would have never imagined. And Eurydice would never have met intriguing people or learned of her courage had she not traveled down the unintended path. And she only had two choices–to go with the program or to fight it every step of the way and not transform.

I am an author, astrologer, and creative coach. Learn more about my spiritual work at Metaphysics 4 Everyday Living or Whole Astrology. Sign up for a session at Whole Astrology.

Poetry–In-Transit

DSCN0789I wrote “The Dim Sun” while I was waiting for a bus. And then I wrote “Zen Voyager” while I on the ferry to Port Townsend, Washington. I’m glad that I carried my notebook with me in my backpack.

The Dim Sun

Freshly cut grass tickled my nose, a sneeze exploded and broke the silence

And then bees buzzed life into sleeping trees; hummingbirds dazzled wearing sparkling rainbow light.

And across the way, robins scrambled in trees belting out their seasonal songs

While bloated worms came p for air and crows gathered like school kids trampling on the mud and moss.

The dim sun lingered on the horizon signaling a new dawn and the Earth

broke into

A smile.

 

The Zen Voyager

Snakelike, the island wrapped around itself, smug with its own existence

The marine air pungent from the entrails of fish–scales, spines, and fins

And the brine of the sea.

Gulls wheel in the sky and dive into the reflective water like blown-glass

Endless calm stretches out for miles we sail along with peace songs

Embracing our hearts and wise words swirl in our minds.

The Zen traveler on board, lightened burdens and spritely feet.

She doesn’t enter this passage by carrying the past nor will the

Future provide her treasure maps.

No, only this moments and these words exist for me.

Time and place, a forgotten space as I let go

And I nose-dive with the dolphins and ride on the backs of whales…

If only in my dreams.

I know one thing.

We are safe here.

We are at peace now.

And together, we weathered the passing storm.

 

 

All Rights Reserved copyright Patricia Herlevi 2018

 

Magic Mary & Jesus (from Super-Nature Heroes)

MaryMagdalene Pixabay

72. Jesus & Magic Mary Dream of Navajos.

 

In their Brooklyn apartment, a pile of books from the magic shop rests in the middle of a table while Jesus reads a book by a Navajo medicine man.  In the kitchen, MM cooks a kosher breakfast.  Turning a page, Jesus examines a photograph of a medicine man dressed in traditional Navajo clothing.  “Hmmm, here’s a wise man.”

He shows the photograph to Magic Mary who glances at it and nods in appreciation.  She senses power radiating from his ancient eyes and she hopes to radiate the same wisdom some day.

Jesus muses, “These men begin their training in the medicine way at a young age.  I appreciate the values their mentors give them, to honor creatures, live in balance and pray to plants that they use for medicine.”

MM recalls the women elders she met when she and Jesus had last visited the Navajo reservation.  She had met basket weavers, medicine women, traditional storytellers, musicians, and jewelry makers.  The women live simple, humble lives, but represent all-superior craftspeople, artists, and healers.

If people couldn’t afford to pay the healers, no one turned them away.  Many poor Mexican immigrants and laborers came to the Navajos for healing and the healers welcomed them.  No one had to worry about insurance or side effects from the medicine, with the exception of the inducing of vomiting that happened with a lot of the healing ceremonies.  The Navajo believe in purging disease in order to heal.

MM felt amazed to see the power of prayer at work, the fading art of sand painting and of course the peyote ceremony where Jesus finds himself a guest of honor.  She adopted the “Beauty Way” prayer in its native tongue, which she recites every morning to greet the new day.  She shares Jesus’ love of the Navajo and looks forward to the day when they leave the Big Apple and go live in the desert among the healers.  The holy couple made a covenant to learn and preserve the traditions.  The Navajo people were honored to have met the real Jesus and not the false one, whose name was misused to conquer the land and the Indians.

Jesus glances at his wife as she dreams about Arizona’s turquoise skies.

“I get lost in those thoughts too.  We’ll go soon.  We just need to help out a few saints.  I need to find careers for the apostles, help Jeanne and Francesco get past their ultraconservative attitude towards sex and teach The Teresas English.”

As Mary laughs her entire body jiggles with pleasure.  Jesus glows seeing her in such a jovial mood.  “Is that all? Yet, I know none of those tasks are truly impossible.  Peter and Paul are capable, able body men with quick wit and in their own way capable of compassion.  The Teresas can speak romance languages so learning English couldn’t be too difficult for them.  We need to accept that Jeanne and Francesco will remain celibate, but at least help them to legalize their marriage.  What about your mother? Won’t she be lonely without you?”

“I’m concerned about that too.  She loves children and if we can persuade her to adopt a child, then she’ll have someone to devote herself too.  Perhaps a baby girl this time and she can teach the girl the women mysteries.”

“What a wonderful plan! Have you discussed this with her?”

“I’ve not had a formal discussion with her, but I’ve mentioned it in passing.”

Magic Mary runs a comb through her unruly hair. “And what was her response?”

“She appears happy with the idea.  I don’t know if she took my advice seriously though.”

Jesus frowns as he continues, “It will be sad once again to leave our dearest friends, but at least, I won’t be meeting an untimely physical death.  I’ll dearly miss Francesco.  I love that saint, but I feel that he’ll carry on with my teachings.  And once again, I couldn’t leave my legacy in better hands.  When Jeanne matures she’ll discover her gifts as a high priestess.”

“I agree, it will be sad leaving this life behind and being initiated into a new one, but I’m also looking forward to living among Indians.”  A smile radiates across MM’s face.  “The exchange of the earthly practices will heal the planet.  It’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make.  I’m happy here too, but it’s time to take that step into the unknown.”

“I agree.  I know that the saints will eventually find their way back to us.  I’m reminded of Francesco’s sweet phrase, ‘pax et bonum’.”

 

Excerpt from Super-Nature Heroes by Patricia Herlevi, copyright Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved

Story–for the Day of the Dead

Since we are approaching Halloween, All Souls Day and The Day of the Dead, I’m posting work that I wrote when I was with the Latino literary troupe, Los Nortenos (2000-05). I wrote this piece for a performance that we gave at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle.

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Wearing the Bones of My Ancestors

Recently when I suffered a reoccurring problem with my spine, I recalled a doctor who offered to remove two extra ribs.  Of course, I declined his offer and chose to live with the pain of pinched nerves rather than remove bones from my body.  As time went on, I realized that I wear the bones of my ancestors.  These are the bones that never quite disintegrated into ashes and these are the bones that refused to burn for carrying shamanic influences.  And these bones derive from my mixed ancestry, which includes Philippine, Puerto Rican, Spanish, Finnish and Sami blood.

Long, long time ago, there lived a primitive people called the Finns, first discovered by the Romans around 10 AD in the region we now call Finland.  The Finns, now called Sami were pushed closer to the Arctic Circle as other tribes moved into the area, but for the most part, the Sami practiced their earth-based spirituality, including sorcery.  However when the Christians arrived, the church banned the earth-based spirituality, burning the shamans and their drums.  The magic never left us and the ancestors have returned.

In the past few years, I discovered my shamanic gifts.  I began hearing the call of the trees, animals and stones.  I had no idea why the nature spirits were calling to me, but I kept an open mind and heart.  Soon, an ancestor reconnected me with my Sami lineage, despite the fact that I grew up in middle-class America and was unaware of my Sami ancestors.

After awhile I began working with stones and I was told that the Sami people also work with stones.  I began connecting with animal and other spirits through chants.  Then I learned that the Sami people had been doing that from the onset and they call their chants yoiks.  Often they say that the spirit of the yoik finds the yoiker.  And eventually, the spirit that resides in my bones taught me this magical form of vocalization.

The Sami believe that their real home exists beyond the stars.  I don’t see this as heaven, but as a parallel dimension where our ancestors reside.  All my life I have been staring up at the stars wondering what exists behind their twinkling lights.  And all my life I have collected stones that for some mysterious reason called out to me.  I have felt like an outsider looking in among my relatives, friends and strangers as that part of me chose to live in an enchanted world.  I never could understand the stranger that exists in my bones until now and she is Sami, but she also answers to Spain, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Finland.  She is the call of the crow, the howl of the wolf, the silence of the jaguar and the whisper of stones.

Some day my bones will turn back into soil, but my spirit will never die for it knows that death is but an illusion and life is just a dream.

written for the Day of the Dead 2003. Copyright Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved

 

Super-Nature Heroes Chapter 46

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My urban fantasy novel, Super-Nature Heroes features holy saints that reincarnate in modern Manhattan. They have returned to save the planet. I combined superheroes with Christian saints giving each of them super powers.

In chapter 46, Saints Teresa of Avila and Terese of Lisieux return as Siamese cats and they want to return to human form. They seek the help of Simon Magus. It was his doings that caused them to transform into cats in the first place!

  1. The Two Teresas Feeling Rather Catty And They Blame Their Situation On Simon Magus.

In yet another section of Manhattan, two Siamese cats lounge on a couch covered with their own hair.  The acrid smell from their litter box also causes the felines distress.

Teresa A. wonders if the former nuns had acted too hastily when they transformed into cats.  Although they approached Simon Magus with the strange request of being transformed into cats, he gave them a sales pitch they couldn’t resist.

“Just think of yourselves living a life of quiet contemplation among other people’s luxury.  Not only that, all your needs would be taken care of so you could pray all day.”

He went on to tell The Teresas that animals don’t accumulate karma.  When animals kill, fight or even scratch or bite their masters, they’re not held accountable.  Imagine that! It sounded so purr-fect at the time.

Simon forgot to mention to the nuns that animals don’t have the ability to become ascended masters.  He didn’t mention that they serve their masters even if they are served by the same masters.  As it was, he forgot to warn the nuns of the indignities that they would suffer such as the removal of parasites from their precious bottoms, other female cats wanting to pick fights with them when they go out to explore the rose garden, and those smelly litter boxes.  “Aye, Dios mios!”

Teresa L. wonders if they should have chosen to return as dogs or birds.  Also, why did they choose to come back as domesticated animals when they could have chosen to return as wild creatures? Sure the domestic situation has advantages such as food without hunting.

But cats love to hunt and it’s a drag when the masters trap the few mice that show up in the house.

It turns out that the cat’s life is boring.  Occasionally, the nanny from next door, (a friend of the maid), sneaks The Teresas out in a baby carriage and takes them to Central Park where she exposes the cats to different vibes.

During one of those trips to the park, The Teresas saw Brother Bernardo.  They couldn’t believe their eyes, seeing the Franciscan friar in the body of a greyhound!  Fortunately, Clare had him on a leash and he looked contemplative and serious.  Did he recognize The Teresas?

Then on another trip, Teresa A. saw Catherine walking her leopards.  Now those are the king of all cats, or so Teresa A. thinks.  Why didn’t she come back as one of those beasts instead of as a house cat? If only they had more time to think through their decision.  If only they could find Simon Magus and ask him to shift them back into humans.

And besides that, the nuns miss Clare.  The last time they saw their caretaker was the day an elderly couple adopted them.  They thought they would be able to return once a month for health visits, but their masters chose to take them to a posh cat clinic uptown instead.  They miss Clare’s sweet voice, the way she carefully measured out their food so that the lady cats could stay nice, trim, and active.  They miss Francesco’s daily sermons.

Even if they could leave their cloistered surroundings, they would get lost searching for the clinic.  And now the masters are considering adopting Jack Russell terriers.  Teresa A. told Teresa L. that she thought the days of torture had ended ages ago, but if even one Jack Russell arrives, they’ll be heading for trouble.

Both cats send telepathic messages to their masters regarding the weak qualities of Jack Russell terriers, but the elderly couple keeps searching and talking to dog experts and calling various shelters hoping to adopt these dogs.  They have also considered adopting a neglected toy poodle.

So the nuns, uh, cats, have decided to put their brains together because cat brains are rather small.  They send out telepathic messages to Simon Magus–trying to reach him through his dreams and visions.  They wish to be human again and to join Clare at the clinic where they can form a sisterhood.

However, trying to plow one’s way through the traffic jam of telepathic messages in Simon’s head proves an impossible undertaking.  The magician has opened himself up to channeling extraterrestrials and ancient masters.  The cats started concentrating heavily on finding a crack in the stream of telepathic traffic to send their message.  They must not give up their faith–their most powerful tool.

Teresa L. considered trying to send messages through the other saints. Francesco’s brain is also full of traffic and Jesus is easier to reach, but sometimes you have to knock for a long time at his proverbial door before you get an answer.

Magic Mary would be sympathetic, but Catherine seems the easiest to reach.  The problem is she adores cats so she might not sympathize.  And Jeanne seems too dogmatic.  They wouldn’t appreciate a speech from that hothead.  Oh, what to do?

This feline life causes the nuns to feel rather catty.  Just the other day, Teresa L. scratched her mistress.  She didn’t want to take another flea dip and no, she didn’t want her claws clipped.

Yet, she feels remorse for the welts she left on her mistress’ arm and for the tears that rolled down her face.  Thank Goddess, she won’t reap any karma.

Super-Nature Heroes by Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved