Day 204: Writing Retreats

I have long dreamed of going to a writing retreat.  When I imagine it, it’s in a rustic lodge in the mountains.  It’s very quiet and peaceful with few distractions.  The writers present are published, intelligent, creative, talented, and willing to share their experiences.  We’d spend some of our time in small groups and then we’d all gather in the living area in front of a roaring fire while drinking hot chocolate and tea and share our writing and critique each other’s creations.  We’d also have time alone to write and to spend time in nature.  We’d all leave energized, renewed, and ready to write a bestseller.  But the odds of me coming up with the funds and the time to attend such a retreat are pretty slim.  So I’ve decided that I am going to start treating every weekend as a personal writing retreat.  I have so many inspiring books on writing that I can use to set up my own curriculum and then use what I learn while writing.  We all have in our minds this vision of how things are supposed to be, how we want them to be but we need to realize that these visions are not the only way of doing or experiencing what we want to do.  In a perfect world, we’d have unlimited funds and time to do whatever we want to do but it isn’t a perfect world.  We have responsibilities, jobs, family, bills, mortgages, etc…, and they take precedence in our lives.  That’s why we have to be willing to let our visions morph into a reality that works for us.  We are writers and artists, we are creative, we have the ability to make this happen.  We create worlds so we definitely have the ability to set up our own personal retreat or to gather with a few other writers and have a small group retreat.  We could meet on Saturday morning and each would share their experiences, tips, insights, things we’ve learned along the way, and our writing.  We’d meet until 7:00pm then go home and write.  On Sunday, we’d meet for brunch, discuss writing and what we had learned on Saturday and then we’d head to the Arboretum and wander through the beauty then we’d sit and write surrounded by the beauty of flowers and topiaries.  We would eat dinner and share our writing, do some critiquing, offer advice, and just enjoy each other’s companies.  We could meet like this every couple of months as well as having brunch or dinner occasionally to help us stay inspired and connected.  Or, as a friend in SWW is doing, we could have an online retreat.  We could Skype or Zoom and/or set up a private Facebook group.  That’s very similar to ROW…SARK’s Rhapsody of Writing.  We’d meet one Saturday per month for 5 hours on Zoom and we had a Facebook group.  It was an awesome experience.  So inspiring.  So, I am going to design my own personal retreat that works within my time and budget constraints.  I have my Magical Writing Haven, my books, a wonderful view, and I am feeling inspired.  It’s somewhat freeing knowing that I can do this because first, I need it, second, just planning it is also a form of creativity and third, I get to delve deeper into what I feel that I need to learn and work on when it comes to my writing.  I’m not dependent upon anyone else for the content so it can be whatever I want and need.  We are all capable of doing this but, if you’re like me, you get caught up in that singular vision that you have in your mind of the “perfect” retreat or any of the other “perfect” things that you might have imagined.  Then you set our sights on that one image and totally miss all the other options that are available.  We have to widen our vision to take in all those amazing options and then create our very own personalized vision that we then make real.  We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for because our creativity doesn’t end in the arts…writing, painting, composing, etc…it seeps into every single thing that we think and do.  We just have to be aware of it and use it to the fullest extent possible.  Spread it around…use it at home and at work.  Come up with creative solutions to problems.  Look at everything with a creative’s eye.  And, last but definitely not least, use it in our creative endeavors…just let it run wild and see where it takes us.  It will be an amazing journey and we don’t even have to leave home.         

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Day 203: Journey

It’s been a little 2 weeks since I posted but it seems like a lifetime.  After I recovered from the RA flare, I felt as though I needed a small break from my digital life.  I am not addicted to being online but I did spend time on the internet…Facebook because that’s my virtual social life; playing Trivia Crack because it’s fun, it exercises my brain, and I’m really good at it as well as the fact that I’m super competitive, and watching series and movies on Prime and Netflix.  I won’t give up Facebook because all of my succulent wild friends are there and they are true friends, not virtual ones.  As I’ve said before, they art my tribe.  I’ve cut back my time on Trivia Crack and I’m actually beginning to enjoy the silence that comes from not having a movie playing in the background.  I’ve never done well in complete silence but I’m finding myself actually enjoying it when I’m writing.  I listen to music but that usually isn’t conducive to writing because I’m hoping from 1 artist to another and song to song so I can’t concentrate on the writing because I’m too busy DJ’ing the music.  I’m working on it though.  I’m trying to meditate but my brain never shuts up.  I have downloaded a bunch of guided meditations that Audible has at no cost so hopefully, that will help.  I’m also keeping a gratitude journal.  And now that I really am feeling pretty great, I’m ready to work on the weight loss thing again.  It’s not really a choice…it’s something that I have to do so that I don’t just drop dead in my tracks one day.  I used to walk up here at work on my lunch hour but the company has banned it for safety reasons, however, I am the Safety Coordinator and I have to do inspections so I could just do a few more inspections.  But it would have to be early in the day because we just had our yard blacktopped and I’d probably have a heat stroke out there if I do it any later in the day.  I’m working on my goals…healthwise, career-wise, for life in general, and my writing.  I’m feeling ambitious right now and I think that I can actually accomplish the things for which I’m setting goals.  I’m going to go slow at first though so I don’t become overwhelmed and end up setting myself up for failure.  I think that we have a tendency to do that.  When we are ready for change, we want to change EVERYTHING and then we eventually quit because we hit a brick wall after trying to accomplish everything rather than concentrating on one or two things.  It’s okay to write down all of your goals and get an idea of where you want to end up but it’s another thing when you go after all of them at once.  I’m going to start slow…small goals and changes.  Drinking more water, eating smaller portions, cutting down on my junk food consumption.  My husband is an excellent cook and loves to cook for me so I have that in my corner.  And our garden is coming along really well…tons of tiny tomatoes on the vines already.  I could practically live on tomatoes.  Tonight I’m having a tomato (store-bought)/cucumber/onion salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic and a tiny bit of Splenda because I like it a little sweeter than Rick does.  It’s wonderful.  I left the entree up to him because he knows my likes and dislikes (which unfortunately outnumber my likes by a lot).  Well, I need to get the payroll checks put on everyone’s desks then get out of here.  I have my yummy salad waiting for me at home.                 

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Day 202: Getting Back In the Swing of Things

After you’ve been away from just about anything, it can be really difficult to get started again. I became so used to being tired and in pain that I’m having a hard time believing that it’s not going to circle back again and surprise me. But I’ve 2 good days in a row so I think that I’m safe for now. And, I think that the chronic infection that I’d had for about 6 months, because I didn’t want to go to the oral surgeon, had been dragging me down that entire time. Phobias can make you behave in ways that are definitely not in your own best interest. So, I guess that it was a really good thing that I developed the acute infection because it forced me to go to the dentist. I am hoping that since I’m feeling so much better, I can and will get back into my writing groove again as well as diving back into my creativity groups. I miss my tribe! And I’ve got a virtual birthday party to plan. I’m excited about that. I’m excited about a lot of things right now…getting things done at work and home, writing, being creative in other ways, writing up more affirmation and manifestation flash cards, etc… I’ve also been spending more time without Netflix, Prime, or Hulu droning away in the background. Silence has never been my friend but I’m working on being more mindful and not needing the constant stimulation. I’m trying to get up a bit earlier, which I honestly can’t believe I’m saying. My relationship with sleep has always a bit problematic because of all of my sleep disorders and the meds that I have to take because of them. I guess that I just want to take full advantage of feeling well again. Well, it’s getting a little late so I think I’ll start getting things ready for tomorrow and myself ready for bed. I should have an easier day at work tomorrow so I’ll probably be able to get back to my routine of writing my posts at lunch. I’m on a roll!

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Day 201: Good Day

I actually felt good today. Not too many aches and I wasn’t exhausted all day long. And, I got quite a bit done. I am on the down swing though. But I still feel better right now than I have over the last week and a half. I should be able to sleep well tonight…also a plus. I am feeling downright optimistic right now. I think that I will cut this short though because I am feeling pretty tired right now. I usually try to write my blog at lunch but I was getting so much done today that I didn’t want to lose my momentum. But now that I’m feeling better, I hope to get back on my regular posting schedule. I’ve lost a lot of time because of the tooth extraction and RA flare. I’m ready to get past it but right now I’m going to start winding down so I’ll just say goodnight.

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Day 200: Affirmations, Manifestations, and the Internalization of Positive Beliefs About Ourselves

Sounds like the title of a term paper, doesn’t it?  And in some form, it probably has been turned in to a psych or sociology professor somewhere.  Even people that don’t believe in manifesting do it.  It just goes by different names…prayer, wishing, hoping, etc…, when they do it.  What is it that they tell athletes…keep your eye on the prize?  Sounds a bit like manifesting to me.  And everyone uses affirmations all of the time but, once again, call it something else…pep talks that they give themselves before going in to ask for a raise or to make a big presentation or take an exam.  However, something that most people don’t do is internalize their positive beliefs about themselves.  We are very quick to tell ourselves that we’re stupid because we made a mistake, or that we’re not pretty or thin enough, or that no one likes us because we’re a big loser and we utter those things over and over without even realizing that we’re doing it.  And every time that we say that same negative thing about ourselves, we internalize it and it becomes who we believe that we are.  Do you know that there are people that look at themselves in the mirror every single morning and say positive things about themselves?  And stranger yet, they actually believe those things.  Maybe we should all try a little of that.  What could it hurt?  Seriously.  Think about it for a moment…what is the downside?  And what is the harm of making an effort to manifest something if we truly want it?  I want to be a published author so I sometimes I sit and roleplay in my mind what that would be like.  Of course, I can’t just do that and expect it to happen with no other effort on my part.  I have to actually finish that book 1st!  We have to put forth the effort to make these things happen.  But it all starts in our head.  Everything starts in our head, so begin there.  Then we have to do the most difficult thing…believe in ourselves.  We have to believe that we are enough, that we are more than capable of bringing our desires to fruition, and that we have the talent and drive to see them through.  We are so much more than we currently believe that we are.  Tap into that and get started.  I put post-it notes with quotes on them inside my iPad case so that I will see them when I open it.  When I’m on my iPhone and I come across a quote that inspires me, I save it to my photos or do a screenshot.  I bought flashcards that are laminated and write affirmations and such on them with dry erase markers and keep them in my Magical Writing Haven So that I can go through them at random times.  I can use them over and over again.  I also bought some that are paper and they are on a ring so I can write the affirmations on them then flip through them randomly.  And I recently found an awesome book called Dear Universe by Sarah Prout in which there are 200 mini-manifestations Ithat about 2 – 3 minutes to read the page that discusses and describes what the manifestation is for and then there is a short manifestation “script” at the bottom of the page.  It really is a wonderful book that covers a wide range of subjects.  I have started keeping it with me so that I have it handy just in case I need it.  I usually try to get my manifestations in before I go to sleep so that my subconscious can work on them overnight.  These are all really super easy steps that we can take with no elaborate preparation needed.  And, again, what do we have to lose?  Would it be so bad to feel better about ourselves or be a more positive confident person or to work on a make our dreams come true?  Just try some of these things over the next month and see what happens.  I think that when you see just how easy it is and start experiencing results, you’ll keep it up.  Just 1 month.  What do you have to lose?  And what could you possibly gain?                               

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Day 199: I Have Returned Fairly Triumphant

This has been a very trying time but, through research, I have learned a lot.  A PSA for anyone suffering from immune system disorders/diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, if you are having any kind of dental issues…an infection in the tooth or pulp and are facing a tooth extraction, make sure your disease is under excellent control, that you’re not in a flare, and touch base with the physician that is managing the disease or disorder before having it done.  And, after the procedure, if you feel a flare coming on, immediately get in contact with your doctor to see if there’s something that can be done to at least lessen the effects of it.  In my case, doctors will not prescribe prednisone because I am a Type 1 diabetic as well and those 2 things do not play well together.  I have a couple of other issues related to my RA (erythema nodosum and De Quervain’s tenosynovitis) that are currently causing intermittent pain and the only thing that could mitigate them is Prednisone but neither of my doctors’ will risk prescribing it to me.  So I just have to deal with it.  Do not take your immune system diseases for granted when you have any kind of infection because they will be impacted by it.  Most of the time, we tolerate the effects but sometimes we cannot.  I basically lost about 9 days and I now feel a bit disconnected from just about everything so I am pushing myself to get back into the groove and to reconnect with the people and groups that I have missed during this fun time.  I feel some trepidation because of the disconnect that I’m still experiencing.  It’s all on me because the people in SWW and ROW have always been so kind, welcoming, supportive, and loving.  It’s just a matter of jumping back into it all.  I always feel a bit awkward after an absence, whether it be my groups, work, or family.  Just writing this has been a very good therapy session.  Anyway, I just hope that this post might help someone avoid a flare like I had because of the tooth extraction.  We all have to look out for each other.  I’m glad to be back and am ready to start writing about writing once again.  See you tomorrow!           

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Day 198: Things Are Finally Getting Back to Normal

Well, the area from which the cursed tooth was extracted is finally starting to actually heal from the trauma so that is a big plus.  It was actually pretty painful through last night.  Unfortunately, and this is something of which I was totally unaware, dental trauma can exacerbate Rheumatoid Arthritis and cause flares…and this infection and extraction did just that.  I didn’t realize what was happening at first but as it continued to get worse and worse, I started doing some research and found a lot of information about it.  Probably the only thing that would stop this in its tracks is prednisone and since I’m a diabetic that’s not going to happen so I just have to hope that the Plaquenil will do its job after the tooth trauma has completely died down.  I am having a hard time typing, walking, standing, and I’m also suffering from fatigue.  I’m miserable.  But I feel a bit better than I did yesterday so maybe I’m on the mend.  Whether I am or not, I still have to be at work since it’s the end of the month.  Well, my finger joints are starting to complain so I’m going to close for now.  Hopefully, I’ll feel a bit better tomorrow. 

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Day 197: Just Checking In

I’m still a little dopey because of the pain meds but, all in all, I’m doing pretty well.  The extraction itself was actually no big deal.  They spent about 10 minutes getting me comfortable and hooked up to the blood pressure machine that checked my BP every few minutes, beginning the nitrous oxide, and then applying the topical anesthetic.  Dr. Spingola began injecting a ton of local anesthetic because of the lingering chronic infection.  That took about 5 minutes.  As soon as I was really enjoying the nitrous and after the local had done its job, he began to, as he put it, tease the tooth out.  A minute or so later it was done with only the tiniest twinge of pain.  He cleaned up some of the nastiness that the infection had left behind then lightly packed it with gauze while I was receiving oxygen to clear the cobwebs from the nitrous.  His assistant explained the contents of the care package that they were sending home with me after which, I left.  I had left the house at 7:55am and was home at 9:10.  The pain hit about 3 hours later when the local completely wore off.  It was bad but not nearly as bad as I had expected.  I took a pain pill and went to sleep for a few hours.  The pain meds managed the pain fairly well but didn’t knock it completely out but from past dental experiences, I know that it could have been so much worse.  As it got later, the pain did increase and I wasn’t able to go to sleep until after 3:00am.  Today, the pain has been much less…a bit more nagging rather than sharp pain.  But it’s increasing now that it’s later in the day but it’s still not too bad but I don’t think I’m up to getting on SARK’s SWW call tonight.  Dr. Spignola is a miracle worker.  I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to him if I ever need his services again.  I’m glad that I went with the nitrous rather than sedation because that would have definitely been overkill.  And I’m proud of myself because I didn’t have a complete meltdown before it was done.  I was nervous and felt dread but no meltdown.  For me, that’s a huge thing because of my major dental-phobia.  I think of the reason I didn’t go off the deep end is the fact that I had the initial evaluation appointment on Monday and he pulled the tooth on Wednesday so I didn’t have a lot of time to get crazy about it.  Well, I think that I need a nap since I only got about 4 hours of sleep overnight and the pain pill is making me very tired.  I do think that by tomorrow I’ll be operating at about 90 – 95% though.  I might not even need pain meds after tonight.  Fingers crossed!          

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Day 196: Dread

I have to have a tooth pulled tomorrow and the dread is creeping up on me slowly but surely.  It actually isn’t as bad as was afraid it would be though.  I’m actually coping pretty well in spite of my dental-phobia that has been a part of my life for 42 years.  I was actually a bit surprised yesterday that I chose nitrous oxide over anesthesia.  I chose it for a couple of different reasons.  Rick is not up to the hike from the parking lot to the doctor’s office that he’d have to make and I thought that it would probably take longer…and be more expensive…for them to arrange the extraction with anesthesia.  I want this tooth out.  I’m tired of the pain and chronic infection that became acute this past weekend.  Thankfully, there were 4 clindamycin capsules left over from something and they knocked the infection back down to chronic.  I picked up my prophylactic dose of Amoxicillin earlier today and will have to take those an hour before the procedure.  I’m kind of worried about a dry socket since this tooth is on the bottom.  I got dry sockets when both upper wisdom teeth and another molar were extracted and that’s not supposed to happen.  I am the queen of “but that’s not supposed to happen.”  I’ve gotten used to it.  I saw my PCP today to follow up on my blood work.  I was talking to him about what I thought was diabetic neuropathy on the outside of 1 of my thighs and he told me that it was actually pretty common.  I told him that I didn’t want to be common…I wanted to be special.  He then told me that it was a very special uncommon thing.  I love that man.  He is 1 of the best, most caring doctors that I have ever known and I’ve had some truly great doctors.  I think that he also has the secret to endless youth.  He is my age but looks like he’s in his early 30’s.  I’ve been seeing him for at least 12 years and he hasn’t aged a day.  And he always has a smile on his face and is in a great mood.  I leave every appointment in a much better frame of mind than I was in when I came to see him.  But back to my tooth…I’m not sure what my downtime will be after he pulls it.  I figure that I’ll be out of work tomorrow and Thursday.  That’s a tough way to get some time off!  I hope I’m up to the SARK mentoring call on Thursday night.  I hate missing them.  Because of my tooth pain, I’ve been a bit hit and miss in our Facebook group but now that I’m getting my tooth yanked I will be in it more often.  Yea!  Well, it’s time to get out of here.  I’ll let you know tomorrow how I feel after the tooth thing.      

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Day 195: Time

Time is a strange thing.  Sometimes you can feel it ticking away minute by minute and when you look up at the clock you’ll find that your internal clock was in keeping with the “official” external clock.  Other times, not so much.  How many times have you looked up at the clock, expecting it to be a certain time and it’s actually an hour earlier than you were hoping it would be…like when you’re at work and you want nothing more than to go home?  Or when you’re out with friends, having a wonderful time and you suddenly realize it’s 1:00am and you have to get up early for work the next day? Time is definitely relative. If you’re having a great time, it seems to rush by but when you’re bored it drags by so slowly.Remember when we were kids and Christmas was a month away? It might as well have been a year away. But the last month of summer vacation before school reconvened might as well have been a single day. My mom always told me that time seems to go by faster the older you get and i have discovered over the last few years that she was right. I think that it’s because of the whole relativity thing. When you’re young, you have your whole life in front of you so you don’t feel rushed to accomplish things. Whereas, at my age, the finiteness of time is so very real. You begin to realize that if you’re going to accomplish the things that you’ve dreamed of then you’d better start busting your ass to get them done.That’s how I feel about my dream to be published. If I don’t finish Rapture in a relatively short time, its publication will never happen.That’s a lot of pressure and it’s a bit uncomfortable. So I have to keep reminding myself that my time hasn’t run out yet and just keep writing and believing in myself. My time on earth has always been finite…it’s not something that just happened. So, in reality, my 59th year is really no different than my 29th.I’m just more aware of time’s passage. And that’s not a bad thing.

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