Dear Fellow Writer,
I've been casting my latest play this week. Twenty five actors, singers and dancers. It's funny because it's the dance part I'm most excited about at the moment - the idea of transferring my writing into movement seems like a fabulous, previously unexplored, opportunity.
I'll keep you posted on how the play goes - it's due for curtains up in July.
THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE:
On Hay House
Hay House must be every self help writers ultimate publisher. Their author list reads like a hall of fame: Wayne Dyer, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Don Miguel Ruiz, Doreen Virtue and, of course, Louise Hay herself, whose Heal Your Life books, you could argue, singlehandedly paved the way for our modern obsession with mind, body and spirit self help.
I love the self help genre but I came to it late.
I'd spent my twenties in turmoil.
On one hand I knew that, being an artist, I had to follow my creative urges and fulfill the need to work on fiction, film, music and live theater projects. But on the other hand, there was a need to please, largely fueled by family and peer pressure, that pushed me to give it all up and 'settle down' - whatever that means.
Finally, in my early thirties, I relented and got a job as a buyer then a contract negotiator for various corporate companies. This was apparently against all the odds. People who spend a decade writing words and playing music aren't supposed to just walk in to high paying office jobs. But I did.
That's my trouble. I've always been good at everything I do. I don't say this to boast because it's actually been a bit of a curse. If I'd been terrible at working in offices, it would have at least narrowed my choices down...
As it was, I excelled at work and kept getting promoted.
But, as you'd probably expect, working nine to five led me into the most miserable time of my life. As our TVs got bigger and our houses more expensive, my sense of inner worth deteriorated.
Alcohol was my self administered poison of choice in those days. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy some of the heroic binges I went on. But I knew it couldn't last - that the habit was too expensive, financially and psychologically, to support.
I remember I faced a dilemma when on holiday in the Mediterranean. At one point on the beach I felt an overwhelming urge to stay in that sleepy Greek village for months and dedicate myself to writing a novel. But that would mean giving up the day job - and facing whatever happened as a result. Deflated, I went back to working in the City of London for another three years until my life finally crumbled to, well, not very much.
I realized too late I should have listened to that little voice on the beach!
Anyway, I was at a particularly low ebb when I first drifted towards the self help section one lunch time. What I was doing there I don't remember - this was usually my serious drinking time...
But as it turned out I bought Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins, I guess because it felt like the last thing I had was any power at all.
I read the book in less than three days and my life changed forever. I suddenly realized that I did indeed have the ability to choose my instincts over my intellect - and that my life had gone down the toilet because of all the bad (selfless) choices I'd made in the previous five years.
I determined then that never again would I listen to anything but the artist inside who so desperately wanted expression.
So began my love affair with self help.
I remember reading Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I was sitting in a church yard when I got to the chapter on forgiving your parents - and accepting that they were not to blame for who you turned out to be.
In that sunny silent place, it was tremendously liberating to finally let go of the idea that I was somehow limited by my own parents' expectations. And that my inadequacies were my issues - and not theirs.
I've had many life altering moments reading self help. Not least when I recently read Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention. I experienced an epiphany of sorts when I finally understood that yes, of course, we create our own lives. That we do indeed attract all the bad stuff - and that we do have the power, more than that, the right, to demand success and joy and fulfillment if only we understand that we really do have that much control - if we're brave enough to use it.
Publishers like Hay House are leading the way for those of us that need to create better and more meaningful lives for ourselves.
Of course there's an element of selfishness involved. But the logic of that aspect is solid.
Because unless you have respect for yourself first, you can't give anything of any value to others.
Unless you understand your own psyche - and embrace your uniqueness - you can't hope to serve others and help create a better world, even if all you want to do is write a story that people will want to read, enjoy and be entertained by.
Quantum physics teaches us that we are all made up of the same stuff as the stars. That at the very heart of everything there is nothing except possibility - and that what guides that possibility is consciousness, awareness and good old intention.
Atoms know this - and respond accordingly.
We choose our realities - and in order to do that well, we need to truly understand ourselves. All the good stuff inside - and all the bad stuff too - that needs to be channeled.
Self knowledge makes us stronger and more able to help each other using our own unique challenges. It's not about fixing your faults - we all have many. It's not about making excuses for our sins - again, I'm sure we all have things we'd rather not have done or still experience embarrassment over.
True power lies in embracing who we are - the good and the bad - and using that knowledge to expand our creativity. Because that's why we're here: to co-create the universe as best we can.
Follow your instincts - always.
You'll be happier in the long run - and you'll do better work.Keep writing!
THIS WEEK'S WRITER'S QUOTE: