The type of HAPPY that you feel when you’re in alignment with your youest you is the kind that lasts. This is the kind that doesn’t revolve around anyone else’s happiness. It’s natural feeling of joy, peace and gratitude that will flow through your body no matter what. And guess what? That vibration will actually inspire happiness in others without you doing anything at all.
I began several books today. It’s raining here and my plans to hit up Barne’s and Noble’s big comfy brown chair went awry.
I got a hard lesson from the stacks of books that clutter my bookshelf. I learned that I need to be wowed, and that some of my books would make better paper mache’ projects.
I truly see the beauty in everything. And, I have such appreciation for the books I’ve read through the years. But, since moving to LA from Chicago, and losing most of my book collection — I realize that my shelves are now full of mediocrity.
There are books I bought on the sale rack, the used book store ones that were given to me by friends and clients who thought I’d appreciate them. They were right. I did. Darn me for finding the gifts beneath the boringness.
I couldn’t even stomach the book about Indigo Children. I wanted to. Really I did. I love and believe in the concept. But another book that classifies our kids into little boxes? It wasn’t written with enough umph, you know? Then, I picked up a book on Shamanic Healing that went right back on my shelf after 20 some pages of talking about sacrificing (as in sacrificing lives as ritual). Sure, maybe it’s fact — but, I still believe there’s a way to tell an interesting story.
You see, It’s not that I don’t have high standards. I do. In fact, yesterday, a Facebook friend mentioned that she wanted to buy the book I read. and I found myself thinking — “no no no.. why waste your time? I did it already and there are so many better books you could read. “
Half the books on my self are below my own writing standards. I’m not trying to diss anyone here.. but it’s time to step up to the plate. I’ve decided to clear my shelves, even if it makes people think I’m illiterate. I must make room for the wow books.
The book I chose for today was the fifth one I opened and perused. “Using Reiki Techniques with Children” By, Mary Riposo, PhD was given to me by one of my Reiki teachers, and I never actually read it. Now, I am a Reiki teacher, so I decided that it was a good option. Most likely my best option considering I didn’t want to slosh through the rain and get soaked today.
I don’t recommend this book either. It’s not bad at all. It goes over a brief description of what Reiki is and how you can use it for children and yourself. It made me focus on how easy it is to feel Reiki and use this beautiful healing art. I use Reiki daily with my family — including Reiki-fying the food we eat, our apartment, our situations, our health etc. Mary Riposo describes how you can do that and how it works.
I suppose authors, especially doctors and professionals, have to be really careful in this country when they are writing about alternative treatment. So, I felt that even though she appears to deeply believe in the power of Reiki, she held back.
The book was informational, and it held my attention to the end. I’m not new to Reiki so, I learned nothing new. My Reiki teachers did not specifically teach all of the techniques in this book, but they are things I have found to be useful in our home and family with my own practice.
Not too long ago, a client (in a distinctly unsatisfied tone) dubbed my writing, “VANILLA.”
And, I, on the other side of the phone line, closed my eyes – feeling for the gift in her remark.
See, I’m at this place in life where I’ve finally recognized that each moment truly brings a gift. If I manifested the vanilla comment, then I can only stand to gain from it.
I’m passed being offended by criticism. As a professional writer, like most of us – I’ve grown a pretty thick skin for vanilla-ish commentary. I figure that clients are people too, and, sometimes they just can’t find better words to express what they need. Heck, that’s why they hire writers. For Words.
An editor once told me that my work was “more suited for advertising” – as if that were a bad thing. I’ve been told that my restaurant reviews left the reader “too breathless” – as if that were a bad thing. I’ve been told that I am “more of a story-teller than an article writer” – as if that were a bad thing.
I’ve been asked to speed up, cut to the chase, slow down, get into or out of a character’s head, switch perspectives and possibly my total fave critique came from a fiction editor who told me it was “impossible” to write from the perspective of an unborn child. Gotta love it. The thought that even in fiction, things could be “impossible.”
And now, “vanilla.” And, I like vanilla. I mean, it’s no chocolate, but some vanilla in my morning tea or smoothie really brings out the other flavors.
Was my client trying to say that my words provided her with a deliciously subtle yet strong foundation from which she could build the spiciest pizazziest work? Mmmmmm, I took a short pause on the phone, and began to miss those vanilla lattes I used to drink. But, then I snapped back.
Oh yeah, she didn’t mean the least good thing about this truly exotic spice. Or the work being judged, for that matter.
Truth is, as a writer, of course I want to please my clients. I chose the job. If I can keep my clients happy, I can get paid and move on to the next gig. They can expand their businesses and skip off to vacationland. Everyone wins. So, I stopped to REALLY listen to her AGAIN.
What had I missed? I’d recorded all the conversations we had, and there were many of them. I had a lot of material to work from and was using her own words in the drafts I sent her.
So, how was I gonna please vanilla lady? If my work was vanilla to her, how could I make it chocolate for just one moment? Or, should I recommend her to someone else –because name-calling’s just not nice?
Well, I decided that it wasn’t a good idea to pawn her off on any of my writerly friends, because none of them deserved the potential heckling.
And, the process that followed the decision to stay has been quite eye opening. And, yes a gift.
I stayed. And I wrote. Vanilla-laced-cinnamon piece after fruity, salty, bland doo doo piece after another. Never chocolate. Never. But, I didn’t know that as I wrote. Even pieces that came from deep within my soul didn’t hit the mark for my client. And, later I realized that they didn’t hit the mark for me either.
Her vanilla comment lead her to (in not so many words) refer to me as a liar, lazy person, bad communicator, and yes, even stupid. For a few weeks I actually found myself going out of my way in search of my gifts that were quite obviously sewn between the seams of her words. I let her believe that I lied. I figured there might be a lesson in that too. I even enlisted my spiritual advisors.
I kept sending gratitude for the challenge. I knew there was no way I was in this situation for no reason; I knew I would hit a major breakthrough. And I did.
In the end, there was no pleasing my client. The experience brought me back to a recurring one I had with a family member who used her words to praise my friends and put me down.
When I decided I’d had enough, I sent the client the best work I had, didn’t charge her more, and left her with love and more gratitude than she can ever know.
Her words to me were my manifestation. A mirror of how I was feeling about my writing. Truth hurts, baby cakes. Thank the goddesses that she didn’t call my work “shit.” I’d have a harder time coming up with sweet sounding words about why shit ain’t so bad. But, I decided that I’m no vanilla. At least not when vanilla means boring. And, I’m not going to attract that kind of crap anymore.
And, so you wanna know why I felt vanilla and she was just strong enough to call me out on it? Because for years, I’ve been writing for other people, while this spicy voice inside me died a little each time. And, that frightened little writer girl inside me went out searching for another soul who could hold her down. Not inspire her breaking loose. You know – the comfort zone.
I chose pleasing others and making money above publishing my own work. Writing for this client was grueling. Each time I sat down, I got headaches and nausea. Each word was a complete struggle.
Finally, that writer inside is stronger than my fear of failure or being broke on my butt. I’m no longer trying to find people who keep me down. Because, if you look — they are there. Always willing to make you feel inferior.
Here comes MY work.
I can’t fit into anyone’s box anymore. Even if it is a tempting box of chocolates.