Open mics take place almost every night in bookstores and cafes around the world. Works-in-progress and published pieces come alive when an author reads their work. Don’t miss you chance to savor and enjoy each carefully chosen word and meticulously constructed sentence. Look in the Book Section of your favorite newspaper or Google “open mic readings in (your local area)” to find one near you. The Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter will be hosting one on April 23 at 7 p.m. at Kepler’s Books and Magazines in Menlo Park. WNBA-SF members will be able to sign up and read their work to members, guests, and Kepler’s patrons! Visit http://www.wnba-sfchapter.org for more information.
Meditation is a way to open ourselves up to listening with all of our senses. With our eyes closed and body positioned in a restful state, meditating with our ears tuned to our surroundings can take us on a joyful journey. I admit that I am new to meditation and I have not developed a regular “practice.” I enjoy the idea of becoming absorbed in the sounds of waves crashing on the shore, birds chirping, or the wind through the trees taking my mind to wonderful destinations – even if I can’t go there physically. And the end result is a relaxed state for all of me in body, mind and spirit. Try a little meditation break the next time you need a quick “get-a’way.”
Reconnect with someone you’ve lost contact with. Sometimes our best intentions to keep in touch become just that – intentions – and we never seem to get around to actually doing it. Yes, it could be embarrassing to admit how long it has been since you last spoke. Perhaps you send an annual Christmas letter and that has eased your guilt. March is Listening Awareness Month. Listen to that little voice in your head telling you that reconnecting with an old friend is a good thing. Whatever the excuse of why time has slipped by without contact, today is the right time to change the situation. Hesitating to make the call because of a long forgotten disagreement or misunderstanding, is not sufficient evidence to postpone an action bound to have potentially amazing results. Go ahead…reach out today.
I’d like to encourage us all to recognize all the new skills we may acquire simply by memorizing a poem. We will discover beauty, rhythm, cadence, patience, intuition, compassion, and understanding to name a few. The first time I heard the words of Rumi’s, “Don’t Go Back to Sleep,” recited by our retreat leader and my dear friend Carolyn Foster, I was at a weekend retreat with at Santa Sabina Retreat Center on the campus of the Dominican College and all I wanted to do was sleep! But I knew the poem wasn’t about avoiding going to bed. It was about being present in your life. Don’t we all want to be present in our lives? “You must ask for what you really want,” Rumi says. I interpret that to mean I must be awake and I must find my voice. I must use my voice. So, here I go practicing being awake and being open and tap into my creativity. I will ask for what I want and I will not go back to sleep. What about you?
They say February is for lovers. So focus your love close to home. February is Boost Your Self-Esteem Month. Boost your self-esteem with demonstrations of self-love because you are most deserving of your own attention for affection. Consider observing boosting your self-esteem; not just as a temporary indulgence on Valentine’s Day, but as a way of life. Don’t wait for a special occasion to wear your favorite pair of earrings. Put on make-up in the morning even if your reflection in the mirror is the only face you’ll see all day. Give yourself permission to indulge in a special chocolate treat, splurge on a favorite meal, soak in the tub with lots of scented bubbles and a new paperback, or eat popcorn for dinner and watch a movie on a weeknight (no, don’t fold laundry and empty the dishwasher – sit down and watch the whole thing without multi-tasking).
Writing a journal entry about a specific accomplishment or milestone is a major self-esteem booster. I’ll share one that has been seven years in the making. I have volunteered for several years for The San Francisco Writers Conference (www.SFWriters.org), a prestigious 3-day conference and the brainchild of legendary agents Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen. It features blockbuster keynote speakers, award winning workshop presenters, and attendees in the hundreds from all over the world. The first year my comfort level only allowed me to babysit the purses in the Volunteer lounge. This year, I was invited to chair the “Book Doctor Panel.”
This is a conference-long marathon event where attendees spend five minutes one-on-one with Independent Editors. I am no longer content to relegate myself to the shadows. As the Book Doctor Coordinator, I claimed my position as a professional sharing my expertise with eager attendees, and as a peer with other writers awash in the wealth of knowledge shared at the conference.
Successful writers confident in their literary skills intimidate me. Many speakers and workshop presenters over the weekend impressed me. I made up my mind to show up in my life and go after my dreams rather than stay in safe situations. This year, instead of wishing I were brave enough to be like the speakers and presenters, I sat up front, engaged with them during their talks, gave them positive feedback, and asked for advice. Do you know what they did? They gave me advice and thanked me for showing up!
Let’s all keep showing up!