Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Books Are Falling Off The Shelves

It is time to stop playing Candy Crush and get a book (or three) written.

It's time. I need to do it now or it may never happen. I am a month shy of my 45th birthday, and it is affecting me worse than my 40th did, because I have been beating myself up about where I have landed at this point in my life, and how this was not where I wanted to be. Not everything sucks--great husband, great dog, I am healthy, I have a job I am finally happy with--but in just about every other aspect, I have hit rock bottom. There is nowhere to go but up.

The problem is, I am not going up unless I get up off my butt and do what I was put here to do.

I have used every excuse not to write: I don't have a computer; I have a computer but it is inconvenient and uncomfortable; I work 60 hours per week and can't justify going in the other room to write when I could be spending time with my husband; I have a laptop but also have a lap dog, who will win the spot on my lap every time; I have to put so much energy into my paying job that I have nothing left at the end of the day to do anything creative. The list went on and on. I was waiting for ideal conditions to work on my writing, but that day is never going to come.

At least now I am in a job that I love and I only work 40 hours per week, so there is more left over for my passion. I am also not looking at getting published as a way to be rescued from a job I hate. A) That is not even a possibility anymore since publishing has changed so much in the past ten years that a first time writer is not getting that huge book deal that will allow the quitting of the day job, and B) I don't hate my day job, so I can happily continue working while getting my writing career off the ground.

There is a book that I am feeling compelled to write, and I am now writing with a purpose to get my story out there. I believe that it is my contrbution to the spiritual awakening that is happening in the world. It truly feels like it is my purpose, and it is very topical. If I procrastinate much more, I will miss the boat. Every which way I turn, there is something nudging me to just write it!

This past Sunday was the first in a while where I was home to watch Super Soul Sunday on OWN. I always record it, but then it could take weeks to actually find time to watch. Today when I saw that Gabrielle Bernstein (@GabbyBernstein,author of Spirit Junkie and May Cause Miracles) was going to be on, I was psyched because I love her! She was on with two other spiritual teachers for a new generation, whom I hadn't yet heard of, Marie Forleo (@marieforleo,founder of MarieTV), and Mastin Kipp (@TheDailyLove, founder of I have often remarked that I procrastinated finishing my book because I was not only afraid of failure, but afraid of success. At one pont, Mastin quoted Joseph Campbell, "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek". I remember thinking, "Oh, that's who Joseph Campbell is?" I had heard his name before, but knew nothing else about him.

Gabrielle said that when she went to the bookstore to buy A Course In Miracles, the text on which her teachings are based, she literally felt the energy of the book pulling her to the cash register. One thing that she said really stuck with me: "Once we become willing to know more, books fall off the shelf*...don't act like nothing happened when the book falls off the shelf." In other words, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Often times for us seekers, those teachers come in the form of books. Evidently, books can also fall off the shelf electronically.

I was updating my blog, and added some of my favorite authors' blogs to my blogroll. One of these authors was Claire Cook (@ClaireCookWrite). I briefly met Claire years ago when she spoke at a writer's workshop in Hartford, CT. She was at a fabulous point in her writing career--the point where she was saying to every person she came across, "Guess what? My book is being made into a movie with Diane Lane and John Cusack!" I will never forget her talking about that, because she was so elated and I wanted that to be me someday.

I admit that I have been lazy about reading even my favorite blogs lately--a lapse I plan to rectify--so it had been a while since I had checked out her blog. She has just released a book about not giving up on your dreams, called Never Too Late, and if you signed up for her newsletter, you could download the workbook for free. So I did. And that's when I saw this:

"Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before." ~ Joseph Campbell

This quote had a page all its own in the "Never Too Late Workbook". This quote by JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

It took about 30 seconds for me to download the book.

(Well, to be fair, a sample of the book because I don't have 4.99 to spend on it until Friday, but I am chomping at the bit to read the rest.)

There is no way for me to paraphrase what she wrote on page 14 and still convey how much this was the same thing I was going through, so I quote:

"...right at that moment it hit me with the force of a poolside tidal wave that I was the one who needed to get a life. A new one, the one I'd meant to have all along. I was not getting any younger, and I was in serious danger of living out my days without ever once going for it. Without even trying to achieve my life-long dream of writing a novel. Suddenly, not writing a book became more painful than pushing past all that fear and procastination and actually writing it."
Then at the end of that chapter:

"Not many days go by that I don't take a deep breath and remind myself that this is the career I almost didn't have."

I don't want this to be the career I didn't have because I have been waiting for my books to get magically written, or because I gave up on the dream altogether. These options aren't acceptable to me at this time in my life.

A few years ago, we were watching The Today Show and Jillian Michaels was on promoting her book. A bit later in the show, Ice-T was on promoting his book. My husband said, "Geez, who doesn't have a book out? Oh" That opened my eyes. Halfway. I still felt like I had time left to accomplish my dream so I still lacked the necessary urgency. Both of my eyes are wide open now. No more excuses. I don't want to die before I even try.

Claire's story about almost missing out on the life she was meant to have was just the push I needed. I have said before that I was ready to take my writing seriously, but even though I wanted to, it never happened. This is different, a switch got flipped in my brain. I mean it this time. I am putting the effort in, I am doing this.

* Since I work at Barnes & Noble, not every book that literally falls off the shelf is a message for me, but some of them are. More often I help the right books fall into people's hands. For example, twice in the last two months a customer approached me asking for books by Abraham Hicks. With the exception of one other bookseller, anyone else would have searched for books by Abraham Hicks and concluded that we do not carry any books by him, leaving the customer book-less. What both customers were looking for were books on the law of attraction and the teachings of Abraham, by Esther and Jerry Hicks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Fearless

I recently joined Blogging For Books and I received the book FEARLESS by Eric Blehm in exchange for my review. For those who don't know, I work for Barnes & Noble, so I had seen Adam Brown looking out at me from the cover of this book for months.
I thought, "just another book about SEAL Team SIX...not really interested..." because since Bin Laden was killed, there was such an oversaturation of SEAL Team SIX stories that I had gotten numb to any new exposure.

Then I read the description of the book and realized it was not the same old, same old.

Yes, this is a book about the Navy SEALs, but it is more a book about the power of faith. It is an inspirational story about a kid with tons of potential who veered off course after high school and was headed toward a drug overdose in a crack house, about as far away from 'Navy SEAL' as you can get on the spectrum. Through his faith combined with sheer determination and will, he escaped the life of drugs and reached the highest level of the armed forces, the elite Navy SEALs.

This could have been written about any SEAL, as they all have to go through the same qualifications to become a SEAL, but Adam was different. This guy was legendary even before his heroic death. The way his fellow SEALs and former commanders and instructors speak of him is so heartwarming, but also filled with laughter and amazement. He was known for giving more than 100% in whatever he did, whether on a mission as a SEAL, or in a pick up football game during a training exercise at Cowboys' Stadium, or collecting donations of shoes for Afghani children who had none. He even went house to house, writing down sizes to ensure that they all had footwear before winter--he never did anything halfway.

I learned a lot about what it takes to be a SEAL by reading this book; their toughness and focus is unparalelled. I am impressed with how they serve our country and proud to have them on our side. If you only have a vague idea of what they are all about you should read this book. The fact that it is balanced out by the inspirational part of the story makes it more entertaining if you are not a military buff.

If you have ever struggled with an addiction, this book will give you hope, without being a story strictly about addiction. If Adam could get over all of the hurdles that he faced, getting clean will seem like a walk in the park in comparison.

It is also a love story, but while that is a constant undercurrent,it is somewhat secondary. Adam's wife Kelley is the epitome of the phrase 'behind every great man is a great woman'. Her unwavering faith in Adam is amazing, and she is such a strong character that you would think she was the heroine in an epic novel. I feel like tracking her down just to give her a hug...

Finally, if you have a limited or non-existent belief in a Higher Power, this book will have you sprinting toward the nearest place of worship. At one point a fellow SEAL asks Adam how he can do what they do and be religious. "One, I'm spiritual, not religious," Adam replied."And two, I can't believe you can do what we do and not be."

There are multiple instances of prayers literally being answered, where there is no possible way Adam could accomplish something without devine intervention. I won't ruin it for you by sharing those incidents out of context here, but trust me, you won't have a doubt after letting FEARLESS into your life.

Even though I knew Adam didn't make it, I still cried like I had lost my best friend through the last 60 pages. Just when I thought that my tears would stop, something else would make the waterworks start again, so if you can't handle that, this may not be for you. If, like me, you like that cathartic release when you are emotionally drowning in a book, you will love matter how puffy your eyes are the next day!

ps. Due to an order processing error at Blogging For Books, I have an extra copy of FEARLESS to give away. I have never given anything away on my blog before, so I don't have any good ideas about how to give it away. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section...:)