Thursday, October 9, 2008

Om at Home

As you may know, I have an online coaching program for writers called Intuitive Writing (just like my ebook!). Right now, one of the writers I'm working with is Chanda, whom I have met once, in an in-person class I taught about 2 years ago. A few days after the Intuitive Writing program started, I checked in with Chanda by email. I said,
How is the writing going? Are you writing daily? Have you listened to your downloads? Please let me know what I can do to support you and your writing. You are welcome to phone or email any time.
Chanda answered:
I am getting into the writing. As always, there are excuses. I have been in Arrowhead for most of the last six months remodeling a house. I just came home last Thursday, brought a puppy home, my cat freaked out and now it seems like I have lost her for good. Anyway, opens the heart, I miss her.
I also liked hearing about Silva since I actually read that book in the early eighties and then did a refresher a couple of years ago with the c.d.'s. I love it but I am the worst at keeping a program going. I like learning but it is the applying that is the problem here.

I have not looked at the downloads yet. I think I will have to print them off as I like to have things in front of me on paper..........I will do it soon.

Thank you so much for everything. I will be out of town this weekend so maybe, let's say, maybe Wednesday for our phone consultation. How does that sound to you?
So we set an appointment, and I told her to read the book, either on the computer or printed out, and write every day, at least 20 minutes. I reminded her, since she knew about the Silva Method (I had just taken a course, which I talked about in my emails to the writers), that maybe she could use it to get her cat back. Then I said:
Right now, I am visualizing the cat walking in through a sliding glass door. After that, I see the cat and the puppy curled up together, happy and harmonious. And I am visualizing you nearby writing fast in your notebook, the words pouring out in an abundant, uninterrupted stream!
Without telling Chanda, I did a couple of big meditations about her cat. I imagined "energetically" ushering the cat safely home. I saw the cat walking through an open sliding glass door into Chanda's kitchen. I felt Chanda's, surprise, delight, and relief at seeing her cat. I pictured the cat in Chanda's lap and then I imagined the cat rolling happily on the floor. For the next couple of days, several times, I heard the song "The Cat Came Back," playing just barely detectably in the background of my thoughts, like a little radio turned way down low: "And the cat came back the very next day. They thought he was a goner, but the cat came back. He just couldn't stay away."

Guess what? Two days after we emailed, the cat came back. Chanda emailed me again:
Thank you for helping me with my kitty, Om. When I came home tonight she was here, still friction with the puppy but at least she is here and I am elated and surprised.
(I thought it was interesting that she emailed me right away and thanked me, because I didn't tell her that I was meditating about the cat.) Chanda and I had our phone coaching session yesterday morning, and I got more details for you.
  • I found out that the cat had been missing for 9 days!
  • Chanda lives in Murrieta, California, I learned, an area that's pretty well populated with coyotes and other predators. On two separate occasions, Chanda told me, hawks have gotten their talons into this very same cat's back and tried to carry her off. In my own neighborhood, which is far more paved and populated (with humans), I have seen a coyote running through the street, carrying a dead cat in its mouth. Just a few months ago, a coyote tried to get into our back yard to get our dog. My husband and I had to yell and scream a lot to get it to go away. Here in California, cats who go missing for a day or two don't usually come back.
  • This cat returned healthy, clean, and perfect in every way--on Chanda's birthday! She said the cat looked as though she had just stepped out for a few minutes and come right back.
  • The cat came back through the sliding glass door into the kitchen. Chanda had been out all day, celebrating her birthday, and when she came home, so did the cat.
  • The cat's name is Om. Now Om is at home.
Cool story, you're thinking, but what does it have to do with me? Well, a lot. As I'm sure you know by now, to me, almost everything that happens is a metaphor. The fact that Om came home represents possibility. Maybe Om herself is that dream or wish that you really want to see realized. What about those animal predators? Those look a lot like doubts, fears, and limiting beliefs to me. How about you? So don't let your worries gobble up your desires!

Check out your fears about what you want. Maybe you're pessimistic about your ability to survive financially doing what you really want to do. Maybe you've given up on something before it had a chance to work out. Perhaps you've let events in the news dictate how you feel about your future. Maybe you're facing a health, work, or relationship challenge that you're not expecting to turn around. Remember that your positive thoughts, beliefs, and expectations can influence an outcome. Allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by what you can create with the power of your mind.

And think about Om at home.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


My new ebook is now available on my web site. Intuitive Writing is the companion book to my coaching courses for writers. Many of you have already used this material in a different form to quickly and easily move ahead with your writing. If you aren't familiar with it, this book is a practical how-to writing guide along with personal stories from my writing life. You'll find tried-and-true techniques (that I've developed on myself) for increasing your writing flow, using your intuition to guide your writing, and especially for making your writing process more fun and joyful. (I even have a chapter on Healing Writer's Heartbreak. Anybody been there?) Those of you who are enrolled in my in-person class in San Diego, starting Wednesday, September 17, this ebook will make your experience even more powerful.

Quite a few of you have asked when the distance classes on Intuitive Writing will begin again. I now have an answer for you: September 27! Intuitive Writing is a self-paced 6-week program that includes a daily email from me to encourage you and help you to stay focused, the new ebook, 2 hypnosis downloads, membership in an online Yahoo group, and private coaching. Past clients/students have seen huge improvements in writing productivity. And I'm even prouder of the fact that they tend to feel much better about the writing process. More joy, less anxiety. More fun, less guilt. More ease, less struggle. I've witnessed some pretty amazing transformations. I do not offer critique. Instead, I offer what you
really need: encouragement, support, structure, and nurturing of your unique creative gifts.

If you have questions, please ask!

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Thing

Almost as soon as I started teaching writing online, I also started looking for additional tools to help writers unblock. One day while I was waiting to get my eyebrows waxed, I noticed that the office across the hall from the esthetician was a hypnotherapist. I thought, "That's what I need to learn!" Within about two weeks, I'd enrolled in a course. Pretty soon, I was a Certified Clinical and Medical Hypnotherapist. Lucky for me, hypnotherapy turned out to be a great way to move people (including me) forward in their writing. But it turns out that hypnotherapy is useful for all kind of other things, besides creative blocks, including weight loss, stress reduction, confidence building, and, well, you name it. The list goes on and on. If you have a goal with an obstacle between you and it, chances are hypnosis will help you find a way over, under, around, or through that obstacle. Hypnotherapy has become my main interest lately. Now I even have my own office, where I see clients on Sundays. I also treat them over the phone and through downloads and CDs. I've got a new web site devoted entirely to my hypnotherapy, complete with testimonials. Check it out here: Who would've thought?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Channeling a Character

I borrowed the exercise for my very last class at the conference from my study of intuition. Ever heard of psychometry? That's when you hold an object, and receive information about its owner from it. So I thought we could do something like that to get info about a new character. I collected a bunch of items (some of them came from the Humane Society Thrift Store), and I gave one item each to my students. I instructed them to hold the items in their non-dominant hands and write in the first person about a new character. I added, "We're just pretending." I didn't want them to think I actually expected them to channel a character.

For the first exercise, a student named Dennis asked for an object that would belong to a girl. I gave him an earring with a picture of a baby on it. In his piece, writing as a teenage girl, he explained the awkwardness of only having only one pierced ear, attributing it to a keloid. His girl character added that on the plus side of having a single piercing was the fact that if she lost one earring, she could still use the remaining one.

The baby earring was one of the objects that belonged to me. When I was 18, I developed a keloid on my left ear. I had it removed, but that's why I only have one pierced ear. Most people don't notice this, as my hair is longish. And I only have one of those baby earrings; I lost the other one.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Writing Assignments

Yesterday at the conference, I did my Jumpstarts class, which I thought went rather well. So I'm going to share with you the Jumpstarts I used on my class. Get your timer and write something!

Use this sentence somewhere in your piece:
Unfortunately, things fell apart almost immediately.

Write a piece that includes this combination of things (I let them choose from a couple on this list):
A wet suit and a fax machine.
Housework and a war
Movie candy and a clairvoyant
A Blackberry, a hunting knife, and dirty socks
A pumpkin pie and a flat tire

Write about:
Someone wearing absolutely the wrong clothes.
The eleventh day of a journey.
Someone moving painfully slowly in a situation requiring speed

I had never tried the juxtapositions before, and the results were excellent. The writers came up with original pieces, all quite different from one another.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Today at the La Jolla Writer's Conference, I am teaching "Jumpstarts" (prompts) and "Turning up the Flow," which is about increasing productivity. Tomorrow, I do a class on essay and memoir (not sure how I agreed to that one) and three critique sessions. Sunday afternoon, if anyone is still there, I'll do a class on developing a new character.

I'll try to post some updates and let you know how it's going!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


A few weeks ago, when the Bruce Springsteen tickets went on sale for the "Magic" tour's shows at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, I was poised at my computer, ready to scoop up 3 tickets (for myself, my husband, and our son) the second, the very instant they were available. My credit card number already saved. I knew my password. I was so ready click "Find Tickets!" So were a few other people apparently, because I could not buy 3 tickets to save my life. Panic! What if we couldn't go?! What if all the tickets got sold to other people! Well, that just couldn't happen. Absolutely not. Precious moments were ticking by. I tried for 2 tickets. Again the message came back that no tickets were available. So I tried for 1. I got it! I did that two more times, and I had 3 seats, albeit singles in different sections. But fine, we could watch the show and compare notes on the way home. "Thank God!" our son said. "I don't want to sit with you guys."

Yesterday was the big day. We zoomed up to LA after my son and husband got home from school and work, respectively. We found a meeting place in front of the West Entrance near some pictures of people playing some sport or other. (Hockey? Basketball? Not important.) Then we all went to find our seats. After I found mine, I went to my son's. I said, "See that big red 15 on the wall over there? I'm sitting right in front of that." A searing glare hit me like a radioactive laser beam. "OK, then, I'll just be off to my seat now, shall I?" I didn't wait for an answer.

I was in seat 11. In seat 10 was a man with white hair. An old dude. Oh, wait. I guess I had some hair that color before I had it done on Sunday. The man asked me if I was one of Larry's friends, too. I said, "No, I don't believe I have had the pleasure of meeting Larry." Apparently, Larry had bought quite a number of seats in this row and in some other rows too. And he had also flown to New York for two other Bruce shows. I said, "I can understand that." So the man next to me--let's just call him "John" or "Mike" or "Bill" to keep it simple, OK? I didn't get his name--"Bill" said, "Years ago, this was waaaaay back in the seventies, I went to another Bruce show next door here at the Colisseum. That's a huge place. Too big."

I said to "Bill," "I think you're talking about The River tour. That was in '81. Good show. I was there, too." That was the first time I saw Bruce hold the mic for the audience, who sang together,

Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack
I went out for a ride, and I never went back.
Like a river that don't know where's flowing,
I took a wrong turn, and I just kept going.

Now lots of people let the audience sing their songs--Bon Jovi, Tom Petty--but that was the first time I'd seen that happen.

"Great show," "Bill" agreed. "You're right. It was '81." We chatted. "Bill"'s wife doesn't like Bruce. "Too much hype, back when--"

"Born to Run came out."

"Exactly," "Bill" said. He'd missed the shows at The Staples Center. (My husband and I went to two of those.) He'd been to a couple of others that he told me about. And I told him about some. The County Bowl in Santa Barbara. Madison Square Garden. The show in Atlanta--I drove 18 hours to get there--that was canceled because Bruce had a sore throat. Lots of shows over lots of years. "He's great," "Bill" said. "He just keeps changing and evolving and growing. You gotta love him for that."

"You do," I agreed. "You sure do."

A lot of seats were still empty and the house lights were still on, even though it was past the official start time. There was no sign of Larry, either. We watched roadies tune guitars on stage. One of them let fly with the opening licks of "Radio Nowhere," probably setting off a wave of panic in the hot-dog line.

"And the lyrics!" "Bill" put a hand to his heart.

"Killer," I said, shaking my head in admiration.

"Layers of meaning," said "Bill."

"You're so right," I agreed. I didn't get into the unexplained mystery of how lyrics about misery, despair, and the gaping space between the way things were supposed to be and the way they actually turned out can elevate thousands of people to simultaneous euphoria. That's just too hard to put into words, indefinable, like intuition, or, well, magic.

"Bill" is a programmer, he told me. Freelance, I take it, because right now, he's working at home in a desert community in eastern San Diego County, but last year, he commuted to LA. His wife takes care of an elderly person. He didn't ask what I did. "Hey, what's taking so long?" "Bill" looked at his watch, then at the empty stage. His friend still hadn't materialized, either. "I can't call Larry and find out where they are," he said, "because they're, you know, sort of opposed to cell phones, so they don't have one." He shook his head. "I guess I'll get a beer. You want one?"

"I'm good," I said. "Thanks, though."

"Bill" had just made it back with his beer when the lights went down, and the place exploded. The first song was "Radio Nowhere." "Bill" and I and most of the other old people remained on our feet and in motion for the next 2 1/2 hours. My fist pumped to the words, "No retreat, baby, no surrender!" I held my lighted cell phone aloft when called upon to do so. It was a good thing that the music was about as loud as an airplane taking off in the same room, because the noise made it hard for people to hear me singing. And I was singing. A lot. But so were "Bill" and a lot of other people. By the time they got to "Born to Run" during the encore, I could feel the building moving under my feet.

After the show, I found my husband and son, and we began our long, slow journey out of the parking lot. "Did you love it?" I asked our son. I got the radioactive laser glare. "Did you dance?" I asked my husband. "Did you sing and everything?"

My husband shook his head emphatically. "I don't do that." He loves Bruce as much as the next guy, but dancing and singing and pumping his fist in the air? That's downright undignified.

I can't tell you how happy I was about scoring those 3 single tickets in 3 different sections, which allowed us to enjoy 3 separate but perfect concert experiences.