Honor, Respect and Values

The King

He was a great man.  The whole village loved him.  Respected him.  Honored him.  Even the woman whom he divorced never begrudged him.  He was the king.  And he was good.

While in power, he ruled with a firm, yet gentle hand.  Loving his family.  Treating his workers well.  And fearing his God.  Upon the knowledge that his day was coming, he visited all to apologize if he had ever wronged them.  Of course, the only one he had ever wronged was his former wife.  For that, he was forgiven and he died knowing that he had reformed bonds that may have weakened over time.  He died knowing that he had done right by all and, most importantly, by his God.  He died.  At peace.

The entire village died a little with him that day.  And even those of us that witnessed via TV screen were affected by this fictitious life that passed before us. 

His goodness and kindness were things of the past.  Attributes of a bygone era.  But why?  

Because media dominates our thinking. Because media dictates who we are and what we should do or think or say.  Because media elicits that happiness comes from self-service.  Get what you want, no matter what, and you will be happy. 

Really?

No.  True happiness comes from service to others IN ADDITION TO self-service.   As humans, we were driven by community and togetherness, but we have let ourselves be led astray from what our goals should be.  Oneness…with each other and with our selves. 

Imagine dying at peace with yourself and your God (or Universe, whatever it is that you may call it).  Imagine that today is your last day.  Would you be at peace knowing that you did your best to be a common thread in the tapestry of a life that wove together Souls?  Would you die knowing that you lived the best, most effective life you could? 

We are all unique.  We each have beautiful gifts for this world.  We can go back to back to the time when goodness and honor reigned by being the salmon swimming upstream.  By turning away from a media ruled pop culture that degrades and degenerates, we return values and respect to this world. 

You control your choices in this life.  What decisions do you make that make you the best you can be?  What ideals do you implement to help others be the best they can be?

 

© Tania Dakka and Chaotic Musing, 2011

Habits and Goals

Credit: elitatt via Flickr

We are, by nature, creatures of habit 

Not necessarily good ones, either.  I have, inadvertently, spent the last month transforming my chaos into cosmos by killing some old Monsters that I hope are gone for good.  These old monster habits have kept me from moving forward in my goals. 

The new Friends (Helpful Habits) that are replacing said Monsters are poised to take over.  One of those new Friends is nutrition.  This month, my junk food intake has been almost wiped out and my thinking is all the clearer for it.  My whole food intake has tripled and my waist is happier for that, too. 

These are just a few of the new Friends I have made this month.  We can systematically eliminate the Monsters that hide in our Minds by marking them and taking them out one by one. 

We all have habits that hinder us or help us.  By looking at our thinking and our actions, we can pinpoint the things that we do that work against our goals.  Choose the one that is most detrimental and for one month…ATTACK!!

Attack with a vengeance

Order your cosmos one habit at a time by developing a Counter-Habit in order to eliminate your targeted Monster.  Language is important.  Instead of trying to get rid of an old habit, try to REPLACE it.  Use whatever means you need to remind yourself that you want to do B instead of A.  As opposed to stop doing A.  Sticky notes, intention setting, journaling are all excellent means to help you focus.

The following month, B will be habit and you can move on to the next Monster on your blacklist.  One by one, you will accomplish your goals and Order your Cosmos. 

What Monster on your list do you need to take out first?  What Counter-Habit will replace it?  What steps will help you transform you chaos into your cosmos?

Thanks for visiting my home on the web!  Don’t forget to come hang out with me on Twitter and Facebook! 🙂

© Tania Dakka and Chaotic Musing, 2011

Mindful living and loving the Middles of your story

Credit: Twice25 via WikiMedia

When we begin reading a story, or writing one for that matter, we begin with fervor and gusto.  We are excited to see where it takes us.  We read it Mindfully: Aware of the action and suspense that pulls us forward.  We live life the same way.  In the beginning, all is new and fresh.  Our senses are alive and well.  We miss nothing. 

Yet, when we get to the middle of our story, excitement wanes. Magnetism to it wanes.  We skim through to the next interesting part.  Skimming through the middle of the book causes us to miss parts of the story that we might have found to be noteworthy. 

Living life in the Middles, like reading the Middles, means we take our story for granted and rush through it.  Missing pieces means missing our children growing up, or missing a job opportunity, or even missing romantic moments with our spouses/partners. 

The Middles doesn’t have to mean that we skim through life.  When we make conscious decisions to stop and look around us, to lay obligations to the side for a moment, we slow down our reading.  We take in the whole story…children, partners, and jobs.  We appreciate what we have.  We are awake for the next act and not regretting missed scenes. 

Living Mindfully means loving the Middles.  It means slowing down and seeing all the characters in our story and appreciating them.  It means realizing that now is the best that it can be.

The next time we find ourselves skimming, slow down and read well.  See the beauty around us and the beauty of our situations…no matter what they may be.

Living in the now and being Mindful are integral parts of transforming our chaos into cosmos.  Let’s love our stories, beginnings, middles, and ends and see the cosmos that appear before us.

 

What parts of your story are you missing because you skimmed through? 

Thanks for visiting my home on the web 🙂

© Tania Dakka and Chaotic Musing, 2011

Using the Law of Attraction and Intention to Create Your Reality

Credit: mmc154 via Flickr

The Law of Attraction is simple: Like attracts like.  Whether good or bad. 

If we want to attract good, the decision is ultimately ours. 

What kind of like are you attracting?

How we talk is a manifestation of what we think.  How we act is a manifestation of how we talk.  Why not think, talk, and act successfully? (Success is relative, of course, but I love Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition to the left 🙂 )

Belief is the basis for what we think

If we believe that we are rock stars, we think, talk, and act as rock stars.  If we believe that we are unworthy of status, we elicit behaviors that sabotage our attempts at success.

We are manifestations of our beliefs. 

That’s great as long as we believe in the true Soul that we are and not in our own skewed vision of Self.  

Does Self stand in our way?

With writing, I often find my Self throwing up resistance (in the form of procrastination by spending too much time on Twitter, my Google Reader, Facebook, etc 🙂 ) at every peek at success(i.e. finishing a piece or making headway on the novel)…my Self is my roadblock.

If beliefs are aligned with the reality of Soul, then Self will not get in the way. 

Can we change our beliefs?  Yes, by changing what we say and reversing the order of the manifestations mentioned above. 

Is it easy?

No.  It isn’t easy, but if we are MINDFUL, if we are living INTENTIONally , then we set a course to rewire our hard drives to think in ways that bring about positive change and attract the results we want. 

Jane Roberts says, “You create your own reality.”

Our thinking dictates our environment

If we want change, we have to create that change. 

We have to define Self (who are we?).  Connect our dots(bring all of our roles to an intersecting point).  Connect to Other (family, friends, etc), in order to complete the image of our reality that we want to bring about. 

We all have strengths.  We all have gifts.  We have to listen to Soul and recognize those strengths and gifts.  Use positive Self Talk that we may or may not hear consciously (oftentimes, our actions manifest our beliefs more loudly than our words do, but that is another post 🙂 ). 

Listen to Soul.  Define who you are.  Consider your reality.  Create it. 

Transform your chaos and order your cosmos by seeing Self for its beauty, defining the reality you want, and setting your INTENTION for positive bounty through the Law of Attraction. 

What are your  Soul gifts?  How can you set your intention to make your reality the best reality it can be? 

Thanks for visiting my home on the web 🙂

© Tania Dakka and Chaotic Musing, 2011

Win LOLA & THE BOY NEXT DOOR, CROSSED, AND SHATTER ME

Tahereh Mafi is hosting another contest! You can win one of three prize packs of ARCs! Visit her blog, comment on the contest…that’s all:) Oh, but if you Facebook, Tweet, MySpace or whatever you get up to five extras entries.

This is one of my entries…now go…it’s your turn!:)

http://stiryourtea.blogspot.com/2011/08/win-lola-boy-next-door-crossed-shatter.html

Justine Musk Interview: Lessons in Great Writing

After reading BloodAngel, I became enamored with Justine Musk’s style of writing.  She is phenomenal at visual writing.  Imagery like hers is rare and beautiful.  She has also authored Lord of Bones (the sequel to BloodAngel) and Uninvited.  She has contributed short stories to Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love and Love Bites: The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2. Justine’s writing is so profound that I thought we might be able to learn a thing or two from her. If you are interested in learning more from her, she has an excellent blog over at Tribal Writer .  🙂 Without further ado, I give you Justine Musk.

BloodAngelwas your first published novel.  How long did that journey take, from conception to shelf?  What struggles did you face when it came time to find a publishing house? 

I started kicking around ideas and images for the book when I was in college, so from conception to shelf it was probably about ten years, all told.  The manuscript, when it was ready, found an agent quickly and it sold relatively quickly. But it took me about eight other unpublished novels to get to that point. Struggle is the name of the game – you have to learn how to love to engage with it, or you won’t last.

“Heat and dust and silence, the sky hammering itself into the flat white of noon” was Jess’ impression of a moment in the desert in BloodAngel.  This line is forever emblazoned in my brain. Your use of imagery in your writing is beautiful.  Is that an acquired talent that the rest that can be learned and honed or an innate talent that one must be born with?  If the former is true, what is the best way to develop that skill?

 Thank you!  I’m a strongly visual person, and so I think that comes through in my writing, and I always gravitated to writers who enjoy that play with language (Joyce Carol Oates, T.C. Boyle, Poppy Z Brite come to mind), who take risks with it.  I definitely think it’s a skill that can be developed – Janet Fitch comes to mind, her book WHITE OLEANDER, how she (apparently) worked hard to find her own language and imagery, to see the familiar from a new angle. 

Probably one of the best things you can do is to read a lot of contemporary poetry. And of course to write, write, write.  Give yourself exercises.  Take different things and force relationships between them, figure out how they’re similar to each other, explore that in your writing.  Do a lot of freewriting – don’t censor, just give yourself over to your undermind and see what bubbles up.  Don’t be afraid of yourself, your true voice.

What is your writing process like?  Describe your frame of mind when you sit down at your laptop to write, be it a blog post or a novel. 

 I write daily, usually in the mornings, and when I have the kids (I am divorced with 50/50 custody) I’ll try to get up at 4 or 5 am to do some work while the rest of the house is still sleeping.  I really love that silent, kind of lonely time.  I’ll give my mind stuff to mull over – some information about the scene, some dialogue – before I sit down to write that scene.  Same with the blog: I’ll do a lot of reading, let ideas surface, percolate, find each other, before sitting down to write a blog post. That incubation period is super important. 

 There are times when I get anxious about writing, and will do a few minutes of meditation, maybe some quick yoga, to calm my brain.  There’s almost always that bit of resistance to work through, but then the writing starts to flow and it’s lovely. The trick is to get through that resistance. It will kill you dead if you let it!

You are established and have this gig wrapped around your finger.  But, in the beginning, how important was critique and mentorship to you?  What suggestions do you have for those that seek these types of guidance?

 I don’t feel like I have this gig wrapped around my finger!  I stepped away from fiction for a couple of years while I went through my divorce and thought hard about the kind of writer I wanted to be (I might have been overthinking it!).  The blog Tribal Writer was partly an attempt to reinvent myself, re-position myself a little bit.  In a lot of ways I feel like I’m starting over, although I guess that’s not exactly true.

 Critique and mentorship are so important, I can’t emphasize that enough.  It has to be the right kind: tough but constructive, nuanced, particularly as you become more advanced in your craft.  My agent has a great editorial eye and I benefited from that.  I also found a great writing coach, who gives terrific feedback and holds me accountable as I push to finish my current novel.  So if anything, that kind of mentorship has become even more important to me.  You need someone to help you through your blind spots, who isn’t necessarily your agent or editor.  We all have those blind spots, and when someone can shine a light on them for you, so you can see something you couldn’t quite before?  Breakthrough. A great feeling. You should always strive to get better, get better.

Your blog, Tribal Writer, is a commanding, educational, and inspirational force for writers seeking guidance in this business.  What is the single most important piece of advice you were given that has guided your career and formed who you are?

Thanks so much.  And wow, what a question.  I feel, looking back, like I made a lot of mistakes, was groping my way through the dark for so long… I can think of a few things, maybe not one big thing.  Persist, persist, persist.  Write what you want to know about (instead of just what you know, which can be very crippling).  Work close to your soul, or else you won’t have a chance in hell.  My friend Jason Calacanis, a tech guy, advised me to get on Twitter back when most people still didn’t know what it was, and that was what really kicked off my fascination with platform and social media, which, now, feels like a huge part of who I am – or am becoming.  I’m not one of those writers who says you don’t need to worry about developing an online platform – I think you absolutely do need to worry about it, you need to start learning about it as soon as possible, you need to think very long-term, and you should make platform-building as important as your actual writing.  

 

You have a large family and a demanding career, what time management tips would give to help those trying to balance work and family?

I have an unusual life, very privileged, a lot of help, so my situation is not typical and I don’t want people thinking that I’m some kind of superhero.  I’m not.  But you have to be quote-unquote selfish about making the time for your creative work, you can’t allow yourself to get caught in the trap of trying to be all things to everyone, so self-sacrificing, guilty.  You have to absolutely refuse to sacrifice yourself, your writing, which to me is one and the same thing.  But that can get very difficult, because this culture expects women to sacrifice themselves and will frown on them when they don’t (partly because it’s so bloody inconvenient for other people when they don’t!).

And you can’t sweat the small stuff.  Sometimes you have to let the small stuff kind of go to hell, at least for as long as you can get away with it.  Routine is important. Exercise and nutrition and sleep.  Creative rituals.  Healthy boundaries.  But I’m not sure there is a ‘balance’, there are periods of obsession and then periods of recovery.  It’s not a marathon so much as a series of sprints, with rest breaks in between.  Otherwise you burn out and break down. 

You also have to know what you can give up.  I don’t watch TV, I rarely go to movies, I have a very uninteresting social life (at least for the time being).  I am very clear on what I want, and clarity is a beautiful thing.

On your blog, you mention dreams of building a media empire.  What will this mean for your career as an author?  Can we still expect to see new novels on the horizon (soon J)?

I’m actually just starting to say that, it’s still a very tender young bud of a dream.  I just think it’s a very, very exciting time to be a writer.  I spent the last ten years surrounded by entrepreneurs, so I’ve been a little bit infected by that spirit.  But I am a novelist (and maybe a blogger) first and foremost:  I’m just very strongly attracted to the idea of the writer as entrepreneur, self-published as well as traditionally published, as a producer of multimedia content, as a transmedia storyteller. At the moment I just feel open to anything, like anything is possible, so long as you have the passion for it and you’re willing to sweat for it and you’re not afraid to embrace change.  When things are changing, when there’s some chaos, there’s also remarkable opportunity.   

There is a lot of good information here for writers looking to perfect their writing ability.  I hope that you guys have enjoyed this lesson.  I certainly have and I want to say a BIG “thank you” to Justine for agreeing to do this interview. It was kind of you to take time out to help those writers in need. 

What is your writing process?  How can you improve what you do?  Leave your comments below, I love hearing from you! 

 © Tania Dakka and Chaotic Musing, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Yes, I am a little late with this one, but duty called.  Here it is, better late than never:)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

“You need to tell the truth and share the truth.  Information you keep only puts blades in your soul.”

Lord of Bones, Justine Musk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Tania Dakka and Chaotic Musing, 2011