Friday, May 22, 2020

Emotional Health Makes Way for Creation

Photo by Michael Liao on Unsplash

My creative struggles are less to do with the technicalities of writing and more to do with my mental and emotional state. As an author and publisher, I need harmony to concentrate. If I feel confused or anxious, I’m not going to be creative. I have to first figure out how to create peace within myslef before I can work. When I feel good, the words flow freely and joyfully.

A simple search will reveal endless articles, YouTube videos and books about how to write and publish. I want to ask a different question. What’s stopping you from creating?

Try this with me. Get into a comfortable position and take a deep breath in. Hold it there for a few seconds, filling up the space inside of you. Now let it out. Allow your body to completely relax, letting the tension out with your breath. In that moment of release, where does your mind go?

Does your mind go to a task? Maybe you are trying to remember that one last item you need from the store, but forgot to write down. Does it go to a person? Maybe someone you are worried about or who said something that bothered you. Do you question how you are going to finish a novel when you can’t even get through the opening scene?

Wherever your mind goes, let it, just for that moment and observe. Without judgement, what is coming up?

There are thousands of places your mind will go and it is always changing. When we find stillness and worry, frustration or task items come up, there is no room for creativity. The key to writer’s block and many other creative struggles lie in your mind. When you can see those emotional blocks for what they are, you can push through them and open up space for inspiration and creativity.

Writing, especially creative writing, is extremely personal work. You are taking a part of yourself and sharing it with the world. When you are fearful, stressed or distracted, your work suffers. When you can step back and understand where your mind is, you can find harmony within yourself and that is where the creative spirit shines.

Only once I began to unlock my emotional struggles did I realize why I was so blocked in my work. In the end, it came down to fear and my own self-imposed limitations. It took a lot of “soul work” to unblock them. As I learned to manage my emotional state, I moved forward in my work a little bit at a time until I completed my novel and published it last year.

I established a practice to help me continue this work and create consistent harmony within myself as I work on my second novel.

My message is about more than the structure of writing. I want to share how to balance your emotional energy to make space to create. I know there is someone out there a lot like me trying to accomplish a creative goal, but continually feel like you are hitting a wall. I want to help you remove that wall by learning how to focus on how to manage your emotions. When you feel good, your creative work will flow more freely.

Sending you peace and love!





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Friday, May 15, 2020

Are We Addicted to the Internet?

Photo by Oleg Magni on Unsplash

The Internet is an incredibly useful tool. We can communicate, learn, work and play through this constant connection.

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you didn’t have the Internet? You wouldn’t be able to surf on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. You wouldn’t be able to get up to date news and weather. You wouldn’t be able to check email, stream movies or do quick research. Life would be very different.

This is the life I’ve experienced the last couple of weeks as we have moved towards the mountains.

A lot of emotions have coursed through me during this time as I adjust to the disconnect. I’ve gone from panic to relieved and everywhere in between.

I was finally getting a good groove going in my business and balacning creating and sharing my experiences. I was frustrated to get that taken away. I do most of my writing on the computer with files saved online. That would have to change too. A lot would have to change without the being connected to the Internet.

Once I calmed down and started to assess the situation, I realized something interesting...It’s really quiet without the Internet. I didn’t realize the amount of notifications coming in all the time. For once, in a long while, I didn’t feel so distracted.

When we go camping, I seek out what I call “the big breath.” This is when I can unplug from the chaos of life and plug into nature. I am able to breathe deeply and take a step back to reconnect with myself. I felt that after a could days disconnected from the Internet and it felt really good.

This all got me thinking, are we addicted to the Internet? It’s like the more we have, the more we want. There comes a point where it is no longer a tool we use, but a momentum we are now obliged to.

I miss the ease of connection in the same way I miss going to write in coffee shops. I wish I could use it, but I’m doing okay without. I can still connect in town, so I’m not cut off completely. It does make me consider what my priorities are when connecting, which helps me release any unnecessary distractions.

I am learning a lot about my process. I remembered the power of writing by hand. I forgot I wrote the first half or more of “Leap of Faith,” my first novel, in a notebook. I’ve been feeling stuck on how to get into the scenes of my second novel, “Playing House.” I feel like writing it out on paper is the key.

I have also spent a lot of time reconnecting with my Self and my purpose. I am allowing myself to sit in stillness and find clarity in my business, writing and emotional health. This has been a huge eye opener and a perfect way to use the transforming spring energy.

The Internet is a great tool. I miss being able to connect easily, but I am also grateful for this opportunity to disconnect and find direction and peace.

I ask the question, are we addicted to the Internet? I think as a society, the answer is a resounding yes. However, I ask you the same question, are you addicted to the Internet? When is the last time you logged off?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Beauty Unfolding {A Poem}



Reality is...
a bloom does not open all at once.
It is a process,
              often uncomfortable,
to spread your petals.
It may take longer than you want
              - Hold Fast -
there is beauty in the unfolding.
As you soak up the light,
             seeking your full potential,
let your grace shine through.
Transformation is worth the ache.

Sending you peace and love!




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Friday, May 1, 2020

Playing House Preview Scene



I'm so excited to share my upcoming novel is called Playing House.

Mack feels like he is barely getting by on his own with his four year old son, Brady. Each day looks like the next, but he tries to appreciate the small moments thanks to help from his parents. He's not looking for love after the death of his young wife, but when he hears the deep rumble of an '82 corvette belonging to the enticing elementary school teacher in his apartment complex, he feels a little more alive.

Selena grew up in a large family and feels the silence closing in on her as she lives on her own for the first time. Revving the engine of the car she worked on with her dad helps her remember where she comes from and that she is not alone. When she meets Brady and his charming father, she finds herself drawn to the love they have for each other and realizes that families come in all shapes and sizes.

Enjoy this preview scene from the opening of Playing House.

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Brady swims like a fish and he’s only four. I watch him kick across the pool like an Olympic medalist amazed that he hasn’t even had proper swimming lessons. I have to hand it to my mom, she’s always taught him what mattered in life, just like she did for me.

The Carolina heat makes me sweat and it’s only May. Even in the pool, it’s almost to hot to stand in the afternoon. I am thankful my son likes to swim. It takes the edge off.

“That’s great, Brady,” I call to him as he reaches the far side. His smile fills his entire face and reflects on the water. It’s a good day. It’s nice to have a day off where we can just play. I can’t think of a better way to spend it than soaking up these little moments in the sun.

“I’m going to swim back even faster,” Brady shouts before he pushes off the side of the pool.

“Let me see,” I encourage, but his arms are already splashing. Pride wells up inside of me watching him so happy. He’s gone through a lot in his young life with his mom passing away last year. It’s moments like this that I wish Sarah could see.

I shake melancholy memories out of my head as Brady splashes next to me to grab the pool’s edge. “Was it faster?” Brady asks.

“I could barely see you. You moved so fast like the Flash in water.” I commended.

“That fast?” His eyes bugged out of his head, “I want to try again.”

“You can, but first, I need to use the bathroom. Why don’t you come with me.”

I could see his face drop. “I don’t need to pee,” he pouts.

I get it. The last thing anyone wants to do when they’re having a good time is stop, but nature calls. “That’s okay, but I do, so come on with me.”

“Can I sit on the chair?” He asks pointing to where our towels lay by an umbrella.

I look over and back, “What?”

“I know you want to be with me while I’m in the water, but I don’t have to pee and it’s cold in that bathroom. Can I sit on our chair and you go to the bathroom?”

Those big blue eyes look up at me. I see his mother on his face in that moment and shake my head. When did he get so big? “You sure?”

“Yes. Dad, please.” He begs.

“You won’t go in the water?” I ask seriously.

“No. I’ll sit with Gwen. Even though she’s a penguin, she doesn’t like the water.”

I chuckle at the reference to his favorite stuffed animal sitting on their lounge chair. It amazes me how much he understands about the world at four. Maybe he can give me some tips. He seems to have a better grasp on it than me some days.

“Okay,” I relent, “Come on over and dry off with Gwen for a few minutes. Want to fly out of the water?”

“Yes,” Brady exclaims.

I pick him out of the water with as much splash as I can muster and plop him feet first on the concrete.

“Perfect landing,” he cheers with his arms up in the air.

Laughing, I lift myself out of the water next to him. Everything is so exciting for kids. It makes me wonder if I take life too seriously. I’m only twenty-two, but it’s felt pretty serious the last few years. I’m glad I have Brady to remind me to enjoy these little moments.

I grab the Paw Patrol beach towel and wrap it around Brady’s small shoulders. He sits in the chair and I hand him Gwen and see him with new eyes. He’s growing up faster than I thought possible. It seems like only yesterday he was born. A lot has happened between then and now. I mess up his wet hair, “I’ll be right back. Love you, Buddy.”

“Love you, too, Daddy. Now go pee before you pee in your shorts.”

I laugh and turn towards the bathroom, struggling not to run on the poolside concrete and set a bad example. I look back once to witness Brady intently conversing with his stuffed penguin.

I trust my son can handle himself, but I still worry. I want to go quickly, but the whole time I try to make the warm liquid come out all I can think is Brady slipping and drowning or getting snatched by some person while I can’t see him. What kind of world do we live in that I can’t even trust that my son is safe within a gated apartment complex for a few minutes.

Finally, after having to work way too hard to concentrate, I wash my hands and walk hurriedly out of the bathroom. I scan over to our lounge chairs and realize there is a person kneeling by my son. My heart jumps into my throat. What's wrong?

I forget about not running by a pool and race up to Brady. The plastic chair engulfs him as the small boy sits holding his elbow. I’m distracted by the beautiful, tanned lady in a navy blue bikini kneeling next to him. Her dark hair is pulled back in a ponytail and the motherly look she is giving Brady makes my heart do a double take.

An image of a powder blue ’82 corvette pops in my head and I realize I recognize her from getting out of it the other day. I remember thinking then I wish I could meet the woman who drives a car like that. “It’s you,” I murmur, not realizing I opened mouth until she rises away from Brady.

“Me?” She looks from Brady to me and back again.

I shake my head coming out of my daze and focus on my son who managed to hurt himself and attract a gorgeous woman all in the matter of minutes. I kneel in front of him where Selena was and take the arm he’s holding. “Are you okay, son? What happened?

With a face staying strong and no tears in sight Brady explains, “I fell over reaching for the crackers. Gwen and I wanted a snack, but I didn’t get up and I tumbled out of the chair.”

I inspect the wound, a scrape with only a little blood welling up from the center. It is amazing how resilient kids are.

“That’s not too bad. How do you feel?” I ask trying to be sympathetic without making the situation feel too traumatic. Thankfully, Brady is a tough kid.

Brady nods, “I’m okay.” He lifts his stuffed penguin up and says, “Gwen is okay too.”

“Good, as long as you are both okay.”

“Selena came over to help when I fell.” Brady points to the brunette, “she has a pretty smile.”

I look over my shoulder at the Corvette owner and smile. She responds with a little wave. I stand and turn to her, suddenly nervous. “Hi, I’m Mack. Thanks for checking on my boy.”

“It’s no problem.” She grins, “I’m Selena.” She reaches out her hand.

I take it, surprised by her firm grip.

“I have band aids and Neosporin in my apartment just over there,” she points to the set of buildings past the pool gate. “I can help you get all cleaned up.”

Brady nods and stands up.

Selena continues, “If it’s okay with your dad.”

I look from Brady back to this intriguing lady who exudes a little bit of electricity in her touch and nod. Brady beams and takes Selena’s hand looking up at her like she is the sun. They begin walking to the gate with Gwen tucked in the crook of Brady’s other arm.

I watch them for a moment talking as they walk. My heart aches a little knowing that would be Sarah if she were still here, but she’s not.

Something about Selena feels warm and inviting. It’s been just over a year since I became a single dad, maybe it’s time to stop being afraid of that butterfly feeling in my stomach. There’s definitely no denying it is there.

Of course, maybe I’m just imagining things in the summer heat. I pick up our towels and toys, tossing them into the pool bag. After slinging the over-sized tote over my shoulder, I follow the entourage up the walkway towards Selena’s apartment.

We climb one flight of stairs and stop at the second door.

“You have a watermelon on your door?” Brady bounces with excitement. I consider the brightly colored wooden watermelon shaped sign that reads “Sweet Summertime” with a big pink and green bow to match.

“Yes, I do. My sister made that for me. She makes all sorts of signs like this. I have one for every season.”

“What do you have for Christmas?” Brady asks as Selena unlocks her door.

“Rudolph the Reindeer with a big red fuzzy nose.” She answers as she waves us inside.

Brady’s eyes get big as he walks into the cozy room. I follow them shaking my head. Somehow, I can already feel that this meeting is going to spark a change I didn’t know I needed.

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More to come soon on this story, stay tuned! Playing House is scheduled for release in April 2021.

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Sending you peace and love!




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