Inklings Book Contest

This is the third year I’ve been involved with the Inklings Book Contest through the Society of Young Inklings. I’m proud to be a part of this contest. It is an exciting opportunity for serious young writers.

Today I had the honor of providing some writing coaching to one of the winners of the contest whose story is ultimately going to be published in the 2019 Inklings Book.

You might want to meet these amazing young authors when they sign copies of the book in August at the book launch party. Stay connected for updates and more information.

Judging in Process for Inklings Book Contest

I am honored to be a judge for the Inklings Book Contest. Today I received my “pile” of manuscripts to judge. Excited to start reading the great stories submitted by serious young authors.

Being involved so directly with children’s writing reminds me of my own young writer days. I’m happy to support this win-win contest, which allows every writer who enters to receive feedback.

Mindfulness As Freedom From Mind Traps

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Do any of these mental traps look familiar?  My mindfulness practice has supported me in being more aware of mine.

Denial —> “I’m not feeling sad, it’s all fine.”
Pushing my feelings away —> “I don’t want to feel sad.”
Overanalyzing my thoughts —> “I’m sad because of A and B and C. Oh and D and E also.”
Trying to change what’s true —> “I’m going to override the sadness by X.”
Trying to figure things out —> “I guess the sadness is related to X and if I could remove Y, then I could solve problem Z and then I wouldn’t feel so sad.”
Not accepting feelings if they’re “negative” —> “Sadness isn’t a “good” feeling – I’d rather feel happy.”
Not feeling free to share my truth and feelings with others —> “How are you?” “Fine.” Meanwhile, inner dialogue: “I’m NOT fine. Here’s all the reasons I’m NOT fine.”
Overidentifying with emotions —> “I am sad. Sadness is me. I’ve always been a sad person.”

Mindfulness allows me to feel all my feelings (including sadness), acknowledge their existence in the present, accept them as a passing experience, and let them pass. My practice of mindfulness is an ongoing and continuous process to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by each of these mental traps. While the mental traps continue occurring, my practice supports me with tools to be free.

Going Deeper With Gratitude

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Are you looking for an opportunity to go deeper with your gratitude practice?

Basic gratitude practice might look like:
“I am grateful for my home.”
“I’m grateful for my family.”

Remembering what you are grateful for is a great place to start.

Now call in a deeper sense of fulfillment by adding the “Why.” The “WHY” connects to the feelings of your heart. It adds personal meaning. It also will likely change over time, making your gratitude more dynamic and appealing to explore.

“I’m grateful because…”

“I’m grateful for my home because it provides me a sense of security and comfort.”

“I’m grateful for my family because I feel supported and cared for.”

Try adding the WHY to your gratitude lists. Let me know in the comments if anything shifts.

The Start Of My Gratitude Journaling Journey

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Several years ago, I was going through an intensely challenging time; it seemed I had little to be grateful for. It was easy to focus on everything that wasn’t going right. In an attempt to shift my outlook and mood, I decided to try gratitude journaling. I wanted to retrain my brain to focus on the positive.

I ended up mostly filling my journals with gratitude for my cat Leyna. When it was difficult to see the good in other aspects of my life, I could usually remember sweet or funny things she’d done that day or simply appreciate her unexpected arrival in my life. I’d remember the feeling of her purring warm presence on my lap. Appreciate her coming out of nowhere to bring me joy.

My journaling brought my focus and attention to the extraordinary relationship Leyna and I had and helped me connect with heartfelt joy. Practicing gratitude in this way changed my life for the better.