Dropdown menu

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Moving in a new direction

So... I'm just going to admit that I'm breaking all the blogging rules with this post. But I've had a lot to say, and I haven't said it because every time I open up my blog, I realize I haven't posted in so long that it's crazy to post something. A few weeks ago, I realized that it's crazy to not post because of that. But then I had so much I wanted to say, I didn't know where to start. So here I am, starting.

Which is a great rule of writing anything. Sometimes you just have to start. Stop worrying about all the junk, and just do it.

My plan is to post more, but I'm hesitant to put it on a schedule. Partially because I want to be free to do my own thing, but also because this year has been all about blowing up my schedule. For those of you who don't get my newsletter, (WHAT? Why not?? Sign up here!) I was in a car accident in March. Though it was not a serious accident, my car was totaled, and I ended up with a mild concussion and a mild case of whiplash. I'm still in treatment, but improving. Still, there are things I think I can do, commit to doing, and then I have to take a nap instead. Like today. I wanted to write, but I spent that time napping. I give myself a lot of grace for those moments, because as the doctor reminds me when I want to push myself harder, this is the only way I will heal. So, all right. I nap when my body tells me to nap, and I do my best to respect my limitations. I sound very zen about this now, but for a while, I was very angry at feeling so helpless. At being unable to kick butt and take names the way I always have. Now I am allowing myself to be open to rest, and to be open to whatever God's plan is in this difficult time.

Speaking of God's plan, so many of my plans for my writing career have changed this year. I can't share them all, but I've had some doors close, others open, and a few paths revealing themselves, but I don't know where it will all lead.

Uncertainty has become my theme for the year. There are many other areas in my life I'm finding this to be true, and I'm learning to be okay with that. I'm also learning more about things that I am and am not okay with. One of the things I am not okay with is all of the negativity swirling around at times. I understand that many people are unhappy with how things are going in the world; there are many things that are making me sad as well.

But I learned something while writing An Unlikely Mother. (Yes, I know, it's not on my website yet. One more thing I've put off while letting my broken brain heal.) My editor asked me out of curiosity why Flora had been mean in the first place. I told her that Flora thought her meanness was kindness. That she thought, that by being mean to people, she would make them change what she thought was bad behavior. I spent a lot of time thinking about that, and how I spent many years of my life being bullied. I stayed in situations I should have left, but I believed the lies people told, and I believed that there was something wrong with me, and that if I could only fix those things, I would be better. I thought people were mean to me because I deserved it. They thought I deserved it. As I wrote about Flora, I remembered one time when a particularly mean group of people pulled me aside, told me all the things that were wrong with me, and then they told me that they were just being hard on me so that I could be a better person. Writing Flora's story taught me how to love those bullies of long ago. I can't say that I would want to invite them over for a barbecue, but I forgive them.

Which leads me to my new direction. All of these bad things we see, we lash out in negativity, thinking it will prompt the change we desire. But all it does is wound. Most people don't look at their wounds and think, "huh, I guess I'll change and completely embrace what the person who wounded me wants me to do." Rather, the wounded person gets defensive, and lashes out, trying to keep from being wounded again. Which wounds the other party, and leads to more wounding. So here we are, wounded people, bleeding out, but doing our best to strike out to get the other party to just stop it already. And it doesn't work.  I think about all the times I was mean to others, and it has always been in response to something mean they did to me. But it never made the situation any better. All the people who've been mean to me... it has never made me do the things they wanted. Mostly, it just made me more stubborn in my resistance. So I am done.

I'm choosing to spread positivity and love. I may not always succeed, and I certainly will need to remind myself of this idea in traffic, when I use way more bad words than I should, but I hope that the additional positivity and love in the world will make it a better place.

In that vein, I am joining in a new movement, started by author Trish Milburn, called Upbeat Authors. The goal is to spread positivity and happiness. Trish noticed all the negativity out there, and how it was impacting her life in a negative way, and she asked if people wanted to join her in sharing more positive messages on social media. I was all for it. The idea answered a longing deep within me that I'd been wondering about for a long time. Was I the only one in physical pain because of the negativity in this world? If you read Trish's post, you'll see that a lot of others felt this same need, and I am so proud to be part of the group.

There is so much out there in the way of bad news. Hard things. And as much as we feel bombarded by those things, we can't fight it by lashing out anymore. It's time to sow seeds of the good things we wish to have in our lives.

Today, I'm sharing a picture on social media of our new baby chicks. Mama looks big and fat because there are three chicks under her, keeping warm. If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a video a couple of days ago of the chicks peeping. It's well worth a watch. Mostly because it makes me so happy to hear them chirping. This week's theme for the upbeat authors is the joy in simple things. Those little chicks are such simple things, and they bring me so much joy. There is nothing more healing than the sound of those little babies peeping about. Those noises are why I call my chickens the peeps.

So that's my new direction. I'd write a better conclusion, but it's past my bedtime, and I'm out of words for the day. We'll chat more another day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Infinite patience to realize your dreams

The apple tree at our old house. It only produced
fruit every two years, but when it did, it was a
bumper crop. Of course, the tree was about thirty
or so years old, so it had plenty of time to mature.
One of the things my coach, Amanda Moxley, teaches is that infinite patience creates immediate results. Sometimes I get frustrated with her saying that because I have been SO patient, and sometimes it seems like my dreams are never going to come true. The words infinite and immediate seem to almost be contradictions, and certainly, when you feel like you've been waiting forever, the infinite seems far more possible than the immediate.

But today, as I was having coffee with a friend who was discouraged about how her book is doing in terms of sales, I remembered my own discouragement just a few months ago. Like her, I was disappointed in my numbers. I had not yet earned out my advance. And when I had a few friends share their numbers to try to encourage me, I only felt worse, because my numbers weren't as high. I've heard enough numbers over the years to know that it's all relative. Compared to many authors, I have amazing numbers that they'd kill to have. Other authors would look at my numbers and wonder why I'm wasting my time. I checked with both my editor and agent, and they agreed that my numbers were fine. Fast forward a few more months, and there was a royalty check in my mailbox. I DID earn out my advance, and my numbers were starting to look closer to my comparison numbers.

And here's the point I made to my friend today: sometimes you just have to wait it out until the numbers come. 

I realized, based on talking with friends and hearing my agent speak on this topic for a while, that I was freaking out over numbers when I simply hadn't gone through the process long enough. No one plants a seed for an apple tree and expects it to be producing apples the very next day. But that's often how we view success. The seed is planted, so where is our fruit? Or we see the seed start to sprout, and we're disappointed because it hasn't grown very big. And when it finally starts producing fruit, we're mad because it only bears a few scraggly apples that first year.

If any of us heard a gardener whine about those circumstances with their apple trees, what would we say? Probably something along the lines of, "just give it time." But when people tell us as writers that same thing, we get mad. And yes, I'm guilty of that very thing. Fortunately, I didn't do what a lot of writers do and quit. I dug my heels in and continued working, continued tilling the soil, planting the seeds, and doing all the stuff I'm supposed to do as a writer.

Which led to a really cool thing that happened a couple of weeks ago. I went to the bank and deposited my latest advance check. The teller comes over the drive through speaker and says, "are you an author," in a revered tone. I say yes, and her response kind of knocked me for a loop. She said, "Wow! That's amazing! You must be doing really well for such a big check from a publisher."

To me, it wasn't that big of a check. Add a few more zeroes to that puppy and then I will be in awe of my big check. But you know, a few years ago, I would have done anything for that check. To a lot of my author friends, that IS a lot of money. Then there are the author friends who would never work for so little. It's all relative. And that's why you have to sit where you're at, accepting of your own journey, grateful for where your journey has brought you, and understand the idea of infinite patience. I have no doubt that one day, I will have the kind of income that impresses both me and the bank teller.

Here's the secret, and how you DO end up getting the big checks:

Not one of my author friends woke up one morning, banged out a book, and got handed a ginormous check their first time out of the gate. I imagine maybe there might be a few rare folks that's happened to, but for the rest of us, the way it happens is that you get up, you write, then you write some more. And you keep doing that until you have a sale-able book. Some people can do it in months, others take years, and still others (like me) wonder if it's EVER going to happen. Then you get your book out there, and you keep doing the work. You keep believing, and you keep trusting, and you surround yourself with people who believe in you and who can see a little bit farther than you can, and you keep going. 

When stuff gets hard, and the numbers don't seem to add up the way you think they're supposed to, keep going. When your friends whine about how bad the industry is, or that things aren't fair, or that it didn't used to be this hard, keep going. (And maybe get new friends!) Because one day, you're going to pull up at the bank, and you're going to deposit a check, and the teller is going to be amazed that a real live writer who makes real money is there. And I don't know the teller's story, but I'd like to think that because she saw what she thought was a really big check from a publisher, that she now believes that something that seems almost impossible can come true. Maybe she's got her own writing dreams but someone told her that she'd never make a dime doing it, so she never pursued them. Or maybe she's trying to write a book and seeing my check gave her hope that she can do it too.  Who knows?

What I learned is that in all the time I was frustrated over not being where I needed to be is that I was exactly where I needed to be at the time. Like the apple tree (and I'm still just a seedling, trust me), I needed that time to grow and develop. The apples were coming (and woo hoo, am I looking forward to the day when my branches are overloaded with fruit), I just couldn't see them yet.

I went through some old files today and I found a synopsis written by a friend who is no longer writing. I wanted to cry, because it was SO good. But because her tree didn't get apples fast enough, she quit watering it, quit fertilizing it, and that little tree has gone dormant. She published a book, way before I ever sold, and that's been it. I wonder, if she'd just kept writing, how much fruit would be on her tree today.

Going back to the idea of infinite patience creating immediate results, I've realized that part of the infinite patience is the not giving up. People see the trees bursting with fruit, but the don't realize that those results didn't happen overnight. We think they did, but few of us were watching when that seed was planted, watered, fertilized, and coaxed to life over time.

Even if your dream isn't to be an author, there's something out there that you dream of doing. Granted, it's not going to happen if you just sit around, hoping, but doing nothing to move in that direction, but it you do the work, and just keep moving forward, it will happen. I don't know when, and there isn't a magic formula for how to figure it out. You just have to keep moving, keep believing, keep trying, and it will come.

Friday, December 04, 2015

A day in the life of an author on deadline

Sick kid and dogs. My company for the day.
I have a book due December 15th. The rough draft is finished (thanks NaNoWriMo) but I need to do my revisions before handing it in to my editor. I have a big work event next week that I have to finalize details for. Today is basically crunch day. Here is how my day responded:

  • Wake up and take the dogs out.
  • Hubby, who has worked all night,  is sleeping on the couch.
  • Try to keep the dogs from jumping on hubby and waking him up.
  • Fail miserably.
  • Finally take the dogs outside to give hubby a chance to sleep. Try to shovel deck while holding leashes so that when the dishwasher repairman comes he does not slip and break his neck. Almost break my neck, but at least no one will sue.
  • Take the dogs on a longer walk to hopefully wear them out so they won't wake hubby.
  •  Bring the dogs in and wake hubby up.
  • Realize that while on the walk, missed a phone call from hubby's ex-wife (who never calls). Realize she's tried every number she has for us. Worry about the older kids. Find out that she just needed to help reunite one of the kids with his phone. Phew!
  • Try to get some work done.
  • Dishwasher repair guy shows up. Dogs go crazy. Take dogs downstairs so they will settle down. Try to get some more work done.
  • Get a call from sick kid at school.
  • Pick sick kid up. Make doctor's appointment for kid on the way there.
  • Pray this isn't like last time when you ended up spending the afternoon cleaning up puke.
  • Come home to find that dishwasher guy has left and could not find anything wrong with the brand-new dishwasher that refuses to clean the dishes. Never again, Sears. Never again. 
  • Try to get some work done.
  • Take pictures of sick kid sleeping with dogs, grateful that no puking occurred.
  • Try to get some more work done.
  • Take sick kid to the doctor.
  • Spend an hour in the doctor's office because they're so busy. Leave with diagnosis of ear infection, but no strep, so the rest of the family will not die.
  • Text with kid from doctor's office to find that once again, you forgot to turn on the crockpot so dinner will not be ready when you get home.
  • Drive home in rush hour traffic. Remind yourself that because you work from home, you only have to do rush hour once in a great while, and allow yourself to be grateful for your blessings.
  • Drop sick kid off at home.
  • Go to store to pick up prescription and something for dinner. Find out that the doctor's office didn't call in the prescription yet.
  • Call doctor's office to find out where prescription is. Doctor has gone home, so they take a message for the on-call doctor to call back.
  • Shop for dinner while waiting for phone call.
  • Get phone call, and on-call doctor disagrees with what the doctor who saw sick kid prescribed, so have to argue with the doctor, give a full detailed history, and finally be told he will call in a different prescription than what was prescribed.
  • Shop a while longer to give pharmacy time to deal with prescription. Add several questionable impulse buys to the shopping cart. Get to the pharmacy, and discuss medication options with pharmacist. Pharmacist goes to fill prescription.
  • Pay for groceries, then go back to pharmacy. Find out that pharmacist finally got the original prescription, but it contradicts the new prescription, and does not know what to do. Discuss the situation with pharmacist, who agrees that going with the prescription from the doctor who actually saw sick kid is the way to go. Pharmacist is baffled that two doctors in the same practice would have such vastly different ideas on what to do.
  • Finally (two hours after arriving at the store) get the prescription in my hand. Realize that there is no time to cook dinner when I get home.
  • Stop by Wendy's to pick up dinner.
  • Give sick kid medicine, feed the family, and realize that you now have a raging headache.
  • Hang out in sick kid's bed, giving her love, and spend time with her until she falls asleep.
  • Try to get some work done.
  • Go to bed, and hope that tomorrow is a better day!

Or at least the last two is what I have planned. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Turning around the bad things

Wow! It has been a crazy few weeks in Danicaland. So many ups and downs, and unfortunately, I had something bad happen that made me hit a low I haven't had in a long time. Today, I was processing all those things, and a good friend made a comment that stopped me in my tracks. And while it was completely unrelated to the bad thing that happened, it put a new fire in me.

Actually, the seed of the fire was planted last week when I was at another transformational retreat. We talked a lot about our visions and who we wanted to be in the future. I've really struggled with defining what I do for writers, which is hard, because I truly believe that I have a lot of great information that can help my fellow writers- and I've had a number of them say so! And then it came to me- I help writers move beyond the things that are blocking them from success in their writing career. BAM! I was looking over my notes, and right below where I wrote and circled that ah-ha, I wrote a question. How am I out of alignment with that vision?

I didn't answer that question, because until today, I didn't have the answer. And now I do. You see, the bad thing that happened to me created a lot of inner drama. Because I wanted to think I was strong, I tried dealing with it on my own. But in dealing with it, I developed this fear, this place of hiding and not wanting to be seen because I needed to protect myself. Honestly, it has felt like a part of me died, and I didn't know how to get it back.

Then today, talking to my friend, I mentioned something I want to do, but don't know how to do it, and she was like, "DUH, the Holy Spirit lives in you. You have all the power of God inside you to take care of it." Which is when I realized that as much as I've been trying to control my life around the bad thing, it has been controlling me. The power of God lives inside of me, and I have been letting something horrible that happened to me override that power.

And so here I am, turning around that bad thing and saying, "you don't get to be the boss of me anymore!"

I'm going to tell you a secret. One that has me feeling vulnerable, and yet I also want to share it, because it's part of what has transformed me as a writer, and what I believe is the key to helping other writers. As I dealt with the bad thing, I completely abandoned my writing practice. I'm almost ashamed to admit it, because I know how bad it is to let your writing go, and to let something like that drag you down. But here's the thing: we all do it. And I'm convinced that one of the main things holding us back in our writing is that we let these bad things get in our way. I don't know what your bad thing is, and I don't really want to talk about my bad thing. But we have got to realize that we are stronger than those bad things. Bad things happen to all of us, but if we let them get in our way, they control us, rather than us being in charge.

Which leads me back to my purpose. I created my retreat because I want to help writers. I want to give them nourishment in ways writers need because they tend to lose themselves. I know, because I've found myself lost more times than I can count. But I am learning how to get un-lost, to be un-stuck, and to move forward. Which is what I want to teach others.

So... I've decided that I really want as many people to come to my retreat as possible, because I know I am not the only writer who has lost her way a time or two or three or more. Which is why I've decided to lower my retreat price back to the early bird discount rate of $97. A while back, I told a writer friend that for me, it's not about the money, except that I do need to pay for the space I'm renting at the hotel and honor my contractual obligations. So you guys are getting it at my cost. Writers need this information, and I'm going to share it.

We all lose our way from time to time. Bad things happen. But I believe we can turn it around, and turn into fuel to move us forward. I hope you'll join me!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The simplified process to achieving your dreams

I had lunch with a friend last week, and she asked me about the process it took for me on this journey to my dreams. And while there is a lot to the process, I wanted to share the basics, because the truth is, achieving your dreams is a LOT easier than you think.


It's easy?

Believe it or not, your dreams are often closer than they appear. 

When we decided to embark on the dream house process, almost a year ago, I told my husband I thought it would take 2-3 years. He wanted to shorten the time, and I was like, okay, go for it. We still thought we'd be about a year out. But then, as I started researching the possibilities, the spark of what we could do kept coming alive, and before we knew it, we were living in our dream house. What started as a "maybe we can do it in 2-3 years" only took six months! Here is what it took:

Step one: Dream
That sounds really basic, but a lot of people are afraid to take a look at what they want in life, because they're afraid they won't get it. They're afraid they might be dreaming too big. Here's the crazy thing: oftentimes, what seems like a HUGE dream is completely do-able, if you're willing to make the effort.

Step two: Research the Dream
Now this also sounds basic, but it's amazing to me to see how many "impossible" dreams were actually possible with little to no effort. For example, last year, we went on our dream vacation to England. We'd wanted to go for years, but thought there was no way we could do it. When we were planning a trip, we had a few locations in mind, and for curiosity's sake, I looked up how much flights to England were. Whoa!! Yes, it was expensive, but as I looked at our budget and what we wanted to do, I realized that it cost almost the same as another trip we'd been looking at. What seemed to be impossible actually was closer than I thought.

Step three: Focus on the Dream
How often do you focus on your dreams? I have a dream notebook I look at every day, reminding me of my dream, and allowing me to clarify what I want out of life. In that notebook, I have several letters to myself, where I talk about my vision, written in the future tense, expressing gratitude for having reached those goals. I read those letters to myself every day, not only reminding myself of the dream itself, but also of the why.

Here is a video I did today on Periscope showing my dream notebook.

Step four: Plan the Dream

You've researched, you've focused, but you also need to come up with a plan. For example, how much does your dream cost? Have you broken down how much extra money you'd need to make that dream come true? Have you created a plan for how you'll come up with that money? What if all you needed was an extra $50 per month? Or just one hour per week? I'm always amazed at how, when you break down the dream, and start making a plan, how much more do-able it is.

Step five: Move in the direction of the Dream

Sometimes the cost of the dream is more than anything you can see. My ultimate dream, when it comes to my writing retreat, is that I would have a retreat center in the mountains, where people could come and be refreshed. I figure that building the retreat center I want is going to cost at least a million dollars. Sounds pretty hard, right? But I am starting small, and I'm hosting a retreat at a hotel as a first step. Then I'll host more retreats, and find even cooler places to go. And with each step, I'm building a foundation to create a retreat center that it going to nourish so many people. Yes, it's going to be work. And no, it won't happen tomorrow. But it's going to happen, and it's going to be wonderful. Even though it's still a long way off, it's a lot closer than it was when I sat around, talking about how cool it would be with no real movement in that direction.

What's your dream? Have you thought about how you're going to reach it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

10 things that make you AWESOME!!

Well, okay, I'll admit right off the bat that I have no clue what makes you awesome. Well, maybe. Some of you, who I know personally, I could come up with a list. But the rest of you... I'm just going to assume. Because the fact is, we all have things that make us awesome, but we don't always claim it.

Why don't we claim it? Well, there are a lot of reasons, and I know for me, a lot of it goes back to childhood wounds where people mocked me for claiming my awesomeness. I was bullied and treated really badly by a lot of people, so it was easier to shrink and hide from the meanness that seemed to inevitably follow. But you know, the more we keep hiding our awesomeness, the more we let the bullies win. They drag us down, and keep us down, and if you think about it, they don't do it because we're not worthy of our awesomeness, but because they aren't. Our awesomeness threatens them, because they bought into the belief that if someone else is awesome, they can't be awesome too.

Which is a big, fat lie.

Here is the truth about being awesome. I am awesome. You are awesome. And your awesomeness in no way diminishes mine. My awesomeness does not diminish yours. In fact, if we both allow ourselves to be awesome together, in recognition of our mutual awesomeness, we make the world a better, more awesome place. We give all the people out there, hiding their awesomeness, permission to shine.

I did a great video on Periscope today, about the fear of putting yourself out there. Friends, I wish I could tell you that I am not afraid. But the truth is, I'm a big old chicken. Maybe that's why I love my chickens so much. I can totally relate to them. If you're not on Periscope, you should follow me and watch my scopes. Why? Because they're awesome! Anyway, in that video, I gave people a challenge to come up with ten things that make them awesome. I promised that I'd do it, too. Now, I did say I'd do it within the hour, but then I got inspired to do it as an art journal project with Princess, and I had to wait for the paint to dry, so it took a bit longer. But I am keeping my commitment to my viewers, to my friends, and to myself... the picture you see is the picture I made proclaiming my awesomeness to the world!

And, in case you can't read it, here is my list: Ten things that make me awesome!
1. I make mistakes, and that's okay! (I messed up the lettering in my art, and it's okay!)
2. I am a good mom.
3. I love chickens.
4. I like to help people.
5. I am a good writer.
6. I am creative.
7. I am a nature lover (as long as it's not in my house!).
8. I love to travel.
9. I like to learn new things.
10. I am resilient!

So here's my challenge for you. What makes you awesome? Make a list of your ten things. If you're not brave enough to share them all on my blog, share your favorite. Whether you admit it here or not, you are awesome. I don't know all the things that make you awesome, but I know they're there. So share! Let's be awesome together, and make the world a more awesome place!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Five Steps to Healing Writer Wounds

I had so much response to my post about writer wounds, and while I knew others had been wounded by other writers, I didn’t realize how much it hit home with people. I think it’s because we try so hard to do the right thing, and turn the other cheek, that we end up silently suffering for a long time.

Writer wounds are a different animal from a lot of the other wounds we face. There are a lot of reasons for that, but mostly I think it’s because as writers, we’re in this weird place of being in business, but in a way that makes us extremely personally vulnerable. 

After all, what is our writing, but our vulnerabilities out for the world to see?

Even though I’m listing out this process, recognize that it is a very personal journey, and these steps might be different for you. So don’t be discouraged if your process isn’t exactly like this. Part of why I am including this in my retreat is that it’s a bigger and deeper process than you can get out of a blog. More importantly, I believe that the unhealed wounds we carry around are part of what's holding us back in our writing success.

Step One: Acknowledge the Wound
Because we’re supposed to be professional, a lot of times, when we’re wounded as writers, we brush off the wound. The editor who just said, “your writing stinks,” is still your editor, and you’re going to have to work with that editor again. Or, the big-name author who stepped on you is still a big-name author and you’re going to have to interact with that person on an on-going basis. So, a lot of times, we push it down because we’re trying so hard to suck it up and move on. The trouble is, pushing it down never heals the wound, and eventually, the wound will come back up when we least expect it. The first step in healing the wound is to say, “this happened, and it hurt me.”

Step Two: Feel the Wound
Part of the pushing down process means that we never fully feel the pain of the wound. Maybe it’s because the wound happened at a time and place where having a good cry isn’t appropriate. But a lot of times, it’s because we’ve trained ourselves not to feel the pain. I’ve talked to a lot of counselors and coaches who all say that allowing yourself to feel the emotion is part of what helps you heal that emotion.

Step Three: Process the Wound
A lot of people stop at feeling the emotion. They feel it, and it hurts, and then they sit in the hurt. But you also have to take the time to process that emotion. Why did it hurt? What did that hurt remind you of? Is there an unexpected gift in that wound? A lesson that can help you grow? How can you care for yourself and love yourself in a way that is going to help that wound heal?

Step Four: Forgive the Person Who Wounded You
I have a daily forgiveness practice that I work through, and the thing I’ve learned about forgiveness is that it is never about the person who hurt you. It’s about softening your heart, and giving yourself the gift of letting go of the wound. One of the biggest misconceptions about forgiveness is that you can just say, “I forgive you, and move on.” Forgiveness is actually a process that takes time. You’re going to say, “I forgive you,” today, but tomorrow morning, you might wake up and still feel the pain. And you’re going to have to say, “I forgive you,” again. You may have to say that a whole lot of mornings before you actually feel the forgiveness. 

Forgiving the other person does not make what the person did to you right. 

In fact, you should forgive the person whether that person is sorry or not. Note that I did not make, “confronting the other person,” part of the process. There are a lot of reasons for that, but mostly because this process is more about you and your emotions. You can’t control the other person, or change them. The only person you have control over is you.

Step Five: Use the Wound for Good
I have a journey entry from when I was about 12 years old, and I was processing a hurtful situation. In it, I wrote what has become a driving force for my life. I decided back then, that I was going to use those painful places to help others- whether it be to help others out of a similar situation, or to prevent similar situations from happening. As writers, we also have a third way of using the wound for good. We get to use that pain, that situation, even that emotion, to inform our words as we write.

Being wounded happens to everyone- whether we like it or not. But in the end, we get to choose how we use those wounds. We can let those wounds fester inside us, crippling us, or turning us into mean grumpy people. Or we can heal those wounds, and use them in a positive way.

If you’re curious about my story about Matilda, and how it ended, here’s the result. Matilda and I haven’t spoken in about 3 or 4 years. I gave up after I couldn’t get past her assistant. I have never spoken to her about my hurt. And at this point, it doesn’t matter. If she called me up tomorrow, I would treat her like any other acquaintance who called me out of the blue. I’d be polite, but I also wouldn’t give her unguarded access to my heart. I had some good times with Matilda, but I choose to invest my energy into friendships that are more mutual. As much as what she did to me hurt, I’m grateful for the experience, because it opened my eyes to the kind of person I want to be as a writer. There are people in my life that I’ve asked to hold me accountable to that standard. And I’d like to think that as I become more successful, I’m going to be a person of integrity and love. Not perfect, of course, but hopefully my name won’t be synonymous with jerk. Plus, I’ve been able to use this story to help others, to know they are not alone in their pain.

So Matilda, even though I’m not using your real name, and I know you do not read my blog, thank you. What you did really hurt me. But I forgive you. It does not excuse your behavior, but I’m not holding on to it and letting it define me. In fact, I’m using it to help others heal. And while they don’t know who you are, they thank you, too. 

If you want to learn more about this healing process, I'd love for you to come to my retreat. We won't be spending the entire time at the retreat talking about this, but we will go more in depth than I did here on the blog.