One Word

What is One Word?

Essentially, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, One Word is a word you divine from the universe to guide you through the year. In past years, I’ve had simplicity and patience, for example. Check out Jon Gordon to get all the details.

Finding my word

This year, I really struggled to find my WORD. I felt completely blank about it over the weeks I was trying to be open to hear it. When I realized the word wasn’t blasting through my head like it had in previous years, I paid more attention to the constant feeling I had about it. Following this vague sense, I looked up and researched through my limited vocabulary down a deep rabbit hole.

First, it was INTENTION

Intention was where I started. But that wasn’t focused enough.

Intention to attention… but that’s more than one word, and not exactly what I felt.
I needed intention to relate more with sourcing my purpose, with ensuring I take action towards a goal that is wise and fitting and not ruled by pride and ego.


I’ve read that yoga can mean “work.” Intentional action. So, I started looking up definitions of yoga. At this point, I was pretty sure YOGA was my WORD, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just creating something of my own making from the hints the universe handed out.

Yoga: a union between the self and the divine, or more accurately to realize my identity with the Divine; to know and tune into my intrinsic nature.

No, that doesn’t sound terrifying at all.

Yoga is (according to Patanjali):

Equanimity of mind in success and failure.
Discretion in work.
The remover of misery and destroyer of pain.
The most supreme self.
Serenity.
The giver of infinite happiness.
Complete control over patterns or modifications of the mind.

Yoga is a lot. Much more than ONE WORD. So, I kept digging, trying to slim this all-encompassing way into a piece I could focus on. The YAMAS is where I found my WORD.

SATYA

…”absolute truth”, but Satya also refers to the virtue of being honest in thoughts, in actions and in words during everyday life…

https://styleoga.it/en/meaning-satya-yoga/

Impeccable truth. Clear, truthful intention. Satya is my One Word.

The actual doing…

Of course, how to go about achieving even the slimmest level of this is my current task. Journaling has become my job this last week as I try to dissect my brain patterns, try to cess out the things that make me not be SATYA (is it a verb? can it be a verb?) and find a way towards it.

Have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them. I’d especially love to hear if you have a word to focus on for the year.

Merry Yuletide Holidays

Every year I decide to release a book at Christmas. Every year I forget that if it’s not done by mid-October, I won’t have time to finish it. Still, it’s never finished in time and I’m scrambling to pull everything together. It works out, but just once I’d like to grow as a person 😉 This year was no different. I just got through 4 edits of a 124K word manuscript in 6 weeks. I feel like my brain has melted and anxiety is just my regular state.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to say Happy Holidays! We celebrate Christmas in my house, though it’s less of a Christian festival and more of an exercise in wrapping my childhood nostalgia into a tangible event. For the past three years, I’ve done a fabulous job! This year’s looking great so far 🙂

Here’s hoping your winter season starts off as wonderful as mine!

Cheers!

~CMM

Dune 2021

The release of the movie Dune is a big deal for me (yeah, yeah- it doesn’t take much). My absolute most favorite story of all time, my absolute favorite character of all time, brought to the big screen with integrity paid to the themes of the book, is an exciting treat.
But the only way I could see it was with my sister, who shares my love for the story. Since she lives in Syracuse and my current semi-permanent home is Somers, CT, some travel plans were needed. Not a problem. I enjoy the travel and it turned the weekend into something closer to a real adventure.

BY TRAIN

I have never been on a train and was excited to make this my first time.
It’s a much slower form of travel than I expected. Apparently, I watch too many sci-fi movies where trains travel above cities at 200 mph. In this reality, with stops, a 3.5-hour drive is 6 hours by train. But that’s okay. I found the steady, elevated travel inspiring.

I wrote this as the train made its way from Springfield, Mass into the countryside:

“A train is a romantic way to travel. I’m thinking of Laura Ingels, her sister Mary traveling by train to and from her school for the blind. How different the countryside of the Midwest from the North-East? How different now from then?

Fall is setting in. The leaves just turning. Mostly green to contrast the changing colors. The sky bright and clear and blue. The fall typically means rain but not today. Today the universe wants me inspired. Today, I ride a train.

It’s the little things that can so largely influence perspective. Sitting up, higher than the freeway, higher than most roads, one can look down and out and across and away over the land. The golden stalks of harvested corn are like amber waves. The closeness of the trees, of the dirt and grass, makes the path much tighter than the many lanes paved for cars. At first disappointed we wouldn’t be traveling at 100 mph, I’m now glad. There is a peacefulness to this pace, to watching the land slip past.”

INCLUDING FRIENDS

Opening day is Friday, October 22 (we’re ignoring the blasphemy that HBOMax allowed an early release time). Friends that are going to see the movie with us can’t go until Saturday. Not okay.

So, we’ll go twice. Friday night and Saturday night.

Opening night, it’s a mostly packed house. The crowd is varied, which is fun to see. Couples my parent’s age sit near groups in their twenties. I wonder if it’s Dune they are here to see or just an epic-looking science fiction movie.
It starts. The first chord of music tingle through the darkened room. Hans Zimmer is a master. Tears are in my eyes as the first scenes reflect from the big screen. The music is perfect. The sights are perfect. Already, I’m glad to see it again tomorrow and the first line of the movie has barely sounded. I know there will be too much to absorb from a single sitting.

SATURDAY

I’ve called home to talk about the greatness. There are a few flaws I can speak of, but petty overthinking and more for the point of conversation than that they tainted the film in any way. But I can’t talk about these specifics because I can’t give anything away to those who haven’t seen it yet. A third viewing is planned.

Watching it a second time is better than the first. All the details you can watch for when you already know the overview.

BACK ON THE TRAIN

Headed East and North, the train is delayed and I’m worried there won’t be time to see the movie again this evening. There is always tomorrow, but I’m hoping not to wait. Sure, I’ve seen it twice but I want more!

WHY DUNE

Paul Atreides is arguably one of the best characters in fiction, especially if you’re arguing with me.
“A great man doesn’t seek to lead. He is called to it,” his father says to him before they leave their home planet. At that moment, in all of Paul’s fifteen years of wisdom, he feels he will never have the need. He has a moment of peace when the future he’s already glimpsed isn’t real.
When the need does arise, when Paul is called, he is both compelled to sabotage the moment as well as take up the mantel. The horrible acts he sees in his future, a future, if he accepts, will subjugate atrocities on all of humanity, is weighed against what that future would be without it. So great is his burden, he considers allowing his own death to eliminate his responsibility for the future.
It is Paul’s prescience, a genetic inheritance come a generation early, enhanced by the psychedelic properties of the spice harvested on Dune, that allow him this sight. Even before he steps foot on Dune, glimpses of possible futures plague him. Once the spice enters his system, just the small amounts caught on the wind of the planet, he sees more and more; sees multiple paths that he might play god and decide the fate of all.

I’ll leave it to that. If you haven’t seen the movie, or haven’t read the books so don’t know what’s coming, I won’t spoil it. There is so much to explain, I won’t do it justice anyway. It’s really hard to talk about things in a blog post…

Tell me what you thought of the movie. Do you know the Atreides story, or is the movie your introduction into herbert’s universe?

Happy Reading (and watching) 🙂
CMM

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It’s Not A Flowing River…

…more like trickling spittle that takes it’s time to build into a drainage ditch, then a cute little creek, before raging as something resembling flow.

For YEARS- I was writing a book. Really, what that meant was that I had an idea I had started but I just wasn’t “feeling it” so I never actually got around to working on it. After that initial excitement phase, when the preliminary “fun” parts vomit to the page, there wasn’t much motivation. Like a new relationship. When the honeymoon phase ends, if all it was was nothing more than chemical sparks, with no greater underlying connection, it fizzles out. 

This “feeling it,” “feeling like it,” “inspired” state of mind isn’t a really real thing. Lightning strikes then fades, and you have to find it. After the spark it’s work. And work isn’t always fun.

Not that any of this isn’t something we’ve all heard a thousand times. I think a lot of us just don’t believe it, or use it as an excuse to do other things which means we’re not ready to be writers.

Struggling with writer's block? We all do, but don't let it cripple you. Just show up The words will come.

What I’m getting at is: use your allotted time. First of all, set the time. Then, use it for what it was for, regardless if words are flowing. During my latest writing session, it took me an hour to write five sentences, but then, it took me an hour to write 1500 words. The block will fade if you beat on it.

  • Do you think writer’s block is real?