Bursting with Joy

Our first grandchild arrived last week, and our hearts are bursting with joy! This photograph is of our son holding his newborn daughter, Luna Bleue. 

Watching my child fall in love with his child… priceless. 

As a holistic health practitioner and doula, I’ve had the privilege of attending many births. It doesn’t matter how many times, or in what capacity I get to be part of the birth process, it never ceases to amaze me. 

When was the last time you fell in love?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

The Write Track

I just returned from UW-Madison’s 29th Annual Writers’ Institute where an incredible lineup of guest instructors offered a wide array of sessions for people at every point on the writing spectrum: from “thinking about it,” to multi-published, and every possibility in-between.

In addition to engaging breakout sessions where the attendees learned tangible tips and actionable techniques, the conference offerings included critique services, agent pitching opportunities, page and poem contests, and a book signing event.

Courtesy of Kristin Oakley—Writers Institute Bookstore. I had the good fortune to sit with one of my early writing mentors, Laurel Yourke.

As well as teaching four sessions, I had the privilege of closing the conference by introducing a writing mentor experience—Pathway to Publication—an exclusive opportunity for 30 attendees of the 2018 Writers’ Institute.

Chris Norbury, the author of CASTLE DANGER, captured this photo of “Laurie bookends:” me at the podium “grilling” Laurie Scheer.

Chris Norbury’s Castle Danger can be purchased here (click).
Laurel Yourke’s Beyond the First Draft can be purchased here (click).

Whether verbal or written, excellent communicators always answer two questions:
1. What is the point?
2. Why does it matter?

Are you an excellent communicator?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Positive Flow

Life has a way of teaching us to accept or maneuver around obstacles; some of them seemingly insurmountable. That’s where the miracle of flow comes in. With perpetual forward motion—under, over, around, or through—I choose to be a graceful partner in the beautiful, often salsa tempo’d, dance of life.

I wear a pendant that reminds me of my choice to be a vessel through which positivity flows: peace, joy, kindness, encouragement, compassion, acceptance, creativity, and light.

Another type of flow occurs when we are 100% involved in an activity that is challenging enough to engage us, but not so challenging that it’s frustrating. It’s a state in which we are fully in the present moment, and we lose awareness of everything other than our activity; we’re in the moment and things just…flow!

“I am rooted, but I flow.” —Virginia Woolf

What activities have absorbed you so deeply that your mind quiets down and you just flow?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

The Space Between

It’s the space between words on a page that make reading enjoyable. It’s the space between notes in a musical score that makes listening pleasurable.

Hint #3 — Globally there are eight species of pelicans. Only two of the eight species live in North America. During my sabbatical, I won’t see any because they’re wintering in states south of my geographic location. If it were summertime, however, I might be gifted with a sighting.

Life has spaces.

Some are shorter than others—the space between breaths, blinking, and heartbeats.

Some are longer than others—the space between cell phone upgrades, careers, and changing homes.

Life happens in the space between. And it’s meant to be savored.

Do you give yourself enough space?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

This Is Your Brain On Mindfulness

During recent travels, a walk on the beach had me looking at seaweed as a visual metaphor for the brain…

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

 

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health tells us that:

“People shift their attention from one task to the next in rapid succession [commonly referred to as multi-tasking]. This reduces the quality of the work on any one task because you’re ignoring it for milliseconds at a time.”

 

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MINDFULNESS

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

 

An article in Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

 

Do you live in the moment?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Ahem, you’ve got something…

…stuck in your teeth, (or whiskers, as the case may be).

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This is my dear friend Willa. Not only do I tell her when she’s got something stuck in her whiskers, I help her get it out. In turn, she cleans my face by getting in as many licks as she possibly can.

True friendship between humans has many components:

  • We tell the truth, even if the message is uncomfortable to deliver.
  • We say pleasant things behind each others backs.
  • We actively listen to each other.
  • We hold each others secrets in confidence.
  • We extend mutual respect and value each other’s individuality.
  • We inspire each other and support each other’s dreams.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin

What defining quality do you look for in a friend?

© Laurie Buchanan

Find me on Twitter @TuesWithLaurie
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Growing Toward the Light

In the final week prior to departing our home of 20-years in Crystal Lake, Illinois, we’d almost completely packed the kitchen and ate our meals out or picnic style.

Sitting perfectly still in what seemed like tranquil meditation, an onion remained on the counter. Similar to a novice monk, it began with a tiny spark. In the onion’s case, a small green sprout at its crown. But with time and considerable growth, it leaned — with gentle ease — toward the bright, sunny kitchen window.

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Are you growing toward the light?

© Laurie Buchanan

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