WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Mari L McCarthy’s “Heal Yourself through Journaling Power”

Hello Bookworms;

Here’s the first leg in my participation in WOW’s blog Book Tour for Mari L. McCarthy’s Heal Yourself through Journaling Power. In this week’s post I’m including a guest post on the subject of journaling power for emotional health and an interview with Ms. McCarthy.

Journaling for Emotional Health:

When you decide to be more attentive to your physical health, you usually know where to start. You may strive to eat more vegetables, go for morning walks or quit smoking. But what about when you want to care for your emotional health? What steps can you take to make it as much of a priority as your physical well-being? 

Journaling has a way of shining a light on your inner life. In the pages of your journal, you can safely express all of youremotions, fears and desires. Regular journaling will help you define what you are feeling and why, giving you insight into what is going well in your life and what you’d like to change. 

Try one of these journaling exercises to give your emotional health the attention it deserves. 

 1. Name That Emotion 

 Ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?” Can you identify your emotions – boredom, worry, frustration, happiness, enthusiasm? Notice and name your current feelings in your journal. Explore why you might be feeling a certain way and how your emotions are affecting your actions. This processhelps you build self-awareness, minimize the impact of negative emotions and make healthy changes. 

 2. Let It Out

 When you are feeling unpleasant emotions – anger, shame, sadness, envy – give them an outlet in your journal instead of bottling them up. Vent about whatever is bothering you, jotting down stream-of-consciousness thoughts until you feel you don’t have anything else to say. 

3. Gather Gratitude 

A funny thing happens when you practice focusing on the positive moments in your life: you notice more and more of them and encourage an attitude of gratitude. Positive psychology research shows that simply remembering and writing down three good things that happened to you in a day can give you a huge happiness boost over time. 

 Every day for at least a week, write a detailed description of three things that went well that day. Why do you think it happened? How did you feel at the time? How do you feel now, looking back on it? The items on your list can be as small as, “I sat in the sunshine during my lunch break,” or as big as, “I finished my last round of chemo today.” 

Incorporating journaling into your daily routine – even just a few minutes a day – can have a remarkable impact on your emotional health.

The Interview:

Q: What made you choose this subject matter?

My Journal prompted me in this direction. She’s my muse and mentor. We’ve been partners for 21+ years and she’s always sending me universal messages and one day the message, journaling power trilogy, appeared so I knew it was time to write and publish my journaling power experiences. With her help, I published the first book in the trilogy Journaling Power: How To Create The Happy, Healthy Life You Want To Live in 2016 which is an introduction to Journaling Power. It was my Journaling Journey story. I call it a self-help memoir as it contains lots of practical exercises for people to create and enhance their own life-changing journaling practice. The second book in the trilogy, Heal Your Self With Journaling Power, the book I just published, focuses on the Journaling Journeys of 10 other writers and how they use journaling to master life’s mental, physical, and spiritual challenges. My Journal and I have so far created a title for the third book in the trilogy Create Unconditional Self-Love – A Journaling Power Book which will be another self-help memoir about my journey from self-sabotage to self-love.

Q: What made you choose writing as a profession?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I majored in journalism looking for a practical major that would help me be a success in the real world. After a short stint as a weekly newspaper editor, I set off into the business world and then the only writing I did was business reports. A health challenge forced me off the road (I owned a management consulting firm traveling 24/7) and I took up journaling (Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages) for physical therapy purposes only since I’d lost most feeling on the right side of my body and needed to teach myself how to write with my left hand. But lo and behold, Journaling opened up many, many memories and I remembered how I loved words, writing essays and stories and I was back into the writing profession.

Q: Do you have any advice for future writers? Especially women?

Keep a Journal. Pen to Paper every day. That way, you’ll stay connected to your Muse, your Inner Writer, your True Self. Inner Critics hate it when we take care of ourselves first. So write, write, write in your Journal every day and you’ll never encounter page fright, writer’s block or other literary ailments.

Q: Use this space to give yourself a shameless plug about this work/any other works/your website(blog)?

I’m the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of CreateWriteNow.com, The Journaling Power Center. I mentor health conscious writers in using Journaling For The Health of It, also known as therapeutic journaling, to heal the issues in their tissues and grow and transform their life. We have tons of resources: complimentary ebooks, 375 unique and soul searching Journaling Power Prompts, a Journaling Power Journey Blog where other writers share their journaling experiences and AHA adventures, and a store with 20+ Journaling Power workbooks that cover life challenging topics such as Empower Your Self, Heal Your Life and Journal Magic For Writers.

Please come visit and please always #JustWriteON!

Here are the remaining dates for the tour:

As always, make Ms. McCarthy feel welcome feel free to post any questions you have in the comment section of this post. Next week I’m posting my review and all additional information about the CreateWriteNow.com program. Have a blessed day and enjoy 😉

WOW(Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Jennifer A. Payne’s EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: What We Leave Behind

Hello Bookworms;

As you can see, BOOKWORM is participating in another blog book tour courtesy of WOW (Women on Writing). Today’s guest is Jennifer A. Payne, author of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind. Today I’m posting an interview, Q and A style, that I conducted with Ms. Payne so that you can read  her thoughts about her calling, her choice of direction for her writing, and her thoughts about mindfulness. I’m also posting a review of her most recent work “Evidence”.  Enjoy.

Hi Anjanette.

Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books with you and your readers!

  1. How long have you been writing/ what made you decide to write?

I don’t know if I had a choice, really. Writing is how I’ve always communicated with the world. My earliest memory is writing letters to my Dad when he was away on business trips when I was young.In grade school, I used to write short stories, but I also had a dozen pen pals I kept in touch with regularly. I wrote for my high school newspaper, and studied journalism at UMass. My first job was writing press releases and advertising copy, before I started my own business doing the same. I published a zine in the early 90s, and graduated to blog writing about 10 years ago.

I’ve been writing all my life!

2. What made you take this direction for your writing/this work?

I think those early days of communicating real-life stories and experiences to my Dad and pen pals have kept me pretty firmly rooted in non-fiction writing. You can see that on my blog Random Acts of Writing (http://randomactsofwriting.net). Over the years, it has hosted everything from my food writing, travel journals and book reviews, to photo essays, social commentary and poetry.In the past couple of years, I’ve been writing more poetry, mainly because that is how my muse has been talking to me. But also, I was invited to join a local poetry group, the Guilford Poets Guild, and they have inspired and encouraged me a lot!

Both of my books, LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness (2014) and the new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind are direct results of my work on the blog. LOOK UP! includes essays, poetry, a collection of quotations by philosophers, naturalists, and famous writers, plus 100 of my original color photos. It’s a journal, really, that narrates my own journey from working 24/7 to reconnecting with our natural world, finding balance and mindfulness in the simple act of going outside. Evidence of Flossing is a follow-up to that concept. It features 73 of my poems and 80 original and vintage photos that continue a conversation about our divine connection to nature, and how important it is to find our way back to that.

3. What is it about mindfulness that interests/fascinates you?

By day, I run my own graphic design and marketing business. By night (really in the pre-dawn hours of the day), I do my creative work. My brain and I work at a very frenetic pace – as you can imagine – but somewhere in all of that, there has to be some downtime. Some quiet. Some peace.

I tried traditional methods of meditation – sitting on pillows, candles, oms, guided groups, recorded sessions. But nothing really “stuck.” I remember one group meditation…there were 10 of us in a small, candlelit room. We did some breathing exercises, and then the facilitator guided us on a meditation…down a path, into the treetops, up into the sky. I spent the whole meditation frantically running to catch up, because I couldn’t breathe right, couldn’t visualize right…couldn’t get out of my own way!

About that same time, I had started taking regular walks in the woods. There is a nature preserve near my house, and I can do a nice, easy 2-mile walk in a space that feels very far away from everything. I remember this one day very clearly. I’d been walking for about 20 minutes with lots of busy thoughts in my head. But then it was suddenly quiet. All I heard were my footsteps on the pine needle path. I wasn’t aware of my thoughts or my body, just the sound of footsteps, like a heartbeat, and breathing.

It was brief and wonderful.

I think of it now as my “ah-ha, so this is meditation” moment.problems, inspirations for my writing, connections to some mystery I wouldn’t have had time for if I wasn’t allowing myself to disconnect from busy and reconnect with nature. It’s that simple…and that complicated, I suppose. Perhaps that’s what so fascinating about it, and why I write about it. The difficult part of mindfulness is getting there—stepping away from our busy-ness, allowing ourselves that time to reconnect. But once we do, it’s really quite simple. It’s really quite amazing.
4. Use this space to give yourself a shameless plug?

I was at a workshop last week, and the hostess came over to me and pointed to a copy of my book on her coffee table. “I keep your book here,” she said. “In a place of honor. That way I can pick it up and read something from it whenever I want. Which is often. I just love it.”

She’s not alone. People seem to really connect with these books, with the writing and the photos. I think it’s because they talk about our collective concerns about our society in a way that is heartfelt and thoughtful. They’re smart books that you can skim for meaning, or dive into for a deeper understanding as they apply to your own philosophy and spirituality, your own experience. But they are both easy reads – you can read an essay, read one poem, open to a page and meditate on a photo or quote. They allow the reader to take that moment of mindfulness, to stop and consider…maybe…a better way to move about in this world? I hope.

Review:

Evidence is a combination of street photography and poetry. It’s actually a followup to a prior work of Ms. Payne’s called LOOKUP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness. Most psychology majors probably remember mindfulness as a Buddhist concept that is used in clinical psychology to help alleviate depressive symptoms. It involves bringing one’s attention to experiences that are occurring  in the present moment through meditation or other disciplines (like writing). Discarded dental flossers are featured in most of  Evidence’s street photography. To me they seemed to point to the commonalities of mankind. Even though there are differences between our global cultures, it is our humanity that gives us common ground. What’s is more of a sign on humanity that flossing? For the author they also ask the question “What is our legacy?” “What will we leave behind?”.  I like the way her poems are formatted because there’s no formal visual presentation (prose, haikus). So they force whoever’s reading them to ponder and meditate on their meaning. Her writing is definitely in keeping with the mindfulness concept. I look forward to reviewing even more of Ms. Payne’s work.

Evidence of Flossing  and LOOKUP! (as well as Jennifer Payne herself)can be found online at:

Website: https://3chairspublishing.com/

Blog: https://randomactsofwriting.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/threechairspub

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThreeChairsPub

WOW (Women on Writing) Blog Book Tour for Author Leona Stucky’s “THE FOG OF FAITH:MY IMPOTENT GOD

Hello Bookworms;

Welcome to another blog book tour with our friends from WOW  (Women on Writing). Today’s guest author is Leona Stucky. The work we are posting about today is her memoir,  The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God.  The subject for today’s post “Recognizing Evil-An Underbelly Job”. Ms. Stucky will be stopping through. Feel free to talk with her and make her feel welcome. Enjoy…

Leona Stuckey Blog Tour pice

Recognizing Evil – An Underbelly Job

Blog by Dr. Leona Stucky, www.thefogoffaith.com

Seldom can human evil be fully known before it slashes its wrath across the soft underbelly of human constancy. Evil causes immense suffering and yet it confuses us.

Evil is “gift” that keeps on giving. One patient told me that since terror struck her she thinks double and contradictory thoughts simultaneously. They circumscribe her mental and emotional movements. If danger persists, so does the anguish that surrounds it. The soft underbelly thickens. Evil has to be considered. We guess and re-guess. We are not free to set aside the slashes and live as if they had not happened and will not strike again. We are not free to banish troubling thoughts. They come unbidden. We think and fear them before we can consciously understand or attempt diversions.

Evil eviscerates the safe-harbors of our well-being and leaves scars that won’t allow our soft underbellies to stay placid and playful. We lose our innocence, trauma unfolds, and memory membranes, scattered asunder, must be recollected as if sense can be recreated.

Evil and Good Together?

Evil, it turns out, is ubiquitous, as is good. And it would be a mistake to fully separate those two characteristics. Usually human intentions are mixed, and the results of those intentions are also mixed, but when evil is imposed, suffering is the predominant result.

To find evil, we must listen deeply to any clarion cry for help, look intensely into suffering, and be wary of jumping on the bandwagon of public blaming – for many people will point the finger at other’s evil while practicing their own. Here, careful discernment is required.

  • Are the people pointing the finger the people who are suffering the most?
  • Where does our empathy find an authentic landing place?
  • In which position would we need to stand to feel the evil slashes across the soft underbelly of our constancy?

The first place to explore evil is within ourselves. If we can understand our own evil intentions and actions, often enacted against ourselves, we will know the fundamental essence of being human and will be able to grasp the magnitude of the problem of evil in our lives.

How We Deceive Ourselves

Ron, in my memoir, The Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God, thought his needs and his divine right to subject me to his desires were justification enough. He was an ordinary guy, in his assessment, not an evil one. He felt entitled to his minimal pleasures and survival necessities, no matter what suffering his requisitions caused for another person —quite similar to first world inhabitants feeling entitled to the resources and means of production that leave a muted holocaust for millions of others working long hours without enough to sustain their families.

We can and should be enraged at the evil of many Nazis, who blindly did what they thought was right—followed orders without thinking for themselves about the consequences of their death-to-millions actions. Sometimes we might also wonder about our propensity to silently brush by the causes and effects of global warming or deadly militaristic answers, as if blindly following the dictates of capitalism is the only choice we can make. Many people have no trouble denying culpability. Some don’t empathize with those who suffer and seem oblivious to the anguish their beliefs and actions cause.        Our human minds quickly and naturally collude with others’ pre-rationalized dictums to avoid culpability. Compromised by political, cultural, religious or psychological diminutions of our responsibility for the sometimes devastating effects of our actions, we seldom recognize our own evil. In the instances when it ricochets and devastates our own lives, blaming others is a likely response. I know of no country or human who surpasses these tendencies, including myself.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps claiming full responsibility for who we are and how we act is a faculty we humans have not yet mastered, especially when the harmful effects of our actions are not directly experienced or observed by ourselves. Evolutionary biologists tell us that we have not evolved to care about distant others as much as we care about our own family or tribe. This is not offered as an excuse for people, but an awareness of how powerful a foe, cold and unthinking evolutionary forces, we must engage to learn how to operate differently than the format evolution has prescribed.

I guess we will live in an entirely different way, in an entirely different world, when and if humans learn the lessons of recognizing evil and imposing it on no one, including ourselves. I, for one, hope we don’t destroy ourselves before we learn those lessons!

Ms Stucky has a Facebook page, is on LinkdIn, and her book can be found on Amazon.com