July 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
Most of the work I do with clients individually and in groups involves making a change of some sort. Doing something differently. Doing something for the first time. Shifting career direction or life direction. Setting new goals and strategizing ways to achieve those goals.
Putting it into words makes it sound so simple. Do this…do that…try this…and it sure is easier to read about it than to do it. Not least of which because making a change can feel like it’s going to mean a huge change right from the get-go. But it doesn’t.
Start small. A small change can make a big difference. First of all because the change in and of itself can make a difference and also because it tells you that you’ve started to make the changes. You’ve notified yourself that change is happening.
There’s a saying I grew up with which translates to “change your place, change your luck”. It’s used when people are moving from one location to another, moving house or moving their business to another place. It’s a terrific saying and you feel good hearing it when you’re making a move and saying it to others when they are. It has an energy of excitement, new adventures and new opportunities.
You might be wanting to change or expand your luck and aren’t in the market for a big location move. Totally valid. So, I’m going to suggest we expand the saying to other kinds of changes and places, including smaller changes of place and changing the “place” in your mindset and outlook.
Let’s start with actual place. The quick and dirty suggestion? The smallest, easiest move you can make. If you’re stuck in a work or writing rut move your desk. Yes, something that simple can make all the difference. You see a different part of the room you’re in or a different view outside the window and it shakes things up. Try getting a standing desk if you must be in the same space, it’s a really big change. These seemingly small changes do work.
Now for mindset.
- Maybe you aren’t where you want to be yet. It happens all the time.
- Maybe the direction you were heading in wasn’t the right one for you .Happens all the time.
- Maybe you started working toward a goal and the process of working toward it changed you in some fundamental ways and allowed you to realize that that’s not the right goal for you? No shame in that. That too happens all the time.
- Maybe you reached the goal you set for yourself and found that it doesn’t feel like you thought it would, or it doesn’t mean what you thought it would mean to you, that it didn’t change your life like you imagined it would. Happens all the time.
- Maybe you were working toward a goal that you realize isn’t your goal at all but someone else’s wish for you. Happens all the time.
- Maybe you achieved your goal – large or small – and it did bring with it everything you imagined it would. It felt exactly like you imagined it would, it means what you believed it would mean, it changed you exactly like you thought it would – but now you’re feeling a bit antsy and thinking “what’s next?” Happens all the time.
- Maybe you’re on the right track but you’re a little bored with the process necessary to achieve your goals.
I know it happens all the time because I’ve experienced some of the above personally, and I hear the rest from clients and groups I work with. Put very simply, if you don’t know what you want & what your goals are how can you work toward them? How can you possibly know when things are moving in the right direction or not? When you should continue and move forward or change direction?
And if you do know what you want and are on your way but the day-to-dayness of it is getting to you and you’re not as enthusiastic or motivated as you were when you first started, what then?
What to do? What to do? What to do? Here’s where a mindset change comes in. Change your destination whether that’s an occupational, career, artistic or emotional destination. Make a change toward it. Do things a new way, approach challenges a new way, think new thoughts, open yourself to new experiences.
Change your place in your mind and your luck will change. When people talk about manifesting and visualization that’s what’s really going on. There’s no magic in manifesting, no secret, no abracadabra. It’s shifting your internal GPS and making the turns, the changes of direction and location you need to make in order to get there.
Change the place, change the luck.
And work always to enjoy the journey.
The journey is the destination.
Enjoy the day your way,
July 21, 2014 § 2 Comments
In case you’re just tuning in, I recently wrote a post that described something I call Character Block. Sure we’ve all heard about (and probably suffered from) Writer’s Block, but sometimes it goes a little deeper.
In Part 1 Is Your Writer’s Block A Character Block? I described a concept I call “character block” a bit. What it is, how it might happen and how it might stop your writing cold if it happens. In short, short, short – if you’re trying to write a character that is on a journey, or has a character trait, or a wish or goal that YOU have an unconscious resistance to. You don’t even know it’s an issue for you because it’s deep down in your unconscious. But it will stop you dead in your tracks.
Norman Mailer in The Spooky Art: Thoughts on Writing suggests that if you’re really stuck on a piece of writing, perhaps your unconscious just isn’t ready to write it. I agree with that thoughtand in some cases that’s the case, I know it’s happened to me . But what if you wanting to write a piece is an invitation by your unconscious to tap into something you haven’t delved into? What if something in you that’s currently unconscious wants to reach a conscious level? What if there’s something you’re ready to know, be, feel and experience on an emotional level?
What if you and your deepest self are in communication but it’s a push-pull situation? An internal conversation that goes something like this…
You: I want to know.
YouToo: Oh god – NO WAY I’m going near that thought/feeling/knowledge.
You: Come ooooooooon – this is the good stuff!
YouToo: Good for you maybe – but I’m hightailing it out of Dodge.
Perhaps this push-pull manifests itself through your character. Your resistance is playing itself out through your relationship with your character.
What do I mean? What kinds of resistances might come up and manifest themselves in your character block? The resistance could be a wish you have that you feel you aren’t able to fulfill or even express, a societal expectation that you can’t defy even through your characters because it’s so deeply ingrained in you and your unconscious you don’t even know it’s there.
In that case, thinking it through, thinking through the plot points, the character’s thoughts,actions, relationships – all of that won’t break through the resistance because it’s yours. Thinking yourself, your story and your character out of it won’t work. You’ll have to do some emotional work. Some deep digging into your unconscious biases and resistances. Some possibly/probably painful digging. But if you do, I’m guessing you’ll get gold.
Your characters will then be honest and true to themselves and their story will be organic to them and their struggle. The character will be authentic because you got down deep nside yourself to get to know her/him. If you as the writer held them at arm’s length because what hey might feeling or becoming/being is too powerful for you to experience and be with – how real can they get?
If you as the writer have a block/resistance to something your character might or should be feeling but aren’t able to express or even know via thought, feeling or action – it just won’t happen. If you’re writing a scene and your unconscious suddenly stops the process with a “danger!!!! dangerous, uncomfortable territory” then either the work/project is stopped altogether or the character is changed in subtle and not so subtle ways.
Love your story. Be loyal to yourself and the story you want and need to tell enough to go deep into your unconscious, internalized biases. Let your characters live their story and who knows? You might be changed by it in the best way possible. Or you might stay exactly as you are if you’d like. In any event, your character will live a story full of emotional truth and your audience will feel that too. What a rush.
If I were working with a client or group on this issue I’d ask extensive questions and work with the feedback I get from each person in order to work on their particular character block. Since I won’t be getting the feedback here after each question I’ll suggest some strategies you can try yourself and build on your own answers and insights to dig ever deeper.
Some tips for dealing with Character Block: If you find yourself with writer’s block and you realize it’s character block you can tackle it two ways. One is by having a really honest conversation with yourself, or a close friend. The other is by having a really honest conversation with your character. Okay – there’s a third. I’ll include that one too.
Tips for Option #1:
- Choose someone you trust.
- Choose someone you trust on an emotional level.
- If that person is a trusted writer friend/colleague/reader you’re in luck in that they’ll be able to guide you in the context of your story.
- If you have a coach, therapist or analyst you might reap multiple rewards by having an objective person listen, hear & make connections you may not have realized on your own but that affect other areas of your life.
- Start talking. Hash it out. Free associate. A story from 10 years ago comes to mind? Share it. You don’t know what’s important. You don’t know when you’ll realize it’s important.
Tips for Option #2:
- Trust your character. Trust your character to tell you the truth about what they’re going through.
- Allow your character to challenge you and call you out when they think you’re full of it, hiding from your truth or from theirs.
- Try having the conversation with your character in writing. In script form. Dialogue. Write it.
- Look for the connections and insights later when reading it. For now just free associate. Again, you don’t know what’s important.
If both of those feel too difficult to tackle, there’s a third option that might shed some light on the struggle. Free associate online. Interwebs free association. I’m a bit hesitant to suggest this option for a number of reasons. Here are a few of them;
- Dr. Google. S/he can steer you so wrong. Dr. Google can be the biggest quack around. If you’re not looking at a reputable resource you can find yourself believing some very false and possibly dangerous information.
- Dr. Google can also lead you to suffer from Psych101 Syndrome wherein you have every psychological disorder there is. You’ve got everything. It’s hopeless, you’re hopeless, deranged and you might as well pack it in right now. Forget writing. Forget everything. Stage 2 of Psych101 Syndrome is when you discover all these disorders in everyone you know.
- Some of the “gurus” out there and their philosophies. I won’t go into details or talk about my personal list of Run-Don’t-Walk-Away-From. But they’re out there. In droves. Be cautious.
- If you have a site or source you’d like to run by me if you’re choosing this option, please contact me. I’m happy to let you know what I think.
- If you promise to be careful and would like to try option #3 anyway…
Tips for Option #3
- Go to the search engine of your choice.
- Type your question or your character’s question in.
- Follow the trail. Read.
- Whatever pulls you might be pulling you for a reason.
- Don’t censor your thoughts from yourself. (Easier said than done.)
- Keep an open document or email to jot down thoughts.
- Don’t make connections yet.
- Let it sit for a while.
- Go about your business, fun, play.
- Let the thoughts simmer and connect.
Tips to maximize your awareness for all the options:
- Be compassionate with yourself. You’re human. Everyone has resistances and defenses. I have a deep respect for defenses and resistances. Chances are very good that they’ve served you at some point in your life in a way that you needed them to. They may have protected you from some emotional pain or external situation. They may have allowed you to continue to function and live in difficult circumstances. Honor your experience and the fact that you came through it.
- Be open to hear yourself speak to you. Treat your thoughts, impressions & new understanding with the respect you’d show to an honored friend, mentor or anyone else. That’s who you should be striving to be to yourself. A friend, a mentor, a trusted source.
- Be receptive to what you have to say to yourself. Trust your instincts, listen to the voice inside you. Respect the knowledge you’ve gathered about yourself and the world.
- Thank your characters and story for taking you on an amazing journey.
My next post in the series will deal with situations when you hate your character or are writing a truly despicable character with very few redeeming qualities. Fun! Uh…Fun?
If you have any questions, or would like to share your experiences using any of these suggestions or any other thoughts, please feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to hear from you.
Enjoy the day your way,
PsychoAnalysis & Culture: Writing
c Rebecca K. Weingarten
July 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
counseling, psychotherapy & psychoanalysis (with a side of
neuropsychoanalysis/neuropsychobiology) as well as an educator and writer. So
when I think about a topic I think about it and approach it (sometimes
attack it) through all those lenses. While they slam up against each
other at times, most often they play and work nicely together.
The conversation on Twitter with @TheBlackBoard @Julie_Bush @minhalbaig
I’ve spent a lot of time working on, studying and thinking about writer’s
creativity & the unconscious and I wrote some short thoughts here talking about how I believe writers and analysts can use some of the same tools. I’m fascinated by the topic knowing how “irrational” it sounds and yet how powerful the grip when one is suffering through it.
facets of that character, a struggle the character has, or a life that
they’re living. That’s the very short answer.
resistance to feeling or being a certain way what happens when you try
to write a character that embodies it? Worse yet, what if you aren’t even aware that you feel that way? A writing block via character block might be one manifestation of that internal & unconscious struggle.
banned or excluded from, taught to despise, ridicule or denigrate or in some cases not even acknowledge, how can you write that in/for your character?
and act. Feelings are mentioned but are given shorter shrift in certain
forms of expression and mediums.
want and what they actually act on (or act out).
deifies happiness. I think happiness is great, don’t get me wrong. But
“happiness” is really moments of happiness and not sustainable 24/7
(that’s a whole other post). If someone wants to be happy wouldn’t you
think they’d keep doing things to make themselves happy? Of course they
would. Of course we would. And yet they/we don’t. We can’t always. Our
characters can’t either. Why?
thinking, what she’s planning, how she’s acting and then BOOM you come
up against a huge brick wall because on an unconscious level you have a
resistance to “her” achieving that goal which she may now have inherited from you. The result? Writer’s block of the character block variety.
unconsciously have resistance to. Character block. You’re having a
resistance to writing a story for your character about an issue that you have a resistance to.
In the next part, I’ll explain a bit more how that might be playing out in your mind and your writing and some tips for working with it when it happens.
July 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
- What if you do love banging on the drum all day and that’s all you love doing? What if you love doing it but you aren’t interested in joining a band or you aren’t talented enough for it? What if you just love banging on that drum and that’s all you want to do. Will the money follow? I’ll leave that question unanswered here.
- There are the “what you loves” that might get the money to follow but not necessarily, and if yes, not for a while, and if yes and in a while than what do you do in the meantime?
- Then there are the situations where people are expected to go into the “family business” even if that’s not a business. (Not that family business – sheesh). Sometimes it’s medicine or a different profession where there is already a business established. Often, people feel they have no choice financially or familialy (is that a word?) to refuse. Sometimes they’re even okay going into the family business but there are other things they love to do more. Does that mean they should stop doing the thing/s they love, or giving up on them altogether? I work with individual clients on finding ways to do what they love. Figuring out what that is, isn’t as easy as it sounds. if that’s the way they’ll earn their living is another conversation. But putting all that unrealistic pressure on “do what you love” makes for lots of very dissatisfied and unhappy people.
- I must address the arts here. I know the pull of the creative muse. The need to create, to be part of the creative process and different creative communities. To live your art, to breathe your art, to be your art and to talk about your art. You can’t do that at a “day job” often. But that still doesn’t mean you can’t do what you love.
- I know this to be true since I started seriously writing while I was working full time and doing two different graduate/post graduate programs on alternate evenings. I wrote. I learned how to write better. I wrote some more. As my work circumstances changed I had to learn different ways to write, different genres to write and different mediums to write for. I did that. After 9/11 when I was working a few blocks from Ground Zero with the sights, smells and sounds of devastation still fresh and the National Guard on the streets, I wrote. What I was living informed what I wrote, definitely.
- I find that the most interesting art is created by people who are living other lives as well. Doing something, sometimes not even something the love. Huh. Imagine that.
- Then there are the people who are brilliant and at the top of their game in one area and still wish they were doing something else. I always use Ted Williams as an example. He was Mr. Baseball. He was the guy. He was TED WILLIAMS. And you know what Ted Williams said? He played baseball sure, he was good at it and he wanted to be the singular best hitter ever. But he loved fishing and wanted to do it more. Ted Williams could have done what he loved and fished all day. Or he could have played baseball. Or he could have done both – which he did. Ted Williams did what he loved. He fished. And Ted Williams played baseball and the money followed that.
July 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
Since I’m spending some time focusing and finding focus, I thought I’d share a post from a while back. It’s about finding focus and it’s as (if not more) relevant today as it was then. Hope you get something out of it.
Research has proven that Finding Focus is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself and your life.
Ok – so we’re ahead of our time here. What can I tell you? Our “Finding Focus” Seminars which I developed have been running for many years and continue to be a tremendous success. People walk out feeling more focused, more energized, looking at their routines and habits in a new way. Participants FIND new FOCUS in their work, creative endeavors, careers, hobbies, futures, whatever it is they choose to focus on. “Finding Focus” workshops at corporations nationally and internationally, educational institutions, entertainment industry events and Barnes and Noble have helped people in many, many professions find focus and feel energized, inspired, and productive in ways they hadn’t been before.
I believe and know that when you focus on what’s important to you and you move forward in whatever direction that takes you, you don’t bore easily. I also know that it isn’t always easy to figure out what it is that you want to do. Really want to do.
Often when coaching clients a big part of our work is uncovering the layers of “should do”, “what x or y wants me to do”, “what I always thought I should do”, “what I always believed I was meant to do”, “what society believes I should do”, “what’s best for me to do”, “what’s easy for me to do” (and more) and getting to “this is what I really want” and “this is what’s right for me”.
Finding Focus helps you in the short run and in the long run. Do it for yourself. Find your personal focus. Live the life you want to live. The one you know deep in your heart you were always meant to live. Live your life.
For more info on Finding Focus Workshops and Seminars and how to arrange for one for your company or group feel free to contact me.
Enjoy the day your way,
July 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s been a while since I’ve posted and it’s been a really busy and productive “while”. All good. Now it’s that time of year where I quiet the noise a bit and take a look at where I’ve been and where I want to be going – again. Once I’ve done that I can figure out how to get there.
The time of year because even when I go on vacation it’s sometimes more of a change of scenery than a vacation. I continue to work with clients via phone/skype/email so while I’m away in body…and do take time to rejuvenate and recharge, I’m still taking in a lot of information from the outside about the outside.
So, for a couple of weeks a year I take a vacation. A mind and spirit vacation. I focus on my goals, direction and new life choices. Because we’re making life choices all the time whether we’re aware of it or not. Doing new things, doing them a new way, doing the same things, doing them the same way or a new way we’re choosing how our daily lives will look and how our long term plans might or might not happen.
So far so good. It’s been an amazingly productive & exciting year and that’s influencing the thoughts I’m having about how to move forward. It’s what I do with my clients and now I’m taking the time to do it for me.
Often, finding focus for me comes with asking and answering questions. Today/right now the big question on my mind is “how”. How, in this noisy, information-filled and information overloaded world can one find their own focus? With people being bombarded with information how can one sift through and find the information relevant to them? How can one know who is giving correct information and who is giving “information” because they have access to a keyboard and perhaps a platform.
If we’re having a hard time with it, what’s happening to children, tweens, YA and NA?
We live in amazingly exciting times (ulp – what’s that curse? “may you live in exciting times….”). So much to think and talk about, so much to experience and enjoy.
If we’re living in such exciting times though, and there’s so much why is the newest/latest app a one-word communication that’s meant to cover all the bases?
Is “Yo” a symbol of overload? When there’s just too much is “yo” all one can handle?
And if “yo” is all one can handle how can one possibly focus?
I think there’s lots more externally and internally than “Yo”. Not always easy to access. Certainly not as easy as “yo” but what do you want your life to be?
Just some of the questions that are running through my head this morning.
Enjoy the day your way,