I stumbled across this article I sent out in a newsletter in 2013. I wrote it during my first trip to the USA since I was born, and ironically, right in the midst of the dying throes of a relationship.... I guess you really can find peace anywhere if you choose! Please enjoy and I hope it contributes something to you today...
I am sitting in an apartment looking down as snow falls on Manhattan, New York (oh, wow, I am in New York!!!). I can hear road-works, car horns sounding several times a minute and the occasional person or workman yelling an exclamation. It’s a familiar sound-scape for a lot of cities I suppose.
And as I sit here wondering what I could write that would contribute to you and the world today, this sense of peace suddenly emanates and expands all around me and through me. Wow, being peaceful in a big, chaotic city – what a cool and unexpected thing!
I remember when I was in school, the concept of ‘peace’ was not really talked about as a being; it was presented as an opposite to ‘war’, so in my mind I defined peace as something external to me - like when your country’s army is not fighting with another country’s army. And from my parent’s point of view, ‘peace’ went with ‘quiet’, as in the peace and quiet of the rare occasions where my sister and I would not be running, yelling, singing, laughing and squabbling at the top of our lungs. So, in other words, peace was this rather boring (because what 6 year old wants to be quiet?) and generally irrelevant (as Australia was not a battlefield at war) idea to me. As I think back on it, it’s funny how easily we can create so many kinds of bizarre ideas and definitions based on what people say!
And today as I am sitting here listening to the sounds of New York, and inviting this totally different way of being, allowing a total sense of ease in my body, no thoughts, anxieties or worries in my mind (thankfully I have stopped going ‘oh my gosh, what’s wrong?’ when my mind gets empty these days!) and I am wondering if this is more of peace as it can truly be? It seems so much greater than how I defined it as a child.
A quick look at the online Merriam-Webster dictionary for a definition has yielded a few results for the “official” view of peace:
1. - State of tranquillity or quiet
2. - Freedom from disturbance
3. - Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
4. - Harmony in personal relations
Now, it seems to me there is truth to some of that – not giving myself a hard time with oppressive thoughts certainly is a kindness to me, and it’s great when people get along in harmony, and who doesn’t love some quiet ‘me’ time every now and then, but is that really all there is to this peace thing? What does peace mean to you? Do you see it as a contributive energy? An escape? A political idea? A fantasy? A fallacy?
Perhaps if I had continued to go solely by the definitions of the dictionary and the people in my life, and never really questioned what peace could be in my life, I might have totally missed this amazing energy I am playing with right now!
The peace that I am aware of these days is where I have a sense of me as this expanding space (especially space in my head… which is a magical story in itself, but more on that later) and being totally connected to all things. Where I know that anything is possible. Where I have access to a universe of generative and creative energies that support, nurture and contribute to me and my body. Inviting peace allows me to have total gratitude and allowance for me and for everything that I have created - the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s pretty gosh-darn special. And I didn’t even know this was a possibility before I started doing some rather courageous seeking in my own life.
Another cadence of car horns has begun and the snow is now kind of falling horizontally in the wind past my window. I have just realized another thing that is neat about being peaceful - it kind of brings with it this ridiculously gorgeous happiness! Terrible, isn’t it?
I am grateful for the practical and fun tools of Access Consciousness that led me to consider peace as something of value to have in my life, and something that I could (and do) create in my world. It's pretty darn cool! If you are curious, come take a squizzy ;-) www.accessconsciousness.com/amandaholland
mm... just looking at this title and noticing I do have a few swear-swear moments, don't I?
Sorry Mum, you raised me well, but well, we are Aussie too...
Anyway, I digress!
So there is a misconception about feelings and creativity I would like to clear up:
How you FEEL has nothing to do with what you CREATE.
What does this mean for you, me and the world?
First off, it means you will not necessarily create your best work as a starving, tortured artist, committed to creativity and poverty at the same time (although it's a very popular theme I would love to see all creative people get over once and for all - but that's another blog for another time!)
Second, it means that there really is not point in waiting until you feel good to start, or continue, creating anything.
See, I realised a few of things recently:
1. I was probably never going to feel ready, happy, Xena-warrior-princess like all the time, and
2. I was probably never going to feel hopeless, useless and pathetic and upset all the time either, and
3. That feelings are not remotely relevant to what I am capable of creating, nor necessarily indicative of what I actually have available to me, as it was pretty much all internal, and 80% of the time, pure nonsense.
Yep. Turns out FEELINGS are completely irrelevant to our capacity to create.
I know, I know, probably no one is going to believe me. But here I go, telling you more...
I really tried for a while to let my feelings guide and dictate my creative and productive output for a long time. Headache? Forget it, I am out for the count. Depressed and down in the dumps? Incapacitated and uninspired galore. Bank balance low and still so much work to do before I can send out another invoice of any kind? Despair on steroids....
Then I realised something. Nothing will change while I change nothing.
Oh, and I was bored. Like, REALLY bored.
Ok, so if you don't want to be a slave to feelings - and this does NOT mean turning into some kind of robotic meanie - here are my tips:
1. Look under the feelings for what is true - Ask this question: "If I was not feeling this, what would I be aware of?". Have you ever noticed that a mood or feeling (good or bad) can be contagious? Why? Well mainly because it wasn't yours - and then you CHOSE to take it on. So are you aware of other people's feelings or other moods going on, and sort of unconsciously running with them? If you love the feeling, enjoy it, yay! If you don't love it, send it back to wherever it floated in from... and you don't have to pick up another one. You could try relaxing and just being you, instead.
2. When you are becoming a drama queen with upset and emotions - play it up! And the Oscar goes to... you! Yes that's right. Stamp that foot, fling that hair, cry those tears. Life is terrible and it's not fair. Really go for it for as long and as intensely as you can. Embrace it... and see how long you can actually maintain it before you get bored and move on. I dare you!
3. Listen to this song 30 times in a row:
I get to about 1.5 times before I go "Ok, nevermind I am over it!"
4. Laugh. Feelings can be so ridiculous and hilarious - especially the hefty ones. Just watch a soap or telenovella and you will get my point. And really, what if you were just free of being a slave to feelings? Have them, don't have them. Do whatever you want. But you DO get to choose. You may need help to get there, believe me, I get it! When you are IN IT, it seems impossible to change. But change it can, and if it is change you desire, change you most certainly will have!
A lot of the information out there about how to market your products effectively tell you that you have to have the answer to people's "pain-points".
But the traditional tenents of marketing kind of went out the window now that people have their choice of entertainment and information platforms. Social media, even TV and radio platforms are diverse and content-rich in a lot of ways.
Even the SEO optimization and algorithms for Facebook marketing are continuously changing it can seem impossible to stay on top of the trends.
It is now, more than ever, a time to try different things and discover what works for you - because nowadays there is no perfect formula. Here are some do's and don'ts to get you started.
Create content. Create, create, create. If you have a website, write blogs, make sure you have content for people to engage with and that let's them know what you are about as concisely and clearly as possible. Create social media content. Graphics meme's and quotes are great - visual always works better. Get on Instagram and research hashtags. And if this is complicated to you, find a 10 or 12 year old, because they will know exactly what is going on and can help you - you don't have to pay heaps of money, you just need friends with kids, nieces and nephews (if you don't have your own already).
Write a book, or a least a how-to guide. OR some tips and tricks. Free content is a must these days, Not only to help people realise that you are genuine about what you know, but to give people a clearer sense of what you have to offer. Even if it's a short instructional video, or a PDF of your favourite spreadsheet layout - whatever is relevant to your business (and most importantly, fun for you to create). If you do create a bit of content, you never know what it can lead to. I worked with a lady who loves pictures of flowers and nature. We created a bunch of social media graphics memes around the theme of self-nurturing using her quotes and tips. They then became headings for blogs and then sparked an idea for workshop content that she now makes money on. Yay!
Be interested and engage online. Have a way of monitoring what people engage with on your website, emails or social media. It can feel like you are just talking to the wind if your only measure of success is sales. Yes, making the money is a big part of it, but if you don't know where your stuff is being seen, what bits works and what bits don't, you aren't giving yourself much of a chance to develop and change it. There are basic analytics available with most email and web platforms. Use it, or find someone who can help you. Which brings me to...
Be willing to outsource. If you have lots of information, ideas but no love for turning into content, and you don't love the online world, it is worth getting someone else to help you. It doesn't have to be difficult to find that help either! Just think of it this way, for what you are worth per hour, would it be better to pay someone who was more savvy, efficient and creative in that area and actually get it done and done well, then using your time to do it when you could be out doing what you are good and great at!
Okay... that was all DO's...
So I am changing it... and just for fun, I am going to create a separate blog for the "DON'T" points... just because I can! Stay tuned!
What creates that magical moment when you read something and it just pulls you in? For me, more than ever these days, I realise it is as much about the energy behind the words, as the words themselves.
Here are my top 3 tips for beginning to write stuff that will truly connect with who you are, and become an irresistible invitation to everyone around you.
1. Ignite curiosity and wonder. There are 2 easy ways to do this. Ask a question. And don't tell them everything. Make them reach for you! It can be as simple as "Have you tried this?" With a photo. And a link. Boom. Done. What question can you ask that will make people go, "Oh, what's that about?" One sentence really can do it.
2. Talk about what is fun for you. If you don't like it, no one else will. Whatever marketing or writing or PR you are doing, do it for the fun. Play with different ways to do things that are inspiring and fun for you - because that's where you will always be on the creative edge of your business.
3. Don't try to get it right. There is no right and there is no wrong! You know what? Whatever you choose, just do it full tilt. Don't worry about trying to say the right thing. Be yourself, enjoy yourself, enjoy your weirdness. Let your freak flag fly. Say the things you wouldn't normally dare to say. Most people try to keep their work inside these invisible lines of what is ok and what isn't. In the process we tend to cut off the most brilliant and creative parts of us, worrying that it'll be too out there, or someone might get the wrong idea. There will always be people who will judge you - positively and negatively. I worked on a book where the author and content recently got slated by so call 'experts'. But you know what? This author's book is brilliant and it is changing peoples lives for the better, and because of the 'bad' press, it is now going more viral than ever! Don't be afraid. Be you fearlessly, and write fearlessly. You might be amazed at what shows up.
I am going to give you a key to the kingdom of greatness here, and you are probably not going to like it:
If you would love to be a fantastic writer or creator of anything awesome, here is how to stop producing crapola: Stop Judging It As Crapola.
I am not kidding!!
You know what makes something good or bad? Your judgement of it. That's it. If there was universal right way to do something, we would not have preferences, opinions, variety of any kind, and I think we would have all died of boredom centuries ago. Someone's trash is always someone else's treasure and it purely is the way you look at it.
Sure there are times when a certain creation will be more appropriate in one situation to another, but if you judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree, it will stare up at that tree, thinking it's completely messed up and never see that behind it lies an ocean just begging for it to swim and play and be awesome in general.
Judgement is a creativity killer and a joy killer. Desire to be more creative, more innovative, more inspirational than you have ever been? Kill the judgement!
Not judging your output, input or basically anything you do takes loads of practice.
From a writing / creating perspective. This does mean writing, and then not criticising or cringing or whatever it is you do to tell yourself you suck.
Stop it. Cut it out. And just... play!
Remember when you made mud pies or sand castles when you were a kid? Did you judge them? No, that would be silly. So how silly are you being right now, judging what you say, do, write, create etc?
Just for today, what if you allowed yourself the joy of being able to say, write or create whatever the fuck you can in this moment... and not judge what shows up? That, my friends, is true freedom!
Oh and here's a cool youtube vid by Sarah Peck to help you with getting over your judgey-wudgey writing habits.
Do you have what it takes to be a writer? Here is something that might help you decide. The true definition of a writer is... drumroll please... "Someone who writes". I would even add, "Someone who thinks about writing, thinks they can't write, or any variation on the theme."
That's it, that's my wisdom for today.
But before I go, I would like to ask you another question.
If you could write anything, to anyone, what would your write? What would you say?
What kind of conversation would you like to have? Is it with one person, with a bunch of people? Yourself? Is there a story you would love to hear, that you would like to hear being told? What if you would tell it in your own words?
Writing a birthday card or thank you note is writing. Social media posting is writing. Telling a joke is writing (if you write it down... remind me to tell you the one about the mop one day....) . You can write. You have written, and if you are reading this and desire to write, I guarantee you have far more to say than you realise.
Congratulations, you are a writer. Now go write!
With each blog, I aim to invite your creativity, brilliance and difference to come forward and shine.