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Seaworthy!

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It’s a pretty great feeling to realize you really are doing what you love.

Writerly Kits is happening! My new venture is up and running and I could not be more delighted by all that it is.

ONE; everything I love to do, and am decent at, gets to go in these lovely boxes.  It’s like an event in a box that let’s others find their own answers to their best way of getting to what they love – while having fun!

And these are things I love:

  • Theme planning,
  • creating the discovery content from the coaching and Novel Minds process,
  • creating the graphics, the art… and sometimes even the pottery;
  • collaborating with authors I love
  • collaborating with others to include very cool items that support writers;
  • testing coffees that may pass the test and end up in the boxes;
  • stay true to my passion for organic products, less waste, a healthier earth, supporting artisans and companies in line with my values.
  • and then.. THEN… building a community that supports each other!

These are all things that scream “Janet, You LOVE this!”

TWO:  People who might not otherwise access coaching, (because it is hard for a writer to justify the cost of coaching) will find this accessible, affordable and do-able.

Writerly Kits is curated especially for writers. Dear to my heart. I know the struggles.  But, what if you are not a writer? I suspect I’ll venture into other areas for other creative folks down the road.

If you are here, following this blog, you know I’m pretty passionate about each of us getting to whatever realm of creativity reveals our magic. More writers writing. More arters arting. More actors acting. More musicians making more music. More inventers inventing. More philosphers philosophizing.

I love the theme of the first box. It just seems a perfect place to start, given my history!  Actual contents are a secret, because the gift- like quality of a subscription box is half the fun! The theme?

FullSizeR

 

Seaworthy.

Because, guess what? You are not a train going from A to B on the same track every other train is on. You are a writer. You are far more ship-like. Treasures, techniques, cool processes to find your way to chart your course and navigate your writerly life. Fun and Imaginative

 

And THREE:   Oh my. People are subscribing! The learning curve of finding nice ways to share this new project has been…. well, kind of like climbing a mast. Not much curve, I suppose. Straight up.  I don’t want to play the same old same old rhetoric of sales that is out there in social media. You are too smart for that, anyway. I just want to share what this is and hope people care. And they do care. And I am feeling very happy.

It’s not always easy to do what we love way more often. But this is working for me. I wish for you more of what you love, too.

I invite you to have a peek:  Writerly Kits

I also welcome your feedback!

 

 

 

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What is this magic of which I speak?

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book-1012275_1280What is this magic of which I speak? My wish for you to find your magic? This magic that people mention in testimonials? This word, ‘magic’, that seems to be associated with me and my work, even if I have moments that I’m not so sure it’s a fit?

Okay, it’s a fit. My memoir, Beyond All Imaginings, tells the tale of several years where being in the creative process through tragedy and loss opened the door to a realm of magic that may seem fantastical, but is, in fact, true.

Rolling Stones playing on unplugged stereos? Yes. That kind of magic. Enchanted beings sharing their stories? Yes, that, too. Where connecting with family on the otherside becomes a normal? And can be for anyone? Yup. That. Where synchronicities lead to answers in our daily life? Yes.

This post isn’t meant to be about promoting my book but I’m sharing this here because my memoir does tell the story of magic and the creative process.  And it does touch the hearts, and open a little door to magic, of those who read it.
What an amazing book! Powerful story of tragedy, discovery and rebirth. I laughed and I cried and was so delighted with the magic! JL Whitehead please keep writing books!”

Herein lies my passion for all that I do; my knowing that the creative process – the way that people can access that brilliant part of them – is not simply a way to feel a little better in life. It’s the way, especially those creatively inclined, to open the doors to all that they can be, to find the answers to questions that otherwise can’t be answered. (Logic will never reveal the hugeness of who you are. It lives in the world of ‘fitting in.’)

And once that door is open, it doesn’t just stay open while you are writing, or painting, or potting, or singing, or inventing. The magic of it all becomes a part of your whole life. Synchronicities, insights, aha moments, and a contentment knowing that you are more than what we are traditionally taught we are –   that extraordinary feeling that shifts us, fuels us, helps us find our way through struggles, brings us joy and makes life a way better  and more magical place to be.

That’s the kind of magic I’m talking about.

 

 

Tucking Unboxed Thinking into a Box.

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I’m boxing up unboxed thinking! Like magic, this idea found its way into my thoughts and it has me so inspired. I’m soon launching ‘Writerly Kits’; a subscription box service for writers, emerging writers and wanna be writers.

For the writers here, my vision for you…
Be the bold, brave, kickass, sometimes doubtful, often procrastinating, writer that you are…. but be the one who has all the tools to master the bold, brave and kickass, and who has the techniques to quiet the parts that are getting in the way. That’s what Writerly Kits is bringing to your life. That, and organic specialty coffees or teas to drink only while writing, chocolate to celebrate even getting to one paragraph, and other treasures to remind you that you are truly a writer.

We have a mailing list to keep writers updated. Go here to sign up.

Why this? People can justify personal coaching for life changes, and for that I am grateful, but few writers can justify private coaching to get their written works rolling. Yet, in my coaching practise, more often than not my clients (who arrive for other reasons) reveal a secret wish, a hidden agenda, to write.

On the street, among friends,and posting online, I know of so many people who are haunted to write, but they simply do not get to it. Perhaps you are one of those people. If you and I happened to have a conversation about wanting to write a book, do know that a little piece of me feels sorrow – knowing that without some kind of support, you might not actually get to it.

I know the contentment of completing a book that has haunted me – it’s a rare feeling, like it only belongs to those who finish their book. I want writers to feel that feeling.

If this is you, (a person wanting to write/ finish/ share that book) you’ll know how much holding a story in our mind takes up so much thought energy. Not getting to it at all causes so much regret. And these stories that are not yet told? Our world needs our stories – fiction, memoirs, self-help, poetry, songs, screenplays. Stories are the way we best hear, learn, and process our own thoughts.

And why now?   My blog followers and friends know that I’ve had a challenging number of years. Not too long ago, I finally finished years of medications – important meds to prevent a recurrence – but that played havoc mentally and physically (and damn it, financially.)  I am delighted to be free of pain, and have my usual thinking energy back. I’m thrilled I can enthusiastically get to the things that have been on hold. This project, Writerly Kits, screams “YAY!” to me.  It allows me to play in all my realms of interests and expertise, and that feels so good. From the imaginative process used for Novel Mind clients, to scheming up exciting themes, to creating content (written, graphic, and even, yes, there’s a clay project in the works ), to building a community, this box is like ‘living the dream’ of the unboxed unboxing others with a box!

It’s a pretty box, by the way. Just wait until you see what’s inside.

Beyond All Imaginings – Phew!

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bai-front-coverPhew!  Beyond All Imaginings, my wildly magical memoir is published. It’s been a work in progress for quite some time. And some of that work in progress was my mind asking, “Really, Janet? Are you really going to share your story with the world?”

But then, last year, I was nagged/haunted/obsessed with the idea that it was time to put the story out into the world.  It wasn’t easy. After all, there will be some who will think me crazy. Or so I thought, anyway.

So far, nobody has claimed  me ‘crazy,’ though I suspect someone will and that’s okay now because the book is out there, doing more than I could have imagined.  Beyond All Imaginings is just my story, but it is opening doors of possibilities for others. I get teary at the beautiful stories and reviews shared back from readers.

I get teary at the synchronicities that are happening for readers, and for me as I sign personal copies. Magical connections are continuing beyond the story itself, it appears. It’s like the book has taken on a life of it’s own and I get to be a spectator.

I’m not the best at promoting (have you noticed?) – but I am very grateful this story got told and I can share it. Especially right now, when the world needs a little more magic.  Right now, if we can all open that door just a little more, perhaps we can start to make things going wrong in the world right.

What’s the story about? I’ve still not come up with an ‘in a nutshell’ synopsis. So I’m sharing the back cover story…  

This is the true story of magic and altering time and people who died and beings who introduced themselves as faeries… and this is a story of pottery.
It’s about smashed fingers, smashed dreams, smashed faeries and the value of throwing up your arms and saying “whatever.”
It’s about impossible things being possible and Rolling Stones playing on unplugged radios.
It’s about the tragic loss of loved ones and the heart-wrenching grief; and the magic of faerie-like beings showing up in my clay, on my pages, and in my home – which they did very much to my dismay, at least at first.
And a mystery; these same faeries insist on blowing themselves up!
This is the story that blurs your boundaries between reality and fantasy and leaves you wishing you could find your way into my world, albeit without the tragedies.
As you can imagine, this has not been a simple story to write. Hell, if it were fantasy it would have been easy… but this is my life.

Curious? Click here to read ‘inside’ on your favourite Amazon site.  Oh heck, I’ll share some reviews below.

If this story is calling to you and you might like a personally signed copy, please send me a message.  janet@novelminds.ca

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How to Send Love. Do it for Paris.

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Our world is insane.  There’s so much that goes on that I don’t think we can ever understand until it is our turn to leave this earthly realm… so until then, we may not understand the why of it all, but we can make a difference to help heal those who are suffering. The tragedy in Paris has me writing this post. I have been doing what I do, and what many others do, when there is a crisis. I have been sending loving thoughts. But what many people don’t know; this is not a token gesture. Sending loving thoughts matters. It makes a difference.

Here’s how I first learned this:

A couple of decades ago, my daughters and I were on a road trip and the traffic came to a standstill on the highway. As we waited, it became clear there had been an accident. People driving on a highway are all on their way somewhere and we noticed many drivers in the standstill were not happy. Getting out of their cars, we watched people display impatience, annoyance, anger, and oh my god, inconvenience. Someone’s life had just been changed forever. Someone’s life might well have been taken. A ripple effect of a serious car accident affects so many others, not just those involved. I don’t suppose anybody who was in that traffic lineup had the right to be complaining in that moment.

And so, my daughters and I decided we would take a moment to send good thoughts to the people involved in the accident, and to whomever else was affected that might need to know others care.  So we paused, and ‘sent’ loving thoughts with our minds. It seemed that was about all we could do to help while we waited.

A few days later I read a news story: A woman had been in a traffic accident somewhere in the U.S. She tells the story: Her spirit left her body and she could sense all this red anger radiating from the cars around her. Then she spotted a car that radiated a warm golden energy and she went towards it. The woman in that car was sending her love. Her quote went something like this: “That stranger was sending me love! She was praying for me! I was so surprised and felt happy.” She was so warmed and fueled by these thoughts that she travelled back to her body to live.  Here’s the clincher that made this a news story: That woman remained in a coma for six months. When she woke, she asked to find the person whose license plate was ——.  Yes, she had remembered the license plate number of the car whose driver had sent loving thoughts. When they tracked down the owner of the car, the woman who had been in a coma thanked the driver, saying it was because of her that she could go back to her body and live.

Uh huh. Now, that was a rather powerful affirmation that sending love is more than a token gesture. And this was back in the day when stories that made the news were researched and accurate.

Since then, when I hear an emergency vehicle’s sirens, I always send blessings and love to those who need the emergency vehicle and eventually I also expanded that to include those operating the emergency vehicle. No matter what the reason for an emergency vehicle, somebody needs help. It’s not up to me to decide what kind of help, I just send the thoughts.

It’s simple to do. Take a breath. Connect to a feeling of love and compassion that you have experienced before. You could just imagine how much you love somebody, or feel empathy towards. Just feel that loving compassionate feeling even a little bit, even if you feel like you are ‘just imagining’ it, or making it up. Then imagine that feeling is an energy, or a bit of wind, or stardust, or heck, a helium balloon and send it off to where it is needed.

That’s it. And then trust it is doing whatever it needs to do.

We’ve all heard powerful stories of groups gathering and meditating for change, or of prayer groups and miracle healings. It works. But, you don’t need a group. One person’s thoughts makes a difference. And if a whole bunch of individuals send thoughts… that can only be good.

Now is a good time to practise. For Paris. And for whenever you sense people are hurting – physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually – and could use some love.

The Crazy Way of Figuring Out My Age

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I turned si… mumble mumble..y…  this spring.

Okay, I’ll try again.. On my birthday, I turned sssblabla bla… whatever…the same age as Disneyland.

It’s hard to blurt out that number thing, given I wrote the Amaranteen Theory.  You can read it here but in a nutshell, I make up my age, and rarely is it in numbers. I’ve made up my age since my mid thirties, when the number version had me questioning how long I’d be able to keep waterskiing like a madwoman. That scared the age right out of me.

So, it’s not out of vanity that I make up my age; I do it so that my own preconceived notions of an age won’t be that thing that limits me. It won’t be the thing that whispers “You are too old to leap out of a good corporate job just because it is making you insane” or “you can not apply to train as a sailor when the other sailors are 30 years younger than you” or “If you haven’t done it by now, you never will” or “you can’t climb tree tops at 60 and get away with it.” Nutshell message: If you hear yourself thinking those sort of thoughts, please do read my blog post, The Amaranteen Theory. After all, why let a number get in your way?

But, in fact, I was letting a number get in my way!! Sixty. Eek. I somehow let the number slip in my thoughts pre-birthday. I tried to tell myself “Wow, way to go!” or something equally pleasant. But there was no sincerity. The whole concept just felt surreal, but not in a good way. I was turning 60. “I am not where I’d thought I’d be at this age,” I thought. “I should be this.. that… or whatever” I even heard myself think.

Given, it has been a challenging year. Given that perhaps it was okay to do a bit of grieving – there really had been so many changes as a result of getting through cancer treatments. The whole ‘getting back on your feet’ financial challenge, a roller coaster of reactions and aches and pains due to meds meant to help prevent recurrence. A move that never felt settled. Other stuff.

AND I had taken on a year long work contract that has been fascinating, but took over my life.

I was squeezing in the rest of my life in far too few hours in a week. My favourite things; my girls, my grandgirls, my clients, my courses, were being tucked into smaller time slots.  My creative and adventurous soul-fueling explorations, let alone family and friends, weren’t getting their due either.

Not whining. Just acknowledging.  Probably contributed to why this birthday was really messing with my thoughts, reminding me of what was not working quite as planned and finding myself being hard on myself. I know. I teach “kindness to self,” yet, here I was. It was then that I knew I had to call in all the stops on my thoughts and come up with a serious plan.

Being a coach helped. I have creative tools to help me past tough stuff. I am not perfect at using them the moment I need them. I am mortal, after all. But I do have playdates with my thoughts. I have amazing clients, and through coaching them, I have my own reminders of finding my own way. I can ask myself, “How can I make this funny?” I can do the squiggly roller coaster doodle activity I share with others. I can slip my way into creative solutions by imagining there are no barriers. I can check in with my own characters in my head and listen to their story, their questions for me, and their humour.  (Yes, one of my clients has an epic novel’s worth of characters she can count on and no, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s an especially brilliant technique for the writers!) And sometimes, I can just breath and trust.

All of this processing of my age led to adventures that both celebrated and lifted my spirits – hiking the Juan de Fuca Trail with a great friend, being kidnapped by a pirate (too long of a story for here!), and a wonderful family road trip to a crazy Tree Top Adventure Climbing Course. That part, especially, was to remind my body what it loves and is capable of, just in case the ‘number’ was going to keep trying to get in the way! As it happened, I conquered some fears and fell in love with Tree Top obstacle and ropes courses! See? At this age, there’s always new and extraordinary things to experience. And completing this course had me scoff at what that number had been trying to tell me. Yes, indeed!

It was on that part of the adventure that the number thing got resolved, but in a way that surprised me: My daughter had decorated the entire motel room in a Disney style “Nanaland” 60th theme – . On the door was Disney’s current slogan:  “Nanaland. 60 Years of Magic. Imagine More”

And suddenly, I felt great about where I’ve been and where I’m going. All the rest of the adventure was wonderful but this… this was all I needed to feel great about my new age.

(Yes, if you ask me how old I am, I will answer, “60 years of magic, imagine more.”  I wonder if people think I’m crazy? AND I WONDER…what age might you pick if you were to choose an age that was not a traditional number?)

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Thoughtshifter, Spiritlifter, Anchor – Mine’s a little nautical. What’s yours?

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P1070852In July, on the lovely Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain, I got to sail through the San Juan Islands, with my 7 year old granddaughter in tow to boot! Learned so much. Lived so much. And had a little discovery afterwards that I want to share…

At the end of the day on a tall ship, the Captain holds muster. The crew gathers and waits respectfully for the Captain to speak. I was surprised to notice a common occurrence during muster on both ships and with both Captains that I’ve now had the wicked opportunity to crew with. It is this: If we had gotten to sail that day – if the winds were fair, the sails set, and we got to feel the magic of a large tall ship slicing its way through the ocean powered by wind alone – then on those days, the Captains would start muster with: “We sailed.”

And then, it was like nothing more need be said. “We sailed” said it all. We had lived our passion and purpose that day, nothing else mattered. The crew would all nod their heads, contentment and a hint of pride on their faces. It takes a lot for a Tall Ship to be maintained and ready to sail, let alone actually sailing her. The crew and Captain deserve to have this moment of complete satisfaction. You can be sure, too, the crew were kindred in knowing those days ‘we sailed’ would keep them inspired as hours on end they tar lines and file rust to keep their ship shipshape.  Muster always continued as it must (wait…is that how muster got its name?)… but I do recall one captain one evening adding, after the pause that followed”I sailed,” something along the lines of “I suppose we should talk about more things, but that does seem to be enough.”

Fast forward a few weeks. August. Driving in my car, fussing in my head about stressful things, feeling anxious about more changes coming up in my life – good changes, including another move, but unsettling in the process. Running endless details through my head and thinking myself into a bit of overwhelm. And then it happened: I heard myself think, “I sailed.” I grinned ear to ear. The fussing thoughts fizzled out like water was dropped on their fuse.  It was like nothing more need be thought.  Sure, it might not be everybody’s way of finding zen. But then, I also find zen in clay that goes entirely out of whack on a pottery wheel.

When I started thinking again…still grinning, I admit… I was simply reminded that life is always offering up grand things, even making impossible things possible,  and will continue to. The proof is in the past (and surely in the future): I sailed.

That simple two word thought has now become my anchor. (sheesh, I’m so nautical now)  When I’m feeling like I’m in a whirlwind of change, and uncertainty is feeling more unsettling than it is adventurous, I think “I sailed.”   Another phrase  I’ve used in the past and it’s even a better fit now with my “I sailed” is “Alls well.” Besides reminding me that, in truth, in the big picture of things, all is well, whether I as my mortal self can fully understand it or not,  I am reminded of the calls of the first mate as each sail was set;  “Mizzens  well. Tops’l well…”  When the sails are set just right, all’s well.

It was magical, really, how instantaneously my thoughts and my mood shifted when “I sailed” came to mind that day driving in the car. Nothing less than magical.  You know the kind of magic…  like faeries had dumped a bucket of “lighten up” dust on me. Or spirit guides rolled their eyes at what was going on with me and snapped their magic fingers to make me happier.  You know that feeling, right?

I  wish for everyone to have moments like that… and I suspect many of you have, being the curious and interesting folk that you are who follow this blog.  In fact, I suspect everyone can have those magical thoughtshifting spiritlifting moments. They just need to find that anchor.

How about you? Anything that says, “all is well”  even when life is a bit crazy?  Yes, Life can get stormy. Seems there’s always going to be some uncharted stuff getting in the way. We can all use an anchor we can count on.

~~~~~
This  post is dedicated to you, my friend who left me a message saying, “Janet, there’s no post in August. How are you? Hope alls well?” Thank you so much for caring. ~smile~
Friends and family… they are anchors, too, don’t you think?
~~~~~

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