Writing to Kindness

Writing to Kindness

Writing makes me a better person.  How do I know this?  The holiday season is filled with activities that take me away from my writing.  And in the magnetic pull of seasonal revelries and necessities, kindness appears to dissipate.

What normally draws me in and captures my attention and the resulting analysis is missing as I find myself showing true colors of stress and time starvation.  Ricocheting reactions, unthoughtful responses as I often neglect the feelings of my receiver emulate the result of forsaking my writing as it waits patiently without demanding my attention.

The love I have for writing is wrapped around the fruits of its labor.  The time I take to review and untangle deeply entwined messages offers me the opportunity for revival, and a renewed aspiration to be a better human.

It is easy to critique another’s words.  It can be more difficult to allow those words to move you in the direction you need to go.  The definition of inspire is, “to fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.”  So I find myself inspired by the words of dear friends and family as they share their days in words.

I was once told a story about considering the receiver when you speak as misinterpretation can easily change the intentioned meaning and be taken derogatorily.  It can also be humorous when you are caught in this precarious situation.  Albeit, possible projection, the receiver may manipulate the message from a set of biased lenses.  How much of that is our responsibility?  Words that escape from our lips cannot be reeled back in.   And words that are written are a permanent record of our thoughts and cannot be erased by any amount of time.

The message today brings me back to intention.  What is my intention for sharing these particular words?  Am I trying to heal from an unintentional attack from another’s chosen words?  Am I considering how my ill-timed or careless words affect others? Or am I simply inspired by others to “breathe in” (as the second definition of inspire) and take steps toward kindness, forgiveness, and renewal? 

Maybe it will never be clear.  What is transparent, though, writing helps me be a better me.  My hope is that you also find your solace in an activity this holiday season that renews your spirit.

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Well-Intentioned Words

Well-Intentioned Words

Guilty. The heavy word pierces my complacency, as I bestow the gavel-laden sentence upon myself.

There appears no chance for a defense.  The evidence is overwhelming.  In my well-intentioned parenting, I failed on so many levels according to the current standards.

I used the words to encourage my children, “you are strong!”‘ And “everything happens for a reason.”  Did you know those words are equal to emotional abuse according to a recent blog written by a psychotherapist?

When does the intention behind the words get factored into this harsh condemnation?  

This particular therapist says, “well-meaning loved ones are guilty of emotional abuse without realizing it.”  Self-righteous indignation begins to cloud my open mind at this point, slowly morphing into a jumbled defense, I attempt to present to you now.

Words are alive, pulsating with messages delivered from our hearts.  

Experts study body language when someone is speaking because intentions and the truth behind the words can be read from cues outside of the actual verbal communication.  So, when someone says “I’m sorry you feel that way”, which under normal circumstances is an appropriate emotional response, but presents it in a sarcastic and dismissive manner, the invalidation is felt as a stab in the chest.  The point is, what is said is not always as important as how it’s said, how it’s received and whether the heart is delivering it with good intentions and/or compassion.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

The struggle to say all the right things at the right time to your children or loved ones can be overwhelming, and self-accusations that follow disheartening.  For me, hope can always be found in the heart of the matter.  I have to believe your intentions will be heard, if you speak from your heart, no matter what words you choose.

For all those parents out there that have felt beaten up by the ever-changing standards of “good parenting”, I pass along the words a wise friend once shared with me, “if you love your child, they will know they are loved.” 

Then the only thing you will be guilty of is not always knowing the right words to use.

-Erika K Rothwell

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You Can Do It!

You Can Do It!

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“Come on Eleanor, you can do it!”, she emphatically told herself out loud, struggling to open her newest prize in the back seat of the car while I was driving.  I smiled from ear to ear.  She’s only four years old, yet she presented a powerful message with her example of persistence, cheering herself on, as her own best advocate.

Lately, I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed with all the things calling for my attention.  With that, disorganized thoughts and actions often follow.  Of course, there is always the list strategy.  Herein lies the problem with my latest lists; they are black holes.  No sooner do I check a box, another box grows from that same box. 

My approach to life’s “to do” list most certainly cannot be referred to as methodical.  In fact, I have been known to veer from one realm to another without any given notice.  This is what my husband refers to as my bubble strategy.  Actually, he just uses the word, “bubbles…” with an affectionate smirk and a long pause at the end to describe my style.

So, you guessed right, my writing is on the list.  And it is not getting much attention lately.  It seems to be the easiest and most forgiving box to ignore, regularly getting shifted to a lower priority.  I am quite saddened by the admission.

Negative talk has been reaching a loud chatter in my mind, for this reason, morphing into procrastination.  Though, all along, there has been a whisper imploring me to just sit down and write. 

After a few weeks of stalemate, the words finally are emerging in rough blobs of thought.  Discouragement stands in my way.  The creative work I believed I could accomplish effortlessly infused with passion begins to elude me.  The beauty of raw feeling appears to be stifled by the burden of a daily task list.  The irony of the black and white words I’m able to write stares at me, paralleling the non-emotional characteristics of a task list.

And I realize, I’ve been here before.  I spent years reigniting my creative lifeline, after snuffing it out with the burden of self-imposed secular aspirations, and financial obligations.  I found hope in my desire to share my experience of reconnection to my artistic self, with others, through my writing.  And this is when the healing happened.  I’m reminded, feel first…words will inherently follow.

If you have ever felt like this, you need encouraging reminders as I do.  Where can it be found?

Observing the simple examples of young children can teach us the greatest lessons.  The struggle to accomplish begins soon after our entrance into this world.  Those who love and support us can help along the journey, but it is self-motivation and self-advocation that fuels our drive.  And as usual in my life, out of the mouth of a babe, my little granddaughter modeled the positivity I needed to emulate.

Think how much more we could accomplish if we simply replaced our negative self-talk with self-encouraging words. 

It sounds rather elementary, but recall how many times, lately, you have actually championed yourself with the three little words, “You can do it!”

-Erika K Rothwell

P.S. For those of you who believe in serendipity, I published this post and celebrated by boiling a cup of tea.  The tea bag quote read, “Happiness is an accomplishment.”

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Step Back

Step Back

Sometimes we just forget to take a step back in order to move forward with intention.  It is in the space between what is, what was, and what will be that we gain the objectivity to make the next plan. 

The business of life clouds our intentions and our way, and the storms can sometimes blind us as we run for cover, unable to intellectually navigate, using survival instincts only.  When we slow the pace, just for a moment in time;  a weekend, a day, or even an hour, recovery happens.

As writers, deeply enmeshed in a world of our own making and subjectively critiquing our work, we can experience burnout.  Depleting our storage with forced extractions of thought, molded by perfectionism, will never quite satisfy us like simply allowing the free flow of our inner spring to fill the page.

And yet, that spring can dry up.  So I embrace the need to step back and recharge to gather perspective.  I am content knowing the work is still being done beneath the surface. 

-Erika K Rothwell

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The Gift of Time

The Gift of Time

I haven’t written in a while.  I must admit self-seeking endeavors came between me and you.  Life continues to provide me with powerful excuses to distract me from the matter at hand.

Yet it keeps gnawing at me, daily, the abyss of thoughts intertwined with feelings attempting to escape as a word canvas, wherein the artwork can be rendered.

The selfish part of me wants full attention to my words, and it is at this moment I recognize that I rarely give my full attention to any outside thing.  My art craves an outward positive glance and even a simple like.  The lesson stares me in the face, “to be liked, you must like first.”

I wrote something for you today, but the reality slapped me in the face, you are busy.  Busy like me.  You struggle to rise to daily challenges, and there is no time left for a meandering review.

Gifts exist in the name of time.  And so few of us have the luxury of having any left to give.

My post is short.  It was written just to let you know I’m still here.

-Erika K Rothwell

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