Monday, July 8, 2013

Live in Joy, Today! #TBSU

This past week, I've lived in a different world, immersed in the animal rescue sub genre of spay/neuter. The campaign lasted five days. We spay/neutered about 150 cats and dogs; the camaraderie was joyful; the connection to the four-legged beasts was intense; and the physical exhaustion is still with me.

Why does such an experience come into a person's life? The Law of Attraction states that we attract experiences into our lives through our vibration. Feel joy, get more joy. Feel frustration, get more frustration. I'll go a step further and posit that what happened for me this time is that some interior subconscious nerve center sent out a message that I was ready to learn something more about myself, to peel back another layer of the never finished onion.

Six Months of Bliss

Moving to Mexico in January 2011, where I can't work because of my visa, forced/allowed me to relax from wanting to achieve anything.

I lived happily in the moment, with enough money to live what felt like really well. My pension didn't quite make it through the month in the US (and didn't leave any room to buy health insurance). Suddenly I had plenty to rent a nice house, eat out whenever I wanted, learn salsa dancing and wood sculpture, and hire a wonderful woman to clean. Free top quality health care was an incredible bonus and anxiety reducer!

The Seeds of Wanting More

Then about two years ago, I spent an interval in the lap of big time luxury. Anything I wanted was bought for me. I was taken on a lovely trip, all expenses paid. Returning to Mexico, the seeds of discontent awoke. My beautiful life was exactly the same, but it didn't feel like plenty any more. I began to want the money to start an extensive animal shelter. I began to want, period. An old internal barrier to happiness reawoke.

With the benefit of two years hindsight, I see now that I had already begun to be attracted to seductive friends, ambitious wonderful people who wanted and were attracting fame and fortune. Exactly the people to eventually bring me to my present day awareness.

Putting my Novels on Amazon Kindle

In January 2013, I made the decision to put my backlist novels on Amazon. It was something I'd been thinking about for years, and suddenly the time seemed right. Two of the novels had been quite successful in print, and I saw Kindle as a way to bring in passive income to run an animal shelter.

I threw myself into action, setting up a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog. Formatting the novels for Kindle, and contracting beautiful covers. Dipping my toe in the deep waters of Goodreads (which I still haven't figured out). I loved it. I still love it!

Working is seductive. Anyone who has tried retirement knows this. The temptation to find your identity in what you do, in external monitors of success, is overwhelming.


The harder I pushed, the more elusive external success became. With zero expectations, my first novel shot to #1 on its initial KDP free days. Woohoo! Few sales, but my name was getting out there. Then the KDP free day promotion for the second novel, with high expectations, was a flop. Six months of ten hour days, seven days a week produced only a small check from Amazon every month.

Slowly social networking became a bit of a chore, still fun, but whew! A lot of work. The impulse to push, push, push, began to feel a little off. Then with a huge aha, I realized that I don't need to fund an animal shelter myself. Colima is doing GREAT on the animal rights front, with eleven protection associations and new legislation criminalizing animal abuse. From exactly where I am right now, I can help all I want. Without the financial impulse, the promotion began to feel even more like work.

Ambition is Not Present-Centered

When we focus on future success, we project wanting. From the Law of Attraction, we know that wanting can only bring more wanting. The deeper truth is that even when we get exactly what we prescribe, the Amazon ranking, the agent, the publisher, we will only want more. The movie deal, better promotion of our masterpiece, the billion dollar success of J. K. Rowling. Several well-known authors are good friends. Only one of them, Anne George, was truly happy with her publisher, and Anne was already about the happiest person I knew, surprised and pleased by every publishing success, small or huge.

So why did I attract someone who indulged my unacknowledged desire for wealth? Why have I surrounded myself with dear ambitious friends? Why have I put my novels on Kindle and worked my butt off for six months?

We can only feel JOY right now 

I did all these things because in some corner of my heart, I hadn't completely accepted that living right now is the only joy. A piece of me still believed in the IF-ONLY scenario. If only I had LOTS of money, I'd be happy. If only my novels would sell a boatload of copies, I could help animals. Last week was the final piece of that jigsaw puzzle, when I was neck deep in helping the four-legs, without needing anything other than my presence.

Another impulse toward living in this moment, right now, is my elderly dog. Gemma is twelve, and my desire to travel, to plan fun trips to see relatives and/or exotic places, has been put on hold. Gemma no longer does well when I leave, so I'm not leaving. Simple. Equally disastrous for me is the future scenario of her death. I refuse to spend our last months unhappily anticipating the future without her. Not. Happening. Every hug, every walk, every snore in the middle of the night is pure joy!

What does it all mean?

Last Saturday (July 6, 2013) my guest post on living in the present was published by Skelations. Another take on the same topic will be published there on July 27. I've taken a week off promoting and proven to myself yet again that the sky did not fall. Relaxing now with the physical aches of a sore hip and the remnants of overall exhaustion, a couple of layers of the emotional onion have peeled back.

One realization for me is that I want my novels to be available. I want them out there in the public marketplace. Selling or not selling is nowhere near as relevant as availability. So thank you, Amazon Kindle. Huge thank you! The people who like my novels REALLY like my novels. That's what matters. One reader who writes me because they 'get it' is a lifelong connection that I would miss out on if the novels weren't for sale worldwide.

Another realization is that I can do exactly as much or as little as feels enjoyable in the moment. If I don't post for a few days, so be it. Without pressure, the fun comes back. I really do love tweeting! Thank you to my generous, funny, and loving Twitter friends! Even Facebook is mostly awesome, and I love keeping in touch with people's lives through their photos and updates.

Yet another reminder recently is that I LOVE the intellectual side of writing, reading, and discussing novels. James McAllister and I have started a correspondence about his amazing and complex novel iNation, and I'm loving it! Molly Ann Wishlade and I share ideas and encouragement on our novels all the time. I love reading the thoughtful posts of  Thomas Rydder (My Road to Better Writing), Cassandra Page (Writing), Kristen Lamb (everything!), James McAllister (iNation), and many, many more wonderful writer bloggers!

Anyone who would like to talk novels, contact me! Huge advance hugs!

I don't want anything!

The final layer for me is to say happily and openly, I don't want anything!! Woohoo! Repeat after me, I don't want anything! I don't want ANYTHING! Life right this instant, this very second, is complete and amazing and plenty.

link to the recipe on The Furious Pear Pie blog

“I got the blues thinking about the future, 
so I left off and made some marmalade. 
It’s amazing how it cheers one up 
to shred oranges and scrub the floor.” 
D. H. Lawrence

Please join me for a lively discussion of all things writing and publishing, or whatever else you'd like to talk about! I look forward to your comments.

Check out these related posts on writing and publishing:
Please click on the embedded links to several amazing blogs, today's contribution to The Blog Scratchers Union!


  1. Oh Carole, you've made me cry again! How right you are! Live for today for tomorrow may never come. I love your wisdom and joy in life, the seize the day philosophy that you always project - even if you don't realise that you are - and your attitude of gratitude. You are an extremely positive life force and your glow is warm and comforting!
    Woo hoo! Thank you for including me here today.
    Always, Molly xx

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Molly!

      Even if we were 100% assured that tomorrow will come, still the only time that is real is right now. Warm hugs and thanks for your thoughtful, joyful presence in my life!


  2. This is really great, MC! You rock so glad I visited this blog today. So, one of the secrets is to just not want? I think that was one of Jesus' points, no? We are taken care of the universe one way or another. We just have to stop being frustrated.

    I need to know more about these free services in Mexico. Here you have to jump through a lot of hoops to even get one cat neutered. You need to take a class and watch a video to rent a trap and even when you take them to the ASPCA they may not take them. And we are not retired nor the children of wealthy parents who have crap to say but hey, they should lend a helping hand since they do mot have to work.

    You are on your own and still have to pay out of pocket. You would think major cities would help out with such problems that affect the population.

    1. Hi A,

      For all that it gets a bad rap for some things, Mexico gets a LOT of things right. Even as an immigrant, I immediately got free medical coverage, and the services are top quality. The state I live in, Colima, just passed legislation criminalizing animal abuse, with fines and possible jail time.

      The city holds free spay/neuter campaigns four times a year, first come, first served. Several private non-profits also run low-cost or free sterilization clinics. We will soon have the space to hold campaigns in our shelter.

      On so many levels, I'm really proud of Mexico, and I'm certainly glad I live here! See if you can figure out a way to visit. All you need is airfare. I have two guest rooms all set!



    2. MC,

      One final question. Do female cats know they have an all male litter and get busy again right away to try and produce a litter with females in it? Do they even care? I thought I'd ask you because I don't get any answers here. Would you happen to know?

    3. Hi A,

      I have absolutely no idea! What an interesting thought! I'll ask my vet friend tomorrow, but I highly doubt it. Someone would have to do a careful statistical study to check it out. Maybe someone has??

      Check out my post today about our new animal shelter. Woohoo!