Oh, it's something else, and in this entry, I'll tell you exactly how I got from a place where I hated my life to a place where I love it. It's simple, too, once you get the hang of it. And if this doesn't work, I can also point you to a resource that will give you other options that have worked for other people.
I'll be honest with you: my life is NOT where I want it to be. I had hoped to reach a niche market with my writing by now, and that in doing so, it would be providing a steady stream of income. Maybe I expected too much. The book market has changed drastically with ebooks, and things aren't what they once were as this new world continues to evolve and take shape. In fact, my writing has pretty much died over the past couple of years, and I'm having trouble getting the readers that loved Move and Blurry back. Not releasing a new book last year hurt. I didn't think of it at the time because I was convinced that writing all of The Earthside Trilogy together was the best decision (I still think that), but the problem is that people move on, and it's hard to get them back. Heck, even my own family won't read Progenitor. Rick (my husband) is the only person I personally know whose read it. God bless him. But it's really caused me to have doubts. Still, I push on, and here's why:
Meditation. Yep, that's it. And for those of you who say "Sherri, that's too new age for a Christian," I say this: PRAYER IS MEDITATION! That's right! Focusing your thoughts in prayer is the same thing. Some in Christian circles prefer to call it "contemplation," but in essence it's the same: it's focusing your mind on one thing. The problem is that in prayer, we often put our focus in the wrong place by telling God what we want when in fact, we should be asking what HE wants. Proper meditation is taking time to focus on an issue, but instead of saying "Dear God, I want," you ask questions like:
- Why do I feel this way?
- What does this mean?
- Is this right for me?
- What's the right next step for me to take?
And then, you shut up and listen. Focus on the question, and wait for the answer to come to you.
See, the difference isn't only in framing your thoughts, but it's in opening yourself up to answers that you may not consciously know. We like to believe we're in control and so often, we wrestle for that control by putting our minds into overdrive to figure out an answer when the truth is that it hasn't been provided to us. Patience is a problem that's getting bigger in our age of instant-everything technology. But folks, even that isn't right. How often have you Googled someone to get an address that you later found out was out of date, because they recently moved? The point: instant answers can be wrong, and what's obvious may not be what's right. Try it backwards. Ask the questions, and leave it be. Trust me, the answers do come, and they're right. You have to give your limited mind time, space, and permission to process divine inspiration.
Meditation hasn't solved all of my problems, but it has helped me to better understand things and, with that, find contentment where I'm at. For example, through meditation, I realized that ebbs and flows are normal in the book industry. This isn't the first slump I've been through, and it probably won't be the last. My job is to stay on the path, to do my best, and to remain obedient to following the opportunities that I'm led to follow. It's not fat stacks of cash in the bank, but it's the answer I've got, and I've learned to be ok with it.
And that's the next step in the process - to accept the answers when they come, whether you like them or not, and to be obedient to what the Spirit leads you to do. It's exciting when you like it, but not so easy when the answer is something you don't like. Like "no." Or "something else." Or "keep waiting." But accepting a right answer does bring contentment, because it teaches you to trust in a greater good.
Give it a try. The Secret, where I read this suggestion, says that you can start with as little as two minutes of intense focus a day. I believe you'll feel better about life if you try it (I know I do), but if you feel you need something else, then the book is full of other suggestions and hints for steering your live on a more positive path. The chapter on gratitude is another powerful one - that's something I've addressed before, but perhaps I'll explore it in more depth in the next entry. For now, this entry is long enough.
With that, I bid you farewell for the day. Take care, and have an excellent rest of the weekend and week.