As the new year dawns

One of the things I have struggled with as a writer is my desire to be published. There’s nothing wrong with this dream, except that it can turn ugly when desire unfulfilled turns into suffering. Since I’ve noticed that my burning desire causes suffering, I’ve tried to turn it around.

The thing with turning suffering into joy is that you have to keep working at it. But the results are worth the effort. I’m thinking I can’t be the only writer without a wonderful New York contract whose desire has gone unfulfilled to the point of suffering. I can’t be the only writer who wants to find a way out of suffering and into joy.

So, in case you’d like a map, here’s how I got there. First step was realizing that my unfulfilled desire to be published was making me unhappy. And at this point, you might think, well, get rid of the desire. But no. The desire is good. It gives me a reason to get up and write the book every day. The trick is to keep the desire but lose the suffering. 

It helps here if you believe in the universe or God or the goddess or whatever you call a higher power. Because if you believe that there is an intelligent design to the universe, then it follows that this intelligence is working constantly for the good of all. I really believe that and I believe it because I chose to, because believing it makes me happy. And happiness is the opposite of suffering.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and that, just like why the universe exists in the first place, sometimes the reasons are unknowable. Large issues like the existence of evil, or small problems like Why am I not published? those things are pretty much a mystery, even to Stephen Hawking, who admits he doesn’t know why the universe exists. Neither do we know why a loving intelligence allows evil. We don’t know what the greater plan for our life might be. 

But we can use the vast inner space of our own mind to find a place to rest in peace and happiness, if we want it. Just go within and rest there and feel that peace. It’s there for me every single time, no matter what the circumstance, if I’m willing and able to access it.

I want peace, which is a quiet kind of happiness, even though some of my atheist friends scoff at my romanticizing of the cosmos as a place where this is possible. I want it because it makes my life better. I want it because I did it the other way for a really long time and hated the suffering that came with believing in nothing.

So I believe the universe has a great plan in mind for me, and is working on its own timetable. My part is to show up, do the work, feel the desire, believe, and not to get tossed away by what is happening at the moment in the world of publishing.

Those manifesting folk say that to get your heart’s desire, you should act like you already have it. You should feel that feeling of having it all, and keep that good vibration flowing, and soon you’ll manifest what you desire. For me, the way to keep good vibration flowing is to think positive, loving thoughts about writing, publishing, New York, and all the rest of what makes up this amazing magnificent life.

So the moment desire turns into suffering, I try to notice. I get quiet and go inside, to that vast cosmos of the mind, and rest there. The sweet spot of internal rest is an actual spot in the brain, known as the third eye. Close your physical eyes and rest there, without thought, inside your mind’s eye. Peace is there. And happiness, which is what I wish for you, especially as this new year dawns.

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  1. One other thing that I’ve realized that helps is to surround yourself with others who want the same thing and have the same positive outlook. It truly makes a difference toward your own state of mind…

    Happy New Year, Cindy!


  2. So true, Cindy, everything you wrote so eloquently here. But I want to remind you, gently, that you ARE published. Your byline has appeared in national magazines, including Publishers Weekly, and you have published a wonderful handbook on the craft of writing, just for starters….

    But I know, I know…. We writers tend to feel we’re only as good or as successful as our last byline, book, or published piece. It’s constant effort and it’s hard. Sometimes I miss the days when I just sat behind a desk or a counter and only had to do the work put in front of me — and automatically collected a weekly paycheck. That work was hard, too, in its own way. But the constant striving and pushing wasn’t part of it.

    Writing is an act of courage, Cindy, and I laud your bravery. Wishing you lots of published work in the New Year, too!!


  3. The whole submission/rejection cycle is pretty horrendous at the best of times. But as you point out in another entry – you have been published! You will be published again. You live in a time when technology makes books for the Kindle and tangiable self-publishing (and other things) possible.

    I think sometimes it is important to know your goal, but to not be fixed in your idea of how it should be played out. My background, actually, is in music business management and audio production… and every musician wants to be ‘signed’ to a record label because they’ve seen movies and it always means big parties and people love you and whatever. Unfortunately what it really means is that the label owns your recordings. They might release them and promote them and support you, but I’ve seen just as many people have their albums buried… company mergers, albums being shelved indefinitely.


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