A Joyous Easter Sunday

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“Find a place inside where there is joy.” ~ Joseph Campbell

I was introduced to the writings of Joseph Campbell some years back by someone who I consider to be a mentor.  Many of Campbell’s thoughts, in my opinion, perfectly reflect what all things fulfilling is really all about.

On Easter Sunday, I enjoyed the creative tasks of making a memorable Easter Sunday brunch just for the two of us empty nesters – my husband and me. We had a lovely day including an “Easter Sunday journey,” recalling memories of Easters past.

We laughed about the days when our son indulged us (his mother & father) far longer than he really needed to by continuing to look like he enjoyed searching for the Easter eggs the Easter bunny had hidden, even though he had learned of every possible secret hiding place many years prior.

For me the most meaningful part of Easter Sunday this year was all about finding that inner place where there is contentment and beauty in memories and the delicious food on the table.

Terrys photo1easter table

This blog is brought to you by the author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

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Twistin’ Twiggy

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What will they think of me must be put aside for bliss.”Joseph Campbell

Twiggy-4When British supermodel Twiggy burst onto the international  fashion and style scene in the 1970s, it made me feel much better as a teenager. http://www.twiggylawson.co.uk/. After all, I reasoned, Twiggy had skinny, skinny legs like me, and she had a short pixie hair cut, like mine, too. It may have been my own twisted way of rationalizing that not having long flowing locks and shapely legs like all the others girls in school was ok. The only time I did have long tresses was in my senior high school picture. I caved into peer pressure and let my hair grow out.

It can be hard when you are a child and you feel different than the others, and even worse when you become a teenager. Wanting to “fit in” is important. I feel as if I was fortunate compared to kids today, I think the times were gentler and although there was peer pressure, it wasn’t quite as intense as it is in today’s world.

One of the reasons that I published my memoir is to help children who are struggling with childhood illness. Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is a story of hope for kids and their parents. Click here for information on Sue’s memoir. The message I wish to share with sick children is that no matter what they are going through it does not have to be their entire life story. With faith, positive attitudes and medical experts, things can take unexpected turns resulting in great health, happiness and fulfillment.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. I am going to celebrate my many years of good health by posting a blog of iconic American images that make me smile!  The pictures hearten the spirit for all Americans who love and believe in our country. Enjoy a  patriotic visual experience from All Things Fulfilling.

 This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

For the Love of Reading

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To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work.”  ~ Sister Mary Lauretta

cultivating readers and writerssWe’ve all heard adages about having passion for our work, haven’t we?  Author Joseph Campbell has written a lot about following our bliss. Some people take issue with his teachings but, it does give us fulfilling feelings when we become absorbed in the things we love to do. If you are interested in learning more about  the life and writings of Joseph Campbell, please follow this link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Campbell.

Today I am feeling so very grateful because I love what I do, and do what I love – consult with independent publishers about selling and marketing their publications over the internet. It affords me the opportunity to delve into the desires of both readers and writers to learn what sells books and what makes for fascinating stories.

Writers, in general, are an interesting group of people. Learning how authors draw from their careers, experiences and their imaginations to create fulfilling tales to share with others, is always insightful. Some authors tell tales that are true to life, others have made up characters, settings and plots, all contrived through the power of their own creativity.

Last week I took an inside look at a book club. I was a casual observer and purposely did not enter into the conversation. I only listened. What factors, I wanted to know, have the greatest influence on the way a reader perceives a story and forms their opinions. Is it the age of the reader or some other individual perspective, or experience that determines whether a reader likes a book or not? Does geographical location change the dynamics of how a book club runs its meetings and critique sessions?

Do return tomorrow as I share my findings as an observer of a book club group. This blog brought to you by www.cornerstonefulfillmentservice.com.

Living with Heart

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The following is part 1 of my interview with author Mara Purl this morning. If you missed my interviews with Mara when her first book was released, please scroll down to yesterday’s blog. There are links that will take you to them.

Sue: Mara, we are honored to have the opportunity to interview you again on All Things Fulfilling. This time I’d like discuss your new book, the second Milford-Haven novel, Where the Heart Lives. http://bit.ly/SunF8d Congratulations on the success of Book One What the Heart Knows and it’s ranking of #5 on the Amazon best seller list as well as its finalist status for Book of the Year. Also, congratulations on the success of your short story e-book, When Hummers Dream, the prequel to the first book of the series.

Sue: Over the past years, there have been many people who have had to take a look at their own lives due to the job market, and in some cases, they’ve had to change geographical locations for new or different professional opportunities or even to rebuild their life. Your protagonist Miranda Jones makes a difficult personal decision to move from city life (San Francisco) to a small coastal town (Milford-Haven). She pursues her artistic endeavors from what many may see as a more limiting environment. How do your characters help your readers examine their own lives and decisions?

Mara: Our culture typically focuses on using logic and intellect to make life decisions, (both big and small). We tend to choose what feels “safe” and the steady path in life because we make decisions based on external rather than internal “intuitive thinking.” Mentors such as Joseph Campbell, whom I worked under at Open Eye Theatre, along with Jean Erdman, http://bit.ly/S9vmhK  tell us to “follow our bliss.” This can be difficult to do because it tends to be different than the way our culture views things, usually not part of a normal career path. Those that decide to do something because it “feels good” can be opening a crack into what leads to our own fulfilling path in life. People who work in the arts use a life-long practice of listening to their hearts and intuition. It may go against logic but it what they do is personally fulfilling.

My characters in my books either reject this idea of “doing what you love” or they decide to be authentic to themselves, and decide to go against logic. In the case of Miranda Jones, she is at odds because she is a wildlife painter, yet, she is living in a city and in order to observe wildlife, she needs to escape city life. Ultimately, she settles in the coastal town of Milford-Haven against her manager’s advice and against her parent’s wishes. But, she creates a sense of home and connection with nature in Milford-Haven. Many of my characters feel conflicted between what their heads and hearts are telling them, which gives the reader permission to examine their own core beliefs and think about how they live their lives.

In this current economy, people have been forced to think more about making decisions using intuition and they have learned that the secure path they’ve lived may have been an illusion.

Sue: Is what you write based on experience or do your storylines bring realizations to you?

Mara: Both, my experiences and internal direction help craft a story. I don’t feel comfortable if everything I do is based on the external. There is a spiritual component that leads me- beyond intelligence. Many years after I began writing about the town of Milford-Haven which is based on a town in Wales, I found out that I had relatives in that part of the world. It made me realize that I was doing what I was supposed to do.

In doing my research for the third book, I was unable to locate an expert that I wanted to talk to about the architecture of oil rigs. One day, I got on a very crowd flight and sat next to a man and our conversation led to what we did for a living. As it turned out, he designed off shore oil rigs. He drew pictures for me, and I got exactly what I needed to continue the story for the third book.

For information on Mara Purl’s publications, Click here

Return tomorrow to the blog of Cornerstone Fulfillment Service, LLC www.AllThingsFulfilling.com. We will be continuing our conversation with Mara Purl about a shift she has noticed in books people read. We will also discuss how Mara has been able to take the spirit of her character, artist Miranda Jones, and use her own artistic creativity to come up with a reminder for her readers of what they have learned and perhaps the decisions they have made for themselves in the reading of the Milford Haven Series.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.