Melody Beattie is a favorite author of mine. She doesn’t write novels. She writes nonfiction books that help me navigate through my days. Her pages always encourage and inspire me and give me new perspectives on the things that happen in my life.
I also admire Ms. Beattie because her first bestselling book was rejected by twenty publishers before it was finally published. I simply love stories about authors proving publishing companies wrong. Fortunately there are dozens of stories just like that to give aspiring authors hope. Did you know that Kathryn Stockett’s book The Help was rejected by sixty agents/publishers before it was finally accepted by one? You see, there is hope for all of us.
My personal two favorites of Melody Beattie’s books are titled The Language of Letting Go and More on the Language of Letting Go. (But all of her books are great.) Each of my two favorites contains daily readings that comprise a year’s worth of inspiring thoughts and suggestions. I’ve read both of these books several times. In fact I carry them in my car and read them at traffic lights. If you catch me reading, please don’t honk.
Ms. Beattie’s latest book is titled Making Miracles in Forty Days. Who wouldn’t want a miracle? I learned about the existence of the book by exploring on Amazon.com. I was intrigued by the title and have always been impressed with Melody’s advice. The paperback wasn’t even out yet, but they promised it by December 10th. In late October I decided to order the CD read aloud by Melody. How fun it was to finally hear her actual voice after only reading her words off a page for years.
Now here’s my secret. I’ve been following her suggestions in her miracle project for the past thirty days. I see you shaking your head and doubting my intelligence. I used to teach high school, so I’m used to people questioning my intelligence. But I am definitely NOT one of those gals who receives a pen pal type email offering good luck if you pass it along. I just hit the delete button and take my chances.
I must admit I feel sheepish even telling you this. I began on November 4th. It requires you to write out how you would like to change your life if you had a magic wand. You also write out your goals. Haven’t we all done that at one time or another? “So what?” I thought. But I did it.
She requires that you list things you are grateful for each day, first thing in the morning. I’ve listed my gratitudes before too, no big news there. However, she also insisted that we list the negative issues going on in our lives first, and claim in writing, that we are grateful for them. Is she nuts? By then I not only questioned my sanity, but hers as well. But what did I have to lose? No one would know. I felt like an idiot.
• I keep getting thicker in the middle. Joy to the world.
• I enjoy writing but no one seems to care. Woo-hoo! I’m grateful for that.
• I’m grateful for a pain I have in my neck…no, not a person….an actual pain. Love that pain.
• I am so thrilled that I received another rejection yesterday from an agent to whom I sent a manuscript. I love receiving emails and letters that reject me. Just makes my day lovely.
Well, you get the idea. I felt completely absurd the entire time. Following your kind of “fake” gratitudes each day you may list the real things for which you are actually thankful. I like that part better. Melody demands you do this as soon as you wake up each day. She claims that is when we are most honest with ourselves. Later in the day we click on our denial skills and never even recognize our negative issues that bug us.
Well, there you have it my embarrassing confession. I have only a few days left before my forty days are up. So if you possess a miracle, send it my way.
There have been some baffling things I have noticed along the way. It seems like when I list a negative issue and ‘fake’ claim my gratitude for it, somehow it plants itself in my subconscious mind or something and my subconscious mind seems to work a little harder at resolving it. This takes no effort on my part. So I say, “Cool.”
In the beginning one of the issues I wrote that I would change if I could wave a magic wand, was to overcome my fear of technology enough to begin to blog. Agents and publishers insist that today’s authors blog, have a website and are active in social media. Blah. I wanted to do none of those things and had avoided them like being weighed in public. But here I am blogging and enjoying it. In less than a month I have received “likes” and positive comments from all over the world. I’ve discovered I enjoy writing humor pieces. Who knew? Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read any one of my pieces. I think you are pretty miraculous.
Just last week I received an email from someone in Seattle. I live in Cincinnati. For those of you who don’t live in the states, or are geographically challenged, these places are maybe 2,000 miles apart. Completely out of the blue this was an old friend contacting me and asking if I wanted to collaborate on writing an eBook. She is a person whose writing I have always admired and she was suggesting a topic I never thought I would write about. But it is a topic close to my heart. This other gal has a website, blog and is into social media. She suggested a coach she uses who could help me with the eBook process. This gal is someone I send a Christmas letter to once a year. We typically have no other contact throughout the year.
You know what? I’m going to do it. This sounds eerily like a miracle. Nah, couldn’t be. I don’t believe in that stuff. It’s obviously just a coincidence. But guess who is going to keep listing her challenges each morning and claiming that she is grateful for them?