Tag Archives: gratitude

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Why You Never Have to Be a Starving Artist

Many writers still have this tired washed-up romantic notion of the starving artist. And yes, it is difficult to sustain one’s self as an artist in our culture, but not impossible and there are infinite ways to help people, make a good living, and devote your life to writing and creativity.

So banish that starving artist notion from your head. Nothing could be less romantic than having no money. In order to nourish your creativity and your life in general it’s nice to have some abundance to help you along. This takes a major mind shift for many of us toward a mindset of prosperity.

Please know that even if you have a more creative mind, your mind is malleable and can change. Also know that when I use the word “prosperity”, I’m not talking just about money, but abundance in relationships, work, community, spirituality, and creativity.

How do we cultivate prosperity as writers? Let’s take a look…

Practice Gratitude

Prosperity is all around us, we just have to look for it. And then we have to be grateful for it. Practicing gratitude can be as simple as enjoying the sound of fresh rain or the feeling of warm sun on your skin. Or practicing gratitude can go a step further by helping others. For when we have abundance in our lives, we can share it to help others become prosperous, too.

A wise man once said, “I’m drinking from a saucer because my cup has overflowed. In this life I have reaped more than I have sowed.”

This may sound like the words of a wealthy man, but in fact this man had been blind for 40 years, had leprosy for 60 years, and was on his death bed. He was poor and had no family, and yet he felt like his life was overflowing with abundance. I think it’s no coincidence that he was also a poet; his gratitude showed up so prominently in his poetry that he received one of the highest poetry awards in his country.

This is just one example of the effects gratitude can have in creating abundance in your life.

Surround Yourself with Prosperous Writers

People who have achieved prosperity are often excellent motivators. I’ve learned this firsthand from teaching alongside and hosting writing workshops with best selling authors like Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert. At the Elizabeth Gilbert writing workshop in California last year, you could feel the whole room “waking up” as Liz shared her writing wisdom. Everyone felt like their cups were overflowing that day; at one point there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Prosperity is contagious if you surround yourself with the right people. This goes back to practicing gratitude. Oftentimes, people want to share their prosperity with others. So, get out there, network, make friends, and leverage one another so that we’re all living lives full of abundance.

Get to Work

Becoming a prosperous writer is not without putting in some time and effort. No one is going to do the work for you. If you have a story to tell, you need to get it out onto the page and into the world. This requires dedicating yourself to your writing practice and a commitment to improve your writing skills.

Attending writing workshops, writing retreats, learning how to write a novel or how to write a memoir, and taking writing courses (either with an in-person instructor or an online writing course) are all ways you can dedicate yourself to your writing practice while improving your writing skills at the same time.

So, cultivate gratitude to create a feeling of prosperity, surround yourself with successful writers to get motivated to create prosperity, and get to work so that you can truly be a prosperous writer. Now is your time to shine!

If you’d like to learn more, join me this September 2016 for Writing as a Path to Awakening, which is a daylong writing workshop and writing retreat in San Rafael, California. Click here for more details.

You Are Rich (And You Don’t Even Know It)

Guest Post by Jasmine June Cabanaw

Back in August, I made a decision to practice gratitude. This is not an easy thing. It has to be deliberate and disciplined and requires constant mindfulness. Honestly, there are days when I feel exhausted from it. However, since I started practicing gratitude, I have become so much more grounded, confident, content and happy.

It turns out, practicing gratitude involves a lot more than thinking positive thoughts. It means being nice to people who aren’t being nice to you, it means appreciating things even when you’re having such a bad day you’re in tears, it means not complaining when all you want to do is vent (still working on that one!), it means making the first move most of the time (being the first to say hi to a stranger, offering to pay for a friend’s meal, holding open the door for others, giving up your seat on the bus), it means donating money, and it means not expecting anything in return, ever.

That’s the biggie. Giving without getting. Being grateful means that you acknowledge that you are rich, and have a surplus to give. Do you know how challenging this is? It means that I give change every single time someone asks for it, even if all I have in my purse is $5. It means that I donated $50 to my friend’s charity today, even though I’m scraping change together to buy Christmas presents.

Donating so much money still makes me feel panicky, but two interesting things have happened that I didn’t expect:

1. Giving up a big chunk of cash hasn’t affected my quality of life at all.

2. Even though I feel panicky every time I donated a large sum (large for me, let me clarify), I feel that I should be donating more. So the amounts I donate just keep increasing.

To be clear, I thought I would feel good about contributing so much, but actually I feel guilty for not contributing more. That was entirely unexpected.

It’s made me realize how much fear we have about being poor and taking risks, when in reality, we have way more than we ever need. We’re just blinded by fear so we don’t realize that we’re rich.

So, my message for you is: you are rich. Like, literally richer than most of the world’s population. Don’t believe the fear that’s propagated in our society- you’ve already achieved success and everything at this point is just icing on the cake.

(Note: this obviously doesn’t speak to people who truly are poor. But I feel that most, if not all, of the people who will read this are doing well enough that they are suitable for this message.)