11/16/14
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This Shit is Hard

love-and-lightI post a lot about personal growth and enlightenment (my idea of enlightenment isn’t a religious one, but you can apply to the term whatever works for you). This isn’t because I see myself as a paragon of said enlightenment. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The more I learn about the higher consciousness associated with spiritual growth, love, connectedness, and anything else you might put under the umbrella of enlightenment, the more I feel I have to learn.

Which is why it’s particularly disappointing to see people I respect and admire, people who routinely spout love-filled ideology, behaving in ways counter to their supposed spirituality.

Listen, I get it. It’s not easy to deal with some of the situations life throws our way. It’s not easy to decipher the truth of a situation when everyone has their own version (and we see things through a lens uniquely altered by our own experiences, loyalties, and agendas). It’s not easy to watch the people we love targeted, belittled, hurt, shamed, excluded. But as I try to learn and grow, to become a better person really, my goal is to bring love and light to every situation, ESPECIALLY those where it’s difficult to do so. And while I’d love to say I always do this, the truth is that it’s not always possible.

Because this shit is HARD.

So when I find myself in a situation where I want to rage, where I want to be my smallest, meanest, most petty self, my goal shifts. Then I am aware that I am just not capable of bringing light and love to the situation, and my goal becomes to NOT bring more darkness to it. In those situations, it’s sometimes all I can do to mediate on the issue at hand, to STAND SILENT rather than BE MEAN. Yes, I would like to be the kind of person who can always bring light and love to a situation, but the truth is, I’m just not there yet. Sometimes I can pull it out, but other times it takes everything I’ve got just to NOT BRING DARKNESS.

As I share my own journey, the last thing I ever want is to be a hypocrite, to be less than honest about where I’m at on the path. But there is one thing I can say with certainty – it has been a long, long time since I have been outwardly mean, small and petty, even in a very trying situation. Inwardly, I still struggle with these things from time to time. Of course I do. But I have finally gotten to the point where I can’t remember the last time I’ve said or done something to make someone feel bad about themselves, their behavior, their journey. The point where I can honestly say that a majority of the time, I strive to make people feel loved and worthy of love.

Because here is the truth; there has never been a spiritual teacher, or even someone I respect and admire spiritually (again, not a religious definition for me, make the connection to this word that suits you), who has spent their time pointing out the flaws of others, criticizing them, being mean and petty and small and making others feel mean and petty and small. The people I admire spiritually aren’t always perfect. They are often people who will acknowledge, again, that this shit is hard. But neither do they bring more darkness to already-dark situations. Instead they bring the light, or at the very least, turn inward to work on themselves until they can.

So the next time you find yourself in a trying situation, try asking what you can do to bring love and light to it. And if you can’t, that’s okay. Just don’t bring darkness. Look inward instead and work on being the kind of person who can. And if you are the unfortunate target of darkness-bearing people (especially those cloaked as light-bearers), retreat and bring light to yourself — and find others who will join you in keeping the torch lit, and of course, in passing it on.

<3

 

11/13/14
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You Are Not In Jeopardy

All_Is_WellIf I ever get a tattoo, this is what it will say.

I think these words often, ever since I read a quote that went something like; “Do not for a moment entertain the idea that you are in jeopardy.” I wish I could remember who said it! Rumi maybe?

In any case, those words changed the way I think about fear and worry and strife and the never-ending obstacles that can feel like a necessary part of life’s bargain. As soon as I read them, I felt a burden lifted from my shoulders. Of course, I know now that this is because all our fear and stress and anger and disappointment is a result not of the events that happen in our lives, but of the way we think about them and our attachment to the outcome. But back then I only knew that I felt… relief at the idea that I am okay.

I AM NOT IN JEOPARDY.

What powerful words. My mantra, ALL IS WELL, is just a shorter way of saying it.

ALL IS WELL.

What powerful words.

I repeat the phrase often. I repeat it when I’m worried about paying for braces or college or about that strange sound coming from my car (and how much it’s going to cost to fix). I repeat it when I wonder if — yes, IF — I will sell another book and when I’m feeling like a hack and a has-been (it happens more often than you might think). I repeat it when I wonder if my brand is shot to hell from writing different kinds of books and if I’ll ruin my career by doing something bold and ill-advised. I repeat it when I’m thinking about my kids moving out of the house and the now-imminent moment (exhilarating and terrifying!) when I will have long stretches of time to fill with something other than the mindless tasks of making lunches and driving people everywhere.

These simple words have the power to calm the shallow breath and knotted stomach of anxiety. They have the power to ground me in an instant – whether I’m driving in the car saying them out loud or standing in a check out line repeating them in my head. But I know it isn’t the words themselves that do the job. It’s the knowledge — the REMINDER — that all really IS well. It’s well because I say it’s well. It’s well because, in the words of another famous, unattributed quote, “Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not, it’s not the end.” The only sure thing in life is that everything is always changing. Don’t like what’s going on, how you’re feeling, what someone is saying? Ride it out and it will pass. Try it the next time you are worried or scared or beaten down. Take a few slow, calming breaths and say the words.

All is well. I promise.

<3

11/6/14
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LIES I TOLD Sneak Peek and ARC Giveaway

Goodreads_CoverRight now on Goodreads you can enter to win one of three advance copies. Which is the perfect excuse to give you guys a sneak peek.

;)

 

Looking back, I should have known Playa Hermosa was the beginning of the end. We’d had a good run, and if things were sometimes tense between Mom, Dad, and Parker, it was nothing a new job couldn’t fix. Just when they’d be at each other’s throats, we’d move on to a new town.
 
And there was nothing like a new town to remind us which team we were on.

But Playa Hermosa was different. It was like another world. One where the old rules didn’t apply. Like the exotic birds on the peninsula, we were suddenly all on our own.
 
Except it didn’t feel like that right away. In the beginning, it was business as usual. Plot the con, get into character, work our way in, stick together.
 
I don’t know if it was my relationship with Logan that tipped everything over the edge or if the signs had been there long before. Either way, I tell myself it was for the best. The universe seems to have its own mysterious plan. I guess we’re just along for the ride. I can live with that. The harder part, the impossible part, is living with what I did to Logan and his family.
 
We knew what we were doing. Knew the risks. But Logan and his family were good. Maybe the first really good people I’d ever met. They loved each other, sacrificed for each other. Not because they didn’t have anyone else, but because that’s what love is.
 
What happened to them is my fault. And I’m still trying to figure out if I can live with that.
 
Then there’s Parker. Deep down, I know the choice was his. But I can’t help wondering if he stuck around because of me. If he hadn’t, everything would be different, and he’d probably be drinking beer in Barcelona or coffee in Paris or something.
 
I can’t think about the other stuff. Thinking about it forces me back to the question; Why didn’t I see it? Had the end of our family been one sudden, impulsive decision that set into motion a string of events that changed everything? Or had it all been a long time coming? I think that would be worse, because if it was true, it meant that I was hopelessly, unforgivably naive.
 
And there’s no crime as unforgivable as naivety when you’re on the grift.

 
Entering is easy!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

Lies I Told

by Michelle Zink

Giveaway ends November 18, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

10/30/14
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LIES I TOLD Giveaway!

Remember when I ran that LIES I TOLD ARC giveaway a couple of months ago and over 1100 people entered in two weeks? Well, I have MOAR ARCs to give away!

Three of them!

All you have to do to enter is click a button on Goodreads. Then you’ll get to read my new book five months before it comes out — PLUS get the ending that didn’t appear in the final copy.

Fun! And easy!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

Lies I Told

by Michelle Zink

Giveaway ends November 18, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

10/24/14
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It Was Exactly Like Waking from a Dream

Station_ElevenSad to finish Station Eleven last night. Definitely one of my all time faves. I didn’t want it to end. Some of my favorite quotes;

“She started to explain her project to him again but the words stopped in her throat. “You don’t have to understand it,” she said. “It’s mine.”

“We traveled so far and your friendship meant everything. It was very difficult, but there were moments of beauty. Everything ends. I’m not afraid.”

“She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.”

“What was it like for you at the end?”… “It was exactly like waking up from a dream.”

“If nothing else, it’s pleasant to consider the possibility. He likes the thought of ships moving out over the water, toward another world just out of sight.”

10/20/14
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You Are Terrifying and Strange…

warsan_shire_quote1It took me a long time to understand that not everyone will know how to love me. That’s okay. But it’s also okay to insist on the kind of love you deserve. It might mean that it takes longer to find the right people. It might mean there are fewer of them. But in the end, the people who know how to love you — just as you are — are the people you need in your life. As for the others; send them light and love and let them go. In the meantime, learn to love yourself like the most gentle of friends, the most passionate of lovers, the kindest and wisest of mentors. Because the most important thing of all is that you know how to love you.

Have a wonderful week, sweet friends.

10/14/14
2

Vegetarian Sausage and Biscuits

sausage_biscuitsIt’s been surprising to realize how little I miss from my meat-eating days. I’m going on three years being vegetarian, and the truth is, I rarely crave anything with meat these days. Part of that is because there are so many vegetarian substitutes for meat products, and we’re lucky enough to live in an era where most of them are really very good. The other part of it is that my taste buds have changed. I mostly crave “live” food (vegetables and fruit), and if I go too long eating a lot of pasta or bread or rice, it’s salads and fresh fruit that I really want.

That said, every now and then you hear the call of some forgotten food, often with associations of comfort or childhood. Sausage and biscuits has been on my list for the last few weeks, so I finally decided to try and make it veggie. And you know what? It rocked. Really, it was almost indistinguishable from the meat version. Even the kids said it was the best sausage gravy EVER. Plus it was super easy and took about twenty minutes.

Hope you enjoy it!

Biscuits and Vegetarian Sausage Gravy

14 oz. vegetarian sausage (I used Good Life’s non-GMO version in a tube)

4 cups vegetable broth (I made my own with 4 cups of water and 4 tsp of Better Than Bouillon vegetable paste)

4 tablespoons corn starch

1 cup Greek yogurt

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown the vegetarian sausage in a little oil (I use grapeseed oil), breaking apart with a spatula or wooden spoon while it cooks. While the sausage is browning, whisk together the broth and corn starch.

Once the sausage is brown and a little crispy, add the broth and corn starch mixture. Whisk on and off for about two minutes or until the gravy is thickened.

Turn off heat and whisk in yogurt. Add salt and pepper to taste (liberal pepper adds a nice Southern flavor to the gravy).

Pour over your favorite biscuits. Or rice. Or potatoes. Or basically anything.

Enjoy!

:)

 

10/8/14
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Beautiful Girl

Beautiful_Girl_Hard_ThingsAnd I’m rooting for you. <3

10/2/14
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Reality is Overrated

Humankind_TS_EliotWhich is why we need fiction.

<3

09/25/14
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Go Out Into the World and Do Good

Go_Into_the_WorldSometimes you just need a reminder of why we’re really here. <3