Reading & Writing a Life

Carla Pineda's blog

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Book Review: Running on Empty by Shelley Pernot

One of the topics I like to read about is mindfulness.  I have the books by the masters, the “gurus” on the subject, the names many of us associate with the topic.  I have them marked up and refer to them often.  But, what a surprise to find a book on the topic that was just a bit different to say the least.

Running on Empty: The Irreverent Guru’s Guide to Filling Up with Mindfulness  by Shelly Pernot is the first book on the topic that actually made me laugh out loud.  Shelly is a life coach, speaker, leadership development trainer, and founder of True North Development. (  Her “bio” says she is “dedicated to helping folks shake off the boring and blah and put on the passion and purpose.”

This book was such a fun read.  It made me laugh, it made me ponder, and it made me want to get out my pen and do the worksheets she provides throughout the book.

If you’re like me and can’t take a big chunk of time off to go “find yourself” or or consider yourself a “non-monk” check out this book.  It’s practical, provocative, it takes mindfulness out of the clouds and brings it down to earth level.  And, like I said, a fun read.  My copy is well marked up.  I’m anxious to dig back into it and see where it guides me.  I’ll keep you posted.

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List Making

The other morning I woke up at 4:30. This is too darn early, with my mind on warp speed, obsessing on things that have no need of being obsessed on. Yes, pondered on, wondered about, processed but not obsessed on. The stuff of life that needs dealing with doesn’t go away or change. The issue is with how we deal with it, how we approach it. If you breathe into it you stop the reactionary response. Then, make a list of “the stuff”. Making a list “lists” things in linear fashion, takes them out of the knots our minds make of them. A list will help untangle the whirl of thoughts whizzing through the gray matter.

Slow Down. Breathe in Peace. Breathe in Calm. Exhale the Tension, the Tightness.  Grab that journal and make that list.  It will help I promise.

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“Anything worth thinking about…”

“Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about”

Bob Dylan

I think I can write.  Wait, yes, I can write.  I just don’t always know what to do with what I write.  Maybe just putting the flow of words on the page is enough, for me, for clarity, for questioning.  I struggle with what I put on the page, this blog entry, my journal, being enough.  I get caught up in my own internal measuring stick of expectations of self that freeze me in my tracks.  I pre-order what goes on the page.  I embed it in the stone of expected perfection.  My pen freezes and that’s the end of it.

“Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about” says Bob Dylan.  Well, I can’t sing, just ask my kids!  But, is anything worth thinking about worth writing about?

I would have to answer yes.  To write is to write.  The struggle to value my voice, to find it, again and again, on the page, even between the lines that manage to find themselves flowing from a pen unfrozen by I know not what is worth it.

Do not be your own worse enemy.  Do not silence yourself before you even put thoughts, ideas, questions, revealings on paper.  You may find yourself writing things you don’t remember writing.  They may be “first drafts” or need to go straight to trash and that’s ok.  Yet, they may hold a thread of something wise, witty, or revealing.  Exercise with your pen in hand.  Just write!

Who is your writer?  Sometimes you may not recognize her.  Other times there may just the tiniest hint of knowing her.  You may ask, “Is this me?”  “My true self?” “Where did she come from?”  “How did she come out from hiding?”

She comes out, I think, when I realize I’m less in charge of her and I realize I am her scribe and she writes the words, not me.  Note to self:  Just write!  Every day!  Is it worth it? Yes!