Crocodiles and Alligators

Crocodiles and Alligators

by Rita Goldner

As a kid, I didn’t have many books to read at home. My parents were avid readers, and owned collections of Shakespeare and the works of Rudyard Kipling, but not his children’s classics. Having six kids and a limited budget meant few children’s books. The public library was a favorite haunt of mine, and I remember the anthropomorphicfirst time I ventured to walk there by myself. I was very young, and it was a long walk, but kids in those days had a lot more freedom; parents weren’t afraid to let them out alone like they are today (probably with good reason). The first book I ever signed out by myself was a picture book about the differences between alligators and crocodiles. Even that far back, I was a naturalist, very intrigued by wildlife.

Now I have a book for adults on the same subject, and one of the characters in my work-in-progress book, Rhonda’s Great Big Feet, is a crocodile. In the process of creating the character, my reference photos are helping my illustration process with details like color and foot shape. For body composition and positioning of limbs, however, I have to wing it, because this particular character is doing a back-stroke down the river, in a synchronized swim with one leg lifted, perpendicular to his body. (In case that isn’t challenging enough, the next illustration is a rhinoceros in a ballet pirouette.) You don’t find a lot of animals in nature in these poses for photo references. Even though my poses are anthropomorphic, I feel the closer I can get to natural body proportions, the funnier the illustration.

Here are some fun facts I learned while researching my new character:

  • Crocodiles have been around for at least 240 million years
  • The smallest dwarf crocodiles are less than 5 feet, and the largest saltwater crocs are longer than 20 feet.
  • They eat only meat. They have 24 sharp teeth but can’t chew. They rip prey apart and swallow it whole.
  • They swallow stones to grind up the food in their stomachs and act as ballast.
  • The temperature of a crocodile’s nest determines whether the eggs will develop into males or females.  For the eggs to hatch into male crocs, the temperature needs to be 31.6 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is higher or lower, females will hatch.
  • 99% of croc babies are taken by predators within the first year.
  • In the wild, they live to 50 or 60 years, and some even make it to 80 years.

While crocs are found all over the globe, alligators are only in China and America. You can tell the difference one of two ways: (1) by color – they’re black, while crocs are grey-green; (2) by snout shape – an alligator’s snout is broad, while the croc’s is narrow and pointed. Both eat meat and fruit, and rarely attack humans.

The really weird thing is that although the nest temperature also affects the sex of alligator hatchlings, the effect is actually different from that in a croc’s nest. If an alligator nest is 31 degrees Celsius, an equal number of males and females will be born. If it is warmer than 33 degrees Celsius, they’ll all be males. If it’s below 28 degrees Celsius, you’ll get all females.

Wild animals’ evolution and adaptations fascinate me, which explains why I am always going down endless rabbit holes in my research – and reading way more than I have to. I’ll get this book finished yet, but it’ll take some discipline and time management!

Thanks, and comments welcome!

 

References for this blog:

https://factslegend.org/40-interesting-crocodile-facts-that-will-surprise-you
https://factslegend.org/30-alligator-facts-some-may-scare-you

_______________
Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series. For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water CycleThe Flying Artist, and Rose ColoredTo view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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The Effective Author: Dealing with Rough Days

The Effective Author: Dealing with Rough Days

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved

There’s lots of guidance out there for writing and completing projects. There’s lots of great advice about organizing, planning, and goal-setting. There’s lots of wisdom about optimizing our workspaces and increasing our productivity.

But what if you realize you are just having an all-around rough day?

What if you just have too much on your mind and heart to focus on your writing? What if you have a relative who just went straight from surgery to hospice – and you’re concerned about running into her nasty ex at the hospice? And the roofers have been banging on your roof for a few days? And it’s 108° out there? Oh, and your spouse is having a cancer recurrence? And your sister in another state has been rushed off by the paramedics, barely revived in the ambulance, again? And two favorite relatives are right in the path of this week’s hurricane?

Well, STOP! And catch your breath. All of your work will be there later, even if you take a few hours off. How great will your productivity be, anyway, if you are pushing the river, trying to force yourself to focus on your writing?

Consider this poem, by Laura Ding-Edwards, of Rainbird Roots:

If the mountain seems too big today
Then climb a hill instead
If the morning brings you sadness
It’s OK to stay in bed
If the day ahead weighs heavy
And your plans feel like a curse
There’s no shame in rearranging
Don’t make yourself feel worse
If a shower stings like needles
And a bath feels like you’ll drown
If you haven’t washed your hair for days
Don’t throw away your crown
A day is not a lifetime
A rest is no defeat
Don’t think of it as failure
Just a quiet, kind retreat
It’s OK to take a moment from an anxious, fractured mind
The world will not stop turning while you get realigned
The mountain will still be there
When you want to try again
You can climb it in our own time
Just love yourself ’til then

On such a day, be kind and gentle to yourself. Walk slowly. Go get a massage or get your nails done. Eat a dark green, leafy salad and have a fresh juice drink. Or simply soak in an epsom salts bath for a least 20 minutes. Meditate on the Go(o)d in your life. Let writing ideas come through if they decide to. This is your re-set day. When you’ve achieved your re-set, you’ll be on a new plane, and you’ll find you are even more The Effective Authorsm.

_________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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What to Write When the Mood Doesn’t Strike!

What to Write When the Mood Doesn’t Strike!

by Marcus A. Nannini

We all find ourselves in situations where we must write out of obligation, rather than for our own edification and joy. If I’m lucky, the writing obligation is also fun, but sometimes I must force myself to put words onto paper. This is one of those rare times.

So if you decide not to read on because you assume this will be a POS, I wouldn’t blame you – but I would be disappointed, as I do try to put out a consistently decent product. Today is no exception.

This is the 15th time I am writing a blog for this excellent blogsite. Sometimes in the past I actually had two drafts in progress at the same time. Seems I was so full of ideas, I would get ahead of my obligations. But this month has been a trying one, with research taking the place of original writing and gobbling up my energy in ways few things can do.

But wait! I fancy myself a skilled researcher, so how can it possibly tire me out? Fair question. The answer is that this month’s research has not been for the purpose of writing a book or magazine story. In fact, I have been forced to delay my next magazine story as a result of this research.

This research is along the lines of near-fruitless. It is research intended to discover a literary agent who will grasp the scope of the books I presently have in manuscript form, those in outline format, and those I have already managed to have legitimately published, to date. An agent who understands that one person can write a biography and then turn around and write a genuine thriller.

I’ve seen agents mention looking for writers recommended by ITW (International Thriller Writers http://thrillerwriters.org/). Guess what, Ms./Mr. agent? I have a book that ITW rated a “Best Thriller.” It was also labeled by Publishers Weekly as one of the “Best of the Best Books.” And Midwest Book Review deemed it to be “Very Highly Recommended.”

My first biography found itself in the U.S. National Archives a few months following its release. If that is not enough of an endorsement, I would point to the flurry of excellent reviews it has garnered.

The problem is actually a federal antitrust issue that was somehow ignored by the Federal Trade Commission. There are five major publishing companies which dominate the sources of first-class book reviews and book sales.

An author cannot even send a letter to the so-called “Big 5” without receiving a certified mail letter from their attorneys scolding the author for having the audacity to send a member of the Big 5 a pitch and threatening them with emotional distress should they continue with their brash behavior. The Big 5 will only accept book pitches from their friends, and they deem bonafide literary agents to be their friends. It is a closed shop. Closed to competition and closed to the average citizen. It is a clear violation of Federal antitrust regulations.

The same is true for the movie industry. Send them a query, and you might find a pack of German shepherds at your door, anxious to make you their next meal.

So what is a writer to do if he desires to break into the upper tier of publishing? I guess getting killed in a well-publicized crash might be a boost to the writer’s estate. Perhaps.

Since most of us prefer to live to write another day, we are left with the daunting task of gaining the attention of a literary agent.

Sure, if you have the time and thousands of dollars to spend, a person could attend writer’s conferences and seek the attention of an agent who makes their living collecting fees for attending said conferences as a paid invitee. Hmmm, why would an agent want to work at finding me a publisher if they can get paid, along with free room/board, just for attending conferences?  I don’t know the answer to that puzzling question.

What I do know is when an agent states they are looking for, say, a biography, that claim does not necessarily mean anything. I check the books these agents have brought to market recently, often to discover that romance books overwhelmingly dominate the titles they have nursed to publication. So what should we conclude? Personally, I no longer even read the descriptions of what they say they are looking for. I have started instead to focus only on what they have managed to publish; their list of published works is more telling about what they are really seeking.

And still, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to the selection process. I base my conclusion on the opinions of numerous fellow authors I have spoken with on this topic over the years. So what are we to do?

Personally, I gather publishing offers from lower tier houses than the Big 5 and hold them off while sending out agent queries to the point I find my writing calendar falling further into arrears. The Big 5 is a necessary evil whose existence is made possible through the benign neglect of the Federal Trade Commission.

I will continue my quest for the holy grail of representation and shall let you know what comes of it. For now, time to get back to my research.

_____________
Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the Marcus Nanninisixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel. His latest work, Left for Dead at Nijmegen, has recently debuted to great regard, internationally.

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The Effective Author: The Power of Surprise Endings

The Effective Author: The Power of Surprise Endings

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.

unexpected plot twists

Anyone who has ever read Agatha Christie novels knows how delightful the surprise endings are: the power reveal always takes place at the end, whipping our expectations around sharply. Many of the best short story writers use surprise endings, twists or turns no one would ever have imagined. Try reading, for example, Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 short story, The Nine Billion Names of God. The last sentence rocks me again, every time I think of the story. And I think of the story fairly often because the ending jolted me so strongly. So where do we find inspiration for writing our own powerful surprise endings?

Real life often offers great surprise endings – as well as plot twists. Two examples came into my life this week. One involved a young mom and the other an email mix-up that turned into a multi-way blessing.

Picture a 20-something mom driving on a packed freeway, her baby in the properly-anchored car seat in the back. Mom takes an exit ramp, when suddenly, “out of nowhere,” a car appears and T-bones her car. The second car did not have the right-of-way and was going much faster than it should have been going. The young mom was horribly injured and incapacitated. Eventually, she had spinal surgery and is spending two months in the hospital. She will need rehab to walk again. But the baby? Somehow, the car seat flew free and landed some distance from the collision. With only minor bruising and some tears, the baby is fine. Whether you call it a miracle or simply a great thing, this was a powerful surprise ending to a terrible crash story.

In a lighter story, we have several twists leading to a surprise ending. A business group leader understands the usual monthly venue will be closed for the next meeting date. So she sends an email to the 300 women on her list telling them that this month’s lunch meeting is cancelled; members are welcome to bring their lunch to her home and just visit. However, the regular venue actually is open on the date in question. The venue sends the group leader an email, confirming the usual number of people for lunch. The group leader does not receive that email due to technical mishap. Meanwhile, one member fails to receive the leader’s email about the cancellation, so she goes to the regular venue at the usual time. She finds no other attendees, but a lunch buffet laid out for the usual number of people. She calls the group leader, who explains what she knows. This single member now at the venue happens to be a key manager of an African refugee rescue organization located several miles from the lunch venue. After some clearing up of confusion, the venue packs up the lunch-for-many, the member takes the lunch to the refugee organization, and the group leader pays by phone and receives a charitable deduction for the lunches, now put to good use. Good people resolved all those twists into a delightful win-win-win surprise ending.

Such real stories can inspire our own creation of interesting, jolting, uplifting, miraculous, and overall surprising endings. Read the newspaper, flash around YouTube, and listen to stories from friends. Keep a log of unusual stories to kickstart your story outlining. Plan, write, twist, surprise, and be ever more The Effective Authorsm.

________________________________
Kebba Buckley Button
is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She Kebba books 2017also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl

by Rita Goldner

I approach this month’s animal blog with fondness because it’s about a neighbor of mine.great horned owl I sometimes see a great horned owl during early morning walks, sitting and glaring. Owls have eyes set forward-facing in their heads, so the range of vision for each eye overlaps. They need the overlapping for 3-dimension depth perception, since they are predators. To the delight of owl aficionados through history, this human-looking eye placement makes them look wise, evil, and judgmental. They appear to be calmly and methodically plotting their next attack.

The slanted lines of feathers above their eyes resemble scowling eyebrows, and the tufts on their heads look like devil horns. This appearance coupled with their habit of hunting at night, and very silently, has made them the subject of myths and legends through the ages, mostly about curses and the spirit world. Their unearned bad rap has even expanded to the point where it’s reported that a great horned owl is the only bird actually to have killed a person. This popped up in my research, but the details are fuzzy. Some say the man was wearing a coon-skin cap while climbing around near a nest. Others opine that he wasn’t killed outright, but that the owl scared him to death. Anyhooo, on to the fun scientific facts.

The feather tufts on top of these owls’ heads have nothing to do with hearing. They’re not ears and aren’t even near the ears. Actually, ornithologists don’t know what their purpose is, but their guess is that it has something to do with communication and recognition, like between mates, or enemies fighting over territories. Their real ears are below, and covered with feathers. Their hearing is excellent, and oddly enough, their right ear is smaller than the left. This is a marvelous adaptation by an animal that uses sound to locate prey at night. The evolution is so sophisticated that the slight difference in sound between the two differently sized ears, and their respective locations, make the bird’s hearing “three-dimensional” so they can find a tiny mouse scurrying through the underbrush.

Another bizarre adaptation is their necks. Mammals (including giraffes) have only 7 cervical vertebrae, while owls have 14. It seems implausible when they appear short and stubby, but this deception is achieved by holding their necks in a squished-down “S” shape. They are incapable of rotating their eyes in the socket, so to look around; they twist their multi-vertebrae necks 270 degrees. A remarkable tool in their hunting bag-of-tricks is a specially formed band of feathers along the leading edge of their wings that breaks up the air currents as they glide. Therefore, their approach is silent, a stealth unattained by any other bird of prey. Their talons are so powerful that they can easily capture large prey, like skunks, gophers and porcupines.

From unusual physiology to unusual behavior, the great horned owl is no slouch in this category either.  Since these birds are solitary, you would assume they search for a new mate when mating/breeding season rolls around in late autumn. Au contraire, they are committed to monogamy, even though this means they have to search for the same mate they had last year, whom they haven’t seen in almost a year. If their mate has died or moved from the territory, they may take several years to find a new one.

It’s the males’ responsibility to find an abandoned nest or make a new one, accompanied by a lot of stomping around and hooting. His enthusiastic and continual hooting can last up to six weeks. The determination to vocalize runs in the family: baby owls start chirping while still in the egg. A tough life awaits them; more than 50 percent are hunted and eaten by hawks before they grow to full size. After 10 to 12 weeks, they’ve mastered flying and leave the nest, but some come back to mooch food from their parents for several months.

The parents will continue to protect the offspring even after they’ve left the nest. Not so evil after all!

I’m tweaking my series of animal blogs into a YouTube playlist called Amazing Animals: Sketching and Storytelling with how-to sketching videos to accompany the Fun Facts. Please suggest an odd, unusual animal for me to research, write about, and draw. Click here to visit my channel, and subscribe so you can keep up with all my new videos as I add them.

Thanks,

Rita signature

References for this post:
https://factslegend.org/great-horned-owl-amazing-facts-nesting-behavior-reproduction
https://factslegend.org/great-horned-owl-facts-30-facts-description-habitat-diet

____________________
Rita Goldner
is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book, Orangutan: A Rita Goldner2Day in the Rainforest Canopy. Rita has also written and illustrated two eBooks, Jackson’s History Adventure and Jackson’s Aviation Adventure, in the Jackson’s Adventure series.For orangutan facts and images and to purchase the book (also available as an ebook), visit OrangutanDay.com. Or by the Kindle version here. Rita’s newest book, Making Marks on the World: A Storybook for Left- and Right-Handed Coloring, is available for purchase here. Works in progress: H2O Rides the Water CycleThe Flying Artist, and Rose ColoredTo view additional illustrations and Rita’s books in progress, visit Rita’s website. Contact Rita here. Follow Rita on Facebook. Subscribe to Rita’s newsletter, Orangutans and More! and receive a free coloring page of today’s illustration.

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A thought. A word. A sentence. A paragraph. A page. A chapter – or a Magazine Story!

A thought. A word. A sentence. A paragraph. A page. A chapter – or a Magazine Story!

by Marcus A. Nannini

Combine all the concepts in the above title, and a person is looking at the first solid step in completing a book manuscript or magazine article. It’s not easy, but it isn’t all that hard, either. Completing a writing project is a matter of imagination and discipline. I can’t supply either, but I can offer some thoughts.

What, you don’t think you have a good enough imagination? Then write about real events, people, and/or places – based on your own experiences. If you don’t have enough for a book, I bet you’d have enough for a 2,500-word magazine story, and magazines are always looking for stories to print. Many of them pay $200 and more per article. Two hundred bucks would buy a brief getaway at a resort and beats making nothing from your writing efforts while simultaneously getting your name out there.

But before you begin writing a magazine story, take an hour or two or three of your life to devote to magazine research. I routinely post links on the Phoenix Publishing and Book Marketing Facebook page. How do I find them? Research.

Here’s a sample from earlier this month: thewritelife.com/where-to-submit-short-stories.

Using Google, or Yahoo, or MSN, research becomes much easier. Let me provide a sample search term: “magazines seeking stories about pets.”

I entered that search term into MSN and came up with seven good sources on the first results page. Read through the results and study which magazine is most on point for your story. Then check out the submission requirements and either copy and paste them onto a Word Doc or print them out. You will need to follow the submission requirements to the letter, so keep them handy.

Now you have identified at least one magazine that will pay you money for your story and you know what they are looking for in terms of submitting to them.

Next, set your font to either Garamond or Times New Roman, 12 point, DOUBLE SPACED, and you are ready to begin. Always double space any writing you are submitting for consideration and use a 1-inch margin, unless otherwise specified. Yes, Ariel uses less ink and takes up less space on a page, but if you want someone to read your work, don’t use it. For one thing, it pixelates and is difficult to read. It also marks you as an amateur.

In the upper right corner of the Header, line #1 should bear the title of your work; line #2 is your name. All professionals will expect your header to contain the foregoing. Then add your page numbers, usually at the bottom. Now you can type Word Number 1 of your manuscript.

What if you already have 40,000 single-spaced words in some 10-point font you happen to like? It’s time to highlight your entire work and change the line spacing and fonts. Of course, if you had checked out publisher and/or agent manuscript requirements before you wrote Word Number 1, you’d be ahead of the game.

If you are in the position of working with an editor under contract and that same editor tells you to single space your manuscript, RUN! You will be wasting your time. A single space mentality conveys to me the editor never (successfully) submitted a manuscript of their own. I am not making this stuff up – I am only stating what you would have learned in Journalism 101. Also, use a standard left margin. Don’t cheat by using narrow margins so you can fit more words onto a page. This doesn’t make your submission any shorter; it just makes you look like a greenhorn. Your time should be spent writing, not going back and reformatting!

The submission guidelines will also tell you how many words the publication is seeking. If they are looking for 1,500 to 2,000 words, don’t submit 2,500 words. You might get away with 2,030 – but not 2,500. Don’t waste your time or their time. Never waste an acquisitions editor’s time through carelessness if you want to be considered in the future.

Acquisition editors, the people who review submitted materials for possible publication, have zero patience for writers who fail to follow their stated submission guidelines. No matter how good your story might be, it must follow the magazine’s stated submission parameters, or you wasted a lot of time because they just won’t read it.

Do I know what I am talking about? I have published two stories with online magazines this year alone, and sold three more pieces to WW II History Magazine. All three of these publications require vastly different word counts, but they all want them double-spaced with a 12-point font, as I have indicated above.

Magazines are a good way to break into the ranks of published authors and are an excellent tool for establishing a platform for yourself. And there are hundreds of magazines out there covering every obscure, and not-so-obscure, topic you can imagine.

If you don’t have a book in your head, then try the magazine route. Once you have published your first story, you have commenced creating your Publishing Curriculum Vitae. The more stories your write, the more likely you will be to discover you do have a book manuscript in you – and guess what? When seeking a publisher or a literary agent for your book manuscript, your magazine publishing history will pay-off in a big way!

Why are you still sitting there reading this? Get going!

____________
Marcus Nannini
began his journalistic career when he published his own newspaper in the Marcus Nanninisixth grade, charging 25 cents for the privilege of reading the only printed copy of each edition. During his undergraduate years, Nannini was a paid reporter and worked three semesters as the research assistant for journalism professor and published author Richard Stocks Carlson, Ph.D. Nannini is a life-long history buff with a particular interest in World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack. His continuing curiosity over several Japanese aerial photographs and the turtling of the U.S.S. Oklahoma lead him to write Chameleons, first as a screenplay and now as a full-length novel. His latest work, Left for Dead at Nijmegen, has recently debuted to great regard, internationally.

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The Importance of Leaving the Past Behind

The Importance of Leaving the Past Behind

© 2019 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved

At whatever stage you are in life, it is crucial to leave the past behind. Some people worship the past and get locked in. Some, at midlife, are still repetitively celebrating a major sports victory they had … in high school. Some people effectively worship the past by continuing to recite the wrongs done to them. Some spend a major part of their time and energy attending support groups, reading books on their issues, journaling, discussing their trauma with friends, and going back to support groups. Some relive their mistakes and their guilt, daily reviewing mental videos of roles they believe they mis-played in a previous relationship or workplace.

There is nothing wrong with processing trauma, bad experiences, or mistakes. In fact, there is everything right with clearing the unpleasantness of the past. But the point of processing these dynamics is to become free of them. Further, when we vividly remember an unpleasant time, our body produces afresh the chemical compounds that naturally accompany the emotions we are reliving. So we get to be stressed, sad, and tired all over again, physically as well as mentally. We can find ourselves in ongoing exhaustion and distraction from the daily habit of thinking of what a victim we are or what a screwup we were.

The point of “working your stuff,” through counseling, support groups, journals, and deep conversation, is not to develop an ongoing dialogue about what a victim you were or are. The point is not to develop a permanent identity as a victim, or even as a person who screwed up. Rather, the goal should be to develop an energizing and ultimately joy-filled life, with fresh, healthy, and nourishing activities and relationships. If your life becomes centered on your recovery from past damage, trauma, sadness, grief, addiction, or guilt, all those support activities can become a garden of comforting sympathy, rather than a wonderland of forward movement in growth and love. There should come a time when a person comes to the zero point, no longer digging through the bad old experiences.

From that new base, a person can look around the Universe of Existence and begin crafting a new life, based on goals, passions, friendships, satisfaction, and positive growth. So how do you really want to live your life? What do you want your conversations to be like? Do you want your conversations to be based on the good and the enjoyment you are working in the world, or do you want to be forever marveling at your past wounds? Sometimes friendships based on woundedness will seem worn out. They, too, may need to be left in the past.

In your week, how much energy do you spend reviewing the past? What might that energy be better spent doing? Is color, music, movement, or fresh writing calling to you? Is redecorating, gardening, or yoga calling? Consider drawing a line in your journal today, or beginning a new one, about the new life you are building, without continuing to notate the burdens and fatigue of past pain and recriminations. Try this affirmation to support yourself in breaking through into positive living: “I bless and release all past failure, fear, and alienation. I give thanks for my dream job, health, and life.”

Now celebrate yourself and your ever-evolving fresh life. And remember to enjoy!

___________________
Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert with a natural healing practice. She also is an ordained minister whose passion is helping people find their
Peace Within. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, available on Amazon, plus Inspirations for Peace Within: Quotes and Images to Uplift and InspireIPW is available on Amazon in full-color glossy format. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, also on Amazon in full-color. For full-color PDF versions, contact her office. For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: calendar@kebba.com.

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