I did it!

I apologize for my long absence from posting here on SoulSEAker, but I was among the missing for a good reason: I finished writing my novel! If you’ve been a long-time follower, you know that this has been a project for over two years in the making. Chapter One – A Novel by Jill Ocone is the result of opening my eyes and believing in the universe. There’s no doubt that two special spirit guides helped me along the way, and I am forever indebted to both of them.

What is most satisfying is that as I wrote, the story took its own shape and form. The original idea that came to me in August of 2014 is still the backbone of the story, but the plot took form as I typed, and things happened that I never expected. The story’s timeline just happened as I was writing. I am, indeed, a real author/writer now!

While I plan on still posting here, I will also be posting specifically about my journey as an author/writer over at jillocone.com. I invite you to visit me over there and check out my professional site. There’s a synopsis of Chapter One posted over there, as well as a form to request a sample copy if you are interested. If not, no worries!

My “mission from the universe”, however, is far from complete. I’ve begun querying agents and publishers in hopes that I am guided to the right opportunity to take Chapter One to the next level. If nothing comes of it, or if everything comes from it, I’m happy regardless of the outcome. I accomplished what I set out to do, even though I had no idea what that was two years ago. I’ve already reached the milestone of receiving my first rejection, and that excites me! Again, I’m a real author now!

Your support has made my journey all the more meaningful, and I am extremely thankful for YOU.

Today is a snow day here in the northeast, and I plan to use part of my day to plot out an idea that again came to me in a dream which could be my second novel.  Here’s hoping! Be safe, my friend!

 

Something to SEA: Banishing The 4 Most Dangerous Words

20160515 Blog Photo New Fonts

On my 45th birthday in February of this year, I held a little ceremony where I wrote down all of the things I regretted, bad decisions from the past, everything that made me feel bad about myself…you get the idea. I put them in an envelope, which I then shredded.  It felt great to officially say “goodbye” to the past.

I was set free.

Or so I thought…

Since then, I have been much better about not letting my past get me down. I’ve made progress towards living in the moment while planning for the future. In fact, I would guess that I am 93% successful in not letting my past affect my present.

Except when the 4 most dangerous words creep in.

When they do, and it’s usually when I least expect it, my mind starts playing its movie of imagined events.

Then my “head hamster”starts running backwards in his wheel, and my thoughts turn around and run towards the past.

And I’m lost again.  For a while.

When I regroup, I am very disappointed in myself.

Here I was, on my birthday, acting all tough when I said goodbye to regret and to the past, and what did I just do? Allow the past and my regrets back in, turning my good energy into bile!

Dammit, why did I let that happen?

Because I’m human, that’s why.

The truth is, with a self-estimated success rate of 93%, I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I have in the past (the past affecting the past…somewhat ironic!).

There was a time when I allowed the past to control me and bring me down all of the time. I couldn’t escape its poisonous grasp. I felt doomed forever, unable to break free from the chains of regret and remorse.

And it was all because of those 4 most dangerous words:

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

Those 4 words cause nothing but misery and sadness, and most importantly, they waste my time and energy.

While I might not be where I thought I’d be at 45 years old, I am where I SHOULD be.

Every path, every decision, every step has led me here.  There’s a lot more of life to be had and living to do, as long as I banish those 4 most dangerous words from my vocabulary, and replace them with

WHAT IS AND WHAT WILL BE.

For example, the old me would have said, “I might have been a writer.”

But you know what?

I AM A WRITER.

That IS what IS, and it’s what I WILL BE.

Living in the present, a.k.a. WHAT IS, will allow me to appreciate the moments of today. There’s no more worry, no more lost time, no more gloom and doom. Rather, it’s taking in each moment spent with nature, with family, with friends, and with myself. It’s allowing the rain to hit my face, to feel the ocean on my feet, and to experience LIFE and all of its grandeurs.

While there’s always a “to do” list, I will no longer allow anything that sucks my soul dry to be written on that list. That IS what IS.

I will be mindful today while striving towards what I want MY future to be, a.k.a. WHAT WILL BE.

And you know what? It’s okay if I don’t exactly know what or where that is yet.

I’m definitely on the right path.  I feel it with every part of my being. Each and every step makes the journey meaningful, adding richness and color to the quest of life.

The old me would have been filled with fear when looking at a future that was uncertain and shaped like a question mark.

Instead, I now see uncertainty as exciting.

I’m ready for the adventure of life and every experience it brings.

That IS, and it will bring me to WHAT WILL BE in the most glorious way possible.

Until next time,

Jill

To see my 45th birthday post, click here.

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Freedom

This year, I performed a simple ritual on my birthday that has set me free.  I wrote down all of my regrets and bad decisions from the past, things I did which I was not proud of, etc., on post-it notes, then put the notes inside an envelope.  I sealed the envelope, then shredded it.  The simple ritual allowed me to say goodbye to regret and goodbye to the past.

It was a tangible farewell which set me free from the chains of regret and remorse, which can no longer haunt me.

Instead, I am now free to embrace my future with a clean slate.

And boy does it feel good.

Video made using iMovie for iPhone

“‘Sea’ What We Are”

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been one of my favorite books ever since I first read it back in the dark ages of the mid-1980’s.  The story of Scout, Jem, Atticus, Boo, Tom and Dill always resonated with me, not so much because of the moral messages, but moreso because it brings back memories of childhood summers, when I didn’t have to have a care in the world.  In fact, when I used to teach summer school, I would save this book for the last book we would read, hoping that it would make the same impact on my students, but I could never read the last two pages out loud because they made me tear up.

Yes, that’s the sap in me.

But, that’s also the problem with me.

There’s a difference in looking back fondly on wonderful, nostalgic memories and in letting the past having a hold on the present.  And that’s where my guilt lies.

I have spent too much time over the last 20+ years looking back in retrospect.  They say that “Hindsight is 20/20,” and I completely agree with that.  My problem, though, is that I wasted hours re-doing events from the past 20 or so years in my mind the RIGHT way, and wistfully wishing for the impossibility of a different outcome.  The bad decisions, the heartache, the burned bridges, the wasted money…all of it.

I am guilty of letting past failures overshadow present goodness and worth, which as a result negatively affected my PRESENT peace of mind and wasted time I could have spent in a more positive manner.

This ties in perfectly with what I found to be the most powerful three sentences in Harper Lee’s newly released and highly anticipated book, “Go Set a  Watchman.”  Since “TKAM” is one of my favorite books, and since I am a high school English teacher, I had to get the book the day it was released.  Once it was in my hands, I finished it in three days.

If you haven’t read it, this will not be a spoiler by any means, and I do not wish to discuss any praises or flaws with the book itself.

However, this one passage really hit home:

“Remember this also:  it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago.  It is hard to see what we are.  If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.” – Dr. John Finch/Harper Lee

When I read that, I stopped and re-read it at least 3o times.  I wrote it down in on a post-it to put in my planner.  And I really thought about it…

It is easy to look back and see what we WERE…it is hard to see what we ARE.

And it is so true.

For years, instead of seeing what I AM, I saw what I WAS, which as Dr. Finch said, was easy to do.

But, doing that took precious moments and time away from my PRESENT and my FUTURE, leading to stress and disappointment, to disillusionment and bitterness rather than to acceptance and peace.

But NOW…

I “SEA” WHAT I AM.

I definitely haven’t mastered it like Dr. Finch advised, but I realize the importance of what I AM and of my place in the NOW.

I cannot change the past.  That is done.  And it took me this long to finally admit it.

I will no longer wish to change or apologize for the things I did or the choices I made.  I’ve done my time and asked for forgiveness for too long, most importantly, from myself.

Instead, the person I AM, who is a result of all of those things and choices, forgives me and will focus on and live in the PRESENT (while acting responsibly for my future self).

So, what am I?  Well, let’s “sea”…

I am a wife.  A partner.  A writer.  A photographer.  A teacher.  A student.  A sister.  A daughter.  An aunt.  A daughter in law.  A sister in law.  A friend.  A colleague.  A collector.  An observer.  A reader.  A thinker.  A doer.  An ambassador for kindness.  A traveler.  A woman.  A person.  An “endurer.”

And, most importantly, I am a human following Dr. Finch’s advice of mastering the art of seeing what I am, one day at a time.

 

20150722 Quote

 

So, what are you?  I’d love to know.

Until next time,

Jill