Tag Archives: fear

The Way Forward

The above photo is a modification of Photo 16 at <reed rummond.com>

Thank You

This is the last day to nominate Epiphany: Starting Over in Oregon at     https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/113MLKNVIX6T
This morning, I followed the above link and saw that the book is termed”hot”. That means that on this last day, people are nominating this book, people in Mexico, Canada, far away New Zealand and everywhere people are starting over. On this last day of this campaign, I honor the way forward and those who blaze trails. Please nominate Epiphany.
Let me tell you about Epiphany and why I wrote it. Best I can!
By the time I started over in Oregon, I had over 50 years of schooling, Masters Degrees from several Universities, years of work in treatment centers for chronic pain, and addiction, years of teaching behavioral science and the arts, a lifetime of hard knocks seasoned by the love of animals and children, and yet I felt like I knew nothing. I wrote the book to say “thank you.” Thank you to the unlikely, unusual, amazing strangers who believed in me as I started over in Oregon. Thank you to Oregon herself, the inspiration of her pioneers and to the inner voice that said “Just do it.”  I was too afraid, too guilty, too —too—too until finally late in life, I was sick to death of my victim self, and faced into the unknown. Today I see people all over the world faced with starting over.  I hope you enjoy this book, and “thank you” to all of you who think it should be published.
I remember sitting in my office in Elementary School talking with a child who was telling me about the abuse she was experiencing, and feeling, along with the pain, the certainty that life would be different for her from that moment. I looked into eyes brave in the face of fear of the unknown. Eyes that trusted the way forward. And so I wrote this book to honor that kind of courage. Thank you, God for letting me share that moment.Epiphany Starting Oversm


While I wait to see if Kindle Scout will publish Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Soon it will be an audiobook as well as an e-book.
Here is a Review:
The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 
 

Safe on the Side-hills of Success

Above image, courtesy of: www.wallpaperfo.com_63.jpg

“A crooked legged man walks best on the side-hills of success.”

This quote is puzzling. It nags at me, begging for my attention like a pesky dog wanting me to throw a ball.   So I’ve decided to toss it out  and fetch it’s meaning—for me. If it intrigues you,  please do join me to wonder over it.
I think that the term “crooked legged” refers, not to anatomy, but to some flaw in thinking that hinders fulfillment of my goals.  Ironically, I have been afraid of heights all of my life and have tried to overcome this fear, climbing and crossing over high places. That must be why the above “wise-ism” intrigues me. “Crooked-legged” is a metaphor for the fear that plagues me, and side-hills would then symbolize the safe, attainable and familiar.
Don’t we all want to be successful (whatever that means) in our endeavors?   I write and paint, always trying to catch onto, constantly hoping to  capture, some lovely thing that probably I can’t quite get hold of. Spirit perhaps? Yes, I am  safe and comfortable on the side-hills of success, looking up. But I force myself to climb higher  into unfamiliar territory. Reaching the top of the mountain could just expose my flaw (like the idea of being crooked legged) as an excuse I have conjured up. A shadow across my path upward. And then what?……..

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”

Presently, I am trying to master two difficult things: 1. I want to narrate my own audiobook.  2. I seek to tame an aggressive dog. I am technologically challenged, but must learn to use recording and editing equipment if I am to do an audiobook, and I am afraid I can’t figure out the jargon. The dog? Her name is Karma. She scares me. There is the rub. I have to go in the direction of my fear. If that isn’t crooked-legged thinking, what is? “Karma.” Hmmmmm. I wonder how this rescued dog earned such a name!
So, I accept the idea that “crooked legged” means, for me, fear of excellence. I am tempted to stay with what I can already do. But, I want to take what talent I have, to higher levels and explore new territory. An audiobook? Well, I have read the manual on my recorder and set up a make-shift studio. Now, I have to hit the red “record” button and try out the microphone. And I must learn to modulate and sing my words so they make a melody of my stories.
Karma
And the dog? She waits outside my door. It will take all my strength and love of the wild to master this exquisite beast. Mastery. Never complete mastery. No. For me, success resides on the mountain top of partnering with the wild in the other. But my “downfall” is contained in another “wise-ism” by an unknown author:

“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.”


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

Follow The River Out: A Metaphor

Above Image: courtesy of Mark Chadwick on Flickr.

Have you ever been lost and “followed a river out?”
My new novel, Epiphany  is being edited at present, and will be published later this year.  This post is one of several about themes, metaphors, and story structure. Lori our protagonist,  writes poetry filled with metaphors, to bring clarity to her life. What follows is an excerpt using the “Western Star” and “the river” as a metaphor.
Lori has interviewed for a job as a school counselor in the Oregon Cascades. As she waits, hoping to be hired, she writes a poem about leaving Wisconsin and driving West.  The trip, just before Christmas was terrifying. She remembers how frightened she was.
Too heavy my load
Of doubt and disgrace
Too late for me
Fear lines my face
I am a wave
Without a tide
Dust in the wind
Hitching a ride
I sail the seas
Without a tac
Can’t find the wind
That takes me back
Lori had wanted to turn around.  The face of the blizzard at her heels scared her less than going forward into the unknown.  But then her car and trailer spins full circle out of control on Montana black ice.  Panic. The reality is, she can’t go back.
I CAN’T GO BACK
There’s no way back
There’s no home base
I’m out of time
I’m out of place
Lost in the dark!
Which way to run?
Where is my map?
Where is my sun?
How will I live?
Without a man?
Lean on myself?
Make my own plan?
A teamster drives his big Western Star truck up alongside and leans out to congratulate Lori on surviving. “Santa put Lady Luck in yer sock.”
She drives on to Eugene, Oregon, where she walks along the Willamette River, listening to the music of the river and making friends of like-minded strangers. Lori knows she has been granted a second chance at life.
If Lori is hired, she can build this new life in Lucky Strike, Oregon. Her dream is happening. She goes to sit by the river, letting the restorative water wash away her fear of moving on. She thinks about what her father had told her, “when lost, follow the river out.”The last two stanzas of her poem reflect the role of a river as a metaphor for finding her way.
Across the prairies
Ore mountains-crest
Follow the river
On her sea quest
The pioneer spirit
Like Oregon’s rain
Refreshes my courage
To start over again


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Invictus: An Epiphany For Holy Week

Photo by Mega Mike  https://www.flickr.com/photos/topick/6342953521

INVICTUS

I am the Master of my fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.”

An unconquerable soul! Now there’s a theme especially appropriate for Easter time! In my new book  Epiphany, (presently being edited) Lori our protagonist, struggles with this larger than life concept. And, in the light of forgiveness, she glimpses the meaning. Sometimes that moment when it all makes sense passes us by, but we remember that it is there—waiting for us to be ready to know it. And so, Lori, obedient to my writing, prints out a card:  I am the Master of my fate. “I am the Captain of my Soul.” and keeps it with her.
Consider this: she has printed out the last two lines, but there is more to this poem and a story about the Author, William Ernest Henley.  At age 12, Henley had a leg amputated just below the knee due to arthritic tuberculosis and his other foot barely saved by surgeries. He lost his father as a teenager.  And so, his poem begins:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Before he knew his real strength, he had been brought down and severely tested. The façade we all live behind, trying to protect our weakness, was broken by the “bludgeonings of chance.” This same sort of thing has happened to many of our great spiritual teachers. Shamans and healers often have suffered near-death experiences before they find their power. Notice the dreaded tarot card the Tower depicting this soul level journey.
tower
It is useful to remember that the Tarot is divided into Major Arcana (the journey of the soul) and Minor Arcana (the drama of the embodied).
The horrific happenings in Henley’s life gave him the experience to  write about his own unconquerable soul, found at the depth of his pain.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Like the captain of a ship is responsible for his decisions: the course he charts, the skills he learns and uses, he must also surrender to the mood of the ocean, the tides, the storms and catastrophes that befall him. But can these things destroy him? Henley says no.
If I were to distill all I have experienced, thought, and written, into a single sentence, the last two lines of Invictus would be it. Indeed, my character Lori keeps these words with her. Yes, the experience that spurred Henley to write this poem is profound, and is still beyond my grasp except as a glimpse. I can thank my own suffering of wrath and tears for this illusive epiphany.  But, I shrink and shiver at the idea of Christ’s crucifixion to rise again. Maybe at the end of days for me,  I can wrap my mind around it. Let it flow through me to hold it tight to me. Ah—the paradox we call life.


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

You Teach Best What You Most Need To Learn

How satisfying to help youth dodge some of the obstacles that block the way forward.  And with every triumph, the teacher takes heart. It is a vicarious blooming that happens, a win-win for everyone fueled by the teacher’s need to get it right, and the student’s need for clear headed guidance. But the teacher is drawn to a subject of interest to both of them.  Let me illustrate my point:
Jenny wants to ski the big hill, but is stuck on the bunny slope until she can ski safely, and not be a hazard to others. Lori (our protagonist) never had mastered this skill, but now, working with the Special Olympics, she must teach this child with Downs Syndrome how to ski in control, and in doing so, she learns the very thing she most needs for her own freedom on the slopes. Funny how fate works isn’t it? It is like someone is up there pulling our strings so that we get to overcome shortcomings. Here is an excerpt from Epiphany that tells about the moment it all makes sense:
Lori smiled, remembering Jenny’s face, her pink cheeks wet with melting snow, her wide set blue eyes dancing with insight as she looked at the skiers traversing the slope and said “Oh- Oh I SEE.” It was an epiphany.  Being able to turn and stop meant freedom on the slopes!
Perhaps that is why Lori has become a school counselor helping Elementary School children overcome fear. Could it be that is what she most needs to learn? Have you experienced this phenomena in your own lives? Please comment.


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

 

The Law of the Universe

“Take What You Want And Pay For It.”

I don’t remember where I first heard this idea, but it was a game changer. When I wrote Epiphany (presently being revised) I realized how much my protagonist, Lori Moyer, believed this phrase. It really says it all and I count it as a major theme for Epiphany. To show the way the Law can work, I made the below image a subtitle for the book.  Here it is fresh out of Photoshop:
BylineStarting over in the West, leaving almost everything and everyone behind, Lori paid dearly. This book is a mixture of humor and angst as she comes to understand the ramifications of the bargain she made. It wasn’t pretty. She had to come to terms with illusion and reality, with who she was, and who she was becoming. What an adventure! Following the Law, she came to realize that payments were not just financial, but emotional, physical and spiritual as well. And so was the path taken, lighted by the notion that she was in charge of her own life. Adopting that understanding can be terrifying. Watch for another theme for my newest book .


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

The Cave and the Treasure

Looking back, I think this was the turning point in what had been a lifetime battle with fear. It certainly was the most frightening and deadly.  Once begun, there was little chance of “chickening out”.  I had climbed the silo—a huge achievement for someone terrified of heights, and determined that the only way to shovel up the pile of hayledge plugging the auger was to get inside. But the -40 degree weather had frozen shut the doors. The only opening was around the blower spout itself.  Even if I could get through that highest door, bulked-up with extreme weather clothing as I was, could I get down to the grassy floor a story below; could I fix what was wrong and get out again?  The door was small and 65 feet above certain death.
Now I know that the door was a “Magic Door”, a portal to the unforgettable. Certainly, I will never forget the view along that blower pipe down into the silo, never forget the leap of faith it took to get in and out. Certainly, I was afraid, but I did it anyhow, because I could. So what treasure awaited in the cave I most feared to enter?  Self respect. For years, I had been using biofeedback in my work for a chronic pain clinic. I knew techniques to relax and quiet a heart racing out of control. I knew how to tame fear. On the other side of this task, was life governed by self respect.  What a treasure!

imageproxy-mvc.jpg
imageproxy-mvc.jpg

Bring it on
I can do it
I’ve been practicing for this
Check it off
This fearful task
Written large upon my list
Fear will not limit
World and vision
I am more then what I thought
I’ll take down
With facts and thinking
The barriers fear has wrought


 
cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back

Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.     To find it on Amazon, go to http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney

Doing The Hard Thing

above photo came from http://latimesphoto.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/la-0105-pin03.jpg

I just finished reading Seth Godin’s last blog: http://profile.typepad.com/sethgodin  which was about focusing and doing the “hard thing.” With that in mind, I decided it was high time to share the link to what I found to be one of the most inspirational readings on U-Tube) Roll the Dice   Why? Because I am about to tell you a story from my past-a “Portal to the Unforgettable” that is about all of the above. I hope it inspires you to do the hard thing.

Winter cow
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_WU-gW2ArW5g/S_yGNlmF1hI/AAAAAAAAAW8/Gk5mDX8x9Tg/s1600/Winter+cow.jpg

Well here it was, the day of reckoning. With chagrin, I remembered that building the silo was my idea, because I was afraid of the fires we had started to burn the stubble fields after combining trefoil seed. “I know. We will harvest trefoil for cattle feed, and store it in a silo!!!!!” I declared, relieved that we would never again need to burn over our fields.  But, fear begat more problems, that begat more FEAR! And this day, it was COLD-so bitter cold was it, that when I pushed on the “never fail, easy lever”  the motor went ZZZZZPLop… dead. Well, I hit the circuit breaker sure enough, but what’s a mother to do? The unloader auger was working 60 feet up in the 70 foot silo and somehow, it got stopped and pushed up a pile in front of itself which froze solid faster than I could say, “Uh-oh.” Well I had finally climbed the silo—me —who  was terrified of heights—climbed it at night even—so I can do it again, but it was SOOO FRIGGIN’ COLDmust be -40 with a wind-chill that sunk temps another 10-30 degrees colder then that! And the cattle had come all the way from the balsam groves to eat trefoil and now, with the unloader stuck and frozen in,  they were getting “nadda” for their trek. They looked at me with mad cow eyes and BELLERED “FIX it, do the hard thing!
Fit for pushing levers but not for climbing silos, I sported Sorel boots  with felt inserts (the modern day Bunny Boots of the Korean War) a heavy duty snowmobile suit with hood over a full face mask and thick mittens over thick mittens, I was unbendable and about as quick and agile as a manatee out of water. But, I clunked my way up the ladder alongside the clean chute to open a door and see what was gumming up the works. There were doors all the way up the side of the silo and the unloading mechanism moved down with the hayledge, door after door, to blow trefoil through its tall curved blower pipe. Entrance was through the door a story below the unloader. Just open the door and climb in onto the floor of compacted grasses, I thought. I can do this.   I huffed and puffed, careful not to look down, a little proud of myself having beaten back fear earlier that winter on my first climb up. So I got to the door I must open, and there were no “easy push” levers up high. True story, my favorite securing system was baling twine. But our new OSHA approved silo had solid oak doors fitted with monster latches —frozen tight. With a death grip on the ladder, I pounded the door with my other fist hoping to shake the latches lose, but it was like battering a wet noodle against the walls of Fort Knox. Now why didn’t you bring a hammer, I assaulted myself for being stupid, and clunked on down again to get a sledge. Up again, and despite unleashing “David against Goliath” mighty blows, the latches would not move.
The only other way “in” was to squeeze around the blower spout where it emptied into the clean chute, and scrunch my bulk through the door alongside and over the blowpipe, and then free drop down a story onto the grass floor. I couldn’t cry, my eyes would freeze shut, but I wanted to. It seemed impossible. I couldn’t get help (that’s not allowed for a full time farmer type with pride) and anyway, who would I ask? We owned the only working silo in the county. I had never tried to scramble through an open door—how to do it? Feet first? Head first? And maybe I’d look down and … ! Breaking News flashed in my horrified mind. “Frozen farmer found stuck in silo door 65 feet up.” I could even see the photo with the News Flash: two boots sticking out the highest door (picture taken with a telescopic lens) the photographer standing on good old mother earth.
Could I get in? Could I fix the problem? Could I get out? If I got stuck inside the silo, the kids wouldn’t miss me until they ran out of Cheerios. Now this would be the greatest battle so far in my war against fear, and I needed to do the hard thing! Yes, I needed a win against my fear–for the future.

The Dark Side of Fear

Image from http://experiencelife.com/article/

 Fear.  A warning of danger, sometimes disguised as anger, hatred or rage, fear can portend evil as in the“dark side of the Force.”Fearing fear, I tried to stay out of its clutches. To me fear was like the dark side of the moon, shadowed in mystery and overpowering, and I focused on the sunny side, the known —where I had some control—except for sometimes. Sometimes, like ink spreading across parchment, fear stained my life. It fascinated even as it paralyzed me, and I determined that I would overcome it. But to do so, I would have to call it out, and in battle, it took away my ability to function, and left me white, shaken, and weak. It was a quest-my own Great Crusade. I learned that I did best when in the company of animals.

http://www.petfinder.com
http://www.petfinder.com

They bolstered my spirit. Indeed, when I was astride one of the big draft horses used on our farm, I felt invincible as a knight from King Authors table, drawing upon the animal courage I commanded.
Aware of my fear of heights, I aggressively attacked this weakness. I decided that I would make myself cross the railroad trestle that towered above the Middle River. I would ride my bike several miles, then, listen for the train, and hearing none, would start across the trestle. My heart beat increased in velocity and sound, until I could not walk but would have to crawl, going forward, clinging to the rails while my will dissolved in the echoes of the sound, and I could not proceed. I would carefully execute a turnaround retreat hand over hand until I could manage to rise and run back, sobbing at my failure and vowing to try again later with some new way of thinking.
Hoping to cross
I dared begin
But Fear was boss
And Fear would win.
Every year in the summer, there were picnics at the waterfall park, and everyone jumped off the top into the deep chasm at the base of the cataract. Everyone but me. When it was time for the picnic, I still had not jumped and so I stayed, and stayed and stayed, missing lunch out of determination. I stood quaking at the top until finally, when I gave up on myself and life itself, I jumped out of łack of caring. Then, sheepish and late, I got left overs or nothing-maybe a scornful look. Only when I gave over my life as in a sort of suicide could I do what I feared. As a college student, I would stay week-ends in Duluth to climb the condemned ski jumps. Sometimes an afternoon passed and I still could not manage to reach the top of the jump. Discouraged, my fingers freezing stiff with the cold, l would climb down, fear having won again.
There were other times when I should have been able to run away from danger but when fear set in, my legs went to mutiny mode. Then, I could only advance crawling or creeping on my stomach. I read articles and books, vowing to learn to beat this curse. I could take deep breaths while saying positive things, build on small victories, graduate toward the more difficult challenges as I explored my dark side. I noticed that on a downhill ski run, I fell when I “lost heart.”This defect was a mind thing to be studied, and the learning gave my life direction. Years passed, and by now I had a library of books about fear. With “ways around” strategies in my arsenal, I could cope as long as the situation was not too dire. I took up white water rafting, finally even daring to tackle the Grand Canyon of the Colorado —with mixed results. For there, lurking in the darkness was my old enemy waiting-waiting for the time to be right. Then one day, the worst thing happened; Fear and I came face to face… and there was no way back.

To be continued…

Order the new novel by S.K. Carnes.  The Way Back in all e-book stores.       Amazon: http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney

cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back

I Am Calling You

It started with an inkling that got crossways in my mind. After it came, everything else coursed around it like a stream does round a wind-fallen tree. I dodged it long as I could, you know—the plates needed to be stacked by size, there was dust on the door-tops—but it was alive and burrowing in until all my thinking began to pile up against it like water before a dam. There it was calling me “Time to go.” It was the essence in the lilac scented air, the verve in the spring green of the new leaves coming on, it was the song spun by the river swelled full and rushing by. It started as an itch to scratch but with the first touch it pulled me in, wound everyday with a beanstalk of desire until I was crazy wild to go.  Only—except—but still—I was afraid.  I stalled.  And the pastel spring passed, as did the watercolor summer, and autumn, layered like the oil painting of a master in russet and gold, left me alone and exposed cowering in fear before the ravages of winter.
I had made my intentions clear, said that I was leaving and going West; the canoe was in the river, so to speak, and caught-up by the current, there was no way to paddle up the rapids.  At last, with Christmas approaching and the blizzards out of Canada descending upon Lake Superior-land, it was passed time to go.  I had to leave now. The calling was deafening, self-loathing at my inaction and cowardice had reached a climax, and I could not live with myself anymore.  So I set a date to suffer over, packed up and drove away, my little car sliding on the frozen road as it strained to pull the smallest U-Haul trailer available; aimed to cross out of Wisconsin, and get through Minnesota and North Dakota before the storms caught me. I was terrified.
How did I manage to do this? How had I overcome my fear and guilt? And what force haunted my being? What Pied Piper beckoned, his calling ever more insistent?
Gently probing. Ever deeper
Comes this urging Quantum Leaper
Crooning song of wistful hue
Sweetly haunting
Heart breaking
Words so meaningful and true
They raked my soul as in they flew
“I am calling you,” it sang
Words that hurt, Words that rang!
I am calling you

http://www.lindenarts.org/umbraco/
http://www.lindenarts.org/umbraco

 
 
Next Week:  Overcoming fear.
 
 
Please click on the link below to read about The Way Back , by S.K.Carnes. Three Reviews and a description are posted. http://readersfavorite.com/book-review/28930
 
cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back

 
 
Order The Way Back in all e-book stores. Amazon: http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney