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Creativity News Publishing

3 attributes of courage – lessons in following your heart.

Today is book baby’s birthday!!!!

The Remains of Burning’ was published on October 1st 2020, and one year on she is still bringing beautiful people and opportunities into my life. 

Most recently I was part of a give-away with five other authors. The soul that won my book lives in Thailand. We were both ecstatic when ‘ The Remains of Burning’ finally fell into her mailbox. Magic is when the right words find the right reader. She was a gift to me and I, a gift to her.

I could tell you several stories about these kinds of encounters. From Thailand to Jamaica, from Ireland to Canada (Hello beautiful readers from all these beautiful places) my little book baby has spent the last 12 months bringing light. I’ve always felt my call is less about writing popular books, and more about serving the individual. That’s why I write, for the one’s! 

For years I was afraid to write and publish. I had a problem. Cathy Heller says, when we have trouble in our careers, families, finances, or relationships, often it’s simply a courage problem. This means the solution is in stepping up to the plate, being assertive, vulnerable and integral to who we are. 

Courage is the most important component needed to ship creative work. To push my poetry out into the already over-saturated sea of books, I needed to put on my big girl pants, and risk being criticized, misunderstood or worse, ignored. And so, today marks the day I did it, I found my spine, birthed a dream and discovered a few things about courage.

  1. Courage never stops calling.

Just when you find the nerve to do something, another thing demands still more courage. Being courageous is not an event, it’s a lifestyle. As long as we live, courage continues to chant, beckoning us forward, pointing out possibilities. 

First, I needed courage to write badly, then, I needed courage to show my writing to those close to me. Next, I needed courage to spend hours learning how to publish, after that, I need courage to actually publish. Then, I needed courage to market and promote my work,  followed by courage to keep writing. Then, I need courage to publish again, after that, I need courage to invest in a website. Next, I needed courage to start a blog, followed by courage to start a newsletter. And now I have a list as long as my blessed body (I’m not joking) of things I need courage to create and sell. Never satisfied, courage relentlessly wants us to make bold moves.

  1. Courage builds upon itself.

Courage begets courage. One courageous act leads to another. Often we can think courage is about taking one giant leap, but in my experience, courage is the ability to keep on stepping.

‘Courage is nothing more than taking one step more than you think you can.’

Holly Lisle

The more I step, the more courage I have to keep stepping. The more I write, the bolder my words become. The more I try, the more I want to try again. I plan to look back at my thirties and forties and say, ‘I can’t believe I was afraid of that.’

3. Courage creates an expansive life.

Courage has given me many surreal moments; times so amazing and joyous, it feels like they existed in a dream. Last weekend I spent some time writing them down. After I read and re-read the list, I could not help but say aloud to myself, ‘Wait, did that really happen?’ ‘I never dreamt that I would be there, doing that, with them.’

If you want a life better than you ever imagined, wonderful stories to tell your grandchildren, lists of beautiful dreamlike memories, then courage is the way.

I have learnt that I don’t need to be busy to have a big life; I just need to be brave. For me, bravery looks like backing myself, trusting the flow, trying again, being vulnerable, facing rejection, seeming to be a fool, taking risks, and following your heart. Courage starts with affirming ‘I am courageous’ even when I’m shaking in my boots, and ends with no regrets. Courage has always taken me to a spacious place that oddly feels unknown and like home all at once.

So here’s to ‘The Remains of Burning‘ one year on. I birthed a book baby and book baby birthed courage in me.

image of a poetry book
The Remains of Burning.
Categories
News Poetry

A free poetry chapbook for you.

I am continually inspired by what poets do to set flight to their poetry. Rupi Kaur released a one hour special of her sell out stage performance on Amazon Prime, Upile Chisala read and released her collected poems ‘as soft as fire’ on audiobook, Atticus poetry collaborated to create ‘Lost Poet’ wine, Sabina Laura released a beautiful poetry journal ‘a little sunshine and a little rain’ and the phenomenal Morgan Harper Nichols created a shop ‘Garden 24’ full of merch from tea towels to playing cards, as well as a unique ‘storyteller’ app.

From designing digital products to hosting poetry events and retreats. From creating unique membership sights to podcasting performance poetry, there is no doubt, poetry is in a renaissance as poets find a million different ways in which to ship their work out into the world.

After the release of my second inspirational poetry collection, ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’, I realised I had caught the heart of this poetry renaissance. No longer did I just see a poetry book or two, but a creative business in which poetry is the lifeblood. I identified the next 3 steps I needed to take –  website, blog, newsletter, and in this, the last week of August I can say the website is complete, the blog is off and running and I have sent out my first newsletter.

But the creativity didn’t stop there.  As a ‘welcome gift’ for newsletter subscribers, I created a free digital chapbook, ‘Never Far’– poetry about peace. It consists of 25 poems that are paired with watercolour illustrations by Kristy Kvills. You can get it by signing up at the bottom of my homepage. Or take a peak at it on instagram.

Dedicated to ‘the sleepless’ the chapbook starts out with a poem listing 8 expressions of peace. Using place, the body, objects, virtues and the senses, the poem illustrates what peace is like. My objective was to give the reader a picture that would trigger a delicious feeling of calm while simultaneously communicating the qualities of peace. For example, the line, ‘A stone castle in a storm’ conveys that peace is more than the absence of chaos; it holds its own even when things are tempestuous.

peace

According  to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, peace is ‘a state of tranquility or quiet’, ‘freedom from civil disturbance’, ‘harmony in personal relationships’. Although these definitions hold true, whilst writing the chapbook I got the sense that there was something missing; something either in the back of my head or deep down in my heart was telling me to look closer. 

Upon a rather vigorous trip down into the burrows of the internet, I found the word ‘Shalom’. I had heard the word before, but had not retained its meaning. ‘Shalom’ is a Hebrew word that not only means peace (as defined above) but also encompasses words like wholeness, completeness, prosperity, harmony and welfare. In short, ‘Shalom’ shows us that peace isn’t just the absence of conflict, but it is a state of being when the body, mind, soul and spirit align.

Sometimes peace escapes us and it seems like all the world’s problems have to be solved before we can get it back. I wanted my work to show that this is a lie. Peace can come in an instant, it is as easy and as hard as surrendering to ultimate reality. Peace is born inside of us, is dependent on honesty and banks on trust. For this reason, I titled the chapbook ‘Never Far’.

My hope is that readers would use this free digital gift as tool to silence fears, explore shalom and regain peace.

Lauren xx