Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Wednesday, November 21 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
I'm sitting at my kitchen table on this day before Thanksgiving, the wind outside my window blowing the last of the warm weather away, contemplating the cornucopia of blessings in my life for which I'm grateful.
Despite all the upheaval in my life and in the world around me, the blessings are still limitless.
The first on my mind, for I leave in a few minutes for the two-and-a-half-hour drive to pick her up, is my daughter, who will join me here in Albuquerque for Thanksgiving this weekend.
This is our first Thanksgiving together as just the two of us and the first time since her mother and I separated that I have a home of my own to welcome her into. I'm profoundly grateful for her presence in my life and for the home I'm now able to share with her.
This time last year, still on the road and about to spend my second consecutive Thanksgiving with my friends Bob and Diana Mitchell in Michigan, I could not have begun to imagine all the unexpected gifts this year would bring, among them:
• a home of my own after 30 months of full-time travel...and the arrival here in Albuquerque, a month after mine, of one of my closest friends -- who now lives a five-minute walk away.
• a home in the foothills of (and with a view of) the Sandia Mountains, which have inspired and uplifted me from the moment I first saw them nearly three years ago. (In fact, my very first place drawing was of the Sandias.)
• the long-awaited publication of my novel, The MoonQuest, not to mention the two awards it has already garnered and the glimmerings of interest in my screenplay adaptation of the book.
• the imminent publication of a second book, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write and the production of its companion CD. (I'll have more to say about these in a newsletter in the next week or so, when I'll unveil its amazing cover...though you can get a small-size sneak preview on MySpace.)
• all the wondrous and miraculous ways I have been taken care of, even as I've let go most of the touring, teleconferences and private sessions that were my financial mainstay on the road.
There is so much more...too much to enumerate. But I can't complete my incomplete list without mentioning you. Through all the radical shifts and transformations in my life and, no doubt, in yours over the past year, I'm enduringly grateful that you are still in my life, part of my creative and spiritual family.
Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wish you an abundance of all that would bring joy and gladness to your heart -- today, tomorrow and every day.
Photo by Mark David Gerson: Sunrise over the Sandias
Tuesday, November 20 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
Through the miracle that is the internet, I'm able to share with you two recent radio/podcast interviews.
The first, aired back in October and produced by Authors Access, talks about how to get through and past writer's block. You can listen to it here.
(I have lots more to say about writer's block in my upcoming book and companion CD set, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.)
The second, aired earlier this week and part of the Authors On the Air series hosted by the irrepressible Marlive Harris, is free-range talk about writing, including how I came to write The MoonQuest. You can listen to it here.
Please check them out and let me know what you think!
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Friday, November 2 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sometimes messages come to me through insects and cars, sometimes through dream.
Sometimes, they come in dream shorthand -- through snatches of song that flit and flutter through my consciousness (or repeat insistently) as I wake up in the morning.
This morning's was the latter, an Elton John lyric that is still looping through my mind hours after I opened my eyes.
For you and I have a guardian angel...
It's the second consecutive morning I've been awakened by these reassuring words from the song "True Love," and they remind yet again me that as I pay attention, I am taken care of...magnificently.
Yesterday's guardian angel message, for example, arrived shortly before I learned that The MoonQuest had been named a finalist in a national book award!
"How can I doubt?" I ask myself....even as, in my humanity, I still sometimes do.
Thursday, November 1 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy by Mark David Gerson has been named a finalist in the Visionary Fiction category of the 2007 Best Books Awards.
The national awards, sponsored by USA Book News, the premiere online magazine and review website for mainstream and independent publishing houses, were announced today in Los Angeles.
This is the second award for The MoonQuest, which was a New Mexico Discovery Award winner for unpublished fiction in 2006.
The MoonQuest is available online through Amazon.com, where it's a five-star selection, and coast-to-coast in the U.S. at selected retailers.
Recent reviews have praised The MoonQuest as "an evocative and emotionally moving tale of adventure" (Midwest Book Review) and "an exceptional, timeless novel" (The Mindquest Review of Books).
Mark David's newest book, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, will be published in February 2008 by LightLines Media. For Mark David's upcoming book-signings and events, visit booktour.com/author/mark_david_gerson.
At this writing and for a limited time, The MoonQuest is available at a discounted price through Amazon.com
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sunday, October 28 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
Whenever I doubt that some higher force is keeping an eye on the human me, I'm given a little reminder.
Friday's was a praying mantis that had settled on my front door. In most traditions, the praying mantis guides one toward rest, stillness, prayer, meditation and an openness to dream and revelation. In the busyness of my days, I had neglected all of those.
Then, in case I missed the message, my car's battery died the following evening -- in the parking lot of an Albuquerque Hastings store as I was leaving a book-signing for The MoonQuest.
My plan had been to do a bunch of errands before going home from the signing. The higher powers-that-be had a different idea.
After 77,000 miles in 26 months, my car's battery needed more than a roadside recharge. Apparently, so did mine!
With an eye to the praying mantis, I spent today immersed in quiet, renewing my battery for the journey ahead.
It's easy for me to get caught up in all that I think needs doing. It's harder to remember that unless I take care of my physical and emotional health, the human me will be ill-equipped to journey anywhere.
Photo by Mark David Gerson
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Saturday, October 6 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I'm at The Ark bookstore reading from my novel The MoonQuest as part of the Santa Fe Short Story Festival.
"When's the sequel coming out?" someone asks.
I've been so focused on getting The MoonQuest out into the world and completing The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write that I haven't given a lot of thought to The StarQuest.
It's not that I haven't begun writing The StarQuest. I've begun it twice.
Unlike The MoonQuest, though, whose first two drafts each took me less than a year to write, The StarQuest, which has no completed drafts, has been in my life for more than nine years.
That the question was asked by someone named Ben is significant. There's a Ben in The StarQuest. He's the main character's son. And he's the main character in The SunQuest, the final book of this projected trilogy.
It's almost as though the character himself leapt off the page to find out when I plan to complete his story.
With The MoonQuest, I rarely knew from one day to the next — some days, from one word to the next — where the story was taking me. It was frustrating, stressful and scary to be forced to live moment-to-moment, word-by-word, in trust that the story would ultimately reveal itself.
It did, of course. In its time, not mine.
As I ponder Ben's question, I realize that what has held me back from completing The StarQuest is a deeper level of the same trust The MoonQuest demanded of me. By this point in The MoonQuest, in terms of page count, I had a sense of what the story was about. Not a complete sense, but enough to keep me going.
The StarQuest has yet to similarly reveal itself, and I realize now that I have not trusted it enough to continue.
I was ready to trust The StarQuest only to the extent that I had trusted The MoonQuest. Where's the growth in that?
In writing as in life, we're constantly being pushed to have more faith, to trust more fully, to surrender more completely. It's true for Toshar, The MoonQuest's protagonist. It's true for Q'nta, The StarQuest's protagonist. No doubt, it will be true for Ben as well, when I get to The SunQuest.
Meantime, it's certainly true for me -- in my writing as in my life.
I still can't answer Ben's question, but I can commit to whatever level of trust my stories (and his) are asking of me. And I do.
While you're waiting for me to finish The StarQuest, check out The MoonQuest.
It's a five-star selection on Amazon.com and a story the Midwest Book Review calls "an evocative and emotionally moving tale of adventure." The Mindquest Review of Books calls it "an exceptional, timeless novel."
The MoonQuest makes a great gift for the holidays! (Find out where to buy it and read/hear excerpts at TheMoonQuest.com.)
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 3 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
This moment, this minute
And each second in it
Will leave a glow upon the sky
And as time goes by
It will never die
Those Johnny Mercer lyrics from the song My Shining Hour float through my mind as this day, my 53rd birthday, draws to a close.
As adults, our milestone birthdays are generally the decade-markers. Turning 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 have a particular significance to us that 27, 34, 42 and 53 often lack.
I remember most of those landmarks in my life: On my 30th, I was on a bus tour in the border country of northern England feeling nauseous. On my 40th, I stepped off the ferry into a new life in Nova Scotia...and a stomach-churning panic. On my 50th, an uncomfortable sense of foreboding proved accurate 30 days later when my marriage suddenly ended.
Frankly, so many of my birthdays have heralded uncomfortable shifts that their approach tends to make me nervous.
Last night, I made a different choice.
After nearly three years of full-time travel, this would be my first birthday off the road and the first in my new Albuquerque home. It would, I determined, be a new kind of portal -- one that would be low impact, high vibrational...and fun. One that would anchor my desires, and a way of being, for the coming year.
It has been all of that. Apart from the usual calls from friends and family, it has been a quiet and low-key day: a morning and evening hike in the Sandia foothills; a long, meditative soak in the tub; selective work tasks that move both The MoonQuest and The Voice of the Muse forward (tasks performed at my favorite cafe over a pleasingly decadent coffee drink); and a delightfully self-indulgent gift to myself.
It was a day without expectation or necessary outcomes, a day stripped of perfectionism and self-judgment -- a day filled with shining hours that were all, as Mercer put it in his 1943 song, "calm, happy and bright."
Most importantly, perhaps, it was a day that perfectly models the potential carried by every day. It was a day that reminds me that the most powerful birthdays are not those once-a-year (or once-a-decade) landmarks. Rather, they're the ones that set in motion a year of shining hours, each a brilliant spotlight of consciousness and possibility.
Incidentally, Johnny Mercer wrote My Shining Hour for a film titled The Sky's the Limit,another reminder to carry into all the new moments of my new year.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Monday, September 10 ~ Sedona, Arizona
Click on this audio link to hear the audio archive of my interview on Blog Talk Radio this evening, in an hour's conversation with host Phil Harris.
It's a free-ranging give-and-take about spirituality and metaphysics and a guide for living in these times.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thursday, August 9 ~
This final morning in this Albuquerque hotel, I wake up to a dream about another Albuquerque hotel -- the one around the corner I'll be checking into later today.
In the dream, I'm standing in the parking lot of this second hotel. As I gaze up at the building, I remark with some surprise that this hotel is such a powerful vortex that I ought to create an energy drawing of it.
I think nothing of the dream until...
Friday, August 10 ~ Breaking In
It's my first morning in the new hotel. The telephone rings, jarring me out of a deep sleep and a dream about...about something.
It's the front desk.
"Your car," the concerned voice says. "It's been broken into."
I stumble out of bed, into some clothes and out to the parking lot. A police cruiser is parked next to my minivan, an officer jotting down notes from the sea of shattered glass at his feet.
As I peer anxiously through the now-missing driver's-side window, I try to determine what's been taken -- not an easy task given how jam-packed the car is from my 30 months (to the day) of full-time travel.
"Don't touch anything," the officer cautions, as I poke my head into the car, doing my best to avoid the stray shards of glass still clinging to the door frame. I can't open the door until it's been dusted for prints, he says. Just like on TV.
Unlike on TV, my car is parked at the security camera's only blind spot. The camera captured nothing usable.
Bad news for the thief: he captured little of significant monetary value.
Bad news for me: the cases he grabbed (thinking that they held computer equipment) contained identity-related documents, including bank and credit card statements.
I spend most of the day in shock, too busy on the phone with glass, insurance, bank and credit card companies to deal with the deeper meaning of the incident.
The only thing that keeps pounding through my head is the phrase "breaking patterns."
Tuesday, August 14 ~ Breaking Out I
It's funny. I've been on the road for nearly three years, everything I own stuffed into my van. Through that time, I've never felt at risk, nor have I spent any time worrying about the security of my belongings.
Yet here I am, noticing a new missing something every time I step into the car.
It's interesting to me that the break-in occurred during daylight hours and that no other car in the lot was stolen. It's also interesting what was taken. It's almost as though the perpetrator was directed to my car and was guided what to take.
Among other MIA (missing in action) items are
• the bulk of my art supplies
• the digital audio recorder I use to record my sessions, teleconferences and live events
• a variety of documents and other objects relating who I have been and how I have viewed the world
Unthreatened and untouched are my copies of The MoonQuest and anything and everything related to my writing.
Now I see one of the patterns that shattered along with my car window: My work with healing art and sound. Whatever my future vibrational offerings, I know now that they will look and sound different than they have in the past.
It's in this moment that I feel called to make way for the new by offering my complete inventory of sound initiation/activation CDs at clearance prices. [See my August 14 newsletter, The Sounds of Change.]
Throughout my adult life and regardless of whatever else I've been doing, my primary focus has always returned to writing and related activities. Today and as a result of the break-in, it appears to be doing so once again.
Wednesday, August 15 ~ Breaking Out II
Until this morning, my thought has been that I would stay in New Mexico through the fall, perhaps hitting the road again with The MoonQuest after the holidays. To that end, I've been searching out furnished rentals on Craig's List.
It's a pattern I've followed through my 30 months of full-time travel: periods of being on the road interspersed with stops of various length in furnished sublets and vacation rentals.
This morning that pattern, too, fractures and dissolves.
As I drive to the bank to deal with more identity-related fallout from the break-in, wondering en route why I'm not finding any suitable furnished rentals, my mind wanders back more than a dozen years -- to a meditative walk I took in Nova Scotia just after returning to work on The MoonQuest after a seven-month hiatus.
It was on that walk that I knew it was time to leave my furnished rental and find a new place that was unfurnished.
As I recall that long-ago walk, a 2007 version of my 1994 knowingness washes over me: It really is time to stop. To truly stop. To drop anchor. To land. To create not only a home base but a home.
My first thought, as it was 13 years ago, is that I have nothing with which to fill an unfurnished house. My second thought also parallels my Nova Scotia experience: Trust, and it will be fine.
Monday, August 20 ~ Breaking Out III
Hobby Lobby, a regional crafts chain, is running a mega sale on art supplies this week. Is that a sign, I wonder, to replace my stolen colored pencils?
Once in the store, I study my options and settle on a set of watercolor pencils.
Yet as I drive away with my new purchase, it feels all wrong. To my shock, I realize I don't miss my old colored pencils and don't want new ones.
My desire to draw hasn't vanished. But all I want now is a few plain sketch pencils to play with.
Another old pattern makes way for the new.
It's time, I realize, to add my inventory of healing art to my selloff of the past.
Friday, August 24 ~ Breaking Out IV
In my frequent moments of overwhelm this week, I ask for confirmation of my decision to drop anchor.
The signs and signals, while not abundant, are eloquent.
Perhaps the earliest, gone unnoted at the time, was the realization that my thick stack of membership cards in frequent-hotel-guest plans was taken -- probably because it looked like a collection of credit cards.
A more recent indicator (for the author of a book titled The MoonQuest) is that the house I'm most drawn to has the word moon as part of its street address.
A phone call today is the capper: Even though I have no house yet, I've been offered my first housewarming present.
Saturday, August 25 ~ The Eagle Has Landed
I have just signed a one-year lease on a house that is everything I asked for...and more. I'm excited and abundantly grateful, even as tremors of anxiety continue to ripple through me.
It's been 15 days since the break-in. Each of those days might as well have been a year for all the openings and transformations that have occurred since that morning.
There have also been many synchronicities and miracles through that time, and I know that at least as many will carry me forward into whatever's next.
Are my traveling days over? I wouldn't dare suggest that. Nor would I dare guess what lies ahead.
All I think I know is that writing will remain an integral part of it...whatever "it" is.
These New Earth Chronicles will likely continue in some form. After all, the New Earth we are co-creating won't disappear just because I'm experiencing it from a less mobile perspective. My newsletter, too, will live on in its own as-yet-to-be-determined way.
Meantime, I'll continue to promote and market The MoonQuest, work toward completion of its sequel and move forward with publication of my book on writing, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.
Through all that, I'll do my best to stay open to whatever gifts and growth await me on this next phase of my journey...wherever it carries me.
Thanks for being one of those gifts!
• Save up to 75% on healing art and CDs at my Web Store.
• Order your copy of The MoonQuest today -- through www.themoonquest.com or through Amazon.com using this direct link. Or click here for a list of retailers who carry the book.
Photos and Art by Mark David Gerson.
#1 Santa Fe sunflowers; #2 Albuquerque sunset; #3 Waxing moon over the Sandias; #4 Drawing #117 "Portal to Your Passion"
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Wednesday, August 1 ~ Junction, Texas
Images from a week in Texas....
#1 Stained Glass Image of St. Francis, Monastery of the Poor Clares, Brenham
#2 Monastery of the Poor Clares, Brenham
#3 Rt 965, near Enchanted Rock
#4 Rock Formation, Big Bend Nat'l Park
#5 Rio Grande River
#6 Chisos Mountains, Big Bend Nat'l Park
#7 San Padre Island Nat'l Seashore, Gulf of Mexico
Texas Photos by Mark David Gerson|
Friday, July 27, 2007
Sunday, July 22 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
More Texas license plates. Everywhere I look on the drive from Sedona to Albuquerque, I see Texas plates.
They're there, it seems, to tweak my dawning awareness that when I leave Albuquerque on Tuesday, it will be to head into Texas.
Not that I have any idea why I'm being drawn to Texas...again. Why should I, when I still don't know why I was pulled there earlier this year [see God's GPS].
"Not going to work this time," I insist to whoever's in charge. "If you really want me to go to Texas, you'll have to do better than license plates."
It's now my second night in Albuquerque, and I'm chatting with the hotel owner about The MoonQuest, which she's just begun reading. My post-Albuquerque plans never come up. Yet, somehow, it emerges that her husband has family in -- you guessed it -- Texas.
I don't make the connection until an hour later, when I'm talking to Josh, the new guy on the front desk.
"Are you a native New Mexican?" I ask.
"No," he replies. "I'm from Dallas. Texas."
I almost surrender in that moment.
But not quite.
Unconditional surrender comes 24 hours later.
I'm parked outside Office Max. Across from me is a small black car with Texas plates.
"Not going to work," I say, shaking my head at the Universe. "Show me people, not plates."
I come out of the store a few minutes later, following the man who was ahead of me in line. He heads straight for the Texas-mobile and takes off. For Texas, no doubt.
As I walk across his now-vacant spot, something flashes up at me from the pavement. A penny.
I stoop to pick it up and know where I'm going.
I still don't know why, but in that moment I remember my own words from a week ago as I spoke as part of a Sunday Service talk at Santa Fe's The Celebration. The topic? "Too Much Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing: Giving Up the Need to Know."
I give up.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Tuesday, July 10 ~ US-93, north of Kingman, Arizona
I'm in Sedona a few days ago when, for the first time since turning it into an eBook five years ago, I begin rereading my book of writing practice and inspiration, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write.
The idea is to update and repackage the eBook to restore some of my focus on teaching writing.
The more I read, the more excited I get. Not only is it good -- better than I remembered -- it ties in perfectly with The MoonQuest.
If among its other themes, The MoonQuest is a call to live more authentic lives by telling our stories, The Voice of the Muse is the primer that shows how to do it.
I continue my reading with that thought in mind until, somewhere on the highway out of Kingman, I hear the voice of my muse (ie, Evan Almighty's boss -- see Use Me).
"Forget the eBook," the voice says. "Publish it as a book. Not in a year. Not in six months. Now. Start the process now."
"You want me to do what?!?" I shout. "But The MoonQuest-- It's just barely out. This is insane!!"
"No more insane than building an ark," it replies.
Thursday, July 12 ~ Mono Lake, California
I wake up this morning in Hawthorne, NV in fear. It seems to be one of those unfocused, nonspecific fears, but it's likely related to the whole Voice of the Muse thing.
I struggle out of the womb-like safety of my hotel bed, into my clothes and into the car.
As I climb the Wassuk Range that separates Nevada from California, I open the car window. It's the first time in weeks that morning temperatures anywhere have been cooler than the low-90s, the first time opening car windows has been a comfortable option.
It rained last night in Hawthorne, a brief but pounding thunderstorm that soaked the streets and flashed electric bolts of white up in these mountains.
As soon as I lower the windows, the umistakable scent of sage -- heightened by the moisture -- blows into the car. I breathe in the cleansing, purifying smell and let it wash away my anxiety.
Now, ten minutes later, I'm parked on the side of SR-167 across from Mono Lake. Like some latter-day Avalon, Paoha and Negit islands rise up out of the lake's morning mist.
The stillness is complete.
I don't know what's ahead -- with my books or in my life. But in this moment, embraced by the mountains, enchanted by the lake's Camelot-like formations, and having written these words, I am at peace.
Thursday, July 12 ~ Oakhurst, California
I spend most of my day at elevations exceeding 9,000 feet -- in the skyscraping heights of Yosemite National Park. Now, most of the way down the mountain, I sit at an outdoor cafe as dusk drains the last color from the sky. With the final glimmerings of light go the final shreds of my resistance.
I feel both the insanity and the perfection of this divine directive to publish The Voice of the Muse.
I don't know how I will produce and pay for a second book while still paying for and promoting a first.
Yet, as God did with Evan and his ark, the God within me and the sentient spirit of both books will provide all the resources, inner and outer, that I need.
As long as I say Yes.
As long as I surrender.
And I do.
Photos by Mark David Gerson: #1 Yosemite Nat'l Park; #2 The road to Tonopah & Hawthorne, NV; #3 Mono Lake, CA
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Sunday, July 8 ~ Sedona, Arizona
As I watch the new movie, Evan Almighty, with my daughter this afternoon, tears mingle with laughter at the story of the ambitious newscaster-turned-Congressman whose life is turned upside-down when God tells him to prepare for an impending flood by building an ark.
My tears come in Evan's surrender to the higher power that always knows best, the higher power that I, like Evan, have been known to resist, curse and fight.
I have never been asked to build an ark, but I have been guided along roads that seem equally bizarre and incomprehensible, in directions that others have judged or mocked.
Ultimately, though, as with Evan and his flood, the higher guidance has always proven itself wiser and more knowing than a limited human mind that is always trying to figure things out and cling to control.
As the film credits roll, I'm reminded of the song Use Me, Rickie Byars Beckwith's ardent anthem to ultimate surrender:
I stand for you
And here I'll abide
As you show me
All that I must do
I'm reminded too of author Madeleine L'Engle's description of the Old Testament as filled with bearded prophets shouting up to the heavens, "You want me to do what!?"
Evan is just such a prophet, as am I and each of you. For in every moment, the God Power we carry within is calling on us to do and be the impossible, to build our own version of Evan's ark, even though it makes no conventional sense, even though we don't know where to begin or who we'll be when we're done.
I wrote about the song Use Me in a November newsletter (The Choice for God), after having cried while singing it during a Sunday service at L.A.'s Agape International Spiritual Center.
Ironically, I had just recommitted to my then-unpublished novel, The MoonQuest, not realizing that this act of recommitment would result in its speedy publication -- by me! (You want me to do what!?)
My tears then as now are the tears of truth. I know that whether I stand in the vibration of that powerful lyric, in the resonance of today's movie or at one of life's many crossroads, my only choice is the highest choice, the choice that prophets through the ages -- all the way up to Evan -- have made: the choice for God.
My God is neither actor Morgan Freeman nor some force outside myself. My God is the divine within me, the highest imperative, infinite wisdom and creative intelligence that asks of me only that I surrender and allow it to use me -- to be me -- as it guides me forward.
As I prepare to leave Sedona tomorrow for parts (yet again) unknown, I recommit to that path of surrender and know that, in so doing, I walk in the path of God. And I am never alone.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Tuesday, June 12 ~ I-25 between Albuquerque & Santa Fe, New Mexico
I'm on my way to Santa Fe because Federal Express has delivered two advance copies of The MoonQuest to my mailbox there. (The bulk of the shipment arrives in Albuquerque on June 18.)
As with every aspect of this journey, I'm equal parts excited and scared. And when I get to the UPS Store, I leave the FedEx package until last, opening every other letter and parcel before I rip apart the white padded envelope with its distinctive orange and purple lettering.
Seeing the book in published form takes my breath away. I don't breathe again until, shakily, I leaf all the way through it to be sure that its pages are not only fully present but right-way-up.
When my breath finally returns, it's quavery and teary.
Before I left Flagstaff, Arizona in March for Albuquerque, knowing that I was about to launch the publishing process, I stopped for lunch at a Chinese restaurant. The fortune, which I still carry in my wallet, read, Look for the dream that keeps coming back. It is your destiny.
This dream snuck up on me 13 years ago, when The MoonQuest's first words made their own way onto my blank page (see A Horse or Two of a Different Color). Since then, however long it absented itself from my life, The MoonQuest has always come back. This last time, it insisted that I bring it to completion.
I don't believe in the disempowered choicelessness of most definitions of destiny. As Toshar (The MoonQuest's main character) is constantly reminded on his MoonQuest, there is always a choice. At the same time, a commitment to living the highest possible choice strips us of many other choices and, ultimately, connects us with our heart's desire and soul's passion, which, in the end, is an aspect of destiny.
Why am I crying as I hold the book, my book, this being with its own imperative that birthed through me?
Release and relief, of course. But more than that, I'm crying because I have touched my destiny, a destiny I freed to manifest through me.
They are tears of joy. They are tears of birthing. They are tears of new life -- The MoonQuest's and mine.
• Order your copy of The MoonQuest today -- through www.themoonquest.com or through Amazon.com using this direct link.
Friday, June 8 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico
As I amble along a nature path in the foothills of Albuquerque's Sandia Mountains, I feel the stress and high anxiety of the day begin to dissolve.
It began this morning. In fact, I woke with it, with the unsettledness that comes of leaving two and a half months of what passes in my life for domesticity.
Today is the day the (relative) rootedness of a Santa Fe sublet makes way for a return to the mutability of a life in motion.
Today is the day that completes the printing and binding of The MoonQuest.
Today is the day one journey ends and another begins.
It's exciting, of course, but discomfitting too.
And so as my feet touch the feldspar, mica and quartz that comprise Sandia's granite, I'm grateful for the emotional grounding I always feel here. I'm grateful too for the explosions of brilliant color scattered through these desert highlands.
If you've never visited or lived in the desert, you probably think of it as not only dry but barren and colorless. Yet spring here in the high desert -- particularly after a wet winter -- brings with it not only infinite shades of green but the polychromatic splendor of desert flowers in bloom, their intensity heightened by the limited palette New Mexico normally offers.
The new growth and the vividness of the cactus flowers remind me that the same energy of renewal unfolding around me on my Sandia walk is also coming alive within me. Spring is here.
Sandia Photos by Mark David Gerson
Monday, May 28, 2007
Tuesday, May 15 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
It's Sunday morning. I'm sitting in Santa Fe's Church of Religious Science listening to the service and an image forms in my mind's eye...a series of angles, lines and contours that expresses the energy of Santa Fe and the notion of "holy faith," which is the English translation of the city's name.
I reach for a piece of paper and sketch what I see.
A few hours later, I'm at the dining room table with my colored pencils arrayed before a blank page. Propped up to the side is my rough sketch.
As what takes shape on the page begins to bear less and less resemblance to the sketch, I grow edgy.
Not because of the differences. Many finished drawings veer away from my initial concept.
No, my edginess relates to how much I don't like what is forming on the page. To be blunt, I hate it.
The emergent image, I say to myself, is just not very good. For a few minutes, I consider scrapping the drawing. After all, my judgmental self points out to my creator self, all artists have pieces they abandon. And for good reason.
Then I remember another drawing. Number 15. Titled Stepping into Your Power and Empowerment, I so disliked it that I almost removed it from my catalogue. It was hard to do, though, because people kept buying it. In the end, I didn't delete it.
In that memory, I realize what's going on within me today. My reactions to #15 and what is slated to become #116 (Holy Faith) have nothing to do with esthetics and everything to do with the theme/title of the piece.
In December 2004 I was resisting the next level of my empowerment. Today, as my pencil hesitates over the paper, I am resisting the next level of a faith that Santa Fe always demands.
The first demand on my faith is the drawing itself: Do I have the faith to trust the divine imperative that always guides my hand? Or will I let my judgment (read: fear) overtake my faith?
Faith wins out, as it always does in the end, and I complete the drawing (Holy Faith, pictured above).
Later, a client describes the image as "faith in the midst of chaos," which is perfect. For it's in the midst of (apparent) chaos that we most need our faith.
Demands on my faith in subsequent days, like all such demands, are similar to those I experience with the drawing and ask similar questions: Do I have the faith to trust the divine imperative that always guides my life and choices? Or will I let my fear take precedence?
So many demands on my faith in this city of Holy Faith: they revolve around finances (always a stand-in for deeper fears), around this publishing enterprise I have launched, around The MoonQuest itself, around where I will go when my current sublet runs out in a few weeks, around every aspect of my life that is steeped in transformation and uncertainty. And what aspect isn't, these days?
This morning, a new demand: Even as The MoonQuest has yet to leave its Michigan printing plant, a sensing emerges that its long-stalled sequel, The StarQuest, is calling to me.
If, as I realized in A Stunning One-Liner During Dinner at the Diner, publishing The MoonQuest frees me to move forward and stop wandering, that forward motion now appears to be an acceleration toward The StarQuest. In other words, my wandering will come to an end when it's necessary to complete the next book.
That completion will require all the holy faith that Santa Fe can send my way. Or maybe not. Perhaps all that's required to write the second book is to come to completion on the first, "to fix The MoonQuest on parchment," as the story itself demands.
For now, all I can do is remain grounded in this moment as I anchor all aspects of my beingness in faith -- Holy Faith -- and in that divine imperative that always guides me foward in love.
~ View a larger a copy of Holy Faith (#116) or order your own
~ Listen to a free audio excerpt of The MoonQuest
~ Read about The MoonQuest as a journey of trust
All copies of The MoonQuest ordered before June 11 will be autographed to you (or to whomever you're gifting it) and will get free U.S. shipping. (Normal shipping charges apply as of June 11.)
Monday, May 21, 2007
Tuesday, May 8 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I'm having dinner at Zia Diner here in Santa Fe, telling a new friend about The MoonQuest and about how it has been part of my life through all but the earliest months of my conscious spiritual journey.
"Maybe," he says, "once the book is out you'll be able to stop wandering."
A shiver of such intensity passes through me, I think at first it's the air conditioning.
Then I inventory the past 13 years of my life...
I began writing The MoonQuest within weeks of a move that launched more than a decade of wandering. Within six months of setting my first words to the page, I had sold everything I owned and moved to Nova Scotia. During my 14 months there, I lived in three different places (each hosting a different aspect of my MoonQuest literary journey).
My life has been largely unsettled ever since. Even the seven moves in my six and a half years of marriage could hardly be described as settled.
Then I think of the opening lines of The MoonQuest, which have survived virtually unchanged since the second draft:
Na'an came to me in a dream this night. It was early. I had not been in bed long and the night was newly dark.
"It is time," she said, "time to fix The MoonQuest on parchment."
Toshar, the main character, is then told that until he tells this, his story, he will not be free.
"It is your story to tell. It is for you to fix it in ink, to set the truth down for all to read."
My friend's one-line insight (his name is also Mark, which adds a certain twist: as though the revelation comes from within me!) reverberates through me long past dinner at the diner.
What if I, like Toshar, cannot be free to truly end my MoonQuest until I have shared it with the world? What if my life path will not be fixed until this aspect of its story is fixed in print?
It's a humbling and explosive concept. But it makes sense.
Whether we're writers or not, we're all called to share our stories. We're all called to break through the silence of fear that has stilled our voices.
In the film Catch and Release one character asks the other, "Who do you tell your stories to?"
"I keep them inside," he replies.
By keeping them inside, he keeps everything inside and that's what holds him back.
In Q'ntana, the fear-strangled mythical land in which The MoonQuest is set -- a land where storytelling is banned and storytellers are put to death -- it is said that "all people were bards once upon a time."
One of the purposes of Toshar's quest is to restore that once-upon-a-time to Q'ntana.
Clearly, I carry a similar purpose in a similar time. All the work I've done over the past 13 years -- be it through my words, sounds, art and teaching (writing and otherwise) -- has been about empowering people to experience their highest potential and to share that passion out in the world.
It doesn't have to be through writing, of course. Yet I continue to be amazed by the number of clients, friends and acquaintances who tell me they're feeling called to write a book.
For some, the creative act itself is the release into the new. For me, apparently, the release comes in empowering myself to take the next step by publishing it myself...by doing all that's necessary "to set the truth down for all to read."
Until I do that, I can't move on. Until I do that, I can't take the next step in my writing, teaching and inspiring. Until I do that, I won't be free.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Tuesday, May 1 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
I open my email this morning to a message and image from British artist Courtney Davis. The image is The Chariot card from his sadly out-of-print Celtic Tarot deck. He has sent me a copy so that I can write a caption for an upcoming retrospective of his art.
The card, as I mention on the acknowledgments page of The MoonQuest played a significant role in the book's birth...
It's March 1994. I see The Celtic Tarot in Toronto's Omega Centre bookstore and it so seduces me that I can't not buy it. Days later, I use the deck in a writing class I'm teaching: With eyes closed, each student draws one of the major arcana cards and then, with eyes open to the chosen card, is led through a guided visualization into writing.
Generally when I teach, I don't write. I watch the students and hold space for them.
But this night's group is different. These five women are a subset of a larger University of Toronto class that I have just led through 10 weeks of creative awakening. They don't require my usual overseeing and so, once they're settled into writing, some inner imperative has me draw a card of my own: The Chariot.
That same imperative has me pick up a pen and push it across the blank page. What emerges is the tale of an odd-looking man in an even odder-looking coach that is pulled by two odd-colored horses.
Next morning, I'm drawn back to the story. I add to it. I keep adding to it daily, almost obsessively. And a year later in Amirault's Hill, Nova Scotia, on the anniversary of that Toronto class, I complete my first draft of The MoonQuest.
When I see The Chariot this morning in Santa Fe, for the first time in a decade, I'm startled. Even though the cover designer never saw the tarot card and knows nothing of The Celtic Tarot or how it inspired me, there's a definite connection between the two.
Today, many drafts and many years later, the manuscript is a book. And although the book's opening has changed and the odd-looking man has been superseded in importance by other characters, I realize that The Chariot's inspiration is still evident throughout The MoonQuest.
I no longer own a copy of The Celtic Tarot. I gifted mine to a friend in 1997. And so today, reinspired by its energy, I will scour the internet for a replacement. Maybe its magic is still potent enough to launch The MoonQuest's two projected sequels.
Art: The Chariot tarot card by Courtney Davis; The MoonQuest cover by Angela Farley.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Thursday, April 19 ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
When I was a boy growing up in Canada in the 1960s, a cute, animated beaver starred in a series of government-sponsored TV commercials every winter. In each episode, the industrious beaver would work on his dam without waiting for spring thaw.
The message, brought home in the catchy jingle Why wait for spring? Do it now!, was to encourage Canadians to think about launching home improvements during the winter.
Why wait for what appear to be perfect conditions?
An inner beaver of my own has been singing his version of that jingle to me for weeks now. It's not about home improvement, and his lyrics don't scan nearly as well as those written by George G. Blackburn for the Canadian Dept. of Labor 40 years ago.
"Why wait for someone else to do it for you?" he sings. "Do it yourself!"
For me, my beaver song has been about The MoonQuest, a profoundly spiritual fantasy novel I began writing 13 years ago. (If truth be told, it began writing me 13 years ago and hasn't let up on me since!)
Now, countless revisions, one screenplay adaptation, one award, one agent, numerous attempts to find publishers, and many close calls (including one involving Conversations with God's Neal Donald Walsh) later, I have heeded my inner beaver and am doing it myself.
The MoonQuest will be in physical, printed and published form later this spring!
Of course, as I pointed out earlier this month in Body Talk II, I'm not doing it myself at all. I have had lots of help: my spirit beavers and other energies/critters, as well as many of you, who have lovingly supported and encouraged me in this process.
And what a process it has been! Through it, I have discovered deep layers of fear I thought had been put to rest long ago. I rediscovered how easily I get overwhelmed. And I am still discovering how empowering it is to take a project to completion myself and not abdicate the final stages to an outside entity.
How often in our lives do we do just that? How often to we abdicate our power to others? How often do we remove ourselves from critical decisions that, truly, are ours to make? How often do we refuse to acknowledge our highest dreams and desires? How often do we walk away from them when they seem impossible?
The old New Age paradigm would have us sit in silent meditation until our dreams were realized. The old human paradigm would have us push, push, push, regardless of any inner imperative.
The new paradigm for this new age is a new balance of inner and outer, of the human and the divine. It calls on us to go within to connect with our highest dreams and desires (not those we think we want but those our soul yearns for (see Manifestation Beyond "The Secret"). Then it calls for us to surrender to the divine imperative that tells us when to wait and when to act.
And when, in timing that can only be divine, it is time to act, we don't wait for spring. We don't wait for someone else to pick up the slack. We don't wait for someone else to do it for us.
We empower ourselves to take responsibility for our own dreams and, with the assistance of all the energies and entities (embodied and disembodied) that want nothing more than for us than to succeed, we take one step, then another, then another and then another...conscious of the ultimate dream but focused on the moment.
That is the only way I'm getting through this publishing adventure: One day at a time. One task at a time. One moment at a time.
It shouldn't surprise me that that's how I'm being guided to proceed. After all, that's one of the many spiritual lessons of The MoonQuest. Apparently, it's one I'm still learning!
~ Listen to a free audio excerpt of The MoonQuest, read live on my 4-16-07 teleconference
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