I always love to hear the back story of an author or artist’s creation because, within the story, there are always setbacks, comebacks, and momentary decisions that shaped the piece of art and the creator. Hearing the humanity of the back story makes me love the book/art even more! And so I’d love to share some of my journey with you.
This second book has been three years in the making. Well, actually, it’s been much longer than that. I have known I was a poet since I was a little girl in Mrs. Kostenbader’s third grade class. She introduced us to writing and “publishing” our own books. We made books out of cardboard, contact paper, and letter stickers. We learned about writing stories – from tall tales, poetry, mysteries, and adventures, to nonfiction and stories about friendship. That is the year I said to my parents, “I am going to be a leader and writer!”
In 2017, I published my first book, Gems of Delight. After I wrote Gems of Delight, created a Kickstarter campaign that blew me away with support within the first day, and then published the book, I was on a high. It felt amazing to have a physical book in my hands and in the hands of readers. People actually other than my family and closest friends bought Gems. My poetic wrist wraps and cards sold. I was proud that I followed a dream of mine. I was proud of independently publishing the book and ALLLL the work that goes into overseeing the whole process of writing, hiring a professional editor, creating a marketing plan, making connections, etc.
But awhile later, I noticed the shadow side of publishing a book. To be honest, soon after I published Gems of Delight, I found myself spending more time online and looking for approval, acceptance, and likes “out there.” I struggled with what to write online to promote Gems. Now I was concerned about writing the “right thing” that people would like and accept. I sat more. I moved my body less. I was more anxious and self-conscious.
But then in the winter of 2018/2019, on a whim, my family and I started to ski and snowboard. It changed my life. I started to put much better boundaries on my time and energy. I started to choose being outside and moving my body over sitting at the computer and “hustling” to write. (You can read more about how I eventually went down black diamonds and how I also took up cycling with two friends and I did a 150 mile bike ride this past summer!)
I’ve always known that I would write books. And I knew I wanted to write a second book. But I made a vow to myself: I will not write from a place of pushing myself, reaching, or grasping. I will not ignore my body. I will bring a hell of a lot more balance into my writing process. I will take care of me. I will be present to my life, family, and body. I will follow the timing of my soul. And the next book will be ALL SACRED POETRY.
I challenged that “responsible for everything” one in me – the one that had to do it all, do it all perfectly, and do it alone while causing harm to her own body and soul.
Here’s the thing – I am ambitious and driven. I have learned over the last three years since publishing Gems to love this part of me, to give it space, and to not deny it. And also I have learned (I am learning) to let this part rest, to let my ambition be driven by love (not fear or trying to please others or live up to someone else’s “should” or ideal), and to balance my drive with surrender and tender care.
So I spent the last few years writing more poetry. Listening and writing. Honoring my soul’s timing. Living to my body. Moving my body. I pressured myself less. I played more. And I took some big soul risks and went on soul adventures with family and friends.
Last January (2020), I said to myself, “Okay, this is it. Let’s organize the next book.” I had a detailed plan with a timeline. I called my editors. I rallied my family. And then, COVID hit. Our world fell into a pandemic. I knew in early March that I had to let go of my timeline. I had an overflowing client caseload. I even stopped putting potential clients on a waitlist. My two children were doing school at home. I knew right away that in order to write a book, be present to my clients, and be present to my family, I had to focus on my own self-care and love.
I let go of the timeline for the second book. I promised myself I would not go back to pushing myself to write. But rather I’d write when I was resourced. I’d write after getting outside and moving my body.
Body before book! – became my mantra.
Don’t go at it alone! – became my mantra.
Follow your own intuition! – became my mantra.
When I felt stuck writing, I’d take breaks. I’d go for walks and move my body. I’d make a healthy meal. I’d spend time with my family.
When I struggled with the introduction, I would put it down and not force it. I asked my friend, Molly, who is an editor for her ideas. She said, “Lisa, write a poem for the opening. Tell the story of what the book is about in a poem.” That’s what I did! (The first poem in the book is called Soul Courage!)
When I couldn’t use the title that I really wanted, I called on my friends to help me. One hot day during the summer (and the pandemic), two friends and I sat on the porch while social distancing with an easel and post-it notes filled with possible words and titles. They helped me come up with the current title.
When I knew that I was to add soulful embodiment practices and reflections, making the book like a journal …I listened and I rewrote.
And wouldn’t you know, a book emerged. A book that I am proud of. A book that is based on the poetry that flowed from my heart over these last three years. A book that honors the sacred and brings in God language like Great Mother and Beloved. A book that is about sacred embodiment based on my experience as a Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapist. A book that nourishes the soul and nervous system!
And I think this comes at the PERFECT time. Right now in this pandemic, we are experiencing what I call “soul exhaustion.” We are tired, weary, and worn out. We have lost some hope. We need connection. We need a spark of joy so we can connect again to the light within each of us.
I’d like to introduce you to Your Light is Rising: Kindling the Courage of Your Soul.
Your Light Is Rising is your poetic guide and journal to come back home to yourself and kindle the light of your soul to shine.
Following the rhythm of the day, Your Light Is Rising offers short sacred poetry, practices, and reflections that nourish your soul, soothe your nervous system, and inspire you to say “yes” to the wisdom within you.
Dawn calls forth hope to blossom in your body and soul, morning invites you to practice courage, midday challenges you to redefine strength, afternoon asks you to plant seeds of compassion, and evening readies you for sleep with soothing words of peace.
After each poem, you’ll find a short, soul-nourishing and body-centered practice or reflection — and space to journal your responses.
This book is going to be a ray of hope that kindles your courage and inspires you to take soul risks in your life.
To get this book out into the world, I’ll need your help!
Many of you know that I’m an independent (Indie) author. I hire a professional editor to edit, design, and publish my book. It means that me and Brian, my husband, oversee the whole process – from writing to packaging up the book and taking it to the post office to be delivered to you!
And this means I need your help to spread the word, write reviews, and get your copy of Your Light is Rising.
I have a Kickstarter campaign to help cover the costs of editing, designing and publishing the book. Would you jump in and support the campaign and share it with others? I’d be so grateful for your help. Pre-order your own copy and pick up one for a friend!
The publishing date is set for January 16, 2021. Your Light is Rising will help to bring in a new year with new hope, courage, strength, compassion, and peace. I can’t wait for you and your dear ones to have this book in your hands!
I’m excited to share Your Light is Rising with you. I’m grateful for you considering to help to bring this book into the world. I’m grateful to continue to write because of the wonderful backing of this community.