Tag Archives: meditation

How important is it to listen

The human experience is so rich that we writers could write stories until the end of time about what makes us human tick or grate. On this Valentine week-end, I am pondering on how important relationships are to humans and how difficult they are. Seemingly perfect relationship are rarely what they seemed. The reality of every day life is: it’s hard to live with someone for a long time without facing some kind of conflict or friction. As writers, it’s important we educate ourselves about psychology to be able to build realistic characters and situations that readers can relate to.

When I trained as a hypnotherapist, I bumped into a fellow student who was an achieved screenplay writer. I wondered what he was doing there. I knew who he was because a few years before I had done his creative writing summer class, so you could imagine my surprise to find him at the hypnotherapy school. Seven years down the line, I understand much better how clever he was. Exploring the depth of human nature is gold for writers and what better way than to be paid to listen to people’s stories.

So if you are a therapist of some kind, it looks like your skills are precious for your writing. Keep up the good work. For other writers, I would highly recommend doing a listening skills course. Listening skills – deep listening – is so valuable for writers. I thought I was a good listener until I did a one year long training course focused only on listening skills. It made me realise how we human beings always interrupt others when they speak to chip in. Most of our conversations are not true conversations, they are parallel monologues. I found through this experience that if you really listen to people and refrain from asking questions, you will alway hear everything you need to know.

Similarly, I believe that if you learn to get into a meditative state and visualise your characters, and listen deeply, you will learn all you need to know about them. They will tell you their story. And when you put two of them together in your mental room, all you need to do is eavesdrop on their conversation. It will make your work so much easier as a writer. Yet, most of us are incapable of doing this because our minds are over active and full of thoughts. Most of us don’t realise how packed solid our mind is with thoughts. There is a voice in there that yaks yaks yaks. And it is only when we become aware of it that we can start to master it.

I liken the mind to a beautiful horse. Mine is pure white. I know very little about horses but I know this: if we let the horse into our lives with no training, it will wreck it. In order to keep our sanity as writers, we need to master the mind. There are many ways to do this but meditation and the practice of quieting our minds are paramount. I use to teach meditation and there are a lot of myths around it. You don’t have to isolate yourself in a room, sit in a lotus position and chant mantras whilst burning incense. Meditation comes from mindfulness and mindfulness can be found in every day tasks. Personally I find cooking, washing the dishes, ironing, hovering and painting (artistically) very good to practice mindfulness. All you need to do is to be totally in the moment and refrain from thinking about other things. You will, inevitably. The work is to bring yourself back to the task. It can take a lot of practice to even begin to be able to do these things mindfully without wanting to run away. That’s normal. We humans love to distract ourselves from what is essential. And when you quiet the mind, you start hearing that little voice that tells you what you really need. Most people are scared to hear that little voice. Yet, if they did, they would never have to ask advice from other people.

To your creativity

Ange de. Lumiere

The word trap

I am continuing to explore what can stop you from getting that first draft on paper. My last blog explored the dangers of correctness. Today I want to talk about the word trap.

Most writers make the mistake of coming to writing from a word perspective. It’s funny isn’t it? Let me explain. They look for words in their minds and try to string them together, but it makes the process bitty and clumsy. It’s hard work.

What I learnt through my hypnotherapy practice and my reiki master experience is that you first need to get into trance: that state of relaxation where you enter the creative zone. This is not an intellectual state. In fact, in that state the mind is slightly numbed. This is important, because the mind is where the inner critic sits and lives. You need your inner critic asleep or at least groggy.

Once you reach that state, and this is going to be an instrumental part of the workshop coming soon, what you do is not look for words but look for images. If you have done your homework correctly, you will gave a set of characters, each will have a tensive potential with the other and/or the venue or setting, so now what you do is visualise yourself in the place and moment your story starts and observe. What do you see? What do you feel? Which angle on the set do you stand? Are there any specific smells? How are the character physically positioned ih relation to you? And to each other? You are not writing a story: you are watching your story unfold as if you were at the movies. If you are writing non fiction, the process is similar except you let the flow of ideas pour out and you don’t try to organise them at this stage, you just capture them, as you would capture dreams.

This is the way most great creative geniuses describe their creative process. Musicians often say they sit, relax and literally hear the music and write it down. If they came from an intellectual perspective, it would be ruined.

This is the process I was gifted with on 2008 and which has transformed my writing journey from hard work to sheer pleasure. There is really a pre and post-2008 writing experience in my life and frankly I never want to go back.

If you want to transform your creative process, why not join us at one of our workshops? I have three spaces left at the early bird price for the one coming up on 15th March 2014. The next three people who sign up will benefit from a 25% discount. Book yourself here.

Hope to see you there.

Blessings

Ange de Lumiere

Why hypnotherapy helped me as a writer?

I have been writing (seriously) since 1996. My first novel was in French, my native language. Then I tried to have it published and burned out in the process. After that, I wasn’t able to write for nearly ten years. I was traumatised. So instead I used art as an outlet for all my creative juices. Not bad.

I didn’t even know if I would ever write again. My first novel was born out of the pain of witnessing my best friend’s struggle with hard drugs for over ten years with me on the other end of the phone at weird hours and watching her in her descent into hell. Did I really want to do this again?

Fast forward ten years: I have moved countries, given birth to babies and trained both as a trance medium and clinical hypnotherapist. This means I know about relaxation and how the brain works. This also means I know how to deal with the inner critic. A year later, I am able to write a 400 page encyclopaedia on modern spirituality. I know how to get in the zone and let it flow. I am not talking about channeling although I can’t deny being divinely inspired. I am talking about knowing how creativity works and how important meditation (which I taught for years as a reiki master) is for almost effortless writing.

This is all part of the offering I am now able to share with the world. I am so excited about it. My workshop is coming up on the 1st February 2014 and it will be packed with tips and practice. You can book your place at a 25% discounted price if you pay by the 22nd of January here. I would love to meet you in person.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

Finding your purpose

Today, one of my followers on Facebook asked me if I could help her write. I get a lot of questions similar to this in my inbox with a page title which claims I can make people write. I asked her what seemed to be the problem. She said that everyone told her she was talented. She writes stories. But she can’t be bothered to finish them.

So here was my advice to her: stop writing immediately. And do not write again until you find your passion. I added that it might take a month or six months but she should not write anything during that time. She asked me how would she find her passion. I asked her what she hoped to leave as a legacy as a writer. How did she want her readers to feel? What did she want her offering to be to them? She wasn’t too sure except she wanted them to feel like her when she read a good book. I told her it was a good start. And I invited her to reflect on what she liked in a good book, particularly how it made her feel and what it brought to her life.

Next I asked her if she ever meditated. She said she never had. I said when you meditate you can find answers to questions within you so I encouraged her to explore various meditation modalities. What I didn’t tell her, but that will be part of my workshop, is that meditation can help you write and find inspiration. I think she might come to my workshop anyway. Writers are not always aware how important it is to silence their monkey minds and inner critics. You know that constant chatter that speaks in your head. And meditation can help with that.

The best to your creativity,

Ange de Lumiere