The Call That Beckons You to Answer

FreedomThe truth doesn’t show itself in niceties.

It doesn’t come from pushing down, holding back, staying polite, but angry.

Honesty doesn’t derive from hiding away, pretending everything is all right.

It is a force that won’t be ignored

that will rattle, ruin and rot your insides

if not answered to be released.

The call is not to mold yourself into the other

The answer is to embrace the fear and stand in it courageously.

The real battle isn’t with the skeletons out there

The real fight is in you.

“Will you listen?” it asks.

Will you confront the real issue that makes you erupt in jealousy, resentment and fear?

Underneath all the Dolce & Gabbana, the Kate Spade and the LV,

do you love me?

will you see me?

do you know that you are enough?

Instead we wait for the questions to be answered from the outside

in promotions, accolades, Facebook fame, and relationships

But none can soothe the soul like the person staring back at us.

The only way then—

is the way-

Courageously walk through the tangled mess of shadows that represent our insecurities, doubt and ugliness-our dramatic personalities, our imperfect gait, our artistic insights, our sensitivities, our quirkiness.

They may not have loved it about you.

They may have tried to quell it in you.

But it is the ticket to your freedom so LET IT SCREAM, DANCE, AND FLY!

Release it.

Let it go.

Join us.

Be the one who is brave enough to fully live who you were born to be.

You deserve nothing less.

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How a Freelance Writer Created Her Own Successful Musical in Hawaii

Marcia Money Talks Laugh Hi RezI first learned about Marcia Zina Mager in the most unlikely of places. Craigslist. It was last year and I was trolling the site for writing jobs when I came across her writing coaching services ad and I was intrigued, so much so that I asked if she could contribute to my writing blog. The result was this empowering post on The Power of Writing Badly.

After that, I hadn’t heard from her until a few weeks ago when I read a Midweek article about a play she was doing with her writing partner Lucie Lynch, an international singer and songwriter. She’s been so successfully busy since I last contacted her, I had to reach out to her again.

I wanted to know what fueled her, what sustained her through the ups and downs of her creative life and how she was able to accomplish so much so quickly. Most people talk about what they’d like to do, but never do it. But Mager managed to surprise me again! From studying with the likes of Alan Arkin and writing and performing in her own show, she talks about her successes, challenges and the things that continue to fuel her despite the obstacles every courageous creator faces. As you’ll read, her career has been filled with twists and turns that make for a good fiction story. I can’t wait for you to read it below!

TIB Q: What were you doing before you moved to Hawaii?

MM A: I was a freelance writer living in Manhattan.  I was also teaching my national writing seminar series, Write From The Heart.  I was also working as a volunteer in the marine mammal department of the New York Aquarium because of a burning childhood love of dolphins!

Q: What have been your recent successes and accomplishments?

A: I’d go back 10 years when destiny led me to meet Academy Award winning actor Alan Arkin. I took an improvisation class with him at UH and it launched me into an exciting unexpected phase of my career. Getting up and “performing.”  After decades of writing books, articles, etc. I really wanted a change. I was so tired of sitting alone in front of a computer. I wanted to bring my words up on a stage, so to speak.  That fateful meeting opened so many doors.  After studying improv with Alan and other teachers, I studied for 4 years with Mick & Tess Pulver, from Breakthrough Performance, which was all about breaking through your fears of singing in front of an audience! That led me to writing a one-woman show, Who The Bleep Am I, that included original songs.  And THAT project led me to my current writing/creative partner, international singer/songwriter Lucie Lynch from Germany.  Meeting Lucie has completely changed my life and rocketed my career into a new stratosphere.

Q: What hurdles and obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are today?

A: Lots – and they continue. I never finished college, never took a writing course! And I’m now 61 years old. So I have lots of inner voices telling me I’m too old to dream those big dreams, that’s it’s too late for me, blah blah blah! My whole life I’ve struggled with insecurity and fears and self-worth issues. But I’ve also come to see that I’m not unique, that this powerful inner struggle is absolutely part of the human experience. And I’ve always been able to find the courage to be honest with myself and others about it. Also, I seem to have this inner fire, this drive since childhood, this need to express myself in an authentic, creative way; a deep desire to move my audience, to inspire them. That’s what ultimately keeps me going.

Q: How did you come up with the idea to create, “Money Talks” with Lucie?

A: Crazy stuff! The extraordinary back story is that 24 years ago I moved to Hawaii from New York City. I was overwhelmed by the beauty here. Then a weird thing happened. The trees and flowers started talking to me. I wrote it all down. It was all about nature spirits and their wisdom to help humanity. In 3 weeks I had a manuscript but I was so embarrassed that I shoved it in a drawer. Seven years later I sent the manuscript to a British publisher who loved it. The book became a best-seller in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Believing in Faeries: A manual for grown-ups. Now let’s go to Lucie’s backstory. 15 years ago her mother gave her a book, in German, titled Das Feen Geschenk.  It was a book about nature spirits. It changed her life. She carried the book with her everywhere. Then she moved to Hawaii. Then Lucie and I met for the first time, 3 years ago, at Mocha Java Café in Honolulu through Mick Pulver from Breakthrough Performance. I was so excited to be meeting someone from Germany that I bought along the German version of my faery book. When I showed it to Lucie she turned pale. My book was Das Feen Geschenk! The book she’d carried with her for years. At that moment we knew we were destined to do something together. Lucie was a performer and singer, so we began talking about creating a 2-woman show together. We both discovered that we were struggling artists, trying to make it in Hawaii. So we decided to write a 2 woman musical show about that. But as we worked on it, it felt too limiting, so we decided to pretend we had a million dollar budget and write it as a Broadway musical. That exploded the story and our imaginations. We worked on the Broadway musical, KaChing, for 2 years. We wrote original music and lyrics, connected with a professional composer from Los Angeles. But we began to get frustrated, hitting walls, etc. The process was taking so long. So we decided, hey, let’s write a Ted Talk about our struggle writing this musical. But then we discovered that Ted Talks tend to be 18 minutes long. So then we found out that there was an upcoming Fringe Festival in Oahu where shows could be 60 minutes long. And we made the decision to enter the festival even though we had no script! We wrote MONEY TALKS in less than 90 days, including more original music, lyrics, even some choreography! We found a talented keyboard player to work with us.  But we had no idea if the show was really good because we had never let anyone see it. Not even our families. So we scheduled a dress rehearsal a few weeks before our debut at the Fringe Festival, for the folks at Habilitat, a residential drug rehab community in Kaneohe. The audience was about 100 male, Pacific islander recovering drug addicts! We were terrified they wouldn’t like it. We received a standing ovation! The men were moved to tears. Our families were blown away. That’s when we knew we were on to something.

Q: What inspires you to create new ideas and projects?

A: My collaboration with Lucie is a blessing. We are both powerhouses of creativity and inspiration. We feed off of each other, so we have no shortage of ideas. In fact, despite my money issues, I’ve always felt like I was a billionaire when it came to creativity! In the end, though, what inspires me to continue creating is this inner fire, this passion to make a difference in people’s lives; to lift people to their feet; to touch their hearts.

Q: What advice do you have for people who want to accomplish their dreams?

A: Probably one of the most important pieces of advice, as simplistic as it sounds, is to never ever ever ever ever ever give up! It’s okay to feel down, depressed, to momentarily give up, to crawl under your covers. Use that struggle to become more self-aware, to deepen yourself, to discover more levels of kindness and self-compassion. It was when Lucie and I wanted to give up on our big musical that we birthed our 2 woman MONEY TALKS musical that’s been so successful. And now we’re reinspired to go back to KaChing and finish it. And take it to Broadway! Everything that happens to you can become mulch for your creative garden. If it’s really an authentic dream, then it’s like a living being, a delicate, beautiful flower, that desperately needs your attention, your love, your nourishment. If you really have a dream that fires your soul, that lights up your heart, keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And always remember to be kind to yourself.

Marcia’s upcoming public performance of MONEY TALKS: But What the Hell is it Saying? will take place on Saturday, November 28, 7 PM, at the famous private entertainment venue in Kaimuki.  For details visit her website www.ilovemoneytalks.com.
MZM crop smileMarcia Zina Mager is an author, journalist, performer, award-winning poet & mixed-media artist. Her fiction and non-fiction books have been translated into ten languages. Her international best-seller, BELEIVING IN FAERIES: A Manual for Grown-ups, is now available as an e-book, along with the trendy 31 Words to Create an Organized Life. Listen to an excerpt from her latest book THE HIDDEN KINGDOM: Discovering the Divine Presence in Nature. Marcia is the founder of the original Write From The Heart, a national seminar series on creativity taught all across North America. She studied improvisation with  Academy award-winning actor, Alan Arkin which brought new energy to her writing career. This past November Marcia guest starred on Hawaii Five-O. She brings her diverse creative skills as The Write Coach to anyone with a desire to express themselves.            Find out more at www.321write.com.
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Itching for Meaning

Roses
At one point in your existence, you’re going to want more. The life you’ve been living will feel uncomfortable like a scratchy sweater, like a cold tiled floor in the winter. It will make you toss and turn at night, make you wake in a cold sweat. It will turn you into the miserable uncle you once despised.

Or perhaps, you’ve already lived this way for the past several years and life is now throwing stones at you for your attention. It’s the illness you were diagnosed with or the job you were laid off from. These are signs people! These are signs that you need to wake up. Life is not giving you a could shoulder, it’s desperately trying to get you back on track.

Where are you stagnant in your life?

What are you settling for that you shouldn’t be?

What have you outgrown but are too afraid to let go of?

Perhaps a trip, a reconnection with an old friend or an inspiring movie has triggered this change of heart.

I hope you’ll use it as fuel to begin living your dreams!

I just started reading Carrying On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. I could almost quote everything she says in her book. Everything is so spot on and inspiring:

Here’s my hunch: nobody’s secure, and nobody feels like she completely belongs. Those insecurities are just job hazards of being human. But some people dance anyway, and those people have more fun.”

I’m admittedly one of those people who feels full of insecurities, like the world is super cool and I’m one giant dork. But I’m starting to get okay with that. I’m starting to reach in and look for something more grounding, deeper and more meaningful.

This month, I’m finally facing one of my fears-public speaking. Join me and watch me be all red-faced and awkward but speak anyway at Moms in Hawaii and HMSA’s next Mom-O-Rama event.

Mom-O-Rama

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Release the Net

{Etsy print by CuriousPrintery}

{Etsy print by CuriousPrintery}

I have a net that seeks to capture every jumping fish in the ocean,

every balloon in the sky

of my mind.

“Just in case,” it thinks.

“I might need it for a rainy day.”

The things I need to pack,

the conversation I need to have,

the idea for an article I need to create,

the email I still need to compose.

I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to lose it.

So I hold on desperate,

clutching every thought that floats on by.

With stillness,

through meditation,

I’m reminded to let go.

I release each thought and watch it sink

and disappear under tow

or wave as it flies beyond the sky.

I don’t need it, I realize.

What I have in this moment,

a breath,

a pause in thought,

a silence,

are necessities to be free.

Pack light

and you’ll find all the answers you truly need.

Let go

and you will allow space

for miracles, mysteries and meaning-making to unravel in your life.

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Wave Lessons: What Waves Teach Me About Life

{Endless Summer print by FourTreesPhotography}

{Endless Summer print by FourTreesPhotography}

It was an ominous day on the North Shore of Oahu. As I drove through traffic, the beaches were surprisingly sparse save for the rare tourists mesmerized by wicked winter waves.

I watched as the gray crest rose up high and fell even harder. Eventually all would roll together in a big crash towards the sand.

The sound was soothing. And yet the intensity of each wave was anything but. It was a thing to see, but difficult to watch.

I thought about how the waves reminded me of all our challenges in life. It was the illness, the grief, the moments of feeling isolated and lonely. It was the broken heart, the fear of doing something big or not doing anything at all. If you were in the ocean, those waves would literally take your breath away. But eventually if we were to let go and ride with it, we’d find ourselves, though exhausted and ruffled up a bit, safe onshore.

*This is just bits and pieces that I hope will inspire you. I’m currently working on an essay, a few fiction stories, and nonfiction articles. My newest article, which taught me a lot about honesty and renovating homes, just came out on window shopping.

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Fall Season Fun

Sorry I’ve been so out of touch lately. My excuses start with baby and end with work. Not much in-between time to do the fun stuff like blogging. But while I have a few minutes, I wanted to share a fall quickie that’s add a touch of autumn to our all-year-round summer Hawaii home.

Double Pumpkins

Basically, I bought two miniature pumpkins from the market at $.79 each and placed them on a decorative bowl I already had from Target. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to decorate these guys yet. Time (if there’s any leftover) will tell. {P.S. Thank you Fotor photo for helping me step up it a notch with pretty picture effects.}

mini pumpkins

{I’ve been dropping pumpkins around the house for a sum total of 4 – me, my husband, our new baby and our old baby bunny.}

Gratitude bowl

This idea was inspired by my favorite bloggers Young House Love. Basically, as a way to keep gratitude and love alive especially in a new baby/two work-at-home parents household, I adopted an idea to preserve, recognize and appreciate my spouse through a gratitude bowl. It’s as easy as take note of something your loved one did, write it on a post-it and drop it in. I’m hoping to read these coming Thanksgiving and save them in what I hope will be our 2013 photo album.

How about you? What have you been busy creating this season?

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How to Hang a Backless Frame

At the last minute, I decided our kitchen wall needed a few more personal photos. That’s what happens when you’re home all day with a new baby.

Now that we’ve added a little bundle of blue to our family, hanging up a montage of all of our mugshots seemed fitting. The only trouble? Not enough frames.

I spent the whole day yesterday re-envisioning our current picture frames trying to think of which ones I could swap out for our pics. I found two easily-one was a lucky blue break at Target (a smudge on the frame that came off easily with a washcloth was discounted 25% off) and the other was a green splurge from Z Gallerie awhile back. It was the third frame that had me boggled. I knew I wanted to use the Pottery Barn frame that was currently holding this pic:

Oranges

Funny story about that photo above. It’s actually just a bunch of tangerines I put in a white bowl from Target and set it up on our placemat. Cheap fun!

The only problem with that silver frame is it had no hardware for hanging. On top of that, the back was velvety smooth so there’s no way those cool hanging strips would work either. After a few minutes of holding the baby and staring at the frame, I came up with this:

Photo ideas

{Baby, mommy, and daddy from top to bottom}

Basically, a thumbtack and a thick ribbon did it. Since the frame did come with an attached stand, which made a great loop to thread my ribbon through, I just knotted the ends together and voila! No additional frames or hardware needed.

Photo wall

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