How to Write Your Way Out of a Mess; How to Write Your Way to Greatness

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How to Write Your Way Out of a Mess; How to Write Your Way to Greatness

Hamilton is a Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton who wrote his way out of the Caribbean and poverty, then wrote his way to greatness as author of the Federalist Papers and the first Treasurer of the United States. People exiting the play can’t wait to start writing.  Here are some lyrics and versus from two compelling songs about using the power of writing to change your life.  “Hurricane” is from the smash Broadway Musical hit Hamilton and “Wrote My Way Out is from Hamilton Mixtape.

“Hurricane,” a song from the Broadway Musical Hamilton

 

Write everything down, far as I can see

I’ll write my way out, overwhelm them with honesty

 

In the eye of the hurricane

There is quiet

For just a moment

A yellow sky

 

When I was seventeen a hurricane

Destroyed my town

I didn’t drown

I couldn’t seem to die

 

I wrote my way out

Wrote everything down as far as I could see

I wrote my way out

I looked up and the town had its eye on me

 

They passed a plate around

Total strangers

Moved to kindness by my story

Raised enough for me to book passage on a

Ship that was New York bound.

 

I wrote my way out of hell

I wrote my way to revolution

 

In the face of ignorance and resistance.

 

Wrote My Way Out

“Wrote My Way Out” is an original song from Lin-Manuel Miranda curated Hamilton Mixtape. The song takes it’s title from “Hurricane” in the original Hamilton Broadway production.  Here are some of the lyrics and versus explaining the power of writing to change lives:

“Wrote My Way Out” by !llmind, Dave East, Lin Manuel Miranda, Aloe, Blair, Nas

I wrote my way out

When the world turned its back on me

I was against the wall

I had no foundation

No friends and no family to catch my fall

Running on empty, there was nothing left in me but doubt

I picked up a pen

And I wrote my way out (I wrote my way out.)

 

I picked up the pen like Hamilton

Street analyst, now I write words that try to channel em

No political power, just lyrical power

 

Some additional quotes on writing from Dick’s Thinking Anew notebook:

 

Writing

Write by hand – What you cross out and delete stays on the page and sometimes the right way to do it emerges out of the disorder.  When you revise on your computer you lose all your false starts.  Darcy Jenish

Don’t struggle to understand practice; show up, be here and, like osmosis, the teachings will enter your whole body.  That’s how we learn writing, not through intellectualization, but we write through the whole body.  Practice is transmitted physically. Our hands, legs, teeth, butt, eyes, brain, nose, heart, knees are taking it in.  Then it’s really yours.  And it has to be yours because no one else can do it for you.  Natalie Goldberg

You need a quite place, a journal or notebook with pen and several of your favorite poems.  Music is very helpful.  A candle and something of beauty – a flower, a bowl of water, a photo or a statue – can also help to sanctify the moment.  Kim Rosen

At some point, let the outflow of words begin to move through your pen and unto the page. Continue to write uncensored, anything that follows. Again, don’t worry about logic, grammar or spelling. Just let the words pour onto the page to whatever way they come. Let the inner critic go out for a coffee break.  Write without editing for 10 to 15 minutes. Kim Rosen

The Zen way of calligraphy is to write in the most straight forward, simple way as if you were a beginner, not trying to make something skillful or beautiful, but simply writing with full attention as if you were writing for the first time.  This is the way of practice, moment after moment.  Shunryu Suzuki

Every time you write you build spiritual muscle. Janet Conner

The key is to tell it straight. It is done by reporters and by country folk. Garcia Marquez

I keep a journal close for when I’ve worked something out in the night.  Melissa Sweat

The first step is to say it poorly. And then say it again and again and again until you’re able to edit your words into something that works.  Seith Godin

If there is ever an anvil to power, it’s by writing.  Ann Marie Lypinski

Be open to accidents as you write. Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

THINKING ANEW PROMISE – If you come to this writing practice each day, eventually you will be able to do what you formally could not.

Your Pen is Your Magic Wand – Creativity

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Gene and Dick were recently at Ollivanders watching wannabe witches and wizards get measured and matched to a magic wand. The wand selections were overwhelming. The wand cores were made from exotic materials like Phoenix feathers and holly wood.  The more expensive wands could even activate motion in the shop windows on Diagon Alley.  Gene and Dick tried a few but remained convinced their pen is their magic wand. Gene’s magic wand core is ink and Dick’s contains lead. They believe that as long as they keep practicing, practicing, practicing and writing, writing, writing the magic would continue to flow out of the Thinking Anew process.

Here are some creativity quotes from Dick Quis’ Thinking Anew notebook.  Whenever Dick reads something that moves him he likes to copy that thought into his notebook with the hope this wisdom  pops-up when needed.

Creativity

Creativity is not a magical force or an uncontrollable entity.  Creativity is not exclusively attached to art.  Creativity is problem solving with relevance and novelty, nothing more, nothing less.  Creativity cannot be present without a problem to solve.  Every one of us possesses the ability to create, regardless of the suppression that ability has endured over time.  Creativity can be learned; it is a process that we can repeat and in that repetition, we find growth.  Stephan Mumaw

You cannot will things to happen.  It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. And then the miracle happens.  Anne Lamott

It’s easier if you believe in God, but not impossible if you don’t.  Anne Lamott

I’m not making it happen, I’m letting it happen. Gene Moynihan

I shall seek creative ways to engage the world today and not fear praise or criticism. Dick Quis

The mistake is to quit before the miracle happens.  Shunryu Suzuki

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.  George Bernard Shaw

When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid. Joseph Campbell

To truly master something we need to be okay with spending time not being a master at it. Judy Collins

Michelangelo’s creative process

The initial phase of creation in which he revealed the preconscious state of the Spirit, whose arms try laboriously to make headway against the nebulous chaos surrounding it.  It is the subconscious striving towards light and clarity, an instinctive movement without a rationally defined aim.    Charles de Tolnay

 

Creation rarely occurs without fiction. Joe Paquet

 

You can’t become what you want to be by remaining who you are. Max Dupree

 

What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way. Winslow Homer

 

For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. T S Eliot

 

You can tell how good a deed was by how big a thrill you get out of doing it. (Author unknown)

 

The professional trusts the mystery. He knows that the Muse always delivers. She may surprise us. She may give us something we never expected. But She will always put something inside the box. Steven Pressfield

 

OUR PROMISE  – If you come to this writing practice each day, eventually you will be able to do what you formally could not.

Thinking Anew on Twitter

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Thinking Anew is now in its second printing and the book has attracted over 1400 followers on Twitter in 27 countries. Our Tweets have earned over 19,000 impressions, 1,000 likes and 40 retweets. Fortunately, Dick kept manual records because Twitter lost 1100 of these followers due to what is called Twitter’s “Unfollow Big.” It’s no wonder the recent Twitter auction failed to attract a buyer.

 

Despite these challenges, the diversity of our Twitter Followers is humbling. They not only include people who need a way to change self-destructive habits but include “creatives” –  people who earn their living by thinking anew and are further proof of Gene’s precept “That success is not reserved for the chosen few.”

 

 

Listed below are the profiles of some of our Twitter Followers along with some of our most “liked”  Tweets:

 

Twitter Followers:

Alcohol rehab recovery facility in Panama

Pakistan’s first and only TV channel promoting health and wellness

Career success for military spouses and veterans

Entrepreneurs and business owners, mompreneur, architects, publishers, public relations, marketing, sales, attorneys, coaches, accountants, consultants, investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, crowdfunding

Filmmakers, radio broadcasters, TV Producers, comedians, actors, screenwriters, movie producers

Authors, columnists, pianist, cinematographer, film distributer, poets, novelists, writers, bloggers,

songwriter, composer, ghost writer, dancer, model, cartoonist, photographer, magician

Medical specialists – plastic surgery, nutritionist, bariatric surgeon

Mental health – forensic psychologist, reiki master, medium, house healer, sexual abuse advocate, dietitian, relationship coach, vet transformation coach, psychiatry, clinicians, therapists, self-help coaches, psychology, lifecoaches, social workers, psychotherapist, psychologist

Visual artists, painters, starving artist, teacher, former Miami Heat’s cheerleader

 

Our favorites:

Classic Movie Star – daughter of a Casablanca movie star

British film and TV Star

Actress from the Pearl of the Black Sea to the City of Angeles

Dalai Lama

Serial entrepreneur and dream chaser

 

Countries – Singapore, Canada, Panama, Finland, UK, Spain, India, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, Denmark, Austria, France, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Italy, Ireland, Estonia, Japan, Republic of Moldova, Mexico, Germany, St. Lucia, China, Switzerland, Paraguay

 

Most Popular Tweets

How to make your dreams come true.

Most goals are impossible until you whittle them down.

A way for dream chasers to catch dreams.

This is the place you can begin the creative process.

You acquire greatness through practice.

Diet obviously makes you hallucinate. Nina George

Do you know how to catch up to your ambitions?

Are you willing to abandon your self-limiting beliefs?

How to create new opportunities.

Are you having trouble handling success?

Is it a mistake to demand a rational explanation for everything?

How to navigate the minefields of subconscious habits.

Do you have the ability to see what’s happening and act on it?

Get all your craziness down on paper and burn them.

How to make the invisible visible.

Don’t strangle your longings, bring them out.

Here’s a way to recover unexpressed emotions

There is Divinity in your longings, bring them out.

How to set yourself up for growth.

An idea is not enough you have to act. Natalie Goldberg

To get what you want doesn’t require talent, just practice.

How to turn your passion into reality.

Are you ready to receive the gifts of new beginnings and fresh ideas?

First steps are critically important. They just don’t have to be perfect and rarely are.

It’s about executing, rather than thinking about executing. Joanna Penn

Clients still want the best, the brightest, the latest.

Be prepared for when the luck will come. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Depression Journal

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Writing your thoughts down on the page begins the healing process.  While this communication with yourself and your Higher Power makes you vulnerable, it’s those written truths that are vital to recovery.

Elizabeth Gilbert is a master story teller and quite effective at explaining how someone can heal by writing.  In her best-selling book Eat, Pray,Love Gilbert makes visible her journal writings and explains how she uses these writings to defeat the goons of Depression and Loneliness.  Here’s a sample of her journal writing reprinted by permission of Viking Press:

“I am in trouble.  So what do I do for tonight is reach for my most private notebook, which I keep next to my bed in case I’m ever in emergency trouble.  I open it up. I find the first blank page.  I write: “I need your help.”  Then I wait.  After a little while, a response comes in my own hand writing: I’m right here. What can I do for you? ….And here recommences my strangest and most secretive conversation.  Here in this most private notebook, is where I talk to myself.   …. I have found that voice again in times of code –orange distress, and have learned that the best way for me to reach it is written conversation.”

While the movie version starring Julia Roberts was entertaining, there is a lot more to learn from reading her book, especially what she writes in order to manage her depression, which can be found in Chapter 18, pages 52-54.

 

 Credit line: From Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert, copyright © 2006 by Elizabeth Gilbert. Used by permission of Viking Press, a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Lots of Changes – Thinking Anew

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Gene and Helen are back from the U. K. – Dublin and London.  They visited Kathleen and their son Chris in London while Kathleen (Carol Rance) was filming Episodes.  While on the set Gene had a chance to help the actors and film crew with their personal issues.

Joanie’s back from a trip to Wyoming and en route discovered a statue of Abraham Lincoln with the quote “We must think anew and act anew.”  Dick and Gene swear they never saw the quote before writing Thinking Anew: Harnessing the Power of Belief.  However, in these troubled times needing creative solutions, it might not be a bad idea to send our representatives in Washington a copy of Thinking Anew along with Lincoln’s quote.

Dick went to Hell and back twice.  He had his plumbing rerouted . .  . a radical cystectomy . . .  and is experiencing how powerful the human body is when it needs to adapt.   They removed the bladder with the tumor and used his large intestines as the replacement bladder, called an Indiana pouch.  He was scared and complaining about having lost 36 pounds and having low blood pressure until Gene reminded him about how much people would pay for those kinds of results.

The second time Dick went to Hell and back he spent the weekend in 103° weather (September and October are the hottest months in Southern California)  reading a scholarly  guide of the masterpiece Dante’s Inferno.  There is no doubt in Dick’s mind why Dante was exiled from Florence, Italy as he named the people he saw in Hell, many of which had held important positions in church and state.

The Thinking Anew website has been updated with a book trailer.  The book trailer was directed and edited by two TV producers, Gene’s son Chris and Scott Patch.

We also added diet/weight loss mantras that can be downloaded by anyone for free.   We eventually hope to provide specific mantras for each of the challenges Gene’s client’s face. If you know anyone needing help losing weight they can download their copy at http://bit.ly/1vfvb8g .

Dick gave a talk at the end of September with Dr. James Hardeman, author of Appears Younger Than Stated Age.  The talk was hosted by the YMCA and titled A Roadmap to the Fountain of Youth: Untangling Diet Myths and Creating a Successful Weight Loss Strategy.   Dr. Jim Hardeman is a pulmonary disease, critical care physician and the physician advisor to the clinical nutrition services at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California.  He has maintained the same weight since age 16 and his book is a no nonsense guide to weight loss.  Dick introduced to the audience how to use the power of writing to challenge self-destructive weight loss beliefs.

Dick and Gene were recently interviewed by Dr. Raphael Love aka “Doctah Love Podcast Radio Show” as part of his landmark investigation into the factors and forces behind successful individuals and businesses and the challenges they have overcome along the way.  You can listen to the podcast at http://ge.tt/6jctlEs1/v/0?c

The Dalai Lama is now following Dick on Twitter.  You never know who is listening.

 

Here are some quotes we think you might enjoy:

 

“Listen Dear Journal, I will tell you what I will tell no one else.” Ella Gertrude Clanton/Dr. Jennifer Howard

“Scribbling is the first important step towards bringing in the world of imagination from your creative mind to paper.”  Kim Rosen

“My most essential possession is a standard-sized school notebook.”  Richard Branson

“Your job is only to write your heart out and let destiny take care of the rest.”  Elizabeth Gilbert

“The essence of greatness is the ability to choose personal fulfillment in circumstances where others choose madness.” Victor Frankl

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”  Ernest Hemingway

“The pen, expressing the soul’s passion, is mightier than the sword because imagination can change the life of a people at their very routes.”  Thomas Moore

“The uniqueness of a person is made up of the insane and the twisted as much as it is of the rational and normal.”  Thomas Moore

“Including writing practice in your daily life cuts through repetitious, obsessive thinking.”  Natalie Goldberg

“The time in the notebook creates an enduring power.”  Natalie Goldberg

“I write so that others could see that they don’t have to be stuck in darkness.  Nor do people have to turn to substances for comfort.  I believe with every fiber of my being that we all have a divine component to our life and once we tap into it, we can overcome and achieve anything.”  Juan Blea

Rx – Thinking Anew

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If Thinking Anew was a pill the prescription label would read:

Rx Prescription

When Thinking Anew journaling, write your aspirations by hand for 20/30 minutes each morning for 90 days.  Be sure to capture the creative thoughts that bubble up while writing.  These thoughts will become your success strategy going forward.

Read the directions at least 3X’s

Use with a fast pencil or pen.

Caution: Writing may cause you to know the mind of God as to what you are meant to be.  That’s how important you are.

Do not drink alcohol when using the power of writing.

You may write as needed for trigger events or when frustrated

Avoid prolonged exposure to situations and people who are toxic to you

Ok to take with food.

See you therapist if nothing happens by 90 days

This is a black and white marbled composition book imprinted with the title Thinking Anew: Harnessing the Power of Belief on the front cover.

If pregnant or of child bearing age, discuss risks/benefits with your spouse.

Refills do not require authorization.

May cause you to think differently.

Swallow whole – requires a leap of faith in yourself and interaction with your Higher Power.  That’s how important this is.

Alcohol free

Use care not to write while using machinery.

Finish all medication unless otherwise directed by your therapist.

Federal law does not prohibit the transfer of this knowledge to any other person.

Call your therapist, counselor, clinician, life coach for advice about side effects.

Compare to: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Expect:   Ah ha! Moments, Holy Sh*t moments, Eureka moments and goose bumps.  These are feelings and thoughts that you are breaking through and confirmation you are starting to function at a higher level.

Do not expect gongs clanging, whistles blowing, bells ringing, flashes of bright light, angels appearing or hearing God’s voice.  Humans experience the Divine in numerous and unexpected ways.

Internal critics: Ignore your ego as it will fight to maintain the status quo.  During moments of doubt, write. This is designed to silence your carping inner voices, catch your censor off guard, outwit and distract your negative thoughts so you can change your habits, challenge your beliefs and re-imagine your life.

Don’t quit before the miracle happens; wait for the new you to show up.

Eating Disorders: When Your Best Thinking isn’t Enough

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We often hear from readers who use Thinking Anew: Harnessing the Power of Belief as a food journal to help them better focus on their weight loss program.   While I was doing research to accommodate them with diet specific mantras, I came across a fabulous book that explains and provides guidance for people who have lost control of their diet.  I have come to learn that there’s a sweet spot after achieving your weight goals where you need to avoid rebound weight gain while not creating an eating disorder.  If you restrict, binge, purge, excessively diet or weigh yourself, exercise compulsively, or engage routinely and obsessively in any other food or weight-related behavior you must read 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health) by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb.

Costin and Grabb also encourage their clients to keep a journal while in recovery.  They believe and many others have told of similar experiences, that client outcomes are often improved by keeping a journal during recovery.  Here’s a quote from their book:

“Writing in a journal is useful for clarifying your thoughts and feelings, getting to

know yourself better, and managing overwhelming emotion associated with

an experience.  We know that writing down your account of an emotional

situation can help you lower your reactivity to it even if you don’t share your

writing with anyone else.  Recording your thoughts and feelings allows you to

get them out and return to them later.  You will be able to see your own progress

or places where you are stuck.  Sharing your journal with someone can also help

you get feedback, clarification, and support.  Finally, journaling is one of three

things that most of our clients who have recovered have in common.  The other

two are not weighing and reaching out at the first sign of a problem.”

 

Here’s the review I posted on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

 

Eating Disorders: When Your Best Thinking isn’t Enough

When a diet no longer serves you and a demeaning voice inside you takes control of your life, you need Carolyn Costin and Gwen Grabb.  They are eating disorder therapists who know how to empower people to change their destructive eating habits.  This book is a journey through the twisted food thoughts that make people think they’re in control when they’re not.  It’s all there: thin commandments, food rules, hunger games, food journals, conscious eating, scale addicts, exercise addicts, overeaters, undereaters, binge eaters, emotional eaters, rigid beliefs, emotional reasoning, perfectionism, privacy delusions, bulimia, anorexia and purging.  These are tough issues to deal with, but with this book, a journal and the right help, there is a way out.

A Diary of the Coming Day

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Master writers, poets and therapeutic writers use stream of consciousness writing to document and capture creative thoughts that bubble up from their subconscious. Here are three quotes from The Writer’s Handbook, edited by Howard Junker, that explain how writing in the morning helps them start the day. If you want to see the raw notes of professional writers at the creative stage give the book a read.

A Diary of the Coming Day

The first writing of the morning: I imagine the day I want to live. I’m hoping I can make real the day I’ve written.

Drawing Dreams

I have learned that dreams are more accurately set down in drawings (with color pens if dreaming in color) than in words. I divide the page into three sections because dreams are often in three acts, and do have beginning-middle-end. You can get at a dream by drawing a triptych. When you put dreams into words, you bring them into the reasoning logical world. I used to write dreams; now I only draw them.

Maxine Hong Kingston is an author and Professor Emerita at the University of California.  For 15 years she led writing-and-meditation workshops for Veterans and their families and is known for her healing words.    She won the Northern California Book Award, 2007 for Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, was the winner of the Best Spiritual Books Award, 2003 for The Fifth Book of Peace and received the National Book Award for nonfiction in 1981 for China Men.  President Bill Clinton presented her with a National Humanities Medal in 1997.

Creative Journaling

I have no idea of the usefulness of these scribbling to others. I know journal writing works for me in the sense that on a daily basis I am taking what happens in my head, running it down through my heart, then up through my shoulder, down my arm, and into my fingers that hold the pen. I like the physicality of writing by hand, the act of translating what I’m feeling and thinking into words on a page. Writing daily, or almost daily, no matter what comes out, makes me feel whole, purposeful, balanced, and scrubbed clean. There is so much about the process of writing that is mysterious to me, but this is one thing I’ve found to be true; Writing begets writing.

Dorianne Laux is an American poet and teacher. She wrote five books of poems and teaches at North Carolina State University MFA Program, Pacific University‘s Low residency MFA Program, Esalen Institute and Truro Center for the Arts. Her poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Romanian, Dutch, Afrikaans and Brazilian Portuguese. She’s the recipient of two Best American Poetry Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Ask the Model – Gesture Writing

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The essence of drawing is gesture – finding the energy, effect and impact the scene is having on your emotions and then draw those feelings.  Artists and writers strive to document their emotions because they know their feelings are what will attract others to their presentation.  In both visual art and creative writing, it’s you the collector or reader wants to know.  This is tough to do, even harder to explain in words, but life drawing model and author Rachel Howard does it with remarkable skill and insight in her NYTimes.com piece Gesture Writing.

Thinking Anew: Harnessing the Power of Belief  is about creating an environment where you can capture your creative thoughts on paper.  Starting with mantras to get your creative juices going, you will quickly notice your personal creative thoughts bubbling up from within.  It’s important to capture these raw, naked and what might at first seem irrational thoughts, in writing.  These stream of consciousness or gesture writings will become your personal creative strategy to move forward.   While Rachel Howard can do it in 5 minutes, beginners must learn to get past their internal sensors and hecklers . . . their ego.

Gesture writing takes practice, practice, practice, but you’ll eventually get to where you are meant to be.  If after a while you’re still having a hard time mastering this approach, you might try modeling.

Addiction Recovery Guide

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Thinking Anew: Harnessing the Power of Belief is now listed in The Addiction Recovery Guide.   This comprehensive online resource assists individuals struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism find help that best suits their needs.  The tragic death of a brilliant young writer named Jacob Waletzky* from a cocaine induced cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 29 inspired the creation of this website.    The Addiction Recovery Guide is produced and funded by Lucy Waletzky, MD, a psychiatrist who is Jacob’s mother and fellow of the American Psychiatrist Association.  She is assisted by Marsha J. Handel, a medical librarian at Beth Israel Medical Center.

 

*If you have an interest in the books contents, you can sign up for a free copy of Distortion Lens, Jacob Waletzky’s unfinished novel about a young Mormon who tries to save his atheist brother Gordon from his heroin addiction.