“The Lesson In The Pain”

I find a lesson in everything…even in pain, and the last 11 days have been no exception. I’ve been battling severe sciatica. Some days the pain has been excruciating, other days it’s been manageable, yet throughout the last 11 days of being able to do nothing but rest and take it easy, I’ve found myself changing.

Life and all its’ little problems were still knocking at my door, begging to come in with all their stress and drama, but guess what? I didn’t answer the door. I left all that “negative stuff” on the front porch, knowing that it would soon go away if I ignored it…and it did.

Living with pain is a horrible thing, yet it taught me that nothing else mattered except my healing. The pain reminded me that I’m just as important as anyone else, and that this time was mine to rest and get well. And it taught me to let go of things quicker and easier…and be done with them.

I guess you could say this amount of pain for this long of a time changed my behavior and perspective on situations that bring me stress or are filled with drama. I see them differently and learned to quickly dismiss them, not let them bother me, and focus on what’s important: my family, my loved ones, my tribe and ME!

I’m on the mend and it’s been a long, painful 11 days, yet it wasn’t in vain and was for a reason: to learn another life lesson. And while my leg still hurts, I can tell you that my heart doesn’t. I can’t worry about what I can’t change in others, I can only change how I react to them.

And sometimes “no reaction” is the best “reaction” to someone trying to bring their stress and drama into your life.

Try it.

It’s a good thing!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

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“On Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert”

I’ve always loved the author, Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve read most of what she’s written yet I have to say that her one book, which turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts, was my favorite, and that was the infamou “Eat, Pray, Love.” It’s a true story of her life at that point in her journey and one that I learned many life lessons from.

Another book she wrote, “Big Magic” is my second favorite because, as a writer, I understand all that she speaks of and writes about.

So when the opportunity came up a few weeks ago to see her speak in person, I jumped at the chance.

As a writer, I’ve always wanted to meet her and share my own books with her, but basie 4opportunities to do that are far and few in between. I’ve held onto the thought, actually, “the dream” of meeting her one day, and I’ve held that dream for many, many years.

As a spiritual person I knew that if my meeting her was meant to happen, it would, and it would happen as it should, how it should and when it would. So it was no surprise that in February a post from Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey appeared on my Facebook newsfeed: Elizabeth Gilbert would be speaking there. I knew I needed to get tickets and if that wasn’t enough, the event was being held  on my birthday! It was at moment that I knew the Universe had set this dream of mine up to become a reality…my patience and continued belief that I would meet her someday was paying off.

I proceeded directly to “purchase tickets” and much to my surprise and excitement found that I could buy tickets which also allowed a “meet and greet” with Liz. My head was spinning and my heart skipping beats as I realized that this dream of mine was coming true…that I would finally get to meet one of my “hero’s” of literature. I purchased the tickets and sat with the biggest grin on my face for the rest of the night…actually for everyday that was one day closer to that night.

As the time was quickly approaching I was beginning to get a bit nervous, after all, basiemeeting a “hero” can either be wonderful or a shot in the arm. What we perceive people to be through their books and social media does not always ring true when you meet them. I hoped upon hope that she would be everything I had imagined…

And she was…and she was more than I had imagined.

My love and I were about fifth in line to meet her. I knew she wasn’t signing any of her books that night, but had hoped she would accept my two books as my birthday gift to her!

Her staff took my coat and pocketbook, as well as my cell phone so that they could take pictures.  My heart was racing as I walked toward her. It was such a surreal moment of seeing her and walking towards this woman whose books had changed my life. As I approached her,  she smiled, said “hello,” and embraced me in a hug, one filled with all the love and light she is…and with an incredible amount of energy!

liz gilbertShe spent about five minutes speaking with me and graciously accepted my books. I told her that it was my birthday, to which she wished me a wonderful one, and that I had just reached my four year breast cancer survivor date. I offered my condolences over the loss of her wife, Rayya, and told her how much she meant to me. She took the time to pose for several pictures with me and I was on my way.

I was in heaven…on Cloud Nine, if you will. And so was every other person that had the chance to meet her that night.

It was time for her to speak so we took our seats in the fourth row. I snapped picturebasie 2 after picture and hung onto every profound word she spoke. Meeting her was a dream come true, yet I had one more opportunity to speak “one on one” from the audience with Liz. She had time for a few questions and I was right up in line in front of a microphone asking her mine. I felt as though it was a private conversation between the two of us, even though there was an entired audience sharing in it!

It was truly the most perfect birthday I’ve ever had, and that energy, that feeling of my dream coming into a reality lasted well past that night…once again an experience with Elizabeth Gilbert changed me a bit, put a few things in a different perspective, and made me want to be as good a writer as she is and be able to touch a life and the world in the laid back, easy going, and honest way that she does.

So if you were to ask me what she was like I would tell you this: She was beautiful, humble, kind, compassionate, honest, down to earth, sweet, warm, loving and an amazing human being to be in the presence of.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for being all that I had hoped and more; for putting the real you out there for the world to see, not some facade of what the world wants you to be; and for embracing me, speaking with me, and accepting my two books that I’ve written, and two books which carry a lot of lessons I’ve learned from you.

It was my honor, my privilege, and my dream turned into a reality to meet you.

And that is my experience on meeting Elizabeth Gilbert.

It was one I will never forget.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

elizabeth and me

 

 

“The Life Of A Writer”

life of a writer

I love being a writer. It’s crazy, it’s enlightening, it’s therapeutic; it’s living a life on fire with a passion for words; a passion for observing the world; a passion for love, life, and the people in it. It’s waking up at 3 in the morning  and coming to life with a story in your head; it’s nights of waking up during a good nights sleep with the next chapter; it’s constant thinking, wondering and figuring it all out.

It’s a 24 hour a day job, 7 days a week; the only days off are the one’s in which you don’t write, but you’re writing in your head even when you’re not writing on the computer or paper.

It’s finding a story in every conversation you have; in every person you talk to during the course of a day; and in every social event you attend.

It’s endless notebooks and journals of notes, of titles, of thoughts, of words.

It’s always “remembering something so you never forget.”

It’s always analyzing a situation to figure out the lesson or the message.

It’s always wondering “why” and “how” and “what if?”

It’s always wondering about your past that led you to your present that will take you into your future.

It’s always wondering what your dreams meant and why certain thoughts enter your mind at the oddest of moments and hours of the day.

And it’s always wondering about the title of the next story, the next book, the next blog, the next post…and so on.

It’s a mind that never turns off, slows down, takes a break, or stops thinking.

It’s a mind that’s forever listening, forever wondering, forever seeing the endless possibilities in every minute of every day, in every person you speak to, of every experience, of every lesson, of everything…everything!

It’s listening to different genres of music that pertain to your different moods; sad music for pity party days, upbeat music for when you’re feeling great!

It’s feeling all the emotions that life hands you and loving each and every one of them. You love the sad, the joy, the happy, the heartache because a writer knows that every emotion is a gift, and each gift becomes the words to a beautiful story or poem or lyric.

Writers flourish under pressure and under pain…our best writing comes from the deepest of pain. We hold onto it until we turn it into something beautiful; it’s at that moment that we can finally let it go.

It’s feeling the pain in the world and turning it into a beautiful words of hope, faith and encouragement.

It’s feeling the joy in the world and turning it into a motivational story of endless possibilities.

Writer’s feel it all; we accept it all; and we love it all because no matter the emotion, negative or positive, sad or happy, we’re able to embrace it, live it, feel it, learn from it and write about it.

And then we move on…

But not a moment before…

There are those in my life that tell me I hold onto things too long, to just “let it go,” but as a writer, I can’t. It’s not in my nature nor is it in my soul. It’s not how I’m wired or how I was born. It’s nothing I can change and I wouldn’t want to try. It’s who I am…body and soul, mind and heart.

Feeling pain is something I’ve grown accustomed to. Life happens and even pain and heartache happens to a writer. How else could we write what we do? Pleasure is born out of pain; happiness is born out of heartache; joy is born out of sorrow. So why would we not feel these emotions? It’s our feelings that give us focus, give us answers and clarity, and most importantly, it’s our feelings that give us the “words!”

Writer’s are built on words.

We are great communicators.

We are intuitive…and insightful…and pay way more attention to detail than the average person. We listen, we hear, we process, and we write.

We live everyday to its’ fullest, whether we’re sad or happy, whether you believe it or not. We don’t see feeling heartache or pain as a waste of time; and we don’t see joy and happiness as time better served. We see it all as life…our life…your life…and we value all of it as precious time.

For me, “when my heart speaks I listen, and then I write.”

And that’s the truth.

My stories begin in my heart and soul; they are cultivated through my tears and heartache; they are polished by my joy and happiness; and they are written by the words of my truth.

If the eyes are the window to the soul, my writing is the window into “me.”

If you’re not a writer you’ll never understand, and why would you?

We writer’s are dreamers, and most of the “real” world thinks we’re crazy; obsessed; and a little weird. They think we’re constantly pursuing a dream we’ll never catch yet we believe differently. We believe in our dreams and in ourselves; we are born out of this obsession to achieve the dreams, no matter the cost; and yes, maybe we’re a bit weird because we know that what we dream, what we write and what we feel is reality: it’s the reality of a writer.

I love the life of being a writer; it’s crazy, it’s exhausting, it’s painful, and it’s simply amazing.

I am Anne Dennish…

I’m a writer, a dreamer and a poet…

I’m aware of my surroundings and all the people in it…

I’m a talker and a listener…

I’m your friend, your family and your lover…

I’m your mom and your mentor…

I’m all these things because…

I’m a writer.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

Photos by Tim McGeough – EVNFlo Photography

“My Interview With GenZ Publishing”

I was blessed enough to be interviewed by my publisher, Morissa Schwartz, owner of GenZ Publishing this morning. It was an exciting experience and hope that you enjoy it! You’ll learn a little bit more about my life as a writer and about my life as “me.”

I hope you enjoy it!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

Author Anne Dennish and Morrissa Schwartz, Owner of GenZ Publishing

“4 AM”

 

4am2

It’s been well over a week now that I find myself getting up at 4am. It’s not that I’m going to bed early the night before, yet I find myself waking at 3am, going back into a broken sleep, and finally giving in, giving up and getting up at 4 am.

There’s so much going on in my mind right now; questions I need answered seem to be more present during the night than during my waking hours.

  • When will my new book, “My Collective Soul: Things I Know Without Knowing Why” be released?
  • Will the new book be well received and a success?
  • Will the new motivational speaking lectures I’m about to begin change a life and make a difference to someone?
  • Will my relationship ever move to the next level?
  • Will this sadness tucked deep within my heart ever go away?
  • What is holding me back and what do I need to do to move forward?
  • Will my intuition ever stop speaking to me about the reality of my life?
  • Will my heart ever catch up to what my head already knows?

That’s a lot for 4 am, yet I embrace the questions in my mind because it’s my Higher4am Power watching over me and looking out for me. It’s the questions that only I can answer and deep inside, I know the answers to most of them. And while some of the answers may be difficult, I know without a doubt that they will allow me to live my Highest Good. Anything waking me up at 4 am must be important and I have to pay attention.

Aside from all the chattering in my mind, there are some beautiful things about waking up at 4am.

  • No one else is up and the house is quiet.
  • The sky is so dark that you can see a billion stars and constellations.
  • There’s a stillness outside that you don’t have during the day.
  • There’s a different kind of energy at that time…exciting and yet calming.
  • It’s a time when I can hear my thoughts and my intuition speaking to me.
  • And the best thing is this: it’s MY time alone.

Would I like to sleep in? Absolutely.

Am I okay with waking up at 4 am? Absolutely.

There’s a reason I’m waking up at that time, and that reason is “me.” My Higher Power knows I need this time to think, to write, and to sit in silence outside to listen and learn.

4 am: It’s early but it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

“Chemo Healed The Cancer But The Cancer Healed Me”

My last book, “Waking Up: Lessons Learned From My Adventures With Life and Breast Cancer” was born over two years ago while lying on a radiation table for breast cancer.

I’m the type of person that loves meeting people because every single one of us has a story…we ARE a story! Some may not believe that, yet as a writer, I know it’s true. I was out to dinner with my love one night, along with his cousin and his love, and a table full of people I had never met. Yet by the end of the night, I knew them well.

You see, that’s the beauty of paying attention to people and speaking to them, yet more importantly, LISTENING to them. They were laughing at me last night when I said that the whole night of conversations was indeed a story!

So it’s no surprise that “Waking Up” was born; the idea may have begun on a radiation table, yet the stories were already taking shape in my mind, and for the last two years of writing it, more stories were born. Every story is true; most of them are of my personal experiences, and there are a few born out of situations with someone else who graciously allowed me to write about it

Yet, here’s what that one moment that woke me up was: “breast cancer!”

Yes, I had been on a spiritual journey for years, but finding out I had cancer was a big kick in the ass! I realized that as much as I had learned over the years, the lessons were far from over. Breast cancer changed my life and how I live it. That tumor was all the things I never said out loud, all the pain of allowing people to treat me badly. It was everything I never said that I should have, so I made a deal with the cancer: “I’ll open my mouth and use my voice, I’ll make better choices of who I surround myself with, I’ll rid myself of people and situations that make me feel less than good, and I’ll take all of this and write about it to help someone else as long as you leave my body when the time is right.”

I guess the cancer agreed with the deal, because it held up its’ end of the bargain. I did all those things and it left me the day they cut all that stuff out of my body. They did more than a lumpectomy on February 21st. As cancer and I were about to say good-bye that day, I could hear it speaking to me. Sounds crazy, but it wasn’t really. It said: “You’ve done the work and I know it wasn’t easy. I’m sorry to have had to come and visit you, but this journey is over. Remember the lessons, remember to love yourself, and finish up our deal: tell your lessons to everyone you can reach. I’m counting on you.”

Well, in a strange way, chemo may have healed my cancer, but my cancer healed me. It taught me more than I could imagined, and since then, I spread the word, I keep out as much drama and stress as I can, and I walk away from anyone or anything that tries to control and manipulate me. Cancer didn’t abuse me as much as some people have tried to, and I’m smarter because of all of it.

“Waking Up” is so much more than a book; it’s my heart and soul that simply wants to make a difference in someone’s life. Life get’s shorter as we get older, and my goal is to live everyday to the fullest, to show love and kindness to someone who needs it, and most importantly, to make someone laugh and smile.

Struggles will always happen in our lives, yet it’s your attitude and perspective that will handle it and teach you more than you could have ever imagined.  After all, “we don’t become who we are by chance; we become who we are by choice.”

Love your lessons, whether you like them or not, because in the end, miracles happen!

“Chemo healed the cancer but the cancer healed me.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

choice 1

“Keeping It Positive”

frustrated 1

I realized something yesterday morning: that for the past few weeks all I’ve been saying is negative things, which is unlikely for me. Yet, I’m as human as anyone else and sometimes we forget to pay close attention to our thoughts and words.

Yesterday I sat in front of my laptop wondering what to write. I found myself saying “I hate having writers block; why does my foot still hurt; why is everything taking so long to happen?”

Then I realized that I was putting all that negative stuff out there all on my own. At that moment I changed my thinking and choice of words and turned it into: “I’m writing everyday; my foot is healing day by day; and things are happening just as they should”

You see, sometimes we lose sight of our thoughts and words. We forget to keep them all positive, yet when you notice what it is your saying and thinking you can change it. You can change it to positive thoughts and words.

I remind myself today that “everything happens as it should, when it should and how it should.”

And I remind myself that I do the best I can everyday.

More importantly, I remind myself that negative thoughts and words are to replaced with “I can, I will, I am.”

Go easy on yourself and remember that you are in control of your thoughts, your words and your actions.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

i can

“Change of Plans”

Our days don’t always go as planned, as yesterday was one of those days for me. I had plans for the day that never came to fruition, so what next? Well, do it all over again today… more rested, more upbeat, and ready to go!

It can be frustrating when things don’t go your way, but my belief is that the Universe had other plans for my day yesterday, and has even bigger plans today! So, I take my leap of faith and go with the flow.

Same for my writing, which has been slow going lately. This picture depicts what myfrustrated 1 desk and me look like at the moment. Yet, I know that just as the plans of yesterday were changed, sometimes my writing is the same: I have to wait, watch and listen to the world around me to find the next story to write, the next post to share, and the next book to publish.

Today I accept what is and what isn’t and am ready to embrace another day and hopefully, another adventure.

Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go as planned; it’s simply the Universe planning something better!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

just for today

“My Voice Is In My Writing”

just for today

There’s so much in my heart right now and so many thoughts in my head. I want to talk to someone and let it all out, yet it seems lately that no one wants to listen. No one wants to hear my thoughts and feelings, no one wants to hear my truth. I need to ramble, to vent, to let it all out, yet it’s all tucked inside me and it’s driving me crazy.

Talking to someone is my way of figuring things out; what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking and why. Talking helps me to get it out and hear it in a new perspective; talking to someone allows them to be a gift that I need at times: a different perspective or a voice of reason.

Yet no one is listening and I find myself literally drowning in my own thoughts, in my own heartache. I find myself feeling alone and unable to feel love or happiness. Losing two loved ones in a short amount of time last month had a profound affect on me. I always appreciate each new day that life has to offer, yet when a life is suddenly taken and you’re not ready for it and didn’t see it coming, it certainly changes you.

And it changed me.

I’m sure the changes are temporary, but lately I’m not sure…I’m not sure of anything. What I need most right now is a listening ear and someone who can allow me the time to heal, the time to figure this all out, and who can do it with love and compassion.

I’m a strong person and I’ve been through worse than this, but something is different this time and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I’m a spiritual person who understands death and knows that all these emotions are simply things coming to the surface; that this was all meant to happen this way and at this time.

There’s a lesson coming from all of it and I know I can’t rush it along. I know I need to be patient and realize that this journey I’m on now is leading me to another chapter in my life, one that will be different and better.

I know  in my heart that it’s not just the loss of two loved ones that is causing this; it’s so much bigger than that and so much more.

I’m standing outside of myself as a spectator, observing all that is and isn’t in my life right now. I’m understanding that I have put so much time and effort in to loving those in my life that I forgot to love myself as well. And I know to my toes that in order for someone to love me the way I need to be loved, I have to love myself that way first.

One of the greatest blessings of being a writer is just this: that when my voice can’t be heard, it can be read in what I write. When no one wants to listen to me, someone may want to read about me. My words are my heart and soul, whether they’re spoken or written, yet I know they need to speak out loud.

But they can’t.

Not right now.

Not until someone thinks I’m worthy and important enough to listen to, and not until I know that I am.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

balance my darling

 

“Getting Your Balls Back”

I once put two brass balls in a plastic bag and gave them to my girlfriend. I told her that if I ever lost them again to give them back to me.

I was a different woman then than I am now when I went through my divorce. It was over 10 years ago and that woman I was seems so foreign to me now.

I remember that at that time I made many changes in my life; I had lost weight, been college booksworking out at the gym, and had gone back to college to take creative writing courses. I was invited by my professor, a published author as well, to join his writer’s workshop. It was the best time of my life, yet also the darkest time knowing that there was a divorce to go through.

Yet I was strong. All those things I was doing for “me” gave me the strength to endure a nasty divorce. I felt good about myself, I felt like my brain was functioning like a writer, not just a mom, and I was in great shape. I will always believe that my Higher Power had directed me to all those positive changes to make me stronger, because He knew what was just around the corner for me.working out

I thought at that time that my children would feel like their mother had “left the building” because I was doing a lot of things, good things, for me. Yet that wasn’t so. I remember them being so proud of me for all of it, and I realized that all the things I did for myself were making me a better “mom” to them. What a feeling and what a lesson to learn. Sometime we “mom’s” think that if we’re doing things for ourselves that our children will suffer. So not true. It made my relationship with my kids even stronger, and to hear them brag to their friends about their mom going back to school and writing a book was one of the best moments I ever experienced as their mother. My oldest son loved the fact that I was working out and used to joke with his friends that “they better watch out because my mom can beat you up!” So simple, yet so empowering.

And that’s when I realized and learned that doing good things for me isn’t selfish. It made me a stronger and better woman and mom, and all that good stuff spilled onto my kids.

Sadly, it didn’t spill onto my husband. He hated it all. I look back objectively now and see that he may have felt threatened that this woman he controlled for over 20 years suddenly had a mind and body all her own, and she did it without him. I actually did it because of him.

Everything happens for a reason and I look back at that time and truly believe that all those things I did for myself were put in my path to make me strong, because once the divorce process began, my world changed. And it was all that I did for myself that helped to get me through.

It was sad enough that the marriage had been abusive on all levels, yet the divorce was even worse. The details aren’t important but the outcome is: I’m a different woman now and living in a happy life with two of my five children and the love of my life.

Yet there were times I lost my strength during it. I was a single mom taking care of the mental and physical well being of five children; I was the woman dealing with lawyers and sitting through mediations, which were a waste of time. I was tired, lonely, and so wanting it to be over.

My serenity at that time was in the backyard of my girlfriend. I could shed my tears there, talk for as long as I needed, and could always count on her shoulder to cry on. I remember one day she looked at me and said “where’d your balls go? You’re such a strong woman but not now? You gotta find your balls again, girlfriend.”

And so I did. I put two of them in that bag and told her to give them back to me if I ever lost them again.

And I never did.

Well, to be honest, there are times I feel weak and ready to give up, but I always remember that bag of balls that she still has and that’s enough for me to get them back.

And I always do…

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

brass balls 1