junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183

26 Feb

Introducing Author Lawrence Cooper!

Bi-book-cover

I am beginning to feature heroes and heroines on my blog—everyday people who have undergone heartbreaking, soul-crushing challenges, and are now on the other side of them.

Even though they weren’t sure how they were going to get there, they did. They found that they have more strength and resilience than they ever thought possible and now wish to share their experiences so that others in similar circumstances can learn and grow from the lessons they have learned along the way.

Are you ready to share your hero or heroine story? If so, just tell me what your story is about and I’ll be in touch for sure!

Today I am proud to feature Brand New Author, LAWRENCE JW COOPER!

Lawrence is one of my most recent book coaching clients and his beautiful book, Bi: A Bisexual Man’s Transformational Journey from Agony to Ecstasy has now been published! He is a master of prose and poetry, a man called to enlightenment, born from the utmost depths of despair as a wise man, shaman of the heart.

Here Lawrence gives you a glimpse into the transformation that led to the writing of his book:

Bi: From Agony to Ecstasy
by Lawrence JW Cooper

My life was in ruins. My gender issues that I had tried so hard to conceal had blown up in my face. My wife of 33 years divorced me, I was forced to take an early retirement from my career as a psychologist, and I went into a deep dark depression. I was admitted into an eighteen-week program for depression, anxiety disorder, and a personality disorder with gender identification issues. I was placed on heavy medication, and developed some coping skills. But drugs and therapy of the mind were useless; I needed to heal my soul.

Personality Disorder

Black clouds have appeared on the horizon again,

Blocking out the warm rays of the morning sun.

There is no clarity again today,

Just the knowledge that there can never be a reason

That can be believed.

There can never be hope

That can be realized.

There can never be faith

In anything without a foundation.

There can never be peace;

There can never be love.

There is only myself,

With no sense of who I am,

And no idea of where to go.

Lawrence-and-Junie-screenshot

 

After therapy, I sold or gave away everything I had, settled into a small mountain village in Costa Rica, and started a ten-year process of deep inner healing. I gradually peeled away the layers of the onion of pain. With the help of my reborn spirit, I was able to toss out all the medication and enter into a peaceful state within my own soul. This eventually led to a series of spiritual strategies and insights that have carried me here, to this contended place, where I am at peace with myself and my gender. I have experienced a spiritual awakening that has given me a deep heart based peace, and a spiritual joy that is now at the core of my being. I learned to love myself which, in turn, set me free to experience true love for the first time. I now live a life of bliss with an amazing woman who accepts my gender issues and loves me just the way I am. When we have issues we resolve them and use these moments to learn and grow as a couple and as individuals.

Throughout this healing process, I journaled my path from agony to ecstasy in poetry. At the urging of my wife I compiled this book of feelings through poetry, added personal stories from my journey in prose, and tossed in psychological and spiritual insights in essays from my present views as a conscious psychologist.

But I was still not sure I wanted to share these deeply intimate feelings; that’s when I decided to engage in a one to one coaching program with Junie. That is when I found my voice and realized that I have a message that needs to be told. We explored the area of the target audience. The original hope was that it may be of help to other bisexual men and their families. But the view and the work itself have evolved into much more than that.

This is above all a one-man journey, not only to peace, but to ecstasy. This is about my discovery of the divine nature of my inner soul and the great capacity of my heart to love my Self and the people around me. This is a book of spiritual conquest of the shadows of my human experience. I share this collection of feelings and insights with you in the hope that together we may transcend the shadows of this world and be the creatures of light that we are truly meant to be.

The Voice of Love

There is a new voice,

The voice of a Spirit Divine,

Telling me I need to throw off these chains,

And run wild before the wind.

It implores me to open my Self up

To everything I have feared,

To explore the depths of the forbidden,

And to learn to desire the undesirable,

So that I may experience the excitement of the unknown,

And stir my consciousness with arousal and yearning,

Until my soul is empowered to melt opposites into oneness,

And my heart has been set free to teach chaos how to dance.

********************************************

Writing Prompt

Write about a time that you were stronger than you thought. Begin with: I never thought I could do it, never thought I would see the light of day again until…

Author Support Group

Are You Ready to Write Your Book? Sure? Not Sure? Let’s Talk! I’ll be offering an Author Support Group this spring, on Wednesday evenings for eight weeks beginning April 13th. Your dream begins here. And you won’t have to do it alone! It will be my joy and privilege to guide you right to the finish line, either one-on-one or as part of the group. Read all the details here.

As always, please leave a comment below or join us at Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to join the conversation.

All blessings,
Junie

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17 Feb

Present Moment. Beautiful Moment.

I almost always have the intention to get up early in the morning and go for a walk before I do ANYTHING else, including showering—lest I be tempted to check my emails or engage in some other time-squandering activity. “No,” I tell myself. “Just get up, brush your teeth (that one’s non-negotiable), and throw on your jeans and a sweatshirt—any one will do—and go.”

Then morning comes, it’s semi-dark outside, and the warmth of my bed and comforter often seduce me back to dreamtime. Today was no exception except that my brain started ruminating on the refrain in Rumi’s poem, Don’t Go Back to Sleep:

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!

The words were relentlessly insistent. I sat up, turned on my night lamp and noticed the book I had taken down from my bookshelf last night and placed there called Writing the Sacred: A Psalm-Inspired Path to appreciating and writing Sacred Poetry, by Ray McGinnis (which I highly recommend). I opened it randomly to a page that read:

“I wake up and a new day has begun. There is air to breathe…daylight. The earth is renewing itself with sunshine; or watering grass, gardens, and vegetation with rain. Birds sing; waves lap upon the shore. The earth pulsates with life.

…Most of us have a place we like to go that we call sanctuary; a place that is restful, healing, beautiful and revitalizing. I have a number of these places. One is close by, requiring only that I step outside my front door. There I can view the wonders of English Bay, walk along the seawall, listen to the waves crash along the shore, hear seabirds, and smell the salt in the air.

I have a route that usually includes Vancouver’s Lost Lagoon. On my way, I encounter raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, skunk, occasionally a coyote or beaver, swans, geese and other waterfowl.

When some people begin their day with the news, I begin it with a fresh encounter with the natural environment outside my home.”

Okay, this is no accident that Don’t Go Back to Sleep is echoing in my ears and this book and these passages await me. The book has 219 pages and I open it here? No accident.

And an even bigger coincidence (of course, there is no such thing), Ray is writing about a place I once lived, and the walk he takes is the same one I took almost daily and coveted—and it was also a stone’s throw from English Bay and Lost Lagoon. But that’s not all:

Just last night I answered an email from a woman who is receiving coaching from me to write her book. She said that she has been feeling depressed lately and is far behind in her work and is not motivated to write. She’s also in Vancouver and won’t be back until Thursday. “Can we hold off for now?” she asked. In my reply I let her know that our process is about nurturance and not pressure. Among some comforting words I offered her, I suggested she take time between business meetings to walk along the beaches of English Bay and Lost Lagoon! The very words that were on the pages meant for me this morning!

Canada Geese 200This was too obvious a message to ignore. It was stronger than a shake or tap on the shoulder whispering, “Junie, time to get up.” No, this was a message that was clearer than clear. And within minutes I was out the door.

It was cold and wet but that didn’t stop me. I walked down the street four blocks and was in Victoria’s answer to Stanley Park—Beacon Hill Park, which is lush and vibrating with new life: daffodils and crocuses are lifting their colourful heads in joy, the peacocks, ducks and geese are swimming, diving, flying, and walking upon the earth, in the pools, and in the fountains. The soft rain is leaving glass bubbles on the tips of leaves and in puddles on the pavement. Even the gray sky has a silver lining running through it this morning. And I can’t forget to mention the magnificent cherry blossoms that are showing off their pinkness in mid-February. In Canada! Seriously!

Oh my… Thank you Rumi and thank you Ray McGinnis. And to you, I say, don’t go back to sleep. No matter where you live, there are sounds and sights and smells that only come in the morning to wake us up in ways that nothing else can. This is what awaited me… just beyond my doorstep:

morning-collage

 

Writing Prompt

Don’t go back to sleep. Set your alarm for 6:30 a.m. and go for a 45-minute walk, taking your journal with you. Walk with all your senses awake: breathing in the air, notice what you see up close and in the distance. Are you warm enough? Are there other people on their way to work? Are you strolling city streets or pausing in nature? What sounds do you hear? When your senses are full, take yourself to a neighbourhood coffee shop, order a latte, take out your journal and fill the pages with your fresh memory of visceral and sensual delights.

Blessings to you,
Junie

P.S. If you live in Victoria and you want to join me for a silent mindfulness walk and a chatty coffee afterwards… email me at junie@junieswadron.com. I’d love an early morning walking buddy to tell me, “Don’t go back to sleep. Don’t go back to sleep.”

As always, please leave comments below and/or join us in our private Facebook group, Junie’s Writing Sanctuary.

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11 Feb

Valentine’s Day is for Everyone!

Will you be my Valentine?VALENTINES - to me you are perfect

Hallmark and consumerism have made Valentine’s Day into a special occasion for people in loving relationships. But what if you’re single? Do you feel left out? Or what if you’re in a relationship but it’s not feeling particularly loving these days? Do you just wish this day would hurry up and pass? Or, maybe you’re in a fabulous relationship and your love for one another isn’t much different on February 14th than on any other day.

Well, no matter what the day signifies for you, here’s a great recipe, with love that is guaranteed to put a smile in your heart every day! In fact, I think Hallmark would be wise to start making cards that say something like this:

squirrelsHappy Valentine’s Day To My Best Friend and lover, the person who I am learning to adore more than anyone else in the whole wide world, the one who has been with me through thick and thin, no matter what. She (or he) knows exactly what I need when no one else does. I have to admit, she hasn’t ALWAYS treated me as well as I deserve to be treated—in fact, sometimes has been out and out nasty. She has said things that have hurt me. Things she would never say to anyone else! However, I am ready and willing to forgive her and today I am declaring my true love and appreciation in ways I never have before because in spite of her shortcomings, she is amazing!

Valentine’s Day is a fitting time to start my declaration and one that I intend to commit to the best I can. It may not be easy because I’ve held onto so many judgments of her but I want to stop that critical way of being. So I am reaching out to The Universe for guidance because in truth, she really deserves my unconditional love and compassion more than anyone else I know.

love you - envelope with heartsIt may not always look like flowers, candlelit dinners, or days at the spa. But I can start with small things. Well, actually, why not flowers? Fresh flowers always lift her spirits and as I imagine the smile on her face when I give them to her—well, she’s irresistible! I intend to put a smile on her face far more often because when she is happy, she simply radiates light. She becomes a love magnet putting smiles on other people’s faces everywhere she goes!

She has been so brave and has overcome so many challenges. She hurts easily—and well, I just haven’t listened to her as well as I could have. She has such a beautiful heart and I’m going to write her a Valentine love letter and tell her so. I’m going to read it to her out loud and I hope that she will keep it somewhere safe and read it over and over again whenever she forgets how loved she is. And I recommend you do the same for your true love.

Two Writing Prompts

1. Write a letter to the one who deserves your love and compassion more than anyone else. The one I have been writing about! By now, have you figured out that it is YOU! Yes, YOU! Write the most beautiful, heart-felt letter to yourself, put it in an envelope, and drop it in the mail. You will more than likely forget that you did and when it comes, it will be the best gift in the whole wide world! And don’t be surprised if it arrives on a day that you need to read it the most. In the meantime, buy yourself some beautiful flowers and stick a little card on them from the florist shop that says, I LOVE YOU!

budgies 2. Write a love letter to someone else you really appreciate who makes your heart sing and tell them all the reasons why. Don’t hold back. Go for the gusto!

Caveat: Please do the writing exercises in the order listed. This is a matter of putting your oxygen mask on first and Letting Your Love Light Shine for yourself! Then it radiates out naturally to the world. Just imagine—the love you give yourself passes on to the next person and the next, creating a ripple effect that contributes to the critical mass of a more compassionate, loving planet! I’d say that’s pretty irresistible win-win motivation! Love for one and all!

Meet Joey and Madeleine, my adorable budgies. From the moment they met, they were each other’s Valentines. You couldn’t put a toothpick between them and it’s never changed! Joey’s the one getting his head massaged. They do take turns though. S w e e t ! … Oops! Make that T w e e t !

Please leave your comments below or join us in our private Facebook group, Junie’s Writing Sanctuary.

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05 Feb

Uncovering Treasure Troves

treasure-trove

For the past two weeks I have been shuffling, sorting, and grazing through files—clearing out the old to make way for the new. I would love to tell you that I’ve had an easy go of it; however, when you let things slip as long as I have, there’s nothing easy about it.

I imagine most people in business for themselves have a folder or two called “filing”. Perhaps in some cases they are folders with files bursting at the seams, calling out for attention. Mine must have started out that way but I confess, I can’t remember when they went from a symptom worth noting to a chronic condition setting me into a helpless frenzy wishing there was an emergency paper clutter control phone number I could call. “Ahh, here it is. 211”

Man on line: “Hello, Paper Clutter Emergency Control. Can I help you?”

“Oh, yes, yes, pleeeze! I am being asphyxiated. You see, sir…” You get the picture. No such luck! No such number!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In my case it was desperation that brought about the perfect solution to my problem and briefly threw me into the category of “genius”! You see, I have a beautiful wicker basket. It’s very large and very deep. It used to house linens and pillows. Well, unbeknownst to them, it was moving day! They got relocated to the linen closet, allowing me to dump umpteen files and loose papers into their old home—a most versatile basket indeed. That was a happy day to be sure! The papers were off my desk, out of sight, and, because they all disappeared into the basket, I could pretend there were just a few things to sort.

pile-of-paperBut then came that day. THAT DAY! The inevitable day that forced me out of my make-believe state as the tipping point hit. One little paper, and boom… instead of going into the basket, it fell off the top of the heap and onto the floor. For a moment my denial buddy came to visit, convincing me that none of this has anything to do with me. The basket had shrunk! It was flawed! If I had been able to find the receipt under the piles, I would have asked to get my money back. Instead, I put a teddy bear on top of the pile to still my anxiety and swallowed down a chocolate bar for quicker results.

Fast forward to today. MOST of the files have been neatly stored away in brand new file folders with tabs that say what’s in them and each has a happy new home. The filing cabinet that houses them is feeling quite smug, since most of the old, outdated files have been shredded and tossed, replaced by feng shui heaven.

Finally, we get to the title of this blogpost, Uncovering Treasure Troves. The joy of actually doing all this sorting, shuffling, and grazing is finding the amazing treasures we unearth from our very own home, garage, basement, attic, filing cabinet… or wicker basket.

It was my intention to tell you about some of my amazing finds, which probably would have been far more interesting than sorting papers. However, I wrote this, which was obviously forefront in my mind. It is what inevitably happens in stream of consciousness writing. I followed my own rules today and just let my writing take me where it would. I let it have its way with me. I hope you don’t mind.

But in keeping with the title, I’ll share one or two treasures:

Among the many treasures was a beautiful letter I received from my late sister Barbara, dated August 15th, 2005 complimenting me on a talk I had given, ending with, “Gotta run as I just came into the office and I have our year-end to get ready for the accountants. Year-end, month-end, week-end. It never ends!” She was as funny as she was loving and I miss her every day! It was wonderful to find this treasure!

I also found some writing from my dear friend, Deborah Millar, who I wrote a blog about. Deborah, a world-renowned singing coach, was hoping to compile her works into a book and, unfortunately, she passed away from cancer before she had the chance. I have many of her writings because I was mentoring her through the process during that time. Her writing was as stunning and beautiful as her heart. What a shame she did not live to see her dream to fruition. Read the story I wrote about my love for her.

Two weeks ago I facilitated a retreat called, Unleash Your Passion, Creativity, and Highest Potential. Soon you will be able to see a video montage of that day that my dear friend and videographer, Jeremy Vargas, is putting the finishing touches to.

But what I want to say about that workshop is that it was about bringing your talent, your voice, your precious heart-desires into the world. Having just re-read Deborah’s works and the tragedy that befell her—and so young! PLEASE… don’t leave this planet with your song still inside you!

Do WHATEVER it takes to make it happen. What can you do today? Not tomorrow or the day after. Today. What treasures are still hiding in your heart waiting to see the light? Perhaps it’s singing or performing. Perhaps it’s the next chapter in a book you are writing. Perhaps it’s the next and most fabulous chapter of your life to date!

Writing Prompt: “Sometimes I think about my natural gifts. Sometimes I keep them a secret. Often I just want to bust loose and take the leap, go for it… but I get scared. Right now, I am willing to listen to the whisperings of my heart. I must. And this is what my heart, my wisdom, my truth, is telling me…”

All blessings,
Junie

p.s. Start a conversation! Please leave a comment below or head to Junie’s Writing Sanctuary to contribute your thoughts.

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junie@junieswadron.com | 250.813.0183