Without vulnerability, you cannot create. – Brené Brown

I took that picture through the screen of a window in my meditation room, just after finishing Day 9 of the 21-Day “Manifesting True Success” Meditation Experience. Deepak Chopra had just been talking about what it means to stretch beyond where you can reach, then we meditated and when I opened my eyes, there was the squirrel! I couldn’t imagine a better representation of my meditation than this squirrel out on a limb, stretching, risking to get to what she wanted. Of course, unlike me, the squirrel seemed unconcerned about the possibility of falling, having compete and utter confidence in her ability to remain perched (and swaying) on a tiny limb where anything could happen.

Deepak talked about “not only being open to new ideas, approaches, and practices, but being willing to explore them and try them out.” That second part is the kicker. I want to be willing to try something new, not just think about it.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that my work-in-progress, FADE AWAY, has transformed into a completely different story and I’m going out on a limb personally as I trust the new ideas and approaches that have come to me. The story has shifted in focus and so has the character. It’s not only different from the first few drafts, it’s very different from my published books in terms of tone, content and theme. I’m writing about love and shame in a deeper and more concrete way than I ever imagined. That was not what I set out to do when I first started the book but then, that’s what I love so much about writing; it can take you down a road you never intended and if you are willing to go, you will not only tell a richer story, but may grow as a person as well.

Writing this book has gotten me thinking about myself and how self-critical I can be and also has me looking around at my family and friends, knowing they do the same thing–we can’t seem to accept and embrace who we are, focused instead on who we think we should be.

I’ve been changed (in a good way) and now see others with a gentler eye. That alone makes it worthwhile. And if this book has a small impact on readers, well, that will be a bonus.