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Novel Submission Process
Submitting your novel to literary agents is a daunting business. There is no avoiding the fact that you’re sending your work out to be judged and that can be both frightening and painful.
I’ve been through the process a couple of times, and I can honestly say that it gets easier with practice. It helps, too, if you can remember that each agent (or publisher) is not judging (or rejecting) you as a person, they are making a business decision about your work based on the small sample they have seen.
Here are the tips I picked up along the way – I hope they are helpful.
First off, separate your ‘writing self’ from your ‘publishing self’. Your writing self is the one who put his/her heart and soul into creating the novel. It’s the self who thinks of the book as ‘his baby’ and who dreams of critical acclaim while being simultaneously terrified of revealing her writing to the harsh critical eye of the market.
Your publishing self is the businessman. The one who knows that publishing is an industry. Smart, book-obsessed people run that industry and they are all hoping to find the next ‘big thing’ but, equally, nobody knows what that will be. And, like any creative industry, the worth of the product is very much in the eye of the beholder. It’s subjective. Say that again (loudly) with your best, confident, business-self voice: ‘It. Is. Subjective’. (Don’t believe me? Go and look at the Flipkart or Amazon reviews for a recent bestseller or work of ‘classic’ fiction. Opinions will vary. Wildly.)
The next step is to expect rejection. I don’t say this to be discouraging, but quite the opposite; embrace your certain rejection. Pick a novel from your bookshelves and feel it in your hand. Know with utter certainty that both the book you are holding and the author who wrote it were rejected at some point.
The third step is this: Just do it. Much like writing the damn book in the first place, the only way to get through the fear of submission is to get started. Once you’ve got a few rejections under your belt and the sky hasn’t fallen onto your head and people aren’t stopping in the street to point and laugh, you will find it easier to continue.
So, a few practicalities. I’d advise sending out submissions in small batches. With the best will in the world, agents are super-busy and take an average of three months to respond. If you submit one at a time, the process will take forever.
Why not save even more time and submit to your entire (carefully researched) list of dream agents all at once? Well, small batches give you a chance to tweak your submission along the way.
If you’ve submitted to, say, ten agents, and you’ve received zero requests for the full manuscript, you might want to check over your submission package to see if it can be improved. Perhaps, on a second look, you realise that your first chapter isn’t as good as you originally thought and it really ought to be cut completely. Or, you discover that your covering letter opens with an embarrassingly ponderous sentence or a misspelled word (the horror!).
Finally, read the submission guidelines carefully and follow them.
Yes, all of them.
Yes, every time.
Most publishers/agents ask for a covering letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters.
How to format your Novel
You can format your novel manuscript any way you want as you’re writing and editing. If you want a purple font on a yellow background, have at it. If you have a font you just love looking at, use it while you’re writing.
But when you’re ready to submit your novel to an agent or publisher, follow the guidelines. Please. Let your creativity shine through your story, not your manuscript format. There really is a time to blend in with others, to be just one of the crowd, and this is that time.
No fancy fonts or colors. No odd sizes in fonts or margins. No illustrations or graphics such as your five-year-old son’s artwork for a suggested cover.
You want an agent or editor talking about your submission, but for the right reasons. Don’t be the joke of the week at your favorite publishing house.
Don’t give harried agents and editors an excuse to toss your manuscript before they’ve read the first word.
So how do you format a novel manuscript an acceptable way?
Find out what the agent or publisher recommends.
Yes, many publish their specs and formatting requirements right on their websites. Checking out the specs should be your first step.
Adapt your manuscript for each agent or publisher (most will be remarkably similar).
For any agent or publisher without a specific format, follow an accepted format for novel manuscripts, such as this one—
Font: Twelve point, Times New Roman (or Courier New, if you insist), black
Margins: One-inch margins on all four sides
Indent: Half-inch paragraph indentations (this tab is pre-set in MS Word) for the first line of each paragraph (even the first paragraph of a chapter)
Space: Double space; no extra line spaces between paragraphs
Align: Align left (not justified). The right edges will not be uniform or even.
Page numbering: Number pages beginning with the actual story (don’t count or put page numbers on the title page)
Scene breaks: Indicate scene breaks by inserting a blank line and centering the number sign # in the center of the line
Page header: Include your last name, your title (or keywords from the title), and the page number in the page header of every page except for the title page. Align the header to the right, so the information doesn’t interfere with the text of the manuscript. (Dear, I Hate You!)
Chapters: Begin chapters on new pages (insert a page break or format using styles). Center the chapter title, even if it’s only Chapter One (or Chapter 1), about 1/3 of the way down the page. Skip a couple of spaces and begin the text of the chapter.
End: Center a number sign # on an otherwise blank line one double-spaced line down from the final line of text of the final chapter or epilogue at the end of the manuscript. Or simply writeThe End. You want agents and editors to know they’ve reached the end.
Italics: Use italics for italicized words. (A former practice was to underline to show italicized words, but that’s no longer necessary unless an agent or publisher requests underlining.)
Character spacing: Use a single character space only, not two spaces, between sentences. If you forget this one, nobody’s going to turn down your manuscript because of it. It’s just a good habit to get into, especially for those of us who learned on typewriters and always added two spaces between sentences.
Include a title page—
Contact info: Aligned left and single spaced, near the top of the page, include contact information: Your real/legal name, address, phone number, e-mail address. Follow with the word count. Alternatively, you can set word count apart by listing it at the top of the right side of the title page.
Title and author: About 1/2 the way down the page, centered, enter the full manuscript title (all caps or mixed caps); on the next double-spaced line, type by or a novel by or a story by; on the next double-spaced line, add your pen name or your real name plus your pen name—Alexis Chesterfield writing as Billie Thomas
Agent: If you have an agent, include the agent’s contact name and information beneath your name (yes, skip a line)
Page header: Header information is not included on the title page. The title page is not included in page numbering.
Subgenre: For some genres, including romance and sci-fi, you can include the subgenre, such as suspense or Regency. Include this information either above or below the word count.
That’s it, a basic format for novels.
Source: Blogs and mails of other fellow authors.
When a relationship is over, let go and move on in a healthy way to attract the right one for you.
“Have faith that true love is meant to be and one day love will come shining through. No matter how sad your heart is, the love that you wish for will come true…if you believe.”
When a relationship is over, it’s time to let go. Holding on to a past love clutters up your heart and mind. Letting go opens up the space and possibilities to attract the partner of your dreams. Try these things to stop dwelling on the relationship you had with your ex.
14 things to stop doing now:
- Listening tolove songs that remind you of him
- Going to places where you spent time together
- Thinking about the good times you had together
- Communicating with her (erase her phone number, email address, texts, etc.)
- Being Friends with Benefits
- Wishing and hoping that she’ll come back to you
- Being in denial that it’s over
- Looking at her pictures, cards, love letters and her Facebook page
- Staying in contact with her friends and family
- Talking continually about her with your friends, family and anyone who will listen
- Trying to run into her in bars and nightclubs
- Looking for her on online dating sites
- Trying to make her jealous by flirting with or connecting with her female friends
- Letting yourself get rundown (i.e. over-eating, not exercising, etc.)
In addition to stopping the above things, the following practices will help you transition and move forward with more ease and grace.
14 things to start doing now:
- Find yourhappiness from within
- Be grateful for the wonderful things in your life
- Find your passions and focus on them
- Get healthy from the inside out
- Focus on the present moment and know that all is well
- Connect and spend time with your family and friends
- Enjoy hobbies and activities that you’ve been meaning to do
- Do things to refresh, renew and soothe your soul
- Exercise and workout
- Listen to uplifting music
- Keep a journal
- Read positive books
- Create a bucket list and start doing things on your list
- Apply lessons (what you’ve learned) from your past relationships to create your ideal love life
Be patient and gentle with yourself during this time. It takes courage to move forward and becomes easier once you start. Try a few of the stops and starts. As you become comfortable with them, take on additional ones. All the best!
The American is withdrawing from the Afghanistan, one of their command and control system (used for controlling the pilot-less drones) was hijacked by the Talibans when the American transport convoy was moving down from one of the hill top bases. The Talibans ambushed the convoy and killed 2 American Seal personnel, seized the equipment/weapons, including the command and control system which weighed about 20 tons and packed into 6 crates. This happened about a month ago in Feb 2014.
I do write novels with love stories in them. Good-looking young couples with throbbing hormones fall in love and have to be with each other. It’s an escape. It’s a rollercoaster and that kind of love is terribly fun to write. But today I want to talk about a different kind of love. Being someone’s first love may be great but to be their last is beyond PERFECT.
Old people love. I know –you’re rolling your eyes. Wrinkles and passionate love scenes never really go together. I think we might be conditioned to expect firm butts and candlelight when we think of love. But some of the most stunning, real life stories aren’t about the sweaty, sideways. I’m going to give you an amazing example that’s real.
Picture a couple, married in their early twenties, living through the pre-independence era. Two children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren later, they still held hands. She fussed over his diet because of a heart attack he survived in his fifties. He danced with her in the small kitchen of the trailer they spent their days in while retired in Lucknow. When the grandchildren called, she would get on one phone and he on the other, talking at the same time and often asking the same questions in tandem. They were so connected; maybe it was just the vast amount of time they spent together that created that distinct togetherness.
Time took its toll, as time does. In their eighties, they went about their days helping each other get through daily tasks. His heart was always a concern and as they entered what surely was to be the twilight of their lives they made sensible decisions, for they were a sensible couple. Both agreed not to be resuscitated, neither wanting to live reliant on machines. The day came when his gorgeous heart
failed but before he lost consciousness, he demanded that they fight for him and ignore the DNR directive. Doctors and nurses are amazing, don’t you think? And he survived, but at a cost. He had trouble recognizing people. She was too frail to make the trip to the hospital often and at times he was combative. A week passed. Two weeks passed and he fought to come back to his family. Finally, finally he was able to say names, recognize his people. He looked for her, but she couldn’t make it to the hospital. So he forced himself to walk until amazingly, he came back to her.
Their children helped him into their home and she rose to meet him. Him with a cane and her with a walker– they met in the middle of their sweet, small kitchen.
“It’s you.” She said.
“It’s you.” He replied.
They touched each other’s faces. They held hands.
I’m not sure how much it hurts to take a breath after having two heart attacks, but he did just that for weeks to be with her. The last attack was too much for even his strong will. His final words were rejecting –yet again–the DNR orders. He wanted to go back to her.
There were so many people at his funeral, all eyes on her, worrying how she would do, how she could possibly manage.
It took a year. I’m not sure how much it hurts to live with half a heart, half a soul but she did just that for almost exactly a year. You see, she was just a day shy of the anniversary of his death when she returned to his arms in Heaven. She didn’t even try to fight; she wanted to go back to him so much.
It is not the age that matter but the love that remained immortal. Because they did love so, so right.
For no reason at all, I was reminded of this poem by Bertolt Brecht after so many years.
You can make a fresh start with your final breath.
But what has happened has happened.
And the water you once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again, but everything changes.
You can make a fresh start with your final breath.
I didn’t understand this wonderful poem when I first read it; perhaps I still haven’t fully. I turned it round and round as if it was a beautiful locked box, left it lying on the shelf a while, I went back to examine it after a while. Then one day when I was old enough, brave enough to let go of the structure, it came through. However, I would rather say “Everything changes, and changes for the better”.
Once I thought that Love is an impossible thing for me but today, I have found my true love in my wife, Shraddha Nitya Prakash. My Life at present is perfectly analogous to this piece of work. It’s a movement towards perfection.
I would like to quote Albert Einstein’s very crisp words of wisdom
“He, who moves not forward, goes backward”
Don’t look back because everything will change and it will always change for something better.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’re going to feel so relieved. When you get your heart broken for the first time, you can’t imagine loving someone else again or having someone else love you. You worry about your ex finding love before you do, you worry about being damaged goods. And then it happens. Someone else loves you and you can sleep well at night.
The second time you fall in love with someone, it’s going to feel different. The first time felt like a dream almost. You were untouched, untainted by anyone. You accepted love with wide open arms and desperation. “Love me, love me, love me!” So you did. And then it fell apart and left you shocked to the core. You realized that people could be cruel and break your heart. You realized that people could stop meaning the sweet things they said to you just yesterday. So when you go into it again, you’re going to keep in mind everything that you’ve learned. You’re going to say, “Love me, love me, love me…until you don’t. In which case, I would like some advance warning. Thanks!”
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’re going to compare it to your first love. That’s okay. That’s natural. You’re going to be studying the new love with judgment and wariness. “My ex never liked biryani. Why the hell does this one eat so much biryani?!” Discovering that you have the ability to love multiple people who are different and feel different is initially very jarring. Loving an unfamiliar body will leave you disoriented and in dire need of a map. That’s okay too. That’s to be expected. Just ask the new love for directions.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’re going to suffer from a bout of amnesia. You’re going to poke and prod at your lover’s body and be like, “Wait, how do I do this again? How do I love you? I think it starts with us having a moment together in some coffee shop, right?” It’s going to feel scary at first. Falling in love is sort of like riding a bike though. You never really forget.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you’ll be a more sane person. Your first love is when you get all of your insanity out. You behave like an insane monster because your mind is freaking out about all these new powerful feelings. By the second time, however, you have an idea of what works and what doesn’t. It’s by no means perfect. The insanity will make a cameo at some point. “Peek a boo. I’m here! Hope you didn’t forget about me!” But you can usually shoo it away after awhile.
The second time you fall in love with someone, you will hopefully have better sex. Do not quote me on this.
The second time you fall in love with someone will still be exciting and you might even talk about moving in together or marriage. It will feel more “adult.” You have no idea what adult love actually is but you think it involves making coffee for each other in the morning and maybe even getting a dog. “This is my dog, Passion. I got him with the second person I fell in love with because that’s what you do! The first person I was in love with would’ve killed a dog.”
Fall in love with someone who chooses you just as confidently as you choose them. Commit to the person who lifts you up whenever things get rough, the person who fights to make things work when the reality of life gets difficult and discouraging.
Fall in love with someone who sees the wars within you and not only chooses to stay, but chooses to stand by your side and help you fight them. Strive to find someone who cradles your dark, who embraces your light, someone who always wants to be your best when you yourself are not your best; someone who reminds you of every strong thing you are whenever you feel feeble.
Fall in love with someone who does not make you feel like you are hard to love. Give your heart to someone who does not call you weak for feeling so deeply, someone who adores the soft creature you are, and who fights to protect it in a hardened world.
Fall in love with someone who challenges you, who inspires you to think and feel. Fall in love with someone who ignites a wildness within you; someone who grows your mind just as much as they grow your heart.
Fall in love with someone who respects you for changing because they understand that it means you’re growing. Dedicate yourself to the person who stands in awe of how you bloom, how you flourish; someone who loves you not only for who you are, but for who you have the potential to be.
Please, do not ever settle for less. Keep waiting. Keep learning about yourself, keep trying and fighting for the heart within your chest. Keep growing and nourishing your wants, keep discovering your needs. When the time is right, you are going to fall in love with someone who will appreciate everything you stand for, who will compliment you in ways you never imagined. When the time is right, the love you have always been worthy of will flower within your life, and you will finally, finally, understand why you had to wait so long.
The second time will not be the first time. The first time is an insane magical life gift that you can never reclaim. But that’s okay. The second time is more real anyway. The second time can involve some amazing love.
Barely 20 km from the town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi gets its name from Dhanush (bow) and Kodi (end). The name alludes to an anecdote in the Ramayana, where Lord Rama broke the bridge constructed by his army of monkeys between the mainland and the island of Lanka with a stroke of his bow. Barely 50 yards long, Dhanushkodi is the sole terrestrial border between India and Sri Lanka. It was inhabited until 1964, when a terrible cyclone wrecked the village and swept a passenger train into the sea. Though Dhanushkodi today is a ghost town, it is still visited by pilgrims.
On the fateful night of December 22, 1964, Indian Railways train number 653, the Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger, left Pamban with 110 passengers and five railway staff. It was only a few yards before Dhanushkodi railway station when it was hit by a massive tidal wave. The train was washed away, killing all 115 on board. In all, over 1,800 people perished in the cyclonic storm. Following this disaster, the town was declared unfit for living. Thus this is a holy place for Hindus, further made holier by the confluence of two sea bodies, The bay of Bengal and Indian ocean.
Today, 48 years later, the structures that withstood the tidal wave still exist buried under the sand and some partly weathered by the Sea adding a mysterious beauty to the place. A few fishermen have settled here in thatched huts and life goes on for them unaware of tomorrow. Of late, I read in a magazine that the sea water is slowly receding and some parts of the submerged town are visible.
I haven’t visited Rameshwaram and Dhanushkodi, but it is on my ‘to do list’ to see and experience how it feels, standing at the land mass which is at the tip of India. Many tourists who travel to Rameshwaram are unaware of Dhanushkodi and the ones who visit sing praises about its its beautiful coral reefs and rich marine life which is supposed to be very active here since the ocean waters are very shallow.
It is also the birth place of our ex President and missile man APJ Kalam. and this is also the town through which Swami Vivekananda entered India Via SriLanka after his famous Chicago conference.
A port, a holy town, nature lover’s paradise that was (is) Dhanushkodi. Mark it next time around Rameshwaram.
How to reach
By air: Nearest airport: Madurai (167kms)
By rail: Nearest railway station: Rameshwaram, 18kms
By road: Buses and taxis conducting regular service between Madurai and Rameshwaram. From Rameshwaram you have to hire private vehicles through the sands.
Local transport: Inside the city walls of Rameshwaram, you can hire a jeep or an auto rickshaw.
Rajasthan- Rajasthan – Bhangarh
Bhangarh is a place on way from Jaipur to Alwar city in Rajasthan state of India. Today Bhangarh is known for it’s ruins where nobody dares to stay after sunset. Going to history we find that this town was established by Madho Singh, younger brother of King Akbar’s General Man Singh, in 1631. But the city seems to have been abandoned in a hurry some centuries later. As per local folks, due to some curse the whole town was vacated overnight. According to this curse It was also said that if the town was ever rediscovered, the township would not be found, but only temples would show up. True to the story, only temples dot the landscape and even far up on the mountains only shrines can be seen. People say that nobody returned from there who stayed there after dark. The biggest thing is that as per Govt. of India rules there has to be an office of Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) beside every historical structure in India. But even Government authorities couldn’t dare to open an office there and they opened their office about one kilometer away from the ruins of Bhangarh. Also ASI has put a signboard at Bhangarh saying, “Staying after sunset is strictly prohibited in this area.” People who visit this place out of tourist interest say that there is a strange feeling in the atmosphere of Bhangarh, which causes sort of anxiety and restlessness.
Maharashtra – Mumbai – Mumbai Supreme Court
For over 30 years whenever a murder trial is conducted here a vengeful bilingual ghost makes itself known by cursing and terrorizing anyone brave (or foolish) enough to enter. Most of the times, people see a lady standing in white dress asking for lift. if you go thru she will run as fast as the car runs & people reported her sitting there.
UP – Lucknow – Residency
The pride of place is a structure which hardly exists, the melancholic ruins of the Residency, which lay besieged by the sepoys in 1857 for a period of six months. Once home to the British Resident and his entire army, the large, handsome typically English building now stands mute testimony to the ravages of the war. Its shell-shocked exteriors at dusk turn into a canvas for an audio-visual representation of the glorious past of Lucknow, one that’s de rigueur. Apart from the ruins and cemetery, which are inevitably rumored to be haunted, the most interesting part is the Main House, which has a museum of sorts and a harrowing basement where each cannonball mark is identified along with the victim. It’s difficult not be overtaken by the imagery of what might have ensued in those fateful days and have a sense of remorse over the dead, especially above the sign which says that a 4 year old girl was hit by a shell here.
Gujarat – Surat – Dumas
If you walk towards the ocean at night in Dumas then u will hear noises that will tell you go home don’t go forward and all scary things happen. Dogs will even start chasing you sometimes but they say that the dogs run because they are trying to get away from that place as well. This all happens because Hindus burn their bodies after they die over there and the ghosts in there body stay in the air.
Hyderabad – Ramoji Film City
It is a big film city in Hyderabad,(like universal studios) the hotels in Ramoji film city are haunted. They say that the film city is built on war grounds of the Nizam sultans. Witnesses report the lights kept on top keep falling off, the light men- who sit with the lights on top have been pushed so many times and many have had grievous injuries. The food left in rooms also gets scattered around the room and strange marks are left on the mirror, some script…. resembling Urdu…the language spoken by the sultans. Girls are the ghosts’ favorite to haunt. They trouble the girls so much, they tear their clothes, knock on the bathroom doors while the outside doors are locked. They create havoc. Many preventive measures have been taken to prevent hauntings……but of no use…they keep coming back after sometime.
Maharashtra – Lonawala – Raj Kiran hotel
Reports of bedsheets being pulled off and continue to be pulled even after the guest is woken up.This room is in the corner and at the backside of the reception on the ground floor itself.
UP- Meerut – GP block
It has been always seen that 4 guys are sitting inside the house with a single candle lighted and drinking beers. It happens to be most common sight for people passing through that area but few person also added that even they have seen girls in red dress coming out of the house. The house is double stored and people have seen the scene happening on the roof top. People have left moving through that place now.
Maharastra – Mumbai – Mahim
Near Canossa primary there is a chawl named d’souza chawl, there is a local well from whwere people used to fill water and even wash clothes.This well did not have any boundary walls around it and once when a lady was filling water the whole thing collapsed.The lady too fell in that well and died.After this incident she is said to appear everyday near that well and many of the locals have even seen her. She does not harm anyone just strolls around the place and before morning hours she dissappears.
Delhi – New Delhi – Sanjay Van (near Qutab Institutional Area)
Sanjay Van is a huge forest area spread over around 10 kms. There is a cremation ground also there, many people have reported having seen a lady dressed in a white saree appearing and disappearing suddenly.
Maharasthra – Pune – Shaniwarwada Fort
When Peshwas ruled the western Indian province, Narayan the heir of the kingdom was assassinated on his uncle Madhavrao’s wife’s orders. Narayan was chased by his assassins across the entire fort. It was said that while running for his life he called “Uncle save me”, and even today locals say that they hear his cries for help at midnights on new moon day.
Maharashtra – Thane – Vrindavan Society
It’s said a Man had committed suicide in one of the Buildings in Vrindavan Society(Bldg. No.66 B).The security guard’s patrolling the area around have come across weird happenings. Once a guard was slapped so hardly that he got up from his chair and hit the other guard who was near by him thinking he was the one who hit him.
West Bengal – Kurseong – Dow-Hill
The forests have an uncanny feeling. Its damp, cold and sometimes dark. People up here tend to be depressed and countless murders have taken place. On the stretch between Dow-Hill road and the Forest Office, wood cutters returning in the evenings have sited a young boy walking head-less for several yards and then walk away from the road into the woods. Other than this, footsteps are heard in the corridors of the Victoria Boys School when the school is closed for long holidays from December to March.
Source: Thrillophilia, Most Haunted Places, Ghost Centre, etc.
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? Yes, many times life is not easy. And yet it is precisely because of the difficulties that you’re able to make life great. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. I have been e-mailing a lot lately with a dear friend that I have met on Facebook. Both he and I lost someone that was close to us a few years ago. And though the causes of the loss were different, we both have to deal with the pain it inflicts on us.
I wanted to quote a part of an e-mail I have recently sent to my friend. And I guess my friend won’t mind me using these phrases here as well, seeing they can have meaning to all who read this post. Or maybe just stumble upon this post by “mistake”.
Quotation of a part of my e-mail:
Yes it is strange that someone you have recently seen, someone who had all the intention of living a good as possible life, can so easily slip away. Either by own choice or by illness. When you close your eyes it’s so easy to recall the last time you saw him/her, you chatted together about things that seemed so normal and now they are suddenly more important. I have thought about this all quite often, every time someone I cared for slipped away, and I always end up both sad and grateful. Sad for the loss and grateful that I had the opportunity of knowing this wonderful person. Even though I would want to have had that pleasure for many more years, that option sadly wasn’t mine to choose.
I really have thought about this a lot. I have lost several people that were close to me. Last night, I ended up counting them, because my aunt told me that the cremation of our family friend this Thursday would be the second one she’s ever been to. She is fortunate enough to never have been to a funeral, only to the two cremations she mentioned. I have been to many of them, when I was done counting I ended on the count of 9. So tomorrow will be my tenth. And it never gets easier, you never get used to losing someone so definitely.
When you have a row with someone, it can be about just a simple, minor thing. If the person you had that row with means a whole lot to you, I would advise you to try and make it up. I have lost someone who meant the world to me at age 23 (I was 23 at the time) and the last spoken words had not been to kind. I still regret that those were my final words I had exchanged with that person. I never thought I would not get the chance to make it right. It only shows how fragile human life really is.
It also shows how often we take people for granted. You never really believe that they will leave you unexpectedly. Because you somehow have a connection to them. You feel secure around them. When the person you know is neither ill nor old, you just assume that you will have plenty of time to spend together with him/her. You don’t think about the consequences, about that you would do if that person slips away totally unexpectedly. It would be very horrid as well if the only thing that would keep your mind working would be the thoughts of losing someone you care about.
But maybe, a little maybe, those thoughts would help you to appreciate them more. If, at times, you would stand still and think about a dear friend. You remember meeting him/her. You remember stuff you have been through together, the good times and the bad times, and how you dealt with it. Not alone, but together. If you then think the morbid thoughts on what would happen if that friendship would cease to exist. What would you lose? What would you miss most? The things that pop up first are the ones that, in my opinion, define your friendship best. And to focus on those things might make you appreciate it all more than you have ever done before. And maybe, if you are feeling down, you could grab your journal and just write all that comes to mind about your friend and the friendship the both of you share. All these positive things might come in handy when you feel bad about yourself. Just re-read all you wrote about your dear friends and keep in mind, that they also value you as their friend. Maybe on different points from their point of view, but still, your friendship means a lot to both of you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be friends. Otherwise the friendship wouldn’t feel so right.
So I know what I will do soon. I will burn some incense, inhale it deep and find myself more relaxed, grab my journal and sit down and write. Write all I can come up with about my friends. About the friendships I have and what they mean to me. And maybe try to see in me what they see in me as well. And just keep on writing as long as my fountain pen is willing to support me and as long as my hand is not cramping up. I have my new journal lying ready as it is, so I don’t need to worry about running out of paper.
I need to get ready for the doctor’s appointment, the business meeting and well, all other things that will happen today.
A feeling of great pleasure, contentment or Joy. There is a reason why you were drawn to this. Perhaps your soul is extending an invitation to you, an invitation to get in touch with the deepest part of yourself.
One day a doctor was sitting with a patient who had a heart disease, and he asked him, why do you want to get better?
The patient was quite obviously perplexed. The patient said, “Doesn’t everybody want to get better when they’re sick?” Yes, the doctor said, but why do you want to get better?
He replied “If I get better, I can go back to work and make more money”
For some unknown reason, the doctor persisted in asking him why, why do you want to make more money?
Apparently amused, he agreed to play the game and said “It is because I want to send my son to a good university”
The doctor asked him why he wanted to send his son to a good university.
The doctor kept repeating his question. In the end he finally said “I want to be HAPPY.”
You can try this yourself. Ask anyone what they want, and when they tell you what they want, keep asking why, until you hear the ultimate answer “I want to be happy”.
Happiness seems to be the goal of all other goals, and yet most people seek happiness in a roundabout way. As I talked to the people, I got the idea “why not make happiness our primary goal? Why seek happiness through all these second hand means?” I discovered something even more interesting. If we make happiness our primary goal instead of our secondary goal, then everything else we desire is easily accomplished.
In many spiritual traditions it has been said that if you seek the highest first, everything else comes to you. Most people say “I’m happy because, because I have family and friends, because I have a great job, because I have money and security.” All these reasons for happiness are tenuous; they come and go like the passing breeze.
When happiness eludes us, we seek pleasure through addictive behaviours in the unconscious hope that we will find joy. External causes of happiness never create real joy. Joy is an internal state of consciousness that determines how we perceive and experience the world. The internal source of joy, our connection to our creator, our source, and our inner self is the cause, while happiness is its effect.
Happiness is a state of consciousness that already exists within us, but it’s often covered up by all kinds of distractions. Upon discovering this joy, wonderful and miraculously things begin to happen. We find ourselves becoming beacons of light and love, and our very presence nurtures the environment around us. People are drawn to support our desires, and even nature responds to our intentions.
Let us motivate ourselves and others, so that no one can ever think of ending his or her life. One must learn to be patient, calm and optimistic in the most difficult situations and with this belief happiness will always be there in you.