Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life

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Sunset in Englewood

Sunset in Englewood

Joe: Good afternoon Calliope.

Calliope: Good Afternoon Joe. How is your book coming?

.Joe: Very well thank you. I have received feedback from several of my readers and made corrections to the text based on their comments. I am also nearing the point where the manuscript is ready for publication.

Calliope: Great! I recall that you were not sure how to approach publication. Have you made a decision.

Joe: I have. I met with a woman who works with writers to prepare their work for publication. Based on the book I have already worked on, she felt that my best bet would be self publication through Create Space.

Calliope: What happened with the idea of finding an agent?

Joe: I worked hard to find one but got no positive responses. In reading about agents, I concluded that they are mainly interested in books with the potential of massive sales by people already famous.

Calliope: I see. Now what?

Joe: I am formatting my book for paperback publication through CreateSpace and will also list it as an eBook on Amazon. The process is proceeding nicely.

Calliope: Glad to hear it. Keep me posted.

Joe: I will. I forgot to tell you that I finally decided on a title, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life.

My Stress Is All On The Page

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Sunset in Englewood

Sunset in Englewood

Joe: Good afternoon, Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. I assume you have been hard at work on your book.

Joe: You are correct. First I have a new working title for it, Rest Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life. I have completed the manuscript and have received feedback from several trusted readers I have used for past books.

Calliope: Great. Now What?

Joe: I am exploring publication options. I found a couple agents who have represented books somewhat similar to mine. I will start by contacting them to see if they might be interested. I know agents are very busy and they have hundreds if not thousands of books to choose from. I don’t envy them their job. I have also come to appreciate the complexities of their work in the present publishing world.

Calliope: Good luck. Can you tell me a little more about the book?

Joe: Here is how I describe it in my query letter, “While many books on stress offer partial treatments or quick fixes, Rest Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life provides a more comprehensive approach.” Then I go on to detail the contents of the book.

Calliope: Sounds like you are on the right track.

Joe: I hope so. I would love to find an agent and get on with publishing it.  Talk with you later.

On to Publishing

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A New Day

A New Day

Joe: Good evening Calliope.

Calliope: Good evening Joe. I haven’t heard from you lately. I assume you have been hard at work.

Joe: It is summer, you know. I have been enjoying it but still moving along with my book on stress, tentatively titled “Give Your Stress a Rest and Live Your Life to the Fullest.

Calliope: Where are you in the process?

Joe: The manuscript is finished and i have a few people reading it for me. I am trying to decide between a go at traditional publishing this time instead of self publishing.

Calliope: Tell me more.

Joe: I am currently exploring the possibility of an agent. I understand that the best way to get one is by referral. Unfortunately I don’t know any agents or people who can refer me to one. I would appreciate any help I can get along this line. 

Calliope: Maybe one of your readers has an idea.

Joe: That would be nice. I’m all ears.In the meantime I am sorting through possibilities through AgentSearch and exploring possible contacts through LinkedIn.

Calliope: Good luck with the search.

Joe Thanks, I will need it.


The Mysteries of Everyday Life

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Good afternoon, Calliope. I thought you might like to see my latest Sliding Otter Post.  


Martha's Vineyard Beach Sculpture

Martha’s Vineyard Beach Sculpture

I’d rather be a dysfunctional soul than a well adjusted robot.

~Thomas Moore~

It seems these days that we want to understand, explain and find a use for everything we encounter. If we get stuck, we can find an answer on Google or some other search engine. Often we become so involved in the practical that we completely miss most of the little delights along our life path. This seems especially true of things which have no easy explanation.

At the end of the day, many people add up what they have accomplished since they got out of bed. I wonder how many people count the little delights which have passed their way during the day. If you become too busy with the practical, you will most likely miss the fanciful.

So what? The question is what your life is for. What is its meaning? If you just count what you accomplish in a day, you have a list at the end of the day and start a new one the next day. But there is more to life if you allow it into your awareness. I am talking about the little mysteries which present themselves along the way.

Here are a few which might have caught your attention at least for a moment. How do two incomplete cells become a human being or any other life form? How does our solar system stay in balance century after century? How does a single atom stay in balance for that matter? How does you mind interpret what your senses encounter? What does it mean to fall in love with someone?

You could most likely find scientific explanations for all these mysteries and consider the problem solved. What if you don’t seek practical answers right away or even at all? What if you instead ponder the mystery and coexist with it? You move to a different plane of existence beyond the practical. Art and music have meaning for you beyond what you can express in words.

A newspaper critic can tell you how well music was performed technically. But a critic can’t tell you whether or how music touches your soul. The same is true of any other form of art. Your experience is beyond the technical aspects and is unique to you. Philosophers are in agreement that you can’t argue about taste. No on else’s is quite like yours. Did you ever try to explain your artistic taste to someone else? Not so easy, is it? The same can be said of your experience of nature, the world, other people and especially the unique aspects of you as a person. It is a different way to exist but you might want to try it at least for a while.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Turn off the rational part of you and stop thinking for a while.
  • Let yourself notice little things around you with out trying to make sense of them.
  • Sit comfortably with your feelings without analyzing them.
  • Spend a little time delighting in something you never noticed before.
  • See if this make the rest of your life a little more fun.

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Less Stress with My Stress Book

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Sailing at Sunset

Sailing at Sunset

Joe: Good afternoon, Calliope.

Calliope: Good afternoon Joe. What’s happening with your book?

Joe. Glad you asked. I finished an initial reading of my draft and found a few topics missing. I then went back and added them.

Calliope. Good. What else?

Joe: I developed a list of further readings for the end of the book. I added a Foreword and Table of Contents with links to and from each chapter. I also lined up five trusted readers.

Calliope: Sounds you are about done.

Joe: It does. I decided to read the book through from the beginning one last time before sending it out to my readers. I am almost half way through that. Then it will be ready, to the extent it can be without some input.

Calliope: How are you with criticism?

Joe: I have learned to handle it well and appreciate it. My significant other has been reading my columns for fourteen years and I have had readers for each of my previous books. Onward! 

Around the Post and Into the Stretch

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Incan Road- Cozumel

Incan Road- Cozumel

Joe: Good evening Calliope.

Calliope: And a good evening to you, Joe. I thought you might have taken an extended vacation.

Joe: Not quite. I have been very busy socially with people coming to town and with small trips here and there. 

Calliope: How is the writing coming?

Joe: I finished a review of my first draft, attending to grammar and flow of ideas. I discovered a few stress related topics I overlooked in planning the book. They include organization as a way to minimize stress, physical and psychological stigma, the enchantment of everyday life (per Thomas Moore and the dream of the earth after Thomas Berry, my old mentor. Maybe I will include that story in the book.

Calliope: How do you feel about your progress?

Joe: Very good. I felt the book was a little choppy, but once I read it through I found it holds together quite well.

Calliope: What’s next?

Joe: After I add the sections I just mentioned, I have several readers lined up for their input. Then I will decide how to approach publication. But one step at a time.

Calliope: Well said. Good luck with the stretch. 

Sweating the Small Stuff and Its Consequences

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Joe: Good morning Calliope.

Calliope: Hi Joe. Whats new?

Joe: I am still working on my stress book. Here is my latest newsletter which I have also incorporated into my book.

Sweating the Small Stuff and its Consequences


Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.

~Leo Buscaglia~

First the big stuff. At its extreme, worry takes the form of a psychological disorder called obsessive-compulsive disorder. You get overcome by worrying about what you did and what you are about to do. You keep doing the same things over and over hoping to get it right this time. Being consumed by this disorder leaves little time for anything else and leaves you constantly exhausted.

Fortunately most people do not worry to this extent. Small matters can look large at the moment but in the long run don’t matter very much at all. Fear comes close to paralyzing them in everything they think or do.

Where does this fear come from? For many people, it dates back to early childhood when they were given the impression that they were not competent to do much of anything. True, most of us are not born prodigies but gradually learn survival skills and go on to develop special talents. Encouragement along the way helps us take our first faltering steps. Have you watched a baby learn to walk? The first awkward attempts lead nowhere. But with encouragement and support, babies are off and running before you know it.

Some parents are critical of everything their children do. Children naturally want to please their parents. But if nothing they do is acceptable, they tend to start worrying about whether they are worthwhile or just give up.

Such children grow into adults with no confidence in themselves and can start second guessing everything they do. They are not likely to take too many chances. They don’t trust themselves and seldom try to develop new skills. They might also go to the other extreme and strive for perfection in everything they do. In case you haven’t noticed, perfection is an impossible goal to reach.

So what’s the alternative? Having given up on perfection, what’s left? You can do your best. Your best depends on your energy, health, mood and skills. All of these might well vary from day to day. You might not be satisfied with your best, but you can’t do any better at the moment. You have given it all you’ve got. Perhaps you can do better at another time. But that doesn’t matter. You did your best right now.

Accepting your best means being kind, gentle and understanding of yourself and of your best efforts. It doesn’t matter what others think about you. You know you did your best and that’s all there is to it. While you are at it, learn to accept others as doing the best they can under their current circumstances. This approach will save you the trouble of worrying or fretting about things over which you have no control.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Let go of perfection as a personal goal.
  • Let go of fretting about what you consider your shortcomings.
  • Recognize your abilities and accept them for what they are.
  • Always do your best and be satisfied with it.
  • Accept the best others can do.

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