I often share humorous stories or real tales of adventure and it's wonderful to see how people take to these stories. I love engaging in philosophical conversations over tea and I enjoy spending long hours at home indulging my creativity. I am an artist, author, teacher, and very much into personal development. I love the outdoors and get a lot of inspiration from nature.
Maria: When/how/why did you start your writing journey?
Cynthia: I didn't consider myself a "writer" until 2011 when I stumbled on the site called HubPages. I was looking to make a little extra money as a side gig to teaching. I had no idea the Pandora's Box that it would open: I got "addicted" to writing articles and figuring out fun things to write about. I met so many wonderful people doing so and became part of a community - and that community kept me going. Eventually I started a blog/website that would become the central parking place of my writing journey until 2016. I felt that this old website lacked focus and so I started "Intuitive and Spiritual" in late 2016 that has a mindful/spiritual focus with creativity - the one upon which I work all the time now.
To be sure, a switch didn't just flip on that November day in 2011 when I signed up for HubPages. I was always a "creative" and a writer. Since a young age, I'd kept journals. I'd write and write and write, contemplating the ups, downs, ins and outs of life. I've filled countless journals and notebooks over the years and in 2014, switched to online journaling.
With this new website, I've also wanted to tackle the challenge of writing novels. I have written some already - about seven - that are all paranormal fiction, or ghost stories! But, I've only published one and it's not in the same genre as my website. Unfortunately, the often macabre nature of paranormal fiction was difficult for me: it was emotionally tough imagining a disparaging scene of some sort and "living it" to write about it.
I also feel that my fiction writing is not yet on par with my abilities in non-fiction. Now, I am contemplating visionary fiction. I find that it's so easy to be "cheesy," though. You know, it's way too easy to write up a scene right out of something from a prudish television show. So, I'm writing some flash fiction stories here and there to see what I can come up with that are hopefully inspiring, but that won't win the prize for being prudish and square. My stories always have to have an element of the supernatural, too. I'm just figuring out how to make it work and for me, I'm finding it is quite the process.
But, writing wasn't and isn't always my main focus. I often feel called to create works of art in the form of painting, drawing, or photography. I have such a need to create that it wasn't until after I moved and had decorated my house that I realized that every work of art inside was something I'd created from 2002 onward! I must have scores of paintings on wood and canvas, not to mention even more drawings. I studied fine art as a minor in college to give me a good foundation of the principles of art. I also used to have my own studio, before I gave it up in favor of working at home. So, when I get tired of writing, I paint, and when I need to write, I do that, too.
Maria: Describe your muse. How do find inspiration for your writing?
Cynthia: I usually don't have a problem finding inspiration in my writing. I have notecards that I carry around with me, waiting to be filled with ideas. I heavily use the notes app on my phone and computer to contain my ideas, too. My writing centers around mindful themes, but I infuse it with creativity: poetry, drawings, coloring pages, photography (though I don't consider myself a true photographer), and more. Between mindfulness and my creativity, I rarely have trouble finding a topic to write about and share. I don't know about you, but I often get ideas in the shower, too.
Maria: I love my copy of your Tree of Life coloring book and eagerly anticipate my copy of the accompanying journal as well. Can you tell us about this labor of love? Any plans for more coloring books along the way?
Cynthia: The Tree of Life journal was a labor of many loves: my love of mindfulness, journaling, drawing and nature. I wanted to put something out into the world that would allow me to share these interests and inspire others. I'm so grateful to friends and family who have supported me on this journey, as well. The activities in the journal center around five themes: creating intentions, expressing gratitude, expressing creativity with coloring pages, doing active mindfulness activities, and mindful writing prompts. These themes all come from principles of personal development and mindfulness.
I definitely have more plans for coloring books and journals. I already have two coloring books that people can get for free on my website. I was supposed to start a "haiku" coloring book, but I think I would like to adapt this idea to another journal, but for free on my website - you all are the first to know! I envision it containing plenty of haikus, coloring pages and mindful activities. It will take some time to complete - a couple months, most likely - but because I love doing this so much and love offering gifts to folks, I can't wait to complete this project.
Maria: How can my readers check out more of your work?
Cynthia: I blog over at intuitiveandspiritual.com. If folks sign up for the newsletter/mailing list (listed at the bottom of each post), I send out newsletters on Friday afternoons. I often try to include a freebie there, as well: guided meditations, poetry, photography, coloring pages, and more. It's all in the name of spreading love, kindness, and mindfulness, while indulging my creativity and love of writing.
Maria: Can you tell us about your LIFE Project? It’s inspirational to me...
Cynthia: The LIFE Project stands for "Living an Intentional and Fulfilling Existence." Each month for a year, I set upon a challenge that gets me closer to intentionally living the life I envision for myself.
I got the idea after creating a "Tree of Life" in my living room with "ornaments" that I had drawn out that would become intentions. They permanently live on the branches of the tree until I fulfill that intention. I review them a few times per year. But from these intentions, I realized that I needed to take many small steps to achieve them - I needed to make small changes that would add up to big things. The idea for the LIFE project was born.
I began in April 2017 with a month of looking inward, followed by a month of decluttering in May, detox in June, sacred travels in July, publishing projects in August, eating vegan in September, making connections in October, expressing gratitude in November, volunteering in December, "going local" in January, expressing love in February and reflecting on the journey in March 2018.
In addition, each day I must complete 10,000 steps, meditate for 60 minutes, spend time journaling, reading, reciting mantras and affirmations, along with the monthly challenge. It's a tough project, but it gives me discipline, and uses principles of personal development to keep me on my path. I have built in "LIFE" days that allow for me to not complete a task if I am traveling, ill, that sort of thing. Overall, however, these requirements mean that I spend about 3 hours per day doing all these things.
Maria: What wisdom can you impart to fellow writers?
Cynthia: I've often heard that writers should establish a schedule and always write or always create, without fail, every single day. While I agree generally, I also believe in being kind to oneself so as to avoid burnout. The one way I've been able to regularly write and create all these years is by not being too regimented and allowing myself room to take a step back as needed. Creativity is a delicate muse: too much stress, or "forced" activity chases it away.
After publishing my journal, my heart and mind needed to take a mind-break. It's been a couple weeks since I've actively worked on drawing and writing (in terms of fiction stories or long drawn-out blog entries). To be sure, I allow myself to be creative in other ways: I've written poetry and done some drawing. I love creating haikus coupled with a beautiful image. I'm also getting ready to create some paintings to give away on my blog. With a little mindfulness and self-kindness, one can lead a beautiful life full of balance and bliss.
I want to express my deepest gratitude to Maria "Marcoujor" for taking the time to interview me. She is an incredible writer, friend and nurse!
And thank you, dear Cynthia…
You are one of the most generous people I know, in your writing and support of other writers, like me. You freely share your musical favorites and suggestions for my Marusic posts.
I loved your suggestion that I check out the talented violinist, Lindsey Stirling. What a spark plug of energy! I am thrilled beyond belief that I’ll be seeing her dance on my ‘Guilty Pleasure of 25 seasons’: Dancing With the Stars with (the amazing in his own right) pro dancer, Mark Ballas.
Let’s share some of Lindsey with my readers. You’ll be moving to this, even if in your work chair!
Some helpful links to Cynthia’s work...
Get free haikus on Twitter
Until next week, sending you hugs and peace,
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