Grooving in Coconut Grove

Parrot

One of many tropical parrots preparing to get tipsy and silly on a feast of sea grapes.

(Photo credit: heatherfromthegrove)

There are many unique cities and towns across the globe, but I have a particular fondness for the place that I call Home:  Coconut Grove.

This artsy, bohemian village is a friendly haven for writers, artists, architects, musicians and academics. Its mellow, unpretentious residents (Grovites) hail from a cross-section of cultures and spiritual leanings, and they possess a strong sense of community.  The Grove is a place where people actually walk everywhere and say “hello” to each other (in many cases, by name!).  Coconut Grove businesses readily support each other — in the spirit of camaraderie, mutual respect and collaboration.  Almost every household has a dog and/or cat.  Colorful parrots fly freely, squawking loudly as they perch atop the branches of lush, tropical trees. Even the stray cats and possums are happy and well-fed  (well, at least the ones that frequent my yard!).

For those of you who have never visited The Grove, you really must add it to your list of “must see’s.”

I’ve created a special page on this blog site (see menu tabs on top, labeled The Grove) — for anyone interested in reading more about this idyllic community.  The page is a work in progress and I will be adding more to it, as the days/months progress.

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Cheers,

heatherfromthegrove

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Maximize Your Five Senses

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“Our senses are indeed our doors and windows on this world, in a very real sense the key to the unlocking of meaning and the wellspring of creativity.”

Jean Houston  

There is one thing I know for sure:  we should never take anything or anyone for granted.  The saying “Here today, gone tomorrow” rings true for many of us, unfortunately.  Such is the reality of life.  That is why we must savor every moment and appreciate those around us – open our eyes, ears  and minds to all the wonderful experiences that are ours to earn and to claim.

What connects us – to ourselves, to each other, and to everything we do – is very basic… so basic, in fact, that not only do many of us take it for granted, we also fail to maximize its potential.  What does “it” refer to? 

Sense.

We have five basic senses:  sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.  When we utilize these senses to their fullest extent and in every aspect of our lives, we achieve success and fulfillment… and, most of all, balance.  Those who are missing one or more senses (due to blindness, deafness, a physical inability to smell, impaired taste buds, or paralysis) often find that their remaining senses are heightened.

In the following weeks, I will be writing about each of the five senses – exploring their impact and potential, and sharing a few pertinent anecdotes along the way.  Storytelling is, after all, the most powerful way to connect  people with ideas and thoughts. And finally, I will dedicate a blog to what is commonly referred to as the “sixth sense.”   More on that later.

Upcoming heatherfromthegrove blog:  “Keep That Lens Focused.”   

Until then… enjoy the journey.

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

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“Don’t waste your time looking back at what you’ve lost.

Move on.

Life is not meant to be traveled backwards.”

~ Unknown

Some musings from “heatherfromthegrove” …

Remember  the past, but don’t live in it.  Most importantly, say goodbye to regrets.  Regrets fester and will keep you from moving forward.  Savor every moment of the present and look forward to the possibilities that Tomorrow has in store for you.

Follow your bliss. Don’t create imaginary roadblocks for yourself.  Just do it. And love every minute of it.

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Photo Credit: Heather Joan Marinos

Writing in an Authentic Voice

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“Believe in yourself and in your own voice,

because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does.

Take heart from the knowledge that an author with a strong voice

will often have trouble at the start of his or her career –

because strong, distinctive voices sometimes make editors nervous.

 But in the end, only the strong survive.”

―  Jayne Ann Krentz

Most writers are blessed (although some would say, cursed) with the uncanny ability to see through another person’s outward façade, body language and emotional barriers.  Good writers are keen observers.  We watch. We don’t just listen, we hear.  And we notice – everything. Then, we write.

Similarly, a voracious reader opens up a book, in anticipation of a good read – expecting to be transported into someone else’s words, someone else’s thoughts. The reader has high expectations. He or she  wants to soak up all that the writer has to say. But when the words seem forced, when the thoughts do not ring true – the reader is left deflated and unsatisfied.

It all boils down to one word:  Authenticity.  When a writer is ready to commit his or her observations, experiences, life lessons and creativity to paper, it must be done clearly and in an authentic voice.  If the writing is not authentic, the reader will detect it in a flash. If a story appears forced to the reader, it is forced.

Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.

A writer should never worry about being popular.  We can’t please everybody.  There will always be those who take umbrage at what we say.  Conversely, there will be just as many who will champion us. One has to be philosophical about the whole writing experience.  When we are true to ourselves, when we write in an authentic voice – we should be happy with the end result.

However…

… this should not preclude us from exercising the art of self-restraint.  When a writer is passionate (and believe me, I know whereof  I speak), it becomes an interesting balancing act of saying what needs to be said, yet reigning the words in a tad – to avoid rabid repetition. 

A word to the wise:  gather together an unbiased focus group of people and have them read and critique the manuscript. Heed their feedback well, without taking it personally.  Then, apply it.  We are all classmates in a lifelong Continuing Education program. The objective must always be to learn and to keep on learning, until we are dead and buried.

On that lively note, I shall bid you all Godspeed as you continue your writing journey.

Be true to yourself and to your craft.  The best is yet to come.

Image via destinationsdreamsanddogs.com