Months ago, during one of my frequent "Who am I?" crises, a friend suggested "You're a bell ringer!" I couldn't see it, got angry, and like a fussy toddler spat back "I don't want to ring the bell!"
I have been the person who rings the bell to open and close a meditation session many times. But I didn't see that as a permanent role. And, I couldn't see how that related to the books I hoped to publish.
After more thought, if by "bell ringer" she meant creating structure to help others find freedom from suffering, then yes. I'm all in.
To date, my "bell ringing" has included starting and leading meditation groups and retreats, creating writing practice groups, teaching writing classes and retreats, publishing a writing newsletter and a wellness blog, assisting a best selling author with her students, and writing books, articles, and newsletters focused on well-being.
But here's what my friend might not see. I create structures and write things and offer support because I need those things. I create these for myself. And, (sometimes inadvertently) I wind up cheering others along the way. My "bell ringing" becomes accidental cheerleading, a byproduct of self-care.
For example, after the launch of Depression Hates a Moving Target, people thanked me. Some talked about the people the book would help. Others called me brave. Their comments left me grateful, but confused. I didn't set out to write a helpful book. That was a happy accident.
Some days, while I was writing the book, I would get stuck. When that happened, I imagined a long-time friend reading it. Like me, she battles depression, anxiety, and the tricky mind. I asked myself, "What would J want to know? What would help her?" Thinking of her kept me going. And that process created a book that helped others.
Does that count as bell ringing? I think so.
Accidental bell ringing maybe, but bell ringing just the same.
Right now, I'm writing the proposal for another "bell ringer" book. Stay tuned. I'll send it to my editor soon.
Are you a "bell ringer?" Do you have a "bell ringer" in your life? I'd love to hear if that resonates.
And to that dear friend who saw my "bell ringing" and dared to give it a name, thank you. I owe you an apology and the coffeeshop drink of your choice.
Ed Update: He's up and about, driving his new car, and healing! YAY!
I've begun to post movement meditation videos on Instagram. Do you have a focus when you exercise? If that interests you, please check out my videos and let me know if you find them helpful.
MEDITATION LEADER TRAINING
If you've considered a deep dive into meditation training, whether you intend to lead groups or not, please consider Sage. Sensei Sean Murphy, the mentors and staff are phenomenal.
SAGE INSTITUTE 200-Hour Meditation Leader Training.
The next cohort begins September 7th.
IN THE NEWS:
Simply Said Podcast: Nita Sweeney - Moving through Depression
If You Make More Money Than Your Partner, Should You Split Bills Evenly?
I'm so honored that several book clubs have chosen to read and discuss Depression Hates a Moving Target.
If you would like me to join your book club for a virtual author visit, please contact me. I'd love to meet your group!
I created a kit to foster discussion: Book Club Kit!
On the Blog - Wellness author and founder of Pause First Academy for first responders, Kim Colegrove was my latest (very willing) "victim." Check out her answers to my nosy
Mind, Mood, and Movement
Check out the weekly unicorn meme in the Mind, Mood, and Movement group. Also, share your business link in the comments on my Feature Friday post.
The Writer's Mind
My writing practice group, The Writer's Mind, is for people interested in using Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) tools and methods to create work aimed at publication. We'd love you to join us.
I will never stop thanking you for the positive reviews of Depression Hates a Moving Target and You Should Be Writing. If you enjoyed either book and haven't had a chance, please leave a review. Even a few words go a long way.
These direct links to Amazon make reviews easy:
YSBW - Paperback
YSBW - ebook
DHAMT - Paperback
DHAMT - ebook
DHAMT - Audiobook
Don't have your copy yet? Purchase Nita's books here!
Need it in Korean? Here you go!
Stuck in your writing process?
Whether you're a new writer, already published, or somewhere in between, chances are I've faced what you're up against.
If you'd like help, we'll hop on zoom or that phone thingie. Tell me your quandary, and I'll share my expertise. I have a ton of resources, and decades of experience heading people in the right direction.
I wasn’t sure where to start. Your ideas provided a 'heads-up here’s where you need to go' path. The biggest challenges with new authors are the deep-dive editing surprise, the author platform, and the publishing world. It was helpful to know what to expect.—Susan
Email me at [email protected] to discuss this service.
Another Writing Resource
For 18+ years Write Now Columbus, a once-a-month email newsletter for central Ohio readers and writers, arrives in inboxes. Editor, Tami Kamin Meyer and I compile author events, workshops, writing conferences and other resources in central Ohio. If that interests you, sign up HERE.
If I can help, please ask. Email is always the best way to reach me.
Take care and be well.
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Nita Sweeney is the award-winning wellness author of the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink and co-creator of the writing journal, You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving. A certified meditation leader, ultramarathoner, and former assistant to writing practice originator Natalie Goldberg, Nita founded the group
Mind, Mood, and Movement to support mental well-being through meditation, exercise, and writing practice, and The Writer’s Mind
, to share how to use writing practice to produce publishable work. Nita also publishes the writing resource
newsletter, Write Now Columbus. She lives in central Ohio with her husband, Ed, and their yellow Labrador retriever, Scarlet. Follow her on your favorite social media channels!