Category: Speaking and Radio Speaking

About Stepping Off the Edge–A Roadmap for the Soul

Stepping Off the Edge

Last Tuesday, Native American model and actor Rick Mora and Rev. May Leilani Schmidt were on Leilani’s radio show, Universal Spiritual Connection. I called in and chatted for a minute. We discussed spirituality and other topics. Out of that, Leilani scheduled her shown on Tuesday, June 24th 2014, as a three way discussion between Rick, herself and me, Sandy Nathan.

We’re going to talk about spirituality and our personal backgrounds: how did our lives influence the way we are? How did experience shape us? [June 24th is a highly auspicious day: my dad's birthday and that of my meditation master. What magic will play?]

I thought, We’ll be talking about spirituality. I wonder if people would be interested in my book  Stepping off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice? That’s really about spirituality. Stepping was published in 2006. For my first book, I wanted to write something significant. Something that really mattered. I wanted to help people. I also wanted to tell my story.

And thus, Stepping off the Edge was born. It’s the first and only book in the memoir/self-help/New Age/spiritual/religious/applied psychology genre. It’s good, too. The darn thing won six national awards out of the starting gate.

Rendered me speechless, which is hard to do.

Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist - I've got bunch more stickers like this. I'll spare you a show and tell.

 

  • 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist in New Age (Spirituality/Metaphysics) The Benjamin Franklin Award is one of the largest and most prestigious awards for independent presses.
  • Bronze Medal Winner in Self Help, 2007 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Awards The IPPY Award contest is the largest and oldest for indie presses.
  • National Indie Excellence Awards 2007: Finalist in THREE Categories: Autobiography/Memoir, New Age Non-Fiction & Spirituality.
  • Best Books of 2007, USA Book News, Finalist in Autobiography/Memoir

 

After its triumphant birth, Stepping off the Edge was eclipsed by my passion for writing fiction. It’s moldered on the Amazon site since, inexplicably rising to bestseller status in Applied Psychology every once in a while. I have no idea why; I’ve never promoted it.

Is now the time for Stepping to shine? I have no idea, but  two designers are working on new a cover and interior. It’s well on it’s way to a triumphant return as Stepping off the Edge: A Roadmap for the Soul. Will the new book emerge before the June 24th show? Beats me. I’m working on it.

Here’s the new Author’s Note which will go in the new book. There’s some repetition from the above, but folks most likely won’t have read this blog post:

ANOTHER NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Sandy Nathan 5/18/2014

The original Stepping off the Edge bears a 2006 copyright. It was my first book. I thought I should start my career with something meaningful. I wanted to create a work that was  deep and significant, expressing eternal truths. I wanted readers to see who I was and remember that when they read my future works. Stepping did that and much more: the darn thing won six national awards, quite a surprise for a first time author.

The 2014 version of Stepping off the Edge is very similar to the 2006 one. The thing about eternal truths is that they’re eternal. Reviewing the manuscript showed me that while my personal issues are different today, probably more people are struggling with the material in the original Stepping than when I wrote it.

The nasty eBay addiction I studied meticulously in the first Stepping is tamed, but millions more people have discovered the joy of spending 90% of their time in front of a computer screen, grabbing at shiny trinkets. They’re/we’re like rats in some experiment, trying to reach nirvana one pellet of food at a time. Call it gaming, participating in social media, book marketing, personal branding, or plain ol’ eBay addiction, the possibilities for destroying the meaning of your life on-line have multiplied over the years. You can still apply what I say in Stepping to dig yourself out of your hole.

Same with writing. Much of the first Stepping is about my struggle to see my work in print. I go on and on about achieving my dream of becoming a famous author, making millions, and eventually dominating the world. No. Wait—that’s what they do in gaming.

Today, millions more share my literary agony. I know: they’re self-pubbing like crazy, flooding the market with books that compete with mine. No need to change the bits in the old Stepping that concerned the Author’s Path.

Stepping off the Edge is awash with Native Americans. Its design has a Native theme and chapters and chapters take place at a spiritual retreat held by this country’s First People. Bill Miller (Mohican/German), my all time favorite musician, artist, and speaker, was the spiritual leader of that retreat. He gifted me with an interview and testimonial.

Want to know why a San Francisco-born, Silicon Valley-raised woman is so obsessed with Native Americans? I’d suggest reading my bio, which is somewhere in this book. It talks about my fall from American royalty into the desperate condition of being a regular person. Recovering from that fall has formed most of my life and turned me into a writer. I wrote this book and then a few dozen other books and manuscripts from my angst.

I dubbed my first fiction series the Bloodsong Series. Why? It’s written in my blood. After I’d drafted a few thousand pages of the Bloodsong books, I had this giant Ahah!

At least half of the characters were Native Americans. Why? I lived on the San Francisco peninsula. I don’t think I’d ever seen an Indian.

I realized that I had lived the lite version of what happened to Native Americans. They had the kingdom the entire continent and lost it. I know how that feels. They were treated abominably for centuries, and had the worst abuse hurled at them. Then they were asked, “What’s the matter with you? Why aren’t you doing better, you lazy bums?” I know all about that, too.

One more thing: I do not sit you down in this book and teach you how to meditate, pray, or figure out what’s sacred to you and what you should do with your life. Some things you have to do for yourself. This book is a roadmap containing everything that actually helped me heal and move forward. Some of it is from my years in school, while other portions may be highly personal spiritual experiences. That’s what I offer you. You have to apply your mind and heart to what’s in this book and transform it to fit your circumstances.

Having set the stage, here’s the Author’s Note to the original Stepping of the Edge. It’s as valid now as it was on the first go round.

 * * *

I want this book to touch you and heal you. I’d like my writing to open your heart so that the love inside flows out and transforms your life. I want my words to make you laugh and cry and feel and become the person you were meant to be. I want to move so many people that the world of hopes and prayers becomes real and we live together in paradise.

Negotiation coaches tell you to set your aspirations high. That way, you’ll have a better chance of achieving them, or at least you’ll get closer than you thought you could. My goals are set out above: You can tell me if I attain them when you’ve read this book. Right now, I want to tell you about it.

At first, I wanted to write a book about a Native American spiritual retreat called the Gathering. As I wrote, I realized that what I was writing about was bigger. I was writing not just about a particular retreat or spiritual activity, but also about how we can become mature, spiritual beings.  What must we humans do to grow up?

If that is too big a question, how did I grow up? I’ve grown up over thirty years of spiritual seeking. I can tap into my inner well of bliss. I’ve got a great life. My husband and I have been together for forty years and are still in love. My family’s wonderful. And I still experience my old crud now and again, but that’s not the norm.

How did I achieve this?

By what I do and how I live. Spiritual practice made me the woman I am. So I wrote a book about spiritual practice. This is a real “show me, don’t tell me” volume, because you don’t learn spiritual practice from reading a book. A book can tell you about spiritual practice, but doesn’t give you its fruit. Trying to learn spiritual practice from a book is like trying to train a dog without having one. Spiritual practice is alive and requires a living body committed to learning. Given this, I used my favorite demonstration tools, my soul, body and life, to illustrate the road to spiritual maturity. (A few of my friends chip in their stories, as you’ll see.)

This book is a trip. I cover the bases of prayer, meditation, worship, spiritual retreat, dedication of one’s life to experiencing the divine, taming the mind … I write about many things, using stories and examples that anyone can comprehend. I hate books that are so highfaluting that the average person can’t understand them. Life is hard enough without me making it worse with intellectual pretension.

I suggest that we get going. Who knows how much time we have for our journey? None of us will come out of this earthly voyage alive: We’d better start now.

Sandy Nathan
My website
My new interactive website
My Facebook author page (Please like!)
My Amazon author page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Freak Out Before Speaking on the Radio? 14 Tips that May Help

Radio Stage Fright Got You Down?

How to Overcome Radio Stage Fright

I’ll handle this question in one sentence: There is no way to overcome radio stage fright.

Every time I’m on the radio is the first time. Before every interview, I sit in front of my home altar, repeating my mantra so that my over-heated heart does not explode and squirt blood out of my ears. I’ve been this way as long as I’ve been talking on the radio.

It doesn’t matter that the radio host is a good friend and has been a visitor at our house. Doesn’t matter that she’s really smart, loves my work and me, and wants me to succeed even more than my mom did.

What can you do to overcome radio stage fright?

  1. Know your material. That should be easy. You wrote it.
  2. Make a detailed outline of what you want to say. Then simplify that. Make an even tighter statement of what you want to say and put it on index cards. Keep them where you can see them while you’re on the air.
  3. Know the answers to the interviewer’s questions. This should be easy, if you wrote them. If you don’t know what the questions are, the index card tip above will suffice. Index cards and winging it—the ultimate terror.
  4. An hour before the program, take a walk. If you live in an area where you might be mugged or something, don’t take a walk.
  5. Breathe slowly and deeply and keep breathing until the show is over. Then you can stop breathing.
  6. Hook up an old-fashioned, wired-connection telephone and use it. Wireless phones don’t record very well. Don’t use a cellphone, ever.
  7. If you have any spiritual practice, now’s the time to haul it out: prayer, mantra repetition, meditation, tickling dog’s tummies. A trip to Lourdes (allow enough time).
  8. Play music you find spiritual uplifting and/or calming before you go on.
  9. Place an object or photo that has spiritual significance to you where you can see it during the interview. A saint’s picture, a sacred image, an icon. An archetypal object. Stare at it while you’re being interviewed. Maybe you’ll hypnotize yourself.
  10. The first three minutes establish the success of your interview, so make them good.
  11. DO NOT BREATHE INTO YOUR PHONE. Listeners will hear it and think you are an ax murderer. Don’t forget about this. You will feel dumb when you hear yourself panting later. Heavy breathing can ruin a good interview.
  12. If the person interviewing you is friendly, relax and have fun. If the person is hostile, you can tell him that you’re not the person who wrote the book he’s talking about. You wrote Billy the Bison Barfs. Where are his questions about that? You can also cry. That works for women. I don’t know about guys. Alternatively, you can start karate classes two years before your interview. They probably teach stuff that would help there. Ditto for assertiveness training.
  13. When it’s over, thank God and make a donation to your favorite charity. Schedule your next radio interview while you’re still high. (You’re gonna do great. Trust me.)
  14. Major meds—name your favorite—really help. Instead of doing all of the above, you can drug yourself before the show. Just make sure that your speech isn’t slurred and you can remember your name.

Even if you everything I’ve taught you, nothing will really help. Radio stage fright is your body telling you that you are alive and facing a situation that could cause great humiliation. Or triumph.

Sandy Nathan  I’m on a blog tour and pumped out a bunch of articles like this. Thought I’d share them with you, my regular readers. I’ll post more later. If you’d like to follow my tour, here’s a link. They’ve got me posted everywhere. More to come! Sandy’s Amazon Author Page   Sandy’s Web Site

Sandy Nathan and Tecolote

 

 

 

 

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