Category: Writing-–Personality Type, Psychology

Stepping off the Edge: A Roadmap for the Soul – Coming at you!

Are you ready to step off the edge?

Stepping off the Edge: A Roadmap for the Soul  is the new edition of my spiritual classic. Why should you be interested in Stepping off the Edge? Do you have an on-line addiction that is threatening your job, relationship, and sanity? Do you feel that you don’t know who you really are–in the big sense of  what you’re doing on the planet and in the little sense of why am I here? In Podunkwalla USA? In this skin and particular life? Have you lost something important–a spouse or kids or everything you owned? Is life a pain, or even worse, dull as sawdust? Would you like to go somewhere where you could learn something worth learning with people worth knowing?

I have just outlined what’s in my book and why it’s for you. Stepping off the Edge is a roadmap for navigating the hardest, most important journey you’ll ever make: your life. I wrote Stepping because I wanted to share what I did that facilitated my life working out. The book is a memoir, a very personal series of stories and vignettes that illustrate spiritual principles. It’s not a text book, though it does contain theoretical material. It’s not a how to book, but it does contain exercises you can use to apply concepts. Above all, it’s not a 1, 2, 3 guide to how to be spiritual. I don’t sit you down and teach you how to meditate or pray. (Some things, a person has to figure out for herself.)

My life has worked out and that’s my primary credential in writing this book. I’m sixty eight years old and an happy! That may be the most important thing. I’m happy, content, and in love with my husband of forty years. I love my work–writing for you–and live a beautiful California horse ranch surrounded by animals and people I love.

LINDENWOOD-GATES

These are the gates to the estate on which my family lived. We didn't own the whole thing, it had been subdivided years before. We had an acre of paradise.

My life wasn’t always like that. When I was eighteen, my father was brutally slain by a drunk driver. At that time, I had a charmed existence. My parents owned the tenth largest residential construction company in the USA. We lived in what is now the third most affluent town in the country. I showed horses and water skied on weekends.

Within months of my father’s death, I lived in a tiny apartment at below poverty income. I won’t talk about how that happened, but it did. My brain still thought I was upper class, Why aren’t you doing more charity work, Sandy?

I was seriously depressed for a decade after my father’s death. I didn’t know it and it didn’t slow my down; I earned two master’s degrees and part of a PhD. I was the Santa Clara County economic analyst. Big titles, big jobs, while my soul labored to keep me moving and darkness drifted just out of sight.

Angst

Darkness nipped at me

A huge breakthrough occurred when I attended one of the giant enlightenment seminars during the 1970s. One of the participants wore a blanket around her hunch shoulders. She shuddered and cried the entire weekend, a living plea for help. The seminar leader gave it to her, stripping her to her truth. He showed her and everyone else that she was identified with physical illness and in love with the attention she got as a sick person. He also helped her expose what her sick act had cost her: a husband had walked out on her; she’d lost her kids. She got it, at least then.

Some people really have sickness down. They may be "sick" all their lives, eighty five years or so

Some people really have sickness down. They may be "sick" all their lives, oh, eighty five years or so.

Someone in my life was like that. I had assumed that her “sick act” was as immutable as the fabric of the universe. A Mount Rushmore of the soul. I was also forbidden to feel/express any resentment or be anything but kind and empathetic. The seminar leader showed me that the woman’s behavior was an act, an unconscious but very powerful role that had taken over her life.  As an act and not the real her, it could be changed. I saw. Even if that person who was impacting me so much couldn’t change, I could. 

How did I get from that moment to now? It’s all in Stepping off the Edge Took thirty-nine years. I did everything from getting an MA in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling to spending thirty years with a meditation school based in India, to coaching negotiations at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford, to working on myself every way I could.  Stepping contains the fruit of my spiritual pilgrimage.

I’m pulling out the stops in getting the word out about Stepping. You can buy it as a paperback and as an eBook very soon. I’m puttin’ the message out in other ways, via Facebook albums and Pinterest boards and who knows what else I’ll think of. These new social media offer terrific ways of sharing content and giving readers a very clear look at what a book is about. Like this:

Bliss accompanies spirit. If you're thinking about studying with someone don't feel blissful around him or her, you're in the wrong place.

My intent is to get  your attention. What Stepping is about is very important: you and who you really are. Want another teaching aide? Check this out. I’m having a bunch of these “Maxim Cards” made up on key points from Stepping. The three presented here deal with the basic issue: What is spirituality? What is spiritual? I’ve got cards made up in nine other areas, ranging from What is your true identity? To How to establish a personal spiritual practice? All the way to Spiritual traps and dealing with evil.

I like things presented so everyone can understand them. Take a living person. Then look at a dead one. The difference is spirit. No spirit, no life.

One of the things about being an older person is you know you don’t have forever to do whatever you came to this earth to do. That’s one reason I’m putting the new version of Stepping off the Edge. It’s behind my push to get these materials to you. They’re beautiful, impactful teaching aides giving you jewels of spiritual exploration. What do they cost? Nothing, at the moment. I am discussing selling them with a retailer. So, download while you can. Contemplate and apply always.

How to you fully experience your spiritual nature? Contemplation–attention fixed on an object–is a very good start.

Want more than pictures? How about music, color and movement? A video! Let this run through once to buffer. It’s HD so you can watch it full screen. Enjoy!

 

Here’s where you find these Maxims from Stepping off the Edge: A Roadmap for the Soul:

Sandy Nathan/Vilasa Press on Facebook, my professional page:   My albums from Vilasa Press. All the Maxims are in there. Please “Like” my page!

Sandy Nathan/Author on Facebook, my personal page:   My albums. Lots of them. You can look through the ones on Stepping and all the rest. If we aren’t FB friends, send me a Friend request and I’ll Friend you.

My Pinterest boards are here. The Maxims have boards of their own and you’ll find lots of other interesting stuff. Feel free to borrow and repin.

All the best,   [I'm not quite sure what the Facebook badge below does. May take you somewhere where you can get to the Maxims faster. Below the badge is some info about Stepping off the Edge. What it's won in contests and so on.]

Sandy Nathan

Promote Your Page Too

The text of the second edition of Stepping isn’t much different that the first edition. I didn’t change the book very much for a bunch of reasons. Reading it again told me that nothing has changed; in fact, spiritual life has gotten much worse for many people in the last. More on-line addiction, more seeking and striving and killing one’s dear self to attain success as a commercial writer, more of everything I talked about back in 2007 when the first Stepping came out. What’s to change?

Also, not many people read or even heard of Stepping off the Edge, even though it won the most prestigious awards of my multi-award winning books. When the first Stepping was pubished, it won:

  • 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist in New Age (Spirituality/Metaphysics)
  • Bronze Medal Winner in Self Help, 2007 IPPY (Independent Press) Awards
  • 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

The Benjamin Franklin Awards and IPPY Awards are probably the most prestigious, largest, and oldest contests for independently produced books. This was my first book and I didn’t realize what a big deal those wins were. Now I do.

For more about the original Stepping off the Edge, check out my website.

 

About the Author – Who I Am and Why I Write – What’s in It for You?

Here I am, shortly before I lost my crown.

The “About the Author” portion of any book usually sounds as though the writer is sequestered on the far side of the moon, leaving an all-knowing narrator to hand out propaganda. I’m going to skip that and tell you my real story, heart to heart.

I was born to be a princess. I was a princess, for a while. My parents overcame the poverty of their youth by becoming extremely successful. My hometown was one of the most affluent places in the country. Giant oaks, old mansions, and flashy cars surrounded me. I spent my time showing horses and water-skiing behind my dad’s obscenely overpowered boat.

Princess Sandy died when a drunk driver hit my father head-on in 1964, killing him. Those words aren’t enough. My father didn’t die right away. Days after the accident, he died of suffocation, as blood clots from his massive internal injuries broke loose, traveled through his veins, and lodged in his lungs.

My old life vanished. Through structures and systems I will not describe, I lived at a below poverty level income for a while. I could qualify for food stamps, yet I worried that I wasn’t doing enough charitable work. My brain still thought I was upper class.

What happened in the coming years opened my eyes. I’ve seen and lived the over-privileged existence I describe in the Bloodsong Series. I’ve seen how ephemeral its rewards are and how it warps those who are trapped by it. I’ve seen how it masks mental illness and cruelty.

Want to know why a San Francisco-born, Silicon Valley-raised woman is so obsessed with Native Americans? 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 don’t think I’d ever seen an Indian.

I realized that had lived the lite version of what happened to Native Americans. They had the kingdom––the entire continent––and lost it. I know how losing everything 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, and much, much more.

My writing has a bite. My life has had a bite. Recovering from what happened to me has taken many years. But I have not just recovered, I have triumphed. What was legitimately mine came back to me, along with the fruit of my own labor. My husband––the love of my life––and I are almost embarrassingly harmonious. We’ve been together forty years. We live on our horse ranch, the most beautiful place I’ve seen.

If your life echoes the first, oh, fifty years of mine, you might find something for yourself in my books. My writing isn’t for everyone. I write about people getting better and the world working out, but its not always gentle and nice. A reviewer described my Mogollon as “equal parts horror, spiritual, romance, and action.” If that’s for you, you’re my reader.

I write visionary fiction, which is about making the world a better place. Why do I write that with the bio above? Because of I have had huge spiritual experiences all my life, as well as gentler ongoing guidance. Whatever is behind them and this earthly life wants me to sing my songs. And I did triumph over what befell me.

What’s in my writing for you? What do you get out of it? A darn good story. Insight into your own life and spirit. People write to me all the time, saying how powerful my work is and how it helped them. Maybe it will help you, too.

Now for my “regular bio”: I went to school a very long time and have two advanced degrees. I’ve had prestigious careers. My writing has won twenty-four national awards. I have three grown children and two grandchildren. I write a lot, and I’m happy.

SANDY NATHAN

By purest happenstance,  I have two new books to  tell you about. They both reflect everything above

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem (Bloodsong 2)

MOGOLLON: A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MAYHEM This is the long-awaited sequel to Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, in which a great Native American shaman mets the richest man in the world. In Mogollon, Will Duane and Grandfather not only meet, they mix it up. This book is wild, utterly imaginative, and the opening salvo to a whole bunch more Bloodsong books. Prepare to have your reality stretched and tested. This is the book the reviewer called “equal parts horror, spiritual, romance, and action.”

Best way to find out about Mogollon is visit its Amazon page. Mogollon is available in both Kindle and print forms.

While I love my Kindle, I would buy this one as a trade paperback just for the cover. They guy on the horse is Rick Mora, a Native American actor and model. He’s one of the most photographed Natives in the world. I’m honored and delighted to have him grace Mogollon’s cover. The rear cover isn’t too bad, either. It depicts Will Duane, Master of the Universe.

 

 

 

 

Leroy Watches Jr. & the Bad*ss Bull

LEROY WATCHES JR. & THE BAD*SS BULL was a surprise to me.  I read the final version of  Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem and thought, Hmm. People are going to like this. They are also going to want more. (There’s a third book in the series, Phenomenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Miracles, which takes the week from late Wednesday night to closing on Saturday. LOTS happens in those days and nights. I have Phenomenon draft form and need but rewrite it to send it into the world.)

But let me tell you a secret about writing. Staring at an unshaped lump of 150,000 words and knowing that you will become intimately acquainted with every one of them before the war is over is daunting. That’s what I have to do to get Phenomenon into your hands. More than that, really. You don’t need to know. Even worse, what if I am beset by writer’s block the way I was with Mogollon and can’t even scribble my name for years?

Thinking mightily, I came up with , What if I tossed out a little something to give my readers something new to imbibe while they’re waiting for the next Bloodsong book? (That’s in case they don’t discover my Earth’s End Trilogy, thousands of pages all done up and ready to be read.) And maybe I can do more of little somethings, time permitting?”

So I did. The first of these newer, smaller books, known simply as Leroy by friends, is about the shaman Grandfather’s grandson, Leroy Watches Jr. Leroy is the family screw-up, simple as that. His he a failed shaman? I would never say anything like that in the book. But maybe he is. Or maybe he’s he’s a slow developer.

He does talk about the time he went to a neighbor’s ranch to heal a cow and struck oil. His life is like that. And it is in this book.

Leroy Watches Jr. & the Bad*ss Bull  is my first entry in the humor arena. Writing it was so fun! I sat in front of my computer laughing my *ss off.

It turns out that you can read Leroy  before, during or after Mogollon. Leroy sets the stage and fills in background, but it doesn’t spill the beans on Mogollon. And it’s only $1.99. Such a deal. The print version of the book is on the cusp of publication. You might want to check it out. Leroy is also worth bying for the cover alone.

Jungian Type for Writers: What Writers Must Know about Personality Types

Amore et Psyche

Amore et Psyche––Desire and the soul. Today, we'll talk about psyche, the soul.

Personality type may seem an abstract and unnecessary thing for writers to be concerned about. Shouldn’t we be polishing our prose with our writing groups and editors, instead of worrying about our psychological types?

No. Personality type is something writers must know, in addition to how to construct a killer novel and get it sold. Why?

1. You have a personality type whether you know it or not, and whether you care about it or not.

2. Your personality type is intrinsic to who you are and expresses in your writing, as your writing.

3. Your readers also have personality types. Their reading preferences are shaped by their personality types.

4. The wise writer knows this and adjusts his or her writing style to appeal to as broad a spectrum of reader tastes as possible.

I read Irene Watson’s initial guest blog with great interest. She’s writing about Jungian type. When I ran into Carl Jung’s theory of personality type in graduate school, I was electrified. I recognized it as life changing information. Let me add my two cents to what Irene provided.

How did Jung come up with his theory of personality type? The great Swiss psychologist, Carl G. Jung, was puzzled by the radical differences between the ways he and his buddies thought. Who were his buddies? Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler, giants in the history of psychology, like Jung.

How could three powerful, brilliant, and visionary minds see the world and human personality so differently?

Jung’s typology is his explanation. The theory is quite complex, but it’s practical importance is simple. What’s the bottom line to Jung’s theory?

PEOPLE THINK DIFFERENT.

Yes, I know, Steve Jobs claimed those words for an Apple sales pitch, but it’s true. If we’re going to succeed in the world, we need to REALLY GET THAT PEOPLE LIVE IN DIFFERENT PERCEPTUAL UNIVERSES.

As authors, we must bridge those worlds if we want to reach our readers. We’d better start with knowing which type we are, if we’re going to be marketing our writing to the right audience. Here’s a web site where you can take a test to determine your personality type.

A good reference

A good reference

What is Jungian Personality Type?

Jung came up with four basic types of personality. Two of these are rational––the thinking and feeling types. By rational, I mean operating according to an internal set of rules. These may be logical (in the thinking type), or based on internal emotional values (the feeling type.)

The other two types, intuitive and sensate, are irrational; they don’t conform to an internal value or thought system. (Each of these types also operate in an introverted or extroverted way. I’ll skip this for brevity.)

Jung said that children can be observed preferring a type early on, perhaps around age five. One child may become an academic success, be praised for it, and develop into a thinking type. Another child may have success in sports and literally run with that––develop as a sensate.

Everyone has all four functions, even it they prefer one. We have the four functions because we need them to survive as human beings. We need to be able to think logically, as well as know how we feel emotionally, and know the emotional states of people around us. We must be aware of intuitions and guidance from the larger universe. We have to be able to control our bodies and master the physical world.

Our dominant psychological function acts like a team captain. It’s like our dominant hand––we know how to use it and do use it most. But because we can’t do everything with one hand, we develop our other hand, and the rest of our body.

Similarly, we must develop our non-dominant psychological functions.  They provide backup when we need them, like a non-dominant hand. The functions we develop as backups are those on either side of our dominant function on the chart above. A thinker is likely to be a pretty good sensate and intuitive, but clueless about feelings, his own and those of others.

The inferior function is opposite of our primary type. It’s too far from what we do best to really shine. It remains in the shadow, aced out by the big brothers who run the show. The inferior function is sort of like the elbow of the personality. What can you do using one elbow? Still, you need it. You have it.

WHY DO WRITERS NEED TO KNOW THIS? The way we write is influenced by our personality type. Let’s spend some time looking at each type.

THINKING TYPE: Thinking types orientate themselves in the world by thoughts and facts, right and wrong, intellectual models and systems. They operate on principles and logic. These can be wrong––lousy thinking and bad logic––but the thinking type will cling to them. Thinking types have trouble expressing personal feelings and appear relatively cold and unemotional.  Historic figures: Sigmund Freud (Jung’s buddy!), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates & Richard Nixon. (Thinking can be good or bad. Source: mypersonalityinfo.com) WHAT DO THEY LIKE TO READ? Material that reflects their interests: Logical, fact driven content, intellectual puzzles, maybe intellectual thrillers. Pared down writing with no fluff.

Sigmund Freud, whose personality inspired part of Jung's typology.  Sigmund Freud, shown here reading the print version of yourshelflife.com,
is a classic thinking type.

SENSATE: Sensates orientate themselves by data from the world around them. They are concerned with power in the highest way: If what’s real to you is the physical world, controlling as much of it as you can makes sense. Practical, realistic, confident, & active. Adaptable. Athletes and sports heroes are likely to be sensates. Historic sensates: Alfred Adler, known for his personality theory stressing “will to power” and one of Jung’s buddies. WHAT DO THEY LIKE TO READ: Stuff about the real world, power, politics, action, sports. Here’s your thriller market.

Alfred Adler

Alfred Adler

FEELING TYPE: The feeling type orientates himself by emotional responses tied to personal values. The feeling type is in touch with his or her emotional state and very aware of the emotional states of those around him. Interested in people, feelings, love, passion. They are not hysterics or fountains of feeling. Feeling types are so skilled at handling their feelings that they may appear cold. WHAT DO THEY READ: This is the women’s lit, chick lit, romance market. Can also be higher toned literature on feeling/people related themes. Maeve Binchy would fall  here.

INTUITIVE TYPE: Intuitives have a vision. They are tuned in to a world beyond the physical and draw strength and comfort from it. They can express their intuitions and visions to others and enlist them as to carry them out. Intuitives are charismatic, charming, interested in people and solving problems of others and the planet. Introverted intuitives can be religious leaders. Extroverted intuitives can be excellent business, picking up on currents of change that others miss. Historic Intuitives: Carl Jung, Jesus Christ, and Adolf Hitler. (The intuitive’s vision  doesn’t have to be correct.) I would say that Steve Jobs shows up here, an extroverted intuitive. WHAT DO THEY READ? The Bible and other sacred texts, books about saints and spiritual experience, The Da Vinci Code, spiritually themed material. Stuff about their area of intuition. My books, Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge, are perfect books for intuitives, written by an intuitive.

Carl Jung on the cover of C. G. Jung's Psyholog of religion & Sunchronicty, R. Aziz

Carl Jung

Not only do the personality types behave very differently, they WRITE DIFFERENTLY and READ DIFFERENTLY. I’ll try and find or mock up what theses writing styles are like in a later post.

What’s the distribution of these types across the population? This is what’s important for writers.

The link above takes you to a site displaying a distribution of people across the various personality types. I tried to find good numerical data for the typology; this was the best I could do. I’m assuming it’s based on the test results on the site. (The site itself warns that the estimates are not necessarily correct. Not only that, like so many sites I looked at, they’ve changed Jung’s terminology to suit themselves. Swell.)

WHAT DO THE DATA SHOW? The incidence of thinking types (Intellectuals) is only 10% of the surveyed population. Intuitives (Visionaries) make up only 11.5%. Two small, diverse groups making up only 21.5% of the population, thinkers and intuitives represent small market shares. (Caveat: If these two groups read many more books than their share of the population, they may represent a larger market share. So where do we find statistics on book sales by Jungian type to prove or disprove this?)

The combined feeling types and sensates (Protectors & Creators on the linked chart, though Lord knows which is which according to Jung’s terminology) make up a whooping 78.5% of the population. I can’t tell from the site providing the data which are the sensate and feeling types, but if these numbers are anywhere near right, they mean that the LARGEST WRITING MARKETS by a long shot are among sensates & feeling types.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO WRITERS? It means that if you’re a sensate or feeling type, count your lucky stars. A huge market exists in your type, and you’ll be able to write for them easily, because you’re writing for yourself, essentially.

If you’re an intuitive or thinking type, you’re probably looking at a small market if you write the way your personality type indicates. That means you’re going to have to learn to build bridges to the other types to increase your market share and sales. Best to do this by studying this material carefully. What you’ll need to do is inherent in the definition of your type and the types you’re trying to write for: cut it back, fluff it up, subtract or add feelings, put in action. Do what your editor says.

Here’s one example: I was riveted to read Irene Watson’s article on personality type. Why? Because she describes me and my writing perfectly. I am an intuitive.

You’d guess this by the fact that I’ve written a book on spiritual practice and have launched a series about a great native shaman meeting the richest man in the world. (Numenon is an exercise in Jungian typology, which readers may recognize after reading this article. What Jungian types do the main characters represent?)

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money. A book written by an intuitive.

So what did Irene Watson say about the writing of intuitives? “Intuitive people can relate to stories.  The more fluff, descriptive scenes, and full character development, the better they can relate to and enjoy the story.  They are emotional and empathetic.” Irene Watson

I love stories. Life lessons. Stories about people. I love my characters and want to know how their lives work out––every friggin’ one of them. Did you know that 4,000 people are attending the Meeting, the fictional retreat in my series? I fell in love with many of them, to the extent of writing a 240,000 word sequel to Numenon.

It pains me to realize that readers may not be interested in the details of cleaning horses’ feet the natural way.

I’m an intuitive, writing as an intuitive. When I discovered that only 11.5% of the population are intuitives, I was troubled. I also understand my editor more. “Cut it! Just cut it! Delete! Delete!”

If I were a sensate or a feeling type, all would be cool. I’d whip out the romances or thrillers, no sweat. (OK, sweat. All writing is hard.)

That’s it. Read and apply! My next blogging task will be to blog the rewrite of Mogollon, the monster sequel to Numenon. I want you to feel my pain. And joy!

Until the next post, Sandy

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge

Sandy Nathan, award winning author of Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge

The disclaimers: Before you fall in love with Jungian Typology, I need to warn you that some theorists think it’s bogus. Jung wrote a while ago, and things change. Some theorists say, “Nice try, Carl, but right brain/left brain research makes you obsolete.” Other modern writers go, “Well, it’s still useful, conceptually.”

Then we have the dudes and dudettes who’ve changed the terms to market it. Somebody did up Jungian type into a management tool, with different names for the players. Sold it for $$$. And, as we’ve seen above, they’ve changed the types’ names. Why? The originals were good.

So, while I’ve provided links throughout, I don’t recommend or endorse the sites they go to. The concepts are very cool. They can be applied all over, especially to marriage partners and understanding the problems of getting along with others.

We need to know our types and that the way we think REALLY, REALLY is different than the modus operandi of the other types. That’s the message here.

A BUNCH OF LINKS:

C. G. Jung (1921) Psychological Types, Chapter X General Description of the Types In Jung’s own words.

The Meyers & Brigs Foundation, where the MBTI Instrument (test) was developed and can be given. Good info.

Personality100.com “The most detailed personality assessment on the Internet”. OK. This page gives you famous people, fictional characters, and the frequency of personality types. Also good career choices for each type. Good data. No clue if test is free or not???

PersonalityPathways: Exploring Personality Type & Its Applications Good site with Personality100.com link for test.

businessballs.com Charming name, lots of info about personality types from Ezekiel, Hippocrates, Jung, to Myers

Another Jungian type test.

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