Where Do Our Ambitions Come From?

This post wasn’t on my list to write, but I just had a realisation about twenty minutes ago, which I needed to write about.

Do you know where your ambitions came from? Do you know why you wanted to do the work you do? Have the relationships you have? Why you love some things and hate others? Most people would say that our conditioning and programming comes mostly from our family and from teachers and friends who are around us when we’re growing up. That’s why we end up dating replicas of our parents, because it’s what we know.

Well I just realised that my desire to have my own business, and my love of stationery and packing up goods into boxes and sending them out, came from a movie.

Yes, that’s right. A movie. And they say that media doesn’t have that much impact on us? The movie was my favourite, I have no idea how many times I watched it, but I know it was many times. It was called Baby Boom. It was about a high-powered business woman who ends up with a baby girl after her cousin dies, and who ends up leaving her job in New York and moving to Vermont, where she ends up starting her own baby food business.

Baby-Boom-Movie-Poster-1987Thinking about it, that may have been the beginning of my love of New York and New England too…

Anyway, my favourite parts of the movie were when her business is taking off and she is sending out jars of the baby food in brown boxes with the custom Country Baby label on them. I remember being fascinated by the idea of running a business, and I remember wanting to do that myself.

Now of course, I may have still wanted to do that, whether I had watched that movie or not, but it makes you wonder if it wasn’t that movie that planted the seed in my mind.

Was my interest in aliens and ghosts started by watching Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, ET and Ghost? Was my love of fantasy and sci-fi started by watching the Goonies, the Neverending Story, Hook or Back to the Future? Was it all the many movies I watched set in America that created my love of the US and created my desire to visit there and even live there?

I have no way of knowing the answers to those questions, but it does make you wonder how much of our lives are shaped by the media that we consume at a young age, and it makes me wonder how kids now will turn out in years to come, with the sheer volume of media they are exposed to. A few 80s and 90s movies are nothing compared to the movies, TV shows, games and YouTube videos that are available to watch now.

Just something to ponder, I didn’t have any conclusion to make from this realisation, I just wanted to share it! And if you’re wondering why I suddenly has this realisation, it’s because Baby Boom is currently on Netflix!

 

The Sliding Doors Effect

After someone mentioning the movie, Sliding Doors, over Christmas, I decided to watch it again, for the first time in many years, because I remembered enjoying it when I was younger. The idea that when we make a decision – or miss a train – that there is another version of us that splits off into a parallel universe that exists alongside the one we’re in, is actually not a completely crazy concept.

In The Elphite, my main character, Ellie, lives her life over and over, making different decisions in each lifetime which means that her life takes different pathways, though ultimately, keeps ending up the same way. The concept of fate and destiny and whether our lives are already written is fascinating to me, and that’s why it’s a feature in my books and is the theme of many of my favourite movies (like Deja Vu).

Just for fun, I thought it would be interesting to explore what my life would been like if I had made a different decision at a certain point in my life. The decision I have picked was the one I made to quit my degree at Lampeter University. If I had stayed at Uni, then in the second year, I would have lived in Ohio, and studied in a college there for the year. Which to be truthful, was the main reason for choosing that degree, because I had always wanted to live in America.

Perhaps while living and studying in America, I would have made connections with people there, maybe met an American guy or just very good friends. After returning to Wales and completing my third year, I might have then moved back to the US, and through my contacts, and with my shiny new degree, got myself a job over there, doing… erm… something… writing for a magazine maybe?

After living in Ohio for a while, I’m pretty sure I would have then looked to move to either the east or west coast, after all, I’ve never been very keen on living too far inland, and after spending some time in New York previously, I think I would have probably headed there.

Would I have been successful in New York? I’m not sure, I can only speculate. I would hope that I would have still discovered Nanowrimo, and still gone on to write novels, but I can safely say that none of my current books (apart from Heaven dot com, which I wrote when I was 16) would have existed in this parallel universe. Because everything that inspired them happened after 2005, when I started out in Lampeter Uni. I’m Here might have ended up existing, as it was inspired by events that happened in my short time at Lampeter, but it may have had a completely different twist to the end.

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I did actually live in New York in 2008, perhaps I  passed my parallel universe self on the street without realising it?

It’s fun to imagine that there could be a parallel universe me, working for a magazine or in a publishing house in New York (which is entirely possible, as I have connections there that existed before 2004) but I am quite glad to be experiencing the reality I currently exist in.

If I had left Lampeter, but then actually completed the second degree I tried, in Derby University, then there could very well be a parallel universe me who is a fashion designer… now that, is a very scary concept!

What do you think your parallel universe selves are doing? Is there a big decision that you’ve made, and then wondered what would have happened if you’d chosen differently? It may not be the most productive use of your time, but it’s certainly a fun idea to explore. Perhaps it will inspire you to make changes, or just be grateful for your life and the way it turned out. Or perhaps you’ll just end up saying – Michelle is a complete nutter. However it works out, know that the reality you are experiencing is exactly the right one for you 🙂

 

 

Gallery

The Power of Manifestation

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I created my first Vision Board in 2009, when I was in New York. Working with the available materials I and my friends had to hand, I created it on a thick paper bag, using photos from magazines. Within a … Continue reading

I had a conversation with God…

… in 2007, and was told that I would one day meet Neale Donald Walsch. At the time it seemed like a crazy idea, I had no means to go to America or even to one of his events in the UK. I put the notebook away and soon forgot about the conversation. About a year later, I had moved to New York to work as an Au Pair, and was reading all of the books in the Conversations with God cosmology. I looked online one day and realised that Neale was doing an evening seminar in the city.

It was a brilliant evening, and the whole time, I felt like there was something I had forgotten, but couldn’t think what it was. I got my book signed by Neale, and then left, all the while knowing that I should have said something, though what, I didn’t know.

A couple of months later, I found the conversation in my notebook, and I realised that God’s prediction had come true. At that moment I decided that I would have to meet Neale again, so I could tell him.

Me & Neale

Fast forward 5 years – just last week I attended the Spiritual Renewal Retreat with Neale in Medford, Oregon. It was an incredible 4.5 days, I met so many amazing people, a lot of whom I am keeping in touch with, especially my fabulous buddy, Molly 🙂 The retreat included a lot of people sharing their stories, and I told Neale about my conversation, and about meeting him in New York. I wanted to thank him for doing a free retreat, (they do one free one per year) as it made it possible for me to attend, seeing as I only needed to find the air fare.

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Me & Molly

The week was made even more special by the live and beautiful music of Cathy Bolton. She had a song for every topic discussed, and brought a few tears to our eyes with her angelic voice. I love my CD that I bought, it may well become the soundtrack for my next book 🙂

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The week flowed perfectly thanks to the wonderful CWG staff, Will, JR, Annie,  and many others. Janine, a wonderful lady who runs a programme to bring books to prisoners, called Freedom Inside, was running the book stall there. I loved what she was doing and so offered to send copies of The Doorway to PAM to any prisoners who would like to read it.

It was a truly transformative retreat, and I am so glad that I went. Hearing the CWG material from the man who wrote it made it come to life. And having it applied to the situations of those in the room helped everyone to see how it applied to them and their lives. If you have yet to read any of the Conversations with God series, I urge you to pick up a copy of Book 1. You won’t regret it 🙂

I am now spending another week in Medford, exploring the towns and lakes and mountains that surround it. I’m staying with a lovely couple who live here, who are very kindly hosting me through couchsurfing.org.

This holiday has given me the break I desperately needed, and in April, when I return, I will have the energy to get on with writing! I have set myself some crazy tasks – more info on that to come…

Life Vest Inside

Don’t you just love synchronicity? Just as I’m beginning to spread the word about my new blog – Indie Acts of Kindness, I receive a Tweet from an organisation called Life Vest Inside, with a link to their video on Youtube – which is all about kindness. I watched it immediately and loved it, and I have put the video here for you to see because I know you will love it too.

The Beginning…

Ah, the first post, always a tricky one! Well it’s not quite 2011 yet, but I thought it would be a good idea to begin now, with the journey up until now…

It all started on a train journey from New York City to Westchester, when I started to read Chris Baty’s book ‘No Plot? No Problem!’. The concept of writing 50,000 words in a month very much appealed to me, even though the longest piece I’d written up until then had been 18,000 words. It was only March at the time, and I decided that I couldn’t possibly wait until November, the official novelling month, and so set the challenge for April. After a week of planning, I began writing the novel in the airport and on the plane home to England on April 1st, 2009. After a month, I had 40,000 words, and was only half way through the story. I continued in the same vein through May and by the 2nd of July I had a 96,000 word novel.

I let it sit for a while, having got severe RSI in both hands! A couple of months later I did some editing, and also had a friend look through it for me. I then probably made the rookie mistake that many new writers have done – I started sending it out (via e-mail) to agents on publishers. I got a few replies, and though polite, were rejections. I left it for a few more months, then decided to get a few more opinions, having realised that only two people had read the entire thing from start to finish, not a great idea. So, armed with a new printer and cheap ink, I printed a few copies and sent them  out to some more friends, and they gave me feedback not only on grammatical errors but a few other points too. The overall response was very positive though, and they all asked to read the sequel, which then gave me my subject matter for the 2010 Nanowrimo.

Which is the subject of another post! The point I am at now, is of polishing the manuscript, writing the front pages, then setting it out ready to upload it to a self-publishing Print on Demand website.

Well, before this turns into a novel itself, I will end this post, and will update in the New Year. Merry Christmas!