Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Words In Focus: November

Welcome to my monthly collection of interesting articles, books, and resources plus a mini-monthly review.

Outstanding Articles

November in Focus

Writing a monthly review helps me celebrate my accomplishments and stay focused on what really counts.  Sharing it here might inspire you to reflect on your goals and accomplishments too.

Transforming grief into love took the better part of November after our sweet cat Bodhi was killed on October 31st.  Like a sticking bandage, another layer of my own fear of dying ripped off with plenty of small screams along the way.  But in the end, love won out.  Now sweet memories of Bodhi bring mostly warmth and a smile with just a few teardrops mixed in.

As the rain poured down, I cozied up and read Wild:  From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.  In this powerful memoir of a solo 1,100 mile wilderness journey, Strayed weaves her process of recovery and transformation after a life catastrophe and downhill emotional slide with panoramic scenery, lust for food, and the camaraderie of the trail.  Bears, snakes, blistered feet, and a irretrievably lost boot prove little to fear in contrast to recapturing her own soul.  A well written inner and outer adventure, Wild kept me in suspense as Strayed met new challenges at every bend of the trail.

Confession:  I’ve fallen completely off from exercise.  November signaled time to get back on track.  The 20-30 minute slot while my breakfast cooks is a perfect fit for a jump on the rebounder, simple Chi Gong, or the 10-Minute Invigorator.  Despite the seasonal bouts of rain, I’m sneaking afternoon walks back in too.  That’s me in the photo playing with the camera on my I-Pod.

I didn’t  touch the revision of my e-book.  But I recorded some rising memories for my fledgling memoir, kept my pledge to submit a guest post each month, and started a rough outline of an e-course.  I look forward to having more time for creative endeavors in December.

I seriously revised my services page at Envision Writing and Editing, although there’s more fine tuning to come.  If you are writing a memoir or non-fiction book, query, or book proposal, I would love to help you with editing or a critique.  Please take a moment to see how I can help you with words.

Looking Ahead:  December will be the test of my creative diligence.  I’m also feeling antsy, like there’s a deep change emerging from my bones.  For the moment, I need to be satisfied with whittling away my material possessions and curious about what’s to come.

The flavor of November:  Bittersweet love.

How was your November?  Any special challenges or accomplishment to share?  Any special thoughts on bittersweet love?

Thank you so much for reading and sharing!  If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra




10 Ways to Remember What Really Counts


How To Be Happy Even Though It’s the Holidays


  1. Happy November, Sandra! I like these updates from you. I’m actually right in the middle of LOST and loving it.

    As for exercise, I recommend Tara Stiles YouTube channel for great, quick routines that really make a difference. 🙂

    • So nice to see you, Amanda! Thanks for the exercise recommendation. I’ll check it out. “Wild” seem seems to have struck a chord for so many of us!

  2. This review is a great idea, and reading yours inspires me! I’m especially interested in the 10-minute Invigorator. I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon also, struggling with a bad knee, and I’m looking for ways to slowly get myself back to it. Oh, and I also read and loved Wild this month! Happy almost-December!

    • It’s hard when you have a bad knee, isn’t it Charlotte. I just took a bad fall and scraped up my knee. It still hurts but nothing broken. So I’m being careful too. I can still do gentle Chi Gong and then there’s the upper body too!

      “Wild” seems to be catch on like wildfire!

  3. That’s a lovely list from which I’ve only read a few. I read an interview with Cheryl Strayed recently and it was amazing!

    I did something totally unexpected this Nov. I signed up for the NaNoWriMo. Wasn’t sure if I would even stick with it…then something a friend said…spurred me on and I am now sitting pretty at over 70000 words. I know there’s a novel in there. And it feels good.

    Also, my son turned 15.

    🙂 Yes, I’d say November has been a good month.

    And I give happy to be connected with you, Sandra.

    • Vidya,

      I’m so amazed by your NaNoWriMo success! Wow, that is so fabulous! My sense is that you are a busy person so I curious how you managed this too. I’m so happy November was a good month for you. I cherish our connection too.

      • November was a slow month for me, work-wise. That helped to an extent. And writing for myslef somehow builds the word count very quickly. I usually take about half an hour to write a blog post 😀 Also, what I am writing about is always inside my mind, taking shape and it is just a matter of getting the words out, after that.

        Last year was a bigger challenge, with a heavy workload and various other domestic things, but I still managed the mandatory 50K by Nov.25.

        Giving up is something I don’t do. Unless an act of God prevents me from doing it.

        Thank you, Sandra. Hugs!

  4. Thanks so much Sandra for including me in your list. You’re so powerful with words!!! “Like a sticking bandage, another layer of my own fear of dying ripped off with plenty of small screams along the way.”

    I read Wild when it first came out. Couldn’t put it down! I want to walk that trail! I’m good at romanticizing things;) xo

    • You’re welcome, Tess! Your article was a powerful wake up call. It’s generous of you to share so personally. I could see you walking that trail! Thanks for your kind words about my writing. My trail would be to write my version of Wild!

  5. Oh wow – so much depth happening here! I just picture you, reading, reflecting, processing…and I send so much love. Thank you so much for including me in the list – can’t wait to hear more on Friday!!

  6. Sandra,

    Thank you for gathering those amazing blog posts–gentle, encouraging, inspiring, and creative. I see we read some of the same folks. I will have to go back to watch the video with Leo and Tim.

    My November has been productive, though not exactly as I planned. I signed up for NaNoWriMo, but instead of writing dedicated to a single project, I wrote two guest articles, some posts and a 4-week ecourse. I didn’t count how many words that was.

    Several colleagues came out with their new print and/or ebooks so I’ve been browsing those with the intention to read them thoroughly and write reviews.

    As always, I sought ways to be more spiritually in tune, to practice my awareness of the Universe as my source and focus on higher positive vibrations. A part of a book club we’re almost finished discussing The Power of Now, and in the last few weeks I’ve listened to a variety of speakers on understanding and using the spiritual laws.

    All of this spiritual focus is paying off as I plan 2013. I’ve been seeking clarity and direction on how to use the wealth of material and skills I’ve built up over the last few years. Yesterday and today I got messages on two projects. Yippee!

    After you mentioned Wild, I went over to browse it on Amazon. I always admire folks who are brave enough to go on these life-transforming journey. I’m too chicken to even walk around my lovely neighborhood in the dark.

    Stepping up my exercise is still a worthy goal. For now, I walk with a neighbor about three times a week as she walks her dog. On alternating days I sometimes walk alone, taking a book to sit and read at my coffee shop turnaround before heading back home. Not breaking a sweat, but keeping my body moving.

    December holds deep change for all of us. Can’t wait to see what it’ll be.

    • Dear Flora,

      I’m so inspired by what you accomplished during NaNoWriMo! I love the way you adapted it to your own aspirations and goals.

      My spiritual path is the central force in my life too so I resonate with your focus on spiritual teachings. They do bring clarity, don’t they!

      I’m not exactly eager to walk around in the dark myself! I did one short backpacking trip and I was almost eaten alive by mosquitoes. I woke with my eyelids almost swollen shut. I can’t help but admire someone who has the guts to do an 1,100 miles walk!

      Lovely to hear from you!

  7. You would be amazed how many calories singing burns if you do it loud, and try hard songs that stretch your range. You can even use simple easy songs like “Jingle Bells”. Sing it three times normal speed, and at the top and bottom of your pitch range while doing the backstroke. You’ll drop some pounds and get extra oxygen to your cells from laughing, and that boosts metabolism, burns fat and releases dopamine to the brain.

    I’m so inexplicably upbeat this time of year that when you suggested “bittersweet love” all I could think about was chocolate!

    • Mike,

      Honestly, I’m afraid I would frighten the entire neighborhood! I’m so off key and can’t come anywhere near getting a tune right. But I see how energized and happy it makes you! Maybe I would have a transcendent breakthrough if I gave it my all and totally belted out “Jingle Bells”. Maybe I should really give this a try!!!!! I definitely don’t want any extra dopamine running around in my brain though. (Long story).

      Obviously our months were different. You have chocolate on the mind!

  8. Sandra I feel so honored that you have included my post I love being outstanding too 🙂 What wonderful inspirational reads and I am putting Leo back in the reader- love shaken.
    Yes your writing is inspiring, soul touching and causes one to reflect. I love it and will drop by more often. You inspire me today to want to write more. Thank you
    I haven’t read Wild- now on my to read list.
    Exercise is easy to do and easy not to do I find. I walk every day on the beach and now it is summer swim- easy. I have exercises for my back, my bones and something called shiver shaking – hard- that I have to admit I don’t always get to and I now make it okay.
    November for me has been a month of abundance in many ways also a month of incompletions. December is my birthday month and I am going to release more of the past, complete the incomplete if it brings me joy and the big one for me is write my book of my journey that needs to be told and the world needs to hear it said a friend to me today. I know this will be a heart and soul opening work.
    Thank you, namaste Suzie

    • Hi Suzie,

      You’re article was meaningful for me so I am so happy to include it here! Yes, Leo’s on a deepening track. Well worth adding back into your reader, I think.

      Oh my goodness, “shiver shaking” sounds gruesome! I’m staying on track with my modest exercise program without the shivers!

      I’m so delighted to hear about your plans for your birthday month. I’m really excited that you are going to be writing a book! I wish you all the best with it. Happy birthday and have a perfect month.

  9. jean sampson

    Hi Sandra—–I am working to get back to center after a tough meeting. The cool thing is that I had some wonderful, loving friends sending love, peace and light, so
    l didn’t sustain too much damage. And life is like that—-on center—oops! off center—–on again, etc. I usually am very peaceful, joyful, even. And then there are circumstances. And, really, I can choose to always seek my center. So, November has been a challenge. But I am pretty much at center and finding my peace and joy again!

    • Hi Jean,

      Life goes in cycles, doesn’t it? It seems like you managed the challenges of November well! The I-Ching says December will be about biting through obstacles for me. So I will remember your experience and know I can come back to center too! Thank you.

  10. What a wonderful list and review. Thank you so much for including me. May the bittersweet love find ever greater moments of sweetness. May you be well. May you abide in peace. May you be happy.

  11. I absolutely love these monthly reflection posts! And how fun to read the comments, too. You inspire people to share in your life and also to reflect on their own.

    About Bodhi, I’m sure that your openness to grief and the positive way that you included your readers in prayer helped you move through these stages. What a wonderful model you are.

    November was a bit of a blur to me. I got caught up in getting my girls ready to move in a few weeks, and lots of family visiting for Thanksgiving. All of this has been great and welcome fun. At the same time, I have drifted away from my morning time of meditation and prayer, and I’m eager to get back to that. So perhaps my November theme was happy distraction.

    Thanks for including me in your list. I’m always humbly honored by your appreciation.

    • Happy distraction! I’m glad your November was filled with happiness, Galen. The busyness can draw us away from our time for meditation or prayer, but I’m sure you will be back to your routine soon.

      I really appreciate your feedback on my monthly reflections posts! As you know, I want my words to be of relevance to my reader so it helps to hear that this style of posts inspires reflection for others.

      Your post dovetailed with Marianne Elliot’s, complementing each other so well!

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén