We Must Have Faith
I often think of the biblical passage in Mark 11: verse 22 that basically says if we have the faith and do not doubt that we can tell the mountain to fall into the sea and it will be done. That is some rather strong positive thinking in a book that has been around a long time before Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking, Napolean Hill's Think and Grow Rich, Ask And It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks and many others.
If someone as beloved and revered as Jesus taught such wonderful things, I am led to believe that there is some truth to the words spoken. Going out on a limb and acting upon faith is not something that many, or perhaps, most people are comfortable doing. Yet, acting upon faith is so vital at times if we want to see our dreams and goals manifest. The good news is that we do not have to always be comfortable about doing 'something' to get results. We just do certain things because we know it's important to our growth and success that we do them.
The mind can ramble and go on forever, trying to instill us with fear, doubt and hesitation that can cause us to stress out and to procrastinate. I am very familiar with this and have dealt with my 'rambling doubting' mind for many years. Although I can be assailed with many fears and doubts that fill me with anxiety, and tension I am also strong willed and a fighter. I refuse to let my fears control or immobilize me. This is not always an easy task to accomplish, but I speak from experience and I know that it can be done if we are persistent enough.
I would like to share a few recent experiences to illustrate what I am talking about. I have been marketing my book of love poetry, Dawn's Kiss, which was published in May of 2009. There were some issues with the distributor so it took several weeks before I was able to contact local bookstores to see if they would consider carrying my book and sponsoring a book signing. By late October the kinks had been worked out and I began calling some bookstores. At first I was very nervous because my inner child has 'rejection' issues and I can be insecure at times.
To my surprise and delight every bookstore that I contacted expressed an interest and everyone was so nice to me. They gave me the correct contact person's name and the address so my publisher could mail them a copy. My marketing specialist assured me they would mail the copies out. I waited a few days then I emailed him to verify that the books had been mailed out to the bookstores. I did not hear from him for two days. I could feel my inner child beginning to fret and worry. Jason has probably just been busy. You'll hear from him soon." I tried to assure the worrying part of me.
"Well, I sure hope so," I countered. "The holiday season is fast approaching and I'd love to have Dawn's Kiss in the bookstores to be available for Christmas gifts."
"Be patient and have faith," my inner voice responded.
"That's easy for you to say," I wanted to say, but to my surprise, I heard that George Michael song "You Gotta Have Faith" and I heard "we gotta have faith' for our dreams to come true."
That made me feel a little better. I waited another day and still did not hear back from Jason. I wanted to call him but I feared he might not welcome a personal call from me even though we had talked on the phone before and he has said more than once to let him know if I have any more questions. The adult part of me understands but my inner child still has some old fears and hurts. I am not sure if they ever go away entirely? Sometimes I get frustrated because you'd think after years of therapy, working on myself, and reading tons of self-help and psychology books, that I'd have overcome the old insecurities which gnaw and tug at me at times.
I like to think I am doing better but I have to confess that I still have a ways to go. I feel compassion for my inner child's fears, but I am not about to let them hold me back. That is one positive thing I did learn in therapy.
I woke up the next morning and reviewed my 'to do' list of other bookstores to call. I really wanted verification that the books had been sent out. After all, it is very time consuming to do the research, make the calls, and get the needed information. I could feel butterflies churning in my stomach as this voice said, "you need to pick up the phone and call the publisher and ask for Jason." I knew I had to do it or I would drive myself bonkers with unanswered questions.
I took out a piece of paper and wrote down what I needed to know from Jason:
1. Did copies of Dawn's Kiss get sent out to the three Borders, Jo Beth, Serpent Mound Bookstore and MammothCave bookstore who have expressed interest?
2. Had he contacted the Borders home office in Ann Arbor, MI to see about getting a B-Inc borders incorporated number which the Borders sales manager on Colerain Ave, in Cincinnati said must be done before they can order my books?
3. How long should I wait before contacting the bookstores to make sure they received their copy?
4. Once I knew they received their copy how long should I wait to contact them to see if they reviewed and made a decision on whether to carry it or not?
I was actually trembling when I picked up the phone to call Jason. "I am such an emotional basket case," I chided myself. No wonder I have never gotten that far with my writing." Then I tried to cheer myself so I reminded myself of what I said on my blog radio show just the other night about the importance of keeping our sense of humor. "yes, it's not like anybody is going to yell at you or eat you alive," I said out loud then dialed the publisher's number.
Jason was not in so I talked to the graphic book cover designer, Colin. "Do you think Jason will chew me out if I talk to him?" I asked.
"Not at all, Michael," he replied. "He's working from home today. Go ahead and call him and ask him your questions."
Colin gave me Jason's phone number and said there was nothing to worry about. Jason would be glad to talk to me. As a matter of fact it was his job to do so.
"Yeah, it is," I replied.
I placed my sheet of questions on my computer desk and dialed Jason's direct cell phone number. Jason answered. In a nervous voice I said, Michael Dennis, author of Dawn's Kiss here. Colin told me that you would not chew me out for calling you. I have some questions that I need answered."
Jason took the time to answer each and every one of my questions one by one and gave a few more pointers, such as how he included press releases in the media package he mailed to the bookstores, and how he was glad to do so every time I was going to be in a certain city and be available for book signings. Then he told me that it was very refreshing to have an author to get so involved in the marketing aspect of the business, for so many authors are reticent when it comes to marketing and making the contacts. I thanked him and said I was on a roll and would be calling more bookstores this week. I was also going to call bookstores in other cities, and states as well. "You call whoever you want." It's all good business," he said.
I hung the phone up, still a little nervous, but feeling more elated than nervous. I thought about things more and it occurred to me how part of me still seeks out approval from a father figure. That is partly why I get nervous and hesitant when it comes to dealing with men at times. I never received love, approval or support from my father. As a matter of fact what I received was constant criticism, berating, and emotional and mental torture and abuse. That was many years ago, but I know the part of me that still longs for a father's attention and love.
Again I went out on the limb. I mustered the faith and courage to call Jason even though my inner child was petrified. And once again, I realized that there are many wonderful fathers and father figures out there, even though there are a fair amount of dysfunctional abusive ones as well. And most often the abusive ones did not receive the love, attention, and approval from their parents when they were growing up. Children indeed do learn what they live as that beautiful poster states. Therapy and my many books have taught me that we are not doomed to live unhappy lives because we got a rough start in our early years.
My recent experience with my book and Jason showed me that it's a good thing to have faith and take a chance. Feeling much better I went to run some errands and in my mind I kept hearing the song from Pinocchio "The dreams that you wish for come true."
When I returned home a lady called and wanted to hire me to do a singing telegram for her mother's 58th birthday on Friday. My heart was filled with glee. Being a singer, performer as well as writer, I knew that it would be a delight to entertain this woman in my court jester outfit, booming voice, and give her some little candy treats, a big balloon, and some fake roses. What better timing. I had not done any singing telegrams for a long time. I wondered if my spirit guides had a hand in that? We just never know, now do we?