Liliane Grace, creative writing, author, keynote speaker, The Mastery Club 

Liliane Grace, creative writing, author, keynote speaker, The Mastery Club 

What Came Out Of The Cocoon...

If you read my blog of a few weeks ago (‘Watch a human being emerge from a cocoon’) you’ll know that I was in the process of rethinking my life! Well, I’ve scratched a hole in the chrysalis and I’m peering out. Here’s what I discovered in the process of being ‘liquified’…

I've emerged from my cocoon with the realisation that my core area of mastery is writing and teaching writing. Duh, right? 

I’ve always so easily seen big visions for The Mastery Club® - eg. Mastery Clubs around the world, Mastery Club schools, international conventions, etc. – that I felt that was what I was being called to do, but during my cocooning process I acknowledged something to myself that shifted the whole thing for me.

It’s effortless for me to work and own my skills in the writing arena, whereas building my Mastery Club business has just not flowed easily. I kept thinking that was because I was lacking in personal mastery, and it kind of was – I was ignoring the area of my ‘true’ mastery: as a writer/teacher of writing.

Writing is definitely my ‘happy place’, especially writing fiction. When I write, time disappears and I’m ‘in the zone’. I need no external motivation to write and can pretty much do it on demand. Showing others how to fine tune and master the writing process is a delight for me, and I thoroughly enjoy attending courses about writing etc. I’ve recently started to attend Busybird Publishing’s Open Mic events to read my work, and I’m like a six year old on those days – excited about going and hanging out with writers!

I also dearly love studying universal laws, as you would know, having been part of my community and having read my books, but the distinction came for me when I realised that the very top of my tree is writing itself, and The Mastery Club® comes just under that. (Mind you, I will definitely keep sharing those inspiring and empowering ideas through story because universal laws simply are a hot-favourite topic for me, however I'm going to give myself more space to write across a range of topics.)

So I've decided to fully ‘own my love’, and focus on me as a writer/teacher, with The Mastery Club® (TMC) as one of my product lines. I would still love to have my TMC visions realised but deep inside I’ve always known that I was not the person to carry them all out. That dream requires a different set of skills/interests to mine. Mine is to be a rampant creator since I have so many books, plays, songs, articles, films, etc. inside me!

I’m going to bring my writing courses into the online space so that I can reach more people, and, courtesy a conversation with Bruce Conrad-Williams, I’m going to offer a writing course for those of you writing self-help type books, especially those who are teaching through story, since that seems to be my specialty!

Since January I’ve been doing an excellent marketing course for conscious entrepreneurs with Shannon Eastman of Teach A Brand To Fish and the School for Conscious Entrepreneurs. Shannon remarked that our target market is ‘ourselves 5-10 yrs ago’ – that our mastery/authority today is whatever we were mastering then.

What was I doing 10 yrs ago? Publishing The Mastery Club.
What happened? It became an Australian bestseller and international award-winner.

So my credentials are my books where I teach through story. At the moment that means The Mastery Club, The Hidden Order, and The Champion Series – and I’ll be launching another book in the next few months. My other credentials are 28 yrs teaching creative writing.

Fascinatingly, right after deciding all this, I was invited by Ari Diskin and Roselyn Katz to speak at their 'Women of Influence' monthly gathering about the writing process. What a delicious stamp of approval from the universe! (See link for more info about this event, which is free.)

I’ve also been offered corporate training work teaching Business Writing Skills, which I’m greatly enjoying as well. (I’m working with Paul Puckridge of the Success Institute, one of Australia’s leading training and development organisations.)

I do want to do something with all the work I’ve put into The Mastery Club® over the last 10 years rather, so will probably build up more online programs /e-courses. Any feedback or ideas appreciated!

To sum up, there’s a definite theme to my life, which I recognised a few weeks ago while doing a wonderful Demartini-inspired course with the brilliant Sam Poyser of Authentically You.

The theme is ‘Creating Worlds’ – be they the fictional worlds of imaginary story, the ‘real’ world of one’s own life and ‘reality’, or the learning environment of my students or audiences. I’ll be launching my new brand in the next few months.

You'll find my latest published article, ‘No Peace For Earth, And Why That’s A Good Thing’, online at Living Now’s site. I've been sharing articles via Living Now since the late 80s, and more of my work will be appearing there soon.

Meanwhile, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part of my world, for loving my books and courses and supporting my work so generously. I hope you will love the new book(s) and courses just as much. I’ll now have more time to pour more wonderful inspiring material your way!

Watch A Human Being Emerge From A Cocoon!

The phenomenon of the caterpillar constructing a chrysalis and secretly transforming itself into a butterfly is a powerful and wonderful metaphor that inspires most of us. 

- What a beautiful illustration of the idea that nothing is destroyed or created but simply changes form! 

- What a beautiful symbol of transformation. 

- What a stunningly elegant demonstration of the fact that some degree of struggle (the squeezing out of the cocoon) is necessary to develop strength (without being squeezed, the butterfly would be too moist and heavy to fly).

But have you ever wondered about that process inside the cocoon? What is actually going on in there? And what parallels can we draw from that process to our own lives?

I’ve been very slow about sending out a first newsletter or blog this year because I’ve been in my cocoon. I’m reinventing myself – looking for my core truth, and how best to express myself in the world.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not feeling at my most powerful I tend to go into hiding. I daresay it’s natural for many of us; we withdraw from the world to reflect and tune more deeply into ourselves.

What I hadn’t known about the caterpillar’s time inside the cocoon is that it is literally digesting itself, another brilliant metaphor for that process we go through in revisiting the many aspects of ourselves and deciding what stays and what goes.

Prior to forming the chrysalis, the caterpillar is 'eating up big' – preparing for this period of radical transformation when it will literally deconstruct and reconstruct itself. All the nutrition from the eating stage provides the resources it needs for the reconstructing phase.

Likewise I was 'out there' throwing myself into a whole lot of experiences until I felt the need to withdraw and digest those experiences, and now, hidden away in my chrysalis, I’m deciding what stays and what goes. 

I know what I most love and what resonates most truly and deeply for me, and I would greatly appreciate knowing what it is that you most love and resonate with about what I do.

Is it my personal development novels, The Mastery Club and The Hidden Order?

Is it my 'Master Yourself & You Can Master Anything' 10 Lessons Program?

Is it my picture books, The Boy Who Barked and The Boy Who Found His Pulse?

Is it my articles/blogs/book of articles, Living With Grace?

Is it my writing courses or coaching/editing service?

Is it my talks or workshops?

Is it something else?

The goal for most of us is to find a beautiful synergy between what we most love to do/create/how we most love to serve, and what others most value in what we have to offer, so This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. will be gratefully received as I ‘digest myself’. 

Since writing The Mastery Club I’ve become convinced that we are here to do what we love, what makes our heart sing. And if you’ve ever held the thought that ‘life will flow when you follow your bliss’, you’ll get that principle. However, being human, we sometimes thrash around somewhat in the process as our own limiting beliefs rise to the surface to be transformed. Sometimes we ‘get in our own way’. I’ve been doing some of that, hence the cocooning process.

However, going back a step, I was interested to learn that caterpillars in the egg stage are already forming the groups of cells they will need as mature butterflies or moths. These are called ‘imaginal discs’ – what a great descriptor! – and they survive the digesting process when everything else is liquidised (turned into ‘caterpillar soup’). There is an imaginal desc for each body part that will be needed: eyes, legs, wings, etc.

In fact, some caterpillars crawl around with the beginnings of tiny wings tucked inside their bodies – did you know that? Their potential greatness is there right from the start when they appeared to be just a ‘lowly caterpillar’. (Another great principle: nothing is missing…) 

So, friends, you have the opportunity to not just watch a human being emerge from a cocoon, but to participate in the process! Any responses are appreciated. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

With love and gratitude,

Liliane

P.S. Speaking of development, you might like to come along on Wednesday night 17th February to Suburban Sandcastles’ next film screening. The film is 'Most Likely to Succeed’, and it's all about the need for creativity and innovation in education, and how the current system is failing our children. (That’s conventional ‘speak’! We know that there is no such thing as true dysfunction, right? It all serves in the end, in having us develop the responses and solutions that will support our evolution…)

'Most Likely to Succeed’ features interviews with education visionaries such as Ken Robinson and Sal Khan of Khan Academy. See more, including the trailer at the website http://mltsfilm.org/

To book into this event, go to: www.suburbansandcastles.com

(Usually about 60 people attend - great vibe - great exhibitor stands -  interesting discussion after the film - yummy wholesome food available prior. I'll be there too!)

How Clean Are You? - Health, Values, & the Inner-Outer War

A friend of mine reckons that water is only good for washing dishes. His beverage of choice is champagne, and his life philosophy is that he’s 'here for a good time, not a long time'.

It sounds good and it’s very amusing but I suspect that when his body starts to fall apart he might have second thoughts. On the other hand, his great attitude to life is such that I’m sure it’s providing him with some pretty decent immunity. At sixty-odd, he’s fitter than many a younger man. I’m going to be interested to see which wins out, physical laws or the laws of the mind!

Water is my beverage of choice and I love it for many reasons. Its pure taste is one thing, its ability to quench thirst is another, and knowing that it’s the cleanser par excellence of both internal and external systems clinches the deal.

On the physical side of things I reckon that if I asked my friend how he’d feel about going for a week without having a shower, he’d grimace in disgust. We just wouldn’t do that, would we? But why, then, do some of us go for a whole week barely drinking any water, when that’s one of the main (and cheapest and easiest) ways of keeping our ‘innards’ clean?

The answer is probably ‘because we can’t see inside our bodies, and out of sight is out of mind’. I think the lack of sense in that response is apparent. End of health lecture.

Interestingly, we find the same dynamic regarding the world of the mind and life itself. We often search for answers outside ourselves but the truest and most pertinent ones are on the inside.

What keeps us from supplying our own answers? Perhaps because it’s easier to ask someone else and because, as different and unique and special as we might think we are, if our instincts are taking us in the opposite direction to the crowd, that can be very discomfiting, especially if the crowd is heading in the direction of some of our highest values.

I’m getting too cryptic. Here’s an example: Suppose you desire to be wealthy and successful and you know it will take work and commitment and prioritising and you’re prepared for that… but you also love hanging out with your family and friends over dinner or at the beach or at home or curling up on the couch with a good book or a movie… which set of values do you prioritise?

Does the wealth/success set begin to feel like a ‘should’? (After all, it’s logical that if we just work hard for a while eventually we’ll be able to afford all the pleasures and freedoms of life.)

Do you feel guilty when you prioritise those business/growth events over family? (After all, you’re missing your children’s growing up years when you’re away at weekend seminars, etc.)

It’s a trap for the unwary, isn’t it!

Dr Demartini recommends ‘values linking’, where you identify the values you’d like to raise in your ‘hierarchy of values’ and link them to your current highest values. We do this by asking, ‘How will being successful serve my family?’ and then finding several hundred answers, until we are so aligned with the new value that it takes pride of place. Achieving that sort of result requires that we go ‘inside’, to do some gruelling inner work.

Why do we have such trouble doing the inner work? Maybe because it’s dark in there… and we can't see clearly...

We wear masks of happiness and confidence out in the world and keep our shadow parts deeply buried on the inside, so going within can be rife with danger. Once we cross the threshhold into the 'inside', we're dealing with our limited beliefs, our misperceptions, our fears, our hopes, our disowned parts...

And it’s complex in there – we have mixed feelings about things, like the old success/freedom dynamic above, where part of us wants this and part of us wants that.

I have a personal philosophy that life is about ‘and’ not ‘or’; I don’t want to be choosing between a good time and a long time – I want both! And I reckon both are possible.

What about you?

Managing Our Expectations as a Way of Avoiding Conflict

One of my ex-writing students is a Marketing Manager and we’re doing an exchange of services at the moment. Something I really appreciate about Ellen is the cleanness of her communication style. In one of our early conversations she deliberately addressed the subject of our expectations.

‘Conflict Resolution Skills’ is a course I taught years ago, and Ellen demonstrated them perfectly. There’s a sliding scale of events that result in conflict from initial Discomforts and Incidents through Misunderstandings and Tension to outright Conflict. In other worlds, conflict doesn’t just happen out of the clear blue sky; it starts with little baby steps…

I was grateful to Ellen for recognising where we had already taken a couple of baby steps in the direction of conflict, and quickly and clearly identifying what she understood and wanted, and asking me what I understood and wanted so that we’d be on the same page. She did all of this with her signature good humour – I could feel her smile beaming at me through the telephone line.

That initial stage of ‘Discomforts’ is described in the Conflict Resolution Skills Manual that I use (© The Conflict Resolution Network, created by Helena Cornelius and team) as ‘Perhaps nothing is said yet. Things don’t feel right. It may be difficult to identify what the problem is. Do you feel uncomfortable about a situation but not quite sure why?’

I think this course is supremely important and that we can all do with consciously and deliberately developing these skills. I know I can. (If you’d like to participate in a Conflict Resolution Course with me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I’d love to share this empowering and very useful material with you.) But at the very least I hope that this blog is a useful reminder to you of the importance of clean and timely communication.

As Dr Demartini says, we are careless when we put ourselves above others, careful when we put ourselves below others, and caring when we respect ourselves and others in equal measure.

Thank you again to Ellen for demonstrating those skills so beautifully and keeping our collaboration on the ‘straight and narrow’.

Kids and Money and Keeping Our Word

‘Riches, my boy, don’t consist in having things but in not having to do something you don’t want to do, and don’t you forget it. Riches is being able to thumb your nose.’ - Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey

I was at a business networking event recently when I found myself chatting with Jay, an Indian businessman who shared with me the following story: 

Jay's son had discovered that his friend received 50c for doing the dishes. After telling his mother, she asked, ‘Do you want 50c too?’ 

‘Yes, okay!’ their son replied. This was easy!

‘All right,’ she replied. 'But after this, breakfast will cost you $2, lunch will cost you $2, and dinner will cost you $2. Do you still want to earn 50c for doing the dishes?’

He was now not so excited about it. She concluded by telling him, 'You can do things for love or money. Choose…’

Apparently their son never asked for money for household tasks again. 

It’s an interesting story, and one that raises all sorts of complex and values-bound issues: Do we ask our children to contribute without return because they are part of the family and are benefiting from the family wealth without earning any of it? Or, since doing chores is the most they can contribute while young, is it therefore only fair to share some of that wealth with them in cash – an acknowledgement of their form of contribution? 

My husband and I struggled with this issue for many years when our children were little, sometimes creating elaborate reward and payment arrangements, sometimes not giving pocket money at all. Our bottom line was that our children always save 10% of whatever they earned or received, and they did become pretty good savers. But we oscillated back and forth as we considered different aspects of this ‘love or money' issue.

There are many traps for the unwary when raising children, especially in the realm of money, and one of them was described to me recently. It brought back lots of memories of times I had said or done ‘the wrong thing’ and we had all suffered as a consequence.

A young boy challenged his parents at basketball with the following: ‘Will you give me $200 if I get this ball in the hoop?’

No doubt he was joking (albeit hopefully) but his parents said yes. Why they said yes, I don’t know, since he was already a basketball player and had a reasonable chance of scoring. 

He aimed… and the ball went though the hoop… and he claimed his $200. And that was when it grew sticky.

Uncomfortable about losing $200 so easily, his father said, ‘Double or nothing!’ and their son shot again… and missed.

Now what might be the natural outcomes of this situation? 

-> A son who no longer believes there is any point trying since there is no reward for effort… 

-> A son who no longer trusts his parents… 

-> A son who no longer respects his parents' word…

Respect is an interesting issue. We want our kids to respect us but we can’t demand that respect; we must command it. Or at least, we can demand it, we can jump up and down and get hot under the collar, but it won’t be a respect worth having. The respect that we command is the one to go after, and the chief way of achieving that sort of respect is by living honourably.

Living honourably can be difficult, especially when we are dealing with cranky kids and one hundred things at once and we’re not on our game, but it's wise to create an internal alarm that goes off whenever we are not living honourably. Dad being flippant about that $200 wasn’t a great start; not keeping his word was a fairly disastrous development. 

I know because I’ve met the son. I’ve witnessed his lack of respect for elders, his lack of effort in applying himself to anything, and his lack of interest in life. He is capable of many wonderful things and his parents are undoubtedly well-meaning. Ultimately, this experience will be one of the challenges on his path, an opportunity to question and reflect and create his own set of values and honourable behaviours… or not.

'Riches, dear reader, don’t consist in having a flawless life but in finding the gift in every experience we are presented with. Make sure you remember it! Riches is being appreciative of everything.' - Liliane Grace

 

I'd love to read your thoughts about kids and money and the issue of respect when parenting.