Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Interview with Eric Maisel, Author of Ten Zen Seconds
Or…we asked the author about these 10-second pauses

As discussed yesterday, we have author Dr. Eric Maisel with us today to discuss his new release, Ten Zen Seconds from Sourcebooks, Inc. The book is available at and the other book outlets!

The Dragon: What is Ten Zen Seconds all about?

EM: It's actually a very simple but powerful technique for reducing your stress, getting yourself centered and reminding yourself about how you want to live your life. It can even serve as a complete cognitive, emotional and existential self-help program built on the single idea of "dropping a useful thought into a deep breath." You use a deep breath, five seconds on the inhale and five seconds on the exhale, as a container for important thoughts that aim you in the right direction in life—and I describe twelve of these thoughts in the book—and you begin to employ this breathing-and-thinking technique that I call incanting as the primary way to keep yourself on track.

The Dragon: Assuming we don't hyperventilate, what twelve thoughts or phrases do you recommend we use in this breathing-and-thinking technique?

EM: The following twelve. I think that folks will intuitively get the point of each one (though some of the incantations, like "I expect nothing," tend to need a little explaining). Naturally each incantation is explained in detail in the book and there are lots of personal reports, so readers get a good sense of how different people interpret and make use of the incantations. Here are the twelve. The parentheses show how the phrase gets divided between the inhale and the exhale.

1. (I am completely) (stopping)
2. (I expect) (nothing)
3. (I am) (doing my work)
4. (I trust) (my resources)
5. (I feel) (supported)
6. (I embrace) (this moment)
7. (I am free) (of the past)
8. (I make) (my meaning)
9. (I am open) (to joy)
10. (I am equal) (to this challenge)
11. (I am) (taking action)
12. (I return) (with strength)

A small note: the third incantation functions differently from the other eleven in that you name something specific each time you use it; for example "I am writing my novel." This helps you bring mindful awareness to each of your activities throughout the day.

The Dragon: Can you use the incantations and this method for any special purposes?

EM: Folks are coming up with all kinds of special uses. One that I especially like is the idea of "book-ending" a period of work, say your morning writing stint or painting stint by using "I am completely stopping" to ready yourself, center yourself and stop your mind chatter.

The Dragon: Incantation #2 "I expect nothing" is about detachment. What's the difference between detachment and not caring?

EM: To do excellent work is different from expecting that our excellent work will be rewarded. To live a moral life is different from expecting not to be hit with an earthquake just because you've been ethical. To care about your child is different from expecting her to become a brain surgeon or a millionaire. Caring is completely different from detaching from outcomes. You want to have dreams, goals, principles, desires and all the rest—while at the same time detaching from outcomes.

The Dragon: How does admitting that we are not in control of the outcome compare to taking responsibility and planning? Isn't visualizing success expecting an outcome?

EM: To visualize success is not to expect success. Every process of affirmation, whether verbal or visual, helps you do your good work and opens you up to the possibility of betterment. But opening up to the possibility of something and expecting something are two very different things.

The Dragon: How does emptying yourself of expectations mesh with making an income?

EM: If you expect your novel to be liked just because you wrote it, a narcissistic stance adopted by an awful lot of people, the likelihood is that it will not sell and you will make no money. If you do the work of writing an excellent novel and the subsequent excellent work of marketing it to agents and editors, and then let whatever happens happen, you are more likely to make money.

The Dragon: That's quite a lot—can we achieve that in 10 seconds?

EM: That's 10 seconds multiplied enough times to make it a habit.

The Dragon: So this is cumulative? Do many 10-second centerings begin to add up to more?

EM: Yes! It begins to fundamentally change you, so that you are less impulsive and more thoughtful, less reactive and more active, less scattered and more centered, less depressed and more optimistic. It is actually a complete program for personality change and betterment, despite its apparent modesty and simplicity.

The Dragon: Here at The Dragon, we'd like to thank Quinn the Creative for submitting some questions to round out this interview and Eric Maisel for dropping in. If anyone has any questions for him, drop a line in the comment field and he'll get back to you today!

"Some days, I just want the dragon to win."

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Blogger Janet Grace Riehl said...

Yes, it's important to separate ourselves and our success and feelings of worth from the success of the book. It's even more important to define the success of the book for ourselves. We may be on a quest, a mission, and also be able to combine these into business matters...or, it may turn out to be something we couldn't even have known...or expected. Certainly, this is what happened for me when I wrote my poetry book. We put out the effort and love and then, the love does come back. We can never know in what form.

Janet Grace Riehl, author "Sightlines: A Poet's Diary"

10:01 AM  
Blogger ©Hotbutton Press said...

It's so important to point out the powerful and cumulative impact of regular incantation practice. That steady work every single day is so synergistic in any action including sitting down to write. Thanks for a great interview!


1:11 PM  

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