Roller Coaster with sky and clouds

© Photography

Oh, dear God! The roller coaster rides on, and this girl hangs on for dear life. Okay, not quite. But there was a moment several weeks ago when, sitting stressed at my desk, I came as close to fainting as I ever have. My book took a significant toll on my body. It scared me and rightly so.

How can I keep doing what I am all but certain I am here to do without doing myself in? The answer, I sense, lies in self-compassion. I need to love and honor myself more than I need the admiration that comes from a successful book. Now that I stop to write about it, I realize I’ve done a few small things to move myself in the direction of such self-love and care. Good for me.

In my last post I said “I hadn’t dared look at my book’s Amazon ranking.” That’s the telltale number on authors’ Amazon book pages showing where our book stands in relation to the other nearly nine million books for sale there. I see my reluctance differently now. It’s not so much that I didn’t dare check my book’s ranking. It’s that I made a conscious decision to protect myself from bad news. That’s self compassion, isn’t it? Or am I stretching it? You tell me.

A week or so ago while I was on a call with my book and web designer, Shannon secretly checked and told me my Amazon ranking was in the under-100,000 territory we consider respectable. I once told her to let me know should that ever happen. Well, it had! I was thrilled and so confident I asked Trond to login to our account to see how many books had been sold.

That most telltale of numbers—sales—is another one I’d been protecting myself from for a few months. But now, with my decent Amazon ranking, I couldn’t wait to see. Trond checked and, to my horror, the sales numbers were every bit as discouraging as the Amazon ranking number was encouraging. Go figure! I sat at our kitchen counter and bawled like a baby.

My ego was devastated. But on the spiritual front, which I can lose sight of when I get too caught up in bookwork results, all was not lost. I say I want to devastate that pushy old ego of mine, don’t I? With good reason. For when ego gets battered like it did by those abysmal numbers, the “I” that cares so much about success that it nearly kills me gets to dissolve in a torrent of tears. And I get to practice the surrender and humility that keep me honest and real.

What a blessing to have been forced back down into the heart and soul of me, where numbers don’t count, feelings rule, and I am that I am, no matter what happens to my book! I got to re-member that I am enough just as I am. Having deeply felt the pain of defining myself by the numbers, I really got, at the level of body, mind and spirit, how much I don’t want to do that to myself anymore. I’m too precious to squander (is what my heart kindly reminded me.)

It took a few hours to pick myself up, let the hurt go and go on. Not bad compared to the days it might have taken a few years ago. And before long, with Trond’s insistent and loving encouragement, I made a firmer than ever commitment, to myself and to him, not to look (or ask others to look) at those pesky ranking and sales numbers for a very long time. I dearly wanted to trust that I and the book are enough, damn it!—the ultimate act of self compassion for me.

Then, almost before I knew it, the universe I’d just surrendered to kicked in to support me in my commitment to greater self-love and trust. The support came in the form of comments that began appearing on my last blog post and were exactly the words I needed to hear:

Dagmar: “Just know you are not alone…we are all at the jumping off place, un-tethering ourselves from what feels safe and familiar, learning to let go…and let God. I only feel sane and good when I disconnect from 3D and tune in to the spiritual self-letting go of the need to control or understand anything. Your book is out there, it is, and that is all it needs to be.” (my italics)

Kanta: “Those who need to connect with your book will. Life is funny that way.”

Kimberly: “Yes! The people whom you wrote for will find your book! It is so beautiful, even a “sleeper” awakens those who find it. Keep being sweet to yourself.”

In another small act of self-compassion, I have read and reread those words. Thank God for this blog and for you who show up to support me in it. The book may or may not “sell.” But here at least, I can keep writing to inspire and be inspired. Yes indeed. Please add your voice to the mix!

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.


  1. Rachel May 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    You say ”
    How can I keep doing what I am all but certain I am here to do without doing myself in?” and to that I respond — IT’S HAPPENING!  You continue to be the amazing human DOING you have always been by reacting to your feelings, addressing them, and directing them to create positive results.  Sadness, discouragement, frustration, and that awful feeling of “not good enough” all come with living out in the big bad world.  We choose to wallow in the negativity when it presents or use it to grow bigger and better selves.  Your continued growth and ability to share your wisdom with those READY to hear it, embrace it, and act on it for our own betterment never goes unappreciated or under respected (numbers be damned!).
    “Bare Naked” was what you needed to do for YOURSELF and YOU DID IT (yippee, yahoo, and yea for you!!!!).  Now it’s up to anyone who needs all you have to offer to get out of their own way and find you!  No matter what, you win!  And hopefully the searching masses will too.All my love and support are always yours…..

    • Suzanne May 23, 2012 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Wow, Rachel. You have outdone yourself this time! I love “IT’S HAPPENING” as an answer to my current burning question. Thank you for being the wonderfully clear and sympathetic mirror you are. And bless you for saying “numbers be damned.” You are right. You and countless kind others have told me that your hearts are being touched; and a darlling American guy whom I taught French to in India 40+ years ago, and now teaches in China, just wrote to say the book is “having the most magical effect on (his) thinking.” What am *I* thinking? I am not in charge here, and you are right again that I have more than done my part. It is time indeed to let go and let the universe work *its* magic. Thank you, thank you for your undying and always uplifting faith in me and my work, which is not my work but our work. 

      • Rachel May 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm - Reply

        Once again I say to you, ROCK ON, GIRLFRIEND!!!

  2. Vicki Fox May 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Suzanne, o,nce again, for being vulnerable and expressing what we humans deal with often but dare to speak about.   When things don’t go “my way,” I feel disheartened, confused, angry, you name it.  Underlying those emotions is that I know best and if “x” doesn’t happen, who am I, am I really enough.  Your being willing to feel those feelings while most of us would rather distract or medicate is courageous and a wonderful role model. 

    And why is the expression bawling like a baby?  Maybe it should be bawling or sobbing like a courageous human being honoring our own humanness?  A question for another day.

    • Suzanne May 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      Oh, thank you, friend Vicki, for telling it like it is, right along with me. And boy — er, girl — do you ever get it! To be an example of as much vunerability and emotional honesty as I am capable of is *exactly* what I now know I am here to give. So that, together, we can find our way to seeing that we are, as you say, “enough” without all that outside validation ego lives for. I really appreciate your seeing and acknowledging my role. While I would rather “distract” myself from the harsh realities, too, the call to be of service in this way seems stronger. I am so glad we are in this soup together! 

  3. Kanta Connie Bousquet May 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    I certainly can understand your angst. It helps so much to see our creations as children who we have birthed, guided and, when the time comes,  released to
    go where they are needed. I do this with my compositions and it is very comforting to know they will find their ways to whomever needs them. My friend Bill has written a great deal of music, all of it very good, and he doesn’t even remember many of his pieces.I can understand this because when I heard my   “Going Home” the other day the first thought that flashed was,”Oh, some chorus director will like that” and then I remembered as a second flash, that I wrote it.
    I am pretty much detached from my compositions. There are some I do like more than others.But I experience them as music “out there” rather than mine, perhaps because I do not consciously write them, but then when they arrive I have to do the crafting which isn’t always fun.
    Hope this helps some.

    • Suzanne Grenager May 23, 2012 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      Thank you for returning, sweet Kanta. Your words about the way you let your compositions separate from you and take on a life of their own sets a powrful example for me. No question I am still too atached to the book baby I birthed. So I’d love if you’d care to share more about HOW you so successfully release the need to try to control the outcome of the music you have made. One hint you give, I think, is when you allow that the music is not entirely yours, that you are the instrument, so to speak, and not the creator of the composition. I felt just that way about the words in the book — and even say something like that in the Prologue, I think. But now, I feel a lot more responsible than i did during the creative phase. So thanks for any light you can shed on the ease with which you seem to let it come and let is go.

  4. Dagmar May 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    One of my favorite quotes has always been “what you resist will persist” The process of surrender and trust goes against everything our ego driven minds tell us is true. As I sit here waiting for my own validation in the form of Workers Comp Benefits that I’ve waited 3 months for and wonder how I’m going to pay my bills- I have to trust that I will have what I need when I need it most. Thanx to all who are sharing their heartfelt wisdom 

    • Suzanne Grenager May 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad you are back, dear Dagmar! Your trust in a situation that is far more survival-based than any I face is an inspiration to me and, I am sure, others. I, too, like the quote “what you resists persists” and have often shared it with coaching clients wasting precious energy fighting what it is. Surrender is a far better plan. But how right you are that we *resist* it with all of ego-mind’s might. It’s why, even when I need it most, as I did Monday and again today, it’s not easy to sit myself down and meditate. “Shouldn’t you write just one more email?” my mind asks insistently. Sometimes I give in but then I meditate. I have to these days. But enough about me. May the Gods at Workers Comp Benefits show up sooner than later and shower you with the financial blessings you richly deserve. I send love and support. 

  5. Mary P. May 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Self care, I need a large dose of that right now!  Thanks for reminding me and caring by putting yourself out there and saying the things I would keep hidden.   This gives me courage to show and be m real self. 

    • Suzanne Grenager May 23, 2012 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      I am thrilled if my honesty gives you courage to show more of the beautiful woman you are. And I am doubly thrilled if you can use anything I have to offer to take the best possible care of your self, especially right now. Would you be willing to commit to a couple of specific acts of self care — such as getting more sleep — and then report back here so others can learn from what you learn about the value of taking loving care of yourself? That would be great, if you have time and inclination. My love and suport is with you! 

      • Rachel May 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm - Reply

        And I must add (because it’s impossible for me to remain silent these days) that there’s a GIGANTIC difference between “self care” and “selfishness” that so many have yet to realize.  

        Never let anyone make you feel guilty or uncaring for showing the most care to the marvelous YOU that everyone else requires you to be.

        • Suzanne Grenager May 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm - Reply

          Amen to that, sister! And while I have you, I am SOOOOOOOOOO glad that you just won’t shut up. Silence is not always golden!

  6. ellynae May 23, 2012 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Suzanne, It’s great to hear your ‘Bare Naked’ voice continue on in your blog! And it’s encouraging to know that even you have to keep reminding yourself to take care of yourself. Why is that so hard for us to allow ourselves to do that?!!! 

    • Suzanne Grenager May 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      Why indeed, dear Ellynae? Do you want to take a crack at it from your wise woman perspective? I am delighted you have joined the conversation and thank you for welcoming the return of my Bare Naked voice. I’d love to hear more of yours, but only if you are so inclined of course. Perhaps sometone else will chime in, too…

  7. Donna Rock May 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Many times we’ve read about
    artists of the past who were not successful in their lifetime, only to
    become considered great masters after they were gone. What may seem
    like a very long time to us in these days of instant everything, may be a
    blip in the grander scale. Your beautiful sharing may need time to
    root and permeate and organically reach the souls who resonate with its
    messages. Be patient, dear friend, and trust the universe to support
    you in your brave sharing of your soul.

  8. Suzanne May 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    Bless you, dear one. I am slowly coming around to understand that these words do indeed, as you so eloquently put it, “need time to root and permeate.” Unlike Fifty Shades of Gray,” say, “Bare Naked” (which sounds like it might be but sure isn’t similar 🙂 must find its way via the underground into the hearts and souls of women who’ve been told by other women and so on. Thank you for encouraging me to be patient and to stay the course. Thy will be done, Oh universe, not mine!

  9. Terry Choyce May 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    Hi,   Terry here.  Another commonality we have is publishing.  For 26 years I helped my writer-husband Lesley run Potterfield Press.  I know the many lows and occasional highs that come in that realm.  MANY great books go unread.  But feel blessed that those who do “get” your book are helped in meaningful ways.  And there is always HOPE that sales will soar.  It has happened before!

    • Suzanne Grenager May 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Dear Terry, so good to have you showing up here to share insights from your years of experience in publishing. I appreciate both your realism and your encouragement! I am by no means assuming that the end is written here. On the contrary, I am increasingly optimistic that my passion about the power of the message that is mine to share will prevail when the time is right. I am doing all sorts of things to help that happen. I don’t write about them because they need time to percolate and create the results I firmly believe they are capable of producing. I am in the midst of a wild dance with the universe, and the trick is to discern when it’s time for me to lead and when to follow. Each day I willfully put things out according to my heart and gut. Then I surrender and wait as patiently as I can for the fruits of my labors to mature. It’s as demanding — and daring — as the Argentine Tango! 

  10. Laurie (positoid in mountains) June 5, 2012 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Thank you, Suzanne, for “Dancing Bare Naked”, with us.  I always, seem to quit before a miracle happens.  I become, fearful and tremble with not being able to get my heart out of the quicksand.  See the beautiful part is the day you chose to write that first page.  The day you made a commitment to follow your passion.  YOU yes YOU wrote a book, published it, and introduced your beautiful expressions of your soul and shared it with the universe.  

    I get these lassie come home lumps in my throat and the tears begin, the salve begins to ooooooze salve for my soul.  Sometimes when I think I am letting go I realize that my hands are curled tight into a fist.  I must remain willing to allow my yuck to be let go from me.  Unfortunately, or actually, fortunately that is something bigger then my choice.  Psst…I am trying to practise saying, “Do with me what you want”. I heard that my E G O was easy the goodness or GOD out.  Numbers are numbers..I check my helper cell count, my viral load count, they go up they go down.  I have allowed too many times, for them to reflect whether I am allowed to live or preparing to die.  If I feel good, that should be my only answer.  I know I have done the foot work, there for it is what it is and with a big red bow.

    You told me once, “a page a day”. Thank you, for your inspiration.  

    • Suzanne Grenager June 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Yes, you are right, Laurie. The day I chose to write the first page and the day after that, and so on, was a beautiful, even graceful thing, though I didn’t fully realize it at the time. Thank you for acknowledging so sweetly the commitment I made and the soulful fruits it eventually yielded. 

      I am inspired by your commitment to let go and to not to let your numbers, which are so much more critical than mine, define you or determine your happiness. It is indeed what it is, whether we like it or not. Your putting a big red bow on it speaks volumes to me about your awesome attitude of seeing life as the gift it is. “A page a day” comes from my first blog entry, I think. Thanks for reminding me that it’s been my privilege to inspire you from the start! So glad you are HERE! 

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