Hey Guys! Nicole Gabriel here! I’m the host of the Let’s Get Your Book Published podcast. I’m also the author multiple books, a Book Designer, and a Publishing Coach as well as an intuitive Business Coach.
I’ve been in the book business for awhile now and I’ve helped many clients get their book published over the years. On this podcast I share personal stories, client stories, and the truths about the publishing industry….
The subject of today’s podcast… Inclusiveness and Division - How Do You Write A Book Without Offending?
So I recently had a chat with a Christian friend. I didn’t know that what I was saying or the questions I was asking were opening me up for her to provide strongly opinionated Christian-based solutions… but in hindsight I guess I should have known better. By the end of our conversation I was told I needed to repent and go through deliverance. Apparently I’ve done nothing right in my life because I was viewed as quite problematic.
I will admit, I have never studied Christianity (and have nothing against it either) but I had no idea what these terms meant so I looked them up. Ironically, these are the same practices I have studied for years in many different traditions. I have done alternative practices in my yoga and shamanic work but they have different labels with slightly different methods. Many of these practices showcase a more indigenous approaching to healing. I guess in my conversation with my friend I was opening up for criticism and didn’t know any of what I was saying or doing was offensive to her.
I have done yoga for nearly 30 years and back in 2006 I began learning everything about shamanic healing as well. I even began teaching both at one point. I traveled all over the world for countless years learning these practices from masters in their crafts. In a matter of a one-hour conversation on Instant Messenger with my friend I was told that all my hard work and years of dedicated study were fruitless and inferior to her Christian practices.
I’m always interested to learn what inspires people. I asked her questions and immediately she began challenging my answers. By the end of our conversation I was feeling pretty low. I was told that all those years of practice were inviting in demons and every yoga pose I did was welcoming them. Of course, I was thinking that if I went for say…a run… I would…in her eyes be ok? At the same time, with her judgements in mind, if I didn’t burn sage or incense I’d have angels visiting instead of demons looming?
The irony was that I came into my office thinking it was a lovely day and I was going to burn some incense and listen to some soft calming music and the birds singing and enjoy a quiet and peaceful morning and write a podcast. I had a whole different podcast in mind but I finally scrapped that and began on this one. In fact, I even had to re-group and go home and return to complete my thoughts with a fresh mind a few days later. Whatever was going on with her was projected harshly upon me and there was nothing uplifting or kind about the way it all made me feel. I might even go as far as saying, this wasn’t very Christian.
I shared with my friend the beautiful image of the full moon I took the night prior. (I’ll post it on this podcast and over on the blog for you to see.) My bulldog wasn’t feeling well that night and I had to run out and get her something to take down her fever. I looked up at the moon and it looked like two heavenly hands reaching down holding the moon. It was as if God was speaking to me in that moment and letting me know I was not alone in helping her heal. I was quite emotional about her state and ironically lost the medicine I was going to treat her with and it was those hands and that powerful full moon that told me to trust god. I didn’t need the medicine I was searching for. I was supposed to use what I had available. I was being guided and held. And, a few days later my bulldog was doing great!
So I found it interesting that I was sharing the beautiful things in my day with this friend of mine and every single one of them was wrong! My yoga brought in demons, my incense burning furthered that relationship, and I was violating all codes of god and god was laughing at me for what she saw as fruitless practices for holding sacred space and my ceremonial and honoring practices for connecting with god. She accused me of honoring multiple gods. I don’t even know what brought that on. She went on to tell me that I wasn’t practicing according to the word and what is expected of me in the bible.
I can tell you that I’m not block-headed. I am 50 years old and I’ve worked harder than most people I know at really trying to get this life right. I’ve really really worked hard! I have overcome a lot and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. To have finally arrived at a peaceful place in my life and to be enjoying it and then to have it all attacked in every direction was not how I planned to celebrate this day. I’m quite at peace…at least outside of this “character assassination”. And, strangely, most attacks I have had in my life have come when I’m minding my own business and doing my own thing… from Christians mocking my ways. I’ve never asked for any of the feedback but it’s always been offered. I get the idea of preaching the word of God, but I know my God and I wasn’t looking for a change. I’m pretty solidly based in my beliefs. I hold no hard feelings and I’m always up for learning what inspires people. I just didn’t expect someone preaching the word of God to create such turbulence and animosity.
Have you ever had this occur? Someone comes at you simply because you are there and digs in on whatever it is that you represent or reflect back to them?
When you know that you are at peace, and someone comes in telling you that you are not, you can see clearly that the “problem” is not you. At a certain age we know what we are dealing with on many topics. And if you have reached a kind of plateau in your personal or professional work then you are prime for writing a book. As has been said…if you can allow the water to roll off your back like a duck then you know you’ve healed any triggers. You have acquired some level of expertise and how you view your subject, from your life lens, is your unique story. You’ve likely reached a level of mastery that you can guide others to achieve as well. I would call my friend quite a beautiful master of the Bible…she just may need to work a bit on her delivery. A Christian will tell you it’s about the relationship. That’s great, but attacking will not likely persuade others to join your cause…no matter the topic!
So the topic of this podcast was about diversity and inclusion…about how to write a book without offending. Here’s the thing…we can almost never write a book without offending!!! Someone somewhere is always going to be offended whether you know it or not!
We are all different and we come from different backgrounds, religions, practices, schooling, demographics, and relationships. Since we are always different than the person next to us, the fabric of our life is always diverse. The word diversity is being falsely used today. Since no two of us is alike, we are forever and infinitely diverse. But, what we are not is inclusive!
My friend says I’m not a virtuous person because I don’t obey the Bible and that’s a violation of god to do so. I had no idea she found what I was doing offensive. I’m practicing my yoga and noticing how I feel before and after and it’s changed my life over more than 20 years of dedicated practice. I know that everything is about intent. If, in my practice, I am connecting to dark energy and inviting that in, then that’s what will come in. But, if my intention is pure and my heart is with God then this is what will come in. My body used to have lots of pain and my ex husband, who was a chiropractor, used to have to adjust me often. But the yoga released the pain and once it became a regular practice I never needed another adjustment and I’m thankful for that. My friend will find her own means for healing and I can be pretty sure it will not be using yoga! <smile>
So, we all have our tribe. We all have people that hear our words and grow and learn because of them. When it really comes right down to it…people will not pick up your book if they don’t resonate with it. My friend will not likely pick up a book on yoga so it’s not likely I’d offend her outside of the fact that I’ve written it. Any book you write will attract your tribe so don’t offend them when they get there. Include them on the journey in inviting ways. Befriend your reader. Help them out. Make them feel good. Let them know you are on their side. Tell them what your intention is and why they should keep reading. State your objective, mission, and goals clearly and gently guide them into healing, learning, or growing.
When we are talking about diversity but not inclusivity we are talking about indifference and highlighting what is really clearly an obvious fact. I am not you and you are not me. I don’t hate my Christian friend. In fact, I’m completely open to learning from her even if she kept on trying to convert to her practices and discouraged mine. I’m solid enough on my path that I would not be discouraged from following it and I’m open to hear how it is that we can arrive at the same solution with different methods. We have discovered a certain foundation of truths regardless of how we got there. I think that’s pretty cool. If we were a science experiment we might agree to disagree on approach but celebrate victory on achieving the same end point or answer.
I’d like to see these cancel culture dialogs shift from discussions of diversity and into practices of inclusivity. At the same time, we were all built for different things. If we all fundamentally agreed on achieving unity and peace we’d first have to start with understanding the foundation of diversity. We are always going to be different. We might agree to following laws, like what is laid out in our constitution. We’d all have to start from some functionally agreed upon basis for morality. For the sake of a book we might call this our argument and our premise. And rather than focusing on where we come from, we might like to talk about where we are trying to go. In other words, focusing on the solution not the problem.
When we are talking about diversity, all we are really talking about is preference, which may or may not be influenced from our unique background. And, if you had the ability to help everyone on the subjects you have mastered, then niching down to something like skin color or religious preference may limit the breath and depth of your influence. Perhaps your topic of your book can expand into a variety of audiences. If you’re good at a thing then just focus on showing why you are an expert. No matter the background someone has they will come to you to learn from a subject matter expert.
Now, of course there are cases when niching down does make sense because it could be the very premise of your book. When you write you want to engage your reader and talk directly to them, so knowing who your audience is will help. I generally guide my clients to write like they are speaking to their younger self before they became a master of their subject. What did you want to know when you started? What things were you acutely aware of and what things were you oblivious about? Is this common in your field? What kind of schooling did you have to have to do what you do or was it the school of life that taught you what you know? Pick a baseline or starting point to build the content of your book on and rather than talking about yourself, talk to your reader…change all of your me’s and my’s to you and yours.
No matter what you do, you are not for everyone, so when you write and put yourself out there you’ve moved into a public platform that now open you up for criticism…So you are gonna have to toughen up buttercup! And me? After a few down days re-building my inner strength, I’m back to being centered and happy. We are dealing with some tough stuff in our world today. So, just know we are all different and we all need more love than hate or controversy today - more than ever before. Reach out and accept your neighbor in kindness. We have to keep fighting for our freedoms of speech, our medical freedom, our religious freedom, and the state of our country. Don’t forget what this country was founded on. Let's get back to basics and honor each other for the choices we make because really guys…most of us are doing the best we can.
Alright…that sums up today’s show. As always, wishing you peace, love, and light!
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