Author Name: Cheryl Melody Baskin
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Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams No Matter What
October 3, 2019
Cheryl Melody Baskin, LLC
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What is your book about?
Calling all dreamers and dreamers-to-be! I wrote “Heart-Dreamer” to inspire readers to move forward towards their innermost truth, hopes and dreams, no matter what they have gone through in life. User-friendly and inspirational, it is designed for anyone who has always been a dreamer, forgot their dreams along the way, or never knew how to dream. It is also dedicated to those who want to heal and grow from inside-out and live life with more lightness, balance and joy. I am here to share all the wisdom and tools that I have learned (and continue to learn) about possibility, positive thinking, healing, love, happiness, mindfulness, intuition, transcending obstacles, self-esteem, humor, transformation, inner growth, determination, courage, heart-listening, self-discovery, creativity, curiosity, childlike wonder, dream-making, and the importance of taking small action steps and a leap of faith towards hope. (And that’s just for starters). By sharing my struggles and vulnerabilities, readers will see that they are not alone with their doubts, fears and insecurities … and the abundance of self-healing and self-discovery activities sprinkled throughout each chapter will serve to guide and transform their personal journey. “Heart-Dreamer” also contains the voices of wisdom from people all over the world who share their life lessons in one inspiring community of love. Above all, my holistic intention is to provide easy and fun approaches that will nurture the body, mind and spirit and encourage the dreamer and dreamer-to-be to gain insights about their unlimited potential. “Heart-Dreamer” is also here to touch the imaginative and playful inner child. It ignites a spark of wonder, leading readers to know that they can always choose to begin again with new visions of hope, no matter what. My strongest desire is to support each person in getting out of their own way … offering experiential activities that will encourage them to take positive paths in all areas of life. Every page of “Heart-Dreamer” overflows with unconditional love and wisdom, encouraging everyone at any stage and age to live their one life with determination, patience, joy, persistence, strength, courage, faith, creative flow, and most of all, love.
What inspired you to write your book?
First, I am in love with words and recognize the power, the healing power, in using and living purposeful and consciously-created words, and ‘Heart-Dreamer” is filled with mini-workshops encouraging readers to take a new look at the words they are saying and writing, and to live by the adage, “change your words and change your life.” Also, I am now in my seventies, and that in itself is motivation enough to give myself a huge push towards actualizing my dreams. One day when I was folding laundry, I saw the words, “HEART-DREAMER” in my mind. It was written in big and bold font and contained a thick hyphen in-between “heart” and “dreamer.” I quickly understood the meaning behind the hyphen … that our hearts and our dreams are deeply connected. I was startled and tried to resist and push this vision away at first. After all, I was content with my life and knew the sacrifice new projects create. Because I have been a dreamer and doer all my life and many projects have unfolded for me in this manner, (changing careers, songs, albums, performances, workshops, books and plays), I quickly understood that I had been given a special gift and needed to listen to this “wisdom-whisper.” As an intuitive life coach, musician and educator, my passion in life is to inspire people to know that they can reach for the stars and step towards their dreams, no matter what they have gone through in life. I also knew deep in my heart that I had abundant wisdom to share and lots to say and the time was now. If I could encourage, inspire and guide one person’s life, all the work in writing “Heart-Dreamer” would be worth the process. My intention is to motivate readers to honor and love who they are and to follow the whispers of their dreams, creating a spark of wonder within the deepest part of the soul. We are all homesick for ourselves, and my joy is to create a life compass towards finding a way back to our home, our truth, and what makes our heart sing.
Can you describe your writing process? How did you get your book written and how long did it take?
“Heart-Dreamer” was a more arduous process than writing my first book, “Shift of Heart: Paths to Healing and Love.” In my first book, I simply put on my recording equipment and dictated what I wanted to share. “Heart-Dreamer” was a completely different process and it took over two years of stopping and starting, (and a husband who had a heart attack during those years, too). During that anxiety-ridden time, I wrote to write. Writing was my healing medicine, my anchor and my grounding, but to be honest, I didn’t write well during that time period. My mind was focused on my husband and I was barely keeping myself together. As he became well, I was increasingly more relaxed and realized that my writing needed improvement. I began working twenty-hour days (I don’t sleep much anyway) to make up for lost time. I also asked for my husband’s feedback, the librarian in my town read several drafts of my manuscript, and I sought out testimonials from inspiring and innovative creative artists, storytellers, psychologists, spiritual leaders, educators and musicians. Everyone who read the manuscript sprinkled it with their unique magic and love. Here is a segment from “Heart-Dreamer” and I believe that many of our writers will relate to these words … “My writing process is complicated, satisfying, exhilarating, spiritual, excruciating, fascinating, exhausting, neck-stiffening, frustrating, intense, backbreaking, bottom aching, painstaking, self-sacrificing, ankle swelling, delightful, magical and mystical. While experiencing a wide range of physical strain, mental stimulation and emotional highs and lows, I’m simultaneously swept away by the magic of creative flow. Where did the time go? I started to write at four in the morning and now it’s eleven at night! The creative process and life itself are like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. As the content of this book unfolded, I was clear about certain pieces and where they belonged and unclear about the rest. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to inspire my readers and I had faith that the rest of the puzzle would take care of itself.” Although organizing all the wisdom, life experiences, lessons and healing tools that I have gained over the years was arduous, my highest voice and third-eye intuition whispered, “You’ve just been handed a gift. Listen.” I persisted with determination and self-belief, no matter what. Once I surrendered and accepted this new gift, I committed my life to actualizing “Heart-Dreamer.” All I knew for sure was that this book was meant to inspire, and I went from there. I dug deeply into my soul to share all I know about life, love, creativity, hope, determination and dreams, but I didn’t want to be the only voice of wisdom in the book, and I reached out to people all over the world and asked them to add their life lessons as well. This book is the true meaning of “it takes a village.”
What was your publishing process like? How did you publish your book and how long did it take?
This is a tough question and I haven’t quite healed from the experiences yet. Finding the right graphic artist was a painstaking endeavor. I found someone with whom I thought I could work with easily, and although I didn’t know her personally, I did research her background and we worked well together on FaceTime. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until she completely disappeared. To this day, I don’t know what happened to her and the stories in my head are a book in and of themselves. Next, I reached out to someone who lives near me and was recommended by a friend. When I asked her to help me, she told me that she was no longer doing this work and was working full-time in an unrelated field. Despite this, she must have felt badly for me. She agreed to take on my project anyway. Because of her strain in working full-time while trying to give my bigger-than-she-expected project attention, she too would disappear for long periods of time without communicating with me. Although she was stressed and made several serious mistakes along the way that had to be corrected by a third graphic artist, she did a stellar job translating into her graphics and layout the essence and tone of “Heart-Dreamer,” and I am deeply grateful. The book is beautiful inside and out. Because there were mistakes, however, I needed to find a third graphic artist towards the end who could devote time to finishing this beautiful project from the heart and to the heart, and I asked Stephanie and our members for names and narrowed the suggestions down. Luckily, this third person was completely professional and easy to work with. Once the book was published, I could not believe how much patience, determination, persistence and forgiveness I needed so that “Heart-Dreamer” would become a reality, “no matter what!” In the writing process, I LIVED the last three words of title! The lines are blurred between the point in which I started writing the book, my husband’s heart attack, the time I felt that I was “done” writing (do authors EVER think they are done), and the three graphic artists that had their own challenges. I don’t give up easily or often, and I want my readers and the authors of our precious tribe here to never give up. As “Heart-Dreamer” says: “Dreams are a lifeline to hope, and hopelessness is the worst disease of all.”
How do you hope your book impacts the world?
My biggest vision is that “Heart-Dreamer” will be used as an inspirational resource and a how-to guide for dreamers and dreamers-to-be, and it will serve as a catalyst in discovering more of the truth of who they really are. I also want to encourage people to focus on inner work AS they pursue their dreams. As my chapter, “Healing from Inside-Out” says: “When we work on healing ourselves from inside-out, our personal and professional lives become increasingly congruent and our journey towards manifesting our dreams feels ultimately more enjoyable.” It’s a pretty “out there” dream to want “Heart-Dreamer” to become as precious to people as “The Prophet,” by Kahlil Gibran, “A Soprano on her Head” by Eloise Ristad (a life-changing book I read in college) or “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Yes, I passionately hope that this book will speak to everyone in the healing and creative arts as well those in the holistic and wellness professions, but I also want it to change the life of someone living while dying with cancer as well as the store clerk who has three other jobs and is wearing a tattoo that says “I’m a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar.” (written by “Firefly”). I saw the tattoo on her arm and asked her about it. She is a dreamer like us, and I hope that one day she will also find my book and follow her heart’s whispers, no matter what.
Please tell us a bit about you and how you decided to write your book. Is it part of a personal goal, business goal, nonprofit or other mission?
I love coaching and inspiring people. I am a mixture of “Dear Abby” (for those of you who remember her), “Life Teacher” and “Earth Mother,” I guess. Since I was three, I have had the burden and delight of having an intuitive knowing that I needed to reach out globally to people and help make the world better in some way. As a musician, I have nine albums (under the name of Cheryl Melody) floating all over world with messages of peace, inclusion, respect, compassion, love, diversity celebration, anti-bullying, nonviolent conflict-resolution, and more. I am surprised that my life has taken the path of a writer, and I now merge the positive messages that live in my music and weave them into my books and plays. I envision a world that vibrates love and inclusion, and I will maintain that vision as long as I live. I am grateful that I have gifts that can help me reinforce positive values and light in the world, and I am also the founder and moderator of a Facebook tribe (I would love for you to join me) in which people all over the world are filled with light, love, support, positive affirmations, visualizations, healing and unity. It is called “Shift of Heart.” I am at peace knowing my Purpose. I look at myself as a “you can change your life” author, healing arts and creativity specialist, motivational speaker and educator, intuitive life coach, workshop facilitator, musician and sound healer. I have always been a starry-eyed dreamer of dreams and am a strong believer in listening to life’s wisdom-whispers, trusting in the magical mystery of the unknown, healing from inside-out, holding a vision for peace and walking the path of love. My passion is to inspire anyone with a dream to take a leap of faith towards living it. Besides “Heart-Dreamer: Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams-No Matter What,” I have written “Shift of Heart-Paths to Healing and Love” and am about to publish a three-act children’s musical entitled, “Peace Begins with You and Me.” Everything I have created has been a labor of love, passion, hope and positive intentions.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Writing carries me away to a timeless, ageless and indescribable kind of peace and true happiness. I forget all other worries, fears and insecurities, and I love being carried away into a world of my own. I enjoy my solitude and the gratefulness I feel for the gifts that I have been given. I was once told at the age of fifteen to give back to the world the gifts that I have been blessed with … and I always have honored those words in my mind and heart.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
My mother was an opera singer, actress and writer, and my father wrote rhyming jingles for me on every birthday. My grandmother was also a singer and a great storyteller. The creative arts were given great respect in my home and my parents were my first inspiration. Many of the people I have quoted in my book have also inspired me along the way. They include Dr. Bernie Siegel, Anne Lamott, Mary Oliver, Brene Brown, Tama Kieves, Marianne Williamson, Ram Dass, Leo Bucaglia, Fred Rogers, Kahlil Gibran, Rumi, Thoreau, Maya Angelou, Oprah, Emerson, Emily Dickinson, and the list goes on and on.
What’s next for you?
I have been wondering “what’s next” for a few months now. I think writing the book exhausted me, and the process in-between also exhausted me. I presented a motivational book talk in my town and had a wonderful turnout, and then went away to visit my grandchildren. I will create webinars, workshops, and speak publicly in the near future … but am trying to listen to the whispers to sense what is truly next. In the meantime, I took a leap of faith and a huge financial investment and signed a contract with a public relations firm for three months of interviews and all the unknowns that will evolve. I love the unknown mystery of life, as I like to call it, and beginning next week, I will be riding the wave of the unknown. Writing a book is like giving birth, and I want to honor “Heart-Dreamer” and its birth by standing up for it. I don’t find it easy to market and toot my own horn, but I will dive into the uncomfortable feelings for the sake of advocating for this book, my motivational messages, and the mystery and spirit of why this book must have come through me. My main goal is to get out there in the world as “Melody” (my preferred first name) and Cheryl Melody Baskin, and if I sell more “Heart-Dreamer” books along the way, I will be ecstatic. So … here I go. Please send light and love and join me by stirring your own “heart-dreamer” spirit.
What advice would you offer fellow authors who are just getting started?
Take your dream in bite-size pieces. Step by step. Don’t push the river. If you leave enough space and just leave yourself open to hearing the whispers, your book and other projects will unfold. It often winds up much different than what you had expected. Go with the flow. Have fun. Enjoy. Breathe in gratefulness. Stay the course. Focus is power. If the timing isn’t aligned, let it go for now, but trust that one day it will be the right timing. Keep your visions, dreams and seeds of dreams alive-no matter what.
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