Breaking Chains and Beautiful Music

Happy Wednesday! 

This week has gone by fast. I’ve been working on my novel Orion’s Chains and I have officially mapped out my entire story. I am doing bios for each of my major characters and doing some research to bring a little fact into my fictional world. Orion’s story takes place in the future and on another planet so I have the creative license to make my own rules and societal structures. 

If you have kept up with my posts, then you’ll know that I’ve been reading The Four Agreements. I admittedly haven’t gotten too far in the book, but the first chapter has been an eye opening experience. The author discusses how we are domesticated like animals from the time we are born and taught to accept and respond to the dreams and truths laid out in our worlds before we were born. We are indoctrinated into these “truths” and we quickly learn that when we go against the grain we will be punished in some way. I’m assuming that the book will help to break some of those chains (pun intended) and help guide me toward spiritual freedom. I think Orion’s Chains will take a lot of cues from The Four Agreements

As I work on my book and another project, I have been putting together playlists to correlate with my writing moods. I plan to share them here when they have filled out properly, but right now I’ll tell you a few albums that are inspiring me right now: 

  • Sabrina Claudio: Sabrina is a new artist and she just released her first full length album. About Time is a soothing R&B experience and Sabrina’s voice is addictive. 
  • Solange: A Seat at the Table is the album of my life. It feels like Solange took every thrilling, heartbreaking, frustrating, and liberating moment of my life and wrapped all 30 years into a musical masterpiece. If I ever meet her, I’ll make sure I thank her for feeding my soul.
  • Sango: I guess I have a think for S names. Sango released North in 2013 but I just discovered it this year via a Twitter pal. I can play the whole album without skipping a track and it helps me get into a futuristic mindset for my book.
  • Stranger Things Soundtrack: Aaahhhh the 80s. I love volume one of this soundtrack. It’s synth heavy, haunting and brilliant. 

What are you listening to this week? Let me know 💕 

-Tai Gooden 

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Life Outside the Roles

This week was interesting. One of my closest friends reached out to me for a status update on my social media-less life. She was the fifth person to text me and ask “How are you?” I responded to her message the same way I did to the others because they were all people who KNOW me – I’m not well and my life feels like it’s in shambles but I’m working one day at a time to find peace and joy. 

I could sense my friend’s troubles through the text message, so I threw the question back to her in hopes of an honest response. She spilled her innermost thoughts to me and revealed that although she seems to have it together as a mom, wife, employee, etc., she felt waves of unhappiness. She was unfulfilled and had stuffed her feelings away from friends and family. Like me, she was stressed and on the verge of breaking into pieces. We spent the next hour taking with each other and finding comfort in our mutual feelings. 

She wanted to know what I thought and I only had one piece of advice for her – find a way to define yourself outside of your relationship with other people or what you do for a living. This is the most efficient path towards feeling “whole” as an individual. Most people answer the “who are you?” question with their roles in life – mom/dad, sister, wife, etc. but those titles have nothing to do with who you are and focuses on what you are to other people. The same goes for a job title – it’s what you do, but it doesn’t define the rich, complex, and brilliant essence of your life. When I said this to her, I was talking to myself as well. 

I have the same roles as my friend – mom, sister, daughter, and wife. I work in banking during the day and I write at night. But my life is more than my roles. I am the sum of my beliefs, quirks, dislikes, private thoughts, and passions. I’m a continuously evolving combination of energy, light, love, darkness, and confusion yet I’m always and forever me. And being me is enough. I will continue to seek an adequate answer to define myself and it will change as I gather new information and experiences. Right now, I’m diving into The Four Agreements and my definition of self might shift after I complete the book 😊

Who are you? It’s a challenging question with no right answer. I hope you ponder on it this week. Live well and I’ll “see” you on Wednesday 💕
-Tai Gooden 

Forward Movement with the Four Agreements 

It’s been three days since I gave up social media and started to focus more on my spirit and surroundings. I have done extended social media breaks before but this time feels different. When I left social media in the past, the first few days were filled with anxiety because of FOMO – FEAR OF MISSING OUT. I would wonder what hilarious hashtags were trending on Black Twitter or if I missed some big news on Facebook. Eventually, I would settle in to my social media-less existence but I always felt slightly uneasy. I have built most of my freelance career and connections on Twitter, so it was always hard to sign out and delete my app. 

The past few days have felt incredibly liberating. I haven’t given social media a second thought and I don’t want to sneak a peek at Facebook or Twitter (the only two social apps I use because I’m an old lady). My creative juices are starting to move from a trickle to a light stream as I do more research and world building for Orion’s Chains – my upcoming science fiction/fantasy novel with a Black woman protagonist. I’m mapping out and creating rules for her world. It gives me indescribable joy to create this body of work and I hope to be finished by Summer 2018! 

I am also spending more time reading. I just ordered Don Miguel Ruiz’s best selling book The Four Agreements. The novel is an Oprah fave and discusses beliefs that limit our potential and cause us to live less joyful, fulfilled lives. I have heard about this book for years and now I’m finally going to give it a try! I’ll be posting my thoughts and the connections I make with my own life here. I found this handy chart of the agreements on the book’s website fouragreements.com: 


My meditation and prayer practice has made a triumphant return and I feel less stressed overall. I have a big writing assignment due at the end of this month, so meditation before bed has helped me wind down after my nightly writing sessions. 

My goal for this blog is to post on Sundays and Wednesdays…for now. Hopefully, more people will become invested in my journey and I’ll have time to squeeze in an extra post 🙂 
Have a great day and live well ❤️

-Tai Gooden