Thursday, January 2, 2020

Discovering Your Aha Moments

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the coming year will be a happy and amazing year for us all. I want to share an essay with you that I wrote a few months ago. I was contemplating how life is a struggle, and how there are small and big obstacles. These small obstacles train us to endure the bigger obstacles. Despite the hardships of life, if we pace ourselves and keep getting up after we fall, eventually we will overcome most things. I want to assure you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Each one of us is on our own journey through life, and we have to find the aha moment in our lives that will help us to grow and to improve. However, once we do have those moments of growth, it usually changes our perspectives and how we choose to live our lives.

Climbing Mount Epiphany

Lena Winfrey Hayat

Reaching an epiphany sounds like climbing Mount Everest, and sometimes it might compare to such a great feat. Many people go through pivotal changes in their lives that stem from tough decisions that sometimes change the course of their lives. However, how many people have really had an epiphany of self-realization? How many have experienced being on a point where they are standing on a precipice and ready to fall into the dark abyss while praying wings will miraculously appear to protect them from falling? It is no easy task to stand outside ourselves and to see the moment of truth where we discover something new in our thinking or in the way we view ourselves and the world around us. It is both rare and amazing to find that glorious moment of an epiphany that enlightens and bathes our souls in the light of a new dawn.

How do we recognize an epiphany? Once we experience it, we just understand what it is. It is almost like turning on a bright light in a very dark room and illuminating every item and corner in that room. It is akin to an “aha” moment when the light bulb turns on in our brains. Yet, an epiphany runs deeper than the surface of our minds as it also engulfs our hearts and souls, thus reaching to the core of our beings. Once we have had an epiphany, there is no turning back to the old world or archaic way of thinking. We are changed forever. Despite facing small or big epiphanies, both change us and have lasting effects upon us. My life has been full of pivotal moments and small epiphanies. My small epiphanies were like stepping stones, little moments of learning, that prepared me to face my great epiphanies.

Being raised as a female in the Southern part of the United States and coming from a nice, middle class family, I led a life where most of my needs were met. My father indeed protected and worked hard to take care of our family. I am so grateful for my parents who gave me a strong foundation by teaching me morals as well as hard work ethics. They taught me to be polite and honest. They encouraged me to help others. They even gave me the space to dream and inspired me to reach higher to achieve more. Despite growing up shy and basically being quiet at school, I felt I had some special quality inside and some great purpose in this life. Yet, there were days where I would feel sad because I was not perfect. It took me many years to shed the pressure of trying to be perfect. We all live in an imperfect world and we are all imperfect, so why was I pressuring myself to reach the unattainable? I finally decided to be happy for at least trying my best.  

Due to society’s roles for women that have been ingrained in both the male and female psyches, we sometimes forget to question our roles. Life is not black and white, but it is a series of various shades of grey. One small epiphany was realizing that I didn’t have to be stuck in the traditional female role. Many women still struggle with this because today most women work outside of the home, and then when they reach home they continue their work. We begin to believe we are superwomen who must do everything perfectly, both our job and our work at home including raising the children. It is exhausting! Sometimes we forget to ask for help, and there are a few spouses and family members who would gladly help. Yet, women are filled with guilt when they fall below either their own self-expectations or the expectations set by society. Once we realize that the best way to live would be mutual cooperation within our families, then the pressure can be alleviated. We need to stop listening to all of the dictates of society and start listening to our hearts and needs, thus defining ourselves or even recreating ourselves into stronger, more confident, relaxed women. Once our perspectives and priorities shift, we can discover who we really are and what gifts we have to offer the world. And this also needs to come with a spirit of cooperation and compassion from the other members of society who we would like to see supporting and helping everyone in the human race.

We all have our ups and downs in life. I have gone through many hardships and passed through tough obstacles to the point I thought my heart and soul were broken. And yet, I held on with some unknown strength. I was raised like most girls who heard stories of princes and knights saving ladies in distress, and I was waiting for years for a gentleman, a knight in shining armor, to come and rescue me from my difficult life. Yet, no one came. No help arrived and almost no support or encouragement could be found. I was alone in my dungeon drowning in depression and despair.  

Then, I had a great epiphany! I realized no one would ever come to rescue me; I had to save myself and be my own knight! The moment of truth lit my path and beckoned me to be strong and brave. Even though I was shaking on the inside and carried some self-doubt, I was now driven with a new purpose. If I were going to change my life and ease my pain, then I would have to stand strong and persevere all expected storms. I would have to slay the dragon and deliver myself to safety because no one else would or could. That great epiphany, the glorious moment of truth and self-realization, propelled me forward to face all of my enormous enemies and obstinate obstacles, both external and internal. I became my own hero to save myself. I climbed the great Mount Epiphany! Once I had reached the top, I could relax and breathe; while looking down I was amazed at the steep climb and the fact that indeed I had made it. It was a great feeling of accomplishment that matured my outlook on the world and changed my perspective and life forever.

I had won my great battle, along with little battles, and along the way I discovered rewards and treasures that now fill my life. This does not mean my life is suddenly easy or luxurious. There are small daily struggles and battles that need to be overcome to keep my life on its course. However, my epiphany has led me to become the captain of my own ship, and I plot my own course despite fighting against the waves and having to reset my course along the way.

Another realization, or epiphany, revealed itself after I had championed my cause and had apparently won. However, this victory was bitter-sweet as in order to gain my freedom and dignity, I had to sacrifice some things that pierced my heart and racked my soul. It was both a time of immense relief and a time of great sorrow. What a paradox! But then nothing of value in life comes without a price. I embraced my new future while having some moments of sadness. However, life is constantly changing so I’m reassured that I will regain my losses in other ways. Sometimes we have to just roll with the river and flow into the unknown while being thankful to have survived this game of life with only a few “injuries”.

Surely there are more epiphanies to come, as I am continuously gaining knowledge, even self-knowledge, until I reach my grave. However, this pivotal epiphany was a major shift in my thinking and in changing the course of my life. It was the wake-up call I needed to fully realize my self-worth and how to stand up for myself. This monumental epiphany put me on my chosen path to reach my purpose in this life.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Gnawing Ideas


Ideas gnaw like rats on a flour sack. They take their time, but eventually they break through. These ideas become a driving force akin to passion, and they disturb sleep and rest until they are implemented.

I’ve recently been bogged down with a ton of work and then huge life changes that kept me so busy that I literally had no time to write. Now that I’m getting settled into my new routine, my waking and dreaming hours have been screaming at me to get back to my writing.

Just this morning, another idea popped into my head to add to my current paranormal romance novel. Of course, ideas never stop, especially not for me. I seem to have an uncanny talent for having bottomless pits of ideas. What I do when I’m extremely busy is to jot down these ideas so I can use them later. Since this morning’s idea crept into my half-asleep mind, it has prodded me to wake up and to get back to rewriting and editing my novel. So now I’m in search of those previous notes of ideas as well as my new ideas that I want to add to my novel.

from via

I do have a bad habit to multi-task by having multiple works in progress at the same time. I even have a comedy screenplay in mind, which I’ve been mulling over for some time. Who could have guessed I can write humor? I even shocked myself. One day, the dialogue just played out in my head like a movie-- something between Woody Allen and Mel Brooks. However, for now, I’ll have to put the comedy on hold.

I’ve decided that I should focus my concentration on my nearly completed paranormal manuscript and push it over the finish line. Ideas are meant to be shared and not hidden to rot away. Every great change, every great invention, every amazing movie and every amazing book started with an idea. Ideas sow seeds that can grow into plants to nourish the readers’ minds. Indeed, ideas are powerful motivators and life changers.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Poetry Expresses Our Souls

photo by Geralt 

I know it has been awhile since I last posted though I did say I would post more often. Unfortunately, work and life get in the way of blogging at times, especially for teachers during exam time. However, with Spring Break here and Summer Vacation just around the bend, hopefully my blogging will become more consistent. I’ll do my best.

Today, in honor of poetry month, I want to discuss what poetry means to me as well as share a new poem with you. I’ve been writing poetry since high school, and I actually published one in an anthology at a tender age. I was prompted to write more poetry in those years to express the loss of my close friend who passed away so young. So poetry became the vehicle for my emotions with that one tragic event and has accompanied me throughout my life.  After writing more poetry, I moved on to short stories, novels and screenplays. However, poetry is special to me because, unlike other writing, it allows me to express the depth of my soul. All of my thoughts, ideas, emotions, and even bits of my soul go into my poems. Some are positive while others reflect the dark moods that cloud my days. Poetry is like my diary, my counselor, and balm for my soul. Sometimes what I cannot put into words can easily be expressed in poetry. I enjoy painting with words, creating art, using rhyme and other literary devices to bring about the best poem that I can while expressing myself and hopefully sharing some insight with the world. Sometimes I might reflect my life, or sometimes I just enjoy creating stories about other personas. Poetry has literally saved my life many times (or my sanity).

I have many favorite poets like Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath and others. Their poems speak to my heart. Poetry is like music that soothes my soul.  

The following poem was written after the death of my aunt; she was like a mother figure for me, so as you can imagine I was depressed and in a funk. Then some words whirled in my mind, as they always do, and I started writing a line. Then the words came out on paper, and I spent the next couple of days editing and rewriting my poem. But at least some of my sadness and stress was released and a work of art was created. Here is “Many Faces”; I hope it will touch your hearts.  Enjoy!

Many Faces

The many faces of Eve
From memory I retrieve.
All the habits and skills
To make life such a thrill.
What a façade…such a lie!
Yet, in this world we cannot cry.
The outside is happy and complete,
While the inside is broken and deplete.
Where’s the help and rescue?
On my own while sinking in blues.
Life’s joke…sink or swim…
Almost on the razor-sharp rim.
Tears are stuck and freezing,
Life laughs back and is teasing.
Yet, the façade is perfect and precise.
Hiding the chaos that at my soul slices.
The smile is statue-like molded,
While at my mistakes I’m scolded.
Perfect happiness is expected
But deep depression is internally reflected.
Who will I pretend to be today
Just to bring others sunshiny rays?
Successful, strong and perfectly living,
Yet drowning in self-doubting chaos while giving
My soul to the world so cruel,
And always retaining the last jewel.
World! You can’t have my best part!
This is the me you can’t have inside my heart.
The fortress is built and you get what you see.
Just take your due and please leave me!
How many faces of Eve are there?
As many as I need to protect my lair.

                                                --Lena Winfrey Hayat

photo from Creative Commons

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Painting with Words

By Ulleo

As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Sometimes it is difficult to express certain feelings, ideas or emotions in words, so many people decide to paint their feelings and ideas. We can learn much from art and see the hidden meanings. However, writers have an important job in communicating ideas and feelings to readers, so how can they successfully do this when some ideas, expressions and feelings are difficult to explain in words? That is the “magic” trick. A great writer uses every tool in his “writing bag”, and the greatest writers are actually able to “paint” using words. Thus, a talented writer could be able to turn “a thousand words into a picture.” Not a literal picture, but it will reflect in the reader’s mind as a successfully explained and “painted” image that will reach the heart and soul of the reader who can finally appreciate such a deep, hidden meaning that has been translated by the writer.

Below I will share my poem that expresses the idea of painting with words. Enjoy!

The Writer’s Canvas

Words drip from my pen like paint from a brush.
Drip, drip, drip…
A word, a verb swirling and mixing--
Adjectives scream from the page!
Nouns flash in vibrant colors.
Staring at an empty page while waiting for words to flow,
Inspiration finally strikes like magic as the pen glides.
Drip, drip, drip…
Many curious questions explore my soul.
The pen furiously races to paint with words before the ink runs out,
Before the memories get lost in a maze of self-doubt.
Lines of words reflect my ideas as the words are imprinted upon hearts.
At last the words are recorded,
And now the painting is ready for display.

                                                  --Lena Winfrey Hayat

By Greyerbaby

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Breaking the Silence

Sometimes in life we run into people who try to control us and make us only speak whenever they wish. Sometimes people try to force us to fit into their tiny boxes they’ve built for us that represents how they view us. Sometimes they practically tie us up and gag us. At times, these are our closest family and friends, so in the beginning we may not realize what diabolic deeds they are doing to us. Then, suddenly one day we awaken to realize the ugly truth. The following is a poem I have written on this subject that I hope will inspire those imprisoned by silence to break free and be silent no more. Live life on your own terms and sing to the world. Celebrate your freedom and embrace your future.

by Comfreak

Breaking the Silence

He silenced her…
He silenced her!
Until she had no voice…
Until she had no opinion…
Until she had no identity…
Until she almost faded from existence.
He silenced her…
He silenced her!

The caged bird…
The caged bird begins to whistle
Until she learns to chirp…
Until she learns to sing…
Until she finds her voice again.
The caged bird now speaks and shouts!
The caged bird.

She wonders, ‘Who am I?’
Looking in the mirror,
Rediscovering herself,
She has changed.
Now she flies freely.
Now she can choose to be whoever she wants.
She has a voice…
She has an opinion…
She has an identity…
She is alive!
She has broken the silence!

                             -- Lena Winfrey Hayat

By Photorech

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finding Inner Strength

Dear Reader,

Today I have decided to share my poem with you that I wrote a few months ago. I hope the heroine in the story inspires you to face any obstacles in your life and to achieve your goals. Good luck!

The Queen of Pain

Gasping her last breath as she fell to the hard ground,
Screams of agony from within yet not a sound.
Innocence shattered, her sweet soul badly battered.
Yet to her evil enemies it never mattered.
Out of the fiery flames her ashes arise,
The Queen of Pain with dignity stands against lies.
Reborn from the agony and the terrible pain,
No more would she pour out teardrops of raging rain.
She embraced the pain…scarred with heavy dark blood stains.
Awakened, now she has become the Queen of Pain.
Her jealous enemies plotted her fatal fall.
Yet now their fearful backs are up against the wall.
Their poisonous razor-sharp daggers froze her warm heart.
She absorbed their wicked hate and poison so tart.
She turned it with angel’s hands to peace and love.
She let their evil pass out to raise her above,
For she had no time for petty games and lame lies.
She built the fortress around her soul without cries.
With dignity and integrity the pain she wore,
As crowns and jewels that shine brightly from her core.
Standing proudly their foul plots touch her nevermore.
Their voices die as the Queen remains forevermore.

                                                            --Lena Winfrey Hayat

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Second Guessing

Dear Readers,

I know I said I would try to write weekly… well it has been awhile. I got side-tracked again by Life! Seriously, too much work due to the end of the school year, report card time and so forth. So, I was thinking today about what makes authors seem to second guess themselves. I mean… can’t we be satisfied with whatever we write? We scrutinize our text, and we scrutinize ourselves! Some authors could say they torture themselves for perfection. Alas, there is no perfection, so we need to settle for something like amazing?

Anyway, just to get ourselves started on a project and past our procrastination is an accomplishment. Sure we love to write, but sometimes we delay an idea for fear of failure. And sometimes even for fear of success! Sometimes we are afraid that we cannot perfect our characters or perfect our piece of writing. We worry about the big things as well as the small things. Like for example, which point of view to choose? Well, that is a big concern because we want to match the point of view with the type of story as well as to our characters. It can be very important to the voice of the piece we are writing. A small thing could be like whether or not to place a comma at a specific point? Sometimes we agonize a whole day over a piece of punctuation. “To punctuate or not to punctuate.” It could drive a writer mad!

The problem is we get caught up in trying to be perfect, wanting to please not only ourselves but also our readers and even the critics. There is no perfect script nor perfect writer. And we need to realize that there are several ways to get to the same point. I can choose the same characters and the same plot, but use a different point of view or choose different dialogue and still have a good story, even a different story. Every method is correct; there is no wrong way. There are some ways that might be better, and maybe we should experiment a bit with different methods. However, we have to trust the writer’s voice inside to let us get the words out and let us create the story we have in our minds and in our hearts. We have to be concerned with getting the story out rather than worrying all the time about “wonder what they will think?”

We have to be determined to get the story out quickly. We should meditate, concentrate and then let that story flow out like a river. We need to let all the words come out before we begin the editing process.

We must believe in ourselves, in our characters and in our story. When our characters are alive in our hearts and minds, then we can bring them to life. Then, we should be committed to giving these characters their story.

We have to admit that sometimes we are harder on ourselves than any critic.  We are afraid to utter the wrong word or to choose the wrong plot event. We fear to disturb the flow of our story when we should really just let the story choose its own path. We just need to be along for the ride.

So, dear Writers get into that chair and on that keyboard. Write up a storm. Say whatever your heart tells you. Listen to the character’s voice in your head. And just trust yourself to create the best story. You can do it… just believe!