Category: Written for Others

My First Featured Article on Beliefnet!

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I'm so Excited!  My article is featured!

  Screenshot

This is truly a first for me, and I was so excited, I had to share with everyone! 

I've been writing for a website called Beliefnet.com for the past few months — a milestone in itself because I've been wanting to write for them for years! 

Why? They feature ALL beliefs from the all major religions, and then some. 

But today is the first time I've been featured on their front page!  The very first of their 4 rotating banners, and with my name just there beneath it!  (Until Monday, July 21st anyway…) 

As someone who's been a ghostwriter for many years, I feel like I've finally stepped out into the sun.  Aaaaaah!  I am fairly certain it has something to do with my lovely friend, Trish Kusal Wilson, who allowed me to use her photographs.  The glory is all the sweeter when it's shared!

It's also a subject that I've never felt quite brave enough to write about, since it's such a touchy one for so many people: prayer — but I've attempted to translate it into something that intellectuals, naturalists and realists might be able to relate to.  See if you can, and let me know.  If nothing else, click to see Trish's glorious photos

I partly began writing for Beliefnet because I thought it would be a good way to connect with an audience that could understand and appreciate the podcast I co-host on Unity Online Radio, called "Pop Conscious: Where Pop Culture & Spirituality Unite!"  It is exactly my ministry style, actually, as I study to one day become a fully ordained Unity minister — rejecting no one and nothing in the world, just using it all to be more understanding, more positive and creative and help make the world a happier place.

Here are links to check it all out, if you wanna!  And if you know anyone who'd make a good radio guest or interview subject while talking about entertainment and enlightenment, please get in touch!

LINKS:

Learn more or contact me at MalaynaDawn.com!

 

Three Steps to being a Conscious Consumer of Pop Culture

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Published on Unity.org on February 10, 2014           

By Malayna Dawn

       

   

Three Steps to Being a Conscious Consumer of Pop Culture

If you are familiar with the Law of Mind Action and the Law of Attraction, you know that what we think about, we experience. Being a conscious consumer of pop culture (or one who is “Pop Conscious”) means examining our choices of entertainment and mass media for how they enrich our lives … or not.

We can do so with these three basic steps: Observe, Discern, and Choose.

1. Observe

While enjoying your favorite TV shows, films, music, or other entertainment, assume the role of an observer and pay attention to what you’re watching, listening to, and reading. You might think about it in terms of how someone else would see you, based on your choices. 

A good tool is to examine your presets or favorites on your television, stereo, or any entertainment system. What apps dominate your phone or tablet computer? What’s the music on your playlists? Don’t forget your guilty pleasures! Look for patterns and themes. Awareness is the first step!

2. Discern

Discernment is one of our 12 spiritual powers as taught by Charles Fillmore, so why not use it? We can ask ourselves, “How do these shows, songs, books, make me feel?” “Does this make me think? Do I feel smarter afterward?”

If they’re guilty pleasures, why do you feel guilty? Remember, in Unity, we know guilt is not a constructive emotion … unless we can learn from it. It’s okay to “take your hour of rest” and not think for a while. Even God rested on the seventh day! What about these “guilty pleasures” appeals to you? Look for the underlying value.

For example, one summer Stacy felt guilty because she kept playing Yahtzee on her phone instead of taking the time to meditate. She mentioned this to our minister, Rev. Molly Rockey, who replied, “Oh! That’s your Yahtzee meditation!” Giving herself permission to enjoy the break allowed Stacy to get what she needed from the experience. When she was ready, she renewed her meditation practice.

I found that I spent a fair amount of time not just watching murder mystery TV shows, like Castle and Bones, but also being concerned about the characters for days afterward. Good storytelling can account for some of it, but I found I liked solving puzzles and studying psychology. The sense of justice at the end was satisfying too.

3. Choose, Consciously

Ask yourself these questions: What will feed my dreams? What might inspire me to be my best self? What might educate and inform, and also be entertaining? If I’m staring at the TV just to zone out and relax, what will make me feel better later? Are there other shows that might better serve the underlying values I’m looking for? What are other like-minded people watching or listening to? Check with your Facebook friends or even the real ones that you meet in person!

Venture outside the habitual comfort zone and channel surf a bit! Try channels like Discovery and National Geographic, or OWN–Oprah Winfrey’s Network. You can even try just snippets on YouTube or your cable or satellite provider’s preview channel. Expand your horizons by stepping to the edge of what you know and embark upon adventures you can undertake from the couch—instead of being a couch potato, be a conscious armchair explorer! And don’t forget the resources available at Unity Online Radio!

Stacy and I discussed these three steps on our January 27 show, “How to Consume the Media Without Letting It Consume You,” and we talked about personal examples of how we can be “in the world but not of the world” and make everything a reflection of spiritual principle!

We covered guilty pop pleasures like my one-time Twilight obsession, which lead us to examine social evolution and inner demons. The Grammy Awards lead us to marvel at how music can bring the world and generations together. We discussed how Cirque du Soleil confirms that “with God all things are possible.” We talked about science fiction visionary Arthur C. Clarke and how in life today, science fiction from the past has become our present reality.

In media terms, what we pay attention to is measured in ratings and advertising dollars. If we are watching something that has irredeemable characters, no happy endings, or glorifies a lifestyle we find isn’t worth celebrating, we can turn our attention away—simply by changing the channel! Let’s give our support to something we’d like to see continue and gain in popularity. And in this way, our choices can affect others in a positive way.

Everything in our sphere of experience can become a tool for spiritual exploration and self-growth. Having grown up in Unity, Stacy and I have learned to look for the metaphor and metaphysical interpretations of just about everything.

 

Malayna Dawn is cohost of the Unity Online Radio program Pop Conscious: Where Pop Culture and Spirituality Unite. She and her cohost, Stacy Macris Ros, are lifelong Unity students who are both working toward their ministerial credentials. Malayna is the office manager at Unity of the Oaks in Thousand Oaks, California, and author of a spiritual adventure novel, Echoes Across Time.

 

My Valentine Cleverness

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Angelbabyheart

I’m feeling terribly clever at the moment, and just had to share!  I figured my blog is the perfect place for such shameless self-promotion and self-congratulation. 

As you probably already know, I write about the mind-body-spirit connection and our place in culture.  At the moment, and for some time now, that writing has been in the form of ghostwriting for websites in the U.S.—more specifically, blogging.  My current clients include a holistic addiction recovery facility, a hospital heart clinic, a wedding venue and a costume company specializing in comic and anime conventions.  I feel clever because I’ve been able to have my own little Valentine’s celebration while writing for each of these clients.

I find it the most satisfying when I can incorporate what I’m thinking about anyway into my posts.  So here’s what I did today and earlier this week:

For the heart health clinic -  I wrote about
  -foods OF love—those that are considered aphrodisiacs, and what their actual health benefits may be.  And
  -food AS love – the concept behind the use of food as a form of affection– especially with children.  This is not always good, since those who feel unloved for whatever reason may end up becoming overweight. I suggested different ways of expressing you care while also supporting the health of those you love.


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My Freelance Adventure Continued

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Yesterday I tallied up all the articles I wrote for others in 2009 and it came to 570. At an average of 400 words each, that comes to 228,000 words. A minimum of 60,000 words is needed for a novel, so I’ve written the equivalent of three good-sized novels this year—a trilogy! 

Of course if it were that easy to write a novel, I’d paste them all together and publish. But it would seriously lack plot and characters, and other rather important aspects of a novel. 

Just over 100 of these articles (112 to be exact) were written for Garments Without Guilt, a project that I was allowed to attach my name to and even won an award for my part in the campaign!  You can view those articles (and the ones I did in 2008), by following these links, which are also listed to the left of this article: The Garments Without Guilt blog for all  and The Garments Without Guilt business blog.

458 of my total articles were ghostwritten on a variety of subjects. Since I don’t own them and wrote them while incognito (are you picturing me in sunglasses, ducking slightly, while seated at my computer?) I can’t just give you the links. That’d blow my cover. 

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