Too young to die

Tomorrow is bittersweet. It’s Father’s Day, which for many offers a host of mixed emotions.  Sons and daughters who’ve never know their dad or did and he abandoned them. Perhaps you’re one of those who have yet to forgive yourself or still navigate the hurt feelings between you and your kids. Others of you may long for the dad who is no longer here. What remains are the memories of precious moments you shared and the longing for one more embrace. Still for every broken family or those who’s fathers have passed, there are millions who celebrate the joy of being a father, stepfather or having a dad you can still hug and love. Whatever the case, tomorrow is the day to celebrate fatherhood. It is also the anniversary of the tragic death of my youngest brother Seth, who fell asleep at the wheel of his car early on the morning of June 16, 1999.  This is a day I celebrate the wonderful fearless young man he was.

I think of him often. Sometimes I feel his presence while I am hiking along the coast in West Marin, or in a gust of wind on a hot summer day refreshing my soul with a cool breeze.

Today I had an opportunity to share a poem written about Seth.  As I began to read, I felt a calm chill on my cheek. I knew he was with me. He never lived long enough to become a dad, but had he, I am sure he would’ve made a great father.

In honor Dads everywhere and for my brother Seth, this poem is my gift to you.

Happy Father’s Day.

SETH- courtesy of Matthew Barash
Seth Langwell Circa 1998- Photo, Matthew Barash

Too young to die

Too young to die

I’ll never forget the day mom called

That rainy Sunday when Seth ended it all

Life was too much for him to bear

Gave up too soon

his passing there

Asleep at the wheel

crashed into a tree

Why? Oh Why,

I cried.

Why did he have to

die?

Perhaps he’s better,

Perhaps he’s free.

Time it’s said heals all wounds

Bullshit is what I really think

I’m sad and don’t know what to do.

I cried myself to sleep last night

Prayed for my brother,

To see the light.

Perhaps he’s in a better place,

Above the swaying redwoods

In heaven,

Or,

at least,

I hope,

in a sacred place.

Marketing 101- How to Better market YOU!

Sunday, February 10, 2019
2 – 4:30 p.m.

FEB2019_MARKETING101_ShawnLangwell

Marketing 101: How to Better Market You! 

with
Shawn Langwell

Do you struggle with Marketing? Would you rather everyone just buy your books? Marketing requires effort and getting out of your comfort zone. Join Redwood Writers on February 10, 2019, for an entertaining and practical afternoon when Shawn Langwell offers tips on “How to Better Market YOU!”

1. Passion- Know your why.

2. Know your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities with respect to writing, marketing and publishing.

a) What do you like?

b) What are you good at?

c) Where do you need professional help?

3. Know your audience.

a) who do you want to reach?

b) what do you want to say to them?

c) what do you want them to, think, feel, do?

4. Practice – 3 practical tips for building your brand.

5. Elevator pitch.

Shawn Langwell has 27 years of sales, marketing and advertising experience in the publishing industry. He has consulted with hundreds of clients to better assist them with their marketing and advertising needs and is a member of Toastmasters Of Petaluma. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree from San Francisco State University and has earned Leadership Certificates from Dominican University and the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce. In November 2016, Shawn published his first book, Beyond Recovery, A Journey of Grace, Love, and Forgiveness. When he’s not working or writing, he can be found hiking the west Marin coast. He lives in Petaluma with his wife, Crissi, and three adult children.

Waterfall

Swollen clouds laden black,
Filled with life.
Lightning cracks.

Like a wanton lover, your fire burns.
Electric and bright.
With each new flash — a tremble, a roar.

Your load is heavy.
Clouds burst open.
Streams race onward through the forest floor.

Alive, raging, serpentine.

Down,
up and over,
around and through.

Streams breach their soggy banks, marching onward, toward the sea.
No obstacle is spared. They will not be denied.

Granite stream beds worn smooth as stones collide.
Tumbling, rolling, toward a sharp precipice.
Cascades of falls,
Plunge deeper still.

Water has no conscience it merely flows on.
Twisting, shaping, giving life in its path.
Her waters spread wide, the meadow will soon bloom.

A sigh contented by dawns early light.
Two lovers embrace in pure delight.

There is Hope in Every Storm

Beyond the Storms of Life—there is Hope.

The storms of life are inevitable. Hurricane Irma and Harvey have wreaked havoc on the Gulf and East Coasts. Millions are still without power. Clean drinking water is in short supply. Natural disasters abound throughout the world.
But, what about the storms closer to home? The ones we see—homelessness, drug addiction, physical maladies. How do we ride those out? What can we do? How can we help? What about the mother who just lost her son in a car crash? Where’s hope in those storms? Where do we turn to? Or the young family whose primary bread winner just lost his job; the husband and wife struggling to find connection; the middle age child of aging parents who have fallen and are battling the early stages of dementia?

It is far easier to offer help when we see a storm. What about the storms in the inside? The ones we hide? How do we ask for help we are holding on by a thread barely keeping it together and ready to crack from carrying the load of financial responsibility, compassion and care for our aging parents?

How do we find hope in those circumstances? Where do we turn to for help?

How do we find the courage to share what’s going on with us and not be fearful of what another may think? How do we find courage in becoming vulnerable? How do we navigate the storms on the inside when we are worried that we are failing? Not good enough? Where or to whom or what do we turn when our insides are a mess?

I find it in prayer and asking for help. Like the Nike slogan, I just do it.
I have survived many storms in my life. I’m sure you have too. As a recovered alcoholic and drug addict I discovered I could not get sober on my own. I had to rely on a power greater than myself, God. For the grace of God I have been sober for over 30 years. I don’t say that to brag. I say it because I did what I am talking about in this blog. It is an ongoing daily battle between my will and God’s will. Suffice it to say, when I let go and Let God my days are nearly always better. I am not as worried in the inevitable storms of life. I have Hope

Let our willingness to ask for and accept help or spiritual guidance through each storm be a reminder that there is always hope. Let us become willing and hopeful to look for and find a path to safety.

We can never give up hope.

Hope alone is not enough. We can’t solve all the world’s problems. Sometimes we can’t even solve our own.

Even when we think we can do it alone. We need each other. We need to ask for help. To ask for help sometimes requires a leap of faith. It also requires humility—the leveling of our pride not as a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of strength.
Asking for help takes courage. It requires strength. Ironically, it also requires surrender. By surrender, I mean humility—relinquishing control that we can of our own volition, fix any situation.

The good news is we are not alone.

We can’t fix it, change it or make it go away on our own. We are not God.
Certainly, we can do our part to change, love, support, others and ourselves—emotionally, physically, and financially but we cannot solve it alone.

I am writing this because I have wasted too many hours worrying about how I could solve a situation and what I could do to get out of a mess. Alone, it’s too much work. It’s exhausting.

My prayer is that I seek to understand, to listen and to hear the cry of help from the souls of others so, I may in some way offer a word of encouragement; a word of hope. And that others who love me, see through my masks of “I got it all together” and “I’m fine”  and offer an empathetic ear or to carry my pack and walk through the storms of life WITH me.
For those who may be experiencing a storm of their own, please know, you are not alone. There is hope.

Without hope we are nothing. Without love we are lost.

I’d like to thank Rev. Theon Johnson III, Associate Pastor at Glide Memorial Church for his message today—The world is hurting and your message of hope reached my heart and soul today. It inspired me to do my part to carry it a bit further.

May I remember this day always and draw upon it when I’m in a storm. May it be a beacon to guide me to safe shores.

Thank you!
We are all blessed, indeed.

Love,

Shawn

To find out more about my journey of victory over personal storms, you may like,

Hope Book

http://www.shawnlangwell.com

Exposed – Local Author Gets Real

Public speaking usually tops the list of things most people fear.

I’ve found that when I do that which I fear most, confidence and joy typically follow.

The first time I had to give a talk in front of a crowd I was in grammar school. I hated it. I was mortified.  Filled with anxiety and worry that I would suck, I stood there with sweaty palms wondering if I would have anything worthwhile to say. Would I stumble over my words, and saying lots if “ums” and “ahs”? That was many years ago. Despite all my fears, I lived through it.

Last Thursday, before delivering my first truly public talk about my memoir, Beyond Recovery: A Journey of Love, Grace and Forgiveness at Many Rivers Books in Sebastopol, I was a nervous wreck.

Shawn Langwell - Many Rivers Book Reading - Sebastopol - 6-1-17

Shawn Langwell – Many Rivers Book Reading – Sebastopol  6-1-17 Photo: Dale Godfrey

As the hour of reckoning drew closer, I psyched myself out wondering if anyone I invited would show. Most did. I was thrilled when the founding pastor of our church arrived. I had prayed all day that he would be there. I smiled and gave him a big hug, and thanked him for coming.

Later, as I began my talk though, I was afraid I’d drop a few cuss words and worried that I might mess up. I also wondered how the mixed crowd would accept or reject me talking openly about my faith, my struggle, and my recovery journey. How would they receive my stories of love, acceptance and forgiveness? Would they even know the inner terror I was feeling?

It didn’t matter, I had chosen to do this. I was committed and went for it.

Was it the best talk I’d ever given? No. Far from it. It did, however, give me that extra little bit of confidence to do things a little different next time. For example: I need to practice a little more, be lighter, and share from more from my heart in the beginning of my talk and not rely so heavily on my notes. I believe this will help me connect more  and build a stronger relationship with my audience.

Perhaps I am being too hard in myself, but the point is, I am walking through uncharted territory which is scary and exciting.

I have found that the greatest growth happens when I stretch my comfort zone and venture out into the unknown.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

-Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

Want to turn doubt into confidence?

Are you ready to trust yourself, feel safe in following your intuition, get doubt, fear and confusion out of the way, and get to living the dream life you’ve been working toward?

Can you allow yourself to dream right now?

Imagine feeling safe, confident and excited about following your gut instincts. Imagine turning your intuitive feelings into tangible action and watching your dreams turn into reality.

My colleague Darcy has the solution for you!

headshot-april-2017_1_orig

Join her Free 5-Day Challenge where she will show you what she has done to turn self doubt into self trust, create results toward that dream life you know is possible by following her intuition so you can do the same in your life.

I know you will get a lot from her.

Here’s the FOCUS!

How to Finally Trust Yourself & Your Intuition so that you can turn your dreams into tangible results now, regardless of what you’ve been through or already tried.

What you’ll get from this Free 5-Day Challenge:

  1. Why now is the perfect time to put fear to the side and take the leap of faith on your dreams
  2. Uncover the skills and abilities you already have that completely qualify you to start trusting yourself first and foremost
  3. Identify what has stood in the way of you really trusting yourself so you can turn doubt into trust and confidence
  4. Define your dream life in tangible ways and begin taking action to live it now
  5. How to develop your intuition and understand the subtle messages your inner voice is sending so you can turn your dreams into tangible results with confidence and joy and discover how others are enjoying the fulfillment that comes with becoming successful—and how you can too!

Join the challenge now

My intention is that this is landing in your inbox at just the right time. Also, as a bonus, when you sign up for this challenge you will automatically be included in a web interview series that I will be featured in! (Details to come in July)

Join the tribe & let’s get you the results you’ve been waiting for.

Join the challenge now

See you there,

Shawn Langwell

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” – Lao Tzu

The first step in any endeavor is always the most difficult.

For some the fear of failure keeps us stuck where we are and trying to find the courage to begin often becomes paralyzing. We think of all the things that could go wrong and may worry that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, brave enough, educated enough or whatever.

For others, the converse is true. It may seem silly, but there are many people who are actually afraid of success.

It doesn’t matter what it is that we seek,the reality is that it takes courage to start.

When it comes to addiction this can’t be more true. Millions have vowed to never drink again or ____ (fill in the blank). Yet, for those, like me who have addictive tendencies, the day comes again when temptation and desire overpowers any modicum of self will and, once again, we’re off and running.

For me this was a vicious cycle that, though it only lasted a short time, brought me to my knees, begging for help.

When I was nearing the end of my drinking career I vividly recall the utter insanity in my head-

It was a summer day in 1986. Stoned, coked out, and drunk, my heart pounded inside my chest.  I laid on my back in my 8′ x 8′ room staring at the 7′ wainscot ceiling above gasping for each breath, afraid that if I fell asleep I would not wake up.

My mind raced. Voices entered into my head as if they were speaking to me. I heard my mom telling me to get help. Others- my grandmother, my brother, and close friends and relatives, all implored me to get help. They were all talking over each other. I got scared. The room started to spin and I couldn’t shut the voices off. I put one foot on the floor hoping it would stop the room from spinning. It helped for a bit but the voices clamored on- “You need help.” “We love you!”  “Hang on.” Each one seeming to call out to me like angels from on high.

I heard them but wanted them to go away. I thought I was either going insane, dying, or that I may have a problem with drugs and alcohol.

“God help me!” I cried out. “Make it stop!”

That incident was the catalyst that brought me one step closer to seeking help.

As many before me, I wasn’t done yet. I thought I could control it. I would stop for two or four days then be right back at it for another week or more.

Near the end, I recall actually going to a bar one night with the intention of getting wasted. I ordered a double-nothing. I ordered two more. Still nothing. Alcohol had stopped working.

Why? Because I was an alcoholic; I had lost the ability to control my drinking.

But I had not yet been beaten down to the point of admitting it. That would take a few more crazy episodes, one in which I literally hallucinated that my mom had called an insane asylum. They were going to put me in a straight jacket and take me away.

Eventually I gave in. I admitted lost the ability to control my drinking and checked into a 28 day rehab. That was on October 10, 1986.

After three days of detox, I was introduced to the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Step One:
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives were unmanageable.”

I was beaten and fully surrendered to taking the first step toward a journey that would change the course of my life forever. For that, I am eternally grateful.

This is the first of  twelve posts, in which I will outline a portion of my experience with the twelve steps for one sole purpose- to carry the message of hope for those who still suffer.

If you or someone you know has struggled or you are currently in recovery, I encourage you to follow this series. Share it if you want. I am just another alcoholic who has not found it necessary to drink or use drugs, one day at a time, since October, 10, 1986.

Step One
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—
that our lives had become unmanageable.”