Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Creative Writing’ Category

Repairing and Releasing Energetic Ties – The Karma Chronicles #BookReview and #AuthorInterview

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 4.59.14 PMThe Karma Chronicles is a unique story with lots of fascinating elements, from drama to angelic interventions to poetic musings, all with the gift of healing in them.

If we believe in karma, then it’s logical that we are all born into a family, a lineage, a tribe who have set our course by their actions and reactions. Now, it would be great if the family we’ve landed into is brimming with nothing but love and light. However, for Kate, the protagonist of The Karma Chronicles, this is not the case.

Kate carries on her karmic back the scroll of destiny signed by her ancestor, Lord Hadrian. She has to deal with karmic shadows including abuse, violence, betrayal and abandonment before she is able to heal the feeling of unworthiness cast upon her.

Kate is helped in her karmic challenge by her twin, a sister who died at birth and is in the Divine Realm, trying to protect her from the world she had been able to escape. She is assisted by Archangels who reach Kate through her dreams. They feed her spiritual tools such as writing poetry, journaling, and meditation to help her escape her fate, and to realize that she is destined for something greater than she can imagine.

The Archangels guide Kate to write as therapy:

     Torn between two worlds I cannot reach and with only prayer to guide me, I thirst for each. In search of my life, I try again to figure out the past of why and when. In search of my life I take the tests. To make it on my own I have bequest. A childhood of hopes that no one knew. Once I saw in a dream-state that most come true. – Age 16

As The Karma Chronicles, Part 1: Hadrian’s Seal concludes, Kate’s drama-filled life shifts and there is hope for her future. The reader is not only drawn in by the story, but also by the knowledge that if there is hope for Kate, there is hope for all of us… the possibility to change relationships we thought would never heal. Yes, it will make you want to delve into the karma of your own family line and will cause you to shift the way you think about your own family members and their relationship to you.

Thanks to author Pepper Carlson, C.Ht., for answering my questions here:

1) Is there an underlying message you wish to relay through your novel?

You are never alone and should never give up hope.

2) Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My grandfather loved to write poetry and he would share it with me. I wrote my first poem when I was 11 or so.

 3) In the Prologue, Lord Hadrian signs the scroll of destiny, understanding the energetic capacity of “when karma meets fate.” What do you mean by that phrase?  

What comes around goes around, so whatever we put out will come back on us ten fold.

 4) As a hypnotherapist, do you have experience working with clients to connect with the spirits of their ancestors?  

I don’t do regression therapy in the true sense of the word. The way I work with my clients is a current reality based approach. We explore the recreation of familiar experiences. And how even though we may say we want something new and different and we really mean it, we keep finding ourselves still repeating the patterns of the past (which goes back through the ancestral lineage). This is because the thoughts and words that come out of our mouths are not congruent with the feelings deep within us that were formulated in childhood.

We approach and visit the subconscious mind as your internal safety deposit box. It is literally a memory bank full of defined childhood experiences. Our deposits are made in the form of experiences, thoughts, and cognitive behaviors. As we grew up, these emotional deposits became a collective of stored perceptions. And it’s these insights that developed into our very personal model of the world. Getting the two parts of your mind to be congruent with each other is when your actions and reactions are aligned with your current belief system and values. This occurs when your conscious mind trusts and consolidates the wealth of information the subconscious mind has to offer and this payoff will literally change our life. This is the ultimate win-win situation and harmony in your life will prevail. This is how we chisel away at the karmic debt repayment plan.

5) Can you describe how one can repair and release the energetic strands in their family’s karma?  

I get so excited when asked to talk about the subconscious mind because I’ve spent most of my adult life performing what I call experiments. Trying to delve deeper into the psyche. As I got older, I was like wait a minute. How come I keep doing that? How come I keep saying this? It can’t be a coincidence that my last three relationships resembled one or both of my parents. And when I say relationships it doesn’t just mean intimate relationships. This philosophy extends to friends, colleagues, and even bosses. Have you ever heard the expression, you attract that which you know? We tend to surround ourselves with what is familiar and we’re not the only ones. Our parents did the same thing, as did their parents and theirs… back even further through the ancestral lineage. In my novel, The Karma Chronicles, which will be Book One of a trilogy, I take a good look at how often certain patterns and habits get repeated and quite possibly passed down through the ages.

Pepper Carlson, C.Ht. is a creative visionary, certified hypnotherapist and personal empowerment coach. When not at her writing desk, she is working with clients to help them unleash their personal power and live up to their true potential. A long-time volunteer as a tutor for School on Wheels, she also works daily to defend her 2012 title as a Good News Ambassador for the Good News Network, an honor granted to individuals who work to improve society and demonstrate notable goodwill towards others.

The Karma Chronicles is available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. To request a signed copy of her book, go to:


Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

The Chakra Blog






What Gives your Life Worth? Book Review and Interview on THE OARSMAN

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-4-47-30-pmThe Oarsman is simultaneously a fantasy/adventure novel and a literary work of art with gems of spiritual wisdom sprinkled throughout.

The story takes us on a journey in the time of knights and dragons with an 80-year old Man who recently lost his beloved wife and now wants to reach the “promised shores” he has heard sung of all his life. An Oarsman is taking him down river toward his goal until they meet a Judge standing on an island, who won’t let him pass.

He is sent back to review his life: “If you come back more worthy, learned from your mistakes, you will be free to pass.”

 What follows is a beautifully written account of a Man witnessing all the roles he has played in his life, from an Artist to a Merchant to a Dreamer, a Warrior, an Apprentice, a Boy and an Infant. The vile critical voice of the Judge appears in various forms from a dragon to a whirlpool in the river to sabotage the Man, in opposition to the help offered by the Oarsman to this Man so in need of rescue.

The Man must find from where his dissatisfaction with life and critical inner voice came. What he learns along the way, with the help of the ever-wise Oarsman, is to focus on life’s bright spots instead of ruminating over his unworthiness. Can he return to the purity of the newborn and see the love that makes him worthy?

Anyone who has ever experienced self-judgment or doubt about the meaning of one’s life will find this magical fantasy a revelation in how we bring about our own misery, and how we can instead see the value of our life’s experiences.

Using beautiful imagery in which all of nature is alive and involved with the Man’s journey, author Zubin Mathai has transformed an age-old theme, of reviewing our life at its end, into an inspiring adventure teaching that we are all worthy at our core.


What message you would like readers to take away from THE OARSMAN?

The lesson that the main character takes away, which hopefully the reader does too, is that there is a force of silence and truth, coming from love, that has been with us our entire lives. It has been there during the good and bad times, and whether we cover it up or not with mind-stuff, it still has the power to lead us through each destiny arc in each section of our life.

What would you say is the major spiritual theme of THE OARSMAN?

Apart from the main message, the other spiritual theme in The Oarsman, is that unworthiness — even though most of us grapple with it — is not real. Our belief in it prevents us from stepping fully into our personal paradises of peace. Whether that unworthiness manifests as guilt over the past, or as a hesitation to step into the future, it is all the same: only a mind pattern that is too afraid to let love in fully in all its forms.

Are the roles of your main character a reflection of experiences in your own life?

 Yes. All the roles in the book are roles that I have gone through (albeit modern equivalents). For example, the Merchant, obsessed with riches and celebration, was me running an Internet business and getting caught up in material things. The Sage trying to climb the mountain was me in my youth, when I went to the Himalayas to meditate. The lesson I learned from that time was that I was always creating ‘mountains’ in my mind, things I had to climb before I could feel fulfillment. It was only years later that I saw that that fulfillment is our birthright, and we only cover it up with doubt and fear.

The river is an important metaphor in your book, and has been used by many others as metaphors in their novels. What meaning do you give the river in your work? 

In the book, the river represents a few different things. It represents the winding of life as well as truth and love. The reader also soon sees that the river and the Oarsman character are two sides of the same coin. For the main character, the Man, before he learns his lesson, he co-opts the river and twists it a bit, turning it into a river that winds through his past so that he can revisit it.

You give life to all of nature in your story, e.g., “The trees wept leaves at the beauty heard….” Do you see everything as alive, aware and responsive as do shamans?

I see a Oneness infusing everything. When I was younger, I thought the mind had to be quiet to see it, but now I see that energy even behind and in thoughts. When I hike (my favorite activity) I feel that my body and tree trunks are no barriers to the sameness in everything around. When I get still (even if thoughts are whispering for attention) there is no me or trees, just that Oneness. And then the physical form of the trees, the way their bark catches the sun, or how their leaves play with wayward breezes, becomes the best celebration in this moment of that Oneness.

What drew you to write a novel in the fantasy genre?

I started writing The Oarsman to excise all my past roles from my heart. I felt that I had learned my lessons from them and it was okay to treasure their coming and going, but not hold on too tight anymore. So, when I started thinking about the book, and about my close connection to nature, immediately an image of a river passing through a wooded land sprung to mind. Since I wanted the narrative voice to be quite poetic in this novel, a fantasy setting felt very appropriate.

You have a unique voice – what do you think is the source of your poetic style?

I’m not quite sure. I think I always had this style, even as a child. I do notice that the more quiet I get when writing, then the style comes out fully. If I could go off on a related tangent: I once had a dream, wherein I was crying over the beauty of the empty space on my driveway. Something about that space, being so devoid of form and yet full of potential, made me love it as the universe. When I woke up, I realized that if could love sentences as much as the love I felt in that dream, then that is the best I could ever do as a writer. So, when I treat paragraphs and sentences with that tenderness, my style seems to come out stronger.

What writers or books have influenced you in your work?

I’m a bit of an oddity of a writer, in that I haven’t read a novel in over twenty years! I usually read non-fiction, biographies, and sometimes snippets of poetry. People have said my book reminds them of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, but I purposely didn’t read that book when I was writing my novel. I am more influenced by visual medium like film, and seeing beautiful imagery and well-constructed plots does leave impressions on me. My new year’s resolution for 2017 is to read more fiction!

The Oarsman is available in Kindle and paperback. To learn more about the author and his upcoming works, see

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

Chakra Blog

#BigMagic, Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

This blog originally appeared:

January 11, 2016 by Claire ‘Word by Word’


Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 9.09.05 AMElizabeth Gilbert, author of the best seller Eat Pray Love and more recently in 2013, the historical, botanical novel The Signature of All Things has thought a lot about Creativity, so much so that she gave a TED Talk on the subject.

Tapping into one’s creative life can often be referred to as a sea of obstacles, fears, procrastinations and can tend to focus on what one lacks, rather than the small steps we can take in pursuit of it.

In Big Magic, Gilbert writes a lot about how we get in the way of our own creativity, covering a multitude of sins, some that we may find relevant, others not, depending where we are on the path to pursuing it.

The book is separated into six sections, Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity where she discusses many aspects of e creative process, her own experiences and many anecdotes from well-known personalities.

One of the best is from Richard Ford, author of Canada; he gave this response to an audience member who recounted all the things that he and Ford had in common; age, background, themes, the fact they’d both been writing all their life.
The big difference being this person had never been published, they were heartbroken, a “spirit crushed by all the rejection and disappointment”. He added that he did not want to be told to persevere, that’s all he ever from anyone.

Ford told him he should quit.

The audience froze: What kind of encouragement was this?

Ford went on: “I say this to you only because writing is clearly bringing you no pleasure. It is only bringing you pain. our time on earth is short and should be enjoyed. You should leave this dream behind and go find something else to do with your life. Travel, take up new hobbies, spend time with your family and friends, relax. but don’t write anymore, because it’s obviously killing you.”

There was a long silence.

Then Ford smiled and added, almost as an afterthought:

“However, I will say this. If you happen to discover, after a few years away from writing, that you have found nothing that takes its place in your life – nothing that fascinates you, or moves you, or inspires you to the same degree that writing once did…well, then, sir, I’m afraid you will have no choice but to persevere.”

She writes about her theory that ideas are a separate entity to ourselves and if we do not pursue them when they come knocking in the form of inspiration, we risk them leaving us altogether and being passed on to someone else. it is a little like when the momentum and inspiration has left us, which can also happen if we put something’s aside for too long, it becomes difficult if not impossible to renter the zone to complete it.

She gives an example of a novel she was very passionate and inspired about, an Amazonian novel, which she mentioned to her friend Ann Patchett, who curious, as she was at the time writing a novel set in the same location, asked her what it was about.

Gilbert gave her a brief outline and asked Patchett what her novel was about and she repeated almost word for word, the same idea – fitting into her theory that the idea had visited her and because she had put it aside for a couple of years, it left and was passed on to Patchett and became State of Wonder.

It’s necessary to read her quaint theories with an open mind, Big Magic itself is the label she applies to all those instances of coincidence, luck, the unexplained, it is a form of belief in universal guidance or positive thinking, one conveniently packaged as Big Magic and it is a helpful philosophy certainly.

Fortunately, we need not put all out faith in it, she pulls back on the inclination of some to advise us to seek out our passion, especially when many struggle to find or identify such a thing. She favours curiosity over passion.

Forget about passion, pursue curiosity. Curiosity is accessible to everyone, while passion can seem intimidating and out of reach.

‘…curiosity is a milder, quieter, more welcoming and democratic entity…curiosity only ever asks one simple question of you:

“Is there anything you’re interested in?”


Even a tiny bit?

No matter how mundane or small?

Curiosity is like a clue, you follow it, see where it takes you and continue along that train of thought or research. It may lead somewhere or nowhere, it doesn’t matter, momentum is what’s important. She gives the example of following an interest in gardening, that lead to researching and eventually writing that much inspired historical novel The Signature of All Things.

She also acknowledges that the necessity to achieving a creative life of note takes discipline, luck and talent and puts more faith in the former, than the latter.

She doesn’t regard herself as being endowed with greater than average talent, she is not a perfectionist – admitting to flaws in here work she knew were there, but that weren’t worth the effort to pursue in the grand scheme of things. An interesting observation, as one of those flaws was the one under-developed character in her last novel, something I noted in my review, that she admits beta readers warned her of, but that she deliberately did not pursue,in some cases the effort required to fix something is greater than the reward it will bring.

Overall, a fast, easy read, that can act as a reminders and a motivator to us in relation to any creative endeavour, it’s one of those books to be read with a filter, let some of it pass and take the gems for what they’re worth to you now.

“Possessing a creative mind is like having a border collie for a pet. it needs to work, or else it will cause you an outrageous amount of trouble. Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.”

Thanks to Claire McAlpine for this insightful review.

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet



Double TakeInspiration can be found in all areas of life – like when my partner, a psychic and medical intuitive, helped solve a murder mystery on the Big Island of Hawaii where we live.

Our powers of intuition and clairvoyance can be used not only to help ourselves but to serve others.

Most fiction writers use characters and striking occurrences from real life in their work, says author R.R. Harris, and he proves it in his novella, Double Take, FREE this week on Kindle.

Here’s a review of Double Take by Quantum Healer and author, Marya Mann, PhD:

“A Cowboy, Kupuna, a volcano goddess and a dolphin whisperer with mermaid hair populate this novel about travel through the rainbow paradise of Hawai’i. In Double Take, a writer journeys to the Island of Hawaii, lives like a local, absorbs everything in sight – and out of sight – solves a mystery, falls in love and regales the reader with the myth, daily rhythms and practical facts of the most magical and mysterious of islands.

“Exquisite photos of marine life, the tallest mountain in the world, delicate double rainbows and unthinkable lava sculptures shaped by red-hot magma, a Japanese tea house and rainforest orchids make you feel like you’re there, smelling the plumeria flowers and tasting the Kona coffee and local beer.

“Unlike the traditional travelogue, in this compelling novel you get the inside stories but also an experience of how much a person can grow through travel. If travel is the best form of education, travel fiction may be the best form of ‘journey literature.’ Planning a vacation to Hawai’i? Travel like a local. Buy this book and read it beforehand. Not planning a vacation? Harris’s book may be the next best thing.” ~ Marya Mann

I hope this book inspires you to learn more about your own psychic powers and intuition, as well as expand your horizons by visiting or learning more about the Big Island and the unique culture and natural wonders there.

R.R. Harris’ novella, Double Take, is FREE for download on Kindle (including 40 stunning photos of the island) from today through July 31. Learn more about his work and editing services at


Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Energy Diet, Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life

Manifesting Your Inspirational Best-Seller

How to Write a Bestseller and Feel Good While Doing It

by Roger Harris

Focus on what you want in your life, not on what you don't want.

Act as if it has already happened. Focus only on the end result. For example, “I have written and published the first in a series of self-help books sharing my knowledge, and I feel (insert emotion here, such as elated, powerful, satisfied, ‘on my way’).”  Repeat this practice often, feel imbued by its exhilaration, surf the blue-green waves of happiness and send any dark-eyed doubts packing.

Be not bashful – gleefully share the news with your loved ones and tell everyone you know of what you have begun to create.

Thoughts become things. Visualize the book gracing your mother’s proud coffee table, seeing its YouTube trailer go viral, or pitching the debut novel everyone is talking about on your favorite talk show.

As the saying goes, “It is not enough to stare up the ladder, one must take the first step,” so map out a game plan of action steps to bring your goal(s) to fruition and do them. Carry a symbolic reminder such as a crystal in your purse or wallet, tape notes on your bathroom mirror or photos of what will be, and BELIEVE it can happen.

You create your own universe as you go along. ~Winston Churchill

Thanks to Roger Harris, author of Double Take, who wrote this post on


Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Energy Diet, Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life

Win at Life with a Happy Mood, Positive Attitude and Good Relationships

Win No Matter WhatWin No Matter What: A Guide to Hyping Up Your Life by Nihar Suthar is a gem of wisdom compiled by a college student! Nihar Suthar offers sound advice for happiness and joy in life in this short, entertaining read. He wrote this book to demonstrate how awesome every day can be for each one of us, regardless of what he calls the terrible trio (mood, attitude and other people).

Suthar provides quotes and anecdotes showing how to adjust your mood, attitude and perception of others so that nothing can bring you down. For instance, he recommends “faking” a good mood – smiling and maintaining a strong posture until it becomes a habit. A fan of Paulo Coelho, I love this quote he includes from him: “You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent.”

He also suggests greeting and talking to as many people as you can each day… creating a better mood for you and the people you talk to. Other tried and true measures he suggests are thinking about what you are grateful for as you wake up each morning, and actively choosing to focus on what will brighten your mood.

Once you’ve made it a habit of being in a good mood, Suthar recommends changing your attitude to change your life… He recommends figuring out “why” you are doing something before you act, because it will help you achieve your goals. He writes that attitude can also be improved by actively seeking fun – making your day into a game, thinking positively, and living it up – taking advantage of all opportunities offered. He also recommends visualizing your perfect future and adjusting your attitude to get you there.

The third concept Suthar covers is changing your perception of others to change your future. For instance, focus on others’ positive qualities, put others before yourself, stay united with your family, and respect others.

Following Suthar’s advice, you can choose a more limitless path for your life, following your dreams. None of what he suggests is new, but age-old wisdom compiled in a very readable, entertaining way by this young motivator.

NiharNihar Suthar, in addition to his college work, is the founder of Hype Up Your Day, a company that designs packages for business motivation and productivity, and simultaneously provides inspiration to people around the world. He is also donating most book sale profits to Acumen, a charity investing in solutions to global poverty.

Here he answers my questions about his writing:

Q. What is the underlying message of your book?

A: My book is made up of several powerful inspirational stories with tips on how to improve your daily mood, attitude, and the perception of others. It is straight to the point, and meant to be like a guide on everyday living.

Q. What inspired you to write the book?

A. As a freshman college student in New York City last year, I often rode the subways in order to get around Manhattan. Usually, I thought nothing of the subway system. One day though, I was in such a good mood that I had to socialize with someone. I tried talking to lady on my subway car, but she just stared at me blankly. She looked like she was bored and also pretty stressed out with her day. That moment got me thinking about humans, and how we often do not live to the fullest or notice all the bright life around us because we think we have insufficient time, are preoccupied, or even tired. I wanted to help as many people as possible, so I decided to write a book from there!

Q. What do you hope readers will take away from your book? What changes do you hope they’ll make?

A. I hope readers will simply implement a few of the important strategies in my book into their everyday lives to be happier and live better. The biggest changes I hope they make are: Finding the reason behind why they are doing something first, finding 1 or 2 positive things out of every event that occurs, and putting others before themselves.

Q. Where do you find your inspiration to write?

A. I find the inspiration to write from my family and friends – they know that I enjoy writing and always support me. I also get inspiration from the people I interview for the motivational anecdotes in my book. Their stories are often so amazing that it really makes you think. I just love writing inspirational books!

Q. Any advice for others who feel they have inspiration to share?

A. Definitely share your inspiration with as many people as possible and follow your dreams! We all give inspiration to one another, and we can all accomplish whatever we dream.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, and Balance Your Chakra – Balance Your Life

Paulo Coelho Offers More Life Lessons

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 8.13.46 AMPaulo Coelho’s latest book, Manuscript Found in Accra, is a gem like all his others. Inventive as always, Coelho tells his tale as a transcription of a manuscript written in Arabic, Hebrew and Latin, discovered by an English archaeologist in 1974. The document’s origin was traced to Accra, a city on the southern coast of Ghana.

The life lessons of this 192 page-turner by Coelho are immense, masterfully crafted, threaded, woven, brought to life, nourished and laid at our feet for our choosing. Not just lightning in a bottle but wisdom we already know – if we listen to ourselves, if we pay attention to the world, if we care what happens and dare to make a difference first in our own lives and thus in the collective consciousness of the Universe.

We learn those who never lost a battle, avoided scars and taking action, those who eschewed the powerful emotions of humiliation, loneliness, uselessness and despair, also missed the open arms of love and plenitude of beauty that crossed their paths. The manuscript warns that by wasting energy to forego adventure and to shun change, we will likely squander our blessings of love and be quickly and quietly killed by routine in the dead of night… and no one will mourn our passing.

The old storyteller reminds us that no one can go back but everyone can go forward and so our imperative is to scatter our seed wherever we go because we know not which seeds “will grow and flourish and enlighten the next generation.”

A delightful book… Buy it, download it, borrow it, somehow get your hands on it and read it again and again as I have.

A personal note – I wrote Chakra Secrets before reading Coelho Aleph, and was struck by the theme of past lives which ran through both stories. Now, I’m amazed that his latest book echoes some of the themes from my upcoming book, Chakra Secrets: On Mothering.

Has Paulo Coelho also inspired you? Let me know which of his is YOUR favorite book.

Becca Chopra

A Tribute to Mothers’ Love and Wisdom

BookFrom My Mama’s Kitchen by Johnny Tan is about the power of unconditional love, offered to him along with a heavy dose of wisdom, by both his adopted mother in Malaysia, and the 8 other women with whom he bonded in America where he came to attend college. Through their motherly love and recipes for living, they made a positive difference in his life. They also offer a model of how mothers can be effective teachers, coaches and counselors for their children. The book offers a wealth of wisdom for good parenting skills and effective communication.

Some of the motivational words of wisdom from his moms which helped Johnny overcome the challenges of everyday living include:

  • Have faith that the right things will come along at the right time and in the right way;
  • You can accomplish anything if you focus mind, body and spirit on it;
  • Be present in the moment for what we do today will determine what happens tomorrow;
  • Trust that all things will work out for the greatest good;
  • Be a good listener;
  • Never stop learning; and
  • Successful people always visualize their successes before they actually attain them.

I found this wisdom to be very close to my own philosophy and I am a big fan of guided visualizations, as I offer a free chakra balancing meditation on my website.

The book pays tribute to all moms, using the kitchen as a wonderful backdrop where Johnny and his moms enjoyed their many conversations. At the end of the book, Johnny incorporates nine of his favorite recipes made by his moms. Give this book to your mom for Mother’s Day or any day – it includes a blank dedication page for readers to inscribe their own loved one’s name, and a space where readers can record their own recipes for living.

Johnny TanAbout Johnny Tan

Johnny Tan’s journey began when he started college in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Adopted at birth by his Malaysian mom, he realized the rich spiritual connections that resulted from meeting his foster mom in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and 7 other women who would play important roles in his life. Guided by his business achievements and his 9 moms, Johnny experienced the passion to compose From My Mamaʼs Kitchen to honor his moms and mothers everywhere. Released with the endorsement of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers, the book has won five awards and made the Amazon Best Seller List in several categories.

The bookʼs success led Johnny to launch his consulting and speaking career to teach strategies on how to use the power of unconditional love to attain harmony. Here, he answers my questions:

What inspired you to write the book?

Johnny: First and foremost, Happy Mother’s Day to you and thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and celebrate Mother’s Day with your followers.

In late 1999, I decided to write a book to preserve food recipes from my moms. I wanted to create a keepsake for myself. However, seven years went by without inspiration. For one reason or another I could not launch it. I felt there was something missing. In retrospect, I knew that the timing of its undertaking was not right.

Finally, in January of 2007, my then 90-year old Italian foster mom called me, and asked, “Johnny, when are you planning to start on the book? I hope you will finish it before I die.” That turned out to be the wake up call I needed. That April, I started scheduling a couple of hours each evening to write. I would meditate and write whatever came to mind. As the project developed, a theme emerged from the drafts. I realized that Unconditional Motherly Love was the common thread that connected these wonderful women to me.

Over the years, my mom, in her many trips to visit me from Malaysia, had met these ladies and was glad and thankful that they were in my life to take care of her son. She offered to take care of their children if they were ever in Malaysia.

Everything was coming to me crystal clear, and I started writing about the timeless recipes for living rather than food recipes. I was spiritually guided, and I finished the book in 9 months. I used this title because the kitchen is the heart of every home, and it was where my moms and I enjoyed our many conversations. I remember the late evening telephone conversations I had with my moms while cooking dinner, asking for advice about what I was cooking and discussing the latest developments in my life. The timing was especially perfect from my Malaysian mom because we were 13 hours apart. I was home cooking at 8 pm and she was just beginning her day at 9 am.

What “one special idea” do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Johnny: The book gives the readers a chance to recall those magical loving moments they shared with their mothers. It is this unconditional motherly love that makes us who we are. The book speaks from the heart with solutions, skills and wisdom to assist the readers to become better teachers, coaches and counselors to their loved ones. It will inspire and motivate them. It is my hope that readers realize when love is given without regard to conditions it provides us with the empowerment that drives our ambition to succeed.

Where do you find your inspiration to write?

Johnny: The inspiration to write comes from my life’s journey, The experiences I have encountered, good or bad form the basis of my understanding and appreciation for the power of relationships, the nature of love and the meaning of life.

Many of the “recipes for living” from your Moms are akin to the principles of the world’s great philosophies. How would you advise others to meet and recognize such wise women?

Johnny:  The secret to meeting and recognizing such wise women starts from a sincere desire to build lasting relationships. Engaging those kind of special people and building relationships demands a thorough understanding of the mechanics involved in establishing such a connection. These three ingredients: authenticity, humility and speaking from the heart, are vital in the building process. A relationship built on mutual respect and admiration results in harmony.

You can get more info on From My Mama’s Kitchen at


Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life

Sacred Sexuality and the Divine Feminine

Sacred SexualitySacred Sexuality – Reclaiming the Divine Feminine by A’ra Blair is a memoir/self-help book for any and all women (and men who want to know more about the heart and soul of women too). A’ra is brutally honest in recounting her own journey into embracing the Divine Feminine within herself, and she offers thoughtful journaling suggestions and exercises at the end of each chapter to help the reader do the same. Whether you need to overcome abuse, trauma, depression, or are just feeling less than “Divine,” this book will spring you forward into new realms of possibility in loving yourself, your partner and your life.

A’ra Blair is an accomplished Spiritual Life Coach and Counselor. Her 25 years of study and transformative work in spirituality, meditation, energy work, yoga, trauma resolution, quantum physics, relationship enhancement, and personal growth have prepared A’ra to live the qualities of the Divine Feminine in service to Humanity’s Wholeness.

1) What is the underlying message of your book?

A’ra: If I had to narrow it down to one sentence, I’d say it’s to find that deep self-love and self-acceptance that allows the full expression of who we are. Reclaiming the Divine Feminine is really about reclaiming who we are in our fullness, a union of our masculine and feminine essence. Both are needed to bring balance and connection into our lives at a deep level. Many of us have struggled with our sexuality in one sense or another and often shun, deny, or push into the shadows those parts of us with whom we feel ashamed or confused.

We have a hard time facing what it means to be sexual beings with Divine urges. We really haven’t had a model that holds our sexuality sacred. Yet Sacred Sexuality is our most intimate communion with the Divine. It’s a state that takes us beyond the physical realm of sex and orgasm to a connection with the deepest part of our being, our creative Source and life sustaining energy. In this depth lies a wholeness and love that transcends any transgression, doubt, or absurdity that exists in our human experience. This sacred union with Source heals and transforms our mind, body, and emotions. It releases the past and opens us to a supreme understanding of oneness, truth, and beauty.

Through intimacy with this inner Presence, transcendence occurs and life becomes a vehicle for the soul’s growth. When we reach this depth of understanding, everything in our experience becomes part of the sacred path of enlightenment. Everything! I guess you could say that’s the biggest message. Every part of our lives and our experiences are part of our sacred path, and we need to reclaim it all as holy.

A'ra Blair2) What inspired you to write the book?

A’ra: I’ve been on a spiritual path for many years and have studied many traditions. I had a rich, deep spiritual sense of my place in the world and the universe, but so much had happened to me around my sexuality, that even with that deep spiritual connection, I struggled facing parts of my experiences that weren’t so pleasant. When I started including the feminine in my exploration of the Divine I had a difficult time because I was raised with God as a man. I tried rephrasing all the masculine names and pronouns in order to really grasp that God was both masculine and feminine. However, it wasn’t until I actually called on the Goddess aspect of the Divine to show me what it means to know Spirit as both feminine and masculine that I got it. Something moved within me. It was like I was in the womb of the Goddess being birthed anew.

As I emerged, I felt this incredible sense of courage and commitment to do what it takes to live the qualities of the Divine Feminine in service to humanity’s wholeness. Right around that time I was invited to give a talk for Sacred Sisters, a woman’s support group. I’d been toying with the idea of creating a workshop around the Divine Feminine as an aspect of our Sacred Sexuality, so I threw it out to the Minister who ran the group. She loved it. The development and presentation of the workshop flowed. When I presented the first time, I felt like I was in the zone. I watched as women healed on so many different levels in so many different arenas. After I presented the workshop, these women wanted more. Longer, more in-depth workshops. While developing those, the book started writing itself through me. I went with the flow. When I Reclaimed the Divine Feminine, I fell madly and passionately in love with me.
3) What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A’ra: I have three goals for what readers will take away:
First, The courage and confidence to fully express your beauty, your sensuality, your poise, your gifts and talents, and your power.
Second, The ability to embrace all of who you are as an authentic and unique expression of the Divine, even the not-so-pleasant choices, experiences, and traumas you may have had
Third, That you fall so deeply in unconditional love with yourself that no matter what anybody says to you or about you, no matter what anyone does to you, no matter how anyone shows up in relationship with you, you come so fully from self-love that you’re able to transform every experience into a loving experience.
4) Where do you find your inspiration to write?

A’ra: The practical sense is that it’s all around me. I read books and take classes on the topics I want to write about. I’ve been an avid journaler since my teen years. I love the feel of a pen in my hand, so writing is like walking to me. A song could inspire me or a life event, something in a speaker’s message, or an observation of someone having an extraordinary breakthrough. Most of my weekly blogs are on life events or circumstances, especially if it’s something that affects the collective. I also take classes on writing and use the tools that I’ve learned in my trade to do little writing assignments to get the juices running. That’s the practical side.

The metaphysical answer is that most of my inspiration comes from that still small voice. It’s not uncommon for the Divine to wake me up in the middle of the night with ideas that have to be written down or I’m not going to sleep or function. Since writing the book, my connection is even deeper, so the ideas and inspiration are constant. It’s hard to keep up. But I don’t have to. When I’m ready to write, I sit down and simply say on the page, “Okay, what do you want to write about?” I might pose some ideas to “wake inspiration up” so to speak, but then it flows. Oh and what a joy to watch this process unfold through me.

5) Was it hard or helpful to remember and recount the hardships you faced in your life?

A’ra: Both to the umpteenth degree. But, well worth it. It was difficult to face many of those experiences, knowing I was getting ready to put them out into the world. But if my story helps one person face her life and love it fully into wholeness, it was worth it. The best part of it is the catharsis it is. I feel so free and open to receive. I see now what a blessing every aspect of my life has been. What a wild and crazy ride, this thing called life. Even the most painful parts have now had an opportunity to leave my mind and body. To sit with me like a wounded friend, and I’ve been able to heal it all. This is my wish, hope, and dream for my readers. This type of cathartic experience into deep self-love.
6) Any advice for others who feel they have inspiration to share?

A’ra: Just start writing without any expectation that it has to become something. Write for you first. You are your best audience. Don’t be concerned with getting it perfect the first time. There are no great writers, only great re-writers. If you have a story to tell, with over seven billion people on the planet, I guarantee you that you have an audience that needs and wants to hear it. Writing is a gift and a curse. It’s an incredible experience to write a piece of inspiration and have that sense of “Wow, I wrote that!” But in the same breath, we writerly types tend to put our writing at the bottom of the priority list. We have so many other things we need to do and then it’s time for bed. We’re filled with ways to procrastinate. It’s part of being a writer. You have to step up your game and commit to writing on a weekly basis. And you can’t beat yourself up when you miss the mark. And don’t kid yourself. It’s not easy. But it is worth it! In a nutshell, never give up!

You can purchase A’ra Blair’s book at and read her blog at

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life



A Beautiful Med cover, large (1)A Beautiful Medicine by David Mercier illuminates how our individual minds and bodies are profoundly linked to the Whole, essential for understanding health, healing, and medicine. Of course, you would think that all holistic medicine would look at the whole, but Dr. Mercier takes us one step further, to see that creating the best life possible for ourselves is creating the best world possible.

The author draws on great philosophers and poets to help him show us the beauty of life, that which we are all seeking. And he takes us on a journey through the book that is transformational… from the biological puzzle of painful symptoms to health portrayed not only as a vibrant body, but also a life full of meaning and purpose, and at harmony with one’s spiritual nature.

If the reader gets nothing else from this book, I hope it is the appreciation and gratitude for the symptom’s role in our lives, as a roadmap from the problem to the cure. Never again will I see a back pain as simply a back pain, but maybe an expression of tension caused by anger, boredom or fear, an amplifier for the voice of prisoners in the subconscious self, as Mercier so beautiful puts it.

“The impulse of unresolved emotions takes advantage of perforations in the armor of our anatomy and physiology, seeking the spots that then become physical speaker systems for blaring the message,” he explains…”for the benevolent purpose of helping us heal and integrate.” This becomes transformational as we overcome the obstacles in our path, like on the hero’s journey, and transcend them with courage.

Mercier is so eloquent, I would do best by quoting him over and over. I am a huge proponent of whole foods, but am now even more so having read that “When we eat whole foods, we ingest the fertility of the universe and reinforce our primordial bond with the earth’s imagination and dreams.” The author explains how carrots and cauliflower are not objects, but information that our cells can understand and utilize. Whereas, if we ingest processed food like chips or candy bars, we might as well be chewing plastic because it will offer our bodies similarly garbled data. The idea that food is a message is another profound insight in this book, one of many.

Whether or not you’re facing illness, look to this book for motivation to cultivate a lush, fertile, healthy terrain in your body with diet, exercise, relaxation, and a soul at peace.

Reading this book, Mercier’s optimism about the potential of medicine is contagious. I hope every health practitioner reads this book to see the possibility of a beautiful medicine that is aligned with the patient’s grandest hopes and welcomes the human soul into the practice of hard science. And I hope every person who picks up this book (I sincerely recommend that you do) uses what they learn about the healing journey to help them along on the search for actualization, wholeness, and love.

David Mercier

David Mercier, M.S., L.Ac., is a speaker, seminar leader, coach and acupuncturist.  Download a bonus Discovery Guide at Here, he answers my questions:

1) What is the underlying message of your book?

The key message is that our bodies are instruments expressing the wisdom of a conscious, evolving universe. By listening to the messages hidden in our discomfort and pain, whether physical or psychological, we get excellent guidance for our physical, emotional, and spiritual development.

2) What inspired you to write the book?

I realized that for years, I had been giving guidance to my patients in bits and pieces during their sessions with me—there was just too much information to give all at once. So I thought that consolidating all that guidance in one place would be a contribution to my patients and anyone else who might read it. I also feel that conventional medicine and even a good part of integrative medicine these days have lost sight of the soul behind the human experience. I wanted to express the need to remember that what lies behind health, healing, and medicine is the soul of humanity.

3) What do you hope readers will take away from your book? What changes do you hope they’ll make?

I hope they will see that any discomfort or pain they experience is not a “problem,” but encouragement from the wisdom of the world, the anima mundi, to keep evolving. Whether the need is for more calcium or more forgiveness, our discomfort is only here to help. This wisdom is fierce in its demands that we lead a life, just as our spiritual traditions have always insisted, of love, compassion, and connectedness with others.

4) Where do you find your inspiration to write?

While I was writing the book, I found inspiration from a variety of sources. One was to go to museums to stand before the work of the great artists. It was a non-verbal but potent reminder of the greatness that humanity is capable of, and always inspired me. But I also found inspiration from my memories of the poor that I encountered in developing countries. Thinking of the enormous suffering I saw first-hand informs many of the major decisions in my life, and encourages me to do what I can to make a difference. And the third source was knowing that I wanted to leave something behind that will continue to help people long after I’m gone.

5) Any advice for others who feel they have inspiration to share?

Just do it, and do it now. Drop all excuses, and get started tonight. It might be easy, or it might be incredibly hard, but always let yourself be called by the world’s deep hunger to make the difference you long to make. You’ll change, you’ll grow, and you’ll always feel a sense of satisfaction from having made a contribution to the world.
Thank you David, both for your book and your inspiration! Readers, don’t miss A Beautiful Medicine, available in both Kindle and paperback.


Becca Chopra, author of Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life

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