Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

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Become Who You Truly Are: YOU CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


You Can Transform Full Cover FINALrevWhat is your plan for transforming 2018 into your best year ever? Have you thought about it? Do you have a plan?

Imagine if you could have a year of inspiration mapped out for you. Well, Darity Wesley, a Modern Day Oracle™, has done just that for you. You Can Transform Your Life was written as a guide to support your personal and spiritual growth over the course of 52 weeks… so it’s a perfect time to start using it at the beginning of a new year. Of course, you can start at any time, go at your own pace, or even open the book at random for an Oracle message to answer a question on your mind in the moment.

The first Oracle message relates to Creating a New Way of Life, with the affirmation mantra: “I AM releasing the old so I can build the new…And so it is!!!” There’s also a circle for you to draw your goal or intention as a simple symbol.

Each Oracle message is followed by space for you to answer four questions of self-inquiry – to explore what the message means to you, to create your own personal mantra, to plan how to integrate the message into your life, and to direct your attention to any messages from your own inner voice.

The book’s design is so well thought out – I found that answering the questions and using this space to journal my emotions and thoughts on the Oracle message made it so much more powerful for me than just reading the message. This personal writing is therapeutic, helping you let go of the things that are holding you down, inviting you to freely express how you feel – which will make you feel better.

Spinx Darity with copyright

Love and Trust, my dear ones … Love and Trust! ~ Darity Wesley, Modern Day Oracle™

At the end of the 52 Oracle messages, there is a guided Personal Transformation Journal template that takes you even further, offering inspirational prompts for your writing. I think you will be amazed at how far you’ve come on your personal journey by the time you reach the last journal page, which prompts, “Free yourself from what is holding you back! Be who you truly are!”

For those seeking to go even further on their journey of transformation, Darity Wesley has designed a Companion Workbook for You Can Transform Your Life, that provides more in-depth questions for each of the 52 Oracle messages, bonus exercises to help increase intuition, spiritual strength and inner balance by exploring such topics as Tuning In, Gratitude, and Forgiveness, as well as practical advice on how to apply these tools of transformation to all areas of your life. It will be available on December 26.

What a great way to start 2018 with one or both of these books in hand or gifted to others!

Many thanks to author Darity Wesley for answering my many questions about her work here…

Can you explain what Oracle messages are?

I feel that the Oracle messages are communications written to stimulate and encourage thoughts and feelings that will support and assist us in our personal and spiritual development. I think of the Oracle messages as signposts. They point the way for our own consciousness, our own Soul self to discover, guide and change our behavior, our way of thinking, our way of feeling. Everything is possible and Oracle messages support whatever resonates with the heart of its reader.

What inspired you to become an “Oracle?”

In the late 1980s early 1990s I enjoyed a book by Shakti Gawain entitled Reflections in the Light. This book contained inspirational messages for every day of the calendar year. It felt good to think about or contemplate whatever she had written for that day. I liked it very much and thought it may be of value to others.

In 2006, I heard of the social media site called MySpace which was gaining in popularity in the tech industry I was working in. I put up a profile on MySpace and began posting what I called ~The Daily Oracle~: Inspirational messages by Shakti Gawain, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass and many others. I allowed my spirit to be my guide in picking what to post for each day. At some point in the postings, someone asked if they could receive the messages by email and I said “Sure” and began the email subscription service. I stopped posting on MySpace somewhere along the way but continued with the email subscription service sending the messages of others.

In August of 2012, my treasured friend of many years, Cristina Smith, suggested I might like to write the Oracle messages from my own spirit as opposed to using the work of others. I was flabbergasted and immediately rejected the idea that I do that on my own. “Who, me?”

That “suggestion” was a seed that grew and blossomed, so I faced my fears and decided to do exactly that. Well, to at least give it a try! So, on September 5, 2012, I launched Oracles from the Spirit of Darity. While that space was always there, within me, it was my friend Cristina who inspired me to become a Modern Day Oracle™.

How do you access these messages or divinations?

Having been on the path of self-discovery and inquiry for over 50 years, I have experienced much support from my angels, guides and Spirit. Because I have “tuned in” for so long and “turned up the volume,” I feel I recognize and, therefore, trust, the voice within me. So what I do is just tap into that place where I hear Spirit and say “What?” “What are the energies and directions for …?” I then write or type the words or directions that come through.

How can the reader best use your Oracle messages?

Each Oracle message focuses on some area of self and/or spiritual discovery. Since inner work is very personal, the Oracle message will simply help the reader’s own intuition look at what they need to look at in that area or what they can focus on as a tool, a process, a step to work on, integrate or a practice to include in their life to support them along the way. As I said earlier, Oracle messages stimulate thoughts and feelings for us to investigate or assimilate or even relegate to another time if it causes us any resistance when we are reading it.

That is what the companion workbook: You Can Transform Your Life – Go Deeper (available on Amazon on December 26) will add to the process. It is intended to help us navigate these changing times and facilitate our journey to becoming our True Authentic Selves.

What are the benefits of using the affirmation mantras?

Affirmation mantras are the seeds of our intentions. We use them to support us. The main benefit of an affirmation mantra is its ability to bypass the “monkey mind,” the “ego,” the “personality” … that part of ourselves that is “rational” and “controlling” and caught up in the illusion of the way it really is. That part of us which will surely tell us why it won’t work or why it is something other than “love and trust,” for instance, or “I firmly stand in my determination to …” or “I am kind to others and myself.”

Another benefit of affirmation mantras is their support of the transformational energies of self and spiritual discoveries. They help us access higher levels of awareness. No matter how you use them, affirmation mantras have the ability to bring the seed of your intention into full bloom to support what it is you are wanting to do, be or have.

What are the different ways readers can use your book?

A reader can use the Oracle messages in the book however they feel drawn to use them. The book, and its companion workbook, is structured as a 52-week program beginning any time you want, however, they can be used and applied randomly, you can skip around, and let your very own spirit be the guide. Mix and match or go in order. It is all up to the reader.

You write of the New Reality – can you explain that and offer an example of that in action?

The New Reality is a term that comes up a lot in the Oracle messages. Quite simply, it is a shift in focus. This shift is from an external focus, which has been the way of life on this Planet for a very long time, to an internal focus that is a new way of life. The New Reality is a focus on an internal, higher level of consciousness. That “higher level of consciousness” may be your own creative sovereignty or that of a higher power or energy or just All That Is, the Universe, God, depending on your particular belief structure. When we step into consciously allowing that creative power to move through us, rather than resist it or not acknowledge it, we find such things as fulfillment, balance, happiness. What you need, what you want, comes from within, not “out there.”

As more and more of us step into the New Reality, as often as we can, we will feel there is more to be discovered about ourselves and our world. That can bring a calm joyousness and excitement to our lives.

An example of that would be my personal experience when I came to the realization that nothing “out there” was really responsible for my happiness. Not money, not things, not relationships. No. Nothing outside of me. I realized I was responsible for making me happy. I am the creator of my own reality and I choose, from inside, my happiness. That is stepping, a wee step for sure, into the New Reality.

What brought you to the decision you say you made, “to wear my heart on my sleeve and the world can just get over it?”

I will never forget the experience so many, many years ago. I was 33 years old. At that time I was a person who wanted everyone to love her. Mostly because I felt so unlovable. I had no real sense of myself. My need for love and approval was so great that I was like a chameleon. I had no opinions of my own. I would assume the likes and dislikes of whomever I was with. I was a Republican with Republicans and a Democrat with Democrats. I went along with whatever was happening. God forbid I would say what I thought or felt in a social setting.

Having been exploring myself and growing spiritually for many years prior to this, I was not totally devoid of self-inquiry, self-discovery and spiritual growth and so this was, evidentially, my next step.

At that time in my Buddha year, 33, I had a life changing experience at the foot of Mt. Shasta in California. Part of that life changing experience was “I am going to wear my heart on my sleeve, allow myself to be vulnerable, people will like me or not like me but they will like me or not like me as I am.” No more pretending, no more affectation, no more not saying what I think or feel. Nope! I began to step more and more into my True Authentic Self.

What would you most like readers to take away from this book?

Whether someone desires a complete life makeover or just wants to learn new ways to feel more in harmony with themselves and their world, this book and the companion Workbook, provide processes, tools and practices to take your life to a new level. Self-discovery and self-awareness are critical tools for these changing times and absolutely support our evolution as conscious beings.

As we evolve as conscious beings, we not only change ourselves, we change the lives of those around us and as that change energy moves out to world, it changes the world. That is my desire for my readers. To grow and change. To feel better, to feel more alive, to feel more at peace with themselves and all that is going on in the world. To become more self aware and to grow spiritually. To become more and more who you really are.

How can one subscribe to your Modern Day Oracle™ messages?

If someone would like to subscribe to ~The Weekly Oracle~™ they can email me at Darity@DarityWesley.com. Simply put “Subscribe” in the Subject Line or go to our website www.DarityWesley.com and subscribe there.

You Can Transform Your Life is available now on Amazon, and the You Can Transform Your Life – Go Deeper Workbook will be available on December 26.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mind and Soul Satisfying Puzzles: The Word Search Sage, Yoga for the Brain #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.32.21 AMThe Word Search Sage is the second book in the series of word puzzles, known as Yoga for the Brain, that offer a creative, fun, meditative respite from the busy chatter of the mind… while flexing your brain.

You can read my review of The Word Search Oracle, which won the 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, and download a sample puzzle here.

The Word Search Sage takes you a little deeper into your thoughts and spirit, as the solutions to these word puzzles are called Meta-Thoughts, providing insights and deep wisdom.

I like to open the pages at random, and undoubtedly, Cristina Smith’s introductory comments on the topic of the puzzle and mystic Ingrid Coffin’s Meta-Thoughts are always relevant to my life at that moment in time. In fact, each word in each of the clever puzzles put together by Rick Smith relate to the Meta-Thought and help you discover your own truth, your own purpose in life.

For example, the puzzle on Love is introduced with a note that includes:

“Affirm your love for yourself. Shed all of the self-negatives that life has draped over you. When we fear criticism, we are not free to be ourselves. If we feel less than, our lives reflect that.”

The Love puzzle on page 30 is a little harder than those in the beginning of the book. You’ll see that after you’ve found all the applicable words in the puzzle, the letters remaining make up this Meta-Thought:

“Be thankful for being yourself.”

These puzzles sound magical and mystical and they are. I’m amazed at how they are both relaxing and good exercise for the mind, while providing inspiration and profound introspection for the soul.

MT Puzzle
Strewn throughout the book are also beautiful photos with words of wisdom from Ingrid Coffin, like the one above, “You are the finest puzzle in your life…. Enjoy putting yourself together.”

Enjoy this book whenever you need a little time to yourself, a break from work, to keep entertained while waiting for someone or something, or as a daily ritual to give you food for thought and inspiration.

INTERVIEW with Ingrid Coffin, author of the inspirational Meta-Thoughts you reach at the end of each puzzle in The Word Search Sage

The solutions to the word searches in these puzzles are called Meta-Thoughts. Can you explain that term?

Meta-Thoughts are broader, more abstract thoughts that address life from a higher level than the thoughts we might have about what to have for lunch.  They are intended to be a bit cheeky.  Kind of like a sassy Jiminy Cricket reminding us that we create our own world and that much of what we create begins with our thoughts.

Where do you get the inspiration for the Meta-Thoughts?

I communicate a lot and hear myself saying Meta-Thoughts almost every day while working with other people. The trick is to catch them before they float away. I’m finally getting pretty good at that after more than 15 years of practice.

How can the reader best use these Meta-Thoughts?

I use Meta-Thoughts in a variety of ways.  Often I write them in my journal. Sometimes I just print them from my computer and post them in strategic places in my home and office. Of course, they are also there every Monday waiting for me on my phone.  The secret is to place them as a constant reminder of what I am working on.

For instance, if I am starting a new venture, I might post “First Feet. Then Wings” to encourage myself to start at the beginning and carefully navigate my way to successful completion.  Or I might choose “Have I left myself out of my schedule?” to remind me of my priorities.

The way you can use them is limited only by your imagination.

What do you think is the most important benefit of the Yoga for the Brain puzzle books?

Keeping your brain sharp and active is crucial to enjoying a long life.

Exercising the mind is the way to do that, and Yoga for the Brain provides the exercise it needs.

Personally, I use the word puzzles to help me relax at night and get to sleep, to keep me occupied in waiting rooms and on airplanes and just generally to enjoy a pause that refreshes.

Cristina Smith, author of The Word Search Sage, describes you as a “mystic.” What does the description mean to you?

Everyone is part mystical and part magical. The right-brained people are more mystical. The left-brained more magical. I am a right-brained, mystical person, which means I create the image of the result I desire in my own imagination, using my intuition as a drawing board.

Fortunately, I have been trained to work magically as well as mystically. I am able to take the vision from within my imagination and craft it in the physical world. In my opinion, a cooperative relationship between mystical and magical is what works best for everyone in all aspects of life. This is what I teach to those who work with me.

How can readers learn more about Meta-Thoughts?

It’s easy to subscribe to my weekly Meta-Thoughts.  Just go to http://www.Meta-Thoughts.com and provide your name and email address.

What other ways can readers connect with you and learn about your work?

In addition to my love of Meta-Thoughts and The Word Search Sage, I am an evolutionary astrologer, a teacher in the western esoteric tradition and the founding director of Blue Sky Ranch in Lakeside, California.  More information is available at http://www.ingridcoffin.com.

The Word Search Sage and The Word Search Oracle are both available on Amazon.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

Surviving Undiagnosed Illness – A Few Minor Adjustments #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


A Few Minor Adjustments front coverA Few Minor Adjustments is the tongue-in-cheek title of Cherie Kephart’s memoir of surviving undiagnosed illness. Her beautifully written yet brutally honest story starts with her time as a young Peace Corps volunteer in a remote village of Zambia where she has to adjust to absolutely no sanitation (she’s sent there to help build community latrines) and where she contracts malaria as well as a variety of grotesque ailments.

After recovering back home in California, her adventurous spirit and desire to know more of the world and its people take her to graduate studies in New Zealand. Once back home in San Diego, she works as a technical writer until a severe, mysterious illness lays her at the door of death.

Her persistent health challenges (ranging from unrelenting neck pain, seizures and tachychardia) led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms were continually undiagnosed by medical doctors and alternative healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled.

She was cared for by faithful friends and a mother who showed her unconditional love and kept her from simply giving up and ending her life – although she came close. But, having lost so many people in her life at a young age, she wrote:

“I had to find a way to alleviate my mental anguish, and live, if not for me, for all of my friends who were no longer able to experience the wonders of this world.”

A Few Minor Adjustments is an astonishing story of how many of our modern diseases (such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr virus and Lyme disease) can easily go undiagnosed or disregarded.

Kephart’s account of her own incredible journey to find life-saving answers should inspire anyone to continue to fight on all levels – physical, mental and spiritual – to heal.

Here, Cherie Kephart answers questions about A Few Minor Adjustments

What transpired during your time in Africa, and how has your experience as a traveler influenced your personal journey on the road to better health?

When I traveled, I was forced to open my mind, to pay attention, and to be adventurous. I had to learn to be comfortable with my fear of the unknown. Living in Zambia taught me that. I stayed with a local Zambian family, ate dishes such as boiled millet and fried-caterpillars. I built makeshift wells and latrines near a crocodile-infested river close to the border of politically unstable Zaire. Each day was an adventure, especially when it came to my health. I had giardia, dysentery, a putzi fly infection resulting in maggots in my butt, and almost died from an uncommon case of malaria. Almost dying in Africa was a pivotal point for me. I realized I needed a fierce will to live if I was going to survive. Now all these years later, that has never changed. It’s the one constant that has kept me going.

After you returned to the United States from graduate school, you had to cope for several years with dramatic, mysterious health issues. What were some of the high and low points of that time when you were first struggling to figure out what might be causing your symptoms?

The worst part was the not knowing why I was so sick, if I would ever heal, or if I was going to die. Every day I woke with the same questions, and each night I went to bed with no answers. It was terrifying. And it went on for years. I saw hundreds of doctors, healers, and therapists: rheumatologists, cardiologists, integrative medicine specialists, neurologists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and eccentric healers such as a Russian ex-physicist who waved fertile chicken-eggs over my chest to try to reset the rhythm of my heart.

I came close to committing suicide. But that’s the miraculous part. We don’t realize what we are capable of until we are faced with enormous challenges. I learned to respect my inner strength, to know how much I could endure and how much I could rise above. I kept finding ways to change myself and my situation, like changing my attitude, changing the foods I ate, trying new therapies and treatments, including an exploratory heart procedure. I stayed open and stopped looking back. What a magnificent lesson.

There are many individuals, including medical personnel, spiritual healers, therapists, family members and friends, who helped you along the way. What impact did these people have on your attempts to both live with and diagnose your illness?

That was one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever been given; to see how much people cared and feel their compassion and love. My family and friends never gave up on me. That kept me strong. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I’m certain of that, especially with regard to my mother and my grandfather. Both of them helped me financially, since I lost the ability to work. They were also there for me emotionally. My boyfriend Alex, the one I dedicated the book to, was amazing. He went to doctor appointments, did research on my health, cared for me while I was bedridden and unable to walk unassisted. I will never forget it. People often tell me how strong I am. I always reply the same way, “I’m only as strong as my support system.” As horrendous as my physical health was, I always had love.

During the course of documenting what was happening with your health, you decided to turn your personal story into an inspirational memoir. What do you find the most fascinating about the memoir genre, and how has writing this book helped with your own healing?

I’ve always been fascinated with memoirs. Reading a memoir, I get to dive deep into someone else’s world, to understand their most intimate struggles and triumphs. I got to know them. It’s like I get to live another life for a little while. I also feel that memoirs connect us, bridging the gaps between different aspects of our humanity.

Writing a memoir is deeply cathartic. I believe we write a memoir twice. The first time we write it, we write it for ourselves. We write to release emotions and energy surrounding everything we have endured. Then, when it is at the point where we feel clarity around it, we re-write and fine tune it to make it accessible and ready to release to the world. We prepare the story in such a way that enables people to easily come along our inner and outer journeys and gain insights from them. Ernest Hemingway said it best, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” That’s what I did.

It’s difficult to explain how writing this memoir contributed to my healing. I certainly don’t think it made the process go any faster. But it made me go deeper into the crevices of pain where I didn’t necessarily want to go. So the healing I’ve experienced is more profound and lasting.

What would you like readers to remember most about your story?

We all have pain and suffering, but we all have joy and beauty. It’s really about perspective and choosing each day to show up in a positive way and to have more compassion for each other, and for ourselves. If we don’t understand something, like an undiagnosed illness, then it is our duty as human beings not to turn away, or reject the unknown, but offer compassion, even if it is something we don’t understand. Actually, especially if it’s something we don’t understand.

You’ve often said that you would like to give a voice to those who are also struggling with an undiagnosed illness. What would you say to those who are on a similar path as yours?

If I could survive all that I have, and it’s a lot for one person to endure, then anyone else can, too. Even when we feel like ending it all, we have to find a reason to live for just one more sunrise and then one more sunset. Because we never know what is around the corner. There were so many times I was ready to end it all. I was barely alive. Now, I look back, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up. As long as we have the will to live, you can heal.

Are you working on a new book and, if so, what can you tell us about it?

Absolutely! My next projects are companion books to the memoir: The Healing 100 and The Symptoms 100. The Healing 100 is the top one-hundred things I did to heal, and The Symptoms 100 is the top 100 symptoms I had and what helped me. I also have a collection of poetry, Poetry of Peace, which chronicles four stages of life, Seeing the World, Through Darkness, Into the Light, and With Peace. It’s really about the emotional and spiritual aspects of healing. Lastly, I am creating a cookbook filled with allergy-free recipes: The Cookbook for People Who Can’t Eat Anything. I’m excited about these projects since the goal is to provide insight, a touch of humor, and ideas on ways to heal. I believe people can learn from my experiences, be inspired, and have some tools for their own healing journey.

For more information on the author, see www.CherieKephart.com.

A Few Minor Adjustments is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback and hardcover.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Realized: #BookReview of Poems on the Human Spirit and #AuthorInterview with Louis Alan Swartz


Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 7.50.09 AMHow can a book of poetry bring magic into your life? Louis Alan Swartz has done this, writing of life and death in a way that stirs your soul and makes your heart sing in Magic Realized and Other Poems on the Human Spirit.

Reading this volume from beginning to end, you feel like you’ve had a glimpse of a blessed life, as the author touches on Love and Marriage; Children; Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Mothers and Fathers; Human Sanctity; Aesthetics; Ideas, Images, and Places; and Death, the Spirit and Immortality.

Each section has an intriguing note under the title. For instance, Love and Marriage is subtitled, “I intend to make you ridiculously happy.” Under the section title Ideas, Images, and Places, are the words: “Living is the finest art.”

I found all of the poems uplifting, even when I skipped ahead to read about Death, as I mourned the loss of a dear friend. In Eulogy, I resonated with his words: “I do not mourn a loss. I protest an interruption.”

All of the poems gave me another way to look at things, “An idea of what living could be. A small inkling of infinity.” ~ from Claire at the Piano

The poems in Magic Realized are accessible, their meaning, their message, instantly clear and full of color and feeling. The author even provides definitions of words at the end of some poems to make sure they are not misconstrued. And the beautiful poetry is embellished with beautiful illustrations throughout the book by Diane Woods.

Here, Louis Alan Swartz answers my questions about Magic Realized:

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?

My overall intention in writing is to draw out the magnificence in individuals. It is my firm certainty that each person is an immortal spiritual being. I also believe that each human is possessed of abilities much greater than they have been permitted to believe. Their ability to perceive, understand, create, love, help, know and do good is for each one beyond our current earth imaginations. There is a Hindu myth about the god, Shiva and the goddess, Maya. In short, they had a loving relationship for 9000 years and then they ran into some trouble and things got a bit rocky. First of all, I believe that story is true and second of all, I believe that a “regular human being” here on this earth is capable of a love of that duration and magnitude. I won’t go into all the other legends and myths. Suffice it to say, it is very real to me that these things really did happen and that we can return to that level of intensity of life.

What I want the reader to take away from this book is that he is wiser, kinder, more loving, more creative, more useful and more beautiful than he ever imagined. I want to help him regain his capacity for amazement, astonishment and awe. My purpose in writing this book was to speak to the miracle each person reading it is.

Is your poetry based on your own life experiences?

Definitely. I have travelled widely to South America, Europe, The Middle East, Africa, India and back and forth across the U.S. countless times. I saw many things. I learned many things. I know that each individual, living being has great value because I observed them at their work and lives. I listened to them. I eagerly heard their stories. I witnessed their suffering and their elation. I tried to save a young boy from dying for no reason along the Nile in South Sudan. I saw a food riot in India. I ate with the farmers in Madhya Pradesh in India. I told them about the miracles of America. They brought a child to me and asked me to cure her of polio. I could not.

I have been married for 30 years. I have a joyous marriage. My children are walking miracles. It is all there in the writing.

Why did you select the title – Magic Realized?

It is my belief that there is vast magic in each individual. By magic I mean able to create things not explained by nature, even able to create miracles. I am talking about the outrageous expression of genius. I do not believe this is limited to a gifted few but that each person walking this earth has these abilities inherently. I use both definitions of realized in the title. The first one is to become aware of. I want them to become aware of their own personal magic, such as He realized he could sing. The second meaning is to accomplish or achieve as in He realized his goal to be a concert

pianist. I am looking to accomplish both meanings in the reader. I want him to become aware of his personal magic. Then I want him to accomplish magical things in his life. Thus – Magic Realized.

Why do you think people these days need to hear that “You matter.”?

I think that in the main people have lost belief in themselves. I found this by listening to people. I have been told too many times to count things like “I used to have a dream but I lost it and it’s too late now.” That is plain not true! And it pisses me off. They might as well tell me that they are dead and would I please close the coffin. Each individual on this earth does matter! You cannot tell them that too much. My tenth grade English teacher, Miss Helen Hilliard, got up in front of the class with a paper I had written and said, “This kid can write.” That changed my life forever.

Why did you select poetry as your means of expression?

I believe poetry is a concentrated, fine language with which, if you make yourself very understandable, you can communicate directly to the spiritual being.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get it by looking and listening. I look at wild flowers like the bright yellow California Poppy or the blue Mountain Lilac. I look at the Maple trees and Birch trees in the New England Fall. I listen to the old man from Italy in the restaurant telling me about the Second World War as if was yesterday. I devour what has been said and written whether it’s good or bad. I do not wait for inspiration. I go find it and eat it up.

How would you recommend someone read your poetry?

It doesn’t matter to me in which sequence they read my books. Sometimes they may have need of a poem about love or loss or death or immortality. I am thrilled if they find the one that helps them. It is important to me that they understand the words in the poems. I recommend having a dictionary at your side and using it.

Can we expect a Volume 3 of your Magic poetry?

Yes, there is a Volume III in the works. I am well into it and very excited about it. It goes deeper down into the themes of the first 2 volumes.

Do you have a favorite writer or poet who has influenced you?

The poet I most admire is Rainer Maria Rilke, a German poet who lived at the end of the 19th Century, beginning of the 20th Century. My favorite work by him is The Duino Elegies. It was from this book that I got my first inkling that a spiritual world existed. By the way, the best translation I have read is by Stephen Spender and J. B. Leishman.

What advice do you offer to aspiring poets?

Write! Write a hell of a lot! Don’t worry if it’s good or bad to begin with. Just write, write tens of thousands of words, even 100,000 and more. Read, live, see, hear. If you’re going to be a poet read all kinds of poetry. See what you like, what you understand and most importantly what moves you. Listen to the people, children, old people, people of all ages.

What I feel is most important is to make your poetry very understandable. It is my personal viewpoint that cryptic, obscure, vague and esoteric poetry is garbage and has given poetry a bad name and turned people off to it. MAKE YOURSELF UNDERSTOOD!

Magic Realized and Swartz’ s first volume of poetry, Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit, are both available on Amazon.com in Kindle and paperback.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Serve Bagels in Heaven #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


They Serve Bagels in Heaven by Irene Weinberg Cover PhotoTHEY SERVE BAGELS IN HEAVEN is one couple’s story of Love, Eternity, and the Cosmic Importance of Everyday Life, based on the true-life story of Irene Weinberg, whose husband Saul died next to her in a tragic car accident. The amazing messages Irene received before, during and after the accident contained a Directive from Heaven, opening her to a profound Spiritual Awakening that took Irene on a healing journey from devastating loss to a renewed sense of inner strength, spiritual wisdom and passion for life.

After reading this funny, touching and inspiring eternal love story, you will gain comfort, solace and wisdom from its healing messages about love, crossing over, past lives, what heaven does about evil, soul mates, healing both in heaven and on Earth and more. You will surely both laugh out loud and weep when you read this earthy, humorous and magical story. THEY SERVE BAGELS IN HEAVEN will change your perceptions about your life today and give you hope for tomorrow.

Interview with author, Irene Weinberg:

Your book is deeply personal. What made you decide to share your story with readers?

After seventeen years of marriage, my beloved husband Saul died next to me in a tragic car accident. Before, during and after the accident, I, who did not believe in any notions of spirituality, received amazing, profound messages that contained a Directive from heaven, opening me to a profound Spiritual Awakening.

Two months after the accident, I found myself in a gallery with the medium John Edward. The incredible messages John channeled from my husband Saul to me included information that only Saul and I shared. This amazing experience inspired me to work with another medium who also channeled information from Saul to me, but this time, Saul answered questions I asked about some of his experiences in heaven, details of riveting past lives we had shared together, and gave me important insights into the cosmic importance of our everyday lives. This fascinating, exciting information prompted me to share the wisdom and insights I was learning from Saul with others, leading to my soul purpose, which was to write a book that would help people know that we do go on after death, that there is purpose to our travails while we are here on Earth – and also, as I was being pulled through the shattered window of my totaled car that night, I received the profound message to “be loving and kind to everyone.”

What would you like readers to take away from “They Serve Bagels in Heaven”?

The sudden car accident, which left my husband instantly dead next to me taught me that I have control over absolutely nothing in my life except my attitude in dealing with whatever life hands me. Before the accident, I had a lot of control issues. After the accident, I let most of them go and I’ve continued to let them go as the years pass by. As the EMT pulled me through the window of my car, I remember thinking “I will get through this somehow, because I need to be a role model for my son. He needs to know that you can get ‘hit by a grenade’ in life and keep on going.” Again, it’s all about your attitude.

Writing the book and receiving some harsh skepticism helped me to learn to hold on to “my truth” and to stop worrying about what others think. To this day, there are people in my life who are uncomfortable and skeptical about me, and my story. It is very challenging not to allow these people to intimidate me and for me, not to judge them. Now I see they are some of my best teachers, as they remind me to stay conscious, empowered and to hold on to “my truth.”

There were people in my life who were wonderful to me when I was suffering, but then turned on me when things started to get better. I realized then, that some people enjoy others’ suffering because they can feel powerful and become jealous when things start going well. So I have learned to BLESS AND RELEASE these toxic people from my life. (To be loving and kind to everyone, also includes me).

Before the accident, I usually took “the high road” due to the promptings of my gut; I now take “the high road” because I KNOW there is karma. I KNOW we go on, and I KNOW that certain people are placed in my life to help me learn certain lessons. I do not want to come back with lessons still to be learned. This knowledge motivates me to live consciously and to strive to “be clean” in my relationships. I have learned to be conscious about what I say and how I behave with people, because it may be our last interaction in this physical life. I have seen too many people distraught over their “shuddas, wuddas, and cuddas,” after their loved one is deceased.

What do you think makes your book different from others like it?

Unlike a textbook, a fantasy novel or even a guidebook, They Serve Bagels in Heaven is a love story that spans generations, filled with thoughtful words and thoughtful thoughts meant to be savored. In it the reader will find answers to questions about what heaven is like, what’s the deal with soul mates, do we each come here with a soul purpose, how does heaven handle evil and have we lived other lives besides this one we are living. All of this wisdom is woven into a love story that is a fascinating, easy read. And it is a true story!

How has your life changed since you’ve shared your story with others?

Before the accident, I usually took “the high road” due to the promptings of my gut; I now take “the high road” because I KNOW there is karma. I KNOW we go on, and I KNOW that certain people are placed in my life to help me learn certain lessons. I do not want to come back with lessons still to be learned. This knowledge motivates me to live consciously and to strive to “be clean” in my relationships!

I am no longer afraid of death because I know I will cross over and continue on. Instead I am now much more passionate about LIFE. I want to learn the lessons I came here to learn, stay detached from toxic people, and consciously be loving and kind to others and also to myself, so that I can enjoy every morsel if my life to the last drop!

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

Follow your truth and write. It is your own individual journey. Stay open to the possibilities!

Readers can connect with Irene Weinberg at www.theyservebagelsinheaven.com. 

They Serve Bagels in Heaven is available in Amazon Kindle, paperback and Audible formats.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

How Meditation and Contemplative Prayer Can Deepen your Spiritual Life- FINDING GOD IN THE BODY #BookReview and #Author Interview


book-cover-fullMany of my friends and I consider ourselves “spiritual, not religious,” having been turned off by the organized religions we grew up with. But how does one follow a spiritual path with no guidance? Yes, we meditate and do yoga and try to be good people, but what else?

Finding God in the Body by Benjamin Riggs offers “A Spiritual Path for the Modern West.” For those of us with Western sensibilities but an affinity toward the practices of Buddhism or other Eastern religions, Riggs offers a path that looks with fresh eyes at the Judeo-Christian texts and combines their spiritual teachings with practices, such as meditation, of the East.

“The spiritual path is the mind’s return to the naked awareness of the body…. It is about dropping the narrative, relaxing the tension, and taking refuge in our True Life.”

Author Benjamin Riggs spent years studying the contemplative core of Christianity where he found a mythos of God within, more concerned with daily life than the hereafter. He explains the Bible and Judeo-Christian writings in a very enlightening way, following the Jewish tradition of storytelling to understand the Bible’s message in today’s world.

The author references the most important teachings of Jewish, Christian and Buddhist teachers such as Dr. Reginald Ray, Thomas Merton, Joseph Campbell, Fr. Thomas Keating, Thomas Aquinas, Rabbi David Cooper and M. Scott Peck, who wrote:

“If you desire wisdom greater than your own, you can find it inside of you…. To put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us…”

Finding God in the Body offers instruction in a spiritual practice that helps embody the mystery of God that lives within our body… both through contemplative prayer to bring us into the body, the God of the body, and through meditation to discover the underlying emptiness of the mind.

In the end, Riggs offers a way to develop a personal relationship with God, living in the Will of God:

“Undoubtedly this will have a great effect on our quality of life, how we treat others, and the world in which we live. It will transform the world.”

What more could the spiritual seeker ask?

Here is my interview with Benjamin Riggs, author, columnist and the founder and director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, Louisiana…

Can you give us a synopsis of your own spiritual studies/journey?

There is an awful lot of overlap between Buddhism and Christianity in my personal spirituality. Buddhism brought me onto the spiritual path. When I first became interested in spirituality at the age of 17, I was too resentful toward Christianity to even consider a Christian approach. Years later I happened across a Thomas Merton book that changed all of that. Most of my training has been within the Buddhist tradition, but about 5 years ago, I quit thinking of myself as a Buddhist. Most all of the practices I regularly do are from the Buddhist tradition, but the symbolism and language of contemplative Judaism and Christianity resonates more with me than the Buddhist language does now. I can see myself as a Christian atheist and a Buddhist theist. So conceptually I have a hard time labeling this Buddhist-Christian hybrid spirituality, but it is all very seamless for me in practice.

How would you explain the title of the book?

God is not an old, white man in the sky that created the universe and is now charged with the task of overseeing its day to day functions. A growing number of Westerners are disillusioned with this conception of God and are looking for something that does not offend their modern, scientific sensibilities. That is the “modern spiritual” part of the title. As for “god and the body,” God is the Ground of Being. It is in the body that we connect with the experience of Being. Finally, “path.” Resurrecting the God of the body requires a path of practice.

What was your purpose in writing this book?

I initially planned to compile a catalog of my past articles on Elephant Journal and publish them as a book. But once I sat down and started writing, the project evolved. As I said before, there is a lot of overlap in my personal spirituality with Buddhism and Christianity. So I started to outline a spiritual path that had proven effective for me and figured it would resonate with a lot of other people. A lot of Westerners are looking for a more practical spirituality. They want something that works in this life, something that helps them work with stress, fear, anger, and meaninglessness. Buddhism offers practices that meet this need, so a lot of people are drifting toward the Eastern philosophy section at their local bookstores. But then they bump into another problem: The practices are great, but the language, symbolism, and the mythos of Eastern religion are foreign and far removed from the Western psyche. It just doesn’t resonate. So I wanted to write a book that wedded the two. I wanted to outline a spiritual path that included a system of practice and a mythos that resonated with the Western mind without offending our modern, scientific sensibilities. That is what Finding God in the Body does.

What is your definition of spirituality or the spiritual path?

Spirituality is a view (often expressed in mythological terms) that transcends the superficial levels of self-centered consciousness wedded to a system of practice that enables us to embody those deeper levels of selfless awareness.

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?

I would like readers to take away two things: Spirituality is and has to be immediately concerned with the reality of day-to-day life. And it is has to be supported by practice, lest it become just another system of wishful thinking.

How would you define God?

God is the Ground of Being, the Isness of all that is. God is NOT the prime mover or the reason for existence, but existence itself, which through our life we participate in.

I found your explanations of texts in the Bible very elucidating. For example, can you share how you interpret Jesus as the Christ?

Most people see the name Jesus Christ as if Christ was Jesus’ last name. Christ is a symbol synonymous with the firstborn of all creation, the image of God (imago dei) which lives within man as our True Nature. In the Gospels, Christ is made manifest through the life and actions of Jesus. But we are all called to be a light unto the world – to allow the light of True Self to shine so bright that it blots out the characteristics of the false-self. That light is the indwelling image of God, the experience of Being, I Am-ness, or Christ. Jesus was a Jewish man that consented to the experience of being and enabled God to be born into the world through his life.

How would you describe the “false self” vs. the “true self?”

The True Self is the unmediated, ever-unfolding experience of life, which for the sake of conversation, has to be localized and called me or this life. This localization is the ego, which is perfectly natural and necessary. The ego is a conceptual overlay generated by the thinking mind and projected out into the world that enables us to communicate, navigate through the world, etc. It is a projection, a proxy self, so to speak. When we confuse that projected self for the real thing, it becomes a false self.

Can you sum up the path/practices you recommend for those seeking to “live fully?”

Living fully means living in wholeness. The view aspect of spirituality must transcend our sense of brokenness or incompleteness. It must move beyond those superficial, codependent levels of conceptual identification and down into the selflessness of undifferentiated awareness where we find fullness.

How can one best tap into the unconscious wisdom of the body?

The unconscious wisdom of the body flows forth from silence. But you cannot make silence happen, because any attempt to do so is noise. You can only make yourself prone to moments of silence. This is the practice of contemplative prayer and meditation. But any practice can be meditative: taking a walk or run, washing the dishes. Silence is the natural state of affairs. We are just doing what we are doing there is silence.

What would you say is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is to live, which is why you are alive. Any attempt to add meaning beyond that is in my opinion just noise. But that is not to say that life is meaningless. The experience of life is in itself meaningful. When you are present, awake, engaged, you are not looking for meaning. You are content. The search for meaning comes from a place of brokenness or incompleteness.

Finding God in the Body is available on Amazon.com. For more information, see FindingGodInTheBody.com or connect with the author at Facebook.com/FindingGodInTheBody and Twitter.com/Benjamin_Riggs

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance the Chakras, Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Love Offering – Free Download of The Chakra Diaries and MP3 Chakra Meditation…


Small book coverIt’s February, the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, the month we celebrate love. However, love can be a slippery slope, especially if we haven’t had good role models, haven’t had a perfect childhood (and who has?). The problems we have faced and negative emotions in our life may have led to blocked chakras (energy centers) that keep us from experiencing the healing power of love.

In The Chakra Diaries, my first book, I share how to balance your own chakras as you learn how these “energy centers” affect love and loss, health and happiness, life and death for the participants in a chakra workshop. It is FREE ON KINDLE through Wednesday, February 8.

Rather than a non-fiction encyclopedia of chakra attributes and signs of imbalance, the stories in The Chakra Diaries show the miracles that can happen through love, forgiveness and energy healing.

This is not a how-to book. As one reader said, “It’s what happens when you put ancient teachings and modern lives into the same kitchen and raise the heat while cooking up great emotion. The Chakra Diaries is a literary romance, but with emotional, intellectual and spiritual nuances that would appeal to anyone interested in love, especially enlightened love. The villains in The Chakra Diaries are ones we all try to avoid: lost love, false beliefs, cancer, but it is these very perilous obstacles that drive the stories and finally lift the characters into their higher spiritual states through chakra healing and balancing.”

“The best way to learn about the chakras is through fascinating real-world stories, tense with melancholy and wild with humor, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the book.” ~ Honolulu Weekly

MP3 CoverWhether you just love good storytelling, or want to be inspired, download The Chakra Diaries, and then download the FREE MP3 CHAKRA MEDITATIONS from the book, so you can be guided to a place of relaxation and balance. It contains the spiritual music of Aryeh David from his Love’s Whispers album. “Through all of life’s journey, love is actually the only thing there is,” says Aryeh. “May this music awaken the love within and remind you of who you truly are.”

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

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