Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Memoir’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

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A Dream It May Be, But The Dream Goes On! #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-2-31-00-pmA Dream It May Be, But the Dream Goes On! is British author Nick Roach’s spiritual autobiography – ranging from his difficult childhood to current day, overcoming the struggles in his life to be free of negative emotions. This book takes us step-by-step on his path to reach an “Enlightened” state in which he describes himself as self-aware or conscious all the time, “truly awake in the dream….”

Determined to learn why emotional pain and upset have to be part of life, Nick began a spiritual quest in his late teens. He experimented with meditation, LSD, took spiritual awareness classes at the College of Psychic Studies in London, and finally found the answers he was looking for while studying with Barry Long – an Australian who described himself as a Western Spiritual Master. Long’s teachings revolve around how to free oneself of unhappiness, and also about truth and love, and personal and sexual relationships.

This autobiography chronicles Nick Roach’s life and all the realizations that came to him through his spiritual studies, while still working in stressful traditional jobs and having several tumultuous relationships before finding his long-term partner, Sally-Ann Powell.

While I personally have not undergone the same stressors or emotional upsets that Nick lived through, I of course, have faced my own, as do we all. And while this book is akin to reading Nick’s journal and seeing inside his mind and soul, it is also a story everyone can relate to and learn from, as we are all souls making our way in the world and ultimately, back to the same source.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH NICK ROACH

What is your definition of Enlightenment?
I know what Enlightenment is/was for me: I seemed to have a constant connection with a sense of ‘being’, regardless of what else was going on both around as well as within me. It was like having one foot outside of whatever was occurring which provided an inner knowledge and strength that all was well. But I also had the knowledge that ultimately I was responsible for whatever I was experiencing, and I knew how to work with life to face and dissolve any difficult situations, both within and without (as they are actually one and the same).

However, as people are different and their paths are different, Enlightenment also appears differently from person to person. That means one person’s Enlightenment may not be another’s; hence we have all the confusion as to what the word means. This is perhaps particularly evident when comparing my path and experiences with someone who followed no path or practice at all and for whom it ‘just happened’. Such a person is likely to say there is nothing that can be done, so the method I followed of consciously facing and dissolving emotions could be alien to them.

At one point you say, “Enlightenment is indeed a beginning, not the end!” Can you expound on that?
I suppose it’s because the point at which one feels they have reached a sort of plateau, and the term Enlightenment seems to fit, one’s life is by no means over. It’s perhaps not unlike learning to drive a car, passing the test and getting one’s first car. One has a new freedom, almost a new life.

In my own case, the 10 years between the entry into what I deemed to be the Enlightened state, and the later state which I came to call Liberation, was a difficult time (as described in the book). However, it is the latter state which is perhaps most recognised as being associated with Enlightenment, and this does bring with it the sense of a new beginning. Suddenly one’s life, and/or the circumstances of one’s life seems to flow effortlessly. And it is as if one is no longer adding to the karma, but is instead consciously (and quickly) living and dissolving it in the moment, as the circumstances of life continue to unfold.

 You write, “…one’s emotional self is what determines the circumstances of one’s life.” How did you let go of negative emotions?
Aha, that is of course the story of the book, and the entire process is described in some detail….

As to ‘how’ one lets go of negative emotions, it would perhaps be more accurate to say the emotional energy is made conscious. That is the process: when someone is emotionally attached to an outcome or experience, this drives the imagination and thinking mind, and one is then unconscious – from the perspective of being self-aware anyway. This unconscious thinking feeds the emotion, and the emotion further feeds the thinking mind, and it continues to snowball. But if one can suspend the imagination, looking consciously at what action can be taken, but resists the (sometimes terrible) urge to go off into the imaginary world of pain and think ABOUT the problem, one begins to feel the emotion dying. With each painful situation in which one faces the emotion in this manner, one becomes that little bit more conscious, and a little bit less emotional.

What’s wrong with getting emotionally involved in one’s existence, especially if one is enjoying life?
Ha ha, of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. This life is separation (emotion) enjoying and expressing itself. And it will continue to do so. But for some people, an aspect of the experience for them will be in realising they are not as separate as it may first appear. And this process may include them being unhappy (at being unhappy) and would like, a) for it to stop; and b) for there to be more to life than the emotional ups and downs. But I make no judgment. This place is a playground for the emotions. That is its purpose.

If the “whole of existence is a dream from which the spiritual life is a quest to wake up from,” what is the purpose of existence, the meaning of life?
Ooh, yes indeed; if it’s all a dream, then what’s the point? Sadly, ultimately one runs out of answers. Anything one realises ‘here’ (and perhaps particularly if the knowledge is that this place is a dream) is by definition only dreamt. And just as when one is in bed, asleep and dreaming, even if one becomes lucid and is aware that it is a dream, they are still not aware of their body in bed nor of the room they are lying in (of course if they were, then they would be awake and the dream has finished). So the question as to the purpose can only be answered from the perspective ‘What’s happening now?’, and in this moment ‘now’ I am aware that my attachment to being separate is being dissolved, and along with it so is the dream…

After that, it is really just speculation: Some Buddhists believe that eventually the slate is wiped clean and it is as if it never happened, as the ‘Being’ needs nothing. While some mystics believe in the Akashic Records, where everything, every experience is recorded energetically, as if the Being or Mind (or whatever term one wishes to use) is itself growing with each experience.

Whatever the actual ‘purpose’, the state of mind one is in when Enlightened (or whichever term one would like to use) means that actually it doesn’t matter. One can speculate, but it’s only really for one’s own entertainment.

Was is a cathartic or learning experience for you to look back so closely on your spiritual journey?
It was a little strange, as some of the book was written more than 20 years ago and much had long-since been forgotten. There would have been no way I could have done the story any sort of justice had I not kept diary notes of my insights and experiences, as well as the challenges I faced and what they meant to me at the time. It did feel like I was drawing a thick and final line under everything that occurred prior to now.

From what you have learned, what do you think could most help others?
There could be a number of ways I believe my story may help others, depending on their situation:
a) There is a lot of confusion as to what Enlightenment is. While it is still the case that individuals may define or experience it differently, I believe it could help alleviate some of the confusion if Enlightened people described their journey in more detail.

b) For many Enlightened teachers the experience just happened, so while they may be able to describe in eloquent and poetic language what it is, sometimes they cannot or do not teach a method (which is demonstrable and effective). The result is earnest seekers can spend years reading every book they can find and intellectualising about what is meant.

c) And last, but by no means least, consciously facing and dissolving emotion, and particularly understanding how they work (and perhaps amazingly, how this place works in relation to emotions; they are NOT independent of the externals goings on after all). I hope my story describes the process in a clear enough way as to leave little doubt. But when considered in conjunction with every other Enlightened teachings, and even any religion, I hope people will begin to see how it all fits together.

What plans do you have for the future – teaching, writing or ?
While thankfully we do not rely on the books or teaching as a source of income, it is enjoyable to share this nonetheless, and one must still do something to occupy one’s time (even if it is a dream). So I hope people will read my books; particularly the spiritual autobiography which is of course the latest and I am quite fond of it. Then, while I will be writing articles for magazines, as well as regularly replying to emails from readers, it is the face-to-face teaching I especially enjoy; and even more so with an audience rather than the more ‘intense’ or personal one-on-ones. So we hope to find the means to hold more meetings.

What we have found though, following on from the above, is that once someone has been to me, often on only one occasion, they don’t tend to need to come back for a while; not because they’re Enlightened, as that can be quite a lengthy process, but because they have learnt or understood enough to enable them to get on with living their life in a more conscious manner. So any future talks or meetings will most likely involve travelling to a new location (perhaps to talk to an established group) rather than holding regular meetings in one location.

A Dream It May Be, But the Dream Goes On! is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. For more information on the author’s work, including his first two books, Enlightenment, the Simple Path and Essays in Truth, Glimpses into Reality, please see www.nickroach.uk. He can be reached to answer questions at info@nickroach.uk.

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

www.theChakras.org

 

 

Spiritual Lessons from the World of Horses – WORLD IN A SHOE #BookReview and #Author Interview


screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-4-08-56-pmIn World in a Shoe: My Journey with Horses, Nicole Lawrence takes us inside her childhood obsession with horses and her career working with them. I was entranced by the many spiritual lessons to be learned from working with horses.

As Nicole shares what goes into caring for horses, the reader gets an inside look into a world that many of us will never enter. She beautifully shares what she both taught and learned from her students and the horses she worked with, as well as the gruff lessons from a “horse whisperer,” who helps her through a difficult childhood, and then a difficult transition after a beloved horse is injured and put down.

Now on my bucket list is to try horseback riding again to experience Nicole’s artful description: “It was like sitting on a living wave of powerful effervescence.”

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, NICOLE LAWRENCE:

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

I’d like people to understand that horses have very different personalities. They are living beings that deserve respect.

2) Can you explain how horses were some of your greatest spiritual teachers?

When you work with a horse it is important to listen to them, and you use more than just your ears. You develop different ways of listening – for instance, watching their emotions and body language. Listening in different ways than with my ears was a good skill to have when it came to meditation and listening to my inner guidance.

Horses pull you out of self-centeredness. It isn’t always about you. You learn the give and take necessary for a good relationship with your animal. If you take care of your horse, he’ll be there for you. It is a good lesson in caring for another living being.

Being around horses helps you to be in the present moment. They are spontaneous creatures of nature and you need to stay aware of what is happening with your horse. Present-mindedness is also another good spiritual skill to have.

I was lucky to have Mr. Heffner as my mentor. He insisted on integrity and attention to detail, qualities that have assisted me on my spiritual journey as well.

3) You write of Mr. Heffner, a “horse whisperer” of sorts. What was the greatest lesson(s) he taught you?

The lesson I wrote about in the book – the one about not being ashamed of my fear of jumping high fences. There was plenty I could do with groundwork with horses. The thing with forcing yourself into your fear to accomplish something is that horses feel our emotions. They will pick up on the fear and may react because of it. Like what happened with the horse refusing the fence and my falling because he felt my fear. He knew I wasn’t confident about jumping the fence, and if I wasn’t going there, he wasn’t either.

4) You mention having a psychic connection with horses – how did this play out?

This showed up in many ways. For example, one night, while working for Lee, I woke and knew one of the horses was sick. I just had a feeling. I walked to the barn in the dead of night and sure enough one of them had developed colic – kind of a stomachache that horses can get.

Another time, I had an experience with The Chestnut Pony. The barn was long with a sliding door that opened out to a grassy area, with the driveway beyond. The Chestnut Pony was in the grassy area, grazing. As I walked past the open door I saw him lift his head, with his ears pointed, listening and focused on something in the distance. I was curious what he was looking at, but didn’t want to go out there to look. It could have been deer in the trees on a distant hill and I might not have seen them anyway. I thought in my mind, What are you looking at? Immediately, I saw a picture in my mind of the farm owner, Mr. Dixon, driving a tractor up the hill. I stayed and watched, while The Chestnut Pony remained focused. I didn’t hear any noise, but within a couple minutes I could hear the distant sounds of a tractor. And then came Mr. Dixon driving up the hill on the tractor.

5) What life lessons did you learn by working with horses?

Horses teach us about our own power. Symbolically, in society horses are associated with horsepower – strength, power, and at times speed. One of the early lessons I learned was that I couldn’t use force of will on horses.

Mr. Heffner showed me this early on when I’d first met him. He asked me to put my hand on the horse’s flank to move his hindquarters over. The horse immediately leaned his body into my arm. Then Mr. Heffner showed me you have to move the horse’s head in one direction to move the hindquarters in the other. You had to move the horse’s head to control his body. Force wasn’t going to work. In my life I’ve translated this lesson into working with other people. You don’t get very far if you try and force your will on someone. You usually meet with resistance. If you bring their thinking around to what you are trying to accomplish with inspiration and motivation, you have a lot more success.

I’ve noticed this even in myself. If I knuckle down and force myself to do something, I usually get tense. But if I can inspire myself, and shift my point of view, things flow more elegantly.

6) You write of “the greater connection – the breathing in your soul that horses are.” Can you explain that further?

At that time in my life I lived for horses. They were a spiritual connection for me. I had a troubled childhood and horses were “safe” for me to connect with emotionally. They didn’t judge, and they didn’t punish. I believe, as Souls we come into this reality and need to connect and anchor ourselves to the world around us. We grow and mature, and find connection to people around us and, for most, a connection to and relationship with some form of Divinity. It was difficult for me to trust my early human relationships and horses were the way I anchored to this reality.

7) For others who want to experience a connection with horses, how would you recommend they begin?

If someone feels drawn to, they could begin by taking some riding lessons. Look for a reputable stable. The horses will look well fed, their coats sleek and bodies free of injuries and sores from ill-fitting tack.

There are also farms that offer guided healing retreats with horses and the opportunity to just be in connection with them. Here are a few:

Equinisity Retreats – http://www.equinisity.com

Unity with Horse – http://www.unitywithhorse.com/Workshops.html

Horse Journeys – http://www.horsejourneys.com/home.html

There is a very special program for Veterans run by the Saratoga War Horse Foundation. The program helps them heal and overcome traumatic experiences and PTSD by working with horses – http://www.saratogawarhorse.com

8) What propelled you on a spiritual journey that took you out of the world of horses?

When Cosnav passed away, the deep connection I experienced with horses broke. I believe that my Soul and the Divine had a different purpose for me than a life with horses. At the time, I could happily have spent the rest of my life working with horses. With the severing of that connection I had no strong attachment to this world. To find some sense of purpose and meaning to my life I began an inner search. In that seeking I began exploring different spiritual paths and started transferring my sense of purpose from the outer world to that of the Divine.

World in a Shoe: My Journey with Horses is available on Kindle and in paperback. Nicole Lawrence is also the author of the memoirDoors To Transformation: My Mother – My SelfFor more information or to contact Nicole, go to http://nicolelawrence.com.

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

www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

 

 

 

Chakra Secrets #FreeKindle about the Rugged Road to Health and Happiness


Chakra SecretsThere’s no better way to share the holiday spirit than to share a tale encompassing all my actions and emotions – good and bad – with a happy ending and an instant healing technique everyone can use. So, I invite you to download a FREE copy of CHAKRA SECRETS through Friday, December 23.

Here’s a review of the book by a reader on Amazon.com:

 Chakra Balancing, Past Lives, Yoga and More!

“Began this book at Midnight, read straight through until 4 a.m. and waited until the light of day to review.

All of the cliches fit: cliff hanger, couldn’t put it down, fast-paced, brilliant writing…yes, all that with an important message: life is the same for everyone, we hurt, we grieve, we suffer, we have moments of joy and passion, and we are all subject to the same feelings.

We are born and re-born both physically, as in reincarnation, and spiritually, as in evolution of the soul…and there are very real modalities that we can employ to overcome our private agonies and move along our spiritual path to fuse with the light. That’s the simplistic version.

Author Becca Chopra put herself out on a limb with this autobiographical novel in which she introduces powerful, spiritual healing modalities in a very earthy way. She covers yogis gone wild, drugs, passion, longing, as she takes you on a breathless journey from actress to respected yoga teacher, an amazing roller coaster ride that introduces yoga, rainbow tantra, tantric gurus, macrobiotic diet, past life regression, acro-yoga, Ho’opono’pono and a very effective Huna Dynamind technique which can be practiced at home.

The storyline is complex yet unfolds simply and easily, propelling the reader right to the happy ending. And after all the twists and turns, one is certainly ready for that relaxing out breath and release.”

I look forward to sharing my story with YOU also – I invite you to download CHAKRA SECRETS – the Kindle version can be read on virtually ANY smart device.

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND MAY YOU ALL ENJOY THIS HEALING JOURNEY.

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

www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

 

Interview on Living Hope with author Lynne Cockrum-Murphy, ED.D.


Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 3.35.03 PMIn her memoir, Living Hope: Steps to Leaving Suffering Behind, Lynne Cockrum-Murphy shows that when we become more committed to our growth than we are to the pain caused by traumas in our lives, we truly open the door to healing ourselves and reaching our potential. I know of few people who suffered the traumas that she did… but her path to recovery is one we can all learn from, however much we feel we have suffered.

Lynne Cockrum-Murphy was three years old when she was rescued from a burning house by her father, who later died along with her two sisters. From that time on, she not only had to recover from her burns, but from a childhood of neglect by an alcoholic mother, then instances of abuse, rape and further horror. Living Hope follows her life from those tragedies forward to a life of peace and happiness.

Lynne shares the tools and actions in her process of moving past pain, including ThetaHealing®, which I am now anxious to explore. She speaks of karma and the Law of Cause and Effect and how she realized that every action she took could create a different, healthier future. Her book is a celebration of the fact that we can keep going, in spite of our suffering, and certainly keep growing spiritually because of it.

Today, Lynne is an intuitive consultant specializing in helping those who seek assistance with their spiritual path, in addition to facilitating physical healing, emotional growth and removing blocks to a life of joy, meaning and purpose.  She has a doctorate in Education, is a licensed substance abuse counselor, an Access Bars® instructor, and an advanced level certified ThetaHealer® and course instructor. She continues to teach for Northern Arizona University and maintains a private practice in Phoenix, Arizona.

Here, Lynne answers my questions:

Becca: What was it like to write such a personal book?

Lynne: Writing Living Hope was both easy and hard. Easy because I’d written my autobiography in 2001 as a chapter in my dissertation so I had a lot of material ready. And hard at the same time because I added in the childhood abuse I experienced plus I shared my metaphysical perspective on my life. I checked in with my sister on several topics in the book because I talk about her in it and wanted to be sure she was OK with that. In addition, I had worried about my cousins’ reactions to exposing the abuse and as family members’ inappropriate behavior comes to light.

Becca: What was your purpose in writing your book Living Hope?

Lynne: I had a sense that I lived a hellish life and in sharing my story others with depression or PTSD or trauma might be encouraged to keep trying. My purpose with Living Hope stems from knowing others are suffering too while achieving inner peace is possible.

Becca: What would you like readers to take away from the book?

Lynne: Really it is all about Hope. I’d like the readers to try some of the suggestions, to feel free and encouraged to break tradition and find what works for them. I ran into a woman recently that told me she had finished reading Living Hope and because of the book she now prayed more. She appeared really happy about it.

Becca: What are a few of the actions, steps and tools you recommended?

Lynne: Meditation, seeking, questioning, researching, trying autobiography, journaling, using resources (such as Dan Millman’s The Life You were Born to Live), checking out ThetaHealing® and Access Consciousness® and much more are included. All are effective in moving one forward.

Becca: What do you mean by “suffering has purpose?”

Lynne: Nothing in life is random. Possibly there were multiple purposes in the suffering I endured. It certainly created the virtues of compassion, inner strength and empathy in me. My life events also drove me to find solace, which I have, through meditation and connection with Source. Plus I had the benefit of clearing all the remaining heavy karma I carried.

Becca: How was suffering purposeful in your life?

Lynne: Possibly one of the most important purposes was what I considered the lack of connection with my mother. She was unavailable, busy, and unhappy. And especially after the fire when I wanted to be held and cuddled, it was difficult for her to touch me because of the burns covering the front of my body. Later the abandonment continued, for example, with leaving me (at age 10) in the park past sunset watching my 3 year old sister while our mother did laundry (went drinking). I believe that loss of nurturing led me to decide people could not give me what I need. I must look for another source for love and comfort which led to my spiritual life.

Becca: How do you think your experience can help others?

Lynne: Truly there continues to be a great deal of suffering in the world both from real events but also from what one does in one’s own mind. If reading Living Hope inspires anyone to try something new, to keep going or to break the cycle of suffering, then my experiences and my story made a difference. Making a difference in the world is rich with meaning and purpose.

Becca: What advice would you give to new authors who think they have an inspirational story to tell?

    1. To persevere. Pick it up again. Start again. Add more. Ask for help.
    2. If you believe you have a story to tell then trust yourself and know that you truly do.
    3. Read Stephen King’s On Writing for ideas on how to be a writer.
    4. Use a writing workshop, such as Tom Bird’s in Sedona, AZ, to get the book out quickly.
    5. Practice positive self talk. Challenge and replace limiting self talk.
    6. Meditate with Sanaya Roman’s 4 CD set, Becoming a Writer.
    7. Don’t share your writing with people. No critiques until finished, edited and ready for publishing. Don’t allow anyone to kill your spirit or your process with the book.
    8. Share from the heart, show what you experienced and know. Don’t tell.
    9. Allow your book to have its own voice, to exist as its own self. Then communicate with the book. Let it guide you.

To read a free chapter of Living Hope, and for more information, see www.LynneCockrum-Murphy.com.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

 

 

Review and Interview on Dying is Weird: A Journey of Enlightenment


dying is weirdIn sharing her memoir, Dying is Weird: A Journey of Enlightenment, Kathleen Westberg brings us into her life as she loses loved ones and then begins searching for meaning in life and death. Her story resonated with me as my own mother is now under hospice care and shows dementia symptoms very close to what Westberg’s mother experienced. And my mother also feels my grandmother’s presence in her room now – weird, as Westberg says.

How can we feel more of a connection to our loved ones during and after their lives? Well, Westberg shares some answers she found through the work of Edgar Cayce, which stirred her soul and led her to continue her studies of metaphysics and spirituality. His ability to communicate with his friends and relatives that had died, she explained, helped her to broaden her views on keeping in touch with loved ones after they have passed on.

While she always showed some heightened psychic abilities, once Westberg begins studying and attending holistic healing conferences, there is no stopping her in sharing her Healing Touch, interpretation of dreams and precognition of events.

This book is a sweet, quick read that makes us feel we are not alone, but all connected. After finishing it, you feel like you are part of Westberg’s family, and you are. Her experiences help one believe that life isn’t as “random and chaotic as previously thought,” and makes death seem “more like an adventure to look forward to than something to fear.”

Kathleen Westberg is a life member of the Cayce group, A.R.E., The Association of Research and Enlightenment. Here, she answers my questions about her book…

Becca: Why is dying “weird?”

Kathleen: My experiences with the death of loved ones has been at times so perplexing, befuddling and fascinating, that I knew I wanted to write a book about what I experienced. The title of my book, Dying Is Weird, comes from a personal experience in which I witnessed the transition of a family member and her words to me.  The word “weird” according to Webster’s Dictionary has several definitions: supernatural, odd, strange, uncanny and magical just to name a few.  So with the definitions and my personal story it all fit into what I thought was the perfect book title. Death to me was weird also, because of the experience I had when I was eleven.  It touched me in a deep way and awakened me to some of my own perceptions that would stay with me throughout my entire life.  In that sense, dying is weird because it is something that has been a part of me from a young age, and it transcends time and space.

Becca: Why do you think people in our culture are unprepared for death?

Kathleen: Years ago, death was looked at much differently.  I’m not saying that the grief was any less, but before the age of medicine, the mortality rate was very high and everyone suffered the loss of loved ones, sometimes at relatively young ages.  Children were apt to die from illnesses that are now preventable.  Multiple families lived together and relatives lived in close proximity always lending support and comfort.  I feel they had a different understanding about life and death.  Births as well as deaths were witnessed in the home which made both a more natural experience. Society has changed dramatically.  The natural cycle of birth and death is no longer witnessed at home.  Families don’t have the commitment to care for the elderly so the aging population becomes more compartmentalized and the elderly die sometimes distances from their loved ones.  We have also become more materialistic, with more of a focus on money and material possessions.  Also, people have a harder time accepting something if they can’t measure it or quantify it.  I feel by learning to cultivate or develop our clairvoyant perceptions we can become more aware of that dimension of existence, called death, and our experiences might not seem so out-of-the-ordinary.  Working at being more loving and learning to forgive and reconcile relationships and maintaining that loving awareness, I think would help us all be better prepared for death.

Becca: What was the biggest lesson you learned in your metaphysical studies?

Kathleen: Maybe the most important thing I’ve learned is that my intuition and spiritual understanding has grown in direct relationship to my studies.  I have learned so much from making the effort to take different classes and study with a variety of teachers. There have been so many teachers in my life that have shared their talents and spiritual abilities and it seems I always take something very worthwhile from each one.  I am fascinated by energy work and the energy of the world, be it in a house of worship, someone’s home, out in nature and of course the energy of others.  The more I put effort into those areas, the more aware I become of these spiritual dimensions and the more I am able to help others heal and grow. When we make a conscious effort to develop our metaphysical awareness, the creator can work through us and it then becomes a natural attunement to use at will.

Becca: What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Kathleen: I want people to understand that death is not the end of life – that we are transformed by death, and somehow our consciousness or awareness carries on in a spiritual dimension or existence.  By opening our minds to receiving messages through our dreams, and through our inner senses, we can change and minimize our fear of death. For me, one of the most important life lessons that has helped me deal with death is a sense of humor.  Smiles and laughter help me to temper the grief that I experience.  When we love more and laugh more, that connection never ceases to exist. I can feel it coming back to me through the ethers.

Becca: Would you say you have the answers to “What happens after death?”

Kathleen: It’s my vivid imagination that has helped me to picture what happens after death.  Sometimes I can feel the warmth and the laughter coming from my loved ones.  Even when writing my book, I could sense the love and encouragement that was being sent my way.  I also get a sense when someone has moved beyond the first plane of existence after death; it’s a little harder and takes a little longer to get their attention.  In one moving dream, long after my mother had died, she finally answered my pleadings to contact or connect with me.  In my dream she walked into a room where I was and looked like she had just awoken from a long nap.  The message I got was I had disturbed, or awakened her on her sojourn to the next level, but if I really needed her she would take that time to let me know she was always available for me. I just started reading Deepak Chopra’s Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, and I’m excited about what I can continue to learn about the process and experience of death.  His book is more of a synthesis of medical, scientific and spiritual perspectives, whereas my book is written from my personal experience with spirituality.

Becca: What advice to you have for other first-time authors who feel they have inspiration to share?

Kathleen: My advice for first-time authors would be to believe in themselves.  Since I have always been a better listener than a talker, I hear the stories from others and I see how by sharing their stories, as I did, the author can uplift, educate, and just simply entertain readers.  Writing helps bring your inspiration into focus; it puts your inspiration into a form where you can look at it, reflect on it and work on it.  We get so busy with our lives and our obligations that we can get distracted from a deeper sense of purpose in our lives and work, and so it’s very important to make sure to set aside time to write.  It may not always come out in perfect form, but you can always go back and edit or rewrite your material.  It’s important to just keep writing.

Namaste! Becca Chopra, author TheChakraDiaries-coverThe Chakra Diaries (inspirational stories of achieving chakra balance), Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Journeying to Healing Mother-Daughter Relationships


Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 8.01.20 AMNicole Lawrence bravely shares the limiting beliefs and patterns that were created in the wake of her troubled childhood in her powerful memoir, Doors to Transformation: My Mother – My Self. While each of our childhoods are different, I believe we all have traumas that may still be affecting us in our lives as adults.

This book offered me insights into how to become aware of negative patterns formed in the past and provided inspiration to go through the process of transformation.

Nicole’s “you can do it too” attitude comes from sharing her success in processing emotions and creating new patterns and also in providing the resources she used to accomplish her healing. She offers discovery questions and exercises to help the reader dig deep, uncover painful emotions, release them, and learn to make changes.

How does one face, feel and release pain? Nicole offers her tried-and-true method of reflecting on memories of traumatic experiences, then releasing emotions about what occurred and what did not occur, and examining the conclusions that you then drew about yourself, the other person and the world because of these experiences.

Nicole touchingly recounts how her mother neglected her as a child, leaving her feeling unloved and unlovable, and shares how she did her “emotional work” and learned to trust herself and others more and not follow exhausting patterns to receive outside approval.

The journey to forgiveness of things from our past and the journey to self-love is a universal challenge that this book can assist everyone with. Giving thanks to Nicole Lawrence for opening the door to show us the way.

An artist as well as a writer, Nicole views life as running in cycles and spirals, comprising the healing journeys we undertake as a regular part of our lives. This book is part of a healing cycle for her. She hopes it inspires others to push through their own journeys of healing.

For more information or to contact Nicole, go to http://nicolelawrence.com.

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

P.S.  Enter to win my special book & DVD Holiday Giveaway at www.theChakras.org.

 

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