Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

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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 Novel Look at Love and Forgiveness – IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Implicit-10-16-17 CoverIMPLICIT: Soul Invictus contains both wildly imaginative stories of a woman’s many incarnations, worlds, and adventures, and a profound discussion on the meaning of life, love and forgiveness.

Maya Lee is a law professor holding a grudge, which we might all do if we were in the same situation – being unjustly fired. But as we follow her soul through many other incarnations in both ancient and modern times and places, a theme emerges – about forgiveness, about love, about what is real and what isn’t.

“It’s not what happens in life, but our opinions about what happens that trouble men… Or women,” she learns in one of her incarnations.

In another incarnation, as a lawyer in ancient Rome, the protagonist Marcus learns, “…try your best, right? But then just let it go. Stop thinking about it.”  

As the reader, we learn along with the characters – “Forgive, and only love remains.”

The life and death stories in this novel touch on everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking. We follow each incarnation of Maya into the afterlife and learn:

“Love is. Love doesn’t go anywhere or come from anywhere. No thought of love is ever lost. You take it with you. Love is all that there is. And love is everywhere.”

Thanks to author Mark Tiro for this inspirational novel, and for answering my questions here about IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Have you incorporated any of your own past into your writing?

A lot of people ask me after reading the book if the character of Maya Lee is real. Before I started to write, like Maya, I had worked as a public defender in Los Angeles. I’ve tried to incorporate snippets of a lot of things, personalities and places, that I’ve gotten to know – to see – close up… Once I was able to sit down and reflect on it all though, I realized just how deep and profound – how much of an impact – some of these things I’ve seen have had on me.

“Still waters run deep,” as Marianne Williamson used to say. And so, the closest thing I can say about Maya is that she’s arguably the best lawyer I’ve ever known… But of course, maybe that’s why I ended up a better writer than I ever had been a lawyer. Somewhere deep down, I’ve always known not to get in a fight with Maya because she’d probably win.

What inspired you to write IMPLICIT?

I used to work out at the gym, years ago, a lot more than I do now. One day, a friend of mine who lived within walking distance invited me over for lunch, after our workout. Well, on his bookshelf, he had all these books – some I’d heard of, some were new to me. Everything from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to Way of the Peaceful Warrior to Paolo Coehlo’s The Alchemist.

He also had a tattered, old paperback copy of Richard Bach’s Illusions. He lent it to me that day, and I took it home and read it. That book – the ideas in it, I think, was what really set me on my life path.

I then read The Celestine Prophecy, The Prophet, Man’s Search for Meaning… even Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s with Morrie. Eventually these all led me at some point, to a trip to Temecula and a quiet afternoon where I was able to meet Ken Wapnick. I really did come to appreciate his non-judgmental/forgiving take on A Course in Miracles.

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

I wanted to, above all, let readers get to know characters they would actually care about. So many spiritual parables seem to be so wooden. And so much spiritual non-fiction is just not as easy – at least for me – to read today as it used to be, years ago, before the internet.

Most of us now, because of the internet, Twitter, Facebook – being so interconnected – our attention span’s basically shot. The cardinal sin or maybe ‘cardinal rule’ now of anything, whether it’s a book, TV, a movie or a Facebook post, is just this: ‘Don’t be boring.’

And after years of ‘searching,’ I’d finally hit on something that helped lift the heaviness, the depression… something that helped me to just relax and not feel self-conscious when I was with people. As far back as I could remember, I’d always been on my own elusive search for the meaning of life, always trying to find an answer that just ‘felt right.’

I tried to show how this stuff actually looks in life – in this world we all seem to live in here.

Also, a lot of people don’t catch it the first time they read IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus, but I was curious how it would look in the real world, as someone goes through the stages of the ‘development of trust’ that A Course in Miracles describes. Maya’s journey takes her through all of it, and I was as surprised as anybody by the time I got to the end. It turned out that Maya’s journey didn’t look anything like I’d expected it would when I first sat down to begin writing.

In your Author’s Note, you say some of Maya’s lifetimes involve real people in history, such as the Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus. Why did you want to include them?

One of the themes that runs through and permeates the book is that in reality, time is not linear. Epictetus taught what we call ‘stoic philosophy.’ But Epictetus’ stoicism was only about one step removed from the Freudian Vedanta of A Course in Miracles that we know today. It’s also quite in line with a lot of the Gnostic teachings, and had quite a lot more in common with the Gospel of Thomas and non-dualistic Buddhism, than with what we think of today as ‘stoic.’

Plus, here was this great teacher – he was a giant, even in his own time, who at the end of his life, settled down with a woman he didn’t marry, and whose name has been lost to history, in order to raise the child of a friend (one who’d presumably died or been sent off) so that the baby wouldn’t die or be sold off into slavery. It was such a human thing to do – it really embodied all his teachings. I was really excited when I discovered I’d have an opportunity to write about that.

And of course, it just so happens that I knew of someone [an incarnation of Maya], who by complete coincidence, happened to be on a ship sailing to just the right place, at just the right time…

How is IMPLICIT connected to the next book you’re publishing in December and what can you tell us about that book?

A lot of people don’t know this, but IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus is actually the second novel I’ve written about Maya Lee. The first one I wrote actually slots in perfectly right behind it. So while IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus really is the beginning of Maya’s story – of the entire Spirit Invictus Series for that matter – in December, Book Two, ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus, comes out. That book will actually go even deeper into Maya’s younger (and slightly wilder) years.

That book will tell the story of Maya and David [a client and spiritual teacher], and how Maya’s toughest and most brilliant courtroom battle jettisoned her off on an unplanned detour into her own personal dark night of the soul. The favorite feedback I’ve heard from my early readers is this quote: “Inner peace with an attitude – could be called Way of the Peaceful Lawyer!”

I’m also giving away a free novella called ONE MORE THING: The Lost Interview. It’s a small little snippet of Maya’s life after the events of – and complimentary to – ALL THESE THINGS.

You can download the free novella and learn more about the Spirit Invictus Series at www.MarkTiro.com.

IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus is available on Amazon Kindle at the special price of just $.99 through November 4, so download it today.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Healing Task of the Modern Shaman: Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 1.31.21 PMJaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart is a mesmerizing memoir by Ya’Acov Darling Khan that recounts his initiation as an “Everyday Shaman.” 

The title comes from how he learned to blend the raw power of the jaguar with the parts of him that were quieter and more sensitive, like a butterfly.

He learned what shamans have always known: all things are connected. A basic practice that he says everyone can follow is the simple act of noticing these connections.

Khan’s story is one in which he struggled to balance the parts of himself that wanted to fit in and be acceptable to his parents and society, while having the existential need to stay in touch with the magical world of pure spirit.

From the time he was a young boy, he had visions and dreams that foretold the future. Working with numerous teachers, including Gabrielle Roth, indigenous shamans of the Amazon, as well as shamans from Mexico and the Antarctic, he and his wife created Movement Medicine, which invites us to stand up and do all that we can to bring our visions and dreams to Earth as an act of gratitude for the great mystery that gives us life.

“I have learned that we weren’t given this Earth to do with as we pleased, but we came out of it and we are part of it.”

What is a shaman? A shaman is traditionally the medicine man of a tribe, able to connect with the powers of nature and the spirit world. How does one become a shaman?

 “A shaman is called into being by their own predilection for matters of the spirit, a journey interspersed with healing crises through the shadowlands of their own psyche and, finally, by their community and elders.”

What is the healing task for shamans of our time? Khan believes it is changing the debilitating mantra that is doing so much to destroy the fabric of life on Earth: “I am not enough. I don’t have enough. I need more.”

Today, the essence of Kahn’s Movement Medicine is the Long Dance ceremony, a contemporary ritual that is open to anyone, that has the power of indigenous ceremony, and raises money for amazing causes, like saving the Amazon rainforest.

Getting to where he is today, Khan went through the magical world of ritual, working with shaman teachers around the world. His story is a fascinating one that gives us an inside look into what shamanism is and isn’t. Through his journey, we learn more about the roots of shamanism.

Khan believes everyone can rise from the ashes of their suffering and create a new story… one that gives you purpose and dignity and, in this way, become an Everyday Shaman. 

In this crucial time for the Earth and its inhabitants, Ya’Acov Darling Khan explains the path of the shaman. His story is a beautiful one, an empowering one, an important one.

Here, he answers my questions about writing Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart:

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

Sad to say, our modern world is dominated by the story that the only thing that matters is having as much stuff as possible and impressing as many people as possible. More than that, we are constantly being told how to do that. We must have the latest gadgets. Our bodies must be a particular shape. We must wear the right labels, eat the right food, be seen in the right places and we are told that those that follow the modality of the time will be the happy ones. Our screens are full of images of apparently happy people doing the apparently right things. And don’t worry if you haven’t got there yet. If you keep trying, you too can join the ever-growing elite circle of those who have given their lives to this never-ending chase to reach a constantly moving target that is almost entirely devoid of soul.

The loneliness, the disconnection from a genuine self, from each other and from our environment and all that we share it with that is so apparent on the faces of so many of the people I meet reflects the crisis of our times. When Gandhi was asked what he thought of civilization, he replied that he thought “it would be a good idea.” A shaman’s job is to help us to remember the health, creativity and unbroken force of life that surges through us with every beat of the heart, reminding us what matters to us and what gives us a sense of purpose and meaning.

At the same time, the shamans I have worked with have constantly reminded me of my responsibilities as a human being who is part of a complex, delicate and massively intelligent web of life upon which we all depend for our survival. I have walked a road for the past three decades dedicated to discovering who I am, finding out what matters most to me and making that into my offering. I am so way beyond grateful for where that has brought me. I’ve been touched and inspired by many people’s stories on my journey and so I decided to share my own with the intention that it will remind you of that golden thread inside you that whispers to you in dreams and in sunsets and through the eyes of the ones you love.

Given all this, here’s the essence of the message I’m bringing: Learn who you are.

Learn to listen to who you are and find out what really matters most to you. Follow your dreams. Not anyone else’s. Do it now. While your heart still beats. Dedicate everything you’ve got to this quest for self-discovery. And don’t do it in a cave. Do it by thoroughly engaging with your life. With your friends, with finding out who and what you love and giving yourself to serving that. Do it through your work, through what you contribute to this world. Recognize that though you are absolutely unique, you are part of a vast intelligent web of life that deserves your utmost respect and care.

What if life were a spectacular gift, a magnificent mystery? What if you realized that though you cannot decide how life happens, you are always free to dance with whatever life brings? I had to learn that it’s simply not possible to dance my dance if I don’t give time to discovering who I am. And more than that, there was no way to discover who I am by following other people’s ideas about who I should be. It has not all been a joy ride. I have faced my fair share of demons along the way but I can say this… There is no greater adventure on this earth than to discover your own medicine, your own gifts and there is no greater satisfaction than finding the way to share them. Holding back our medicine is a dead-end street and my heart tells me that now is the time for us all to step up to the plate and give ourselves totally to the creative project of bringing what we dream to this earth.

Can you tell us a little something of the roots of shamanism and why people are gravitating to it so much in today’s world?

There are a growing number of human beings in this world who are awakening to the recognition that we need a new story if we are to survive our adolescence as a human race. And they are working in a huge variety of ways to put this understanding into practice. What was once seen as outlandish and irrelevant is now becoming much more central as we see where our human story has led us and the effect it has had on the many other forms of life we share this planet with. In order to survive, we need to evolve. As we recognize the deep unhappiness that our way of life engenders, we have to seek new ways. When the rich and varied landscape of our connection to inner and outer nature becomes a desert, both inside us, outside us and between us, our suffering leads us to want to find new answers. Shamanism in its many forms is a very effective way of mending our connection with ourselves, each other, our environment, the spirits (including our ancestors and descendants), and the Great Spirit. Maybe that’s why it’s becoming popular again.

There are so many shamanic traditions around the world but there are some universal principles that I have met again and again in the different shamanic cultures I have been lucky enough to meet. Shamanism is about the soul of any individual life form and its connection to the system it is part of. It is about maintaining connection and balance between the physical and the non-physical world. It is about the living recognition in an everyday lived sense that far from owning the web of life, we are part of it and we depend on it. It is about recognizing the importance of the health of all parts of the system as it is a common understanding that there is only one system of life on this planet that, once again, we depend on.

Shamanism recognizes that what we dream is what we create. In other words, the power of our imagination or the power of the story we tell directly effects our perception of life, our experience of it, and therefore, the actions we take and the outcomes we create.

What we call “Engaged Shamanism” is one set of practices, alongside many others, that invites us to take responsibility for how powerfully creative we are and to be more conscious about how we use this power. In my own life, I got fed up with telling the story that other people and external circumstances were responsible for my unhappiness. I got fed up with the never-ending spiral of not feeling good enough, not feeling I had enough and basically feeling victimized by life. I was tired of my own disempowerment. So I went in search of my power. And though this journey is always at the beginning of a new chapter, I discovered it. I think my experience is typical of the times we live in.

Can you describe your relationship to spirit and what it feels like?

It is my experience that spirit is everywhere at all times, everywhere and everything, always present. I come and go. But this invitation to be in connection, it’s sometimes so overwhelming, terrifying even. But when I pluck up the courage to open and feel this awe, this force of spirit that is present even in times of suffering, and I give myself to it, then in those sweet moments, everything makes sense again and I remember who I am and what I love and what I’m choosing to do with the life I’m given.

I’m writing this in my garden. It’s an early autumn evening and the sun is still strong enough to warm me through. The wind is blowing strong and I can hear the stream nearby. My bare feet are on the uneven, grassy ground. Gold finches are perched on the feeder twittering away. There is plenty of food in the garden and it’s recently been mowed. Occasionally, a buzzard lazily floats by on a thermal before soaring and then sharply swooping for its dinner. I’m breathing slowly and deeply as I type these words. This is a good moment. I’m giving thanks. I recognize how fortunate I am. My body is well. I feel strong today. I’ve had some renewal time at home with my wife and we are preparing for a new season of travelling and teaching. I recognize the melancholy of the change of season. I can see the leaves on the oaks have turned. They’ll be taking their last flight soon and all being well, they’ll become compost for another season of growth in the spring. So it is. Seasons. Cycles. Who knows when it will be my time to take that flight? The way things are now, I’m making it known to the winds right now that if there’s any choice in the matter, I’d love a few more good decades to live and love and learn here. I love my life. Thank you!

For me, life is an ongoing ritual. There are so many opportunities every day to shatter the illusion of separateness and to remember and experience my connection to life all around me. A plate of food, when you look at it, is the result of so much work by so many people, by the earth and the sun and the waters and the air, and it’s being given to me right now. What a miracle!

Walking in the city, the ground under my feet, the fire burning in my trillion cells as I walk along the pavement. People around me and the hustle and bustle of the city, and the lights burning lighting my way, solar powered people, solar powered life. And this good earth, gravity and the same force of life that moves through me and you and through everything that lives. What a miracle!

You mention in your book how important it was to free yourself from the learned habits of the past. Can you share what this did for you?

When we are unconscious of the past, it asserts a force of habit on us that dictates our responses to what life is offering us in any given moment. In other words, we interpret what is happening through the lens of what has already happened. If I have suffered, then I have learned to expect suffering and usually, that is what I will experience.

Even more than that, our undigested childhood experiences are still playing out full force in our daily lives in the ways we relate to ourselves, each other and even our environment. Most of the human population are running around unconsciously trying to repeat what happened in the vain hope that this time they will vanquish the suffering of their childhoods. Do you recognize how the same patterns that made you leave your last relationship blaming the other person for being the cause of your problems are the same ones you run into again next time round?

But no matter how many times we enroll others to play the roles in our suffering, we cannot change what happened, only our relationship to it. Only by finding the courage to feel the pain we feel can we let it move through us and let it go. As Gabrielle Roth used to tell us as we sweated like crazy dancing so deep in her ecstatic dance classes, “the only way out is through.” Once we have found the courage to recognize the everyday suffering of coming into this world, felt it and let it move through us, we are able to see it for what it is. It happened. It was difficult, often horrific, but here we are, alive, breathing and capable of so much creativity. Through doing and continuing to do my own work on this level, I have come into the present. And in the present, so much more is possible. I have discovered that I am not defined by my past but inspired by it to make a difference in this world.

I have recognized that I am no longer a child who deserves love but an adult who has so much love to give. And the less I withhold myself from life, guess what, the more I receive. And the more I allow the creative force of life to move through me, the more there is to offer. From the vicious circle of repeating the pains of the past to the virtuous spiral of dancing in the unknown of the present moment and taking up life’s invitation to create. We all have this power within us. No matter how tragic the past has been. There are a growing number of spaces and methodologies where we can be heard and seen in the suffering of what was, acknowledge it, and move on. And this is so empowering and, more than that, this planet is crying out for human beings to step out from this cycle of suffering and take responsibility for what we are creating so that we can pass on a world to those that will follow that still supports life to flourish. It may be difficult, but the harvest of this kind of work is immense and, in my heart, it is what I hear life asking of me again and again. Turn your power not towards vainly attempting to vanquish the past but towards bravely creating the future.

How would you recommend a person start incorporating the ideas or practices of shamanism into their daily lives?

We are setting up an online learning community precisely with that intention in mind. There are so many opportunities every day to remember our connection with the web of life and to feel it. If you’re interested, please check out our new website: www.darlingkhan.com and take a look at the courses we are offering in engaged shamanism.

You can also connect with Khan on Facebook.

Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart is available on Amazon.com in both 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

 

 

 

 

Yoga for the Brain? #BookReview and #AuthorInterview on THE WORD SEARCH ORACLE


CoverCombine a fun word game with profound insights, and you’re given a remarkable tool for spiritual development and self-realization.  The Word Search Oracle: Yoga for the Brain offers a creative, fun, meditative respite from the busy chatter of the mind… while flexing your brain.

What’s really unique is that each of the 60 word puzzles in the book is introduced by a philosophical Oracle on topics ranging from Fearlessness to Forgiveness.

And once you’ve worked out the puzzle, the words remaining in the grid make up a corresponding Mantra (yoga asana for the mind). These Mantras serve as positive affirmations to reprogram your mind for greater mindfulness, joy, health and love.

The Word Search puzzles provide cognitive training, cleverly disguised as fun. And the inspirational Oracles and Mantras help reprogram our thinking, replacing negative old thought patterns:

“…solving puzzles engages our ability to compare new information hidden in a puzzle with what is already dowloaded in our memory. As a result of our amazing neuroplasticity, neurons make new connections inside our brains, blending imaginative association and memory. We alchemize that data to pioneer new perspectives, conclusions and ideas… It is a kind of puzzle vision super power.”

TRY OUT PUZZLE VISION SUPER POWER, TODAY, FOR FREE.

Download and play with a sample puzzle from the book, titled Blessings, read the Oracle, find the hidden Mantra, and see how it can change your day:

Word Search Oracle Sample

The object of the game is to find and cross out all the words from the list below the puzzle. The words in this easy example can be found horizontally or vertically. Hidden within the puzzle is a secret message created by the letters not used. Place these letters in the blank lines to discover your Mantra… repeating this Mantra throughout the day will reinforce the Oracle Message about Blessing, and increase your awareness and appreciation of the good all around you.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, CRISTINA SMITH:

What inspired you to create the “Yoga for the Brain” books?

Travel, Sudoku and my brother were the inspiration for the series. A frequent flyer, I was bored with all of my reading material so, in true desperation, I turned to the puzzle pages of the inflight magazine. I saw the Sudoku and had an almost visceral reaction to them. My inner voice said something like, “Number puzzles- yargh! I don’t do those.”

Then I noticed how strong my opinion was of that innocent little puzzle and decided to try one. I was terrible at it. When my math genius brother Rick picked me up at the airport, I asked him if he was good at and liked Sudoku. The answer was yes. By the end of the visit, I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to see if I could train my mind to shift to a logic mode and learn to do Sudoku with a book of 300 easy puzzles.

It’s fascinating how sometimes the most unexpected things can trigger the deepest insights.

The most amazing thing happened. I delved into the puzzles and unexpectedly, deeply spiritual intuitive information came into my consciousness. Doing puzzles. I began to approach Sudoku as a path to spiritual awakening. It became a form of yoga. Yoga for the brain. I finished the puzzle book and suddenly, it became clear. I was writing a Sudoku book. I have been a freelance writer my whole career and have started numerous books. It was a totally crazy, surprising idea.

The Tao of Sudoku: Yoga for the Brain and our series was born. I asked my game creator brother Rick, to be the Puzzle Master and away we went! Since its publication, we have earned several literary awards. The book was so well received and we had so much fun creating the book, we decided to keep going. I invited my friends to play with me. Darity Wesley agreed so here we are now.

How did you work with the other contributors to the book?

The group synergy is an essential element of this book. Oracle Darity Wesley is my longtime colleague; Puzzle Master Rick Smith is my brother, and our Editor Extraordinaire is my lifelong friend Melissa Morgan. We collaborate, communicate and cooperate. We are highly supportive of each other’s expertise and perspective and enjoy highlighting our unique gifts. There’s a lot of love flowing in the veins of the entire process. Creating this book was an alchemical process. We all poured our best selves in to offer you our gold.

How would you recommend this book be best used?

The best way to use this book is one that feels right to you. It may vary depending on where your life is at in the moment. It could be used as a divination. Open the closed book and see what message comes to you. It could be used as a mindfulness practice. Notice perceptions and actions while doing a few puzzles and see what you can learn about yourself. It can be used as a personal mastery tool. You can pick a topic, work with the mantra for a period of time and see what happens. It is a wonderful way to entertain, maintain and train your mind. It’s great fun to do while traveling or waiting. Or you can just zip right through and enjoy the pure pleasure of puzzling.

What are the benefits of using Mantras?

Mantras are the yoga postures of the mind. They can quiet the mind so we can go beyond our brains to hear wisdom’s whispers. Like forms of hatha yoga, there are a variety of types and practices that can produce different results. They can help us shift our core beliefs by intentionally reprogramming our thought patterns.

Why did you use the Eye of Horus on your cover?

The cover of each book in our series, created by Rick, features a sacred symbol. The Yin/Yang is on The Tao of Sudoku: Yoga for the Brain. Our third book, The Word Search Sage: Yoga for the Brain, publishing in September 2017, will feature the ankh. The ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus on this book cover is particularly meaningful to Darity. It was part of the logo for her privacy and information security technology firm, Privacy Solutions, Inc., and now her A Modern Day Oracle™ logo. The Eye has a variety of meanings including protection, wisdom and health.

Please share your advice to readers.

Here are 10 tips to increasing your happiness quotient:

10. Nourish your curiosity.

9.  Offer your gifts.

8.  Give yourself credit for your successes.

7.  Fuel your love of learning.

6.  Think about what brings you joy.

5.  Be kind to yourself and others.

4.  Connect with your spiritual world daily.

3.  Remember you have a body.

2.  Have fun! It will sustain you as much as work.

1.  Know yourself better every day.

The Word Search Oracle: Yoga for the Brain and The Tao of Sudoku: Yoga for the Brain are both available on Amazon.com. To learn more or connect with Cristina Smith, see

https://www.facebook.com/CristinaEnergy/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9831520.Cristina_Smith

Namaste!

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

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

The Principle of Oneness: #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


PrincipleofOnenessMany have said “We are all one,” but what does that really mean? The Principle of Oneness is a practical guide that helps you understand and experience the profound unity of everyone and everything. Author Russell Anthony Gibbs explains the science behind the connections of everything — both physical matter and nonphysical energy. He supports his points with quotes from scientists, enlightened beings, spiritual leaders, philosophers and others.

Great minds like Albert Einstein, Buddha, Aristotle, Rumi and Jesus all understood the profound Oneness of the Universe. Gibbs further clarifies some of the misconception about the Universe/God as well as explains how to live and experience the Principle of Oneness.

Thanks to guest reviewer Constance Messmer, an author and psychic and spiritual development teacher.

Author Russell Anthony Gibbs does it again. The Principle of Oneness expounds on the first principle from his award winning and bestselling book, The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life.

His new book offers compelling enlightenment information in a clear and concise read. It illuminates the interconnectedness (Oneness) of the physical and spiritual realities, using quantum physics, philosophy, and religion to support his explanation.

Readers will appreciate Gibbs’ easy-to-follow explanations as he brings them to a deeper understanding of others and helps them to find joy and Oneness with activities and, yes, even abstract concepts. Self-love, acceptance, inner strength, wisdom, and knowledge of our eternal existence, all can be gained as one reads through Gibbs’ book. He skillfully guides the reader in an effort to teach the power of connecting to the collective consciousness and the great sense of empowerment, awe, responsibility, and ultimately peace in knowing we control everything in our reality.

It left me with a much deeper understanding of who I am and my profound connection to absolutely everything. With this highlighted awareness, my approach to life has been realigned in a powerful way.

After reading this, his second book in his series of enlightenment material, I look forward to his third installment.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR RUSSELL ANTHONY GIBBS:

What are your objectives with this book and this series of books on enlightenment?

Gibbs: The Principle of Oneness is the second book in this series of enlightenment material. It serves as a reference guide to spiritual and scientific enlightenment clearly explaining the Oneness connections of the Universe/God and the collective consciousness. If you can understand and experience the Principle of Oneness you can then utilize the infinite power of the Universe to better enjoy your experience of life. The objective of this series of books on enlightenment is to create a comprehensive body of work that clarifies the nature of our existence.

What is enlightenment and why is it important?

Gibbs: Enlightenment is a profound, intellectual and spiritual awakening to your higher consciousness. Enlightenment is the ultimate goal in several religions and philosophies and is the means to achieve nirvana, which is the state of perfect happiness and peace. Confusion, suffering, pain and faltering through life are the opposite approach to enlightened living. While enlightenment is not necessary to exist, it makes your journey in life much less difficult and far more enjoyable. Attaining enlightenment is ultimately a means to improving the quality of one’s existence.

Why use so many quotes in your books?

Gibbs: The use of multiple quotes utilizes the power of the collective consciousness. Other people are actually the multiple facets of your broader self. Enlightened beings, scientists, sages and some intellectuals understood and articulated the principles of enlightenment in profoundly beautiful ways. The quotes help support and add depth and richness to the explanation of the principles. Also, the variety of quoted authors can offer readers a familiar voice that resonates more with their particular personal consciousness.

How was the first book in this series received?

Gibbs: The first book, The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life, received numerous professional 5-star reviews and won multiple national book awards. The book is clear, concise and straightforward and many readers were surprised with the depth of the material in so few pages. The book is distributed worldwide and made Amazon’s Bestsellers List in two different categories and in all three formats.

What is the best aspect of these books?

Gibbs: The simplicity and clarity of the enlightenment material is one of best aspects of the books. A reader can walk away with a basic working knowledge of significant spiritual and scientific concepts such as string theory, multiverse theory, atomic emptiness, dark energy and matter, panpsychism, Oneness, Manifestation and Timelessness. All of the books in this series offer vast spiritual/scientific concepts in concise formats and are branded Espresso Wisdom, because they are concise, intense and deep. Like espresso coffee, the insight is an intense jolt of enlightenment.  Enlightenment is an awakening, and Espresso Wisdom is meant to help jumpstart you on your journey.

The Principle of Oneness and The Six Principles of Enlightenment and Meaning of Life are both available on Amazon.com in Kindle, paperback and hard cover. For more information on this philosopher and enlightenment seeking author, see RussellAnthonyGibbs.com.

Namaste!

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

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Glimpse of Heaven: #BookReview of DANCING AT ANGEL ABBEY with #AuthorInterview


9781504353311_COVER.inddDancing at Angel Abbey is an entertaining, whimsical, light-hearted novel that also offers deep, thoughtful messages about life and the miracle of it. The story revolves around Kate, a woman who loses her self and her purpose in life, then gets angelic help to bring her back to her divine purpose. She’s a partner in a Wall Street law firm who loses her job and her father all in 24 hours, only to discover options she had never considered.

Kate goes home to Angel Falls to see her estranged father the night before he dies and falls into despair at not repairing her relationship with him, while destroying her law career at the same time.

Author Lauren M. Bloom offers a simple recipe for healing: 

“…healing comes in the simplest things — good, plain food, a favorite story, a comfortable place to sleep, the loving attention of familiar friends.”

I was captivated by the protagonist and the problems she faced, and inspired by the angelic help she received.

In fact, one of the most interesting aspect of the novel is the introduction to the archangels in heaven, and their commentary at the end of every chapter — giving us another view of what Kate just experienced. They also sprinkle their messages with advice we can all use.

“You are good enough. Just get out there and do some good.” ~ Archangel Michael

I found myself entranced by the imagery used by the author, as well as the story and the many inspirational messages woven throughout. In addition to the angels communicating with Kate through dreams, visions, visitations in disguise, and even actual physical notes, Kate also gets advice from the Lady of Angel Abbey, where she donates her time after returning to Angel Falls:

“…interpreting your memories of the past in the best way rather than the worst is a very good strategy. It can save you a lot of resentment and regret.”

I do believe, I do believe, I do believe in angels, and am not above asking them for help. They certainly helped Bloom write a perfect book to read this summer or any time of year — it’s a good read for the beach or during a quiet weekend at home. Either way, it will be hard to put down.

It’s easy to see why Dancing at Angel Abbey won the New Age Fiction category in the 2017 International Book Awards.

Here is my interview with Lauren M. Bloom, an attorney, interfaith minister, and award-winning author who believes that listening to the voices of angels can help us discover our best destinies and become our finest selves:

Is there a message you would like readers to take away from your novel?

Life is meant to be a magical, magnificent adventure. We were meant to live in loving collaboration with the Divine, to care for one another and our shared world, and to savor the incredible experiences that come from just being alive. Scary as it gets sometimes, I believe that we’re always beloved, and that help and comfort are always there if we remember to ask for them.  

Your bio says that you are an attorney and an interfaith minister. Is any of Kate’s story modeled on your own experiences?

It is, although I haven’t had the kind of direct encounters with archangels that Kate experiences (at least, not yet). However, I know the kind of soul-crushing damage that a hard-charging professional career can inflict. I’m all too familiar with Kate’s sense of never being good enough, and of longing for a gentler, more meaningful life. Like Kate, I get tremendous satisfaction out of giving practical help to people who need it, but I can be stubborn about accepting help. And, like Kate, I’ve had the privilege of being owned and loved by several Siamese cats. All of those experiences contributed to Kate’s character and the choices she made throughout the book.   

You describe Kate and modern women in general as self-loathing. Why do you think that is, and what is the remedy?

We hold women to ridiculously high and narrow standards in our society. Unless you look like a fashion model, have a successful career, are in an ideal relationship, raise flawless children, live in an immaculate home, and devote your spare time to community service, you’re not accomplishing as much as you “should.” That message is everywhere in popular culture, and it’s positively brutal. 

The remedy, I think, is for women to recognize that “perfection” is the last thing we can, or should, strive toward. Rushing around trying to juggle all of those demands is a wretched way to live. Learning to appreciate our “imperfections” as the things that make us uniquely precious isn’t always easy, but it allows for a much more comfortable and happy life. It’s also better from a spiritual perspective. Perfectionism strangles gratitude, and being genuinely grateful for our imperfectly beautiful selves is a huge first step toward entering into a loving relationship with the Divine.         

In your plot, Kate loses her job over a seemingly small lie. Why do you think lying is so pervasive among people when, as one of the archangels says, “…it always gets them into so much trouble?”

People most often lie because they’re terrified of the consequences of telling the truth. A lot of the time, there’s reason for that fear. Going back to the perfectionism that poisons so much of our society, I’m concerned that we’ve reached the point where even a minor mistake can ruin a person’s life. Kate’s lie was relatively insignificant, but I’ve seen people lose jobs over less. If we want people to stop lying, we have to make it safer for them to tell the truth. Yes, hold people accountable for their mistakes, but keep those mistakes in perspective and make sure that the consequences don’t become too severe.

With help from many angels, Kate leaves the practice of law and discovers her divine destiny. Do you believe we all have a destiny that is mapped out for us? 

I don’t believe that anyone has a predetermined “divine destiny,” because that would make us nothing more than pieces on a game board. As beings with free will, we make choices that are more or less consistent with our better selves, and the choices that bring out the best in us are, in my opinion, the choices that lead us to our best destinies. It can be very tempting to pursue things like power, money and fame just to have them. There’s nothing inherently wrong with those things, but it’s important to remember that we literally pay for them with our lives. If we’re miserable, they just aren’t worth the price.   

Your protagonist gets a lot of angelic help in finding her true life’s work. How do you think one can best find meaning and purpose in their lives?

It starts, I think, with recognizing that meaning and purpose can come from many sources. What makes you genuinely happy? Anything you do that leaves you feeling as though your time was well spent is a step in the right direction, whether it’s building a skyscraper, reading to a child, singing a song, petting an animal, saying a prayer, writing to your Congress member, or calling your grandmother. Maybe you want to make the world a better place, or maybe you just want to enjoy some time alone or with someone you love. Maybe it’s what you do for a living, or maybe it’s what you do when you’re not at your “day job.” Each of us only has so much time in this life. Spending it in a way that seems meaningful to you is important enough that it’s worth devoting enough time to figuring out how you really want to spend the rest of it.

If someone wants help from the angelic realm, how would you recommend they ask for it?

Just ask. Don’t worry about choosing the perfect words, don’t worry about things you’ve done that you wish you hadn’t, don’t fret about not being good enough. Just ask, keep asking, and keep an eye out for miracles. The angelic realm doesn’t always answer right away or exactly as expected, but an answer always comes, and it’s always to the good. There have been times in my own life where it’s taken me years to realize just how important it was for me not to get exactly what I wanted. Once that realization finally dawns, however, I’m always grateful that the angels took better care of me than I would have taken of myself.

You mention that self-forgiveness may be the ticket to heaven. Do you believe most people are too hard on themselves?

Heavens, yes! And I think the people who struggle hardest to be “good” are the ones who tend to punish themselves the most. There’s nothing wrong with having dreams, and ambition can be a wonderful thing if it arises out of a happy excitement about life’s possibilities. But even the highest achievers among us fail at least as often as they succeed. I also believe that it can be very difficult to forgive anyone else if you’re unable to forgive yourself. Time spent agonizing over mistakes, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, is time wasted. It’s better to forgive, and to devote that time to something more productive and pleasant.    

You write that miracles happen every day. Can you explain that?

In my opinion, it’s a mistake to think that miracles have to be huge and flashy. The fact that each of us is here at all, that we’re surrounded by beauty if we stop and look for it, that love exists, that there are an infinite number of things we can do, to care for Creation and each other, all of those are inherently miraculous. Here’s a simple example. Think of a piece of music, a painting, a book you like that was created by someone you never met. Even though you don’t know that person, you immediately recognize the work as belonging to its creator and, if you thought for a minute or two, you could probably explain exactly what it is about that work that makes it his or hers. Nobody else could have created exactly that song, painting or book. Each of us is that unique. If that’s not miraculous, what is?

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read as much as you can of what you love, and write what comes to you. If it surprises you, so much the better. (I’m normally a non-fiction writer and would never have imagined writing Dancing at Angel Abbey. Once the idea for the book came to me, though, it wouldn’t leave me alone. Then, the characters started saying and doing things I didn’t expect. That got a little nerve-wracking, but it ultimately made the story a whole lot more interesting than it would have been if I’d stuck with my original plot.) Only give early drafts to people whom you trust to be both honest and kind, and get a good editor. Finally, don’t handcuff yourself by believing that your story has to be “big” or “important.”  If it speaks to you, write it down, and trust that it will speak to other people, too.       

How can readers learn more about your work or connect with you?

Come visit me dancingatangelabbey.com, or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorlaurenmbloom/ and Twitter at @authorlaurenbloom. Let’s talk about angels!  

Dancing at Angel Abbey is available at Amazon.com.

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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