Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Fiction’ Category

Forgiveness is the Way Out of Pain: ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus #Book Review and #AuthorNote


All these Things coverALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus is both an engrossing and inspirational novel of the life of public defender Maya Lee and the enlightened master who changes her life… who also just so happens to be charged with murder. 

This is the second in the Soul Invictus series from Mark Tiro. His first book, IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus, which I reviewed here, is the epic sweep of Maya’s journey through time and lifetimes, from beginning to end, until she decides that forgiving is less painful than continuing to carry around all her soul’s unconscious guilt.

In ALL THESE THINGS, we meet Maya as a young trial attorney who cannot escape her feelings of “a drifting emptiness,” and the pain her own thinking and anger are causing. She meets an enigmatic client, David, who is charged with the murder of his young daughter in a car crash. Why the District Attorney claims it is murder is just as much of a puzzle to Maya as why David is so stoic and calm, saying, “Don’t worry, she’s not gone. No thought of love is ever lost.”

David teaches Maya how he learned to watch his thoughts without judging them, and as each one would come up, he’d practice letting them go. He realized his problems didn’t come from the outside world, but his inner thoughts and reactions.

“…when he would recognize that he had gotten angry, when he would find that he had become anxious—he would consciously look at those thoughts, and then choose to overlook them. To forgive them. The result of this practice had been that he rarely found himself with anything but a quiet, peaceful mind…”

In another scene in his jail cell, David explains:

“Maybe we can’t change the world. But I can tell you, even in here, we are always free to change our minds about the world.”

Maya may not be ready to hear David’s philosophy that “The entire world is a projection,” but her interaction with him leads to radical changes in her life as she practices the willingness to forgive.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus

Mark Tiro: After reading the book, many people have asked if Maya or David were real people. Sadly, the answer is no to both, although I’ve wondered more than once how I might react if an enlightened master showed up in my life at 2:00 pm on a random Tuesday.

The name of the book—All These Things—started with Augustine of Hippo. Before he was known as the great thinker he would later become, he may have been more famous—or as we might say today, infamous—for an impassioned prayer of his youth.

“Lord, make me chaste—but please not today!”

At some point after that promising start, he settled down, eventually coming full circle to this:

“If I ever know and see God in the way in which God can be seen, then all these things will disappear from my thoughts; even now, because of my love for God, they hardly enter my mind.”

The bookend to that comes from a Course in Miracles.

“I will forgive, and this will disappear.”

From these two book-ended ideas, the name and a fair amount of the concept behind All These Things as well, flowed relatively unimpeded onto the cover and into the pages within.

‘Relatively’—because it is always dangerous to underestimate my uncanny ability to complicate even the most straightforward of ideas.

A name, of course, does not make a novel.

And so I hope I’ve given Maya the room to breathe and stretch her wings, and above all—to be herself and fly free.

For now, Maya and David don’t come by anymore.

Late at night though, every so often, others stop by where they once did, to share their thoughts and their stories. I stay awake, here, listening, waiting, thinking…

Still… I would be lying if I didn’t say that some small part of me holds just the smallest hope that one quiet night, Maya or David might just decide to drop by unannounced.

To spend some time catching up over a late night cup of coffee, or a glass of wine…

Occasionally the sound of a far-away cricket will drift in to interrupt my reverie.

This is when the words come.

This is when, if I stop talking and listen just so, the faintest of melodies is carried in on the gentle breeze.

This is the time I sit with my wine, quietly off to the side. Just listening. Quietly listening as the winds carry their stories in from times and places far away.

I have the easy job. It’s one simple thing.

It’s just to get out of the way.

To listen.

Listen, and then—to write, as faithfully and thoughtfully as I am capable.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE SPIRIT INVICTUS SERIES?

Mark Tiro: Book 3 of the Spirit Invictus series should be finished by the beginning of next year. It might be the last one in the series (after all, Maya’s already died however many life-times over in Implicit… so she needs a chance to finally relax). Although, as they say… you never know. Maya can be quite strong-minded—and persuasive—like that sometimes.

ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus is available at the launch price of $.99 on Amazon through December 10, when the Kindle goes to the regular price of $4.99.

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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Holiday Book Contest: Win a Year’s Worth of Inspirational Reads


Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 11.13.21 AMThe holidays are upon us, and as always I am very grateful for YOU the readers, and all the authors who inspire us on our spiritual journeys.

I also appreciate all of your shares and likes of posts here on Facebook and Twitter. My intention with this blog is to break through the dark places on the internet with light- and love-filled connections.

Following are many of the favorite books I’ve reviewed this year. The authors have been kind enough to donate their paperbacks, so the winners of the HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY will have a bevy of books as New Year inspiration or to gift to just the right family member or friend.

To be entered to win, please comment with a wish for the world in 2018. Be sure to enter your email address so that I may contact you if you win. If you’d rather comment anonymously, send your comment to Becca@theChakras.org to enter.

On December 10, my son will draw the names of the two lucky winners who will each receive several books in time for Christmas.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.32.21 AMHere are some of the books you can win:

Cristina Smith has donated her books in the Yoga for the Brain Series including The Word Search Sage, and The Word Search Oracle. These puzzle books offer a creative, fun, meditative respite from the busy chatter of the mind… while flexing your brain.

These books combine fun word games with profound insights, and are remarkable tools for spiritual development and self-realization.

 

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The subtitle of Joy! Joy! Joy! says it all: 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy – I Did It! You Too Can Bust the Blues. Ellen Wood shares how she transformed her many physical and emotional problems to remain peaceful and joyous by making these practices into daily habits: observing your thoughts, releasing toxic emotions, using affirmations, power posing, dry skin brushing skin, meditating and doing good for others.

 

 

A Few Minor Adjustments front cover

A Few Minor Adjustments is the tongue-in-cheek title of Cherie Kephart’s memoir of surviving undiagnosed illness. It 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.

 

 

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, 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.

 

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How 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 SpiritReading 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.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.39.46 AMAre you living the life that you truly want? We ALL need to improve certain areas of our lives, but HOW? In Joyful Transformation, Debra Meehl, D.D., and Kristin Smith, L.C., help you figure out what you want to do differently and how to more easily make that happen.

The 22 Keys to Reclaiming Your Authenticity contains offer a holistic, positive approach, focusing on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

 

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

 

 

 

thaddeus_squirrel_frontHow does passion lead to purpose? In Thaddeus Squirrel: A Spiritual Fable, a YA novel, the main character realizes that working day and night foraging for acorns, more than he would ever need, is meaningless to him. He ends up running away from his tribe of squirrels as he’s not accepted for his difference of opinion. On his journey, he is gravely injured by a dog, then cared for by a group of chipmunks who have wisdom to share… offering Thaddeus new questions to peruse and new ideas to consider… ultimately, that his life has meaning, and it’s up to him to find that meaning within himself.

 

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One of the most useful guides I’ve ever read for self-healing and for energy healers is Be Yourself and Be Well: Connecting with your Soul’s Power to Heal. Dr. Steven Hiebert provides inspirational words and exercises to help the reader access the power of their own spirit… the power that makes healing possible.

Dr. Hiebert emphasizes the loving energy that is the basis of everything, the energy that provides all the answers to who you are and what you want.

 

 

PrincipleofOnenessMany have said “We are all one,” but what does that really mean? In The Principle of Oneness, 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.

 

The Chakra Energy Diet coverIn The Chakra Energy Diet, now available in paperback, I share my passion to be mindful of how we choose to nourish ourselves. I have found that the best place for EVERYONE to start is by eating fresh, whole foods, focusing on the colorful array of vegetables and fruit that are available, and using my helpful tips to eliminate the stress that is affecting your health and your waistline.

No one diet is right for everyone – take the quiz and find out which of your chakras need more nurturing to balance your energies.

 

Remember, to be entered to win, please comment below with a wish for the world in 2018. Be sure to include your email address so that I may contact you, or send your comment to Becca@theChakras.org to enter.

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 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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death: #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 10.44.11 AMCan man’s best friend help him move toward unconditional love?

In A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death, J. R. Archer has the reader travel to New York City to meet a cast of characters involved in life’s trials and tribulations. The unusual characters, ones we haven’t seen before, are the spiritually evolved dogs who enhance the lives of everyone they meet through their wise, telepathic communications – whether people or other animals.

After reading this book, you may be convinced dogs are smarter than humans, at least some of them. They show unconditional love, can read their owner’s emotions and soothe them with messages that they think come from within their own minds.

Unfortunately, dumb humans don’t always accept the messages, such as Robbie, one of the first characters we meet in the novel. Right before he jumps to his death, his dog Rosie sends him a gentle thought, “You don’t have to do this.” But having lost his girlfriend Dolores due to his addictions, he thinks there is nothing left for him, despite the dog’s message that there are “Many probabilities and endless possibilities.”

Rags, like Rosie, spends time at a dog shelter and explains their purpose on earth to other dogs less evolved. “There are plenty of humans out there who need our help,” Rags encourages an old Great Dane who was ready to give up trying for adoption. “Our purpose here is to help them with their evolution to a higher state of consciousness.” Rags explains telepathic connection and how most humans have lost that ability, finding it so much easier to speak.

We learn through Rosie that dogs’ default emotion is unconditional love and they are trying to help move humanity closer to that state.

All dog wisdom and no story? The exact opposite. Archer does a great job of writing a page-turner, complete with a murder mystery, love gone wrong, and anger out of control… interwoven with spiritual messages. This was the first I had read of “rescue circles,” which Dolores becomes part of to help those who died in a negative state move out of nothingness or blackness and into the light. It’s an intriguing view of Hell, and just one plot point that will keep you thinking, long after you finish the novel.

It ends on a high note, leaving you feeling hopeful and with a greater appreciation for the “oneness” of energy, whether it is enveloped in human or dog form, on earth or even in the afterlife.

Author Interview with J. R. Archer on A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death:

1) What inspired you to write this story?

In December 2014 my father had a stroke; then in December 2015 my mother had a stroke. As a result both were incapacitated. They had two dogs, Rosie and Rags, who they were no longer able to take care of, and so my partner and I took them in.

A couple of months later I was giving them their daily walk by the sea, which is close to our home, and the premise of the story popped into my head; the idea that dogs know more than we think they know.

A scene came to mind. A guy called Robbie, who was a friend of a friend, standing on the roof of a building contemplating suicide. Things are always popping into our minds, but for some reason, that day I went home and wrote down that scene. I’d never done that before.

The following day I went to the beach and another scene came to mind, and I went home and wrote it down. I continued this routine day after day and eleven weeks later I had the first draft of a story.

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

Before that day on the beach I’d never had any inclination or interest in writing a story—not even for a second. It was a nice and totally unexpected experience.

3) Have you personally had telepathic connections with dogs?

Prior to taking on Rosie and Rags I hadn’t had dogs of my own for more than thirty years. When I visited my parents they would sometimes remark that their dogs would often go and sit by the front door a few minutes before I arrived. They wondered if they could hear my car and recognised the sound. I debunked that theory when I got a new car and the dogs still sat by the door before I arrived. It seemed to happen too many times to be a coincidence.

4) Why did you choose the late 1980’s as the time frame for your novel?

In 1980 my wife and I went to buy a Harlequin Great Dane puppy. In the car on the way home we heard on the radio John Lennon had been shot and killed. We decided there and then to call the dog Lennon.

Lennon (my dog, not the musician) came to mind when I was writing the book and I decided to include him, and the story of how he got his name, in it. Having done that I realised that a Great Dane couldn’t be more than around ten years old, and that created the 1990 setting.

5) How do dogs (at least the ones in your novel) help humans evolve to a higher state of consciousness?

We often hear about dogs exhibiting unconditional love toward their owners. In the book, dogs influence people telepathically at a certain level, and some who are more advanced, interact with them, usually anonymously. They guide humans, and if the need arises, they try and help them see their lives from a more transcendent perspective.

6) Can you further expound on your description of Hell?

While we are alive we can feel blissful or hellish, whatever our circumstances, depending on our state of mind. In the book, Hell is a condition—a vibration we create with every thought and action, while we are experiencing our physical life. Once we “die” and discard our physical bodies, the positive and negative thoughts, traits, and actions, we’ve accumulated during physical life become magnified and amplified, and hence, we feel like we’re in so-called Hell or Heaven or somewhere in between.

7) The dogs in your novel are wiser than their human owners in some instances. What traits that dogs possess do you feel humans should value more?

The obvious one would be unconditional love. In the book, because the dog’s default state is unconditional love, forgiveness and non-judgment are also unconditional.

Maybe humans are moving toward that state, although right now, if you believe all the news, it doesn’t look that way.

8) As you describe in your book, what do you believe is our “ultimate reality?”

Readers will have to read the book to find that out.

9) What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

I don’t think I’m qualified to give advice but I do have some thoughts. Since I’ve written this book, friends have said to me that they’d started writing something, or thought about writing a book or a song, but hadn’t done it for various reasons, including lack of time, lack of motivation, fear of not being good enough, and so on.

Without wanting to sound morbid, I think the deathbed must be a good place to contemplate life. I imagine I’m at the end of my life and I ask myself; do I have any regrets about not doing something? Do I wish I’d written that letter to someone, or penned a book or anything I could still do? If the answer is yes, then that seems a good reason to do it. Fear of failure and fear of rejection seem to play a big part in why we do or don’t do things, and in the main, it seems to me an irrational fear.

10) What ways can readers connect with you?

I have a Facebook page and I can be contacted via White Crow Books by emailing info@whitecrowbooks.com.

A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death is available on 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

 

 

 

 

 

A Deeper Meaning Behind Colors – The Color of Cold and Ice #BookReview and #Author Interview


 

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 9.21.42 AMThe Color of Cold and Ice is exceptionally creative, weaving the many facets of colors and their chakra associations into the story. Author J. Schlenker beautifully writes of intriguing characters who cross paths throughout the novel, and in the end, become important bridges to balance, passion, health and love for each other.

The novel opens with Sybil, a wife, sister, the owner of a New York City coffee shop, having another of her prophetic dreams. A dream she could not analyze easily, but at least not one like the nightmares that she had seen come true… like the one in which her sister Em’s husband was hit by an object hurtling down from a crane while he and his young son were walking down the street. But this latest dream was pleasant… strange, but pleasant. Nothing foreboding, but indecipherable. She’s standing next to a canal on a bright summer day with her sister, both in orange t-shirts and jeans, then there’s a shift in the weather to a wintry day with chunks of ice floating down the canal, and a man immune to the cold jumping out of the water to kiss her sister.

As The Color of Cold and Ice progresses, we see Sybil’s dream(s) come true and wonder if our own dreams should be paid more attention, to see into the future or just into our selves.

Between the narrative chapters in which we become connected to the characters, Schlenker interweaves short chapters titled from black to white, with all the colors of the rainbow, and the chakras, in between. And the characters then exemplify some of the traits of those chakras, so we learn how they affect our day-to-day lives. What better way to learn about the chakras than to hear them speak for themselves? Here is a sampling of the intriguing way Schlenker helps us leap into the world of color and chakras:

RED: “I am the subdued light that makes the flesh appealing, an urban area of brothels… a district in Amsterdam. A narrow piece of silk, that says ‘power, strength, wealth – with this you can’t go wrong,’ the over enthusiastic salesman, clearly fueled by commission, says. I am life itself, pulsing, oozing, erupting from inside the womb…. I am the base chakra. It all starts with me. I govern the material world, the physical body, and the social position in life. If I’m balanced, I will radiate good health and high levels of energy.”

ORANGE: “You can find me crackling and popping inside a hearth…. Hollywood tries to add romance to my situation and calls me the new black. It couldn’t be further from the truth…. I am a pumpkin pie with whipped cream. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I am a scary jack-o-lantern. I am both yin and yang. I am the ten thousand straws of the Tao…. I am the sacral chakra. I am both sensual and sexual. When I’m balanced, I give grace to movement and pleasure without guilt.”

YELLOW: “I am optimism, spontaneity…. I am happiness. I can be cowardly, envious and jealous. I am a character flaw, the trait of Judas Iscariot, the lion in the Wizard of Oz…. I am the third chakra and can be found in the solar plexus. I deal with many issues: self-esteem, confidence, energy, and inner power. When balanced, I am sunny and bright, exuding confidence, a bright ray of joy, the light in the room. When I’m lacking, I’m passive and meek, seeing myself as a victim and easily manipulated.”

GREEN: “I am the fourth chakra, radiating from the chest… I am the heart, compassionate and loving, empathetic and altruistic, peaceful and balanced. Deplete me and I will be critical and judgmental. I may be depressed or withdrawn Too much of me may cause clinging and a co-dependence. I am the breath. Breathe. Take me in fully.”

BLUE: “I encompass the earth, above and below. I splash, crest, fall, and recede, turn windy and violent, throw pellets of water, and become calm once again…. I symbolize wisdom and truth. I am the celestial. I’m a stone called lapis. I am scarabs, pendants and jewelry, the rich inlay of the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen. And yet, I’m practical, stimulating good judgment and intellect…. I am the fifth chakra, that of the throat. I am communicative and creative. When in balance, I speak with a resonant voice and clear communication. I can listen as well.”

INDIGO: “I am the mind’s eye, your guide to deeper consciousness. Behold me above. I hold the stars in place. Behold me within. Travel on a magic carpet through the corridors of your mind. I am intuition, imagination, your dreams and insights…. I am the sixth chakra. I am visualization, the forte of artists. I reside in your brow. My imagination is endless…. I am vision, your sight. Guard me well…. I am your dreams. Dare to dream big. I am your intuition at its highest.”

VIOLET: “I’m the union of body and soul. I am the link between heaven and earth, the purple irises of Van Gogh. I am the end of the rainbow, the personification of the rainbow. I am royal, imperial…. I am the seventh chakra. I rule understanding. I am the connection with God and the divine. When in balance, I have an open mind, an open heart. I am both thoughtful and wise. I am connected to spirit.”

Throughout the drama of the novel, we see the doctor who attended Em’s child after the crane accident lose his passion for both his profession and his wife, then find it again through cold therapy and then other alternative, holistic practices that he integrates into his Internal Medicine practice.

No more spoilers as to the novel’s ending, as I think you should read it for yourself. But I will end my review with words spoken by Sybil: “I don’t know that life is so strange. I think the universe has a plan for us. It works out better when we listen. We’re on a divine trek.”

Here, Author J. Schlenker answers my questions about The Color of Cold and Ice:

1) Is there an underlying message you’d like readers to take away from reading your novel?

I want people to take away whatever message will most help them. Everyone brings their own stuff into play when they read a book. Maybe my muse is directing me to write just one individual sentence that might resonate with someone. I try to stick with what I get myself from writing it and hope those reading it will get what is intended for them. Writing is cathartic. I figure whatever I’m working on is some kind of life lesson that I’m working through.

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

I wrote poems in high school. Then forty years later my husband finds the poems I’ve written and says why don’t you write? That was in 2008. The writing becomes more intense with each year. And, I meet more writers and hopefully learn more as I go. And, I learn from my readers.

Also, my intention when I began this endeavor was to write about Sally, a woman I met when I was eight. She was born in 1858 into slavery. She was 103 when I met her. And, now, I’m finally, after three books, writing about Sally. It will be fictional, but is based on my research on her. I think I needed the three books I’ve done for practice in getting to Sally. This project is keeping me really busy.

3) What did you consider the most challenging part of writing this novel?

The most challenging part might have been writing the higher chakra colors. Maybe I’m not there, yet. And also, the workshop (on Cold Therapy), as I’ve only taken the Wim Hof  online course and haven’t been to Poland.

4) I love how you gave voice to colors… what inspired this?

I was taking a writing course and we were given an assignment to write as if we were a color. I chose orange. Having an art degree, I loved this assignment. Then when NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) rolled around, I thought why not incorporate this into a book.

5) What sparked your interest in the chakras and holistic healing (delved into by the doctor in the book)?

I know it was in my twenties that I started devouring everything about Edgar Cayce. Perhaps it stemmed from a past life. Hard to say. But I believe in anything natural. I just heard a podcast on the healing of nature. I grew up playing in the woods. I got away from it for a long time, but in the last decade I’ve returned. I love doing yoga barefoot on the grass. Too, I think overall, the medical establish doesn’t take the emotions of the individual into account. I’m a strong believer in we can heal ourselves in most instances.

6) The chakra colors correspond to challenges your characters are facing in the first half of the book… then it’s just the story until you reach white. Do you see the resolution of their problems as a result of a balance of their chakras?

The short answer would be yes. I tried to keep the colors relevant to the characters, but at the same time, a person is all of the colors. If not, we would be so unbalanced. Maybe one more than another, or maybe a person is working on a particular problem at a point in their life represented by a color. There was a time when all the walls in my house were white. My house was basically bland. Yet, I mostly wore red. That was the color that looked the best on me. Then I went through a change. My house is a salmon color on the outside. The inside walls with the exception of one bedroom which is green, are all stucco orange. And, there is a lot of red, rugs, couch, etc. There is no longer any red in my closet. It’s more varied, but mostly deep blues. I feel colors can really influence us. And as we change, our colors change.

7) What advice would you give to new indie authors?

I don’t know if I’m one to be giving advice, but I would say:  Write from your heart!

8) What ways can readers connect with you?

My Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/J.SchlenkerAuthor/

Blog:  https://athursdayschild.wordpress.com/

The Color of Cold and Ice and J. Schlenker’s other books are available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

Namaste!

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

The Chakra Blog

 

 

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


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

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

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

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

The Archangels guide Kate to write as therapy:

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

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

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

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

You are never alone and should never give up hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Karma Chronicles is available on Amazon Kindle and in paperback. To request a signed copy of her book, go to: http://www.lifewithoneeyeopen.com/the-karma-chronicles/

Namaste!

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

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

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