Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Fiction’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Wisdom in A Light-Hearted, Entertaining Fable: Thaddeus Squirrel #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


thaddeus_squirrel_frontHow does passion lead to purpose? In Tom Rapsas’ new book, Thaddeus Squirrel: A Spiritual Fable, 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.

The chipmunk who saved his life, Sol, is a sage old guy who starts 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.

Sol says, “I’m going to do more than tell you about the meaning of life. I’ll show you how to find it, first-hand… the meaning for you may be different than the meaning for me.” It takes time, but Thaddeus begins to learn to look within himself to find the spark of light, of wisdom, that is within us all.

Some of the wisdom Thaddeus learns:

“The things we love to do, are the things we are meant to do.”

“Your purpose almost never involves you alone, there will be others involved too.”

“Knowledge feeds the mind. Wisdom feeds the mind and every part of your being.”

          “Heaven is here now…Hell is here too. You choose your destination by how you live your life, the path you choose.”

While this book is written for a YA audience, I think readers of any age will be entertained by the story and inspired by the message and wisdom imparted in the book. For instance, how do you know when your inner voice is coming from intuition or from fear? “When it’s your intuition, you’ll know it in both your head and your heart.”

You can buy this book for your older children to read themselves or for you to read to your younger children. It will open up many topics for discussion, in a light-hearted way, that can help them find their true nature and passion in this life.

THANKS TO AUTHOR TOM RAPSAS FOR THE INTERVIEW:

Who do you see as the audience for this book?

I first started writing this book as a fairy-tale for my 5-year old daughter, but ended up working on it, off and on, for over 10 years. As the years went by, the content and ideas within the book got deeper—to the point where the audience became teens and young adults. (My daughter is 17 now.) I think the book is a good introduction to spirituality for the 13-22 age group, though I believe its core messages are something that people of all ages can relate to.

Why did you choose chipmunks as teachers for the squirrel?

I think it relates to my own spiritual upbringing. I was raised as a strict Catholic and it was not until I was in my late-20s that I began to study the teachings and wisdom found in other religions and faiths. I thought that was important for Thaddeus’s quest—that he find answers outside of his own narrow upbringing, from a source (chipmunks) he hadn’t considered as being on the same social or spiritual level.

What message(s) would you like readers to take away from the book?

The key message is that we’re all here for a purpose—and our first and primary goal in life is to uncover that purpose. We need to take small steps each day toward that end and it’s a journey that never ends. Our learning is never complete. As Thaddeus discovers at the end of the book, he’s got to stop observing and take action. When we are stagnant we do not learn, but when we expose ourselves to other ideas and philosophies, growth happens.

Can you explain further how to separate the voice of our ego vs. inner wisdom as Thaddeus Squirrel learns?

In the book, I talk of the ego as the big obstacle we must get around by any means necessary. The ego is often our public self, the face we show to the world. It often over-thinks, is ruled by emotional swings and places too much importance on the trivial. But ultimately, the ego is shallow. Deep within us is “the watcher,” our true self, and it is this inner part of our being where true wisdom resides—if we choose to open ourselves up to it.

What is the “Law of Connections” that Thaddeus Squirrel is taught?

It’s an idea I’ve had for many years and it relates to how I personally view God. I don’t see God as a being in the traditional sense, but as more of a force-of-nature that turns the gears of life, putting us in the places we need to be, helping us meet the people we’re supposed to meet. The Law is the mechanism that helps us make these connections to people and places, that puts us where we need to be. It’s the force behind coincidences and connects us with our destiny in this life.

How does your main character realize his “true self” and reach his “full potential?”

Honestly, by the end of the book, he has not realized his true self or full potential. The first step for Thaddeus is to get moving, to get him on the path to fulfilling his purpose. He has started on that path, but it’s really a first step. As you know having read the book, Becca, it’s a set-up for a sequel. The spiritual education of Thaddeus Squirrel has just begun.

Thaddeus Squirrel: A Spiritual Fable is available now at Amazon.com. Tom Rapsas is a writer at the faith site Patheos where he has written the Wake Up Call column since 2013. He is also the author of the book Life Tweets, Inspirational & Spiritual Insights That Can Change Your Life.

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

www.theChakras.org

 

 

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.theChakras.org

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ZUBIN MATHAI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What writers or books have influenced you in your work?

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

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

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

Chakra Blog

FILL THE SKY #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


A JOURNEY EVERYONE WILL WANT TO TAKE WITH KATHERINE SHERBROOKE

Have you ever taken ayahuasca? Danced a chakra meditation? Stepped into the unknown to uncover your true self? Been a faithful friend despite perceived betrayal? Worked with shamans and healers foreign to your understanding?

screen-shot-2016-12-17-at-1-43-31-pmFill the Sky is a totally engaging novel that dramatically pulls you into these situations, and has you right in there, experiencing these new realities with the characters, feeling what they’re feeling, testing your own reactions.

Author Katherine Sherbrooke encourages readers to think and feel in new and refreshing ways. Her tale is one of  facts vs. intuition, mind vs. heart, action vs. being, a safe persona vs. self-discovery, Big Pharma vs. ancestral medicine and, above all, the healing power of love.

We journey to Ecuador with Ellie, who is left without hope of recovering from cancer by the medical establishment, and the two friends who accompany her for shamanic healing, which seems like her last option.

These two friends are polar opposites. The trip is planned by Joline, a life coach who looks to spiritual or ancient solutions for health and wellbeing and believes that the shamans will heal Ellie…

“I’m trying to help her find life again. Find a way back to life. Nature will support.” ~ Joline

Ellie’s other best friend, Tess, a biomedical businesswoman who is all about control and planning, has nothing but doubts about shamanic healing. She goes along just to support her friend, her only hope that the “placebo effect” may come into play.

“If Ellie believes going to Ecuador will help, maybe it will…” but “How could ‘nature’ possibly justify any of this? Ellie simply didn’t deserve to be sick.” ~ Tess

What promises to be a peaceful week in a beautiful mountain retreat turns into a dramatic,  difficult transformation for the three women as the shamans work on them all in their mysterious ways. Each woman is in the midst of personal conflicts and is in need of a return to peace that may actually be found with the shamans in the “sacred mountains.”

Can a group of medicine people, with no visible medicine, help all three women heal? What is true healing in the end? Share in their unique, magical experiences and insights as they reconnect with Pachamama, or Mother Earth, and their authentic selves.

Author Katherine Sherbrooke, answers my questions about FILL THE SKY:

What message you would like readers to take away from Fill the Sky?

Each of my three main characters in the book grapples with a complex question in her life that has arisen because of the choices she has made in the past and some level of confusion about the path she has before her. As someone approaching fifty myself, I think we too often live under the misconception that we should have everything figured out by this time in our lives. But actually I think our middle years is a poignant time to stop and ask ourselves very basic questions about the labels we have been wearing (wife, mother, business person, lover) and who we want to be in the next act. I hope women who read the book will find a bit of themselves in one or more of these characters and perhaps be a little more gentle with themselves for not having charted the perfect course, and for not having all the answers going forward. In the end, self-discovery is a wonderfully hopeful exercise. We need not be stuck in old patterns that don’t serve us well. I truly believe we all have the internal wisdom, even though it is sometimes buried very deeply, to heal old wounds and find the joy in what comes next.

What spoke to on your travels to Ecuador there that you needed to share in this novel?

I was in transition in my life at the time. Having recently left the company I had co-founded, I was struggling with whether or not I should continue down an entrepreneurial path or devote more time to writing.I was simultaneously struggling with the process of losing my mother to Alzheimer’s. The opportunity to spend a week way outside of my daily routine, including working with shamans, which was something I knew nothing about in advance, weirdly just felt like something I needed to do. What I didn’t expect was the constant presence of and reverence for Pachamama, or mother earth, that informs the work of the shamans and the culture of the people we visited. I gained an almost immediate appreciation for her very powerful and feminine gifts. It was like the opening of a lens I had never looked through before, and changed my orientation to the world around me. I wanted to share that sensation by writing a story told through the eyes of three (very different) American women who are forced to get off the treadmill of their various lives for a week and listen to nature, and by association, to themselves, to better understand the most important issues of their lives. It was a powerful experience for me, and one that I hoped would translate well into a dramatic situation for my characters.

What inspired you to move from the memoir genre of your first book to a fiction genre?

My first and longest held dream, since I was a child, has always been to write fiction. But I started with a family memoir because my parents happened to have a wonderful, turbulent love story that had long intrigued me. I was gifted a cast of characters and a great plot in that story and wanted to capture all the detail and nuance of it while I still had my father, who has an impeccable memory, as a source. That experience reignited my long-held passion for writing, and so I knew the time was write to finally tackle a work of long-form fiction.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given as a writer?

To write every day, if even for thirty or sixty minutes to keep the subconscious thread of a story intact. In attempting to approach my writing like a job, I had mistakenly been taking weekends off. It made the work much harder than it needed to be. As soon as I started writing seven days a week, the writing was easier and the result was much better.

Can you tell us more about the work of GrubStreet, the literary arts organization you work with?

GrubStreet is a creative writing organization in Boston that welcomes writers at all levels, offering classes for beginners up through master classes for experienced and published authors. It joins the rigor of craft with a wonderful community of writers who are incredibly supportive of each other’s work. In making the transition from business to writing, GrubStreet quickly became my life line. Any kind of art can feel solitary and terrifying at times. GrubStreet gave me the tools I needed to improve my craft and the confidence to even consider sharing it with the world.

Many thanks to Katherine Sherbrooke for her beautiful storytelling and insights into her writing process. Fill the Sky is available now on Amazon and is a perfect read for the New Year and an inspiration for new ways of thinking. For more information, please see http://www.kasherbrooke.com.

Namaste!

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

www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

Teens Fight a Supernatural Battle to Save Humanity – Snowflake River #Review and #Author Interview


screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-3-38-52-pmSnowflake River: A voyage into the Great Spirit by Ben-Ami Eliahu begins with a Minister of Health investigating Body Cooling Phenomenon (BCP), a deadly disease marked by a decline in body temperature plus hallucinations, a compulsion to buy, buy, buy, and eventual death. The affected population? Mostly young people in financially powerful countries.

The heroes? Two teenagers who are assigned a school project that takes them on a supernatural adventure to find the cause of BCP. It’s inspiring that the teens are the ones to take on the corruption and greed in the world and learn how things mysteriously interconnect.

The villain? The evil corporate power who is raping the spiritual realm of “spiritglow,” causing harm to the Great Spirit, using this powerful force in commercials to make those watching TV become dramatically attached to the object shown. But this misuse of “spiritglow” also causes BCP and may lead to the destruction of humanity.

Aided by professors, the two teens, neurotic, fearful Omer (who has contracted BCP) and Noa, a disabled but striking, red-headed girl, unravel the secrets of an ancient tablet engraved with a symbol of spiral lines that leads to the source of all consciousness. Omer bravely risks his life, entering an alternate universe to battle those stealing “spiritglow,” descending into a river of collective awareness and “snowflakes” that are memories of all of existence. Through the loving aid of ancient nature spirits and Noa, he survives and returns to a better world.

The story has many fantastical elements and will be a page-turner for anyone into science fiction or the metaphysical.

Spellbinding fiction with a message – a warning and a glimmer of hope in a time when power, money and technology are at odds with the survival of humanity.

Here, Ben-Ami Eliahu answers my questions about Snowflake River:

What inspired you to write Snowflake River?

When I started working on the first draft of Snowflake River, its main theme was the Great Spirit, and the base for my writing was my years-long thoughts about our existence, life and death, and the hidden connections between all people. I was also inspired by the work of Carlos Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

In later drafts I added other themes, like consumerism and its unknown connections to the Great Spirit, and here I was inspired by people’s response, mainly children’s, to subliminal advertising.

What message(s) would you like readers to take away from your book?

I hope it would be the understanding that people are not separate individuals as it may seem, but that we all share and have access to the huge pool of consciousness of our entire humanity. And I would like them to pay extra attention to the hidden reasoning behind seemingly innocent commercials.

I just read an article that scientists have proven the possibility of dream telepathy, something that occurs in your book. Are the fantasy elements in your book based in what you feel is true or possible?

Absolutely. Many researchers indicate that our thoughts are not limited to the sphere of our heads – they can be traced by sensors. Recent research has shown our thoughts can activate physical equipment, like prosthetic hands for handicapped people. So, if we know that our thoughts are not locked within us and that they are actually surrounding us, then we are only missing the part of how the thoughts interconnect – between people – and that, I believe, will also be understood in the future.

What is your writing process like? Do you do much research or mostly use your imagination?

It is the combination of imagination and research. Once I have ideas for elements that I think should be implemented in the story, I start researching them (sometimes too deeply, which slows the writing process) and only when I feel that they make sense, I use them. In addition, I always write down, in a notebook, interesting bits of information that I run across in my daily life.

Snowflake River is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback. The author welcomes readers to share their thoughts and views on the themes of the book at eliahubooks@gmail.com.

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

www.theChakras.org

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