Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Fiction’ Category

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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