Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Posts tagged ‘Life after Death’

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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

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

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

What inspired you to write IMPLICIT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Namaste!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Becca: Why is dying “weird?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.theChakras.org

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