Send Love, Let Go

Today is my youngest son’s birthday. He’s got a son of his own now:) As I constantly bemoan, they live two thousand miles away. It feels very far on special days. Every day, if I’m honest. Friends who have their children and grandchildren close wonder how I cope. Well, one day at a time. One hour at a time.

I can be a bit obsessive in my thinking, ruminating to no avail except my own misery. Now misery gets my attention. I always want to fix that right away as I far prefer being happy or at least content. So I came up with a plan out of desperation and find it serves me well where my sons are concerned and in many other situations that strike me as sad or unmanageable or out of my control.

Which is, you know, almost everything.

So what I do when I have a thought like “I miss Tim” is I try to stop the flow right there at the first thought and not dwell on it. I stop and let myself miss him a minute and then I send love and let go. I let go of the thought of missing him, I don’t let go of the fact that he is my child and will forever be cemented in my heart right next to his brother.

Some days I have to do this “send love, let go” hundreds of times. When I think of somebody who upset me. When I think of a bit of work I have to do that I wish I had not let myself get talked into. When I have a chore that must be done and I’d rather read. When I remember a long-held grudge. When I miss someone. This “send love, let go” can even work on myself. I can have compassion for myself and send myself some love and let go of the anxiety or the boredom or whatever the drama it is I’m creating in my mind.

I did it with the guy I used to be in my last life. Maybe you remember the post about my recent past-life regression in which I attempted to uncover events that led to a couple of phobias I carried into this life quite by accident.

My past life, according to the psychic, was in the 1920s in Buckinghamshire, England. I was a 25 year old man with a house in London, quite well-to-do, with a wife and two children. I was horseback riding and was suddenly thrown from my horse (phobia of heights) this causes paralysis (claustrophobia) and eventual death. Knowing these facts about the guy I named Joe (just because he seemed like a Joe to me when I thought about how his life was so tragically cut short) is supposed to be all I need in order to move forward without phobia. I have not been able to test these phobic reactions of mine yet to see if they are indeed gone but I certainly hope they are.

I feel like they are, because I sent Joe love, and then I let go.

Do You Believe?

No secret, I have a cluster of phobic behaviors I’ve tried very hard to overcome by just about every means out there. Some of my self-help methods will be familiar to anyone who has ever been in any kind of pain, physical or mental:

As a young girl: my journal and Jesus

In my teens: cigarettes and marajuana

In my 20s and 30s: cigarettes and wine (except when pregnant) also church

In my 40s and 50s: prescription medications and self-help

I’m 60 now and realize that although I’ve done a lot of work, drinking wine has probably had the most calming effect, although it is inconvenient to drink in the morning before boarding a flight to visit the grandkids. Self-help got me further. I can get on a plane and cross a bridge without freaking or popping a Xanax, but I’m still not ready to fly in a hot air balloon.

And I absolutely dread closed in spaces. The scariest film I’ve ever watched is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, about locked-in syndrome, a condition where you are alive but trapped in your body and everyone, including doctors, think you are a vegetable incapable of thought yet your mind is screaming “LET ME OUT.”

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is based on a real-life experience and book by a French man who was able to break through the wall. It’s a triumphant and beautiful story but it terrifies me more than a Stephen King novel.

Several years ago I read a self-help book called The Instruction that posited our phobias are all past life shadows clinging to the present. This is because the soul gets confused about intense (usually traumatic death) experiences and will take on a past life phobia or three without realizing the past life is over. I thought this was interesting but wasn’t sure about reincarnation, even though, through the years, much of my self-help work has had a decidedly Buddhist influence.

So reincarnation. More people in the world are Buddhist than Christian. More people in the world believe in reincarnation than the resurrection. Surprised? I was when I found that out in all the literature that came pouring forth after 9/11 when we had such fear and loathing in this country around Muslims.

 

I made note of this fact, and that the psychic who wrote the book, Ainslie Macleod, was available for consultations where he could read your past life, then interpret the phobias in this life through past-life experiences. I thought about booking a session for a long time as I went along my journey toward healing these fears.

Eight years after first reading The Instruction, I joined a private group of like-minded seekers, led by Ainslie, as we talked about reincarnation, past life influences on current life, and the workings of the soul. After spending time with these old souls, I got comfortable with the idea of reincarnation. I wasn’t sold, but I wanted to give Ainslie a shot at helping me eradicate my phobias, all of them, even the road to Hana, for good.

When Ainslie told me my past life, and how I died, I immediately saw the connections to both my life this time (which he knew nothing about) and the phobias that followed me. I felt the truth of it down to my soul. I believed as surely as I’d once believed in the virgin birth. (My evolution from “religious” to “spiritual” happened as a direct result of all that self-help.)

And I have to ask myself is believing in the teaching of the faith I was born into (Christian, Roman Catholic to be exact) any crazier than believing the soul lives many lifetimes? No. I think they are equally absurd so therefore equally possible. Time will tell if my past life revelations will heal me in this life, but I can say that they affected me profoundly, to the point where I am committed to getting off a drug I’ve used for more than thirty years that is known to cause cognitive decline in aging people. Which would be me. I need all the cognition I can get.

So, without this panic button in pill form, how will I cope? I have a feeling I will do just fine, although I’m not reserving a seat on a hot air balloon any time soon.

Here Comes Trouble

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A couple weeks ago, I had the first professional photographs taken of myself, all by myself, since my college graduation photo Which I do not have a copy of. Not sure what got into me. Wanted to do it before I couldn’t wear heels any more? Needed a good head shot for my obituary? Hard to say.

It could have something to do with my “Three Books in Three Months” campaign. I’ve got a lot of promo to do and where better to start than with a bunch of pampering like profession hair and make up and mani-pedi? Also a new outfit! Except the shoes, those are about four years old and still beloved.

Sister Issues is coming out October 15, 2015, in a print edition, so maybe I can use one of these photos for a mug shot on the back cover. But now I have to pick.

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Which one would you choose?

Blessings and Curses

This time last year my life seemed both blessed and cursed. On the blessed side, I welcomed a new grandson and, then, several months later, another. Two grandsons in less than a year. Who could be more blessed?

Well, and here’s where the cursed part starts, they lived all the way on the other side of the country, more than 2,000 miles from my home in Detroit. And there were no plans or even any interest in “coming home.” They were already home on the West Coast. So I traveled a lot to see everyone, even more than I had previously. What used to be once a year became three times to Seattle last year and once to meet the new baby in California. Travel is a blessing. I adore the entire Pacific coast  and will never tire of exploring its seascapes, mountains and canyons. Visiting my sons and their families enables me to do that. Blessings.

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A bit of a curse creeps in still when my heart yearns to relocate. I feel particularly drawn to Seattle, where people seem more in tune with my core values than here in Detroit. I love that people walk everywhere or take mass transit. The massive recycling. The politics is more in line with my way of thinking and so is the spiritual side. I love the ease of getting around in the great neighborhoods to shop, to dine, to hang out. I love destination walking with hills. I feel very drawn to Seattle. The curse is my husband does not share my attraction. He likes Seattle fine but he’s still a Detroit boy at heart, while my heart is firmly west of here.

Partly as a result of this, my marriage seemed cursed last year. I took steps away from my longest, most enduring relationship. I almost left. But something in my body, literally, made me stay. It was a wake up call like I’ve never had, a big epiphany in one little life. I was signing a document that would put one of the last nails in the coffin that had become my marriage when I literally became paralyzed. I had written C-Y-N and then could not write further. And I’m a writer! Yet my hand refused to move.

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I could not finish signing my name to the death warrant for my marriage. It wasn’t happening and it perplexed me. Isn’t this what I wanted? Isn’t this what I’d carefully considered and about which I’d done a fair amount of footwork, not to mention soul searching? So why was the pen not moving across the page? “I need a minute,” I told the person on the other side of the desk. “Take your time,” came the unruffled reply. I breathed. I tried to write. It didn’t happen. I tingled from head to toe. What the hell was going on? Something like this had never happened to me before. I’m a person of action, and when I decide on a course of action, I see it through.

Not this time. I finally put the pen down, tore up the document, and excused myself. I still didn’t know what was going on. But when I felt the strong urge to connect with someone, anyone, and share what had just happened, the person I called was my husband. He was the one I instinctively turned to with my overwhelming confounding experience. And thus everything I’d been feeling and doing came out over a long intense conversation, paving the way for reconciliation. We rebuilt our relationship from the crumbles of the castle it once had been, stone by stone. It wasn’t easy, but a year later, the fortress of our love is stronger than ever.

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And I owe this to the intuitiveness of the body. My body knew the correct path before my mind could comprehend it. And my body, as it has so often done, reacted in a profound way that got my attention. I’ve never been a mind-reader although I dabble in Tarot and Astrology. I admire people with the ability to intuit others’ thoughts and feelings. I wanted that ability for myself, worked hard to hone it. In the past twelve months, I’ve realized I had strong intuition all along. It was in my body, if only I could learn to read its signals. Because I listened to my body, I know that this is where I need to be right now. In Detroit. In this marriage. And knowing where I belong, well, that is a true blessing.

The Universe Always Trades Up

I have an dear old friend who I mostly connect with these days on Facebook. I posted a quote from Danielle LaPorte yesterday that said “The universe always trades up.” And my friend’s comment was “What does this even mean?” I told her it was a Buddhist koan. That was a joke. It’s a pretty straightforward affirmation: You want something. You don’t get it. Six months later you know why you didn’t get it, you’re happy you didn’t get, because something better came along. The universe always trades up.

Which brings me to my best friend, Ali. Ali would get the koan joke. And incredibly, I feel closer to her than any of my geographically close friends despite her living all the way across the universe. Well, England. Eastern edge! Until quite recently, Ali ran a website called A Woman’s Wisdom. It was my favorite place to go on the internet for author news and views, plus Ali would post her own delightful vingettes “Tales From the Manor” which I especially relished. They’re all still there for your reading pleasure.

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Recently, Ali decided to stop reviewing indie novels and start researching a project dear to her heart. The universe is trading up for Ali, I can tell you that much. We still communicate every day. We Skype and email and sent FB messages to each other all the time. I thought what Ali did on A Woman’s Wisdom was incredibly generous and kind. She gave all her time and talent to promoting other people. Including me, which is how we met. She’s still promoting me, but in a more personal bestie-across-the-sea way.

As sad as I am at the demise of A Woman’s Wisdom, I’m more excited about Ali’s next adventure. And my own. The universe is trading up for me, too. Ali had a lot to do with that. She encouraged me to expand my author platform and even did research about ways I could spend my time giving my books their due. This has always been my secret wish: to do better by my books. I write them but that’s about it. Ali promoted the heck out of them, and so did others I am so very grateful to…but I needed more. I needed to let go of my insecurities and let the universe do its thing.

It did in a WOW way.

I have, with Ali’s encouragement, hired Woodward Press. They help authors in many ways, but the first thing they’re doing for me is bringing out my first novel, Sister Issues, as a “real” book not just an e-book. Sister Issues has a special place in my heart and I always meant for it to have a print edition. I’ve been re-reading it to see that it holds up and so far so good. Whew.

I have the entire “book behind the book” here. I wrote about the successes and challenges writing it whilst writing and publishing Sister Issues, which was called Sugar Shack for a couple of years, right up until I went to load it into KDP. The blog was way more meta back then. I’d write my pages for the day, blog about what happened, terrible or inspired or somewhere in between. I gave resources I used to solve novel problems. Like that.

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Another reason I love Sister Issues and want it in print: the selfie of my darling daughter-in-law Jessica and her sister Meg. They capture the essence of the relationship between Cher and Ariel with their quirky pose and a hot burst of sun behind their lovely faces. Woodward Press is not daunted by turning an old iPhone pic into a cover that looks professional. They are trying something a suggestion from Jessica, who is an art chick. You should see her house, the way she decorates.

I cannot wait to see Meg and Jessica on the cover of my newest release,  coming out in just about a month. I’m not real sure on the timing as I have another book coming September 15 from Amazon Encore, also a reissue, this one of Blue Heaven. Then Love and Death in Blue Lake is also due this fall or early December. I am really hoping for November, first week. Because as Dora of Woodward Press says, once you get to Thanksgiving with book promotion, you might as well wait until mid-January.

So my hope is to have a bunch of placement of real books in real stores before the holidays. Also have a signing or two. Also do online things like a blog hop and also new things that aren’t same old/same old. Woodward Press has a PR person to help me with all that. And with three books out in three months, I will need all the help I can get. Today I have an appointment for a professional author photo session. No more selfies! I am partnering with Woodward Press, stepping up to do my part, which is integral to the whole idea that the universe always trades up. Yes, it does. But you have to do your part.