Mastering Meditation–Now in Paperback

I’m proud to announce that my Mastering Meditation book is now available in paperback. Because the images included in the book are (to me, anyway) important, the book will be printed in color. While this does push the price a bit higher, I believe it is worth it.

Take a look, just go to Amazon.com for your copy.

 

Our Crazy Language

letters-flying-into-dictionary-pagesDid you ever wonder about the derivations of some of our words and why they’re spelled the way they are? This article explains the reasoning behind the spelling of some of our words, such as light, bright, and neighbor.

What’s with the ‘gh’ ?

Marketing With Book Trailers

Past Rekindled Book Trailer
Sample of book trailer slide

Book trailers are a wonderful way to help you market yourself and your books. They are great for those who do speaking tours, as you can run them before and after the speech, which helps to get the audience into the spirit of your topic. And when it comes to book fairs or conventions, they are especially useful. Running one or more book trailers at your booth or table, attracts people’s attention and makes them come over to see what’s happening.

[To read more…]

Up Standing

108825CMX01.inddJust a note to praise the tiny word that is used so much and in so many ways. It’s a simple word, yet it has more meanings and uses than any other word in the American language. So, here’s to the word: Up. It’s a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and preposition.

This simple, two-character word props up many a sentence and can be seen and heard in nearly every conversation.

While we can all easily understand using the word Up as a direction (such as when pointing toward the sky), it becomes a little more confusing when it’s used to describe awakening in the morning (waking up) or to describe our confusion (mixed up).

So, here are some of the ways in which the word Up has enriched our lives and our language:

  • He brought that topic up at the meeting.Up
  • She stepped up.
  • She has to write up a report.
  • I’m fed up.
  • He’s really fired up about this.
  • He needs to grow up.
  • Would you please speak up?
  • I need to call up my doctor after I look up the number.
  • Opening up the windows helped brighten up the room.
  • Warm up the leftovers before you eat them; then clean up the kitchen.
  • Be sure to lock up the house.
  • Let’s open up the house.
  • Can you fix up the car?
  • Never give up.
  • He’s always stirring up
  • They lined up for tickets.
  • They really worked up an appetite.
  • She’s always thinking up
  • To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed up is special.
  • A drain must be opened up because it is stopped up.
  • If you are up to it, go ahead.
  • Sounds great, if you’re up for it.
  • It’s going to take up a lot of time.
  • Don’t give up.
  • It clouded up; but, then it cleared up.
  • She cracked up.
  • Heads up.
  • Let’s gear up.
  • You need to look it up.
  • I’ll wrap this up.

Now, I will admit that in several of the examples I’ve included, the word Up is extraneous and unnecessary. And were I writing the sentences, I would not include the word Up. For instance:

  • She has to write up a report. (The word up is totally unnecessary; yet, many people do use it in similar sentences.)
  • Can you fix up the car? (Again, it’s just as clear to say: Can you fix the car?)
  • I need to call up my doctor after… (the first instance of up is unnecessary).
  • A drain must be opened up…(again, the first instance of up isn’t needed).
  • It’s going to take up a lot of time. (Up is rather redundant and not needed.)

I think now you can see why I think we need to applaud that tiny, two-letter word, UP. It’s a hard-working, seldom-praised useful little word that shows up more often than you would think. And it’s always propping up sentences, even when it doesn’t need to.

So, two thumbs up to…

up2

We are One with Each Other

We are light.

We are energy.

We are life.

emerging2

We are not separate beings sharing an experience,

we are a single being sharing multiple experiences.

We are joy.

We are All, and the All is us.

 

Listen to Jim Carrey explain how we are all connected.

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I can resist, I can…Oooh, Candy Crush

reader

Have you ever started reading on a tablet or other hand-held device, but soon lost focus or interest? Not because the article or book was unappealing or uninteresting, but because you couldn’t resist that siren call of Candy Crush or Diamond Mine.

Or have you ever started reading something, again on your hand-held device, but when you finished you couldn’t really give more than a high-level summary of what the article or book chapter was about? All the details simply skittered away?

Well, according to an article I read, this is becoming more common place than we realized. Evidently our brains have become so accustomed to being interrupted by moving video ads, twitching game icons, and streaming text headlines that we are unable to focus for more than a few precious moments on static text. And, unfortunately, even when we do get our brains to focus, we are losing the ability to comprehend the full flavor of the concepts and meanings behind the words that we read.

Now, I know I haven’t yet lost my ability to comprehend the nuances of a good story or a well-written article (no matter how long). However, I have encountered the alluring call of those gaming apps when I try to read a book or magazine on a hand-held device. And, I will admit that sometimes I have even given in to those beckonings. Not because the book is boring or the article not interesting, but simply because the games are too accessible when I’m using a hand-held device. When I read the same articles or books in physical form rather than digital, I’m rarely tempted to trade them for one of the hand-held devices, so I can play a rousing game of Angry Birds.

However, according to the article, our brains have become used to one- to five-minute snippets of input. Therefore, when some book or article extends beyond that, we tend to either discard or ignore the remaining information. So, what does that say for the future of books, book readers, and authors?smartphone-technology-sugar-white.jpg

One thing that book readers can try is to implement tools such as Spritz, Spreeder, or Readsy. These tools not only move the text across the screen, but they are supposed to help readers read faster while retaining or improving their comprehension rates. They sort of create a game out of reading by giving readers the feel and motion of interaction that normal, static books don’t; yet, they also help readers retain their focus on a book long enough to complete it.

As authors, I believe the best we can do is to find ways to reconnect people with the joy of reading. Maybe we need to change the way in which we write. Perhaps, we need to put aside our traditional writing styles of long, convoluted paragraphs piled one upon another until we have ten pages that we call a chapter. Instead, maybe we need to write short paragraphs (one- to two-sentences long) and very short chapters (one- to two-pages long). In fact, we may need to resort to writing novellas (150 to 200 pages long) instead of 300-page novels. (Perhaps, breaking our books into two or three novellas that a reader can easily complete in short ten- or fifteen-minute increments of attention is key to gaining more readers.)

Of course, if we really want to connect with the readers of today, we might just skip the book part completely, and simply create movies or YouTube videos of our stories. However, I’m not that desperate for readers (yet). I still love the written word; so, I will continue to use them to express my thoughts and ideas with the hope and belief that there are still enough people out there who share my joy in reading (even if the words don’t sing and dance across their screens).

We’ve All Lived Before

pexels-photo-346796.jpegI did a review on a book regarding children and past lives, and while the book wasn’t all that great, the topic is still one that interests me.

One of the reasons it interests me is because of my own remembrances of past lives (some from when I was young and other memories that have occurred at different moments throughout my life). Another reason why the subject interests me, though, is because of several occurrences I’ve had of coping with the spontaneous recall of other’s memories.

The first time I had to help someone else cope with such a spontaneous memory was when I was in my late teens/early 20’s. I was babysitting my nieces and nephews (ages 9 to 4). This was a typical request and I wasn’t expecting anything unusual.

The kids (3 boys and 2 girls) were outside playing in the backyard, the dog was lying in the shade of the big ol’ oak tree, and I was just trying to make sure that they didn’t kill themselves or each other with their antics. Two of the boys were trying to climb the tree, while the two girls were having a tea party with their dolls over by the swing set.

52205_soarSuddenly, the third boy, and the youngest, burst into tears. Thinking that one of the other kids had done something, I raced over to see what was wrong (the other kids continued to play, paying us no mind).

Donny (not his real name) was squatting near the tree, tears just streaming down his face. When I got there, he appeared inconsolable. I got down next to him and wrapped my arms around him. As his tears slowed down a bit, I asked him what was wrong.

He choked out the words, “I did it.”

“Did what?”

He pointed at the dead bird at the base of the tree.

I hadn’t seen him hurt anything, but then I was trying to keep track of five energetic and crazy kids. So, without thinking, I asked, “Why did you kill it?”

“Because my dad told me to.”

I stood up, surprised, because I knew his dad would never do such a thing. After a moment, I squatted back down. “Are you sure it was your dad who suggested it?”

“Oh, he didn’t just suggest it; he insisted.” (Insisted was the word he used, speaking at a level above his age of four.)

Still puzzled, I pushed for more information. “Do you know why he insisted you do this?” And I indicated the dead bird.

Continuing to speak in a way that was older than his four years, he responded, “He said I would be considered a pantywaist if I didn’t.”

Okay, I knew something was odd, because who says ‘pantywaist?’ That was definitely not a term his father would use.

“Your dad told you that?”

He blinked, then said, “Not this dad. The dad I had before.”

“You had a dad before this one?”

“Sure. But that was when I was Robert Aikers.” (Again, not actual name.)

That got me. I plopped down on the ground and stared at him.

“My dad at that time thought it was manly to kill things, but I didn’t approve. So, he mocked me until I finally went hunting with him. We came across a partridge nest in the west field.

“I didn’t want to do it, but I finally pulled the trigger, killing the mother partridge.

“I felt so badly afterwards that I snuck out for weeks to take care of the babies. When he found out, he went out to the field and stomped the nest flat. Then, he made me leave the babies to the barn cat.

“I hated him after that.”

To say I was surprised, is a gross understatement. But I pulled myself together and tried to help him through the experience. I explained that he had taken responsibility for his actions back then by trying to help the baby birds, and it wasn’t his fault that his father had killed them. I also told him that hating his father from back then was a waste of energy. His father had had different values at that time, and eventually he would come to understand that killing for the sake of killing was harmful to himself and the environment. Until then, Donny/Robert needed to forgive himself and his father and move on from that life.

I then explained that the dead bird now was not Donny’s fault. That he hadn’t caused the bird to fall from the tree. I then suggested that we dig a grave for it and bury it along with his anger for his past father.

Once we buried the bird, Donny went back to being Donny and he never mentioned Robert Aikers again (at least, not to me).

So, while some people need help to remember and use meditation, hypnosis, or regression therapy; others, sometimes spontaneously remember. While these spontaneous memories can lead to catharsis, they can also (sometimes) trap the person in a mental time warp loop. The person can get caught up in the memories and emotions from the past and find it difficult or impossible to move forward in their current life.

What they need is someone to help talk them through the memory so that they can let go of whatever emotion or fear is holding them back. Even if they can’t work through the memory (especially if the fear is too great), if they can just let it go it can be enough to help them get back to their current life.

So, sometimes the best way to help someone when they have a spontaneous past life that threatens to take over their current life, is to tell them to let it go. Let it go until another life or until they’re between lives.

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Available at most online book vendors.