Knowing the Past Can Help You Now

clockinclockDid you know that learning about and acknowledging the truth of your past lives can help you resolve current life issues? Sometimes small things (like a patch of eczema or a feeling of being choked when wearing cowl or turtle necks) can be resolved by acknowledging the cause is actually something that happened in a past life.

In college I met a girl who marveled at the fact that I wore cowl and turtle neck sweaters (a lot). She, on the other hand, would only wear crew or v-neck sweaters. She said whenever she wore anything that hugged her neck (including jewelry or scarves), she would have difficulty breathing. She felt as if she was being choked and nothing would help except to remove the offensive clothing or jewelry. She also couldn’t stand to wear anything that hugged her wrists or ankles, including wide bracelets or sweatshirt-style cuffs. When she did, she always got a severe rash that took days to clear up.

Just out of curiosity, we both signed up for a course in alternative healing techniques. At one point, the teacher had us lie still as he put the group of us into a light trance. Once in that trance he guided us to our earliest childhood memories using a regression technique. (My memory was of falling into a giant fire ant hill while a toddler. And if you’ve ever been bitten by ants, you’ll understand that it wasn’t a very pleasant memory at all.)

Despite my painful childhood memory, though, I was very disappointed when the instructor ended the session. I had hoped that he would take us back even further. I had so wanted to see if anyone would remember any previous lives. Ever since reading the book The Search for the Girl with the Blue Eyes by Jess Stearn, I was fascinated by the idea of past lives and reincarnation. After reading that book, I read everything I could get my hands on regarding past lives and reincarnation. (This was way before the time of the Internet and ebooks. This was the era of brick and mortar libraries and bound paper books.)

I wasn’t sure how much of the reincarnation information I believed, but it made me look at things from a different perspective. Having gotten so close to seeing some of my own past lives, I was unwilling to give up. I practiced on my own after that class, and, eventually, I was able to capture bits and pieces of what I took to be past lives. But my girlfriend had troubles focusing, so we did a paired meditation using some of the techniques we had learned from the alternative healing class.

She lay down on the couch and I turned on the wave noise machine. The sound of waves shushing against the shore was supposed to help with relaxation. Again, using my notes from class, I instructed her to imagine herself in a corridor leading to a staircase. I then told her to go down the steps and after each step she would be in a deeper and deeper trance. When she reached the bottom of the steps, she would see numerous closed doors. I told her to go to the one that called to her; the one that drew her to it, and open it.

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Once she opened it, I asked her to tell me what she saw.

At first, she said she saw nothing. It was all darkness, no light. However, the smells, she said, were horrific. I asked her to tell me about it, and she said the air was stale, filled with the odor of sour bodies, salt water, feces, vomit, and urine. She also said that whatever she was standing on continually swayed, and it made her feel ill. There was something metallic around her neck, arms, and legs, which chafed and choked her. I told her to move ahead several days, and she said there was a little light creeping through the slats of wood surrounding her. She told me she was a large, black male, and that she was surrounded by others like her. They were crowded in together like cattle. Based on the swaying and the faint smell of sea water, she thought she might be in the hold of a ship. This seemed to be confirmed when, as I asked her to skip ahead again, she said that the swaying and rocking had increased to the point where everyone was sick, and it was extremely difficult to remain standing.

She could hear creaking and men yelling, and great gushes of sea water splashed down on them from above. She said there was a huge noise, like wood tearing away, and suddenly the water was rushing in around their feet. Being chained, there was very little she (he) could do to save herself/himself. The water filled the area where they were confined, and he drowned.

When she came out of the trance, I asked her about the memory. She said it wasn’t that she was angry at the people who had confined her, but more that she (he) had felt guilty for being unable to help himself or the others with him because of being chained up. Once she relived the memory, though, she realized that it wasn’t her fault, and no one blamed her except herself. With that realization and her own forgiveness, she was able to move on from that lifetime. While she never wore turtlenecks, she was able to wear cowl necks. And she also started wearing wrist watches and wide bracelets without ever having rashes or choking incidents again.

Of course, not all past lives have negative impacts on the current life. Sometimes a past (or multiple pasts) can leave a positive impression. For instance, I’ve spent numerous lives learning about natural healing techniques (including herbs and spices, gems and metals, and energy manipulations). As a result, I have what I call, an intrinsic (almost an instinctual nature) knowledge when it comes to analyzing what is wrong with someone and how best to help them regain their natural balance.

This is similar to what I’ve seen in other people, as well. A male friend of mine has spent numerous lifetimes learning about guitars and similar string instruments. He began playing the banjo when he was five, without a single lesson. He just knew how.

If you’re not sure how to regress yourself, and you’re uncomfortable asking a counselor or past life reader (such as myself), grab a copy of my Mastering Meditation book. It has great meditation techniques for capturing your past and future lives.

Mastering Meditation
Cover Design by DL-Design and Digital Art
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Independent and Best Selling

adult-book-book-series-545068Being an indie author doesn’t mean you can’t become a best selling author.

In fact, far more best selling books seem to be coming from the non-traditional publishers and authors then ever before. With so many books now available via electronic platforms, it shouldn’t surprise any of us authors…and yet, I think it does.

We’re so geared to think of success as coming from being published by one of the established publishing companies, that we don’t realize just how much more control we have over our careers by being independents. Yet, many authors are finding that the way to the top is no longer through that long process of submission and rejection. Instead, the way to the top is by producing great stories that can reach their intended audiences through independent publishing. Once in the hands of readers, it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the top.

Brianne Alphonso has put together a list of some independent authors whose books have made it to the top in her article, “11 Books That Prove There’s Nothing Wrong with Self-Publishing.”

Review of “What the Dead Fear” by Lea Ryan

WhattheDeadFearWhat the Dead Fear by Lea Ryan

Summary:  “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?” –Edgar Allan Poe

Juniper Townsend died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the ripe, old age of 22.

However, death isn’t the end. In Limbo, she finds a foggy wasteland and strange creatures. She also discovers that during night hours, she can walk among the living. But there are rules. Never influence destiny. Never interfere, because the consequences are dire.

Will she sacrifice eternal freedom to save the innocent?

Recommendation: Love it!

Review:  This is one of the best novellas I have read in a long time. It’s quick (unfortunately too quick for me) and eerie and fun at the same time.

Juniper (the protagonist) along with all of the other characters were so real, I felt as if I knew them. From the moment the story starts, the author begins building a world that is both recognizable and bizarre.

A recently deceased Juniper wanders through this strange existence searching for answers and purpose. As she does, she encounters Cricket, but although Cricket appears harmless, is she really what she seems? Juniper also runs into a man named Gareth, who, while seemingly friendly, hangs around with jackals and has claws for hands.

While Juniper struggles to figure out not only where she is, but why she hasn’t moved on to whatever lies beyond death, she decides to attempt to interfere in the ‘real world.’ Her best friend is being abused by her boyfriend, so Juniper decides to intervene. However, things don’t work out exactly as planned. The more Juniper tries to interfere in the real world, the more trouble she creates for herself in the strange between-world in which she is trapped.

The world and characters that the author built are believable, exciting, and above all, relatable. In fact, they are so relatable that I wanted to jump in and help Juniper achieve her goals. That’s the kind of writing that makes a great story.

Unfortunately, the story ended much too soon, and I had to say goodbye to Juniper, Cricket, and everyone else in this marvelous land of the dead that Lea had created.

So, if you get a chance, grab a copy of What the Dead Fear (it’s free on Amazon) and read it through. You won’t be sorry.

About the author:  

Lea Ryan is the author of several books and stories. She writes about the strange and the dark, as well as the light and love and strives to immerse readers in vivid fictional worlds. She currently lives in Indiana with assorted family members and various pets.

Website and blog – https://authorlearyan.wordpress.com/
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Twitter https://twitter.com/learyan1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lea.ryan.12
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4113839.Lea_Ryan

 

 

When in Doubt…Keep Writing

Sometimes we doubt ourselves. Believe it or not, it happens to almost everyone. But then, how do you convince yourself that you have the talent, the skill, and the reasons to continue with your creative endeavors? Nick Maccarone has written an excellent article that explains how to get past your self-doubts and keep moving forward with your writing (or art).

How to Grab Your Reader

handbookDo you want that story you just wrote to pull in your reader? Do you want your characters to jump off the page and into your readers’ minds?

Intriguing your readers so that they want to continue reading your book is not easily accomplished. You need to pique their curiosity by asking a question, setting up some unique and interesting situation, showing them something relatable, or engaging their senses.

While many an author tries (and while most authors think they have succeeded), the truth is, a lot of authors fail miserably. It isn’t something that is easily done, and it isn’t something that is easily taught.

Finding just the right opening to your book can happen easily or not at all. This isn’t because you’re not a good writer. More often, it’s because you’re trying too hard. Most new writers overthink that opening line instead of letting the story flow naturally. If you allow the story to lead you, you have a much better chance of coming up with an organic and meaningful first line.

One of the best opening lines that I have ever read is from the first Rachel Morgan book, Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. This opening line not only hooks the reader, it introduces the main character in a way that makes her unique and relatable.

I stood in the shadows of a deserted shop front across from The Blood and Brew Pub, trying not to be obvious as I tugged my black leather pants back up where they belonged.

deadwitchwalkingTo me, that line not only gives me a sense of place, it tells me this story isn’t ‘normal.’ After all, how many pubs do you know with blood in their name? And it begs you to find out why this character is standing in the shadows casing some pub. Is she the protagonist or antagonist? At this point, it’s hard to tell, but I’d like to know more. Yet, at the same time, I find myself relating to her tugging at the pants. (I mean, how many times have you found yourself having to do the same thing, when your pants just won’t stay where they belong?)

However, what constitutes a good opening line (or even a good opening paragraph) seems to be quite subjective. After all, every reader and every author is different. So, what intrigues me, may not intrigue you. But I’ve included some more opening lines (and paragraphs) with my opinion as to why they do or don’t work.

When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.

That line is so odd that I can’t help but read further to find out why the character, Nick Dunne, would make such a bizarre statement. (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn)

The primroses were over. Toward the edge of the wood, where the ground became open and sloped down to an old fence and a brambly ditch beyond, only a few fading patches of pale yellow still showed among the dog’s mercury and oak tree roots.

Between overdone descriptions and long sentences, this is not an opening that would intrigue or inspire me to continue. (However, I will admit, I did push on and finish this book. It was interesting despite it’s overblown descriptive passages.) (Watership Down by Richard Adams)

It was either Thomas Jefferson—or maybe it was John Wayne—who once said, “Your foot will never get well as long as there is a horse standing on it.”

Again, the oddity of the sentence makes me want to read more if just to find out what (if anything) that statement has to do with the overall story. I love a bit of quirky humor, so this just sets my mouth for more. However, someone who is expecting something more in tune with the book’s promised premise may simply close the book and walk away. (The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank by Erma Bombeck)

It must have been 1963, because the musical of Dombey & Son was running at the Alexandra, and it must have been the autumn, because it was surely some time in October that a performance was seriously delayed because two of the cast had slipped and hurt themselves in B dressing-room corridor, and the reason for that was that the floor appeared to be flooded with something sticky and glutinous. (At Freddie’s by Penelope Fitzgerald)

Unfortunately, this run-on and extremely boring sentence left me wanting to close the book, not read it. All I kept thinking was that if the opening sentence was this long and convoluted, then I didn’t want to wade through the overdone prose to find the story.

And my favorite opening line (I have to say that because it’s from one of my own books), is:

Have you ever thought about what happens when we die? (Escorting the Dead by TA Sullivan)

It’s succinct, clear, and just begs you to read more.

Escorting the Dead
Cover Design by DL-Design and Digital Art

But as you can see, the success or failure of an opening line is quite subjective. And that’s why hooking your reader has more to do with the author’s ability to craft a good story using just the right cadence and words, than it is has to do with a single sentence or a single paragraph. After all, not every reader is going to be moved by the opening line to your book any more than every reader is moved by the following opening line, “Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house in which Sheridan died in 1814.”*

So, don’t overthink the opening to your story, but do craft it well enough that it invites the reader into your story.

*This is the opening line to Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

 

I was perturbed when the American Library Association announced its intention to drop Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prestigious children’s literature award. The purpose of this action, according to one source, is “to distance the honor from what it described as culturally insensitive portrayals in her books.” As far as I know, no one […]

via Laura Ingalls Wilder And Cultural Insensitivity — The Let’s Play Ball Blog

Escorting the Dead

 ellisnelson conducted an interview with TA Sullivan about her book Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp, and we have republished it here for you to read.

AN INTERVIEW WITH TA SULLIVANpsychopomp-3d-dls-8pxls-2

One of my favorite movies is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Rex Harrison (1947). In it, the ghost of a sea captain comes back for Lucy when she’s ready to pass. I always loved that he came back for her when it was time. Many of us will have heard stories about people getting close to death who see their loved ones, or sometimes angels. Beautiful, satisfying stories. But what if they’re not stories? What if that’s precisely what happens for many of us?

I recently finished “Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp” by TA Sullivan. It’s a fascinating read about her experience as a death escort for the recently departed. As a child she was sensitive, but it wasn’t until she had her own near-death experience (NDE) that her life took a turn and she started to train as a guide for the dead.

Please welcome author and photographer, TA Sullivan. Thank you for agreeing to talk about what is a difficult subject for many.

Can you briefly describe your NDE when you were hit by a van? How old were you then?

What I remember most about the NDE are the emotions—the feelings of loving acceptance and joy that surrounded me like a warm comforter on a cold day. But what stayed with me the most, was the feeling that I was finally at home.

As for my age…well, I was old enough to know better, yet young enough to ignore my own advice. I’d just hit my mid-forties and had no idea what a crazy ride life had in store for me on the other side of that mid-point.

At the time of the accident, had you been exploring any deep philosophical questions or were you at a turning point in your life?

At the time of the accident, my life was in a bit of a turmoil. My mother had just died, my spouse and I had just relocated (changing states and jobs), and one of my close friends had just been diagnosed with cancer.

With everything that was going on in my life, I was feeling somewhat uncentered and scattered. The accident and accompanying experience, actually helped me put things back in perspective. It made me realize just what was important and what wasn’t.

What is the basic role of a psychopomp?

We ensure that the death experience is what the soul (person) wants.

Think of your life as a movie extravaganza, where you are the director and star. The psychopomp would then be the set designer, prop master, and extra in your death scene.

Can anyone take on the role of psychopomp or must a contract be in place prior to an incarnation?

Anyone can function as a psychopomp at any point during their lifetime without making it a full-time commitment, such as I have done. Someone can ask you (at a soul level) if you would be there for them when they die. Often, it is referred to it as a shared death experience. Whatever name you give it doesn’t really matter, though; not as much as your being there for someone who needs you and your support during that transitional period.

What have you learned as an escort that could help alleviate people’s crippling fear of death?

That life is eternal. It doesn’t stop just because the body dies.

This isn’t some abstract belief based on religious teachings. It’s a belief born of experience. I’ve been there (multiple times), and so have you…you have simply forgotten. Let yourself remember. Remember the encompassing feelings of love and compassion; remember the feelings of acceptance and peace; and remember the feelings of belonging.

If you want to help someone overcome their fear, just give them love. John Lennon said it best, all you need is love. Believe in the love, and the fear will disappear.

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What are some healthy ways to communicate with loved ones who have died that won’t create the negative energetic cords you caution against?

Communicate, but don’t cling.

Love them, but without strings.

In other words, accept that they are physically dead and not a part of your reality anymore.

Speak to them, if it helps you. But don’t cling to expectations of getting a response or seeing a ‘sign.’ You all have to move on. After all, some souls may wait for you (as depicted in the movie ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’—one of my all-time favorites, also), but others may move on to take on new lives and new families. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you; it only means that things need to change.

Also, don’t expect literal responses to your communications. After all, once released from the physical constraints of our world, most souls aren’t all that concerned with where they stored the insurance policy you can’t find or where they hid that winning lottery ticket.

What is the most satisfying aspect of acting as a psychopomp? What is the most challenging?

The most satisfying part of being a psychopomp is seeing a transitioned soul awaken. It’s the moment that a transitioned soul realizes that he/she isn’t confined by who or what he/she was on Earth. It’s when the soul suddenly recognizes that he/she is more than just Billy Ray, husband and father, or Mary Francis, business woman and wife. When they see the bigger picture, the awe and wonder expressed by them is wondrous. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.

The most challenging part of being a death escort is not interfering. I mean, it’s human nature to want to help; yet, if someone wants to believe that they are completely alone when they die, then we have to remain hidden. Or if someone wants to experience excruciating pain (emotional, mental, or physical); then we have to let them, even though we know we could help them alleviate or overcome it.

Is the work energetically draining? Do you wake up exhausted?

There are times when I’m so drained by an experience that I just want to spend the next day in bed or simply lazing around the house. But there are other times, times such as when you get to see and share that awe of awakening with a soul, that it energizes and elevates you. Then the next day seems brighter and nicer, and I feel more energetic and full of hope and joy.

How do you protect yourself emotionally in difficult cases (i.e. deaths of children, murders, accidents, etc.)?

I used to find myself emotionally drained and my aura shredded from all the turmoil that I encountered. However, as I’ve grown into this role, I’ve learned more (and better) techniques for creating safeguards (barriers, cocoons, walls) around myself to keep the backlash of emotions away.

When you touch someone to see what type of experience they want, you need to have a filter, of sorts, in place. This ‘filter’ enables you to keep out the physical and emotional trauma that the person may be going through so that you can focus on what the lesson is the soul is trying to create.

The filter is like any other barrier that many empaths and intuitives instinctively learn to erect around themselves. It allows a limited amount of energy from other people to filter through…just enough so that the empath or intuitive can relate, but not so much that they feel overwhelmed. In the case of death escorts, we must learn to focus these filters so that we can pluck out the information we need without becoming overwhelmed by the situation or the people participating in it.

Do you know anyone else (in person or online) who is doing this work? Is it lonely or isolating?

I met another death escort online a while back. He had shared a comment on an online article, and something about the way he worded things sort of gave me a start. So, I contacted him directly and as we chatted, we recognized the shared connection. It was nice being able to discuss things with someone who understood the ups and downs of this ‘job,’ and who grasped why we wanted to do it, anyway. We also shared some of the ways it brings weirdness into our otherwise mundane lives (getting pulled across in the middle of the day, which might mean telling your boss you’re not feeling well, so you can answer the ‘call,’ that sort of thing).

We continue to communicate once in a while. In fact, he’s even found a couple more like us, so we now have a group of 5 that we can share our triumphs and sorrows with. It’s nice. We were a group of 6 for a very short while; however, TJ died soon after joining our group and my friend had the privilege of escorting him across. Very surreal.

What are you currently working on?

My current writing project is book 2 of my paranormal romance series.

The first book, “The Past Rekindled,” will be coming out this November. “The Past Rekindled” has Terra McGinley dividing her time between writing how-to procedures and escorting visitors to the astral plane. Her new partner is a by-the-book, hard-to-deal-with transitioner with a secret, whom she finds attractive, yet exasperating. But when one of her charges contacts Terra directly for help, she encounters Death, who has his own plans for her. Now she must decide who she can trust with her life and her heart – past love or new partner?

It kind of reflects my own life (but without all the drama), inasmuch as I’m also a techwriter and a death escort, but Terra has a much more twisted sense of humor than I do…

Thanks for joining me today to talk about your role as a psychopomp and your writing! For more about TA Sullivan’s work and books, check out her links below.

My blog, Tas Through the Looking Glass, can be found at https://taslookingglass.wordpress.com/ and contains book reviews, essays on the paranormal, and wanderings of my mind. I also have another blog called Insights and Awareness (https://michaelreadings.wordpress.com/), which is a cosmic Q & A site—I, and other intuitives and psychics try to answer readers’ questions.

Twitter (@tasinator)

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tricia.o.sullivan.5)

Amazon (https://amazon.com/author/tasullivan)