Ascending Spiral Book Review

AsccendingspiralimageAscending Spiral by Bob Rich

Summary: Dr. Pip Lipkin has lived for 12,000 years, incarnated many times as man, woman, and even as species beyond our world and senses. But he’s here for a reason: to pay restitution for an ancient crime by working to save humanity from certain destruction. “Ascending Spiral” is a book that will take the reader to many different places and times, showing, ultimately, that our differences and divisions, even at their most devastating, are less important than our similarities.

Recommendation: Yes

Review: “Ascending Spiral” by Bob Rich is the book “Cloud Atlas” aspired to be but, unfortunately, never was.

“Ascending Spiral” takes you on a journey through the past and present of Dr. Pip Lipkin, a psychologist and counselor. In so doing, it gives you a view of the experiences and ways in which each of us develop and grow through our different lifetimes on Earth.

In each life we interact with many of the same souls repeatedly as we learn what the expression “an eye for an eye” really means. Throughout the book, Pip experiences love, hate, war, depression, incarceration, and slavery, all while searching for that one moment when enlightenment sparks an awareness in his soul. Each moment of awareness brings his soul more light and a greater ability in making love-filled choices instead of fear-based ones.

Once I stepped beyond the prologue and into the actual story, I was hooked. The characters were vibrant and as alive as you and me. With every choice made, and every battle fought, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next.

Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation or past lives, you can enjoy this book by simply looking at it as an historical adventure novel. I found that the historical accuracy combined with the great pacing made for an entertaining read. The only time the pacing bogged down (for me) was toward the end when the story popped back into (almost) current time. What I mean by that is, we joined with Pip as young adult in university. However, soon after we jumped back to Pip as a child. I became a little confused with the story here, because of the age hopping, but once we got back to Pip as a young man, the story smoothed out again.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure for those who just want a good story; an extremely thought-provoking book for those contemplating the bigger question of “why are we here;” or a wonderful book for those wishing to explore the idea of past lives and reincarnation.

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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.

MM_FinalCover - Copy

Available at most online book vendors.

My Haunted Childhood

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My childhood home was haunted…or at least we all thought so.

When I was about twelve or so, my family and I became convinced that our house was haunted. We had been living there for at least seven years with no ghostly manifestations, but right around my twelfth birthday everything began to change. Books jumped off shelves when no one was near them. Doors slammed even though there was no wind. Papers blew off desks and tables although the windows were all closed, and footsteps were heard climbing the stairs to the second floor, but when we looked, no one was on the steps. Radios and TVs became filled with static and snow, and electric or battery-powered clocks and watches either slowed or stopped (and sometimes, even went backwards).

It was my father who began noticing that these events most often occurred when I was around—especially the interference with the radios and TVs and the problems with time and clocks. But it was my mom who put it together. Maturing child + playful ghost = poltergeist. What else could it be? Since she was the one who had read all the books, we took her word for it; after all, she was the only “expert” we had. Therefore, what we had was a poltergeist, not a garden-variety ghost or goblin.

So, every few nights this poltergeist would thump its way up the stairs, stopping when it got to the second floor hallway. While every day my mother put up with being unable to listen to the radio in the mornings, and I would pick up the books and papers that ended up strewn about the various rooms. After a while it became so common place and routine that we no longer gave much thought to it when objects were moved or misplaced, when we heard strange noises, or when electrical appliances didn’t always function properly. It was just the way things were in our house. That is until the day the new neighbors came to visit.

My mother was a stickler for presenting the proper face to the world, and that included inviting new neighbors over for a friendly “get-to-know-you” chat. So, here it was a beautiful Sunday spring afternoon, and instead of playing outside or sitting in my reading tree with a book (one of my favorite pastimes) I was stuck inside trying to be nice to the new neighbor’s boring son. Listening to the stilted conversation of the adults, I could tell that even my father found these new neighbors stiff and pretentious. I watched him as his eyes glazed over as the pompous man droned on and on about his important job, and his expensive car, and his notable connections. My father was never impressed by that type of thing. Although my mother was (impressed by just those types of things), I could see that even she was having a tough time warming up to these people.

Suddenly, the piano, which was also in the front room, jangled discordantly. As startled gazes sped to the simple upright piano that held down the front corner of the room, tea cups rattled as guests hurriedly placed their services on the nearest table. My dad gave the guests a quiet, crooked smile, while my mother nervously made suggestions about the wind possibly causing the noise or the cat (we didn’t have) possibly walking across the keyboard. Although the neighbors nodded, they seemed unconvinced, and suddenly had another engagement that they needed to get to.

As the guests hurried to leave, I studied the piano and for the first time an inkling of understanding began to seep in. The poltergeist had never touched the piano before, but about the time that it had jangled to life, I had been wishing that the people would leave so I could at least practice my music. Wondering if what I was suspecting was true, I scrunched up my face and stared at the piano until my eyes watered. The closing of the front door, as the guests scurried away, broke my concentration. I turned away to see my dad put an arm around my mom and reassure her that it was okay, and that our reputation in the neighborhood would be fine.

I glanced again at the piano, wondering if mom would mind if I did my practicing and that’s when the piano plunked out half a chord. My mom jumped a little, then sighed. As she began picking up the cups and dishes, she suggested that maybe if I practiced a little that the poltergeist might quiet down again.

Needing no further encouragement, I scooted over to the bench and slid in front of the keyboard. As I started running scales, I let my mind wander. Understanding as to what a poltergeist really was began to come together for me like some weird jigsaw puzzle. A poltergeist wasn’t some phantasm, like a ghost or ghoul, that was linked to me and so using my energy to haunt the house. A poltergeist was the result of my unfocused emotional energy. I had “powers” (that’s how I thought of it…as if I was some sort of super hero), and I wasn’t controlling them.

Although, it seemed that these occurrences were random or happening due to some outside influences, they were really just responding to my own emotional needs and “outbursts”. Unable to express myself in any other way (such as when those neighbors were visiting), my emotions expressed themselves through my abilities. Even the thumping on the steps was my own emotionalism letting go. I’ve always had very vivid dreams and during that period of my life, parts of the dreams actually “came to life”, that’s all.

Now that I’ve grown up (although, sometimes I feel more childlike than ever), I look back and see how easily those odd events during those few years could be misunderstood. But as much fun as it was to think that our house was haunted, the only ghost was me.

 

Transitioning, again

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I’ve been tran’zing again lately, and not easy ones, either. These transitions have been quite stressful. So stressful in fact, that I’ve been waking up almost more tired than when I went to bed. Usually, I look forward to sleeping and dreaming. Primarily because my dreams normally help me solve some problem or answer some question from my day-to-day life.

I’m sure most of us can think of at least one dream that has helped us resolve some issue or some question. I’m speaking of the types of problems or questions that prey on the mind, that keep you tossing and turning until suddenly you wake up one morning just knowing exactly what you need and want to do. You may not remember the dream details that prompted your decision (and some people will claim that never dream at all), but sometime during the night you gained the insight you needed to make the best choice for you at this particular time and place in your life.

However, the “dreams” I’ve been having lately are tran’zing dreams. (Tran’zing is what I call the traveling I do between planes—the physical plane and the astral planes; primarily the transitional plane, the astral plane closest to the physical.) Tran’zing dreams aren’t really dreams, though they do occur at night while my body is sleeping. But these are actually memories – little snippets of memory from places I’ve been and things I’ve done or said while my body slept.

Tran’zing is actually a type of out-of-body experience. The energy that is you (sometimes called essence, sometimes called a soul), travels at night. But even though it leaves the physical form and goes off on its own ‘adventures’, it still remains connected to the physical body. Because of this connection, the physical mind receives input as to what the soul is doing, seeing, and saying. However, not everyone is willing to accept this input. Some will block it completely (the same way they block all dreams). Some filter it so that it becomes very dreamlike and unreal (the information their mind receives is so far outside their frame of reference, that they eliminate those parts that they can’t accept). And others (like me) remember enough to know what we’ve been up to each night.

For many people, though, playing on the transitional plane is too frightening and so they adjust the information to something acceptable. This is fine; it’s the way everyone adapts and grows. As each person grows, life after life, they will filter this information less and less, until, like me, they barely filter it all.

What does that mean? It means that most of what I do when tran’zing is often remembered by me once I awaken. It also means that any problems I encounter, any stresses that I put on myself when out of body, are felt by my body even though it is sleeping. So, while I’m home asleep, I’m also off gallivanting around, which means I sometimes wake up unrested.

When I’m tran’zing, I’m helping other people cross between planes. Some of these people are dying, so I escort them from the physical plane and their dead or dying bodies to the astral planes where they can decide what it is they want to do next. Sometimes, I escort a soul from the astral planes to the physical. It might be they have a new body waiting for them, or it can also be that they have wandered where they don’t belong. (It’s not unusual to encounter ‘accidental travelers’ — people who have through the use of drugs, fever, or other non-intentional means — have ended up in the transitional section of the astral plane.)

Other times, I transition myself or others to the astral planes where we work on emotional lessons that we can’t do while in the physical world. It might be that someone chose to resolve an issue through violence, but they now realize how foolish that was. So, with my help they cross to the astral levels and we recreate the situation and they try to find other resolutions. This can take one night, or many, but each time I bring them across, I create the situation, I supply the participants, and we play out the scene until they feel they understand the full consequences and ramifications of every choice and every possible resolution.

All of these come through to me while my body is resting, and these super-emotionally charged activities drain me, so when I awaken in the mornings I feel as if I’ve had no sleep. But despite the stress, despite the tiredness that comes from all these midnight wanderings, I relish the opportunities to help all of these people. I relish the opportunity to transition ‘home’ and visit with my astral family.

In fact, as crazy as it sounds, I look forward to the day when I can transition and stay there. Then I can help people all the time, and not just during my sleep periods.

 

 

Shared Death Experiences

psychopomp-3d-dls-8pxls-2A friend (Thank you, Ellis) shared an article with me about shared death experiences. These are events in which people are contacted by someone they know (friend, relative, business partner, etc.) at the friend’s or loved one’s moment of death.

The article gives several anecdotal examples of this phenomena interspersed with opinions from different ‘experts’ expressing both pros and cons as to the authenticity of such experiences. The article is (to me, anyway) extremely fascinating and reaffirming.

You see, I’ve been on both sides these types of experiences. As a psychopomp, I’ve been the one who has helped the dead visit their still living friends and family in order to say a last goodbye. And, I’ve been the one who was visited. In fact, as an adult, I’ve had a number of people visit me as they die. But three of them stand out.

One of the most outstanding of the three visits was the Halloween night my mother-in-law came to call.

My mother-in-law was one of the most caring and accepting people, and my spouse and I loved visiting with her. When she became ill, the whole family gathered at the hospital dreading the worst, but hoping for the best. After several days, she seemed to be getting better, and Dale and I headed back home to get some rest, change clothes, and check in with our pets before returning. We were at home for only a few hours, when the dog began acting oddly. He was lying by our feet as we sat at the kitchen table, but he kept raising his head to stare at the foyer. He’d put is head down; then a few moments later, he’d stare at the foyer. This went on for a minute or two, and after peering at the door and seeing nothing, I finally got up and went into the foyer.

I immediately felt chilled, and being late fall, I presumed the door was open. I pushed at the door, but it was firmly closed. I shrugged and was about to return to the kitchen, when I saw her. My mother-in-law stood on the other side of the foyer from me. She smiled and opened her arms as if to hug me. I took a step closer to her, while trying to find enough voice to call my spouse to come. The dog stood staring at the apparition, his head cocked to one side. When my husband joined me, his mother mouthed, “I love you,” and then she was gone.

Soon afterward, the phone rang and we knew it was the hospital calling to tell us that my spouse’s mom had died.

That experience opened my eyes, my mind, and my soul to the recognition that life is more than just what we see in front of us.

The other two visits that I find extremely memorable were from a dear friend and my sister-in-law. Both of these visits came during points in my life when I needed encouragement and support. While both of these visits provided that, they also gave me comfort, peace, and the determination to continue my goal, which was to publish the story of my near-death experience.

My friend was one of the few people who knew of my near-death experience. She was one of the few people who also knew of the other paranormal experiences I had had through the years. We had a shared love of paranormal, philosophy, and science, so always spent hours in long, thought-provoking discussions. When she was diagnosed with cancer, our discussions took on more somber tones. I shared with her all my beliefs of a continued existence based on everything I had experienced and read, and she clung to that like a drowning victim clings to a life ring.

When she called and said the cancer was in remission, we both celebrated. Our lives went on, our heartfelt discussions continued, and everything was as it should be.

Months after her remission diagnosis, I was surprised to look up from my computer to find her standing in the doorway to my sunroom. I had been staring at my computer screen debating the wisdom of writing about my NDE. I hadn’t heard the door bell, nor had I heard her come in. Yet, there she was, all smiles and as radiant as a new bride. Her brown eyes were shining and happy, and she said, “Do it, Trish. Write about it; all of it. ‘Cuz you were right. It is beautiful over here.”

I was so dumbfounded, I didn’t know what to say. Then she said, “Tell my sister, I’m sorry.” I nodded, and she whispered, “I love you, friend.” Then she held up her hand, palm toward me, and a moment later she disappeared.

My experience with my sister-in-law was similar, except all the more shocking because I didn’t know she was ill. She had injured herself in a fall, so was in the hospital. I had completed my story regarding my NDE, but was having second thoughts about actually publishing it. I had just turned off the computer and was turning to leave my home office, when I felt a chill. A moment later my sister-in-law shimmered into view. (And yes, it was a definite shimmer. Very much like a heat curtain that sometimes appears above a very hot road.). She didn’t so much speak to me, as she smiled, and then nodded. A sort of peace fell over me and I just knew that publishing the book was the right thing to do. As that thought flowed through me, her smile grew bigger, and she mouthed the word, “Yes.” She, then disappeared.goingtolight

So, can we and do we share our deaths with others? I certainly believe so. Is there a continuation of life after we die? I certainly believe that, too.

But what do you believe? And why? Have you ever had the chance to say goodbye to someone when they’ve died? Have you  somehow just known the moment a friend or loved one has died?

What are your experiences?

2 Thumbs Up for “11.22.63”

11.22.6311.22.63 by Stephen King

Summary: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald.

Recommendation: Yes (in fact, if I could, I would give this book a dozen stars)

Review: Not since “Bag of Bones” have I enjoyed a Stephen King novel as much as I have this one. In fact, I would say that this one may just tie with “Bag of Bones” as my top favorite book.

Touted as an alternate history/time travel novel (which is a genre I love), for me this book was more about the characters that peopled it. Stephen King’s understanding of human nature is obvious in the way his characters slip into your mind and your life. When I had to break from reading the book, I still thought about the characters; wondering what they might be doing at that moment, as if they were living human beings instead of just fictional characters.

If you’re looking for constant thrills and adventure that keep you on edge until the end of the book, this is not the book for you. While it has thrilling and edgier moments, it also has a lot of pathos, romance, and relationship building. This is a book about people caught up in situations that they want to capture, change, examine, or build. It isn’t a book about car chases, shoot outs, or winning the race; although, there are enough chases, spying, secrets, and edge-of-your-seat moments to keep you enthralled.

Overall, though, this is a book about people. To me, the core of the book was about the characters and the travails that forged their humanity. It is the Stephen King writing that I fell in love with way back at the beginning of his career. This is the magic that that I’ve always admired him for—the magic of writing real-life characters that are at times more real than the people we interact with on a daily basis.

If I could, I would give Mr. King a huge hug to thank him for giving us another of his marvelously peopled, and lovingly executed books. The ending may be bittersweet, but the book contains enough life lessons and thought-provoking insights to keep someone like me rereading it for years to come.