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life - Kim Petersen

Life. Death. Love & Connection

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“I am covered in skin.

No one gets to come in.

Pull me out from inside.

I am folded and unfolded and unfolding.”

– Lyrics from Colorblind by The Counting Crows.

We are over-complicators existing beneath self-created blinders. The world keeps turning. Time slips by as we leave our prints upon the days and nights of yesterday.

We sift and sort as we move through life. Some of us analyze and reflect, others blame, scream and argue. Complications arise to push us towards evolution. Babies are born. Death is everywhere. Love and connection come calling to rattle our senses.

Pain passes from one to another as if through a shifting flame. Some of us go deep inside to seek an ancient knowledge embedded within the spirit beyond the flesh.

Truths are often distorted until it feels right — till you’ve positioned the situation someplace where you can summon a sense of false justification for the wrongs you’ve caused.

It’s okay, baby. It’s okay. You can only do the best you can at any given moment.

But the truth simmers deep within. It hides in the core of your being and awaits your attention. Someday, you will make an internal leap toward a tsunami of revelations that will uncover all that you have buried — All that you’ve tried to forget, and all that will unravel you when you are brave enough to explore the uncharted path.

Life.

No one escapes the human experience. Above all else, each one of us yearns to be pulled out from the inside by someone who can really see us. We crave to be heard by those we love and hold dear.

Do we really listen to one another?

Life. Death. Love & Connection — All that encompasses the moments between birth and death may never be fully articulated, but in sharing our experiences and deepest truths, we may reach greater states of the human condition.

We may bond and understand. We may love more deeply, forgive faster and speak to one another without judgement, fear or resentment.

We may discover a better world.

Buddha said:

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”


If I said …

Life

Grateful.

However, that one thing encompasses many different facets of the same jewel. Within gratitude, there is love and hope. There is appreciation and strength, consciousness and humility.

There are concepts which transcend the specific aspects in life. There are aspects which occupy the shadows which I try not to complain about because it seems inconsistent with the gratitude I have for my life.

— Xavier Eastenbrick.


If I said …

Death

Honor.

With death comes distinction. The contrast between the living and the dead is absolute. Mortality becomes reality. Yet, so does our immortality — the eternal spirit within. You feel it more than ever.

When sharing time with a dying person, the space becomes sacred; the energy shifts into something higher to aid the transition.

Divinity is revealed.

When you can sense that, the pain accompanying the death of a loved one becomes enshrined with a god-force — with love and gratitude.

Respect and love for everything is magnified. Death is all around, and you learn that what was once a great fear is no more.

— Kim Petersen.


If I said …

Love

Sacred Bonds & friendship.

“May love find you and wrap your heart in an inspired cocoon, and draw from that wrapping the beautiful butterfly of you coming into all your being.

Live out loud and let nothing steal your voice. Let 2020 be a year of transmutation.”

— Xavier Eastenbrick.


Love is a snippet of conversation:

“You say the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. How come?”

“I don’t just say things. I mean what I say, I think you know that. I trust you.”

“I trust you, too.”

“Thank you. I appreciate you and the gift of your communication.”

“Who are you?”

 Xavier & Kim


Love is stripping the layers and living from the inside out. It’s being willing to share yourself with someone because you know they sense your worth.

They see you and you see them back. To love and be loved is the highest privilege.

— Kim.


It would depend on when you asked me because over the years it has evolved from a concept rattling around the developing mind of a young man, to an amorphous, overwhelming emotion, to an intensely conscious feeling of its presence within me.

Since encountering her, love immediately gravitates to mean her.

Love floods my soul with a radiating energy that extends to all parts of my creativity and the best parts of me; both in the now and in the making. Love pushes me forward. While at the same time, when needed, it keeps me at a distance.

Many confuse sexual desire and lust for love, and while they exist in the bounds of love the reality is, those elements alone are hollow and ephemeral. When desire and lust exist within love, they have the ability to transmute the energy of love into another level of consciousness; the space between the intersecting circles of the Vesica Piscis.

Once this energy is created, it multiplies just as cells divide and becomes life within the order of the universe’s sacred geometry.

My life has been the crucible fire; forging an understanding of love that makes me humble to appreciate the dichotomy of the smallness of me as a being, but also the infinite of participating in it.

Aside from the fate laden descriptive way I articulated my response, love is also playful and personal; it’s laughing with abandon, soft to the touch, and a raging passionate monster almost untameable.

Love fearlessly searches for greater degrees of depth.

— Xavier.


If I said …

Connection

Oneness. Completion. Tranquillity. Truth.

Connection is that slight pulse that begins in your soul and grows intense when confronting deep truths. The feeling you cannot ignore when you sense the invisible cords linking you to something more; something beautiful … something like higher-love and all that is.

It is inner-recognition; a spark igniting in your soul when you encounter someone significant. The flame. It’s piecing the puzzles of moments passed and marveling at divine synchronicity.

It is being afraid to explore sacred bonds but finding the courage to go there because to deny the connection is to deny yourself the opportunity to experience the deepest love you’ll ever know.

Connection is peeking from the blinders to behold the wonderful moments when clarity finds you; when you become still and reach for more. When you find the key to unlock parts of your soul to revelations that blow your mind and you realize connection had never eluded you.

It was you that had avoided real connection all along.

— Kim.


Thank you for reading! What’s your answer when confronted by those words?


Also published by Imperfect Words at Medium


available now!

life death love connection ebook cover 1jan2020 1

Life, Death, Love and Sexy Connections with Soul.

In this collection of short, heartfelt essays, Kim Petersen explores what it means to live an authentic life, strengthen bonds and nurture real connections in a hyper-connected world, while Xavier Eastenbrick goes deep on the Twin Flame Soul Connection.

Each piece shares the unpredictable, meaningful and often humorous experiences of one woman’s journey as a daughter, a wife and a lover, a mother and a friend as she ignores boundaries to get real and gritty.

In these short pieces, Kim and Xavier tease out their vulnerabilities to bring unity and love to the page by recounting some of their most pivotal moments, deepest fears and wildest dreams. Through their unique voices, you will find a safe place to laugh, cry and be inspired to live an authentic life.

If you like to explore deep soul connections, love and sexuality, and ponder the meaning of life with a side of humor, this book is for you.

Life. Death. Love & Connection
 is the first collection of short memoirs from Whispering Ink, with bestselling author Kim Petersen and Xavier Eastenbrick.


Go ahead, be offended. You have that right by Xavier Eastenbrick.

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Being a man often means I must accept the fact that men have (arrogantly) made all kinds of decisions affecting women. Many of which were designed and intended as a means of control. Generally speaking, they were designed and intended to forbid women from exercising equal rights and privileges men enjoy because of a deeply flawed sense of paternalism. This decisional oddity is reflective of the culture at the time. I accept this as an historic reality – a reality that was ripe for change.

We live in an age where the situation appears to be improving, but unfortunately isn’t equal. The dynamics of the abortion debate are often difficult and messy because we make it so. It is even difficult for both sides of the discussion to use the same language when talking about their positions. Unfortunately, the law and decisions surrounding the issues often further complicates the matter.

Separate and apart from the respective sides of the discussion, the sub-debate on abortion is whether men should have any say in the matter because it’s not their body.

The history surrounding the issue of abortion has been dominated by the voices of men in the United States until the Supreme Court determined that it is the woman’s right to choose. That is settled law and regardless of political movements to change the law, it is highly doubtful such attempts would survive constitutional scrutiny, at least in the United States.

At the same time and putting aside principles of constitutional law, if a couple is considered as one in the eyes of God (using a religious view) and the government (the legal view which is reflective of the religious view), shouldn’t a decision about a life created by two people within that union be a matter of qualified agreement to some degree during the pregnancy?  After all, the law recognizes rights of fit biological parents once the child is born.

I’m going to say something which may seem controversial, only because of the ongoing societal debate. Life begins at conception. That should be an accepted scientific fact. Life even exists prior to the sperm fertilizing the egg, but upon conception, mitosis follows and the process of the human embryo begins. If it is left alone and assuming no other factors, natural or otherwise interrupt it, that embryo will turn into a human fetus and be born a baby.

All of those words describe a part of the process and development of human life. However, it is all still human life – a separate life and distinct from its mother, regardless of whether it could survive on its own.

The argument that it isn’t a life unless it can survive on its own is a rather dangerous and slippery slope. If you put a baby on a hill and left it alone, it will likely die because it cannot survive in its own. Is a life any less alive in utero than outside the womb, if neither could survive on their own?

Here’s something that may shock you; the fact that it is a life is not the end of the discussion for me. So, you understand this isn’t some kind of academic debate. Allow me to discuss my personal experiences involving my ex-wife that occurred within our eleven-year marriage.

Early on, my wife and I became pregnant. Of course, she was the one carrying but the life inside her was ours. That isn’t some antiquated notion of paternalism or latent misogyny. She didn’t become pregnant by way of a visit from an archangel. Having said that, it turned out that my swimmers were way too eager and fertilized the egg in her fallopian tube, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy.

The doctors told us that there was no chance that the fetus would develop or be born, and that if we did not abort, my wife could go into shock and die.

No brainer, right?

After two shots of methotrexate, the HGC (Human Growth Hormone) levels in my wife’s system remained elevated, posing a danger to my wife. It had to be surgically removed. What entailed was a traumatic experience. My wife bore the brunt of the pregnancy and the burden it brought – complications, medication and surgical procedures. I was essentially a supportive and passive bystander who paced a waiting room and did what I could to attend to her needs.

About a year later, we found out that we were pregnant again with our son. He is now 9 years-old. Success, from conception to delivery. There wasn’t a decision to be made about whether he would be born. He was a life with whom we interacted before he was born. Legally speaking, she could have terminated him and there would be nothing I could have done to stop her.

About a year later, we were pregnant again. When we went for the ultrasound, we were thrilled when we found out that she was carrying twin girls. We saw them on the monitor and heard their heartbeats. They were no less alive than our son.

Later, the doctor needed to talk with us because there was a potentially serious complication. The girls were monoamniotic monozygotic twins. That’s a complicated way of saying that they were identical twins, and instead of two occupying separate amniotic sacs inside my wife’s womb, they were developing in one sac together.

This is a dangerous situation because of the risks of cord strangulation. The doctor explained the risks – explaining that we (she) could choose to terminate the pregnancy. We discussed the matter, agreeing that our twins deserved a chance at life.

We didn’t debate what these two lives were or whether my wife had a right to choose or whose bodies they were growing in. We wanted to afford our daughters their fair chance to live. Their fate was initially in our hands, but no more than the fate of our infant son. In our son’s case, his birth means that he is protected by the law as a free human life and we, as his fit parents are both legally responsible for him.

June 3rd, 2011 and twenty-six weeks into the pregnancy, a routine ultrasound revealed that our twins had died. I’ll never forget that day. I was working in NYC and received a call from my wife with the devastating news. Right away, I grabbed my things with no desire to talk to anyone, leaving the most brutal email I have ever composed and sent to my supervisor; “My twins died. I left to be with my wife.” The train ride home was a blur, and not once had I debated whether those girls were a “life”.  We had lost our daughters. We didn’t lose feti.

The umbilical cords were irretrievably tangled around their necks. The potential danger became a horrible reality.  One died and then the other. On June 5th, 2011 they were officially “born” – if that’s the right word. I will spare you the gruesome details. But what I saw that day, I will never forget.

My wife went through the hell of the delivery. My hell was psychological; to see her going through the painful labor, and then watch my daughters born dead, strangled in an unholy mesh of once life-sustaining umbilical cords.

What you might not know is that after 24 weeks, the hospital does all of the normal things that occur during a birth, except instead of a birth certificate, they issue a death certificate.

If you are at a hospital and see a picture of a purple flower on the door of a delivery room, please say a silent prayer for the poor souls experiencing a quiet and unspeakable journey through a highly personal hell. I often wonder what kind of strange laws created this anomaly of having died, but also never having been born. I suspect it is the result of people not wanting to acknowledge a life in the womb is a life. Once you call it “life”, people who are not invested in that life assume they need to make decisions for the lives of all involved. 

To recap and to better understand my opinion; I have participated in pregnancies – the necessary termination of one, the birth of another and the death of our twin girls. My wife didn’t get pregnant alone, nor did she decide alone. It was her right to do so and I fully recognize that, but the decisions were made by us. If I had the ability to be pregnant and/or bear her pain, I would have, but that’s not how biology works. I am a man; she is a woman and no debate will change the process of procreation.

It is interesting how these experiences have molded my perspectives. Having grown up Roman Catholic, I was always taught to be rigidly prolife. It was a matter of religious dogma, not subject to debate. As I matured, life also guided me. As a younger man, I watched my grandmother who had showed me how to love unconditionally, suffer with Alzheimer’s. I could only watch her slow torture at the hands of that horrible disease. Until a stroke ushered her death, but not before paralyzing half of her body and stealing virtually all of her memories.

Later, my father would suffer the same fate, except mercifully be taken by pancreatic cancer. That’s how bad Alzheimer’s is; that cancer was a blessing.

What was the state of their “lives” in the end?

I’m not going to debate the issue of euthanasia or assisted suicide; however, my point is that they were not able to live without extraordinary medical intervention. No one would argue that my family had the right to terminate their lives, only because they were born.

However, in my father’s case, my mother was his healthcare representative. When my father, riddled with Alzheimer’s and cancer, and who also had a heart condition, the doctors recommended a pacemaker be installed. She discussed my father’s options with my brother, sister and me, and wisely decided not to prolong his journey with extraordinary means. She remembered my grandmother, who had a pacemaker installed 20 years prior, and who also went through the entire horrible journey of Alzheimer’s. She spared my father from that fate. My father wouldn’t have wanted to live that way.

Put aside the legal discussion surrounding the abortion issue for a moment because nothing I say will sway a court of competent jurisdiction, or even move the needle of society’s momentum in general to agree with my viewpoint.

That having been said, what if we were to fairly and equitably create a societal standard to guide the rights of those affected by a pregnancy, and instead of a purely liberty based standard, we introduced an element of responsibility?

The first thing introducing responsibility would accomplish is broadcast a message to society in general that unless it is your sperm or egg, go sit in the corner and shut the fuck up. Put your cape and collar away and stop reciting the fiction that it is society’s responsibility to protect that life. If society has a responsibility to protect life, it wouldn’t fail so miserably when that life is born. Just look around and tell me about the banged-up job society is doing with the lives of the born.

If you are advancing a religious agenda, realize this truth; God will decide things that God decides and your good intentions have no tangible merit in the discussion. Once the parish leaves the pews, they must use their God given free will in their lives.

And before you get your markers, poster boards and pink hats out for the pro-choice march you think I’m intending to join – let me put my purple hat on and upset you too. (Trigger warning) If the parents-to-be intend to care for the child once born, both of those parents-to-be should have near equal rights in the decision about that life. I say “near equal” because in fairness, a mother carries the child procreated by the couple and should be the driving force of the decision-making process while that child is within her.

Why not let the natural order of the universe guide the extent to which a mother and father-to-be should decide? Look at it like this, compare the size of the egg to the sperm and that proportion should be the weight of the decision-making input between the mother and father.

Before anyone asks the dumb question: “Well, then shouldn’t a rapist or an abuser be given rights?”

No. Just no. My view point assumes two consenting adults to the act of procreation. Neither a rapist, nor an abuser fall into this category. Likewise, where the mother’s life is in danger, it is her right of self-determination that is paramount.

What I’m talking about is the elective decision to end a pregnancy; whether or not there is a heartbeat. At a certain point in the pregnancy where the life is viable, I would add, the decision of the child should control.

That wasn’t a moment of insanity or a typo. I mean it. If the child has progressed in their journey to the point that medical science has determined it is viable and able to otherwise survive outside the womb, there should be a presumption that the child wants to live. At that point, I think parents should have made their decisions already, and unless there was a compelling reason to end that life, the baby should be given the opportunity to live.

Before everyone on both sides of the debate begin to sharpen their pitchforks and ready their torches to chase me out of the debate, I don’t have the ability to affect your decisions and wouldn’t want to affect them either. If you are pregnant, I would gladly take my own advice; wish you and yours well and sit in the corner, shutting the fuck up.

Go ahead, be offended. You have that right.


Xavier Eastenbrick is a soul on a journey of life, meeting souls along the way. He adds to the richness of the universe and is grateful for each moment.

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/xaviereastenbrickpint

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eastenbrick

Rock, Stars & Signs

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Photo by David Calderón on Unsplash

“I’m part of you

You’re part of me

There’s nothing said

That cannot be undone”

– Lyrics from I’m Just a Man.

Songwriters: Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss

Michael Hutchence. In my opinion, he was one of the greatest rock stars of all time. Indeed, he was among the last true rock stars of his era, right up there with Bono, Billy Idol, Axel Rose and Mick Jagger. He possessed the right amount of magnetism, mystique and recklessness, and his stage presence was unbelievably dynamic. When he strutted out on that stage, the world became a faded memory, swallowed by the charismatic guy crooning a tune and seducing the crowd with the deliberate grind of his hips.

Qualities of a rock star.

Some say Michael was sex-on-a-stick. I couldn’t agree more. Somehow, that man had more sex appeal entwined around his little finger than Brad Pitt starring in Legends of the Fall.

Hold on a second, I’m recalling the female sighs drifting above the cinema during a screening of that flick and I’m thinking that might be a slight exaggeration. Regardless, the man wasn’t ashamed of his sexuality. He owned it and flaunted it accordingly.

Sigh.

He was definitely no prude. I think he must have appreciated the yin and yang between the sexes because let’s face it, he was never short on “yin” company, and he was probably smart enough to nurture those precious connections too.

Yin: the divine female principle of the universe.

Do you ever notice the signs the universe throws your way? Sometimes those signs can be subtle little hints to let you know you are on the right path. Other times, they’re like a freight train smacking you in the face till you laugh like a crazy person and yell at the cosmos to “just stop already”.

Recently, I drove my daughter to her boyfriend’s house before picking up some lunch at the local fish & chip shop. I was literally on the road for about twenty-five minutes during which time I saw “yin” five times.

Five times. What is that?

Maybe its some kind of cosmic prank. Either that, or I think there might be a sudden influx of “yin” infecting car number plates around here. Gets even better. I arrived home to find my other daughter had sketched a picture for me, and low and behold it was the Yin-Yang symbol.

I literally gasped when she waved in front of me.

“Do you like it?” she asked.

“Uh-yeah. It’s beautiful, pussycat.” Slight pause, then: “Why did you draw that?”

Eyes the color of the earth blink up at me with a shrug.

“Because I like it and I wanted to.”

Duh. 

“Do you know what it means?”

Nose crinkle. Cherry lips twist. Eyes narrow over me.

“Nah. I just saw it on some paper in Ashy’s room and I liked it.”

Double duh.

Freight train effect going wild. Go figure. Perhaps Michael is in a position to better understand the motives of divine forces from the realm he currently occupies.

Hmm.

Besides Yin, Yang and all matters strange, whatever that X-factor quality is, Michael Hutchence had it nailed, and it wasn’t because of the way he looked either. It was much, much more than that.

I was fortunate enough to have met Michael after attending one of his shows one night. Before that evening, I’d spent the better part of my teenage years plastering the man over my walls and collecting every piece of media I could get my hands on to add to a chunky scrapbook I’d lovingly created.

michael-hutchence

Dreamy Sigh.

Yes, I was the hardcore fan, following him to every event I could, and cursing every woman he dated, Helena Christensen being the exception (Sorry Kylie!). During those hardcore years, I’d even managed a few phone conversations with him along the way.

But when the universe had finally decided it was time for our paths to collide in person, I was past the buckle-at-the-knees fangirl phase and had matured into a young woman who didn’t blink twice when brushing shoulders with celebrities (Clears throat and keeps writing). Or so I had thought. In my defence, the thoughts were valid because I wasn’t a stranger to spotting the odd celeb partying the night away in some VIP area of an Oxford Street Sydney club.

To make a short story even shorter, I completely caved when the moment of truth arrived and I was confronted by him. I could barely manage an audible hello much less answer his questions with anything remotely intelligent. Yep, I was suddenly drowning in a bad case of “fangirl syndrome”, and totally tongue-tied.

Erm. Awkward.

That’s a kind way of expressing those moments, but I do commend Michael for his efforts in lingering around, watching me with amusement and trying to engage me in some kind of rational conversation. It was just an epic fail, is all. The fact that he was trailed closely by a group of protective women frowning my way didn’t help the situation either. If looks could kill, I feel sure I wouldn’t have survived that night.

In any case, he was soon piled into the back of a minivan and whisked away with said women in tow, a victorious smile playing on each of their lips as they sashayed into the van after him. Eye roll. Heart plummet. I followed with a barrage of four-letter words as I watched the love of my teenage life slip into the night and vanish without so much as an autograph to my name.

Ah, the things we do. Or not do.

Michael Hutchence was a piece of gold. I learned he was special because although he possessed the above-mentioned rock star qualities, he was also very authentic. There were no airs and graces about him when he was faced with “fangirl fail” me, no traces of arrogance to his nature. In fact, every interaction I’d experienced with him was easy and real – even when I fell short in his presence. That’s what made this man so unique.

I’ll always be grateful for the major part Michael played during my teenage years. He and his band, INXS, provided the backdrop to many adventures, fuzzy fantasies and beautiful moments with treasured friends. I’d listen to him when the world fell from beneath my feet. I’d plug him in my Walkman and sing with him at the beach. He was there when I danced like crazy, and there during the awakening of love in my life. He was so much more than a rock star. He was a way of life, and he was some kind of special.

I write most of this post today, on January 22, 2019, on what would have been Michael’s fifty-ninth birthday. I’d always taken comfort knowing he was out there, walking the earth and doing his thing. Somehow, I’d formed an invisible connection with him that I’d cherished – along with thousands of other women (but who’s counting?). It was a sad day when the world lost him. My heart ached and I cried. He was the kind of man that isn’t easily forgotten. He was the kind that come here to make a difference in the world. Just listen to some of his lyrics and you’ll understand what I mean.

Every now and then, I still miss him. I find the times when I’m falling short, and feeling low are the moments I reach for my earbuds, switch on one of his songs, and submerge myself in his voice. It’s almost twenty-two years after his death and he still has the ability to comfort me.

Michael Hutchence was more than “Just a Man”, he was revolutionary, and the world could use more like him.

Life is fleeting and precious. Embrace your inner rock god and walk the earth with love while you can, and while you’re at it you’d do well to remember that life is not complete without seeing Dogs in Space.

Grin.

Do you have any memorable celebrity encounters or weird signs from the universe you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading!

The Girl Can Shine

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“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

I used to be afraid of so many things. When I was a child, I was scared of growing up and facing a life without my parents. I was afraid of the Easter Bunny and the milkman, and the thought of death had my head spinning in a thousand directions. Most of all, I was afraid of being myself. I never knew who I really was beneath the fleshy exterior and the questionable outfits my mother dressed me in. I was super self-conscious, and I couldn’t quite figure out my place in the world. The only place I felt comfortable was in the inner sanctuary of my mind.

Insecurity is a strange thing to ponder. Where does it spring from? How does it cultivate and flourish even under pleasant living conditions? My early childhood home was a safe and loving environment. Both of my parents are wonderful people, and my mother worked on strengthening my self-perception. Yet, no matter what she did or said, there was a constant underlying feeling of inadequacy shadowing my every waking moment. I felt awkward and self-conscious almost all the time – to the point that I was crippled on the inside. I had allowed those self-deprecating emotions to squander many opportunities throughout my early adulthood, which played a massive role in accepting the mistreatment of others.

I was around seven years old when my parents took me and my little brother one weekend to visit family friends who lived in Sydney’s north shores. If you’re familiar with Sydney, you’ll know those beautiful northern beaches and suburbs are populated with the spectacular homes reserved for the wealthy and famous. As it happened, one of my mother’s girlfriends had recently married a lovely man with ready-made kids, a seriously humongous mansion on the north shore, and a rather well-oiled, erratic mental disorder – and we, the nuclear family from the southern burbs, were lugging up for a weekend to experience how the other half lived.

I must be honest here, I was pumped. I mean, the moment I laid eyes on that outrageously big home, my breath caught somewhere in my lungs and my heart thundered in wonder. I know when you’re that age everything seems bigger than what it really is, but I can tell you that that home was set back among lofty trees and overlooked a lush valley leading to the water, and it was the most beautiful home I’d ever seen.

The interior of the manor was four levels of wonderment. The plush piled rooms were spacious, the kitchen and bathrooms were shiny and modern, and the Barbie-lookalike girl of the house slept beneath an elaborate weave of lace on the biggest bed I’d ever seen. Well, for a child’s standards anyhow.

She looked like a character straight out of one of my Golden Books, and even had a romantic name – Krystal – and I swear, when she clasped her delicate fingers around mine and rushed me toward her bedroom, I froze at the threshold and blinked – had I suddenly been pulled through a rabbit hole and emerged between the pages of a Golden Book?

As I gazed around the candy-colored room brimming with the latest gadgets, a huge doll house and all the toys under the rainbow, I decided I had. I wasn’t aware that other little girls slept beneath draping sheer fabric other than in the movies and my books. I had to be in a fairy tale – there was no other explanation.

Considering that up until that moment I had shared a rather small room with my little brother, you can understand how that possibility was a viable option for me.

After I managed to pull myself from the initial reaction to Krystal’s room, I allowed her to entice me further into her lair. She was excited to show me all her wonderful things, and I was eager to see them. Yet as she moved around the vast pink room with her chest puffed, her golden hair flowing down her back and her baby blues peering from a china-doll face, something else began to happen – me.

This stunning little creature with cherry-colored rosettes for lips and the glossiest blonde hair I’d seen outside of my Barbie doll collection had me enthralled. The thick carpet beneath my feet seemed to suck me further into its twisted pile and my entire body shifted into something extremely awkward as it dawned on me that this was a fairy tale and she was a real-life princess.

So, what did that make me?

Erm. Well, I’m going with the ugly duckling analogy here because that’s exactly how I felt. Better that than the wicked stepmother.

This lovely princess was confident and pretty, and she didn’t seem to second guess herself. She didn’t have to as this was a girl who appeared to have it all. She glided around the carpet like a swan skimming the calm blue ocean, gracefully flicking her hair when she laughed. And she laughed a lot. Turned out, she was a killer on the dance floor too – I know this because our parents took us out for dinner to a club that had a dance competition on the Saturday night and forced us kids to get on stage and boogie.

She won, by the way. Surprise, surprise.

The point is that this china-doll was everything I was not. She was perfect. I spent most of the weekend shrinking on the inside while my insecurities burned like a wildfire. If I could tell my younger self anything, I would remind her to love herself just a bit more than what she did, and I would tell her not to be afraid to shine. Because, at the end the day, that’s what insecurities boil down to – lack of self-love and self-belief.

I keep banners around my house. These are wonderful wise snippets shared from the likes of the Dalai Lama, native American beliefs and other ancient spiritual teachings. They’re everywhere. They’re in the kitchen, my office, the loo, my bedroom … I even have one hanging in my closet. I am someone that needs to constantly remind myself of the bigger picture, as I can become overwhelmed with life at times, and I know how easy it can be to slip back into old thinking patterns – those childhood feelings of inadequacy are never really that far below the surface.

One of my favorites is from Nelson Mandela when he talks about fear. Part of the quote is as follows:

“It is our light not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are we not to be?”        

I love these words, and I realize now that playing small doesn’t serve the world, and that shrinking into the darkness and dimming my light doesn’t benefit me and won’t enrich my life. I won’t grow and flourish by continuing to doubt myself and think small.

I have come a long way since that little “ugly duckling” plagued with insecurities, and it didn’t come easy to reach the point where I am now. I had to deliberately set out to adjust my inner-perspectives and practice a bucket load of intentional change in my thought patterns, but over the years I’ve been able to tame the self-doubts and insecurities to something manageable.

Do I always get it right? Nope. But each time I feel that wobble, the one that says, “Who do you think you are to be doing what you’re doing?”, I take a few breaths and remind myself that a life lived in fear is a life half lived, and then I keep going, pushing myself to take the chances; putting myself out there in ways I could never have imagined, telling people how I really feel and baring my soul to the world. I do this because I am here to experience, expand, evolve and love like crazy. Why hold back when time is not on your side?

We are born on the leading edge of creation. We are born to shine. No matter how deep I must dig to find the courage to keep reaching for more, I’ll do it, because I am no longer that “ugly duckling” shrinking with insecurities and succumbing to the fear; I am the swan skimming over the surface of the calm, blue ocean.

So, the next time you feel that fear-wobble circling down your spine and threatening to overcome you, remember that everything you want is on the other side of fear, and consider these words from Nelson Mandela: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

You too are a magnificent swan – and the ocean is your playground. Play with me.

Transcend Through Story: Unlock Your Imagination

 

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

~ Albert Einstein

Every now and then, I am drawn into another realm, a wonderous and boundless kingdom where the only factor limiting the possibilities is the scope of my thoughts. I don’t need to go anywhere physically to enter this other world. I could be sitting on my outdoor lounge beneath the sun, or at the beach digging in the sand with my children as they play near the shore. I could even be punching the letters on my keyboard, just as I did when producing this article.  It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always have access to this rich and magical endowment that I can channel anytime and anywhere I choose – my imagination.

Our imagination is one of the greatest gifts we are given and it is as intertwined with the beautiful mystery of life as the certainty of the sun rising at dawn tomorrow. We can’t touch it or taste it, and we can’t hear it or smell it. There are no scientific analytics or mathematical formulas to support its existence, yet we all know it’s there – the invisible thoughts lifting us up and transporting us to other places.

It is imagination that forms the cornerstone of ingenuity. It is essential for the continued evolution of humanity and it is the foundation of all creation.

In his series of texts in The marriage of Heaven and Hell, the 18th century intuitive poet William Blake made this wry comment: “What is now proved was once only imagin’d.” As you consider the simplicity of these words of wisdom and allow them to seep into your essence, your imagination will begin to kick into action.

Take a look around. Everything you see and all you experience with your physical senses emerged from somebody else’s imagination. For something to exist in this world, it must first be anchored firmly into your imagination. Without this perpetual resource, life becomes stifled and creativity is halted.

During his lifetime, Blake was largely considered an outlier for the mystical undercurrents expressed through his creativity – and that’s a nice way of putting it. Yet Blake is now recognized as a seminal figure in the history of poetry for his rich symbolism that embraces imagination as “human existence itself”.

However, William Blake wasn’t alone in his radically insightful views. Throughout the ages, virtually all spiritual teachings speak of the power of imagination; and that invisible formless realm has been bestowed upon you as your birthright.

Our lives today mostly encompass a combination of fast-moving experiences strung together by a series of innovative moments playing out on the leading edge of existence. These are exciting times where revolution appears commonplace, in the form of the technology infiltrating every field from fast food to finances. We’re closer together yet further apart thanks to the internet, and each generation contends with profound social, economic and technological transformations.

A fast-track life with the world at your fingertips can often mean a ceaseless internal merry-go-round spinning around the edges of your soul. It can be overwhelming and stressful, and sometimes we lose sight of the important stuff like love, sacred connections and that beautiful essence peering out from behind your cagey eyeballs.

So, while you’re taking that look around at everything that was once in someone else’s imagination, ask yourself if you’ve neglected your own. Have you left it at the threshold of adulthood to gather the dust of the passing years? Or perhaps your deadlines have highjacked it along with your mortgage repayments.

Maybe. Maybe not.

No one could blame you if you have temporarily misplaced your wild imagination. We are in an age swamped with selfies and Instagram, little Tweets here, and bigger Tweets there. Did someone mention Snapchat? Yeah, I just heard the teenager throw me some backchat.

What’s new?

Your entire life is probably now chronicled on Facebook and you just must keep up with the latest cat memes and viral diarrhea – right?

You’ll also need to remember to pay your bills on time, feed your kids after dance class, follow the rules, and for heaven’s sake – who let out the damned cat? Catch a little Netflix before bed. You may manage something more, if you last that long, because you’re so tired working your butt off to meet the responsibilities that are mounting up somewhere around your hairline, that you feel like your brain will begin to emulsify through your ears.

Meanwhile, you have convinced yourself that it’s completely normal for your eight-year-old to watch adults play with Kinder Surprise toys and Frozen figurines on YouTube just so you can grab a quick five minutes alone and gather your whirling thoughts.

Okay. I might be exaggerating a little. Maybe that scenario doesn’t exactly apply to all of us, or all the time. The point is, most of us are so busy, our childlike imagery often becomes a distant memory we seldom entertain, excluding those Kinder Surprise-playing-grown-ups on YouTube, of course.

In his wonderful book, Wishes Fulfilled, Wayne Dyer says, “Today, quantum physics confirms the universe is made up of formless (spirit) energy, and that particles (that is, things) do not originate from particles.” Meaning everything springs from something akin to your imagination.

Everything.

Think about that for a moment. I bet while contemplating those words something deep within you recognizes the truth. It certainly gets my inner-bells chiming, especially when considering this observation made by the father of quantum physics, Max Plank: “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and, therefore, part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

I don’t know about you, but when I first read those words something unfurled and soared through my being at the realization that science cannot take us through the doors of the divine, no matter how hard we knock. The truth is we are as mysterious and beautiful as life itself, and the power of creation is within all of us. It’s within the places you choose to take your thoughts, and the ideas that seemingly spring from nowhere. And it lives, thrives and breathes through our stories.

Beneath my author name that appears on the banner on my website is the tagline “stories that transcend”. I chose that phrase because I believe story is the perfect instrument in which to nurture the endless creativity of imagination, and I believe it is through story that we can help make the world a better place.

It is particularly true that through fantasy and paranormal storytelling that authors can transport readers to other worlds brimming with magical wonders and spectacular ideas – stories born through the creative forces of imagination that provide an outlet to escape from the demands of modern life as we begin to consider the “what if?”.

Yet, as we ponder the magnificence of stories and imagination, and the escapism they provide to our busy lives, there’s something more at play here. It’s a golden opportunity to snatch back those moments when you dressed up in your favorite super-hero costume and flung yourself off the garage roof; or to reclaim those times when you lost yourself in a world of make-believe that felt so real, you couldn’t quite figure out the difference between the parallel realities.  Nor did you want to.

So, as you turn the pages of a great fantasy, paranormal romance or sci-fi book and immerse yourself in the characters, a tiny spark ignites the dormant embers of your own imagination, in turn reminding you of your own childlike imagery.

Then something happens – the story ends.

Once you’ve read the last line and your fleeting visit to a fictional world has come to an end, you’re often confronted with the reality of your life. The enchanting tendrils of fantasy begin to fade as the weight of the “real world” sets in. Too soon does the inspiration of a great story merge with the internal merry-go-round until it’s lost somewhere in the gray matter of your brain.

But what if you chose to hold on to that feeling? What if you internalized it just a little longer until you have convinced yourself for a few magnificent moments that anything is possible? And what if you danced with the galaxy twinkling beneath your rational thoughts till your essence soared like the inner-child playing make-believe?

Reading the words strung together to form a story created by someone else’s imagination, unknowingly gives us permission to unleash our own. But it’s when we really take the time to ponder this greatest of gifts that we realize the limitless possibilities that abound in us.

Through the mystical chords of imagination, story will help save the world. It is through transcending beyond your daily responsibilities and releasing your imagination that you will expand and enrich your own life.

Imagine that?

Becoming Whole with Catherine Evans

 

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I was a child of the ’80s and grew up with a firm understanding of rules and boundaries and what those restrictions meant to my life. Breaking the rules had consequences I’d rather avoid. I didn’t want my mouth rinsed out with soap, so I didn’t use curse words. I didn’t want to see the hard end of a wooden spoon, so I didn’t chat back to my mother. And I definitely didn’t want to miss out on dessert, so I ate what was put in front of me at dinner time … most of the time. Swallowing and choking on brussels sprouts just wasn’t worth the sweet stuff. Sorry, ma.

Adolescence hit with a hefty side of rebellion. I was that girl – you know, the one that seemed to have all the bright ideas about pushing the boundaries. My geography teacher disliked me so much, she spent parent-teacher night bitching about me to my aunt who had turned up to discuss my cousins academic progress. That went down well. The phone line was red-hot that evening. Maybe I should have thought twice before slicking the teacher’s chair with superglue and darting wet paper bullets through straws all over her classroom.

Hmm. No comment.

Once I passed those rebellious teenage years and emerged into adulthood, I realized the rules for adults were slightly less forgiving and accompanied with much higher stakes. The government want to meet their revenue quota. I don’t want to help them achieve that. I don’t want to go to prison either.

I’m still a rebel at heart. I’m a risk taker, a visionary; a dreamer. I’ll take that leap and bound full-force into unknown territory – even when it terrifies me. For me, life isn’t about conforming or pleasing other people. I’m considerate, compassionate and sympathetic, but being subservient to those traits won’t allow me to shine. Loving and honoring the people in my life doesn’t mean that I have to deny that which lights me up on the inside.

This is how I’m wired. This is why I’m finding that I’m meeting new people that feel and share similar qualities as me – likeminded souls that run full pelt into love and care less about the opinions of others; deep thinkers unashamed of who they are or what they want out of life.

Those rules – the ones that are written, the ones that are not – still exist. We know them and live by them even when we question them. Without them, havoc would reign supreme. Or would it?

Catherine Evans has a vision to change the world.

Sound familiar?

It should because you’re here too and so is your legacy. Changing the world sounds like a momentous task, but I’m going to tell you that it’s not. It begins with the small stuff. It begins with you and me, and the choices we make daily. If every one of us can deliberately compel ourselves to accept all love, kindness, faith and hope, and reject all suffering, sorrow and depression, then perhaps that is how we begin to change the world – from the inside out.

Catherine Evans wants to become whole. She wants to do what lights her up inside and make a difference in the world. I am proud to call her my friend as much as I am proud to introduce her to you.

 

Meet Catherine

 

I write under two pen names, which in some ways is good because it allows readers to find the books they want to read (or more correctly, avoid the books they hate). But there’s a part of me that’s saddened by this.

 

Let me give you a brief summary of me. I’m the eldest child, born into a conservative Catholic family. I am an introvert who avoids conflict, a rebel who doesn’t understand societal rules and strictures. There are two sayings that resonate with me. One is – “Learn the rules properly so you know how to break them.” It hung on my office door for years. It’s one of my beliefs.

 

For me, the introvert avoiding conflict doesn’t go well with a rebel. My rebellions have been rather small and personal. For example, I rarely wear dresses or make-up, and have no clue about fashion. I have long hair that’s not dyed and going gray. I worked in science where most of my colleagues were men. I had sex before marriage. I have no kids. I gave up religion. I kept my surname after marriage – and if it wasn’t for my husband’s strongly held belief in marriage, I would not be married.

 

I hate labels, categories, boxes, systems, rote, generalizations, and rules. I hate mindless following.

 

I love deep thinking and deep discussions, especially where you disagree but keep talking to find out why. I love challenging myself and my thinking.

 

When I started to write for publication, I didn’t realize that books had genres and subgenres and that these had rules. How I didn’t know this is quite amazing because I had read books all my life. In my defense, I submit that I read widely without caring about the genre.  The only option is that the book is interesting. Libraries are set up so the non-fiction is categorized by topic, but fiction is just alphabetical order. To me, that means story books are story books.

 

Not so. I had to learn what box I wanted to write in when I didn’t believe in boxes. I went with romance because I found Romance Writers of Australia who offered help and feedback online. When I narrowed it down to romance, I thought I was right, but no. I learned that I wrote cross-subgenres, which made it hard to market your book.

 

By this stage, it was doing my head in. My stories didn’t fit into niches. I hated niches.

 

While I was writing rural romance incorrectly, I realized I could write erotica and there were far fewer rules with that. When I wrote about sex, and included swearing [cursing], and was thinking about publishing this, my family were appalled. They asked me not to use my name; not to tell anyone; to hide this side of me.

 

I became two writing personalities.

 

Over the past eight years I have realized that all the little rebellious parts of me have become Cate Ellink. The parts of me that conformed to my family/society wishes have remained with Catherine Evans.

 

I bloody love Cate Ellink. She’s written smoking hot sex. She lusts after footy players and dreams happy stories. She unashamedly explores fetishes, taboos, spirituality. She questions her thinking about society norms. She wants to change the world. Keeping quiet and fitting in is not really doing it for me anymore. I’m getting to the point where I need to become whole. I’m of the age where I really don’t give a damn about others’ opinions, and we need change in the world before it’s a catastrophe for humankind.

 

It’s difficult to buck the system. It’s even harder to stand strong when people belittle and ridicule you. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have readers and writers who don’t care what I write, they just accept me. That’s been such a strength to me, allowing me to think I need to be whole outside of this reading/writing world.

 

Now Kim is tempting me into the paranormal. It’s not somewhere Catherine or Cate has gone before, and yet I love reading paranormal and my belief is in the paranormal. When I write in that subgenre, I won’t be able to manage three distinct personalities. I’m going to have to join all my parts together, allowing the different names to distinguish which part of my mind you’re comfortable reading! But I’ll be me, Catherine, Cate and whoever else I write as. It’s as exciting as it is daunting.

 

Do you have any tips for me?

Find Catherine:

Website | Twitter | Amazon | Facebook 

The Truth about Love, Sexuality & Creativity

“It is passion, more passion and that we need. The moralist who bans passion is not of our time; his place these many years is with the dead. For we know what happens in a world when those who ban passion have triumphed. When love is suppressed, hate takes place. It is passion and ever more passion that we need if we are to undo the work of hate.”

~    Havelock Ellis

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Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

 

I used to be a little girl with a little room filled with nothing particularly girly. There were no pink mermaid curtains draping the windows nor were there white frills adorning the bed covers. I loved climbing trees, riding bikes and erecting forts on top of the carport roof with my younger brother. Wrestling matches were fun too, till one of us was hurt enough to scream blue murder. I’ll be honest, a lot of time that person was my brother. Those were the times when the fun turned sour and I shot dagger-eyes and mouthed terrible things that made him go crying to our mother.

Tsk. Mamma’s boy.

Oh, brothers! There’s a whole lot to say about growing up with a little brother shadowing your every move. Almost three years separate my brother and me, and once upon a time he used to be smaller than me. But you know what? His lack of height had never stood in the way of his ingrained sense of protectiveness for me. He was loyal and courageous, and his love was fierce. I had seen that kid take on the meanest beefcakes in the name of love for me, and I always had his back too.

Although I would not have dreamed of admitting it at the time, my brother was my best friend, and for the most part, I adored hanging out with him. We spent hours creating new adventures and exploring uncharted territory as children. But sometimes, I had to retreat to a place of my own and turn my back on his pouting lips to leave him to his Matchbox cars. I had to shut the door to our room and delve into a world where he was not welcome or permitted. It was the delicate world of dolls.

Yes, dolls. Barbie dolls to be exact. I kept a bag beneath my bed filled with loads of Barbie dolls, one Ken doll, an assortment of accessories, and the biggest kicker of all – a Michael Jackson doll.

Every now and then, I needed to explore the soft feminine urges of the little girl I was and unleash my imagination with a focus on love. Romantic love. You know, the kind of love that springs from your fluttering heart and inevitably results in the happily-ever-after? It is the type of love that captures your breath and steals your soul. It wraps around every cell in your body till you can’t imagine a future without that person.

When you think about it, it is not so unusual that we begin to probe and delve into the beautiful mystery of love from such a young age, because it is love that governs your greater-self, your deeper-self. It is the part of you that connects you to all of creation, and this isn’t something you can ever know intellectually; you can only feel and be aware of it.

Our view of the world is usually less tainted as children. Those magical years when our imagination knows no restrictions are also the years when our memories are the strongest, and our perceptions are most pure. Somehow, we innately realize the knowledge that we are more than the flesh and blood peering back at us when we gaze into the mirror; we know that it is love from which we were born, and love that builds our whole existence.

Then time kicks in. The years pass and we settle into the dense 3D reality of our physical existence. We’re bombarded with societal rules and restrictions, beliefs and religions, fear, hate and worldwide threats breeding the rancid contempt in the bellies of our leaders and spilling into the population. It is greed, materialism, brutality and murder, and the ever-present outcries of injustice constantly influencing and informing our worldview.

The veil thickens and the invisible barriers are firmly placed around our lives, leading to those moments when we forget who we really are. They are the same moments we get to choose if want to continue living beneath the cloak of ignorance or embark on a journey back to the real stuff.

From time to time the curtain will lift to reveal a glimpse of the eternal source gracing all that is. It’s in those moments when you gaze from a mountain peak and your being soars with the beauty filling your essence; or those silent times when your soul lifts higher and you’re encapsulated with a sense of unconditional love; or even a simple gesture from a stranger that touches your heart in a way you hadn’t expected. However, most of all, it’s in the relationships we experience with other people.

In her book, A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson says, “In every relationship, in every moment, we teach each other love or fear.”

It is in demonstrating love toward others that we learn how to love more deeply. In exhibiting fear, we learn to be more frightened of life.

There exists one underlying force that connects us through our entire life. Despite the negative circumstances I mentioned above, humanity strives toward that feeling whether we realize it or not. It forms the basis in each one of our thoughts, interactions and tasks, it informs the words we utter and the way in which we see ourselves – Love.

Bold, fearless, glorious love.

It is love that forms the groundwork of most of our literature, art, music and drama, and love that has given birth to the endless inhibitions that humanity imposes on a false attitude toward sexuality – the most important expression of mankind. Sex is really life expressing love.

Love or fear?

You choose.

“In this relation between a man and a woman, in the sexual act, is expressed the complete physical, psychic, and spiritual hunger of being for another. No other activity or expression of mankind provides such a total outlet for love as the sex act.”

~ U.S Andersen.

When contemplating that statement, it’s easy to recognize how little sex is understood, and how abused, particularly when we consider how readily available sex has become in our virtual worlds. We live in an age where voyeuristic perversions are fostered by the exploitation of sex. The overexposure of sex has had a significant impact on changes in our sexual behaviors and continues to influence our younger generations.

At the other end of the spectrum we face the age-old taboos and condemnation surrounding the sex act. This is when people get touchy and uncomfortable about sex, but how could such a natural and wondrous part of being human become saddled with shame, ridicule and immoral ordinance?

When love is present, there is no such thing.

Love is the recognition of our true selves – the motivation for unity and the desire for fusion. It’s no wonder our stories are brimming with tales about love and romance. Even those authors who claim not to write romance are really writing some of the greatest love stories of all because it is love that flows from them and into their words; and love and passion, fueled with imagination, that embodies their creativity.

I believe every human is a creative. Every human can manifest and love; every being is ultimately cut from the same divine cloth. It’s the golden threads that weave your heart and soul together and bond you with the universal energy – that brilliant light shining resiliently from behind every negative thought and experience that lets you know you are loved.

Love and creativity are one and the same. Love is the source of creativity.

Through all our experiences – the good and the bad – there is one profound and complicated sentiment that remains a universal thirst. One element is instinctual to our nature that is continuously streaming through the veil that blinds us from the truth. It is the invisible link driving us to a common basis – love and sexuality.

When I was a little girl, my dolls fell in love in the stories I created for them. Now that I’m a woman, my characters fall in love through the stories I create for them. I fall in love every day through story, my beautiful interactions with people, sacred soul connections I cherish, gratitude and the simple pleasures of life.

Love is more than a word on a page or a choice; love is fundamental to being human, and you cannot evolve, thrive and appreciate without it.

It is through our divinity that we are created by the source of love. It is through our humanity we learn how to express, give and receive love in our physicality.

When we look past the taboos, the abuse, and the exploitation of sex, and nestle down and really search ourselves within, we can acknowledge and celebrate the magnificence of sexuality and all its forms of expression. In his wonderful book Three Magic Words, U.S. Andersen articulates this perfectly when he states, “The end of the sex act is not procreation – it is the expression of love!”

Free yourself. Love yourself. Express yourself.

Unravel Your Thoughts, Ponder the Mysterious.

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“Life is a series of constantly shifting cycles. When we resist change, we resist the natural flow of life and create unnecessary stress. Go with the flow – you will be surprised where it leads.”

I pulled the above quote from a pack of heart-shaped Lovers Oracle Tarot cards I bought back in 2009. That particular deck is beautifully illustrated with inspiring messages designed to uplift one’s spirit and provide guidance on love. I own a few decks of Tarot cards. Some have been given to me as gifts, others I have bought myself with the driving thought being that I would someday use them to cultivate my intuitive gifts. I’m still waiting for that day to arrive.

While I respect the Tarot and those that have the abilities to use them as intuitive divination tools and a means to interpret information from the other side, I have discovered they are not the type of tool I can personally connect with. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tarot and all the mystical elements it represents. I have spent many hours receiving accurate readings but the Tarot doesn’t personally speak to me as a channeling tool.

Of course, I’ve experienced some bogus Tarot readings. One woman told me I’d never write books. My heart plummeted. She must have noticed.

“You may write children’s books,” she added quickly.

“Huh?” I replied, noting the inner-resistance in my gut. She was wrong. “Nah.”

Another woman told me I would write books. That felt right. A man with a colorful swathe wrapped around his skull told me someone I loved would not come closer. Wrong again. In 2016, before I published my first book, a woman predicted I would travel to New Orleans. Bingo. Of course, I had no idea at the time I would travel to NOLA to attend a writers’ retreat the following year. Evidently, that woman had predicted many other things that have come to pass.

I have a favorite psychic. His name is Blair. He used to live nearby but has since moved interstate. Blair has to be one the most beautiful people I have ever known. He is always upbeat and happy, and he chooses to appreciate every moment of every day. I love that about him. I make him laugh too. Geez, I make him laugh. He finds my life and my thoughts extremely amusing. Not such a bad thing considering we speak just about every week.

Blair has become more than just a guy that I call when I need another perspective on a particular situation. Our relationship has transcended the professional one we had originally established; we’ve become firm friends that care for each other. Yes, that does and can happen when people connect and honor those special bonds.

That’s another thing I love about Blair – his transparency and openness to give and receive love, and his endless compassion and ability to offer guidance. He is extremely patient too. He would have to be to put up with someone like me, because I’m the kind of person that thrives on deep connections. Always have been, always will be. Those unique connections are rare, so once established and I have landed in the comfort zone, I will give you a run for your money – that’s a promise. Just ask Blair. It is not unusual for Blair’s Messenger app to bling with an incoming message from yours truly:

“Blair, my world crumbled today.”

Ah, the drama.

“Hey Kim, how are you? Didn’t your world only crumble just last week?”

“Well, yeah, but it happened again. Lol.”

I’m a writer – give me a break.

“Did you sleep well last night?”

“Erm. Yeah, I did actually. Why?”

“Because I asked the angels to watch over you and help you sleep.”

Huge grin.

“It worked, thank you. Do it again.”

Did I mention he was patient?

Yeah.

I might be a little bit addicted to Blair. I am honestly glad he is wise and mature enough not to interpret my over-enthusiastic messages as a form of harassment. Shock. Horror. Did someone say harassment?

Someone call Moses.

Blair dislikes that word. Immensely. He also uses an interesting vocabulary for those that don’t appreciate me or worse; mistreat me. I think he might love me too. Although, had he possessed an inflexible mindset guarded by the iron gates of a bigoted belief system, things might be different. Then again, considering my unconventional way of thinking doesn’t gel so well with those inclined to be dogmatic and judgmental, it is fair to say we never would have become friends in the first place.

This does circle back to the Tarot.

How? I hear you ask.

Good question. Blair doesn’t use Tarot cards when discerning information from the other side. He uses his highly developed Clair Senses.

Rhymes with “Blair”.

Other than that, Clair Senses are actually types of psychic sensitivity: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. Blair’s psychic abilities are a combination of clairvoyance and clairaudience. He is able to reach into another vibrational frequency and visually perceive and/or hear something existing in that realm.

Pretty cool, huh?

Well, yeah; especially if you are inclined to believe in more than what your earthly senses perceive. This is the part where you leave your narrow-minded tendencies at the door and embrace the mystical elements that exist in our universe. Welcome the esoteric. Invite the obscure and explore unknown territory.

And why not?

Many of the ancient races to inhabit the earth before us were much more attuned to our connection to the universe and celestial forces. They worshiped natural divine deities based on a polytheistic belief system. It is surprising how tightly woven the invisible boundaries are that many choose to erect around their inner-world today.

Unhinge your thoughts. The universe is as mysterious as you and I, and functions in perfect divine order. Do you really think the universe exists solely to expand the blackness of space by creating planets and stars through spectacular explosions and great bursts of energy? That’s it? Really? Seems a little fruitless. Perhaps the ancient races were on to something.

The ancient Druids believed the Earth itself was like the body of a dragon. They went ahead and built their sacred stone circles upon the “power nodes” of this body. They believed dragons connected us with the Earth’s magnetism and healing waters.

The Egyptian conception of the universe centered on maat – a word that encompasses several concepts in English, including “truth”, “justice”, and “order”. It was the fixed, eternal order of the universe, both in the cosmos and in society, and it was often personified as a goddess.

Kabbalah emerged during the Middle Ages – a Jewish mystical and magical system. Native Americans practice Shamanism: the shaman travels to the spirit realm to gain information regarding the community’s needs like healing or spiritual growth. And we cannot discount the spiritual practices, traditions and beliefs based on the original teachings attributed to the Buddha – a set of philosophies sharing the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood.

I often wonder if evolution among the human race has actually declined over the centuries. Sure, technology has advanced us in leaps and bounds. We have access to anything we desire at a click or two, and our screens are filled with images of “the beautiful” people demonstrating the facade of what we ought to be striving to become. Our minds and lives are overflowing with constant stimulation. We have all of this yet it has come at the expense of losing sight of the universal energy that flows through our being and connects us to all that exists; it has come at the expense of losing touch with the real; the kind of real those ancient races honored and sought to worship – source energy, divine spiritualty.

There are many other ancient practices and spiritual beliefs that encompass the enigmatic nature of life and our universe, and through the ages those beliefs and teachings have seeped like golden nuggets of wisdom to guide and inform, and help us understand if we want to push past the chaos of the modern world and listen; and all that unlimited wealth begins by looking within rather than to the outside world. It’s right inside you.

The universe, our existence, and the place we call earth comprises a series of wondrous miracles that occur in magnificent divine harmony with an energy whose sole objective is expansion, creation and ceaseless unconditional love.

How could we be so quick to disregard the unknown when you yourself are part of the great mystery? Psychic tools like the Tarot, clairvoyance, channeling or any other mystical practice really are not such a far stretch to believe when the foundation upon which we stand is riddled with a path of intricate beliefs, spirituality and sacred ancient magic.

Believe. Anything is possible. Anything.

Visit Blair’s website and discover more about this gifted healer! 

https://www.blairstewart.com.au

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Lovers Oracle Tarot Cards: A Four Card Spread I pulled For Myself about 5 Months Ago.

 

LGBT + Urban Fantasy Meets Heavy Metal – Meet Amir Lane

Amir Lane is a genderfluid supernatural and urban fantasy writer from Sudbury, Ontario. Engineer by trade, they spend most of their writing time in a small home office on the cargo pants of desks, or in front of the TV watching every cop procedural or cooking competition on Netflix. They live in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence, and they strive to bring that world to paper. Their short story, Scrap Metal and Circuitry, was published by Indestructible magazine in April 2016.

Amir is set to launch Gift of Shadows, the first book in The Barrier Witch Trilogy in August 2018. A big thank you to Amir for taking a moment to Q&A with me and giving us a little peek into their writing life!

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

The first time I actually finished a book was in 10th or 11th grade. I never published it, because it was kind of a mess, but I finished it. I finished the second one the summer before I started university, and it was also a mess but I hung onto the characters for future reference. I have no idea what inspired the first one. I think I just heard a name I liked and built a character around it, then the story. The second one, I had a scene in my head and I wrote the story so that I could have some context for that scene. I’m usually really inspired by, like, how people got to where they are, how they became this way. Origin stories, basically.

  1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

The biggest change is that I can’t really spend time on ideas that I’m not going to follow-through on. I used to pick up an idea, write two chapters, and get bored. Now that I have a schedule to maintain, that I am literally always behind on, I can’t chase every idea. I do a lot of short stories, and I have a lot of unfinished short stories, and that’s not so bad because I usually do short stories, like, if I’m on a bus or something where I don’t necessarily have time to get into a bigger project or when I need a break, which I’m okay with, but I don’t feel like I can do that with books. Which kind of sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. I keep a running ‘concepts’ list in case one of those ideas speaks to me on a deeper level, but in the meantime, I have more than enough to keep me busy.

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I think it’s a bit of both. Planning energizes me, but the actual act of writing is exhausting. It’s work. Work is exhausting. But I feel good after, even though I’m tired. So, I don’t mind it so much. It’s like going to the gym. Totally worth it at the end of the day.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Endings. I hate endings. I always just want to be like, okay here’s all the loose ends, story’s over, let’s move on with our lives. Because the fun part is over. But nooo, people want endings.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Good covers. I don’t necessarily move many copies of my books, because I’d rather be writing than marketing, but I think my covers do a lot of the legwork themselves. It also gives me something nice to look at to remind myself that, yes, I am actually getting something out of all this.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I don’t see why not. Writing emotions is just like writing anything: If you don’t know it, study it. Even for me, I’m a very emotional person, I look up ways to describe emotions and emotional markers all the time. To me, there’s no major difference between looking up what an emotion feels like and what, say, being stabbed feels like. We don’t all have the same skills or the same experiences. That shouldn’t be a barrier.

  1. What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a book called Gift of Shadows, which will be launched in August in The Shadow Files box set. It’s book one in my new Barrier Witch trilogy. The book stars a Lebanese immigrant, Fairuz Arshad, who has the ability to create barriers and works for the Toronto Police’s Special Crimes division. In the first book, she stumbles onto a string of murders where all the victims are supernaturals missing organs, except nobody seems to be willing to admit there’s a serial killer out there. It’s a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see the end product.

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

The first book that made me straight-up bawl was actually the last Anne of Green Gables book, Rilla of Ingleside. I know a lot of people didn’t read it because it’s one of the only ones not about Anne herself so I’m not going to spoil it, but it takes place during WWI. I was reading it during my lunch breaks, and my co-worker got a little concerned that I spent the entire afternoon trying to hide that I was sobbing. It was at least a week before I could think about it without bursting into tears.

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

You know what, I don’t think I would tell myself anything. I was dedicated and persistent and weirdly confident in my writing from day one. If anything, I’d tell myself to just keep doing what I’m doing.

Stalk Amir Lane:

Amazon ~ Facebook ~ Website 

About the Book:

Gift of Shadows is available for pre-order now exclusively through The Shadow Files Box Set!

“If nobody else is going to say it, I will: Our victim has no eyes.”
A murder victim with no eyes is only slightly out of the ordinary for Toronto Special Crimes Detective Fairuz Arshad. When that murder victim turns out to be a phoenix, all her evidence goes up in flames — literally. As more bodies start piling up, and as the Toronto Police refuse to let her investigate, she and her dryad partner take matters into their own hands. But the deeper she digs, the more Fairuz starts to wonder who — and what — she can trust.

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Let’s Chat: Beth Prentice

Today I am delighted to bring you a special guest; She is talented author to 6 fabulous mystery novels, due to release 2 more great books this year and a USA Today Best Selling Author. She is a pleasure to know and has wonderfully agreed to answer a few questions: Beth Prentice!

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

I wrote my first book 5 years ago.  My mum used to tell me stories of how she grew up in London in World War 2.  My Grandma was a funny quirky lady and the stories Mum would tell me were scary as they all involved her house being bombed, but the things my Grandma did in those situations was often hysterical.  I knew that those stories needed to be written.  I haven’t got that far yet as I got a little bit distracted with the fiction that I’m writing, but my Grandma and her crazy ways has definitely made it into my stories 

 

  1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I now have deadlines to meet, lol. Which in all honesty is a good thing for me as I tend to procrastinate for way to long!

 

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 

It can do both.  If I have a new idea or story that comes to me it will energize me, but if my deadline is looming and I’m nowhere near where I need to be, then it can be a little bit exhausting.

 

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The pressure of my To Do list! I need to cross things off that list before I can even begin to start writing.  But prioritising is important, otherwise I’d never get any writing done, lol.

 

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The fee I paid to my proofreader/editor.  They’re all totally underrated as far as I’m concerned 

 

  1. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Understanding their thought patterns.  It’s really easy to make them stereotypical.

 

  1. When you discovered Killer Unleashed made the USA Today Best Selling Author list, how did you celebrate?

I ran around the house screaming happily 

 

  1. What are you working on now?

 

I’ve just finished the edits on two books.  Deadly Tails is the sequel to Killer Unleashed, and Lethal Tide is the sequel to Deadly Wipeout.  I’m now starting a new novel about Tilly, who inherits a farm from an aunt she never knew she had.

 

  1. What is the first book that made you cry? PS I Love you – not the one by Cecilia Ahearn (even though that made me cry also!).  This one was part of a series of teenage romance books called Sweet Dreams.  The male lead died and I was heart broken 

 

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Start writing at an earlier age.  I never realized how much I would love it!

 

Want to know more about Beth? Visit her website here

 

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Visit Beth at Amazon