Friday, September 23, 2016

Great News!

Finally!

Isolt's Enchantment, The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales, and Beautiful Beautiful are available at barnesandnobles.com! YAY! For years, we've been unable to offer Nook Readers free books—without going through a convoluted process which ... well ... I won't bore you with the details.

But this week, Barnes & Nobles has updated their policy and now Nook Readers can grab these amazing reads for free. (Android Readers they're available at GooglePlay, iPad & iPhone Readers they're available at Apple's iBooks store, Kindle Readers they're available at Amazon, Kobo Readers they're available in the Kobo store!)

Isolt's Enchantment is a prequel to Daughter of Light, although many readers enjoy reading it after they have read the first book in the trilogy, Half Faerie.

The slim novel is a collection of tales chronicling the historical events which have seeded the looming battle between Dark and Light in the enchanted world—the battle being the apocalyptic threat the eighteen-year-old Melia must face in her epic quest.

The tales are interwoven with the moving and inspiring story of Ryder's early years. An orphan adopted by the priests of Idonne, Ryder is determined to overcome his rootless past and safeguard the Whole from Umbra, a sinister consciousness dwelling in the Void.

Half Faerie and Half Mortal are currently available at all online book sellers.

War & Grace Update: I'm still cranking out the first draft of War & Grace. When I began writing this final book in the trilogy, I guesstimated it would be approximately 120,000 to 150,000 words. Well ... I've just passed 150,000 and have approximately seventeen more chapters to write! This book has been a huge challenge for me, and when I realized it was going to be bigger than either Half Faerie or Half Mortal, I freaked out! Should it have been published as a series rather than a trilogy? Bites nails. I turned to my trusted inspiration, The Lord of the Rings. How many total words were in that trilogy? Since you can find everything on the internet these days, I was able to find the exact word count of each LOtR installment at the LOTR Project:

Fellowship of the Ring: 188,000
The Two Towers: 157,000
The Return of the King: 137,000
Total: 482,000

I compared those word counts to the word counts in Daughter of Light:

Half Faerie: 120,000
Half Mortal: 150,000
War & Grace: 190,000 (yep!) (current estimate)
Total: 460,000

As far as word count, when compared to LOtR, DOL works as a trilogy! YAY! With that concern out of the way, revising my time schedule has been the remaining hurdle. As the story has taken some surprising turns, I've had to hunker down and accept: The first draft will be complete ... when the first draft is complete! I'll continue to post updates ... but please rest assured, I'm thrilled with the story up to this point and am committed to writing an enchanting, action-packed, and original end to Melia's story.

So ... Nook Readers, pick up a copy of Isolt's Enchantment for free!

The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales is a prelude to my Once Upon a Time Today collection. Throughout my life, many friends have said, "You should write a story about your life." Ugh, is pretty much how I feel whenever I hear that. However, I have loved fairy tales since I heard my first one as a child and have found them to be instructive, inspiring, and ... just plain great escapes. In TGWBFT, I share three specific times when fairy tales helped me navigate the dark woods of my own  psyche and helped me to: survive a wicked witch, transform overwhelming desire, and recognize that a duck trying to be a swan ... probably really isn't a bird at all!

Beautiful Beautiful is the first novella in the the Once Upon a Time Today collection.  OUTT are fairy tales retold as contemporary stories for "those who have already left home." In BB, a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale, Beautiful, a mother analyzes her own past experience and perspective on beauty as she spins extemporaneous bed time stories for her young daughter.

So why offer these books for free?

To allow readers a risk-free glimpse into my writing world!

Enjoy!
Heidi

Friday, August 12, 2016

We Are the Creation


We are the creation,
The creation unfolding,
Infinitely loved by the Divine. — Heidi Garrett

Beyond the cliches, platitudes, and other superficials spoutings on love, lies an experience of a type that surpasses verbal explication. This is the experience of which I will attempt to speak. The love that brightens our lives with ecstatic joy and sustains us when we are beyond reach of all else, in the abyss of despair. Every life claims such peaks and troughs of human existence.

And yet love never abandons us.

I’m in the midst of my first read-through of God’s Ecstasy by Beatrice Bruteau. I say my first read-through because this book is going to require a re-read, if not several re-reads. Bruteau is a mathematician and philosopher. She has a mastery of quantum theory that will remain forever beyond me, but it is her extrapolation of that understanding into a theology of “the creation” that has had my mind pinging around like a ball in a pinball machine for the past few months. I read a few paragraphs every day with breakfast and let them percolate. She's the first “theologian” (I use the term loosely to mean anyone who applies spiritual concepts to our experience) who has satisfied my longstanding disagreement with the “we are one” religions and philosophies. [We are one and many.] I love it. Doesn’t THAT have a ring of truth to it? Okay, I’m tangent-ing …

Last summer I began to consistently meditate again. I’d fallen off the bandwagon. As someone who doesn’t have tons of worldly attachments, loosening my spiritual ones has never really been a helpful thing in the long run. So last summer, when I began to realize something was missing from my life, I began consistently meditating again, often outside in my backyard. Among the grass and the trees, the wind and the bugs, the sky and the clouds, the wonderful fresh scent of it all … and I connected with an abundance of love that I don’t remember ever connecting with before.

Sometimes when I meditate I get eureka-type insights. I prefer to not write them down, because I have a strange (is it strange? I don’t know) belief that if the insights are valid they will endure … or rise again until I won’t forget them.

The insight I had on one of those summer nights beneath a full moon was that: We humans are incapable of unconditional love. I know! You laugh that I had to meditate to come to that realization. But this was a cellular understanding. Think about it … we’re all exhorted to “love thy neighbor as thyself” and told that “love conquers all” and, well, you know, “love means never having to say your sorry”. But who is supposed to do all this loving? Imperfect humans? We, who none of us have ever been loved perfectly or unconditionally, are supposed to expect ourselves to be perfectly and  unconditionally loving of others? We who learn by imitation?

Isn’t that a double bind? A demand that simply can’t be achieved?

So … what if we have it a bit wrong? What if all these exhortations, guilt trips, shamings, cajolings, to love one another perfectly and unconditionally are simply … misguided?

I think we do need unconditional love.

But maybe, just maybe, the answer isn’t an outside to outside connection. Maybe the answer is an inside to outside connection. Let’s just say you meditated, and in that meditation, you connected to a source within (What source within? That spark of divinity within us all … the spark I call the soul flame) … so let’s just say you meditated, and in the silence you were able to experience an infusion of unbounded love. Let’s just say, you did this, experienced this for 3 - 5 - 10 - 20 minutes every day, most days. And it was the most complete thorough experience you ever had of feeling perfectly and unconditionally loved. Like you didn’t have to hide even a speck of who you are. And you felt that unbounded love FOR every quark of your being and IN every quark of your being.

Mightn’t that alter the way you perceived, approached your day … and the people around you? Mightn’t you naturally (no pasted on fake sh*t here) smile at the next person who came across your path?

Probably.

Would it create a lightening-strike transformation? Like, would you in one fell swoop be delivered from your old grumpy, irritated-irritating, distracted self?

Probably not.

But, what if … you meditated every day?

I'd like to re-quote a powerful message from one of the meditation articles I linked to in Meditation & Eclectic Spirituality, Volume 4.

A Case for Meditation in Schools: Aguirre's conclusion to this opinion piece is quite powerful:

When we are able through meditation to take the time to love ourselves, we stop looking to the world for love and find it within. Through self-love and awareness, there is no longer a need to inflict your emotional pain upon others, as it becomes easier to view yourself in others, and realize that hurting others is hurting oneself.

I'd like to posit replacing the concept of experiencing self-love with the concept of experiencing the unconditional love of our creator ... the same creator that created the universe the galaxy the stars ... and loves it all.

Friday, July 8, 2016

We are Simultaneously One & Many

Like most of my fellow Americans, I find myself reeling from and grieving the shooting of Alton Sterling on Tuesday, Philando Castile on Wednesday, and 12 Dallas police officers, five who lost their lives: Brent Thomas, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa, on Thursday.

I don't have adequate words. But this morning, I listened to the live streaming of a prayer vigil held at Thanksgiving square in Dallas, TX. It helped me a lot to watch it. It helped me because it reminded me that as Americans we want a better reality for our shared lives and community than we have witnessed this past week.

As soon as I can find a video of the full interfaith prayer vigil online, I'll post it here. Here is a link to one of the speakers (there were many):


Yay! The 48-minute service has finally been posted on You Tube (highly recommended!) (please take the time to listen to the many voices of the entire service):


I have often griped about the failures and shortcomings of religion, but in the service today, the faith in a divine intelligence and the fruits of developing a relationship with that Source shines through, a transformational beacon of light.

I simply cannot abide to hear anymore divisive rhetoric. We must evolve beyond duality and non-duality. The way forward is embracing the reality that we are simultaneously one and many.

Peace.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Meditation & Eclectic Spirituality, Volume 17

I wrote Sunburned: A Blog Series About Spirituality while doing research for War & Grace, the final installment in my epic fantasy trilogy Daughter of Light. Since the foundation of the story is the evolution of consciousness, I've been posting weekly links to meditation (& ecletic) spirituality things around the web ... because I really do believe it is all about evolving our consciousness—and meditation is one of the best ways to do that!

This week's links all have a "when the rubber hits the road" quality, i.e. this stuff really works in real life ... and you don't need to subscribe to any particular religion to reap the benefits!

Enjoy!

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant's Meditation Coach on How to be 'Flow Ready' and Get in the Zone: I highly recommend this long video. The time stamp appears to be wrong ... it says 18 + minutes but it's more like an hour. But Dan Harris's interview with with George Mumford is worth every minute.

How meditating in a tiny Iowa town helped me recover from war: A moving meditation transformation story.


Some are writing obituaries for American religion. Karen Tippet is documenting its revolution: Rethinking the sea change that's lapping at our collective shore ... Nones, SBNRs (Spiritual But Not Religious) ...


The Yoga of College Life: A fun trip through a (potentially mindful) day in the life of a college student.