Friday, April 27, 2018

Visions of Wonder

 Lost in a world not your own, you keep seeing a pattern that looks like this:

 The vision is inside your mind, more than outside. What is Spirit trying to tell you? Or better, what is Albagoth telling you?

 Lost, feeling alone, Sarah cringes at the sight of spiders crawling on the lines and one walks up to the inner vision to speak directly to her, "Princess Sarah, trust us. We are your friends and guides."

 "Go away!" She yells, forgetting she is riding behind Milo and Xander is behind her on Geoffrey's back. They are leaving Curá on their way back to the world called Nampa.
 She swats at the spiders, losing her balance and hold on Milo. 
 Xander reaches for her to pull her back up, only to fall off also. 
 Sarah only wants to be alone.  She is stuck with keeping track of Xander. But those spiders tell her she is the lost princess and is needed to unite the three divided spiritual paths. 

Available now on Amazon in paperback and Kindle Unlimited.

The path is within. Follow the Anansi to the Banyon Tree.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Curse of Apathy

     Apathy is a curse and it what I live day by day.  Having faced so much rejection in my life, I have adopted the apathetic mentality that it doesn't matter, so why try? It keeps me safe, but never it also keeps me from venturing outside my comfort zone, while I shout out to my Soul and Spirit to change things. The answer is always, "We are behind 100 percent. But you have to put yourself out there, too. You want to succeed, then start pushing yourself instead of envying all those who are succeeding."
   This is me. This is who I am. I keep saying I will push myself. I keep thinking I can put myself out there, then I get lost on Facebook and reading the dreaded news. Another way to keep me from working on my promotions, and finishing that third book.
  Here I go, succeeding. Here I go, blogging about myself and my apathy as a way to confront it and hopefully see it for what it is. Perhaps I need someone to keep me in check. Once the world knows that I'm not that successful because I don't believe in myself enough, perhaps they will find something to relate to. Maybe just maybe I'm not that much of an outsider.
  Here I go, taking the Bull by the proverbial horns.  Hell, maybe I need to learn to blow my own horn more and know it is okay to believe in myself.
  And Connor is a Crow Judge, damn it! Respect his title, man!  Yeah, please respect his title. And respect me. I suppose I need to respect myself. Okay, here I go. I gotta love me.
  Hmm, how does it feel to really love me? How does it feel to actually have books selling like hotcakes off of Amazon and Kindle? If anyone can describe that to me, I would appreciate it.
  Maybe Apathy can be a blessing. Maybe I can find something good it in.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dream Interpretations interview with Alex Stewart

Welcome to another session of Dream Interpretations with Merri Halma. Today we welcome Alex Stewart, a social worker at Louis Ellis Adult Group Home                                                                              
Alex: Thank you for having me. 
Alex has been having a recurring dream of being with her parents and older brother sitting around the Christmas tree. Alex, you mention feeling invisible, as you watch your parents and brother opening presents. He calls for you to come join them, and you try to move to the couch where they are, and then you start growing. They don’t appear to notice, yet you call to them to notice you. Your words fall on deaf ears. You continue growing, breaking through the roof. It starts to snow, so you do your best to protect them.
Let me remind everyone that each item in the dream is symbolic of the dreamer. Now for our interview with Alex.
Merri:  I understand you’ve been having this since your brother’s death, right?
Alex: Yes, well I think so. I always felt like I had the dream before he died, but certainly in the years since then, probably once every six months, at least every year. When I first left for college, I had the dream or some version of it every night for a week.
Merri: What stresses were you experiencing at the time of the dreams?
Alex: I'm not sure about all of them. The last few times, I was stressing over my relationship with Kat. She and I were struggling there for a while, mostly due to my stupidity, but we're on track right now. It's funny, the more life throws at us, the better we are, but when everything was going on with school and the new job at Louise Ellis, I was not doing a lot of self-care. I guess the job was also bringing Shawn's death into the forefront, and I had a lot of unresolved feelings about him. I think about him every day. He was such a cool brother.
Merri: Tell me how this recent dream changed from when you were a child?

Alex: When I was little the dream stopped before I got out from under the tree. I could hear my parents talking from across the room, which comforted me. In college, the dream, it became more stressful when I tried to get their attention and couldn’t. After I started working at Louis Ellis, in the dream I became more protective of my family and Shawn, from the elements, the wind, and sleet in the dream.
Merri: That’s after you broke through the ceiling, correct?
Alex: Right.
Merri: As a child, after Shawn passed away, did you feel lost? Like you couldn’t say what your feelings were?
Alex:  I was lost. My parents were lost, too. I kept my feelings to myself, I guess because I didn't want to make life harder for them. Our family changed overnight, really. We went from kind of an Ozzy and Harriet existence to everybody for themselves. We didn’t talk about Shawn for a long time. It was hard because, everywhere you looked, Shawn was there. I think we were all scared of making the pain worse for each other.
Merri: You sound helpless, though. Like whatever you do isn’t enough. Is that right? What kind of danger were you seeing in your waking life growing up?
Alex: I guess I was always worried I was going to disappoint my parents. They had already lost one child, and I had to be uber-responsible to make up for that. Even during my “rebellious” phase, where I barely talked to them and got in a lot of arguments with my mom, I was killing it at school, AP Math, Science, and English classes. I won a statewide essay contest. I was on the debate team. And I had a part-time job working at a bookstore. My rebellion was basically being shitty to my mom and ignoring my dad. Also, I smoked for about a year. Stupid, right? Anyway, the biggest fear I had was letting my parents down, but I ended up distancing myself from them in the process. And then I felt more alone because they didn’t see me. They didn’t know me.
Merri: Fear keeps us from opening up to family and friends. You buried yourself in your schoolwork to avoid feeling your fears and as a form of protection. Now that you’re older, are ready you to get to know your parents? Are you ready to feel your feelings?
Alex: Yes. We have had several talks now, and it is helping me understand on a psychological level what happened. I’m beginning to see them as two different people, not just “the parents,” and they are actually pretty cool individuals to know. My dad is funny, in a dad sort of way, and really easy to hang out with. He knows a little about everything. My mom is a bit harder to get to know, but she is brilliant, snarky (like me at times), and organized. If I ever need help getting something done, she is right there for me.
As to my own feelings, I am always a work in progress. I have a hard time trusting people, so I end up thinking the worst when things don’t go the way I planned. In the past, I have held pretty shallow relationships, where there was no need to develop high levels of trust, really nothing to lose. As things got serious with Kat, I struggled more with the fact that I did have something to lose than anything that was actually going on with her, the bar skanks, etc., although that is what I focused on so that I didn’t have to face my own feelings directly. Now, I see how bad that was for our relationship and my own well-being. It isolated me from Kat, which made me feel even more invisible to her.
Merri: That’s great insight, and shows you are facing your feelings. In the dream, too, you mention a feeling of invisibility. In what way in your waking life now do you feel invisible? 
Alex: I haven’t really thought about that. As a social worker, I want to make a difference in people's lives. When Carla died that brought that feeling front and center. I mean, I oversaw her, and there was nothing I could do to keep her ... safe. If I'd just gotten to the phone in time. If I had driven around to all the local bus stops. I don't know, it just felt like my presence, nothing I could do mattered, but I kept trying. I struggle with it sometimes, but I do believe that I can make a difference.
In some ways, maybe I feel like Kat wasn't hearing me? She kept everything bottled up inside and then shared it when she's ready. I like to talk things through, plan things out, so when she doesn't tell me things, I feel left out of the loop. When she was going through this whole commitment thing, it wasn't the typical settle down or play the field question, it was how do I settle down? Will I be able to keep my other family back home? I guess she needed to work through that on her own, but I felt left out like she had better things to do.
Merri:  So you felt isolated and alone.
Alex: Yes, that’s about right.
Merri: In your waking life, how are you not protecting yourself?
Alex: Well, for a while I was just flying by the seat of my pants. I was avoiding feelings instead of addressing them. If I had talked with my parents a long time ago, I could have avoided years of lingering guilt over Shawn. If I had faced down some of my jealousy issues, I wouldn't have had to put Kat and me through the horrible separation that we had.
I am learning, though. My dad got hurt in a car accident, and I have been helping him, but instead of running myself threadbare, I have been writing in my journal, walking, and meditating. Kat and I are learning to communicate a lot better. And I have had learned a lot about forgiveness. My parents for their grief, the universe for taking Carla, Kat for keeping things to herself, and most of all myself, for always feeling like I've let everyone down if I don't do the exact right thing. I think I'm a pretty cool person. Even my cat, Schrodinger, thinks so, from time to time.
Merri: Aren’t we all flying by the seat of our pants? (giggle).  I wanted to get to the dream you had with Carla now.
Alex: The last time was just before they found Carla (a client from the group home where I work). In that one, I could see her at the house next door, watching television, and there was this red shade over the window. What was weird was that I had an extension to that dream, and I haven’t had one like this before. I was lying in this meadow where I like to go, and I kept getting covered with leaves. I don’t know if I believe in precognition, or whatever, but I woke up covered in leaves, and I couldn’t breathe. Carla was found in a wooded area covered in leaves just a few days later.
Merri: That dream gives me pause. Yes, it does sound like you were experiencing a bit of precognition. Perhaps Carla was reaching out to you.
I remember your original dream changed, too, when you burst through the roof of the house, your brother, Shawn, noticed you. He said you didn’t have to be up there, right? What are you trying to get yourself to see?
Alex: I think I was up there trying to see more about Carla, and he told me to get down. When I said I was trying, he asked me why. I think maybe he was saying all my trying wasn’t doing any good, that I needed to stop trying so hard and let some things come to me. He was telling me to get down from where I was so I could see. But I could see better from up there, right? Well, maybe not. Maybe I need to have more than one perspective to really understand things. And maybe I am trying too hard.
Sharon, who is my boss and a good friend, has counseled me to think more of the everyday ways I can affect the lives of our clients, rather than focusing on all the potentially bad things that can happen, the worst all would be a client getting harmed or dying. Certainly, those things may happen and will have to be dealt with, but the day-to-day care is the most crucial thing. In my personal life, I need to come to the understanding that I am not on the hook to prevent all the bad things that happen to the people in my life. I can keep all the balls in the air I want, but life is always going to throw another one in, one that I may or may not be able to handle. And that has to be okay. My brain gets that. It may take a while for my heart to catch up.
 Merri: Alex, you are bringing in your own insight to that dream. I’m happy to learn so much from you and look forward to seeing your continual growth. I hope you start keeping a dream journal and learn from your dreams.

 Thank you for coming on our show, Alex. And thank you, listeners, for tuning into Dream Interpretations with Merri Halma. Until next time. Goodbye and pleasant dreams. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Death, the Final Frontier


  He came running over the green hills of Margaret Peirce’s lawn, calling my name. Barely three or four years old, he was free to play and couldn’t wait to go venturing with me.  I don’t& remember how we met, we just always knew each other. I turned in my yard and ran towards him, “Kirky!” I called.
  While he was barely three or four, I was close to eight or nine. Kirky was always tall for his age, happy, eager to learn and eager to crack a joke or see the humor in a commercial. His twin sisters, Merry and Terry, used to babysit my sisters and me when my parents went to play bridge on a Monday evening. Or went to parties – usually bridge parties.
  During the summer, when I wasn’t playing the boys on the block my age, I was hanging out with Kirk, riding bikes in his grandparent’s back yard, which was the house next door to us.  His dad was a pharmacist downtown Sunnyside. We used to go down there to visit and Mr. Montgomery would let us choose a Matchbox car to take home. I was a major tomboy. I loved my cars and trucks.
His grandparent often took us to the A & W. Kirky called it the Rootbeer Stand for lunch. It was one of his favorite places as a pre-schooler.   We had our fun, but there were other kids on our block that were closer to his age. And as I grew up, I became more of a loner. And one of his best friends was a boy who was the son of good friends with his parents who also played bridge with my parents. I remember the young boy, Michael Quigly as a towed boy who seemed to go everywhere with Kirk. He was a bright boy and was eager to smile.
   Puberty takes a toll on each one of us. Some in good ways, and some not so good.  I went off to college. And came back. I remember one of the last discussions I had with Kirk was at the time of his own puberty spurt. He discussed some of his concerns that young boys have and I assured him he would be okay and things would grow as needed to be. The very last time I saw him was at his dad’s funeral over twenty years ago. Maybe more.
  My Mom kept me up with what Kirk was doing in college and his many ventures into careers both in college and out. But it doesn’t replace actually keeping up the friendship. I regret that we lived so close together the last twenty years, but we never actually spoke or messaged each other. Indeed, friends grow apart.
 Kirk became a successful business man with Valley Ride in the Treasure Valley and I’m a struggling Indie author who feels more like a failure than a success. 
 August 9th, 2017, I attended Kirk’s funeral service. He was very loved and respected. I saw his sisters and was uncomfortable to approach them through the sea of people I did not know. I thought I was a fake friend because it’s been close to 30 or more years since we last talked. I regret not speaking to them now.
 I mean, what do I say? “I’m sorry your little brother passed away. It’s good to see you all after all these years. But the circumstances aren’t so keen.”
 And what do I say to his wife? “I was the child hood friend who used to borrow Kirk’s big wheel so Tony and I could ride big wheels around his drive way?”
 Wow, that would make a big splash, wouldn’t it? I think not.
I remember once as a teen, I was riding my bike alone when I saw Kirk playing basketball in his yard with some of other kids in the neighborhood. He called me over to play with them. I wasn’t very good at sports, but I gave it a try. We had fun.

 Death isn’t a friend to anyone. Yet is not something to fear. It is a transformation we undergo. We mourn the loss of physical life. Not being able to see our loved one again. But we take comfort in knowing our loved one’s spirit is still alive and waiting for us on the other side. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

What’s in a Name?

 If you could name yourself, what would it be? Why does that name resonant with you?  A name defines us, and often once we change our name, something around and inside of us also changes.
What is in a name? Babies are always named before birth. Usually according to gender, or preference of the parents.  Babies don’t always match their names, though. Sometimes when the parent's divorce and the babies are too young to speak for themselves, the name gets changed. Sometimes no name really matches the child.
 When I was a baby, I was given the name Alice Lorraine. My birth sir name was Ventaloro. That is who I was meant to be. My birth mother left me while I was still a newborn (roughly four to six months, I’m guessing) and my birth father was working out of state. My sister and my brother were given to my maternal grandparents raised. At the time of adoption, my name became Mary (which I changed the spelling in the fourth grade). I’ve always hated that name. It doesn’t fit me.  
 As a stutterer, it was difficult to say my name. I’d always blocked on it. A little-known fact about stutterers is that we identify with our names, so it is often hard for us to get it out since most of us hate that fact we can’t speak fluently.
 Later I experimented, calling myself Lorraine for a while or M. Lorraine. But still, it didn’t match who I was or fit me. 
 After moving to Idaho, I’d introduce myself to strangers and the response would be, “Glad to meet you, Erin.”
  The first time someone called me that, my whole being lit up a like a Christmas tree.  My second response was, “I love that name. That isn’t what I said, though.”
 The person, whom I was shaking hands with said, “I heard you say ‘Erin.’”
 That has happened to me many times since that first time. So often, I have considered changing my name to Erin. Others I have told say my whole being changes when I say, “My name is Erin.” And that is how I feel when I think it or say it out loud. It's named that truly does fit me.
 What name would you choose for yourself?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Award: An interview with Sarah Johnson, From Indigo Travelers and the Keys to the Shadowlands

I’ve been nominated Stephanie Barr for the ‘Sunshine Blogger Award’, where a character in one of my novels has to answer ten questions about themselves. I’ve chosen Sarah Johnson, of Indigo Travelers and the Keys to the Shadowlands, (book 2 of the Indigo Travelers Series). I nominate the following authors: Carol Green-Kjar, Mercedes PruntyChrista Yelich-KothPukah Works (also has and Jocelynn Babcock to answer the questions at the end of this blog.


  Part of the chain is to nominate people with your own questions, so here’s mine!
1. How would you describe the world you live in three sentences or less. 
I live in the World of Nampa and travel with two other friends to Curá where we must find the lost soul of King Titus. Curá is a world so different than Nampa because everything is alive. The world is monitored by Crow Judges who talk with us and guide and make sure every being is obeying the laws of lands. Not just the main society laws, but the spiritual laws that Albagoth set up. The danger of this world is the Keys to Shadowlands were stolen from the Superior Crow Court Judge and now an evil raven is stealing people and trapping them there. She has offered me to the human Prince Tayson to be his bride. I am no one’s bride. I’m only 15 and much too young to be married.

2. What is the one thing or person you couldn't bear to lose?
   Xander’s friendship. He is a good friend and I kind of like him. But he isn’t very certain of himself. He is getting more certain of himself since his first trip to Curá. Yet I sense he’d be lost without me. I have to protect him. We are a team. Yet I have secrets I can’t confide in him about. If he knew I could be adopted and dropped into the World of Nampa where I don’t belong, he might reject me. I can’t bare it if he does reject me. I can’t tell him or any I could be an alien who isn’t really human at all.
3. What is the one thing or person you'd love to lose?
  I’d love to lose these visions of spiders. Whenever I close my eyes, I see spiders crawling around this circle with many paths or divisions, like a pie chart. I see close of up one with a tattoo of that symbol. I want to know what it means. It tells me to trust it. How can I trust it, when I can’t even look its beady eyes?

4. What chore or responsibility do you hate most?
I hate having to watch my little brother and sister. They’re so annoying. Always on me to play kid games. And lately, my little sister wants me to put make-up on her and brush and style her hair. Why, I don’t know. I don’t wear make-up at all and can’t bother with styling me blond hair as if it I just stepped out of movie trailer. No way. Give me black Trip pants, army boots and black Ghost metal t-shirt and I’m set. If I were to wear make-up, I’d put black lipstick on and maybe dark eye shadow.

5. What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
  When I feel overwhelmed, I get on a bike and ride out to a park where there are few people and more trees. I feel very relaxed and at home there. While in the Shadowlands, I met a Banyan Tree named Raindom. He helped me to get in touch with my inner being. Though, I still have many walls I need to break down. I can’t let them all fall at once. If they do, I could become a meek pushover, girly girl. I must remain rock solid and not allow anyone to walk all over me.

6. If there was one of your traits you wished you could change, what would it be and what would you change it to?
  I wish I could exchange my strange round, and kind of cauliflower ears for regular human ears. I would also add more piercings. Right now, my parents only let me have snake bites. But I want to pierce one of my nostrils and maybe add my own tattoo. I’m not sure what it would be. But that circle with the many divisions means something, I’ve got to find out what.

7. What do you most want to accomplish?
 I want to end fighting. I want peace in all the world and maybe in all worlds, besides the World of Nampa. I want all spiritual paths to see how they are connected. To recognize their common elements and stop fighting with each other over their differences. Also for it to be okay to be atheists and agnostics.

8. What aspect of yourself are you the most pleased with?
 I am most pleased that I can fight and stand up for myself. I’m pleased that I’m teaching Xander to fight. Though, he has learned some of that on his own, because of his first experience in Curá two years before mine.

9. Would you replace your author if you could? Does your author annoy you?
 No, my author is the only one who understand me. She doesn’t work fast enough, that bothers me. Also, when she finished the first book, Indigo Travelers and the Dragon’s Blood Sword, I just had to express my anger that she left Geoffrey, the griffin, in Curá. He was supposed to come home to live with Xander. I want my author to write my book faster so I can know how I will face those two warring spiritual paths on Wayla.

10. If you could turn into any animal, which one would you choose and why?
     This is a tough one. I would want to be an armadillo because they have a tough skin and can roll up into a ball to protect themselves. They also have long, sharp claws so they can lash out at another animal that is trying to eat them.
  I would also like to be a cat because they are very independent and don’t take any sass from anyone.
 Now for the authors I have tagged to answer:
1.    Tell me about yourself and your world
2.    What would you change about yourself if you could? What would keep?
3.    Describe your favorite activity
4.    If you could write your own story, how would you change it?
5.    What is the one person you can always depend on to be there for you?
6.    Who most annoys you?
7.    Who do you have to protect?
8.    What motivates you to get up in the morning?
9.    If you could sit down with coffee with your author, what would you talk about?

10.   What is your favorite color and define who you are?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Touch Your Soul

Sitting alone in a group of women, I scanned the room, observing all of them in deep conversations with each other and here I sat, with two empty chairs between me and the next woman.
  The leader of the group gave us the assignment, to write a mission statement for our life. She called it our vision statement – why we are living. What makes our life worthwhile to still be active and doing what we are doing for a living.
I scanned the crowd. Noticing that the woman closest to me glanced my direction, sneering. I wondered why she looked at me like that. What made her so special that she felt she was better than me.
 I noticed the women across the room would glance at me; they also dismissed me. I had to ask myself why I even came to this group. It was supposed to be a group to empower each one of us to touch our strength and build our inner selves up so we felt stronger the. But I felt so alone. So isolated.
 I started to write my mission statement about inspiring others—inspiring those who read my books or even those who could approach me without fear. But maybe I am the one who is living in fear.
 My comfort zone is being reserved, quiet, listening and observing others.
 I watched as the leader went around to each woman present, ignoring me. I was in the seat closest to her, but she started with the second person to my right. I wanted to cry. Instead, I continued to ask myself, “Why are you here? These women don’t like you and look down on you. What I am coming here?”
 I realized I come for myself. I come to build myself and to hell with them.
 I scribbled out what I started to write.
 “Please, Soul, come into my life. Come into this moment. Assist me with this task.”
 As soon as I uttered that silent request, my sadness went away. My aloneness went away. I wrote, “I live my life according to my inner voice and it’s guidance.”
  When the leader finally came to me, I read it to her, expecting her to dismiss it. Instead, she wanted me to read it to the group. Others put their family and friends a head of them. The lesson she wanted us to take away was putting ourselves first. The leader high fived me. As usual, I hit her left high hand with my right hand, instead of matching thumbs.  Yes, I am totally awkward.
  I am me. I am who I am.
 I touch my soul. This is what I want others to learn. How to take their power by touching the part of them that knows more about themselves.

  Invite that seldom seen but always felt part of you daily. Feel better, stronger and know more about your own direction in life.