Category Archives: writing

moving pieces around

think outside the box quotes business concept

I spend hours imagining what might happen next in my novel. I live in two simultaneous worlds. There’s the outer: husband, son, friends, teaching, writing groups, spiritual community, and the inner: the life of my characters, their challenges, setbacks, and growth. Both are equally alive and real to me. The novel characters remain active in my mind as I walk, shop, and visit in my daily life.

I do not look to writing for my happiness–that kind of unshakable contentment is never found in something that comes and goes. Nonetheless, writing is a passion. It’s what I must do, and one way I give back.

Is my interest in these characters a waste of precious time? Does it undermine resting in and as awareness? What is creativity, anyway? These are the puzzle pieces I’m moving around today.

© Amrita Skye Blaine
photo from http://www.freepik.club

 

 

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Filed under Awakening, Daily reminders, Musings, writing

“Unleashed” is published!

My novel, Unleashed, was just published and is available in paperback and Kindle versions. Below the cover image is the synopsis, and then the Amazon links here and around the world. The young girl, Rowan, is awakening.

Please tell your friends and share with your networks!
All the best,
Amrita Skye
Synopsis:
After her father’s death, eleven-year-old Rowan Graham wrestles with depression. Carolina, her mother, looks for a way to ease her daughter’s grief and decides to adopt another dog. Rowan chooses a wolfhound-deerhound mix and believes she and the pup, Zephyr, communicate through mind-pictures, a phenomenon that her mom rejects.
While vacationing, the family is embroiled in a multi-car accident; Zephyr is pitched from the van and bolts into the wilds of central Oregon. Medics airlift comatose Rowan to Portland for head trauma care.
Best-selling author Moss Westbury is haunted by devastating nightmares. A veteran of the Afghanistan conflict, he writes to expunge his demons. When his nightmares are fueled by unfamiliar howling on his isolated land, he sets out to find the culprit.
Unleashed is a story of devastation, courage, hope, and love, told through the eyes of Moss, Rowan, Carolyn, and Zephyr—each struggling to resolve challenges and fears.
Australia for Kindle: http://amzn.to/2g0RVdk
The Netherlands for Kindle: http://amzn.to/2fAt8fv

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my memoir has been published!

My book, Bound to Love: a memoir of grit and gratitude has been published! Both the paperback and Kindle versions can be found here, at Amazon. Other digital versions can be found at Smashwords.

Usually my posts here have a different flavor, exploring nondual understanding. The memoir chronicles the pressure cooker journey that drove me toward unwrapping this deeper truth. Perhaps, without my son Thom, I would not have. I am very grateful.

Front cover with white text justifiedThe memoir won first prize in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2005 contest under the name Blood Bond. That was a very bad time to market memoirs, I discovered, because of James Frey’s betrayal of the form in A Million Little Pieces when he exaggerated his personal story, and was exposed.

I let my manuscript molder on my computer for seven years, then pulled it out and walked it through two more critique groups.

Bound to Love is the true story of a single mother who encountered and navigated a complicated nightmare for any parent. My child, the only child I could ever bear, was born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect, and suffered a more brutal health diagnosis soon after. Walk with me as I birth the courage and grit to meet Thom’s compounding challenges.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015

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love waits – a poem

Love Waits

Love waits
patient, unseen, outside of time.
It cloaks as car accident,
chronic illness, or grief;
starry night, baby’s breath, or
first ripe raspberry in spring.

It is waiting,
waiting for you,
waiting for you to turn around,
to finally turn inside.

This love flows, wholly dependable,
unlike relationship, made of two:
at best, a luscious, rampant garden,
filled with surprise and hidden delight—
still—in all its fullness, a mere reflection,
temporary and time-bound for loss.

Love waits,
waits for you,
waits for you to turn around,
to finally turn inside.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2015

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Filed under Awakening, Love, Non-duality, Poetry, writing

hot tub epiphany, on writing

four quadrants of the brainSoaking in the hot tub tonight, I was wondering about writing non-fiction and fiction, and why I haven’t succeeded–yet–in flowing easily from one to the other. I returned to writing a novel a few months ago, and no sooner than fictional words started to flow, this blog slowed to a dribble.

The story I told myself is that writing non-fiction, from direct experience, takes place in a different part of the brain. When one quadrant is active, apparently, the other is not.

Tonight in my head, I heard my mother in her parenting prime many, many decades ago, saying “Hogwash!”

Everything: every object, thought, feeling, sound, and so on, is a modulation of awareness–writing, too. The source of these blogs is identical to the source of my fictional characters. Perhaps, in seeing through and dropping the story, I can move seamlessly from one project to the other.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2014
photo credit: Scientific American

 

 

 

 

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I have a plan

planHow many times have we said, “I have a plan” over our lifetime?

When we approach life with a plan, there is always some part of us to improve, to correct, to change.

I remember that I always had an idea of what events, relationships, or even my hair styles would look like, but they never turned out the way the mind envisioned. I had self-improvement schemes, too. For example, if I were kind enough, other people would be kind in return. Not necessarily so…

I no longer live with a plan. However it is, is how it is. This makes this wild experience we call life much simpler and easier. Much less stress, resistance, and drama.

Not having a plan makes life interesting right now, because I’m taking a year-long real estate course where I’m required to make a business plan. Which, of course, I will–because I’ve committed to completing this course. I will put close attention to what they ask of us, and attend to the details. But do I “believe” in it? Do I really believe I have individual control over my life? No longer–because this is so obviously not “my” life. I’ve spent hundreds of hours noticing, and I cannot find a “doer.” And yet doing happens, and life continues to unfold. Occasionally events even turn out in a pleasing way. Just as often, they do not.

I soaked in the hot tub tonight. Abruptly, the body-mind stood, and stepping out of the tub, wrapped up in a towel. There was no plan–or even the premonition of a thought–of leaving the warmth of the tub at that moment. And yet it occurred. I slipped into bed, looking forward to deep rest before an apparently very busy day tomorrow. Forty-five minutes later, I found myself sliding my feet into slippers, wrapping up in a hoodie, and returning to the computer.

Do I have any sense of when writing will stop, and I’ll return to bed? No idea at all. Perhaps writing will go on all night. Perhaps, a couple of minutes from now, the body will put itself back in bed. Whichever occurs, or something else completely unforeseen–I’m sure to be surprised by whatever shows up. That’s part of the delight of living now–it’s all so surprising.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
image credit

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Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, simple pleasures, spirituality, Surrender, thoughts, Truth, writing

oneness and multiplicity

OnenessLogoTonight, I took part in a reading at Sisters Consignment Couture in Sonoma, California. We read short sections of memoir about sisters, or people close enough that we consider them our sisters. David shared how his father turned malevolent when he drank, and thrashed his wife–frightening him and his three sisters. Catherine’s sister died five years ago of lung cancer, and she so clearly depicted walking with her sister towards her death, and the loss she still feels today. Joelle wrote about the night she was taken home abruptly from a slumber party because her sister, Wendy, had died in a car accident. Laura described unreasonable and thoughtless behavior of a Mother Superior when she and her sister were little. I read a short piece where my best friend and I spontaneously created a ceremony at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford Hospital to honorably dispose of my wedding ring from a previous marriage.

The common thread that expresses oneness amidst the seeming disparity of experience and stories was so obvious–our compassion and love for family and friends, the exquisite rawness of our shared human experience. The mind notices differences, a skill that we require for many activities. We can make use of the able mind and know it is not the largest truth. The deeper heart recognizes with undeniable clarity that life is not-two.

©Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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Filed under Advaita, Dzogchen, Musings, Non-duality, spirituality, stories, Truth, writing

inquiry, take two

smiling shivaYesterday’s post quickly falls apart under close scrutiny, because in the first half I spoke about the personal, separate “I,” and in the second half, I was referring to the inquiry that brings one to understand there is no personal “I” at all–all there is, is freshly unfolding life.

This is how words continually miss the mark they aim for. And yet, I cannot deny my love affair with them. Words keep me up at night, as I lie in bed honing, mentally wordsmithing, searching for the most subtle,  direct, honest expression I can put forward.

Inquiry is Shiva. It destroys what we believed ourselves to be. What’s left has no ownership–but nothing has been lost. As my friend and teacher Elias Amidon says, “We’re ruined.” Then he can’t help but chuckle.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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shedding habits

ponies in sweatersRecently a friend was describing to me how he invites sleep after he lies down in bed. He thinks of each of the roles that he has in life, and then imagines casting them off, like “habits” or clothing. My image is of shedding the apparent personality, so the ease of pure awareness can shine through.

The moment I lie down, my mind jumps into activity–either chewing on this or that, or considering some aspect of writing that I’m working on. Over the past seven years or so, I don’t fall asleep nearly as easily as I did when I was younger. For the last few months, I’ve had to go to sleep on my back–my least favorite sleeping position–to ease the stress on my painful shoulders. Sometimes sleep evades me for a couple of hours. So I decided to give this habit-shedding a try.

Some of my daily roles are woman, wife, mother, real estate agent, writer–these are the hats that I take on and off throughout the day. For the last week, as soon as I settle down prone, I visualize pulling off layers of these roles, returning to the simplicity of no-thing, to the truth of what we are. Occasionally a habit seems to stick, and I have to pull it off more than once.

Amazingly, I’ve been falling asleep within five or ten minutes, and sleeping a solid six hours without waking. I get up, toddle out to have a glass of filtered water, and return for another couple of hours of sleep.

Yet another way to return to the home ground that we never leave. Gratefulness abounds.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
photo credit

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one lovely blog award

Amanda of smilesalot1969 has nominated Heart of the Matter for the One Lovely Blog award. Thank you, Amanda!

I’m supposed to tell you seven things about myself, and nominate other blogs. I’m out of town helping a friend move, so I won’t be able to nominate blogs now–but here are seven pieces of info about this body/mind:

1. the truth of what we are interests me more than anything else in life.

2. I live with my wonderful husband, a smooth collie named Emma, and a Scottish deerhound named Maggie. They keep us laughing.

3. The smell of Thai food cooking simply makes my mouth water! It’s my favorite cuisine.

4. I like finding animal shapes in cloud formations.

5. Writing brings me joy.

6. I’ve made friends in the blogosphere (how IS this spelled?) that are precious to me.

7. I think I enjoy reading on my Kindle as much as an actual printed book.

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