Finding my Zen: Suffering

As I’ve mentioned before, I began exploring Buddhism after my therapist suggested I look into Mindfulness as a way to deal with the stress of the Empty Nest. To my surprise, I found a philosophy of life that resonated with me.

The First Noble Truth is that life is suffering.

Lost . . .

Lost . . .

Personally, simply noting that fact was a huge step in the right direction. I made this Truth my own by recognizing that suffering is a natural part of existence. We come into the world screaming (being born can’t be that pleasant – good thing we don’t remember it!) and it ends in death. All around us there is sickness, injury, poverty and depression. Instead of wallowing in that and focusing on the negative, I recognize that it is. Instead of fretting and worrying about the existence of suffering, I see life with a realistic view and can then focus on action and do something about it. Though my goal is happiness, I know that there is suffering. It is not something to dread. When I have a bad night, when the tears just won’t stop, I accept that suffering without judgment and move forward, ready to tackle the day without trying to analyze the feelings of the night before.

Acceptance is the first step. Then we can move forward.

 

 

 

Finding my Zen: Breathe

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while know that the past year and a half has been extremely trying for me. At one of my lowest points last summer, I visited a therapist on the advice of my family doctor. The therapist encouraged me to explore Mindfulness, and to consider taking a class.

Although I didn’t take a class, I did explore. Several quotes over the years from my sister-in-law about Buddhism resonated with me, so I began reading. Two sites were especially helpful, Zen Habits and Tiny Buddha. There were days I did not know how I could possibly continue, and that’s when I turned to Zen Habits and started with the basics: a simple post called “Breathe.” That staple helped me get through the rough points. When tears threatened or when I felt the weight of the world upon my shoulders, I could breathe. Couldn’t do much else, sometimes.

I know the holidays are often very difficult for people. There are times it seems that happiness is all around you, and you feel like an island of pain and suffering and doubt. Even in those moments, you can breathe. If you are having a difficult time, take a moment to read that simple blog post and DO it.

Trust me. You are stronger than you think.

 

Merry Christmas, damn it!

Christian Nativity Set

Christian Nativity Set

Though Christmas is over, the holiday hubbub has irritated me so much, I decided to write about it. I’ve seen so many comments on Facebook about “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and “It’s Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays!” – and they make me cringe.

Full disclosure: I used to be one of those people. When schools renamed their winter programs “Holiday” instead of “Christmas,” it ruffled my feathers. When the focus was on Santa instead of Jesus, I puffed up.

Menorah

Menorah

Then, one day, I passed along an email to a woman who was my Lupus mentor (introduced through the Lupus Foundation after I was diagnosed) about Jesus being the “Reason for the Season” and Christians were right and how everyone else could kiss my ass. Yeah, yeah, that wasn’t exactly what the email said, but let’s face it – that’s how it came across. Diane replied politely, something to the effect of, “While I appreciate your views and your beliefs, I am Jewish and do not believe in Jesus the same way you do. I do, however, celebrate Hanukkah in December and often greet both my Jewish and Christian friends with “Happy Holidays” to include both religions. Please do not include me on future emails like the one below. Thank you for respecting my wishes. Happy Holidays.”

Wow. That set me back on my heels.

I had been so self-absorbed, I hadn’t considered the fact that other people – good people – might not feel the same way I do. Up until I got that email, I know I said things like ‘Such-and-such is a good Christian person’ or ‘That’s the Christian thing to do’. After that email from Diane, I realized that there are people I think of as “good Christians” who are NOT Christians. Suddenly, the world blossomed before my eyes as I became aware of other religions.

Reindeer . . . or Stag?

Reindeer . . . or Stag?

After being called out by my Jewish friend, I became more cognizant of my behavior and the behavior of others, and how it appears to those who are not Christians. When Christians bluster about the Reason for the Season, it seems to belittle or discount other religions. Insisting that everyone greet friends and family with “Merry Christmas” is ridiculous. Personally, I don’t feel that it is my place to force my beliefs on anyone else. Many of the nastiest, most hateful posts I have seen on Facebook posts and comments on articles are written by people claiming to be Christians. It’s appalling. On the other hand, one of those most spiritual, giving people I know follows a Pagan religion.

And I have to share a little story that made me write a comment, delete it, write it again, delete it again . . . you get the idea. It was a Facebook post covered with red, white and blue and a cross. It said something about being a proud American, Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and then something about “Just like Israel” or something like that. I fought the urge to say, “You know most Israelis are Jewish, right?” (I kept scrolling, afraid my words might not be taken as the lighthearted poke I intended).

Please, before words leave your mouth (or your fingers), give some thought to how they will be heard by others. Consider the elderly woman down the street who may be lighting her Menorah, or the boy who mows your lawn who might be celebrating Yule with his family. How will they hear your words?

Joy . . . Do I need to say more?

Joy . . . Do I need to say more?

What I’m trying to say is, I’m OK with any greeting you choose to use. Just be polite. And thank you for thinking of me enough to greet me pleasantly.

Book Tour: Sonar the Crashing – Shiray Romeland’s Inner Goddess

Shiray Romeland is a strong, passionate woman who is not afraid to fight for those she loves. Shiray faces the ultimate test. Her morals and values are the only thing that keeps her grounded.
Her husband develops amnesia and doesn’t remember their marriage. Trials challenge her relationship, but Shiray refuses to give up. Life wreaks havoc in her path. But she knows that life is not always black and white. She reaches deep inside herself and learns not to always look for a reason why trouble was in her mist. Sometimes there’s not a logical explanation. She had to accept the situation and forgive the people she loved. Shiray’s tribulations made her a stronger person.
Shiray’s not perfect, and makes mistakes, but she believes love is eternal. Love is so bold it has no boundaries to hold.

Shiray’s planet is dear to her, as is her family. Although she is royalty, she fights right alongside her comrades to protect Kadan. She is willing to sacrifice everything to keep her loved ones safe.

B. Truly

Author of Sonar the Crashing

Book Tour: Sonar the Crashing by B. Truly

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Virtual Book Tour Dates: 12/8/14-1/5/14

Genres: Sci-fi/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

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Blurb:

Is it more than déjà vu? With the Romeland family it may be destined to be true.

Life on Earth is not the only place where devastation occurs and hard choices must be made. The Royal 4 of Kadan live in the Sonar galaxy three million light years from Earth. They travel to Earth to obtain the resources they need to give their world a fighting chance.

Their mission is compromised and they’re faced with life changing events. They have amnesia and no memory of their past. Strange dreams start to occur. They wonder if it’s more than a dream, or is it déjà vu?

The mind is a complex mystery. Amnesia is a secret unknown. The role it manifests in these characters’ lives is a catastrophic cyclone.

Shiray is frantic when she is the first to find out about their true destiny and that the love of her life no longer remembers who she is. She must find a way to restore her family before all is lost. They must prevail because the fate of their planet lies in their hand.

What would you do if you had amnesia and fell in love, only to learn upon regaining your memory, that you are already married? Find out in this Electric thriller!

Buy Links:

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Net Galley (Free)

 

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About the Author:

I have wanted to be an author since I was fifteen years old and grateful to have accomplished this dream. I have three wonderful children and a husband who defines the person I am today. I work full-time as an Ultrasound technologist in Sugarland, Texas.

I have very vivid dreams and a wild imagination. I like to read, watch tons of TV shows, and movies. I’m addicted to romance and get a thrill out of action and suspense. I write New Adult Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal-Romance.

In the Sonar series it was fun to explore different elements of Sci-fi romance and create various realms of powers for my characters. I want to show my readers that Sci-fi can be fun, but also traumatic. I hope you guys enjoy the Sonar Series.

 

Connect With The Author:

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Character Profiles

 

Giveaway:

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Enter to win an e-book copy of Sonar The Crashing (Five Winners) or a $25 Amazon gift card! Open WW, this giveaway will run 12/8/14-1/5/14. Enter through Rafflecopter.

 

Book Tour: Life Discarded #BookTour #thriller

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Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/24/14 – 12/22/14

Genres: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery, Women’s Lit

Tour Promo: Unforeseen Consequences and Buried Appearances by D.E. Haggerty are free until 1/1/15.

 

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Blurb:

Why would a woman who has it all throw her life away? Morgan has the perfect life. She married the man of her dreams. Daniel is smart, gorgeous and successful. Everything she has always wanted in a husband and the father of her children. But he’s also overprotective, jealous, and domineering. Is living with him enough to drive Morgan over the edge? Or does something more treacherous lurk beneath the façade?

Morgan

A gorgeous, sweet woman that is oblivious to her own beauty. She’s shy with men, but a rock to her friends. A librarian in a small town in the mid-west. She’s been waiting a long-time to find the one.

Daniel

An accountant in the city who will do anything to be the youngest partner in his firm. He always gets what he wants and he wants Morgan. He will pursue Morgan until she submits.

Together

They rush through a courtship and marry within a year of meeting. Morgan’s life is perfect. She has a job she loves, a best friend for which she would do anything and a husband that completes her. But things are not often as they appear. Behind closed doors the loving Daniel that Morgan married is jealous and overprotective. Sometimes he’s even domineering.

The Culmination

Morgan runs away – destroying everything in her path as she disappears. What made this good girl go bad?

See the book trailer on Youtube

 

Excerpt:
Prologue
Shaking hands steer the car to the nearest full service gas station. Only one or two gas stations in town still offer full service, but she had done her homework and knew this one did. Not only did full service guarantee that someone else would be pumping her gas, but its expense meant that there’s never a wait. Maneuvering the car to the furthest full service pump, she waits, hands clutching the steering wheel, for the attendant.

After what feels like an eternity to her fevered brain, the attendant finally notices her and saunters over to her car. Her eyes follow him, silently urging him to quicken his pace. Come on, come on. “Fill it up,” she squeaks at him when he finally reaches her car. She grabs her over-large purse and jumps out of the car, nearly tripping in her haste. Looking back, she whispers “I’m sorry” to the oblivious attendant before continuing around the building.

When she reaches the rear of the building, she frantically scans the area. Finally she spots the large garbage container, not in its usual spot. She jogs to it and squats behind it; shrinking into herself and covering her ears. Just in time. A loud bang shakes the earth below her feet. Looking up, she sees flames shooting into the sky.

Time to get out of here. She stands on shaky legs, taking a moment to calm her erratic breath before walking in the opposite direction – refusing to look back.

 

Buy Links:

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Kobo

 

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About the Author:

D.E. Haggerty was born and raised in Wisconsin but thinks she’s a European. After spending her senior year of high school in Germany, she developed a bad case of wanderlust that is yet to be cured. After high school she returned to the U.S. to go to college ending up with a Bachelor’s degree in History at the tender age of 20 while still managing to spend time bouncing back and forth to Europe during her vacations. Unable to find a job after college and still suffering from wanderlust, she joined the U.S. Army as a Military Policewoman for 5 years. While stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, she met her future husband, a flying Dutchman. After being given her freedom from the Army, she went off to law school. She finished law school and moved to the Netherlands with her husband and became a commercial lawyer for more than a decade. During a six month break from the lawyering world, she wrote her first book, Unforeseen Consequences. Although she finished the book, she went back to the law until she could no longer take it and upped stakes and moved to Germany to start a B&B. Three years after starting the B&B, she got the itch and decided to pull the manuscript for Unforeseen Consequences out of the attic and get it published as an e-book. Deciding that she may have indeed finally found what she wanted to do with her life, she went on to write Buried Appearances. After moving to Istanbul, she started on Life Discarded, her third book. Between tennis, running, traveling, singing off tune and reading books like they are going out of style, she writes articles for a local expat magazine and various websites, reviews other indie authors’ books, writes a blog about whatever comes to mind and is working on her fourth book.

 

Connect With The Author:

Website

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Blog

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Amazon Author Page

 

Giveaway:

Enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card on the Life Discarded by D.E. Haggerty Book Tour and Giveaway! Open worldwide, this giveaway will run 11/24/14 – 12/22/14. Enter through Rafflecopter.