I love you, Mom


I’m reading lots of wonderful posts online today, and looking at all the photos of people hugging their moms. And when I go to the store, there are countless of choices of floral bouquets and Mother’s Day cards.

I think that’s the toughest part—seeing all those cards.

I used to read every single one—searching for the perfect card to tell my mother how much she meant to me. She was my best friend. My healer, my confidant, the one who loved me unconditionally. I adored her. On her gravestone, I had them inscribe: “Our angel.”

My mother had the softest hands and the warmest hugs. Her smile could light up a room.

Mom taught me to believe in God and she taught me the importance of being a good person—to be honest and trustworthy—even when it’s not convenient or expected, even when no one is looking, and even when those around you are not behaving that way. She taught me that it’s the little things in life that matter most—like being with your family and your friends. She taught me to fish, to cook and to bake, to love animals, and the importance of getting down on the floor with your kids to color in coloring books, to toss the baseball in the backyard with your sons, or that you’re never too old to play Barbies with your daughter.

My mother taught me that hugs are to be given freely, and she taught me the importance of saying, “I love you” because you never know when you will see that person again. Maybe not until the next lifetime. I am forever grateful that the words “I love you” were the last words I spoke to her and she to me.

Is it mere coincidence that when I went to the Pixabay website just now, to find a picture of daisies (my mom’s favorite flower) to insert in this post, that before I even typed in what I wanted to search for–a picture of a daisy popped up?

I don’t believe in coincidences. I had the best mom in the universe.

Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Momma. I miss you every single day.

The Stuff of Holidays: Magic, Tears and Blessings

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockings --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI’ve already shed a few sentimental tears this past week—at my cousin’s photo of her kids brandishing candy canes and big grins, all bundled up and piled in the car as they get ready to go cut their annual family Christmas tree; at the silly Christmas program on TV yesterday when Santa Claus made his entrance ho ho ho’ing as he passed out candy to those in attendance; at songs like “A Mother’s Christmas Wish” by Olivia Newton John (and I don’t ordinarily even like her music) and “Believe” by Josh Groban; and at movies I will always treasure, no matter how corny they seem to anyone else: “The Homecoming,” “Prancer,” “Christmas Vacation,” the cartoon version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and the puppet versions of “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.”

It’s funny, isn’t it? How a holiday can have such a profound effect on a person.

You see, Christmas has always been my favorite time of year—a time of joy: the intoxicating smells of evergreen, baking cookies, roast turkey, hot cocoa, a fire in the fireplace, stockings hung by the chimney with care (as my dad used to say), colored lights and sparkles everywhere, the anticipation of the looks on my kids’ faces on Christmas morning, and the way my heart overflows with joy when making others happy. I get caught up in the rush of it all, yes, the chaotic craziness, fights with my husband because try as I may (and I really DO try), I always end up spending too much, but I do it because I want to make that one special day perfect for my family. My mother used to do the same, and those are memories I will never forget. They are the stuff that made me believe, and never stop believing—that dreams really do come true, and that real love never dies.

The older I get, the more memories I now associate with Christmas, and although all of them used to be good, that is no longer the case. My precious father died unexpectedly just days before Christmas in 2005, followed by my mother in early 2006. In deep shock and inexplicable horror, we were forced to bury Dad on a snowy and cold Christmas Eve that year. It’s hard enough to enjoy the holidays after you’ve lost a loved-one, but even harder when you lose someone during what to me had always been the happiest season of all.

But, such is the price of getting older, I guess.

My tears during the holidays now come with mixed emotions—joy for the family I still have, and the grandchildren who now grace my home with the laughter, excitement, and innocence my own children used to exhibit—and a longing for those whom I once adored but are no longer here in the flesh.

Each year though, they send me signs that they are still with me in spirit, signs that my husband would say are mere coincidence—like how my husband’s computer turned on all by itself the other night—the screen suddenly bursting with a bright, blue photo of the ocean, desktop icons along one side. I got up to turn it off, but since it’s a version of Windows I’m unfamiliar with, I couldn’t figure out how, so I simply turned off the monitor. The next day when I told him about it, my husband said that that was impossible; the monitor wasn’t even connected to the computer; it couldn’t have turned itself on or displayed that photo.

But it did.

And, when getting out of the car two weeks ago, I clearly smelled the scent of my dad’s pipe. Impossible.

Not impossible. For me, Christmas prompts me to treasure the blessings I have—a roof over my head, food in my belly, and all the other material things I have, but most of all, Christmas is a time to remember that real love never dies, and to treasure those whom have blessed my life in so many ways.

Thank you for blessing my life. (Written with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.)



Podcast of “Positive Perspectives” with Melinda Carver

According to talk show host Melinda Carver, at first, her listeners wondered how a spiritual awakening could take place during a rock concert. And who would blame them? I thought the same thing, even as it was happening to me! Hopefully all their questions were answered during our interview. Melinda was an outstanding host, asking questions such as, “How did you balance being a wife and mom with having such extraordinary experiences?” and “What was it like to be singing onstage with a famous rock star?” She also inquired about how I compared my journey to that of Paulo Coelho’s award-winning book, “The Alchemist.”

Melinda and I further discussed the role music and sound played in what happened to me, the implications of what experiences like mine could mean for others, and how my book has effected many of my readers. It was a great interview. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you, Melinda!

Gateway to Altered States of Consciousness

TMI by Baja Rock Pat

It’s been a month since I returned home from my six-day Gateway Voyage program at The Monroe Institute (TMI) in Faber, Virginia. TMI specializes in exploring altered states of consciousness, out-of-body experiences and peak human performance and they use sound frequencies (Hemi-sync© binaural beats) to induce these states.

As the old song by Jim Stafford went: “Take a trip and never leave the farm!” Indeed.

“Hemi-sync” is short for “hemispheric synchronization,” or the coordination of both left and right sides of the brain to stimulate expanded awareness and more focused human performance. Wearing headphones, the listener hears similar but slightly different beats played in each ear. For example, the listener might hear a beat of 100 Hz in one ear and 104 Hz in the other. The brain then interprets the difference of 4 Hz as that of a third beat, which it mimics, creating theta brain waves, which is the brain’s natural state of deep relaxation and increased learning. And when combined with an atmosphere with minimal or no outside sensory input, the mind is capable of incredible things. Therefore, each participant is assigned his or her own CHEC unit complete with headphones, volume and light controls, and a black drape to block out noise and extraneous sound and light.





CHEC Unit                                                         (Controlled Holistic Environmental Chamber)


Founder, Robert Monroe, strove to keep his research scientific and credible, so in developing his techniques, he worked with many professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, physicists, and electronics engineers to name a few. It was crucial to him that his research was considered valid in the scientific community. And this was one of the reasons I wanted to attend TMI. What they offer there is not spiritual shenanigans. The human brain is an amazing instrument and capable of far more than we realize.

Robert Monroe

                                                                Robert Monroe




I’ve been going over the notes I took while I was there in order to process the incredible things that happened to me. There were many. And some were intense. Not for the faint-of-heart. After six days of lying in the dark on my back in my cubicle with headphones on, the experiences I had will probably take me years to absorb, but I thought you might be interested in a little introduction here, as I continue to sort everything out. Some of my deductions thus far:

  • Death of the physical body is not the end.
  • If we were to use just a tiny bit more of that which our brains are capable, we would be able to accomplish more in our lives than we ever dreamed.
  • NOTHING is impossible.
  • I have complete and total control of my life–my thoughts, my deeds, my circumstances–and I can change these any time I choose.
  • The physical world is an illusion. Our perceptions of what is real and/or true are based on our beliefs, our thoughts, our heritage, our religious teachings, society, and many more influences.
  • I am so much more than my physical body.



                                    Crystal on the property




So, what exactly did I experience? How did it feel? Why would anyone take the time to explore something like this? Wasn’t I scared? Did I experience other levels of consciousness? Did I leave my physical body? Did I encounter intelligences from other dimensions?

Stay tuned!                                                                                                                    (PS–the answer to the last four questions is yes.)

Voyage into the Mind and Limitless Possibilities

My heart is beating fast with anticipation, frustration and excitement because I’m so inspired I want to climb out of my skin. My next book is swirling in my mind like a mad tornado, ripping up everything in its path: ideas are bouncing around in my head, in the pages of my notebook, scribbled on scraps of paper that get scattered all over the house, and saved in dozens of computer files. In other words, the story is still working itself out but not fast enough to catch up with my emotions. That’s often what happens to me. I don’t write the story, or the poetry that comes out of my hands—they write themselves. But it’s coming. I still need to do some research though, and that takes time.

As a means of better understanding the revelations I’ve been shown about the power of the body, mind, and spirit, and in order to more effectively relate what I’ve learned through my books, in a few weeks, I’m attending the 6-day Gateway Voyage program at The Monroe Institute (TMI) in Virginia. TMI is dedicated to educating people from all walks of life and from over the world about peak human performance under the premise that human beings are much more than their physical bodies and they use sound to induce altered states of consciousness. That’s exactly how my out-of-body experience (OBE) happened to me—sound waves (in my case through live music) lifted me out of my body and showed me my definition of self, God, truth, and the meaning of my life, so TMI seemed like the next logical step.

In retrospect, it’s no surprise that TMI came to me in the serendipitous manner in which it did. When I first had my OBE during Sammy Hagar’s concert in Mexico in 2003, I had no idea what had happened to me. I thought it was my imagination. Or the heat. Or the tequila. But things changed instantly in my life as a result, and I knew that heat or tequila or my imagination were not enough to maintain the ongoing and exceedingly incredible things that I soon found taking place in my life.

I kept a journal, because the things that were happening to me were so hard for me to believe and so wonderful. These things didn’t happen to ordinary people like me! But they were. Fearing for my sanity while at the same time, feeling in complete awe at all the events taking place, I sought concrete explanations. After my Internet search of the words “altered states of consciousness” brought up a book titled Muddy Tracks by Frank DeMarco, I checked the book out of my local library and eventually bought it.

As I read the first few chapters of Frank’s book, I became disgusted with myself for harboring the ridiculous notion that I could ever write a book about what was happening to me. “There’s no reason for me to try to write a book about all this,” I told myself. “Frank already wrote it!” DeMarco was saying the exact same things that I was going to say–and although I initially felt discouraged as far as the writing of my own book, it was such a relief to discover that I wasn’t losing my mind because obviously, these things happened to other people too. But Frank’s story also differed from mine in a lot of ways, one of which was his mentioning of a place in Virginia called The Monroe Institute and how it helped him travel out of his body to places all over the world and to other dimensions.

The more I read Muddy Tracks, the more I got the feeling that I was supposed to contact Mr. DeMarco, but I kept pushing the thought away, telling myself that it was ridiculous. What would I say to him? And the moment I had these thoughts, I read in Muddy Tracks, how Frank was considering writing to the author of a book he was reading. The title was something about a praying mantis, I think. One day as he was pondering all this, he noticed a praying mantis clinging to the outside of his screen door, and he took it as a sign that he should indeed contact that author. But like me, he told himself he was being ridiculous and he didn’t know what to say to her, so he talked himself out of it. A year later, he finally decided to reach out to that author but when he did, he discovered that she had recently passed away. He would never know the impact that author would have had on his life.

When I read this in Frank’s book, I nearly fell out of my chair. It was as if he had read my mind and was telling me not to make the same mistake he did. So with trepidation, I emailed him, telling myself, “He’s a famous writer. He’ll never answer me.”

Days later, I received an email from him.

We exchanged emails for a little while and he was very encouraging and kind. At the time I was still unsure of where my experiences were leading me and I was afraid, so I was rather vague about whom the famous celebrity was that was involved in my story and other details.

Years passed. I wrote my book, got an official endorsement from Sammy, then proceeded to try and find an agent. After countless rejection letters, I decided to self-publish. I knew I had a good book. I knew it was well-written. But something told me to contact Mr. DeMarco again. Maybe he’d be interested in hearing what became of my experiences. Maybe he’d even write me a blurb of endorsement! I almost talked myself out of it again because I didn’t want to bother him, but something within me insisted, so I emailed him once more.

Not only did he write a blurb for my book, but he gave me the name of his publisher and told me he would recommend me to him because he thought his publisher might be interested in my story since he specialized in New Age books.

I contacted Frank’s publisher and he asked for my book proposal, which I sent. Then I held my breath. I’d been through this process before, but something about this time felt different. Within a week, the publisher told me that he loved my book and wanted to publish it.

I later learned that my publisher too, had participated in several workshops at The Monroe Institute, and when the opportunity recently presented itself for me to go, I jumped on it without giving it much thought. Part of me scolded, “It’s too expensive! Think of all the other things you could do with that money!” But, as is now typical of the serendipity and synchronicity that has poured into my life since my OBE in 2003 at Sammy’s concert, it all just fell into my lap and I felt nudged by an unseen force, so I’m doing it! I’ve learned over the years that when something happens so effortlessly like that, whether I understand its significance at the time or not, it’s always in my  best interest to see it through.

I will keep a journal while I’m there to record my experiences. From what I hear, I’m sure they will be vast. And although I’m going there with no expectations other than to gain a better understanding of the power of my mind and spirit, since I’ve already had an OBE, I’m curious to find out what will happen during my Gateway Voyage.

Stay tuned.

(For more information on The Monroe Institute, please click here: The Monroe Institute)


Mitochondrial Eve

Author’s note: This is a post I’ve been working on for a long time. I hesitated to post it due to its controversial nature. However, I think it is important to expand our horizons by considering different perspectives, because when we are exposed to new theories, it opens our minds a little bit and helps us grow as human beings. In no way do I intend to offend anyone’s belief system. Please also know that I am not stating here whether I believe or disbelief any of the contents of this post. It is a fact that Mitochondrial Eve exists, but its implications are subjective. And that’s what I find so fascinating, so I wanted to introduce new concepts and possibilities to those who may never have considered this subject before.

In 1987, scientists discovered a common ancestor to all humans alive today. She lived in Africa 200,000 years ago and was given the name “Eve,” not to be confused with the Eve from the biblical story of the Garden of Eden. Mitochondrial Eve was not the first woman from whom all humans were descended, just a common ancestor.

According to Nova’s website, Mitochondrial Eve was actually the most recent common ancestor through matrilineal descent of all humans living today. That is, all people alive today can trace some of their genetic heritage through their mothers back to this one woman.

Trace our heritage through our mother’s side? How is this possible?

Whenever an egg cell is fertilized, nuclear chromosomes from a sperm cell enter the egg and combine with the egg’s nuclear DNA, producing a mixture of both parents’ genetic code. The mtDNA from the sperm cell, however, is left behind, outside of the egg cell.

So the fertilized egg contains a mixture of the father and mother’s nuclear DNA and an exact copy of the mother’s mtDNA, but none of the father’s mtDNA. The result is that mtDNA is passed on only along the maternal line. This means that all of the mtDNA in the cells of a person’s body are copies of his or her mother’s mtDNA, and all of the mother’s mtDNA is a copy of her mother’s, and so on. No matter how far back you go, mtDNA is always inherited only from the mother.

Like the debate between Creationism and Evolution, the theory of Mitochondrial Eve is also highly controversial.

But let’s just assume for a moment that it’s true, and if so, could it have an effect on the manner in which women are treated even today? In my Women’s Studies classes in college, we discussed the goddess theory and how in the beginning, woman was worshipped because woman was the bearer of life. Among her sacred symbols were the serpent, the apple and others which through time became associated with evil and sin in Christianity (the story of the Garden of Eden is but one example). Perhaps this sowed the seeds for the oppression of women.

If it’s true that our heritage can be traced back to one woman, isn’t it interesting that even today when she marries, a woman often takes the surname of her husband? I wonder how different the world might be if it were the other way around.

On a more positive note, I am fascinated by the way “the Great Mother” has affected my life. I have heard differing opinions of this term. Some believe “The Great Mother” was Mary, the mother of Jesus and she very well may have been. But I tend to think of her as half of Father God, as in Mother God/Father God; the two of them being two halves of the one entity I call God. For me, the yin/yang symbol represents this concept perfectly.

Yin/yang represents all opposites of the universe–long and short, postive and negative, male and female, up and down, etc. It’s also interesting to note that each half contains the seed of the other. To me, that symbolizes our personal duality: we all have male and female hormones and we all have both positive and negative qualities, but in order to be whole, we must embrace both sides.

The term “Mother Earth” is also a common expression, along with “Mother Nature.” perhaps as a complement to “Sky Father” or “Heavenly Father” (the yin/yang principle again). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_father.

In any case, I wonder whether the discovery of Mitochondrial Eve was a possible sign that it is time for us to embrace the sacred feminine in ourselves and each other. If you don’t believe in signs, it can only be a beneficial thing to embrace all aspects of ourselves and others, can it not?


Celebrating Joy and Gratitude and YOU!

To me, it matters not, which holiday one celebrates, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Solstice or nothing at all, but I’d like to share something I wrote in my journal the other day because it’s about experiencing joy and most of us could use more joy in our lives:

According to the Mayan calendar, today wasn’t supposed to come, yet here we are: days away from Christmas. To me, Christmas is a magical time, and this year, I’ve been trying to sneak in little moments of joy whenever possible–to pause and really appreciate the moment–because obviously, December 21, 2012 wasn’t the end of the world, but perhaps it will be the beginning of a new world where peace and love prevail at last.

I was walking through our local mall the other day when all of a sudden, a children’s choir began to sing, diverting my attention from the rush I was in. When I looked in the direction of the sound, I saw parents and grandparents crowded together in coats and boots and beaming as they watched their little ones perform. The children looked to be about 5-6 years-old.

I paused for a moment to listen to their sweet, little voices, but a tear formed in my eye and a lump rose in my throat as I thought about the twenty 5-6 year-olds who were gunned down last week at an elementary school in Connecticut. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as hard for people I didn’t even know, as I did for those babies. That inconceivable event NEVER should have happened.

I didn’t stay and listen to the children at the mall for long because I didn’t want those kids’ parents and grandparents to see me crying. Instead, I tried to focus on how it felt when my kids were that age and had to perform in the mall like that. There was never a mother more proud than I was as I watched my kids deliver their practiced lines while dressed as Santa’s reindeer or elves.

When I walked out of the mall the other day, huge, fluffy snowflakes began to fall from the grey sky and a sort of hush seemed to descend over the parking lot, even though people were scampering here and there to finish their last-minute shopping.

I stood beside my car for a moment and I smiled and sighed at the beauty of the snowflakes. I wished I could have stood there taking it all in for hours, but it was getting dark and I had a lot of things I needed to accomplish before nightfall, plus I knew I was probably getting dirty looks from impatient drivers waiting for me to vacate my parking spot.

Days later, I sat on the floor in front of our Christmas tree–we bought a real tree this year for the first time in over a decade–so I sat and gazed at the tree decorated with lights, tinsel and color and I thought to myself, “It just sings of joy!” And I wondered, why is it that the anticipation of Christmas is so magical? –the songs on the radio, the decorations and colored lights in the stores and all over town, gifts beneath the tree–yet once Christmas Day is over, so is the magic.

And how can I tap into that magical feeling and joy that only comes at Christmastime, throughout the year? I wonder if I’d still feel the magic if I couldn’t afford a Christmas tree or gifts for those I love. But like “The Whos Down in Whoville” in the Dr. Seuss story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” I realize that the magic of Christmas–and joy–do not come from a store–they come from the heart.

So as 2012 winds to a close, I want to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank-you to all of you for your love and support of this website and my book “Dance of the Electric Hummingbird.” Without you, my book would simply be a conglomerate of typed words in my computer or a bunch of sentiments in my head. YOU helped make it reality by buying the book, telling your friends about it, by attending my book signings and by being there for me every step of the way. I couldn’t have accomplished this without you and it means more to me than words can relate. Please do not ever give up on your dreams and never stop believing in the marvelous and magnificent gift that is YOU.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and a New Year filled with perfect healthy, prosperity, peace, love and joy.

~Baja Rock Pat

There But for the Grace of God, Go I…

Last week I had a near-death-experience.

It had been a tough day. I was on my way home after twelve hours of babysitting my three granddaughters–whom I adore, by the way, but they’re all still in diapers and two of the three were fussy pretty much the entire day.

Anyway, I was driving home and it was dark. I was tired. My back hurt; my knees ached and I was looking forward to getting home and maybe taking a nice, long, relaxing soak in the tub.

For now though, I was stopped at a red light and I knew it would be a long light, so I reached down and inserted a new CD into the player: The Eagles’ “Desperado,” one of my all-time favorites–extraordinary vocal harmonies, and I just love that banjo in “Doolin-Dalton (Instrumental)”. That’s what I was thinking as I hit the play button, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark-colored minivan run up the embankment to my right (I was in the right lane), its headlights suddenly blasting into my windshield, the van itself tilted at such an angle that I was surprised it wasn’t tipping over onto its side and into the car ahead of me. My first thought was “What are they doing? I guess they must have overshot the turn!” (A silly thought to have at a time like that.) But I quickly realized that the minivan’s front panel was dangling from the car, the passenger side was all smashed in and smoke was billowing from under the hood.

Reaching for my cell phone, I quickly dialed 911 to report the accident. People were jumping out of their cars all around me and running to check on the occupants of the van. It was all happening so fast!

After completing my phone call, I got out of my car, walked toward the minivan and asked if everyone was okay. A middle-aged man said, “Yes, everyone’s okay.” So not wanting to get in the way, I got back into my car and proceeded to merge with the now-bunching-up traffic to my left. It felt like time was standing still. I could not even make myself turn my music back on. I needed it quiet. It was similar to how I felt when I got the phone call that my dad had died–but nowhere near the intensity of that moment–shock, I guess you’d call it and an attempt to process the reality of something unexpected and horrible.

By the time I was able to move and I passed through the intersection, that’s when I saw the other car–a silver sedan smashed up pretty bad and sitting diagonally in the middle of the intersection. I said a silent prayer for all those involved, hoping that no one was seriously hurt. From the looks of both cars, it could have gone either way.

As I proceeded home, I had to pull over several times in order to allow firetrucks, ambulances and police cars to get through, and as I waited for them to pass, I realized that my hands were shaking and my heart was pounding. I was shook up for those who were involved in that wreck, and grateful that I was the third car back at that intersection, instead of the first. Had I been in the first car, I would have been hit. Maybe killed.

When I got home, I tried to pretend that it was just another day and that that accident didn’t really affect me, so I logged onto my computer and was instantly inundated with the problems of other people that had somehow suddenly become my responsibility. It was too much.

I got up, poured myself a glass of merlot, then closed my eyes and just breathed. And in that moment, all those problems and the 80 gazillion other critical things I needed to deal with RIGHT NOW suddenly became insignificant. I was alive. I was still breathing. What did it matter if so-and-so might think me rude because I’d forgotten to return his or her phone call or email? Or that that businessperson whom I had hoped would give me an interview turned me down because I was not a writer for People Magazine? And so what if there was still chocolate ground into the carpet from Halloween because I hadn’t had time to clean the house this week?

I sat back in my chair, and felt the wine slide down my throat–smooth and warm, and I thought about how lucky I was to have such beautiful grandchildren. Even though they’re fussy sometimes, I am so blessed to be able to see them often and to have a family and friends who love me, a roof over my head, food to eat and everything else I have. Because like life for those people involved in that accident, everything can change in an instant. You can be going about your day the way you’ve done for the past 20 years or more and all of a sudden something unexpected happens and changes everything in ways you never could have prepared for. What then? You deal with it. You have to. But maybe next time you’ll be a little more patient with that eldery woman who took forever to get through the line at the grocery store last week when you were in a hurry to get that special dinner on the table for your sweetie. Or maybe next time you won’t be quite so quick to judge your neighbor because he has tattooes or because he dresses differently than you, or has too many kids or not enough kids or believes in a different god or no god but is still doing his best to be a good person just the same.

Because maybe, just maybe, there won’t be a next time.

Today’s Guest Blogger: Mystery Writer Patricia Stoltey




Patricia Stoltey



It is my pleasure to feature Patricia Stoltey as our guest blogger today. I hope you will post your comments or questions, as she is on hand and ready to reply to your comments. And thank you, Pat, for taking the time to interact with my readers today. Your professionalism and talent are an inspiration to many.

Paying Attention Might Change Your Life by Patricia Stoltey

Pat, thanks so much for inviting me to visit Voice of the Spirit. I’m especially honored to be here as I’m a big fan of your inspirational memoir Dance of the Electric Hummingbird and admire the commitment and the hard work it took to get your story published. Everything that happened for you indicates you’re someone who pays attention.

For me, paying attention means observe, notice, listen, and interpret. Instead of charging through my day as if I were in complete control, I need to feel the underlying message, test my interpretation, and then act with confidence.

A few years ago I stayed with my mom in Illinois after her knee replacement surgery. Over the years, I’d tried hard to convince her to move to Colorado to be closer to me, but she couldn’t decide. My brother and his wife lived nearby, and because of their health issues, it would have been harder for them to travel to Colorado than for me to visit Illinois.

Just before her surgery, however, my brother had to move to a town closer to health care providers and Mom was unable to make the move on her own. Now just out of the hospital and still on pain medicine, totally dependent on me, she was at her most vulnerable. I wanted to swoop in, take charge, and move her to Colorado.

It didn’t quite work out the way I wanted. As I watched and listened to what my mother and brother were not saying, which was far more revealing than what they were saying, I realized there had to be a better solution. I had ten days left in my two-week stay, and only seven of those days were weekdays. In that time, I rented the only available apartment in the same complex where my brother now lived, and it just happened to be a ground floor apartment which was critical because of Mom’s arthritis. I found a local mover who could transfer her furniture and possessions immediately. We got the house listed for sale, everything packed, the move completed, and a caregiver to visit each morning to finish Mom’s therapy from the surgery.

I believe nothing happens that fast, without a single hitch, unless I’m 100% doing the right thing. That conviction eased my disappointment and helped banish any regret I might have experienced later, especially during those inconvenient layovers in Chicago’s O’Hare airport.

And guess what. The force is still with me. As I got older and a little more creaky, Frontier suddenly added a direct flight to an airport only 45 minutes from where Mom (now age 93) lives, and there’s a convenient shuttle between the cities. No more all-day travel events with four hours to kill in O’Hare.

Serendipity is often seen as a mere surprise or accident, synchronicity as coincidence. I don’t believe that for a minute. I’ve experienced way too many surprises and coincidences in my lifetime. I think it’s because I look for them, I expect them, and I express my gratitude for every signal and every sign.

Here’s another little story for you. Not long ago, I received an e-mail through my website from a gentleman named Gary Sand who wrote a novel called In Dreams. Out of the blue, he contacted me and asked if he could send me a copy. He had figured out from photos, my website, and my blog that he’d written about my generation and that I now lived in the state where most of the novel is set. He had a feeling I might enjoy the read. Gary doesn’t aspire to be a writer of dozens of books, and he had no expectations for a review or publicity. Being the book lover I am, I of course said, Sure.”

I put the book on the bottom of the To Be Read stack on my coffee table (a stack that seems to grow taller every week), but that particular book kept drawing my attention—I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why me? Why did Gary send it to me?” Finally I pulled In Dreams out of the stack and read it almost straight through. I ended up in tears…twice.

Gary’s novel told of events in my own life experience, events Gary would have no way of knowing. The parallels are stunning. His story was almost like a rap on my head, a reminder that we are all connected and we should pay attention to our instincts as Gary did by asking to send me a book. And I paid attention to the signals that said, “Read Gary’s book now, because you need a reminder to count your blessings.”

There are a couple of books you might want to read if you’re interested in these topics. Rhonda Byrne’s The Magic focuses on gratitude. Alex Marcoux just released Lifesigns: Tapping the Power of Synchronicity, Serendipity and Miracles.

Now how about you? Do you pay attention?


In Dreams (http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Gary-Sand/dp/B005CHKIAI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351028939&sr=1-1&keywords=In+Dreams+Gary+Sand)

Lifesigns (http://www.amazon.com/Lifesigns-Tapping-Synchronicity-Serendipity-Miracles/dp/0615627978/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351028775&sr=1-2&keywords=lifesigns)

The Magic  (http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1451673442/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351028863&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Magic)



Patricia Stoltey lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and two-year old Katie Kitty. She is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries in the Sylvia and Willie series published by Five Star and Harlequin Wordwide, and she has three standalone suspense manuscripts in the works. The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders are now available as e-books for Kindle and Nook.

You can find more about Patricia and her books at her website (http://patriciastoltey.com/) and blog (http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com/). She can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/patricia.stoltey) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/PStoltey).


Prairie Grass Murders: (http://www.amazon.com/Prairie-Murders-Sylvia-Mystery-ebook/dp/B004FGMT0Y/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1351031661&sr=1-1)

Desert Hedge Murders: ( http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Murders-Willie-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00960SI9K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1351031721&sr=1-1&keywords=the+desert+hedge+murders)


Superstition and Beliefs

I’ve been watching some interesting shows on TV lately, shows about different superstitions and beliefs around the world. Some of them terrify me—exorcisms and people who pierce themselves with hooks that are connected to weights, then climb a hundred steps dragging the weights up the stairs—and all of this to appease their god or gods. And there was a segment about women deemed witches by their peers and driven out of their villages because the crops failed that year or because there was an unexplained death in the village.

A lot of those stories featured superstitions and customs in third world countries, but people in the United States believe some pretty weird stuff too, like “if a black cat crosses your path, it’s bad luck” or “if you break a mirror it’s seven years of bad luck,” to name a few mild ones.

I got to thinking about all these things and how they related to me, because I’ve had a lot of unexplained incidents happen to me over the past decade that some might call crazy. And as I was experiencing those things, there were often times where I wondered if I was simply inventing them in my mind or if my perception of reality had somehow become seriously flawed.

So where does belief in the supernatural get out of hand and cross the border into insanity or in the very least, when does it become an unhealthy belief? Perhaps it’s a matter of interpretation, because in those third world societies, I’m sure they didn’t consider the things they were doing unusual or cruel or wrong in any way. They were raised with those superstitions and that’s the way things have always been done.

This reminds me of a story a friend once told me about a family who had a rather unusual tradition of how they cooked roast beef. Before putting the roast in the oven, they always cut it in half. Generation after generation prepared the roast in this way, until one day, a mother was preparing the meat to put in the oven and her daughter questioned it. “Mom, why do you always cut the roast in half before you cook it?”

Her mother replied, “Because that’s how my mom taught me to do it.”

Unsatisfied, the young girl then asked her mother’s mother and got the same response. Since her great-grandma was still living, she then asked her, “Does cutting the roast in half give it a better flavor or something?”

Her great-grandmother smiled and said, “Well, I started doing it that way because the roast was too big to fit into the pan I had, so I had to use two smaller ones, and I cut the roast in half to fit into the pans!”

And so, a tradition, a sort of superstition, was born.

Often our superstitions are established out of fear—fear of bucking the system, fear of the unknown, of things we cannot see with our eyes. And at the same time, we also have a need to find explanations for the reasons things happen the way they do–it’s a matter of survival of our species. But what do we do when there is no logical explanation? Like why the crops fail or why a seemingly healthy child dies for no apparent reason? Or why lightning strikes a certain man on the golf course—one in particular—but not the others he’s with? Are these circumstances merely random flukes of nature?

It’s times like these that we sometimes turn to our spiritual beliefs, because there is no other way to explain things. But when does believing in the supernatural get out of hand? And where did I get the notion that such beliefs can get out of hand? Maybe it’s because I believe in the importance of balance. In martial arts, I learned that in order to be whole, one must nurture one’s body, mind, and spirit in equal amounts. If one of these becomes more important than the others, it’s time to reevaluate. This makes sense to me.

And yet, there are monks and nuns who do nothing but meditate and pray all the time, but someone has to feed them, house them, clothe them, do they not? Can one’s mind float above one’s body the entire time, even when preparing food, cleaning house, washing clothes, or going to the bathroom? Perhaps. I’ve heard it said that that’s the ultimate state—not to allow one’s self to be distracted by the outside world because the outside world is just illusion. That could very well be true.

So maybe the villagers who were condemning those women were simply blinded by illusion. And yet, it was “fact” that the crops failed that year and the entire village faced possible starvation because of the loss of food, so they felt compelled to do something about it. They didn’t realize (logic) that by ousting someone, it wasn’t going to provide a means to feed their people that year; they only believed that by doing so, it would prevent the same thing from happening in the future, because it must have worked once before. Maybe that’s a lot of the problem with the world: people feel victimized and powerless, so it’s easier to blame someone else than to accept responsibility.

Perhaps the real solution is to believe in ourselves—believing, KNOWING that we are NOT powerless and that no one is to blame but ourselves. And yet, how does that apply in cases of horrendous things happening to innocent people? They didn’t choose their lot, because if they would have known ahead of time what was going to happen, they likely wouldn’t have chosen to be in that setting. I also know there are those who would argue this point and say that yes, we choose everything in life, including when and how we are going to die—we choose this before we are born. But that’s a whole different topic.

I  personally don’t think those villagers were crazy because of their beliefs; they were simply doing things the same way they’d always been done—and maybe it’s my own fear that makes me think that they were doing something wrong—although hurting others is NEVER acceptable.

There’s a lot to be said for tradition—I think it’s wonderful and important to honor our heritage. However, I also think it’s important to question things and to examine our hearts to see how we feel about the things we unquestioningly accept as true and right, merely because that’s how it’s always been done. Maybe that’s where the border lies between unhealthy beliefs and belief in the supernatural—in the stepping back and examining our reasons for our thoughts and actions and adjusting them accordingly–by restoring personal balance–if necessary.