Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Golden Tickets and Enough Rope

Whenever energies grow particularly potent, the Universe sends out another batch of “golden tickets,” à la “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Intense desire to better one’s life summons unusual circumstances governed by “chance” or “fate,” synchronizing into the opportunity of a lifetime. As Carl Jung noted: “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.” Golden tickets can reveal truly golden characters, or they can arrange for circumstances to destroy lives as a result of rotten characters made visible.

This past month, and especially the last couple weeks, offered golden tickets galore to both private individuals and those on very public stages. I’ve seen this with clients, friends, former clients and others I’ve helped in secret behind the scenes, but even cursory glances at headlines reveal opportunities for more famous people to make a clean, definitive break with “the way things were” and truly embrace new realities, relief, and freedom. Golden tickets do not erase the past; however, they do bring with them “enough rope to save yourself or hang yourself.” In fact, golden tickets push inner indecision to the forefront, forcing people to take some kind of decisive action with that rope.

As with characters in any good story, we each hold within us both light and shadow, along with the potential for both courage and cowardice. Some people’s Shadows are darker and murkier than others, and some people’s courage hides itself more thoroughly than others. When a golden ticket arrives, even people with very dark Shadows and self sabotage programs who never managed to summon enough courage to break away from old patterns before — these people in possession of a shiny golden ticket suddenly find themselves with a chocolate factory full of highly visible opportunities to demonstrate their character.

Of course, we hope that everyone will be a Charlie Bucket, but we find plenty of Violet Beauregarde’s and Veruca Salts. Sometimes, we find a real Arthur Slugsworth. More often, we find people for whom we really do want to root, but we’re just not sure what they’ll do with this golden ticket. Such people might even have a great deal of charisma and somehow manage to beat the odds and summon multiple golden tickets throughout their lives, but maybe we’ve already seen them squander two golden tickets. Maybe we sense the ticket they now hold has attached itself to a more decisive rope. Will they save themselves or hang themselves? Will they win the chocolate factory or definitively reveal themselves as bad eggs or cowards?

Golden tickets force the truth forward in the form of enough rope. Unless we engage in vindictive Shadenfreude, we generally hope people use that rope to save themselves, envisioning how they could then use that same rope to inspire and lend a helping tug to others. But what happens when they don’t? What happens when someone’s responses to his or her golden ticket reveal the worst and weakest, rather than the best of inner character? What happens when someone with a golden ticket doubles down on that response?

In a golden ticket situation, the differences between someone we know and/or love saving themselves and hanging themselves become so apparent as to shine light in even the deepest corners of cognitive dissonance, hopium and our desire to believe that anyone can change. Depending on our relationship with the person squandering the golden ticket, we reach our own decisive point of trying to shake some sense into the person, walking away, and/or removing our entanglements and any enabling behaviors. Turning our backs on someone who has squandered a golden ticket  can feel like a lonely, disillusioned, and sorrowful time, but it also offers a vicarious opportunity to make a decisive change in our own lives.

As revelations, extreme life challenges and health crises often summon golden tickets, we will continue to witness (and sometimes even experience) the corresponding length of rope. As individuals, and as a society. Western culture is itself in an extensive golden ticket moment. What will we, as participants, decide to do with our opportunity? What will we, as individuals, choose to do in our own lives to honor courage and truth? Not pseudo-courage that hides behind ideologies or other people … and not slippery truth whose words promise all manner of contradictory things in an effort to pass the rope.

As I’ve mentioned before, I find fiction a useful medium for exploring consciousness and a variety of what if’s. I’ve recommended Starhawk’s novels as both prophetic and highly useful tools for navigating our now, but many novels or films with well developed characters can help us gain clarity on the miasma of light and shadow, courage and cowardice, truth and lies. Some interesting viewing for our times includes: “The Big Short,” “Revolutionary Road,” and on a more mythological level, “The Neverending Story,” as well as Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. This is our story, too. How we respond matters. As in, creates matter. Form. Reality.

People struggling with suspected narccisistic abuse might want to check out M. Scott Peck’s classic, “People of the Lie,” along with the resources on http://narcissismfree.com. Those who suspect they might be dealing with someone exhibiting borderline personality disorder might also appreciate Mason and Kreger’s book, “Stop Walking on Eggshells.” Those who just want to make sure they don’t squander their own golden ticket might want to read T. Thorn Coyle’s “Make Magic of Your Life.” Trust your gut on this one. The heart and mind get all sorts of entanglements, but your body knows when you need to remove yourself from a situation or person.

These are not easy times, but remember, “Whenever energies grow particularly potent, the Universe sends out another batch of ‘golden tickets,’ à la ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'” Huge potentials exist for those who step into courage, love and boundless imagination:

Willy Wonka: Oh, And Charlie? Do not forget about the guy who got everything he wanted!

Charlie Bucket: Oh, What happened to him?

Willy Wonka: Well, he lived happily ever after.

 

Big blessings, love and support along your journey…

Laura

Starting Thanksgiving Early

I just took a much needed day off! Yes, I had a weekend getaway last week at Bodega Bay, but that was a working, brainstorming, manic-writing kind of weekend in a relaxing location. Today … now that was a day off.

It actually began last night with some henna action on my hair. Something about that warm, goopy mess of chai tea, paprika and henna just makes my brainwaves slip right into relaxation mode. While the henna did its thing, I watched two Netflix instant downloads: Management and Bickford Schmeckler’s Book of Cool Ideas. Maybe it was the relaxation talking, but I really enjoyed them both. I rinsed out the henna, dried my hair and slept blissfully well.

This morning I awoke, turned a dream into a fictional dream sequence, and watched another movie: Step Up 2: The Streets. OK, closet confession here: I love dance movies, especially street dance and Bollywood. It’s a little embarrassing just how much I love such movies. Also embarrassing: the fact that I then love to “show my moves” to my hubby for several days afterwards.

Yes, I took many, many years of ballet, tap and jazz, and I spent my fair share of time dancing into the wee hours of the morning with my restaurant buddies when I waitressed my way through college. But in elementary school and (ahem) beyond, it was all about the break dancin’. I used to do that stuff until my double-joints cracked backwards. Anyway, this morning provided a wonderful trip down memory lane as poor Stephen witnessed renditions of “the moonwalk,” “the banana” and some bizarre moves I learned by osmosis just today! OK, I have officially outed myself. 🙂

Then, my friend Shana called to see if I might love a jaunt to Cafe Gratitude and a trip to the Sonoma County Coast, in this case, Jenner. Um, was that a rhetorical question? She picked me up and we went to Cafe G where it was 2-for-1 wheat grass shots. Who knew four ounces of wheat grass could be so much fun? Followed by a sushi bowl full of kale and kim chi? Followed by a miraculous pecan pie, aka I Am Perfect?

It was bliss. Followed by more bliss as we drove along the Russian River all the way out to the pristine sea of giant boulders and seaspray. We arrived just in time for sunset.

This was such a pleasant day that it has officially inspired me to begin Thanksgiving two and a half weeks early. Here’s my gratitude list so far:

1 ) I am so thankful that we live in a world where I can pick out a movie while wearing nothing but pajamas and a shower cap over a henna muddy head, download the movie, and when I’m done watching it, download another … and another … all for $9.95 a month. I remember when we had to go to the actual movie theater or Blockbuster. We take such things for granted, but today I’m feeling the love for online movies.

2 ) I am grateful for NaNoWriMo, because this insane quest to write so many words this month made me realize way sooner rather than later that I’ve been trying to squeeze two full books into a single novel. I now have plot, character and themes for books 2 and 3 of the Schizandra Series. If I hadn’t pushed myself to keep writing when I hit the wall, I might not have noticed that little glitch for months. Book 2 seems much more manageable now, and I’m really excited to write book 3!

3 ) I am grateful that I have a husband who loves not only the intuitive, psychic, coaching, writing and energy work I do, but who actually enjoys my spontaneous a.m. dance recitals in his office. And if he’s faking that enjoyment, then I’m even more grateful because he encourages me to be me no matter how old or young or silly or amazingly rhythmic I look doing it. 😉

4 ) I am grateful for my friends, who are always up for an adventure, experimenting with raw food goodies, juice and/or fascinating conversation. I am truly blessed to have so many diverse, compassionate and high vibe people in my life.

5 ) I am grateful that we live in Sonoma County with its unique access to stunning coastlines, open space, misty seascapes, redwoods, and more raw food restaurants than I can count. OK, normally, I can count higher, but once I start eating those desserts, I’m too blissed out to care. We have one: whichever one I happen to be eating in, and I’m so thankful that I momentarily forget just about anything and everything else. Now THAT is gratitude. 🙂

6 ) I am grateful for raw cacao. This may seem redundant to number 5, but au contraire, raw cacao deserves its own spot in my pre-T-Day gratitude list. Because raw cacao fuels happy, open hearts, and novel writing and just about every other fun thing I can imagine. Breakfast not only tastes better with chocolate; it feels better with chocolate; and we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The more cacao the merrier in my book, especially during NaNoWriMo.

7 ) I am grateful that people continue to send me such generous and supportive feedback on my writing. Stephen still calls me “the hardest working lazy person” he’s ever met. Truth is, I may be a Lazy Raw Foodist, but I pour my heart and soul into my books, especially my fiction. Thank you for noticing, and thank you for asking (so often) about Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar (book 2). I joke about the pressure of a 9-part series, but I honestly feel honored people want to read that many novels by me. Really, truly: thank you.

8 ) I am grateful that Cafe Gratitude’s having a FREE Thanksgiving meal on T-day and that they need volunteers. Another little outing of myself: I totally love waitressing, always have. Eating a raw vegan Thanksgiving feast and then serving food to others as a pseudo-waitress? I didn’t think I could top last year, but this one might just win.

9 ) I’m grateful that I get to teach a combined Reiki Level 1 and 2 class next Saturday. I love sharing Reiki with people, and this intensive class is particularly fun and rewarding to teach.

10 ) I am grateful to be alive and thriving after a brain injury destroyed the life I knew. November 6, 2009 marked the 11th year anniversary of the neuropsychological tests that showed a 40+ IQ drop and confirmed in an irrefutable way just how disastrously injured my poor brain really was. At the time, recovery looked unlikely.

From where I sit now, every day’s a miracle. I love my life! I have so much more freedom, joy, clarity and love than I ever had pre-injury. I feel smarter, quicker and more intuitive now than I ever did before … and I’m living my dreams. Shortly before my 1998 car accident, I set an intention to write a novel. Not nine novels. Just one. And you know what? When I started writing, I found that I had nothing at all to say. The day of my accident I asked the universe to rectify that situation. I asked for more freedom, joy, clarity and love so that I’d not only have something to write about, but something remarkable to live for. It took awhile for it all to fall into place, but the universe delivered.

Happy Thanksgiving Both Now and Later! Blessed Be.

5 Things I Love Right Now

When I love something, I really love it in that moment! Here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

1) Seed Restaurant in Santa Rosa, CA. Readers of this blog know I love Cafe Gratitude, but not everyone knows how much I love this little gem in the heart of Sonoma County. Seed serves up 100% vegan and a mostly raw menu 6 days per week, including a Sunday Brunch, which I have yet to try.

Seed BBQ Burger

Photo by Shana Dean

I’ll be interviewing chef/owner Jerri Hastey very soon for this blog because I just love how she’s fostered a real sense of community and homespun charm in the restaurant and (my favorite) Seed On the Go. I must confess that I order so often, they actually recognize my voice whenever I call. For a quick “BBQ Cheez Burger,” “Toona Sandwich” or “Arame Salad,” you really can’t beat Seed, and I love meeting friends or colleagues there for some business, fun and raw chocolate caramel pie, which brings me to number …

2) Cacao. I have an on-again-off-again relationship with this little pod of bliss. Contrary to impressions gleaned from reading Schizandra and the Gates of Mu I do not actually live on cacao and cacao alone. Frauke is a character, and while I did, ahem, research cacao extensively in preparation for her cacao addiction in book 1, I don’t really spend my days dreaming of giant cacao pods. In fact, if I’m not in writing mode, I can’t even stand cacao. It just doesn’t agree with me. However, I am back in fiction writing mode again after a brief hiatus, and so my cacao consumption has resurged — sometimes (gasp!) with the decadent addition of kombucha. If you want to know how I cranked out three books in one year, this potent combo had at least a partial role.

Is cacao the healthiest, purest of raw foods? Nope (although it does have a ton of antioxidants and a lot of iron and magnesium). Will it burn out my adrenals? Yeah, it does seem to do that if I’m not channeling some massive creative energy along with the cacao. I find this pretty common, actually, since cacao is a spiritual food. If used simply as candy it eventually stops working or worse, turns around and bites you. When used intentionally and in vibrational harmony, though? Mmmm, for me, it’s bliss … which brings me to number …

3) Kundalini Yoga. I love this stuff! If you think of yoga as stationary or slow, kundalini yoga will blow those preconceptions right out of your downward dog. Also known as the Raj or King of Yogas, kundalini yoga is where it all began. All the current schools of yoga originated from asanas (postures), exercises, mudras (yoga for the hands) and mantras (chants) found in kundalini yoga. Folks, this stuff works fast. So fast, in fact, that you can easily abuse it or cause the energy to rise too quickly.

I myself have been known to engage in a wee bit too much kundalini yoga. Even a few minutes raises the vibration into such a state of bliss that I find myself wanting to do kundalini yoga multiple times per day, sometimes for hours. I’m known as “The Lazy Raw Foodist” for a reason, so this is not typical behavior with regard to exercise. I just love the bliss factor. I also love that kundalini yoga works so fast to manifest intentions. It’s both active and highly meditative.

An example: I am currently nursing a sore wrist that arose from, um, too much kundalini yoga. Way too many hand flaps and liver maneuvers. My body was super-toned and my brain felt incredible until my right wrist said, “OK, you need to take a break.” When I said, “No way, I’m having too much fun here,” my wrist responded with “Fine, here’s some tendonitis. It is time to take a break.”

For awhile, I could barely type and this might have seemed like a negative situation considering I had set as my intention the faster creation of book 2 (Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar). I’ve overdone kundalini yoga enough in the past to know that the benefits continue to reveal themselves even beyond the classes, though, and sure enough, my intention manifested very fast. The forced computer break caused me to reevaluate how much time I spend answering emails. Turns out my “justified” time away freed up about 12 hours per week I was spending on emails. 12 hours of writing time that now gets funneled back into the creation of book 2.

Additionally, the forced time away from the computer allowed me to realize that I had been barking up the wrong tree with the time frame and plot for book 2. A few potent meditation sessions and a conversation with my friend Tim (who helped inspire the character Tom Brown in the Schizandra Series) led to a very speedy download of exactly what I’d sensed was missing. I visited my acupuncturist with whom I always have fascinating discussions, and my wrist felt good to go just at the moment I had the proper focus to continue. I really sense that this kundalini “gluttony” triggered exactly what I needed to bring my visions into reality — shaking out any blocks and blissfully moving me to the next level. In the absense of the physical exercises, I’ve returned to my old bliss standby, number …

4) Krishna Das. I talk about sacred chants a lot, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Suffice to say that I never tire of “Door of Faith.” I am also one of those odd birds who actually did memorize the entire 42-verse Hanuman Chaleesa from “Flow of Grace,” partly because I wanted to, and mostly because I’ve listened to it so many times that my mind now sings along.

Some people do not like the intense maleness of Krishna Das’ voice. Personally, I find it grounding. A few minutes of any album pulls me immediately into my heart. If my brain feels overloaded, zapped by fluorescent lights or spastically mental, I can pop in “Door of Faith” and feel all that energy tumble into my heart and expand with the very first Om … all of which brings me to number …

5) Everyone and Everything. That’s right, I am feeling the love for everyone and everything. I always do, but lately that love has felt both more refined and more intense. I feel such gratitude for all my clients, my husband, my friends, family (both blood relatives and soul mates), and for this vast universe that moves in, around and through us.

I love helping people dance their cosmic dance and bring that down into 3D steps — joyful twists & leaps & turns like a mazurka. I love my job! I love that so many people have joined in their intentions to manifest a film version of Schizandra and the Gates of Mu. I love that more and more people realize how much we can each accomplish when we recognize ourselves as part of a bigger whole … and also as the whole itself. I love that all mystics speak the same language, and I love that we are moving to a world of greater connection, more immediacy, and a chance to vibrate as one conscious living, breathing universe.

And I love Twitter. I work from home and until I joined Twitter I never realized how much I missed those little small talk moments at the water cooler or the quick hello on the way to the bathroom or to a meeting. For me, Twitter has provided that social snippet during long days of writing, or a welcome lightness between intense sessions.

So, yeah, I’m feelin’ the love … and before anyone rolls their eyes and asks just how much cacao I’ve actually had today:

Yes, I ate at Seed with Shana Dean. And yes, I ate a chocolate caramel pie, and yes, it was total bliss. But I was already feeling this way anyway. I’m sending lots of love to everyone and everything. As Joni Mitchell sings, “We are stardust. / We are golden / And we’ve got to get ourselves / Back to the garden.” It’s really happening, folks! Peace.

http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

“Fasten Your Seat Belts” … Reader Views Reviews Schizandra

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu
Laura Bruno
International Renaissance Press (2009)
ISBN 9780615301334

Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (8/09)

There are books that should come with a warning label. If I think of some of the books I’ve read recently, there was definitely at least one that should have had an “Attention! Might put you to sleep!” sticker. “Handle with care! Incendiary!” would have been the right one for another recently read book. “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” by Laura Bruno should come with a brightly colored label saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts…”

The story of a 13-year-old named Schizandra starts with a bang. She’s recently orphaned and has to move to Sedona, where her grandmother lives. On a seemingly ordinary school day she faints during a biology class and enters a coma-like state. And so the wild ride begins. While they are trying to take her out of Sedona, it seems that Sedona does not want to let her go. Two helicopters malfunction, and so does an ambulance. It looks as if Schizandra is meant to stay. An incredible cast of wonderfully colorful characters gathers around Schizandra, all trying to help her wake up, since the future of the entire human race depends on that — her grandmother, the midwife; twin maiden aunts, whose chosen profession is reflexology; a handsome, brave and intuitive pilot; a Navajo, speaking of curses; a Japanese-Native American schoolboy. While they are trying to bring her back, Schizandra is in a different world, meeting and encountering some really vibrant creatures — shape-shifting strange frogs, drinking chocolate and munching on cocoa pods; talking crystals; a healer rabbit; a yellow, dancing hummingbird. And there’s talk about all kinds of extraordinary matters — Lemuria, also known as Mu; evolution of human race; people as portals; the true meaning of 2012. The list is never ending…

I’ve enormously enjoyed this book. The characters were unique, quirky and likeable. The dialogue was fresh, fluid and captivating. The storyline was compelling and moved at a fast, yet not frenetic pace. The subjects discussed in the book were diverse, and several made me interested in learning more about them, particularly the “end of the world” according to the Mayan calendar and the true meaning of it.

Mystical, magical and totally enchanting, this story opened up a world that I was not ready to leave behind yet. I am truly looking forward to the sequel, and hoping there will be several of those coming out shortly. I highly recommend “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu” to readers of all ages who are interested in true mysteries, New Age, astrology, fantasy worlds and prophesies, as well as to anybody who simply enjoys a well-written story. Laura Bruno will not disappoint you.

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“Tingles from Head to Toes”

“It is not very often that I read a book that literally gives me tingles from head to toes and captures me with deep, inner truths and enlightenment. Schizandra and the Gates of Mu, by Laura Bruno is a rare gem of a novel, taking the reader through a journey of self discovery and infinite potential. …”

You can read Cassandra Margraf’s full review here.

Schizandra Review in Sedona.Biz

SEDONA, AZ (July 14, 2009) – When I sit down with a book, I want a good return for the time I spend reading it. I want a story that intrigues me and invites me back to hang out with the characters, revisit the action, or ponder questions that arise during my journey through its pages.

Author Laura Bruno, a former Sedona resident, has exceeded my expectations with “Schizandra and the Gates of Mu.” This is the first of a series of books featuring the heroine, Schizandra. After reading the first few pages, I put aside my other tasks and spent the next hours reading through to the end. I was not disappointed. …

Read more here.

Many thanks to Karen Lang and to Carl at http://Sedona.Biz.

Shazzie Reviews Schizandra

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

Schizandra and the Gates of Mu

Review by Shazzie
I’ve always wondered where the novels were that I’d want to read! With more people waking up every day, the need for switched-on fiction is growing ever more pressing. Laura’s ability to write a book like this without everything becoming a raw-vegan-yoga-cliche is notable. She achieves this because she truly lives this lifestyle, fluttering from dimension to dimension, pulling it all back into 3D words. And happily, though the characters are also flitting from dimension to dimension, they are all very interesting and funny, with not a trace of brown rice and sandals to them. It’s like reading about people we know doing things we do: drinking yerba mate, ignoring phone calls, ’80s pop music, drowning in spam and emails, 2012, feeling ascension, finding crystals to heal instead of calling your GP, tarot card readings, synchronicities, modern classic literature, the history of the future and of course yoga. Laura even mentions the non-leather seats of a Jaguar, and all us vegans know how frustrating it is to have to buy half a cow when we just want a nice car.

With lines like “I will love you forever for thirteen cacao nibs”, “When you vow a vow to God, do not delay in paying it. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and then not pay” and “Give me liberty or give me death”, we are blissed with profound realisations coated in chocolate fun. And, yes, Laura squeezes the history of cacao, real chocolate into the novel. The novel draws us into the desert and its desolation, weirdness and otherworldliness so well you start to feel the cold odd nature of the place, despite its heat. Telepathy, teleporting, all we want and need to make a quantum leap to the next level of communication manifests in this work.

Laura skillfully weaves a tapestry of an orphan’s magical journey, the prophecies of 2012, a mystic grandmother descended from witches, twin maiden reflexologist great aunts and alien-like cacao guzzling frog creatures. The orphan, Schizandra, has an ability to see pain and illness in others, but she doesn’t really understand her power. However, it’s clear she is a metaphor for being the centre of the universe, a portal for transformation. And as with our personal growth, we can only truly heal when we become the centre of our own universe, creating life from our thoughts. We come to realise why so many have a foot in both worlds, afraid to truly let go: because this is the “time of no time” according to the Mayans. As she rebirths, we realise that we all have to do the same and leave the old world for once and for all.

The work we do on ourselves reflects perfectly in Schizandra’s condition. While reading tarot cards, Tom explains that Schizandra’s very reason for incarnation is to trigger evolution and ascension of the species. “This Ascension process would only occur in a calm and loving heart.” Yes! It’s all about the love, love. Laura pulls together the stories of all involved at the same time, as everyone works in their own way to save and rebirth Schizandra, which in turn does the same for all of humanity.

This unique work of heart is so fast paced it almost reads like a short story, yet it’s a full-sized flesh on vegan bone novel. I furiously flicked through the pages wanting to know how our own end will spark our own beginning, in rebirth.

Review by Shazzie.

You can find Schizandra and the Gates of Mu here, immediately on Kindle, or order an autographed copy here.