Monday, November 18, 2019

Your Invitation to an Epic Book Launch!

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
Mother's Day presents were the gift of being a contributor in 365 Soulful Messages: The Right Guidance at the Right Time! (Photo L-r Cathy Raymond, Clare Ann Raymond, Lore)

Three backstories.
First, to fess up, I wasn’t going to participate in the 365 Soulful Messages book. 
Why? Time demanded my attention to complete a first pocket guide, The Divine Dialogue Writing System: Where Heaven and Earth Intersect on the Page launching January 2020.

However, the powerful message put forth by the editors and publishers Jodi Chapman and Dan Teck tugged at my heart with the book’s subtitle “The Right Guidance at the Right Time.” Inspired, I wrote two stories, which include how Dragonfly's messages helped guided me to create the Divine Dialogue Writing System. You can read the bookend stories of “Winged Messengers of Choices” and “Dragonfly Magic in Bali.”

Second, there were legacy gifts. 
Have you ever found yourself wondering what to give dear ones who have everything? I have. Gratefully, the book provided the answer for Mother’s Day presents! I gifted the three Raymond women in my life with a story in 365 Soulful Messages—my mom Clare Ann, sister Cathy and, sister-in-law Lisa. What is noteworthy is that each woman is being published for the first time. Literally, we’re together forever under one cover with our stories!

Finally, building a writing community is a passion and skill I've developed over 13 years. 
As a co-contributor, I offered the same publishing opportunity to writing sisters for inclusion in what might be another #1 Amazon Bestseller. Happily, several writers of the Divine Dialogue Dialogue Writing Circle replied “yes” along with other writing sisters. 

Joining me as co-contributors are 
Mauri Barnes, Netta deBeer, Heidi Cohen, Amy Coppola, Chery Kedan, JoAnne Lusis, Jordann Scruggs, Kathy Sullivan, Connie Theoharis, Sheila Prance, and Karen Wythe.

Here are four reasons to purchase our inspiring book on Tuesday, November 19:

1) Good karma. If you’re ever planning to write and publish a book, supporting our 200 writers is sure to add positive juju to the time when you seek others to buy and review your book!

2) Access Bonus Gifts. Register now, and you’ll have access to numerous bonus gifts.

3) Meetup and connect with other writers. Enjoy an epic (and most fun!) event via the online Facebook Book Launch Party on Tuesday, November 19 from 10 am to 3 pm PST.

4) Win door prizes. Buy a book via Amazon only on November 19 and keep the purchase number to enter for all-day door prizes in the online Facebook party.

Thank you in advance for your support and participation 
on November 19 for the epic book launch 

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Anguish of Silence

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Action
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” 
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Many values and words from Dr. King, Jr. echo in recent tributes honoring the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings on October 17--a giant of all that's positive about America. King made me recall the quote above and how powerful his four words "silence of our friends" stamped my heart after first reading them.

It is the "silence" that wraps us like a wet, wool blanket on a muggy, 87 Florida day--and regardless of the weather, we remember the silence with costly emotional pricetags--Heartaches. Soul suffering. Tossing-and-turning nights. 
I wonder if Cummings knew this "silence" in his 68 years.

"A true friend's silence hurts more than enemies' rough words."

Prepared, we understand when enemies or haters express in unkind and unmindful ways. We look at their actions and gain emotional equilibrium from recognizing their human patterns. Then, recalling their divinity, we can put on our spiritual Teflon shields, activate positive affirmations and denials, and even pray for them. We seek to rethink the labels above and, despite all this, they often continue on their paths. 

Finally, in acts of surrender and acceptance, we embrace the philosophy of, "It's their upset, anger or whatever, and at the core, it's about them, not me," and move on.

I wonder if Cummings cared about his detractors and how he came to his inner peace.

The anguish of a friend's silence can be "ghosting" leaving you feeling invisible or less than.

Friends are another universe of emotions. 
Unprepared, we are often shocked by their silence, even deafening silence. Some might call this "ghosting" when communication outreaches are completely ignored. We feel invisible. Less than. We are painfully left in the dark.

We don't understand. We trust, hope, and expect something different. We expect "more" from friends. This expectation is the root of the heartache, soul suffering, and tossing-and-turning nights. 
In tough times with bumps or even crashes on life's road, we thought friends would care. Reach out. Ask a question. Call. Talk it out. Support. 
Find out the other side of the story--there is always one!

I wonder if Cummings heard deafening silence from friends.

Loyalty. Commitment. Perseverance. Forgiveness. 
These are sacred qualities in the Art of Friendship.
If you put on the mantle of "friend," be prepared to express these qualities. 
Step into and through your fear to speak your truth. Be kind. Share compassion.
Remember what you saw in this person that first attracted you. 
Put your silence in a box on the bookshelf. It doesn't serve.

Your voice matters--especially to the person who calls you and believes you to be a friend. 
Silence is anything but golden.

I wonder if Cummings is reading this blog.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How Will You Celebrate National Love a Tree Day?

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
"Earth provides enough for every man's need, but not for every man's greed." ~Mahatma Gandhi

Did you know that Wednesday, May 16 is National Love a Tree Day? You’ve probably seen or even bought a bumper sticker that reads “Hug a tree.”

Seems silly and simple.

Yet there’s scientific proof of the emotional and physical benefits of being a tree hugger. Research shows that it’s the tree’s vibrational properties that heal those closest to them. Trees also talk if we are listening. Matthew Silverstone better explains the details in Blinded by Science

Japan enjoys over 62 "forest therapy" sites; the government takes being with and hugging trees very seriously.

Trees can even talk with one another and share information underground!

Consider the work of Dr. Bernie Krause, creator of Wild Sanctuary, who’s studied the soundscapes of many living organisms including plants and trees. He’s recorded these sounds and shares them in places like the American Museum of Natural History-Smithsonian and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Seems the original "tree huggers" date back to 1730 when hundreds of Hindu men and women were slaughtered while clinging to trees to protest their village's deforestation. A maharaja wanted the land cleared to build his palace. This intense love of trees later became a movement called tree satyagrahait was this passion that causes India's government to better manage their natural resources.

Even in my Florida backyard, 
some tree-loving unfolded. 

Can you imagine the 1920's scene in Dunedin, Florida when several women climbed into the arms of a giant, 150-year old live oak tree? They perched themselves on one large branch to prevent the tree's trip to the sawmill. (The city sought the tree's lumber to support its building boom.) 

Even then, greed sought to trump Mother Gaia, but not this time.

Members of the Dunedin Women's Club thought differently.

It’s no surprise to learn that the women in this charming town, founded by two Scotsmen, would honor their Celtic, ancestral roots and love of the Sacred Oak. 

Brava, ladies! You are Mother Earth's sHeroes!

Happy update: 
The 150+-year-old Florida live oak tree still lives!

Why blog about National Love a Tree Day?

As an author, I use tons of paper. I love the sensory feeling of hearing my pen move across the page. Maybe you do, too. I also now realize as a consumer, I use many paper products--tissues, napkins, paper towels, post its, and toilet paper.

It's time to now rethink my use of paper--a gift or unwilling gift--of the trees.

Perhaps I can find paper and journals made from trees that died naturally and weren’t harvested for the sawmill.

Perhaps I can find ways to use less paper.

Perhaps I can love and hug a tree today, tomorrow, and every day.
And you?
Blessed to feel the energy of this 500-year-old oak tree in Safety Harbor, FL near my home in St. Petersburg. Can you?

Free Paperless Resource Gifts for You. 
(No trees were harmed in their production.)
If you'd like to use or share memes like this with author quotes and creative writing prompts, please enjoy! Each one is brilliantly designed by my writing sister Michele True. (She's also my business partner with Eat, Pray, Write: Where Exploration & Expansion Intersect.) 
You can find more inspiration like this every day on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Comfort for the Days After Notre Dame

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

Seeking comfort from the news about Notre Dame Cathedral during my Divine Dialogue Writing time, I asked, “What do I need to know for my best and highest good about yesterday’s events?”

The reply from the 
Sacred Traveler Oracle Cards: 
“Finding Sanctuary. Opening to your spiritual source.”

For hundreds of years, Notre Dame Cathedral offered sanctuary--the sacred space around the altar's tabernacle--to anyone at any time. The church doors stood open 365/24/7. 

Growing up, my devout parents and grandparents reminded me that if I was ever in trouble to find a Catholic Church as I would be safe there. You could also enter to rest, rejuvenate, and tune into your intuition, Higher Self, or spiritual whispers. 

Sadly, depending on where you live, this is no longer the practice as many Catholic Church doors remain locked after services.

The movie and book character Quasimodo flashed. 
I could hear the loveable hunchback shouting, 
“Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” 
as the mob tried to remove him from his home of Notre Dame.

This memory also flashed: While attending St. Francis de Sales Parochial School in Riverside, CA, I often found sanctuary inside the adjoining Catholic church during recess or lunchtime; it offered a welcome and refreshing reprieve from playing dodge ball on the asphalt playground in Mohave desert-like temps!

Here as an elementary school student, I could...
Take a moment for reflection. 
Pause to say the "Hail Mary" or "Our Father" prayers. 
Sit in the dark silence hearing only the buffered noise of classmates playing outside.
Notre Dame, the "Heart of Paris," and place of my engagement in 1986.
To find sanctuary in my mind’s eye this morning, I close my eyes to remember sitting on a wooden bench in 1986 close to the main altar in Notre Dame Cathedral. It was the end of Saturday’s mass; parishioners and tourists streamed out as the cathedral's caretaker darted around turning off the overhead lights. 

The only light came from the many side altars where the statues of saints and apostles glowed from the rows of votive candles at their feet providing dim, mystical lighting.

It was a time of great love and hope as my boyfriend proposed and I accepted. These are the tender memories and positive feelings I seek to fill my heart and mind with moving forward--not the images of Notre Dame’s destruction appearing in newsfeeds.

If you are travel weary of life’s recent struggles, perhaps it is time to put down the emotional backpack this Holy Week. Try stepping off the path to find a temple, sanctuary, or any sacred space to reassess and renew. Take time to ponder what’s most important now to you on the journey.

Then, you might hear that "still, small voice"--all a part of finding sanctuary and comfort in these transformative and tumultuous times.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

How My Sister-sHero Showed Up!

Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

"Sisters are fierce, fragile, and forever." ~Anon

After seven months of silence from my alma mater and those mentioned in September's blog post "Abuse, Betrayal, and Mean Girls at 65"I was done
All weekend, information trickled into newsfeeds about my college reunion and my "college sisters," triggering a tsunami of emotions. 

Today after being unwilling to speak about the lack of any resolution to a trolling, name-calling, and defaming situation in my college alumnae group, I posted this on Facebook: 

"It's heart-breaking to remove your undergraduate credentials from everywhere; happily I have two Masters' degrees. Silent abuse isn't allowed in my house." 

Removing words that tied me to the past and to a college that no longer empowered me, seemed like a proactive ritual that would help me let go and move on...

Natalie Goldberg's advice inspired today's post and the previous blog post "Abuse, Betrayal, and Mean Girls at 65." What's also been interesting and sad to see (or not see) are the women who I thought were my closest college sisters and their complete silence about my story which is a universal one. Conversely, college sisters who I hadn't heard from since our 1974 graduation showed up with keen insights and reflections! 

"Split open" with sadness, Facebook friends weighed in about today's post...and then, this is how my blood sister-sHero unexpectedly appeared:
Giving blood at Inova Hospital, VA.
"Cathy Raymond. Ahem, I'm the only woman who has the right and privilege to call you sister. Calling a group you've never met sisters waters that down. 

For perspective, you weren't betrayed by someone who loves, cares, and has your best interests in mind. 
You were trolled by an anonymous, gutless critic.

Some women don't address problems directly, but sideways or underhandedly. 
They lack confidence and power.
To correct what she thought was an incorrect use of the group page, she could have messaged you directly and contacted the group page administrator. Done.
What she did instead was to try to defame you in front of the group of women you've found supportive.

Hard to develop the skill of being truthful and considerate at the same time.
Perhaps you could teach more about writing from your power at the college? 
It's a poorly written lousy review of your website, not your writing which she didn't address.

Getting a bad review is the price we pay for putting ourselves out there, and the price most women are unwilling to we keep quiet.

I heard that some authors don't do their own social media for that reason. Hard to be sensitive enough to write creatively and yet not let meanspirited jabs get to us.

You provide a great transformative service for many women, but not all women it appears. 
Her loss.

I've found some Christians get scared by talk of angels, moon signs, and divination. I steer clear of those topics in conversations with them both to respect their boundaries and my unwillingness to open myself to ridicule and scorn or just even having to explain my views. 
Too wearisome.

I applaud that you share your unique perspective about life and living without censoring for "What would a Southern Baptist want to hear?" 
Keep going. 
The women who need your help will find you.

Looks like you've graduated from college a second time. 

Maybe it's not the place that it once was, a place you could express your unique God-given talents regardless of your religion. Alumnae pages are the best places to share your accomplishments. I hope the administration recognizes that. 

It's not like you are selling shampoo."

After reading the two Facebook posts, a heart sister suggested, 
"Your blood sister is awesome. 
If I were you, I would use her as a role model to compare any other women with whom you are considering letting in close. 
Your true sister is a keeper.
Copy that.

I love and thank you, Cathy Sue--my sis, my sHero!
Radiant healer, writer, teacher, and wise woman!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Reflections from the Joys of Plans B, C, D, E and...

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” 
~John Lennon, lyrics from"Beautiful Boy"

To coincide with the auspicious celestial events of today--the Spring Equinox and New Moon--the original Plan A meant launching my first book today!

It's aslo the birthday of William Joseph Lelash aka "Bump Bump," my maternal grandfather and first spiritual teacher. A frustrated wannabe priest, he enjoyed giving me snippets of sermons about life and happiness.

A lover of roses, he'd be celebrating his 128 turn-around-the-sun. The sight and smell of roses connects me to his presence and inspired teachings that remain lovingly tucked away in my heart.

And "my" Plan A is not happening…yet.

Instead, Writing Medicine: The Must-Have Guide to Your Hero’s Journey to Inner Healing is waiting for her reveal later this year.

The alphabet of emotions to publicly share the launch date's change ranged from anger to sadness to feeling like a failure to trusting this is all in Divine Order. Guilt and shame joinded the emotional parade for disappointing family and friends, not to mention my publisher, editors, and Beta readers.

Embracing John Lennon’s wisdom, I can now reflect with gratitude on the past 11 months to see that the beauty of Plan B, and even Plans C, D, and E unfolded perfectly imperfect.

“Book” as I affectionately call her, released a tsunami of positive energy—all while immersed in the daily writing routine often spanning four to eight hours. For awhile, the possibilities of new plans remained unknown to me while sitting hunched over a computer in the same clothes with unwashed hair and a naked face. 

Book sent out her business card, attracting new opportunities that demanded my attention, energy, and action—and she willingly agreed to wait and delay her appearance and, not forever.

Plan B: Instead of finishing Book, a panel proposal for Writing Medicine, was selected from 1,700 submissions; the selection committee BELIEVED in its healing message and notified me of their acceptance by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

Affirming I'd be in Portland, I asked Michele True in April  2018 to take this photo while attending the AWP Conference, Tampa. The Law of Attraction works! 
Plan C: A week from today you’ll find me at AWP’s Annual CONFERENCE and BOOK FAIR in Portland, OR, the City of Roses. This gathering is North America’s largest literary event. Joining me are four writing sisters on the Writing Medicine panel--three of whom I’ve never met. Gratefully, they found me through the virtual ethers. They include Alexis Donkin (CA); Alicia Anabel Santos (NYC); Tawni Waters (NM) and; my writing sister and business partner, Michele True (FL).
The skyline of Portland, "City of Roses," with Mt. Hood keeping a watchful eye.
Plan D: Who knows what exciting plans might invite DIVINE ORDER in a week with the literary crush of 10,000 writers, authors, agents, publishers, and lovers of all things written?! I’m not planning anything other than serving as the panel’s moderator and a presenter. Just being me is enough to show up as an Ambassador of St. Petersburg and possibilities!

Hilltop view of Arcidosso, Tuscany, the medieval village and site of our retreat and Michele's ancestral home.
PLAN E: Finally, there’s the EAT, Pray, Write: Women’sTuscan Writing Retreat. In November 2018, Michele announced, “My husband and I are buying a house in Tuscany so I can’t be here next month (December)…and of course, we’ll have to plan a writing retreat…” 

Her thoughts became a dream, became actions, and became real. Yes...
"Thoughts are things. Make them good ones." 
~Mike Dooley
We co-created and launched the writing retreat on February 2. Thrilled, we’re delighted to announce that all 13 sacred spaces are filled with a waitlist. Plans are percolating for more retreats in 2020 to places like Bali, Costa Rica, and of course Italy. Thanks to this new awareness and appreciation, it’s exciting to know and trust that these plans, too, could change for different and better Plans F, G, H and...

Thank goodness for the 26 letters of the alphabet and the joy-full gifts from 
Plans B, C, D & E! 

Let's all remember...

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Reflections from the Joys of Plans B, C, D, E and...

Your Soul Café: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions “ Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans ...