Self Compassion #MondayBlogs

pema2Compassion and self-love are fundamental themes in religion and spirituality. Jesus spoke of two commandments: Love yourself and Love others as you love yourself. Buddhists talk of Maitri, a loving kindness towards oneself that awakens a fearlessly compassionate attitude toward your own path and that of others.

Okay. I get it. I’m supposed to not just like myself, which I do on good days. I’m supposed to looove myself.

But let’s face the truth. Some days it’s not easy.

I know my own faults better than anyone; my messy thoughts and feelings; my shameful actions and in-actions; my oh-so-human frailties. But they say I should love myself anyway. Unconditional self-love.

“…when we buy into disapproval, we are practicing disapproval. When we buy into harshness, we are practicing harshness. The more we do it, the stronger these qualities become. How sad it is that we become so expert at causing harm to ourselves and others. The trick then is to practice gentleness…” Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart, p.29)

“Every act counts. Every thought and emotion counts too. This is all the path we have.” (Ibid,. p. 141)

Three practical ways of dealing with chaos: First, “Slow down enough topema3 just be present, let go of the multitude of judgments and schemes , and stop struggling. Second, … take a different attitude towards suffering. Instead of pushing it away, we can breathe it in with the wish that everyone could stop hurting, with the wish that people everywhere could experience  contentment in their hearts. We could transform pain into joy. Third, we can acknowledge that suffering exists, that darkness exists. The chaos…is basic energy, the play of wisdom. Whether we regard our situation as heaven or as hell depends on our perception. Finally, …relax and lighten up … cultivate a sense of humor and practice giving ourselves a break.” (Ibid., p. 126)

I understand, gentle, unconditional love for oneself flows into love for others and through it a deep and true compassion, a compassion that can change the world

I love the theory, but it’s a hard practice.

What do you think?

Book Talk, February #Reviews

I thought I’d share my thoughts about books I’ve been reading during the winter storms. As you can see my tastes are eclectic. I have a simple criteria–I like a good story.

Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs – an Urban Fantasy Classic

Dracula by Bram Stoker, a horror classic originally published in 1897

Following Faith, by Jacqui Nelson, a historical short story set in the old west, from the anthology Journey of the Heart

The Cold Dish, by  Craig Johnson, the first book in the popular modern mystery series, which has been adapted for the Netflix TV show, Longmire

Click on the covers for direct links to their Amazon page.


Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs

moon-calledMoon Called is the first book in the highly popular Mercy Thompson, urban fantasy series, and it sure won’t be the last one I read. It is set at a time when the werewolves are about to “come out.”

Patricia Brigg’s prose is so smooth you forget you’re reading. I love her finely crafted characters. Particularly: Mercy, the auto mechanic, skin walker who tells her own tale, Adam the sexy, alpha werewolf you desperately want her to hook up with, Stefano a vampire whose allegiance is impossible to pin down and Zee, her intriguing helper. The detailed and complicated plot takes the reader through an exciting adventure.

As Patricia Briggs has over a thousand reviews on Amazon for this book, I won’t post mine, but I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. Have your read it? What do you think?

 


Dracula by Bram Stoker

I read Dracula, because I wanted to read one of the first vampire stories, draculaand I’m glad I did. Although the language sounds long in the tooth and might remind readers of their great-aunt Betsy’s tales at the super table, after she took her teeth out, the story is filled with suspense.

It’s the journal of a young Englishman, Jonathan Harker, who travels to Transylvania to meet Dracula and help him move to England.

The first scenes describing his journey to Count Dracula’s castle are some of the most suspenseful I’ve ever read. Talk about dark and scary! It was the perfect read for the stormy weather that raged outside my windows.

Here’s a taste:

“I waited with a sick feeling of suspense. Then a dog began to howl somewhere in a farmhouse far down the road-a long, agonized wailing, as if from fear. The sound was taken up by an other dog, and then another and another, till, borne on the wind which now sighed softly through the Pass, a wild howling legion, which seemed to come from all over the country … the imagination could grasp it through the gloom of the night.”

Shivers, eh?

He arrives and meets Dracula. “Welcome to my house! Enter freely of your own will!”

Every fiber of my being screamed at the guy, “Don’t go in.” But he did.

Did I finish the book? No. I enjoyed the first ten percent, but by the time I made it to the 20 percent mark I was skimming. The language was too old and the plot too slow, but I could see that it was a great story in its day.

As Bram has over two thousand reviews, I didn’t post mine. I would have difficulty starring it, as it would undoubtedly have been a five in its day, but I found it hard to read.

Have you read his book? What do you think?


Following Faith, by Jacqui Nelson

journey-of-the-heartJacqui Nelson is my favorite writer of western fiction. Her latest short story, Following Faith, is in the newly released anthology, Journey of the Heart. I loved everything about this story. It has adventure, suspense, a touch of humor and romance.

As the story opens Faith Featherby is abruptly dismissed from her teaching job in a small logging town by the school committee. Nelson draws the characters so well, you feel as if you’re part of the scene, listening to two old bitties accuse her of inappropriate behavior. With no relatives and no friends, Faith sets out to find the little girl she believes owns the spirit horse she has befriended. On the journey she meets Eagle and their adventure together begins. It’s a wonderful story and I highly recommend it.


The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson

The Cold Dish, the first book in the Walt Longmire mystery series by Craigthe-cold-dish Johnson is beautifully written. His prose reminds me of Steinbeck. The way his detailed setting enraptures the story reminds me of James Lee Burke. His unbelievably, witty lines crack me up. I could go on and on. It really is a “must read” for anyone who likes well-written genre stories with compelling characters who drive the plot and the reader through an adventure to be remembered.

Some of my favorite lines:

“Artists are always good for conversation, so long as you want to talk about their art.”

“Nobody makes an emotional bulletproof vest, so you just have to carry the shrapnel around with you.”

“He had his mother’s looks, his father’s temper, and nobody’s brains.”

I’m reading this book when I spin at the gym, so it could be a while before I finish it. I keep going over my thirty minutes on  the bike, because I’m so caught up in the tale.

Have your read any of Johnson’s stories? Do you like the TV show Longmire?


 

shutterstock_104723360 (1)How about you? What have you been reading?


And since we’re talking book reviews today, I’ll share my latest five star review from The Paranormal Romance Guild:

vikingghost_cvr_smlAnother wonderful addition to the Gambling Ghosts series. Abigail Jenkins (Abby) is a widow with three children all under the age of five. The only job available is at the Haunted Teahouse the very teahouse where ghosts meet nightly for a poker game. Abby has agreed to be the night cleaner and her hours are flexible. Money is very tight especially with her youngest being sick and requiring medication.

Abby has heard all kinds of stories about the teahouse but feeding her children takes precedence over any fears she could have. Azalea who runs the teahouse has only one rule, Abby is never to enter one of the rooms no matter what she hears and Abby intends to keep that promise.

Eric Eklund is a one thousand year old Viking who died in an accident making going to Valhalla out of the question. Since he didn’t die in battle and could not go to Valhalla he decided to stay where he was and the poker games are a highlight of his nights. When he accidentally came across Abby everything changed for him because suddenly he found himself totally taken with a living woman.

Eric revealed himself to Abby and it doesn’t take long for her to accept the fact that the teahouse hosts a poker game every night for ghosts and one of them a gorgeous Viking god has become her protector. Neither of them have any idea that an evil spirit known as a poltergeist is determined to get Abby’s children to feed him.

Zane Carrington is a cop that has made a deal with the spirit in order to save his two year old daughter. The poltergeist Louis has his daughter prisoner and although the idea of being the cause of death for three small, innocent children is beyond anything he could have ever have imagined his daughter’s life is at stake and he has no choice.

Eric is determined to stop Louis and save Abby’s children and also wishes he could be human again so that he could show her how much he loves her. There is supposedly something that can change him back to human but if that is real or not is not something I will reveal.

This novella has it all, a gorgeous Viking ghost, a widow doing everything she can to save her three children and an evil spirit. There is love but of course it is between a ghost and a human woman so what are their chances? There are also surprises. I loved this addition to the series every bit as much as the first.

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

3 Reasons No One Wants to Read About #Compassion #MondayBlog

I wrote a post last Monday listing my three favourite compassion quotes. I expected it to be read not only by my regular readers, but by others as well. My intention was to write an uplifting piece.

Whether it was uplifting or not is debatable, but one thing is for sure; the readers didn’t come.

Why? I settled on three reasons. See what you think.

One – People thought it would be political.

I don’t talk politics on SM. Sex, yes, but not politics. Even at the best of times it’s a divisive topic, and this clearly is not the best of times. The way I see it, the world is trembling with tension.

I’m guessing some people thought a discussion about compassion would end up being a discussion about politics.

But nope. It wasn’t.

Two – People are tired of compassion.

Hmmm. That’s a harsh thought, but it could be true. Compassion fatigue is a real thing. People still have Christmas bills to pay off, their worried about their jobs, their health and a million other personal things. Reading about compassion did not excite them. “Been there, done that, pass the gossip blog please.”

Three – People are tired of blogs.

I know my readership is down, even though my subscription list keeps going up. People are busy and there’s a lot of whiz-bang stuff begging for their attention.

What now?

I still think compassion is a worthy topic.

If I gave up writing every time I got ignored, I would never finish anything. I said February would be my month to talk about compassion and so I will continue to do so until the last week (which will be a gratitude gathering week). I hope those readers not interested in it will return next month.

What About You?

Do you think feel-good topics like compassion are overdone? Are you blogged out? Suffering from compassion fatigue? I’d love to hear some opinions.

My First Paranormal Romance Guild Review!

I’m over the paranormal moon excited about this review, my first from the PRG.

highlandghost_cvr_med5*****Stars

Novella: A Highland Ghost for Christmas

 

Madison Jacobson had her heart broken when she found her boyfriend of five years with another woman. To add insult to injury, he took all the money they had saved for their wedding.

It is almost Christmas and this year she would receive a Christmas present that would forever change her life. Maddy’s best friend, Ellie, decided to give her a very unusual gift, a visit to Madame Azalea’s tea house for a reading. According to Madame Azalea there would be two men in her life both very handsome and one who wears a kilt. Maddy had already signed up for a dating service and so she was hopeful that was where she would meet her two men.
Cullen Macfie has been a ghost for three centuries and when he sees Maddy at the tea house he is smitten. The tea house hosts a poker night for ghosts and Cullen is a regular. Cullen actually has a therapist, CeeCee, who keeps attempting to mend Cullen’s ways and have him finally find his way to Heaven, only Cullen is happy where he is. Three centuries ago he was in love, but marriages were arranged. When he was caught kissing his love, her husband killed them both. His soul has stayed alive because his has been filled with hatred for the man who killed him and his sweetheart.
 Cullen and CeeCee make a deal that involves Maddy. He is given five days to make her happy, six months without visits with CeeCee, or off to Heaven. Cullen makes himself known to Maddy and they are able to communicate through his ability to write. They bake cookies together, watch TV and talk about their lives. She is falling in love with a ghost and then a flesh and blood human from the dating service comes knocking.

This was a perfect Christmas story filled with humor and love. Maddy has to choice between a ghost in a kilt or a human that can kiss her, but what she chooses is not something I will reveal. This is a story that puts a smile on your face and I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by: Linda Tonis

Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team

A Viking Ghost on You Tube #Paranormal #99c

What can I say?

I like to try new things. So today I present my first reading on You Tube. It starts with a blooper, but I can live with that. Every time I redo the video it becomes more starchy, and I figure a little bloop trumps a lot of bland.

I’m wearing a fedora, because I tell myself that you are looking at it and not me. We all have our coping strategies.  lol.

Enjoy (I hope)

Fave 5 #Compassion Quotes #MondayBlogs #Motivation #Inspiration

“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.”

~Confucius


“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

~ Albert Einstein


“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”

~Nelson Mandela


“Compassion is the key in Islam and Buddhism and Judaism and Christianity. They are profoundly similar.”

~Karen Armstrong


“We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.”

~Ellen DeGeneres


Sources:

BrainyQuote

Sunflower photo is from Pixabay

Meme created on Canva

 

Wild and Wickedly Strange Dates – A Valentine’s Day Blog Party

Have you ever had a really bad date? How about a funny one? Or a scary one?

I bet we’ve all had dates we’ll never forget.

To honor Valentine’s Day, I’m setting up an inlinkz to link up blog posts about those dates. Humor is encouraged, but not erotica.

My story involves a nudist beach, but I’m not saying anything more about it. I’ll post it on Valentine’s Day.

If you’d like to join the party, add your post to the blue frog inlinkz below (open from today until Feb. 15th).


wild-and-wickedRules:

1. If you can, post the blue frog button on your post and encourage your readers to visit other blogs. Email me for the code (My email is connect@joanncarson.com)

2. Read and comment on your fellow bloggers’s posts (as many as you have time to read).

3.Publicize your own post and the event through SM.

4. Use the party picture on your post.

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And talking about Valentine’s Day- I have a Valentine’s Story

To feed her three children, Widow Abigail Jenkins takes the only job vikingghost_cvr_smlavailable in Sunset Cove: night cleaner in the notorious, haunted teahouse. She figures the wild, supernatural rumors about the place are pure fiction. After all, ghosts don’t exist.

Eric Eklund, a sexy spirit from Sweden, is over a thousand years old. Having missed his chance at Valhalla, the Viking spends his time roaming the world and gambling. That is, until he sees Abby whose feisty, earthly-spirit turns his ghostly world upside down.

When the two meet sparks fly, but their romance is interrupted by a poltergeist hunting children.

What happens when you mix a naughty Viking ghost, built like a Norse god, a strong woman who suffers no fools and a nasty poltergeist? Answer: another fun Gambling Ghost story.

Viking Ghost for Valentine’s Day is a lighthearted novella filled with love, laughter and just enough ghouliness to thrill and chill you to the bone.

Buy at the Early bird price 99 cents


Sources:

Heart photo – Pixabay

Meme created on – Canva