Wednesday, April 12, 2017

FOR WRITERS: THE MIRACLE OF THE LOAVES AND FISHES


 
Miracle of the loaves and fishes painting by
Jaime Lynne Dillon

I’m sure we all experience insights when we pray. I’m sharing mine because it relates to my book, and I think it might be heartening to other writers and artists. Working as a writer is dark and lonely work. I heard it once described as heavy lifting while sitting. Yes, it seems like that sometimes. Now, I am in the process of promoting my books, which is also lonely work.

The principle problem is to establish yourself as particular voice that is worth listening to, which is similar to a new term: branding. I have been searching blogs, looking for places where I might find the kind of people who would be interested in my book. I have tried to clarify who I am on my Marcy Casterline blog. But it is a daunting task. There are millions of blogs out there. It’s very time consuming and I was becoming discouraged. What did I have to offer these blogs?

This is where I was one night when I decided to make a personal appeal to Jesus. Understand, I am not one of those people who talks about Jesus like I just got off the phone with him. No. Religion seems too personal to discuss in such a familiar way in casual conversations. However, I was feeling so low and so lonely that I needed to call on Jesus personally just to feel that some actual human being would keep me company in my solitary endeavor.

And he was right there. His appearance was brief, but kindly. And he showed me a vision. I saw a mosaic of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. I think it was depicted as a mosaic so that I wouldn’t just think I was seeing fish and bread. In the mosaic, the loaves and fishes were pouring out of a small basket. But, in a flash, I understood. I had been looking at my small basket and seeing only two fish and a couple of loaves of bread, which seemed way too little substance to feed the many blogs that I would have to take care of to get attention for my book. But Jesus was telling me to have faith and I would find that my basket would provide me with plenty.

I felt the lesson was that if you have faith, you will be rewarded with abundance of what you need. I hope this message encourages all artists in their work. You may feel that your basket barely has enough to feed yourself, but if you have faith in your work, the fish and bread will keep flowing for you.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"AFTER LIFE" BY JOHN EDWARD



“After Life” is a wonderful, enthralling and a constantly astonishing book by the psychic medium John Edward, who I’m sure you’re all familiar with. He is often referred to as a psychic warrior because he was the first in the USA to bring psychic mediumship to television viewers on his show “Crossing Over”. He constantly challenged himself to communicate with dead relatives live on television, confounding the skeptics again and again. It’s impossible to watch him bring through private details from people on the other side to their loved ones in the audience and remain an unbeliever. Many have tried unsuccessfully to unmask some sort of tricks to explain his insights, but as public and out front as John has been, that proved impossible. John Edward is a gifted medium and anybody who says different is simply wrong.
I learned so much about communication with the spirit world from watching John on television and Youtube. It was watching him on Youtube where I found out that, as a child, he and his grandmother had been huge fans of the “Guiding Light,” the soap opera on which my husband, Tom O’Rourke, starred as Justin Marler for seven years. As a matter of fact, John even uses a picture of a lighthouse, the symbol for the “Guiding Light”, for his new “Evolve” series. One of the things that I have learned from mediums and my own psychic experiences is that coincidences are very meaningful, and this was a coincidence that startled me enough that I felt I had to get to know John Edward even better, so I bought his book “After Life”.
It’s a terrific book, full of very interesting stories about how our loved ones are watching over us. It was when I read this book that I learned John’s son is named Justin, which is the character Tom played on “Guiding Light.” I don’t know if John watched the show when Justin Marler was a doctor in Springfield, but this is another coincidence that I knew had personal meaning for me.
When I reached the chapter where John is reading a young woman whose mother wanted to communicate with her from the other side, I found validation of my theory about my husband’s dual personality or divided soul.
Here is part of John’s reading about this phenomenon:
“The connection is intense. And the emotion that comes up around this feels split, as if there’s a dual type of relationship, where two people are within one in some ways. And I feel like it’s something that has unfinished business attached to it.”
“Her mother revealed the abuse she’d endured growing up, which Mia acknowledged. Linked to that abuse was Cyrinda’s perception of herself as a “dual personality”.
“…so there are two personalities. She left that other person behind.”
Now it was clear to me why I’d been led to John Edward. That was exactly the conclusion I came to about Tom’s personality. He also was an abused child, and he also had a dual personality with unfinished business attached to it and an unhappy personality that he had left behind.
What I believe Tom suffered from was a mental complex that involved women and sex. I think the worst thing about childhood abuse is that it occurs when the child is still developing, so that the damage done is so deep it warps the most basic instinctual behaviors, especially sex and love. This makes it almost impossible for the grown person recognize those self-destructive behaviors as aberrations from their normal self. Tom actually evolved a secret narrative to explain all his sexual behavior.
Here’s what Jung wrote about mental complexes. “It is the image of a certain psychic situation which is strongly accentuated emotionally and is, moreover, incompatible with the habitual attitude of consciousness. This image has a powerful inner coherence, it has its own wholeness and, in addition, a relatively high degree of autonomy, so that it is subject to the control of the conscious mind to only a limited extent, and therefore behaves like an animated foreign body in the sphere of consciousness….The complex must therefore be a psychic factor which, in terms of energy, possesses a value that sometimes exceeds that of our conscious intentions, otherwise such disruptions of the conscious order would not be possible at all.”
Yes, when I looked back at my marriage to Tom, it became evident that he had some sort of complex with regards to women in power at his jobs.
And I have many times encountered two very different Tom’s on the other side, but never in the same dream, which is why I believe they are now separate. One Tom is loving and helpful, the other tells me he doesn’t love me and chases after other women.
John Edward himself has a couple of more coincidental parallels with my husband. Not only were both their lives influenced by the “Guiding Light”, but both had very difficult relationships with their fathers. John Edward dropped his father’s last name and uses his middle name as his last name. And I will confess now, for the first time, that Tom also dropped his father’s name when he became a professional actor and later legally changed it. Of course, actors frequently change their names, but Tom did it because to even hear his father’s name spoken was a punishment to him. He certainly did not want to dignify the name of a man he hated with the fruits of his success.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

DO WE HAVE BODIES ON THE OTHER SIDE?

I've watched many near death videos where they talk about being on the other side and being pure spirit, without a physical body. I'm sure they are reporting what they experienced accurately, but isn't it possible that they don't have a physical body on the other side because they are going to return to their physical body on earth? Near Death experiencers are sent back to earth to finish their tasks here, so perhaps they don't fully transition. Just a theory.

I have had physical, bodily contact twice with people who have passed over. The first time, as I describe in my book, occurred when I was furious at my husband for being a cheater and was about to throw his ashes into the trash. My late husband visited me in a very loving physical way that lessened my fury at him and saved me from committing what was probably a sacrilege.

The second time was when a recently deceased, very close friend visited me in a lucid dream. She was a woman who'd gone to Mass every single morning of her life. When she appeared in the dream, she looked beautiful and radiant in a glowing white sweater and slacks, the style she always wore, but, of course, the radiant white was indescribable. She smiled at me and as she said, "I still have a body," she reached out and touched my hand instantly waking me up with a very distinct sense of my hand just having been touched.

I wrote my good friend, her husband, because I thought this was a message for him, to validate that she was visiting him and he had probably felt it, but been unsure. That was partly true. But the message turned out to be for her daughter. It seems her grandson was graduating from high school at the time. There was a spare bedroom that her mother usually slept in when she visited, but wasn't used as often now. Her daughter cleaned the room herself and was sure she'd arranged her magazines chronologically, but every time she did it, she'd come back and find the old magazine with the article on motherhood on top of the pile. She was sure that it was a message from her mom to let her know she was going to be around for her grandson's graduation. Her mom had visited me to make sure her daughter would believe she had a body with hands that could move magazines, no matter how often her neatnik daughter rearranged them. She knew her daughter would not fail to notice this sign from her mom.

Actually, now that I think of it, both mother and daughter were and are VERY NEAT people. You could move whole piles of magazines at my house and no one, certainly not myself, would ever notice.

So I'd have to say that at least some people, some of the time certainly in my experience have physical bodies of some kind on the other side that can interact with our physical world.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

SOMETIMES IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS



I'm not so young anymore, I'm alone and my marriage was in many ways a tragedy that will always break my heart. It's often very perplexing and upsetting to try to live with and understand what was wrong with my husband. I can't even think of his name the same way as I used to. Tom. How I loved that name, so simple, so straightforward, so manly. But now that name seems to have fallen down on itself and become smudged and indistinct.

Then, when I'm feeling low, I'll remember some little thing he did, like set up the coffee machine for me the night before so all I had to do was press the button for my coffee before I left for work. He always left a love letter full of encouragement and telling me how much he loved me. It would be written on oversize legal yellow paper and signed with long rows of x's for kisses and o's for hugs.

And that memory means so much, now. Not that I am deceived anymore about what this meant. I'm sure there was a heaping helping of guilt in this letter. He had spent the night smoking and drinking by himself, festering in his unhappiness and frustration. But I know that those letters came from his heart. It means so much to have a tangible memory that there were moments when his heart did turn toward me, when he longed for us to be happy.

Another great help to keeping my spirits up is seeing that others have suffered from similar problems. I recently watched a production of "The Winter's Tale" by Shakespeare, solely because I am taking the time to get to know old Will better. Strangely enough, "The Winter's Tale" described almost exactly the problem that beset my husband. Fascinating and very reassuring to see in a classical and widely performed play the very same type of mental aberration that my husband suffered from.

"The Winter's Tale" is a tragic romance and a tale. It seems to me that romantic stories are often psychologically symbolic rather than purely stories of individual characters interacting. And when the word tale is involved, it is almost certain to be the story of one person's psychological dilemma. Fantastic things can happen in the world of a tale, like a woman coming back from the dead. That's because we can kill people and turn them to stone in our minds. So these stories are about how we perceive things in our minds. When someone comes back from the dead, it's a clue that we aren't talking about the real world.

The similarity to my marriage is that the hero in this story, King Leontes, suddenly is gripped by a freakish and groundless jealousy in which he believes his wife and his best friend have committed adultery. Though there is no evidence of adultery at all, and no one in the King's court believes the charge, he orders his wife tried and killed, declaring their new baby a bastard.

His wife's transgressions are all in his mind, but because he is king, as we all are of our own worlds, no one can stop him from his grave injustice.

In my own case, my husband's sudden freakish running away from his marriage, even after he was married, is so similar to the king in "The Winter's Tale" that I felt very reassured in my understanding and acceptance of my tragic marriage. No explanation is given as to why he suddenly believes his wife to have betrayed him. Eventually, he realizes the great wrong he has done and miraculously his wife is brought back to life, from being a statue, or perhaps she's just been hiding for sixteen years.

This tale is also similar to the Greek myth of Alcestis, where a king earns a wife only with the help of the Gods, that is, by cheating. He forgets to give thanks to Artemis, so on his wedding night, he finds his bed full of snakes. You don't have to be Freud to know that a bed full of snakes indicates a sexual problem. He should die from the snakes, but is saved by another God for whom he has done a favor.

However, someone must die in his place. His elderly parents refuse, so his wife, Alcestis, goes to the underworld in his place. It's interesting that as a result of losing her, which he soon learns to regret very greatly, he rejects his parents as selfish, because they are old and won't die for him. It seems that a man must stand up to his parents, not necessarily in real life, but to the vestiges of their upbringing that still have sway over who he is. He must reject the selfish acts of his parents and their damaging influence, if he is to be able to properly love a woman.

Of course, the great Herakles arrives. He is an old friend of the king's and wrestles Alcestis from the grip of death, bringing her back to her king for a happy ending. Tales, fairy tales and romances are the stories of our hidden mental battles as we strive to understand ourselves and to be happy, balanced individuals. Usually, no matter if there is a hero or a heroine, tales are applicable to both sexes.

My own tale didn't have a happy ending.... in this life. But I have faith. Those coffee letters give me hope that my king is waiting for me somewhere.













Saturday, March 4, 2017

Such an Appetite for Life


This was Tom's California coup, a postal jeep converted to hot rod by a real California Gear Head. It had a 327 Chevy Engine, Corvette distributor, Engle racing Cams, TRW pistons and rings, Offenhauser head, 350 Chevy Turbo distributor, Eagle Headers, and Oversize Dune buggy Tires. Listen to that throaty engine rumble. Driving the jeep was definitely a great California experience.

Excerpt from FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY HAIR

Athens, Greece: our dream come true trip. I was eagerly waiting for Tom to arrive from New York, so we could catch a shuttle flight back to Crete, where I’d spent two weeks shooting photos for a German fashion catalogue. But the domestic part of the airport was more like an open-air bazaar than an airport lounge. I was surrounded by Greek men who were deeply tanned, outdoor-hardened, and wearing homespun shirts, huge boots with thick wooden soles, and those familiar Greek fishermen’s caps above their stubbly faces. Their carry-on luggage consisted of string wrapped boxes and live chickens in cages. Back in the 1970’s, Crete was still very primitive and undeveloped. At last, Tom sauntered out of customs, wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned halfway down his chest, and big smile. He was always like that, living life to the fullest, as if the world was his oyster. And I loved him for it. I was the worrywart type.

He grabbed me in his arms and planted a long, passionate, hello kiss on my lips. Then, with an amused glance at the rough-hewn Greeks and their chickens, in his best Dimitri Tiomkin imitation, he said, “We take the men and the guns, and we go to the mountains.” I laughed, because that really was what Crete was like. When the mountain men tried to be waiters and serve our crew of photographers and models, they stared us down, daring us to give them our order. We all just kept our heads down and ate whatever they brought.

When we landed on Crete, I told Tom that I’d had to rent an expensive sedan to drive around the island, because the only other vehicles were small, Japanese jeeps. “A jeep?” he exclaimed, his interest piqued, and I knew I was in trouble. But he was right. That little tin can jeep shivered and shook its way up and down the mountains of Crete with nothing over our heads but the Mediterranean blue sky. We basked in the glory of Ancient Greece as we bounced among the sunbaked ruins of a mythical civilization long gone.

Between the grilled octopus and the ouzo, we snaked our way up to the remains of temples that had been ancient when Christ literally was a corporal; all the while, Tom was doing comedy riffs in his sandal saga, dubbed movie voice, keeping me in stiches. “Let him haul stone in Lato! Maybe that will loosen his tongue.” Yes, he was an actor, a born ham.

Careening up and down dusty roads through the sparsely settled mountains, we stumbled into a small, rustic village and got out to stretch our legs. A weathered bandit of a fellow, with a rooster wandering by his table, offered Tom some homemade raki, exactly the alcoholic concoction our hotel keeper had sternly warned us against. Ever the bold rascal, Tom eagerly sat down to sip the nectar of the gods and filled my glass, too. That home brew raki was potent, alright. We sat at that table for a long time with our Greek friend, solving all the world’s problems until the raki ran out. Tom felt right at home on wild, untamed Crete.

Really, he was such a fun person to be around and had such an appetite for life, that you could forgive him everything. And I have, I guess. However, I think, when he got to the other side, it turned out that he was the one who couldn’t forgive himself for what he’d done to his life, to me, and to our marriage.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

THANK YOU LUCY! I LOVE YOU


In the last few minutes of this video, Lucy says things about her marriage to Ricky that are exactly what I figured out about my marriage to Tom, which I have written about in FIFTY SHADES.

Barbara Walters says people don't understand what went wrong in their marriage. Ricky drank and cheated. Lucy poignantly says that she couldn't understand what went wrong, either. They had everything. What more could you ask for? This is exactly what I felt when I found out that Tom had been a lifelong cheater. Why? We were so happy. We had everything. But I got my answer from the world of spirit. No, I'm not crazy, just a little bit psychic. Lucy obviously still loves Ricky every bit as much as I still love Tom. But.

Lucy says that Ricky was a loser. Nobody knows better than Lucy that Ricky was about the smartest, richest guy in Hollywood, so he was anything but a loser. But she adds, "He had to lose. He won at everything and then he had to lose. He had to fail. Everything he built, he had to break down."

Tom was just like that, too. Everything good that ever happened to him, he had to throw away. Finally, he threw away his life. It was mystifying, until he started showing me things in dreams to explain why.

Lucy then says something that I have also felt so strongly about my marriage. She says that with her new husband she has a home that is lived in. She and Desi had lots of houses, but they didn't have a home.

We didn't have lots of houses, but the same is true. We never had a home, a place where we loved and supported each other. Tom always seemed to have one foot out the door. He was always running away from home.

It took me many months of thought and research to finally understand why Tom why did these things, because, like Ricky, Tom was a smart guy who could have had it all, but he had to throw it all away. It's a psychological complex that seems to persist in the afterlife. All this is explored in FIFTY SHADES in greater detail.

I am so grateful to Lucy, not only for her brilliant comedy, but for her honesty about her love for Ricky and her experiences. Sometimes I feel very alone with my strange memories of a man I loved who did such self destructive and difficult to understand things.

Also, I have tried and tried to enable the comments for these posts. Once again, it does not seem to work, but I am not sure. If you have tried to comment and not been able to, please drop me an email at wister87@gmail.com  I may have to switch operations to Wordpress, because this comment situation has plagued me for years. It seems to work for awhile, then won't let people comment. Thank you for your help in this matter.






Wednesday, November 2, 2016

WHAT'S PAST IS PROLOGUE






The thing about getting older is you’re looking at life through the other end of the telescope. The things that seemed very big from the point of view of youth are barely visible now. The really important things that were happening to you when you were young were as imperceptible then as a tsunami at sea. From the other end of the telescope, your life story turns out not to be what you thought. Not even close.

I’m a Baby Boomer, part of that wild and crazy generation which rose like a Phoenix from the ashes of World War Two. You remember us; we were the Woodstock Generation, the ones whooping it up to the dulcet tones of Hard Rock, tossing our clothes off, yelling epithets, and taking to the streets to stop the war in Vietnam. We started the sexual revolution and dragged sex out of the closet along with our father's copy of Playboy. But my generation was just getting started. Urged on by that red-haired reprobate and Francophile, Thomas Jefferson, we pursued happiness fervently in every way imaginable, blazing new trails into every kind of experience, relentlessly questioning everything and fearlessly throwing tradition out the window. My generation has been written off many times as merely frivolous libertines, but my backwards telescope sees something very different.

What drove the baby boomers on this quest to understand every ism, overturn every given truth and put all our faith in science? We grew up in the dark shadow of the deadliest bloodbath and wanton slaughter mankind has ever perpetrated on itself. Those events were part of our family’s’ histories. We saw the way our parents avoided dealing with so much and how they suppressed or ignored their desires and emotions, happy to be just like Dick, Jane and Sally in our first-grade readers. They were shell shocked. Just as their childhood ended and they were ready to start lives of their own, it turned out those lives were already forfeit. The whole world exploded in a rage of death. All our mothers had lost their first young loves in the gruesome war, or knew someone who had. In the first bloom of youth, all the fine young men had been dragged from the comfort of home and thrown into a fight to the death against a merciless horror and sickening evil that had suddenly erupted. Life became a desperate struggle, just when it should have been sweetest. Millions of those young men and women endured terrible hardship, injury and disease; hundreds of thousands never got to come home.

When it was over, the lucky ones who survived just wanted to forget. The good life was a TV dinner, a new car, and a cookie cutter house in the suburbs. Their only safety was in everyone doing their part and pulling together. Big ideas were anathema; they wanted Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens. They knew something terrible lurked in the hearts of mankind, something that could flare up and condemn millions to grisly death; something which no amount of talking or excellence or tears could stop. Only killing could stop killing. And that must be avoided, at all costs.

The unimaginable horror our parents had lived through and witnessed firsthand was terrifying and permeated all our youthful perceptions. It reared its frightening head in television shows and news programs, in the newspapers, the movies, and in the parades where the veterans marched. War was the wound that was just starting to heal. It was the chilling and very recent past we heard so much about and never wanted to repeat. It haunted us like the monsters that lurk under a child’s bed at night, threatening always to leap out of the dark and devour our happiness and our very lives, the way it had done to our mothers and fathers. Only science seemed able to provide real and tangible benefits that might outrun the devil. Progress was the buzzword; better living through chemistry; see the USA in your Chevrolet.

It was left to us, their children and consolation, to try to figure out what had gone so terribly wrong in the hearts and minds of humanity to make them viciously and eagerly kill tens of millions. We looked for reasons everywhere, in history books that spoke of economic woes, racism, nationalism, fascism, and communism, in churches to find out where God had been hiding, and in our own homes for signs of incipient violence and discord. But we knew there must have been something deeper at work to cause civilization to nearly self-destruct. The great question was why; why had the world descended into mass murder on such a gigantic scale? That was the question we urgently needed to answer.

And our answer was science. Science was life examined, a discipline capable of deactivating all violent emotion. Pure rationality was the tonic that could cure the deadly war germ. Consequently, we disowned emotions, explained them away and longed for a world subject to the far superior artificial intelligence as our salvation. Humanity was flawed and ugly, only science was pure and clean. Human hearts and feelings were excess baggage that intelligent people should wisely discard. We saw people who didn’t seem to know what was best for them and imposed scientific solutions. We developed a monomania for rationality, rules and scientific studies, believing that anything with numbers must be truth.

Only science could save us from ourselves. Scientists were the new gurus. We were all going to be Scientific Americans. Too late, we realized that if science could save us, it could also destroy us in startling new ways scientists had only just devised. Science had conferred unlimited power on mankind. We needed one science to obey and believe in, one rationality that all must submit to, or the monster would come out from under the bed. Before we knew what had happened, we were right back where we’d started, at the crossroads of kill or be killed. And so, we went the way of all flesh.

Just like everyone else in my generation, I had a vague fear of a worldwide cataclysm breaking out again. But other than that, my youthful ambitions were fairly normal and modest. Of course, I wanted a taste of adventure, to see some of the world, and to do great things. But I would happily settle for doing work that I was proud of, falling in love with a good man and having a happy family. Those really didn’t seem like impossible dreams, not for one of the children of progress.

However, by the beginning of the third act of my life, the plot was mired in calamity, and nothing had worked out. My contentious family was an ongoing disaster. My husband and I had spent most of our life in what we called survival mode, trying to do what we loved and barely getting by. Then, after thirty-five-years of marriage, Tom passed away, and I got lost in a dark night of the soul. I couldn’t figure out what had happened to us or why. Then, just when it looked like the final curtain was about to ring down on all my hopes and dreams, the end of the third act had a plot twist that turned my world upside down for a surprise ending that I still find hard to believe.

You have to be old to write a story like this. If you were young, no one would believe you.