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My Bear Encounters in Sequoia National Park (Part II)

Posted on December 1, 2011

In Part I, “Overcoming My Fear of Bears,” you read about my extreme phobia of bears, a fear I’ve had since birth as the result of a past-life, unfortunately deadly encounter with a grizzly. It’s a fear I’ve worked on slowly over the years, preparation for my day of testing: If a bear suddenly emerged from the woods now, would I be able to stay calm and stay alive? Or would I scream? run? faint? vomit? die of heart failure on the spot? all of the above?

You learned about my bear-expert sister’s advice, about my reliving of the past-life death and how it related to my husband, Joseph, as well. You’ve heard me mention my use of the newest, most effective form of post-traumatic stress treatment presently known: energy psychology (acupressure tapping) techniques. And now you’re going to read what happened when the moment came, with pictures and video.

When Joseph proposed a trip to see the giant sequoias for a couple of days in November, it sounded like a beautiful destination. It only took me seconds to realize there’d likely be bears involved. We joked about this photo he snapped of my reaction:

This is when my energy tapping began in earnest.
I also honed in on my inner broadcasts, those messages of Light-energy that come from one’s highest sources and resources: one’s own higher self and the multitude of associated Light Beings who are available to a questing heart and aspiring soul. These combined resources have pulled me through challenges and dangers and potentially fatal incidents all my life. I knew intellectually that they wouldn’t fail me.
Yet my own physical courage fluttered and tremored, shaking me to the bone. So the energy tapping helped remove these physical echoes and symptoms, remnants from my past-life encounter. The rippling sine waves being recreated from the old energies of the past, which remained in the higher frequencies of my eternal energy-body, were resonating down into my present physical body. The energy-psychology tapping worked beautifully to calm my stomach and sooth my heartbeat, by retraining my body’s energy-response from fear to peaceful respect. (Links about this marvelous new psychology at the end of this story.)
I did the tapping routine several times, visualizing different elements of potential bear encounters each round, until we actually arrived late on a Thursday night, in the pitch dark, at KingsCanyonNational Park where we’d be staying in the John Muir Lodge.
The final visualization for my energy tapping? Getting from the car in the dark, deserted parking lot safely into the doors of the lodge with all of our gear, most especially with the bags of smelly food Joseph had packed! (I never would have put ripe bananas and homemade sausages in that car, believe me! But what can you say when the gourmet cook in the family wants to feed you so well?)
Every bit of signage and literature throughout both of the adjacent national parks stresses the need to keep human food from bears. If they get a taste of this sugary, high-calorie stuff, they never get over it. Especially right now, when their primary mission is to lay on fat for the long winter hibernation. They are eating machines, and nothing adds fat faster than sugar-saturated human food. (!!)
But the park management is also concerned about having to deal with troublesome bears year round. Those who become accustomed to human food lose their fear of the humans who bring it into the park. They steal food from packs laid on the ground to take a photograph. They break into cars. They get a little too aggressive when running in and out of stores in the central villages within the park, knocking over visitors and scaring the pants off bystanders with “bluff charges.” (Bear runs at you full speed, then stops about five feet away. Hopefully.)
In the past, they’ve had to kill bears who took this unfortunate pathway through life, and that’s a terrible task for park ranger. So it’s up to we humans to behave properly, store our food in provided metal bins in campgrounds, carry lunches in bear canisters, etc. And so on and so forth. I found nothing in this advice to calm my fears, but a lot more information to add to what I’ve learned from my fearless older sister, the bear tracker, author, and expert.
I saw not a single bear in my nervous dash from car to lodge doors, and the next morning we awoke to a spectacular woods dotted with ancient sequoias, the largest living things on earth. In the crisp November weather at 6600 feet, we appreciated every bit of warmth our good counselor (Linda Jo) had taught us to wear: neck gaiters and waterproof brimmed hats, Smartwool socks, waterproof foot gear. It didn’t rain or snow the first day as predicted, but the dense fog rolled in, obscuring trees late in the afternoon. And the next day, when it did snow despite predictions that it wouldn’t, we were amply dressed, dry, and comfortable.
But nothing could really comfort my uneasiness in the woods except my years of preparation for this moment, and Joseph’s mutual agreement to “keep a weather eye” on the woods around, above, and below (bears do climb trees, we’d been advised).
We planned, for my sake, to avoid any stand of trees that included oaks, since we knew bears would be feasting on their acorns. So our first outing was a relatively short trip away from the safety of our car to see the General Grant tree: tall as a 27-story building, wide enough for a three-lane freeway with a forty-foot diameter, the world’s second-largest living thing, discovered in 1862, dubbed The Nation’s Christmas Tree in 1956, and old enough not to care about any of that, at an estimated 1,650 years old.
Personally, I was grateful for every other soul who shared that trail with us that morning. But the first thing I saw out of the corner of my eye, less than five minutes down the trail, was a bear at some distance, standing among the massive trees on his hind legs to scope us out!
Okay, so most of you probably realize it’s nothing more than a burned-out stump. But it was the first test and I passed! I didn’t scream, run, or panic. I simply sucked in my breath a little until I could look and determine that it was absolutely static and just a trick of perspective. But it didn’t do anything to improve my nervousness.
A little further up the trail, after gawking at unbelievably huge trees, we walked through the hollowed out Fallen Monarch, which hit the ground centuries ago but didn’t shatter. They speculate that the innards were consumed by fire long before it fell. It’s been used as a hotel, saloon, 32-horse stable, and private home for pioneers, woodcutters, and probably Native American summer residents. It was awesomely cool to walk through the inside of a tree!
Then Joseph  and I veered off the trail to explore a little stream emanating from a sequoia not fenced in; one we could touch and explore up close. I believe it was calledDelaware.
Nearby, we took pictures of the Vermont log. Can you believe the roots of these giants are no more than five feet deep? They survive many forest fires, and then, since the uphill sides collect the most brush, burn more on those sides, weaking that side of the tree over the years. When they crash, they plummet to the forest floor uphill! This tree was 246 feet tall, sixteen feet in diameter before it fell uphill in 1985. We could only see the bottom section; the rest was lying up over the rise.
While taking these pictures, Joseph remarked about a nuthatch chattering persistently in a tree somewhere high up above that slope. He merely said something like, “I’ve never heard a nuthatch make such a racket.” But when I wanted to linger and climb further up the hill to see the rest of the fallen giant, he gently urged me not to. I still didn’t get it. Finally he repeated, “That’s where the nuthatch is giving its warning.” Oh! Second test!
Our years in the foothills east of San Diego and a small wooded part of Michigan have trained us to listen to all forest-dwellers, seen and unseen. Among the seen residents, birds often announce large predators or other problems, and you can learn to decipher their meanings if you pay attention. I hadn’t been paying attention, but Joseph, who remembers every bird call as well as he remembers phrases of music, had read the message and didn’t want to alarm me until I was venturing exactly toward the area the bird warned against. I finally got it when Joseph at last used the words, “possibly a bear over the hill,” and we hastened back to the main trail toward General Grant.
That was Test Number Two. My heart may have beat a little faster, but I felt relatively safe. Warned. And guarded. But as we moved away from the spot, I remembered that I’d just stared right at a small area of another fallen log, on the other side of the Vermont Log, which had been clawed at, the fresh sawdust and shards falling onto the ground.
I’d had one of those thoughts that doesn’t arrive fully in your conscious awareness, one of those that slips by below the surface and you log it into your subconscious system just well enough to recall it later. Like when someone talks to you and you’re not listening, but you can play it back later in your mind when they say, “You’re not listening to me!” and you repeat their words, actually “hearing” them for the first time yourself. But of course you don’t admit that.
So I’d looked at the freshly crumbled wood and the thought ran under the surface of my consciousness, “A bear was clawing at it to get insects out of the wood, termites or something.” It didn’t alarm me enough to say loudly in my conscious mind, HEY! A BEAR WAS HERE! I just tucked it away in my subconscious, knowing it was a common sort of bear activity. And after we took heed of Joseph’s warnings, the sight of the log resurfaced visually in my mind and I told him about it as we moved expeditiously back to the main trail, thinking, Right. I knew that there’d been a bear in that spot. Wow. I wasn’t afraid!
We enjoyed the rest of the trail, took a little video, and still couldn’t capture the tremendousness of General Grant.
Many times I placed my hands on a tree and where I can usually sense the travelings of energy up and down a tree, this time I felt only a very deep and distant energy, slow-moving and totally disinterested in me. Already drawing down and inward for the season? Or simply too old to bother about the relative “insect” brushing against its countless layers of spongy bark? I’ll never know. But we did notice that these trees have Ent feet:
And aside from chattering birds, Joseph also tuned to the forest layer that had many Others flitting around us. If you’re a disbeliever, you can write that off to the books we were reading on the trip, where the Wildfolk are real enough and play important roles in the story, although invisible to most. Yes, we’d come to a perfect setting for reading the Deverry series by Katherine Kerr—so perfect that after we got home, I realized the cover artist for the volume I was reading had painted California sequoias into the scene! Serendipity? Or all a part of the cycle we’d entered, where I would face one of my greatest fears? I leave that for your personal pondering.

Can you see the spiral, vortical pattern the branches make as they weave up toward the top of the tree?

After lunch and about an hour before sunset, we decided we hadn’t had enough of the woods despite the fog and cold moving in rapidly from the west. So we headed back to the same area to pursue a trail that broke off from the parking lot in a different direction, called the North Loop Trail. When we arrived, the woods were starting to darken beneath the swirling fog and the parking lot was completely empty. Piles of old snow remained in the shady places, and we got out of the car to look over the banks into a deep ravine before we entered the trail. When we turned around, I stepped over a smashed green pile, thinking it must be from the trail horses (forgetting they’d been retired for the season) and noting subconsciously that it didn’t smell like horse manure—or anything at all, for that matter. It was Joseph who pointed out that it was bear scat.

I didn’t believe him. I went back to look, to see if something in the pile looked like dismantled bear food and all I saw were green things, little bits of weedy looking stuff.  It definitely did NOT look like horse manure. Apparently someone’s vehicle had run over it, but Joseph pointed out that bear scat was in little unsquished piles all around the area. He reminded me of something Linda Jo had said the week before: “People always ask the question, Do bears sh*t in the woods? The real answer is, No; bears sh*t on the trail!” A tracker’s truism. Something like pawing their big ugly noses and saying, “I was here, you silly humans.”
I still didn’t panic, for some strange reason. Yet I felt very uneasy being in such a deserted spot. This was a primary trail in the partially closed, winterizing park. Where was everybody else? Still, we gamely stepped past the vehicle barrier onto the marked trail and only got a few feet. I think I was still saying, “Don’t you think we should just go back?” and when Joseph said something in disagreement, I said without thinking, “Well, look over here—” and walked over to the edge of the trail, just above the ravine, where I could see the ground was marred. But I was completely shocked when I got there and sure enough, it was a bear’s paws that had marred the ground!
Using what I’d learned from my professional-tracker sister, I could see that he had broken through the quarter-inch wet surface crust and revealed the dry sandy dirt beneath. They were fresh tracks, not marred by a vehicle’s passing wheels this time. He’d climbed up out of the ravine and onto the trail.
How fresh, though? My limited skills could only tell me it hadn’t been long. Perhaps fresh from that morning, when we were walking the other trail just yards away and I saw the “standing bear” stump? Or—by now we’d noticed the squawking crows sounding the alarm in the ravine, not far at all from where we were standing.
Crows, we believe. Last time we heard this call in our suburban back yard, a few moments later a very unlikely little fox-predator came strutting toward where we sat enjoying an alfresco lunch, startling all of us! Except the crows, who’d already warned the neighborhood that a predator was on the move.
So, okay, no panic, but the crows convinced Joseph. I got back into the car in a big hurry, having refused to go further down that trail. Bear sign, recent, area deserted, crows sounding the alarm to show everyone where the bear was—I knew it was his time, not ours, and after all, it would be dark very soon and very fast, and a lot colder.
Now we both regret that we didn’t get photographs of these signs, but I couldn’t go back to do it, and I wasn’t about to urge Joseph to. He would have been willing, but I would have felt guilty sending him where I feared to tread! Just as we drove off, a ranger cruised through in his pickup truck, but we felt silly telling him we’d seen bear sign, so we didn’t flag him down. To him, it would have meant nothing. To me, it was Test Number Three: using knowledge to avoid unpleasant unexpected encounters on both sides—from the bear’s perspective and ours. We maintained our relative positions in life and all was well.
But I must admit, once I was inside the car, it was surprisingly exciting to finally see and recognize the signs of a real bear, above and beyond any old phobias. I healed a little bit more.
But by the time we drove to HumeLake (our consolation for not being able to walk the trail), my fears came back full force. After a long twisty drive in the rapidly falling dusk, we twirled around a narrow switchback and Joseph came to a sudden stop. Six mule deer moseyed across the road, posing as does are wont to do while he took pictures, taking their time on their way to the lake.
We arrived at the cold lakeside just before dark to find it deserted. The cars we’d passed coming back from the lake were long gone and it was just us, the wind in the trees blowing across the empty water, and a few ducks still fishing out in the middle. And a hungry grey squirrel we’d passed on the way in. But I was terrified.
Instincts and intellect combined told me that the few other tourists had left now and all the animals would naturally come to the water’s edge in the quiet dusk, including any bears in the area. To get to the water, Joseph quickly walked down a long, sloping bank and I followed reluctantly. Then he jumped off a little ledge of tree roots, strolling out across a sandy beach to take pictures, many yards from the car, parked above and behind us in an empty parking lot, with the woods beyond that. My mind began to race. If a bear came out of any of the woods surrounding the lake on his nightly trek to the water’s edge, he could easily be between us and the relative safety of the car before we spotted each other, and then both humans and bear would be trapped with few avenues for avoidance.
It just felt stupid to be where I was standing, and even worse to be where Joseph was. I felt as if we were the intruders and any unhappy encounters would be entirely our fault! I followed Joseph toward the water nervously, my voice rising in pitch when I couldn’t convince him that this was a bad idea, no, a terrible idea, and couldn’t we go now, pleeeeze, it’s getting dark and this isn’t safe and … you get the idea. Total panic. Which meant he wouldn’t listen to a word I said. Which only made me more panicky.
Test Number Four? I don’t know. We didn’t see any bears (probably heard my commotion), and after Joseph convinced me to apply some energy medicine tactics to quell my panic (panic helps no one), he agreed that we could go. Whew. A great relief. Energy Medicine works!
But Joseph had asked me to go against everything both my instincts and my intellect told me, and that will always be “wrong,” whether my fears were justified or not. That was my most frightened moment of the entire woodland adventure, and not a bear or bear sign in sight! I believe that if the situation arose again, I would still feel the same about it. But it wasn’t bears per se that I feared; it was human misjudgment.
The brief disagreement didn’t ruin our happy trip, thankfully, and after a lovely warm evening reading books by the lodge fireplace, the next day we set off in a wet snowstorm to drive the short distance to SequoiaNational Park and the General Sherman tree in the GiantForest. General Sherman is THE largest living thing in the world, so we didn’t want to miss it.

Along the way, we stopped at a lookout point. Since it was too foggy to see anything beyond the narrow roadway a hunch (or an inner prompting) sent me over to a bear-proof trash receptacle to inspect the patches of unmelted snow from the last storm. I didn’t stop to think consciously why I was doing it. But sure enough, bear prints! And that other local forest inhabitant, what I believe were cougar prints as well! (We’ll have to wait for confirmation from the tracking expert, who is busy tracking scorpions in Baja at the moment and out of computer reach.)

Test Number Five: I wasn’t even mildly frightened, only excited to have found the tracks and proud to recognize them. (Maybe because they were old?) The time we’d spent in the visitor’s center playing with the track-making blocks in the sand surely helped, although we’d seen cougar tracks before while hiking in San Diego.
Cougars are rarely seen in the Sequoia park, we’d been told, but of course we knew all the safety tips in case you did spot one—or more to the point, if she spotted you bending to tie a shoe.
Rise up, look scary, be noisy, never turn your back, never squat or bend, pick up small children, fight back if she pounces, etc.
Whereas with bears, for the record: don’t make eye contact, move back slowly, don’t run away, keep a few hundred yards between you, and don’t attack unless you are definitely being attacked.
If it’s breaking into your car and you can’t scare it away from a distance … call the insurance company when you get home. 🙂
We stopped for lunch at the lovely but fogged-in Wuksachi Lodge, where I thought this was the only bear I’d see this trip:
Then we drove further in the dense fog to arrive at the GiantForest to seek out General Sherman.
Wet snow and bitter cold hanging in the trees made the walk a bit creepier. With the mists swirling around us and the snow falling on us in the darkening wood, we climbed up the trail behind the parking lot leading to the famous tree, Earth’s largest living organism, only to be hit by a wall of stench. Ugh! Joseph teased that it was “bear poop,” but I knew it had a lot more to do with the human latrines nearby than bears. My earlier encounter had already told me that bear scat doesn’t smell so foul, so his big-brother teasing completely failed. Or did it?
Everything looked like a scene from a scary novel.
Then, at the edge of my right peripheral vision, behind a boulder on the slope above us and about four feet away, a sudden movement of black startled me! I jumped and scurried away from the movement to cling to Joseph’s side.
Oops. I ran! I failed Test Number Six!
It was only a black raven, flapping and flying away.
This frightened me even more. I’d failed the test! If it had been a bear, I would’ve run! Sigh. Such a strong instinct, to scuttle away from strange sudden movements and flashes of black. How would I survive a real bear encounter? I’d done all that tapping about, If I do see a bear, I will react calmly and intelligently and I won’t run. I suppose I could argue that if it had actually been a bear, I wouldn’t have run, but ravens and crows I hadn’t tapped. Hah. Pretty frail.
I was grateful that there were plenty of visitors joining us in the area, although I felt sorry that so many were freezing and unprepared. We traded snapshots of the famous tree with a couple of Navy guys who’d driven up on a whim, shivering in their sweatshirts.
General Sherman is not the tallest, or widest, or oldest tree on earth, but according to Wikipedia, “With a height of 83.8 metres (275 ft), a diameter of 7.7 metres (25 ft), an estimated bole volume of 1,487 cubic metres (52,513 cu ft), and an estimated age of 2,300 – 2,700 years, it is however among the tallest, widest and longest-lived of all trees on the planet.”
Further the hillside trail, I thought I saw another log freshly scraped by a bear, but human boot prints all around looked pretty guilty. Trying to see just how soft the sequoia wood really is? But we made it safely back to the parking lot and turned sadly for home. Hard to leave this incredible forest, bears or no bears.
By the time we were winding and turning our way down the slow trip back to the foothills and the San Joaquin valley, I was saying, “Now I’m disappointed I didn’t see a bear. I want to see one now, safe from the car, in that woods right there! Or down that slope!” We were driving south through more spectacular sequoias, white fir, incense cedar, and ponderosa and sugar pines, with steep dropoffs on the passenger side.
We sat for a while at a construction project, waiting twenty minutes for our turn through the narrow passage—now that’s scary! Shoring up a mountain road with nothing but thin air on the side you’re trying to widen. Yikes. I also felt for the poor workers out in the frosty-wet snowstorm, directing traffic when no snow had been predicted. In front of us were two touring bicyclists we kept running into, a young man and woman. They’d ridden down from British Columbia, on their way to “somewhere in Mexico.” Hardy souls!
We also kept running into a German wife and American husband who were taking their four-year-old son to see snow for the first time. We first heard this little boy speaking fluent German, and a little later he spoke to me in English with such clipped and educated tones that I was stunned for a moment. Lucky little soul; his mother said they speak only German at home so he’ll remain bilingual, and he’s clearly going to be a well-traveled individual. Of course he also volunteered to throw a snowball at me if he could find any snow. I told him not to take the paper bag of jelly he’d collected from the breakfast table out into the woods. “Why?” he asked immediately. Hm. I need more experience with super-smart children.

As we drove lower in altitude, the fog stayed above us and more of the trees became deciduous, beautiful in their autumn yellows.

We started noticing a fruit on a bare tree that looked very much like a pear. Wild pears? Never heard of them. “What is that?” we kept saying as Joseph maneuvered the 15-mph switchbacks.

The trees were everywhere. “That must be bear food for sure,” we said, fondly recalling a Bosc tree that grew at our back door in Michigan, which a particular fawn had chosen as his very own dessert supply, visiting us often. Finally, we came around a corner and I said, “Look—it’s a turnout! Pull over!” And Joseph did.

I was busy looking at the side of the road on my right, looking for pears, when Joseph saw why a lot of other people had also stopped in that spot. Bear, not pear!* The bicyclists soon joined us.

I was so happy to see that bear! I couldn’t believe it! My only moments of fear were when Joseph tried to get me to stand in front of our car for that picture with the bear in the background. Our headlights were on, so I thought the car was running, and we were parked at the end of a blind corner where any car traveling our direction could rear-end us and push the car into me.

You can watch the video of me passing Test Number Seven, and wonder with me over the forces in the universe that propelled us to the side of that road at exactly that time, in that precise location, at the very last opportunity to achieve my full healing.
But the poor bear! See how the bear trail leads straight down that slope to where the cars are parked across the road from us? Too close to him, in my opinion. He’d been working his way down that hillside, but they were blocking his path. So he merely ignored them and went on his busy way, trying to eat enough to keep himself (or herself) alive all winter. Thrilling to see, when all was said and done. Simply thrilling.
It was so awesome, I just kept exclaiming over it all the way down the foothills to the valley. The last fear-energy drained away through my eyes in healing tears of joy, excitement, happiness, gratitude, relief, and, well, simple healing. If you’ve ever experienced that kind of energy release, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, I hope you will someday.

And when I uploaded our videos to YouTube and saw the welter of bears-in-Sequoia videos, shot up close and personal, I didn’t feel a single drop of fear or anxiety! That is a first in my entire life! (But if I’d seen those before the trip, yikes. I probably would have begged Joseph for an alternate destination. I’m so glad I didn’t!) Now I can just enjoy those videos, and marvel that many of them were shot on some of the very ground we walked.

I can’t wait to go back! And thank you, Joseph, for choosing our vacation trip. You are the most incredibly patient, sensitive, tuned-in polarity companion a girl could want! A joy to travel with! And a stellar photographer and energy medicine practitioner to boot!
Thank you also to my Cosmic Co-Authors, with us every step of our journeys.

And to Thomas, the San Diego Highwayman, who gave us a good laugh, some tearful stories, and wonderful snow-chain instruction and tire advice before we left San Diego, a real gem we’re happy to have been guided to on the eve of our departure. Not surprising, since he works with some pretty powerful “Co-Authors” himself, rescuing strangers by the side of the road. (No doubt working out some past-life karma of his own, as the other kind of highwayman?)

But especially, thank you to the bear who gave me this ideal bear test! Not too close, not too scary, not too far from the safety of the car. I can’t help thinking it was all arranged somehow. But that’s a subject for another lengthy blog post!

* * * *
* Turns out those pear-looking things aren’t pears at all. They’re California Buckeye trees, and these are the seeds that cling long after the leaves drop in the dry California summer. They’re “mildly toxic,” the park’s FB page says, so I’m guessing the bears know that.

Photo credits: Joseph Downey, Lianne Downey, and two friendly but freezing-cold Navy guys

Links for more info:

Speed Your Evolution: Become the Star Being You Are Meant to Be by Lianne Downey, a classroom-in-a-book about reincarnation and healing past-life traumas.

Cosmic Dancer by Lianne Downey, a fantasy novel about past-life healing
Lonesome for Bears: A Woman’s Journey in the Tracks of the Wilderness by Linda Jo Hunter
Energy Medicine by Donna Eden and David Feinstein
The EFT Manual by Gary Craig
The Infinite Concept of Cosmic Creation by Ernest L. Norman, the ultimate textbook on reincarnation and all things interdimensional
Daggerspell by Katherine Kerr (Book One, Deverry Series), another fantasy author writing about past lives and interdimensional science
Links to Custom-fit snow chains and Thomas, the San Diego Highwayman

Overcoming My Fear of Bears (Part I)

Posted on November 29, 2011


I’ve had a terrifying phobia of bears all my life. The first time I saw one I was three years old and fell deathly ill. Ironically, my older sister is a bear expert, serving three seasons as a grizzly-viewing guide at a lodge in Alaska and writing a popular book about her experiences. She took this picture at close range. (!!)

Karma? You bet! But decades later in life, I still hadn’t overcome my knee-melting, stomach jolting FEAR at the very thought of bears. Until last week.

I was born with this phobia, of course. My studies of past lives told me that, but I also have evidence of the early onset of the fear from my own experience in the present lifetime.

When I was about three, my family of six took a camping trip into Northern Michigan, visiting Sleeping Bear Point near Traverse City. All I recall about that trip is a memory of sharing a pup tent with my sister, with my two older brothers in another pup tent, and certainly my parents must’ve had a larger tent for themselves, although I can’t see it in my mind’s eye. What I can see in that tunnel-view of memory are black bears with their hideous light-brown noses, poking around in the garbage dump near the campgrounds. Everyone thought it was a wonderful sight, and foolishly encouraged these creatures to eat their castoffs. While they were all taking photographs, I was collapsing and dying inside.

I’ve been told that I got so sick, my family had to end its trip to get me back home. I recall nothing of that; as the energies of my psychic memories poured into me, I’d probably already “died.” I was, as we say in my little past-life therapy community of two, “reliving a death.” Not really an oxymoron; it’s a very real phenomenon that leaves you half out of body, half in, but can also be one of the most healing moments of any given lifetime, wherein you confront again the energies surrounding the death of one of the physical bodies you’d inhabited long ago.

As Joseph’s famous song says, “We’ve all died many times—but it still hasn’t killed us yet.” The trauma surrounding some deaths will last lifetimes, and each time those energies come around again cyclically (we tend to recreate circumstances in our present for this purpose—especially if we’ve launched ourselves on a path of spiritual/evolutionary healing and growth), we can chip away at that negative impact a little bit by approaching it with a new state of mind. But better to share my experience than to try to explain the abstract principles. You can think about those later.

Throughout my childhood, many of my nightmares involved bears chasing me. Once I’d seen one, apparently from a fairly close range, the psychic phobia was triggered. Even photographs of bears turned my insides to jelly. I couldn’t “bear” to look upon those horrid faces! The shape of a bear’s head simply gave me the deep heebie jeebies.

As years passed and my beloved sister got more involved in her ambitious outdoor career, becoming first an oceangoing yacht captain, I was in for more bear exposure. All too soon in my opinion, she landed a job as crew on an Alaska-bound naturalist cruise ship. Suddenly her little rental house was filled with gruesome books about bear attacks. She was trying to overcome her own concerns about brown bears—grizzlies, as the rest of us know them. So her approach was to read every single gut-blasting account of a person whose skull had been chewed upon by a massive, furred monster in the wild woods somewhere, while they remained alive to hear the bones crunching. And survived to tell these things. !!!

Yes, of course, I picked up that book and read the accounts, until I couldn’t stand it any longer. Did it cure my fear, as it apparently did for her? No! It turned my brain white inside and the rest of me fell away from my awareness.

Eventually, I recovered from that psychic shock and she went happily off on her boat tours, spotting grizzlies as well as enjoying the usual Alaskan natural wonders. I never wanted to hear how close she got to bears on that trip. Many years later, she and her husband took their summer jobs in Alaska, and you can read the rest of her story in her wonderful book (even I liked it!): Lonesome for Bears: A Woman’s Journey in the Tracks of the Wilderness.

Learning a little from her about their personalities and fishing habits and views about humans helped me lessen my phobia a slight amount. I could now appreciate them from a safe distance of many thousands of miles. But I still couldn’t stand to look at her paintings and photographs of them for more than a few seconds (sorry, Linda Jo). Okay, maybe I can stand this painting a little longer; pretty impressive brushwork, eh? (shivers)
[Painting copyright Linda Jo Hunter]

My most significant “close bear encounter” (close enough for me!) happened during my early years with Joseph. We were living in a house that had a long hallway leading to a door that led to the garden. I was sweeping that hallway one day with my back to the door when Joseph came into the room, got a look of sheer horror on his face, and pointed to something above and behind me—and I collapsed into hysterical sobs!

Soon we were both weeping as the images poured into our minds from a previous lifetime and we, between gulps, shared with each other our flashback visions of what had happened as the scenes played out in both our minds. (We were actively involved in past-life therapy at that time, had studied all the ins and outs of the energy principles behind this, and were quite well-prepared to receive these psychic visions, supplied by our Cosmic Co-Authors, as I here refer to them.)

In the past life images we saw, I was standing in a cleared homestead field with some farm implement in my hands instead of a broom—probably a hoe. From the woods behind me emerged a rather large grizzly, which is most certainly what my deep unconscious believed Joseph was pointing at in the present. He was actually only pointing to warn me that the open door behind me was about to blow shut, but his movements and silence echoed the very same thing he’d done in the past, triggering both of our past-life memories.

What happened after that in the past life is thankfully unclear to me, but we could guess, because the next thing Joseph recalls is that he, at about three years old himself, was left utterly alone with the dead or dying body of his mother. He thinks the bear came back, and perhaps that’s when I actually died or my body was consumed. Whoever his father was, he was not with us at the time—perhaps on a hunting trip? How did the three-year-old survive all alone? We aren’t fully aware, but he knows that he did, and went on to further adventures in that lifetime.

For years, that was all I knew of that scene. Of course, I always assumed it was simply a very aggressive bear that came out of the woods to eat me. And that the depth of trauma surrounding that particular death had a lot to do with leaving behind, alone and seemingly helpless, my toddler son. Shudders.

Oddly enough, my phobia did not instantly disappear with that past-life flashback, as sometimes happens. If anything, the fear might have gotten a little worse with the knowing, although the tears we shed did release some of the negative energy—perhaps saving me from a repeat of my childhood illness, and Joseph as well.

This is a tricky thing about working with past life healing that many people forget: Just knowing is not always enough. You’ve got to do something to change the energies into a more positive oscillation in your psychic anatomy. Sometimes that takes more time, and the application of an interdimensional understanding. You can actually reattune yourself to a past life and, without the healing changes, make yourself very ill indeed, or even die or lose your mind. Seriously. Not a thing to be toyed with.

So I tried to apply all I knew about changing around the negative energy-impact of that past-life shock. We went to the Natural History Museum and I tried standing in front of the stuffed grizzly raised up on its hind legs. Shivers. I managed not to vomit. I suppose that was progress?

I’ve tried watching cute and excellent movies about bears, animated and otherwise. I barely remember them, as I think I must’ve sat there with my eyes on the screen and my psychic self out-of-body again. But perhaps this also helped chip away at the fear? Adding more positive associations with bears?

A few years later, Joseph and I sponsored a Visionary Writer’s Retreat at a bed and breakfast in southern California. We met a lovely couple there who served as wilderness guides near Banff, Canada, taking groups on horseback into the famously spectacular scenery. They were delighted by our group of writers, and offered to take us on a real retreat, to write in nature unsurpassed. They assured me that they carried high-powered weapons to deal with any offending grizzlies and not to worry. I couldn’t make myself take up this rare opportunity, although I read all about the area and sincerely tried.

When my sister’s book came out, I read and enjoyed it from cover to cover, although my stomach still churned, especially looking at the photographs. But I kept looking, and kept trying to view bears through her perspective. It helped a lot, but only from this safe distance.

So when Joseph proposed that we were going to KingsCanyon and SequoiaNational Park last week, where black bears are common among the giant, ancient trees, I nearly fainted from anxiety. I believed that with the strength of my phobia, any step into a bear-infested wood would most certainly mean I’d draw them right to me. After all, that’s the interdimensional energy principle: what you fear, you attract. That’s what had kept me out of the woods all this time!

Reading about the park online didn’t help: it only made me dizzy and nauseous and shaky. Every bit of literature we received from King’s Canyon with our reservation receipts had large pictures of black bears and warnings and advice and so on.

But I knew it was time to get over this! It had become a block that was keeping me from enjoying something I love to do, having grown up in bear-free woods in southern Michigan. Now, living in California, it was hard to find forests without them! So I pulled out all my new tactics of energy psychology and started tapping.

I visualized that inevitable encounter, the bear lurking behind the trees, as I tapped acupuncture points. This time I did not use the extensive tapping protocol we learned in Eden Energy Medicine, but the simple Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) pioneered by Gary Craig [The EFT Manual]. It’s easier to do for oneself, so I could do it late at night when the fear started to rise in my stomach every time I thought of the trip. I tapped every element I could think of.

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband came through San Diego on their way to a winter in Baja (quite a gal, huh?) and we chatted a bit. They of course thought we should rent an RV and camp in the park, but we’d (thankfully) already decided on staying in the lovely John Muir Lodge in KingsCanyon.

My only problem would be getting the food from the car into the hotel safely in the dark when we arrived. Terrifying to read the park rangers’ advice about this! They said bears would definitely break into our car if anything smelly were left inside, even cosmetics. My psychic brain downloaded its fear-info from my past life and said, “But won’t they come out of the woods and chase us into the hotel, as the raccoons once did to me in Yosemite valley in midwinter?”

I’d learned a lot of  safety tips from Linda’s book, as well as insights into bear behavior. Now I realize that my deadly past-life encounter was probably my fault, not the bear’s. I can guess that I raised that rake or hoe to him in absolute motherly terror to protect my child, and the bear took up the challenge. If instead I’d look away, avoided confrontational eye contact, pretended I didn’t see him, and quietly moved myself and my child back toward our homestead, it’s possible he might not have attacked. Perhaps, back in those days when bears weren’t squeezed into the tiny remaining wild places, he wasn’t so hungry as to become an intentional woman-killer (and Linda raises doubts that such a thing has ever existed).

So perhaps he’d been drawn by something growing in our field, or the smell of food in our home. Perhaps things might have ended differently. If he’d found me dead and already rotting, well, then I’d be, as they say, “fair game.” But to take down a live human? So I must’ve provoked him, and one swat from a giant bear paw can kill a person simply because that kind of bear-discipline only works if you’ve got a tough hide and lots of fur, right? It works well on bear cubs. Humans, however, should avoid inciting that kind of bear-training. And so on and so forth.  Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

That is my mind, adjusting the remnants of this past-life traumatic death, the energies of belief surrounding the incident. That is a part of my healing. And I’m grateful for it! But the final testing of all that I’ve learned since I was three years old was yet to come.
* * * *
Coming in Part II: My Bear Encounters in Sequoia National Park (with photos, video, and links)

Photograph of teenaged grizzlies copyright Linda Jo Hunter.

A new short story by ME! Only 99 cents!

Posted on November 10, 2011

Hey Everybody! I just published a short story on Kindle for fun, and here’s the link to it. It’s cheap, too! But a darn good story, I think. 🙂 A love story with a dash of mystery and a hint of metaphysics, of course.

It’s called “The Black-Sequined Dress” and if (unlike me) you can remember how to spell sequined, you’ll find it on Amazon Kindle if you search for it. Or search for my name. You can actually read a free sample even though it’s a short story! Here’s the link:
Don’t have a Kindle device? No worries. Go to Amazon and download the free Kindle for PC or Kindle for MAC or Kindle for Whatever software and you can read it on another device. (I don’t have a Kindle either so I use their software on my PC.)

I’d love to hear your reviews. You can post a comment below. Or even better (especially if you liked it), you can post a review on that empty review section on Amazon! 😀

Warning: You will find some promotional info at the end of the story about my novel *Cosmic Dancer.* It’s what we authors must do. Hope you’re not offended. You can always skip it, and I promise you will have already gotten your 99-cents worth of story.

Now about that Coffee-Break Tale … of course it has an unusual back-story. It’s me, right? So I was just sitting at a keyboard in California one day in 2003 when someone started telling it to me in my head. The subject matter couldn’t have been further from my thoughts.

This was before Joseph and I moved back to the Midwest. It had been 30-some years since I’d lived in southwestern Michigan, and I never ever lived in Indiana. However, my grandfather came from somewhere in the southern reaches of Indiana. As far as I know, this isn’t his story. Is it? And my mother’s Amish and Mennonite relatives came from northern parts of Indiana, but this doesn’t seem to be their story at all.

Yet it definitely feels as if the story were “dictated” to me by someone who needed the tale to be told. I still wonder if they weren’t related to my grandfather somehow. And I haven’t gotten past the emotions yet, which still affect me no matter how many times I’ve read it. (Joseph too.) My own story? No, I don’t think so … but ???

But if I say any more, I might give something away … So–enjoy!

Four Fabulous Days with Energy Healer Donna Eden

Posted on October 14, 2011

GREAT NEWS!  An extraordinary experience this past weekend has convinced us to teach Survival Skills for the 21st Century™ again in 2012. Our class includes a variety of essential techniques. But what spurred the decision, after a four-year hiatus, was our attendance at a rare, four-day Donna Eden Advanced Energy Medicine class.

Called “Energy, Intuition, and Eden’s Way,” it was held at the incongruous Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. Following are pictures, thoughts, and anecdotes from this exciting weekend.

Donna, if you don’t know, is the author and pioneer of Eden Energy Medicine with her husband and co-author David Feinstein, Ph.D. They are also leaders and pioneers in the hot new field of Energy Psychology.

We began our studies with them in 2002, prior to their implementation of certification programs. From 2004 through 2008, during our stay in Michigan, we taught basic courses in EEM to the general public (in addition to other Survival Skills), as well as maintaining a private practice. Since our move back to San Diego, we’ve focused on our publishing ventures, but we wouldn’t survive ourselves if we didn’t use a myriad of EEM techniques every single day! It has saved us sooo many times …

In addition to the few photos we managed to take, I wanted to capture my random observations of the rarified atmosphere inside one of Donna and David’s workshops before they evaporate in the cold light of the external world.
I wish we’d taken more pictures throughout—for instance of the sea of two hundred-some advanced practitioners spread out on blankets, chairs, and massage tables for the most intensive parts of this hands-on class. But of course, our own hands and minds were very busy at that moment.
I was also distracted by watching the colors dancing in Donna’s aura as she treated someone on a massage table, while at the same time teaching into a microphone so she could be videotaped for posterity. During the short time I had to focus on it, and with the limitations of my vision, I saw a huge column of turquoise shooting out the top of her head, straight up about three feet or more. (Joseph also noted this turquoise color at another time; she’s known to be a Blue Life Color, so perhaps this is her unique shade of blue.) This turquoise energy moved and danced around her head as she alternately gave her energy to the lucky soul on her table, and to the students following her instructions throughout the crammed hotel ballroom. There were other colors as well, but yellow also glowed in and out prominently.
The energy closely surrounding her never remained calm (as you might guess from her animated way of being). But far out in her extended aura glowed a radiant band of Gold that stretched further than I could trace it in my conscious awareness. It circled around that central activity in a relatively static, misty golden oval, with fine rays shooting off into infinity, looking very much like the energy cloak of saints you might see in a classic painting. I’m just sayin’ … and you know I’m not one to worship these visionaries like Donna who fortunately grace our planet from time to time. I’m just sayin’ she visibly works with some of the Best and Brightest in the universe, being one herself. J I’m so fortunate to know her!

I’ve seen one other aura of Gold like that in my limited experience of gazing at auras.

(Note: Ruth Norman’s aura was so extensive it wasn’t something you looked at, and at the time I had not yet practiced looking at visible auras. No need. Hers was something that first hit you about a mile from her house and requires a book to explain. It’s called Biography of an Archangel and I channeled it in 1989.)

I’m speaking of one I saw years after that, on a massage therapist, just a guy we met by “coincidence” who wanted to build a massive healing center in Northern Michigan so badly, he’d even had the plans sketched and hoped to raise funds to hire another visionary: architect Eugene Tsui. At the time Joseph and I had held similar dreams, which we immediately relinquished when we met this more appropriate man, so that we could focus on our publishing ventures. Wherever you are now, Roy, we wish you well! (I did mention that these are random thoughts, right?)

Donna also talked about her tendency to think and work in circles instead of lines, which I truly loved hearing. I’d been trying to explain that to a co-worker on a particular project recently. Joseph has pointed out that I always move in circles, coming back again and again but rarely going directly from Point A to Point B. For example, I’ll say, “It’s time for us to leave,” and then go off and do six other things before I actually go out the door. I thought that was normal. He says it’s circular.
We circular thinkers and doers follow a spiral pattern through life, which mimics how energy travels in higher-dimensional realms and how it steps down into this third-dimensional world, where energy then travels, not exactly in a straight line, but along a sine wave, rippling up and down like the waves on the ocean.


Since these are very personal musings on the weekend’s experience, I’ll mention another of my tendencies which has been giving me fits of late. My face, at rest, shapes into a frown. I’d like to blame my early childhood but I know better; it traces back lifetimes, a very bad energy habit. It got worse when I worked as a book editor, so I don’t do that anymore. Joseph has made it his life’s work to keep me smiling and laughing, very successfully, I might add. So if my face doesn’t get the idea in this lifetime, perhaps I’ll do better in the next!

But Donna! I kept snapping shots of her on the last day, just to see if I could catch her NOT grinning.

Even when she’s listening to someone, her face rests in a grin! No wonder the room is so full of joy whenever she’s teaching!

What a wonderful role model for me, even if that were the only thing I learned from her.  But it’s not, of course—there’s so much more, don’t expect me to fit it all into this little blog post. But I have noticed myself laughing a lot more since the class ended, and even smiling when I’m all alone.

(The pictures may be a little blurry because she’s also rarely still.)
So if she’s always grinning, how can you tell when she’s really happy and excited, eh? Well, Joseph captured one version of that I’ll show you in a minute.
Now, a lot of people have been excited when they first saw a copy of my reincarnation love story, Cosmic Dancer, with that beautiful painting on the cover by Josephine Wall. But when Donna signed our copies of her books, Energy Medicine and Energy Medicine for Women, and greeted us in a most wonderful way, I promised to give her a copy of Cosmic Dancer at the end of class because the one we mailed to her never reached its destination.
Of course, at the end of class she is besieged by people and she can’t dream of saying no to anyone, so her many helpers gently fend them off and lead her to a book-signing table where they try (unsuccessfully) to curb her enthusiasm somewhat, so that all have their turn with the special energy force called Donna. But she’d told us to do this, so I leaped out with the book as she was being dragged past and Joseph snapped pictures.

She said many nice, loving, excited things. I am still glowingly happy to report that we both got, not only Donna hugs this weekend, but Donna kisses and compliments as well. Very special.

And then there was the matter of the Crystal Energizers Joseph and I and a few of our Michiganstudents have been experimenting with for more than six years.
I won’t go into all the details of what they are and what they do—not here, not yet. Just to say that they have, in many cases we’ve tested with but a few noted exceptions, both prevented and cured a homolateral condition. We even had ourselves tested for lead exposure after six years of use. (We’re normal.) But we refused to tell others about this healing phenomenon we’d been led to “discover” until we had Donna’s evaluation.
So at our reunion the day before, after she pointed out that we have a lovely figure-eight energy pattern linking the two of us, we’d briefly explained to Donna that we needed her to see if, by using these crystals ourselves, we were in any way weakening our energy fields. She said to see her after class and she’d do some tests on us.
The opportunity came at the end of the third day. I don’t know how Joseph catapulted himself from working on me on a massage table at the very back of the room, over a football field’s length through prone bodies and obstacles, but he was suddenly up front, first in line after she’d asked for questions on any topic.
Donna remembered what he was going to ask when she saw him, but wise coordinators around her made them wait for microphones for the video recording and so everyone could hear. Joseph got his “15 minutes of fame” on Donna’s stage and explained what the crystals were doing for us and our students who’ve tried them. Donna tested him without the crystal and pronounced it this way: “I can’t say if they would work for everyone, but they are definitely working for the two of you! Because of your own sparkling, crystal energy!”
So now we’re full speed ahead on our book about using Crystal Energizers to keep mental and physical fatigue at bay, no matter what kind of electronic interference your bio-energy fields are exposed to. (And in this high-tech society, that’s a LOT!) It occurred to us that our energy fields might appear to be sparkling and crystalline precisely because we use these lead crystals in a very specific way. ??? Is that what she meant? Or did she mean they worked because we were already sparkly and crystalline? (We do many things to keep them that way.) Sigh. We still need all of you to try Crystal Energizers, so there’ll be more to come on this subject! They’re not something we want to sell but something we want to teach many people how to use properly. And then we’ll all find out the answer to our chicken-or-egg question.
Did I mention that Donna sees all the systems of human energy? No, wait, that’s a little too broad because we are infinite energy beings. Let’s say that, for sure, she sees the nine systems we Eden Energy Medicine practitioners learn to work with, and probably a whole lot more beyond that. I mean visibly sees. Many of us sense or feel energy, or intuit it, or are told of it by spiritual assistants. We can learn to see some of it eventually, and sense a lot of it, but I’ll venture that few if any of us see it in such detail at the present time (no limitations on the future, though!).
But Donna has always seen human energy fields since she was a child. No one told her not to, or that others didn’t see energy fields around people, by which she learned to govern her life. So I think her private practice as a healer began as a result of that seeing, and over the decades and many experiences you can read about in her books or watch on her videos, Eden Energy Medicine grew into what it is now, with the excellent and essential help of her linear-thinking husband/polarity and co-author, psychologist David Feinstein. Together, they’ve documented and teach methods that others can learn and apply. By using muscle-testing and other techniques, we’re able to help clients in a private practice, as well as ourselves through the many self-help techniques.
It was awe-inspiring and thrilling to sit in that ballroom with hundreds of highly-trained, skilled, gifted healers who’ve been studying with Donna for years, including many on this occasion whom she had not seen for a long time. Lots of them were also relatively new to the field, but they are now studying as members of the new Eden Energy Medicine Certification Program (CP). Many others had already graduated from it and maintain private practices throughout the U.S.and beyond. Several in the room raised their hands as conventional medical practitioners (doctors, acupuncturists, and such like), plenty work as massage therapists and other non-traditional healers, and some few are psychologists, there to learn Energy Medicine to complement their studies of Energy Psychology.

I have always teared up every time Donna has looked into my energy fields, as I feel her energies connect with mine. Her Powerful energies, I should say. But I must admit that there were so many wonderful and extraordinary stories and examples and things presented and explained by Donna, David, their teaching assistants, and their students all weekend, that I found myself fighting back tears of joy and excitement time after time. (Joseph felt similarly, so I know it wasn’t just an excess of estrogen in the room!)

Such wonderful changes are in store for the world with all of these individuals on the job! They are extraordinarily wonderful people, these dedicated healers.
My first impression when we walked into that crowded room last weekend was, Wow! These people dress so beautifully! Color, swirl, flow, even some sparkle! Most of the students were women, but not all. On men, I saw feathers in the hair and pirate shirts, and Joseph wearing spiritual t-shirt art.

Elton John as energy healer? Definitely! The sign on the Hard Rock Hotel display case says he actually wore this outfit on numerous occasions. (This sort of memorabilia is everywhere in the Hard Rock.)

I love this kind of dressing! If you know me, you know I’ve always loved sparkly things, and when I met Ruth Norman, my tastes were only reinforced. Someday I’ll try to explain the psychic ways that particular Cosmic Visionary worked (and works) with my wardrobe. But this group puzzled me. I’ve known so many women of a certain age in conservative locales who dressed in ways my grandmother would call dowdy, and I knew that many of the women filling up the corridors of the Hard Rock Hotel with color and swirl last weekend came from such places.
(Random side observation: What a contrast with the clusters of young women arriving in the Gaslamp Quarter on Friday and Saturday nights, all in their tight, short, nearly-identical black nightclubbing uniforms, er, dresses, teetering on their dangerously tall heels, looking for some action! You know, in the 1800s, Wyatt Earp owned several brothels in the area; it was the red-light district, full of bars and brawls. It hasn’t changed that much, which makes the old underlying energy currents fully reinforced in the present, unlike the similarly historical Design District where I worked in San Francisco. There, the former red-light district was filled in the 1980s with trendy architectural firms and furniture showrooms, which did not regenerate that lower frequency as San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter does. But the Gaslamp celebrates its shady history, in fact. And it is quite truly and notoriously haunted as well. Looking at those young girls, you can’t help but think they’ve just reincarnated back to a familiar locale. Sad, huh? To think young women today are indistinguishable from the actual prostitutes who linger in front of the hotels in the area. The Gaslamp, you see, is connected to the waterfront location of the San Diego Convention Center, and the new baseball stadium. But back to our energy healers, so strikingly out of place here!)
Later Donna, also admiring the crowd, told a story of an early class she taught in Florida, when all her students showed up in sweats. By the end of the weekend, they had all gone out and bought what she calls “energy clothes,” flowing velvets and soft fabrics that move gracefully around the body.

The guy in the flowing pirate shirts piped up and explained that at an early class he was helping to move a table onstage, wearing his customary polo shirt and shorts, and Donna blurted out, “_____, we’ve got to do something about your wardrobe!”

Ah-ha! I thought. She’s encouraged them to dress this way!But now I think it’s more like this: Once Donna’s students start to think of themselves as the energy beings we are, and start to work with their hands and bodies consciously dipped into that energy, I think Donna’s example is only a part of the equation, as Ruth Norman’s influence was for me. They are dressing to express what they now know and feel about themselves and the sea of energy in which we all flow.
So what a feeling in that room! Electrifying indeed! And when we did an exercise together, all in unison, wow. I am SOOoooo glad Joseph and I chose to attend, when we thought we couldn’t afford it. We just did it anyway, and it was priceless.
We are still processing all the Advanced Energy Medicine techniques we were exposed to this weekend, and we’re still experiencing the results of the treatments we did on one another. We’ll do more repetitions this coming weekend, alone in our own crystalline energy cocoon without distraction in order to cement our understanding.
As for the Hard Rock Hotel. Well. We’re very glad we could come home and sleep in our own bed. We heard tales of loud rock music blaring at , since the hotel itself is considered a hot night spot for the hordes of young partiers, and the entire Gaslamp Quarter is much the same, especially on weekends. When Donna and David apologized for the choice, they explained that when they did their site visit, the hotel had piped in the mellow 1940s music Donna had told them she liked (instead of the rock and hip-hop we all heard last weekend). They chose the hotel for the room in which they taught, which had high, high ceilings and tall windows that let in tons of natural light. I took a picture that pretty much explains that, but Donna spelled it out: She always seeks a room with high ceilings because the energy released in the work we do rises upward before dispersing.
I suspect there’s more she didn’t say, but that I saw: her own aura when teaching rises very high above her. When she explained that she couldn’t sleep in any room without high ceilings, what she didn’t say that I could see was how uncomfortable that would be for her. Of course her auric energies (and everyone’s), being interdimensional, would extend right through any physical barrier, but if she felt confined, I could certainly understand why. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You can fit into those tight jeans, but wouldn’t you be more comfortable in something looser?

Next year, when the first-ever International Gathering of the Eden Energy Medicine community happens in San Diego (IGEEM), it will be at a lovely Hilton on the shores of Mission Bay. We hope to be there—and hope you will too! It’s a convention, a teaching extravaganza, a weekend of joyful connections, and it’s not limited to Eden Energy Medicine practitioners but open to all, with classes that go beyond that discipline into other fascinating areas, with Bruce Lipton, Jean Houston, Candace Pert, James Oschman, and Alberto Villoldo as keynote speakers. I only sound like an advertisement because I think it’s going to be very cool indeed, and I keep thinking of friends I hope will come to it.

Back to our own classes, Joseph and I came away from this weekend with one other green light of approval: to once again include self-help Eden Energy Medicine in our Survival Skills for the 21st Century™ series in 2012!
We love to do this because we know that not everyone wants to train to become a practitioner (our classes will not be part of the official EEM Foundations or CP series). But everybody can dramatically improve their health and well-being with a variety of simple EEM techniques. This is our chosen role in the EEM community: to reach the general public with a relatively inexpensive way to sample EEM for yourself. We hope some of you will go on to further study once you see how valuable it is.
Other Survival Skills we’ll be teaching as soon as we find the right location will include Eating Wisely in a Wicked World; Understanding Life Colors; Past Lives and Polarities; and a new class in finding your own interdimensional attunement. (Teaching location suggestions welcome!)
Meanwhile, we’ll be working on two new books, one of which will be all about the Crystal Energizers and another—well, you’ll see.
If you’d like to be notified about our books and classes, please send an email to info@cosvismb.comand we’ll add you to the list!
NOTE, Jan. 18, 2014: Instead of teaching in a classroom, Joseph and I published our “classroom in a book” instead. It is now available in both print and ebook form from booksellers throughout the world. It’s called Speed Your Evolution: Become the Star Being You Are Meant to Be. Among many other topics, it explains the workings of the human Psychic Anatomy, the higher-dimensional energy system that travels with you from life to life, serving as a blueprint for your DNA, and linking to the nine energy systems that sustain your physical body, the ones you study in EEM. The book serves as a psychic-development workbook. You might even call it The Artist’s Way for past-life therapy, because we thoroughly cover the subject of past lives, and how you can heal your own past-life traumas, shocks, or blocks.

Writing the next "Law of Attraction"? Ten Tips for Publishing Your Book – Part 3

Posted on September 24, 2011

Now that you’ve digested Parts 1 and 2, let’s talk about marketing any kind of book, paper or electronic. I think the above covers the whole subject of book cover design very well. Make sure it’s an eye-catcher, whether you hire a pro or do it yourself! (And that it looks good as a tiny thumbnail.) I chose this example, by the way, because it totally relates to something I say later on. Honest!

 Then we’ll discuss ways to turn your paper book (or your Word files) into an ebook. And it’s time to get a little metaphysical with Tip #10.

Lastly, I’ve got a bonus treat for you: a series of fun-but-wise videos from my author friend Kathleen Pickering and her friend Traci Hall: step by step video advice for aspiring novelists.

6. As I already mentioned, you must always rely on yourself for marketing your book—even if you’ve been published by a “traditional” publisher!

This is a fact to digest and remember as soon as possible. Spend some time determining who your readership will be, and figure out how you’ll reach them. Where can they be found? What methods are available for getting your message to them? This is not easy, but essential. Make plans!

If I’d been more accurate at defining Cosmic Dancer‘s readership in advance, I would have saved a lot of starts and restarts, and the cost and effort of a new cover design shortly after its release.

Unwisely, I’d worked my assumed readership parameters into the original subtitle (“A Reincarnation Fantasy for Young Adults and Older Souls”). I was probably too enamored of my “Older Souls” designation to realize I’d just limited my audience. I also assumed my readers would be female. Wrong!

It turned out that a lot of people who loved the book were guys, and fans were old, young, and those of middling age. Some were declared atheists, some Christians, and some were, well, everything else! I was apparently right about “older souls” liking the book, but I should have remembered that they come in all guises. So we’ve come up with a more neutral subtitle, “An Interdimensional Fantasy,” and lifted all the limitations I’d inadvertently tacked on.

If you can define your audience early in the writing and publishing process, you’ll have a jump start on marketing, whether you’re selling the book directly to readers via self-publishing, or trying to hook the interest of an agent or publishing house.

Once published, definitely take advantage of every new Amazon gimmick for promoting your book. I’m still catching up, months later, plus they’re always adding new features. I haven’t uploaded videos yet, but I do have this blog is linked to my Author Page. Check it out. 

Online, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of blogs and websites full of advice and tools for marketing your books. Keep exploring, keep connecting. Facebook, of course. But also look into sites such as and Consider doing blog tours, and find as many blogs and traditional reviewers as you can to review your book.

Don’t worry; you won’t run out of ways to promote your book(s). I’ve barely touched on the subject because so much is written about it elsewhere. Just let your imagination go to work. And remember that it will always be YOUR job, no matter who publishes you.

And now I need to go take my own advice! 🙂

But first, Ebooks:

8. When you get ready to hire an ebook conversion specialist for your beautifully designed POD book, contact me and I’ll give you a referral.

Think you can do this yourself? Well, a lot of people do. So go for it! I was going to do my own, but I realized my time was too valuable to learn all the programming ins and outs. Best decision I ever made! is a good place to start looking for ebook advice and distribution options. They’re very impressive for do-it-yourselfers. If I hadn’t gone the full-fledged publisher route, or if I wanted to publish ebooks only, I’d be looking at their site too.

But I’m so extremely grateful to my conversion specialist who has transformed my painstakingly typeset InDesign files into Kindle and .epub formats. Worth every penny! Thank you, Amit! 

I am now testing Ingram’s CoreSource fulfillment services for global ebook distribution.Cosmic Dancer is already available in the Kindle store, but is also available in the .epub (Adobe Digital Editions) format in the U.S. and globally. I’ll add a comment here when I have more experience with them.
9. If you’re planning to publish an ebook only—or first—and you are going to work with Microsoft Word files (versus having your book professionally typeset in InDesign or Quark), definitely visit the Smashwords website and read their style guides.

I’ve heard it advised to put your manuscript through their rigorous style adjustments before attempting any sort of conversion into ebook formats, then start with the .epub format, and work toward the Kindle format.

As you may have seen from reading ebooks yourself, a lot of glitchy things happen when words are put into the formats necessary to create an ebook. This is why I hired a programmer to produce my ebooks. I’ve read some books in which random paragraphs appeared in different colors or fonts. All sorts of things can mush together, or fly around the pages. I still find ebooks a little bit scary!

But as I said, I don’t have direct experience with Smashwords, so please let me know if I’m wrong about them.

* * * *
I do hope these tips help you! And it’s true, I am no longer in the book editing business and I do not have time to read anyone’s manuscript or coach them about publishing on a one-to-one basis. Don’t be offended if I’ve sent you to read this blog post. It pains my inner cheerleader to turn anyone away, but I’ve even turned down family members!

In fact, I stretched to make time for writing this. But I will be happy to respond to any comments or questions you post below. I do love to encourage people. But now my own writing and publishing efforts are taking every drop of my energy, inspiration, vision, and time. Whew! Which reminds me to give you one last bit of advice:

10. Do NOT venture into this sort of project if you are not willing to spend years nurturing it.

I think books are even worse than children (tch, found this out too late, didn’t I?)! Children grow up and move away, right? But books are dependent on you forever.

They are energy creations that carry a part of you with them always—a living, changing, vibrating part. As you resonate, so do they, and people are either attracted to your book or repelled from it by what you carry within your consciousness on any given day—forever. I personally believe this stays true even after you’ve left your body behind and graduated to another dimension!

Oh, and books are very demanding creatures! More than you ever imagined they could be … in ways you never dreamed.

So be careful what you write, and how you treat it. It’s going to be a part of you for a long, long time. But if this is your passion, then you really have no choice. Roll up your sleeves and get to work! You can hire helpers along the way, but no one else can ever take your place as Creator of your book, with all the responsibilities that entails, infinitely and eternally.

And now, a treat to remind us that writing and publishing can actually be fun! This is from author Kathleen Pickering and her author-friend, Traci Hall. I thoroughly enjoyed this little series of videos, and learned a few tips for my next book! Thank you, ladies! I especially liked those feather boas and the cabana boy! 😉
(You think I’m kidding? Watch this:)

Tch, those Romance Writers do know how to have fun. Best writing convention I ever attended! Oh wait, it was the only one … and Fabio was there. Ahhh, yes … I remember being on the tiny hotel elevator with a writer friend when all the Fabio look-alike contestants piled on in their, ahem, “costumes” …

Happy publishing, friends!