Archive for Relationships Posts

Book Review: An Octopus in my Ouzo

 

“It takes years to know for sure if you’re in a good relationship; but I didn’t have years to get pregnant.”

– Jennifer Barclay, An Octopus in my Ouzo

Life on the Tiny Greek Island of Tilos

I read An Octopus in my Ouzo; Loving Life on a Greek Island over the summer. At the time, I loved reading the author’s detailed descriptions of island life…the swims in the sea, the long walks through the countryside, the goats, the villages and local characters…the delicious Greek food!

Now that a couple of months have passed since I finished the book, what also stands out in my memory is the author’s personal story of coming to terms with not being able to have a baby. Although she is living (and loving) one of her dreams – living full-time on a Greek island – she is struggling to accept the fact that another dream – motherhood – likely won’t be happening.

I appreciated the honest and eloquent way in which the author shared her journey. It can be incredibly difficult to accept that we are not going to get everything we want – or think we want – in life. And yet to be able to step back and look at all that we do have in our lives, and be thankful for that, is essential.

The Seahorse Moment

There is a powerful scene near the beginning of the book that involves a seahorse. It hit me hard. I won’t divulge much detail in case you read the book yourself. But for me, the seahorse moment spoke volumes about the importance of speaking up for what we believe in…even if it is something as small as a seahorse. I was reminded of this quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

For how often do we hold back on speaking our truth about the “little things” because we don’t want to get into a discussion…don’t want to rock the boat?

More often than we care to admit, I suspect. For maintaining harmony in a household and peace in personal relationships are equally worthy objectives. But the “little things,” in my experience, are not always so little. They may, in fact, be tips of icebergs.

I highly recommend reading An Octopus in my Ouzo. It will warm your heart, whet your appetite for scrumptious Greek food…and quite possibly inspire you to spend some time on a Greek island 😊

My Connection to Jennifer

I have written about Jennifer Barclay before. I reviewed her delightful book, Falling in Honey; How a Tiny Greek Island Stole My Heart. And Jennifer was the original editor for my book, A Widow’s Awakening. Jennifer taught me how to write creative non-fiction. Sentence by sentence, she showed me how to transform a painful personal experience into an engaging story for the reader.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

Channeling 101: Hello…Is Anybody There?

 

“When someone’s got a direct line to the Universe, their words have such a profound resonance, you immediately recognize them as truth.”

– Martha Beck

My Dad was a Devout Atheist

He did not believe in any sort of Divine entity. He despised organized religion. And he most certainly did not think there was an afterlife…when the body dies, it’s all over.

So when he passed away six months ago (in February), I was very curious as to what his actual post-death experience was. Did his existence just…fade to black and that was it?

Or (much to his surprise and perhaps dismay) did he discover that something – our consciousness, soul, spirit, essence, etc – does live on after the death of the body?

Now, my personal experiences in life thus far have demonstrated to me enough evidence to support a belief that there is something after the death of our bodies. Not sure what, exactly…but I strongly suspect our souls do continue to exist in some capacity.

But I must say, in the three months following my Dad’s death, other than a sense of feeling that his spirit was close (mainly in the increased clarity of my thoughts), I did not receive any sort of tangible “sign” that his soul was…you know, still in circulation 😊

And then, wouldn’t you know it but three months after his passing (on Mother’s Day, oddly enough), I had the strangest experience. I woke up at 4 a.m. because I could hear a man’s voice saying, “Dad…Dad…Dad…”

It was not my Dad’s voice. In fact, it didn’t sound quite human…close but not quite.

My room was pitch black but it sounded as if the voice was coming from a few feet to my right. At first, I thought I was still dreaming, so I blinked my eyes several times. But the voice kept repeating the word, “Dad.”

Then I thought (hoped!) it was my dog, Sadie, snoring. But I held my breath and listened carefully. Nope…I could hear Sadie breathing and the voice saying, “Dad.” By this point, I was wide awake…and starting to freak out a little.

I didn’t think there was actually someone in my bedroom…at least, not a person. I was freaked out because I was pretty sure I knew what I was hearing – and it wasn’t something I would be able to see when I turned the light on.

I finally reached over and switched on my lamp. Sure enough, there was no one in my room. And the voice stopped instantly.

Now you can either choose to believe me – or not. If you don’t, I wouldn’t blame you one bit because it is pretty weird.

But here’s what I think was going on: I think what I heard was the soul of my Dad learning how to communicate with the living (he’d had three months to get over the shock of realizing there is life after death!). It sounded as if he was practicing how to “speak” as a soul by repeating the word, “Dad.” And it makes sense that it wouldn’t be his voice I heard – because he obviously no longer has his human voice.

As for why it was three feet from my head that his soul was practicing his newfound communication skills? Well, it’s not just because I’m his daughter and he loved me very much (although I’m sure that’s part of it). Rather, I suspect it was me he chose to practice on because he knew I would get it.

Why?

Because I have just spent fourteen years working on my Saviour play script. And what is Saviour about? The soul of Virginia Woolf – who is dead – teaching “Sam” (the character based on my real-life husband, John) – who is dying – how to die, why he is dying so young, and how to communicate with the living.

How I have written this play, I have no idea. But I strongly suspect I have had an awful lot of help from…the other side.

At any rate, wouldn’t you know it but on the very same day as my “Dad” visitor, I already had a session booked with a woman by the name of Lanne Rice. Lanne is an artist and energy worker, who has the ability to “channel.” Lanne helps people see the truth to any question they may have by channeling the direct answer.

What is Channeling?

According to the Crimson Circle website, “Channeling is a natural form of communication between humans and angelic beings, nature spirits, non-physical entities, or even animals and pets. A channeler is very similar to a language translator or interpreter. They allow themselves to sense the non-verbal communication from another being and then translate it into human words.”

A channeler can also help someone get in touch with their own soul…their higher self.

For the record, I have not spent time with a channeler before. Truth be told, I have enough weird stuff happening to help me on any given day that I don’t feel the need to go looking for answers! But I had met Lanne at a couple different events over the past few months and had clicked with her. I trusted her.

So when I met Lanne for our channeling session a few hours after hearing the “Dad” voice, I told her about the experience.

She was delighted but not particularly surprised…that is, after all, her world.

Lanne then asked me if I would like to know if my Dad was, in fact, around at the moment – in her studio.

“Sure,” I said.

A few minutes later, we got an answer. Yes, he was there with us – but he did not particularly like being “summoned,” because he felt he was being put on the spot. So if it was okay with me, he would prefer to just hang back and listen in.

Cool.

And so, the session went from there. I won’t bombard you with the details but I will say this: I cleared out a lot of old stuff in my heart and head in that hour…literally. I mean, I visualized boxing up all sorts of thoughts I no longer needed and putting them outside the door of my mind – very similar to what I had been doing at home, in preparation for putting my house on the market: getting rid of all sorts of old stuff from the boxes in my basement.

“Your Dad is helping you,” Lanne said at one point. “He is taking the boxes of thoughts you no longer need and throwing them away for you.”

I looked at her and raised one eyebrow.

“He really likes helping you,” she said. “He wants to help.”

Three weeks later – before I had even put my house on the market – my neighbour’s realtor knocked on my door. A developer was keen to purchase both our properties…was I interested? You bet! Within twenty-four hours, I had sold my home for significantly more than if I’d sold it on the open market…and, of course, much less hassle.

My real estate agent was thrilled but a bit baffled. “Nothing surprises me anymore in this business,” he said. “But I must confess I didn’t see this deal coming.”

Oh, and did I mention…my Dad had worked in commercial real estate for years. He loved making deals 😊

And guess what the developer chose as the closing date? September 29th – the anniversary of John’s death.

You can take what you like from this blog. But I shall leave you with this quote to ponder:   

“Generally when we pray, our highest power doesn’t get right back to us – but that doesn’t mean we can’t find answers. Some earthlings can listen so deeply that they actually hear the divine. They receive guidance and comfort to share with the rest of us, like spiritual receptionists passing along messages. Of course, there are plenty of frauds who only claim to hear wisdom – but I’ve found that when someone’s got a direct line to the Universe, their words have such a profound resonance, you immediately recognize them as truth.”

– Martha Beck, O Magazine, July 2017

I think Lanne Rice is one of those special people who do have a direct line to the Universe. Mind you, I think we all do…we just might know how to listen.

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Tempus Fugit – Bahamas Reflections on My Dad

Soul Survival – Do You Believe in Life After Death?

When Opportunity Knocks at the Door – Literally

 

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

Lanne Rice is the owner of Broken Heart Studio…a broken heart is an open heart. Lanne is a coaching artist who guides people in the process of creating their own original piece of abstract art. She is also an energy worker who helps people see the truth to any questions they may have. Lanne has the ability to channel the direct answer to questions, over the internet or in person. For further information, please visit www.lannerice.com.

Frock Off Book by Jo Dibblee is Fantastic!

 

“Not knowing or too scared to see what else was possible, I clung to our marriage for dear life until I realized I didn’t have to merely survive. I had a choice: either deal with my demons and frocks or live a half-life in disguise. One by one I gave up my frocks…the power of acceptance took hold of me, and I was on a mission to change my course.”

– Jo Dibblee, Frock Off; Living Undisguised

Have you ever read The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls?

If so, then I think you will LOVE this memoir by Jo Dibblee: Frock-Off; Living Undisguised. If you haven’t read The Glass Castle but enjoy reading a candid memoir that doesn’t hold back from telling the truth, then I highly recommend Frock-Off.

Here is a snapshot of the Frock-Off book:

With parents tormented by secrets, guilt and shame, Jo Dibblee quickly learns to protect herself. Faced with her parents’ alcoholism, drug abuse and depression, along with the sexual assault and stalking of a foster parent, early in life Jo began to use a coping strategy she now calls “frocking.”

With humour and hope, Jo shares the harrowing rollercoaster of her life story and gives the low-down on frocking – how she learned it and used it to survive, how she found it holding her back and what she had to do, once and for all: Frock OFF.

Despite harsh truths, brushes with death and agonizing betrayals, Jo’s heart shines through these pages, offering promise, wisdom and inspiration to any reader who has learned to hide and longs to be free.

Why the book resonated with me

Quite frankly, it is a miracle Jo physically survived her unbelievable childhood – let alone learned to thrive in the way she has. But she certainly has…and continues to be an inspiration to many – both because of who she is AND what she does.

I first crossed paths with Jo Dibblee in 2008, when I was speaking at a women’s networking event in Alberta. Then we went our separate ways. Eight years later, our paths crossed again at a different event in British Columbia – and I was astounded to hear about Jo’s story. So I immediately ordered her book.

Despite of all that she has been through – or perhaps because of all that she has been through – Jo is unstoppable in her commitment to empowering women to reach their highest potential. I am very honoured to know her AND to have spoken at two of her Frock-Off events.

To “frock-off” means to shed whatever it is that is holding us back in life. Our “frocks” can be the lies we tell ourselves – or they can be the truths from our past that are no longer serving us. Our frocks can be our stories, our excuses, our embarrassments, our habits, our coping mechanisms, our fears, our circumstances, our limiting beliefs.

You name it, there is a probably a frock or two in most of our closests that should probably be given the heave-ho 🙂

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.