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SHATTERED FAITH NET

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THE FORWARD BY YVONNE PERRY

The thought processes of some people don‘t always allow for the possibility that the round peg may fit the square hole if the square hole is big enough.

Round peg, square hole? That’s me! My eyes perked up when I read that comment by Nick Oliva, and I knew I was going to enjoy reading the rest of this book.
Nick. Me. Neither of us fit the expected mold and both of us have little use for the practices and dogmatic beliefs imposed upon society by organized religions. All my life, I have butted heads with people who find it difficult to relate with me because I have an alternate viewpoint due to the mystical experiences I’ve had.

Nick chose to remove himself from the abuse of controlling religious leaders. I was “removed” from religion in one fell swoop when the universe (spirit, my soul, God, higher self, or whatever you want to call it) booted me out of the church, its teachings, my marriage, my sense of security, and the belief system that I had tenaciously clung to for forty years. I took what was left of my paranormal ass and went to the corner of my pigeon hole to reevaluate what was working in my life and what wasn’t. There was a lot of garbage to sort through as I examined each piece of black-robed ideology and researched modern Christianity back to its roots.

Nick nailed it when he wrote, “I‘m trying to get people to understand that they are responsible for their actions, not―the Lord.” That’s what I’ve been trying to help people understand for the past ten years. When my life fell apart, I soon discovered that it was up to me—not God, the church, or anyone else—to put it back together. What a difference that discovery has made for me. But, try explaining that to folks who have a rigid indoctrinated view of how life and death should operate.

As one who has had two near-death experiences (NDE) and lived to write a book about them, I was very interested to read what Nick had to say about his own near death experience, which occurred when his heart stopped beating for fourteen seconds as he was literally trying to take a shit. You laughed, I heard you! And, you’ll laugh at the wit, logic, and satire Nick Oliva uses to battle the philosophies of the Atheists and Christians who harshly responded to his posts in an online forum. You may also feel angry when you read the chapter titled “The Real Story of the Christian Bible, or that Black Book You’re Holding Isn’t What You Think It Is.” Seventeen hundred years has made a big difference in the “sacred” text!

I can understand Nick’s hesitancy to write about his near-death experience. Maybe that is why he left it for the last course—like a sweet dessert for this meat-heavy meal.

Death is not something most people want to talk about and yet it is something every one of us will ultimately have to face. I’ve never met any Near Death Experiencer who doesn’t tell me that their experience changed his or her life.

The author’s account of his other-world experience gives us encouragement that our fears about what lies beyond the grave are merely preconceived notions passed from one generation to the next. Those, who like Nick and myself, that have experienced an NDE, may find a metaphysical view of life and death more in line with the laws that are written in their hearts rather than on tablets of stone or in the New Times Roman, black leather, gold-leafed, silky-pages of the King James Version.

I’m glad to have found a friend who is brave enough to write his story and approach the fallacies of religion. I hope this book will open some eyes that have been nailed shut like the coffin they avoid peering into. I know of nothing that is deader than someone who will not allow room to question his or her beliefs. As Nick writes, “To not acknowledge the fact that one could be wrong is to show the greatest ignorance to life itself.” Yet, when it comes to discussing anything spiritual that does involve Jesus Christ, Christianity, or religion, Nick’s reason and logic will probably hit a brick wall—especially when presented to fundamentalists who want to legislate their staunch morals through political leaders.

You may think that I hate those who fill the church pews on Sunday or preach the “not-so-good-news.” I mean, what’s so good about being told that you’re a sinner bound for hell and that you must believe a certain way to avoid damnation? I don’t hate anyone, but I do hate the behavior of some. Like Nick, I can accept anyone who treats others with love and respect. As long as he or she doesn’t try to convert me to his or her way of thinking, it really doesn‘t matter to me what he or she believes or does—as long as he or she does no harm to anyone else in the process.

“If we all could keep our fear, greed, and pride at bay we could accomplish great things in the course of human history.”…Just imagine how the world would change if we took Nick’s words to heart and started practicing them.

Shattered Faith: To Believe or Not To Believe truly is a gift to humanity. If only we would heed the advice this book contains. I invite you to put down your weapon (fear), stop hating those you don‘t understand, and prepare to be tolerant as you delve into this gift.

Yvonne Perry

Author of RIGHT TO RECOVER: Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America and MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife

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I was all of 16, popcorn in hand, watching the most peculiar film.  Confused and curious I saw apes and airborne bones, spaceships, stars and perfect monolithic structures that foretold the essence of an all-knowing being.  I watched in wonder at a renegade talking computer that seals the fate of astronauts pursuing the message of a distant alien beacon.  And then to top it all off an incredible light show intended to show the passage of one’s soul through another dimension right before my very eyes in 1968.  I like many people, left the theater scratching my head and wondering what exactly did I just see?  Space Odyssey 2001 was probably the only film I went back to the theater to see six times.  Of course being at that youthful age, some of the impetus was to see that incredible light show in a cannabis- induced altered state of mind.  John Dykstra’s montage of colorful landscapes in high-speed superimposed in various colorful grids is quite dated in 2008, but back then there were no computerized graphics, no teams of visual design wizards, just plain old ordinary inventiveness. 

Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Krubrick teamed up to produce a screenplay to attempt to show the future of humanity 33 years from the film’s debut.  Of course, Mr. Krubrick’s penchant for passionate filmmaking with his own vision eventually drove Mr. Clarke from the set, much the same as Stephen King stormed-off during the filming of “The Shining.”  Afterwards, Mr. Clark’s book of the same name was released and people that took the time to read it finally did understand what this incredibly cinemagraphic tale was all about. Arthur C. Clarke was far ahead of his time.  His theories of geosynchronous orbits for satellites became a reality 25 years after he predicted such.  He is the author of over a thousand short stories and over 100 books.  A character in the late Carl Sagan’s movie “Contact” is loosely based on his character paying homage to him.  A resident of Sri Lanka, he kept in touch with the world via videoconferencing on computer and had many friends and fans that he kept in contact through e-mail. 

To say I was somewhat influenced by this man would be putting it lightly.  His image of the future foretold hope and promise for the human race.  It sparked imagination that anything was possible and that the mysteries of life and of our origin could be surmised and possibly obtained some day, and that the question “why” might finally be answered.  His writing is not complicated or hard to understand but his concepts went far beyond mere words printed on paper.  He was a man of vision, a man of hope in this world of harsh realities in the day-to-day struggle of survival.  He provided dreams-dreams of humans at their finest, and technology at its worst and vice versa.  The ironic dichotomy of humans having come so far yet basic instincts of fear and greed, having being imprinted well within our DNA, helping to destroy those opportunities that have allowed our lives to be enriched by the advance of technology.  One of the common themes I’ve discovered about my writing is this human versus environment versus technology predicament, and I find now I owe it all to this man who’s thought process influenced me at a very young age.  I am greatly in his debt-the world is greatly in his debt. He may finally be able to answer HAL’s question-“will I dream?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLXQ7rNgWwg

     I received as a Christmas gift a personalized autographed copy of “Wonderful Today.” This is a very good marketing device for a premium price, but worth it for those who value the author’s dedication in their own handwriting.     

     Beatle George Harrison wrote “Something” for her and it remains one of the most covered Beatle songs ever.  Eric Clapton, the guitar hero of the world for over three decades wrote the Derek and the Dominoes 1974 Album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” that fast and furious super-hot rock and roll epic about his love for this model and former wife of George Harrison and eventually Eric’s-Pattie Boyd. She’s the only woman to have two superstars write songs to her, and in her prime, her intoxicating beauty was that of a sexual siren driving men’s souls to the rocks in pure passion. Her new book “Wonderful Today” is a biography that seems to want to tell all, and indeed sheds light on this wonderful woman who came from an abused childhood to make it as one of the world’s top models.  Ms. Boyd begins in a chronological fashion with pictures of family and tales of Kenya with snakes, tigers, and scary natives.  Quite the childhood, but then when her parents separate she is forced back to England with an abusive and cruel step-father.
     The voice of the book is sweet and innocent, but the sixties flower children go through an innocence of their own and as the drugs they use to free their minds and give them empowerment for hope eventually drive them to pure misery as well.  She became the wife of Mr. Harrison at the end of a fairy-tale courtship, but due to the heavy hand of the Beatle’s Manager Brian Epstein, was denied a proper wedding, as the public was not to know George was “no longer available” in the heady days of Beatlemania.  She and George lived a simple life, in a relatively small house with George off to the studio each day and Pattie embracing the role of wife, lover, cook, and home keeper.  It was all she wanted and needed.  George on the other hand became intensely involved in meditation, ironically because of Pattie’s suggestion, to fill a need for a childhood he never completely experienced, and they all went off to the Yogi Master Maharishi Mahesh in India.
     For those who haven’t read past books on the Beatles, her book is full of references such as their Los Angeles house on “Blue Jay Way” and Prudence Farrow, Mia’s sister, was the “Dear Prudence” who would not leave her house in India with the Maharishi.  Sergeant Pilcher was the British police officer who busted John Lennon, George, and many other rock and rollers of the day for drugs including Mick Jagger. “Jennifer Juniper” was a Donovan song for Pattie’s sister Jennifer who was also Mick Fleetwood’s main squeeze off and on and there are many other tidbits of rock trivia that have their place in history connected to Pattie’s life with George. 
     George eventually became emotionally unattached to her as he began binging on drugs and then meditation trying to find his way through a lost childhood.  Eric Clapton then appears writing her passionate letters and begging her to leave George for a life with him.  At first, she thinks this is all very nice and flattering, but then Eric goes on a heroin binge because of her refusal to give in and be with him much like a spiteful boy.  Eventually George’s lack of attention and Eric’s determined persistence, get the best of Pattie and she leaves George to follow Eric on tour.  Years go by and the addiction to drugs, alcohol, and heroin take their toll on “Slowhand” and he shows no attempt to stay faithful to any one woman.  As much as Pattie wants to understand and deal with the issues of his dalliances and drunkenness, she indeed compromises her own principles in doing so, the relationship grinds to an inevitable crash as Eric “keeps on keepin’ on,” in full persona of what a rock star “is all about-After Midnite”-sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  Pattie was and is only looking for love with someone who can make her laugh, and treat her as an equal.  This book is not a kiss and tell epic, and one would love to hear some of the intense times of emotion and vase throwings I’m sure, but one can sense the immense pain she had in finally putting this to words for all to read without destroying her relationships especially with Clapton. Her only mistake was believing in young men that couldn’t tie their shoes on their own, and needed to grow up and take their marriage seriously.  But now at last she is on her own, enjoying her life without expectations and has accepted her responsibility in enabling these “boys” and being a part of the problem.  She still maintains great beauty within and without and is and will always be the mythical lady immortalized much like Helen of Troy in that Pattie launched a million flickers of light for encores at concerts everywhere in the world.
“Layla, you still got me on my knees…”
 

Malcolm Campbell author of “The Sun Singer” reviews my novel “Only Moments.”  Malcolm hails from Georgia and posted this on communati.com on November 21st and gave the book a four star rating on Amazon.com.  Malcolm’s website can be accessed from the links list on the left.

When you watch a man dancing on a dark stage in front of a flashing strobe light, you see only moments of the dance. Nick Oliva has taken the defining, and often poignant vignettes, of musician Chris Vadia’s life and choreographed them into a remarkable novel.

We begin in the future, after all of the moments are long gone–a coming-of-age car trip, first love, marriage, marital strife, a husband-and-wife performance at Carnegie Hall, the death of a spouse–and look at events so fresh they appear to be happening now! But they are of the past and cannot be changed, and they take us–along with Chris–figuratively back in time and where they dance before our eyes in perfect detail before we move on.

The struggling Chris we find within each moment of his life’s journey is not the Chris observing his past from the perspective of a man who learns, is learning, actually, that his seemingly disparate moments of joy and sorrow that appear to have been separated by time and space and vantage point are connected into a well-defined, sensible whole.

If you’re a musician and/or if music impacts your life in meaningful ways, you will appreciate the impact of Oliva’s experience as a musician on the piano/violin practice and performance scenes. But you’ll also see as you read from moment to moment that music is one of several apt metaphors in “Only Moments.” Life’s moments are like the notes in a composer’s great work in progress, a work that in spite of all the choices, false starts, crescendos, decrescendos, and improvisations, turns out the only way it possibly could have turned out.

A long-time fan of Joseph Campbell and his hero path structure or myth and mythic stories, I see within the pages of this novel that Chris Vadia is discovering–like all heroes on the path–that the events of one’s journey, in all their glory, are the tip of the iceberg to the important inner journey we all travel from birth to death and beyond.

“Only Moments” is the journey of a lifetime carried forward on the wings of Chris Vadia’s stirring memories and Nick Oliva’s stirring prose.

     I recently did a survey of authors as to “how” they go about buying the books that they like. I wanted to try and nail down the “kernel of knowledge” that motivates one to buy a particular book-be it by author, cover, blurbs, word of mouth, etc.  The interesting thing that I noticed as the comments came in and the topic evolved, was not so much how one buys a book, but where.  The hands down overall venue was the bookstore and not Amazon, or any other internet point of purchase.

 That tells volumes to me, pun intended.  The fact that most people wanted to feel, read, and have the book in their hands when making their decision shows me that even though the internet is a powerful purchasing tool, it still hasn’t replaced many of the habits of book readers.  Ergo, I could postulate that the lack of shelf space inhibits and great reduces exposure for that sale, regardless of genre, price point, or any other factor.  And that “missing link” may be the mainstream distribution of that book, and that would make sense as no movie or music product can survive without that aspect either. 

     To take it one step further regardless of what may be an unpopular and most probably highly criticized statement that it portends is that those books with the power of the major publishers behind them are the most successful and their ability to place books in those stores are what is missing in the lack of substantial sales of self-published and independent titles. So you may ask, who didn’t know that?  I did realize that, but it was confirmed with the evidence that came from those who do actually buy books and are authors themselves.

This is not to say that a book cannot become successful outside that machine, but it makes the odds considerably less favorable. So now the issue is how to overcome those odds or build a better boat.  In this revolution of publishing, the old school is still the dominant method of getting distribution.  One day soon, that may change.
“[Bad] writing is not easier than good writing; it’s just as hard to make a toilet seat as it is a castle window — only the view is different.” ~ Ben Hecht (thanks Philip!)

Though many have heard of Buddhists and Buddhism few understand the working concepts and the fact that it is a lifestyle and not a true religion. The Four Pillars of this way are:

Four Noble Truths
The Nature of Dukkha: Suffering exists in life.

The Origin of Dukkha (Samudaya): Suffering is caused by craving.

The Cessation of Dukkha (Nirodha): To eliminate suffering, eliminate
craving.

The Way Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (Magga): To eliminate craving follow the Eightfold Path.

The Eightfold path is, the right view, the right intention, the right speech, the right actions, the right livelihood, the right efforts, the right mindfulness, the right concentration.

My interpretation of this 2950 year-old disciplinary practice is that “right” -being such a relative term these days -means of the consciousness of doing positive things that help the self and others. Buddha literally means The “Awakened One.”

None of these concepts are contrary to what it takes to make a meaningful life regardless of whatever you believe as your own religion, yet now as we speak thousands of monks are being killed in Burma now Myanmar because of their lifestyle, because of what they believe-that is harmless to others. What indeed are we of this world that we do such horrible things to each other and destined to do even more each day until the blood runs in swaths of rivers of oppression and hate?

__________________________
Nick Oliva
Author, “Only Moments”

Captain Ahab used his prosethetic leg for things other than walking. Orca preferred male companionship Lenny in the Grapes of Wrath was really a idiot-savant. Mary Poppins moonlighted as a hooker-expi alla delicious! Hamlet liked wearing leg stockings so much he wore them to bed. Sherlock Holmes was always constipated hence the phrase “No S… Sherlock Flipper was transexual and went both ways. The Three Bears practiced beastiality Bambi was killed by a conspiracy. Mickey Mouse was bi and Minnie knew and was definitely doin’ Goofy things on the side. All of the Transformers go both ways if not more. Moses might have parted the Red Sea but he couldn’t get a date to save his life….must have been the that persistent donkey smell. Erica Jong confessed her character actually did it on the plane at the end of the her Fear of Flying book. Fredo was really a macho guy but they drugged him to make him a wimp. Shirley McClain actually only had one past life but she had multiple personalities. Jane Erye was a lesbian. Ayn Rand had weighty issues. Plato ate too much on his dish and was always after the little boys down the street. Charles Manson really hated Helter Skelter, but loved “Silly Little Love Songs” by Paul McCartney. (What’s wrong with that, I’d like to know?) Dr. Dolittle went around the world in less than eighty days. Heathcliff was a enunch. and finally, They scaled back many characters in Finding Nemo.

Big Sur is the focal point of fate for the characters in this new novel. I care not that the book makes me large sums of money or that my blog site makes money through ads or pass-throughs; I only want “Only Moments” book’s readership to expand in order to touch souls without egocentric satisfaction, and to promote the introspection of the self. There is force of God within, therein lies the answers to the “secret” of life, not ancient papers and codexes throughout the dawn of man; of words mistranslated, misunderstood and held up defiantly as an excuse for the right to kill one another. I take no superior attitude as some would accuse me, I have been dead, literally and allowed back to the land of the living and even as I suffer great pain daily, I am thankful. I count every day as a miracle, everything around me as such. Thank you for taking the time to look at the site and reading mere words.

See www.onlymomentsbook.com for reviews and excerpts.

The story opens in the year 2020, with a romantic/erotic dream sequence and waking of one lonely sixty-six year-old widower Chris Vadia, a retired professional musician, and his sullen celibate perspective due to his wife dying fifteen years earlier.  After establishing the time period and the impossibility of replacing human intimacy with the high-tech devices of the period, we flashback fifty years to 1970.  The story then leads to the serendipitous and comic circumstances of how he met the love of his life, while on a wild summer vacation driving through California with three friends.  A beach in Big Sur is the dramatic background for the fairy tale loss of their virginity.

Time then shifts chapter to chapter, through their college days, marriage, their struggling and successes, parental deaths, the World Trade Towers disaster, their Carnegie Hall debut, and then the crisis of having grown so far apart despite being with each other 24 hours a day. The novel explores how the deep flaws of both individuals bring them together through life, and how the chance actions of childhood experiences run so deep that they ultimately affect an entire life.  At age 51, she dies; the cause of Chris’ mental downfall.  The reader then finds Chris in the present and the reason for the quick flashbacks of time from when he first began reminiscing on his beachside outdoor deck. The book’s climax occurs as Chris goes through a body/soul separation that is literally the culmination of all the previous chapters by using a device of repeating phrases (shown in italics) from previous chapters that now bear new meanings. The reader can now also understand that the opening dream in the first chapter was a foretelling of the entire book.

In the last chapter, his finds his life dramatically changed for the better as a result of his experience from a powerful singular event.

The unforgiving world, the false hope of technology, the commonality of human emotion throughout history ties into an uplifting romantic fairy tale.  The underlying theme is the imperfection of all things human and the unrelenting passage of time, but is written in a very positive manner. The road, throughout the novel is representative of one’s life path and sense of discovery.

PASS IT ON TO ALL YOU KNOW THAT NEED TO KNOW
Yvonne Perry is a fellow writer and after having read her book, “The Right to Recover,” I am forwarding this information to all that I know in the hopes that they read and understand that we here in the United States are being misled as to what researchers want to use for stem cells that are not human embryos as has been misstated over and over by groups that do not want to educate themselves.
I have a case of severe diabetes, without this research I will die prematurely no matter what steps I can take now. My mother died at age 67, my brothers have it and millions of others in this country need a cure, NOW! Yvonne explains that the clump of cells called blastocysts are not living human entities. If you have family, friends, or loved ones that have life threatening diseases you need to read how close we are to curing these problems if our government would stop being pressured by special interest groups that have it all wrong. There is a forward by Rev. Dan Bloodworth a strong supporter of Yvonne’s, with a Biblical Perspective on stem cell research.
Anything you can or are willing to do to help people understand the importance of federal funding for all types of stem cell research is much appreciated—especially by those who currently suffer with an illness or condition that might be helped by the derived technology and treatments.

Yvonne Perry has taken a courageous stand by tackling and dissecting these issues without predjudicial preconceived emotion. The biggest obstacle to this research is the inclusion of religious aspects in the determination that a blastocyst or a pile of benign cells constitutes human life, a grave error of thought. After all, is there a ceremony or last rites given to these cells? They are not inside a woman’s uterus, they have not been given DNA to substantiate they are human and can take the form of whatever host they are merged into. I am a diabetic. I will die along with millions of others prematurely. With one injection of stem cells, in the near future my pancreas could grow back and I would be able to stop shooting insulin and going into insulin shock wearing my organs down and live a normal life. All I need is the ability of these dedicated researchers to be allowed to use funding to further the research to make it all happen for millions of us. Read the book before you go off about the “point that life begins” and begin to understand how much damage is being done because of a lack of understanding of that very question.