Read-view: Way of the Peaceful Warrior

WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR
A Book that Changes Lives

By: Dan Millman

The book says it would change lives, but I don’t think it changed mine.

Here’s why…

  • Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a real-life story of a world-champion athlete, Dan Millman, the author himself. He spoke about his spiritual journey and his search for true happiness.
  • The author describes his close relationship with his friend Socrates and how they develop a teacher-student relationship where trust and loyalty existed between them.
  • The story is partly fictional and partly autobiographical; hence it was written as a novel.
  • The author incorporated some made-up events, which made me agonise over the validity of the story and regarded that such events were real.
  • The author didn’t say why Socrates was given a job to educate him to be a warrior. I struggled to believe that out of the billions of people here on earth, he was hand-picked by some unknown universal power to learn about the ways and life of a warrior.
  • There were some excellent passages in the story that I genuinely love. Still, I found it very difficult to put my faith into those teachings. First, it only tells you what to do, but it never tells you how to do it. Second, I believe that to apply it to your life, you will need someone to give more detailed information and perhaps dig deeper into the meaning of those passages. Reading it alone would not help that much.

The story goes into astonishing levels of details and unnecessary amount of information.

The ending of the story was not something I anticipated. I was expecting for that BIG ending – the big lesson in life like the ultimate discovery of true happiness.

I was hoping for something I could take with me as a gift of enlightenment or searching for my soul to find my true calling. But I guess, this book is only for pure entertainment, and not a “How-to” manual.

And yes, I believe that Socrates was real. He was a living, breathing human being who suffered from a heart attack. 

And no, I don’t believe that he had some kind of magic or mystical power. I am not convinced that he can transport himself to different places and can read and manipulate your mind. I am not convinced either that he glows and can make himself disappear without a trace, which by the way, it seemed like it did not bother the author.

It seemed odd too that Joy (or Joyce) was also part of Socrates mystical adventure. Through his intervention, she met Dan. And then he sent her to “dreamland”, made her disappear and re-appear again and then back into Dan’s real world and then get married.

It would have been a nice fiction-fantasy story if it was intended to entertain. If the purpose of the story is to help change lives as initially claimed, then a real and accurate account of every event would perhaps speak highly for the integrity of the story.

You may and may not agree with me, and I would love to know your thoughts on this book.

All in all, there was some light humour that put a smile on my face.

So, next time you stop at the gas station, watch out for an old man with shiny hair. You never know, you could be his next student.

Till next time, enjoy the pleasures of life.


Ninagracia

Read-view: Two by Two

Two by two
By: Nicholas sparks

Two by Two is a story that shows no one should never walk alone during the difficult times in their life.

This post is my interpretation of the story and what brought me to react towards certain things and change my perception of everything around me.

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks is a first-person narrative. The story is told by a character named Russell Green.

Russell’s narrative voice is very appealing. Most of the time he is earnest, but there is always an air of humour and fun every now and then when he speaks. He uses some common modern slang expressions. When he is angry, sad, or worried, it is not hard to detect all those feelings in his tone of voice.

First, the characters in the story, who are they?

Russell Green is the central character in the story.

He is a successful advertising executive, married with a young daughter, and owns a beautiful house in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The other characters in the story show different personalities, attitudes and views of the world and the life they live in.

For instance, Vivian, Russell’s wife – after a long absence from work, she recently got a job as an in-house PR Officer working directly with the CEO of a real estate developer. Before she met Russell, she was a successful publicist for a talk show host in New York. Having a child prompted her to stay at home and look after their daughter and the household. She wants to raise her daughter according to the lifestyle she imagines and establishes it early in her childhood. Her materialistic ideals, such as an easy life, job security, and money, was unimpressive and selfish. Vivian is a strong-willed woman, ambitious and manipulative.

Marge, on the other hand, is not only Russell’s older sister but is the driving force in Russell’s life. She is also a best friend, a confidant, a companion, and adviser – all rolled into one. When life seems too much for Russell to bear, she will be there for him to lean on. Marge is the type of person you wish she were your sister also.

Russell describes his close relationship with his parents and how they accepted the concept of same-sex relationships. They are very supportive of Marge and her partner Liz on their journey.

And then, London is the daughter of Russell and Vivian. She is almost six years old, and her bubbly personality always puts a smile on Russell’s face.

Lastly, Emily was Russell’s former girlfriend.  Her unexpected presence in his life became the moment when a surprising and beautiful friendship is formed.  

Now, here’s a little bit about the story…

Two by Two is about love and relationships – love between husband and wife, between friends, between parents and children, and love between brother and sister.

It is a story of a family going through significant changes and loss, and how each and every one of them has their own way of dealing with their grief. It shows that loss has a way of bringing out the best in each of them.

The story brings about a hard choice between the life that Russell thinks he can still fix and a life that is simple and uncomplicated.

When it seems like Russell has it all, and success is at the top of its peak, an unexpected turn of events suddenly changes the course of his life. His marriage, his livelihood and his career took the hardest hit.

Here’s what I think about the book and the story…

The book is a long read. It goes into astonishing levels of details. There is unnecessary small talk that could have been omitted to make the story flow faster and read a lot easier. It is easy to lose one’s concentration, and I lagged behind and lingered for a little while because of so many details and the amount of information in the story, which I think is not essential. I felt like I was dragging my feet to move on to the next chapter.

There are flashbacks in every chapter of the story, introducing each character and events in his past life. Sometimes, there are too many, too much and too long introductions.

Nevertheless, the author took me out of my real world, and he took me on a journey into Russell’s world. When I was in his kitchen, I smelt the sweet aroma of the glazed carrots he was cooking in the oven. Then, I was in his living room, witnessing the argument going on between him and his wife, Vivian. I felt the sudden need to butt in and give Vivian a piece of my mind. Somehow, it made me very angry, and I wanted to pull Russell’s earlobe and tell him off-“Stand up for yourself, will you!”

I started hating Vivian for her selfishness and the way she treats Russell. I saw everything and heard everything, and it made my blood boil.

I am not satisfied at all with the ending of the story, especially with Vivian’s change of heart and getting away with a clean slate. Whatever transpired when Vivian and Marge met up to say their good-byes, my suspicion was that Marge had something to do with it. Marge always fixes everything. Vivian suddenly became one of the good guys. Whatever happened at that time, I guess we will never know. As for me, it did not change anything. I still don’t like Vivian.

What moved me…

There are some beautiful moments in the story. One of them was the dance that Russell and his little daughter had that day. This is what is going through in his mind at that very moment…

          “It was, I realized, the first dance I’d ever shared with my daughter, and I didn’t know when or if it would happen again. I couldn’t imagine dancing with her in a few years – by then, the idea would probably embarrass her – so I lived in the moment and gave myself over to the dance, thankful for yet another wonder at the end of an already unforgettable week.”

We often lose sight of the fact that as we watched our children grow over the years, their free spirits would always fill our hearts with hopes and dreams. They may not know what we are going through in our lives, but they still help us get through the day. It is seldom that we will find a soul who will hold your hand or walk beside you to pass through that untried door, but good friends and family will always stand by your side all the time.

Our society is also rapidly becoming focused on the socio-economic status of every individual. We always aspire to live on the high-end of the spectrum, a jet-setting lifestyle, lots of money and power. That makes me ask these questions: When is it enough? How much is enough?

Apart from that, would it make you think twice if this story happened to you? Would you feel what Russell feels and would you consider doing what you want Russell to do?

Till next time.



Cheers!



Ninagracia

Read-view: The Alchemist

The Alchemist
25th Anniversary Edition
By: Paulo Coelho

I took a deep breath, and when I looked at the clock, it was already 5:00 a.m.

I couldn’t believe that I did not sleep the entire night because I was reading a book.

What was unusual about this book that kept me reading the whole night? Why couldn’t I put it down?

Here’s what I can tell you about it. It’s everything!

When I finally put it down to grab at least a couple of hours of sleep, I looked at the cover of the book once again and sighed, WOW!

WOW, for one extraordinary reason that it was breathtaking and engaging.

The story has two parts.

  • Part One is all about the boy’s desire to travel and to know the world. It is what he always wanted to accomplish. It is his Personal Legend.
  • It is also about the recurring dream that set him on a journey to go to the Pyramids of Egypt to find the treasure that will make him very rich.
  • In Part Two, the boy met the Alchemist who taught him lessons about life, people, the Soul of the World, and about following his dream.

This post is not a book review, but only my interpretation of the story and what brought me to react towards certain things and everything around me.

The entire story contains messages that are so broad, intense, and meaningful. It is vibrant and truthful because we all have lived through it in our lifetime. It made me rethink our approach towards life, people, and loving someone, and how some of us abandoned our strong desire to achieve our dream.

The story took me to another part of the world – my world, and my journey.

Here are some passages that I got particularly connected with:

          “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Come to think of it, it is true.

You and I have probably experienced this one time, or more often in our lives. Some people seem to know what is best for you and what is not. They push to you their own opinion about how you should live your life without regard to your feelings or your situation in life. They want you to be the person they think you should be. They seem to know who you should be. And if you didn’t listen to them, they get angry, and they believe you deserve the life you currently living now.

But the truth is, we all have the ability to choose our path and how we want to lead our lives. No one could do that for you, nor could know this except you – because your heart knows what is best for you.

The boy in the story knew that. He traveled to different places, met new people, and become friends with them but he doesn’t need to spend so much time with them because he has to move around again. That is why travelling appealed to him.

       “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Some of us have chosen to abandon our dream. We allowed those negative feelings and beliefs prevent us from fulfilling our strong desire to see the reality of our vision.

Sometimes, we embraced the idea to dream about our dream because we have already got used to the way things are. We are afraid of change – to change our ways of life, our environment, or who we are.

Some are only afraid that they may not realise their dream. And that there is nothing left for them except concede defeat and give in to disappointments.

But there was a boy, the boy in the story had decided to follow his dream-his Personal Legend and find the treasure. He would travel to Egypt, and from there, he would look for the treasure.

Everything that had happened to the boy occurred between sunrise and sunset. He was a shepherd that morning when he left the fields of Andalusia. He crossed the sea to another continent. By the time the sun began to set, he was already in another country, a stranger in an unfamiliar place, no money and no longer a shepherd.

He understood that the chain of events that happened were all linked together to help him achieve his dream.

In conclusion, the boy didn’t realise that he was already living his dream. He achieved his goal to travel and to know the world simply because of his desire to find the treasures.

He met different people along the way. He made new friends and learned from them. He walked the Sahara Desert, felt the wind on his face, and discovered that even the sun, the wind, and the desert have their limitations on what they can do.

He found out that the treasures he was searching for that would make him a wealthy man were right where he came from because they were just within him all those times.

The treasures were material symbolism. I believe that the true meaning of this is that the treasures were all about the wisdom and experiences he learned on his travel. These are gems that he can share with other people to help them understand everything about life, people, and the world itself.

So, what do think? Feel free to send in your comment. I love to hear it.

Till next time.

Cheers!

Ninagracia

Gracie is Finally Here

Yes, Gracie made it to the finish line, and she’s here to tell you her story.

“Gracie…Shhh!” is a chapter book for children between 9 and 12 years old.

It is a story about friendship and the quest for the truth about magic and mythical creature.

The characters in the story are believable and behave in ways that are consistent with their age and background.

It has a light humour, gentle, and it is written informally like a friend telling the story to another friend.

“…as always, I was blamed for the storm. I created the storm, according to the little children.

I began to think about whether they believed that I have the power to cast destruction in our school.”

Pavlova, the Guinea Pig

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is finally here. After weeks of preparations, most of our time was consumed to buying so many gifts for friends and family.

Decorating your home and planning that great Christmas party is not easy. Before you knew it, the BIG DAY is already here.

After all these big fusses, what you want is throw yourself on the couch to rest your aching feet. 

You waited for so long for that holiday break from your busy schedules at work and family. Let us not forget too, that you have been dreaming that long and uninterrupted sleep-in for so many days.

Well, Christmas has its way of making us happy like the music we hear, the gifts we received, and the food we eat.

We are always getting spoilt with so many delicious foods, especially desserts, and excuses for skipping dessert is not welcome this time of the year. No one wants to be on a diet on Christmas!

So, who likes Pavlova, anyone?

No, not that kind of pavlova.

But,

This kind of Pavlova, our little guinea pig with fluffy brown fur. He wears a white crest on top of his head like a crown. . .

He can’t resist the sweet smell and the bright colour of strawberries



So, he stole some strawberries from the pavlova (the dessert)

PAVLOVA is my upcoming project for young children.

I still have no idea how the story about Pavlova will turn out, but I will update everyone on the progress of this book. I am sure it’s not going to be hard to come up with a story because he is such a cheeky little thing.

Alongside with my contemporary romance novel, Thinner than Water, this book is for people like us who still believe that love is a beautiful piece of art.

The story is packed with drama, intrigue, and struggles to beat the odds. It is still a work in progress, but you’re all welcome to have a peek on the development of this book.

For the meantime, let’s have pavlova. Yes, the dessert!

Merry Christmas.

Meet the Characters in “Gracie…Shhh!”

Sorry to interrupt, but I thought you may want to take a break from all these Christmas poetry and letters you’ve been trying to write for your loved ones to be featured here on “Get Creative With Me”.

For the meantime, why not grab a cup of coffee and take a sip and allow me to introduce to you my characters in my Children’s Book, “Gracie…Shhh!”

If you haven’t read the book section of my site yet, I introduced the three main characters.

DONALD, GRACIE, AND MAKENA

Here’s an excerpt from that book. Gracie has some opinions of her own about Makena and Donald.

Okay, move your cursor up to my Book Section, and click Children’s. Come on, it’s not that hard. It’s a good exercise for your aching finger, you know (ha! Ha!)

I understand if you’re feeling tired. Christmas shopping is taking up all our energies lately. So, let me take you there. Come on, let’s go.

My Favourite Chapter

“Those with vivid imaginations still believed that I could do anything beyond the gates of fairyland. No matter what I say, they all have concluded that I have the power to do anything or change anything if I wanted to.”

                                                          Excerpt from “Gracie…Shhh!”  

You can read it all in Chapter 7. Yes, it’s Chapter 7, my favourite chapter. I wasn’t sure how I would write this chapter and at the same time, give everyone the pleasure of reading and enjoying the story.

Who would believe that magic still exists in today’s world? No one. Certainly not me. Oh well, maybe sometimes. Those children in Gracie’s school believe that there is magic, and Gracie was the lucky one to receive the magical power.  If that isn’t enough to drive Gracie to the edge, imagine what she did. It will surprise everyone.

I surely enjoyed writing it, so I hope you will enjoy reading it. Here’s a little peek of what’s in Chapter 7. All the rest of the story will soon be available for everyone to read. Not long to go. Promise!

Chapter 7

Abracadabra

 . . . . . . So much weird stuff was going on in our school. I was continually being called Fairy Godmother. The older boys called me Cherub Babe. Gosh, that was new. The younger children called me Elfie. Some of them tend to stare, and some don’t even blink. They love touching me too, like rubbing their hands on my arm hoping to get some of my power. Most of the time, I tried my very best to stay calm and not get upset, but our playground was beginning to turn into a circus ground.

That’s it, no more. It is time to put an end to their craziness. It must stop, and I mean now. I was determined to do it because everything was becoming unrealistic and getting completely out of control. It’s time to set the record straight.

But first, I should have some fun first.  I will show everyone my magical power.

I was so determined and fired up to put an end to all those crazy stuff, so I dashed at the playground where everybody grouped themselves. The wind was cold and fresh on my face, but it didn’t stop me from doing what I must do that day. Some patches of dark clouds were moving closer to each other, followed by the brief sizzling noise of lightning, but the playground was packed.

“Hey Gracie,” Makena called out waving her hands. “We’re here.”

I went straight to her. My face was crumpled, and my lips pressed together.

“What’s the matter Gracie, you look angry?”

I gave her a sharp look. Then, I purposely pointed my pencil to her and uttered some magic words, “Naughty-ish-tian mitoto!”

For a moment, I saw Makena’s face completely confused. Then, I waved my pencil in the air and yelled out, “Ta-dah!”

BOOOOM…!!

Something just happened. I lost my balance, and I was frightened for a moment. It was unexpected. I thought a bomb just went off, but it was a sharp, loud rumble of thunder, and I was taken wholly by surprise.

“Are you kidding me?” Makena blasted at me. “Did you just do that?”

“I think she just did, Mak. She just threw a magic spell on you,” seconded Donald.

I turned to Donald, and with a fierce look, I spoke, pointing my pencil to him. “Am I talking to you Ducky?”

“What’s with you, Gracie?”

I yelled, “Answer me!” waving my pencil in the air. But to my surprise, a flash of lightning just bolted out from nowhere, flashing across the sky.

“Whoa! Chill out, Gracie!” Donald took a couple of steps backward, shaken and scared.

Suddenly, a showcase of lightning flashing from different directions began to appear in the sky. The wind howled, shaking those leaves struggling to hold on from its bough. Everyone was astonished, surprised, bewildered, dumbfounded. Call it whatever you want, but all eyes were on me.

Remember that naughty boy who liked playing pranks on everyone? Well, I marched directly towards him. My face was still crumpled, and I fixed my eyes into him. And with a whisk of my magic pencil pointed at him, I spoke with a loud voice, “You are going to stop playing tricks on everyone!” Then, I yelled, “Understood?”

BOOOM!!

Thunder roared up in the sky again. Poor boy, fear overtook him. He nodded his head and then he ran off so fast away from me. He almost tripped on the ground.

Wild events were beginning to take place when a teacher came out to the playground telling everyone to go back inside because the weather was getting worse. I panicked. I thought I got busted for doing those pranks. So, as I turned, I accidentally pointed my pencil to her. Unfortunately, a strong gust of wind blew towards her direction. Her skirt went right up to her face. That was unexpected, and it blew my mind too. I wasn’t sure if she was shocked about what I did to her. But all I could see on her face were traces of embarrassment, more than likely because we all saw what she was wearing underneath.