All posts by dhelene42

Author of Diary of a 99%-er and The (In)Elegant Struggle of Breaking Paradigms

Weds, 5 pm: online discussion with the Creativity Cafe

Looking forward to a lively online discussion with Katie Curtin and Denise Rushing.of the Creativity Cafe, Weds at 5 pm. We will talk about the vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and how creative souls, who do not want to get shoehorned into the 9-5 paradigm with micro-managing supervisors, can cope. http://www.creativitycafeonline.com

All Creativity Cafe events are hosted by Creative Life Design and Energy Coach, Katie Curtin and Eco-spiritual Author and Business Strategist, Denise Rushing.

Katie and Denise host a series of fascinating interviews with creative pioneers, innovators, and change agents on how to foster creativity in your life and work, and how to promote and resource your dream projects.

Bring a cup of your favorite brew to the calls, sit back in a comfortable chair and enjoy!

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A cherished review from a cherished friend

My dear friend and comrade in the fight against income inequality and mental slavery, as well as the fight for personal freedom and autonomy, just wrote a review of my novel. I met De-Li through Twitter and cherish his friendship deeply. Thank you, De-Li! You are valued!

By “Robert” Wei De-Li…
It is all too easy to become inured to the conditions of our lives. In modern society, it is easy to get lost in the mundane and lose perspective of our health, well-being and spirituality. The author of “Diary of a 99%er” has realized this and charts out an alternative to this lack of awareness through the vehicle of story – one that reflects her own growing awareness and a perspective that can likely offer you the reader some insight into the society in which she lives and how one may personally make it better.

Speaking as someone who has spent the majority of his life in Asia, yet having also spent significant time in the US, I have observed the norms of Western life as an outsider. Therefore with the advantage of an unattached perspective there is much that resonates for me as I read Ms. Helene’s narrative. Life in the West is not all that some may imagine, be it through the imagination of outsiders or the expectations of its participants. While superficially and materially there may (or may not) be more to content one’s self with, the vast majority of people are often stuck in the so-called “rat race,” a seemingly never-ending struggle to keep up with the norms of a society that largely ignores the spiritual health of its members and while appearing more affluent than many of us in the East they are locked into a mind-numbing and soul-crushing existence where even the simple pleasures of living that we sometimes take for grant are missing. The slogan “The Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” rings quite hollow for many, and such fruits of life seem hard to reap. Yet, endemically to that society as in many others currently, a powerful elite has obtained almost complete dominance of society in a way that is quite pervasive and intrusive. The Occupy Movement named those elite the 1%. Only the 1% by my estimation actually enjoy to some degree the freedom of that society; a freedom they all too often use to err greatly.

By contrast the life of the 99% is one dominated by hierarchy, bureaucracy and an expectation placed upon them of mental slavery. Where if you don’t keep up and shut up you might easily find yourself struggling even to survive in a place that otherwise looks like paradise. A place where being poor is seen as a crime and being truly free is viewed as subversive. To free one’s self from the chains of mental slavery – as per the words of the famous song by Bob Marley – one really must attain to a spiritual awakening and real freedom.

One of my family members experienced this life first hand. She was changed by that experience. Living under such duress of pretend affluence working for the boss from hell in none other than the fashion industry, I could no longer recognize the kind and loving sister I once knew. She exhibited even some psychosis – waking in the middle of every night cursing and moving around in an agitated state within her apartment while I visited her once in New York City. I engaged her in her dream state: “Who am I?” “You know damn well who you are, you f@#$ing b^*ch,” then saying the name of her boss. This is not an acceptable “side-effect” of pursuing one’s dream, neither was the disguised poverty or anorexia. I wish she had given up that rat race then to pursue her bliss rather than a mere objective of superficial affluence and high fashion.

In this work, D. Helene has written a book addressing all these issues while giving insight upon what life is like living in that society. Most importantly she addresses the conundrum of a very modern life in Southern California; how to free one’s self from the struggle of living paycheck-to-paycheck in such an affluent, consumerist-based society via a spiritual path. Although ostensibly a fictional account I sense that the author has lived out these experiences in one way or another.

More specifically, this story is written as a series of chronological diary entries which gives the reader an immediate sense of intimacy and attachment to the main character of the narrative, “Toni Kelly.” It also makes one cheer for a near universal goal espoused by our protagonist: the spiritual freedom of financial independence.

As the entries pass we are introduced to the conditions of a life that is not yet reaching its full potential, but that bewilderment gives way to quiet determination. All aspects of everyday life are addressed through the narrative: health, exercise – specifically the practice of yoga, diet, budgeting, consumer choices, workplace dynamics and relationships. We quickly see how the physical and mental practice of yoga helps Toni overcome the obstacles life presents.

June 14th is a turning point that lays out the protagonist’s goals, one that many a desk jockey would relish. Thereafter we as readers are along for the ride discovering the ups and downs on that road to independence. While that road never quite reaches a terminus we all may observe the struggle that lies along that path.

You can sample her unique style in her self-published work “Diary of a 99%-er: The Struggle between Survival and Creative Self-Expression” here and see if her work resonates with you.
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Novel wins 3rd place in Global e-Book Awards

I’m thrilled to announce that Diary of a 99%-er has won 3rd place in the Fiction – Spiritual/Metaphysical category in the Global e-Book Awards.

This book is about coping with financial struggles through spirituality and has resonated with so many people.

You can order the e-book here: http://www.amazon.com/DIARY-99-er-Struggle-Survival-Expression-ebook/dp/B00O73365M/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Thanks and Happy Reading!

D. Helene

Chapter on Freedom and Fourth of July

Here is an excerpt from the novel about freedom vis-a-vis the Fourth of July:

July 4

My mini-manifesto for today, The Employees’ Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all employees are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And, that inherent in this liberty is the right to work in an environment free of suffocating control and micro-management!!” – Toni Kelly

          Every year, on the Fourth of July, Simon and I head away from the beaches and the maddening crowds toward Saddleback Mountain to a little gem of a place in Trabuco Canyon: The Vedanta Society of Southern California’s monastery. It’s nestled in the most beautiful back-country, where the branches of enormous, live oak trees fan out over the narrow, twisting roads. These magnificent trees make this area look nothing like the desert and everything like what I would imagine Madison County, Iowa looks like.

This monastery has been a branch of the Ramakrishna Order of India since 1949. Every July 4th, the monks-in-residence honor Swami Vivekananda, who as we learned today, held freedom of all kind in very high esteem – so much so that at age 39 in 1902, he consciously left his body and departed the Earth plane on July 4th.

While he was still alive, he spoke frequently about freedom from all sorts of bondage – emotional, mental, and physical. He even wrote a poem in 1898, in homage to the 4th of July, which one of the monks read aloud today, entitled appropriately, To the Fourth of July:

Behold, the dark clouds melt away,
That gathered thick at night, and hung
So like a gloomy pall above the earth!
Before thy magic touch, the world
Awakes. The birds in chorus sing.
The flowers raise their star-like crowns-
Dew-set, and wave thee welcome fair.
The lakes are opening wide in love
Their hundred thousand lotus-eyes
To welcome thee, with all their depth.
All hail to thee, thou Lord of Light!
A welcome new to thee, today,
O sun! today thou sheddest LIBERTY!
Bethink thee how the world did wait,
And search for thee, through time and clime.
Some gave up home and love of friends,
And went in quest of thee, self-banished,
Through dreary oceans, through primeval forests,
Each step a struggle for their life or death;
Then came the day when work bore fruit,
And worship, love, and sacrifice,
Fulfilled, accepted, and complete.
Then thou, propitious, rose to shed
The light of FREEDOM on mankind.
Move on, O Lord, on thy resistless path!
Till thy high noon o’erspreads the world.
Till every land reflects thy light,
Till men and women, with uplifted head,
Behold their shackles broken, and
Know, in springing joy, their life renewed
!

What a great way to celebrate freedom, both in the secular and spiritual sense, at the same time in the same place! How awesome that this monastery has existed right here in good ‘ole OC since 1949. Even more interesting, which I learned from one of the society’s brochures, is that the monastery began as Trabuco College, founded by Englishman Gerald Heard in 1939. This writer and philosopher wanted to create a religious institution devoted to the study and practice of the contemplative life. Although Heard was originally attracted to Christian mysticism, he began studying the Vedanta philosophy under the guidance of Swami Prabhavananda, founder of the Vedanta society of Southern California, and was ultimately initiated by him. When the college closed due to financial problems in 1947, Heard offered the building and 300 acres of land to the society.

And, the philosophy of Vedanta is so similar to the spiritual philosophy I subscribe to, a branch of New Thought propagated by Ernest Holmes. This is how the Vedanta Society brochure explains Vedanta:

“Vedanta teaches that man’s real nature is divine, that the true object of human life is to unfold and manifest this divinity, and that truth is universal. Vedanta accepts all the religions of the world and reveres the great prophets, teachers and sons of god, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all.” Amen and hallelujah!

And, the monks at this monastery are beyond generous. In between two lectures today, there is one of the most abundant offerings of a free lunch that I have ever witnessed. The monks and staff prepare a vegetarian lunch to serve about 500 people. And, the desserts? Enough to line two longs tables in the library. Someone at the monastery must just walk down the dessert aisle at Ralph’s and grab one of everything. Plus, there are homemade desserts as well. This year, someone made a beautiful mango cake that resembled a work of art.

So, Simon and I come here each year to feed our souls and our bellies on the Fourth of July and revel in our blessings, which are almost too many to count. We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country; there is a lot of religious and spiritual diversity here (despite the over-arching presence of Saddleback Church and its leader Rick Warren); we can go to a monastery on the Fourth of July and be reminded of universal spiritual truths that the great swamis of India have imparted for millennia; and then we can go to almost any park or beach in the area for a more traditional, American Fourth of July celebration.

So, later this evening, we went to a community center in Laguna Hills, where they’d had a Fourth of July celebration going all afternoon, and listened to the live band and enjoyed the dynamic fireworks.

Networking with other provacateurs/independent thinkers

I am honored to be invited to join the network of the Mont Order from Harry J. Bentham, author and blogger. This network, that opines about the political and religious order, is published on belief.net, http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/lordre/2015/04/easier-to-accuse-a-poor-isolated-regime-of-censorship-than-a-world-controlling-regime.html

Please check out this scintillating group of writers, who ask the tough questions that will make you think twice about the conventional world order and status quo.

As Harry so eloquently said in a recent post, “The best role of a blogger in all of this is to be controversial and challenge the mainstream media narratives. If we don’t do this, we might as well not put pen to paper at all. There are plenty of politicians to enforce the status quo, and so writing in devotion and support about them isn’t playing any role at all in journalism. We are part of a new medium on the Internet, and should use it to reform the way people think about politics rather than perpetuate old ignorance.”

Amen!

D. Helene