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Is This Love?

“Do you know what love is?”

“Yes, I believe I do.” The young man sounded confident when he answered his old friend. They sat near the summit of a desert mountain.

“Very well; give me your definition of love.”

“It is an intense feeling of affection toward other human beings. True love is about accepting their individuality.”

“But what about you my young friend? What’s in it for you?”

“Loving is payment enough; if any payment is necessary.”

“But if you love somebody, should they not return the love?”

“I love many people in different ways. Some are unaware that I love them. Therefore, they cannot return my love, nor would I expect it.”

“Where do you think this begins?”

“Love is preinstalled. None arrive on this planet without it. It’s said the universe vibrates to the frequency of love.”

“So why do humans fight my friend?”

“Our birth families follow religious practices and ascribe to particular beliefs. Some follow none. We mimic their ways and the world outside. To be better, do better. We become part of a great race and forget the one truth. You have taught me these things my old friend.”

“I tell you only what is. What about those who harm others because of the beliefs they love?”

“You cannot love a belief, only another living creature. But sometimes, people love others because their lives have led them to identify with harmful beliefs.”

“Yes my  young friend, the mind is like a glass of water. Mix in the beliefs of society, agitate and it becomes difficult to see. Leave it to settle and all becomes clear.”

“That’s why this desert solitude is so special. Here I connect with the truth, nothing here reminds me of those things that bring pain and hate to the world.”

“You love this place?”

“Because it reminds me of love.”

Walking in The Forest

The young man couldn’t hear the voice of his old friend calling through the trees. It took a lot of calling and listening before they met in a glade near a pool of clear water and sat together on a log at the waters’ edge.

“There are many obstacles on your path my young friend. So many that you are unable to see the wood for the trees.”

The younger man laughed. “That’s a familiar saying.”

“Yes, and it describes your current predicament perfectly.”

“I wasn’t aware that I have any predicaments.”

“If there are belongings in your life stopping you from moving forward; you have predicaments. The trees are symbolic of the things you have allowed to get in the way. Deal with them and cut down the trees.”

“That sounds so simple. How can I throw things away that prey on my mind?”

“Are those things current and of value?”

“There is one thing from the past that returns and haunts me.”

“Does it relate to current events?”

“No, not that I can see. But when it happened, it aroused painful feelings and challenged my beliefs.”

“Did you have any power to change this event or alter the outcome?”

“No, because it related to a decision and action by somebody else. I would not have done the same.”

He looked at his image in the pools mirror and from the corner of his left eye, noticed a small waterfall softly tumbling between age worn rocks. Ripples rolled slowly across, distorting his image.

“Let’s say you had the power to alter that event. How would life be now if you had?”

“My path would have taken a very different route.”

“Imagine you are tumbling in the waterfall over there. If I move a rock your course will alter but you will still end up in the pool. If you manage a handhold, you will tire eventually, and the result will be the same.

I changed the course of the water. There was nothing you could do about it. You ended up in the pool.

So, finally, would it not be appropriate to take what you learned from that event, leave what you don’t need and, cut down the tree?”

The image of the young man cleared between ripples, he looked across at his old friend.

“I don’t like that you are right but, you are. That tree is on the log-pile.”

The friends smiled at one another before going their separate ways.

Angry Mountain

“What are you doing my young friend?”

“Is it not obvious?”

“You are spending considerable energy striking the ground with that shovel. You remind me of an angry mountain about to erupt. Come, sit with me, the garden looks stunning; many varieties of flower sharing one space.”

Slowly, the thuds of the shovel ceased. The young man looked exhausted.

What took you to the point of venting anger on the beloved earth?

“A neighbor.”

“Once again, earthly troubles placed at a neighbors’ door. What did she do?

“She doesn’t get involved except to calm his anger. He is unreasonable, his anger boils when things don’t go his way.”

“Tell me about him.”

“There’s not much to say. He occasionally lives in the house next door. I have no problem with that but wonder if that’s where his lies. He told me about things he’s had; property he owns and how wealthy he is.

When they visit, he expects life to stop accommodate his. It’s like the lord of the manor has arrived.”

The old man laughed to himself and stepped into the flowers.

“See how they move when I walk among them. Nothing I do halts their progress unless I step on one or pull it from the ground. All they need are minerals from the earth, water, air and sunlight. Humans are similar; each have basic needs but perceived unmet, they reach out and search.

Some have more than they need and want more. They don’t wish to see somebody better-off so, they collect and hoard. Do you remember our talk about competition?”

“Where does the anger of one man connect to that?”

“Something in his past has brought about insecurity. He needs to eclipse everybody’s sun because he’s jealous of their daylight. He compares himself to others and sees them as his competition.

Possibly developed from one instance in his life but allowed to go unchecked, it has grown out of proportion. “

“I understand and relate although I don’t identify with anger. I once found myself in a loveless relationship and didn’t realise I substituted it with ‘things.’  Nice cars, holidays, clothes . . . “

“You still do that my friend. Did anybody ever say, ‘be better, do better . . . ‘“?

The young man laughed without humor. “It is a mantra echoing around my mind since my early years.”

“The man next door brings challenges to your ego which reminds you of the mantra. Push it aside my friend and forget about the neighbor. Friendship is not an option so, blow him away with a tender heart like you would a dandelion clock.

Once a Bestseller, Always a Bestseller

Have you noticed the offers that attack your inbox promising massive increases in book sales? You have, they’re not difficult to miss. Don’t Panic! There are no offers of glory or riches in this post.

Two days ago, one particular email said,

“Unless you have four-star reviews, your book will fail.”

I followed that cheeky suggestion and discovered their point.

Buy one of their review packages and your book will have a better chance of success. I also noticed that they are setting up their own system to challenge Goodreads. Good luck to them, I hope it works out. Or, do I?

It’s true, I wish nobody to fail with their business endeavours and they may have a point that Goodreads perhaps needs to re-evolve to match the ever-changing world.

One thing I noticed that concerned me is their packages mentioned a ‘team.’ If you bought their most expensive package, your book would be reviewed by one of their ‘top reviewers.’ No names, no testimonials offered.

There is a common thread here. So many offers and promises that aren’t backed up with evidence of positive results.

Delving deeper, I discovered something shocking. There are books on the market carrying that wonderful tag ‘Best Seller’ when in reality it’s far from the truth.

In the case of Brent Underwood, who works in book marketing, achieving the best-seller status took less content and work than you might think. His title, Putting My Foot Down, was a page long, featured a picture of his left foot, and became a number 1 best seller on Amazon in a matter of minutes with the sale of three copies.”

I will not reveal how Brent did that (you can always follow the link) but suffice to say,

Once a bestseller, always a bestseller

Playing the best seller system isn’t unique. Authors, particularly those of business books, are using techniques like cherry-picking lists to present an image that may not be true. Like a picture of a foot being a best seller.

When people hear about or see the ‘best seller’ tag their ears prick up, they give the author more attention and sales explode.

There are enough challenges for Indie Authors without inundation from individuals offering fee-based packages. I am sure many will agree that the only way to become a best seller is to write a great story. With dedication and hard work, get people to buy it and place reviews in all the prominent places.

I’m not saying that there aren’t genuine people out there who are outstanding book marketers but, it’s the people who read the books that matter. I’m not so sure we need more than the wonderful networks we develop with other authors and readers to achieve true ‘bestseller’ status. Integrity and honesty is the only way to go.

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