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“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.”
                      … Francis Bacon

Me & the writing of BETWEEN WORLDS …

Glendalough-08-1Awhile ago in what is beginning to feel like another life, I wrote a book called, BETWEEN WORLDS. Sculpted from within the mist and memory of Ireland, it tells a tale of a man many later came to call a saint, and a woman remembered, if she was remembered at all, as a sinner. It is an archetypal story. It is also true.

Like many stories locked within the mists of time, it comes laden with baggage and hidden agendas. Agendas, as other writers might tell you, have a nasty habit of not liking their stories to be told. That is, quite obviously, why they have been plopped usually unceremoniously into the depths of that deep dark place sometimes called (at least in Ireland) – the bog.

It is from the bog that they must be retrieved and that, as you may have guessed, is the beginning of what Joseph Campbell would lovingly call – the hero’s journey.

Thus began my quest.

Did I want it? Not consciously. Did I ask for it? Again, not to my immediate awareness. Did I take it on? You betcha.

You see, there was this woman, like an often fleeting apparition, walking around Glendalough – that’s in County Wicklow – think old monastic city, ancient times, power, and yes sometimes light. She was hard to ignore. As was the energy of the place and the sense of whispers and messages slipping forth from the very fabric of the land – the ‘tell the tale – you must you must’ kind. Perhaps you could have walked away from that. Clearly I didn’t.

Frontcoveronly - half size - for internet

I’m mentioning it now because, though I have shared the how-I-got-to-it story to friends, I have very seldom spoken of it to others. The book is not yet well known. It’s self-published, it’s in eBook, it’s on the blog, you have to find it.

I could quite simply let it stay that way. It did after all take many years of my life and I could be forgiven for being tired. But it is a story that begged to be told, and told for a reason most honourable, and I, the storyteller, would be remiss if I didn’t give you a glimpse of why.

 

… stay tuned please

– book cover by Tannice Goddard           – Glendalough photo by Kevin O’Kelly (Ireland)

Let us …

Let us tell magical stories together.

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Let us weave life into being.

aliana alani 2013

An Eden Thought for the Day

“…but this is it. This is Eden. When you see the kingdom spread upon the earth, the old way of living in the world is annihilated. That is the end of the world. The end of the world is not an event to come, it is an event of psychological transformation, of visionary transformation. You see not the world of solid things, but a world of radiance.”
Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth

Two Great Storytellers have left

Two of our great storytellers left us this week. Perhaps different in perspectives, styles and genres, still in their own unique ways they each intricately wove the magic and power of word, and in so doing, captivated our hearts and evoked thought within. Gore Vidal and Maeve Binchy. They will be missed.

In a world that frequently looks chaotic and often profoundly dysfunctional, it may seem difficult, if not impossible, to find a tale within that tells of possibility, of beauty, harmony, and love.  To step outside of a world story rife with melancholy and fear is a daring task. A hero’s journey, as Joseph Campbell would have said. Believe it or not, we all carry the opportunity of being heroes. It’s in our genes. And heroes and their journeys come in many packages. Not all are rescuers of damsels in the night or hobbits carrying a magical ring to its fiery destination. Some seem to be here and gone within the breath of a moment, others take a lifetime to travel.

Yet each  of us weaves a story, consciously or not – the story of our life as it merrily bumps and  puffs along, the story within that calls for us to be who we truly are; to dare to sculpt our world with new colour and new light, and then to open our hearts and love it into being.

Two great storytellers have left us.

It’s our turn, our time, to pick up that proverbial pen and write a new tale, be it epic, short, poetic, passionate, inspiring or just plain full of joy.  Make it a walk in the park or a cargo ship journey along the North-West passage, an idyllic stroll along the beaches of Hawaii, or a candlelight dinner with the person you love. Just maybe it becomes your very own version of Shangri-la. Imagine that.

We are the storytellers now.

So what world will you fashion? What story will you tell? What possibility will you envision?

Remember, every story, every word, every thought, is a ripple in the ocean of our lives.

Tell it well, tell it now, for us all.

The EBook of BETWEEN WORLDS is here

Now you can get your very own copy!

                It has been said that some stories have their own timing, a sense of place within the fabric and power of word when they choose to deliver themselves to our world. Such stories can drive authors crazy as we strive, usually vainly, to birth the tale before its inwardly designated moment.

 BETWEEN WORLDS is one of those stories.

This, after many moons, is its first wave.

Set in present day Los Angeles California and in what has often been called The Garden of County Wicklow Ireland, BETWEEN WORLDS carves its tale along the pathways of time, casting us back through Ireland’s mystical mists into the sixth century and those precious moments before Glendalough became a renowned monastic city. It tells the tale of a woman who leaves her budding LA world behind to follow an invisible thread connected to the face of a man who has come to haunt her. Instinctively she feels Ireland carries the clues that will rid her of this vision and bring peace back to her world. The upper lake of Glendalough has other plans.

Called a historical romance by some, albeit with more than one twist, BETWEEN WORLDS is really a heart song to and for Ireland, and because everything is interlinked in our world, it naturally becomes a heart song for us all. Like all songs of the heart, it carries the potential for healing, and a key to love.

Be one of the first wave to read this EBook!

It’s a wonderful story whose time has come.

$9.95 CDN (plus applicable taxes)

You can order your copy(s) by leaving your contact details on the comment section below and we will get back to you. Payment is by PayPal. The EBook is available both in Kindle and main stream version (which can be downloaded onto Adobe Digitals Edition software and also thru ibook on your iphone). Each is also available in high or low res. Let us know which version you want.

If you want a taste of the tale before you buy, click on the Between Worlds – Sneak Preview page of this blog, scroll down, click on the pdf link below the book cover, and enjoy.

Word-of-mouth is a treasured thing when self publishing so do pass the word along to anyone who you feel would be interested. Truly it’s a story that deserves to be read.

I hope reading BETWEEN WORLDS will touch your heart. Writing it has definitely touched mine.

…book cover design by Tannice Goddard

Between Worlds – Sneak Preview!

CHECK OUT THE NEW PAGE – Between Worlds – Sneak Preview

I’ve made it available especially for you.

When you get there, ponder the cover image (you’ll know its depth when you have read the whole tale), scroll down and click on the pdf link. It will take you into a Sneak Preview of the land and story of Between Worlds.

I hope it wets your appetite and encourages you to want to read more.

Enjoy!

Aliana

Pondering Shangri-la

For most of us, if we think of it all, Shangri-la is but a mythical place hovering deftly within the elusive mists of time space.  Writers wax poetic of its existence and movies enthrall us with its possibilities, but nowhere do we usually relate it to being other than in the Land of Myth.  Myth, for many, means the realm of story, and story implies that it is not real.

So Shangri-la – a marvelous dream of possibility, even of a promised land, but not here, not now, not in the World of Reality. And even if by some freak chance it was here, then it definitely must be between those crazy mists, which anyone with any smarts knows are impossible to grasp (if you’ve ever lived in Ireland and trekked a good mist walk or two, you’ll know exactly what I mean). Either way, we the average Jean & Joe not known for being particularly adept at mist grasping won’t get to experience it in the here and now even if we wanted to, thank you very much. Or so we think.

But what is that image of Shangri-la?

Usually, especially when cast through book or film, it is an enchanted land, dusted with sunlight, soft breezes, lush green rolling hills, and a harmonious abundant life where everyone actually gets along. It often involves an arduous journey to find it. Think snowy passes midst high and impenetrable mountains, throw in a few Yetis, an avalanche or two, and you have the idea. And like any good story, it has more than one guardian at its gates, hence the Yeti, and of course, an arch villain. What would life be without one?

It speaks of a world in sync, a land that dances to a mutual inner rhythm, knows no boundaries to the heart, and effortlessly breathes an air of tranquil light. Because it ebbs and tides with ease, its creative abilities are unbounded, and so it is also a Land of Plenty.

Sounds good to me.

Curiously, the idea of Shangri-la has been wafting through the fabric of our world for quite some time, albeit under different names. Think the Garden of Eden, Shamballa, Heaven on Earth, even Paradise. Most are cast in the land of the unattainable, unless of course you grasp those gems between the lines. Many are cloaked within a spiritual quest and the prerequisite of divorcing oneself from the mundane, which by definition automatically implies that the world as we know it is at the very least, boring.

Another thread of that same theme is that you can’t get there from where you are, a koan if ever there was one.  So change becomes a must, transformation a necessity, and enlightenment the ultimate goal, wherever you end up being when it happens. I’m picturing big fluffy white clouds midst a starry sky with a filigreed gate. No, not really.

All seem to be mysteriously etched in gold fire along the journey we call, life, which is another way of saying that perhaps they’re messengers, or maybe even keys. Why else would we secretly covet that dream of an idea in the depth of our hearts if we or someone somewhere wasn’t trying to tell us something? Like a honing device, or a heartbeat. If you think I’m kidding about the coveting part, ponder the number of hotels there are in the world called Shangri-la or the amount of ads circulating that encourage us to walk the beaches of Paradise, the restaurants named Peaceful Garden, or those retreat spas entitled A Touch of Heaven, and then there’s that wonderful town in Australia named, wait for it, Eden. Clearly on some level we like the idea.

But do we believe in it enough, do we want it enough, to make it real? And if we did, what would it look like?

                                          More on this in the next segment…                 Aliana

Between Worlds: Reflections

In some ways, it feels like it was centuries ago when I started researching what was to become the book, Between Worlds. Like its heroine, I too was pulled over to The Green; that mystical, often magical, frequently haunting place known as Ireland. It is truly a land of layers, of stories, of polarities, and of love. Ireland is a door to the heart. After years walking its pathways, I’m convinced of that. But like any magnificent door, it requires a key, and finding the key to the heart of Ireland becomes a journey in itself.
There is a saying that some places make you pay your dues. For me, Ireland was one of them. Of course once you do, there is no end to what they might tell you. And once you do, they never quite let you go.

Birthing Between Worlds, finally, is for me a give-back. It is a story that so deeply wanted to be told that it yanked me clear across the Atlantic to follow its trail, plunked me at the edge of Glendalough, and demanded that I listen. Had I known the journey it would take me on, perhaps I would never have gone. But that’s the force of such things, isn’t it. To tempt and tantalize, envelop and immerse you to such a degree that you find yourself heading off a proverbial cliff with no idea of the outcome or even the steps along the way.

For me, it has been a story worth telling, something that has been hidden within the mists for far too long. Ultimately it is a story of the heart. After all, it’s from ancient Ireland. How could it not be?

And, it’s a self-published book searching for its audience. Perhaps you are one of those people meant to wander through its pages and be touched by the magic of its story.

Aliana Alani    July 2011

In Search Of The Silver Lining

I was travelling Down Under the past few months, mostly under the guise of dodging snowy winters, which I am not as fond of as I used to be. Not surprisingly I found myself back in Australia, sometimes fondly called, the land of OZ. OZ, that wonderful perhaps not-so-mythical region that as a storyteller I would adore to spend my life in, if only I could find my red ruby shoes! Australia itself is a place blessed by sun and wide open spaces. It’s big country. Not quite as large as my native Canada but close enough. And like Canada, it has many facets to it. I spent most of my time in Queensland, a vast state that is both warm and tropical; made more so if you reach the Far North, which I did not. I house sat frequently. It’s a wonderful way to get to know places and people, not to mention helping out with that shoestring of budget I usually surf the world on. I wandered from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast and back, briefly venturing south to the NSW border and the Byron Bay Hinterland. I liked it all, a lot.

I was also there for the floods, both the crescendo building of what I came to call, the rains, as they endlessly soaked lands, towns, and overflowing swimming pools to the eventual deluge of Brisbane city itself. It had horrific consequences. Crops were lost, lands were swamped, houses filled with silt and mud and water, and towns and cities ravaged, some beyond recognition. Yet in the midst of it all was the magnificent spirit of people, their willingness to pitch in and help each other, coupled with their desire to breathe deep and begin again. It was both heart-warming and inspiring.

On top of that, I landed at the Auckland airport in New Zealand two hours after the large Christchurch earthquake. Again I saw massive destruction, buildings crumbled, people injured, some dying, some gone, and yet again the power of the human spirit in action, again that hand reaching forth and helping without question. Their resilience was profoundly moving. When I went back recently on route home to Canada, Christchurch experienced two more large aftershocks. It is impossible to imagine what it must feel like to never have a single moment when you are not sitting on shaky ground, literally, which is exactly what has been happening to the people of Christchurch. In the midst of this came Japan, with its massive earthquake, endless aftershocks, devastating tsunami, and nuclear disaster; a situation almost impossible to describe, let alone imagine having to live through. We are all left humbled by it.

I have also seen what happens when the shock is over, when waters recede and what is left are mostly mud-filled streets, broken homes and buildings, liquefaction, or with the tsunami, perhaps nothing at all. The wave of fear that follows is understandable. The questions it brings, endless. What can be built again and how? With what and by whom? Our sense of security becomes profoundly affected, as do our beliefs. Often we are left with nothing to hold onto, our faith now dangling in the proverbial winds.

And yet, strangely, it is in just such moments when a window often opens. Call it a gift of God, perhaps. A chance to view that silver lining, catch its hidden message, and dare to live anew.

To me, we are at a cross-road. Do we continue to live life on the edge of an increasingly topsy-turvy world, being battered by the chaos that appears to be escalating, as though at times our even looking at it as it happens helps to build its momentum? Or do we dare to turn our view toward a brighter horizon, to feed our hearts and minds with the beauty and love that resides everywhere (yes, even midst the devastation), and then hold true to it with every breath we take and all the passion we can muster until it becomes our reality, balanced and harmonious?

A monumental task, some might say. Perhaps to others, even pure folly. But is it? If we drop our fears for even a millisecond and look around with open eyes, we will find immeasurable beauty absolutely everywhere. Some of it will be dramatic and astounding, the kind that seems to take your breath away. Others will be gentle and subtle, like soft moments to the heart. If we breathe those moments in deeply, we will
find ourselves expanding, our bodies relaxing, and our picture of our world illuminating
with a vividness of colour and light that has always been there but that we have been too clouded and too frightened to see. We will find ourselves opening to a love we have all craved for, the essence of which exists everywhere and is eternal.

We live in paradise, here and now.

Hard as that might be to believe, it is true. Our world is exquisite. It is a miracle of lushness and beauty, of vastness and depth, of amazing creativity, and of the joy and celebration of life. We are blessed beyond measure. It is a mirror of who we are and we are a mirror of it. Or as Amergin said in one of those epic Irish legends (and I’m
paraphrasing), ‘I am the wind that blows over the sea, I am the wave, I am the sound, the earth, the plant, the sky, the ray of sun…’ In other words, I am my world and my world is me. I see it (as the movie, Avatar, would say) in all its beauty, and it sees me.

So here’s the opportunity. We can continue to view, hence experience, the chaos and de-construction of our world, and in so doing increase its downward slide, or we can take all that energy we are unconsciously using to defend the way we think it has always been and so will always be, and open wide our eyes and hearts and view the magnificence that lives side-by-side with us each and every moment of each and
every day. We can dare to dream a different world, and in so doing awaken to the fact that we are already living in it here and now.

I know it’s a stretch. I’ve done my share of wandering in and out of the valley of shadow so I know how tricky all this can seem. I know what hold shadow energy can have on our psyches and on our hearts. I know how tired it can make us feel. But we’ve stretched before as a human family and come out the other side into a new light of day, and we can certainly stretch again. We can choose to do it alone or we can help each
other, but we can succeed. After all, it’s our time, our window, the silver lining midst a cloud-filled world.

One last thought – we bridge into each other’s worlds each and every day. Sometimes it’s through travel. Sometimes it’s a story told on television, in the newspapers, or online. Sometimes it is a visitor sitting at our table. When we bridge, we are touched, often deeply, and from that moment on we are never quite the same. We have become more. We have felt the magic or the plight of another. We have smiled or we have cried. We have remembered that we are all part of this family we call, humanity, and that at its core, our essence is eternal. When we remember that, we come home, we are more.

This is our world. Let the bridge be one of love, the view be one of beauty, the invocation of a better life. Let us be willing to see paradise here and now. To celebrate its existence within our hearts and throughout our lives, and live it with joy and laughter, passion and harmony, and yes, with love.

Aliana Alani 2011