Serenity

Luna ran ahead of me on the path, excited to be out on the mountain. I marched briskly behind her, the coarse, tan-coloured sand crunching loudly under my trainers with every step, immediately announcing my presence to anyone within a thirty meter radius.

I looked about, quickly taking in the scenery as I walked. To the left of me was the mountain, stretching up and into the blue yonder. To the right, was a copse of trees and beyond that, the deep, expansive ocean, stretching out to meet the horizon in the distance. The air was unusually warm for this early in the morning, and, despite the fact that I was still walking in the shade, a fine film of perspiration had broken out on my forehead. 

I briefly closed my eyes, took in a deep breath and sighed it out once more, grateful for being alive. 

Luna turned to gaze back at me as I topped the next rise. She tilted her head to the left as if to say, Come on, come on! What’s taking you so long?  Move it already!

I trudged on methodically, passing the rear of a slew of mansions, positioned to take advantage of the magnificent view. A young couple popped into view. He was behind her – a young mother with a baby secured safely against her chest in a sling. She instinctively cradled his head in her hand as Luna approached.

Morning! I sang cheerfully, smiling warmly as we passed each other. 

Morning, they replied in unison. 

Luna trotted on, sniffing at the ground as she walked. Every now and again she would stop for a closer inspection of a bush or a rock, scrutinising the myriad of smells that must have been assaulting her nostrils. We rounded the next bend to find a pair of what could only be described as miniature lions on the path. Their light grey bodies were mostly hairless but this was balanced by a mop of wispy, beige hair that sprouted out of their necks to cover their faces. Their walker was sitting on the side of the path as I approached. 

Hello. Good morning, I announced. 

Hi, he replied, lifting his hand for a quick wave. 

Luna rolled over onto her back as she always does upon meeting an unimposing stranger. slut.

I walked on before giving a short, sharp whistle and Luna came bounding past me. The path gradually wound its way around the mountain, hugging its perimeter like a garter belt on a bride to be. We climbed gradually up the next hill and the path split. Luna went left without hesitation and I followed, acquiescing to her preference. 

We climbed several steps, lined with dark grey metal sleepers to prevent the path from eroding into a slippery slope, and then came upon a group of about sixty tall, majestic pine trees, swaying in a gentle breeze. I sat down on a weathered wooden bench built upon concrete supports beneath the imposing pines and breathed. 

The welcome breeze washed over me, thankfully separating my t-shirt, clammy with sweat, from my torso. I watched Luna explore the new terrain with interest. She marked her territory and then disappeared behind me. I closed my eyes and was instantly transported back in time by the enchanting sound of the wind through the trees. 

Memories of the soothing sound of the South Easter whooshing through the tops of the pine trees in my grandparent’s garden in Camps Bay, while I lay in bed before going to sleep as a young boy, coursed through my mind. The meditative sound grounded my spirit. My soul smiled with delight. I was pleased to have found a new happy place. 

Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Words; Watch Your Words, They Become Actions.

There is so much wisdom in this quote; a passage that still, to this day, has a most mysterious origin. It has been enunciated in a plethora of texts and verses across many different cultures, all with the same inherent warning. 

In Judaism, it is believed that the Creator of the universe spoke the world into being with the power of His voice and breathed His breath into Adam to create the first true man. It was the power of His voice again, this time uttering the first two commandments, that the Children of Israel witnessed beneath Mount Sinai several thousand years ago; a voice so powerful and omnipotent, that it blasted their souls right out of their bodies. 

The Hindu Vedas, ancient, spiritual texts, thousands of years old, talk more about thoughts and how they hold great power in our lives. “As you think, so you become” is agreed by many to represent the greatest foundational understanding of what it means to be conscious – that your very thoughts will affect your life and the way in which you live it.

The late Dr Masaru Emoto, famous for his findings on human consciousness and it’s affect on water, showed how thought, yes just thought, not even the spoken word, has an effect on water at the molecular level. Positive thought directed at a body of water a long distance away makes the water purer and cleaner, while negative thought makes it impure and stagnant. This was proven when Emoto photographed the affected molecules at a microscopic level.

In today’s society, we are all guilty of allowing our egos to control our thoughts and actions to some degree. This prevents us from connecting to our true selves, which stifles our true potential as individuals. Mindful activities such as meditation, yoga and positive intention give us the weapons to fight this spiritual and psychological battle in our minds, with the objective of becoming good, honest, self-aware individuals on a path of enlightenment and selfless piety.

It all comes down to choice. Free will. We can choose to think depressing thoughts that encourage doubt and negativity, poisoning the mind in the process, or we can choose happiness, positivity and purity in conduct and behaviour. The key to unlocking our true spiritual identity is hidden in the chaos of our negative thoughts. 

What do you choose?

5 Star Review!

Phenomenal 5-star review of my latest novel Unicorn, by author and four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Frank Scozzari: http://amzn.to/2dWqm5e

“UNICORN is an action packed adventure fantasy that includes themes of friendship and loyalty and, in a very unique way, explores eastern thought and spirituality. After reading the first few pages I was a goner—lost in an imaginative world of struggle and redemption.

Three protagonists set out on a perilous journey to find a cure for a debilitating disease. The task at hand is a noble one, to save Sanjit’s mother. Sanjit, Halim, and Taja encounter many hazards including treacherous mountains and barbaric tribesmen.

The characters are well-developed and will have you routing for them early on. I particularly liked the philosophical undertone of this story. It’s nice to read a story that replenishes the soul, and this one did that fore me. Overall, a great fantasy novel worthy of a place on anyone’s bookshelf.”

Visit www.books2read.com/unicorn to get your copy today.

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Thank You Deborah!

As an independent author in South Africa, it is rather challenging to compete against both local and international authors who are supported by professional publishers and retail book stores. As a result, most of us are forced to market ourselves exclusively to an international market.

Deborah Du Plooy of SKOOBS book store, however, is on a mission to break that mould. She will tell you that she has hosted over 80 book launches in 9 months for local authors wanting to be recognised in South Africa. She has a dedicated section in her store for South African authors and actively promotes them on her Facebook page. Thank you Deborah for supporting us!

I’m really excited to be hosting the Jozi launch of my latest novel, Unicorn at SKOOBS Theatre of Books, Montecasino on 02 November. Please join me for a fun-filled evening. I’ll be supplying snacks, signed books to purchase, a Q&A session and some giveaways.

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Faith

George Michael. He had it. Moses. He had it. And so have countless others across the ages. But what is it exactly, and what gives it so much authority?

I Googled the word (as one does) and it gave me 2 definitions:

1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

2. strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

Both definitions are hard to digest which makes the word seem rather elusive at best. Even when you look at a variation of the word- faithful, it is hard to fully grasp its inclusion. What does it mean to be faithful? Where is the faithful scale?

We all know what happens when you place all your trust or confidence in someone or something- you are bound to get hurt or disappointed at some point in time. As a result, there is almost always some sort of reserve placed on the amount or level of faith given through this process for fear of the outcome. No one wants to put themselves in a position of vulnerability.

Therefore, blind faith is a very rare thing to behold; to witness someone hand themselves over to a way of doing things that is beyond their control. For anyone to come to the conclusion that an exemplary state of being exists, is truly blessed because this is the path to happiness and ultimate bliss, free from worry and concern.

The best example of this is true love. Love is an instinct; a powerful, impulsive, uncontrollable emotion that demands complete trust. We give into the power of love, involuntarily succumbing to its inebriating elixir. It’s an exciting experience, filled with positivity and enlightenment.

This same experience of complete trust in one’s feelings for someone or something, is also felt by many others, but in a religious context. Most religions advocate the belief of peace, love and joy; while we have all witnessed the destructive result of those that give themselves over to a belief system promoting death, pain and suffering.

Some say that religion is man-made. I believe with ultimate faith in a supreme being; a powerful, omnipotent force, call it what you will, that created and continues to create life on this planet. I believe that faith is a product of religion and that without it, there would be chaos. This is the power of faith; a state of mind that supercedes rational thought; a powerful concept based on a set of laws, divine in their intention.

I believe that to live a life of faith is to be true to oneself; to live by a set of morals or standards that are bound in honor; to constantly work at one’s flaws, pushing to do what’s right for others and the world around us and, in so doing, make the world a better place. I believe that we should all strive to find faith in our lives for faith is the champion of hope.

Shana Tovah Umetuka

 

Return To Lemuria is now FREE to download!

As part of the launch of my latest novel, UNICORN this week, RETURN TO LEMURIA is FREE to download to your Kindle, iPad or other digital reading device UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!

Take advantage of this incredible offer by following THIS LINK. Enjoy this FREE gift from me to you.

Richard

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In Support of The Earthchild Project

The Earthchild Project is a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa, established by Janna Kretzmar. The organisation was set up to teach underprivileged school children in South Africa Yoga and holistic living, through hikes and enviro education. I chose this cause as a way to give back to the community because as a Yoga enthusiast, I really understand how this ancient practice is able to have a positive impact on these kids living in poverty and abusive environments. 10% of all local, digitally printed book sales of my latest novel, Unicorn will go to The Earthchild Project.

Unicorn will be launched at La Perla Bar in Sea Point, Cape Town at 6pm on Thursday 01 September 2016. Signed copies of Unicorn will be available for sale. See you there!

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WIN a signed copy of Unicorn and COME to my book launch!

Local independent author, Richard Gradner, is launching his latest speculative fiction novel, Unicorn, at La Perla Bar in Sea Point, Cape Town at 6pm on the 1st September 2016. Limited edition, signed copies of the novel will be available to purchase. To stand a chance of winning one of ten, signed, advanced copies of Unicorn, visit Richard’s website before the end of August to enter: www.richardgradner.com

Set over 6,000 years ago, in the Indus River Valley, in what is today India and Pakistan, Unicorn tells the story of a young boy, Halim and his sister Taja, who set out on an adventure to find a cure for their mother who has fallen victim to a mysterious, debilitating disease. Filled with mystery, wonder and the wisdom of an ancient time, Unicorn is a fast-paced, historical adventure story that takes the reader on a journey into a magical world with interesting characters and mythical creatures.

Richard is also the author of Return to Lemuria (2014), a story about the descendants of an advanced civilization who wish to take over the world.

Richard is currently a Director at Mustard, a creative and digital agency. Before this, he owned an events company and was also the first Red Bull Marketing Director in South Africa. He’s an energetic, magnetic Scorpio and ex-Chinese Martial Arts teacher. Richard lives life to the full, maintaining a healthy mind and body through the daily practice of Yoga.

Unicorn will be available to be purchased via local online bookstore Printondemand.co.za as well as via Amazon.com (Paperback and Kindle) and www.draft2digital.com (ePub).

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WIN a signed copy of UNICORN (Press Release)

WIN A SIGNED COPY OF UNICORN, BY RICHARD GRADNER

Local Indie author, Richard Gradner, is self-publishing his latest speculative fiction novel, Unicorn on 01 September 2016. To stand a chance of winning one of ten, signed, advanced copies of Unicorn, visit Richard’s website before the end of August to enter: www.richardgradner.com

Set over 6,000 years ago, in the Indus River Valley, in what is today India and Pakistan, Unicorn tells the story of a young boy, Halim and his sister Taja, who set out on an adventure to find a cure for their mother who has fallen victim to a mysterious, debilitating disease. Filled with mystery, wonder and the wisdom of an ancient time, Unicorn is a fast-paced, historical adventure story that takes the reader on a journey into a magical world with interesting characters and mythical creatures.

Richard is also the author of Return to Lemuria, a story about the descendants of an advanced civilisation who wish to take over the world.

Richard is currently a Director at Mustard, a creative and digital agency. Before this, he owned an events company and was also the first Red Bull Marketing Director in South Africa. He’s an energetic, magnetic Scorpio and ex-Chinese Martial Arts teacher. Richard lives life to the full, maintaining a healthy mind and body through the daily practice of Yoga.

Unicorn will be available to be purchased via local online bookstore Megabooks.co.za as well as via Amazon, Amazon Kindle (Mobi) and Smashwords (ePub).

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