#NewRelease: Hues Of Hope #Poetry

Hues Of Hope is the collection of readers’ favorite poems from my poetry books. These poems explore the hope that lies within our heart, hope that whispers each morning to look at the horizon, hope that inspires us to look beyond the chaotic world and take the next step to vanquish the fears that try to fetter us. It promises to take us to an oasis of peace, unravels magical moments of joy, as beams of love calm our senses. It guides us through dark alleys to show the streaks of light that shimmer through the clouds.

 

Like dew on our dreams,
Hope is the moonlight filtering through trees
Like whisper of breeze that warms our heart,
Hope is the promise that we make to ourselves
Hope is the silent prayer that we send in distress
Hope is the happiness that we visualize,
The horizon that we reach, if we try.
© Balroop Singh

Paperback link

I am extremely thankful to all my author buddies and blogger friends who always spread a word about new releases. Please feel free to share this post at your favorite networks. I look forward to your support.
Balroop Singh.

Joy in the Face of Adversity?

I know joy quite well; I’ve experienced its ecstasy, I’ve written many poems about joy and happiness but when the Book of Joy was recommended to me, I was intrigued by it, as it is based on the conversation of two renowned spiritual masters and friends – the Dalai Lama XIV and Desmond Tutu, (and reported by Douglas Carlton Abrams.)

So I am reading ‘The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World’ and must share my thoughts about it. When I started reading this book, I thought I know all this – I know suffering ennobles us, I know pain is essential for our emotional and mental growth, I know struggles make us stronger but this book made me ponder, followed me at my walks, haunted me with a number of questions and humbled me beyond words. The hubris of knowing and only knowing, not practicing, melted like thin air around me.

Living with joy even in the face of adversity! Doesn’t it seem outrageous? Only exalted souls can make such a statement and I read with added interest how one could find joy in difficult situations. 

Is it possible to be joyful in the face of our daily troubles? The answer lies within us, says the Dalai Lama, “The ultimate source of happiness is inside, not outside. Even the source of physical health is inside, not outside.”
We know that happiness is a state of mind, an attitude that needs to be cultivated but the “source of physical health too is inside?” I was bewildered by this thought and have been trying to figure out the ways to understand this.

When asked that “nothing can be more devastating than being exiled from your home, from the things that are really precious to you and yet to have wonderful serenity on your face and wonderful compassion in your heart,” the Nobel Peace Laureate enlightens us that fleeing from Tibet gave him “more opportunity to learn, to experience life.” He further says, “If you look from one angle, you feel, oh how bad, how sad. But if you look from another angle at the same tragedy, that same event, you see that it gave me more opportunities.” 

Perspective matters.
This book inspires us to “ take a holistic view” of a problem or a situation to respond to it in a more constructive manner. When we have a wider perspective, we have a natural understanding of our place in the situation. “We must look at any given situation or problem from the front and from the back, from the sides, from the top and the bottom, so from at least six different angles,” says the global spiritual leader. “One need not depend on religious faith to educate our inner values.” 

The conversation between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu is most light-hearted, exuding with love and friendship; realistic and humorous at places yet it touches the core of your heart. I was stunned by the positivity of these observations: 
“When you become a refugee, you get closer to life.” 
“Torture and hard labor tests your inner strength. Some lose hope, some keep going, education has very little to do with survival in such circumstances. It is the inner spirit that matters.”

Personal experiences are cited to emphasize that “the depth of our suffering can also result in the height of our joy.” If there is no way to overcome the tragedy, there is no use worrying too much about it. We cannot control the inevitability of occurrences but we could influence their effect in our life by adjusting our attitude toward them. So it is all about the perspective.

You must remember that “there are eight pillars of joy: four are the qualities of mind – perspective, humor, humility and acceptance.
Four are the qualities of heart – forgiveness, gratitude, compassion and generosity.”

This book is neither religious nor spiritual yet it could be a life-changing book for those who wallow in self-pity, who can’t think beyond self, who seek happiness in material things, who chase success and contentment. It is not about some “abstract or aspirational theory of joy;” it talks about life in a simple way. It discusses fear, grief, frustration, anger, loneliness, envy and self-centered attitude, which create most of our suffering. Don’t forget, says the Archbishop “you are a masterpiece in the making. You are not yet perfect.”

Joy in the face of adversity comes with resilience, it comes when we learn to move beyond our suffering, when we train our mind and develop “mental immunity,” when we learn to “avoid the destructive emotions and develop the positive ones.”

Have you trained your mind to this level?

One reading of this book may not be enough!

Thank you.
Balroop Singh.

#NewRelease: Slivers: Chiseled #Poetry

on the wings of words
glistening with halcyon hope
my new book is here!

When I stumbled upon haiku – a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules though.

The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired from them. This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired from haiku, senryu, tanka and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.

I would like to express my gratitude to Colleen M Chesebro for reading an ARC and extending her invaluable guidance about these forms of poetry.

Purchase link


US
UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN

Paperback link

Promotional price for one week: $ 0.99

Excerpts:

sun spreads divine gold
creates fusion of colors
illumines life

~

serrated peaks kiss
a demure dawn is smiling
scattering some cheer

~

dusk trots complacently
knocks supremacy of the sun
smiles of stars follow

~

full moon still lingers
trees delight in divine light
blissful spectacle

© Balroop Singh

I am extremely thankful to all my author buddies and blogger friends who always spread a word about new releases. Please feel free to re-blog this post and share at your favorite networks. I look forward to your support.

Balroop Singh.

Silence Is Powerful

Recently I stumbled upon an enlightening book and would like to share some nuggets of wisdom that I gathered while reading it. I quote volubly from the book and also add my own observations.

Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise by Thich Nhat Hanh exhorts us to find silence within ourselves. If we try, we would hear five sounds:

“1. The sound of the wonders of life that are calling you. (Sound of the birds, rain etc.)

Everything begins with a sound.

2. The sound of the One who observes the world. This is the sound of listening, the sound of silence.

3. The third sound is the Brahma sound – the transcendental sound, connected with spiritualism in Indian thought.

4. The sound of the rising tide.

5. The fifth sound is the sound that transcends all the sounds – the sound of impermanence, a reminder not to get attached to particular words or sounds.”

In the journey of life, how many of us have heard these sounds? Do we even know about them?

Do we introspect? Do we ponder about our activities, our purpose of the way we are living our life?

I am sure every one of us has heard the first kind of sounds but do we hear the call? Do we pay attention to them?

We also know the fifth sound so well yet never recognize its impermanence. 

There is a “small voice” – the inner voice that is often hushed by us. If we listen to that voice, it could unravel many desires that have not been paid any attention to.

Joy comes from listening to the inner desires that get drowned in the humdrum of life.

“We are what we feel and perceive. If we are angry, we are the anger. If we are in love, we are the love.”

Individual consciousness is required to eliminate toxic elements (anger, fear, despair) from our consciousness. It can be cultivated.

Conscious breathing is a good way to nourish body and mind with mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice that quiets the noise inside us. Noise of memories, of experiences, of past regrets, of uncertainty about the future… the list is endless.

Mindfulness too can be cultivated. It is not an easy task but also not unattainable.

“There is a radio playing in our head: Radio Station NST: Non Stop Thinking.” Mindfulness helps in silencing this non-stop station.

“Silence comes from the heart; it doesn’t mean we have to sit quietly.” No. It means learning to control the internal chatter, to calm the mind by “changing the way of your thinking and way of your looking.”

It is this chatter that prevents us from listening to ourselves or any one else. Only when we

“listen deeply to ourselves, can we listen to others. Take some time each day to listen with compassion to your inner child, to listen to the things clamoring to be heard. Then you will know how to listen to others.”

Four mantras to cultivate deep listening and presence in your relationships:

“1. I am here for you.

2. I know you are there, and I am very happy.

3. I know you suffer; that’s why I am here for you.

4. I suffer, please help.”

I have tried to condense a 225-page book into a short post to convey the most significant points that highlight the power of silence.

Thank you for reading.

Balroop Singh.

If you like poetry,  check my latest book: Magical Whispers

Welcome my guest @jansikes3 #NewRelease

I am delighted to welcome Jan Sikes, (my author buddy) with her new release ‘Ghostly Interference.

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

GROWING UP IN FOSTER CARE

 Rena Jett’s mother died of a drug overdose when Rena was a baby. As no relatives could be located to take her and her brother, Sam, they went into the foster care system. 

I drew from my own experience of having worked for the Texas Child Protective Services for several years. There is an average of 30,000 children brought into the foster care system per year in Texas. That’s a lot! Not all foster homes are kind and loving. Not all are bad. In fact, I’d say there are more good than bad. But for my story, I needed lots of bad to develop this character. 

Rena has built walls around her heart to avoid more hurt. She’s tough as nails and rides the big red Harley like a pro. She needs no one. And, now that her brother is gone, she’s even more determined to protect herself. Throughout the story, she reveals to Jag incidents that’s caused her to build this shell around herself. 

Excerpt:

“You seemed to click with Mattie and Sheila. Did you ever have a dog?”

She frowned and stiffened. “There was this little stray once. I’d sneak food out to him when I could.” Her voice broke.

After a long pause, Jag asked softly. “What happened?”

“The foster dad caught me and whipped me, then killed the dog and made me watch.” A sob caught in her throat. 

“Oh,Rena.” Jag gently wiped away a stray tear. He wanted to hold her and make all the bad memories go away. “I’m so sorry.”

She sniffed. “After that, I never tried to have another dog. I do really like them though.”

Jag searched for words of comfort. The horrors she’d endured were beyond his comprehension. It didn’t seem fair that any child should have to suffer so much. And yet, under all of that, was a beautiful sweet girl just waiting to be loved and cared for. He swallowed past the lump in his throat.

“You’ll never be mistreated like that again as long as I’m alive.” 

“I can damn well take care of myself. I didn’t survive all of that shit by being weak.”

Excerpt 2:

“Jag, can I tell you something?”

His eyes widened. “You can tell me anything. I hope you know that.”

She looked down at the amber liquid in the bottle. “One time I was sent to this foster home over in Rigsby. They wouldn’t let Sam come with me. He’d gotten into trouble for fighting and they sent him to detention.” Her voice trailed off. 

“Go on. I’m listening.” Jag slipped the pizza into the oven and sat the chips and dip on the bar. 

“It was a nice house like this and I thought I’d finally landed somewhere I would be treated good. Boy, was I wrong.The foster mom locked me in a closet for hours one time because I ate a piece of cold pizza from the refrigerator.”

Jag put his arms around her from behind and murmured into her hair. “I can’t even begin to imagine all that you’ve been through. It’s no wonder you don’t trust anyone.”

She twisted around to face him. She fought to keep her voice from trembling. “I wanted so badly to have a family. Someone who gave a damn if I lived or died. But, they never came. It was just me and Sam trapped in a system that was broken in so many ways it could never be fixed.”

***

Have you ever had any experience with the foster care system, or known anyone who grew up in it? I’d love to hear from you! 

BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI

Purchase Links:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

Connect with Jan:

Website Blog Facebook Amazon Author Page

Thank you, Balroop, for allowing me to use your blog space to talk about my new book, Ghostly Interference