Finding one's own truth of what it takes to be happy can be an extraordinarily liberating experience. For Feenx, a divorced, single mother, it starts with a sudden whim to quit her job in Toronto and embark on her own personal quest, one that takes her to the other side of the world, to the Philippines.
But what she intends to find varies greatly from what she actually discovers. In a place where oppression, starvation, strong family values, the survival instinct, and unconditional faith intermingle, Feenx awakens to all the possibilities that life presents. It is here that she reconnects with a young Canadian/Filipino musician, a man who represents the lost love she has been hungering for her entire life.
During her stay, Feenx writes daily letters to a friend back home telling of her travels, the culture, the people, and all the lessons she's learned about life and love. But overshadowing it all is Feenx's struggles with her own lack of faith, and the unrelenting desire to leave her previous life behind and stand by a man she hardly knows, yet with whom she has shared her life many times before...
Passionate and profound, Truth examines the soul of humanity through the hourglass of one woman's irrepressible spirit.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.81(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Jean Victoria Norloch
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2009 Niki Leach
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOut of the Fire and Flames is Born a New Life and a Renewed Hope
It's a crazy world in which we live, when two weeks ago I could be happily living out an average ordinary life in the city of Toronto, and then suddenly I could find myself uprooted and halfway around the world. I guess I would be exaggerating slightly if I said happily living, since, though I had a job, was surrounded by friends, and was living with a boyfriend who very obviously adored me, I, like many others living in my city, was completely dissatisfied with my current place in the world. Thing is, the unhappiness was never based on my need to attain a higher material status. I don't really want a bigger house or higher-paying job to pay for the bigger house. I can't imagine two things in life more likely to bring stress into my world, so I have very pointedly, for years, been trying to avoid both. No, if I was unhappy, it was lack of balance more than anything that was causing my distress. I had momentarily lost sight of the part of me that makes me whole. In ignoring that side of my nature, I had quite effectively managed to make myself sick. A weakened soul breeds a weakened body, and, as I had neglected to feed my spirit for far too long, my body had decided it, too, had had enough.
It was in themidst of my futile attempt to find help for my physical ailments that the cure for my spiritual ills accidentally (at the time I thought it was accidental) stumbled into my life. It is funny, you know, because when we met, there was no indication that we would have any kind of connection, much less alter the direction of each others' lives. Revo was a young, soft-spoken Asian who was studying to be an actor. He had just moved back to Toronto from New York, where his girlfriend was eagerly awaiting his return. My co-workers and I took him under our wing when he came to work with us. Although he had no experience, he obviously had a desire to learn. He managed to win us over with his friendly, open personality.
Our talks centered at first mostly around work, as I am one of those people who believe that I get paid to do a specific job, so I might as well get on with it. After we had worked a few shifts together, idle chatter turned to hobbies, and, in a brief exchange of words, a path was laid out before us that we would not initially recognize, but would ultimately end up walking down together. He discovered that I like to draw, and, after inquiring if he could see my portfolio, quite innocently asked if I would be willing to sketch up a logo for his band. When he told me the name of his band, I admit I was slightly intrigued, but I had not yet made any connection between my own personal quest and this sweet young musician. I told him I would, of course, be willing to do so, but as often happens in cases like this, life got in the way, and the idea was unceremoniously shoved to the back of my mind.
It wasn't until two months later, when he returned from a trip to New York on a casting call, that I was reminded of my promise. When he came back, he told us he had decided that he was going to give his notice at work so he could concentrate on his acting and his music. He claimed it was partly because of the encouragement of a few choice staff members that he had decided it was time to follow his dreams and stop worrying about the immediate effect on his wallet. I was apparently one of those encouraging voices in his ear. Yet, for the life of me, I cannot possibly see how, being stuck in a rut myself, I found the time or energy to inspire somebody else. Upon his return, he asked again if I would do the drawing. As I was agreeing to get it done before he left, I looked into his eyes, and something became immediately apparent-something I had not noticed until the very moment his brief visit into my life was about to come to an end. I knew this man, not in the sense that we were friends who talked and spent time together, but in the sense that the soul behind the eyes was one I had had encountered before. It also occurred to me that I had already drawn the logo-three years earlier, when I had first moved to the city. It was strange that I had not recognized it sooner. While we perused my drawings, we had briefly discussed the meaning of the name behind his band. We had also discussed the meaning of the medallion I have worn around my neck every day since Baba's (my Polish grandmother's) death. Yet, even given our common interests in an obscure and clouded legend, it had never occurred to me to dig deeper.
The evening of his return to the city I went home and redrew the old sketch, adding to it several unique symbols that tied into the theme of the band. When I brought it to him the next day, he was surprised that I had managed to finish it so quickly. I explained that I had drawn it three years ago and had merely been waiting for him to come and collect it. He was silently staring at it while I was quietly explaining the meanings behind the symbols buried in the piece I had drawn. I looked down and noticed that his hands were shaking, and the hair on his arms was standing up. What I had drawn had obviously touched him, yet again it would not become apparent exactly how deeply until a few weeks later, when our stories began to merge. His response at the time was that it was exactly what he had wanted and needed without being able to picture in his mind what it should look like. He wanted to know how I had managed to represent his thoughts so precisely without him having verbalized them; I wanted at the time to tell him that I knew his mind and his heart, but as we were only passing acquaintances, I was sure he would think me a little unstable, so I merely shrugged and explained that I had been visited by a brief flash of inspiration. He was content with the piece, but he never made these decisions alone; he still had to present it to the band. We left it that he would show it to his boys and let me know if they liked it. We parted ways thinking that we would see each other the next day, but he never did come back to work. Though his name once or twice crossed my mind, I did not much miss his presence nor did it concern me greatly that I might not see him again.
A few weeks passed, and life was pretty normal. I went to work, came home, took care of my house, tried to take care of myself, and basically maintained a safe, comfortable, mediocre existence. Then the phone rang, and a voice singing in my ear brought me out of my sleepy state. It was Rev, phoning to ensure that I would be attending the staff party at work. He claimed he had something for me, and the band was very interested in meeting the artist behind the graphic that he claimed encompassed all the meanings behind the band's very existence. I assured him I would be there and hung up the phone thinking to myself for the first time in weeks that I had something to look forward to.
My boyfriend and I arrived later in the evening at the restaurant and settled into the typical staff-party routine, exchanging pleasantries and excitedly hugging and wishing well to the same damn people I saw every day. It was in the midst of this pathetic ritual of false niceties that my little Asian demigod again walked into my world-and this time irrevocably changed the course of my future. I remember that when I saw him that night I thought that he truly was a beautiful creature. As he was pulling me aside, I realized that somehow, in the course of his absence from my day-to-day routine, my perceptions of this boy, no, this man, had changed. He handed me a white gift bag after pulling me into a hidden corner of the restaurant so we could be alone. I admit his behaviour had me confused, but he explained that he and his band were only stopping by briefly and he had not bought gifts for anyone else. We fell into an easy banter about the band and the art. When I finally opened the gift I, much to my dismay and embarrassment, jumped up and down excitedly like a little schoolgirl. You see, it was impossible to hide my delight, as he had wrapped up for me a copy of the band's CD now labelled with my graphic and signed by the band. The other part of the gift was a very nice set of art pencils. The whole thing to me seemed to be a very straightforward message to not give up on my art. The way he smiled at my reaction made everyone else in the building for one brief moment disappear and turned an otherwise unbearably dull evening into the beginning of a magical journey.
When I was done making an ass of myself over this small, yet powerfully meaningful gift, I came to myself long enough to remember to give him what I had thought at the time a carefully prepared farewell gift. The drawing I had given to him earlier had been a copy of the original. When I am working on graphics for businesses, or tattoos, I never give my original sketches away. This time, however, I had decided that the original belonged with him and had rolled it up so I could safely carry it to him without it getting damaged. I handed it to him like that, rolled up, placing it in the palm of his hand, coincidentally upside down. He would later point this out to me as a sign that we had a journey we were meant to make together. This particular evening, however, we were both completely blind to the signs pointing the way, and, as the evening progressed, it played out naturally to a slowly building, yet extremely satisfying, friendship. I met his band and he introduced me to them as the artist. After I mingled a bit more, my musician friend pulled me aside once again, so he could show me something I had missed.
I hadn't noticed that something I had drawn, the Celtic-style image of a mother holding an infant, when turned upside-down took on the appearance of the hilt of a sword. It had actually been the band's bass player, Craze, who had been the first to notice. Looking back on it now, I am flabbergasted that I didn't see it at the time as more than mere quirky coincidence. I can only guess that had we forced the issue or connected too soon, then perhaps we would not have gone in the direction we were ultimately meant to go. Yet it is strange, again, for me to think that I did not see past the surface weirdness of the situation. After all, I haven't believed in coincidence for a very long time. it has been a very long time since I believed in coincidence. As I said, I was in a slump. I had hit a wall and needed to break it down before I could continue my spiritual growth. It seemed to me at the time that though the wall was one I had built myself, it would take a great deal of effort to find a way to destroy it; I was not sure I was up for it. Later in the evening, I felt I needed to sign the drawing I had given him. So I asked to borrow it briefly. I found a corner to hide in to commence writing.
Thanks for reminding me why Grail seekers seek and never give up the quest.
My heart to yours always,
I signed it "Feenx" the name I use when signing my art. It was a name chosen for me by life and circumstance and represented rebirth and new life rising from the ashes left behind by a destructive, yet cleansing, flame. I suppose I should also point out that until three years ago, when I moved to Toronto after my house burnt down, the only time I had put pen to paper was to write.
Up until the very day I, for some reason, sketched out a Celtic style graphic design of a mother and child, I would have laughed in the face of anyone who suggested I turn to art as a hobby. I am, always have been, and always will be a writer-not because my blinded-by-love friends and family encourage me to be a writer, not because some self-absorbed critic justifies my work by claiming that in his superior expert opinion my work is worthy, and certainly not because you are reading this book. Rather, I'm a writer because, when life takes an unexpected twist or throws at me a challenge of seemingly insurmountable odds, I feel compelled to make sense of it all by writing it down. Eighty percent of what I have written in the past has been solely for my benefit. Writing has always for me been a way to heal any damage that has been done to my spirit during life's little annoying struggles. I went to school to become a journalist, and, though I both found myself giving birth and getting married during my fourth semester of school, I somehow managed to graduate and do it only a couple points below honours. I was told all my life that I was born to write by people who claim I had started writing poetry at the age of five years. Yet, through no fault of any one thing, I had forgotten, not that I am a writer, but, rather, what me being a writer meant.
So you see, when Rev gave me the gift that silently stated, "Don't give up on your art," it wasn't only in reference to the art of drawing. It awakened in me a realization that I had forgotten who and what I was. I had been drawn off-course by the day-to-day struggle of trying to maintain an existence on par with what society expected of me. Thus "Thanks for reminding me why Grail seekers seek." What I had really been saying was, "Thank you for reminding me to search out the truth of who I am, the truth of why I am here, and the truth of what I need in my life to keep me happy and balanced."
We met strangers and left friends, and though I was very careful this time to get his number, with a promise to myself not to lose it, I still felt a sense of sadness and loss at the prospect of this man no longer being in my life.
The evening was over, we were on our way home, and all I could think was that I was on the verge of losing something very special. I realized at the same time that I had been given a very precious gift.
I lay awake in bed that night, praying for guidance. It occurred to me that all I had dreamed was being overshadowed by my own personal guilt over past mistakes. My fear of losing the most precious thing in my life was holding me back from using my skills and my gifts to better myself-and maybe even better the lives of others. I continued my nightly meditation for over a week, before it occurred to me that, given what I was asking for, I was not offering a fair exchange. It was only several nights later that I opened myself up completely to the idea of change.
It is not natural or comfortable for me to think in terms of influencing others. I have always felt deep down that there was something more I was meant to do, although I was raised by my grandmother to believe in the talents I was born with. The thought of using those talents to make a difference in even one person's life was an extremely uplifting idea. It was just that, an idea-a dream that upon my awakening dissolved into reality and, day after ordinary day, was never realized.
No more, I thought, lying there in the dark. If there is something I am meant to do, show me what it is; give me a sign in which I can put my faith. Guide me in the direction I am meant to go, and if it is necessary to sacrifice my life here with my friends and my family, if it is important that I be willing to let go of my reality, then so be it. I am ready. I will let go of my fear, accept my mistakes, forgive myself for all my misdeeds, and open myself to the idea of a way to atone for them. I will accept both the light and the dark within me and embrace my humanity and all that comes with it. The pain, the anger, the fear, and the joy-even the lustful hunger I have encountered more than once when in the arms of a man-all of it I will accept and know that it is these things that make me human. I will accept the hate and love, and all the emotions in between, that keep my spirit connected to this earthly plain. It is that earthly connection that I am here to experience, to learn from, and to revel in, allowing my spirit to grow. These things I will accept. I will put my faith in the belief that I am here to do more and to be more. When I accept these things, a path will be provided for me to walk safely down. There will be signs along that path, and there will be guides sent to keep me from veering off too far when it becomes necessary to steer around obstacles in that path. These things I accept; these things I believe; and, in believing these things, I will find the strength to walk that path. I will be given a clear vision with which to see those signs and granted the grace and humility to accept and be thankful for any help provided me along the way.
Excerpted from TRUTH by Jean Victoria Norloch Copyright © 2009 by Niki Leach. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Initially, the back story of Truth resonated with me. A person giving up everything that is comfortable and safe about their life to go in search of a true love. Norloch utilizes narrative via letters and emails to tell the story of self discovery, giving the reader a chance to discovery the mechanics of the characters. The convention of letter writing gives the characters depth that one could only guess at in straight forward narrative. Witty and mystical, Norloch's style engages the reader to ride along with the quest for truth.