Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Human

The Living Force
Finally finished SC's #4, Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh.

Breaking Survivors Club series with Temporary Wife last summer brought relationship with my deceased father on the surface and in the focus of emotional work which has resulted in complete reevaluation of that relationship (still ongoing...).

When started reading Only Enchanting after Temporary Wife, the letters on the paper (kindle) didn't touch me at the time like previous stories did, so I concluded that 'my perspective isn't right at the moment' and went on with other, more intellectually tingling stuff so to say. Few months back, I returned to Only Enchanting and had a week or so of very good laugh at the evening when reading it before going to bed - dynamics between Agnes and Flavian, especially Agnes' brittle replies to him, made my heart lighter, joyful and smiling/laughing - 'exactly' what I needed at the time in my life.

Then, when reached the point in the story when Agnes and Flavian got married, I closed the kindle and left it aside until last week, i.e. after last weekend. I read the rest of the book during the three nights, had a laugh or two each night, but the 'effect' of the read has had quite a different taste to it than previous part of the book. It made me 'think' about passion and courage, support and trust, acceptance of and surrendering to others/oneself, and 'view' myself and personal relationships through those lenses/glasses.

Well, 'one thing' did remain the same - after reading a Romance Novel the relationship with my GF 'improved', as if reading has helped to have 'better' listening and expression capabilities which appear to be more considerate and understanding, and communication between us has flowed more fluently. Also, awareness of my own residual triggers to emotional (automatic) states increased somewhat, giving/providing me a window of opportunity to 'see' myself and emotions rising within before they take charge and 'prepare' for their wave/tide beforehand.

Anyway, Thank You all here for this project. :flowers:
It's made my inner emotional 'aspect' much richer and more in touch with the rest of myself, has been helping me in 'healing' my overall psyche within by taking me through and about emotional states, some dissociated, some unintegrated, some completely anew, uplifting and/or diving into depths of the heart. Like a journey of discovery and connection, within with myself and outside with other fellow humans, here on the Forum and IRL.
 

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I too thought that that was the lamest excuse for what followed. :rolleyes: The book gets better though. Just not soon enough :lol:
hahaha that's funny, I suppose it was kind of lame.

I read through that one a while ago, but I seem to recall that it kind of felt out of place, but it wasn't inconsistent with the feelings they had for one another. Nature finds a way, kind of reading is the one I remember having of it.
 

Lan8r

Jedi Master
It's interesting how differently you can see it. :halo: For me it was clearly a happy ending and the "sacrifice" he had to make was possibly exactly the happy ending. Since it's been a while since I watched the series, I just rewatched the last episode and the ending because I doubted my judgement. But exactly what happened was what I wanted, it was what you actually knew from the first episode. And what she showed him and made him aware of. That's why I don't see it as a sacrifice, but as a happy ending.
A Very Happy ending! What woman could not forever love a man that would sacrifice everything for her? But, what woman would ever allow a man to sacrifice everything for her? I wish there was an epilogue. Clara would be the most amazing Duchess. Diego would shine with her by his side. I guess that might be the fairytale ending, but true love did prevail. And that is a Happy Ending.

Another happy ending for me was when that bastardo Enrique got his comeuppance! He was so evil and ruined so many people's lives.
 

ryu

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I have not posted in a long while but I have been reading. I am continuing with the Bridgetown series. I miss Mary Balogh but Julia Quinn is a good writer. She's good at making fun of an otherwise sad or humiliating situation.

A lot of her characters have the ability to smile, joke and laugh despite difficult times. It's really something I admire and I've started to emulate them because God we need it today!

I've read the books "Colin", "Eloïse" and "Francesca". I saw myself in the three of them and I never stop marveling at how these books make us reflect on how we live, how we would act in this or this situation, how their flaws and wounds are resonating with ours (sometimes I didn't even know they were there at all).

It helps us heal and forgive our past selves.

I like all the characters but I have a soft spot for Eloïse, this lady is quite something! She's a non conformist like me. (And like many on this forum I guess😊)

I will continue the series because I want to know how it end for the lot of them.
 

Stella Marys

Jedi Master
Well, excuse my lack of experience, but I will have to repeat the publication since the spoiler part was not published. I will post these parts in the quote box to make sure it's all right. Here we go again...:umm::lol:

The secret pearl p.271. Dialogue between Adam and Fleur:
"But he realized that one could never go back, never truly desire to go back, because once one expanded one's personal experience you could no longer be satisfied with the more limited experience".


"I look at you and I marvel that your experience
has not embittered or hardened you. You are much stronger and more independent than you were before, aren't you?

-I like to think so. I think I'm more aware than I used to be that my life is in my own hands, that I can't blame other people for anything that goes wrong in it.

Reflection on Adam's wife:

"Given that all the happiness she had been taken away from her, she could have concentrated on giving happiness to other people.

But Sybil did not have a strong character. If she had been given happiness, she would no doubt
she would undoubtedly have remained sweet all her life. But she was a person who wanted to receive,
not give, and once everything she wanted had been taken from her, there was nothing left in her life but bitterness and hatred and a desperate search for sensual gratification
In these fragments, the essence of "suffering with purpose: an opportunity as an opening to others" (as I learned from Viktor Frankl) is illustrated. The girl ran away from her past, but there is no place to escape to because the past is no longer a physical place, it is a kind of field of experience. We cannot change it but we can change the way we perceive it with more understanding. We cannot run away from experience, that would be like running away from ourselves. In fact, when you run away from your "problems" they follow you, like our shadow. The lesson presents itself and, if we don't take it, it seems to come back and manifest itself with greater intensity until we decide to take the lesson. Sure, we can sweep under the rug for a good while what comes our way in "trouble" mode to broaden our experience. But not for long...at some point we have to take the lesson.

Now, some reflections on the novel....
The girl's attitude is transcendent. She became aware of the fact that her life is in her own hands and that we should not delegate responsibility by blaming the world for how badly we are doing. It is a courageous attitude to take charge of one's own life. Each novel is in itself a new life, a new opportunity to explore those places we might not otherwise discover in the unfolding of this present life. It's like an accelerator of new lessons.

To me, Adam is a wonderful being. A responsible and compassionate being. A conscientious and generous being. Indeed, his attitude is very important for everyone who came in contact with him. It reminds me of what Putin said about power: it is a responsibility. And Adam acts justly and has a well-developed sense of external consideration. Of course he has his dark side, which he manages with a lot of effort and the fruits of this effort result in a functional human being who is not a burden to others (unlike his wife). He has suffered much and was transformed by this pain. He listens to the voice of the "predator's mind" but does not succumb to its call. I learned a lot from the virtues of this character. I admire him a lot!
On the other hand, I discovered where this nostalgia comes from that invades me, so to speak, when I leave this "life" that came to life in my imagination. I feel something like "little deaths" in each fictional life and I have to repeatedly say goodbye to those places and those people. I miss them... but, with each new story, another life unfolds again, with other circumstances, other surroundings, other people and.... it's like a new incarnation!

I have also noticed, book after book, the importance of networking. At the beginning of a story, people are stunned by some traumatic event. They feel and are alone, unprotected, as if in a dead end or between a rock and a hard place. As soon as they open the flow to others, they begin to feel trust in the network of family and friends who are understanding and non-judgmental, and problems are resolved in a network. Principles of "love and acceptance, truth and justice" can be found in abundance. And the interesting thing is that a healing is reached by everyone involved in the story working together. This world of "fiction" is a world where we can find healing, literally!

This is found in the Cassiopaea glossary on 'mental blockage':
"Acting as a group can be important to the process. A single individual can wear himself out by continually defending his position, also a group can focus "higher energies" more effectively than an individual. This is not a case of mass mentality but of strength in unity of purpose. An isolated individual's way of thinking and perceiving can more easily change to match that of the attacker, thus diminishing the STO alignment of the attacked."
Now, if one finds oneself in a dead end, the "exit" is at the "entrance". Turning around and facing the problems (lessons), makes that "entrance" become the "exit". Generally, we do not count on the help that others can give us. We remain stagnant, locked in our own sufferings and we do not share them, above all, for fear of being judged, not being understood, fear of losing the affection and sympathy of others. This attitude shows that we are centered on ourselves (internal consideration). Suffering is a two-way avenue, it can be self-centered or opening up to others by being more empathetic people.what we do with the pain is what makes the difference.

Maybe today I am starting a new life (novel). I look forward to it with great joy.:-D

As Alejo says: "My two cents". Thank you Alejo for your reviews! They bring new insights and inspiration to the project.:flowers:

PS: Can you explain how to use the spoiler? I marked the part to make the publication in the spoiler. Then I placed the text and apparently it was fine. But it didn't. I did something wrong.:huh:
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I finished Indiscreet, book 3 of Mary Balogh's Horsemen trilogy. I learned something that I wasn't able to from the forum previously.

Love comes to people through many different ways. Some people need to look for love. Some people need to make themselves available to find love. Some people are not looking for love and yet love strikes them like a thunderbolt. So I understand more why some people say don't look for love, because those people who say it are not made to look for love but are made to get struck by it when they are not looking. And I understand more why I say go look for love or else it won't be found, because I was made to make myself available and go find love.
 

Mariama

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
PS: Can you explain how to use the spoiler? I marked the part to make the publication in the spoiler. Then I placed the text and apparently it was fine. But it didn't. I did something wrong
I just tried it, Stella Marys, and it seems to be working just fine. Perhaps it's easier for you to put in a spoiler manually? First you write:
then the text and then:
again
and voilà, you have your own spoiler!

Make sure you use the correct brackets.:-)
 

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I finished Indiscreet, book 3 of Mary Balogh's Horsemen trilogy. I learned something that I wasn't able to from the forum previously.

Love comes to people through many different ways. Some people need to look for love. Some people need to make themselves available to find love. Some people are not looking for love and yet love strikes them like a thunderbolt. So I understand more why some people say don't look for love, because those people who say it are not made to look for love but are made to get struck by it when they are not looking. And I understand more why I say go look for love or else it won't be found, because I was made to make myself available and go find love.

Very true! I think there are even more kinds of people: Some need to stop looking so badly, and then it appears. Others just choose celibacy, others need some serous work on themselves before being ready to give and receive, etc. etc. So, that's why we say it's not a simple recipe. People are very different, and so are their lessons. The novels show that too, in a sense. :-)
 

Stella Marys

Jedi Master
I just tried it, Stella Marys, and it seems to be working just fine. Perhaps it's easier for you to put in a spoiler manually? First you write:
then the text and then:
again
and voilà, you have your own spoiler!

Make sure you use the correct brackets.:-)
Thank you Mariana for your guidance!:flowers: I will take your suggestion into account in my next post. My monitor is wearing out and maybe this is the reason I didn't see that the spoiler was posted properly. I almost work "feeling around" the monitor guessing where some icons are located. Almost Braille.:shock::lol: Regards
 

Persej

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
One hint I will give at this point is this: the books are designed to stir up the sex center; to engage some emotional suffering (Cs said suffering can modify DNA and that might be even more the case with some sexual energy fuelling the process); and then bring the two (sex center, emotional center energy) up into the heart/mind with appropriate resolution toward true love, giving, devotion, etc.

Once I saw this pattern, I realized that a substantial number of repetitions of this process, all within the body/mind could quite easily bring about some kind of reset of emotional energy at a higher level.

You could even say that this kind of reading - selected books only - is something like neurofeedback only for the emotions; it can quite possibly transmute lower emotions to higher ones.

It's interesting that when the C's suggested taking melatonin for exercising psychic abilities, the subject of sexual energy was also mentioned.

Q: (L) Why should we take the Melatonin?

A: Is mild hallucinogen.

Q: (L) Why do we need this?

A: Keeps exercising psychic abilities and opens paths. Don't be alarmed by vividly erotic dreams.

Q: (L) Should we expect to have vividly erotic dreams?

A: Possible as psyche passes through levels on ascension.

And while reading about the newest research about vagus nerve stimulation, I found that scientist are now using it to promote the brain plasticity. So perhaps the vagus stimulation prior or after reading of these books would improve the plasticity of the brain which can then be more open to beneficial long-lasting changes that these books can potentially provide.

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The dual action of VNS in providing both a neural plasticity reinforcing stimulus through activation of ascending pathways and a calming parasympathetic input through activation of descending pathways is a unique property that may confer benefits not currently available with pharmacological interventions. Drugs that activate neuromodulatory systems can enhance learning but often promote anxiety, opposing parasympathetic activation. Alternatively, anxiolytic drugs tend to interfere with plasticity and blunt the benefits of rehabilitation.



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Vaccination and targeted plasticity therapy are based on similar principles. (A) Injection of an antigen alone causes a generally weak immunologic response. Injection of an adjuvant alone causes a nonspecific inflammatory response. Many different compounds can act as adjuvants, including aluminum salts, virosomes, or saponins. Concurrent presentation of the antigen and adjuvant results in a significantly enhanced immunologic response beyond that evoked by either element alone, resulting in specific and long-lasting immunity. (B) Targeted plasticity therapy is based on similar principles of synergism. Experience alone drives activity within circuitry but does not result in plasticity. Neuromodulators alone have generalized neuronal effects, but do not drive lasting changes. A variety of factors can cause release of neuromodulators, including attention, pain, or VNS. When bursts of neuromodulators correspond with experience, specific and long-lasting plasticity results.


Of course, the sex scenes in the books themselves could potentially work as neuromodulators that improve plasticity.
 

Voyageur

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
In the past, had started a Grace Burrowes series (not on the list) called the Windham Series. Had not meant to do this following another of her short series called Mischief in Mayfair (also not on the list). The latter series comes from 2021 publications, and involve a group of men from the war damaged and struggles - Colonel Sir Orion Goddard, Alasdhair MacKay and Captain Dylan Powell.

What comes out of their individual stories is not the usual telling of war. Here in their stories comes the basis of abject pathology, of what they faced, what they did and who they fought with.

Matched to the men, are the stories of Miss Ann Pearson (professional cook), Miss Dorcas Delancey (vicar’s daughter), and Lydia Lovelace (housekeeper), who in turn have their own unique stories in life with equal struggles.

One thing about the series was that it seemed more grounded to everyday life of the street, and was by no means easy.

What I had not realized at the time of reading was that the story of Colonel Sir Orion Goddard's sister comes from the last book of a 12 book series (True Gentlemen series) titled The Last True Gentleman, which is the story of Sycamore Dorning. Thus, his and her story factor in the series above. So, upon realizing, jumped back and read this last book, and if interested in the series it could/should be read first.

Anyway, if I do get around to reading the True Gentlemen series, I'm now going backwards. :lol:

This all comes back to the first series mentioned (Windham Series) starting in 2012. The first book 0.5 is a novella (The Courtship) that looks to both Percy Windham and Esther Himmelfarb. Percy is the spare of a living Duke and his brother who is to inherit. Esther is the house party member to 'make up numbers,' who is there to try to help her brother get a leg up. Book 2 is 0.6 and continues the story:

This is tied together, albeit a different story, a continuation 5-years later. There are a now four children born of Percy and Esther. Esther's difficulties emerge as the marriage may not be what she thought - the difficulties of motherhood, mental/biological changes, pressure of money and caring for the family and her place in it all as she becomes the Duchess of Moreland, that was not suppose to ever be.

The Moreland family is looked at roughly 30-years later - there are ten children, two of who are by-blows, along with the two who had died. These stories look to taking one individual step at a time to overcome inner demons and external circumstances, as partnerships form and begin to grow. The parents are in the background (sometimes foreground), and each child now grown to adulthood realizes their own place in the family, with some grappling with their forgotten or unrecognized true nurture.

The first three books are dedicated to the remaining sons, and the last books are to the five daughters.

This story is not unlike a Balogh family series, and in this series there are total of eight books (plus 8.5 and 8.6 books to end), and have not read them all.
 

Persej

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Here is another thing that might help in inducing the sexual energies while reading these books:

One of the characters participating in Plutarch’ Symposiakon (Table Talks) draws his commensals’ attention to the fact that ‘Salt encourages remarkably generation’. Plutarch insisted on the generative power of salt by giving a few examples. Egyptian priests, who are professing chastity, were known to ‘avoid salt, as being by its heat, provocative and apt to raise lust’. ‘Those that breed dogs, when they find their bitches not prone to be hot, give them salt and seasoned flesh, to excite and arouse their sleeping lechery and vigour. Besides, the ships that carry salt breed a profusion of mice’. Females are quickly pregnant. ‘It is probable that salt rises an itching in animals, and so makes them salacious and eager to couple’ [5]. Such an allegation echoed Aristotle's History of animals. ‘Some people say, indeed stoutly maintain that, if they merely lick salt, mice become pregnant’ [6]. Even if the information fails to explain perfectly the phenomenon, its prescience predicts that salt intake has something to do with sexual maturity, desire, copulation, gestation periods and litter of rodents.

 

Ben

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
I'm late to the party but have dived right in and read all the 'Courting Julia' set in a weekend. Like many other men I have never dreamed that this kind of literature would have anything to offer me. If I was reading the paperbacks rather than the Kindle I might get some funny looks, too. I shouldn't care about that but around here it's one step short of leaving the house in a pretty dress!

In reality I was highly motivated to find out what was going to happen with the characters and it was quite fascinating. I could feel the build up to an emotional scene and observe it happening in me as I read. Some lines were really good descriptions of the ideal of love which we can all aspire to. Loads of internal considering, mental gymnastics and misunderstandings. My favourite character was Malcolm, though it was a very small role. I suppose I will have to read many more to come across characters which I resonate with.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Spoilers involving Mary Balogh's The Proposal (Survivor's Club book 1), Someone to Cherish (Westcott book 9), and Someone Perfect (Westcott book 10).
It's a bit much to me to have a repeat of a young stepmom trying to have sex with her stepson and thereby driving apart father and son. I don't imagine this to be a common problem for stepmoms and stepsons. If anything, it reminds me of Bill and Ted.
I'm guessing that's a more common problem than a virgin widow, and I'd groan if either subplot was rehashed again. Are human relationships so limited that we run out of iterations and have to recycle them so quickly?
 
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