Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Nathancat7

Jedi Master
J'avais peur que ces livres ne soient pas traduits en Français mais si...
Je viens d'en commander deux sur Amazon France...
C'est tout à fait mon style romantique et chevaleresque, je vais pouvoir rêver en attendant de rencontrer mon Prince Charmant (je croyais que cela n'existait plus)...
Merci Laura...
Des fleurs dans la tourmente
Kinsale, Laura
La magie de Noël
Balogh, Mary

I was afraid these books wouldn't be translated into French, but if...
I just ordered two from Amazon France...
It's quite my romantic and chivalrous style, I'll be able to dream while waiting to meet my Prince Charming (I thought that didn't exist anymore)...
Thank you Laura...
Flowers in turmoil
Kinsale, Laura
The magic of Christmas
Balogh, Mary
I read "The Magic of Christmas" and really liked it. Very powerful. I'm a bit of a romantic so these books can be dangerous for me in a world world where I need to be intelligent and operate with boundaries though.
Fantastic story though because it's about integrity and mature development of soul union regarding masculine and feminine.
But oddly, as I was reading it, I realized I'd read it, or parts, before; And I don't generally read romance novels.
I used to clean libraries on the weekend. I think, being lonely or something, I must have taken a look at this book, and started reading (because I was very fast and had spare time).
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Most of the time I was trying to come up with reasons why it wasn't real.
Hence the stage was set for my "girlfriend."
Your emotional experience was real, your suffering was real, your heartbreak was real. If we looked at this clinically, though, it wasn't real love, and so in that sense it wasn't real. She wasn't your girlfriend. No one said I love you or kissed. Real love is awaiting you to discover it and experience it, though it's your choice because free will.

My conception of marriage was that once the novelty wears off, it's basically just perpetual arguing about who's going to clean the toilet next weekend, what color the drapes should be, and how you could be so inconsiderate as to forget to pick up xyz at the grocery store yesterday.
I can tell you from personal experience that true love with a woman feels easy and effortless, and the novelty has not worn off. The sun rises and sets with her. It's not perpetual arguing and minutiae. It's as wonderful and glorious as the happy endings in these books. These books are not fake. They're giving everyone a glimpse of what can be, in this life or the next.
 

Mari

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I´m still at Huxtables 5 and still not sure if I really enjoy the series. It IS pretty good writing and all of that, but....

I saw here some good reviews of the Huxtable series, but it didn´t sit with me so far; currently, if I would rate the series, this one would be in the last place.
:-[
Although, I´m still left with the last, 5th book to read.

I see a lot of posts here describing the story line; don´t know if that´s needed/expected, so I´ll stick to the feelings and general opinion, until I develop more skill in story line telling. :-)

1st book "First Comes Marriage" affected me with some mixture of both optimism and sadness (I´ve already posted my feelings in this thread about it), but although it was very interesting, it left me with sad/bitter feeling.

2nd "Then Comes Seduction" was a surprise from the beginning in a sense how Kate fall for the rouge in almost first chapter and I liked the witty conversations between main characters.

3rd "At Last Comes Love" book was actually very good and I was eager to see how it will roll out. So far, IMO, this is the best story in this series.
I was also led to think that he eloped because of love, but nooo, it can´t be that simple. And the idea that the guy abused a wife in that manner was also a shocker of the book. That is also why 4th book left me some "watered down" feeling.

So, to the 4th book - "Seducing an Angel" - and this is where I was annoyed.
I was fighting first ~45% of this book.
This was the longest novel so far, not in terms of pages but in terms my reading it.
It went so painfully slow, the story itself and first impression of the female character was really annoying to me. As far as I could see so far in Balogh´s books, characters in the end turn to be no less that saints incarnated and I was waiting for that "saint" moment when we discover Cass painful past - but to get there, I was pretty much irritated by Cass persona and the fact I really liked Stephan and I believe this was the first time in the books I really couldn´t see them together.... Oh, well.....
Also I didn´t expect jet another domestic abuse case in the same series, although it was clear that the story is going in that direction, so that also was kind of a downside....


But overall, I like this family; love and care they have for each other and still it is not suffocating love but a free, tender and honest love they share.

One more book to go in this series and then I´ll take a break and move to completely different/new author. Still haven´t read any of Scarlett Scott, Jennifer Ashley, Grace Burrowes nor this new one Caroline Linden series.
 

trytofly

Jedi Master
Obviously not everyone enjoys the same books or series with the same intensity. It remains very subjective. Which is normal after all. It all depends on our expectations or our life course. According to our needs, our experiences and our wounds, we are more sensitive and more moved in different ways through these books. The contexts and the stories in which the romances are articulated, certainly also participate in moving us more or less according to each one.
Personally, I seem to be even more touched and moved by the deep ties of friendship and especially family that flow from these books than the love between the main characters. And it's obviously related to my personal story, i think.

When it comes to sexuality in the books, I thought at first that this would help me the most to appreciate the stories. :-[
In the end, it turns out that these are the passages that I like the least. No, because it bothers me, but I find it boring in the long run and the rest is most good and absorbing. :-)
 

ryu

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
I'm about halfway through book three of the Horseman trilogy. I also would have never even dreamed of reading a romance book, ever. In fact, the only book I can think of that I have ever read that was fiction was Treasure Island! All other books were nonfiction. Interestingly, I would have never guessed that there is apparently so much sex in most of this genre. I always thought that romance books are mostly about love "per se" without sex. Usually I seldom have a hard time to put down books (I'm one of those types who have to make quite some efforts to keep reading), but in the romance books, I catch myself not wanting to put them down and wanting to know what comes next instead and keep reading.

Anyway, since a lively discussion has developed here about Sex, love and STO, I thought I would share some of what came up for me so far. It revolves around the following points:

- Gurdijeff said something to the effect that around 70 percent of what we do, think and react to is about Sex. A statement that I think is close to the truth.

- If what Gurdijeff said is correct (and all the other stuff [not only from him, but in many traditions] about the "sex center") that could mean that it would be rather foolish (keeping in mind what the C's said about us being 3D STS and that we can only graduate by learning the lessons of this 3D density/class) to think of Sex as something unimportant or "not spiritual" that can be ignored. In fact, it seems to me that if it is such a big part/force of our 3D existence, that there must be big lessons right there that have to be learned. Maybe developing this center in the right way is thus one of the hardest things to accomplish on this level?

- Since Sex is apparently such a big force or "center" in humans, it is probably also an area that has to be navigated rather carefully since it can easily lead into both directions.

- On a side note: Laura said at one point that Gurdijeff probably had a problem with Sex himself.

- There seems to be a big problem of what our society has made of sex that is infused big time by Ponerology/Ponerization/Pathology. It makes tackling this issue very difficult indeed.

- The idea that Sex is "not spiritual":

I have a guess that a significant amount of those who think of or preach sex as "degrading" and/or "not spiritual" have a sex problem themselves and/or have problems in that regard either because of the ponerized image it has obtained and/or because those people have never really had any significant and/or more or less decent sexual relationship. Or they are more or less completely inexperienced in that regard themselves and only know it by the ponerized view it is presented.

- It is very easy nowadays to have knee-jerk reaction toward this topic especially when it comes to ideas about spirituality

- It is interesting that apparently most people out there who think they are spiritual and/or on a spiritual path (or want to aspire to such a path) think of sex as something "not spiritual" and something that has to be avoided and/or ignored or traduced in another way. Generally speaking, if most people think that something is true, there is always a good likelihood that it is not true in my experience.

I can sympathize with those who think that Sex is something "not spiritual" since I also constantly went back and forth around this question during the years. I used to think that way at one point too and just couldn't bring myself to think of anyone being "spiritually evolved" and also engaging in "this act" at the same time. For a long time it was really hard for me to even try to think otherwise. Those things were mutually exclusive in my thinking. In hindsight, I think a lot of my think there was informed by the ponerized view I had about Sex.

Take the following with a grain of salt (or a bucket full) since I could be fooling myself:

When I was a teenager I had an experience that very much felt like a big "enlightening" "realization" that was so very emotionally moving, in such a way that it is impossible to describe in words. I don't remember what exactly the circumstances were in which this realization hit me like a bus, but I do remember that when it came, I was in a very desperate/emotional situation that was caused (I think) by an emotional outburst of myself (aka. loss of my temper) towards another person (I think) in which I did things toward that person that I regretted big time.

Suddenly a realization pretty much out of nowhere came over me (while being in this very emotional state of remorse) that Sex and Loving-Sex are almost incomprehensibly different, or let's say two types of shoes. This realization was accompanied by a huge burst of moving emotions that included totally overwhelming emotions of something I can only describe as a feeling of complete love, that was almost too hard to bear/grasp. I realized how truly otherworldly (in the positive sense) Sex can be and that this type of Sex has as little to do with the ordinary sex one thinks of (especially as a pubertal boy in this day and age) as you can possibly imagine. In that short moment of realization I saw Sex extremely differently than the other view I had of it. So much so that this image of pure sex didn't bring with it any of the usual emotions, thinking patterns and raw "animalistic" urges, normally associated with sex. Quite the contrary in fact. As far as I remember I even saw in my minds vision a Sex act of this kind that felt exactly like that during that realization. I can only describe it as otherworldly and pure. Completely different. It didn't take long thought that I "forgot" this realization again, meaning that I was never able to experience/see Sex in this way again, at least consciously

Anyway, I also remember a dream around the same time in my life, which was one of those you never forget and that shake you up emotionally. It was about a medieval type of scene in which a girl/woman was in a castle up the hill. The amount of love I felt toward that woman was indescribable. There was some type of danger to her well-being and I had to safe her. I think I was a knight or something in the dream and I tried desperately to safe and/or fight for her. I don't know exactly anymore, but I think the castle was on fire or something and I had to safe her. Then I woke up shattered and amazed by the amount of love I felt toward this person in the dream.

I had also a few glimpses or realisations that sex and relationships could be so much more, and It filled me with joy. But like you, I kind of forgot afterwards. Reading those Books makes me remember several "haha" moments.

I also had those kind of dreams, I am nearly sure they are past lives. In the most vivid one, I died defending my spouse/lover during an invasion, but I remember loving my spouse to surch a point that I wasn't afraid to die, what terrorized me was that I wasn't sure we would meet in the next life. I cried buckets of tears when I woke up, my grief was so great that I passed out. (I was already on the floor so I didn't hurt myself).

I am wondering if we don't take memories of past/future lives with us when we "get down" in 3D, so that we don't completly forget what Love is.
 

Mari

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I´ll try to explain my point of view regarding the Huxtable series.


1st book "First Comes Marriage" brought up a lot of my own issues. That doesn´t mean that the story is bad, that only means I realize how much I have to process and to work on myself.


2nd book "Then Comes Seduction" was full of damasking of the characters, hiding behind witty responses (I liked their dynamic and their humor nevertheless) and hurting each other in the process. Reader sees the mind processes behind what the characters are saying, but characters dont, so it was a display of how words hurt. Until masks are stripped and our true selves are reveled, people live in fear and tension and can never brake free or realy live their lives until they choose to be honest and true to themselves.
I found book excellent.


3rd book "At Last Comes Love" is IMO the best story in this series (so far, still book 5 to go).
I liked Meg´s honesty and openness and her going with her deeper urge to "rebel" even if the whole world said otherwise. Here wasn´t that many masks to be stripped since they were more or less honest with their intentions from the start, but it was a display how honesty and being true to oneself leads to deeper love and understanding.

So; books 1-3 are excellent books that gave me a lot to think about and to process.


Now, to the 4th book - "Seducing an Angel" and why I was annoyed.
I don´t think that Cass willingly (for the lack of better word) stripp down her mask.
Stephen was honest with her and himself from the start.

She was running on a program the whole book and if there wasn´t a baby, I think she would never strip it off.
She never openly confessed her love to Stephen until the baby. In all other books, characters strip down their masks because of love and courage - Cass didn´t do that.
Until she realized she was pregnant and that it is not fair to raise a child without a father.
So if Balogh didn´t "push" the baby, Cass would go on living unhappily ever after in some cottage in the middle of nowhere and be settled with it. It was a situation forced on her, to made her confess, not her own courage and will.
And that is why I think this book has a forced happily ever after and not a happy end due to character growth beyond their programs. And also why I don´t think it´s the best series I´ve red so far.

Second thing is that Cass is a Lady - but she didn´t behave like one. In all the male rouges I´ve red in previous series, they were manipulative and a lot of other things, but they were never cruel on purpose and un-gentleman-like.
She was in the situation where she had to feed 4 more mouths and had to act on it, but the way she treated Stephen in the beginning was very irritating and cruel.

So, that is how I saw it....
If there is a message and lession to be learned from this book, I still don´t see it.... :-/


Still there is book 5 and I´m very eager to see what will happen there.
 

Seamus

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I just finished Marry in Secret so I have one more book left in that series. Marry in Secret is my least favorite book in that series so far, probably because I didn't feel as much of a connection to the main characters. The author discusses the story a bit in the epilogue writing about how she wanted to write historically accurate characters while addressing modern social justice concerns (I'm paraphrasing) and it didn't really work as well for me. I still enjoyed it, but it just felt a bit forced and I didn't notice the same emotional connection that I had with the first two books in the series. Several of you have written that Marry in Scarlet was your favorite or one of your favorites in the series, so looking forward to reading it.

I was thinking about the discussion we've been having about this exercise and how some of you have been struggling with it a bit. FWIW as I understand it based on what Laura has written and from my own experience reading a few of these books the exercise is meant to stir up powerful emotions and awaken the sleeping emotional center. This creates an opportunity for resolution of unresolved feelings via the resolution of the storyline of the book. You don't have to do anything other than read the books and let yourself get lost in the storyline.

IOW its an emotional exercise, not an intellectual exercise. People with overdeveloped intellectual centers and sleeping emotional centers are going to struggle with it and that's part of the point, OSIT. Some have done more work in this area than others, and so will have an "easier" experience. It will also get easier as you read more books and open up more.
 

placematt

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
I have just finished the 4th book in the mckenzie series. I really quite enjoyed them. I'm finding the overall theme that i'm pulling them is being of service, in giving yourself to others. An example i can think of is my brother asked me to wish his Girlfriend happy birthday. I don't particularly know her very well. And i was over thinking it, asking myself why i would do such a thing. However, in the course of reading these books, Im getting a lot of examples of how just the brothers look after and care for each other. And it finally dawned on me, that I will do it, because he asked. Because he is my brother. I don't need to attach any value system to this act. It seems I have picked up some incredibly damaging "trading" systems for actions. Which is just really toxic now that i can see. And my relationships with my brothers has improved i would say. I'm making a concerted effort to reach out more, to make more time to speak and learn about their lives. I just want to, I want to be there for them. Regardless of the inter-gender dynamics in these books. It seems i got hit my a very potent case of service. I want to do it. I don't need to measure this. I should be smart and think things through. However, I don't need to weigh up the pro's and con's of a loved one asking me for something as small as this. I want to be a better brother and I have certainly had more learning opportunities with these books in regards to women. though, what has stuck with me, is the want to start putting this stuff into practice with my family. No need to wait until i meet someone, I can start right now. Lastly, I really mirror many other forum members comments in regards to the ponerization of relationships and dynamics. Really is sad. These books can be very frustrating, but also very rewarding. Moving into Dancing With Clara now. Appreciate the posts, insight and thread as always!!
 

echo

Jedi
I have finished reading the Courting Julia series and just loved them! Dancing with Clara was amazing and Tempting Harriet too. The feeling while reading does seem to be the awakening of the emotional center that Séamas mentioned in the post above. Tempting Harriet very subtly took me over some edge were I actually felt great pain in my heart and cried. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I will write about it here: I loved how Dancing with Clara redeemed this "rake" personality and made him good again, and the storyline was amazing. Especially with difficult characters it is such a relief when even they find some sort of redemption, it just gives me so much hope:love:
 

Ennio

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I was thinking about the discussion we've been having about this exercise and how some of you have been struggling with it a bit. FWIW as I understand it based on what Laura has written and from my own experience reading a few of these books the exercise is meant to stir up powerful emotions and awaken the sleeping emotional center. This creates an opportunity for resolution of unresolved feelings via the resolution of the storyline of the book. You don't have to do anything other than read the books and let yourself get lost in the storyline.

IOW its an emotional exercise, not an intellectual exercise.

That's a good description of the process, imo. On a number of occasions, while not particularly "thinking" about the developments of the stories, the tears just came out, seemingly out of nowhere. It's as though there is an emotional part of the mind/heart that isn't exactly conscious in the way that one is normally aware of one's thoughts - but is nonetheless there, and significant in its weightiness. Just a reminder, it seems, of how large a part of one's makeup the emotional center really is, how much its effected by things without our necessarily "realizing it" fully, and seems to suggest, also, what one stands to gain by "waking it up" to the extent that one can. Its as though these stories speak or communicate to a part of ourselves that just isn't used to getting that kind of attention.
 

echo

Jedi
I have finished reading the Courting Julia series and just loved them! Dancing with Clara was amazing and Tempting Harriet too. The feeling while reading does seem to be the awakening of the emotional center that Séamas mentioned in the post above. Tempting Harriet very subtly took me over some edge were I actually felt great pain in my heart and cried. I don't want to spoil it for anyone so I will write about it here: I loved how Dancing with Clara redeemed this "rake" personality and made him good again, and the storyline was amazing. Especially with difficult characters it is such a relief when even they find some sort of redemption, it just gives me so much hope:love:
My spoiler got lost:-[ Here it is:
The part of Tempting Harriet that really touched something deep in me was when they started their affair and were having sex ”without love” even though they did love each other. I felt a deep pain and sadness reading those passages.
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
That's a good description of the process, imo. On a number of occasions, while not particularly "thinking" about the developments of the stories, the tears just came out, seemingly out of nowhere. It's as though there is an emotional part of the mind/heart that isn't exactly conscious in the way that one is normally aware of one's thoughts - but is nonetheless there, and significant in its weightiness. Just a reminder, it seems, of how large a part of one's makeup the emotional center really is, how much its effected by things without our necessarily "realizing it" fully, and seems to suggest, also, what one stands to gain by "waking it up" to the extent that one can. Its as though these stories speak or communicate to a part of ourselves that just isn't used to getting that kind of attention.

I've noticed this too, and I can't really intellectually articulate why I was impacted by certain parts of these stories, I just was.

It makes sense if you take into consideration that the emotional center understands and speaks a different language than the intellectual center. This is from Nicoll's commentaries:

“What language does the Emotional Centre use? It uses the language of visual imagery. The Emotional Centre does not know any intellec-tual words or theories, but it understands visual images. For instance, if you are in danger and feel nervous, and you meet a man who is visibly quiet, it helps the horse—that is, the Emotional Centre. The calm man is a visual image and this affects the horse and calms him.”

Reading stories naturally evokes visual imagery, so this reading experiment is a way to train the emotional center.
 
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Mrs. Peel

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I just finished it, and I have to agree it's The Best One Yet!!
I finished it (Marry in Scarlet) yesterday. I did enjoy it, but for me I think it's a tie with Marry in Scandal. I will admit Marry in Secret was my least favorite of the four because the backstory of Rose having married already just seemed kind of contrived and came out of nowhere. Plus, I'm so disappointed that the reason Lily can't read was never resolved by the series end.

I'm on to My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden. Then, I may go back and see what else the Mackenzies have got up to. :-D
 
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