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Excerpt from:

The Journey Upward
Defining Moments in the Life of a Spiritual Psychologist
by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 11
Pursuing My Calling As a Writer

A five-word sentence that could change the world tomorrow is
“What would love do now?”
–-Neale Donald Walsch


What Is Your Special Gift?

         Each of us has a special gift waiting to be opened. When we are young, we eagerly look forward to opening gifts on our birthdays and at Christmas. As we mature, we begin to realize that some of the greatest gifts we will discover reside within us—gifts that can enhance the lives of others. For one person it may be painting, sculpting or playing a musical instrument. For another it might be ballet, folk dancing or ice-skating. For others the gift might be a talent for gardening or landscaping, engineering, creating architecture or building skyscrapers. And for still others it might be ministering to souls in need or helping other people discover their gifts.
         I believe that gifts are not limited to the arts and crafts or to the material world per se. For some are blessed with the gift of the compassion of a Mother Teresa or the gift of spiritual discernment, like Mark and Elizabeth Prophet, or simply the gift of loving and nurturing little children who are earnestly seeking to discover their own gifts.
         What do you believe is your special gift? I suggest you make a note of whatever comes to mind and contemplate all of the ways you can cultivate that gift. And make a point to do something every day that relates to it. You will be amazed at what can happen when you take your gift seriously!

The Gift of Illumination

         I know that I have been blessed with a gift for understanding people and also for expressing my thoughts and inspirations through the written word. When I am writing my books, the flow of illumination from the ascended masters uplifts my consciousness as well as my soul and spirit.
         Instead of composing from the level of human understanding, I often find myself propelled into higher realms of consciousness that are rich in inspiration and guidance. These uplifting experiences are so personally rewarding that I have been moved to share what I have learned during my upward journey. I hope that my readers will reap the fruit of my life journey by reading this compilation of my experiences.
         Every word that I write reminds me that Almighty God is the author of all that is good and that the peaks and valleys of life are for our greater understanding. I have experienced this throughout my life and it is an essential truth that is accented in all my books. I can truly say that were it not for the grace of God and the prompting of the ascended masters, none of these books would even exist!
         I pursue the task of writing with diligence, and I also make calls for the binding of the dweller-on-the-threshold that attempts to impede my writing. The minute I begin to feel discouraged, experience a mental block or get that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach, I pray to God and the holy angels to slay that pesky dweller!
         I immediately feel an uplift in spirit, a renewal of the flow of inspiration, and a strengthening of my determination to write down what I have learned throughout my life journey. As you might guess, when I am writing I keep the angels thoroughly occupied!
         I believe that Almighty God and my beloved I AM Presence and Holy Christ Self have prepared me to be a writer and that I may very well have been one in other lifetimes. This is a continuation of an inner calling that is an essential aspect of fulfilling my divine plan.
         Inwardly, I have been prompted to record what I have learned through my experiences in this life as well as in past lives. And through the teachings of the ascended masters given through Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, I have been reminded of the spiritual truths that my soul has known from the beginning.

Influences in My Writing Career

         A major influence in my writing career has been my mother’s love for the written word, which was reflected in the excerpts from her manuscript “The Fig-Tree Bears” in the first chapter of this book. In her writings, my mother not only painted a picture of the ups and downs of a young girl growing up in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but she also helped me to understand how different life is today from what it was in earlier times.
         I sometimes ask myself, “Have we progressed in being true to our higher values and in fulfilling our hopes and dreams? Or have we lost the vision that our forefathers had of a life they so yearned for that they crossed the ocean on the Mayflower to make it happen?”
         I also think about the pioneers who traveled across the West in covered wagons with hope in their hearts for starting a new life. Those settlers had the courage to strike out on their own to pursue a better life and the opportunity to homestead, to own land. I believe I was one of them, because I have a memory of crossing the prairie in a covered wagon as a young girl. When I think about that, I feel it all over again—bumping along through the flatlands, helping to push the covered wagon whenever we had to go over a big hill, and running alongside the wagon to get the cricks out of my back and legs.

Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam

         I remember the huge herds of buffalo that were so majestic to watch but also kind of scary, especially when they would stampede. From my vague memory, it seemed like they stampeded only when they were endangered in some way. I remember we tried to be very careful not to set them off!
         As a child in this lifetime, I learned a song that celebrates life in the West in the olden days, a song that is now the state song of Kansas. It aptly describes how we Westerners feel about the wide-open spaces, which is most likely the way the settlers felt so many years ago when they first laid eyes on the broad expanse of the plains were the buffalo roam.

Home on the Range
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.
         The buffalo continue to roam the plains, as they have all the way back to early American times when this song was written. Yet we rarely see them these days except in protected areas, such as our national parks. I am blessed to live just north of the north entrance to Yellowstone Park, where I can visit the park and enjoy the wide-open spaces where the buffalo still roam.
         Curiously enough, the buffalo in the park have become so used to human beings and vehicles that they hardly look up when a car stops to get a better view. They also take their time moving off the road when they are migrating, scarcely givng a nod to the onlookers who have stopped their cars and are grabbing their cameras to take pictures.
         Unfortunately, some unthinking tourists climb out of their cars to get a close-up photo of a buffalo. They are seriously risking life and limb, and if a park ranger is nearby he will immediately advise them of that. The tourists are risking being charged by the buffalo, especially if there are young ones in the herd. Foolish indeed is the tourist who decides to stroll too close to a mama buffalo with a baby to protect!
         A female buffalo that sees the need to protect her baby can move at lightning speed with sharp horns pointed directly at the fleeing tourist. And despite the fact that park rangers do their best to help people understand the inherent danger, almost yearly we see a write-up in the local paper about a tourist who was injured by a buffalo.
         To me, the bison are the most majestic of the animals in the park, although I am also thrilled to see the bears as well as the elk and deer and their natural enemies, the wolves and coyotes. I sometimes wonder how the animals view us and our cars and RVs and if they see our vehicles as really big animals!

Give the Buffalo Wide Berth!

         When I encounter a buffalo herd on the highway in Yellowstone Park, which happens relatively frequently, I give them wide berth. Sometimes it takes quite a while for the herd to disperse so that it is safe to drive through—the wise driver who values his vehicle waits until the herd has moved off the road.
         My thought about it is that a buffalo doesn’t like being that close to my car any more than I like the buffalo walking along in front or beside my car. So I had better not set him off unless I’m willing to pay a big price for the damage he could do to the car—and possibly to me!
         I believe it is a good thing that animal life is valued and protected in our national parks. Hopefully, if we are proper stewards of the parks and continue to protect the wildlife that populate them, our children and grandchildren and future generations will enjoy watching these majestic  animals in their natural surroundings.

Memories of Crossing the Prairie in a Covered Wagon

         Going back to crossing the prairie in another lifetime, I can almost feel the bumping along of the covered wagon and the sense of apprehension we had about the Indians. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I was so impressed with Ramona, the Native American princess I knew during my grade school years. She was not at all as Native Americans are typically described, and she may very well have exemplified more of who they truly were.
         This may also be the reason I have always been fascinated by the legendary story of Hiawatha, the sixteenth-century  Indian chief who is said to have brought peace between his people and the European settlers. According to the story, he was the husband of Minnehaha.
         I realize that if I did indeed came across the West in a covered wagon, as I think I did, that amazing journey would undoubtedly have contributed to the inspiration I had to write about the Americans Indians as I knew them in my childhood.

Native Americans
A Valuable Part of Our Heritage

         Growing up in Arizona, I was well acquainted with the Native American culture, which I considered fascinating and a valuable part of my Western heritage. I went to grade school with Mexican and Indian children, and the friendships I developed increased my respect for their cultures. I remember thinking how sad it was that the Indians were treated as second-class citizens. Even as a child, I knew that wasn’t right! 
         Many of  the Indians in Arizona where I lived were displaced because their land had been taken and the tribe had been forced to live on one of the Indian reservations. I think most people understood that the frontier days were over and the Indians were no longer a threat to the white man. But those who didn’t understand the Indian way of life still looked at them with a jaundiced eye, which I thought was unfair.
         In downtown Phoenix we would often see Native American women sitting on the hot sidewalk selling their humble wares--pottery, handwoven blankets and little rugs, miniature totem poles and other trinkets for the tourists. Sometimes the women had their baby or a small child to care for at the same time—it was a hard life for them.
         I remember thinking that the pottery, necklaces, blankets and rugs were beautiful, but I was sad that the Indian women had to get by that way. And I felt sorry for the babies and small children. Part of the reason the women had to earn money through selling their wares was that people wouldn’t hire the Native Americans to work for them. This was a prejudice that went all the way back to the early 1900s when the Indians were attacking the settlers because they were taking the land that the Indians considered to be their hunting grounds.

Preserving the Indian Culture

         The buffalo were sacred to the Indians because they provided the tribe with meat for food and hides for shelter. Hunting buffalo was the way the Indians managed to live before the white man came on the scene. I think that when the white man took their lands, the Indians who continued to live together on the reservations preserved more of their culture than those who integrated with the white man’s way of life.
         My own understanding of different cultures, including the culture of American Indians, was expanded early on, because after kindergarten I attended a rural consolidated school where we had Caucasian, Mexican and a few Indian children. I remember the special grace of  Ramona and how beautiful and smart she was! I was fascinated by what she told me of the ways in which her people  worshiped the Great Spirit, whom I understood as their name for God. From Ramona I learned a lot about the Indian customs and their way of life.
         At that time in Arizona, where I lived, many of the Native American children attended Indian School because the government financed those schools—and also because of the negative attitudes toward the Indian people. I realized, even as a child, that people reacted that way because of their ignorance or fear. I remember wishing they could know my friend Ramona, because she would certainly change their opinions about the Indian people.
         I admired the Indians because of their ability to live off the land and to maintain the traditions that made them a unique people. They had a respect for nature that we rarely see today because they had to rely on fishing and hunting to provide food for the tribe. And they made use of animal +hides to shelter the tribe from the elements and were careful not to allow their campfires to destroy the forests. They were not wasteful, because they couldn’t afford to be. All in all, they were good caretakers of the land on which they lived. ...

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