Friday, September 1, 2017

"Everything You've Ever Done" by Amelia Marie Whalen

Everything You've Ever Done:
A Memoir of Unconditional Love and Spiritual Discovery
by Amelia Marie Whalen

Everything You've Ever Done: A Memoir of Unconditional Love and Spiritual Discovery by Amelia Marie Whalen

Author Amelia Marie Whalen joins me today to share an excerpt from her memoir, Everything You've Ever Done.

By the time she’s twenty, Amelia has survived an unconventional childhood and experienced darkness and death. She relishes the carefree life she finds with Dave, her rock star soul mate. The couple lives fast and full - getting married, traveling, adventuring, and creating.
The story turns to heartbreaking drama and medical mystery as Dave’s bizarre personality changes cause their lives to spin out of control. Forced to face a terrifying reality, Amelia and Dave buckle in for a rocket blast through cosmic truth and spiritual discovery.
This book is about the worst things happening. It’s about falling and breaking and making mistakes and being bad. And it’s about everything being OK and everything you’ve ever done being right and true. It’s about light and dark existing simultaneously.
Amelia and Dave each got knocked down again and again. They each lost love and felt abandoned. And they were saved by love. They learned a new depth of human connection. They saw each other through.
Everything You’ve Ever Done is a story for both the doubters and believers. It shows that we can be seen through and that faith really works, even when (or maybe especially when) we feel like giving up, when we are destroyed by life. It demonstrates facing both life and death with an open heart, and confirms we have the power to choose bold survival in the face of devastation. Death isn’t the end. Love isn’t temporary.

He’s been hanging out with me all day,” Dave said with a nod to the dragonfly perched on his shoulder. He was bare-chested and his cut-off jeans hung so low on his skinny hips it was obvious he wasn’t wearing underwear. The sun had gone down an hour earlier. Illumination came from red and yellow party lights dangling from the trees.
We stood in timeless silence: Dave watching the dragonfly, me watching Dave. He was deeply, evenly tanned. It was mid-August, and I figured he must have spent a lot of time outside with his shirt off that summer.
“His wings are generating light,” Dave said, his eyes wide and staring at the bug as it crawled down his arm. “You’re a light generator. Do you see that?”
He didn’t look up from his arm and I couldn’t tell if he was talking to the bug or to me. I stepped in and looked closer at the dragonfly. It stopped moving when it reached the spot on Dave’s arm where the clock face would be if he were wearing a wristwatch. He slowly turned to face me and raised his arm so the bug sat between us at eye level. We stood barefoot, only inches apart, and I noticed we were almost exactly the same height. I raised my arm so my fingertips touched Dave’s and my stance matched his.
For some reason, in that moment, I thought of my mom. She’d been dead thirteen years, and I’d mostly stopped thinking about her. When she did come to mind, it felt more like a visitation than a memory. When she entered my mind, it wasn’t a choice I was making, more an act of her will.
So, there she was, suddenly present. I felt her standing in the party crowd Dave and I were on the edge of. My mom had been a gorgeous, outgoing, and popular girl. She was twenty-four when she died, so eternally a hipster, still just the right age to be hanging out at the house party with all the other artists and hippies and punks.
“Let’s go swimming,” Dave said. My thoughts interrupted, I followed him to the pool, forgetting my mom and the dragonfly. He pushed his cut-offs down his body without unbuttoning them. In the not-quite-total darkness, backlit from a yellow floodlight aimed at the water, he stood naked and facing me.
I strained to see his eyes in the shadowy darkness as I pulled off my clothes. Dave took my hand, and we stepped to the pool and jumped. As my feet left the ground, time slowed and energy swirled. With a momentary flash of concern, I pictured the dragonfly resting on Dave’s skin, and then with a wash of relief I imagined it flying away. I visualized my mom, too, flying—no, swimming—through the air like it was water.
My mom and I loved to swim together. When I was small, in the summers after she died, I believed she was alive under the water in my grandparents’ swimming pool. In my mind, the pool connected to the ocean that connected to the Earth’s core that connected to an infinite universe. I’d dream of diving into the pool, deeper and deeper, until I found her. Together, we would swim to a radiant light above the water’s surface.
In my first memories, it’s clear everything is connected and beyond human understanding, like the pool to the ocean to the universe.
Dave and I smacked the cool water and our hands released. With my eyes open in the underwater darkness, I sank until my bare ass bounced on the floor of the pool and then floated back up toward the yellow light glimmering above the water’s surface.
I’ve always had an airplane-about-to-take-a-nosedive understanding of my life and the world around me. Part of that understanding, though, is the airplane doesn’t explode in a fiery crash. Instead, it rights itself just before impact and glides into the swimming pool.
Dreams and visions matter. Relationships and experiences are cosmically intertwined in a flux of time and space. Dave’s dragonfly was generating light. And so was I. He was talking to us both.
That night was important, but there was never an official start to our relationship.
We met when I was twenty and Dave was twenty-four. We knew each other through a handful of mutual friends who met up to see live music or party. That night Dave’s band, Giant Ray Soda, headlined a four-band lineup at a house party in the suburbs. He’d been chomping on psychedelic mushrooms and palling around with the dragonfly all day.
The next morning, after partying all night, he asked me, in an old-fashioned, gentlemanly way, “Would you like to rendezvous with me sometime?”
Of course I wanted to rendezvous with Dave. He was adorable and hilarious. He was charismatic and energetic, a contagious force to those around him. Dave was as cool as they come. And I sensed he was genuine and kind.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"Had a hard time putting it down. Inspirational and heartbreaking it's a story of selfless love with all the gut wrenching, soul searching decisions that come with it. This is a true life romance without the happy ever after." ~ jen
"It's a page turner that you will not want to put down. The raw emotion Amelia demonstrates in her writing is gut-wrenching yet tender and beautiful! We can all learn something from Amelia's journey! She is a true testament to the fact that you don't know how strong you really are until you are put into a situation that tests the very core of your being." ~ Judy R. Harvey
"Amelia is a beautiful writer, and I can't imagine the depths she had to endure to put this personal journey to paper. I immediately connected with the story as Amelia penned her joyous, humbling, difficult, frustrating, and rocky journey and turned it into a stirring read. I am inspired by how she stepped up to all that life delivered to her and tells her story with dignity, humor and wit. This is an amazing love story and testimony to faith, life's connectivity, and the author's personal strength." ~ Jennifer
"I loved this story! So much heart went into the writing and such tenderness shown. Losing your man, no matter how it happens, is completely devastating. Reading this book you will laugh out loud one moment and reach for tissues the next." ~ Amazon Customer
"There are not adequate words to describe ask the emotions I felt reading this well written book. It touched me. Enough said." ~ ann sikes

Message from the Author
My husband, Dave, was an impassioned creator. He saw art and inspiration everywhere. I sometimes saw him as a rich character in an amazing story. I thought the world would want to hear about his valuable lessons and intriguing life. I wished he could share his story through his art, and make music or create a screenplay about his experiences. Since he couldn't, I started thinking maybe I should. Writing about Dave seemed the best way to honor him.
As I wrote, I realized I had a story, too. A story of faith and discovery and love. And I realized a lot of the experiences in my life were worth sharing. Over the years, I've learned some stuff about life and death, and darkness and loss, and love and light.
I want Dave's and my story to spread love and light! It's honest and real. It tells the truth: love conquers all and death isn't the end.

About the Author
Amelia Marie Whalen
Amelia Marie Whalen encourages people to let go of fear and allow love. Through her experiences she has learned to face death and grief with an open heart.
She is a rock climber and mountain bike rider with a deep appreciation of nature and adventure. She works as a technical writer and graphic designer.