The beginning of a weekly blog series comparing our lives
and documenting the process of self-publishing my new book.
My mother, Sheila Buchanan Buell was a victim. Born in Australia, but taken from her Australian home as a child, always dreaming of going home. She was bashed about by the circumstances of her time. The Depression of the 1930s greeted her when she graduated from high school. Unable to get a job, she could not pursue her dream of going to college and becoming a doctor. She was raped at 18, and married the man who raped her, thinking that was the right thing to do. All this and much more is told in her voice in Visions from Two Continents, still available on Kindle.
Throughout her life, mother started projects but was never able to finish them. I’ve been obsessed with finishing projects, mine and hers. My life has been blessed with opportunities she never had. Visions from Two Continents tells her story as she told it to me, and it is illustrated by her paintings.
My second book Getting Beyond… is a memoir that finishes and celebrates two projects in my life. It celebrates the 50 years of my relationship with my husband, and it completes a vow said to Swami Rama when he promised to stop abusing women. “If you continue to abuse women, I will do everything in my power to stop you.”
As I was writing the book I got in contact with as many former members of the Yoga group in the 1970s as I could. I was able to contact the girl identified as Indriani in the University of Minnesota thesis “Turning East in the Twin Cities, Converts and Movements in the 1970’s” by Patricia Darling, and in my book Getting Beyond….
Indriani said of my project, “Haven’t you gotten beyond that?”
Yes, I have gotten beyond, but the process of getting there is a story I felt needed to be told and shared.
Another person said, “But Swami Rama is dead.” It is true he is dead, but there are others who would like to be and are at this moment continuing to follow in his footsteps. Not him specifically but leaders who are idealized and followed blindly with their followers protecting them, as they use, abuse people and create wars.
In addition, there is the online presence of Swami Rama, the enlightened guru. Anyone who uses and abuses people is not enlightened. We have learned that control of the autonomic nervous system is possible, but it is not a sign of enlightenment. Dr. Elmer Green who did the original experiments on Swami Rama said towards the end of his life, “We need to get Beyond Gurus.”
Next week I will explore how my first book was kidnapped, and how I hope to avoid that this time.