"I remember when AMERICAN PIE was roaring over my VW radio. I had the world by the tail with my sun-bleached hair flying through the open windows of youth. CRIMSON AND CLOVER played over and over, and Lennon's IMAGINE became the motto for a generation. We set our sites by music. It was somehow celestial, leading us like the pied piper to somewhere...out there where a song could describe, explain, share the joy and the pain we all had in common. I read that George Eliot seemed to be having a mystical experiences while listening to her favorite composers. I can understand that completely. Music is the magic of the spheres no matter the generation. Play it again, and again, and again...." ~ Freda M. Chaney
John Burton of The George Eliot Fellowship and Freda Chaney at the George Eliot statue in Nuneaton Square, February 2013.
"One year ago today, my husband and I were in the midst of our Eliot country tour. Today I read my journal to refresh my mind of the details of our trip. We had a long and taxing journey from the US via Canada to London. The winter weather was frightful! At Heathrow, we learned our luggage had gone missing. Even so, we quickly bused our way north to Coventry and then taxied down to Nuneaton to stay at The Griff House (Premier Inns). We dropped into bed in the wee hours of the morning. After a few hours of rest, I went to breakfast alone because Norm was desperately ill. I took his breakfast to the room. He managed the tea. I called a taxi and whisked him off to George Eliot Hospital. You heard that right! We'd come there to find George Eliot, and landed in the emergency room at George Eliot Hospital on our first full day in Nuneaton! We stayed at the Griff House for three days. Our luggage arrived on the third day of our stay.
While my husband took his antibiotics and recuperated, we toured the Griff House, and then sniffed around Nuneaton and Coventry with John and Lynda Burton of The George Eliot Fellowship. This was not particularly easy with my broken big toe forced into oversize riding boots to accommodate the bulky bandage. A folding cane was stowed in my purse just in case. Wearing double socks made the boots a bit more snug so they wouldn't slide off. I clip-clopped around the Midlands, daring the toe to stop me!
Following our whirlwind tour, John Burton was kind enough to drive us all the way to Stratford to spare us the cost of a taxi. Norm and I had grown fond of John's company and his indefatigable spirit, so we were happy to accept his offer. It seemed appropriate to wave him off in a back alley of Shakespeare country. You see, John works behind the scenes to elevate Eliot, and is a kind friend to anyone who wants to learn about her and her work. Even Shakespeare seemed somehow diminished after having spent time among ordinary, extraordinary, living heroes of Eliot country!" ~ Freda M. Chaney, KARMA ROAD
KARMA ROAD book cover, 2014 by Freda M. Chaney
"Sleep is the great restorer of body, mind, and spirit. We can't begin to know the extent our dreams play on our individual lives. But can dreams help us sort out our karma?
Yesterday, I took a long nap after working on book edits. I dreamed I met a thin woman who was to instruct a class I was attending. She was in an outer room. Inside the classroom, a man walked to where I had seated myself. He handed me 2 pieces of shaped glass. I raised them to my eye level and looked through them. They appeared to be very old glass, no specific coloring, but a bit cloudy. I assumed they were vintage paperweights. On further inspection, I noticed that there were printed words inside the glass.
I passed the glass shapes to my left where another man who obviously knew me was sitting. He had a look, and then passed them back to me. 'Did you see your namesake in there, Freda?' he asked. I lifted the odd glass pieces to my eye level again, and saw the name 'Eliot' along with many other words! As I lowered the paperweights, I discovered that there was a third one on the table that I had not yet seen. It had a very curious shape like a petite woman's dress form. I rolled the three pieces around in my hand. Suddenly our dog, Rocky, stood barking at me as though he sensed something, and I awoke from the dream. I remembered every detail.
What strikes me about this dream: the woman in the outer room who will instruct us, the two men who seem to guide me in the process of discovering that my namesake is attached to the two paperweights, the words inside the paperweights, and the fact that a third oddly-shaped one appears out of nowhere, and bears a similar shape to the woman who is in the outer room waiting to instruct the class. I can only sit in the classroom of life and learn what it all means, and perhaps in the process, my own karmic direction will become clear as glass. " ~ Freda M. Chaney, KARMA ROAD
"Talking heads? We spend so much time each day listening to others talk, watching their texted 'speak' on social sites, hearing the 'baaahhd' news from around the globe each evening, and the chiming in of children in the background. But are we really communicating? How important is it for one's voice to be heard? How much does the content matter? I, for one, guard the content selfishly. I will not become a rubber stamp version of talking heads. No, I am the sheep that went astray and sat in the quiet of a meadow, hearing only from a safe distance the 'baaaahhd' news about how I'd gone wild.
George Eliot tucked herself away and begged-off on visits from family and friends bringing the 'baaahhd' news. Her writing reflects reality, but the reality is that there is good news, and that people can evolve-can change over time. I am much like George E. in that way."
~ Freda M. Chaney
Griff House in Nuneaton where the author, George Eliot, lived for many years of her life. (Photo by Freda Chaney)
"You will always defend what you feel you must defend, but why must you defend it at all? Life is too short to get your blood pressure up! Learn what to believe, and live it. HOW you live your life is always the best example for others. Words pale in comparison. Wisdom wins. Don't try to avoid the rain, the mud puddles, the thunder and lightning. It's going to happen no matter what you do. Spread your umbrella of wisdom over your life!
George Eliot (pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans) was a great example of applying what was important for her own life, disregarding the need to listen to the masses, taking a swift turn to George Lewes, her soul mate, and launching into life with her own wisdom tucked under her arm. The world can thank Eliot for daring to dream and to be. She has much to teach us in the numerous novels she left behind. In them she describes the human condition, and shows through the characters lives how we can win or lose according to our own actions and through our interactions of others." ~ Freda M. Chaney, KARMA ROAD
"I read to my husband from the George Eliot journal that I received for Christmas. It contains fascinating factoids about her day-to-day life, edited by her husband of less than a year, J. W. Cross, and thus a bit 'changed' from her original. I am fascinated that she knew so many prominent writers, poets, artists, philosophers and leaders of various "modern" movements. She communicated with Harriet Beecher Stowe regularly, and one of their topics of conversation was mysticism. I told my husband he could read the journal anytime, and he replied that he enjoyed hearing me read it to him. Eliot read to her soulmate, George Lewes, quite often for 3 hours per day! Another parallel between us?" http://www.karmaroadgettingofftheroundabout.com
"The heart has roots that cannot be uprooted, and distance will rarely change a thing. Do not fight the winds that bring your heart home like a bird with a badly broken wing." Freda M. Chaney
GEORGE ELIOT LIVES was retitled as KARMA ROAD
"Last week I attended a poetry workshop at Kenyon College during The Kenyon Review Literary Festival. During that workshop, I was inspired to write a persona poem about George Eliot. It seemed fitting since she is my topic of choice these days.
The workshop leader, poet Maggie Smith, gave us what I will call 'triggers' to get us writing. She had us write down ten things that held significant meaning for us. Looking over the list I'd written, I found that Eliot stood out for me like the midnight hour stood out for Cinderella. And not only did she play a significant role in my list, but I realized that I was looking at her as a mother figure. After all she was so much like me, she could have been a mother to me.
Little did I know that when I walked into the classroom of that poetry workshop, that I would learn something very important about my association with George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans). Though she did not want children of her own, she mothered many children. Perhaps she is mothering from afar someone who resonates with her own spirit. I hope I make her proud." ~ Freda M. Chaney http://www.karmaroadgettingofftheroundabout.com
"Is your purpose restricted to this life? I dare say it is not! There is a thread that runs through your life that connects commonalities of past and future lives. You are a soul living out a karmic history.
Does that mean you are stuck in a pattern? NO! You do have a purpose for being, but you are not obligated to repeat any one act, or choose any one path to fulfill that purpose. There are many paths, and all of them lead back to you as you hold the karmic threads. Your soul is an intricately woven tapestry of the persons known as YOU.
Yes, you do have control, you can change, you can add brilliant colors, fresh designs, and evolutionary markers that help define your collective karmic purpose. YOU are a soulful kaleidoscope!" ~ Freda M. Chaney
"Ever feel like the world has gone mad and that empathy is the last thought on the minds of the human race? There will always be those who exercise more empathy than others. As a matter of fact, empathy may be a karmic imprint in individuals as well as in tribes, cultures, and races.
The human race can make a huge difference in the overall peace on the planet by learning to be more empathetic toward their fellow beings. Native Americans are a good example of empathy toward others in their tribe, toward animals and the earth itself.
Whether individual or collective karma, humans must work at becoming more empathetic beings for the sake of all. We must learn to see and honor the divine in all things, and share in their happiness as well as their sorrows. Namaste." ~ Freda M. Chaney