I've read all three in the series and enjoyed them all, so when I asked Claire to write about some of her inspirations for this latest book, she sent me the following blog post on meditation.
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Kelly has been meditating to manage stress for years, but Christian’s masculine presence across the room tests her powers of concentration. Instead of embracing the present moment, she can’t stop daydreaming about Christian’s powerful muscular arms around her and how his kiss would taste. After class, they connect and laugh about their shared inability to focus, which is their first step toward a potential relationship.
As a longtime yoga and meditation teacher, I enjoyed writing about meditation in the context of fiction. Students confess to me how they find meditation to be the ultimate challenge. When we finally sit still, we realize how we tend to have fleeting, often repetitive thoughts, sailing through our mind. Our brains can feel like we have a pack of wild monkeys bouncing off windowless walls. It’s a hilarious and often humbling experience to truly turn your focus inward and listen. Distraction is easy. Focus is a challenge, but it is worth the effort.
One of the primary intentions in yoga and meditation is to center your mind and become grounded in the present moment. In our daily lives, it’s easy to become mired in the past and controlled by memories, patterns, and fears. Also, in our Western culture, the focus on the future, on doing, on achieving, on getting somewhere or buying something, pulls us out of the now. Both Christian and Kelly are haunted by demons from their past and benefit from learning to quiet those fears and find freedom.
Don’t we all want to feel more centered and clear? In our busy world, tuning out distractions and focusing on one single thing can feel unattainable. When you can sink into sustained attention, you are fully present and truly at the height of your personal power and light. Presence can equal freedom because you’ve released any attachment to future results and accepted what IS right now.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are considered the seminal text in yoga. Yoga is defined in Yoga Sutra 1.2: Chitta vritti nirodaha: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. Or, put another way, quiet that pack of wild monkeys. It sounds simple, right? Simple yes, but not easy. Discipline, commitment, and patience are essential tools in developing a meditation habit.
With dedicated practice, you learn to tune out disruptions and simply focus on what’s happening minute-by-minute and breath-by-breath. True awareness and clarity arise when you are absorbed in the moment. Although Christian and Kelly spectacularly fail during their first session, over time meditation plays a part in Christian healing his wounds and Kelly letting go of the past.
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Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight, Claire! I've tried meditation while I edited a book on Zen Buddhism titled Meet the Buddha, Kill the Buddha (which I totally recommend), but it's so much harder to actually accomplish than it sounds when you're reading about it. In Sunset in Laguna, I totally sympathized with Christian as he tries to wrap his head around the practice.
About the Book:
Returning to Laguna Beach after four tours in the Middle East, Christian Wolfe leaves the military behind and buys a wine bar, vowing to keep his life simple. He fights to keep his devastating PTSD a secret and refuses to burden anyone else with his baggage. When stunning Kelly Prescott and her red stilettos saunter into town, she drives him past the bonds of his self-control.
Successful in her father’s stuffy law firm, Kelly’s too compassionate to survive in the cutthroat world of corporate litigation. Leaving behind both family and courtroom drama, she moves to Laguna to become general counsel for a nonprofit veterans’ organization.
She didn’t bargain on a gorgeous modern-day Heathcliff, and in Christian, she sees another kind of challenge—one she can’t resist.
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About the Author:
Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress.Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.