Hello friends, It’s no secret that I like to read. If you’ve been a bloggy friend for a while you know how much I love sharing, recommending, and gifting a good book. I even had a book club here at Katherines Corner once. I have to admit I’m feeling a little tingly right now because it’s finally here! The blog series, “Tell Me a Story” featuring amazing authors from a variety of genres. Are you ready to start your must read book list?
I’m starting the “Tell Me a Story” blog series with my darling friend Marla. I’m the Ethel to her Lucy ( smile).
Marla has been featured on The Today Show, WGN Chicago Morning News, Beyond Belief on Gaia TV, and hundreds of radio shows including Coast to Coast with George Noory and Fade to Black with Jimmy Church.
Marla Martenson is a matchmaker, author & energy healer. She has been using her intuitive skills to connect singles with their soulmates for two decades. Marla also hosts a podcast called, The Mystical Matchmaker. Marla’s award winning spiritual memoir, The Buddha Made Me Do It, humorously chronicles two years of her spiritual/paranormal odyssey in Los Angeles
From Kirkus Reviews
“A warmly funny, wide-ranging, and off-kilter spiritual odyssey.” — Kirkus Reviews
Okay marla, tell me a story! Marla’s book is intended for mature readers and the content has not been edited.
The Buddha Caper
“I sense an intelligence rendered clairvoyant by feeling. I sense an artist.” ~Anaïs Nin
I wasn’t exactly lost that day in early October, but when Buddha kind of accidentally (or maybe on purpose) helped me get somewhere, my life opened up like a dusty box of priceless jewelry.
I was purging clutter like a maniac when my Buddha adventure began. Maybe I didn’t quite know what I wanted and needed, but I could definitely get rid of what I didn’t need, the SICLW (Shit I Can Live Without). Each time a certain antsy clearing energy possessed me, I think I was trying to make room for something new to enter my life, though I told myself I was just honoring a vow that my husband Adolfo and I made not to turn into one of those couples who can no longer park the car in the garage. Routinely shedding SICLW, I often scanned the cupboards, closets, nooks, and crannies for items to donate.
I tossed knick-knacks, some worn out gym clothes, motivational cassette tapes from the 80’s, and a few books I never planned to read again. Eject, toss, bag was my mantra that day. Like the sacred snakes of ancient Crete considered to be a symbol of rebirth, I was shedding old skin. I had no idea I was about to coil the arm of the goddess.
A wooden Buddha statuette took up room on a shelf, the gift of a former neighbor. Did I need him? We had since moved from Hollywood, out of a cramped, carpeted, cottage-cheese-ceilinged, paper-thin-walled apartment with temperamental plumbing, to our very own dream home with three bedrooms, a formal dining room, two-car garage and a pool, fifteen miles north in San Fernando Valley.
Now, I will admit that on occasion I have taken the liberty of donating some of Adolfo’s SHCLW-IMHO (Shit He Can Live Without, In My Humble Opinion.) In this case, though, I promise you that Buddha was my shit! Not that I didn’t like the Buddha, mind you. Even now, I wonder why I felt the need to donate the little statue, but in the three years that we lived in the new house, not even once did Adolfo ever think about the Buddha or ask about the statue. Adolfo is into astronomy and cosmology and believes that delving into certain spiritual practices such as witchcraft among others can be dicey. Without another thought, I did the deed. I placed Buddha in the bag with the other SICLW and dropped him off at his new home, the Goodwill.
THE VERY NEXT DAY, Adolfo inquired, “Hey, honey, what ever happened to that wooden Buddha? Have you seen it?”
Pause to explain my very own bylaw to the honesty in marriage code: if hubby has control-freak storm episodes that are intense and awful yet tend to blow over and be totally forgotten and is otherwise adoring and adorable, it’s not only okay but vitally essential to the continuance of the union if wifey finds it necessary to exaggerate, vacillate, equivocate, obfuscate, and, okay, prevaricate occasionally at her discretion. The same bylaw does not apply to him. Fair enough, right?
“Nope, mi amor,” I said, “I haven’t seen it. Must still be packed away somewhere in boxes from the move.”
“You didn’t get rid of it, did you, Marlita?”
“Whaaaat?” The man is on some dang wavelength with me. “Nooooo-hooo! Of course not! Why would I do that? But hey, if I did, what’s the diff? It’s MY Buddha…”
“It’s OUR Buddha. Marlita, are you saying you got rid of it? Because you had better not have gotten rid of it. That’s just typical! You get rid of things before even asking me!”
“Adolfo, I did not get rid of it, of course not. I would never do that. I will look for it, don’t worry. Be right back.”
Instead of searching, I stepped into the bathroom. Breathe, Marlita, breathe.
I checked several times in the ensuing week at the Goodwill for the damn Buddha. No Buddhas of any kind. Not one. Adolfo checked on a daily basis whether I’d found it yet, and I couldn’t equivocate, obfuscate, or prevaricate any longer. It was time to innovate.
I’d seen little Buddhas in spiritual bookshops and yoga studios all over Los Angeles. I would just go buy another one. Adolfo would never know the difference. I hustled over to Hollywood and checked out at least half a dozen spiritual hot spots with no luck whatsoever. How could that be?
Back over the hill to the valley, I popped into three places that I knew of. Nothing. I Googled more stores and found a listing in Tarzana. Driving down Ventura Boulevard, I decided that this would be my last stop. If this place didn’t have any wooden Buddhas, I would give up and face the consequences. I do realize this makes me sound like Lucy Ricardo, a character whose situational pickles greatly enhanced the world’s ability to laugh at itself. As a redhead married to a Latin musician, I feel a close bond. I definitely love Lucy.
Bells jingled as I opened the door to The Imagine Center. A peaceful ambiance and calming energy filled the small space, packed with lovely crystals, books, jewelry, and all sorts of things someone on a spiritual path would need in her bag of tricks. What I did not see were any Buddha statues, wooden or otherwise. I chatted with the lovely woman at the cash register, and she confirmed that they did not carry what I was looking for, but she handed me a flyer and encouraged me to come back anytime.
The flyer announced that The Imagine Center held classes, each only fifteen dollars. A six-week course starting on Thursday night would teach me to create abundance.
Since the book club that my friend Julie and I had belonged to recently disbanded due to scheduling difficulties and babysitters—Julie and I were the only childless members—I was looking for something stimulating that would also get me out of the house more often. This class sounded like a possibility. As I left the shop, a memory came to me. My parents had one of those foot high golden Buddha statues in the living room that were popular in the 60’s. And we also had a wooden Buddha cookie jar, which my mother still has. When I was a baby, my mother used to point at the statue and the cookie jar and repeat, “Buddha, Buddha.” My first word wasn’t mama or dada it was Buddha!
I started the engine of my red Toyota and inserted the pods of my hands-free headset into my ears. “SIRI!” I commanded, “call Julie!”
SIRI performed and Julie answered as I pulled out of the parking lot. “Hey, girlie, what’s up?”
“I’ve driven all over Los Angeles in search of that damn Buddha. All I can do now is pray that Adolfo forgets about it.”
“Oh, Marla, you know he will.” Julie’s wise-woman, occasionally wise-ass, voice comforted me instantly. “He’ll be onto something else in a few days. With his OCD tendencies, just wait, he’ll be harping on which way the forks are facing in the kitchen drawer!”
“You are so right! I’m sticking to my story, adding that the Buddha must have gotten lost in the move.” Then, mood shifting to optimism, I told her about the cool spiritual gift shop and the classes on abundance.
Either that, she said, or we could start a new book group for dog-moms only, reading the best dog-related books available. “So, canines…or abundance?”
It was dark already at 5:00 PM when I drove the three-minute trip to Julie’s house. I had to wait while she finished a last-minute email to Jason Priestly, for whom she was ghost-writing his memoir. On Julie’s BarcaLounger—I’m not making that up—her alert two-pound Chihuahua, Romeo, snarled at me, perhaps sensing his mistress had chosen an abundance class over dog adulation because of me. I may have been taking his growls a bit too personally, but after two years, I had yet to be deemed worthy of even approaching his energy field, let alone petting him.
Julie appeared from the bedroom wearing an emerald green top, jeans, and green ballet slippers studded with bling.
“Nice outfit, perfect for attracting abundance!”
“Thanks, I need all the help I can get right now in that department! How was your day?”
I told her about a couple I matched up last year who just got engaged. “And I signed up a new client, and, oh…I taught Macie how to jump through a Hula Hoop. That makes thirteen tricks so far!”
Romeo shot me a dirty look and turned his back to me.
A full October moon shone auspiciously as we drove to Tarzana. We entered a tiny, dimly lit, yet mystical-feeling, room in the back of the shop. Candlelight flickered off of the colorful crystals as we breathed in the smell of incense. Eight women sat on folding chairs, and Julie and I took seats toward the front, notebooks open and pens poised, ready to learn how to attract a cascade of abundance in our lives.
A statuesque African American woman with long cornrows, elegant features, and a commanding presence took a seat facing the class. She introduced herself as Goddess Tauheedah, our teacher, and the owner of The Imagine Center. In the soft lighting, I couldn’t tell if Julie’s expression meant what-the-hell-did-you-get-me-into or not. After much discussion and inquiries from students on whether Goddess Tauheedah was her real name, and whether we should call her Goddess or Tauheedah, the class began. Tauheedah assured us of the goddess within us all.
She explained that abundance is our birthright, and that we must trust in the Universal channel of abundance. She also explained that everyone should have an altar in their home, preferably in the Southwest corner of the room.
“When working at the altar, call in the angels of abundance. They will come!”
I felt wonderful. I loved being there with like-minded people, soaking up the good vibes, and learning new techniques to create some magic in our lives. I was and still am mesmerized by Tauheedah’s knowledge, confidence, and her certainty of connection to the divine. I want to be like her. I see her as the kind of artist Anaïs Nin described.
That very first class stirred my whole being. If that sounds trite, it’s because we just don’t have spiritual vocabularies that can transcend the two-dimensional page. We need words that leap through time like cosmic grasshoppers, zipping backwards and forwards, or plunging like Pisces fish, reflected in the darkest depths, yet heightening the now. I thought of Buddha, gaining enlightenment after a night under the Bodhi tree, the blue lotus blooming nearby. It was what he brought to that night, though, that opened the moonlit portal. What I brought to Tauheedah’s class allowed me to stand near a portal, close enough to see the stars.
I had read my first book on the Law of Attraction when I was twenty-seven years old. A co-worker told me about this little red book that was written in 1925 by a woman named Florence Scovil Shinn. I still have that book today and have reread it many times over, as well as her other books, The Secret Door To Success, Your Word Is Your Wand, and The Power Of The Spoken Word.
The first line in her Game of Life reads:
Most people consider life a battle, but it is not a battle, it is a game. It is a game, however which cannot be played successfully without the knowledge of spiritual law.
Those laws require devotion. Florence Scovil Shinn was a great believer in the use of affirmations. She lists many affirmations in all of her books. I quickly adopted the use of affirmations, some of them from her books, and two of which I still repeat on a daily basis.
• God is my unfailing supply, and large sums of money come to me quickly, under grace, in perfect ways.
• I have a magical work in a magical way; I give magical service for magical pay.
That little red book opened my mind and stirred in my heart what I already knew to be true deep in my soul. At the time, I was married (an unfortunate decision fueled by hormones) to my former husband, a gorgeous and talented French chef. Working as a waitress—a job that exhausted me and depleted my soul—and scrambling with all of the other dreamers in Hollywood, running to auditions, hoping to get that big acting break. Even though my life didn’t exactly line up in order and flow the way I wanted it to, I did possess something special. I was born with an unchained optimism, seeing the bright side of things, knowing that everything would be all right.
I always sense that something incredible is on the verge of happening.
As the years passed, I continued my spiritual practice by going to lectures, reading books, listening to tapes and putting the Law of Attraction in use on a regular basis with my prayers, affirmations, and vision boards. I magically created a life that I had only dreamed of, which included finally leaving the restaurant business behind, and starting my own business, owning a house, and becoming a published author. No one is more surprised than I am that I am a successful, well-known, high-end matchmaker for affluent men, hob-knobbing with millionaires and billionaires as I help them to find love.
From the outside, my career looks easy, fun, rewarding and full of excitement. Usually, it is, and I am incredibly grateful to be my own boss, work from home, make my own schedule, and earn a good living. No one is pulling my strings, and that is just the way I like it. Sometimes I feel like I should pinch myself to affirm I’m not in a dream, but then, of course, life does that little service for me.
I also felt the presence of a weighted chain that night, tethering me to harsh issues. Every time a client turns down a match I’ve worked hard to line up, or threatens a lawsuit because the women he has met haven’t been “hot enough,” “young enough,” “thin enough,” or “busty enough,” tiny daggers pierce my soul, and my ego whispers odious suggestions in my ear….Marla, tell these bastards off! They are sick in the mind, have jaded sensibilities; they are shallow, only concerned with the part of their anatomy that readily fluctuates in size!
I want to say to them, how can you reach this age and not know that young flesh, a visage without lines is fleeting? You idiots, I want to yell, stop demanding inflated breasts with nipples the size of a quarter—not a nickel or a poker chip, as some actually have the nerve to specify—whereupon I make it clear that I don’t provide such a service, nearly frothing over with suppressed frustration. Mature men with bald pates and pot bellies imagine themselves as Dorian Grays, forever young and handsome, and worthy of the most exquisite young women in the Universe to share their lives with. We all have our dreams, and that is theirs, but deep down I know theirs is self-defeating. I want to tell them they need to go deep, into the blue, into the light, soul to soul to begin to scratch the itch they are feeling.
With each of their appraisals, I am obligated to superficially rate each woman that applies for my service, reducing her value on a limited scale of one to ten, assessing whether her looks qualify her as worthy of my clients’ standards. I see the inner goddesses in some of these women, but rate her outer package like she is a USDA cut of meat. This damages me.
I sit at my altar, in prayer, communing with angels, seeking peace, enlightenment, a peek beyond the veil, yet I’m living a double life. There is a disconnect when, after my meditation, I sit down at my desk to search for anorexic women with huge tits to please shallow fuckwits. Sometimes I know just how Lorena Bobbitt felt, and that truly scares me. My alternating universes are giving me spiritual whiplash. Can I continue to straddle both worlds and remain a free woman? I needed to know.
So, that was where I was that night with Julie in Goddess Tauheedah’s class, not really imagining the world that would open up. Note to self: buy a garden Buddha to thank him for leading me along the path of enlightenment. Care to join me? I’ll shine a light and hold the portal open for you. Come on in, my goddess sister!
Are you ready to read the rest? Please click on the book cover and please come back and let me know how much you loved the book (smile).
Thank you, Marla, now everyone will ask you to, “tell me a story”
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Next week’s featured author is Aura Imbarus.a Rafflecopter giveaway