I know that we have a life of our own and each living creature has a life of its own, but I never expected a book to have a life. I wrote steadily on my book, and then I struggled with sitting down to finish “When Spirit Speaks.” Trying to realize why I realized what I was stating in the affirmation I was doing each morning. I was saying, “I, Susanne, love having a published book.” Those words struck me. There was much to do before this book would be finished and published. To finish the book, I had to sit down in front of my computer and type the rest of the book. Next, I had to decide about publishing the book. Do I send it to publishers, or do I self-publish? Remember, words manifest. I immediately wrote a new affirmation and began repeating it every morning. “I, Susanne, with God’s help, love sitting down in front of my computer and writing the completion of my book. God is continuing to help. Spirit is also helping me. Words come.” I shortly noticed that I wanted to sit down more often to work on my book, even turning down invitations so that I could spend more time writing. I did not think about the money it was going to cost or anything. I typed and worked way into the night on many times.
I found the printer to make what I wrote into a real book; a person I trusted could do the project. I then began to have some thoughts of fear! Every time I had a fear thought, I pushed back the negative thoughts that kept me awake at night. “What if people do not like this book?”, “What if my family disapproves?”, “What if the Lakota Indians I honored do not like it?” I then would change my thinking by following every negative thought with four positive thoughts. “What if everyone or most like my book. My life experience might actually help someone take their limits off also?”
After completing the book, I received the telephone call that the 1,000 books were ready to be picked up. The printer said the cover done by my friend Kevin looked good, and he was proud that he took this project. Well, it was still somewhat scary to think about releasing the book. Even with all of that work on changing my thinking, I wondered if I should just put them in a closet and wait a while? I did not. I began sharing my book with a few friends. My first book signing and introduction to my book came about from friends in Pauls Valley putting together a book signing to be held at our depot! People actually came. I signed my first books and was in our local newspaper. During the first year, I sold most books through talks at clubs, seminars for individuals, and book signings. I carried books in the trunk of my car and sold books that way. This led to signing books in a few independent bookstores. Most were sold at book signings in peoples’ homes with a short talk for a group or at a seminar I was doing. In that first year, I had sold over 950 books from my trunk.
Understanding that I could not do much with larger bookstores until I could find a distributor, I began my search for one that would handle my single book. Eventually, I applied and was accepted by Ingram, a distributor for Barnes and Noble and Borders. With almost all of my first books gone, I ordered 5,000 copies and got a new cover. I began contacting bookstores with a distributor and new copies, sending packets to them, and scheduled signings. Then I began driving all over the state and into other states for presentations. John did not go with me. My book seemed to be guiding me, and I would travel with my book. It took me by invitation to be a guest speaker at a whole life exposition in San Francisco, CA, and then in Austin, Texas, and another in Dallas, Texas. One time I was scheduled opposite Wayne Dyer. What amazed me is that I had over one hundred in my room for my presentation. What were they doing here when they could be listening to Wayne Dyer? This is a fun story in itself!
Other presenters had been presenting during the day. I was scheduled for 7:00 pm and was a little worried when I saw that I was opposite an author I liked. I felt like an unknown. I might check out some of the other presenters during the day. When I went to their rooms, there were only about seven people, maybe as much as fourteen. I thought, “Did I drive this far, so far that I had to get a hotel room for six or seven? I thought and then went outside and chose a tree that I could place my hand on and make a prayer. I visualized a “tree of life” and this tree sending the message to God and out to people. I asked that the right words come to me to touch everyone in my room in some way that would be helpful for their lives. Shortly before 7 o’clock, I went upstairs to the room where I would be presenting.
To my surprise, the room’s door was closed, and a few people were ahead of me in line. Apparently, they did not open the door until each talk, so I stood in line with attendees and waited to enter the room. While waiting, I listened to two or three women visiting about how boring the presentations were that they attended earlier and how they would leave if they found out this speaker was just as boring. I smiled but did not let on that I was the speaker. More people seemed to be lining up behind me. Interesting! Finally, a person opened the door, and we went in to be seated. I followed those women I had been eavesdropping on to the seats they chose and sat down by them. The room kept filling up while we waited for 7 o’clock to arrive. I went to the back of the room and told the person to introduce me that I was there and returned to my seat in the middle of a row by the three ladies.
At exactly 7 o’clock, the woman went to the front of the room and said a few words about me. As she did so, I stood up and also walked from my seat to the front of the room to present. The women sitting beside me were more than a little surprised because we had been casually visiting while waiting. Beginning my talk, I explained that I had three women in the room that planned to leave if I was boring. Smiling and having fun, I said, “They are going to be my barometer to show me if I hit the “boring” line.” I looked at them, and they were grinning from ear to ear. Continuing, I told the audience how surprised that I was that so many people were listening to me when they had an opportunity to listen to Wayne Dyer at this time. Then I said to several, “Why are you in this room tonight?” “What brought you here?” I received a few answers that did not tell me much, and then one said, “I liked the title of your talk.” I responded, “What did you see my title was?” She said, “Hearing Your Ancestors.” Oh, no wonder! These people thought I was going to channel ancestors! So now I understood.
I responded, “Oh, now I know why all of you chose this room. You thought I was going to give you perhaps answers from your ancestors! There has been a mistake. After I tell you the mistake, I hope you stay; however, if you leave, I understand. Apparently, there was an error in typing that resulted in a misprint. I sent the topic of my talk to be advertised. It was Hear your Answers. But if you want to know how to make contact with your ancestors, I can include that.” I looked around the room, and no one was leaving. With not a seat left, there was standing room only. People were standing all the way around the room. Amazing! All stayed, including my three ladies that were not bored. I did a totally different talk than planned, and, by the end, many had laughed, and a few had shed real tears. About fifteen minutes after I began, one lady did raise her hand after I began speaking. I looked at her and said, “Yes, do you need to leave?” She responded, “Please know I am not bored, but my daughter cannot find this room, and she has been looking for it. She just texted me. I am to meet her downstairs and bring her here. She came to hear you speak. I promise that I will be right back with her. Save my seat, please.” I loved that!
I spoke at another Whole Life Expo in Dallas. Because of my book, a lady that had already read “When Spirit Speaks” approached me when I finished speaking and asked if I could be a chapter in her book. She said that she already had permission from Oprah to be a chapter, and then she named others. I agreed and, after several interviews, I became a chapter. It is entitled “Dream It, Do It.” EJ Phillips, a woman I met in Sulphur, purchased my book and read it. She then telephoned, asking me if she could interview me for her book about several Oklahoma women. She drove to Pauls Valley to interview me for her book, Woman: What She Has Done, Where She Has Been.
Another adventure took place when someone sent my book to the women’s prison in McCloud, Oklahoma. An inmate who read it and shared it with others talked to the woman over their prison section. They asked Mabel, a woman responsible for some women, to help them with a request. Mabel telephoned me, saying several women had approached her about calling me. She then explained that she was surprised with their request because many of them had given up faith in God. They wanted her to ask me to come to pray with them in the Native American way. Mabel went on to say that I would have to get permission to do this from the Warden of the Prison. I told her that I would contact him. She gave me his name. I met with the Warden, shared my background, and explained what I had been asked to do. I said that I could do a seminar for the women and then pray with them afterward. He wanted me to do it. I charged them nothing.
After a few months of praying together, they wanted more. They asked if I could help them have a sweat lodge and a medicine wheel to use when I was not there. Mabel and the warden watched these women change. It was an honor for me to listen to their stories, watch them confess their regrets, and see a difference in them. They released their anger toward God. They discussed possibilities for them. I shared that many go to church when they have troubles and pray. Prayer builds the energy, and one feels that energy when they enter a place that people pray. We talked about anywhere people go to pray in a good way is good. They paid attention. Some actually began going to church services offered to them at the Prison. I had no idea how long I would be coming to this prison, so I wanted them to have other resources besides me. About fifteen women prisoners were always in the sweat following my presentation. The energy was strong in each purification ceremony (sweat). I told them that if they ever wanted forgiveness from someone on the other side, they could make prayer about it and tell the person they were sorry. I did that before we began the third round, the prayer round. Listening to those prayers in that round was both sad and amazing. One by one, they were sharing their truths, making a prayer, apologizing for what they did. That much energy must have affected me because when I finished the fourth round of the sweat, I stepped into the open air and immediately threw up. It happened again when I returned and did another sweat for people wanting to participate.
On my last sweat that I had the opportunity to lead at the prison, the door opened at the last minute, and another person swooped into the lodge. To my surprise, it was the warden. He asked to join us because he could not believe what was happening to his most difficult prisoners. He shared that he was so proud of them, he could see they were changing, and he wanted to get some of what they were getting, whatever it was. It only took a few days for the word to get out about the warden coming to our sweat. He got into trouble with those above him. He was asked to take the sweat lodge down, and a few weeks later, the warden was fired due to his action. Mabel was also released, and the new warden did not think I should keep coming to the prison or holding the self-help seminars. A prisoner telephoned me when she was released and shared that the women kept making prayers. They wanted her to thank me. Many went back to church because they regained belief that God was love and forgives. Some prisoners gave me gifts they made. This experience offered surprises from beginning to end. I loved it and felt humbled for the feasts they prepared each time I came and for all they shared with me.
The book was born on April 7th, 1997. Letters began to come from people I never met sharing with me what they received from this book. I decided when I was in fear that if it helped one person, it was worth five rewrites and publishing it. Those letters I initially received made it all worth it. “When Spirit Speaks” is still out there, touching lives. That amazes me. This is 2021. I still unexpectedly receive a letter or a phone call thanking me for this book. I have not ever met most of the people.
This book traveled further out than my presentations in Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. For instance, a person from Oklahoma went to New York and was surprised to find my book on her sister and brother-in-law’s coffee table. How did she get it? Her sister was surprised that her sister from Oklahoma knew me. A preacher from Detroit had me come to a women’s retreat. How did that preacher have the book? Another woman from New York telephoned me when I lived in Norman and wanted to come to Oklahoma to do a vision quest. After discussing it for a while, I agreed to do it. She did come to Oklahoma to do this. To my surprise, she learned how to make prayer ties from the book. Where did she get my book?
This book also brought forth stories, lots of stories. People that attended one of my talks would approach me about something they felt happened after a relative died or following a friend’s death. When I spoke on the book to some progressive clubs and some not-so-progressive clubs, people attending the talk would hold back and then share with me after others left. Generally, they shared their truths. They said they had never told about something that took place in their lives that caused them to believe some relative on the other side wanted to give them a sign. They had not told their story before because they felt no one would believe them. They wanted my opinion on it. Because I opened up through this book, they had no fear talking to me. They knew I would not think they were crazy.
Yes, my book had a life. I initially worked to help it get into someone’s hands, and it then led me on a journey. After several years of speaking about “When Spirit Speaks” and doing seminars away from home, I decided that I wanted to remain home on the weekends with John or do more activities that we could do together. After all, we had only been married a few years now. I wanted this to be a good marriage. After being in a marriage where my husband did not spend time with me, I cherished my time with John. Looking back, I may have passed up my “tipping point” with the book. If I had continued traveling and speaking, no telling what could have happened. Why do I think I may have reached a tipping point? I was invited to Arkansas to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble, where I was presented with a very nice present from the woman who invited me to sign in Little Rock. Then I went to Dallas and was met with multiple presents from people that came for a talk and book signing. Next, I went to speak at Barnes and Noble in Norman. With a great article in the newspaper on the morning of my talk and a picture of the book on the front page due to a mistake in the run (a God/Spirit moment), over 52 people attended my talk and signing of books. They ran out of my books. Luckily, I had some in my trunk. About that same time, though, I kept receiving signs. Ingram kept messing up on my bill and my orders. With multiple phone calls, I always corrected everything. However, it just kept happening. Listening to my signs, I did step back. I presented seminars in my own home. And I still serve those that ask for a talk of any kind, for a seminar, and an order for a book here and there.
LESSON: The more one shares about Self, is honest about difficulties and doubts, and then shares new understandings received, the more others begin to feel free to do the same. Courage is gained, and the truth is learned—signs guide when one watches for them. A smile, a simple conversation, an article, a talk, or a book one writes can touch a life! Let go of fear and watch what happens in life. A final lesson is this: Writing heals not only you, but years later, it may heal others as well.
GIFTS: Healing for me! Stepping Beyond Self-Limiting Boundaries and I continue to do this!
This book created invitations and new adventures such as being invited to do five-day retreats for people in Arizona, weekend retreats, speaking at whole life expos where I knew no one before my arrival, speaking at women’s retreats, Cyndy’s Spirit Fair, and helping people I never met before that learned about the vision quests here in Oklahoma and wanted me to help with theirs when they committed.
This book brought forth my truth, and I released fear on speaking about my experience in life and boundary lines I released from my life. In a Sunday School class John and I attended one Sunday, the teacher asked if anyone in the class had ever experienced the Holy Spirit. No one said a word. Not one. I was sitting quietly. John reached over and squeezed my leg under the table as he mouthed, “tell them.” I ignored his first try. After his second try, I finally said, “Yes, I have. Being asked, “When?” I replied, “Every day, I see how the Holy Spirit works. On some days, it is more amazing than other days, but I have had so many opportunities to see and understand Spirit, the Holy Spirit. That is another story in itself. My understanding began in New Mexico. My gift was to heal and be able to share some unusual and amazing experiences with others!