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Cobalt Blue: A Novel

A novel for courageous readers and seekers, COBALT BLUE is a turbulent, gorgeous ride into sacred sex..

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Self-Absorbed and Spiritually Seeking

Sometimes I get tired of myself. I start to feel that “I” am sealed in the Tupperware-like container of a “self” that is low-ceilinged and narrow. And here’s the worst of it: I fear I fit the damn Tupperware perfectly and don’t even feel especially guilty about being such a self-absorbed limited creature.

However, I would like to enjoy a wondrous sensation of being as infinite and generous and unlimited as the sky.

serenity and yoga practicing at the sea under night sky

What triggered these thoughts on this particular day? Well, I just finished reading a book (Enlightenment Through the Path of Kundalini) that suggests that pursuing such enlightenment is a good idea if one’s goal is simply to better serve others. Gee whiz! That leaves me out.

(Kundalini, BTW, is the full power of the life force that, according to believers, resides largely untapped in each person.)


There are so many reasons one might pursue spiritual growth, for example, to write ever more successful novels that serve people so effectively that the books win prestigious national prizes that I must get all dressed up to graciously receive. (I’ve enjoyed the taste of just enough success that I ought to know this is no route to permanent bliss.)

And what about seeking enlightenment in order to be in a fearless and productive good mood more (or all?) of the time? And even to overflow with so much goodness that I actually want to cook dinners for a whole homeless shelter the way some of my admirable relatives do?Warm food for the poor and homeless

Must I wait to seek expansiveness until my motives are pure and I’m already cooking at the shelter? Or until the time when the prospect of fame and fortune bores me? It will be a long wait.

Already I’ve been thinking about this matter of wider horizons for decades:

*Years ago,I stumbled into co-authoring a book about helping others, The Healing Power of Doing Good.


*And over a period of about 25 years, I wrote, off and on, about the Tupperware vs. boundlessness struggle in the manuscript that would become my novel, Cobalt Blue.


In that time, Cobalt Blue evolved to being a story of sex and spirituality. Because sex is one way of briefly achieving the feel of breaking loose from limits and merging with something larger. And in the story Pinehurst artist Andie Branson, to her great upset, begins compulsively taking that route in a disturbing way:

“For so long, she’d felt tired of herself, trapped inside herself. She wanted to get loose, spread wide and borderless as clouds over the length of a mountain range, whatever it would take to be boundless….She wanted to be abased nearly out of existence.”

By contrast,from Springett’s clear and useful book:

Other stories that I have seen (online) were posted by people suffering from sex addiction who wanted to believe that their obsession with degrading sex was something spiritual.

Absolutely, I do agree — and so does Andie in Cobalt Blue — that degrading behavior is not the route to wondrous expansiveness; but it is for a time the form that her spiritual craving takes. And she does arrive finally at a far better way.

But I do think people hit bottom and then rise to a greater spiritual awareness than ever before. I’d like to think it’s not necessary either to hit bottom or to have motives that are entirely in the service of others to arrive at a better larger self.

(BTW, No need to reassure me that I’m not that bad a person. I know: after all, I regularly pack lunch for my husband to take to his office, I often go overboard in efforts for my writer clients, and I haven’t robbed any banks.
Note as well, I’ve managed to turn this spiritual longing of mine into an ad for two of my books and for my critiquing service for writers.)

Most of the time, I’m alarmingly at ease with my self-absorbed and decidedly mixed motives. I wonder how many of the rest of you humans mainly or entirely want to help others? And were you born that way or did you have to travel to arrive there? If you had to travel, what was the route? And are you pleased with the outcome?
Silhouette of helping hand between two climber

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  • May 19, 2015 at 1:23 pm Reply

    I enjoy knowing that I am doing good for others; helping them, however, I do not have that as a main focus. But while I was wedding florist, I took great joy in knowing that brides were happier because of my efforts – which, in turn, benefitted me (with money and referrals), so I suppose that was not as altruistic s I might have thought at the time.

    I know the world would be a better place if we all had “helping others” as our goal in life.

    • Peggy Payne
      May 19, 2015 at 1:33 pm Reply

      Makes me want to see pictures of these flowers, kenju. I think it’s fine to also get money and referrals out of the process.

  • May 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm Reply

    When I am motivated to do something good for others, I often wonder if it’s because I really want to help people or because I know I will feel better about myself if I help others. I guess that’s an example of how confining the Tupperware container can be.

    • Peggy Payne
      May 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm Reply

      I can identify with that, Sally. Only recently I was feeling down on myself and purposefully did something for someone so I’d feel better. I don’t know that that’s so bad….

  • Jane Andrews
    May 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm Reply

    I think all addictions and many attractions are attempts to give respite from the constant burden of the self.

    • Peggy Payne
      May 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm Reply

      Wow, Jane, that’s a good enough line for the back page of The Sun. And I agree. At the same time, I don’t really want to melt into the great ocean and lose all identity. Maybe there’s a way to work out alternate days…

  • Michael Lindsay
    May 19, 2015 at 8:19 pm Reply

    When it comes to pure motives, perhaps we should follow the safety advice we get before an airline flight takes off. “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.” Then we can function with a clear head, and hopefully help others. Putting the mask on ourselves first is not selfish, just practical.

    • Peggy Payne
      May 19, 2015 at 8:20 pm Reply

      I’m with you on that, Mike. Looks like you had a good kayaking trip on Facebook.

  • May 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm Reply

    Being pretty self-absorbed myself, I prefer to think it’s mostly positive self-centered [most of the time]. I don’t long for a more spiritual connection than what I have in my most intimate relationships, which are essential & sustaining.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 1, 2015 at 2:42 am Reply

      I do know what you mean about the positive importance of relationship with one’s self and one’s intimates. And I have a curiosity about what’s around the next corner. Spiritually speaking.

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