Dr. Heather Friedman Rivera’s creative writing journey, Part One

I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Heather Friedman Rivera to Choices. I find her background, research and writing about past life custom book cover Heather Rivera official paperback (2)regression fascinating. What do you think? Do you believe in reincarnation and past life regression? Do you believe past life regression therapy can heal? Whether or not you do, I’ll bet you’ll be drawn to this topic as much as I.

Here is Part One of Dr. Rivera’s journey in becoming a creative writer and how she wrote her first novel, Quiet Water.


Part One

How I Found My Creative Writing Voice

After what felt like a lifetime of school and the all-consuming doctoral dissertation I had something akin to empty nest syndrome.  Some have called this phenomenon Post Dissertation Stress Disorder. For years I had structure, purpose and a goal and then finally the day arrives and I receive the letters I dreamt about many times . . . PhD. In an instant my life completely changed. No more books to tackle, no more tests to cram for, and no more papers to write unless I wanted to write them. Of course, now I had to do something with my degree.  Not that I already didn’t have a day job working as a Registered Nurse.

My doctoral dissertation was on an unconventional topic past life regression. Well, to be more accurate, it was on the benefits of past life regression therapy. As a western trained registered nurse I relied on studies and numbers. Yet, when diagnosed at age thirty-three with Rheumatoid Arthritis I found I couldn’t just rely on conventional studied tried and true western treatments. I felt a need to explore outside my bubble and try some complementary treatments to aid in my healing. On this journey I stumbled upon past life regression. I was a skeptic but I went to a past life hypnotherapist for an afternoon of entertainment. Imagine my surprise that not only did I find myself in a past life as a knight where I could actually feel his armor on my body, feel the dampness in the air and hunger in my belly but that more importantly I had a profound and lasting physical and spiritual healing.

My entire view of life and death, purpose and spirituality was completely changed after that one session. I became obsessed with how remembering a past life, whether it was real or imagined, affects one in their current life. This became the basis of my doctoral study. I created a survey that was launched on the internet. The survey requested that respondents that had a past life experience report on how it had affected their lives. The results from respondents around the world confirmed my findings. Past life regression had many positive benefits. My healing was not a fluke.

After I graduated I founded a past life research institute, PLR Institute. Our affiliates continue to study past life therapy and host retreats. My day to day life was filled with collecting and analyzing data, reading over respondents past life experiences and fielding questions. Although I found healing my Rheumatoid Arthritis somehow vanished, and my passion past life work, something was missing.

My creative side was pushed down and buried deep. I needed an outlet.  Just as I had the thought to find something artsy to do, a post for a creative writing class popped up in my email. Was it a sign? I registered immediately.

healing2In the class, Dr. Marjorie Miles leads a guided meditation and from this relaxed state we tap into our muse and free write. At first I was nervous and intimidated. I’ve only written nonfiction up until this point. I had articles published in magazines about living with chronic illness and my first book, Healing the Present from the Past, was based on my healing journey and the results of my past life study. But Dr. Miles has a gift of making everyone feel comfortable and soon I was writing and exploring the vast world of fiction. My goal only was to have an outlet, not necessarily write a novel. However, my muse had other plans.

A few months into Dr. Miles’ class I woke up early up around five a.m. with an entire past life story downloading into my head. Where did this come from? I was so excited that even before a first cup of morning coffee I told the story to my husband who loved it. Though I had an interesting story, I didn’t have a feel for the protagonist and I still didn’t have plans to write a book about it.


For more about how this story evolved, please return here on January 26.

About Dr. Heather Rivera

PLR photo fbDr. Heather Friedman Rivera obtained her Ph.D. in Parapsychic Science in 2011, her Doctorate in Law in 2002 and is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist specializing in Past-life Regression.  She trained with Dr. Brian Weiss at The Weiss Institute. Rivera is also a Registered Nurse with over 20 years of experience. Heather is an adjunct faculty member for AIHT and she and PLR institute provide dissertation mentoring for the students. She was recently asked to be a reviewer for the Journal of Regression Therapy. Heather and her husband Mark have founded an organization for advancing past life research, PLR Institute, at www.plrinstitute.org. Her personal history with chronic illnesses prompted her to publish several articles on managing chronic illness, evaluating nutritional supplements, and utilizing holistic health approaches. She authored a book on her recent research and her journey of healing from past life regression. Her book Healing the Present from the Past: The Personal Journey of a Past Life Researcher was released Jan. 1, 2013 She has an article on her research that is available for viewing in the Journal of Regression Therapy Vol XXI, Number 1, March 2012.  Her second book, Quiet Water a past life novel, was released September, 2013. Quiet Water is Book One of the Golden Raven Series. Maiden Flight, Book Two will be released summer 2014.

She lives in Southern California with her husband, Kala (a Puggle), Kiki (a neurotic Chihuahua) and Danzy (a black cat) who believes he helps Rivera write.

Quiet Water is available for purchase at www.amazon.com and www.bn.com. For more information on Dr. Heather Rivera, her research and her research institute, please visit: www.heatherrivera.com and www.plrinstitute.com

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