The search for answers

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Like many, JoAnn Miller knew she would write a book someday. The book would be accessible to many, and it would change the lives of those who read it.

All she had to do was sit down and write it.

In 2002, Miller sat down at her computer and began to write.

It took six months to write the 72-page, "Paradise: A short story about the world after the shift."

It took six months, because she wanted to get it right. This was her time to share her message.

"I would do it over and over and over again," she said. "The key was to make a difference in the lives of a lot of people.

"I want them to realize that life here on Earth is meant to be joyful and peaceful, and it is up to them what they experience."

On Tuesday, Miller will bring the same message to Steamboat Springs as she leads a discussion, "Can you imagine life without fear?"

In her book, the body of the Earth shudders from years of abuse. The ground heaves, and volcanoes erupt. As the "dust settles" the Earth's residents experience an awakening. The new Earth is a kind of utopia whose residents have learned to live without fear.

Miller said she lives her own life in this way, "by focusing on what I want, not on what I don't want and by seeing the good things and not focusing on the negative.

"It takes a qualified effort, but pretty soon it becomes a habit."

Miller kept the book short -- 72 pages with large type -- so even the busiest, time-deprived people could read it.

"There doesn't seem to be a lot of happiness in our world at this time," Miller's

book begins. "Most of what we do is generated by fear. Fear of not having enough, of losing someone we love, of having an accident. ... It is this total belief in fear that has buried our souls."

Miller started searching for a different kind of life when she was very young, she said. She was raised as a Catholic but was always looking for something else.

"I read and read and read," she said.

She was 37 when she finally found some answers. One day after her father died, she found a book called "You Will Survive After Death," by Sherwood Eddy.

"It jumped off the shelves at me," Miller said. "It validated what I had felt in my heart was true. People don't die. They simply go home." The book catapulted her to more study of American Indian beliefs, Wiccan beliefs and an intense study of the Bible.

"It all started coming together, all the major spiritualities came to the same conclusion: This is simply a trip. We are co-creators, and we have come here to build our spirituality."

She hasn't seen her book change lives yet, she said. It was published in June 2003.

"It simply offers another perspective," she said. "Peace is possible, and it starts with us as individuals."

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