Carol Gino – There Are No Ordinary Stories: A Conversation On Storytelling, Angels, And Mario Puzo
“There are no ordinary lives so it is so important for women to tell their stories. We are all so special. Let’s be the women who write our stories on the cave walls so historically when people look back, they will hear our stories.” – Carol Gino
What is your story? What would you like to share with the world of your experiences? Carol Gino’s story encompasses love, faith, and spirituality. As she received messages from her angel guides to become a nurse, to helping to care for many people who were ill in hospital, to spending loving years with Mario Puzo, the author of The Godfather, to her present work of guiding and helping people discover their higher power, Carol is the Goddess of storytelling. Join in this conversation as Carol teaches us about tapping into hearing our angels, guides and spirits of the many lessons of love they are trying to communicate to us.
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Carol Gino – There Are No Ordinary Stories: A Conversation On Storytelling, Angels, And Mario Puzo
Carol, it’s good to have you here on Grateful Goddesses. We have so much to talk about. Carol Gino, RN, MA, has been a nurse, author, and teacher for many years. She has worked in all areas of nursing, including the emergency room, intensive care, the burn unit, medicine, surgery, pediatrics, pediatric intensive care, and hospice care for the terminally ill. Through coaching one-on-one with individual clients, her Master’s in Transpersonal Studies allows her to focus on new modalities for healing, changes in consciousness, and cross-cultural healing. Carol is the co-author of over eight books, including Los Angeles Times and New York Times bestsellers. She also created several products and online programs for nurses, writers, and those seeking their higher guidance.
Carol is the Founder of Soul Star Academy, where soul development meets the art of storytelling. She also has courses in the Carpentry of Writing as taught to her by Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, with whom she had a long-term relationship until he died in 1999. They learned all about life, love, power, and writing from each other. Carol has been a keynote speaker at several events and continues to spread her soul wisdom on podcasts, radio shows, summits, workshops, virtual classes, and more.
Thank you, Carol, for joining us on Grateful Goddesses. Let’s start with your journeys. Tell us about your dreams, vision, and passions when you were younger.
Are you ready for this? It’s going to sound so dopey that any woman in the world will know that it’s all planned out beforehand. I wanted to be a saint because if there were lords and there were little kids seeing visions, I wanted to have a vision. I was competitive. I used to pray every night desperately to have a vision. My sister used to kneel right next to me and pray not to have a vision when I had one. I was impassioned with this. I used to pray every night to be a saint and after a while, I didn’t hear anything, so maybe I’d settle to being a nun.
After a while, I said to God, “If you’ve got too many nuns as wives, I’d like to be a lawyer.” That’s what I decided. I don’t know how I made that jump, but my father spent his life and mine from the time I was four years old reading me the Harvard Classics. I knew about Aristotle before I knew anything else. I would say I was caught somewhere between the Harvard Classics and Disney because, in order to get out of the house, I had to get married. I got married just before I was eighteen, and then three months later, I got pregnant. I had a baby by the time I was past eighteen.
My husband had a drinking problem and I had no clue because I didn’t know there were such things. One day, we were up at a little house that he had rent in Pennsylvania. My husband went out to bring the diapers to the laundromat, go grocery shopping, and he never came back. I was up in the house with two little kids, no food, no phone, no car, nothing. I didn’t know what I was going to do and suddenly, the house was filled with smoke and the furnace downstairs was going out. It was freezing up there. I thought, “My parents will kill me if my kids freeze to death.” I was caught between the daughter and the mother. I had to throw books in and my broken furniture.
I had to walk over mice and rats and everything to get this furnace started because I had never seen them before, but I’ve got to go on again. I went upstairs and I was praying, laying down on the couch, and saying, “God, you’ve got to do something here.” Suddenly, I looked across the room and I saw this woman with pearls and a cape walking up and down alone in my baseboard and I would see hands reaching out at her. I thought, “Who is this?” I poked myself in the eye and I thought, “Maybe I’m dreaming.” What happened was I wasn’t dreaming and I didn’t understand why I, who was scared shitless and everything, was not afraid of this woman or how she got in the house.As we start sensing better, our stories become clearer. Click To Tweet
The next morning, I woke up with an absolute certainty that I had to be a nurse. There was nothing in my life, even so far, that has matched my passion for nursing. As a nurse for 30 years or so, I loved when I walked in for the first time into a hospital after I practically begged, borrowed, and stole to get in to the nursing program for aid to dependent children. I walked into a hospital and I looked around and the sun was rising. I thought, “We’re going to save people. We’re going to do big things.” I looked back and I thought, “I’ll never be this happy again. Somebody should have turned me into salt.”
Three and a half months after I was in nursing school, I saw the woman in a nursing history book and it was Florence Nightingale. At that time, I didn’t know. That was my biggest passion. The thing about nursing that nobody understands is that when people talk about your shadow side, they always talk about stuff that looks dark. Nurses walk in shadowlands because they face death, disease, fragility, and all of that stuff all the time. Their shadow is there to avoid. It took me a long time after holding babies who had died on me and everything like that because I loved every one of them. The first thing I said to my daughter when my grandson died was, “I’m not full of shit because I don’t feel any worse now than I did when all those other babies died when I saw them and stuff.”
She said to me, “Mom, do you think you should be telling that to his mother?” I thought, “Oh, no.” Another moment of terrific sensitivity on my part. What happened is that led me into nursing. When I couldn’t save everybody or help everybody and when there were many problems that nobody was applying themselves to, I thought, “I have to write to tell everybody what’s going on so that they can save themselves from holding information back.” I went to the New School for Social Research and I sit in between two old ladies one night who were DNR. It’s like, “Don’t bring them back. Just let them die.”
I was sitting down holding both hands and trying to read a book I remember called Mixed Blessing. Something wrote a book in light. I kept looking at it and I thought, “For real I’m crazy. I must be.” I went to a young shrink and I said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m such a mess. I’m burned out in nursing. I’ve got to do something.” She said, “Do you need something other than some writings in the pages of a book to tell you what you should be doing?” I said, “Okay.” That’s when I signed the New School for Social Research.
I took a course at Hofstra and as Alicia would say with synchronicity may remain. What happened next is after five of my patients died in a row, I got a call from an agency saying, “There’s this author who wants one of their own to take care of his wife who’s dying.” I thought, “One of their own? I can’t. I’m mourning. I’m grieving. I’m in bed. Leave me alone.” She said, “You have to. They won’t accept anybody else.” I said, “What’s her name?” They said, “Erika.” I said, “Erika what?” They said, “Erika Puzo.” I said, “I prefer an Italian.” They said, “No, she married him so she must love Italian. You have to go and take care of her.” She made me feel like it was family. That’s how that happened.
Once I took care of Erika, it was about three months, I admired Mario more as a father, a husband, and as the writer of The Godfather because I thought, “Non-Italian. Lunatic Mario. I’m going to have to kill him.” He was a good man and he was wonderful. He stayed with her every moment and stuff like that. When she was asleep because he would stay all the time, we would do some talking. In the last month she was alive, he said to me, “You should write a book about what nurses do because when doctors can’t do anything, it’s the nurses who save the families.”
I said, “Will you teach me?” He said, “You can’t teach writing. It has to be learned.” I said, “I’m a quick study. Will you give me a shot?” He said, “Let me see something you wrote.” I went home and got some stuff through the desk. He looked at it and he said, “You tell. We can try, but I never want anybody I love to be a writer. It’s too tough of a job.” I said, “You can. I’m a nurse. I faced death, disease and loss. I’ve had to look constantly at life in its fragility.” He said, “Let’s do it.” That’s how things started. It was maybe 1.5 years after that, we were such good buds. I would say even more than being lovers.
If there is such thing as soulmates, we were maybe even trolls because we were what each other wasn’t. I can’t explain, but he was a crazy hedonist because he loved over-eating, gambling, and having fun. I had so long in the shadowlands that any kind of fun came up for me, I would think, “There are all those people suffering. How can I be having fun?” I had that terrible guilt thing until Mario said to me one day, “Carol, if your suffering could remove the suffering for other people, then it would be wise.”
He says, “There are a lot of people who are looking for a smile of somebody who’s unburdened of life be a little easier because people need to have hope.” He was maybe the smartest man I ever met. I’m not saying that because I love him and I wanted the hell out of him. It was because he was able to take complicated subjects and make them simple. He had none of the beliefs I had and yet, he said to me, “You’re one of the most competent people I know, if not the most competent, so your belief system works for you.”
I said, “What if it’s true? I built my life on one thing and therefore, I couldn’t switch at this particular time.” That’s how a lot of our negotiations went. He was the one who taught me about the difference between women’s power and men’s power and swore that women should never try to be like men because they were already better. He was smart but in a clever, smart way only. He was the goodest man I’ve ever met also and I don’t mean best because he saw the good in everybody.
Carol, I want to circle back to when you became a nurse. Alyssa wants to ask a little bit more about that.
Let’s go back to the beginning of the story a little bit when you decided to become a nurse. It seems like it was that moment when you’re in this home, you’ve had these two young children, and you saw an angel. You learned later that that was Florence Nightingale. Somehow, that sparked something in you and you had this revelation to become a nurse. I’m curious, I wanted to find out a little bit more about that.
Alyssa, all I can tell you is the weirdest thing because, in school, I used to even tease the girls who wanted to be nurses. I had a grandmother who was a midwife who carried a gun and drove a car. She died when I was seven years old and I was close to her, but that was never a path I ever thought of following. Yet, I remember back as you asked that question, my father always used to say, “You come from a long line of pioneer women. You deserve it.” My father brought me up gender-neutral. He always said he loved girls, but he taught me how to hunt, clean animals, and all that stuff. He said, “You can do anything anybody else can do if you want it badly enough.”
I didn’t find out until way later that that wasn’t necessarily true. I woke up in the morning with complete certainty. It wasn’t a decision. It wasn’t something I woke up and I knew there was nothing else I could do but that. I went running down to the welfare offices to get into a program and they said it was full. I said to the guy, “If I get a 98 on my test, don’t you need people to succeed in these things?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “Have you ever worked in a hospital?” I said, “No. If I get a 98 and if I get a job at a hospital before this starts in three months, can I then be a nurse?”Your essential self is love. It is God. Click To Tweet
He said, “Nobody can do that.” I said, “Can I?” He said, “If you get a 98 and you get a job, yes.” I said, “Good.” I jumped up in a customer before me that probably referred to me as a lunatic, then I went to the church and I said to the priest, “I went to Catholic school. I’ve been here for 1,000 years. You’ve got to get me a job. The Good Samaritan is in me. I’ve got to have this job.” I gave him the whole speech. You can imagine I couldn’t have tweeted it to him. I’m sure I painted my children with swollen bellies like that one and the whole bit, but they let me into a Title V Program for LPNs for mothers of dependent children. That’s my whole life story.
You mentioned though, about seeing the angel and Alysha, who’s joining and has her own podcast called That’s Myrony, she has spoken too, with angels. Correct me if I’m wrong.
I personally haven’t. I want to. I ask for it every night before I go to bed. Maybe I’m trying too hard. Alysha, I’m sure, can relate but has some questions about that too.
I can relate because I had a spiritual experience that I can’t explain that happened several years ago. When it happens, you can’t deny it. It becomes a part of you. Carol, you and I become friends so we’ve had such in-depth conversations about your angel guide, Janet, and all your other angels. It’s incredible because I’m sure you’re going to go into this about how many near-death experiences you’ve had. It seems like every time you’ve had something, it’s hard to say the word enlightened because people can take that a little bit differently, but it is a level of enlightenment because you’re getting closer to God. I say God is love with an awesome sense of humor. When you first felt that angel, Florence Nightingale, when did you start seeing more of your angels?
What happened, Alysha, is that when I was growing up, I would think they were impressions or whatever. I had friends in and out of body like imaginary friends. You should keep all your imaginary friends because they grow up into guides, which are cool and mine are funny. About what you said, Alysha, I have had several. Enlightenment may just be God seeing life through our eyes because we are the fragments of God, if you will, that he plays with down here. That’s the fall from the one to Earth, but hopefully, it will tickle all of you because it’s honest to God’s truth.
Maybe Karen knows this. I can’t remember, but at Mario’s house one night, one of the angels poked me and I got up to go to the bathroom. There was a 6-foot masked burglar standing in the doorway and I said, “What the hell are you doing in that outfit?” It was such a thing, but they protect in many ways. Alysha, at the end of the day, what happened is I was doing a meditation in the morning. There was no reason to believe it would be different from any of the mornings. I was doing regular meditation. If somebody would have said this to me, I would have said, “How cliché. How could I even believe this? This is so woo.” I practically Google. I don’t woo-woo so much. There is the lesser I and greater I, which is the body and God.
What happened is I‘m meditating and somehow, I see these two gold guys. I call them gold guys. They look like Oscar. They’re probably what we would call ETs, but when I asked the angels about them, I said, “What about extraterrestrials?” The angel says to me, “They’re not extra. They’re just the right amount.” Since then, what’s happened is that science has proven that everything is energy and I can tell you that in my own experience. There are more so energies that intersect in our space. We can see them sometimes. Karen, you said you asked your angel. People have different accents and if they call you on the phone, you recognize them, but angels come up as color, sound or smell. There are different kinds of angels. There are protection angels.
I get a lot of signs. We talked about that, birds, and I know a lot Alyssa, too. She sees a cardinal outside her window and she feels like that’s her father. We all have signs, but not actual visions.
Angels don’t always come as we imagine them. I’ve got one angel who dresses however I wanted to dress at the moment. She came one time to sit at a table with me with a business suit on and I said, “What the hell are you doing in that get-up?” She said, “I figured it would be better if we sat at the table as colleagues rather than you looking up all the time. You know you are my avatar.” I said, “I’m your avatar?” She said, “You’re in physical. I’m not in physical. Anything I need to do on Earth has to be done through you unless Eva,” who’s my healing angel, “wishes to do something.” ￼Roshan has my joy and creativity. She’s the one who makes up my stories and it’s amazing because she shows them to me like a movie, and then I just have to write them.
This is why Grateful Goddesses for me has been such a journey. When you say woo-woo, people might be reading like, “What is this? This sounds crazy.” If you’re open to it, there are sounds or smells. Rachel, what do you think about all this? I know Rachel has done a lot of soul work so I’d love to know your thoughts on this.
I’ve talked with Carol too, and she has enlightened me as well. A couple of years ago, I didn’t believe in past lives. I didn’t even have much of a thought of it. To me, it feels like if your soul is on a journey and you’re on a journey to learn from all of your mistakes, then in your next life, you take what you’ve learned in this life and you have other challenges. It makes life more interesting to know that you’re always learning. Carol, you reached out to me saying, “I have information for you.” I was like, “Who wouldn’t want to know more about themselves?” Thank you because I don’t hear what you hear. I’m like, “Karen, I’m waiting for this moment to figure out what my superpower is and it’s not coming to me yet.”
It keeps going on. Enlightenment, for me, is being human because our human stories are so important. They’re going to start augmenting us with perfection and we’re going to be getting more and more AI and AR. This is a special time. By the way, I would not believe anything I heard from me if I wasn’t me because I was terribly rational.
We’re being open here. That’s what this is about. We want to learn. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s something that we’re going to take on in our life. Some of us might. That’s what it’s about. In every episode, we’re learning something new. Some, we’ve taken on and tried and some, we have learned about and decided not to.
That’s exactly what I was thinking. There’s a guy who runs a four-minute mile. I would never do that, but I like humanity to know what I’ve been able to experience because I’ve got a great antenna for whatever reason. Now that it’s an evolutionary reset and that they’re going to start the universe, it’s starting to grow some of our brains. We only use 20% of our brain and 80% of our brain is uncharted territory. As we start, we’re hearing and sensing different things. If you’re blind, you hear better. Every sense you lose, you gain something. I’ve spent so much time on inner space. I have friends in and out of body. I don’t always listen to what they have to say.There is no ordinary story. Share yours. Click To Tweet
I was starting to say to Alysha that one time when I was meditating, suddenly, I don’t know how it happened, but I was going up and I turned mercurial like gold and I started to ascend. When I got to the top and broke through, I went from the I to the IM and I knew it was God. I thought, “This is cliché.” It was love. I don’t know what you’d want to call it. They were saying to me, “You see? God, love is not a verb. It’s a place. You have to be it.” Your personality can do what your personality does. Your essential self is love, is God.
I want to bring Michelle into this conversation because I know that she’s worked hard on herself and love for years.
Thanks, Karen. Carol, it’s nice to meet you for the first time. I’m excited. First of all, I’m having a When Harry Met Sally moment and I’m thinking to myself, “I want to meditate like she’s meditating.”
It takes a long time to get there.
I believe in that love feeling and I would love to also have an angel. I know I have, but they’ve come in a different form. I’m in awe and I do have signs, but my signs are more intuitive. It’s my own intuition. I call that my angel or my higher power. What’s your thought on that?
It’s absolutely true. That’s how they infect. I usually can tell if somebody is sick. I can tell right away if they are not going to get well whatever that means because I get this pain in my stomach that there’s no way to ignore it and stuff. In the beginning, when I first used to hear signs or messages or whatever, I remember one of the first times because this is so funny, apparent, and stuff like that now when I look back, but I was going to read it to find out what I was going to be when I grow up. I was a nurse for a couple of years and my kids had survived with me even.
What happened was I was going to see this read that somebody suggested and I asked my spirits about it. I used to call them ‘them’ at the time. I said, “What about this guy?” Suddenly, I started seeing swastikas all over the place. I said, “Nazi? He’s not a Nazi. I did research on him. He worked for the underground and everything like that.” I finally ignored them and took a two-hour ride up to Albany from Long Island to get this guy because he was so good. I got in there and he looked at me and he said, “I don’t know what to tell you.”
On the way home, he couldn’t do a thing. On the way home, I was hollering at them while I was driving and I’m saying, “You made me take this whole ride for what? What’s all this Nazi stuff?” They said, “Not Nazi. It’s ‘not see.’” What I’m saying is they talk a lot in symbols and I spend a lot of time learning translation with them. They can only give us whatever signs they think we can interpret and they think we’re funny as we misinterpret them.
I have to tell you this is crazy. Although I don’t think you’ll think I’m crazy. I keep getting a ringing in my right ear during this interview. Girls, have I ever had anything like this happen? It’s bothering me so much that I’m holding my hand to my ear.
Just close your eyes for a second and ask what it has to say.
I just feel yellow and sunshine.
Yellow is high spirit knowledge. What was the other color?
Just sunshine. When you get something like that happens because I often get ringing, but not during interviews though, it’s important to stop, go inward, and ask. That’s the time to do that.
I love what he wrote you, “Anything I can do, you can do better. Love, Mario.” It was the most beautiful. I love the soulmate relationship you had and that’s one of the things that I hope readers understand. We have many different types of soulmates and we have many different love soulmates. He had a beautiful soulmate relationship with his wife. That was also divinely guided. When I read that, I thought that was so beautiful.
I’ll tell you something else. When he was dying, I said to him, “Please do me a favor. Tell me, what am I going to do for guidance when you’re not around and you have nothing to tell me? Tell me the two most important things that I need to remember as I go forward without you.” I had said to him, “Will you come back and tell me if there’s something after and you get to wind up there?” He said, “No.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because it will ruin the surprise.” I want you to know something must be coming up soon. In fact, I thought it was real. It takes a while to discern these things.
Somebody delivered me in my vision or whatever his golden typewriter. Right after that, all kinds of stuff have been happening. I know they are readying me to take another step. The two things he said to me was what I’ve learned in my life is if you have a choice, never harm anybody. He said, “For you, Carol, what I want you to know is that men are as simple as you think they had to be. Don’t expect men to be women because if you ask a man what he’s thinking and he says nothing, he’s thinking nothing. If you ask a woman what she’s thinking, she’s plotting. Watch your expectations.”
Your romance sounds beautiful. I told you one time when we were talking, “I’m probably the only one on the planet that’s never seen The Godfather.”
It’s his shadow. He paid with that. Every time he starts to write a book, he would have nightmares for the next three years. I said to him, “You should be writing comedies. This is ridiculous.”
That’s what happened. I heard such talk about it and now I have to watch it. Probably the ringing in my ears is him saying, “Watch it already,” but I was too scared. You write about the funny things that you would go into restaurants and people would think that he was that mobster kind of guy.
When we went to do research for The Sicilian, the guy walks behind me and he says, “Carol, act like a tourist. Stay with Joseph.” He walked through the town with this big cigar in his mouth. Every time we pass somebody, he just nods and they’d all put their heads down in this town and stuff like that. I think, “This is so hokey.” The fact of the matter is Mario didn’t even speak Italian and neither did I. Here we were in Rome, the embassy came to get us, and this is how they talk. They said, “We’ve been notified by people who know that they don’t want you doing this story.” Mario said, “Okay.” They said, “If you ever need us to accompany you, please let us know.” Mario said, “Yes, of course.”
We stayed at the best hotel. They absolutely closed everything down. It was us in the dining room with a piano player. When I think of some of this stuff, it was so crazy. What happened was we came out of Rome and in for the embassy. He says to Joseph, “Take us to Montelepre.” I said, “They just told us there were people waiting.” He said, “I know, but we’ll be in and out before they know.” I wrote about that in Me & Mario.
I even had to climb over one of the cemetery fences because this is how Italians thought. They had this big sign that said, “We were one says you are. You will be as we are.” I was on the outside and it was locked and we needed pictures. I never heard Mario say anything bad about anybody. He was good, gentle, and truthful. I said to him one time, “Promise me you’ll never keep a secret from me.” He said, “I can’t promise you that.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “Because if that secret involves somebody else, I would have to betray them, not to betray you, so I can’t do that.”
That’s such a good way of looking at it too.
What he said made sense. That’s how we managed to stay together for 21 years when both my marriages didn’t last more than four years.
Did you want to marry him?
Everybody should come up with some for this. Every time we went someplace, he’d introduce me as his girlfriend. When we first went to con where all those movie people were, he said, “This is my girlfriend, Carol.” I said, “Don’t do that. I’m too old to be your girlfriend.” I was 34. I said, “Try something else.” He said, “Okay.” The next person who came over, he said, “This is my paramour.” I said, “That’s even worse. Don’t do that.” He said, “Okay.” The next person who came over, he said, “This is my main squeeze.” I said, “I cannot do this.” He said to me, “You cannot blame me for the language and the culture.” I said to him, “I am. You should have come up with something.” I said, “What about a partner?” He said, “No partner. I’m a writer and they don’t collaborate until after I’m dead.” I said, “Damn.” We’re riding down the whole thing. It’s beautiful. Flowers are out and everything. He says to me, “Can I ask you a question?” I said, “Sure.” He said, “Are you going to be a pain in the ass for this whole trip or is this going to pass?” I thought, “Okay.”
I want to marry him because when we were overseas and I needed medical and we didn’t have any medical proxy then, this is what he said to me, “Carol, if you wanted to be married, we’d be married.” He said, “Do you want my name?” I said, “No. Why would I want your name? I want my name.” He said, “Do you want to come over, make my dinner every night, and fix my bed? Because I’m an old Italian. That’s what it means to me.” I said, “No, I don’t want to do that.” He said, “Do you want to come over on Friday afternoons when the boys roll up playing cards with me and serve us snacks and everything?” I said, “No.” He said, “What about the Super Bowl?” I said, “You’re out of your mind.” He said, “Do you want to live with me?” I said, “No.” He said, “You’re a girl who’s big on justice, what’s in it for me?” I said, “That’s true.” He said, “Besides, I thought you wanted to be an effin’ writer.”
It sounds like you’re soulmates and it’s such an amazing love story, but you mentioned that you had totally different belief systems. I wanted to ask you more about that.
As he was growing up, he probably had diabetes or something, but his father went nuts. As a little kid, he was afraid. His mother had to have his father locked up and stuff like that. He went nuts in a way that he was evangelical. Mario was anti-religious of any kind. He had a belief in the goodness of humanity that he believed that people were good and did bad things. He didn’t give us power over any other belief.
In fact, I said to him one time when we were wheeling him in for heart surgery or something, “If you have a near-death experience, would you tell me what it was?” He said, “Okay.” As they wheeled him back out again afterward, I said to him, “Mario, did you have it?” He said, “I did.” I said, “What was it?” He said, “It was a mountain of mashed potatoes with chickpeas and gravy all over coming out of the sky like black swallows.” I said, “You’re a lunatic. That’s not heaven.” He said, “It’s my idea of heaven.”
His heaven with a nice bottle of red wine.
I had never had a relationship that was easy. I’ve never had a relationship that made me more. The men I was married to before were good men, but they didn’t have enough personal power. It’s me trying to make myself better, always competing to be better myself, got misinterpreted as me competing with them. They were always thinking I didn’t like them or I was fighting with them. I’m not saying I’m not a witch. I’m a witch because I can be, but I wasn’t most of the time I was with Mario. I told you some of his tricks. I’d say something and he’d misinterpret it or something and I have a fit.
He’d say, “You’d give me a heart attack.” I said, “Don’t pull that emotional bullshit on me.” He said, “No, I’m serious. I feel pain. Please tell it to me again in another way because sometimes, people can’t hear things in one way, but they can hear them in another way.” I’d repeat it and he’d look sincere and he’d say, “You’re getting closer because I heard more this time than I did last time,” and then he’d ask me to repeat it again. By the time I got to the sixth time, I couldn’t even remember what I was mad about. I was laughing at him and he was laughing at me.
He said, “What is the problem then?” I said, “The problem is when you don’t answer, I feel invisible. I would rather have you disagree than not answer because otherwise, I feel invisible.” We worked things out like that. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a shadow, both of us, because one time, we were fighting about something and he was a humble man. He was always like that. I said to him in the middle of this fight, “The flipside of your humility is arrogance.”
I went to the bathroom and slammed the door. He stood outside the bathroom and he said, “The flipside of your arrogance is just more arrogance.” I remember laughing because I thought to myself, “Neither of us ever had to back down. One win was a win for both of us.” When he was awful and I would go on this diatribe of telling him all the things he did to hurt my feelings or whatever, he would just look at me at the end of it and he would say, “You are worthy of me.”
Michelle, do you have a question?
First of all, I’ve read The Godfather at least twice. I’ve known this for years. It’s likely my favorite book of all time.
He was so thrilled, Michelle, that women like that book. He fought so hard with Francis Coppola in the movie about any of the things that were bad for women. I was with him a lot of the time after that.
A couple of things. It’s interesting to me that he wrote about such darkness because we all have a balance and we have each side in us. That’s how we got out of that side of him because you described him as such a good man and wanting to do good, so I find that fascinating. Also, just off the cuff when you said wordsmith, it was in my head. I don’t know why I’m even mentioning it, but I find that wild. I want to know, what was his reference for writing The Godfather? It wasn’t his world as you described. How did he know so much?
This is what he said. He said, “It was a family story. It was an Olympian myth, Carol. It was the Titans and the Olympians.” He researched and I have boxes of his researches on The Valachi Papers and all that other stuff. I have all his old mafia research books and stuff. What he said is that it is more difficult to make goodness exciting. He said, “It takes a writer with real skills I don’t have.” He always wanted to be a literary man and he wrote a book called The Fortunate Pilgrim about his mom, which is close to an autobiography, but it’s one of the best women’s books I’ve ever read.
He had a well-integrated, feminine aspect, and he was smart. I could talk to him about archetypes. I asked him one time, “What is it about me that you find so fascinating?” He said, “Because you’re like Sheherazade. You start one story and then you leave me waiting for the next story. That’s how the Arabian Nights happened in One Thousand and One Nights.” As far as what you were saying about that, his favorite was the King Arthur and knights and stuff like that. With his skills, he felt like it was his purpose, if you would, to expose the darkness because it was easy. He had said, “A writer has to be able to do that because in our day now that we’ve made all crime because of psychology and eccentricity or neurosis there is evil in the world and it takes a writer to see it.”
I think about swimming with the fishes and going to the mattresses, Luca Brasi’s depth of his will was so real for a person who knew nothing about that life.
He’s 35 years old before he wrote The Godfather. He wanted to be a literary man. Finally, he realized he had to feed his family and stuff like that. He said, “That’s when I came upon my real gift as a storyteller.”
Carol, you’ve also written many books and you worked on a book with him at the end that you finished?
I finished his book called The Family, which was a book about the Borgias. You would love this. I said to him, “I didn’t know a lot of history. I went to Catholic school. They don’t teach a lot of history.” What happened was we were talking about Lucrezia Borgia one day and I said, “She was such a witch, wasn’t she? She killed people. She slept with a brother. She did all these kinds of things.” He said, “No, Carol. Lucrezia wasn’t a bad girl. She was a good girl just out of her time and she was put in a terrible position.” I thought to myself, “Anybody who thinks Lucrezia Borgia is a good girl, I can hang out with them. What can I do?”
I finished that two weeks before he died. I used to read all his stuff to edit it and say to him, “What do you mean by this? Why did they do this?” In one of his later books, he had one of the daughters being one of the heads and her brother said something to her and she cried. She’s the head of a whole bank institute and stuff. He said, “Why? What did she do?” I said, “She’d say, ‘Fuck you, sorry,’ and do her own thing.” He said, “Okay.” He would take some of the stuff I said. We had been working on that book, talking about it anyhow for a good fifteen years because his lawyer was a big historian. He loved the Medicis and the Borgias because he said the popes were the first dons and they were the greatest dons of all.
He was always afraid to move away from his genre at that time because it’s like Coke making jeans. It doesn’t travel well. He tried a couple of other books that were good like The Fourth K. It was a book about America’s arrogance and winding up with a fascist president. They buried that book that quick. It didn’t have any legs because it wasn’t his genre. Two weeks before he died, he pulled out the manuscript. He gave it to me and he said, “I want you to finish this.” He had always said that he would never collaborate until after it was good, so I knew what he was saying. I said, “I can’t do it.” He said, “I’ve taught you all. I know you can do it. Do it for me.” I said, “Okay.” That’s what happened.
In fact, girls, you will love this. When he was sick, the only thing we used to listen to all the time was Andrea Bocelli singing because he used to help the pain in his legs. He had neuropathy. We would sit after we both worked and we would listen to Andrea singing. I said to him, “If he ever comes in concert, I would love to see him.” He said to me, “I thought you hated concerts.” I said, “I know, but I love him. I love his courage. I love his purpose. I love that he doesn’t fall into the orchestra when he’s playing it, even though we can’t sing. It’s trusting God. He rides a horse into the water. I just love him.” He said, “I promise you. If ever I have no pain and I can hear well again and see well again, I will take you to that concert.”
The day I was on the Today Show, Ann Curry was interviewing me for The Family once I finished the book and The Family came out. The reason I didn’t put Mario Puzo and Carol Gino is because I wanted it to say completed by, so we didn’t have to have a partner and you didn’t have to have a collaboration with them. I was on the Today Show before my interview, what happened is I was standing in the kitchen, so I could see the stage because Destiny’s Child was supposed to be on. I took my daughter with me and they sent a limo and stuff. I went up and I was having tea. I was looking out the window and it was right on the stage. At the last minute, the producer came in and she said, “I’m sorry. Destiny’s Child isn’t going to be on.” She said, “We have Andrea Bocelli.”
I knew that was coming. That’s fantastic.
I was looking out the window. I had front row seats and it was Andrea Bocelli. I did the interview and I’m crying while she was interviewing me.
Carol, if people want to contact you, I know that you are doing one-on-ones and you’re involved in so many different things, perhaps you’re writing another book.
CarolGino.com. You can get me at [email protected]. Check out my website because I have a lot of stuff going on. I have decided that it is important now before they start making us artificial that women start to tell their stories. There are no ordinary lives. We are all so special. If God gives us breath, our stories are worth something. Most of our history has been written by men. Let’s tell our stories. Let’s be the women who write on the doors and on the walls of the cave. Historically, when they look back, they hear our voices. Let’s give voice to the voiceless because it is time. I’m starting a group and I’d love it if you join this because I’m building it out to a virtual campus. It’s called Soul Star Academy on Facebook. I’m going to have places and virtual buildings for us to do everything.
We’ll be there. Thank you for sharing your story with us, which is beautiful and inspirational. You are totally resilient. I love how open you are and vulnerable you are with your stories. Thank you for joining us on Grateful Goddesses.
Thank you, Karen. Everybody should know soul spirit has their back because it’s as dopey as I was. Remember, they got me through lung cancer, two strokes, a burglar, a dead baby grandchild, and two divorces. They had my back all along. Rachel, I looked at the signs and I didn’t even know what they meant at the time. I said, “God, for whatever I don’t know, my intention is good. Just throw down an arrow and I’ll follow it.” That’s how my whole life went.
Welcome, everybody, to Favorite Things portion of Grateful Goddesses. It’s like an adult show and tell. I’ll start. In our hallway up towards the office, we have a whole bunch of old photos of family members. Some who have passed on and some who are still here. I had my mom when she was little and my dad when he was younger. I love these because there aren’t many photos of them when they’re younger.
They look a lot like my kids when they were younger, which is cool to see, especially my mom’s nose is like my daughter’s nose. My son looks like my dad when he was younger. I love old photos. I do ask the ones who have passed. Whenever I walk up to the office, I say hi and I say, “How are you? What message do you want to send me?” I don’t always get an answer. Maybe I need to surrender a little bit or listen to the ringing and ask what that is. I do welcome and say hi to them, so that’s nice for me and it’s one of my favorites. Rachel, what did you bring?
I have beautiful hand-woven bags and they were woven by my husband’s brother who lives in a community called Camphill Soltane and they have a store called Entwine where you can buy things. They make candles, clothing and bags, and it supports their community. I bought things in the past, but my husband is like, “We need to remember Entwine when we’re giving gifts to people to support the community.” We talked about this on Grateful Goddesses all the time. We love to give gifts, so it was a nice reminder. I carry these bags all the time and I’m wearing my new bracelet. Thank you, Karen.
You’re welcome. It was Rachel’s birthday. Michelle, what did you bring?
That’s funny because speaking about birthday presents. I got incredibly smelling roses for my birthday from our dear friend, Karen. I’ve never seen anything like this. They’re supposed to last up to a year. I wish you could smell them. I’m telling you, it’s phenomenal. There’s a little drawer that you can put things in if you want. I just leave it on my desk. I love flowers. I’m wanting to surround myself with flowers. Karen, of course, thank you. I love them.
I wanted to send you flowers each month because you deserve to have flowers. We all deserve to have flowers all the time, but I decided I looked up flowers that last a year which I didn’t think there was such a thing. You just plugged it in. It came up and they’re preserved. It’s like when you preserve a dead person. I don’t know. I’m glad they look pretty. Alyssa, what did you bring?
Those are beautiful, by the way. I always love having flowers when I can behind me. In light of our conversation about The Godfather, in particular, I’m going to plug a series that I loved and finally, I made it through the first five seasons. It’s called Peaky Blinders. It’s on Netflix. The actors are incredible and the story is cool. It takes place back in post-World War I. We move into the ‘20s. It’s about an Irish mob family and their battles with other gangs.
The Italian-New York mafia make an appearance for quite a while in one of those seasons. I was reminded of that in this conversation. I love it. It does take a little bit of time for me to start to understand some of the thick accents so subtitles are recommended when watching. It’s great. It’s an interesting almost slice of history. They are in England, but they’re a gypsy Irish family back in the ‘20s. It’s cool. It’s highly recommended.
I do need another show for sure. Another one of my favorite podcasts is That’s Myrony with Alysha and she’s here as one of the Featured Goddesses. What did you bring to share?
Thank you for that, Karen. Part of my story, Carol, as you know we’ve got to be authentic and we just have to share. I publicly went on my friend’s podcast, Sense of Soul and I told about my spiritual experience. They came out on 2-22-21. I had this experience where I don’t know how to explain it, but I seriously spent 24 hours with God or whatever you want to call God. I bought a little sign three days before and I intuitively bought it with a whole bunch of other items. It says, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” It’s funny because I moved to a new place and I put it up and I was like, “My background.” It’s a little bit different so I thought that was perfect as my favorite thing.
Thanks for sharing that and for being here, Alysha. Carol, what did you bring?
You’re going to laugh. I have so much stuff that I could say my favorite things because I’m obsessive, but I’m also Italian. The thing I love next to writing is cooking and this is the best thing that you will ever buy in your whole life. It is $39 on Amazon. It is a Cuisinart chop and grind. It’s light. This is how I make shrimp salad or chicken salad. I take an onion, celery, chicken or shrimp, mayonnaise, and I just throw it all there and turn it on, and then it’s done.
I hate to say this but something’s coming in and saying don’t stick your hand in there. Could that be Mario? I don’t know.
Who even knows?
Don’t chop and grind by parts. That’s awesome. We definitely will try that. Thank you for coming on Grateful Goddesses and sharing your time with us.
Tell your stories. Nobody is living an ordinary life. There is no ordinary. We’re all unique.
Thank you, Carol.
- Carol Gino
- Soul Star Academy – Facebook group
- The Godfather
- Harvard Classics
- Mixed Blessing
- That’s Myrony
- The Sicilian
- Me & Mario
- The Fortunate Pilgrim
- One Thousand and One Nights
- The Family
- The Fourth K
- Andrea Bocelli
- [email protected]
- Sense of Soul
About Carol Gino
Carol Gino, RN, MA, has been a nurse, author, and teacher for many years. She has worked in all areas of nursing including the Emergency Room, Intensive Care, the Burn Unit, Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Hospice Care for the terminally ill.
Currently, through coaching one-on-one with individual clients, her Masters in Transpersonal Studies allows her to focus on new modalities for healing, changes in consciousness, and cross-cultural healing.
Carol is the author or co-author of over 8 books, including Los Angeles Times and New York Times bestsellers. She’s also created several products and online programs for Nurses, Writers and those seeking their Higher Guidance.
Carol is the founder of Soul Star Academy where soul development meets the art of storytelling. She also has courses in the Carpentry of Writing as taught to her by Mario Puzo author of the Godfather with whom she had a long-term relationship until he died in 1999. They learned all about Life Love Power and Writing from each other.
Carol has been a keynote speaker at several events and continues to spread her soul wisdom on podcasts, radio shows, summits, workshops, virtual classes, and more!