Reviews written by Diane Holcomb
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In his wildly popular book Clutter Busting, Brooks Palmer taught us how to let go of what no longer serves us in our homes, offices and in our lives by asking the question, “Is this of value to me, or can I get rid of it?” Now this professional clutter buster brings his techniques and humor to the area of relationships—to ourselves and others—and “how clutter intrudes, distorts, and diminishes these connections.” He shines a light on the armor we build to avoid pain that ultimately disconnects us from ourselves and buffers us from others, and shares examples of real people letting go. He discusses the clutter of control, of unhealed emotions, of attachments to past relationships and connections to current ones that are toxic. Throughout, he offers exercises to assist us in making room for ourselves and others, and finishes up with tips on how to work with a partner, co-worker or friend in de-cluttering shared space.
Debilitated by the cancer that she tried to deny, Debbie Ford realized that the universe was sending her a powerful message to focus on her health and her life. In Courage, the successful spiritual teacher and bestselling author opens up about the many ways she has felt disempowered, and how her illness taught her to align with her true warrior self. She calls on us to embrace our flaws, weaknesses, fears and shame, to stand up for who we are and what we desire, and to “be willing to go face-to-face with that which has made us feel weak, impotent, and unable to change.” She discusses how fear and courage affect our emotions and thoughts and drive our behavior, and guides us through seven codes of “the courageous love warrior,” designed to activate self-confidence and inner power. In revealing her own battle with fear, Ford motivates the reader with a passionate message to listen to your own voice, follow your divine instincts, and “transcend your old self-image and step into courage, strength, and confidence.”
Insulin Resistance, also known as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X, is a condition that occurs when the body produces too much insulin. This condition can happen for a variety of reasons: a diet that’s high in refined carbs, sugars or saturated fats; a sedentary lifestyle; being overweight; stress; high blood pressure; increased inflammation in the body; or genetic factors. To some degree it affects a whopping 80 percent of the population. To find out if you’re at risk, you might want to pick up a copy of this book and fill out the questionnaires. The answers will help you determine your degree of Insulin Resistance and the factors that contributed to it, and point you to a personalized plan for lasting health. Nutritionist Anthony Haynes, author of The Food Intolerance Bible, developed a program to reverse Syndrome X that includes diet, targeted supplements, and lifestyle changes. The benefits include safe and permanent weight loss, increased energy and alertness, improved memory, a younger-looking appearance, decreased risk of getting heart disease and cancer, lower blood pressure, and the author’s assurance that you’ll never get type II diabetes.
Susan Chapman uses the principles of mindfulness to guide us from a “me-first” to “we-first” approach to building and maintaining relationships. To make this process conscious, she uses the metaphor of a traffic light: green as a symbol for interacting with an open heart and mind, red as a reminder to stop and not press on when the communication has shut down, and yellow to pause, become aware of our feelings, and choose our reactions wisely before a shutdown happens. The author offers five keys to mindful communication—being present and available, listening, encouraging, unconditional friendliness, and selfless help. Anyone who seeks meaningful, effective connections with others personally and professionally will find much to practice and reflect upon in this book.
Clutter, for most of us, brings to mind an overflow of meaningless stuff filling our space. But what about the debris residing in our minds, hearts and lives that drain our energies—the judgments, distorted beliefs, self-doubts, toxic relationships, the hours spent plugged into technology, and so on? Barry Dennis offers mini-challenges to help us release these chotchkies, or meaningless trinkets, that squeeze our souls—starting with the unimportant junk we accumulate and moving on to negative body images, limiting words, neediness, and daily distractions—to name a few. He offers quizzes, “deep thoughts” to ponder, and an invitation to jump onto his website for virtual explorations to help us free the space for our soul spirits to emerge. Barry Dennis is a motivational speaker and founder of Celebration Church in Portland, Oregon, as well as Coexist Celebration, an interfaith movement designed to “create peace of mind and peace of planet.”
Growing up, Anita Moorjani tried to mold herself into what was expected of her by others and by her culture, causing emotional and psychological triggers that she believes contributed to a four-year battle with cancer that shut down her organs and nearly took her life. In a coma in the hospital, as doctors prepared Anita’s family for her imminent death, she left her body and experienced a life with no limits, a freedom from physical and emotional pain, an understanding of what caused her cancer, and a choice to return to the living. Dying to be Me, now a New York Times bestseller, chronicles her early years of suppressing her real self, her journey to death and back, and the miraculous healing that followed. In writing this inspirational memoir, she hopes to help others benefit from what she learned about healing and living “as a reflection of who we really are,” and experience the unconditional love that is within and around us always.
As a physician, teacher, and bestselling author, Chopra receives thousands of letters from people around the world seeking help in overcoming their problems. Whether the challenges relate to health, self-esteem, finances, the spirit, a grouchy spouse or an addicted child, Chopra has the answers, and he shares them in this book. “Real solutions to a crises come from expanded awareness,” he states. “Boundaries give way; fresh ideas have space to grow.” The first step, he explains, is to evaluate your level of awareness: contracted (the level of the problem), expanded (when answers begin to come), or pure (where problems are viewed as challenges given by your true self). By rising to a higher level than the problem, answers become clear. Chopra gives readers tips and techniques for creating solutions to their own problems in relationships, success, health and personal growth.
To be soul-centered is to “maintain a connection to the deepest part of you,” writes the author, “the part of you that is clear, peaceful, and aware in each moment.” Guided by your soul you become more accepting, calm, intuitive, secure, confident, compassionate, harmonious, happy, and able to make more conscious, “nourishing” choices. And her advice for the best way to get there? Through meditation. The 8-week lesson format that McLean offers holds a certain appeal, allowing the reader to focus on a specific theme each week—such as being in the moment, stressing less, communicating honestly, and focusing on what matters—while following the suggested practice schedule. You’ll learn meditation techniques and awareness exercises, read inspiring stories, and learn from the challenges that the author overcame in developing her own soul-centered connection. Former program director of The Chopra Center, Sarah McLean also worked for Gary Zukav and Byron Katie, and founded the Sedona Meditation Training Company.
The creative process doesn’t require a muse, according to Jonah Lehrer, author of How We Decide. Creativity is hard-wired into the mind, and this book tells readers how to access it. He explores the science behind the importance of the color blue, the ability of the brain’s right hemisphere to make associations between random thoughts, the clarity that comes with distance, how critique draws out the imagination, and the effectiveness of random conversation. You’ll see the process at work in organizations like Nike and Proctor and Gamble as they develop new slogans and products, in Bob Dylan’s burst of creativity after giving up songwriting, or as employees of Pixar Animation Studios generate ideas in a production meeting. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, this fascinating study will help you understand the process, overcome blocks and tap into your own inventiveness.
If you’ve dreamed of making money as a freelance writer but don’t know how to proceed, look no further than The Writer’s Workout. For a little over twenty dollars you have the benefit of what amounts to 366 days of private instruction (for those leap-day years) from a writing coach whose students “go from unpublished to published”. You’ll learn how to determine your audience and subject matter based on your passions and style, gather what you need to draft a piece, set a time limit on research, target appropriate publications, pitch your idea, develop a platform, get noticed, and submit your work—in easy-to-follow, doable steps. With Christina Katz’s super-organized system you won’t be spinning your wheels anymore. Here is a book to refer to repeatedly for advice, tough love and encouragement on your way to writing success.
The author of the phenomenal bestsellers The Secret and The Power continues her lessons on the law of attraction with The Magic. The magic you believed in as a child is real, she says, and the power to experience it is through the practice of gratitude, a common theme in major religions. By making heartfelt, genuine gratitude a way of life, Byrne claims that you will revolutionize your health, happiness, relationships, and prosperity. It takes repetition and time to develop a new habit, so she offers 28 “magical practices” to be done on consecutive days, either first thing in the morning, throughout the day or at night. From counting your blessings for things you already have, to focusing on what you desire, the practice of gratitude—at the very least—will have you appreciating all that is good in life.
In The Ultramind Solution, Dr. Hyman presented his six-week program to reverse inflammation in the body and brain due to diet, toxins, and unhealthy lifestyles. Now he takes on the battle of “diabesity,” a spectrum of health problems ranging from mild insulin resistance and obesity to type 2 diabetes, affecting one in two Americans. As founder of the UltraWellness Center, Dr. Hyman practices functional medicine to treat the root biological causes of illness. In The Blood Sugar Solution he offers quizzes to help readers assess their diabesity risk and discover the reasons behind their health issues, and tools to help rebalance blood sugar and insulin levels. His six-week plan includes diet recommendations, recipes, menus, recommended supplements and medication, exercise and stress-reducing tips, which tests to get done, and ways to reduce exposure to environmental toxins. He ends with a call to action for individuals and communities to “Take Back Our Health.”
With chapter titles like "Pluck the Arrow from Your Eye" and "See the World More Clearly," this book is a down-to-earth, humorous and serious but not-too-serious entryway to the principles of Tibetan Buddhism. Lodro Rinzler is a teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. He shares Buddhist wisdom in a manner that is accessible to readers who want to learn to live in the “now” with a bit more compassion and mindfulness, to change themselves and maybe the world too, but still “enjoy a good drink”. Topics include slowing down to fit in eating, sleeping, meditating and exercising; riding the ups and downs of life; practicing the discipline of virtue; making a difference in the world; using fortune cookie wisdom to experience compassion for others; examining the self; and contemplating death.
She taught us how to heal our lives. She founded Hay House, publishers of best-selling inspirational books, CDs and DVDs, and she lectures worldwide, helping people reach their full potential. In Heart Thoughts, Louise Hay’s love and wisdom is reflected in the glossy pages of this colorfully illustrated book, an uplifting collection of meditations, affirmations, and what she terms “spiritual treatments” designed to guide the reader through difficult times. Each page is a positive affirmation. No matter the challenge: employment, natural disasters family members, change, health, or fear of death, by reframing these and other difficulties in a positive way, we are able to release old habits and beliefs that no longer serve us and build a more harmonious life.
In The Soulmate Secret, Arielle Ford revealed her principles for attracting love. Now she lets readers in on her secret for sustaining that love for the long haul, through what she calls Wabi Sabi Love. The ancient Japanese art form of Wabi Sabi recognizes and honors the beauty in the imperfect. Applied to relationships, it means learning to love and appreciate all of the annoying, frustrating, less-than-ideal aspects of our partner—and ourselves—in order to create a union that thrives. By applying Wabi Sabi wisdom we learn to accept perceived flaws; diffuse negativity by instilling humor, humbleness and a generous heart; experience the other’s reality; turn conflict into connection; and make choices for the good of the partnership rather than the individual.
It’s hard to believe that A Wrinkle in Time almost didn’t make it into print. Madeleine L’Engle was ready to throw in the towel after receiving rejections from multiple publishers for over a year. She refused to take their advice to shorten the story, change the characters and make it more comprehensible to children. Thankfully, publisher John Farrar believed in the manuscript, and after receiving feedback that “…this is the worst book I have ever read. It reminds me of The Wizard of Oz,” he published it. Fifty years and generations of fans later, this anniversary edition includes Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech, and an afterword by the author’s granddaughter. Here is a story of compassion, knowledge, math and magic, featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and the three children who travel through time to find a missing father and defeat evil.
Back when she was sixteen, before earning her master’s from Yale and becoming a war correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sarah Stillman wrote a guide for girls just like herself who were seeking an understanding and appreciation of themselves. Now updated for the current crop of teens, Soul Searching offers tools to help overcome the problems of parental expectations, betrayal by friends, pressures to fit in, violence, internet bullies, and the challenges of living in a technology-obsessed society. Through yoga, meditation, feng shui, volunteering, dream interpretation and more, young women learn to overcome the negativity from without and within. Includes quizzes for self-exploration, activities to tap into inner wisdom, and inspiring examples of girls from around the world working together to overcome tough obstacles and stand tall inside their own skin.
A quarter century since the publication of Whitley Strieber’s horrifying and fascinating account of his alien abduction in Communion: The True Story, the bestselling author updates readers on how “the visitors” are connecting with us now. He explores their involvement in the increase of UFO sightings, alien abductions, crop circles, animal mutilations, near-death experiences and other unexplained phenomena, and what it all means to humanity. From the mysterious implant in his ear he received in 1989 that refuses to be removed, to the wave of alien encounters that others have experienced, the author blends science with experience and speculates on how these and other mysterious phenomena point to a new way of being that is beyond our current scientific knowledge.
Hay House is rolling out a line of fiction, penned by their top authors, beginning with a detective story co-written by Gay Hendricks—author of The Big Leap and Five Wishes—and screenwriter Tinker Lindsay. The First Rule of Ten is a crime story laced with Buddhist teachings, featuring private Investigator Tenzing Norbu, an ex-monk/ex-cop/Sherlock-Holmes-wannabe. Shortly after taking on his first case in Los Angeles, Detective Norbu breaks his first rule: “Don’t ignore intuitive tickles lest they reappear as sledgehammers.” What follows is a trio of dead bodies, a couple of bullet wounds and a lot of mayhem. A humorous whodunnit with a side of life lessons, this first installment in a three-book detective series is sure to entertain mystery lovers.
An expert in self-healing medicine, Dr. Mancini presents a program to boost your body’s innate healing potential in just 21 days. Each day of the program includes a nutritious menu that incorporates his top 25 healing foods, his recommendations on nourishing supplements, a daily exercise plan, and a self-healing thought. You’ll learn about the power of belief, trust, and a spiritual practice, and when to turn to complementary therapies. There’s no time like the present to build a healthy body for your future self.
In 2000, Jon Turk, a chemist-turned-adventurer, found himself in a remote village in Siberia balancing on one leg, naked, in front of a hundred-year-old shaman as she chanted to Kutcha the Raven God to mend his fractured pelvis. The Raven’s Gift tells the transformational journey of a man of science who is healed in ways that he can’t explain, and crosses the Siberian tundra in search of the spirit raven, camping with reindeer herders and recording their beliefs about life, death and beyond as he travels from the Real World to the Other World.
Twenty years ago Julia Cameron exploded on the scene with her internationally bestselling book The Artist’s Way, a twelve-week program of exercises and guidance designed to jump-start and maintain the creative process. The publisher now offers this groundbreaking book bound together with The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal as a special bargain-priced anniversary package. Anyone seeking to embrace their creativity in the New Year will find the inspiration and motivation needed within these two books, and through a handy interactive website tool.
Big efforts begin with small, simple steps, and in today’s frenetic world, taking even a few moments daily for a spiritual practice can add up to a lifetime of happiness. The Tao of Joy Every Day offers 365 Taoist concepts to lead you on a path to enlightenment. The practice is as easy as opening the book, reading the daily insight, and contemplating the questions as you go about your life. This volume is a lovely gift for spiritual readers, and anyone seeking to “observe the world with new eyes and experience life with new ideas.”
Dr. Weil is the go-to expert on integrative medicine for physical well-being, and he now offers an integrative model for balanced emotional health. He cautions that the way to happiness is not to seek it outside of ourselves, or to attempt to experience an ecstatic state all of the time, but rather to operate from a neutral foundation of contentment, serenity and comfort with spontaneous, or variable, changes in mood. Dr. Weil explores the meaning of emotional well-being, offers an overview of depression and the limits of pharmaceutical treatment and contrasts it with the emergence of integrative mental healing. His recommended scientifically-proven treatment strategies, presented in an-8-week program format, include nutrition, supplements, and therapies to care for the body, mind and spirit. If you are experiencing depression, or merely wish to improve your overall mood, the Doctor promises that after following his program for two months, “you will enjoy enhanced emotional well-being.”
“Enlightenment and liberation are not found in the Himalayas, nor in some ancient monasteries,” says renowned Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. “They are only found where you are.” Sharing the lessons he has gleaned from over forty years of practice and study, Kornfield teaches the reader to recognize that every aspect of life provides an opportunity for awakening. You’ll learn to quiet the mind through meditation, awaken your inner wisdom, and apply the principles of RAIN- Recognition, Acceptance, Investigation, and Nonidentification—-to transform your difficulties. He discusses dharma and politics, the art of conscious parenting, the spread of Buddhism into nonmonastic communities, the question of sex and drugs in a spiritual practice, and concludes with three short meditation practices. Augmented with personal stories and the wisdom of modern spiritual teachers, Kornfield’s wise and gentle teachings will help you bring the dharma home, and carry peace into the world through an open heart and free mind.
In today’s world, getting a good night’s sleep begins with turning off the gadgets. A parody on the classic bedtime story Goodnight Moon, this similarly illustrated book, written by the cleverly named Ann Droyd, is for anyone who is “hopelessly plugged in” and too wired to fall asleep.
It’s never been easier to get the recommended servings of vegetables in your diet without scrimping on taste. Using one pot and a limited amount of time, the recipes in this book will have you spooning up chunky soups, crunching through crispy salads, gorging on hearty casseroles and stews, and savoring curries and tagines in no time. From frittatas to ratatouille, thick lentil soup to Buddha’s Delight stir-fry, every recipe is accompanied by a mouth-watering color photo. Featuring cuisine from around the globe, this hardcover book is the perfect gift for the vegetarian on your list
How can you not fall in love with this dog? That’s what happens to Julie Klam, who, at the age of thirty, is single, unhappy in a job that doesn’t fit, and unlucky in finding Mr. Right. A prophetic dream leads her to adopt a Boston terrier, a classic, old-fashioned breed of canine, “a kind of Harold Lloyd as dog”. Their intense bond teaches Klam about love, health, and the give-and-take skills needed to succeed in a relationship. She eventually marries, has a daughter, becomes a successful freelance writer, acquires more dogs, and volunteers for a Boston terrier rescue group. Her humorous, endearing recollections of making room for, loving and letting go of the dogs in her life will resonate with anyone blessed with a pooch of their own.
Anthropologist Angeles Arrien devotes her latest book to the benefits of gratitude, and invites the reader to make deep appreciation a focal point for one full year. Her 12-month plan integrates the latest findings from social science with stories, prayers, teachings, and practices from cultures and traditions spanning the globe. With a chapter devoted to each month, you will explore how to overcome anger, envy and jealousy; acknowledge blessings, learnings, mercies, and protections; and discover the many benefits of giving thanks on a daily basis—including a stronger immune system, enhanced creativity, and improved relationships.
Wanting to deepen her connection to the Divine, Nan Fink Gefen became intrigued when she discovered that meditation was a part of her Jewish tradition. She now shares her experience and teachings in Discovering Jewish Meditation. She begins with a background on Jewish meditation, offers thirteen core meditations, discusses the challenges to incorporating the practice in your daily life, and presents examples of how to combine meditation with prayer and Jewish spiritual practices such as Shabbat. Let this book be your guide and support, whether just starting a meditation practice or already practicing, Jewish or non-Jewish, religious or not.
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