Reviews written by Diane Holcomb
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An extension of Scully’s book Alchemical Healing, which focused on healing the self and others, Planetary Healing tackles transformation on a global scale. Shamanic healer Nicki Scully and visionary Mark Hallert offer a series of processes to empower the reader in becoming a spiritual activist, from clearing away fear, to working with the electromagnetic field, fighting environmental toxins, and collectively transforming cancer cells. An accompanying CD includes a guided journey for “Making Spirit Medicine,” a fundamental step in the journey.
Bill McKibben, bestselling author of The End of Nature, has written a book that could be mistaken for a fictional disaster story if it weren’t entirely factual. From the impact of carbon burning to the melting of the Arctic ice cap, with rising temperatures, storms, floods, drought and food crises, Eaarth presents the sobering reality of our new world, a planet that is still earth-like, but is now “…less the oasis and more the desert.” McKibbens explains why these events, which may have happened ordinarily, have now spiraled out of control, and how much worse it will get if we don’t take steps now to live “lightly, carefully, gracefully.” He wraps it up by pointing out the positive changes in effect now, ending with a hopeful vision of societies that focus on the essentials, and communities that band together in order to survive.
Can you imagine a baby bobcat nuzzling up to a fawn? Or a kitten grooming an iguana? How about a hippo and a pygmy goat getting into mischief together? Animals and humans have the ability to form strong bonds, but what about two animals of different species? From pit bulls and chicks to doves and monkeys, science writer Jennifer Holland explores the reasons why nonhuman species link up. Is it friendship? The desire for comfort or a warm body? Protection? Or is it a case of need, as with the blind Lab and her “seeing eye” cat? Whatever the reasons, Holland discovered that these animals were better off for their pairings. The stories in this book will open your heart, and the photos will have you saying, “awww.”
If you loved The Alchemist, you’ll enjoy Coelho’s latest mystical novel. Set in the present-day reality of a teetering economy, religious wars, and a dismal job market, Aleph is the story of a man suffering a crisis of faith, who has lost his joy in life despite professional success. On the advice of his Master and the urging of his publisher, Paulo embarks on a spiritual odyssey and book-signing tour through Europe to Asia via the Trans-Siberian Railway, reconnecting with a woman he loved and betrayed five hundred years before. As they travel through time, space, and within the Aleph—“the point at which everything is in the same place at the same time”—he frees himself from past misdeeds, finds redemption and rediscovers his true destiny.
What if your life was an adventure every day? Short of scaling mountains or trekking through the wilderness, you can still experience a sense of adventure in your job, relationships, play, and day-to-day activities by thinking big, seeing the world through the lens of possibility, and embracing the unknown. Mountaineer Matthew Walker helps others reconnect to their potential through outdoor experiences, and in Adventure in Everything he shares the five elements that are integral to his work: seeking a high endeavor, embracing uncertain outcomes, committing to a chosen endeavor, tolerating adverse situations, and the value of great companionship. Equipped with the tools, tips and adventuresome stories he offers, you’ll learn to apply Walker’s principles to enliven a dull relationship, venture into a new career, or dust off an old dream.
There’s no escaping it: as long as you live, you will encounter hardship. But you are not alone in your suffering. In A Lamp in the Darkness, spiritual teacher Jack Kornfield offers mindful practices and guided meditations to reconnect you to the calm, wise part of yourself, “the one who knows,” who is always there and aware, who doesn’t take things personally, who accepts all that is—the unshakeable spirit within who has the strength, insight and love to get you through any difficulty. The lamp represents the wisdom and humanity and courage and compassion of those who have passed before, those who have survived their difficulties and grown stronger as a result. Kornfield, whose books include The Wise Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, warns the reader that the practices in these pages and on the accompanying CD are not quick-fixes, they are the tools for “doing the work of the soul.” Sprinkled with inspirational messages and stories throughout, the lessons herein will lighten your load and enlighten your soul.
“If you talked to others the way you talk to yourself, you would have few friends,” state the authors in the book’s introduction. We have a constant stream of commentary in our heads, much of it self-critical, which shapes our identity. Steve Flowers, founder of the mindfulness-based stress reduction program at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, and Bob Stahl, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, offer a path to break free from feelings and thoughts of inadequacy and open our hearts to the loving-kindness within and around us. Based on concepts from Western and Buddhist psychology, the mindful practices in this book help us uproot the cause of the fictional stories we create about ourselves, defuse judgment, be a witness to our emotions without getting hijacked by them, and cultivate compassion for ourselves and others. The authors lead us step by step from simple practices to meditations that provide deeper insight, and a more formal practice that we can continue on our own. This book is a journey, one to be experienced and savored.
We all crave happiness, but do we know what it is our soul desires, how to attain it, or find satisfaction and fulfillment if we don’t? This book presents a process to navigate through these challenges, drawing on ancient yogic traditions that claim we have four desires:
- The desire to become who we were meant to be
- The desire for the means (money, health, security) to fulfill our purpose
- The desire for pleasure
- The desire for spiritual realization and ultimate freedom
In The Four Desires, Rod Stryker, considered one of the top yoga and meditation teachers in the country, provides techniques to help us pinpoint our specific longings and develop a life strategy to realize our full potential. Presented like a live seminar, each chapter includes specific exercises, real-life examples, a meditation practice and a yoga pose that embodies the theme of the discussion. Stryker provides the knowledge we need and invites us to apply it.
While meditating at Mt. Shasta, author, counselor and spiritual teacher Jonathan Parker experienced a vision of light that he knew was the light of his soul, a transformational encounter that led him to develop a series of practices and meditations to enable access to this connection on a daily basis. In The Soul Solution, the author guides the reader step-by-step to a deeper relationship with the soul, tapping into the divine qualities of love, peace, kindness, compassion, joy, bliss, and healing. We learn to move beyond fear and the ego to experience the deeper spiritual truths and guidance the soul offers. Call it an epiphany, enlightenment or euphoria, the soul’s awakening is available to everyone—regardless of spiritual beliefs—and the results of this connection, as the author points out, range from relaxing to healing to miraculous. Included are links to free downloads of the author reading some of the meditations in the book.
Max Strom teaches that a life worth breathing is one where we are connected to our spirit, living a life fulfilled. A widely-recognized yoga and spiritual teacher, Strom experienced a profound transformation through the practice of yoga at the age of thirty-five, and went on to teach a method that incorporates the postures of Hatha Yoga, breathing, and meditation, with the wisdom from the teachings of Buddhism, Sufism and Taoism. His Three Pillars of Transformation is a system designed to integrate the body, mind and emotions. “Nearly all or our problems,” he says, “stem from chaos in one or more of these parts of ourselves.” He discusses the importance of setting a daily intention, and offers exercises to help us identify our purpose, reassess our life, and reconnect with our soul.
In The Intention Experiment Lynne McTaggart demonstrated how our thoughts can affect changes in our life and throughout the world. In The Bond she writes about the space between individuals as the glue that holds us together, and states that by embracing this connection to others and our environment we can heal our relationships, unify our neighborhoods and live in a harmonious world. As quantum physicists now recognize, we’re not “separate things jostling around in empty space,” but part of an energy system that transfers information with its environment. McTaggart suggests that our biological makeup is designed to connect, not to compete, as our behavior may indicate. She provides examples of holistic thinking and behavior, offers recommendations to help us wire together to achieve common goals, and demonstrates how a group of fair-minded individuals can change a society of self-centered people into one of cooperation and partnership. East West Bookstore, Mountainview is pleased to announce a special event with Lynne McTaggart on July 24, 2011. Call now to reserve a seat!
Drawing on modern science, as well as ancient Eastern traditions and the authors’ own personal experience as practitioners and teachers, Meditation offers the techniques and understanding to deeply experience meditation. Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson offer a comprehensive step-by-step plan for a mindfulness-based stillness meditation and explain how to build a daily practice. This book is suitable for those just beginning a meditation practice, for long-time meditators who want to deepen their experience, and as a valuable resource for those who teach meditation to others. (Reviewed by Marilyn, East West Seattle).
“If you feel worn out,” states Master Stephen Co, “this book will help you.” In The Power of Prana, the author of Your Hands Can Heal You explains the reasons behind our low energy. He describes our energetic anatomy and offers a series of simple but potent practices designed to unblock the repressed emotions that leave us feeling run down, depressed, tense, anxious, and stressed. Based on the Pranic Healing work of Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui, these Nine Energizing Breaths, practiced ten minutes daily, combine breathing, stretching, tensing, and simple movements to increase our life force and leave us feeling full of vitality. Included are dietary tips and advanced practices to enhance purification and sustain energy.
Lifelong clairvoyant Doreen Virtue is an expert in the realm of angels, and her prayer is that we all discover the peace that comes from connecting to our divine guardians. Saved by an Angel is a compilation of encounters by ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences with these “messengers of God,” and includes the best stories from her previous Angel Visions and Angel Visions II, plus brand-new material designed to heighten our awareness to the divine experiences in our lives. In this book we meet people who have seen, heard and felt angels through meditation, dreams, via a stranger, an intuitive feeling, or with their physical eyes, and we learn step-by-step instructions on how to have our own encounter with angels. East West presents an evening with Doreen Virtue on July 6 at 7:00 P.M. This event is already sold out!
Karen McCall, co-founder of the Financial Recovery Institute, writes a guide that goes beyond the typical financial planning how-to book, a program that has us examine our behavior around money, uproot and change self-defeating habits, and explore the belief systems that prevent us from having the life we envision. She offers tools to track our spending, earning and saving habits, and a chapter on creating an individual financial plan that meets our needs—starting from where we are. Whether we’re on a fixed income, entangled in a family inheritance, over our heads in debt or just starting out on our own, here are the tools to help us manifest our financial well-being. East West presents a lecture and workshop with Karen McCall on June 17 and 18.
When Geneen Roth, bestselling author of Women Food and God, lost her life savings in the Bernie Madoff scandal, it became a wake-up call to examine her spending habits and beliefs about money. In the same way that food is used to assuage unconscious emotional turmoil, our behavior with money can be a form of self-protection. “The way we eat is the way we spend,” she points out. She found herself swinging between binge shopping and financial self-deprivation, spending more but gaining less satisfaction, and equating money with love, success and happiness. Applying the tools she used to overcome overeating, she relates, in her humorous and sometimes unsettling way, how she transformed her relationship with personal finances and discovered what she truly valued.
Dr. Seligman begins by promising that this book will help us flourish in life. He backs up this statement with science and the stories of those who have benefitted from his approach to building a life worth living. Happiness is only a part of the equation. We also need meaning, love, engagement, self-esteem, resilience, optimism, accomplishment, and positive relationships. Drugs may provide relief from symptoms, but Dr. Seligman’s well-being theory offers a cure, and he suggests that educators and parents should teach these skills to the world. He gives examples of using resilience training with the military, and well-being training with children and corporations. The exercises in the book are designed to help readers create their own fulfilling life. The author of Authentic Happiness and Learned Optimism, Dr. Seligman is the leader of the Positive Psychology movement.
Samuel Avery, a long-time meditator, is neither a Buddhist nor a physicist; yet he blends science with Buddhism to explain consciousness in a way that is mind-bending. In scientific and spiritual terms he illustrates the connection between meditation and physics. A quantum of energy, he explains, is a piece of time, space and mass squeezed together to form a particle of consciousness. This particle exists deep inside our brains and is “seen” in meditation. It also exists in the universe outside of our selves. Avery shares his personal understanding of Quantum meditation, of seeing in space the way that Buddhists see inside the body, using language that is at times poetic: “Self is thought that curves thought.” This slim volume packs a lot of thought-provoking ideas between its pages.
We all carry the capacity to create healing, influence events and produce miracles. Otherwise know as “mojo,” this authentic magic is available to each of us if we know how to awaken it. In Flying Drum, Bradford Keeney, professor, mojo doctor and licensed therapist, gives real examples of his healing and transformational work with patients and others using authentic magical objects. He shares stories of mojo, and offers his prescriptions for bringing this magic into our own lives.
For those seeking direction, facing a challenge, dealing with change, or stuck in the same old, same old, Dan Millman offers practical steps for living a meaningful life. After decades of spiritual exploration, the author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior discovered four primary purposes to fulfillment. These include learning from life’s lessons, finding a meaningful career and calling, discovering one’s life path and living fully in the present moment. Drawing on ideas from his previous books, Millman uses subconscious time travel, birth numbers and other techniques to helps us clarify our goals and transform our everyday life into one of meaning and purpose.
Eldon Taylor spent over 25 years researching the power of the mind and has written over 300 books on the subject. In his latest, he reveals how we are being programmed every day: through the media, advertisers, politicians, religion, peer pressure, and so on—and he poses the question: What if our thoughts, beliefs and values were all wrong? What if we could peel away the layers of conditioning and discover our authentic self? Chapter by chapter, he shows us how. The author challenges us with “what if?” situations, asks thought-provoking questions, and encourages us to take an unflinching look at our minds in order to wake up to our own truth.
The Academy Award-winning actress and bestselling author of Out on a Limb reveals all the things she is so over dealing with at this stage in her life, and a few that don’t matter so much anymore. In her forthright and humorous manner MacLaine offers up thoughts on a variety of subjects including politics, ill-mannered youth, romance, vanity, going to funerals, bravery, organized religion, Africa, the Russian soul, Hitchcock, Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. An entertaining read that tells it like it is from one woman’s seasoned viewpoint.
Drawing on literature from the world’s great spiritual traditions, this anthology is a call to faith and a call for service. The “readings” are divided into sections that ask three questions: Why do I Serve? Whom do I Serve? and How do I Serve? Dip in, and you’ll discover teachings from the Dalai Lama, Isaiah, and the Bhagavad Gita. Poems by Walt Whitman, Hafiz, and Thich Nhat Hanh. Essays from Anne Lamott and Nietzsche. Stories from Flannery O’Connor and William Trevor. The writings of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln. And this is just the beginning. There is much to reflect upon in this volume, and an appendix which offers questions to stimulate interfaith discussions.
At the beginning of 2010, River Jordan decides to offer one heartfelt prayer every day to a complete stranger. This critically-acclaimed author doesn’t set out to have a New Year’s resolution; she is focused on her two sons being deployed, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan. But the idea niggles at her as she struggles with her sons’ leaving. When she fails to track down a child that she overhears being abused in the next stall over in the restroom at a ski resort, she prays for the tiny soul. Thus begins her resolve: a prayer a day. Here are the stories of the random people who cross her path that she chooses to pray for, and how the author’s experiment in kindness and spiritual enlightenment opens her eyes to the human condition, our need for each other, and how one tiny act can make a difference.
Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph Lelyveld offers a vivid portrait of Gandhi the man, from prosperous lawyer in South Africa sporting business attire, to India’s social and political leader clad in a loincloth. A man whose convictions were shaped in one continent and tested in another. A man who came to be revered as a Great Soul, or Mahatma, by an India for whom he felt conflicted. Here is an inspirational telling of Gandhi’s achievements, disappointment and failures, and the events that shaped his mission to protect the rights of minorities and create harmony between Muslims and Hindus.
The 120 techniques in this book, which take only minutes a day, are designed to help anyone, at any time, feel happier, healthier, and less stressed. These easy meditations are suited to those who are new to the practice, or experienced practitioners who are seeking new techniques. The reader is invited to turn directly to a section that addresses their specific needs, or visualize a desire, open the book at random and point to a page. You’ll find techniques to:
Relieve Computer-Related Tension
Boost Your Immune System
Heal Hidden Issues with Chakra Light
Erase Negative Thinking
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Heal the Planet
…and many more!
A cancer survivor, Deborah King, author of Truth Heals, reminds us that we are all natural-born healers, or shamans. This book is a guide to further develop our abilities to heal ourselves, and the energies of others, by using ancient techniques that King learned from healers around the globe. She explains what energy medicine is and how it works. She offers exercises and healing techniques to clear blocked energy, release past traumas, protect ourselves from psychic attack, connect with spiritual guides and bring about harmony with the sacred energy of life. Lastly, she discusses the ups and downs of walking the path of a Shaman.
A survivor of a rare kind of lymphoma, Mark Nepo now devotes his life to writing and teaching about inner transformation. In his latest book he defines courage in terms of facing things: ourselves, our demons, each other and the unknown. Living from our core, he writes, is what courage is all about, and without this we pass our suffering on to others. He describes how to summon small essential braveries, to “choose aliveness over woundedness, to remember what matters when we forget…to choose compassion over judgment and love over fear…to give up what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.” He shares stores of ordinary people displaying courage in remarkable ways, hoping that these stories will inspire us to stand in our own center and find peace.
Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chogyam Trungpa, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Susan Smalley, Pema Chodron and a host of others contribute to this anthology of the best writing on the power of mindfulness in daily life. Leading psychologists, scientists, artists and meditation teachers share their experiences of mindfulness, explain what it is, describe its benefits to health and healing, offer instructions for practice and give examples of how to incorporate mindfulness into our lives and society. Contents include Why Mindfulness Matters, Digital Mindfulness, Your Mind and Your Money, Sickness is Like the Weather, and A Mindful Consumer Can Help Change the World.
At last, an illuminating guide that explains why hormones become unbalanced, and the lifestyle changes women can make to bring them back into harmony. Doctor of Oriental Medicine Claudia Welch applies her background in Eastern and Western medicine to the treatment of hormone imbalance. She begins with an analysis of the different types of hormones and their effects on our bodies, and explains how stress can increase or decrease their yin or yang qualities, causing symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, bloating, irregular cycles, weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. Dr. Welch discusses the dangers of hormone replacement therapy, the pros and cons of bio-identical hormones, and Eastern medical treatments for breast health, menstrual or menopausal difficulties, heart health, and osteoporosis. Her approach of dietary and lifestyle changes, along with stress-busting practices, is her recommended first-line of treatment to bring our hormones, and our lives, back into balance.
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