Reviews written by Diane Holcomb
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I wanted to allow plenty of time to read this book and write my review, but…well…I was in resistance. My "Ego-I" was evaluating the review before I even wrote it. The voices inside me were insisting that there wasn't enough time, that I waited too long to start, that I couldn't, or didn't want to write the review and therefore I was a failure. I was spending time not writing the review rather than writing it. How, and why does this happen? That's what this book will explain. The authors reveal the various forms resistance takes and how it operates, and offer methods to get us past the stuck places. If you're fed up with failing to relax more or eat better or start that exercise program or begin a meditation practice, this book will help you discover another way of being: choosing awareness, instead of resistance. Cheri Huber is the author of 21 books on Awareness Practice, including There is Nothing Wrong With You.
Animals live according to their innate patterns, doing what they do without question. But we humans try to find our way through trial and error. What if we had a map of our unique purpose and plan to act as a guide for living each day as we were designed to do, one that drew on our strengths, recognized our challenges, and uncovered the patterns that limit us? Your Hidden Symmetry reveals that map. Based on the ancient Chinese principles of balance and health, this book helps you: discover who you are, understand why you are attracting certain experiences, and navigate the waters so you're riding the waves instead of fighting the current. Affirmations by Louise Hay help you to align your energy to your current cycle of time. Jean Haner is also the author of The Wisdom of Your Face.
The dishwasher breaks, the dog goes missing, a child become ill, we're stuck in traffic, a loved one dies. Stuff happens, and our early conditioning determines how we react. Do we fall apart or bounce back? Our ability to be resilient when faced with everyday challenges is a powerful coping strategy, and psychotherapist Linda Graham offers the tools and techniques to react in healthy ways when stressors hit. You'll learn to remain calm, see clearly, ask for help, call on your competencies, and find the courage to persevere. She leads you through a series of exercises to help you reclaim your balance in the short term when disaster strikes, and overwrite old patterns of reacting for the long term, based on the practices of mindfulness and psychology. An informative and highly readable book, Graham offers a nice balance between the scientific explanation of what's happening in our brains, and stories of actual clients who have learned to rewire theirs for the better.
A direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, Reverend John Laurence was a modern mystic, world teacher, and founder of the Metaphysical Design for Living Church in San Francisco. His joyful spirit, humor and compassion are evident in every page of this book, a treasure trove of his talks compiled and edited by Elana Joan Cara. Based on the Psalms, these uplifting messages are universal and non-denominational. As a young man Reverend Laurence studied the lives of the saints, fascinated by their special powers. He reminds us that we are all a spark of the Infinite, capable of living like spiritual giants. In a straightforward and lively manner he offers guidance on how to return to our natural state of joyous light. This inspiring collection includes stories from the lives of saints East and West, and compelling discussions about life after death.
The beloved author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull is freedom-bound as he takes to the skies in a newly-purchased seaplane christened “Puff”. Before attempting the cross-country journey from Florida to his home in Washington state, the philosophical pilot practices short flights, getting the feel for this light aircraft that is skittish from crashes with previous owners. You’ll need to ride through the mechanical details of piloting a plane (just when you’ve had enough, Bach realizes it, too), but you’ll be rewarded with a view of life from the cockpit, stunning photographs taken by a fellow aviator piloting another SeaRey alongside, and choice Bach-isms like: there’s no disaster that can’t become a blessing. As Bach and Puff flirt with danger they come to trust each other, flexing their wings and overcoming fear. In typical fashion the author personifies inanimate objects, which I find delightful, but with the repetition of water landings and checking that the wheels are UP, I wonder if he’s foreshadowing a coming disaster. Travels with Puff is a “gentle-adventure” about spirit and the power of thought and taking risks and, of course, the lessons learned while trying to stay on course, as only Richard Bach can express.
To lead a happy and successful life we don’t need luck or intelligence or money; we need hope. That’s the premise of this book, written by a Gallup Senior Scientist and world’s leading expert on the psychology of hope. After studying the hope of millions of people Lopez discovered that hope is a choice; it can be learned and spread and it’s essential. You can put your own level of hope to the test by completing a questionnaire, then read on to discover the four core beliefs that the hopeful among us have in common. Taking inspiration from the stories of real people overcoming tough situations, and by following the author’s guidance on how to set effective goals, you’ll learn how to build confidence in a better future by dealing with obstacles, maintaining motivation during setbacks and enlisting support. In the final chapters he plants the seeds for growing “ripples of hope” to improve our world. This isn’t optimistic thinking; it’s using our learnable skills and efforts to bring about good things.
Rolling Thunder was a medicine man, visionary, activist and teacher who rose to fame in the 60’s and 70’s through his friendships with Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart. Devoted to preserving Native American traditions, Rolling Thunder drew on his knowledge of animal powers and nature to “doctor” others and the planet. He warned of global warming well before our current scientists got wind of it, and taught the necessity of restoring balance to ourselves first in order to save the earth. Now the wisdom of Rolling Thunder is available for all, gleaned from never-before-released talks in his own words, and stories from those who knew him well.
Stanley Krippner, co-author of the book, will give a presentation at East West on November 27.
Marc Allen uses the word magic to describe the power that creates something from apparently nothing, but you might call it intelligent design, science, God or whatever term makes you comfortable. In The Magical Path Allen offers the simple tools to unleash this powerful force. Through meditations, visualizations, affirmations, dreams, and other techniques, you’ll journey inwards to discover your ideal life and the doable steps to manifest this reality. Each chapter is an exploration; you’ll learn the art of healing, how to master time and money, the key to fulfilling relationships, and creating a world that works for everyone. Marc Allen is the author of numerous bestselling books, including The Millionaire Course and The Type-Z Guide to Success.
Impermanence and change and the anxiety they create are all part of the human experience. As Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi said, “Life is like stepping into a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink.” How do we learn to relax into the uncertainty of life, release our fear-based clinging, and surrender to whatever happens? Buddhist nun and inspiring author Pema Chodron presents a Tibetan Buddhist tradition known as the Three Commitments as a method to embrace instability and free ourselves from the fear of groundlessness. She offers short practices to work with our thoughts and emotions, open our hearts and minds, let go of our “fixed identity,” release judgments, and accept the world as it is. Adapted from a collection of talks, this book is a compassionate guide to living beautifully and happily on shaky ground.
“Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” Mitch Albom, the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Tuesdays With Morrie, tells the fictional story of the man who created the first clock with sticks and stones and water. As punishment for measuring God’s gift of time, the man is imprisoned for eternity in a cave where he is forced to hear the voices of all who suffer from his invention, including a suicidal teenage girl who wants her life to end, and a man dying of cancer, desperate for more years. Father Time has one chance to redeem himself…by returning to earth and helping these two souls discover the precious gift of every passing moment. In true Albom style, his inspirational message is delivered in prose cut to the bone. An entertaining and quick read bursting with heart.
Traditional medicine focuses on cancer treatment using drugs and surgery. Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) focuses on prevention—correcting the poor nutrition, unhealthy life habits, adrenal exhaustion, hormonal and blood-sugar imbalances, the accumulation of toxins, digestive failure, and stress and emotional issues that lead to systemic malfunction. Xandria Williams presents valuable information for living a cancer-free life based on her extensive study in the field of human metabolism, nutrition, herbal therapy, naturopathy, and psychotherapy, as well as her experience as a CAM practitioner. Cancer is a process, she explains, beginning in phase 1 with predisposing factors which, if not corrected, leads to phase 2, where healthy cells turn cancerous and multiply. We can learn to recognize the vital signs that signal we are at risk and take the steps necessary to reverse the cancer process by following the tips in this book. In Vital Signs for Cancer you’ll discover the science behind the predisposing factors, tests you can take at home and in a lab to determine your risk, and the specific ways to correct imbalances and reduce your chances of developing cancer, or protect yourself from having a recurrence.
Composer John Cage paved the way for avant-garde artists with original works such as 4’33”, a score he wrote that consists of a pianist sitting in complete silence for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. Performed in three movements, this zen-like piece invites audiences to turn their attention toward the silence and wake up to life. Where the Heart Beats is the fascinating journey of how Zen Buddhism saved John Cage’s life following a personal breakdown, and ultimately changed the expression of art in the 50s and 60s. Kay Larson, an art critic and columnist, traces the path of Zen Buddhist writer D.T. Suzuki, his arrival in the U.S. at the birth of the Beatnik era, and his intersection with Cage while teaching at Columbia University. She follows John Cage, a mediocre musician, as he experiments with sound, strikes out on a spiritual quest, and applies his newfound Buddhist beliefs into a form of musical meditation that influences creative artists like Yoko Ono, Jasper Johns, and Merce Cunningham. This book is a well-researched account of a transformational era in art history, blending engaging narrative with Cage’s own voice.
The actions of one individual, group or country affect many, as seen in our economic and environmental challenges and in acts of terrorism born of hatred, fear and despair. Our interconnectedness can lift us up or cause our downfall. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh makes a strong case for transforming global suffering by way of Buddhist principles, of “observing and understanding the world with mindfulness, concentration and insight” in order to develop a shared ethical code based on mutual respect. He shows how individuals living in the present moment with awareness and clarity can form decisions that are free of judgments, fear, and attachments to a specific view or belief, creating a more joyous and peaceful nation. Although Thich Nhat Hanh’s pathway to an enlightened society is based on Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, the seeds are present in all creeds, cultures, and political affiliations.
From Bagels to Buddha is an unconventional dieting book, one that helps you discover what’s eating you, rather than what you’re eating. Judi Hollis made repeated attempts to curb her compulsive eating habit by following various diet plans. When she continued to gain the weight back—and then some—she realized that what she hungered to stuff herself with wasn’t food at all, but something of a higher nature. Dr. Hollis, a family therapist who opened the nation’s first eating disorders unit, shares her “personal surrender process” to “en-lighten-ment” which led her from a Buddhist monastery to detox centers to sweat lodges and Peruvian mountaintops. “Obesity is a spiritual crisis,” she writes, and adds that you don’t have to travel to faraway places to experience your own personal journey to a lighter self. To successfully lose her weight, Hollis needed to let go of negative personality traits and become more Buddha-like while learning to lean into the longing for food. Here is a compassionate, humorous, beautifully written account of one woman’s path to permanent weight loss through a spiritual life.
Modern life with its commitments, deadlines, technology, and demands can be a distraction from our inner selves. The idea of retreating into nature or embarking on a pilgrimage to connect more deeply with our soul and gain clarity may be appealing, but seemingly impossible. Not so. While a formal Vision Quest led by an experienced guide may be out of your current realm of possibility, this book offers a modified version that can be undertaken in an afternoon or over several days, indoors or out. Denise Linn, bestselling author of Soul Coaching, teaches how to prepare for and experience your personal Quest, and how to integrate your newfound wisdom into everyday life. Participants from her seminars reflect on their own life-changing Vision Quests, and Denise’s daughter, Meadow, contributes a chapter geared to teenagers. Whether you long to heal emotional wounds, reclaim your spirituality, clarify your purpose, or find peace within, Quest offers the tools you need to “journey to the center of your soul.”
Our primal brain can’t tell the difference between the daily stimulation of internet surfing, texting, cell-phoning, multitasking and clock-racing…and a mountain lion charging toward us in the wilderness. It amps up the sympathetic nervous system, causing muscle tension, a churning stomach, sleepless nights, body aches, and weakened circulatory and immune systems, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The good news is that we don’t need drugs to heal what ails us. Instead of thinking our way to a stress-free body, neurologist Dr. Gayatri Devi proposes a bottom-up approach of calming the body in order to allow the parasympathetic system to take charge and ease the mind. A Calm Brain is an exploration of what happens to our physiology when we live in hyper drive, the importance of achieving a balance, and how to promote a relaxing lifestyle through soothing behavior.
Back in the 1800s the town doctor was responsible for treating both humans and animals, but somewhere around the turn of the 20th century, physicians and veterinarians split into separate camps. While the “animal docs” saw and treated the same diseases that occur in humans, “people docs” ignored this fact, thereby missing the opportunity to improve the health of their own species. In 2005, when a tiny tamarin monkey went into heart failure at the Los Angeles Zoo, cardiologist Barbara Natterson-Horowitz was called in to consult. What she learned at this pivotal examination compelled her to research the common diseases affecting all species. She found a plethora of evidence, including gout and brain tumors in dinosaurs, chlamydia in Koalas, breast cancer in jaguars, octopuses that self-mutilated and gorillas that died from the same heart condition that killed Lucille Ball. Zoobiquity offers a fascinating new paradigm on everything from the protective power of fainting to the relationship between the heart and mind in sudden cardiac arrest. By fusing veterinary, human and evolutionary medicine, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz is redefining the practice of doctoring, and providing hope for treating ancient ailments.
In the aftermath of her beloved mother’s death and the scattering of her siblings, unable to hold her marriage together and wandering aimlessly through life, Cheryl Strayed decided to lace herself into a pair of rugged leather hiking boots and trudge from the Mojave Desert to Washington State. Her wanting for life to be different “was a wilderness, and I had to find my own way out of the woods.” It took her eleven hundred miles of heat and cold and rattlesnakes and bears and blisters and scabs and exhaustion and pain to shed the ghosts that haunted her and the agony that squeezed her heart, losing her fear, anger and boots in the process. An Oprah Book Club pick and national best seller, Wild is a beautifully crafted, funny and heartbreaking memoir to be relished by anyone who has dreamed of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail but prefers doing it from the comfort of their armchair, by anyone who has imagined charging into the wilderness alone for months on end in order to heal whatever bleeds inside.
In down-to-earth, no-nonsense language, Lama Marut, Buddhist monk, university professor, surfer and motorcyclist, tells readers how to incite happiness in life. We’re looking for happiness in all the wrong places, he says, and then points us in the right direction. First, we need to release any anger and pain about the past. Second, dump those worries about the future. Third, learn about cause and effect so we understand that present circumstances are a result of past actions, and we’re planting the seeds now we want to grow in the future. And lastly, master the ability to stay happy no matter what the circumstances. Each chapter is a lesson, ending with a Couch Potato Contemplation and an Action Plan. Microsoft Tags throughout the text allow us to link to online videos of the author discussing his concepts, and in the epilogue he gives nine tips for everyday use to increase joy. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work required to achieve genuine contentment and help others achieve it too, let Marut be your guide.
The purpose of writing as a spiritual practice is to awaken to the joy of life. It’s the process of liberating your body, heart, mind, soul and spirit, spiraling from the physical to the emotional to the ego to the One to the Observer. It doesn’t require a reader. It’s not about crafting a project, and you don’t need to be a writer to benefit from the exercises in this book, although writers may gain deeper insight into their own work. The goal is to become aware of the fiction of your self, the stories you tell yourself about reality, and the difference between the “I” who is written about and the “I” who writes. Renowned spiritual teacher Rami Shapiro and award-winning poet and essayist Aaron Shapiro combine spiritual wisdom with writing techniques to guide the reader in discovering “…that though your story is you, you are not your story.”
Patients come to Dr. Kaparo’s clinic because they are in pain—physically or emotionally—or because they want a deeper connection to themselves. She works with them on a somatic level, so that they learn to sense, feel, and know themselves and process the information for healing. Short of visiting her clinic, what can the rest of us do to ease our pain? Through Somatic Learning, the body becomes our teacher, giving us feedback so we can make the shifts necessary for recovery. As we become mindful of its feedback and sense what is occurring in the tissues and organs, the body changes physically. Kaparo discovered Somatic Learning through her own process of overcoming severe pain, and she avoided surgery by tuning into her body’s innate knowledge. In this book she teaches us how to become aware of its messages; release habitual tension through breath, elongation and realignment practices; and recreate our physical structure by replacing strain and density with space and freedom. Anyone suffering from chronic pain will benefit from taking heed of somatic intelligence.
Soul loss, Moss explains, is what happens when we lose our vital energy and identity due to negative circumstances in our lives. We become listless, joyless, and aimless; our immune systems suffer and we spiral into depression. We may have lost our connection to our younger selves, our animal spirits, our ancestral knowledge, or our higher self. Robert Moss teaches us how to recover our souls by becoming our own shaman, or spiritual healing practitioner, using our dreams as medicine. He discusses the symptoms of soul loss and the reasons our soul takes off, and guides us through visualization exercises to bring back the missing parts of ourselves. In Dreaming the Soul Back Home we learn how to use dreams to journey to other timeframes, create healing places, gather knowledge from a secret library, receive lessons, and recognize when we are whole again.
The “grown-up” version of this book—with its four-letter expletive in the text—tickled the funny bones of frustrated parents who battle their kids over bedtime, shooting it to the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Now moms and dads can actually read the story aloud to their dear ones, as the author has cleaned up the language in this G-rated spin. The only downside to this hilarious take on an all-too-familiar problem is the laughter it may provoke, making it impossible for any child to Just Go to Sleep.
At the age of thirteen, Lani Leary was unable to process the regret, confusion and loss she experienced after her mother died, and spent the rest of her life learning about the needs of the dying and the bereaved. A self-proclaimed “midwife” to the dying, Leary was able to assist her father in his “final journey” and find peace and meaning in his passing using the tools she shares in this book. Within these pages caregivers will learn how to support their loved one during the process of dying, what to expect, how to cope, and the keys to a gentler grief. And readers will learn how to prepare for their own death so as to live life more fully.
When life doesn’t go our way, we often react with feelings like anger, frustration, worry, or doubt causing emotional chaos, distorted thinking and unwise decisions. Phillip Moffitt teaches us another way: to respond in a clear-headed, honest manner, using the techniques of mindfulness and intention. The practices, meditations and lessons he offers are designed to help us gain insight into who we are and set daily intentions based on what we value most, to stay the course when challenged and build the skills to view all aspects of our lives as opportunities to seek clarity and act authentically from our highest intentions. The former CEO of Esquire, Moffitt is founder of the Life Balance Institute.
No meat? No dairy? No gluten? What’s left? All-American comfort food that tastes scrumptious. Susan O’Brien, gourmet cook and healthy eating coach, offers recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between. She discusses pantry staples, which foods to avoid, and which foods get a thumbs-up. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find: banana-nut bread, pumpkin waffles, fried “chicken” nuggets, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, lasagna, vegetable potpie, enchiladas, peanut butter-chocolate chip fudge, and pineapple upside-down cake.
Whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist, scientists discovered that it’s the circuitry in your brain that colors your perception of the world and drives your actions. A pessimist sees the downside of life, and is more inclined to be timid, take few risks and hold back from succeeding. An optimist sees the upside, and behaves in an adventurous, upbeat, sociable manner, believing in the best possible outcome. All of us are a combination of both, but we are dominated by either our rainy or sunny brain activity. Studies confirm that optimists have more positive experiences, while pessimists experience one bad thing after another. Whether we have a sunny or rainy disposition determines our state of well-being, our success in life and our impact on others.
Psychologist and neuroscientist Elaine Fox has long studied the science behind why we are the way we are, and in Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, she explains it all, supported by the studies which confirm our “affective mindset.” She describes techniques that will change your brain—from cognitive behavior therapy to mindfulness meditation—and highlights the experiences of people who are either rainy or sunny, and how they respond to whatever the universe throws their way.
In the 18th century, when astronomers had a map of the solar system but no idea of its size, Venus, the brightest star in the sky, provided the missing link. By crossing in front of the sun—an event that occurs at 8-year intervals every 105 years—it revealed to scientists the exact distance between the earth and the sun. British astronomer Edmond Halley predicted its transit for June 6, 1761, well after his death. In an essay he implored future scientists to position themselves at remote locations around the globe, measure the time and duration of the star’s crossing from their vantage points, and consolidate their findings. Chasing Venus is the true story of a cast of scientific observers-turned-heroes who initially failed at this historic project and tried again 8 years later, overcoming unpredictable weather, personal rivalries, political strife, and warring nations to band together and discover the dimensions of the heavens.
No willpower is required for this program’s success, claims nutritional expert Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure (an East West bestseller). Unlike other diet plans that require portion cutting or changing the way we eat, the cure here lies in correcting the faulty biochemistry that makes us crave weight-gaining foods. The miracle nutrients Ross prescribes are called amino acids. Our brains use amino acids to manufacture the “feel-good” chemicals—serotonin, endorphins and GABA—that give us the same high we get from eating sugar and carbs. The Diet Cure will help you determine which physical imbalances are causing your problems, and the specific steps to correct those, using targeted supplements and activating foods. You’ll also find menus and recipes, support resources, and a chapter on what to expect in your twelve-week master plan. This revised edition includes updated information on:
• better methods for correcting the brain and body triggers that compel us to overeat
• the newly-available method for eliminating food cravings
• advanced treatment for thyroid function to improve metabolism
• the latest research on the best eating plan
Whether you are struggling with weight issues, hormonal fluctuations, low energy, allergies, yo-yo dieting or an eating disorder, this book is the prescription you need to achieve optimum weight and health forever.
Even after the death of a spouse and the shock and grief that follow, even when the prospect of facing the world and the scary journey called “widowhood” begins, it is possible to live happily again. With compassion and humor, the author of Widows Wear Stilettos guides the newly-widowed through the rough spots to a forever-after of a new and promising life. A widow herself, Carole Brody Fleet answers the many questions that she, and others like her, grappled with when faced with the reality of being single again. Questions of identity, purpose, how to grieve and when to move on, how to get through the holidays and family gatherings, issues with finances and work, the challenges of dating, helping the grieving child, and recommitting to an uncertain future. This book will serve as a companion and ray of hope to the newly-, or not-so-newly-, widowed and anyone suffering the loss of a relationship.
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