Reviews written by Julie Clayton
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Cellular biologist Bruce Lipton has, once again, written a book that seamlessly weaves a fascinating account of the powerful connection between quantum physics, biochemistry, and psychology; in this instance, he demonstrates the role they play in creating loving relationships. Part scientific model, part spiritual pilgrimage, part conscious evolution, and part biography, this book reads like a fun detective story as each piece of “evidence” uncovered points to the inevitable conclusion: we can create and sustain the love feelings we experience in the newness of a relationship—the so-called honeymoon effect. Love, asserts Lipton, is the most potent growth factor for human beings. With lighthearted authority he shows us how this is true, in principle and in his own life and life experiences, citing the influence of good vibrations (quantum physics), the conscious and subconscious mind (psychology), and love potions (biochemistry). Rather than just offering sips of self-awareness, reading The Honeymoon Effect is like drinking a specially-made love cocktail that effects change—not just for couples but for humanity itself. Good to the last drop!
The food combining myth was debunked 80 years ago—the notion that different foods activate different enzymes, and therefore you shouldn’t combine certain foods—like fruits with veggies, protein with carbohydrates, eat fruit alone, and so forth. That’s really good news for anyone who wants to turn their vegetables into a delicious, healthful fruit- flavored smoothie. Naturopath and health expert Elizabeth Swann has written a snappy, no-nonsense book that gives just the right balance between background information and specific instructions on how to get the most health benefits from green smoothies, including a variety of recipes targeting immune system boosting, hair and skin benefits, mood enhancing, detoxifying, stress-busting, and weight loss. If you are a novice smoothie-maker this book has everything you need to get started; devout smoothie fans will appreciate the recipes and sound advice.
The author knows from first-hand experience what incorporating a smoothie into your diet each day in place of a snack or meal can do: she lost 40 pounds and gained incredible energy and vitality by following her own advice. As a fan of smoothies, but a less enthusiastic leafy greens eater, I was re-inspired to resume my smoothie regimen with the addition of greens, and delighted to discover that they really are quite delicious. Adding an avocado to one of my concoctions resulted in the most creamy, smooth, delicious drink I’ve ever had!
In our modern, busy lives we tend to forget about the lunar orb that travels throughout our days with us. Indeed, many of us hardly notice it in the sky, and are unaware of the powerful effects it has on our physical world—not just the oceans and tides, but also on our soil and most plants. This slim, annual volume is packed with detailed, relevant lunar charts and straightforward tips for gardening in harmony with the moon: planting, treating, and harvesting, insecticides and fungicides, crop rotation, and composting. The best timing for beekeeping, wine growing, animal husbandry, and forestry is also noted, along with other more personal activities such as cutting your hair, skincare, and detoxing. A color coded daily diary in the back of the book lets you keep track of your organic gardening schedule. The astronomical research that has obviously gone into this book is impressive: a reminder that the practice of planting “in tune” with the moon is both a science and an art, and one that successfully guided many generations before us.
James A. Cusumano has had an interesting, diverse, and lucrative work/career life: he says that he is now in the midst of his “fifth professional life.” In his teens he was a rock star, then a scientist and corporate research executive with Exxon, then co-founder and chairman of a (very successful) Silicon-Valley-based company, then founder, CEO, and executive producer of a feature film company, and currently he and his wife have purchased and renovated a castle in Prague, which has become an internationally recognized castle hotel and spa. As he says, he has learned some things along the way, and in this book he shares “the fruits of his journey.” Although his expertise is in business, it seems that throughout he has stayed true to himself, and managed to balance meaning, fulfillment, and success in both this personal and business life.
The first part of “Balance,” naturally, is autobiographical, from childhood to today, written with a lively and self-aware style. He gives just enough background for readers to get to know him, without being self-serving. This intriguing journey alone makes the book worth picking up. Part II offers a “formula” for creating a fulfilling life: addressing the critical issue of how to achieve balance in both personal and professional life. This is the heart of the book, and James is both a great role model and dynamic cheerleader for uncovering profound principles for living what he calls our “Essence.” Drawing from his own experiences—the cross-roads he encountered, learning how to listen to the wise counsel of others, honoring his own inner essence compass—he provides a step-by-step formula for identifying and capturing your own essence.
Finally, in the third part of the book, he explains how to build a successful business while achieving balance in professional and personal life. Each step is based on “Inspirational Leadership” (also sometimes called Conscious Leadership) and he shows in detail what this entails and how it leads to an organization that is personally rewarding, commercially advantageous, and socially responsive.
Cusumano is by no means typical, and as each of his business successes built upon the other, doorways opened for him that would not be available to most of us in the non-business world (really, how many of us could afford to buy a castle?). However, his life is his message, and he has succeeded in large part because of his own initiative and unwavering commitment to business and personal excellence. Passion and purpose drive him, and by all accounts he seems to embody unlimited energy and joyous enthusiasm for making the word a better place. "Balance" seems to be the latest in a long line of flourishing enterprises that do just that.
“What is the spiritual path, who else is on it, and where does it lead?” With a clarity and succinctness rarely provided by other authors, Jan Phillips answers these and other questions to define the contemporary spiritual path. The spiritual path is “simply a journey of awareness through the landscape of our lives,” she tells us plainly, “a pilgrimage inward where the destination is awareness.” Her language is straightforward yet elegant, and she uses familiar road sign analogies to frame the core concepts of the path, such as: “stop”—taking time for balance; “yield”—the surrender that gives rise to bearing fruit; or “curves ahead”—the spiritual path is never a straight road. For those who have broken free of traditional religion and are searching for their spiritual groundings she points out that “we are the sacrament-makers of these times,” and that “people on a spiritual path are just like everyone else, minus the illusions.” And seasoned seekers will recognize these and other markers of the journey: the daily commitment to peace, embracing mystical paradox, self-forgiveness, compassion, harmonious relationships, and “moments of enlightenment strewn like jewels along the spiritual path.” Although the pathway may not be new, this upbeat book is an innovative road map marking the terrain of spiritual consciousness in the 21st century.
There’s nothing more enticing than “the story behind the story.” Gary Lachman has written a well-researched investigation into Jung’s life, from childhood on, that delves into the events, inclinations, and influences that shaped the more esoteric aspects of Jung’s life and work—many of which Jung was reluctant to admit to or share until years past their emergence. While I commend the effort, and there is much interesting reading here, I found that tracking the inner-outer butterfly effect of a man surely possessed by “creative illness” at times made my head spin. This is not a value judgement of Jung or his work, but if I’m going to wade through a book, I’d much rather wade through Jung’s writings themselves than through the filters of someone else’s interest in Jung. So, while I appreciated having a closer look at aspects of Jung’s life in Jung the Mystic, overall for this reviewer, it was just “too much information.”
As time accelerates, the energy of the physical world also accelerates, causing a process of conscious transformation to occur, Pierce begins in Leap of Perception. She calls this inner-outer transformation the Intuition Age, and says this is the future—that has already arrived. The physical world acceleration itself is ushering in a new worldview and perception, one where we perceive more of the non-physical world, and where intuitive perceptions and attention-focusing skills are not only highly valuable, but indicative of the transformation occurring.
To transform our perceptual process, essentially, is to make it more conscious. This is as easy as focusing your attention differently—updating “attention skills” so that we learn to move through the non-physical and physical realities. And while easy to implement, there are stages, symptoms, and a process for transforming perception and making it more conscious. Leap of Perception is a common sense and practical guide to understanding the mechanisms for this: how we “perceive more of the non-physical world, how everything is made of consciousness-and-energy, how everything vibrates at varying frequencies, and how the physical and non-physical are really one unified field.”
As we have come to expect, Pierce distills a complex subject into accessible reading that is accompanied by numerous life practices, so that the book’s content permeates the senses, and reading it is an experience more than an intellectual exercise. This is the final book in her “transformation trilogy,” following her first two books, The Intuitive Way and Frequency, and it is a timely guide for navigating these accelerating times. Fans of Pierce’s work won’t be disappointed.
Author Annie Kagan and her “bad-boy brother” had been somewhat estranged their entire life, largely due to his lifelong addictions and sometimes shady lifestyle. A call from the police department announcing her brother’s death may have been unexpected, but his death was not so surprising given that his was a life lived life on the edge. But when Billy suddenly began to communicate with his sister from the afterlife, Annie was surprised, disbelieving, and reluctant to share this news with others.
Through a series of cryptic messages from Billy that materialize in Annie’s life (and others), along with the support of a writing group, Billy convinces Annie that she must write this book. The result is this fascinating preview of what happens when we die, one that is both quirky and uplifting. In the genre of afterlife communications this book stands out for many reasons. But in particular, the detailed descriptions Billy offers of his afterlife experiences are ‘refreshing,’ in that they transcend the culturally filtered images we have become somewhat accustomed to, and reveal glorious galaxies of universal awareness and experience. For example:
“After our last visit, I was drifting through the Universe, taking in the sights, when a cosmic wind began to circle me like a slow tornado…Then it was like someone pressed the start button on a cosmic projector and the ring became a circular movie that’s still playing all around me. What I’m looking at is very different from any film I’ve seen in a theater, though. First of all, I’m suspended in the middle of the Universe, and second the entire move is playing all at once and the images are holographic…What’s really great is that this hologram has a very special feature…My hologram is expandable. I can follow all the different paths I didn’t take when I was alive and see how they would have turned out. What’s surprising, though, is that it doesn’t seem like one way is more valuable than any others. I don’t have a preference. It’s all fascinating, and I have no regrets.”
…“Here, our telepathic communications fill each other with beauty. Speaking of telepathy, I know you’ve sometimes wondered if there’s any music here. There are so many clichés about angels singing and harps playing…well, once again I can only speak for myself. There aren’t exactly any of those things where I am. Here the atmosphere is filled with a soft, ambient sound…There’s a constant background haze that reminds me of earth’s natural sounds, like wind or rain or ocean waves…Recently, I began to notice that sometimes this haze bursts into a little melody and then that melody quickly disappears. This melody phenomenon is happening more and more, and I really can’t say if it’s the sound that’s changed, or my ability to hear it.”
Through Billy’s communications and the author’s insightful retrospective, readers are taken on an afterlife journey that is vivid and inspiring. Billy opens powerful vistas of the after-life, which in turn invite deep contemplation and wisdom for the living. And while this is also an intimate (but not maudlin) look at how a brother and sister learn to navigate a connection through the veils, we also come to understand that each, in their own way, becomes spiritually liberated as a result of what might at first glance, seem to be a tragedy. Highly recommended reading.
Mind, body, emotions, and spirit frame our experience of reality. Each influences and interacts with the other. Health is not just about physical vitality or emotional equanimity, it’s “a deep emotional connectedness to who we are and our place in the universe,” says Barbara Wren. “When mind truly connects with the body, it is like a light goes off in every cell.” Both our mental and physical foundations must be robust. By bringing the body back to harmony and full potential we simultaneously awaken our cellular vibrancy and illumination.
Using plain language, Wren explains the microcosmic and macrocosmic principles guiding how to heal from any condition—and their connection. She begins by showing us how the body works, from the cellular level outward. Wren explains that light connects everything in the universe, including every cell in our body. And our watery nature records the messages of the universe in our bodies. Any kind of external stress registers in the water component of the body as dehydration. And did you know that the colon is the organ that registers whether the body—the cells in particular—is hydrated?
Awakening an illuminated consciousness, either cellular or universal, begins with five fundamental building blocks at the physical level: light, hydration, PH, temperature, and mineral balance, and these are the core focus for healing treatments in this book. And although the emotions and mind are not the primary focus for this book, Wren speaks to how they play an equally important role in achieving cellular and life integrity.
If you’re thinking you’ve heard this before, or that this is just another car on the new age train, it’s not. Some of the less familiar aspects Cellular Awakening covers has to do with the endocrine glands behind the chakras, universal cycles, unresolved emotions and stress at the cellular level, the five element theory, the suppression principle of drugs and vaccines, and Herring’s Law. The book concludes with a comprehensive guideline for self-generated, step-by-step healing treatments.
Not knowing some of the science behind some of the claims, I have unanswered questions. Still, this is a practical and inspirational book, definitely worth reading, that seems to impart a deeply felt-wisdom. Which may just be the stirrings of cellular awakening.
First impressions are highly accurate. And, we can be deceived—both by the person we are sizing up and by our own biases. Patti Wood, coach and corporate “body language expert” has comprehensively studied and mapped the way our physiology both communicates and perceives first impressions. Citing brain research, Wood says that when we first meet someone we are non-verbally sorting for likeability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness, and we do this so quickly that we size someone up in about 1/10th of a second—in a snap! Without even realizing it, we are taking stock of their eye contact, facial expressions, body language, gestures, greetings, and can even do this to some degree virtually, via online and electronic introductions. The good news is that we can change the first impression we make on others; the not-so-good news is that it can take up to six months of constant interaction to shift an incorrect opninion or perception. She calls this the “primacy effect:” that first impressions affect all future thoughts about the person—and are inexorably linked to survival instincts.
Although the context for her research and observations is primarily the workplace, Wood’s insights of human behavior are relevant to most socially interactive situations. What works well in this book is the depth of study and range of tips offered for understanding and improving the first impression we have on others. For example, she devotes an entire section to the handshake, including its history, cultural differences, body language, alternatives greetings, appropriateness in different situations, and so forth. At the same time, the tips for a best first impression handshake seem self-evident: smile briefly, make eye contact, make sure your hands are clean and dry, make sure your whole arm reaches out, make palm to palm contact, etcetera. While there are certainly some interesting tidbits in this book about human behavior, overall the first and lasting impression of Snap seems to be one of being aware of yourself and always bringing your best gameface to a situation.
It seems obvious that if one is authentically a cheerful, self-confident person, then this is what others will perceive. If one is by nature disgruntled or perhaps fearful, changing one’s handshake may deliver a different first impression, but it doesn’t change one’s disposition. And while there may be valuable clues to a person’s inner nature that body language expertise can provide, there is a fine line between identifying human behavior and pigeon-holing people based on how they cross their arms, or how frequently they blink. There is enough substance in this book that it goes beyond this type of superficiality, and yet the human proclivity to reduce insights to sound bites that make us feel self-important is also a non-verbal language that warrants attentiveness.
The fear of flying is more common than we realize: according to studies, one in three people have some degree of anxiety about flying. Well-meaning friends who cite the relative safety of flying don’t help, since fear isn’t logical, and the fear of flying has little to do with the actual risks. Even people like author and artist Julia Cameron, who frequently fly for their work, are not necessarily the fearless flyers we might imagine. In Safe Journey, Cameron candidly divulges her inner and outer process in the days leading up to a pending flight: sleepless and plagued with angst, escalating into terror as the departure time nears. Although she feigns bravery, her inner terror reigns. Realizing that her fear of flying has more to do with fear of not being in control, Cameron gradually develops successful flying strategies and routines, the most comforting of which is prayer. And by prayer Cameron means, “asking something that you can believe in as a positive guiding force for optimism and guidance.” She reflects, “It is the paradox of prayer that when we admit our own limitations we become more powerful, as we are now willing to accept help.”
The palpable relief she derives from her affirmations of gratitude/prayer becomes contagious when she tutors her flying seatmates in “how” she prays, adding the unexpected benefit of “helping others” to Cameron’s toolkit for overcoming fear of flying. Reading the tabloids are also an effective way of keeping distracted once seated on the plane, she discovers. Other successful strategies include postponing the terror, making lists, developing a support system, focusing on helping others, and arriving early to ensure a calm experience and optimal seating. Such strategies are deceptively simplistic, because by the end of this book readers do feel comforted—and optimistic that fear of flying, or any fear that brings uncontrollable anxiety, can not only be managed, but overcome.
It isn’t easy to capture the subtle inner dimensions of longing for “home” that we each have (even if that longing is subconscious). And I suspect that few of us have ever fully articulated or formed a clear vision of what our ideal outer world would look like shaped from within that deep inner longing. Author Gary Douglas has, and this is his personal vision wrapped up in a fictional story of how that world would be. Yes, it’s a fantasy, but Douglas touches core aspects of human longing: a timeless, rural, peaceful, no-stress, no-aging life, an abundance of food and money (gold), sensory attunement with nature, telepathic communication and healing, a little bit of magic, and for him, the perfect, wise, beautiful woman/soulmate connection, complete with supra-sensual-sexual intimacy. He has also managed to give readers a sense of what all of this feels like—no easy feat. Consequently, the story touched me enough to keep me reading to the end, giving me sufficient morsels of satisfaction to keep my own unbidden place of inner longing somewhat appeased and simultaneously hopeful. Unfortunately, the plot itself is middling and the writing mediocre, however Douglas gets high marks for bringing the essence of a world filled with such ease and beauty into manifestation, by way of this book. And as I said, in spite of the book’s unremarkable aspects, I felt compelled to keep reading.
The tagline for Access Consciousness, of which Douglas is the founder, says, “All of Life comes to me with Ease & Joy & Glory.” This perfectly summarizes the élan vital of “The Place” that Douglas dreams and writes about. Somewhere in the deepest recesses of our being, we already know this place—it’s called home.
Island nations tend to be places where the past is very much present, a world unto themselves, and author Gerald Hausman knows this from firsthand experience. He and his wife spent fifteen years in Jamaica, and for ten of those he led an outdoor experience summer school on the North Coast of Jamaica. In 1985, when they first arrived, life in the islands was more like the 70s, and the old ways of the Rastafarian spiritual movement—the “religion that does not want to call itself a religion”—were very much present.
Over time, Hausman was included in easy, heartfelt conversations (called “reasonings"), embodied in the Rastafarian’s resourceful and spiritual life. As followers of the Kebra Nagast—the African gospel excised from the King James version of the Bible—the colorful cast of real life characters we meet through Hausman reveal an intimate understanding of the deep wisdom that underlies their faith. Fishermen, wicker weavers, Rasta preachers, respected elders, and mystics—all trace their lineage to King Solomon, the wisest man on the earth, and their casual talks under the shade of a pimento tree, or staring into the ever changing ocean would “stretch across the indigo nights and into the bright dawn of sad tomorrows.” The Rastafarian way of life, faithfully recounted here in the spoken Patois, is one of equality: practicing deep peace and understanding of self and others through an unwavering faith and hope in the holy spirit, which lives in each human being.
Of his closest friend Mackie, Hausman says, “Hope is never lost with Mackie, just temporarily misplaced.” Another friend, Iron, a former Rasta preacher, touches his heart and says, “This is my bible…[and] I am with the Most High all the time. Why do I need ganga?” Placing the universal and collective “I” into as many words as will bear it, “unity” becomes “inity,” and “we” is spoken as “I and I.” Whether the conversation circles around to the Ethiopian Emperor, literary ghosts, the Marley family, or the story of Babylon, we “overstand” that the “old ways” Rastas lived by timeless universal principles, perhaps best summarized in the New Testament: “According to your your faith, be it unto you.” Or as Mackie says, “What skin deep wash away. What blood deep stay forever.”
Hausman, a renowned storyteller and author of more than 70 books, wraps the reader in another time and place—and we cannot help but be borne along with him into a wisdom that is both lost in time and timeless.
Howard Jones exemplifies someone who lives an “examined life:” he is clearly a thinking man, whose passion, ultimately, is for society to find a cohesive spirituality.
His recent book, The World as Spirit, is a cogently written treatise on the gulf between science and spirit. Beginning with the historical development of science in Part I, Jones provides a rare depth of examination of the dualistic worldviews (people and social attitudes) that have shaped our current scientific worldview. Science, initially, was saturated with themes of Christian theology, but the clash between science and religion came to a head when the discoveries of geology and biology in the 19th century implied that “a role for God had now become superfluous,” he tells us. An intriguing perspective for understanding the pursuit of Western science, which acts as a preview for subsequent chapters in the book, asks why modern science never developed outside of Europe. He cites university professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr for a possible explanation: “The main reason why modern science never arose in China or Islam is precisely because of the presence of metaphysical doctrine and a traditional religious structure which refused to make a profane thing of nature.” [my emphasis]
Part II moves into monistic worldviews with a short course in quantum physics, which sets the stage for reconciling the idea of free will and spiritual focus. This “new science,” he explains, demonstrates the principle of indeterminancy: “Science gives us a set of ideas and models that describe the way the world works; but they are ideas that are constantly being reformed and developed—much to the consternation and confusion of the general public.” Quantum physics highlights the impermanence of material things, bridging visions of spiritual domain as expressed by notable post-Renaissance philosophers and ancient Eastern philosophies, which he also explores in depth.
In the third and final section of the book, the notion of the world as spirit becomes an affirmative statement that “the world IS spirit:” Jones turns his focused attention to the cosmic spiritual field. Interlacing multiple disciplines he demonstrates the virtues of cosmic spirit in philosophy, science, medicine, psi, dogmatic religion, nature, mind and soul. Still seeking to bridge science and religion he says, “Science is about theories and models of empirical phenomena in the natural world; God is a man-made concept, indefinable and unobservable.” There is no reason however, Jones reiterates, why cosmic spirituality should not equally fulfill the roles that the good aspects of dogmatic religion provided—a “basis for morality, inspiration for artistic creativity, and the ubiquitous psychological need for a figurehead of the sacred.”
This book is richly layered with background information, and while dense reading due to the sheer volume of information, it is highly accessible. I had the image, while reading, of being privy to a series of engaging university-level lectures that circled time and space—each turn, eventually, bringing me back to the center: a perennial philosophy that is both a privilege and a responsibility of caring for our fellow humans and Earth.
Love this film; perhaps my favorite of the "Tales of Everyday Magic" series -- although all are stellar. Enjoy all of them and do pass them on to your loved ones -- and your antagonists. Especially the antagonists. Even the most dyed-in-the-wool linear, rational thinkers will be touched by these films, and transformed in some way as a result.
The Lone Ranger was once a revered as a cultural heroic symbol, a man of the highest scruples and intent who dedicated his life to helping others and fighting injustice in the Wild West. And while this fictional character’s popularity has been superseded by more contemporary heroes and heroines, the archetypal pattern he represents doesn’t fade from the collective human psyche, it just reinvents itself. Archetypes are unconscious patterns of influence that reside in the collective unconscious, or the “emerging Inner-net” as author Caroline Myss likes to call it. And although archetypes are entirely impersonal, they are powerful energies that are expressed in every aspect of our daily life, including our personal and spiritual power. Recognizing and understanding your personal archetypal patterns is one of the most fundamental tools of consciousness for navigating these times, says Myss, renowned teacher and author on energy medicine and human consciousness. Part of the power relevant to these times is that archetypes can only be intuited, perceived through symbols and myths, bringing our intuitive intelligence to the forefront of our personal and collective power.
Think of your childhood power images, and notice the recurring themes and patterns in your life, and you begin to recognize your personal archetypes. Myss has identified ten emerging archetypal patterns reflecting the collective mythic challenges of our times and the corresponding personal and spiritual power issues defining women today: the advocate, artist/creative, athlete, caregiver, fashionista, intellectual, Queen/executive, rebel, spiritual seeker, and visionary. Each pattern has key aspects of influence on daily life, which she examines in depth, such as behavior characteristics, personal journey, unique challenge, universal lesson, inner shadow, and the male counterpart. Through examples and guidance, Myss lays out a path of self-discovery that empowers readers to utilize their strengths, better understand others, and be more conscious about their choices and decisions in life.
You can go to archetypeme.com and take a quiz to learn about your personal archetypes.
This concise book taps the historical and culturally reinforced ways we typically think and react. Dennis counsels that we can break the cultural spell by living consciously: bringing new and creative perception, thought patterns, and behavior into focus and practice. An excellent, clear and compelling digest portraying the evolutionary imperative active within each of us that is calling for transformation of how and what we think, and why.
We all have felt the powerful effect that gratitude has on our well-being: this delightful journal provides the opportunity to incorporate gratitude more systematically into our daily life. It is a beautifully arranged collection of diverse stories, quotations, meditations, questions, and prompts that take only a few minutes each day to “exercise” your gratitude muscle. An ideal way to apply the wisdom found in Living Life as a Thank You by the same authors, using this gratitude journal will activate an abundance of expectation of abundance. Give and receive with genuine gratitude and you will strengthen your spirit, open your heart, and transform you and those around you in the most uplifting, heartfelt way possible.
I suppose one has to be a bit of a logophile to appreciate Phil Cousineau’s latest book, The Painted Word. He has selected a treasury of words that send shivers down his spine when he hears them, not just because of the shape or color of the word itself, but because of its roots and sometimes delicious ambiguities of origin. Common words, short words and uncommon beauties, as he calls them, delight his senses and in this collection readers are sure to find a few of their own favorites. A few that caught my attention: ”gymnophoria”—the queasy feeling that someone is undressing you; “whale fall”—the carcass of a fallen whale on the ocean floor; and “bloviate”—to speak verbosely, to discourse in a pompous, empty, pretentious, or boastful manner. The Painted Word is a delightful buffet for anyone remotely interested in words.
I was fortunate to see an installation of Sacred Mirrors in Oakland, Ca, many years ago. To see Grey's art up close and in its full-sized glory is transformative and inspiring, but to have this collection of 200 images of his artwork at your fingertips is the next best thing. A truly amazing artist.
In an era of fleeting information fixes, this book is a full-length feature, and for that alone, I thoroughly enjoyed it (although that is not the only reason I enjoyed it). Truly a classic, the dated photos may seem "quaint," but the presentation of yoga practice in its undiluted tradition as a wholistic mind-body-spirit practice is timeless. The pillars for any yoga practice, as shown in this classic, include such practices as stamina, sexual control, breathwork, strengthening the endocrine system, internal cleansing, and concentration exercises, many of which are passed over in the modern age, or simply given broad brushstrokes. But yoga’s origins are in Eastern doctrines, and unlike the Western world, the “science” of these traditions explore and celebrate the metaphysical. Consequently, yoga in its pure state employs the physical as a path for spiritual development, with no apologies.
The daily and weekly yoga practices provided in this book accommodate students at differing degrees of fitness, so in this sense the book can be usefully applied by most (and the numerous photos and descriptions for each pose are most helpful); however, it’s not recommended for beginners or those unfamiliar with yoga postures or practice.
This is a charming memoir from the author’s early college years, when he stumbled onto a yoga class elective that, in turn, led him to a decade-long spiritual quest to heal recurring colitis and other maladies. It’s easy to be swept along with the author’s fresh, humorous, and unapologetic revealing of his own foibles, and you think that you’re just having a lighthearted romp through someone's adventures and misadventures. But it slowly dawns on you how deeply yoga and the other spiritual practices (such as Ayurveda) that Leaf has pursued have not only healed him physically, but emotionally as well. His journey, ultimately, becomes one of true awakening to himself as he heals and learns to become more comfortable in his own skin—relaxed, authentic, and happier. And then you realize that through his quirky tales, inspiration has been taking up residence in your own cells: health and vitality seems quite ordinary and attainable, if you have the desire and commitment to it. This is an easy and agreeable read with an unexpected bonus: a subtle but powerful undercurrent guiding you to your own awakening and well-being.
If you aren’t familiar with Jean Houston, then your allow me to introduce you to one of the most preeminent figures in the human potential movement—in fact she and her husband (who passed in 2008) are considered to be the principal founders of the contemporary potential movement, and together they founded The Foundation for Mind Research.
Jean’s life, and her life’s work, seems larger than life, which is perhaps why she is so well-suited for her profound teaching of cross-cultural, mythic and spiritual studies, “dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the New Physics, psychology, anthropology, and the many dimensions of human potential.” She has worked closely with such visionaries as Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, Edgar Mitchell, Buckminster Fuller, Joseph Campbell, Margaret Mead, the Dalai Lama, and has been an advisor to the United Nations, Hillary Clinton, John Lennon, and has brought her teaching to more than 40 different cultures, as well as social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide. …Did I mention she is an extraordinary storyteller—complete with flawless accents and impressions? Not surprising when she has such incredible stories to tell.
This backstory (and there is so much more I could say) seems a necessary preamble to review this 2-CD set of inspiring stories by Jean and from her life, since her life cannot be separated from her work. Both the content and delivery is animated, will keep you fully engaged and entertained, and will inspire you to forge a deeper connection with your own inner states of consciousness where your highest creative activity resides. She evocatively weaves past with future, and imagination with truth, into the work of personal and global transformation: an aligning of the human spirit, potential, and action, with the the complexities of this time. My only critique is that it ended all too soon.
I generally view “shortcuts” to anything with healthy skepticism; perhaps because I believe that anything worth having is worth waiting for. But for others like me who may have a similar prejudice toward “shortcuts,” allow me to assure you that this book is far more substantial than the title might suggest. Through her work as a psychotherapist and grief counselor, the author discovered that her often spontaneous ideas for shortcuts resulted in the client success rate skyrocketing — meaning, that they would be able to actually follow up to the session using the shortcut that had been “assigned" to them. More so, the success rate was measured in how well clients were able to disrupt their stress-related unconscious thought patterns and habitual reactions, and stay more grounded and calm.
Each of the 70 different stress triggers identified in this book is followed with a brief and honest true story — a tool — demonstrating how to derail habituated stress patterns. And as is the nature of story-telling, this effortlessly drives home the awareness and message for achieving well-being. In fact, “shortcuts are meant to happen so naturally that you can’t help but use them,” says the author. Beginning with personal well-being and branching out to universal, innate inner peace, there is sure to be something that strikes a chord for everyone in this thoughtful and useful book.
Bernstein has developed a six-week “mind cleanse” plan that shifts thought patterns from fear to love, drawing heavily from the core principles of "A Course in Miracles." May Cause Miracles is, accordingly, divided into six chapters, one for each week of the plan. The author guides readers through simple daily exercises and practices, which progressively build the mental muscles for gratitude, love, and forgiveness—the core precepts for living a miraculous life. “Each moment you choose love over fear is a miracle” explains Bernstein’s cheerful disclaimer: this plan may cause miracles. In other words, inner shifts will change not so much what happens, but how you experience what happens to you, which in turn will have a greater effect in our society, and may even inspire you to become what she calls a “miracle worker in the world.” This book is perky and pragmatic, offering a plan for transforming fear into love—and perhaps, in the process, discovering lasting happiness.
If you understand the principle that our physical, mental, and verbal actions carry energy, then the soul journeys described in this book are completely sensible. Soul regressions—that is, traveling in our awareness and consciousness to re-visit previous physical incarnations—is simply one way to understand the nature of our experience as it relates to our soul lessens. Like Dante’s Inferno, which the author references, this book describes both substantial and metaphorical journeys that our soul takes: right here and now, in past lives, future lives, and in what is called “Interlives”—the place between the physical body and energetic consciousness, or reincarnation. Georgina touches on the core questions and answers about past-life regressions: what it is (and isn’t), soul mates, karma, death, planes of existence, wisdoms gained, case histories, and recognizing the indicators of past lives in our current life. Ultimately, this is a book about how we can have more awareness and choice in soul lessons and for our healing. At times surprising, it’s a serious and relevant book; considered but not heady, and a lucid contribution to the study and field of past life regressions.
“With every thought we think we either summon or block a miracle…you are not lacking just because your circumstances are.” So says Marianne Williamson (The Age of Miracles, A Return to Love) one of the most renowned authors teaching spiritual principles based on A Course in Miracles. This latest book by Williamson, as with all her Course-based books, addresses how we should perceive things, rather than what we should perceive. One pivotal principle frames the Course spiritual teachings: love is the all-encompassing reality of God, and love (or remembering God) is the only eternal truth. This book speaks from this principle to the ways we attract miracles and also how we deactivate them, focusing on the particular attitudes that will pave the way to material abundance. Negative attitudes such as anger, guilt, and a negative sense of self suppress our inner worth, and this gets reflected in our circumstances. What Williamson calls the “Law of Divine Compensation” is the deeper realization that “whatever extent your mind is aligned with love, you will receive divine compensation for any lack in your material existence.” A shift in thinking from fear to love is the miracle, one that allows us to become a willing channel for the infinite creative energy of the universe.
This tome is a clear and convincing contribution to understanding the evolutionary workings of the universe, and our role in it. Written over a span of forty years, the author, an academic physicist, realized that while physics could explain physical processes, it couldn’t explain the important experiences he’d had in life. So, in collaboration with other colleagues, he set out to research the meaning of life. After his primary research partner passed, Milner continued adding significant new content until his own passing in November 2011. Kosmos is the result—an anthology of the combined years of researching, lecturing, and writing; the unwavering collaborative dedication to this work shows.
The author assumes, via scientific examination, that the essential purpose and nature of the universe and everything in it is that it is a self-evolving totality; the question remains, what has brought this evolution about? He refers to this totality as “Kosmos,” and the principles by which it evolves “metaphysics,” hence the term "Kosmic Metaphysics." He writes, “If we are to have a real understanding of the universe and our life in it, we need to understand not only how it works but also how and why it all came into existence and its underlying meaning or purpose.”
The starting point for this comprehensive investigation into the meaning of life is based on two basic principles at work in the universe: “the driving force that causes things to happen; and how this force brings about the multifarious activities of the universe.” These two principles comprise evolutionary development. Since we part of this development, these principles determine the way in which we live our lives, and all that follows in the book is presented with this in mind.
Some basic extrapolations then frame these two principles. Firstly, he posits that “the sense of I (“that is, in everything we do, feel or think, we experience that we exist”) not only drives humans, but all things. He calls this the maintenance and pursuance of self that drives all evolution, from subatomic articles to humans and to the so-called gods and their roles in the evolutionary process. This drive arose (spontaneously) in a primitive and unconscious way, far removed from what we might recognize as “I.”
Secondly, in seeking a sense of self, an evolving thing progressively opens up new potentials to pursue. For example, as infants we express our innate energy by becoming active—kicking, crying, grasping, sucking, etc., which in turn leads to an awareness of our potential to perform new activities. This progression of an increasingly wider range of potential activities continues throughout our life; likewise for all (kosmic) centers of activity, and more relevantly to human evolution, for social and technological development. Consequently, according to metaphysical principles there is no preconceived purpose or plan, but rather a continual unawakened energy that when stirred into activity leads to other, as yet unknown potentials and goals.
Milner goes into great depth in exploring many facets of self-actualizing activity—this evolutionary process—from Bernard cells to psychic and mystical experiences. This 500+ page over-sized book is not light vacation reading, it is something to study, to ingest in bite-sized pieces and then to allow those bites to digest and move through you. And while scholarly in approach, it isn’t a dry academic book, but a fascinating and considered investigation of the evolutionary nature of the human and universal spectrum of existence.
Just by chance (or was it?) I turned on television last night and saw the first of a two-part series of this film on PBS. Inspired by the book published in 2010,it takes a long, hard look at the oppression of girls and women worldwide. Recognized as "the greatest moral challenge of our time," it visits five countries and gives an in-depth journalistic look at the linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality (which still needlessly claims one woman every ninety seconds). If what you see and hear doesn't enrage you, inspire you, shock you, and break your heart, you don't have a pulse.
Overall, the message is one of optimism and hope, not only for the survivors we meet in the film, but for the world. For, only when we, the marginalized half of the population, are treated with the full rights and privileges of being human will any of us have the opportunity to heal the human family. Then the real work can begin.
More than just a film, this is a movement-- not fighting against something, so much as relentless pushing forward toward the ultimate goal of rendering the obstacles that women face obsolete.
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