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“I discovered that there’s a vast difference between being ‘nice’ and being “loving’,” Virtue writes early in her book. She goes on to describe in detail “loving” behaviors which may not appear to be “nice” on the surface, with chapters on assertiveness, setting boundaries, recognizing toxic relationships, and more. I found Assertiveness for Earth Angels” loaded with practical advice for us nice guys and girls. There’s very little talk here of communicating with Angels, a prominent feature of other books I have read by the author. Instead Assertiveness for Earth Angels contains page after page of strategies for interacting with the everyday people in your life.
I liked how Virtue is vulnerable with her own struggles in the book. She categorizes herself as a former “too nice” person, and she is very open with how she transformed out of that mindset. She shares personal details on how she worked through a painful divorce and other challenges. “I’ve learned that when your back is pushed up against the wall (metaphorically), you find your inner strength,” she writes.
Another issue I have is being intimidated sometimes in the presence of authority figures. Virtue says that is a common trait of “too nice” people. “It’s fine to admire and appreciate people,” she says, “but don’t make them out to be separate from or better than you. Instead, let someone else’s admirable traits inspire you to reach for your own dreams!” I found the author’s wise words on this and other topics almost like she wrote the book just for me.
“If you have high self-esteem, you’ll choose relationships with nice people who won’t take advantage of you,” Virtue writes. “However, most Earth Angels are drawn to unhappy people who need ‘fixing.’ This gives them a sense of purpose.” The antidote to the condition of being “too nice”? “If you’re assertive,” Virtue says, “you know that relationships are built upon revealing your true self. Otherwise you’ll never feel loved, because the other person doesn’t even know the real you! The only way to genuinely feel loved is to take the risk of being your true self and then find that you’re accepted and cherished for who you really are.”
Assertiveness for Earth Angels encouraged me to be real in my personal relationships. It’s a valuable book for anyone who has a “too nice” streak in his or her personality.
“If there weren’t people trying to harm us or keep us from getting what we want, how would we learn patience and tolerance and forgiveness?” writes Thurman in the book’s introduction. People who anger us are just one type of enemy discussed by Thurman and Salzberg. There are three more:
The inner enemy: anger, hatred, fear, and other destructive impulses
The secret enemy: self-obsession and self-preoccupation, which isolate us from other people, leaving us frustrated and alone
The super-secret enemy: deep-seated self-loathing that keeps us from finding inner freedom and true happiness
The focus of “Love Your Enemies” is on what is happening inside of you, and not on other people. “The teachings and meditations in this book help us to draw on our own innate wisdom and compassion in order to transform our relationship with our enemies, both inner and outer,” writes Salzberg. Can I really be at peace no matter what others may say or do? A tall order, but “Loving Your Enemies” will move you towards that perspective.
I was confused with the mix of writing styles in the book. Robert Thurman is brilliant in his grasp of the human condition, but I find him difficult to understand at times. Salzberg is more down to earth. When reading Love Your Enemies some of the concepts went over my head (“those must be Thurman’s words,” I thought) while other examples were easier to relate to. I think the book would have flowed better if each author wrote individual chapters, clearly marked with a by line, rather than mixing the two styles throughout.
Nevertheless, “Love Your Enemies” is a valuable book. “We should be grateful for our enemies, the Dalai Lama has said, for they teach us patience, courage, and determination, and help us develop a tranquil mind,” state Thurman and Salzberg. While I’m not at that point yet, the book did cause me to evaluate what areas I still need to work on. If you want to approach your feelings towards enemies as an inside job, you will like this book.
I remember a few years ago watching movies at a local drive in theater. At the intermission an advertisement was shown featuring hot steaming popcorn dripping with butter. Boy it looked good! Suddenly I saw the words “Buy!” flash on the screen in a split second, and then the popcorn reappeared. “Did I just see that, or was it my imagination?” I wondered. What I didn’t know at the time was that we in the audience were being sent a subliminal message to change our behavior (in this case to spend our money at the snack bar).
Eldon Taylor in his book “Choices and Illusions: How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get Where I Want to Be” talks about the effect of subliminal messages on us. Not just simple ones like the one I saw at the drive in, but messages we were raised with that could still be affecting our behavior to this day. “What if you learned that you could repattern that subconscious programming,” Taylor writes, “actually changing the information in the subconscious so that it was more consistent with your genuine desires? Would you want to do so? Well, the truth is that you can.” I was intrigued, and I wanted to read more.
The first part of Choices and Illusions features a variety of mind puzzles. Taylor makes the point that what the mind perceives to be true is not necessarily the case. I found these puzzles to be interesting exercises but wondered “is that all there is to this book? I was hoping for something more motivational.” Not to worry, the good stuff comes later on. These exercises are there to show you can’t always trust your current perception of reality.
With chapters like “The Courage to Challenge Yourself”, “Breaking the Trance”, and “The Kingdom Within” Taylor encourages the reader to recognize unhealthy patterns in his or her own thinking and to change to more positive thoughts. Also included is Taylor’s “Inner Talk” CD as another aid to transform a wounded psyche. “Within you is an absolutely awesome potential. You deserve, and you are worthy. Your life begins anew each moment. It is never too late, and it is always right to pursue your highest potential,” he writes. I found Taylor’s words inspiring, causing me to reexamine my own ways of thinking.
“Life is a miracle and living a joy!” concludes Taylor on the last page of the book. “You are a miracle and a gift, and you repay the gift by being all that you were created to be.” Amen.
I received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
"The problem and pain of tuning out your intuition, the voice of your Spirit, isn't that unusual," Choquette writes early in Tune In. "In fact, it might be the most common problem from which people suffer today." What follows are pages of instructions and examples of following a Spirit led life, and distinguishing those often subtle messages of your intuition from the loud clamor of your ego.
I like how Choquette shares her own life lessons. As a college student in my home town of Denver and in a committed relationship, she suddenly feels the call to go on a trip to London with her boyfriend. Her significant other is not impressed - "why would we want to do that?" he replies. This eventually leads Choquette to realize she has different life goals than her boyfriend. She leaves the relationship and accepts a job as an airline stewardess. Her boyfriend his hurt but eventually accepts her decision. "Leaving is the right thing for you. I'm going nowhere but you're going places, and I know it. It would have happened sooner or later. I'm just sad it was sooner," he says remorsefully. "That's how a powerful wake-up call from Spirit works," Choquette relates, "It pulls, prods, and pushes you to be honest with yourself, to remember your soul intentions, to face your greatest fears, to let go of what isn't working or in alignment with your soul and reach for your fullest potential." Choquette makes her points throughout the book with easy to read stories like this from her own experiences and from her clients' lives. It's a softer, more human book than Choquette's Power of Your Spirit, but equally effective in getting her message across.
It seems lately I've been letting the rude behavior of others bother me more than usual. Due to my recent extensive travel schedule I've strayed from my daily spiritual practice. Choquette writes that when you are in tune with your Spirit "you become more compassionate, recognizing others' negative behavior as a symptom of having lost touch with their inner voice, their Spirit, so it's easier not to take their unpleasant or obnoxious behavior personally." OK, time for me to start meditating again! Choquette may remind you, too, of areas in your life where you are out of alignment with your intuition, with tips to get back in the flow of Spirit.
"Once you commit to honoring your intuition, get ready!" Choqutte writes. "You're about to embark on the most exciting, joyous ride of your life; and I promise that you'll love it." While I feel I've been taking a spiritual detour recently, I'm ready to once again follow an inspired, Spirit led path. "Tune In" is a great guide for those of you like me who wish to follow the call of their intuition.
As we experience life “the litany of heartaches and grievances add up, all too quickly,” say the authors. They reveal the “See Feel Hear Challenge” – a process that brings to our awareness the hurts of our past, buried in the subconscious, with the intent of healing these painful emotions. “When we begin to understand the mind, specifically the subconscious, we learn that these symptoms are not personal in any way, but rather spiritual in every way: they are wake-up calls to alert us to evolve to our fullest potential,” they believe.
After devoting several chapters to defining the “See Feel Hear Challenge”, I liked how the authors in the concluding chapters clarified the process through a series of questions from Montana (in the role of the lay person) to Weissman (the “m.d.” expert). In one of these exchanges Weissman writes, “I find that most people, when setting an intention, do so out of fear rather than love. They’ve focused on getting away from something or preventing something from happening, rather than genuinely focusing on where their hearts are leading them. Love always moves toward things; fear always moves away. A fear-based intention will keep a person anchored to the current situation he or she is in.” Wise words which I will remember the next time I am setting an intention.
While I found the See Feel Hear Challenge a helpful approach to healing with many valuable insights, I feel it would be difficult for a person to work through his or her painful emotions just by reading the book. Weissman’s and Montana’s work is a good guide for therapists in revealing a process that could be applied in sessions with clients. I think it is too much to expect the average person to work through these emotions by himself or herself without the aide of a skilled counselor.
In the final pages of the book the authors quote Marianne Williamson – “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that exists within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone!” The Heart of the Matter is a good book in raising the reader’s awareness of what may be blocking the Spirit within, with steps to heal those blockages.
What I first noticed was the endorsement of Craniosacral Therapy (CST) by well known spiritual author Wayne Dyer. Dyer has featured MacKinnon on his Hay House radio show, and he wrote the introduction to her book. MacKinnon's CST practice worked on Dyer, helping him overcome the energy zapping effects of lymphocytic leukemia. "I encourage you to pay close attention to what this phenomenal teacher has to offer you concerning craniosacral therapy as an alternative to the far more extreme options that are generally offered through the medical model," Dyer writes. If CST is good enough for Wayne Dyer, it's good enough for me. I wanted to read more.
I liked MacKinnon's emphasis on natural healing. "With CST we recognize that, given proper support, the body will heal itself, creating a custom solution to any problem that is causing discomfort," MacKinnon believes. She gives a very thorough explanation of what CST is, backed by numerous case studies from her patients. The many tales of people getting better through CST encouraged me to try this type of therapy myself. The only problem is, would I be able to find a CST therapist as skilled as MacKinnon? MacKinnon offers resources in the book to find your own CST practitioner from The Upledger Institute (www.upledger.com) - I was surprised to find a good number of CST therapists in my area. I also liked her suggestions on how to determine if a particular CST therapist is the right fit for you.
MacKinnon is not against traditional medicine - in fact she suggests CST can support other healing modalities out there. "I cannot imagine a life without dentists: their work is invaluable in preventing excruciating pain," she says. "At the same time I cannot imagine how we can tolerate dental work without CST!"
I think From My Hands and Heart is best read by someone in a healing profession. While I found the case studies interesting, it only took one or two to convince me that CST was worth a try. I did not need the depth of analysis that MacKinnon delves into to prove the worthiness of CST - a person in the medical field will likely appreciate these detailed case studies more than I. Nevertheless From My Hands and Heart is a worthwhile book to raise awareness of this innovative and natural healing practice. "The most succinct and complete definition of CST I have come across," MacKinnon writes, "is `the healing power of gentle touch'" In a world filled with more intrusive medical options, CST is a welcome practice for me to consider for my future health needs.
I like how Virtue starts the book laying a firm foundation of who exactly Gabriel is. “Gabriel is mostly known as the ‘Messenger Angel,’ she writes. “Since the word angel means ‘Messenger of God’ Gabriel is thought to be the overseer of human and angelic messengers. Gabriel is the first named angel in the Bible (in the book of Daniel) Gabriel is an important angel in the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” Not only does the book give a thorough background on Gabriel, it also contains pages and pages of beautiful renderings of the angel by artists throughout the centuries. Miracles is worth a purchase for the pictures alone. Get the hard copy to fully appreciate the reproductions of these paintings. This is not a book for your Kindle.
Virtue feels Gabriel is active in the World today. The book contains a variety of stories from everyday people of their real life encounters with this messenger angel. “Two thousand years after the biblical Annunciation, Archangel Gabriel continues to announce pregnancies to women around the world,” Virtue writes. “Sometimes, Gabriel’s announcement is about a current pregnancy, and other times it’s about a future one. Either way, Gabriel’s messages bring great joy to mothers, fathers, and their extended families.” This angel also serves humanity in other ways. “As the angel of communication, Gabriel gives encouragement to writers and other human messengers,” Virtue says.
Skeptics may doubt these tales are true. Virtue has an answer for them. “Why would this powerful angel bother with ordinary mortals and their mundane experiences? The answer: God’s love is unlimited, omnipresent, and unconditional,” she writes. “The Divine is also timeless. God didn’t stop sending angels to us 2,000 years ago. The nameless and the famous angels are among us more than ever before, because our complicated world needs extra protection and guidance from God’s messengers.”
Sometimes I hear criticism of Hay House material from religious conservatives that Hay House authors only promote a “self love” message – leaving God out of the equation. Virtue, one of the most successful and popular Hay House authors, is different. While she preaches self love like the others, Virtue places more emphasis on asking for God’s help outside of ourselves. “We don’t pray to angels, as we aren’t deifying them or making them into idols,” she says. “However, we can ask God to send Gabriel’s help or call upon the archangel directly.” The Miracles of Archangel Gabriel will appeal to a wide audience, regardless of your spiritual orientation.
The first book I read from Virtue, The Angel Therapy Handbook, which I reviewed two years ago, convinced me that angels just might exist. The Miracles of Archangel Gabriel motivated me to ask for Gabriel’s help with my writing projects (assisting authors, after all, is one of the angel’s specialties!). I recommend the book to all who want support from the angelic realm.
I have read a few books and I have listened to a number of speakers on the Law of Attraction, and I thought Grace’s treatment of the topic was one of the most practical and easy to understand yet. I liked her analogy of making a movie to how you visualize your own life – a metaphor she uses throughout the book to drive home her key points. Meditation, Gratitude, Journaling, Visualization with Emotion are a few of the techniques Grace recommends in her book to manifest the life of your dreams.
“Directing Your Destiny” is not just filled with pie in the sky positive thinking type messages. What if you follow all the “law of attraction” principles and nothing is happening? “No one ever picked up a guitar and became a rock star on the first day,” she writes. “As with playing an instrument, learning how to become the director of your dreams takes practice and a bit of daily discipline.” The author gives examples from her own life of when she hit roadblocks, and how she overcame those. I especially liked her story of how she did not win a Hay House writing contest on her first attempt, yet she pressed on and did eventually win a publishing contract. The key was action on her part. “If I had just visualized being a Hay House author … it would not have happened,” she recalls. “We need the ‘Will’ to get up off the couch,” she counsels, “and the ‘Grace’ to allow Source to codirect our movies with us. Nothing happens without action and surrender.”
“A life that’s produced well is a life where things flow effortlessly and synchronize automatically with your goals,” Grace writes. “When you are in alignment with your true self, you will experience a natural flow that carries you from one breakthrough to another.” I wish my life was more like that – often it isn’t. “Directing Your Destiny” did give me a number of practical tips to get myself back in alignment, and I think it will for you, too.
The message of Mind Over Medicine is more than “don’t worry, be happy”. Rankin backs up her claims with pages of research, detailing cases of spontaneous remission, where seriously ill patients are suddenly cured. In one case study she tells of a doctor who performed “placebo knee surgery” on a number of patients – telling them they were getting surgery but unbeknownst to the patients not actually performing it. The rate of recovery for these phantom surgeries was astonishing. “The surgery was two years ago and the knee has never bothered me since. It’s just like my other knee now,” said one World War II veteran. Rankin writes that this study “showed that a significant percentage of patients experienced resolution of their knee pain solely because they believed they got surgery. That was the first real evidence I collected that proved to me that a belief—something that happens solely in the mind—could alleviate a real, concrete symptom in the body.”
The author does not totally dismiss traditional medicine – in fact she encourages readers to consult with their physicians. But she believes a doctor’s loving and positive attitude is just as important as textbook knowledge. “By labeling a patient with a negative prognosis and robbing him or her of the hope that cure might be possible, we may ultimately prove the poor prognosis we have bestowed upon our patient correct,” she writes. “Wouldn’t we be better off offering hope and triggering the mind to release health-inducing chemicals intended to aid the body’s self-repair mechanisms?”
I liked Rankin’s emphasis on listening to what she calls “your inner pilot light – the radiant, sparkly spirit of you … It’s that part of you that is a little piece of divinity fueling your life in human form. It’s that 100 percent authentic, never extinguished, always-shining-though-sometimes-dimmed part that lights the way back to wholeness, happiness, and health.” In the concluding pages of the book she encourages the reader to write his or her own Prescription, listening to that voice within, on the best course to take for the individual’s health. She provides an example of a Prescription she wrote for herself in the book’s appendix.
“You have more power to heal your own body than you’ve ever imagined,” Rankin says, but “many people feel like that’s just too much responsibility. It’s much easier to hand over your power and hope someone smarter, wiser, and more experienced can ‘fix’ you.” Mind Over Medicine encouraged me to take a fresh look at my health, especially ways I can reduce my stress levels, so that my body’s natural healing capabilities can take over.
“Who do I know that exudes the qualities of a great spiritual master—a person who lives in the present moment, is detached from the material world, embraces simplicity, has the joyful heart of a child, and loves without condition?” Chase asks early in his book. “The answer I had been searching for literally walked up to me and … licked my face.” I enjoyed the many stories of the author’s beloved Mollie in the book – from eating cookies under a neighbor’s Christmas tree, to an unexpected lick-to-the-face wake up call for the author at 2 a.m. one morning, to dragging Chase to navigate new streets in a circuitous walk home. These stories reminded me of my pet Sandy when I was growing up, and are sure to put a smile on any dog lover’s face.
Loving Everyone is more than just entertaining canine tales, though. Chase makes a spiritual point about each of the Mollie episodes he writes about, with chapter titles like “Wag More, Bark Less”, “Go with the Flow”, and “Dealing with Difficult Dogs”. Mollie faces each challenge with a cheerful, loving attitude and a sense of curiosity. In writing about questionable characters the two would meet on their walks, Chase observes that Mollie’s reaction “is always the same—joy, enthusiasm, and the desire to know the person better. She adheres to the suggestion often made by great spiritual teachers: See everyone you meet as God in disguise.” The book is not deep metaphysics – rather through humorous Mollie stories Chase skillfully slips in his observations on how us humans could learn a thing or two from our happy canine companions.
Chase makes changes to his own life thanks to Mollie. “I now apply four of her canine habits into my daily routine in my effort to duplicate her feel-good ways: 1) get adequate rest and take power naps, 2) make water my primary drink, 3) have portion control at mealtime, and 4) make exercise and play a daily part of life. It all may sound very basic, but Mollie’s health regimens have resulted in higher energy and lower weight for both of us—a significant reminder that tiny changes can have profound, lasting effects,” he writes.
I recommend Loving Everyone for the many Mollie stories that teach us life lessons in a fun and entertaining way.
Nine Star Ki has its roots in Chinese Energy Theory, the Yin and Yang system that is also the basis for Acupuncture and Feng Shui. I’ve received treatments from an acupuncturist for several years with great benefit. I recently finished reading and reviewing a book on Feng Shui that was also very worthwhile. “Hmmm, maybe there is something to Nine Star Ki,” I thought as I browsed the first few pages of Your Hidden Symmetry. I was intrigued and I read on.
Unlike those Chinese restaurant place mats, Nine Star Ki uses your birth month and day, in addition to the year, to give you three numbers as a guide to your personality type. My numbers came out to be “8.8.5? – described in part as a “mountain” personality. Your Hidden Symmetry details the 81 different Nine Star Ki types. Was it accurate in my case? Here were some characteristics of my type as described in the book:
You’ll tend to be a deep thinker, perhaps with an interest in philosophy or personal growth, and you’ll need to think through decisions slowly and carefully. (check)
You love to study and learn and may have an extensive library in your home, take seminars, or do self-development work. And because you’re so nurturing, you’ll want to teach people what you’ve learned or in some way use all your accumulated wisdom to help them discover their own hidden treasure and become the best they can be. (check)
You tend to be quiet and people may complain that you’re hard to get to know. (check)
You usually appear calm and quiet and aren’t easily provoked, but there are times the mountain can turn into a volcano! (yep, that’s me)
I found Your Hidden Symmetry remarkably accurate in characterizing my own personality. As an added bonus the book includes affirmations from Hay House founder Louise Hay tailored to each personality type.
I liked the overall “go with the flow” theme of Your Hidden Symmetry and the Nine Star Ki system. “Trust the process,” Haner writes, “attempting to force your will on life only drains your energy and can block wonderful things that are trying to come to you, if you’ll just stop and allow.”
“You were born with a unique spirit that is yours and yours alone, yet which is also a part of the greater patterns of the whole of nature,” the author says. Your Hidden Symmetry is a good tool to understand your strengths and areas for growth. Haner concludes the book with wise words for anyone to follow:
“The more fully you can embrace yourself for who you really are, the more you can move into a place of confidence and compassion, where you can fulfill your sacred purpose in the world. I’ll meet you there.”
When I first had the opportunity to review Cheryl Grace’s “Feng Shui Simply: Changing Your Life From The Inside Out” I wasn’t interested. “Why would I want to review a book about interior decorating?” I thought. But with the many books I read and review, I do like to mix it up and read different material now and then. “Why not?” I said to myself. “Besides, Cheryl Grace once worked for ESPN. Maybe she’ll have some sports stories in there.”
I soon discovered Feng Shui Simply is far more than a book about decorating – it’s about a person’s internal emotional state and how that is reflected in the environments we surround ourselves with. It is one of the best books I have read this year.
Grace was a high profile executive at ESPN. “My accomplishments at the network had elevated me to a level of considerable success: high visibility, worldwide travel, a powerful leadership position, and an executive salary with perks,” she writes. “I should have been at the happiest point in my life. Yet I had to admit that I wasn’t.” She first took feng shui classes while keeping her day job, then she left the corporate world to become a full time consultant in this Chinese art of managing energy. “As I absorbed every detail and applied it to my home, every aspect of my life began to change for the better,” she remembers.
The author explains the concepts in easy to understand terms, even for a guy like me more interested in football than home decor. I liked how Grace differentiates her approach from other feng shui strategies. “The focus of conventional feng shui books is the external environment,” she writes. “The purpose of the cures we see is to alter the energy of the space in a way that connects directly with what’s going on inside us. However, the one-size-fits-all manner that’s common today doesn’t delve more deeply into the inner life of the person using it, and this can be unproductive—even counterproductive.” Her emphasis on inner transformation in coordination with outer change is effective – it’s not just a book about rearranging furniture.
Throughout Feng Shui Simply Grace treats us to entertaining stories of clients she has worked with. Grace recommends to a successful career woman that she move a large picture of Janis Joplin out of the bedroom. “Don’t you like Janis Joplin?” the client asks. “It’s a great picture,” Grace replies. “But she was a drug addict and an alcoholic, she was single, and she’s dead. We need to move her to a different space. Instead, let’s find a piece of artwork that better reflects Love and Marriage to hang on this wall that will serve as a greeter when you enter the room.” After this and other home alterations are made, the client soon finds the love of her life. When working on the invitation list for the wedding her fiance remarks,”We have to have the feng shui lady there.” Stories like this make Feng Shui Simply fun to read – it’s not all theory.
“Our own vital energy is either supported or depleted by everything in the environment,” Grace writes. “The goal of feng shui is to improve and elevate the energy around us, which ultimately boosts our own energy to a more awakened state.” After reading Feng Shui Simply I see many changes I want to make to my home office as I write this review. I think it will cause you to reassess your everyday surroundings, too.
I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Tom Shadyac had it made by conventional standards. A successful Hollywood director whose films had grossed nearly two billion, Shadyac led a life of luxury and fame. “I flew privately everywhere and anywhere I pleased. I bought expensive houses, antiques, and old masters’ paintings at Sotheby’s auctions, and paid tens of thousands of dollars for authentic Persian rugs,” he recalls. Then a near fatal bike accident caused him to reevaluate his priorities and human nature in general. Shadyac shares his insights in his new book, Life’s Operating Manual, a worthy followup to his “I Am” documentary on a similar theme.
“Our culture keeps us so busy counting money and material possessions, focusing our attention on status symbols and skewed definitions of success, that our own happiness, anchored in family, community, creativity, simplicity, and service – is passing us by,” Shayac writes. In Life’s Operating Manual Shayac contends that people are basically good, that cooperation, not competition, is the natural state in the animal world, and that our current society is out of alignment with these fundamental truths. This stance will no doubt draw criticism. Shayac addresses the naysayers in a creative way through a series of “fear” and “truth” dialogs at the end of each chapter. For example, this exchange is included after a chapter on cooperation:
“FEAR: Ah, yes. Just what the world needs, another socialist who wishes to redistribute wealth.
TRUTH: I do not wish to redistribute wealth; I wish to redefine it. When people understand that true wealth is found not in the accumulation of things, but in the advancement of love, wealth will redistribute itself.”
I thought the fear/truth dialogs were effective in summarizing the main points of each chapter while answering any doubts a skeptical reader may have.
I also liked Shadyac’s message to all of us of charging what we need for our services, earning a fair return, without getting as much as we can. “Whether in the grocery or garment industry, in education or entertainment, we are all encouraged, even expected, to charge the highest price for a good or service the market will bear,” he writes. I was moved by Shadyac’s example of St Judes Children’s Research Hospital as an organization that doesn’t overcharge and exists to genuinely serve humanity. “No cancer-stricken child should be denied treatment, regardless of ability to pay,” is the hospital’s motto.
“Society’s so screwed up because we’re so screwed up,” the author writes. “But what if this story about our inherent defects is just that – a story? What if we are actually good in our nature, divinely designed so, hardwired to help and to love?” Is it realistic to expect society to change from a competitive “me first” attitude to the utopia Shadyac envisions? Perhaps not. If the change Shadyac hopes for is to become a reality, it will happen one person at a time. Reading Life’s Operating Manual caused me to reevaluate my priorities, and I think it will do the same for you.
I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
I’m probably one of the few guys who is writing a review of Meggan Watterson’s new book, “Reveal: A Sacred Manual For Getting Spiritually Naked”. Intended for a female audience, Reveal tells how the feminine aspect of spirituality has been suppressed in all of the major religions. “(I believe) there is a connection between our ideas of the Divine and the status of women,” Watterson writes, “and that until there is a more balanced perception of the Divine as both male and female, masculine and feminine … women and girls will continue to be mistreated by both themselves and others. I ardently believe that if men and women could speak with equal spiritual authority about the Divine, there would be far less gender-based violence in the world.”
Watterson’s message about bringing the feminine part of Spirit to light intrigued me. She was interviewed as part of Hay House’s World Summit where she emphasized the importance of divine feminine attributes such as vulnerability, compassion and empathy. The goal, she said, is not to just “see God as male and masculine but also seeing the divine as female and feminine and embodying both. Allowing ourselves to be both.” After listening to that interview, I decided to read Reveal. I was glad I did. Early in the book she writes “what I want most for you (is) to hear and feel the limitless love and wisdom of the truth inside you, to know and trust the voice of your own soul so much that you let it guide you from within.” That message applies equally to me, a man, as it does to Watterson’s female audience.
I once had a powerful mystical experience when I was in my 20's. A realization within me of God’s unconditional love. 30 years later I still ponder what that was all about. In Reveal I read that the author had a similar experience. “The Divine for me was in the opposite direction from where I’d been told to look,” Watterson writes. “Until then, I had seen the Divine as something outside of me, beyond me, something I had to reach out of myself to attain. But now I had discovered that finding the Divine meant going within.” My feelings exactly. I appreciated the insights Watterson gives in her book for getting in touch with that inner soul voice of unconditional love that we all have.
Other parts of Reveal I didn’t relate to as much, such as the importance of women to recognize their sexuality and bodies as sacred, too. “The majority of the world religions have a negative message about the body, the female body in particular,” Watterson says. Women readers, especially those with body image issues, will no doubt find value in these words.
One of my goals for this year is to be more authentic, a strong theme in Reveal. “To me being spiritual is less about learning something new and more about remembering what I have always known,” the author writes. “Being spiritual is a process of stripping down to what is authentic for me, for my life. Getting spiritually naked is about having the courage to be radically open about the truth of who we are with no exceptions and no apologies, to reveal ourselves without judgment or shame.” Wise advice for anyone, male or female, to follow. Watterson is very open about her own personal struggles and triumphs in Reveal, and in doing so she has created a worthy spiritual guidebook for the rest of us.
I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review
purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Stated on the cover of Michael Neill’s new book “The Inside Out Revolution” is a bold claim: “The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever”. At the top of the cover is a testimonial, “If you could only read one book in your lifetime, I’d recommend this one,” from Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group. Inside Out Revolution did not have as big of an impact on me as these testimonials hinted at, yet I feel it does contain valuable insights for the reader in living everyday life.
“We create our individual experience of reality via the vehicle of thought,” Neill writes. “Thought is the missing link between the formless world of pure potentiality and the created world of form.” I’ve heard this “change your thinking, change your life” type of message before, but in Inside Out Revolution it is presented in an easy to understand format. I liked the author’s use of stories to illustrate his points. At the end of each chapter is a nice review titled “Putting It All Together” where the main points of that chapter are summarized.
Another chapter that resonated with me was “Original Grace”. “The return to this ‘original grace’ of life is always available to us,” Neill says, “and takes no particular effort to attain because it is in fact a return to our natural way of being.” Inside Out gives suggestions on how you can get in touch with the pure essence of your being and live from that place. Neill makes an analogy that our natural state of Grace is our “factory default”, and suggests we do a “reset” of our psych when our lives seem out of balance. “We don’t create abundance,” Neill writes, “Abundance (our natural state) is always present. We create limitation.”
“You won’t find the principles (Neill) teaches here anywhere else in psychology, the media, or the self-help world,” writes PHD George Pransky in the Forward of Inside Out. As an avid reader of spirituality and self help books, I felt I had read similar material elsewhere. Yet Neill does present his thoughts in a unique and compelling way (I read the whole book in four days – once I started it I was hooked). If you are new to the self help world Inside Out is worth a read. If you are not the book is a good refresher of concepts you may already be familiar with from other sources.
Lipton stresses the importance of "trusting our vibes". I liked how he gave examples from his own life. In one chapter he tells how he had a bad feeling about a "predator" neighbor while living on Barbados. When a job transfer came through to another island Lipton was relieved - he'd get away from that neighbor once and for all! He was surprised when the neighbor volunteered to help him move. After getting assistance loading his belongings from his new friend, Lipton thought to himself "maybe this guy wasn't so bad after all" as he left on a plane trip. When Lipton returned he found his neighbor had cancelled Lipton's move with the shipping company, and had stolen all of Lipton's household goods! "The loss of all my possessions was a painful lesson for me about the importance of trusting 'bad vibes' and 'good vibes'," Lipton writes.
Most of the examples Lipton gives in his book are related to romantic relationships. "When it comes to partners, there are suddenly four instead of two minds involved," he writes. "And these two extra subconscious minds can wreak havoc on Happily-Ever-After relationships." The Honeymoon Effect is full of strategies to deprogram those unhealthy messages that come from our subconscious minds.
While I valued Lipton's insights, I suspect the average reader will find it difficult to change the programming of his or her subconscious just by reading the book. Lipton encourages readers to followup on his suggestions. "There is no one tool that fits all people," he says. "If one of the processes listed in the appendix doesn't work, don't give up; try another one!" he adds. I think the Honeymoon Effect is best used as a guide for the reader to explore different healing methods.
The book ends on a hopeful note - we CAN change the programming of our subconscious minds. "By manifesting the life you choose, not the life you were programmed by your family to lead, you can have it all," Lipton writes. The Honeymoon Effect reminded me of how those messages I received in childhood still affect me today, and encouraged me to continue to work on changing those thoughts.
I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review
purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Robert Holden did not come out of the womb as a love guru. I liked how Holden opens up in "Loveability" with his own struggles in learning how to love. In one chapter Holden reveals how uncomfortable he was with Louise Hay's Mirror Exercise, where you look into your eyes in a mirror and say to yourself "I love you". Holden remembers saying "I can't do this" when recalling his first experience with the mirror exercise at age 27. "When I said the words 'I love myself' it sounded fake." His retelling of this experience had special meaning for me, as I was uncomfortable, too, when I first tried mirror work. In being vulnerable with his own love issues and how he worked through them, Holden's lessons are easy for the reader to relate to. He is one of us.
Holden emphasizes again and again in Loveability that self love is the key to a fulfilling life. Are you still dealing with painful rejections of the past? "Every relationship in your life is a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself," Holden writes. "When you make someone your source of love, they will also be a source of pain." His words will cause me to pause the next time I feel slighted at the words or actions of another. Is it the other person doing that to me, or am I just being reminding of parts of myself I don't accept and love? It's not about them, it's about me. "The quality of your relationship with yourself determines the quality of your relationship with everything else," Holden says.
At times I felt Holden was repeating himself a bit much, stating his self love message in different forms throughout the book. Yet after reading Loveability I understood the value of his words: "Love is not just a technique you learn, a skill you acquire, or a secret you find on the last page of a book. It is a natural ability that flows effortlessly through you when you let it."
This is the second book I have read from Holden. I also liked "Shift Happens" which I reviewed back in 2011. If you are new to Holden's work, I recommend reading Loveability first to get a sound foundation in his self love message, and then read Shift Happens for short, daily inspirational thoughts.
The byproduct of self love according to Holden? Your relationships improve, too. "When you stop judging yourself, the habit of gratuitously judging others will also stop," he writes. "The more you love yourself, the more people feel loved by you. It's how reality works."
I found myself thinking of Holden's words on love often in the past week as different challenges came up in my life. I'm guessing the book will have the same effect on you - I recommend reading Loveability.
I received a complementary copy of this book from Hay House for review
purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Wayne Dyer jokes about this designation that he first saw on the internet. “You’re listening right now to the third most influential spiritual person alive,” Dyer says. “That’s my ego. There’s two people ahead of me on this list. Now my spirit says ‘you aren’t any better than anyone else, you’re just connected to God like everyone else.’ The ego is tapping me on the shoulder saying ‘I know you can take those two guys ahead of you down!’”
The CD is filled with wonderful moments like this, giving insight to the human dilemma we all struggle with – when are we living out of our ego and when are we living out of spirit?
Eckhart Tolle’s “power of now” message comes through clearly in the discussion. The real you, Tolle says, is “a sense of deep aliveness that has nothing to do with your history or your future. If you can touch that within you that is the liberation from a false sense of self. This is why we are here. To experience that.”
I enjoyed the friendly banter between Dyer and Tolle, filled with wisdom and humor. On the second disk of the two CD set the pair take questions from the audience (recorded at a live event in Maui). Listen to the CD to hear their take on inquiries such as:
“Since you are both very popular and successful, how do you remain humble and in touch with everyday people and situations, and not let your ego take over?”
“Should I establish goals for my life, and what kind of goals would each of you place a high value on?”
“Is it possible to slay the ego? Can the ego be good?”
While I feel a reading book from Dyer or Tolle is the best way to absorb each author’s teaching, this two hour CD program captures the essence of their message in abbreviated form. “You can be an extraordinary being and still have ordinary in it. The extraordinary part of who we all are is the Soul,” Wayne Dyer says in one segment. The CD set reminded me to recognize and live out of my “extraordinary” part more often.
I now have a mirror by my desk where I look myself in the eye and say little affirmations like this during the day. Does this sound strange? If you watch Louise Hay's and Cheryl Richardson's new four part DVD set from Hay House, "You Can Trust Your Life", you soon will be telling yourself loving affirmations, too!
"Mirror Work" is one of the self loving techniques Louise and Cheryl emphasize throughout the program. Recorded at a live two day weekend workshop in London, the DVDs really capture the experience of hearing Louise and Cheryl in person. The camera work is very well done, showing the subtle facial expressions of these two teachers, as well as the vulnerability of audience members during the question and answer periods.
I reviewed the book on which the workshop was based, You Can Create a Magnificent Life, when it first came out in September 2011. The book was great but the DVDs offer spontaneous moments not possible in print format. "We certainly welcome the men. We are so glad to have you here. We love you," Louise says early in the program. "We like to acknowledge the men when they show up. We need more men," Cheryl adds. "We don't need men but we welcome them. We don't need anything because life gives us everything," says Louise, correcting Cheryl. Rather than being offended, Cheryl laughs and says, "The teaching never ends people. It's continuous and wonderful." The two women play off of each other like this throughout the sessions. Watch the DVDs for more surprises (including one where Louise uses salty language to make a point - she is a feisty 86 year old!)
My favorite part of the program was the closing, where Louise leads the audience in a group forgiveness exercise. "Being in a state of non-forgiveness is like sitting in a prison of self righteous resentment that keeps the doors closed," she tells the crowd as everyone listens with their eyes closed. "And we cannot access the love in our own hearts."
If you have never attended a Cheryl Richardson/Louise Hay talk in person as I have, the DVD set captures the energy and emotion of a live event. The message of self love healing old wounds was freeing to me, as if I was at that London workshop. "Living an exceptional life starts with loving yourself first," Cheryl says in one segment. "You are living with yourself day after day, you might as well enjoy it," adds Louise. Wise words I will remember the next time I have a self critical thought.
This is another review in my partnership with Hay House. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the DVD from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
I’m glad I quieted my inner skeptic and read Myss’ book. What I found was a fascinating look at human nature through different personality profiles: The Artist/Creative, the Caregiver, the Intellectual, the Rebel, and others (10 in all).
“Archetypal patterns hold the key to the real you,” Myss writes. “They somehow know more about you than you know about yourself. By identifying and exploring your own archetypal patterns, you come to understand your true self.”
I saw myself in several of the archetypes presented – I am not just one type. The book points to the website www.ArchetypeMe.com for you to take a quick quiz to determine what mix of archetypes is your unique blend. I found the quiz gave an accurate self assessment. I came out as “Creative”, “Intellectual”, and “Spiritual”. Yep, that’s me.
I liked how Myss points out the strengths and challenges for each archetype. My dominant archetype was “The Artist/Creative”. The lifestyle challenge presented for this type resonated with me: “Can I develop my talent and express myself, or will fear of failure or humiliation hold me back?” Sometimes I hesitate to put my work out there (like a book project I’m working on) because of a fear of what people will think. Reading Myss’ words encouraged me to go for it! “You cannot wait for someone else to acknowledge the Artist in you in order to recognize your own gifts,” she writes. “It is up to you to bring your gifts to the world, no matter how small or large your world. Your talent may end up being recognized by millions of people or only ten, but whichever it is doesn’t matter. What matters is that you acknowledged your creative gifts.”
One minor criticism I have of Archetypes is that it is written primarily for a female audience. Myss leads off many chapters devoting pages to the female version of a particular archetype, and then at the end she gives a paragraph or two on the “male counterpart”. I thought the book could have been better balanced, giving more male examples for us guys.
If you are new to the concept of archetypes, like I was, this book is for you. “Archetypal patterns filter into every aspect of your life, so it’s important to discover how they express themselves in your everyday decisions and routines,” Myss writes. “They influence
recurring issues: arguments you seem to have over and over, difficulties at work that keep cropping up, and other patterns that repeat themselves. Anything that repeats is a clue to what archetypes are operating in your life.”
Yes, Archetypes may be yet another tool to understand your inner psyche, but I found it an accurate one that gave me new insights into myself.