Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Books’ Category

Become Who You Truly Are: YOU CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


You Can Transform Full Cover FINALrevWhat is your plan for transforming 2018 into your best year ever? Have you thought about it? Do you have a plan?

Imagine if you could have a year of inspiration mapped out for you. Well, Darity Wesley, a Modern Day Oracle™, has done just that for you. You Can Transform Your Life was written as a guide to support your personal and spiritual growth over the course of 52 weeks… so it’s a perfect time to start using it at the beginning of a new year. Of course, you can start at any time, go at your own pace, or even open the book at random for an Oracle message to answer a question on your mind in the moment.

The first Oracle message relates to Creating a New Way of Life, with the affirmation mantra: “I AM releasing the old so I can build the new…And so it is!!!” There’s also a circle for you to draw your goal or intention as a simple symbol.

Each Oracle message is followed by space for you to answer four questions of self-inquiry – to explore what the message means to you, to create your own personal mantra, to plan how to integrate the message into your life, and to direct your attention to any messages from your own inner voice.

The book’s design is so well thought out – I found that answering the questions and using this space to journal my emotions and thoughts on the Oracle message made it so much more powerful for me than just reading the message. This personal writing is therapeutic, helping you let go of the things that are holding you down, inviting you to freely express how you feel – which will make you feel better.

Spinx Darity with copyright

Love and Trust, my dear ones … Love and Trust! ~ Darity Wesley, Modern Day Oracle™

At the end of the 52 Oracle messages, there is a guided Personal Transformation Journal template that takes you even further, offering inspirational prompts for your writing. I think you will be amazed at how far you’ve come on your personal journey by the time you reach the last journal page, which prompts, “Free yourself from what is holding you back! Be who you truly are!”

For those seeking to go even further on their journey of transformation, Darity Wesley has designed a Companion Workbook for You Can Transform Your Life, that provides more in-depth questions for each of the 52 Oracle messages, bonus exercises to help increase intuition, spiritual strength and inner balance by exploring such topics as Tuning In, Gratitude, and Forgiveness, as well as practical advice on how to apply these tools of transformation to all areas of your life. It will be available on December 26.

What a great way to start 2018 with one or both of these books in hand or gifted to others!

Many thanks to author Darity Wesley for answering my many questions about her work here…

Can you explain what Oracle messages are?

I feel that the Oracle messages are communications written to stimulate and encourage thoughts and feelings that will support and assist us in our personal and spiritual development. I think of the Oracle messages as signposts. They point the way for our own consciousness, our own Soul self to discover, guide and change our behavior, our way of thinking, our way of feeling. Everything is possible and Oracle messages support whatever resonates with the heart of its reader.

What inspired you to become an “Oracle?”

In the late 1980s early 1990s I enjoyed a book by Shakti Gawain entitled Reflections in the Light. This book contained inspirational messages for every day of the calendar year. It felt good to think about or contemplate whatever she had written for that day. I liked it very much and thought it may be of value to others.

In 2006, I heard of the social media site called MySpace which was gaining in popularity in the tech industry I was working in. I put up a profile on MySpace and began posting what I called ~The Daily Oracle~: Inspirational messages by Shakti Gawain, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass and many others. I allowed my spirit to be my guide in picking what to post for each day. At some point in the postings, someone asked if they could receive the messages by email and I said “Sure” and began the email subscription service. I stopped posting on MySpace somewhere along the way but continued with the email subscription service sending the messages of others.

In August of 2012, my treasured friend of many years, Cristina Smith, suggested I might like to write the Oracle messages from my own spirit as opposed to using the work of others. I was flabbergasted and immediately rejected the idea that I do that on my own. “Who, me?”

That “suggestion” was a seed that grew and blossomed, so I faced my fears and decided to do exactly that. Well, to at least give it a try! So, on September 5, 2012, I launched Oracles from the Spirit of Darity. While that space was always there, within me, it was my friend Cristina who inspired me to become a Modern Day Oracle™.

How do you access these messages or divinations?

Having been on the path of self-discovery and inquiry for over 50 years, I have experienced much support from my angels, guides and Spirit. Because I have “tuned in” for so long and “turned up the volume,” I feel I recognize and, therefore, trust, the voice within me. So what I do is just tap into that place where I hear Spirit and say “What?” “What are the energies and directions for …?” I then write or type the words or directions that come through.

How can the reader best use your Oracle messages?

Each Oracle message focuses on some area of self and/or spiritual discovery. Since inner work is very personal, the Oracle message will simply help the reader’s own intuition look at what they need to look at in that area or what they can focus on as a tool, a process, a step to work on, integrate or a practice to include in their life to support them along the way. As I said earlier, Oracle messages stimulate thoughts and feelings for us to investigate or assimilate or even relegate to another time if it causes us any resistance when we are reading it.

That is what the companion workbook: You Can Transform Your Life – Go Deeper (available on Amazon on December 26) will add to the process. It is intended to help us navigate these changing times and facilitate our journey to becoming our True Authentic Selves.

What are the benefits of using the affirmation mantras?

Affirmation mantras are the seeds of our intentions. We use them to support us. The main benefit of an affirmation mantra is its ability to bypass the “monkey mind,” the “ego,” the “personality” … that part of ourselves that is “rational” and “controlling” and caught up in the illusion of the way it really is. That part of us which will surely tell us why it won’t work or why it is something other than “love and trust,” for instance, or “I firmly stand in my determination to …” or “I am kind to others and myself.”

Another benefit of affirmation mantras is their support of the transformational energies of self and spiritual discoveries. They help us access higher levels of awareness. No matter how you use them, affirmation mantras have the ability to bring the seed of your intention into full bloom to support what it is you are wanting to do, be or have.

What are the different ways readers can use your book?

A reader can use the Oracle messages in the book however they feel drawn to use them. The book, and its companion workbook, is structured as a 52-week program beginning any time you want, however, they can be used and applied randomly, you can skip around, and let your very own spirit be the guide. Mix and match or go in order. It is all up to the reader.

You write of the New Reality – can you explain that and offer an example of that in action?

The New Reality is a term that comes up a lot in the Oracle messages. Quite simply, it is a shift in focus. This shift is from an external focus, which has been the way of life on this Planet for a very long time, to an internal focus that is a new way of life. The New Reality is a focus on an internal, higher level of consciousness. That “higher level of consciousness” may be your own creative sovereignty or that of a higher power or energy or just All That Is, the Universe, God, depending on your particular belief structure. When we step into consciously allowing that creative power to move through us, rather than resist it or not acknowledge it, we find such things as fulfillment, balance, happiness. What you need, what you want, comes from within, not “out there.”

As more and more of us step into the New Reality, as often as we can, we will feel there is more to be discovered about ourselves and our world. That can bring a calm joyousness and excitement to our lives.

An example of that would be my personal experience when I came to the realization that nothing “out there” was really responsible for my happiness. Not money, not things, not relationships. No. Nothing outside of me. I realized I was responsible for making me happy. I am the creator of my own reality and I choose, from inside, my happiness. That is stepping, a wee step for sure, into the New Reality.

What brought you to the decision you say you made, “to wear my heart on my sleeve and the world can just get over it?”

I will never forget the experience so many, many years ago. I was 33 years old. At that time I was a person who wanted everyone to love her. Mostly because I felt so unlovable. I had no real sense of myself. My need for love and approval was so great that I was like a chameleon. I had no opinions of my own. I would assume the likes and dislikes of whomever I was with. I was a Republican with Republicans and a Democrat with Democrats. I went along with whatever was happening. God forbid I would say what I thought or felt in a social setting.

Having been exploring myself and growing spiritually for many years prior to this, I was not totally devoid of self-inquiry, self-discovery and spiritual growth and so this was, evidentially, my next step.

At that time in my Buddha year, 33, I had a life changing experience at the foot of Mt. Shasta in California. Part of that life changing experience was “I am going to wear my heart on my sleeve, allow myself to be vulnerable, people will like me or not like me but they will like me or not like me as I am.” No more pretending, no more affectation, no more not saying what I think or feel. Nope! I began to step more and more into my True Authentic Self.

What would you most like readers to take away from this book?

Whether someone desires a complete life makeover or just wants to learn new ways to feel more in harmony with themselves and their world, this book and the companion Workbook, provide processes, tools and practices to take your life to a new level. Self-discovery and self-awareness are critical tools for these changing times and absolutely support our evolution as conscious beings.

As we evolve as conscious beings, we not only change ourselves, we change the lives of those around us and as that change energy moves out to world, it changes the world. That is my desire for my readers. To grow and change. To feel better, to feel more alive, to feel more at peace with themselves and all that is going on in the world. To become more self aware and to grow spiritually. To become more and more who you really are.

How can one subscribe to your Modern Day Oracle™ messages?

If someone would like to subscribe to ~The Weekly Oracle~™ they can email me at Darity@DarityWesley.com. Simply put “Subscribe” in the Subject Line or go to our website www.DarityWesley.com and subscribe there.

You Can Transform Your Life is available now on Amazon, and the You Can Transform Your Life – Go Deeper Workbook will be available on December 26.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Forgiveness is the Way Out of Pain: ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus #Book Review and #AuthorNote


All these Things coverALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus is both an engrossing and inspirational novel of the life of public defender Maya Lee and the enlightened master who changes her life… who also just so happens to be charged with murder. 

This is the second in the Soul Invictus series from Mark Tiro. His first book, IMPLICIT: Soul Invictus, which I reviewed here, is the epic sweep of Maya’s journey through time and lifetimes, from beginning to end, until she decides that forgiving is less painful than continuing to carry around all her soul’s unconscious guilt.

In ALL THESE THINGS, we meet Maya as a young trial attorney who cannot escape her feelings of “a drifting emptiness,” and the pain her own thinking and anger are causing. She meets an enigmatic client, David, who is charged with the murder of his young daughter in a car crash. Why the District Attorney claims it is murder is just as much of a puzzle to Maya as why David is so stoic and calm, saying, “Don’t worry, she’s not gone. No thought of love is ever lost.”

David teaches Maya how he learned to watch his thoughts without judging them, and as each one would come up, he’d practice letting them go. He realized his problems didn’t come from the outside world, but his inner thoughts and reactions.

“…when he would recognize that he had gotten angry, when he would find that he had become anxious—he would consciously look at those thoughts, and then choose to overlook them. To forgive them. The result of this practice had been that he rarely found himself with anything but a quiet, peaceful mind…”

In another scene in his jail cell, David explains:

“Maybe we can’t change the world. But I can tell you, even in here, we are always free to change our minds about the world.”

Maya may not be ready to hear David’s philosophy that “The entire world is a projection,” but her interaction with him leads to radical changes in her life as she practices the willingness to forgive.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus

Mark Tiro: After reading the book, many people have asked if Maya or David were real people. Sadly, the answer is no to both, although I’ve wondered more than once how I might react if an enlightened master showed up in my life at 2:00 pm on a random Tuesday.

The name of the book—All These Things—started with Augustine of Hippo. Before he was known as the great thinker he would later become, he may have been more famous—or as we might say today, infamous—for an impassioned prayer of his youth.

“Lord, make me chaste—but please not today!”

At some point after that promising start, he settled down, eventually coming full circle to this:

“If I ever know and see God in the way in which God can be seen, then all these things will disappear from my thoughts; even now, because of my love for God, they hardly enter my mind.”

The bookend to that comes from a Course in Miracles.

“I will forgive, and this will disappear.”

From these two book-ended ideas, the name and a fair amount of the concept behind All These Things as well, flowed relatively unimpeded onto the cover and into the pages within.

‘Relatively’—because it is always dangerous to underestimate my uncanny ability to complicate even the most straightforward of ideas.

A name, of course, does not make a novel.

And so I hope I’ve given Maya the room to breathe and stretch her wings, and above all—to be herself and fly free.

For now, Maya and David don’t come by anymore.

Late at night though, every so often, others stop by where they once did, to share their thoughts and their stories. I stay awake, here, listening, waiting, thinking…

Still… I would be lying if I didn’t say that some small part of me holds just the smallest hope that one quiet night, Maya or David might just decide to drop by unannounced.

To spend some time catching up over a late night cup of coffee, or a glass of wine…

Occasionally the sound of a far-away cricket will drift in to interrupt my reverie.

This is when the words come.

This is when, if I stop talking and listen just so, the faintest of melodies is carried in on the gentle breeze.

This is the time I sit with my wine, quietly off to the side. Just listening. Quietly listening as the winds carry their stories in from times and places far away.

I have the easy job. It’s one simple thing.

It’s just to get out of the way.

To listen.

Listen, and then—to write, as faithfully and thoughtfully as I am capable.

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE SPIRIT INVICTUS SERIES?

Mark Tiro: Book 3 of the Spirit Invictus series should be finished by the beginning of next year. It might be the last one in the series (after all, Maya’s already died however many life-times over in Implicit… so she needs a chance to finally relax). Although, as they say… you never know. Maya can be quite strong-minded—and persuasive—like that sometimes.

ALL THESE THINGS: Maya Invictus is available at the launch price of $.99 on Amazon through December 10, when the Kindle goes to the regular price of $4.99.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

Holiday Book Contest: Win a Year’s Worth of Inspirational Reads


Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 11.13.21 AMThe holidays are upon us, and as always I am very grateful for YOU the readers, and all the authors who inspire us on our spiritual journeys.

I also appreciate all of your shares and likes of posts here on Facebook and Twitter. My intention with this blog is to break through the dark places on the internet with light- and love-filled connections.

Following are many of the favorite books I’ve reviewed this year. The authors have been kind enough to donate their paperbacks, so the winners of the HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY will have a bevy of books as New Year inspiration or to gift to just the right family member or friend.

To be entered to win, please comment with a wish for the world in 2018. Be sure to enter your email address so that I may contact you if you win. If you’d rather comment anonymously, send your comment to Becca@theChakras.org to enter.

On December 10, my son will draw the names of the two lucky winners who will each receive several books in time for Christmas.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.32.21 AMHere are some of the books you can win:

Cristina Smith has donated her books in the Yoga for the Brain Series including The Word Search Sage, and The Word Search Oracle. These puzzle books offer a creative, fun, meditative respite from the busy chatter of the mind… while flexing your brain.

These books combine fun word games with profound insights, and are remarkable tools for spiritual development and self-realization.

 

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The subtitle of Joy! Joy! Joy! says it all: 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy – I Did It! You Too Can Bust the Blues. Ellen Wood shares how she transformed her many physical and emotional problems to remain peaceful and joyous by making these practices into daily habits: observing your thoughts, releasing toxic emotions, using affirmations, power posing, dry skin brushing skin, meditating and doing good for others.

 

 

A Few Minor Adjustments front cover

A Few Minor Adjustments is the tongue-in-cheek title of Cherie Kephart’s memoir of surviving undiagnosed illness. It is an astonishing story of how many of our modern diseases (such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Epstein-Barr virus and Lyme disease) can easily go undiagnosed or disregarded.

Kephart’s account of her own incredible journey to find life-saving answers should inspire anyone to continue to fight on all levels – physical, mental and spiritual – to heal.

 

 

Implicit-10-16-17 CoverIMPLICIT: Soul Invictus contains both wildly imaginative stories of a woman’s many incarnations, worlds, and adventures, and a profound discussion on the meaning of life, love and forgiveness.

Maya Lee is a law professor holding a grudge, but as we follow her soul through many other incarnations in both ancient and modern times and places, a theme emerges – about forgiveness, about love, about what is real and what isn’t.

 

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How can a book of poetry bring magic into your life? Louis Alan Swartz has done this, writing of life and death in a way that stirs your soul and makes your heart sing in Magic Realized and Other Poems on the Human SpiritReading this volume from beginning to end, you feel like you’ve had a glimpse of a blessed life, as the author touches on Love and Marriage; Children; Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Mothers and Fathers; Human Sanctity; Aesthetics; Ideas, Images, and Places; and Death, the Spirit and Immortality.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.39.46 AMAre you living the life that you truly want? We ALL need to improve certain areas of our lives, but HOW? In Joyful Transformation, Debra Meehl, D.D., and Kristin Smith, L.C., help you figure out what you want to do differently and how to more easily make that happen.

The 22 Keys to Reclaiming Your Authenticity contains offer a holistic, positive approach, focusing on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

 

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Finding God in the Body by Benjamin Riggs offers “A Spiritual Path for the Modern West.” For those of us with Western sensibilities but an affinity toward the practices of Buddhism or other Eastern religions, Riggs offers a path that looks with fresh eyes at the Judeo-Christian texts and combines their spiritual teachings with practices, such as meditation, of the East.

 

 

 

thaddeus_squirrel_frontHow does passion lead to purpose? In Thaddeus Squirrel: A Spiritual Fable, a YA novel, the main character realizes that working day and night foraging for acorns, more than he would ever need, is meaningless to him. He ends up running away from his tribe of squirrels as he’s not accepted for his difference of opinion. On his journey, he is gravely injured by a dog, then cared for by a group of chipmunks who have wisdom to share… offering Thaddeus new questions to peruse and new ideas to consider… ultimately, that his life has meaning, and it’s up to him to find that meaning within himself.

 

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One of the most useful guides I’ve ever read for self-healing and for energy healers is Be Yourself and Be Well: Connecting with your Soul’s Power to Heal. Dr. Steven Hiebert provides inspirational words and exercises to help the reader access the power of their own spirit… the power that makes healing possible.

Dr. Hiebert emphasizes the loving energy that is the basis of everything, the energy that provides all the answers to who you are and what you want.

 

 

PrincipleofOnenessMany have said “We are all one,” but what does that really mean? In The Principle of Oneness, Author Russell Anthony Gibbs explains the science behind the connections of everything — both physical matter and nonphysical energy. He supports his points with quotes from scientists, enlightened beings, spiritual leaders, philosophers and others. Great minds like Albert Einstein, Buddha, Aristotle, Rumi and Jesus all understood the profound Oneness of the Universe. Gibbs further clarifies some of the misconception about the Universe/God as well as explains how to live and experience the Principle of Oneness.

 

The Chakra Energy Diet coverIn The Chakra Energy Diet, now available in paperback, I share my passion to be mindful of how we choose to nourish ourselves. I have found that the best place for EVERYONE to start is by eating fresh, whole foods, focusing on the colorful array of vegetables and fruit that are available, and using my helpful tips to eliminate the stress that is affecting your health and your waistline.

No one diet is right for everyone – take the quiz and find out which of your chakras need more nurturing to balance your energies.

 

Remember, to be entered to win, please comment below with a wish for the world in 2018. Be sure to include your email address so that I may contact you, or send your comment to Becca@theChakras.org to enter.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

Mind and Soul Satisfying Puzzles: The Word Search Sage, Yoga for the Brain #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 10.32.21 AMThe Word Search Sage is the second book in the series of word puzzles, known as Yoga for the Brain, that offer a creative, fun, meditative respite from the busy chatter of the mind… while flexing your brain.

You can read my review of The Word Search Oracle, which won the 2017 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, and download a sample puzzle here.

The Word Search Sage takes you a little deeper into your thoughts and spirit, as the solutions to these word puzzles are called Meta-Thoughts, providing insights and deep wisdom.

I like to open the pages at random, and undoubtedly, Cristina Smith’s introductory comments on the topic of the puzzle and mystic Ingrid Coffin’s Meta-Thoughts are always relevant to my life at that moment in time. In fact, each word in each of the clever puzzles put together by Rick Smith relate to the Meta-Thought and help you discover your own truth, your own purpose in life.

For example, the puzzle on Love is introduced with a note that includes:

“Affirm your love for yourself. Shed all of the self-negatives that life has draped over you. When we fear criticism, we are not free to be ourselves. If we feel less than, our lives reflect that.”

The Love puzzle on page 30 is a little harder than those in the beginning of the book. You’ll see that after you’ve found all the applicable words in the puzzle, the letters remaining make up this Meta-Thought:

“Be thankful for being yourself.”

These puzzles sound magical and mystical and they are. I’m amazed at how they are both relaxing and good exercise for the mind, while providing inspiration and profound introspection for the soul.

MT Puzzle
Strewn throughout the book are also beautiful photos with words of wisdom from Ingrid Coffin, like the one above, “You are the finest puzzle in your life…. Enjoy putting yourself together.”

Enjoy this book whenever you need a little time to yourself, a break from work, to keep entertained while waiting for someone or something, or as a daily ritual to give you food for thought and inspiration.

INTERVIEW with Ingrid Coffin, author of the inspirational Meta-Thoughts you reach at the end of each puzzle in The Word Search Sage

The solutions to the word searches in these puzzles are called Meta-Thoughts. Can you explain that term?

Meta-Thoughts are broader, more abstract thoughts that address life from a higher level than the thoughts we might have about what to have for lunch.  They are intended to be a bit cheeky.  Kind of like a sassy Jiminy Cricket reminding us that we create our own world and that much of what we create begins with our thoughts.

Where do you get the inspiration for the Meta-Thoughts?

I communicate a lot and hear myself saying Meta-Thoughts almost every day while working with other people. The trick is to catch them before they float away. I’m finally getting pretty good at that after more than 15 years of practice.

How can the reader best use these Meta-Thoughts?

I use Meta-Thoughts in a variety of ways.  Often I write them in my journal. Sometimes I just print them from my computer and post them in strategic places in my home and office. Of course, they are also there every Monday waiting for me on my phone.  The secret is to place them as a constant reminder of what I am working on.

For instance, if I am starting a new venture, I might post “First Feet. Then Wings” to encourage myself to start at the beginning and carefully navigate my way to successful completion.  Or I might choose “Have I left myself out of my schedule?” to remind me of my priorities.

The way you can use them is limited only by your imagination.

What do you think is the most important benefit of the Yoga for the Brain puzzle books?

Keeping your brain sharp and active is crucial to enjoying a long life.

Exercising the mind is the way to do that, and Yoga for the Brain provides the exercise it needs.

Personally, I use the word puzzles to help me relax at night and get to sleep, to keep me occupied in waiting rooms and on airplanes and just generally to enjoy a pause that refreshes.

Cristina Smith, author of The Word Search Sage, describes you as a “mystic.” What does the description mean to you?

Everyone is part mystical and part magical. The right-brained people are more mystical. The left-brained more magical. I am a right-brained, mystical person, which means I create the image of the result I desire in my own imagination, using my intuition as a drawing board.

Fortunately, I have been trained to work magically as well as mystically. I am able to take the vision from within my imagination and craft it in the physical world. In my opinion, a cooperative relationship between mystical and magical is what works best for everyone in all aspects of life. This is what I teach to those who work with me.

How can readers learn more about Meta-Thoughts?

It’s easy to subscribe to my weekly Meta-Thoughts.  Just go to http://www.Meta-Thoughts.com and provide your name and email address.

What other ways can readers connect with you and learn about your work?

In addition to my love of Meta-Thoughts and The Word Search Sage, I am an evolutionary astrologer, a teacher in the western esoteric tradition and the founding director of Blue Sky Ranch in Lakeside, California.  More information is available at http://www.ingridcoffin.com.

The Word Search Sage and The Word Search Oracle are both available on Amazon.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

The Healing Task of the Modern Shaman: Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 1.31.21 PMJaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart is a mesmerizing memoir by Ya’Acov Darling Khan that recounts his initiation as an “Everyday Shaman.” 

The title comes from how he learned to blend the raw power of the jaguar with the parts of him that were quieter and more sensitive, like a butterfly.

He learned what shamans have always known: all things are connected. A basic practice that he says everyone can follow is the simple act of noticing these connections.

Khan’s story is one in which he struggled to balance the parts of himself that wanted to fit in and be acceptable to his parents and society, while having the existential need to stay in touch with the magical world of pure spirit.

From the time he was a young boy, he had visions and dreams that foretold the future. Working with numerous teachers, including Gabrielle Roth, indigenous shamans of the Amazon, as well as shamans from Mexico and the Antarctic, he and his wife created Movement Medicine, which invites us to stand up and do all that we can to bring our visions and dreams to Earth as an act of gratitude for the great mystery that gives us life.

“I have learned that we weren’t given this Earth to do with as we pleased, but we came out of it and we are part of it.”

What is a shaman? A shaman is traditionally the medicine man of a tribe, able to connect with the powers of nature and the spirit world. How does one become a shaman?

 “A shaman is called into being by their own predilection for matters of the spirit, a journey interspersed with healing crises through the shadowlands of their own psyche and, finally, by their community and elders.”

What is the healing task for shamans of our time? Khan believes it is changing the debilitating mantra that is doing so much to destroy the fabric of life on Earth: “I am not enough. I don’t have enough. I need more.”

Today, the essence of Kahn’s Movement Medicine is the Long Dance ceremony, a contemporary ritual that is open to anyone, that has the power of indigenous ceremony, and raises money for amazing causes, like saving the Amazon rainforest.

Getting to where he is today, Khan went through the magical world of ritual, working with shaman teachers around the world. His story is a fascinating one that gives us an inside look into what shamanism is and isn’t. Through his journey, we learn more about the roots of shamanism.

Khan believes everyone can rise from the ashes of their suffering and create a new story… one that gives you purpose and dignity and, in this way, become an Everyday Shaman. 

In this crucial time for the Earth and its inhabitants, Ya’Acov Darling Khan explains the path of the shaman. His story is a beautiful one, an empowering one, an important one.

Here, he answers my questions about writing Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart:

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?

Sad to say, our modern world is dominated by the story that the only thing that matters is having as much stuff as possible and impressing as many people as possible. More than that, we are constantly being told how to do that. We must have the latest gadgets. Our bodies must be a particular shape. We must wear the right labels, eat the right food, be seen in the right places and we are told that those that follow the modality of the time will be the happy ones. Our screens are full of images of apparently happy people doing the apparently right things. And don’t worry if you haven’t got there yet. If you keep trying, you too can join the ever-growing elite circle of those who have given their lives to this never-ending chase to reach a constantly moving target that is almost entirely devoid of soul.

The loneliness, the disconnection from a genuine self, from each other and from our environment and all that we share it with that is so apparent on the faces of so many of the people I meet reflects the crisis of our times. When Gandhi was asked what he thought of civilization, he replied that he thought “it would be a good idea.” A shaman’s job is to help us to remember the health, creativity and unbroken force of life that surges through us with every beat of the heart, reminding us what matters to us and what gives us a sense of purpose and meaning.

At the same time, the shamans I have worked with have constantly reminded me of my responsibilities as a human being who is part of a complex, delicate and massively intelligent web of life upon which we all depend for our survival. I have walked a road for the past three decades dedicated to discovering who I am, finding out what matters most to me and making that into my offering. I am so way beyond grateful for where that has brought me. I’ve been touched and inspired by many people’s stories on my journey and so I decided to share my own with the intention that it will remind you of that golden thread inside you that whispers to you in dreams and in sunsets and through the eyes of the ones you love.

Given all this, here’s the essence of the message I’m bringing: Learn who you are.

Learn to listen to who you are and find out what really matters most to you. Follow your dreams. Not anyone else’s. Do it now. While your heart still beats. Dedicate everything you’ve got to this quest for self-discovery. And don’t do it in a cave. Do it by thoroughly engaging with your life. With your friends, with finding out who and what you love and giving yourself to serving that. Do it through your work, through what you contribute to this world. Recognize that though you are absolutely unique, you are part of a vast intelligent web of life that deserves your utmost respect and care.

What if life were a spectacular gift, a magnificent mystery? What if you realized that though you cannot decide how life happens, you are always free to dance with whatever life brings? I had to learn that it’s simply not possible to dance my dance if I don’t give time to discovering who I am. And more than that, there was no way to discover who I am by following other people’s ideas about who I should be. It has not all been a joy ride. I have faced my fair share of demons along the way but I can say this… There is no greater adventure on this earth than to discover your own medicine, your own gifts and there is no greater satisfaction than finding the way to share them. Holding back our medicine is a dead-end street and my heart tells me that now is the time for us all to step up to the plate and give ourselves totally to the creative project of bringing what we dream to this earth.

Can you tell us a little something of the roots of shamanism and why people are gravitating to it so much in today’s world?

There are a growing number of human beings in this world who are awakening to the recognition that we need a new story if we are to survive our adolescence as a human race. And they are working in a huge variety of ways to put this understanding into practice. What was once seen as outlandish and irrelevant is now becoming much more central as we see where our human story has led us and the effect it has had on the many other forms of life we share this planet with. In order to survive, we need to evolve. As we recognize the deep unhappiness that our way of life engenders, we have to seek new ways. When the rich and varied landscape of our connection to inner and outer nature becomes a desert, both inside us, outside us and between us, our suffering leads us to want to find new answers. Shamanism in its many forms is a very effective way of mending our connection with ourselves, each other, our environment, the spirits (including our ancestors and descendants), and the Great Spirit. Maybe that’s why it’s becoming popular again.

There are so many shamanic traditions around the world but there are some universal principles that I have met again and again in the different shamanic cultures I have been lucky enough to meet. Shamanism is about the soul of any individual life form and its connection to the system it is part of. It is about maintaining connection and balance between the physical and the non-physical world. It is about the living recognition in an everyday lived sense that far from owning the web of life, we are part of it and we depend on it. It is about recognizing the importance of the health of all parts of the system as it is a common understanding that there is only one system of life on this planet that, once again, we depend on.

Shamanism recognizes that what we dream is what we create. In other words, the power of our imagination or the power of the story we tell directly effects our perception of life, our experience of it, and therefore, the actions we take and the outcomes we create.

What we call “Engaged Shamanism” is one set of practices, alongside many others, that invites us to take responsibility for how powerfully creative we are and to be more conscious about how we use this power. In my own life, I got fed up with telling the story that other people and external circumstances were responsible for my unhappiness. I got fed up with the never-ending spiral of not feeling good enough, not feeling I had enough and basically feeling victimized by life. I was tired of my own disempowerment. So I went in search of my power. And though this journey is always at the beginning of a new chapter, I discovered it. I think my experience is typical of the times we live in.

Can you describe your relationship to spirit and what it feels like?

It is my experience that spirit is everywhere at all times, everywhere and everything, always present. I come and go. But this invitation to be in connection, it’s sometimes so overwhelming, terrifying even. But when I pluck up the courage to open and feel this awe, this force of spirit that is present even in times of suffering, and I give myself to it, then in those sweet moments, everything makes sense again and I remember who I am and what I love and what I’m choosing to do with the life I’m given.

I’m writing this in my garden. It’s an early autumn evening and the sun is still strong enough to warm me through. The wind is blowing strong and I can hear the stream nearby. My bare feet are on the uneven, grassy ground. Gold finches are perched on the feeder twittering away. There is plenty of food in the garden and it’s recently been mowed. Occasionally, a buzzard lazily floats by on a thermal before soaring and then sharply swooping for its dinner. I’m breathing slowly and deeply as I type these words. This is a good moment. I’m giving thanks. I recognize how fortunate I am. My body is well. I feel strong today. I’ve had some renewal time at home with my wife and we are preparing for a new season of travelling and teaching. I recognize the melancholy of the change of season. I can see the leaves on the oaks have turned. They’ll be taking their last flight soon and all being well, they’ll become compost for another season of growth in the spring. So it is. Seasons. Cycles. Who knows when it will be my time to take that flight? The way things are now, I’m making it known to the winds right now that if there’s any choice in the matter, I’d love a few more good decades to live and love and learn here. I love my life. Thank you!

For me, life is an ongoing ritual. There are so many opportunities every day to shatter the illusion of separateness and to remember and experience my connection to life all around me. A plate of food, when you look at it, is the result of so much work by so many people, by the earth and the sun and the waters and the air, and it’s being given to me right now. What a miracle!

Walking in the city, the ground under my feet, the fire burning in my trillion cells as I walk along the pavement. People around me and the hustle and bustle of the city, and the lights burning lighting my way, solar powered people, solar powered life. And this good earth, gravity and the same force of life that moves through me and you and through everything that lives. What a miracle!

You mention in your book how important it was to free yourself from the learned habits of the past. Can you share what this did for you?

When we are unconscious of the past, it asserts a force of habit on us that dictates our responses to what life is offering us in any given moment. In other words, we interpret what is happening through the lens of what has already happened. If I have suffered, then I have learned to expect suffering and usually, that is what I will experience.

Even more than that, our undigested childhood experiences are still playing out full force in our daily lives in the ways we relate to ourselves, each other and even our environment. Most of the human population are running around unconsciously trying to repeat what happened in the vain hope that this time they will vanquish the suffering of their childhoods. Do you recognize how the same patterns that made you leave your last relationship blaming the other person for being the cause of your problems are the same ones you run into again next time round?

But no matter how many times we enroll others to play the roles in our suffering, we cannot change what happened, only our relationship to it. Only by finding the courage to feel the pain we feel can we let it move through us and let it go. As Gabrielle Roth used to tell us as we sweated like crazy dancing so deep in her ecstatic dance classes, “the only way out is through.” Once we have found the courage to recognize the everyday suffering of coming into this world, felt it and let it move through us, we are able to see it for what it is. It happened. It was difficult, often horrific, but here we are, alive, breathing and capable of so much creativity. Through doing and continuing to do my own work on this level, I have come into the present. And in the present, so much more is possible. I have discovered that I am not defined by my past but inspired by it to make a difference in this world.

I have recognized that I am no longer a child who deserves love but an adult who has so much love to give. And the less I withhold myself from life, guess what, the more I receive. And the more I allow the creative force of life to move through me, the more there is to offer. From the vicious circle of repeating the pains of the past to the virtuous spiral of dancing in the unknown of the present moment and taking up life’s invitation to create. We all have this power within us. No matter how tragic the past has been. There are a growing number of spaces and methodologies where we can be heard and seen in the suffering of what was, acknowledge it, and move on. And this is so empowering and, more than that, this planet is crying out for human beings to step out from this cycle of suffering and take responsibility for what we are creating so that we can pass on a world to those that will follow that still supports life to flourish. It may be difficult, but the harvest of this kind of work is immense and, in my heart, it is what I hear life asking of me again and again. Turn your power not towards vainly attempting to vanquish the past but towards bravely creating the future.

How would you recommend a person start incorporating the ideas or practices of shamanism into their daily lives?

We are setting up an online learning community precisely with that intention in mind. There are so many opportunities every day to remember our connection with the web of life and to feel it. If you’re interested, please check out our new website: www.darlingkhan.com and take a look at the courses we are offering in engaged shamanism.

You can also connect with Khan on Facebook.

Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

Learn to Thrive – Joyful Transformation #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 11.39.46 AMAre you living the life that you truly want? We ALL need to improve certain areas of our lives, but HOW? In Joyful Transformation, Debra Meehl, D.D., and Kristin Smith, L.C., help you figure out what you want to do differently and how to more easily make that happen.

The 22 Keys to Reclaiming Your Authenticity contains offer a holistic, positive approach, focusing on what you want, not on what you don’t want.

The book begins with a heart-wrenching introduction in which Debra Meehl takes you through her own life experiences after her husband began exhibiting bi-polar behavior and their study of Distress Tolerance and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy:

“…to move out of suffering and into joy. Together we were going to be developing our own emotional maturity and our ability as both a couple and as individuals to tolerate distressful events, people and things in our lives with some measure of grace.”

The Keys to reaching joy begin with mindfulness of the self-limiting, critical consciousness that winds its way through our thoughts, becoming aware of the power of such thoughts and replacing them with loving, peaceful, empowering affirmations and mantras. The author provides a total of 22 tools to work with to grow smarter and build a more authentic existence. These range from profound advice on finding your life’s purpose, learning to meditate and including spirituality in your life, to common-sense recommendations on sleeping, exercise and nutrition.

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The book includes exercises and a place to journal at the end of each chapter to help you see what “story are you living” that may be keeping you from the life you want. The authors invite you to take an inner adventure, a step-by-step journey of discovery and re-envisioning of your story and the meaning you give to events in your life. Joyful Transformation is a true guide to global healing and transformation, one individual, one reader, at a time.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH DEBRA MEEHL:

What do you hope readers take away from Joyful Transformation?

I want people to really understand that change isn’t “hard” as we’re traditionally taught, and that with simple strategies like those outlined in the book it can become much more comfortable than what most people believe or expect.

What inspired you to write this book?

To put it simply, life.

How would you recommend this book be best used?

Exactly as it is written. Joyful Transformation was designed to be a road map for your own journey of change. A road map doesn’t tell you where to stop or which route is best. It shows you ALL of the stops and routes, but leaves the final decision up to you, based on your intention for the trip. Joyful Transformation is the same way. It’s meant to give you a glimpse – a little taste – of all the things you CAN do to make changing your life more comfortable and effective. But in the end, you choose what works best for you based on your EXPERIENCE with the text.

 Why do you think we as a society generally have such low tolerance for distress?

Personally, I think the reason is really two-fold. Neurologically we, as mammals, are hard-wired to avoid distressing situations. Because, as a general rule, situations that cause distress are perilous to our health and wellbeing. Our distaste and intolerance for distress is a biologically programmed mechanism that developed to help us survive.

In modern society, that urge still exists, but it serves a slightly different function. We no longer have the same need to struggle for basic survival. Now we struggle for emotional and psychological preservation. People will do almost anything to not feel misery, suffering, or other unpleasant sensations. We are driven by neurological and biological chemistry to do whatever we can – as quickly and effectively as possible – to feel better. People know that. And somewhere along the way, figured out how to exploit it. So, whether it be for personal comfort or for corporate gain, we have created a society that plays into those basic urges in a way that nature never intended.

Now we live in a society of instant gratification where instead of dealing with the root of the problem (which is often a longer and more uncomfortable process), we shop, we drink, use drugs, eat, have sex, etc. Because they work immediately. When you never have to deal with distress… when you can simply shop, or smoke, or eat, or gamble, or hump it away EVERY time, then you never learn how to really deal with it or how to teach your children to deal with it. And as a society we have become so accustomed to instant relief that we readily accept the “fix it now” solution instead of embracing real change. And this mentality has slowly eroded our societal tolerance for distress.

You offer 22 keys for a person to reclaim their authenticity… is it necessary to work on all of these or how can a person tell which will be most important for them?

Yes and no. Overall the book is structured much like a map or a program, and is intended to be worked through in order and in its totality. Because all the keys combined is what really lays the foundation for a lifestyle that promotes, supports, and eases life transformation. However, some people will find that they already practice some or many of the keys provided, and those will obviously require less work than other areas.

The chapters are quite short and are designed to be very manageable. So I would encourage readers to at least take a precursory look at each one, but also to not feel obligated to give each one the same attention. As a general rule, the chapters that feel the hardest are those that you should really dial in on and devote more attention and effort to. Because mastering, or even just beginning those will like present the greatest growth.

Why do you think journaling is so useful a tool in working with your suggestions for transformation?

Well, it’s a lot of information, quite frankly. Journaling helps process what is most important to the individual at that time; separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Also, if a person if truly committed to working through each key and to work for transformation, there will also be a lot of things that “come up.” Those may be emotions, or they may be physical life experiences. Either way, they are absolutely invaluable learning experiences. Journaling allows the reader to kind of snap shot that experience; to crystalize its essence, as it were, and preserve it for future reflection, as well as providing a running record or picture of their development.

What benefits can this book offer the reader?

I’d like to think that it helps people understand two things:

First, how your everyday lifestyle contributes to your overall health and happiness.

Secondly, how choosing a lifestyle that works for you is the only way to really change or be satisfied with your life.

You provide very inspirational quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Is there one that is your favorite?

Well, actually, I have two:

“My character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through action and acceptance can my soul be strengthened, my vision cleared, my ambition inspired, and my success achieved.” – Chapter 22 on Tolerating Change (Inspired by and adapted from Hellen Keller)

“My body is my temple, and my life is my creation.” – Chapter 15 on Affirmations

How did you work with the other contributor to the book?

Kristin was actually part of our treatment team at the Meehl Foundation well before the concept of this book came into being. She happens to handle a lot of our Facebook posting and blogging on top of her other responsibilities. So pulling her in on this project was just kind of a natural progression. 

Can you tell us more about your work at the Meehl House?

It’s pretty straightforward, really. The Meehl House is a luxury transitional residential group home for individuals struggling with a range of mental health diagnoses. We specialize in treating Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (also known as DBT), but we also work pretty extensively with people suffering from PTSD and addiction – occasionally all at the same time. Basically, we provide a living space for them wherein they learn therapeutic and life skills, as well as a structured lifestyle, to help them lead more stable and successful lives at home. And for individuals in need of less intensive services, we also provide traditional outpatient services.

What ways can readers connect with you?

Visit our website: http://www.meehlfoundation.org

Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MeehlFoundation

Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Meehlfoundation

Or for more information about the Meehl House’s available services:

Call (979) 798-7972 or email meehlfou@meehlfoundation.org

Joyful Transformation: 22 Keys to Reclaiming your Authenticity is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

Healing is a Spiritual Pursuit: BE YOUR SELF AND BE WELL #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


 

Hiebert_cvr_comp3One of the most useful guides I’ve ever read for self-healing and for energy healers is Be Yourself and Be Well: Connecting with your Soul’s Power to Heal. Dr. Steven Hiebert provides inspirational words and exercises to help the reader access the power of their own spirit… the power that makes healing possible.

Dr. Hiebert emphasizes the loving energy that is the basis of everything, the energy that provides all the answers to who you are and what you want. The transformation he writes of is achieved by starting on the soul level, where you can access your full potential, working outward from there.

“Once you see your Self as whole and undamaged, you will begin to create that image in your life.”

This powerful yet easy-to-follow book shows you how to achieve a deeper awareness, and transcend the obstacles that afflict the body and mind. It will teach you to quiet the busy mind/ego so you can reconnect with the divine energy within, focusing your attention on how you feel and how you want those in need of healing to feel.

The exercises at the end of each chapter range from Seeing yourself as a Spiritual Being, to Listening to Pain to find the deeper meaning behind it, and Finding and Living your Dreams. I found these exercises extremely helpful — they can be applied over and over again, making this book an invaluable resource you’ll want to keep on your shelf.

“If you can access the healing power the creator placed inside you, you can heal anything.”

This book could change the way you think about health and healing, helping you find the peace and contentment within your “Self” that are the most powerful tools for creating health and well-being… while releasing the stress that creates pain and sickness.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Many thanks to Dr. Hiebert, a healer, teacher, and doctor of chiropractic in St. Paul, Minnesota, who answers my questions here.

What overall message would you like readers to take away from your book?

You can heal! Healing comes from the power of your own soul which is timeless, eternal, and capable of almost anything. There is a quote from Walter M Miller, Jr. I include at the beginning of chapter two. “You don’t have a soul… You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.” In other words, you’re not the body you live in. You’re the soul or inner-spirit. As such, you are the life-force that animates the body you live in. That is where healing comes from. There is no limit to what you can do when you access the healing power of your own soul. This is why the healing exercises at the end of each chapter are so important. When you connect with your true Self, you initiate your own healing.

What would you say is the difference between being “healed” and “cured?”

Many people think being healed and cured are the same thing. If you’re healed, you’re cured. And if you’re cured, you’re healed. But it just isn’t the case. I make this simple distinction: cure is for your body; healing is for your overall Self. Modern medicine can cure many illnesses. But, there is little to no healing involved. Cure is done to you. On the other hand, healing comes from you and requires your full participation. Healing comes from the awakening of your soul.

I love the way you explain the difference between the voice of the ego and the true self. Can you summarize that?      

The voice of the ego is the one that speaks in your head using a human language. It judges, categorizes, criticizes, and is the source of every negative thought. If you find you’re being hard on yourself for making a mistake, that’s your ego talking. It demands perfection yet rarely gets it. The true Self doesn’t use a human language. You can’t hear it in your head. It speaks quietly using feelings, sensations, and simple awareness. You experience it in your body; most often in your chest. The true Self is always open and accepting. It seeks understanding, connection, and is aware of the interconnectedness of all things. When you love someone no matter what they’ve done, that is an expression of your true Self.

You repeat several times in your writing, “You were made by love, as love, and for love.” Can you explain that further?        

Oh, I’m so glad you asked this question! People accurately say that the divine is love. Any time you see the words divine or creator, you can replace them with love. You were created by the divine (love), who made you in the same image (love). Your first and most important task in life is to be who you were created to be (love). Another foundational purpose of the healing exercises is to help you connect with the love the divine has for you and placed within you.

What would you say energy healers do to assist another person’s healing?   

Energy healers, each in their own way, call forward the spirit of the person being healed. That is what facilitates the healing. The things an energy healer does can be useful. But they are not what creates the healing. The power isn’t in the technique or method. The power is in the person. The most effective energy healers appreciate that their most powerful tool is their own spiritual presence and awareness. For example, if I listen carefully and ask the right question, it will often help a client discover they already know a solution to their problem. They feel empowered and take charge of their own healing.

How does one “return to the pain and express it” in a healing way?   

Most of our inner pain is a combination of beliefs and feelings. When those feelings are unexpressed they get swept under the rug, but their energy lives on. Under the rug is not gone. You will need to lift up the corner of the rug to see what’s under there. Then allow whatever it is to be expressed. The feelings are an energy looking for expression. By giving them voice, through purpose and intention, that energy gets released. As it is released, it no longer covers up the love and beauty of your true Self, and healing takes place.

While you offer many healing exercises, what would you say is the best way for a person to access the power of their own spirit?      

All the healing exercises have the same foundational purpose. They are specifically designed to help you deepen your connection with your own spirit. The healing journey is inward. To access the power of your own spirit, you must be quiet, look inward, and listen. But it’s a different kind of listening than most of us are used to. Because it’s not listening to words. In the beginning, it will most likely seem like you’re listening to nothing. But that “nothing” is filled with life. And that life is you. The healing exercises are guides to aid you in gaining a deeper awareness and connection with your true Self.

How can readers connect with you and purchase your book?          

I can be reached by email at drstevenh@aol.com. My books are for sale on my website at drstevenhiebert.com/authorYou can also connect with me on Facebook at DrStevenHiebert.

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

The Chakra Blog

 

 

 

 

  

 

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