Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Posts tagged ‘PTSD’

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

 

 

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The Goldfinch: #BookReview of a Miraculous Read


Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 1.34.43 PMWhat a treat to have a long (760-page) novel, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, to engage me while stuck on the beach (for a trace of a breeze) in between workshops in sizzling early summer heat! It’s taken me 3 years to open this book, but once picked up, I couldn’t put it down.

I was entranced by the characters and plot from the very beginning. Thirteen-year-old Theo is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his single mother (a true art lover/historian), because they need to get out of a rainstorm before a meeting at his school about his possible suspension. There’s a terrorist bombing, and Theo survives while his mother does not.

Upon awakening in the rubble, Theo is called over by Welty, grandfather to a beautiful young redhead that Theo had been following around the museum. Welty dies in his arms, after giving him an antique ring with an address to bring it to, and telling him to take the painting, The Goldfinch, (that they had all been viewing prior to the terrorist attack), out of the smoking wreckage of the museum.

Theo survives, but with guilt for being alive, and PTSD that he suppresses with numerous legal and illegal drugs to the point of near obliteration. Despite his often despicable acts, it’s hard not to root for Theo, even when it seems futile, his Root and Heart Chakras seemingly closed beyond repair. We hope he will find balance in a world with no safety net for him, and that he will find love with the redhead who has also survived. We hope and hope, with little reason to.

In the end, I found this book as inspirational as many of the “spiritual” books I regularly read for this blog. It seeks to answer the large question about why some people seem destined to suffer.

Theo has a dream visitation from his mother at his darkest moment, after murder and mayhem in Amsterdam, and that is the turning point in his life and his search for a reason to live. He wonders why:

“…as cruelly as the game is stacked, that it’s possible to play it with a kind of joy?”

This fits into my view of the meaning of life — to celebrate life, beauty, love —whatever obstacles are in our way. The Goldfinch painting symbolizes all of these things for Theo, even though, like the bird, he is tethered to a chain of sorrow from which he will never be able to free himself.

Theo, through the author, refers to the beauty of art in general, and The Goldfinch, a  1654 painting by the Dutch artist Carel Fabritius (said to be the “missing link” between Rembrandt and Vermeer), in particular:

“Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time…. Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”

To me, the reader, these words refer to all things of beauty, including this beautifully written novel.

In a 2013 interview with The New York Times about the publication of this her third book, Tartt described her writing process, saying, “I was writing for a while not knowing what I was writing. That’s the way it’s been with all my books. Things will come to you and you’re not going to know exactly how they fit in. You have to trust in the way they all fit together, that your subconscious knows what you’re doing.”

As we all have to trust that our subconscious knows what we’re doing.

The Goldfinch is available on Amazon.com.

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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