Learn to Thrive – Joyful Transformation #BookReview and #AuthorInterview
Are 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joyful Transformation: 22 Keys to Reclaiming your Authenticity is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet