Retreat into Deep and Meaningful Recovery

When I think of the word retreat, it conjures up an image of sitting a log cabin, dressed in a white robe, sipping a steaming mug of hot tea. My woes have melted away on the massage table and I’m transported into a state of bliss and contentment. I can see an expanse of water on the horizon, as I relax into an oversized chair and exhale any remaining tension. But it is so much more than just relaxation; retreats today have expanded to include workshops that help develop self-care rituals which nourish the body and soul. When I leave … Continue reading

The Healing and Spirituality of Tantra

The word Tantra is often misunderstood by Westerners, incorrectly ascribed to uninhibited or marathon sex. In fact, Tantra is a technique that originated in India to connect the physical body to another dimension and can be practiced alone or as a couple. In contrast to many other spiritual practices, Tantra regards the human body as the necessary means for enlightenment, as opposed to seeing it as something requiring purification. Just a small proportion of Tantric texts —less than 10 percent—deal with sexuality; well over half the texts focus on the use of mantras, while others focus on the worship of … Continue reading

Living a Meaningful Life

  “Being empty is a lot like knowing the words to a song but not knowing the music. Feeling full is just the opposite. You know both the words and the music to the song and are able to sing them aloud with your whole heart.”   “I don’t know why I’m I so unhappy. I’m proud of being successful. I make a comfortable living with a good job. My wife is gorgeous and we are reasonably happy together. Our kids do well in school. We have savings for our retirement years. We go to many parties with our friends … Continue reading

A Homemade Retreat is Delicious

Some years ago, a friend offered me her cabin “up north” for a week and said I could include friends. Overjoyed, I quickly called the two women whom I met with weekly for mutual spiritual support. “How about creating a week of silent retreat together?” I suggested. Both responded with a rousing “Yes!” Quiet, undistracted time for reading, meditating, walking in the woods, floating on a lake – what a splendid contrast this would offer to our frenzied lives. But could we really spend a week together in silence? And also have fun? We were going to be at a … Continue reading

Retreat: Regaining Perspective

When I visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art I always stroll through the Impressionism Gallery. I love the spontaneity and movement of impressionist art. It piques my curiosity as to how it is put together. What is the magical technique? I pick a composition and view it from various angles. First I look from the center of the gallery, scanning from left to right, top to bottom, taking in the whole impression. Then I step in to focus on a particular detail or interaction or slice of the scene. Finally I retire to the back wall and view it from … Continue reading

On Retreat: Waiting for the Summer Lightning

Whether you create your own mini-retreat or take part in a retreat gathering with several hundred people, the intent is to truly retreat – pull back, get away from the usual, disengage, create downtime for all levels of your being – mental, physical, spiritual, emotional. In today’s fast-paced, always on, tech-connected culture, idleness or downtime can be difficult to come by. But not impossible. Ferris Jabr, in an October 2013 article for Scientific American entitled Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime, quoted writer and meditation teacher, Michael Taft, who refers to cerebral congestion: “In a normal working day in modern … Continue reading

Trust, Living Spontaneously and Embracing Life

By Osho St. Martin’s Press Osho, deceased since 1990, was a philosopher and writer known for his provocative and inspiring spiritual teachings. This is the 11th volume in the Insights for a New Way of Living series. In this text, Osho discusses the history of trust and re-evaluates the idea of trust. He encourages the reader to identify and think about trust and faith and then question those definitions and beliefs. He uses anecdotal stories and quotes to help with the process. Readers who respond to Osho’s revolutionary way of questioning things will enjoy this book. If you have a … Continue reading

The Call of the Day

By Jodi Hershey Hershey encourages readers to always ask, “Am I coming from love or fear?” She helps readers connect through self-reflection with who they really are and how to move forward in their lives. The most important practice, in Hershey’s mind, is connecting daily with Universal Source. This can be done by meditation and prayer. Hershey states, “Act ‘As if’ while you are becoming, then one day you wake up and you are!” Readers may be interested in transitioning from the Third Dimension to achieving the Fourth Dimension which means going from being dense in feeling to light in … Continue reading

Illuminating Wisdom: Words of Wisdom, Works of Art

By Deirdre Hassed and Craig Hassed Exisle Publishing The Hasseds bring art and wise sayings together. This beautifully illustrated book connects inspiring philosophical and spiritual quotes to beautiful calligraphy while explaining the meaning or background of the text or its author. Their essays and art address science, artists, literary figures, Vedic traditions and Buddhism. Artists and philosophers will enjoy this book of over 80 inspiring quotes demonstrated through calligraphy and collage. If you have a book you’d like reviewed or have an old favorite you’d like to share with others, please contact barbara.kummerreviews@gmail.com

Carpe Diem, Seizing the Day in a Distracted World

By Roman Krznaric TarcherPerigee Krznaric is a social philosopher. He encourages readers to look at the history of the phrase “Carpe Diem” and how it is applicable in today’s world. He explores the underlying message to“live each day as if it were your last.” Readers will learn how, over the years, the phrase has been used as the path to opportunity, presence, hedonism, spontaneity or politics. In medieval times, it was a call to action. Today, Krznaric challenges us to decide if we should live each day as it if were our last-or our first! If you have a book … Continue reading

Adult Coloring

by Jess Volinski Fox Chapel Publishing Do you remember how comforting and relaxing it was to pull out the crayon box and open the book to a brand new, unused page?  Well, now adults can do it again. Coloring Books Watercolors, colored pencils, markers, crayons, and gel pens will all look stunning on high-quality, extra-thick paper. Each page is perforated, so when it’s finished, it can easily be removed to hang up or give as a gift. About Jess An experienced book illustrator and designer, Jess Volinski currently creates illustrations and surface designs for the publishing, fashion, tableware, and stationery … Continue reading

Happily Ever Now: Four Ways To Be In Love In The Present Moment

We all know that Happily Ever After doesn’t always pan out. Tinderella and Prince Match.com don’t always ride off into the sunset, and well, that doesn’t mean it was a complete failure after all. Many times people come into our lives for a moment of time to help us grow and expand; then their duty is done. Unfortunately we often get so caught up in obsessive future planning of the “what if’s” and the “might be’s”, that we miss the magic of the moment. Which essentially is all that really exists. What about this…Happily Ever Now. Being present with your … Continue reading

Take Good Care

According to the 2015 report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, nearly 44 million adults in this country provide personal assistance for family members with disabilities or other care needs. As Cynthia Orange points out in her latest book, Take Good Care: Finding Your Joy in Compassionate Caregiving, when you add to this statistic the number of family, friends, and others who are at the ready to lend support or extend a helping hand when it is needed, you might ask, “Who isn’t a caregiver?” Take Good Care is unique because it isn’t your typical self-help, memoir, resource, … Continue reading