My Dearest One

My Dearest One

My Dearest One     By Monisha Vasa, M.D.     Balboa Press     Bedtime stories are sharing times between the reader, whether they are a parent, grandparent, or other caregiver, and the child. They allow room for new words, discussion of the story and new concepts which may be presented by the story. They provide a dedicated space of time to share together. This children’s book is intended to facilitate those interactions. Vasa encourages the discussion of living intentionally and using self-reflection as a tool to help children develop healthy emotional lives. As the parent elephant said to the little elephant, “Blessed are we … Continue reading

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

Better Than Before

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives     By Gretchen Rubin     Crown Publishers     Habits. We all have some that we think are good and some we think are bad. In this book, readers are taught to evaluate their habits and use that knowledge to affect change. What’s the best way to successfully change a habit? Know your specific personality type. Whether an Upholder, Questioner, Rebel, Obliger, or a combination of these, readers can put the principles of change into action. Included is a quiz to assist with determining which type you are and twenty-one strategies to help establish … Continue reading

My Retreat

Emily Roiphe Carter

I am not a woman naturally drawn to serenity or stillness. I am often tangled in the trees and quite unable to detect the shape of the forest. I do not tend to meditate, or exercise with the kind of disciplined regularity required to make up a healthy habit. There is however, a place I can go to escape the world and myself. It’s on video and it’s available in abundance of YouTube. At night, in bed, before I fall asleep, I watch a story about a humble, blind masseur wandering through Edo period Japan: my own personal Jesus—Zatoichi, (Masseur … Continue reading

create art! make music! explore!

create art!  make music!  explore! It was the holiday season, my day off, and I was up to my eyeballs with things to do. So when my daughter phoned inviting me to make baked dough ornaments, I thought I just don’t have the time. But I really wanted to spend time with her so I happily put tasks on hold. I figured we’d hang out together, make a few ornaments and I’d get back to my to-do list. I arrived to a warm, sunny kitchen where she and a friend already had the first pan out of the oven displaying … Continue reading

Resentments: the Hydrochloric Acid of the Soul

“It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worthwhile? But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of harboring resentment is infinitely grave. For then we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the spirit” —Bill W. in As Bill Sees It I’m a person who is easily pissed off. There . . . I said it. And it’s true. Let me give you an example … Continue reading

Wild: Life Lessons from the Wilderness

An Interview with Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild: Life Lessons from the Wilderness Cheryl Strayed is a Minnesota native, and the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. Wild is the journey of Strayed’s 1,100 mile, three month solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and the personal struggles that led to her hike, including the tragic loss of her beloved mother to lung cancer when Cheryl was 22-years-old. Oprah Winfrey selected Wild for her book club, which led to a spot on the New York Times best seller list, and Reese Witherspoon commissioned … Continue reading

Letter to the Editor

Dear Reader, I can well appreciate your response to my article on parents who are abandoned by their children. Certainly people who were abused in childhood ought not be judged or pressured to reunite with their parents unless they are internally lead to do so. Some abused people actually may lessen their damage by trying to reconnect with parents. My intention in the article was to specifically address parents who were not abusive to their children who nevetherless get rejected today by their adult children. The example at the start illustrates this intent. Although I tried I could have been … Continue reading

From the Publisher

A few years ago a friend smiled wistfully as she listened to me stumble through an beginner’s sonata on our ancient Wurlitzer upright — the same piano I sat at for half-an-ungodly-hour day after day while growing up. “I’m so impressed that you can read music,” my friend lamented and I was shocked. She plays at clubs, weddings, big events and restaurants around town, and my brain couldn’t compute that she could be so talented and yet not read the notes on the page. “It’s like I have some sort of musical dyslexia,” she said, explaining the musical malady that … Continue reading

Is it Healthy to Live Only for Yourself?  

John Driggs

In all of our lives there certainly are those times when it is very healthy to live only for ourselves. If we are just about to give birth to a child, if our recovery in a hospital from a lifethreatening illness like alcoholism is at stake, or if we are powerless over another family member’s out of control behaviors, it’s rather wise and necessary to focus only on ourselves and our well being. Detachment with love has an essential place in our lives. However, what if we are just going about the business of living and only want to focus … Continue reading

Creativity is a Spiritual Practice

It was the fall our eldest started college. Once we had heard the parent pep talk and were summarily dismissed, I could hardly tear myself away – the excitement of choosing classes from endless possibilities, the beauty of the autumn campus, the opportunity to form fast friendships. I came right home and registered for The Artist’s Way, a class based on the book by the same title, authored by Julia Cameron. I’d never considered myself an artist. I’m from a long line of non-artists. Julia Cameron says, “… creative recovery (or discovery) is a teachable, trackable spiritual practice.” I was … Continue reading

Super Performing at Work and at Home:

The Athleticism of Surgery and Life By Robert James Cerfolio, MD, MBA River Grove Books Are you a star performer but want to be a super performer? Cerfolio states that paying attention to the tiny details separates the average performer from the super performer. And he knows—he has been a well-respected cardiothoracic surgeon for 25 years. In his motivational book he describes how while growing up as a competitive athlete, and later as a coach, father and physician, he has had to make life changing choices. He recommends readers prepare for every contingency as best they can. One of the … Continue reading

When Did You Die?

8 Steps to Stop Dying Every Day and Start Waking Up By Temple Hayes Health Communications, Inc. Hayes shares with the readers that she is amazed to be alive. She grew up in a violent and neglectful home. She admits she’s been in many automobile accidents and many times she drank enough alcohol to kill herself. Yet she didn’t die. However, each day she denied who she was, dying a little more each day. Hayes states, “Many people do not realize that there are many layers of being asleep and dying while we are living.” She offers readers techniques to … Continue reading

Imagine the Life You’d Love to Live, Then Live It:

52 Inspired Habits and Playful Prompts By Peg Conley Viva Editions How are you living the life you want to live? Conley describes her creative journey and provides 52 chapters of common sense advice to inspire new habits and disciplines. This book has useful tips from an artist and owner of a successful greeting card and stationery company. There are short essays and exercises to inspire and help the reader intentionally create the life they want. She suggests these will help the reader “unlock their inner genius” and nurture their journey forward by using practical ideas and suggestions. Week by … Continue reading

Faith: Essays from Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists

By Victoria Zackheim Beyond Words Publishing Zackheim was well into her sixties when she began to explore what she believed, and in turn, asked others about their beliefs. She asked, “What do you believe?” Their responses and how they came to their beliefs are included in this anthology. This collection of thought-provoking essays was written by 23 award-winning and best-selling authors Zackhein knew or had worked with in the past. The essays are honest and candid. Readers may use these gifted authors’ personal reflections as prompts for their own reflection and answers. Zackheim has edited several other creative nonfiction anthologies … Continue reading

Finding Your Voice

A lot of people claim that they can’t sing. Maybe at some point in their life, someone told them they couldn’t carry a tune. Maybe they were told that they were being too loud or obnoxious. Maybe they started thinking that singing wasn’t cool, or that it was only acceptable in a karaoke bar under the influence of alcohol. At some point, they just decided to quit singing. I say “quit,” because anyone who has been around young children knows that they are not nearly as shy about sharing their voices with the world. At some point, though, it seems … Continue reading

Thanks for the Words of Encouragement

From an early age I had low self-esteem partly as a result of being criticized unrealistically by my mother. I was a perfectionist and struggled with anger, frustration and tension. Besides that I felt like my parents were smothering me with over protection. College graduation coincided with a break up with my boyfriend, dashing marriage plans and leaving me lost and dejected. Mom said, “I told you so.” That just made things hurt more. I moved to a faraway state to try and escape my parents and the feelings of failure and guilt that I had, but things only got … Continue reading