The Mystery of Systemic Family Constellations: A New Method for Healing Transgenerational Trauma

I’ve been a member of 12 step programs for a number of decades. I credit one of them with saving my life. However, about three years ago, I found myself confronting body pain that, upon closer inspection, seemed emotionally generated: my back seized up and I couldn’t walk. This was an acute representation of physical pain that I had lived with during most of my recovery. This kind of flare-up had happened a number of times before, yet I could never find the basic cause. This time, a friend of mine, a body-oriented somatic therapist, suggested I try “family constellations.” … Continue reading

Being Used is Different from Being Loved

John Driggs

“It’s not the pretending, but the pretending that we are not pretending that hurts us.” — Sheldon Kopp, psychoanalyst and author Most of us at least intellectually understand that real love is different from exploitive caring. Caring for someone because of what they do for us is not the same as caring for someone because of who they are. However such clarity soon fades when we become emotionally vulnerable in relationships. Often then, the mind cannot see what the heart already knows. Inevitably heartbreak happens in exploitative relations. Often what hurts us the most is not having our hearts broken … Continue reading

Sex in Recovery: A Meeting Between the Covers

By Jennifer Matesa Hazelden Publishing Are you in recovery? Are you struggling with how to have sexual relationships and still maintain your sobriety? This book looks at how addiction, recovery, and sexuality are related. Matesa interviewed over 30 people in recovery who were willing to discuss sex and sexuality with her. This book contains their candid conversations and “topic chapters” where Matesa offers her own personal story and observations. Topic chapters end with “Queries for Discussion” questions specific to the topic, such as “How long has it been since someone else last touched my skin?” in the chapter on Touch. … Continue reading

Clearing Emotional Clutter: Mindfulness Practices for Letting Go of What’s Blocking Your Fulfillment and Transformation

By Donald Altman New World Library Emotional clutter can appear in our personal and professional lives. Ongoing toxic habits can create patterns that impact the level of emotional clutter we experience. Altman is a psychotherapist, author, and former Buddhist monk. He proposes mindfulness activities to cut through the clutter and change the way we process information so that the past and present can be dealt with in a healthier manner. He says, “I like to think of it as a mindful lifestyle reboot—a way of clearing out the old, habitual methods of living and thinking that keep us stuck in … Continue reading

Dropping The Struggle: Seven Ways to Love the Life You Have

By Roger Housden New World Library Struggling with your life? Housden was until several years ago when he realized that he was making his life unnecessarily difficult. He uses stories and poems to tell how one’s internal mental struggle can be managed and help with letting go and surrendering to peacefulness. Readers will find techniques which help with how to drop the struggles to be special (true humility), for a perfect life (being kind to ourselves), and for love (unconditional trust). What will your life become once you surrender to it? If you have a book you’d like reviewed or … Continue reading

The Little Black Book of Suicide Notes

Little Black Book of Suicide Notes by Adele Paula Royce

By Adele Paula Royce Live Your Light Publishing, Inc. A person dies by suicide approximately every 14 minutes in the U.S. alone. Royce hopes her semi-fictional book will help people considering suicide to reconsider it. She wants readers to know they are not alone in their aloneness. She reveals her own battle with suicide ideation, and in doing so, she sheds light on a dark topic while offering hope. Her nonjudgmental message includes 27 essays that she calls notes which are broken into The Reward of Death, The Ten Commandments of Suicide, and The Final Farewell. This book is the … Continue reading

Abstractly-Defined Artists Restore Humanity

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with both an old college professor and a local artist about the notion of healing through art. Comparing both conversations I found some striking similarities: Both people I interviewed came from backgrounds with troubled family dynamics that could easily be argued was — and still is — the foundation of every artistic thing they have ever done. Independently, yet simultaneously, they have taken their personal experiences and embedded them into ridiculous institutions [by way of teaching] with the objective being to either entertain or report possibilities in real time. Collectively, all three of … Continue reading

Have you Hugged your Teddy Bear Today?

Eleanor Leonard

Her college-age daughter had died unexpectedly in an accident. In a state of shock and controlled focus, she and her husband had reached out to friends and family, made funeral arrangements, housed out-of-town family members, carried on conversations. Now the house was empty; guests were gone, her husband had returned to work, a neighbor would look in later that afternoon. She went into her daughter’s room. It was exactly as her daughter had left it – the bed neatly made, a favorite teddy bear propped against the pillow. She circled the room closely, running soft fingers over her daughter’s jewelry, … Continue reading

Color me Alive

“I prefer living in color.” —David Hockney We just finished a simple bathroom fix, nothing so daring as ripping out and starting afresh. The swirly tan plastic tiles that cover the bottom half of three walls stayed – I have taken to thinking of them as vintage. The wall paper had to go, vintage or not. Vintage tile, vinyl floor, painted walls. Since sparkling ceramic tile, heated floors and giant tubs were out of our project scope, we opted for color. The built-in vanity was sturdy enough to accommodate the new oval sink and a fresh counter top. Its former … Continue reading

Looking Both Ways in the New Year

Ah, the new year! Starting over, a clean slate, a fresh beginning wrapped up in our lists of resolutions to improve some aspect of our lives, to make the year ahead better. But better than what? The uptick in ads and commercials for fitness club memberships, diet plans and body sculpting would indicate a narrow definition of “better.” Yet the human spirit seems to innately understand that self-improvement is so much more, that some deeper wisdom longs to elevate our status above the quest for the transitory illusion of physical perfection. How do we honor that longing? How do we … Continue reading

A Long Life. Living in The Blue Zone has its rewards

A long healthy life is no accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits.” — Dan Beuttner A favorite aunt of mine turns 100 in February. She was born in 1917– the same year the U.S. entered World War I, women suffragettes fought for the vote and a first class stamp cost three cents. She’s lived through a lot, including the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, World War II, the moon landing, the turning of the millennium – times of trial and times of celebration. She remembers it all clearly. My aunt is still in … Continue reading

Horse Sense

The snow swirled around the eight figures. They stood, shaking their heads, arms crossed, and shoulders hunched against the cold. They’d been standing there about ten minutes, staring at the PVC pipe that was raised a foot off the ground and at the herd of horses that seemed unconcerned. The predominating sense amongst the group was that these horses were not going to go over this obstacle. “Come on, let’s just go,” one of the group members called out, gesturing back toward the building, and one by one they walked into the arena and stood out of the wind and … Continue reading

from the publisher

Hold onto your earmuffs, readers, for this issue of The Phoenix Spirit will appeal to a wide and colorful swath of tastes and interests. For the tree-huggers and otherwise environmentally minded, flip to the back cover and read how you, too, can ReWild yourself. 2017 may be the Year of Forest Ecotherapy for you and yours. Have a penchant for horses? See Heather Jeffrey’s article about the therapeutic equine work being done at Acres For Life in Chisago City, MN. These gentle giants are muzzling their way into therapeutic plans across the country as treatment centers recognize that horses have … Continue reading

Op-ed

By Brittney Smith Recently considering the often used phrase, “Your health is your wealth,” I was forced to ask myself some tough questions: If wealth can’t buy happiness can it buy health? Can you be healthy and flat-ass broke? How is it remotely possible that we link ‘health’ and ‘wealth’ together when they are more than light years apart? My overall stance on that statement, considering their literal definitions, is that unfortunately health does not actually equate to wealth. Being free from illness and/or injury is not the same as having an abundance of material objects or money. On the … Continue reading

Managing Stress in an Impaired Culture

John Driggs

“You are not entirely your circumstances. Work on your own life and happiness. Never give up. For starters, embrace the miracle of love, love strong enough to guide or drive one into the great estate of maturity, or, to put it another way, into the apprehension and acceptance of one’s own identity. Do this with everyone you meet, where possible and with cautious respect where impossible. Your worries will be birds that take flight and unburden your shoulders.” Adapted from a quote by James Baldwin, 1964 In case you haven’t noticed it already, we’ve just had a very traumatizing presidential … Continue reading

Soul Courage

By Tara-Jenelle Walsch Rainbow Ridge Books Do you believe that everything you desire to know is already inside of you, in your soul? Walsch does and she wants readers to “live through the magnificence of your Soul Courage.” Soul courage is defined as daring to be and own all of you without shame, judgment, or excuses. She says that everyone already has Soul Courage and her process makes it accessible. Readers are given a formula to facilitate getting in touch with their True Self. Then, using the components of Feeling, Expressing, and Connecting to do that, supported by stories and … Continue reading