photography by COURTNEY MILNE - text by SHERRILL MILLER
Penguin Studio $24.95 (hardcover)
reviewed by Philip Brautigam, photographer, the In The Mirror project
The rich and sumptuous imagery of landscape photographer Courtney Milne illuminates an enchanting tour of the many facets of the divine feminine. Visions of the Goddess effectively explores the feminine cultural forces throughout time and how they embody creation, fertility, purification, transformation, integration, reverence, and illumination.
Milne's life partner, Sherrill Miller, does a brilliant job of introducing and sharing the stories of the featured goddesses. From Celtic to Hindu, from Micronesia to ancient Egypt, we are plunged into the engaging dramas of diverse cultural realms.
Milne's sensitive color photography plays freely with both hue and composition. Some of the work is experimental, using motion to express feeling and vitality. His interplay of natural beauty and the diversity of global locations are consistently moving and powerful.
Given the high level of quality content and expert design, I personally look forward to more compelling books by this talented pair of artists. If the Goddess energy is blossoming in your life, Visions of the Goddess provides a salient and rewarding visual experience to help bring the pieces together on many levels.
THE POWER OF NOW
A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by ECKHART TOLLE
Walter Foster Publishing $21.95 (hardcover)
reviewed by Mary O'Malley, Awareness Meditation founder and teacher
You know those special books you have known that you can open to any page and, as you read, the clouds in your mind whisk away, leaving you with the clarity and peace of deep insight? The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is such a book, and because it speaks to one of the most profound needs of the human spirit from a place of deep inner knowing, it is rapidly showing up on bestseller lists around the globe.
Most of us struggle not only with the ups and down of our lives, but also with trying to move beyond struggle! Tolle reveals the path to freedom from this endless loop. He says that the ego thinks of enlightenment as some superhuman accomplishment, "But it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you...This means it is accessible to you now as your own deepest self, your true nature."
He goes on to say that the greatest obstacle to experiencing this reality is identification with our minds. "Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being."
Without putting down the mind, he identifies its true and false functions. "There is a place for mind and mind knowledge. It is in the practical realm of day-to-day living. However, when it takes over all aspects of your life it becomes a monstrous parasite." Having spent time with this book, I know on a deeper level how to use the mind to maneuver through my life without my mind taking over my life! In the spacious freedom that comes from this, I am discovering more and more moments in which I am fully available to the deep joy and freedom that are available only in the now.
One of my favorite quotes in the book is this: "You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of - yet I am speaking of it now. I am speaking of it now not to give you something to believe in but to show you how you can know it for yourself." If you would like to know the deep peace that comes from making contact with that which is vast, immeasurable, and sacred, I encourage you to read this book.
Eckhart will be at the Kirkland Women's Club January 29 for a talk and January 30 for a time of silent meditation, questions, and answers (open only to those who have attended a talk with him previously). For information, call Barb Yamasaki, (425) 827-5260.
Opening Doors to Your Highest Potential
by MARTI EICHOLZ, Ph.D. with ALESA LIGHTBOURNE, Ph.D.
Institute for Transformation, LLC $59.95 (hardcover)
reviewed by Sandra Jones, Life Transitions Coach
Opening Transformation begins a journey of expanded learning and enhanced self-appreciation. The beautiful cover and artistic frames of the book's shimmering pages invite you to stay for a few moments or commit to visiting often for guidance on your personal development. In whatever way you choose to use the book, it provides insights and information about how to become your optimal self.
Inspiring and pragmatic tools of self-discovery abound, including information on how to determine your current expression of four predominant behavioral traits. These traits are then linked to the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of life.
Transformation provides lessons on several levels, gently inviting you to open doors to observe what behaviors are working well for you and which, if emphasized more (or less), could improve your quality of life. You are provided with options for change, and practical steps for implementing it. While guided to make these changes, you will feel as though you travel with a good friend who understands you, supports you in becoming your best, and celebrates your wins.
Marti Eicholz, Ph.D., the primary author of this book, is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Transformation in Kirkland, Washington. She uses this book to showcase her unique approach to multidimensional personal growth, incorporating findings from her lifetime of research in the behavioral sciences. Treat yourself or a special friend to the gift of Transformation.
RELAX, YOU'RE ALREADY PERFECT
10 Spiritual Lessons...To Remember
by BRUCE D SCHNEIDER, Ph.D.
Ebb/Flow Publishing $21.95 (hardcover)
reviewed by Chris Meriam, C.M.H.C.
If you like a hard-sell motivational approach to spirituality that has an answer for everything, this book is for you. Author Bruce Schneider takes a swipe at just about every resistance and defense he can think of that keeps us too shy to believe the truth about our human goodness. He attempts to demystify the thought forms that keep us locked in imperfect images of ourselves by inserting "truths" and "applications" throughout the book that are designed to empower us and bring us back to a more self-loving stance. The book is loaded with examples, exercises, and ideas that may appeal to the reader who enjoys having practice tools and techniques for experiencing the concepts presented.
Dr. Schneider has obviously read an awful lot of books, attended many workshops, and practiced a lot of Silva Mind Control and biofeedback techniques. While he doesn't take time to credit others for his ideas perhaps as often as he should, the savvy reader will see this book as a distillation of ideas, concepts, and techniques taken from many authors, teachers, philosophies, and spiritual paths.
Relax, You're Already Perfect contains good ideas. The strong, almost evangelical delivery might be hard to swallow for some, but many of the lessons cited in the book are good reminders, even for those of us who prefer a softer, less authoritative approach to understanding human spirituality.
CREATIVE ACTS OF HEALING
after a baby dies
by JUDITH VAN PRAAG
Paseo Press $14.95 (softcover)
reviewed by Denise Place
Like me - like most new parents - they imagined intense feelings of joy at the birth of their firstborn child. Sadly, like mine when my daughter, Ingrid Askland Place, died one day after birth, their dreams were shattered when their daughter, Ariane Eira, died during a breech delivery.
Judith van Praag, Ariane's mother, wrote this memoir, which chronicles the five years after her tragic loss. As a writer and visual artist, she is inherently inquisitive, which permits her to probe deeply into her experience without being self-absorbed. The result is an insightful and articulate record of her emotional awakening, from which others will greatly benefit.
She employed her creative skills to aid her own recovery, and through her example she reveals how writing and other creative acts can offer relief to those who have suffered a similar loss. Giving voice to the powerful thoughts and emotions that she experienced enabled her to work through her grief.
Her affirming voice comes through in her frank journal entries, which encourages others to trust their own feelings and to be patient with the healing process. Recovery, as the book attests, can take longer than is generally acknowledged. Her poetry reflects the depth of her experience; it is sincere and thought-provoking. Others will undoubtedly see themselves in these pages, and find consolation in knowing they are not alone.
Ms. van Praag shares the experience she has had with various organizations that promote healing and provides practical information about where to find additional help, including resources online.
This book isn't only for bereaved parents. This is a very worthwhile book for those who want to empathize more fully with parents who have suffered the loss of a newborn child. Creative Acts of Healing should be read by doctors and other caregivers, as well as family members and friends wishing to offer comfort.
Finding an Authentic Life
by RAY BROOKS
H. J. Kramer $12 (softcover)
An engaging journey into authenticity for a man who discovered that so-called "success" and an "exciting life" can turn sour. Studying the ancient art of shakuhachi (Zen flute) brings him into the heart of Zen and inner transformation.
DANCING IN THE DRAGON'S DEN
Rekindling the Creative Fire in Your Shadow
by ROSANNE BANE
Nicolas Hays $19.95 (softcover)
When you explore your creativity, you open the treasure chest of your unconscious. This book will assist you in discovering your shadow, and will teach you to use this energy to rekindle your creative fire.
Your Passport to Happiness
by ANNE MARIE EVERS
Berkana Books $17.95 (softcover)
Using anecdotes, simple exercises, and specific affirmations, learn to move beyond negative habits, unhealthy relationships, and personal limitations to the fulfillment of your highest potential.
HEALING YOUR EMOTIONS
Discover Your Element Type and Change Your Life
by ANGELA HICKS and JOHN HICKS
Thorsons $21 (softcover)
Based on Chinese Five Elements theory, this book shows how to create balance through powerful yet gentle exercises that connect the Elements to their ruling parts of the body, personality, and emotions.
SOUNDS OF HEALING
A Physician Reveals the Therapeutic Power of Sound, Voice, and Music
by MITCHELL L. GAYNOR, M.D.
Broadway Books $25 (hardcover)
Dr. Gaynor, a leading oncologist, shares his philosophy and sound-based techniques for using chanting, music, and quartz crystal bowls to incorporate self-healing as a complementary therapy.
Reflections of a Fairy
Sita Shiva Press $10 (softcover)
Araminta's Message, both fairy tale and allegory, is the story of a fairy who chooses to be born in a human body to experience the human world. Her viewpoint gives us a lucid opportunity to look within ourselves.
for Health & Vitality
by DR. JORG ZITTLAU
Sterling Publications $11.95 (softcover)
For centuries, green tea has been more than just a source of pleasure. Learn about the significance of drinking tea, different varieties of tea, and curing illnesses. Choose from an assortment of terrific recipes.
written and illustrated by JODY BERGSMA
Illumination Arts $15.95 (hardcover)
Beautiful watercolor art supports the tale of a gentle prince and an angry fire-breathing dragon, who discover that the path to their mutual success is built upon truth, honor, love, and kindness.
Earth's Secrets and Recipes for Skin, Body, and Spirit
by DAWN GALLAGHER
Universe Publishing $29.95 (hardcover)
In a beautiful presentation of photos and recipes, Dawn, a professional model, shares her personal insights. "Beauty comes from inner radiance and a regimen of all-natural beauty treatments for the body and spirit."
BEHIND THE MASK
Destruction and Creativity in Women's Aggression
by DANA CROWLEY JACK
Harvard University Press $24.95 (hardcover)
Drawing from in-depth interviews with women of different ages and ethnic backgrounds, Dana provides a rich account of how women explain (or explain away) their own feelings and acts of rage and violence.
THE PEOPLE'S PHARMACY GUIDE
to Home and Herbal Remedies
by JOE GRAEDON and TERESA GRAEDON, Ph.D.
St. Martin's Press $27.95 (hardcover)
Containing time-tested treatments for common ailments, Web sites for product information, and a compendium of herbs with a detailed discussion of active ingredients, uses, doses, side effects, and interaction, this is a must for the bookshelf.
THE MYSTIC HEART
Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World's Religions
by WAYNE TEASDALE
New World Library $23.95 (hardcover)
Drawing on experience as an interreligious monk, the author reveals what he calls interspirituality, a genuine and comprehensive spirituality that draws on the mystical genius of other traditions.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD
by NEALE DONALD WALSH
Hampton Roads Publishing Co. $15.95 (softcover)
In this latest installment in the Conversations with God series, Walsch answers readers' questions with characteristic wit and wisdom, resulting in a book that is profoundly enlightening and inspiring, illustrating a direct link between spiritual and physical reality.