PATHS OF LIFE
by ALICE MILLER
reviewed by Kate Lin
Educator on the long-term effects of child abuse and Swiss psychoanalyst Alice Miller has written several books on the subject, including The Drama of the Gifted Child, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, and For Your Own Good. Now, in her new book Paths of Life, she continues her exploration along the same theme by presenting a series of stories.
Through seven imaginary stories, Miller allows various characters to tell their stories and to come to terms with the past. Some of the communications in the stories take the form of letter writing, and some are face-to-face communications.
The stories take the following forms: a daughter confronts her father with sexual abuse and other physical abuses; two long-lost friends reconnect and discuss wartime traumas as Jews in WWII Poland; a mother discusses the traumas of her daughters birth with the daughter, who is also pregnant; a daughter confronts her mother with the emotional traumas that the daughter experienced as a child; a woman comes to terms with sexual abuse and exploitation by her therapist; a woman discusses with a friend how her daughter with Downs syndrome has enabled her to reconnect with her feelings; and two ex-lovers reconnect after thirty years and discuss what theyve learned about intimacy.
Some of the issues that get presented (in addition to the ones just suggested) include the importance of touching and bonding between mother and child in the first few days of life; the traumas of circumcision; the importance of expressing repressed feelings with a caring listener; the dynamics that occur in cults (a correlation is drawn between the follower in a cult and the victim of sexual abuse by a therapist); the facilitation of the release of repressed traumas in a mothers body so that birth can take place more easily; the bodys ability to communicate through symptoms; and the tendency to replay childhood traumas if they are not dealt with.
Although not lightweight reading, the stories drew me in and captured my attention. They provided a compelling structure for the exploration of difficult issues. Its almost as if Id been given permission to read someones journal, with all of its intimate details, uncertainties, and candidness. I wanted to read more so I could find out what had happened to the various characters and see how they had dealt with the different issues in front of them.
After the stories, Miller explores the blind allegiance that some people have to gurus and cult leaders and then includes the chapter "What is Hatred?" Miller indicates that a possible root of hatred is "the rage and despair that cannot be consciously felt by a child who has been neglected and maltreated. As long as the anger directed at a parent or other first caregiver remains unconscious or disavowed, it cannot be dissipated." In her afterword, Miller discusses the importance of speaking out about child abuse and discusses the issue of whether or not to confront a parent with the abuses that one experienced in ones childhood.
In Paths of Life, Miller continues her tradition of championing the needs and rights of the child. This is an important book for those seeking healing from childhood wounds and working toward resolution and increased understanding of the process. Spirit Circle A Story of Adventure and Shamanic Revelation by HAL ZINA BENNETT Tenacity Press $18 (softcover) reviewed by Arlene Arnold
A Story of Adventure and Shamanic Revelation
by HAL ZINA BENNETT
reviewed by Arlene Arnold
How often have you vacillated between the rational everyday world and the imaginal, "other" world of your inner spirit? Do you sometimes wonder which is more real?
Take an exciting journey with Tara Fairfield, a rational woman schooled in the science of archeology, into her other world, where she is drawn to find her missing father and a secret society of shamans who exist in another realm of reality. You will find yourself "burning the midnight oil" reading the next chapter and the next as the story takes twists and turns like a mystery that leads you down one hallway only to find another.
When Tara finally encounters the doorway to the "other world," it feels like a trick, a freak of nature. Her friend Chocko speculates about what seems to be an opening. "We are not outside looking in because there is no such thing as outside and inside, not really we are standing in the center of it because no matter where you stand it is the center And if the center is wherever you stand, we are all, at any given moment, standing in all-time and all-dimension."
If such thoughts throw you off balance, perhaps thats part of the beauty of Spirit Circle. In the story, Tara watched as ravens "lifted into the wind and others followed, filling the sky with the abstract, flittering movements of their dark wings. Seconds later they settled down into the tree again." This reminded her of a story told by an old shaman she had met in Peru. "He said in the natural world realities constantly shifted. Birds adjusted to change by fluttering from branch to branch while humans clung to their single perches, never looking beyond what they already knew. The raven, however, was always on the move. He was always changing his perch. The shamans lesson had to do with what he called shape shifting, that is, experiences that force us to look at the world in new ways. He emphasized that these experiences were always accompanied by mystery and fear." Dont be surprised if Spirit Circle causes you to lift up and settle again on a new branch, looking at reality through new eyes and an altered perspective.
In the end, Tara sees the world in a new way, through eyes that see the fifth world instead of the third world she is used to. "All around her, substance and form, everything Tara associated with the material world, faded into clear, perfect light It was all light, light of varying colors, denser colors vibrating within solid areas Here was a universe without seams, without edges, where all blended together as pure light Tara watched, awed by the sight as light streamed through the little crescents, radiating in infinite directions This is the birth of all form, the inner voice told her This light is your true source, beyond the limits of the finite form you know as your body " It was like a spider web with everything connected through filaments of light. " Imagine the circle, Mongwa said. It is all-spirit, touching all, touching everything. "
Spirit Circle is meant to awaken the children of importance. These are the ones who have agreed to help guide others as we evolve into the fifth world. You will recognize yourselves by what you have felt all your life, like there was something of importance you had come to do in this lifetime; like you were being led even when you thought you were lost.
"With the emergence of the fifth world entirely new human perceptions will unfold, allowing us to stay connected with the Spiritual Source out of which we all have come, no longer masking love, fearing death, or allowing ourselves to be alienated from other living beings for any reason." HOME DESIGN FROM THE INSIDE OUT Feng Shui, Color Therapy, and Self-Awareness by ROBIN LENNON with KAREN PLUNKETT-POWELL Penguin Arkana $14.95 (softcover) reviewed by Amanda Patrick
HOME DESIGN FROM THE INSIDE OUT
Feng Shui, Color Therapy, and Self-Awareness
by ROBIN LENNON
with KAREN PLUNKETT-POWELL
reviewed by Amanda Patrick
When I first saw Robin Lennon's book, I got very excited. At last, a book about making your home yourself and allowing the true you to reflect in that home, as well as finding out who that true you is! I have long believed that a home was the most sacred place we have, and Robin confirms that and shows us how to achieve it in her unique approach.
My excitement did not wane as I wound through the pages, exploring meditations that brought clarity about what I saw my "perfect" home looking like. I did exercises to discover why it was so difficult to let go of certain items (Inventory Exercise One) by reliving the past with that item, finding out the emotional ties to it, and how to release such items (Farewell Rituals) by taking a photo first or just sitting with the item and saying a fond farewell, or whatever was most meaningful to me.
This is not a book to be skimmed through. It will take time to explore all of your childhood issues around home, then to learn to let the creative you out to play with color and new design, but what a delightful way to discover you!
Many of us are afraid of color; Robin will help you move through that. Many of us are afraid of being daring (or what we consider daring); Robin will help you through that. You will find a whole new world open up to you within the pages of this book.
Thank you Robin, for bringing this awareness to create a heartfelt house into being. It has been a long time in coming. TAKE YOUR TIME Finding Balance in a Hurried World by EKNATH EASWARAN Hyperion Press $16.95 (hardcover) reviewed by Douglas S Johnson
TAKE YOUR TIME
Finding Balance in a Hurried World
by EKNATH EASWARAN
reviewed by Douglas S Johnson
Let it be here and now confessed: This reviewer is a workaholic, a runner between here and there, a hurryer and a scurryer, a Type A, a White Rabbit (and occasionally a Mad Hatter!). Now creeping up on mid-life, I have been told by my doctor that I must learn to better deal with stress and simplify my life, and in the process cut free the many non-essentials that are doing little more than driving up my blood pressure.
Ironically or appropriately, however one wishes to see it, at the very time that my sawbones threatened me with beta blockers and cognitive therapy in order to get my head back together and my diastolic down a bit, I was reading Eknath Easwaran's Take Your Time. ("Reading" and "understanding theory," it must be noted, are not to be confused with "taking seriously" and "applying," but after Old Doc's de-stress admonitions, I thought I might give Easwaran's techniques a whirl.)
Back in my graduate school days, I was a meditation nut: Tanner Hall's Dalai Lama. I could do zazen ("just sitting" meditations) until the mountain goats came home. In these more complex days, the only "sitting" I have been doing is in a car as I race back and forth between my multitudinous careers as college teacher, private therapist (for autistic children), and freelance writer. However, Easwaran assured me that I didn't have to live pure and withdrawn as a monk to be more quiet inside, and that if a mere 15 to thirty minutes could be spared in the morning for concentrated meditation, a peaceful tone could be set for the entire day. So I have started "sitting" again in the morning, burning incense before the sun comes up, saying my mantram (symbol of supreme reality) in the darkness and you know what? He was right!
Probably the most important part of Easwaran's program for me was the simplifying. It is imperative to note that "simplification" does not mean quitting your job (or jobs!) and retiring to a hut in the Himalayas. (As Larry Darrell learned in The Razors Edge, "it is easy to be a wise man on the mountaintop," but it is a monumental achievement to have peace and insight while living in the real world.)
What it does mean is jettisoning the little things and useless duties that suck the life out of the average person so that the truly vital things may be attended to with more attention and tranquillity. In fact, the simplification process is probably more an internal thing than an external one; it is much more about attitude than anything else, though it certainly has its external manifestations. It is the ability to look at some demand that is being made upon oneself and ask, "Is this vital?" and then, if the answer is "no," to be able to walk away without worry or regret.
Of course, in the end, the meditation and the simplification of possessions, relationships, and emotions is not for the tranquillity at least not just for the tranquillity. In fact, the psychological peace and the physical stillness are merely wonderfully enjoyable byproducts of the actual goal: seeing into the depths of life and realizing the eternity and unity of all things.
I have been doing the best I can to follow Easwaran's prescription for the past two weeks, and though I am still a far cry from my college days, when I often reveled in a bliss that only hours of daily meditation and an existence almost entirely free of real-life responsibility can bring, I do feel better in my body, yes, but much more importantly, in my mind and spirit.
I go back to see my doctor this coming week, and I do not know what he will say, whether there will be pills to take or therapy that will have to be worked into my already insane schedule. Strange, I worry much less about such things lately; whereas before I was stressing about what I would have to do about becoming less stressful, now I can accept whatever comes my way: pills, no pills; therapy, no therapy. If Easwaran has shown me nothing else in the past fortnight back in the Eastern ways, it is how to stop becoming stressed about how much stress I am under. I suppose that is one step toward the mountaintop. NATURE SPIRITS AND ELEMENTAL BEINGS Working with the Intelligence in Nature by MARKO POGACNIK Findhorn Press $13.95 (softcover) reviewed by Peggy Cavin-Smith
NATURE SPIRITS AND ELEMENTAL BEINGS
Working with the Intelligence in Nature
by MARKO POGACNIK
reviewed by Peggy Cavin-Smith
Marko Pogacnik is a Slovenian author, sculptor, and earth healer who has decided to share his experiences with "the fundamental dimensions of the elemental world." In other words, he has been in touch with the other children of the earth: the unseen, magical, magnificent, and most times ignored life forms that are essential to the maintenance and caretaking of our Mother Earth. Dwarfs, fairies, nymphs, and even goblins reveal their presence to Marko as he intuitively investigates Earth energies.
In his introduction to Nature Spirits and Elemental Beings, Pogacnik states, "The experiences I report in this book show that it is time for the human species to take these beings and energies seriously, and to accept that they belong to the multidimensionality of life on this planet." He goes on to say that "mans dominant human mind has driven them away into an unreal, separate fairy world."
In recent years, my own Earth awareness, like many others, has been awakened; as a result of this, my heart understands that humans could vanish from the planet at any moment and the earth would flourish. If the earth were not to thrive, humankind would perish. Pogacniks offering is not just information from a fabulous journey; it is an invitation to remember where we really belong in relationship to the total existence of this planet that allows us life.
Nature Spirits & Elemental Beings is unlike anything I have read recently, and therein lies its beauty and freshness. Marko Pogacnik has taken three realms of scientific observation and vividly presents them as one. Nature has a collective spirit, and within it live the elements of all creation. His interest in the earth condition has been lifelong, and one that brought him to ponder the limitations of his own reality. There is a broad acceptance of the idea that now is the time to live in balance; a balance within ourselves that can only be found when we understand the absolute truth and wisdom of the world around us.
At every turn of the page, I found myself drawn in by the depth and realism of Markos encounters with all other living things, but I was puzzled by one of his opening messages to the reader: "Do not take my concepts and comments too seriously. They are naturally limited to my consciousness at the time." Shift your consciousness into a place without time, follow Marko Pogacnik through the pages of his own earthy creation, and then decide how serious the healing of our planet must be. COSMIC JOURNEYS My Out-of-Body Explorations with Robert A. Monroe by ROSALIND A. MCKNIGHT Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc. $13.95 (softcover)
My Out-of-Body Explorations with Robert A. Monroe
by ROSALIND A. MCKNIGHT
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.
McKnight offers a unique perspective on Monroes early research and his incredible findings, as well as information on the nature of the energy body. LITTLE STONE Your Friend for Life by JAMES WANLESS Element Books, Inc. $10.95 (softcover)
Your Friend for Life
by JAMES WANLESS
Element Books, Inc.
Provides an easy way of understanding ourselves and the natural "way of the earth" path for realizing our gifts and talents and manifesting our visions and dreams. 14 DAYS TO WELLNESS The Easy, Effective, and Fun Way to Optimum Health and Total Well-Being by DONALD B. ARDELL, Ph.D. New World Library $14 (softcover)
14 DAYS TO WELLNESS
The Easy, Effective, and Fun Way to Optimum Health and Total Well-Being
by DONALD B. ARDELL, Ph.D.
New World Library
Mastering the fundamentals of genuine wellness requires just twenty minutes a day for two weeks to put you on track to a far healthier, more rewarding life. THORSONS PRINCIPLES OF DRUIDRY The Only Introduction You Will Ever Need by EMMA RESTALL ORR Thorsons (National Book Network) $11 (softcover)
THORSONS PRINCIPLES OF DRUIDRY
The Only Introduction You Will Ever Need
by EMMA RESTALL ORR
Thorsons (National Book Network)
Explains what Druidry is, its history, festivals, celebrations, herbcraft, healing, and practices as presented by a Druid priestess. SOUL NUMEROLOGY by JULIE GALE Thorsons (National Book Network) $19.95 (softcover)
by JULIE GALE
Thorsons (National Book Network)
Brings you closer to understanding your life lessons on Earth, what your souls purpose is, and how you can fulfill your true destiny. WHAT Step Out of the Race, Free Your Mind, Change Your Life by JAMES BALLARD Broadway Books $20 (hardcover)
WHATS THE RUSH?
Step Out of the Race, Free Your Mind, Change Your Life
by JAMES BALLARD
Shows how to use the mind to be happy by gaining inner control amidst the uncertainties of life. THE BOOK OF CHAKRA HEALING by LIZ SIMPSON Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. $14.95 (softcover)
THE BOOK OF CHAKRA HEALING
by LIZ SIMPSON
Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
Shows practical ways to unblock and rebalance energy through color, ancient myths, archetypes, bodywork, crystals, visualizations, open questions, and affirmations. THE ART OF PILGRIMAGE The Seeker by PHIL COUSINEAU Conari Press $20 (hardcover)
THE ART OF PILGRIMAGE
The Seekers Guide to Making Travel Sacred
by PHIL COUSINEAU
Every journey can be sacred, soulful, and transformative if it is undertaken with a desire for spiritual risk and renewal. RING OF POWER by JEAN SHINODA BOLEN, M.D. Nicolas Hays (Samuel Weiser) $18.95 (softcover)
RING OF POWER
by JEAN SHINODA BOLEN, M.D.
Nicolas Hays (Samuel Weiser)
Shows how myth illuminates psychology and goes beyond the psychology of the individual, to examine dysfunctional families and patriarchal institutions. ENERGY BLESSINGS FROM THE STARS Seven Initiations by VIRGINIA ESSENE and IRVING FEURST S.E.E. Publishing Company $14.95 (softcover)
ENERGY BLESSINGS FROM THE STARS
by VIRGINIA ESSENE and IRVING FEURST
S.E.E. Publishing Company
An energy portal for receiving transformative initiations directly from spiritual masters in seven star systems. THE TWELVE DAYS OF LIGHT Prophecy Concerning the Millennium by GARY BONNELL Richman Rose Publishing $10.95 (softcover)
THE TWELVE DAYS OF LIGHT
Prophecy Concerning the Millennium
by GARY BONNELL
Richman Rose Publishing
At the very center of the coming megawave of energy is a 12-day period of immense energy that marks a major shift in awareness and a dimensional shift. LASAGNA GARDENING by PATRICIA LANZA Rodale Press, Inc. $15.95 (softcover)
by PATRICIA LANZA
Rodale Press, Inc.
A new layering system for bountiful gardens: No digging, no tilling, no weeding, no kidding! ONLINE reviewed by Elana Lindquist Awareness Magazine
reviewed by Elana Lindquist
Articles about wisdom, insight, health, and family. Read "Healthy Bones or Holey Bones" in the January/February 1999 issue for a no-nonsense explanation of how to prevent osteoporosis.
The personal resource directory from San Francisco is now online, sharing its archives and resources. Articles by some of your favorite authors are here, including Carolyn Myss, Lynn Andrews, Bernie Siegel, and Marianne Williamson. If you need a kick in the pants from the universe to put your life into perspective, read the archived interview with Bernie Siegel, "Everyday Miracles."
Learn how easy it is for your identity to be stolen, some simple tips for keeping you safe, and what to do in case it is stolen. For example, if there is a death, notify the credit bureau immediately!
John's Vegetarian Recipes
Many yummy, international, easy-to-do, vegetarian meals. My favorite was called Death by Chocolate.
Human Service Alliance
An all-volunteer organization (no one is paid, no one is charged) in North Carolina that provides round-the-clock homelike care for the terminally ill, respite care for developmentally disabled children, mediation, and health and wellness counseling for those with chronic illnesses.
Elana Lindquist publishes Fun with Success Online; sign up for her free newsletter at <http://www.seanet.com/~lindquist, e-mail <email@example.com>, or call (253) 858-7969. MUSIC reviewed by David A. Young OPENINGS JOAN SZYMKO Virga Records
reviewed by David A. Young
When records arrive at The New Times offices to be considered for review, they are almost invariably accompanied by some promotional materials, designed to give the reviewer some background on the artist and some insight into the intent of the work. Sometimes I go over this material, sometimes not; I like to think that I am capable of some insight of my own and that I can judge music on its own merit (and perhaps better) sans hype. I want the words in my reviews to come from my head, not someone elses.
I would like to share with you, though, the letter, from the artist herself, that accompanied Openings: "This recording is very special. It was made possible by the love and financial support of a community of singers, the Concord Community of Choirs, with which I work in Portland, Oregon. Over 100 individuals gave $12,000 in non-tax-deductible gifts toward the creation of this recording. Why? Because the music I have composed for my choirs has greatly moved them. Because singing, and finding ones voice, is empowering and life-affirming and as a choral director I have been a trusted, beloved guide on the journey. Because gift begets gift."
Szymko could not have known how fully I, as a choral singer myself, would understand what she said. Singing is at the top of the list of my spiritual practices, and, if youll forgive the pun, Im very tuned in to and grateful for the contributions made by the composer, the director, the accompanist(s), and my fellow singers. Having recently had the honor of participating in the world premiere performance of a major orchestral work by a dear friend and fellow chorister, I can relate to wanting to support an endeavor as these singers have Joan Szymkos. If it isnt singing or playing music for you, youll relate by imagining a chance to contribute to someone or something that has enriched for you what was already your most potent method of connecting with the divine.
Since there are many of us running around, she also could not have known that Im the same David Young that worked with her in a restaurant on Seattles Capitol Hill 15 years ago (if she even remembered my name at all). Thats why its a special thrill for me to be able to contribute something to the project even after its been funded and released: my enthusiastic endorsement of Openings as our album of the month and, I earnestly hope, at least a few buyers.
This album is a tribute to the power, versatility, and beauty of the human and, specifically, female voice (all solos as well as all ensemble work are handled by women). Further, its a testament to the amplification of those properties when voices are joined for a common purpose. Finally, its an ode to the formidable talent and persistence of Joan Szymko (composing and directing were her passions already when I knew her).
As modern classical music makes a gradual but welcome return to conventional modes of melody construction and harmonization, Szymko breaks fresh new ground in choral composing while wisely eschewing the atonal structure too long considered necessary to demonstrate relevance. Instead, the music (and the accompaniment) is exultant, exciting, and engaging. Even on the most abstract number, the title track (the only one on which the composer is featured as a vocalist), we are spared the cacophonous histrionics in favor of an imagination-firing but accessible score.
I truly hope that this album brings Joan Szymko to the attention of a wide audience and affords her many new opportunities. Being heard is the only thing standing in the way of major success for her; this independent is fully the equal of anything comparable coming out on the major classical labels. Even if this were the only album she were ever to record, she could be proud of it for the rest of her life, but I dont want that to happen. I dont want her singers to have to capitalize her next release, either; I want you to buy this album, hear the finest in new choral composing, and play it for your friends.
I want Openings to be just that: the doorway to the recognition Szymko (and Viriditas, the talented chorus featured throughout) deserves. And, okay, I admit it: I want to be able to say that you heard it here first.
(Available at the University Bookstore in Seattle or from Virga Records, PO Box 14184, Portland, OR 97293) LUMINOUS SPIRIT Chants of Hildegard von Bingen ROSA LAMOREAUX and HESPERUS Koch International Classics
Chants of Hildegard von Bingen
Koch International Classics
I wonder how many others of you, like me, got to know Hildegard von Bingen through the two popular tribute albums to her by Richard Souther a few years back, Vision and Illumination. Those cutting-edge and eclectic collections brought her music and her legend to a much broader audience than would have been likely had they remained solely in the province of classical and sacred music.
Now, however, its time for what Devo used to call the "completion backwards principle" at least for me it is, at least one step at a time. Although versions of fully half the selections on Luminous Spirit appeared on the Souther albums, hearing them here, sans studio effects and worldbeat sensibilities, is very much like hearing them for the first time.
The informative booklet included with this classy package notes that in von Bingens time, it "was not uncommon for instruments to double or support the voice, provide introductory passages or interludes based on the vocal line." No virtuoso grandstanding here; Hesperus accompaniment of Ms. Lamoreaux able vocals (richer than the crystalline, clinging-to-the-ceiling tones characterizing the Souther albums) is the very definition of understatement. Indeed, sometimes they function (on period instruments, of course) as a barely perceptible drone, the indefinable fog on which the vocal floats.
One especially satisfying cut is "Ave Maria," written in the "responsory" style; in this case, recorders take the vocal lines that would have been shared with the soloist to stunning effect. The result combines seamlessly two of my favorite states, playfulness and reverence. The next time I have to explain to someone that these neednt be mutually exclusive, Ill play this song as the background music.
The recording was done on location at the Resurrection Chapel of Washington National Cathedral, and the ambience caressing the interstices of the sounded tones both speaks to the hushed and hallow origins of the music and foretells its end result. One need not approach this listening experience feeling peaceful, but the surrendered listener will be rewarded with a serene and joyful inner peace, no doubt akin to that which von Bingen knew when these inspired compositions were first given to her. MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE FRIENDS ARTIE TRAUM Narada
MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE FRIENDS
Blends modern and deeply rooted styles ranging from folk to rock, blues, and jazz, with the combined skill of truly remarkable special-guest players. ENTER THE EARTH BURNING SKY Candescence/Rykodisc
ENTER THE EARTH
Recreates the indigenous spiritual vision of spirits emerging from the underworld, dancing the cultures they found on Earth, and eventually returning home. MEDICINE WOMAN 2: THE GIFT MEDWYN GOODALL New World Music
MEDICINE WOMAN 2: THE GIFT
New World Music
The reverie-inspiring instrumentals here are the continuation of the adventures and discoveries of Medicine Woman, in which she and her people find peace and harmony.