My rich purple kingdom

There is a young girl, her wise grandfather and his princess. The girl has special powers of love and healing. I imagine her throughout the forest; oh-so-happy and smiling, with pink-orangish in the background, animals and swirls. She likes to play with blue lights and make them into trees. One day, a grandmother angel placed a necklace around her made of yellow pearls. The necklace lit up her abdomen, revealing a rich purple kingdom. As part of this kingdom there is a castle, moat and luscious garden with flowers. Grandmother gave her the title Queen, including a crown with jewels, then covered her heart with a powerful green stone. Grandfather also made her a princess. She is very bright and has command over perception.

Out of the red tunnel into healing

She held him within herself as a trade for her own heart and thought, “I need him first to save me!” Emotionally, not getting ruined her. More recently she made an invitation to resurrecting herself through him because, today, she is ready. Her purpose wanting comes in realizing he’s always been there, with her, as if she was never actually alone and knew on some level: “This is why I suffered and lived all along because I couldn’t ‘yet’ have him.” She needed out of the red tunnel; to be swallowed by his blue light. At the time it was merely a crack coming in from a far more powerful door to open. She wants to walk through and take him to the forest together. Because, at last, she’s thawed the frozenness of years past enough to realize he’s the one whose arms she wants to melt in today. What matters is that she arrived here in her emotional process: “I see us together then realize that symbolizes so much on so many levels, but especially accepting myself and entrusting my desires through all time. My head just runs wild. There is no closing the door as in making myself go away through a new person.” Others couldn’t elegantly occupy her heart like he can. They took over instead.

Her victory in being forbidden

Something I wish people noticed in childhood before “anorexia”

All of the little ways in which I kept making myself smaller, such as by not smiling with teeth, until eventually the entire coloring surrounding me turned pale.

Just a tom-boy with OCD no one really knows

Without basketball, I was worthless. Drudgery was supposed to pick me up and make her change, but I wasn’t allowed to have feelings about it all. If a guy didn’t save the day, my “basketball” reality would. This process should mostly happen “unconsciously.”

Not my middle school

When my family moved to California after sixth grade, I had one friend from Maryland over the years who visited me. When my friend visited, she did not come alone but with family. I remember, the first time she came was probably 2002. I used to keep a picture of Dad,my friend and me at the top of a hill overlooking my favorite water. I wore a sweatshirt from the middle school I, evidently, no longer attended in Maryland. Is it not sad? Because here I was with this amazing opportunity at a new and better life, but dressing like I didn’t want it!

Closing off Laura

They chose their world over remembering our friendship now that I wasn’t part of their everyday lives. What’s annoying is how they stole what I’d brought to the group…but neglected me! The nicknames I made up for various girls. The fascination with sport(s). The childish inside-jokes. They didn’t need me there to take these things. Better to forget Laura, close her off completely and act like it was all their own. Because I didn’t need anybody, right, and was just spoiled rotten to get to move to California even though one of the main reasons why my family left is because things weren’t going well in the sense that people were unhealthy/unhappy, so we wanted something different and very far away.

One year after moving, California was already a horrendous failure

More than anything else, as a seventh-grader, I needed this door to his world and I needed him to open it and let me in because I could not speak or miraculously make him want me. For half of a semester, sure, just being touched by him (never literally) was enough to keep me going. But it makes little sense to me emotionally that, somehow, over the summer I got swept away and forgot how strongly he’d made me feel then liked new people the next year. Truthfully, I can’t remember much of anything that happened between seventh and eighth grade. I asked my mom, and she told me about going to camp with a group of girls. They weren’t necessarily my favorite and had been friends for a long time before me; I felt unimportant, like they didn’t really need a Laura. Within their group, I didn’t at all have the same specialness that had been there for me in Maryland and as a basketball player.

Although there were other people I experienced attractions to in eighth grade, nothing was the same or strong enough to mesmerize me like the seventh grade crush. But of course the message learned from adults, society or whatever had been that I was just a 12 year-old, couldn’t really have deep feelings for this boy who’d left anyways. Not having him there and losing the world he created for me (that I, ultimately, created out of him) explains, in part, how I became so obsessed with school and competitive against myself. Everything felt like my fault although of course in reality I couldn’t control this boy and the door I recognized as “his” came through my own eyes. No matter, she wasn’t enough, and I positively needed him more. At the time I still had friends but they’d only known me for a very short period of time since I met new people in eighth grade and didn’t stay close to the people I’d had classes with in seventh. I just didn’t matter to people like I had in the past, felt unworthy, and like one year after moving California was already a horrendous failure for not getting this boy and, furthermore, for dropping basketball. Especially once diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, I’d never get another chance to feel the same way about a guy since, at the root, my seventh grade crush was all about timing. I recall him now, symbolically, as a midpoint.

Seventh-grade Laura: “I didn’t want to ruin him with my ugliness and problems”

We had social studies and physical education together. Social studies came before lunch. I terribly looked forward to seeing him and sitting across from each other. Well, almost. The room was set up like this: Walk in the door. On the left side is the board. Turn right to face the front of class. He sat on the right side of the room, and I the left. I think he was in the second row back and I the third, which made it easier to stare. He was also one row down horizontally; I was more nestled in the middle. Either way, I was completely embarrassed and wanted to hide behind the friend who sat in front of me. She liked me and always wanted to hug; I thought getting attention from her would make him notice me more. I always prayed that when students got assigned partners, we’d be set-up. That didn’t happen. I think I got him to sign my yearbook, though. I remember how close I was to opening my mouth in physical education as the school year wound down because once I realized “this is going to end” I felt more sad and alone than ever before. But he was just so quiet, pure, mysterious and innocent; I didn’t want to be the person responsible for ruining him with my ugliness and problems even as a seventh grader before anorexia nervosa.

How I explain being sandwiched into anorexia nervosa

A little girl needs him as the sign of her victory in being forbidden. If I don’t accept or trust in her torment, she insists that I am not allowed to love because “it won’t come true” without specifically him. She is punishing me via his restraint. He isn’t by my side, yet it’s in the way she affirms, so vividly, “He’s the one who brought me here today,” that makes it impossible to coincide separately with another. I wasn’t just stupid to be sick but needed to invest in him as something better if to believe there’s an other way this bad stuff couldn’t have happened through being with each other. Now I realize what he did is put up a black curtain making it so I couldn’t grasp my duress from behind henceforth redirecting it through him front “back” into me plainly because he couldn’t see her. This is how I explain being sandwiched into anorexia nervosa; via his continuation of the red tunnel horizontally going through first associated with basketball.

Holding not having

My pressured elementary school frenzy with sports, academics and peers took Laura away. Moving didn’t magically provide access. Rather, I found new ways to confine myself through guys and, also, not eating. I locked men up inside me instead, yet despite the agony of not getting, none was the initial reason for her loss. My steady accumulation of mental oppression over a period of four years ultimately became frozen into this one boy who seemed—only in his power—to hold an undisturbed rendering of me. My transformation is what’s missing; there wasn’t that day when things clicked and the last quarter in Maryland magically digested. Instead, I became forevermore transfixed by anxiousness to the point of being unable to touch my own body.

I was just average, then became ill with anorexia nervosa

In childhood it grievously wounded my identity for people to look at me, as a Cancer, and say I’m exactly like my friend, the Sagittarius, for instance. Initially their comments seemed like compliments since my Sagittarius friend was just a tad taller, slightly more “skinny” and with fair coloring. At the time, I was actually cooler. But even though we were close to the same size then, our body types remained different. She is more shoulders; I am broader in the chest. My hair is wavier. Her smile is close to exact; mine tends to go on a slight angle. We were raised in different religions. Although nice she wasn’t known for being funny like me and, today, my profession is boldly less conventional. Even though we both got good grades and played different sports, and my Sagittarius friend might have been a reliable person for me to hang out with, we were never the same. On some level I always knew that regarding her, but with others it wasn’t quite so easy in terms of where to draw the line. I tend to feel most competitive with people who resemble me, especially in size, height and hair color. Unfortunately, it just so happens that growing up on the east coast I ended up being “average” in most of those categories. So, I was maybe a tiny bit shorter (but not today) and exceeded in competitive athletics. Still, being so close to average drove me to draw identity around things that presumably made me different (being Jewish and left-handed) even if such characteristics did not resonate most accurately with me internally. Because really I appreciated my heritage but did not grow up in a religious family or take passionate interest and, also, I don’t think being left-handed says very much about me beyond stereotypes. Nonetheless, I had to make myself matter in a world that didn’t see anything special! My identity became built around, you know, what blocks most other “average” girls out so that people recognize me. There wasn’t stuff inside to work with; I never felt like enough there. That is why by the time I was a teen, sexuality seemed like something out of my control. In my talk last week I discussed how even though boys liked me when I did basketball, that wasn’t the expression I needed or how I wanted to feel and be desired as a girl, and especially not as a young woman.

Elementary school peers or eloquent Laura

I naively overrated my elementary school peers but, at the same time, they were my “real” friends that made me cool and on top of the world in ways I couldn’t find again. Nonetheless I opened up to a much softer and more eloquent Laura long after leaving those people behind; she’s the version I started out as anyways, and I mean before doing ballet. That girl who sat on the porch and looked out at the forest as she painted rocks, did bead projects with the babysitter that then got ironed into hearts and made braids out of gimp.

Unlocking her gold mine

My sense of Laura got stitched into setting. Through the process of becoming that world, I lost everything that makes me. Throw “Laura” away and take this other version instead because it’s better. She’s a small, comical girl everyone wants to pinch at and to take from. She doesn’t need anything so just eat from her lunchbox. She won’t notice anyways. In truth I needed those people more than I needed to feed myself because I felt so scared and alone. Today, I cannot push up against their webbing anymore. It took a while to stop rubbing and let fully sink in: Fifteen years ago, I was one of “them,” I belonged with those people and had my place. Of course there were other groups too but everybody thought I was cool. People saw me was an attractive substitute version of myself—not at all reflective of the depth, potential, creativity, passion and underground worlds I manifest. This life and kind of fun wrote all over me, creating distance at heart. It will kill me to keep feeling sorry about missing my social heyday when it’s in fact nothing compared to the gold mine I’ve unlocked from inside.

Guest post by Ellie Herman

Ellie is in the process of writing a memoir on anorexia nervosa and blogs at http://ellieherman001.wordpress.com. Ellie is also a student at Albright College, where she studies psychology.  For this guest post, she bravely shared an excerpt of her writing.

The pain:

Eating disorders use several different torture methods to bring pain to the afflicted.

Hunger Pains. You think you know what it feels like to be hungry, but having an empty stomach is a pain that completely overrides that of skipping lunch. Pangs shoot through your abdomen, and you know exactly what the cause is. If you occupy yourself, you can usually train your mind not to notice these pangs though… or maybe your stomach just stops twisting itself in screaming protest because it learns that your stubborn self will not be delivering the food it demands any time soon. When your stomach is empty, there’s a dull sensation that persists even when the pangs stop though. This is not over-powered by the mind and is not something that can be trained to subdue. The dullness will last as a silent shriek from your body.

Heart pains. These don’t manifest until the disorder has well-established itself as a part of you. Your body is depleted of nutrients, energy, flesh, and muscle. It shouldn’t be pushed, physically, to do much of anything in this state, but the anorexic mind knows no boundaries to the things it decides to do to the body. The mind wants it to move, to burn more energy, to whittle away. The heart, being a muscle, pulls at any resources it can: the stomach (empty), the muscles (dilapidated), and is forced, then, to pull only from itself. It’s been weakened too by the lack of nourishment, and as it pulls on itself its owner feels its strain. Close to the skin because there is no flesh even on the chest to cushion it, the heart makes itself all too known to the anorexic mind. Painful pounding, painful pulling.

Cramps. These usually happen at night. You’ll wake up and realize that a pain is shooting through your calf. Surely there is someone stabbing you. Surely your leg is missing. Or, maybe it’s a pain in your toe this time. You realize you can’t move your toes; they’re locked in a binding cramp. These cramps are not coincidental. This does not just happen regularly to everyone. Your body is deprived and yanking at strings, and muscles are made of strings. “Potassium,” it says in its dying voice. “Need potassium.” And it draws it from the fibers of your thin legs as a last resort.

Guilt. You feel bad about what you ate. You feel bad because you ate something out of your normal “routine.” You ate something that wasn’t “safe.” You ate something good, something delectable, something sinful. It was likely delicious, but you feel like you shouldn’t have eaten it. Surely it has already ruined your discipline. Surely your stomach is now a beer belly. Surely the people who saw you eat it have now disowned you. The guilt of eating is a pain like no other.

Guilt. You feel bad about not eating. Your body is pleading for nourishment. It really doesn’t care what type at this point…what it wouldn’t do for a calorie. But, you’ll deny it that luxury for as long as you possibly can. It doesn’t feel good. You’re only convincing yourself that it feels right. Deep down you feel bad about not putting that food in your mouth, allowing your body its deepest desire, granting your family and friends confidence in your ability to overcome this demon. The guilt of not eating pains you and others who watch you shrink.

Others’ eyes. People look at you differently when you’re too skinny and when you’ve gained weight. When you’re too skinny, it’s a pity look. Their eyes plead with you to eat. The sorrow there is usually genuine; they’d gladly give you any food they have on their persons. Family’s eyes are the worst. Filled with love and pain and fear for your whittled future, these eyes will haunt you even after reaching a stable body weight. You caused that fear, that longing, that feeling out of control. In reaching for your own control, you take it from your loved ones, leaving them in the same pool of emotion that you put yourself in.

Fullness. When you do start putting food into your malnourished body, it is shocked. Your stomach simply is not used to having mass in it, and it contracts with surprising strength for its shrunken size. The pain can make you think eating is wrong, too much for your body, an unfortunate side effect to doing exactly what you need to do: eat more. Your little stomach stretches itself, trying to accommodate the new nourishment in its clutches, but this stretch can be excruciating. You feel full after a few bites of a meal.

Interview with Paula Carrasquillo

Recently, I spoke with yogi and writer Paula Carrasquillo. Paula is the author of Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath. During our interview and in writing, Paula shared with me about Escaping the Boy and, also, a new book that she is coming out with. Additionally, Paula is soon to be certified as a yoga teacher and through her work is dedicated to making yoga more accessible, especially for women who have struggled in abusive relationships. Finally, we discussed what Paula sees for herself and hopes to achieve in the future.

Paula started writing in college as an undergrad. “I didn’t really write that much,” she said. “I was still really apprehensive. It was a scary idea to really purge myself.”

“I was inspired by author Kate Chopin and her novel, The Awakening,” Paula told me. “This woman finds herself in a place she can’t escape.” Still, Paula never imagined she would want to publish and wasn’t sure people would see the value in what she had to say. “But people are interested,” she realizes today. And although Paula doesn’t put out everything she writes, she has a dedicated group of followers on social media, including her blog paularenee.wordpress.com.

Paula’s writing process for Escaping the Boy began with recording her own story. She was “encouraged by family and people at work” to keep going and share about her reactions to a toxic relationship.

“I was driven to share my reactions and confusion in order to make sense of what made no sense to me. I was suffering from cognitive dissonance without knowing I was suffering from cognitive dissonance. After 12 months of unsuccessful attempts to make sense of my toxic past by talking about it, my only outlet, my last resort, was to write about it, because I didn’t want to continue to burden my family and friends with my ruminations, paranoia and hyper vigilance.”

“Was it this one person or was it me?” At first Paula was unsure because she’s hadn’t experienced a person like this man in her life before. “I stuck it out in the relationship because nothing made sense. I didn’t want to abandon and give up on a person because of a few perceived flaws. In a state of cognitive dissonance, I was unable to analyze these flaws for what they were. His flaws went deep, deep into a pathology and disorder that had the potential to destroy me and my son more if I remained.”

Paula continued to describe more about the boy in her book: “He seemed on the surface to be well-adjusted, but the closer I got to him the more I realized his life was a facade. I grew more and more frightened by him and his rages and his inability to discuss and collaborate. Everything had to be his way or I was considered hateful, unloving and ungrateful. I was made to feel like all of the relationship issues were solely my fault. He took no accountability and would go as far as making claims that I was sick and needed psychiatric help and possibly in-patient treatment.”

Prior to writing her story, Paula conducted research on psychology, narcissists and sociopaths, “as a result of the sociopath claiming I was the one with serious mental defects,” she explained. “Once I started writing, I put down the research so I wasn’t directly influenced as I wrote and recalled instances of abuse and trauma. After I completed the first draft, I read The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout PhD. It was validating and helped me to finalize my novelette’s title and write my introduction with confidence.”

Paula started yoga five months before she started writing her story. “Yoga came first. If it hadn’t been for my yoga practice, I may not have been at a necessary place of self-awareness to write.”

In the last portion of our discussion Paula shared more about her experiences in yoga:

“Yoga helped me gain more self-awareness and an appreciation for all of my feelings and emotions. The sociopath tried to minimize and squash my value. Yoga has taught me that no one, especially ourselves, should be given the power to dismiss us as humans. When we devalue a person’s emotions, we devalue them as a person. I want to help other victims and survivors learn to recognize when they’ve been devalued and to realize that there is an enormous amount of hope for successfully overcoming all of the abuse and trauma just by allowing themselves to feel and not deny what they feel.”

Interview with Curt Canada, coaching healthier relationships and careers

Hey, blog readers! After Thanksgiving I met with professional coach Curt Canada. Curt’s business is called Adapting2Change; located in Washington, DC. I shared my book with him and Curt told me about what he does. He kindly shared some insightful information with me for this interview, which I wanted to post. Enjoy!

(By the way, if you have some something cool and unique to talk about, contact me about being considered for an interview. Thanks!)

Laura: Why did you become a coach?

Curt Canada, coaching healthier relationships and careers
Curt Canada, coaching healthier relationships and careers

Curt: It seemed to be right time. I’ve always loved helping others but am not one for labeling or giving my self a title. When a person thinks of a coach, thoughts quickly shift to sports, performance, new energy, and hard work in the moment but with a process towards accomplishment of a goal beginning with a plan. I actually noticed in a piece of professional literature around 2003 this new area of helping others change behaviors in a shorter period of time in both their personal and professional lives. This change brought about tangible results and was cost effective for both the client and coach. I jumped on board with a teaching and training group soliciting professional psychologists, therapists, social workers and counselors with professional training and client-based practices already in their portfolio. It made sense for me to integrate this methodology for helping others who desired to make significant change within their lives using a collaborative process. As a trained social worker both at the bachelors and masters level becoming a coach brought about new insights not only for my clients but also for me.

Laura: What is your background?

Curt: My background consists of a focus on human behavior and our surrounding environments. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in social work with a strong emphasis in family and marital therapy. There is a love and attraction towards understanding how teams and groups of people live and work together. There is s a focus on individual successes and challenges; how each person seems to meander through life and its experiences and transitions. I am also a trained elementary school teacher at the masters level. I have earned postgraduate training in leadership development and life and career coaching. I come from a rural coal mining family of fifteen in West Virginia. I have experienced personal and professional life challenges, which has helped me tremendously though difficult moments.

Laura: What type of coach are you?

Curt: I see great potential in everyone. I would like to think of myself as a coach for someone who, if given the time, will hear and be here for you. I am somewhat like a doctor who wants and desires to get to the crux of what bothering you. I work as an external coach in the area of career and life focusing primarily on client challenges that crop up surprisingly in the moment involving another person, friend, colleague, team or organization. If you were to pin me down as to what type of coach am I, I would say that my work is in career and leadership development primarily. I, in turn, coach relationships specifically in the areas of communication, separation and divorce. I work with clients ready to make or bring about a change in a behavior that inhibits them from being, doing and achieving their desired new goal. My clients are ready for and simply embrace this new place or quest to enhance their lives or to gain purpose and clarity with a life challenge or transition. My clients seek personal development and increased team performance. The client may be transitioning through a relationship challenge, a sudden separation and divorce or an illness. Wellness is a strong component in my overall coaching process. Getting my client or seeing them healthy is significant. The big question for my clients has to do with what can and will you do during the coaching engagement in and beyond a coaching session to obtain your desired outcomes. Client assessments are used in the beginning of the coaching process as a means of getting to know my client and to facilitate the coaching process.

Laura: Relationship info is out there almost everywhere everyday. How do you know? Whom do you trust?

Curt: I really can’t answer this question for you and will say that there are a great amount of self-help articles that are beneficial for you. If what you are being challenged with in your relationship is ongoing, and it is tough to work through or to move on, then do seek a professional opinion with a trained person in the behavioral sciences. I suggest seeking someone who is professionally sound and can identify with where you are. Books and literature on the subject may help. It wouldn’t hurt to find a professional coach who can listen with and for you. All work begins with you and with you in mind.

Laura: Why would a person hire a relationship coach instead of talking to a friend, working with a matchmaker or different professional?

Curt: I would be willing to answer this question during a coaching consultation because the nature of the question is so broad. A conversation gives me the chance to question my client as to where they are and where they seek to be or the behavior they wish to change. Potential clients are at different places when seeking any type of coaching. A true professional trained coach will be able to assess where the client is and their readiness to enter into a coaching engagement. Friends and matchmakers are helpful with what they do. Whether they are able to help you is something to be left with you. I want you happy and healthy first as you begin to tackle what’s hindering you from being your best person or partner in a relationship.

Laura: What happens when one person desires to see a relationship coach but the other person doesn’t?

Curt: You can’t make someone do something they don’t want. However sometimes when we choose to help ourselves, new insight is gained. It could be that something surprisingly unknown to you will surface over the time of seeing a professional coach to better your life. You will find things perhaps about you that you will throw away. You may find new tools to share with the other person. You may simply find that you and the other person are at different places. Your getting help despite his/her reluctance may bring you much closer. You will find perhaps the key to your happiness and most importantly find you again.

Laura: How much would you say a relationship is about taking care of yourself versus focusing on the other person?

Curt: We can never know too much about ourselves. We must first listen to our inner self and our body. The power lies in our confidence and innate power to communicate this to and with that other person authentically and simplistically. There is much to be gained here if we can allow ourselves to take that next step. Most of what happens to us and in our relationships begins with how we communicate our needs, desires, wants, aspirations and things the other other person doesn’t know about. It lies in our loving who we are no matter the circumstances.

Laura: How do relationships connect to health and wellbeing?

Curt: If we are about what we think and how we think about ourselves, others, and our ever-so changing surrounding environments, then health is at the forefront of growth and development. Warding off potential illnesses that are related to unfulfilled desires and goals begins with our relationship(s). Nurturing, praising and cheering each other; loving each other physically and emotionally are so paramount. We thrive for acceptance and conversation with that special one. This energy carries into or social and professional lives also. We are going to have moments of doubt, pain, sadness, anxiety, and perhaps depression and feeling unworthiness. That other person or persons as in friends, family and colleagues make a huge difference in getting through the tough moments that can alter our wellbeing and health.

Laura: If you could offer a single piece of advice what would it be?

Curt: Find and seek whatever it is that when you feel empty will fill your vase again. Don’t ever look back. It’s in front of you.

Laura: You have a blog: http://www.adapting2change.me. Is there a particular topic you enjoy talking about?

Curt: I like inspiring others at there most difficult times and when there seems like there is no solution in sight. In addition listening with and for that other person!

Laura: Hobbies?

Curt: Meeting someone new each day. I do play tennis and love gardening and reading a good book. Building things and conversations and connecting people!

Thank you, Curt!

Review of “Choices and Illusions”

In May I featured a post on Eldon Taylor’s book, I Believe. More recently, I was selected to participate in the blog tour for another book by Eldon Taylor titled Choices and Illusions. This is the fifth edition of the book, which is now available! I received a PDF copy in advance to share my thoughts in a blog.

So, the answer is… I really liked Choices and Illusions! Like I Believe, Choices and Illusions was an eye-opening read. Choices and Illusions is a book that makes you want to keep going in the sense that chapters flow well, but readers never quite now what is coming next. In particular, Eldon Taylor has a unique writing style. He weaves together research, references to science and spirituality, passages, interviews and stories in order to get his points across. One of these important points, reiterated towards the end of Choices and Illusions, is simply to make as much as you can of life. Of course, believing in luck and that good things happen counts, too!

The subtitle of Choices and Illusions is How Did I Get Where I Am, and How Do I Get to Where I Want to Be? I kept this in mind while reading the book, and Taylor encourages readers to think about their reactions to the information he presents along the way. Especially for those open to changing their outlook on life, Choices and Illusions provides unique perspectives. Taylor embraces practices such as hypnosis and meditation, but even those unfamiliar with such methods can appreciate the book for its additional scientific and mathematical components, especially chapter nine, which offers “A Simple Model of Mind and Behavior.”

There is something for everybody in Choices and Illusions. In chapter four, “Creating Self,” the author includes a breakdown of “The Four Selves” based on categories originally developed by a psychology professor at Yale. Taylor then goes on to describe each of these four selves in his own clever way. He refers to a story shared earlier in the text about an eagle. This eagle finds herself in a chicken yard and learns the way or the chickens but when she gets the chance to be with an eagle is unable to recognize herself as being one. This story demonstrates how easy it is to think that we are something or someone different from our “actual self.” It also shows the essential role belief plays in perception.

Next, Taylor provides images of “visual illusions” in chapter five. Readers receive the opportunity to explore how their minds work—ultimately so that new ways of thinking can be embraced! Taylor’s book brings awareness to readers and how the messages we absorb (often sub-consciously) shape us on a daily basis. In this way, Choices and Illusions is an educational read that teaches the importance of working to become more aware and taking responsibility if you wish to change and realize the power of choice. Reading Eldon Taylor’s book provides an excellent opportunity to break through stereotypes and assumptions in order to embrace new opportunities for empowerment.

More information about Choices and Illusions can be found at www.eldontaylor.com. The book is also available at Amazon.com and through Barnes and Noble.

A.V. Griffin’s New Book!

When I decided to read The Demon Rolmar, I did not know what to expect! I do not usually read science fiction, but am pleased to say that I was presently surprised by the work of A.V. Griffin. Though her work is different than mine, I relate well to the author, who began writing her story as a student in college and holds a bachelor’s in psychology.

I think A.V. Griffin’s imagination is inspiring. From the get-go, A.V. Griffin draws readers in with the imagery she uses to describe people and places. The course of events throughout the book flows well. I especially enjoyed the author’s writing style and use of dialogue.

A.V. Griffin’s ability to come up with the idea of a new planet (called “Pentar”) is fascinating to me, and I think this book serves as a good escape read for those who tend to get very grounded in the stress of routine. Still, The Demon Rolmar is not so far-fetched that the story is unrelatable to everyday life. The book, which comes to about 150 pages, teaches important lessons about demons, friendship, change, and the state of planet Earth. Furthermore, the back of the The Demon Rolmar includes a glossary, which helps clear up any confusion about the definitions of new terms the author introduces.  Though some names seemed strange at first, readers do not feel inundated because the author includes characters with “normal” names too.

I wonder where A.V. Griffin will go from here! It would be interesting if she decided to write a series of stories or create a sequel to her first book. Will The Demon Rolmar be the next Harry Potter? You never know!

To connect with A.V. Griffin and other fans of The Demon Rolmar, go to her Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Demon-Rolmar/452377121488647?fref=ts

Follow her blog:

http://avgriffin.wordpress.com

Tumblr:

http://www.avgriffin.tumblr.com/

Purchasing:

http://www.amazon.com/Demon-Rolmar-V-Griffin/dp/1481882899/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370045925&sr=1-1&keywords=rolmar

https://www.createspace.com/4114120

5 Ways to Nourish Your Soul

by Katie Gordon; founder at Wild Grace: intuitive coaching + bodywork

1.  Morning Pages. Otherwise known as a brain dump. First thing in the morning, free write three pages. Don’t stop to think about spelling, punctuation, whether you think it sounds stupid or silly. Just write.

2.  Move. Dance, do yoga, swim, stretch, surf, walk, hula hoop. Get your body + qi (energy) moving!

3.  Visualize your DREAM life. Where do you want to wake up every morning? What kind of work do you want to do? Who do you want to be with? What kind of food do you want to eat? You can begin creating this life right now.

4.  Create sacred space when you eat. Did you know that as you eat, the energy around you goes into your body too? Take time from your day to nourish yourself during your meal times. Light a candle, bless your food, give gratitude for the energy that went into making your food, and allow yourself to taste each bite. Notice the smells, flavors, textures, and the way your food makes you feel physically and emotionally.

5.  Be outside. Go hiking, swimming, walking, running, pick wild flowers, or just lie outside in the grass. Notice the way being in nature can ground and energize you equally.

A healthier life starts with loving and understanding yourself

A guest post by Anuoluwapo Kalejaye, memorypages.wordpress.com. Edited by Laura Susanne Yochelson.

Understanding ourselves and why we do certain things can be confusing. We spend our time trying to understand other people, but in truth we barely know our own selves. We do not understand our being, so we struggle with loving ourselves.

There is no guide or rule on how to love or understand your self. I could simply just have made this article about steps on how to come to love and understand one’s self but I did not. This is because loving and understanding one’s self is personal journey that is experienced differently by individuals.

A healthier life begins with understanding and loving yourself. When you love and understand yourself you make healthier and wiser decisions. I cannot tell you how to understand yourself, but I can share some of the things that have helped me.

1. Construct your own positive social reality

Create our own reality. Let this reality love who you are and speak to your interests. Do not let your reality be constructed by what social media, other people, or magazines tell you to do.

2. Create a positive medium to express negative feelings

Anytime you feel down, do something positive that helps you express yourself, grow and reflect. Examples of outlets include walking, reading or taking a stroll. Explore with different mediums; find what works for you. Do not be afraid to try different activities out.

3. Remember everyone has his or her own “sickness”

Everyone has that bit of sickness they are battling with; self inflicted or not. Regardless of how “sick” things may seem, you are not the only one.

4. On beauty

I read a bit about anorexia nervosa before I wrote this article, and I found out that mostly women suffer from this illness, which is understandable. As women we are made to believe that we are supposed to meet a certain standard, level of appeal, and beauty. Beauty has been tainted by society, which defines beauty by looks, weight, clothes, skin color, and hair when really beauty is none of these things. I know we hear all of the time that “beauty is from within,” but the truth is the only people life really remembers, the only thing that leaves a lasting image in people’s minds, is the beauty you reflect from within through deeds and actions.

Your healthier life begins from inside of you. Love yourself always.

Interview with author Vivian Lee

In this post, author Vivian Lee answered my questions in an interview for http://www.LauraSusanneYochelson.com. Enjoy!

the author

Why did you decide to become a writer?

I think I decided to become a writer because if not writing, I will spend all of my time reading and since those two go together most of the time, I thought why not give it a try? At first, I wasn’t sure if I had the creativity to become a writer but once I started writing story after story, it became more real to me than what I could have imagined. The writing part was easy but now that I am reaching the point where I want to be published and known as an author, I can feel my head telling me I’ve made the right decision.

Is there a particular writer that inspires you? What makes this person inspiring to you?

I like so many writers out there so it’s hard for me to just pick one. For the longest time, I used to be just a fiction reader but now, I am wanting to read about romance whether it is contemporary, historical, or even some of the classics like Jane Austen. Even though it is hard for me to just select one writer, I think what inspires me about them is the way they have with words to transport you in the character’s personality and point of view that you feel as if you are there with them. You’re not just reading words printed on a page but you are taken to another time and place where you can live the plot out for yourself. I think that’s one of the hardest things about coming to the end of a book when you want to re-experience and relive it all over again from the start. I only hope I can do the same for mine.

Give us the scoop on your upcoming book.

Oh, that is going to be a toughie because I hate giving too much away about the book especially when it’s in the process of being published and released. What I can say is that there are two versions of one main character who is a female but because of the tough life she’s had, there is a reason as to why there are two versions of her: a younger side and the older one. I realize this sounds so complicating and you’ll be like “Huh?!?” but trust me, after you read it and start to understand just where I am going with this story, it will make sense later. At least that’s what I am hoping. So because there are two versions of this female character, the story goes back and forth between two times but believe me, I never meant to lose the reader just because of how I had gotten it down out of my head and on to the paper. Most people I have shared this story with have told me it is very interesting and well written which I am grateful for because before, I wouldn’t dare to share with anyone.

I hope this keeps you hanging on your seat so that you will want to know more and that this will motivate readers everywhere to go get it and sit down with it.

I just hope I didn’t give too much away… (But if you’re that DYING to find out more, head to my facebook page and look at some of the teasers I have put up)

Do you have other hobbies besides writing?

My other hobby is reading which you already knew because in order for me to start having more ideas of story plots and characters, I have to read something I haven’t and I might like it or not based on how far it goes with the plot and the characters but they all help me to do better and think of more ideas. I will also watch movies because that is another initiative to bring up an idea.

How can people stay in touch with you via social media?

I have a couple of places where I can be in touch:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/vivianleeauthor

Email: sarahgrace80@cox.net

I will be working on to get a website set up if not soon then eventually but I will need lots of help with that. I will also work on a profile at Goodreads.com and just search for Vivian Lee. Note that if you go to Goodreads, there will be several authors with the name Vivian Lee so make sure they have “Shadow’s Enlightenment” as my first book. But for now, I am satisfied with what I do have for the time being so please be patient with me.

I hope this interview has sparked a fire inside the many of you about the kind of author I am that you will enjoy my books and keep wanting to read so much more that I have written. I will try my hardest in doing my best in writing stories that will make you crave more to the point you just cannot put it down. I appreciate all of your support and thank all that you have helped me with to be known as a good author!

cover image

 

Review of “I Believe”

A couple of months ago I received an invitation to take part in the blog tour for award-winning, New York Times best-selling author Eldon Taylor’s latest book I Believe: When What You Believe Matters! In return for my participation, I will be represented in a campaign for I BelieveIn this blog post, I share my experiences with and reactions to the book. Here it goes!

The first thing that caught my eye about I Believe was the cover, which features a meditative image made of words, colors, flowers, shapes, and pictures of nature and the universe. Inside of the meditative image, there are various inspiring phrases, such as “I believe we are all connected.” To complete the image, everything comes together in a circle with Earth, cosmos, and the words “I believe in you” at center.

Inside of the book, there is praise from many well-known authors, scientists, and successful people. There is also a list of other books Eldon Taylor previously authored and audio programs he has created, plus a meaningful dedication. Thus, the author’s credibility is established immediately. Skeptics of the mind-body-spirit genre that I Believe is classified under should know that Eldon Taylor is not a newbie who picks ideas up out of thin air. Rather, the author has dedicated his life to understanding, exploring, experiencing, and sharing the concepts presented in his work.

After the praise and dedication comes the table of contents. The book includes a foreword by Ravinder Taylor, the author’s wife, and an introduction by Eldon Taylor himself. I Believe comes to just over 200 pages total, and consists of 26 chapters. The chapters are not grouped together as parts. Instead, each chapter is divided into several different sections. The concluding section of every chapter offers a short reflection, which recaps the main message. Eldon Taylor engages readers in the reflection by asking questions, challenging readers to think about how the information in the chapter can be applied to one’s personal life. With Eldon Taylor’s assistance, readers begin to see more clearly how they relate to the world, and that it is possible to make shifts in one’s own experience of living through examining and changing beliefs.

What stands about I Believe compared to other books on spirituality is that the tone is consistent, light and fun. Regardless of the author’s impressive credentials and background, it is clear that he is not consumed in proving himself, attempting to be better than anyone else, or trying to tell his readers how to live their lives. Instead, the author offers tools and advice without setting expectations, which is empowering. Furthermore, Eldon Taylor uses real-life examples and stories that people of all different ages and backgrounds can relate to, such as the time he applied for his first job at a shoe store. Still, readers are not run astray and I Believe is not “all about Eldon Taylor” and “Eldon Taylor’s story.” Actually, I Believe includes references to the work of numerous other authors and scientists, and each chapter begins with an inspiring quotation from somebody other than Eldon Taylor.

My favorite chapter from I Believe is chapter 14, “Instincts and Intuition.” In this chapter, Eldon Taylor discusses the value of life and living beings. He writes about the importance of developing awareness of one’s thoughts, tuning into dreams, paying attention to impulses, and trusting intuition. The message the author shares on the healing power of belief is one that is bound to resonate with many individuals looking to find fulfillment from within themselves.

To learn more about Eldon Taylor and purchase his book I Believe, visit www.EldonTaylor.com. I received my copy of the book to review online, and am eager to receive my free signed copy in the mail and share it with friends and family. Offers such as these are one of the best perks to being an author myself!

 

Lizette’s story by Lizette Ayala

Living in a small apartment by myself gave me enough time to dwell.  That’s what happens when you’re alone – you remember, reflect, brood – you dwell.  Well, at least I did.  Believe me, there was a lot to dwell about.   Mostly, it was about stuff that happened to me in the last 20 years.  Never mind that I was barely 30 years old at the time.  Never mind that the eating disorder I suffered from during that time reinforced my need to hide from the world.  It was, after all, the only coping mechanism I had.  The only way I knew how to deal with the anxieties of my health, jobs, relationships, life.

Alone in your own head is a dangerous place to hang out for a long period of time.  It gives you the illusion that you are alone in the world, even though you see other people every day and may, on occasion spend time with “friends.”  If you’ve ever felt misunderstood or unable to transfer your thoughts to a meaningful outlet, you know what it feels like to be alone in your head.  For some, this is an every day, 24/7 experience and a progressively frightening one.

If you can’t release all the stuff that makes you, well, you, how are you to feel safe in this world?  How can you feel like you belong?  We have our own grace that we come into this world with, but if we’re not safe in the expression of them, life may seem to be slowly suffocating us.   So, our craving for self-expression leaves us vulnerable, reaching for something, anything to help rip the straightjacket of emotions off.

Some run to cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, or anything that has the potential to love and punish simultaneously.  My outlet was food.

When and how it started doesn’t matter as much as why.   That was simple – because it was there.  Fast, cheap, easy and always surrounded by lots of seemingly positive energy, I learned how to use it to stuff what I didn’t want and (many times) wasn’t allowed to express.

Thank goodness that’s all in the past.   I’m better now, no thanks to the numerous diets, short stints at a (few different) therapist’s office, or countless psychotropic drugs.  No, it wasn’t a magic potion either.  What saved me was energy healing, that ancient technique of moving energy through and around the body to help it accomplish what it does best, heal itself.   The premise is simple; our bodies communicate clearly all that it needs for optimal health and well-being.  Of course, we must be willing to understand its language, and that’s exactly what you get with energy healing, including how to stay present (instead of dwelling about the past), what to eat (more like, how to listen to your body when it’s hungry and know the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger) and how to heal yourself and your loved ones from stressors that can potentially lead to unhealthy outlets.

It is no wonder that I chose Energy Healing and Holistic Fitness Coaching as a career to help others out of their straightjackets.   It works.   Many times, it just slips off as they learn to feel present and at ease in this world.  Feeling is believing.

Learn more about Lizette and her work in energy healing and holistic fitness coaching at bodyrules.com

Review of Rohan Healy’s new e-book

In his new e-book, The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do the Same For You!, Rohan Healy shares with readers seven techniques to overcome personal suffering and live a more enriched life. The book is informative but not authoritative and clearly organized into seven different parts. The end of each part includes a summary of one of the seven techniques that serves as an easy-to-use reference guide. Also, various quotations from inspiring individuals are sprinkled throughout the text.

In The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do the Same For You!, Mr. Healy shares numerous studies and methods from a variety of reputable resources, interweaves his personal story and experiences throughout, and offers multiple exercises to help readers integrate the techniques he shares into daily life. Overall, The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do the Same For You! is an enriching, eye-opening read for anyone interested in topics such as psychology, spirituality, philosophy, the mind-body connection, and holistic healing. Though some may become intimidated by certain concepts (such as “stoic philosophy” or “the felt sense”), the author seamlessly blends easy-to-understand examples with more complicated theories and breaks things down in a way that is relatable to any reader dedicated to the processes of understanding and bettering oneself.

To purchase your copy of The 7 Things, visit either Amazon or Smashwords.

Available at Amazon.com for $8.61:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AVKZYGY

Available at Smashwords.com for $8.70:https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/266109.

Get 20% off from Smashwords.com when you use coupon code: ZE93N.

This coupon expires on the 25th of January!

To stay connected to Rohan via social media, click on the social media links below:

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/rohanmusic

Blog: http://rohan7things.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rohan-music-page/198079576926823

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rohanforsale