Book Review – Breaking Free

I’m not sure what I thought Breaking Free by Chet Vosloo was going to be about.  It was on my Kindle and I was bored and needed something to read so I opened it up.  At first I thought it was going to be a contemporary romance.  It seemed to be a guy hanging out in bars, sleeping around, and generally sailing aimlessly though life. Then, it seemed to be an adventure story. He started traveling to remote places and bicycling across continents and getting altitude sickness while climbing a mountain.

Then came the spiritual and psychological stories. The main character experienced significant anxiety issues and had physical consequences from that anxiety. The book then follows his quite interesting and unique journey to “Break Free” from his limiting beliefs while living in Asia, an ashram, and in an entourage following a guru.

There were several things that really captured my interest.  First was the author’s description of monkey mind, that distinctly annoying thing that happens when one first attempts to meditate and control one’s thoughts. The weekend meditation workshops that I participated in were some of the most physically, emotionally, and mentally draining activities I have every chosen to attend. When I first became aware that I couldn’t purposefully harness my thoughts for more than a few seconds at a time it was quite an eye opener.  Even more shocking was the “no way, no how” reaction that my brain expressed when I made the attempt.

Second, the author did a fantastic job describing the physical manifestations of emotional dis-ease.  The physical problems are real, but the origin isn’t necessarily in the body. This is something I experience personally and have seen in my professional practice for decades.  This is proof again that the body, mind, and spirit and completely and inextricably intertwined.

If you enjoy reading about intercontinental adventures, this book is for you. If you benefit from reading self-help books, this book is for you.  If you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, or low self-esteem, this book is for you. If you need an entertaining reminder of the importance of self-control, spiritual development, and the connectedness of the universe, this book is for you.

Tapping Exercise: Feeling Uncertain

Have you ever been stopped dead in your tracks because you didn’t know what to do? I have.  When this occurs, tapping can help.  As you will see in this sneak peak from Unleash Your Primal Power: Totem Tapping for Health and Happiness, it doesn’t have to be complicated to work well.

Use this setup phrase while tapping on your karate chop point: Even though I don’t know how to do this, I choose a path of wisdom.  Even though I don’t know how to do this, I choose a path of intellect. Even though I don’t know how to do this, I choose the path of discernment.

Eyebrow…I don’t know how to do this

Side of Eye…I don’t know how to do this

Under the Eye…I don’t know how to do this

Under the Nose…I don’t know how to do this

Chin…I don’t know how to do this

Collarbone…I don’t know how to do this

Under the Arm…I don’t know how to do this

Top of Head…I don’t know how to do this

Eyebrow…I don’t know how to do this

Side of Eye…I choose to learn

Under the Eye…I don’t know how to do this

Under the Nose…I choose to ask questions

Chin…I don’t know how to do this

Collarbone…I choose to learn more about it

Under the Arm…I don’t know how to do this

Top of Head…I am developing the skills I need to be successful

 

This may seem overly simplistic.  In reality it may be just what you need to get you started.  Give it a try.

Serving Others – Tapping Inspired by the Tao Te Ching

Does serving others seem like a good idea, but when it is time to actually do it you feel resistance?  The following tapping exercise is designed to help you begin to address any resistance you might feel.

Say these words while tapping on the karate chop point: When I think about serving others I get a little uncomfortable. The word “serve” really sticks in my throat.  I think of slavery, oppression, and ownership. I sometimes enjoy doing things for other people, but a resist if I feel I must.  I am choosing to tap now for more clarity about my resistance.  I am choosing to learn more about my motivations.  I am choosing to love and accept myself on this journey.

Eyebrow…The importance of serving others is something I’ve grown up with

Side of Eye…But I’ve also grown up with the concept of being used by others.

Under the Eye…That gets a little muddy in my head sometimes.

Under the Nose…I can’t even say that my motives are always altruistic when I am doing things for other people.

Chin…If I want them to feel gratitude am I really serving?

Collarbone…I don’t know.

Under the Arm…If I want them to remember what I’ve done for them am I really serving?

Top of Head…I don’t know.

Eyebrow…The motive seems to be more important that the action in this one.

Side of Eye…If that is the case, I have a long way to go.

Under the Eye…My behavior is much more in line with service than is my attitude.

Under the Nose…I do care about other people.

Chin…I’m not completely narcissistic and selfish.

Collarbone…I get pleasure from helping others.

Under the Arm…But if I’m getting pleasure from it am I really serving?

Top of Head…Do I have to be miserable to serve?

Eyebrow…Do I have to suffer to serve?

Side of Eye…Many of the great “servants” that I’ve been told about

Under the Eye…Had lots of bad things happen to them.

Under the Nose…I don’t really want that.

Chin…I don’t think this is something that I’m going to get the answer to.

Collarbone…I think this is one of those things where it is the journey that is important.

Under the Arm…I usually hate those.

Top of Head…I’d like some more guidelines please.

Eyebrow…How much service is enough?

Side of Eye…Can two acts of service balance out an afternoon of self-indulgence?

Under the Eye…I’m not totally serious about that, but I’m not totally kidding either.

Under the Nose…I want to get a little bit more comfortable with the idea.

Chin…I’d like to recognize more opportunities for service.

Collarbone…I’d like to think of others more often than I do now.

Under the Arm…I guess that is progress.

Top of Head…I choose to remain open to more clarity and understanding about serving others.

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly.  Notice how you feel.  Were there questions that popped into your mind?  Were there moments of clarity?  Write them down.  They could be inspiration for more tapping later.

Book Review – Mind Over Medicine

I had two thoughts when I first read Mind Over Medicine: Proof That You Can Heal  Yourself by Lissa Rankin, M.D.  My first thought – “I really like this”.  My second thought – “This is a lot of work.”

I waited a while after finishing this book before event attempting to write a review.  There is a lot of information in this book.  Some of it, quite frankly, really annoyed me.  This wasn’t because I think Dr. Rankin is wrong, but because I didn’t want to hear it.

The beginning of the book is about the placebo and nocebo theories.  I understand what she was trying to communicate and I think the inclusion of this information adds credibility to what came later in the book. There is a negative connotation associated with the word placebo in the medical facilities in which I have worked. Therefore, each time she mentioned any CAM treatments and labeled the effect as placebo, I felt my energy shift and I was aware of strong defensiveness. Again, not necessarily a bad thing – but quite uncomfortable.

The other sections of the book in which she gets into the prescription for healing were wonderful and helped to restore my energy. Warning: if you want to get the most out of this book you have to really do the exercises, and they are not easy. You will learn some things about yourself that might just blow your mind.

For me, this won’t be a read it and you are done type of book. I expect to go back and read it several more times.  I highly recommend it to you too.

Book Review – People of the Blue Water: A Record of Life Among the Walapai and Havasupai Indians

I had this book on my shelf for many years before actually reading it.  As I was packing to move to the southwest I found it and decided that it was the perfect time to put it at the top of my to read list.  I’m very glad that I did.  My primary complaint with the book is that it was too short.  I wanted to know so much more – about the Native American people and customs and about the author and her motivations and experiences.  The author’s abiity to evoke that sense of wonder and curiosity is a testament to both the subject and her writing style.

There were times when I was horrified by some of the customs and found it difficult to keep reading.  I almost quit several times.  If you are an animal lover – beware.  While episodes of what I would call extreme cruelty were explained within the culture and zeitgeist, it didn’t make it any more palatable.  On the other hand, there are certainly positive lessons to be learned as well.

 

The book was highly readable and is really a compilation of events that were shared in letters with the author’s family.  I could imagine these tales being retold in social gatherings and probably gaining a life of their own.  I can only imagine what a mother far away must have thought about her daughter’s adventures.  I am sure I would have been both proud and horrified.

The description of the location made me remember fondly my own trips to the Grand Canyon and to yearn for another trip.  Now that I live closer, that might happen more often.

Live vicariously – read People of the Blue Water by Flora Gregg Iliff.