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November Book Review: Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power by Carolle Jean-Murat

In Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power, Carolle Jean-Murat shows how the belief in a higher power – however one defines it – influences our physical and mental well-being and gives us the hope and ability to restore ourselves to health.  By using scientific and medical knowledge, intuition, and a spiritual or faith-based approach, Dr. Carolle explains how she aids people in healing their childhood traumas, adult diseases, and unhappiness.

The beginning of Jean-Murat’s book is a compelling story about the author’s difficult childhood growing up in Haiti in the 1950’s and sixties. She summarizes her rape at a young age, her loss of faith, her medical and scientific pursuits as an adult and the subsequent disillusionment of Western medicine and its practices, and her eventual reaffirming of a belief in God.  The rest of the book contains twenty-five short, informative chapters on how to heal mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually with a “True Healing Action Plan” section. Some topics include: finding your life purpose, dealing with abuse, listening to our intuition, learning to live in the moment, practicing forgiveness and gratitude, the power of friendship, being part of a religious or spiritual community, the benefits of a hobby, or how to handle stress, for example. These chapters are very short but dense with inspirational, life-healing advice. Jean-Murat concludes her book by reiterating that all human beings are on a spiritual journey and to trust that life is always working for us no matter what is happening.

I recommend Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power by Carolle Jean-Murat to those interested in seeking an alternative way of healing other than typical Western medicine, which generally does not treat the whole person. Dr. Carolle (as she prefers to be addressed) thoroughly explains the importance of evaluating and treating the physical, emotional, and mental components of the person with incorporating spirituality or faith. I found her childhood anecdote and subsequent life-story very inspiring. I also learned about the culture of Haiti, which was an unexpected bonus!

A bit about the author, Carolle Jean-Murat, MD:Dr. Carolle Picture

Born and raised within a family of healers and trained in the best universities around the world, Dr. Carolle is a board-certified gynecologist with over four decades of experience. She is a gifted intuitive and spiritual healer. As an international motivational speaker, Dr. Carolle brings her message of self-empowerment and faith through her award-winning books, telephone consultations, private retreats, workshops, blog, and podcast. She is also founder of Dr. Carolle’s Wellness and Retreat Center of San Diego, a place where women spend time with her to discover the root causes of their diseases, which she believes are usually hidden (or unresolved) emotions. Dr. Carolle also provides free intuitive gynecological and primary care to the people of Haiti through Catholic Charities, and more. This amazing woman is also the creator of the non-profit organization Health Through Communications Foundation and its Angels For Haiti Project that provide education, health-care, and hope for the future.  And lastly, Dr. Carolle is Chief Medical Director of Health Education Advocacy Leadership Community Health Promotion Center (HCHPC) HEAL, a new and innovative approach to healthcare.

To learn more about Dr. Carolle Jean-Murat or to purchase her book, Heal Your Life: 25 Ways to Unleash Your Innate Healing Powers by Finding Your Purpose and Connecting with a Higher Power, visit: drcarolle.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 


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October Book Review: Creating a World That Works for All by Sharif Abdullah

“A human being is part of the whole, called [by us] “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us … Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

The above quotation from the brilliant Albert Einstein is found in the beginning pages of Creating a World That Works for All by Sharif Abdullah because it encapsulates the author’s belief and mission.  Mr. Abdullah is on a quest to encourage and teach people how to create a world that works for every human being because presently the world only works for a few. His book details how and why shifting our individual and collective consciousness, followed with action, will accomplish this much-needed and urgent vision.

Abdullah Sharif divides his book into three parts: the envisioning of true inclusivity; the analysis of a new, humane society for all; and the practical advice on moving from a broken world to an inclusive one.  He thoughtfully terms and discusses the three types of people in today’s world: the “Keepers”– those who live in harmony with the earth and believe the planet was not created for any one species, we should not try to control life, and we should keep doing what works; the “Breakers”– those who believe the earth and everything in it was created for man, and man has the right and responsibility to control it all; and the “Menders”– those who work towards an inclusive, habitable planet that works for all human and nonhuman beings. Throughout this reading, Sharif very thoroughly analyses why a world that works for all is not achievable without restructuring our attitudes, our priorities, and our culture. In addition, he describes how exclusivity destroys and why inclusivity builds. He concludes with specific alternative actions for each of us to take that will create a sustainable, life-affirming world based on fundamentally different ways of thinking.

I found Creating a World That Works for All by Sharif Abdullah compelling. It was also sometimes arduous to read because Sharif’s words forced me to acknowledge how I sometimes participate in exclusivity (or in that which harms greater society) and how I could improve. I highly recommend this reading to anyone seeking a solution for all our social, political, and environmental problems worldwide and to those interested in an analysis of our collective denial. It is a very pertinent read at this time in history!

A bit about the author, Sharif Abdullah:

Sharif-LCL-01-219x300

Shariff Abdullah, J.D., is a consultant, speaker, author and advocate for societal transformation.   His mission is to bring currently dysfunctional systems and structures into alignment with our common human and spiritual values for the goal of creating a world that works for all living things. He consults with people and organizations on the leading edge of change including government agencies, businesses, and social service organizations.  As director of Commonway Institute, he has visited over forty-three countries and over 100 distinct cultures, giving him a unique perspective on our global human and spiritual issues.

Shariff Abdullah was raised in Camden, New Jersey, a formerly prosperous Industrial Era city, now devastated by poverty, violence, and hopelessness. His early life was a study in toxic relationships, and he experienced living on welfare in public housing, violence, and pollution. The deep desire to facilitate a world that works for everyone resulted from his childhood experiences.

To learn more about Sharif Abdullah, or to purchase a copy of Creating a World That Works for All, visit: Sharif.Commonway.org.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 

 


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September Book Review: The Four Elements of Change by Heather Ash

“When we bring our attention back to discovering who we are in the inside – not who we wish we were or who we think we should be – we begin a sacred path of transformation toward our innate, authentic, embodied power.” – Heather Ash

As a Western spiritual teacher and seeker using Toltec wisdom, Heather Ash in The Four Elements of Change brilliantly teaches us how to improve or rebuild ourselves holistically. She explains how the four elements of nature – air, fire, water, and earth – are metaphors for the mind, spirit, emotions, and body. Understanding how these elements are absolutely essential for our survival (we cannot live without air, fire, water, or the earth) and learning how to integrate them help us to transition from one way of being to another, to release old beliefs that do not serve us, or are the catalyst in showing us how to create new thoughts or habits. The four elements as metaphors are a way to assimilate information effectively as we make life transitions.

Most of us struggle when we are attempting to change something about our lives. Whether by force or by volition, when we are moving to a new city, leaving a job, going back to school, ending a relationship, or establishing a new habit, for example, we struggle. We become discouraged, perceive difficulties, are struck with fear, and easily want to give up. Heather Ash explains why this happens and how the four elements play a part in helping us deal effectively with these thoughts and emotions.  Ash further uses metaphors to explain the elements – my favorite is the cycles of the seasons: air is spring, summer is fire, fall is water, and earth is winter. Lastly, the author explains how the elements are guides to help us live in alignment with nature and our own essence. Each element is a tool for becoming more present, for internal healing, and for learning about ourselves.

I highly recommend Heather Ash’s The Four Elements of Change to anyone seeking spiritual wisdom during difficult life changes, or to anyone who is interested in Toltec wisdom. As someone who just recently changed careers and is in the process of starting a few new ventures, this book was very pertinent and was a pleasure to read. It is a short book but rich beyond measure with wisdom.

A bit about the author, Heather Ash:

HeatherAsh-Amara

Heather Ash brings a rich blend of Toltec wisdom, European shamanism, Buddhism, and Native American ceremony to her teachings and writings to support each individual in the manifestation of his or her highest potential. She is the founder of the Toltec Center of Creative Intent in Berkeley, CA, and is the author of the Warrior Goddess book series in addition to The Four Elements of Change. Heather studied and taught extensively with don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements. Inspiring people to liberate their full voice and power, Heather offers retreats, online certifications, online events, workshops, and online resources.

To learn more about Heather Ash and what she offers, visit: HeatherAsh.com. To purchase The Four Elements of Change, visit Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


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August Book Review:  Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom by Louise Hay

There is always time for inspiration!

As a tribute to the late Louise Hay (Oct 8, 1926-Aug 30, 2017), I’ve decided to review one of her many books, Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom, in hopes of motivating you to improve your thinking.

Louise Hay’s Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom is a book of inspirational “affirmations” to help us live healthier and happier lives. Affirmations are conscious or unconscious statements of truth we believe about ourselves. These “truth” statements create our moments, our days, and our lives, so it is important to look within and analyze what we believe. In addition to affirmations, Louise uses meditations, spiritual treatments, and advice to help us improve or change our thinking. She divides her book by themes such as relationships, self-love, money, career, wisdom, and health, for example. You can pick up the book and start reading Hay’s wisdom at any chapter and find incredible insights. It is a good book to have on your nightstand for daily or nightly encouragement.

I know some people might find affirmations a bit silly and useless (I know I did when I had first heard of them!), but I encourage you to give them a try. After reading Louise’s book, I decided to try them myself. I discovered that telling myself something new and positive did, in fact, change the course of my day and lifted my spirits. As a person who has recovered from a very negative and difficult childhood, Louise Hay’s affirmations have helped me to see myself differently and change some destructive, long-held, subconscious beliefs. Incorporating Hay’s affirmations literally was a life-changer for me!

Below are some examples of affirmations found on LouiseHay.com.

  1. It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.
  2. The point of power is always in the present moment.
  3. Every thought we think is creating our future.
  4. I am in the process of positive change.
  5. I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations.
  6. It is safe to look within.
  7. I forgive myself and set myself free.
  8. As I say yes to life, life says yes to me.

I highly recommend Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom by Louise Hay to anyone who seems to be stuck in negative thinking patterns, those who do not love or accept themselves, or anyone who is seeking more joy in their lives.

A bit about the author, Louise Hay:

Louise Hay

Louise Hay was an internationally renowned lecturer, metaphysical teacher and best-selling author of many books, including Heal Your Body from A to Z and Empowering Women. Her books have been translated into twenty nine languages in thirty five countries throughout the world. Since the beginning of her career as a Science of Mind minister in 1981, she has assisted millions of people in discovering the full potential of their own creative power to heal and transform. Louise Hay was also the founder of Hay House Inc., a self-publishing company that distributes books, audios and videos that contribute to personal healing and the healing of our planet. She passed away on Aug 30, 2017, at the age of ninety.

To learn more about Louise Hay or to purchase Heart Thoughts: A Treasury of Inner Wisdom, visit her website, LouiseHay.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com


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July Book Review: The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

Do you ever wake up and not want to get out of bed? Or, you just don’t want to face the day? I think we all do. We want to stay under the warm covers so we keep hitting the snooze over and over again.  Some of us might even be slightly depressed or just unmotivated. Well, there is a solution to this conundrum.

Mel Robbins, as she explains in The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, discovered an absolutely easy and successful way to stop the morning blues with a simple technique she calls the 5 Second Rule, a backwards count from five to one. Honestly, I thought this was too simple when I first read it in her book; even Mel agreed with me – she calls her child-like rule “stupid.” There are many life coaches, counselors, therapists, healers, experts, and gurus offering solutions to the “morning blues,” our lack of motivation, or our avoidance of what we know we need to do; however, I have found that Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule works!  Mel’s book shows how it is possible to change our behavior, five seconds at a time, so we can create the life of our dreams.

Mel’s story is unquestionably inspiring. In her book, she explains about how she managed to pull herself out of a very low point in her life by accidentally discovering the 5 Second Rule, and how she later found the scientific reasons why the rule works. She exposes how motivation is overrated and actually a destroyer of our goals. The book outlines how to end procrastination, how courage and fear affect our brain chemistry and what it means, and why we dread some activities and look forward to others.  She concludes with a chapter on how to become the most fulfilled person and how to build self-confidence. Her writing is truly encouraging, easy to comprehend, comical, and entertaining! Mel also includes many social media posts and emails throughout her book from people who have improved their lives dramatically by using her 5 Second Rule. After this reading, I have started to use the rule and have already experienced a positive difference in my life and in my attitude.

I recommend The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins to anyone who feels stuck or to those who are not sure why they can’t seem to take that first, scary step to achieve their goals. It will help propel your life in the right direction!

A bit about the author, Mel Robbins:

Mel Robbins is a dynamic speaker, TV personality, writer, coach, and influencer. Her TEDx Talk on “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over” has over 10 million views across thirty seven countries, and her book on the brain and productivity, Stop Saying You’re Fine, is a business bestseller that has been translated into four languages. She started her career as a criminal defense attorney and went on to launch and sell a retail and internet technology company. Mel is currently one of CNN’s most popular on-air commentators and opinion writers. She has an extensive television résumé as an expert on human behavior and motivation for Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Oprah, The Today Show and Fox News. She was named America’s Outstanding News Talk show Host at the 2014 Gracie Awards. Mel Robbins is a Dartmouth College and Boston College Law School graduate; she lives in the Boston area but remains a Midwesterner at heart.

To learn more about Mel Robbins or to purchase The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, visit: MelRobbins.com.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 

 

 


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June Book Review: The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails edited by John W. Loftus

“In their most inner thoughts, even the most devout Christians know that there is something illegitimate about belief. Underneath their profession of faith there is a sleeping giant of doubt….In my experience, the best way to conquer doubt is to yield to it.” – Dan Barker, pastor-turned-atheist

The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails edited by John W. Loftus, a former Christian preacher turned atheist, is a brilliant compilation of fifteen arguments written by various distinguished atheists, and in my opinion, is the best critique of the Christian faith I have ever read. I was astounded by this book! I have never encountered a more compelling and thorough reading that covered an incredible amount of information with solid refutations of claims made from top Christian apologists.

The essays in this book cover and refute the claims and belief that modern society has Christian foundations; they cover the lack of solid evidence to show the Resurrection as true; they show that scripture does not portray God as good; and they argue that it is foolish to believe the Bible is the word of God, and much more. Using anthropological, archaeological, cultural, psychological, philosophical, ethical, cognitive, scientific, historical, and cosmological criticisms, this book destroys Christianity. The rest of the essays cover why Jesus cannot be the son of God, why morality did not originate in the Bible, and the problems with biblical scholarship. The arguments presented are compelling and exemplary.

I recommend The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails to those who are seeking the truth about Christianity’s many illusive, nagging questions, or if you are a Christian having “never-ending doubts” because something does not make sense. This collection of arguments is thorough, well-presented, well-documented, and very-well argued. I would say it is the go-to book on why Christianity absolutely fails. Anyone trying to argue against what is found in this book, well…good luck with that!

John W. Loftus, editor

A bit about the contributing writers of The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails:

Hector Avalos, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at Iowa State University and author of Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence and The End of Biblical Studies.

Edward T. Babinski is the editor of Leaving the Fold: Testimonials of Former Fundamentalists and his writings are available the Secular Web, Talk Origins, and Debunking Christianity.

Richard Carrier, Ph.D., is philosopher and expert historian of antiquity, is the author of On the Historicity of Jesus Christ, Sense and Goodness with God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism, Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn’t Need a Miracle to Succeed, and other books.

David Eller, Ph.D., is the assistant professor of anthropology at the Community College of Denver and is the author of Natural Atheism, Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker, and a college textbook, Introducing Anthropology of Religion.

John W. Loftus, M.A, M.Div., Th.M., is the author of Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity and founder of Debunking Christianity blog. He is editor of The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails.

Jason Long, Ph.D., is the author of Biblical Nonsense: A Preview of the Bible for Doubting Christians and The Religious Condition: Answering and Explaining Christian Reasoning.

Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., is the author of The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth, of Leaving the Fold: Testimonials of Former Fundamentalists, and Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light. 

Paul Tobin is the author of The Rejection of Pascal’s Wager: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible and the Historical Jesus.

To purchase The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, visit Barnes and Noble.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com

 


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May Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

It’s 5 a.m. It’s quiet, and it’s my favorite part of the day.

Introverts love quiet: quiet mornings, quiet afternoons and a contemplative walk, quiet evenings with a great book and an animal (or two), quiet workplaces so they can create. I am an introvert. I’m a lucky introvert because I stumbled upon Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, a book that thoroughly demonstrates that not only is it okay to be introverted, but there are so many advantages to being one. Are you an introvert?  Did you know that you are okay as you are? If not, look no further – read Cain’s book!

Susan Cain in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, begins by explaining how extroversion became the norm in society (even how extroversion is preferred over introversion) followed by considerable evidence demonstrating how collaboration or “group work” actually kills creativity. Even though most of our workplace is designed for extroverts, evidence shows that working alone cultivates and sustains creative thinking. According to research psychologist Anders Ericcson, it is when we are alone that we can engage in deliberate creativity and practice; it is only then that we can identify knowledge just out of our reach, strive to upgrade our performance, monitor our progress, and improve. Working in a group setting, he advises, is counterproductive because it reinforces current cognitive mechanisms. But, how many of us have the capability of working alone, and why is society set up to value extroversion? Susan Cain discusses these important questions.

Cain discusses how charismatic leadership in our business world is a myth, and that introverts actually fair just as well, if not better, than extroverts in all areas of study and business. One out of every three people is introverted. Research shows that creative individuals became masters in their work by consistently spending time alone immersing themselves in their craft. Who are some of the world’s creative introverts? How about Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, J.K. Rowling, Marcel Proust, Charles Schutz, Steven Spielberg, George Orwell, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Steve Wozniak, Frederic Chopin, W.B. Yeats, and the list goes on. Can you imagine life without this list?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking also discusses temperament and the biology of introverts and extroverts, nature vs. nurture theories, different cultures in regards to introversion vs. extroversion, how to best communicate with both temperaments, when an introvert might have to act more extroverted and why, and finally, how to cultivate and sustain the introvert in an extroverted world. Cain ascertains that the world needs a better balance between extroversion and introversion. Her book is very well researched and a pleasure to read.

I highly recommend Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. This book is rich with valuable information, and this blog has only reviewed part of it. I recommend this reading to anyone interested in this topic but especially to introverts.  It will help you see that there is nothing wrong with you, that it is okay to be introverted. I also advise this reading to business owners or managers so you can better support your staff with their development and company goals.

A bit about the author, Susan Cain:Susan Cain

Susan Cain is the co-founder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the bestseller Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts in addition to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking, which has been translated into forty languages and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for almost three years. Susan is also the co-founder of the Quiet Schools Network and the Quiet Leadership Institute. Her writing has appeared in the The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. Her record-smashing TED talk has been viewed over 17 million times (which is where I discovered her!). She received Harvard Law School’s Celebration Award for Thought Leadership, the Toastmasters International Golden Gavel Award for Communication and Leadership, and was named one of the world’s top fifty Leadership and Management Experts by Inc. Magazine. She is an honors graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School. Lastly, Ms. Cain prefers listening to talking, reading to socializing, and cozy chats to group settings, like a true introvert.

To learn more about Susan Cain, or to purchase a copy of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, visit QuietRev.com.

I leave you with the Quiet Revolution Manifesto found on Susan Cain’s website, QuietRevolution.com:

  1. There is a word for “people who are in their heads too much”- thinkers.
  2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
  3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
  4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend-extrovert. There is always time to be quiet later.
  5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is the key to finding work you love and work that matters.
  6. One genuine relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
  7. It’s okay to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
  8. “Quiet leadership” is not an oxymoron.
  9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
  10. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com