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December Book Review: Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas

RIver WIthin“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Attributed to Goethe

Abby Seixas in Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life explains why it is vital to regard the things that we love to do as those which matter most. In a world that implicitly and explicitly encourages constant “doing” over “being,” hurrying and multi-tasking over living in the present moment, and as a result, propels us to experience everyday general fatigue, Seixas demonstrates how we can find joy and excitement in our lives. The “deep river within” is a metaphor for the soul-nourishing dimension in each one of us that flows beneath the business of daily life. With guidance, we can attain that which we all crave: balance and meaning.

I have to admit that I have recently been living an unbalanced and very stressful life. I have allowed myself to stop doing the things that bring me joy in the midst of what seems like never-ending responsibility and commitments. Finding this book was a god-send! As a result of reading about my “river” within in this book, I have decided to re-evaluate my busy lifestyle and commit to creating a life that will nourish my spirit and not take from it. I am committed to learning to slow down and truly live in the present moment. I am committed to doing that which I love again (blogging being one love!).

After describing the disease of the twenty-first century – the disease of “to do lists” and “a thousand things to do,” the author then thoroughly reveals the six practices that we must do to tap into our “river” in order to live joyful and meaningful lives: taking time alone, making and practicing boundaries, befriending feelings, taming self-expectations, practicing living in the present and doing things we love. I highly recommend this book to any woman who is struggling with finding time for herself in a very demanding world or any woman who is constantly exhausted, over-burdened or feels like she is going to lose her mind. Yes, it is worth your time to read Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas. You will be glad you found the time to read it!

A bit about the author, Abby Seixas:

Amy Seixas

Abby Seixas has been a psychotherapist in private practice for over twenty-five years and has worked as a consultant and clinical psychotherapy supervisor at training centers in the United States and abroad, including England, Russia and the Netherlands. Her work focuses on helping women learn and practice the art of slowing down via her workshops, public talks, retreats, coaching, and her popular Touching the Deep River groups. Abby has appeared on The Today Show, and has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Self, Fitness, Body + Soul, and Woman’s Day. She is the mother of two grown children and lives with her husband near Boston, Massachusetts.

To learn more about Abby Seixas or to purchase Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life, visit: deepriverwithin.com.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Musings and Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being

 

 

 

Melanie Joy


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November Book Review: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows by Melanie Joy

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.” – Adolph HitlerMelanie Joy

In award-winning, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, Melanie Joy explains why we, as compassionate and loving human beings, make the decision daily to eat and use some animals (cows, pigs, chickens, for example) but care for and not eat others (dogs or cats – at least not in the United States). Coining the term, Carnism, the invisible belief system or ideology that conditions people to eating animals, Melanie Joy exposes the lies we have been told to believe and explains why we think we have free will, when in fact, our freedom of choice has actually been eliminated. She discusses how the primary defense of the system of Carnism is invisibility – we do not see what happens to animals before they hit our plate. Invisibility reflects the defenses avoidance and denial, and is the foundation from which all other mechanisms stand.

After a thorough summary of what occurs behind closed doors to animals worldwide, Dr. Joy brings to light why eating animals is believed to be normal, natural and necessary, and why “free will” (as it relates to animal consumption) is actually a myth. She also highlights the mechanisms of psychic numbing in addition to the aforementioned denial and avoidance: routinization, justification, objectification, de-individualization, dichotomization, rationalization and dissociation. Melanie Joy concludes with how we can move from Carnism to compassion for all living beings.

As an ethical vegan (a person who does not believe in the using, wearing, or eating animals and their byproducts), I thoroughly found this book fascinating! It was easy to read and understand the concepts Dr. Joy presented. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the vegan lifestyle, and especially to those who want to learn about the psychological reasons why we eat and use some of our animal friends and not others or to those concerned about the destruction of our only planet and how Carnism contributes to that.

Dr. Melanie Joy

A bit about the author, Melanie Joy:

Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M. is a Harvard-educated psychologist, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a celebrated speaker. Dr. Joy was the eighth recipient of the Institute of Jainology’s Ahimsa Award (past recipients include the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela), which she was presented with in the House of Commons in London. She also received the Empty Cages Prize. Dr. Joy’s work has been featured on stations and programs including National Public Radio, PBS, the BBC, Radio Canada, Germany’s ARD Luxembourg’s RTL, ABC Australia, Good Morning Croatia. Her work has also been highlighted in many publications including (but not limited to) The New York Times, Canada’s Le Soleil and The Huffington Post Quebec.

As founder and president of Carnism Awareness & Action Network, Dr. Joy has given her critically acclaimed Carnism presentation across the United States and in sixteen other countries. In addition to Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, she is also the author of Strategic Action for Animals and has written a number of articles on psychology, animal protection and social justice. To learn more about Melanie Joy and view one of her videos explaining Carnism, or to purchase a copy of Why we Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows, visit her website carnism.org.

© 2016, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings from One Creative Being


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August Book Review: Creativity: Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Creativity. We all have it, and we all want to relish in it. But how?

Creativity, Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiMihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s groundbreaking book, Creativity: Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention, is considered an exemplary work (and I agree) in the study of creative expression. Csikszentmihalyi interviewed almost a hundred creative people in every field and synthesized his findings in this book. He also brings thirty years of research on the subject of creativity. Professor Csikszentmihalyi explains the creative process, the creative personality, and what it means to work creatively in the first part of his book. He then summarizes his findings from his interviews of very successful creative people, followed by a thorough explanation of what he renders the domains of creativity: the word, life, future and culture and how to enhance your own personal creative energy.

Although it has been almost twenty years since the publishing of this writing, this masterpiece stands alone as the bedrock of how people experience creativity and live in what the author calls, “flow”- the experience of spending hours or days where you lose track of time, forgetting to eat or sleep, feeling like there is no other place you would rather be, being “in the zone,” feeling completely immersed in your creative endeavor, experiencing creative bliss and feeling an instinctive calling to keep working on your project. Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi presents the author’s nine, necessary component states of achieving flow. He also explains that in order to achieve a state of optimal flow, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the creator.

For a long time, I believed I did not possess creativity. However, I thankfully discovered that I, as well as all of us, have an abundance of it! We are all creators to one extent or another. You might be a person who thinks you are not creative, but you truly are. Every day, you make decisions that require the use of your given and inerrant, abundantly supplied creativity. Deciding to shower a certain way as opposed to another is being creative; decorating your bedroom is using your creative mind; designing a spreadsheet, delivering a speech, sewing a dress, knitting a scarf, building a skyscraper, re-arranging your pantry, cooking, using a programming language, making jewelry, writing music, designing the underground structure of an emerging neighborhood, organizing the applications on your cell phone, and blogging is being creative. And, the list goes on. Every time you imagine and then take action, you are creating. Having had to read this book in college years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I possessed some of the characteristics of highly creative and successful people that are described in this book, and you do too! Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi will show you what creative people are like, how the creative process works, and what conditions encourage or discourage the generation of original ideas. I recommend this book to those interested in the study of creative expression or those who want to understand or nourish their own creative lives.

Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi

A bit about the author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi has written several other books or publications in addition to Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention. His most recent work centers around the study of intrinsic motivation and how it contributes to overall success of the individual. Born in Hungary in 1934, he was affected by the Second World War in ways that deeply influenced his life and later work. During his childhood, he was put in an Italian prison. Experiencing the horrible loss of family and friends due to the war and subsequently becoming “lost in flow” playing chess when he could were the catalysts that inspired his future work in the area of individual flow and optimal human experience.

To purchase Flow and The Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, visit: Goodreads.

To learn more about the author, visit: The Pursuit of Happiness.

“But it is impossible to enjoy a tennis game, a book, or a conversation unless attention is fully concentrated on the activity.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Visit my blog about creativity: DesignsbyVilms.com.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings From One Creative Being


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July Book Review: Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light by Valerie Tarico

“Rigid beliefs that are above question often inhibit or even prohibit the sublime objectivity needed for truth-seeking.” – Valerie Tarico

Trusting Doubt, Valorie TaricoValerie Tarico in Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light relays her personal thought-journey from a born-again, fundamentalist Christian to an unapologetic atheist. She examines the authenticity of the bible and the Christian’s assumption and unwavering belief that the bible is the inerrant, inspired word of God. She points out some of the bible’s many errors and contradictions and blatant violence while explaining the historical and cultural context in which the “good book” was compiled. Tarico demonstrates how without this examination and understanding, the bible can be seen by the individual as well as by groups of people as the “timeless, perfect word of God” and rigid adherence to its commands can provide a substitute for nuanced moral judgment.

What makes this book different than the many other books that thoroughly explain the irreconcilable problems with the character of the god of the bible and with the bible’s textual errors and contradictions is the author’s education, experience and unique perspective. As a counseling psychologist, Valerie Tarico examines the reasons we believe what we believe and how that pertains to Christian beliefs specifically. Each chapter of this book begins with an explanation of basic Christian doctrines and is then followed by a “to consider” section, a short recap of the elements in the chapter and very thought-provoking questions for further study and contemplation. I found the organization in this book easy to follow and the author’s voice enjoyable.  In addition, it is well researched.

Essentially, Tarico, in Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, asks the question (as it pertains to religious belief) that all of mankind needs to answer in order to create more workable and congruent communities, and I quote, “Where is our greatest loyalty – to our ideology or to our shared ideas? And which wins when the two are in conflict?” How do we build upon the philosophical wisdom from those before us while remaining vigilant about the (sometimes very tragic) errors of our past? This book is a logical, very thought-provoking exploration of these questions.

Valerie Tarico

A bit about the author, Valerie Tarico:

Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., is a former fundamentalist Christian and graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. She holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and has completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Washington. Dr. Tarico writes for ExChristian.net, for The Huffington Post, and also hosts a television series in Seattle, Washington, on “moral politics.” She promotes interfaith and shared values that link all humanity and speaks to churches and groups on topics such as moral development, the psychology of belief and wisdom convergence.

To learn more about Dr. Valerie Tarico, visit: ValerieTarico.com.

To purchase Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, visit: Amazon.

© 2015, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com, Inspiration for Abundant Living for all Beings From One Creative Being