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From the HuffPo: Review of HEAL Documentary
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From the HuffPo: Review of HEAL Documentary

This is a recent piece on the HuffPo, a review of the HEAL Documentary by Kelly Noonan Gores

When I was 15 or 16, I developed asthma. My mother took me to a doctor who duly prescribed medication.

I took the medication for a few days. I hated it. The drug made my insides race. Perhaps I was breathing better, but it didn’t matter. The trembling and hyper-adrenalized feeling, the out-of-control, careening-downhill sensations eclipsed the benefits—for me. There was a moment, and I still remember it vividly, when I decided, I will not have asthma.

This was no ordinary frisson of will. It was a moment of translucent intention. I felt no emotions, just a laser line of unadulterated purpose, and I felt it in every angstrom of my being.

The asthma left my body. I stopped taking the medication. That illness has never returned.

This was a visceral, undeniable experience of the power of the mind-body connection. It stayed with me.

Years later, in graduate school, I took up meditating. I experienced esoteric phenomena that is written about in many ancient texts but isn’t part of the usual discourse of our culture. I perused every book I could find on the topic, from the Vedas and The Yoga Sutras to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and A Course in Miracles. Eventually I picked up books about spiritual healing.

After graduate school I started having babies. I also attended a four year hands-on-healing school and opened a practice as a spiritual or energy healer. The basic premise of this form of healing is that the human being is a psychosomatic unity—mind-body-spirit-psyche are indivisibly one—a concept well articulated in John Pierrakos’ ground-breaking work Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal (Pierrakos, John C. Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal. Core Evolution Pub., 2005.)

Affect one part of a human being and you affect the whole; that is, affect the body and you affect the mind, spirit, and psyche; affect the spirit, and you affect the body, mind, and psyche. This is a powerful iteration of the mind-body connection that I experienced so powerfully as a teenager.

During the decade that I practiced energy healing, I saw miracles. I had especially good results with women who wanted to conceive. Fertility in women has many roots in the mind-body connection. A number of women came to my healing table and then went home and got pregnant. But not all of them.

Healing isn’t curing. Not every woman who came into my healing room seeking a resolution to her infertility was able to conceive. There is a great mystery at the heart of everything, and the body isn’t solely a machine in the Newtonian model where if a biochemical lever is depressed, or if a current is introduced, a result is generated.

This is a lengthy introduction to the screening I attended last night of the film Heal. A new documentary from Kelly Noonan Gores, produced by Adam Schomer, this documentary explores the new-old field of the mind-body connection and the impact of that connection on illness. It also surveys a few modalities of healing that people can utilize during their journey of healing from a serious illness.

I spoke with Adam before the screening. He’s a serious, friendly, poised man with a background in meditation. Longtime meditators emit a palpable peacefulness and I felt that as I stood beside him. He said, “The intent of this film is to empower people, that’s the through line.”

Lovely Kelly Noonan Gores told me something similar. “There are options in the treatment of illness, I want people to know that. I want people to have the information.”

The film follows a few people as they engage, poignantly and bravely, with the spiritual and psychological dimensions of healing. One is Kelly herself, the healthy seeker whose fascination with this rich topic is the engine of the story. Eva, however, experiences harsh dermatologic outbreaks. There’s also Liz, struggling with cancer and chemotherapy.

Luminaries in the field speak on the topic of the mind-body connection. Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Joan Borysenko, and Michael Bernard Beckwith touch on the spiritual dimensions of healing and wellness. Dr. Kelly Brogan, a Cornell University trained psychiatrist, discusses her foray into integrative and wholistic medicine as a result of her own illness.

Of particular interest for me was Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief (Lipton, B. H. The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc., 2016.). Dr. Lipton works with epigenetics, a science of understanding why some genes are turned on and others are turned off. This field has all the potential to empower people far beyond a simple biological destiny.

Author Anita Moorjani spoke of her miraculous remission from cancer. She was healed within hours of death.

The film is inspiring and informational. Quietly yet dramatically, it presents possibilities and alternatives. People who already know the field will enjoy the fresh presentation, and people new to these concepts will find themselves intrigued and uplifted. Heal approaches the great mystery that I encountered as a healer, and it doesn’t shrink. It blossoms like a rose opening.

My Personal Statement on Frank Gehry & the Eisenhower Memorial
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My Personal Statement on Frank Gehry & the Eisenhower Memorial

What follows is my personal opinion about Frank Gehry and the Eisenhower Memorial based on my family’s experience with him.

Statement about Frank Gehry

I am the wife of classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard, who was courted by Frank Gehry to be the sculptor for the Eisenhower memorial, asked to write a proposal and give ideas, flown to LA for a lengthy meeting with Gehry and his team, promised the gig to the tune of a verbal statement: “You are the sculptor for the Eisenhower Memorial and you will start next week,” and then suddenly dropped.

Sabin says outright, “He stole my ideas for creating a relief that places general Eisenhower as part of his troops and at the same time at the head of his troops. He hired a less competent sculptor who does not have the ability to pull it off.”

This kind of dishonorable behavior and intellectual theft on Gehry’s part convinced me that Frank Gehry is not to be trusted. I began to pay attention to the Gehry camp’s arrogant shenanigans around the Eisenhower Memorial, starting with his blatantly rude and condescending disregard for the Eisenhower family’s staunch opposition to his plans.

Gehry’s ill conceived plans call for gargantuan woven metal curtains and a tiny sculpture of the boy Ike. The curtains are ugly and reference only an elderly architect’s egotistical notion of himself as a groovy post modernist—they have nothing whatsoever to do with our beloved and plainspoken president, statesman, and military general.

It’s not just the way Gehry treats the Eisenhower family that’s scandalous. The cost of these hideous metal curtains is astronomical, more than a hundred million dollars. Those curtains aren’t in production and yet, to date, more than forty million dollars have disappeared into Gehry’s pockets, with only spin doctoring to show for it. Gehry has hired a team of full-time publicists to keep the machinery of his self-aggrandizing monument going.

I have written in the Huffington Post about the disappearance of this taxpayer money. Forty million dollars is a lot of cash! I have queried high profile media venues, trying to garner interest in some real journalism, some real investigative reporting.

In this I was aided and directed by my neighbor, the venerated and sadly recently deceased international bestselling author Frederic Morton. He personally spoke to people at the New York Times and the NBC investigative unit. Fred was an Austrian Jew who wrote poignantly of his father’s internment at Dachau. He had met and dined with Eisenhower and Mamie; he held a deep respect for President Eisenhower and felt distressed that the Eisenhower family was being disregarded and condescended to, he agreed with me that Gehry’s plans were inappropriate, and he felt that the vanished tens of millions of taxpayer dollars was an outrageous scandal that warranted serious investigation.

Despite Fred’s stature, these news outlets failed to respond.

I can only surmise that these news outlets are as smitten with Gehry’s celebrity as were the cronies who handed him the Eisenhower memorial in the first place despite the fact that Gehry is patently the wrong man for the job.

I do intensive historical research for my historical novels. I published one novel set during WW2 and I am still researching that period for another novel. The more research I do, the more certain I am that Eisenhower the statesman and president of simple dignity would have been horrified by the gargantuan metal drapery. Absolutely horrified. His family has spoken up in his memory and in his honor and they deserve to be heard.

In continuing to press his plans, Frank Gehry is thrusting up his middle finger not just at the American people, but at President Eisenhower as well. I would say, “the very man whom the Eisenhower Memorial is supposed to honor,” but it is clear that Gehry’s plans honor only Gehry and no one else. They certainly do not honor President Dwight Eisenhower.

I have been told that Tom Brokaw and Bob Dole have been sucked into the slick chicanery of Gehry’s PR efforts. If so, then I say to Brokaw and Dole, Shame on you!

Pushing to get money for Gehry’s hideous plans would only be throwing good money after bad money, and that’s the sign of rank foolishness. Gehry’s advanced age is the only reason to rush ahead with widely-loathed plans despite obvious chicanery, massive quantities of vanished tax-payer money, and the Eisenhower family’s objections.

Some politicians and TV personalities who are also elderly like to pontificate that it’s time to get the monument done after the 15 years of wrangling over it. To them I say: after an open competition, it only took a few years to get Maya Lin’s breathtakingly gorgeous Memorial Wall done.

And Lin’s Memorial demonstrates the better way to move ahead: a fair and open competition, as is currently being done with the World War 1 memorial.

So to those aging cronies and TV personalities who are smitten by Gehry’s celebrity, I say, Don’t throw good money after bad. It’s time to cut bait and move on. Hold a fair, open, and blind competition. That’s what would truly honor Eisenhower, a man of famed and celebrated humility.

To anyone who is listening, I say: don’t buy into Gehry’s shenanigans. President Eisenhower, his remaining family, and We the American People deserve better. We deserve to know about how our money is lining Gehry’s pockets. And we deserve a truly beautiful and magnificent Eisenhower Memorial, something on the order of the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial wall.

HEAR THE BLOGTALKRADIO SHOW ABOUT THE GEHRY MEMORIAL.

DR. BRUCE COLE’S ARTICLE “GEHRY’S MIDDLE FINGER

DR. BRUCE COLE’S ARTICLE “A MONUMENTAL SHAME

NATIONAL REVIEW “CONGRESS NEEDS TO KILL FRANK GEHRY’S AWFUL EISENHOWER MEMORIAL ONCE AND FOR ALL

Traci L. Slatton about the Gehry Memorial on the Huffington Post

Ongoing Chicanery With the Gehry Memorial

The Problem With the Gehry Memorial

Check Out Art Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Independent Artists and Thinkers on BlogTalkRadio

 

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Lost Parents: When High Conflict Divorce Leads to Parental Alienation
criminal behavior | errors | healing | Huffington Post | parental alienation | redemption | vulnerability

Lost Parents: When High Conflict Divorce Leads to Parental Alienation

This is my latest article on the Huffington Post. It’s about Parental Alienation. I interviewed Dr. Bill Bernet on Independent Artists & Thinkers a few weeks ago.

The space of time sandwiched between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can bring unique anguish for people whose children have become alienated from them through a high conflict divorce.

Parental alienation happens when a child becomes enmeshed with one parent, strongly allying himself or herself with that parent, and rejects the other parent without legitimate justification. These children are encouraged by one parent, the favored parent or alienating parent, to unjustly reject the other parent, the targeted parent. The children can fall prey to the alienating parent’s tactics as a means of escaping the conflict.

According to psychiatrist Dr. William Bernet, professor emeritus of Vanderbilt University and a researcher into the phenomenon, “Almost every mental health professional who works with children of divorced parents acknowledges that PA—as we define it—affects thousands of families and causes enormous pain and hardship.” (Parental Alienation, AACAP News, Sept 2013, pp. 255-256.)

Bernet and other researchers refer to eight criteria for diagnosing parental alienation, including a campaign of denigration against the targeted parent, the child’s lack of ambivalence, frivolous rationalizations for the child’s criticisms against the target parent, reflexive support of the alienating parent against the target parent, the child’s lack of guilt over exploitation and mistreatment of the target parent, borrowed scenarios, and the spread of the child’s animosity toward the target parent’s extended family or friends.

These criteria sound academic but their effect is exquisitely awful in the most human and primal way. The child basically constructs an alternate reality where the parent is some kind of monster. There’s no longer any sense of the parent as a human being with the ordinary nuances of the gray scale, or as a good-enough parent; the parent’s actions and statements are twisted, distorted, and massaged to “prove” that the parent is unworthy of contact.

Children will adamantly maintain that they themselves have compiled their list of rationalizations for the parentectomy in progress. This is called the independent thinker phenomenon.

For a parent who would willingly give his or her heart or liver to a beloved child who needs it, it’s a nightmarish turn of events. The pain is surreal, and it’s frequently heightened both by outright viciousness on the child’s part and by the child’s complete lack of remorse about the way he or she has treated the targeted parent. The child feels entitled to demonize the targeted parent and justified in doing so, and therefore entitled to behave with extreme nastiness toward the parent.

Amy J. L. Baker, PhD, one of Bernet’s research colleagues, writes about seventeen primary strategies used by the alienating parent to foster conflict and psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent.

Parental Alienation

These include poisonous messages to the child about the targeted parent in which he or she is portrayed as unloving, unsafe, and unavailable, such as, “your mother is a rage monster who shames you”; erasing and replacing the targeted parent in the heart and mind of the child, “you can trust mommy, she doesn’t judge and malign you like daddy does”; encouraging the child to betray the targeted parent’s trust, “how bad was daddy this weekend?”; and undermining the authority of the targeted parent, “your mom’s rules don’t apply, you don’t have to listen to your mother, do whatever you want.”

See the whole article here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/traci-l-slatton/lost-parents-when-high-co_b_7400462.html

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The Never Ending Journey of the Independent Artist, My Latest on the HuffPo
5 star review | art | authors | autobiography | blogs | book promotion | dance | dance school | guide to independent publishing | Huffington Post | independent publishing | life model | Sabin Howard | Sabin Howard sculpture

The Never Ending Journey of the Independent Artist, My Latest on the HuffPo

I am an independent artist, married to an independent artist, with friends who are, yes, independent artists. This piece on the Huffington Post reflects what I’ve learned.

In part, the article says:

What I experienced was that the big traditional publishing companies had gotten mired in the quicksand of conventional thinking and groupthink. They had forgotten the importance of nurturing a midlist author through a few books to build a readership. They overlooked the appeal of richness and diversity in a book list and so refused to invest in truly original, unorthodox projects.

Worst of all, they had taken the selection of books away from people who love books—editors—and turned it over to people desperately searching for a business school algorithm to make every book a bestseller out of the starting gate—the marketing department.

Not that some wonderful books don’t sneak past the eyes of the marketing department. But, increasingly, legacy publishers emulate corporate Hollywood studios: turning out branded, franchise entertainment, mindless drivel that appeals to the horny, nerdy teenager in us all.

The great books and movies that make it past gatekeepers usually do so because they are spearheaded by someone passionate about the project. These projects come from the creative heart and soul of a dedicated individual. They require perseverance and vision in order to unfold in the world.

With no luck but bad luck with the legacy publishers, I embarked on my own passion process. I founded Parvati Press. I started independently publishing my own books and recently other authors.

 I’m fortunate to have two strong-minded individualists in my life as models for my journey: my husband Sabin Howard, and my friend dancer Lori Belilove, Founder and Artistic Director of the Isadora Duncan Dance Company and Foundation.

Catch the whole article here on the HuffPo.

Though I did realize this morning that there is one thing I forgot to mention explicitly in the post: the pleasure inherent in this path. It’s just fun to think ‘outside the box’ and to operate outside the confines of corporate mentality. It’s scary, yes, because it’s insecure. But it is ever so delicious.

 

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From the HuffPo: Three Plot Structures Every Storyteller Can Use
art | authors | hard work | how to write a book | Huffington Post | novels | writing

From the HuffPo: Three Plot Structures Every Storyteller Can Use

Here is my latest Huffington Post article: Three Plot Structures Every Storyteller Can Use

I have a theory that novelists are fugitives from simple existence. We metabolize, mediate, and render life rather than simply experiencing it. We live through an incident and wonder, with tears glossing our eyes or bliss pinking our cheeks or ennui prompting a yawn, “How can I use this in a story?” A novelist’s mindfulness consists of pouncing on a moment as a resource for a character, or as a turn in the road on the journey of story, or as an illustration for a thesis.

Henry James wrote, “The novelist is a particular window, absolutely — and of worth in so far as he is one; and it’s because you open so well and are hung so close over the street that I could hang out of it all day long.” (James, Henry, and James E. Miller. Theory of Fiction: Henry James. Lincoln: U of Nebraska, 1972. Print. Pp. 65-66.) Opening for others to peer through and take delight in an unfolding scene is a practice and a process; it takes time and commitment. It’s not enough to over-analyze your own interiors.

What I’m really talking about, with James’ metaphor, is the skill required to craft a novel that engages and delights readers. I think it requires persistence to the point of obsession. Fortunately, along the way there are tools that help us learn.

One of those tools is plot structure. Plenty of authors take a dim view of plot and subordinate it to story (See Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft). I appreciate their point. For myself, I’ve defined ‘story’ as ‘how your protagonist does not get what he or she wants’ and that reigns supreme in my consciousness while I write. However, plot structures are handy aides in the pursuit of thwarting, frustrating, and torturing your protagonist, like training wheels for learning to ride a bike. You won’t keep them on forever, but they’ll give you some support as you go.

Here are three useful plot structures for every storyteller to have in her toolbox. Remember, these structures are really scaffolds. It’s the minutiae of adventure and dialogue and characterization that matter — otherwise reading the Cliff Notes would be just as much fun as the actual novel—which must never be the case.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.

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Maturing Whole: The beautiful books of David Richo (from the HuffPo)
book reviews | freedom | gratitude | happiness | healing | Huffington Post | kindness | maturity | redemption | self-reliance | spiritual teachings | wholeness

Maturing Whole: The beautiful books of David Richo (from the HuffPo)

Maturing Whole: The Beautiful Books of David Richo was first run on the Huffington Post.

Years ago, while running an errand, I encountered a woman on the sidewalk whom I know. She and I each have reason to feel disgruntled with the other. When I glanced at her, I saw that she was, literally, shaking with rage. Her features were twisted and reddened with hate. Rage radiated out from her in palpable, caustic waves.

For whatever reason—not because I’m enlightened—her radioactivity didn’t scorch me. She was spitting mad and didn’t bother to hide it because she wanted me to feel it, but I witnessed it without taking it on. It’s something I’m usually not good at. But on that extraordinary day, I simply observed. I thought, “So that’s why all the spiritual teachers say to forgive. She’s suffering more from her hate than I am.”

It was an epiphany for me, who lives, imperfectly, a life seeking awakening. Looking at that woman, and feeling sorry for her, filled my mind with the keen understanding that there must be a better way. I even longed for it.

And what is the elusive better way? It must have something to do with maturity. That is, with mature compassion for self and for others, and with the realization that vengefulness is a blade that cuts two ways….

Healing is possible, growth is possible and wholeness and maturity are possible for those of us who want to be our best selves. We don’t have to live steeped in the poison of our early programming and the way it plays out currently in our lives.

David Richo’s books are field guides for the journey. Richo, whom I have never met, is a psychotherapist, teacher, and workshop leader in California. His website says he “combines Jungian, poetic, and mythic perspectives in his work with the intention of integrating the psychological and the spiritual. His books and workshops include attention to Buddhist practices.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

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