Review: Living a Spiritual Life in a Material World

Living A Spiritual Life in A Material World –
Four Keys to Fulfillment and Balance

Author: Anna Gatmon, PhD
She Writes Press
2017
ISBN #978-1-63152-256-7

Living A Spiritual Life cover

“The goal is not

to lose oneself in

the Divine Consciousness.

The goal is to let the

Divine Consciousness

penetrate into matter

and transform it.”

~ The Mother

It is probably the hardest thing that any of us can do – trying to live a spiritual life in a material world. I admire Gatmon for all that she has accomplished in her life – overcoming a dysfunctional childhood, accepting the offer to become a model and live in Paris, traveling internationally as a model, marrying and raising two children, becoming a transformative counselor, and being willing to share her insights through this book.

The voice that comes through in this book is one that strongly reminds me of people like German philosopher/spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, Indian physican/spiritualist Deepak Chopra, Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist), and Mexican author don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements). What all of these individuals have in common is that they present us with ways of living our lives that bring our spiritual life into alignment with our daily life.

The system that Gatmon presents us with is that of the Four Keys to Fulfillment and Balance. These keys are: (1) Expansive Presence: The Key to Sacred Awareness, (2) Attentive Listening: The Key to Inner Wisdom,  (3) Inspired Action: The Key to Manifesting, and (4) Faith-Filled Knowing: The Key to Ongoing Co-Creation.  In following these four practices in our daily lives, we bring our own spirituality into the material world.

The Four Keys are meant to help us improve our intuitive decision making, empowering us to become our own spiritual guide. The aim is to allow us to live a spiritually meaningful life while remaining connected to our daily lives in the material/physical world. Some of the benefits of what we learn in “Living A Spiritual Life in A Material World” include:

  • Get out of a dispirited mood within minutes
  • Shift from feeling alone in the world to feeling that you are cared for and guided by a loving Universe
  • Enhance your impact on daily situations
  • Develop your intuitive decision-making skills
  • Gain practical tools for manifesting your true and authentic self
  • Feel passionately engaged in expressing your unique divine purpose
  • Find a greater sense of harmony, intimacy, and connection with people
  • Lead an overall healthier physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life.
  • Make a conscious choice to actively seek out the Divine and the Sacred on a daily basis and you can truly alleviate your suffering and find happiness.

Each chapter includes commentary on the energy model being discussed, as well as how to place this action in our daily lives. For example, the chapter on Expansive Presence includes thoughts on expansive sensations, expansive emotions, and expansive thoughts. Gateways to expansion that Gatmon discusses are breathing, experiencing gratitude, expanding through language, and engaging in authentic self-expression. At the end of each chapter is a summary of the principles discussed in that chapter.

The narrative flows well, and includes stories from Gatmon’s personal life, as well as insights and testimonials from her doctoral research. I cannot say it better than Gatmon says it herself in her epilogue: “Practicing gratitude and conscious breathing, engaging in authentic expression, and spending time in nature are some of the ways you can expand your consciousness and enter into union with  this spiritual existence. In this state of mind, you can listen attentively and decipher subtle, intuitive information that can guide your choices and actions. All that remains for you to do is to act upon this guidance with inspiration and determination, allowing the spiritual reality to penetrate and transform your ordinary, mundane life. As you do that, your faith will deepen and you will find that you have become a channel for wisdom to come through transforming your world and the people whom you touch.”

I highly recommend this as a tool of personal empowerment.

© Bonnie Cehovet May 2017

Review – Magical Oils By Moonlight

Magical Oils By Moonlight

 

Author: Maya Heath
New Page Books
2004
ISBN #978-1564147332

Magical Oils cover

I have done personal ritual work for many years now, combining work with essential oils, candles, gem stones, oracle cards, intention, affirmations, and more. When my friend Pamela Steele recommended “Magical Oils By Moonlight”, I had to take a look. I knew just enough about oils to do some basic work, and I wanted to know more.

In her preface, Heath speaks of her lifelong interest in mythology, ancient civilizations, and the power of art in communicating with the Divine. Her influences include studying with Sybil Leek and with the Theosophical Society, amongst others. She notes that this book is a product of those studies, and of her lifetime of experience with the wisdom they brought to her. She speaks of the power of the moon, of moon cycles, and the seasons of the year.

In her introduction, Heath speaks of our dual awareness, as humans, of both the physical and the spiritual world. She speaks of magic as an act of will, helping us to reach our goals. When we can bridge the physical and spiritual worlds, we can then manifest our desires. Heath notes that the seasons, the cycles of the moon, and the physical elements are the tools that we have at our disposal. In working towards manifesting a goal, Heath recommends defining the purpose of the goal, noting what stands in the way of our achieving it, as well as noting our “freedoms” – the skills, abilities, and resources that we have to work with.

Heath discusses the properties of essential oils, using scent in magical work, how to choose the best oil for your purpose, as well as how to blend oils, and how to store them. She discusses something that I find to be of extreme importance – and that is the cycle of the moon, and when is the best time to plant the seeds of our goals. She speaks of herbs, and of cleansing our personal energy and aura. We learn how to purge our space, and how to blend appropriate oils. She speaks of transformation as an inner journey, and describes the process for preparing for a ritual. Recipes are given for oil blends for tasks such as grounding, severance oils, personal empowerment, luck, short term abundance, love, house blessings, past lives, soul retrieval and more.

I truly enjoyed the section on the planets and their associations (task, metal, color, element and chakra), as well as the herbs associated with them. I am a big chart person, and there is an easy to read chart correlating the planets and color, metal, stone, chakra, angel, scent, and day of the week. This is followed by a section on the zodiac, with associations for element, ruler, color, and stone. At the end of this section are two charts on planetary hours: the hours after sunrise, and the hours after sunset.

In later sections, the energy of color and light are discussed, as well as preparing and charging candles.

I am impressed by many things in this 223 page book. First and foremost, it is written in conversational style, speaking with and to the reader, and not down to them. Care is taken to explain the “why” of things. Between chapters, and with each chapter heading, we see gentle, awesome art work. Appendix A shows a list of oils by property, Appendix B is a master list of oil properties. At the end of the book is an index for easy reference. While this is basically a book for beginners, the charts and appendices act as a source of reference for all levels of practitioners. If you want to work with oils, if you want to work on yourself – take a good look at this book

© August 2016 Bonnie Cehovet

Review: A Happy Pocket Full of Money

A Happy Pocket Full of Money –
Infinite Wealth and Abundance in the Here and Now

Author: David Cameron Gikandi
Foreword: Bob Doyle
Hampton Roads Publishing
2015
ISBN # 978-1-57174-736-5

A Happy Pocket Full Of Money cover

The edition of A Happy Pocket Full of Money that I am reviewing is the Expanded Study Edition. A by-line to this book might be “The Law of Attraction meets the real world”. Cameron is a native of Kenya, holding degrees in both International Business and Information Technology. His professional life includes real estate promoting and investing in Kenya, and an active seminar and motivational presence in the Internet. He was the creative consultant on the 2006 documentary The Secret, which was based on a book by Rhonda Byrnes.

In his foreword, Doyle, a featured teacher in The Secret, speaks of trying to find a way to make his life better, of looking for “proof” for the concepts he was hearing about. For Doyle, A Happy Pocket Full of Money filled in the blanks and gave him that proof. Since the time he read this book, Doyle has worked with Gikandi to spread the word of his teachings. It is interesting to note here that A Happy Pocket Full of Money was first available as a download on the Internet, before it took print form.

The first thing that Gikandi addresses is how we view money. He sees money as an illusion – as a form of legal tender used to exchange value. The true value of money resides within us, not outside of us. It is an aspect of our internal value. Material things only have the value that we give them. Gikandi goes on to say that we need nothing from outside of ourselves to increase our wealth consciousness – all that we need is within us. He then goes on to outline the steps to wealth consciousness that this book will take you on.

From there, Gikandi goes on to discuss quantum physics, showing how we are all connected, and showing the power of faith and right thinking. Readers begin to learn the concept that what we think is solid is not actually so, that the physical world is multi-dimensional, and made up of ideas and energy. How our thoughts form our physical reality.

Other interesting concepts that Gikandi covers include time being an illusion that we create ourselves – how our outer world mirrors our inner world, and how the present moment is the moment that we need to live in. Gikandi also discusses how to think in terms that are friendly t the universe and its laws. How to set goals that set us in the right way to wealth. He talks about being causing thinking – that essentially we are what we think, and that we need to act on what we think.

There is one chapter that I have some concerns about, and that is Money: How to Use the Symbol. There are suggestions here for breaking down spending, for dual citizenship, off shore accounts, and more. Check with your own ethics, and with the laws of your country, before you implement any of this.

A study guide is presented at the end of the book for individuals and small groups. The suggestions here are sound, but they are written out in paragraph format. For me personally, setting them out in bullet point format works better.

The overall premise for A Happy Pocket Full of Money is that true wealth is not about material things. It is about discovering value within yourself and others. It is a manner of conscious living that incorporates gratitude, a true belief in abundance, and the real experience of joy. Throughout the book we find the following mantra, in bold letters: I am wealth. I am abundance. I am joy.

The model that Gikandi has created for personal wealth shows readers how to create abundance by saving, giving offering charity, and building happy relationships (much along the line of the teachings from T Harv Ecker). Wealth is created through the use of an internal mantra, through living in the now, through conscious thoughts and intentions, and being willing to experience abundance and joy in your life.

I found this book to be of great benefit, making use of techniques that I already incorporate into my life. My advice is to take what works for you, and incorporate it into your life. Leave the rest behind. We all have to live with ourselves.

One last thought – this is a book to be kept handy as a reference. You might want to do what my sister did, and that is to highlight points that were important to her, and to put tabs on important sections for easy reference.

© June 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

 

 

 

 

Review – Tell Me Your Story

Tell Me Your Story –
How Therapy Works to Awaken, Heal, and Set You Free

Author: Tuya Pearl
She Writes Press
2016
ISBN #978-1-63152-066-2

Tell Me Your Story

We all have a story – a multi-layered story that we need to tell, if only to ourselves. In “Tell Me Your Story”, Pearl, a psychotherapist, takes us into her office to experience the transformational process of her clients uncovering and owning their stories. We are allowed to view the process through the eyes of the client, as well as through the eyes of the therapist.

The therapeutic process is one that builds that connection between body, mind, and spirit, making the client whole again. The stories in this book take the reader through a therapy session from beginning to end, from the filling out of the input papers to greeting the client, to ending the session and telling the client goodbye. As Pearl moves the reader through the process, she humanizes it, bringing out the thoughts and emotions of both the therapist and the client.

We can all be caught up in our own story – the purpose of therapy is to heal us, and to set us free from the emotions that are holding us hostage. We learn to view our story from the perspective of all of the players, to see why the people in our life were who they were, and did what they did. We learn to forgive ourselves, and to forgive those that we have interacted with.

The commentary on the front cover is a story on its own, describing “Tell Me Your Story” as “A guide to overcome anxiety, depression, compulsions, addiction, fear, grief, obsessions, confusion, and self-doubt”.

We look at the origin of the dysfunctions in Pearl’s clients (and in her own life). We see where self-doubt comes in, and we see how we are impacted by our life experiences.

“Tell Me Your Story” is sprinkled with client stories, Pearl’s own story, and incisive bits of poetry written by Pearl. The reader is gifted with tips on how to deal with our emotions, such as grief needing to be grieved, how our ego keeps us locked in denial, and that to overcome addiction and get to a place of self-acceptance, we must be willing to feel, and to examine our shame. Another gift in this book is that of telling our own story. Through a series of carefully crafted questions we are led to reveal our innermost self.

This is not a book to just be read, commented on, and set up on a shelf. It is one that can be used as a resource, for ourselves and for others, whenever we need it.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

Review: Lost Your Pet -Action Steps To Find Him

Lost Your Pet –
Action Steps To Find Him

Author: Carol J. Donaldson
Self-Published
2011
ASIN: B004SQTCGU

Lost Your Pet cover

The deepest relationship that we can have in life is the unconditional relationship that we have with our pets. It is heartbreaking to have a pet come up lost (I can personally attest to this, as one of my male cats recently went AWOL for two weeks!) We are blessed to live in an age where we have the resources of the Internet to help us find our lost pet.

“Lost Your Pet – Action Steps To Find Him” focuses on what to do if and when a pet becomes lost. The biggest thing is that we need to start doing something immediately – do not wait for one single second, hoping they will “show up”!

Donaldson discusses, in a step by step manner, the things that need to be done, including searching inside the house, outside of the house, canvassing the neighborhood, contacting local pet agencies, and working with the resources of the Internet.

She discusses flyers, and the information that needs to be on them (including a picture of the pet), as well as being proactive with chipping a pet (and remembering to contact the company that the pet is chipped through when a pet goes missing).

Topics covered include offering a reward, the most appropriate way to pick up a pet if you have received a call that someone has found your pet (meet in a public place, and never go alone!), and keeping your contact information updated.

The bottom line – never stop looking! Your pet is scared, and may not be able to make their own way home. It is up to you to do everything that you can to facilitate their return. This is a good book for all pet owners to have as a reference.

© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

Review -Walking Out the Other Side

Walking Out the Other Side –
An Addict’s Journey From Loneliness to Life

Author: Alan S. Charles
SJC Publishing
2015
ISBN #978-0-9968306-1-9

Walking Out the Other Side - Alan S. Charles

“Walking Out the Other Side” tells a very coherent story of drug and alcohol addiction, and how it affects not only the addict, but those around them. Alan Charles speaks with a strong voice – he is a talented, intelligent, successful individual that came from talented, intelligent, successful parents. Another quality that he shared with his parents was that of having a fatal flaw that kept any of them from sustaining their success.

Charles’ father died when he was nine – a death that he was not to fully understand until he was an adult, after his mother died. Once a successful model, Charles’ mother lost herself after her husband’s death, and was unable to handle his brother, who was moving deeper and deeper into mental illness. The home atmosphere was dysfunctional to an unbelievable extent – Charles chose to stay away from home as much as possible. With the help of male figures from within his community, he became involved in sports, and began working multiple jobs.

He attended college, working his way through, playing baseball and becoming involved with the coeds. There was no home to go back to, as his mentally disturbed brother refused to allow his mother to let him in the house.

Charles played professional baseball in the Dominican Republic, and then came back to the states, where he trained to become a harness racing trainer and driver. At this time. His cocaine addiction began to take over his life. From racing he moved on to sales positions, where he was a rock star! However, all this did was fuel his addiction. He went in and out of rehab several times, trying to save his relationships (he never actually thought that he was at risk or needed help). His wife left him, with their two daughters, because of his addiction. This was a turning point for him – that, and the fact that he literally hit rock bottom physically and mentally.

I have known addicts in my life – co-workers, but people that I knew fairly well. What I saw in their lives is what Charles talks about in this book. These were educated people that could not sustain everyday life. Multiple stays in rehab, people around them being affected, lots of “come backs”. One suicide, one individual being the cause of having another individual fired (and they were in denial about this), and one individual trying very hard to do the right thing in their life (their addiction had already cost them a marriage and multiple good jobs).

Charles has been sober for several years now, focusing on his daughters, and taking things one day at a time. I definitely admire him for being willing to book speaking engagements to talk about addiction and the road to recovery. He has seen huge success in sports, harness racing, and the business world, and he lost it all, only to come back multiple times.

Addiction affects not only the addict, but those around them. Denial is a big part of their lives. What they are addicted to is not the problem – the problem is whatever in their lives is too dark for them to handle. Charles makes this very evident – and that makes this a very important book.

© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet

Review -Hi, God

Hi, God

Author: Father Jack Frerker
Illustrator: Gary Bilodeaux
Pax Publications
2015

Hi, God cover

In his acknowledgments, Father Frerker notes that children’s prayers tend to be “spontaneous and heartfelt in their innocence”. It is his hope that this book of children’s prayers will encourage prayerful spontaneity in both adults and children. In my eyes, he has succeeded in presenting a wonderful tool for everyone to access prayer in a meaningful way.

The prayers here are presented as letters to God from children. Being from a child’s point of view, they come from the heart, and express what the child is feeling. Each prayer is only a few sentences, and is signed with the child’s first name.

Illustrator Gary Bilodeaux has gifted us with gentle, basic illustrations that add a sense of whimsy, including a kitten, a horse, a top, an ice cream stand, a church, an ocean scene, and more.

From the book:

Hi, God.

I was wondering if Jesus had a pet dog. I heard his people thought pigs and dogs were dirty and didn’t want to have them. I’m asking because I would like a pet dog. Is that okay? I hope so. I’d like a little brown one, but not if it’s a sin or anything. I can’t imagine Jesus not having some kind of pet.

Jimmy

Hi, God.

I just want to tell you how much I really like snow. It’s so pretty and you can do fun things like making snow men and snow angels. But I’m also glad when you make it go away ’cuz I really like summer too, although I’m not sure which time I like better.

Peggy

“Hi, God” is a very empowering tool for the encouragement of prayer for all ages.

© November 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.