Friday, April 12, 2019

Wandering the Wilderness of the Mind

The Collected Schizophrenias: EssaysThe Collected Schizophrenias: Essays by Esmé Weijun Wang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For all the writers, artists, etc., who've felt like they've teetered on the edge of's always a good refresher to see what actual crazy is like. It's also pretty scary. This is an unflinching look at living with mental illness, eliciting wonder, despair, hope and gratitude. You understand why people who are poor and without a support system have very little hope.
It's a collection, so there is some repetition, but I found the book to be edited beautifully, especially the choice of the final essay.
I'm reminded of the story of Joanne Greenberg, who wrote the book I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (don't substitute the movie) and many other wonderful novels, most exploring people with disabilities or peculiarities and their intersection with "normal." I'm hoping Ms. Wang has a lot more high functioning life to live, and makes more books.
Worth the read, for sure.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics

Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women MysticsWild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics by Mirabai Starr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part memoir, part Feminine Mystery mystic manifesto, Wild Mercy is a celebration of the Divine Feminine experienced by women (and some men) throughout history. To some, this will be an introduction; to others, a welcome visit with saints and mystics, avatars and activists, archetypes and goddesses from ancient times to the present, with Mirabai's own counterculture/Jewish/Buddhist perspective foremost.
Wild Mercy is also an introduction and exploration of the contemplative life, or the examined life, as practiced through time to modernity. There's much to savor here, each chapter opening with a meditative depiction of the heart that's calling to Spirit, then an exploration of approaches, then a deepening practice.
And again, the book presents another face, another aspect; it's an exercise in intersectional spirituality, for that's where the mystic has always resided, right smack dab in the middle of God's heart, no matter the doctrines.
If you think you might be a mystic; if you're drawn to spiritual traditions beyond your own; if you, too, are a woman of a certain age; if you feel a need to deepen your relationship with the soul's Beloved, this will be an excellent addition to your spiritual library.
(Thanks to Netgalley and Sounds True, I received a digital copy for review.)

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Friday, April 5, 2019

We Were Diplomats Once, And Young

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Deserves the accolades. Fascinating exploration of identity and power, politics and loyalty. I was a bit worried because it's uncomfortable hard work to be plopped into a situation where you don't have firm ground beneath your virtual feet--the reader's experience mirrors the main character's experience--but by 50-90 pages in I knew where we were going and enjoyed the ride. Especially the poetic thread. Recommended!

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Morse Code for Energy Healers

The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for Abundant Health, Love, and Happiness (Updated and Expanded Edition)The Emotion Code: How to Release Your Trapped Emotions for Abundant Health, Love, and Happiness by Bradley Nelson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy from the publisher through a goodreads giveaway! The Emotion Code is an understatedly Christian (he mentions God and Jesus in a non-proselytizing way) approach to energy healing and emotional intelligence, rather than a traditional psychological self-help book. The author is a chiropractor and an intuitive who believes that most of the body's resistance to healing comes from unrecognized emotional blocks. Through a series of dialogues with the body, using muscle tension as a guide, you can identify and release the mostly "uncomfortable" feelings that are begging for your attention. Release the emotion, release the pain in the body; hear the message, the messenger goes away. No more chronic pain!
As is typical in this type of offering, 50 % of the book consists of success stories to bolster your belief in the system being offered, 25% of the book establishing the author's expertise, and 25% an introduction to the system.
If you do stay with the book the whole way, you'll find that while there are instances of instant or miraculous healing, deep issues mostly require a lot of intense work for healing to occur. And while touting the process as a way of self-healing, most of the stories and examples are of people being helped to healing by other people. Dr. Nelson provides a handy chart of emotions and a website dedicated to information, merchandising, and certified practitioners that can further your journey into his system.
If you believe it, it will work. This is all standard fare in the world of energy/faith healing. Whether you call it laying on of hands or Reiki, it's been around as long as humans. Dr. Nelson's is a very rational approach, even as the subjects of remote healing and surrogate patients come up. There are photos to help you visualize the muscle tests, and charts of charts.
This is a good introduction if you don't know much about energy healing, but if you're already knowledgeable, there's nothing new here. And there's no substitute for the work of self-examination and self-awareness if you're looking for help with those deeper emotional issues.

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