Friday, March 15, 2019

The Brave Art of Motherhood by Rachel Marie Martin @Finding_Joy #selfhelp #Mom #motherhood


THE BRAVE ART OF MOTHERHOOD by Rachel Marie Martin, Self-Help, 204 pp., $10.99 (paperback) $11.99 (Kindle)

Title: THE BRAVE ART OF MOTHERHOOD
Author: Rachel Marie Martin
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 204
Genre: Self-Help


Full-time FindingJoy.net blogger, speaker, marketer, podcaster, and single mom of seven, Rachel Marie Martin presents a wake-up call to those of us who have found ourselves stuck in the ‘I’m just a mom’ phase of life. 

Yes, this book is about motherhood . . . but really, this book is about finding yourself again and following your passion WHILE being a mom. Inspired by her incredible story, Rachel’s words always come straight from the gut; they are visceral, real and soul searching. She challenges you to find the courage to break cycles, to take off masks and not let fear take control. This book is a balance of tough, “no excuses” ways of approaching life, while allowing breathing room and grace for yourself, for as we all know, life and mothering are not perfect.

After inspiring and conversing with thousands of women, Rachel has surmised there is always a reason to hope, to move forward and a reason to dare doing what you thought was impossible. (Yes, including what you are skeptical of accomplishing right now). She encourages you to say yes to your dreams and stop waiting for “someday” or “one day” or “when something happens”.

Prepare to change the way you think about yourself and your life. This will be a book you read over and over armed with a highlighter in one hand and a journal for introspection in another.

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______________________




One November day, I stood at my bedroom window watching as a sharp wind stripped the remaining leaves from the trees. Seeing those limbs laid bare, I felt similarly exposed. I realized I'd been lost in my own life, waiting for something to change. But I couldn't wait any longer.

So I started fighting. Reclaiming the lifeless spaces, unearthing joy in motherhood, and finding hope and purpose. No longer did I hide behind the words "When the kids are grown, I will. . . "

I changed one thing: my mind

Now my kids are happier than they have ever been. And so am I.


 








Rachel Marie Martin believes in the power of the human spirit to overcome, to thrive and to find deep joy and because of that she pours out her heart via these platforms: she is the writer behind the site FindingJoy.net, partner of BloggingConcentrated.com, co-host of the Amplify Podcast, and a featured writer for The Huffington Post. Her top blog post, “Why Being a Mom is Enough” has surpassed 1.9 million Facebook likes and she has had her articles translated into over 25 languages. Her site reaches millions of visitors and has a robust, engaged Facebook community. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, iVillage, The Today Show, Star Tribune, iVillage, Stuff New Zealand, PopSugar, Parents, What to Expect, Mamalode, NBC Parents, Dr. Greene, and many more. Her first book, “The Brave Art of Motherhood”, published by Penguin Random House, was released on October 9, 2018.

She speaks worldwide about a variety of empowering topics ranging from motherhood to social media marketing to website strategy to writing to creating an authentic community. She believes in living each day intentionally and loves working with others to cultivate a vision, realize their potential and see their dreams become a reality.

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Monday, March 4, 2019

The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg @leematthewg #crime #suspense


THE DESIRE CARD by Lee Matthew Goldberg, Crime/Suspense, 299 pp., $13.29 (paperback) $3.99 (Kindle)

Title: THE DESIRE CARD
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
Pages: TBA
Genre: Crime/Suspense


Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

PRAISE:

“Careful what you wish for, especially from a nefarious shadow organization, in this gripping start to Lee Matthew Goldberg’s fast-paced, highly compelling, buzz worthy new series. If you love characters morally compromised, richly drawn, and constantly surprising, you’ll love THE DESIRE CARD. I burned through the first book and can’t wait to get my hands on PREY NO MORE to see where this endlessly exciting story takes me next! Loved it!” – Daniel Palmer, critically acclaimed suspense author

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______________________



HARRISON STUMBLED INTO CENTRAL PARK CLUTCHING THE SILVER BRIEFCASE, HIS BODY SHAKING FROM BEING HUNTED. Clouds clogged the sky. The trees seemed like creatures towering over him. He turned around to see the man in the Humphrey Bogart mask running toward the entrance, a gun bulging from the guy’s inside pocket. The man’s cold eyes scanned the park, zeroing in. Harrison took off down a dirt path until he was alone with only the wind ringing in his ears.
He wanted to collapse; he begged himself to just give in. Nature would destroy him soon anyway, and his shins were starting to feel like they’d been repeatedly stabbed. He coughed up an excess of blood and mucus that spilled down a rock. Now he’d gone so far down the trail that he couldn’t see where he entered. The sound of footsteps came from all directions. A distorted laugh caused all the nearby pigeons to shoot toward the sky. The laugh was followed by an eerie whistle that became louder and louder as he spun around expecting to see his pursuer.
A shadow passed behind a tree, bigger than any animal. He propped himself up against a rock, too exhausted to move any farther, closing his eyes and waiting to die. He could see tomorrow’s headlines declaring his death as a mugging gone wrong.
“Gracie,” he cried, trembling. “Brent, my boy…oh God.”
He had pissed himself now, the urine hot and sticky as it trickled down his pants leg. He still held the silver briefcase close to his chest, resolving not to let it go without a fight.
The man in the Bogart mask emerged from behind a tree holding a gun.
“Just hand it over, Mr. Stockton,” the man said. The voice box attached to his mouth made him sound robotic, weirdly calm. “You don’t want this to get any more complicated than it already has.”
The man made a grab for the briefcase, but Harrison held on tight.
“You’ll kill me anyway,” Harrison yelled, spooking any pigeons that hadn’t already flown away.
“Only if you force me to do so.”
The man kicked Harrison in the shin, causing him to nearly buckle over. Harrison was thrown to the ground, the man pinning him down. He still managed to hold onto the briefcase as if it was fused to his hand.
 “The Boss doesn’t know about what you’ve done yet,” the man said, hitting Harrison’s head against the hard dirt. “Do you understand what that means? That means you can still live. And he’ll never find out as long as we get what we’re owed.”
“Why would you do that for me?” he asked, seeing four masked men spinning around.
The man stepped back and pointed the gun between Harrison’s eyes.
“The Boss doesn’t like when things don’t go according to plan. I could be in as much trouble as you for letting this slip-up happen. So let’s make this easy for both of us.”
Harrison got on one elbow and hoisted himself up.
“Do I have your word?”
The man nodded.
“And my family? My wife…my kids? I wouldn’t have to worry about them being hurt?”
“As much as you might think that you are our sole concern, we have an entire organization to run beyond your pithy life. Now I will count to ten and if you don’t hand over the briefcase, I’ll put a bullet between your eyes.” 
Harrison thought about what his life had really amounted to. All the hours he’d slaved at Sanford & Co., making rich people boatloads richer. Getting into the office before dawn and often heading home in the middle of the night. Sacrificing his family, his youth, his sanity. How it had made him into a drinker, a serial gorger of all vices, just so he could forget about what he was losing. After all of that, what did he have left to show?
“…8…9…10,” the man said, about to pull the trigger.
“All right, all right.”
Harrison handed over the briefcase. The man opened it up and appeared to be satisfied, a smirking grin visible through his mask.
“I’ll leave you with this nugget of wisdom,” he said, without putting the gun away. “If what you did manages to compromise us in any way, if there are any rippling after-effects, be prepared to come across the Boss. He’s known to wear a Clark Gable mask.” The man’s smirk had disappeared. “He only appears when he’s ready to bloody his hands. Good day, Mr. Stockton.”
“Who are you people? Under the masks…who are you really?”
The man raised the gun over Harrison’s head.
“I doubt you’ll ever find out,” he said, and struck Harrison on the forehead with the handle.
A trickle of blood spilled down Harrison’s nose and felt cold on his tongue. He slunk down and rested his cheek against the dirt, watching the man in the mask take off through the trees, the silver briefcase shining like a beam of light snaking through the leaves. And then the man finally disappeared—as if he was nothing more than a nightmare brought to life and extinguished once the fitful dreamer finally woke.
Harrison pressed against his rib cage and felt for his engorged liver. Cursed at it. Wanted to tear it from his stomach. He’d been poisoned from within for too long, his unending punishment for all of his crimes. Blood zigzagged into his eyes as the wound on his forehead opened up even more. With his other hand he reached into his pocket and removed his wallet. A thin metallic card fell from out of a sleeve and sat in a puddle of blood that had collected in the dirt.
            He crumpled it up in his fist since it was responsible for letting these psychopaths into his life. He knew he’d never feel completely settled again, always worried that they might come after him and his family. The Desire Card had caused him to seek out gruesome and despicable wishes. From the instant this devil’s temptation had been placed in his hands, his moral compass never stood a chance. So he chucked it into the air and watched it sail over the rocks for some other fool to find.
            “I’m sorry, Helene,” he mumbled to the wind. He knew he’d have to come clean about everything. His head throbbed, and he recalled a memory from twenty-five years ago. Spying her in the quad at Chilton College drinking a cherry Coke, tan and shapely from field hockey, the entire campus becoming muted except for her. He took a chance by flirting miserably and changing the course of their lives.
She would’ve been better off if they had never met. In such a short amount of time, he’d fallen so far. Now because of him people had been sliced up, left for dead, and soon he’d follow them to his own grave. As he drifted off into unconsciousness, he remembered that it all began to spiral out of control on his last day at Sanford & Co. over a month ago, this treacherous path he embarked on, his dark and dried-up destiny. 




Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

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Love and the Mystery of Betrayal by Sandra Lee Dennis @SandraLeeDennis #selfhelp #nonfiction



LOVE AND THE MYSTERY OF BETRAYAL by Sandra Lee Dennis, Relationships/Spiritual/Self-Help, 290 pp., $19.95 (paperback) $9.99 (Kindle)


Title: LOVE AND THE MYSTERY OF BETRAYAL
Author: Sandra Lee Dennis
Publisher: West County Press
Pages: 290
Genre: Relationships/Spiritual/Self-Help



Betrayal of love inflicts a unique, unprecedented pain you can only comprehend once you have experienced it. If you are suffering from an intimate betrayal, you know. Betrayal is stunning. It is mind-boggling. You feel paralyzed, mystified, enraged, panicked, bewildered; but, mostly, you hurt. Betrayal is a make-or-break event that marks a cataclysmic divide in your life. It changes you. When you believe in someone so completely and then realize they have been deceiving you about their love and loyalty, the worst thing happens: Your faith in yourself crumbles. The shock lifts a veil from your eyes, and you can never see yourself or the world in the same way again.

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______________________


In the messiness and ignorance of our humanity we struggle to cope with the demands of being human. We all make mistakes, especially in our closest relationships. Everyone can recall times of disappointment with friends, companions, family members, advisors, teachers, or coworkers when we have felt betrayed or betrayed others or ourselves. We gain self-knowledge and learn to apologize and to forgive as we work through the many ways we let each other down. There are minor, everyday betrayals, and then there are the life-exploding disclosures that I explore in this book, the ones that break your heart, fracture your world, and threaten to destroy your soul. I specifically address betrayal in love—a shattering of trust by the one you have been most
intimate with and relied on to protect you from harm.

If you are suffering from an intimate betrayal, you know. Betrayal is stun-ning. It is mind-boggling. It traumatizes you and upends your life. Mostly, it hurts. Betrayal inflicts a unique, unprecedented pain you can only compre-hend once you have experienced it. Interpersonal trauma changes you. It lifts a veil from your eyes, and you can never see the world in the same way again. Yet we live in a culture that is blind to both the depth of wounding and the heart-expanding potential of such a blow.

Before your trust was shattered, you lived shielded from the indescribable pain you feel now that the veil has lifted. Such havoc betrayal wreaks, the multilayered torments of body, mind, and soul are so extreme that it can feel like nothing less than torture. No wonder we tend to turn away, minimize, and bury the hurt. If you are like me, you also do not want anyone to know what is happening to you. It is humiliating and maddening to be in pain, obsessing about someone that has left, deceived, or cheated on you. You can begin to feel like a character in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Friends and family tend to look the other way, too. No one likes to see a person so out of control of their destiny.




I know because I had the veil lifted from my eyes, in a familiar way known to many. The man I loved left me. With virtually no warning, my partner of six years walked out a few weeks before a big wedding we had planned. When he went from “I’ll love you forever” one day to “I’m finished with you” the next, it stopped my world. His wholly unanticipated exit from our home and my life led me to suffer more than I believed was humanly possible. At the same time, the distress awakened depths of my heart that took my capacity to love into uncharted territory.

Meanwhile, friends and family advised me to get over it and move on as quickly as possible. They were right, I reasoned, I would move on…I tried, but it was not to be. Once the initial shock lessened, I began to grasp that my trust in life had disappeared. My entire world had suddenly turned hostile, or so it seemed, because of the faithlessness of one person—albeit one very central person, the one I had counted most in the world to be there and care for me. His abrupt about-face marked a cataclysmic divide in my life.

Prior to the moment he walked out, I had considered myself a together, self-aware person. After he left, I was more like a delusional broken heap. I put on a self-assured face, but wandered around like a Swiss cheese, shot full of holes, bewildered, with a secret, stabbing pain in my heart. I vacil-lated between rage, panic, and bouts of grief. Often I could not stop crying. Falling apart was to be expected—“everybody has been there”—after a tough breakup. But the problem was, as time went on, my condition got worse, not better. Instead of a few weeks or months, it went on for years.

I could not comprehend why I had gone from competent professional to terrified, whimpering child, unable to do much of anything, let alone “move on.” It was only later that I realized this was no ordinary breakup. Eventually, I realized how deeply I had been traumatized, and that the nightmare of post-traumatic stress had set in.

Mine is not an obvious or sensational horror story of betrayal and abuse. I was not hit, or cheated on, raped or stolen from, yelled at, or bullied into submission, not even abandoned dramatically at the altar. I wrote this book to help show how relational trauma these days is often not obvious. Many of us have become too educated, smooth, or sophisticated for such overt aggres-sion. The damage to my trust and the erosion of the quality of my life came from mind-bending subtleties, primarily half-truths concealed as exceptional honesty: from bouts of seduction and warmth laced with withholding and withdrawal; insincere profusions of praise, affection and loyalty, interspersed with blame and criticism; important omissions of personal history; sexual manipulation masked as the deepest love; systematic devaluation; and finally



a complete Jekyll-and-Hyde character reversal. Abandonment and replace-ment were only the final and most obvious blows to my sanity and stability.

Emotional abuse and mental cruelty can be more damaging than blatant physical abuse because, at least when someone beats you, or cheats on you, it is clearly their problem. When you have a dagger plunged into your heart while being held in a loving embrace, on the other hand, you do not know what hit you. When you are betrayed with charm and a smile, it is stunning and crazy making. If you have given the benefit of the doubt to and believed in your partner, it can take a long time to get the hook out and make sense of your world again. Meanwhile, you wonder if you are fit any longer for human company, or if you should have yourself committed for observation.

As I tried to make sense of what happened, my mind flooded with ques-tions. Perhaps the most painful was, “How could I not have seen this com-ing?” When you believe in someone so completely and then realize they have been deceiving you about their love and loyalty, the worst thing happens: Your faith in yourself crumbles. The instincts you relied on to perceive and under-stand your world have misled you, and you do not know how you will ever be able to trust yourself again. It alarmed me when I realized I had lost faith, not only in myself, but also in other people—and, most disturbingly, in life itself.

My heart goes out to you if you are in a similar situation. Perhaps what I share will help you sort through the bewilderment and confusion, regain trust in your own perceptions, and get through the worst. I had lived a lot of life and had a lot of psychological experience and inner resources when this ax fell. If anyone “should” have seen this coming and been prepared when it did, it was I. But I was not at all prepared.

To make it through this ordeal, I turned instinctively to my spiritual prac-tices: mindfulness meditation, inquiry, yoga. I coped by sitting for hours each day, breathing and watching the chaos, tracking sensations, thoughts, and feelings. I was astonished at how much I learned—more, I thought, in two years than I had in the ten previous. As a former college psychology professor, and a teacher at heart, passing on what I learn comes almost as second nature.

I did a lot of research in the effort to understand what I was going through. I read hundreds of books and talked to scores of people. I researched a wide range of subjects and touch on many here—trauma, posttraumatic stress, domestic violence, subtle-body experiences, attachment theory, projection and splitting, death and dying, faith and conscience, grief and forgiveness, Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplation and prayer. I found that prescriptions and advice abound on how to survive the loss of love, to heal from a broken heart, to endure a dark night of the soul, to put your life back




together, and to move on after being betrayed or abandoned. But for a long time, I found little that validated my extreme experiences.

Those around me, and even I, considered being abandoned by the person I intended to spend the rest of my life with an unfortunate, but minor event to be swept aside and forgotten, the sooner, the better. After all, people readily recover from far worse things. Conventional wisdom, I discovered, was way off with its clich├ęd treatment of heartbreak and betrayal as minor blips on the screen of life that you tend to for a while before moving on to better things.

The shame I felt about the depth and duration of the pain, along with the fact my friends, family, and even counselors did not understand, encour-aged my silence. The lingering effects on those of us who receive such a shock become a secret we do not want to share with anyone. We even want to hide the life-changing repercussions from ourselves. Amidst my struggle to recover, I recognized that many who had undergone similar experiences had simply shut down. For a time, I feared I would do the same. The continuing torment of having my heart torn out by someone I believed loved me deeply and to whom I had committed my love and life was just too much to bear.

When you hurt this much, instinctively you want to help make it less difficult for anyone else in pain. I never set out to write this book, but once it started pouring out of me, I felt how much I wanted to bring more light to the facts of what an experience like this actually does to a person. There was so much to learn about this underrated trauma—the “most difficult of all woundings,” as one author put it. I decided to base this book first on immer-sion into the lived experience, a type of phenomenological research. I believe this approach led to the emergence of a more nuanced perspective and a deeper understanding than a study based on analysis and theory alone could offer.

The orientation that guided me was to turn with curiosity toward the suf-fering, rather than stifling the pain or distracting myself. This approach will be familiar to many spiritual seekers and to those who have struggled to come to terms with great loss—the way out is through the darkness. What it takes to make this turn, to go from theory to practice in the midst of prolonged psychological pain, tells an unforeseen story for each of us.

Taken to heart this way, I found betrayal to be an initiation into an unknown self. The shock launches the betrayed on a “night sea journey,” that stage in spiritual growth known in mystical traditions as a dark night of the soul. In this mythological descent you are taken suddenly into deep waters and swallowed up by a sea dragon. Like Jonah, you are stripped bare and robbed of what is dearest to your heart. The metaphors of darkness and night apply because you do not know what is happening. You feel as if you must be dying



and you are. Some part of your old nature is being shorn away to make way for the new you cannot imagine, and over which you have no control.

Ultimately, we each have to find our own way in the dark, until we are thrown back onto land and the light of day. I share my truth, knowing no one can tell another what it takes to welcome this unwanted journey. It took me years to recover myself, and I fought it all the way, but I finally came to recog-nize that betrayal and trust form two poles of experience. Apparently, we can-not embrace one until we have drunk deeply of the other. Through destroying my trust, and taking me into more suffering than I had ever known, betrayal catalyzed a transformation inside that awakened qualities of faith, compas-sion, and love I barely imagined were possible.

During the long days and nights of blame and rage, of tears and star-ing off into space, beneath my awareness, strange mystic moments penetrated through the pain. These elusive flashes of truth, fleeting at first, but arrest-ing, planted seeds of renewed faith and trust in the ground of my own raw heart. With time, against all instinct, I learned to embrace the humiliation and heartbreak as the terrain I needed to pass through in order to deepen into secrets of a love my soul was hungry to taste.

Never before had I felt such intimate kinship with life around me. Never had my heart beaten in such rhythm with others in pain. Never had I sensed such a fervent need not to harm anyone else with my actions. Never had I felt the vast sadness I had carried in my bones my entire life. Never before had I sensed the touch of the “hands of light” comforting me, or the gentle power of the earth and sky supporting me, or the tender stirrings in my heart of what I could only call divine love flowing toward me.

All this took time, much more than I approved of. Meanwhile I thought the pain would never end. A turning point in my struggles came when I began to question the true source of my torments. One day, in one of those flashes, I intuited that the obvious villain—the person who had hurt me so griev-ously—had been but an instrument in the hands of an unseen destiny. I real-ized the peace I needed to make was not with my errant partner, but with my own heart, my fate, my God. The insight came and went, but the truth had touched my core.

While each story of love’s betrayal is unique, as are the individuals involved, betrayal is an archetypal experience. It is an event that we each carry in our collective memory, from the moment of being born into this world. Because of its archetypal core, the study of betrayal’s dynamics and impact has something to teach us all. If, however, you have been spared the trial of an intimate betrayal, what I describe may not make much sense to you. It may seem extreme, exaggerated, even melodramatic. That would have been



the case for me before I passed through this ordeal. I would not have had the slightest interest in a book such as this one. I had no idea.

For this reason, I offer this book primarily, and believe it will be most help-ful, for those who have been betrayed, now or in the past, by someone they loved and trusted; and for those wishing to help another navigate these waters. I offer my story and my perspective, along with the results of my research, not as an authority, but as a fellow traveler. I offer companionship, validation, and solace if you are going through this harrowing time. I admit right now that in the extended darkness, I despaired of ever trusting or caring enough to engage life again. While I hoped against hope that the proverbial “pearl of great price” was waiting to be found in the ruins of my torn-up heart, my doubts were grave. I chronicle many of those doubts here.

I can report that finally the miracle of saying yes to what I wanted least in my life did take root in my soul. To my surprise, the shattering of my world had magnetized a grace that was teaching me how and what to trust. As I write now, nearly five years later, recovering myself is a work in progress. But I have learned the greatest lesson in my life to date. Deep suffering invites us into mystery: The pain speaks a message we need and long to hear. The rage and yearning are prayers for truth, for love. At the point of utmost brokenness, I did indeed find a golden pearl—the longing cry of my own heart for a love that endures, a greater, divine love that cannot and does not die.

Please let my words resonate with your own experience where and how they will. I know I cannot speak for what anyone else is going through. But I trust that the universal core of this journey into and through the heart broken in love will ring true for many. I wish for you, too, to find your gold.

*  *      *          *          *

This book is divided into four parts, some of which may only be of interest to certain readers. Part I revolves around the shock and shattering of intimate betrayal. In terms of a rite of passage, this section deals primarily with the radical separation from one’s past life a traumatic betrayal initiates. Included in this section is the overall narrative of “my story” (chapters 1 and 2) and of my early efforts to cope with the trauma and make sense of what happened. Some may be inclined to skip the story segments. Starting with chapter 3, I discuss the psychological dynamics of betrayal and introduce a number of themes, such as recognizing and coping with the ego-shattering trauma, and the spiritual perspective that will be developed more fully later in the book.

Part II shifts the focus to the mystery of relationship itself. I explore the impact on the subtle body of intimate relationship through the lens both of my husband’s death and of the abandonment that impelled me to write this


book. This is a section that I imagine will be most accessible to other women. Sexual bonding, wounds to the etheric body, adultery, the role of psychologi-cal projection in intimate relating are all considered. This section also includes a discussion of the cultural blindness to betrayal.

Part III focuses directly on the dark night or threshold phase of initiation: the shock and suffering. I begin with an in-depth discussion of the trauma and dive into the details of the dark night passage, including the opening up of earlier trauma, infantile and existential, the unloading of the unconscious, a travelogue through isolation, fear, shame, rage, helplessness, meaninglessness, and more. The spiritual perspective emerges as acceptance of pain becomes a prayer of the heart.

By Part IV the book moves more directly into the shift to the awaken-ing heart that is taking place. I chronicle the grief that pours forth as the deep heart opens, explore the role of conscience, and grapple more fully with forgiveness. The desperation of the dark time leads gradually to surrender, to prayer, to the acceptance of grace and love, and finally I discuss the challenges of the return to ordinary life coming back from the descent. If you are inter-ested in the narrative, read the book from the beginning. Otherwise, please just dip into topics of interest to you.

*  *      *          *          *

Because I write from personal experience, I speak from the perspective of a woman betrayed by a man. I am, of course, aware that women play out this same dynamic with men and other women, and that men betray other men. I have chosen the orientation of a woman speaking to other heterosexual women for the sake of consistency, and because it best reflects what I have lived. I believe that our common humanity transcends gender, and that the descriptions of betrayal as an often unwitting abuse of power on the psycho-logical level, as well as an initiation into the mysteries of heart on the spiritual, will also resonate for those in same-sex relationships and for men betrayed by a woman. That said, please forgive whatever gender bias has slipped into the telling.

I ask your forgiveness also for whatever blame, harshness, or hurt may still accompany my tone with regard to “the betrayer.” I have tried my best to restrain the impulse to character assassination, and, I think, have at least partially succeeded: but I have plenty of blind spots, I am sure. Opening to the compassionate heart that can hold it all in love is a work in progress, the work of a lifetime.


Please be forewarned that I often use the word God in this writing. I use God to refer to the unknowable mystery that animates our world. Other terms that point to the same indescribable source of life include: Spirit, cre-ator, Christ or Buddha nature, the Divine, Atman, Allah, Holy Spirit, source, Higher Power, Divine Mother, the Tao, the mystery, love, truth, silence, still-ness. Maybe these words should all be capitalized to indicate a compelling, alive presence, both independent and yet part of us. Some people by tempera-ment experience this reality as a presence or a being, others as a place, or a state of mind. My inclination is toward the personal. In this writing, they are all pointers—to the living love that surrounds us, the creative source of all that is.
 





SANDRA LEE DENNIS, PhD, is an author, teacher and explorer of the interplay of depth psychology and spirituality. She holds an MA in Psychology and a PhD in Integral Studies/ Psychology and Religion. She has been on the faculty of several universities, as well as the San Francisco Jung Institute.

Sandra’s writings bridge the world of scholar and visionary. She loves to bring light to those subtle interior spheres that defy description, and can appear frightening or unreal to the logical mind.  Her deep-diving explorations have helped many to “translate their darkness” — to name and bring compassion to their grief, anger, confusion and pain.

She was a teacher in the Gurdjieff tradition for many years, an Ananda Yoga instructor, and a long-time student of Diamond Heart work.  Currently, she is enjoying life in the Bay Area.

Website Address: www.sandraleedennis.com
Blog Address: http://www.sandraleedennis.com/healing-a-broken-heart-blog/
Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/Sandraleedennis
Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/SandraLeeDennisAuthor



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The Morning Mind by Dr. Robert Carter III & Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter @mind_morning #selfhel


THE MORNING MIND by Dr. Robert Carter III & Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter, Nonfiction/Self-Help, 197 pp., $12.18 (paperback) $9.99 (Kindle)

Title: MATERIAL THINGS
Author: Larry Spencer
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 367
Genre: Fiction



Unleash positive thinking and productive imagination, and flip negative thoughts and behaviors into a lifetime to improve every aspect of your life—each morning, one day at a time.

Bad habits. Bad feelings. Bad mornings that turn into regrettable days.

Banish them all with simple brain hacks that flip negative thoughts and behaviors into positive, productive ones. Instead of dragging through your day, learn to wake up refreshed, recharge regularly, and live better than ever.

The Morning Mind makes it easy. Based on findings from neuroscience and medicine, the book helps you tamp down on the fear-driven reptile brain and tap into the part linked to thinking and imagination.

With topics ranging from diet and hydration to exercise and meditation, you’ll find ideas for activating your brain—and improving every aspect of your life:
  • Restore healthy cycles of waking and sleeping
  • Block harmful cortisol hormones
  • Boost mental performance
  • Create calmer mornings
  • Develop self-discipline
  • Stimulate creativity
  • Improve your leadership skills
  • And more.
From the moment the alarm clock rings, The Morning Mind helps you greet each day with gusto.

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Excerpt from Preface and Introduction
A new day is dawning. As the sun rises, so do new opportunities to grow, develop, and improve. Are you raring to go in the morning, eager to jump out of bed and welcome a new day? Or are you hitting the snooze button, resentful of getting up to another day of tedium? Either way, how you start your morning is a decision you make every single day. What if you could become the master of your mornings and establish a routine that supports you not just in waking up but also in defining and creating the life you want? This book was written to help you make better choices about your mornings, wake up early and happy, and create the most fulfilling and empowering start to your day. Building a solid foundation for beginning your day will help you achieve success in every area of your life. The hours of the morning are the most critical time of the day, and to optimize them we first must be aware of our internal 24-hour clock (circadian rhythm) and its role in our brain function. In fact, there is an ongoing biological battle between regions of our brain, senses, and nervous system that plays a vital role in determining whether we can successfully establish new and empowering morning routines. Our objective is to learn to master our morning and the rest of the day efficiently. Each brain region is vital to overall performance in life, and they are all interconnected and so are dependent on one another. Much of humanity is entirely unaware of the shortcomings of the structure and function of this most vital organ. Learning to master your psychology through a better understanding of neuroscience will empower you in more ways than you could ever imagine. To begin, you must become aware of the conflict between two internal forces in your brain. These two forces are the Lizard and the Wizard, and both of them live inside your head.

Chapter 1
Why Should We Manage the Lizard?
If you had to escape from a burning building, then you would certainly want your Lizard to be in charge, but if you were a firefighter who had to the lizard and the wizard go into the same building to rescue someone, you would be far more efficient with the Wizard in command. Apparently, this takes training. Both the Lizard and the Wizard have their fair places in helping you think and make informed decisions. One of the remarkable secrets to creating productive and fulfilling mornings (and by extension creating a productive and fulfilling life) is in identifying the Lizard and the Wizard, being aware which is in charge, and learning how to modulate this at will. Survival is the number one job of our brain, notably the Lizard. The ability to cope with life requires us to both protect ourselves from outside threats and adjust or adapt to life’s fluctuations and trials. Because reptilian brain coping functions help keep us alive, we are all born with instinctive and automatic survival behaviors. Because these are automatic responses, we do not even need to think before we act to protect ourselves when we feel threatened or wounded (mentally or physically). 

Humans and all other vertebrates have intuitive ways to defend themselves when threatened or injured. The reptilian coping brain’s instincts are to either hide or attack to protect one’s life. One type of reptilian coping behavior is trying to show that you are stronger or more robust than others by using aggression, such as the threat of violence, whether physical or psychological. This could include, for example, asserting your dominance in a group of people or laughing at the misfortune of others. This Lizard behavior can be seen in students starting fights on the playground or bullies who threaten and hurt others. Anger is another automatic reptilian brain response that is used to frighten others to prevent them from destroying or controlling us. When we display anger, we are not only intimidating others, we are also preparing ourselves for battle. In humans, aggressive behaviors and feelings such as anger increase blood pressure and heart rate by releasing stress hormones (to qualify for either a fight or to run away, also called flight). Reptiles and all mammals, including humans, have reptilian brains that trigger anger to protect themselves and keep others from harming them or their offspring. 
Humans often get angry when their feelings are hurt, without knowing why. A good way to remember this part of our coping brain is to add “D” in front of “anger.” This is how the Lizard survival brain causes us to show anger when we fear we’re in DANGER. 

Fear is an instinctive, primitive response to help us avoid threats, injuries, or death. We would all fear for our lives if we were hiking and came upon a wild bear or mountain lion. But we also dread things that we have learned through experience are capable of hurting us. One automatic fear we quickly learn is touching a hot stove. Another common concern is fear of spiders and other insects that hide and bite, as well as snakes and wild animals. When we become consistently fearful of specific things, we call it a phobia. Revenge or retaliation is the Lizard brain’s urge to avenge or “get even” with others when we perceive we have been injured, threatened, or something is taken from us that we value. Revenge almost always leads to even more violence between humans since both sides in conflict use Lizard responses to increase their threat to each other. The Lizard’s urge for revenge leads humans to punish people or groups because we are hurt by their actions or words. 




Dr. Robert Carter III, FACSM, FAIS was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is a US Army officer, an expert in integrative human physiology and performance and has academic appointments in emergency medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in public health and health sciences at Los Angeles Pacific University, and in nutrition at the University of Maryland, University College. Dr. Carter completed military assignments in Germany, France, Afghanistan, Washington, DC, and the White House as a military social aide for the Obama administration.

He holds a doctorate in biomedical sciences and medical physiology, and a master of public health in chronic disease epidemiology. Selected as a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr. Carter received his postgraduate training in environmental epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. He serves on several scientific editorial boards, is a reviewer for 14 scientific and medical journals, and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) and the American Institute of Stress (FAIS). Carter is also Thermal Councilor for the Exercise and Environmental Committee of the American Physiological Society.

He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, abstracts and technical reports on human performance, breath-based meditation, nutrition, human water needs, trauma, and environmental medicine in noted publications such as The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Nutrition Reviews and the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Dr. Kirti Salwe Carter, FAIS, was born in Pune, India, and received her medical education in India, where she practiced as an intensive-care physician before moving to Texas to complete postgraduate training in public health. In 2010, she received her master of public health in occupational health from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. She also has done graduate studies in integrative physiology.

Carter is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress (FAIS). She has more than 18 years of experience in meditation and breathing techniques, and has been facilitating wellness seminars for the past decade. Her work has been instrumental in bringing stress-management and resilience programs not only to the general population but also to corporate employees, educators, middle school and university students, and to special populations such as refugees in violence-prone areas and victims of military sexual trauma.

She is passionate about researching the effectiveness of breathing and meditation techniques to improve human performance. Dr. Carter has published her research on human performance, ergonomics, and breath-based meditation in periodicals such as the World Journal of Clinical Cases, the Journal of Visual Experiments and the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website Address: www.themorningmind.com
Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/mind_morning
Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/MorningMindByCarters/



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Material Things by Larry Spencer #fiction



MATERIAL THINGS by Larry Spencer, Fiction, 367 pp., $11.49 (paperback) $2.99 (Kindle)

Title: MATERIAL THINGS
Author: Larry Spencer
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 367
Genre: Fiction


Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst.

Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface.

The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.

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It’s 1:15 a.m. in California, so you can bet this call was not a frivolous inquiry about the weather. It had to be serious, and Matthew was guessing this was one of those rare holy crap moments that jolt you out of your comfort zone. Someone had died. Someone he knew. Either in an awful twisted-like-an-accordion car wreck or a body was found in a shallow grave somewhere in the Mojave Desert. With his ear pressed to the receiver, Matthew waited with trepidation for the news—he was right on target, speculating death. Chris, his voice at a low pitch, tells him that their estranged friend and former business partner, Logan Alexander, shot himself in the head this last weekend.        
   “Accident?” Matthew asks.
“Intentional. In his garage. In front of his car and the lawn mower,” he says. 




LARRY SPENCER published his first novel, The Tipping Point Of Oliver Bass in the summer of 2017. A story that covered the life of a pathologically arrogant, wealthy young man who sets off on a journey of self-discovery, family tragedy, and sexual conquest in a modern California noir backdrop.   Spencer has been a Writer’s Guild of America member since the late 70s, having written and produced a multitude of highly successful TV shows, which culminated into writing several feature films. He was then encouraged to pen his second book, Material Things, a story based on true events that takes place in the 60s &70s and tackles organized crime, drugs and embezzlement during a time when bellbottom pants ruled the fashion scene.  He lives in Valley Village, California.

Visit his website at www.larryspencerauthor.com.



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