Awaken Soul to Soul (DVD Review)

DVD jacketWhenever an inspirational speaker comes to town I try to attend.  I’ve seen Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, and others in recent years.  Thanks to the new DVD Awaken Soul to Soul I didn’t have to leave home to hear the words of nine of today’s most progressive thinkers.

“We are the lucky generation,” Barbara Marx-Hubbard says at the start of the DVD, explaining how humanity is awakening.   “If a child is starving in Africa, I feel it,” Marx-Hubbard says.  We are evolving into an awareness of our oneness with each other and the planet.  There are nine speakers featured on the DVD, including Robert Thurman, Don Miguel-Ruiz, John Major Jenkins, and others – all giving different perspectives on the evolution of human consciousness.

I liked the simple presentation of the DVD.  Each speaker is shown against a white background.  It felt like they were talking directly to me.  Interspersed between the short lectures are beautiful nature scenes (a couple I show below) accompanied by a mystical, uplifting sound track.

Some of the speakers resonated with me more than others, especially Marx-Hubbard and Thurman.  Awaken Soul to Soul is a documentary you will want to watch multiple times to get full benefit.  The 90 minute film delivers lots of metaphysics to take in during one sitting.  I found myself mystified with the words of spiritual teacher William Linville at first, but upon viewing his talk the second time I thought, “Oh! I get what he’s saying!”  If some of the concepts presented seem to go over your head like they did for me initially, give the DVD another viewing.

Awaken Soul to Soul concludes with a short biographical slide for each speaker.  These were valuable so I could learn more about the speakers I was not aware of previously (like shaman Bonnie Serratore and spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar).

“Keep me unfolding as quickly as I can handle for my highest and best good.  Thank  you.” is a short prayer Linville recommends you tell yourself at the end of his talk.  Awaken Soul to Soul spoke to me on a personal and global level, reminding me of my own growth and of humanity’s progress as a whole in these turbulent times.

2Film Stills Sun







5Film Stills Ocean Sunset










I received this DVD for review purposes.  I was not financially compensated for this post.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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Archetypes (book review)

archetypesWhen I first picked up Carolyn Myss’ new book “Archetypes: Who are you?” I asked myself, do I really need another tool to examine what makes me tick?  I’ve studied the enneagram, myers-briggs, psychology, and other introspective methods.  What makes archetypes any different?

I’m glad I quieted my inner skeptic and read Myss’ book.  What I found was a fascinating look at human nature through different personality profiles: The Artist/Creative, the Caregiver, the Intellectual, the Rebel, and others (10 in all).

“Archetypal patterns hold the key to the real you,” Myss writes. “They somehow know more about you than you know about yourself. By identifying and exploring your own archetypal patterns, you come to understand your true self.”

I saw myself in several of the archetypes presented – I am not just one type.  The book points to the website for you to take a quick quiz to determine what mix of archetypes is your unique blend.  I found the quiz gave an accurate self assessment.  I came out as “Creative”, “Intellectual”, and “Spiritual”.  Yep, that’s me.

I liked how Myss points out the strengths and challenges for each archetype.  My dominant archetype was “The Artist/Creative”.  The lifestyle challenge presented for this type resonated with me: “Can I develop my talent and express myself, or will fear of failure or humiliation hold me back?”  Sometimes I hesitate to put my work out there (like a book project I’m working on) because of a fear of what people will think.  Reading Myss’ words encouraged me to go for it!  “You cannot wait for someone else to acknowledge the Artist in you in order to recognize your own gifts,” she writes. “It is up to you to bring your gifts to the world, no matter how small or large your world. Your talent may end up
being recognized by millions of people or only ten, but whichever it is doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you acknowledged your creative gifts.”

One minor criticism I have of Archetypes is that it is written primarily for a female audience.  Myss leads off many chapters devoting pages to the female version of a particular archetype, and then at the end she gives a paragraph or two on the “male counterpart”.  I thought the book could have been better balanced, giving more male examples for us guys.

If you are new to the concept of archetypes, like I was, this book is for you. “Archetypal patterns filter into every aspect of your life, so it’s important to discover how they express themselves in your everyday decisions and routines,” Myss writes.  “They influence
recurring issues: arguments you seem to have over and over, difficulties at work that keep cropping up, and other patterns that repeat themselves.  Anything that repeats is a clue to what archetypes are operating in your life.”

Yes, Archetypes may be yet another tool to understand your inner psyche, but I found it an accurate one that gave me new insights into myself.

You can get “Archetypes” from these book sellers:

Hay House


Barnes & Noble

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House.  I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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My Top 2012 Books – Part 2

Earlier this week I picked my five favorite books of the 21 reviews I had written on this blog in 2012.  But there are other books I have read that I did not get around to reviewing.  Here are my three favorites in this category, along with a mini-review for each:

Joyous Freedom Journal For A Fuller Life by Petra Weldes and Christian Sorenson

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 2.50.50 PM“Joy is the most infallible sing of the presence of God.”  Authors Weldes and Sorenson share this quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the Forward of their book.  I was intrigued (who doesn’t want more joy?).  The Joyous Freedom Journal has a short one page reading for every day of the year related to Joy, along with a journal exercise.  I often found the daily entry would be just the right words of encouragement I needed to start my morning.  The authors have now come out with a sequel, the Joyous Living Journal, which I will be reading daily in 2013.

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 2.55.13 PM“You’re ready to grow when you finally realize that the ‘I’ who is always talking inside will never be content,” Singer writes in The Untethered Soul. “It always has a problem with something. Honestly, when was the last time you really had nothing bothering you? Before you had your current problem, there was a different problem. And if you’re wise, you will realize that after this one’s gone, there will be another one.”

Someone else has that critical voice inside, too?  I thought it was just me!  Singer’s book gave me new insight into those negative messages I tell myself, and how I am much more than that critical self talk.  “You have a phenomenal amount of energy inside of you,” Singer says. “It doesn’t come from food and it doesn’t come from sleep. This energy is always available to you. At any moment you can draw upon it. It just wells up and fills you from inside. When you’re filled with this energy, you feel like you could take on the world.”

Read this book for tips to get in touch with that expansive, loving part of yourself more often.  Quiet that inner critic.

Ask Yourself This by Wendy Craig-Purcell

Screen shot 2012-12-29 at 3.01.36 PMThe author sums up this book best in the introduction: “Ask Yourself This offers a variety of thought-provoking, perspective-shifting questions that can be applied in several key areas of life: spirituality, self-knowledge, personal growth, happiness and life purpose, relationships, inner genius and creativuity, and success.”

Craig-Purcell’s questions did get me thinking, like “is faith or fear guiding my decisions?”, “What is God preparing me for?”, and “What do I say ‘yes’ to in my life?”.  The author expands on her answers to these questions and allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.  Scattered throughout the book are marvelous quotes from a variety of sages, from William Shakespeare to Bill Cosby.  I had a month’s supply of quotes for my calmwithin twitter feed just by reading this book!

The questions in Ask Yourself This would be great conversation starters for a book club.  Or read the book alone, as I did.  Either way Ask Yourself This will cause you to reexamine how you operate in the World.


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My Top 5 Books of 2012

Tim LarisonI love reading books about spirituality and personal growth.  While I still write posts about other topics, this blog has evolved into being primarily a site where I share my reviews (I wrote 21 reviews here in 2012).

It was difficult to pick just five top books among the many good ones I read this year.  Here are my selections.  Click on each title to read my original review:

breaking the habit of being yourself book cover#5 Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself – Joe Dispenza
The principles of Quantum Physics were always confusing to me until I read this book.  Dispenza explains quantum theory very well, and more importantly shows how you can use this knowledge to make positive changes in your life.

anita moorjani dying to be me#4 Dying to be Me – Anita Moorjani
Do you have any fears about death?  Moorjani’s account of her near death experience and her miraculous healing from cancer will help calm those.  Moorjani tells of the unconditional love she felt when passing to the other side, and how this changed how she approaches this life.

how to pray without talking to god#3 How to Pray Without Talking to God – Linda Martella-Whitsett
“Maybe you are ready for a concept of god that is unconfined by dogma and an experience of god that is intimate as well as expansive,” Martella-Whitsett writes early in this book.  These words rang true for me and I wanted to read more.  What I found was a teaching that enhanced my own prayer life and connection to Spirit.

Quiet Book Review#2 Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
If you are an introvert like me who doesn’t seem to fit in at times in an extrovert oriented World, this book is a must read.  Extremely well researched, Quiet gave me a new appreciation for my temperament.  The book is also of value to those extroverts who have introverts in their lives.

The Law of Divine Compensation#1 The Law of Divine Compensation – Marianne Williamson
A timely book in these difficult economic times reminding us that God’s love is the true source of our abundance.  I also liked Williamson’s emphasis on forgiveness as essential in righting any wrongs that may happen to us.


I am thankful to Hay House and other publishers who sent me material to review in 2012.  I also put all my reviews on Amazon and 188 people responded saying my reviews were helpful to them.

Next up: my top picks among books I read but didn’t review on this blog (there were some good ones!)

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The Lost Choir

Here’s a moving video from International Children’s Fund that I saw this week.  While the Newton tragedy is still fresh in our minds this is a reminder that children are being lost every hour all over the World.

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Secrets of Meditation (book review)

Davidji’s new book “Secrets of Meditation – A Practical Guide to Inner Peace and Personal Transformation” came just at the right time for me.  I have been meditating most days since taking a workshop a year and a half ago.  But lately I haven’t been as consistent with my practice.

Davidji had his off and on times with meditation, too, as he writes about in the book.  “I worked for many years in the world of finance and business amid the wild corporate swirl of New York City,” he recalls.  “I had stopped meditating.  I had replaced my 5 a.m. meditation ritual with an early morning train ride into the bowels of the World Trade Center, and I had replaced my evening meditation with a double scotch.  And like that … poof … my practice had disappeared.”

Thankfully for us Davidji returned to his practice, and in Secrets of Meditation he provides a very thorough treatment of the subject.  I liked how he gives an overview of different types of meditation styles (bodymind, visual, sound, energy, sensory, Buddhist, mantra, and chanting in separate chapters devoted to each).  After reviewing these styles the reader can decide which one is most appealing and explore that particular method in more depth.  Including in many of the chapters are sample exercises to try out different meditation techniques.

“There are thousands of schools and philosophies of meditation.  And every school of meditation has its unique technique or way of helping you experience present-moment awareness.  I celebrate them all,” Davidji writes.  I appreciated how he honors these many varied meditation styles in Secrets, while at the same time saying why he himself practices Primordial Sound Meditation – a technique taught by Chopra Center instructors world wide.

I have come across some conservative Christians who think meditation is dangerous and unbiblical, such as Christian writer Martha West. “Followers of Jesus Christ are not to sit in the lotus pose in an altered state of consciousness seeking the “God within” like pagans do,” West says. Davidji addresses these concerns, too, in his book.  “Thousands of my students who are religious – some of them Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Christians, and devout Muslims – have found that meditating with a mantra has helped them quiet their minds so they can feel even closer to their God,” he writes.  “Meditation is simply a tool to help you connect more fully with your most expansive self – the better to feel God’s or the Universe’s love, open yourself to it, and then pour it back into the world.”  What can be wrong with that?

I do think the best way to start a meditation practice is to go to a qualified teacher with  lessons in person.  “Secrets of Meditation” does its best to teach you meditation, but it is only a book.  Davidji does offer suggestions for meditation teachers in your area (encouraging readers to contact him).

I found the concluding chapters of “Secrets” to be the best, where Davidji covers topics like “Experiences in Meditation” (what if I fall asleep? That’s OK, he says), the Five Myths of Meditation (“Something special or transcendent is supposed to happen in meditation” is one myth addressed), and Cultivating a Daily Practice (meditating twice a day – first thing in the morning and before your evening meal is one suggestion).

Reading “Secrets of Meditation” gave me many tips to rejuvenate my daily meditation sessions.  I recommend it to those who want to start meditating, or who want to enhance their current practice.

You can get “Secrets of Meditation” from these book sellers:

Hay House


Barnes & Noble

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House.  I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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What Kind of Day Will You Have Today?

Monarch butterfly on Pentas flower at the Butterfly World attraction in Coconut Creek, FloridaToday I came across this inspirational passage, from an anonymous source, which put me in a positive mood to start the morning.  I hope it will do the same for you, too.

“I have responsibilities to fulfill today, I am important.  My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy,
or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don’t have any money,
or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely.

Today I can grumble about my health,
or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn’t give me when I was growing up,
or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns,
or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends,
or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work,
or I can shout for joy because I have work to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school,
or I can eagerly open my mind to be filled with new knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework,
or I can feel thankful for shelter.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped.
Here I am, the sculptor, who gets to do the shaping.

What today will be like is up to me.  I get to choose what kind of day I will have.”

Photo from State Library and Archives of Florida

Anonymous passage from Unity Church of San Antonio podcast, December 9, 2012.

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Transcendance Expanded (book review)

Michael Bernard Beckwith’s new release “Transcendance Expanded” is a spiritual hybrid.  It’s not just a book. It’s not just a CD. It’s both!  Beckwith’s blend of prose and music inspires us reach our highest spiritual potential.

Transcendance features eight transcripts of one hour wisdom teachings Beckwith originally presented to his church, The Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles. With each chapter there is an accompanying rhythm and joy track on the included CD.  Beckwith delivers the highlights of every chapter on CD tracks with catchy background tunes composed by a trio of Grammy-nominated producers.

I liked how the CD reinforced Beckwith’s teaching.  “Transcendance” is not a work you will read and forget.  After finishing the book you can replay the CD and be reminded again and again of the author’s powerful message.  I transferred the CD to my iPod, and listened to different tracks.  I especially enjoyed listening to the upbeat music with Beckwith’s inspirational narration while riding my bike.  It’s a great soundtrack to exercise to.

The unconditional Love of God was stressed throughout Transcendence, a message that resonated with me deeply.  “Walking a spiritual path, or being part of a spiritual community, is about being reminded, each and every day, of the love and peace and joy and harmony that’s available to us at all times,” Beckwith says.  “This love has nothing to do with accomplishment.  It has nothing to do with a merit or demerit system.  It is simply the love of God rushing to express itself through you.”

This love awareness is not an end in itself, Beckwith writes.  “It’s a beginning for your growth, development, and unfoldment.  It’s where you take the first baby steps of transformation, which makes the journey so much smoother.”

The last chapter of Transcendance is different.  It is not a transcript of a talk but rather in it Beckwith shares revelations of his soul and how your individual human spirit can grow to fulfill your divine destiny.  I found the accompanying CD track for this chapter especially valuable – an 11 minute meditation which contains the essence of Beckwith’s teaching.

“We are meant to evolve into our highest potential,” Beckwith writes. “Whatever it is that you’ve accomplished up to this moment, whatever level of success you’ve attained, the trickster ego seductively whispers, ‘I did it. I’ve made it!’ while the spirit within says, ‘Good start!'” Transcendance combination of inspiring words and upbeat music can jump start your spiritual practice, as it did for mine.

You can get “Transcendance Expanded” from these book sellers:

Hay House


Barnes & Noble

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House.  I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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The Law Of Divine Compensation (book review)

In these difficult economic times Marianne Williamson’s new book, “The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles” is a refreshing reminder that God’s love is the true source of our abundance.

“Finance is just one of many areas where an increasingly obsolete, materially based worldview is proving to be inadequate to the challenges of the times in which we live,” Williamson writes in the preface of her book.  The author’s message of God’s unconditional love trumping worldly possessions resonated with me.  I found myself underlying passages in page after page for future reference (the most words I’ve highlighted in any book I’ve read this year).

Williamson is not preaching to us from the mountain top.  Similar to her writing style in other books, she is very vulnerable with her own struggles – this time in the financial realm.  In “Divine Compensation” she tells a story of how she lost $10,000 early in her speaking career due to poor event planning.  “Oh Daddy,” she recalls telling her father, “It was such a bomb!”  Williamson describes how this personal misfortune taught her a lesson.  After consoling words from her father, she relates how she chose to think about this incident was the key to transforming it to positive experience.  She could either see it “as proof of utter failure and doom or as an opportunity to forgive myself and attract a miracle.”  Williamson, in being open with her own shortcomings, gives the reader a sense of being counseled by a friend, rather than being lectured at by a “know it all” spiritual guru.

I wasn’t expecting to read about the value of forgiveness in a book about work and money, but according to Williamson a forgiving spirit is essential in attracting our own good.  “The universe knows if you were hurt and is already on the case to make right whatever wrong occurred,” she writes.  “Your anger, if it lingers, throws a wrench in the machine of the miraculous universe.”  In her view, “no deviation from love – on your part or anyone else’s – can keep the universe from its divine intention that your life be one of fullness and joy.”

I also liked the prayers Williamson included in the book.  Prayers to transform the reader’s consciousness.  Can you relate to this one as I did?:

“Dear God, I feel myself falling into the hole of self-pity, self-obsession, and negativity.
I know I shouldn’t think this way, but I’m afraid and I cannot stop. Please replace my thoughts with Yours, dear God.  I am willing to see myself and all things differently.  Please send me the miracle of new eyes and ears, that I might know my greater good.  Amen.”

I copied this and other prayers from the book and plan refer to them often during my own times of doubt and struggle.

“The Law of Divine Compensation” is the best book from Marianne Williamson I have ever read (and I have read a few, including her landmark work “Return To Love”).  “You are not merely a being of the material world;  you are a being of unlimited spirit,” she writes.  “And in spirit there is no lack.  You are not lacking, just because your circumstances are.”  Williamson’s message of God’s love being our true source of fulfillment was a comfort to me, and I think it will be to you, too.

I was given a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.  I was not financially compensated for this post.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology (book review)

Have you been curious about hypnosis as an aid to personal growth but you’ve been reluctant to visit a professional hypnotist?  Eldon Taylor’s new book, Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology, is for you.  With this book and the accompanying CD you can learn about hypnosis in the comfort of your own home.

I liked how Taylor calms any fears the reader may have about hypnosis with a thorough explanation of the practice.  I learned about different altered states of consciousness (Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta).  “Self-hypnosis is all about learning how to enter the alpha brain-wave state and how to use it to create the desired experience,” Taylor writes.

More than a scientific study of hypnosis, though, Taylor’s book is filled with practical exercises that you can try out yourself to enter a hypnotic state.  I especially found value in his discussion of visualization.  I have read of using visualization to picture a successful future outcome for myself, and I have used this technique myself.  Taylor tells how you can use visualization to change your perception of past events.  He describes how if you have a fear or a past memory that grips you, you can review the image in your mind and edit the emotions “until (you) have an end product that (you) feel good about”.  I tried this with a painful experience of my past and it worked!  I felt lighter and freer after changing my perceptions and emotions related to the hurtful incident.

There are six sessions Taylor guides you through on the accompanying CD.  I found the CD effective in trying out the self-hypnosis techniques Taylor writes about in the book.  If just reading about Taylor’s methods doesn’t work for you, listening to the CD may.

While I valued Taylor’s words on hypnosis and subliminal technology history and theory, at times it got to be a little overwhelming.  I liked the practical exercises he presented best.

“Belief dictates your life as surely as magnetism directs a compass needle.  If you deem yourself unworthy, you’ll prove it to be so.  If you think you’re unfit, you’ll find a way to manifest that,” Taylor writes.  His book and CD give the reader many techniques to reprogram the mind from prior negative programming.

I was given a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.  I was not financially compensated for this post.  The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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