Are You Happy Now?
10 ways to Live a Happy Life
Reviewed by: Brad J Tesh
Title: Are You Happy Now?
Subtitle: 10 Ways to live a Happy Life
Author: Barbara Berger
Publisher: O Books, imprint of John Hunt Publishing 2013
“Are you Happy Now?” by Barbara Berger is a book that enlightens, uplifts and transfixes a reader. In the Introduction the author tells us how her book came to be as she pondered one day laying on the sofa, “What does it take to live a happy life?”.The 10 ways she addresses in this delightful book are broken down into sections or the chapters of the book. There is so much in- depth knowledge shared in this book that I found myself re-reading portions of it as I was reading, just to make sure I was absorbing the words and information to the fullest extent. The book is written in a comprehensive and easy to understand manner, but its depth is enthralling. It begs us to question the idea of our happiness. Are we happy? How can we be happier? How do we embrace life to its fullest extent? How can we handle the stress and situations of our lives? What makes life worth living? How can we be at peace within ourselves? I found within her words a deep sense of honesty, wisdom and intrigue. Not everyday do you come across a book that makes you rethink your entire life! The author extends her hand to her readers giving us thought provoking processes to work with that can change our life and bring us more happiness, peace and contentment.
In Chapter 1 Accept What Is the author writes “ Just think how you would feel if you didn’t resist what is, just for a few minutes. “ I had never really pondered upon this before. What if I did not resist what is, and allowed it to be, how would I feel? What if I simply accepted how things were. Barbara then writes, “If we could just for a moment allow things to be exactly the way they are, without fighting them. If you play around with this idea or mind shift, you will discover that it can be quite liberating”. So I played around with it, I found a sort of silence and peace and acceptance that I found interesting, enlightening and refreshing. To an extent it felt like freedom. What a thought to just allow things to be as they are! Another section of chapter one I really loved speaks about the nature of pain. Barbara tells us “ I found that when I think about pain I am mostly resisting the pain, and that when I resist pain it definitely gets worse . “ How true is that! It goes along with the whole vantage point of what we resist often persists. Or when we focus on something in resistance, which is giving our attention to it and amplifying it, generally it does get worse and become bigger. In this section the author explains that pain can often be amplified or lessened in its degree. She writes “ I try to be with the sensation in the present moment and allow it, without going into a panic. When I am able to do this, I find the nature of the discomfort changes.” I think the concept presented here is a very relevant one, for where we focus our mind and how we feel are huge components to living a happy life.
In Chapter 2 Want what you Have Barbara address the meaning of a crisis, the blessings behind one and how to deal with them. I loved this line “ Crisis is an alarm signal, a sign that something you are thinking or doing is preventing you from experiencing the happiness that is your true nature and birthright”. To look at a crisis in this way enables us to see beyond its illusion, and gain knowledge from its occurrence. She really breaks it down for her readers in showcasing how crisis and the mind are related and how attitude plays a pivotal role in not only surviving the crisis but charting a new course. We can learn from crisis and investigate ourselves deeper, gaining a different perspective. I particularly resonated with this line “ Here’s what I’ve discovered – happiness is a mind that is at peace with itself”. To understand the balance between being fully present and the thoughts of the mind, we can free ourselves from being trapped in unhappiness. In Chapter 3 Be Honest with yourself Barbara speaks indepthly of “ Becoming your own Best friend”, “Being a people Pleaser” and about “ Being Loving and kind”. This Chapter shows us how to be honest with ourselves and how to communicate with ourselves and with others. The author writes “ And who’s to say if being clear and honest and communicating openly is not the most loving and kind thing we can possibly do in every situation!” How about that! To be clear and honest and communicate? What would that do for us? Would it help us be more open? More ourselves? Might it help even clarify our intentions? This really makes a person think about how they present themselves and about how honest they are. Can it be done in a loving way? I think it can. So why don’t we do it, out of fear of disagreement? This is addressed thoroughly in the book as well.
This book delves into the “truth” of things. Examining our own thoughts, and how we can turn our thoughts around to see the truth and bring resolution. A brilliant statement from Chapter 4- Investigate your stories “ In my experience, there’s only one way to deal with worrying – and that’s to shine the light of truth on the things we are worrying about”. This chapter helps us understand what worrying is and how to change our thoughts. By telling new stories and understanding what kind of stories we are telling, we gain more control over our own thoughts and feelings. Chapter 5 – Mind your own business gives us ideas about boundaries, and how to “ be at home with yourself” Barbara explains how to be “at home” with yourself or that is- in sync with yourself and not into invading other people’s business. “ Call it being your own best friend. Call it being there for you. Call it minding your own business. Call it peace. But whatever you call it, when you do this, everyone becomes your friend, including you.” Is that not a profound statement? Does it not send a little shiver up your spine? What if everyone was at peace with themselves and what if we did mind our own business ? How would that feel. The book gives us many brilliant ideas to consider.
One of my favorite parts of the entire book is in Chapter 6- Follow your Passion and Accept the Consequences. It is called “My deathbed Technique” This idea deals with living fully in the present moment, embracing the totality of your opportunities and following your hearts desire. While the name of this technique might sound slightly interesting, it is a remarkable and relevant concept to me. How often do we not say what we feel? Or follow our true passions? Or seize the moments life hands us? Barbara writes about life being a gift and seizing our opportunities. ” I try to envision how I will feel on my deathbed if I do not honor the highest and best in myself at this very moment in time.” When we think back on the moment we are being offered and then think about how we would feel about it on our deathbed, it helps us to follow our hearts desire and gives us conviction to allow life to flow through us. It got me thinking about my own life and how on occasion I restrain myself a bit due to social anxieties and stigmatic fears. I think this is a brilliant way to look at living in the now.
Another section I truly enjoyed was “Fearing your Emotions” in chapter 8. This line made me really think about my emotions “ So when powerful emotions arise, we are afraid because we think we’ll be swept away and lose control. “ we read here how to be mindful of our emotions and not so much fear them like an ugly monster. I think a lot of times we do run from our emotions and as such we let fear or panic control us and our circumstances. The author clearly explains here many techniques to use to overcome these so called “scary emotions” and how to remain present and “intend” to be mindful, even doing the simplest chores like the dishes. By being mindful we can experience more peace and actually “be” in our now. I like that idea a lot, being in our now without clouding it with worry, judgment, or fear. There is a beautiful parable in Chapter 9 – Know what is what called “In the Land with no Mirrors – A Parable “ The mental cages we build that keep us from seeing. Outside the cages is life. Free Life. And Love. Vast and unimaginable. “ I thought that was such a relevant and heart warming statement ,within one of the lines of the parable. So many times we build cages, around ourselves and our emotions but we are naturally free and loving. Just as a bird in a cage, we long to spread our wings and fly and experience and express.
The author asks us to question, if death is dangerous and if life is dangerous, in the last chapter. She wants us to examine these concepts for what they are. Is there proof death is dangerous? Could we liberate ourselves from fear of life if we did not fear death? A very valid point and one which is intrinsically examined here with preciseness and reasoning. The book ends with a Happy Life worksheet based on each chapter, where key points are presented and you are encouraged to write down and investigate the various parts of your life and examine for yourself things that are working and things that are not. This helps you see struggles more clearly and find the true path to your own unique happiness. “Are You Happy Now?” delivers fully with great depth, insight and invigoration. There is an tremendous amount of knowledge and information presented in this book. The language and concepts fit together with fluidity, efficiency and relevance. This book can not only help enhance your life and open your mind to seeing far beneath the surface – it can change your life as well! Phenomenal writing Barbara Berger! You have written a book of value, exploration and taken the concept of Happiness and fully helped people to understand what it is and how to be happy! After reading this book you WILL be asking yourself “ Are You Happy Now?”
Amazon link to purchase “Are You Happy Now?” http://www.amazon.com/Are-You-Happy-Now-Ways/dp/1782792015/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1378497237&sr=8-5&keywords=are+you+happy+now
Reviewed by : Brad J Tesh. Author. Freelance Writer. www.awakeninglite.com
The 9 Dimensions of the Soul
by David Hey www.davidhey.com
Reviewed by: Brad J Tesh www.awakeninglite.com
The 9 Dimensions of the Soul
Essence and the Enneagram
ISBN: ISBN-13: 978 1 84694 002 6 ISBN-10: 1 84694 002 8
Published by: O Books 2006 O Books is an imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd
Printed in the US by Maple Vail
David Hey begins his insightful book The 9 Dimensions of the Soul by acknowledging his spiritual master Osho and his spiritual guide Faisal, crediting them both for their guidance and inspiration. I thought this was a wonderful thing to read first, as it sets the tone for this very indepth and spiritually infused book. His foreword speaks of his openness as a child to the spiritual side of life and his re-emergence into the spiritual ways in his adulthood. Heys’ book is divided into 10 Chapters as follows:
Chapter 1- Childs Play
Chapter 2- Sweeter than Honey
Chapter 3- Master of myself
Chapter 4- Beloved of the Heart
Chapter 5- Divine Light
Chapter 6- The Way of the White Clouds
Chapter 7- The Holy Fool
Chapter 8- Fire in the Belly
Chapter 9- Grace
Chapter 10 – Maturity
There is a Foreword and Introduction at the beginning of the book and an afterword and suggested reading at the end of the book.
Within the Introduction and Core Understandings, a History of the Enneagram is given and captivated upon. Hey explains that the Enneagram is a symbol that has represented a way of understanding the spiritual evolution of man. The idea of “Essence” is then explained as a “the different qualities of Being which is our true nature.” Effectively the author is explaining that Essence is a way to look at our individual beingness and that is what “defines the aspects of our true nature.” I could clearly understand what the author was discussing here, for his words were not only explanatory but also able to be understood from a humanistic and spiritual point of view.
Hey further writes, “ Each of the nine points on the circle of the Enneagram (see Diagram A) represents not only a personality type but also an essential quality. The Enneagram could also be represented by a circle divided into nine sections like a pie with nine equal pieces (see Diagram B). Each of the numbers on the Enneagram represents a personality type and an essential quality that this personality type is preoccupied with. “
This thorough explanation builds the foundation of the entire book, for within each chapter the qualities of each personality type is discussed in vivid detail. I particularly found the description of each type, as an introduction to the chapter, rather fascinating as Hey dives into the name, the essence, the color, the symbol, passion, fixation, etc of each personality type as a mini intro and overview. The author briskly moves forward in his writing, describing the personality type and color essence associated with that quality of person. This is done in great illuminating detail and provides much informative information for all types of readers.
Let me showcase this in wonderful detail. We read in Chapter 1 Childs Play about the Pink Essence which is described as “sweetness and innocence, safety and security” the pink essence is explained as fluffy and sweet, cotton candy like. Within this essence the author shows his readers that when we enjoy ourselves, we embrace our child like innocence, and are “blissfully child like”. His words painted for me, a calming, fun picture of the pink Essence, for within it we embrace the inner child and embody characteristics of the child and the experience of the mother. The mention of “ giggles and laughter and games” helps readers find the place within themselves or their essence, where this pink essence use to exist and still exists within their personality and childlike humanistic makeup.
We see therein the contrasting element of the perfectionist explained in detail and how we as a reader could heal the contrasting characteristics a perfectionist might embody. Hey explains what would be more detrimental to a perfectionist than productive, and how their functionality in society is seen on both a spiritual and earthly level. The author gives informative insights into the darker side of the nature of a perfectionist and ideas about how to heal, re-balance, and let go of that which might no longer serves them. These sections of the book are intrinsic to read and absorb and I find Heys’ writing to be intuitive and forthright, yet not overbearing. While there is an technical side to his explanations, he presents them in a manner that is relatable, compassionate and highly educational.
This book challenges readers to look into their soul, examine their personality type, and take an in-depth look at themselves. Hey brings to light how each person might “integrate” the essence or how to face certain things about themselves, they may or may not want to acknowledge.
In Chapter 3- Master of Myself, I was drawn into the information presented about “The Pearl Essence” Hey writes, “ The Pearl dissolves the layers of ego that are fixation and false personality. The Pearl goes beyond ego activity. In the integration of the Pearl, our activities are informed by Being. “ To me this was fascinating to read because in effect The Pearl Essence tells us that beyond ego we are spiritual beings, we are in touch with our true nature and that in that type of state we relate to our true selves with more connection. Balancing our inner connection to the ethereal, spiritual worlds and our own humanity. The author writes, “ In the personal Essence of the Pearl we are totally involved, totally connected and totally present. “ I found this Chapter truly educational, for how many times is it that spiritual people struggle with balancing the connection between the spiritual and the earth realities? How many times a day do we fully embrace the true self within and stay connected to the now as a sense of being present, fully alive, feeling, knowing and experiencing life in a pure state of being one with the moment? The chapter dives deep into the contrasting element of the performer and brings readers very enlightened information on how performers function and what best suites them under the section Leadership and Organizations – these sections are a wonderful part of each chapter.
The 9 Dimensions of the Soul is an educational, in-depth and knowledgeable read. The author writes with clarity, wit and a certain down to earthness, even when the material in parts is very esoteric and metaphysical. That is something I really enjoyed about Heys’ book – his ability to ground the material in sensible fashion, while also exploring the highly evolved esoteric nature of the subject of the Enneagram and the Essences. Within each chapter the reader is able to not only learn about the subject but find within its parameters facets in themselves and their corresponding natures that may bring inner enlightenment. We read about how to Heal our natures, what our natures mean, how to work with the numbers of the Enneagram and what kind of techniques and ideas we can use to explore the depths of our own individualistic personalities.
At times intense and extremely informative, the book showcases the strengths and weaknesses of varying personality types and their energetic associations, with ways to counterbalance and temper them. I found the book to be enlightening, interesting, and I learned a lot from Heys’ informative writing I did not know. Definitely a book worth buying, re-reading a second time and keeping as a reference, The 9 Dimensions of the Soul delivers fully with its deep explanations of esoteric knowledge and its relatable language. Easy to understand and full of potent wisdom, this book is one I would highly recommend to everyone, not just someone seeking information on the Enneagram, although it is a thorough and well written book about the subject. I will end with a line from the author in Chapter 9 -Grace “The nature of existence is love”. I felt this book was written with the language of Spiritual love and is a wonderful journey into enlightenment and re-birthing of the self. I truly did love this book!
Reviewed by Brad J Tesh: Co author of Seek Joy…Toss Confetti with Bonnie Cehovet. Columnist and Radio co- Host at Attune Magazine with Mary Nale. Freelance Writer. www.awakeninglite.com
The Lightworkers Circle Guide – A Workbook for Spiritual Groups
Copyright: Wendy Stokes
Published by O-Books in paperback and Kindle format
Available from good bookshops worldwide and from Amazon, Goodreads, Abe Books and Ebay.
Reviewed by Brad J Tesh. www.awakeninglite.com
The LightWorkers Circle Guide is a book full of in depth and esoteric knowledge. The author, Wendy Stokes, presents us with a book that offers many specific ways to invigorate and organize a Lightworker circle. The book delves into a vast number of fascinating subjects, as Wendy explains in thorough detail how to build an effective circle, manage it and bring the very best out of a group experience. Written in an easy to understand format and with great poise and preciseness, The LightWorkers Circle Guide is a book for beginners as well as advanced Lightworkers. I enjoyed learning the in’s and out’s of how Lightworker circles work, what one can do to make them effective and how to garner the very best out of the experience. Wendy offers us step by step formats to follow to form a safe circle, gain high level information, and showcases how Spirit communication works best. Wendy writes “ The congregation of your members acts as an ashram or nexus to gather Spirit based Energies”. The Book and Chapters are presented as follows:
Chapter 1- Planning Stage
Chapter 2- Culture Setting
Chapter 3- First Sittings
Chapter 4- Establishing Communication
Chapter 5- Gaining Expertise
Chapter 6- Troubleshooting
Chapter 7- Divination
Chapter 8- Interactive Tutorials
Within each chapter Wendy presents sections to that chapter, that are both educational and well structured. In Chapter 1 in the section “Preparations” the author writes “ A Lightworking circle offers a sense of belonging and a warm, cohesive, safe and friendly atmosphere to gain information.” This really is the core concept of this book. What a Lightworker Circle is and how one can explore healing and spiritual transformation within one. I enjoyed how the book is written not only as a guide but also as a teaching mechanism. The author writes “ The aim of Spiritual insight is to maximize the strengths of each person in order to create a powerhouse of dynamic wisdom”. As I was reading this book I found her focus on individuality within circle communication really appealing because it helps you learn as you read and does not just focus on group work exclusively, although that is the main theme.
Wendys focus upon Lightwokers in Chapter 2 is rather enlightening. She explains the differences between lightworkers and Anti- lightworkers here. This was informative to me because Lightworkers often have a great aim and purpose behind their spiritually based work. I particularly enjoyed this line. “Generally a lightworker is any authentic, trustworthy and kind person, as Lightworking is a way of life, not just a belief and we need to show how our beliefs result in actions.” The author makes a valid point, that it is not just enough to think of oneself as lightworker, it is very important to live your belief as well. Time is also discussed in this chapter and great reverence is given to how it is respectful to group members and the Spirit world to value time and keep to set time boundaries, as this helps the circle flow better and opens communication at set times with the Spirit world. Wendy tells readers how to build an altar and efficiently utilize one within a circle. I have always thought altars to be a wonderful way to communicate with Spirit and honor a sacred space, so I was pleased to see this mentioned in the book.
In Chapter 3 – First Sittings we are presented with a solid amount of information about the aura and the chakras, then told how some mediums can see their own aura and the aura of animals as well. Specific information is given here relating to seeing auras and personal experience is presented. I really resonated with the writing about trees and their Auras, as the author writes : “Each tree has its own individual energy field depending on age, health, and environment and a specific aura related to genus”. To me this was a lovely bit of info in this chapter, as I have a strong connection to nature. Wendy writes of the Chakras and how they relate to the human body. A Chakra chart is laid out with great detail and we can see how each chakra relates to a body organ, color, music, gemstone, mantra, quality and herb. This chart really helps explain the chakras and gives a fantastic overview of working with energy.
The author goes on to explain in Chapter 4- Establishing Communication how to open to spirit contact. Sample questions are posed that a person can ask Spirit such as “ What would be the best course of action? “. There is a relaxation induction here that assists one into sinking into a relaxed, comfortable state. This specific exercise helps to rejuvenate the emotions and rebalance the body. I felt it was a good induction and I really could feel myself relax when doing the exercise. Orbs are mentioned in Chapter 5 – Gaining Expertise. This section is really interesting and makes for a good read. Wendy writes “ The Spirits we wish to attract are those that can supervise our spiritual quest with safety, joy and intelligence and success”. This section is full of useful, practical and spiritual information about Spirit guides and Spirit contact within the circle.
The LightWorkers Circle Guide also gives us information about the emotions that arise during spirit contact and circle work. Tears, anxiety, resentment are discussed and ideas and suggestions of how to work with these emotions within the circle are given. One way to is to write a letter to the Angel of Resolution to help with these matters. I thought that was so neat! In chapter 7- Divination there is a heartwarming story presented about Scrying with a crystal Ball and how Spirit communication and healing can take place from such divination tools. This section speaks of Divination tools such as pendulums and how to make various tools, work with them and enhance spiritual contact through them. Lots of insightful information here for anyone who is new to divination work or those whom already have a good amount of expertise.
The LightWorkers Circle Guide closes with Chapter 8 – Interactive Tutorials.There are 10 meditations here that are written with clarity, information and insight. These meditations are great tools in expanding your spirituality and learning how to enter a meditation, have a delightful, educational experience and then ground yourself back to reality. I tried a few of these meditations as reading and was able to do them with ease.They certainly help relax the body, open the spiritual senses and illuminate one’s intuition. Most importantly, they are easy to follow and understand. I learned a lot while reading this book! It is full of esoteric information, practices, suggestions and ideas. It is a “group” centered book and a lot of information is written as exercises for a group setting. However, some methods can be used individually as well. This is a teaching book, one that sets forth constructive, structured information in a easy to understand format. I liked how Wendy added in bits and pieces of her personal experiences and those of other individuals. While The LIghtWorkers Circle Guide is an educational step by step guide into circle work, and is meant to present itself as a guide to learning, experiencing and growing with doing circle work, there are also personal touches which add a warmness to the technical side of the book. I found this book to be loaded with knowledge, full of great suggestions and ideas and really illuminating. I would say it would be a great book to get if you are wanting to learn about circle work or if you have a spiritual group of your own, for it presents solid information in a conservative fashion that can not only assist you but can enlighten you as well.
Note: Wendy has donated her royalties to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust which helps to protect endangered species from extinction.www.durrell.org
We obviously appreciate all you do to publicise the book or the charity.
Reviewed by Brad J Tesh: Author & Freelance Writer. www.awakeninglite.com