Category Archives: Books

The Banyan Deer Book Illustrates the Courage of a True Leader

The Banyan Deer is a touching story of how one animal’s brave soul and ability to follow what is true can lead to a complete change in the lives and attitudes of many—even a king.

And although in The Banyan Deer the heroic characters are deer who influence a man, this powerful parable holds true for all of humanity. In fact, humanity would do well to learn the lesson of this important story.

The Banyan Deer is a parable told by Rafe Martin that teaches the reader about the power of standing up for truth and justice, even at the risk of sticking out your own neck. It seems today most people keep quiet as not to disturb the unhealthy status quo. Some speak out for what they believe, but only very few are willing to walk the walk as well.

The Banyan Deer Shows the Courage a True Leader Must Possess

Deer IllustrationIn a world of followers (that seems to be leading to our own demise) what we need today is real life character just like the Banyan Deer King in this inspiring story, The Banyan Deer (Wisdom Publications).

Martin captures the true essence of bravery, courage, and compassion in this tale well worth reading to the old and young alike.

This story begins with a mother deer teaching her son deer about how he came to be, and why an infamous statue forever immortalizing their own king, King Banyan, stands where it does.

Imagine Humanity Learning from the Animal Kingdom

The Banyan King teaches the human king in this awesome story about the rights of all to have life in peace and harmony as well as an incredible lesson about self-sacrifice for the good of others—whether you know them or not.

This is a parable that should be read to the children today from a very young age as it’s written in such simplistic, yet beautiful terms that even the youngest listener can pay attention and understand, especially with repetition.

The Banyan Deer is a much-needed story for us all to embrace and live in today’s “all me” world. I highly recommend this parable for all. The illustrations are likewise inspiring, beautiful, and even comforting. This book is a true beauty in every way.

Honored Author and Illustrator Create this Unparalleled Tale

Book Cover of The Banyan DeerRafe Martin is an accomplished writer who has won numerous awards and recognitions including the Empire State Award, three American Library Association Notable Book awards, four Parent’s Choice Gold Awards, and much more. His incredible work has been cited in Time Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and USA Today.

The illustrator of The Banyan Deer, Richard Wehrman, has also had his share of well-deserved recognition and his illustrations seem to magically blend into this gentle yet powerful tale. Among Wehrman’s honors are being chosen as Rochester’s Communicator of the Year for illustration and he received a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. These illustrations complement this empowering tale perfectly.

You can bet I’ll be looking for more stories from both this author and illustrator.

To read other 5 Star reviews, visit Amazon > The Banyan Deer

Advice on Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity

SARK’s latest book released Nov 1, 2010, Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity offers a loving and helpful handbook for anyone in transition.

Because we live in unprecedented times, a light-hearted but effective handbook to navigating through the emotional roller coaster of loss and change has arrived-with impeccable timing!

You may also want to visit Planet SARK to learn about her workshops, courses, and other books.

This Is Not A Book About Feeling Glad When You Don’t

Image Depicting Planet SarkSARK’s style is colorful, casual and surprisingly helpful, and the author thankfully goes past the typical “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” diatribe.

As SARK herself says, “This is not a book about feeling glad when you don’t—how annoying. This is a book about finding and living from the glad parts in all of your feelings (page 4).”

SARK offers up some sound advice and some fantastic suggestions. For example, she says, “I’m learning to hold the little hands of those sacred parts inside of myself, and just sit with them (page 94).”

She later stresses the importance of feeling our feelings: “If we don’t allow ourselves to feel or express our emotions, they will get larger and louder or may go into our bodies and present themselves as some kind of physical condition (page 97).”

Empowering and Inspiring

Glad No Matter What Book CoverUnfortunately, SARK speaks from experience, as she shares her Transformational Practices (Chapter 6) and suggestions that came to her through her own journey of transformation.

She writes candidly about the death of her mother, her cat, and her love relationship. She also addresses her childhood sexual abuse and the pivotal role of forgiveness in her life.

Although her “loss list” (page 170) is full, SARK writes in a way that is empowering and inspiring, as she shares her formulas for feeling the feelings and finding the gifts along the way. SARK also offers up some sage advice for “Telling and Living New Stories” (page 171) and learning to “Live in the Middle” (page 181).

Glad No Matter What is also full of surprising resources, including books, music, web addresses, inspirational quotes, and a whole chapter on case studies called Portraits of Joy and Transformation Through Change and Loss (Chapter 7).

Practical Joy

SARK’s real world, common sense approach to surviving loss in any form is comforting and approachable.

SARK may be the mother, aunt, or best friend that you never had, and once you have read her work, you will want to have her over for dinner—or maybe book a cruise to the Caribbean for the both of you.

She and her work are delightful, open, and full of what she seeks: practical joy!

Learn more, visit Amazon > Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity

Learn more, visit Amazon > Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity

Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness by Susan L. Smalley, PhD and Diana Winston

Do you feel like your life is operating on warp speed?

Are you so caught up in all of your daily activities that you end the day feeling like you don’t have a clue as to what really went on?

With the modern world’s emphasis and value on speed, fast, and now, it’s hard to get through a day without feeling constant pressure, strain, and a “Hurry up!” attitude. In fact, it seems like most people are more interested in how fast things happen rather than how well things get done. Living in the present is almost an absurd attempt with the all of the stresses and strains we’ve let society put on us.

In this first of its kind book, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness, Susan Smalley and Diana Winston take the reader on an easy-to-read lesson into the art and science (just as the title states) of mindfulness and how it can transform your life. If you’ve ever wanted to discover living in the present and how empowering and freeing it can be, Fully Present teaches you how.

Understanding Mindfulness and Living in the Present

Author SmalleyAuthor WinstonMindfulness is the art of being aware and paying attention with openness and curiosity to the present moment. Mindfulness can transform your life in ways you can only imagine.

Fully Present begins with the authors’ own personal accounts of their experiences with mindfulness. Susan Smalley tells the reader how despite her seemingly happy dream life as a mother of three, successful professor, and wife of a successful Hollywood entrepreneur, she was really feeling angry, resentful, and out-of-touch inside. Living in the present didn’t exist.  Smalley explains how her life transformed into one of connectedness, deep peace, and true compassion for others as well as herself. She learned to live in the present and appreciate it for all it is and all it isn’t.

As for co-author Diana Winston, she explains to the reader how she came upon mindfulness, living in the present, and how vital it is to having a truly happy life. As a meandering new college graduate, Winston took to traveling to India. During this journey she became interested in many of their teachings—including mindfulness—from Buddhist teachings. She almost immediately became immersed in this way of living and of thinking, which included many mediation retreats and even a year spent as a Buddhist nun in Burma.

These two authors beautifully weave a tale of living in the present that encompasses both their personal stories as well as science and art. Fully Present offers a baseline view of what mindfulness is and how to make it part of your life from both the scientific and art perspective.  If you feel rushed, out-of-touch with yourself and others, angry, upset, depressed or just feel you aren’t living in the present, Fully Present provides the tools and insight to set you free.

A Perfect Merge of Science and Art

Book Cover for Fully PresentFully Present offers both an understanding in the scientific realm of what living in the present and mindfulness actually are, as well as the art of mindfulness. Not only does the reader come to understand with the mind what mindfulness is, you’ll also learn how to make this mindfulness part of your life on a daily basis.

Mindfulness is helpful to any person regardless of who you are, where you’ve been, or where you want to go. If you want to live life in deep inner peace and feel contentment that is unwavering, Fully Present is the tool to take you there.

Both Susan Smalley and Diana Winston work at the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA—which was founded by Susan Smalley.

To read other 5 Star Reviews, visit Amazon > Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness

The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness by Donald Altman

Many of us find during the week there are days we feel rushed, running on empty, and wishing we had add a few more hours to the day.

Or we wish we had a few more days to the week and so on.

If you’re a member of today’s fast paced society there’s little doubt that at one time or another you’ve felt this way.

Depending on the exact specs of your life you may feel this way often or rarely. Either way, it doesn’t feel good and in fact may be damaging to your health; body, mind, and soul.

clock hanging on ceilingThis is why we wanted to alert you to Donald Altman’s most recent book, “The Mindfulness Code,” which teaches you how to get out of this type of life – actually the thinking – that keeps you feeling like you’re a clock watcher, running on a treadmill and the speeds just a bit too fast.

In The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness, Altman teaches the reader what exactly is going on in the brain – or brain science. He then takes the reader on an easy to understand journey into active ways to really re-wire your own brain to disable these thoughts and patterns that tend to overwhelm us.

Step Out of the Rat Race of Pain with Mindfulness

Altman, a former Buddhist monk, now a practicing psychotherapist, teaches the reader how to get in touch with his or her own reactive thought patterns which cause stress, anger, anxiety, and fear.

These negative emotions seem to becoming more and more the ‘norm’ for how people in our society feel on a daily basis.

These negative feelings not only impact our jobs, our relationships with family, friends, and loved ones but also our health. When we’re stressed the infamous “stress hormone” cortisol increases. This stress hormone is now being linked to cancers, and other chronic diseases like heart disease.

The Seeker of Peace will Find It in Mindfulness

peaceful insideIf you feel at all like you’d like to be more in touch with yourself, less stressed or anxious, and not running on the treadmill like a mindless mouse, then The Mindfulness Code is a good match for you.

In forty-four chapters, and 273 pages, Altman will clue you in on what’s really going on when we argue, react, and feel stressed out in general.

Learn to turn what you used to see as the negative into positive, learning experiences that enrich your life and the lives of the ones you hold dear.

Science, Spirituality, and Mindfulness Meet

Altman teaches the reader through science, words, and case studies that there are four vital keys for living a healthy, fulfilled, and happy life; The Mind Key, The Body Key, The Spirit Key, and The Relationship Key.

This book is a one of kind tool that not only tells you’re the science behind what’s going on, but gives you real life ways to apply this to your life for peace and harmony in all you do.

The Mindfulness CodeAs you look at the “rat race” we’ve all become part of it’s hard to know exactly how to get out while still being a productive part of society. The Mindfulness Code takes you step by step to a life you may have yearned for but didn’t know how to reach.

Deepen your relationships, turn turmoil into triumph, enjoy the day to day life you live, and become even more productive with less stress and more creativity.

This is a phenomenal book that all who are suffering in our world today would benefit from reading and applying to their lives.

To read other great reviews visit Amazon > The Mindfulness Code

Experience Benefits of Chanting – Book and CD: Chants of a Lifetime by Krishna Das

The benefits of chanting have touched people’s lives from ancient times to the present.

Chanting is an experience that delights the ears as the spaces between the words along with the chanted sounds and words engage the intention of the heart and soul of the chanter.

While chanting powerful forces are engaged. The lungs, chest, and mind are exercised. A person can overcome shyness during group chants, and they can learn new languages while engaging in the wisdom of the words chanted.

The experience of listening to chants can activate the listener on many different levels. Chants can take the listener or chanter into higher states of consciousness, extend deep relaxation, demonstrate devotion, open up memory channels to higher knowledge while connecting them to fields of non-visible information.

Chanting is a beloved and sacred ritual capturing the attention of many who wish to know oneness and experience spirituality.

Read a recent review of Chants of a Lifetime by Krishna Das, published by HayHouse Books.

The Chants of Krishna Das

Krishna Das PhotoThe following review offers the reader an opportunity to embrace the “Chants of a Lifetime: Searching for a Heart of Gold” by Krishna Das.

Krishna Das’ recent book Chants of a Lifetime has something for everyone on the spiritual path. His no-nonsense approach to the topic of love, chanting and even having a guru offers a rare voice to the somewhat crowded business of spirituality.

His first-person account of his life and many of his experiences with his guru Neem Karoli Baba offers an intimate account of how Krishna Das—one of the spiritual world’s preeminent devotional singers—became “Krishna Das.”

An Intimate Look at Krishna Das’ Life

The author shares a personal account of his own life including addiction and his personal relationships, some of his experiences with Ram Das—one of Neem Karoli’s most famous students—some fascinating differences between Western and Indian cultures, his journey through chanting, as well as important teachings from many teachers and disciplines along the way.

But most importantly, Krishna Das writes about his own experience with love. He says “When we’re in love, when we feel loved, we go through the day in a different way. It’s simple…

…we start to feel better regardless of what’s happening. But what if that somebody we love is us?

He later says: “We’re in relationship to everything, all the time. It seems that the bottom line to relationships is this: As much as you love yourself, that’s how much you will be able to love another and allow yourself to be loved (134-135).”

Chants of a Lifetime is full of this kind of grounded, authentic, and connected wisdom.

Chants of a Lifetime Bookcover

Kirtan with Krishna Das

With nothing but love to sell, Krishna Das continually reveals himself as the real deal: his CD found in the back cover is a hidden gem, especially if you love to chant.

The recording follows a call and response format: him singing and then a blank space for you to respond, so basically you can have kirtan with KD whenever you like.

Krishna Das is one of those rare souls in life: Smart enough to seek the truth within himself, and simple enough to do what he is told once he gets there.

Click to learn more > Chants of a Lifetime by Khrisna Das