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The Gifted 7Title: The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams
Author: Daphne Michaels
Publisher: Daphne Michaels Books
Pages: 130
Genre: Personal Development/Spirituality
Format: Paperback / Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

In The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels celebrates the nine gifts that are our birthright, guiding readers in how to recognize and use them to transform their lives. In her author’s preface, Michaels reveals how her own journey of life transformation began when she was young and realized that human existence wore two conflicting faces–one of love and joy, and one of fear and despair. She decided then to commit her life to reconciling these two visions because she knew that, irreconcilable though they seemed, together these two faces held the secret to living a life of endless possibility and authentic happiness. Her personal journey and formal education in social science, human services and integral psychology led to the founding of the Daphne Michaels Institute, which has helped hundreds of men and women design the lives of their dreams.

In The Gifted Michaels shows us that the first three “gifts” we must recognize and embrace within us if we are to re-design our lives are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use the remaining six with a life-changing power: Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement. Each of these six relies on the “essential three” for its own power to change our lives, and each has its own gifts–its “children.” By approaching the nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers in easily understood ways what for many readers have been lingering questions about personal transformation—such as how it works, what kind of commitment it takes, and why, if we’re committed, real transformation becomes inevitable—and addresses obstacles that readers may have encountered in the past in trying to reach in life a happiness every human deserves.

While the human universe’s face of love is celebrated in The Gifted, so is the face of fear that haunted a young girl decades ago. As Michaels shows us in her book, even Disharmony—the “quagmire” of life born of the human ego’s fear, defenses, delusions and despair—is a gift, too, and one as important as the others if we know how to see it clearly and use it. Once we understand Disharmony, we are ready to understand the real purpose of Harmony in our lives. Disharmony does not need to rule us. It is ours to use as we design the lives of our dreams.

The final gift in The Gifted, Michaels tells us, is the gift of Engagement. Engagement—with the universe and with ourselves—allows us to use all of the other gifts with more power and joy than we ever imagined possible.

That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts – nine of them, in fact – that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts – which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title – are the keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.

FIRST CHAPTER:

Life’s greatest mystery is inside us. It is inside every living thing. Like the deep secrets of the universe, the mystery inside us will never be fully explained. By exploring it, however, we can discover gifts available to us that can change our lives forever.

Life’s great mystery is awareness. More basic than thoughts and more primal than instincts, awareness does not require a centralized brain, as scientists have proven through studies with invertebrates like starfish. While these beautiful creatures have no centralized brains, they possess awareness. Starfish, like all invertebrates, use awareness to perceive, eat, grow, reproduce, and survive.

Awareness is so intrinsic to life that it defines life: living means being aware. From the beginning of life – before we take an initial breath – humans demonstrate tremendous awareness. Prenatal psychologists have discovered that we experience, while still in our mother’s womb, not only light and sound but, even more astonishingly, emotion. We kick our legs when agitated by loud noises and sway pleasantly to beautiful classical music. Months before birth we grimace at the taste of sour amniotic fluid and drink heartily when it is sweet. Awareness grows as we grow.

As we develop as human beings, our awareness stretches in all directions – from awareness of our five basic senses to awareness of external events around us, from awareness of our emotions to awareness of our thoughts, from limited awareness of a topic that bores us to an expanded awareness of topics we feel passionate about. Of all the many dimensions of awareness, the highest form is self-awareness. With self-awareness we begin to appreciate just how far awareness actually extends. Just as ocean waters are deeper than the surface of the sea, awareness is deeper than the surface of our physical body or our conscious thoughts. The infinite depth and breadth of awareness is filled with gifts that are ours to receive.

Our Most Valuable Resource

At a time when the entire world seems to be spinning out of control, understanding that awareness is our most valuable and practical personal resource is crucial. Rather than having us search high and low for answers to life’s problems in the same old places, awareness takes us beyond what we already know into realms of endless discovery: Realms where rebirth always follows destruction. Realms where new horizons continually appear in sight. Realms where new solutions inevitably come from our sheer willingness to delve deeper into an invisible resource that is always there and can never be depleted.

When we realize that awareness is our most valuable and practical personal resource, we become confident that we can overcome any challenges keeping us from living the life we’ve always wanted. Through awareness, hope is guaranteed us. The secret to living the life of our dreams begins with understanding that awareness plays a central, crucial role in both the life we’re living now and the one we wish to live.

Increasing Our Awareness

Increasing our awareness is not about discovering answers by asking questions in the usual way. Awareness is more organic than thinking. We can only access it through a deeper connection with the self. And we can only achieve that connection through a special kind of relaxation: not the kind of relaxation that puts us to sleep, but the kind that wakes us up.

Like gymnasts on balance beams, we increase our awareness through a relaxation that calls forth alertness and focus. Relaxed, alert and focused, gymnasts connect to deeper parts of themselves where awareness exists. If they think, they will fall. And when they come off the balance beam, they bring back a special quality to their daily lives.

Self-Guiding Our Awareness

Like gymnasts, we need to come off the balance beam to discover that the gifts we receive from awareness extend farther than we can imagine – into every aspect of our lives. When gymnasts carry their physical strength and mental precision into daily life, their confidence and achievements multiply, bringing even greater success.

Like gymnasts dedicated to developing strength and skill for their sport, we must be dedicated to developing strength and skill in self-guiding our awareness. If we are, we will experience deep awareness even when only a moment’s opportunity is available, and then come off the balance beam of that moment with gifts that multiply through the ways we live and love.

Self-guiding our awareness means tuning it – from a lower awareness felt as cloudy or negative to a higher awareness where we live with a constant sense of possibility. We tune our awareness through the state of our very being – in other words, through the state of our spirit, mind, heart, physical body and dreaming capacity. Being relaxed, alert and focused on all levels tunes our being to the most profound awareness possible, one where pure potential exists. In turn, self-guiding our awareness through tuning our being allows us to bring that potential into every aspect of our lives.

Think of the flight control panel in the cockpit of a high performance aircraft like a Learjet. The panel has all sorts of dials and switches that must be perfectly adjusted for flight. The instrument panel has been carefully designed to keep the sophisticated and complex aircraft functioning.

Humans are even more sophisticated and complex. We, too, however, have instrument panels that have been carefully designed, and we must learn to adjust the state of our being through those panels. Our own dials and switches allow us to tune the Learjet of our life to realms of potential impossible to reach through the physical world. Through our instrument panel we can tune ourselves to an awareness that will show us with astonishing clarity how to face the challenges and opportunities of our lives.

Our Inner and Outer Life

Through awareness we discover an amazing truth: that our inner and outer lives are a continuous stream, and so much so that we cannot separate the two. We discover that our life begins in a place deeper than our cells, a place where pure awareness exists. From this place of pure awareness our life streams through countless layers of our inner being, just as an old-fashioned movie projector’s light shines through film. Our story plays out on the screen of our life, but it has already been written and etched into the film’s frames. Some of the frames we inherited. Some we invented. Some we should have discarded, but didn’t. Some we hold for the future. Some we hold for others. Some we enjoy seeing played on the screen of our lives, while others we wish we could have cut out of the production altogether. But by the time we realize that our inner and outer life is one continuous stream, our movie is already playing in theaters. We directed it, and we were, we realize, asleep.

We may try hopelessly to change the movie of our life as it plays on the screen. We may stand up in the theater and stick our hands in the flow of light. We may jump up and down screaming that we hate the movie. We may cause such commotion that the movie no longer makes sense to us or anyone else watching it. We may deny that the movie is our life and swear that someone who didn’t really know us wrote the script. We may storm out of the theater; but as we stomp up the aisle trying to contain our dismay, we see our wiser self in the projector room waving, trying to get our attention. Our wiser self is shouting: “The movie playing is interactive! While you can’t stop it from rolling, you can dramatically change it through awareness!”

Interacting With Our Life’s Movie

When we learn to tune the state of our being so that we are both deeply connected to our inner self and fully engaged in life, we live as though we are the gymnast on the balance beam, but are not limited by its narrow margin of space. We are completely free to move about in our life however we choose as long as we remain aware. We are flexible, relaxed, strong, clear, focused; and we are able to think, feel and engage life at its highest potential. We live and love creatively, and the gifts we receive multiply exponentially. Our awareness makes everything we touch a gift to ourselves and others. Every thought we have is a gift; every word we speak is a gift; every idea we consider is a gift. Through awareness we realize that life itself is a gift and that the movie of our life is indeed interactive. We realize that everything is connected to everything else, and that interacting with life’s movie can bring enormous changes in amazingly brief periods of time.

Through awareness an entire landscape of potential will appear before us. Life will never be the same again. We will realize we have been blessed with an incredible opportunity to live the life of our dreams – and the only question is “Will I answer – with sincerity and commitment – opportunity’s knock?”

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Blueprint is the story of one soul’s journey in planning her last incarnation on earth and what happens when friends take over.

The novel opens with Arielle and Raphael in Heaven as they discuss Arielle’s upcoming and last incarnation. Raphael, who’s been her soul mate for thousands of years, offers to help her plan it and she accepts. He suggests that they get their 12 special friends in Heaven involved. To accomplish this, they decide to invite them all for dinner. At dinner, the friends take turns making suggestions for Arielle’s final life: a healer, a transexual, a homeless person, an orphan, a psychiatrist, a child prodigy, among others. Together, they weigh the pros and cons of each scenario while Raphael answers many of their questions about religion and spirituality. Finally, Arielle makes her decision and presents her ‘blueprint’ to the council of elders.

Blueprint is a short light read that explores various aspects of reincarnation, numerology and astrology, among other esoteric subjects. The story is rather linear because the aim of the author is to present these ideas rather than offer a fictional story for fiction’s sake. The chapters are short and simple and the writing is mostly dialogue. An unusual, interesting read for those interested in the topics mentioned.  

To learn more about this book, visit the author’s website

 

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Combining elements of drama, historical fiction and science fiction, The Underlying Hand is an original, fascinating novel that explores controversial subjects such as the origins of mankind, the Sons of God, Eden, and The Flood.

The story begins in the Nibiru Space Station 64,000 years before The Flood. Having escaped from near annihilation, the Marduks are now in search of a solar system and habitable planet that can sustain their existence. They must find a new home as soon as possible because they’re being bombarded by cosmic radiation and many of their people are suffering from tumors and cancer. Fortunately, scientists are working on this to find a solution and do so early in the story, with the added advantage of near immortality. Years pass and they finally reach planet earth, a place similar to their own in atmosphere and cellular life. They first land in a valley filled with lush grasslands and berries, a valley they name Eden. When they realize the creatures in this planet are technologically inferior, the Marduks take the arrogant assumption that they’re superior in all aspects and they’ll be looked upon as gods. Most of them don’t consider the possibility that perhaps these primitive-looking, earthly creatures are more advanced in other ways than their own.

The Marduks are a technologically super-advanced society with a dictatorial monarchy. Their original lifespan of 12,000 years has been expanded to near infinite provided they take their radiation bath cure. The king, Jova, has absolute, god-like power. His power is followed by a Council. The novel, however, is mainly told from the perspective of Nin, Jova’s daughter, who acts as a kind of observer to everything that is going on. Through her dialogue with other characters and especially her conversations with her two brothers as well as with Uriel, the royal sage and mentor, the author raises many important issues such as: What is the spiritual cost of a super-advanced society? Is immortality worth pursuing? Is it the law of the universe for the stronger to dominate the weaker? Is there such a thing as a soul or consciousness?

As the Marduks begin colonizing earth, they experience a shift caused by the “eternal polarizer”—that is, God and religion. Jova’s two sons take opposing, conflicting views as they rule over the earthly creatures, causing prosperity and harm to both their own race and mankind. Eventually, they must decide whether or not to sacrifice their identity and genetically mingle with mankind in order to survive and reach their ambitious aspirations.

Written with special attention to detail, The Underlying Hand is an engrossing, fascinating read that will make you think about our origins and wonder about the hierarchies of intelligent societies. Though it has strong science fiction elements, it reads more like serious drama than a regular commercial page-turner. The author uses a lot of dialogue to relay information and advance the plot. The setting is skillfully crafted, making the space station and the world of the Marduks alive with vivid images and detail. There’s also a lot of interesting description relating to biology and genetics. This isn’t a novel easily forgotten and I’m certainly looking forward to the next installment in the chronicles. Recommended. 

Originally published on Blogcritics.

Title: The Underlying Hand – Book One of the Divine Chronicles
Author: Roger P. Koch
Publisher: Xlibris
Publisher’s website: http://www.Xlibris.com.au
Publication date: November 2011
ISBN 10: Paperback 978-1-4653-0020-1
ISBN 13: Hardback 978-1-4653-0021-8
Number of pages: 330
Price: $29.99 Paperback; $49.99 Hardback
Genre: Visionary Fiction

Also on Amazon.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of poems by Nadia Janice Brown. They are spiritual, inspirational and full of ‘writer’ sensibility, which I love. The tone is ‘quiet,’ making this little collection perfect for your night table, to be read before bedtime.

Brown’s pen touches upon various subjects: God, the Genesis, marriage, fear, happiness, love, inspiration, writer’s block, and the daily tribulations and insecurities of writers, just to name a few. Some poems break the general tone and are more serious, such as the one titled, “So this is Love?”

I’ve gotten used to broken things,
Even now to hear rage slice through
doors
portrays a semblance of normalcy.
The brunt of your fist pelting my spine
is the only fixture in this home.
And you say this is love?
Sorry does not undo the scars
perverting my features,
will not restore fractured limbs.

Some of Brown’s lines are beautiful and vibrant, such as these ones from “England:”

…I am standing on a Manchester bridge
feeding birds with crumbs of desperation,
giving them portions of my worries.
What they don’t eat is packed away and
stored like lunch meat in the marrow of
my bones…

The author also includes several short essays among the poems, thus creating a sense of variety with her prose. Subjects such as what is your purpose in life, planning and preparing for change, living your dream, procrastination, and overcoming the author’s blues come alive under this author’s pen. If you enjoy poetry or have a friend or family member who does, I recommend you grab a copy of this uplifting collection.

Nadia Janice Brown lives in Miami, Florida where, apart from writing her own books, she helps other authors promote their work as a publicist for Author & Book Promotions at www.author-promotion.com. She’s also the author of Becoming: The Life & Musings of A Girl Poet and the award-winning book Unscrambled Eggs. Nadia can be reached through her website at www.nadiajbrown.com

Buy from AMAZON.

Book Title: Becoming: The Life & Musings of a Girl Poet
Author: Nadia Janice Brown
ISBN#: 978-1-257-98917-1
ISBN-10: 1257989170
Publisher: lulu.com
Genre:Poetry
Pages: 52
Format:Paperback,eBook
Website: www.nadiajbrown.com

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I am very grateful for the unique opportunity I have been given here in that it is so very rare that writers are asked about the writing process itself. As someone who has taught numerous poetry and creative writing workshops the process of writing or the craft as I have always called it was a major aspect of helping aspiring writers learn how to hone their writing skills.

My book, HER GODMOTHER, is a magical story that addresses the presence of an alcoholic parent that ultimately causes the breakup of a little girl’s family. Firstly, this was a book I had to write as I am the adult child of an alcoholic. I know how this disease impacts on a child but I also know first hand the scars that remain into adulthood. I have met numerous other adults who had a parent that was an alcoholic as they were growing up. Some of them carry scars far deeper than I carried.

It was very important to me to bring this message forward so that children would find a special place within this story to journey with Allie on her road to healing and in so doing touch something magical within themselves to begin their own healing process. As Allie’s mother plans relocation to start a new life she sends Allie to stay the summer with her godmother, Brigid who is very colorful. Brigid sees everyday life as a magical adventure. And in introducing this new insight for Allie into the book, I crafted what is to be a better understanding of real magic and yes, Witchcraft. As a Witch myself and a fan of Harry Potter as well I wanted to demonstrate the magic of every day life that Witches observe, are grateful for and celebrate. You see by being able to see and feel the magic of everything around you, you simply have to heal. Many call these experiences miracles and I believe in miracles. I simply call it magic. A misunderstood belief system, Witchcraft (which in no way is Satanism) is often maligned or grossly misrepresented (no offence to Ms. Rowling for her work is both wonderfully entertaining and provided a venue for interest and even tolerance.) I wanted to help people understand that Witchcraft is a gentle path which I know will surprise many and that it is not flying on broom at all.

In HER GODMOTHER, Allie learns that the responsibility for her suffering is not hers but her father’s because he has a disease and an inability to choose treatment. This subject of accountability is a primary tenet of Witchcraft. Allie’s father must assume responsibility for his actions with a sound treatment plan as pivotal to the hope of recovery. In HER GODMOTHER, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is also a major factor in helping Allie heal. Many children who read this book that may have someone in their family that is an alcoholic may not know about AA. This book will help them realize that there are programs that do insist the alcoholic take responsibility for his/her illness. This is very important for children to acknowledge for I myself, like Allie, always felt that somehow it was my fault that my dad drank. It makes no sense but that is the mechanism of the dysfunction. Adult lives are often impaired by the “ghosts” of self judgment that can haunt the adult child of an alcoholic.

Wicca and Witchcraft to the surprise of many are truly tolerant paths and in HER GODMOTHER, this gentle belief system is exemplified through the example of Brigid, Allie’s godmother. To bring the belief system home, so to speak, the location of this story is in Livingston Manor where I live. The Manor has been a magical experience for me in that it is rural and it is here that I am fortunate to experience the magic of a sunny day and the hardship of the force of winter but each of these and so many other things are magical! Witchcraft is living in appreciation and respect for all things and in harmony with the environment as much as possible. Choosing a country setting and taking the time to go into great detail about what Allie sees and experiences there was my way of assisting the reader in traveling from wherever they are to where Allie is.

As an animal lover I was sure to make HER GODMOTHER rich with interesting animals and in fact one pet is a major character with a story of her own! In this regard I wanted to help children see the soul of animals and pets as I know them to be which is an amazing experience in unconditional love.

These were the points I worked very hard to impart: education on programs that treat alcoholism, religious understanding and tolerance, an awareness of the everyday miracles and magical experiences that are all around us as tools for coping and healing and a sensitivity to other entities that share this home called earth.

I had test readers that were children and adults alike as I continued to rewrite because although HER GODMOTHER is classified as a children’s book, the writing style, while age appropriate for the target audience is also of the quality of many novels adult read.
I knew what my storyline was and simply focused on telling it in a way that would be fun for anyone to read. This was deliberate on my part because I also wanted adult children of alcoholics to experience a respite from their “shadows” and if unfamiliar with AA groups to perhaps begin to research them and ultimately join to facilitate further healing. I very carefully selected words that would make this book fun reading for children and adults alike and based on feedback I have succeeded.

The bottom line is I am extremely proud of having accomplished what I set out to do. I created a book that is well written. It provides insight into healing on different levels that also offers readers the opportunity to experience a catharsis from their demons while delivering entertainment. To this end HER GODMOTHER has not, to date, received less than a five star rating!

Cate Cavanaugh is the author of HER GODMOTHER, available at fine bookstores, including Barnes and Noble, barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. If you want to read a bit about everyday magic, visit Cate’s blog and, if interested in the science of magic, please visit quantumspirituality.tripod.com

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The Author
Nancy Oelklaus began her career as a high school English teacher in Marshall, Texas. She earned the B.A. in Communications from Oklahoma Baptist University, the M.A. in English from the University of North Texas and the doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University, Commerce. For nine years she served as assistant superintendent for instructional services in Marshall, followed by nine years as executive director for the Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Since 2000 she has worked as an executive coach in Austin, serving entrepreneurial clients in education, social services, financial services, real estate, public relations, and city administration. Dr. Oelklaus has received numerous awards and honors for civic leadership, including the Vision to Action Award from the Visions of a Better World Foundation in Boston. She was named Leader of Leaders by Sam Houston State University’s Department of Educational Leadership and Woman of Achievement by the Business and Professional Women of Marshall, Texas. In 2007 she received the Profile in Excellence Award from Oklahoma Baptist University. Her articles have appeared in publications including The American School Board Journal, The Austin Business Journal, The Systems Thinker, and AustinWoman. Her first book, entitled Journey from Head to Heart: Living and Working Authentically, will be published in March 2008 by Loving Healing Press of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Three coaching CD’s by Nancy are available through Amazon.

You can visit her website at http://www.headtoheart.info/ or her blog at http://www.headtoheartblog.s/.

The Book

JOURNEY FROM HEAD TO HEART: Living and Working Authentically is a toolkit for those who are exhausted from solving never-ending problems, working harder and harder and not arriving at the destination where they truly want to be. The tools and processes are designed for people who are a little wary of “touchy-feely” or “New Age” approaches. Journey from Head to Heart is exactly that, integrating logic, reason, emotion, spirituality, recovery, science, and ancient wisdom from a variety of sources to create a recipe for wholeness.

Excerpt

It’s an exciting adventure to discover that we can, in the words of poet, author, consultant, and Director of the LBJ Library, Betty Sue Flowers, “tell a different story” about our experiences, processing through the negative emotions surrounding them. We can replace resentment with forgiveness and understanding. We can replace self-censorship with self-acceptance. Once begun, this is a recursive process. We keep coming back to it any time a negative emotion or experience arises or a situation reminds us of an earlier trauma. Instead of staying trapped in the memory, we process through and replace it with one that brings us peace.

Read my interview with Nancy at Blogcritics Magazine

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