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You are What You Imagine: 3 Steps to a New Beginning Using Imagework
You are What You Imagine: 3 Steps to a New Beginning Using Imagework
by Dina Glouberman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Imagination: The Image work of Dina Glouberman, 21 Mar. 2015
In Dina Glouberman's most recent book You Are What You Imagine (2014) she outlines the three-step process of managing life's bumps: catalysts, and triggering events, turning points, surrendering, and then moving into the future. Image work can be can used to help start new projects, overcome blocks, and heal wounds. It uses ‘genius’ imagination, not just everyday imagination, therefore it is ‘holistic’. You could be forgiven for having you are what you ........ (fill the gap) fatigue, as so many of these notions have been bandied about spinning us into an identity crisis: you are what you eat, you are what you see, and so on. But it is worth asking so who is running my show? My conscious or unconscious mind? If the DNA template of that resides in the imagination, then becoming familiar with your image power is a mandatory life skill, as if formulates who you are.

We are evolving beings, losing parts of ourselves: a snake sheds its skin because that skin is too tight for it, and it needs to grow beyond the old one and ‘imagine better.’ If you get stuck and dont shed this skin, you can become ill. This work can be used as preventative therapy to avoid becoming sick. She notes that successful people use imagery naturally, but so do unsuccessful people who just use different imagery, so it functions at a subliminal level. Interestingly, when we change ourselves, other people have a miraculous way of shifting alongside us, but in their own way, suggesting we are not walled off from other people. The membrane between us is permeable and porous. We just 'think' in bubbles of separateness. Other people’s images can therefore intrude on our energy and scramble it. We pick up their feelings and that blurry boundary can cause leaking energy fields. We can tune in to other people’s feelings even when we are not directly present with them. In the same Future Scenarios exercise where people operate their space ships, I like the idea of a 'decontamination shower' afterwards. It makes perfect sense, to cleanse off the resonance of the negative image.

Though it is also perversely true that some people in her sessions admit to having a leaning towards wanting that negative future. We sometimes have extreme fears of the future: painful illness, being poor, old age home, losing a loved one, grief, and financial insecurity etc. Glouberman just asks us to revision this image, and turn it perhaps into a new picture, which creates the engine towards which we flow. Usually, what holds us back is a small picture and the idea of expanding begins to take us further and beyond the confines of how we viewed the original problem. One final layer is that we are encouraged to do this with compassion and respect for our own magnificence: this is a powerful combination. Once the picture expands, people start to do something about it. Images can frighten people because it is too small or too real, but the expanded image can change your behaviour and give you renewed optimism.

She also emphasises the importance of surrender, of giving up hope for a better past when at major turning points, knowing what acts as a catalyst. People sometimes tend towards binary opposites; "in the high there is life and no death, and in the low there is death and no life" which sounds awfully close to bipolar disorder, but is common for creative types. This oscillation between extremes can lead to burnout people, a subject Glouberman has made her own, are at their best walking the path between the two visioning is not goal setting as it involves the intuition. It is holistic, not just using conscious thought processes.

While it would be very nice to think that I could go to a retreat on Skyros, in Greece, which Glouberman founded, to do more image work, the fact is you can do it sitting in your bedroom in the middle of wherever. Several exercises including the Daily Vision and the Plant, Animal, Object can be found along with sample chapters on Glouberman's website that are free to download and use.

So I don't mind being a rubber ball, or a tiger, or a rare plant, or stuck a prison cell for the sake of working through problems as I can begin to see around their corners, even to realise, there are no edges in the imagination. It's all in a day's image work.

More at https://arthealswounds.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/imagination-the-image-work-of-dina-glouberman/


Autobiography
Autobiography
by Morrissey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

3.0 out of 5 stars Devious, Truculent and Unreliable., 27 April 2014
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This review is from: Autobiography (Paperback)
'Devious, truculent and unreliable.' Ha ha ha, that judge had a sense of humour too. The thorn in the side of Morrissey would appear to be Morrissey himself as this self hagiography shows. This isn't to say it isn't readable, or enjoyable. He slays his enemies with scabrous wit, but it eventually becomes tiresome and predictable, graceless and one wonders where does he get the energy to be so stubborn?


Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View
Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View
Price: £11.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New World View Joins the Dots, 27 April 2014
During key moments of my life, I have often felt forced to acknowledge a divine spark in astrology, something momentous and awe-inspiring, sending messages to us from unseen forces.We just had to decode it, if only we could read the signs. It is hard not to notice that this month, April 2014, we are at a pivotal moment, poised between two eclipses and locked in a Cardinal Grand Cross so you might be feeling the internal tug of war, urging dramatic change. Astrology is enigmatic, yet everyday; obvious, yet maddeningly elusive: untouchable, yet at the same time prostituted everywhere as a common superstition. It is not easy to understand in depth, yet is incredibly easy to simplify into a stock set of character types, and thus ridicule the true riches it has to offer. The debate over the legitimacy of astrology has raged for centuries;it has been labelled 'quackery' by the so called 'real' custodians of knowledge; and it has been vilified by the Church as a form of black magic, yet also pursued in secret by more than a few world leaders ( Reagan famously consulted an astrologer) seeking to bargain with fate.

Umberto Stanucci (image)
That a natal birth chart could offer a snapshot of the interplay of archetypes in our character - read ‘personality DNA’ - has long been a source of fascination. How could that be so? Yet, ask yourself how many of your best friends happen to have the same sign, or element? How many of the events in your life tied in with sextiles, oppositions, squares and transits of the heavyweight planets? Why should any of this even be true once, let alone with a staggering exactitude, if there’s nothing at all to it? The trouble is it takes a lifetime to track such patterns. Yet tracking them really can provide some eye opening insights into the uniqueness of the patterning of a single life. After reading Tarnas' Cosmos and Psyche I felt the need to put a few words together on this puzzle written in the stars.

How to begin about Cosmos and Psyche (2006) which is a cornucopia of ideas? It simply blows the mind, but gently yet relentlessly. Tarnas’s style is methodical and assured and his range is staggering.By reading it, vast chasms appear to expertly illustrated with new relevance and you cannot but feel more expanded in terms of scale and panoramic breadth of vision. It transports you to an elevated, but intricately woven insider’s viewpoint that adroitly illuminates all that we (thought) we knew about history and culture and then turns all that on its head. I'm inclined to agree with a reviewer, Mary Hynes, who said "This is the closest my head has been to exploding while reading a book". If the Passion of the Western Mind (1991) was Tarnas’ Ulysees then Cosmos and Psyche is most definitely his Finnegan’s Wake; the first, charted the conscious ideas that have shaped the Western world view; the second, is attempted map, no less, of the unconscious mind of the entire universe - at least thus far.

You might think that this book is difficult to read, but just like the multiple and repeated cycles that appear like motifs in a symphony, the writing is expertly controlled. It flows well for 544 pages of dense information, allowing for much previewing, subtle iteration, layering of themes and accumulation of impact, building up to Wagnerian crescendos worthy of
such a Titanic subject. The wealth of cultural, scientific, historical and literary knowledge in any one person is in itself astonishing- putting aside that Tarnas is a Harvard Professor of Psychology - but in addition to this there is the accumulation of 30 years of careful study of astrology. This is no mere sun-sign coffee table trivia, but the deepest, most profoundly psychological and penetrating set of insights into how planets align with historic processes, leaving their unmistakable stamp upon events. It is rare that such a book comes along and dares to describe the ‘whole’ picture and at the same time revolutionise our picture of history and our intimate place within its inexorable, archetypal evolution.It starts by saying we have not been served well by the loss of meaning to the modern era. Tarnas points to a schism in our understanding of the universe, especially in the modern era. Meaning has become divorced from the world we live in. It often seems random, soulless, impersonal, where we are just cogs in arbitrary mechanical wheels. Shamans however, still understand that we are intimately connected to the ‘anima mundi’ or world soul, and astrology may just provide that vital missing link. Yet, until now it did not seem possible to rejoin ancient hermetic philosophies with a stark, random, god less, postmodernist universe which offers no shape or pattern to our lives.

Tarnas puts forth a scrupulously delineated set of correlations and alignments that match
up with not just significant turning points in the lives of great leaders, writers, artists and scientists, but also with eras of distinctive progress. This process is not bat-hits-ball Newtonian mechanics, with a simplistic, deterministic, linear causal relationship of material, external forces upon events upon the Earth. The key players are the more recently discovered and less visible outer planets: Saturn, Uranus - which Tarnas defines more correctly as Prometheus- Neptune, and Pluto, which is defined by Tarnas more accurately as Dionysius. Rob Brezsny, who was astrologer for the Village Voice, has cited Tarnas’ book as “the definitive astrology book of the 21st century - probably the 20th too.” Daniel Pinchbeck says that Tarnas has "staked his success and academic reputation on this radical thesis," for example on the idea that from 2006 to 2020 we are experiencing a
further period of revolutionary/innovative/radical energy, just as in the 1960s, when Uranus (Prometheus) and Pluto (Dionysius) were in alignment, which - surprise, surprise- also happened to be in alignment during 1797-1789- the French revolution. Even Lennon noted that Love and Peace were not just restricted to the 1960s.

Tarnas is careful to emphasise that it works more subtlely as archetypal and dynamic energies that unfold and express themselves in diverse ways, depending on the circumstances. Similar influences can manifest quite differently, multiplying the possibilities and permutations. C.G. Jung talked of the need to discern ‘symbolic patterning’ in events, which is a skill that requires development for most of us. All synchronicity indicates is that two things occurring together have a meaning, and are not just happenstance. Knowledge of the positions of planets in our natal charts, and of the transits and progressions, can allow us to have a more creative approach to cyclical shifts and changes occurring now and over the next decade. You can get your chart from Cafe Astrology.

Tarnas’s grand breathtaking sweep of history/science/events interlinked with the movements of planets. Hence, it underscores the old esoteric proverb ‘as above so below’ of the Hermetic Philosophers. He recognised that the extraordinary changes during the 1960s aligned with the only conjunction of Uranus (Prometheus) and Pluto (Dionysius) of the 20th century. The precision of these alignments can be mapped across centuries to evidence common traits - revolution and cathartic transformation- associated with those planets, leading to the possibility that human behaviour, and how that works itself out in history, aligns rather too neatly for other explanations, even down to
precise moments. Our current cultural transformations are an echo of the 1960s, and should give us insight into what may happen in the next few years, suggesting the predictive power of astrology comes from understanding larger cycles, rather than merely 'seeing' the future. The impulse for radical change is certainly on the cards, in the growth of feminism, the overthrow of corrupt governments, social justice, eco-activism and technological advancements.

In short there is a grandeur that inevitably emerges from this new 'world view', this illuminated understanding that astrology and history are thoroughly enmeshed. Tarnas' approach is delightfully cross-disciplinary in that it has managed to join quite a few dots across previously divided fields of study, from depth psychology (which was itself considered pseudo science only a hundred years ago) to astrology, from science to art, to make the previously fragmented picture we had of the world ‘whole’ again.

© Kieron Devlin, 2014 arthealswounds.blogspot.co.uk


A Life Worth Breathing
A Life Worth Breathing
by Max Strom
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Life is Definitely worh Breathign Some more, 26 Feb. 2011
This review is from: A Life Worth Breathing (Hardcover)
We may think we know how to breathe already. Think again. Perhaps there is an inch more oxygen to be inhaled by expanding your lung power? Attending a Max Strom class with my wintry chest cough, I felt I would not be able to get through it, but he taught me how to enlarge my lung capacity, and it was just the thing I needed. Fuller expansive chest breathing gives us more energy as it is literally the spirit and soul of life. In many languages the root of the words `breath', `soul' or `spirit' is the same.Hence the title of this book. Life is definitely worth breathing some more.

We can all breathe, but often we do not know how to do it fully and consciously. Once we realise however, that the body contains and stores emotions like grief and anger, and that the breath controls this, then healing can begin. Strom's message is - Breathe More and watch this healing evolve. He has a deep, mellifluous tone, which comes from a source deep inside him and I can almost hear him say the words on the page: people are scared of breathing deeply because they are scared of their emotions.

Strom shows that even to know simple things about yoga can help us to integrate different elements of our personality. It does not have to be esoteric. You don't have to be able to wrap your legs around your neck to be enlightened. Flexible does not equal spiritual.

Many great saints actually had stiff necks or legs. They were not nimble-footed when old, but walked like broken robots, spine bent, or not at all, as unfortunately many elderly people do. The most dangerous place for the over sixties in the USA is the bedroom and the bathroom where falls occur that can be fatal. Flexibility could help maintain a healthier, longer life. Similarly, people who are incredibly flexible, able to do the most gymnastic of poses, can still be thinking what's for dinner, or how much they hate the grouchy person next to them on the bus.

Max Strom is a kind of teacher's teacher. He has that something `extra', a deeper understanding, a balanced tone, a sharp intellect, a kindness towards those who struggle to learn, such as the over 60s, who have little coordination or balance. This may be because of his own personal struggles with pain- his clubbed feet, but he quickly realised aged 15, after starting with Chi Gong, and Chinese yoga, that yoga is transformational, and catches you for life.

I still can't do the full wheel - it's like hitting a wall every time I try. Deeper chest breathing could help it to eventually happen. His inclination, both in the book and in his classes, is to be calm and explain things in a way that seems simple, yet lucid, fresh and illuminating. So, the real change are not in being able to do the Side Crow, or Peacock pose, but in opening up as a person to the world around you; seeing the world differently with the `ears' and the `eyes' of an open heart.

It seems a lot for yoga to manage to be able to do all of this. Yet it is deceptive. It is a big mistake to confuse `yoga' with a lightweight work out session, or think it involves doing asanas (physical postures) only. The physical positions are only one of the eight limbs of yoga. Other branches are Samyama (Concentration, and contemplation) , Pranayama (Breathing) - words he never uses as they tend to scare off beginners who don't like mystical claptrap. But these deeper approaches to yoga help us respond to dilemmas, connect to the world through focused attention, deeper breathing which leads us to be more present in any moment. And that can't be a bad thing.

Strom's words are so apt here: to the outside observer, looking through the window of a yoga class, it is just a bunch of people stretching hamstrings, nothing more. If an illiterate person watches someone reading a book, all they see is a person with their head in pages filled with black indecipherable squiggles on. They cannot fathom the possible impact of reading, even less gauge if that person happens to be reading a life-changing novel.

We live in a market driven culture that puts premium emphasis on physical health, often overlooking the emotional and psychological issues that underpin illness. Through yogic breathing our nervous system becomes more relaxed and open to giving us heightened experiences. This is what yoga does for us. It can heal emotional complexes like depression - it can also make you look fitter and be more confident, and have a sexier butt, but the sexy butt is not the goal- just the bonus. All sensory and positive experiences are enhanced.

Yoga has to be experienced to be known fully. People come to yoga to heal their back pains, their dodgy knees, and it helps them, but what keeps them coming back for more is that it heals their lives too.

This book could help trigger your desire to breathe and connect to the world in fuller, more satisfying ways. It is that simple. It is full of graceful, healing thoughts which linger in the mind just like the impression the man himself makes. It is a book worth reading for that alone.

Kieron Devlin


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