Recovering from Loss and Reviving the Heart
By Stephen Levine
Loss is the absence of something we were once attached to. Grief is what is left behind. There is no magical cure for grief; however, ignoring grief because it is uncomfortable, is not a solution. If we don’t allow our grief to heal, the result is unattended sorrow, which may be seen in manifestation of such symptoms as deep sadness, trouble with sleep, disturbing dreams and an innumerable list of emotional, spiritual and physical maladies.

The meaning of life changes for us when we confront loss. For many people, finding “meaning” may define loss in a way that is necessary for “closure.”  From start to finish, this work offers a calm and compassionate tone. Included are specific techniques for attending to our sorrow, such as keeping a grief journal, which acts as a conduit between mind and heart.
Along with appropriate stories and examples, Levine might suggest breathing exercises, tracking emotional sorrow on a physical basis, as well as conversing with those who have departed from our lives, as ways of dealing with our sorrow.

The author, Stephen Levine, brings his thirty years as a grief counselor to great purpose in this compilation. This book was originally created as a pamphlet to be distributed by the Red Cross after the tragedy of 9/11. Not only does it address individual loss, but contains advice and exercises for those dealing with the trauma of survival.

Published by Rodale Books, this book is available at your local bookstore.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Doing creative work allows us to follow the muse of our deepest self and allows us to cultivate our essential impulses without separating from our sensual and sacred nature. Without delving into our deeply creative selves, we are all headed in the wrong direction, fighting the wrong fight, battling with reality, and losing.

Our essential human nature, our capacity for awareness, is cultivated, expressed and reflected in how we live the three aspects of our lives: our spirituality, our sexuality and our creativity. Our awareness is life lived in physical form, variety and vividness of color, taste, scent, sound and touch.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer challenges readers to embrace their artistic selves as a way of finding a new spiritual path. The book invites us to cultivate our essential creative impulse without separating from its deeply sensual and sacred nature. By learning to focus and engage the will in order to create, while simultaneously learning to let go, you can surrender to something larger so that you can go deeper into your creative world.

No matter what your personal “art” from writing, painting or dance, to name a few, Dreamer shares insights on how to nurture and further each. At the end of each chapter, she includes evocative questions for contemplation and practical suggestions, as well as written exercises. The book also contains an Internet component: readers who sign up at the book’s website can download a writing exercise every month that ties into the book chapters.

Published by Harper San Francisco, this book is available at your local bookstore.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships
By Susan Peabody
This book is a good resource for love addicts needing help. Peabody is a recovering love addict herself who has helped thousands of people overcome the unhealthy and often painful disorder. She claims most all of us suffer from it to some degree. Pea-body’s experience and research adds a vital clue to who is likely to become a love addict. What are the symptoms of an Addiction to Love? There are many clearly set out in chapter three. I read them and wept as I saw myself in her description.

This is an informative little book with pleasing chapter title pages, lively doses of healing, and lots of epiphanic information. Chapters include: Looking For Love; Contributing Factors That Influence Potential Love Addicts; Symptoms of Addiction to Love and Suggestions for Change; How Addiction to Love Progresses; Recovery; and Starting Over Again. This is a book with suggested further reading at the end of each lesson and an impressive bibliography.

I recommend the book for young adults and the young-at-heart; certainly for waiting rooms and clinics. Give a copy to teens or to that good friend who is on the relationship merry-go-round. If you think you are free and clear, read the book yourself, just to make sure. Thanks to this book love addicts will know the serenity that comes with healing and be able to experience love as a healthy and rewarding part of life.

Published by Celestial Arts, this book is available in your local bookstores, or at
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

Awaken the Peace, Power,
and Happiness in Your Heart
By Guy Finley
True to its title, Let Go and Live in the Now guides you through a complete process for attaining the best of you in your life. Through stories that illustrate his points, and with seemingly simple reflections, the author gently steers you toward happiness and effortless living. At the end of each chapter are powerful questions and answers for continual exercise and revelation.

This book helps bridge the distance between who we are at present and who we may become, despite obstacles we have created. By learning to listen to and identify our darkest side, we can experience it fully and change it into a positive thing. It is a great resource for anyone who longs to become a conscious participant in the universe. It’s not just about discovering a truth, it is about living it. Spiritual secrets have the power to set you free.

The author likens our lives to soil that must be plowed, sowed and nurtured to exist. The process is a journey where you will discover more than answers about yourself. You will learn to say no to negative thoughts and feelings, and you will be able to acknowledge and release the roots of a painful attachment. After that, you can allow yourself to grow into your absolute best. A higher conscious awareness empowers us to be one with all that exists in the world.

Published by Red Wheel•-Weiser•Conari, this book is avail-able at your local bookstore or at
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

Romancing Mommy
150 Ways to Enhance Your Marriage from Birth and Beyond
By Joe Gumm
This book could save a marriage or prevent expensive therapy if the advice in it is followed. It’s not preachy or proud, yet addresses a reason why the divorce rate is so high — the careless way we treat our spouses. How to thrive in a marriage is the theme to the words written by author Joe Gumm, who seems to have done it and wants to share his knowledge. “It’s all about her,” is his message as he gives tips on how to reconnect through teamwork, compassion and romance.

This is a book for any man in a relationship or a husband to be, especially since it is written by a man who genuinely seems to understand what women want. Although Joe is a sports reporter for ESPN radio in Dallas, he is also in touch with his feminine side and is not afraid to show it or share it. He admits his mistakes yet turns them into lessons, and makes up for them by being thoughtful and considerate. He elaborates by offering 150 tips that are relevant and useful.

I hope men will take these tips to heart for keeping the passion, romance and friendship alive in their primary relationships. A fun book that a husband and wife can share together with humor and without blame. Joe also has a website that explores the idea of romancing your wife even more. You can peek into the book there and even buy it online. It’s a great investment in your most important relationship.

Published by Champion Press, Ltd., this book is available in your local bookstores or at
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

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