Bobbing Around Volume 18 Number 10

What we need is a new culture that does things differently, not merely the same things with different technology. Above all, we need compassion instead of conflict, simplifying instead of spending. We are the future past generations have stolen from. There is no future for us to steal from.
Dr Bob Rich


You can’t really separate environmental justice and social and racial justice.
Robert Vessels

Bobbing Around

Volume Eighteen, Number Ten,
April, 2019

Bob Rich’s rave

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Comments are welcome — on the bottom of every post and page here, including this one. And if you are a subscriber, you may find it more convenient to follow the blog.

*From me to you
Featured in local paper
New locations for “From Depression to Contentment”
Better than survival

*New stuff

*Blog posts during March

ENVIRONMENT

Winter fires in Britain

Habitat destruction is suicide

Rocketing toward apocalypse

GOOD NEWS

Fracking is unlawful because of climate change

Law gains sanity even in the USA

ACF is an excellent global resource

Japan blows coal away

INSPIRATION

8 women to admire

Brown is beautiful: a Kenyan monk to admire

PSYCHOLOGY

Child raising for a better world

DEEPER ISSUES

The farmer’s footsteps: why humanity needs to stop breeding.

Why did I emphasise reincarnation in From Depression to Contentment?

Facing extinction, from a beloved nephew

Tolerance works

TECHNOLOGY

Hydrogen is not a fuel

HEALTH

6 days: the health effects of organic food
Big reductions in how much agricultural poison is in your body.

The graph shows the reduction in each poison studied, comparing concentration in urine before and after the 6-day period.

LOOK OVER A WRITER’S SHOULDER

March is National Reading Month

March is over, but the post is still relevant.

How do you self-edit your books before submitting or publishing?: the March Rhobin’s Rounds.

Helena Fairfax’s contribution to the March Rhobin’s Rounds addressed content editing, something my post ignored. It is so good that I have reblogged it.

I APPROVE OF THESE ANNOUNCEMENTS

Trump as God’s chosen??? Support Faithful America to counter false Christianity.

2018 books of note Michael Thal’s yearly judgment includes one of mine.

Amnesty wants a vote, not a donation

Please note that this was in February. However, Amnesty International still needs your support, and voting for Credo Mobile’s selections is always a good move.

You can do miles better than Trump: support storm victims the “Orange Bastard” ignored.

STORIES

Do you want to read on? The start of the book I am currently writing.


I am responsible for anything I have written. However, where I reproduce contributions from other people, I do not necessarily endorse their opinions. I may or may not agree with them, but give them the courtesy of a forum.


We’re really outside of what we’ve experienced in the last 2.5-million-year interval. We are entering a new climate state.
Gifford Miller


As humans take an ever-greater share of animal living space, the animals’ chances of survival dwindle rapidly.
Tim Radford


Bobbing Around is COPYRIGHTED. No part of it may be reproduced in any form, at any venue, without the express permission of the publisher (ME!) and the author if that is another person.


From me to you

Featured in local paper
New locations for “From Depression to Contentment”
Better than survival

 

Featured in local paper

Please have a look at a report in Mountain Views Mail concerning my just-published book, From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide.

As well as interviewing me about my book, the nice young man also had me be the current bunny in a weekly q&a session. My answers may amuse you.


New locations for “From Depression to Contentment”

Until now, my 18th book has only been available on minced dead forest. My wonderful publisher, Victor Volkman of Loving Healing Press has let me know that the book is now available on Kindle.

Second was Google Play Bookstore. What a strange name for an online bookshop, but who am I to argue? Right now, they have From Depression to Contentment on special for $4.50. Not bad for, basically, 22 years’ work.

Then there is Barnes and Noble Nook.

I have also established a Goodreads page. If you are reviewing this book, please post here as well.


Better than survival

Mal is an old friend I consider an elder brother. Last week, I drove him to a hospital in the city (and yes, I did get lost on the way home, as usual). He has had open heart surgery, during which the surgeon fixed four different problems in his heart.

Less than a week later, he has walked continuously for half an hour, and has said, the worst pain was when they pulled out the wires and tubes and things. Things have gone perfectly.

Not everyone is so lucky. What’s his secret?

For a start, he is a slim man, physically fit for his age. But also, he approached the operation without the slightest bit of anxiety. He explained, “I may die. That’s all right, we all have to do that sometime. I may come through it and live another twenty years. That’s acceptable too. The worst is if I end up as a vegetable — so what.”

This is the attitude of equanimity. When you can honestly hold it, physical pain can recede (partly because there is less muscle tension, partly because that uncomfortable sensation doesn’t matter). The immune system works to maximum efficiency. The healing powers of the body work unhindered by negative emotion.

Your current challenge may be less confronting than a heart operation, but copying Mal will still benefit you.



New stuff

Environment
Quora question about building a better world
Good news
Whales and sea turtles have a chance in California
Psychology
I hurt because my sister is in an abusive relationship
Deeper Issues
Joan Edwards on acts of kindness
I approve of these announcements
Alternative Technology Association…
Tas Readings
Tibetan refugees need our help
One-day online meditation retreat
Reviews
From Depression to Contentment: David Morawetz, Ian Ellis-Jones, Kevin Richardson, Don Lubov
Hit and Run: Stan Skrabut, Chynna Laird
Positive Paradox, by Kevin Richardson
An End to Stress: A Guru’s Guide to Inner Peace, by Don Lubov
This kind of silence, by Michele Susan Brown


Environment

Quora question about building a better world

Why not build a better world even if you don’t believe in climate change?


Good news

Whales and sea turtles have a chance in California

Please read this report in the San Francisco Chronicle. The Center for Biological Diversity, the California government, and the crab fishing industry have agreed to protect these magnificent animals during their most vulnerable times.


Psychology

I hurt because my sister is in an abusive relationship

My young younger sister (20) has been in an abusive relationship with an older guy (26) for 2 years now. I don’t want advice on how to convince her to leave the relationship, because I’ve tried everything and talked with multiple therapists about it, and I understand that right now I can’t do anything but wait and hope she at some point empowers herself and leaves. This is not happening in any visible future.

My question is on how I should personally deal with this. Rationally, I understand I can’t do anything and should just accept it, but emotionally, I cannot handle seeing how she gets worse and worse as he isolates her further and further and takes control of everything in her life (her social media accounts, her emails, phone, money, etc.). They’re planning on getting married now. Everything between them is so wrong, and I find myself unable to truly accept the way things are. I want to do something, but any desperate attempt to reach her has blown up in my face. I think I’m powerless. So then, how can I avoid being emotionally ruined by continuing this relationship for God knows how much longer, possibly for the rest of my life? I can’t completely cut her out of my life, but don’t know how to stop being made further anxious and traumatised and concerned by witnessing how she’s treated. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Milly my dear,

Your post shows a lot of wisdom. We can never solve other people’s problems, and you learning this lesson is at least one little benefit from your unfortunate situation. As a therapist, I have often been where you are, although of course without being emotionally involved with the person acting in a self-destructive way.

Your sister may eventually escape from the abuse. Many people do, but often it takes a long time. But, as you wrote, your problem is how to have a good life, even while bleeding inside about a person you love.

This is perfectly possible to do. Here are a few tools:

The past is history, the future is a mystery. I give you a PRESENT. There is only this moment. Focus in on what is, right now, and do things to make that a good moment. Later, the distress may come back, sure. But there is no “later.” There is just this moment, and for now, you’re OK.

Please read one of the early chapters from my book, “From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide.” This will help you to generate those moments when things are good.

Another trick is to schedule the worry about your sister to a set time. This works even for terrible things like the death of someone you love. So, write in your diary an appointment with your worry. This could be half an hour, seven days a week, say 7 to 7:30 pm, or whatever is convenient. During that time, you give your worry permission to take you over. Fully experience the emotion, cry, swear shout, whatever you need to do.

The rest of the day, whenever a thought about your sister comes, say to yourself, “Not now, Sue (or whatever her name is), I’ll talk to you at 7 pm.”

The most powerful tool is acceptance. I have a card I hand out to people about it:

Geniuses at survival can live in hell, with peace in their hearts. We can learn from them. If I don’t like something, I need to work at changing it. But that takes time, and may never succeed. For now, I can simply accept it. Best illustration is pain.

Pain = sensation + emotion.

1. I have an unpleasant sensation. If I simply accept it, I’m not hurting. It can stay there, I’m OK.

2. Sometimes I can’t manage this. Then I’m hurting. I can accept that for now I’m hurting, in pain, do want it to go away — and it’s OK to feel like that. Then I may be in pain, but it’s OK.

3. Sometimes, I can’t do this, and am in despair: “What’s the point of living like this?” If I can accept that for now, I’m in despair, I can still carry on.

Acceptance at one level may allow return to a better one, but can’t be done for that reason — or it’s not real acceptance and won’t work.

Your pain is emotional but the method works just as well as for physical pain.
I hope you read this, and find it of benefit. You are welcome to contact me.
Bob


Deeper Issues

Joan Edwards on acts of kindness

Please visit my friend and fellow worker for a better world, Joan Edwards. This post of hers is even more inspiring than most.


I approve of these announcements

Alternative Technology Association…
Tas Readings
Tibetan refugees need our help
One-day online meditation retreat

 

Alternative Technology Association…

is a great resource for Aussies and Kiwis. I’m a long term member, and have benefited in multiple ways over the years. Nowadays, in addition to this official title, they also call themselves after their magazine, Renew, which is full of helpful information about renewable energy and stuff. They also have a second, more upmarket magazine, Sanctuary.

The reason for shouting is that if you become a member before 18th April, you’re in the draw for a prize I’d love to win: a Siebel Eltron heat pump water heater.

OK, it doesn’t look like much, but it’s the cheapest way to heat water. It works like your fridge. And if you have solar energy, it’s environmentally the best as well.


Tas Readings

After years of teaching meditation classes and conducting private life readings, energy manipulations, or dream interpretation sessions for those close to me and those recommended to me by friends and family, I am now taking these same skills and abilities and offering them to the general public at my Tas Readings website.

Life readings can provide you with insights as to upcoming choices in your life and the possible outcomes of those choices, which past lives are affecting your current life and why, as well as your soul age and personality filters, which also affect your choices.

Energy manipulation sessions put your aura back in tune so you feel more energetic and balanced. I can also cleanse and mend your aura, remove unwanted cords, and rebalance your chakras and auric energies.

A Dream Interpretation session can help you understand what your dreams have been telling you. For instance, do you have dreams of elevators or classrooms; are you constantly seeing certain numbers in your dreams? Knowing what those symbols represent is key to knowing what your dream means.

Tas Readings also contains posts and readings of a general nature. So, stop by and check us out.


Tibetan refugees need our help

We appeal to you to consider helping vulnerable Tibetan refugees who have become victims of fire, landslide and extreme winter in three separate Tibetan refugee camps in India and Nepal. Your donation is extremely important because it offers immediate relief for 34 Tibetan families including nine Tibetan nomad households in Ladakh, 16 Tibetan families in Arunachal Pradesh and nine families in remote area in Nepal displaced by dry landslide.

Support displaced Tibetan families in Nepal affected by landslide

A landslide hit a Tibetan refugee camp at Lo Tserok, Nepal, on March 25, 2019, displacing nine Tibetan families and leaving 41 others at risk. The camp has approximately 50 households with 225 residents. In addition to causing extensive damage to residential homes, health clinic, animal shed, public toilet etc, the landslide also destroyed a 50-meter-long path leading to the settlement. Funds are urgently needed to provide relief for the displaced families as well as to build embankment and retaining walls that will protect the whole settlement from being washed away and ensure safety.

Support Tibetan shopkeepers to rebuild their lives after fire

During protests of local people in Itanagar and Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh on 22 February 2019, 19 shops rented by the Tibetans were totally devastated by fire. This unfortunate incident resulting in total loss of merchandise has virtually deprived the life’s savings of 16 Tibetan families with a total of 62 dependent family members. It has left these Tibetans both financially weak and emotionally traumatized. It is critical that these vulnerable families receive immediate financial help during their dire state.

Support restoring basic livelihood for Tibetan nomads

Tibetan nomads in Ladakh are currently facing severe hardships as extreme winter months have killed most of their livestock, including sheep, goats and yaks due to lack of fodder and cold weather. Livestock represents an integral part of nomadic livelihood. Winters in the mountainous and barren areas of Ladakh are usually cruel with heavy snowfall, bitter winds and temperatures sometimes falling to 35°C. Confirmed report indicate that the situation is particularly dire for nine Tibetan families in Sumdo and Samed. Funds are urgently needed to buy animals for these affected families and fodder for their livestock to help restore their basic livelihood.

Our Tibetan brothers and sisters are counting on your support. Please click here to make your kind contribution.


One-day online meditation retreat

Vince Horn and I are hosting another daylong retreat online, this time focused on Embodied Inquiry, cultivating an experience of contemplative inquiry through and in your body.

“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.
Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is to live everything.

Live the questions now.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

Join us for the opportunity to dedicate yourself to the practice of meditation, wherever you are, with a community of peers. As with the last retreat, this is offered by donation through a model of transparent generosity.

Register for the Retreat

Ryan Oelke


Reviews

From Depression to Contentment, reviewed by David Morawetz, Ian Ellis-Jones, Kevin Richardson, Don Lubov
Hit and Run, reviewed by Stan Skrabut, Chynna Laird
Positive Paradox, by Kevin Richardson
An End to Stress: A Guru’s Guide to Inner Peace, by Don Lubov
This kind of silence, by Michele Susan Brown

Reviews of From Depression to Contentment

 

David Morawetz

Dr Bob Rich’s book is based on good science, and it is enjoyable to read. Many books take a single approach as the solution to all ills, for example Cognitive Behavioural Psychology or CBT. Bob’s book starts with CBT, but then offers other approaches. As he writes accurately, “Nothing works for everyone, but something works for everyone.” He then goes beyond therapy and covers positive psychology tools that allow you to rise far above “normal.” Even more effective is his focus on meaning-of-life questions. He suggests to the reader that life is not about money, or things, or power, or popularity, or even about happiness, but about service.

This is a well-designed, well-thought-out tool for improving your life.

David is one of my colleagues of old. His specialty was dealing with sleep problems, and his program is very effective. You can find out lots of good things about David in an essay of his I posted at my Mudsmith website years ago.


Ian Ellis-Jones

Dr Bob Rich earned his doctorate in psychology in 1972 and has worked as an academic, a researcher, an applied scientist, and a counselling psychologist in private practice. He was on the national executive of the College of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and subsequently spent three years as a director of the APS. So, when it comes to issues pertaining to mental health, Dr Bob knows what he’s talking about. He also speaks from personal experience, for he readily admits that he lived from depression from infancy. The good news is that he has a wide array of tools to offer to those suffering from various forms of depression to help them treat and manage their depression.

Dr Bob’s latest book–he has other published books to his credit as well–is eminently readable, rigorous and, first and foremost, practical. He has much to offer the person who suffering from depression. I, too, suffered from depression for a number of years. Many of the techniques Dr Bob offers in From Depression to Contentment worked for me as well–things such as making changes in one’s diet, the importance of regular exercise, sleep, progressive muscular relaxation, mindfulness meditation, forgiveness, constructive self-talk, guided imagery and social networks. I particularly liked his advice, ‘Whatever depression tells you, do the opposite.’ That reminds me of the metaphysical ‘law of indirectness’–a principle I often refer to on my blog–which advises that we should never attempt to put a thought or problem out of our mind directly but rather let the problem slip from the sphere of conscious analysis. Dr Bob takes that principle a little further and advises that we should do the opposite of what our depression is telling us. That makes perfect sense to me. Indeed, that particular gem of wisdom helped me immeasurably in my own recovery from depression.

Dr Bob stresses the importance of developing resilience and tough-mindedness and shows the reader how to develop those important qualities of mind. The book also contains much helpful and practical advice on how to process trauma and deal with relapse. He also discusses and recommends what is known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is a transdiagnostic cognitive behavioural therapy that predominantly teaches clients acceptance and mindfulness skills. It is a form of therapy that has been shown to significantly improve primary outcomes. The author refers with consternation to the medicalisation of depression (‘human suffering’) and writes for the most part for the person who seeks a drug-free approach to the treatment of depression. However, at the same time he recognises that there is a place for medication with, for example, bipolar disorder. (In my own recovery from clinical depression, I used a multi-faceted treatment paradigm including many of the approaches and techniques recommended by Dr Bob, along with psychotherapy and, for a time at least, antidepressant medication.)

Dr Bob also refers to the importance of spiritual care. By ‘spiritual,’ he is not referring to ‘religious’ in any formal, organisational sense. On the contrary, the word ‘spiritual’ means non-material or non-physical. The English word ‘spirit’ comes from the Latin spiritus meaning, among other things, breath, breathing, air, inspiration, character, spirit, life, vigour and courage. Spirituality does not require or depend upon notions of supernaturalism or religion. On the contrary, spirituality is all about the development of a healthy mind, emotions and will. The author refers to his own study and application of the teachings of the Buddha but, again, the emphasis is on the application of a naturalistic approach to life and the problem of suffering. After all, Buddhism, in many of its forms, is not a religion, but a system of mental cultivation. Manly Palmer Hall once wrote, ‘In Buddhism we have what is probably the oldest and most perfectly integrated system of what we now call psychology.’

The spiritual philosopher Alan Watts referred to Buddhism as ‘something more nearly resembling psychotherapy’ as opposed to its being a religion or philosophy as those terms are understood in the West. In a similar vein, Professor Huston Smith, in his seminal The World’s Religions (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), wrote that Buddhism, in its oldest form, is ‘uniquely psychological’ as opposed to metaphysical.

My only qualm–a small one at that–regarding Dr Bob’s treatment of Buddhism is the inclusion of some 12 pages on the subject of reincarnation. Dr Bob is of the view that acceptance of the supposed reality of reincarnation helps in the attainment of contentment. Perhaps he is right in his position. Reincarnation is certainly an interesting idea; if it’s true, it helps to explain a number of life’s mysteries and apparent injustices. However, what actually reincarnates? The ‘soul’? Some ‘reincarnating ego’? One’s so-called karma? There’s no consensus on that matter, and most Buddhists do not appear to accept the reality of the soul. Anyway, Buddhists speak more in terms of ‘rebirth’ than reincarnation. Several Buddhist scriptures–and some quite early ones at that–describe ‘rebirth’ as being entirely in the form of a person’s influence or, perhaps, their enduring character. The historical Buddha was never one for metaphysical speculation. If asked about the matter of rebirth, I am sure he would have said something like this, ‘Does it really matter? The important thing is this present life now? How are you reincarnating today?’ Each day, and in every moment of the day, we can be reincarnated into newness of life. I find that idea extremely liberating.

Enough said. There is nothing in From Depression to Contentment that should offend either the non-religious or, for that matter, the religious. The ideas, teachings and techniques presented are capable of being used to anyone’s advantage. The author’s advice is based solidly on psychological treatment and experience, both professional and personal.

We all need healing, for suffering is part of being a human being. Our problems may be physical, emotional or spiritual, or more often than not a combination of those things. Dr Bob’s book contains much helpful advice on the phenomenon of healing at whatever level it may be needed. He tells his readers what they need to know, and what they need to do to receive healing. The book also contains a helpful bibliography and an index. The table of contents is well-structured, as is the book itself.

I feel privileged in commending Dr Bob’s book to anyone who is seeking a practical, self-help guide to the healing of depression.

Ian Ellis-Jones, Ph.D. (UTS), lecturer, author, minister, lawyer, spiritual philosopher and mindfulness teacher.

He has done me the honour of having me interview him at Bobbing Around.


Kevin Richardson

This is one of the best instructional books I’ve ever read. I’ve not only learned much from it, but discovered so much about my own life. “From Depression to Contentment” is not in any way a religious book, but it gave me the same kind of solace many people get from the Bible and its equivalents in other religions. After dealing with relieving depression, which Bob understands because he has suffered the pain himself, he explains concepts such as Hedonic Adaptation. This is that whatever happens around us, people return to their customary level of happiness or misery. He teaches how to improve our resilience, and eventually even explains how to be a therapist through unconditional love, empathy and genuineness.

The book should be compulsory reading in schools, for students of all ages, up to mine, which is older than most.

Let me explain how it relates to my life. I went from Australia to Thailand, supposedly for two years, but ended up staying permanently. The lifestyle of the poor farmers exactly illustrates what Bob Rich is talking about in this book. They know they will forever be poor and downtrodden by the extremely rich who work hard to keep things that way. And yet, the farmers stay contented, following the philosophy I find in “From Depression to Contentment:” the principles of Buddhism. They have never learned envy or want, so are simply content with their lot. It’s a relief after my life of business.

I see this book as “How to Enjoy Life Even if You Have Been Depressed.” 5 stars indeed.


Kevin Richardson says he is a historian, novelist and world traveller. A retired journalist, he has written several exciting historical adventures set in Australia’s past. Every review of every book has been 5 star. I’ve reviewed a number of his books, and yes, had to assign 5 stars to each. Do look him up.


Don Lubov

Dr. Rich’s book is an outstanding self-therapy guide. He offers multiple solutions to multiple problems, and they are all user-friendly.

Bob is obviously a writer. On page 49, he tells that “he learns a lot from fictional characters he’s invented, who then take on a life of their own.” Through these characters, we are shown how to cope and to heal.

On page 51, Bob clarifies the Buddhist teaching of the Middle way. He understands our human need for unconditional love and acceptance.

Page 67 is a goldmine of insights into the behavior of others and ourselves.

Page 70 should be placed on billboards for all to see — “The person never IS the problem. The person HAS a problem. We all need to see and accept this insight, so that we can stop blaming others on a personal level. As Jesus said: “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

I have been writing on and teaching my “Six-Step Path” to inner peace for years. This strategy emphasizes non-judgmental observation, forgiveness of self and others, and acceptance of what is. On page 72, Dr. Rich nails this, perfectly.

Gandhi would love Bob’s message on page 73. It perfectly mirrors Gandhi’s “Become the change you wish to see.”

On page 95, Bob states clearly, life’s meaning and purpose — Only two things matter in this life: what we take with us when we die, and what we leave behind in the hearts of others.” Obviously, he knows that the best things in life are not things.

From one “secular Buddhist” to another — Well done! See Pg. 107.

Page 109 is pure Zen. “When you can let go of attachment, suffering stops, and you’re in nirvana. If you can achieve this as an ongoing state, you are enlightened.” Beautiful!

On page 116, Bob offers up priceless advice — “…just be the best you that you can be.”

There is no higher calling than to serve others. Dr. Bob Rich has embraced this calling, and so is worthy of the title bodhisattva — He offers good health in exchange for suffering. Follow his advice and transcend your depression to a life of inner peace.

I give his new book 5 stars!


, Don Lubov has been writing and/or teaching about inner peace since 1971. His “Six-Step Path” has helped thousands. He currently has 6 books available on Kindle and in paperback, from Amazon. He has written for Yahoo Voices, Kinja.com, and Beliefnet.com. 3 YouTube videos — “The Grassroots Manifesto”, “Creativity Manifesto”, and “Spirituality Manifesto”.


Reviews of Hit and Run

Stan Skrabut

Very quickly into the book, I was both pleasantly surprised and hooked. While it is a fiction book, Rich weave a significant amount of psychology into it. There was also a touch of the supernatural. I really enjoyed the story and was eager to dive back into it every chance I could.

Hit and Run is 329 pages arranged across 36 chapters. The story is about a young teenager who intentionally killed a number of children. This was driven in a large part because of the environment that he grew up in. This naturally begs the question, are our actions because of nature or nurture? This is a prominent theme throughout the entire book. I thought it was masterfully weaved into the story.

One of the things that impressed me the most in the book was the use of dialogue. I was fascinated by how Rich used dialogue to tell the story while staying true to each of the characters. Each character had traits and background that influenced how they spoke. For example, the teenager at the center of the story underwent a transformation throughout the story and his dialogue changed. Through his dialogue, one could appreciate the change taking place.

Another part of the book that I was fascinated by was the use of supernatural powers. Rich used the power of telepathy or a variant as a way to keep the story moving. I will not go into more detail because I do not want to diminish the story for you but this ability was a key and useful part of the story. Certain characters developed an important bond because of this ability that helped with a character transformation.

Finally, I thought the ending was great. I will definitely leave that as a surprise. It will leave you wondering.

This was a fascinating story. If you like fiction and appreciate psychology and the supernatural, I would definitely recommend this book. Hit and Run is available as a Kindle book.

You will enjoy visiting Stan at his blog.


Chynna Laird

Hit and Run starts off with a tragedy. A young 14-year-old man, Chuck, speeds down a street and blows through a crosswalk, killing several children and almost killing an 84-year-old woman, Mrs. Kryz. He he didn’t care who he hurt, including himself. He was arrested and put in jail. Then the most interesting thing happened. Somehow, he was able to communicate with Mrs. Kryz, and he didn’t even have to physically be there to do so.

I won’t ruin the story for those who haven’t read it but the gist of the story is that through this communication, Mrs. Kryz was able to reach this young man in a way no one ever took the time to before. She gave him one thing he wasn’t expecting.

Forgiveness.

Mrs. Kryz was able to break through the very strong and high walls that Chuck had built around himself.

She took the time to figure out where all of his anger stemmed from and why someone so young would want to harm others around him and, most specifically, himself. He didn’t seem to care what came out of his mouth, how disrespectful he acted or how harmful his actions were to others. But Mrs. Kryz saw something no one else took time to see.

Through kindness and unconditional love that he’d never experienced before her, Mrs. Kryz was able to break through his tough exterior, reaching down to the promising youth underneath. She discovered the reasons for his self-hatred and negative perspective of the world and helped him see there was good in him. Even his name, Chuck, was representative of the horrible abuse he went through right up to where he was until he committed his crime. When he opened up about his love and concern for his younger brother, Tommy, she knew there was hope. There was love in this young man.

For the next year, Mrs. Kryz did all that was within her power and capability (considering she was an elderly woman who struggled to get around most of the time) to set things on a better path for Chuck (or as Mrs. Kryz deemed him, Charlie) and Tommy. She pleaded to a grieving community that anger and retaliation was not the way to set things right. By allowing others to see Charlie through her eyes, as a very troubled youth who saw the error of his ways and truly wanted to make a difference, the people rallied around these boys to help get them to where they deserved to be. That didn’t mean Charlie’s actions were forgotten.

He knew and understood what his actions caused and he felt tremendous remorse. And he did everything Mrs. Kryz (who he affectionally called ‘Aunt Sylvia) advised him to do. He was never made to do anything she suggested. All she did was guide him, teach him why kindness worked better than anger and that in order to rise above his own troubled past, he had to feel he deserved to be there.

In helping these boys, taking them out of the terrible situation they were in and giving them opportunities to go down a better path, it somehow brought every other person in the community to a different light.

I loved this story very much. I’m usually drawn to thrillers and mysteries but I hold a special place in my heart for stories such as this that elicit hope and bring certain issues to light in such an honest, open and ‘real’ way. There was no harping on what the boys had gone through. There was no message of ‘forgive and forget,’ but more ‘remember but find a positive way to cope.’ And I loved that no matter how low a youth may allow themselves to go, all they are waiting for (whether they realize it or not) is that one person who believes in them and helps them to see they are worthy, wanted and mean something.

We all need an Aunt Sylvia in our lives. Bless her kind, selfless soul to bits.

I have to say, though, every time I picked the book back up, I craved a cup of tea. There were a lot of conversations over tea in this story. It reminded me of my afternoon teas with my grandma. I guess that’s part of the comfort for me in the whole story.

Take the time to read Hit and Run. You won’t be disappointed.

Chynna Laird is a mother of four, a freelance writer, blogger, editor and award-winning author. Her passion is helping children and families living with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), mental and/or emotional struggles and other special needs. She’s authored two children’s books, two memoirs, a parent-to-parent resource book, a Young Adult novella, a Young Adult paranormal/suspense novel series, two New Adult contemporary novels and an adult suspense/thriller.


Positive Paradox, by Kevin Richardson

The first requirement for any story is entertainment value. Kevin Richardson’s autobiography, “Positive Paradox,” has this in heaps. It’s easy reading, with lots of humour, and even more when you look behind the words.

And he has a fascinating lens for viewing the world, one that will make your world better if you adopt it. In this, he reminds me of Majaf Nazari’s “The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif.” Both report the most horrendous happenings, and show how these have made them stronger. This same lens transforms ordinary events into occasions for a good chuckle. This is the explanation of the title.

The book is also a historical document, bringing to life a time and culture which, although not long ago in objective terms, is so different it could have been on a different planet. For example, where in a western country can little children walk two miles unescorted to school?

From those ancient days, the story progresses through highs and lows, as you look over this remarkable man’s shoulder, not quite to the present, but near enough.


An End to Stress: A Guru’s Guide to Inner Peace, by Don Lubov


The only way to describe this little book is: “beautiful.” It offers a deceptively simple way of progressing in spiritual development, by living so that everyday life is a meditation. I’ve been doing this myself for many years — from time to time, when I remember. Then, it always works, but it is so easy to slip back! Reading Don’s injunctions will certainly make me do it more often, perhaps continuously.

Part of the book’s attraction is the language. It is full of aphorisms like:

“If matter creates consciousness, then the world is objective and fixed, or determined. Then there is only one reality and we’re all more or less in touch with this one reality. If consciousness creates matter, the world is subjective and we have free will.”

“It’s not what happens to you that’s important. It’s what you do with what happens to you that’s important; how you deal with what life hands you.”

“Traditional religion needs followers. Spirituality needs nothing more than for you to lead yourself.”

I could have chosen dozens more examples.

Until page 28, I had a criticism: the text was Don telling me how things are. I happen to agree with his worldview, and my personal experiences bear it out, but, I thought, what about someone who disagrees? You cannot move someone by saying, “This is how it is.” But then I found: “You study yourself to find your inner self; your true self.” This is the Buddha’s path. He said, never believe anything on authority, but find your own evidence. And the evidence he pointed to was what you find through self-observation.

But I do have another, to my mind more serious criticism. There is repetition, not only of concepts but also of words. I have the bad habit of getting the point the first time, but am aware that the advertising industry relies on repetition, because it works. All the same, my precept is to say it once, and say it well. Don says it well — time and again.

If you are dissatisfied with yourself, the world you live in, the tokens of success (or the lack of them), then you may be ready to look elsewhere. Don repeats the Lessons of all the sages and prophets of the past, in an easily digestible form, and shows you how to be the calmness at the center of a storm.

Highly recommended.


This kind of silence, by Michele Susan Brown

One day, Michele lost her hearing. The medical profession could find no reason. Four years later, her hearing returned, again spontaneously. Without one word of pontification or explanation, she makes the reason clear, but I won’t tell you what it is.

She achieves a seamless interweaving of three time lines: A trip to Antarctica with her second husband, Gordon, showing the new Michele; the years of her deafness, during a marriage neither she nor her husband realized at the time to have been severely abusive; and flashbacks to significant, mostly traumatic memories of her childhood. This is very powerful. She not only gets the reader into her emotional world, but without explaining, shows where the pain came from.

This book is not only gripping, entertaining reading. It is far more than self-therapy. It is a recipe for building a good life for yourself, whatever your problems. On page 199 she wrote: “I honestly believe and know that my improved hearing is the result of listening better to myself—listening to my feelings, acknowledging them, being with them, and not judging them. I feel so much more in tune with who I am and what I feel, need, and want. I think I’m starting to see the results of listening to my inner voice and trusting that guidance. I’m feeling a stronger connection with the Universe—like I’m being given the opportunity to learn an important lesson here.”

If I were still seeing clients as a psychotherapist, I’d put this book on their reading list. But it’s also an enjoyable read.


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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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