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The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection Hardcover – December 30, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cushnir (Unconditional Bliss) introduces fascinating and iconoclastic ideas about health and healing in this book, which argues that emotions are physical. Our bodies are the only places they can ever be found. The author, a spiritual teacher, suggests treating depressions, addictions and compulsions by identifying uncomfortable physical sensations in the body as roots of suppressed emotions. His process—finding the flinch—allows people to acknowledge and connect to internal sadness, fear or anger (whenever emotions are shunned or considered inappropriate, they rule most forcefully behind the scenes), slow down and allow the feelings to arise and depart. What remains is a softer, expansive frame of mind where one can identify deeper patterns or unearth old stories without any resistance. Emotions don't need to be felt forever, or obsessively, but just long enough to have their say, contends Cushnir, who fleshes out his core concepts with a welcome abundance of profiles; case studies of using his techniques to quit everything from cigarettes to sexual addiction, and practical tips and exercises. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Counselor and lecturer Cushnir (Setting Your Heart on Fire; Unconditional Bliss) has developed a four-step formula for achieving success and unlocking undeveloped potential. His ideas will be familiar to readers of popular psychology. He advises first connecting to an emotion, experiencing fully the corresponding physical sensation in the body, and waiting until the sensation changes before examining and analyzing. The next steps follow a continuous loop: identify the issue, imagine the worst thing that could happen, visualize the situation, feel the associated emotions, and continue the process until able to move forward. Using examples from his clients, Cushnir applies this process to problems of addiction, compulsion, and communication in relationships and in the workplace. Useful tips are given for when it may be wise to regulate emotions or postpone expressing feelings. In a final section, Cushnir imagines the benefits if emotional connection were taught in schools and used in politics. Appendixes answer questions and summarize principles, but no bibliographical references or suggestions for further reading are given. Cushnir's genius lies in his compilation of easy-to-follow principles, highlighted core concepts, and key refinements. Recommended for popular psychology collections in public libraries.—Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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The Pursuit of a Well-Lived Life
Read a letter from Raphael Cushnir, author of The One Thing Holding You Back [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060897392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060897390
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raphael Cushnir is a leading voice in the world of emotional connection and present moment awareness. He has shared his unique approach to personal and professional development with millions of readers in O, The Oprah Magazine, Beliefnet, Spirituality and Health, Psychology Today, and The Huffington Post. He is the author of five books, lectures worldwide, and is a faculty member of the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, In addition, he coaches individuals and teams at Fortune 100 companies, governments, religious organizations, and leading non-profits.

Cushnir's first book, Unconditional Bliss: Finding Happiness in the Face of Hardship (Quest), was nominated for the year 2000 Books for a Better Life Award. It introduced a simple yet profound process called Living the Questions. You can learn more about the book and the process here.

Cushnir's second book, Setting Your Heart on Fire: Seven Invitations to Liberate Your Life (Broadway Books/Random House), was published in 2003 and is currently used as a major teaching text at spiritual centers around the U.S.. The book's Seven Invitations comprise an invigorating, step-by-step process for reopening and reawakening even the most wounded of hearts. You can learn more the book and the invitations here.

In 2005, Chronicle Books released How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment. This gift book, with 20 full-color photographs and a highly accessible version of his core principles, quickly became Cushnir's bestseller. A companion card deck soon followed. How Now was chosen as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2005 by Spirituality and Health Magazine. You can learn more about the book and deck here.

In January 2009, HarperOne published Cushnir's book, The One Thing Holding You Back: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Connection. This project brings together all of Cushnir's insights, principles, and practices regarding the realm of emotion and it's key role in every form of well being and success. It introduces the "2 X 2 Process" and its encapsulation as "emotional surfing." You can learn more about the book and emotional surfing here.

In July, 2009, Chronicle Books published Cushnir's latest book, Surfing Your Inner Sea: Essential Lessons for Lasting Serenity. (Note from author: If you wanted the best book with which to start exploring my work - it's this one!)

Cushnir grew up in Northridge, a San Fernando Valley suburb. He entered college at the age of sixteen, attending the College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, followed by Reed College and UCLA, where he graduated at the age of nineteen. After working his way through school as a teacher and a storyteller, Cushnir redirected his energies as an activist for the environment and human rights. He devised innovative media campaigns that included such celebrities as Madonna, Pearl Jam, Demi Moore, and Michael J. Fox.

His passion for filmmaking led to a decade-long stint in Hollywood. He wrote, directed, and produced a Showtime movie, Sexual Healing, starring Helen Hunt, Anthony Edwards, and Jason Alexander. The film was nominated for two Cable Ace awards and won Grand Prize at the Houston Film Festival. Designed by Cushnir as a not-for-profit venture, it raised over $30,000 for the Minority AIDS Project.

Cushnir has also written scripts for the Geffen Company, Warner Brothers, and Columbia Pictures. In addition, his articles have appeared in Mother Jones and LA Weekly, and his children's book, The Secret Spinner, was published in 1985. With the advent of multimedia, Cushnir co-designed the $5 million techno-spiritual odyssey, Obsidian, which Gamezilla magazine called "the very best game in any genre."

In 1996, both his career and his marriage fell apart. "It was a classic dark night of the soul," he remembers. "Many people experience something similar in their own lives. The particulars are always different but the essential experience is the same - a deep, depressing, gut-wrenching pain. In my case, everything I thought I knew about life went completely out the window."

Then, luckily, one of Cushnir's mentors convinced him to embrace the pain instead of turn away from it. He suggested that, in fact, this was a perfect opportunity to "wake up."

Cushnir took his mentor's advice and ran with it. Over a decade later he's waking up still, one moment at a time. Helping others do the same has become his new life mission.

Customer Reviews

Incredibly simple, yet profound!
AJSR
This book is helpful and I love the tips the author has demonstrated and have applied them to my everyday life situations.
Ligia
This is my second purchase of this book.
Patty Neil

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 85 people found the following review helpful By BooksAreGood on May 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's taken me some time to grasp the simplicity of what Raphael Cushnir is sharing. This "technique" is not about bringing up old emotions-- as another reviewer stated-- but more aptly about finally allowing the current emotion, and there's always a current (pun intended), to be experienced. And past issues emerge in the current moment, so as you meet each scary emotion, you are finally allowing the past its life--which includes its decline and death. I have, since reading his work and seeing him live, permitted myself to face the whorling/crashing/sledgehammering of emotion that at times takes me over and paralyzes me. I let it cycle through and then I open my eyes and it's like I have moved through the eery eye of the storm and survived. How clear the air is, how crisp the colors are around me.

My take-away is that I am able to expand what I am capable of experiencing so that I don't live by avoiding what brings up those emotions, emotions that I am too scared to really experience. Hello, life obligations that I feel incapable of meeting? Hello every creative technique of avoidance and procrastination that time and money will afford, hello guilt and self-blame. I have known them well.

I am in touch, in a sentient way, with the borders of my self. It's a kick if you are someone who is used to hiding out from your own self. And I say this as someone who has read alot, workshopped a lot, and searched alot for what would deliver me from my demons. I have learned immensely from all the modalities I've explored, but Raphael has helped to clarify and lovingly simplify. I finally sense that I can meet my demons (scary feelings) and sit with them. And they're not demons at all, just perhaps life as it was meant to be.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Sherrie Stahl on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is just an amazing book. It gets to the heart of the matter, guiding you through the finer arts of "getting in touch" with the emotions you are trying to bury. Who doesn't have those? Through this process of "surfing those emotions", you come out the other side, much more alive, able to feel and connect with others. The things that were holding you back before seem to vanish.
All the ways we've been taught in school, or the ways we have lived in families who didn't want to hear what we had to say....those experiences teach us to squelch our feelings and "overcome" our negative emotions by bucking up and ignoring them. Instead, Raphael Cushnir, leads us through ways to get in touch with anything that brings up an emotion, and to actually try and feel whatever that is, until is softens. Through this process, you begin to see that emotions are your friend and that by feeling them, you actually release them. This begins to bring you clarity in life, and anything is possible. I think this is one of his best books.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Danielle J. on October 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cushnir's book is right on. He offers insightful wisdom and practical advice on how to work with feeling and processing our emotions. Most of us really don't know what to do with the sensations that arise in our bodies whenever we feel sad, angry, or even joyful or at peace. Usually what we do then is eat them away, drink them away, sleep them away, or turn to any other number of numbing techniques. Cushnir shows how to be with the feelings instead, and thus feel more and more alive, as was meant to be.

Some of the design of the book is confusing. He has such a load of info, and since he doesn't condescend to the reader's intelligence, he addresses many of the gradations of emotion as well as many of the ways individuals may need to adjust their approach to connection. This requires a savvy handling and I don't think he and his editors quite pulled it off. The names he gives to things are also not so much evocative as confusing. Calling his primary method 2 x 2 for instance, for me is only evocative of a wooden board.

But, in all fairness, the emotional world is incredibly rich and complex and overall Cushnir does a wonderful job of helping the reader become comfortable with its riches. I can testify that the rewards of practicing what he teaches are indeed plentiful.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Inner Adventurer on March 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased the abridged CD version and use the material on a daily basis without effort. Asking myself his basic questions "What's going on with me right now and am I willing to be with it right now? " has led me to a greater freedom to just be. It has helped me to stop running away from my experience of my own existence. The result is I'm not afraid of my emotional reactions to life anymore. What's that worth? I do recommend it and have seen others benefit from the material as well.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By AngelOne on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I could tell just from the title that this book would be powerful for me! Raphael Cushnir has the ability to describe what to do in terms that are easy to understand and implement. I have read "The Secret" and many other good books but this one has definitley given me the "how to" break through what was still keeping me stuck. How liberating! If you are unhappy, overweight, financially strapped or just at your wits' end, GET THIS BOOK!!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kiki on May 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author's ideas are great. I think, however, that the book could be structured in a more digestible way. There are too many bulky paragraphs and repetitions. Cushnir is trying to get you out of your 'thinking' mind, so more accessible information would be a lot more effective. (That is not to say that it needs to be dumbed down. However, I found myself sorting through paragraphs and underlining so I could refer back, etc.) After reading the book and practicing, I do feel some positive benefits, but I am not sure that I "got it." I am now thinking about attending one of Cushnir's seminars and am hoping for information that is more "get-able."
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