on February 11, 1999
After reading only a little more than half this book, I have already seen changes in my life. This is a must-read for anyone seeking to participate in repairing one's mind, body and spirit as a whole. While many of her concepts may seem a little unorthodox, she is right on target! Her down to earth advice on forgiveness and releasing the ill thoughts we have toward others will inspire you to look at your relationships in a totally different light. Her ideas on how we wear our past wounds like badges and how we can become a victim of our past, instead of getting on with our lives and realizing that we are far more than our wounds, more than our past failings, is truly inspirational. Not necessarily a religious book, she speaks of spirituality and incorporates the best of all religions. Since reading this book, I have turned to a daily practice of calming myself before sleep by listening to soft music, regulating my breathing and thinking about absolutely--nothing. I have experienced restful sleep, a more optimistic outlook during the workday, an increase in energy and have said silent prayers for strangers. I can't say enough about how positively this book has effected my life.
on September 1, 2013
I started reading this book a while ago. I thought what she said about woundology was very insightful, and it answered my puzzlement over why some of my friends still feel hurt by and can't let go of wounds from their past, even though I'm younger and grew up with similar wounds that no longer seem like such a big deal. However, recently, I found out that I may have a rather serious illness, and I made the mistake of continuing to read the book. I was actually feeling rather positive and thoughtful about the possibility of being possibly seriously sick - I'd talked to a friend about it, and I could see it as a sign and opportunity to start manifesting the plans I'd been making and live my life the way I want to, and be more gentle and caring toward myself, despite others' expectations and obligations of me and the extremely draining and negative work situation I've been in. I was actually feeling pretty good, was considering my options, and making plans to change the way I'm living. However, reading more of Ms. Myss's anecdotes burst my bubble. Besides woundology, I don't think she actually has many insights on why some people don't heal, and she writes those people off as 'not being ready' or 'not having enough energy' rather than giving you more information about the details of the situations so you can figure it out for yourself, or trying to probe deeper.
One story that really stuck out to me was about a lady who had breast cancer who didn't want conventional treatment (only alternative therapies) and who Ms. Myss perceived as still being caught up in the aftermath of her failed marriage. Ms. Myss told her that her energy was being expended on the marriage and she needed to refocus her energy on healing, suggested counseling, and said that in the meantime she "had to" reconsider allopathic treatments. The next thing she says about this woman is "Symbolically it made sense to her, but she could not actually make emotional contact with the image. While her mind found great comfort in the idea of entering into Individual power, her energy was unable to make the transition. Eventually her cancer spread throughout her body, and she passed away within a year of her original diagnosis." Um, what..?? First of all, for me reading this, this was seriously upsetting. Myss gives no further explanation of what happened to the lady or why, or if she tried allopathic treatments; even this last sentence doesn't give any factual information, but is totally Myss' own interpretations of what happened. For me, who was feeling upbeat and hopeful, this gave the impression that even if you know what you need to do, you still might not, for some inexplicable reason, be able to do it. And then you might die. Also, Myss' attitude toward this woman is very flippant. She seems to say the lady wasn't up to the task of overcoming her illness, that's why she died, and Myss can wash her hands of it but use it as a teachable moment. I'm not sure what the lesson is.. It seems to me that there must have been a further block for the woman that was preventing her from letting go of the emotional baggage of her marriage, or whatever else was draining her energy. However, Myss doesn't seem to think it's her concern to have dug deeper and found out what it might have been, and provided a suggestion to the woman that might have made dealing with it easier. This and the many other anecdotes in the book suggest to me that to Myss the world is divided into worthy and unworthy people: the worthy ones are capable of healing, and so tautologically deserve it; the unworthy ones practice woundology, or are stubborn, or 'don't have enough energy' and so don't deserve to be healed. Not impressive.
Another issue I have is with the idea that healing necessarily has to be difficult and require a lot of sacrifice. While this may be true, it isn't always, and it's also not the best perspective with which to view healing. She mentions a workshop where she asked people how ready they were to heal. Then she challenged them by asking if they would be willing to change their job, relocate, change most of their attitudes, change all of their physical habits, or live for three months in solitude in order to heal. I remember at another point she mentions that you should also be willing to leave your partner. And the quote: "Once you place conditions on healing, all you can achieve is conditional healing". I don't think this is how healing works at all. While strict regimens, attitude shifts, or leaving a negative relationship may be necessary, it depends on the individual and their situation. I don't think healing should be viewed in this oppositional lens: my healing vs. the rest of my life. Or that you need to give up things in your life that are good and positive in order to meet the requirements of healing. True healing should transform your way of life, not oppose it. She also complains about how, when she asked what people would be willing to give up, a woman said she wouldn't mind leaving her job, having more time on her hands and being able to travel. Myss complains about this because she's apparently showing an unwillingness to sacrifice because she's stating things she wants, rather than stating what she's willing to give up. I think the author is getting a bit zealous here. This lady seemed to be stating things that would be beneficial to her quality of life. I'm sure many people can identify with the feeling of being constantly rushed and not having enough time. It's hard for healing to take place in such circumstances. Myss should have encouraged her self-affirming wishes and had her examine how having these things might be able to help her quality of life and ability to heal, and how she could achieve them. Instead, she complains about everyone in the workshop for following the lady's example and talking about what they wish they had in their lives rather than what they're willing to give up.
I think overall Myss seems to have a very negative approach to healing. When I talked to my friend when I felt worried, the friend told me to imagine an authority (whatever authority I preferred) powerfully telling me that I would be alright, and to feel that in my solar plexus. I imagined it coming from the universe, and it was actually very effective. When I worried whether I would be able to manage such an illness, she assured me that I would. Talking with her was very uplifting, and helped me to feel my own strength. Reading Myss, in comparison, was very depressing and frightening. She seems to be very perceptive about people's emotional states, but not very compassionate or understanding, so I think what happens is that when she meets people she gives them her insights. For some, that's what they needed in order to see things more clearly. For others, just the insight isn't enough, and Myss doesn't help them. Myss seems to categorize the first group as inherently ready to heal, and the second group as not ready. In reality, I think she with her very limited (and judgmental) perspective is the weak link, but she externalizes all her failures.
I'm writing this review simply so that I can air out and discard the negative effect it had on me. If you have a potentially life-threatening illness, I would not recommend this book - it might frighten you and muddle things as it did for me. If you have a chronic issue that you just can't seem to overcome, this book might nail your issue, but you need to be capable of listening to potentially hard truths that aren't put softly.
For someone who's looking for empowering/effective alternative healing methods, I would instead recommend: The Healing Power of Sound: Recovery from Life-Threatening Illness Using Sound, Voice, and Music. It's also possible (though not necessary) to get a traditional Tibetan singing bowl on E-Bay for a totally affordable price.
Good luck with your journey.
on May 26, 2000
At first I was surprised by the amount of vitriol that this book elicited from some readers. Then I realized, of course - this information is going to be received as a breath of fresh air for those who are really willing to change themselves for the better, and with great angst by others.
That is exactly what this book is all about!
Caroline suggests we look carefully at our words and behavior and note the way we bond over our wounds. We speak "woundology". Wounds give us power over other people and a way to manipulate society. Healing is a very unpopular notion in this world.
Of course this can be regarded as "mean-spirited", but how in the world can we progress without facing the truth once in a while? There is absolutely nothing new in this material - it is just been presented in the context of modern thought - but if one reads any sacred text carefully the echoes of these ideas will be evident.
Caroline Myss is iconoclastic and funny, but she gets the point across. I recommend some of her audio tapes to really hear her in her element - with a live audience. Sure she "talks a lot" and especially as a man this sometimes drives me up the wall. But I think her message is one of gently attempting to point out our foibles for our own good.
on October 3, 1999
I read alot,I search alot,for healing,growth and methods that answer my questions on why am I still stuck in a pattern - how can I move to a higher place? This book explains very logically a non-logical reality,and gives one methods to USE! This book I found much more meaningful than her Anatomy of the Spirit. This book covers the exact same info but explains what to do with the chakras in ways that I can use. Thank you Caroline,this was honest and all that many other books promise. (The other best book I ever read was Reclaiming Your Life by Jean Jenson)
on July 1, 2006
Why People Don't Heal and How They Can (WPDH) is a (potentially) valuable and empowering piece of non-fiction literature in the field of self-health and healing. It sheds light on many truths gleaned by Caroline's personal and direct experience in working with thousands of people wanting (and not wanting) to heal physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.
I threw the word "potentially" in there for sound reason. In my opinion the subject matter is such that many of the people who might be drawn to read a book with a title such as this are people struggling to "heal" (just as I have done when right in the "thick of it") and are looking further afield for more answers. If such people, whilst reading this book or after reaching the closing pages, still don't make the choice to surrender into "why they are not healing, and how they can" this book may feel like "salt on a wound", or "adding insult to injury". Many of the poor reviews WPDH appears to have received are likely to have been written by people in this very situation--so I encourage you to hear what they have to say with this perspective in mind.
The above aside, in WPDH Myss takes a concise, detailed, and clear look at the very things that may be delaying or stalling your healing journey. She'll lead you into new perspectives and awarenesses around understanding what could be standing in your way and how to step around it. Of course, you'll have to be up for that challenge! My input here is to say that the rewards will make it all worth while (which of course, you already know).
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK?
If you feel challenged by your wounds, your dis-ease, and the pain within; and you feel like you've been going round in circles or are facing a familiar and insurmountable "wall"; If you feel something akin to this and you have a humble and heartfelt desire to take a new and even more loving approach with yourself, please do buy and read this book. You'll be pleased you did.
If you read it and find anger, frustration, and annoyance emerging... I encourage you to stay with that feeling, own it, and let it tell you its story, without denying yourself the words of wisdom in WPDH that brought you into contract with these feelings. As one reviewer stated, "medicine doesn't always taste good", and WPDH is a powerful and effective dose of proverbial medicine for those with a receptive mind and heart.
In closing, I shall point out that this work is available in an audio format--great for those who like to listen rather than read. I have WPDH on CD and found it really useful listening to it in the car. This helped the rational (a.k.a. "resistant") mind to drop aside, allowing this information into those places it really needed to touch inside in order to be of use and value. I found that having it in audio format and listening to it in the car made it easy to revisit the material again and again-- reasserting exactly what I needed to hear whenever I felt I needed to uncover "why I am not healing right now, and how I can".
Enjoy. Be well.
- Jonathan Evatt
International lecturer, natural health expert, gourmet whole-food chief, and award-winning author of Peace, Power, and Presence: A guide to Self Empowerment, Inner Peace, and Spiritual Enlightenment
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on May 25, 2007
I am forced into the uncomfortable position of defending Ms Myss. No, I don't call her Dr. Myss, for reasons others have amply stated. Until I see her dissertation listed on Dissertation Abstracts International, she's no 'Ph.D.' to me! I also must admit that I have listened to a few of her audio programs, and while I agree with some of her ire directed toward the New Age quackery--love spells and candlelighting and stuff like that--she has come across as a bit arrogant and abrasive--two traits I myself share, so I know whereof I speak. She's kind of a jerk. But so's Dr. Phil. Is it because she's a *woman* we get so uptight that she's not 'nice' enough?
However. (Deep sigh). I don't know about many of the negative reviewers here, but I work in a field where I come in contact with a lot of people and as much as you might not want to hear it, woundology is real and is more damaging than you think. I know people who have literally reduced themselves to one-dimensional caricatures of what were once human beings: one of them has become almost the archetype Vietnam Vet; another is the sexual abuse victim; another, the bitter divorced man who hates women. We all have problems in life. We all have faced, if not in childhood than at some point, absolutely heartrending loss and bad things. All of us. I might not have had the same trauma as you, but I've had something rotten happen in my life. I ain't gonna play my damage is bigger than yours, and if anyone responds to this review by telling me I haven't 'suffered', well, let me just say, you have NOOOOO idea what you're talking about and leave it at that. Troubles, I gots plenty, as the song used to go.
It's the human condition. But to turn those bad things into the core of your identity, why, anyone can see that that's not healthy. Turning your trauma into Who You Are first of all constantly feeds that trauma. When that's your identity, every single day, every single time you refer to yourself as an incest survivor or war veteran or cancer survivor, you are revictimizing *yourself*, reaffirming that experience to be more powerful than *you*. Secondly, you get stuck in that identity. YOu can't grow if you remain so invested in one identity that you refuse to change.
What Myss said in this book that so offends people is by and large taken out of context. What she's trying to say, and I'll admit she doesn't say it as nicely as she could have, is that many times people have an ego-investment in keeping a hold on their wound. One might use it to manipulate others--feel sorry for me! My life has been so terrible!--or one might use one's wound to turn one's back on life and the causes of the problem by escaping into what we all must admit by now is the HUGE and apparently quite lucrative industry of therapy and support groups and self-help. One can bury oneself so deep in spiritual readings and support groups and this and that that one never actually gets to deal with the real life manifestations of the issue.
That is not to say that therapy is not useful. It is immensely useful for some (never had much use for it myself, but I've seen it really help a number of people), but the point is therapy works in your head. Unfortunately, sooner or later, one has to get out of one's head and into the real world, and maybe come face to face with the abuser, or the doctor with the bad news, or the broken family, or whatever was the proximal cause of the wound. Sooner or later, you have to deal with external reality. It's unpleasant to realize how one may have let a persona rule one's identity, or how it's made one do unskillful or hurtful things to others, but it's part of the process of waking up.
My drill sergeant had an old saying that came to mind as I was reading the more foaming-at-the-mouth of these reviews. He'd say, "Throw a shoe into a pack of dogs, and the one that yelps is the one that got hit."
on May 31, 2000
Therapy had me think about and relive the painful experiences that I have had over and over again. Instead of helping me get better, it just kept the trauma fresh every day.
Dr. Myss' book shows you that you can break free from past trauma and not have it continue to consume your body's physical energy. This leaves you available to live and enjoy your life today with enthusiasm and vitality. I find it continually inspiring. Definitely worth the money.
Another book that supports these theories is "Working on Yourself Doesn't Work" by Ariel & Shya Kane. They also stress that living and being here in the present moment is more important and makes you more alive than constantly looking to your past for problems.
on December 9, 1998
I found this book not only enlightening but very practical.There's some overlap with "Anatomy of the Spirit," but justenough to summarize her ideas about the chakras for those who haven't read that book. In addition, she offers not only a good analysis of why some people don't heal (usually it's not so much "don't" or "can't," as "I'll lose too much by healing"), but also helpful suggestions on how to get beyond focussing on your wounds and begin the process of healing. Her suggested "sacramental" rituals may not be for everyone; but for those of us raised in a religion (such as Catholicism) that places considerable emphasis on ritual, they can be very helpful as a way of enlisting one's emotional and "tribal" responses in the service of healing. This is a very positive, helpful guide for anyone who's ever wondered "Now that I've identified what my wounds mean, what next?".
on December 8, 2009
Comparing and Contrasting two Audio CDs: "Why People Don't Heal," 1994 and "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource," 2004.
Each audio CD is not a reading from that book, but a talk given by Myss to an audience that ranges over the major points, with her spontaneous ideas. The version of "Why People Don't Heal" that I received included 2 CDs, the first one is a lecture of her main points, and the second is her replies to written questions the audience has submitted. "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource," was four CDs, which actually say little about archetypes but allow her time to describe what she has discovered since retiring from being a medical intuitive and moving full time into educating medical intuitives.
About the sarcasm: In both audiobooks, Myss' voice has a sarcastic tone. Why People Don't Heal was recorded about ten years earlier than "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource"__ and to me her tone sounds even more sarcastic in the later recording. Her sarcasm is toward her readers/listeners, which I will describe later in my review. Sarcasm doesn't bother me too much, and I must say, her sense of comic timing has greatly improved from the earlier recording. In "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource"_, the audience actually laughs when she makes fun of them, and I found myself laughing out loud a few times myself. Laughing about oneself can be healing... however, by the end of both audio books, I felt heavy and tired from the nonstop barrage of criticism.
Sarcasm Not Present in her Books:
My wife and I have both read Caroline Myss' books and we did not sense sarcasm in the written books. We were both surprised to discover the degree of sarcasm in her recorded voice. I did not tell my wife about the sarcasm before I gave her the CDs. After she listened she shyly told me that she had to turn off the CDs because the sarcasm became too much for her. She too, said she was surprised to hear the sarcasm because she had not noticed any sarcasm while reading the books. Perhaps she has good editors?
In "Why People Don't Heal," Caroline Myss describes herself as a Medical Intuitive. During this phase of her life, apparently her experience is in working with individuals, often by phone, to see into their bodies and diagnosing the causes of their disease. In "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource", she had retired from working with individuals and now worked with groups teaching them how to be medically intuitive.
Her main points:
"Why we don't heal," The reason people don't heal is that they invest too much of their personal energy in past issues that they refuse to release. For example, if a person holds a grudge upon someone from their past, they must continually re-invest their personal energy in that grudge, daily, hourly. That energy that is going into a past event diverts valuable energy that could be here now helping them heal. The person sends away the very healing energy that could be healing them. There are many ways that people send their energy away, and the generalization for all of these is "attachments." There is plenty of healing energy within each person to heal them, if only they weren't sending this energy out of themselves on non-productive missions. One reason that people hold on to attachments is that it gives them an excuse to avoid challenges in their life, she says. The cure for all attachments, according to Myss, is Forgiveness, and Calling Back Your Energy. This seems do-able.
In "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource" there seem to be two main points. The first is very similar to the message above, but now applied to students of intuition. The book title could have been, "Why Students of Intuition Don't Feel Intuitive," which would have tied it into her earlier book. Students of intuition don't feel intuitive because they fear what would happen if they were to be remarkably intuitive. Again people rob their own connections or awareness by blocking their own powers. But students of intuition are not worrying about the past, now their concern is the future. Students of intuition state that they fear how they will be received by others, but Myss says that is a ruse. What they really fear is that they will be far more aware of the issues in their own lives, and they will no longer be able to hide from their own games. Myss says the most common reason people want to be more intuitive is so that they may control their lives to have a perfect relationship, a healing career that always supplies them with adequate money, and comfort. She is very critical of these motives. Myss says being more intuitive has the opposite effect; it forces a person to deal with her own issues, exposes her to unforseen challenges, one of which is to commit to a life of serving by divine guidance. Myss mentions that Catholic Nuns must do the following exercise as preparation to entering the service: every day for ninety days, ask yourself, "What is more important to me than divine guidance?" On the fourth CD she also mentions that intuitive healers should be cautious about demons, that the Catholic practice of exorcsism and demonology was her graduate project in college. As the CD set progresses, Myss more and more hammers home her point that to be intuitive requires turning one's life inside out, committing to embracing the unknown and unconditionally submitting to divine guidance. I see her point, but I think it could be stated much differently. She seems to have grown annoyed by humans who do not progress as fast as she does. She seems to be "guilting" us into picking up the pace. I think there are many gradations of becoming more intuitive and any person can find their personal balance. You may become a little more intuitive by embracing a little more unknown or releasing a little bit of control, and then you may be at balance for you, for now. I think it is important to feel safe as you progress. Listening to this CD is scary and I think it would discourage more people than it encourages. The main point I disagree with is that Myss presents intuition as "all or nothing," but I see it more naturally embraced in safe, do-able steps, at a pace that feels right...as Obama says, "change we can life with." Myss seems to be impatient for more change now.
I recommend "Why People Don't Heal" highest rating for both people with healing issues and for students of intuition. While some sarcasm is present, it is easier to dismiss. "Intuitive Power: Your Natural Resource" would work for a student of intuition who is fearless and unaffected by the teacher's impatience and sarcasm (or perhaps it stands as a historic study of how a teacher changes over time).
Whichever audio lecture you choose, keep in mind that the path to healing or to intuition, while challenging, is a lot more fun and more rewarding than these CDs reveal.
on December 9, 2000
These days, people are looking beyond traditional western medicine to realize that there are other systems and traditions of medicine that are also effective. I think this is a good thing, and the more people can become critical about existing methods, and more aware of all of their options, the better.
Indeed, one of the common threads among these non-western medicines is the holistic idea that the body and spirit and mind are intertwined and that any of these elements affects the other. Western scientists are repeatedly proving correlations between outlook, attitude and physical wellness.
Of course, now that the door has opened to new ideas about medicine, it has also opened far enough to allow frauds and snake-oil peddlers a place to prey. The sad thing is, most of the people that are preyed upon are truly ill, and truly desperate. I'm not going to say Ms. Myss is one of these frauds. She'd probably find a way to sue me.
On the other hand, she claims to be a PhD. Has she ever said in what? I've researched it--she is a PhD in Medical Intuition, and get this--from an institution that she started herself! Its not accredited by anyone! She offers this same 'PhD' for others too--after a week-long workshop at her overpriced school.
As for her other degrees, I think she has a graduate degree in anthroplogy or something (sorry, I forget).
She was apparently given her 'special powers' by a Native shaman woman that she met once. Come on, give the native peoples of this hemisphere a break. Isn't it enough that their land and culture was decimated, that they don't have to continue being exploited with the ridiculous New Age stereotypical ideas. Wanna know what some Lakota people think about Ms Myss? Try this page: [...]
I could go on, but in the interest of priority, here is why this book is dangerous: It leads people to beleive they are the cause of their own illness.
While a person can grow and empower themselves by analyzing their lives or reading a good, inspirational book; and while it may be good to try to rid oneself of negative thoughts and misconceptions, desparate people do not always have the ability to deal with things like that on their own. People that are truly ill and desperate are not necessarily going to feel better, they might just end up feeling guilty and even less inclined to seek real help.
Even Chinese medicine accepts that sometimes people 'just get sick'. And practitioners of these older traditions go through a lot more rigorous training than a few days at some seminar. Don't insult them or the Lakota people by reading Caroline Myss or her ilk.
And don't insult yourself either. Find real hope in your life--it exists. Don't get your personal strength from some huckster, find it in yourself. It's there.