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L. Erickson "Mommy Mystic" RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA)

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Bouncing Forward: The Science of Cultivating Resilience Through Trauma and Stress
Bouncing Forward: The Science of Cultivating Resilience Through Trauma and Stress
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Balance of Research and Personal Sharing, January 5, 2016
Bouncing Forward is focused on the idea of post-traumatic growth – the ways in which it is actually possible for individuals to grow and develop in positive ways in the aftermath of trauma, not just ‘survive.’ A growing body of research is focused on what conditions help to make this possible, and how we might support ourselves and others in doing so.

The book takes its title from Maya Angelou, who when asked how she rose above the many hardships of her life – including being raped at the age of 8 – described her journey as “bouncing forward, going beyond what the naysayers said.” Ms. Angelou is one of many inspiring and fascinating individuals interviewed in the book, which also features jazz legend and Auschwitz survivor Coco Schumann, Brigadier General and first Iraq war prisoner Rhonda Cornum, animal behaviorist and autistic author Temple Grandin, co-founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Cindi Lamb, and several more.

These interviews are organized in such a way as to each highlight a particular trait or practice which has been shown in studies to contribute to post-traumatic growth. According to Dr. Richard Tedeschi, a psychologist focused on this field, many trauma survivors report growth in one or more of five key areas – personal strength, deeper relationships with others, new perspectives on life, appreciation for life, and spirituality. In addition to highlighting Dr. Tedeschi’s research and the interviews with survivors, Dr. Haas covers the work of other researchers focused on trauma, shares her own personal story of trauma and growth, and includes tools for building resilience within one’s own life. This makes the book a unique blend of social research, biography, memoir, and personal development guide, and for this reason I think it will be helpful and interesting to almost anyone – especially since almost all of us will experience trauma at some point in our lives, or will know someone who does.

When I first heard of the concept of post-traumatic growth I worried it was yet another way to make trauma survivors feel guilty for their pain, or to push them to ‘move on already.’ This is a message that sexual trauma survivors in particular often receive, in addition to the messages of “it’s your fault” and “stay silent.” Often survivors will stay silent for years, sharing their trauma with no one, while it eats away inside them contributing to emotional and physical problems. But Dr. Haas makes it clear that repression or forced positivity is not at all what post-traumatic growth is about, saying “Before we can overcome suffering, we need to go through it” and:

“When someone is drowning, they need a lifeline, not a swimming lesson. There are traumatic events where the mere suggestion that growth can result from it may seem naive or insulting. Often, time needs to pass before a survivor is open to the idea…But at some point, the survivor might feel the urge to learn to swim through the grief, and then these strategies become very helpful.”

She points out that in the West we compartmentalize suffering, designating it to hospitals, hospices and homeless shelters. This creates an environment in which we are so uncomfortable with both our own and others’ suffering that we do not know how to meet it when it arises. But it is of course always around us, “already here”, as she puts it. If this view sounds Buddhist that’s because the Buddhist approach to suffering does share many similarities to findings about resilience and post-traumatic growth. As a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, Dr. Haas highlights some of these similarities, and uses examples from her own meditation practice to describe how practices such as meditation can help someone move into a new relationship with suffering.

One of the main messages that shines through all of the interviews and the research featured in Bouncing Forward is how important it is for a trauma survivor to feel support and hope that happiness is possible again. While our increased understanding of PTSD and its treatments has been vital to helping many survivors through their ordeal, the focus on PTSD as the only possible outcome of trauma provides survivors a limited view of how their lives might unfold in the aftermath. It’s important to look at the whole picture:

“Depending on the circumstances, Dr. Tedeschi estimates that as many as 30 to 70 – in some instances even up to 90 – percent of survivors generally experience at least one aspect of postraumatic growth…Contrary to popular opinion, experiencing growth after trauma is far more common than PTSD. It is vital to look closely: while most people will suffer from posttraumatic stress in the aftermath of trauma, few will develop full-blown PTSD, and even of those, most will heal with therapy and time.”

This information is not meant to diminish the very real suffering of PTSD, but instead to empower individuals with the knowledge that moving beyond it is possible, that the ability to do so can be developed over time through specific methods, and that they may not only survive but thrive – as the individuals featured within this book are a testament too. It’s a message of hope, but of hope grounded in social research, personal stories, and backed up with specific suggestions for how to enable such growth.

In later chapters the book moves into a larger look at resilience, and the importance of focusing not only on suffering and helping people through the worst of it, but also on the human capacity for growth and change. Ann Masten, a researcher at the University of Minnesota focused on childhood abuse and its impact, puts it this way:

“We focused on the gloomy for such a long time. It really bothers me that when people hear about the evidence for trauma, child abuse, and in utero exposure to alcohol, they assume, ‘Oh, I must be totally damaged.’ People pick up on this idea, but there are many opportunities for reprogramming in the course of life. Resilience does not mean you don’t have any scars, but I am continuously amazed by the human ability to reinvent ourselves.”

In the Epilogue to Bouncing Forward, Dr. Haas features “Five Exercises for Cultivating Courage in the Face of Adversity”, which includes meditation. She offers simple instructions and research to back up the claims of each methods’ benefits.


The Unofficial Harry Potter Spellbook: The Wand Chooses the Wizard
The Unofficial Harry Potter Spellbook: The Wand Chooses the Wizard
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, September 10, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I think it was great but I just wanted the wand movements!


Gravity
Gravity
DVD ~ Sandra Bullock
Price: $7.79
69 used & new from $2.59

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked It, Didn't Love It, May 27, 2014
This review is from: Gravity (DVD)
I expected to love this, and I did love the premise, performances, and mostly the amazing space setting. It is beautiful and haunting - having space, stars, and visions of the planet earth as background certainly creates an unparalleled perspective. But I found it a bit too sentimental at times, and the backstory for the Sandra Bullock character was just too over the top for me. I didn't feel it was necessary for her to have such a tragic backstory, and it detracted from the emotional relevance for me. I also reluctantly admit to being a bit bored in certain scenes - there is ALOT of space. But I still appreciate the beauty of this movie, and that it is so different from anything else out there.


Fundraiser
Fundraiser
DVD
Price: $2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seinfeld Sensibility Meets Washington Gridlock - Completely Cracks Me Up, May 27, 2014
This review is from: Veep: Season 1 (Amazon Video)
I guess it's pretty sad that two of the most popular newish shows - this one and House of Cards - are both based in such cynical views of American politics, but this one is really funny. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is in her element as the VP to a never seen President, focused on wheeling and dealing her way into any kind of relevance she can. Her supporting cast is outstanding, and though at the start of the season there are a few episodes that are duds, by the end both the writing and each character have hit their comic stride (and having seen the second season I will say that that continues, if anything it gets even better.) Yes, there's cursing and sexual innuendos and all sorts of lowly sentiments, but that's part of the fun. It's definitely not a feel-good view of politics, with most of the characters self-centered to a staggering degree. But it is funny, very!!


The One & Only: A Novel
The One & Only: A Novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.99

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of Giffin's Best Writing and Character Development, But If You Don't Love Football, Won't Be Your Favorite, May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Giffin loves to make us uncomfortable, with difficult emotional situations that place her characters in moral/ethical dilemmas. In Something Borrowed, the story forced us to ask "what do you do when you're in love with your best friend's fiance?" The question posed in this novel is perhaps even more uncomfortable - "how about when it's your best friend's father?"

The story begins with the funeral of Mrs. Carr, beloved wife to Coach Carr, the town hero as coach to the local college football team in a small Texas town. He is also hero to main character Shea, who is best friends with his daughter Lucy. Shea is a huge football fan, but realizes soon after the passing of Mrs. Carr (also best friends with her own mother) that her child-crush on Coach Carr has bloomed into full-on love. Although she tries to deny it, and dates other men, her feelings are the center of the story.

This isn't the only dilemma posed in the story through, as Shea takes a job covering the team for a newspaper, and discovers the football program is under NCAA investigation for possible ethics violations. In fact, the story layers complicated ethical dilemmas one on top of the other, related to campus sexual assault, college athlete recruiting and grading, journalistic objectivity, and more. Nothing is black and white, everything is gray.

I think this is probably Giffin's best writing and character development, and I was engaged from the beginning. I appreciated the complexity and two-sidedness (is that a word) of the way she posed her ethical dilemmas. I even appreciated the discomfort she triggered in me, in terms of Shea's feelings for a much older man. A good book makes you think and feel, and this one did. The only drawback for me was the football talk, which I admit to skimming. If you aren't a football fan, this probably won't be your favorite Giffin. This is really the only reason I rated this a 4 star rather than a 5 star, which some people might not consider fair, but these reviews are opinion after all. But it's still worth a read, as everything else is so well done.


The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1)
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent World-Building and Writing - A Great Start to a Promising Series, May 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is the best start to a fantasy series that I have read in a long time. The world Sanderson creates here is very detailed and intriguing, and we are given just enough information about it to keep us interested, without blowing all of the mystery too soon. Pacing is always tricky business in long series like this, and IMHO some popular series get so bogged down in detail and setting up the future that the pacing gets achingly slow (I have felt this way about a lot of the Game of Thrones series, as well as Wheel of Time.) I feel like in this book a good balance is struck.

I also prefer fantasy series' where the supernatural is front and center, and that's the case so far in this one. The world created is somewhat Avalon-like, evolving around Kings, Highprinces, and battles for the crown, with the magic starting subtly and gradually increasing in importance as the story progresses, as two of the lead characters - a young soldier named Kaladin and a young woman scholar named Shallan - both gradually discover they have some sort of paranormal abilities and/or connection to an unseen dimension (we aren't completely sure what yet.) The backstories on them both are excellent, and the fact that Sanderson focuses on them and just a handful of other characters, rather than casting such a wide character net that we can't keep track, also endeared this series to me.

So overall, I think this is a great start and I am diving into Words of Radiance.


No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Penny!, May 1, 2014
I have only one cat and am very sensitive to odors, and this box has been a godsend. I had tried both conventional litter boxes with many different kinds of litters, and then Littermaid's self-cleaning box with clumping litter. Nothing controlled the smell, and the Littermaid box was very awkward to change and clean. I was reticent to try yet another box, especially at this price, but a friend swore by it, so I finally just did it. I've had it for 2 months now and it is amazing. Yes, there is a little smell when the cat first uses it, but it is gone within 15 minutes. The crystals smell so much better in and of themselves than the clumping litter. And changing is so easy - just replace one tray with another (of course you have to keep buying the trays, but with the Littermaid you have to buy the containers, and swapping them out is not as easy.) I see some of the reviews don't like this for more than one cat, but for one it is working great. I am changing the trays every 20 days or so. I've given my Littermaid to a friend, so at least it's not going to waste (it does work, it's just not as good) - if you are trying to decide between self-cleaning boxes, I think this one is much better.


The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel
The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Author Knows How To Tell a Good Story, and How to Balance Tragedy and Joy, April 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I loved the author's best-selling Me Before You, so decided to try this one, and I appreciated it just as much, although it is a very different novel. This one toggles between Liv, a young, reclusive widow in contemporary London, and Sophie, a young wife struggling to survive in a small French town occupied by the Germans during WWI while her husband fights in the war. They are linked through a painting of Sophie that Liv now owns, painted by Sophie's husband, who was a student of Matisse before the war. I don't often like books that toggle between the past and the present, as they seem too disjointed, but I got pulled into both stories, and love the way it all came together. It was also well-written but very accessible - not self-consciously literary, just readable and well done. Even though there are tragic components, I found it ultimately heart-warming.


Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives--and Our Lives Change Our Genes
Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives--and Our Lives Change Our Genes
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to Genetics, Though Sometimes Too Tangential, April 29, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an excellent introduction to the current state of genetics research for laypersons. The author - a leading geneticist - goes to great pains to make the material accessible by presenting each genetic variation he discusses in the context of real people. He tries to tell a story in each chapter, beginning with an individual with a particular genetic variation, and then getting into the science. He explains what it really means to have a genetic propensity for a disease, epigentics (how genes are toggled on and off by our environment and other factors), the genetics of gender identity, and a bit about some of the ethical dilemmas genetics work poses (including how genetic variation, in the form of people with rare genetic diseases, often help researchers discover the roots of other genetics diseases.)

My only complaint is that at times he seems at such pains to make it readable that the science is actually skimmed over a little too much, and he moves between genetic conditions too quickly, rather than taking more time to help us understand each one in detail. He will introduce an individual with a rare genetic condition, get us attached to the story, explain the science, and then move on quickly to the next story. It is very 'chatty' in tone. I think it could have had some sidebars or images or something that were a little more 'science book' like to offer more depth, without turning anyone off.

But really, I learned a lot, and I haven't found another book like this, so I highly recommend it if you are interested in genetics.


The Way of the Bodhisattva: Revised Edition
The Way of the Bodhisattva: Revised Edition
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Wonderful Translation with Great Introduction, April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
For anyone new to this classic of Mahayana Buddhism (especially Tibetan Buddhism), I don't think you can do better than this translation. This is a step-by-step guide to walking the path, written in verse by the eighth century monk Shantideva, and some other translations include so many footnotes it's impossible to simply read it. I think Shambhala has done a great job of balancing staying true to the meaning and verse with making it accessible. The introduction is also excellent, providing all the background one needs to dive in. This is a book to treasure, and to read over and over.


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