by John Calabrese, Huntington, NY
The Gift of Fire: How I Made Adversity Work for Me
In an instant, Dan Caro’s life changed forever– at just two years of age. Severely burned over almost 80 percent of his body, he died several times on the operating table. The third time I came back from the dead, Caro explains, I’d come to stay…Somehow I unconsciously knew that no matter how much fighting, suffering, and adversity my coming years might be filled with, it was the life I was destined to lead…
And what a life. With his fingers burned off (and half his toes), and a childhood filled with the pain of reconstructive surgeries and social rejection, Caro ultimately emerged as one of the most sought-after drummers in New Orleans. A miracle? Perhaps, but Caro defines “miracle” with an inspirational twist:…if a miracle was going to happen to me, I was the one who was going to make it happen. It would still require a great act of faith, but the faith I’d need would have to be in myself–in my own abilities to succeed in whatever I attempted, despite the physical obstacles I faced.
Using his life-saving formula of trying harder, putting in extra and consistent effort, and giving our all to something, Caro compels us to make our own miracles happen. Read his story, see the pictures, and transform your relationship to adversity.
Cultivating Hope: Weekly Readings to Open Your Heart and Mind
We are clearly in need of more clarity. With the amount of suffering we knowingly and unknowing cause ourselves, compounded by the injustices of others, it becomes more difficult to remain hopeful. In Cultivating Hope: Weekly Readings to Open Your Heart and Mind, Casey provides a month-by-month set of “instructions” for recreating the hopefulness so often felt in childhood, and so sadly lost in adulthood.
Each month begins with a story of hope, followed by suggestions for cultivating hope, and then a short essay for each week of the month. How did we lose so much? How did our excitement for life fade, our yearning and aspiring and dreaming and optimism destroyed? In my own clinical work, it has become obvious that so many of us are addicted to not only various legal and illegal substances, but also to ways of thinking and being that might keep the pain at arms length, but also keep us from connecting with our truth, and therefore our inexhaustible strength. Casey wisely notes that…the differences between addictions are minimal–it’s the drug of choice that’s different.
In the end, though, where there’s willingness, there’s always hope. And that’s a very, very good thing.
Letting Go: A Little Bit at a Time
Letting Go is a tiny, thick book packed with accessible wisdom. Each page is formatted to follow one day of the year, accompanied by a simple quote that encourages self-examination much like a zen koan, with black and white pictures assisting in the process of constructive contemplation.
Although some of the quotes tend towards vagueness (for instance, those on suffering), the majority of the insights are very clear and compelling, such as The only strength any psychological snare may possess is in our unawareness of its presence. This wisdom is the basis for what we must learn about ourselves in order to let go of what hurts us, holds us back, and cripples our potential. In a sense, the book is like a pair of scissors for the dysfunctional ties that bind us to false beliefs and limited understandings.
The value of any book is what you can learn from it. In 366 pages, plus an introduction that will knock your socks off, Letting Go: A Little Bit at a Time deserves a chance to grace your hands and eyes, while expanding your mind.
Fascinating describes Scheinberg’s second book, blending spirituality and psychotherapy in much the same fashion as M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled, only easier to read and understand. Scheinberg, an experienced psychotherapist, has increasingly focused his personal and professional journey on the value of understanding soul relationships, along with our shared (and profound) connection to Source.
Readable, engaging, and inspirational, Seeking Soul Mates, Spirit Guides, and Past Lives takes you on a journey through the vast matrix of mystical and energy practices; case studies are included (using actual dialogue) to demonstrate how individuals can use these practices to open themselves up to a broader, more fulfilling experience of life. The ten concepts on page seven are, alone, worth the price of the book, but there is so much more.
A meaningful life isn’t easy to come by, but Scheinberg provides a wealth of ideas to support the earnest seeker who longs for guidance in going deeper–and, in doing so, he performs a huge service for his readers.
John Calabrese is the Editor-at-Large at Creations Magazine and has a private counseling practice in Huntington, NY.