When we imagine the artist’s life, popular imagery of rock-bottom poverty and intense emotional hardship typically come to mind. If these harrowing challenges didn’t suffice to dissuade a budding young talent, issues of creative block, discouragement and loneliness make convincing cases against the possibility of a happy career in art. Julia Cameron acknowledges these problems and still begs to differ.
In an honest account of her artistic process, THE CREATIVE LIFE (available in paperback on Oct 25) invites us into a gallery of her private struggles and discusses trials that resonate among all creative mediums. Using her experience as an actress, a writer and an artist, Cameron’s sobering insights are easily relatable to any reader in search of inspiration.
1. Work, rework, and rework some more (Page 12)
“I am learning again the lesson of work and rework…As the drafts mounted, I could see and feel improvement…All it takes is the humility to try again.”
2. Relax and release (Page 18)
“Once I relaxed, my writing became clearer and easier…As I practiced more humility, my work became far more accessible.”
3. Not in the mood? Doesn’t matter (Page 21)
“[Y]ou don’t need to be ‘in the mood’ in order to write…for a writer the first sentence on a page often leads to other sentences.”
4. It takes a village (Page 34)
“[D]ismantle the mythology that tells us art is made by loners and made with heroic ease…How much better and how much healthier to admit a need for help and support?”
5. Skip the drama (Page 48)
“Much of our mythology about creativity centers on drama…The key to being prolific is steady production.”
6. It takes a village (Page 82)
“One young writer musters her nerve to ask a question about discouragement. I answer her carefully, citing the importance of finding Believing Mirrors, those people who believe in us and our potential.”
People often vow to make their relationships better around Valentines Day. This usually entails elaborate plans, expensive gifts and extravagant dates and getaways. Couples try to “spice things up” with sexy lingerie or exotic vacations, but the results are short-lived at best or downright disappointing at worst. And to top it all off, they spend a lot of hard-earned money in the process.
With such high expectations from one event, it is no wonder we can’t live up to the hopes and fantasies we created around them. Instead, try reconnecting with your partner in a much more economic and effective way, every day. Scientific findings reveal different and much simpler strategies that are more likely to bring you the results you’re looking for.
Here are some very simple tips that can help you rekindle your love—and keep it that way.
- Sit at the corner table at a restaurant. Find a way to spend some time super-close to your partner—so close that you’re touching. Research findings shows that when we snuggle up to our mate, oxytocin is released. This hormone and neuropeptide, also termed the “cuddle hormone” strengthens attachment and trust. By being really close to your partner, you’re getting your oxytocin boost—and you’re enhancing your relationship all at the same time. Other ways to get that oxytocin boost:
- When you’re watching TV together, give the recliner seat a pass and snuggle up close to your partner on the sofa instead.
- Linger in bed a bit longer on Sunday mornings. The ipad can wait. Your emails are beckoning, but give everything else a pass for just a few minutes longer. Trust us, this is more important!
- Spend at least two hours alone together every a week. It really doesn’t matter where. The important part is that you have no distractions—kids, technology, or work. Paradoxically, the more secure you feel in a relationship, the more you should follow this tip because it’s easier to lose track of one another when all’s well and your attention is directed outwards: to work, children, and hobbies. Don’t forget to refill that well you’re drawing your vitality from.
From the scholar and author who brought 2012—the Mayan calendar “end date”—to general awareness nearly two decades ago comes an engrossing book that provides the one thing that any discussion of 2012 sorely needs: perspective.
If you’re confused as to what 2012 signifies and where this date originated, you’re not alone. Between the doomsday scenarios propagated by Hollywood and the wild-eyed theories of other prophecy enthusiasts, it’s difficult to discern where the truth lies. As a veteran scholar of Maya studies who has been interviewed by the History Channel, the Discovery Channel and “Coast to Coast,” among others, John Major Jenkins has worked to dispel these 2012 misapprehensions.
In The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History, he offers the most comprehensive overview of this phenomenon to date, addressing:
- How the early Maya devised the calendar that gives us the cycle ending in 2012
- How the calendar was rediscovered and reconstructed in our era
- What cycle endings really meant to the Maya – and how we can apply this knowledge to our current times
- How the 2012 idea has been interpreted by traditional scholars and popular culture
- How we can cut through all the noise about 2012 and gain true wisdom from the Maya teachings about this moment
A thorough and accessible exploration, The 2012 Story provides a full portrait of how we can understand 2012, from its cultural and scientific roots to its spiritual teachings. And most importantly, Jenkins shows readers how to bring this knowledge to bear in our current times and view 2012 as the Maya did—not as an end date but as a period of transformation and renewal
The 2012 Story:
The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History
by John Major Jenkins
A Tarcher/Penguin paperback
Oct 14, 2010; ISBN: 978-158542-823-6; $17.95
WATCH OUR EPISODE OF TARCHER TALKS WITH JOHN MAJOR JENKINS:
How essential is beauty to our overall health and well-being? While some may view beauty as a thing to be appreciated or embraced when one has the time or leisure to do so, psychotherapist and critically acclaimed author Piero Ferrucci couldn’t disagree more.
In Beauty and the Soul, Ferrucci reveals how the overlooked power of everyday beauty can soothe the nagging difficulties of life. More than just a mere accessory, “beauty is a primary principle that touches all parts and functions of our being,” says Ferrucci. “It opens us to the world and brings harmony to our relation with others and to nature.”
Weaving research and case studies together with personal anecdotes and age-old parables that never fail to educate and enlighten, this provocative, accessible work explores the many ways that beauty can uplift, heal and transform—from the tangible to the intangible. For instance, Ferrucci illustrates how beauty can:
- Lengthen life: A Swedish study showed that those who go more often to the theater, movies, concerts and exhibitions have a greater chance of longevity.
- Facilitate healing: A study done in England moved all the staff and patients from an old but serviceable hospital to a new one which was designed to be both functional and beautiful. In the new hospital, the patients were shown to recover 21 percent faster, use fewer pain killers, and feel more satisfied.
- Provide us with a common ground: Beauty can encourage sharing between people, unite them and allow them to better know and enjoy one another.
- Transcend the “prison of the ego”: When we are experiencing awe and wonder, it’s nearly impossible to become ensnared by the hassles of our small, narrower world.
Beauty and the Soul challenges the way we perceive the world around us, guiding us to recognize and make use of the beauty present everywhere—in the environment, our relationships, our actions, words and inner selves.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Piero Ferrucci is a psychotherapist and philosopher. A former student of and collaborator with the transpersonal psychologist Roberto Assagioli, Ferrucci is a staff member of the Psychosynthesis Institute of Florence, Italy, and the International Federation of Medical Psychotherapy. He lives in the Tuscan countryside with his wife and children.
Order the book, now in paperback:
In The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars, Christopher Cokinos takes readers on a hunt through time and space as he profiles the maverick scientists, mad dreamers and starry-eyed profiteers who chased meteorites and turned their study into a legitimate science. At the same time, Cokinos weaves tales of his own journey throughout, as he follows in the footsteps of these historic meteorite explorers—from Greenland to Kansas, Australia to the South Pole.
Some of his subjects include:
- The fame-seeking Robert Peary, who went in search of the North Pole and instead found the “ghost rocks of Greenland.”
- Daniel Moreau Barringer, a mining engineer, lawyer, businessman and “blowhard” who popularized the idea that craters could be created by meteorites.
- Biology professor Harvey Nininger, a rabid meteorite collector and adventurer who opened the first meteorite museum and pushed the science world into recognizing the study of meteorites.
Woven together with these tales of personal obsession and entanglement are fascinating details about how meteors have deepened our understanding of the planet and how we have come to understand them through the ages—from Aristotle’s belief that shooting stars were “streaks of light created by earthly vapors” to the ancient Chinese conviction that they were the “stool of the thunder gods.”
Just as shooting stars have captivated individuals and cultures over the centuries, The Fallen Sky—part science, part history and part memoir—is a rich, eye-opening exploration of meteorites and the passions of those who hunt them.
Read the book to prepare for the upcoming meteor shower! The Perseids, on August 12 and 13, is best viewed in the Northeast after midnight. From late night on Wednesday, August 11 till dawn on Thursday, August 12, a decent sprinkling of Perseid meteors may adorn this summer night, despite the moon. The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as midnight ebbs toward dawn. Although not a favorable year, these meteors are often bright and frequently leave persistent trains.
About the Author
The author of Hope is the Thing with Feathers, Christopher Cokinos is the winner of the Whiting Writers Award, the Glasgow Prize for an emerging writer in nonfiction, and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. His nonfiction, reviews, and poems have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Orion, Science, and Poetry. He is a professor of English at Utah State University.