Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Keiko Hoshino for Ryuho Okawa on The Laws of The Sun

In this interview, the Keiko Hoshino talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about Master Ryuho Okawa’s book, The Laws of the Sun: One Source, One Planet, One People.

“Life is a workbook to be solved, and we are here to grow our capacity of love and wisdom.” ~Keiko Hoshino

The Laws of the Sun is one of the first books written for Happy Science, and it was written out in a 68-hour period by Master Okawa through automatic writing. The Laws of the Sun is intended to encourage people to think of themselves as members of one community and one human group, as all human beings, for all their differences, spring from one source, and speaks on matters of the soul and spiritual progression.

Keiko points out that there is only one Eternal Father who can be thought of as being the father of all teachers - the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus and the like - so the teachings in the book can be applied in one’s life, regardless of one’s religion. She points out that the spiritual laws that apply to all are the law of attraction / the law of same frequencies and the law of cause and effect, and that spirituality is logical, rather than chaotic in nature.

Spirits, Keiko also remarks, are vibrational energies, and souls are the spirits which inhabit human bodies. Spirits have eternal life and undergo a process of reincarnation for the souls to evolve by learning lessons in each life, to progress to higher planes of existence. We human beings also live in a multidimensional universe, which has nine planes of wisdom, and the more powerful one’s wisdom the higher the plane one can access. Angels are manifestations of great love and wisdom, and aiming to become one of these is one of the goals of spiritual progression.

Master Okawa notes that all human beings are children of the Creator, and there is no sin except to not believe in the Creator. The intent of development is to enable everyone to become a generator of love. The basic essence of love is giving without expecting any return, and the next level is that of nurturing love, which requires wisdom to properly nurture oneself and others. Forgiving love is the next step, as forgiveness is ultimately for oneself. Keiko remarks that it is not possible to forgive from a standpoint of “I am right and you are wrong,” that anger and other negative emotions is toxic to one’s soul, and and that forgiveness is very important for one’s inner peace and serenity. “We are not perfect,” Keiko notes, and we human beings all makes mistakes, which the Creator forgives us for.

Evil is part of the educational process for one’s soul, with evil essentially being an option which one can recognize and then decide whether to select it or not, and the Creator ultimately trusts that each human being will choose good over evil. The anatomy of the soul is explained in the book, where the predilection to follow love or evil is concerned, with negative energy attracting more negative energy, which makes one more prone to choose evil over good. Each of us has the seed to invite evil or happiness, so each of us has to recognize that it is within us to choose our paths.

Wisdom is essentially an understanding of a broader perspective, with the ultimate wisdom being that of being able to understand the mind of the Creator. Understanding where others come from enables people to choose good and love and is actually a form of loving the other person. The negative incidents in one’s life are learning points and are a disguised gift from the Creator, which enable humans to become wiser and more loving.

Purchase from Amazon: The Laws of the Sun: One Source, One Planet, One People by Ryuho Okawa

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Dr. Steven Curley: Stories of His Compelling Experience as A Surgeon Treating Patients Fighting Cancer

In this interview, Dr. Steven Curley talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, In My Hands: Compelling Stories from a Surgeon and His Patients Fighting Cancer.

“There is no blood test for a positive attitude or an upbeat approach.” ~Dr. Steven Curley

In My Hands is a collection of stories about Steven’s patients, with whom he interacted with in his capacity as a surgical oncologist. He would often share stories about his patients with those who were newly diagnosed with cancer to allay their fear and uncertainty, particularly with their concern about having someone to look after them when they are in pain or terminal. Although he was a conscientious note-taker, writing a book wasn’t Steven’s intention, but he finally got around to doing so after he was encouraged by his patients.

According to Steven, 38% of all Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life, which means that the average American will inevitably know someone who will have cancer. He notes that a lot of progress has been done with treating some kinds of cancer, such as lymphoma and leukemia, while with other forms of cancer, such as pancreatic cancer, not much progress has been made over the years.

Steven admits that he has an advantage over some of his oncologist colleagues, as he is a surgical oncologist, which means he has a chance to actually physically remove a tumor, which increases the patient’s chance of survival. He notes that, as a surgical oncologist, he follows his patients for life, because the cancer can recur and he wants to get rid of it if it does. This means that he creates years-long relationships with his patients, which is a double-edged sword, as he is encouraged by those who survive long-term and gets impacted by those who don’t. The work is thus a “roller coaster ride,” and to handle the physical and emotional stress and concern Steven does physical exercise activities. Not all of his colleagues handle their stresses with such positive methods, he admits, which includes their becoming withdrawn or emotionally distant, as well as falling into substance abuse, which is not desirable and important to recognize.

Steven has always been interested in finding new treatments for patients and is very “device oriented,” so his focus is on creating devices which can kill tumors. He has helped develop needles which can kill tumors by heating these and is also involved with sending electromagnetic waves to the tumors themselves to destroy these without needing to physically operate on a patient, which can possibly enhance the beneficial effects of chemotherapy drugs. He is also interested in alternative medicine, noting that he needs to know what herbal remedies they are taking, so he can be prepared. He is also interested in genetics and immunotherapy research, and his main focus is with taking what’s already present, where cancer treatment is concerned, and improving the efficacy of these, along with reducing any untoward side effects, particularly where the patient’s quality of their life, or even livelihood, are concerned. He admits that his interest in finding new ways to treat cancer stemmed from his frustration in being unable to get to particular tumors without damaging parts of a patient’s body.

In My Hands is an accurate portrayal of Steven’s experience, and not all of the stories are upbeat, given the nature of cancer, and included are stories of patients who use humor to create a positive attitude for themselves - the kind of attitude which, Steven notes, is powerful medicine in itself, as such has likely enabled patients to live longer than their statistical expected lifespan.

One of the lessons Steven has learned is to give to patients the hope that he will be with them on their journey, while another is to be direct and available with his patients, particularly giving them satisfactory information which they can understand. Some patients want to know a lot before committing to a course of action, but others just go for it within five minutes of discussion. Steven notes that clinicians need to respect and honor the trust that patients place in them, particularly with conditions like cancer.

Some of Steven’s long-term patients approach him with concerns totally unrelated to cancer, which leads to Steven occasionally being ribbed by his colleagues for being somewhat overqualified for certain procedures. The wackiest incident Steven can remember is when a female patient, a prim-and-proper lady, the wife of a high profile person, was recovering from an operation and, under the influence of the anesthesia she was then under, began swearing long and hard at everyone around her. She didn’t remember what happened the following day, and over the next few years her family would tease her about the incident.

To those who have recently been diagnosed with cancer, or who has someone close to them who has recently been diagnosed with cancer, Steven recommends that they get as much information as they can and not let the diagnosis overwhelm them. He recommends that patients take care of their entire body, which includes maintaining a positive outlook, eating a healthy diet and exercising. Steven notes that some people are responsible for the cancers they get, such as smokers getting lung cancer, which means that the patients themselves are in control of their own destinies moving forward in their lives.

Purchase from Amazon: In My Hands: Compelling Stories from a Surgeon and His Patients Fighting Cancer by Dr. Steven Curley

Howell Woltz on Restoring America by Returning to Its Constitution

In this interview, Howell W. Woltz talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, Restoring America: by Returning to Its Constitution.

“Can you imagine any other profession, any other job in the world, where you can screw up eight out of ten times and keep your job and not have any penalty for destroying and ending someone’s life?” ~Howell W. Woltz

Howell Woltz has, since 1977, been speaking on the topic of the loss of constitutional freedom, which he attributes to Progressivism. He notes that the constitution is a contract between the people and the government, and in the constitution, what is now known as the federal government was intended to be limited in scope and powers, with the states, through the Senate, and the people, through the House of Representatives, would approve the actions of the government. At the time of the constitution’s implementation, the government had only 17 duties and could only prosecute 3 crimes. By comparison today, the present government has 1.97 million employees, with a pay average of $100k/year, some of whom are responsible for creating 314,000 plus laws in the past 40 years, laws which weren’t voted into existence, even though these laws are supposed to be passed, according to the Constitution, by Congress.

Howell points out that the adoption of Progressivism was where the original constitutional intent was no longer followed. He traced the main event behind the rise of Progressivism (which is a sociopolitical ideology which supports Statism) from a series of lectures taught by John Ruskin at Oxford University to the upper British crust. One of these was Cecil Rhodes, who was one of the driving forces behind British imperialism in the 19th century and who helped lay the stage for the Boer War, and who shared Ruskin's view that it was the white man’s obligation to rule the world benevolently.

Thanks to the 300,000-plus criminal laws, Howell points out that, according to Harvey Silverglate, the average American breaks an average of three felony laws each day, then points out that, which makes it easy for prosecutors to target opponents and take them down. This leads to some 2.3 million Americans being in the federal prison system (compared to about half a million in gulags at the peak of the Soviet Union’s power), with another 7.1 million people under court supervision and 71 million Americans now having a criminal conviction of one kind of another. Because of the Progressivist basis, these laws are outright racist, and Harvey gives the example of the difference in sentencing between a white country club drug user and a black, poor-neighborhood drug user. He points to an article done by undercover reporter James O’Keefe who uncovered evidence of some of the two million Progressives who openly stated that they work for the cause of the Democratic Socialists of America and that they are to promote Progressivism, rather than work for the American people, which is the job for which they are hired.

The first openly Progressive president was Woodrow Wilson, one of whose acts was to fire every black employee in the United States government. He was supported by such Progressivists as J. P. Morgan who, in the 19th century, began buying out newspapers to consolidate news media. Howell points to Ben Bagdickian who, in 1983, wrote that there were only 50 major American media corporations from the thousands that had originally existed. Fast forward to 2018, and only six major corporations in the United States now control 92% of American media content, which includes movies, cable, books and magazines, and that these corporations are controlled by 15 billionaires who support the Progressivist agenda. Howell sees social media as the only reasonable alternative to mainstream media, for all of social media’s shortcomings, and praises millenials for being extremely skeptical about advertising and messages from only “one voice.” That said, he notes that social media companies are now starting to clamp down on messages that don’t support the Progressive agenda.

Howell notes that kids nowadays have no idea what’s in the Constitution, compared to his childhood, when copies of the Constitution were on the wall and classes were taught in civics. Devolution is something which Howell notes may be necessary, in a way that returns the United States back to its constitutional roots, pointing out that, if all men are equal and are to be treated equal and fairly under the law, there is nothing to progress beyond that. He notes that, in the Constitution, power from the government derives from the people, which runs counter to the 17th Amendment, which effectively removed the link between the people and the Senate which, in turn, leads to Senators not being beholden to the people they are supposed to serve.

Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, which laid the foundations for the classical free market economy, noted, according to Howell, that corporations were “a nuisance,” as they bribed and influenced politicians to better their own economic position. Howell points out that corporations have created the present situation where they are beholden to no single nation, and have created monopolies where large banks absorbed small banks which shut down because they couldn’t meet the financial reserves demanded by law - the kind of reserves that only the larger banks could afford. In the Constitution, only the citizens in the district where a politician was running could contribute to his campaign funds, and as corporations are now legal citizens of the United States, they are able to use their own monies to swing things their way.

Corporations becoming citizens sprang from an 1886 case of Sta. Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, when the president of the Newburgh and New York Railway Company, which stood to benefit from a Southern Pacific Railroad victory, J. C. Bancroft Davis, was made the court clerk on the case. He added, in the court notes, that Chief Justice Waite, who had said that the case was not about the legal aspect of corporate personhood, agreed that corporations were citizens, based on such a statement; and it is because of this entry into the books that corporations are now considered citizens of the United States.

Howell himself has had experience with the system’s injustice, as he was imprisoned for 87 months, consisting of 29 prison moves, until he was released because he was never charged with a crime. He was forced to move to Poland when he was threatened by the marshals of the same judge who sent him to prison to stop writing what he was writing “or else,” as well as harassing his family. He notes that 82% of all people who are imprisoned or executed are either innocent of the crimes they have been accused of or have been charged improperly, with these figures coming from a court review of 5,760 cases over a 23-year period at the state and federal levels, which was reported in a Columbia University study co-authored by Professor James S. Leibman, called “A Broken System: The Persistent Patterns of Reversals of Death Sentences in the United States.” The study also showed that, in 73% of all capital cases, the person involved was executed despite gross violations of his rights. Prosecutors and judges, Howell points out, have judicially granted themselves immunity, which makes them non-prosecutable for the mistakes they made.

Purchase from Amazon: Restoring America: By Returning to Its Constitution by Howell W. Woltz

Friday, October 5, 2018

Joseph Rain on Making the First Steps to Self-Discovery & Writing The Unfinished Book About Who We Are

In this interview, Joseph Rain talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, The Unfinished Book About Who We Are? Book One: First Steps to Self-Discovery.

“All truth arises from within.” ~Joseph Rain

Joseph’s journey on his present quest to understand who we are as human beings began at the age of fifteen, when he experienced a very painful skin condition for which there was no cure. Doctors said that this was due to a reaction to some chemicals, but Joseph realized that his skin would react violently when he felt or did certain things. This made him realize that our human bodies react to all that we do, and after doing some research on the power of the mind, he realized it was the emotions which were running in the background. He notes that there are feelings which accompany that which we say, and that was what was happening to him.

Joseph didn’t start writing about his journey until he was twenty-eight, when his brother committed suicide due to depression after staying with Joseph for two years - years when the two brothers had several discussions about their experiences with life. Joseph couldn’t sleep properly for six months after that, and it was during that time when he began writing out his thoughts. It was years later when he realized that he was writing about what humans were, as he researched philosophy, science, spirituality and religion, and it was ten years ago when people suggested that he write a book on all that he had learned from his introspection.

Joseph has actually written five books, the first two of which explain already-existing concepts, the third and fourth of which go within oneself as a human being, and the fifth one is along the lines of a “how to” practical workbook.

Humans, according to Joseph, don’t really fully understand what words mean, which means that the nature of words, and what some of these mean, needs to be explained, basic though these may seem or are. He also realized that people pass on knowledge without understanding why. Words, unknown to us human beings, create our reality, and some of the examples he expounds on are are:

  • Beauty. This has meaning only when a self-aware observer sees something and decides that it is beautiful and what defines it as such.
  • Life. What people call “life” is what should actually be called “living.”
  • Living. This is actually the time given between birth and death, and what people actually spend is time, rather than anything else.
  • Love. There are two kinds, according to Joseph.
    • Earthly love. This relates to things which we like to do.
    • True love. This is what we are.
  • Truth. This is actually relative to an observer, as it is internally generated by that observer. Truth is thus actually co-created, and thus has different versions.
  • Freedom. This is essentially the right to do what one wants, which would create anarchy rather than an organized society. Joseph argues that people actually seek “inner liberation,” which is the freedom to always be able to do what is right.

Animals have a different sense of reality from what humans have, Joseph notes, as they see and sense differently compared to humans. He also notes that the universe is just the way it is, once stripped of all the labels given to define its objects and perceived aspects.

There are four pillars to human knowledge and experience, according to Joseph:

  1. Science, which deals with the facts and what is so in the physical universe.
  2. Philosophy, which is based on reason. It covers metaphysical aspects which science cannot explain.
  3. Spirituality, which is about personal experience. It is about deep introspection and one’s internal journey.
  4. Religion, which is about faith.

All four of these pillars are intertwined amongst each other, and Joseph has searched for synergies amongst these. He notes that today’s education is all focused on intellect and data, and that there is a lot more out there where human experience is concerned, with emotional intelligence being neglected along with the spiritual. He points out that politicians may be intelligent, but they apparently lack emotional intelligence, given the way they operate. No culture has successfully integrated all four of these pillars, according to Joseph, but Joseph notes that there are some individuals who are attempting to do so, such as some gurus and people like philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris and psychologist Joseph Peterson. Such isn’t the mainstream at the moment, but Joseph believes that there is a shift that is starting to take place when these pillars will be integrated fully into everyday life.

A lot of the labels - words - which people presently use today to enable one group of people to stand out from others label concepts which weren’t around thousands of years ago, Joseph notes. Such concepts, in his opinion, will disappear once a society exists wherein people will combine the entirety of human experience to create a new society which is based on abundance and cooperation, rather than the separation that is the norm today. Distributing resources fairly becomes easier without all the separating mechanisms, according to him, and the basis for this separation is human ego, which came about from self-awareness.

Technology, in Joseph’s terms, is a way for humans to become more efficient, and this should be combined with responsibility, and notes that we can take a cue from Nature, which teaches what is right and what is wrong. He also notes that everything about human beings is about establishing relationships with everyone and everything around us, explaining how he learned that what stands between oneself and one’s success is communication, which is necessary in all relationships.

It is Joseph’s hope that we humans, by recognizing who we are, unleash their own potential to lead personally fulfilling lives. He notes that one’s feelings and emotions are generated from within, and these create one’s reality. Joseph also points out that change is the only certainty in the world, and that such words as “ageing” are emotionally laden versions of this word. He also notes that change creates reality, and that when it is acute, it is called “transformation,” and based on this, he remarks that: “Ageing is inevitable, getting old is a choice and death is a transformation into the unknown.”

Purchase from Amazon: The Unfinished Book About Who We Are? Book One: First Steps to Self-Discovery by Joseph Rain

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dr. Bruce Olav Solheim on Sharing His Paranormal Personal History

In this interview, Dr. Bruce Olav Solheim talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, Timeless: A Paranormal Personal History.

“Experiencing is believing, and believing is experiencing.” ~Dr. Bruce Olav Solheim

Bruce comes from a family which came from an environment where the paranormal was accepted as a matter of course. His mother was psychic, and he, himself, has been experiencing paranormal events since the age of four, when he was healed from a serious illness after seeing a being which his mother later called his guardian angel. He has generally kept these events to himself and amongst his friends, as he was concerned about how others would perceive his stories, particularly as he was in the academe. He was, however, prompted to write Timeless after he received a vision after a friend had died of cancer and thus did so. Much to his surprise, the reactions to his book have been very positive, and a of people, when they learn that he is the writer of such a book, are willing to share their own paranormal experiences with him.

Paranormal experiences, Bruce notes, have been experienced around the world, and he notes that the fear of death and dying is not really a concern, as we continue on beyond our body’s death, which does make us all, essentially, timeless. He admits that mainstream science is resistant to paranormal research, and that funding is difficult to get for paranormal researchers, which limits the activities they can do. Bruce recommends looking up Dr. Dean Radin, who is the senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), an institute co-founded by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, which conducts paranormal research. While the evidence seems to indicate that paranormal activity is real - such as the discovery that a different part of the brains of mediums becomes active when they get in touch with spirits - Bruce points out that the actual manifestations in the real world are more subtle than as is presented in movies, albeit no less profound. That said, Bruce admits that it is difficult for someone to believe in such phenomena until they’ve actually experienced it.

Bruce admits that he has had several good-aligned paranormal experiences, which is aligned with his own personal religious beliefs and which leads him to the conclusion and realization that different people have different levels of psychic strength; and so long as these are used for good purposes, that’s fine. That said, Bruce has also had some demonic experiences, with the scariest one being when he created a raw clay demon’s head at the age of twenty with the intention to scare someone who seemed to be in the demonic. He advises those exploring the paranormal to go by what they feel; for example, if they feel uncomfortable or fearful, there is likely to be a negative paranormal energy present. Bruce notes that demonic presences only have the power that one gives to them, and that they can be turned off “like an old radio” by such means as saying a prayer.

There are two main categories of ghosts, or physical apparitions, according to Bruce. One kind is a residual ghost or haunting, which he describes as being akin to a “tape loop,” and he gave the example of Mrs. Colby, the founder of the college in one of whose buildings he was spending the night in as being of this. The other kind is an interactive, intelligent ghost or haunting, and this can take the form of communicating with the spirits of those who have passed on. Bruce then mentions that the communication with these takes several forms, such as visual imagery or handwriting, and also mentioned that he has had some experiences with more malevolent beings, such as the one he had encountered with some ghost hunters the night prior to the interview.

The biggest thing Bruce has taken away from these is that people who have passed on strongly desire to speak with their loved ones on the physical plane, be it such general messages as “I love you” to “Check the oak box by the window.” He would also like people to know that we are both physical and spiritual beings and that, based on his own readings, the scientific quantum world is the realm of the paranormal. Bruce also mentioned a quote attributed to the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, where the truth, when it first comes out, is ridiculed, after which it is then challenged before being regarded as self-evident, and that this is presently the case where the paranormal and mainstream thought are concerned.

Purchase from Amazon: Timeless: A Paranormal Personal History by Dr. Bruce Olav Solheim

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Xanet Pailet on How to Live an Orgasmic Life, Heal Yourself and Awaken Your Pleasure

In this interview, author Xanet Pailet talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Living An Orgasmic Life: Heal Yourself And Awaken Your Pleasure.

“There’s so much shame about having shame that you don’t even talk about shame.” ~Xanet Pailet

On the surface, Xanet seemed to have it all, with a successful corporate career and a great family and life, but she also had a lot of hidden issues, one of which was that, for her, sex was a physically painful experience. This led to around a decade of a sexless marriage while she was raising her family - which, she points out, is common in one in four marriages - which caused her marriage to briefly fall apart. She finally ended her marriage and realized she needed to address her issues so she could engage in an intimate relationship in the future, and it was when she worked with a Tantric practitioner that she began her journey of sexual healing.

For Xanet, writing the book was a way to bring out some story that was inside of her, and she got the title from the title of her vision board.

Xanet opines that the reason why women still don’t live a life of sexual freedom is because of shame, which she calls “the nastiest five-letter word in the universe.” She notes that shame has been inherited from generations past and shows up in the way people, starting from childhood, are made to be ashamed of their bodies and of their sexuality, which results in discomfort when dealing with one’s body and sexuality. She points out some examples of a boy made to feel ashamed about touching his penis and for children not seeing their parents touch each other, which results in their becoming uncomfortable with physical touch when they are adults. Shame, Xanet notes, is probably the top sexual issue, as one cannot open up to sexual pleasure until one works through the layers of shame that one possesses. Xanet notes that several ancient cultures, such as the Hindus, the Greeks and the Romans, were sex-positive, which showed in the deities they worshipped and their references to genitalia.

One in four women, according to Xanet, have experienced sexual abuse and trauma, and this has had an enormous impact on those who have experienced these, but other factors also come into play, such as women not being able to ask for what they want or not even knowing what they want sexually. Xanet notes that women possess a clitoris, a part of the body whose only function is to give a woman pleasure, but that cultural programming influences women to say “No” to sex, pointing out the different messages told to boys and girls in their teenage years. She also points out the disjunction in sexual messaging for women, in that they are supposed to not engage in sexual relations until they’re married, but once they are married they are supposed to become sexual goddesses - something which is difficult to become when one is unfamiliar with, or ashamed about, sex and one’s body.

Women are more anatomically disconnected from their bodies than men are, Xanet explains, giving the example of the difference in sexual anatomies of males and females. Male sexual anatomy is outside the body, so it is easy to associate pleasure with such natural reactions as erections, but the female sex organs are within the body, so there’s nothing to see, literally, when a female becomes sexually excited.

Other issues that keep women from becoming sexual involve having emotional blocks around certain issues, as Xanet points out that a woman will not be able to express herself sexually when she’s feeling resentful, since women need to feel emotionally connected to their partner before opening up sexually.

Sexual healing is different for every person, Xanet notes, and the journey begins by recognizing that one has an issue to resolve, coupled with a curiosity about what is really going on within oneself. Finding support along the journey is also important, as women are most comfortable speaking about their deepest concerns in an environment where they feel safe, and this can be found in all-female workshops as well as other venues, one of which is the path Xanet took, Tantric healing. Xanet likens the experience of her own sexual healing as that of her being a closed flower whose petals slowly open up over time. She notes that the sex center is the seat of one’s power and creativity, and sexual energy is extremely potent, so that connecting with one’s sexual energy enables one to transform one’s life. Xanet notes that people who are so connected have more confidence and are healthier and less stressed, and that positive things and people then get attracted into their lives.

The most important mental shift necessary for women to take, Xanet remarks, is for them to redefine what sex is, other than the act of intercourse itself. According to Xanet, sex is any action or activity that creates an erotic feeling, which could be as simple as holding the hand of one’s partner or having a massage. This, she notes, takes away all of the expectations and performance anxieties surrounding orgasm, which enables one to become present to the experience, rather than being in one’s head about what one needs to do. “When we’re thinking, we’re not feeling,” Xanet remarks, “and sex is when we’re feeling.”

Xanet also tells women that they are responsible for knowing what they like and what arouses them, which is a big surprise to many that she tells this to. This means that women need to understand their own bodies so they can better communicate this with their partners, to give the latter guidance, particularly if the partner wants to know how to pleasure a woman. Xanet also remarks that women’s arousal shifts change daily, because their arousal system is more complicated than a man’s, and that women need time and some processes to bring them up to full arousal; indeed, “Slow everything down,” is Xanet’s advice, as women take 30 - 40 minutes to get aroused, and building up tension is important where arousal is concerned.

Long-term relationships can remain sexual with partners requires communication, according to Xanet, as both need to talk about feelings, emotions and what works and what doesn’t. She also remarks that this has to be a priority in one’s life, pointing out that a lot of couples stop having sex when raising their children, which means that sex needs to be placed on the calendar as well as to change things up.

To those who are struggling, Xanet notes that they should not give up, as they are not broken and that there is help available. She also recommends that people appreciate what is working in a relationship and nourish these, and for people to be curious about the many ways they can engage sexually with their partners.

Purchase from Amazon: Living An Orgasmic Life: Heal Yourself And Awaken Your Pleasure by Xanet Pailet

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Michael C. LeMay on Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in United States History

In this interview, Michael C. LeMay talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History.

“Immigrants bring a very hard work ethic.” ~Michael C. LeMay

Michael has a bit of a personal stake in writing U.S. Immigration Policy, as he comes from a family of immigrants and noticed how interested his students were in immigration in the context of a minority setting, which led to his writing at least a dozen books on the topic.

Michael coined the terms for the various eras of immigration policy, which are:

  • The Open Door era (1820 - 1880) - very little restrictions on immigration.
  • The Door Ajar era (1880 - 1920) - some restrictions placed on immigrants.
  • The Pet Door era (1920 - 1965) - most immigration blocked, save for a select few, mostly from northern Europe. Immigration quotas were implemented here.
  • The Dutch Door era (1965 - 1980) - immigration quotas maintained, while certain sectors were allowed in.
  • The Revolving Door era (1980 - 2001) - a period when illegal immigrants became a concern.
  • The Storm Door era (2001 - present) - immigration is highly restrictive due to security and health concerns.

The United States can exist without immigration, Michael notes, and he points out that, in the long run, immigration benefits the nation as a whole, as immigrants bring in new blood and new talent. Immigrants who enter the United States move out of their countries of origin because of economic reasons, such as a failed economy, religious oppression, natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks or failed agriculture, as was the case during the Irish Potato Famine of the 19th century. He also notes that the United States makes the most of what, in other nations, would be a brain drain, as highly trained professionals work in the United States because they can earn more there than they would in their native land, such as Irish nurses or Philippine medical doctors. A shift in national identity is also inevitable with immigration, and Michael speaks of the “browning” of America, pointing out the Miss America contestants and winners as an example.

Where Japan is concerned, Michael notes that immigration is tight because of their concern with cultural homogeneity.

He also notes that there are inevitable short-term concerns and tensions when immigrants enter, as the social and cultural balance is upset in the short term. The ones who would be most threatened by immigrants are those whose livelihoods might be affected by an influx of these, such as blue-collar, lower-skilled workers who would lose out to immigrants who would be willing to do the same kind of work they do for a lower pay level.

Immigrants, however, benefit the United States in the long run, as several of these are entrepreneurial in nature, creating businesses and companies in the long term, which create wealth, economic opportunity and jobs. Michael notes that the United States has, until recently, been the recipient of the “brain drain” that occurs in other countries, where the brightest, most skilled and entrepreneurial members of those countries choose to work in the United States rather than in their native countries.

With regard to present issues, Michael notes that the creation of a southern border wall is a useless and unnecessary policy. He opines that guest worker programs can be put into place to regulate entry and that entry be allowed only at particular points. He also notes that electronic surveillance and vetting are important, and that immigration needs to be tied up to foreign policy; after all, he notes, if the economies of Central American countries like Mexico improve, people would stay there because they have good-paying jobs. Michael notes that foreign policy and immigration have always been intertwined, giving the examples of the Burlingham Treaty with China in the 1880s, followed by the Chinese Exclusion Act a few years later, as well as Theodore Roosevelt’s “Gentleman’s Agreement” with Japan, where Japan was economically pressured to control their emigration to the United States.

Immigrants have served with great distinction in the military during such conflicts as World Wars One and Two, Michael remarks, which helped them gain citizenship faster. In his opinion, immigration isn’t being viewed historically or holistically by the present administration, and that immigration concerns should be viewed in the long term, rather than just over the next few years. Michael also notes that immigrating into the United States requires the would-be immigrant to pass through stringent vetting procedures.

Purchase from Amazon: U.S. Immigration Policy, Ethnicity, and Religion in American History by Michael C. LeMay

Monday, September 3, 2018

Saeeda Hafiz on Her Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches (The Healing)

In this interview, Saeeda Hafiz talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, The Healing: One Woman’s Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches.

“Be as authentic as you can be in your journey.” ~Saeeda Hafiz

Saeeda initially intended The Healing to be a calendar to enable people to get in touch with themselves, but she then realized that, as she did so with other people, she found herself telling the same stories over and over again. It was because of this repetition that Saeeda decided to write The Healing as it has presently become.

Saeeda mentioned that, as she went along her journey of living healthy, she would occasionally get flashbacks of childhood traumatic events. She grew up in an environment of poverty and domestic violence, with her mother being the only parent who brought up her and her siblings. This upbringing permeated her life and the lives of her siblings, particularly when it came to stretching the money available.

Saeeda notes that, within the African American community, there is a conversation that getting an education ensures that one rises above the circumstances of one’s poverty, but that doing so isn’t easy if the community and environment don’t support that goal. She gives the example of her grandfather who claimed he was doing okay, despite getting only a junior high school education, and he then pulled her father into what he was doing. She notes that there are changes involved with assimilating into an environment different from the one that one grew up in, and that not everyone is comfortable with this. Saeeda thus used food and yoga to center herself as she underwent this kind of journey of curiosity and development.

Although friends had tried to get her to try out yoga during college, Saeeda became involved in it after she graduated. She acknowledged that she initially resisted going to yoga classes, particularly as she was the only black student taking up yoga and her classmates were twice her age and could hold yoga poses she couldn’t yet hold, and could hold their poses longer than she could. Saeda nevertheless felt that yoga was a calling for her, and that, at the end of the classes she took, she got a sense well-being and peace, as well as that healing was about to happen.

Saeeda remarked that the conversation of doing certain things will result in freedom from the past isn’t a truthful one. She notes that, in her experience, eating food that was “alive” helped her synthesize her childhood experiences. Yoga also helped her understand that there was a path of moving these experiences through herself to create a deeper sense of health. Saeeda also remarked that eating the proper kind of food and yoga helped to lift herself from those negative experiences, particularly any shame associated with these. She then points out that this can be useful when coming to terms with the parts of a family’s or a country’s history that were traumatic, as acknowledging and integrating these aspects is actually what enables one to move on. Saeeda also remarks that empowering one another is important to move on, and that people need to own their actions to allow forces to come into play, so everyone can move forward together.

Saeeda notes that there is always power in the present moment, where one can look where one presently is and realize that there is something one can do to help change one’s present direction. To those who may be struggling with the traumas of her past, Saeeda recommends that they try to connect with their own, inner voice, the voice of their true self, and see what it’s telling them, noting that it takes a lot of work to run away from oneself, which is easy to do with the distractions available today.

Purchase from Amazon: The Healing: One Woman’s Journey from Poverty to Inner Riches by Saeeda Hafiz

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lisa Rehurek on How to Do Better in Business and Win More with RFPs

In this interview, Lisa Rehurek talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, The RFP Success Book.

“Don’t try to do it all by yourself.” ~Lisa Rehurek

RFPs are Requests for Proposals, which are issued by organizations such as large corporations or the government, who look for contractors or vendors who can supply the needs of that organization. RFPs can be as short as a few pages or, particularly in the case of the United States federal government, can run into thousands of pages. The responding businesses need to submit their requirements and experience and solutions for the proposal seeker to then see how good the fit is with their needs.

Because of the occasionally detailed RFPs issued, Lisa’s present business is to aid small businesses, which would most likely not have the necessary manpower or competency to respond accurately to RFPs, do just that. The RFP Success Book was born out of Lisa’s realization that she kept on repeating the same themes over and over again with her clients and in her blogs, and as such it would probably be best to put all of these themes into a book for all and sundry to read and learn from.

Lisa notes that, in addition to the technical requirements and specifications, RFPs can also include such requirements at legal, insurance, price points, deadline for submission and even if the response needs to be printed on recycled paper and what the specific margins and font of the reply should be in. While big companies have an in-house RFP team which works solely on analyzing RFPs, small companies - who may receive only six to ten RFPs a year - don’t have such personnel and are likely will not have the competency to do so, as these small companies are likely to be staffed by people who are dedicated to the company’s core business.

Lisa points out that successfully responding to RFPs is important for businesses, particularly if the contracts are worth millions of dollars and can last years. She notes that those submitting proposals should meet the requirements and understand what the evaluation criteria are, and also remarks that one of the top mistakes that businesses responding to RFPs make is not answering the question that is asked for, such as giving a ten-page answer on their company’s history rather than explaining their methodology to complete a particular task. Lisa also remarks that the businesses responding to RFPs should take particular note of multi-tiered questions, such as asking for different kinds of pricing and then providing the details to these.

Lisa notes that businesses should take note of what the client needs and wants. She also notes that responders should remember that, at the end of the day, it will be a person who will be reading the RFP response, so it should appeal and maintain that person’s interest accordingly as well as ensuring that the proper solution can be provided. Based on her experience, Lisa remarks that around ten percent of all RFPs are rejected outright, and that around half fail to impress with the proper solution. Getting an RFP rejection does have an impact on a business, she notes, as a lot of time and effort would have gone into answering the RFP, which could be torpedoed by one, single mistake.

Businesses should also be aware that an RFP is also essentially a sales and marketing call, and that standing out from a bunch of other RFP responses will increase one’s chances of successfully getting the contract concerned, according to Lisa. It is thus important that companies be able to translate their technical speak into something the RFP evaluator can understand, as the latter might not have the same level of technical expertise as those responding to the RFP may have.

Businesses, particularly those who get RFPs from the government, may have to play a waiting game, as their potential clients may take months before finishing evaluating the RFP responses they get, and this does have a potential impact on a business, where staff and resources are concerned, as these might not be sufficient to cover all of the contracts awarded. Management of RFPs is thus a vital part of a company’s business.

To those who would respond to RFPs, Lisa would say to really pay attention to answering the question as it was asked, and then to be as simple and as succinct as possible in their reply, as a business has only two or three seconds to appeal to, and attract the attention of, the one reading the reply. She also advises that businesses not get intimidated by the RFPs they receive, and to get help from others to successfully respond to these.

Purchase from Amazon: The RFP Success Book by Lisa Rehurek

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mia Tomikawa on Mater Ryuho Okawa's Art of Building Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties - The Strong Mind

In this interview, Mia Tomikawa of Happy Science talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about Master Ryuho Okawa’s book,The Strong Mind: The Art of Building the Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties.

“You already have inner strength within you, and all you have to do is to cultivate it; and it starts with believing that you can take control of your own life.” ~Mia Tomikawa

Master Okawa wrote the book to encourage everyone to get through the inevitable crises that pop up in people’s lives by cultivating a mind strong enough to manage these. Mia mentions that there are life crises that take place in particular in the decades of one’s life - in childhood, for example, there’s the family squabble or crisis; in one’s twenties, there’s the job crisis and in one’s eighties,there’s the coming to terms with destiny. Master Okawa notes that our minds and our souls are things which will last beyond death, and cultivating a strong mind enables one to handle the challenges that life throws one’s way. Mia also notes that, in Japanese, the word “mind” actually encompasses the mind, the heart and the soul, which are a person’s total being.

According to Master Okawa, who bases this structure on Eastern philosophy, there are three stages of growth for all human beings:

  1. Becoming a sharp, intelligent and capable person, which manifests when one is young.
  2. Becoming dynamic, which is necessary to become a leader who can work with and guide others.
  3. Becoming calmer and more profound, which is necessary for one’s old age.

To create a strong mind, one needs to believe and have faith in oneself, first off. This requires having faith that new paths will open up as one lives, and becoming more courageous and being forgiving are two ways by which one can cultivate a strong mind. Forgiving is a way to let go of resentment and hurt, for the grudge that one holds against another will torment one within, and thus weaken one. Taking responsibility for one’s life is another key to creating a strong mind, as blaming others or events for one’s lack of happiness removes one’s capability to be happy.

The fear of failure and making mistakes is ever present, and this is due to one’s desire to protect oneself or one’s ego. Overcoming this fear requires a change in mindset, where one sees the failures and challenges of life as lessons given and situations to be learned from, rather than the “bad” thing that these are commonly made out to be. Master Okawa notes Thomas Edison as an example of someone who never saw failures or mistakes but instead saw opportunities to learn from, and this is the perspective necessary to create a strong mind. Not having challenges in one’s life means that one will never grow or find true happiness, as growth enables that.

Parenting is important where giving a child the foundations necessary to create a strong mind are concerned. Parents need to enable and educate children to feel responsible for their own lives to create a sense of duty and responsibility, and Mia notes that kids in the United States are more responsible and independent when compared to kids in Japan. She notes that, in Japan, the parents make all the decisions sometimes to the point of spoiling them, so that they don’t take responsibility for themselves.

One’s accomplishments can create a bias against others, where one judges others by one’s own strong points. Master Okawa notes that people need to be more accepting of others who might seem weak from one’s point of view, as those others have their own gifts to bring. Praising others is part of having a strong mind, particularly as doing so enables others to become present to their own capabilities and to connect with one. This is, admittedly, hard to do where people who have hurt someone is concerned, but in the long run, according to Master Okawa, this will create a connection between the people concerned. This is not easy to do, where people who are hurtful are concerned, and Mia points out that practicing this is a process much like working out in the gym, where one’s muscles hurt the first few times but become stronger and more capable over time.

Purchase on Amazon: The Strong Mind: The Art of Building the Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties by Master Ryuho Okawa

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Erica Garza & Her True Story of Getting Off from Sex and Porn Addiction

In this interview, Erica Garza talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction.


“Shame was the driving force in the way my addiction manifested.” ~Erica Garza

Erica decided to write Getting Off for several reasons, one of which was her using writing as a way to deal with difficult emotions and gain perspective on her life. It was because of this that she felt most at home with the Hoffman process (which is a seven-day retreat where writing is one of the methods involved) to help her come to terms with her own sexual addiction, and the seed of the book was an essay she wrote on the topic. Writing the essay was challenging for her, and after she posted it online, she received a lot of emails from people who felt isolated, alone and ashamed with their own sexual addictions. The responses encouraged her to write more and the result was book she eventually authored.

Erica grew up in a Catholic environment, and her family environment was one of love and support. She began the road to sex addiction when, at the age of twelve, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and needed to wear a back brace for two years. She accordingly felt very self-conscious, insecure and anxious about herself and her body, and had, by then, began masturbating and exploring pornography. She then began using masturbation and pornography as a way to get get a break from the insecure and scary thoughts and feelings that were her normal experience, noting that, when she was focused on achieving orgasm, that was the only thing she would think about.

Sex became an escapist crutch for Erica to lean on as she grew older, and her leaning on that crutch was enhanced by the growing presence and ease of availability of pornography on the Internet. Having sex with men also added to this crutch, and even then Erica used sex to help hide her emotions and self away from others, as she found connection and friendship to be challenging; and this made her lonely. This desire to shield her emotions was also what led her to sabotaging any relationships where she felt she was getting emotionally close to a man, so she could maintain her emotional distance.

Erica points out that women, just like men, can be sex addicts and watch and view the same kind of pornographic material that men look at, and a lot of her emails bear this out. Where conversation is concerned, however, women don’t speak publicly about this issue, which only adds to the layer of shame which sexually addicted women already feel. She points out that being told by others that something which one is experiencing “doesn’t exist” results in that person shutting down, and that this resulting isolation, silence and shame only fuels addictions even more, whereas bringing these issues out in a safe and supportive space results in healing.

Erica notes how sex addiction, and the drivers for this, vary from person to person, and the best indicator is to ask oneself the questions:

  • Am I using sex as a way to escape from problems in my life?
  • Am I using sex in a destructive way?
  • Am I putting myself into situations where I feel I’m not in control?

Erica also notes that, in her case, the kind of porn she watched was the extreme kind where she felt bad, disgusted and ashamed. Where relationships with men were concerned, she gravitated towards those where she felt used and unkindly treated, which she notes reflected the way she treated others. Somewhat ironically, Erica admits that she needed to feel turned off, bad and abused in order to feel the adrenaline rush of a sexual experience.

Isolation was a big result of her sex addiction on herself, which fed into her feelings of shame, worthlessness and self-loathing. Erica admits that the people around her, family included, most likely felt neglected, as she felt that they weren’t worth her time. She notes that other people can most relate to her experience of being lost and stuck in the kind of negative feelings she experienced.

Erica did not hit “rock bottom,” which is a common wake-up call for those addicted to drugs and alcohol, as she gradually realized her sexual addiction over time. That said, she finally realized what was going on after she deliberately sabotaged a relationship and also realized that she would be turning thirty soon, and she then decided to do things differently, which led her to her trip to Bali, where she began figuring things out.

Breaking her sexual addiction required Erica to break the patterns which enabled these, and one of the things which helped her do so was to create boundaries where she could still be sexually exploratory in a way that didn’t hurt those whom she loved. For her, moving on from becoming a sex addict was all about finding moderation and balance, as well as dealing with the feelings of shame and unworthiness that drove her sexual addiction in the first place. Telling the truth, for Erica, is the most powerful way to come to terms with her sexual addiction.

Erica notes that pornography isn’t the cause of sex addiction, noting that, if pornography didn’t exist, people would go to some other source of titillation, like strip clubs and peep shows. She also notes that, even if pornography didn’t exist, she would still have felt the same feelings and desires that had led her to becoming a sex addict.

To those in a similar situation that she was in, Erica recommends that they find someone to talk to, one who can listen from a space of non-judgement. Erica also strongly recommends that they go to a Twelve Steps meeting, where they can meet with like-minded people and talk about their concerns in a safe environment. She also notes that, for some people, a single method, e.g., just Twelve Steps or just yoga or just meditation, might not work, and that a combination of such methods may be needed to reclaim balance in their lives.

Purchase from Amazon: Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza

Tan Liu on The Ponzi Factor as the Simple Truth behind Investment Profits

In this interview, Tan Liu talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, The Ponzi Factor: The Simple Truth About Investment Profits.

“I want people to understand how this game really works.” ~Tan Liu

The Ponzi Factor was initially written out of anger in 2009, after Tan worked at a hedge fund where he realized that finance involves a lot of “tricky accounting,” where profits can be realized on paper without actually making these. He also learned of another company which ran a Ponzi scheme similar to Bernie Madoff’s, except it was legally done. This kind of scheme, Tan realized, involves all synthetic financial instruments, such as credit swaps and the stock market, as these actually have no real-world value. He decided to focus on the stock market to keep to a coherent subject matter, and while pointing out the Ponzi scheme nature of the stock market was easy, he needed to devote a lot of time addressing the side issues related to stocks which, he points out, are all hypothetical arguments.

Tan points out that “financial theory” is an unprovable idea, and that the arguments set forward by the academe to support these are unfounded and unproven hypotheses. He gives the example of a company’s stock equity value being equivalent to:

Price x The Number of Stocks a Company Has

and gives the example of Google, which has 348 million Class C stocks (wherein the stock owners have no voting rights and receive no dividends; and these stocks comprise half of their market capital - effectively, half of all their stocks) and which, based on an increase of $100 on a trade of 1.5 million stocks, increased its financial equity value by some $80 billion without needing to do anything or exert any effort to increase its profitability, as this increase would be applied to all of its stocks. Tan also points out that Google does not back the value of their stock and doesn’t issue dividends, which was the original way by which stocks earned money for their owners.

Tan remarks that, prior to the 1900s, stock was an instrument by which the person who owned that stock owned part of a company. That owner earned money from the dividends paid out on the stock, and the company tied in the value of the stock and any dividends paid out to how profitable the company was. The stock owner also had another, secondary way of making money from stocks, and that was by selling those he owned at a price higher than what he bought them, which is called capital gains. Capital gains, on the other hand, are presently the primary method by which people can, supposedly, make money on stocks, and Tan remarks that, with this method, stock prices move only when money comes in from another investor, thus creating a system where money is only shuffled amongst investors, rather than created through profits generated; and this is what makes it a gambling system and a de facto Ponzi scheme.

Tan notes that companies buying back stocks is very rare, and points out that such buybacks, where companies buy back stocks and thus take these off the trading floor, are scams of their own. He cites, as an example, a Google buy-back of 5 million shares in 2016 when, in that same year, their stocks available for trade increased by 3 million shares, indicating that, if Google did indeed, buy 5 million shares back, they also somehow released 8 million new shares for trading.

At present, Tan points out that there is no relationship between stocks and company profitability, citing Tesla, which issued 74 million shares in the past 7 years. During that time, its stock value rose from $20 to $380, while the company lost $4.7 billion, which indicates a disjunct between a company’s profitability and stock price, as a company’s stock value is supposed to rise if it turns a good profit and drop when it loses money. This behavior, Tan notes, is possible only with a Ponzi type scheme in play, one which is clearly observable and factual.

Tan remarks that, from an investment viewpoint, cryptocurrencies aren’t much different from stocks, in that these are as much gambling instruments as stocks presently are. There are many different kinds of cryptocurrencies, and the type which is most analogous to stocks are the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which are essentially tokens issued by companies to people with a promise that that person, at a future time, can redeem a company’s goods and services in the future. This makes ICOs somewhat more legitimate than other cryptocurrencies.

Tan remarks that academic institutions which teach finance are one of the major driving forces behind the present way stocks are being viewed and handled, and notes that his reaction to what is being taught is usually one of incredulous laughter. Academic institutions, according to Tan, teach unproven material which disconnects stocks from the money a company actually makes. He notes that academics have a vested interest in continuing to push their theories, as all of these would become meaningless in light of fact.

Tan points out the fallacy that a stock owner can “just sell my stock tomorrow,” as the money available to buy out sold stocks just doesn’t exist. He remarks that the total value of the stock market in the United States is $30 trillion, but that the most lenient measure of money supply in the United States is around $13 trillion, most of which is used in things other than stocks, such as infrastructure development and defense spending; and of this, only $1.6 trillion is actual, hard money in circulation. Thus, the value of a person’s stock isn’t effectively “cash in hand,” and that they actually hold $0, as they parted with their money, which is something tangible, can be possessed and can be handled, whereas the value of a stock portfolio is an intangible idea.

Tan recommends that stocks should be classified as gambling instruments, and to ground and connect stocks to company profits, Tan recommends that companies be required, by law, to pay reasonable dividends to all of their shareholders, rather than dividends just for compliance. For startup companies who choose to raise capital by issuing stocks, Tan recommends that the stocks of these companies not be traded until the companies themselves make enough money so they can issue reasonable dividends.

To would-be investors, Tan recommends investing in more solid assets, such as real estate, or investing in stocks that actually pay dividends.

Purchase from Amazon: The Ponzi Factor: The Simple Truth About Investment Profits by Tan Liu

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Dr. Michael S Scheeringa on A Parent's Guide to PTSD in Youth

In this interview, Dr. Michael Scheeringa talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, They’ll Never Be the Same: A Parent’s Guide to PTSD in Youth.

“Parents, it’s up to you.” ~Dr. Michael Scheeringa

As a young, newly-trained doctor, Michael was interested in preventing child abuse, but found that field to be too ambitious to tackle, so he went into research into the effect of trauma on children - post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in other words. He accumulated a lot of information from his research and clinical work had been spending time speaking about the matter to his colleagues as well as leading training workshops on the matter, but he felt that the word wasn’t going out as quickly as he felt it should. He thus wrote They’ll Never Be the Same in an attempt to let parents and the ordinary person know the symptoms and effects of PTSD on children.

Michael notes that PTSD springs from experiences which children consider to be life-threatening, rather than experiences which are stressful but don’t get up to the intensity of being life-threatening. The events are sudden, unexpected, sheer moments of panic, which can take place during such events as natural disasters, attacks by dogs (for young children), witnessing domestic violence and the like. That said, he agreed that not everybody reacts the same way to the same situation, due to the difference in the way children perceive things, with one child being in a car accident and getting traumatized and another child in the same accident not being traumatized, and he infers the possibility that this could be due to the way each individual’s brain is wired. Michael notes that, where the issue of being separated from parents is concerned, such an event isn’t necessarily life-threatening, although it is stressful, unless it’s done in a very frightening way.

Some of the myths that Michael points out about childhood PTSD are:
  • “Young children don’t remember what happened to them.” This is not true. Children as young as three can suffer from PTSD, and they will remember the traumatic event as they grow older.
  • “Kids grow out of it.” This doesn’t happen, so it is best to get help for the child as soon as possible - immediately, as much as possible, within a month at most.
  • “The parent - particularly the mother - is to blame.” This isn’t the case, and Michael points out that parents - particularly mothers - were blamed for autism in the 1950s, as they were blamed for schizophrenia in the 1960s. Granted, some parents might be using their children to get doctors to doing something which might not be proper or legitimate, and Michael does admit that therapists and clinicians are exposed, during their training, to populations which skew towards such behavior, but he also says that, in his experience, parents don’t lie where their children’s welfare is concerned.
Michael remarks that parents can tell if a child suffers PTSD by seeing a sudden change in a child’s behavior. PTSD is the only psychological disorder which manifests itself immediately, so something like a child being happy and expressive one day and literally withdrawn the next day is a symptom of PTSD. He also notes that there are twenty different diagnostic indicators for PTSD, which fall into three types:
  1. Re-experiencing - nightmares, thoughts that barge in.
  2. Avoidance and numbing - losing interest in things they previously liked.
  3. Increased arousal - difficulty sleeping and concentration, exaggerated startle responses (“jumpy”).
Therapies for PTSD will never enable the child to totally heal. The best that can be done is to enable the child to live with the event, similar to how people would live with diabetes or chronic back pain, for the rest of their life. That said, such therapies will enable those who are successfully treated to live out their live productively.

Michael remarks that psychotherapy is the first line of treatment for PTSD, as it has the best long-lasting effect. There are different types of psychotherapy for PTSD, and one of these, which Michael recommends and uses, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is a form of evidence-based treatment, which means that the therapy has been tested in randomized clinical trials and has been shown to work, unlike other therapies which have not been clinically tested at all. CBT consists of twelve to fifteen weekly sessions, with the patient learning new coping strategies at the start of the process, after which they need to start talking about their trauma in a gentle, guided way to enable them to gain mastery of the negative feelings they have about the event. Michael notes that up to 75% of his patients have had success with CBT, and the other 25% need help in addition to CBT, such as through medication.

Michael estimates that 90% of all children with PTSD aren’t so diagnosed, as most clinicians nowadays aren’t trained to recognize PTSD in children. For the moment, it is now up to the parents to seek help for their children by finding their own assessments, such as those on Michael’s website, and then looking around for therapists who can help them out. Some of the questions Michael recommends parents to ask, to find the right kind of therapist, are:
  • Do you use evidence-based therapy?
  • Have you seen a child like mine, with PTSD, before?
  • How many cases have you treated?
  • Have you treated children who are my child’s age?
  • What kind of psychotherapy do you plan to use?
He also says that parents should switch therapists if the therapist they are working with doesn’t seem to be effective.

On the subject of studies conducted on brains of people who suffered PTSD, Michael remarks that the present conventional wisdom is that those peoples’ brains have suffered changes due to PTSD but notes that most of this wisdom is based on studies which didn’t have a reference image of the brain prior to PTSD and those images after the event which triggered PTSD took place. He notes that some newer studies, which do use “before and after” imaging, indicate that the brain structure didn’t change before and after the event took place, and that it is likely that some people are more vulnerable to PTSD than others because of the way their brain is structured.

Purchase from Amazon: They’ll Never Be the Same: A Parent’s Guide to PTSD in Youth by Dr. Michael Scheeringa

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Arno Michaelis on Forgiveness after Hate

In this interview, Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Singh Kaleka talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about their book, The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.


“Hurt people hurt people.” ~Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Arno Michaelis

Pardeep is a first-generation immigrant, having come from Punjabi, India at the age of six, when his parents wanted a better life and opportunities for themselves and their family. They settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and essentially followed the American dream, and thanks to their parents’ hard work Pardeep and his family were able to go to college, with his brother becoming a teacher and Pardeep, a police officer. He is a Sikh, which is a religion which is concerned with seeing the humanity in others, and Sikhs are expected to be learners.

Arno grew up in Milwaukee, in a good neighborhood, but in an alcoholic household, with his parents struggling. The conflicts led him to lash out at others, and as he grew older, he got stimulated by antisocial, violent acts. He began drinking at the age of sixteen and first got involved with white supremacists while listening to music geared towards that audience. He spent seven years in neo-Nazi hate groups as a leader and street fighter, but he felt an increasing sense of exhaustion and isolation in that time, particularly since the people he was supposed to hate treated him with kindness when he least deserved it. Arno remarked that everything that he did was designed to provoke hostility, hate and fights, but when he was treated with kindness he didn’t know how to react. He eventually decided to leave when he became a single father to a baby girl and one of his friends was killed in a street fight, which made him present to the fact that a lot of his friends were incarcerated, and that if he himself didn’t change, he would wind up like them. He then spent the next seven years healing, then stopped drinking, began writing and founded an online magazine, Life After Hate and now works as a counter-violent extremist consultant.

On August 5, 2012, one of Arno’s former colleagues shot and killed six people in a Sikh temple, one of whom was Pradeep’s father, before being killed himself in a shootout with responding policemen. Pardeep then reached out to connect with Arno a few months after the shooting, and since then, the pair have been working together to break the cycle of hate which breeds more hate and racism.

While Arno doesn’t believe there is an excuse for hate and violence, he remarks that there is always a reason. Whatever the ideology under which the hate and violence blossoms, the common thread is a background of suffering and pain within an individual. Pardeep seconds this, saying that there are a lot of issues related to vulnerability amongst individuals who lean towards extremism and violence.

Irresponsibility is the main source of racism, according to Arno and Pardeep, where it is easier to blame someone else, or another group, as being the source of one’s perceived poor status in life, rather than confront oneself about one’s own behaviors and actions that had brought one to that state. Such blame enables one to disconnect from the reality of one’s life, and Arno notes that white supremacist groups prey upon this mix of frustration, discontent and blame to recruit people, which only accelerates the person’s downfall, rather than enabling them to find ways out of their situation.

Pardeep notes that, in the United States, a lot of judging goes on about people involved in white supremacist groups, which keeps people from recognizing the pain and historical trauma of such ideologies. A more mindful culture, according to him, is necessary to solve the concern, rather than demonizing the people, as there is no way out for the person once that is done. Rejection, real or perceived, is the trigger for violence in a lot of mass shootings, according to Pardeep, and Arno remarks that violence is also an attempt to find control something in their life when everything else isn’t in control. He then adds that he and Pardeep, as part of their work, help people to see that controlling the lens through which they view the world, be it for evil or for good, is a powerful thing. Arno also notes that responding to antisocial behavior with compassion, rather than aggression and vengeance, breaks the cycle of violence, without accepting such behavior as normal.

Pardeep notes that the interplay of factors in racism is complex, as it exists in history and society as well as individuals. Resolving the concern, he says, requires that society become a solution-focused one, rather than the judgemental, blaming one that it presently is. Arno remarks that one thing people can do is to see oneself in others, particularly when those other people do harm.

To those who are deeply involved in racist ideologies, Arno would ask them if they know someone of their race who could make better decisions in their life and if they know someone of another race who is hard-working and likeable. To those who are on the receiving end of a hate crime, Pardeep would like them to know that pain, however painful, has a purpose with regard to one’s life journey.

Arno notes that, as human beings, it’s in our nature that we find what we seek, so those who find reasons to be hateful and outraged will find such, while those who seek inspiration will find it. This is something which Pardeep calls a “choice bias,” and whatever one chooses to invest in gives greater weight to one’s own beliefs.

Purchase from Amazon: The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and a Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate by Pardeep Singh Kaleka and Arno Michaelis