Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dr. Jalaja Bonheim on Making Peace with Ourselves and the World

Dr. Jalaja Bonheim talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World.

“The heart will never say, ‘I want a big, new car. I want a big, new house.’ Those kinds of things come from the mind.” ~Jalaja Bonheim

Jalaja Bonheim is the daughter of two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who grew up in a family of intellectuals in Germany, and as she was surrounded with literature during her childhood it seemed only natural for her to study literature, which culminated her getting her doctorate in German and English literature, and this discipline gave her a good foundation from which she wrote her books (The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World is her fifth book). Her involvement with spirituality, sexual wholeness and feminine empowerment began when she went to India to study Indian dance in her 20s, and this exposed her to spirituality and the need for feminine empowerment. Because of this, after she arrived in the United States in 1982, she began working with women who were in dire need of feminine empowerment, be they in the United States or in the West Bank, and as a result founded the Institute for Circlework as a way to support this work. Circles are a method Jalaja developed and as she noted, circles are non-hierarchical, which means that everybody is equal and visible, which enables communication.

From a very young age, Jalaja wondered where violence and warfare come from, particularly after she was taught European history which is, essentially, a series of wars and conflicts over several centuries. She studied various Western psychological traditions as well as various spiritual traditions, and she combined this knowledge with what she learned doing Circles work that the ego has both personal and collective aspects, and that all of the violence stems from the collective ego, of which there is presently little understood about the latter. She also notes that conventional knowledge judges the ego as bad, which is a hindrance to understanding it, as these form barriers to respect and curiosity - two qualities necessary to understand something.

According to Jalaja, the ego is the individual self, and that the ego has enabled us to survive, and if we regard Nature as sacred, then the ego, as a part of Nature, should likewise be held sacred. She notes that the ego is now in need of healing and transformation, as a lot of the ways in which the ego has been conditioned by the collective past is no longer working, particularly the viewpoint of “us” and “them,” which might have worked before but which is presently backfiring.

Jalaja describes three different types of ego in her book. The first kind of ego is the heart-centered ego, which is the kind of collective ego present in the tribal groups that humans have lived in for millennia, and this is typified by her story of Carl Jung’s meeting with an Amerindian, who remarked that the whites think too much with their minds, whereas his tribe thought with their hearts. The second kind of ego is the control addicted ego, which is typical of the civilizations that have created great empires and which is typified by dominance of their particular civilization over others, and even over Nature, and symptoms of this include increasing complexity of society and the inability to calm one’s mind. The third kind of ego is presently emerging, the planetary ego, wherein all humans identify as being citizens of Planet Earth, and that we only survive as members of a planetary community. A practical person that she is, Jalaja has included exercises in the book that readers can do to understand the workability and practicality of the concepts within.

Although this is Jalaja’s fifth book, it was the hardest one for her to write, particularly since she wasn’t clear, at the start, what the book was about, particularly as the ideas came from her intuition, and translating these intuitive concepts into concrete, conscious concepts was one of the challenges she encountered. Writing about the stories, on the other hand, was easy for her, as she admits she loves telling stories, which, she notes, are the most ancient way in which humans learn.

She would like the book to be read by thought leaders who are committed to peace and transformation, particularly the average person, who can become a thought leader in their own right, thanks to connectivity. With regard to future topics, Jalaja admits that she’s got a lot of ideas, and that writing about Circle work is one that presently interests her.

Jalaja loves to dance, and she uses this in her Circle work as a way to connect. She dislikes doing her taxes, as this is indicative of a complicated world. She is also interested in creating Circles using the Internet, and experiencing the love and connectedness of a huge group of people online, from all over the world.

Jalaja Bonheim’s website for his book, The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World, is

On Amazon: The Sacred Ego: Making Peace with Ourselves and the World

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dr. Ronald Feinman on Threats to the American Presidency from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama

Dr. Ronald L.Feinman talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama.

Overall, I think the Secret Service has done a good job.” ~Dr. Ronald L. Feinman

As a young boy, Dr. Feinman was so interested in baseball that the kids in his neighborhood regarded him as an expert in baseball history. At the age of ten, however, his father gave him a copy of The American Past by Roger Butterfield, and while he still maintained his interest in baseball - it’s one of his favorite pastimes to this day - the book turned him into an avid fan of American history in particular. He selected the assassination of President Lincoln for his college thesis, completing it a year before the assassination of President Kennedy, and since then had built an academic career on American history.

Dr. Feinman had spent the past ten years giving talks on the topic of assassinations, and two years ago he was approached by the publishing company, Rowman Littlefield and Company, to write a book on this topic. Dr. Feinman leaped at the opportunity - after all, as he remarked, he wouldn’t need to spend the time and effort to try to sell his book to a publishing company, which is what most authors do, as it was a publisher who had approached him - and then spent two years doing research for the book, investigating not only presidents but also presidential candidates, such as George Wallace, Robert Kennedy and Huey Long. Thus, in addition to the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and John F. Kennedy, the assassinations of Huey Long and Robert F. Kennedy are also investigated in the book, as are various other attempts and threats made. Also included in the book are some speculative “what ifs” regarding the course of history had particular assassinations taken place or not taken place.

Dr. Feinman opines that most of the people who undertake assassination attempts on the President are mentally ill, with intent to get noticed and be remembered throughout history for the notoriety associated with such an action, but also notes that politics also plays a part, which is the case with such assassins or would-be assassins as John Wilkes Booth, who supported the Southern cause, and Leon Czolgosz, who was an anarchist who not only killed President McKinley but who also wanted to kill other prominent leaders such as the King of England and the Pope.

Dr. Feinman emphathicaly stated that the assassination of President Lincoln had had the greatest impact on the history of the United States, as his successor, Andrew Johnson, was “a true disaster,” and he noted that, Lyndon Johnson, the successor to President Kennedy, performed extremely well in his domestic policies, despite the fact that his foreign policies dragged the United States deeper into the quagmire of Vietnam, hence the Kennedy assassination, despite its immediacy to the American public, didn’t have that great an impact compared to the Lincoln assassination. Dr. Feinman also noted that, had the plan in which Booth was part of succeeded, Andrew Johnson would likewise have been killed, along with other leaders, to ensure the success of the conspirators’ agenda.

With regard to presidential protection, Dr. Feinman points to the assassination of President McKinley - the third in a 36-year period - as being the pivotal event that made the Secret Service the primary organization to protect the President. (The Secret Service had been organized specifically to track down currency counterfeiters, and focused entirely on this until given the responsibility of protecting the President.) Dr. Feinman highlighted the degree of protection the Presidents had, prior to the responsibility of their protection being given to the Secret Service, when he remarked that, during the presidency of James Garfield, there were only two policemen regularly stationed at the White House, and their duties consisted primarily of telling people to stay off the lawn.

Where the Secret Service is concerned, they presently not only protect the President and his family but also the Vice President and his family as well as all presidential candidates and their families from 120 days before the election, or from those presidential candidates, such as Barack Obama, who request such protection before that time period, due to the number of threats made against them.

Dr. Feinman notes that the rules of succession have changed over time, with the present rules of succession being extant since 1947, and with previous rules of succession naming such people as the head of the Senate and the Secretary of State as possible successors. Dr. Feinman opines that a Cabinet member might be a better possible successor than the present one being the Speaker of the House, as the latter is most likely from the opposing party and might not continue the President’s agenda, whereas a Cabinet member, such as the Secretary of State, would be more likely to do so. He also opined that, had President Theodore Roosevelt been killed, John Hay, who had been the personal secretary of President Lincoln as a young man, who was Secretary of State at the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency and who, under the laws of succession at that time, could have become the next President, could have been an effective President. He also pointed out General George Marshall, Walter Mondale, Joe Biden and Al Gore as being possible presidential successors who could do, or would have done, the job well.

While he brought all his years of academic discipline to bear, Dr. Feinman designed the book to be read by the general public, and he hopes that, where the writing process was concerned, writing the preface and about the Lincoln assassination were the easiest aspects, while getting information on all the threats aimed at the present President was, not surprisingly, the most difficult aspect. Dr. Feinman notes that President Obama has had the most number of threats aimed against him since President Lincoln, and that there are probably more threats made against President Obama than the twenty cases he is aware of.
Dr. Feinman hopes the book will make people appreciate the presidents who weren’t hurt and more aware of the need for better protection for the President, and opines that the Secret Service has done a good job, overall, at that protection.

On the lighter side, Dr. Feinman admits that he doesn’t like to exercise and instead likes to read and listen to music, and would like to travel around in the future.

Dr. Feinman’s websites for his book, Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama, are, assassinationsbook on Facebook, and @polithist on Twitter.

Purchase on Amazon: Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Chris Swanson on Crushing Your Failures & Changing Your Life

Chris Swanson talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about his book, Tinman to Ironman: 26.2 Proven Ways to Crush Your Failures and Transform Your Life Today!

"When you look at your life as a wheel, and in the center is you, all aspects of your life - your family, your finances, your personal development, your faith - all those things have to have attention, and if we neglect any one of those areas, then our life is gonna be out of balance." ~Chris Swanson

For Chris, tin is a metal that is shiny and looks good on the outside but crumples easily, while iron is a metal that might not look as good as tin - it could even look somewhat scratched and dented - but it doesn’t collapse as easily as tin does under pressure. In the year 2000, Chris realized, while looking at himself in the mirror that he was a Tinman, and after taking stock of his life, when he realized that he had been a Tinman in his physical, educational and professional lives, he decided to become an Ironman by putting certain principles in action. By doing so, he attained a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, became a police commander in Flint, Michigan (which, according to Chris, is one of the most violent cities in the United States - a statement Forbes supports) and running his first-ever Ironman competition (which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bicycle route, finishing with a full marathon of 26.2 miles) in 2007, and he has done four such competitions by 2015. Since then, Chris has mentored and coached “hundreds” of people into becoming Ironmen.

The book has 26.2 chapters, which is an homage to the length of a marathon (26.2 miles), with each chapter having three parts - an “Iron Kid” story, an “Iron Athlete” story and an “Iron Cop” story, and after each story are “Iron Action” steps for readers to benchmark against and, if they’re not doing these, to implement into their own lives. He admits that the hardest part of the writing process was finding time to write the book out, as he has a full-time job and trains for Ironman competitions, as well as also wondering if people wanted to hear what he had to say, and that the easiest part of the writing process was making the title. Chris intended the book to be a simple read, inspirational, relatable, engaging and yet hard-hitting and substantial, and from the feedback he got from the people who have read it, such as the man who made his rebellious daughter read From Tinman to Ironman, it puts its points across very effectively. He also notes that the book keeps him humble and accountable, as he can’t preach the principles found in the book without first applying these to himself, and that the impact he consequently has on other peoples’ lives is a great responsibility.

Chris points out that hunger for change and development is what makes an Ironman an Ironman, while a Tinman does not have this hunger, and he sees this in a lot of Tinmen, such as fathers and entrepreneurs. Chris notes that, we can’t do anything about our genetics or about our environment, but we do have choices on how we respond, and it’s up to people to make their choices, and while there are many important qualities and traits possessed by an Ironman, hunger is the starting point for everything, and hunger springs from the hope that a particular desired future will become real.

Chris has a strong spiritual foundation based on his belief in Christ, which is the key foundation of his life, and he is very present to life being cut short at any time, as he encounters the worst of humanity in the course of his work in law enforcement. He made the point repeatedly throughout the interview that all of us are students of leadership, which starts with leading oneself, and notes that, from the feedback he got, the book enables its readers to set small goals that lead up to the transformation of their lives.

Chris is already working on another book, which he mentioned is titled Blood, Guts and Things That Make You Go Nuts, which is about transcendence. Chris notes that the theme within this is about living one’s life in accord with one’s intention, and his doing so in his own life is summed up by what he hopes God will tell him when he passes on: “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”

Chris Swanson’s website for Tinman to Ironman, is

Purchase on Amazon: Tinman to Ironman: 26.2 Proven Ways to Crush Your Failures and Transform Your Life Today!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pattie Porter on Ending Destructive Workplace Conflict

Pattie Porter talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by about her book, Stop the Dreaded Drama: 55 Tips for Ending Destructive Conflict.

"Be genuinely authentic in saying, 'I want to understand where you’re coming from.'" ~Pattie Porter

Pattie had experienced a childhood where dealing with conflict was a common experience, as her parents divorced while she was very young and she and her siblings were raised by her grandmother., and Pattie admits that the environment taught her how to avoid conflict early on. Pattie knew she wanted to help people somehow, and some two decades ago, she heard a presenter talk about relations and conflict, and by the end of the presentation, she felt that these were her calling, and since then, she has been studying conflict theory and practicing how to resolve these through intervention. She worked on resolving conflicts after that, and then, after getting her Master’s degree, founded her present company, Conflict Resolutions, Inc., which deals mainly with workplace conflicts.

Pattie had done some work, early in her career, with divorce mediation and found herself dealing with what was essentially the end of a relationship, and she realized what she wanted to do was more along the lines of rebuilding relationships. She hired a writing coach who recommended creating a tips booklet, and over the course of a year the pamphlet became a mini-book in and of itself. Pattie had never considered herself to be a writer, and with regard to the subject matter, she wondered if she needed to bring it out, as there is already a lot of information out in the world regarding conflict. Learning what held her back and realizing what she had to say had value was the main learning of the journey she undertook when writing out the book, as was coming to terms with actually putting the book and its information out into the world.

Pattie notes that there are three phases to a conflict: before, which is when the conflict hasn’t yet taken place but is imminent; during, which is when the conflict actually takes place; and after, which is after the conflict has passed. Stop the Dreaded Drama is intended to provide a blueprint for the ordinary person who already found themselves deep in a destructive conflict. It contains seven sections, each of which refers to a particular phase of the conflict resolution process, with each phase having their own steps.

Analyze the Conflict - take a step back from the situation and see the big picture. Step away from the emotional charging and get an analytical view of what really is going on.

Overcome Conflict Dread - identify some of the underlying triggers that create an intense emotional reaction within oneself that can contribute to the conflict.

Got Perspective? - see the conflict from all sides, including from the other party’s perspective, particularly the way the other party sees oneself. Determining what, within oneself or one’s actions, has contributed to the conflict.

Prepare for Difficult Conversations - establish desired goals where resolving the conflict are concerned. Recognize that one needs something from the other party, either for them to do something or to not do something, and figuring out how to articulate those needs to the other party. Get curious about what the other party needs from one.

Structure for Conversation - create a structure / norms / agenda with the other party to ensure that the conversation becomes constructive and productive.

Facilitate the Conversation - bring in a trusted third party if necessary. Don’t bring value statements, such as “should” in the conversation.

After the Conversation - implementation and support of what both parties agreed to.

Of all of these phases, Pattie notes that getting perspective is probably the most difficult for people to work with, as the pain that people experience in a conflict tends to override everything else. With regards to conflict resolution and the book, Pattie would like everyone to be educated on the topic of conflict and how they can be resolved, so that we can all grow from these.

Pattie is presently working on two books. The next book she is working on is about conflict avoidance, and the third is on abrasive behaviors, which she notes is the exact opposite of conflict avoidance.Pattie Porter’s websites for her book, Stop the Dreaded Drama: 55 Tips for Ending Destructive Conflict are and

Purchase on Amazon: Stop the Dreaded Drama: 55 Tips for Ending Destructive Conflict