Sunday, December 16, 2018

Joan Diver on Her Healing Odyssey Story, When Spirit Calls

In this interview, Joan Diver talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, When Spirit Calls: A Healing Odyssey.

“If we all could understand that we are connected by a common consciousness, this is what could solve the problems of the world.” ~Joan Diver

When Spirit Calls is the culmination of over two decades’ worth of work, as she started it back in the early 1990s, initially as a project for writing out six or eight spiritual experiences. Her journey began with a bad back which began back in the 1970s and some unsuccessful operations, which made her look for alternative methods of healing. She began having some unusual experiences after one particular surgery, and after asking a psychic what was going on, she was told that she was in the process of balancing her various energies. A visit to a New Mexico healer placed her right on the path she is presently on, and along the way she made a commitment, visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza, to “go forth and do it,” which she would later discover was to write her book. It was after that when she received, and accepted, various invitations to travel to places where she experienced unusual events as well as a positive shift in her foundation work, which she was still then into.

Some of the unusual experiences Joan experienced was getting greatly moved when, in China, she visited a destroyed temple as well as when she watched a group of prisoners who were being paraded through town to their execution. She also had some spiritual experiences when visiting Israel, with the most profound being one where she felt led to walk to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where she felt guided there and back, as she still doesn’t know the path to and from there.

Joan notes that going on a journey like she did would both heal oneself as well as bring up fears that need to be faced and resolved, and some of the issues she needed to resolve were her own self-doubts. The most serious concern she had during her journey was her back, as it tricked out several times during her journey. She looks at these events as gifts, as she finds herself in a better place once she had resolved these. Moving forward is her primary concern, and she knows she’s on the right path when she feels “a ball of anxiety.”

For Joan, the highs are when she reaches a place where she feels a deep connection to the peace and love within herself as well as within others, as well as when she can transform other people’s lives and emotions. For her, a high feels like a great inner peace, and awareness of the connection between and among all, as well as being able to see the signs in one’s life which guide one onwards - something which can be fairly scary, but following which delivers a “great gift.”

Joan’s husband, Colin, was trained logically, so initially he felt threatened and skeptical about the journey she took, as he was afraid Joan would leave him. His mind changed as he watched Joan transform and felt that he was getting left behind, and so began traveling his own journey, with the major turning point being meeting someone he had encountered in a past life. At present, he describes himself as a “stowaway” on Joan’s journey, and the two are as close as they can ever be.

Where When Spirit Calls is concerned, Joan notes that it is a “page turner” and can be read as much as a memoir as well as a way by which a reader can see a reflection of his or her own life, as the experiences speak to a universal form. To those who are questing for something other than what they have, Joan recommends that they take the time to be still, in whatever way works for them, in a way that enables one to step out of their life for a short period of time. She also recommends that people seek help from others who can help them gain a new perspective on their own lives. It is her hope that When Spirit Calls inspires people to see their own fears and hurts, then seek healing so they can find peace for themselves, as well as to love and to forgive and to be open to the possibilities of there being a guiding spirit and that we are all connected to a common consciousness.

Purchase from Amazon: When Spirit Calls: A Healing Odyssey by Joan Diver

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Mariam Baker on the Sacred Voices and Stories of Women

In this interview, Mariam Baker talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Sacred Voices: Stories from the Caravan of Women, written with and illustrated by Cynthia Dollard.

“Passion for love, harmony, beauty and peace.” ~Mariam Baker

Mariam has always yearned for peace, and over the years she has seen that people are more similar than different; and this was the inspiration for Sacred Voices. The book covers unheard oral tradition stories and poems spoken by women, such as, perhaps, a story or a lullaby a mother would tell her child, as well as recipes for dishes which women cooked. Mariam herself realized, early in her life, that the voices of female mystics and saints weren’t as accessible as those of their male counterparts, and this book attempts to bring these feminine voices out. Sacred Voices also speaks to Mariam’s efforts to bring about peace throughout the world and in humanity.

Sufism, according to Mariam, might be referred to as a mystical branch of Islam at present, but the tradition that Mariam follows extends far back before the Prophet Mohammed, and the tradition celebrates and honors the sacred throughout the world and the universe. Sufism thus attracts followers from other religions, as the tradition is universal in nature, particularly since it emphasizes one human tribe, one human unity which is moving to a realm of greater wisdom. Mariam notes that the Tree of Abraham is the underlying commonality amongst the traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and she hopes that humanity is at a point of transition, where the voices of women, and the opportunities they have, are increasing. This unlocking of women’s status, Mariam notes, helps open up a larger creative foundational wisdom, where both right and left brains are used to solve problems. She also remarks that women cannot ignore their bodies, as they are the carriers of future humans, and that this can help bring about an awareness of all of us humans being interconnected with each other.

Mariam points out that Islam is presently a generally unknown quantity in the world, and because that is so, it is easy for others to blame it and its followers for a lot of things. She also remarks that similar biases also exist against women and “others.”

The book’s layout reflects Mariam’s and Cynthia’s desire to reflect the beauty of the stories within, and in addition to the stories poems and recipes are included to show the richness of women’s lives. Mariam gathered the material for the book throughout her travels, and she remarks that some of the women didn’t like to be identified, given the rifts within and without Islam itself. Her favorite interview was one she conducted with a woman whom she had known since the latter was a little girl, and the story of her journey moved her. The interviews which most touched her were the ones which she heard from two women who were refugees who moved from one place to another until they reached the United States.

Purchase from Amazon: Sacred Voices: Stories from the Caravan of Women by Mariam Baker and Cynthia Dollard

Friday, November 16, 2018

Suzanne Adam on Life in Chile and Her Memoir from the Bottom of the World

In this interview, Suzanne Adam talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Notes from the Bottom of the World: A Life in Chile.

“And I would say, to have an open mind, to want to learn or to be curious about the people and that country.” ~Suzanne Adam

Notes from the Bottom of the World is essentially a collection of essays on a variety of topics that Suzanne wrote over the years, some of which are expanded versions of blogs she had posted. These essays range from childhood memories to travel blogs, and she didn’t intend to have these published in a book when she originally wrote these.

Suzanne was an only child who grew up in a town near San Francisco, after which she joined the Peace Corps. She began teaching after her Peace Corps stint, and it was during that time she met the man who would become her husband, and she went with him when he returned to Chile, and has lived there since then. The couple’s original intention was to return to California, but they wound up settling in Chile, and Suzanne found the process of settling in rather challenging, with one of these being a small-town girl who needed to adapt to a big city. Other challenges included standing in line, during the times of social unrest, to buy food, and getting used to the cold weather.

Suzanne remarks that not having the kinds of foods she had been used to, as well as living frugally, is something that has had a lot of impact on her, and she has noted that there is a lot of waste that is generated today. She has also realized just how important her connection to the natural world was to her, due in a large part to her upbringing in northern California, and she used this to help herself sink roots in Chile. She notes that, in general, people who live in cities tend to be less connected with the natural world compared to those who live in towns and smaller settlements, and that Chileans are becoming environmentally aware at present, with plastic bags being banned in several places and the government pushing for dependence on solar power.

Suzanne notes that Chile’s geography leads to its isolation, as it is separated from other nations by the Atacama desert and the Andes mountains, which has led to the inward-facing society that she saw when she first came over. The nation also wasn’t diverse, socially or culturally, but this is changing now, thanks to interconnectivity and a present influx of migrants from other nations. This immigration is viewed with mixed emotions amongst long-term Chileans, but the reception has been generally positive.

California and Chile are similar, with Chile being a “turned upside-down” version of California where the climates are concerned. Suzanne remarks that the mountainous areas immediately around Santiago, the capital of Chile, tend to be bare of trees, but the southern mountains have a lot of forest cover, and the country’s coast is similar to that of the western United States.

Suzanne admits that her heart is in both the United States and in Chile, as she has lived longer in Chile than she had in the country of her birth. She also notes that Spanish is widely spoken in California, and remarks as well that the golden poppy, which is California’s state flower, grows in central Chile. She notes that Americans could learn to live more frugally, even as she bemoans that Chileans are presently moving towards the same kind of consumer society present in the United States.

To those who would relocate to a land different from their own, Suzanne recommends that they study the local language ahead of time, as not knowing the language would hinder acclimation. She also recommends to learn about the people and the culture and to have an open mind while doing so.

Purchase from Amazon: Notes from the Bottom of the World: A Life in Chile by Suzanne Adam

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Jennifer Cohen on How to Cultivate a Life of Sustainable Abundance

In this interview, Jennifer Cohen talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, which she co-authored with Gina LaRoche, The 7 Laws of Enough: Cultivating a Life of Sustainable Abundance.

“We have to get into what is scarce versus finite. There are limitations, but we are manufacturing most of the scarcity on the planet.” ~Jennifer Cohen

According to Jennifer, The 7 Laws of Enough came about because their publisher asked them to create it, but the book is the culmination of fifteen years of research and inquiry which created the aforementioned seven laws.

“Sustainable abundance” is a term defined by Jennifer and Gina as a form of abundance which is just, ethical and reciprocal, pointing out that the present method of living is unsustainable and that living in a manner of sustainable abundance is a return to a sustainable way of life. Abundance is also the capacity to remember and notice the bounty that is equally available and freely given to all.

Jennifer notes that “abundance” is used in everyday life as a way to justify their excessive consumption, and she notes that reciprocity is about being accountable for returning as much as has been taken. She noted that one of the steps to getting to a knowledge of reciprocity is by taking note of the real cost of producing goods, costs which include environmental impact and impact on people. She gives, as an example the case of Ray Anderson, who owned one of the largest carpet manufacturers in the world, as someone who operated on reciprocity, in that he decided that his company would have zero carbon impact and pollution where the environment was concerned. He succeeded in this aim, and Jennifer notes that there are presently several companies which are also working with reciprocity in mind, as the momentum to do so seems to be “building.”

Scarcity is “the myth of our time,” according to one of Jennifer’s mentors, Lynne Twist, who also adds that this is “the sea and the water that we’re swimming in.” The three elements of this myth are:

  1. There’s not enough to go around.
  2. More is always better.
  3. This is the way things are.

Jennifer points out that clean water being a finite resources is true, but that it has not become a scarce resource until recently, as an example, and notes that, even with present methods used in the international food system, there is enough food to feed seven billion people, although this system might not be useful when feeding nine billion people. She also remarks that, while 30,000 children die every day from hunger, this is not due to an insufficiency of food but because present economic models are based on the mindset of scarcity. Jennifer notes that value is driven up because of this mindset, for everything from diamonds to food. Although Jennifer admits that neither she or Gina are anthropologists, she argues that this mindset began with agriculture, when people began stockpiling and hoarding things that were more of one’s share, and also notes that, biologically speaking, the human brain is designed to survive, and that anyone can steal food from another person when their brain believes that it cannot survive unless it does just that - something which comes from a mindset of scarcity. That said, Jennifer points out that the neocortex enables humans to think beyond limbic system survival programming, and that, while this is the seat of human potential, it is difficult to get to a state of fulfilling human potential when one is bombarded continuously by messages which stimulate fear.

As one of their mentors said, “You treasure what you measure, and you measure what you treasure,” which means that, in a world of scarcity, what is measured - the metrics for success - are stuff owned, achievement and accumulation of capital.

Love is the seventh law, and according to Jennifer, where her co-author Gina is concerned, it is the only law. She also notes that, biologically, human beings cannot exist without love.

The other laws, which enable sustainable abundance and, like love, are the metrics by which a life of sustainable abundance are lived, are:

  • Joy.
  • The depth with which we are resting.
  • Being in alignment with the truths of what it means to be an impermanent human being.
  • Relating to ourselves as all of us human beings belonging here.
  • Declaring and living inside our own “enoughness.”
  • Tell the stories that enable us to live a life of sustainable abundance, rather than of scarcity.

Jennifer noted that leaders tell stories for a different kind of future, then take a stand for those stories and invite people to live into these, giving the examples set by Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

While the American Dream is essentially for a person to be “self-made,” this is an individualist success point of view, and Jennifer points out that nobody is self-made. Nobody does everything alone, Jennifer points out, as people need others to help them carry out what needed to be done; indeed, she mentioned monks in caves, who need support for them to maintain their meditations, as well as that most people don’t know how to make their own clothes or build their own homes.

To those who are struggling, Jennifer says, “It’s not your fault,” and that this moment just might be enough.

Purchase from Amazon: The 7 Laws of Enough: Cultivating a Life of Sustainable Abundance by Gina LaRoche and Jennifer Cohen 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Scott Stein and His Clever Leadership Hacks & Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and...

In this interview, Scott Stein talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, Leadership Hacks: Clever Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and Results.

“If they [leaders] can delegate, they can actually get a lot more things done in less time.” ~Scott Stein

Scott Stein has collected a great number of hacks from various leaders whom he has dealt with in the past twenty-five years, and after sharing these with several other leaders, it often was the case that the latter would ask him to write those hacks - effective shortcuts which help boost productivity - so they and their people could refer to these. The result was Leadership Hacks, which is portioned into sections in such a way that a reader wouldn’t need to read the book from cover to cover to get anything out of it, and instead just check on the section he or she is interested in so they could improve their effectiveness.

The top challenges facing leaders today, according to Scott, is not having enough time for them to do everything they need to do. This results in leaders taking shortcuts which may be inappropriate in the long run, as they will eventually need to work harder and will need to deal with any negative consequences of such actions on their people. Where leadership throughout time is concerned, one of the biggest challenges has been having one’s people take action in a manner the leader wants, and this has been exacerbated at present by the need for leaders to make decisions and take action quickly. Scott notes that leaders today need to be smarter in the way they work, so they can be more efficient while not skipping steps as they go along, and the book provides practical advice and procedures for doing so.

Scott notes that there are quite a few books on leadership out in the market today are done by academics who have never had any practical experience in leadership and also remarks that there are leadership programs available today which might have been applicable a half-century ago but which are not applicable today.

Scott notes three categories of hacks where leadership is concerned, all of which he has hacks for:

  1. Personal hacks - the things leaders can do to help them work smarter.
  2. One-on-one hacks - when a leader interacts with one of his subordinates.
  3. Team hacks - when a leader interacts with his team or organization.

One of the hacks that Scott mentioned was how to hack one’s inbox, which is particularly vital if the leader is in charge of an organization with literally thousands of people. Moreover, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report, leaders spend around two and a half hours of their time each day reading and answering e-mails, which makes hacking one’s inbox important. Scott mentions a four-step e-mail inbox hack which he picked up from a global HR leader who deals with 15 countries and over 10,000 people under her. The process is as follows:

  1. Scan the e-mail.
  2. Delete anything that is not important, to eliminate visual clutter.
  3. Sort the remaining e-mails according to level of importance.
  4. Respond to any necessary e-mails.

Scott also gave some advice on how to get e-mails responded to, and this is by telling the recipient, in the Subject line or at the very beginning of the e-mail, what the desired outcome is. There are five different types of outcomes, which give context to the reader, viz.:

  • FYI - I just need to give you information.
  • I need some information from you, can you share this with me?
  • A decision needs to be made.
  • I need you to take action on this.
  • We need to have a meeting, because what we need to discuss is too complex to communicate over an e-mail.

Where delegation is concerned, Scott notes that, according to a Harvard Business Review article noted that more than half of the companies surveyed were concerned about the ability of their leaders to delegate. Scott believes that most leaders don’t delegate because of the time concerns, as leaders feel that the job could be done more efficiently, and in the way the leader wants it, if they did the job themselves, rather than giving it to a subordinate and having him mess it up. Leaders also might not trust their subordinates, for whatever reason, or might not have trained their subordinates properly, which makes leaders reluctant to delegate, and Scott notes that there are no organizations that give leaders a process on how to delegate, and then remarks that there are four levels of delegation.

Level 1: “Don’t do it, because I’ll do it myself.”
Level 2: “Let’s work together to map out / write down the activities, and the sequence that the activities need to be taken, along with a time frame for doing these.”
Level 3: “Create your own map on what needs to be done, and I’ll check on it before you carry out the task.”
Level 4: “I’ll give you this task to do, and then check on you later.”

Moving one’s staff up these levels, Scott notes, empowers the staff and gives the leader more time to handle other things.

The three ingredients of leaders who are admired by other leaders have three aspects which enable them to get things done in a way that motivates their people:

Mindset - open to learning and trying new things. This is the Growth Mindset mentioned by Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, as opposed to the Fixed Mindset, as the Growth Mindset is the belief that one can cultivate one’s learning as well as learn from one’s mistakes.

Approach - the steps taken and how one’s subordinates are engaged so that they will take those steps.

Impact - on the people around the leader.

A lot of leaders learn into becoming a leader, according to Scott, and these leaders often guess and decide along the way, where risky decisions and possible new ways of doing things are concerned.

There are four different kinds of team meetings, according to Scott, and these should all be done separately, rather than all mashed together into one major meeting, as each meeting has its own process. Scott notes that meetings are a waste of time, according to nearly half of the recipients of a survey given, and the types of meetings are:

  • Check-in meeting, where the leader checks in on the work done so far.
  • Problem-solving meeting, where a problem is discussed and solved. This may require the presence of people who have expertise in the problem concerned and does not require the presence of those who are not involved with the problem.
  • Decision-making meeting, after which action will be taken.
  • Strategy-development meeting, which is a planning meeting that looks into the future.

Where technology is concerned, Scott points out that, according to all the research done on the topic, technology is highly distracting. Even having a smartphone beside one can reduce cognitive thinking and ability, because of the notifications that come in; and the impact extends into family life, when a leader is stuck to a screen when the rest of the family is around and wants to spend time with him.

Purchase from Amazon: Leadership Hacks: Clever Shortcuts to Boost Your Impact and Results by Scott Stein

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Jennifer Anne Moses on Writing The Book of Joshua | A Novel about Mental Illness

In this interview, Jennifer Anne Moses talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her novel, The Book of Joshua.

“Find a way to get to the truth.” ~Jennifer Anne Moses

The Book of Joshua was inspired by a real-life friend of Jennifer who was a teenage summer love, Danny. It turned out that Danny would have a schizophrenic break during college, and while he did seem to get his life together (Danny did graduate from Princeton) he ended it by burning himself to death on the front lawn of his parents’ house. These incidents, and Danny’s fascination with her before the schizophrenic break, which wasn’t diagnosed until after it happened, were the inspiration for the main character of Joshua.

While Danny was the inspiration for the story, the main character, Joshua, is similar to Danny only in that they both had a “star quality” and a fascination, to the point of stalking, a girl they were interested in. Joshua, however, is given more hope, and his essential struggle is figuring out who he is, which reflects Jennifer’s own struggle in her own life. The novel describes the effects Joshua’s condition has on them, and Jennifer remarks that mental illness is a “cancer of the soul,” remarking that, even if one had cancer, one was still around, whereas with mental illness, one is destroyed from the inside out. She also notes that addiction has a similar effect, based on her own personal experience.

“Secrets keep you sick,” is a saying that Jennifer remembers, and she notes that secrets have to be “lanced” and aired out in the fresh air and light of truth, lest these consume the one keeping it. This is reflected in Nate, Joshua’s younger brother who, because he is “pissed off” with keeping the secret, provides the breakthrough to enable Joshua to figure out what is going on. The other character with whom Joshua bonds is Elizabeth, and while she has a secret of her own, she is determined to not let that rule her life; and unlike Joshua’s parents, Elizabeth and her mother are on the same page. She and Joshua bond together strongly as friends, and this helps Joshua along in his journey to figure out what happened.

Jennifer remarks that secrets and lies lie heavily on people and on society and the community in general, and that these eventually come out in such forms as gun violence, murder, suicide and other such acts. She believes that the truth should be told, as secrets will eventually get out, and that doing so will release one from the oppression of keeping such secrets. She also believes that one’s power or talent is given to one at birth, and that one should follow that path, which will become one’s journey in one’s life.

Purchase from Amazon: The Book of Joshua by Jennifer Anne Moses

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