Life-Enhancing Anxiety: Key to a Sane World by Kirk J. Schneider

Life-Enhancing Anxiety: Key to a Sane World by Kirk J. Schneider will be released on February 1, 2023, published by The University Professors Press. 

Life-Enhancing Anxiety makes a bold proposal: It is not less anxiety that we need today, but more, at least of a certain kind of anxiety. The book comprises a collection of original and previously published essays that converge on what Schneider calls life-enhancing anxiety.  Life-enhancing anxiety is the invigorating degree of anxiety needed to become passionately engaged, ethically attuned, and creatively enriched. Set against our anxiety-avoidant times, life-enhancing anxiety enables us to “live with and make the best of the depth and mystery of existence.” The potential for life-enhancing anxiety begins at the moment of birth—the point at which we shift from relative nonexistence and unity to sudden, abrupt existence and disunity. This juncture is both daunting and wondrous. Yet it is the management of the juncture by both caretakers and the culture at large that is all important; for it is that management that forms the bedrock for our capacity to deeply live, or to skim only the surfaces; to attain courage, or to seek refuge in gimmicks. The book goes on to elaborate this developmental arc and apply it to a range of personal and social challenges. Among these challenges are Schneider’s personal struggle with life-enhancing anxiety; the role of life-enhancing anxiety in the cultivation of a sense of awe (humility and wonder) toward all existence; the role of life-enhancing anxiety in the arts, particularly film and literature; applications within the discipline of psychology; applications to social and political crises (war and violence in particular); and applications to spirituality and religion. Schneider concludes the book with a brief section on the relevant research on life-enhancing anxiety, followed by an Epilogue. The Epilogue summarizes the implications of life-enhancing anxiety for a more sane, sustainable, and awe-informed world.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

“In this fascinating book, Kirk Schneider–who has spent a distinguished career defending the core values of psychotherapists against dehumanizing pressures from an increasingly consumeristic, objectifying environment–helps readers find ways to survive and flourish in our stressful world. Instead of trying to soothe our fears that much is out of kilter in contemporary life, he suggests that if we are not anxious enough about the right problems, we risk being unequipped to address them. This provocative, brilliant, and paradoxically comforting book belongs in the library of anyone who cares about the fate of humanity. —Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D., ABPP, Distinguished Affiliate Faculty, Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, author of Psychoanalytic Diagnosis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

“Life-Enhancing Anxiety challenges us to rethink our understanding of anxiety as something to be avoided or managed at all costs. Instead, Schneider urges us to consider the many ways this basic human emotion can help us grow, more fully engage with existence, and transform ourselves in ways that lead to more fulfilling lives. In his view, anxiety is inherently tied to the experience of awe, a transformative experience that has become harder to come by in the increasingly regimented and standardized lives most people live. This is a provocative thesis that integrates ideas from previous existential thinkers, empirical research, Schneider’s decades of experience as a psychotherapist, and his insightful contemplation of his own life trajectory. It is a stimulating and rewarding read that will be of great value to psychotherapists, scientists, and lay people alike.” —Dr. Tom Pyszczynski, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA. Co-author of The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life with Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon

“In a world where any signs of discomfort are met with harshness to the point of total loss of tolerance for ambiguity, uneasiness, and disputation; and resilience has become a teachable skill rather than a natural and acquired fruit of life, Life-Enhancing Anxiety is a breath of fresh air. Schneider puts forward a solid argument based on empirical evidence, years of clinical work and personal experience to remind us of the necessity of recognizing anxiety as a life force. He invites us to reconsider the existential roots of anxiety as a powerful mobilizer and not a paralyzer. The wisdom shared in this book finally, should be enlightening for fellow mental health practitioners and their clients, community educators and students.” —Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh, Co-Founder of Relationship Panoramic Inc. and Senior Advisor to the United Nations

“One of the most common misconceptions about psychotherapy is that it helps us relieve anxiety. Yet, existentialist philosophers have always argued the contrary, that therapy should be employed to promoteanxiety. In this timely and radical study, Kirk Schneider, one of the world’s leading existential therapists, once again regales us with his uncanny ability to ease us into truths that we all too often wish to avoid. In showing that anxiety is not our enemy, but a friend that can potentially help us embrace life to the fullest, this remarkable book is destined to become a classic.” —M. Guy Thompson, Ph.D., Founder and Director, New School for Existential Psychoanalysis; author, TheDeath of Desire: An Existential Study in Sanity and Madness; The Legacy of R. D. Laing: An Appraisal of his Contemporary Relevance

“In this expansive text, Kirk Schneider probes life’s fundamental questions and takes the reader on a search for depth, meaning, connection and love. He traverses key aspects of society and self to define what’s needed to heal divides in our cultures, politics, relationships and selves. Drawing from our experiences with Covid, political divides, racial and economic injustice, armed conflicts at home and abroad, tensions over school curricula, climate change and more, Schneider outlines how the psychology and science of anxiety are key to understanding and solving these problems. He even puts himself on the couch, with exquisite vulnerability. In an adept interplay of our most personal engagements with our sociocultural surround, Schneider illuminates how we can live amidst paradox, embrace anxiety, and transform suffering into growth. This is an essential read for those looking to understand our culture and our times and to create a life of deep meaning and purpose.” —Linda Michaels, PsyD MBA, Chair and Co-Founder, Psychotherapy Action Network (PsiAN) Psychologist, Consulting Editor of Psychoanalytic Inquiry and Fellow of the Lauder Institute Global MBA program

“In a world mired in anxiety and fear, Professor Kirk Schneider presents a ground-breaking analysis of anxiety while examining the deeply rooted existential nature of human disturbances. Schneider beautifully and powerfully illustrates the inescapability of anxiety in the human condition and provides a rigorous model of psychological hardiness. Schneider’s life-enhancing anxiety goes beyond the reductionist models of anxiety and delves into the interplay of elements that create the anxiety-inducing paralysis in our social and cultural milieu. While celebrating the bridge between philosophy and psychology, Schneider elucidates the vitality of awe for a more transcendent, sagacious mode of being.” —Sayyed Mohsen Fatemi, Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, Department of Psychology, York University.  Author of The psychology of inner peace, Film Therapy, and forthcoming, Therapeutic Applications of Langerian Mindfulness

“Schneider offers a vital solution to addressing the epidemic of life-destroying anxiety plaguing our patients and clients. We desperately need a bigger picture of allaying anxiety than conventional psychology, pharmaceuticals, and avoidance through addiction to technology. Cultivation of life-enhancing anxiety is the paradigm shift to cultivate the capacities of love, creativity, humility, wonder, and a sense of adventure toward living–what Schneider calls “awe“ in the midst of so many unknowns.  For humanity to thrive in our next chapter on Earth, we need this brilliant book to open a new door to embracing (and engaging with) Life-Enhancing Anxiety.” —Michael Amster, MD, coauthor of The Power of Awe and researcher at the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center

About the Author:

Kirk J. Schneider, PhD, is a leading spokesperson for contemporary existential-humanistic and existential-integrative psychology. Dr. Schneider was a 2022 Candidate for President of the American Psychological Association (APA), a cofounder and current president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute (an award-winning psychotherapy training center), and a two-term Member of the Council of Representatives of the APA. He is also past president (2015-2016) of the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32) of the APA, recent past editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (2005-2012), a founder and frequent presenter/facilitator of the bridge-building dialogue approach the Experiential Democracy Dialogue, and a trained moderator for the conflict mediation group Braver Angels. Dr. Schneider is also an adjunct faculty member at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University and an Honorary Member of the Society for Existential Analysis of the UK and the East European Association for Existential Therapy. He received the Rollo May Award for “outstanding and independent contributions” to the field of humanistic psychology from the Society for Humanistic Psychology and is a Fellow of seven Divisions of the APA (5, 9, 32, 42, 12, 29, & 24). His work on existential-integrative psychotherapy has been featured in a special issue of the Journal of Psychotherapy Integration (March, 2016), as well as The Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy and the APA’s forthcoming Handbook of Psychotherapy. Dr. Schneider has published over 200 articles, interviews, and chapters and has authored or edited 14 books, including The Paradoxical Self, Horror and the Holy, Rediscovery of Awe, Awakening to Awe, The Spirituality of Awe, The Polarized Mind, The Handbook of Humanistic Psychology, Existential-Humanistic Therapy, Existential-Integrative Psychotherapy, The Wiley World Handbook of Existential Therapy, and The Depolarizing of America: A Guidebook for Social Healing. Dr. Schneider’s work has been featured in Scientific American, the New York Times, USA Today, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Forbes Health, Psychology Today, BBC World News, and many other health and psychology outlets. For more information on Dr. Schneider’s work visit https://kirkjschneider.com.

The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon is Now Available as an Audiobook

The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon is now available as an audiobook.

The Accidental Suffragist is a timely and inspiring Women’s Historical Fiction novel about the women’s suffrage movement and the fight for women’s right to vote.

Synopsis:

It’s 1912, and protagonist Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activists.

As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.

The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.

 


About the Author:

Galia Gichon is a Personal Finance Expert, co-Host of The Fiscal Firecracker Podcast, and the author of The Accidental Suffragist and My Money Matters. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, TODAY Show, CNN, Newsweek, Real Simple and more.

Galia Gichon spent nearly ten years writing financial research for top investment banks before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial advising firm in New York. She consistently leads seminars for Barnard College where she has taught for 13 years, and other organizations. She is an avid angel investor focusing on women-led and impact startups and actively counsels startups through accelerators.

Readers can connect with Galia on Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To learn more, go to: https://www.galiagichonauthor.com

The Power of Awe

The Power of Awe by Jake Eagle & Michael Amster

Discover a clinically proven way to reduce inflammation, stress, loneliness, and burnout while improving overall well-being.

In May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, two trial groups embarked on a study through UC Berkeley to test a new method for “micro-dosing mindfulness.” One group was comprised of frontline healthcare workers; the other consisted of patients at a local medical center, as well as any of their friends and family who wished to participate. Almost immediately, both groups reported significant improvement in symptoms of stress, depression, and chronic pain—results that bore out over the course of the study and beyond. Jake Eagle, LPC and Michael Amster, MD, knew that they were on to something.

Research has proven that mindfulness improves well-being and reduces stress, anxiety, and pain. But for some, the practice itself feels challenging and inaccessible. That’s where the A.W.E. Method comes in. In THE POWER OF AWE: Overcome Burnout & Anxiety, Ease Chronic Pain, Find Clarity & Purpose—In Less Than 1 Minute Per Day (Hachette Go; January 3, 2023; $29; ISBN: 9780306828973), therapist Jake Eagle and chronic pain specialist Michael Amster, MD, share their extraordinary yet simple mindfulness practice that turns ordinary moments into awe-inducing experiences, helping you effortlessly achieve a heightened state of consciousness usually reserved for seasoned practitioners of mindfulness—all within a matter of seconds.

The Power of Awe

A.W.E. stands for Attention, Wait, Exhale and Expand, and the method is a five- to fifteen-second, three-step process. The A.W.E. Method quickly transports us into awe, an incredibly powerful emotion that produces wonderment and a heightened state of consciousness along with some remarkable changes in the mind and body that can improve health and wellness.

The three-step process A.W.E. process may sound too good to be true, but the results are very real. Bolstered by the success of the initial studies, plans are now underway to look at how A.W.E. can be used as a medical intervention to help COVID-19 long haulers and patients who have suffered heart failure. In THE POWER OF AWE, readers will learn:

  • Exactly how to enter a state of A.W.E. at home – no trips to the Grand Canyon or virtual reality equipment are required. It’s all about finding inspiration in the everyday, further distinguishing this research from previous studies that have relied on VR to simulate awe in a lab.
  • The science of A.W.E. on a cellular level—exactly how and why this practice works to reduce inflammation in the body (as measured by levels of the compound interleukin-6)
  • What A.W.E. looks like in practice – through a combination of results from the study, their own lives, and their work with clients, Eagle and Amster show exactly how the A.W.E. method is significantly improving people’s lives, and how readers can reap those benefits for themselves.

Experiencing awe does not require any demanding discipline or skills or “awesome” settings. The A.W.E. Method ensures that awe and its many benefits are accessible to you at any time, in any place—sitting at a stoplight, cooking a meal, petting an animal, or listening to a loved one’s laugh.

THE POWER OF AWE will be released on January 3, 2023, published by Hachette. It is currently available for pre-sale on Amazon.

Praise:

“A powerful, practical, science-backed book that shows us how finding awe everywhere, every day is essential to our health and well-being. In The Power of Awe, the authors generously share their A.W.E. Method, a novel, and refreshing approach to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain by finding awe in the ordinary.” —Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of Unwinding Anxiety

“The Power of Awe comes to us in the nick of time, when mental and spiritual health has become a global issue that impacts people of all ages in every corner of the world. The co-authors have amassed a comprehensive and impressive body of research, science, and clinical experience, as well as decades of passionate inquiry and lived experience, synthesized in a way that is fully accessible to readers without compromising the scholarship behind it. This simple, yet potent method can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, at any time. I highly recommend this book to the countless readers across the globe, who will be benefitted by the message and practice that not only addresses our individual and collective suffering, but also offers the possibility of greater access to our deeper human possibilities, and more fulfilling, awe-filled lives. —Mariana Caplan, PhD, MFT, psychotherapist and author of Eyes Wide Open and Yoga & Psyche

“The Power of Awe encapsulates the essence of the healing journey out of chronic mental and physical pain. I have witnessed hundreds of patients break from pain with these concepts. I am in awe of Eagle and Amster’s work and how well it is presented.” —David Hanscom, MD, author of Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain

“The Power of Awe from Michael Amster and Jake Eagle guides us to the vast and miraculous moments of awe in each day and shows us how we can learn to access the healing medicine that surrounds us.” —Christopher Hobbs, PhD, LAc, author of Medicinal Mushrooms: the Essential Guide

“Able guides Jake Eagle and Michael Amster empower us to find awe in the ordinary and throughout the day, let go of the filters of naming and categorizing experiences, and open instead to a more receptive state of mind–to reawaken a ‘beginner’s mind’ and take in the breadth of life’s majesty.” —Daniel J. Siegel, MD, New York Times bestselling author of IntraConnected: MWe (Me + We) As the Integral of Self, Identity, and Belonging

“In this deeply insightful book, Jake Eagle and Michael Amster introduce their A.W.E. contemplative approach, tested during the stress and trauma of the COVID pandemic, to increase your everyday sense of awe and wonder. This original book offers a new path to enjoying a more meaningful and awe-filled life, inspiring us to open our eyes to the wonders around us.” —Dacher Keltner, PhD, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley, author, AWE: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life


About the Authors:

JAKE EAGLE, LPC, is a psychotherapist, mindfulness instructor, fellow member trainer of the International Association of NeuroLinguistic Programming, and cofounder of Live Conscious. After thirty years in private practice, Jake now works parttime as a meta therapist, working with people who want to go beyond the bounds of traditional therapy. Together, he and his wife, Hannah, lead lifechanging small group retreats at awe-inspiring locations around the world.

MICHAEL AMSTER, MD, is a physician and faculty member at the Touro School of Medicine. With twenty years of experience as a pain management specialist, he is currently the founding director of the pain management department at Santa Cruz Community Health. He’s been a student of meditation for over thirty years, as well as a certified yoga teacher and meditation teacher. He splits his time between clinical work, research on awe, teaching mindfulness, and leading awe-inspiring retreats around the world.

To learn more, go to ThePowerOfAwe.com

Getting Me Cheap How Low-Wage Work Traps Women and Girls in Poverty

“Low-income mothers toil overnight in warehouses assembling our packages, they ring up our groceries, they mother our children when we’re at work, and they care for our ailing loved ones. Are we ready to stand up for them?” —from Getting Me Cheap

Many Americans take comfort and convenience for granted. We eat at nice restaurants, order groceries online, and hire nannies to care for kids.

Getting Me Cheap is a riveting portrait of the lives of the low-wage workers—primarily women—who make this lifestyle possible. Sociologists Lisa Dodson and Amanda Freeman follow women in the food, health care, home care, and other low-wage industries as they struggle to balance mothering with bad jobs and without public aid. While these women tend to the needs of well-off families, their own children frequently step into premature adult roles, providing care for siblings and aging family members.

In Getting Me Cheap: How Low-Wage Work Traps Women and Children in Poverty (November 29, 2022, $27.99), sociologists Lisa Dodson and Amanda Freeman spent over a decade talking to low-wage workers. Based on years of in-depth field work and hundreds of eye-opening interviews, Getting Me Cheap explores how America traps millions of women and their children into lives of stunted opportunity and poverty in service of giving others of us the lives we seek. Destined to rank with works like Evicted and Nickle and Dimed for its revelatory glimpse into how our society functions behind the scenes, Getting Me Cheap also offers a way forward—with both policy solutions and a keen moral vision for organizing women across class lines.

Getting Me Cheap is essential for readers of Barbara Ehrenreich, Arlie Hochschild, Sophie Lewis, Kathi Weeks, and anyone with an interest in equality, feminism and labor.

Praise:

“This empathetic and eye-opening study leaves a mark.” —Publishers Weekly

“This formidable book insists we face the harm of wage poverty in women’s lives and see the real costs of relying on their cheap labor. The powerful stories of mothers’ determination to care for their children become a courageous call for solidarity and collective action.” —Ellen Bravo, activist and author of Standing Up: Tales of Struggle

“The United States has the highest percentage of low-wage workers of any country in the OECD aside from Lithuania—a disproportionate number of them women who provide services to better-off families. Freeman and Dobson take us inside their lives to reveal the price they and their families pay for the cheap labor they provide to others.” —Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap

“An insightful book that shines light on issues that should be better understood by any responsible citizen.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An urgent exposé and exploration of one of our most pressing social problems—hidden in plain sight. A must-read for anyone concerned about how to make America a more just and equal nation.” —Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage and author of One Fair Wage

“The lives that so many of us lead depend on the invisible labor of others, whose own needs are cast aside by our society. This brilliant book moves those essential workers—so many of them mothers—into the light” —Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author of Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

“The stories shared in this volume speak for themselves, spotlighting the frustrations, needs, and hopes of the women featured.” —Library Journal

Excerpt:

In 2019, before the pandemic, the Brookings Institution released a report describing the low-wage workforce: the roughly 53 million Americans making an average of $10.22 an hour, or essentially poverty incomes. This is the part of the U.S. labor market disproportionately relegated to women, Black, Latinx, and immigrant workers. Over the two years that followed, as the pandemic unfolded, it was clear these same women would be the workers who suffered the most. Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, put it like this, in the spring of 2020: “The people getting hurt the worst are . . . the lowest paid people. It’s women to an extraordinary extent.”

At the time Powell made that statement, we had been listening to low-wage moms for years. So we were not surprised that the pandemic took the most from those who could least afford it. This is not new. Low-wage women work in food services, as grocery clerks and in retail sales; as cleaners and child-care workers; and in the rapidly expanding market for home health–, elder-, and personal-care work. The nation’s back-water jobs are largely filled by women—and disproportionately by Black and Brown women. While raising more than half of all kids in America, these women provide the services that higher-income people rely on to manage career and family demands. They work to uphold the comfort and well-being of the affluent but are left to care for their own children and families on poverty earnings.

As one woman put it to us years ago, “They get me cheap.”

This book is guided by the concerns and values that low-income women emphasized and circled back to repeatedly in our conversations with them. It is not a linear story or one molded by current partisan debates. Instead, it mirrors the lives these women described to us, multitasking and shape-shifting above all, to be there for their kids. We heard how they changed jobs, went back to school, joined the armed services, made residential moves, and at times sought public aid to supplement poverty pay. Across states and over the years, one thing never changed. Motherhood and kids always remained at the center of their lives.

About the Authors:

Amanda Freeman is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Hartford and a writer and researcher of motherhood and work. She lives in Westport, Connecticut, and Getting Me Cheap (The New Press) is her first book.

Lisa Dodson is Research Professor Emerita at Boston College. She is the author of The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy and co-author (with Amanda Freeman) of Getting Me Cheap: How Low Wage Work Traps Women and Girls in Poverty (both from The New Press) and Don’t Call Us Out of Name. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Getting Me Cheap: How Low-Wage Work Traps Women and Children in Poverty will be released on November 29, 2022, published by The New Press. It is currently available for pre-sale. To learn more, go to https://thenewpress.com/books/getting-me-cheap

Heartbreak to Hope by Kara Bowman

Heartbreak to Hope: Poems of Support for Grief and Loss by Kara Bowman is a collection of original poems designed to help people through the grieving process.

People who are mourning a loss often don’t have the mental ability to focus on books so the short length of a poem is a perfect fit. Each of the poems in Heartbreak to Hope captures a different aspect of grief. Readers will find their experience reflected on the pages in accessible and easily understood vignettes. They will feel less alone knowing that others have experienced the same feelings. They will move through the process of grief, having words for their emotions. And they will treasure this volume, coming back to their favorites time and time again for comfort and understanding.

“Kara Bowman’s Heartbreak to Hope is a wonderfully sensitive and poetic accompaniment as we journey through grief. It captures so much of the darkness and difficulty of that journey while holding out hope that through those difficulties one can still get to a sense of peace–even growth. I wish every individual struggling with grief could have a copy!” -Professor Kenneth J Doka, PhD, Grief Researcher and Author, Grief is a Journey, When We Die: Extraordinary Experiences at Life’s End.

“Kara Bowman understands the inner experience of grieving. If you are looking for a book of poetry that captures the heart of what the journey of mourning is about, this is it. It will mirror back to you the experiences you are having, and it will also help you to teach others what you are going through. If you are deep in mourning, you will see yourself recognized by this powerful book of poetry about the experience of loss. As Shakespeare once said in Macbeth “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break” In Heartbreak to Hope, Kara Bowman has, indeed, given sorrow words.” -John R. Jordan, Ph.D., Grief Researcher and Author, Devastating Losses

Excerpt:

I was sitting in a comfortable chair across from an impeccably dressed, petite, white-haired woman. She was crying gently as she described her husband’s death and the sharp pain she felt in her heart whenever she thought of him. She suddenly paused, looked me straight in the eye, and plaintively said, “I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to grieve.”

An hour later, a soft-spoken, intelligent young Latino man was in the same spot describing the agony of his life without his mother in it. His face looked desperate as he asked me, “Will this get better? What should I be doing?”

In my work as a grief therapist, I often receive these heart- felt questions. I wrote this poetry collection as a response to my clients and every person who wonders how to help themselves through the difficult process of grief. There are many things to learn but the most important thing to know is that grief is not something we need to do; it is something we simply need to allow. If we feel our feelings without judgment, bathed in self-compassion and allowing in compassion from others, the sharp edges will soften with time.

This collection grew out of the many hours I have spent with people who are mourning every imaginable type of loss, as well as my own experiences of grief. I tried to capture what I have heard: the expected emotions, such as sadness, longing and pain, and the sometimes surprising emotions, like numb- ness, anger and relief. My reflections are offered in bite-sized pieces, each capturing one part of the kaleidoscope-like expe- rience of bereavement, allowing you to take in as much or as little as you choose at one time.

We mourn both acutely alone and invisibly connected to everyone who has ever lived and grieved. In these poems, I hope to name some things you are experiencing and may not yet have words for. I also hope to help you recognize parts of your inner world that you didn’t realize existed. Finally, I hope that, as you read these poems, you will know others have felt similar things and you will feel less alone.

While it is now known that there are no set stages of grief, the poems are organized broadly in terms of some common reactions. The first section reflects when the wound is new, the second when grief has settled in for a long visit, and the third when adjustment to a new reality begins to take hold. As you read, you should find some recognition and comfort in these pages. Like the two clients described above, my wish is for you to ultimately arrive at a place of acceptance, peace and love.

Sample Poem: 

The Surreal

Everything is the same,

but nothing is familiar.

I am plucked from the life I am living,

And ushered into another world entirely.

Not knowing the rules,

not understanding how things function,

not knowing what to do.

I am in uncharted territory because

just as every person is unique,

every grief is unique, too.

Nobody knows how to act,

what to say,

and when to say nothing in this bizarre world.

There are strange forms to fill out

and equipment to return

and clothing to sort through

and estates to settle.

Nobody asked for this existence and nobody wants it.

And yet, here I am,

in this world without a solid ground,

in this world where things keep moving,

in this world with new places, like the mortuary,

and new tasks, like writing an obituary.

The people are different and weird.

Not the same ones as before.

They talk about donating organs.

And bring Yule logs in July.

And ask about power of attorney.

I want my normal back:

my morning coffee on the back porch,

my minor irritation when I’m running low on gas,

my one and only love.

I want to go home to the world I knew.

Kara Bowman, LMFT, CT, CCTP, C-GC, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in grief and trauma. She holds advanced certifications in Grief Counseling, Trauma, and Thanatology (the study of death and dying). Kara is passionate about helping people who are grieving through her private practice, as a hospice volunteer, by giving talks to the public and training therapists. Kara lives with her husband in Santa Cruz, California. For more information, please see https://www.griefpoetry.com and www.karabowman.com.

 

Broadway Baby by Russell Miller & Judith Proffer

Broadway Baby is a whimsical love letter to Broadway. Our leading role, Baby, dreams of becoming a star. Those dreams take us on a truly theatrical journey from his crib to the playground to the heart of New York City, with nods to many elements that make live theatre so special.

Through beautiful illustrations, this picture book celebrates the importance of how theatre inspires creativity. It encourages children and Broadway lovers of all ages to create and be whatever you want to be, whoever you are, wherever you are, and reminds the readers that even the loftiest of dreams can come true. The book celebrates the importance of theatre and creativity – inclusive and accessible.

Broadway Baby will be released on November 8, 2022, published by Meteor 17 Books. It is currently available for pre-sale on Amazon.

 

 

About the Authors:

Russell Miller is a theater producer, predominantly in the running of large and prolific commercial theaters, sports and entertainment venues. Previously as a Senior International Business Director, Russell operated 12 regional UK theatres and 10 West End theatres in London. He has overseen productions including the West End revival of ‘Guys & Dolls’ with Ewan McGregor, Patrick Swayze and Don Johnson. He also oversaw the opening of ‘On the Town’ and Cirque du Soleil’s Broadway debut hit musical, ‘Paramour’, both performed at the Lyric Theatre, Broadway’s second largest theater.

Judith A. Proffer founded Huqua Press, a division of Meteor 17 Books. Previously, Judith spent 25 years with press media (LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Village Voice Media, and Sun Community Newspaper.) She is the editor of I Hope You Dance, The Power of Spirit and Song, and co-authored When We Stayed Home. Proffer has been named one of the leading “Women Who Make A Difference” in the Southern California Community and has taught writing workshops to children, adults and incarcerated at-risk youths. She teamed with Hollywood Caterer, Gwen Kenneally, to establish Magpie Mini Pies, with proceeds benefiting local non-profits.