Designing the Mind: The Principles of Psychitecture

Designing the Mind: The Principles of Psychitecture is a new book by Ryan Bush.

Designing the Mind is a psycho-philosophical self-development book that combines the ancient adage that true happiness comes from within with the modern metaphor of the mind as an operating system. It integrates the wisdom and insights of ancient mystics, practical philosophers, and cognitive scientists into a mindset and method for reprogramming your own psychological software. A handbook for mastering your behavior, cognition, and emotions, one algorithm at a time. Whether fear prevents you from pursuing your ambitions, jealousy ruins your relationships, distractions rule your life, or you have an inner critic whose expectations you are never able to meet, the psychitectural framework will enable you to understand and rewire the hidden patterns behind your biases, habits, and emotional reactions.

“The way your mind is structured will determine the person you become, the life you live, and the fulfillment you realize. When you modify your mind, you edit the operating system at your core and change your personal trajectory. And when you make a persistent occupation of this endeavor, you become the architect of your own character.” – Ryan Bush, Author of Designing the Mind: The Principles of Psychitecture

This book is for those who find the idea of building a better mind thrilling in and of itself. Who are impassioned by the thought of cultivating greater wisdom, self-control, or tranquility. Who are drawn to the philosophies of Buddhism and Stoicism, or the fields of humanistic psychology and psychotherapy. We all want to be happier, healthier, better people. But only a few grasp that all of our highest aims can be reached by placing our focus directly on our minds.

“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.” – Santiago Ramon y Cajal


Excerpt

“There is no more reliable proof of greatness than to be in a state where nothing can happen to make you disturbed.” – Seneca

Resilience has become a pop-psychological buzzword, and for good reason. Learning to quickly recover from inevitable setbacks is far more practical than attempting to avoid them all. Highly resilient people are better at coping with stress, have fewer depressive symptoms, live longer, and have greater physical health. But why don’t we aim higher? If emotional resilience is getting back up after getting knocked down, emotional robustness is not getting knocked down in the first place.

A robust mind is one with a powerful immune system – one which can bear more without bending. And we fortify our minds, not by circumventing threats, but by preparing for them. By exposing ourselves to difficulties so our minds learn to deal with them effectively. By identifying and reprogramming the emotional algorithms likely to be triggered by the events in our lives.

Emotions are precision instruments. They can be used to achieve great things, but your conflicting passions will only undermine your efforts if you have only little or moderate control over them. If your emotions are the reactive default reflexes they were originally built to be, only luck can help you in achieving your goals.

Believing an emotion to be useful is one thing. But if you are unable to control the emotion, you are not using it. It is using you. If you are unable to keep from getting angry, you have a major weakness, no matter how hard you punched that wall. If you are unable to keep from getting jealous constantly, your partner’s mind is not necessarily a problem – but yours is. And as counterintuitive as it may seem, if you are unable to control your empathy for others, you too have a weakness, and it isn’t doing anyone any favors. You have to learn to stabilize your emotions before you can use them proficiently.

The central idea we’ve covered in the last three chapters, that you can simply reprogram a negative emotional response with which you may struggle, may seem overly simplistic. But over the years, I have repeatedly proven to myself that by viewing emotional algorithms as the root of my problems, these reactions can be eliminated entirely. Each unwanted emotional response poses a unique challenge for creative problem solving. Some are more challenging than others. But I cannot emphasize enough that resignation to negative emotions is the greatest obstacle to a tranquil mind.

Undesirable emotions are bugs in your software. Each emotional category which causes you to feel or act against your values reveals a vulnerability in your psychological code. Culture is keen to remind people that it is okay to feel hurt and upset. This may be important for people to understand, but it’s a bit like telling a programmer it is okay to have errors in his code. Sure, it’s okay. Taking it personally will only create more problems. But now it’s time to debug it. Your thoughts and emotions can be trained, whether or not you have committed to the endeavor of training them. Every problem you have is a part of your own software that hasn’t been optimized.

As we aim to optimize our emotions, we must attempt to cultivate the ancient ideal of equanimity. Equanimity is a state of undisturbed tranquility and psychological stability, with equivalent concepts in nearly every practical philosophy and religion – apatheia in Greek Stoicism, ataraxia in Epicureanism, and upekkha in Buddhism. Someone with this state of mind was someone whose balance of mind could not be shaken, even in the face of great adversity. Equanimity is the pinnacle of psychological robustness and control.

“It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain.” – Bhikkhu Bodhi

Although it is easy to view this state as a spiritual aspiration achieved only by ancient sages, you likely underestimate how attainable a state like this is for you. Think back to the problems you were dealing with five years ago. Chances are these problems are largely irrelevant to you now. Whatever circumstances were causing you anger, fear, anxiety, or sadness then have likely shifted, and they no longer cause you the suffering they once did. From where you stand now, it is easy to look at these problems and see that most of them were trivial; it may even seem laughable that the majority of them ever caused you distress. The problems likely worked themselves out, or better yet, weren’t really problems in the first place. You may even be thankful for the struggles you went through.

Equanimity is about feeling the way you feel about your five-years-ago-problems right now, about your current problems. Meaning they either aren’t problems, are problems that will sort themselves out, or are problems that are good to have. And this state is attained through the gradual process of identifying the emotional reactions that hold you back, using the restructuring and modulation tactics to correct them, and reprogramming each one until you are left with nearly total stability in spite of your circumstances.

“Be like a headland of rock on which the waves break incessantly; but it stands fast and around it the seething of the waters sink to rest.” – Marcus Aurelius

Once you have learned to cultivate tranquility and keep your mind still, you will be ready to learn to masterfully maneuver it in the right direction. We will now turn to the control and mastery of our behaviors, actions, and habits.


About the Author:

Ryan A Bush is the founder of Designing the Mind LLC, a self-development organization focused on providing wisdom education and expanding human potential beyond the norm. Ryan’s background is in the design of systems – he works with tech startups to design and develop everything from patented physical products, to software, to buildings, to business models. But his most relevant credential is a lifelong appetite for introspective investigation, ravenous reading, and obsessive self-optimization. For more than a decade, he has been studying the insights of ancient teachers, practical philosophers, and cognitive scientists. In his first book, he aims to assemble these puzzle pieces to form a new vision for psychological growth and self-mastery.

To learn more, go to https://designingthemind.org.

For media inquires, to request a review copy or an interview with the author, please contact Kelsey Butts at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or (805) 807-9027.

On with the Butter! Spread More Living onto Everyday Life by Heidi Herman

Hekla Publishing announced the release of a new book – On with the Butter! Spread More Living onto Everyday Life by Heidi Herman. Genre: Non-Fiction / Retirement & Aging / Self-Help / Motivational

This new book is filled with encouragement and ideas to add more vitality and activity into your everyday life.

Synopsis:

Carry on, keep doing what you’re doing, forge ahead, and keep moving. Icelanders have a saying for it: Áfram með Smjörið – on with the butter!

If you’re looking for new ways to add zest to your life or have free time in retirement, this book offers a wide variety of activities and challenges, along with inspiring and heartwarming stories. Discover ways to explore, play, take, chances, try new things, make a difference, and have more fun in life. You’re the activities director, and On with the Butter! is your guidebook.

So keep moving, keep doing, and keep spreading more living onto everyday life. After all, everything’s better with butter.

This book was inspired by my mother, who lived her life to the fullest,” says Heidi Herman. “After my mom’s recovery from a stroke in 2016 at the age of 92, my mom began promoting the message of living life with vitality no matter what your age. I helped her achieve and log 93 new activities between her 93rd and 94th birthdays, just to show you’re never too old to have fun. ‘On with the Butter’ is one of the countless things I learned from my vivacious Icelandic mother. “Just keep moving” was her favorite mantra. She taught me by example to embrace life and live in the moment.” I thought of Mom as a life adventurer. She taught me to embrace life with exuberance. Well into her nineties, she inspired those around her simply by the way she lived. She was constantly active: writing books, traveling, visiting friends and family, and living each day to the fullest. And she was just one of the great role models I was blessed to have.”


Praise for On with the Butter:

“On with the Butter is a delight to read. There are so many good suggestions for anyone considering retirement or already retired. This is not a book like so very many that only consider money and financial matters. Just the opposite. A good retirement is about so much more and this book addresses that.” – Del Lowery, RetirementTalk.org

“A sunny self-help guide that aims to reveal the secret to an active and exuberant lifestyle.” – Kirkus Review

“Herman’s inspiring work offers a fresh perspective on living well at any age.” – RECOMMENDED by the US Review

“An inspiring book for us “retired” people. Fifteen chapters explore many avenues of life where we can find new challenges to enable us to: “Keep Moving, Keep Doing, Keep Living.” It’s a delightful, fun read… Everyone who is about to retire or is retired should read this book. You won’t regret it.” – Vic Broquard, Author & Retired Professor

“The book exemplifies many ideas on living an ordinary life yet finding unexpected pleasures and sometimes a daring adventure along the way. I resoundingly recommend On With the Butter for everyone who wants to consciously live their life and experience it to the fullest.” – Sunna Olafson Furstenau, Icelandic Order of the Falcon Recipient; Icelandic Culture & Heritage Advocate; President and Founder of Icelandic Roots; Past President and Founder of the INLUS; Past President of the INLNA

“On With the Butter” is a wonderful and inspiring book! Through Heidi’s Herman’s vibrant and engaging, and often humorous stories, intertwined with unique ideas and helpful information, she encourages curiosity, connection, and a call to action. This is an excellent book for those who are looking for an exciting next chapter, or even just a little more flavor, to their life! – Laura Haw, Adjunct Instructor in Aging Studies, University of Indianapolis


Excerpt from On with the Butter:

Introduction

“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.” —Epicurus, Greek philosopher

On with the butter (Áfram með smjörið) is an old Icelandic expression that means “carry on,” “keep doing what you’re doing,” “forge ahead,” or “keep moving.”

That sentiment was one of the countless things I learned from my vivacious Icelandic mother. “Just keep moving” was her favorite mantra. She taught me by example to embrace life and live in the moment. I have witnessed firsthand how people respond to that ideal and how they became motivated to do more themselves. Now that I know it’s something that many people strive to achieve, I’m even more grateful that this spirit is engrained in me.

We’ve all heard the popular expression YOLO—you only live once. We’re reminded to take advantage of the days we’re given, but how exactly do we do that?

Some people focus on finding happiness, and while that’s not a bad idea, the definition of happiness is different for everyone, so we have to figure out what makes us happy. To do that, we need to experience life in all its glory—the exciting and the mundane, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. The search might lead to peace and contentment, purposefulness, action and excitement, higher knowledge, or caretaking.

We all seek these things to one degree or another, but there’s often one desire that becomes the primary focus. Before retirement, that focus is often our job or career. But after we retire, we discover that life changes and our primary focus seems to disappear. And that’s when the exploration begins again. That’s when we find new things that challenge us or just make us smile.

As we get older, it’s easy to become consumed with our health and taking care of ourselves. We may change our diet, take prescriptions to treat medical conditions, and focus more on physical fitness. But while we’re working so hard to increase our life span, what are we doing to appreciate and make the most of that time? Those are the questions On with the Butter invites us to entertain.

There are many books that offer advice on how to live healthier, how to be happier, how to age with grace and become physically fit. But while they’re all worthwhile pursuits, I’d always felt like one was missing. I now know that it’s the philosophy that my mom instilled in me—the curiosity and desire to experience life and the creativity to find many ways to do it.

I thought of Mom as a life adventurer. She taught me to embrace life with exuberance. Well into her nineties, she inspired those around her simply by the way she lived. She was constantly active: writing books, traveling, visiting friends and family, and living each day to the fullest. And she was just one of the great role models I was blessed to have. My father, who had his own version of living every day to the fullest, was another. He’d dropped out of high school, lied about his age to join the U.S. Navy, and was stationed in Iceland before his nineteenth birthday. Although he never had any higher learning or formal education, he became an ordained minister, general contractor, and self-taught architect. To me, he was a brilliant thinker and problem-solver.

So after Dad was diagnosed with stage three esophageal cancer, I was staggered. I struggled to accept that the larger-than-life dynamo had been knocked down to life- size. I was forty-six at the time, and as I watched one of my heroes undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy in an aggressive battle to survive, my commitment to making the most of my own life became stronger. For six months, he fought to stay alive, and shortly after he turned eighty-nine, we got the incredible news that his cancer was in full remission. The energy that Dad had put into healing was now channeled into living, and it gave me a different perspective. I had always thought life is too short to be taken for granted, but I realized that life is also far too long to be squandered on unhappiness or boredom.

Although my life was full and I was content, I wanted to experience more. I wanted to revisit some of the things I once enjoyed and try things that I never thought I’d try. Thanks to my role models, I’d always been a “doer,” but my new view of life made me realize that I had also let a lot of fun opportunities pass me by. And I decided to stop that. I decided to take the “on with the butter” approach to my everyday life. And after I retired, instead of buying a rocking chair, I learned to fly.

My sincere hope is that this book, which is packed with ideas for embracing life with zest and exuberance, will arm you with what you need to do just that. You don’t have to live every day to the fullest, but I’m challenging you to live fully every day, whatever that means to you.

On with the butter!


About the Author:

Heidi Herman was born and raised in Central Illinois, but her passion and a common theme in her writing is her Icelandic heritage. After a 30-year career in business, where she authored magazine articles, white papers, and technical assessment reports, Heidi turned to fiction writing full-time, inspired by her mother’s example. In the winter of 2012, her mother, Íeda Jónasdóttir Herman, published a childhood memoir, which featured some of Iceland’s folklore. Heidi was immersed in childhood memories of the Scandinavian legends, lore, and imaginative stories. The myth of Iceland’s troll-like Christmas characters – Jólasveinar – sparked the imagination of many readers and led to Heidi writing her first book, “The Legend of the Icelandic Yule Lads.”

It was followed by two more books on Icelandic folklore: “The Guardians of Iceland and Other Icelandic Folk Tales” and “The Icelandic Yule Lads Mayhem at the North Pole.” In 2017, she co-authored and Icelandic cookbook, “Homestyle Icelandic Cooking for American Kitchens” with her mother, Íeda Jónasdóttir Herman, which won a US category in The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards that year. Heidi published her debut novel, “Her Viking Heart”, in 2018 and it was named the 2018 Foreward INDIES Book of the Year Gold Winner – Romance Category.

Her newest work, “On with The Butter: Spread More Living onto Everyday Life” was inspired when Heidi worked to complete her mother’s final work, “Never Too Late.” Íeda Jónasdóttir Herman (1925-2019) was 94 years old and had completed a year of new experiences to prove a person is never too old to enjoy life. That message, along with her mother’s example, led Heidi to write this new motivational book with ideas and encouragement on how anyone can find those activities and experiences.

Heidi currently lives in South Dakota but snowbirds south in the winter to Arizona. In addition to writing, she loves Scandinavian festivals, cooking, photography, travel, and exploring the outdoors. She is a member of the Women Fiction Writers Association and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Readers can connect with Heidi Herman on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to www.heidihermanauthor.com

For more information, to request a review copy or an interview with Heidi Herman, please contact Kelsey Butts at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or (805) 807-9027.

Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops

Do you wish that you could enjoy parenthood more? Have you ever wondered what deeper meaning there is to being a Mom or Dad?
In Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops Jacqueline Pirtle, a mom herself, carries you through the experience of parenthood by making spiritual and energetic sense of real physical-life parenting scenarios—while, as her highest priority, keeping children’s perspectives in mind.
This book opens new doors for you to dive into parenthood with fresh zest, plenty of fun, and infinite love for yourself and for your children by teaching you these 3 important pillars to better parenting:
-The Harmonious Dance
-It Is Never The Child
-The Love Cycle of Parenthood
This profound parent-life wisdom can be utilized immediately, so you too can experience a spectacular time with your children, including teenagers, ASAP.
No matter if you are a parent, grandparent, aunt and uncle, or just a lover of life, Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops will inspire you to dig deeper into the enjoyment of being alive and being a Mother or Father.
Get ready, this book will leave you with a sweet tooth that is endlessly craving well-feeling parenting and life moments every day!

Excerpt:
An important first step for a parent is to relax and know that you really are wonderful just by being here and by being present— ready for your new life as a parent or ready to shift into a new way as a parent. You ARE magnificent!
I invite you to say, think, and feel the following words often:
“I AM a phenomenally powerful parent with a deep inner guidance and an infinite capability to love!”
Really breathe into these words, and feel your shift to being and living in a frequency of peaceful-ness, openness, pure-ness, right-ness, and good-ness—your heart space and your soul being.
Acknowledge that you are NOT here to impress anyone, anything, or life itself––especially not your children. You are here to simply BE; nothing else. Feel the release of all resistance and the pressure-free space that you create for yourself by acknowledging this.
So what does to BE or not to BE really mean?
Do you think to BE means you have to have hard times and BE miserable? I surely hope not, because to BE clearly means to feel well, to be happy, to enjoy, and to feel excited about your existence and expansion. Just think about how well you feel by reading the first few paragraphs about your magnificence, and how wonderful it feels to acknowledge that all you have to do is BE your soul being which is pure positive energy.
Now shift your focus to your children. Let them – born or unborn – know that they too are wonderful and magnificent just as they ARE. Fill them in, that coming into this physical life means they are here to BE themselves—nothing else. Let your child know of this magic and well-feeling through loving and uplifting words, thoughts – every thought is energy that is shared – actions, happenings, and, for older children, through explanation and education.
Make well-feeling a priority for you because it spreads to your children, filling every single cell of their whole being – body, mind, soul, consciousness – with goodness, and it returns that high-for-life energy to you like a boomerang.
Think about the incredible power that is used to lift a sinking ship to be afloat again—you feeling wonderful is that power that can lift any child to be emotionally afloat again.
Feeling wonderful IS powerful!

About the Author:
Jacqueline Pirtle is a holistic practitioner, a healing arts teacher and mentor, and the bestselling author of 365 Days of Happiness.
Her passion for mindful happiness shines through in all of her work and life – helping parents to parent harmoniously and clients to shift into a “high-for-life” frequency.
Jacqueline has been featured in Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, BuzzFeed, Elephant Journal, Bustle, NBC News-Better and has appeared on Women Inspired TV, The Sunday School Radio Show, WoMRadio, and more. Her article “Are You Happy?” is in print in The Edge Magazine.
Jacqueline was born in Switzerland and has lived all over the world. She now makes her home in the United States with her wonderful husband, amazing kids, and sweet cats, and can often be found having a little chat with a falling leaf, or indulging in a cupcake at her favorite bakery.
Her professional background is in holistic wellness and natural living. She holds various international wellness degrees, and is an international certified Reiki Master.
Her latest book Parenting Through the Eyes of Lollipops was released in September 2019 and is available for sale on Amazon. Readers can connect with Jacqueline on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. To learn more, go to http://www.freakyhealer.com

365 Days of Happiness: Because happiness is a piece of cake!

365 days of happinessIn 365 Days of Happiness, author, energy healer, and mindfulness teacher Jacqueline Pirtle has created a step-by-step guide to being happy. The book contains 365 short and sweet daily readings to inspire you live a happier life, one day at a time. Showing that you can put in work to change your life while also having fun, the practices are full of whimsy and delight.
Jacqueline spent every day of 2017 devoted to her own happiness. She wrote every single day about the things she did to honor her joy and used those writings to create this 365 day step-by-step guide. With this book, she aims to teach you how to shift your mindset to happy — no matter where you are at in life. She hopes these readings will touch your heart and change your life by initiating new learning, understanding, knowledge, and wisdom to get closer to your true, authentic happy self.
Through light, bubbly, cheerful passages, each day teaches you to find happiness. Use those sour lemons and shift yourself into a “high for life” frequency where you can reach happiness anywhere and at any time.
Excerpt:
DAY 3
The best cookie recipe makes delicious and enjoyable cookies! The best happiness recipe makes a delicious and enjoyable life
– Acknowledge everything and everyone without judgment.
– Accept everything and everyone.
– Respect everything and everyone.
Appreciate everything and everyone.
Thank everything and everyone.
– Love everything and everyone.
With everything and everyone, I mean all, without exceptions! Because everything and every and everyone is in your life for a reason.
Acknowledging all in this way, releases resistance; and without your resistance you can shift smoothly with all that is happening for you. Who knows, you might even love it!
Life is an ever changing and constant moving experience: it is naturally so. Every split second is new, different, and fresh. That means every split second you get new opportunities and chances for a change to happen.
Use those split seconds, and make your delicious and enjoyable new day!
That IS happiness!
To learn more, go to http://www.freakyhealer.com/ 

Szen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change

Szen Zone Gary SzenderskiSzen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change, by Gary Szenderski, is a compilation of heartwarming and inspirational short stories.
The general overarching theme of the book is change and all of the aspects of it – creating, surviving, and managing change with the goal to recognize the power we have to create positive change in our lives and be what we want to be.
Topics covered include productivity, letting go of the past, embracing the potential of the future, and learning to take chances.
If you are a fan of short inspirational stories like those in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, then this is a book you would certainly enjoy. Wherever you may find yourself in life, you will discover an insight or example in this book to help you change course and take charge of your life.
Whereas ZEN is of the moment and what is, SZEN celebrates what could be.

 

Praise:
“Commonly held together by the thread of positive change, each tale tells of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity… Because it’s composed of so many short stories, there is really something for everyone within the pages of this inspiring book. If you’re looking for a dash of hope and a sprinkling of encouragement to change for the better, then look no further than Szen Zone. It’s one of those books that bears picking up again and again throughout the seasons of your life, whenever you need a solid pick-me-up.” – Reviewed by Red City Review
“Szen Zone is filled with illuminating stories and anecdotes that can help point the reader to that promised state of positive change, presented in a manner that’s neither didactic nor preachy. Rather, Szenderski employs an easy going and conversational style of communicating his message to his readers that made me feel as though he were there alongside me, sharing his own efforts and experiences in a spirit of frankness, honesty and sincerity… Szen Zone is a book to breeze through and be inspired by, and then to be read more slowly in no particular order of topic, concentrating rather on the concepts and thoughts which most appeal at the moment. It’s an impressive self-help guide and it’s highly recommended.” – Reviewed by Readers’ Favorite

 

Excerpt:
Chapter 1
The E Spot
Everything everyone enjoys enters; evolves – eventually engaging each entity entirely. Easy? Exactly.
The e-spot is our own personal energy source. For some it’s only a pilot light that maintains just enough oomph to get us through the day. While for others, it’s an inferno ablaze with desire to achieve greatness. What controls the intensity of our own internal flame is always personal and filtered through our own unique perspective. Perspective is actually the fodder for flame and the catalyst for positive change.
Perspective to the e-spot is like oxygen to the fire. Perspective directs and frames choices, creates decisions and defines our dreams. When we feel engaged and energized, it’s because our point of view is in alignment not only with the goal, but also with the means to get there. We somehow know we can do it. It’s the e-spot telling us we have the fuel to make the trip.
If we need more fuel for our own personal trip, we can take a look at your own focal point and perspective. Usually only a tweak or two will open the energy valves. Sometimes it’s getting rid of some part of the past that’s clogging up our thinking, but more often it’s not the elimination of a clog but the creation of a new path – a clear channel that creates separation from what is/was, to what could be. Very SZEN- like if you ask me.
Szenippet: The best way to charge your own engine is to plug into a dream come true before it really does
■   ■   ■   ■
The Key to Life
Buddy, as his homeless neighbors, cohorts and other transients that lived and begged on the streets knew him, was usually pretty upbeat. When he first arrived he was considered one of the more fortunate of the unfortunates. He was still pretty young by comparison; he had his health and thus was selected from time to time to work on day jobs in construction where he would conveniently be paid in cash for his labor.
Buddy would say that he didn’t really have to live on the streets and that he had a plan, but he needed enough money to be able to properly implement it. He liked to report that he always put a little cash away in a safety deposit box at the local bank. The rest went for essentials like food, clothes and diversions – sometimes liquid. Buddy kept the bank key around his neck and would nervously reach for it from time to time to insure he had not lost his ticket to a new life. But those that watched him only saw a rusted skeleton key hanging by a plastic chord. No one ever said a thing to counter his enthusiasm for a new future. Buddy was, after all, the only positive, enthusiastic presence around and he had a way of getting others to start to be positive as well.
Time is never kind to those who live without a home. But Buddy knew he wasn’t meant to be where he was and would tell anyone that asked that he was about to move out into his new place and leave the streets behind. The story had not changed in 8 years, but he told it with such conviction that most people on the street half expected that one day, Buddy would simply move away. They always asked him to remember them, his friends that lived next to him all clustered under the overpass.
 The days on the street are monotonous with little to do, no funds to go anywhere, with competition for begging, collecting recyclables and the occasional day job. Each of those homeless, living day to day, had their own schedule and no one policed the other. And although Buddy’s construction working days had been dwindling over the years he never seemed to be around much during the day. Most assumed he spent his days like everyone else, walking, and hunched over scouring the ground and sidewalks for loose change, discarded lottery tickets or anything else that might be of value.
 One night Buddy didn’t come back to his cardboard space. There were lots of opinions on why he hadn’t returned. Maybe he got arrested, hurt or had just left on his own. After no Buddy for 8 days, a fair waiting period, his “stuff” from his space was split up amongst the remaining street dwellers. As the weeks passed, Buddy’s enthusiasm and positive stories, were being missed more and more. A void emerged where there had been a beacon; the smidgeon of hope was now an emptiness felt by all. And within the context of this emptiness, the legend of Buddy and his positive ways grew. It wasn’t long before the stories trumped the reality. Speculation and hearsay created unbelievable story lines of how Buddy had managed to escape, leaving behind a whimsical, delicious and totally positive imprint.
The real story is this: The key he wore did fit a lock, but to a door not a box. A door that opened to a room that not only held his childhood memories, but every dream he ever had – A room in an old house where a skeleton key worked just fine. A house that protected Buddy’s secrets with a special room that held bank receipts and pay stubs and boxes of memories. A closet with a key next to where his mother sat and waited to hear him and feel his kiss to her cheek. She never knew where he spent his nights, but the money he earned by working and saving by renting his own room to strangers kept her alive. Those extra few years where she couldn’t move, but able to talk were filled with stories of love and life and making plans and believing in them. Those were the years that truly changed Buddy’s life and well worth his homeless adventure.
Buddy’s Mom eventually passed on, but her son and his story is still going strong.
Epilogue
Some years later Buddy passed on too. Shortly thereafter, an official looking gentleman in a business suit visited the homeless turf where Buddy’s story was still being passed along to new members of the less fortunate. The man had a clipboard and a roster of names and he called out each of twenty-two names individually, until a group of 13 huddled around him. Nine, it seems had not outlived Buddy.
The visitor handed each an envelope with an address and cab fare. This would be their new home, compliments of Buddy; it was furnished and ready to live in. They each would be made the legal owner and the only instruction was to help as many others as they felt comfortable doing; it was up to them. Buddy was explicit in his will – his greatest, lasting gift would be the power of choice.
Szenippet: The door to the life you want doesn’t need a key.

 

Gary SzenderskiAbout the Author:
Gary Szenderski is an author, speaker, teacher and branding specialist, internationally acclaimed as an expert on the subject. He specializes in helping people and organizations to navigate change, and frequently speaks and writes on the topic of emerging brands, personal branding and companies in transition. Gary is an award-winning writer, author of the Book of Szen and Szen Zone, often quoted marketing expert, and recipient of the Distinguished Instructor Award from the University of California in Irvine where he teaches branding. He resides in Southern California.
Readers can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For more information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Gary Szenderski, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

New Book ‘12 Simple Steps to Loving Life’ Adapts the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to Benefit All Readers

12 Steps by Robert Radcliffe Front CoverNovember 9, 2015 (Malibu, CA) – Robert Radcliffe announced today that his latest book 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life – a guide to making one’s life more loving, happy, and peaceful – is now available for sale.
“If you desire a more compassionate and healthy approach to life’s most challenging moments, then this is the perfect book for you. 12 Simple Steps is an adaptation of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and is intended to be a quick read with results that will last a lifetime,” says Robert.
After seven years of considerable struggle, at the age of twenty-two, Robert made the choice to be sober from drugs and alcohol by applying the Twelve Steps, enabling him to turn his life around and as a result, his life, his recovery and self-improvement have led to his massive success spiritually and financially. Robert went from being a homeless drug addict to a self-made millionaire by the age of thirty.
Millions of people worldwide, including Dr. David R. Hawkins, established therapist and author of “Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior,” have called the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous the most beneficial self-improvement program in history.
Eternally grateful to everyone who helped him become and remain sober, Robert felt compelled to write 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life, a book that adapts the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in a way that everyone can benefit from, not just those struggling with addiction. Robert hopes that his story and these steps will inspire and help others to find their own success.
To learn more or to purchase a copy of the book, go to 12SimpleSteps.com
Robert resides happily with his wife Tara in Malibu, CA. He is a philanthropist, active community member, and continues to be an active participant in the twelve-step community.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Robert Radcliffe, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.
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12 Simple Steps to Loving Life by Robert Radcliffe

12 Steps by Robert Radcliffe Front Cover12 Simple Steps to Loving Life, by Robert Radcliffe, is a guide toward improving the quality of your life; to be more loving, happy and peaceful.
Millions of people worldwide, including Dr. David R. Hawkins, established therapist and author of “Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior,” have called the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous the most beneficial self-improvement program in history and finally these Twelve Steps has been adapted for everyone to benefit!
If you desire a more compassionate and healthy approach to life’s most challenging moments, then this is the perfect book for you. It is intended to be a quick read with results that will last a lifetime.
12 Simple Steps to Loving Life is for anyone who would like to see a positive change in their life.
To learn more, go to 12SimpleSteps.com

 

Praise for 12 Simple Steps to Loving Life:
“The author includes personal anecdotes, his struggles, and successes as he explains each of the steps. This offers the reader to connect on a more personal level with the author, which makes the narrative readable and relatable.” – Red City Reviews
“I found it an enlightening read and the Steps are easy to practice and incorporate into one’s life. The author’s words are profound and help readers to be honest with themselves. The book takes readers on a path of self-discovery and healing and makes life better than ever before.” – Readers’ Favorite

 

Excerpt:
Step 1 is about admitting what is wreaking havoc on our lives. For me, it was drugs; and while I wasn’t ready to admit powerlessness, I was willing to concede that my life was unmanageable. I couldn’t deny my life was a mess, a nightmare, in fact. I’ve since learned this is often the case with the first step. People will admit one part or the other, but seldom do we grasp it entirely until we’re in a great deal of pain. Pain is the trigger for most change.
We don’t have to wait until our situations are unbearable to take the first Step toward a better life. Anyone can take this Step at any time regarding any matter. This Step is appropriate for the ordinary, primarily healthy people who allow traits and behaviors to interfere with their well-being. Often, we know things could be better but we are accustomed to things as they are. We aren’t uncomfortable enough to do anything about our impediments to true happiness. We may be powerless over feelings of anger, fear, resentment, insecurity, anxiety or depression. We may be powerless over bad habits like over-eating, gambling, procrastinating, or worrying. We may be addicted to sugar, caffeine, tobacco or sex. Possibly we’re strapped with irreconcilable differences in relationships or at work; maybe we suffer from an inability to commit, or to complete tasks or goals. We’re stuck in a proverbial rut. Let’s insert any one of these obstacles or Life Liabilities into the first step and make a start toward overcoming it.
These bad habits and negative feelings are handicaps, hindrances to the life we are meant to live. They can get out of control and cause stress, conflict and related health problems. They prevent us from reaching our potential and deter us from our rightful purpose. “Life Liabilities” as I like to call them, pull us off course like a flat tire does a car. The flat has to be changed before we can successfully continue our journey.
Once we identify which aspect of our lives is creating a problem for us, we simply acknowledge it. If we determine it is within our power to fix it, great; but the chances are we would have done so already if we could. We embark on the 12 Simple Steps because it is beyond our capacity to overcome this difficulty on our own. So, we take Step 1. We admit we are powerless over our problem, that it is making our lives unmanageable.
We got honest with ourselves; this is the crux of Step 1. Leading us to the next step we concede to our innermost selves that we need help with this issue whatever it may be because it is too much for us to handle on our own. We are powerless to change it and our lives on our own. We enjoy immediate relief from this quiet act of admitting our powerlessness and surrender, from relinquishing control. We free ourselves from the struggle.
Our dilemma is that we are powerless without help. The solution is to find a Power greater than ourselves who will help.

 

Robert RadcliffeAbout the Author:
After seven years of considerable struggle, at the age of twenty-two (March 11, 1991), Robert made the choice to be sober from drugs and alcohol by applying the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, enabling him to turn his life around 180 Degrees and as a result of his commitment to living the twelve steps in his life, his recovery and self-improvement has led to his massive success spiritually and financially; once being a homeless drug addict to a self-made millionaire by the age of thirty.
“I went from being a daily-using drug addict, eventually, a home-less addict living on the streets to today, a completely sober, self-reliant, self-employed husband and father. I was able to miraculously transform my life before I turned thirty. The Twelve Steps presented in this book are credited to mine and millions of others success.”
Eternally grateful to everyone who helped him become and remain sober, Robert felt compelled to reach out to others with both of his books; “180 Degrees” www.180book.com and “12 Simple Steps” in hopes that his story would inspire others to find their own success.
Robert continues to be of service as a philanthropist and active community member. He has shared his fascinating story on panels, in high schools, juvenile detention centers and throughout his community. He continues to be an active participant in the twelve-step community.
Robert resides happily with his wife Tara in Malibu, California. They are one of the couples on season 3 of Bravo’s hit series “Newlyweds: The First Year.” To learn more, go to: http://www.bravotv.com/newlyweds-the-first-year
Readers can connect with Robert on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Robert Radcliffe, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at kelsey@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.

Life is Beautiful: How a Lost Girl Became a True, Confident Child of God

Life is Beautiful book
While Sarah M. Johnson was on a mission’s trip in Guatemala with her family, their plane crashed in a remote village, leaving eleven of the fourteen passengers dead. Her brother and father died in the crash, and her mother was severely burned. Sarah was not injured, but her life was completely turned upside down. 
In her memoir Life is Beautiful, Sarah shares her story and full journey of trauma, loss, and finally resilience. However, it is more than a story about an airplane crash. Life is Beautiful shares the personal struggles of Sarah’s father’s drug use, his recovery, and redemption to be a better person. He gives back by doing missions work in Africa, takes in Sarah’s aunt dying of uterine cancer, and eventually leads their family to the mountains of Guatemala. Sarah also discusses her struggles with alcohol use and depression; where she eventually hits rock bottom. It is not until she starts seeking God through prayer, books, and therapy, where she starts to turn her life around.
I want people who read, Life is Beautiful to know is that no matter what happens in our life, whether it be a particular trauma, loss, divorce, relationship conflict, job loss, illness, financial crisis, addiction, etc. that we all have the capacity to get through it. And once we get through this difficult time in our life, we have the ability to become stronger individuals because of it,” says Sarah.

 

Excerpt:
Chapter 1 – The Crash
I remember all of the emotions, the trees whipping by, everything happening so fast, dad yelling, Here we go, and mom screaming, Stop it. I remember my brother Zachary looking back at me, his eyes bright with fear as I prayed God please…

I remember the sense of something coming; you know it’s coming and wonder: will I live?
I remember the violence of the plane plowing into the ground as we attempted an emergency landing in a roughhewn field…Boom, boom, boom…and then nothing but an unnerving silence.
I don’t know if I blacked out or merely paused with my eyes closed in the stillness of those first few moments. Awareness comes slowly. Then in a rushed breath of shock and revelation, Thank God I’m alive.
My eyes open to an eerily lit silence where sunlight and shadow intermingle, making it difficult to see into the new geography of the plane’s interior. My head and body buzz. My mind trips on the dissonance of dangling upside down, held a few inches from the ceiling of the plane’s cabin by my seatbelt.
Taking stock of my body, I notice that I peed my pants and there is a small cut on my left arm. Looking up, I see that one foot is missing its shoe. My eyes squint into bright sunlight that passes through a relatively large doorway next to me that was torn open.
The only noise to break the silence is the erratic popping of electricity; the final groans of a dying airplane.
I move my arms first and then my legs, which causes small shards of glass to fall from where they’re lodged in my clothes and upturned seat. I tilt my head back toward the ceiling beneath me and it is covered in broken glass.
My hair dangles down away from my face, but the position of my body and the way sunlight cuts through the cabin makes it difficult to see much of the plane. In those few seconds I realize that I am okay and begin to think that maybe we are all okay; that the crash wasn’t so bad.

 


Sarah M. JohnsonAbout the Author:
Sarah M. Johnson is currently a graduate student seeking her Marriage and Family Therapy degree. She will graduate in 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. After graduating, she plans to open up a private practice office and guide those who are seeking their own self-discoveries of love and happiness.
Sarah believes that adversity is a gateway for change, and that through the difficult times of sorrow, loss, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, trauma, disease, or other mental illness, we can use this adversity to self-explore and change for the better. We must not run away from the adversity, but face it, heal, and use this particular adversity as a learning lesson.
We all have the capacity to be happy and love ourselves; but we must utilize all necessary support systems, medical professionals, mental health professionals, Religious affiliations, (and many more that I am not mentioning) to help us find the Power Within. The Power Within helps us to accept our adversity and create necessary change for a life of love and happiness.
Life is Beautiful is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. To learn more, go to LifeIsBeautifulBook.com
Connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
For more information, to request a review copy of Life is Beautiful, or to interview Sarah Johnson, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at info@bookpublicityservices.com or 805.807.9027.