Monday, April 23, 2018

Dr. Akua's Book Review on [TOKENS: Teaching Our Kids Each New Sunrise by Pamela Tomlin]

TOKENS: Teaching Our Kids Each New Sunrise by Pamela Tomlin is a nice little book that serves its purpose in a big way. In fact, it's so short, the author doesn't even use page numbers. Each of the ten "tokens" are so vital for effective parenting. I was surprised to see that most of the points the author mentioned are directly in alignment with strategies my husband and I used in raising our sons more than two decades ago as holistic parents. Now as a grandparent, I found myself smiling through a few of the sections because I'm using the same "tokens" with my grandchildren. So, I can tell you that although tokens are not new they are sound techniques to help parents ensure they nurture their little ones into stable, productive, and loving adults.

Some times small books are not well developed in delivery and flow, however, Pamela Tomlin nailed it and as a parent reading TOKENS, you will get quite a few warm and fuzzy feelings that open your heart and mind more about your little beautiful ones.

The cover doesn't do the content justice, as with most first time indies, they don't make the investment in a quality professional cover. In the book the author provides a brief visual of her actual tokens creations and that would look lovely on the cover with some happy children.  Also, because the book is so brief I would suggest a smaller size and make it convenient for parents to carry it in their pockets or purse. TOKENS is like a quick reference guide for when you are thinking about how much you love your children, you can just flip it open for a quick check on how you're doing and what you can do to make caring for your children better.

Some of the section titles that resonate with me completely were:
See Your Child, Rituals and Routines, Offer Choices and Take Care of Yourself.

I guess you can tell by the above that I do recommend TOKENS to parents, teachers and anyone who cares for children. 3 ankhs is a good self-help rating. I enjoyed it.

K. Akua Gray
 Author and Self-Help Book Blogger
April 23, 2018
Dallas, Texas

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Book Review [Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual by Gay Wolff, Ph. D.]

 "Ritual is used as a means of bringing personal empowerment into your life at the emotional, psychological, energetic, and spiritual levels. It is offered as a resource for making changes where conscious techniques have failed to provide the results you seek."

You already know you're going to go deep in Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual by Gay Wolff, Ph. D. just by the essence of the cover picture. A lone drum, herb pack and a pacay shaker on a natural stone mound automatically conveys indigenous wisdom and knowledge. The writer truly fulfills this grand opening well with the expansive information in helping the reader to internalize the great benefits that society and individuals can gain by understanding and implementing the power of ritual in life for growth, problem solving, and possibly spiritual ascension. 

The first part of the book gives two foundation chapters to assist the reader in understanding, clarifying and creating intentions for doing ritual. I think this is an excellent start from a teaching perspective. There are many quotable gifts in these first forty-five pages that entice the mind, however the writer vacillates between plain writing and academic writing, which for the layman may be a bit confusing and way over the head. Aside from that, there are some exciting promises made by the author of what ritual can do for your life. You know when someone promises you something, it make you want to read further to see how to get that promise fulfilled. 

"...when we prepare for and perform Ritual, we are engaging the conscious living energy of the cosmos directly, personally and intimately. We become co-creative partners with the Sacred because Ritual takes us beyond the psychological. It does more than calm the mind and heart. It is a process of thinning the veils between the dimensions of the material world and those luminous realms lying within and beyond oneself. In Ritual, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, certainty becomes mystery, and potentialities become real possibilities." 

As a facilitator of women's rites of passage programs throughout the year, I know that ritual is a significant part of the journey through the desired change processes for the women engaged in personal and group transformation. I found in reading Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual that this information can be very beneficial for helping others clarify and understand the meaning of movement, words, and feelings when engaged in seeking something better in life that eases the soul.

"When we immerse ourselves in a Ritual, quieting the mind and opening the heart, we can harmonize not only our brains, but also our light body with the healing rhythms of the natural world, and sometimes open the inner gateway (the axis mundi) to sacred dimensions."

The second part of the Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual is a small taste of personal rituals that a person can do to begin the process of incorporating these health practices into their life. Appropriately formatted in alignment with the elements, they are described as Earth, Water, Air and Fire rituals. Although they are very basic in nature, I think they fulfill the intention for the beginner of ritual practices to at least get started. Be aware that because of the need to visualize a few of the actions that are described, the reader may have to read the ritual several times. For example in the Sun and Moon Salutation, pictures would have made this ritual so much easier to understand because it is lengthy and has several steps to do.  I particularly like a few of the rituals suggested including: Sandpaintings: Mandala Rituals * Harmony Ritual: Attune with Nature * Reflection Pool Ritual.
My favorite one however that just did it for me was the recipe to make your own Florida Water! I thought you could only buy it! :-)

I recommend this book to facilitators of "Sacred Space" groups and to the serious student of spiritual ascension work. I don't think a person just starting out on their quest for enlightenment will find Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual an easy read. I appreciate the beautiful cover letter from the author Gay Wolff PhD that came with the review copy to me via mail and I hope this is not the last that we will hear from her because it is evident that through her good works and living a sacred life that there is so much more she could share. My rating for this book is 4 ankhs. 

K. Akua Gray
 Author and Self-Help Book Blogger
March 22, 2018
Houston, Texas

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Review [Monk Who Drinks Coffee by Banu G. Khan]

I have said it before; there are some thoughts that don't always need to be shared in a book. Such is also the case with Monk Who Drinks Coffee by Banu G. Khan. The author starts her writing by saying this book is, "...a very basic guideline to another reality." She was not kidding.

If you are aware or learned in the popular concepts of self-help, you won't get much from this book that you haven't heard already. The first story that she shares is worth mentioning even though others have shared these exact same concepts on how to live in the moment. Nirvana One is a nice realization piece. Also, Souls Like Black Holes is a nice piece on encouraging a friend. The author goes on to talk about missing lottery number in her dreams, dealing with emotional dysfunction, and black magic. I don't agree with the term Black Magic because a true light worker would understand change and energy enough to know this type of thing is not a factor in living and one should not give anyone that much power over themselves to be influenced in such a negative way.

The author writes with a lot of unclear thoughts and it is evident in most of the stories that the author has been through some hard times. The book is a very short quick read. If the author really has the intention of helping others with this book, I would suggest giving this book away for free. I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. It was also not clear who this book is intended for because the stories are so random and brief.
I give the book 2 ankhs. 

K. Akua Gray, Author and Self-Help Book Blogger
January 20, 2018
Takoradi, Ghana
West Africa

Saturday, December 30, 2017

BOOK REVIEW [Believe Achieve Soar! by Teresa Mills]

I get excited when I read wellness books that can benefit the youth of the world. I would love to see Believe Achieve Soar!: Your Step by Step Guide for Turning Your Dreams into a Reality By Teresa Mills in the hand of every teenager and young adult, in every social skills and character development program in every school.

Believe Achieve Soar, has the interior aesthetics with the potential to make the reading interesting to each learning style. Visual learners will find it stimulating to the eye with vibrant colors and large text. Sequential learners will find it thought provoking in internalizing the easy step by step instructions. Random learners will have the most fun of all with the variety of shapes, fonts and nontraditional layout. This is a very powerful 33 page book filled with great quotes from well known wellness and metaphysical thinkers from Buddha to James Redfield. The cover however, would certainly need to be redone in order to appeal to the audience that this book would benefit the most.

The section titles of the table of contents insight action and intensifies empowerment. Let your inner self absorb the following, What is Your Dream, The Courage to Change, Your Toolbox, Believing is Seeing and Take Action. Each of these steps to achieving your dreams are clear and attainable. I like Teresa's style in writing review sections that repeat the steps as the reader goes along. My favorite quote in the comes from the section, "While You're Waiting." It reads, "Only think about your dreams when you are in a positive and uplifted space - this positive energy will help propel you forward..."

I have only one disappointment with this book and I hope the author takes the steps to correct it with her well known publisher Balboa Press. The page numbering is very unprofessionally done with incorrect interior numbering. I am familiar with the publishing packages that are offered to independent writers of self-help books and I would imagine with the investment that writers make to have the name and promotions of a Hay House publishing division, that someone would have taken the time to ensure the correct numbering layout for a professional printing.

Ms. Mills has a simple, short and to the point book that could surely make a difference in the lives of many people. I received this book for free for an honest review and I've already given my copy away to a young single mother who wants to improve her life and make a better future for her children. I give Believe Achieve Soar! Your Step by Step Guide for Turning Your Dreams into a Reality
By Teresa Mills 3 Ankhs. It is great for beginners!

K. Akua Gray
December 30, 2017
Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


There’s a lot that Gary Szenderski got right in his book Szen Zone: Reaching a State of Positive Change. It is a very straight forward word to the wise for the young business professional who needs a positive pick me up in their career and life. This book is a win for the new corporate work force and is very Millennials friendly. The author is also on point in his instructions for how to use this book, where he suggests, “Open it anywhere and find a short story that may make your day or make you think.” However, me being sequential I attempted to read it straight through and got a little bored with the randomness of the stories. I kept wanting to connect the dots, but there were none to connect. I was also amused by some of the play on words, everything is Szen..., and the editor’s notes which are like a review of the book in the book. Unique.

I don’t have a lot to say about the book. The Holiday Math story was just the cutest and I did a little underlining of notes to remember, however, there was not much else that moved me. Most of the morals, advise and encouragement in Szen Zone is common knowledge. I was able to equate most of the Szenippets, which are the closing words to remember and internalize from the reading with other popular sayings, and I picked up on a couple of adages from Gates and Zuckerman. However, I do know that this kind of advice is new to the new generation of workers.

I can see Szen Zone being very useful for Gary’s intended audience, however as one of those Generation X wise old souls who was set for retirement before 40, it was apparent that the corporate game hadn’t changed much and the young ones are still needing some spiritual, mental and emotional help to get them through the maze of life. Good job Gary.

By the way I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review. 3 ankhs is what I can give on this book with the hope that all the young people who read it will work hard to make the new retirement age 45 because life is so much more than the “work” you do or the job you have, which is the very point a got from Szen Zone.

K. Akua Gray
November 14, 2017
Central Region, Ghana

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review [Be Your Self and Be Well: Connecting with Your Soul’s Power to Heal, by Dr. Steven Hiebert]

In Be Your Self and Be Well: Connecting with Your Soul’s Power to Heal, by Dr. Steven Hiebert, the author describes himself like this, “I am simply today’s messenger for a timeless and universal truth.” Such an opening statement is a clear indication of a humble spirit that has learned the art of sharing gifts of light unconditionally. It is also rare, as the author reveals in the introduction to receive a word from the divine masculine who is directly aware of his family line of ancestral fathers who were also healers, and revealing this lets you know there will be some cellular memory at work.

“Spirituality is the best medicine there is.”

You all know I love quotable writings and I could go on and on quoting from Be Your Self and Be Well because the book is an endless affirmation that empowers, redirects, and satisfies the spirit. Each of the eighteen chapters is an open invitation to change, and the change not only happens in the reading, but each chapter also has a Healing Exercise that almost instantly mentally challenges you to be better. A very clever emphasis that I liked too was the ending words of every chapter is the provocative reminder to, “Be Your Self and Be Well.”

“Without the strength of your spirit, your body cannot be healthy.”

I can usually pick a favorite chapter, but there are so many good ones. How to choose? 😊 Be Your Self and Be Well are the highlights of the metaphysical world all wrapped up in one. There are some unique parts of the book that I’m sure will add to the metaphysical novice as well as the veteran when it comes to changing their thoughts about healing. The one that stands out in chapter 5 is getting over the physical and training the mind to understand that all, especially the human experience is spiritual. The author resounds the mantra, “you are spirit” throughout the book in an effort to help the reader internalize this if nothing else. Specifically, on the subject of healing Dr. Hiebert talks about healing in a tough love kind of way. He teaches that, “You can heal, be spiritually present, and not cure your pain and sickness. It’s best to pursue healing because it helps you feel alive and connected to the divine. If you pursue healing only because it might cure your disease, there’s a good chance you will end up disappointed.” Right. Be Your Self and Be Well is plain good holistic advise, even if you’ve heard it before it will rekindle your own cellular memory to active that which you already know but may have let fall by the wayside. He reminds us that pain is a messenger and to deal with it, one must relax, breathe into it and listen for the message. The body mind has power too. I also like the way he maneuvers healing into eliminating the fear of death. Clever, if you’re scared of dying, you have to read that part.

“When you try to force the world to change without changing your Self, it never works.”

Like most books, the end tapers off into a low hum of quick points of encouragement, but nothing profound in the last couple of chapters. I did find myself longing for more of the author’s personal stories because the ones that he did share enlivened the reading. Lastly, we need these kinds of books to touch every community in the world. I give Be Your Self and Be Well the first of its kind rating on my blog, 4.5 ankhs. It was excellent in encouraging me but didn’t wow me, I was most happy to see the compilation of information in one place which is the innovation that I’m sure anyone who picks up this book will benefit from. I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review and I liked the follow up to the initial send of the hard copy. 

K. Akua Gray
November 7, 2017
Central Region, Ghana

Friday, October 27, 2017

From the Archives [Mad at Miles: A Black Woman's Guide to Truth by Pearl Cleage]

It is still true that great things can come in small packages, and Mad At Miles: A Black Woman's Guide to Truth by Pearl Cleage is a 64 page package of powerful insight and grave reality that generations of women have not been able to escape. Although I have known about this book for decades, it has always been on my radar to read because I wanted to know why Ms. Cleage was "mad at Miles." I knew there could only be one Miles that could be mentioned by his first name and people would know who Ms. Cleage was talking about.

My heart immediately dropped in the introduction as the author described a horribly visual scene of a female friend being beaten and driven from her home by her husband. I knew then why the author was mad at Miles, and I was mad at him too,but only for 3 seconds. If you are familiar with my emotional release formula, you know that is all of my precious time that anger gets.

Ms. Cleage then brings the reality of domestic violence into clear view in each of the graphic and action packed examples of this torturous existence to too many women and girls. The vibration of these series of unfortunate events must be in the wind because I could not resist the draw of this book during my most recent visit to The Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore in Detroit, MI, and this month being the month I chose to read it which is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As I quite often say, all things in divine time.

Mad At Miles is also a workbook for empowerment for women, families and anyone who is concerned about helping stop this vicious cycle. Ms. Cleage starts the healing process with a "Basic Training" that teaches 10 key warning signals that could help women know they may be in danger of potential domestic violence. As a naturopath, I am 100% in support of prevention and these 10 signs are paramount for every woman to know. The author goes on to also talk about the 10 ways to protect yourself from rape by a stranger and 10 ways to protect yourself from rape by someone you know. All these tips are real ways to empowerment.

Fortunately, I have never experience domestic violence but I have been scarred by its very existence and my life force is affected by knowing that many women and families have to suffer through this unfortunate plague in every corner of this world.

Mad At Miles is a solution oriented book that I highly recommend. Dialog like this need to be continuous and wide spread. I would normally write all over books that I'm reading as personal notes to myself, but didn't make one mark this time, because I knew I would be sharing this 3 ankh book with someone who needs it. Thank you Pearl Cleage for having the courage to bring to light this valuable guide of awareness and action. Unfortunately, society stills need this reminder 27 years later.

K. Akua Gray
October 27, 2017
Houston, TX