Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart, by John Welwood (Trumpeter Books, Boston, MA, 2006) $19.95.

First comes attraction, then wooing, followed by making love and maybe even marriage, but with each successive stage your longing remains unsatisfied. So you try having kids or try to change your partner and you land in couples therapy or Tantric sex workshops hoping to find a way to quench your longing, your never quite satiated desire for the perfect love in which you feel completely and consistently satisfied in just the right way. Rather than focusing on how to be more loving, Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships teaches that nothing needs to be fixed in either yourself or your beloved. Instead, you only need to recognize what it is you truly desire and remove your blocks to receiving it. "Desire focused on a person can never be totally satisfied. This is because the one we love stirs our passion for something that lies beyond this finite person." Taking the psycho-spiritual approach, John Welwood, psychotherapist and teacher, examines the nature and origin of desire itself and the ways we cut ourselves off from the very love we are seeking. Where his previous books focused on the challenges of relationships as opportunities for personal transformation and spiritual awakening, Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships reveals the root source of all relational problems: our wounded relationship to love itself. With gentle exercises, examples from his clients, and wisdom from the Buddhist and Hindu traditions, Welwood expertly guides you into the gentle arms of "the living presence of absolute love" found within your own heart.

Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything, by Ervin Laszlo (Inner Traditions, Rochester, VT, 2004) $14.95.

Decoding GUTs, WIMPs and The Big Crunch, Ervin Laszlo brings the ancient Indian concept of Akasha into the new millennium and convincingly details how science is turning this metaphor into a viable scientific theory. Based on legend of the Akashic Chronicles, the scroll of life upon which all things that have happened, are happening and will happen are inscribed, Science and the Akashic Field provides a non-technical introduction to explain how the interaction of vacuum torson waves could scientifically prove that everything and everyone in the universe is connected. With an easy to read and engaging format similar to an article in New Scientist, Laszlo reviews the phenomena that are perplexing the modern sciences including cosmology, quantum physics, biology and consciousness research to detail how the common threads among the puzzles can be explained by the theory of the Akashic Field. Awarded the 2001 Goi Award (Japanese Peace Prize) and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, Laszlo provides the groundwork for a Grand Unified Theory by addressing the big questions: Where did everything come from and where is it going? Is there life elsewhere in the galaxy and beyond? Did consciousness originate with homo sapiens? Does consciousness cease at the physical death of the body? Could the universe itself possess some form of consciousness? Best of all, he supplies thought-provoking yet simple answers. Addressing the issue of fate, destiny and the future of the universe, Laszlo analyzes the game of twenty questions. Examining the interactions in an aquarium, he explains the workings of the universe.

Coyote Wisdom: The Power of Story in Healing, by Lewis Mehl-Madrona (Bear and Company, Rochester VT, 2005) $16.

"Stories appear to be the vehicles that carry the basic, irreducible units of meaning in human life." In our stories we tell how we love, how we live, how illness appears and how and if we heal. "The illness can always be seen as a partially successful attempt at healing. We need to know what problems the illness has helped solve and which still need to be addressed." Retelling the story of illness with inspiration and empowerment to solve the original problem in a new way makes room for the hero who battles illness and wins. Upon first telling the story of her arthritis, Nicki talked about her age catching up with her. But upon retelling, the arthritis provided a convenient way for her to take a needed break from work. Creating a new story for her life that does not include the character arthritis, yet fulfills her work needs, became Nicki’s challenge. Just as elaborately as we concoct the story of our illness, so we must create the story of our health; for simply waking up one day with a vanquished illness only gains skepticism from others, fostering doubt and providing an avenue for the illness to return. Healing through storytelling long before he was aware of the small, but growing, field of Narrative Psychology, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Arizona, reveals how story can be used to restore health, no matter what the issue, from domestic violence to anorexia to schizophrenia. Rather than a book of Native American stories, Coyote Wisdom successfully demonstrates how to utilize characters and plots from movies, books, popular culture and indigenous traditions, to easily reinterpret and re-author the story of illness into one of health and well-being.

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Alec Franklor owns and operates RetreatFinder.com, an online directory of spiritual and healing retreats. She can be reached at books@retreatfinder.com. Copyright © 2006 Alec Franklor. All rights reserved

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