November 6, 2009 | Comments Off
Dr. Kent: My next guest on the show is the author of a wonderful book called ‘Lessons for the Living.’ It’s a very beautiful note that we can end the show on today. The author of this book is Stan Goldberg, and the subtitle is, ‘Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude and Courage at the End of Life.’ Welcome to the show, Stan Goldberg.
Stan Goldberg: Thanks, Kent, for having me on.
Dr. Kent: You went through a terrible experience yourself, and that’s how you got into this whole thing.
Stan Goldberg: Yes. I have prostate cancer, and when I contracted that, I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I didn’t know what the prognosis was. Through a series of events, I ended up as a bedside hospice volunteer.
Dr. Kent: Your background is as a professor, and of course you have your PhD in speech pathology, and all sorts of history teaching and presenting and all of that. Now how is this different from all of that?
Stan Goldberg: I think that the biggest difference is that in a world of academia, you tend to be very objective, very empirical, very data oriented, very almost constricted in some way. Being a bedside hospice volunteer, you have to throw all of that out, and it’s a very emotional, present experience. It was a radical transformation that I had to go through in order to be effective as a bedside hospice volunteer.
Dr. Kent: The book itself is obviously dealing with both you and them. How did you learn through these experiences of talking to these people?
Stan Goldberg: When I started to do my volunteer work, I really had no intention of writing this book. I was actually working on a novel. The experiences were so transforming that I thought that I really needed to write these things down. What happened was, I went from someone who pretty much fit the stereotypical view of a university professor to someone who was much more open, not only about what I was experiencing going through cancer, but also what my patients were experiencing. Being in their presence really allowed me to get much more in touch with myself, and pretty much learn how to live regardless of how long that might be.
Dr. Kent: All of us, from early on in life, have real problems thinking about death: of course we do. It’s a terrifying thing. You confronted it by being diagnosed first of all. It’s obviously a different perspective when it happens to you or when you see it happen to someone else. What did you see in seeing through the window, both directions?
Stan Goldberg: I think that there’s really three levels of understanding that I found. The first is what I had been most accustomed to, which was book [indecipherable]: essentially you can read about something and have an intellectual understanding of that. The second thing is you can actually watch it happen, and that would be at the bedside, and you’re seeing people confront their own deaths. The third most intimate, I think probably most genuine form of knowledge, is when you experience the thing yourself. I’ve been able to do all three of those things now.
Dr. Kent: There are such taboos around death. You shouldn’t talk too much about it, and nobody prepares you for those times when your family members are in the hospital, or when you yourself are diagnosed with something. What stories did you come across that made you write this book?
Stan Goldberg: There were many things I learned. If you look at the book, there’s about eight very specific lessons. They all seem to have very simple descriptions, such as letting go, not taking along with you something that no longer is functional. An example of that would be there was a woman that I served whose mother had difficulty accepting the idea that her daughter was dying. Because she couldn’t accept that, the daughter made a conscious decision to keep on living in spite of tremendous pain she was experiencing. Watching that happen, it made me realize that I was doing the same thing on some levels, even though it wasn’t that traumatic. Because of my cancer, I was putting myself in physical risk, because I did a lot of outdoor things alone, that didn’t make sense any longer. So that was one direct application, where watching what my patient was going through was a direct lesson to how I needed to change my own life.
Dr. Kent: So you have prostate cancer, which is something that is terrifying to a lot of men, and yet men rarely get checked for it, honestly. What can you say about the cancer itself?
Stan Goldberg: Get it checked quick, and soon and often. Prostate cancer is one of the slowest growing forms of cancer. If it’s caught early enough, while the cancer is still in the prostate gland, it’s a hundred percent curable almost. But once it’s allowed to get out of that gland, which has been the case with me, then those microscopic cells are going to be there forever. When I said that my diagnosis is indeterminate, what I really meant was that the cells are always there, and it’s a holding action that medication is taking essentially. My thought is that the cancer cells will always be there, they will be hungry, and they’ll be ready and waiting to go, unless something else beats them to the punch.
Dr. Kent: It’s fascinating to me to speak to someone who does have a close perspective on that: all of this healthcare debate is going on right now. Obviously one thing is Americans are thinking a lot more about health over the last several months, but what’s your take on the whole debate happening?
Stan Goldberg: One of the biggest problems that I saw was that you had people who had a vested interest in keeping the healthcare system exactly as it is scaring the most vulnerable people in our society, those that were sick and elderly. It’s taken the hospice movement numbers of years in order to have the whole issue of looking at end of life care as something that was important. I think a lot of the discussion on death panels, on pulling the plug, really put us back many years. I was very disheartened by what was happening.
Dr. Kent: Because it’s a political tactic on an issue that really all of these, even the people that were saying those phrases, advocated planning, which is the strange thing. So there’s this political thing happening for something that we really do need.
Stan Goldberg: I agree with you completely.
Dr. Kent: In terms of this book, what’s the been the feedback? Obviously there’s not many folks out there that are able to put this perspective to death. Of course the book is called, ‘Lessons for the Living.’ It’s not about how to die or something like that. What’s been the feedback, because clearly you do offer perspective that is new?
Stan Goldberg: It’s interesting. I think there’s two levels of feedback that I’ve been getting. The first one is a reluctance to read it because people have a natural fear of dying. They look at death as the finality of it, the horror of it, and whatever negative term they can think of for it. But when they actually read the book, the feedback is incredibly gratifying. I think the purpose of the book was to have people understand that the greatest teacher we can have about living really is death. A willingness to look at it openly and see what it can teach us is what I try to give people in the book.
Dr. Kent: What does this book mean to you in terms of what you’ve been able to do with it, and what it means now for you moving forward?
Stan Goldberg: There’s two different forms of satisfaction from this book. The one is in writing it, essentially I felt that I was given information and knowledge that I felt I was required to share. As I said, I had no intention of writing the book, but the message was so clear and so important, I thought I was obligated to share it. Now I’ve done that, and that was one of the purposes. The second is being in the presence of these people has radically transformed my life. For me, it’s more important that the quality of the life that I have not just physically, but also psychologically, than it is the quantity of life that I have left. That I got from my patients.
Dr. Kent: What a beautiful book it is. Give us another peak inside the cover. Tell us another one of the sections in the book.
Stan Goldberg: There was a woman who had spent her life waiting for a person that she had a relationship with to get out of jail, which was a very strange relationship they had. As he had about a few more years left, she contracted brain cancer. She realized that by waiting her entire life for this guy, she had wasted hers. At that point, when he would finally able to be released from prison, her life would long have been over. She came to understand that living in the future is a way of denying the present. That was a lesson that I took very seriously. That’s the lesson that a lot of the patients that I was with came to understand: we don’t know about tomorrow, we don’t know about the future. The past is gone, all we have is today. Live for today because that’s the only time we exist in.
Dr. Kent: Those are beautiful words. What’s the immediate job that you do? Tell us more, because I know from my time with family in the hospital, there’s some incredible workers that work with people. What is the work you do? Do you work at a hospital? Do you go to homes?
Stan Goldberg: I’ve been with four different hospices. Hospice can take place in a dedicated unit, it can take place within a hospital, it can also take place in homes. I’m currently with Pathways Home Healthcare and Hospice, and they almost completely go into people’s homes. So I will go into someone’s home, I will sit with them, I will talk with them. If something needs to be taken care of in the house, I will do that. But it’s usually that I’m there to – the best way to describe it is a midwife to death. I’m there just to listen to them, to be there to witness their pain, to talk to them about dying if they bring up the subject. It’s almost what you would do with a family member or a good friend, and that’s what a hospice volunteer does.
Dr. Kent: That’s also such an incredible opportunity to sit at someone’s bedside, because they recant the tales of their entire life at times, I’m sure.
Stan Goldberg: It’s an honor to be able to sit there and be invited into someone’s life, especially as it’s getting closer to ending. People are more honest with you than they are sometimes with their family members. They’re willing to share with you things that they’ve never told anybody. You walk away from the bedside of these people, a different person, a better person, every time you’re there.
Dr. Kent: On a lighter note, your latest blog entry talks about people who died in the middle ages. I’ve got to say I was chuckling – death is at sometimes sort of funny in a weird way. You talked about when people died, they said goodbye, gave away the furniture, and then they just stopped breathing.
Stan Goldberg: Yes, and that was pretty much how it was. At that point, death was viewed as just a part of living. As a part of living, it was treated no differently than birth. So it was this continual wheel that people accepted and they didn’t have any fear about. Now, it’s a very fearful topic. I don’t know if I mentioned that blog, but there was a story that Thomas Merton told that when his mother, Donna, was dying – this was about 1910 or 1913 – they wouldn’t allow him to come to the hospital, because they thought it would traumatize him, although he loved his mother and she loved him. What she did was to write him a letter that he was able to read after she died. It’s that kind of fear we have of death. I think it ends up doing two evils: one, it makes it difficult for those of us who survive people who have died to really understand what is going on and to learn from them, and the second, it makes it difficult for the person who’s dying. It’s important to say goodbye. It’s important to finish up things. There’s a lot of things that we can do for loved ones as they are dying if we just weren’t so afraid of the topic.
Dr. Kent: You know what’s interesting too, I was just thinking Halloween weekend is approaching, and it used to be that Halloween was a scary night because the souls of friends and family and other folks were just drifting about before All Saints’ Day. It’s kind of kids paint cemeteries, and they dress up as dead people and this and that, but it made me think, it’s all become so commercialized, that the kids aren’t actually thinking about death anymore. They’re just having a good time. I’ve heard that many cultures, even American culture 50 years ago, 100 years ago, it was much more talked about, death. There was always an open casket, and the whole town would come see. What’s the relationship that we have now adays with death?
Stan Goldberg: I think we fear it generally. We think that if we ignore it, it will go away. I think it also allows us to think in terms of the future rather than living for today. I’ll always have time to say I’m sorry. I’ll have time to say goodbye. I’ll have time to hundreds of different things, and I think in some way it insulates us from maybe some of the more difficult things that we currently experience. Like, if I screw up, I tell people now I’m sorry right away. I don’t wait, because I don’t know how much longer I have. I think it’s that insulation that people want. They would prefer to think that there’s always time to do it. If you believe you always have time to do it, then you’re not going to want to deal with death.
Dr. Kent: These lessons for the living, it’s almost that you’re telling people, there are things that we should be thankful for, and things you should apologize for right away. Is there some of that to what your book is about?
Stan Goldberg: That’s the whole book. The nut of the book is that the way that we live is going to be the way we die. If you live in the present, you take care of people. You say you’re sorry when you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have. You tell people how much you love them. If you do all of that now, and don’t think you have time for the future to do that, I’ve found that deaths tend to be much easier.
Dr. Kent: Yes. It’s so fascinating talking with you. What are you working on now? Obviously you’re doing some interviews, and giving this wonderful book out there, but what are you doing now?
Stan Goldberg: There’s another book I’m working on, don’t know the title yet, but it has to do with resurrecting one’s joy. One of the things that I’ve seen is that a lot of times, people will grieve a loss they have, whether it’s a loss for a person, a pet, a job, and many other things, and the question then becomes, how do you regain that joy that you lost? The approach most people take is, well, you look for an exact substitute. If your husband dies, you look for a new husband, if your pet dies, you look for another pet. What I started looking at is those people that I’ve seen who’ve recovered their joy did it not necessarily by looking for an exact duplicate, but rather, looking at the emotion.
Dr. Kent: I don’t know if you ever heard – where did I see this? On television or somewhere, the story of the couple that cloned their dog or their pig or something.
Stan Goldberg: No, I didn’t.
Dr. Kent: It was their beloved – was it a pig? I can’t remember – but their beloved animal, and they cloned it. Of course, the animal that they literally reproduced wasn’t the same animal. Exactly what you were just saying. It’s such an honor to chat with you, Dr. Stan Goldberg. Now your background is in communicative disorders at San Francisco State, and you’ve got political theory background, and philosophy.
Stan Goldberg: As my mother would say, I could never make up my mind.
Dr. Kent: Yes [laughs]. Exactly. Now you’re a writer in a topic that’s very important. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next, and this is truly a beautiful book. Thank you so much for talking to me.
Stan Goldberg: Thank you for having me on Kent.
Dr. Kent: People can check out Stan Goldberg’s newest book, and his blog: great amounts of information on StanGoldbergWriter.com. Of course his book is called, ‘Lessons for the Living.’ What incredible stories he’s told us even here, and go check it out. Next week on the show, I’m excited because we’re going to have a whole different lineup of guests. Every week, it’s kind of a different thing. I believe next week, we’ve got an author for most of the show, and then a musician at the end. Every day this week at 3pm, you can tune in and listen to Sound Authors interviews. I hope you’re all able to pick up a great book: Stan Goldberg’s book is a book that you need to buy for everyone in your family who has ever dealt with death or thought about it. It’s called, ‘Lessons for the Living.’ Clarke Buehling – what a fun conversation that was – talking about The SkirtLifters, his music of the last 20 years, his explorations of the last 40 with the banjo, and the origins of urban and country music, and of White and Black music. It’s been a great show today. Everyone have a safe week, and we’ll talk to you live again next Friday. Tune in every day at 3pm to hear some favorites of mine from Sound Authors radio. Have a safe week, and pick up a great book.
November 6, 2009 | Comments Off
From his website:
Stan Goldberg is a Professor Emeritus of Communicative Disorders at San Francisco State University with a Ph.D. in Speech Pathology, a Masters in Political Theory, and a Bachelors in Philosophy. For over 25 years he taught, provided therapy, researched, and published in the area of learning problems and change. Dr. Goldberg has published six books, written numerous articles and delivered over 100 lectures and workshops throughout the United States, Latin America and Asia. His latest book is ‘Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life.’ In 2009 he was named by the Hospice Volunteer Association as ‘Volunteer of the Year.’
October 10, 2009 | Comments Off
From Broadway Play Publishing website:
The first episode of Della’s Diner premiered in Atlanta in 1978 at Showcase Cabaret in Ansley Mall. Fresh off the hit memory musical, Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces, Tom continued to write for Showcase, authoring six full-length musicals, among them Mistress of Meadowbrook and Della’s Diner II. In 1980 at Showcase Cabaret, Tom wrote Scarlett Fever, a musical comedy version of Gone With the Wind. This musical spoof prompted lawsuits by the Mitchell Family Estate, MGM, MacMillan Publishing Company, and Trust Company Bank of Georgia. Time Magazine said it was “like going after a gnat with napalm.” Soon thereafter Tom came out of hiding and decided to concentrate on strictly original works. In 1983 Warner Brothers bought Della’s Diner IV: Blue Plate Special and produced it at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Warner Brothers Television moved Tom to Los Angeles in 1986 to develop Della’s Diner for television. Since that time he has written for television’s Search for Tomorrow, Guiding Light, Growing Pains, Divorce Court, and worked extensively in comedy development at Orion Television and Republic Pictures. He co-authored two CBS pilot scripts, Mason/Dixon and Business as Usual and is also the author of the audio script for Bantam-Doubleday-Dell’s How to Speak Southern. Mr. Edwards wrote Sobbin’ Women: The Making of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for Turner Home Entertainment. Mr. Edwards recently released, Blue Jesus, a Blue Ridge folk tale.
October 7, 2009 | Comments Off
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Sound Authors. Well, this is Dr. Kent, and it’s my pleasure to speak to the author of Astrology for Enlightenment. It’s a beautiful book, and her name is Michelle Karen. Welcome to the show.
Michelle Karen: Thank you.
Dr. Kent: And it’s really a beautiful book, on the outside and on the inside. Tell me a nutshell of what this book is all about.
Michelle Karen: Well, it’s a very original book in that it’s an astrology book but it’s way more than that. It’s really a book on enlightenment. On the Mayan calendar what is happening between now and 2012, which is the end of the Mayan calendar, why does the Mayan calendar end on the 21st of December, 2012, what this means to us, and I share very classical insights on how to reach enlightenment in our daily life, in our bedroom and our bathroom and our kitchen, etc. And I also offer excerpts from the prophecy of John of Jerusalem, that was origined 500 years before Nostradamus seen centuries, and which is a very clear prophecy for our time that is absolutely predicting what is going on in our lives right now, and all the drama (inaudible) that we’re exposed to that is the prophecy that’s full of hope, and that’s giving away that this world of darkness that we are exposed to now is actually giving way to a beautiful time of magic and peace and harmony. And I also redefine each sign in a holistic way, so based on the law of similarities, I explain how to understand each sign by referring to the colors, the sounds, the animals, the plants, the cities they are connected to, and I also give a very detailed prediction for each sign between now and 2012 and how to write those changes as elegantly as possible. So it’s basically a memoir. It’s a very handsome kind of book that is going to really help you understand what is going on, why there’s changes, and how to deal with them as positively and effectively as possible.
Dr. Kent: Well I know a little bit about astrology but not too much. Kind of the extent of what I know is, I heard a great lecture on, you know, the three wise men and the Christian bible, and they were three astrologers, so I know a little bit about that. And then also, of course, the horoscope that comes in the newspaper every week. What do you think people don’t know about astrology?
Michelle Karen: Well, I think, well first of all I think you’re way ahead than most people because the fact that you know that those guys were actually soldiers and they followed the star that told them that there was going to be a very special birth on the planet, which was Christ, it’s already way ahead of the game already. I would say that astrology to me is really a tool for empowerment. Because more, it’s totally based on your date of birth and month, day and year, your time of birth and your place of birth in terms of city, state and/or country. It’s going to give a map of the heavens at the time you were born, what you breathed in with your first breath. So that is very much, there is a sense there of something that gives us a tool that enables us to really understand what our weakness is and our strengths, and what did we choose when we walk on this planet or when we in come in groups. And out of that we can direct our lives with more focus, much faster, it’s basically like having a map, you know, and it’s like if you were invited somewhere and you just drove around randomly hoping to get to your destination, you’re probably going to spend a lot of time just scattered around, and getting frustrated and not figuring out where it is that you’re supposed to go and never finding that place. Whereas if you get your GPS and it tells you to go right, to go left, to make a turn, that maybe here there’s a nice museum to look at, or here there’s a nice viewpoint, or here there’s a great restaurant, well you’re going on a much more enjoyable ride and finding much more efficient and you’re definitely going to get to your destination much faster and in much better condition. And that’s basically what having a birth chart is about. Finding the fastest and the most efficient and the most empowering way to become all that you are.
Dr. Kent: And so, you know, I’m a Sagittarius, and people purport to know a lot about me just by knowing my birthday. What does birth date have to do with all of this?
Michelle Karen: Well, the birthday is based on, you know, because (inaudible) priests who wear the ancient astrologers and festive astrologers in Caldea which is present day Iraq, they figure things out by just observing what was going on in the sky and what was going on on earth, and they started to see that there were a lot of similarities between certain configurations and certain times of the year and that people born during that specific time of the year displayed very similar character traits. So Sagittarius in our northern hemisphere is December, and this is the time of the year where usually the trees are barren and it’s cold, but there is still some very beautiful days and there is a hope that the despite all this coldness that we’ll feel great. So this is the time of Christmas, this is the time of Hanukah and all those holidays where we should give to our family and eat together and we have gratitude for life. And this is, and this could be the hardest days you have dealing with this specific time of the year connected to a specific sign reveal what that sign is about. So if you look at Hanukah or Christmas, these are really beautiful holidays of sharing and gratitude, and that’s the basic character of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is a fierce line, so it’s a very dynamic, energetic, full of faith kind of sign. Very philosophical, also very interested in foreign languages and foreign cultures and long distance traveling, and definitely people. And it’s represented by the centaur, you know with the arrow, you know when you have an arrow it’s usually shot and lands much further than where it was shot from, and usually Sagittarians are people who are able to see the silver lining on every dark cloud and who are very adventurous, who are usually quite athletic, and who really take great pride in having a very fit body, and who are extremely intelligent and usually have an encyclopedic knowledge and a great friend who can usually know, you know, connect very easily to people and have this warmth and this very shiny intelligence that embraces everything. So they’re not always very good with details, because they’re always focusing on the great picture. But they’re very dynamic and hopeful leaders in a religious or philosophical way. And they’re very honest people, you can always know the truth from a Sagittarius, they will never lie to you, or if they lie it’s really very obvious.
Dr. Kent: It’s such a fascinating thing. Now, is there a bad sign? You know, if you were born in March did you get hit with the unlucky stick? Or are all signs good in their own ways?
Michelle Karen: Every sign is good in its own way. And sometimes the Sagittarius is going to be easier for you to connect with an Aries or Leo who are other fire signs, than it might be to a Pisces who is born in March who is more sensitive, more imaginative, more inner mystical, meditative, very concerned with music, or who loves peace and solitary and who could be a little more secretive. So it doesn’t, so there is different qualities specific to different signs, and each of these qualities create the tapestry of life so they each have a very important role. It’s as if we had this society that only has accountants, where probably our finances would definitely be in order, but nobody would eat. We need a baker, we need a school, we need teachers, we need accountants, we need all sorts of artists, we need all sorts of people with different skills and gifts that are going to enrich our experience of life.
Dr. Kent: So your book Astrology for Enlightenment, you mentioned it’s sort of like a guide or an encyclopedia. Tell us about, how does one read the book?
Michelle Karen: Well for example, there’s a lot of ways to read the book, but there is one very unique feature to this book, which is on the last page, and which is a guide to the planetary rulership of every hour of every day. So the nice thing is that you don’t need to look into and count zones, time zones or summer time or wintertime. It’s going to be just the time that’s on your clock, and you’re going to look, for example, if you want to create successful meetings and you should always, and I explain how to use it with the meaning of every planet, but you should always use the sun hour. And the sun hour happens, each planetary hour happens four times every day of every week. So for example, if you want to start a fitness hour, well the Mars hour would be the right one. If you want to have a successful date or you want to create harmony with someone with whom there’s been discord, then you would use the Venus hour. And then you can also look at, for example, when somebody calls you and emails you, and check at what time they called you or they emailed you, and that’s going to give you a sense of their hidden agenda or what their real purpose was in contacting you. So that’s one way of looking at it. Another way to use the book is to use the prediction for the next four years and I did it sign by sign, and I created a (inaudible). So for example, as a Sagittarius if you want to know what’s going, what are going to be the major dates or shifts in your love life, for example, your career, then you would go to that specific segment of the book. And then I also used that, you know we usually, you’re Sagittarius so you go and read Sagittarius. But I explain in my book that we are the 12 signs. So as you read Sagittarius, well you might also want to read Capricorn if you’re interested in your finances, or enhancing your finances. And Capricorn, and I explain exactly on the grid on which sign corresponds to what are of life for every single sign. And for example, if you start to use a tool for enlightenment of each sign, for example the colors and the gemstones and the scents and the perfumes and the plants, as we see with the Capricorn, you start creating something in your life that’s going to help you enhance or empower the area of finances. So it’s a very complete book, and then I give also predictions based on the Mayan calendar, and based on or in relation to with our Western astrology, which I believe brings much deeper depth to what the Mayan calendar talks about and the various stages and cycles we are in between now and 2012. So it’s really a book that you can have fun with. It’s a book that you can go back and forth with, it’s a book that you can use in all sorts of ways. So that’s why it’s sort of a manual you want to have with you at all times, because I know some friends who have bought like four different copies of Astrology for Enlightenment for each member of their family. Because there’s always someone who is using the book and (inaudible) very different ways. So it’s one of those books that you know, you don’t necessarily read from cover to cover. You can, of course, and reading for first read it will help, but after that you’re just going to go back and forth and flip through the pages.
Dr. Kent: Well, it’s been such an honor chatting with Michelle Karen. Her book is called Astrology for Enlightenment. Again, it’s a gorgeous book, it’s something you definitely could leave sitting around the house and be proud when people see it. It’s a beautiful looking book. And it’s been such a pleasure to talk to you.
Michelle Karen: Thank you very much, and people can also order it on my website if they want, and I’ll sign every copy personally. And it’s michellekaren.com.
Dr. Kent: So michellekaren.com, and the book again is Astrology for Enlightenment, and it was a real pleasure talking to you.
Michelle Karen: Thank you very much.
October 6, 2009 | Comments Off
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Dr. Kent and friends. As they say on the little announcement, this is Sound Authors, and my next guest on the show is Lynne Serafinn, and she’s written a book called The Garden of the Soul: Lessons From Four Flowers That Unearth the Self. She’s a best seller in the UK with this book, and I’m excited to talk to her about it. Welcome to the show, Lynne.
Lynne Serafinn: Hi there, Dr. Kent. Thank you for having me today.
Dr. Kent: Absolutely. Well let’s talk about this book. Tell me a little about it.
Lynne Serafinn: Ok, it actually made, it squeaked into the bestseller list in the United States as well, in the Self Help category. It was, here in the UK it was in the Spirituality and Mind, Body, Spirit categories as well. It’s actually a book of my own personal transformation. It uses metaphors of the four flowers to represent different aspects of the self that are parts of us that need to bloom in order to be whole people. They’re aspects that unfolded for me as I went through my own transformation. People always tell me, “How did you think them up?” I didn’t, they kind of found me.
Dr. Kent: And what is it like for you, the process of writing a self-help book? I’ve often heard that it’s a real transformative process for the person writing as well.
Lynne Serafinn: Yes, that’s true. Well, I never intended to write a self-help book. I just wanted to write. And actually I was writing lots of little stories for many years, like really short stories. I called them vignettes. And they were like, you know, I’d go somewhere and I’d see something and I always see metaphors in things. I see metaphors in real life things. In the book for instance, I’ve used the metaphor swinging on a swing as a child for being stuck in a situation holding onto the chains and not letting go of (inaudible), not being able to fly. Or I watch the river quite a lot here in Bedford, I lived in England, too, you may not know from my accent, but my accent kind of floats in and out, but I lived in Britain. I’m American, but I’m also British, I’m dual citizen, and I lived here for ten years. So anyway, by the river, I might watch the river and see things in that that makes me think about life. And just different metaphors that hit me. But the process of writing a self-help book never came into the picture at all. But one day I literally just woke up and I had written a fairy tale some years before that was quite spontaneous and I didn’t quite know what to do with it, in which these four flowers had appeared. And the four flowers were the rose, the iris, the daffodil and the lily, and I kind of sensed that they had something to do with personality and self and being a whole person, but I didn’t know exactly what. And then about two and a half years ago I just woke up literally woke up in bed one morning and I said, Well, I understand this emotionally and on a personal level. You know, I could type metaphorically what they represent. And what they came to represent were the four principles of give, receive, become and be. And I found that they’re very rich principles, because they’re not quite as straightforward as just giving and receiving, that one might think that you give to somebody and you get back. It’s not like that, giving, for instance, I won’t go into them that deeply, but giving, for instance, is anything that comes out from you. Like personal expression. Life purpose, drive, courage, boldness, all these things that come out from you that are like an arrow coming out. That’s giving. And then receiving is being really open, really aware, it’s about holding your senses open so that you can see opportunity, you can appreciate and you can feel all of the things around you. You can see the gift in every moment. So to flow between the two become a balancing act, it’s how we interact in the world. And becoming and being our symbolic (inaudible), a chance to change and growth and expansion. And from that also means letting go and rebirth. And being is the opposite, in that it’s a sense of continuity and intimate. You know, just being self and always knowing who you are. And those two things are very important, too. You’re not happy in life if you’re stagnant, and you’re also not happy in life if you don’t have a sense of continuity. So having these balances between these four principles are what I found were the key to my own transformation and also to recovering when invariably life makes you wobble and you may fall out of balance. And these are ways that I find that I can bring myself back. And also I’m a coach, I’m a personal transformation coach, and I use these principles with my clients, amongst many other things. But these are ways that we can sustain ourselves when we actually have found a reasonable amount of self-awareness, these are the kinds of things that we can use to sustain ourselves. And yes it was a transformative business. I wrote the book three times, I did three drafts before I was finally convinced that I had shown up fully in the book, and I had let go of all of my hang-ups. So it was a very interesting process of writing, just surrendering to the writing, surrendering to the metaphors, and not getting into a place where telling the reader what to think. I didn’t want to do that. That’s why I don’t actually call it a self-help book, it reads like a novel. It actually reads like a novel.
Dr. Kent: Well you’re, you have a very interesting background, and actually quite similar to mine.
Lynne Serafinn: Yeah, I noticed that.
Dr. Kent: You’ve spent a lot of time in the music industry.
Lynne Serafinn: I sure did.
Dr. Kent: And now you’re an author and a speaker, and a radio host as well. Tell me about your transformation from studying music, classical, going into pop music, starting to work with people, studying in India, you know. How do all these things hang together in your life?
Lynne Serafinn: I’m 54 years old, so you know the older you get the more you tend to live racked up in the experience category. Well, I started as a classical musician when I was very young. I started as a violinist, classical violinist. I was a professional violinist for many years in various symphonies and opera companies, I also sang opera and stuff. And just performed classically for a long time. And it was in my early 20’s that I traveled to India and wanted to learn more about Indian music. Well, I loved Indian music, I kind of never really focused home with it because it was such a complex system that I had to unlearn so much of what I already knew. So on the intellectual platform I loved it, but on the playing platform I didn’t have that much fun with it. But I really got into the philosophy and religion for quite some time. And for 20 years or more I combined, I was married at the time, and my husband and I combined the East West things into the music and also I went into, I kind of got back into my writing gradually by transcribing lectures of various Indian teachers and kind of being a ghost writer for upscale published books. You won’t see my name anywhere because I was actually a ghostwriter for them. And that kind of opened me back into the writing. In the 80’s I got into electronic music and then I really discovered my love for that. Because I got tired of, I kind of said one day I woke up and said, if I wake up one more Christmas and realize that I have to play the Nutcracker Suite one more time, I’m absolutely going to, you know, just bash this violin into a thousand pieces. And so I really wanted a change musically, I was really in a rut. There wasn’t enough challenge for me. And I never really felt myself, I did talk about this in the book, I talk about how I could not find my self-expression through the music because the music industry, at least at that point in time it was the classical industry that I (inaudible) in other aspects of the industry. The music industry I felt was very for me, restrictive. And especially the classical industry. It became too critical. And I was top critic. I could hear, I was a really good analyst and stuff, I had the best ears, I taught so many students, I’ve taught tone-deaf students how to hear. It’s just, I got really, really, really into hearing the sounds, the music totally left me. But when I got into trance music in the early 90’s, that’s when I really started getting connected again to composition, and we actually had a number one transcript in 1994. And then after a while, I kind of burnt out on that and I quit music altogether and kind of drifted around teaching and trying to find myself and went through a huge life change. After the death of my father I went through a divorce, I went through a change of life, a change of career, a change this, a change that, I changed location. And then eventually I (inaudible) the educational system and I started my life completely over again with nothing but my computer and a box of clothes and moved up here to Bedford and became a, and eventually became a coach. And now that’s what I do. And I decided yes, I want to finally be a writer. That’s what I want, finally, finally, give myself that opportunity. And to speak. To speak in public, to do workshops and tell people that you know what, you’ve got this life, step into it and have fun with it, love it, live your purpose, find your purpose. Claim it, go out and live the life you were born to live. And it’s not a selfish thing to do. The world actually needs you. The world needs you to be happy and fulfilled and to help others to be happy and fulfilled. That’s what the world is asking you to do. That’s really what the book is about. It’s a call to action for everybody to live the life they were born to live.
Dr. Kent: Well, the book is called The Garden of The Soul: Lessons From Four Flowers That Unearth the Self. And clearly Lynne Serafinn is a worthy author, and you’re going to have to check her bio out online. It’s fascinating and deep, the things she’s done, and they’re certainly also revealed in the book. And you can visit her online where?
Lynne Serafinn: Well, my book blog is at www.give-receive-become-be.com. And those are all hyphenated. So those are the four principles in the book: give, receive, become, be, dot com with little hyphens between each word. And my coaching site is at create-a-life.co.uk, that’s create, hyphen a, hyphen life dot co dot uk. And lastly if people are fans of Blog Talk Radio, please come and hear my show on Wednesday nights. I have a great show, I interview a lot of authors too, and I interview coaches and spiritual speakers and healers and all kinds of interesting people, artists of all kinds. And that’s on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. UK time or 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Every Wednesday. It’s called Lynne Serafinn’s Garden of the Soul.
Dr. Kent: And of course Lynne Serafinn is also on Twitter, and you can find out all of what’s going on, I’m also on Twitter and I just added her on Twitter. It’s a fun thing for me to be involved in Twitter and see what authors and all sorts of journalists are saying live. So that’s pretty neat, too.
Lynne Serafinn: Yeah, and I follow anybody who engages me. So if you find me at Lynne Serafinn with two n’s in each name, and anyone who engages me saying, “Hi Lynne, it’s me,” you know, I’m a real person, I’m not just somebody trying to get your name. I’ll follow anybody who contacts me.
Dr. Kent: Cool.
Lynne Serafinn: And the other thing, just one last thing, Kent. I do have a Facebook called The Garden of the Soul, and the people in that group are actually helping me write my next book, which is the companion guide to the Garden of the Soul. So if anybody’s on Facebook, go look up the group The Garden of the Soul and you can help me write my book, and you might get your name on the radio, and also might get your name in my next book.
Dr. Kent: Well that’s pretty neat. So go visit her on Facebook or on Twitter or on the web. I think Google will send you to many of those places as well. So thank you so much for chatting with me, Lynne Serafinn, and her book is The Garden of The Soul.
Lynne Serafinn: Thanks so much, Dr. Kent. Have a great rest of the show, and thanks for asking me.
Dr. Kent: And my next guest on the show is going to be the author of Astrology for Enlightenment. She has been an astrologer to some pretty unbelievable people. And I’ll talk to her about her latest book, her name is Michelle Karen. Come on back for that.