Archive for February, 2005

Interview: Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives. How we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health. (Day 2 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Monday, February 28th, 2005

Day 2 – Q7. How did your work come about?

Reply:
I was both a certified teacher and professional musician when I first discovered the work of Howard Gardner, Harvard University professor and author of numerous books and articles on his Multiple Intelligence Theory. Gardner, a psychologist and educator, changed my way of thinking, and I began to introduce the arts into my work more and more. The results amazed me. At about the same time, I had begun to study therapeutic music, and I gradually incorporated principles from this discipline into my mainstream teaching. Again, I met with results that could not be dismissed or ignored. I went on to become certified as an Expressive Arts Therapist so that I could work with all the arts and apply them to wellness and education. I co-authored a book, Move to the Music, with my colleague Karen Sekiguchi, and I had the great honor and pleasure of studying with Howard Gardner himself at Harvard University. I also owe a debt of gratitude to friend and mentor Don Campbell, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Mozart Effect, as well as numerous other publications that have profoundly influenced the way music and the arts enhance educational and therapeutic processes.

Please contact David Howland on (03) 5707-8598
e-mail: expressunltd@hotmail.com or check his website:
www.naturalhealingcenter.com/creative/expressionunlimited.htm for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).

Interview: Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health. (Day 1 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

Day 1 – Q1. What is Expression Unlimited, and how would you describe your work?
Reply:
Expression Unlimited is a unique blend of expressive arts therapy and arts-based learning/teaching that centers on effecting creative expression and understanding the impact this expression can have on us in so many ways. The theoretical base of Expression Unlimited is current research in cognitive science and creativity.

The arts (music, drawing and painting, movement, drama, stories and writing) provide an enjoyable and gentle outlet for self-expression and can unlock reserves of personal strengths and abilities. Through guided arts activities, I work with people of all ages to help them to understand how to enhance the quality of their lives with creative expression. The process is both a therapeutic experience and a learning experience because we learn about ourselves through our own expression, and we learn to understand how to take charge of our own wellness. The expression that we seek to achieve can be channeled to general enrichment and personal growth, or it can focus on school- or work-related issues.

Every client receives an individualized program on a short-term or long-term basis. I always offer a free consultation to potential clients, but as I am not a clinical psychologist, I do not offer testing or psychological diagnosis. I do, however, work in tandem with health care and educational specialists.

Please contact David Howland on (03) 5707-8598
e-mail: expressunltd@hotmail.com or check his website:
www.naturalhealingcenter.com/creative/expressionunlimited.htm for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 7 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Day 7 – Q7. Can a hypnotist make you do something that you don’t want to do?

Reply:
No, a hypnotist cannot make you do anything that you don’t want to do. Hypnosis is not mind control. Being hypnotised requires willingness. A person’s core values remain intact in all states of awareness, whether awake, asleep or hypnotized. Anything that violates these values will certainly be disregarded. This is another way that your mind constantly protects you.

Hypnosis is very safe. Since the word “hypnosis” was coined over 200 years ago, there has never been a recorded instance of anyone ever being hurt or harmed by hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a natural and enjoyable state allowing a person greater access to comfort, inspiration, and self-empowerment.

Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 6 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Day 6 – Q6. What does it feel like to be in a hypnotic state?

Reply:
The experience of trance varies. One definition of hypnosis is a state of increased suggestibility or selective focus. So then, what does “increased suggestibility” or “selective focus” feel like? As you can imagine, this state really has no particular physical feeling associated with it.

Erik doing hypnosis

Some people report sensations of lightness or heaviness, floating, warmth or coolness, but often being in trance has only the feeling of having your eyes closed.

The hypnotic state is quite robust. A person is able to speak, move, gesture, scratch an itch, and even walk around, while remaining deeply in hypnosis. It is also quite easy to carry on a conversation with a hypnotized person.

Commonly, most people are able to remember what happened while they were hypnotised.

If there are sounds in the environment, a hypnotised person will probably be dimly aware of them, but will probably not focus on them. However, if any of these sounds indicated danger, such as a ringing fire alarm, the person in trance would probably be the first person out the door! Your mind is always working to protect you whether you are in or out of trance.

Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 5 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

Day 5 – Q5. How does someone go into and emerge from hypnosis?

Reply:
To go into hypnosis, a hypnotist can guide you, or you can listen to a hypnosis tape or CD. There are a variety of methods used for going into hypnosis. Some involve relaxation, and most involve following instructions. When guided by a hypnotist, a person can close their eyes, and be directed through a series of experiences or exercises that in a very short time, take them into a nice, comfortable trance.

To emerge from hypnosis, again a hypnotist can guide you, or you can emerge yourself. In one common way of emersion, the hypnotist can give a count. e.g. “In a moment, I will count from one to three. At the count of three, you will open your eyes feeling good, feeling refreshed and energized. One, starting to come back. Two, feeling fine. And, three, eyes open, feeling good, feeling refreshed and energized.”

And another way to emerge from hypnosis, is simply to open your eyes.

Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 4 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

Day 4 – Q4. Who can be hypnotized?

Reply:
There is a common misperception that only certain types of people are able to go into hypnosis. This is an outdated idea from the 1950’s. With modern hypnotic methods, a person can enter into a hypnotic state very quickly.

Anyone of at least average intelligence can be hypnotized. In fact, the greater the intelligence, the greater the ease of going into hypnosis. Once any misperceptions have been corrected and unfounded fears have been addressed, the most important factor involved in being hypnotized is the willingness to go into hypnosis.

Just imagine that within just a few minutes, you can find yourself drifting in a nice comfortable state of pleasant hypnosis. And as you are finding yourself thinking just how easily it happened, because you have entered a door to powerful, positive change that’s right for you. The changes that you wanted to make feel so good.

Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 3 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Day 3 – Q3. What can hypnosis and self-hypnosis do for me?

Reply:
Many people have utilized hypnosis to create a wide range of benefits including stress reduction, relief from fears and worries, pain control, ending negative habits such as nail biting and hair pulling, stop smoking, weight loss, increased concentration, improved memory and recall, increasing reading speed, accelerated learning, awakening creativity, sleeping better, increased confidence, relaxed public speaking, easy childbirth, increased feelings of calm, peace, and comfort.

Personally, hypnosis has allowed me to feel at ease while taking long air trips overseas. It has also enabled me to have fillings replaced without anesthetic or discomfort.

What would you like to do this year? Now, when you think of what you want to accomplish easily, smoothly and naturally, ask yourself, “Is there a mental or emotional aspect to what I want to accomplish?” If the answer is “yes”, then hypnosis may be able to assist and support you in a number of ways. Contact a hypnotist for more information.

Here are a couple of books on hypnosis that may be useful:

Self-Hypnosis and Other Mind-Expanding Techniques by Charles Tebbetts
Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman

Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 2 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Monday, February 21st, 2005

Day 2 – Q2. What is 7th Path Self-Hypnosis?

Reply:
7th Path is a unique system of self-hypnosis that addresses mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. This system was developed by hypnotist Calvin Banyan, after witnessing breakthroughs in thousands of hours of client sessions.

In conventional self-hypnosis, a person enters into this state by relaxing. After reaching a comfortable hypnotic state, the practitioner then gives himself or herself suggestions for desired change. This practice offers benefits such as stress reduction, and the setting and reaching of goals.

In addition to the benefits offered by standard self-hypnosis, 7th Path brings the presence and influence of the person’s higher ideals, higher beliefs, or higher power into daily life. The practice of 7th Path self-hypnosis first works to clear away negative patterns of emotion and thought that can interfere with making positive change. After this clearing, change can happen with greater ease, making the effects of positive programming even more profound.

7th Path is a simple, easy to learn technique, and many people have received valuable insights and have experienced powerful positive change in their lives.

7th Path self-hypnosis can be learned in private sessions, or in group classes. Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.

UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview: Tokyo based Hypnotist Erik Bragg explains what hypnosis is and isn’t. What it can do for you – and can’t do to you without you being in agreement! (Day 1 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

Day 1 – Q1. What is hypnosis?
Reply:
Hypnotic states are a natural part of normal human life. In fact, we all experience hypnotic states–without giving them a second thought–at least twice a day. We go through a state of semi-wakefulness just before drifting off to sleep at night. Then in the morning, we go through another state of semi-wakefulness upon returning to consciousness. These are examples of spontaneous hypnotic states happening naturally, easily and automatically.


Erik Bragg, Tokyo based hypnotist.
So, what is hypnosis? Hypnosis is a state of selective focus: the mind is focused and highly aware of certain things, while other things fade into the background. This is a natural everyday happening; such as when getting drawn into an intriguing story told by a good friend, while the background sounds of the room go unnoticed and seem to fade away. Other common hypnotic states of mind include a “working trance”, an “exercise trance”, or a “driving trance”.

Hypnotic states are often eagerly sought after because they can feel so good. Just as when we are fully absorbed in rapt fascination while reading a good book, or getting caught up in the emotion of a captivating movie, as we are looking forward with expectantly to what will happen next.

Hypnotic states are also characterized by heightened suggestibility and a suspension of critical thinking. These qualities make the state of hypnosis an ideal one for receiving and acting upon suggestions for positive change in beliefs, thoughts, and habits. Hypnotists utilize this natural state of mind to train clients to make changes they have the desire to make.

Please contact Erik Bragg at 04-7166-6698, erikb@gol.com or
www.hypnosis-japan.org for more information.

UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview in Tokyo with Leza Lowitz, Writer, Yoga Teacher and Healer on her new book “100 Aspects of the Moon,” poetry and Yoga. (Day 7 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Saturday, February 19th, 2005

Day 7 – Q7. Many of the poems are set in Japan. Was being in Japan conducive to writing moon poetry?

Reply:
Actually, the poems in this book chart forty years of experience, ranging in locale from Japan to America to Croatia, lands I visited or had some connection to friendship or through social action. Some are free verse, experiments in form, homages to writers, artists and jazz musicians. Others are offerings to places of moon-viewing around the world, in times of peace and war.

It’s true that the Japanese culture lends itself to poetry, and it has always embraced the moon’s cycles in its art and literature. Japanese architecture even has special windows for viewing the moon. This is a way to frame and to honor the waxing and waning, a way to reflect on the inner cycles through nature, to illuminate the darkness through the moon’s light. A poem, too, has a way of illuminating the darkness, a way of breaking your heart. Suddenly, you see something in a different light, look at it in a new dimension, feel a moment more deeply, or see something ordinary in an extraordinary way. It’s a portal.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Erik Bragg on Hypnosis and the 7th Path.
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview in Tokyo with Leza Lowitz, Writer, Yoga Teacher and Healer on her new book “100 Aspects of the Moon,” poetry and Yoga. (Day 6 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Friday, February 18th, 2005

Day 6 – Q6. What was it about the moon that drew your interest and made you want to structure a book of poems around it?

Reply:
I wasn’t looking for a theme, but I was looking for a way to connect experience, cultures, times and places, and the feminine instinct seemed a natural place for me to explore, a healing, nurturing energy to embrace. In ancient times, when people lived closer to nature, the moon was seen as a symbol of the Goddess, and the light of the moon was considered magical, a source of energy. In many cultures, the Moon Goddess and the Creatress were one and the same. Polynesians called the Creatress “Hina” or Moon. She was the first woman, and every woman is made in her image. And the root word for both “moon” and “mind” is the Indo-European word manas, which symbolizes the Great Mother’s “wise blood” in women, governed by the moon.

As Djoharia Toor writes in The Soul of Passion, “The night the moon rules over represents our ability to bypass the linear mind, for a while anyway, to ponder and feel the mystery within. The night, in essence, represents knowledge based on the passive-receptive side of the feminine.” And I think that is what I wanted to embrace—that passive-receptive energy. I have spent a great part of my life utilizing my Yang energy, and now I felt drawn to the Yin.

Naturally, we tend to avoid the dark places, since they usually hide fearful things, or things we are afraid of. And yet, if one is to know oneself deeply, and to be able then to know others, those places must be ventured to. The night must be walked in. To craft poetry is to lift the veil and then to deconstruct, reconstruct, shape and illuminate– especially the places that scare us. Some of these poems go there–plumbing the past, uncovering memories or trauma. Some explore the act of writing poetry itself. Others look beyond the personal to universal themes. Here, “100” is a metaphor for “myriad,” since there are thousands of ways to view the moon.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Erik Bragg on Hypnosis and the 7th Path.
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview in Tokyo with Leza Lowitz, Writer, Yoga Teacher and Healer on her new book “100 Aspects of the Moon,” poetry and Yoga. (Day 5 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

Day 5 – Q5. You have a new book of poems coming out, called “100 Aspects of the Moon.” Can you talk a little bit about your new book? And, by the way, isn’t that the name of a famous woodblock print series?


Leza’s Sun and Moon Yoga Center in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan.

Reply:
Yes. You’re right. The woodblock series is by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka. I wrote many of these poems in the year I was turning 40. I wanted to mark a passage, to commemorate a life cycle shift. The Goddess Luna, the feminine embodiment, spoke to me and inspired me. In this day and age, when so many structures are crumbling, I felt drawn to cohesion in a way I’d never felt before. So I decided to structure the book around the moon as a motif. I was inspired by the American poet Jane Hirshfield’s lovely book of poems, The Lives of The Heart, in which she made her project one of connection through the heart in each of the poems. I had always loved the haunting woodblock print series of Yoshitoshi. In the age that Yoshitoshi was painting in (1839-1892), Japan was in a period of great modernization. Western methods like photography and lithography were adopted, and Yoshitoshi used the traditional ukiyo-e method influenced by modern ways of seeing, capturing the flux of the era. Though he first painted violent scenes depicting warfare and bloodshed under the Tokugawa Shogun, Yoshitoshi soon found himself broke and destitute, living with a mistress who first sold her clothes and possessions to support him, then finally sold herself to a brothel, as did his subsequent mistress. Suffering from mental breakdowns and delusions, Yoshitoshi nonetheless persevered in his art, breaking with the conventions of the ukiyo-e carvers of the times.

In “100 Aspects of the Moon,” he revolutionized the form. His use of heavy brushstrokes, intricate patterning, Western perspective, and mostly, the amazing content of the series, which ranges in subject matter from geisha to samurai to wolves to the Goddess Kwan Yin (showing people freely from all angles), were extraordinary. The only link between these disparate subjects is the moon, shown in many stages. But as scholar John Stevenson has pointed out, the series is less about the moon and more about human beings and the emotions shown in important events in Japanese and Chinese history and mythology. The series also illuminates simple scenes of everyday life. Nowadays, the prints in the series are traded and collected worldwide, even on the Internet. Each print is vibrant and unique.

But no one can own the moon. No one can harness and contain the mysterious, overwhelming power of the feminine. We can only glimpse its glorious phases, even using the most advanced technology. So while the inspiration for this book was Yoshitoshi’s series, the impetus was my own life crossroads at the end of the twenty-first century, at a turning point in my own life. My own eclipse, so to speak. So I decided to adopt his structure and write poems around the moon to commemorate that shift.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Erik Bragg on Hypnosis and the 7th Path.
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview in Tokyo with Leza Lowitz, Writer, Yoga Teacher and Healer on her new book “100 Aspects of the Moon,” poetry and Yoga. (Day 4 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

Day 4 – Q4. How do you have so much energy for all these projects you do? And, is there a best time to write?

Reply:
Hey, I think that’s two questions! Basically, energy is flow. Yoga and other self-transformational practices teach us how to work with our energy; essentially to work with the flow instead of against it. And so that’s what I do….I read somewhere that there are 14,440 minutes to the day….that’s a lot of time! Much of the work that I am publishing now I have been working on for years and years and years. For every book I publish, there is one sitting yet unfinished, so I have a lot of material to develop. Of course, much of it ends of discarded.

As for the best time for writing, basically, you can wait for the muse to visit (you may be waiting for a very long time!!!), or you can sit down and get to work each day, facing the blank page. It’s just like yoga, showing up on the mat and greeting whatever comes….or doesn’t. You learn from that, too.

Like meditation, writing is best done at a quiet time so you can listen to yourself, as if listening intently to music. Morning is best, when the brain has not yet been infiltrated by public space, TV, language, or external stimulation. There’s a sense of open-ness, a clean slate quality, when the mind is closer to the unconscious, almost in a dream state. That’s when art can emerge.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Erik Bragg on Hypnosis and the 7th Path.
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview in Tokyo with Leza Lowitz, Writer, Yoga Teacher and Healer on her new book “100 Aspects of the Moon,” poetry and Yoga. (Day 3 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

Day 3 – Q3. Why is poetry important in this day and age?

Reply:
Poetry comes from poein, from the Greek word “to make” or “to change.” Poetry transforms the world of the particular into the universal. It takes ordinary events and looks at them in an extraordinary way. Poetry is a kind of alchemy and magic. It touches the soul on a deep level and enacts its own wisdom. Many cultures print a poem daily in the newspaper, feeding the cultural soul. It’s interesting to note that after 9/11, much of the world, and America in particular, immediately turned to poetry on the news, internet, radio. It was instinctive. It was an immediate, visceral response. Nothing else seemed to capture the intensity and feeling of the moment. Poetry helps us get back to that sacred and connected place. We need to reconnect to that place.

Another reason that poetry is important is because it connects us to the ORIGINAL BREATH. Speech and expression are only possible in the exhalation, the dying breath. Poetry is scoring the dying breath. Poetry has the psychic, intellectual, and erotic ability to imbue that dying breath with meaning. If you think of it literally, each poem is your last breath! Poetry is powerful because it returns us to the indigenous connection to the earth—nature, the seasons, living and dying. We’ve lost that connection. Poetry helps us record what’s unrecorded, expresses our authentic kinship with the world. It links us to our original, primordial condition, which is sacred. It is revelatory. It REVEALS and uncovers the original heart/mind.

Furthermore, deep writing, like yoga and meditation, is a process of stripping away illusion. When we write creatively, we’re connected to ancient energies. These connections give our immediate experience a resonance that is larger than the moment, larger than our personal stories, egos, or individual “little selves.”

Below are some of the books Leza has written, co-authored and edited.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Erik Bragg on Hypnosis and the 7th Path.
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.

Interview in Tokyo with Leza Lowitz, Writer, Yoga Teacher and Healer on her new book “100 Aspects of the Moon,” poetry and Yoga. (Day 2 of 7 Day Interview – please scroll down to see previous days.)

Monday, February 14th, 2005

Day 2 – Q2. So is writing a kind of yoga?

Reply:
I’ve been writing since I was 8, and I’ve been practicing yoga for over
a decade. Both were born from the need for release and to break free of
past bonds I had been struggling with liberating myself from.

I had started martial arts training when I was a teenager, because I
was beaten up a lot and suffered abuse in my family (both physical and
emotional) and I wanted to be strong and learn to defend myself and be
able to stand my own ground. I could do that, but I also found that
what I had developed in the course of that work was a very strong emotional
and physical armor. I was too tough. Too protected. Too frightened
inside. So for me, yoga was the most powerfully cathartic tool for
self-transformation because it allowed me to face that fear that I had
been hiding from within myself.

While I was stretching and twisting, breathing and calming my mind and
body, I discovered places in my body that were very stiff, and I also
discovered incredible reserves of strength, stamina and newfound
flexibility. I discovered that the physical and emotional traumas and
violence I had experienced as a child (and also from past life karma
that were playing themselves out in this life) were stored in my
body’s cellular memory. As a result, I had a lot of subconscious blocks, which
yoga helped me to release.

Even though I had done a great deal of work with psychotherapy over the years, and deep emotional healing, including deep bodywork, transcendental
meditation, past life regression work, outward bound, inner child healing, psychic release, shamanic rituals, Reiki, etc, etc, etc, yoga was finally what really helped me unearth and release these traumas from my physical body. It also taught me to
trust, to step into the unknown. By discovering where emotions are stored in
the body, we can work to accept them and not push them away.

If we walk into the difficulty, we can breathe through it and release these
emotions and traumas. That was what was so powerful for me about yoga.
But I had an amazing teacher who herself had gone through the fire, and
you could tell. She was really there for us when we were fighting our
own demons. And that is how I hope to be as a teacher. That is one of
the cornerstones of my teaching–to give people a safe place to explore
whatever emotions, feelings and memories surface in the course of
breathing and opening our bodies, and to embrace them, honor them,
process them, and let them go. And, when we release these blocks, we
find a newfound capacity for creativity and unconditional love–for
ourselves, and for others. That is when we destroy the illusion of
separateness that causes so much suffering. As the Navajo say, “We are
all connected.” We have forgotten that. Yoga helps us remember our
unity from a deep level.

R.K. Narayan, the Indian novelist (1906-2001), said: “You become a writer by writing. It is a yoga.” Writing, like all art, is an act of faith, a commitment to your deepest self-expression. In fact, creativity itself is prana, coming mainly from two energy spheres–the second, sacral chakra or Svadhisthana (which means “sweetness” in Sanskrit), and the fifth, throat chakra or Vishudda (“purification” in Sanskrit). Creative energy is brought in through the second chakra, and then it is processed, and sent out into the world through the fifth chakra, which is our center of self-expression. So if I want to open to my creativity, I work in the second chakra doing hip opening poses, and then I focus on the fifth chakra to open the throat. Some good poses to work in the fifth chakra are shoulderstand and fish–anything that softens the throat and opens the heart. Chanting is also amazing for this reason, and so is deep breathing.


UPCOMING INTERVIEWS
* Erik Bragg on Hypnosis and the 7th Path.
* Angela Jeffs (Japan Times Journalist) on her witing class based on “Drawing on the Writer Within”, her upcoming book and labyrinths.
* Gretta McIlvaine founder of Bridge Between the Worlds Healing Center and Graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.
* Sri Eknath Eswaran’s method of meditation (he is the founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation in California and author of many books).
*Educator/therapist David Howland on applying therapeutic techniques to education, the importance of the arts in our daily lives and how we can learn to understand expressing our creativity to balance physical, emotional and intellectual health.