Back to the Mother: The Life of Sacred Music by Kalidas

I had humble beginnings. My grandmother raised me in a tiny village in India. With her kind and gentle nature, she embodied the best virtues of Mother India. After I went to America at the age of five, I eventually lost sight of those virtues in my quest to be someone great. In college I wanted to be a great writer. Many of the artists I emulated were bleak in their outlook, so I began to unconsciously associate bleakness with greatness. My world view became very bleak as well, but my writing did not become very great.

When I graduated, I realized that there was a burning restlessness I could not shake. There was something missing in my soul. Thus began my spiritual quest to find that something that I had lost. One day I chanced upon some books about Eastern mystics. Their lives of simplicity and purity seemed like a fairy tale in our modern world. Could it be true that there was a path to God? I had to find out or at least make an attempt.

The next ten years involved working in a Tibetan retreat center, a Zen monastery, a yoga community and Hindu ashrams. When I was not making beds, washing dishes or cleaning laundry, I read about as many saints as I could. Finally my path led me to the feet of Sarada Devi, a humble compassionate saint who was an embodiment of the Divine Mother. She too had grown up in a small village and exemplified the virtues of village life just as my grandmother had. Sarada Devi once said, “If a thorn hurts the sole of your foot, I feel as if a ploughshare has gone through my heart.”

Rooted in the Bhakti yoga tradition, my music became a way to honor the lives of some of the great beings that has made my life rich and meaningful. Bhakti yoga consists of channeling all of one’s energy to the Divine. The theory is simple: by thinking of the Divine, by contemplating the Divine, we can become Divine. Bhakti yoga sees the different religions as various paths to God. There are infinite paths actually because there are an infinite amount of beings in the universe. In this tradition, all are embraced. Every one of us has the seed of divinity, no matter how deeply it may be buried.

Anandamayi Ma once said, “Suffering is sent to turn your thoughts towards that which is real-to God who will give you solace.” I agree with her comment based on the experiences of my own life. Everyday I try to be grateful for my journey back to the light, back to the Mother.

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Old Dog by Nancy Mehagian

| by Cheryl Shainmark

If you’re looking for a gift book for the children in your life, I highly recommend Old Dog by Nancy Mehagian, illustrated by Yoko Matsuoko. There are a million books about puppies out there, but this is the first I can think of that introduces children to the idea of a “senior” dog. Written with real warmth, the author has captured the joy and rewards of loving and caring for a beloved older pet.

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The Mouth-Body Connection by Gerald P. Curatola, DDS

| by Cheryl Shainmark

The Mouth-Body Connection is a must read – whether you are suffering from chronic disease, or just want to bring your health to a new level, the information and insights in this book can help. Dr. Curatola has brought together thirty years of dental experience along with the latest science and developed a program for oral and body health  called The Curatola Care Program.  As detailed in the book, the program consists of learning about the natural micro-biome of the mouth, the hazards of inflammation, and the role of diet, exercise and stress reduction.

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Diamond Meditation by Peter Gruenewald, MD

Dr. Gruenewald has produced a guided meditation (audio), which is a spiritual and holistic approach to SUCCESS. The audio recording has multiple longterm benefits for the listener, particularly when the meditation is practiced daily for a few weeks. Diamond Meditation can help you achieving your full potential in life and to connect to your higher self, your inner source of abundant success in all areas of your life.

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Peace and Where to Find It

| review by Cheryl Shainmark

Peace and Where to Find It is a slim gem, packed with insight and wisdom. For fans of Eckhart Tolle, Peace takes up where Tolle’s The Power of Now leaves off, (and, in fact, Eckhart Tolle wrote the introduction for this book), but it’s not necessary to have read one to enjoy the other. The author, Christopher Papadopoulos, has clearly walked the walk, done the work, and come back to share his transformative experience with us.

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Improve Your Relationship in Eight Minutes a Day by Linda Carroll

| by Linda Carroll

Falling in love is never a straight line to “happily ever after.” Relationships go through seasons of change, renewal, darkness, and light. So promises long-time therapist and couple’s coach Linda Carroll in Love Skills: The Key to Unlocking Lasting, Wholehearted Love, which offers specific, effective solutions to the most common struggles that couples face. We hope you’ll enjoy this except from the book.

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Stalking the Wild Pendulum, by Itzhak Bentov

Bentov says: “I am attempting in this book to build a model of the universe that will satisfy the need for a comprehensive picture of ‘what our existence is all about.’….Referring to psychic phenomena, he says that he will try to explain the underlying mechanisms and explain how they may work.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity: Srinivasa Ramanujan, Intuitive Mathematician

The Man Who Knew Infinity is the remarkable story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a brilliant Indian mathematician whose revolutionary ideas took Europe by storm during the years around World War I. The film, released in 2015, stars Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons, and is based on the book of the same name by Robert Kanigel. What made Ramanujan so amazing, were his deeply spiritual and intuitive leaps in fields for which he had no prior background. What made Ramanujan so amazing, were his deep spiritualty and intuitive leaps in fields for which he had no prior background. Ramanujan said that his insights came to him in dreams, which he quickly wrote down upon awakening.

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We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life by Laura McKowen

Before Laura McKowen got sober, she had a long, successful career in public relations in the Mad Men-esque drinking culture of the advertising industry, where “liquid lunches were frequent and drinking at your desk in the late afternoon was perfectly normal.” In the five years since she stopped drinking, she has become one of the foremost voices in the modern recovery movement. In her new memoir We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life (New World Library, January 7, 2020), McKowen flips the script on how we talk about addiction and encourages readers not to ask, “Is this bad enough that I have to change?” but rather, “Is this good enough for me to stay the same?”

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The Time for Revolution is Now by Craig Kolavo

As I sat on the floor in my closet, unpacking boxes of dusty journals and notebooks I’d collected over the past 20+ years, the task at hand seemed overwhelming. How do I organize all of these life experiences into a coherent story? How do I put these events into a clear, chronological order for my kids to understand? You see, I had no plans to write a book. My original intention for writing was simple and somewhat selfish. I was hoping to explain to my children some of the discoveries I’ve made on this crazy adventure of life. Maybe all parents feel this way at some point. Why should my kids have to experience the same struggles, pain, and suffering I’ve been through?

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