Wild Wild Country

You guys, I got a press release for a documentary series debuting on Netflix March 16th that looks crazy. I’m going to want to watch it and I thought you might too. Here’s the story:

When the world’s most controversial guru builds a utopian city in the Oregon desert, a massive conflict with local ranchers ensues; producing the first bioterror attack in US history, the largest case of illegal wiretapping ever recorded, and the world’s biggest collection of Rolls-Royce automobiles. Over six episodes, Directors Chapman Way and Maclain Way (“The Battered Bastards of Baseball”) and executive producers Mark and Jay Duplass (Duplass Brothers Productions) take viewers back to this pivotal, yet largely forgotten moment in American cultural history, one in which our national tolerance for the separation of church and state was sorely tested. Wild Wild Country is historical filmmaking brought to life on an epic scale. It’s a tale so wild that seeing means barely believing.

And here’s the trailer:

Crystal Healing for the Heart

I’m here to tell you that author Nicholas Pearson has done it again with his latest book “Crystal Healing for the Heart: Gemstone Therapy for Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being”.

You may recall that back in April I reviewed Pearson’s “Crystals for Karmic Healing”. What he did for karma in that book, he does again for the heart in this one. What started as a workshop Pearson offered has evolved into a book that instructs you on how to use crystals to help with your heart. If you’re like me you probably assumed that it was going to be a big pile of love magic, but obviously (since I’m writing about it) it has so much more going on.

You can follow the workshop style of the book starting at “Exploring the Heart” and “Strengthening the Heart” all the way to the with “The Awakened Heart”. You can also pick and choose your focus, although Pearson makes a strong argument for taking the systematic approach.

Let me tell you what you REALLY want to know, if you’re like me. “Crystal Healing for the Heart” is loaded with beautiful, full color photos of gemstones and minerals. There are also photos of the author doing some of the exercises from the book.

Whether you have an a distinct interest in the heart or not, Pearson’s book does what he does best, makes you look at crystals in new and intriguing ways.

You can learn more about “Crystal Healing for the Heart” here.

What is Perceptual Intelligence?

An excerpt from Perceptual Intelligence: The Brain’s Secret to Seeing Past Illusion, Misperception, and Self-Deception by Brian Boxer Wachler, MD

I’ve seen different definitions of Perceptual Intelligence (PI), but I like to think of it as how we interpret and occasionally manipulate our experiences to distinguish fantasy from reality. PI relies heavily on our senses and instincts, but it is frequently influenced and distorted by our emotions and memories. Just as with other forms of intelligence, some people have higher PI than others. However, PI is an acquired skill. It begins with awareness and requires practice before it becomes habitual. So you may find yourself initially overreacting to a situation or circumstance, but with proper knowledge and a different perspective, you may start to ask yourself: Am I interpreting the situation correctly and making the best possible choice?

In their excellent book The User’s Manual for the Brain, authors L. Michael Hall and Bob G. Bodenhamer write, “The problem is never the person, never the experience, never what we have been through. The problem is always the frame, always the mental movie, always the higher frames running the movie.” It’s how we interpret what happens to us. If a bird with good aim uses my head for target practice, I could either get ticked off or say, “It’s good luck!” (which I learned from my Brooklyn-born dad).

When we have a vague memory of a painful incident, what purpose does it serve? Why bother keeping that potentially incorrect perception of the event when you can make something good come of it? This is where the sniper ability of Perceptual Intelligence comes in. A well-developed PI can identify and take down a faulty idea that tries to sabotage you. Having high PI is recognizing that your mind is more plastic than you think and can be molded and reworked as needed. PI can be improved, just like any other skill, such as driving a car, playing a sport, or learning an instrument.

Many people have survived traumatic incidents and made life decisions based on these experiences. Their perspectives on these events shaped their lives in either a positive or negative direction. It was not the incidents themselves that determined the outcomes; it was the individuals’ perceptions of the incidents and how they reacted afterward that formed their future. The “heroic” survivors we see on TV or read about in books merely applied principles of PI, whereas the “victims” remained immobilized.

Sharpening Your Perceptual Intelligence
As I’ve said, since PI is a learned skill, it requires practice before it becomes a habit. Someday you may find yourself initially reacting unfavorably to a situation. Rather than jumping to a negative interpretation, you can catch yourself and ask: Is this the best choice? If not, you can tap into your PI, change your perspective, and achieve a more favorable outcome.

My main objective in writing this book is to help you find your aha! moment regarding how you perceive and react to the world from the inside out. It is my sincere hope that, as you follow me on this journey, you will discover a heightened and enlightened understanding of the mystery that is human perception and make better decisions based on what your senses and intuition are telling you. In the chapters that follow I will reveal to you how understanding and maximizing PI is the key to what lurks behind your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. You’ll learn about (not necessarily in this order):

• Why some people can’t resist “cat poop coffee” at $100 a cup
• How the brain helps us make sense of the world
• When the mind is healing us and when it’s doing more harm than good
• Why we hold on to our illusions
• Why we feel compelled to “return a favor”
• What is really happening when we see aliens in the middle of the night
• How low PI helps us enjoy art more
• Why some people see Jesus in their cornflakes
• How inflated PI can influence the PI of the masses
• Why some athletes and teams are winners and others chronic losers
• How reciprocity hijacks our perceptions
• How celebrity personas manipulate us
• How Mark Twain’s thoughts on masturbation reveal his high PI
• Why Kim Kardashian West has so much social impact
• How cults brainwash people with low PI
• Why our perceptions of time are so often distorted
• When to listen to your gut

A hundred years from now, we may not even recognize the science that is being practiced today. We will almost certainly have completely mapped the brain by then, yet we may still be no closer to understanding how we perceive the world. In the future, as with today, we will continue to perceive. Somehow, every day we will convert the inconceivable into the conceivable, as do all living things in their own inimitable way. As you’ll see in the next chapter, it all starts with the human brain.

Fasten your seatbelt and brace for impact.

About Brian Boxer Wachler, MD:
An expert on human perception and the author of Perceptual Intelligence, Brian Boxer Wachler, MD, has pioneered treatments in vision correction and Keratoconus, published eighty-four medical articles, and delivered 276 scientific presentations. He is the first choice of many doctors for their own eye treatments. He is the medical director of the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills and a staff physician at Los Angeles’s famed Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Fid him online at www.boxerWachler.com and www.perceptualintelligence.com.

Excerpted from the book Perceptual Intelligence: The Brain’s Secret to Seeing Past Illusion, Misperception, and Self-Deception. Copyright ©2017 by Brian Boxer Wachler. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.

Super Soul Sunday

This Sunday, July 2, 2017 at 2 pm Eastern OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) has a “Super Soul Sunday” that I thought some of you may be interested in, so here are the details.

In a special edition, Oprah Winfrey asks today’s top thinkers, teachers, and spiritual leaders life’s big questions. A regular feature on “Super Soul Sunday,” Oprah’s soul questionnaire poses thought-provoking questions such as, “What is the soul?,” “What is the purpose of human experience?,” and “What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make to pursue your destiny?” It is a soul-stirring celebration of viewpoints from a remarkable roster of guests, including international speaker and entrepreneur Tony Robbins, bestselling author and activist Janet Mock, Emmy-Award winning writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church Joel Osteen, life coach Iyanla Vanzant, global advocate and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai, and many more.

“Super Soul Sunday” is the three-time Emmy award-winning series that delivers timely, thought-provoking, eye-opening and inspiring programming designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves and discover a deeper connection to the world around them. The series features all-new conversations between Oprah Winfrey and top thinkers, authors, visionaries and spiritual leaders exploring themes and issues including happiness, personal fulfillment, spirituality, conscious living and what it means to be alive in today’s world.

To watch the full episode, please visit the following link the morning after the episode airs: http://www.oprah.com/app/super-soul-sunday.html

Here’s a little tease for you…..

Let’s take a moment to reflect on how great Oprah is looking these days.

About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand – and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in original scripted and unscripted programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The network debuted on January 1, 2011. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com. Access OWN anytime, anywhere on WatchOWN.tv or across mobile devices and connected TVs.

Crystals for Karmic Healing

Ever wonder how I decide what books to review? Get in line because I’ve never figured it out. I can tell you why I chose this latest book though. One, it involves crystals. Love them! Two, it features a forward from Judy Hall. This lady knows crystals and I’m quite the fan. You may remember I reviewed and loved her two books, “Crystals and Sacred Sites” and “The Encyclopedia of Crystals”. I figure if she liked this particular book enough to write a forward, it was worth checking out. And if you love crystals, it is. I’m talking about “Crystals for Karmic Healing: Transform Your Future by Releasing Your Past” by Nicholas Pearson.

Karma can be a difficult concept. Modern American culture views it as “what goes around, comes around”, and that’s not entirely inaccurate. However, it also tends to get viewed as something you get to see. Generally, karma is viewed in the span of lifetimes. Your actions in this lifetime decide how evolved you’ll be in the next. Where you’re at now should be teaching you so you can progress in your next life. Pearson concedes that this interpretation of karma is much easier to grasp if you believe in reincarnation. Yet he writes about karma in a way that you can understand it regardless of personal belief system. He speaks of karma not just on an individual level, but addresses it on a planetary level as well.

Pearson approaches crystals, and their properties, with an eye towards karma. “Crystals for Karmic Healing” details over 30 rocks, minerals, and gemstones to utilize when working with karma. Also, the book is a full color beauty with loads of fantastic photos of the crystals. Ideas abound for what to do with these crystals; such as meditations, crystal grids, creating elixirs, and wearing them.

“Crystals for Karmic Healing” may not be for everyone, but if you love crystals and want a new perspective on possible uses for them, this book is for you.

You can learn more here.

Crystals: Plain & Simple

Anyone that has been reading The Magical Buffet for a while knows that I love me those rocks, minerals, and gemstones. Generally they’re beautiful AND loads of people attribute benefits to having them, whether wearing them, charging water with them, or meditating with them. If I can have something pretty that might help with something, why the heck not I say.

That brings us to the latest book on crystals that I’ve read, “Crystals: Plain & Simple” by Cass and Janie Jackson. Red Wheel Weiser has been releasing a crap ton of books in the “Plain & Simple” series and honestly, I want to read them all! They cover topics as varied as runes, reincarnation, totems, numerology, and just about everything else. And they’re all in this compact paperback format that fits easily into your purse. I can’t be the only one who always has a book in their purse, can I? Enough about that, let’s talk about “Crystals”.

There are two amazing things about this book. One, it’s 135 pages long and doesn’t seem that long at all. Two, authors Cass and Janie Jackson crammed a lot if information in this book. Way more than 135 pages worth of info. They do a wonderful job of covering more bases than I was expecting. They guide you through shopping for crystals, how to clean and care for your crystals, and how to store them. You’ll also learn about prominent crystals from history and folklore. Then you get to the main event which is exploring individual crystals: their characteristics, their uses, and assorted correspondences.

If I have any criticism it’s just one, there are no color images of the crystals. I’m all for learning, but crystals are pretty and I wouldn’t mind some glossy, full color crystal porn in this, and any other book, about crystals. Just sayin’…..

“Crystals: Plain & Simple” says on the cover, “The Only Book You’ll Ever Need”. This book would provide an excellent base to start your journey learning about crystals, but it is a strong enough book that it could be the only one you’ll ever need.

To learn more, visit here.

Pssst……just as an aside, I’m already reading ANOTHER book about crystals. I love them so! Hopefully I’ll have that review for you soonish.

Oh Fudge!

By Mitch Rosenzweig

I laughed out loud, although I really shouldn’t have. She was a cute as a button. Curly blonde hair and petite, maybe 3 years old at the most. She had on the cutest little dress with a Christmas print, white tights, and bright, shiny Mary Jane shoes to complete the perfect picture. Her Dad, at the other end of her hand, was clearly a work-a-day type. Gnarled and whiskered, there were paint spatters flecking his plaid shirt and blue jeans. As they walked into the black Friday store, Dad remarked, “Look at all the people!” And in a cute, tiny voice with a little-kid accent, the delicate princess exclaimed loudly, “No Shit!” My coffee almost exploded all over me as I guffawed. Red-faced and embarrassed the Dad bent close to his daughter and gave her a loving reminder: “Now Chelsea, we don’t say those bad words in public.” I wondered if it was okay in private. With wide eyes she nodded, obviously confused and overwhelmed by the bustle of the store.

In the 70s, George Carlin made famous the seven words you can’t say on TV. But really, if you ask anyone, there are way more than seven that we classify as expletives or bad words. When we are kids, we rejoice in their delicious sounds. From the “doo-doo head” and “poopy” of childhood, to the rude mother-degrading curses of teens, we continue to thrill at the obvious insults. It’s not just an American thing; I have seen comedic dictionaries about how to curse in every language. We classify them as “bad” words. Never to be spoken, especially not in public.

Of course no words are really “bad.” They are just sounds on our tongue or letters on a page. It is in the meaning and context that the moralistic value occurs. We can exclaim about abundant waste in a toilet but we better not tell someone they are full of it. It’s all about the context. I have to re-train my brain after my various military stints, where bad words are sprinkled throughout casual conversations. I once heard a Platoon Sergeant use more than 14 of them in a single sentence. The worst part is that I understood and agreed with what he said-and how he said it. I shook his confused hand in congratulations. Bad, bad, bad.

What I don’t understand is why other, non-curse words aren’t considered bad. They have negative connota­tions in all contexts: such as “hate,” “unemployed,” “addiction,” “kill,” and millions of others that produce a visceral response in any setting. We don’t use them in polite society either. I will avoid further examples but I am sure you can think of your own that are far worse than “doody-head.”

As parents and polite adults, we teach our children and train ourselves to avoid using bad words. Even though the best of us occasionally drop an “f-bomb,” most of us don’t cuss like drunken merchant marines. We realize that as reserved and thoughtful adults there are better ways to express our emotions. Only the vulgar cuss-until you stub your toe in the middle of the night. And then that raw instinct forces us to damn something to the nether regions. I’m not holier-than-thou; I am just as likely to slip one in now and then. Especially the milder ones, like sh*t, damn, and hell. Somehow, “doo-doo happens,” or “oh fudge” just doesn’t cut it in all situations.

I have a proposal. Can we create a list of the seven words that we must say? Wouldn’t it be just as important to teach our children those words? The positive rather than negative? Wouldn’t it be amazing to see a dad stooping to teach his to child to say, “Holy love!”? My list of seven words we must say would be: love, faith, caring, peace, giving, forgiveness, and thanks. I’m willing to bet we have just as many reasons to say them in public. Maybe they are prohibited too, since I rarely hear them.

Today, I am going to offer my seven every chance I get. I will fully express myself and let people know how I truly feel. No holds barred. If I offend, so be it. I don’t need a filter. I will pepper my conversation with them and shock people. Even when I stub my toe, I will offer thanks for having a toe to stub. OK, well, maybe after I cuss and fuss a bit.

Express yourself-it’s healthy. Let it out already, Dagnabit!

About Mitch Rosenzweig:
In this new book “Reaching for Insights: Stories of Love, Faith, and the Kitchen Sink”, veteran clinical psychologist and social worker Mitch Rosenzweig attunes his therapeutic sensibilities to his daily landscape and uncovers life lessons for us all – treasures gained by observing the ordinary from an often amusing, and always positive, perspective. This rich collection of 200 brief essays penned from his personal and professional observations delights us and invites us to grow into better, more compassionate human beings. For more information, visit http://www.reachingforinsights.com/

Start Where You Are

We just got done looking at Goldie Hawn’s “10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal” and here I am back, BAM, with “Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration” by Meera Lee Patel. Trust me, these two journals are totally different from one another, so you’re going to want to keep reading.

Patel’s journal comes from a unique, but familiar perspective. How often have you put change on hold because things weren’t where you thought they should be for you to make that change? I’ve done. Patel, the author, has done. Odds are good that you’ve done, or maybe you’re doing it now. “Start Where You Are” encourages you to stop looking, and waiting, for that other day, and to instead start where you are. Her journal asks probing, thought provoking questions to help you find out more about yourself: what you really love, your motivations, how see yourself and how you feel others perceive you, and more. However she does mix it up. Sometimes the journal will just ask a question for you to answer, but other times you’re drawing pictures, or filling in circles or other shapes, or coloring in a drawing.

Along with her journaling exercises, Patel includes inspiring quotes from a variety of sources. Since she’s an accomplished artist, with lines of stationary sold in boutiques, the quotes are presented in colorful, whimsical fonts, suitable for framing (if you’re willing to cut them out of the book).

It can be difficult to think about yourself and your desires, particularly if you think they’re unattainable. Artist and author Meera Lee Patel does her best to make the journey a painless and playful one.

Now guess what? My friends at Perigee have agreed to send one lucky Magical Buffet reader a copy of “Start Where You Are” by Meera Lee Patel! It’s worth owning so you’ll want to get in on this one. This contest is open to folks residing in the United States that are 18 years-old and up. Contest runs 08/10/15 – 08/14/15 midnight eastern. Don’t worry international readers, I’ve got some contests coming up that you’ll be able to enter. So without further ado, may I direct attention to the Rafflecopter contest form below?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal

I’ve always liked Goldie Hawn. When I was younger I watched her on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, “Private Benjamin”, “Protocol” (No, dear, I’m not a chicken; I’m an emu.), “Wildcats”, “Death Becomes Her”, and “First Wives Club”. I like that her and Kurt Russell are still together after all these years. I’m not saying I’m an expert on all things “Goldie”, I’m just saying it came as quite a surprise to find out that she’s kind of a well-known figure in the mindfulness movement.

It turns out that Goldie Hawn is an author! She has written an autobiography, “A Lotus Grows in the Mud”, and “10 Mindful Minutes”. Both books ended up on New York Time’s bestselling author’s list! This was all news to me when I was approached to review “10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal”. As you may already have guessed, I never read “10 Mindful Minutes”, so the good news is the journal is effective whether you’ve read the previous book or not. No more talk about the past then, let’s focus on the here and now and “10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal”.

Goldie Hawn at a book event.

The Journal is authored by Goldie Hawn with Jennifer Repo. I’m not sure how much of whose voice we’re hearing when reading the entries but there is a welcoming warmth in the tone of the writing. The book isn’t focusing on deep, obscure meditation practices. You’re reminded of the basics: sitting comfortably and focusing on your breath. The chapters are divided into specific areas of reflection, such as Discovering Empathy, Transforming Anger, and Cultivating Optimism. In the sections you’ll find meditation exercises, and most important to the book, space to journal your reflections after you finish them.

“10 Mindful Minutes: A Journal” works at guiding readers towards a daily reflective meditation practice so that after all the pages are filled, hopefully the practice still remains.

The Seen and Unseen Dimensions of Time

By Carisia H. Switala, MTS

I assume most people are aware of the recent “Voice of an Angel” story reported on the news about an 18-month old girl who was found alive in an overturned car 14 hours after it crashed in a Utah river. The four police officers who rescued the little girl said they heard a woman’s voice calling out for help. However, the girl’s mother died in the crash and there were no other people in the car. The officers really believe something otherworldly took place. Perhaps this story is a good example of the temporal and eternal dimensions of time merging together allowing the mother to call for help from the unseen dimension.

After years of research, I came to the realization that time is an elusive concept. Most individuals believe that looking at their watch and hurrying to get to work on time is the extent to which this concept is relevant. However, in my opinion, time is so much more than a measurement of sequential events. For many years, philosophers and scientists have been trying to explain time. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, believed that time is the measurement of change. Whereas Sir Isaac Newton, an influential seventeenth century English physicist and natural philosopher, believed that space was a static container and time was an absolute flow. Newton hypothesized that absolute time exists independently of any observer and moves forward at a steady pace throughout the universe. He also thought that humans perceive ordinary time as a measurement of objects in motion like the sun.

Saint Augustine, an early Christian theologian and philosopher, believed that time was only in the mind and a human invention that cannot be applied to the universe or to God. Augustine’s view was that God existed in a timeless void. However, as the human mind evolved into a thinking machine that applies science to philosophical questions, the idea of relativity introduced the opinion that time is a physical dimension governed by physical laws. This opened up a more expansive view of the world and the universe.

I believe that the ancient idea of eternity, endless time, is a very profound and complex aspect of the subject. What seems like the passage of time in a changing world is but an illusion in a three-dimensional space.

It is difficult for humans to visualize space. The standard human experience of space can be described in terms of three dimensions: width, depth, and height. Once the fourth dimension of time is added to the equation, parallel dimensions and universes become a clearer possibility in a space-time continuum. This advancement in thought and knowledge reveals the endless nature of time and the continuation of life, defusing the idea of a timeless void. It is a perspective that views eternity as endless time, not the absence of time as Saint Augustine suggested.

We measure the passage of time in seconds, minutes, hours, and years, but this doesn’t mean that time flows at a constant rate. Just as the water in a river rushes or slows depending on the size of the channel, time flows at different rates in different places. Einstein believed that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. In other words, time is relative. So relativity makes it possible, with the proper technology, such as a very fast spaceship, for one person to experience several days while another person simultaneously experiences only a few hours or minutes.

After I delved into scientific theory, I discovered that the idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics suggests that all possible quantum events can occur in mutually exclusive histories. These alternate, or parallel, histories would form a branching tree, symbolizing all possible outcomes of any interaction. If all possibilities exist, any paradoxes could be explained by having the paradoxical events happening in different universes. This concept leads to the conclusion that time travel is possible, and a time traveler should certainly end up in a different history than the one he or she started from. Hence, relativity and ancient notions of time variation and parallel universes are very similar.

My research into philosophy, theology and science inspired me to merge scientific and religious views about time into one reality of infinite time. The Bible contains many time-centered passages and reveals eternity to humanity. Science is also on the verge of discovering the possibility of opening up the fourth dimension of time in order to make breakthroughs in time travel. When these two disciplines work together, who knows what incredible insights into the seen and unseen dimensions of the universe will be revealed. The result will most likely be humanity’s inspiration to attain absolute knowledge of the mysteries of eternity.

The new paradigm of time I discerned is endless time. It encompasses the eternal dimension of the universe that allows for infinite life. This dimension contains the unending transformations of nonstop creation. And life doesn’t have to start in the temporal world in order to be infinite because life is eternal and therefore has no starting point. The illusions of the third dimension emanate from a static view of space and time where objects exist and events take place in a linear sequence. Perhaps one day the next brilliant scientist will be able to mathematically prove the existence of eternity.

About Carisia Switala, MTS:
The idea for Carisia Switala’s book “Eternity’s Secret: What the Bible & Science Have to Say About Time” was conceived of several years ago while she was a graduate student at Harvard Divinity School (of which she is holds a Master’s of Theological Studies from). After a strange experience following her mother’s passing-away, Switala finally reached a point where she decided to write a book focusing on the insights and knowledge she had acquired from her scholarly pursuits. She lives with her husband, Lekan Obadeyi, near Washington, D.C. To learn more visit: http://www.carisiaswitala.com/