Book Review: A Course In Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson

My latest book to review as a Hay House New Release Reviewer was ‘A Course In Weight Loss’ by Marianne Williamson Available at Hay House.

It was a very interesting book, and quite honestly, enlightened me to the fact that I really have a pretty healthy relationship with food and eating!  Oh sure, I could probably lose a few pounds like most middle-aged women, but I kept reading through the lessons and felt like I had my act together for the most part.   I exercise, cook and eat healthily, don’t have any food addictions or compulsions, and have a good body image.

But I think for women who have serious eating issues and weight problems, this book could be a godsend.  It deals with the emotional/spiritual part of weight loss, which I think is a very important component in any addictive behavior.  Marianne goes through 21 spiritual lessons which will help in surrendering your weight forever.  The lessons are not easy; they call upon you to do a lot of self-analysis and soul searching.  But they are good lessons because they will stick with you the rest of your life.  She helps you to really get to the true issues that are causing you to stay heavy.

This is not a fad “diet” or “lose weight fast” book by any means.  I feel that by following and practicing Marianne’s lessons, you will be well on your way to a healthier mind, spirit and body.  And it will most likely stick with you permanently, unlike that latest diet craze.

~Marilyn Huttunen

Winter Renewal

As much as I like to grumble about winter’s cold, snow, ice, sleet and rain, I secretly kind of like it.   Well, I don’t actually like the drastic weather conditions.  More so I like the changes it can evoke in me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.  I’ve learned, over time, to accept and even enjoy the experiences than only wintertime can bring.

It used to be that I really dreaded wintertime; the short daylight hours, the long, dark, cold nights.  I used to get a form of the winter blues, where it just all seemed so eternally gray and muted.  I would inwardly feel a bit sad.  And I would get in the habit of thinking negatively about everything winter-related.  Kind of a self-perpetuating numbness.

Over time, I guess I’ve gotten a lot more accepting of things, especially those things over which I have no control.  And I think we can all agree that weather conditions are one thing that we can definitely not control.  I started looking at winter with a new perspective, and how it could be used as a time of reflection and replenishment.  Since nature is slowing down and resting at this time, I took my cue from it and decided to do that for myself.

I find that it is a great time for looking inward; meditating, praying, reading.  There are fewer distractions, everything being colder, darker and slower-paced.  I take this time to recharge my batteries, so to speak.  I have learned to not to be afraid of my feelings, to not suppress them.  If I’m sad, I feel sad; mad, angry, frustrated – same thing.  I let it come out and really really feel it.  And then I usually go out for a brisk walk (in wintertime that is the only type of walk you can take!)  Usually this brings me back to a state of  positively balanced calmness.

I find myself cooking a lot more in winter- and really enjoying it.  I usually can be found brewing up pots of bean soup or roasting root vegetables; something that I would never do in summer.  It is so satisfying to make and then savor, some wholesome home cooking.

It’s also a great time to read that stack of books that I’ve put off all summer.  Wintertime really lends itself to reading.  Curling up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of tea, reading, is one of the great pleasures of life.  There are fewer distractions, less activity, less guilt about slowing down.

I guess I have taken Wayne Dyer’s words of advice to heart:  “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  I have changed how I look at winter; and it has in turn changed!

~Marilyn Huttunen

Review: The Power of Intention Gift Edition by Wayne Dyer

I was very pleased that my second book to review as a Hay House New Release Reviewer was ‘The Power of Intention – Gift Edition’ by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer Available at Hay House.  I just have to say that first off, I was struck by the beautiful, uplifting artwork on each and every page.  It is just a beautiful book to look at, and the tactile feel of the book is wonderful too.  It is a soft hardcover with glossy, smooth pages.  Just a delight to hold in your hands to read.

I have the original edition of The Power of Intention, which first came out in 2004.  I have read the book several times through over the years, but even more so, I refer back to certain chapters time and time again to get a little encouragement and kick start once again.  In fact I have two copies of the original; I had to get another one as my first copy was so highlighted and written in, that it was distracting to read!

I have read most of Wayne Dyer’s books, but I have to say that this book is my absolute favorite and has helped me the most.  The message as I see it, is the somewhat paradoxical method of not only taking control of what you think and intend, but to then release it and allow God/Source/Universe to take control.

I really like the Seven Facets of Intention: The faces of creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, unlimited abundance, and receptivity.  Wayne talks a lot about how these intentions create a high level of energy within yourself, and will also be an attractor for like high energy.  The book explains, in a very uplifting and practical way, how to connect with intention.  I like how at the end of each chapter, there are suggestions on how to implement the ideas of the chapter.  Plus, there is Wayne’s lighthearted, humorous take on the whole thing, with funny and heartwarming personal stories.

Even though I have read The Power of Intention many times, this beautiful gift edition was almost like reading a different book.  The calming and enlightening colors and artwork on the pages really added a new dimension to the reading experience.  I felt very calm and centered while reading, and was even able to pick up on certain things and phrases that I had overlooked in the previous edition.

I never thought that The Power of Intention could be improved, or even need improving, but here it is in its glorious gift edition even better than it was before!  I am quite certain that it will take permanent position next to my nightstand, ready to be referred to time and again – this time in living color.

-Marilyn Huttunen

Mad For Clogs

As I was navigating, er, tripping over all of my shoes in my bedroom the other day, I noticed how many pairs of clogs that I have.  You see, I am a bit of a shoe nut.  Well, truth be told, I am a shoe fanatic.  And clogs are a big part of the equation.

I really love shoes – the funkier the better!  As I was realizing how many clogs I own and have owned over the years, it was quite staggering.  You see, I started my love affair with the wooden shoe back in the 70s and it has never waned.  Those solid blocks of wood on my feet have always felt comfortable and secure.  I got my first pair of authentic Swedish clogs back in the 70s and I loved them.  I even used to wear them folk dancing (I was big into disco and folk dancing then).  I guess it really started when I was backpacking through Scandinavia and saw how most everyone wore clogs, even little kids.  I loved the look and it became part of my persona as well.

I’ve been clunking around in clogs-of-all-shapes-and-sizes for several decades now.  The fashion trend of clogs wanes in and out over the years, but I’ve been quite consistent in my clog devotion.  And while I do own clogs with rubber/leather/cork soles, there is just nothing like the feel of the original solid timber on my feet.  I feel a little like Paul Bunyan clomping around at times!

My latest clog acquisition is a hearty fleece-lined pair.  Since my feet are usually freezing in the winter, these are great for sticking the ol’  toesies in and then keeping them high off the ground.  I wear them around the house as slippers; I know, not very glamorous.  But warm secure feet are happy feet in my humble opinion.  Kind of a woodsy, earthy bombshell vibe, so to speak.

So I shall continue to wear my beloved clogs.  I have them in all shapes and styles, for all seasons.  The clog is timeless.  It has been around for centuries, and I am going to continue on with the wood sole tradition.

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” -Carl Jung


A Scatterbrain’s Guide to Meditation

Okay, I confess.  I am really not a scatterbrain in the manner of being flighty and lacking good sense; but I had to come up with a word that would kind of describe the typical manner of thought-transfer in my brain.  You see, I am very much a thinker, an analyzer, maybe even a schemer or worrier at times.  It can be quite exhausting trying to keep up with all these thoughts!  So I am trying to incorporate my own mishmash way of meditation into my daily life.

I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to carving out a specific time to meditate.  You will never see me rising at 4:00 a.m. to sit motionless in the lotus position, deep in reflective thought.  It is just not me.  I know that this is probably the ‘ideal’ way and time to meditate – I’ve heard and read about it so many times that it’s become almost ingrained in my head that this is the only way to meditate.

But I have been realizing that meditation comes in many forms, and can be used at different times.  I had to find a way to work it into my life; something that would resonate with me and that I could stick with.  I didn’t want to have to feel guilty about not carving out a huge chunk of time devoted solely to meditation.

I walk every day and find that this is a great time for reflection and meditation.  I walk alone, and with no distractions (i.e. music).  I just let my thoughts wander as I observe nature.  Sometimes I plant an affirmation in my head and chant it (silently) over and over as I stride.  I also do a lot of thrift store shopping and (surprisingly) find that it’s an ideal place for meditation.  There is something about the rhythm of going through the racks that make my thoughts drift.  I am even able (most of the time) to block out the certain distractions of annoying customers.

Another good time for me is when I am driving alone.  There is something about gliding along in my own little world that brings out meditative thoughts.  I also really love to read, and find that I get caught up in books, which removes my thoughts from my everyday worries.  This too, is a form of meditation.

My absolute favorite though, is napping.  Oh the bliss of a nap!  It has the same qualities as officially meditating, without all the stress of being officially meditating.  Just to lay back, shut your eyes and doze is so calming, relaxing, and restorative.  It gives both the brain and the body a much-needed break.

I think that there are many different ways to meditate; many different ways to ‘enlightenment’.   It’s just finding the way that’s best for you.  In fact, I believe that Buddha is saying the same thing here:

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation brings ignorance.  Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ~Buddha



Cold Water Washing in Cold Weather – Cool!

Being a bit of a laundry renegade, I am ever on the search for laundry procedures that will not only save me money, but preserve the environment AND get clothes just as clean!  As you probably could guess by now, I am an avid clothesline user.  I air-dry 100% of the time, using a clothesline outside in nice weather and drying racks inside during inclement weather.

As far as my washing procedures go, I use my trusty 20 year old washing machine.  It is nothing fancy, but definitely gets the job done well.  I’ve always washed darks and wools in cold water, but stuck to the age-old tradition of washing colors in warm and whites in hot.  I guess this is just how  it has always been done.  Not wanting to mess with housewifery  tradition,  I didn’t want to change the routine lest some evil descend upon me!

One day, in a flash of determination, I decided to wash everything in cold water.  Yes, even whites.  Even towels.  Even sheets. Even underwear.  I know…GASP!  Eighty to ninety percent of the energy used to wash clothes heats the water.  And unless you are washing something that is really muddy or oily, it’s completely unnecessary with the modern machines and detergents we have now.

I have not noticed any difference in the cleaning results using cold water.  Things get just as clean, in fact to my eye they almost seem cleaner.  I may not feel the warmth from the dryer or hot water washes anymore, but that’s okay with me.  Laundry renegades will do most anything to be cool. 🙂