This is an interesting read about the concept of healing the separation between the body and the psyche. According to the author, Suzanne Scurlock-Durana, we’re separated from our bodies by trauma and by a world that tells us the mind is more important, “purer” and “higher” that our physical selves. This separation becomes a problem because our bodies have wisdom to share with us that can help us heal and function better in our daily lives.
This is one of the few New Age type books I’ve read recently that didn’t put me off right from the start. The author’s tone is matter-of-fact and practical throughout; she doesn’t make grand claims or wave questionable theories at the reader. She begins with a quiz so the reader can determine how disconnected from their body they are. Apparently I’m not terribly disconnected, but I suspect my answers might have been different years ago, before I discovered body-positive, goddess-centered Paganism. Just that realization made me think about how strongly modern society pushes us to disconnect from the material part of our being, and how much harm that’s probably doing to all of us, individually and collectively.
Ms. Scurlock-Durana details some myths society perpetuates about the body: how it’s dangerous, full of pain, negative, dirty, and meant to be controlled rather than to control. The author notes that trauma is a part of everyone’s background and it’s very personal as to what each of us does or doesn’t experience as trauma (what feels like a deep blow to one person may barely affect another person). The review of recent research into the physical and emotional/psychological impacts of trauma was eye-opening.
The main part of the book focuses on what the author calls the “wisdom areas” of the body, with one section for each: the heart, the gut, the pelvis, the legs and feet, the bones, and the brain. Each section includes a meditation for the reader to do at home in order to reconnect with that area of the body.
Much of the book consists of descriptions of the author’s clients, detailing how she helped them release trauma from their bodies and psyches. I found most of them to be interesting reading, but I did spend a lot of time wondering what they had to do with any reader’s personal healing journey via the book. The author’s implication in each case was that the healing was not something the client could have done on their own, even with help from a resource like this book.
In addition to the meditations in each chapter, the author provides a four-week program involving daily journaling along with various repetitions of the meditation. She includes helpful questions to get the journaling started, and I can certainly see how this kind of focus on the mind-body connection could be very healing.
I do need to share with you my experience with the meditations, because this is something I’ve not come across before. I’ve read a lot of books that included free meditations to be downloaded from the author’s website. It’s a common “perk” that comes with a lot of books these days, and one that I usually enjoy. This time, however, when I went to the author’s website and downloaded the meditations, I received an e-mail shortly afterward that said I had been subscribed to her e-mail list. Now, I didn’t sign up for her e-mail list. Nowhere on the download page did it say I was going to be added to her e-mail list if I downloaded the meditations. I’ve been to websites before where I had to sign up for a mailing list in order to get some kind of free download, but that has always been made clear up front. I really don’t appreciate the kind of underhanded marketing this author has set up. Maybe an ethically-challenged marketing consultant told her to do it. I don’t know. But to be honest, it left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I’m not likely to read anything else she writes. These days, with marketers trying every trick in the book to get us on their mailing lists, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I had really expected better from an author who claims to be all about healing, connection, and respect.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In response to Laura's review, the author has fixed the website with thanks for pointing out the problem!
~review by Laura Perry
Author: Suzanne Scurlock-Durana
New World Library, 2017
pp. 202, $16.95