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Apr 30, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: ‘Path to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas’ by David J Bookbinder

Spotlight is my small effort to support upcoming authors in their effort to reach their readers. And yes, it is FREE, however to be featured in this section, you need to go through a selection process, please click here for details.
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“The most profound form of courage is the willingness to face deeply entrenched fears and self-limiting beliefs and to move beyond them" - David J Bookbinder

On a spiritual path myself, I keep looking for fellow traveller who long to be fully present in this amazing journey, we are born into, and often I find them. David J Bookbinder is one such traveler and he shared with me his thoughts in the book form “In Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas”. He is a psychotherapist, writer, and photographer who bring his capacity for inspiring personal transformation to his readers.


When I asked him about the purpose of his book, he says that the primary purpose of Paths to Wholeness is to articulate the best of what I've learned about helping people to become the fullest versions of themselves. It draws on his experiences as a therapist, a writer, and a photographer and combines words and pictures in order to communicate what neither can get across alone. One of the fundamental messages I'm hoping readers receive is:

"Keep going, even in the darkest times. You never know what's around the corner. Something wonderful may appear." - David J Bookbinder

As we discussed further, he said, people have told him to stop writing, over the years - most notably his father but he kept writing anyway. He did stop writing for a decade many years later, when he decided to become a therapist and wanted to hit the ground running by taking trainings and workshops in addition doing the coursework and internships for his degree. But he couldn't stay away indefinitely and the result is the book “Path to Wholeness.”

Find balance, build resilience, and expand your heart with this visually striking guide for successfully traversing the hills and valleys of our existence.

Combining insightful, pragmatic essays in the lineage of Carl Jung and Mark Nepo with 52 award-winning Flower Mandala images inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe and Harold Feinstein, David both shows and tells the tale of a spiritual seeker who, having traversed his own winding path toward awakening, now guides others to find balance, build resilience, overcome fear, and to expand their hearts by listening deeply, inspiring hope, and more fully loving.

BRIEF NOTE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David J.Bookbinder is a writer, photographer, and psychotherapist. His award-winning Flower Mandala images were inspired by the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and the flower photographs of Harold Feinstein, with whom he briefly studied. David has been taking photographs since he was six. He came to psychotherapy after a transformative near-death experience shifted him toward art and healing. David holds Masters degrees in Counseling Psychology and Creative Writing. In addition to 'Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas,' he is the author of two coloring books for adults that are based on his Flower Mandalas, as well as a book about American folk music and three books about computer software.

INSPIRATIONS
I'm motivated by the twin desires of finding out what I think/feel and conveying something I hope is helpful to others. Many of the people who have most influenced me I encountered in the pages of their books or in exhibitions of their work, but as I took in their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and imaginings, my interactions with them felt like a personal relationship. In my own writing, I hope to convey the outline of my own path to wholeness, the teachings that have guided me, and insights I’ve gained along the way, and to offer them in the same spirit that authors and artists from the past have shared their teachings and experiences with me.

CHALLENGES
Condensing each of the essays down to less than 800 words, from original essays that were often about twice as long.

QUOTES FROM THE BOOK


"The most profound form of courage is the willingness to face deeply entrenched fears and self-limiting beliefs and to move beyond them: to see obstacles not as roadblocks but as opportunities for growth. This is how we transition from surviving to thriving, victim to victor. The difference between those who successfully reach the end of their Hero’s Journeys and those who do not isn’t better opportunities, more strength, or superior allies, but the courage to get up and try again, even when the odds seem insurmountable and discouragement feels overwhelming."
I see a great deal of courage in my practice as a psychotherapist, and after years of doing this work, and 65 years on the planet, this internal courage, the willingness to face our demons, seems to me the most profound.

"When I raise the shades in the morning, sunlight filters through the Venetian blinds. When I open the blinds, it comes into the room in a rush.  Joy is like that. It is rolling up the shades, opening the blinds, letting the light in and then basking in its warmth and brilliance, like a cat in a sunbeam."
I wrote this at a very difficult time in my life, when Joy seemed almost impossible to access. Then I understood that it is always there, and getting to it can be as easy and instantaneous as opening the blinds.

"When we are on a path with heart, the going may be no easier than when we are on another path. But we don’t mind. We sense that we are not just passing time because we can feel the path taking us where we need to go. And when we come to the end of our days, we know that our time on the planet has not been squandered."
I spent many years wandering down paths that, for me, did not have heart. Once I found the ones that did, what might have seemed impossibly hard seemed no easier, but none of the effort felt wasted.

"From my refuge of internal silence, I can also better hear what others are saying without words, without even gestures, but with their hearts, and pay fuller attention to the still, silent places in them, where acceptance incubates and from which positive change emerges."
The key, for me, in toning down the noise of the world so I can really listen turned out not to be in the world, but in myself. Once I understood that, everything got deeper and quieter than it had ever been.


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David is motivated by the twin desires of finding out what one think/feel and conveying something he hope is helpful to others. Many of the people who have most influenced me, he encountered in the pages of their books or in exhibitions of their work, but as he took in their thoughts, ideas, experiences, and imaginings, his interactions with them felt like a personal relationship. In his own writing, he hopes to convey the outline of his own path to wholeness, the teachings that have guided him, and insights he has gained along the way, and to offer them in the same spirit that authors and artists from the past have shared their teachings and experiences with him.

When I asked him, how long it took you to write this novel, he says that this book is a collection of essays and images, not a novel. It took him about a year to select and refine the images, six months to match them with inspirational quotations, a year and a half to write the 52 essays, and six months to revise and edit - a total of 3 1/2 years, though he confesses that he had spent 10 years creating the body of images from which he selected the 52 used in the book.

His favorite spot for writing is at his cluttered desk, in front of his computer screen.

“It took me many years to fully understand that writing is a job, like any job, and that the first step in completing any job is showing up for work. My desk is where I show up for the work of writing, and also for the joy of it.” David J Bookbinder

However, he also likes writing on trains (nobody can interrupt me), at artist colonies (it's really my job to get writing done there), and in Paris, where art is in the air like no other place, he says, he has been so far.

He has four unfinished books which he would like to complete: A novel about coming back from a near-death experience; a nonfiction book about attorney theft of client funds; a coming-of-age novel structured around birthdays; and a book of photographs and stories about New York City street people in the 1970s.

He would also like to do a short book of images and essays around aging, using a series of leaf photographs as the visual metaphor. As for timeline, that remains to be seen. He says, he can typically only do one major task on top of my work as a psychotherapist, and interestingly he himself is not sure which of those projects he will tackle next.

SOME INTERESTING FACTS
Celebrating Birthday
In 1993 he had a near-death experience that changed his life.

He returned to motorcycling three years ago after a 33-year hiatus.

He is a Buddhist who has been an avid science fiction fan since age of 10.

His three favorite places are: the mountains near Abiquiú, New Mexico, where Georgia O'Keeffe lived for many years; Paris; and the towns and farms surrounding Hamilton, New York.

TWO BIG THINGS OF LIFE
The more recent achievement is becoming a psychotherapist starting at age 51. In this occupation, I have helped many people over the past 15 years, far more than I might have in my previous careers. Overall, I think my biggest achievement is transforming from a person locked in a shell of shyness into one who thrives on connection.

FAVOURITE BOOKS
GENRE: Literary and Science Fiction
His favorite genre is fiction, and within fiction he is most inclined toward literary fiction and science fiction.

BOOKS:
In the literary fiction realm, he has been drawn to the novels of Haruki Murakami like “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” and the “End of the World”. These books, he says blends real-life scenarios with fantastic and imagined ones in a way that is unsettling at the same time as it's profound, and his work stays with me long after the last page has been read.

In science fiction, choosing one best-loved book is also impossible, but ‘Son of Man’, by Robert Silverberg, stands out as one book that permanently shifted the way he sees human beings and our legacy.


TO BUY David J Bookbinder’s book “Path to Wholeness:Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas” … CLICK HERE
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– by Shashi 
Works for a Multinational Infrastructure Consultancy Firm
Speaker | Author of “Songs of the Mist” & "Kuhase Ke Geet "
Haiku Poet | Writes India’s #1 Spiritual Blog “Shadow Dancing With Mind
(Global Ranking #36)



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