I’m thrilled to share Call Me a Woman: On Our Way to Equality and Peace by Laurie Levin. Read on for book details and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card!
Call Me a Woman: On Our Way To Equality and Peace
Publication Date: April 30th, 2021
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Gender Studies
It’s time to raise the bar.
When we give women the same respect and opportunities as men, we give the world its best chance for peace, prosperity, and survival.
Angry about sexism and misogyny and what you personally have endured? Afraid the world won’t get its act together in time to save itself?
Call Me A Woman combines Levin’s personal story, years of research, global studies, and activism.
Inside you’ll discover
- The most important thing parents can do to change the world
- Our unconscious habits that perpetuate inequality
- Inspiring stories to shift resentment to empathy, hope, and action
- The 7 Habits of Equality to speed our way to gender equality and peace
- Inner peace and freedom as you become the solution
Personal interviews with: Lynn Povich, first woman senior editor Newsweek magazine; Maxine Clark, founder Build-A-Bear Workshop; Gloria Feldt, former CEO and President Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NY Times Best-Selling Author; Mark Levin, biotech industry leader, founder, and CEO; Zaron Burnett III, investigative journalist and writer.
If you are ready to become part of the solution, it is time to read
Call Me A Woman: On Our Way to Equality and Peace.
Purchase on Amazon
About the Author
Laurie Levin has been a human rights advocate her entire adult life. Early in her 20’s, she headed the reproductive rights efforts for NOW-St. Louis. She was the Missouri Coordinator for a Department of Peace working alongside Marianne Williamson. She was the Missouri co-chair of Room To Read—a global non-profit that focuses on girls’ education and children’s literacy in Asia and Africa. She was co-chair of the Missouri Executive Women for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign.
Laurie refers to herself as a Transformation Coach as she helps others transform and master their own wellbeing. She specializes in optimal nutrition, healthy weight loss, and the leading HeartMath® stress reduction techniques. She has been a featured speaker on each of these topics at corporations, wellness events and retreats, schools and universities, hospitals, ex-convict re-entry programs, and cancer support organizations.
She has an MBA, is a Certified Coach, and HeartMath® Certified Coach, supporting clients globally to achieve their health and well-being goals.
Laurie spent 25 years in corporate America, leaving as a Vice President of one of the largest U.S. national research companies. She went on to start her own business in the health field in 200l.
International Giveaway: $25 Amazon e-Gift Card
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Welcome to the blog tour for Make it a Double, a collection of humorous and gritty poetry by Randall McNair!
Make it a Double
Publication Date: February 7th, 2021
Genre: Poetry/ Bar Poems/ Non-Fiction
A mug of beer. A tumbler of whiskey. Relish the results of one poet’s reflections during his never-ending journey to the bottom of his glass.
When the status quo seems overwhelmingly bleak, a shooter of something strong can lift the mood. So it’s no surprise that this tome brimming with honesty is best served alongside the hair of the dog that inspired it. And down its path through darkness toward low-key revelation, this book for adult readers inspires laughter to ease the pain and peculiarities that accompany ordinary existence.
Embracing booze as his mistress and life’s absurdities as his muse, award-winning poet Randall McNair crafts a series of evocative pictures from his routine perch on a barstool. Refusing to shy away from the lows of the human condition, his blunt words cut to the heart of everyday struggles.
If you’ve ever spent time pondering existence through a bottle, the touch of blue in McNair’s paired despair and optimism will strike a chord.
Make it a Double is the humorous second volume in the Bar Poems series of gritty verse. If you have a raw love for life, raunchy rhymes, and creative drinking, then you’ll adore Randall McNair’s unique slant on poetry.
Available on Amazon
About the Author
Randall McNair, described by his inner circle as Poet Laureate of the Absurd, spent the better part of a decade drinking himself silly at the Swinging Door Saloon in Tustin, California. While there, he was inspired to put pen to paper by a combination of Charles Bukowski, Billy Collins, Sharon Olds & the muse at large. His Poetry CV includes a BA in English (Creative Writing) from CSU Long Beach in 2002, the 2002 Key West Literary Seminar’s Advanced Poetry Workshop with Sharon Olds, the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar’s Advanced Poetry Workshop with Billy Collins and the 2019 Southampton Writers Conference 10-day Advanced Poetry Workshop also with Billy Collins. McNair’s work has been published in both American and Canadian literary journals. He lives in Alameda, California, with his wife and young son.
Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
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Date Published: November 4, 2020
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Bullying and cyberbullying is on the rise. Face-to-face interpersonal skills are declining. Narcissism is increasing. Not only do studies show these distressing facts to be true, but we see them in the news and in our own lives. Lynne Azarchi, Executive Director of Kidsbridge Tolerance Center, has the answer to these growing problems: teaching our children empathy. In her new book, THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE: Coaching Children To Be Kind, Respectful and Successful (Rowman & Littlefield; November 4, 2020), Azarchi provides the tools and strategies families can use to give their kids the gift of empathy – simultaneously setting them on the road for a more successful future and changing the world for the better.
Empathy: The Ability That Enriches a Lifetime
By Lynne Azarchi
Looking back, I guess I was always the Empathy Girl, who grew up into the Empathy Woman.
My empathy could have gotten me into serious trouble as a kid when my uncle took me to a Yankees game in the Bronx. I was having fun until the crowd started to boo the opposing team. I asked my uncle why the crowd would do that. “There is no reason and it isn’t nice!” I protested. His eyes widened and he gave me a funny look, at which point I realized I may have been just about the only Yankees fan with that line of thought. Fortunately, I didn’t voice my concerns to anyone but my uncle, because other fans might have gone bonkers!
Then, in my twenties, the movie Halloween (1978) came out. I felt like I was those poor young female victims, and that was just from hearing about the movie from friends and seeing the trailers. A masked slasher hacking teenagers to death and dismembering them, with blood and gore everywhere? Why would anyone want to see such a film? I never did. That was way more than I could take.
This innate sense of reacting to what others feel and understanding it in my bones isn’t confined to the world of Hollywood make-believe or sporting events. When I get my morning New York Times, I rip out upsetting photos of children in distress and tearful victims of hurricanes and earthquakes so that I don’t have to look at them more than once. I know it sounds like an overreaction, but that’s how I am wired.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to go to Poland and visit the concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many of my relatives were murdered there by the Nazis, so when I saw the rooms full of hair, thousands of spectacles and suitcases, and other personal items, I took it very personally. I had not expected to look like the photos of many of the female victims, and yet at Auschwitz-Birkenau and all the other museums and exhibits, in my mind, I did. I was overwhelmed by visions of what bystanders could do to other people with wanton cruelty, sadism, and inhumaneness. For two months after I got home, I awoke in the middle of the night with my heart racing and my body shaking from dreams about my visit to a horrific time and place.
But please don’t get the impression that being the Empathy Woman is all bad. Yes, it can be a curse in some instances, but it is also a blessing. It has made me who I am today, a person who volunteers for numerous organizations and is warmed by the glow that comes from helping others. No amount of money could buy all those smiles. Most significantly, it led me to become executive director of the Kidsbridge Tolerance Center outside Trenton, New Jersey, working full time on a labor of love: teaching children, youth, and educators about empathy and empowerment, respect, and kindness.
What is empathy? Simply, it is the ability to “walk in someone else’s shoes.” It is the ability to grasp the world from someone else’s point of view. It is the ability to understand what others see and feel. Empathy requires respect for people different from ourselves.
Granted, I am living proof that people can be hyper hardwired for empathy. (There’s even a technical term for my “condition”; it’s called being an empath.) And yes, I accept that I’m a rarity. Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cambridge University, suggests we place people on an empathy spectrum or quantitative scale. This empathy spectrum or scale would follow a bell curve, meaning that some people have a small amount, some a medium amount, and some a lot. That’s me—a lot.
Almost two decades ago, when I started this work, I read that empathy could not be taught. But I heartily object to that assertion: empathy can be taught. I am living proof that it can. I’ve taught it to more than thirty thousand youths and their educators at Kidsbridge, with an average of twenty-three hundred kids and two hundred educators coming through every year. Note the dashed line above the bell curve line in the figure; empathy can be increased at any level.
And parents, I can teach you.
In fact, you can teach empathy to your children, whether you spend just twenty minutes a week or two hours. No, this isn’t a cure-all. But just a little effort, using proven and effective methods, with a dose of fun, can transform your child into a more sensitive, caring human being. I am an empty nester now; my children Rachel and Jake are both out on their own. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have tried to inspire them with empathy more often, more consistently, and more strategically. I would have closely followed the steps, tips, and strategies that you will read in this book. My kids would have more empathy and would have been better prepared for the future to function both as individuals and as part of a team.
Giving your children the gift of a new video game or smartphone may give them a little enjoyment in the short term—OK, “little” is a big understatement. Seeing a favorite pop star in concert or going to the Super Bowl might be the thrill of a lifetime. Over the years, though, what will that mean to their development as human beings? What do parents really, really want for their children?
You want them to grow into caring adults who enjoy lasting, loving relationships and close friendships. You want them to be able to support themselves and work well with others.
You want children who not only run to see what their birthday presents are but also run to the homeless shelter or a children’s hospital because there’s a child somewhere whose parents couldn’t afford toys for the holiday. You want your kid to grow up to be a mensch, a Yiddish word for a good person or a good soul.
That’s why we need to teach empathy. It’s an ability that enriches an entire lifetime.
This is an adapted excerpt from THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE: Coaching Children To Be Kind, Respectful and Successful by Lynne Azarchi, published by Rowman & Littlefield. © 2020.
About the Author
LYNNE AZARCHI, author of THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE, is Executive Director of Kidsbridge Tolerance Center outside of Trenton, New Jersey—a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering bullying prevention, anti-bias, diversity appreciation, empathy, and empowerment strategies for youth. She is a tireless advocate for improving the lives of at-risk youth in communities across New Jersey. Kidsbridge helps more than 2,500 preschool, elementary, and middle school students and educators improve their social-emotional skills each year. Azarchi has won many awards and her articles have been published both in newspapers and academic journals. She is a frequent speaker to parent and teacher groups, corporations and major educational conferences.
Perception vs. Truth
Spirituality in simple words
For as long as I can remember, I have had an indescribable desire to understand life. Throughout my life, I always felt that something was missing, but I didn’t know what it was.
In simple words, I kept asking myself, “What the hell is this life all about? What is going on? And why?”
Okay, we go through kindergarten, school, high school, and then college; some get married, have children, find a career, buy a house… But the inevitability of death was like a black cloud that forced me to wonder, “What is it all about?”
As I grew up, this desire became a sense of unease at the back of my mind, which made me feel incomplete and restless.
No one, myself included, could stop me from pondering life. I was desperately searching for the meaning of it all. Of course, at the time, I could not tell where such a search would take me or what innumerable hardships I would have to endure. Later, I learned that if I could work out what was going on with me or what was happening to me, things would be much easier. But there was no one available to help me with this, or at least I didn’t think there was.
In retrospect, this longing brought me into “spectator mode”—observation of the theater of life—a situation in which I was looking at life as a though it was a play, but one in which I was participating, meaning that I identified with the characters on stage.
At around the age of thirty, I experienced a critical and overpowering turning point. After going through a confusing period, I woke up one morning with a dreadful emptiness. It felt like a big black gaping hole had opened in my chest. The words that jump to mind when I remember this feeling are, “all dead!” I had a very acute sense of loss, as though everything I had been until that moment was now gone. All I knew and thought and felt about myself and life in general, had died that morning and I found myself living in a bubble.
There was no connection between me, and reality and life as I knew them.
The feeling could be compared to eating food without the senses of taste and smell; without these basic senses, you lose the desire to eat. And in the same way, I lost the desire to live. What followed was a total collapse of mind and body. I experienced panic attacks, and simply standing up was a struggle. What I remember most is that I knew I had to hold on despite the strong desire to completely collapse, let go, and never get up again, because I did not want to worry my family.
Not able to understand what was happening to me, I did not want to get into a situation where I had to explain myself. Deep down, I felt insulated and lonely, and all I wanted was to be left alone.
Exact words failed me, and all I could describe was a state of tremendous fear, loss of control, and restless hell, and an inability to understand any of it. And so, I lived trapped in a kind of furnace that burned me alive. I was completely detached from reality, and my sense of identity was utterly gone as though it had never even existed.
After a few months, I began to see the simple beauty in my surroundings: a blooming flower, the shining sun, or a simple good morning. I welcomed every one of those little gifts that came my way, and I began to see the simple yet wondrous beauty in everything. And so, I learned to enjoy every little thing in all its greatness.
Despite those newly found comforts, I was still troubled because my fundamental questions about the meaning of life remained unanswered; my inability to find the answers meant that true peace still eluded me.
Over the course of a period that was relatively calm, words started to visit me just as I was on the verge of sleep. I felt a compelling need to write them down, and so I did. At first, words would come only at night, but soon, they began to surprise me at any hour. I would hear a word from someone and all of a sudden, an entire scenario would unfold before me, and I would have to write it down. At that time, I went everywhere with a small notebook, ready to write whatever came to me whenever it came. The material was absorbed into me like into a dry sponge, and I finally realized the answers to my deepest questions.
I realized that the missing part I was looking for in my life was myself.
In this manner, short and concise chapters took shape. After a few months, I had enough written words that the idea of a book came to life. Some of the things that I had written took me a while to understand. It took a while for them to crystallize into a book.
The book, Perception vs. Truth, is designed to introduce you to yourself. It is designed to introduce you to a different perspective of you and the world, one that you may not be accustomed to. Furthermore, it is designed to enable you to see how you are influenced and how you can influence yourself and your surroundings.
Perception vs. Truth holds the answers to all the questions that took me on a life-changing journey. I hope that reading it will inspire you to find your own answers to life.
Wisdom of Water
Wisdom of Water means that whatever I write, I’m not necessarily trying to say something concrete. You may say that I am painting with words. My writing is a set of different perspectives on each situation. I am not trying to make a specific point; I just wish to maintain awareness of many different and diverse points of view. Everything is valid; everything is circumstantial according to one’s own point of view.
Wisdom of Water means not getting stuck on words, definitions, etc. Like water, life seeks balance. And so do we. When we understand that there are endless ways to view each situation, and we use our ability to learn from any outcome, we become like water—we maintain our balance, and gradually, over time, we become wiser than before.
If you have an unexplainable yearning to know the nature of the world in which you live, then Perception vs. Truth is the book for you. To know the world is to know the “I” that you are. It is called self-knowledge, and it can only be known by one’s own wisdom.
Never be satisfied with the answers that come from others. Somehow, we learn to place more faith in the wisdom of others than we do our own. Listen to people, but use their answers as a guideline only.
Perception vs. Truth is about being aware and acknowledging yourself, and by doing so, life will become simple. Enjoy the adventure of your own self and discover the depths within, which can give you the answers you seek. Each of us is the expert of his or her life. Remember, whatever comes from deep within comes in the form of intuition, and you have to become more aware of that intuition, and learn to trust it.
Finally, Perception vs. Truth talks about the Promised Land, which we all reside in.
Some say that the vast majority of humans are sleepwalkers—people who live while sleeping. It would be truer to say that they live within an illusion—an illusion of their own individual creation.
Illusion, as one does not know what reality is facing him.
What is the source of it? And how is it created?
If we presume that life is like a dream, we could say that in order to dream, there is a need for a dreamer. There is a correlation between what one thinks and believes, and what one is actually experiencing. The term “illusion” is used because one does not fully comprehend the nature of his/her reality; therefore, we may refer to him/her as being “asleep.” One needs to be “awake” in order to understand. One has to realize that the common denominator in everything that is happening to him/her is simply oneself.
Once you are awakened to the fact that the cause of everything is within you, all your decisions you will make will be directly related to your perspective. Your own perceptions will be determined by this viewpoint. One who succeeds in having no viewpoint at all ought to have a very broad and profound perception. “Ought to” because it is impossible to adopt “no viewpoint” without actually having one. Any effort on someone’s part will constitute adopting a viewpoint; therefore, one is always condemned to remain as he/she is.
Although this paradox seems like a maze with no way out, this is where true liberation resides. True understanding leads to surrender, which in turn leads to freedom. However, when a person wears a mask (a personality, ego), that person cannot be free. Unknowingly, this person values their mask more than their freedom.
The difficulty is how to be free from the mask; free of conditioning.
When someone surrenders to the truth, they stop being dominated by their persona and their viewpoint. A person can give many reasons for liking something but the truth is, we discover what we like; we don’t choose what we like.
Who you truly are and what you love in life is not a matter of choice.