Reviews

EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS:    The Circle of Healing: Deepening Our Connections with Self, Others, and Nature

“The essential adventure of our time is the rediscovery of our interconnections with all life. For all who would reclaim the wholeness of our world and of our selves, Cathy Holt is a trustworthy guide. The Circle of Healing provides a wealth of stories and counsel to help us come home to the power of life within us. This book can reconnect us to our own vitality–and to all our relations.”     – Joanna Macy

 Publishers Weekly, June 12, 2000:

From wedding bands to campfires, circles symbolize wholeness, continuity and union. Drawing upon the positive qualities of circle imagery, Cathy Holt, a biofeedback therapist with a master’s degree in public health, presents The Circle of Healing: Deepening Our Connections with Self, Others, and Nature. She vividly outlines the significance of support in spiritual and physical healing, interspersing personal experiences with examples from studies by mainstream and alternative health professionals (including Caroline Myss, Dean Ornish and Christiane Northrup). Intriguingly, this book does not have a beginning, a middle or an end; one is invited to turn to any page and start reading–and healing.

NAPRA ReView, Sept/Oct. 2000:

A self-help book and motivational guide extraordinaire! There is so much useful information, conveyed in a broad spectrum of approaches, and all organized in a graceful flow. The author suggests readers begin this book in any section that appeals at the moment, read as much or as little as needed at a time, and even open it at random. I opened to pages on “Transformation,” and read, “Become the editor of your illness…rephrase and delete self-defeating words from your mind, your heart, and your spirit.” Editor–a perfect image for us writers! Opening to “Body Posture,” I read, “How would a woman stand if she believed she had something worthwhile to offer?” And under “Lighten Up,” a long list of suggestions contained two meant for me: “Lighten up your grip on the steering wheel” and “Lighten up your touch on the keyboard.” What a difference I felt, in my hands first, then my shoulders and neck! Truly, this holistic health educator has something to offer for everyone.

Midwest Book Review, Internet Bookwatch, November 2000:

The Circle of Healing is extremely well written and presented, accessible to (and recommended for) students and practitioners of a do-it-yourself holistic health approach to personal health and well-being.

Bloomsbury Review, November/December 2000:

The book is not so much a work of self-help as one of meditation, and it brings its various ideas together in a compelling and readable manner. This is a book far more concerned with helping the reader to recognize commonalities than with focusing on differences and contradictions. In The Circle of Healing, Holt draws from areas as diverse as Buddhism, rituals performed by the kahunas of Hawaii, biofeedback, even the connections between humans and insects. In each case, she presents an idea to the reader for consideration, then draws from various sources not so much to prove and convince as to enhance the reader’s receptivity and understanding. . . creates an atmosphere of open learning. .  .One particularly effective device the author uses is placing fill-in-the-blank sentences or questions at the end of each section. . . it invites the reader’s participation in a completely unthreatening way, and provides a good summation of the material without condescending in any way to the reader. . . it is a book for people in search of alternative ways of thinking about their circumstances and environment. The Circle of Healing ends with an appeal to the reader to step outside the bounds of our materialistic culture and consider our place as part of nature and the larger community. . . Busyness creates the perception that a scarcity of time surrounds everything that we do, whereas a life of giving and sharing with others evolves the idea of consciousness and increases our sense of obligation to the species and the planet. I recommend this book to anyone looking to set aside a few minutes for quiet contemplation and reflection each day. There’s at least one useful idea for everyone.

New Age Retailer, Jan/Feb 2001:

All aspects of our lives are involved with our healing, yet healing truly comes from the inside out. In The Circle of Healing, Cathy Holt explains that the circle of healing is a metaphor for the interconnectedness and unity of our inner and outer selves, other people, and nature. Holt is a holistic-health educator, a biofeedback therapist, and an ecological activist. She provides new ways to approach various aspects of life–from judgment and gratitude to anger, fear, and even breath–in healing ways. Holt argues the most important part of healing is to listen to our bodies to determine what they need.

“We live in toxic times, physically, mentally, and emotionally,” Holt writes. “Healing involves mind, body, and spirit.” Her intelligent, delightful book is accordingly chock-full of steps to change and heal virtually every aspect of our lives, through support groups, inner dialogues, rituals, mantras, and use of sacred space. Suggestions are drawn from many different cultures, religions, and ages. Holt presents so many appealing ideas that the book can be overwhelming if read straight through. I found it better to read the book daily, one topic at a time, learning nuggets of wisdom and inspiration for healing and changing my life, step by step. Holt also stresses the importance of relationships with other people and with nature. The book concludes with a resource list with suggested books, videos, and spoken audios for additional seeking. I will recommend The Circle of Healing to customers seeking to improve their lives, heal their wounds, and continue their spiritual journey.

Independent Publisher:

…Holt provides insight into her own complexities and shares with readers her strategies for overcoming personal flaws. By quoting the lessons of capable healers (practitioners from indigenous cultures, spiritual traditions, poetry, and personal anecdotes) within her text, Holt adds to the worth of this healing book. A charming, soothing book, Circle of Healing provides an uplifting approach to resuming health.

Rowse Reviews, October 2000

…thoughtful, serious and well-written…covers a broad range of holistic thought…a foundation work in the (self-help) genre, well worth adding to your collection.

East Bay Express, Sept. 29, 2000

…a take-anywhere self-help guide whose clear language and hundreds of simple tips could make hardened cynics start calling drinking vessels half-full.

EarthLight Magazine: Fall/winter 2000

…a workbook for the body, mind and spirit connection…filled with unique information, abounds in small but powerful tidbits that are both practical and profound…Through specific stories and examples, Holt reminds us of the sometimes forgotten lessons to be found in relationship to such creatures as caterpillars, mosquitoes, and birds, and delivers ways for us to personally invoke their healing power.

Mindquest (Lightword Publishing’s Recommendations of Best Books, Music, Videos), winter 2000:

Intelligent mix of nature awareness, intimate stories, holistic health, and wisdom from diverse spiritual traditions…Includes practical mind-body methods for coping with the toxic times we live in, based upon the author’s experiences as a biofeedback therapist and environmental activist. The reader may open to any section and receive helpful insights.

Magical Blend, April, 2001:

Nature is a circle. Life is a circle. Western civilization has attempted to make it all a square, but it short-circuits that way. This is a sweet, gentle book. It serves to remind us that if we flow with the circle of life, we can tap into the power of nature and our own inner knowledge. We have the power to create a joyous and fulfilling life. This book is a lovely, amiable nudge, reminding us to stop complaining and stop being a victim. It shows us that we can take control of our lives, achieve change, relax, and enjoy.

SPEX (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association), April 2001:

This book is a terrific reference for those who are seeking healing and improvement in their lives. The author provides us with a kind of primer on becoming more grounded by sharing personal stories and by describing the teaching of many well-known spiritual practitioners such as Thich Nhat Hanh and Sun Bear…. With a reminder to us of the importance of being connected to nature, Holt outlines the tools essential for finding peace through personal awareness.

First, she underscores the importance of and how to go about healing oneself by making intentions, finding support and forming healing community. Then she describes the steps required for physical healing such as honoring, communicating with and relaxing the body, and breathing properly. She follows this with invaluable guidance on emotional healing including identifying and dealing with the “inner critic,” cultivating gratitude, becoming less judgmental, being open to differing perspectives, and the importance of engaging in work which is truly satisfying. Finally she tells us how to “complete the circle” by connecting most fully with natural guides, invoking sacred space, getting beyond materialism, and … fully connecting with our own best community. … The book contains an impressive list of recommended readings, videos, and auidotapes, as well as contact information for self-help organizations. I highly recommend that anyone looking to make changes in his/her life start with this book and use it as a reference.

The Beacon, March-April 2002

   The Circle of Healing deals with the stress, alienation, and illness that result from living out of balance with nature. Our physical symptoms are the body’s way of communicating with us–of commanding our attention. The key to health lies in listening to these messages from our bodies, other people and the natural world.

Cathy Holt’s writing draws upon the wisdom of indigenous cultures, poets, and different spiritual traditions as well as reminding us of the power of the circle. This book grew out of the author’s work as a biofeedback therapist as well as from her personal spiritual journey and her self-healing process. It contains many individual stories of healing and self-help exercises.

Alaska Wellness, Jan-Feb. 2003

Cathy Holt, author of  The Circle of Healing, is a holistic health educator and environmental activist who leads workshops designed to help others learn “how to let nature heal.” Even with her three decades plus of experience, she is a gracious and encouraging writer. As a society, we all too often compare ourselves to others, thinking we are somehow less. As Holt shares at her web site, “It was a great relief to realize that, even though I often overeat and underbreathe, I still have something to offer. Part of my personal song to sing is the sigh of relief!”

Holt’s book focuses particularly on developing communication skills. She urges us to identify how we really feel (not just how we think we feel), to listen to the variety of our inner selves, to acknowledge all aspects of ourselves, and to move forward to a larger, bigger, wider way of seeing not only ourselves but others and our planet. In all cases, healing is not something that is done to us, but something that moves through us. Quite often the first step to deep healing is silencing our mind chatter and listening to the wisdom our body wants to share. Indeed, how can we expect to really hear others when we do not even listen to the warnings and hints our bodies offer us so freely so much of the time?

Holt offers a variety of stories, exercises, and reassurances. She asks her reader some great questions as she shares her ideas and even some haikus designed to remind us of the wonder that can be found in every situation:

Hello, mosquito.
I don’t need acupuncture
Since you befriend me.

Holt…encourages her readers to truly move into a deeper place of being and relationship with the world. As we balance our bodies, minds and spirits, we balance our environment and the earth herself. We move together as each of us opens to a larger view of who we are and why we are here.