Everyday life has never been more challenging and it’s easy to lose sight of who we are and who we want to be. In Spirituality, Healing and Me, Ilana Estelle draws on her experiences of emotional, mental and physical disability to show how tuning into our spiritual side can improve well-being, heal our minds and set us firmly back on track.
Ilana shows how focusing on values such as understanding, empathy, compassion, tolerance, kindness, creativity and acceptance can help us find our inner calm.
Packed with inspiring messages and real-life vignettes, Ilana’s book shows how spirituality can help us navigate even the roughest waters.
•Improve emotional balance and wellness
•Boost confidence and self-esteem
•Stay self-aware, grounded and patient
•Appreciate life and each other
•Accept changing circumstances
•Enhance positive emotions and personal healing
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Ilana Estelle wrote a very straightforward book that dealt with many topics such as mental health, global warming, covid, achieving inner peace, and much more. Even though Ilana gave her opinion on various these subjects, in no way did Spirituality, Healing and Me come off as preachy. In fact, she made it abundantly clear spirituality and religion are not the same. You’ll have to read Spirituality, Healing and Me to read her explanation on each and how to become more spiritual.
Many points were made in Spirituality, Healing and Me that I 100% agree with, and I’d like to share a few of those with you so you, the potential reader, can get a feel for the book and its content.
You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual.
Fearing death can cause a person to stop living life to the fullest.
Perform random acts of kindness without expecting anything in return.
Listen more. Be respectful.
We must value nature and help it to survive. Our existence depends on it.
Covid and the pandemic are real, and so is global warming.
I also agree with Ilana Estelle’s “Natural Stress Remedies.” (read the book to view them)
I appreciate every passage that dealt with mental health. Our society needs to talk openly and embrace the mental struggles people face. As a person battling inner demons, I love how the world is no longer shying away from mental health issues.
I encourage everyone to read Spirituality, Healing and Me byIlana Estelle and start their journey to a more spiritual life.
Heart Rating System: 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) Score: ❤❤❤❤❤
Ilana was born with a disability she didn’t know she had until the age of 46, when through her medical notes she discovered she had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 2.
That discovery turned out to be a unique and life-changing experience that has forced Ilana to stand back and look at her life experiences differently. On her late diagnosis, Ilana set up her website The CP Diary and uses her experiences to explore her emotional and physical health, with an inspiring message advocating resilience and change.
Ilana likes to spend her days writing and blogging about anything that contributes to her health and well being. She is an animal advocate and is passionate about environmental issues. When she is not writing to tending to her blog, Ilana enjoys days out exploring the Yorkshire countryside. Ilana lives with her husband and their much-loved cat, in Yorkshire. Her grown up son and daughter both live in London.
What if you were given the chance to rekindle the flame with your first love? What happened to all those girls who were mean to you in school? Should Hannah Jensen take the chance of attending her high school reunion to find out?
Hannah hasn’t been back to her hometown in more than twenty years. Now, a widow, raising a teenaged daughter, she has the opportunity to go home for her twenty-fifth high school reunion. The invitation to the reunion stirs up a lot of old memories at the same time she is dealing with loneliness, the challenges of single-parenting a teenager, people who want to “set her up” with eligible men, her own insecurities, and her eccentric family.
The story interweaves the present with scenes from Hannah’s past and her fantasy of “happily ever after” with her high school boyfriend in a humorous and entertaining manner. Her feelings from being “shunned” by the cool kids resurface as she reflects back on her time as a teenager. There are several roadblocks on Hannah’s journey from a teenager through her present. The growing pains and amusing situations in which she finds herself are ones to which we all can relate. As she walks the path of self-discovery, she also discovers the most important life lesson of all–her relationship to God.
Award-winning author Ellen Fannon is a practicing veterinarian, former missionary, and church pianist/organist. She originated and wrote the Pet Peeves column for the Northwest Florida Daily News before taking a two-year assignment with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. She and her retired Air Force pilot-turned-pastor husband have been foster parents to more than 40 children, and the adoptive parents of two sons. Her first novel, “Other People’s Children,” is a humorous account of the life of a foster parent. She is a regular contributing author for One Christian Voice, and her stories have been published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series as well as Lifeway’s Open Windows devotional booklets, among many other publications. Her third novel about a veterinarian entitled “Don’t Bite the Doctor” will be released in 2021. She lives in Valparaiso, Florida, with her husband, sons, and assorted pets.
What is your next project? My next book is called “Don’t Bite the Doctor.” It’s about the adventures of a young veterinarian.
What genre do you write and why? I like writing fiction because I can use my imagination.
Take a wild megalomaniacal trip into the American spiritual and Cultural Revolution of the 1960s-1990s, as a young southern man gives fresh perspective to the propaganda, bad marriages, a collection of strange gurus and some bizarre mystical places. For many years, author W. Boone Hedgepeth was a magnet for unusual occurrences of an ethereal nature which vigorously affected the world around him. Suffering a life threatening illness and after a near death experience, Boone goes on an adrenalized journey from the American south and across the country seeking answers. Here, force of will and prayer are the proven best weapons against very unusual circumstances. Literally seeking the face of God, the author plunges into the magical medicine of his native ancestors, the new age metaphysical movement, Christian fundamentalism, and other wild and life-changing experiences before coming out of the fires to the other side.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
There is so much I want to touch upon regarding Wild Willful Heart. Please be patient with me as I share my thoughts on many aspects of Boone’s story.
I’m not too familiar with Mormonism (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). I grew up in a Pentecostal church and my minister only spoke of our beliefs. While reading Wild Willful Heart, I learned both religions believed in the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit.
However, Boone disclosed some bizarre facts about Mormonism that had me shaking my head.
1.) For over 100 years, Mormons believed there were six foot tall beings living on the moon because an early church leader named Orson Pratt had said so. This was debunked after the moon landing.
2.)Mormons believed their “magic underwear,” which had Masonic markings on it, was knife proof and bulletproof. It had to be worn everyday to protect the righteous wearer from evil.
I’m not sure why anyone would believe such nonsense but, then again, atheists wonder why people believe in GOD so to each their own, I guess.
Like many people, Boone questioned organized religion. He used words like hypocrite and hypocrisy more than once. I can understand why he used these key words. I’m not saying all churches or church members are hypocrites. What I am saying is I can fully understand why some people are losing their faith in GOD, churches, and religion as a whole.
As Boone embarked on his vision quest, he discussed troubling times from his past. At thirteen, he began to hear voices in his head, which instructed him to end his life. He assumed every teen experienced these voices as they transitioned into adulthood. As a teen, I began hearing voices too. I didn’t speak of them. The voices are scary. You feel alone, afraid of your own mind. Like Boone, I also live with bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I truly believe MORE people should discuss mental health because we need to end the stigma of mental illness. If we don’t, if we shame those with mental health problems, people who are suffering won’t seek help. A person who thinks there’s no help, no understanding, will end their life. I, personally, don’t want to see that happen. Everyone needs the opportunity to feel safe to discuss their issues, to get the help they need, and to live a long, happy life.
As for Boone’s experience with drugs and alcohol, it happens with most teenagers. IMHO, I don’t believe illegal drugs and liquor should be consumed if you’re battling a mental health problem. It can and will make you more self-destructive. Boone discussed this during one of his flashbacks. Boone, I applaud you for being so forthcoming with your struggles with mental illness, mental health hospitals, liquor and drugs.
Apparitions and UFOs
Many people have claimed to see sprits and UFOs. I’m not sure if spirits are real or just a play on eyes, a figment of our imagination. However, if you believe in life on other planets, then the possibility of UFOs is plausible. Maybe, just maybe, spirits are real. And maybe, those sightings of UFOs do hold some merit as well. Bravo Boone, you made me stop and evaluate their validity.
Vision quests are popular because many people seek enlightenment, a connection to all things. They want to find answers, peace, or a purpose in life. Boone went on several and he spoke of the physical, emotional, and mental toll it took on him. It changed his life; it was cathartic. After I read about his time on the mountain, I began to wonder if I could benefit from one. Maybe after reading his trials, you’ll consider participating in one as well.
You don’t have to be a religious person to read Wild Willful Heart. You only need to have an open mind and few hours to spare on this (under) 300-page story.
W. Boone Hedgepeth studied history at the University of South Florida for four years. He spent 35 years in business and copywriting, with 11 years as a lay minister in his free time. His favorite places are the mountains of North Carolina, and any good waterfront restaurant in South Carolina. His hobbies include classic cars and RVs, listening to swampy blues, and reading the Bible. W. Boone Hedgepeth lives with his wife on the coast of South Carolina.
For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Patricia)Originally from Massachusetts, I moved to Iran at the age of nine. I later returned to the States and completed my graduate work at San Diego State University. I have taught English in Iran, California, and Hawaii, owned and operated The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffee House in San Diego, and directed English language programs for international students for the University of Hawaii. Due to the many misconceptions about Iran and Iranians, and considering my direct experience and knowledge of the people and their culture, I decided to begin my writing career with a novel that portrayed them in a more realistic light.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(Patricia)I began my writing career late in life and have not experienced writers block to date. If I don’t feel inspired, I just wait until inspiration comes.
Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(Patricia) I write literary fiction and non-fiction books. I am also retired and live in Hawaii, enjoying the beautiful nature, yoga classes, good friends and good books.
(Kam) I’ve been to Hawaii only once (so far). It’s absolutely gorgeous and the people are very friendly.
I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Patricia)Everyone who knows me, also knows that I write and completely supports me. I have done local presentations and book signings that were well attended.
5. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
(Kam) Thank you for the list. You’ve gave me (us) some new authors to possibly fall in love with.
If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?
(Patricia)I would love Veil of Walls to go to the big screen. No preference on actors.
Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Patricia)The Nature of Love, a novel tells the story of five Iranians whose lives intersect as they learn about love and life during the tumultuous 2009 Iranian election protests.
Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
(Patricia)I have a novel and a nonfiction book on Amazon.
Veil of Walls, the struggles of an American girl who visits her father’s relatives in Iran and not permitted to return home.
God Outside the Box – a spiritual memoir.
If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, The Celestine Prophecy, or The Way of the
Peaceful Warrior, you will likely enjoy this true story of a journey to spiritual awakening.
An ordinary woman finds extraordinary potential within herself in this narrative of spiritual awakening and exploration.
Born to a New Jersey Catholic mother and an Iranian Muslim father, author Patricia Panahi was never quite sure exactly who she was from the very beginning. This early confusion would lead her on a rollercoaster ride of a spiritual journey for years to come – an amazing journey chronicled in her inspirational new book, God Outside the Box: A Story of Breaking Free (published by AuthorHouse).
After exploring a variety of religions and traditions, Panahi discovers that none of them truly “speak to her soul.” She begins to question if there really is a God at all and, finding no answers to satisfy her, becomes an agnostic. But at 28 years old, Panahi’s world is rocked by a surprising diagnosis: cancer. Feeling lost, alone and afraid, groping through the dark with a weak-willed Persian husband and without a religion or solid tradition to turn to, she begins the search for a spirituality that would fill the large and heartbreaking void.
At 32, Panahi’s painful childhood memories – her mother’s abandonment and her forced relocation to her father’s country – resurface. She is able to heal and find inner peace, but discovers that her “journey of transformation” has only begun when she makes contact with her inner voice and begins to experience extrasensory perceptions. It is after a particularly vivid dream that Panahi opens The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffeehouse, where her spiritual search continues with the help of the many fascinating people who come through its door.
As her spirituality grows, so does the gap between Panahi and her husband. Her inner voice and visions call her to move to Hawaii, where two years later she meets and marries her “true soul mate” and begins a new life. Her happiness is challenged quickly, however, when she is suddenly afflicted with Bell’s Palsy – a paralysis of one side of the face – in 2002. As traumatic as this experience is, it finally leads her to face her doubts and fears while fully committing herself to her spiritual path and purpose in life. Firmly rooted and happy, her life is shaken up once again when she receives the call to let go of her secure career as a university faculty member and become a writer.
Today, this move still terrifies Panahi, but she feels that she has made peace overall with her new calling. “A spiritual life is not about complacency and comfort and self-satisfaction,” she says, “but the ability to accept and flow with change.”
It is Panahi’s hope that her readers of God Outside the Box will “gain a new understanding of their own search for answers” as she unveils “universal truths and discovers a rich spiritual path that crosses the boundaries of culture, tradition and belief.”
Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Patricia)I hope my first novel, Veil of Walls, can provide readers with a new perspective of a country and a people.
Anahita Sadeghi, a typical, happy-go-lucky American ten-year-old, was not too keen on traveling to the other side of the world to meet her father’s family. But her month-long vacation turns into a nightmare when her Persian relatives refuse to let her return to the States.
She is forced to deal with the dizzying maze of social customs, resist her grandmother’s efforts to mold her into the proper Persian girl, dodge her aunt’s schemes of marriage, and fight to make her own life choices until she can find a way to return home. Longing for her friends and her freedom, only the enigma of her missing aunt, Scheherezade, gives Ana a glimmer of hope of one day escaping Iran for good.
Will Ana’s family marry her off and forever bind her to this country, or will she break free of Iran’s walls and find her way back to America?
The blue Aerogram with its scribbles of Dad’s native language lay open on the breakfast table like an ancient spell. It was 1962, a nippy New England morning just like any other in the snow season; snug in our thick winter robes over a Sunday feast of johnnycakes, corned beef hash, fried eggs and the rich aromas of percolating coffee and hot cocoa, my parents dropped a bombshell – we were going to Iran. Just for a month, they said. In March – for the Persian holidays. A surgeon at St. John’s Hospital in Lowell, Dad rarely took more than a week off, but the Shah of Iran was abolishing the feudal landlord system – whatever that meant – and my father had been summoned home on family business.
I was ten and not too keen on traveling across the globe to meet a slew of strangers, so I whined and pouted and complained that I’d miss a whole month of school, that Grandma and Grandpa promised to take me to Beantown to watch the Saint Patrick’s Day parade, and we had to consider Angel, our cocker spaniel. Wouldn’t it be better if I stayed with Grandma Brigid? But Mom believed it was an opportunity for me to finally meet my Persian relatives and all my pleading landed on deaf ears. So they dragged me away from my shady New England neighborhood to the walled-in courtyards of Tehran.
March 1962 – Tehran, Iran
I stood before the dancing flames, unable to move. A row of bonfires crackled and popped. The earthy scent of burning brush teased my nostrils; the smoke burned my eyes. Branches of persimmon and pomegranate cast eerie shadows on the courtyard walls. I bit my lower lip so hard it bled.
My cousin nudged me forward. “Jump, Ana. It’s Chaharshambeh Suri – Red Wednesday. You have to purify yourself in the fire to let go of the old year and welcome the new one.”
I fixed my gaze on the flames, my heart skipping a beat.
Parvaneh pushed strands of dark hair away from her face and tilted her head. “It’s safe, Ana. Iranians all over the country are jumping over fire tonight.”
But I’m not Iranian. I grimaced at my cousin, trying to wrap my head around these weird Persian rituals. Her name means ‘butterfly’ in Farsi, but with her rose-bud lips and dark liquid eyes, she looked more like a princess out of One Thousand and One Nights. I thought her name suited the way she flitted about without a care in the world.
Roxanna and Kianoosh, my other cousins, their faces luminous in the firelight, called out and waved from the far end of the line. I liked Roxanna. The girl had spunk. Kianoosh, on the other hand, thought he was God’s gift to the world.
“Go on, Ana. You’ll be fine, sweetheart,” Mom called from the veranda, her ginger curls dancing in the breeze. A nurse of Irish descent, Mom loved Iran – the food, the hospitality, the multicolored Persian carpets. She waved in a big arc, her face lit up with a smile. A smile that always calmed and anchored me. She looked happy this evening, glowing even.
But tonight her smile didn’t work its magic on me. My leg muscles tightened further. The family didn’t understand just how much a burn hurt. How it ripped your skin. I pictured the flames licking at my feet, my dress catching fire and going up in flames. Why did Dad have to bring us here?
Parvaneh poked my arm. “Trust me, Anahita. You’ll be all right.”
I felt trapped, still not sure why my cousin insisted I jump into the flames. Trying to buy time to calm my jitters, I cleared my throat and spread my hands. “Why do they call it Red Wednesday when it’s Tuesday night?”
Parvaneh rolled her eyes. “The night before Wednesday is Wednesday night. Everybody knows that.”
Like many other things that everybody knew in Iran, this made no sense. After two weeks, I still found myself scrambling to digest this exotic land of my father’s.
With a sigh of exasperation, Parvaneh shook her head and nudged ahead of me. Bunching her skirt, she leapt over the bonfires, chanting the ritual words.
I sucked in air and faced the fire. Sparks escaped, floated for a time like fireflies then winked out. My cousins hollered and whistled. They had jumped across all seven bonfires. No one had burned. No one’s clothes had burst into flames.
A stream of relatives flowed down the steps and lined up behind me. I recalled the ritual words Dad had taught me. The words all Iranians chanted while jumping over fire. Not wanting to look like a sissy in front of my Persian relatives, I pushed back the fear, gathered my skirt, and jumped.
“Zardi-eh man as toe – I give my yellow, my sickness and pallor, to you,” I chanted, the Farsi words feeling strange in my mouth. The flames licked my feet, teasing me, daring me. I sailed over the first fire and landed safely on the other side. Elated, I braved the next one.
“Sorkhi-eh toe as man – I take from you your red, your ruddiness and vitality,” I sang to the flames, imagining the energy of the fire soaking into my skin, my bones, filling me with strength and courage. Then I skipped over the remaining bonfires, chanting the words again and again. I turned to my cousins, arms raised in triumph.
Parvaneh and Roxanna hooked their arms in mine and pulled me to the back of the line “Again,” they said in unison.
I imagined telling my friends all about the fire festival when I got back home to Lexington. Becky, her pudgy cheeks dotted with freckles, would stand there with arms folded and refuse to believe I jumped through flames. But Julie, my other best friend, would probably stare at me with those big brown eyes and say ‘Wow!’
**For a longer FREE PREVIEW of Veil of Walls, please visit Patricia Panahi’s WEBSITE.**
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Good versus evil — Light versus dark — no matter how you phrase it, there’s always a battle of some sort going on – around us and within ourselves. No man or woman is perfect and, it appears, no “angel” is perfect either. It’s an everyday struggle and, at times, the darkness will come ahead but then there’s the glorious days when goodness prevails.
In From Within the Light, the readers will watch the internal and external struggles of the dark and light battles. We shall see causalities, tears shed, and the possibility not everyone is truly gone (cliffhanger).
We also witnessedquite theHUGE REVELATIONS. Hint: One surprise made me think of the popular saying,“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Another bombshell had me saying, “Umm, I didn’t see that one coming!” (Chapter 21)
I will say for those who love non-stop action with hardly any quiet moments, then you’d hit the jackpot. However if you are like me and want a bit more smooth sailing moments to help you drift off in la la land , then you won’t want to read this before bedtime. Seriously, Clemy went from exiting the metaphoric starting gate to Mach 1 quicker than I could make supper. Again, not a terrible thing for those who want a little more bang for their buck.
For you action book junkies, Clemy definitely “brought it” when it comes to the battle scenes with the leaches and The Keepers. They were hardcore where anyone and everyone was thrown into the mix.
I live in the fantasy world just as much as real life these days. I self-published my first book, ‘Purest Light’, when i was 16, which is the first book of my first series, ‘The Sacred prophecies’. The 2nd and 3rd, ‘Darkest Regrets’ and ‘New Beginnings’, were released 2 years later, allowing me to start on a second, more in-depth, fantasy series. ‘The Star’ was released in 2012, with it’s two sequels, ‘The Mirage’ and ‘The Void’, following soon after. I am now writing my newest project which consists of two books. The first being named as ‘From Within the Light’ , which has just been released in October 2016, and ‘Even in the Darkest of Times’ which I have only started recently. I am looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for me 🙂