Book Review by Dana Taylor
Book Review by Dana Taylor
Poetry rarely has spoken to my soul, thrilled me with insights, or caused me to sigh. While Rumi and Hafiz have inspired generations of mystics, I’ve sadly been excluded from the club. The last book of poetry I purchased was by Rod McKuen, circa 1970. So it was highly unusual for a poem on my Facebook timeline to grab my attention enough to make me order the book. And I’m so glad I did.
The book is entitled SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT and the poet is CHELAN HARKIN. A sparkling delight in the Divine chimes through the pages, filled with awareness of how much we are missing. Here’s an example:
YOUR OWN DAMN JOY
The price of admission
is your own damn joy.
Please stop denying yourself this
and please stop telling yourself
you’ll only (maybe) get there when you die—-
go there now!
What kind of damn fool
puts off heaven?
Child, it lives in the center of your heart
that endless meadow of happiness and praise.
This world needs you to go there now
to do your part in turning it
into a paradise.
Harkin celebrates the natural world designed by a loving Mother/Father Creator who is shouting at us to look around and revel in the marvelous Universe. She wiggles heavenly hips, serves up buttery potatoes, opens petals to the light. She sees the tragedy of an obtuse humanity and reveals the simple solution.
THE WORST THING
The worst thing we ever did
was put God in the sky
out of reach,
pulling the divinity
from the leaf,
sifting out the holy from our bones,
insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement through everything
a hard commitment to see as ordinary,
stripping the sacred from everywhere
to put in a cloud man elsewhere,
prying closeness from your heart.
The worst thing we ever did
was take the dance and the song
out of prayer
made it sit up straight
and cross its legs
removed it of rejoicing
wiped clean its hip sway,
its ecstatic yowl,
The worst thing we ever did is pretend God isn’t the easiest thing
in this universe
available to every soul
in every breath
Who is this Chelan Harkin? An Internet search pops up her Inner Spirit Hypnotherapy website, where she offers her healing services as a hypnotherapist. Her Facebook pages place her in Washington state and show precious photos of her year old daughter. Her popularity as a poet is obviously on the rise, I suspect largely through WOM (word-of-mouth), which is the very best kind of publicity. She’s maxed out her personal page at 5,000 friends and has migrated to her Chelan Harkin Poetry page.
SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT appears to be self-published, with a second book coming out soon. I expect Ms. Harkin will soon have mainstream media knocking at her door. At a time when the world is coming out of darkness and gloom, Harkin offers an exuberant clarion call to celebrate life, love, and all creation.
Purchase Susceptible to Light at Amazon
art by Sokal Selmani, Image shared from The Cosmic Dancer
Middle of the night stillness made me feel alone in the universe that night of 1982. I sat in my Oklahoma City living room rocking my fretful five-month-old baby, Cary, through another night of ear infection restlessness. We were caught in a cycle, rounds of antibiotic pink medicine. Seemingly better, then flared up infection again. Cary and I were both very weary of her illness.
I’d recently joined a healing prayer group at my church, a whole new concept to someone pretty much attending church to make friends rather than following religious fervor. Agnes Sanford’s classic book, The Healing Light, had been on the recommended reading list. Dealing with a chronically sick baby is incentive for reading about healing and anything to solve the problem. So, I dove into The Healing Light.
Agnes Sanford was a major figure of the Christian Charismatic movement of the middle 20th century. Raised in China by missionary parents, she picked up Eastern ideas of spiritual forces. Later, as the wife of an Episcopal minister, she witnessed the power of healing prayer. Her blended ideas, observations, and experiences became the basis of The Healing Light.
Sanford contended that healing energy is available to everyone. People simply have to learn how to turn it on. She likened it to a light bulb. If the bulb is in its socket, a power source needs to be flipped on to make it shine. Begging and wishing doesn’t turn it on. You can plead, “Please, bulb, please turn on.” Nothing will happen. But, connected to its energy source, the light beams.
She described the Healing Light and how to “turn it on.” It was on that dark night, long ago, I first connected with the Healing Light. As I rocked Cary in the dim living room, I imagined a shaft of divine energy opening up over my head. I prayed for help. I prayed for connection. My hands cupped over her ears and I imagined light rippling from the heavens, into my head and down my arms. The chair rocked and rocked and rocked. My head warmed and buzzed. Energy traveled through my body. That night only my right hand warmed and pulsed. Waves of energy rose in a crescendo and slowly faded. The baby fell limp in my arms and finally surrendered to sleep. I continued rocking a while, knowing something profound had just happened.
Indeed, the next visit to the pediatrician revealed her right ear was completely healed, the left improved. The cycle of infections was over.
That was the beginning of life-long supernal adventures in healing energy. Many modalities have followed, including Reiki and The Reconnection. But, it was Agnes Sanford and The Healing Light that formed the foundation of my life in healing.
The Healing Light Meditation is my latest offering on YouTube to put others in touch with healing energy for themselves. Turn on the light and shine!