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Sunday, November 21, 2021

LUKE BENOIT'S LIFE COACH RECOVERY NEWSLETTERS


Logo by Marlan Warren
Happy (?) Holidays, Fellow Travelers!L.A. Now & Then is a blog created by me, Marlan Warren, to highlight fun and healing aspects of being alive in Los Angeles and beyond. It's been my great pleasure for the last 7 months to assist Certified Life Coach, Hypnotherapist, and Author Luke Benoit (All Storms Pass, Vols. 1 and 2) in the promotion of his newest self-help book and continuation of his Life Coaching Newsletters.

This is my first time out with newsletters and Luke has made it easy because of his already huge body of material that he brings to his fields of expertise. 

Several feature "Greatest Hits" lectures from his YouTube Channel, and the next one will debut this brand new one: 

HOW TO SPOT THE SIGNS THAT
YOUR PARTNER IS A LOVE AVOIDANT. 

Below are two exciting video presentations from his last two newsletters. 


If you'd like to sign up to receive Luke Benoit's weekly newsletters, contact me with your email address via the Contact Form on this blog. Thank you!

===========================

         Quick Anxiety Tapping Instructional Video

What can you do when your anxiety is getting the better of you and you need to calm down immediately?


In this clear instructional video, I present Basic Tapping for Anxiety (which combines elements of EFT and Faster EFT), while demonstrating a Self-Tapping procedure that includes the tapping points on the face and chest, plus an easy example of what to say as you tap.


I believe anyone new to tapping will find this video particularly helpful since it presents the basic building blocks for any topic they need to tap on. 

===========================

Got Life Questions? Need Answers? Ask Luke!

Luke’s Q & A Video Series is starting up!

Send questions to lukebenoit@lukebenoit.com.



November 8, 2021 NEWSLETTER

In this Issue:

Addictive Relationships: Parenting and Childhood Programming



For more info, check out Luke Benoit's Website.

===========================

FACING ADDICTIVE RELATIONSHIPS: PART 2 - PARENTING


To make an appointment for a free phone consultation:

Call (562) 618-3099 or

E-Mail lukebenoit@lukebenoit.com.


Luke Benoit Coaching allows you to walk around the whole life model that includes Finance, Relationships, Career, Personal Development, Environment, Health, Fun, and Creativity. First, we set goals and an action plan, and then the sessions develop according to your needs, integrating the most current trends in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). 


GIFT SOMEONE YOU LOVE!


The holidays are upon us! Gift someone you love who is stressed out with a suggestion to give Luke a call for a free consultation.


For more info, check out Luke Benoit's Website.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: BUZZ KILL BY KATE THORNTON - "Try not to think of corpses..."



“The next time the flowers nod in the summer breezes, and I see honeybees busily going about their business, I’ll try not to think of corpses, betrayals, bludgeoning, and death.” 

—BUZZ KILL, A Toni Carey Mystery 

If Killer Bees didn’t exist, mystery writers would have to invent them. Fortunately for Kate Thornton they do exist, so she grabs their scary potential and runs with it in the first book of her Toni Carey series, BUZZ KILL. 

Blessed with a spunky, horny heroine, this un-cozy mystery unfurls enough red herrings to keep readers guessing, exquisitely detailed moments of horror and revulsion, and plenty of wink-wink humor. Thornton gives us a world so real, it’s hard to believe that it’s fiction. 

Having received an urgent note from her Uncle Horace to visit him in the fictitious California burg of Loma Vista “on a matter of Great Importance,” Toni Carey arrives to find his house trashed; a weird pile of smokey ashes in the closet; and a strapping good-smelling small-town-detective type investigating the fact that her uncle was found alone in a coma.

A semi-retired “bug expert” professor who specializes in butterflies at the local college and tends his own beehives at home, Uncle Horace is an unlikely candidate for leaving himself vulnerable to anaphylactic shock. 

So what happened and who is responsible? 

When a man Toni never heard of turns up dead in her uncle’s shed—undeniably done in by bees—the story officially turns into a Murder Whodunit. Is it only one perp or more than one behind the coma and the death? Who can be trusted? Who should not be believed?

A seasoned magazine article writer, Toni is adept at research. As she cautiously investigates, she encounters enough suspects to remain suspicious of nearly everyone she encounters: Should she take at face value Uncle Horace’s well-preserved lady friend or his “beehive assistant” teenage neighbor boy with the weirdly nonverbal mother? And what about that cheeky, sexy receptionist at the university’s Biology Department? 

Stirred by the electric lust she feels at the touch of a handsome man’s compassionate hand or the sight of a holstered Barretta pressed up against his warm body or the sudden kiss in a biology laboratory from a biologist she just met, the too-long-celibate Toni struggles to sort the truth from illusion when it comes to her feelings vs. her “who’s who?” need for insight. 

Will she end up in bed with the soap-smelling detective or the lightly fragranced bee researcher? Or neither? Or both? 

Thornton’s witty writing keeps all these juggled balls aloft. Her skill with turns of phrases gives jolts of pleasure throughout: 

“After I finished throwing up in the bushes, I ran into the house and started to dial 911, then thought better of that. The guy in the shed wasn’t going anywhere and an ambulance would just be a formality.” 

Oh, and yes, there is a great deal of fascinating information about Africanized bees and bees in general for avid bee-lovers and the bee-curious. 

I recommend BUZZ KILL for anyone looking for a fun getaway from their boring life.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

KATE THORNTON has been writing and editing short stories for years, and now has written both the TONI CAREY MYSTERY SERIES and the KITTY AND COCO MYSTERIES. Her first short story, "Just Like In The Movies", was published in David Firks' legendary BLUE MURDER and nominated for a Derringer award. With over 100 short stories in print, she is retired from the US Army, has been a contestant on Jeopardy!, once kissed French film director Francoise Truffaut, and currently lives with her husband, two dogs, and two cats in Tucson, AZ, where she is working on her next book.

Look for BUZZ KILL and MEDIUM DEAD (Books #1 & #2 in the Toni Carey Mysteries) and KITTY TAKES A CHANCE (Book #1 in the Kitty and Coco Mysteries.)

Check her website http://katethornton.net for new releases, upcoming book signings, panels, seminars and writing workshops.

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Theater Producer/Director/Promoter Marlan Warren & Award-Winning Solo Performer Sherry Glaser slated to speak at the L.A. Women's Theatre Festival

 



Marlan Warren

Theater Producer/Promoter/Playwright Marlan Warren will speak at the eighth annual Los Angeles Theatre Festival Solo Performer Empowerment Weekend via Zoom, which will run from Friday, Sept. 17 through Sunday, Sept. 19.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, Warren will discuss with fellow panelists and moderators the topics "Successful Marketing for Your Solo Show" (11 a.m. PDT) and "Teamwork Makes the Dream Work" (12 Noon PDT).

Adilah Barnes

Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival Co-Founder Adilah Barnes described this 3-day event as "career training from industry professionals, designed to give a boost to solo performers, but will also be of value to anyone contemplating online or live theatrical production in Los Angeles and those who wish to tour in these changing times."

"I've admired the L.A. Women’s Theatre Festival for years," said Warren. "It's an honor to be included in this dynamic esteem-building gathering for women in theater."

Warren produced and directed her plays, "Bits of Paradise: Kochiyama's Crusaders" and “Bits of Paradise” in Hollywood and San Francisco respectively. Both focus on a women's campaign behind the barbed wire of the Japanese American Internment of World War II, and feature an Asian cast. She also penned and directed a "women's self-defense" musical, "Hallelujah Whiplash!" at San Diego’s Marquis Public Theatre, and her comedy about New Age female bonding, "Chasing Sangha," was presented at the Athena Cats Festival in Santa Monica.

As a promoter, Warren offers public relations and marketing strategies for entertainers. "It was a pleasure working with the brilliant solo performer, Sherry Glaser,” Warren said, “because she brings ambition and inspiration to any endeavor."

Sherry Glaser


Sherry Glaser

Glaser, whose "Family Secrets" holds the title of the "Longest Running Off-Broadway Women's Solo Show" will speak on the "Empowered Women: Crafting a Solo Career" panel on Sunday, Sept. 19 (3pm PDT).

Founded in 1993 by Adilah Barnes and Miriam Reed, the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival holds the distinction of being the oldest Annual Solo Festival for women in Los Angeles celebrating powerful women performers.

LAWTF is a critically-acclaimed international festival that has produced over 600 extraordinary solo artists from around the globe. LAWTF’s multicultural and multi-disciplined artists represent such diverse disciplines as theatre, dance, storytelling, performance art, performance poetry, spoken word, mime, music, song, aerial performers and more.





For more the full schedule details and info:
LAWTF Website: www.lawtf.org | Call (818) 760-0408


To Register:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lawtf-virtual-annual-empowerment-week-end-tickets-166196398903

Tuition for the week-end:

$25 until Sept. 3
$30 after Sept. 3

A Zoom link will be sent to those who have completed registration.

For more info: Website: LATWF Website

This event is made possible in part by a Federal stimulus supplement grant administered by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

POET WILLIAM DREW WEINBRENNER REVIEWS "ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 - RAIN AND FIRE"

 



We're excited to share this brilliant, thoughtfully literate analysis of ALL STORMS PASS 2 by author/poet/screenwriter William Drew Weinbrenner:

Inspiring! In the amorphous space between poetry, self-help, aphorism, personal development and mantra lies Luke Benoit’s new masterpiece: ALL STORMS PASS, THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 [Rain and Fire].

Because more than one thing is going on in this work, ALL STORMS PASS cannot be relegated to the Personal Development shelf of Oprah’s Book Club. It is a brutally personal and specific literary work that documents the battles our collective egos fight daily.

Is it poetry? A life-coaching workbook? Affirmations for those in tough times? A memoir proudly cataloguing hard-won wisdom? The artist’s numerous motives rise from his experience as an educator, counselor, and coach. The reader can feel the visceral practicality of truisms like:

If you keep      
doing what 
you’re doing, 
you’re gonna   
keep getting 
what you’re 
getting.

ALL STORMS PASS is not new age, feel-good, escapism. The book is relentlessly pragmatic and unpretentious, boiling down the inner voices of a wide array of personal narratives that prompt the reader to recognize themselves in each profile.

Most personal development books originate from a philosophy or belief system. Without fail, the first step in enlightenment is an obligatory consensus on those values. The premise being that if we can’t agree on what enlightened detachment is, the reader has little hope of finding their way to it on their own from wherever they are.

ALL STORMS PASS takes the markedly different approach: you do NOT need to be a different person, in different circumstances, with a clear vision of nirvana. It gives you permission to be exactly the hot mess you are, owning the circumstances in which you find yourself, and saying right here, right now, just as I am and you are, some semblance of inner peace in available to us - if we’d just have the self-esteem to take it. The meditations do not aspire to perfectionism, and instead embrace what’s real and actual in each scenario.

Unlike the work of artist Barbara Kruger, whose charged slogans are steeped with ironic social commentary in the form of 20th century marketing campaigns, Benoit’s words externalize and objectify the most intimate and corrosive declarations we say to OURSELVES, and then respond - with pragmatic love and humor.

Text layout, in an E.E. Cummings freeform typography, requires the reader to digest each word or phrase in sequence. The text deliberately slows down the desperate eye, and the manic mind, to demand consideration of each idea. Benoit bravely holds up these confessions until the reader sees their own motives, impulses, self-indulgence, mania, self-sabotage and sublimation in self-context.

The reader cannot be ambivalent about the profiles. Immediately, the ear assesses the self in relation to each scenario, triggering judgement, nostalgia, regret, sympathy, titillation, and a detached reflection on all we’ve survived.

In the end ALL STORMS PASS is for anyone who ever needed to manifest the inner voice crazy-making in their head. It seems infinitely easier to be objective when it is fixed on the printed page, and captured tangibly in the hand. In some mystic and strange way, ALL STORMS PASS raises our stream of consciousness to the level of art. Wonderful. 

About this Reviewer:

William Drew Weinbrenner

William Drew Weinbrenner was named "One of Florida’s most promising contemporary writers" by Orange Slice Journal. His book, East of Pouring: Collected Poems 1980-2009 won the Florida Publishers Association 2009 President’s Book Award for Poetry.        

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Recovery Slam with Luke Benoit: Here's the Link to the YouTube Broadcast!



 

On Sunday, Aug. 1 at 11 a.m. PDT, poets came together for a “Recovery Slam” to celebrate the launch of Life Coach Luke Benoit’s second book in his All Storms Pass [The Anti-Meditations] series: Rain and Fire. The live streaming event will feature Benoit reading selected recovery self-help poems from Rain and Fire, along with guest poets who will read their favorite self-healing poems.

In his recent L.A. Now & Then interview, Benoit—a certified Life Coach and professional hypnotist—stated that his anti-meditations are “very purposely written in hypnotic and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) language … self-hypnosis has the power to unlock one’s potential.”

Midwest Book reviewers praised both books, calling the first “an excellent pick for anyone looking for a way to fire their way through life,” and the second “a two-fisted, take-no-prisoners approach to coping with challenges.”

The Recovery Slam poets include Thomas Allbaugh, PhD; Artemis Craig, and Marlan Warren.

Dr. Thomas Allbaugh’s short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in literary journals, including Writing on the Edge; In Touch Magazine; Relief, and Broken Skyline Anthology. He is the author of the chapbook, The View from January and the novel, Apocalypse TV. Dr. Allbaugh is an associate professor of English at Azusa Pacific University.

Artemis Craig is the author of Inspirational Verse for Those Who Hunger and Thirst: A Book of Poems to Feed the Soul. She has her B.F.A. in Screenwriting from USC, resides in Birmingham, Alabama, and is currently finishing her second poetry book, Southern Fried Comfort Food: Recipes to Encourage the Soul.

Los Angeles writer Marlan Warren’s poetry appeared in the anthology, We Accept Donations. She is the author of the novel Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War, as well as a playwright, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker. An excerpt from her upcoming memoir “Tales of Sushi” was published in The Artifactuals Arts and Culture Journal.

Recovery Slam is the brainchild of Warren who is partnering with Nicolas Nelson of Wordsmith Writing Coaches to produce this event via Yardstream.

“We hope to produce more Recovery Slams in the future,” said Warren. “They really fit the themes of Luke’s books, which focus on the power to heal oneself through contemplative verse.”

 

###

More Info:

Read L.A. Now & Then Interview with Luke Benoit:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

RECOVERY SLAM POETRY LIVESTREAM EVENT: Luke Benoit and Friends Celebrate ALL STORMS PASS 2 BOOK LAUNCH with Healing Poetry Readings


 

This Sunday, Aug. 1 at 11 a.m. PDT, poets will come together for a “Recovery Slam” online to celebrate the launch of Life Coach Luke Benoit’s second book in his All Storms Pass [The Anti-Meditations] series: Rain and Fire. The live streaming event will feature Benoit reading selected recovery self-help poems from Rain and Fire, along with guest poets who will read their favorite self-healing poems.

In his recent L.A. Now & Then interview, Benoit—a certified Life Coach and professional hypnotist—stated that his anti-meditations are “very purposely written in hypnotic and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) language … self-hypnosis has the power to unlock one’s potential.”

Midwest Book reviewers praised both books, calling the first “an excellent pick for anyone looking for a way to fire their way through life,” and the second “a two-fisted, take-no-prisoners approach to coping with challenges.”

The Recovery Slam poets include Thomas Allbaugh, PhD; Artemis Craig, and Marlan Warren.

Dr. Thomas Allbaugh’s short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in literary journals, including Writing on the Edge; In Touch Magazine; Relief, and Broken Skyline Anthology. He is the author of the chapbook, The View from January and the novel, Apocalypse TV. Dr. Allbaugh is an associate professor of English at Azusa Pacific University.

Artemis Craig is the author of Inspirational Verse for Those Who Hunger and Thirst: A Book of Poems to Feed the Soul. She has her B.F.A. in Screenwriting from USC, resides in Birmingham, Alabama, and is currently finishing her second poetry book, Southern Fried Comfort Food: Recipes to Encourage the Soul.

Los Angeles writer Marlan Warren’s poetry appeared in the anthology, We Accept Donations. She is the author of the novel Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War, as well as a playwright, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker. An excerpt from her upcoming memoir “Tales of Sushi” was published in The Artifactuals Arts and Culture Journal.

Recovery Slam is the brainchild of Warren who is partnering with Nicolas Nelson of Wordsmith Writing Coaches to produce this event via Yardstream.

“We hope to produce more Recovery Slams in the future,” said Warren. “They really fit the themes of Luke’s books, which focus on the power to heal oneself through contemplative verse.”

 

###

More Info:

ALL STORMS PASS BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.

Click one of these links to watch:

YouTube: Luke Benoit Channel (lukethecoach) https://www.youtube.com/user/lukethecoach

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/luke.benoitlifecoach

Twitter: @marlanwarren   https://twitter.com/marlanwarren?lang=en

The event will be accessible online permanently after the livestreaming.


To Read L.A. Now & Then Interview with Luke Benoit, click this link: 

http://losangelesnowthen.blogspot.com

Thursday, July 22, 2021

New Book Launch Interview: Life Coach Author Luke Benoit re ALL STORMS PASS - ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2: RAIN AND FIRE

What:  Luke Benoit Discusses His New Book In “All Storms Pass” Series on Daniel G. Garza’s "Put It Together Conversations" Show (7/27 at 5pm)

When: Tues., July 27 at 5 p.m.
Where: LiveStreaming Podcast via Daniel G. Garza's YouTube Channel and Facebook, Twitter, Linked In Sites.


We caught up with Luke Benoit, the Life Coach Author whose newest book -- RAIN AND FIRE -- follows up the first book in his ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS series.

We're passing along the promo one-sheet provided by Luke Benoit along with our Q & A Interview. 
These books are definitely worth checking out!

Title: ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 – RAIN AND FIRE
Author: Luke Benoit
Publication Date: May 27, 2021
Paperback: 346 pages      $17.95
ISBN-13: 978-0692222119
Available on Amazon
Author Website: Luke Benoit Life Coach
Facebook: Luke Benoit @lukebenoit.coach
Facebook: All Storms Pass Recovery Books

Contact: lukebenoit@lukebenoit.com

Author/Life Coach Luke Benoit presents ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 - RAIN AND FIRE as a very different kind of Recovery book. Sometimes dark, sometimes hopeful, his thought-provoking meditations confront and explore universal themes of Healing, Addiction, Self-Help, and Spirituality.

This book follows his acclaimed ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS.

“Benoit does not attempt to offer readers magical solutions, but supplies aid as a fellow traveler who has come many times to a crossroads that asks him to choose between Light and Darkness, and he continues to choose Light. A 2-fisted, take-no-prisoners approach to coping with challenges.”
—Midwest Book Review (Book 2)

PRAISE FOR ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS (Book 1)
“The power to change one's life lies in one's own hands. ALL STORMS PASS is thoughtful and powerful reading that will resonate clearly and fully on many levels ... an excellent pick for anyone looking for a way to fire their way through life.”—Midwest Book Review

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Luke Benoit is the author of the ALL STORMS PASS [The Anti-Meditations] series. He is married and lives in Orange County, California as a Certified Life Coach and a Professional Hypnotherapist. Luke has worked in the areas of Recovery, Personal Wholeness and Mental Health for 15 years, and touched countless lives as he helped people achieve sobriety, overcome addictions, depression and raise their self-esteem. He has his B.F.A. in Film from USC and his M.S. in Education from CSU Long Beach.

Luke Benoit Reading ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS (Book 1)
Mystic Journey Bookstore, Venice, CA

INTERVIEW WITH LUKE BENOIT BY MARLAN WARREN 
FOR L.A. NOW & THEN

Q – How were the anti-meditations born?

A - I started writing these meditations as teaching tools and springboards for discussion in some groups that I was running. Initially, they were short and more like 12-Step slogans. They eventually took on a life of their own, and expanded until they assembled themselves into ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS, the first book in the series.

Q - How would you classify the Anti-Meditations books?

A - They are about recovery from trauma with many 12-Step and Codependency references. Truthfully, they are intended for anyone they might help. They are their own animal in that way and hard to classify. But there is probably something in them for almost anyone.

Q - What was the best experience you had launching the first book? 

A – Hearing people from all walks of life say how much the book has impacted them. That has always been amazing and incredibly gratifying. Just last week someone thanked me profusely for the book—saying how much it’s helping and that it moved her to tears. That has always been the most powerful part of the experience to me. It’s very humbling, yet it also makes me very proud to be the channel.

Q - All the anti-meditations seem very personal and also "Universal.”
Is this by design?

A - I can’t really say that the meditations are by design. They gestate very organically, forming themselves, and in that process I really become some kind of channel and they move through me. It’s not like I know what they are going to be or say. In some way, they remind me of haikus with beginnings, middles and resolutions that have a certain rhythm to them.

Q - How would you suggest a reader in need of recovery approach these books?

A - I would say have no expectations. “The Statement of High Self-Esteem” that opens the book is extremely powerful and resonates throughout. With the other entries, I think it’s a sort of “take what you like and leave the rest” kind of experience. Let what hits you hit you. What moves you move you. Not everything is going to be right for everybody. But more than one should create significant, maybe even profound, awarenesses that could be life changing.

Q – All your books have humor. What is your relationship to humor as both Life Coach and for you personally?

A - The idea that sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying is a very powerful concept. I come from very sarcastic people and the energy of that definitely informs me as a person, a writer, and even a coach. There is something always very appealing to me about a Gestalt-ish confrontation that involves humor. It can be really eye-opening for us all.

Q - How close to the bone are these anti-meditations for you?

A – Each anti-meditation comes from my own life experience and what’s up for me at the moment that they are written. I have to get very present when I am writing these—thinking about what I am going through right now and entering into the flow that moves through me. Each one is about what is happening right now in the time that I am writing them.

Q – You are both a professional life coach and hypnotist. Does the latter influence your writing?

A - These anti-meditations are very purposely written in hypnotic and NLP language. Writing for me is always a trance process. I need to be ready and drop into it to be able to generate the work. Self-hypnosis (which we engage in all the time, often unknowingly) is incredibly powerful and can do so much to unlock our potentials.

Q - Which is your favorite anti-meditation in RAIN AND FIRE?

A - The one that I always think of first and really stands out for me is the one about the trapeze. I am proud of it because I think that somehow it’s really insightful about relationships and at the same time I think it’s a really well-crafted poem. I even like the way it lays itself out on the page.

TRAPEZE FLYING [Excerpt]:

so he asked her:

 

SO WHAT WOULD MAKE

YOU THINK THAT THIS

TIME WOULD BE DIFFERENT?

 

and she said:

 

"I just always

get distracted

by the

 

DARING YOUNG MAN

TRAPEZE FLYING

 

when all I wanted

was something to

grab onto

so I could

 

LET GO

 

and someone to

catch me

 

BEFORE I FALL."

 

and he said:

 

“THEN WHY DIDN'T YOU

GRAB MY HANDS?”

 

Q - How did you come up with the second book’s subtitle RAIN AND FIRE?

A - Turbulence. The years during the writing of RAIN AND FIRE were rough for me and full of all kinds of storms. Storms may come in many forms but surviving them all is the trick or key.






Monday, June 28, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: "ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 - RAIN AND FIRE"

If anyone ever told you that you were anything less than wonderful—they lied. 
                         —ALL STORMS PASS: RAIN AND FIRE 
 
Life Coach Luke Benoit has followed up his book, ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS with a second book in the series: RAIN AND FIRE. Warning: This is not a book for the faint of heart in need of recovery from trauma. It’s a two-fisted, take-no-prisoners approach to coping with mental, emotional, and psychosomatic traumatic challenges.

This book offers ways to soothe the suffering and liberate them, if they are willing to face their demons.

As with the first book, Benoit presents verses he calls “anti-meditations” (which are the same as meditations, only different). RAIN AND FIRE continues to riff on therapeutic themes of recovery, addiction, self-help, and personal spirituality. A former psychotherapist with extensive 12-Step Recovery knowhow, Benoit proposes that these anti-meditations may occasionally serve as puzzles—jumping off places for discussion, self-assessment, or prayer.

As a philosopher and poet, Benoit strikes a balance between his own truths and universal truths. Yes, he went through the Valley of the Shadow, but he points out that his experiences are not unique. The question ultimately is not necessarily how can we avoid trauma, but how can we flourish in spite of it?

RAIN AND FIRE’S hybrid of searing poetry, confessional naked rage and heartfelt love is tempered with popup humor that keeps the reader smiling through tears while turning pages. Instead of titles, the meditations have subject-oriented headlines such as:

“When will it be success and how will I know it when it gets here?”

“Today, I will admit that sometimes BEING STUCK IS A CHOICE”

“Today, I will accept that LIFE is not an ALFRED HITCHCOCK MOVIE”

“There comes a time when no matter where you've been and no matter what you've been through, you have to MOVE FORWARD anyway”

And my personal favorite:

I will WALK MY DOG -
no matter what else is
going on.

Even Benoit’s Dedication starts out with a smile:

For my Auntie Cia,
my Mom and Dad
and the Tall Dark Stranger
I thought might bury me
in the basement.
In a poignant, highly personal passage, the author reveals that after writing the first book, he suffered a physical and mental breakdown that was eventually diagnosed as severe vertigo—a health crisis that ended his progress for a time, except in the arena of healing, which eventually did happen. 

Benoit does not attempt to offer readers magical solutions received from On High, but supplies aid as a fellow traveler who has come many times to a crossroads that asks him to choose between Light and Darkness, and he continues to choose Light.

I highly recommend this book to advocates of 12-Step Recovery and those who wish to learn more about it; seekers of recovery from trauma or life itself; spiritual seekers; and poetry lovers.



Title: ALL STORMS PASS: THE ANTI-MEDITATIONS 2 – RAIN AND FIRE
Author: Luke Benoit
Publisher: Luke Benoit
Publication Date: May 27, 2021
Language: English
Paperback: 346 pages $17.95
978-0692222119
Available on Amazon


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Yoko Japanese Antiques Needs Our Support - South Pasadena, CA

Yoko
Japanese Antiques & Fabrics
1018 Mission Street, #2
South Pasadena, CA 91030
(626) 840-1284
Closed Mondays


Yoko Japanese Antiques is an enchanting Old School shop with a friendly, chatty, knowledgeable owner (Lisa) who runs it now that the former co-owner and her mother, Yoko, has passed away. Lisa wears a mask and keeps social distance while telling lively, entertaining stories and overseeing the mass of jewelry, vintage kimono fabrics, Japanese books & DVDS, miniature dolls, and gorgeous carved pieces.

Prices run from a couple dollars on up.

I bought two lovely pins for $8 each.  And plan to return to buy more of these one-of-a-kind treasures.

Twenty-five years ago, I commissioned Yoko to make me a "noren" (Japanese door curtains). She let me pick the fabric, and made it for me. It was on the recommendation of Amy at Ai Restaurant, who had several beautiful noren by Yoko.

Now, more than ever, this lovely shop needs shoppers!

I hope we can keep this South Pasadena gem going.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

THE ARTIFA[CTUALS] MAGAZINE FEATURES L.A.-THEMED NOVEL EXCERPTS BY ADAM NOVAK AND MARLAN WARREN

 


The online arts and culture magazine “The Artifa[ctuals]” is currently running an excerpt from Adam Novak’s upcoming hallucinogenic Hollywood novel, Rat Park (slated for release in 2022 by Red Giant Books). Novak is also the acclaimed author of Take Fountain, The Non–Pro, and Freaks of the Industry through Sunday, April 11 (after which, you can read it in the archives).

On Monday, April 12, the magazine will feature an excerpt from Marlan Warren’s upcoming novel, Tales of Sushi. The story focuses on the attraction between a lonely Caucasian American divorcee and a charming Japanese chef, who forge a cross-cultural friendship amid a lively sushi bar scene in the L.A. area.

“The story is based on my diaries from when I frequented this Cheers-type sushi bar in Pasadena in the nineties,” says Warren, who is also the author of the novel Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged [All’s Not Fair in Love or War].

Editor Aris Janigian created “The Artifa[ctuals]” in the spirit of the Large Hadron Collider: “Our aim is to create a collision space for critical thought and artistic expression, and we welcome fellow travelers on our ever-evolving journey towards ‘a more perfect Union.’”

 Janigian is an author in his own right. His novels include Waiting for Lipchitz at Chateau Marmont, (17 weeks on the Los Angeles Times best-seller list), This Angelic Land, and Waiting for Sophia at Shutters on the Beach.


Artifa[ctuals] Website:

http://www.theartifactuals.com

Monday, January 4, 2021

Who makes sure the homeless get their stimulus money?

This is not him. But similar. ©Photo Marlan Warren

Today I took a long walk through my hood early this morning, and as I passed the unopened Starbucks an old Black man, who was swaddled in a blanket and crumpled in a corner between the building and the sidewalk, muttered something that sounded like an ask. I stopped several feet away (he was unmasked, I wasn't) and looked in my wallet. It's been a long time since I handed a street person money. I used to automatically do it in San Francisco. A counselor whom I was seeing at the time told me that my spontaneous generosity inspired her to try it out. But I have stopped. For various reasons. It hasn't felt right for a long time.

So I reached out to him with a dollar in my hand and he didn't reach out to take it, so I placed it on his tattered knee. He growled:

"I don't need money! I NEED FOOD!"

I was in a hurry to get to my destination (the home of a stranger in the Facebook Buy Nothing group who had specified a time for me to pick up some free nails), and unsure what to do (the Starbucks appeared closed, as did the taco stand across the street).

I mumbled something about being sorry and hurried on. But my head was chattering the rest of the time about what to do. In this upscale, shuttered area it's not that easy to grab a bite for a homeless stranger in need at that early hour. I thought wistfully of McDonalds. So cheap. So accessible. And rather a long walk for me.

In my mind's eye, I saw myself stopping at a nice takeout place and getting him something, bringing it back after my nail pickup. But what did he want? There was a Chinese takeout joint, a donut shop, a gourmet Mexican takeout grill...

The IRS dropped the $600 Stimulus money into my account yesterday. Why not help out someone in need with a bit of it? Or was I taking excessive responsibility? No. This man clearly needed help. And clearly needed to eat!

Or maybe he'd already gotten someone else to help.

About 30 minutes later, I returned and saw his spot was vacant. I looked around. So he's ambulatory. Maybe off to a more lucrative area. But then I saw him—sitting on a bench in a bus shelter looking exhausted and dejected—across the street.

The shelter is in front of the Bank of America where a very long line of customers were patiently waiting, doing their best efforts to socially distance. Perhaps to retrieve their $600?

I approached him and casually asked: "Do you still want food?"

He nodded yes.

"Okay, what would you like? I'll get it for you."

"I want a burger," he said. Now I could see his only teeth - two on the bottom of his mouth. And that mouth was shaking hard when he tried to form words. "And a bag of chips and a soft drink."

He indicated the Fatburger that was a few blocks away.

"They have fries, not chips."

"They got chips..." He nodded in the direction of the gas station quickie mart, even farther than the burger joint.

"Okay, and what kind of drink?"

"Orange Crush."

"And what do you want on your burger?"

"Tomatoes and cheese."

"Mayo? Mustard?" He shook his head no.

I have to say I admire his specificity.

So I'd made this commitment. Now all I had to do was see it through. We were in the exact spot of East Hollywood (aka "Los Feliz") where Hollywood Boulevard, Vermont Avenue, and Prospect Avenue intersect in a rush of heavy traffic and lights that take eons to change. It was 10:30 a.m. and folks were starting to buzz about—including the ones in the tents that have sprung up on a traffic island nearby.

Thanks to the long waits for the lights, the whole mission took about 20 minutes. The quickie mart was quick. And Fatburger was surprising devoid of customers. (YAY!) It was the first time I'd been in there for a couple years. And the only time I've been inside any eating establishment in about a year. The sign on the door claimed:

"ONLY 2 CUSTOMERS AT A TIME WILL BE ALLOWED INSIDE."

There wasn't even a line for the drive-by window. What luck!

Staff had changed since I was last there. I hoped it might be efficient. I ordered his burger...and one for me. The couple hamburgers I'd eaten there before were not great. But it was 10:30 a.m. and I was getting hungry. Why not live dangerously?

A few minutes later, the place filled up with masked, agitated men who looked on a lunch break. I counted 12. Behind the counter, the manager was on the phone taking an order -- with his mask hanging under his nose. I saw a customer note this and adjust his own mask more tightly. (L.A. has lost over 1,256 people to Covid-19 as of today, and 26,000 are known to be or have been infected.)

I went to the door and opened it and just stayed there with it open, far from the action and letting fresh air inside (or as fresh as L.A. air can be). Another customer exited and waited outside, not making eye contact.

There was just one young Latina working the grill by herself. Eventually she was joined by another. This felt like the longest wait of my life.

But I had time to think. His meal would total $11.00. Why was this man unable to even buy food? What happened to his IRS deposit? Is he on S.S.I.? Would it have been dropped into his bank account somewhere? Or is there nothing like that for the disenfranchised of our fair city? A social worker who could help him gain access to his rightful government money? He could even qualify for EBT.

Just buying someone without a mask a meal seemed to stretch my limits. After all, I'm one of those "at risk" folks who needs to be locked down, and I am usually in my apartment nursing whatever latest physical ailment has decided to visit me. This is the first time that I've been outside for a good length of time.

I can't get involved with a maskless homeless man in trouble.

Or can I?

"Maria! Mary!" one of Fatburger workers shouted. That was the name I'd given them. I grabbed both bags and headed back.

Of course he'd moved.

I walked inside the bus shelter. Looked across the street at Starbucks. Looked at the B of A parking lot. And I was about to give up when I saw that he was lying in his blanket on the top of the cement barrier of the parking lot, several feet away from me.

Was he sleeping? But he recognized me as I moved towards him, and he sat up, a long line of drool falling out of his mouth (lack of teeth can do that).

I handed him the bag and set the chips & soda next to him.

He said: "Thank you very much."

Then I wished him well and moved on. I walked home, munching my burger with pickles and lettuce, which was hot and tasty. The best one I've ever had.

But that one nagging question remains:

Who is making sure these American citizens, these "street people," get their government money?

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