Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir, Take it as a Compliment, reflect real life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment. In this blogpost, Maria Stoian explains the thinking behind this important graphic memoir, published by Singing Dragon.
Before I can talk about Take it as a Compliment, I feel I should introduce the project which preceded it. It was a short comic called The Elephant in the Room, which I made during my undergraduate degree. It was a fictional story exploring how the trauma of sexual assault might affect a person’s perception of reality and how they might deal with it in their daily life – which is to say that they probably would not talk about it, but instead bottle it up.
The project ended up being something I talked about all the time, and, as a consequence, the subject of sexual violence came up frequently. One day, I mentioned a comment I had read online which said, “When I finally plucked up the courage to tell my mother about my rape, the first thing she did was ask me what I was wearing.” I thought this was a horrifying response, in its words and also in how common the sentiment it expressed is. Instead of being appalled, however, one of the girls I was with said, “Well, a woman is responsible for her dignity.”
I couldn’t believe that the testimony of this girl wasn’t enough to convince this girl – that it didn’t say enough. I thought, “This happens to so many people, how have you missed this?”
The much more common response to my project was that people started sharing their stories with me. There was a lot of, “Oh, this happened to me too” or, “This reminds me of something else I’ve experienced” or, “I haven’t talked about this before, but now i feel like I can.””
All this made me think that if I were to draw up all these stories and put them in a book, it would speak to people when they read it. It would speak to them so loudly, and so clearly that it couldn’t be ignored by people who thought that the source of the problem was women’s lack of “dignity.”
When I started collecting stories, it was definitely a group effort. I didn’t have a very prominent web presence, so my friends helped me get the ball rolling when they told their friends about the project, and when the feminist society at uni posted a link sending people to the project’s blog, that was a huge help as well. I ended up with anonymous Tumblr messages, emails, and even a few interviews.
Each story is stylistically a bit different as a result of each voice being different. I received stories that were several pages long, and some that were only a couple of sentences. There are chapters where the narration is there, word for word, and there are also stories that only include dialogue. I found the responsibility of telling the story as truthfully as possible – often without knowing the protagonist – to be a bit difficult. Some people were very frank about what had happened to them, to the point where they were just recalling a series of events. Others talked about how they felt, and that was when I had to decide whether to show it, or use their words.
I also thought a lot about how I would be designing the characters. I had never met most of the people who shared their stories with me, and the people I did know needed to not look like themselves, while still being themselves. I didn’t want the audience to read the characters incorrectly; I wanted to convey the sense that they were all just everyday people.
To make a point about how I was thinking about the problem, I simplified it in a little exercise for my classmates. I made a small activity book and among the questions I had prepared, I asked the readers to make judgements about the characters I drew, to assign personalities to them, and to label them as heroes or villains. The idea was that, in real life, there are no guaranteed visual signs for what a person is like, and any interpreted signs are based on what we have been taught by culture and the media. The responses I got were that it was difficult to say which character was what, because they all appeared neutral – and yet there were clear patterns in how people judged the faces. After I explained, “Of course they just look neutral, that’s what real life is like, that was the point.” I was advised to draw the characters more “good” or “bad.”
The frustration that people felt when the characters didn’t fit into neat two-dimensional boxes was something I thought might come out of Take it as a Compliment. While I wanted each story to have its own individuality, and show each character’s humanity, I also wanted it to have a certain level of neutrality, a sense of this individual human being and their unique experience being one of many. I learned that statistics didn’t say as much to people as I thought they would. It seemed everyone already knew the 1 in 6, 1 in 4, 1 in 3 estimates from this study and that one. Somehow it wasn’t enough, it didn’t translate perfectly that the 1 was a human being. And equally, that what happened to them was caused by another human being. Survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence are real, everyday people.
As it turned out, the anonymity ended up not being that important to all that many people, what with there being interviews and emails sent. Not only did people choose to approach me without anonymity, some people even signed their names to their stories. One person introduced themselves in their written story by name, saying, “And that’s my REAL name, because these things happen to REAL people.”
All throughout its creation, I thought of Take it as a Compliment as being for two groups: For survivors and for bystanders. For the survivors, I’d hoped that the act of telling their stories would be part of a sort of healing process for them. And for bystanders, it was a message to be active in the discussion and to take action regarding the issue.
I don’t know how much personal benefit the survivors in the stories got from sharing, but it was clear that many of them did it not for themselves, but out of a concern for other people. Almost every contributor prefaced their story with something along the lines of, “People need to know this is a very real, and a very common occurrence.”
I think one of the most exciting things about the book getting published is that the survivors who did choose to remain anonymous have a chance to see that it became a real thing, and that it’s part of a conversation. Before Take it as a Compliment was picked up by Singing Dragon, it really was just all the stories, back to back. That was the main thing that needed to change. The publisher really felt – and I agree – that there needed to be a conclusion. A lot of people might get through the book and feel a lot of anger, and rightfully so. They might also feel helpless. But there is a lot of power in the discussion. There are a lot of us out there who are aware of the issues and who are eager to make changes.
My hopes for Take it as a Compliment going forward would be for it to keep doing what it’s been doing, which is to keep the conversation going. Even after the project was finished, and it was on display at my university’s grad show, I was approached by an older woman who said, “I really connected with your project because I’ve also been raped. Thank you.”
When we stand up and talk about these experiences, we can make more of an impact together, than we can by suffering in silence on our own.
Maria Stoian is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Scotland. She is interested in the way illustration and games can be a non-aggressive way of encouraging people to recognise when they might be biased. Take It As A Compliment was Maria’s Master’s project at Edinburgh College of Art.
Take it as a Compliment by Maria Stoian is AVAILABLE NOW
In this article, Steve Haines shares his thoughts on memory and trauma, and how important it is to recall past memories. Steve Haines is the author of medical graphic book Pain is Really Strange. His new book Trauma is Really Strange will be available on the 21st December.
Some Thoughts On Memory
Where are memories stored? In order to heal trauma, how important is it to remember what happened? These are common questions that often come up working with clients and teaching on trauma.
There are folklore phrases such as ‘muscle memory’ and ‘cellular memory’ that can be very useful but need to be applied carefully. They speak to the importance of information stored in the body. However it is essential to understand that for the information to be available to our awareness, our brain needs to be involved in processing the patterns of information flow happening in the body. Where the information is processed – in the primitive brain (unconscious) or in the cortex (conscious) – determines whether or not the memory is explicit.
I have a favourite old pair of jeans right now, some holes are on the second round of stitching. The wrinkles and folds in the material are a memory of sorts, the jeans mould to my body like no other pair of trousers. The fascia researcher Gil Hedley (2005) talks about fascia as ‘fuzz’. The fuzz accumulates and represents time. A certain stickiness and alignment of the fibres in the tissues holds the joints in more habitual ways.
Imagine a small child being shouted out by her father. Her shoulders tense, her neck tightens and there is a surge of fear related hormones and activity in the body. If this happens continuously the pattern of ‘shoulders tense and neck tight’ becomes a deep ‘action pattern’ (Kozlowska et al 2015).
Now imagine 30 years later the adult is on your treatment table. With grounded presence and soft, safe, warm, hands you are holding her head and neck. The tissues in her neck begin to express long held contractions and tightness. A shape in her body emerges, similar to the pattern generated when she got shouted at. Your client begins to feel unease and may think about her father.
The ‘muscle memory’ is the tension and tone in the tensegrity of the neck (Ingber 2008). The ‘cellular memory’ is cellular membrane receptors on local and global cells that grew to be sensitive to the all the stress hormones, immune system signaling and inflammatory chemicals that used to be secreted in the fear response (Damasio and Carvalho 2013). The ‘action patterns’ are simple, default movement schemas held in the old primitive brain.
Sensory nerves signal the changes in tension and chemical milieu to the brain. Only with the brain involved do we have emotions, feelings and thoughts generated in awareness. They may or may not be fully integrated into cognition, but something is happening. A memory is being expressed.
Instead of explicit memories we can have implicit memories (I first heard this term from Babette Rothschild, 2000), here the activation is chiefly in the primitive brain (brain stem, cerebellum and limbic system). The client on the table becomes scared when you touch her neck and too much changes too soon, but she does not really know why she is getting upset.
As a therapist working with trauma it is important to note the surges and changes in the rhythmic activity of the body as implicit memories occur. There are some great early warning signals that something is happening.
We can then help find the right pace of change for the individual so they can learn to self-regulate. The therapist’s skillful presence can lead to co-regulation such that the individual can learn to self-regulate (Ndefo 2015). The primitive brain does not do words and concepts very well, but will respond to safety, touch and presence.
Implicit memories are coded very simply in the primitive brain. Often they are without a timeline. The amygdala – an important part of our threat detection system (LeDoux 2015) – holds lots of symbolic representations of threat. The amygdala will trigger ‘fight-or-flight’ or ‘immobility’ responses (‘defense cascade’ Kozlowska et al 2015) if it senses danger in the incoming information stream.
If the cortex gets involved then we will have explicit memory – we can pull in associated events and a timeline to contextualise the activity in the body. Explicit memories usually only emerge into awareness after the body has changed. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex should help us say ‘That happened 30 years ago’. The skill of the therapist here is to honor the memories and stories that appear but keep orienting the client to resources in the body and environment; ‘Its not happening now’, even if your body is screaming at you be scared.
Following Dr David Berceli (2008), founder of Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE), I am fond of saying ‘You do not need to remember or do not need to understand to heal trauma’. The goal is to overwrite the symbols in the amygdala with present time information. The body is a great source of good news that can bring you into now.
Information is stored in the tissues and cells of the body.
The threat detection systems in the primitive brain can be activated as the body changes.
The primitive brain does not do words and concepts very well, but will respond to safety, touch and presence.
If we can support change in the body and down regulate arousal we can change memories with out needing to understand or remember the trauma event.
The goal is to uncouple the charge of the defense cascade from the sensations of the implicit memory.
1 Kozlowska et al (2015) list some early signs of arousal. For flight-or-fight (their preferred order of this phrase) they list; changes in breath, furrowing of the eyebrows, the tensing of the jaw, or the clenching of a fist, narrowing of the range of attention. For immobility states they list; visual blurring, sweating, nausea, warmth, light-headedness, and fatigue.
My favourite signs to look out for are anything going too quick (thoughts, sensations or emotions that cannot be integrated into the present moment) and anything going too slow (spacey, floaty, absence, hard to make eye contact, numbness or tingling or loss of body awareness).
Dry mouth, sense of small or far away feet, absent belly, cold hands and a sense of someone withdrawing are all good signs to put the brakes on, whatever process is being expressed. David Berceli teaches ‘Freezing, Flooding or Dissociation’ as signs that too much arousal is occurring.
Download as pdf: memory v3 2015-10-29
Berceli D (2008) The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process. Transcend Your Toughest Times. Vancouver: Namaste Publishing.
Damasio A and Carvalho GB (2013) The nature of feelings: evolutionary and neurobiological origins. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Vol 14, February 2013, 143.
Hedley G (2005) The Integral Anatomy Series. 4 Vol DVD set. Integral Anatomy Productions, LLC, 430 Westwood Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675, USA (or check ‘The Fuzz Speech’ on YouTube).
Ingber DE (2008) Tensegrity and mechanotransduction. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 12, 198–200.
Kozlowska K, Walker P, McLean L, and Carrive P (2015) Fear and the Defense Cascade: Clinical Implications and Management. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2015 Jul; 23(4): 263–287.
LeDoux JE (2015) The Amygdala Is NOT the Brain’s Fear Center. psychologytoday.com http://bit.ly/ledoux-no-fear-center Accessed 2015-09-01
Ndefo N (2015) Personal communication. www.trelosangeles.com ‘Sometimes we have to co-regulate before we can self-regulate’.
Rothschild B (2000) The Body Remembers – The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. London: W.W. Norton.
Medical graphic books by Steve Haines, published by Singing Dragon
Pain is Really Strange is a scientifically-based, detailed, and gently humorous graphic book on pain and pain management. Answering questions such as ‘how can I change my pain experience?’, ‘what is pain?’, and ‘how do nerves work?’, this short research-based graphic book reveals just how strange pain is and explains how understanding it is often the key to relieving its effects.
Trauma is Really Strange is a science-based medical graphic book explaining trauma, its effects on our psychology and physiology, and what to do about it. When something traumatic happens to us, we dissociate and our bodies shut down their normal processes. This unique comic explains the strange nature of trauma and how it confuses the brain and affects the body. With wonderful artwork, cat and mouse metaphors, essential scientific facts, and a healthy dose of wit, the narrator reveals how trauma resolution involves changing the body’s physiology and describes techniques that can achieve this, including Trauma Releasing Exercises that allow the body to shake away tension, safely releasing deep muscular patterns of stress and trauma.
Trauma is Really Strange will publish on December 21st 2015.
In The Way of the Five Elements, John Kirkwood references a category of acupoints known as entry and exit points. Here, he elaborates on these points, the timely use of which can make big differences to treatment outcomes.
Qi flows through the 12 organ meridians in a continuous circuit. It flows out of the exit point of one meridian and into the entry point of the next meridian in the Wei Qi cycle. For most of the meridians the entry point is the first point of the meridian. The exit point is either the last point or one close to the end of the meridian.
If work with a client is not holding, there may be a block to treatment and it is worth looking for a possible entry-exit block since these are the most frequently encountered blocks and the most easily treated. Acupressure is well suited to working with these blocks.
An entry-exit block arises when Qi is not flowing freely from one meridian to the next. The blockage of Qi flow between exit and entry point may be partial or complete.
Sometimes a block becomes evident early in treatment, but more commonly, the block occurs during the course of treatment and needs to be addressed in order for the treatment to proceed successfully.
The most reliable way to detect blocks is on the pulse where there is a relatively full pulse on one meridian and a relatively deficient pulse on the following meridian. If the pulse is not used, signs and symptoms such as skin eruptions, swelling, pain, constriction, feelings of congestion, fullness or emptiness at the entry-exit points are all suggestive of a block.
In addition, if treatment suddenly becomes less effective or stops working altogether, an entry-exit block may be suspected. An unexpectedly strong reaction during the course of treatment can also indicate a block. This kind of block is caused when an existing block manifests itself as a result of the extra Qi that is made available.
When a block is suspected, palpation of the points can confirm the diagnosis. Holding the points, the practitioner may sense a numbness, deadness, emptiness and/or lack of movement either at the entry point, the exit point, or both.
Blocks may be bi-lateral or unilateral. To focus your intention, it is best to work on one side at a time. Begin by holding both the entry and the exit point. Stay with both if both are blocked. If only one is blocked, then hold the one blocked point.
Some points can take a long time to open, and even then reluctantly. When both practitioner and client visualise pulling Qi through, this can aid the process.
More than one treatment may by necessary to resolve a block. Even when the block appears to be resolved, it may reappear later in treatment.
Two Kinds of Blocks
Since there are 12 organ meridians, there are 12 possible blocks. Six of these flow from a meridian into its partner meridian (e.g. Gall Bladder to Liver). The other six flow from a meridian of one Element to a meridian of another Element (e.g. Triple Heater to Gall Bladder).
It is this second kind of block that I want to focus on here since it occurs more frequently, is the greater block to treatment and tends to produce the more serious symptoms.
Large Intestine to Stomach
LI 20 is slightly lateral and superior to the outside base of the nose. Qi flows to ST 1 which lies below the pupil at the orbital ridge. Signs and symptoms can include spots or rashes at LI 20, nasal congestion, sinusitis, difficulty smelling, spots or rashes below the eye, eye spasms, pain or congestion at the eye.
Spleen to Heart
This is one of the more common entry-exit blocks. SP 21 lies on the side of the body, below the armpit in the 7th intercostal space and roughly at the level of the xiphoid process. Qi flows from there to HT 1 which is in the depression at the centre of the armpit. Symptoms can include fullness of the chest, palpitations, pain in the ribcage, depression, fatigue, pain in the armpit, appetite disorders, and spots or rashes at the site of the points.
Small Intestine to Bladder
SI 19 is at the tragus of the ear, in a depression that appears with the mouth open. Qi flows from there to BL 1 which is located at the inner corner of the eye, just above the tear duct. Symptoms can include jaw tension, eye problems, tear duct issues, eye pain and headaches.
Kidney to Heart Protector
K 22 lies in the 5th intercostal space, 2 cun lateral to the midline, flowing to HP 1 which is 1 cun lateral and slightly superior to the nipple in the 4th intercostal space. On women, use HP 2 which is between the heads of the biceps 2 cun below the fold of the armpit. Symptoms can include tension or pain at the side of the sternum or in the breast; rashes, spots or lumps at site of points or in the intervening space; depression, fear and lack of joy for life.
Triple Heater to Gall Bladder
TH 22 is 0.5 cun anterior to the upper border of the root of the ear, on the posterior border of the hairline of the temple, flowing to GB 1 in a depression 0.5 cun lateral to outer canthus of the eye. Symptoms of this block may be frontal and temporal headaches, vision problems, tics and an inability to see the way forward or take action.
Liver to Lung
LV 14 is on the nipple line, in the 6th intercostal space, usually slightly above the level of the xiphoid process. Qi moves from there to LU 1 which is 6 cun lateral to the midline in the 1st intercostal space. Symptoms can be breathing difficulty or constriction, fullness of the ribcage, emotions of grief and anger (often suppressed) and a feeling of being tired and wired.
By becoming aware of the potential for these blocks and clearing them as they arise, practitioners can greatly support their clients’ treatment processes and promote swifter healing.
Learn more about John Kirkwood’s new book The Way of the Five Elements HERE.
Here at Singing Dragon, we’ve asked Assistant Editor, Jane Evans if she wouldn’t mind us jumping into her shoes for a day. Luckily, she agreed, and below is the result: a day in the life of an Assistant Editor at Singing Dragon, by Jane Evans. We hope you enjoy it! Next, we’ll be jumping into the shoes of Production Designer, Emma Carroll, so keep a look out!
Jane Evans, 16th October 2015
Many of my friends and family are under the impression that being an Assistant Editor means I get to sit around reading all day. While that (unfortunately!) isn’t the case, the reality can be just as much fun – quickly getting my head around a new topic to write attention-grabbing blurbs, searching for potential cover artwork, or helping an Editor brainstorm title ideas.
I get into the office at 9.30am and, with an obligatory cup of tea in hand, start reading emails received overnight. I respond to anything urgent immediately and flag others to reply to later in the day. Handling priorities is the key to your survival as an assistant, and I usually have at least two to-do lists on the go – one for long-terms tasks and another for that day’s particular priorities.
We are currently preparing for a sales conference in December, so I am in the midst of working with the rest of the assistant team to draft AI (Advance Information) sheets for all of our Spring and Summer 2016 titles. This includes writing blurbs, highlighting key sales points and ensuring our author biographies are up to date. For me, it is one of the best parts of the job and a chance to be creative, especially with our children’s books. I recently had great fun writing the blurb for Michael Chissick and Sarah Peacock’s Seahorse’s Magical Sun Sequences, which teaches yoga to children of all abilities and features an octopus on crutches and a starfish with a bad back!
Singing Dragon is constantly evolving and growing in new directions and I love working on our new list of comics. As I write, I am eagerly awaiting the final files for Steve Haines and Sophie Standing’s Trauma is Really Strange, which follows the success of Pain is Really Strange and promises to be just as informative, witty and beautifully illustrated. Once the files arrive, I will help with the handover to our production department. This process varies from book to book, but includes meticulous checking of our database records against the final manuscript and applying for permission to use any copyright material taken from other sources.
I attend a number of weekly meetings, including our Covers and Titles meeting. This is an opportunity for the Editors to discuss any potential changes to a book’s title and present draft cover designs for feedback from our Sales and Marketing teams. We consider everything from whether the design is appropriate for the market through to whether the title will be legible when the cover appears as a thumbnail image online. Some of our covers go through several rounds of draft designs until they are perfected, whereas others get it right first time. Damo Mitchell’s White Moon on the Mountain Peak, a comprehensive explanation of Daoist internal alchemy for Western practitioners, was one such cover. It is atmospheric and resonates with both the title and the book’s content perfectly. We all loved it immediately.
Finally, I have recently started to acquire my own titles so whenever I have a free moment in the day, I read and comment on new proposals. It is always exciting to have a rummage through our submissions pile to see what hidden gems I can find! If you are interested in submitting a proposal to us, you can do so here.
My day usually ends by writing a to-do list for the next morning to give me focus as soon as I get into the office. However, after two and a half years at Singing Dragon and JKP, I have learnt that I can never really know what the next day will have in store!
When Anxiety Attacks is a graphic memoir about living with anxiety and finding help through a therapist. In this blog, Terian Koscik, author and illustrator, gives an inside look to her experience of drawing and writing about anxiety.
One of the hardest parts about living with anxiety is trying to explain what it’s like to friends and family who don’t experience it. To them, it makes no sense that someone who is usually capable of making clear, rational decisions would have fears and thoughts that are totally irrational. What they don’t realize is that anxious people are often perfectly aware of how irrational our thoughts are. This doesn’t make it any easier to ignore them, though. Dealing with anxiety, beginning to understand it after going to therapy for the first time, and trying to convey my new sense of understanding to others led me to want to create a comic book about the experience.
As a child, my anxieties appeared blatantly silly and irrational to outside observers. I would panic whenever the phone rang, worried about what would happen if we didn’t answer it before it went to voicemail. What if it was an extremely important call, and they needed to talk to us right then? Or what if they thought we didn’t care?
As adults, we have a lot more in our lives to worry and panic about, and the line between what is silly and what isn’t is harder to see, especially if one’s default state is to worry. After graduating from college, my best friend from high school moved in with me, and I was distraught when she didn’t seem as enthusiastic about living together as I was. I constantly thought about what I was doing wrong when she chose to spend her time alone instead of with me, and whether I was capable of making any friends at all. I ended up going to therapy to talk about these feelings. I gradually realized that my worries were based on a general fear of being alone rather than anyone’s specific actions, that I could address them directly by asking others for help, and that there was nothing wrong with me for feeling this way.
In my book “When Anxiety Attacks,” I used dramatically different color palettes to demonstrate the way that irrational anxious thinking separates one from their usual ability to consider facts and possibilities. Other people and possibilities other than the worst case scenario do not exist in this state of mind. This makes it difficult or impossible for well-meaning loved ones to get through to us when in this state. For example, if I felt lonely, someone might remind me that I have many friends and family to turn to for reassurance. However, my anxious thinking would find a way to ignore this advice. Wouldn’t my friends and family have more important things to do than listen to me complain? Did I even deserve their attention?
Through therapy I have found that as anxious people, the best we can do is remain open to facts and possibilities, and not judge ourselves too harshly for the tendency to worry. I hope that my book will help others reach this conclusion.
Terian Koscik has been a reader of comics, a creator of comics, and an anxious person for almost as long as she can remember. Most of her work is autobiographical in nature, and deals with finding humor in feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. She posts her work regularly at http://pineconedoesthings.tumblr.com/. Terian lives in Portland, Oregon with 4 humans and 2 rabbits.
Tweet in a drawing of your anxious self to @Singing_Dragon_ using the hashtag #AnxiousMe to enter the chance to win a copy of When Anxiety Attacks
Learn more about When Anxiety Attacks here
Ten reasons why authors Lawrence Pagett and Paul Millward want you to read this book…
When Singing Dragon agreed to publish our book on EFT, Principles of EFT, we were excited. And here’s why:
- For a start, it was an opportunity for us to spread the word that a simple tapping process is now out there – freely accessible and freely available to everyone -and that EFT could dramatically change your life in all sorts of amazing ways.
- In this book, we invite readers on a magical EFT adventure. You will not only learn all about how to use EFT first hand to bring about wonderful shifts and changes in body, mind and spirit, you will also be taken on an historical and mystical journey into the ancient Chinese origins of this wonderful tapping modality.
- Before EFT came along, there was nothing really on offer that could powerfully and rapidly shift phobias and traumas. Now, in learning about EFT, a lifelong phobia can often be removed within a matter of minutes, or even seconds. It’s hard to put a value on such a life changing transformation.
- EFT’s outstanding ability to quickly eradicate emotional issues such as anger, anxiety, fear, or sadness, is hard to imagine. Unless you have first-hand experience of the power of EFT, then it is almost impossible to comprehend its effectiveness – but, with the help of this book, you can quickly come to understand the power of this treatment.
- Principles of EFT is an excellent book for newcomers to energy work and experts alike. It has been hailed as being essential reading for the professional alternative practitioner.
- Faith Waude founder of Hypnotic World highly recommends the book:
It’s not easy to find the words to do justice to this work. This book is a must for anyone in the healing profession who wants to provide their clients with an easy but effective method of helping themselves in-between sessions and also for those wishing to take action to restore their own sense of wellbeing or equilibrium.
- The Forward was penned by none other than International author energy empress Dr Silvia Hartmann (Chair, The Association For Meridian and Energy Therapies). In her own words:
EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques – is a huge breakthrough for humanity. Before EFT, we were afraid of emotions – of other’s and, most of all, of our own own…I would lay these pages to follow close to your heart and invite you to an exploration and an adventure like no other – to find out what life can be like when we live in emotional freedom.
That’s nine reasons for you getting Principles of EFT. What about the “tenth” reason?
- We are confident that when you do read it, like us, you will fall in love with EFT and want to recommend it to your family, friends, professional colleagues and loved ones. It is our expressed desire, hope, and prayer that by reading this book you gain emotional freedom, and in so doing help create a better future for yourself and those you love.
If you’re still not sure, why not check out these FREE extracts and find out for yourself:
You can find out more about the book, read reviews or order your copy here.
The Singing Dragon Complete Catalogue is now available. With full information on our expanding list of books in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, Qigong, Yoga, Aromatherapy, and a variety of other disciplines, our catalogue is an essential resource for complementary health practitioners and anyone interested in enhancing their own health, wellbeing and personal development.
To receive a free copy of the catalogue, please fill out the form below and press subscribe:
This month we would like to host a guest blog post by Mike Medaglia. Mike is a comic artist and illustrator with a brand-new comic book, One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations, published by SelfMadeHero. Mike is also known at JKP and Singing Dragon for his invaluable contribution as an art editor and project manager on a bunch of new exciting comics projects. Enjoy!
Hello and welcome! My name is Mike Medaglia and I am an editor at Jessica Kingsley Publishers. I am also a comics artist and have been helping develop a line of comics for both JKP and Singing Dragon.
On September 9th I have a book of my own coming out called One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations. It is a one a day book with a quote from a writer, artist or thinker that has been adapted into a full page illustration. It is published by SelfMadeHero, an independent comics publisher, and will be available in the US, Canada and the UK. All the quotes for the images were chosen because they have messages of positivity, hope, encouragement and love.
I have been working on this book for the past year and posted an image online every Monday since January. You can see them all here.
One Year Wiser is also available as a colouring book. With the illustrations already having a reflective tone to them, it seemed natural to adapt the images so they could be used for colouring in. Adult colouring books have grown in popularity recently. There is something so relaxing about pulling out your crayons or markers and getting back to the simple act of colouring in. It brings back days from childhood and is also a chance to do something tactile and creative and to take a break from endlessly staring at a screen.
My work at Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Singing Dragon
Now, to say a bit more about my role here at JKP, I have been working since January as an art editor and project manager on a bunch of new comics projects. We are taking topics that JKP and Singing Dragon are well known for and are using the medium of comics to explore them in a new way.
Our first release was Pain Is Really Strange, written by Steve Haines and illustrated by Sophie Standing. It is a research-based comic that looks at how strange pain is and how understanding it can often be the first step to relief. It did, (and it’s still doing!), extremely well and its publication made us both excited and proud.
And at the end of this month we are also very excited to be publishing When Anxiety Attacks by Terian Kosick. It is a personal account by Terian of coming to terms with her anxiety and how she eventually chose to seek therapy as a way of coping with it. It is as funny as it is informative and a perfect introduction to the different options available to help manage anxiety.
We have some more really great comics projects in the pipeline that are set to be released over the coming months. Comics is such a diverse art form and I am so excited to be able to help work on books with JKP and Singing Dragon that use comics to discuss such important topics!
If you want to find out more about Mike and his work visit his website http://mikemedaglia.com/
For more on Singing Dragon and JKP new comics projects visit our websites http://singingdragon.com and http://www.jkp.com/
The practice of Qigong Through the Seasons is designed to harmonize the health of your internal organs with the seasonal energetic changes of nature.
Autumn is the time to give special attention to the Lungs. Breathing is the most important thing you do from moment to moment and yet most of us are unaware of how we breathe and have lost our innate connection to the breath cycle. We, therefore, often fail to completely benefit from the power of correct breathing.
The Source of Qi
Breathing stands out as our quintessential rhythmic interaction with the world; lungs function as a permeable interface between each of us and everything else. The lungs are yin organs that receive air from the outside world, extract its healthy components and send them downward to the lower dan tian, the primary energy center of the abdomen, to be combined with the nutrients of food. That fusion of air’s vitality and food’s energy produces our greatest quantity of qi. In ancient times, the word ‘qi’ primarily had the meaning of ‘vital breath’ emphasizing that our indispensable energy comes from breathing.
Astonishingly, the lungs eliminate seventy percent of the body’s waste products. This makes exhalation a hugely significant detoxifying activity. We must completely exhale so that the respiratory system can flush out toxins and debris; only then can we receive a full complement of fresh air on the next inhalation. Stress, fear, anger, and doubt are the main emotional states that interfere with a healthy exhalation. Many people subconsciously don’t let go of the breath—they feel like they must hold on to that last bit of air, otherwise they may expire. The ability to completely let go of the breath often relates to issues of trust and relaxation.
The correct practice of qigong creates mental tranquility and thus will profoundly enhance healthy breathing by relaxing the lungs and allowing them to freely function. The following exercise, White Healing Mist, is the most important qigong exercise to do during the autumn season. It uses mental intention, body movement, and regulated breathing to purify and strengthen the lungs.
White Healing Mist Exercise
This graceful neigong (internal qigong) exercise fills the lungs with fresh qi while cleansing them of turbid qi. The intent of the mind uses detailed imagery of pure and impure qi. The movement of the hands leads the qi into and out of each lung. The ‘white healing mist’ can be any personal image that conveys a sense of purity, freshness, tranquility and healing. The ‘toxins’ can be not only respiratory debris but also cloudy, unhealthy thoughts. As the interface between internal and external worlds, the lungs command our self-defense system. When doing this practice, you may want to identify those healthy and unhealthy aspects of your life. Then you can nurture the good with the white mist, and purge the bad along with the toxins. Do this exercise slowly with focused concentration on one lung at a time. The unilateral emphasis is unusual since most qigong exercises are done for both lungs simultaneously, but that special concentration on one lung at a time increases the concentration of qi, which makes this a very powerful healing exercise. You can do this for the common chest cold and for all serious diseases of the lungs.
Begin with feet close together, hands crossed and touching the chest over the lungs. The right hand is over the left lung and the left hand is over the right lung.
Take a slow, relaxed breath and think of your lungs there under your hands. Make a mental connection between your hands and your lungs.
Step to the side with the left foot.
Inhale, shift weight to the left leg so that the left lung is lined up over the left knee. At the same time, open the arms and slowly, swing the hands forward and then laterally out until the arms are extended to the side with fingers up and the palms facing away from the body. Left knee is bent, right knee is straight.
Think of inhaling a white healing mist into the left lung only.
Exhale, step back to center with the left foot, straighten knees, the hands return to the chest, cross them so that the right hand is touching over the left lung. The left hand touches over the right lung.
Think of exhaling grey smoky toxins from the left lung only. Although both hands are touching your chest, your focused intention goes to the left lung only.
Repeat for the right lung by stepping to the right, etc. Do 8 repetitions, alternating left and right.
The complete set of Autumn Qigong exercises, along with suggested foods and herbs for seasonal health, are fully described and illustrated in chapter 8 of Qigong Through The Seasons.
Ronald H. Davis is an acupuncturist and chiropractor. He has been practicing Qigong since 1986 and is the founder of The Health Movement, a group of classes and educational materials designed to improve a person’s wellbeing through the use of traditional and complementary healthcare methods. Ronald offers classes in Qigong, Taiji and spinal healthcare and lives in Bozeman, Montana, USA.