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Heckler, Richard Strozzi, Holding the Center, 1997

Heckler is a psychotherapist, a small-time rancher and an Aikido master with a deep knowledge of Eastern philosophy. He draws on all these parts of his life in this lovely little book exploring ways in which we are connected to places, to communities and to our own bodies.

We are connected to others and the world, he writes, through a vast resonating field of energy. We have the potential to transcend the boundaries of self, and experience our membership in the universal community of space, wisdom and being.

Heckler offers some practical suggestions about how to achieve our transcendent moments and become grounded in our own lives. For example, he says, it is fundamental for all people to have a sense of place. And “place” is located in the natural world, in communities and in the body.

To live disconnected from and in opposition to our bodies, Heckler says, produces a profound sense of alienation. To live a connected life, we must engage in some form of physical practice. As we work with our body to lose weight, add muscle, improve our health or become more athletic, he says, we connect with our capacity for acting with choice, intention and discipline to attain goals. As we shape and mold our bodies, we feel more effective and see that we can affect the self that we are.

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