A Q&A with Lee McCormick and Mary Faulkner Co-authors of Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag: A Transformational Guide for Living, Happy, Joyous and Free
Lee McCormick and Mary Faulkner are the co-authors Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag; A Transformational Guide for Living, Happy, Joyous and Free (HCI Books.) an essential and life-changing resource that is half autobiographical journey and half medicine bag filled with spiritual healing practices for those who are struggling with any aspect of life. Offering a way out of life’s maze, Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag is a guide for finding the way back to one’s personal truth, authenticity and purpose by shedding the stories that we tell ourselves about or own lives. The book draws on Native American and shamanistic traditions, Eastern practices, universal spiritual pathways, and a medicine bag of other heart-opening methodologies developed by these two seasoned experts. Readers are given the tools to step away from addictive, compulsive behaviors that hold them back, so they experience real happiness and joy as their spirit soars-- Living Happy, Joyous and Free! For more information, go to www.SpiritRecovery.com or www.hibooks.com.
1. How would you describe your book in a few lines or less?
It’s an invitation to get more fully into your life. Emphasis on your. It invites you to discover the dream that is in your heart and dare to live it.
2. Who did you have in mind when you wrote it?
It’s for anyone who has come up against an internal wall and feels stuck. It can be an addiction, financial loss, a broken relationship, an unfulfilled life—you name it. Anything that has you stopped in your tracks. The book encourages readers to find the door in the internal wall, the one with their name on it and dare to step on into life with both feet.
3. Medicine Bag—that’s an interesting title; how did you happen to call your book Spirit Recovery Medicine Bag?
A medicine bag is an image from Native culture. The shaman or medicine man carries a medicine bag of various tools for healing. Our medicine bag recognizes there are stuck places in life where we tend to lose sight of ourselves, where we feel lost—even give up on ourselves and on life. We feel disconnected from Source. Some would say we’ve lost our spirit. Our medicine bag contains a variety of ideas, suggestions and practices for reconnecting to yourself and waking up a lost dream—recovering your spirit and beginning to live it.
4. Can you give me an idea or suggestion from the book?
One example is a process to help readers explore their deeply held values. The qualities they are willing to live by. These may be different from the family or town or even the religion they grew up with. Readers get encouragement to explore their personal belief system—to create their code.
5. That sounds kind of risky. What happens if they discover that their values are different from their family and friends and culture?
We’ve discovered that most people share a common code of ethics—as humans. We might differ in how these ethics are played out in the world, but the values we carry are not all that different.
6. Why do we need to identify them if they are commonly held?
When we have the freedom to explore and identify our beliefs and feel them in our heart and soul, we own them. When we own them we are more apt to live them. We have a natural desire for integrity.
7. What happens if your beliefs are different from the ones you grew up with?
If enough of us discover our truth and begin living it, we might just have a transforming effect on our hands. We believe most of us are essentially good folks and given a bit of encouragement will self select a creative engaged life. In other worlds, we aren’t worried about that. We’re more concerned about people living like robots and never discovering their real selves. The book is designed to give encouragement to explore your reality and make conscious choices about how you live your life. It does not write readers a prescription.
8. Are you encouraging people to get out of the box?
Yes, if they want to get out of it.
9. You use the word recovery; are you talking about people in recovery from addiction?
Yes, and more. The term recovery certainly is associated with addiction, and we do speak to that community. However we are addressing a larger readership. Again, it is for anyone who feels like they have hit their wall. It can be the death of a loved one, addiction, compulsion, in many cases of anxiety and depression, mindless shopping, texting, gambling, whatever you are using to numb out, distract yourself, or raise the stakes to an unhealthy level.
10. Is this for people in early recovery?
It’s not necessarily for early recovery and we recommend that you are stable in that regard. Although people have different entry points in recovery—what is often called a high, medium, or low bottom. The suggestions we make and the processes we present would deepen anyone’s recovery adventure. We also recommend that you add this to your recovery rather than exchanging this for that. Make it a both / and rather than an either / or.
11. Everyone has a point of view. What is this books point of view?
This isn’t an either /or kind of book. It recognizes diversity and values differences. We offer a point of view on some of the topics we address, but when we do, we let the reader know it’s an opinion and invite them to use it to discover their own thoughts and feelings about the topic. It’s about getting you where you want to go with you setting your course. It isn’t about right and wrong as external criteria. In order to accurately determine your direction on any given decision you have to have an idea of where you’re going—we consider that your hopes and dreams. We’re encouraging readers to discover their hopes and dreams and take the first step in that direction—but we don’t identify what the first step is.
12. It sounds non-directive. Is that what you are saying?
Yes. It’s aimed at the level of imagination—imagining your dream coming true. We figure people will discern the first step that works best for them or get help in discerning that. We are about waking up that natural instinct to be what you are—the impulse to live fully.
13. You talk a lot about nature in the book. Why?
Life is being lived in this world on this earth and in the body that you occupy—and that’s where your instructions are written—instinct and intuition are in your body, they came on your hard drive. It’s amazing how many people do not have that basic understanding as their reality. They aren’t grounded. We aren’t just walking around on nature or looking out the window at nature—we are nature. There’s a world of difference in those concepts. Spending time in nature, observing, and appreciating its magic helps turn your magic on. You can talk about being grounded, but it takes boots on the ground or even bare feet on the ground along with an awareness of your relationship with the earth to qualify as grounded. Spirituality has been taken in an otherworldly direction—it’s gotten disconnected from our lives—again the life we are living in this body. Spirituality that isn’t rooted in our human reality runs the risk of being all airy-fairy, pie in the sky, disconnected from life on life’s terms. Our position is that we are spirits on a human journey. What we make of that journey is our spirituality. Going back to your question, why do we talk about nature—nature keeps us real. Nature is the temple if you want a religious image. It’s where to action is; it’s where our spirituality gets played out.
14. What’s the magic you spoke of?
The magic is everywhere. It’s your ability to imagine something and bring it into being. It’s about living your hopes and dreams. It’s about realizing spiritual power and understanding the responsibility that goes with it. The magician who is unaware of his or her spiritual power acts irresponsibly, he or she manipulates nature to create allusion. It’s all smoke and mirrors--a scam. The magician who realizes Spirit is present in everything is in tune with life and in touch with life’s power.
15. What about the other life—the great beyond, the one after we die?
I guess we’re standing face to face with the Big Mystery. Luckily we don’t have to have an answer. If the outcome is based on good and bad, I might be up a creek. But if what I learned in Sunday school is true—that God is everywhere, we’re all probably going to be okay—we’re already home. It’s hard to get beyond the right/wrong thing. We’re really steeped in it. And there is right and wrong to an extent. But when you throw heaven and hell into the equation you really tighten the screws. If we base right and wrong in natural consequences for your actions we are led by instinct to choose a wise path. When you add streets of gold and fire and brimstone, the tendency is to act out of fear of reprisal and I don’t think we get our most creative ideas.
16. Is there anything you want to add?
We want to invite readers to take the dare—to dare to dream and dare to make your dream come true. And more practically, dare to buy the book and read it!