Past Lives: A Journey
by Bodie Parkhurst

Magic Dog Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-463-73983-6.
Reviewed by Doris Anne Roop-Benner
Posted on 12/31/2011

Nonfiction: Memoir

I've never really thought about doing past-life regression, but in reading Parkhurst's journey I think it must be rather painful & yet freeing on some level. She begins with thoughts of her mother, when as a child she tried to find explanations for things and was told that she was "just dreaming." But as time passes, she discovers that her past may be stretched over sharp splinters of truth. She becomes uncertain about her earliest memories and wonders if they were ever true. Unfortunately, anyone who could verify these memories is either dead or not talking.

But she needs to know and seeks out age-regression therapy. The therapist discourages her because "the mind protects you from certain memories because they are unbearable." She eventually stumbles on past-life regression therapy. After repeating the exercises over and over, she stops. Are these memories really records of past existences? Or are they metaphors of past & present life? What ties us to our lives? And what do we do when those ties are broken?

Parkhurst's stories are those she wrote during her exercises. They are interesting because we don't know what is driving them. She writes about a woman who was as faded as her house and had married a man who eventually broke her body and spirit. She had no hope because hope was a luxury and she felt that regret, not love, and not hate, was her strongest feeling. I had to reread each story because I found different meanings each time.

This book is a good lesson in why we either want to or don't want to face our past. We all have questions, but do we really want answers?

Bodie Parkhurst says she is "neither wholly writer, nor wholly artist." When she writes she makes pictures with words and when she makes pictures she tells stories with paint. She has taught writing and art, driven trucks, baked Cinnabons, edited, illustrated, milked cows, and designed books and advertising materials. Her art has appeared in national publications and her writing has appeared in syndicated columns, magazines and journals. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her son. Visit her website.

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